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283 comments

Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for you (1, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538346)

Sometimes I think the western medical profession never really lost that Augustinian "If it's pleasurable, it's sinful" mentality it seemed to pick up in late Roman era. If I drink, smoke, watch TV, or eat anything other than cardboard and distilled water--every organ in my body will implode and I'll be lucky to live to the age of 4. The last time I went to a doctor, she flew into a mad rage after I told her I had been to a Cinnabon in the mall. I left about the time she started turning over furniture, informing her nurse on the way out that I would henceforth be seeking all my medical care from the local faith healer. Anyway, I had no desire to take any more shit from her for not eating the ORGANIC cardboard.

As for the statistics, well, I have it on good authority that 99% of all studies find exactly what the author(s) wanted them to find all along.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (4, Insightful)

what2123 (1116571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538396)

In short, there is nothing that is not damaging in an excessive amount. A lot of anything will bring bad consequences. This includes anything we consider "good" such as vitamins and minerals and HDL.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (0, Offtopic)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538480)

In short, there is nothing that is not damaging in an excessive amount. A lot of anything will bring bad consequences. This includes anything we consider "good" such as vitamins and minerals and HDL.

Except democracy. You can't have too much democracy. Nothing but rule of the people can be the right thing. Even if it would turn out that people are too stupid in aggregate and would technically benefit from a despot or anything less that direct and absolute democracy.

(I know you were talking about nutrition, but for some reason I felt compelled to come up with a silly counter argument.)

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538600)

Maybe you should read about the Weimarer Republic.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538882)

Is that like the Weimar republic except more betterer?

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538796)

You can't have too much democracy.

Sure you can. If everyone has to vote on everything, no matter how trivial, the organisation will be paralysed into inaction cf. Life Of Brian.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (2, Insightful)

zrakoplovom (1938894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538908)

Except democracy. You can't have too much democracy.

Except maybe the case of two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner...

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539080)

Exactly. Pure, literally unbridled democracy is just a form of tyranny. If a hundred million voters passing direct judgement on every item of business in the government never unjustly oppress some minority, it would be not only pure luck, but a denial of human nature. A constitutional republic is one way of limiting the democratic power of The People to protect individual persons.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538574)

Maybe it's the poison in genetically modified corn syrup. Or maybe the poisonous water used in the processing of food that imported from Mexico.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (2)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538900)

By the same token, not getting enough of certain things can have bad consequences. It's a complicated balance and it's different for every person.

It is my personal theory that the correct diet for an individual is similar to whatever tribe they came from back before modern times when we had to eat whatever was available. Some ate a lot of meat, others mostly grains, some had only fruit, and still others had access to a variety of foods, etc. What is healthy for you depends on what type of tribe you are descended from. This is part of the reason why it's so hard to be healthy these days, it takes a lot of work to figure out what is correct for you from the vast array of choices.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (2, Funny)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538416)

Good thinking! If we all just eat junk food and do whatever we want, there can't be any negative consequences! I'm glad there are people like you to show the way.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (2)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538518)

Depends. If you exercise, and vary which places you visit for a dining experience, it can be quite healthy.

If you eat the exact same thing every day from McDonalds, for a month, do not move from the couch, except to use the bathroom, then yes, it can be quite unhealthy.

I think everyone is aware that fast-foods tend to be somewhat lacking in micro-nutrients.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538552)

If we all just eat junk food and do whatever we want, there can't be any negative consequences!

Yes, that was exactly the point of my comment. It's like how someone saying "It's okay to drive a car" is also *really* saying "It's okay to drive at 140 mph and disregard all other cars, FUCKIN' AY!!!!" Thank you for so eloquently clarifying what I really meant.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538422)

Sometimes I think the western medical profession never really lost that Augustinian "If it's pleasurable, it's sinful" mentality it seemed to pick up in late Roman era. If I drink, smoke, watch TV, or eat anything other than cardboard and distilled water--every organ in my body will implode and I'll be lucky to live to the age of 4. The last time I went to a doctor, she flew into a mad rage after I told her I had been to a Cinnabon in the mall. I left about the time she started turning over furniture, informing her nurse on the way out that I would henceforth be seeking all my medical care from the local faith healer. Anyway, I had no desire to take any more shit from her for not eating the ORGANIC cardboard.

