For crying out loud, why eat fruits and vegetables?

Page 1 of 8 [ 123 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 8  Next

MikeH106
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 May 2006
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,060

18 Apr 2009, 2:44 pm

This is a question I've been asking for a long time. What makes fruits and vegetables essential to a healthy diet?

The first answer people usually give is roughage. In other words, fiber. But you get that from whole wheat bread and oats!

The next answer they give is vitamins. But you get that from vitamin capsules!

The third answer is antioxidants. But can't you buy capsules for antioxidants, too?

What do fruits and vegetables have that you can't get from rice, whole wheat bread, vitamins, and peanut butter? What do they have?

At my store, it costs $2 for three apples, and each apple contains about 70 calories of energy. With a 2500 calorie diet, I would spend nearly TEN TIMES the amount of money per calorie on fruits and vegetables than I would on whole wheat bread and vitamins. That's money I could be spending on something much more worthwhile: starving countries, cures for diseases, research charities, and more.

It takes me between 10 and 30 minutes to eat one apple -- they don't even taste good -- and then I feel bad about throwing away the core. To eat oranges, I must cut them into pieces, getting orange juice everywhere (provided I don't just drink orange juice itself, which is also expensive) and then pick out the seeds. And most of them expire so easily.

You want to hear my theory? The necessity of fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet is a government conspiracy to maintain control and dominance over the lower classes. They accomplish this by confusing them, making them feel guilty, and getting them to waste money. The presence of fruits and vegetables in a diet is merely a costly fitness indicator, a 'peacock tail' of sorts, of no real nutritional value that allows people who have healthy enough GENES to afford them to appear wiser through use of sophistry, rather than simply more fortunate.

If so, then this just might be another instance of human sadism. For the sake of consciousness, when will we learn?



Henriksson
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Nov 2008
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,534
Location: Sweden

18 Apr 2009, 2:57 pm

I can't answer you right now, so I'll subscribe to this thread so I won't forget, because this looks very interesting.


_________________
"Purity is for drinking water, not people" - Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.


Henriksson
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Nov 2008
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,534
Location: Sweden

18 Apr 2009, 3:05 pm

Maybe this article sheds some light on this.

Quote:
Introduction
"Eat your fruits and vegetables" is one of the tried and true recommendations for a healthy diet. And for good reason. Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration, two common causes of vision loss.



Q. What counts as a cup of vegetables and fruits?

A. For most fresh or cooked vegetables and fruits, 1 cup is just what you would put in a household measuring cup. There are two main exceptions to that rule: For lettuce and other raw leafy greens, you need to eat 2 cups to get the equivalent of 1 cup of vegetables. For dried fruit, you only need to eat ½ cup to get the equivalent of 1 cup of fruit.

Remember—on the Healthy Eating Pyramid, created by the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, potatoes are not counted as a vegetable, since they are mostly starch and should be used sparingly.
What does "plenty" mean? More than most Americans consume. If you don't count potatoes—which should be considered a starch rather than a vegetable—the average American gets a total of just three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The latest dietary guidelines call for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day (2½ to 6½ cups per day), depending on one's caloric intake. (1) For a person who needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, this translates into nine servings, or 4½ cups per day (2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables).

Over the past 30 years or so, researchers have developed a solid base of science to back up what generations of mothers preached (but didn't always practice themselves). Early on, fruits and vegetables were acclaimed as cancer-fighting foods. In fact, the ubiquitous 5 A Day message (now quietly changing to Fruits and Veggies: More Matters) seen in produce aisles, magazine ads, and schools was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute. The latest research, though, suggests that the biggest payoff from eating fruits and vegetables is for the heart.

Vegetables, Fruits, and Cardiovascular Disease
There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years. The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30 percent less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke. (2) Although all fruits and vegetables likely contribute to this benefit, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens; cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale; and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit (and their juices) make important contributions. (2)

When researchers combined findings from the Harvard studies with several other long-term studies in the U.S. and Europe, and looked at coronary heart disease and stroke separately, they found a similar protective effect: Individuals who ate more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per had roughly a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease (3) and stroke, (4) compared with individuals who ate less than 3 servings per day.

