The following is a small excerpt from Stop Feeding Us Lies
The calorie counting myth
Is it possible to lose weight and keep it off without willpower, hunger and lethargy? Yes it is, but before we get to that we need some basic information. We are always told to count the calories in our food and that weight loss comes from consuming fewer calories than we use. This is referred to as the ‘Calories in – Calories out’ method of weight loss, or the CICO diet. In early 2018 the Government-backed organisation, Public Health England (PHE), issued guidance on what we should eat, in its attempts to reverse the obesity epidemic. They proclaimed that all adults should eat 400 calories for breakfast, 600 calories for lunch and 600 calories for dinner, with 100 to 200 calories in snacks twice a day.
In my opinion, the nutrition department of Public Health England is one of the most misguided organisations that ever wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers money. I have an image in my mind of couples up and down the country, where one asks the other, “What should we have for dinner tonight?” and the partner replies, “I think I fancy 600 calories”. Public Health England did not specify any particular types of food in their advice; they just want us to consume 600 calories. Eating a delicious meal, with our loved ones, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Public Health England wants to suck all the joy out of it and reduce it to a type of energy accountancy, tinged with guilt. How on earth is anyone supposed to cook and serve a meal of precisely 600 calories per person? Will 600 calories of salmon and broccoli have the same effect on your weight and health as 600 calories of sugar-coated doughnuts? The answer is no and I will soon explain why, but first we need to know what a calorie is. We can’t keep talking about calories without knowing what they are.
A calorie is a unit of heat energy. It is defined as ‘the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a gram of water by one degree centigrade at normal atmospheric pressure’. Carbohydrates and proteins contain 4 calories per gram and fats contain 9 calories per gram. How do we know this? The experiments to determine these values involved placing a gram of each macronutrient into a special container surrounded by water. A stream of oxygen was directed over each sample so it would burn when it was set on fire. When the food samples had burnt out, the heat created had caused a rise in water temperature, which was used to calculate the calorie content of each food type. The calories we see listed on packets of food, and referred to by Public Health England, are kilocalories (Kcal) and one of those is the energy required to raise the temperature of a litre of water by one degree. So, if we manage to calculate and serve 600 calories of food on to our plate, as Public Health England want us to do, will we know how much weight we are going to lose? No, we will not. However, what we will know about our meal is how much it could raise the temperature of a litre of water if we set fire to it.
Public Health England’s preoccupation with counting calories is misguided. It implies that the most important thing about our food is how much energy it contains. Instead, we should be thinking about how much nutrition it contains.
The Covid-19 epidemic has run the typical course of viral infections with a rapid rise in cases to a peak, which lasts a few weeks, and is followed by a steady, but slower, decline back to normal. It is, however, a nasty virus for those who succumb to it. There are two important questions: who succumbs to Covid-19 and why do they succumb while others do not? It is clear from all the data that this coronavirus is a far bigger threat to elderly people. Children and young adults are hardly affected.
Why does the virus affect some people so badly? We all have two levels of immunity: acquired and innate. We acquire specific immunity when we create antibodies in response to a viral, or bacterial, infection. Innate immunity is our natural ability to fend off a pathogen without ill effects. 70 to 80% of people in the UK, who have tested positive for Covid-19, have experienced either very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, thanks to their innate immunity. As we get older, our immune system becomes less efficient and we are more likely to develop metabolic disorders. Sadly, the great majority of deaths have occurred in elderly people and those with diabetes, obesity and heart and lung disease.
We knew, from Italy, of the extreme danger to both the elderly and the unwell but did nothing about protecting those people specifically. Instead, the Government imposed a severe lockdown on everybody, which collapsed the economy, closed schools and made millions of people terrified of each other.
Certain businesses are being allowed to reopen but with strict rules attached. This process has been given the sinister, Orwellian title of ‘the new normal’. Apparently, we will be allowed to return to ‘normal’ if we stay 2 meters apart and wear face masks. There is nothing ‘normal’ about this. It will destroy the hospitality industry, theatres and sporting events. It will cause a huge spike in mental illness and stress. It will be of profound detriment to children’s education. The virus has run its course and is almost gone. If there are 65 million people in the UK, there will currently be 64.99 million people who do not have this virus and, therefore, cannot pass it on to anyone else.
