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Fruits and Veggies -Worth the hassle?

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Sub7
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If one wanted to show the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, one can easily find hundreds if not thousands of pages of research to back up such a position. However, I am starting to wonder if the difference is big enough to really bother. First of all, some studies fail to find any benefit at all of eating fruits and vegetables in terms of longevity and cancer prevention. Sure, there are also numerous studies that do show such benefits but the effect size is usually so small that the sample size has to be enormous to display a statistically significant difference (the effect size is almost never discussed in either the mainstream media or even scientific publications, it is enough for people to see a statistically significant difference even if this means a 2% reduction in cancer risk or 1% improvement in expected lifespan). On top of it all, a lot of the benefits from fruits and vegetables come either from the fiber content or the major vitamins and minerals (as in the vit and minerals one can find in a pill that sells for $9.95 / bottle).

Given all this, I am wondering whether the hassle of trying to eat more fruits and vegetables is really worth the effort. If you are eating your oatmeal and taking a basic vitamin supplement, how much more will you really gain by eating frutis and veggies? Of course there are hundreds of components that we can either not find in pills or we can absorb and utilize better if we get them from natural sources. But how much is the improvement really going to be? I personally have gone for long periods without eaitng frutis/vegetables and never felt a difference. I know people -even athletes- who eat almost zero fruits and veggies and do perfectly fine. Is it really worth the hassle of buying that stuff, throwing them away often as they spoil on you and -most importantly- forcing yourself to eat them if you are like me and do not really like that stuff?

Not looking for confirmation of my own views, only seeking an objective discussion really...

Thanks

Sub


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ScottL
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benefits of fruits and veggies?

Try google or search LEF.org or imminst.org for tomatoes (lycopene), carotenes and other compounds in broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, blueberries, etc.

"The problem with multi's is that their absorption is often quite poor."
Arwolf (sp) is that you?

Not if you pick any of zillions of decent brands.

"Then there are issues with getting too much of something"

Such as??? Aside from vit D (and recent thought on that has changed) and preformed vit A, there are not many things where toxicity is an issue, and certainly not things found in most multis.


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trouble
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Before the last 45 or so yrs, before vitamin supplements and processed foods began to be so popular...

What do you think people depended on for nutrition? Whole foods. Your gut has evolved interdependent with its peculiar microbial population, finely tuned for release of macronutrients from whole foods, microbial-assisted biotransformation, and outright microbial synthesis of quite the variety of micronutrients.

You *really* think a little pill can make up for a lack of proper nutrition?

No sir. Nor can natural fiber, separated from its plant, seed and grain constituency, supply the proper nutrition to *feed the bugs* who feed you.

Put your hand about a foot in front of your face and waggle your fingers.

That's what the internal surface of a large length of gut looks like...like a shag rug - but that morphology has been shown to be induced by a fiber and nutrient dense diet, partially maintained in that fingerlike form by the the microbial community (a consortia of key players) and part by the fiber consistancy of the food itself.

Go to a bland, low fiber, low nutrient dense diet, and you begin to loose the morphology. Over time those villi can shrink, and their absorptive surface reduce, along with microbial community richness, such that we can, and often do, suffer from vitamin shortage under conditions of poor dietary variety, and lack of important cofactor production, antioxidant precursor uptake, and mineral depletion.

Imagine opening your window, as your drive down the road, and throwing money into the wind.

You may as well be doing it, when you short change your gut and its tiny occupants. Those supps, that expensive protein powder?

How much do you think you absorb when you gut is nearly smooth? Except that its not quite smooth, it has folds...folds that food is not normally entrapped in. Well, when it become smooth, food can, and does get trapped in folds, and because you have shitty natural production of inflammation control agents (gratis of those gut microbes again), you end of being subject to an unpleasant assortment of bowel disease.

With chronic bowel disease, comes hyperplasia, and a boost in the incidence in cancer, because, son of a gun, the bowel also gets those converted environmental toxins from liver...some converted to more chemically active form.

Got nice soft waste, with lots of resideual undigestable fiber? You do if you're eating the right assortment of whole foods, including fruits and vegetables - and thats damn good you know, because thats what sucks up those toxins shuttled into your waste collection and ejection system.

Do you smell a connection here, between good nutritional habits and sound health and the avoidance of a good deal of life shortnening disease?

Hope so!


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ScottL
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Trouble,

a good diet is necessary, but ain't always sufficient.

One poster on the board started with some sky high homocysteine level, think food can get his levels down into normal range (ya I'm aware homocysteine is convtroversial)?, sufficeint vit d e.g. 1000 IU in the winter, optimal levels calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, optimum amounts of EPA/DHA, green tea....


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trouble
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Most people with a high homocysteine level don't get enough folic acid, vitamin B6 or vitamin B12 in their diet. Replacing these vitamins helps return the homocysteine level to normal. Other possible causes of a high homocysteine level include low levels of thyroid hormone, kidney disease, psoriasis, some medicines, or inherited deficiencies in the enzymes used to process homocysteine in the body.

