R. Crumb
R. Crumb

More bumptious poppycock fellow travelers from the meat and soda lobby groups decrying the new nutrition guidelines recently issued by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. These lobby groups are on a fool’s errand.  Even a half informed fellow traveler would look askance at these lobby groups feeble retorts.   But then again these lobby groups are pandering to the large population of gullible Booboisie helter-skelter.

Paleo diet is a step beyond the food guidelines. The Paleo diet is certainly nothing new to informed travelers curious though how the Paleo diet is akin to the new Atkins diet.  So once again, we confront the latest trend in diets aimed at health and the shedding of pounds. We can go round and round on the merry go round of diets but the Captain and others believe what counts in the final analysis are protein, calories, and EXERCISE. The Captain knows how futile an endeavor it is to try diet alone. One must literally starve oneself to shed pounds without exercise. It takes 90 minutes of moderately strenuous treadmill exercise to lose 1,335 calories. Therefore, this is just an example of how much exercise you need to lose any substantial amount of calories and which translates into pounds.

Finally, there is an excellent article from CNN on the dietary guidelines change and cholesterol. The Captain has been on statins and triglyceride medication for many years and would be loath to go off these medications.  As the cross section below shows,

this is what high cholesterol and triglycerides can do to the arterial wall forming plaque. The Captain had an angiogram in his 30’s and was clear but what now 30 years later. Captain will play it safe and stay on the medications just in case or until the next angiogram.

Meat and soda industries prepare to fight new US dietary guidelines

Lobbyists for the US meat and soda industries are rallying the troops after a government committee on healthy eating has recommended that Americans consume less red meat and sugary drinks, and more fruit and vegetables. The 571-page report published by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) was dismissed as “flawed” and “nonsensical” by representatives of the meat industry. Soda makers joined in the criticism, saying the panel of experts had gone “beyond its scope” and that high intensity sweeteners criticized by the panel “can be an effective tool in weight loss.”

Although the report has no legal powers, it’s very likely that the government will implement its advice. This will inform new public health campaigns and set federal policy for things like school lunches, which is a program worth $16 billion annually. The report also recommends for the first time ever that Americans consider the sustainability of their food. As with the advice for healthy eating, this means simply eating less meat and more vegetables and plants.


Even those of us that love a burger and Coke will recognize the DGAC’s advice is hardly radical. “A healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts,” says the report, “[It’s] moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meats; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.” Surprisingly, however, the report did repeal decades-old advice that individuals limit their intake of cholesterol, noting that there was no clear link between foods high in the nutrient (e.g. eggs and seafood) and health problems.


Thankfully, for the caffeine-addicted among us, the report gives the thumbs-up to moderate coffee consumption, noting that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day “is not associated with increased long-term health risks.” However, the panel added that Americans tended to underestimate their coffee consumption and that three to five cups a day was equal to only two or three servings from Starbucks.

They also highlighted the dangers of energy drinks with high caffeine content, saying that children and adolescents should drink them sparingly, or better still, not at all. Adults should also avoid consuming energy drinks and alcohol together — whether “mixed together or consumed at the same sitting.” This means popular drinks like Red Bull and vodka should be off the cards for those trying to stay healthy. The panel also mooted the idea of a tax on sugary drinks and foods.

As well as recommending that Americans consider the sustainability of their diet, the report highlights the meat industry as a particular environmental concern. “Current evidence shows that the average U.S. diet has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use and energy use,” said the report. “This is because the current U.S. population intake of animal-based foods is higher and plant-based foods are lower.”


The meat industry described the panel’s “foray into the murky waters of sustainability” as “well beyond its scope and expertise,” and pointed out that although the carbon footprint of meat was higher than plants, the two do not deliver an equal amount of nutrients. This is true, of course, but the ratio of environmental impact to nutritional output is not something that can be easily measured. Even among livestock there is much variation. Beef, for example, needs 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than pork and poultry.

Although the government is free to ignore the DGAC’s advice, the chances are it won’t, said former member Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University. Nestle describes the 2015 report as a “dramatic departure” for the panel, which has previously recommended eating meat as a way to reduce saturated fat intake. “The one thing the Dietary Guidelines have never been allowed to do is say clearly and explicitly to eat less of anything,” Nestle told Politico. “This committee is not burying anything, or obfuscating …They’re just telling it like it is.”

How to convert your diet to Paleo and lose weight

Shopping the Paleo way with fitness expert Nate Furlong. Susan Selasky/Detroit Free Press


Eat like a caveman. That’s the thrust of the trendy Paleo style of eating.

