67 points by nigerian1981
6 days ago
The article claims NHS recommends to start weaning at 6 months because of anemia but the NHS site is quite different and more inline with what I have heard for the last 5 years as a parent:
“Breast milk or first infant formula should be their main drink during the first year, you can continue breastfeeding for as long as you both want. Remember your baby’s tummy is tiny and fills up quickly – so offer milk feeds after solids.”
I feel the posted article does a disservice to parents who are overwhelmed with opinions that lack nuance and context around infant diet and health. The NHS website on the other hand does a good job showing the spectrum of options for introducing foods and changing milk/formula ratios.
Yeah, the semi-skim milk from age 2 on is also completely counter to the recommendations of most pediatricians.
It's ok to have disagreements in nutrition science -- the whole field is disagreements -- but don't just state recommendations as established fact, especially those (such as the role of fats in early childhood) with so little agreement.
Skim milk and tofu and we wonder why we’re raising teenagers with so many issues
Take me down with the ship, as much as this comment rustles me, I kneejerk feel like it's true.
Came here to say the same. The sheer disparity in guidance from different organizations isn't encouraging to new parents, who are already inundated with opinions of self appointed experts among their friends and family.
Everyone's doing the best with the knowledge they have at the time. Also, it's worth considering, not all babies in all locations and bloodlines have the same nutritional needs. Inuit and siberian babies would likely have different diets ideally than sri lankans or dominican babies.
My girlfriend was anemic before the pregnancy, and she is still breastfeeding at 20 months, mostly before bed, and in conjunction with yogurt and other milk
Right out of the gate the author says "0-two years old" "leafy greens".
I wish we could downvote posts.
Nutrition is not a solved problem and this person definitely hasn’t solved it.
This article is just bad, it attempts to be authoritative on a subject that has bedeviled researchers for decades.
It doesn’t meet Hacker News criteria for ‘new and interesting.’ There isn’t anything new here, the tradition of news publications writing up health advice (which always contradicts the most recent previous article) is a long and boring one.
Pure nonsense. Seriously.
The hallmark of the internet.
Also the hallmark of dietary recommendation. Since it's close to impossible to do long long term RCT with people's diets, that's probably not going to change in my (or my child's) lifetime.
I don't understand why us humans must necessarily have such a wide and varied diet compared to other mammals. Is there anything in our DNA, gut bacteria, biology etc. that requires this?
And do we really have to change our diet as we get older? Besides being reared by their mother in the earliest part of their lives, do other mammals change their diet as they get older?
Historically, communities have lived on very simple staple diets, like the Three Sisters in the US. You can survive almost entirely on just maize, beans and squash. The Iroquois supplemented with foraged nuts and fruit, plus hunted/farmed meat (which also doubled up as a leather/material supply).
Also potatoes are almost complete if you get sunshine for your vitamin D, but you'd be deficient in at least B12. I think most wild animals eat multiple things so it's not really fair to try and find a single food that fits.
On changing diet, your body becomes more sensitive to deficiencies. If you're lacking in calcium, for example, and you break a bone, it's a lot more serious at 75 than it is at 25. The NIH recommends a slightly higher calcium intake in young people (for development) and over 50s (for preventative maintenance). Maintaining a young person's RDA your whole life wouldn't do you any harm though.
In the animal kingdom there's the concept of food chains/trophic levels. This is why ecosystems are fairly fragile if a provider species is removed, e.g. by extinction. Humans have learned to adapt to wildly different resources, and we have thousands of years of knowledge and culture about how to prepare food in a way that's nutritionally beneficial. There are several "staple" human foods which we've learned to eat, like cassava, which contains cyanide when raw.
It's my understanding we eat food for pleasure aswell as nourishment. Cats & dogs don't complain when they essentially eat tripe everyday. We are gustatory folk who enjoy a varied diet. I think humans are wired to vary their diet as much as possible. I know I get bored eating the same things all the time!
I can assure you that my family dog, at least, definitely has strong food preferences. Even things that hurt her stomach if she eats too much, like popcorn or broccoli. Her favorite food is chicken and rice, cooked exactly like you would for a human. Maybe food doesn't really get old for her, but I think a desire for novelty is separate from having strong appreciation for the taste of food.
> I don't understand why us humans must necessarily have such a wide and varied diet compared to other mammals.
Because we live long enough (medicine, food abundance, proper shelters, &c.) that optimizing food intake matters if you want to get the best out of your body.
