Many in education offer advice on diet and nutrition to help students in school and on tests. But most of their advice (eat candy or a grain-based breakfast before a test, etc.) is rubbish based on pseudo-science (e.g., the ungrounded, unproven (and false) cholesterol-heart health hypothesis of Ancel Keys — who violated the laws of statistics in doing his ‘research’ and reporting his results — and which hypothesis has led to the recommendations that we eat more grains and sugars), hasty generalization (e.g., drawing conclusions about proper human diet without considering the American Indians’ (and other peoples’!) decay in health when put on a high-sugar, high-grain diet instead of a hunter-gatherer-type diet), and failure to integrate (e.g., failing to understand and assess results of a ‘scientific experiment’ in terms of our evolutionary history).
Statistics is the science that studies the quantitative, numerical attributes of groups. It is by nature grounded in induction and classification. Hence, when doing statistics, to fail to generalize properly, to fail to classify properly, and to fail to integrate a conclusion with the rest of human knowledge — i.e., to fail to induce properly — is to fail to follow the laws and presuppositions of statistics. Statistics do not lie and cannot be made to say anything whatsoever; people lie. In such cases, statistics is being abused, not used.
Violating the laws of statistics (and, more generally, the laws of logic) has led to more obesity in America, more diabetes, more heart disease. And to American students eating a diet that adversely affects their memories, ability to learn, brain function, nervous system function, synapse growth and repair, etc.
In Scott Smith’s interview with Gary Taubes (“Gary Taubes on Cold Fusion, Good Nutrition and What Makes Bad (and Good) Science,” posted on 11-22-09), Mr. Taubes identifies some objective, scientific, integrated principles of a healthy diet:
1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease or any other chronic disease of civilization.
2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion and so the hormonal regulation of homeostasis — the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily-digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well-being.
3. Sugars – sucrose and high fructose corn syrup specifically – are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevate insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.
4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and the other chronic diseases of civilization.
5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation not overeating and not sedentary behavior.
6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger.
7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance – a disequilibrium — in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism: Fat synthesis and storage exceeds the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this balance.
8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated – either chronically or after a meal – we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel.
9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The less carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.
10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
To do well in school and on tests, we should put fat in our diet, and we should remove sugars and grains, which injure and wreck havoc upon our bodies, nervous systems, and brains. Our brains and our nervous system needs fats, omega-3s, and cholesterol to function properly. See, for example, my posts “Real Brain Food” and “Insulin, Obesity, and Exercise.”
The comment after the interview I must disagree with vehemently. In saying:
We tend to believe – and this is NOT an opinion we have arrived at through any kind of numerical or scientific analysis – that the entire Western scientific culture has been perverted by the endless amounts of money cast at it by governmental entities at the behest of a small coterie of individuals with great wealth and a generational agenda. This goes to the heart of the Daily Bell’s ongoing analysis, which is all about the growing efforts by the monetary elite to impose dominant social themes on the West’s increasingly harried masses.
Money is the motivating factor in all this. The amount of public money thrown at science today is infinitely corrupting. If you are a researcher, where are you going to go? Universities in the West are on the public dole and private institutions for the most part are linked in some form or other to governmental entities as well – or at least share stated agendas.
the author is driven, implicitly or explicitly, by Marxism. (Or, possibly, some related false theory of man and money.)
It is not money as such that is the problem; nor is the problem some “elite” “oppressing” the “masses.”
The problem is bad ideas and bad philosophy governing the use of some money — as well as of some people’s time, effort, and cognition. We can see this by encompassing the whole of history and the whole of human experience. The kings of old were not held in power by money possessing some magic power breathed into it by Marx; they were held in power by wrong ideas about morality and the metaphysics of man, ideas held volitionally, not deterministically, by each individual man and by the driving minds of the era. Ancient Athens was neither raised up nor thrown into decay by magic Marxist money; it was affected by the fundamental ideas governing people’s thinking: the idea of man as a self-sovereign rational animal making Athens great; the idea of man as a helpless, irrational pawn of unknowable forces bringing its decline. America did not go from the Founders’ Republic to the Federal Reserve because of magic money imposing Marxism on the structure of the universe and on human nature; it decayed because the dominant ideas influencing people’s thought and action went from the ideas of man as self-sovereign, individual, independent and rational to the ideas of man as dependent on the state, servant to the state, and irrational/arational.