Saturday, December 4, 2010

Awesome things Bruce German says

As you may be able to tell from my previous post, I just got back from a day trip to Bruce German's land of wonders and curiosities (also occasionally known as UC Davis).
This is not your average food chemist. He has a razor scooter in his office. Also there is some evidence that he is still Canadian at heart: There's a wooden mountie holding up his iPhone charger and a big illustration of a hockey goalie above his desk. He studies lipids - namely the lipids in milk and writes papers about pretty incomprehensible things like the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) and cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid, and yet when he talks about this stuff he consistently blows my mind. The following is mostly just notes to myself. Very rough...

"I'd throw diet-book writers in jail. Every one works, but the last thing in the world that you should do is a diet with food restriction."
Weight loss is usually fifty percent muscle and bone deterioration. Then when you eat again, unless you are exercising every single muscle fat comes back faster. And we don't know if you lose smooth muscle.
"If you are traveling you'd want to be eating to turn up the immune system, you could even eat food that is specialized to the microbes in the place you are going ahead of time to build up defenses - versus normally the last thing in the world you want to do is turn up your immune system because then you end up with these autoimmune overreactions to pollen or whatever."
On a new model for teaching kids about nutrition: "We are not telling them what to do, just empowering them to know themselves."
"Milk educates infants as to smells - it instills food preferences."
"I have a set of pre-assumptions that I'm not even aware of and its dictating what I'm thinking. We need these young minds when they're not stuck."
"The industrial authoritarian model of nutrition is in diametric opposition with human evolution. If you look at humans what's most astonishing is not what they've gained but what they've lost" (which leads on a long example - we lost the big crushing jaw muscles but that mutation allowed our heads to get bigger, we literally became less of meat-heads, and allowed the expansion of the brain - this might have happened when we were learning to cook? Perhaps those early campfires were the Promethean flames. I had forgotten that Prometheus had a brother, Epimetheus. Zeus gave them clay to make humans and animals, plus a lot of cool features like claws and prehensile tales, armored shells, poisonous venom, and of course big crushing jaws. Epimetheus really go into designing creatures to go with these features and realized too late that he had used them all up before Prometheus had finished molding the humans. So Prometheus feels sorry for us and steals us fire - you know the rest. So, we may not have cool attachments, but we can cook. The mouse can tell when it is deficient in calcium, and sniff it out - we can starve to death next to a nutrient that would save us - we've lost that instinctive eating - but we have gained freedom, while the panda is enslaved by bamboo.
"We are at the the platinum level of freedom and we are all supposed to eat the same way, and we are doing this for fear of heart diseases that only goofball white men in middle America are getting?"
I suggested that instead of nutrient deficiency diseases we were getting nutrient ultra-sufficiency  diseases - he thinks that's not it:
"It may end up really being imbalance diseases. If you look back through history at the extremes of nutrition, usually when there was an abundance of food there was more movement, people built cities. And when food is short, I've gone to villages where food is in short supply and around noon the kids all just sit down. They are almost catatonic. But they are conserving energy because they are low on calories. But here we have a situation where kids are eating a lot, and its discouraging movement.  It's a total aberration. So I think it may have to do with an imbalance, the wrong combination of nutrients. You know when I was a kid my mom wasn't standing at the door saying get out there, she was standing at the door saying get in here and do your homework."

Re the hooded seal and fat: "There's got to be a trigger that says okay open up the gates, out you go."
Just overdose everyone with essential nutrients - flood out variety with excess.
HAMLET - points to structure importance elegant change (old milk)
Freesland-Campina Dairy co-op Andre Workman

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