More on the Ornish plan

As I was going through all the comments that had stacked up while I was away, I came across one about the Ornish program that I thought might be of interest to the group. Here is the gist of it:

after my 3rd heart attack dec 04 I quit the veggie/ornish just plant food eating and now with type 2 this yr am still doing great with no carbs. also off BP drugs and since May have stopped all lipitor and crestor (7 days of crestor was enough) still getting stronger and no more brain fog feeling, wish I knew then what I know now

This comment reminded me of one I read in the long list of comments after Ornish’s response to John Tierney’s blog post about Taubes’ comments on the Israeli low-carb study. Said a commenter who states that he works in a clinic that uses the Ornish regimen:

I too, happen to work in a clinic that espouses the Ornish program. In practice, however, as long as patients do the stress relief, engage in exercise, and quit smoking, they seem to do fine. The diet doesn’t seem to do very much one way or the other, especially since most people give it up quickly. They seem to dislike it.
The diet does wreak havoc with our diabetic patients, however. They are put on the diet because diabetics are prone to heart disease, but the huge quantities of starch required by the Ornish program (whole grain or not) makes make blood sugar control almost impossible. There’s a lot of internal argument about this now.

I’ll bet there is a lot of internal argument about it now. No one practicing medicine likes to see treatment strategies that fail miserably and even make patients worse.

I posted on this same phenomenon a couple of years ago. Dr. Ornish always wants to put his diet at the forefront of his treatment regimen. He pretty much ignores the rest of his program while constantly harping on the benefits of his ultra low-fat diet. He never misses an opportunity to tell how he has proven that his diet reverses heart disease, despite the fact that his program has multiple components. But if his program works, it is in spite of his diet, not because of it. Read why here.

Here is another post about Dr. Ornish and his use of a pretty bizarre testimonial to promote his most recent book.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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42 thoughts on “More on the Ornish plan

  1. there’s another character you’ve probably heard of, Dr. Fuhrman, who has a plan similar to Ornish (no grains tho, he got that right), and who routinely takes potshots at low carb diets. Here he is railing against Weston Price and the commenters on his blog who tore apart his ghostwriter Gerry in a previous post. Poor Gerry posted a childish rant against WP, some smart commenters counterd, Gerry was reduced to name calling, now Dr. F. rides to the rescue, spewing dogma whilst flying the flag of “SCIENCE”. it’s all rather funny in a pathetic kinda way.

    I’m familiar with Dr. Fuhrman, he of the ‘I have diligently spent my entire adult life studying almost every scientific study ever written on human nutrition and carefully going over the data’ mantra. He’s another guy with a closed mind and a misbegotten notion that we evolved to eat plants.

  2. Dear Dr. Mike,
    This is more or less related to this article, but a little bit of a tangent.

    A year or two ago, I complained to you that at 57 I was unable to lose weight the way I used to on a low-carb diet. You had some suggestions that I considered. I now look forward to your book coming out in the next months.

    In the meantime, I have never given up. So I’m off my all-time high of 262, as of this writing 222. Among other things that I learned in order to achieve this is your premise that caloric intake might not be negligible.

    So I’ve cut down my quantity, with the result that over time I’m less hungry anyway. And in the meantime, I’ve stopped using so much oil (even beneficial olive oil) in sauteeing, and for pleasure and satiety have increased the saturated fat content of my diet.

    Recently, I had a physical and I think my doctor was surprised by the results – not that she is against low-carb, still she is in her fifties and must contend with what she has come to know during the past decades.

    HDL = 57
    LDL = 127
    triglycerides = 106

    So the subject of statin drugs has not been raised. I do have borderline BP, which she is treating me for. I believe the BP will come into line as I bring my weight down further. At 222, I’m still grossly overweight for my height, 5’6″. My lowest weight was 150 twenty years ago. I’m not sure that will be an optimal weight for me today, but I’ll be happy to arrive at 180 and then reevaluate.

    Thanks for all the information your research is bringing us. With what I’ve been reading here and in other places (Jimmy Moore, Eric Westman, M.D., and others), I’m beginning to believe that saturated fat – and certainly the monounsaturated fat in meats that conventional wisdom ignores – may actually be protective. Obviously we have to be prudent about fat in that it is calorically dense, but then again we can only eat so much of it at a sitting. Unlike carbohydrates.

    I’m pleased to hear you’re doing so well. Thanks for the update.

    Cheers and keep it up.


  3. Dr. F claims to have reviewed 60,000 articles in the scientifc literature to reach his conclusions. A commenter on his blog reacted thusly:

    Let’s assume for a minute that the well-intended writer read, in-depth mind you, because he is trying to support a hypothesis, 20 articles per day. This means, if you assume the articles are read 300 days/year, it would take 10 years to go through all the articles.

