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Good Calories, Bad Calories, and Twinkie Defenses

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I’m a big believer in reading widely, from A to Z, from potboiling genre fiction to the turgid Russians (though I do tend to avoid what has been coined, Misery-Lit). (I posted about reading widely here too – especially the Delgado article.)

A story in today’s (5/28/08) Willamette Week Murmurs column reminded me again of the value of this reading pattern for lawyers. The story (excerpt):

A man doing 25 months in state prison for assault is seeking $6.75 million in a lawsuit against Multnomah County and a Philadelphia-based food distributor for serving food he says led to a near-fatal heart fibrillation. In a federal lawsuit, Richard Orr, 46, of Wilsonville, claims he was subjected to “criminal inhumanity” in 2007 at the county’s Inverness Jail, where he says food did not comply with the low-fat diet prescribed by his cardiologist.” (read full Murmur)

There will be other reasons for the defendants to request dismissal of this lawsuit, but if it proceeds, a book I’ve been reading provides a glimmer of another defense. The connection between a low-fat diet and cardiac health (to put it overly simply) may be a myth (to put it nicely):

Good Calories, Bad Calories,” by Gary Taubes (science writer), 2007.

This is not a flavor of the month “diet book.” It’s a fascinating read and full of enough footnotes, statistics, and science to make Amanda Fritz, Ross Perot, and Clara “Where’s the Beef” Peller happy (this is a good thing, even though you’re not likely to see these 3 in the same sentence ever again!).

From the Wikipedia entry.

Taubes gained prominence in the low-carb diet debate following the publication of his 2002 New York Times Magazine piece, What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?. The article questioned the efficacy and health benefits of low-fat diets, was seen as defending the Atkins diet against the medical establishment and became extremely controversial (Taubes himself has stated Even though I knew the article would be the most controversial article the Times Magazine ran all year, [the reaction] still shocked me).[1] The Center for Science in the Public Interest published a rebuttal to the Times article in their November, 2002, newsletter [3]….” (continue reading)

You may remember the Twinkie Defense, but if not, read this.

Tongue in cheek or no?

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