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Shan

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Jan 1 17 7:24 PM

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I did say to plarblman that I was going to talk about this (both at the micro and macro level) in one of the politics threads which I hadn't forgotten about but I thought warranted its own thread instead. Among other things, the information would be easier to find. It also could tie into a potential review as well. So, I'll get started on that as soon as possible in this thread.
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Shan

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Jan 1 17 9:46 PM

Well, here's a good place to start.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/07/the-sugar-conspiracy-robert-lustig-john-yudkin

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/ditching-sugar-is-a-new-year-diet-that-might-actually-work-heres-why-20161229-gtjqgt.html

I've posted the link to the first article before but with a different primary focus (that was more in relation to how even scientists can fall victim to groupthink) but the key thing is, if this article is correct, policy has made a terrible mistake in terms of heading in the wrong direction that is going to continue to have a massive effect on our health and health policy for a long time to come.

The second article is a follow-up to the first insofar as it does reference the studies it mentions and also speculates on the possibility that we've made a wrong turn some time back.

I will get to health policy at some point but to start with, there's two things that are often hidden in our diet that can have far reaching consequences but can be silent until they're not are sugar and salt.

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Long Tom

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Jan 1 17 11:44 PM

Trouble is, the public gets so much contradictory information on food and health, it seems pointless to bother talking about it.  Meat is bad, meat is good, too much sugar and salt, they aren't so bad and it's something else...

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Shan

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Jan 2 17 2:38 AM

I do get that it can be complicated and contradictory (I work in this field and even I get confused sometimes) but it can often be needlessly confusing. Yes, it's true that it's gone down some blind and wrong allets and it's still a science and there's a decent amount of it which has been validated. Now, from our point of view, in terms of money in return for expenditure of effort, this actually is one of the less profitable (right down to not profitable) side of things for doctors but when done even halfway right, can definitely be the most effective - and that's what's most important.

It's like regularly maintaining your car on a regular basis as opposed to smashing seven kinds of hell out of it and only finally bringing it into the shop when it's on its last legs. It's just a bit harder to fix and we're probably not going to get it back to as good a state as if you'd just been taking regular care of it.

I shall now do my best over the coming weeks and months to try and show how there are at least a few relatively simple measures that at least won't hurt to consider.

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plarblman

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Jan 2 17 6:12 AM

I think a big source of confusion is that journalists are notoriously scientifically illiterate. How often have you seen articles claiming that there's a "cure for cancer" instead of "a possible preventative treatment for a specific type of cancer"? Of course, that assumes good faith on the journalists part, which is another discussion entirely. But you get my point. Remember the difference between primary and secondary sources, aka a medical journal vs a news article reporting on said findings.

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Shan

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Jan 2 17 6:26 AM

I can take it one step further than that which is an oversimplification of the term 'cancer'. It's a catch-all term which covers a huge spectrum of different conditions in different body systems with an enormous number of different causes. That's why the term 'cure for cancer' is an especially bad one to use. I'd go as far as irresponsible, really.

As for the primary and secondary sources, first the good news - I did a public health degree for postgrad so I've done a lot of looking at medical journals right down to looking at their data collection methods and statistics. The bad news, medical journals and their articles often screw up too (the ongoing vaccination crisis we're having thanks to that MMR paper in the Lancet is probably the most infamous one I can think of.)

Anyway, at least to start with, I wasn't planning anything that complex, at least to start with. I was going to go with that discussion we had in that same thread where you guessed correctly the easy question to which the answer was healthy living/diet and some physical activity if I remember correctly. Then at some point, I'll make a mention of costs in medicine and the upside and downside to the free market if we're not careful at the regulatory level.

So to start with about where I mentioned sugar and salt, now I know some articles might look like saying stop them both completely (and in some cases do) but I think moderation is the key - and I'm going to start with what exactly is moderate and what's a practical real-life way to do that. Also, mention a bit as to why we should do this. Key thing is keep it simple.

Well, I'll do my best, anyway.

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Jan 2 17 8:49 AM

If I ditched sugar and salt completely, I wouldn't even function properly anymore (I have low blood pressure) but I totally agree that that consumption should be kept to a minimum. Also processed flours.

