They taunt vegans and eat 4lb of steak a day: meet ‘carnivore dieters’

An extreme, all animal-based diet is gaining followers in search of heightened productivity, mental lucidity, and a boosted libido. But experts convey doubts

For the past 18 months, Shawn Baker has eaten about 4lb of steak every day.

” I’ve got two rib-eye steaks waiting for me when I get off this call ,” said Baker, a developed orthopaedic surgeon, from Orange County, California.” It can be monotonous eating the same thing over and over again, but as hour goes by you start to crave it .”

The 6ft 5in bodybuilder, in his 50 s, is one of a growing number of people experimenting with the “carnivore diet”, a regimen that involves eating merely animal products like meat, offal and eggs, and no plant-based foods. It’s an extreme version of the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet– which trains the body to run on fat rather than carbohydrates- that has become popular in recent years. Proponents of the diet “re saying it” reduces inflammation and blood pressure while increasing libido and mental clarity.

Baker, who is nicknamed the “Carnivore King” and has amassed a cult following on social media, says the diet is easy because he doesn’t have to plan meals or count calories.” I simply have to think: how hungry am I and how many steaks do I want to eat ,” he said.

Before becoming a pure carnivore, Baker was also eating salads, spinach, dairy and nuts. Trenching these plant-based foods has been transformative for his body and athletic performance, he says.

” My joint pain and tendinitis is away, my sleep became excellent, my skin improved. I no longer had any bloating, cramping or other digestive problems, my libido went back to what it was in my 20 s and my blood pressure normalised ,” he said.

Although most medical practitioners balk at the idea of their patients ditching fruit and vegetables, the all-meat diet has been embraced by a cluster of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, who describe themselves as” bitcoin carnivores”, a phenomenon previously reported by Motherboard.

” Bitcoin is a rebellion against fiat[ government-backed] fund, and an all-meat diet is a revolt against fiat food ,” said Michael Goldstein, a” bitcoin and meat maximalist” based in Austin, Texas.” Once someone has grown capable of seeing beyond the lies and myths that experts peddle in one domain, it becomes easier to see beyond them in other domains as well .”

Goldstein, who runs a website dedicated to carnivory called Justmeat.co, eats 2-2. 5lb of “very rare” rib-eye steak each day, at a cost of about $400 a few months. He says he never has cravings for pizza, chocolate or veggies.” They don’t even register in my brain as food .”

He argues that eating merely meat has freed up his time to get more work done.” Grocery shopping takes all of 10 minutes, most of which is standing in the checkout line. I spend little time thinking about food. I only need to eat once or twice a day( no snacking or cravings ). Basically, it’s the greatest productivity hack, and Silicon Valley should have listened to me about it while I was there .”

Saifedean Ammous, a bitcoin economist, agrees, citing a” huge improvement” in productivity.

” The ability to focus for long periods has been life transforming, and was the reason that I managed to write a 300 -page book, on bitcoin, fittingly enough !” he said.

Lily Chien-Davis, a social media specialist at San Francisco-based startup Heads Up Health, says that the enhanced productivity and mental clarity explains why this diet, like intermittent fasting, is popular in Silicon Valley.

She started feeing a very low carb diet when her husband was diagnosed with cancer- some studies indicate that a ketogenic diet can help the body fight cancers. However, Chien-Davis found that changing her eating habits alleviated her pre-diabetes.

They taunt vegans and feed 4lb of steak a day: gratify ‘carnivore dieters’

An extreme, all animal-based diet is gaining followers in search of heightened productivity, mental clarity, and a boosted libido. But experts carry doubts

For the past 18 months, Shawn Baker has eaten about 4lb of steak every day.

” I’ve got two rib-eye steaks waiting for me when I get off this call ,” said Baker, a developed orthopaedic surgeon, from Orange County, California.” It can be monotonous eating the same thing over and over again, but as hour goes by you start to crave it .”

The 6ft 5in bodybuilder, in his 50 s, is one of a growing number of people experimenting with the “carnivore diet”, a regimen that involves eating merely animal products like meat, offal and eggs, and no plant-based foods. It’s an extreme version of the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet– which develops the body to run on fat rather than carbohydrates- that has become popular in recent years. Proponents of the diet say it reduces rednes and blood pressure while increasing libido and mental clarity.

Baker, who is nicknamed the “Carnivore King” and has amassed a cult following on social media, says the diet is easy because he doesn’t have to plan meals or count calories.” I just have to think: how hungry am I and how many steaks do I want to eat ,” he said.

Before becoming a pure carnivore, Baker was also eating salads, spinach, dairy and nuts. Trenching these plant-based foods has been transformative for his body and athletic performance, he says.

” My joint pain and tendinitis went away, my sleep became excellent, my scalp improved. I no longer had any bloating, cramping or other digestive problems, my libido went back to what it was in my 20 s and my blood pressure normalised ,” he said.

Although most medical practitioners balk at the idea of their patients ditching fruit and vegetables, the all-meat diet has been embraced by a cluster of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, who describe themselves as” bitcoin carnivores”, a phenomenon previously reported by Motherboard.

” Bitcoin is a revolt against fiat[ government-backed] fund, and an all-meat diet is a insurrection against fiat food ,” said Michael Goldstein, a” bitcoin and meat maximalist” based in Austin, Texas.” Once someone has grown capable of see beyond the lies and myths that experts peddle in one domain, it becomes easier to see beyond them in other domains as well .”

Goldstein, who runs a website dedicated to carnivory called Justmeat.co, feeds 2-2. 5lb of “very rare” rib-eye steak each day, at a cost of about $400 a month. He says he never has cravings for pizza, chocolate or veggies.” They don’t even register in my brain as food .”

