An elephant in the room: poor diet and lifestyle can lead to medical issues

MountainDude

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MountainDude
This seems to be a taboo topic, but I want to bring it up as it may inspire and help some people.

Too often I see pilots losing their medical due to a chronic disease or cancer. These are mostly preventable (or can be delayed by many years) with healthy diet and lifestyle (genetics plays a minor role). Diet and lifestyle are especially important in mental, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, cognitive and metabolic health, all of which are important for pilots.

The hardest part of this issue is that if you wait until you develop a disease, it's kind of too late. You really have to implement dietary and lifestyle changes as early as possible. Saying "it's not going to happen to me" has not worked for the vast majority of American adults.

Here are some general guidelines I wrote up for those interested:

Happy to hear your feedback on the content of the article.
 
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Guy that works for me is 45. 5'10 and a conservative guess is 330. For years hes complained of feeling beat up. Doctor said he's pre-diabetic. Already on blood pressure meds and has to hold his belly button in from an umbilical hernia. He's normalized standing with a hand on his belly. How many warning signs do you need?. Today he complained his wife used hot water or high heat washing his overalls and shrank them. Now since the XXXL overalls buttons dont reach hes added zip ties. A few years ago he told me his new years resolution was to be able to tie his boots without choking himself out. Didnt happen.

Ive tried to help. But eating is like an addiction. I paid for a meal plan (factor75) for a few weeks to try lower his caloric intake. No joy. I can't take him on jobs because he just can't move fast enough. Last time I did we started at 6am. Was eating a breakfast sandwich when he punched in. On the way to the job site he had a massive breakfast burrito. Took break at 9:30...3 slices of pizza. Lunch at 11:30 was literally fourth meal. I had a salad.

Ive got 50 in the shop deadpool. As awful as it is. We've all tried to help. But much like an addict, it's up to him.
 
This seems to be a taboo topic, but I want to bring it up as it may inspire and help some people.

Too often I see pilots losing their medical due to a chronic disease or cancer. These are mostly preventable (or can be delayed by many years) with healthy diet and lifestyle (genetics plays a minor role). Diet and lifestyle are especially important in mental, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, cognitive and metabolic health, all of which are important for pilots.

The hardest part of this issue is that if you wait until you develop a disease, it's kind of too late. You really have to implement dietary and lifestyle changes as early as possible. Saying "it's not going to happen to me" has not worked for the vast majority of American adults.
No argument from me.

If you want a healthy active lifestyle in your golden years, you need to start when you are young, just like saving for retirement.
 
Guy that works for me is 45. 5'10 and a conservative guess is 330. For years hes complained of feeling beat up. Doctor said he's pre-diabetic. Already on blood pressure meds and has to hold his belly button in from an umbilical hernia. He's normalized standing with a hand on his belly. How many warning signs do you need?. Today he complained his wife used hot water or high heat washing his overalls and shrank them. Now since the XXXL overalls buttons dont reach hes added zip ties. A few years ago he told me his new years resolution was to be able to tie his boots without choking himself out. Didnt happen.

Ive tried to help. But eating is like an addiction. I paid for a meal plan (factor75) for a few weeks to try lower his caloric intake. No joy. I can't take him on jobs because he just can't move fast enough. Last time I did we started at 6am. Was eating a breakfast sandwich when he punched in. On the way to the job site he had a massive breakfast burrito. Took break at 9:30...3 slices of pizza. Lunch at 11:30 was literally fourth meal. I had a salad.

Ive got 50 in the shop deadpool. As awful as it is. We've all tried to help. But much like an addict, it's up to him.
why doesnt he get on ozempic. do u provide health insurance?
 
Advising pilots to “not eat at restaurants”…. Is going to be hard advice to follow given that being a pilot and “traveling away from home” quite often go together. ;)

Also, I’m trying to avoid carbs, which generally means I’m consuming more protein/meat. This advice says to “avoid red meat”…. Man, you just can’t win….
 
Mostly true, but you cannot eat processed foods and other "avoids" I listed in the article. American food industry has found many ways to make food that makes us sick, solely for the purpose of increasing their profits.
Yeah, I mean authentic stuff.
 