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ohitsyou

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Jan 2 17 12:08 PM

 I went to my chiropractor, and she said that I need more meat in my diet. Its not that I'm a vegeterian, just not a big fan of meat. Meat to me just absorbs flavors well, be it sauces, spices etc. By itself, I find it to be as bland as tofu.

My chiropractor said that meat isnt bad for you, its when the meat is full of unnatural hormones is when thats bad for you. So, eating grass fed cattle is healthier for you. I believe her, since she seemed scientifically literate and not the hippy dippy type.

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Shan

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Jan 2 17 1:46 PM

ohitsyou wrote:
 I went to my chiropractor, and she said that I need more meat in my diet. Its not that I'm a vegeterian, just not a big fan of meat. Meat to me just absorbs flavors well, be it sauces, spices etc. By itself, I find it to be as bland as tofu.

My chiropractor said that meat isnt bad for you, its when the meat is full of unnatural hormones is when thats bad for you. So, eating grass fed cattle is healthier for you. I believe her, since she seemed scientifically literate and not the hippy dippy type.

[left]Chiropractic - now there's an entire field that more than likely complete nonsense - and the view bits that aren't are entire redundant as covered elsewhere and of limited benefit to boot.

http://edzardernst.com/2013/10/twenty-things-most-chiropractors-wont-tell-you/

​Now Edzard Ernst is interesting, he was raised to believe in homeopathy and was a firm believer in it. He also became a scientist and did notice that there wasn't any scientific validation of the field. So he set out to do it ... and found out the whole think was completely without merit. As in there was nothing that showed the slightest bit of validity. Now, you could hardly accuse him of having an agenda - or if you could, it would have been about approaching the whole thing as a firm believer - and instead, he ended up proving that his life's work was without merit. So I trust him when he applies the same principles to chiropractic and hosts an article on his site. He's not the only one with that view, nowhere near it.

​Along with Chiropractic and homeopathy, you can toss almost the entire supplements industry with a handful of exceptions and while we're at it, a lot of actual modern medicine while we're at it. The number of things doctors do and believe because they think it's always been done that way - until someone finally asks the question "Why do we do this and how do we know it works in the first place?" before looking into it and finding out there's nothing saying it should work.

​But that's all for later. One thing at a time, starting with what I said I'd talk about first. We'll get there eventually, though.
[/left]

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ohitsyou

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Jan 2 17 6:23 PM

Shan wrote:

ohitsyou wrote:
 I went to my chiropractor, and she said that I need more meat in my diet. Its not that I'm a vegeterian, just not a big fan of meat. Meat to me just absorbs flavors well, be it sauces, spices etc. By itself, I find it to be as bland as tofu.

My chiropractor said that meat isnt bad for you, its when the meat is full of unnatural hormones is when thats bad for you. So, eating grass fed cattle is healthier for you. I believe her, since she seemed scientifically literate and not the hippy dippy type.

[left]Chiropractic - now there's an entire field that more than likely complete nonsense - and the view bits that aren't are entire redundant as covered elsewhere and of limited benefit to boot.

http://edzardernst.com/2013/10/twenty-things-most-chiropractors-wont-tell-you/

​Now Edzard Ernst is interesting, he was raised to believe in homeopathy and was a firm believer in it. He also became a scientist and did notice that there wasn't any scientific validation of the field. So he set out to do it ... and found out the whole think was completely without merit. As in there was nothing that showed the slightest bit of validity. Now, you could hardly accuse him of having an agenda - or if you could, it would have been about approaching the whole thing as a firm believer - and instead, he ended up proving that his life's work was without merit. So I trust him when he applies the same principles to chiropractic and hosts an article on his site. He's not the only one with that view, nowhere near it.

​Along with Chiropractic and homeopathy, you can toss almost the entire supplements industry with a handful of exceptions and while we're at it, a lot of actual modern medicine while we're at it. The number of things doctors do and believe because they think it's always been done that way - until someone finally asks the question "Why do we do this and how do we know it works in the first place?" before looking into it and finding out there's nothing saying it should work.