However, having said that, I strongly believe we should have a ‘new normal’ once this is finally over. This new normal will have nothing to do with masks and distancing but will protects us all from this and any future epidemic. The new normal should be a concerted effort to improve everybody’s metabolic health. This would not only improve our immunity but would also vastly reduce all the problems we faced before Covid-19: obesity; cancer; type 2 diabetes; heart disease and dementia.
Sadly, I do not believe this initiative will ever come from the Government while it is guided in ‘science’ by Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance. As a former Community Pharmacist, with a far greater interest in health than medication, I am appalled by the contribution of the Government’s most senior scientific advisers. Evidence from around the world has shown that people with high levels of Vitamin D are protected from the worst effects of Covid-19. Why has this never been mentioned by them? If they do not know about it, they are incompetent. If they know about it, but have not mentioned it, they are negligent.
We desperately need a new normal in the UK. We have appalling rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and mental health issues, which put the NHS under great strain. None of these will be helped by social distancing and face masks. All of them will benefit enormously from a healthy diet of real, unprocessed food. There is compelling evidence that the high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet which has been recommended by the National Dietary Guidelines for 40 years has caused the constant rise in obesity and diabetes. Individual doctors, who have ignored official dietary dogma, have reversed type 2 diabetes in some of their patients with a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.
The Chief Scientific Adviser should be up to date with this. Instead, he remains silent, nothing changes, and 6,000 type 2 diabetics have a foot amputated every year when a change in diet could prevent it. The government has taken drastic measures to reduce the spread of a virus. When will it take simple measures to prevent the far greater burden of obesity, diabetes and cancer?
There is something I have never understood throughout this Covid-19 pandemic. Why have the Authorities never even mentioned the importance of boosting our own innate immune system? Government announcements give the impression that this virus is equally dangerous to everybody, which it is not. With the ‘lockdown’ and the ‘stay at home to save lives’ message, they have implied there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves other than to avoid catching it. Every one of their initiatives is designed to reduce the transmission of the disease. None of their ideas promote our individual ability to cope with Covid-19 if we become infected. We have all been made to feel helpless but, I believe, all of us can and should be taking control of our own destiny. The Government has missed a fantastic opportunity to use this crisis to improve the overall health of the entire nation.
We all have a natural immune system that deals constantly with bacteria and viruses. Some people have a much better immune system than others but we can all do things to make ours as robust as possible. I have previously written about how the vast majority of deaths and hospitalisations occur in people with pre-existing illness and, frequently, a Vitamin D deficiency. I think it makes sense to shield these vulnerable people, whose immunity is compromised. However, most of the people who have tested positive for the virus have had either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. This coronavirus appears, therefore, to be really dangerous only to people who are not in good health and who lack a strong immune system. Why are the Government’s Health Advisers not making this clear? As far as I am aware, boosting our own immune system has never been recommended by any of them.
Unwittingly, the Government may have made matters worse with their ‘lockdown’ strategy. Diet, sleep and vitamin D status all affect our immune status. Another significant factor is stress. Whenever we are in immediate danger, the hormone Cortisol is released to prime us for the ’flight or fight’ response. It adjusts our biochemistry to give us the best chance of surviving when we have to run for our lives. This is a natural and helpful response and the hormone is dissipated by the intense activity which ensues. However, stress hormones become a serious problem when they are released over a long period of time. The process is complex but the result is a diminished immune system. (People with latent viruses, like cold sores, will know they only flare up during times of physical or mental stress, At other times, the immune system keeps them suppressed.)
What causes stress?
1. Isolation. Humans are naturally gregarious people. We thrive on social interactions and find enforced isolation extremely stressful.
2. Work. Our employment often defines us and gives us a sense of purpose and self-worth. Losing a job can be a great source of stress.