He argues that eating merely meat has freed up his time to get more work done.” Grocery shopping takes all of 10 minutes, most of which is standing in the checkout line. I spend little time thinking about food. I merely need to eat once or twice a day( no snacking or cravings ). Basically, it’s the greatest productivity hack, and Silicon Valley should have listened to me about it while I was there .”

Saifedean Ammous, a bitcoin economist, concurs, quoting a” huge improvement” in productivity.

” The ability to focus for long periods has been life transforming, and was the reason that I managed to write a 300 -page book, on bitcoin, fittingly enough !” he said.

Lily Chien-Davis, a social media specialist at San Francisco-based startup Heads Up Health, says that the enhanced productivity and mental clarity explains why this diet, like intermittent fasting, is popular in Silicon Valley.

She started eating a very low carb diet when her husband was diagnosed with cancer- some studies indicate that a ketogenic diet can help the body fight cancers. However, Chien-Davis found that changing her eating habits alleviated her pre-diabetes.

They mock vegans and feed 4lb of steak a day: meet ‘carnivore dieters’

An extreme, all animal-based diet is gaining followers in search of heightened productivity, mental clarity, and a boosted libido. But experts express doubts

For the past 18 months, Shawn Baker has eaten about 4lb of steak every day.

” I’ve got two rib-eye steaks waiting for me when I get off this call ,” said Baker, a developed orthopaedic surgeon, from Orange County, California.” It can be monotonous eating the same thing over and over again, but as hour goes by you start to crave it .”

The 6ft 5in bodybuilder, in his 50 s, is one of a growing number of people experimenting with the “carnivore diet”, a regimen that involves eating merely animal products like meat, offal and eggs, and no plant-based foods. It’s an extreme version of the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet– which develops the body to run on fat rather than carbohydrates- that has become popular in recent years. Proponents of the diet say it reduces rednes and blood pressure while enhancing libido and mental clarity.

Baker, who is nicknamed the “Carnivore King” and has amassed a cult following on social media, says the diet is easy because he doesn’t have to plan snacks or count calories.” I simply have to think: how hungry am I and how many steaks do I want to eat ,” he said.

Before becoming a pure carnivore, Baker was also eating salads, spinach, dairy and nuts. Trenching these plant-based foods has been transformative for his body and athletic performance, he says.

” My joint pain and tendinitis went away, my sleep became excellent, my scalp improved. I no longer had any bloating, cramping or other digestive problems, my libido went back to what it was in my 20 s and my blood pressure normalised ,” he said.

Although most medical practitioners balk at the idea of their patients ditching fruit and veggies, the all-meat diet has been embraced by a cluster of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, who describe themselves as” bitcoin carnivores”, a phenomenon previously reported by Motherboard.

” Bitcoin is a revolt against fiat[ government-backed] money, and an all-meat diet is a insurrection against fiat food ,” said Michael Goldstein, a” bitcoin and meat maximalist” based in Austin, Texas.” Once someone has grown capable of assure beyond the lies and myths that experts peddle in one domain, it becomes easier to see beyond them in other domains as well .”

Goldstein, who runs a website dedicated to carnivory called Justmeat.co, feeds 2-2. 5lb of “very rare” rib-eye steak each day, at a cost of about $400 a month. He says he never has cravings for pizza, chocolate or vegetables.” They don’t even register in my brain as food .”

He argues that eating only meat has freed up his time to get more run done.” Grocery shopping takes all of 10 minutes, most of which is standing in the checkout line. I spend little time thinking about food. I only need to eat once or twice a day( no snacking or cravings ). Basically, it’s the greatest productivity hack, and Silicon Valley should have listened to me about it while I was there .”

Saifedean Ammous, a bitcoin economist, agrees, citing a” huge improvement” in productivity.

” The ability to focus for long periods has been life transforming, and was the reason that I managed to write a 300 -page book, on bitcoin, fittingly enough !” he said.

Lily Chien-Davis, a social media specialist at San Francisco-based startup Heads Up Health, says that the enhanced productivity and mental clarity explains why this diet, like intermittent fasting, is popular in Silicon Valley.

She started eating a very low carb diet when her husband was diagnosed with cancer- some studies indicate that a ketogenic diet can help the body fight tumors. However, Chien-Davis found that changing her eating habits alleviated her pre-diabetes.

They mock vegans and eat 4lb of steak a day: fulfill ‘carnivore dieters’

An extreme, all animal-based diet is gaining followers in search of heightened productivity, mental clarity, and a boosted libido. But experts express doubts

For the past 18 months, Shawn Baker has eaten about 4lb of steak every day.

” I’ve got two rib-eye steaks waiting for me when I get off this bellow ,” said Baker, a developed orthopaedic surgeon, from Orange County, California.” It is also available monotonous eating the same thing over and over again, but as time goes by you start to crave it .”

The 6ft 5in bodybuilder, in his 50 s, is one of a growing number of people experimenting with the “carnivore diet”, a regimen that involves eating only animal products like meat, offal and eggs, and no plant-based foods. It’s an extreme version of the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet– which develops the body to run on fat rather than carbohydrates- that has become popular in recent years. Proponents of the diet say it reduces inflammation and blood pressure while increasing libido and mental clarity.

Baker, who is nicknamed the “Carnivore King” and has amassed a cult following on social media, says the diet is easy because he doesn’t have to plan dinners or count calories.” I simply have to think: how hungry am I and how many steaks do I want to eat ,” he said.

Before becoming a pure carnivore, Baker was also eating salads, spinach, dairy and nuts. Ditching these plant-based foods has been transformative for his body and athletic performance, he says.

” My joint ache and tendinitis went away, my sleep became excellent, my scalp improved. I no longer had any bloating, cramping or other digestive problems, my libido went back to what it was in my 20 s and my blood pressure normalised ,” he said.

