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God's Dietary Pattern for Man - Science

I do not want to leave the impression from any former blog in this series, God's Dietary Pattern for Man, that I believe the works of science to be of little value; quite the opposite is true. Most researchers earnestly seek truth and are rewarded for their efforts by discovering truths that help put the entire tapestry of any subject together. Researchers form hypotheses; then they test those hypotheses to reach conclusions. Often this leads to modifying a hypothesis and to further research. Once they form conclusions they still must submit their work for "peer review."

Now their work, including errors of commission or omission, is put through the scrutiny of others who are often seeking similar conclusions. If their work is tight and solid, the conclusions are generally accepted as truth. If errors of commission or omission are discovered by others, these are also published, and the work goes on in the pursuit of truth.

Reflect on the instructions God gave concerning how we are to receive revelation in D&C 9 and you will come to conclude that honest researchers indeed qualify to receive revelation and further light and knowledge. Therefore, I do not believe it is wise to disregard the evidence put forth by man; however, I do believe that in order for them to most benefit us, they must be considered within the context of what God has already spoken on the subject.

God does not lie, indeed cannot lie. The intelligences of the universe do his will because they trust Him. He navigates the razor's edge of truth with perfection; therein lies his honor and his power. Therein he can command the independent intelligences and they obey, knowing that he will not and cannot ask anything of them that is not for their ultimate good.

Understanding this about God, Widsoe once said, "If science does not align with the teachings of God on a subject, be patient and it eventually will." Widsoe, an apostle who was first a scientist, recognized the scientific process to be the process of revelation, including the review of peers, which by design, ultimately shakes out error to come towards higher truths.

That having been said, there is a dark side to science that certain entities have learned to exploit. Men who fear man more than God are still easily exploited, for a few pieces of silver, to abuse the scientific method in a way that causes clouds of confusion regarding relatively simple subjects. Why do they do this? Because the entities who furnish the silver have a vested interest in outcomes received.

For example, the dairy industry once proved that 3-a-day dairy leads to poor bone health. After discovering that too much dairy product leads to poor bone health, they never followed up this research to know why. In fact, all further research has been designed to avoid prior discoveries. This is an example of how placing self-interests above truth can lead to confusion and error.

Because of the weaknesses of man in these matters, specifically that some men will always be tempted by 30 pieces of silver, we can thank heaven that God has spoken on this subject and that we can refer to his book of health as the basis for all understanding.

Therefore, let us never throw the baby out with the bath water by glibly, vainly, and irrationally dismissing science. Let us consider truth from any source and not stray afar from what God has spoken. Recently I read something from a powerful writer on health who was teaching in error and was citing certain research to validate his erroneous position. Some members of Your Health Today had read his statements and were worried. I told them to be patient, that he would have to alter his position in time if he cared about the truth. Within two weeks he modified his previous statements.

To his fault he had misinterpreted the research he had cited. After I reviewed the same research, it was obvious that his extrapolations were filled with error. To his credit, for some reason he re-aligned with truth just a short time later. We all make mistakes. I once promoted agave nectar as an ideal sweetener. Why? Because the data that existed at the time reflected that it was an ideal sweetener. Unfortunately that data was put together by those selling agave. As peer-reviewed science began on agave, another story unfolded. One thing that was discovered, after testing multiple brands of agave, is that the glycemic index averaged 85 + or - six points among the multiple brands that were tested. Also, similar to what happens in the creation of trans fats, the natural fructose became altered or fractionated as the enzymes and heat employed during the refining process changed the God-given chemical structure of the fructose. Current research demonstrates that fractionated fructose is not recognized by the body as real food and is bad for you. Moreover, fractionated fructose levels were up to 90% of the sugar content in the extracted agave nectars tested. All the hype about agave being superior to other sweeteners had no basis and the research demonstrated that agave is no better than corn sweetener or refined sugar, and is possibly worse than either. We also learned that there is no such thing as truly raw organic agave, certified or not. Organic and raw implies to the public that the product is whole, not processed, refined, heated, or altered chemically. Current research demonstrates that agave is no better than other sweeteners, in spite of powerful marketing that would tend to convince many to the contrary; therefore, it should be considered as other sweeteners--to be used sparingly, if at all. The Glycemic Index Research Institute has issued a very strong warning concerning the use of agave. Whenever market hype and science collide, we ought to slow down sufficiently to ascertain the truth before swallowing hook, line, and sinker.

