I am constantly amazed by the barrage of health information available online. Multiple journals, sites, blogs and random people who no one cares about utilize studies to make headlines, yet 90 percent(or so I have heard) of most studies are never read by people except their authors and a few peers.
We need to face the fact that coming onto the internet to find an answer to something is not as simple as everyone makes it out to be. The health field is especially disastrous due to the fact that the predominant source of most information comes from epidemiological/observational studies that almost without fail are horribly done, filled with confounding data, misrepresentation by the authors and the journalists who get a hold of the studies and most especially by the people who are taking part in the studies.
Take some random Joe Shmo of the streets(because yes most of the people who are volunteering for most of these studies are not high level disciplined folks), and ask him/her to remember what they ate 4 years ago, or to follow an eating plan fully and you will get a disaster. Most people give wrong information purposefully or unintentionally simply because they cannot damn remember what they ate 4 years ago, not even 2 days before.
Animal studies are much more highly controlled, but even then making correlations between what happens in a mouse who is locked in a unnatural environment aka prison, being poked and prodded by giant humans, and fed unnatural diets or subjected to horrendous tests and then saying that somehow this relates to a complex human beings experience in the real world is utterly ridiculous.
After seven years of personal study ranging over multiple facets of health, most of the basic conclusions I have come to that I can comfortably tell people is this.
1. Eat alot of calories, consistently. The body needs food, period.
2.Move alot, and unless you want to be an athlete or have some specific goal that you plan to throw your whole life into, do not kill yourself training. Moving means walking and doing activities. And get outside to do it. Fresh air and vitamin D peeps.
3.Eat good quality food. For me that means local, organic and free range if possible.
4. Macronutrient ratios only matter on an individual level. If you have good quality food coming in, whether its alot of protein, fat or carbs only matters depending on what your body likes and your activity levels.
5. Sleep like a bear. 90 percent of your focus should be on getting high quality sleep, every damn legitimate study shows huge benefits from sleeping well, whether it is for physical capacity or cognitively. You are a better person when you sleep well.
6.Not to contradict the first point, but having a little less food sometimes is good too, I think fasting has gone off the bullshit charts, but there’s some good science showing that maybe fasting 1 or 2 days a month can have some good benefits. You can even tweak it so that you get into autophagy, which is what you’re really looking to get into, by just playing with macro levels to clean up house a bit.
That is pretty much all I am comfortable saying to people these days because there really is zero possible harm that can come from those points, only benefits.
My biggest point is that people need to really really not look at journals or the news for information on how to live. Find 1 or 2 really good qualified people online who you can trust and get most of your information from them, and if you really find it interesting and have the time then range out and start looking at other peoples opinions so that you don’t become too limited in your information base, but that is it, the rest is playing and tweaking your own habits on your own.
N=1 is where you find out all the good stuff, no one can tell you what works for you better than you, with some logic obviously, else you can justify bingeing on twinkies because you feel good in the moment.
Be smart, be curious and may the force be with you.