Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter261



Letters to the Editor

(April 22, 2013)


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Michael Barker Barks Up The Wrong Tree

To the Editor:

Michael Barker criticizes my article "Eating And Mindful Metabolic Management" inaccurately. He claims I recommend people consume omega-3 fatty acid supplements, when in fact I do not recommend or even mention any supplements in my article. What I said was that people should eat lots of FRESH vegetables and fish, which are foods naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and eat much less seed-based (flour-based) foods ("carbohydrates"), which are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. The logic of this is spelled out in Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food (which is actually the main source to my article, which problems Mr. Barker so).

The human metabolism is such that omega-3s and omega-6s compete for inclusion in the chemical reactions that make the conversions that convey or store energy in the human body. Our Western diet is very lopsided with omega-6-rich foods, and with such a diet (hamburgers, French fries, pizza, sodas, high fructose corn syrup sweetened, carbohydrate-based processed foods) omega-3s (which accelerate metabolism) are blocked from entry into our metabolic reactions (and omega-6s are metabolic-reducing: fattening), which is why omega-3 supplements are effectively useless. It is the combination of eating fresh real whole foods rich in omega-3s and simultaneously not eating large portions of omega-6 rich foods that is essential.

The idea of focusing on a single "nutrient" as some dietary magic bullet consumed supplementally to solve the ills that afflict our bodies is a popular and persistent misconception exploded as "nutritionism" in Michael Pollan's book. The point of good eating is to configure the entire array of foods we eat so their totality -- as a combination of presences and absences -- mesh with our metabolic chemistry to provide energy and not otherwise degrade our physical selves. Also, diet is only half of the puzzle, exercise is the second half. Just like running an old collector car on a routine basis so its engine and transmission mechanisms don't freeze up, it is necessary to rev up the human metabolism on a routine (ideally, daily) basis to flush out calorie-storing material that may be dropping out of circulation and solidifying to unsightly and unhealthy excess.

PS. Note this new press release:

"Following a Western Style Diet May Lead to Greater Risk of Premature Death"
15 April 2013

It confirms the soundness of my article "Eating and Mindful Metabolic Management"

From the press release:
Data from a new study of British adults suggest that adherence to a "Western-style" diet (fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products) reduces a person's likelihood of achieving older ages in good health and with higher functionality. Study results appear in the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
Manuel García, Jr.
Oakland, California, USA - April 8, 2013


Was Hitler a Vegetarian?

To the Editor:

Manuel García, Jr. (in my opinion, last year MG had the best summer list) makes a good point, Hitler was "known" to be a vegetarian. I did carefully look at many sources out there, and many of his. Hitler's contemporary journalists and diarists reveal a contrary and contentious picture of their Fuhrer. Most historians treated Hitler's diet in a topical-insignificant manner; however, Pierre Stephen Robert Payne, a naval professor, eminent historian, and researcher on Hitler's personal life, substantiates something totally contrary to conventional wisdom. Hitler's asceticism and vegan diet was image-crafting 101 for PR students. His PR master, Joseph Goebbels, crafted the Fuhrer's image for national propaganda and consumption, to emphasize his self control, and sacrifice for his fatherland. His propaganda team meticulously crafted an image, "incapable of killing." In fact, Albert Speer, Rommel, and Runstedt left journals of this duplicity. Philosophically, we are missing the point. He was the worst carnivore of all. He ate human beings, his ideology ate human beings -- his lieutenants, all butchers (Eichmann, Himmler, and others) roasted millions in their ovens, and used femurs of Jews to craft handles for silver tea pots as souvenirs for the SS families. The whole farce was to maintain a distance, a deniability, an aura of a father to his people, who were not allowed to see the real creature. And it is astounding that we have, in the 21st century, swallowed and continue to ingest what Goebbels dished out over 70 years ago. Of course, arguments exist on both sides of the aisle, however, let us use our instincts, our common sense, to discern who and what Hitler really was.

Raju Peddada
Des Plaines, Illinois, USA - April 9, 2013


More on Red Meat: Raju Peddada's Why Meat Stinks!

To the Editor:

Readers enjoying Raju Peddada's diatribes against meat may also be interested in this recent New York Times story about a newly-discovered biochemical link between consumed red meat and heart attacks, via the action of gut bacteria.

Culprit in Heart Disease Goes Beyond Meat's Fat, by Gina Kolata, April 7, 2013.

Manuel García, Jr.
Oakland, California, USA - April 10, 2013


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Published April 22, 2013
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