​But that's all for later. One thing at a time, starting with what I said I'd talk about first. We'll get there eventually, though.
[/left]

To be fair, I think my chropractor actually has a medical degree. So its less of mother Gaia telling her in the tea leaves what she should eat, and more of her medical background on what we should eat for a healthier lifestyle.

I'll make sure to ask, or look to be less rude, for a medical background.

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Shan

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Jan 2 17 8:03 PM

The only thing I really want anyone to take away (because, hey I'm just some random person on the Internet) is do your own research and be extensive and rigorous about it. Just because I give chiropractors serious side-eye doesn't mean you should give them the same based just on what I say. I want you to do your own extensive research independently - and then give them the side-eye.

I can't imagine your chiropractor would have a medical degree because outside a few celebrity chiropractors (yes, such things exist across just about every type of medical profession), there's more money in doctoring. Stranger things have happened, though.

Furthermore, as a general rule, doctors' teaching on nutrition is atrocious and that would be my default setting talking with any doctor about their knowledge unless proven otherwise. One of the people who commented in that article I linked to in the Brisbane Times. She's a bona fide nutritionist. I met her one after a lecture she gave us, she told us that over our entire multi-year training, on average, we get four hours total teaching on this subject scattered across it. It's not exactly the greatest, either. She's not wrong. I'd like to think things have changed since my day but unless I see evidence, I assume the ... well, that they don't know much until they prove otherwise. Better bets are dietitians and nutritionists, generally.

Anyway, I'll get to stuff about diet generally in a bit. You can get by with no meat and even vegan if you do things right but it can make things easier and quicker in some respects. Suffice to say, you definitely don't have to eat very much of it to get all the benefits you need.

Then there's the other thing. We were taught to leave backs alone as much as possible. It's an evolutionary marvel and all those years of surgical fiddling with it, well it often ends badly. So I guess what I'm getting at, people who do stuff with your back, is what are chiropractors doing by going into the areas of dietary advice? Doesn't really fit, does it? Even less than the back stuff, really - by several orders of magnitude.

One other thing. Stay away from neck manipulation. Last thing I want happening to anyone is someone having their vertebral artery dissected and stroking out. Not really worth the risk especially since the benefits ... well let's just say the evidence is just a bit lacking in that department.

Last Edited By: Shan Jan 3 17 6:36 PM. Edited 1 time.

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SmashLampjaw

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Jan 3 17 12:55 AM

I just wanted to comment on one thing before I vanish for a bit...
.

Shan wrote:
She's a bona fide nutritionist.
It's important to keep in mind in the USA there is no qualification necessary to call yourself a "nutritionist". The word has no legal meaning/bearing here; I can call myself a nutritionist if I want to in nation-wide ads. A "dietitian", on the other hand, is a medical doctor, and falsely claiming to be one is entirely illegal. I picked a few states at random and it was a first degree misdemeanor in all of them.

Outside the US, in places like Canada, "nutritionist" is a synonym for "dietitian" and requires a medical license. It's important for everyone to keep that vocabulary difference in mind, since we're a surprisingly internationally-diverse forum despite the size of our active member base.

.


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Shan

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Jan 3 17 2:50 AM

Now you see, I did not know that and hence that's why this forum format is so useful. A dietitian for example is entirely a separate thing from a medical doctor in Australia (but also requires certified training and the like.)

As for Rosemary Stanton, who's the only one I know of by name, I can say she's actually studied this stuff and is an authority on it. So anything she says, I'm confident is legitimately researched. Anyone else, I couldn't say and Smash makes an excellent point (which doesn't just apply to this) is that certain terms have meanings which means people have done certain training and have certain qualifications while other similar sounding terms do not. The other lesson is, though don't take my word for it, due your due diligence on people I or anyone else recommend too.

eg:

"You should be picky with who you choose as a financial advisor: All of these terms – financial advisor, financial planner, retirement advisor – are just job titlesAnyone can call themselves that, but they are no guarantee of competency, experience, or knowledge. Be sure you look into your advisor’s background to see if they have any other credentials – such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). More importantly, you should make sure your advisor is a fiduciary if you want truly conflict-free advice.  Fiduciaries are obligated to put your best interest ahead of their own, which means they can’t recommend investments simply because they pay the advisor a commission."

