Hard to Get the Straight Nutrition News


Hard to Get the Straight Nutrition News

I read – it must be 10-11 years ago – about a medical research study that said people who eat a “helping” of nuts (not peanuts, thank heavens) three to five times a week had about a 45% advantage on the poor nutless for not having a fatal heart attack over any fifteen year period. It seemed like a credible study to me; many thousands of people tracked over fifteen years with full records kept on what they ate and how they got sick, died, etc.

When I recalled this recently (with a handful of walnuts ready to eatin hand), it occurred to me that I have read similar studies claiming similar benefits for eating fish three to five times a week, drinking red wine (but not too much!), cooking everything in olive oil, eating a lot of garlic, eating a lot of “cruciferous” vegetables, drinking the juice of various “superfruit” I have hardly heard of, like gogi, acai, black elderberry plus enough cranberry juice to shrivel one’s tongue… and on and on. In retrospect, I suspect all these “studies” were actually planted stories on behalf of the fish-wine-garlic-olive oil-cabbage/broccoli–superfruits cartel to counter the earlier PR victory of the nuts cartel.

So, a rhetorical question: What if you did it all? Nuts, garlic, superfruits... the whole magilla. Are there PR agents out there watching the news spectrum to see that some new kind of health nut just turned 95 and is doing competitive rope climbing and racing motocross professionally? When they find this guy, BOOM, the biggest PR blitz in a while. People will be talking about it on The Today Show, the Food Network, Face book, Twitter, Science Magazine and the Sanjay Gupta report. Viral.

Which brings me back to basics. What the heck is a “serving” of nuts? A handful? A Gooseberry Bowl full? I think I average four to six servings of nuts a DAY. When we lived in Dallas, there were two huge pecan trees in the front yard, yielding many bushels of pecans a year. Imaging the nuts I ate. These days, I bring home bags of nuts – mostly almonds and walnuts, but occasionally cashews – from Costco. Two handfuls a night. Minimum.

So need I to use less olive oil or drink less red wine to have the same health benefits? Or do all these things, perhaps, combine additively? Am I sitting here with a 99.9% advantage over the poor nutless, fishless, red wineless, olive oilless, garlicless, cruciferousless, superfruitless? And who are these poor devils? What researcher would use such deprived creatures as their control group?

It’s hard to get dependable nutrition news these days.


BTW, I'm still eating LOTS of peanut butter.


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