TMI. It's a frequent response from our adult kids. You should have heard their conversation with their dad when he tried to explain details of his laser prostate surgery and aftermath. Those kids sure know how to cut a conversation short!
TMI, as we all know, stands for Too Much Information, usually spoken as a warning when unwanted awkward personal information is about to be shared. This week, however, it evidenced itself in my life with another nuance concerning health advice. This time I take it literally - Too Much Information!!
As a medical transcriptionist, I'm always interested in health news. I constantly read nutrition information and research (not that I always eat right, but at least I know when I'm eating wrong!). I keep up to date on current exercise information (high intensity interval training is the latest recommendation, by the way). I follow lots of blogs having to do with low carb and Primal eating, cholesterol testing, and I am generally fascinated with the advances in medical science. Maybe too fascinated.
I think I've reached my breaking point. The doctor's advice column in our newspaper this week mentioned the fact that HDL cholesterol has just been proven to NOT have the beneficial protection from heart disease that the medical community has been telling us all along it had... OK. First it was eat eggs, then don't eat eggs, then eat them again. First it was eat butter, then eat margarine, then for heaven's sake, margarine is transfat and don't go near it and please go back to butter! First it was fat, then low-fat, then it was good fat versus bad fat, and hey, doncha know that low-fat products have sugar added to improve the taste? And sugar is worse for us than fat! It's the LDL, you know. No, wait, it's the triglycerides and the LDL particles. Eat lots of bread, the staff of life....no, make that only whole grain bread....no, make that gluten-free bread...no, skip the bread entirely. High fructose corn syrup is made from a vegetable, right? Eat local, eat organic. But what if you have to choose between local non-organic and trucked-in organic? They say eating local non-organic is more important than eating organic shipped from far away. Is your head spinning yet?
Then there's exercise. Aerobic...no, weights. Heavy weights with few reps. No, light weights with lots of reps. Primal exercise - do things as you would have done as a cave person (climb, sprint, pull up, etc.). Running is good...no, it's bad for the joints. Low impact is the way to go. Exercise intensely for 20 minutes x 3 days. No, exercise a half hour a day minimum. Some folks advise that we don't need to exercise at all!
It reminds me of my favorite movies, Christmas in Connecticut. The heroine is pretending (to keep her magazine job) that she has a husband, a baby, and lives on a farm, because that is what she has been writing about in her home articles that supposedly reflect her life, and if her publisher discovered she had been making it all up, she would have been given the boot. So she gets a guy who has a farm anyway to pretend to be her husband, and his housekeeper babysits for two neighbors who work at the war plant, so she had her necessary baby to complete the setup. The problem is that one baby comes one day, and the next day it may be the other baby. The publisher, staying with them for the holidays, sees these two babies at different times but thinks they are one, of course. When one mother comes by to pick up her baby, the publisher sees her carrying it out of the house and he assumes the baby is being kidnapped and immediately calls the police. When asked to describe the baby, he gets flustered. Dark hair...no, light hair. Teeth...no, make that no teeth. His trying to assimilate the two babies into one is one funny scene. That's the way the current health advice sounds to me, one contradiction after another and what you end up with you feel you can't really trust.
Well, it's finally too much overload for me. Just like political pundits, I have already chosen my side. I have taken into consideration everything I have read, everything I have learned, and combined that with common sense and finally, how my body responds. It's sad, really. Health-information-wise, I don't trust the government, I don't trust doctors, and I don't trust dietitians and "nutritionists" to have the whole story. The limited story they do provide changes week to week. New research always contradicts old research, and most of the time, that research is funded by the pharmaceutical companies. It's just TMI.
I certainly won't retire from learning. I am still intrigued by the latest research, but I will take it with a smile and a grain of salt. Uh...I can still eat salt, can't I?