A Mess of Greens

I don’t want any vegetables, thank you. I paid for the cow to eat them for me.

–Doug Copeland

I’m going to say some things about vegetables now. It might hurt their feelings, but I’m not going to say it to their faces. I’d appreciate if you wouldn’t repeat it to your asparagus, either. Hang on, here we go:

1. Oops. In a report from NPR, it turns out fruits and vegetables aren’t the cancer-preventative miracle the government told you they were. You know, when they started their very expensive five-a-day campaign (with your tax money)? You know, when they said:

It is estimated that as much as 50 percent or more of cancer can be prevented through smoking cessation and improved dietary habits, such as reducing fat consumption and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption,” say the government’s Healthy People 2010 goals.

Read the article not just for what it says about fruits and vegetables, but for an illustration of how completely sure the government can be about what they want to make you to eat, yet on very flimsy evidence. It should make anyone pause and consider when they read any official nutrition advice: remember that in 2010 they were telling you five vegetables and fruits a day would cut cancer in half–and then it turns out that’s completely wrong. Now they’re sending threatening letters to school cafeteria managers for daring to buy real butter instead of Frankenfat oils because they’re “completely sure!” that saturated fat is bad for kids. Much better to give them oils proven to cause arterial inflammation and sugar-laced flavored skim milks.

But I digress…

2. Here, in the New York Times, an interesting article explaining that we’ve bred most of the best nutrition out of our fruits and vegetables. This doesn’t even address how well we can absorb that nutrition or what anti-nutrients might be present in fruits and vegetables to dissuade predators from eating them: but just whether it’s there to absorb in the first place.

3. Here, for an MD who doesn’t think much of them and explains the science behind his thoughts.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love vegetables. I’m not suggesting you cut them from your diet. Please don’t do that, especially the above ground ones. All I’m suggesting is that maybe they aren’t a miracle food. Maybe they aren’t the foundation of a healthy diet, but merely a support for it. Maybe there isn’t actually much of any evidence that they are the most essential thing you eat. In fact, I can’t find any studies that prove it. It’s just something “everyone knows.”

Oh you can find studies that show people that eat vegetables are healthier than those who don’t, but they aren’t comparing people who eat mostly vegetables to people who eat plenty of clean meats and healthy fats while eschewing grains, sugar, and vegetable oils. They’re comparing people on toaster pastry and cold pizza diets with vegans. Anyone who isn’t eating carbage and frankenfats is going to be in better health than someone who does, and there are so many other confounding factors in these comparisons that it becomes impossible to narrow it down and say it’s the vegetables that make the difference.

If you like vegetables and worry about your nutritional balance without them, by all means eat them–with plenty of fat (this article isn’t from a science study or doctor, but it links to the supporting studies and, frankly, is a funny site.)


Plato says he’s hungry

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2 thoughts on “A Mess of Greens

  1. My health and mood only got better when I avoid veggies. Raw veggies make my stomach turn, roasted veg a few times a week are okay. Eating more animal fat makes you a weirdo, but avoiding fruit and veggies practically means you worship Satan. I think a lot of very fat people who are forcing themselves to eat more fruit and veggies and really suffering in the process since they think they are being “good.”

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