Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維 (webcowgirl) wrote,
Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維

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Death by bacon

Well, all the papers are overwhelmed with the news today that BACON KILLS! Well, really the article is saying that fatty foods cause cancer, and that bacon causes colon cancer.

I have a couple of problems with this.

First, I think part of the reason people GET cancer is because they're living longer than they ever did. This isn't addressed. I mean, if we're all going to die, there has to be some cause eventually, right?

Second, I feel this tack very much leans toward "blaming" people for getting cancer, as if the crap in our environment these days isn't a problem all on its own. But I really don't like the idea of people seeing cancer victims as "bringing it on themselves." If you've rotted your liver through drinking or your teeth have fallen out from using meth, that's one thing, but I don't think for cancer people should be working so hard to figure out something like what you eat as "the cause" unless you're eating mercury-laden fish.

Third, I feel all of this dates back to the original mistaken pronouncements that fat is bad for you. Seriously, read this article. "The notion that fatty foods shorten your life began as a hypothesis based on dubious assumptions and data; when scientists tried to confirm it they failed repeatedly. The evidence against Häagen-Dazs was nothing like the evidence against Marlboros." I feel that so frequently the things that vary in people's diet serve as markers to lifestyles and other things that it's impossible to get really good stats on the effect of food on your health, and the whole question of genetic predisposition for cancer just knocks the food issue right down in terms of the strength of its causation. Look at this other article: "obese and very obese patients were only half as likely as those of normal weight to die in the three years after the attack." This, however, isn't stigmatizing "those indulgent disgusting fat people" so it didn't get very much coverage.

Overall, I feel like it's also a sign of the obsession with "nutritionism" as discussed by Micahel Pollan in his great article "Unhappy Meals." Let's recite his mantra: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." The more nuanced version is at the end of the article: "People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than we are. Any traditional diet will do: if it weren’t a healthy diet, the people who follow it wouldn’t still be around." So I'll have a little lamb chop and some fresh vegetables and yummy pasta and NOT feel bad about adding the pancetta to the kale, because it's not going to kill me, and I'll have a bit of red wine to go with it, too. Now, who's coming over for dinner?

And finally: can we please have more people worring about how narrow their minds are instead of how narrow their butts aren't? That's a self-help movement I'd like to see taking over the world - on the cover of Cosmo, pictures of celebrities in the papers, debated in the media and on the talkshows. It might not help reduce cancer but I think it would make the world a much better place to live.
Tags: food, it's all a big fat lie, links
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