Nutritional ignorance abounds

I so often come across such breathtaking nutritional ignorance foisted off as legitimate information that I’m left feeling like the girl in this photo. I wrote about this woeful ignorance on the part of the medical community in my last post.  Now it’s time to take a look at the misinformation many registered dietitians dispense as a matter of course.

I have subscriptions to many magazines, most of which I save up to read while I’m on airplanes so I can trash them after I read them and lighten my load as I travel.  A couple of days ago I was on a flight from Newark to Seattle casually paging through a golf magazine when I came upon one of these well-meaning (I’m sure) but totally incorrect little bits of advice.  The only saving grace is that I’m sure the vast majority of people reading this magazine will totally ignore this advice and go on doing whatever it is they’ve been doing.  But the advice is so abominably wrong that it cries out for exposure.

I’m sure the magazine needed a little space filled up so the editor charged one of the magazine’s staff writers come up with a fluff piece to fit the space required.  The editor may have specified that the piece be nutritional in content because the add right below it is for Planter’s NUT-rition line of nut products “specifically designed to give you the taste you want and the energy you need.”

So, the staff writer contacts a registered dietitian and picks her brain.  Based on the dietitian’s responses, it was slim pickings indeed.

The shtick of the piece is that the snacks favored by a handful of professional golfers were to be analyzed by the dietitian.  The piece starts out thus:

Here’s how Tour pros satisfy those mid-round munchies – and how you can stay energized for all 18 holes.

Here is a bit of the actual piece that I scanned.  I was unable to find a link to the article.

Then it’s off to a pro by pro (there are snacks from seven pros) analysis and the idiocy begins.

Tiger Woods is first.  His favorite snack is a peanut butter sandwich.  Our registered dietitian, Sharon Richters, babbles (or raves, as the article puts it) about the good fats and protein in peanut butter then cuts to the pure idiocy:

The bread has carbohydrates.  Whole-grain bread gives you longer-lasting energy, and regular bread gives a quick jolt of energy.  It’s the perfect golf snack.

The white-bread, brown-bread double whammy.  What wonderful nutritional advice.  Somehow this woman has got it in her head that carbohydrates, and only carbohydrates, provide energy.  It gets worse.

Canadian golf pro Mike Weir snacks on a homemade energy bar made of granola, honey and a bunch of other stuff.  Says our registered dietitian:

Honey is OK as a sweetener, although agave is healthier.

I suppose agave is ‘healthier’ (a totally grammatically incorrect construction, by the way) than honey if you choose to disregard scads of medical evidence and choose instead to believe consuming more fructose makes you healthier.  Honey, like table sugar, is half fructose whereas agave nectar is about 90 percent fructose.  I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to minimize my fructose intake.

English golfer Paul Casey allegedly throws back walnuts during his rounds.  Not so good, says Ms. Richter, RD.

Walnuts alone will not provide enough energy.  You’re on the course for hours at a time, so I suggest adding carbohydrates for energy.  Fruit is always a good idea – bananas are easy to carry around and eat, and coconut water is a good source of carbs.

Jesus wept.

It takes a certain genius to cram so much misinformation into such a little space.  Let’s deconstruct.

Why is it that so many people – especially registered dietitians, it seems – believe that carbohydrates are the only source of energy available?  This notion is widespread.  You need energy, therefore you’ve got to eat carbs.

Walnuts contain over twice the energy than the do same dose of pure carbs.  And this energy – in the form of fat – provides a much longer burn time than would a similar dose of carbs.  So if one is on the course “for hours at a time” why on earth wouldn’t a ready source of fat such as walnuts be a vastly better snack than a comparable amount of carbs?

The energy in foods is represented as the caloric content. According to the USDA tables, a medium banana provides 105 calories, most of which comes from sugars.  One ounce of walnuts – which isn’t much of a snack – contains 185 calories, most in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats along with a little protein and almost no carb.  Most people using walnuts as a snack would throw back a few ounces over the course of a round of golf, so you tell me which is the best energy source.

And when walnuts or other low-carb, high-fat snacks are consumed, insulin remains low, allowing the body to access stored body fat for any extra energy that might be needed.  If the snacks are high-carb – as this woman suggests – insulin levels rise, making it more difficult for the fat cells to release fat, causing the cycle of more hunger, more carb consumption, and more insulin.

To continue with this nonsense, tell me please when coconut water became a good source of carbs?  The USDA tables tell us that a full cup of coconut water provides a measly 46 calories that come primarily from the 6 or so grams of sugar contained therein.  Doesn’t sound like much of an energy source or a carb source to me.

Do these people learn this in school?  Do they just make it up because it sounds good?  Where are their brains?  It took me about 30 seconds to search the USDA database of foods to find these numbers, so why couldn’t the authors of this drivel have done the same and saved themselves the embarrassment of having this nonsense in print under their names?  It beggars belief.

I once read that golfers are the least intelligent of all professional athletes.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but let’s say it is.  I’ve seen Paul Casey interviewed a number of times, and he seems – from my limited observation – to speak with the same degree of intelligence as most other professional golfers I’ve heard.  So let’s assume Paul Casey is in the middle of the pack intelligence-wise of all professional golfers.  Professional athletes – as a group – are not at the top of the intelligence list in general.  By this reasoning, we might say that Paul Casey operates at not the highest level of intelligence, yet he has sense enough to pick walnuts as a snack instead of bananas and coconut water.  What does this say about the level of intelligence of the people writing this article?

Before you attack me for casting aspersions on the intelligence levels of anyone, please realize that the above is tongue in cheek.

Let’s look at one more, then I’ll quit.

Golfer Luke Donald chows down on Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch Clif Bars and dried apricots during his rounds.  Our dietitian likes the idea of apricots.

Dried fruit is a good source of carbohydrates.

Gotta get those carbs in.  I suppose that these people are blissfully unaware of our millions of years of evolutionary history.  A time during which we humans cut our teeth on protein and fat while pretty much hunting to extinction most of the large game animals on the planet.  Why do they persist in the notion that the only way we can get energy is via carbohydrates?  Do they think we noshed on carbs as we hunted the wooly mammoth and the cave bear into non-existence?

The Clif Bar is a bit high in sugar, but it doesn’t have a lot of junk in it.

Hmm.  Interesting.  “A bit high in sugar, but doesn’t have a lot of junk in it”?  What, pray tell, is sugar, if not junk.  Sugar is nothing but empty calories, half of which are fructose.

I’ve got to quit before I do permanent damage to my forehead from beating it against the desk.

It should go without saying that nutritional ignorance and misinformation abounds.  You can get it from all sources, including, sadly, your own doctor.  I doubt that many readers of this blog would be swayed from their nutritional course by the kind of drek written in this golf magazine, but others probably are.  We’ve all got to be vigilant and work to stamp out nutritional idiocy wherever we find it.  It’s a real jungle out there filled with clueless people with titles of one sort or another ready to snare the unwary with this dopey stuff.  Don’t fall victim.

Photo at top by Lichtschilder accessed via Wurzeltod

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268 thoughts on “Nutritional ignorance abounds

    • This article, and your commentary… simply amazing. I laughed out loud at, “Jesus wept”. Thanks for that!

      Every day I encounter some moron who is espousing udder baloney in the way of “nutritional advice”. Generally, I keep my mouth shut because I have been know to vomit at the onset of incredulity.

      Keep up the great work!

    • Just a quick note. This article does a sincere diservice to all the registered dietitians out there who are giving legitimate and effective nutrition advice. In future article, it would be prudent to address the specific nutrition information and avoid making blanket comments about an entire profession. The opinions of registered dietitians vary, as do the opinions of physicians and all other health professionals.

      Also, please refer to scientific evidence to back up your claims. For instance, evolutionary nutrition is a theory, not evidence of the optimal diet for humans. Many well-respected clinicians and scientists believe that humans are best suited to more plant-based diets.

      • Nutritionists that I have come across are pretty much as clueless as the girl in that article. I fight with them every day. I cured my father of cancer 3x and helped him with seizures on a paleo type diet. There are NIH studies that show ketogenic diets work for seizures and brain cancer. Do some research. BTW, plants have defenses against animals that eat them…so some plants have toxins in them and you think ingesting that is good? Did you know that soy is bad for you? In order to protect itself it tried to limit the reproduction of its predators – by chemically castrating the males of the species with phytoestrogens? Yeah, and it causes breast cancer in females….

        • Soy is also not good for your thyroid. After eating a lot of soy as tofu for a year, I became hypothyroid with incapacitating chills and a morning temperature every day of 95.5.

  1. According to the USDA database, a 1/4 cup of dried apricots has 17.4 g of sugar (out of 20.4 g of carbs), the label on that Clif bar says it has 21 g of sugar (out of 42 g of carbs). Surely nobody reading your blog would have to be told that dried apricots are mostly sugar, but why would the dietitian diss on Clif bars for being high in sugar?

    Anyway, on an unrelated question – you do a lot of traveling, are you embracing the full body scanners? Or avoiding them? Do you think they might be harmful, particularly to frequent travelers?

    • So far I’ve not been exposed to the full body scanners. I’m sure it will happen, but it hasn’t yet. I’m not crazy about the idea, but I’m less crazy about missing a flight for not going through with it.

      • Dr. Eades, concerning whole body scanners,have you seen this letter by a group of very worried University of California scientists and physicians?

        http://www.npr.org/assets/news/2010/05/17/concern.pdf

        It seems that backscatter whole body radiation scans may be dangerous precisely *because* they don’t penetrate deeply into the human body, the characteristic so often cited to reassure us of their inherent safety.

      • I had the opportunity to go through a full body scanner while flying out of Oakland in August. Unfortunately, it requires one to raise their arms high over head.

        I pointed out that I had a torn rotator cuff that would be repaired soon -and was quickly directed to the “regular” scanner right beside it. No delay, no sweat.

        if you dislike the idea, just develop a shoulder problem that keeps you from using it.

    • How funny, I was just coming here to send you this link!
      Yeah, Golf, a long walk to nowhere. From what I have seen, it does require cigars and alcohol though.
      deb

  2. Sadly, nutritional mumbo-jumbo abounds EVERYWHERE these days. Even food product packaging makes ridiculous claims (like Cocoa Puffs boosting your kid’s immunity).

    If people don’t apply some critical thinking skills and study nutrition for themselves, this strange hodge-podge of (often contradictory) information is bound to leave them facing a terrible final 20 years full of illness, pain, and costly medical treatments.

    • Applying critical thinking needs…brains. That’s one of the problems. Another one is with people thinking they know better. I can’t believe there are still a lot of nutritionists advocating for low fat-high carbs (I hate the “slow carbs” theory, which people – at least in Europe – don’t see coming from “studies” paid by Nestle and other similar “whole grain”…’s producers). Carbs ARE carbs, whether slowly or quickly processed!

      • I don’t fully understand how this message board works, I guess. I received a message at my inbox that Anca had posted a message here, and I wanted to post a reply. Took me the better part of 10 minutes to find her post. WHAT in the world is a post from November 3rd doing stuck in between two posts from September 29th??? No rhyme or reason.

        Anyway, I wanted to state that there is certainly a difference in carbs. Several differences, in fact. Best to read it here, rather than me trying to explain it. http://www.thehealthierlife.co.uk/natural-health-articles/weight-loss/refined-carbohydrates-bad-00992.html

        • Sorry. When I added the widget that allows the comments replying to a specific comment to be placed below it, the default setting was only six layers. I’ve changed that to eight layers now. If the comment chain is more than eight comments long, then the next comment goes to the bottom of the list of all the comments.

    • Amazing how the mftrs of Cocoa Puffs can make health claims but the FDA will go after the sellers of herbs or vitamins for making any health claim at all. The FDA has gone so far as to threaten to declare cherries a ‘drug’ because the growers assoc make health claims on their website!

      In the UK, according the a Guardian article, junk food corporations have been given the task for setting nutritional guidelines. In the US when a real attempt to change the food pyramid was made a few yrs ago, the sugar industry lobbied major changes to ensure that sugar take a big hit. And doctors get paid handsomely by the big pharma for putting their name on bogus research. I would suspect the same holds for the dietitians and mega-junk food corporations.

  3. Great post.
    You’ve summarized my daily encounter with TV, printed media (magazines and newspapers), and/or conversations with coworkers. It’s painful to hear all the misinformation that has become dogma in everyone’s lives. It’s worse when I hear people trying something “new” that is even worse than what they were doing, especially when it involves becoming vegetarian.
    Have you seen the CNN video on how Bill Clinton lost weight?
    http://cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2010/09/21/intv.clinton.blitzer.weight.loss.cnn

  4. OMFG. Dr. Eades, when you’re right you’re right. What will it take before people realize that someone who is a “registered nutritionist” is, in the majority of cases, a danger to the health of anyone who would listen?

  5. Over two years now on a totally carnivorous diet. Very high sat. fat intake, and I have more energy, than EVER before!! Best lookin’ (health wise) 42 yo. male at work, amongst my friends, when out and about….yet people still get “uncomfortable” with my decision dietarily speaking.

    Once keto adapted, it’s euphoric!
    Thanks, Dr. Eades!

  6. Great blog post, I think the ignorance about true nutrition is widespread. So many people rely on the food companies being honest about what is in the products they sell and also many kid themselves about what is good for them.

    I think sites like yours are a great tool for people to improve their levels of nutritional knowladge, that will in turn allow them to make better nutritional decisions.

    Thanks for your great posts!

    TOM

  7. Brilliant !

    Every dietitian out there needs to read this. Its advice like this which has led to the decline in public health. There needs to be a nutrition revolution ! Dietician textbooks need to be burnt and re-written, doctors need to be re trained, goverment guidelines need to be amended and nutrition needs to be taught in schools.

    Yourself, Dr Charlie Goetchel, The Healthy Skeptic and Dr Briffa need to get together and revolt ! I can help a bit too 😉

  8. There’s actually some debate over whether we hunted any of the megafauna into extinction. Some guy, I don’t remember who, took a good look at the information available, and to him the numbers didn’t add up. He was pretty much of the opinion that (for example) by the time the early American Indians got done killing off all those critters they’d be too fat to waddle to Tierra del Fuego. It’s possible human beings were introduced into the Americas at roughly the same time the climate was changing, making it impossible for those large animals to survive.

    OK, maybe the auroch was hunted to extinction. Dunno. But we may have to revise our opinions on most of those critters eventually, just as we’ve had to revise when we think humanity learned to make fire and cook food, and when humanity began eating meat.

    My daughter was in the hospital this last weekend with a nasty GI virus that inflamed some lymph nodes and basically shut everything down for a couple days. Ugly. But uglier still was the in-room dining menu. I kept a copy and will probably blog about it soon. It makes the baby Jesus cry. Chef Boy-Ar-Dee… need I say more?

  9. Yea, I’m pretty sure nutritional “science” is pretty much made up on the fly. It’s sorta like religion or new age stuff… some person comes along and makes a bunch of crap up, and everyone believes it because they speak with conviction and authority. There is absolutely zero evidence to support the overwhelming majority of nutritional advice freely dispensed by idiot dietitians. I might as well go to a catholic priest and ask him what diet is holy. Or some guru who says “namaste” all the time, I’m sure he has good ideas about which diet is good for karma.

    That’s why people like myself, who have lost 160 pounds without drugs or surgery or even doing any frigging exercise (energy follows diet, exercise is ridiculous) and I can easily maintain w/o starving myself…and maintained it for nearly 8 years are ignored… because what I tell people is logical and scientific and it doesn’t sound nice and cozy and emotional like “whole grains” and “fresh fruit” and “natural agave sugar”. So in spite of the fact I am a living testimonial of what is important for obesity (insulin control) pretty much every single fat person I have ever met ignores me.

    Dietitians pander to the crowd. People confuse eating with morality, in many ways (fat people are gluttons, thin people are productive and intelligent and disciplined) and one offshoot of the utter confusion between emotional moral type feelings and eating/weight is that many, most people assume healthy eating means vegetarian, little animals products, lots of carbohydrate foods as these are emotionally comforting but don’t feel gluttonous emotionally the way high fat animal food does. Not to mention, people are often abysmal insulin/carb addicts and will absolutely REFUSE to accept what I tell them and their cognitive dissonance is spectacular.

    I only blame dietitians partially… part of the problem is that fat people don’t want to stop eating carbs. THey just don’t. They would so much rather eat a vegetarian diet with ad lib sugar than DARE ditch the bread and fruit. It would kill them to do it. Dietitians are just like everyone else – ridiculously addicted to carbohydrate for some reason.

    I am very lucky. I have never had a carb addiction. I look at the rest of the world like aliens. It’s no problem for me to be 116 pounds, to easily not eat carbs for years. I have always preferred fat anyway and even as a child I would hate being forced to eat rice and pasta by my parents and wished I could have more meat instead (ironic as hell considering how fat I would get later).

    But yea, I really think the two reason dietary advice is so ridiculously stupid is because a) it’s pretty much made up randomly based on whatever feels good emotionally… b) people, including dietitians, are ridiculously addicted to the feeling of high glucose and insulin and carbohydrate.

    • Oh yes. I brought some organic raw milk full fat cheese to a gathering at some friends house and they refused to put it out because, “We are trying to lose weight.”, after I had lost 100+ pounds. It is to scream. Not only Jesus wept but Mary, and Joe, and Gautama and Lord Krishna. They are *not* being successful, they are “trying”, they “know” how to lose weight, but they cannot make it work. >;|

      Angels and Ministers of Grace, DEFEND US!

  10. ack, do these athletes really eat crap or do magazines just make this stuff up? it seems to me that if one was a world class famous (and wealthy) athlete, one would have the best nutritionists on hand to offer advice. hopefully, in real life these guys are eating better. it’s akin to seeing tabloids ith famously fit-looking movie stars eating mcdonalds. perhaps they are just immune to bad nutrition, or more likely, they eat a strict diet most of the time and got “caught” eating fast-food, or possibly are paid to be seen eating junk my junk manufacturers.

    • I think a lot of these pro athletes really do eat like crap. Look at some of those pro golfers- fat and inflamed looking!

      John Welbourne, ex-NFL player, founder of Crossfit Football and big into the paleo diet, has commented on how horrible some of the diets were of his old teammates. This article touches on it, but he has talked about it elsewhere as well.
      http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=5021601

      But I think the bottom line is a lot of pro athletes still eat like crap, although I can only imagine more and more pro athletes researching more for themselves the best diet. Michael Phelps likes to eat at McDonalds! That can’t be good for him long term.

    • Remember pro athletes tend to be young kids. A perfect diet (over what they eat) might allow an extra 1 in 100 stolen base attempts to succeed – or whatever a good marker in their sport is. In short diet is not significant to most of them.

      Of course they will pay for this latter – in about 30 years. For all to many of them some sport related injury will reduce their lifespan by enough that their bad choices do not catch up with them before they die. (some sports are worse than others here)

  11. The glucose/insulin addiction can be seen even in the low carb community. Here is a group of people who understand that insulin mediates obesity, yet I often observe these people finding every and any excuse they can to justify more glucose in their bodies:

    “I’m going to exercise an hour a day to up my carb limit” – yea right, good luck with that.

    “Splenda is unnatural, I’m going to use honey instead” – translation, I want to eat honey.

    And another interesting phenomenon is the trend I see many people (often people who have trouble losing weight and have lots of carb cravings ) JUSTIFYING eating lots of protein and calories. It’s no secret that protein, in excess beyond physiologic need, converts to glucose about ~50%, and this by definition results in higher glucagon and insulin levels in the body. And any time we force feed ourselves excess calories insulin levels will elevate and glucose in the blood will as well.

    In other words, I tend to see a lot of people who have a history of carb addiction eating gross amounts of protein as a make shift substitute for carbohydrate. They’re craving that insulin/glucose fix and enough protein will do it for you, especially if you have a broken metabolism (which is redundant with any degree of significant obesity).

    I think the addiction to carbs isn’t an addiction to carbs itself but rather the mental/physical effects of glucose and insulin in the body. It’s the only way I can explain everything counterproductive people seem to do… it all seems to end at getting and keeping their insulin levels where they are and emotionally resisting interventions to bring it down.

    Seeing as insulin/glucose affects the body and mind in many ways, and seeing as my experience with obesity seems so entirely different from many others (my obesity is purely a physical problem and once I learned what to do to control it, I was fixed)… perhaps the real way to help people get “healthier” is to figure out how to resolve this emotional dependence on glucose and insulin that causes them to sabotage their diets and slowly and incrementally mess their metabolism up to go back toward that pro-obese metabolic/endocrine state.

    In addition to a total lack of carbohydrate addiction, I actually develop profound negative mood and depression when my metabolism/endocrine inches toward fattening which is the best diet incentive ever. I often wonder why I am different from the rest of the world that feels good when eating carbs, but I suppose it’s fortunate that I am. And I think if we figure out what it is that makes people so dependent on glucose and insulin emotionally that would be a big step for helping people with obesity.

    • Can you tell me where I can read more about the conversion of excess protein calories to glucose? My husband & daughter are Type I diabetics, low-carbing, but still need a method for “covering” the protein in their diets with insulin boluses.

      • Hi Dorothy,

        I am not myself a diabetic, I am just someone with a history of metabolic disorder (PCOS, severe obesity, reactive hypo – all of which is now controlled via low carb and insulin sensitizing supplementation).
        I don’t have precise methods, I just have generalizations like “eating too much protein gives me hypos and makes me hungry” and “eating a high fat moderate protein diet is better than eating a lot of protein”.

        If you are looking for something precise, I suggest googling “diabetes 101″ and reading what Jenny has to say. Jenny has MODY diabetes (it’s like type I diabetes but slightly different) and she’s very good at knowing how to control it with low carb. If you ask her this question she can give you better advice. But absolutely, eating too much protein will elevate both glucagon and insulin, and in people with type I diabetes they need to use more insulin to preserve glycemic control (and in people with metabolic disoder there is a deterioration of symptoms and weight control as protein replaces fat in a low carb diet).

  12. I have several friends/family members who are nurses and were educated to believe that low-fat/high-fiber is the only healthful way to eat. Whenever I bring up eating low-carb, they sort of dismiss it; after all, I have a degree in Fine Art: what do I know about nutrition? (I believe this is a Genetic Fallacy, where an argument is condemned not based on the validity of the argument but on the qualifications of the of the one who began it.)

    I even had one of them tell me you can’t live without carbs. Gee, I should be dead. :-)

    • Amy I suppose it depends how old the nurses are and how good they are with keeping up education.

      I’m a nurse (OMG) and I can say there is some acceptance of low carb because the most recent education is less extreme/harmful than the sort of education available in the 80s and 90s (low fat, high carb). It’s still a long ways from making sense and being scientifically appropriate but it’s not nearly as bad as the sort of mindset your nurse family members seem to express.
      They were probably educated many years ago and have never updated their attitudes with recent nutritional ideas (it is invariably accepted now that low fat is not necessarily good and high carb is not necessarily good now).

      Also, it could be an issue of selective ignorance. See my posts above… a lot of nurses are very obese and ridiculous carb fiends. We believe what we want to believe.

      • We had a couple of OR nurses who wanted to lose weight, and I pointed them in the direction of an Atkins style diet. When they told one of the anesthesiologists that they were on it, she went on a tirade of low carb diets (she’s not my favorite anesthesiologist). The nutritional ignorance is very endemic, even among physicians. Fortunately the OR nurses stuck with it after I showed them my before and after photos on my iPhone after going low carb and seeing Drew Carey’s pictures too on the Internet.

    • Amy, I’m a nurse too. At 71 I assure you that all it takes is a curious and questioning mind to know that low fat/high fiber is junk science. Advise your friends and family to do more leading and less following.

  13. Hey, I didn’t know you were at Newark airport! Them’s my stompin’ grounds – not far from where I live. If I’d only known I could have come down and waved my arms around and made a groupie fool of myself. 😀

  14. I wrote a couple of days ago in response to your previous blog. I am a home health RN and must pass on another adventure in home health that is applicable to this blog as well.

    I received an assignment to perform a supervisory visit on a patient in an assisted living facility to whom one of our agency LVNs gives a daily insulin injection of Lantus and a sliding scale amount of Humalog depending on the glucometer reading. I was informing the office director of how the patient always had readings in the high 200s to low 300s and how the patient (who has Alzheimer’s) was not being managed well at the facility and we were not doing anything to help this The director looked at me and said that yes she knew and the problem was now solved because the patient’s doctor had just increased the Lantus.

    • Danny, I am a RN and actually work in a rehab facility/LTC facility… the care residents receive is really sub par but it is the best we can do. If you think about it, it’s funded on government money, and all of the patients are extremely elderly and often have tremendous mental status debilitation… they just don’t get the sort of care a mentally oriented outpatient would. It’s not reasonable to expect it, either.

      The government (as well as cheap evil nursing home companies) do not facilitate the finances to hire enough staff, as well as properly trained staff (i.e. RNs) to manage patient’s blood sugar. Truthfully I consider it a success if the patient doesn’t go over 200 all that often. It’s not realistic to put these patients on low carb diets (low carb = more expensive) and to give them intensive insulin therpy (intensive insulin therapy = great deal of monitoring, not to mention the fact that dementia patients DO NOT LIKE OR UNDERSTAND the need for finger sticks and injections and will become combative / noncompliant much of the time).
      Dementia patients are very likely to fight you if you try to give them even PO meds, nevermind stick their fingers.

      And the majority of LPNs – unless they have a strong background working as a nurse – do not have the medical education to even understand insulin and glucose control and stuff. It’s amazing how uneducated many LPNs are. No offense to LPNs, but a lot of these LPN schools teach students absolutely nothing and the education is just not as appropriate as your average RN education.
      Nursing homes staff LPNs because they cost a lot less money.

      If the lantus was recently increased, it is reasonable to wait a few days and see how the patient’s blood sugar responds. Many times I have observed an increase (or starting) lantus to totally control a patient’s blood sugar. I remember one patient I was taking care of was routinely spiking 200, 300, even 400 at times… I had to absolutely FIGHT with the idiot doctor to get him started on lantus. This retard kept wanting to pile on OHA drugs. He had the patient on like 5 oral hypoglycemics at one point with minimal effect. Head desk?
      As soon as he started the lantus (which I was telling him to start for weeks) this patients sugar went down to <150s at every reading as the dose was titrated up.
      The patient is mentally retarded and entirely ambulatory/self sufficient so advising dietary change is really not practical. A patient with the mental age of a 7 year old is not going to be able to understand fully that he should not eat cookies and milk all the time.
      Also, many patients with mental handicaps have brain abnormalities which alter their hunger drive and metabolism (e.g. praeder willi syndrome is most well known)… and I suspect this patient fits that profile, so it isn't reasonable to expect him to limit his food intake, or to expect adequate glycemic control even if food intake changes were possible since much of his metabolic dysfunction is related to his condition.

        • Do you have several million dollars to hire more nurses to take care of 90 year old people with alzheimers disease in nursing homes funded by medicare? No? Well then how do you expect undertrained LPNs and a handful of RNs to manage the health care needs of dozens of these sorts of patients? Where I live, common nurse:patient ratios in LTC facilities can be as high as 40 plus. If you’re angry at someone, be angry with the greedy nursing home companies.

          I’m sorry but when you’re that age, tight diabetic control really isn’t a priority, IMHO. Given the mental status debilitation and the age, the risk of doing damage with hypoglycemic attacks outweighs any potential benefit of a slight reduction in A1C. I mean be reasonable – a person with alzheimers, in late 80s or 90s, is this a patient we really want to be getting tight glycemic control with? A patient who has a few years left of life (so any benefit of bothering this poor thing with injections and needlesticks is hardly worth it), a patient who’s mental status is such that he can barely even understand why we’re sticking him with pins all the time?

          Life ends. It’s natural. There really isn’t any benefit to aggressively treat diabetes in a patient that age with a mental handicap such as alzheimers of moderate or severe type in a nursing home. If sugar is reasonably controlled, that is adequate care.

      • If diabetes weren’t so widespread, and if it were treated from a nutiritional standpoint, we wouldn’t have to worry about having nurses who are “specially trained” in diabetic therapy and lingo. OMG what a racket. People in assisted living joints are often the targets of bad nutrition because a trip through the kitchen at those places would make a nutritionally educated person shudder with disgust.

        • No offense D, but diabetes associated with being extremely elderly is not like the diabetes associated with poor diet that people get mid life. When you’re 90 years old, the body just starts breaking down. Yes there are some 90 year olds who are completley mentally oriented with minimal health problems, but that is rare.

          Like I said, assisted living facilities are funded entirely on government money. It is not reasonable to expect top of the line treatment. The care is GOOD, but we aren’t going to be using cutting edge brand name drugs and the highest quality food, I mean… this is the real world. Medicare is finite and it is already being bankrupted by the care we are giving.

          And like I said, when you have a 90 year old dementia case, they aren’t piling down carbs. They are barely eating. Their diabetes is a direct result of their aging body with minimal effect from diet.

          • ItsTheWoo: You’ve misunderstood my post, but that’s all right.

            And, no offense to you, but I totally disagree with your last sentence. “Their diabetes is a direct result of their aging body with minimal effect from diet”??????

            Um, I don’t think so.

            We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this point.

            And, btw, carbs have little to do with anything in the scheme of things. I like Dr. Eades writings, but this whole carb or no carb thing is just junk science.

  15. According to wikipedia experts do not think humans were a significant factor in Cave Bear extinction. Do you disagree with that, or wish to revise the statement?

    • I suppose this is something that experts disagree on. I’ve read in numerous sources that Cave Bears were hunted to extinction by early man. Early man certainly hunted the Cave Bear aggressively as there have been many structures found composed of Cave Bear bones.

  16. I think you’re being unnecessarily harsh with RD’s. Yes, this RD was all about the carbs, but I have read many, many articles and books by RD’s and a large chunk of them are not into this high carb/low fat nonsense. Many of the well-known RDs (ones who appear regularly in the media) really do minimize carbs and acknowledge the benefits of protein and fat.

    I understand you have a ton of clinical experience working with patients and putting them on the PP lifestyle, but RD’s have a ton of clinical experience too. They would not recommend what they do if they didn’t see it actually work. They have successfully got people to lose hundreds of pounds while still eating carbs, so why would they tell them they can’t eat starches? If they did that, there’s a good chance that it would prove to be too draconian for many of their clients. Many of their clients, after all, are coming off failed low carb diets. I don’t think it’s all that easy to give up starches/high carb foods. My mother is from South Asia and her whole diet revolves around starches. If I tried to get her to start eating animal proteins and to forgo her lentils, she would fail on her diet in less than 3 days.

    I have talked with many RD’s who are very accepting of low carb diets. I know a few who are on low carb diets or have tried them in the past. They really do advocate doing what works best for you.

    • I am really not believing this. RDs who are helping people lose – and KEEP OFF hundreds of pounds while eating carbs? Sorry gonna call BS. Anyone can starve on a high carb low calorie diet for awhile, but tell me 8 years from now how they’re doing with their mini 300 calorie dinners of rice and chicken breast and a small pat of butter. No one can live that hungry forever… and anyone who needs to lose hundreds of pounds is going to be hungry on that sort of diet, because a person who needs to lose hundreds of pounds almost invariably has a glucose metabolism disorder with hyperinsulinemia. Trying to lose weight while eating food that exacerbates a glucose metabolism disorder is like trying to push a cart uphill while the wheels are locked. It’s not happening, and if nyou do manage to white knuckle it, it’s not humanly possible to keep it going.

      The only shot in hell this individual has is either a) getting gastric bypass (which is forced adherence to a low carb, low calorie diet)… or b) getting on a low carb diet and sticking to it. Either intervention will work, B will work better (gastric bypass still allows for carb eating and tricking the surgery).

      It’s a plain and simple fantasy that people who weigh 300, 400 pounds can eat whatever they want and it’s all *portion controlllz*. Obesity is a symptom of metabolic and endocrine dysfunction. Period. NO one accidentally “over eats” for that length of time. Lowering calories, unless it is part of an intentional insulin-controlling regimen, is absolutely temporary and useless. Calorie reduction does lower insulin, but not as powerfully or effectively as carb reduction in an individual with a metabolic / glucose metabolism disorder (which is safe to say redundant with obesity of that magnitude).

      Let’s be honest. I’m sure RDs have the best intentions in mind, but for the majority of significantly overweight people – low carb eating is ABSOLUTELY necessary. It is not optional, it is central to controlling the problem. The only other alternative is bariatric surgery, which as previously stated, merely alters gastric anatomy so the individual is basically forced to reduce carb intake permanently via limited gastric size and reduced capacity to absorb sugars… not to mention specific dietary advice to protein load to avoid malnutrition. No one who gets gastric bypass is eating like they did on weight watchers… they are eating controlled calorie low carb diets, very similar to the sort of diet I eat. Difference is I don’t have any mutilating gastric surgery and I have a totally in tact ability to absorb nutrition – instead I have a logical rational brain that understands insulin control is the cornerstone to controlling progressive obesity.

      • You’re describing my wife, who, for most of her adult life (she’s 51 this year) has had moderate to severe weight problems. She did manage to lose weight *once* on a severe low-calorie, low-fat (and necessarily high-carb) diet, when she was about 22.

        Needless to say, she didn’t keep the weight off, because there’s no way she can stay on a diet of unbuttered popcorn, or rice cakes, or whatever ridiculous ‘healthy’ high-carb foods these diets require. She would *always* fall off the wagon, and once off — feast time!

        She’s come to the conclusion that she’s carb-addicted, and the *only* diet that has worked for her, and that she feels she can remain on for the rest of her life is a low-carb diet. She loves steak, bacon, etc. She’s down 80+ lbs. over two years, with about 30 lbs. to go… and has *never* felt like she’s depriving herself of any food she enjoys (something she could *never* say while on a low-cal/low-fat diet).

        Deprivation and semi-starvation may work for a while, but if you can’t stick with the diet really long-term, how do you expect to avoid falling back into the old routine, the one that resulted in the weight gain? I think that’s really the key to success.

  17. This was a great piece! LOL!!! I can tell you that here in Rochester, MN – under the shadow of the Mayo Clinic I have NEVER met a doc to give sound nutritional advice…We rely on our own research and docs like YOU.

  18. This is one more reason not to look up to athletes except for their ability in their sport. A lot of former athletes go to pot. If they tend to eat sugary snacks full of antinutrients, like peanut butter sandwiches and granola bars, I can see why.

    Why not take a Cherry 7-Up with you when you golf? It’s low-fat, high-carb, and has antioxidants. 😉

  19. About a month ago I talked with an RD about low carb and blood sugar. She told me I needed at least 30 carbs per meal. If I ate fewer carbs my blood sugar would be higher than if I ate the 30gms. HUH? Yup, she told me that eating more carbs will lower my blood sugar.

    • Anne, I’ve heard this nonsense, too and many times at that. It got me to thinking that there must be a reason that so many dieticians believe this. Then it dawned on me — it’s because the way insulin affects the BG and which the majority of T2s have.

      In the early stages of diabetes, there actually remains more than enough insulin. The problem is that the cells are resistant to using it and therefore the blood is saturated with glucose after a high carb meal. So when the post BG is taken, of course it’s high. However, if we wait a little while longer (as diabetes progresses, it takes longer and longer until it finally can’t go down), it drops dramatically. I goes down because there is finally enough insulin that’s been dumped in to the blood to make the cells accept the it and all the glucose.

      So, observing this, the simplistic (and wrong) thinking must be that eating carbs brings the BG down! Of course, no thought whatsoever seems to be given to the well-known fact that the diabetic taking this advice is going to very soon run short of insulin as he progressively burns out his beta cells trying to keep this high carb eating (for a diabetic anyway) going day after day. But, they don’t worry because it is assumed that they will only have to put him on meds and insulin anyway in the long run. The sad part is that this only happens precisely because of the diet advice they have given him in the first place. The logic is as backwards as you can get.

      As for me, I will never listen to a dietician even though every diabetic I know insists on having one to manage their diabetes. That’s even though my experience on LC diet has kept me from “progressing” and has even vastly improved it going from 150+ fasting to 100 and to A1cs in the mid 5s. As others here have stated, my testimony doesn’t deter them a bit; they consider what I eat as unhealthy, what with no “whole” grains or fruits, and plenty of meat and fats! Horrors! One of my daughters was even extremely concerned that I had given up milk… possibly getting low on calcium (which I am not) concerned her more than the fact that I already do have a serious condition – DIABETES for heavens sake, which could cause me to lose limbs, kidney, eyes, etc. But, she was more concerned that I MIGHT have weak bones someday! That’s how good the mainstream “health” entities have brainwashed everyone.

    • To the credit of the RD, it is true that in people with diabetes sometimes a total fast will result in hyperglycemia. This is because fasting results in an elevation of cortisol and glucagon which can cause hyperglycemia in a person with a blood sugar disorder. In a normal person small amounts of insulin will be enough to suppress the glucagon and cortisol induced glucose, but if a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, they may observe a paradoxical hyperglycemia if they attempt to eat too little, fast, or do strenuous exercise. And the reason for this is cortisol and glucagon.

      Eating carbohydrate will suppress the stress hormone response, suppress glucagon, suppress liver dumping, and so the patient may observe better glycemic control.

      Remember, in a type 2 diabetic especially, the liver generates up to three times as much glucose as a normal liver… furthermore the liver is often resistant to insulin, and as type 2 diabetes progresses there is a loss of insulin response with beta cell death. It is important for many type 2 diabetics to avoid excessive catabolic states such as fasting and extreme low carb diets.

      However in a mild/moderate type 2 it’s not as likely to happen… and in ALL diabetics, 30 carbs per meal is quite overkill to suppress the catabolic activities of the body and it’s more likely to cause diet-induced hyperglycemia.

      So the RD wasn’t completely off base, it’s just that her prescription to always eat 30 carbs at meals was really quite excessive. In general, though, many diabetics and people with metabolic disorder actually do better with small amounts of carb so as to keep the catabolic response and glucagon in check.

  20. I would also mention “low carb” does not by definition mean “eating nothing but eggs and bacon and never ever touching wheat or sugar”. I eat sugar and wheat all the time – but I NEVER eat more than 60 carbs per day if I am being proper, and I can expect to feel like absolute radical crap if I eat more than 100 carbs per day.

    If you get your 60 carbs from a few squares of chocolate , 2 slices of diet bread, and a few strawberries… it doesn’t matter. What matters is eating 60 carbs or whatever it is that you feel good on and don’t struggle with symptoms of glucose metabolism problems (for me including depressive mood, unsatisfiable hunger, acne, lethargy, and a generalized feeling of malaise, bloating).

    Not everyone needs atkins type diets which eliminate many types of food, but ALL significantly obese people need an insulin controlling diet and the cornerstone of that is a reduction in carbohydrate. Whether they are intentionally doing it or not, if a diet is to be successful it needs to control insulin secretion and reduce it. Calorie reduction can be very much like a low carb diet if the individual makes smart choices that emphasize nutrition, i.e. protein and essential fats and vegetables as opposed to focusing purely on calories and impulsive/hedonistic choices which may prove counterproductive if those carbs are made of sugar and starch primarily (no, a 100 calorie almond snack is not the same as a 100 calorie low fat cookie snack, sorry to say).

    I suppose a calorie reduced diet can work if the person is health conscious and inadvertently eliminates offensive insulinogenic foods like soft drinks, juices, and dense starches, and focuses on protein and a decent amount of fat.

    But why confuse the dieter? Why lead them to think they can eat anything they want and they just need to control calories? It’s utterly not true. It really isn’t. If it was true, a diet of 1500 calories from count chocula and milk would be as effective as a diet of 1500 calories from steak and broccoli. We all know the steak and broccoli dieter is going to lose loads more fat weight and be way healthier.

    The problem with low carb diets is they make people think food is dangerous and they can’t eat anything other than meat and veg or it’s all ruined. You can totally eat a bit of chocolate and some berries and some diet bread… just don’t’ fool yourself into thinking you can eat tons of carbs and lose weight as successfully or feel as good, because you can’t.

    And I do understand the strict nature of low carb diets (traditional ones) may be hard to follow for some people. I don’t follow that kind of diet. I eat wheat and chocolate and whatever I want – I just never eat more than 60 carbs if I am being proper. And I never ever eat more than 100 carbs unless it was an utter disaster day (and I pay dearly later on with hypoglycemia and acne and depressive mood).

    I actually do much better with a small amount of carbs than with zero carbs at all. I have no energy and feel nauseated and not quite good. However, the ketogenic type diet is very good for extreme weight loss because it is undoubtedly the best for liberating fat from fat tissue a lot ofthe time. But adding a few carbs picks up energy while still reaping benefits of low insulin and a high fat metabolism.

    Anyway… yea…

    It isn’t helping fat people to tell them all diets are equally effective and all that matters is calorie reduction. All these agro industries LOVE that message and help perpetrate it, but it defies common sense, it defies science, and its just stupid. If it were true, WHY are bariatric patients specifically instructed to focus on low carb food? WHY do bariatric patients who cheat the surgery stay fat?

    You know what really upsets me? I think about how I had to waste so much of my youth sick, gaining weight, and it was all so senseless. If only a doctor had told my mother at 9 years old “your child shows signs of glucose metabolism problems – the best treatment is to reduce juice and starches in her diet and emphasize protein and fat and limit carbohydrate”…. I would have NEVER had to go through what I did. I am currently recovering from plastic surgery to remove excess skin. And I am thinking a lot about how much I have been permanently damaged by the widespread stupidity and ignorance about a truthfully simple problem, a disgustingly and disturbingly simple problem that we pretend is this great big mystery.

    If you’re fat, odds are very good you have a glucose processing problem, with fat cells that are quite insulin sensitive, so that the hyperinsulinemia results in massive weight gain. If you’re fat, you need to control your insulin, and the fundamental step is carb control. Ignore everything else, your primary focus is insulin control. Ignore organic, ignore wheat, ignore fructose…this is all smoke and mirrors. If you are fat and getting fatter, focus primarily on the total number of carbs (and to a lesser extent calories ) you are eating. All that other stuff takes care of itself (or ceases to be of importance) when you address the root problem.

    And yea, I’m tired of being politically correct about this. My life was really messed up because every single doctor I saw – internist, endocrinologist – was an abject moron about this very very simple intervention to control weight and related problems. And when I figured it out myself at 20 years old, I went through a period of anger and resentment because it is so obvious if you are medically trained.

    I’ve never in my life met anyone who has lost as much weight as I have, achieved a weight I maintain now, without either having bariatric surgery or following some form of a controlled carb diet. It’s not a coincidence, its physiology, it’s just the way the body works in this disease state (and obesity is a chronic disease which you can only at best control). I’ve met several who have done it with bariatric surgery, and several who have done it by specifically reducing carbohydrate and calories. I’ve never met a weight reduced person who has been successful who does not focus on carb control either with their brains, or with a gastric surgery that does the work for them.

    • The carbs you’re eating DO matter.

      If you’re eating wheat with any regularity, you’re doing your awesome health turnaround no favours. I like the enthusiasm you have for low carb eating, but you’re just plain wrong when it comes to wheat being equal to cruciferous veggies.

      Gluten, Zein, phytic acid, saponins… the list could go on. Stay away from the grains. Otherwise, fantastic work and keep it up!

  21. Hey Mike,
    It’s hard not to go ape**** at times. Here’s another one that will send your BP soaring. This has just been published by the Canadian Obesity Network. Co-authored by Arya Sharm and Yoni Freedhoff.

    “Best Weight: A Practical Guide to Office-Based Obesity Management”.

    Here is what they have to say about carbs:

    Ensure that your patients consume at least 100 g/day (400 kcal/day) of carbohydrates to prevent protein breakdown, muscle wasting and large shifts in fluid balance.
    Complex, whole-grain carbohydrates and those high in fibre are associated with greater satiety, while refined carbohydrates produce rapid and dramatic physiologic insulin responses, which may explain their association with the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
    Pearl: The body can only store 24–48 hours worth of carbohydrates for future use. It is stored in the form of glycogen, primarily in muscle tissue and the liver. The reason low-carb diets such as Atkins produce such dramatic weight loss in the first week is that glycogen is stored with around 4.5 kg (10 lbs) of water, and when glycogen stores are depleted, that water is liberated. This is also why, when patients stop their low-carb diets, they have a tendency to immediately gain back that 10 lbs as their glycogen stocks are restored.

    And, about fat, this:

    A growing body of evidence suggests that particular types of fat, rather than the overall quantity of fat, contribute most to cardiovascular risk. While trans fats and saturated fats have been strongly linked to cardiovascular disease, the opposite is true for unsaturated fats, which appear to be cardioprotective.
    From a weight perspective, reducing fat intake is desirable given its high energy density. However, the indiscriminate reduction of dietary fat has not been shown to have any dramatic long-term benefit on weight.
    Given the sharply elevated cardiovascular risk associated with weight and its co-mor- bidities, we would caution against recommending a low-fat diet per se. Instead, we would recommend that patients aim to reduce trans fats and saturated fats as much as possible while still leading an enjoyable life. We would also encourage the preferential consumption of healthy fats found in fish, various plant oils, and nuts.

    This is now meant to be the state-of-the-art guide for Canadian physicians!!!

    Sharma and Freedhoff will be in San Diego. Arya hosts a little Canadian cocktail party each year. What say we go there and have a friendly little chat with him?

    Best,
    Jay

    • Hey Jay–

      Good to hear from you. You are correct – my BP is soaring. How can these people continue on this idiotic pathway when the evidence that it is incorrect is so overwhelming?

      Yes, it would be nice to have a little chat with them, friendly or otherwise.

      Cheers–

      Mike

      • It’s not all bad; if you eat enough nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish you will get substantial amounts of saturated fat. Rice bran oil, the latest nutritionist’s darling, for instance, is 21% saturated fat. Ask them to explain that when you see them.

        My speciality is diet and supplements for people with Hepatitis C; this led me to the Protein Power paradigm eventually, as everyone with liver fibrosis from HCV has some degree of insulin resistance driving the inflammation.
        There’s a big Italian study of diet, fibrosis, and non-response to treatment. Increased monounsaturated fat consumption (obviously from olive oil here) has significant benefits, saturated fat consumption is neutral (no significant influence) and higher intake of polyunsaturated fat is associated with fibrosis and non-response.
        There is also a big Shanghai study of nutrient intake related to incidence of hepatocellular cancer (related to cirrhosis) in Hep B. The only nutrient that had a significant negative association with HCC was retinol – good old “hepatotoxic” vitamin A. The quintile with the highest intake of retinol had 1/70th the rate of liver cancer of the lowest quintile.

        • The NZ hospital soap opera “Shortland Street”, which often includes topical storylines fed in by its medical advisors, had cancer patients on a low-carb diet recently. The concept was treated respectfully; the drama revolved around soft-hearted attempts at sabotage. I didn’t see where it went with that – but it also has a doctor with MS who tries to avoid gluten. I can’t wait till they put her on high-dose vitamin D.
          And an ad on TV for a grill talks about “the most popular diet in america” – low carb, high protein. I think the grill is designed to reduce fat, but you can’t have everything. Baby steps…

  22. Another fallacy I can’t stand is this notion of a “balanced diet”. As if the USDA’s arbitrary definition of “balanced” has any relevance pertaining to health and longevity; no it appeals to what would make wheat farmers happy. Meats, fish, fats and vegetables provide complete nutrition and improve bloodwork better than low fat or “balanced” diets, so wherein are the merits of eating a USDA balanced diet?

  23. What obese people have unique to us is that our fat cells are abnormally insulin responsive. We are not always “insulin resistant” as defined by a GTT, so associating obesity with insulin resistance is sorta misunderstanding things… but we have the genetic potential to really capitalize off of any insulin present by storing fat efficiently. That means to say, the tendency for our fat cells to really hog up fat (as opposed to wasting it as thin people might do) is controlled by insulin acting on the fat cell. The genetic potential to store fat is ultimately controlled by insulin – obese people are simply really really good at storing fat when insulin is elevated subtly or remarkably. Insulin resistance might not even figure in, diabetes might not ever occur. Obesity is, in a nutshell, a state where in which the fat tissue processes insulin rapidly and efficiently.

    http://www.lafayette-online.com/science-technology/2009/04/insulin-obesity-link/

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Researchers have uncovered new evidence suggesting factors other than genes could cause obesity, finding that genetically identical cells store widely differing amounts of fat depending on subtle variations in how cells process insulin.

    Learning the precise mechanism responsible for fat storage in cells could lead to methods for controlling obesity.

    Findings indicate that the faster a cell processes insulin, the more fat it stores.

    Other researchers have suggested that certain “fat genes” might be associated with excessive fat storage in cells. However, the Purdue researchers confirmed that these fat genes were expressed, or activated, in all of the cells, yet those cells varied drastically – from nearly zero in some cases to pervasive in others – in how much fat they stored.

    The researchers examined a biological process called adipogenesis, using cultures of a cell line called 3T3-L1, which is often used to study fat cells. In adipogenesis, these cells turn into fat.

    “This work supports an emerging viewpoint that not all biological information in cells is encoded in the genetic blueprint,” said Thuc T. Le, a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at Purdue who is working with Cheng. “We found that the variability in fat storage is dependent on how 3T3-L1 cells process insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas after meals to trigger the uptake of glucose from the blood into the liver, muscle or fat cells.”

    The findings are detailed in a research paper appearing online in the journal PLoS ONE, published by the Public Library of Science, a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians.

    “This varied capability to store fat among genetically identical cells is a well-observed but poorly understood phenomenon,” Cheng said

    The researchers determined that these differences in fat storage depend not on fat-gene expression but on variations in a cascade of events within an “insulin-signaling pathway.” The pathway enables cells to take up glucose from the blood.

    “Only one small variation at the beginning of the cascade can lead to a drastic variation in fat storage at the end of the cascade,” Cheng said.

  24. What struck me about this piece was that golfers carry snacks at all. My parents played golf a LOT while I was growing up and I don’t ever remember them packing snacks. Fried eggs, toast and coffee (no juice) for breakfast, egg salad or BLT’s for lunch and 18 holes in between. Seems like there was a place on the course to get a snack, but I think in my parents’ case, it was iced coffee/tea. Now I wonder if my mother quit playing golf because she was talked into giving up eggs and eating granola for breakfast ….

      • Not surprising. You have are eating fat as a energy source and fat is gives long lasting energy, and carbs short lasting energy. From Lierre Keith’s _The Vegetarian Myth_ people eating low fat diets, particularly Vegans need to eat every 2-3 hours. Hence, the entrance to Whole Foods being lined with sugar and flour loaded treats, just for example. If you are Vegan and hungry, they will grab you without doubt.

  25. I read and believed exactly this kind of BS (just to be clear, the magazine article) until a few years ago. It’s really amazing how much we take some things on their face value regardless of our level of intelligence in other fields. But, all it takes is some digging into the chemistry of metabolism and reflecting on the history of mankind and we have got the tools to guard ourselves to from the waves of irrationality that seems to sweep every generation. Thanks to the Internet, information from experts like you is accessible to anyone who cares about their health.

    Thanks for dissecting that junk nutritional advice. I have emailed your posting to everyone in my family. Unfortunately, carb addition is a serious issue for some of them.

  26. So happy you are posting again. If only the unconvinced would read more of your posts. I try to spread the low-carb way of eating, but meet a lot of resistance. People like their bread and sweets.

    On an unrelated topic — do you have any idea why a multi-vitamin would make my daughter turn silver jewelry black in a day. The jewelry turns black, not her skin. I have looked for an explanation but couldn’t find anything.

  27. Running a 10k with just water (Nunn Electrolyte Tablets added) and she is telling me there is a need to load up on junk carbs for a round of golf. Give me a break, this guys don’t carry their clubs, rake traps and take FOREVER between shots. Sounds like a perfect time to fast! By the way a golf instructor once told me that if I was ever tired after a round of golf, you had a crappy round.

    Cheers!

  28. Itsthewooo wrote:
    ‘so it isn’t reasonable to expect him to limit his food intake, or to expect adequate glycemic control even if food intake changes were possible ‘

    Thank you, itsthewoo. It’s easy to rant about other’s misconceptions about diet – but if you’ve ever spent any time around a facility for the elderly who aren’t at the ‘top of their game,’ memory and cognition-wise, you’d see how difficult it is to force-feed them what others might consider ‘better food.’

    I’m no fan of white bread but, having had to monitor the care of an elderly relative for a few years (he was in such a facility), I can say that you thank God if the elderly person eats. Period. You want to split hairs over carbs? Forget it. Watching the old guy wolf down a plate of mashed potatoes – because he liked the taste of it – was one of the highlights of a MONTH!

    • Thanks kathy.

      I was afraid I would get rants about what I said… but yea there are SO many people, both laymen and health care workers and nurses, who really don’t DO BEDSIDE care and they don’t understand things change when the patient is a 90 year old dementia case. There is just a different type of nursing care involved. Your primary concern as a caregiver is safety (i.e. preventing wandering, elopement, falls, and combative behavior)… your second concern is preventing health problems, because really at 90 god damned years old HOW MUCH benefit can we observe by reducing A1C from 6 to 5?
      And when a patient’s mental status is such that they can’t communicate thoughts like “I think I’m hypoglycemic” and “I feel shaky and nervous” and “please check my sugar I don’t feel right”… is this the sort of patient you want to use a high coverage insulin protocol on? Really?

      With 90 year old patients with alzheimers, we’re just *grateful* if they eat anything at all. We give these patients progesterone and cannibus just so they have an appetite… and it isn’t even effective. At 90 years old you do not have the appetite and gastric system to handle heavy meals of fat and protein. We give them little thimble fulls of protein mixture (prostat) and a box of diabetic boost (16 carbs for about 200 calories, not bad)… and this is how most of them get their nutrition.

      And really, if you spend time in a LTC facility, you rapidly understand these patients are at the end of their life and your primary goal is to give them some sort of companionship and comfort. You want them to be comfortable and happy as possible. The time is over for intensive preventative care. If my little grandma friend wants a cookie from the box a family brought at the nurses station, I’m going to give it to her. I mean if her sugar is very elevated I wont, but if she has mild diabetes, you better believe I’m giving grandma that cookie. She has months to live. What in the hell benefit can be gained by denying this person a cookie? It’s one of the few pleasures she can have.

      But people who have never BEEN in a nursing home or any real bedside care don’t understand that sort of thing.

      • Woo, what you say about those who have dementia is spot on. I’m still a bit sore about how my own grandmother was treated in a nursing facility, however. Her mental status was perfect up through the day of her death, but she was extremely diabetic with high blood sugar, and miserable as a result. I have to think that her depression and debilitating physical illness would have been lessened by greater attention to diet, even if it didn’t prolong her life. She hated the nursing home, but there wasn’t much of a choice since she was resuscitated against her will post-hip fracture and couldn’t care for herself; prolonging her life was the last thing she wanted.

        I gather most patients in LTC have problems with dementia, but not everyone does. What do you do with the sane, clear-thinking person trapped in a terminally ill, deteriorating body?

        I’ve been thinking about it lately because I get suicidally depressed, anxious, and neurotic if I’m stupid enough to consume gluten, and to a much lesser extent, carbohydrate in general. My entire family is mentally ill, probably because of gluten intolerance and impaired glucose control. I see my parents deteriorating like she did, remember how godawful miserable she was at the end, and am afraid I’m going to have to go through the same thing with them. Probably all due to gluten intolerance and diabetes.

        It’s depressing.

  29. This won’t help your forehead either… Got this in my inbox today. Enjoy!

    Dr. Gabe Mirkin’s Fitness and Health E-Zine
    October 3, 2010

    “Dear Dr. Mirkin: Are low-carbohydrate diets harmful?

    You get calories from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
    When you restrict carbohydrates, you replace the lost calories
    with protein or fat. Researchers analyzed questionnaires
    from 85,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 45,000
    men from the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study (Annals of
    Internal Medicine. September 7, 2010). From a 20-year follow up,
    they found that a diet that replaces carbohydrates with animal
    proteins and fats that are associated with increased chances of
    dying earlier and death from heart attacks and cancer. On the
    other hand, replacing carbohydrates with plant protein is
    associated with a slightly decreased death rate, and death
    from heart attacks.
    I do not recommend low-carbohydrate diets because most
    people replace carbohydrates with animal proteins and fats that
    are associated with increased risk of premature death. A low-
    carbohydrate diet will also limit your ability to exercise
    intensely. Carbohydrates (particularly sugar) are the principal
    fuel for muscles during exercise, so a avoiding carbohydrates will
    limit how long and how hard you can exercise. See
    http://www.drmirkin.com/public/ezine082910.html

    Sorry about giving you more reasons to hit your head on the desk.

  30. I just finished Jack Weatherford’s “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World”. In addition to a fascinating account of the contribution of the Mongols to establishing many of the structural components of our modern world he notes that as Hunters and Herders on the Asian Steppe, the Mongols ate mostly meat and mare’s milk and looked down on the “civilized” culture’s diet of mostly carbohydrates as a weakening agent.

    Obviously they were right, as they went on to conquer more people and territory in about 40 years than any other conqueror before or since. In their time they were unstoppable. Actually the only thing that stopped them was the lack of grazing for their animals. So eastern Europe was essentially the limit to their expansion.

  31. Yep, the ‘carbs-are-good-fats-and-protein-are-bad’ propaganda has had a profound impact on our society. All you have to do is look around when you go out to the mall. (We’ve noticed the growing number of… ‘growing’ waistlines.)

    The level of ignorance is astounding. I just saw a package of ‘soft gourmet’ licorice at the local store, emblazoned with the phrase “98% FAT FREE” — as if that makes it healthy, and you can eat all you want. These suckers were mostly sugar, corn syrup, wheat flour, and high fructose corn syrup. Mmmmmmm… healthy choice!

    I am astounded at the number of people I meet who equate ‘low fat’ with ‘healthy’. It’s become a matter of dogma, as they refuse to question their long-held beliefs.

    • A few studies have shown that athletes involved in high-intensity activities do a little better if they have a little carb intake during the activity than they do if they don’t. Apparently in these anaerobic activities – which, by definition, require glucose – gluconeogenesis doesn’t provide glucose in the amounts needed, so carbs by mouth have to do the trick. The vast majority of athletic endeavors don’t fall into this category, however. In all other cases endogenous fat burning does the trick.

  32. I’m so lucky with my medical team. When I went to see the RD years ago, I took in my food diary and with some fear showed it to her. She looked over it and then looked at me and said “You are doing low carb”…I admitted as much and she continued to read the food diary. After a bit of time she put it down and said, “You are the only person I see who is doing it right”. She was pleased that I ate from all food groups, limited processed fats and ate an abundance of healthy fat. She also said my protein level was right where it should be on a low carb diet. Not an over abundance.
    My endo, cause I did progress to type 1 diabetes even on a low carb diet, she calls me her “low carb pumper” and was explaining to a student she had in one of our appointments, that the “normal” settings of basal and bolus insulin are not to be used for low carb diabetics. I use about 75 percent of my insulin as background and about 25 percent for food. And yes I’m still at my goal of the 30 units.
    Hey Doc, my endo and PCP would like to see where they can get that info you gave me that non diabetics put out 30 units of insulin a day. It’s working for me and they think it’s great but I don’t have any data to point them to. Can you help?

    Ressy
    Re-educating one doc at a time….

  33. “It’s a real jungle out there filled with clueless people with titles of one sort or another ready to snare the unwary with this dopey stuff. Don’t fall victim.”

    I think a quote from George Carlin fits this well…
    “Imagine how dumb the average person is….and then realize….that half the population is dumber than that”

  34. The entire paradigm followed by RDs and others is founded on the premise that fat is bad and carbs are good. Doctors dont dare give advice that goes against the standard line for fear of liability suits if the patient develops a serious problem (that they would probably get anyway) or dies. It really is up to the individual to take charge of their own health, make up their minds about what can and does work for them and then do it. For me, it started with being threatened with a statin. When I looked into the studies showing its efficacy, I decided the lipid hypothesis is a steaming load of you-know-what; soon to be followed by determining that most diet advice belongs in the same category. I can only hope that someday soon GOOD SCIENCE will finally prevail.

    In the meantime, pass the porkchops!

  35. How ironic. First email to read after returning from a fast bike ride wherein I set a new personal best lopping TEN percent off of my previous time. An hour before leaving I fueled up on 1/4 C. of brown rice syrup (roughly half maltose and half starches, but not much total), a half can of coconut milk, and two ounces of nice, fatty liverwurst. Like a rocket, and a hell of a lot more calories burned than a round of golf, I’m sure.

    The very idea that a golfer, using a cart, no less, needs to boost his or her energy during a game is preposterous.

    One of my most special friends is an RD. I’ve never told her that I think RD’s are idiots in their field. She doesn’t debate me on my low carbing, but she doesn’t believe in it…..as she struggles with weight and I’ve lost 95 pounds.

    Terri, I very much disagree with you; I’ve yet to know or read on the intertubes of any RD who didn’t buy into this carb nonsense. I’m sure there are some, but if they don’t watch out, they will have their credentials revoked! :)

  36. One of the best in the annals of “hideous stories about nutritional ignorance” has to be the following: visiting my mom one evening in a nursing home where she was a) in a coma and b) dying of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, I told the nurse (a registered nurse– had been working for over 20 years as one) that I was going out to get some dinner and would be back later. She suggested that I eat my mom’s meal (still being sent to the room every day) since she probably wouldn’t eat it. I thanked her and said it would be nice, but that I didn’t eat wheat because of a gluten intolerance and that dinner that night was a meatball sub. To which the nurse replied, “What’s wheat in a sub?” Really. Honestly. Talk about Jesus weeping. Gallons of tears on that one.

