Weekend link-o-rama 2/21/09

I don’t know about you guys, but I like these link-o-rama posts because they let me get rid of a bunch of tabs on Firefox and disseminate info that probably isn’t worth an entire post.

First, let me start out by linking to one of my wife’s recent posts.  We’ve had a spate of people writing us through the website asking about cookbooks, of all things.  She did a post a couple of months ago about her favorite cookbooks.  In case you missed it, here it is.

Second, I’m going to start using these link-o-ramas to link to some of my older posts that I think would be of interest to a lot of people now.  One that I thought was pretty good on how to dissect a scientific article didn’t get many readers since I wrote it back when maybe three people read this blog.  The notion that it didn’t get many readers is evidenced by the fact that there are zero comments on it.  So, without further ado, here is Baboon Business.

After all the recent posts about the savagery of the nature, I thought I would throw this item into the mix just to show that nature can be tamed, at least in the short run.  There is a guy who is a fixture in downtown Santa Barbara who has a dog, a cat and a rat as pets.  He is always down on State Street, the main street running through town, with the cat riding on the back of the dog, and the rat riding on the back of the cat.  Here is the YouTube, so you can see for yourselves.

I came across an interesting article titled Is Food the New Sex? in a little journal I get called Policy Review.   The writer of the article posits that our appetites for food and sex have more or less switched positions in our hierarchies of taboos since the 1950s.  She uses a woman who was a housewife in her 30s in the 1950s and her hypothetical granddaughter who is in her 30s today.  The housewife of the 1950s had no taboos on food and all kinds of taboos about sex whereas her granddaughter reads every label and is scared to death of her food, yet expects to live together for a trial run before marriage to her boyfriend and has friends with all sorts of alternative lifestyles.  A fun, but long, article to read.

What follows are a couple of quotes separated by years, but nevertheless related.  So I figured I would post them juxtaposed so that the connection would be obvious.  The first is from Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), an economist of the Austrian school.

The luxury of today is the necessity of tomorrow. Every advance first comes into being as the luxury of a few rich people, only to become, after a time, an indispensable necessity taken for granted by everyone. Luxury consumption provides industry with the stimulus to discover and introduce new, things. It is one of the dynamic factors in our economy. To it we owe the progressive innovations by which the standard of living of all strata of the population has been gradually raised.

The next quote is from the transcript of a CNBC interview with Warren Buffett last year.  I don’t agree with Mr. Buffett on everything, but I do on this.

…we’ve had a number of recessions in this country; in fact, we had a Great Depression, we had–we’ve got world wars. And throughout, the genius of the American economy, our emphasis on a meritocracy and a market system and a rule of law has enabled generation after generation to live better than their parents did. And, I mean, most of the people in this room, practically all of them last night, lived better than John D. Rockefeller lived. I mean, all kinds of things have happened. And in the 20th century alone, the standard of living of the average American went up seven for one. There’s never been a period like it in history. And that’s not an accident. It’s because we unleash human potential and will continue to do that in the future.

Here is a link to a site containing a video of Gary Taubes, Dr. Jay Wortman, Dr. Alan Einstein and me taken last year at a conference in Phoenix.  We’re all expounding on the problems of the low-fat diet.  It’s the first video in the link.  I haven’t watched the other two, so I can’t tell you what’s in those.

For those of you interested in intermittent fasting, here is an article on the subject from the Los Angeles Times.  I’m working on another post on IF that I hope to have up within the next couple of weeks.

Researchers aren’t sure why the body apparently benefits from a state of mini-starvation. One theory is that the process produces just enough stress in cells to be good. “What our evidence suggests is that nerve cells in animals that are on dietary energy restriction are under mild stress,” Mattson says. “It’s a mild stress that stimulates the production of proteins that protect the neurons against more severe stress.”

What they do know is that occasionally going without food or reducing calories daily makes the body more sensitive to insulin, which helps maintain normal blood sugar levels. And animal studies suggest calorie restriction may reduce the risk of cancer by slowing the growth of abnormal cells.

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64 thoughts on “Weekend link-o-rama 2/21/09

  1. The YouTube video was very entertaining. And watching the video of you and the others at the conference was a pleasure and of course a reinforcement for low carb living. I’m curious: do you feel intermittent fasting is beneficial? I know you’re working on a post on the subject but a brief answer would be appreciated. Thanks.

    I’ve been all over the place on intermittent fasting, but the short answer at this point is yes, I do think it is beneficial.

    • Hi Dr Eades,

      Not sure if this comment on an old article will pop up on your radar, but as someone who has only just stumbled upon IF, I was wondering whether you ever published the post you say you’re working on here? It would be great to read your current thoughts on this subject that you say you’ve been “all over the place on” 🙂

      Thanks!
      PR

  2. re: IF,

    I used to skip food most days until the evening meal just naturally, then all the controls were gone, and I eventually ended up eating way too much at night, and I got quite pudgy as a result, along with the all too common metabolic problems. So now I’m on low carb, eating 2-4 meals daily and feeling great, but I’m still pudgy and can’t drop any of the excess 100 pounds I’m carrying. Granted, I’m 57 and post menopausal, which makes any weight loss effort hard. But I’ve been averaging 25 carbs or less daily for almost 2 months, and I don’t weigh any less than when I started. Bummer.

