Context Matters: D&C 89

Floor looks pretty clean to me.

If you’re teaching the Word of Wisdom, here’s something to blow your audience away: CONTEXT. The folks at the Church History Library have released today a new item in their ‘Revelations in Context’ series, this one being an engrossing look at the tobacco spittle on the floor of the Whitney store. It also includes a look at the American health reform movement of the time, without being sucked into the easy comparisons to contemporary health schemes or the modern approach to body issues. Definitely worth your time, even if most BCC readers (let’s face it) are rebels for whom the divine counsel of the Word of Wisdom is a road marker long passed on the highway to Hell.


  1. David T says:

    This is…awesome. Make sure to read the footnotes, too, in reference to trying to `single out chemicals’. Very interesting stuff.

  2. MDearest says:

    I used to have WoW problems. Overcoming them at one point in my life was my own personal crucible. Now I have other rebellions in my life to calm, but the flawed disciplines in the Word of Wisdom have served me well and I’m grateful for their influence on my life. So when judging BCC readers, don’t assume too much.

  3. I appreciate the link, however I would like to some day figure out why they ignored studies done over 30 years ago, regarding the element of the “commandment” part being instated, when it was not recorded by Joseph as such. Very interesting research documented in the 1981 Dialogue. (p.78, here: It’s an interesting issue to ponder.

  4. J. Stapley says:

    Jen, I’m not sure what you mean by ignoring studies done over thirty years ago. Jed cites not only Lester Bush’s article in that issue of Dialogue in his article, but also Peterson, Walker, and Alexander’s work which highlights the evolution in perspective over the Word of Wisdom more emphatically. There are links to these and other articles in my post last week on Section 89, if it something that interests you.

  5. Dale Whiting says:

    Why is so much time spent discussing tobacco, hard liquor and hot drinks and so little on the other major matter. meat eating? Is it because we are reluctant to examine the 89th Section for additional sage advice and counsel, advice we have neglected for 180 years? Would we place limits on the topics the Lord has declared to be the order and will of God for the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days? We are counseled to eat meat sparingly! Do we?

    By my count there are five verses aimed at limiting or prohibiting the use of wine and strong drink, two at tobacco and only one at hot drinks [now used to target caffeinated drinks]. Several verses address wholesome foods in a positive manner. But verses explaining the need to strictly limit our consumption of meat number four, almost as many as strong drink! Isn’t it time we broaden our examination of this section? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see out of where the roots of limiting meat consumption grew?

  6. Carl Youngblood says:

    Dale, it has everything to do with how the WoW is enforced in today’s church.

  7. Dale,

    I can pretty much guess why the big three, stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco, are singled out. It is because they can be quantified in an all-or-nothing way, as a method for sussing out a faithful member. If asked if you eat too much meat, this is a subject of debate. The WoW is a litmus test, red or blue, go or no-go.

    What I found interesting was the reason for tea and coffee as “stimulants,” being substituted for whiskey. Without the caffeine they are not stimulants, giving motivation to the idea, some 50 or 60 years ago, that decaf was OK and chocolate is, indeed, against the WoW. This sin is in the molecule of the stimulant or the inebriant. This makes sense because tobacco without nicotine is, apparently, non-satisfying and non-addicting, as is wine or beer without the alcohol (for most people). So, in like manner, it must be the caffeine in tea and coffee by parallelism which makes it, however so slightly, addictive.

    Under this analysis, a caffeine tablet in the chamomile tea would turn it into a stimulant, thus violating the original intent. Also, Coke, also, violates the intent. Therefore, decaf is OK.

    The Word of Wisdom, to be observed properly by abstaining, must be done by the molecule. The Word of Wisdom should have read, not hot drinks, but stimulant drinks, hot or cold. This would have also outlawed NoDoz.

  8. J. Stapley says:

    “The Word of Wisdom, to be observed properly by abstaining, must be done by the molecule.”

    Actually, I think that this misses the point entirely.

