Last semester I took a class in Childhood Obesity. I spent fifteen weeks studying the policies and practices around childhood obesity. In the end I concluded that the problem isn’t childhood obesity; it’s adult obesity. For every overweight/obese child there are three overweight/obese adults.
This idea was validated last week (Jun3 22, 2015). The Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) released a new analysis on weight in America. The conclusion? We’re fat and getting fatter. The study found that in the population of those 25 and older 75% of men and 67% of women are overweight or obese.
Worse yet, for the first time Americans who are obese outnumber those who are overweight. 30% of women and 40% of men are overweight while 37% of women and 35% of men are obese.
Despite all the diets, the information campaigns, the warnings and social pressure to be thin we are getting fatter. Researchers blame our lifestyle, processed foods, inactivity and technology. And Lin Yang, the chief researcher for the study says “This is a wake-up call to implement policies and practices designed to combat overweight and obesity.” Unfortunately, she is resoundingly silent about what those policies and practices might be.
After weeks of studying food policy, years of studying nutrition and watching a few documentaries: Forks Over Knives, Food Inc, Fed up and Supersize Me, I have some ideas about where we need to start.
Over the next couple of months I will be writing and talking food policy and how to create change. Feel free to contribute to the discussion — your ideas and comments are wanted and appreciated!
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition is based on two simple premises:
- “First, nutrition is the master key to human health.
- Second, what most of us think of as proper nutrition–isn’t.”
Campbell show how nutrition researchers approach the science of nutrition with one of two biases. They are either reductionists who presume that everything can be understood if you understand all its component parts. Or wholists who postulate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Most nutrition research today, is done on a reductionist model. Studies that isolate a small specific nutrient or vitamin like Vitamin D. The research study is then created in an attempt to draw conclusions about its effects on overall health. The research does a terrific job on highlighting the strengths and weaknesses or benefits and dangers of that specific nutrient. Unfortunately this is often done by overlooking the bigger picture of how the information fits into an individuals overall health and wellness.
Campbell argues that nutrition can only be understood using by a wholist approach. The interactions of food and the human body are too complex to be rationally understood without acknowledgement of the whole organism.
I really appreciate his believe that scientist today have the tools to create and administer wholist nutrition research. And that over time they can and will change the research methods and that consumers will begin to demand more comprehensive research. The combination of these forces will ultimately change how our society thinks about health and nutrition. He writes that “the crucial shift in the way we think about our health will happen one person at a time. Eventually the policy will begin to change. Industry, deprived of the income produced by ill health and our ignorance, will follow.” I hope he’s right!
This is an important work that is simply written, easy to understand and even optimistic about that future. And is important for both professionals and laymen since it is clear and never condenses or preaches to the reader.
The Mediterranean Diet is in the news. A Spanish study showed that people at risk for heart disease eating a Mediterranean diet were 30% less likely to die of cardio-vascular disease than the control group who ate a standard low-fat diet. It is interesting to note that group who ate the Mediterranean Diet added extra helpings of extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts.
The Mediterranean Diet in this study the Mediterranean diet is composed of plant-based foods: olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, legumes, and cereals. Along with some animal based products like fish and poultry, and limited amounts of dairy products, red meat and processed meats,. And just for fun wine and chocolate are allowed. (more…)
Posted in Caldwell Esselstyn, heart disease, heart disease, Italian, John McDougall, Pasta, plant based diet, T. Colin Campbell, Whole Food Plant-Based nutrition
Tagged cardio-vascular disease, heart disease, Human nutrition, Mediterranean diet, olive oil, Veganism, Vegetarianism
Remember that old Alka Seltzer ad with the guy groaning that he couldn’t believe he ate the whole thing? To me it is a most graphic reminder that what we eat directly effects how we feel.
All of us are good at remembering the connection of food and feeling in the short run. The problem is come when remembering to connect the information to our overall dietary habits and quality of life. (more…)
Posted in diabetes, diary-free food, gluten-free food, John McDougall, plant based diet, T. Colin Campbell, vegan, vegetarian, Whole Food Plant-Based Diet and Chronic Disease, Whole Food Plant-Based nutrition
Tagged cancer, diabetes, Health, heart disease, plant-based food, processed food, SAD, Vegetarianism
I finished my certificate course from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I have been reflecting on the things I learned and how it changed my thinking about various aspects of plant-based nutrition. In the end I tally 2 changes and 2 take-aways. (more…)
When people find out that I am a vegetarian, the most usual question is — One of the things I am most often asked is, “How do you get enough protein??” I have been answering this question for over 40 years. My basic answer hasn’t changed a lot, but my thought process and information base has.
When I was in my 20, 30s and 40s I would tell people it was easy, but that the “tricky” part was making sure you got complete protein. The way to do that was to combine grains and nuts with legumes. I would assure them that if you just paid attention, you would be “fine”. That you don’t really need that much protein anyway. (more…)
Posted in Beans, plant based diet, Protein, T. Colin Campbell, vegan, vegetarian, Whole Food Plant-Based nutrition
Tagged Diets, Health, Nutrition, Protein, Proteins, The China Study, Vegetarianism, well balanced whole food plant
The movie Forks Over Knives
features the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell. He is a pioneer in studying the effects of nutrition on long-term health. He is also the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University.
If you know his name it probably because he is best known as the co-
author of The China Study (2004), one of America’s best-selling books about nutrition.
Those are some very dry facts and a rather poor introduction to a man who is an incredible contributor to the health of our nation and the world. (more…)