There were no Paleolithic burgers, or pepperoni.
March 20, 2018 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Food journalist Mark Bittman and Dr. David L. Katz, founder of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, sit down with Grub Street for a lengthy, exhaustive, no-"wellness"-nonsense interview about diet and nutrition.
posted by cichlid ceilidh (84 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
 
Our forebears are thought to have eaten lots of insects, too. (Few people espousing the virtues of “Paleo” seem inclined to try that out.)
I found this bit unexpectedly satisfying to read, despite not having been particularly affected by, say, Paleo diet proselytizers.
posted by inconstant at 11:18 AM on March 20, 2018 [25 favorites]


I'm still holding out hope for inexpensive sources of cricket flour, dammit. I would eat the shit out of cricket muffins or cricket cookies--protein does tend to be the macronutrient I am most likely to forget about when I'm not doing great on keeping my mealtimes together, and that'd be a better way to supplement that in my diet.

Plus it really does taste good. Cricket flour chocolate chip cookies are next level, especially if you put some browned butter in 'em. Mmmmm.
posted by sciatrix at 11:23 AM on March 20, 2018 [24 favorites]


This is exactly the palate cleanser I needed after reading about David Avocado Wolfe.
posted by minervous at 11:32 AM on March 20, 2018 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I read this with delight the other day when I ran across it in the non-Metafilter wilds. Bring on the beans!
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:36 AM on March 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


TL;DR. Where is the #1 question: how can someone without a lot of money or time make healthy, affordable food for a family? I mean, I actually have some money to throw at it, but it's a DAILY struggle to fit in the time to cook healthy meals for my 1-child family. What is all this faff about Paleo etc, when my kid only eats mac & cheese and I have 25 minutes TOPS to fix dinner?
posted by yarly at 11:38 AM on March 20, 2018 [22 favorites]


I'm still holding out hope for inexpensive sources of cricket flour, dammit. I would eat the shit out of cricket muffins or cricket cookies--protein does tend to be the macronutrient I am most likely to forget about when I'm not doing great on keeping my mealtimes together, and that'd be a better way to supplement that in my diet.

I was surprised as anyone that Loblaw's here in Canada has cricket flour available on your regular grocery shelves.
posted by Kitteh at 11:38 AM on March 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


how can someone without a lot of money or time make healthy, affordable food for a family [...] when my kid only eats mac & cheese and I have 25 minutes TOPS to fix dinner?

My kid is not your kid (and my kid doesn't, honestly, eat as well as I'd like), but: canned beans are cheap and can be turned, very quickly, into healthy-ish things my kid does eat. Garbanzos, cannellini, black beans, kidney beans. Over rice, in a soup with vegetables and a little pasta, mushed up inside a corn tortilla. I'd like to replace the grains with "better" grains, but ... kids are picky, farro is expensive, and I will not abide non-pasta-pasta.

We're in the midst of a long kitchen renovation, and it's killing me right now that I can't cook. We're running out of decent stuff that we've socked away in the freezer and I feel like I haven't had a fresh vegetable in a month. I am going to bake like 15 loaves of bread and make so many pots of beans as soon as I'm able. (And eat more whole grains. Possibly.)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:54 AM on March 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


I was with them until they poopooed GMOs... GMOs require less Roundup than non GMO. "Useless at best and harmful at worst"? [citation needed].
posted by Grither at 12:02 PM on March 20, 2018 [24 favorites]


I read this the other day, and it was a great follow up read after some friends had mentioned the "Whole 30" plan. I feel like this piece validates some of my skepticism of the Whole 30 plan - it may be a useful experiment for some people, especially those with known dietary-based illness or issues, but I find it odd that Whole 30 seems very down on legumes, dairy, and grains, all of which are present in the diets studied in "blue zones" (regions with high populations of centenarians and low incidence of cancer and heart disease.)
posted by dnash at 12:03 PM on March 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


There is abundant evidence of disease-reversal with diets of whole, minimally processed food; plant-predominant diets; and even plant-exclusive diets.

Source please.

I want to lose weight. Is diet really more important than exercise?

Yes. It is much easier to outeat running than to outrun all of the tempting calories that modern marketing encourages us to cram in. Both diet and exercise are important to health, and exercise is important in weight maintenance. But to lose weight, the preferential focus needs to be on controlling calories in, more than calories out.


Diets don't work.
Long term weight loss is almost impossible.
Fitness matters more than weight
Losing weight doesn't make you healthier
Plus a whole bunch more links here
posted by twilightlost at 12:07 PM on March 20, 2018 [33 favorites]




I loved this overall, but also sighed at the GMO bit. "“GMOs” are mostly present in junk food, which you want to avoid anyway." Golden rice is the most famous example of a GMO food that I can think of.
posted by tofu_crouton at 12:21 PM on March 20, 2018 [8 favorites]


I really like Bittman and this whole piece basically describes my diet to a t. But...I didn‘t care for the snide/mansplainy tone, at all. ‚It‘s really very simple if you only rationally look at the science!‘ - no, it‘s not.

We live in a culture that makes it HARD to eat a sane, simple, diet. People look for short cuts and start ‚weird‘ diets not because they‘re dumb, but because...they don‘t have time to cook from scratch, their kids or partners are picky, they have legitimate health issues that are not being taken seriously by healthcare providers. (Eg I did a super weird keto diet years back and it worked to overcome some health issues I had.) I‘m sure there are other reasons as well.

Oh, and, a lot of the ‚sane‘ advice out there is bullshit as well if you really look into it (like all this stuff about the evils of processed food...).

OK, I‘m gonna eat my virtuous beans, brown rice and veggies lunch now...
posted by The Toad at 12:22 PM on March 20, 2018 [23 favorites]


Golden rice is the most famous example of a GMO food that I can think of.

You think of golden rice because that's what Monsanto's marketing department wants you to think of. The most common GMOs are soy and corn.
posted by frogmanjack at 12:24 PM on March 20, 2018 [28 favorites]


TL;DR. Where is the #1 question: how can someone without a lot of money or time make healthy, affordable food for a family? I mean, I actually have some money to throw at it, but it's a DAILY struggle to fit in the time to cook healthy meals for my 1-child family. What is all this faff about Paleo etc, when my kid only eats mac & cheese and I have 25 minutes TOPS to fix dinner?