  9. RW, I’m really not sure that it is a “sin” to partake of tea or coffee. It is something we’ve been advised not to do under a particular interpretation of the raw material in this word of advice received by revelation. From a cosmic, eternal perspective, it’s hard to imagine that ingesting these things is a “sin”. I would venture to say that these things are by no means malum in se but are at most malum prohibitum (see Legally Blonde if you need a refresher on those). In other words, it is a violation to partake given the boundary-maintaining role that we have ascribed to the current interpretation of this particular piece of revelation. But I’m not sure it could be characterized as a “sin”. I suppose it could possibly be characterized as a “sin” under the following logic: the current interpretation of the Word of Wisdom was itself received by inspiration (looking here at the interpretation/use of the WoW from approx. Heber J. Grant onward) and therefore reflects God’s will for the current generation(s) of disciples of Christ and, therefore, not submitting to it is a “sin” in the sense of knowing God’s preference and not acting accordingly. But in terms of actual wickedness or evil, it is hard to imagine how ingesting fits into those concepts.*

    Now drinking alcohol excessively (i.e. becoming drunk) could be considered a sin in its own right given the treatment of this dysfunction in scripture. But even this only the case when done in excess.

    DISCLAIMER: In this comment I am NOT suggesting that Mormons need not obey the Word of Wisdom as currently officially interpreted and taught. I am only making what I feel is a completely reasonable observation about whether this stuff really is or ought to be considered or talked about it terms of “sin”. At the very most, I am suggesting that we should not be teaching our children that it is sin or evil for those who have not voluntarily committed themselves to living by this code of conduct to drink coffee or tea, etc. It brings us nothing, in my opinion, to teach our children that a perfectly righteous disciple of Jesus Christ (like e.g. Mother Teresa or a billion other Christians around the world and throughout history) is sinning or engaging in anything objectively evil by having a cup of coffee (or a few) each day.

    *On the other hand, and taking this back just a little, it is relatively easy to see how simply drinking coffee or tea could be included in the notion of actual evil if you subscribe to an interpretation of the WoW that really focuses on that bit about it having been given because of the wickedness in the hearts of men in the last days and you interpret that to be a reference to the industrial practices made possible only by advances in technology that we have enjoyed since the 1800s by which individuals can exploit nature and people to enrich themselves to an extent never before seen or imagined in the history of the world. Under this interpretation, the evil or wickedness of drinking coffee, for example, arises from the scorched earth, unconscionable, exploitative, and cynical practices of robber baron-type business people or corporations that exploit resources and labor to enrich themselves. But this interpretation (to my knowledge) does not have much currency among Latter-day Saints who (if I observe correctly) have no particular compunction about maximizing profits through corporate exploitation of natural resources and oppressed labor in third world countries (or even right at home).

  10. john f.,

    You mean there is no such person as Juan Valdez and his donkey? Searching for the perfect bean, high among the Central American volcanoes?

    As for malum, as in practicum, it will keep you out of the temple as being “unworthy.” Is that in se or prohibitum? This seems a little beside the point.

    As for just what the point is? What is the point? I have been niggling about the meaning of the WoW for ages, being caffeine dependent. I have finally, due to your fine historical research (or others), come to the conclusion that I am sinning when I use NoDoz to stay awake in Sacrament Meeting. Who knew?

    As for ethanol and nicotine, I am in full agreement with the WoW. Likewise, generally, in agreement over cholesterol and whatever else in red meat that causes colon cancer.

    There are two interwoven strands in the WoW. One is addiction, the other is health. It seems like the addiction strand has become the basis of the evil molecules, which, in general, seems like a good idea. We may quibble over the inclusion of caffeine. The other strand, health, is a good idea which we should try to use sensibly, the sin and punishment being poor health, per se.

  11. whizzbang says:

    ha! I have to teach this lesson tomorrow in Gospel Principles! it’s hard to teach this stuff to people who have been investigating the Church for maybe a week or two or newer converts! any tips?

  12. J. Stapley says:

    I think that it is important not to be reductionist here. The revelation clearly states that it is about protecting the Saints from the evil designs of the wicked, and to ensure the Saints’ deliverance from the destroying angel in a way similar to the passover. This is a very rich revelation and to say that it is about caffeine, nicotine and ethanol is a tremendous short shrift.

    whizzbang, I think that the revelation is short enough to be able to read and discuss together. With that you can talk about how we have taken particular aspects of the Word of Wisdom as a divine rule for certain aspects of fellowship and ritual purity.

  13. I share the same sentiments as does Dale on this issue. Why does it seem that we as members of the church are so neglecting over the verses concerning how we should use animal flesh? It boggles my mind. Are factory farms not an evil design? Is the way meat is produced, provided, and consumed today not detrimental to health? Is it not pleasing unto the Lord when meat is not used? Mind the JST in Genesis 9: 11 “And surely, blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.” In light of a 21st century context, it seems to me even more pressing to emphasize the verses in section 89 on how we treat animals.