At its core, the Paleo diet is devoid of all processed foods, refined sugars and dairy. In theory, it is supposed to mirror the way Stone Age hunter-gathers ate. The diet has been around for a while, but has gained popularity over the last several years. And it doesn’t seem to be headed for extinction anytime soon.

Nate Furlong of New Hudson has been following a Paleo diet for three years. Furlong, 29, a clinical exercise physiologist, discovered the Paleo way of eating while working in a cardiologist office. (He’s also a personal trainer and Paleo nutrition expert, owns Well Fit Life in Novi and co-owner of Train Better Personal Trainers.)

“I was … helping clients with some nutrition recommendations according to normal USDA standards: low fat, kind of low protein and higher in carbohydrates,” Furlong said. “I saw them lose some weight, but not get off meds, so I started searching other options and Paleo was talked about favorably.”

The Paleo diet promotes eating lean meats and fish along with lots of fruits and non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds. What’s out? Most grains and legumes.

We caught up with Furlong recently at the Better Health Store in Novi, where he often conducts Paleo diet grocery tours as well as seminars. Here’s a bit of what he had to say about eating and shopping the Paleo way:

QUESTION: What made you convert to the Paleo way of eating?

ANSWER: What struck me was that by reducing some processed food, people had better cholesterol levels — ultimately, it helped people more. I’ve seen some clients get off meds. And that’s what gave me a kick.

Q: What are the benefits of Paleo?

A: Potential weight loss and increased cognitive function … along with problem solving. There’s also increased energy level and potential rebalancing of blood cholesterol — HDLs, LDLs and triglycerides.

Q: Is it easy to follow? How do you advise people to start?

A: It usually takes people a couple of tries. You start by cutting out things like pop and things that have added sugar and cutting back on the some of the gluten, dairy until you … minimize it. At the same time, I try to get them to eat more protein with each meal.

Q: What does a Paleo diet look in pyramid form?

A: Meat is on bottom along with veggies. The next level is non-starchy vegetables and fruits. … The next rung is seeds and nuts. But the balancer here, in regular Paleo nutrition, is that while meat is in the bottom so is unlimited non-starchy veggies.

Q: Beef play a huge role, as does poultry and fish. What do you recommend?

A: Really you are what you eat, and your food is what your food has been eating. For that reason, it’s important that you choose … from grass-fed and free-range sources. My personal favorite is a grass-fed porterhouse steak. With fish, it’s salmon because of the taste … and it’s really high in omega-3s.

Q: Nuts and seeds are a core Paleo concept. Which ones are best and how do they help?

A: I recommend one to two handfuls a day, rotating the variety you eat. I use PAW as the acronym … pecans, almonds and walnuts. Nuts and seeds satiate you and help when you start having a craving for something crunchy and salty.

Q: Why are beans (legumes) and grains not part of a Paleo diet?

A. Beans and legumes are a hot spot because they are considered anti-nutrients. (An anti-nutrient is a compound that interferes with the absorption of nutrients.) For example, kidney beans can cause inflammation and they are the highest in anti-nutrients. Some people who are 100% Paleo would say get rid of any food that has anti-nutrients. Grains are eliminated, too, because of the amount of anti-nutrient content. … But I am a fan of sprouting grains and there are sprouted breads like Eziekil and there is Paleo bread made with coconut flour.

Q: What fruits and vegetables are recommended?

A: It depends on your overall goal. We shoot toward thin skin fruits like berries. Most people who want to lose weight stay there. Athletes need to eat more thick-skin fruits like bananas and oranges.

Q: What’s your best Paleo cooking kitchen tip?

A: Take your favorite recipes and find simple Paleo modifications to them. For example, use Celtic sea salt instead of table salt, almond flour instead of regular flour and sweet potatoes instead of regular.

Q: Are there any foods you miss?

A: Not really. Most of the foods that aren’t Paleo should actually just be eaten for special occasions or celebrations — and that’s when I eat mine. I LOVE pizza, and I’ll have a few slices once every month or so. … Life is too short to say “no” to foods you love. We should just say “no” more often.

Contact Susan Selasky: 313-222-6432 or sselasky@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanMariecooks.

Jicama Tacos

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 30 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes

You may need to buy 2 jicamas. They should be close to the size of your mandoline, if using one. I was able to slice the jicamas thinly, carefully using a knife. Cut any leftover pieces of jicama into matchstick-size pieces and add them as a topping.


1 to 2 jicamas

1 pound ground beef or turkey

Seasoning mixture

2 cups lettuce, loosely packed

1 cup guacamole

1/4 red onion, julienned

Favorite salsa

Cilantro and lime wedges for garnish


2 tablespoons chili powder

11/2 tablespoons cumin

11/2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Peel jicamas and slice as thinly as possible using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Soak jicama slices in warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes prior to serving. The slices will not become completely pliable like a soft corn tortilla, but enough to pick up and fold slightly.

