Originally Posted by teaser
It's not quite the same, though. I'm currently eating around 1800 calories, and I have probably 25 pounds of fat or more on my body. Suppose I cut it to 1600, and keep it at that, and go on a forced march every day, like they did in the Minnesota Study. At some point, I'm sure I'd get crazier than usual. But when? At 160 pounds? 150? 140 or 130? Semi-starvation in this study didn't mean partial starvation--it was real starvation, these men ended up looking frankly anorexic, because they were. I'm not defending simply insisting that people eat less to lose weight--and certainly one person's metabolism might start defending against starvation much sooner than another's--but what these men were subject to was unquestionably more severe than the mainstream advice. I think we should go up against what's actually there, not our worst nightmare version of it.
I think it's not a function of body weight, but a function of food intake. I know a guy who's totally crazy, and totally 450lbs of crazy. Let's not get confused between the cause and the effect, i.e. food intake vs body weight. How could the effect - body weight - somehow become the cause of crazy? All these symptoms of semi-starvation are rampant disorders today, independently of body weight.
There is no longer a standard of health. It's now a standard of disease. If we don't suffer from something, we're abnormal. I'm not kidding. Socially, perfect health is alien, the weird guy in the corner. The point is that the NHS' guidelines' effect and the Minnesota experiment are much more similar to each other than perfect health and the NHS' guidelines' effect, so the analogy is valid in my mind, and my cynicism is totally justified.
Also, it's not just about total calories. In fact it's not about total calories at all. The Minnesota diet can be described as "mostly plants, not too much", which is exactly what all official guidelines call for. Remind you of anything? Not saying Pollan is the source of the official guidelines, just saying the description is accurate enough for both the NHS' guidelines and the Minnesota diet.
The problem with that is the actual amount of food. I did a quick calculation a while ago, for a man, it comes out to about 5 lbs of food per day, with huge bulk because we're talking about 2500 kcals of veggies. There's a lot, but we don't get fed. Then, because we eat so many carbs, we're constantly hungry even though we eat an apparent adequate amount of food in terms of total calories. It's not the calories, ever. It's the nutrition. It's also the satiety. Indeed, we often remark that genuine starvation - i.e. fasting - will eventually lead to absence of hunger in only a couple days, and that this makes sense from an evolution point of view, we can't do anything with constant hunger, we can't think straight. When we eat a low-carb meal, we are sated, we're no longer hungry, the food did what it was supposed to do, because it was actual genuine food. Ergo, low-carb has the same effect as fasting - satiety. Second ergo, the Minnesota diet has the opposite effect - hunger. Third ergo, that diet is not food, regardless of the calories contained therein.
Look, I realize I'm totally contentious and wallotexty and stuff, but I'm just trying to get a point across about genuine food vs anything else.