  14. By the early twentieth century, when scientific medicines were more widely available and temple attendance had become a more regular feature of Latter-day Saint worship, the Church was ready to accept a more exacting standard of observance that would eliminate problems like alcoholism from among the obedient.

    Does this strike anyone else as a non sequitur? What does temple attendance have to do with it?

  15. I love this line from article: “Rather than concerning themselves with cultural overlap, Latter-day Saints can joyously contemplate how God’s spirit touched so many, so widely, and with such force.” It is an encouraging inclusive sentiment.

    I disagree about this line though: “In some ways, the American health reform movement has faded from view.” I feel like there is a burgeoning health reform movement underway right now, with the focus on organic produce, more awareness of the need for fair-trade practices, increased focus on whole foods and plant-based eating (shown here by the concern in other comments about the need to focus on eating meat sparingly, a concern I also share!).

  16. J. Stapley says:

    Orwell, it is because WoW adherence hasn’t ever been a test of full fellowship. In the nineteenth century one wouldn’t get and keep a temple recommend and regularly go to the temple. Even in the first quarter of the twentieth century, temple recommends had a line to indicate what the purpose of the recommend was for. As the idea of regular temple attendance became a universal ideal, WoW prohibitions as standard of ritual purity was a way to emphasize universal compliance.

    All, regarding meat, I’d like to point out that many Mormon, including Lorenzo Snow, have taken this seriously. But more generally, I’d like to reiterate something from my post last week:

    As current Mormons…I think that it is worth noting that there are many Words of Wisdom. There is the revelation text, there is the Temple Recommend rule and then there are personal rules by which we live. E.g., the text allows for mild barley drinks, and the Temple recommend rules allow for Diet Coke. I have friends who are vegetarian because of this revelation. The Word of Wisdom is many things and they are not all the same.

    No one is stopping anyone from abstaining from meat. It just hasn’t been part of the prohibitions for temple recommends.

  17. Dale Whiting says:

    So to the several commenters above [chiefly RW and Carl, but more so to those who remain stuck in the first gear of compliance by conformity and are yet to join in] I must now ask a series of questions.

    Do I understand then, that our discussion of the WoW is not to be from the Lord’s perspective, but from the natural man’s perspective, i.e. what can readily be enforced? Doesn’t its language state that it was given not as a commandment but as advice and counsel to those who would seek wisdom of the sort not understood by the natural man? Doesn’t our adopting for discussion only those parts which have been, are, and likely will remain enforceable by our leaders and by compliance forces from our fellow would-be saints, dilute the rest of the Lord’s advice to us, His would be latter-day saints? Are we not to put off the natural man in order to become saints? You know, we cannot to be hounded into sainthood! The Lord appears to expect that even the weakest of His saints can adopt this wisdom, all of His wisdom, not just the parts that are enforceable to maintain fellowship.

    Don’t we all know deep down that the natural man’s cravings for meat and sweets has given us an obesity epidemic? My Gospel Doctrine instructor is a vip with ConAgra Foods. So Sunday’s lesson should prove interesting! I’ve given him a heads up e-mail!

    So my good Brothers, won’t you join with me in eating our meat sparingly, primarily in times of famine, in times when other WoW listed more healthier foods might not be available? But know that these times have not existed in the United States for perhaps 80 years. And should you have to dig into your food storage, you’d sure better have developed a taste for beans as your sole source of protein!

    Now it’s time for a mid-morning glass of fat free milk. The craisin flavored oatmeal breakfast topped off with a banana needed no milk. And I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s grits for breakfast. What a wonderful way to keep both the Sabbath Day holy and my cardiologist happy!

  18. Dale Whiting says:


    I feel your pain. We all who taught the Gospel in the Mission Field had this exact same problem. Here would be my more modern day approach. First of all, acknowledge that the WoW was given as advice and counsel from a Loving Heavenly Father, that His first Latter-day Saints who were violating this counsel and wisdom struggled to take it seriously. Eventually compliance was made a mandatory prerequisite to entering the Temple, something even now all must wait a year after becoming a member to do. Acknowledge that the less enforceable, but equally wise parts [like my current campaign against indiscriminate meat eating], are matters that most all of us still struggle with. Then top it off with a discussion of the natural man and our universal struggle to put off his cravings to become truly saintly, bearing your testimony that while we all struggle with one or more things, our Heavenly Father still loves us and has our best interests at heart. That this 1834 Word of Wisdom has proven to be so valuable in maintaining health is a testimony of His being at the head of the Church, His Kingdom of God on earth in the latter days from its very beginnings. And let them know that you love them and stand ready and willing to help them with their struggles as you hope they are willing to help you with yours. That’s called joining with the saints in putting off the natural man.

