Diet of the Future
Dr. Melik: [puzzling over list of items sold at Miles' old health-food store] ... wheat germ, organic honey and... tiger's milk.ABC news recently had a features on what nutrition will be like in 2031. Unfortunately, fried chicken and cheesecake probably won't be on the "nutritious" list, but there will be some good eatin':
Dr. Aragon: Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.
Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?
Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.
Dr. Melik: Incredible!
Dark chocolate, long recognized as both a rich indulgence and a health food, will dominate stores and homes alike. Milk chocolate will be largely a historical curiosity.The assumption is that,in 25 years we will know and understand the health benefits of all of the vitamins, minerals and organic molecules that make up our food. Of course we will also have deciphered how each individual's genetic makeup responds to different diets, with the result a perfectly tailored diet for each individual. Let's just say I'm skeptical that 25 years is long enough to understand both the complex chemical composition of the foods we eat and how those chemicals interact with each other in our diet to affect our health. However, I'm willing to start eating dark chocolate now, just in case.
The optimal dose of red wine will be known, and its health effects relative to other libations will be fully elaborated.
In other nutrition news:
• The food museum blog notes a report in the New England Journal of Medicine on nutritional information coming out of the Nurses' Health Study. After looking at the diets of more than 80,000 participants over the course of 20 years, they concluded:
Our findings suggest that diets lower in carbohydrate and higher in protein and fat are not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease in women. When vegetable sources of fat and protein are chosen, these diets may moderately reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.They also found that "A higher glycemic load was strongly associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease". Sadly, that means less bread and more veggies. You can get more information about the glycemic load of commercial and prepared foods from around the world in this article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Foster-Powell et al. (2002). Needless to say, a "French baguette with butter and strawberry jam" has a much higher glycemic load than dry pumpernickel, alas. There are also some unusual results. For example, the "GL" of rice varies considerably, depending on the variety and possibly by cooking method. The effect of food on the body is complicated, and studies like these are part of the reason why I'm skeptical that there will be a "scientific diet" in the near future.
• Alpha Psy has an interesting post on caffeine and cogition. A study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology has shown that a dose of caffeine makes you more persuadable by strong arguments, or as the study concludes, "caffeine can increase the extent to which people systematically process and are influenced by a persuasive communication." The next time you are involved in a political debate, be sure coffee is available!
Tags: nutrition, diet, caffeine