3. Fear. Living with a constant worry that something very dangerous may be close by, coupled with the realisation that you do not know where it is, nor how to prevent it, is exceptionally stressful.
4. Money. A serious shortage of money, with mouths to feed and bills to pay, is one of life’s greatest stressors.
5. Denial of access to green spaces. Lots of research has shown that time spent in green spaces, on sunny days, is a potent way to reduce stress levels.
For many people, the ‘lockdown’ will have created chronic, increased levels of stress, which may well have lowered their natural immunity. It is important that we all take steps to improve it. Now that some of the restrictions are being lifted we should embrace the opportunity to exercise, or just spend time, in open, green spaces to boost our mood and allow sunshine onto our skin to increase vitamin D levels. (See the previous blog to understand the remarkable benefits of this.)
I appreciate that some people have endured a far worse ‘lockdown’ than others. To them, my comments may seem irrelevant compared to their plight but an improvement in health and immunity will always have benefits. Taking positive actions to enhance our well-being gives us a stress-reducing sense of control and self-worth.
Our diet is the number one determinant of our health. The majority of people dying of Covid-19 have Metabolic Syndrome which is a collection of health problems including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high serum triglycerides. It often leads to heart disease and type 2 diabetes and is linked to insulin resistance. Contrary to a lot of medical consensus, these can all be reversed or reduced in a matter of weeks with the correct diet.
Some of the steps we can take to improve our health through diet include:
1. Eliminate sugar and ultra-processed and refined foods.
2. Reduce all types of carbohydrates to a low level.
3. Eliminate ‘vegetable oils’ because they increase inflammation. They are present in nearly all processed foods.
4. Eat real food from a farmer or fisherman not a factory.
5. Eat lots of meat, eggs, fish, butter and cheese along with fresh vegetables that grow above the ground.
“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” Albert Einstein 1901.
“We will remove any medical comments that do not align with WHO advice.” Youtube CEO 2020.
To say these are strange times would be a great understatement. Everybody’s life has been disrupted either by Covid-19 or the Government’s reaction to it. An unprecedented ‘lockdown’ was forced upon us all to ‘flatten the curve’ and ‘prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed’. The newspapers and broadcast media have urged us to ‘stay at home and save lives’ to the exclusion of almost every other topic. Although millions of words have been written about Covid-19 already, I am adding a few more because I believe important information has not been made widely available.
Neil Ferguson is an epidemiologist at Imperial College, London, whose predictions have greatly influenced the Government’s actions. Using computer modelling techniques, he predicted, originally, that 500,000 people would die, in the UK, from this virus unless a severe lockdown was implemented. Before we thank him for his foresight, we should remember that he also predicted that ‘Bird Flu’ would kill up to 200 million people world-wide. It killed 440. He also said that ‘Mad Cow Disease’ would kill 50,000 in the UK. The death toll was just over 200. (He has just resigned from his Government advisory position for breaking the lockdown he recommended.)
Having shut down our lives, the Government needs to justify that action. One of the ways they do this is to count every death as a Covid-19 death if the victim had the virus, or had the symptoms of the virus. Doctors are currently allowed to assume someone died of Covid-19 when completing a death certificate. We will never know how many people died of the virus or died of something else whilst they had the virus. Whatever the death toll turns out to be, it will be nowhere near Prof. Ferguson’s number.
“The coronavirus does not discriminate.” In March we were told this on several occasions and it is true that anyone may be infected. However, when it comes to who dies, the virus certainly appears to discriminate. It almost exclusively takes people who are already suffering from metabolic diseases and old people whose natural immunity is impaired.
These figures, from the NHS, show that 95% of the people who died had a diagnosed, pre-existing condition. The people without a pre-existing condition may have been metabolically unwell without having been diagnosed, so the figure may be even higher. The most common pre-existing conditions are diabetes, obesity and heart disease, which tend to be more prevalent in the elderly. However, these conditions are avoidable with the correct lifestyle and diet. Unfortunately, the NHS advises us all to eat a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, which directly increases our chances of developing the metabolic diseases which this virus attacks.