Although most medical practitioners balk at the idea of their patients ditching fruit and vegetables, the all-meat diet has been embraced by a cluster of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, who describe themselves as” bitcoin carnivores”, a phenomenon previously reported by Motherboard.

” Bitcoin is a rebellion against fiat[ government-backed] fund, and an all-meat diet is a insurrection against fiat food ,” said Michael Goldstein, a” bitcoin and meat maximalist” based in Austin, Texas.” Once someone has grown capable of consider beyond the lies and myths that experts peddle in one domain, it becomes easier to see beyond them in other domains as well .”

Goldstein, who runs a website dedicated to carnivory called Justmeat.co, feeds 2-2. 5lb of “very rare” rib-eye steak each day, at a cost of about $400 a few months. He says he never has cravings for pizza, chocolate or veggies.” They don’t even register in my brain as food .”

He argues that eating merely meat has freed up his time to get more work done.” Grocery shopping takes all of 10 minutes, most of which is standing in the checkout line. I expend little time thinking about food. I merely need to eat once or twice a day( no snacking or cravings ). Basically, it’s the greatest productivity hack, and Silicon Valley should have listened to me about it while I was there .”

Saifedean Ammous, a bitcoin economist, agrees, citing a” huge improvement” in productivity.

” The ability to focus for long periods has been life transforming, and was the reasons why I managed to write a 300 -page book, on bitcoin, fittingly enough !” he said.

Lily Chien-Davis, a social media specialist at San Francisco-based startup Heads Up Health, says that the enhanced productivity and mental clarity explains why this diet, like intermittent fasting, is popular in Silicon Valley.

She started feeing a very low carb diet when her husband was diagnosed with cancer- some studies should be noted that a ketogenic diet can help the body fight tumours. However, Chien-Davis found that changing her eating habits alleviated her pre-diabetes.

Can chocolate make you smarter?( And thinner? And healthier ?)

A new study asserts chocolate can improve cognitive performance joining research that indicates it can prevent heart attack and help you lose weight. But dig a little deeper and all is not what it seems

If theres one thing that people love more than chocolate, its science claiming that chocolate is good for you. The recently published is a study that determined a link between feeing chocolate and improved cognitive performance. However, given how much fat and sugar most chocolate also contains, are the reports of its benefits worth taking severely?

Makes you cleverer

This new study, based on virtually 1,000 people from New York, is not the first to connect chocolate to brain function, but what it actually tells us remains very vague. Its not possible to talk about causality, because thats nearly impossible to demonstrate with our design, said one of the researchers, meaning that we cant tell whether clever people like chocolate or chocolate attains you clever. Or indeed if there is something messier going on.

Helps weight loss

Can this really be true? It was surely widely reported last year, but in fact, the news turned out to be a swindle, perpetrated by the science journalist John Bohannon to prove how susceptible the media is to pseudoscience. Bohannon did conduct a real trial with some people feeing chocolate and some not, but he measured so many things about them that he knew some sort of fluke impact would probably show up. And what do you know? The chocolate-eaters happened to lose weight; the abstainers didnt.

Prevents heart attack and strokes

There are mountains of research papers claiming this to be true. Some, such as a 2012 analysis of 37,103 Swedish humen, seem quite authoritative, showing that the rate of stroke among middle-aged and older humen was 17% lower among those who feed a lot of chocolate, despite controlling for other factors. Still, the results werent statistically significant. And eating a lot of chocolate certainly is a good way to become unhealthily overweight probably better to hold off the Dairy Milk for now.

Improves fitness

Research from UC San Diego is demonstrated that chocolate might act as a kind of performance-enhancing narcotic until you look at the detail. The 2011 study is really about a compound called epicatechin, which is present in chocolate, and its effect on mice, who are not people. Epicatechin dramatically improved the endurance of the mice while the issue is running on a treadmill. Whether this would translate to humen isnt known, but even if it did, youd probably required such a tiny dosage of epicatechin that it would be like feeing half a square of chocolate. Any more and the effect are to be able to reversed. It also has to be dark chocolate epicatechin is destroyed by the process of stimulating milk chocolate.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Can an apple cider vinegar a day keep the doctor away?

Sales have risen as clean eaters hail the health benefits of the kitchen cupboard staple

It’s a new twist on” an apple a day” which has caught the imagination of health-conscious millennials, celebrity food bloggers and -Alisters such as Jennifer Aniston, Katy Perry and Victoria Beckham.

Apple cider vinegar is enjoying a huge revival in the UK as a kitchen closet staple, hailed by the “clean-eating” generation as the latest wonder ingredient which can be knocked back daily as a general tonic.

Aficionados claim that only one tablespoon of vinegar( diluted with water and sometimes sweetened) is rich in natural minerals, vitamins and enzymes and can help regulate blood sugar levels, boost the immune system, aid weight loss and improve the general health of the gut.

Already a cult product in the US, its new-found popularity on this side of the Atlantic is giving an unexpected boost to the UK apple industry, where reliance on imported fruit contribute to hundreds of traditional assortments gradually disappearing.

Practising what he preaches is entrepreneur William Chase, who describes his own apple cider vinegar as” a modern take on a legendary product “. The founder of Tyrrells crisps and Chase Vodka has now moved into a sphere that he calls” fit foods”, launching his own Willy’s apple cider vinegar- manufactured on his Herefordshire farm- last year.

” Turnover has doubled since this January, we simply can’t construct enough of it ,” he told the Observer .” We are utilizing tiny crab apples which would otherwise have been wasted, and among 48 apple varieties from our 300 -year-old orchards. We have 50 acres but we need to attain more cider to meet demand, so we are looking for other farms with older orchards to help provide us with the apples we need .” Chase, who was criticised by trading standards for the health claims he made on his launch labelling, says he has lost two stone and reduced his own cholesterol as a result of regular consumption.