You can probably eat bigmacs all your life and make it to 60+, but you'll be far from your potential.
The fact that we're mammals doesn't mean we have to live like chimpanzees, but no one is stopping from living like one ("do we really have" -> no we don't)
“It’s about moderate doses (…) Here’s what to eat by age.”
Something irks me about these sentences, that are literally next to one another in the piece.
Does anyone know more about this fasting process? E.g., how long do you have to fast for this process to kick in? (Books or links on the subject also appreciated!)
> If eating to slow ageing is your aim, Lawton only has one recommendation:s fasting. “There’s something called autophagy: if you deprive your body of nutrients for an extended period of time, your body has to find alternative sources of energy. So it finds loads of gubbins in your cells – bits of protein, old organelles, the cellular damage – and it burns them. It’s like cleaning out loads of old crap from inside you.” Fasting is associated with better metabolic health, and in animal experiments “has been tried on every conceivable animal from insects through to macaques, extending their lifespans by up to 50%”.
About 14 hours to trigger those mechanisms. Look up intermittent fasting.
Reddit and YouTube have tons of great info.
And even more tons of junk. Consume with care.
check out the research that came out of biosphere 2 experiment. Roy Walford et al out of UCLA.
My problem is not what I eat, but how much.
I know what the problem is. I'm just really bad at following the solution.
I had this same problem. You really should just try different things until something works for you.
For me, I'm doing 1 meal a day. I love it. I spend less time figuring out what to eat, cooking and doing dishes.
I start my day with coffee and about half the time a cold coffee at noonish.
My single meal means alot to me and I always prepare something fancy. I usually eat between 5-7pm.
I've lost 1lb a week every week for months. I'm not even working out but I plan to gradually work it in the routine.
It wasn't easy to get to one meal a day... But now that I'm here, it's been extremely easy to keep the routine.
Yeah, except I have to meal plan for two people, and my wife's nutritional needs are very different. She's basically a gym rat.
So I can't experiment with different cadences. I really just have to have half the portion she does, and that would probably work.
Sometimes changing what you eat will determine how much you (want to) eat. Protein, for example, can make you feel fuller. Foods with a high glycemic index will affect blood sugar levels (and hence, the body trying to control them and bringing levels too low) and so you may end up feeling very hungry quite soon even though you've had plenty of calories.
There's lots of this kind of thing so I'd suggest trying a few different foods and eating strategies to see if anything works for you.
Try Adderall. You’ll forget about hunger.
> Two years old to teens
What to eat: seeds, tofu and semi-skimmed milk
I’m trying so hard not to read that as some emasculation conspiracy for the youth of boys.
Is vegetarianism inherently feminine?
No, boys vegetarian diets shouldn’t be focused on Soy.
There’s no evidence that soy consumption leads to boys being effeminate.
What other ways can it be interpreted?
A handy acronym used by British doctors: GROLIES = Guardian Reader of Limited Intelligence In Ethnic Skirt.
"Research in this field is terrible, let's tell people what to do anyway!"
> Two years old to teens...semi-skimmed milk
I can see the argument going from whole milk --> 2%, but in general you need to be very careful with low-fat or non-fat dairy products, as they tend to simply add a ton of processed sugar to make it taste better due to the lack of fat.
Whole fat yogurts, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc are almost certainly better for you than their low-fat/non-fat alternatives. They'll keep you full longer and won't spike your blood sugar.
> Two years old to teens
> What to eat: seeds, tofu and semi-skimmed milk
If you have kids of this age, please do not do this to them. They need lots of healthy fat and animal protein.
The American Dietetic Association says “ It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”
Which doesn’t seem to be in alignment with your comment.
Have to roll my eyes every time I see doctors having to deal with this issue. They cannot just outright say what is common sense, without causing an outcry. So they have to wiggle around issue. "Appropriately planned" is the key phrase.
> They cannot just outright say what is common sense…
Is it common sense? Or just what we were indoctrinated to believe is common sense? I ask with all sincerity as a SAD¹ eater who hasn't escaped his raised-in-Iowa childhood eating habits.
Removing one of the most nutritious sources of food from one's diet makes planning a health diet harder. And then, because it is harder, it is also more risky. That is what I consider to be common sense.
> Is it common sense? Or just what we were indoctrinated to believe is common sense?
Even Dale Gribble would know this is common sense. There is no shadowy 'they' here.
