Re: Beware of advice in books and newspaper articles etc..
Ok, I'll start with a few examples:
1) Take a multivitamin as insurance:
This advice is based on the assumption that the AVERAGE person eats a nutrient poor diet or might have some health related reason for being deficient. But whatever the reason, there's not one multivitamin formula that will suit every individual need. We all have unique requirements, so you would have to be very lucky to be well served by a multivitamin. It's about the same as buying a lottery ticket, in my opinion.
2) Eat lots of fruit: (usually followed by the words "and vegetables")
The average American already consumes more than 3 time more fruit than the Okinawan elders who are healthier and live longer than we do. Only 6% (by weight) of the Okinawan diet (in a 2001 publication of a long term study) consists of fruit, while we are at 20%. So why do they keep telling us to eat more fruit? The advice, if anything, should be to eat an ADEQUATE amount of fruit (about 2 to 4 servings per day). Or: Eat whole fruit instead of processed desserts.
3) Take fish oil or other oils that are high in Omega 3:
The assumption is that the AVERAGE person eats a lot of animal protein that is high in Omega 6. So they need to balance it by taking Omega 3. It doesn't take into account those who don't need it or can't tollerate it. And even if it's needed, it's often just a stop-gap measure. It's not the ultimate solution to a poor diet that is way out of balance in favor of animal protein (and low in vegetables etc..) Perhaps better advice would be to: Cut back on omega 6 consumption. Often, the advice to take fish oil goes for the quick fix, rather than taking the time to improve a poor diet.
4) A little wine is good for your heart:
This advice is not for everyone. It assumes that you are the AVERAGE American who consumes a diet that is high in fatty animal protein (and starchy carbs etc..) It assumes that you're on your way to a heart by-pass operation. Wine thins your blood and helps it to flow past those partly clogged areas. Perhaps better advice would be to improve your diet and reverse or prevent cardiovascular disease.
Last edited by JohnR41; 02-21-2009 at 10:48 AM.