Chaos Rules

Computer Model of a Non-Repeating Chaotic System


The flapping of a single butterfly’s wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month’s time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn’t happen. Or maybe one that wasn’t going to happen, does. (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141) 

[tweetmeme source=”WCWD” only_single=false] 

In the interest of being fair and balanced, I give you some recently published data suggesting that women who eat red meat run a higher risk of having a cardiovascular event. This data was acquired from the Nurses Health study which looked at over 84,000 women (the previous Harvard study finding no adverse effect to eating daily red meat looked at over 1.2 million people). The study used  “a model controlling statistically for energy intake” in arriving at their conclusions. 

So what, ergo, are we to conclude from this constant barrage of contradictory information?  Of the eat this today you shouldn’t eat that tomorrow schizophrenic ramblings? I conclude that trying to isolate single variables of causality in such a complex system as what we eat and who we are and who gets (or doesn’t get) what disease is an exercise in Chaos Theory. It allows us to predict only when some of the variables are extreme in nature, and by being so extreme in value dominate the equation. 

I think that in this setting the more applicable data is observational in nature. Cultures and populations who eat diets rich in seafood (excepting those who  regularly frequent Long John Silver’s , etc.)  don’t get heart disease-I don’t care how much cholesterol you find in a shrimp! 

With that in mind I follow a simple dictum: Eat fresh, enjoy and avoid the excesses of sugar, salt and fat (doesn’t mean don’t have them). 

Cui bono?