Tuesday, 17 May 2011

How The Change Will Come About?

So how will the 'sat fat phobic' and 'wholegrain health' message be quietly killed off?  Given the investment of money, academic research, credibility capital and the like by governments, academics and NGOs in the areas of heart-health and cancer research, I think we will see a quiet but continual release of stories in the media suggestive of a 'factor X' causing Western Disease. 

In addition, the words 'saturated fat' and 'wholegrain goodness/health' may well disappear from the usual lexicon.  The 'message' in its current form will be quietly dropped.

Subtle changes in the coverage of these stories will eventually enable a position to be adopted whereby it can be claimed that tacit acknowledgement of the complexity of Western Disease had never been in denial, and that for some time, none of the groups above have actually been saying that we should eat a low fat diet, or imbibing copious amounts of wholegrains.

There will be a dark age where no advice is given beyond the generic and bland 'eat a balance diet'.  Of course 'eat less, do more' will be harder to kill having (ahem), stood the test of time.

I think we see this position manifesting already.  In this article on an Egyptian mummy exhibiting heart disease we get the following observation:
  • "Her diet was significantly healthier than ours. She would have eaten fruit and vegetables - and fish were plentiful in the Nile at that time.
    "The food would have been organic - and there were no trans-fats or tobacco available then.
    Yet, she had these blockages. This suggests to us that there's a missing risk factor for heart disease - something that causes it that we don't yet know enough about."
Bloody hell, a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish and yet STILL there was heart disease.  What I find interesting is that recommendation of a low fat diet would suggest exactly that we eat 'a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish'.  In fact the British Heart Foundation make that recommendation here.
The BHA also recommend grains.  Now this is in keeping with the ancient Egyptian diet, the backbone of which was cereal and bread.  Hey and get this, it would have been WHOLE GRAIN!  No steel rollers here.
It seems that grain oils were used,
  • ".. in the preparation of food. We know of beef, goat and other fats, and the Egyptian language had 21 different names for vegetable oils obtained from sesame, caster-oil plants, flax seed, radish seed, horseradish, safflower and colocynth. Horseradish oil was particularly popular. Oil and fat was mostly used for frying meat and vegetables, though food was also cooked in milk or butter."  
Sugar was a rarity in the diet until quite late in the Egyptian times and dairy wasn't a particularly dominant staple.  This leaves our old friend 'meat' (although the sedentary life of the rich suggests that 'do more' may also make an appearance in this tale).
Cattle were eaten by the rich so clearly we have our smoking gun.  It is a shame that they only preserved the bodies of those in the elite classes because I would hazard a guess that the working classes would also exhibit a lot of heart disease and arthritis as well.
This is old news in the paleosphere but it is good that some light is being shed on the lives of those we KNOW followed broadly what we would call a balanced diet and still succumb to a disease of western civilisation.

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