Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Cure For Everything With Tim Caulfield

I just chewed through this important book in which Tim Caulfield goes out and tackles the many methods on offer and actually tries them all out on himself. I am not sure you should try this at home either and after going through the material it is not good news for the many commercial protocols out there.

The take home is very important. Nothing works. Surprisingly to myself, although I have been suspicious for some time is that exercise will do nothing for weight management. It will obviously do great things in terms of general health but he even reports a marathoner who completed 18 such races and added a pound each race. Exercise is great for you but is not a weight loss solution.

What works is to eat far less that you imagine is possible.

This is where the arclien diet comes in and shines. For details google this blog. The science is bone simple. Our digestive tract will process nine days worth of food every seven days. You will need to make two days worth of food consumption disappear just to allow a proper decline to a reasonable weight. To achieve an optimal weight it is likely necessary to eliminate three days of eating.

This obviously needs planning. I take advantage of the fact that after seven hours of sleep, my digestive tract has emptied and shut down and is in a state of hibernation. Thus you already have eight hours in. One then picks three fast days separated by eating days. In my case that turns out to be Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On the fast day, I drink tea and water with occasional honey if the energy level lags and then break my fast early evening. This gives me almost twenty four hours. I then break my fast with a good meal.

I am sure that this will take some getting used to, yet in my case I feel zero hunger pangs until the evening has arrived. The key is to never restart the small intestine because that is the beast that will not quit until satiated.

What this book makes clear is that failure to manage intake will allow weight gain and that your body will fight most supposed strategies.



Tim Caulfield

The surprising truth about what it takes to be healthy

In The Cure for Everything! health-law expert Timothy Caulfield exposes the special interests that twist good science about health and fitness in order to sell us services and products that mostly don’t work.
Want great abs? You won’t get them by using the latest Ab-Flex-Spinner-Thingy. Are you trying to lose ten pounds? Diet books are a waste of trees. Do you rely on health-care practitioners—either mainstream or alternative—to provide the cure for what ails you? Then beware! Both Big Pharma and naturopathy are powerful forces that have products and services to sell.

Caulfield doesn’t just talk the talk. He signs up for circuit training with a Hollywood trainer who cultivates the abs of the stars. With his own Food Advisory Team (FAT) made up of specialists in nutrition and diet, Caulfield makes a lifestyle change that really works. (Mainly it involves eating less than he is used to. Much less.) And when he embarks on a holiday cruise, dreading motion sickness, he takes along both a homeopathic and pharmaceutical remedy—with surprising results. This is a lighthearted book with a serious theme. Caulfield demonstrates that the truth about being healthy is easy to find—but often hard to do.

Tim Caulfield

Timothy Caulfield is a professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health as well as research director of the Health Law and Science Policy Group at the University of Alberta. He has either led or collaborated in a number of research projects regarding the social challenges associated with genomic technologies, stem cell research, and the application of ethics in health sciences. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and editor of the the Health Law Journal and the Health Law Review. He lives in Edmonton

The Cure for Everything! Untangling the Twisted Messages About Health, Fitness and Happiness

