Contrary To Official Guidelines

Rose drew attention to this yesterday:

Over 65? Eat butter and cakes to keep you healthy: Latest dietary advice for pensioners

MILLIONS of old aged pensioners can stave off malnutrition this winter by eating full-fat foods such as cakes and biscuits, experts say. Contrary to official guidelines, the over-65s have been urged to stock up on sugar-laden goodies, use cream instead of milk, fry instead of grill and throw slabs of butter into their scrambled eggs.

It was the words “Contrary to official guidelines” that jumped out of that for me. It meant that one bunch of nutritional experts were disagreeing with another bunch of nutritional experts. And in this particular case it was the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition disagreeing with Public Health England.

Isn’t that just like the Global Warming scare? One bunch of them are saying that the Earth is warming, and another bunch are saying that it’s cooling, and a third bunch is saying that it’s both warming and cooling. And they all have shouting matches, calling each other “denialists”, and worse.

Who do you believe?

It’s the same when nutritional advice changes from one decade to the next, with the same people saying one thing one year, and something else the next. Do you believe what they were saying in 1990, or what they were saying in 2010?

I think that in such circumstances people just stop believing experts. After all, if experts disagree with each other, doesn’t that mean that some of them aren’t really experts? After all, if 10 people give 10 different answers to the same question (e.g. what is 23 x 77 / 12?), doesn’t that mean that at least 9 of them don’t know what they’re talking about (assuming one of them got the answer right, and there’s only one right answer)?

And how do you tell who the real experts are, that have the right answers? Are they the ones who look like Albert Einstein? Or are they the ones who look like geography teachers? Or are they the ones in military uniforms? Or are they the ones with lots of letters after their names (like B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D., FRS, and so on)? Or are they the one who are well-known TV celebrities (like Bill Nye “The Science Guy”)? Or will they be the ones with matching cufflinks and patent leather shoes?

But if 9 out of 10 experts don’t know what they’re talking about, doesn’t that mean that there’s a 90% likelihood that any so-called “expert” won’t really know what he’s on about? And doesn’t that mean that there’s a 90% chance that any guy who claims to be an expert – including a real expert – will turn out not to be?  So you shouldn’t trust real experts either?

In fact, how do you tell whether there are any real experts at all?

And in fact, given that we have no complete knowledge of anything, and all our sciences are in process of change and development and improvement, might we not say that the real experts who really do know what they are talking about have yet to make their appearance, and can’t be expected before the year 2763 or thereabouts?

For myself, when I’m faced with conundrums of this sort, I usually believe whatever it was that I always used to believe, rather than what any so-called expert is now telling me I should believe. Or else I set out to become an expert myself. That’s to say that I try to find out what 23 x 77 / 12 is using my own poor mathematical skills. I might not get the right answer, but it will be my answer, and I will know how I arrived at it.

And that’s why I’m forever building computer models of orbiting asteroids or melting ice sheets and stuff. I always set out to try to figure things out for myself. Because I never believe experts. And that’s why I keep the words of Richard Feynman in the right margin of my blog. Science only gets done when somebody stops believing the experts, and starts to think for themselves.

You want my advice on nutrition? Ignore the experts. Eat what you like. You’ve got several hundred million years of evolutionary development that will tell you what to eat. Use the hard-wired ability that cats and dogs and birds use all the time. They usually seem to know what to eat and what not to.

But I’m not an expert on nutrition, so you shouldn’t take my advice.

And if I was an expert on nutrition, you shouldn’t take my advice either.

About Frank Davis

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9 Responses to Contrary To Official Guidelines

  1. Rose says:

    The science is never settled, take salt for instance.

    Eat MORE salt: Huge health advice U-turn as experts claim low intakes of sodium INCREASE risk of heart failure
    5 March 2017

    “For years we have been told to cut down on our salt intake, but one health expert has now said we need to eat MORE salt.
    Professor Salim Yusuf has argued that eating less than three grams of salt per day is worse for your health and can increase the risk of heart failure.

    The professor, who stepped down from the role of president of the World Health Federation earlier this year, disagreed with current health advice given by Public Health England, which says to eat no more than six grams of salt per day.”