Vegetables, Fruits, and Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke. As such, it's a condition that is important to control. Diet can be a very effective tool for lowering blood pressure. One of the most convincing associations between diet and blood pressure was found in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study. (5)

This trial examined the effect on blood pressure of a diet that was rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that restricted the amount of saturated and total fat. The researchers found that people with high blood pressure who followed this diet reduced their systolic blood pressure (the upper number of a blood pressure reading) by about 11 mm Hg and their diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by almost 6 mm Hg—as much as medications can achieve.

More recently, a randomized trial known as the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health (OmniHeart) showed that this fruit and vegetable-rich diet lowered blood pressure even more when some of the carbohydrate was replaced with healthy unsaturated fat or protein. (6)

Vegetables, Fruits, and Cancer
Numerous early studies revealed what appeared to be a strong link between eating fruits and vegetables and protection against cancer. But because many of these were case-control studies, where people who already have a certain health outcome (cases) are compared to people who do not have that outcome (controls), it is possible that the results may have been skewed by problems inherent in these types of studies; people with illnesses, for example, often recall past behaviors differently from those without illness, which can lead to potential inaccuracy in the information that they provide to study investigators.

Cohort studies, which follow large groups of initially healthy individuals for years, generally provide more reliable information than case-control studies because they don't rely on information from the past. And data from cohort studies have not consistently shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevents cancer in general. For example, in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, over a 14-year period, men and women with the highest intake of fruits and vegetables (8+ servings a day) were just as likely to have developed cancer as those who ate the fewest daily servings (under 1.5). (2)

A more likely possibility is that some types of fruits and vegetables may protect against certain cancers. A massive report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that non-starchy vegetables—such as lettuce and other leafy greens, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, as well as garlic, onions, and the like—and fruits "probably" protect against several types of cancers, including those of the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, and stomach; fruit probably also protects against lung cancer. (7)

Specific components of fruits and vegetables may also be protective against cancer. For example, a line of research stemming from a finding from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study suggests that tomatoes may help protect men against prostate cancer, especially aggressive forms of it. (8) One of the pigments that give tomatoes their red hue—lycopene—could be involved in this protective effect. Although several studies other than the Health Professionals study have also demonstrated a link between tomatoes or lycopene and prostate cancer, others have not or have found only a weak connection. (9) Taken as a whole, however, these studies suggest that increased consumption of tomato-based products (especially cooked tomato products) and other lycopene-containing foods may reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer. (7) Lycopene is one of several carotenoids (compounds that the body can turn into vitamin A) found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and research suggests that foods containing carotenoids may protect against lung, mouth, and throat cancer. (7) But more research is needed before we know the exact relationship between fruits and vegetables, carotenoids, and cancer.

Vegetables, Fruits, and Gastrointestinal Health
One of the wonderful components of fruits and vegetables is their indigestible fiber. As fiber passes through the digestive system, it sops up water like a sponge and expands. This can calm the irritable bowel and, by triggering regular bowel movements, can relieve or prevent constipation. (10) The bulking and softening action of insoluble fiber also decreases pressure inside the intestinal tract and so may help prevent diverticulosis (the development of tiny, easily irritated pouches inside the colon) and diverticulitis (the often painful inflammation of these pouches). (11)

Vegetables, Fruits, and Vision
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables also keeps your eyes in good shape. You may have learned that the vitamin A in carrots aids night vision. Other fruits and vegetables help prevent two common aging-related eye diseases—cataract and macular degeneration—which afflict millions of Americans over age 65. Cataract is the gradual clouding of the eye's lens, a disk of protein that focuses light on the light-sensitive retina. Macular degeneration is caused by cumulative damage to the macula, the center of the retina. It starts as a blurred spot in the center of what you see. As the degeneration spreads, vision shrinks.

