Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to Ruin Good Food

Feed it corn:

"...C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 were the main markers studied. CRP is a general assessment of systemic inflammation, and chronically elevated CRP is strongly linked with metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer, obesity, and lots of other fun stuff. You basically want your CRP as low as possible. IL-6 is an inflammatory cytokine that the body makes during the inflammatory response using tissue omega-6 fat. It can be useful in the right quantities, but harmful in excess (like, in folks with too much omega-6 in their diet and body tissues). After eating wild kangaroo meat, CRP and IL-6 levels were unchanged in subjects, while eating the wagyu spiked both IL-6 and CRP levels. One hour after eating wagyu, CRP was “significantly” spiked, and after two hours it had dropped to an “insignificant” elevation. The researchers called this evidence of a “low-grade, systemic, immune reaction” to “new” or “modern” meat. In other words, the meat with a high “human interference factor” was more inflammatory than the wild food...."

"...All Australian cattle get a good amount of pasture time, but the wagyu are shifted onto intensive grain-feeding for the last 200-500 days of their lives. They typically receive a mix of corn, wheat, alfalfa, and barley grains, whereas many standard Australian cattle finish out their lives on grass...."
Works for chickens, too:

"Researchers from Tel Aviv looked at the fatty acid composition of conventional eggs from hens fed typical hen stuff: soy, corn (and its oil), sunflower, and safflower. In other words, hens that lived on omega-6 and whose tissues were imbued with the stuff. They then gathered a group of new hens, yet to lay eggs. These innocent, feathered maidens hadn’t eaten the typical omega-6 fare growing up, so their tissues were largely free of omega-6 fatty acids. Instead of corn and soy feed, these hens ate wheat, barley, and sorghum, plus an antioxidant blend. Eggs from both groups were fed to human subjects at a rate of two eggs a day per person for several weeks. At the end, people eating the conventional eggs had 40% more oxidized LDL than people eating the eggs low in omega-6. Oxidized serum LDL is strongly associated with atherosclerosis (and it’s probably a causative relationship)."

People get all worked up about pesticides and hormones, and miss the 600-pound gorilla sitting on their face.

I eat corn on the cob once in a while, and don't sweat it, just as I eat avocado occasionally.  But if you're eating mostly grains, and getting your meat from animals that are fed mostly grains, you've got a problem.  You're malnourished.  Put a person on a diet where they get 80% of their calories from grains, and they're going to get sick.  Celiac, pelagra, and beri-beri are what happens when you eat too much grains.

As usual with Mark Sisson's posts, read the whole thing.

P.S. More on Wagyu here.  Beer and grains to become obese.  Works for cattle, works for people.