Vitamin D. A pre-existing condition, which is never mentioned during the Government’s daily broadcasts is Vitamin D deficiency. Nearly everybody in the UK is lacking vitamin D at this time of year following the winter. It has been shown to be a vital part of our innate immune system and previous studies have demonstrated its ability to tackle respiratory, viral diseases, like influenza. In some places doctors have tested their Covid-19 patients and discovered exceptional results.
This first study is from Indonesia and the second from America –
It is clear from these results that Vitamin D deficiency is a pre-existing condition which greatly increases someone’s chance of dying when contracting Covid-19. If our health authorities were aware of this surely they would encourage us to sit in the sun, whilst social-distancing. Instead, they have allowed the police to move people on, who are trying to improve their immune systems via sunlight. The NHS advises us to protect ourselves from the direct rays of the sun, which is our evolved way of producing Vitamin D. Too much sun can be bad for us, but too little is also detrimental.
In the UK, winter sunshine is too weak to stimulate vitamin production. However, we can get vitamin D from food but the active form, D3, only comes from animal sources like fatty fish and eggs. It is fat soluble and we need fat in our diet to absorb it. The NHS dietary guidelines advise a low-fat diet. They also advise a reduction in cholesterol levels, which is a huge problem because cholesterol is an essential part of the process that creates vitamin D when sun shines on our skin.
Inflammation. In human biology, the term inflammation is used to describe a complex process in which a variety of molecules are released into the blood stream by the immune system to fight infections. The swelling and redness that comes with an infected cut is an essential defence mechanism. However, some people can have a long-lasting, low-level of inflammation which can be harmful. When people die from the coronavirus they often suffer a ‘cytokine storm’. Cytokines are messenger molecules which trigger immune responses but, if too many are produced, the immune system can over-react and start attacking our own cells as well as those of the virus. This can cause death by multiple organ failure.
Having high-levels of inflammation before we are infected increases the odds on suffering too much inflammation during an illness. We can improve our odds by having very low levels of inflammation. The essential omega fatty acids play a role in this process. Omega-3 reduces inflammation while Omega-6 increases inflammation. It is believed that our evolutionary diet had a one-to-one balance of these two nutrients. Modern diets can contain a ratio of 16 to 1 in favour of the pro-inflammatory Omega-6. This has happened because we have all been persuaded, by the NHS Dietary Guidelines, to replace traditional lard and dripping in our cooking with ‘vegetable oils’. These modern, industrially-extracted oils have a very high percentage of Omega-6 and are rife in processed foods. Interestingly, Vitamin D is a potent anti-inflammatory and can greatly reduce the chance of a cytokine storm.
The Lockdown. We have all accepted an extraordinary curtailment of our freedoms and livelihoods because we have been told we have to ‘save lives’. Nobody seems to know how much damage will be done to society, the economy, and other health problems as a result of the lockdown but with tens of thousands of people already made redundant, the consequences will be severe. Recent surveys have shown that many people are too afraid of the virus to want their normal freedoms back.
The evidence here shows that the best way to save lives is to be metabolically healthy with low blood sugar and high vitamin D levels. Why is the Government failing to tell us any of this information? We cannot know their motives, nor the motives of their advisers, but to do so would mean admitting that the official dietary advice is wrong and has been for decades.
The Government never tells us to improve our metabolic health and innate immune systems. Instead, it promotes vaccines, testing and phone-tracking apps. All of these things will make some companies a lot of money. Sunbathing, for a short time, without sunscreen and eating low-carb, high-fat, real food from a farmer or fisherman will not make anyone a fortune. However, we can all do these things and, not only reduce our risk from Covid19 considerably, but also improve all aspects of our health for years to come. The real pandemic here is not so much the virus as the pandemic of metabolic syndrome which the virus has remorselessly attacked.
If you have complete trust in the authorities and are willing to do whatever they say, I wish you good luck. If you are concerned for your health and about the lies we are told, I urge you to watch this interview. It is American and 25 minutes long but it is truly eye-opening.