    My point is, intermittent fasting was part of what got me in trouble, so I really don’t see how it could be considered good practice.

  3. I’m sure many of your readers also read Mark’s Daily Apple and he’s go people trained to expect a weekend link post. Fabius Maximus who blogs on geopolitics does weekend link posts all the time too and in fact also referenced Is Food the New Sex? this weekend.

    I think these types of posts serve a useful function especially if the links are of high quality.

  4. Enjoyed Baboon Business. You should definately continue to link to old posts that you think would be of interest today.

    I’m glad you liked Baboon Business. I’m just excited that someone besides me has read it. 🙂

  5. Food addiction has been a central theme of my life. Weight fluctuation, low body image, weight scale obsession and scrupulous analysis of various plan led me to the dead end road time after all. After all the readings, exeperiments and doubts I now believe I have found the only road that leads to success! I dont believe anymore, I know! There is a huge difference between believing and knowing! I am a believer now. So that is it for me. I will not go on a lifestyle that I know works. I call it KISS and KIL paln. Keep it simple stupid and keep Insulin Low! Dr Mike I will keep your picture as a motivation and reminded in my pocket every time I feel like grabbing a sugar spiking food. Dr Dryer used La Tzu as inspiration for his spiritual works, others use different icons and figure of authority. I am not worshiping or idilizing you, but your calm demeanor and rational approach multiplied by abandance of knowledge makes me stop my insane carb addictions every time I fail! I will have to be careful as to expalin to my gfriend now why I have a man picture in my wallet,but its a small price to pay if you help me avoid insane carb binges. And every time I feel like it I always reach out for your blog or one of your clips! Some of conservative politicians love to frame their supporters as Great Americans! Although my opinion might not be worth that much, but I think you are a Great American and am sure many others will share this sentiment! Thank you Sir as always!

    Hang in there. Be tough. You’re a guy who can leap into freezing water in the middle of winter, for God’s sake. That requires a lot more self control than fending off a carb binge. You should be able to do it with or without my photo in your wallet.

  6. Hey Dr. Eades; “Baboon Business” is probably my favorite of your blog posts. At any rate, it’s the only post I specifically bookmarked two years ago when I discovered your blog and spent a full week reading its entire history. (I have your blog main page bookmarked, of course, but that’s the post I thought so special it had to be singled out for its own bookmark too.)

    I’m happy to hear that someone at least read it. Thanks.

  7. There are advantages to having a sleepless night; I read “Baboon Business”. Great post.

    I’m a walking encyclopedia when it comes to fasting. I’ve been doing it in various forms since I was 21 and I’m almost 76. The longest fast was a month, drinking water, walking several miles a day, and looking and feeling fantastic. The hunger ceases after a few days. A few months after the fast, I lost my hair. Thin and bald-not a great combination.

    Throughout my life, I’ve always fasted at least two days a week. I earned a diamond pin from Weight Watchers when I went from 265 to 138 in 10 months (about 13 pounds a month). The leader of the WW group asked me how I was able to have such a consistent weight loss. Well, it certainly wasn’t their diet plan. I was fasting every weekend.

    I have mixed feelings about fasting in any form. In my case, it’s too closely related to my lifelong eating disorder. My mother was 96 and lucid and beautiful and her favorite food was candy. My grandfather was 95 and loved knishes (and literally loved the younger woman next door); neither of them ever missed a meal.

    Now, I fast every Sunday and never eat lunch or snack. I love the long interval between breakfast (tri-tip steak) and dinner (pork loin chops)-it’s generally breakfast at 9 a.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Ketosis is the best osis.

    Marly

  8. I read “Baboon Business” too, way back when, just didn’t comment on it. I think I discovered your blog in the spring of 2006 and went back to the beginning to read every single post (not a week-long task at that time). It’s definitely worth it, for those readers who haven’t done that yet.

    I have a notebook where I keep track of my weight, bloodwork results, carb counts, and other health-related info, and in that notebook I’ve taped printouts of several things you’ve said in posts (directly to me in one case). I take the notebook to doctors’ appointments as ammunition against the possibility (probability) that they will tell me to do something I know I shouldn’t do.

    I like the link-o-rama posts too. Hope to see more. –Anne

  9. Here is another study along the lines of the Baboon post you might like to dissect. “High-fat Diets Inflame Fat Tissue Around Blood Vessels, Contribute To Heart Disease”.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090218142001.htm

    ““Elevated blood lipids—or cholesterol levels—can worsen with the intake of high fat diets, and this is known to contribute to atherosclerosis,” he says. “However, many patients who consume high fat diets do not exhibit abnormal lipid profiles but still develop atherosclerosis nonetheless.

    I tried to pull this paper, but it’s not available yet. I don’t put a lot of stock in it, though, because it is a mouse study, and, as I’ve written countless times, mice aren’t just little furry humans. What applies to them often doesn’t apply to us, especially where diet is concerned.

  10. Gisela, IF on a low carb diet is a lot different than IF on the SAD. If your body isn’t craving carbohydrates, it won’t get nearly as hungry. Rich Nikoley and Dr. DeVany, among others, have posted on the benefits of IF.