  19. marginalizedmormon says:

    And I find nobody saying anything about ‘evil and conspiring men’–

    except for ConAgra, which–

    Eating no more than 4 oz. free range chicken/turkey or some wild-caught fish (unless it is farmed healthily)–

    a few days a week–

    and grass fed beef (again 4-6 oz.) once every few weeks–

    is very different from eating factory-produced, inhumanely treated chicken, turkey and beef–

    the body’s response to the difference is dramatic–

    perhaps a little more on feast days–

    but cheap meat means unhealthy meat–

    and consuming large quantities of it daily is very unhealthy, especially when all the chemicals are added.

    Yes, I think that it is significant that most LDS don’t want to give up their cheap, factory-produced flesh foods–

    From my observations, most Mormons don’t care about the health and well-being of the animals they eat, much less the low-paid people (many immigrants) who produce their cheap foods (animal and vegetable)–

    cocoa produced from child slave labor is the only kind most LDS will afford, so why eat chocolate. Cocoa that is raw and produced on family farms where conditions are monitored–

    is another matter–

    but try to mention this in a GD class, especially when LDS love their corporate positions–

  20. whizzbang says:

    Thank you J. Stapley and Dale Whiting!

  21. Thanks for this link. The historical overview, and the open admission of how the Spirit works among all people, is better than anything I’ve seen in my lifetime. I really like this resource – overall and not just for Section 89.

    As to the question about meat, it’s the same as a discussion about grains and fruits. Healthy practices vary person to person and simply cannot be codified properly into one common standard that can be measured for temple attendance or even simple obedience. As a people, we can be Nazis about too many things already; the last thing I want is for a local leader to be able to start keeping charts on each member’s Body Mass Index, meat consumption, seasonal fruit decisions, etc.

    In other words, I am fine with some portions of Section 89 being measured according to the letter of the law and others being left up to us as individuals to live according to the spirit of the law. After all, we aren’t supposed to be commanded in all things and, rather, are supposed to be agents unto ourselves – and I think the Word of Wisdom is perhaps the best practical example of how we can be commanded in some things and not in others, even in the same general area.

  22. Orwell, it is because WoW adherence hasn’t ever been a test of full fellowship. In the nineteenth century one wouldn’t get and keep a temple recommend and regularly go to the temple. Even in the first quarter of the twentieth century, temple recommends had a line to indicate what the purpose of the recommend was for. As the idea of regular temple attendance became a universal ideal, WoW prohibitions as standard of ritual purity was a way to emphasize universal compliance.

    Sure, I understand that — I just found it curious how the author presents the connection between increased adherence to the WoW and a higher-profile role for temple attendance in LDS culture as self evident… as if the former is an inevitable result of the latter. I absolutely see how the WoW was a particularly convenient way to drive notions of ritual purity, but the article implies (perhaps inadvertently) that obeying the WoW was already a prerequisite for going to the temple, when I was under the impression that this wasn’t remotely the case. (Please correct me if I am wrong about that.)

    Anyway, the idea that WoW observation would have to (obviously) increase so we could all go to the temple more struck me as somewhat presentist. The reason it increased was because they decided to make it a requirement, not because of some pre-existing, spiritual connection between the two.

  23. marginalizedmormon says:

    post script on my comment about factory farming/cheap labor (exploitation)–

    Considering that the Book of Mormon and D&C (and N.T. and even parts of the O.T.) focus on not oppressing the hireling and on how *we* treat the ‘least of these’ being how *we* are treating the Savior–

    I think it’s interesting that nobody seems to have noted that how we treat people matters with food as well as with everything else–

    When I buy grass fed beef (rarely) and free range chicken (more frequently) from a local family farm, I know everyone who keeps an eye on those animals–

    I also know that my family farmers, whom I know by first name, eat well and have healthy children–

  24. As a Mormon vegetarian who is passionate about this issue, I don’t ever want to see church leaders enforcing vegetarianism. And it sure can’t be given by way of commandment since animal flesh is ordained for man’s use in times of need. What I would like to see though is simply better governing of ourselves based off the principles that we have already received. In my discussions with members of the church concerning eating meat, people prone to debate often like to refer to Section 49, where is states “And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God.” I think they then feel that this verse justifies their consumption of animal flesh because religious vegetarianism is wrong, but I encourage them to read on. If they read on it they will see written: “And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.”
    If they think that they need to eat meat to sustain their health, then they are simply misinformed about nutrition. Otherwise, continuing to eat animal flesh in spite of what we know about the scriptures appears to me to be a blatant disregard over the Lord’s will.

