The Fresh Loaf

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Good sense regarding nutrition and bread

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Good sense regarding nutrition and bread

There is so much pseudo-scientific .... nonsense ... written about food component intolerance and nutrition. It's nice to see an article about some folks who 1) make sense, and 2) are doing something meaningful to address the nutritional shortcomings of most of the flour available to us.

Here's a link: http://modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/the-grain-of-truth?page=3

As a pediatrician, I think I know a little bit about human nutrition. I strongly believe that the "whole food" movement is truly onto something important.

David

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Thank you for posting the link David. That article is worth read twice.

suave's picture
suave

Still, so much of that article is ignorance and bs.  I refuse to believe that Mr. Ponsford does not know how stone mills really work, that for centuries all but the most backward village mills used the same gradual reduction method that was later adopted by the roller mills.  And how's repeating the crazy notion that rollers overheat flour makes sense.   And enrichment... And emphasis on flour over fermentation... Yes, it is not as insane as a typical "killer gluten" piece, but as they used to say in school - much, much better, but still an F.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Good share, David, thank you. 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Nice piece of article, david. Thanks!

All the more reason for me to buy Tartine bread book.

-Khalid

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

wait and get the whole grain book he is currently working on instead of the one he has for liquid white starters and white breads.   Chad has finally seen the light for the healthy and nutritious benefits whole grain breads provide not to mention their hands down way more deep, complex  and better flavors in my book, but it is all what you like and everyone is different.   

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Good read.  Thanks for posting this David.  I recall a post from Breadsong about Ponsford's whole milling pitch at a Kneading Conference.  Must be good (economic) reasons why millers abandoned it.  Hopefully an (economic) path back can be found by some major mills. 

Tom

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

say that the facts temper my rush to judgment when it comes to claims that carbohydrates and gluten are supposedly bad for you or whole grains are good for you

Throughout history, scientists that discover truths today, must surely know by now, that their truths of today will be proven wrong in the future by other scientists with their new and improved truths - 97% of the time.  At least that is what history tells us.  So if one says for example, that science proves gluten is bad for you, and another says that's just bad science and not right at all, the one saying that's not right will be proven right one day 97% of the time.

But, eventually 3% of the claims will always be right and why  today the earth is no longer flat and will never be flat again - it will be round forever.  But, this is the vast exception to the 97% of claims are errors rule.

suave's picture
suave

If I may quote, rather extensively, Nathan Myhrvold:

"Our modest goal ... is to present the best and latest scientific understanding of which foods are good for you and which are not. That might seem at first like a straightforward thing to do. If anything, you might expect it to be a rather dry, boring recitation of scientific facts.

Yet that is not our expectation. On the contrary, this is likely to be the most controversial chapter in the book. Beliefs that certain foods are unhealthy are both widespread and very strongly held. In some cases, people believe in their dietary choices with almost religious intensity. Vegetarians shun meat, and vegans avoid animal products altogether. Raw food devotees believe they're eating as humans were meant to, benefitting from nutrients that would otherwise be lost to cooking. Fans of the "paleo diet" believe the same thing, but with a totally different set of foods and cooking methods. Banking on an ever-growing number of people who believe they are choosing the healthiest options, stores and restaurants elevate organic food to special status.

Whether they're medical or moral, cultural or religious, such rules about what we should and shouldn't eat—let's call them dietary systems— are almost always well-intentioned, albeit artfully exploited by food manufacturers and advocates. Yet we found, as we explored this topic, that much of the information that we are told by the media, medical associations, and government bodies about which foods cause heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure is unproved.

Indeed, merely unproved dietary advice seems to be the best-case scenario. In many instances, rigorous research has refuted or cast great doubt on the popular assertions."

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

quite a few people with degrees in medicine who do the best they can to, among many other things, determine an optimal diet for people with one or another condition. To develop an optimal universal diet in unfeasible, but you can undoubtedly tell the effect of one food group or another on a person's health. Test a huge group of people against an equal sized control group. Then, using a whole host of mathematical methods (it is erroneous to assume all of these methods are statistical, though indeed a great part of them are) conclusions may be drawn.

It is my opinion that it is quite shortsighted to discard the opinion of many doctors who do know what they are talking about in favor of those of an amateur chef and IT professor. Aforementioned opinions that some scientific hypotheses prove to be untrue during the passage of time are, in essence, understandable, however one must look deeper into the facts rather the hypotheses themselves to understand why it is so; often, what is touted by the press to be "disproven" has rather been complexified.

As an example, let us look at the relationship between hypertension and salt. Suppose we study a group of people with high salt intake against a group of people with low salt intake. Let us say that some correlation coefficient shows a positive relationship between hypertension and salt intake. What does this mean exactly? Salt causes hypertension? Not necessarily. There may be a third variable more present in the high salt intake group which is not present in the low salt intake group (like processed food intake).

Do not the example literaly, I'm not a doctor so I cannot guarantee the verity of the above statements, but I do know that it is exactly the scientists' job to extract some objective truth from these findings. It could not be called easy by any means - people are doing the best they can to found their opinion on real facts and evidence.

This post should not be taken to mean that I support non-celiac people who suddenly decide that gluten (it's just a protein, for godsakes) is unhealthy for them to eat. Just wanted to say that we should care what scientists have to say.

suave's picture
suave

I don't know - what would be the collective wisdom of Dr. Atkins, Dr. Weil, and Dr. Davis (of gluten-scare fame)?  Would they advise me to cut back on salt, even though it has been conclusively shown that it in no way causes heart disease?  I would also like to note that people you know as medical professionals I know as whiny students who had to  be dragged by their ears through a very basic science curriculum, and yes, I totally believe that  the "amateur chef and IT professor" is far better equipped when it comes to comprehending scientific theories.