    I thing Dr. F is quiite clearly guilty of a bit of fibbing here…

  4. I was on Fuhrman’s diet for 2 1/2 years. In 40 years as a vegetarian, it was the longest I’d gone totally vegan. I was running up to 40 miles a week and finally had to conclude that I wasn’t truly thriving. When I began adding milk and eggs, I felt stronger. Most recently I’ve been eating a small omelet made with cheese the night before long or hard runs, followed a couple hours later by a glass of milk. Huge difference in my energy, endurance, and feelings of overall robustness. Now, then, I know that seven-times Western States 100-mile winner Scott Jurek is vegan, as is Canadian national 50-K champion Brendan Brazier. Also, Catra Corbett, a woman who runs prodigious numbers of ultramarathons. I can only conclude that their bodies evolved to accommodate a vegan diet, but mine didn’t.

    About 15 years ago, I went on a strict Pritikin-style no-fat diet (and I mean strictly NO added fat), high-carb (read: huge mounds of millet). After six months, I began getting mysterious immune-related ailments (sinusitis, bronchitis) in the middle of a very hot summer. Also, my energy during runs was very sub-par. But I sure did lose a lot of weight. I consulted a nutritionist who told me, “You’ve GOT to start getting some fat – every cell in your body needs fat. The immune system especially absolutely requires fat.” I started taking just 1 tsp of flax seed oil per day, and my energy immediately went **sprong!** The immune illnesses vanished. Of course, a teaspoon of flax wasn’t enough – I feel much stronger now that I’m taking moderate amounts of sat-fats (pre- and post-hard exercise). On days of easy or no exercise I just eat nuts, especially almonds, because I find they absolutely do not put on fat, even though I work at a desk all day.

  5. p.s. Fuhrman’s book IS enormously useful – it really and truly explains three important things: (a) why it’s important to eat vegetables, fruit, and beans, (b) why eating high-nutrient-density foods absolutely kills hunger, making it easy to lose a ton of weight quickly without sacrificing health, and (c) why to avoid trans-fats. But, like nearly all western-trained diet authors, Fuhrman’s rational mind leads him off the rails. Same thing happens, alas, to Enig and Fallon. Again, their book is wonderfully useful, but it is not about a well-balanced diet (they mention the need for vegetables and fruit only in passing). And their praise of beef and pork is pure bushwah. Haven’t they read the studies on beef and intestinal cancer?

    You wrote:

    And their praise of beef and pork is pure bushwah. Haven’t they read the studies on beef and intestinal cancer?

    I would aver that your take on the matter is bushwah, whatever that is. There has never been a single study that has shown that consuming beef and/or pork cause intestinal cancer. Not a single one. There have been a few studies that show a correlation between meat consumption and certain cancers (usually GI), but many more that show no correlation. And even a few that show meat consumption to be protective against cancer. But none of these studies proves anything. Even if every study done showed a correlation between meat consumption and cancer, it wouldn’t prove a thing. Correlation is not causation. If you can show me a study that proves meat consumption causes cancer, I will concede your point. But you can’t, I’ll wager.



  6. What about the information put forth by Dr. Mercola? I’m not sold on his Teflon phobia and general fear mongering.

    And remember, as a Southerner you can say anything you want about someone as long as you preface it with “bless his heart.”

    In my opinion, Dr. Mercola, bless his heart, tends to go a little overboard on some of his ideas as to what is and isn’t harmful. But on many things, I think he’s on the money. It’s the figuring out which is which that can cause problems.

  7. I think GB is trying to use the word ‘bourgeois’ when he wrote “bushwah”. He misspelled and misused the word! The best writing uses the simplest words.

  8. “No one practicing medicine likes to see treatment strategies that fail miserably and even make patients worse.”

    Kind of messes up that whole “First, do no harm” idea, doesn’t it?

    Indeed it does.

  9. George Beinhorn is well known and respected in the small world of ultramarathon runners. I’ve found some health benefits from the low carb approach: No more acid reflux, no more gingival ulcers. But it made me a slower runner. I think the vegetarian approach can be considered ‘low carb’, especially if avoiding bread and pasta. Veggies are high fiber which moderates the absorption of sugars. If one believes in metabolic advantage, the fiber may hold some sugars all the way to the toilet. (Recently you mentioned a percentage of ingested nuts end up there.) The arguments on either side ignore the problem of over-indulgence. Too much of anything is unhealthy, imo. I’m guessing early man didn’t get enough of anything to become obese. As an omnivore he could utilize animal and vegetable foods equally well.

  10. If you change several variables, you can’t claim that any one is the key. I have thought for some time that the stress releif has a bigger effect than the diet. Yet, Ornish keeps insisting it’s the diet.

    And he calls himself a man of science.

