Ep. 302 – Aaron Carroll: It’s All Relative: Nutrition Myths Debunked

Every woman I’ve ever had a relationship with has been healthier than me.

And they’re always lecturing me.

Even my 15 year old daughter.

So I invited Aaron Carroll, pediatrician and the author of “The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully” on the podcast. I wanted to throw out every argument ever made about coffee, carbs, alcohol, MSG, BACON, antioxidants, the list goes on!

Aaron can dismantle the rumors. And give you your control back (when it comes to health).

“There are people who make claims all the time about these kinds of things (food crazes, the latest media hyped diet, etc.), but there’s no conclusive links. This is the healthiest the human race has ever been ever.”

The healthiest the human race has ever been!

Aaron looks at ALL the scientific research. And figured out that someone is always misinterpreting the data. (Either the consumer or the media)

Half the studies are good and half are bad.  

So really, when it comes to your food it’s a sample size of one. If something makes you feel good, it’s probably good for you. If it makes you feel bad, it’s probably bad for you.

Simple.

“This idea that somehow the food is poisoning us and we’re all in mortal danger is somewhat bizarre, we’re doing great,” Aaron said.   

And you know it’s funny because he’s right. We’re always looking for the latest craze that’s making us fatter, giving us cancer, or increasing our risk of heart disease or strokes.

“People argue that processed meat raises your relative risk of colon cancer by 18%,which sounds scary… But that would mean, if I chose today to eat an extra three pieces of bacon everyday for the rest of my life, my overall lifetime risk of colon cancer MIGHT go up 1/2 of 1%,” Aaron said.  

You’d have to eat three EXTRA pieces of bacon a day and still your risk doesn’t go up that much.

I think diet comes down to fear. We’re afraid of dying. Or having a heart attack or being ugly. And it turns out that all food has some inherent risk. And it varies. We are not all created equal.

What may work for you, is probably going to give me a stomach ache.

And drinking two cups of coffee at 3 in the afternoon is going to make me more creative, but would maybe make you stay up all night.

The answers lie within yourself.   

So here are my top ten takeaways from Aaron to live a healthier life…

ONE: Limit processed foods as much as possible.

TWO: Exercise 30 minutes a day, even if it’s just a brisk walk – exercise is like a miracle drug.

THREE: Be Mindful. (Is what you’re eating too easy?)

FOUR: Start cooking for yourself more (this way, you know exactly what you’re consuming)

FIVE: Stop drinking your calories. (You can drink a soda and get massive amounts of sugar and empty calories in minutes)

SIX: Don’t deprive yourself. (Aaron said, “If you feel like you’re depriving yourself because you haven’t had pasta in years I’d say there’s probably very little danger of once in awhile enjoying it.”)

SEVEN: Salt is what makes food taste good. (“The amount of salt that you’re adding at the table from the salt shaker is inconsequential almost compared to what’s already in your food. If you’re cooking for yourself, you almost couldn’t add too much salt.)

EIGHT: Don’t abuse alcohol… but 1-2 drinks a day isn’t going to kill you

NINE: Focus on your needs vs. your wants

TEN: You’ll gain weight if you eat too much of anything.

But most of all, do what works for you. Because the best diet is one you can stick to.

Links & Resources

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  • Don

    I disagree with Dr. Carroll’s view that generally we as a nation are healthy. Cost of healthcare is skyrocketing, diabetes/obesity is an epidemic, and rise in heart disease is unsettling. For a contrasting point of view, read Dr. Michael Greger’s How Not to Die.

  • Hi James, very interesting episode. I was very interested on what view Dr. Carroll’s gonna have on carbs and that was a bit of a surprise (although made sense) in comparison to a number of your other guests that touched that area. I’ve recently listened to Joe Rogan’s podcast with Nina Teicholz (author of “The Big Fat Surprise) and would my first thought was that it would be so great if James had her on his podcast. She’s got some interesting views on carbs but also on saturated fats, which she tells that might not be necessarily bad for us. Interesting. Keep up the amazing work you’re doing here – it’s the best podcast out there!

  • Maria E Downs

    Yes, also love Dan Buettner’s work! And agree with what you wrote. So easy to stop drinking so many calories. Sent you a message at JamesAltucher.com. We are mutually acquainted with one of your former editors. Please read!
    Namaste,
    Maria

  • Adrian Smith

    No direct links? Here’s one

    https://www.westonaprice.org/

    Yes many statistical studies can be deliberately misleading or misinterpreted, but there is better information out there. It’s been out the for decades.. or longer