One of my best methods when my kids were younger- I would make two meals at once. The clean up and kitchen time remains the same and then I have some make-ahead food for the next day, or a day that is busier.
posted by complaina at 12:32 PM on March 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


I love this:

What about intermittent fasting? Is that actually effective for better gut health and energy levels?
It’s “effective” relative to doing nothing.

This is totally the reason everybody becomes evangelical about why their new diet solution is the best (or only) solution: because before, they were doing nothing. When you go from eating cheeseburgers and pie whenever you feel like it to making an effort - some sort of effort, any sort of effort - of course there will very likely be some sort of positive effect.
posted by something something at 12:51 PM on March 20, 2018 [19 favorites]


I've had the best luck in eating well, both while feeding a child and by myself, by making a large batch of something on the weekend when I have more time. Things like soup, stew, beans, pasta sauce, roasted veggies, beef or pork roast, crockpot meal, etc. Then I package a few individual servings to throw in the fridge and freeze the rest in medium-small or small containers of 1-4 servings each. Heck, now that I live alone roasting a single (whole) chicken gives me enough of it to last through multiple meals. I can defrost those servings during the week, maybe cook up a quick bit of rice or pasta or steam some fresh veggies, and have a quick but healthy meal ready in about the same amount of time as it would take to make a less healthy one.

Of course that implies that I have the necessary cooking skills, and time on the weekend to do it. But even if it's not something one can do all the time, it might be a useful technique on occasion along with other approaches.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:52 PM on March 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


frogman You think of golden rice because that's what Monsanto's marketing department wants you to think of. The most common GMOs are soy and corn.

So? What's so bad about GMO soy and corn? And golden rice is an awesome idea that should have saved countless lives.

Genetically engineered foods are no different, fundamentally, than the millennia of "organic" food we eat that was created using selective breeding and cross-pollination. If you eat corn on the cob, even non-GMO, organic corn, you're eating a genetically modified crop, just one that got there the long way around. Just like just about everything that's grown, cultivated, and stuffed down your maw. The history of agriculture is humans slowly modifying the things we like to eat to increase yields or make them hardier. We can just do it faster now.

That said. Monsanto is an evil company. But just because Monsanto is evil doesn't mean genetically modified food is evil by association.
posted by SansPoint at 12:57 PM on March 20, 2018 [31 favorites]


Also, I have to admit that my child was never terribly picky. There were a very few specific things he flat-out refused to eat, which were pretty easy to work around. And if I was in the mood for zucchini one evening, I also made some broccoli for him and we were both happy.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:58 PM on March 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, "Paleolithic Bacon" is the name of my new band.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:02 PM on March 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


I LOLed at this.

Not everything that causes weight loss or apparent metabolic improvement in the short term is a good idea. Cholera, for instance, causes weight, blood sugar, and blood lipids to come down — that doesn’t mean you want it!
posted by COD at 1:04 PM on March 20, 2018 [16 favorites]


SansPoint: I was responding to a comment disputing the article's assertion that most GMOs are found in junk food. Most soy and corn ends up in junk food (or animal feed).

I don't dispute that golden rice is an awesome idea. I do find that there is a lot of people that point to it in order to claim that GMOs are great, and don't acknowledge that it's a drop in the sea of GMOs. Some GMOs are good and some are bad. Our conversations about them should be honest.
posted by frogmanjack at 1:10 PM on March 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


frogmanjack: What are the bad GMOs? "Roundup Ready" GMO crops are bad in a business model sense, because they tie farmers to Monsanto's shitty business practices, but the idea of a crop that's resistant to pesticides is a good one.
posted by SansPoint at 1:14 PM on March 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think you answered your own question.
posted by frogmanjack at 1:17 PM on March 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


"Round-up" ready grains promote the use of "round-up" which, as is argued in the article increases the glyphosate residues in food. Glyphosate exposure has significant adverse health outcomes, including, very likely cancers.

Thus, the argument goes, GMO "round-up ready" organisms increase consumer exposure to glyphosate as a result of the recommended farming practices for these organisms, and so is a net reduction to human health.

It's less that GMOs in this instance are bad, it's that they promote farming practices that harm people.
posted by bonehead at 1:21 PM on March 20, 2018 [27 favorites]


About one percent of people have celiac disease, and perhaps 10 percent have lesser forms of sensitivity, which may be related to other factors, like a disrupted microbiome.

This one was my "pump the air" moment. The reason everyone thinks they have gluten intolerance is because problems with gut flora can make it harder to digest gluten, and PROBLEMS WITH GUT FLORA OVERWHELMINGLY AFFECT WOMEN. This is why things are so fucked up with nutrition in the US--we subsume women's real, actual health needs into the predatory diet-industrial complex. See a GI specialist, take probiotics, take care of your little bacteria friends!
posted by capricorn at 1:29 PM on March 20, 2018 [28 favorites]


bonehead: Fine. But that's not a problem with GMOs, that's a problem with farming practices.
posted by SansPoint at 1:39 PM on March 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


Technically correct, but, given that's how that GMO is intended to be used, for all practical purposes this particular GMO is bad. I'd say in practice incorrect. It's not practical or useful to separate product from production in the food safety sense, in this case.
posted by bonehead at 1:42 PM on March 20, 2018 [8 favorites]


10 percent have lesser forms of sensitivity

So...this means that when you have friends over, having a playdate for your kids or throwing a potluck, there‘ll always be someone you need to accommodate. It‘s not insane or going overboard for people to be buying gluten-free stuff or looking at gluten free baking books if more than 1 out of 10 people have a real sensitivity.

It‘s basically like making sure there‘s a meat-free option for vegetarians (which I think is just a normal, polite thing to do now, right?).

Yeah, not everyone is celiac, and there might be another underlying issue altogether, but this certainly beats times past where people with intolerances were just told to suck it up and deal with it...
posted by The Toad at 1:52 PM on March 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


Focus on foods, not nutrients. A diet may be higher or lower in total fat, or total carbohydrate, or total protein, and still be optimal. But a diet cannot be optimal if it is not made up mostly of some balanced combination of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and water. If you get the foods right, the nutrients sort themselves out.

this is pretty much the diet lifestyle that the family of my ex-girlfriend, who were upper-middle class white and suburban, followed. no snacks but the kind that people gift to you or that you made yourself, basically

they also spent 1-5 hours a day cooking or prepping, had plenty of space in their large refrigerator, had a whole assortment of those 'buy quality, it lasts longer' kind of kitchen appliances, a whole host of classic and well revered cookbooks, and professional degrees in their fields, both of which were in the medical profession, along with plenty of disposable time

my mom spent 10 hours a day managing a restaurant for low pay and then the rest of her free time cooking and cleaning in our extremely patriarchal family unit. we were poor but we weren't poverty-line. so we ate well sometimes but sometimes, when both of my parents worked late, it was me, local TV, and one of those 99 cent Meijer frozen chili macs for dinner, the ones with a very long list of ingredients and sodium and preservatives

here's the thing about good diet and health: it needs consistency and it needs built-in cushions for mistakes/emergencies/etc. here's the thing about surviving when you have a low socioeconomic status: consistency is extremely rare and you have zero cushions so a failure state is starvation. so you don't risk buying fresh foods that don't last or foods that aren't zero-effort

that cushion that my ex's family had in being able to reschedule or to go out and eat or that they had stored in their enormous fridge or in their sizeable pantries? those hundreds of easily accessible, 30-minutes-or-less recipes? their ability to buy whatever produce and meats at the nice market that they could drive to? that was on their way back home from work? the consistency of their work lives to do as such? that someone would take that lifestyle and then disdain low-SES folks who can't afford that lifestyle, who may not have had the disposable time they had to even read all these conflicting guides on health, that shit is infuriating

with articles like these, they should openly declare at the beginning that this is specifically for a middle-class audience, please don't read this if you're struggling because it'll just make you feel so much fucking worse for not being able to achieve a basic level of this professed dietary decency. sure, maybe some folks can manage this burden even with their struggles - but extrapolate this advice into a large population of people, many of whom will fail to meet their 'simple' standards and it's tonedeaf at best, exuberantly condescending at worst
posted by runt at 2:00 PM on March 20, 2018 [56 favorites]


take probiotics

Sorry, another lie people have been sold. There is some preliminary scientific evidence in favor of some possibly being useful in a handful of disorders, but mostly these claims are unsubstantiated. This is really one of those great credulous leaps people make from "potential insight" (gut health may be considerably more significant than previously understood) to "BS products meant to play on people's vague awareness of said insight without any actual evidence that they do any good." There's a reason why it takes a long time for research to make it from the bench to the bedside--it just ain't that easy.

There is a very simple test that will allow you to avoid most of the fringe scams in nutrition: if the ads tell you it "supports" any kind of health or generalized "wellness," or if they have "not recommended for treatment of any medical condition" or similar language in the fine print, they are lying and it doesn't do jack shit (that's desirable, anyway). They are using that language because they are evading FDA requirements for substantiation of claims regarding treatment of illness. If they had real proof that it did anybody any good, believe me, it'd be in the ads.

This does not clear up the broader and very real problems of our nutritional authorities being unable to decide which macronutrient is the evil one, etc., but at least it will save you from dumping your money down the toilet.
posted by praemunire at 2:15 PM on March 20, 2018 [14 favorites]


"with articles like these, they should openly declare at the beginning that this is specifically for a middle-class audience,"

It's in Grubstreet. They literally published this article on a website targeted at middle-class (and wealthier) people. Should they have a popup before you can read where you agree that you understand that this doesn't apply to you if you don't have the disposable income each month to burn on spoiled food or dinner out when you screw up a meal?

I don't disagree with the crux of your point, but that isn't the problem they are addressing in this article. They are addressing people like me, who can afford to eat well, but still serves corn dogs and fries for dinner because corn dogs and fries are damn tasty.
posted by COD at 2:19 PM on March 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


I agree runt, and I agree that's a problem with Mark Bittman. This particular article, however, seems to be aimed at primarily mocking fad diets which are even more expensive and harder to sustain than the "cook every meal but make it basic food" ethos that he espouses.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:19 PM on March 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


Probiotics are really only useful if you have a condition or are on a medication that destroys your existing gut flora. Like taking them during an antibiotic course or after is good and recommended by a lot of doctors. Or in my case my lactose intolerance causes some troubles with my gut so taking a pill in the morning everyday has really helped my ability to not have random whey induced bathroom troubles. But yeah- if they aren’t recommended to you by a doc for a specific problem? You’re wasting your money.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:20 PM on March 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


But I like kimchi though.
posted by FJT at 2:32 PM on March 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


Should they have a popup before you can read where you agree that you understand that this doesn't apply to you if you don't have the disposable income each month to burn on spoiled food or dinner out when you screw up a meal?

no, rather they should stop being so narrowly elitist and consider asking a few questions which may pertain to people who can't afford the lifestyle

such as a single question of 'how do I accomplish this if I'm short on time and money' instead of 30 jaunty questions about GMOs that, as it is noted in thread, missed an important point anyway
posted by runt at 2:32 PM on March 20, 2018 [8 favorites]


So? What's so bad about GMO soy and corn

One GMO type is Bt corn. Bt was approved for use by organic farmers and meant to be used only when necessary. By having it always present insect species develop tolerance which eliminates an important, safe method of control for organic farmers.
GMOs should be examined individually because they have different unintended consequences.
posted by Botanizer at 2:56 PM on March 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


how do I accomplish this if I'm short on time and money

One thing I've discovered recently is that you can roast frozen vegetables straight from the freezer. No prep besides opening a bag, tossing the broccoli or Brussels sprouts or whatever with a little oil, laying 'em on a sheet pan, and popping the pan in the oven. No expense beyond ~$1.75 per pound of vegetables and a few cents for the oil and gas/electricity. When I want a change, I can always steam the frozen vegetables (sometimes in their original bag) or waltz them around in a wok or a skillet.

Finally figuring this out has made a huge difference in the amount of plants I eat, getting me much closer to the recommended 800 grams per day. I can't deny that fresh produce will always taste better than the frozen equivalent, but it won't keep as long and requires some skill, time, and manual dexterity for the preparation; depending on where you live, it may not compete on price, either. If you want to eat more vegetables in less time, I recommend the freezer aisle.
posted by Iridic at 3:00 PM on March 20, 2018 [35 favorites]


runt, I agree that would be a great article but I don't think it's this one.

In any case here's a helpful tip maybe more along the lines you're talking about: Frozen pre-cut veggies are a life-saver when I'm feeling too lazy to deal with fresh ones. And they're pretty cheap too.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:01 PM on March 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Given the prevalence of heart disease associated with poor diets in the U.S., we say bring on the beans!

Beans are good for the heart!
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:09 PM on March 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


TL;DR. Where is the #1 question: how can someone without a lot of money or time make healthy, affordable food for a family? I mean, I actually have some money to throw at it, but it's a DAILY struggle to fit in the time to cook healthy meals for my 1-child family. What is all this faff about Paleo etc, when my kid only eats mac & cheese and I have 25 minutes TOPS to fix dinner?
posted by yarly at 11:38 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]


You could follow meal planning sites or randomly browse food blogs hoping to find something good.. or you can cheat: my partner is not quite as good about coming up with meal plans so we use this trick when planning our weekly grocery store run.

Go to blueapron's website, click "what's on the menu", click "family plan" copy a couple recipes. They are an excellent starting point for easy to prepare meals that are kid-friendly. Look for the '30 minute meal' tag. The meals are scaled for two adults and two children. I tend to go up on scale by %50 to have plenty of leftovers.
You'll notice they often use a very effective technique for sneaking greens into a diet: cook chopped up kale into the sauce.

If you are missing some of the unusual ingredients like white wine vinegar, just leave it out.
If they want you to cut up potatoes by hand to make fries, just buy a bag of oven bake fries.
If they want you to make a fancy sauce, just mix some mayo a little (dijon if you have it) mustard and a little garlic. (buy the big jars of pre-minced garlic) This simple sauce works great on almost anything.

I in no way endorse using blueapron's meal delivery service; it's overpriced and the servings are too small. But having a clear shopping list and easy to follow recipe is super useful.

Edit: When I got involved in my partner's life enough that I was cooking meals for kiddos, they were pretty ruined by their biological dad's lack of cooking skill. They only ever wanted mac and cheese, plain ramen or cheese pizza. After a couple years they are scarfing down hot sausage bake with onion and peppers. Chicken coconut curry. Steak with greens and sauce. All of these meals are less than 30 minutes and clean up easily. If you want the recipe , just message me.

also: invest in a rice cooker ($30) and a big ol' bag of basmati rice.
posted by kzin602 at 3:22 PM on March 20, 2018 [10 favorites]


Every time someone posts an article about sound food habits, someone will pop in to point out that it is classist. While I do agree that a lot of poor people don't have the skills required to eat well on no money, it's simply not true that it isn't possible. Back when I was very young, my local bodega owner held classes for the people on welfare to teach them to get the most out of what they had — a real people's hero. I worked at another grocery store and learnt there to use vegetables in season and on sale which ended up being a life saver when I later became a single mother on welfare, or later on under-payed jobs. Also, I taught my kids to cook on a budget from the day they could hold a knife.
I wish there were more people like that bodega owner, or my bosses at the grocery. And home economy classes should address this systematically. Even people who have OK incomes could advantage from learning how to cook healthy and economical meals with little effort.
I live in one of the poorest areas in my country, and most of the people here cook their own food from scratch. They are not all healthy, because a lot of people eat/drink too much sugar and never exercise. But most people eat very much as Bittman recommends, even though they have never heard of him. Grains, pulses, vegs and then meat and fish as luxuries.

One of my friends, who was born in India, had advice about the picky children: just serve them the same as the rest of the family. No child has ever starved to death at a family table. My own youngest was picky for a (long) while, but listening to my friend's advice, we just ignored it. She just sat in her chair and was offered whatever was on the table, but nothing else. Mostly, she ate crackers with butter and drank apple juice. And one day she just grabbed some real food and ate it. Since then she's been an omnivore. But yes, I was worried and scared till that day happened.
posted by mumimor at 3:28 PM on March 20, 2018 [31 favorites]


I love Bittman's quick recipes and they have made my life slightly but appreciably easier. But I avoided him for years because of sanctimonious tripe like this. Although he's a lot better than Michael Pollan, who leaves the recipes to the women.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 3:49 PM on March 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


Since we’re already talking about farts: I’m all for eating foods like whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, but they sometimes — okay, often — make me gassy and bloated. That doesn’t happen when I eat “less healthy” foods.

This could be a food allergy or sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome, or a problem with your microbiome. All of these can be addressed, but you need a clear diagnosis first. So this is an issue you should take to a doctor who can evaluate you, specifically. You should be able to have a healthful diet, and alleviate these symptoms, too.
The enzyme in Beano (mentioned elsewhere in the article) can tackle some of the indigestible sugars in cruciferous vegetables as well as those found in beans. A pill of Beano (or one of its generic equivalents) taken at mealtime might help if you don't think you have an allergy and your doctor replies to your concerns with a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
posted by Iridic at 4:01 PM on March 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Golden rice is the most famous example of a GMO food that I can think of.

You think of golden rice because that's what Monsanto's marketing department wants you to think of. The most common GMOs are soy and corn.


The most famous is not the same as most common.

I don't dispute that golden rice is an awesome idea. I do find that there is a lot of people that point to it in order to claim that GMOs are great, and don't acknowledge that it's a drop in the sea of GMOs. Some GMOs are good and some are bad. Our conversations about them should be honest.

There hasn't been much evidence presented here that some GMOs are bad.

"Round-up" ready grains promote the use of "round-up" which, as is argued in the article increases the glyphosate residues in food. Glyphosate exposure has significant adverse health outcomes, including, very likely cancers.

Thus, the argument goes, GMO "round-up ready" organisms increase consumer exposure to glyphosate as a result of the recommended farming practices for these organisms, and so is a net reduction to human health.

It's less that GMOs in this instance are bad, it's that they promote farming practices that harm people.


In the interest of keeping the conversation honest, the evidence that glyphosate is a significant health risk or promotes bad farming practice seems to be weak, and mostly promoted by people with an axe to grind about GMOs and/or Monsanto. In some circles, it's been a moving goalpost as GMOs have become increasingly common. "Icky frankenfood" simply doesn't have the scare factor it once had, so the arguments have shifted to glyphosate, because it's a chemical sprayed on our food, and Monsanto, because we all know they're evil, right? And farmers who are too dumb to figure out that all these modern farming practices are terrible and will lead to ruin.

I find, if anything, glyphosate appears to be surprisingly benign considering what it does.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:10 PM on March 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


I find, if anything, glyphosate appears to be surprisingly benign considering what it does.

This doesn't seem to be the opinion in the EU? I'm not very involved with this because our family farm is in an area where glyphosate is completely outlawed because of ground water contamination risks. So I really don't know. However, I do know that a huge problem with GMO crops is that they are basically sterile. In areas where they are used, there are no weeds, no insects and thus no birds, and as yet, we don't really know the consequences of having these huge sterile areas of land. This is not an issue in Europe directly, since GMO is not permitted, but we all follow the news in agricultural journals.
Even though our farm is in an area where glyphosate is outlawed, and almost all farmers in our area focus on organically raised livestock because it is the only sustainable option, we still struggle to re-establish the bio-diversity that was lost during some 30 years of pesticide and fertilizer-driven farming, from the fifties and onward. And we have far more bio-diversity than farther south, were regulations aren't as strict.
Some years ago, I actually had a brown bee colony in my chimney which was amazing but also not very practical, and a bee-keeper came and took them away. But everyone in our area experiences that it is totally unpredictable wether our fruit trees bear fruit or not, because no one can guess wether there are bees apart from the "tame" ones.
posted by mumimor at 4:31 PM on March 20, 2018 [11 favorites]


I think this article is doing a disservice to healthy eating, by swatting away real questions about competing diets, and offering oversimplified answers in favor of its own favorite diet. I was surprised to see how dismissive it was of keto. Low-carbohydrate diets have typically fared as well as Mediterranean-style diets in studies. They certainly don't seem to be dangerous, so what was the point of the cholera joke? Intermittent fasting is pretty well-studied at this point as well, and seems to have more merit than "better than nothing." Why turn people away from something that might work for them, without being more specific as to the reasons? Why use dismissive language to add to the huge moral burden many of us feel about the way we eat?

If you're trying to eat better, and you don't have a lot of time and attention, what's going to work for you is the diet that psychologically clicks. The thing you can remember when you're at the store or at the restaurant, the thing that helps you make choices that don't stress you out or bankrupt you. I've been doing keto for a few months now. I have no idea if any of the great magical-cure claims made for it have any merit, but I do know it's easy. Rather than trying to calculate which carbohydrate is refined and which is whole-grain and all that, I just limit them. Remove that one choice, and the rest are much simpler, without having to exert willpower or fire up an app. (Unless you like using a nutrition app! If it works for you, go for it!)
posted by mittens at 4:48 PM on March 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


Fitness matters more than weight

Or maybe not, again?

(study does not necessarily contradict the other points about whether dieting actually works)
posted by atoxyl at 4:56 PM on March 20, 2018


Every time someone posts an article about sound food habits, someone will pop in to point out that it is classist

and everytime it's pointed out, there's always some Slate-esque contrarian comment reliant on anecdata that exists to salve the conscience of the apathetic privileged, as if it weren't already deeply codified in the public health literature that low socioeconomic status produces much worse health outcomes

as if there weren't entire arms of activism dedicated specifically to eliminating systemic causes of poor diets like food deserts or by increasing SNAP benefits or starting community gardening efforts or so on and so on

the only thing worse than actual ignorance about this, which deserves at least a kind reprimand, is willful ignorance on the issue
posted by runt at 5:02 PM on March 20, 2018 [11 favorites]


As I wrote above, I live in the very poorest area of my entire country, and just about everyone is following a Bittman'esque diet. The US is not the world, and thus there are experiences in the world that the US could benefit from.

Here in the outside of the US world, there are still bad health outcomes in minority cultures and those who live below average income. But there are other reasons for those bad outcomes.
posted by mumimor at 5:11 PM on March 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


and what experiences are those? can you replicate them everywhere? why is it that folks with lower SES 'eat more sugar' in your area?

and of course there are other determinants of health outcomes but it's maybe not a lot to ask that a post about diet focus on the diet component of the equation
posted by runt at 5:17 PM on March 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


Most people in my area are immigrants from Africa or the Middle East, and most of the stores here cater to their needs, as do most of the restaurants. Chain stores do the same. When I first moved here, 20+ years ago, the chain stores still serviced majority culture, but over the years they have learnt that their competitors are those local bodegas, not the malls.
Since I live in a socialist culture where literally everything is recorded, there are statistics that show the diets of everyone. But because we also have huge citizen protections, it'll be a while before I can give you the links. I am not a healthcare worker, but I am a social worker, and I have access to data that is not yet published. You don't have to trust me, but you can.
A big issue is that local stores import soda from eastern Europe, in huge containers, and almost only sell them to immigrant families.
One of the local projects I've been involved in is local women cooking together — and also growing vegs and herbs together. That way we got a really fine insight into their food habits. It's not really a huge surprise if you are interested in Middle Eastern and African cooking, but to cut a long story short, it is food, based on produce, mostly grains, greens and legumes, and occasionally meat or fish. Since I live here, it's easy to read the pattern: there are very few butchers, and only one (bad) fishmonger, and a ton of greengrocers. You can buy pulses for almost nothing, and vegetables are cheaper than in any other part of town.

I have lived in the US, and I experienced the same. I went to an area dominated by immigrants and found the foods I needed at much lower prices and better quality.
posted by mumimor at 5:43 PM on March 20, 2018 [10 favorites]


"Which is better: a plant-based diet with carbs, or a low-carb diet with meat?"

"The evidence of every variety overwhelmingly highlights the benefits of plant-predominant diets for the health outcomes that matter most: years in life, and life in years; longevity, and vitality. Forget about “carbs,” and think instead in terms of the foods that are best for you."