By Timothy Caulfield
Viking Canada
320 pp; $32
Reviewed by Julia Belluz
To read Timothy Caulfield’s The Cure for Everything! is to wonder how we are not all waddling around at 350 pounds, out-of-shape and sickly. Caulfield, an Edmonton-based health law professor, documents the alarming ways the simple truth about what makes us healthy is distorted by interest groups, from Big Food to Big Pharma, who unduly complicate our relationship with food and fitness.
But Caulfield, the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, is no scaremongering skeptic: His cure for the mess we’re in is this lucid and well-researched compendium of the best-available science about diet, fitness, genetics, pharmaceuticals and alternative medicine. In other words, it’s a kind of diet book for the evidence nerd.
On his “quest to find the truth about the things that make us healthy,” the editor of theHealth Law Journal lives his journey, seeking out a naturopath, consuming a mega-dose of homeopathic solution, going on a diet and getting his genes tested. In a chapter on fitness, Caulfield — a lifelong exercise nut — nearly expires after a workout with Hollywood trainer Gina Lombardi. Through the experience, we learn about what it takes to get the hard bodies we see onscreen. Of one nameless actress, Lombardi says the prescription is “two hours of intense, intense work — hard intervals plus weights — every day, seven days a week, all year. Plus, she doesn’t eat.” Other evidence-based truths about fitness: Working out by itself won’t make you lose weight, there is no such thing as “toning” and the best exercise is a combination of intense resistance and interval training.
Furthermore, the calories in, calories out approach to slimming down — that we can burn off that extra pizza on the treadmill — is a myth perpetuated by industry. Why do you think Coca-Cola has been the lead sponsor of so many physical fitness initiatives? “While it is hard to knock Coca-Cola for promoting exercise, it is equally difficult to imagine that the company is not at least partly motivated by the financial upside of sustaining the exercise-as-a-weight-loss-strategy myth,” Caulfield writes.
He also points his quack-busting finger at his peers in the academy. He tells of fitness researchers who want their work to be seen as “socially valuable” and, perhaps inadvertently, suppress the truth that diet is 80% to 90% of the weight-loss equation. On genetics, he shows that while the promises of the genetics revolution are overblown by media, much of the hype has been manufactured right in the ivory tower. One geneticist tells Caulfield, “The genetics community wants to make it look like we are on course to help with common diseases, even if we aren’t.” It’s a fact some researchers don’t want to escape, should the money go elsewhere. And much of the money backing genetics research can be traced back to one industry: Big Tobacco. (If we found the genetic on switch for lung cancer, whether we smoked might not matter.)
When Caulfield focuses his attention on food, he assembles a Food Advisory Team (FAT) made up of nutrition experts who guide his quest for the most healthful eating habits. Building on the foodie activist-journalist Michael Pollan’s work, Caulfield uncovers the science behind the simple things that actually improve health: smaller portions, cutting out junk and doing so as part of a lifelong approach. It seems like stuff we already know. But not so fast: Caulfield is brilliant at describing how industry spins these simple truths. For example, we’re bombarded with messages to eat more of many foods, but never less of anything, and the conventional wisdom that everything in moderation is OK. This is all wrong, Caulfield contends. In the some 1,700-calorie a day diet most of us need to maintain a healthy weight, “there is no room for a moderateamount of crap.” (Italics are the reviewer’s own).
The health-care insider who can write like an outsider becomes a living example of his argument. Though he starts the book a fit man, the chocolate-coated peanut addict loses 25 pounds and nearly halves his body fat “all due to simple eating. Smaller portions. No poison. Healthier choices.”
In order to sustain weight loss and stop the number on the scale from creeping up as we age, Caulfield finds that we need to be ceaselessly vigilant. He speaks to one successful dieter who lost 75 pounds a decade ago and managed — against all odds — to keep it off. Her trick? She consumes only 1,600 calories each day by doing things such as only ordering starters at restaurants.
My first thought was “how depressing.” By the end of the book, I wondered whether that reaction has been shaped by the food peddlers who make us believe it’s depressing not to overindulge.
For those who follow matters of health evidence closely, some of Caulfield’s revelations may not be groundbreaking. Still, A Cure for Everything! is insightful and entertaining. If there are parts that are repetitive or gimmicky, it seems forgivable: The author is waging a noble battle against a mountain of misinformation. Gently and with humour, Caulfield guides readers through the funhouse world of health sciences with an openness and spirit of inquiry sometimes missing from the arsenal of eager myth-busters in the debunking genre, such as Ben Goldacre and his Bad Science. Next, though, we need to figure out how to fix the broken systems that generate the spin.
By the end of the book, Caulfield gets at the deep irony in the fact that we’ve never had so much scientific knowledge at our fingertips, yet “it is being subjected to an unprecedented number of perverting influences.” This geeky diet tome, then, becomes a compelling and timely argument for science and a reminder that science is an iterative process, breakthroughs are rare, and there are no magical cures for everything.
Science, when done properly, is worth defending,” he writes. “And it’s worth defending because when it’s not twisted, it actually can make us healthier.”

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