Shortly after posting this blog, I discovered that the video above has been removed from YouTube. It exposes a raft of high level corruption in prominent figures advising the US Government on virus policy. I am not surprised that those powerful people shut it down.
I wrote a tweet recently comparing the extraordinary global response to Covid-19 and the total lack of response to the millions of people who die each year because of metabolic syndrome. Several people replied that you cannot compare the two because one is infectious and the other is not. They suggested that we cannot do anything about the virus but we can all chose to improve our metabolic health. I wasn’t comparing the diseases; I was comparing the response to them. Metabolic disease will kill more people this and every year than Coronavirus but the authorities make no bold efforts to examine the reasons for those deaths.
There are a few important things to add to this debate.
The majority of people who die from this virus are elderly and already have metabolic diseases. One of the most common of these is type 2 diabetes, which is avoidable with the correct diet. Metabolic disruption makes people more vulnerable to the virus.
The best way for any of us to avoid succumbing to the virus, or fight it off without needing hospitalisation, is to have a first-class immune system. Several factors affect our immunity and the most important is diet.
The virus causes death by attacking the lungs and causing respiratory failure.
Both of these vitamins are fat soluble and likely to be low in people on a low-fat diet. They can also be low in people on a vegetarian or vegan diet because the best sources are in animal-based foods:
Beef and lamb’s liver, salmon, tuna, mackerel, butter, cheese, eggs
Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, eggs, lard and bacon fat.
Of course, the best source of vitamin D is from sunlight on our skin (without sunscreen). However, during a British winter, it is not possible to get enough sunshine to create adequate amounts of this essential substance and we have to get it from our diet. It is worth remembering that it is a cholesterol molecule that is converted to vitamin D in the skin. Eating a lot of plant sterols (or taking statins) will reduce levels of cholesterol and potentially lower our immunity.
This is a quote from the Abstract of the study: “As new influenza virus strains emerge, finding new mechanisms to control infection is imperative. In this study, we found that we could control influenza infection of mammalian cells by altering the level of glucose given to cells. Higher glucose concentrations induced a dose-specific increase in influenza infection.”
A low-carbohydrate diet, as recommended on this site, has many more benefits than just weight loss and reversal of type 2 diabetes.
Minerals Some trace minerals have a profound effect on the integrity of our immune systems. Three of the most important ones are thought to be Zinc, Iodine and Selenium. They only occur in decent amounts in whole, unprocessed foods. Processing greatly reduces the mineral content.
Zinc is quite well-known for fighting the common cold. It is found in meat, shellfish, lentils and beans, nuts, dairy and eggs.
Iodine is essential for thyroid function and the thyroid is important for immunity. There are few good sources of iodine but the best include cod, tuna, shrimp, eggs, dairy, iodised salt and seaweed!
Selenium is an antioxidant that we require in trace amounts. Too little causes problems but so does too much. It is better to eat healthy foods than take supplements that may provide too much. The best sources of selenium are brazil nuts, pork, beef, chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, mushrooms and spinach.
Good metabolic health, weight, blood sugar and an excellent immune system all come from eating the diet we evolved to eat: a low-carbohydrate diet of mainly animal-sourced protein and fat. What we eat can definitely improve our chances of fighting off the worst effects of Coronavirus. Why is the Chief Medical Officer not telling us this?
The Times newspaper ran a story today (6th March 2020) which perfectly exemplifies why we should be very careful about getting our scientific knowledge and dietary advice from newspaper articles. The headline was Serving of nuts rather than meat could lower heart and cancer risk. The article claimed that “Replacing one daily serving of any red meat for nuts — without increasing the number of calories a person ate — was linked to a 17 per cent lower risk of dying of a heart attack.”
This is a very powerful message; people are likely to be swayed by the idea that they can reduce their risk of heart attack by nearly a fifth simply by swapping meat for nuts. Of course, If you read on beyond the headline and opening paragraphs the article correctly states, “Their study was purely observational. That meant that it could not prove that swapping meat for nuts, wholegrains and legumes caused people to have better health.”
