Today I got to take “Tio Mike” on a tour of the country, 30 miles of sun-drenched trees starting to turn colors. With family here and bicycling on the menu we’re talking a bit about health and nutrition. I’ve done a lot of research over the years, and I found a lot of irrelevant information is getting in the way of most people’s understanding of their own health. Observational studies with really weak conclusions are cast as “facts” in journalistic headline chasing.
For example have you ever heard that “too much” exercise is bad? That’s because 2 guys died during a study. They didn’t look at what they died of as part of the study. There were only about 30 “high exercise” people in a group of several thousand. In the broader group at least, it was clear the lazy people were … “at risk”.
There’s all kinds of crapola out there about this. Occasionally you’ll find someone that thinks quiting smoking will kill you. This is really old cigarette company propaganda – they used to have doctors endorse smoking, and studies did indeed show that smoking cessation was deadly. That’s because you’d “quit” smoking when you slipped into a coma after they removed a lung. People tended to die shortly after that.
Have you ever heard the advice:
Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.
Basically the best advice out there. I’d go a bit further, go down the list in order of importance.
- Stop smoking if you do
- Most people drink way too much alcohol
- Most people eat way too much meat
- You could eat more greens
- Ride a bike or walk for transportation
- Doctors visits to check for vitamin deficiencies
- Coffee… but only before noon
See it’s nothing surprising, when you do enough research on this it’s all the same kinds of stuff you would have figured out as a child. People get screwed up when they hide sugar in cereals that look healthy, or they get used to how cheap meat has gotten every day.
Have you come across these funny heath studies with conclusions that seem to make no sense? Like sauna’s preventing heart attacks or whether eggs are good or bad for you? Feel free to let me know in the comments if I left something important off my list.