Really dig into terms and what they mean for all sorts of things. Medical, Financial, Legal, and so on.

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Shan

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Jan 3 17 6:30 PM

Parking these here because a) there's been a flurry of these articles lately b) turns out Microsoft Edge doesn't have a function to search your browser history. Seriously?

Plus, they're really informative articles worth reading and contains a lot of material I was going to comment on at some point anyway.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/03/children-consume-half-of-daily-sugar-quota-at-breakfast-alone-study

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/03/no-evidence-sugar-free-diet-soft-drinks-aid-weight-loss-study

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jan/02/the-case-against-sugar-gary-taubes-review-compelling-attack-diet-myths

http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-health/can-you-go-30-days-without-sugar-heres-why-you-should-20170101-gtkl0p

The animation in this one linked below is suitably terrifying. If you only look at one article out of any of these, at least watch the animation and look at the graphs in this one.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/jan/03/using-data-visualisations-to-help-explain-the-global-obesity-explosion

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Shan

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Jan 12 17 6:33 PM

OK, this is a good lead-in for what I always planned to start with.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/01/10/weve-declared-war-on-sugar-but-salt-is-still-ruining-lives/?utm_hp_ref=au-homepage

A relatively simple thing to do is get your blood pressure checked. Manual preferred over automatic and more than one reading to make sure of the result. Standing and sitting or lying if you can.

It's one of those things than can be silent, until it's not. Prevention before the event is so much better than dealing with the complications afterwards.

The next post will be about salt, how it puts your blood pressure up and how almost all of us eat too much - to far too much - of it.

The article says the recommendation is not more than 6g/day. That should probably be 2g - or maybe even 1g.

A lot of us eat 10g or more.

That's really not ideal.

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SmashLampjaw

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Jan 13 17 10:08 AM

I could have sworn there was a study 3 years ago that proved not only does salt only raise your blood pressure if you're genetically predisposed to that, but the nutritional recommendations were actually half of what they should have been. Tangentially related to that, people weren't suffering widespread salt depletion because very few people even both paying attention to the recommended salt intake.

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Shan

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Jan 13 17 6:37 PM

SmashLampjaw wrote:
I could have sworn there was a study 3 years ago that proved not only does salt only raise your blood pressure if you're genetically predisposed to that, but the nutritional recommendations were actually half of what they should have been. Tangentially related to that, people weren't suffering widespread salt depletion because very few people even both paying attention to the recommended salt intake.


The logic behind the mechanism as to how salt can raise your blood pressure ​seems​ reasonable, that of the more salt in your circulation, the more water kept in there with it due to osmotic pressure, meaning over time your blood pressure goes up as your heart is forced to pump harder and this leads to permanent changes in the blood vessels and hence a permanent rise in your baseline over time. The higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk of heart attacks and strokes and kidney damage and so on.

​Now that seems reasonable but what I like about this place is how it makes me think and really try to make as sure as I can about my base assumptions, as I did in that imaginary conversation we had about global warming. I also know both the risks of looking at biological systems in isolation as well as how complicated and conflicting health information can be even to me and the people I work with and we work with this stuff all the time. I don't envy people outside the medical profession trying to make sense of this.

​Turns out the science may be even less settled than I thought but I have to read more on the topic. I agree, though there's just about never a quick isolated factor solution.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/02/why-does-salt-raise-blood-pressure/

​Always, always, always read more than one source, though but also be wary of absolutes in anything regardless of the direction.

​Things I've said which are safe to do:

1) No harm in just getting your blood pressure checked and getting a number. Over time, regular checks can show a trend. At least knowing what it is and what direction it's heading over time if it is going anywhere can't hurt in and of itself.

​2) Even if you don't add any salt to anything, you won't be eating insufficient amounts. Processed food will have it added and even if you just eat purely unprocessed food, there's still sodium in that (but that's few to very few of us in general in modern technological areas.)

