Nutrition news

Just eat it, nutrition author tells pseudo-experts

Are you going to eat this? No matter what’s on your plate, you and everyone else have an opinion on whether it’s good for you or not. UBC professor James McCormack offers a book that strives to weed out misinformation and bring common sense and context back into your diet. The nutritional proposal is now on the book shelves.


The nutritional proposal

by James McCormack, co-written by Marcie Gray


$19.99 for paperback ($7.97 for Kindle)


The nutritional proposal

What does a professor of pharmacy and medicine have to write a book that aims to set the record straight on the multiverse of nutritional information and opinion that bombards us every day?

James McCormack may have lofty ideals, but he presents a solid case for himself.

“My whole career has been built around an evidence-based approach to drug use. In general, we abuse drugs; they don’t work as well as we think. It’s about trying to get health care providers to know the best evidence and how to make a decision when working with a patient about medications,” he began.

“The drugs are important, but boy, what’s more important than that?” Nutrition. We eat three times a day. Each of us does this. »

This is the philosophy he brought to The nutritional proposal. Co-written by former Gazette CBC writer and producer Marcie Gray, the book strives to debunk the myths by stripping much of the fat from fad diets and all the nagging from those in your life who tell you to eat or not to eat. some things. As McCormack writes in the introduction, “Much of the advice on how to eat healthy feels like a warning or even a threat, with our lives at stake.”

Yeah, but it’s true. With all the stress we’re already dealing with, some of us just need a bag of potato chips – good old comfort food – to swallow the rest of the bitter pills of what’s good for us and what isn’t. is not. Maybe worrying about your nutrition is worse than low-density lipoprotein. That’s my theory, but don’t trust me on that. I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

Few do, says the author.

He took it upon himself to write this book with one question in mind: how important are your food choices?

“It’s really important that people know what the evidence shows and doesn’t show. That was the whole point of the book, which is that you can’t find the big answers anywhere unless you have a degree in epidemiology. It’s so nuanced,” he added. “That’s the context of the evidence.”

Surely everyone already knows the value of drinking eight or more glasses of water a day, cutting out salt from your food, and eating an apple every day. It keeps the doctor away, doesn’t it?

The professor from the University of British Columbia says, “No”. To that end, it approaches each chapter by focusing on one topic – a food group or food topic if you will – and busting myths based on the evidence. Think of this book as a Western cousin to recent attempts to Edmontonian Tim Caulfield. demystify myths such as The cure for everything and Relax: A Guide to Everyday Health Decisions with More Facts and Less Worry.

Like Caulfield, McCormack tries to be as entertaining as possible while upholding the banner of edification. Namely: his YouTube channel where he offers parodies of music videos that bridge his anti-misinformation posts, such as Bohemian polypharmacyher version of the classic Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody with the lyrics altered to focus on the issue of taking more medication than is clinically indicated. It had almost 200,000 views – quite popular, but not as much as Long live the proofhis Coldplay parody Viva La Vida which turns it into a song about evidence-based healthcare.

Back to the book, however, his goal was to help readers interpret, contextualize, and understand what the best available nutrition evidence says, but also what it doesn’t, and probably never could. Sounds like a tall order.

“There is so much BS around nutrition. One of the essential things that I hope will find in the book is that I want you to enjoy food. What a concept,” he said, offering a personal anecdote about the joys of eating a quick breakfast with his child before a 7 a.m. hockey practice.

As he keeps saying, context is everything when it comes to food.

He explains that he’s not just the skeptic. Of course, people should be careful with their diet and try to stay healthy, but the experts who tell you what to eat and what not to eat don’t know you personally.

“If something annoys me in a field I’m going, ‘Boy, I think people are being misled’, I’ll either try to write things, or create tools, or collect articles on these ideas. In nutrition, there is literally nowhere to go: ‘What does the evidence show?’ »

McCormack doesn’t compromise when he shows all the science behind the correlations between diet and health. For that, it’s a book worth chewing through every word.