> There is no shadowy 'they' here.
Oh, my sweet summer child.
The same beurocratic bodies who pushed fat free and breakfast cereal for decades
Soy (tofu is made of soybeans) is also linked to hormonal weirdness.
My girlfriend used to drink vegan protein powder every day and would get extremely sore breasts and much more severe cramps than she otherwise would during her time of the month.
After reading about soy and hormones she began cutting it out (using milk based protein powder instead) and she went back to normal, relatively quickly mind you.
Playing with the hormones of people in development is a bad idea, until we know more I wouldn’t recommend making soy a staple of a young adult diet.
What you're purporting is not the reality of soy and said hormones . Yet we know milk consumed today has adverse effects on the body, one being iron anemia at a young age . I personally experienced this in the 80s and, there was unfortunately no scrutiny around dairy at the time. We no longer live in feast or famine times and don't need copious healthy fats as is often stated as an argument.
Also, the overconsumption of protein in the Western diet is generally ignored and not healthful in the way marketing would like you to think .
Your link  is about iron deficiency in toddlers, not any other stages of life and that can be misunderstood by reading your comment. It is also about drinking milk (and more specifically cow's milk) and not about eating "dairy" in general. Your comment talks about "dairy" in general.
Every health agency recommmends milk and dairy as one element of a balanced diet. See for example the recommendation by NHS Scotland, mentioned in the article and illustrated here:
I was clear about what I said:
> Yet we know milk consumed today has adverse effects on the body, one being iron anemia at a young age. I personally experienced this in the 80s and, there was unfortunately no scrutiny around dairy at the time.
Just so we're clear, I stated "milk" in this sentence and I didn't state it was at all ages - I stated "at a young age". Just because this particular research was about toddlers doesn't negate the fact that the issue exists, and I dealt with it beyond that timeframe.
> Every health agency recommmends milk and dairy as one element of a balanced diet.
This is untrue - not every health agency does. Canada does not  - there are likely others. Because they were not lobbied by the dairy industry and as such it isn't needed or required for humans to live healthy lives . Considering we are the only mammal to drink the milk of another species it's highly unlikely we need it. Milk is for the direct offspring of that mammal and that particular period of their growth.
[1 - PDF] https://switch4good.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Harvard-M...
We are definitely not the only mammal to drink the milk of other species. Cats and dogs happily do so too, at least the ones where I live.
Incidentally, we are, actually, the only animal who drinks the juice of lemons. Maybe we should stop drinking lemon juice, also... in case all the other animals think we're weird and don't invite us to parties, I guess?
Or we can just eat and drink foods that are nourishing? Like milk, for example. Milk is the main source of calcium in our diet.
> Just because this particular research was about toddlers doesn't negate the fact that the issue exists, and I dealt with it beyond that timeframe.
You had some "issue" that you concluded was caused by milk, so milk is bad for everyone?
> This is untrue - not every health agency does. Canada does not 
Oh but it does. Here's Canada's food guide:
You can see in the picture, on the upper right quadrant, a small pot of a creamy white substance which is most likely yogurt.
This page further in the food-guide-canada.ca website recommends it more explicitly:
Protein foods are good for you
You don’t need to eat large amounts of protein foods
to meet your nutritional needs. Try to eat protein
foods such as:
lower fat dairy products
lower sodium cheeses
The BBC article is nothing but clickbait and the Canada Food Guide official who spoke to it is only posturing about fighting the evil dairy industry.
It sounds like she might be sensitive to the plant estrogens in soy, but hopefully nobody thinks that milk from a pregnant cow is free of animal estrogens and other hormones. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4524299/
Sure. Not pretending, but given the strong link I would prefer more research in this area.
We’ve been drinking bovine milk for about 10,000 years and heavily ingesting soy in the west for about 100 years (with a sharp uptick over the 50 years, the same time that testosterone is rapidly declining in men)
I would prefer more research for the new thing than the old thing, for the simple fact that we’ve been doing the old thing so long that it’s either safe or we’ve already bore the consequences.
To be fully clear: I’m not saying that this is a correlation; testosterone decline is suspected to be caused by BPA plastics: but what I’m saying is that given it has been linked with hormone abnormalities, I would be more skeptical of recommending it as a central component of a growing bodies diet.
p.s: sorry for the formatting/grammar, I’m writing this on a phone.
What strong link? AFAICT your first reference says basically everything is unknown.
> We’ve been drinking bovine milk for about 10,000 years and heavily ingesting soy in the west for about 100 years (with a sharp uptick over the 50 years, the same time that testosterone is rapidly declining in men)
I think in countries like China and Japan those timelines are almost reversed.
> What strong link? AFAICT your first reference says basically everything is unknown.
The link literally says there's a link (as in, we need to investigate, there is some linkage here we don't understand) and it's understudied.
it goes on to say:
>> Research suggests that eating soy products might decrease FSH and LH in people who are premenopausal, which may impact fertility. And it might increase estrogen in people who are menopausal, leading to a reduction in menopausal symptoms. [..] It’s not yet understood how these changes could impact people who menstruate.
Obviously this is affecting hormones
>> Animal studies suggest there may be slight hormonal and reproductive changes in male mice when they are exposed to soy consistently throughout their entire lifetimes
I'm arguing that we shouldn't jump on something until it's understood.
> I think in countries like China and Asia those timelines are almost reversed.
Yes, and China and Asia tends to be lactose intolerant, so what exactly is your point here?
That an Asian persons body has had the time to adapt to Soy does not mean it's safe for westerners immediately, it could be, but it equally could not be.
What strong link? "[...] might decrease [...] might increase [...] may impact [...] it's not yet understood [...] there may be slight changes" does not suggest any sort of strong nor obvious link.
> That an Asian persons body has had the time to adapt to Soy does not mean it's safe for westerners immediately, it could be, but it equally could not be.
I'm sorry, what?
I do not keep up with the research, so I must have missed the papers which proved that Asian people's bodies process phytoestrogens - which, I might add, usually act as estrogen antagonists if they even do anything - in a radically different way than westerners.
“western people drank dairy for 10,000 years and soy for 50”
To which someone adds: “Asian people at soy for 10,000 years and milk for 100”
So my Response:
“Asian people seem to be physiologically intolerant to milk, is it possible that Asian people are more tolerant to soy than western people in the same way that the inverse is true?”
“MILK BAD SOY GOOD WHERE PROOF”
Not trolling, really, But I feel like we’re following different interpretations of this thread.
> “Asian people seem to be physiologically intolerant to milk, is it possible that Asian people are more tolerant to soy than western people in the same way that the inverse is true?”
> “MILK BAD SOY GOOD WHERE PROOF”
While I'm sure that your skill at logical leaps must be impressive, and bring you a lot of joy, I would caution against relying on it overmuch: you just took a series of logical tumble-off-a-cliff.
The very premise - "beware of soy, for it might be to blame for low T in the west!" - is nonsensical, like using old papers loaded with "might" and "we don't understand things yet" to assert the existence of a strong and obvious link between the two.
"Western people have only been drinking soy for 50 years" is also an incredibly weak argument, and jumping from that to "maybe Asian people just tolerate soy more" is - absent even minimal research that would at least suggest the possible existence of such a phenomena - just a way to castle up, and to refuse admitting that the argument(s) that led to this were flawed.
I’m asking that we don’t exclusively feed a diet of soy to developing people until we understand it better.
I’m not saying soy is bad, I’m saying I have an anecdote in my life very recently that indicates it can mess with hormones of adults and that the science doesnt seem to be very conclusive yet.
That this is controversial is really scary; people really want soy to be without fault, and that’s fine, but I want to understand the health impact before we give it to developing humans. I’m not against soy as a premise, I even eat a serious amount of soy in my own diet.
However we understand the impact of dairy (not saying it’s better, but at least understand, which was my only positive point about dairy)
>> I'm arguing that we shouldn't jump on something until it's understood.
Canada redid their food guide without the aid of lobbying. What didn't make the cut was meats and dairy . The entire revamp of their national food guide was rooted in evidence based science. Humans don't need dairy milk, soy/oat/almond milks. Drink more water.
This is frustrating to contend with because I’m not actually arguing for dairy.
I’m arguing against soy. And I’m not even arguing against soy, I’m arguing against taking soy at face value until we understand it better.
I had posted directly to that above. I think your original argument was misrepresentative of the hormonal links to soy. But it also does appear you're more pro-dairy, if that's not your argument that's fair. I would say it doesn't appear that way.
One good source of healthy fats is... seeds. Semi-skimmed (as opposed to skimmed) milk also contains fat as well as animal protein.
> They need lots of healthy fat
Hence seeds. Best source of healthy fats.