As for the statistics, well, I have it on good authority that 99% of all studies find exactly what the author(s) wanted them to find all along.

Translate: I want to eat a burger mommy, booooh!

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538536)

There is nothing wrong with a burger. The trouble is in the fries and various pastries made with trans fats instead of what they are supposed to be made of.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538602)

That's why I usually skip the fries and soda when I eat at McDonalds.

Not only that... it's usually fun to watch their faces when you say you don't want fries. A lot of them look like they're debating whether to call security.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538754)

I read somewhere once that fries are where most fast food restaurants really make their money. I guess that makes sense. Potatoes are a lot cheaper and easier to raise than cattle. They don't have as much personality, though.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538808)

I bet they make more on the soda...with fries a close second.

(hence all the upselling when you order - note that the burger stays the same size, only the fries and soda get bigger when you 'upgrade')

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538994)

I bet they make more on the soda...with fries a close second.

That depends on how you do the accounting. Soda companies own the fast food franchises. The soda is set up to actually cost something in a franchise model and to cost nothing in a chain model...

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (2)

Known Nutter (988758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539006)

Potatoes are a lot cheaper and easier to raise than cattle

Excuse me, but have we determined, to any degree of certainty whatsoever, that actual cattle are involved in the production of McDonald's hamburgers?

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (2)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539156)

No, we haven't. From my sources at the Institute of Freaked-out Rumor and Hyperbolic Pseudoscience, not only does McDonald's use kangaroo meat, but they also clear cut 1,000 acres of rain forest every day to raise the cattle they don't use for their food.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (4, Informative)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539030)

Fries and soft drinks... they're insanely profitable even with the free refills and if they're self-serve, there is almost no labor component to them.

I've been out of the restaurant management business for about 5 years, but things couldn't have changed that much. It costs about 3 cents for the cup and about 10 cents on average to fill it (various size cups, not every refill is a full cup, etc). People get their initial fill, most people get one refill, few people get more than one. So, if we just assume everyone gets 2 refills, it costs 23 cents for your beverage, which they sell to you for anywhere from $1.50-$4 depending on the restaurant. That gets you a ~500% profit margin.

Fries also have a good margin, though there is a higher labor component, the cost of cooking them, keeping them frozen, lowered yield (waste, broken fries, etc). In fact, most fryer side orders are pretty profitable (a half dozen mozzarella sticks might sell for around $5, but you can buy a 4.5 pound case for around $11, which will yield about 10 orders).

The sandwiches aren't nearly as profitable, particularly the meat sandwiches, but the sandwiches are what get people in the door. A 1/3rd pound burger costs around 75 cents for the meat, 20 cents for the bun, 15 cents for the cheese, and up to another 25 cents if it is dressed. They need to be refrigerated, you lose yield (overcooked, fell apart, etc) and are relatively labor intensive (especially if you patty them yourself). For that $1.40 investment (not counting labor, yield, etc), you sell it for about $3.

Factor in that somewhere around a third of all of your revenue goes to labor and another 30-40% goes to food costs depending on your model. On top of that, you still have your overhead - mortgage/rent/property taxes, heating/cooling, gas/electric, etc. Profits are pretty thin in the fast food/diner/family restaurant market and without the profitability of the side orders, most of them can't stay in business for long (hell, most of these non-chain restaurants fail in the first year anyway). Upscale/fine dining is a whole different beast.

"Healthy" eating at McDonalds (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539052)

I always get a funny look from the cashier when I order an Angus deluxe and a side salad - without fries or soda.

Once I was asked if I was "one of them healthy people". I simply told her I don't like crappy food.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539134)

McDonald's fries have been trans-fat free for three years.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538660)

As of May 2008, there has been and is no transfat in McDonald's fries. At any rate, if one were to exercise hard, there would be no harm whatsoever from a properly varied fast food diet (go heavy on the salads and fiber) or the american "barnyard diet"

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538738)

I've visited the USA and I can let you into the secret: Portion sizes.