Supermarkets say they can barely keep abreast with demand. The grocery chain Waitrose reports that sales of the products are up more than 60% year-on-year, with Willy’s ACV and Aspall’s Apple Cyder Vinegar leading the charge.

Mel Leyshon, editor of the Healthy Food Guide , admitted there were many unsubstantiated claims for apple cider vinegar,” one of them being that it can help you lose weight, but there are no studies to prove this. But drinking a glass of diluted apple cider vinegar before a meal may help fill you up so you eat less. A better idea is to get into the habit of eating more salads with a light dressing induced utilizing apple cider vinegar – that route you can get your five a day, too “.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Meet the chef who’s debunking detox, diets and wellness

Anthony Warner alias blogger turned author the Angry Chef is on a mission to confront the alternative facts surrounding nutritional fads and myths

A few minutes into my encounter with the Angry Chef, I begin to wonder if his moniker might be ironic, like the big guy whose friends call him Tiny. On the basis of his excoriating blog which exposes lies, pretensions and folly in the world of food I had been expecting a bilious, splenetic human with wild eyes, his skin contained within tattoos. Instead, Im sat across from a mild-mannered nerdy type with a tidy beard and black-framed spectacles. Unlike his writing, which is showered with profanities, he hasnt sworn once. In fact, he picks his terms very deliberately, as if theres a legal and fact-checking team working overtime in his brain.

I expected you to be a bit more furious, I eventually say. Do you have a temper?

The Angry Chef, aka 44 -year-old Anthony Warner, considers this, shakes his head. Not at all, he says. People who know me and ensure the blog say, Youre not angry at all! No, I was never one of the shouty, scary cooks. Perhaps slightly intimidating sometimes, but only in a quiet, I-dont-know-what-hes-going-to-do sort of way.

What about the swearing? I ask.

I can if you want, Warner replies. But no, I dont rant, I dont swear nearly as much in real life as I do on my blog.

The Angry Chefs first post on 30 December 2015 consisted of a few pointed thinks on going sugar-free. He was anonymous back then and there were a couple of reasons for that. Warner liked the relevant recommendations of writing in character: while he stands by everything he writes, the Angry Chef persona allows him to be more confrontational and unhinged. The other reason was that he wasnt sure what his bosses would think of his new creation. After a decade as a decent but unremarkable chef in professional kitchens, Warner became a development cook for Premier Foods, a large commercial food manufacturer. He has spent the last 10 years generating recipes for the likes of Oxo, Mr Kipling, Loyd Grossman and Ambrosia.

This anonymity did not last long. The Angry Chefs railing against the trend for clean-eating and wellness bloggers, his annoyance at the miraculous properties assigned to kale and coconut petroleum quickly observed an audience. The Sun asked Warner to be involved in an article about Insta-gurus diet advice, and Ben Goldacre, one of his anti-pseudoscience heroes, tweeted his approval. New Scientist commissioned Warner to write for them, a gratify nod for a self-described science geek who has a degree in biochemistry from Manchester University.

Now a book, The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating , is out next month. It is a systematic, densely footnoted, and often very funny takedown of pretty much every food fad that has taken hold in recent years: detox, alkaline, ash and paleo diets among them. If you believe superfoods exist, then Warner will have some strong terms to build you reconsider. Likewise, if youre convinced theres no possible defense for sugar or processed food, then he wants you to take another look at the evidence.

Hemsley
Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley: Id be fascinated to debate them, says Warner. Photograph: Publicity Image

In an age of Gwyneth Paltrows Goop, of Deliciously Ella Mills, and Hemsley and Hemsley, these somehow seem quite radical ideas. A lot of the clean-eating people, I just think they have a broken relationship with the truth, says Warner. Theyre selling something that is impossible to justify in the context of evidence-based medicine.

I dont guess any of them are lying, he goes on, they are just stuck in this strange world of false belief, which is fascinating. How can you look at NHS guidelines on how to eat healthily and run, Well, I know better than that? Maybe if only we a prof of dietetics or nutrition, you might disagree with some stuff. But how as a 19 -year-old blogger you can look at it and go, No, thats wrong. This is right, I dont know.

How did we arrive at a place where avocados outsell oranges, where coconut oil, a once-cheap saturated fat, is reborn as a super-ingredient with miraculous, health-giving properties?( Paltrows website Goop also proposes use it as a mouthwash and sexual lubricant, inspiring Warner to joke, Separately, I hope .)

For Warner, the members of the explanation is adapted of psychologist Daniel Kahnemans theory that people are brilliant at generate a narrative from minimal evidence. Kahneman calls the brain a machine for jumping to conclusions.

We genuinely struggle with uncertainty, explains Warner. We really want to be able to say: Is coffee good or bad for us? Well, its not good or bad for you, it just is. And we have to accept that; thats what science says. So your brain runs, I dont like that level of uncertainty. Certainty is really appealing for a lot of people and thats what a lot of these people are selling certainly at the darker end.

Warner accepts he faces a tough challenge convincing people with his boring message. We live in the so-called post-truth world: a hour of Brexit, Trump and alternative facts. Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman has even written that Deliciously Ella is the precursor to Donald Trump. In the book, Warner admits that he sometimes feel like a drunk in a tavern car park, raging and swaying at the world.

When you go back 20 years it was Gillian McKeith, says Warner. Now its harder to fight. Theres not specific someones, theres a swarm of them in so many different places, on Instagram, on social media, things I dont even understand as a middle-aged man.

Facts are important, he continues. The rhetoric of a lot of politics at the moment is that there was this once-great world we need to return to. And its actually not true. In almost every single measure, were better off than we were 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. Weve wiped out smallpox and set someone on the moon with science, if “youre beginning to” rejecting that

Warner trails off, the closest hes come to living up to his angry tag. Would he be interested in debating this subject with Ella Mills or the Hemsleys?

