Tightening the Bible Belt

Tightening the Bible Belt

September 14, 2019 13 By Ewald Bahringer


“Tightening the Bible Belt” Epidemiological studies,
particularly those like EPIC, following such large populations,
can offer tremendous insight into critical public health questions—
such as what we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat,
to minimize our risk of falling prey to the epidemics of chronic
disease currently plaguing the world. But the gold standard
is the interventional study, where you put people on a certain diet,
and track what happens. It’s easy to get people to make little
changes—especially if you pay them. Getting people to add
grape juice to their daily diet, or some nuts, as we’ve seen,
is a piece of cake— especially if that’s what you’re
trying to get people to eat! But, increasingly, there’s
building evidence that to achieve big
changes in our health, we need to achieve big
changes in our diet. Moderation kills. Like with cholesterol, right? You want to lower your risk? Sure, you can tweak. But, if you want to eliminate your risk, or reverse the disease, you really
have to take healthy eating seriously. But, how are you going to get people
to commit to a healthy diet? Tell them the Bible told them to. Chapter 1, verses 8-16, of the prophet
Daniel, best known for his lion’s den, rather than his budding role
as nutritional scientist. He resolved not to defile
himself with the king’s meat. The official said, “No way.” And so he told the guard, “Look, put it to the test. Round up some test subjects, and put them on a plant-based diet. See how they do.” (In the King James version
they use the word “vegetables,” but the original Hebrew—hazayroeem—
can translate into a broader definition.) And, what do you know? They looked healthier and better nourished than whatever
the king used to be feeding them. And so, Daniel got his veggies. 2,700 years later, researchers
at the University of Memphis decided it was time to try
to replicate the study. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s conclusion.