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Show 1112: How and Why to Eat Sinfully

In this interview for broadcast March 3, 2018, find out why "forbidden" foods such as alcohol, steak or butter in moderation are unlikely to damage your health.
Show 1112: How and Why to Eat Sinfully
Dr. Aaron Carroll, author of The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully
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How and Why to Eat Sinfully

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Nutrition experts have demonized a lot of foods over the past several decades. Eggs, shrimp, butter, cheese and meat were all taken off the table because they are rich in fat and cholesterol. No cholesterol, but too much fat doomed nuts, coconut and avocados. More recently, wheat and foods made from it, like bread, crackers, pretzels and pizza, have come under fire because they contain gluten. We couldn’t blame you for wondering if there is anything left to eat. How did the concept of “bad foods” acquire moral connotations? Are you ever tempted to eat sinfully?

Dr. Aaron Carroll is a pediatrician who is very well aware of the problems that poor nutrition can cause. Nonetheless, he says we are getting too worked up about a number of foods. Conventional wisdom may say they are “bad,” but eating an occasional steak or drinking Scotch once in a while does not really make a significant difference in our health, says Dr. Carroll.

The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully

Starting back in 1894, nutrition guidelines stressed a varied diet. Nutrition science was in its infancy. But by the 1970s, experts were putting together guidelines on what Americans should eat based on what they thought was healthful. There wasn’t much, if any, evidence involved. Dr. Carroll hunts down the evidence behind bad foods to tell us exactly how much harm they will do. In most cases, it is less than you would think, so long as you are guided by moderation.

Tune in to find out why you don’t need to get too excited about a recent study that declared alcohol causes cancer. Calculating the actual risk shows that it is extremely modest. Dr. Carroll explains why we should stop worrying about “eating clean” and fretting about food. What should you remember?

  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink too much
  • Exercise
  • Eat sensibly

This Week’s Guest:

Aaron Carroll, MD, MS, is Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Research Mentoring at Indiana University’s School of Medicine, and Director of the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Research. His research focuses on the study of information technology to improve pediatric care, health care policy, and health care reform.

In addition to his scholarly activities, he has written about health, research, and policy for CNN, Bloomberg News, the JAMA Forum, and the Wall Street Journal. He has co-authored three popular books debunking medical myths, has a popular YouTube show called Healthcare Triage, and is a regular contributor to The New York Times’ The Upshot.
Dr. Carroll’s most recent book is The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully.

The photo of Dr. Carroll is by Marina Waters.

More info about Aaron:

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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