“Many explanations have been offered to make sense of the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of medical wisdom — what we are advised with confidence one year is reversed the next — but the simplest one is that it is the natural rhythm of science. An observation leads to a hypothesis. The hypothesis (last year’s advice) is tested, and it fails this year’s test, which is always the most likely outcome in any scientific endeavor. There are, after all, an infinite number of wrong hypotheses for every right one, and so the odds are always against any particular hypothesis being true, no matter how obvious or vitally important it might seem.”
Gary Taubes. I was going to use this for the Samizdata quote of the day but the SQOTD slot has been taken but this is too good not to put up. Taubes – as discussed recently by Natalie Solent here – is one of those people uprooting some conventional wisdom about diet and health. Here is Taubes’ website.
This is probably very unscientific of me, but my approach to a lot of these views on health and fitness is to take a slightly Aristotelian “middle way” approach: moderation in all things, decent exercise, balanced diet, and plenty of sleep. (As my wife reminds me, this also means I watch my intake of red wine, which I have over-indulged in over the past).
I suffer from gout, a nasty sounding term which is also bloody unpleasant. One of the contributory factors, from what I read, is sugar. So I am on a very low sugar diet, drinking lots more water and exercising a lot in the gym, with a blend of weights and interval training. It seems to be doing the trick for my general health and physique and the gout is at bay, although I get the occasional twinge. One of my colleagues at work runs triathlons and suffers from gout, so it is not necessarily caused by drinking port all day.
The US business and health guru, Timothy Ferris, has some interesting things to say about gout and how to defeat it.