In a large skillet, place the ground beef or turkey and cook on medium heat until no longer pink. Sprinkle with all the seasonings and stir until evenly distributed.

Pat jicama slices dry, and top with lettuce, meat, guacamole, onion and salsa.

Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges, and serve.

Adapated from “The Food Lovers Make it Paleo: Over 200 Recipes For Any Occasion” by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason (Victory Belt Publishing, $34.95).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Nutrition information not available.

Cholesterol in food not a concern, new report says

CNN Explains: Cholesterol

Story highlights

  • Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee issues 2015 scientific report
  • Cholesterol in food no longer considered a “nutrient of concern” and has little effect on blood cholesterol, report says
  • Intake limits recommended on sodium, saturated fat and added sugars

(CNN)For more than a week, speculation has been running rampant. Here’s how it all started.

On February 10, The Washington Post published a headline that got a good amount of attention: “The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol.”

Every five years, the Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Department of Agriculture, issues “Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” a federal publication that has far-reaching implications on what we eat. The guidelines affect everything from the way companies can advertise their products, to what’s in your child’s school lunch, to the diet advice offered up by nearly every doctor and nutritionist in the country.

Remember the food pyramid from when you were growing up? Today’s iteration, MyPlate, relies on these guidelines as well. They’re also the basis for the information on nutrition facts labels on just about all food packaging.

So you can see why so many people are anxiously awaiting the 2015 update.

The 112-page report from 2010 included 23 recommendations for the general population and six additional recommendations for specific population groups, such as pregnant women. The three major goals emphasized were:

• Balance calories with physical activity to manage weight.

• Consume more of certain foods and nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products and seafood.

• Consume fewer foods with sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and refined grains.

What’s stirring the pot now is one bullet, on one slide (page 7) of thousands of slides, shown at one of seven public hearings held over the last two years to discuss the latest revisions to the guidelines:

“Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

Inside the advisory report

Sure enough, there it is, buried on page 91 of the 572-page  Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: “Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day. The 2015 DGAC will not bring forward this recommendation because available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum (blood) cholesterol, consistent with the AHA/ACC (American Heart Association / American College of Cardiology) report. Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

What has foodies buzzing is that this is somewhat of a tectonic shift regarding one of the main nutritional designations of the foods we eat. Cholesterol has been a prominent part of dietary warnings and guidelines since the American Heart Association put the compound in its crosshairs more than half a century ago.

Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told CNN: “The idea we need to limit saturated fat and cholesterol shifted Americans from a well-balanced diet to high-sugar diets, which made people eat more and get fatter.”

The reality, according to Nissen, is that only 15% of circulating cholesterol in the blood comes from what you eat. The other 85% comes from the liver. “So if you go on a diet,” he says, “you’re not changing your cholesterol very much.” Still, nutritionists are not recommending you go out and binge on cheeseburgers and fries.

A lot is riding on this decision. Foods that are high in cholesterol, like eggs, shrimp and lobster, could see a major uptick in sales. These foods, perhaps limited inside — or banished from — your home, could make a big comeback.

Who’s telling you what to eat

The 14 outside experts who made up the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee are nationally recognized in the fields of nutrition, medicine and public health.

In a letter to the HHS and USDA secretaries, 2015 DGAC chairwoman Barbara Millen highlights the major diet-related health problems she says we’re facing and must reverse.

“About half of all American adults — 117 million individuals — have one or more preventable (emphasis hers) chronic diseases that relate to poor quality dietary patterns and physical inactivity, including cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and diet-related cancers,” Millen writes.

“More than two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of children and youth are overweight or obese. These devastating health problems have persisted for decades, strained U.S. health care costs, and focused the attention of our health care system on disease treatment rather than prevention. They call for bold action and sound, innovative solutions.”

Millen hopes the report will “establish a ‘culture of health’ at individual and population levels and, in so doing, make healthy lifestyle choices easy, accessible, affordable and normative — both at home and away from home.”

“Dramatic paradigm shifts are needed to help individuals and families take more active roles in their personal health and to incentivize health care and public health services, programs, and research to focus more on prevention and personal diet and lifestyle management.”

What’s wrong with the American diet

The report identifies underconsumed “shortfall nutrients,” including vitamins A, D, E and C, as well as folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber.

For adolescent and premenopausal females, iron is also considered a shortfall nutrient.

The DGAC singles out two nutrients which are overconsumed: sodium and saturated fat.

