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The Fads won’t last

James Hamblin, “New Nutrition Study Changes Nothing”, The Atlantic, September 1, 2017

Confusing? Not really

If you’ve ever been on the internet, you’ve noticed that some things are popular, and other things aren’t. The popular ones have something in common. It’s not quality, or importance, or accuracy, but novelty.

The effect of all this, day after day, year after year, is a perception that all kinds of contradictory evidence is coming up every day—and that each bit is roughly equally valid.

Of course, it’s not. Eating in ways that are good for our bodies isn’t conceptually complicated. It’s complicated by money and time and access—but eating based on scientific findings is not. Though recently you might have heard otherwise. There is new news about dietary health, and that news is more important than the typical weekly nutrition news.

 

Through the WI Lens

There are so many nutrition fads promoted in an endless quest to upend conventional wisdom that it’s easy to get lost when trying to understand what healthy eating is. The reason is this: when measuring diet, lifelong randomized, controlled trials are virtually impossible. The MD / senior editor of The Atlantic sets the record straight by making a simple but potent point: the science of healthy eating appears confusing, but in reality it is not. Study after study have led to a general and basic agreement among scientists and researchers: diverse, naturally high-fiber, minimally processed foods and mostly plants is what we need. Eating fat is important, but like other types of macronutrients it is “good in moderation, bad in scarcity and probably bad in overexposure”. Our take is this: the restaurants and resorts that adopt and promote menus exclusively based on fads and / or fashion (like “vegan restaurants taking over America” according to a recent article), won’t last.

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“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”

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“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”

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“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”

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“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”

Home (working) Truths

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“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”

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“All roads lead to a wellbeing anchor, whether that be economic/financial, physical, mental or emotional: all contribute to a progressive and inclusive cosmopolitan world. The answer should not be a choice of one or the other but of a joined up and compassionate solution for society, business and individuals.”

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“The paradox is that we continue to do this in spite of recognising that striving to become ever-more productive is an intrinsically unhealthy behaviour, leading to stress and too often, a sense of failure.”

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“The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against black Americans is also responsible for higher mortality among black Americans with Covid-19,” Maimuna Majumder, a Harvard epidemiologist working on the Covid-19 response, tells Vox.

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The take-out from this? Wellbeing cannot exist at a more elevated level without our basic needs being met.

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