Free radicals generated by sunlight, cigarette smoke, air pollution, infection, and metabolism cause much of this damage. Dark green leafy vegetables—such as spinach and kale—contain two pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, that accumulate in the eye; these pigments are found in other brightly colored fruits and vegetables as well, including corn, squash, kiwi, and grapes. (12) These two pigments appear to be able to snuff out free radicals before they can harm the eye's sensitive tissues. (13)

In general, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables appears to reduce the chances of developing cataract or macular degeneration. (14–17) Lutein and zeaxanthin, in particular, seem protective against cataract. (18)

The Bottom Line: Recommendations for Vegetable and Fruit Intake
Vegetables and fruits are clearly an important part of a good diet. Almost everyone can benefit from eating more of them, but variety is as important as quantity. No single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need to be healthy. The key lies in the variety of different vegetables and fruits that you eat.





Get your leafy greens today—try Mollie Katzen's delicious spring recipe for ruby chard.
Try these tips to fit more fruits and vegetables into your day:

Keep fruit out where you can see it. That way you'll be more likely to eat it. Keep it out on the counter or in the front of the fridge.
Get some every meal, every day. Try filling half your plate with vegetables or fruit at each meal. Serving up salads, stir fry, or other fruit and vegetable-rich fare makes it easier to reach this goal. Bonus points if you can get some fruits and vegetables at snack time, too.
Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet. Get out of a rut and try some new fruits and vegetables—include dark green leafy vegetables; yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables; cooked tomatoes; and citrus fruits.
Bag the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with more nutrients and more slowly digested carbs.
Make it a meal. Try some new recipes where vegetables take center stage, such as Tunisian carrot salad and spicy broccolini with red pepper.


_________________
"Purity is for drinking water, not people" - Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.


MikeH106
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 May 2006
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,060

18 Apr 2009, 3:13 pm

I also want to add that as someone who wants to improve our life conditions, make people happier, help everyone attain enlightenment, and build a perfect society, it horrifies me how people are even willing to be so callous and cruel to each other and to animals.

Some say that this ridiculous torture will always exist, but I, for one, feel that this flaw of humanity must be extirpated in the same way we'd wash a stain off a jacket, and not in a snobbish or prejudiced way.

In a minute, I'm going to look at that study. I already see what might be a few fallacies.


_________________
Sixteen essays so far.

Like a drop of blood in a tank of flesh-eating piranhas, a new idea never fails to arouse the wrath of herd prejudice.


digger1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,485

18 Apr 2009, 3:26 pm

let me take your argument to the next logical step: why bother eating meat, fish, eggs, poultry, grains, cereals, or any other foodstuff or staple instead of taking it in pill-form?

Fruits, veggies, meats and the lot have a whole lot more in them than vitamins, carbs, fats and sugars in them. There are amino acids, certain compounds like niacin that without, you'd go insane.

We do not torture our food. We kill it as quickly and as humanely as possible. Ever see a cheetah run down an impala? Pretty vicious stuff, wouldn't you say? They do it to survive and to feed their young. The impala know it and they're all animals. Just like us.



MikeH106
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 May 2006
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,060

18 Apr 2009, 3:37 pm

digger1 wrote:
let me take your argument to the next logical step: why bother eating meat, fish, eggs, poultry, grains, cereals, or any other foodstuff or staple instead of taking it in pill-form?


Slippery slope fallacy.

Quote:
Fruits, veggies, meats and the lot have a whole lot more in them than vitamins, carbs, fats and sugars in them. There are amino acids, certain compounds like niacin that without, you'd go insane.


Complete proteins and essential amino acids can be found in foods other than fruits and vegetables, including soy and even just peanut butter on whole wheat bread. Nutrients like niacin can be found in vitamin capsules.

Quote:
We do not torture our food. We kill it as quickly and as humanely as possible.


The current tool of so-called 'humane killing' is called a captive bolt pistol, which is like a bullet on a spring that smacks one cow after another on the forehead, supposedly knocking them unconscious, but they can't always tell, can they?

Quote:
Ever see a cheetah run down an impala? Pretty vicious stuff, wouldn't you say? They do it to survive and to feed their young. The impala know it and they're all animals. Just like us.


If you saw a gang vandalize public property, would you consider it okay to do it yourself? What if you saw a lion do it?