  11. Mike – I’ve made my living as a writer for 36 years, so “bushwah” was intended. Kevin – I agree – I immediately gain weight unless I keep carbs low (I eat no starchy carbs except on hard workout/run days). Also, “respected” overstates my running creds by several parasangs. I’ve always been a plodder. But thanks for the thought. – gb

    Thanks. I’ve learned a new word. I wasn’t familiar with ‘bushwah’ but I do like the sound of it. It has the same roll off the tongue as bulls**t without being vulgar.

  12. Bushwa is a very midwestern colloquialism for BS. We midwesterners are laughing our heads off thinking someone would mistake it for bourgeois.
    We would never say bourgeois.

    But bless the poster’s heart for trying to understand that local simple word.

  13. I went many years on fairly high carb diets, with varying degrees of success as far as weight loss goes.

    However, when I went to a very low carb diet eight or nine years ago, I realized that my 45 years of pollen allergies and occasional asthma went away at the same time. Turns out, through trial and error, that wheat was the culprit, and since then I’ve never has so much as a sniffle, living in both the ragweed invested Midwest, and now the South.

    A doctor told me that I am probably sensitive to pollens but that it would take the wheat to set them off. I used to eat a lot of wheat products, especially bagels and my own homemade breads.

    I firmly believe there are people out there being treated for asthma who would benefit from eliminating grains from their diet, at least on an experimental basis. It couldn’t hurt.

  14. It’s funny that Mercola referenced you today. I get his e-mail newsletter and usually quickly peruse to see if anythings interesting. He had an article “Is krill 48 times better than fish oil?”
    Surprising analysis from the author of one of the bestselling books for 2007. I’m thinking Stephen King wrote on fish oils?! Kidding. So, you’re one of the select few that Joe looks up to … good for you, he’s tough to please. I think he’s well intentioned with a touch of OCD. Jumps around a lot. One day a products greatest thing in the world next..poof…gone. I think sometimes he promotes things which make his credibility plummet…fucothin? Come on!

    I suppose he got the info from a guest post I did for Tim Ferriss’s blog a couple of weeks ago.



  15. BG, MAC, Cindy: The above cited reference and others validate my surmise that bushwah is a corruption of bourgeois. Bushwah does not rise to the level of colloquialism because it is not informal AND familiar (e.g. Dr. Eades reaction: “whatever that means”). I doubt the slang is known anywhere except in certain provincial pockets of our diverse culture and therefore is not suitable for a diverse audience. By the way, BG, are you concerned about inflammation and CVD in view of the Alberto Salazar story? (AS was a world class marathoner/ultra marathoner in his twenties and thirties but suffered a massive heart attack last year at 49.)

  16. Bushwah is now my new favorite word.
    The Four Hour Workweek guest post is listed as a source in the Mercola article. I thought it funny that he wrote “I was delighted to learn that Dr. Eades is also in agreement with my own conclusion regarding recommendations for omega-3 supplementation”, as I doubt the guy has very many original thoughts.

    Anyway, great blog again. I find it highly entertaining watching the Ornish types dig their heels in and ferociously defend their bushwah dogmas & careers while Taubes book looms like a specter…a phantom menace… not to mention a great deal of clinical “internal argument”.
    My previous favorite word was apoplectic :)

  17. Dr. Eades,

    As our health and nutritional hero, I was wondering if you could do a post sometime with details on your own personal health and nutrition habits and struggles. Personally, I know WHAT to do, but I often have trouble doing it consistently. It would be enlightening to hear about the day-to-day human side of our low-carb role model.

    For example:
    How often do you cheat on your diet?
    What is your exercise regime like?
    Do you have any trouble maintaining your weight?
    Do you have any health problems, in spite of a low-carb lifestyle?
    How often do you get sick (e.g. cold or flu)?

    Hi Steve–

    I would hate to put up such a narcissistic post, so I’ll give some brief answers here.

    Like everyone, I cheat on my diet from time to time. But not a lot. And when I do cheat, it’s pretty mild as compared to what I used to eat before I began low-carbing 25 years ago. When I do cheat, I get back on the wagon pretty quickly. I would say that I follow a pretty rigid low-carb diet at least 85 percent of the time (I just asked MD, and she estimated it to be 85-90 percent of the time).

    I do a Slow Burn type of workout every 5 days or so, when I’m actively in Slow Burn workout mode. If I’m not, I don’t do much of anything in actual workout mode. But I do walk a golf course at least three times per week on average, and I do it quickly. I can make it around 18 holes walking by myself in about two hours. And I do a lot of moving otherwise. I don’t walk slowly – I walk fast. Or I run. For example, when I park in a parking lot, I tend to jog to where ever I’m going. Not because I’m actively trying to exercise, but because I’m impatient, and strolling alonng is kind of a drag. When I’m on a conference call (which I seem to be a lot), I’ll often wear a headset and stand in the backyard swinging a golf club. So I do a lot of kind of working out without really working out. I suspect that it is my low-carb diet pushing me to burn off excess energy.