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

believing something doesn't make it so :)

suave's picture
suave

Sure it does.  Look at any devoted health system follower - for them it's all 100% real.

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

cannot argue with that. Where I live, the no-gluten, vegan etc. crazes are not very wide spread, but there is some evidence that it will take off. And it will be bad.

suave's picture
suave

As long as there is money to be made people will be pushing it.

Donkey_hot's picture
Donkey_hot

The success of "Wheat Belly" among easily impressionable(borderline hysterical) audience proves that money is practically growing on a tree and only the laziest would not attempt to shake it. :)

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Great article David , thanks for posting it.  

Some of the folks I try to trade with at the market have that "hippy dippy" mentality that gluten is their problem.  Not being the scientist I can't really hold a strong argument with them.  But I think to myself all the time that glutenous products are a staple part of the diet in most stretches of our planet and have been for quite a long time.  Along with getting back to whole grain eating some other things have been lost.  There is a reason a pickle is served with a sandwich yet its lost its true purpose.  Now they serve you a vlasic fake vinegar pickle.  But that fermented cucumber was to aid in digestion.  Like Kimchi in Korea which is apparently served with everything.  Like Kraut in Germany.  They are foods we Americans go after in taste (and they do taste quite fantastic when made well) but they have more of a purpose.  I'm sure there are oodles of more fermented foods in many other places used for the same reasons.  Sure fermented products keep well and allow us to enjoy a bounty of foods for longer than they' could last fresh.  But in the end they help us to digest the carbs, meats, and greens that make up our diet.  

I for one am not the healthiest minded person but I have recently re-discovered that its about balance and I am growing tired of people placing blame on very particular foods (or as mentioned in the article "gluten is just a protein").  I am making a life change and trying to abide by the ideals of balance for nutrition.  We Americans are gluttons and that is the main problem.  We just need to balance our intake and eat whole healthy foods along with natural digestive aids and our health can be restored.  And most importantly we can eat Bread, really good Bread.

Happy Eating

Josh

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

and moderation - I'm pretty sure that we can eat just about anything if not afflicted with a disease.    Whole grain flour has to be better than bleached white flour.   Fresh fruits and veggies have to be better than canned.  Chicken and fish have to be better than beef and pork .  Olive oil has to be better than butter.  Peanut butter has to be better than full fat cream.   Less sugar and salt has to better than more of each. 

But with a proper balanced diet and a little exercise, you can eat it all - no problem.  Better to well and less of it than eating poorly and more of it

Like David said it is common sense.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Just another part of the puzzle.  

Very good read.  Thanks for sharing, David!

Sylvia  

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

1. Correlation is not the same as causation.

2. "Science" is a set of methods that, in general, have the purpose of determining whether particular associations are more or less likely to be due to chance alone.

3. The fact that "scientific facts" are very often replaced by "better" facts is an argument for more science, not less.

4. All scientific theories are heuristic. That means they are the best available explanations for the available findings of scientific research. Theories are not "true" or "untrue." They are useful (account for the observed data) or less useful. Think about choosing between a shovel and a screwdriver, not between two religions.

5. Any study that looks at a single dietary nutrient as an isolated, pure causal agent (of anything) without regard to a) the form in which it is ingested and b) host variability (individual variations and developmental variations) should be viewed with skepticism. Very few things are ingested in pure form, even sodium chloride and water, which may be the closest to pure. There is evidence that the amount of minerals present in small but variable amounts in our drinking water make a difference in the incidence of cardiovascular disease. In line with what SylviaH just wrote, my father, who practiced internal medicine for over 40 years, used to say, "The best way to avoid heart disease is to chose the right parents."

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

We need way more science and math in the world even if their theories are replaced by better ones.  Eventually we know what the real facts are because of scientists and mathematicians.   Newton theories concerning gravity were turned on their head 200 years later by Einstein.  Even though Einstein invented quantum mechanics he thought it incorrect but has been proven oh so very wrong.    David Hilbert, one of the great mathematicians of all time,  always thought that physics was much too important to be left to mere physicists like Einstein and it should be those brilliant mathematicians like him that should handle the great problems of the world instead.

I can't wait to see how the Big Bang Theory works out.  It supposedly sprang and inflated from a singularity at speeds faster than the speed of light - which was possible since the laws that govern the universe, like not being able to go faster than the speed of light, didn't exist yet so you could go faster than light - very convenient.  A singularity is a term that physicists use to say they have no idea what it is or what is going on.  They don't know what started the big bang, what banged, why it banged or how it banged.  But, we do know that it wasn't a big bang at all since there was no air created yet for it to make any sound at all.  It was more like a big silence.  Plus you couldn't see it not bang either since photons, the stuff of light, weren't created yet either.

But these small details don't bother physicists in the least and they have moved on to dark energy and dark matter which they even know less about :-)  They claim in fact, that these things can't be seen or measured yet they exist - how convenient :-) Perhaps Hilbert was right!

I think the only ones who don't want to see way more science are the hucksters pushing wishful thinking and emotion instead.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks for posting this article David.  I personally am quite sick to my stomach with the whole 'grains/breads = death' movement.

Science may be imperfect at times, but at least it is not ignorant.

Moderation + Genes + Not getting hit by a bus = health

John