"Related: Mark Bittman's Buffalo Shrimp With Blue Cheese."

You don't need to tell me twice!
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:10 PM on March 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


I think this article is doing a disservice to healthy eating, by swatting away real questions about competing diets, and offering oversimplified answers in favor of its own favorite diet.

Thing is, most of those competing diets are also communicated in absolutist terms, from the ones that demonize all carbohydrates regardless of nutritional density or satiety value, to the ones that urge you to eat carrots until your skin turns orange*.

In order to be a competing diet in the marketplace of nutritional ideas, it seems you're pretty obliged to dismiss all other foodways out of hand. After all, it's not likely we'd talking about this article if it was titled "The Last Conversation About Eating Right You'll Need To Have For A While (Though Only If You Find The Tips Presented Here Useful Considering Your Lifestyle, Income, And Preferences)."

*See Fuhrman, Joel, "The Human Mind Prefers A Healthy Carotenoid Glow Over A Suntan"
posted by Iridic at 6:24 PM on March 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


Beans are the #1 nominee from this article as a Good Food To Eat and are incredibly cheap. I don't think this promotes a diet that is accessible only to the wealthy of the world at all.
posted by chiquitita at 6:36 PM on March 20, 2018 [12 favorites]


Odd to see so many complaints that they ignore x, y, z factors complicating healthful eating, when the piece prefaces with "eating well remains difficult not because it’s complicated but because the choices are hard even when they’re clear." As long as this interview is, it's not a book.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 6:38 PM on March 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


In what fantasy world are people like me (poor women) magically finding doctors who take their health complaints seriously and also know about gut health?

I do feel vindicated as a vegan though. Woohoo, team plant-based!
posted by shalom at 1:33 AM on March 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


Oh and, pro tip: soak your beans to reduce flatulence. Use a crock pot to save time.
posted by shalom at 1:35 AM on March 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Why is flatulence such a big deal in the US? People in the PRC c. 1990 ate primarily vegetables, farted all the time, and lived long (probably thanks to a decade of calorie restriction).

My parents dealt with being time / money poor by having good knife skills, shopping once a week, stirfry-braising, with liberal use of leftovers. Dinner is X on rice, with Y and Z from previous days; none of this impossible American standard of "oh I have to roast a whole protein and some vegetables and prepare a carb". Meat was prepared for flavoring, on weekends, and incorporated into weeknight meals as needed.
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:55 AM on March 21, 2018 [10 favorites]


I also grew up poor in a culture that served rice with every meal. As a child if I didn't like what was for dinner, I just ate the rice which is the kind of bland item children like. Rice is also cheap and hands off (even my grandmother had an ancient rice cooker) so it can be made easily, by anyone in the household.

Rice is great! Team rice!
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:28 AM on March 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


Rice is great! Team rice!
posted by tofu_crouton


Traitor! Both Tofu and Croutons are up in arms at this betrayal.
posted by trif at 8:21 AM on March 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


In some circles, it's been a moving goalpost as GMOs have become increasingly common. "Icky frankenfood" simply doesn't have the scare factor it once had, so the arguments have shifted to glyphosa te, because it's a chemical sprayed on our food, and Monsanto, because we all know they're evil, right? And farmers who are too dumb to figure out that all these modern farming practices are terrible and will lead to ruin.

Uh, glyphosate isn't sprayed on food, it's sprayed on weeds, and now Roundup ready crops allow it to be sprayed on weeds in greater quantities and more frequently than ever before. Of course there are consequences to overuse of herbicides: the evolution of herbicide resistant weeds*. Glyphosate resistant weeds are a big, expensive issue, and affect not only all farmers who rely on glyphosate but all the ecological restoration projects that rely heavily on herbicides (restoration projects typically have small budgets and manpower to remove invasives is costly and time consuming).

People aren't "shifting the goalposts" because they want a bogeyman. They are pointing out the very real consequences of indiscriminate use of a chemical leading to predictable, preventable outcomes that are causing problems for all users of herbicides, and all farmers who have to deal with weeds. There is plenty of research on this if you care to look it up instead of penning hyperbolic strawmen refutations.

* a well known problem that led to the development of glyphosate.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:02 AM on March 21, 2018 [7 favorites]




how do I accomplish this if I'm short on time and money

Crockpot.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:51 AM on March 21, 2018


For what it's worth, I cook a lot and the only dinner I've ever made that was so bad I had to throw it out was from a Bittman crockpot recipe.

A lot of crockpot recipes cook for 6-8 hours, which really doesn't work if you work a full day, and I've never figured out if you can cook them longer without ruining the recipe or running into food-safety issues.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 10:02 AM on March 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have a crockpot with a High and Low temp settings along with an auto-switch that sets it to Warming mode after either a certain time or a certain internal temp is reached (using the included thermometer probe).
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:06 AM on March 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


When I was short on time and money, we had a lot of curries on rice or noodles. Set over the rice or water for noodles. Make enough so you can have fried rice or fried noodles next day with leftovers. If there are no leftovers both are good with just a well cooked onion in the mix (and lots of your favorite spices and soy sauce and a hot sauce for serving).
Prep all the vegs and maybe a handful of shrimp, a chicken breast sliced, or a pork chop sliced. Pre-prepped frozen vegs can be very fine for this.
Heat wok or skillet, put in curry paste and then food, fry for five minutes. Add coconut milk and/or soy sauce and/or vegetable or chicken stock to taste.
Minestrone is also quite fast if you cut the vegetables small.
During weekends I'd cook stews of cheap meat and chunky vegs and serve with rice or couscous. (Not much meat).
If you use very little yeast, you can start a pizza dough in the morning, and make homemade pizza very quickly for dinner. It's fun for kids to participate, making their own pizzas. We did this very often when friends of the kids came over. They even took to selling little pizzas on the street, for money for candy which I was very miserly about.
While you are cooking, serve fruit and vegs cut up to hungry kids, maybe with a yogurt-tahini sauce, that way they get good raw vegs and yogurt.
When you are poor, you should still buy organic free-range chicken. The way industry is treating chickens is heart-breaking. So a chicken needs to participate in 3-4 meals. The first thing you need to do is to cut it up. Use the breasts for wok food. Fry the wings for lunch boxes. Use the thighs and legs for stews. So this is a weekend thing.
Everything with legumes is good, a lentil stew can be cooked in about thirty minutes and is delicious. Beans are another weekend project, but they keep well, and can be used for a lot of different dishes. Or use them canned, a can of beans or lentils or chickpeas is very good food, and very cheap.
And then obviously pasta with pesto, or tomato sauce or tomato and bacon sauce. Vegetarian lasagna. A seasonal salad on the side.
I'm not certain we ate much else during those years, but it was fine. Nobody starved and we'd have guests over all the time. Guests brought wine, beer and desserts, so we even had a bit of luxury.
posted by mumimor at 10:57 AM on March 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