Advising pilots to “not eat at restaurants”…. Is going to be hard advice to follow given that being a pilot and “traveling away from home” quite often go together. ;)

Also, I’m trying to avoid carbs, which generally means I’m consuming more protein/meat. This advice says to “avoid red meat”…. Man, you just can’t win….
Changing dietary and lifestyle habits is hard, but if you want to continue flying longer, you have to find ways to do it. Eat at restaurants as little as you can, and when you have to eat at restaurants, choose the best ones you can.
 
Advising pilots to “not eat at restaurants”…. Is going to be hard advice to follow given that being a pilot and “traveling away from home” quite often go together. ;)

Also, I’m trying to avoid carbs, which generally means I’m consuming more protein/meat. This advice says to “avoid red meat”…. Man, you just can’t win….
Avoiding bad carbs is good. Avoiding good carbs is bad. The longest living humans on the planet all eat carb-heavy diets, but they are healthy carbs.
You can win, but it's not easy.
 
Advising pilots to “not eat at restaurants”…. Is going to be hard advice to follow given that being a pilot and “traveling away from home” quite often go together. ;)

Also, I’m trying to avoid carbs, which generally means I’m consuming more protein/meat. This advice says to “avoid red meat”…. Man, you just can’t win….
Yeah piloting can be a huge help in the retirement program. If you don’t live that long you don’t need the same cash to retire.

My basic strategy is some meat, lots of fresh veg and avoid sugar. Add in a sprinkle of “get off my butt” kinda exercise and hopefully I’ll at least make it long enough to finish out the career.

I’m 45 and already recognize a noticeable thinning of my peer group from twenty five years ago. I’m definitely grateful for every day. Life is short.
 
It’s not the hours. There’s a simple test to tell if you need more sleep: if you need an alarm clock, you need more sleep.
There's still a very high correlation with hours. When you look closely at people who need an alarm clock (e.g. in a sleep study) you find that they are not getting the hours they need. Sometimes that's due to sleep apnea. Sometimes it's the difference between spending 8 hours in bed every night but not sleeping during the whole time, but either way it has to do with the quality of sleep. (Sleep science is a relatively new discipline, along with the sleep labs that produce the data.)

Everyone needs a certain amount of REM sleep, which you get at the end of each sleep cycle. During successive cycles the amount of REM sleep increases at the end of each cycle. When you are actually asleep for only 5 or 6 hours you are missing the cycles with the most REM sleep.





REM.jpg
 
why doesnt he get on ozempic. do u provide health insurance?
Negative. Got tired of 1 or 2 complaining about coverage and rates and deductibles. Did the math, gave everyone a raise and told them to go on there own.
 
It’s not the hours. There’s a simple test to tell if you need more sleep: if you need an alarm clock, you need more sleep.
The problem is circadian rhythm. If you're used to being sleep deprived even without an alarm clock your body will wake up at what it's used to.
 
Here are some general guidelines I wrote up for those interested:

Happy to hear your feedback.
Good advice. The challenge, as always, is getting the people who need to read it to pay attention. Most of us here are probably already following this sort of advice, or at least making an attempt.

You pointed out olive oil, but I see no mention of Omega-3 or fish. If you're going higher on the protein intake, you want to bias it towards low-fat or "good fat", which is easily done with a few weekly servings of something like grilled salmon or tuna.

American food industry has found many ways to make food that makes us sick, solely for the purpose of increasing their profits.
While there is certainly a nugget of truth here, I think that it's a bit unfair to the food industry for three reasons:

1) As with every product, mass-market food products are researched and tested exhaustively before being released. The consumers who test the products have told the food companies what they prefer, and it is generally foods that have too much salt and too much sugar. Blame our genetic pre-disposition to seek out foods with high calorie content.

2) Much of the really bad stuff in today's processed foods is there to prevent spoilage. Of course, those additions have little or no nutritive value; if they DID have nutritive value, they would be sought out and consumed by the very microbes and bacteria that spoil real food. This again comes down to consumers stating their preference for a food product that will survive a year in a jar in the back of the pantry, rather than having to plan their meals and purchase fresh food daily.

3) There is a history here in the US that has seemingly been forgotten. Less than a century ago, we still had trouble feeding everyone in the country, much less the entire planet. The best way to solve that problem is to focus on crops that generate the highest calorie yield per acre. Thus, we ended up with a lot of wheat (bread), corn, and rice. Then it became a storage and distribution challenge, so in come preservatives added to the crop after harvest (or added into bread, etc.). Then, to increase yield, we got pesticides, then herbicides, then finally genetically modified crops to resists the effects of the pesticides and herbicides. All of this stems from the initial push to grow enough food to feed the world. The end result is that starvation and global poverty have been massively reduced, but at the cost of significant environmental damage from chemicals and sub-optimal nutrition. This leads to a modified trolley problem: Is it better to feed starving people in foreign lands with marginally healthy food, or reduce our production volume in favor of food quality, but let those other nations starve? What incentives do you select to push the producers to act in the desired manner?
 
