Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1. Vitamin D is not a vitamin 

Vitamin D is a hormone produced in the body when cholesterol is converted into a secosteroid via UV exposure. Vitamin D can be assimilated through dietary sources but since it’s a hormone it sure makes sense to me that it’s better to naturally synthesize it from sunlight than to rely on supplements or fortified food to get this crucial hormone. 

Vitamin D deficiency is rife in the Western world, thanks to our indoor lifestyles and our dispersion to the more northerly and southerly latitudes. Our fear of the sun has become so extreme that it is negatively affecting our health. I wholeheartedly disagree with the latest skin-cancer scare campaign in Australia, “There’s nothing healthy about a tan”. 

Lesson: Be smart, enjoy the outdoors, get some sun early and late in the day when you don’t need sunscreen... and don’t get burnt! 

2. Peanuts are not nuts

Peanuts are legumes. They grow in the ground just below the surface and have fairly soft shells. Compare peanuts to tree nuts, which typically have strong shells and grow high above the ground out of reach of most animals. 

The fact that peanuts have relatively poor external self-defences tends to support the fact that their internal defenses are so potent and why peanuts are so allergenic. Because they aren’t protected by hard shells or elevation they have particularly strong lectins (anti-nutrients) that cause havoc to digestion and even a strong immune response in susceptible individuals. 

Lesson: Beware of peanuts. They are nothing but shady beans hiding underground posing as nuts. Eat almonds and macadamias instead.

3. Dietary cholesterol is not bad for you

For about 80% of people, dietary cholesterol does not affect their serum (blood) cholesterol. That means four out of five people could eat animal fats all day long and their cholesterol won’t go up. Furthermore, 75% of the cholesterol in our blood is actually internally produced by our liver so this whole hoo-ha about avoiding dietary cholesterol is nonsense. 

Furthermore, while high serum cholesterol has some correlation to heart disease the link is tenuous at best. It is becoming increasingly apparent that when it comes to artherosclerosis the number and size of lipoproteins (the proteins that carry the cholesterol around our bloodstream) are far more important variables than the absolute amount of cholesterol contained inside of these lipoproteins. 

That is, it is far more risky to have a lot of small, dense LDL particles charging around your arteries carrying not much cholesterol within them than a few giant, fluffy LDL particles with a bunch of cholesterol in each one. 

Not only this but cholesterol does not CAUSE artheroscleorsis, inflammation does. Blaming LDL for heart disease is like blaming firemen for fires. Yes they are always present during a fire, but they didn’t necessarily cause it!

Lesson: Eat the whole damn egg.

4. Terrestrial animals have more protein than sea animals

Gravity-bearing (land) animals have eight grams of protein per ounce of body weight. Fish have only five grams per ounce. Clearly load-bearing activity promotes lean muscle mass. 

Studies have shown that astronauts experience up to a 20 percent loss of muscle mass on spaceflights lasting just five to 11 days.

Lesson:  Lift weights! 

5. Red meat does not cause cancer

I am so sick of seeing these epidemiological studies linking meat consumption to cancer. They are so full of scientific holes, confounding variables and bias that they couldn’t hold a gallon of water for two seconds. 

Unfortunately the media love to sensationalize the latest bad research - which they don’t actually read (or understand) - with headlines such as:


Ok not quite that extreme but not far off! 

The China Study is a great example of this. This massive epidemiological study, which famously linked animal protein consumption to cancer was grossly flawed and misleading. Yet it still remains the vegan bible for many.

T. Colin Campbell couldn’t find any direct correlation between meat consumption and cancer so he threw in a confounding variable - cholesterol - to try and force some kind of correlation. Then he cherry-picked the data points that supported his hypothesis so he could sketch out a nice linear correlation in graph which more accurately resembled the Milky Way. 

Unfortunately a lot of nutrition research is misleading. Why? Because people have big egos, need the funding, and want to prove themselves right at any cost. 

Until someone shows me a controlled, double-blind, clinical trial using grass-fed meat against a vegetarian control group I will not be concerned about my meat consumption. 

Lesson: Enjoy your grass-fed beef and don’t worry about it negatively affecting your health. It’s good stuff.

As always thanks for reading. I've been told by some social media expert mates to start ramping up my Instagram with lots of half-naked pictures, recipes and workouts so if you're into that kind of thing please follow www.instagram.com/thepaleomodel 





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