Everything there is served in huge amounts compared to other countries.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538780)

yes, huge portions plus little exercise leads to very poor health

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539148)

Oh, nonsense. If you go into McDonalds or Burger King or Wendy's, you will always find a 99 cent simple hamburger or cheeseburger on the menu. It's a pretty small portion representing a very limited number of calories. You can also get small helpings of french fries that are pretty parsimonious in amount, if not usually in price. Yeah, the super triple ultimo burger with collossal oveflowing fries is ridiculously huge, but that's not the only thing available.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539152)

We have mistaken quantity for quality. Problem is, once you eat a lot of food you become addicted to eating a lot of food, and a small amount of quality food just becomes an appetizer. It's about learning good habits while young, and the reasons for them, too (so that you have some incentive to maintain them.)

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539168)

"Everything there is served in huge amounts compared to other countries."

Never had an English breakfast, have we...

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539188)

Everything? And to what other countries are you comparing? I'll let you into a secret: you only went to crappy chain restaurants.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (4, Funny)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538442)

Reminded:

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

--Redd Foxx

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538542)

All I ask for is some proof that a healthy lifestyle will let me outrun Death, and I will prescribe to it. To date, no one has met my challenge.

I'd give up smoking (and the chance at cancer), only to drop dead from a heart attack after running for several miles.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539000)

Drop dead from running a few miles? Do you have a heart condition? Running a few miles won't kill you; it's just another excuse not to exercise. Really your risk of death in running a few miles comes from being run over by a car. Not everyone lives in a runner friendly part of town.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38539018)

Giving up smoking can add ten years of being old to your life.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539186)

Not only that, but not smoking a single cigarette in your life is no guarantee at all that you won't get cancer at age 10.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538474)

Sometimes I think the western medical profession never really lost that Augustinian "If it's pleasurable, it's sinful" mentality it seemed to pick up in late Roman era.

I don't understand this approach to science. It's the same as the creationists and global climate change deniers - if I don't like the result of the majority of the research, it must be because the researches have a nefarious agenda.

Why not separate facts from choice, and enjoy your transfat and fast food even if it has known negative health effects, an informed choice.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (5, Funny)

KarmaRundi (880281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538482)

One Cinnabon and you're posting anti-science rants on slashdot. QED.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538490)

Awesome. I can't wait to take care of you when you enter the socialized health care system. Perhaps if your parents were not failures or you had obtained a modicum discipline and forethought you would have a penchant for other tasty things like nuts, beans, vegetables, olive oil, spices, and fine cheeses. Instead you want fat and sugar, even while knowing its bad for you. Seems kind of like textbook addiction to me. Oh well. Everyone has the right to be a retard! It's also nice to observe the mind of someone completely oblivious to the fact that they will likely be the last generation to savor such a diet en masse.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538674)

Everyone has the right to be a retard!

If that's a revelation to you, then you're obviously new to /.

As for socialized medicine, I don't believe in it. I believe in faith healing, as I thought my original comment made clear.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (4, Informative)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538512)

There is nothing pleasurable about trans fats. They are cheap and stable fats that make processing and cooking food *cheaper* not better. They are margarine and crisco, both of which are nasty and not nearly as good as their natural alternatives, butter and lard.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538592)

It's been well established that trans fats are bad, but what I'm wondering about is the omega-3s. There's a lot of dispute over whether all omega-3s are healthy, or just EPA and DHA. That is, are ALA-rich foods like flax, hemp, nuts, etc providing a valuable nutrient, or just fat?

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538972)

You can't live on walnuts, but you can live on acorns. That doesn't mean that walnuts aren't providing anything useful but it is interesting. Atkins said that if you were on a ketogenic diet you should eat avocado and macadamia as those foods have oils that are particularly needed then. Coconuts are also quite healthy for you.

Moderation and limits (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538596)

N, the medical profession doesn't think that way. This is just a study.

What we don't see is people talking about moderation and limits. This society is all about extremes: binge or deprive oneself. Nothing about moderation. Nobody says, "Sure, it's alright to have a cheeseburger, fries and that orange cream shake (McD's are AWESOME) every once in a while; just not everyday.