Anyway, to kick this off, I'm going to the doctor's on Monday (my GP/primary care physician) to get my blood pressure measured among other things and it used to be very low (but symptom free - no black outs) but last year, it was just low. Firstly want to make sure it's not creeping any further up and also see if what I do over the next year in the areas of diet (which is more than just salt) and exercise have any effect on it over the next twelve months.

​So that's all going to be part of the blood pressure part of this thread.

​I think the key thing with salt is moderation. Now I just have to work out how much 'moderate' is.


 

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SmashLampjaw

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Jan 14 17 6:07 PM

Sorry, I explained that really poorly.

The study I'd heard about was regarding the belief that salt intake caused high blood pressure (meaning: if you have high blood pressure, you're getting too much salt). It proved that was often a false correlation, but that there are people genetically sensitive to salt for whom it is true. The same study also concluded the daily recommended amounts of sodium (in the US) marked on packages of processed foods were half what they should be (meaning: they said X grams is Y% of what you need per day, but Y% should have been twice as high). People were not suffering salt deficiencies because almost nobody uses those values for salt anyways. They just salt things until they taste right.

I hope that comes across more clearly.

As for figuring out what moderation is, it seems we may be on opposite sides of the salt need spectrum. I drink a lot more water than most people on a daily basis; it's a habit I got into for medical reasons years ago, which despite no longer being necessary is still a habit I maintain). As a result, I have a constant but mild craving for salt. Things taste less salty to me than to other people because my body actually needs more of it, and my body registers the flavor of salt as "delicious" instead of "salt" until I've used too much of it.

The whole situation is similar to when you partake of anything your body needs. It's like when you're really, really thirsty and you drink cold, clean water. It tastes better than anything you've ever drank, but when you're just drinking that same water normally the flavor barely registers.

.


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Shan

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Jan 14 17 6:51 PM

No, everything you've said in both posts is fine. It also made me go and do some more digging. That link I posted about the studies is also good because it has a comments section and I went and read through all of those. People can both add things and well as put up good counter arguments that way (bad ones too as we all know, so obviously be discerning.) The think about medical studies in general is that they can be difficult to work out the validity of depending on a whole number of variables such as methodology and number of participants (and their selection) and the like. I did a postgraduate degree in all that but I still find it time consuming and difficult more often than not.

​It's also good to be continuously reminded that even scientists aren't immune to orthodoxy taking hold and as a result, a particular common belief. Most of these are usually OK but sometimes they're not. That's why we should always go back and look at them all on a periodic basis as we'll find ones which are wrong and should be changed and even the ones which are right can be refined and improved with new knowledge and experiments and the like.

​I think this one is a good article to look at (The Guardian's been running a whole heap of these lately.)

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/14/fixing-dad-documentary-diabetes-low-carbohydrate

​One of the things I took away is that it's a combination of factors that made things worse and it's a combination of things that made them better, too. I was just as guilty by omission (or at least not being clear enough) in making myself look like salt was the factor (in isolation) which may or may not affect blood pressure when of course, it's always the result of a combination of factors producing a net effect, be it high, normal, or low blood pressure.

​Interesting thing about salt (and sugar, and a number of things) is that in a general sense (can't speak for individuals, of course), it's an acquired taste. People who've never come across it as an additive (for some reason the examples I've always seen used are people from uncontacted tribes in the Amazon) find it strange at best and unlikeable to intolerable at worst.

​You can actually 'train' yourself out of it. I found this out after I'd cut all this stuff a lot out of my diet, added sugar and salt just tastes weird now.

​So, with that article I linked to - a combination of weight loss, diet (drop alcohol intake if its excessive), stop smoking, exercise and the like and all those things put together will bring your blood pressure down over time (and apparently, eating lots of garlic on a regular basis but one step at a time.)

​As for salt? Well, I guess don't go overboard won't hurt? I'll have to look into it some more but it does seem some people definitely are quite sensitive to it.

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Shan

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Feb 26 17 12:04 AM

I hadn't forgotten about this thread, I was just waiting for all my test results to come in. Stay tuned for news shortly ...

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