  11. Thanks for the links. I was not one of your three readers when you first posted ‘Baboon Business’ so it was a fascinating read for me. 🙂

    But I do wonder how easy it might be for the average “intelligent layperson” to be able to winkle out all the data. Are full texts readily available these days for most things? I remember in years past wanting to look at a full study on PubMed, but it was available only with a paid subscription, which is not an expense that was justifiable to me.

    And while I consider myself reasonably intelligent, and I’m an avid reader, I’m not sure how easily I’d be able to determine things like the significance of MCP-1 elevation. But it sure gave me “food for thought” – far better for me than a lot of the food I ate in years past! But this time around I’m into my 8th week of being low carb, sugar free, grain free, and down 14 pounds. I love your blog.

    Full texts are available for a lot of papers now with more becoming available every day. The paper from the AJCN that was the topic of Baboon Business wasn’t available in full text when I wrote the post, but is now, and I’ve changed the link to the full text version. If you go into our website you can find a list of journals pertaining to nutrition, many of which do have full text available. You just have to work at it to be able to ‘winkle’ (love that word) out all the data. I didn’t read a single medical paper (many textbooks, but no papers) during my entire time in medical school. I taught myself how to do it long afterward.

  12. I often noticed when I skip breakfast I feel absolutely great. I often wondered how to correlate “feelings” like that with whats actually happening metabolically. That would be very useful. I sometimes have a high protein breakfast and get the same sensations… making me think that “carb fasting” may be the issue. Pretty speculative, however.

  13. The article on food and sex starts out making some interesting observations but ends up making some bizarre ones such as this: “In the end, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the rules being drawn around food receive some force from the fact that people are uncomfortable with how far the sexual revolution has gone — and not knowing what to do about it, they turn for increasing consolation to mining morality out of what they eat.”

    Isn’t it simply that technology could be responsible for the degradation of both. The decline of organized religion may be contributing also (as far as the sex is concerned). I can’t help but believe that if there were internet porn and Doritos in the 50’s there would be people indulging in both.

    I wonder if it would have been made more sense to take this approach — “Is food and technology the new sex?”… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHchl4AxsE0

  14. Posting links to older posts is a terrific idea.

    I found your blog in Dec. 2008, after reading a tiny blurb in “Shape” Magazine about leptin & hunger. I typed in “leptin & hunger” into Yahoo!, and the first post that came up was yours about the subject.

    I have since devoured your blog, have purchased PPLP, and have completely changed to a LC diet. I’m amazed at how much better I feel, I’ve lost weight, blah blah blah…you’ve heard it a million times!

    In trying to review archived posts, I realize how much I’ve missed.

    So, thanks for linking to older posts, and I hope you continue to do so!

  15. I’m glad you liked Baboon Business. I’m just excited that someone besides me has read it.

    Actually, this would have been the second time I’ve read it, because when I first found your blog I read every post (OK, I skipped some of the travel/non-health posts) and even, since you were answering comments, read all the comments. I didn’t want to ask questions you had answered time and time again.

    But I’m sure I got more out of it the second time around.

  16. Dr. Mike,
    the article “Is food the new sex” was a fascinating read, thanks! it has given me some startling new understanding of my 19 year old daughter, and i need all the help i can get.
    Dan

  17. @Gisela – IF (like any eating plan) can go wrong when the food choices are not what they should be. Many find great success with IF, but you need to still make the right choices…it’s not a pass to IFOC (as I call it, IF on Crap). Weight loss is still about total calories. If you are not losing weight then one of a few things may be going wrong…A) you are still eating/drinking too many calories (assuming you are not crash dieting with too little calories daily)….B) your metabolism is too low due to something which may (or may not) include underactive thyroid (from crash dieting too long, or other issue) or loss of muscle mass as you age. I would suggest some strength training, monitor your real calorie intake and then adjust as needed. Don’t expect the fat loss to start happening without changing something up, take control and I know you can see positive results. Best of luck.
    Mike OD

  18. I’ve really enjoyed your dovetailing of quotes from Von Mises, Warren Buffett, and the post on wild versus domestic animals. We humans have advanced because of the extraordinary contributions of a handful of geniuses. Freedom and risk taking permit this, such as the freedom of yourself and your readers to follow the best scientific information.

    I’m not a fan of the trend toward government intrusion into all facets of our lives, and greatly appreciate your consistently brilliant writing. In the last three years, I have “found” the Drs. Eades, Devany, Davis, Cannell, McGuff, and Gary Taubes to have made a profound impact on my thinking and lifestyle.

    Thank you for it all.

  19. Thanks for the Baboon Business link. I love this sort of analysis. Follow the trail, look for what’s missing, catch them in a “fudgaroo.” Not revealing the actual sources of the food, other than the general composition, makes about as much sense as if researchers doing dietary studies on humans reported that the subjects ate a SAD. Here’s the data from the missing table, not in a very pretty format, though.