It's the same with drinking alcohol. The only exception would be smoking (anything). Smoking is something that one should never do.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538676)

Some things, like trans fats, are just bad for you. Others, like sugar and fats, are fine in moderate amounts, but we have evolved to really like them, and find them really nice to eat, so naturally now that we as a species are able to get a lot, we tend to overdo it. This over consumption of course is bad for you (but it tastes good). I love soda and greasy burgers and fried everything, but the fact is, they tend to have a lot more sugar/fat than you should be getting. And not everything that tastes good is said to be bad; fruits taste good, and there's plenty of healthy vegetable based things you can make if you learn to cook them. Might want to get a less loony doctor too.

Also, there is no such thing as western medicine.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538814)

there is no such thing as western medicine.

Oh great, now you've made Hippocrates cry.

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538758)

I'm not any more, but I was a vegan for 3 years in my 20s. It's not all 'cardboard'. I made and ate really tasty food all the time, you just have to be prepared to educate yourself about what's available. If anything, due to said culinary education, I ended up eating TASTIER food than before I went vegan. My diet became much more varied and interesting.

Your comment is ludicrous exaggeration (some of that is deliberate comedy, I know) and based attacking a straw man.

Re:eat anything other than cardboard and distilled (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538864)

Fool, if you drink distilled water every organ in your body will implode and you'll be lucky to live to the age of 4!

P.S. Only ask for premium cardboard from fresh paper pulp, not the recycled crap that the government and big corporations want you to feed on!

Now seriously: Health risks from drinking demineralised water, F. Kozisec (World Health Organization, 2004) http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutdemineralized.pdf [who.int]

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538914)

I think you didn't read that with the right mindset:
1. Eat unhealthy stuff all day long
2. Lose weight ( brain )
3. Profit

Re:Yeah, yeah...everything enjoyable is bad for yo (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538984)

Huh? This seems to be promoting eating smoked salmon and a nicely dressed salad –what's not to love?!

split the difference... (4, Funny)

mekkab (133181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538388)

so if I start the day with a green smoothie (filled with raw veg and fresh fruits)... and then gorge myself on BBQ and fries for lunch.. I'm okay, right?

Re:split the difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538472)

it'd be better than NOT having your green smoothie and gorging yourself. there's nothing wrong with giving your body the vitamins and minerals it desires to sustain a healthy immune system. freakin eat till your heart's content! but just make sure you're not giving yourself a deficiency by not eating the good things.

Re:split the difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538516)

The way I like to think of it is, having a nice massage on waking, then going in to a gladiator match with lions that has sharp metal armor all over.
Gotta live on the smooth edge of life.

Re:split the difference... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539014)

The way I like to think of it is, having a nice massage on waking, then going in to a gladiator match with lions that has sharp metal armor all over.

Gladiators got massaged to make them better gladiators, because that made them more entertaining to watch. I guess I'd rather watch a skinny person eat a burger than the alternative...

Fuck the world (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538444)

Aspergers shit cunt piss bollocks in your eyes.

Cheap good tasting food is bad for you. (0)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538452)

Shitty tasting expensive food is good for you. Who would have thought? Funny how there was that story yesterday about IBM's you get paid based on what you eat patent. Basically if you can't afford to eat good because we don't pay you very good we will pay you less so you buy even cheaper food and we have to pay you even less.

Re:Cheap good tasting food is bad for you. (2)

thejaq (2495514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538698)

It is a common myth that healthy food is expensive. Tasty, healthy food is very cheap. I get 109% of my daily nutrition and less than 30% of my calories from breakfast and lunch (5-6 days a week) and I have been doing so for many years now. 6 vegetables + 2 nut + 2 bean medley for lunch 200-250 kcal ($0.40/lunch ~$0.90-1.10 if I add avocado) (OJ,almond milk, granola, oat flake, flax seed, spinach + 3 vitamin pills for breakfast 400kcal ($1.20). I don't know, these seem like food shelf prices to me and total less than $60/mo. 20% of the time I can't follow this diet, 7% I don't eat, 7% I eat out, 6% I eat garbage. I then gorge myself for calories on tasty pasta, bread, sauces, etc for supper. $5.00 for a total cost of roughly $150.00/mo. (The bill for 2 is less than $300) A fast food meal costs me about $5 - $13, where as I could add fine cheese/meat//fish and easily beat that cost per meal at home with healthier, tastier cuisine that is lower impact, more conscientiousness, makes me feel good, does not cause behavior problems in children, and does not slowly transform me into a burden for society. Even fast food value meal crap in the morning or lunch (or similar processed food from the market) would be significantly more expensive than eating the right healthy food.

