Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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More bull… from Bulletproof

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Ugh. Why won’t Bulletproof bullshit just go away?? Earlier this week I saw this article about the new Bulletproof “Fatwater” which supposedly is more hydrating than regular old water because of the oil in the water. According to the creator, Asprey, “People have been talking for many years about how our bodies are dehydrated and how we need even more water in the body and not just more water in the mouth. This is our contribution to help people solve that problem.” Who’s been talking about this for years? Why, after water sustaining life on earth for at least 3.5 billion years is it suddenly not good enough? No, this is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. This is just an opportunity for Asprey and his company to make more money off unwitting people who buy into his self-proclaimed status as a biohacker.

As if that ridiculous product didn’t get me riled up enough, then my friend sent me a link to this Bulletproof article about how beans are deadly. Which, as it turns out, is several years old, and one of many in the paleo world proclaiming beans, and other lectin containing foods to be deadly. Oh crap, because I’ve unwittingly been eating beans and legumes for about 37 years. Who knew that I was committing suicide all this time? I guess my days are numbered.

What is lectin you might be asking? It’s a protein found in many foods, but at the highest levels in beans, legumes, and grains. And, it’s true, it can make you quite illBUT cooking, or sprouting, the foods that contain lectin destroys most, if not all of it (1, 2). So, unless you’re chowing down on raw kidney beans, it’s a non-issue.

There also seems to be some confusion in the article, and the comments (yes, I know, I broke the cardinal rule and read them), about lectin and the difficulty that people have digesting beans. Lectin is not why you get gas after eating beans. It’s actually the oligosaccharides raffinose and stachyose that are indigestible by humans that cause some people to become gassy after eating beans. This is not a sign that beans are toxic. It’s actually a good thing because the bacteria in your intestine are happily feeding away on these complexes, and we are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the human microbiome on many aspects of health.

In defense of beans, as they seem to bear the brunt of this anti-lectin movement; they are affordable sources of protein, fibre, calcium, and magnesium, among other nutrients. You can buy many cans of beans (30 at $0.99 each) for the $29.95 price of 160 ml of fatty water.


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Sugar: Natures deadliest drug?

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Researchers (aka Robert Lustig) have been pointing to sugar as the root of many modern diseases in recent years. The CBC recently wrote this article about the toxicity of sugar as well as devoting an episode of the Fifth Estate to the subject.

While I do think that there may be some merit to the research, particularly in regard to fructose, I am reluctant to wholeheartedly support the stance that sugar is toxic. I’m not convinced that, in and of itself, it is in fact a poison. Think about all of the nutritious fruits and vegetables that contain sugar. Should we purge them from our diets because we’re eating too many cookies? It’s a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water, I think.

Any time that one specific nutrient is vilified (or exalted) it always tends to lead to us making things even worse. We decided that butter was bad for us so we replaced it with block margarine. We decided that fat was bad for us so we loaded our foods with sugar and salt instead. We decided that salt was bad for us and are only just now starting to learn that, in some cases, restricting our sodium intake may actually be more damaging than not. And then look at antioxidants like vitamin E which we thought were so wonderful and then turned out to increase the risk of prostate cancer in men when taken as a synthetic supplement.

Yes, it’s quite likely that the majority of us are consuming excessive amounts of sugar. Too much of anything is bad for you. Instead of cutting out all sources of sugar, try to consume fewer packaged and highly processed foods. Eat fewer baked goods, don’t drink pop or juice, and avoid adding sugar to your coffee, tea, and cereal. No need to toss that juicy honeycrisp.