    TABLE 1
    Measured composition of the basal and high-cholesterol, high-fat (HCHF) diets

    Basal diet HCHF diet
    Energy (kcal/g) 3.1 3.8
    Carbohydrates (%) 75 39
    Protein (%) 18 20
    Fat (%) 7 41
    Cholesterol content (mg/g) 0.02 6.37

    Fat composition
    Saturated fat (%) 23.9 44.4
    Monounsaturated fat (%) 25.2 40.7
    Polyunsaturated fat (%) 50.9 14.9
    Polyunsaturated/saturated 2.2 0.33
    Monounsaturated/polyunsaturated 0.5 2.7

    Fatty acid composition (%)
    Myristic acid (14:0) 1.0 1.8
    Palmitic acid (16:0) 17.0 24.8
    Palmitoleic acid (16:1) 1.1 2.0
    Stearic acid (18:0) 5.0 17.8
    Oleic acid (18:1) 25.6 38.7
    Linoleic acid (18:2) 46.7 13.9
    Linolenic acid (18:3) 3.4 0.9

    Thanks for the analysis. I appreciate it.

  20. My guess about why nobody commented on the Baboon Business post in all these months is that most of us realize that we’re not smart or experienced enough in reading medical literature to perform the kind of analysis you did, nor do we have the time or access to the medical journals you do.

    Thanks for shredding a worthless study, but the dissection you performed is beyond most lay people’s abilities and resources.

  21. Dr Mike, even quiting smoking cold turkey after many years was easier than stopping eating carbs! I am pursuing a new plan of action now and so far so good! I totally got rid of a scale. I will only weigh once a month from now on! I realized that every carb binge would start either out of frustration or some other emotional trigger. When I am content and peaceful I never binge on anything, I mostly feed my phisiological hunger. So I am dealing with my emotions now. I have undertaken yoga with my new girlfriend. It was tough the first class. i couldnt relax and I couldnt stop lauphing. It was embarrasing at first, but second class was better. I never knew how many positions there are in yoga, its totally insane. There were about 20 people, all women and me. But it helped me to relax. Its kind of cool. My friends still lauph at me. I look funny doing yoga, its like elephant on skates, big and out of synch.
    I might have lost many battles, but I know for sure the war is far from over! Long live the love and perseverence!

  22. I heart your brain Dr Mike.

    The food/sex article was brilliant. It was spot on about how people have a natural desire for morality and if they don’t find it in an area which applies, they will apply it in a manner which is less appropriate. I know people who have no trouble putting all manner of poison on their lawn to kill weeds while at the same time buying organic foods and loudly insisting everyone who loves the planet should as well. People I know recently gutted and renovated a perfectly good kitchen to make it more “green”, sending a big dumpster full of “wasteful” materials to the landfill. These people don’t see the incongruity of their actions nor do they understand that their opinion isn’t the only valid one. All I ask is that you either live the green 24/7 or stop preaching it.

    The baboon post reminded me of one of my favorite classes in college, Statistics. We had a section on research methods and reporting that required us to write a paper using the exact type of outline you posted. It was fascinating how many premises were unsupported by the time the research was completed. Out of a class of twenty only two papers demonstrated what they had initially set out to prove. One of the two was set up to show how bias in posing a question could influence outcome. (no duh)

  23. “Is food the new sex?” Great article.

    Regarding the IF article, Hellerstein mentioned that “during fasting, almost every system in the body is ‘turned down’. Hellerstein says. The body changes how it uses fuel. Certain hormone levels fall. Growth stops. Reproduction becomes impossible”.

    To say that “growth stops” seems off the mark to me. I was under the impression that during a fast, growth hormone secretion generally increases.

    Also, with regards to the IF article. It might just be the angle of the photo, but Dan Goldman’s head looks big for his body; he is the guy in the photo attached to the IF article. I believe this is common in people who drastically undereat. I think that this is one drawback for some people that practice IF; they undereat too much and don’t nourish themselves well enough using protein and fat-rich foods.

    You just have to avoid the problem by eating enough on eat days.

  24. Dr. Eades
    I have noticed a lot of “experiments” taking place over the internet with participants initiating a zero-carb diet and consuming tremendous amounts of calories (well; lets say over 4000). What is your opinion on that? Is calorie a calorie and can we gain fat on a zero-carb diet?

    It’s tough to gain on a zero carb diet because a) it’s difficult to get enough calories to really gain weight, and b) those calories you do get are the kind that keep insulin low and prevent fat storage.

  25. Thanks for the linkfest, it’s always enjoyable. I wish videos like that would become more mainstream. I woke up to the Today Show on Saturday and some “dietitian” was teaching the masses how to read nutrition labels. If you watch this video (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/29314678#29314678) you’ll want to wring her scrawny little neck. Three hundred grams of carbohydrate! The poor gal has been drinking too much government Kool Aid.

    I’ve always liked the Baboon Business post. It taught me how to look at things critically, and has one of the funniest quotes you’re ever written: “Data can’t “trend toward” significance anymore than a women can “trend toward” being pregnant.”

    Another of your posts that has helped me analyze things is “Statistical Humbug”- http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/bogus-studies/statistical-humbug/

    A good understanding of both those posts (along with many others) has allowed me to identify all kinds of shenanigans.

  26. Thanks, Dr. Mike, for guiding us through such specious shinanigans. Doesn’t anyone screen these articles?

    Yes, but if they confirm a bias that’s already in place in the heads of the reviewers, shoddy stuff gets accepted.

  27. Dr. Mike,

    I like the quote in Baboon Business.

