August 4, 2010

Breast milk protects baby's gut from infections

Nick Wade in the NYT reports that a decent chunk of the sugars in breast milk are not digestible by the baby, but rather are there to provide a food source for a helpful bacterium and to act as decoys in the presence of harmful bacteria. Apparently no one had appreciated how much of mother's milk the baby could not digest, let alone what adaptive purpose this served.

Here again we see the wisdom of going with what hundreds of thousands of years of natural selection has designed, rather than with what man has. By preferring the short-term benefits of avoiding "all that hassle" associated with breastfeeding, and using infant formula instead -- it's close enough, right? -- she deprives the child of the long-term benefits of breast milk.

The harm done to themselves and others by this over-emphasis on immediate personal pleasure is why we need to apply more shame when someone acts like a wimp to avoid the slightest inconvenience. No hostile diatribe or casting out is needed, just frequent reminders from everyone in their social circle to "suck it up," "deal with it," "grow up," and "stop acting like a baby."


  1. "Here again we see the wisdom of going with what hundreds of thousands of years of natural selection has designed, rather than with what man has."

    Agreed--but there's a crazy woman out there arguing that woman should be forced to breastfeed. She's been on tv lately--some French model, I think.

    Another point:

    The CA federal judge's decision handed down today in which he, one judge, one gay judge to boot, tosses out our Prop 8 vote as unconstitutional, reminds me of the same point.

    The notion of "progress" often perverts the notion of biological truisms. I have no problem with the anomaly of homosexuality--it's a given, a biological given, but so are all kinds of conditions.

    To me, equating a union between a man and woman with that of two people of the same gender based on the argument that the two are "equal" is like trying to argue that because Bobby was born blind, he still ought to be able to play QB on the football team. Yeah, a silly analogy, but so too is the notion that a society can't and shouldn't have the right to define their social institutions--if the members of society follow their gut instinct, they'll most likely make the decision that most parallels that which nature has chosen as the norm; when they listen to cries of "unfair," they are likely to make the wrong choice. So far, citizens in CA have listened to the biological sense in their heads, while elites have not.

    "Equal" and "same" aren't the same thing. The gay and lesbian lobby has tried to make them so. I hope Justice Kennedy won't be swayed, but knowing his social circle, I think he will be a pussy.

  2. agnostic,

    Any thoughts on extended breastfeeding (from infancy to age two or three), which I believe is the norm in pre-literate societies? Do you think there is evidence of special health benefits, as hippie moms claim?

  3. Mark Sisson did a post about the benefits of breast feeding and included this.

    - Cheers Breeze

  4. Perhaps there are fewer (male)Jewish chefs because Jewish women make more of an effort in their cooking with quality and presentation?

  5. Sorry wrong thread

  6. There is often scorn poured on the claim that organic produce has any higher health benefits nutritionally, other than the spray residue factor.

    I think that like breast milk ,a biologically rich and well cared-for soil is the first building block of human health...and in my experience such a soil as opposed to a worn-out chemically thrashed soil, imparts more flavour and nutrition to the food. The better taste that we consumers appreciate is the elevated complex chemicals in the food that actually repel pests and diseases in the field.

    In my crops I have noticed that evolution happens literally on the margins, healthy plants are'saying' don't pick me, pick the next guy,.
    And so it goes on down the row till you come to the plant with least resistance, the one that is in fact being attacked more than others.

  7. I was suggesting in the link that plants do this


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