  25. J. Stapley says:

    Orwell, it was sort of complicated. I’d check out Ed Kimball’s article on the history of the temple recommend. Liquor has always been frown upon, and at the turn of the 20th century you see folks like JFS trying to (flexibly) enforce the WoW for temple recommends. You are right that I don’t think there is evidence that it was absolutely and self evidently necessary though.

  26. Dale Whiting says:


    Don’t get me and others wrong. We are not espousing vegetarianism or even veganism. Meat was ordained for the use of man, the occasional use which we characterize as sparingly, in times of famine and cold, times we no longer see here in the USA. I do eat meat, occasionally, but less and less frequently as my cardiologist gets to me. And from what I now know and understand, we all should be eating very much less meat, that is if we would walk and not faint.

    I see it as unfortunate that we Mormons are known for our abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, tea and coffee but not from a meat rich diet. Clearly the Author of the WoW would have us behave differently.


    I feel your pain and gave an answer that got lost when my laptop crashed during an update. All of us RM’s who taught investigators the WoW faced your dilemma. I’d approach tomorrow’s lesson by pointing out that while we have made considerable progress on some issues in the wisdom the Lord has given in this revelation, most of us still struggle on others. The Lord gave us this advice and counsel because He loves us. We love Him, too. As natural men, we must strive diligently to put off these bad habits and slowly but surely become saints. We all need to help and encourage each other. New members must wait for a year before going to the Temple. During that time, they may be struggling with the more obvious parts of the WoW. And after attend the Temple they and the rest of us will struggle with other parts of the WoW and the rest of the commandments. We must help and encourage progress in others and invite others to help and encourage us.

    God be with you and with your class tomorrow!

  27. This Word of Wisdom diet sounds interesting, but I don’t think it’s compatible with Paleo, so I’ll have to pass.

    …(experience has taught that text sometimes fails to capture my unseriousness . Lest you consider responding as though I’m not being tongue in cheek, please think twice)

  28. Dale Whiting says:

    What is the WoW if not counsel from a loving Parent on having a healthy diet? We focus on abstinence, but fail to address the rest. Although abstinence is the easy part to enforce, diet is the part far more apt to generate the promised blessings.

    I sat next to the ConAgra vip GD teacher in Priesthood after he gave Lesson 22 in Sunday School. He was very disappointed with the class’s reactions. “Same ol’ same ol’ ” probably sums up his impression. Had I been able to attend, I’m use I could have stimulated some productive thinking. I did get him to admit that his cardiologist and mine agree 100%. We need to all but cut out red meat. I even got him to agree that fish is OK. Islanders who only eat fish have no heart disease, that is until they move stateside! Looks like we could use more domesticated fish farms raising tilapia. ConAgra’s grains generate much more protein when fed to fish than when fed to cattle.

    So will any of you out there be willing to join with this natural man in the effort to put off the natural man’s diet and successfully adopt a new Saintly diet in order to run and not be weary and walk and not faint?

    Now it’s time for some refried beans on corn tortillas. They go down great with tomato juice. It’s a great 5 minute lunch, keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and my cardiologist happy.

  29. On the Revelations in Context article, the last paragraph, next to last sentence in the Strong Drinks (about halfway down the web page) section cites a 1921 statement by Heber J. Grant “to live the Word of Wisdom to the letter by completely abstaining from all alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco” and refers the reader to footnote 16, where a couple of works are cited.

    Can someone please check those works and/or provide either a full citation of the original statement (e.g., First Presidency Letter, General Conference, etc.) or link or copy & paste of the relevant text of the Grant statement?

    Also, can some admin there please take the task of keeping your BCC Gospel Doctrine lessons link page up to date? Someone had been doing it, but has apparently been distracted lately.


  30. For the record, since this thread is dead, I want to clarify what I previously stated. Much of what I said was tongue in cheek. Sorry.