From what I understand theyll avoid me at all costs, says Warner. Id find it fascinating, but people will perhaps be surprised. If Im asked, Is a particular food good or bad for you? Im not going to give an answer. I dont feel I have superior knowledge, I actually accept that I dont. Thats the distinction between me and them. So it might be a strange debate.

This is true. Warners advice, boiled down, amounts to: eat a sensible and varied diet , not too much nor too little. If you have junk food every so often, dont feel guilty; if youre going full Morgan Spurlock, youre likely overdoing it. Eat fish, especially oily ones such as salmon and mackerel, when you can. Dont consume too much sugar, but equally dont believe people who tell you its toxic and had not yet been nutritional value.

Chef
Chef Anthony Warner alias blogger turned author the Angry Chef. Photograph: Phil Fisk for the Observer

The rhetoric that sugar is poison, its killing us, has become completely accepted, says Warner. Were told its just empty calories. Well, we kind of need calories to live. But a lot of people will read that and say, He would say that. He works for a big cake manufacturer.

How would he respond to that then?

Well, demonstrate me incorrect then you cant! Warner shoots back. Im always going to be accused of being a shill for the food manufacturing industry. Within the job I do, you get very exposed to prejudice that people have against the manufacturers of food. And also you get very exposed to whats involved in attaining manufactured food, and what you can and cant say about something to its implementation of its health benefits. If I made a food product and I wanted to say it detoxes you, I absolutely couldnt. There are really clear laws: I cant said today in the advertising, I cant say it on the pack, I cant make any sort of assert that isnt tremendously backed in evidence.

But if I wrote a recipe volume, I can say what I want, Warner continues. If I went on telly, I could say, This recipe is truly detoxing. You can build stuff up, it doesnt matter. But then you get to the ad transgres, people advertising cant say those things because theyre covered by statute. So why arent the person or persons constructing the programmes covered by statute?

To be fair, Warner is pretty angry now. And hes not exactly optimistic that what he says will induce much difference to acolytes of clean eating. I believe fads will continue, often merely a recycling of the low-carb Atkins-style dieting under different names like those ketogenic diets, high-fat diets, he sighs.

Theyll only change the name and the pseudoscientific justifications for it. So yeah, there will probably always be something to write about. Warner smiles, And that will construct me angry.

The Angry Chef on five food myths


Detoxing
When people say, Im detoxing, what theyre saying is, Im not eating for two days. Its merely an extreme weight-loss diet, but you make up toxins that arent there and say, Im doing this to get rid of these toxins which your body will do naturally anyway. It generates dread around food.

Eat like a caveman
The paleo diet is just a low-carb diet to have a pseudoscientific justification.Weve been feeing carbohydrates for a long time, but theyll just go, Well, a caveman ate meat. They have this idea from The Flintstones , but anyone who works in anthropology will say, No, theyre plainly wrong.

Home-cooked food is always best
Its linked to wanting females to get back into the kitchen: Natural home-cooked dinners are the only way to be healthy Things were better before females went to work. Underlying the demonisation of convenience food, there is a lot of misogyny. Things were better in our grandmothers day were they?

Sugar is toxic
Sugar has an enormous amount of energy and is one of the most important building blocks for life. But they say, It has no nutritional value. That makes absolutely no sense.

Dont eat processed food
People will have a ready-meal from Waitrose and say, Im busy. Then theyll say poor people should just stop buying fishfingers: But I can go to M& S and buy my haddock goujons, thats not bad for me, is it?

Angry-chef.com

The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating( Oneworld, 12.99) is published on 6 July. To order a transcript for 11.04, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846 . Free UK p& p over 10, online orders merely. Telephone orders min. p& p of 1.99.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

How to feed your gut

Want a healthy intestine? Reach for the kimchi, sauerkraut, artichokes, coffee and chocolate. But watch out one category of food will build your microbes wither


Magical microbes- how to feed your intestine

The dark truth about chocolate

Grand health claims have been made about chocolate, but while it dedicates us pleasure, can it really be good for us?

Chocolate has been touted as a treatment for agitation, anaemia, angina and asthma. It has been said to awaken craving and act as an aphrodisiac. You may have noticed we’re still on the letter A.

More accurately, and to avoid adding to considerable existing embarrassment, it is the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree that have, over hundreds of years, been linked to remedies and therapies for more than 100 diseases and conditions. Their status as a cure-all dates back over 2,000 years, having spread from the Olmecs, Maya and Aztecs, via the Spanish conquistadors, into Europe from the 16 th century.

The 19 th century ensure chocolate drinking become cheap enough to spread beyond the wealthy, the invention of solid chocolate and the development of milk chocolate. Afterward came the added sugar and fat content of today’s snack bar and Easter eggs, which time-travelling Aztecs would probably struggle to associate with what they called the food of the gods.

Recent years have watched chocolate undergo another transformation, this time at the hands of branding experts. Sales of milk chocolate are stagnating as consumers become more health-conscious. Producers have responded with a growing range of premium products promoted with such terms as organic, natural, cacao-rich and single-origin. The packets don’t say so, but the message we’re supposed to swallow is clear: this new, improved chocolate, especially if it is darknes, is good for your health. Many people have swallowed the idea that it’s a “superfood”. Except it isn’t. So how has this magic trick-like metamorphosis been achieved?

Its foundations lie in chocolate manufacturers having poured huge sums into funding nutrition science that has been carefully framed, interpreted and selectively reported to cast their products in a positive sunlight over the last 20 years. For instance, analyses published last year observed chocolate consumers to be at reduced danger of heart flutterings, and that women who feed chocolate are less likely to suffer from strokes. Ingesting chemicals called flavanols in chocolate was also linked to reduced blood pressure. In 2016, eating chocolate was linked to reduced dangers of cognitive deterioration among those aged 65 and over, while cocoa flavanol consumption was linked to improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles- markers of diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk.