    I do have trouble maintaining my weight if I don’t follow my own diet. But since I follow it most of the time, I don’t have much of a problem. A few years ago when MD and I seemed to be on the road most of the time, we both let our weight get a little out of hand. Nothing major, but we both gained more than we thought we had. The story of that weight gain is the basis of our new book coming out next year.

    I have no health problems that I know of. The last time I gave blood (a couple of months ago), my blood pressure was 111/63 on the digital readout. And that was after about five cups of coffee. The last labs I had were all normal, with the typical triglycerides and HDL of a low-carber. I don’t even remember what they were, but I remember they were what I expected. I did a saliva test a couple of months ago for hormones and cortisol, all of which were normal. I did have some elevated female hormones, which we discovered were rubbing off from MD. (I wrote about this in a post or in the comments a while back.)

    I’m virtually never sick. Except a couple of years ago I had a run of colds. It seemed like I got a cold every time I turned around. My guess is that I got them from being around my grandchildren, all of whom were getting started in school and were going through one upper respiratory infection after another, which is how they develop their immunity. Since then, I haven’t had a cold. I haven’t had the flu (the real flu, which is totally debilitating) since about 1980. I don’t take any medications for anything. So I guess I’m in pretty good health.

    The same can be said for MD. She is menopausal so she does natural hormone replacement, but no other medications. Has low normal blood pressure and good labs.

    Hope this answers all your questions.



  18. GB –
    If beef and pork cause cancer we’re going to have to explain then why some humans are so carbohydrate intolerant they only thrive when eating meats. If meats cause cancer, that can’t be evolutionarily sound design?
    The irony is cancer has much more to do with a dysfunctional immune system, or sugar over load. These conditions are associated with insulin imbalances and glucose excess which is more related to an excess of foods densely caloric in starches and sugars. I suspect even if studies showing meat may increase risk of cancer, “meat consumption” probably has an association with mindless eating and poor lifestyle, and those are the things that cause cancer. People who avoid meat and beef are displaying health conscious behavior – if they then get less cancer, is it because they avoided beef and meat, or is it because of numerous other things they did?

    I can easily demonstrate the essential nature of animal food, but one would be hard pressed to do the same for fruits and vegetables. This should imply people would be more vulnerable to insufficient animal food (perhaps not vulnerable at all to insufficient fruits and vegetables). I suspect those like yourself who claim fruit and vegetables are essential (and excess meat dangerous) aren’t so much observing an essential need for fruit/vegetables but rather a low vulnerability to carbohydrate overload. You believe these foods are essential only because your health does not change much one way or the other for having eaten less or more meat. Since the political correct view is to believe vegetables and fruit make us healthy, you credit your good health to fruit and vegetables.

    My health parameters are pretty much fantastic too. Unlike most people I actually do have proof the diet is responsible for this positive change in health. The positive change was directly caused by eating a moderate calorie very low carb high fat diet.

    I always get a little angry when people go on about how carbohydrate food should be the foundation of good health. Most of the time these people are ignorant, and take for granted the fact their body processes carbohydrate somewhat normally. They believe eating carbs is what prevents them from becoming what I was (obese/unhealthy) but the irony is it is only a lack of vulnerability to carbohydrate diseases. In other words, your body is not thin BECAUSE of carb eating, your body is thin IN SPITE of carb eating. You have no idea what obesity is about or how to control or prevent it.
    If I took this ignorant advice I would see a resurgence of old symptoms. My body doesn’t process glucose normally. It’s that simple.

  19. I take issue with your response to Mr. Beinhorn in regard to correlation vs. causation. It is true. However, I would add a corollary that if correlation is consistent, it can become an established hypothesis, e.g. smoking causes cancer and heart disease or that you can get typhoid from a contaminated well. The correlations indicated that it would be a good idea to not smoke even if the causation wasn’t proved. Fish Oil, Vitamin D, and of course low carb diets are other examples where causation is still not completely understood. The point is that we, as individuals, have to make choices based on the available data. If the data is primarily correlation as in smoking or low carb diets, we make our educated guess with the understanding it may be wrong and it could be modified.
    Taubes in “Good Calories, Bad Calories” makes a similar distinction when he contrasts the (nutrition) scientists of the last 40 years who are primarily research scientists who have never treated patients vs. before that when scientists were also clinicians and could see the effects of their recommendations. The fact that the high fat/low carb diets of the time were effective in the treatment of obesity did not prove causation, but their practices and (yours) reflected their experiences.
    Having said all that, I agree that the link between meat consumption and intestinal cancer is not proven and that correlation is confounded by the fact that most of the studies did not distinguish between meat preserved with Sodium Nitrite which is known to be a potential carcinogen and unpreserved meats or that in recent years the amount of Sodium Nitrite used as a preservative has been reduced. Thanks for the time and space to comment.

