Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Real Cause of Heart Disease

Recently I watched a few minutes of a documentary in which a very well-educated, eminent physician, who is also a vegetarian, told a story about how he knows meat is bad for us.

It's because of Norwegians.

Apparently, prior to World War 2, Norwegians had high rates of heart disease. In 1940, the Germans occupied Norway and conscripted much of their livestock, so naturally we can presume that meat consumption went down during the occupation. After the war, Norwegians resumed eating meat and rates of heart disease went back up.

Et voila! Eating meat causes heart disease! Or so says Dr. Eminent Whatshisname.

I'll admit this theory sounds somewhat compelling. Especially when it comes from a doctor who went to a designer university. But let's think about it some more.

Is it the meat?

I'm guessing Norwegians didn't have a lot of things under German occupation. Sugar, coffee, chocolate, refined flour, cigarettes, bananas and... nylon stockings!

That's it! It's the nylons! Obviously, something was being absorbed transdermally from the nylons. Nylon causes heart disease.

Wait a minute--that can't be it. I'm guessing most men weren't wearing nylons, before or after the war, and men get heart disease. Add to that the fact that no one wears nylons anymore and people are still dying of heart disease. So scratch that.

So it must be... the BANANAS!

We know from Foyle's War that northern Europeans had access to bananas before the war.* And of course, bananas don't grown on trees in Norway. So that's it. It's the bananas!

***Stop eating bananas right now!!!!***

Of course, this is ridiculous. I think we're all pretty confident that bananas are not the cause of heart disease. But do we all see that isolating one type of food that has been consumed for a very.long.time--long before the 20th century heart disease epidemic--and calling it evil is kind of silly? Do we not recognize that the host of other foods that have been introduced into our diets might be more likely culprits than meat? How about margarine? Refined flour and sugar? Vegetable oils? Are we really going to vilify animal foods?

Certainly, someone might say, what does she know? She's just the barre mom. She has no formal education in this stuff. (And they would be entirely correct on that point.) Dr. Eminent Whatshisname is a doctor. A lot of people will hang on your every word if you have the letters 'MD' after your name.

I'm sure Dr. Whatshisname is a smart guy, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he's not basing his position on meat entirely on wartime Norway. But when you tell a story like that in a documentary, and people see that MD, they are inclined to believe you. Even if, from a logical perspective, meat is about as likely to be the cause of heart disease as bananas.

*In the Bleak Midwinter episode. Edith is telling Milner they're going to get married after the war and eat bananas just like they did before it all started. Milner is massively hesitating.... Girls, please, if you mention marriage to a guy you've only been dating for three months and he hesitates, you're either freaking him out or he has a secret. It's not that he doesn't like bananas.


  1. This is why so many people say 'screw it' and eat whatever they want, figuring we're all going to check out at some point. I've run the gamut of eating plans: vegetarian, vegan, low carb (make me bitchy), no carb (makes me a chupacabra), atkins (which is really the atkins + altoids diet).

    I saw no difference in my weight or how I felt until I dumped processed foods, including wheat, corn syrup, sodium and artificial preservatives, color and flavor. My blood pressure dropped in 2 days of eating modified Paleo (ie, I'm not hard core and I'm not cooking bone broth).

    1. It's just so weird to me that we have new diseases, or at least new rates of diseases, yet the old foods that have been with us for eons, are the ones being blamed... There were all kinds of new 'foods' introduced... why weren't they implicated?

  2. Enjoying these posts. :) Now, how about if you take on these "experts."

    1. I wonder how much the 'experts' are being paid by Slimfast?!