I didn’t know whether to be glad or frustrated by yesterday’s page one story on a new study that finds decades of nutritional advice and intuitive common sense to be wrong: There’s little evidence that eating beef and pork leads to increased chances of your getting cancer or cardiovascular disease.
Traditional nutritionists and doctors are up in arms, saying the study is reckless and harmful.
Now who to believe?For me, the only thing the study tells us is that almost no study on what food is good or bad for you is reliable. Do they have these studies in France? I doubt it. Because the French generally don’t treat their food as medicine, the way we do. They eat nourishing food and enjoy life and each other.
My own nutritional advice is to not even listen to me. I say listen to your body. Do you feel good after you eat a meal, or lethargic or worse? The only reliable nutritional information seems to be that heavily processed foods are probably bad for you. Do we know this from studies? Some. But the more reliable information is that in America, studies have shown that people who are prevented from buying fresh food or food that needs cooking, tend to be sicker and die earlier than people who have ready access to groceries.
And this is why I encourage people to cook, here and in my books. And I have a new one coming out called FROM SCRATCH, about how ten common meals can teach us everything we need to know about cooking. Steak Frites for example! I hope you’ll have a look when it comes out later this month. And if you want to pre-order it through my publisher, they have a special gift for you (because for some reason, publishers believe that pre-orders really, really help a book, and I love my publisher, Abrams).
I will conclude with the best diet advice I’ve ever heard, from Harry Balzer: Cook your own food. Eat whatever you want, so long as you cook it yourself.
Gina Kolata discusses the controversy and what you need to know, also in NYTimes.