Re:Cheap good tasting food is bad for you. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539034)

You can eat healthily and boringly for very little money, but if you want to eat quality food that is also interesting and healthy then it tends to get a bit more spendy. If you also want to eat a lot of it (when I'm doing a lot of manual labor I tend to really pack it down — and burn it off as quickly) then it becomes prohibitively expensive in a way that a carbohydrate bomb isn't.

Remember kids: (3, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538458)

Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, so always eat your marijuana.

Re:Remember kids: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538504)

Hemp =/= marijuana. Thanks.

Yes it does (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538890)

It does if you're in the business of government, where prohibition rakes billions through your hands each year, putting you in the position to leverage that cash flow for personal gain.

In that case, why on earth would you give a damn about anything beneficial about marijuana OR hemp? (FYI, the US government doesn't recognize the difference, and for good reason. Money, money, and more money.)

Re:Remember kids: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38539250)

Yes but Hemp also makes you hungry for cheetoes and big macs and shakes and ice cream and pretzels and chocolate.....

By the time you realize this you will already be a hemp balloon....

And once again: correlation, not causation (5, Insightful)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538464)

The study found that high vitamin levels in the blood correlated with higher mental abilities, while higher levels of trans fats correlated with lower. The study says nothing about fruits, vegetables, or fast foods. There was also no evidence to conclude that this correlation is causative. They did not take people with high levels of trans fats and put them on a fruit-and-vegetable diet. If that were done, and their scores improved, they yes, they would have been justified in making such a recommendation. As things are, they made no effort to even determine where those vitamins and trans fats came from. If you ate hamburgers and too vitamin pills, you'd have high vitamin levels in your blood too. Another possibility is that people with lower mental abilities tend to eat more junk food with trans fats. That would create the same results in the study.

So, repeat after me: correlation does not imply causation. If you don't know this, you have no business being a scientist.

Re:And once again: correlation, not causation (3, Insightful)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538680)

So, repeat after me: correlation does not imply causation. If you don't know this, you have no business being a scientist.

...but are still well-qualified to be a journalist.

Re:And once again: correlation, not causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538708)

to quote a wise man, "Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'"

to be fair, these news blurbs about a new study finding X, they never link to the real study and also never get into the details about how thorough (or not) they have been.

Re:And once again: correlation, not causation (2)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539060)

"Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'"

That's right. Correlation is very useful when choosing subjects for research, but should never be used as justification for any action or policy. Correlations mean nothing by themselves; you have to find causative links before you can try causing the desired effect with the correlated cause. Oh, and once you find a causative link, it's worthwhile to determine the mechanism of the action, so that instead of, for example, having to never eat hamburgers again, you could find out what exactly is in them that is causing the problem and then just remove that.

Re:And once again: correlation, not causation (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539076)

The study found that high vitamin levels in the blood correlated with higher mental abilities, while higher levels of trans fats correlated with lower. The study says nothing about fruits, vegetables, or fast foods. There was also no evidence to conclude that this correlation is causative.

Indeed, there is every reason to assume that if there is a causative relationship, it runs in the other direction.

Give me an enema (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538478)

Artichoke heart and Chia grass blended with a little vodka makes a great enema on cold winter nights!

Linking the results to Alzheimers seems dubious (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538484)

From TFA:

US experts analysed blood samples from 104 healthy people with an average age of 87 who had few known risk factors for Alzheimer's.

They found those who had more vitamin B, C, D and E in their blood performed better in tests of memory and thinking skills. People with high levels of omega 3 fatty acids - found mainly in fish - also had high scores. The poorest scores were found in people who had more trans fats in their blood.

So they found that certain vitamins are beneficial to memory, but as none of their test subjects had Alzheimers there is no basis for any claim regarding the disease. Although I am curious what's in the actual paper (seriously, couldn't we wait a few days posting this until the actual paper is out?).