    I have been against the inclusion of caffeine in the Word of Wisdom. As it was originally stated, the WoW hot drinks were interpreted as tea and coffee. Some people interpreted this as a prohibition of caffeine, some of the bean coffee and Asian teas, some of both.

    The WoW prohibition of “hot drinks” has recently been interpreted as bean coffee and Asian type teas. Other forms of caffeine are OK.

    This OP has put the WoW into historical context. Strong drink, tobacco, and hot drinks were specifically rejected. Strong drink and tobacco are, on the face, destructive to body and spirit as well as being dirty. Even those for whom a glass of wine a day might promote health are willing to forgo based on the vast destructiveness of excess.

    Tea and coffee were included because, when people gave up whiskey, they turned to these mild stimulants. For some people these mild stimulants were too much like the evils of strong drink, by association.

    If the prohibition of “hot drinks” was a result of their stimulative power, then caffeine is the specific molecule commonly used as a stimulant. By extension, it should be noted, that all stimulants should be prohibited, just as in the case of alcohol, all intoxicants should be prohibited. I presume tobacco is a stimulant, also, but particularly addictive and particularly unhealthy.

    Caffeine is the most mild of stimulants. It is not particularly addictive. It is a very useful molecule for many of us in our daily lives. My opinion is that the prohibition of it, and the drinks that it contains, is an overreach. I need only point out that a major disagreement with the WoW has been about what is really forbidden under the title of “hot drinks.” To any reasonable person, the downside of tea and coffee or caffeine is pretty close to non-existent. There are many upsides. Thus the arguments and weaseling. That is why many of us cheered when Coke was allowed because we can now put caffeine in our chamomile tea for a legal hot drink.

    The whole heat and argument over tea, coffee, Coke, NoDoz, chocolate, etc., is, de facto, the result of this overreach. There will be many of us who love to order Mocha Freeze at Costco because we see this as no mortal sin.

  31. Carolyn says:

    As a gospel doctrine teacher, almost my entire lesson next week is going to focus on the meat verses. It should be entertaining!

  32. Dale Whiting says:


    Good luck with that lesson. My advice is not to preach! Rather get some help from a few pre-positioned audience members. Look up some supporting data on red meat and cholesterol, data that was unknown in 1834, and share that with your planted contributors. In 1834 no one knew what cholesterol was! We often hear the fact that the harmful effects of tobacco were not known in 1834, this fact raised as evidence of D&C 89 being a revelation from God. Nicotine was unknown in 1834, too. But thanks to these two pieces on the WoW here in BCC, we now see how much was being said against the use of tobacco, alcohol and alike long before 1834. Cholesterol is the real “revelation” of Section 89! Let this be the subject of your lesson, a word to the wise given long before its time! And should you have a cardiologist available, wouldn’t that be the ticket!

    P.S. After leaving the church building with his extended family last week, my GD instructor broiled steaks on the BBQ. After all, it was Father’s Day, you know. I went home to my refried beans and reflected on what my Heavenly Father had told us back in 1834. I had the better day. BBQing is work. I rested.

  33. Surprised no one quoted Hyrum Smith on the topic. Or the discussions of the punctuation on the meat question and the vast differences there.

  34. it's a series of tubes says:

    Cholesterol is the real “revelation” of Section 89!

    Pound that single piano note, Dale! Or perhaps not. You might want to read the recent medical literature on gut bacteria and trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO).

  35. “To any reasonable person, the downside of tea and coffee or caffeine is pretty close to non-existent.”

    Very little in this conversation is applicable universally to all reasonable people. For example, I have a friend who had a much harder time giving up coffee than cigarettes – and I have other friends who probably will die as coffee drinkers simply because of the debilitating headaches they get when they try to quit.

    I would never argue that drinking a cup of coffee each day is radically harmful to physical health, but as to the downside being almost non-existent for any reasonable person . . . Nope, experience has taught me that such a statement is invalid, unless you define “reasonable” so narrowly as to neuter the statement.

  36. Dale Whiting says:

    Thanks “it’s a series of tubes says

    It would appear that in addition to cholesterol, a diet high in red meat interacting for normal gut bacteria, produces other substances which greatly increase risks for heart disease. Look up trimethylamine-N-oxide in Wikipedia and you will be steered to those studies. These studies were just published. 1834 to 2013. Now that’s a revelation that keeps on revealing!

  37. Dale Whiting says:

    Ray’s points on caffeine appear to be valid and well taken. This only heightens the verses addressing flesh taken from beasts of the field, but not fish of the sea.

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