As always Italy made a spectacle of itself

I could answer to a post, but actually I decided to write down one of my own. I’ll be free to express myself in English and so be more careful when I express my barely-gathered thoughts.

I am talking about the episode of an Italian late evening talk show, called “Porta a porta” which on tuesday talked about several types of diets.

I need to post some preliminary remarks: I read some books about food, diets and food behaviours in my life and I have a lot of bad and good experiences of food mangament for my body. I also have been fighting for more than 15 years with a desease which started as not linked with food, but now it has turned out food is supposed to be responsible of several inflamation states. But in all this time I have never felt to read scientific reports, reviews or peer reviewed scientific articles because I wasn’t so up on the tight link between food and health. As well, I am approaching to this kind of self-raised knowledge and I will write down here some common sense thoughts and several notions I have been reading lately.

In this talk show the anchorman puts first in debate dr. Barry Sears, the father of the zone diet, a nutrition doctor, mostly famous for his frequent participation to this talk-show and to be the nutritionist of some VIPs (anchorman included), and the Miss Italia 2011 and another starlette, miss per le curve (or something like that, whatever means to have beautiful mediterranean body and curves). The conversation begins sparkling and immediately the debate is about if inflamation of human organism can be or cannot be due to the ingestion of carbohidrates (carboes) from cereals (white or whole).  This is a crucial point to determine efficiency for chronical deseases control and to assess the harm potential of a desease, over the probability to catch a diseasewhich can be chronical.

Dr. Sears argues that carboes ingestion raises up the inflamation status, the more the inflamation the fatter human body becomes. The Italian doctor, named Calabrese, says in a tottering Italian, that inflamation doesn’t come from pasta, the problem is an overload of a compound and in his diet the compound overloading is protein and asserts that dr Sears is not clear about this point. “There are twice the proteins of the Mediterranean diet.”

Sears is amazing because he gives proportions, quantities, answer. Someone following the zone diet must eat protein in a ratio equal to the palm of his own hand and refuses the accuse of not having enough scientific publications about the Zone diet. Red fat meat is is not belonging to the zone diet system.

Dr Calabrese says the inflamatory status is not linked to to pasta, but to the excess of some compounds (without specifying what an excess means and which compounds) even comprised fatty acids. The two doctors agree on the hormones subjects and on the essentility of omega3, omega6 and (Clabrese adds) omega9 acids and their ratio in the human body intake.The problem of dr. Calabrese is that he speaks about which foods contain the different fatty acids and totally forgets the red meat with the right amount of omega3, if only the animals were grown eating grass. At the end of the speech, the two geese, hens (call them whatever) starts laughing because they both eat pasta so they have been told they can be inflamated, even though they are so beautiful… it’s impossible! Dr. Sears is very precise on explaining that even an olympic athlete can be inflamated and that inflamation is a process involving organs in different levels and also below the pain perception treshold.

There is a little embarassing moment, because to push the Zone Diet in our country, some doctors who wrote books about it inserted pasta and bread in the list of foods. BTW I have a book for Mediterranean Zone Diet too (this is written by dr. Sears but in care of Eddy Otto) and it contains several dishes with pasta or oat meals or rice but in very small amount, sounding like much less than 100 grams of cooked product.

It’s been a long, hard watching, because the reportages were not so brilliant and didn’t tell many fresh news about food trends (does talking about food trends makes any sense?) or new discoveries in food science (but the only “food science” words were those of dr. Sears and he wasn’t let to express properly to be got by the audience). Dr Sears’ point was clear: the more the quantity of cereals in a dish, the more the inflamation to the body organs.I just would like to get over the little arguments carried by the Italian doctor about looking deeply into everysingle word of Dr Sears translator, just until when he messed up white carboes with “coloured” carboes (which means all the carboes coming from vegetables, fruit and also whole grain cereals). I think it would be embarassing to doctor Sears to guess an error and not being allowed to explain. Then dr Calabrese kept on saying that a big amount of vegetables carried in the body a big quantity of phytates which cause an ion-sequestration of iron, calcium and selenium. I mean, is he serious? Why are we told to eat lots of vegetables when we are kids and cereals when we are grown ups? Obviously, dr Sears score the point saying that veggies carry with them a lot of anti oxidants and other nutrients, such as vitamins and mineral ions. And all this effort with a minum carboes intake.

I want to point out one thing though: the books written by Sears don’t say that pasta is a healthy food and that it must be eaten. As well, books written by other doctors/followers of the Zone Diet says that and Barry Sears just wrote the prefaction. Does it make dr Sears responsible for the whole content? And if it would be, if you like to follow Zone Diet, would not you ask to an expert, a doctor or a physician to solve the dilemmas? I’d like to skip away from the reportage where they say an heavy amount of pasta is healthy, especially if it’s cooked in the pan because the high oil temperature allows a combinationf of carboes and fatty acid wich helps to clean artheries … are they serious? I couldn’t believe to what I heard!!!

Here he comes! The history of nutrition in Italy, the cruciader of the Mediterranean diet, the one who has been following the principles of the Mediterranean diet and he will live until the next Cruciade Era! 90 year old prof from University La Sapienza, chairman of the vitaminology international centre broke into the stage screaming Zone Diet is actually an heresy. He took advantage of the gained visibility to talk about his new book where he wrote THE diet which will lead humanity to eternal life and he ends up saying that the secret is calory restriction (1500 kcal per day) with a peak amount of pasta equal to 50-60 grams per day. I don’t dare to underline how dumb this sentence seems to me in that context. When he adds that the solution in the main course with all things we need he turned himself into an indian-third eyed yogin. He looked like seeing the Holy Virgin.

It doesn’t matter that all those things the two Italian doctors said during the show, dr Sears started saying in the Nineties and it doesn’t matter is the 1 third dish with protein + 2thirds dish with vegetables (a main course, maybe?) is the base of the practice of the zone diet. We’re not seeing the moon, we’re just looking at the finger (and looking for a spot on the cuff): everybody said the solution is calories restriction to 1500 and reducing the amount of cereals (60 grams of pasta is absolutely reducing amounts of cereals in our Italian diet), everybody said DIET means WAY OF LIVING but the difference is beteween the American and the Italians about who said this better! I mean, Italian doctors focused on the beautiful, slender body any Italian woman can reach; dr. Sears was more concentrated on a wellness base of reaching a health state of being, without any food or beauty slavery.

The best closing subject was about a big agriculture misunderstanding. Dr Calabrese and the anchorman messed up among organic agriculutre, nutritional values of vegetables and cropping techniques. So sad for an agronomist.

Is it necessary I keep on writing down what I think, or is it clear? I just have to add that I am perfectly aware that even Dr Sears is sponsored by a big food supplemnt factory and that this company helps him to spread the principles of the zone diet all across the Western World. I am pretty sure there is a good aim behind, since this way of eating helps to avoid deseases; so, I am not in the position to condamn anyone and I don’t want anybody to do it. We make a choice not posting a comment on a blog, but choosing everyday what to eat or not, what to do and what not to.

Good night.

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