3 comments on “How Much does Nutrition Matter?

  1. Pingback: Ratinality Feed – deluks917

  2. I talked recently with someone who was skeptical of nutrition’s importance after reading this post, and figured out that he wasn’t using the evidence from hunter-gatherers in his evaluation.

    That evidence is a key part of my reasoning, and I apparently didn’t emphasize that evidence well enough.

    So I’ll try again. Cardiovascular disease causes about 1/4 of all U.S. deaths. Scientists have looked for similar deaths in modern hunter-gatherers, and found zero. It’s also quite rare in third-world countries. Lindeberg’s table 4.1 compares the U.S. to Uganda in 1951-1956, showing how many deceased men showed signs of previous myocardial infarction at autopsy:

    Age USA Uganda
    40-49 31 of 178 (17%) 0 of 178 (0%)
    50-59 51 of 199 (26%) 1 of 199 (0.5%)
    60-69 32 of 98 (33%) 0 of 98 (0%)
    70-79 8 of 24 (33%) 0 of 33 (0%)
    80+ 2 of 9 (22%) 0 of 9 (0%)

    So, if we had an intervention that provided the cardiovascular benefits of a pre-industrial lifestyle, that would have more impact on health than all of the medical innovation of the past few decades. Are you willing to bet against nutrition being an important part of such an intervention?

  3. Excellent write-up! It’s funny how hard it is to find serious overview material on nutrition, divorced from particular hobby horses.

    Have you gained any sense of the importance of diet if one disregards the harms which are entwined with obesity? From the selfish perspective of someone who doesn’t seem to put on weight, I haven’t been able to find any analysis of overall risks which isn’t hopelessly confounded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *