Posted by: bridget | 2 November 2006

Food Wars

This week’s schizophrenic food studies in review:

Exhibit A: calorie restriction extends life.  We’ve known this for a while.  Cut down an American’s diet to 1,200 calories a day for a full-grown man, and he’ll live longer.  He’ll also drop about 80 pounds and be freakishly emaciated. The new research is that calorie restriction cuts down on cancers, diabetes, and age-related illnesses.  To which the pachyderm replies: no kidding.  When you slow metabolism down, cells divide (ergo, age) much more slowly.  When an animal restricts its calories but gets all necessary vitamins and minerals, it is eating what is or is very close to a vegetarian diet.  Vegetarianism makes you live longer.  Wow! Cutting down on the Twinkies extends your life!  Who on earth pays people to do research like this?

Exhibit B: red wine can help to reduce the heart damage from a high-fat diet.   Except that, to get the health benefits, an average human would have to drink about 1,000 bottles a day of red wine to get enough resveratrol to replicate the study’s results.  Sigh.

So what can we really determine from this nonsense?  Eat your vegetables and drink your wine.   Wait, that’s the Mediterranean diet.

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