    “Huang Po, The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The wise reject what they think, not what they see.”

    Reminds me of the study comparing high fat meals, one with saturated fat and the other with polyunsaturated fat. The researched used a Milk Shake VS Carrot Cake meals. They concluded that saturated fat was worse than the polyunsaturated one, just confirmed their preconceived notion. What they missed was that both meals had more carbohydrates than fat or protein, but still called them high fat meals.

    http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/lipid-hypothesis/saturated-fat-study-sucks/

    Dan

  28. Anthony Bourdain just did a one hour TV show called ‘Food Porn’ for I believe the Travel Channel that you may catch in rerun. The theme is food as the new porn. As is the usual with him, very entertaining!
    Thank you for another great post!

  29. I second Karen J’s comment, I saw that segment and it reinforced how much sea change there is to make with these “nutritionists.”

  30. An all-bacon diet? Count me in, too. I love thick-sliced bacon, and I cook it over very low heat so that it stays soft, not crunchy. Then I save all the grease for cooking. I rarely use olive oil anymore.

    QUESTION: Is there any worry concerning the nitrates, though? How much bacon would you have to eat over time before being concerned about the nitrates?

    Remember the Bacon Explosion food porn that someone linked to around Super Bowl time? I showed that to so many people, and every one of them said, “5000 calories! 500 grams of fat! No way I’d eat that. I’d die of a heart attack before finishing two bites.” I tried to explain that, for one thing, you would have a slice, not the entire thing in one sitting.

    Strange that the same person would look at a chocolate cake with icing and say, “Yes, please!” And yet the entire cake has 4800 calories and 740 carbs! And I’ll bet the person wouldn’t take just a sliver, either.

    Here’s a nice link on the subject of nitrites. I don’t worry about them.

  31. Dr. Eades, you have been outdoing yourself recently with all your thought-provoking posts. I read the Is Food the New Sex article–its author makes very good points. I’m pleased to see that somebody has noticed the sexual revolution is not all the fun and games it’s supposed to be but is having some quite tragic and unforseen consequences. One of the things that gripes me the most about the people who are vegetarian so they won’t hurt animals and the PETA crowd is that while they think no harm should ever be done to animals, they tend to be very liberal about sexual mores, including a woman’s supposed constitutional “right” to abortion. It’s totally okay to rip an in utero baby limb from limb without even the mercy of an analgesic, to forcibly deliver a baby far enough for a “doctor” to suck out its brains and then finish delivering its corpse, to abandon a baby who survives an abortion to die, to dispose of aborted human remains in a bio-hazard bag and discard them in a dumpster, all in the name of having sexual intercourse just for the fun of it with no intention of having a baby, without having to take any respsonsiblity for the new human being one’s act of intercourse has created. But it’s unethical to kill animals for food!

  32. Here’s a twist on IF that seems to be working for me. I am post-menopausal and hypothyroid, so losing weight is very SLOW. In the past several years, I’ve gone from about 330 down to 245, but for the past year, I’ve lost and gained the same 10 pounds over and over. My endocrinologist confirms that my metabolism is exceptionally slow (the hypo and genetics), so I really can’t lose unless I have <1000 cal per day. Trying to do that daily was very frustrating and led to frequent overeating and sabotaging of my woe. A few months ago, I discovered JUDDD, the plan that involves eating very low calorie on alternative days–e.g., On my “down days,” I eat only 400 cal., and on my UDs, I’ll eat between 1200 and 1400. This keeps me below 1000 on average, but those UDs feel like feasts. I eat low carb every day.

    So far I’m losing but slowly. I’m hoping this will work so that I can begin to shed weight again rather than keep rebounding as I have been doing. My body seems to be fighting me because it wants to be 250 and I want to get below 200!

    Based on the comment about serious calorie restriction being heathy, this woe seems to be OK. Do you agree?

    I think it’s fine if it’s working for you. And you’re getting plenty of good quality protein.

  33. I have *Protein Power* and am using the program, but am concerned about the oxidation of the cholesterol in cooked meats, dairy, and eggs. Is this an issue? Konstantin Monastyrsky recommends eating meat fresh and raw or close to it. Opinion?

    My opinion is that I don’t think it’s a problem.

  34. In reference to nothing I just wanted to put to the record that the government of my country, Denmark, has just proposed a major tax reform in which they will put more tax on unhealthy (food) stuffs. Sugar, tobacco and icecream (!) will bear half the burden and then … wait for it … saturated fat the other half.

    You are not seeing things. In Denmark we are actually going to have extra tax on goods containing sat fats, as these promote CVD and cancer (!)

    Please help me!

    God help us all and save us from the do-gooders.

  35. Baboon Business was a good read.
    I wonder what’s your view on Evidence-Based Practice?
    Do you know of any good articles on the subject?

    My view is that Evidence-based practice is fine as long as it’s based on real evidence. The evidence shows that statins don’t work for the vast majority of people, but most doctors give them thinking they are practicing in an evidence-based way.

  36. Kathy from Maine…snip…An all-bacon diet? Count me in, too. I love thick-sliced bacon, and I cook it over very low heat so that it stays soft, not crunchy…snip

    Dr. Eades-

    Isn’t that what your son called wobbly bacon? I love it that way also and I love that word.