Only species called obligate carnivores must eat meat to survive. We are omnivores; we can do without meat.

Unfortunately, I do not want to get into a discussion of animal rights on this thread. We can do it at another time, perhaps.


_________________
Sixteen essays so far.

Like a drop of blood in a tank of flesh-eating piranhas, a new idea never fails to arouse the wrath of herd prejudice.


Bluestocking
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 30 Mar 2009
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 245

18 Apr 2009, 3:41 pm

We don't know enough yet about food chemistry to determine how these different foods interact with our stomach acids and our bodies to say that we could get the same nutrition from a substitute. Antioxidant pills, for instance, have now been proven to not work, you need to eat a pomegranate or something similar to get it. We also don't know how food interacts with each other, for instance, people who eat bread with vinegar will get more fulfillment and nourishment from that then from just a piece of bread. And a plain old pita slice will give you nourishment, but when combined with hummus, it becomes a protein. Until we have mapped the entire workings and chemistry of the human body, I'm eating real food, not supplements.
What I want to know is why WOULDN'T you want to eat fruits and vegetables? They are delicious.



MikeH106
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 May 2006
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,060

18 Apr 2009, 3:51 pm

Bluestocking wrote:
Antioxidant pills, for instance, have now been proven to not work


'Not work' could mean any number of things. Just what are they supposed to do in order to be said to work? If they didn't help you in any shape or form, why would they be sold? Where did you hear this?

Quote:
Until we have mapped the entire workings and chemistry of the human body, I'm eating real food, not supplements.


That is perfectly fine.

I encourage everyone not to commit the slippery slope fallacy and claim that vitamin capsules necessitate taking all food in supplement form.

Quote:
What I want to know is why WOULDN'T you want to eat fruits and vegetables? They are delicious.


I've listed some of the reasons in my original post.

After I look at the study, I'm going to cut it apart and critique it section by section, and you will find it somewhere in this thread.


_________________
Sixteen essays so far.

Like a drop of blood in a tank of flesh-eating piranhas, a new idea never fails to arouse the wrath of herd prejudice.


Last edited by MikeH106 on 18 Apr 2009, 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bluestocking
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 30 Mar 2009
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 245

18 Apr 2009, 4:26 pm

MikeH106 wrote:
Bluestocking wrote:
Antioxidant pills, for instance, have now been proven to not work


'Not work' could mean many different things. Just what are they supposed to do in order to be said to work? If they didn't help you in any shape or form, why would they be sold? Where did you hear this?

Antioxidant pills have been proven to have NO health benefits, compared to actual antioxidants. They were mainly touted as a way to cut your cancer risk and fight free radical production like real antioxidants do, but lo and behold, the Mayo Clinic's 12 clinical trials, using more than 100,000 subjects, found that taking some supplements actually INCREASED cancer risks, while others had little to no effects.
And even if I could only take supplements to get all my nutrients, I wouldn't do it. My family comes from a farming background, and I shudder to think of the economic consequences of the produce farmers create being labeled as anachronistic. Not to mention, mealtime and preparation of food is a joy for me, a joy that can never be replicated by swallowing pills.



MikeH106
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 May 2006
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,060

18 Apr 2009, 4:46 pm

Bluestocking wrote:
Antioxidant pills ... were mainly touted as a way to cut your cancer risk and fight free radical production like real antioxidants do, but lo and behold, the Mayo Clinic's 12 clinical trials, using more than 100,000 subjects, found that taking some supplements actually INCREASED cancer risks ...


I just searhced the Mayo Clinic website for articles about antioxidants and found nothing. Exactly where did you find this information? Do you have a link?

I'm looking through the study posted by Henriksson, and it appears to contain a lot of errors...


_________________
Sixteen essays so far.

Like a drop of blood in a tank of flesh-eating piranhas, a new idea never fails to arouse the wrath of herd prejudice.


