It never ceases to amaze me the boneheadedness of public health directives. The most recent case in point being the release of the Women’s Health Initiative report showing that the low fat diet didn’t do a blasted thing it was touted to do followed, as expected, in almost every story about it by someone from somewhere exhorting people to continue to follow the low fat diet longer and go lower.
Now comes the revelation, as reported by Gina Kolata in today’s NY Times (registration required, but free) that the long standing exhortations by the public health powers that be for all women to chomp grams of calcium every day doesn’t do squat in the great scheme of things to protect their bones or their colons. In the version of this piece picked up by our local paper, there was an boxed addendum tacked on urging women to continue to take their calcium (!!??) to preserve their bones. Go figger!
As we described in detail in both Protein Powerand in the Protein Power LifePlan, early humans didn’t drink 3 servings of vitamin D fortified milk a day, nor did they tote Tums in their their pockets; heck, they didn’t even have pockets! And yet, on diets of fresh meat, fish, birds, shellfish, roots, shoots, nuts, berries, and fresh natural water they managed to have better bone density than we do.
For years, the critics of low carb diets decried them as “deficient in calcium” and “bad for bones.” Their theory was that because a diet high in meat is acidic, to buffer the acidity, the body would have to leech calcium from the bones and would thereby weaken them. And the first part of that is true: meat is acidic and must be buffered. But the buffering can be done by alkaline veggies or by alkaline waters. In our ancient ancestors, it was done by both.
The dirty little secret, the attic child of nutrition, the fact never revealed by the dectractors of meat eating, however, is that grain and cheese are also heavily acidic and require buffering and yet virtually every ‘nutritional expert’ will extoll the virtues of eating 6-11 servings of grain a day and caution against the consumption of too much meat.
No amount of calcium supplementation, with or without vitamin D, will overcome the disruption of the body’s acid/base physiology brought about by a steady diet of nothing but meat, grain, and/or cheese–whether that means as the much-maligned cheese burger or as a big ‘healthy’ ‘wholesome’ bowl of mac and cheese.
If bone strength is what we’re after, as we pointed out in the LifePlan, we’d do well to learn the lessons of history: eat a diet based on good quality meats, shellfish (including their little calcium rich bones,) plenty of good fats, plenty of balancing alkalinity from low starch greens, fruits, vegetables, and spring water with a good calcium to magnesium ratio and some alkalinity, and vitamin D from old Sol. We had it right millennia ago; how have we gone so far off the mark? Maybe, as the Chiffon ad Mike’s been blogging about said…it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.