Cycling Wed Healthy Living Nutrition

CW: How complicated is good nutrition?

It feels like cheating.

Taking care of heart patients teaches you tons about wellness. Figuring out stuff in Medicine means observing its many patterns. And one such highly repetitive theme is how healthy older patients defy the ravages of aging.

Take the 90 year-old man I saw recently. He was about perfect: big blue eyes that looked attentively at you, a soothing voice and warm smile that made you wish there was more time to chat, a lean body with striking deltoid muscles, (gosh I hope to still have some delts if I grow old), a non-pill-aided blood pressure of 110/70, skin turgor that belied his years, and his ECG was youthfully free of notches and delays.

The bigness of his wellness jolted the part of my brain that logs potential blog topics.

“How do you keep this trim,” I asked.

“I don’t eat that much…and I’m always moving around.”

“What kind of foods do you like to eat?”

“Regular food: meat, vegetables and fruit, and one cup of coffee each morning.”

–No, I am not making this case up—

“You drink alcohol?

“Never; I have never smoked either.”

“Junk food?”

“Not much. Sometimes I have an Oreo cookie.”

“Do you use supplements?”


Folks, every time I take to writing about nutrition, the same thing happens. My point boils down to the basics: good health comes from mastering the obvious.

Of course, the endurance-exercise thesis that suggests burning thousands of calories (cyclists call them kilo-joules) provides one carte blanche to over eat and consume junk food is wrong-minded.

Of course, taking in fewer calories and eating real–not man-made or processed–food is better.

Of course, not drinking alcohol slows the aging process.

Sorry. It’s un-nuanced, but…

I just can’t seem to make good nutrition complicated.


6 replies on “CW: How complicated is good nutrition?”

We are told about the body of research showing moderate drinkers outlive teetotalers and have fewer heart problems, but you say teetotaling “slows the aging process.” What does this add up to – that if you drink you will live longer but look worse?

Reminds me of the old joke –

” Well doc, I don’t smoke, drink, eat sweets or meat, nor do I chase women and tomorrow I’ll be celebrating my 90th birthday.”

“Oh, really – how?”

This reminds me of a gentleman on my wife’s side of the family who, also at the age of 90, regularly travels to a nearby velodrome to put in some laps on his track bike.

He doesn’t ride on the road anymore because it’s too dangerous.

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