Re:Linking the results to Alzheimers seems dubious (1)

snarkh (118018) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538560)

So they found that certain vitamins are beneficial to memory, but as none of their test subjects had Alzheimers there is no basis for any claim regarding the disease. Although I am curious what's in the actual paper (seriously, couldn't we wait a few days posting this until the actual paper is out?).

No they did not find that vitamins are beneficial to memory! What they found is that people who have better memory also had more vitamins.

Re:Linking the results to Alzheimers seems dubious (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538696)

This is standard "potential applications" justification for basic research. It's intentionally speculative. There's probably a line or two in the discussion section that says future experiments should be done on alzheimers patients. Journalists just pick these things up and run with them.

correlation != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538488)

Maybe brain damage causes big mac attacks.

Live like an ape (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538514)

Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just tell people to model their behavior after other great apes.

Do gorillas spend all day on a couch? Do chimps eat hamburger? Do orangoutangs worry about their weight?

If we have a better picture of how pre-civilized humans lived, we would probably have a better idea of what's good for us.

Of course, there is a complication in that the stone age begins well before the advent of homo sapiens. So we actually have evolved since the time of basic civilization. But I imagine that some of our chemistry is a little slower than that. There are some things that seem pretty widespread among the animal kingdom. For example: how many obese wild animals do you see in the woods?

Re:Live like an ape (4, Funny)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538576)

I don't go into the woods too often but there's a pretty fat squirrel lounging under our bird feeder in the back yard...

Re:Live like an ape (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538618)

Heh. Well, that kinda proves the point. The feeder skews the natural ecosystem. It's like you've set up a McSquirrelds out there. :)

Re:Live like an ape (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539270)

He's just trying to kill off his squirrels so he can get enjoyment from watching his birds feed. Hmmm. That brings up an interesting thought. Ever see a fat bird? They're eating the same stuff ...

Re:Live like an ape (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539224)

I know my eyes are not what they're used to be. I have noticed crows getting twice as large over the past 30 years however. Those birds are fucking huge to the point of being intimidating. They have no fear as I walk past them to my office. Maybe it's just the ones in the city. With all of those fast food scraps laying around in the parking lots, maybe they've adapted to a world of plenty.

Re:Live like an ape (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538724)

the squirrel I have been making obese with peanut butter, cashews, pecans and other nuts over the last 7 years has far outlived the normal 4 to 5 years. And the truth is human lifespan has dramatically improved since your nostalgic caveman days, even in the last 50 years with fast food and "chemicals". I'll agree with you the exercise is good, probably even more important than eating "health food diet".

Re:Live like an ape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538860)

I'll agree with you the exercise is good, probably even more important than eating "health food diet".

Why do people keep thinking science is something people can just "agree" or "disagree" on? It's based on evidence. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I say you're using the wrong terminology to convey your point. Anyway, the evidence shows that exercise is necessary to combat a wide swath of illnesses, but in terms of weight control and body composition, diet is much more important than exercise.

Re:Live like an ape (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538954)

but in terms of weight control and body composition, diet is much more important than exercise. But you are NOT talking about science, the rigid controls were not in place for experiments because humans were the subjects. So instead we are in the realm of bias, prejudice, opinion, agendas, self-fullfilling prophecy. No, you will not build proper muscle just eating food, no matter how "healthy". You can eat the american "barnyard diet" of eggs, pork, beef, cheese and be fine if you exercise / work hard, been done, balance intake with energy output.

Re:Live like an ape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38539196)

So because humans were the subjects it's not science? All those scientists conducting those studies would probably beg to differ. If you study any type of science, you'll see that there's techniques to combat all the factors you listed. Let me wiki that for you: control [wikipedia.org] and blinding [wikipedia.org]

Also I think you misinterpret me a bit, but you are still wrong at the core. Let me clarify:

  • You will not body build without exercise just as you will not body build without a basic proper diet.
  • The body composition changes you see will be much more pronounced with more marginal effort spent toward diet than toward exercise.
  • The "barnyard diet" you described is not such a bad diet, depending on your goals.

