6 thoughts on “The Health Edge: Popular Dietary Myths

  1. Caroline Collard

    Thank you for yet another very useful podcast. A great reminder for those of us who used to follow a vegan diet because it was thought to be the healthiest way of eating.
    I think that one of the things that still haunts me so to speak is the IGF-1 connection when it comes to eating meat and dairy – even the best 100% grass fed beef and raw dairy. I would be grateful for your point of view on that…tied to the amount of optimal protein which you believe is required to maintain healthy muscle mass.
    Thank you again for all that you do.

  2. Nancy

    Would you comment on what is the best sweetener to use? I think in the last podcast John said that it’s a widespread but incorrect belief that agave is the healthiest choice. I was under that impression because I had read its glycemic index is low. What is the problem with agave and what would you recommend instead? Thanks.

    • Hi Nancy,

      Agave often gets the halo because it has a low glycemic effect. The reason for that is agave’s sweetness is mostly from fructose, as much as 85%. I think of fructose as having a “dose-effect”. For many, more than 25 grams/day can accelerate fatty liver and de novo lipogenesis, perhaps worse in people with pre-existing insulin resistance. I would examine it in the context of your total diet. If you do not get too much fructose e.g. from sugar, HFCS, processed foods, soft drinks, then occasional agave in moderation may be just fine for you. It appears sweeteners like stevia leaf and if tolerated, sugar alcohols like erythritol or xylitol are good alternatives.

  3. Kathryn Francis

    Hello-Thank you for your work. I am an RDN working for a local healthcare organization, trying to integrate functional nutrition when and where I can. This particular podcast was timely for me, as I am working on updating curriculum for a wellness program I will be teaching this Spring. I feel you touched on some important points that I would like to elaborate on in my class to help my students navigate the complex world of nutrition in a food environment that does not support health. What would you say is a good resource for some solid facts regarding macronutrient balance in our diet and healthy choices within macronutrient groups. I appreciate your time.

  4. Elisa

    Would it be possible to get references for Jon’s mention of a true Mediterranean diet (versus the popular one so often touted with lots of whole grains and legumes) as well as the salt study Mark mentioned? I am a healthcare professional very interested in delving more deeply on these two subjects.

    • Hi Elisa,
      Thanks for your inquiry into quite possibly one of the most misrepresented nutritional/dietary models. Most of this is covered in one way or another by writers such as Nina Teicholz, Gary Taubes, Sally Fallon, and Paul Jaminet.
      Here are several references that examined the Mediterranean region prior to WWII and how it compared to the picture that Keys created. It is quite a story!
      Cheers, John

      The statistician Russell H. Smith had this to say about the Seven Countries Study: The word “landmark” has often been used. . . to describe Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries study, commonly cited as proof that the American diet is atherogenic. . . . the dietary assessment methodology was highly inconsistent across cohorts and thoroughly suspect. In addition, careful examination of the death rates and associations between diet and death rates reveal a massive set of inconsistencies and contradictions. . . It is almost inconceivable that the Seven Countries study was performed with such scientific abandon. It is also dumbfounding how the NHLBI/AHA alliance ignored such sloppiness in their many “rave reviews” of the study. . . In summary, the diet-CHD relationship reported for the Seven Countries study cannot be taken seriously by the objective and critical scientist.” Diet, Blood Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease: A Critical Review of the Literature, Volume 2, November 1981 pages 4-47 – 4-49
      F Perez-Llamas, et al, “Estimates of food intake and dietary habits in a random sample of adolescents in southeast Spain,” Journal of Human Nutrition and Diet, December 1996 9:(6):463-471
      A Alberti-Fidanza, et al, “Dietary studies on two rural Italian population groups of the Seven Countries Study. 1. Food and nutrient intake at the thirty-first year follow-up in 1991,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition February 1994 48(2)85-91
      Recipes of All Nations, Wm H. Wise & Co, New York, 1935, pages 779-781
      Thelma Barer-Stein, PhD, You Eat What You Are: People, Culture and Food Traditions, Firefly Books, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada 1999
      Edda Servi Machlin, The Classic Cuisine of Italian Jews, Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, 1981, pages 83-87

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