    Hey Mark–

    Good to hear from you.

    If a correlation is consistent it still means nothing. All it does is give the basis for creating a hypothesis, that then must be tested, preferably with a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. But even without the double-blind, controlled trials, a lot of information can be garnered – as you point out – from clinical observation. The low-carb diet is a good case in point. If someone makes the observation – as did Stefansson and others – that populations eating a meat-based, low-carb diet don’t have diabetes, that’s a correlation. And it’s meaningless in terms of causality. But it can be used to create the hypothesis that reducing carbs in the diet can prevent diabetes, which is just a step away from saying that such diets can treat diabetes. If I – and other practitioners – then put patients who have diabetes on meat-based, low-carb diets, and those patient get rid of their diabetic symptoms, that adds credibility to the hypothesis. Then if studies are done comparing low-carb and high-carb diets in the treatment of diabetes, and the low-carb diet wins out, that adds even more credibility. But until at least steps like this are taken, the whole correlation is invalid in terms of causation.

    In the case of the often quoted correlation between meat consumption and cancer, it would require that people be randomized into two groups: one who ate meat and another who didn’t. These groups would have to stay on these diets for years while researchers waited to see who developed cancer and who didn’t. And to be valid, aside from the differences in meat consumption, the groups would have to follow the same exact diet for the term of the experiment. As you might imagine, such a study would be virtually impossible to conduct. But until we can, the idea that meat intake causes cancer is only a correlation. The fact is, however, that it’s not even a correlation because the mass of studies (all demonstrating correlation or lack thereof) are inconclusive. Some show a correlation, the vast majority show no correlation, and some show a correlation between meat eating and reduced incidence of cancer. Which is why I always get agitated when someone spouts off about ‘all the studies showing conclusively that meat eating causes cancer.’



  20. Question for Mark Levin — In a response to Dr. Mike’s “Follow up on the Israeli low-carb study” post, on July 30 Judy B. cited this article:

    Can you reference contradicting studies which support your statement “Sodium Nitrite which is known to be a potential carcinogen…”? I’d be interested, mostly because it’s been a great couple weeks for me not worrying about deli meats & saving money buying “normal” bacon.


    I didn’t address that part of Mark’s post. Thanks for the link to the excellent post. I’ve read all this information over the years, but haven’t gone back and put it all together in one place. Now that this lady has done it, I won’t have to.

    The idea that nitrites are problematic lost a lot of steam when it was discovered that nitric oxide was the long sought endothelium derived relaxing factor (EDRF), which is produced in the body in amounts dwarfing what might be obtained consuming even a lot of cured meats.



  21. I find the imbecilic posturing of those such as Ornish insulting. So I applaud Dr. Eades for taking to task the low fat, high and ultra high carb proponents like Ornish who I to refer to as the real ‘cereal killers’. And while I find this post entertaining, I’m not sure how much this sort of activity helps the big picture.

    Our society has a stereotyped view of professors as eccentrics who are off in some never, never land. In a similar vein, MDs as generally stereotyped as having little or no clue about nutrition which is for the most part probably right. But when it comes to matters of diet and nutrition, the majority of our society have a stereotype of the experts in the field as the registered dietitians and nutritionists. Although Ornish and others like him have their following, I believe that the RDs probably inflict far more damage in our society than any other source of diet misinformation.

    The worst RDs seem to be the ones representing the Heart and Stroke Foundations and the Heart Associations. These RDs make regular appearances on major television networks where they utter dire warnings about keeping saturated fat in our diet to a minimum because it has been proved beyond any doubt to be a major factor in causing heart disease. In their place they counsel us to consume vegetable oils which are ‘healthful’ and to even use them for deep frying in place of unhealthful saturated fat. RDs stress the need to consume plenty of whole grains because they have been proved to improve BG and reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes. They stress the need to get lots of fibre because it has been proved to reduce the incidence of both heart disease and diabetes.

    The problem is that most people tend to believe such nonsense because unlike those such as Dr. Eades and Dr. Ornish who it can be claimed are “just trying to sell their books”, RDs are perceived as unbiased, independent sources of cutting edge science-backed knowledge on diet and nutrition. So when RDs spout nonsense, few question them.

    Until such time as the virtual army of RDs spouting misinformation are taken to task in the same way that Dr. Eades is currently tasking Ornish to task I am not optimistic that much is going to change. With few exceptions our relatives and friends will continue to eat high carbohydrate diets, often accompanied by a high intake of vegetable oils. And when they develop type II diabetes they will be referred by their MD to a diabetic dietitian who they will listen to intently and with reverence as if they were having an audience with the pope.