Breaking news: you are what you eat; or 100% of people who eat die; it’s just a matter of how long and miserable end stage will be.
 
Good advice. The challenge, as always, is getting the people who need to read it to pay attention. Most of us here are probably already following this sort of advice, or at least making an attempt.

You pointed out olive oil, but I see no mention of Omega-3 or fish. If you're going higher on the protein intake, you want to bias it towards low-fat or "good fat", which is easily done with a few weekly servings of something like grilled salmon or tuna.


While there is certainly a nugget of truth here, I think that it's a bit unfair to the food industry for three reasons:

1) As with every product, mass-market food products are researched and tested exhaustively before being released. The consumers who test the products have told the food companies what they prefer, and it is generally foods that have too much salt and too much sugar. Blame our genetic pre-disposition to seek out foods with high calorie content.

2) Much of the really bad stuff in today's processed foods is there to prevent spoilage. Of course, those additions have little or no nutritive value; if they DID have nutritive value, they would be sought out and consumed by the very microbes and bacteria that spoil real food. This again comes down to consumers stating their preference for a food product that will survive a year in a jar in the back of the pantry, rather than having to plan their meals and purchase fresh food daily.

3) There is a history here in the US that has seemingly been forgotten. Less than a century ago, we still had trouble feeding everyone in the country, much less the entire planet. The best way to solve that problem is to focus on crops that generate the highest calorie yield per acre. Thus, we ended up with a lot of wheat (bread), corn, and rice. Then it became a storage and distribution challenge, so in come preservatives added to the crop after harvest (or added into bread, etc.). Then, to increase yield, we got pesticides, then herbicides, then finally genetically modified crops to resists the effects of the pesticides and herbicides. All of this stems from the initial push to grow enough food to feed the world. The end result is that starvation and global poverty have been massively reduced, but at the cost of significant environmental damage from chemicals and sub-optimal nutrition. This leads to a modified trolley problem: Is it better to feed starving people in foreign lands with marginally healthy food, or reduce our production volume in favor of food quality, but let those other nations starve? What incentives do you select to push the producers to act in the desired manner?
Thank you for reminding me of omega 3s. I updated the article. We eat walnuts and/or seaweed daily in my family, by the way.
 
Good advice. The challenge, as always, is getting the people who need to read it to pay attention. Most of us here are probably already following this sort of advice, or at least making an attempt.

You pointed out olive oil, but I see no mention of Omega-3 or fish. If you're going higher on the protein intake, you want to bias it towards low-fat or "good fat", which is easily done with a few weekly servings of something like grilled salmon or tuna.


While there is certainly a nugget of truth here, I think that it's a bit unfair to the food industry for three reasons:

1) As with every product, mass-market food products are researched and tested exhaustively before being released. The consumers who test the products have told the food companies what they prefer, and it is generally foods that have too much salt and too much sugar. Blame our genetic pre-disposition to seek out foods with high calorie content.

2) Much of the really bad stuff in today's processed foods is there to prevent spoilage. Of course, those additions have little or no nutritive value; if they DID have nutritive value, they would be sought out and consumed by the very microbes and bacteria that spoil real food. This again comes down to consumers stating their preference for a food product that will survive a year in a jar in the back of the pantry, rather than having to plan their meals and purchase fresh food daily.

3) There is a history here in the US that has seemingly been forgotten. Less than a century ago, we still had trouble feeding everyone in the country, much less the entire planet. The best way to solve that problem is to focus on crops that generate the highest calorie yield per acre. Thus, we ended up with a lot of wheat (bread), corn, and rice. Then it became a storage and distribution challenge, so in come preservatives added to the crop after harvest (or added into bread, etc.). Then, to increase yield, we got pesticides, then herbicides, then finally genetically modified crops to resists the effects of the pesticides and herbicides. All of this stems from the initial push to grow enough food to feed the world. The end result is that starvation and global poverty have been massively reduced, but at the cost of significant environmental damage from chemicals and sub-optimal nutrition. This leads to a modified trolley problem: Is it better to feed starving people in foreign lands with marginally healthy food, or reduce our production volume in favor of food quality, but let those other nations starve? What incentives do you select to push the producers to act in the desired manner?
sure thing, but it's also a fact that there's more profit in selling sweetened freeze-dried banana chips than bananas
 