Outside of the last cause and perhaps some forms of inherited kidney disease, the others are often connected to poor lifestyle practices.

I'm not saying, throw away your multimineral mulitvitamin pill.

I'm saying that it can't replace fruits and vegetables in your diet.


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Sub7
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Posted by: @ScottL
benefits of fruits and veggies?

Try google or search LEF.org or imminst.org for tomatoes (lycopene), carotenes and other compounds in broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, blueberries, etc.

I think you have not read my original post. I never doubted that there are benefits, I am simply questioning whther they are worth the hassle. I am familiar with both LEF and Imminist. They (as well as most other sources) all show benefits that can usually be substantiated with very large sample sizes, as I pointed out in my original post. The effect size in those studies is almost always very small. Yes fruits and vegetables are a good thing but spending the extra time/money/energy on them and actually making the effort to eat them is an ordeal that I find highly unappealing and am trying to do a cost/benefit analysis here.

Sub7


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ScottL
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Posted by: @trouble
I'm not saying, throw away your multimineral mulitvitamin pill.

I'm saying that it can't replace fruits and vegetables in your diet.]

phew agreed.


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trouble
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So now you know why I was so long winded... By not eating them, you pay a price through impaired gut function, and short change yourself on the subtle systemic controls (recently published) and various mechanisms of protection against a whole host of health issues.

Its an acquired habit, no doubt about it. Probably the single most important lifestyle habit, in terms of longevity and quality of life.


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ScottL
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Posted by: @Sub7
Yes fruits and vegetables are a good thing but spending the extra time/money/energy on them and actually making the effort to eat them is an ordeal that I find highly unappealing and am trying to do a cost/benefit analysis here.

Sub7

Ahh the joys of trying to sell wellness...most have little interest until they get ill. So much easier to prevent illness then fix it later...sigh.

"I think you have not read my original post. I never doubted that there are benefits, I am simply questioning whther they are worth the hassle."

Well...only if you care about being healthy and staying that way. Seriously. How many studies are there (rheteorical question since I ain't the literature guru) showing benefits of eating many (5? or is it 10?) servings of fruits and veggies/day.

Do you really not like fruits/berries? how much trouble to buy frozen berries and e.g. dump out some into bowl at night and put in fridge overnight to defrost. Pff instant berries in the winter.

Not liking I can relate to. Only now after...helping out my gut with digestive enzymes/flora and...being more relaxed do I actually like/am able to digest veggies/salad.


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Ex_banana-eater
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Posted by: @Sub7
If one wanted to show the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, one can easily find hundreds if not thousands of pages of research to back up such a position. However, I am starting to wonder if the difference is big enough to really bother.

It's moreso what the fruit and vegetables are replacing: High glycemic carbohydrates and processed foods that are implicated in everything from Syndrome X to autoimmune disorders. In addition, if you look at the means that caloric restriction extends lifespan, it's usually through hormonal mechanisms like lessened insulin/GH/IGF-1--now take a look at what replacing these good carbohydrates with the bad one does--exactly what we're looking for.

I don't think throwing an apple and a vegetable in with your meal made in processed oils with extremely high omega-6 polyunsaturate content and white rice is going to provide much of a benefit. Sure, the vegetable has antioxidant activity, but that's only one small part of its healthyfulness (is that a word?). To the degree that these studies show improvements in health is probably to the degree that satiety was increased from the fruits and vegetables and replaced regular, Westernized, shitty foods.

Antioxidants do play a nice role, but its really an "edge." Caloric restriction is what has shown us to be effective in extending lifespan, and you kind of have to guess at the mechanisms that made it work.

"The Cretan Liar." He might have written "This proposition is false" instead of "I am lying." The answer would be: "Very well, but which proposition do you mean?" -- "Well, this proposition." -- "I understand, but which is the proposition mentioned in it?" -- "This one." -- "Good, and which proposition does it refer to?" and so on. Thus he would be unable to explain what he means until he passes to a complete proposition.--Ludwig Wittgenstein, Zettel


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ScottL
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2 CR people on this board? who'da thunk it.

I can't agree and we're (or at least I'm) not talking life extension here.

"It's moreso what the fruit and vegetables are replacing"

if this were true that eating all one's calories from e.g. chicken and oatmeal would be as healthy as eating different fruits and veggies, which I don't believe to be the case.


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Ex_banana-eater
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Posted by: @ScottL
if this were true that eating all one's calories from e.g. chicken and oatmeal would be as healthy as eating different fruits and veggies, which I don't believe to be the case.

I wouldn't include oatmeal in that estimation.

Anyway, please take a look at my post and consider it in context of a standard, Westernized diet as the normal. Then you will see that in general, what the fruits and vegetables are replacing is shit foods. Please keep the quotations of my words within the context of the full post, too. What I wrote was not meant to be left on its own. Did you see that immediately after what you had quoted I had a colon and then a continuation of the sentence outlining what is being replaced?