Debatable. Seeds are very high in omega6 fatty acids which should be balanced with omega3. They also can go rancid more easily which is not healthy to eat.
I noticed this article also subscribes to the “saturated fat is bad” way of thinking which is also debatable.
> should be balanced with omega3
Sources high in omega 6 are also high in omega 3.
> They also can go rancid more easily
More easily than what for example?
High omega 6 does not imply high omega 3 (see https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/optimize-omega-6-omega-... )
This doesn’t seem like very good advice to me.
Did you know that cholesterol ”serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile acid and vitamin D.” - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholesterol
Cholesterol is the precursor for nearly all the hormones in our body.
I didn’t learn about this until very recenty.
”Steroid hormones can be grouped into two classes: corticosteroids (typically made in the adrenal cortex, hence cortico-) and sex steroids (typically made in the gonads or placenta). Within those two classes are five types according to the receptors to which they bind: glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids (both corticosteroids) and androgens, estrogens, and progestogens (sex steroids).”
Cholesterol is the precursor for ALL OF THESE. Including cortisol.
”Steroid hormones help control metabolism, inflammation, immune functions, salt and water balance, development of sexual characteristics, and the ability to withstand injury and illness.” - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steroid_hormone
I do not see the proposal to avoid cholesterol as a default way of living to be grounded in any kind of solid scientific basis. Having read the studies as well as I can.
It was also very interesting and important to learn what *low* cortisol does. And afaik there is “competition” for cholesterol resources when there isn’t enough cholesterol. Sex hormones are usually the first to be turned off when there’s a problem in steroid hormone synthesis. And sex hormones do a lot for well-being.
Sodium is necessary for neural activity, which I assume most people would say is a useful thing to have. It doesn’t mean we should load up on salt.
I’m not saying that consuming more cholesterol is bad for you, or even that consuming more salt is bad for you. But we need to be careful about inferring deficiency from the fact that a given nutrient is essential.
It’s absolutely possible for a nutrient to be important yet commonly over-consumed, it’s also possible for a nutrient to be important and yet to have a very wide window whereby people get similar health outcomes from moderate or high consumption (e.g. vitamin C).
I want to underline that the avoidance of a nutrient should be based in fact, and I also want to suggest that people examine what facts lay under a given piece of advice.
I do not see a clear scientific structure that would serve as a foundation for avoiding cholesterol as a general and default thing to almost always do.
I do not see references to any such basis of evidence in the article.
And have seen evidence that supports making several rather different conclusions than the article does.
There’s also the question of outdated science.
Saturated fat was believed to harm pancreatic islet cells. As far as I understand more recent studies, it is the opposite.
We can ask ourselves: Is the full picture being re-examined when it ought to?
How do we know? How do we know if the author of this article has cared to do that?
In short: Is it science?
So is dietary cholesterol linked to in-blood cholesterol or not? In either case you'd be better off lowering the intake.
Great question! I ask myself: Why?, or rather how?
What is that assumption based on?, that lowering cholesterol intake is better?
That lowering blood cholesterol is better? All blood cholesterol, is it always better to lower it?
Is this supported by studies which have not been superseded by more recent evidence?
Because as I see it: It isn’t.
And I don’t see that the article exposes how the conclusion is reached.
Some Sunday reading below.
Low intake of dietary cholesterol can prevent heart disease:
Reducing ... dietary cholesterol ... reduces LDL cholesterol:
As LDL cholesterol increases (and HDL cholesterol decreases), artery plaque increases:
The greatest impact on lowering total and LDL cholesterol comes from reducing saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, and increasing fiber-rich complex carbohydrates:
Increased total cholesterol is associated with increased risk of several cancers:
Increased cholesterol levels may increase breast cancer development:
Increased LDL cholesterol in breast tissue may reduce survival time of breast cancer patients: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3081176
High dietary cholesterol intakes may have undesirable effects related to the development of coronary artery disease:
Dietary cholesterol may accelerate atherosclerosis:
Dietary cholesterol is harmful to the arteries:
High cholesterol increases breast cancer risk:
High cholesterol levels lower fertility:
High cholesterol intake is associated with increased type 2 and gestational diabetes:
High total and LDL cholesterol are associated with cognitive impairment in old age:
Reduction in cholesterol level benefits stroke, total, and cardiovascular mortality risk:
much of this article is incorrect, or dated advice.