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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What is The Conservative Nutritionist?

Many facets of the American way of life have been decimated by left leaning political agendas. The rugged individual, can do, get it done spirit that once was the hallmark of all of us can now only be ascribed to some of us. Sadly the same policies that were intended to help have turned out to harm. Moreover they have become a threat to the ideals that made us great.

From the New Deal to the Great Society the benevolent hand of government has done more to pull us down as a nation than to lift us up. Social Security and welfare programs have robbed otherwise able American citizens of their can do spirit. Having no motivation to excel and succeed too many have elected to be among the homogenous average looking for the next social program savior.

Those examining the evidence of failed social programs are keenly aware of the aforementioned facts. Yet our government still infected with the same leftist mentalities has not learned from these failures. Rather than learn from them they forge ahead spreading their social program disease like warm butter over a hot roll. The latest front on the freedom assault is food and nutrition.

In a country established on the idea of individual liberty, a liberty purchased with the blood of fellow citizens, the notion that some leftist bureaucrat can tell us how much salt, fat or sugar to eat defies explanation. Furthermore the notion that we should fall in line with arbitrarily established nutrition guidelines set by the government is equally as maddening. Enter The Conservative Nutritionist a “right” perspective on food and nutrition.

The most important aspect of The Conservative Nutritionist is to provide a clearly stated and correct point of view on nutrition and food that will counter the leftist nutrition establishment. Because of the slow creep of nutrition liberalism that continues to be pushed on our fellow citizens a right voice was need and thus “The Conservative Nutritionist” was born.

Now voice will be given to the fact that government established guidelines are often just wrong. For example the Body Mass Index (BMI) used to gauge risks associated with health based on a ratio of height and weight are routinely incorrect. A BMI of 20-24 is said to indicate optimal health yet studies show that those with a BMI of up to 35 are at no greater risk of early mortality. Since that is true then why does the government promote weight loss for good health? It is apparent that health is achievable at many sizes.

The Conservative Nutritionist will also promote the cause of true science. No longer should we look to so called experts claiming superior knowledge based only on their PhD. Science has unfortunately become the strivings of the academic world to make credible their own bias rather than to seek and verify the truth. How often have conservative minded people been panned by the elitists for ignoring the obvious as presented by science? The truth is that the left have been the ones guilty of this ignoring even their own findings that disprove what they believe. This is observed nowhere more vividly than in the arena of food and nutrition.

The Conservative Nutritionist will assist you in threading together the right principles of nutrition and health with the precious liberties afforded us in the still great country. For far too long we have been led to believe that what we ate and how we lived were wrong and leading to our demise. Therefore what you read may be difficult to swallow at first. Certainly though we must exercise the time honored tenet of moderation when it comes to what and how we eat. By the same token we should not allow any left leaning control freak government agent to make decisions for us.

If our Constitution guarantees that we can speak freely, worship, carry a gun and vote then does it not assure the right to eat how we choose? The same can do attitude that forged this land and set it on the path to being the greatest single nation ever established in history can be won back with the same spirit. The Conservative Nutritionist will play a part in that effort.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I am what I am

“I am what I am and that’s all that I am” –Popeye the Sailor man
This quote from one of the most endearing characters in America History tells us a lot about ourselves. This sentiment reflects the rugged individualism that defines us as Americans. What it says is what you see is what you get like it or leave it.

Having been a fan of the spinach eating sailor since I was little I always appreciated that streak of independence. Lately it strikes me that we may need to rekindle that spirit of his “I am what I am” mantra and even apply it in other areas of life. For example instead of listening to every Tom, Dick and Harry with a lab coat tell us what our BMI should be and what our ideal weight ideally is why not decide I am what I am.

Working inside the beast called healthcare I very often see the frustration of those who feel that what the doctor says is just out of reach. Too often this frustration coupled with guilt for even looking at something sweet or fried leads to more guilt and poor self image. After the persistent message is that overweight and obese people simply lack the self control and will power to get healthy? Maybe the doughnut is in the other hand so to speak.

Rather than always lambaste the unwashed masses for their supposed inability to get with the program why not scrutinize the program for its relation to reality. In his book The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to your Health author Paul Campos exposes the “witch-hunt masquerading as a public health initiative”. In the book he points out how those with the reins of power in public health have “distorted available evidence” and “severely exaggerated” the risk association between weight and health.