There's still a very high correlation with hours. When you look closely at people who need an alarm clock (e.g. in a sleep study) you find that they are not getting the hours they need. Sometimes that's due to sleep apnea. Sometimes it's the difference between spending 8 hours in bed every night but not sleeping during the whole time, but either way it has to do with the quality of sleep. (Sleep science is a relatively new discipline, along with the sleep labs that produce the data.)

Everyone needs a certain amount of REM sleep, which you get at the end of each sleep cycle. During successive cycles the amount of REM sleep increases at the end of each cycle. When you are actually asleep for only 5 or 6 hours you are missing the cycles with the most REM sleep.





View attachment 125737
This is why I never considered freight or long haul international as a viable career path. I have had jobs where I routinely worked nights. I always felt like crap. No matter how long I was on the schedule I never felt rested like I do sleeping at night. I still have to fly the occasional red eye and it takes a day or so to recover.

I do my share of the nights but I avoid it as much as possible.
 
You can eat kale and drink smoothies and get 90-100. Or you can drink milkshakes and eat steak and get the hell off this planet
Or you can be like Warren Buffett, live on Cherry coke and steak and still be alive and working at 93.

I’m not sure there is as strong a correlation of diet to longevity. Sure, being massively overweight would be a factor, but just simple diet? Not sure that “luck” doesn’t play at least as large of a role.

I’m sure Steve Jobs thought he ate healthy, but look where that got him.
 
The four horsemen of chronic disease according to Peter Attia:

Cardiovascular disease - mostly preventable​
Cancer - somewhat preventable (smoking, alcoholism for example)​
Neurodegenerative disease (dementia) - jury is out on this one but physical activity is shown to have benefits in this area​
Diabetes - mostly preventable​
There seems to be plenty of preventative measures one can take to improve the odds of relatively good health. Spend some time in a grocery store making observations of contents of normal weight people and obese people. Look who gravitates to the produce section vs frozen prepared/packaged food sections. Even brisk walks have tremendous physical and mental health benefits.

Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia, MD is a decent read if you want to educate yourself.


Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity
 
Moderation, mostly avoid fried or fast food. My Achillies heel is chips. Weight has been creeping up so on a diet right now. People I work with eat fast food most days and are always broke. If they added up that cost for a month they might make lunches at home.
 
Not many healthy restaurants/cafes on the small airports we fly to. Shredded pork sandwiches with fries, a milkshake and banana pudding for desert are common fare and our bodies can't process many of those calorie bombs safely. We're so accustomed to eating this way, I'm not sure a vegan café or salad bar would ever get any fly-in business. The meals served at AirVenture in the big food court are mostly bad for us too. Heck, they were charging $7.00 for a rootbeer float and there was a line for them. It seems like we get our licenses so we can fly to airports and eat food that will cause us to lose our licenses. Pilots have skills, but choosing healthy food isn't at the top of the list.
 
The meals served at AirVenture in the big food court are mostly bad for us too. Heck, they were charging $7.00 for a rootbeer float and there was a line for them.
That wasn't entirely a dietary choice, at least last year when the afternoon temperatures were brutally hot, and there was virtually no shade or air conditioning to be found on the grounds. Speaking for myself, those root beer floats were essential to prevent heatstroke.
 
Eat well, exercise, and still die.
Living healthy is just a slower way of dying
Besides I love bacon too much.
 
Or you can be like Warren Buffett, live on Cherry coke and steak and still be alive and working at 93.

I’m not sure there is as strong a correlation of diet to longevity. Sure, being massively overweight would be a factor, but just simple diet? Not sure that “luck” doesn’t play at least as large of a role.

I’m sure Steve Jobs thought he ate healthy, but look where that got him.
Your input is exactly the main reason that people don' eat healthy and get sick early in life. They justify their bad diet and lifestyle with a few examples from their lives. This is a very inaccurate argument. The article I wrote is based on very large and long-standing epidemiological studies. The recommendations will not work for everyone, but they will overall work for the population. When you are 30-40, you don't know if you are one of the lucky ones that can drink and smoke and still not get sick.
 
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