1. Observational studies on diets are notoriously unreliable. All of the data comes from Food Frequency Questionnaires which participants have to complete over long periods of time. Can you remember precisely what you ate a week last Thursday? No, neither can I. Inevitably, some of the data is a guess which invalidates the whole process as a scientific study.
2. Studies like this have to be interpreted by the researchers and adjustments made for confounding factors. This research was done by Harvard Chan School of Public Health. A cursory examination of their publications shows a clear and significant bias towards plant based foods.
3. It is well known that people who eat more nuts and vegetables are generally more health conscious. They tend to be non-smokers, drink moderately, take exercise and sleep well. Among the ‘meat-eaters’ in these studies are people who eat fast food most of the time. They consume meat but eat it with a bread bun, fries cooked in inflammatory seed oils and washed down with a large sugar-laden ‘Coke’. They also do not look after themselves in other ways. We are not comparing like with like.
4. Heart disease has many contributory factors including: high blood pressure; systemic inflammation; high blood sugar/high insulin levels/type 2 diabetes (most diabetics eventually die from heart disease); toxins from cigarette smoke and air pollution; high levels of the stress hormone cortisol; high levels of homocysteine (due to a lack of B vitamins); low levels of vitamin D; drug abuse (especially cocaine); high levels of the clotting agent fibrinogen; and bacterial infection. None of these things are made worse by eating red meat. In fact, meat is a very good source of B vitamins which are protective against heart disease. There is simply no mechanism by which the consumption of meat can induce heart attack.
5. Our species has been eating red meat for millions of years. If it was as bad for as Harvard Chan continually tell us we would have died out long ago. Also, our skeletal muscle is the same substance as red meat. An average adult male is 42% red meat and an adult woman is typically 36% red meat. It is completely illogical to imagine that eating something which makes up more than a third of our bodies could do us any harm.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting over 600,000 people. It is also increasing rapidly around the world. It involves deterioration or complete sight loss in the middle of the field of vision. Sufferers typically have enough peripheral vision to find their way around but cannot focus on anything well enough to be able to read or watch a film. As its name suggests, the greatest risk factor is advancing age but research has shown that diet can have a dramatic effect and the biggest culprit is modern cooking oil.
In Australia, Professor Paul Beaumont, ophthalmic surgeon and founder of their Macular Degeneration Foundation, believes the increased incidence of AMD is due to the increase of vegetable oils and margarine in our diet. “Vegetable oils are basically the reason why this disease has become more common. All the data is consistent with it.”
Vegetable oils do not come from vegetables; they are the highly processed products of various grass seeds. They are promoted because they are low in saturated fat, which has been mistakenly vilified for decades. The real problem is that these oils are very high in an omega-6 fat called linoleic acid which competes with the omega-3 fats we are supposed to have in our eyes. The DHA (docosahexanoic acid) component of omega-3 is found in high concentrations in the retina and is an important structural component of the photoreceptor cells. If our diet contains high levels of vegetable oils we consume too much linoleic acid and this displaces the DHA preventing its vital function..
The Womens Health Study examined the relationship between the dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids with age-related macular degeneration. The study was extensive, lasting 10 years in a large group of women who, in the beginning, didn’t have AMD but were diagnosed during the 10-year study. Researchers found that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids was strongly predictive of early AMD, and is consistent with similar findings for advanced AMD in prior studies. This supports the conclusion that both the level of omega-3 fatty acids and its ratio to omega-6 fatty acids are important in determining risks of AMD.
The conclusions of these studies are that regular consumption of omega-3 significantly reduces the risk of AMD, and this research gives strong evidence to support the role for omega-3 in the primary prevention of AMD, and perhaps a reduction in chances of developing advanced AMD.
The health authorities tell us to reduce the consumption of traditional fats like butter, lard and fatty meat and replace them with vegetable oils. While they do so, the incidence of blindness accelerates around the world. Vegetable oils are used in almost all processed foods, which is another reason to eat real food, which comes from a farmer or fisherman and not a factory.