This is the model I have. It does cost a bit more that some crockpots, which may or may not be viable for some folks, but I felt it was worth it for the versatility it gave me to go to work or an extended outing while dinner cooked to a T.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:58 AM on March 21, 2018


A lot of crockpot recipes cook for 6-8 hours, which really doesn't work if you work a full day, and I've never figured out if you can cook them longer without ruining the recipe or running into food-safety issues.

'Ruining the recipe' is subjective, but there are tons of foods that cook longer than 6-8 hours without any food safety issues. Generally the longer you cook stuff in the crockpot, the mushier it gets, but it doesn't become dangerous unless you cook for days I guess.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:44 PM on March 21, 2018


trif - you jest, but tofu croutons are the protein.

No, seriously, try tofu croutons. My personal recipe is to use mini tofu puffs (deep fried tofu) by a Sunrise.

Cut them in half (turn the rectangles into squares), set aside. Heat some neutral tasting frying oil (canola, sunflower, corn, grapeseed) in a stainless or non-stick pot. About 6 or 7/ 10 on an electric stovetop.

Add cut puffs to pot, careful not to over-crowd.

Sprinkle salt, white pepper, garlic powder, toss. Keep stirring until tofu puffs are crunchy.

Consume as a snack or to top salads. I like adding paper-thin stir-fried beef over a simple salad with tofu croutons, the 'gravy' from the beef serves as a dressing (or pre-dress the greens with a little bit of a savoury dressing like sesame-based ones).
posted by porpoise at 4:46 PM on March 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


TFA was very reassuring for me. I had to change up my diet a couple of years ago when a case of diverticulitis got ugly and almost killed me. Since then I've been cooking up a batch of pinto/black/whatever beans with smaller amounts of lentils, barley and wild rice in an Instant Pot once a week. I've been grilling chicken and lean pork to go with it but now I'm experimenting with mincing the meat and sauteing it with various stuff and using it as a condiment on my beans or eggs, potatoes etc.

(The doctors kept trying to schedule me for a bowel resection, but the BEANS won that battle!)
posted by snsranch at 5:36 PM on March 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Diets don't work.
This assertion never sits right with me because it conflates two separate concepts: calorie reduction is quite effective but, as the researcher interviewed in that article noted, most people have trouble maintaining it long-term because they're relying on willpower rather than lifestyle changes. Simply repeating “diets don't work” has a risk that people hear that and give up rather than having the serious questions about how they can change their lifestyle to something more sustainable. While it's better to be fit, there's good reason to be skeptical that the extra weight doesn't matter.
posted by adamsc at 5:42 PM on March 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Uh, glyphosate isn't sprayed on food, it's sprayed on weeds, and now Roundup ready crops allow it to be sprayed on weeds in greater quantities and more frequently than ever before.

Isn't the whole point of Roundup Ready crops that you can just spray Roundup over everything, and the weeds die but the crops don't because they've been genetically modified to be immune to Roundup?
posted by Daily Alice at 6:19 PM on March 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Not only that, Daily Alice, but lots of farmers got into the habit of spraying Roundup on non Roundup Ready crops just prior to harvest because it caused the crops to dry out and made harvesting easier, as well as increasing yield. There was a bit of a scandal about this a couple of years ago because of the very real possibility of significant Roundup residue in such crops, but I never heard how it all came out.

The practice did lead to the discovery of a single Roundup Ready wheat plant growing in a field in Oregon, as I recall, because all the other wheat in a field sprayed before harvest was dead and brown except for one that was green and flourishing, and that was the cause of some consternation since Roundup Ready wheat had never been grown or even tested in the US.

But instead of expressing concern and taking responsibility, a Monsanto spokesman claimed it could only be the result of "sabotage."

Corporate culture at Monsanto is more poisonous than anything they're selling to spray on crops, and that's saying quite a lot.
posted by jamjam at 7:51 PM on March 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


If you want to be skeptical about the statement diets don't work, please find and cite a study that shows them to be effective for more than five years for more than 2-5% of people. Please don't make the fat people here do all the labor for you that we constantly do.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 9:05 PM on March 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


the thorn bushes have roses: that’s a really uncharitable read of a comment which addressed that very issue. It doesn’t seem like a question of skipping emotional labor to say we should talk about root causes and how to effectively support people dealing with them.

I say that as someone with firsthand experience, having lost 120 pounds and kept it off for the last 15 years. There are multiplr factors which played into that – e.g. being able to afford healthier food, having a place to cook said food, having a work schedule which allowed time for daily exercise and safe places for it, moving from a car-centric to pedestrian/cycling-based commute, etc. — which are very unevenly distributed in our society. I’d prefer to talk about how we could remove the societal factors which make “diets don’t work” true for many people.
posted by adamsc at 4:29 AM on March 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


e.g. being able to afford healthier food, having a place to cook said food, having a work schedule which allowed time for daily exercise and safe places for it, moving from a car-centric to pedestrian/cycling-based commute

You're not including the biggest thing, which is "having a body that happened to work for." Bodies are weird, and some people's bodies react to dieting by shifting their metabolism so that they maintain or gain weight on less than a thousand kcal/day.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:03 AM on March 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


That said, ensuring that the well-known factors of a healthy lifestyle (activity, vegetables, etc.) are accessible to everyone should not be a controversial goal. If health instead of weight can be the measure of a diet "working," then I don't think that there's any question about whether those factors work.
posted by mosst at 7:25 AM on March 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yes, mosst, you nailed it!