    Marly

    It is indeed wobbly. Hope to have some myself in a few minutes.

  37. Hello Michael,

    I am hoping that you will comment on this website that espouses whole wheat as one of the most healthy foods we should be eating — http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=66

    In response to me telling a friend about your blog, as well as Dr. William Davis’ blog, she sent me the above link.

    As someone new to the low carb world (by way of Diabetes 101 and David Menendez, who both advocate low carb eating for diabetics to control blood sugar spikes and weight), I am finding it difficult to sort through the many contradictions I am reading about with regard to diet and health. I confess to liking Micheal Pollan’s views in his book, “In Defense of Food” and his comments on ideology. I just finished Protein Power and have been trying the diet. Losing weight and controlling blood sugar readings, but also experiencing occasional headaches and nausea during the day. I am not diabetic, but am prediabetic.

    The article on wheat you linked to is a whitewash. It doesn’t mention all the problems with WGA, none of the problems with increased gut permeability, the molecular mimicry potential, or any of the other evidence that wheat is problematic in the human diet. Wheat can’t be eaten as it is, it must be processed, so any wheat product is a processed food. Wheat provides starch and a few vitamins, but that’s about it.

  38. Thank you so much for the link on nitrites. Arugula has more nitrates (by far!) than a hot dog!?!?!!?!?!?

    That’s the thing about the internet, though. What and who can you believe? Had I stumbled across JunkFoodScience.blogspot.com on my own, I would likely have thought it to be just some nut job’s opinion of things.

    But then you gave it credibility. I know you don’t necessarily agree with EVERYTHING on the web sites you link to (like you once said that even though you include the Weston A. Price Foundation in your list of recommended links, you do agree with at least some … most? … of what is said there) so how do you separate the fly speck from the pepper, to quote a good friend of mine?

    I don’t agree with a lot on that particular website, but that one post is a gem. I found it because I was going to do a post on the subject myself, and so Googled it. Her post came up, and when I read it, I realized she had written the post I would have written, so I saved myself the time and send the link to hers whenever I’m asked about nitrites.

  39. Dr. Eades,

    Could you comment on the study quoted on the CNN website about women, wine and cancer risk? I’m concerned, because my wife and i enjoy a glass of wine with dinner most days,
    Dan

    Keep on enjoying. The ‘study’ you refer to was an observational study, and, as such, worthless for determining causality.

  40. You missed an important factor in reading research papers: Disclosures (or whatever else they call the bit where the Authors’ financial links to drug companies are revealed).

    Medscape CMEs are often an excellent summation of current leading edge thought but sometimes the bias is incredible until you read that bit. ISTR a paper comparing Avastin (cheap) with Lucentis (v. expensive) for macular degeneration: while the data actually showed very little difference the conclusion plumped overwhelmingly for Lucentis on the basis that it had been specially tweaked for this specific condition. Obviously the cost of the molecular tweaking needed to be recouped irrespective of whether it did any good.

  41. This potpourri-style blog entry makes the following post as relevant as anything else.

    My wife gets two health newsletters, one from Harvard Medical School and one from the University of California, Berkeley. Both of them discuss triglycerides in their March 2009 issues.

    From Harvard Women’s Health Watch page 8:
    “Some people have an inherited predisposition to high triglycerides. Other contributing factors are obesity, excessive alcohol use, a diet high in saturated fats, and various medical conditions, such as poorly controlled diabetes . . .”
    “If there are medical reasons for your high triglycerides, you’ll need to work with your clinician to address them, possibly with medications. If not, concentrate on lifestyle strategies, including a diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.”

    How’s that for the latest medical information?

    Compare to the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, page 3:
    “Whether a high triglyceride level by itself endangers the heart is controversial. But high levels tend to go hand-in-hand with a constellation of other risk factors for heart disease, including low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increased levels of small dense particles of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, insulin resistance or diabetes, abdominal obesity, and high blood pressure. . . .”
    “Dietary changes include cutting sugars and other refined carbohydrates, and eating less saturated and trans fats. The same foods that boost blood sugar most (such as sugars and some starchy foods) also boost triglycerides. This doesn’t mean you need to go on a low-carb diet, but you should eat more “good” carbs, including those in whole grains, beans, and vegetables.”

    I don’t know which one’s worse, the one that denies the facts (Harvard) or the one that affirms that (1) carbs cause the problem, (2) it is desirable to eliminate the problem, and (3) it is not desirable to eliminate carbs (Berkeley).

    Pretty amazing. And both of them bash saturated fats, which have nothing to do with triglycerides any more than aby other kind of fat.

  42. Hi Dr. Mike:
    I know ketosis and ketoacidosis aren’t the same thing, but can you help me differentiate them here:
    http://cxlxmxrx.blogspot.com/2009/02/ketosis-vs-ketoacidosis.html

    Thanks!

    Ketosis is a natural state. When the level of ketones gets too high, the pancreas releases a little insulin and shuts down the process of producing ketones. People who have type I diabetes can produce no insulin, so, therefore, have no ability to shut down ketone production, allowing ketones to build to dangerous levels. Ketones are acidic, so when blood levels become too high, one goes into ketoacidosis, a dangerous situation. But, it never, ever happens unless you have type I diabetes. Simply producing ketones on a low-carb diet will never lead to ketoacidosis unless you have type I diabetes. Then any diet can lead to ketoacidosis.

