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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Review of "Eat, Drink, and be Healthy"

This 2002 review doesn't criticize much about the book. It does try to lay out the key points made by the authors.

Some of the most interesting:

  • There doesn't seem to be any relationship between calcium intake and bone loss
  • There are apparent relationships between high dairy consumption and increased risks of prostate and ovarian cancer
  • Exercised muscle cells handle insulin and glucose very efficiently -- sedentary people don't handle high-glycemic-index foods well.
  • Some "complex carbohydrate" foods, like potatoes, cause bigger blood-sugar and insulin spikes than an equal-calorie amount of pure sugar.
  • High insulin can cause high triglycerides, and low "good" HDL cholesterol and lead to heart disease.
  • Some low-fat diets don't include enough unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat can protect against heart disease.

None of these facts are news. At least, they are not news in 2005. The implication is that the USDA's recommendations (as of 2001) ignored these facts or did not balance them properly against other facts. According to the Harvard School of Public Health website, the new edition includes new information available since 2001 and a critique of MyPyramid (probably similar to the critique I wrote about in my last post). Probably worth a read.