Today we talk with Maura Davies about back to school and having a classroom pet, we talk with Dr. Mike Fenster about salt and diabetes, and we talk with Shawn Wells about the controversial Netflix documentary “What the Health?”
Dr. Mike Fenster writes about salt here.
Here is a Q & A with our expert Shawn Wells.
- Shawn, I know you eat meat, eggs, cheese etc. and you’re a non-vegan, correct?
I am. That is correct. I also eat vegetables and love vegetables, along with fruits on occasion. I eat nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. I am an omnivore, as our species has been for hundreds of thousands of years and our evolutionary ancestors have been for millions. Omnivore means meat and plant eating (carnivore and herbivore). I do seek out organic, grass-fed/grass finished, cruelty-free, antibiotic-free, hormone free animal-based food options when possible. I see the value in pushing for these things.
- So, What the Health? Is a documentary that I think makes sense on many levels, since I eat vegetarian often. What do you think?
I think just like hot button issues like religion and politics, there’s just enough truth here to make the whole thing seem true when there’s not a lot of science or data backing up many of the assertions. Claiming processed meats are a group 1 carcinogen like plutonium and asbestos is lazy and alarmist. It’s true. But that doesn’t mean they are equivalent in terms of cancer causing potential or threat of death. No, they are not healthy. But someone could eat a lifetime of crappy food and be “OK”, and someone could be exposed to plutonium for 5 seconds and be dead. This sets the tone for how alarmist and agenda driven this piece will be and how science will be cherry picked for sensationalism. Otherwise people wouldn’t all be talking about the documentary. Sensationalism sells. Factual science and presenting both sides evenly, does not sell nearly as well. I agree with those that choose veganism for ethical reasons, 100%. I get it. But saying that eating animal products is killing you – the data is not there to support that.
- I noticed he talks about processed meats, but he doesn’t mention processed grains/foods that are vegan friendly.
Exactly, no one in their right mind would argue processed foods are good. Sure, processed meats are not healthy for you. But also, GMO corn, soy and wheat are not. Gluten intolerance is a growing issue. Soy is filled cancer causing, endocrine disrupting phytoestrogens, corn is the source of maltodextrin and high fructose corn syrup. What about soda, candy, etc.? Those are vegan. What about the proinflammatory processed vegetable oils like canola? That doesn’t get mentioned anywhere in here.
- I know how you feel about high fat diets being healthy, given you’re a ketogenic dieter and Kip, the documentarian, say that high fat diets are dangerous, cholesterol in food is dangerous, saturated fat and sodium is dangerous. Thoughts?
Yes, you know this frustrates me. Everyone except for the bought and paid for American Heart Association that slammed the vegan-friendly coconut oil (saturated fat) for being dangerous has moved on. The American Medical Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, etc. all have dropped the fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol claims of yesteryear. Dietary cholesterol has almost zero impact on endogenous cholesterol, it’s crazy they bring that up. Even cholesterol levels are not a good indicator of heart health. Inflammation is (CRP) and VLDL (small dense LDL) is. Though those do not get measured appropriately by most doctors. Fat is healthy. The adage of you are what you eat is wrong. YOU BURN WHAT YOU EAT is right. You eat high fat you burn high fat. You eat sugar. You burn sugar/glycogen/glucose.
- So, the diabetes thing in the documentary about how you do not get diabetes from sugar, explain that?
Yes. The premier diabetes expert and researcher is an author of a book slamming cheese that’s vegan and has zero to do with diabetes. Saying fat in the diet is what makes you diabetic is absurd. I have worked with many diabetics and you do carb counting. You look at sugar. Its “glucose intolerance”, not fat intolerance. This was class action lawsuit worthy. Inflammation in the body is not from fat intake, but from high sugar intake. There are studies showing this to be the case through glycation (sugar damaging cells).