    I agree about the RDs 100 percent. For the most part, they are a menace. In my career I’ve come across a handful of decent RDs, but most are woefully ignorant of biochemistry and physiology. Their training, which is administered by other RDs, who have themselves undergone training at the hands of other ignorant RDs, perpetuates the ignorance. RDs are basically parroting what they have learned, and they have no reason to question what they’ve been taught because it is confirmed to them daily by all the so-called experts who beat the drum for reducing fat intake, particularly saturated fat, and increasing the consumption of vegetable oils and whole grains.

    Whenever I appear on TV or radio or some public forum and discover that I am to debate an RD I almost get hives because they are so ignorant that they can’t really be debated. In a debate both sides need to have the same factual well from which to draw to make points. RDs have no facts; they have only dogma. How can you make the case that saturated fats may not be as bad as people make them out to be, and may in fact even be healthful, when all your opponent can do is give you a condescending look and say Everyone knows that saturated fats clog arteries. I would prefer to debate anyone but an RD.

    And when you try to explain anything to them from a scientific perspective – at least the doctrinaire ones who have bought the whole anti-saturated fat, pro-whole grains mantra hook, line and sinker – it’s kind of like trying to show a card trick to a dog. It seems interested, but doesn’t have a clue as to what you’ve just done.



  22. MRE: “There has never been a single study that has shown that consuming beef and/or pork cause intestinal cancer. Not a single one. There have been a few studies that show a correlation between meat consumption and certain cancers (usually GI), but many more that show no correlation… Correlation is not causation.”

    I call these epidem-ILLOGICAL studies, which report correlation between say eating meat and getting some disease. They ignore other potential correlations, like sugar and grains and high PUFA vegetable fats, which I suspect are far more related to cancer and other diseases. Like someone said, you can find a correlation between red cars and reckless driving, but which is the cause and which is the effect? Maybe reckless drivers have a preference for red cars. If you painted their cars white, it wouldn’t make them less reckless.

    Brian: “I firmly believe there are people out there being treated for asthma who would benefit from eliminating grains from their diet, at least on an experimental basis. It couldn’t hurt.”

    Dr. Jan Kwasniewski says asthma is one of the fastest diseases to resolve on his very high-fat (80%), low-protein (12%), and low-carbohydrate (8%) diet. He doesn’t believe vegetables are fit for human consumption. The carbs he suggests are potatoes, white flour, and refined sugar. He only allows 50g of carbs, give or take. He also tells people to eat mostly animal fats, organ meats at least once a week, and no PUFA vegetable oils.

    Epidem-ILLOGICAL studies… I love it. I may co-opt it as my own.



  23. Robert, I could be wrong, but think Mercola was writing about Krill Oil long before Dr. Eades. I remember reading articles on his website about it several years ago. I don’t know when Eades began talking about it, but I’m pretty sure I read about it first on Mercola’s website.

  24. Sorry for the off topic comment but I figured it was better to put this comment out there than yelling at my computer screen! I was just reading a story online from a national magazine (I’m in Canada) that was about the possible banning of fast food restaurants in an area of Los Angeles. Throughout the article, it is assumed that it is both the fat in the food that is bad (wrong! – ok, well maybe the wrong kind of fat as it is likely all PUFA and trans-fats – but they wouldn’t make this distinction) and the quantity (ok, probably partially the problem). But of course no mention that most of the calories in a fast food meal are carbs – the sugary drink, the buns and the fries. Ok, no surprise there – this is what we expect from the mainstream media.

    But the line that had me screaming at the computer screen was this one: “L.A.’s Unified School District became one of the first in the U.S. to ban soft drinks, candy and other high-fat snack foods from school vending machines.” Uh, fat in soft drinks and candy??? Fattening, yes, but fatty?? Sigh……It is right in front of them, and they cannot see!

    If any other low carbers want to spend some time screamingt at their computer screens, the full article is hear:

  25. Where would ancient man have gotten all the saturated fat? Wild mammals don’t have a lot of fat – except for bears in the autumn and maybe a few others.

    P.S. I canceled Mercola’s newsletter a few years ago when he was crowing about how great Michael Moore is and how great Moore’s latest medical movie would be, whatever the title was. Talk about a credibility problem.

    As a general rule, the larger the animal, the greater the saturated fat content. Paleolithic man hunted virtually all of the large mammals to extinction. There was plenty of saturated fat in the diet of early man.

  26. “Where would ancient man have gotten all the saturated fat? Wild mammals don’t have a lot of fat – except for bears in the autumn and maybe a few others.”

    Adding to what Dr. Eades said, large ruminant mammals have the most saturated fat. Primitives also ate the fat preferentially and wasted the lean meat. This profligate eating behavior led to the extinction of countless large animals. The idea that paleo man ate a low saturated fat and high-PUFA diet comes from Loren Cordain and has been refuted by others, like Anthony Colpo and Sally Fallon. Beef kidney suet is 25% more saturated than regular beef fat (56% vs 45%). The primitive humans would have eaten fat reserves around organs and wasted the lean meat so as to obtain a high ratio of dietary fat (like 75-80% of calories). So, the assumption of Cordain that primitives ate lean meat is wrong. They wasted the lean meat.