Adasmsk, anecdotes about your personal weight loss is not actual data that diets work. We know they don't and that is why I'm asking you to provide a study showing that they do since there have already been links showing that they don't earlier in the thread. The most well funded, rigorous studies show this time and again. The studies that show weight loss are funded by the diet industry, cherry pick data, and don't show weight loss over time. Your weight loss does not mean weight loss is possible or desirable for the vast — 95–99% of people— and the focus to again and again and again talk about how to lose weight leads to worse health outcomes and more stigma. This doesn't take away from your personal feeling of achievement. If you fall at the weight you are now without restriction then you are at the weight you're meant to be and that is legitimately lovely!

Health is made up of many determinants. Food is a small part of one that we can control. Stigma, access to healthcare, social support — these things actually have a greater influence on health and that is why I am always going to push back on our focus on appearance. That is why insisting that you can eat your eat healthy is actually laughable (except for that small percentage of Celiac sufferers or others with allergies where cutting a food group is not an arbitrary action). Obsessing about diet is not the answer to health and this whole interview was gross to read; full of moralistic and paternalistic lectures that don't focus on the larger picture of health because so much of it isn't under individual control.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 8:13 AM on March 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


"they maintain or gain weight on less than a thousand kcal/day."

Either someone discovered an energy source that defies the laws of physics, or perhaps just made a mistake in accounting for how much energy is entering the system. I remember reading one thread where a woman kept saying she was hitting her calorie target and not losing weight. The moderator kept asking "Are you sure you're counting *all* your calories?" Eventually she realized she wasn't counting veggies, because she thought the calorie contribution was trivial. It turns out even if your perceive the food as "good for you", it still contributes energy. If you consume less calories than you burn in a day, almost anyone will lose weight. There may be special circumstances that make it more complicated, granted, but in most instances we should feel highly skeptical of claiming ourselves one of the special cases. Despite tales from Lake Woebegon to the contrary, all the children cannot be above average.

My cutting target is 1350 kcals. I do not give myself a pass to eat more if I exercise (because that seems to be a common route to failure). I'm a 5'7" male. It's an aggressive target. It's particularly hard for me to hit it in the winter, but I know when I consistently hit that target I lose weight, and when I don't it's because I've exceeded my target (usually by quite a bit).

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/slow-metabolism/faq-20058480

Also for a no-nonsense article this contained a lot of nonsense. Processed food could mean almost anything. https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/what-are-processed-foods.aspx

I'm sure there are benefits to eating fresh green beaned over cans, but not to the point we should say the no-nonsense truth is you shouldn't eat the canned. I think most people will benefit from eating more green beans, canned or otherwise, and canned are much easier to keep and store until used and incredibly cheap.
posted by gripdamage at 11:21 AM on March 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


...We know they don't

“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” - Zig Ziglar

If we do X for an extended period of time and we lose weight on it, it follows that if we keep doing X, we'll have less weight. (Alright...there'd be cases where you body initially rejects it but then adapts but I wager the number is small). The problem is not that X doesn't help with weight loss. The problem is can we keep doing it? Depending on what X is, the answer differs.

1. It might kill you - there was a previous post on drinking nothing but fermented cabbage juice. You'll lose weight. You'll also die if you keep doing it.
2. It's not sustainable because it's extremely time and effort consuming - Big Loser style weight loss where you'll need to work out hours every day. Or general calorie restriction diet
3. Lifestyle change diet - we've had records of say vegetarians who stick with lifestyle change diet for decades. This is doable.

The first two - I agree....diets in those categories don't work. Lifestyle change diet however? Let's pick a non controversial one - Mediterranean diet. Say you try that and it helps you lose weight. Will have you have less weight if you're on it 10 years in the future? Yes....if you stick with it. (6 year study link). Is it a hardship to stick with it? This is where the other factors come in....socioeconomic, social support, willpower, etc come in. Yes...willpower. By default sticking to a particular diet is depriving yourself of something and that's hard.

And there actually have been studies linking improvements in health after losing weight. Remission of pre-diabetes for example.
posted by 7life at 11:49 AM on March 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Adasmsk, anecdotes about your personal weight loss is not actual data that diets work. We know they don't and that is why I'm asking you to provide a study showing that they do
Again, my point was that “diets don't work” is an unnecessarily controversial way to express this because it's grouping two separate concepts together. Asking for studies isn't useful because it's just going to highlight that conflation: people reliably lose weight when they take in fewer calories than they burn but that's a very hard thing for most people to sustain long-term. The more interesting question to me is why the latter is true because that gets into lifestyle factors and the degree to which most of the world spent the 20th century building up structures (both physical and social) which make it hard for people to have affordable access to healthy food, less sedentary lifestyles, access to healthcare, time and space for exercise, etc. All of those seem like far more useful things to be talking about than the shouting match between one side shaming people for not having literally super-human willpower and the other, no doubt inadvertently, contributing to the despair many people already feel. To me it seems far more empowering to say “most people have trouble with diets because the deck is stacked against them. You have to change the game.” than “it won't work” with a fair number of people adding an implicit “… so why even try?” at the end of that.
posted by adamsc at 5:40 PM on March 22, 2018 [8 favorites]


Of course, if diets don't work, there's always our old friend the parasitic worm.
posted by mittens at 5:53 AM on March 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Which is better: a plant-based diet with carbs, or a low-carb diet with meat?"

This feels like a false dichotomy. All diets have some ratio of fats, carbs, and protein (aside from really fringe anomalies like the zero-carb/all-meat diet).

Most people who eat healthy and well-formed Paleo/low-carb diets (that include substantial meat), also eat large quantities of non-starchy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and so forth.

I guess what I'm saying is, you can easily have a diet that is "all of the above": for example, include large quantities of low-carb vegetables, grass-fed and finished meats, eggs, some starchy tubers and vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, and plenty of healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats (beef, coconut, olive, etc). With this, you could easily assemble a healthy diet that is 60% fat, 20% carb, 20% protein.

Is that a "plant-based diet with carbs", or "a low-carb diet with meat"? What does it mean if it can be both?
posted by theorique at 10:01 AM on April 2, 2018


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