What Mr. Campos, a lawyer by trade, has stumbled upon I have seen and written about for years. People come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are big and some are small, some are short and others are tall. To try and force everyone in the country into a one size fits all health model is ludicrous. Not only is it a bad idea is it is a serious waste of taxpayer money as untold millions are spent annually to help us get fit and healthy with no observable benefit.

So on your next visit to the doctor and they give that mindless line “you would be a lot healthier if you just lost 10 pounds” be prepared to say “I am what I am and that’s all that I am. Do not allow anyone to push a line of guilt on you. Remember that most of us with a little extra around the middle are just as healthy and fit as everyone else. Do not be defined by the size of your pants or the number on the scale be happy with who you naturally are!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

If you can't beat'em demonize'em

If you can’t beat em’ demonize em
Perhaps it is only urban legend but I have heard that Coca Cola executives believe if they were to suspend advertising for one week the company would go out of business. True or not this statement alludes to the power of advertising. To get a product in front of a mass audience and entice them to follow through to make a purchase is as much art as science and to be sure it is big business.

Coca Cola has had some great jingles through the years. Just a few bars of “I’d like to teach the world to sing” from the early seventies and instantly Coke comes to mind. That ad and countless others like it speak to the power of advertising. It is no wonder that companies pour billions into marketing their products. To most the art and science of advertising is a natural exercise in capitalism. Since companies exist to make profits this makes sense. However many in public health consider this to be a weapon of mass destruction wielded by the enemy.

No doubt most in public health from dietitians to doctors have the best of intentions. At heart their advice is aimed at helping others be as healthy as possible. While I have no issue with their goals their methods to reach those goals often leave me scratching my head. When those methods are scrutinized and described the left leaning stripes of the public health establishment are revealed. According to what I read from a considerable number in public health it isn’t enough to peacefully coexist with big food companies in the marketplace of ideas. Rather than compete the public health establishment often seems to want to demonize and destroy big unhealthy food producing companies.

One example often cited by those in public health is breakfast cereal. They insist that cereal makers such as Kellogg and Post because of their deep advertising pockets have an unfair advantage. This advantage they claim is used to push unhealthy sugar laden cereals on children packaged in colorful boxes with cartoon characters. Furthermore they rant grocery stores are complicit in the conspiracy because the colorful unhealthy cereal boxes are placed on lower shelves in plain view of the unsuspecting, uneducated children. Their conclusion is children void of the high and lofty knowledge of what they really need to be healthy nag their parent into buying the unhealthy breakfast cereal. So the mean old food companies with those deep pockets lure children in and get them hooked on an unhealthy diet from a young age and that per the public health elitists is the wrong.

So rather than allow free people to make choices public healthists look to the government to level the playing field through higher taxes on unhealthy foods, laws restricting certain foods served in schools and out right banning some foods they just don’t like. In other words since public funds to promote healthy diets is dwarfed by the likes of well financed Kellogg and Coca Cola they resort to using the talons of government regulation to make things fair. In a country founded on the principle of freedom this is what is unfair.

The same mindset and tactic is used against Coca Cola, Pepsi and any other soft drink maker or food producer the public health types deem unhealthy. With their tax, ban and regulate mentality they seek to bring down these giants of industry on the basis that they because of their success wage an unfair war. In truth those who see themselves doing the pure work of protecting public health couldn’t compete on the same playing field as these companies. The reason is simply that they don’t know the rules.

We the public when faced with making a food or beverage choice make that choice based on how food tastes. Though there are exceptions taste is the main reason we choose one food over another. Issues of healthy choice have an influence but the way a food tastes is the determining factor. Public health types want to pretend that all food choices should be made on the basis of health. If a food is too high in fat or sugar or cholesterol we should nobly omit it as a choice. It is not that simple.