    I’m not so sure that Anthony Colpo and Sally Fallon (neither of whom are scientists) have ‘refuted’ Loren Cordain because neither has published anything in the peer-reviewed literature on the subject. But I do believe that Loren is incorrect on this issue. He and I planned to do a whole-carcass study on deer and elk from the mountains of Colorado but were shot down by the local bureaucrats who decide who and who can’t use local game for scientific purposes. The government agent hadn’t a clue as to what we were trying to do and couldn’t see the value of it. It’s just one more reason that I love our governing class so much.

  27. A quote from Catherine Collins RD in regards to diets for arthritis:
    “Drug therapy is always going to be better than dietary therapy,” says Catherine Collins, spokesman for the British Dietetic Association. “There is a lot of tosh spouted in some of the papers by so-called food nutritionists. With food, which is absolutely fundamental to life, the public seems to be more than happy to allow people who are totally unqualified to give advice. If people really want advice about diet they should ask their GP to be referred to a state registered dietician, who are not allowed to plug individual products. They may have to wait a few weeks but at least the advice they will be given will be sensible.”

    Yeah right!

    Jesus wept.

  28. I used Atkins’s book to successfully lose weight in the ’80s (now I use PP). My training is in psychology rather than a “hard” science, but the theoretical underpinnings seemed obvious even to me. And when they delivered in practice despite the very limited food choices available to vegetarians, I felt I had all the evidence I needed for the future.

    Which makes me wonder about the medical establishment and physicians like Ornish. Okay, so “it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it”. But that should not apply in science, and the individuals to whom it does apply should hear from their less-compromised colleagues. How can laypeople be expected to act realistically when the very people charged with understanding reality lie to them for personal gain?

    Dr Mike, I’m having a problem understanding something and can’t find it discussed in your book, this site, or Dr Bernstein’s book. If you could orient me –not in the role of physician giving medical advice, but as a scientist expert in a specialised field– I’d be grateful.

    I’m 68, and after an dietarily-unhealthy hiatus of some years, I’ve been back in a ketotic diet since early July because of a blood-glucose problem. It would not be hard for me to drop myself out of ketosis – even a cup of coffee lowers my ketone production, so I presume that means my beta cells are still alive and functioning (yes?). I manage to maintain a ketosis on the order of 60-160mg/dl (per Ketostix) by ruthlessly limiting my carbs (tofu, eggs, nuts, rehydrated whey), and I’m seeing some trivial body-shape changes though no actual size changes.

    But my BG remains persistently elevated ( ca. 125 ), I have no stamina during exercise, and the rate of fat mobilisation is nowhere near what I’d expect on a diet that averages on the order of 500 calories/25g carbs a day. The other day I went to the grocers (6.5km round trip) and was so exhausted when I got back that I had to sit down and rest for minutes twice while carrying my bike the two flights up to my apt – something that’s never happened before. I passionately do not want any more diabetic side-effects (I already have some toe numbness) yet cannot think of anything I can do to improve my situation. I presume there’s something I’m not seeing, or not interpreting correctly.

    You may want to increase the fat in your diet. And I would increase it by increasing meat intake, not dairy intake. I’ve heard from enough people who had their weight loss perk up the minute they got rid of dairy in their diet. In fact, the other day when we had lunch with Gary Taubes he related that a number of years ago when he was first experimenting with a low-carb diet he found that his weight loss picked up markedly when he quit drinking cream in his coffee. All these reports – including Gary’s – are anecdotal, but it may be worth a try to see if it works in your case.

  29. Dr. Eades,

    I’m sure you’ve heard or read about what Michael Phelps eats while he trains and I was wondering what your thoughts are concerning how much carbs he eats per day.


    Young elite athletes – for the most part – can get away with eating whatever they want. It doesn’t catch up to them until later. He’s expending a ton of energy in his activities, and he’s burning all carbs to do it. His activity level pretty much overrides the negative metabolic effects of the high-carb intake, but it won’t work forever.

  30. “I’m not so sure that Anthony Colpo and Sally Fallon (neither of whom are scientists) have ‘refuted’ Loren Cordain because neither has published anything in the peer-reviewed literature on the subject. But I do believe that Loren is incorrect on this issue.”

    As we all know, a lot of nonsense is published by scientists in the peer-reviewed literature. I think Cordain’s claims against saturated fat amount to that. Sally Fallon and Mary Enig ripped his arguments apart in a debate on the paleo diet lists, archived here.

    They’ve also written several other articles that refute his very flawed conclusions.