Bluestocking
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 30 Mar 2009
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 245

18 Apr 2009, 5:10 pm

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/200801 ... ancer-risk

And from another article:

Quote:
The conclusion is becoming clear: whatever is behind the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you cannot reproduce it by taking purified extracts or vitamin supplements. “Just because a food with a certain compound in it is beneficial, it does not mean a nutraceutical [with the same compound in] is,” said Paul Coates, who works in the Office of Dietary Supplements at NIH.
Yet the fact remains that people eating diets abundant in vitamin C, vitamin E, polyphenols and carotenoids are less likely to suffer heart attacks, vascular disease, diabetes and cancer. One explanation is that these people have a generally healthier lifestyle - they exercise more and smoke less, for example. For now, no one knows for sure.

There are some ideas. Halliwell still believes that antioxidants are at least partly responsible. He argues that because the polyphenols, carotenoids and vitamins in fruit and vegetables are bound into tough, fibrous material, they hang around in the stomach and colon, where they can neutralise free radicals. The gastrointestinal tract, especially the stomach with its highly acidic environment, is constantly generating reactive oxygen species from food. Supplements may not replicate this effect because they are digested too quickly.

Andrew Shao from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement industry trade association based in Washington DC, argues along similar lines. He says that pulling a nutrient out of context and testing it in a clinical trial is not appropriate. “Antioxidants should not be expected to perform as drugs,” he insists. “That’s simply not how nutrients work. They work in concert with each other.”



digger1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,485

18 Apr 2009, 5:20 pm

so starve and malnourish yourself.



MikeH106
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 May 2006
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,060

18 Apr 2009, 5:25 pm

Bluestocking wrote:
http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20080125/antioxidant-pills-dont-cut-cancer-risk


"With one possible exception, many antioxidants in pill form do not appear to protect against cancer, according to pooled data from some of the most rigorous studies ever to examine the issue."

Note: many antioxidants in pill form. They didn't say that all of them were worthless. They did say 'with one possible exception,' but that is an ambiguous phrase that could mean either only one or at least one, and considering that they said 'many,' I find the former unlikely.

"Bardia also points out that the studies included in the analysis did not examine whether eating antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can lower cancer risk."

It was very important for them to tell us this. Their claim falls back again to the simple command, "Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables." They don't even tell us why.

Quote:
And from another article:

Quote:
The conclusion is becoming clear: whatever is behind the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you cannot reproduce it by taking purified extracts or vitamin supplements.


You 'cannot reproduce' it: what does that mean? That you can't reproduce the same quality and texture on the tongue from chewing an apple by taking an antioxidant pill? Again, it could mean any number of things.

Let's look at this quote:

Quote:
Quote:
Yet the fact remains that people eating diets abundant in vitamin C, vitamin E, polyphenols and carotenoids are less likely to suffer heart attacks, vascular disease, diabetes and cancer. One explanation is that these people have a generally healthier lifestyle - they exercise more and smoke less, for example. For now, no one knows for sure.


They are helping us tremendously by admitting this. It could simply be that people with the income for such expensive diets are naturally healthier.

Oh, and Digger, that was a personal attack.


_________________
Sixteen essays so far.

Like a drop of blood in a tank of flesh-eating piranhas, a new idea never fails to arouse the wrath of herd prejudice.


Last edited by MikeH106 on 18 Apr 2009, 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

richardbenson
Xfractor Card #351
Xfractor Card #351

User avatar

Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Gender: Male
Posts: 13,553
Location: Leave only a footprint behind

18 Apr 2009, 5:25 pm

digger1 wrote:
so starve and malnourish yourself.
haha



MikeH106
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 May 2006
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,060

18 Apr 2009, 5:27 pm

Yes, I encourage you to avoid personal attacks, as they are rather impolite and don't contribute to the discussion.



Bluestocking
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 30 Mar 2009
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 245

18 Apr 2009, 5:29 pm

You're putting a lot of thought into this, though you've failed to answer any questions about the economic, social, or environmental consequences of this. What happens to the livelihood of fruits and vegetable farmers if we all stopped eating them? What happens to our society when we no longer have meals like this to play a part in how we as a culture identify and socialize? What happens when arable land previously used to grow crops is now used for housing or other buildings? There has to be an economic incentive behind it, they're not going to turn the land into animal sanctuaries.