Such examines have generated hundreds of media reports that exaggerate their findings, and omit key details and caveats. Crucially, most recent research has use much higher levels of flavanols than are available in commercial snack products. For instance, the blood pressure examine involved participants getting an average of 670 mg of flavanols. Person would need to ingest about 12 standard 100 g bars of dark chocolate or about 50 of milk chocolate per day to get that much. The European Food Safety Authority has approved one rather modest chocolate-related health claim- that some specially processed dark chocolate, cocoa extracts and drinks containing 200 mg of flavanols” contribute to normal blood circulation” by helping to maintain blood vessel elasticity.

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Cocoa pods harvested on the Millot plantation in the north-west of Madagascar. Photograph: Andia/ UIG via Getty Images

Prof Marion Nestle, a nutritional scientist at New York University, uses the word “nutrifluff” to describe ” sensational research findings about a single food or nutrient based on one, usually highly preliminary, study “. She points out that most surveys on chocolate and health get industry fund, but journalists generally fail to highlight this.” Industry-funded research tends to set up questions that will give them desirable results, and tends to be interpreted in ways that are beneficial to their interests ,” she says.

Research has repeatedly shown that when food companies are paying, they are more likely to get helpful outcomes. US researchers who reviewed 206 examines about soft drink, juice and milk, for example, found that those receiving industry fund were six times more likely to produce favourable or neutral findings than those that did not. Most nutrition scientists who accept fund from industry are in a state of denial, according to Nestle, whose book Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat is due to be published in October.” The researchers involved feel it doesn’t affect the integrity and quality of their work ,” she says.” But research on narcotic industry funding shows the influence is generally unconscious, unintentional and unrecognised .”

The public are also misinformed into believing chocolate is healthy through what scientists refer to as the” file drawer effect “. Two of the aforementioned surveys- those on blood pressure and markers of cardiovascular health- are meta-analyses, entailing they pool the results of previously published research. The problem is that science publications, like the popular media, are more likely to publish findings that suggest chocolate is healthy than those that conclude it is not affected, which skews meta-analyses.” It’s really hard to publish something that doesn’t find anything ,” says Dr Duane Mellor, a nutritionist at Coventry University who has analyzed cocoa and health.” There’s a bias in the under-reporting of negative outcomes .”

Then there’s the problem that, unlike in medication trials, those taking part in chocolate studies often know whether they are being given chocolate or a placebo. Most people have positive expectations about chocolate because they like it. They are therefore primed, through the conditioning consequence- famously described by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov- to answer positively. They may, for example, become more relaxed, boosting different levels of endorphins and neurotransmitters, and triggering short-term physiological benefits.

” The responses of analyse participants can be affected by their beliefs and presumptions about chocolate ,” says Mellor.” Research has also observed people who volunteer for surveys are more likely to be affected by their beliefs about an intervention than the population as a whole .”

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So hard to defy: a chocolate store in Bruges, Belgium. Photo: Alamy Stock Photo

Many of the studies that involve people being given chocolate and tracking their health over hour are short and have small numbers of participants. This adds to the difficulties nutritional scientists have in separating out the effects of eating one food or nutrient from the rest of their diet and other variables and interactions within the body.

So when and why did chocolate companies become so keen on using science as a marketing tool? The answer varies depending on whom you ask.

During the 1990 s, scientists became interested in the French paradox- the now discredited observation that heart disease rates were low in France despite their own nationals diet high in saturated fats. One proposed explain was relatively high consumption of flavanols, a group of compounds found in red wine, tea and cocoa which, at high doses, had been linked to the prevention of cellular injury. US researchers caused a stir when from around the turn of the century they concluded that Kuna people off the coast of Panama had low blood pressure and rates of cardiovascular disease since they are drank more than five cups of flavanol-rich chocolate per day.

This undoubtedly stimulated chocolate industry research. However in 2000, a Channel 4 documentary reported on the use of child labour and bondage in cocoa production operations in Ghana and Ivory Coast- the source of most of the world’s chocolate. This triggered a wave of media reports and negative publicity.

Some say the industry poured fund into science at this time to divert attention away from west Africa.” Endeavors by many of the large chocolate companies to demonstrate health effects started side by side with the outcry over the use of child labour and slavery ,” says Michael Coe, a retired anthropologist formerly of Yale University, co-author of The True History of Chocolate .” Some of it was legitimate science, but it was stimulated, at least in part, by the need to say something positive about chocolate .”

Industry figures strenuously disagree.” There was no connection between those two things ,” says Matthias Berninger, vice-president for public affairs at Mars, Inc, when asked whether Coe is correct.” The Kuna story sparked a lot of interest. The level of investment and energy and intensity of research was much more driven by that than it was by the idea of creating a halo around chocolate .”

Critics have accused Mars in particular of using nutritional science to cast its products in a good sunlight. Through its scientific arm, Mars Symbioscience, it has published more than 140 peer-reviewed scientific papers on cocoa flavanols and health since 2005.

The family-owned company has traditionally remained tight-lipped about its involvement in cocoa research. However, last month it published its policies on conducting and funding research. Asked whether it had previously been involved in using research to suggest chocolate was healthy, Berninger says:” I do believe that that was so tempting, Mars couldn’t resist it. If you look back 20 years, there was this idea that this could create huge opportunities for us .”

But he says this changed long ago.” As a marketing strategy, we have not engaged in that for more than a decade .” In 2007, the European Union tightened regulations on nutrition and health claims. Meanwhile, research was inducing it increasingly clear that health benefits claims for commercial darknes chocolate products were unrealistic because of their low flavanol content.