We could go on for hours on this subject citing other examples; however, the take home message is that we ought to be truth seekers first and foremost and be willing to alter our positions in favor of truth, if we want the benefits of applying and living truth in our lives. We must overcome the false traditions and beliefs of man if we desire truth's outcomes. It doesn't matter that a manufacturer of any product goes to church or even if they are an outstanding citizen in the community. That is irrelevant when evaluating manufactured products. They stand or fall on their own. If they don't measure up, they ought to fall. If silver is our God, perhaps we will follow a path that would attempt to convince others to the contrary, desiring the outcome of wealth, retirement, filling our barns to overflowing, until we can sit back and say, "All is Well in Zion, the Lord hath Surely Prospered me..."

It is increasingly difficult to discern between real science and junk science, as junk science is now skillfully employed to create seemingly authoritative conclusions in the minds of an unsuspecting public. Real science is to be applauded and upheld; all junk science should be exposed in order to keep the truth simple and to clear the unnecessary clouds of confusion. The primary test of real science is that it has been conducted in a manner to allow it to be submitted to the peer-review process, where others interested in outcomes of research can look for accuracy, errors of commission, and errors of omission. If a company cites their own research to back claims made in their marketing, yet cannot or has not qualified their research for peer review, generally speaking, you should question the value of the research that is cited.

All My Best,
James Daniel Simmons

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Comment by James Simmons on February 3, 2011 at 1:12pm
In the world of meat and the fat content in meat, comparisons are often made between poultry, beef, and pork, which indicate poultry wins out in "fat safety." In the book Original Fast Foods I dispel this popular myth by showing saturated fat content by calories consumed of beef, pork, or turkey. By the calorie there is no statistical significance between these three forms of meat. Perception tricks are often used that carry the label of science. I do not wish to diminish anyone's efforts to make a living, nor do I wish to add to anyone's ability to make a living that is based upon false perceptions created in the minds of consumers. A friend expressed concern to me regarding whether or not I undermine the health-food industry. I'd like to think to the contrary, that myself and others who truly care about health more than $industry$, help to define the very industries we are sometimes accused of undermining. We define them by creating educated demand in consumers. Consumers who know what they want ask for it; then industry responds to the demand. I once became aware of certain companies who labeled non-organic foods as organic. I issued a warning to verify that you are getting what you think you are paying for. I was taken to task for creating an awareness of an abuse that occurs within "the industry." As I said, I hope to help define an industry that is actually worthy of its name. I may be mistaken, but it seems the accumulation of money, rather than liberating truth, is regarded more highly in industry than the truths these industries are espousing to uphold. If we are willing to sell whatever is popular or whatever a person believes they need, when in fact it is not what is best for them, and we do nothing to educate and help foster more helpful beliefs, then what difference is there between us and a whore, if all we do is give them what they want, rather than what they truly need? Tough questions; each of us has to define the answers to these questions for ourselves.
Comment by James Simmons on February 3, 2011 at 11:15am