What we do as a free people is influenced by attitudes and values. If one appreciates the taste of a plate of French fries and eating them will not contradict their values then that person will have no qualms about enjoying every last fry. What the public health establishment seeks to do is impose their attitudes and values on the rest of us from their high moral health perch. Yet when we talk about other moral issues we are told “you can’t legislate morality”. I guess what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

Moreover health is a deeply personal decision. Some value it highly while others are content to let the potato chips fall where they may. Given as a truth some drink sugar laden sodas while others do not. Some parents give their children sugary breakfast cereal and others do not. Who can dictate what is right or wrong on such personal matters.

At the end of the day big food and drink companies can spend all they want on advertising but the decision to purchase their product is ours to make. The encouragement to eat healthy from those in public health is also a message we can take to heart or ignore. What we eat and how healthy we are and will be is up to you and me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Confidence Lost

Two years ago I purchased a laptop from a leading computer retailer in the country. I had purchased a computer from this company before that functioned very well so I had a high level of confidence with this one. Since the day I first took that laptop out of the box I have had nothing but problems with it. In fact there I have had to call the company five times in the last two years to have the machine repaired.

Having paid the full asking price for the lemon laptop up front and calling customer service too many times for service I decided to take a different tact. This time instead of requesting another service call I politely and sternly asked that they provide me with a new laptop and take the piece of junk off of my hands. Thankfully this computer retailer decided to see things my way and provide me with a new laptop. Hopefully this one will work properly.

The last thing I said to the customer service representative of this major computer retailer is how much I had lost confidence in their products and their willingness to stand behind them until the problem was resolved. Similarly I have lost confidence in much of what is called science in the arena of health and nutrition as well. Like the aforementioned computer company I hear fat promises but see thin results.

Almost daily scientific studies are published touting the latest findings that will guide us toward better health. Yet my confidence wanes because many of these studies are seemingly contradictory. One set of findings promotes the benefits of eating a low fat diet while the next study off the press finds that a high protein diet is more beneficial. One group of scientists encourages less sugar intake while others find no association between sugar intakes an ill health. Stop the insanity already.

Trying to digest all of these conflicting studies can cause a severe case of mental indigestion. Which ones are right and how would we really even know. Can it not be that someone rises above all of this biological back and forth to provide us a clear set of useful guidelines? Or should it be the case that we simply ignore what the scientific community “finds” and go our own way?

A prime example or the scientific malpractice is the theory that eating fat especially saturated fat causes heart disease. First postulated by the famed Ancel Keys as a result of his seven countries study in the middle part of the last century the diet heart idea has been at the foundation of nutritional science ever since. The problem is that the link between fat and heart disease has never been clearly established and his findings never replicated.

Moreover what has been revealed about the Keys findings is that the seven countries that appeared in the final report of his research were those that supported his hypothesis and the rest of the data was discarded. Therefore is what has stood for solid science over the last seventy years is built on one mans bias then is it any wonder why I and others have lost confidence in science?

Another scientific stronghold over the last century is that being thin is on par with having a high level of health. To think otherwise in some circles can really get you in trouble. Yet time and time again this theory had been shown to be false. In fact those who are heavier tend to have a better level of health and lower mortality rates than those who are thin. This is another reason to question our confidence level in science.

So what should we do? Can I eat whatever I want? Yes. Should I get plenty of physical activity? Sure. Is it a good idea not to over do it at the dinner table, of course? Trying to jump all of the hurdles of science is nearly impossible because once you nail one idea down and put it into practice something else comes along to take its place. Here are two rules I have come to depend on when it comes to nutrition, health and science.

First question everything. We used to be quite adept at scrutinizing authority so that we were certain that the information we were getting was right and then we became grown ups. I am convinced that we should never lose that willingness to ask why and how. Otherwise we are destined to buy in to things and believe things that are just not the truth. The second rule is equally important trust yourself.

We must be willing to trust our own good common sense when it comes to matters of our own health. As the saying goes if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. If a news headline promises the world just keep in mind it probably cannot make the delivery. You know yourself better than anyone on earth so listen. If you are full then stop eating. If you are eating too many hamburgers then choose something else once in a while. If you are a couch potato then mix it up a little.

The truth is science can only tell us so much. Furthermore scientists carry bias that influence how and what they find. To rely on the white coats for all of the answers is not in keeping with the old can do American spirit. Finally don’t let them make you worry because the wisest of all once said who can add to his stature by doing that. And that should give you lots of confidence.