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Laura Dolson

Sorting Out Nutritional Fact from Fiction

By October 10, 2011

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DeniseHave you heard of Denise Minger? She's an author and blogger who writes about the science (or lack of it) behind many of our beliefs about nutrition. I admire her ability to write about data and sciency things and also be entertaining -- my own writing is quite boring in comparison! (I talked a little about Denise after hearing her at the Ancestral Health Symposium in August.)

Denise's most recent blog is a great one -- it is a critique of the vegan film "Forks Over Knives". It's a great example of peeling away the hype to get at the facts behind the headlines, even if you don't have an interest in the particular topic of veganism. (Note: the review is long, but most of the page is comments, so don't get frightened when you see the tiny little square at the top of the scroll bar.) She goes through the film point-by-point, separating fact from fallacy. Some highlights:

- Denise reminds us that many people experience health improvements by changing from a diet of processed, junk-filled foods to a whole foods diet, regardless of any other characteristic of the diet. It's important to remember this when someone touts their version of a "real food" diet as being "the best for everyone". As Denise says, "According to this movie, 'plant-based diet' and 'Standard American diet' are the only two ways you can possibly eat, and an egg is exactly the same as a bag of Cheetos."

- She touchs on many of the points surrounding the idea that Cholesterol is Evil. If you are new to the idea that it might not be, definitely take a look.

- The very studies highlighted in the film as supposedly demonstrating the dangers of animal foods often show the opposite when you actually look at the data. (Check out the bit about Norway during WWII when diet and health both changed -- it's fascinating.)

- She points out out that a very low-fat diet carries with it the advantage of eliminating seed oils which contain large amounts of Omega-6 fats, and that this could account for some of the benefits people experience. (Note that these oils are generally considered "healthy" in the nutritional and medical mainstream.) Obviously, you don't have to eat a low-fat diet to avoid these oils.

- She reviews some of the main points of her extensive critique of The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.

Thank you, Denise, for taking the time to comb through all the data and present it so clearly.

If reading Denise's blog makes you think you'd like to hear and see her in person, consider joining the 2012 Low-Carb Cruise!

Photo © Denise Minger

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