Nutrition Confusion and Reductionist Theory

The coaching that I did before my recent day job provided me with a certain population of patients. It compromised those that wanted to learn but those that typically had some form of knowledge of health to begin with therefore the questions were a bit different. Sometimes people come to me in the setting I'm in now and say that they do not know of anything that they can do to change their lifestyle to affect their blood sugar or high cholesterol and for weight loss, they want to get a surgery they can't afford. I'm not sure where the gap is, but I've seen comments on threads about Kim Kardashian and those that believe that she was only able to lose weight after having children due to money. I hate this. I hate that there is such confusion on health that people aren't able to really take ownership of the things that they can do. I recognize that things are maybe easier with money and I fully get that, but I think that there is a lot of confusion on health and fitness and how extreme it needs to be in order to get results for an overall wellbeing.

Are eggs good for you? Are eggs bad for you? Is coffee good for you? Is coffee bad for you? Should you limit carbs but then also eat fruit? Are those the same carbs? Are they processed the same? These questions are SO confusing, and it seems as if the more that you dive into health, the more confusing and muddy the water becomes. I heard on the radio this morning a study about the antioxidants in coffee and why they are swinging back the other way and saying coffee is good for you. I have never thought that coffee was bad, but nevertheless, people come into my office and think that they need to give up things that they don't actually need to give up. They are confused on the topic of health and it all comes down to the reductionist theory. I'll get to that. ha!

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First, let's break down the topic of an egg real quick. Eggs are comprised of a great bio available protein source, cholesterol, and nutrients within the yolk. There are a blue million studies done on eggs, and most of the time the culprit of target is the egg yolk with a medium sized yolk having about 68% of your daily value of cholesterol in it. So, if you have high cholesterol, you shouldn't eat eggs? From my medical perspective and the literature that I agree with, I think that yes, if you have high cholesterol then you should avoid but there are tons of practitioners that would say that dietary cholesterol does not lead to LDL increase. I think that the FASTING cholesterol levels are what is tested in cholesterol but if we are to in fact test cholesterol levels directly after the intake of the egg then by all means, there is cholesterol increase. You also can't refute the fact that vegans have the lowest cholesterol across the board and this is due to their lack of cholesterol in their diets. However, the yolk also has some vitamin A, B-6, B-12, vitamin D and calcium in marginal amounts and protein and is termed the "most nutrient dense part of the egg" which you can't deny either. So, is the egg good or is the egg bad?

TOO MUCH REDUCTIONISM. We don't even need to know if the egg is good or the egg is bad but that we need to focus on an overarching theme of balanced nutrition.  It is important to recognize so that you are KNOWLEDGEABLE about the subject. It is important that you know things about different foods items but when you label things as good vs evil, that's when an unhealthy relationship with food and can lead to orthorexia (the new eating disorder distinction of those that are obsessed with only eating foods that are "healthy" and disguise this as healthy living).

Science is also confusing when it should be finite, but it's not and it's ever changing. There are also many studies ran that are interpreted in different ways, have different compounding factors with different agendas and support from different organizations. If a company wants to design a study that they want to look legit, then they can create a double blind placebo trial which is the most respected model that will show certain statistics in whatever light they want to even if the evidence isn't truly there. Propaganda is everywhere within hashtag science, so many times in nutrition or medicine in general, science is this term that gets thrown around a lot but science is only as good as each individual study and if there is bias in the study then this is going to be flawed.

All foods are made up of individual components which also make it complicated to give this distinction between good and bad, which we shouldn't be doing regardless, however if someone is to look at the literature on a piece of meat then they need to look at the fat content, as well as the animal protein. That's just one example. In many of the foods that we eat, they are comprised of fat, carbs, and protein and each one of them might be beneficial while the other harmful. Coffee has antioxidants, but also high levels of caffeine. Is caffeine good for you? Is caffeine bad for you? It gets so confusing so fast, and this is where we HAVE to remember the reductionist theory.

You must look at a "diet" and when I say diet I simply mean the way that you eat your food, you need to look at things from a wholistic perspective and not just a holistic. I just made that up and it's not even that clever, but I'm proud. lol! Basically, look at the WHOLE DIET from day to day and month to month, and not just the egg that you are about to eat. This creates a much more fluid, realistic, long term, flexible, and enjoyable diet. If you have convinced yourself that the only thing that you should eat are bananas and green beans, and those are the only safe foods then what kind of a life is that.



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