TPV Podcast, Episode 75: Denise Minger on Death by Food Pyramid

Our seventy-fifth show!

Ep. 75, Denise Minger on Death by Food Pyramid

In this episode, Stacy and Sarah are joined by Denise Minger to discuss her involvement with the real food movement and her book Death by Food Pyramid.

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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 75

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:47 – News & Views
    • Welcome to the show Denise Minger
    • Stacy and Denise met almost two years ago on the Low Carb Cruise
    • You can find Denise on her site Raw Food SOS and through her book Death by Food Pyramid
    • Sarah finds this to be one of the best books she has ever read – it is not only full of wonderful information, but was a pleasure to read
    • More about Denise
      • At the age of 7 Denise went vegetarian by personal choice and that continued for 10 years before she became an omnivore again
      • At the age of 11 she was diagnosed with a wheat allergy and learned to read food labels
      • Shortly after that she was also diagnosed with a soy and dairy allergy, so she became interested in raw veganism and adopted a lifestyle where she ate nothing but fruits and grains, with fat taking up no more than 10% of her diet
      • After a year of eating that way she had cavity issues, hair loss, extreme weight-loss, and brain fog
      • Denise realized that the information she found on the internet was not actually helping her, so she abandoned raw veganism and created her site – the change in her diet made her realize that her body was really missing something
      • Her site was created to help other raw vegans who were struggling with health issues as a result of the vegan diet
      • The China Study book kept coming up in arguments within the vegan community – so Denise read it again and dug into the results from the studies to see if the statistics were true or not, and she found that the data was cherry picked and the information in the book didn’t represent the full study accurately
      • The post on her blog critiquing the book went viral and a whole new audience came to her site looking for more background on these findings
      • She expanded the focus of her site and now works on exploring health studies to show the true scope of data and what results the data points to
    • Death by Food Pyramid offers another critical analysis, but on the government’s dietary guidelines and the history on where those come from and who/what influenced them
    • (24:41) The Development of the First Food Pyramid
      • The USDA was put into place around the Civil War and the mission was to support agriculture and to distribute information to the general public about agriculture
      • Around World War 2 our disease issues began to shift and chronic diseases began to rise, it was also at this time that the USDA developed the food guide system called the basic four that focused on meat, grains, dairy and fruits and vegetables – there were no specifics given on servings
      • This recommendation was in place for a long time and didn’t support our health issues as they evolved
      • When a new nutritionist was brought in to help design a new recommendation for eating, she developed a food pyramid that suggested five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables, liberal amounts of cold-pressed fat, and to limit whole grains to two to three servings a day based on activity levels
      • When the food pyramid was submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture it was sent back to her completely revised with heavy emphasis on high grains, low fat, and low servings of produce
      • The nutritionist warned her superiors that this structure would cause an obesity epidemic, but without the power the message was lost, and she abandoned the project and the USDA took it over and removed the science and data from the recommendations they were making
      • Check out more on Luise Light, the nutritionist mentioned above, through her book What to Eat
    •  (40:34) The Cause of the Increase in Heart Disease
      • Ancel Keys is the father of the low fat movement, and is known for the research he did on heart disease
      • Through his research, he identified a correlation between a country’s access to fat with high levels of heart disease
      • It was the first time in history that anyone had made this argument, fat had always been respected up until that point
      • When his study was critiqued, other scientists added data from other countries and looked into other variables linked to heart disease and found that animal fat was the cause of heart disease
      • The data wasn’t about the consumption of animal products – it only looked at a country’s access to fat, so countries that are essentially wealthy, affluent, and who can afford animal products
      • Is all that was being discovered was that wealthier nations with access to cars, TVs, convenience foods, and processed foods had higher levels of heart disease
      • At the same time John Yudkin was studying the impact of sugar on health and he believed that sugar was the cause of heart disease
      • Denise’s research on these two studies led her to conclude that neither scientists were right, they had stumbled upon only two pieces of the puzzle and failed to see the full picture
    • These studies teach us to look at data more globally and to not be so eager to look for the simple, quick answer
    • Sarah and Denise further chatted about proper research
    • (54:11) Stacy asked Denise what her favorite topics were from her Death by Food Pyramid research
      • Findings from the Mediterranean Diet template
      • Westin A. Price’s research on various diets
    • Stacy asked Denise how it feels to have her book baby out there
      • Denise said she is sleeping for the first time in three years and working on promotion at this point
      • She is also trying to get back into the swing of blogging, and taking a breather to fully absorb the release of her book and what an accomplishment that is
  • The first print run of The Paleo Approach has almost sold out, and the second print will soon be in production – be sure to order a copy now because there will be a delay while the book is on back order from the second print
  • The Paleo Approach was nominated as an Editor’s Pick on Amazon and is ranked 275 out of the millions of books on Amazon
  • Sarah will be doing some travel surrounding the book release, so be on the lookout for more details in the weeks to come
  • The Paleo Approach Cookbook will not be released until the end of August so that Sarah can properly take care of her health, and launch The Paleo Approach with full energy and focus
  • Stacy notes that the idea of ancestral wellness and a healthy lifestyle are where the strong voices in the paleo community want the movement to go – emphasizing stress management, quality sleep, time in the sun, and a nutrient dense diet
  • Special thanks to Denise for joining this week’s show! Don’t forget to checkout her site and book!
  • (1:14:57) Outro

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