Author Topic: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?  (Read 4399 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« on: September 24, 2018, 03:56:00 PM »
Back in 2005 (Antiquity by Internet standards), Steve wrote an article called The Skeptic’s Diet about how to eat healthy. However, it focuses mostly on weight loss. And that article is from 2005, so maybe the data has changed since?

I'd like to know if there is any article, by Steve or anyone else, that summarizes a healthy diet from a scientific point of view. Such information is spread out on various SGU episodes and NeurologicaBlog posts, so that's why it would be handy to have a single summary or reference to go to.

The spread-out data I have picked up over the years are, as I can think of right now:

- Eat a varied diet.
- Eat lots of vegetables.
- Eat meat only occasionally.
- Don't fall for various fad diets, they are often not scientifically based.
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Online jt512

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2018, 09:55:53 PM »
Back in 2005 (Antiquity by Internet standards), Steve wrote an article called The Skeptic’s Diet about how to eat healthy. However, it focuses mostly on weight loss. And that article is from 2005, so maybe the data has changed since?

I'd like to know if there is any article, by Steve or anyone else, that summarizes a healthy diet from a scientific point of view. Such information is spread out on various SGU episodes and NeurologicaBlog posts, so that's why it would be handy to have a single summary or reference to go to.

The spread-out data I have picked up over the years are, as I can think of right now:

- Eat a varied diet.
- Eat lots of vegetables.
- Eat meat only occasionally.
- Don't fall for various fad diets, they are often not scientifically based.


I think the most sensible, objective, evidence-based nutrition info consistently comes from Walter Willett and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Essentially, the confluence of the evidence suggests that the best approach for the average person would be to consume a traditional Mediterranean diet. Whole-food, plant based, little to no red or processed meat. Amount of fat and carbohydrate is less important than the quality: fats should predominantly be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated; carbohydrate should be whole grain.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2018, 10:20:23 PM »
Eat a variety of food, not too much, mostly plants.
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Offline haudace

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2018, 11:48:42 PM »
Eating in moderation, complemented with a healthy dose of exercise.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 11:52:08 PM by haudace »

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2018, 02:18:18 PM »
Eat a variety of food, not too much, mostly plants.

Would that mean that various meat-substitutes, around here mostly soy-based, are a good thing? Or do they bring the problems of meat even though they are not meat? They are meant to substitute meat after all.

For example, just recently I ate potato wegdes, oumph, and broccoli for dinner. Was that an improvement compared to if I had eaten meat instead of oumph?
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2018, 07:15:10 PM »
Eat a variety of food, not too much, mostly plants.

Would that mean that various meat-substitutes, around here mostly soy-based, are a good thing? Or do they bring the problems of meat even though they are not meat? They are meant to substitute meat after all.

For example, just recently I ate potato wegdes, oumph, and broccoli for dinner. Was that an improvement compared to if I had eaten meat instead of oumph?

I suggest you ask CarbShark and bachfiend for their answers to that question.
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2018, 10:58:10 PM »
Eat a variety of food, not too much, mostly plants.

Would that mean that various meat-substitutes, around here mostly soy-based, are a good thing? Or do they bring the problems of meat even though they are not meat? They are meant to substitute meat after all.

For example, just recently I ate potato wegdes, oumph, and broccoli for dinner. Was that an improvement compared to if I had eaten meat instead of oumph?

I suggest you ask CarbShark and bachfiend for their answers to that question.

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2018, 01:06:06 PM »
Eat a variety of food, not too much, mostly plants.

Would that mean that various meat-substitutes, around here mostly soy-based, are a good thing? Or do they bring the problems of meat even though they are not meat? They are meant to substitute meat after all.

For example, just recently I ate potato wegdes, oumph, and broccoli for dinner. Was that an improvement compared to if I had eaten meat instead of oumph?

I suggest you ask CarbShark and bachfiend for their answers to that question.

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Please don't.
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2018, 02:48:44 PM »
OK, what's below is based on evidence and science. The first link is a pretty good summary of Low Carb High Fat diets* the second is a list of foods to avoid. These are not necessarily weight loss diets, but if you have excess stored fat, and switch to a LCHF Ketogenic diet you will lose weight until your body reaches homeostasis, when your weight and body fat will stabilize. At what weight and body fat percentage your body will reach homeostasis is not really up to you.

The biggest determinant of homeostasis is insulin resistance/sensitivity.



A Low-Carb Diet Meal Plan and Menu That Can Save Your Life


Quote
A low-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary foods, pasta and bread. It is high in protein, fat and healthy vegetables.

There are many different types of low-carb diets, and studies show that they can cause weight loss and improve health.

This is a detailed meal plan for a low-carb diet. It explains what to eat, what to avoid and includes a sample low-carb menu for one week.

* The one quibble I have with that page is it didn't make clear that whole grains should also be avoided. The list below, linked from that page, and from the same website, does make it clear.



14 Foods to Avoid (or Limit) on a Low-Carb Diet

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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2018, 02:54:05 PM »
I think the most sensible, objective, evidence-based nutrition info consistently comes from Walter Willett and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Essentially, the confluence of the evidence suggests that the best approach for the average person would be to consume a traditional Mediterranean diet. Whole-food, plant based, little to no red or processed meat. Amount of fat and carbohydrate is less important than the quality: fats should predominantly be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated; carbohydrate should be whole grain.