In the context of a standard diet, when one increases fruit and vegetable intake, they will typically replace unhealthy oils, whole grains (full of anti-nutrients), processed grains, cereals, dairy (high insulin index and common intolerance), and fatty meats with high omega-6 levels, because of their increased satiety.

...And in my opinion, skinless chicken breasts would be a favourable replacement for most of those foods.

"The Cretan Liar." He might have written "This proposition is false" instead of "I am lying." The answer would be: "Very well, but which proposition do you mean?" -- "Well, this proposition." -- "I understand, but which is the proposition mentioned in it?" -- "This one." -- "Good, and which proposition does it refer to?" and so on. Thus he would be unable to explain what he means until he passes to a complete proposition.--Ludwig Wittgenstein, Zettel


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Josh
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2 CR people on this board? who'da thunk it.

You may find that there are more

CR certainly seems to provide advantages both in life extension and in wellness.

I believe that they fruti & veg provide more than that though. This could be down to broad spectrum antioxidents, fibre, as well as favourable play with the phase I enzymes. I imagine that there would be other advantages in addition to this.

I know that I feel much better (mental clarity, skin quality, general energy levels) when consuming 10 or more portions for F&V per day compared with none.

If you want an easy way to increase veg intake, can I recomend homemade curried, mix veg soup[ Recipe ].

J


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ScottL
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Posted by: @Ex_banana-eater
Anyway, please take a look at my post and consider it in context of a standard, Westernized diet as the normal.

OK agreed from that point of view. I hope there aren't too many on this board eating that kind of diet however (excluding some of the folks who only visit the nootropic forum).

As far as grains....that is a whole nother story. My body doesn't like them (food intolerance/gut permeability issues) but I'm not sure I'd go the mercola route and say that everyone should avoid them. ANti-nutrients e.g. phytates? So, just get your mineral at other meals.


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ATB
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This is a very relevant thread.

In my view, it boils down:

Certain fruit and vegetables are much more effective than others

Fibre

So, with regards to fibre, this has useful effects on the GI system.

Now these studies talk about general fruit and vegetable intake, but much of these have low nutrient densities and ORAC. Others may be far far more bioactive. If you consume a lot of blueberries but few turnips, you may score low on fruit and vegge intake, yet obtain much greater benefits. Thus the correlations between total phyto (I'll use this term instead of 'fruit and veggetables' from here on) and health effects will not be strong.

This illustrates that as we start to quantify the micronutritional value of each food per unit of weight, we will start to refine the value of their consumption.

To this end, it is necessary to devise a 'phyto' value system based not on weight but overall value.

The best system would take into account total plant intake - not water. So dry weight. Fibre would be seperated into its own class, leaving phyto-constituents. A given phyto would thus score first for phto-constituents, and secondly also for soluble fibre contribution. These can be calculated for each food, and a much better measure of phyto intake is already established. Next we need to calculate the value of those phyto-constituents:

Weight of Phyto,

Multiplied by

Strength of Phyto

equals

Total Phyto Value. Lets call that PV.

Also, the benefit of a given phyto would be expected to platau at a given point, thereafter no benefits, or even negative effects. So the PV is probably a curve for each.

The PV per unit weight of Blueberries is probably many times that of another Phyto.

Spinach, equally is likely to be many times as valuable than lettace.

Next, there are other factors, the ammount of anti-nutrients and disruptors that reduce other micronutrient uptake.

Generally fruit has less of this than vegetables.

But using a PV in these studies, we almalgamate the PV's for all fruit and vegetables, and then compare the impact of total PV against health measures. This would be expected to show a much more significant correlation.

Further refinements, to breakdown constituents of Phyto's, so that overlap of nutrients can be taken into account, and over certain levels, extra fibre, for example, ceases to be as valuable, so the PV of fibrous vegetables goes down after levels have already peaked in the diet. In fact, it may impair digestion. The same with, for example, IP6.

In the case of IP6, I would take iron/zinc rich foods like beef away from them.

But then maximise IP6 foods in one go with synnergistic nutrients. The vegetables like Spinach contain some very valuable nutrients, and in studies on rats Spinach is generally the most effective conventional food for boosting measures of intelligence. Why?

It contains Folic Acid, which has beneficial effects via various mechanisms on eNOS, which can support brain function, as well as other antioxidant effects, directly or indirectly, and other effects. Probably boosts neuronal NOS as well.

TMG. Spinaches TMG levels are valuable because TMG does lower homocysteine. Homocysteine blocks Nitric Oxide production, and it a also is a source of radicals and peroxynitrite in the system, causing oxidative stress. TMG also boosts SAMe, and supports Choline production and iis a liver protectant.

To further Spinaches cardio-vascular benefits, its high in Phylloquinone, which may benefit all aspects of the cardio system, and it contains L-Arginine I recall, which assists Nitric Oxide production.

Plus, spinach has antioxidants.

Like spinach, herbs probably have far higher PV, and may be indicated for certain conditions. Large combinations of Ashwaganda and Ginkgyo, and Milk Thystle would probably have marked neuro-protective effects. Then add Green Tea and some berries!


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