No surprise, that’s the result of eating too many refined grains, solid fats and added sugars.

The committee was cautiously optimistic about one age group: Young children (ages 2-5) are the only ones consuming the recommended amount of fruit and dairy, so perhaps there’s hope for the future. The report urges a better understanding of how to maintain and encourage good eating habits that are started early in life.

What you should be eating

It’s not just what we eat, it’s how we eat it. When looking into the common characteristics of healthy diets, the committee focused on research examining dietary patterns, because “the totality of the diet — the combinations and quantities in which foods and nutrients are consumed — may have synergistic and cumulative effects on health and disease.”

A healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts; moderate in alcohol; lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.

The DGAC encourages dietary patterns that are low in saturated fat, added sugars and sodium. The goals for the general population are:

• Less than 2,300 milligrams of dietary sodium per day.

• Less than 10% of total calories from saturated fat per day.

• A maximum of 10% of total calories from added sugars per day.

“Sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars are not intended to be reduced in isolation, but as part of a healthy dietary pattern that is balanced, as appropriate, in calories,” the report states. “Rather than focusing purely on reduction, emphasis should also be placed on replacement and shifts in food intake and eating patterns.”

“Sources of saturated fat should be replaced with unsaturated fat, particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids. Similarly, added sugars should be reduced in the diet and not replaced with low-calorie sweeteners, but rather with healthy options such as water in place of sugar-sweetened beverages. For sodium, emphasis should be placed on expanding industry efforts to reduce the sodium content of foods and helping consumers understand how to flavor unsalted foods with spices and herbs.”

What’s next?

“For decades, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been at the core of our efforts to promote the health and well-being of American families,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a joint statement. “Now that the advisory committee has completed its recommendations, HHS and USDA will review this advisory report, along with comments from the public — including other experts — and input from other federal agencies as we begin the process of updating the guidelines.”

The public is now encouraged to view the independent advisory group’s report and provide written comments for a period of 45 days. Look for the government’s final, updated guidelines by the end of the year.

Meantime, remember what Mom always told you: Eat your fruits and veggies — that is, if you want to have dessert.

Avoid low-fact diets: Despite the hype, no verdict yet on high-fat, low-carb regime

By David Seres
September 22, 2014


If you have been reading the newspaper recently, you will have come across some startling new nutrition advice. A much hyped new study, conducted with just 150 participants, calls for us to “embrace fat”—even the saturated kind. The alleged benefits? Weight loss and, most incredibly, healthier hearts.

Unfortunately, this media attention is much ado about nothing.

Low-carb diets have been advocated by various “experts” for at least 225 years. Many sources credit John Rollo with being the first to promote a low carbohydrate diet for diabetics in the late 1700s. In the 1860s, an English undertaker by the name of Banting published his famous “Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public.”  His diet, which advocated giving up several starchy foods, was so popular that for decades dieting was actually called “Banting.”

James Salisbury, the 19th century American physician and food faddist, promoted the steak he named for himself as part of a high-meat diet in 1888.  Since then, the number of promoters for this dietary approach has been endless. I recall my mother eating cottage cheese in order to lose weight when I was growing up in the 60s, because of diet books written by doctors with nothing but theory to back them up.  Probably the most famous of all is Robert Atkins, whose book Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, published in the mid 1960s, is still a bestseller.

In the two centuries during which these diets have been promoted, there have been hundreds of studies comparing low-carb to low-fat diets.  One would think that by now it would be clear which was superior if there really was a difference.  But if you take all of these diet studies, and analyze the enormous body of data they produced, there is no proven difference between them as far as weight loss is concerned. In fact, another such analysis was published the day after the over-hyped low-carb study with this same conclusion.

More to the point, however, is that this most recent study really did not actually prove that low-carb diets are superior. The low-fat diet in the study was not that low in fat, and the low-carb group ate significantly fewer calories.  If anything, the study only confirms that fewer calories result in more weight loss.

Moreover, the study provided intensive dietary counseling, not available to most people, and only followed participants for a year. Everyone who knows anything about weight loss knows that as soon as a diet ends, the pounds go right back on.  Indeed, studies show that only 15 to 25 percent of those who lose weight are then able to keep it off.

I honestly have no opinion as to whether altering the fat or carbs in your diet is the best way to lose weight, and I am considered an expert in nutrition. Of course, it is possible that this current study may, in fact, herald the breakthrough that we’ve all been waiting for.  But there would need to be many more studies to confirm these findings before we lay to rest this centuries-long debate.

PHOTO: A customer chooses meat at a meat market in Beijing May 31, 2013, in this file photo. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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