Willet is a vegetarian (maybe vegan?) and while that's nothing to disqualify him, it's clear that his work shows a clear bias in favor of vegetarianism over consumption of meat and other animal products. I certainly wouldn't call him "objective."

The most recent example is the study he authored making the claim that low carb diets increase the risk all-cause mortality.

That study did not support that claim.

Also, you're mistaken about the "Traditional Mediterranean Diet." It included a significant amount of red meat, mostly lamb, but some beef and pork as well.

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2018, 02:59:24 PM »
Thanks for the link, but there was a lot of meat in those recommendations. Doesn't that contradict what Steve, arthwolliport, etc, are saying?
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline CarbShark

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2018, 03:03:33 PM »
Eat a variety of food, not too much, mostly plants.

This is a modified version of Michael Pollan's famous quote: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Pollan goes further, explaining what he means by "food."  He doesn't consider processed food "food." 

If it's something your grandparents (actually his and my grandparents; probably the great grandparents or great-great grandparents of most readers here) would recognize as food, it's food. If it wouldn't look like food to them, then don't eat it. (and I think the implication is that if they lived more like farmers, less like French Royalty)

The LCHF Ketogenic version of this quote would be:

"When you're hungry eat real food. Meat and non-starchy vegetables. When you're not hungry don't eat. When you're full or satisfied, stop eating."
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2018, 03:05:06 PM »
Thanks for the link, but there was a lot of meat in those recommendations. Doesn't that contradict what Steve, arthwolliport, etc, are saying?

Yes. Meat is a perfectly healthy source of nutrition. Humans evolved eating meat as their primary source of nutrients.

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Online bachfiend

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2018, 03:45:04 PM »
I think the most sensible, objective, evidence-based nutrition info consistently comes from Walter Willett and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Essentially, the confluence of the evidence suggests that the best approach for the average person would be to consume a traditional Mediterranean diet. Whole-food, plant based, little to no red or processed meat. Amount of fat and carbohydrate is less important than the quality: fats should predominantly be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated; carbohydrate should be whole grain.

Willet is a vegetarian (maybe vegan?) and while that's nothing to disqualify him, it's clear that his work shows a clear bias in favor of vegetarianism over consumption of meat and other animal products. I certainly wouldn't call him "objective."

The most recent example is the study he authored making the claim that low carb diets increase the risk all-cause mortality.

That study did not support that claim.

Also, you're mistaken about the "Traditional Mediterranean Diet." It included a significant amount of red meat, mostly lamb, but some beef and pork as well.

As much as you dislike the study in the Lancet claiming a U-shaped mortality curve to the proportion of carbohydrates in the diet, with lowest mortality at around 50% and mortality increasing steeply with lower carbohydrates and less steeply with higher carbohydrates, the study did support the claim that low carbohydrate diets increases all-cause mortality.

Agreed.  The study is flawed.  And as you’ve noted, it really doesn’t look at very low carbohydrate diets, such as your low carbohydrate/high fat ketogenic diet.  But the study did show a U-shaped mortality curve, which has to mean something.  If you’re claiming that your very low carbohydrate diet produces decreased mortality and longer life expectancy, then you’re hypothesising that if the study is extended, the U-shaped curve would become an N-shaped curve, for which there’s no evidence.  I’m not aware of any studies showing lower mortality and increased life expectancy with low carbohydrate/high fat ketogenic diets.

I’m very much agnostic about diets.  There’s a wide range of perfectly acceptable diets.  Humans are natural omnivores, evolved to eat a wide range of foods.  Humans in the past have eaten whatever is easily available.  The curse of modern times is that in developed countries, there’s an abundance of cheap readily available food, a lot of it not so good nutritionally with ‘empty’ calories, which are often heavily advertised.

I consider any diet acceptable provided it supplies adequate, but not excessive calories, adequate amounts of essential amino acids and fatty acids, and adequate minerals and vitamins.  Best health comes from not being overweight or obese, not being sedentary and getting some exercise each day, and also getting periods of adequate relaxation and sleep.

A good set of bathroom scales is more important than kitchen scales.  The risk factors for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and dementia are being overweight or obese, being sedentary or consuming excessive simple sugars such as cane sugar and fructose.  The proportion of complex carbohydrates or fat as the main source of calories in the diet aren’t risk factors.
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Any science-based article summarizing a healthy diet?
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2018, 04:30:08 PM »
This is a pretty good analysis of that study.

Low carb diets could shorten life (really?!) – Zoë Harcombe

Quote
Let’s look at the ‘science’…

We need to make a critical point up front: every headline using the words “low carb” was wrong. The first sentence of the paper was “Low carbohydrate diets…” This was also wrong. The full paper used the words “low carbohydrate” 40 times. That was also wrong – 40 times. Low carb diets have not been studied by this paper. Full stop. The average carbohydrate intake of the lowest fifth of people studied was 37%. That’s a high carb diet to anyone who eats a low carb diet. As we will see below, the researchers managed to find just 315 people out of over 15,000 who consumed less than 30% of their diet in the form of carbohydrate. The average carb intake of these 315 people was still over 26%. Not even these people were anywhere near low carb eating. Hence, if you do eat a low carbohydrate diet, don’t worry – this paper has nothing to do with you.

Here's a link to the study:

Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis - The Lancet Public Health
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