I just finished reading two books on nutrition. One was excellent and the other not so much.
Death By Food Pyramid
Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health by Denise Minger was outstanding. It has an excellent section on the history of the food pyramid and how what we collectively believe about good nutrition is flawed. The book also has a chapter on how to read nutritional research, but the part that I enjoyed the most was the section devoted to the research of Weston A. Price. Price is an early pioneer in nutritional research and wrote the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
I have been in the Weston A. Price nutritional camp since late 2009. To me, it makes more sense than Paleo. We can learn a lot from traditional cultures. Death By Food Pyramid agrees.
I don’t want to give away the entire book, but I do want to share some ideas the author presented in the Meat chapter.
- Eat the whole animal. Nose to tail. Organ meats. Bone broths. Marrow. Traditional cultures knew this (WAPF), now science can see the different distribution of amino acids and how eating the entire animal balances those ratios. Most people today just load up on muscle meats and discard the rest of the animal. This presents a problem we can have too much methionine and not enough glycine.
- How we cook meat is important. Low and slow is the way to go. High heat and charring can be problematic. For the past few years, I cook the majority of my meat in slow cookers or liquid. Good to know I’m on the right path.
- Iron overload. If you eat too much red meat, you could get elevated iron levels. One of her solutions is the same as mine. Donate blood. I’ve donated 22 pints of blood since December 2010. Easy win for not only your health but the health of the person receiving your blood.
Death By Food Pyramid does nutritional history more concisely than Good Calories, Bad Calories, and presents the ideas of Weston A. Price better than Deep Nutrition.
The Calorie Myth
The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight, and Live Better by Jonathan Bailor
If a book says calories don’t count and then proceeds to tell you how to eat in a way that reduces your appetite so you consume fewer calories and you lose weight, did the calories count? I would say yes. The Calorie Myth uses good foods (SANE) versus bad foods (INSANE) narrative to tell the reader how to eat. If I could basically summarize the entire book, I’d say eat a lot of protein. Protein is known to reduce appetite and help with fat loss. No myths. No mysteries.
This is yet another nutritional book that states fructose is bad, but with little evidence to back up the claim. It has been 4 years since Alan Aragon discredited Dr. Lustig’s anti-fructose hysterics. Are we just supposed to assume fructose is evil like we used to assume saturated fat was “artery-clogging”?
He also goes into how we need glycerol-3-phosphate to store body fat and we mostly get that from carbs. Isn’t this what Gary Taubes got wrong in Good Calories, Bad Calories? Listen to Carbsane on Episode 39 of Evil Sugar Radio explain this point (jump to 28:20, show no longer online). The implication that restricting carbs somehow gives one a free pass on storing calories as fat is the myth.
Bailor also repeats the most nauseating health advice ever, which is to drink lots of water to boost your metabolism. I don’t think so. Drink a lot of water and your body temperature drops. Matt Stone has been on the topic of this for a few years. When I stopped drinking so much water, my body temperature increased and my sleep quality improved.
Unlike Death By Food Pyramid, there is no mention of nutrient-dense foods such as offal, bone broths, and fermented foods. But foods such as low-fat dairy, skinless chicken, and egg whites are listed. Uggh. From a calculator standpoint, he may be right, but I’m more persuaded by Denise Minger’s approach to nutrition and whole food.
I will say one part of the book that was spot on was his approach to exercise. Bailor is a proponent of High-Intensity Training. He gets it. John Little, the co-author of Body By Science, even provided a nice plug at the beginning. My advice is if you want to learn more about HIT, read John’s book.
The Winner Is…
Hands down Death By Food Pyramid beats The Calorie Myth.
UPDATE: The blog No Gimmicks Nutrition has an entire section exposing the incorrect ideas from Jonathan Bailor.