Yet campaigners highlight how chocolate companies, including Mars, have opposed public health regulations that might undermine their profits employing third party. US public health lawyer Michele Simon made hard-hitting reports in 2013 and 2015, documenting how the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics( AND) and the American Society of Nutrition( ASN ), were receiving big sponsorship fees from major food industry companies. In 2014, the ASN had gone in to bat on behalf of the members of its corporate backers, including Coca-Cola, Mars and McDonald’s, against a US government plan for added sugar content to be included on food labels, and questioning the evidence on their negative health effects. A year earlier, the AND stated its support for a” total diet approach”, and opposition to the” overly simplistic” the categories of specific foods as good or bad.” It’s about co-opting health organisations, and buying legitimacy among professionals and members of the public ,” says Andy Bellatti, co-founder of US-based Dietitians for Professional Integrity.

Chocolate manufacturers have also utilized the classic corporate strategy of using third-party lobbyists to fabricate artificial scientific disagreement. Science is, by its nature, about evidence-based likelihoods not absolute certainties. The exaggeration of uncertainty was perfected by the tobacco companies in the 1950 s, and later copied by the asbestos and oil industries. Chocolate makers have done this through lobbying groups such as the Washington-based International Life Sciences Institute( ILSI ), which campaigned against added sugar labelling in the US, and resisted the World Health Organisation’s 2015 advice that less than 10% of daily energy uptake should come from free sugars- those added to food and drinkings and resulting naturally in honey and fruit juice.

Criticisms of these tactics seem to be reaching home. Mars transgressed ranks with fellow chocolate-making ILSI members including Nestle, Hershey and Mondelez, which owns Cadbury, in 2016 when it denounced a paper funded by the group questioning research linking sugar consumption and poor health, and related health advice. Last month Mars announced it was leaving ILSI.

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Don’t count on it: large quantities of the flavanols found in chocolate need to be ingested before they will have an impact on blood pressure. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/ PA

Mars’s Berninger agrees that the chocolate industry could do more to avoid the spread of health myths.” Chocolate is a treat you should enjoy occasionally and in small portions , not a health food ,” he says.” Did we say that loud enough over the last 10 years? I would say no .”

Public health campaigners welcome Mars’s new posture. Some see it as a genuine attempt to do the right thing, while others highlight how big food companies are seeking to reposition themselves in the face of growing environmental and health concerns. Whatever the motivation, the gulf between the chocolate industry and its critics seems to be narrowing.

Children hoping to celebrate Easter in the traditional chocolatey style on 1 April will be reassured to hear the two sides also agree on another aspect of the debate.” While chocolate is probably not healthy, it’s also not harmful when enjoyed in sensible quantities ,” says Mellor.” Chocolate is candy, adds Nestle.” As part of a reasonable diet, it’s fine in moderation .”

You can say anything with figures …

The role of the media in helping chocolate makers exploit our failure to grasp the complexities of nutrition science was laid bare in a 2015 expose. German television journalists set up a three-week “study” in which they asked one group of volunteers to follow a low-carb diet, another to do likewise but add a daily chocolate bar, a third to induce no change to their diet. Both low-carb groups lost an average of 5lb, but the chocolate group lost weight faster. By measuring 18 different things in a small number of people, the spoofers made it likely they would find “statistically significant” but fake benefits of eating chocolate.

The ” peer-reviewed ” International Repository of Internal Medicine agreed to publish a hurriedly written newspaper within 24 hours of receiving it- for a fee of EUR6 00. John Bohannon, a Harvard University biologist and science journalist in on the hoax, put together a press release. Within days narratives had been published in more than 20 countries. The Mail Online , Daily Express , Daily Star and Bild were among those that fell for it.

” I was just really ashamed for my colleagues ,” says Bohannon.” These are people who regurgitate whole chunks of press releases and almost never call on outside sources. In my volume, that’s not even journalism. It’s just an extension of PR .”

Big Food: Critical Perspectives on the Global Growth of the Food and Beverage Industry, edited by Simon N Williams and Marion Nestle, is published by Routledge

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What actually is the Mediterranean diet- and does it work?

Hard to define, but famously good for us, this style of eating is far from universally followed even in the countries it came from

It is said to be better at lowering cholesterol than statins, and able to prevent dementia and heart disease, and will not induce you fat. Anything that good for you might be expected to odor fouled and come in a medicine bottle, but the Mediterranean diet is generally considered to be delicious, except by those who dislike olive oil.

It is a potential answer to the obesity crisis crippling healthcare systems, but few understand exactly what the diet is and most of us do not follow it, including increasing numbers of people who live in the Mediterranean. The scientist Ancel Keys and the cookery novelist Elizabeth David, two of the innovators who helped open the eyes of north Europeans to the wonders of the Mediterranean diet, is necessary turning in their graves.

We are constantly presented with paeans to the Mediterranean way of life and were faced with yet another this week, when a study presented at a heart disease meeting in Rome claimed that those who eat a diet rich in veggies, nuts, fish and petroleums were 37% less likely to die early than those who eat red meat and butter.

But ask anybody what the Mediterranean diet actually is and few will give you the same answer. It is not a weight-loss regime such as the Atkins or Dukan diets. It is actually not a prescriptive diet at all, rather a pattern of feeing. In spite of the name, it has less and less in common with the way that many people in southern Europe live and eat today.

In the Greek tavernas, horded with British holidaymakers in the summer months, the Mediterranean diet so highly regarded by health experts can turn into a lamb kebab with rice and chips, washed down with lager. Pasta, which has historically been a smaller primi ( first) dish, overflows the enormous bowls in which it is served in many Italian eateries. The French have finally lost the battle against the Big Mac.