  43. Here’s a thought: maybe you could do a post or posts on “things I no longer believe since writing PP or PPL” and have it as a topic people could search and this could provide more comprehensive answers and allow you to just reference the post(s) when you get repetitive questions.

    Good idea, but I don’t know if it would work. Probably two thirds of the questions I’m asked right now could be answered if people would enter the topic into the search function.

  44. RE: is food the new sex….I thought this was a bit of a stretch and then having just watched a doco on Heidi Fleiss who said “I was raised a strict vegetarian…. been a vegetarian my whole entire life…” so yep maybe there is something in it.

  45. More on the Pounds Lost study:

    Wow, did that story ever get picked up by the media. They ate it up; had a picnic with it; devoured it like piranhas; had a feeding frenzy; so to speak. The message the media presented was ‘all those wacky diets people try don’t really make any difference’. I suppose one could turn that on its face and say the low fat diet isn’t any better for weight loss than any other diet.

    And of course, their low carb diet wasn’t what you or I would consider low carb.

    Or in a more positive light, it could mean they (mainstream) are beginning to develop a face-saving path to a future low carb sanity. Nah, that’s too rosey a picture methinks.

  46. You were the one who made it clear to me about the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis and that there was only a saftey issue with type one diabetics and gave me the courage to go zero carb back in July, but your explanation above is just brilliant. It makes the entire issue really clear. I only thought I understood it before.

  47. On more unexplored data point on IF that might be worth looking at is the way zoos intermittently fast their carnivores to maintain them in optimal health. Lions, tigers, et al, and typically fed one meal a day, then not fed at all one or two days a week. So a total of 5 or 6 meals per week.

    I’ve been zero carb and IF (all meat diet) eating one meal a day for the past five months, and lost 60 pounds that way. But I stalled out last month, did the math and realized that even eating once a day I was exceeding my BMR by about 50% calorically (the joy of fatty 2.5 pound ribeyes). Rather than cut back on the size of my meals I elected to try the lions-and-tigers IF method above. Dropping two eating days a week still kept the weekly calories just above my total weekly BMR. Thus far, eating five meals a week and fasting on Mondays and Fridays has broken my stall and gotten the weight loss rolling again.

    I know my example is anecdotal, but the feeding of lions and tigers is an established practice and you may be able to find references that I can’t get to.

    Additionally, back when you posted your request for article requests, I didn’t think to ask for you to do an article on the benefits/nutrition of the all meat diet. You often mention it as the best stall breaker, but all meat is something that I’ve never seen you go into in depth here or in your PPLP.

    No, I haven’t written a post yet on an all-meat diet. I’ve got one twirling around in my head, but I haven’t committed it to electrons yet. I will post on the subject at some point, but it seems like there is always some new form of idiocy that needs to be addressed on a more timely basis, so I never get to the all-meat diet post. If the media would only learn to read these studies critically and quit giving coverage to them, then I could devote my time to more valuable subjects rather than trying to do what the media should have done in the first place.

  48. Dr. Eades This may be unrelated to the topic, but what do you think of the hype about the new “research” concerning lasofoxifene. The numbers in the media sound so good that I am very suspicious. I tried to find a copy of the entire study on line, but was unable to get it. I would appreciate your comments.

    I guess I’m not aware of any new studies. Last I heard, this drug had been hammered by the FDA.

  49. From Harvard Women’s Health Watch page 8:
    “Some people have an inherited predisposition to high triglycerides. Other contributing factors are obesity, excessive alcohol use, a diet high in saturated fats, and various medical conditions, such as poorly controlled diabetes . . .”
    “If there are medical reasons for your high triglycerides, you’ll need to work with your clinician to address them, possibly with medications. If not, concentrate on lifestyle strategies, including a diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.”

    How’s that for the latest medical information?

    Judas F Priest!!!

    Replacing the carbs with fats decimated my trigs, and I mean that literally.

    Do these people breed??? If so they should be stopped immediately

    Indeed they should be stopped. What a bunch of twaddle. Saturated fats have nothing to do with driving up triglycerides.

  50. The “Baboon business” post/takedown is AWESOME. Great job!!!

    Are there any books or articles that you’d recommend to help become a more critical reader of these studies? You mention in a response above that you taught yourself how to do it, but was there anything that was particularly influential in the development of your skills? Thanks

    I read a few basic books on statistics along the way (I don’t remember which ones) to familiarize myself with the terminology. I somehow escaped ever taking a statistics course in college, so my statistics is all self-taught. I mainly just went through a bunch of medical papers that I thought had come to incorrect conclusions to see where the authors went wrong or tried to fudge their results. By doing this enough, I ultimately taught myself what to look for.

  51. I too found the article on food and sex interesting, although her model 50’s housewife has…amnesia? I think the author must be a bit too young to remember that era firsthand, but she should have done a little arithmetic first.

