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there is NO SAFE DOSE for bacon

Remember that thing about the health thing last weekend? You know, the one that said that you should avoid taking vitamin supplements and that bacon gives you cancer (OK, OK, I know it didn't really say that but it came PERILOUSLY CLOSE). Here's the BBC's article on the topic. Why they chose to focus on weight rather than the rather more contentious bacon issue, I don't know, but it ties in with the Beeb's usual thindoctrination attitudes (check out their Health section if you don't believe me (ooh, that's a CITATION NEEDED point, isn't it? I'll go look.)

Earlier this year, their section on controlling your weight started with "most people could do with losing about 10lbs", leading me to absolutely rule it out as an information source for young women anxious about their weight. But it looks like it's been improved since then, thank goodness.

Which is just as well, considering today's news, because it turns out that if you really want to avoid cancer, you should be overweight. Most at risk were the underweight, and the normal weight people -- well, you might as well be obese, fankly:

"But, contrary to expectations, the obese did not have an increased risk of dying from cancer. They were slightly more likely than people of normal weights to die of a handful of cancers that are thought to be related to excess weight — cancers of the colon, breast, esophagus, uterus, ovary, kidney and pancreas. Yet they had a lower risk of dying from other cancers, including lung cancer. In the end, the increases and decreases in cancer risks balanced out."

(Which you might think was down to a few obvious reasons, but they did adjust for smokers and people who were already ill and the effect remained.)

So, there you are. Want to be healthy? Aim for BMI-overweight. It shouldn't be hard because most of you are already (with the exception of my various gamine and/or ectomorphic pals). Last year, on the menorrhagia diet, I dipped down into BMI-normal for the first time in my life, and I looked gaunt. I remember being startled by the people (some colleagues, relatives, my mum) who told me how well I was looking. Thinner, yes -- but well? Still, burning the excess butter was worth it. I bounced back fast from illness and injury.

Hmm, could there be a lesson about being overweight and illness here?


( 26 worms — Feed the birds )
8th Nov, 2007 12:07 (UTC)
I remember seeing you looking gaunt in a few photos, I didn't want to say anything at the time... er y'know...
yeah, you're looking peaky, are you ill?
...s'not tactful.
Thank grud you're looking so much better now.*

* Heh, I love that photo - the mighty Jeremy is smiting! Don't mess!
8th Nov, 2007 13:43 (UTC)
oooh, that photo earned me $1 (for use on t-shirts only)
8th Nov, 2007 12:22 (UTC)
BMI is a broken and useless system.
8th Nov, 2007 12:26 (UTC)
I've already ranted about that study so I won't repeat too many things but;
1) It was based on the meta analysis which is a flawed concept.
2) The things it chose to measure against were politically biassed based mostly on what information was collected in every study rather than what is meaningful.
3) In some cases the conclusions did not follow from the results.
Why the BBC chose to give this massively flawed study such a high profile is the key issue. I think because it included no long words or difficult ideas they thought it was good advice for the terminally stupid. I am no longer the target audience for the BBC and neither are any of my friends.
8th Nov, 2007 12:58 (UTC)
Meta analysis - anag - meat analysis, hence the bacon.
8th Nov, 2007 13:52 (UTC)
my crisps, let me show you them

I'm not sure myself, but it also made it into New Scientist -- I think it is the case that it is a very large and dramatic study (however flawed).

nomnomnom lady is courtesy of the BBC Health.
8th Nov, 2007 12:48 (UTC)
It's about time someone did a study to find out what percentge of people who spend their lives thinking they "need" to lose 10 lbs are miserable.
8th Nov, 2007 13:33 (UTC)
I just love your userpic
8th Nov, 2007 19:51 (UTC)
Thank you, it's a poster I saw in Bergen.
8th Nov, 2007 14:00 (UTC)
also --
Yes please, I want some research into the bad effects of slimming self-inflicted food restriction please.
8th Nov, 2007 18:53 (UTC)
Re: also --
Oh there are, I'm sure. The BBC headline prose was a complete mis-statement of the report's recommendation. The latter was, 'put on no more weight after 21'. (although the full detail of the report does emphasise slimness in general.)

But as previous commentators have said, the BMI is a flawed system anyway. And the meta-analysis report is selective and weird in lots of ways.

It's great to see something that contradicts it coming out so soon after it.
9th Nov, 2007 08:12 (UTC)
I have to say:
"put on no more weight after 21" does sound like a classic geas-style unfollowable instruction.
9th Nov, 2007 22:43 (UTC)
Re: I have to say:
Yes, much like 'Eat no bacon!'
8th Nov, 2007 13:06 (UTC)
OK, so maintaining above the recommended BMI, but not with bacon. That must mean MORE CREAM BUNS!
8th Nov, 2007 13:39 (UTC)
I'm afraid the people who say no bacon also say no dairy. So you can have the bun but no cream.

As long as the bun contains no sugar, that is.
8th Nov, 2007 13:41 (UTC)
That sounds like a kind of lame bun.
8th Nov, 2007 13:44 (UTC)
barely a bun at all, I'd say
8th Nov, 2007 14:15 (UTC)
Look, bacon is one of the food groups.
I refuse to cut it out of my diet.
Also, it's an important vitamin.
8th Nov, 2007 13:19 (UTC)
Hmmm. PCOS causes women to be overweight. It also causes an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

These stats must be very hard to analyse in any sensible way.
8th Nov, 2007 13:42 (UTC)
To say the least. Doesn't seem to stop people publishing health advice based on them, though...
8th Nov, 2007 14:14 (UTC)
Reasons to spit on anybody who mentions your weight in the same breath as the BMI:

"Body mass index (BMI) or Quetelet Index is a statistical measure of the weight of a person scaled according to height. It was invented between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing "social physics"."
8th Nov, 2007 14:28 (UTC)
social physics?
8th Nov, 2007 14:21 (UTC)
Go FAT PEOPLE!!!! (but what about heart attacks and strokes?)
8th Nov, 2007 16:53 (UTC)
Heart attacks account for all the damage, according to this particular study. Caution : results from statistical studies may vary!

8th Nov, 2007 16:17 (UTC)
This all makes sense, but (without having read the full article) I'd question the use of the word "people".
Given that breast cancer (and some other female cancers, but breast is one of the big killers) is linked to fat but prostate and lung cancer isn't, surely the stats should vary wildly between men and women (actually there was a report I skimmed the other day linking overweight and cancer in women - it's not impossible that this is the same report that is now headlined as the reverse for "people").
8th Nov, 2007 16:51 (UTC)
I think the one you mean is this? (it was linked from the bbc article)
It's a different study, it's one from the Million Women Study, which was looking at post-and-pre menopausal women. This one.

"Among postmenopausal women in the UK, 5% of all cancers (about 6000 annually) are attributable to being overweight or obese."

Or, as the BBC would have it: "Obesity 'fuels cancer in women'".

Yay the BBC.

Edited at 2007-11-08 16:54 (UTC)
( 26 worms — Feed the birds )