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« Raunch Culture | Main | Should First be Best? »

February 04, 2006

Which Way to Go?

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Hmmm. Shall I skip the fish-oil pills and die of heart disease? Or shall I take them and die of prostate cancer?

Choices, choices ...



UPDATE: Oops, I misremembered the article. Fish oil is still safe. It's corn oil you want to consume if you're eager to die of prostate cancer.

posted by Michael at February 4, 2006


This really set the bullshit detector a-squealin:

"Over the last 60 years, prostate cancer diagnosis has risen at the same levels as the increased usage of omega-6 foods."

It's well known that the vast majority of men who develop prostate cancer will die of other causes before it reaches a symptomatic stage. Diagnosis for such conditions has increased substantially because of increased checkups and better screening technology, so to draw any conclusions about the change in rate of occurrence, let alone to claim a proportionality with a dietary statistic, is just absurd.

Posted by: J. Goard on February 4, 2006 3:12 PM

This article mentioned "omega-6" acids prevelent in corn. I thought fish oil contained "omega-3" acids. Is there a problem with the omega-3 acids?

Posted by: Bill on February 4, 2006 3:44 PM

I believe Bill is right and you may have misread the article. Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and is, until further notice, still a good dietary choice for the ticker.

Posted by: chris on February 4, 2006 3:48 PM

Whoops, right you are. That'll teach me to trust my scribbled notes to myself.

Hmm, do I take the posting down, since it's a mistake? Or do I leave it up as testimony to my idiocy? Opinions? The ethics of this are beyond me ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on February 4, 2006 3:56 PM

You seem to have "can't decide one way or another" day?

I'd leave it, as an example of blogging feedback as instanteneous fact-checker.

As if you wanted my opinion.

Posted by: Tatyana on February 4, 2006 4:07 PM

Of course I do! That, at least, I'm sure.

Other opinions? Or maybe I should just put myself in the stocks for half a day?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on February 4, 2006 4:10 PM

Masturbation helps prevent prostate cancer, and is more fun than fish oil. Or some say so, at least.

Posted by: John Emerson on February 4, 2006 6:02 PM

Michael: What you do is leave the original text there but append "UPDATE: Oops, I misread the article -- fish oil is still fine. Carry on!"

Failing to do that will fool people who don't click through and carefully read the article into believing and possibly passing along bad health information. Which is bad. :-)

(I take fish oil pills too.)

Posted by: Glen Raphael on February 4, 2006 6:31 PM

That's a good solution, thanks. I'm hopping to it.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on February 4, 2006 6:39 PM

What I would consider the best dietary advice is to avoid overeating, in order to maintain a healthy weight, and not to worry too much about the specific foods you eat.

Posted by: Peter on February 4, 2006 8:02 PM

One of the things I've read about omega-3 fatty acids versus omega-6 fatty acids is that, due to changes in farming practices-- feeding cattle and chickens grain instead of grass, the proportions of omega-3s to omega-6s in the American diet have flipped. A person eating grass-fed beef, cheese, milk, etc is going to consume a much larger proportion of omega-3s to 6s, but now due to "efficiency" (it's cheaper to feed them grain instead of grass) the amount of omega-3s in our meat and dairy has dropped like a stone. THe result is the average American gets a lot more omega-6s than omega-3s which is very very unhealthy and is probably imo one of the largest causes, if not the largest, of the increase in diseases like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and, yes, prostate cancer, etc. Given that eating large amounts of omega-3s while pregnant increases the baby's iq, it's possible we're getting dumber as well. I've come to the conclusion that the practice of feeding cattle and chickens grain should be banned. I've never seen anyone ever argue that, but it's just my personal opinion. Wikipedia has a lot on this.

Posted by: lindenen on February 5, 2006 1:24 AM

It takes a strong stomach to read about cows in feedlots. In the first place, the feeder is deliberately trying to get them to put on the kind of fat that is bad for people. In the second place, they are not evolved to eat grain and constantly throw it up or get terrible stomach infections which must be treated with antibiotics (passed on to the eventual eater). The corn is easy to transport and store since it is so concentrated. Cows fed this way are much more likely to develop the bug called "Flesh eating bacteria" but can have it cleared from their systems if they eat grass for a few days before slaughter. It's just that grass is hard to cut, carry and store on site.

A clear case of profit trumping health. Esp. for cows.

General good health is the best defense against ANY cancer and good health includes good spirits. Just look for grass-fed animals and avoid all the other junk pumped full of corn oil. Another alternative that works better for me than for you is to eat only known animals or have someone raise one for you so you know what it's been eating.

Incidentally, they've found the elk equivalent of Mad Cow Disease (prions) in the flesh of the elk as well as nerve tissue. So maybe it's in the flesh of the cows as well. Nervous? I am. The Japanese are.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on February 5, 2006 3:33 PM

Good background reading on dietary fat -

Posted by: Nigel on February 6, 2006 7:11 AM

Michael, yes, if you mistate something in a blog post then you are responsible for every bad thing that happens to anyone who reads the post. Every bad thing. Do you hear me? It's all your fault and don't you dare even think that readers might share responsibility for checking the accuracy of what they read. You have broken one of the unwritten rules of the Internet -- the ancient Chinese rule that stipulates that if you blog you become responsible for everything your readers think or do forever.

Don't try to evade your responsibility.

Posted by: Jonathan on February 6, 2006 3:15 PM

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