    If she’s 30 in 1958, why would her parents have to tell her about the Depression? Seems like she’d remember it just fine. That was her childhood. And wartime rationing–wasn’t she a teenager?–and Victory gardens and the whole bit. One of the ways to survive privation is to learn to make preserved (canned, dried, etc.) foods palatable. The cooking Betty learned at her mother’s side would have emphasized “making do.” And thanks to the sexual mores of the day, Betty is married. She most likely cooks whatever her husband likes best, saving her own favorites for lunches while he is at work. Food is not entirely lacking moral pressure: she nags her children to eat their (overcooked) vegetables, and her husband dutifully eats his “to set a good example.” If the old-country grandparents are still present, no doubt they complain that the children aren’t eating enough, and press more food on them. (Mine certainly did.)

    My mother is pretty close to “Betty’s” age, and although I didn’t arrive until ’59, I don’t think things had changed much since 1949. Her family had survived the Depression with a garden and a milk cow (right in town!). We had fresh vegetables from our own garden in season, otherwise something from the store, which might be fresh, frozen or canned. (Fresh vegetables were not usually affordable out of season.) Generally the vegetables, fresh or not, were overcooked by today’s standards. Potatoes were peeled every night, often before the rest of the meal was planned. There was often an iceberg-lettuce-and-tomato salad on the table. And we always drank milk with meals. In season, there might be homemade apple pie for dessert. Yes, the pie involved Crisco. But it’s certainly not true that people then ate everything out of cans.

    My nieces have no idea how to make apple pie. And low-carb means I’m not making them very often. I think the art of apple pie is dying.

  52. After contemplating LC and IF for a year or two, I’ve embarked just this past week. One meal a day, between approx 6-8pm. Grass-fed buffalo or lamb, fish, eggs, butter, some other natural fats as well, maybe an oz or two of nuts/seeds; plus always an enormous 3-lb salad with tbsp olive oil and tbsp cider vinegar; no fruit for the moment but will add back in some LC fruit eventually.

    I’m 5’10” male, 147 lbs. I’d like to reach 130 lbs (would be a 29″ waist) and then try to put on a decent amount of muscle while keeping the boyish waistsize. An analysis of the meal done on http://www.nutridiary.com (_very_ convenient website, IMHO) shows calories = ~1800; fat = 66%; protein = 19%, carbs = 15%. total carbs = 70 and dietary fiber = 40. Looks to me like I’ve achieved saintliness regarding the 30 EC per day. However, since it’s all in one meal I’m wondering if I’m inadvertently somehow defeating the benefits of LC.

    In other words, and here’s the general question for you: If a LC’er gets down to 30 EC a day, but it’s all in IF’er’s one meal a day, is that a problem? I.e. is the good ~30 EC per day somehow undone by the bad ~30 EC per meal?

    Thanks. Couldn’t find a discussion of this in PP, PPL, or on the blog, but maybe I didn’t search properly for it.

    I don’t think it is a problem if you are IFing. If you’re losing and doing well, I wouldn’t worry about it.

  53. Thank you for your hard work! I confess addiction to your blog, which is better than my previous addiction to Poilane bread, Brittany butter and dark chocolate.

    I do research myself but rely on you to make sense of conflicting or confusing nutritional information. I have been following your low carb way of eating for a few years now with great success so I weight what I should (hurrah). Occasionally, say three times a year or so, I fall off the wagon, go face down in carbs and gain a huge amount in just a week or two. I combat this weight gain with IF but wonder if this is wise.

    Could you please update your considered view on intermittant fasting? Hate to nag but you did promise….

    Thank you,
    Susan

    Coming soon, I promise.

  54. Regarding the “Baboon Business” study, no one seems to have pointed out how ludicrous it is to be feeding baboons high cholesterol or fat in the first place. For those who are not familiar, no plant foods contain cholesterol, and baboons are mostly herbivores. It’s like that study that fed rabbits cholesterol and then pointed out all the negative health effects. (Well duh!) But I suppose the researchers assumed that fat and cholesterol are as foreign a food for humans as they are for baboons and rabbits.

    Just to be sure, I looked up baboons’ natural diet:

    http://www.primatecare.com/odiet.htm
    In the wild baboons eat leaves, blossoms, seeds, gum, pods from acacia trees, green grass, roots, flowers, herbs, bushes, roots and small animals.

    http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Doi=156287
    The habitat and plant feeding of 64 well-habituated, individually identified adult male and female yellow baboons was studied for 5 years at Mikumi National Park … Of the 50 most common grass, shrub and herb genera, 93% included plant foods.

  55. Hi Dr. Mike,

    I have been doing IF for over 3 years now…hard to believe that it’s been that long…I continue to well on it although I have put on some weight. I believe that perimenopause is to blame. But I can maintain my weight easily with IF. I make it a point to consume fats and protein since I believe that this increases my body’s ability to absorb and utilize nutrients. Recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic, I became even more diligent with watching my carb intake. I was told that IFers tend to have higher glucose levels but I didn’t want to believe that. I didn’t want to change my lifestyle since I believe that it is very healthy and ideal. So through some detective work inspired by Dr. Larry Mcleary, I theorized that low magnesium was causing my insulin resistance. So I began taking magnesium supplements and , like magic, my glucose has returned to normal levels.
    I make sure that I take magnesiumk daily now. I just wanted to share my comittment and results of IF with you…so far, so great.

    Mary Titus