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Seafood, including octopus, is a component of the traditional Mediterranean diet, but intake varied according to locating. Photograph: Alamy

The Mediterranean diet is based on a rural life where people eat what they grew, which is fast disappearing. The UN has recognised the diet as an endangered species. In 2013, Unesco listed the Mediterranean diet as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Portugal.

Even health experts and nutritionists differ on the detail of the Mediterranean diet, but the principles are somewhat clear. It is about an eating style based on large amounts of fruit and vegetables, legumes such as beans, lentils, peas and peanuts, whole grains and especially olive oil.

Fish and seafood are part of it, but their consumption varied in the past according to how close people lived to the sea. Chicken, eggs and small amounts of dairy, such as cheese and yoghurt, are there in moderation, but red meat and sweets would rarely be eaten. The diet includes a small amount of wine with dinners. Pasta, bread and potatoes are variables from one region to another. It is quite a high-carbohydrate diet, which was fine when people were physically active on farms or fishing boats.

Notably , none of this comes in a box. The supermarket spaghetti bolognese does not count. The Mediterranean diet has no preservatives. It is freshly picked, plucked and cooked.

The use of olive oil is interesting, according to Tom Sanders, an emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at Kings College London, who has carried out analyzes involving Mediterranean diets. If you are trying to get people to feed a lot of vegetables and salad, its quite difficult to do without oil, he says. And if you are putting petroleum on top of salad, it also has a bit of a satiating impact. Aubergines or tomatoes in oil you are able to have enough of that quite quickly. Whereas something that youve got saturated fat in, such as cake or cookies, its easy to knock them back and you dont realise how much is going in.

But there is more to the Mediterranean diet than the food on the plate. Unesco waxes wistfully lyrical on a whole idealised lifestyle that may appear to have little to do with the modern Mediterranean as we know it. The Mediterranean diet involves a define of skills, knowledge, rituals, emblems and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking and especially the sharing and intake of food.

Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is a moment of social exchange and communication, an affirmation and renewal of family, group or community identity, the citation says.

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Fresh create at a street market stall in Naples, Italy. The key element of the diet is eating a large amount of vegetables. Photograph: Alamy

The Mediterranean diet emphasises values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, and a way of life provide guidance to respect for diversity.

Shared family meals, it is now widely understood, help people eat well and avoid excess, while the TV dinner habit is linked to obesity.

Keys, a Minnesota academic, started to investigate the health benefits of Mediterranean eating in the 1950 s, after a visit to Naples. He was concerned about the large numbers of men succumbing from heart attacks in the US. An Italian colleague had told him that the heart attack rate among labourers in the Neapolitan area was low. It led to the Seven Countries Study, an enormous project that continues today. The first pilot studies were set up in Nicotera, a village in Calabria, southern Italy, and in six villages on Crete.

The study compared middle-aged humen with different lifestyles and diet: on the US railroads, in the villages of North Karelia, Finland, where many men succumbed from the consequences of heart disease, in the Netherlands, in Italian villages, but also employees on the railroads in Rome, in Crete and Corfu, in villages in Croatia, and in farming and angling communities in Japan.

It uncovered a link between feeing high levels of saturated fat, found in red meat and dairy products, and cholesterol in the blood, and heart disease. The scientists could not prove that saturated fats were the cause, but the finger of distrust was securely pointed, leading to changed dietary guidelines in the US and the eventual furor for low-fat everything, with the resulting rise and rise of sugar to make processed food and beverages taste better. Keys has more recently been heavily criticised for opposing John Yudkin, who argued in the 1970 s that sugar , not fat, was the problem.

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Nowadays, Mediterranean food is often served with chips, while in Italy, pasta has run from being a small first course to a larger main course. Photograph: Alamy

What did not happen as a result of the study was the wholescale adoption of the Mediterranean diet, although Keys, who died aged 100 in 2004, promoted it in popular books and practised what he preached.

David, a debutante, adventurer and devotee of the Mediterranean sunshine, had an influence with her articles and books, describing dishes with aubergines, courgettes and other exotica that were all but unavailable in northern Europe in the 1950 s and 60 s. But the era of convenience food and the sheer quantity that became available, whether in supermarkets or from takeaways, had a greater impact on working populations.

Nonetheless, Sanders says northern Europe is generally healthier than the Mediterranean regions. Things have changed.

That sort of diet was accompanied by quite a lot of physical activity. There were moderate intakes of wine, but it wasnt huge: it was about 300 ml or 400 ml at most a day. And these guys, particularly in Crete, which was looked at, were relatively active and were quite thin.

If you look at a follow-up of their kids, the second generation in the Seven Countries Study, they tend to be overweight and feeing something quite different a lot more deep fried food. The equivalent of Colonel Sanders genuinely. And what you are seeing in southern Europe, Greece, is one of the highest increases in rates of cardiovascular disease, so theres been a switchover.

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Obesity is increasing in Greece, which topped the OECD childhood obesity league in 2014, ahead of the US, Italy and Mexico. Photo: Alamy

If we look at life expectancy, I think its longest in Iceland. Whereas southern European countries, they still have a lot of poverty and theyre not doing so well. And theyre becoming more sedentary.

Greece topped the OECD child obesity league published in 2014, using data from 2010, with 44% of boys aged 5-17 overweight, followed by Italy on 36%. Both countries had higher rates than the US and Mexico.

Studies continue to show the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. In June, the respected Predimed analyze in Spain found that overweight and obese people, with heart disease and diabetes, who feed a Mediterranean-style diet high in vegetable fat, because of additional olive oil or nuts, did not gain weight, compared with people on a low-fat diet.

There is no doubt that the Mediterranean diet is good for you. But shifting the habits of nations to adopt, cook and eat it regularly in societies dominated by packaged food producers is quite a task.

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