Here is another link to consider: Volcanic Nectar Warning

I drilled down on this company with a hope to find a favorable outcome. I was looking for a possible product to sell; however, after considering all that was sent for my review, I asked a few hard questions that I failed to ask initially, questions that went beyond marketing hype, rhetoric, and the manipulation of "supposed scientific data." For example, when considering the fructose content by calorie, rather than by volume, the fructose content was far higher than what the customer is led to believe. A request for answers to many other of my questions, questions that typical consumers would not think to ask, was refused me and communications ceased. Fairness does not mean we must publish only favorable data or data that leads one to a false conclusion, especially as every scientist knows that data can and is often manipulated to present a particular viewpoint more favorably. I have no bone to pick with any agave company; I just disagree with how their data is presented for public consumption. In general, all sweeteners should be used sparingly. The initial glycemic effect is only one factor, and in the case of this company, the lab that conducted glycemic studies for them, will not stand behind their report. Also, beyond the glycemic effect, science has demonstrated that the ratio of fructose to glucose may be a more critical factor than the glycemic effect, and there are other factors to consider as well that are ignored in the reports. Agave possesses the worst fructose to glucose ratio of all concentrated sweeteners. We can store in our bodies more than five times as much glucose as we can fructose, as glycogen, before excess sugars are converted directly to fat. Do you want to use a concentrated sweetener whose sugar ratios are the direct opposite of favorable glycogen conversion? Of all sweeteners, agave is the most likely to turn directly to fat as you consume it. Maple syrup has perhaps one of the friendliest glucose to fructose ratios--4:1. Honey is also favorable 3:1. If anyone is bent on using agave nectar, or marketing it, by all means, do so; however, the marketing hype that surrounds this sweetener is overblown, imbalanced, and inaccurately portrayed with data that does not present the whole truth of the matter. I chose to cease to offer agave in bulk-food purchases because better sweetener options exist. If you have it, don't throw it away, but use it sparingly and replace it with honey or maple syrup.

Comment by Kristen on February 3, 2011 at 9:41am
It looks like it didn't come through correctly. If you follow the link you can see the analysis.
Comment by Kristen on February 3, 2011 at 9:40am

In the interest of science, I thought you might be interested in the sugar analysis for Volcanic Nectar. I'm not trying to beat a dead horse. I'm just trying to be fair.

http://www.globalgoods.com/agavefaq.html#FructoseWarning

 

Sugar Analysis
Leading Brands of Agave

Volcanic Nectar
Blue Agave

Agave Source #2
Agave Source #3
Comment by James Simmons on February 3, 2011 at 8:29am

Some quotes from LDS leaders on the subject of diet may be found at the following link:

Dietary Quotes of LDS Leaders 

Comment by Darla P Allen on February 2, 2011 at 11:24pm
James, I know that previously you have had available quotes from modern day prophets about healthful eating and following the word of wisdom. Do you still have that available? Where can I find it? Thank  you for all of your wonderful posts.
Comment by James Simmons on October 20, 2010 at 6:22pm
I actually found much of the information and have written to them as well. In the meantime, read the following:
http://www.glycemic.com/AgaveReport.htm

This report was a result from the Glycemic Research Institute having worked 5 years with Volcanic agave. This is a very credible group.
Comment by Kristen on October 20, 2010 at 4:33pm
You're right, James. We don't need a lot of sweeteners in any case. I'll see if I can get you the documentation you're looking for. Or you can post it, if you find it first.
Comment by James Simmons on October 20, 2010 at 3:30pm
Kristen, if they are using a process that maintains the vitamin and mineral content of the plant, that doesn't fractionate the fructose, and that results in low levels of fructose, compared to other sugars, and that doesn't alter the natural molecular structure of fructose, I would like to report on that. The research they did for five years with Glycemic Research Institute resulted in the stiffest warning ever issued by the institute. Granted, that was with a product they did not take to market. I have not found their current manufacturing processed fully disclosed anywhere, but I'll write to them and ask them for detail. Until then, I'm still unconvinced that this is a product that should be included in an everyday diet, unless they have changed their processes rather dramatically. As far as sweeteners are concern, the burden of proof remains with the manufacturer and not the consumer. Sweeteners in general are not good for us and unless a manufacturer can prove their claims through real science and not junk science, it is wise to disregard what is said to us. Perhaps that is a bit cynical, but real life proves again and again that where good reason for doubt exists, the burden of proof remains with he who wants to make the buck.
Comment by Kristen on October 20, 2010 at 10:49am
From their website: "it is heated to no more than 118 degrees F."

We need to be careful not to make blanket assumptions about any given food just because some brands are improperly manufactured.

Medallion Labs tests every batch of Volcanic Nectar agave when it reaches the border, so that they know what they are bringing into the country. Their fructose is minimal and is not fractionated. Their process: They have a monster pressure cooker and they stick the whole ball of the plant in it and heat to 118 degrees to release the juices then run it through a juicer and separate the nectar from the water. That is their product. They are not able to make enough agave to supply big stores (although big stores have courted them) because the plants take eight years to grow and their process is so particular. (No, I don't sell agave. I just thought you'd like to have the accurate info.) : )

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