To be honest if you still disagree the only way to resolve this discussion is by providing actual evidence, but even then if you don't believe in the concept of science in the realm of human subjects, then even that will go nowhere.

Re:Live like an ape (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539268)

Yes, diet is more important than exercise in terms of weight and body composition. Not exercising for a month will probably make you heavier, and your body will consist of more fat and less muscle. Not eating food for a month, on the other hand, will make you lose weight, and consist of dead tissue. Outside of that, it's not an either/or issue. For some reason, we cling to the idiotic notion that if there are two factors involved in something, they effect the two factors have is that of a ratio, where the more effect one has, the less the other has. Nature vs. Nurture is one of the most common versions of this notion. There isn't a 'more important factor,' as the relationship between the two factors is more accurately described as multiplicative than additive (the reality is going to be even more complex math than that)

Re:Live like an ape (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538902)

I don't think of caveman days as nostalgic; I just think there is value in treating our bodies like the animals they are.

Squirrels thrive on fatty nuts, and they hibernate. So in other words, they are designed to get obese off of pecans.

Yes, human lifespans have increased in the past 50 years despite highly chemical diets, but there are plenty of other factors. Medical technology has skyrocketed in that same time period. It seems at least as valid to say that lifespans have lengthened in spite of the increase in chemicals in the diet.

Re:Live like an ape (1)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539098)

The Neolithic life expectancy at birth was 20 [wikipedia.org]. Granted that had a lot to do with the fact that living past 5 was extremely difficult.

So the point? Your health gains from eating nuts, berries and wild rabbit while roaming the plains will be outweighed by the lack of medicine, basic hygiene and your ability to not being eaten, impaled, stomped, infected or worse by something. To your point... by how much? How long would cavemen have lived with modern medicine and hygiene while still roaming around the woods wearing rugs and hitting tigers with sticks?

Re:Live like an ape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538798)

Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just tell people to model their behavior after other great apes.

Do gorillas spend all day on a couch? Do chimps eat hamburger? Do orangoutangs worry about their weight?

If we have a better picture of how pre-civilized humans lived, we would probably have a better idea of what's good for us.

Of course, there is a complication in that the stone age begins well before the advent of homo sapiens. So we actually have evolved since the time of basic civilization. But I imagine that some of our chemistry is a little slower than that. There are some things that seem pretty widespread among the animal kingdom. For example: how many obese wild animals do you see in the woods?

google paleo. :) N-Joy a better lifestyle.

Re:Live like an ape (1)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539176)

Other great apes are not basically savannah-dwelling, heavily-perspiring, two-legged long-distance runners -- why should their behavior or diet be appropriate for humans? And mountain gorillas come dang close to being couch potatoes, traveling less than 500 meters on an average day.

Brain Shrinkage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538556)

I'm 60 and I recently had a brain scan (for fun--I'm an engineer, you understand). Anyway, the doctor called me in and said, "Congratulations, you have the brain of a 12 year old." That's right, no shrinkage at all. I asked if this meant I wouldn't get Alzheimer's, and he said, "There's no proven correlation."

Still, looking good for me!

And while I don't eat organic food, I don't live off of fast food either. But I do get regular exercise.

I don't think the study is statistically sound (the Brits have had problems with that in the past).

Rich White People Are Smarter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538644)

News at 11.

You need to randomise these trials to get useful results.

"fast food"? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38538760)

There are plenty of place around me that serve "fast food" that is very healthy, not all fast food is a bacon double cheeseburger with 2500 calories (even before the fake powdered ice cream "shake" and oily fries are added).

Re:"fast food"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38539202)

Bacon cheeseburgers are a healthy part of a low carb diet.

fish and dirty sea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38538874)

They seem to forget the polution in fish like mercury, pcb etc.
often better to try and get your omega 3 from another source than directly from eating sea food.

Maybe dumb people live unhealthy lifestyles? (1)

maple_shaft (1046302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38539140)

Does fast food really make dumb people dumber, or is it just that naturally dumb people tend to make poor lifestyle choices and partake of unhealthy foods more readily? The same can probably be said of intelligent people and eating more nutrient and vitamin rich foods.

... Ya ya I know, Correlation != causation (Insert generic mod point attracting Slashdot meme here)

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