Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

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Meat Consumption: 2018

With all the talk of plant-based diets, the consumption of meat is estimated to have increased in the past few years after a short dip in consumption.


For a more historical perspective on why Americans eat so much beef, CLICK HERE.


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Taxes on Meat?

We already have soda taxes in place to attempt to cut down sweetened beverage consumption. Now it has been proposed by some that in the future we need to begin to look at the impact of meat consumption on our health as well as the environment.   CLICK HERE.

For a previous post on another perspective on this topic, CLICK HERE.

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Omnivores: A Sensible Approach?

Eating a plant-based diet is now perceived as an improvement in our U.S. food culture for better health and longevity.

A new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science seems to put eating meat into a common sense and realistic perspective. Some important points emerge:

  • The feasibility of the current U.S diet conversion to a plant-based diet would have some complex considerations.
  • Would a plant-based diet provide the nutrients we need and now obtain from our current meat-centered diet?
  • Would the reduction of the amount of green house gas emissions be enough to make a decided difference?

The U.S. diet has its roots in people eating both plant and animal foods and has more recently become animal food centered. In an ideal world, in my opinion, animals would all be free-range roaming and not dosed with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or experience the cruelties of the huge feedlot operations. But, realistically, current practices have a long way to go before this would ever be possible.

In the book, The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner, writes: “In most Blue Zones people ate small amounts of pork, chicken, or lamb. Families traditionally slaughtered a pig or goat for festival celebrations, ate heartily, and preserved the leftovers for frying or as a condiment for flavor . Neither beef nor turkey figures significantly into the average Blue Zones.”  in some “healthy” cultures, meat is used as more of an accompaniment rather than the “main attraction.”

How would a conversion of the U.S. diet to a more plant-based diet affect our current environmental and nutrition status?


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Sodium and Potassium Ratio

The Standard American Diet (SAD) has it all wrong when it comes to sodium and potassium.

The typical daily intake of sodium in the U.S. is about 3400 mg.

The AI (Adequate Intake) is 1500/day. The Tolerable Upper level (UL) is 2300 mg.

The AI for potassium is 4700 mg/day, a level that will lower blood pressure and reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The problem: Few Americans currently consume these amounts of potassium. The sodium/potassium ratio should be 1:2,  but actually approaches the opposite of about 2:1, so you can easily see the problem.

The U.S diet is high in sodium and low in potassium. The reason is that we eat a lot of processed foods, generally high in sodium and low in potassium and added during processing and manufacturing.    About 77% of the sodium we eat comes from these sources and not due to the salt shaker.