The other day a fried of mine passed along a CBS evening news report on Polish doctor Jan Kwasniewski. Please click here to watch. Many people have mentioned Kwasniewski’s work to me, as we apparently have come to near identical conclusions on what is more or less the optimal diet for healing the majority of illnesses facing humanity. Kwasniewski, like myself, is a strong proponent for a diet that contains adequate but not excessive protein, few carbohydrates, and a proportionally large quantity of fat ? ideally from animal sources.
The news, in any form, is not something I typically follow for good reason. The greatest reason is that my quality of life is greatly diminished by watching the news. It takes my focus away from my tangible reality and shifts it to something peripheral and out of my control. It’s a huge distraction and pollutes my mind, steering it away from what is important to me.
The second reason is that the news, particularly in television format which induces a low-alpha wave state in the brain, lowers my capacity for intelligent thought.
When a news report is constructed, it virtually cannot be created without some kind of conditioned bias. Of course we all know that the media is heavily influenced (okay neutered), by their sponsors and the financial and political interests of the media outlet’s owners. That’s just common sense. But even if this weren’t a factor, conditioning still has dominion over the way news is presented, and how news is presented is everything.
I’m not the kind of guy who is informed about many things. Newscasters, when they present information, are much better informed on most subjects than I am. This is dangerous, because I cannot question, refute, or think critically about the information. This is what cripples intelligent thought, because you naturally proscribe, at least in part, to the information that’s being conveyed to you and how it’s being transmitted.
When it comes to nutrition and health; however, it’s a very different story. There isn’t a newscaster on the face of the planet that is better informed about the many facets of the diet-disease connection than I am. Perhaps the reason I am so skeptical and downright fearful of watching the news, is that when it comes to news reports on subjects that I’m well-informed about, the errors in presentation, flaws in logic, and subtle biases in alignment with mainstream opinion completely control the report itself.
A perfect case in point?
Jan Kwasniewski recommends eating according to the following guidelines:
1) Eat 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of your ideal body weight. This is pretty standard advice. To calculate this, divide what would be your healthy weight in pounds by 2.2. My ideal weight is about 170, which means my needs, based on this calculation, are to obtain about 77 grams of protein per day. The average woman needs about 55 grams of protein.
2) For every gram of protein, Kwasniewski recommends eating 2.5-3.5 grams of fat. Based on this calculation, I need to eat between 192 and 270 grams of fat per day. If you need 55 grams of protein per day, you need less fat: 137-192 grams of fat per day.
3) For every gram of protein, Kwasniewski recommends .8 grams of carbohydrate. Thus, I would need 62 grams of carbs per day. The average woman would need 44 grams.
Thus, a total for me, an averaged-sized male, would be 77 grams of protein, 231 grams of fat (mid-range), and 62 grams of carbohydrates. Daily calorie total is 2635, a low-calorie diet by any calculation. Split between 3 meals, I would need 878 calories, and a total of 77 grams of fat per meal.
Now, let’s examine our news report.
The news report says that Kwasniewski recommends eating 250 grams of fat per day. Fair enough, although as we’ve seen ? if you are a petite woman, you might need only half that much, so right there we have a major oversimplification.
Then it goes on to say: in order to get that much fat, you ?have to start early. It then lays out a supposedly-typical breakfast that gets you ?one-third? of your daily fat total. That breakfast consists of?
1) A 4-egg omelet cooked in lard (30 grams of fat by modest estimates)
2) 4 strips of bacon (depends on how well you cook it, but let’s say at least 40 grams of fat)
3) Sausage ? they don’t say how much, but the photo suggests a lot (call it another 30 grams of fat)
4) 2 slices of toast slathered in butter (quantities not given but photo and emphasis on lots of butter suggest 2T per slice, or 48 grams of fat)
5) Finished by drinking a cup of heavy whipping cream (96 grams of fat)
This breakfast, by my estimates, contains 244 grams of fat. Oh yes, and the bread is supposedly 43% fat, pushing our total to over 250 grams. Thus, according to the news report, to get one-third of your 250 grams of fat, you must ‘start early? by eating a breakfast containing 250 grams of fat and over 2500 calories.
Eating in the manner the news report recommends, a typical person (which they refer to as ?you?), would eat 750 grams of fat and 7500 calories per day. This is what Kwasniewski would recommend for someone with 250 kg of lean body mass, weighing, if lean, 550 pounds. It is evident that CBS’s intended audience is not humans, but grizzly bears, baby elephants, and/or hogzillas.
The news report concludes by saying that you may just be able to become fit on fat ?if you can stomach it. Of course, any intelligent person would look at such an idea as ludicrous, and I would agree. It would be tough to get lean eating 7,500 calories per day and 750 grams of fat. And I’m not sure many could ‘stomach it? day after day after day without running into a massive anorectic (lack of hunger) effect anyway. The end result, is that Kwasniewski becomes the punchline of another dumb Polack joke, and Americans are left thinking that the best thing they have available to them is The South Beach Diet, a mediocre, somewhat unhealthy starvation diet that few people stick to long term.
That’s why I don’t watch the news. Almost every health-oriented news report that I’ve seen is that pitifully false, manipulated, biased, and absurd. I have no reason to believe the same doesn’t hold true for topics that I’m less educated about. I’d much rather be uneducated, than de-educated. Not knowing that 2+2 = 4 is a far better place to be than thinking 2+2 = 37. We were far better off not knowing anything about nutrition and health than we are now ? thinking that saturated fat is unhealthy, that protein powder with splenda is a health food, that fiber is a beneficial substance for treating digestive disorders, and that kids need to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain cereals with skim milk.
In conclusion, if you want to learn about something, go do it. Seek the information out yourself instead of gobbling up what someone else wants you to think. If you want to be informed in such a way that renders you less educated than you were before you started watching the program, believing something that borders on mental retardation by the time the program is finished, then watch CBS.
For resources on what Kwasniewski really recommends ? that is the ideal weight loss and health improvement program which Kwasniewski has been awarded for in his home country of Poland, I highly recommend the following resources?
And of course, 180 Degree Metabolism: The Smart Strategy for Fat Loss, by yours truly