The title of this post is the same as one of the chapters in my book, Stop Feeding Us Lies. The rest of this post, between the lines, is an excerpt from that chapter.
In today’s politically correct world,
you are unlikely to hear anybody in public office saying, ‘Physically fit
children are academically superior to unfit children’, which is a problem
because research from around the world has proved this to be true. As I explained
in Chapter 3, physical activity increases the production of nerve-growth
factors in the brain. One of the reasons we possess elaborate brains is because
our ancestors, over a long period of time, were chasing animals for food. It
has recently been discovered that the process of enhancing brain function by
exercise produces rapid results in the development of children.
In October 2013 Professor John Reilly,
from Strathclyde University, and Doctor Josie Booth, from Dundee University,
published their findings from a study which is following the lives of 5,000
children born in 1991 and 1992. This group is known as the ‘Avon Cohort’. The
researchers examined the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity the
children were doing at the age of 11 and compared this to their academic
performance in English, mathematics and science. Their results showed that the
children with higher levels of moderate to vigorous exercise had better
academic performance across all three subjects, and this was true for both boys
and girls. The children were assessed again at both 13 and 15 years of age,
when it was found that their academic achievement was still linked to how much
energetic exercise they had taken when they were 11.
Professor Petri, from the University of
North Texas, studied 1,211 children of very diverse ethnic and social
backgrounds. As well as testing their fitness and academic achievement, he also
took into account other influences like self-esteem, social support and
economic status. At the end of the study he said, “Cardiorespiratory fitness
was the only factor that we consistently found to have a positive effect on
both boys’ and girls’ grades in reading and maths tests.” So, the
frequently quoted idea that children from poor families, given little support,
are always going to struggle in school because of their backgrounds is not
proven in this study. In fact, physical fitness was shown to be the most
important factor relating to academic grades.
There are many similar studies, by different universities, which also found a direct link between physical fitness and performance in school, but at the University of Michigan they went a step further and showed why this happens. Professor Art Kramer studied a group of nine and ten-year-olds by testing their ability to use oxygen while running on a treadmill. This is a standard measure of fitness, which is often used by athletes, and he discovered that the physically fit children were much more efficient at using oxygen than the less-fit children. When he tested their mental capabilities, it was clear that the fit children had a greater ability to remember and integrate various types of information than their less-fit peers. He knew that a part of the brain called the hippocampus is particularly important for the formation of memories, so he gave these children an electronic brain scan to measure the relative size of structures in the brain. When he analysed the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) data, he found that the physically fit children had a bigger hippocampus than the out-of-shape ones. On average, it was 12% larger which is clear evidence that physically fit children perform better in academic tests than unfit children. This happens because the physical exercise, which has made them fit, has also enlarged the parts of the brain that improve memory through the production of nerve growth factors.
This is very significant information for the education of our children. I have studied the National Curriculum and it contains no requirement to improve the physical fitness of children during PE lessons. There is no mention of a raised heartbeat or increased strength but children are expected to be able to explain why exercise is good for them. There is a great opportunity here for schools to improve the performance of their children. Other research in the book also shows that increased exercise and fitness is likely to improve their general health, mental health, self-esteem and long term prospects.
As the New Year begins, many people seek to lose weight and improve their health through a change in their diet. Some will be tempted to try a plant-based diet for a whole month, by signing up to ‘Veganuary’. Nutritional science deems this to be a bad idea because a vegan diet is nutritionally deficient.
Eating nothing but plants is fine for herbivores but humans are not herbivores. We require the nutrients found only in animal foods if we are to be healthy. • Humans have been eating meat for hundreds of thousands of years. We evolved into the dominant species on the planet because of our regular consumption of meat, which is the most nutrient-dense and easily-absorbed food available to us. • Veganism is a modern, fad diet. In the Western world, it began with a religious group known as the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists. Recent polls have shown that 80% of vegans eventually go back to eating meat because their health has declined. • Vitamin B12 does not exist in plants; we can only obtain it from eating animals or by taking supplements in tablet form. This vitamin is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the integrity of our brain and nerve fibres. It is vital for children, whose brains are growing, to consume plenty of milk, eggs and meat to get enough B12. • 12% of the structure of a human brain consists of an omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA. It is necessary for conscious thought, DHA is only found in animal foods. This may well explain why vegans suffer from depression at a higher rate than omnivores.
The Veganuary website boasts of its connection with many food producers, who continue to add to their range of vegan options. Food manufacturers are very happy to support this because they make far more profit out of the cheap ingredients in a ‘meatless burger’ than they do when they use real meat. We can all expect to see more ‘vegan’ options appearing in supermarkets. This does not happen because they are more healthy; it happens because they are more profitable.
The Veganuary website also talks about the avoidance of animal cruelty, without telling you that the vast majority of UK farmers take great care of their livestock. It also fails to mention all the small wild creatures, like field mice, that are killed when a plant crop is harvested by large machines, nor all the thousands of bees, birds and insects that die from the spraying of toxic pesticides. Because of the way plant food is grown, more animals die to feed a vegan than die to feed a carnivore.
Most people do not stop to think where vegetables come from in the middle of January. Many of them come from the vast expanse of plastic polytunnels that cover 160 square miles of the Spanish coast near Almeira. This is not eco-friendly food production Read more about it here
If you want to improve your health in January, cut back on carbohydrates and replace them with healthy fats; avoid ultra-processed foods; cook your own real food that comes from a farmer or fisherman not a factory.
In recent weeks, I have been asked many times if I have seen ‘Game Changers’ and what I thought about it. Apparently, this film is regarded as convincing by many people. I watched it so that I can give my honest appraisal.
Having spent several years researching the science of our dietary needs and our evolution, I can state categorically that it is impossible for a vegan diet to be superior to an omnivore diet or, indeed, an entirely carnivorous diet. I can make this statement because we are not herbivores. This is the only indisputable fact that anyone needs to remember when wondering if veganism is for them. If you are a member of the human race, veganism cannot be your optimum diet: it is lacking in too many essential nutrients.
My book is called Stop Feeding Us Lies for a very good reason. We are constantly bombarded with myths, misinformation, fake news and downright lies. You just have to watch a political debate to know that. ‘Game Changers’ is just another big lie. It is part of a large and well-coordinated attack on our traditional foods by vested interests. Those vested interests are food manufacturing companies that stand to make a fortune if they persuade enough people to stop eating the animal foods our ancestors have been eating for a million years and switch to fake foods made in their laboratories.
The producer of ‘Game Changers’ is just one of those vested interests. His name is James Cameron and he is the founder and CEO of Verdiant Foods, an organic pea protein company with the goal of becoming “the largest pea protein fractionation facility in North America.” Pea protein isolate is the main ingredient in all those fake meat products that have recently arrived on the shelves. ‘Game Changers’ is not science: it is an indirect advertisement for the producer’s business. If this film persuaded you to go vegan, I believe you have been duped by a clever advert.
The film claimed they had evidence that Gladiators in Ancient Rome ate a plant-based diet and this was supposed to convince us that veganism conferred physical strength on these people. The truth is that gladiators were slaves and ate what they were given. Also, they needed to be fat rather than strong because the more fat they had the more protection their vital organs had from cuts and blows.
There was one section in the film which I thought nobody could be fooled by, but perhaps I was wrong. I did not think anybody could be gullible enough to believe that a meal of vegetables, rather than meat, would make a man’s penis significantly larger (while he was asleep!) I suppose most men (and perhaps women) would like to believe something so unlikely might just be true.
We evolved into who we are because our ancestors ate meat for a million years. When I go to my local butcher’s shop and buy some meat; the butcher got it from a local farmer; the local farmer reared it on his fields using sunlight, rainwater and the fetiliser that came out of the cow. There is nowhere in this process for global corporations to make any money and that is why they are trying to persuade us it is wrong. It isn’t wrong; it is exactly what we should all be doing for the good of our health, the benefit of our local communities and the climate.