    The fact is that Cordain has frequently changed his positions. He used to argue that people had evolved as low-fat vegetarians. Then he revised his views and said they ate more fat and meat. He’s still recommends a very unhealthy diet, because humans were more hunters than gatherers. We ate fat preferentially and wasted lean meat. The fat eaten was predominantly SFAs and MUFAs, with very low PUFAs. His advice to use canola and flaxseed oil and eat nuts clearly has no precedent in the actual diets of hunting tribes. None of them would eat such vegetable oils, which are usually inferior in taste and nutrition to fat from ruminant mammals. The increased use of unsaturated oils spawned modern disease epidemics.

    Cordain has changed his position as the data he looks at changes. I think he is coming around to our way of thinking.

  31. Your comment about Gary Taubes’ weight loss picking up after he stopped drinking cream in his coffee mirrors my own experience. Even more, I find I lose weight more easily and steadily if I’m drinking Green Tea (Usually with Pomegranate extract) instead of coffee altogether.

    What could be the mechanism for that? I occasionally use an ion-exchange whey protein isolate for some extra protein (Especially in the mornings where I haven’t had time to fix my usual bacon and eggs), and have been trying to cook more and more with organic, grass-fed butter. I’ll see if those stall me like putting cream in my coffee does, too…

  32. Dr. Eades,

    Speaking of little things throwing us off (i.e. the cream in Taubes’ coffee)…

    Most evenings, I enjoy drinking two dark beers (porter, stout, ale, etc.). And other than that, on a good day (i.e. no cheating) I probably also consume about 70 net carbs throughout the day. I am deluding myself into thinking that those two beers are in any way healthy? Or are they derailing any progress I might be making with my otherwise-carb-restricted diet? And don’t suggest a low-carb beer like Michelob Ultra, because I’d rather get down on all fours and lap from my toilet. Thanks.

    If you are maintaining and not gaining on the beers, then I would say go for it. If you’re trying to lose, and your weight loss has stalled, the beers probably need to take a powder.

    I’m not all that keen on Michelob Ultra, but Bud Select isn’t too bad. If you can find it; it’s not in all markets.

  33. “Where would ancient man have gotten all the saturated fat? Wild mammals don’t have a lot of fat – except for bears in the autumn and maybe a few others.”

    “Adding to what Dr. Eades said, large ruminant mammals have the most saturated fat. Primitives also ate the fat preferentially and wasted the lean meat.”

    And way before hunting there was gathering ….. for large bones with the bone marrow left after hyenas meal. That brought about bipedalism, first tools and skills to make them, fire, hair loss on the torso and a big fatty brain, – everything that differ us from apes.

  34. “I’ve heard from enough people who had their weight loss perk up the minute they got rid of dairy in their diet. In fact, the other day when we had lunch with Gary Taubes he related that a number of years ago when he was first experimenting with a low-carb diet he found that his weight loss picked up markedly when he quit drinking cream in his coffee.”

    Cream has carbs and often carrageenan, refined sugars, and chemical additives. Plus, most of it is ultra-pasteurized in the USA. Also, coffee stimulates insulin, including decaf. For Taubes’s experiment to be valid, he would need to get rid of coffee, and use butter instead of cream. Butter has virtually no carbs (0.06% by weight). Another experiment would be to use ghee as the only dairy product. Ghee is 100% fat, so it may not cause the same reactions that cream, milk, and cheese do. If you can obtain them, raw butter and cream should also be tested, in order to make sure that the processing isn’t the problem.

  35. “And way before hunting there was gathering ….. for large bones with the bone marrow left after hyenas meal. That brought about bipedalism, first tools and skills to make them, fire, hair loss on the torso and a big fatty brain, – everything that differ us from apes.”

    I suspect that primitive people gathered shellfish, bugs, snails, worms, and so forth long before they gathered bone marrow from scavenged prey. They probably ate brains and other internal organs from scavenged animals, too, but it’s not clear that these were responsible for changes that you attribute to it. We don’t know how much of those could have been eaten, given their low availability, esp in smaller animals. It’s unlikely that we got to eat a lot of marrow and organs from large animals, until we began hunting them. Nor is it clear that it would be ideal to recreate such a hypothetical diet in today’s polluted stressful world, that isn’t like the world we evolved in (environmentally or culturally).

  36. I wish we have got a time machine :-)

    I’ve read a wery well (at least for me) argumented text on this subject, but it is not translated to English, and I believe the author is now forgotten.

  37. Hi – what do you look like with your shirt off? How does your family profile?

    Theory is good but proof is better. Do walk your talk and does it work for you/

    Thats what we need to know.

    If you look as good as this 58 yr old dude called Storm who has lived on a raw vegan plant based diet wiith very low protein for 20 plus years, then I’m all ears.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I reached out to bring you into the fold. You found me. If you want to follow a whole-food vegan diet, please don’t let me stand in your way.