    Salt not as damaging to health as previously thought, says study
    9 Aug 2018

    “New research reignites a row with scientists who want to reduce salt intake to near zero”

    “The study by Prof Andrew Mente from the Population Health Research Institute of Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University and colleagues is large, involving more than 90,000 people in more than 300 communities in 18 countries. But it immediately reignited a simmering row with other scientists who are on a crusade to reduce our salt consumption to near zero.

    Mente and colleagues found that the harmful effects of sodium – raised blood pressure and stroke – only occurred in countries like China, where the liberal use of soy sauce leads to sodium levels over 5g a day, the equivalent of 12g of salt. And they found that very low levels of salt actually led to more heart attacks and deaths, suggesting moderate salt intake may be protective.”

    “The modern salt saga started in 1904 with a paper by Ambard and Brochard who showed an association between salt intake and blood pressure in six patients.
    On the basis of these observations they created a salt–blood pressure hypothesis. Subsequently in 1907 the results were opposed by Lôwenstein, and from then on the salt–blood pressure hypothesis has been the basis for a dispute between supporters of the hypothesis and sceptics.

    What we can learn from this is that the salt–blood pressure hypothesis and the controversy dates back to the first decade of the previous century, initially based on a few case histories. To begin with the chloride ion was thought to play an important role, but with the paper by Blum in 1921 the dominant element was gradually concluded to be sodium.

    At that time the discussion started in the USA with Allan’s recommendations of rigid salt restriction for hypertensive patients.6 In the following years Allan’s positive results were both confirmed and disproved by several authors, but during the late 1930s the use of salt restriction faded”

    “Dahl enters the scene around 1950 and until his death in 1975 he was probably the most important contributor to the salt–blood pressure hypothesis.”

    “In the introduction of his 1960 paper Dahl defines his position, namely that salt is deleterious. Salt is compared with fall-out, carcinogens and atherogenic factors, and later in the paper with tobacco, alcohol, and fat.”
    http: //

    Beware of experts with bees in their bonnets.

  2. slugbop007 says:

    Rose says: October 3, 2018 at 1:17 pm The most important thing in a parasites life is not to kill the host.

    For the past week or so I have been thinking of ways to bug Tobacco Control zealots. Rose’s comment from two days ago fits in perfectly with what I was thinking. There are a variety of parasites in the animal and insect world. I thought it might be fun to send photos of these parasites with their Latin names and a description of their activities to all the parasites in TC, along with a photo of the TC parasite beside them. Something like that. That would really bug them.



  3. slugbop007 says:

    Videos of parasites in action. Photoshop TC zealots bodies and heads onto parasite bodies. GIFs. Poetry, along the lines of Shakespeare’s ‘shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’.

    There is a plaque on the wall of a tavern in Montreal on Sainte Catherine East Street that says ‘Smoke-free zone’. Not tobacco smoke-free zone. Cars, trucks and buses pass by this tavern every day so how can it be smoke-free?

    People are eating and drinking on outdoor terraces extending up to six feet into the passing traffic all over Montreal and these establishments have the nerve to print ‘no smoking’ logos on their outdoor tables. I put a ‘Sieg Heil’ sticker on a Starbucks outdoor table just the other day.

    TC sent smokers outdoors so that children wouldn’t see them and be affected by their smoke. Now we are all outside where children can see us. Highly illogical. Children don’t frequent, nor are allowed in, bars except for the occasional time when a waiter or waitress couldn’t find a babysitter for the night. Irrational hysteria, full of contradictions.


  4. Brian says:

    I still rely on my copy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food ‘Manual of Nutrition’, published by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, for advice on nutritional matters. I don’t think that MAFF had any particular axe to grind when it was published, unlike most organisations around nowadays.
    My copy (published in 1984) says ‘It is possible that habitual high salt intakes are associated with high blood pressure’. It also says that ‘as an excess of salt in the diet is readily absorbed, control of sodium in the blood is achieved by its excretion through the kidneys into the urine’.
    It suggests that ‘in a temperate climate the amount of salt needed by an adult is about 4g per day, although this amount could be lost in the sweat in 3 hours of strenuous activity in the sun’, but most people ‘take in from 5 to 20g per day’.

  5. pubcurmudgeon says:

    This would also be good advice in hospitals, where malnutrition is common amongst over-65s, who don’t find a “healthy eating” diet too appetising.

  6. Rose says:

    Regarding salt – bear with me on this, though American’s will probably know already.

    Unusual features of figure carved into 2,000-year-old tobacco pipe do NOT depict dwarfism as previously thought, but reveal iodine deficiency in ancient Ohio Valley, study claims
    4 October 2018

    ‘But what caught my eye on this pipe statue was an obvious tumor on the neck that looked remarkably like a goiter or thyroid tumor.”

    “The use of iodized table salt in the United States today prevents iodine deficiency. However, the Great Lakes, Midwest, and inner mountain areas of the United States were once called the “goiter belt,” because a high number of goiter cases occurred there. A lack of enough iodine is still common in central Asia, the Andes region of South America, and central Africa”
    https: //

    Iodized table salt may be low in iodine, raising health concerns
    February 4, 2008

    “Amid concern that people in the United States are consuming inadequate amounts of iodine, scientists in Texas have found that 53 percent of iodized salt samples contained less than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended level of this key nutrient. Iodized table salt is the main source of iodine for most individuals, they note in a study scheduled for the Feb. 15 issue of ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology

    Purnendu K. Dasgupta and colleagues point out that iodine intake has been decreasing in the United States for decades. The reasons include reduced use of iodine-based additives in livestock feed and bread, and public health warnings about salt’s role in high blood pressure.”

    New York restaurant kitchens face threat of salt ban
    City politician proposes £600 fines for restaurants that use salt in recipes

    “Ortiz’s bill comes on the back of a high-profile attempt by the city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to encourage New Yorkers to consume less sodium. The city estimates about 1.5 million residents already suffer from high blood pressure, which can be exacerbated by overconsumption of salt. In America as a whole, the average daily intake of 3,400mg is well above the recommended maximum of 2,300mg.

    Bloomberg’s campaign aims to cut the amount of salt in pre-packaged and restaurant food by a quarter, in five years. Unlike Bill A10129, however, it is purely voluntary.”
    https: //

    Why does it matter?

    “Iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) is a serious public health threat for 2 billion people worldwide. It is the leading cause of mental development disorders in young children, from cretinism to more subtle degrees of impaired cognitive development which can lead to poor school performance and reduced work capacity in hundred of millions of children.

    It is implicated in still-birth, miscarriage, physical impairment and thyroid dysfunction. As such, it is crucially important that pregnant women and young children in particular get adequate levels of iodine.

    IDD can easily be prevented at low cost, however, with small quantities of iodine.
    One of the best and least expensive methods of preventing iodine deficiency disorder is by simply iodizing table salt, which is currently done in many countries.”
    http: //

  7. Rose says:

    Another one to watch out for if we are ever forced to give up smoking.

    Weight gained after quitting smoking may be caused by onset of hypothyroidism

    “While current smoking was not associated with a risk of developing hypothyroidism, the risk of developing new onset hypothyroidism within 2 years of quitting smoking was increased more then 6-fold. In fact, within 2 years after smoking cessation, the percentage of cases of hypothyroidism attributable to smoking cessation was 85%. Weight gain is common after smoking cessation and this may be related to the onset of hypothyroidism as patients newly diagnosed with hypothyroidism were ~16 pounds heavier than those who did not develop hypothyroidism.

    This study suggests a relationship between smoking and hypothyroidism, but not the one expected.

    Despite the fact that cigarette smoke contains chemicals that can inhibit thyroid function, hypothyroidism was seen only after quitting smoking.

    Since it is very common for patients to gain weight after stopping smoking, it is important to realize that the onset of hypothyroidism may be making the weight gain worse.”

    Thank you, whoever carved that tobacco pipe 2,000 years ago and thank you whoever found it.

  8. Smoking Lamp says:

    The only answer I see is to silence the FCTC and destroy tobacco control. If they have to censor their adversaries — and smokers are their adversaries in tiger minds — they must have something to hide. I believe it is exaggeration and lies. Tobacco control must be destroyed. To achieve that smokers need to speak out in every way we can.

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