  37. Here is a question of not very much importance: Some places say honey is 50% fructose and some say it’s more like 30% with a bunch of lesser known sugars in there. I’m curious.

    • Honey is what’s called an invert sugar. Sucrose – table sugar – is a disaccharide, which is two sugars – glucose and fructose – hooked together. An invert sugar is equal amounts of fructose and glucose, just not hooked together.

  38. As you say, lower insulin = greater/easier access to stored energy …. and from what I read it would seem Tiger Woods is in greater need than most of us …

  39. What is not mentioned here is the nature of the education of these nutritionists and doctors. Mainstream medical education is controlled by the biggest offenders of health. So is the dietary pyramid. Big Pharma controls the orientation of medical schools and disses the idea of nutritional training. Duh! they can’t make money off people eating healthy foods. Dieticians are no different.
    A couple of years ago when there was an effort to change the Holy Grail of the food pyramid and sugar was virtually pushed off the chart, it was the heavy handed lobbying of the sugar industry that demanded a revision. This was also true for the position of grains.

    Since when do money grubbing corporations get the right to decide what our health consists of? Well, ever since they had more money than everyone else and they invested so wisely. They bought the FDA and the USDA and almost every legislator in the country.

    So these non-nutitritionists are given gold stars for being the ignorant pawns of corporate interests and not having any more brains left after years of being poisoned with toxic information innocently, or maybe not, promote this drivel.

  40. What kills me is that everyone knows they need to “burn fat” — “Gee, how do I exercise to get into my fat burning zone?” “How do I eat to make my body burn fat?” Everyone agrees that what the overweight need to do is burn fat — until someone actually suggests that, gee, you need to burn fat for fuel, not carbs. Then it’s “But you need carbs for ENERGY!” Uh, I thought you said you wanted people to burn fat?

    Do they even listen to themselves?

    Oh, and Lisa? About the people who like their bread and sweets: When people say to me, “But I love sugar!” “But I love carbs!” I always respond, “You’d love cocaine if you tried it, too. Doesn’t make it good for you.”

  41. I’ve never played golf, but I bet I burn up a heck of a lot more calories dancing than I would carrying a golf bag. Even if I take a one-hour class and stay from 7 until 11, I don’t even think about a snack unless I forgot to eat dinner. Without the high-carb meals, I don’t have the need for a snack.

  42. Dr. Eades,

    Carbs could very well have been a part of our evolutionary history. Tuber vegetables like potatoes are everywhere, and the ability to cook (make fire) is very plausible even for a pre-human, regardless of what the experts say about that. Agriculture is also plausible for pre-humans– the concept is not that hard. Milking is plausible. The storage of large harvests of fruits by either drying or making jams should be considered too. These scantily-based assumptions about prehistory serve as a big chunk of the low-carb argument. Yeah so people hunted a lot, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t try to get as many sources of calories they could, and also follow the same natural tastes that we have today. Also I wouldn’t assume that they were stupid, they had all the time in the world to figure out how to get food.

    For me, my personal experience is more trustworthy than anything scientists conclude, whose reputations rest on concluding something whether it’s certain or not. I’m not overweight, more like underweight, but you wrapped me up into the insulin and blood glucose scare, saying “There isn’t anyone who I wouldn’t recommend a low-carb diet to”. So I did low-carb for over a year– very low, under 30 grams a day. Felt weird, got emaciated, and felt a lot better when I put not just carbs but high-GI carbs back in my diet. (About 9 months of this was no sugar, 3 months no fructose entirely). I don’t understand how, but carbs have a place in our diets. We’re not “trained” to want them, or sugar, it’s just a natural thing. (In regards to sugar, just follow the age old advice: “Don’t spoil your appetite with it.”, ‘cause it’s a lot of calories with no protein or vitamins or minerals. And you can feel the effects of that soon anyways.)

    I first started to doubt the simplicity of the carb>insulin-resistance theory when Matt Stone significantly improved his insulin sensitivity, based on postprandial glucose readings, after a month of eating high-GI carbs. Did you ever have anything to say to that? And many people online who follow a very-low-carb diet find that their fasting blood glucose levels are much higher than a normal person’s, around 100mg/dl (vs 70mg/dl). I could give you a few links, in case you’re unaware of low-carb disasters. I know low-carb might be helpful for overweight or pre-diabetic people, but I believe as Matt Stone does that this a crutch and not a solution for a more complex underlying disorder. Anyways I’m just asking that you stop recommending low-carb for everyone, and acting like dietary glucose is unnecessary. Glucose is a great source of energy, which all cells need to operate well. And the liver quickly turns fructose into saturated fats- not a bad thing.

    I even did Splenda and sugar alcohols for a bit, which is just stupid. How crazy is it to trick your body into thinking it’s getting something that it’s not? People have feelings for a reason. If you still have cravings for fructose even after stopping entirely for 3 months like I did, that should tell you that it’s not an “addiction” or something that you’ve trained your enzymes to do. There are plenty of other things out there that may account for poor health and endocrine disruptions. Polyunsaturated fats alone, often oxidized, permeate the commercial food supply.

    Also, stop worrying about mainstream articles if you want to stop banging your head– of course they’re ignorant, they care more about having jobs than the truth. And you shouldn’t be too frustrated anyways– even the government now advises against high-GI carbs and “added sugars”, even if people don’t listen. But, perhaps you should be frustrated, because that advice would catch on better if it actually felt better to do it.

    • Jared,

      I’m going to clue you in . Matt Stone et al are making a MASSIVE logical fallacy when they speak of evolution and carb eating:
      “Just because x is appropriate when y is true, does not mean x is appropriate in all conditions.”

      To illustrate:
      1) If peanut eating was part of majority of human evolution, that means people who develop anaphylaxis upon exposure to peanuts should theoretically be able to eat peanuts. Anaphylaxsis upon exposure to peanuts must be attributable to some other cause, and a reduction of peanuts in the diet can’t be part of the prescription.
      2) If phenylalanine intake is ubiquitous among all humans, all throughout are evolutionary history, that means people with the metabolic disease PKU should be able to eat as much phenylalanine as they want. Some other cause of PKU must be found, as it can’t possibly require phenylalanine reduction.

      You can talk about Kitavans and evolution until you’re blue in the friggin face. What matters is that today, in 2010, in america, in new jersey, there are human beings who cannot metabolize glucose dense meals correctly.
      The cause of this is diverse – acquired metabolic damage, progressive prenatal interuterine programming for metabolic disease from generation to generation, industrial chemicals, abnormal lifestyle, and the fact that some of us have genes that NEVER were intended to eat carbs 24/7 as I surely do not (I have my grandmother’s metabolism – she came from a tribe in north africa, FYI).
      But either way, some of us have special conditions which mean that no, we really CAN’T eat “natural starchy tubers” and expect to feel or be anything remotely okay.

      The low carb community will be radically better off when we understand the following facts:
      1) cause is not the same or inverse of cure (i.e. if carb reduction cures a problem that does not mean carb excess caused it)
      2) “evolution” does not always illuminate what is an appropriate way of living and eating for individual human beings in 2010. If paleolithic humans ate starchy tubers, what relevance does that have to me, someone with a history of severe obesity and PCOS and reactive hypoglycemia ? Every time I eat more than a bite or two of potatoes I can expect an acne outbreak and reactive hypo.
      3) Diet doesn’t cause everything. Maybe, just maybe, the widespread metabolic dysfunction in western civilization isn’t caused by wheat, OR fructose, OR pufas. Maybe , just maybe, it is numerous factors both dietary and non-dietary (e.g. long term exposure to chemicals that damage mitochondria for example). What we eat is not the end all be all of health.

      As for your experience with low carb – the fact you became “emaciated” with it suggests to me that you do not have a substantial metabolic disorder and strict restriction of carb is an inappropriate intervention.

      If I attempted to eat the way you or Matt Stone can eat, I assure you I would be ridden with acne, messed up endocrine system, and rapidly gaining weight. Because I have a metabolic/endocrine problem and the only way to adequately control it is to tightly control the food that results in insulin secretion.

      Similarly, I can eat bags of delicious peanuts (they’re quite good for my metabolic problems, the insulin release from peanuts is as low as you can find)… but if a little kid with peanut allergy tried that he might die upon the first bite.

    • Jared, have you ever tried living from nature in its wild aboriginal state? I have, and I can tell you that carbs are thin on the ground, and those you find are almost indigestible to someone with a modern gut. I could not satify my carb craving and gave up trying in the end. Whereas protein and fat are there for the picking, even today.
      When was the last time you saw Bear Grylls eating a tuber?
      I think original man used plants as medicine, for injury, wear and tear, parasites, and especially for stimulants.
      Even today there are many people who get much, often most of their plant nutrition and plant antioxidants from coca leaves, maté, tea, coffee, cocoa, gotu kola etc; except for coffee and chocolate these are as nourishing as any leaf for vitamin K, and supply minerals etc.
      The Yamamamoa, a classic hunter-gatherer tribe in the wild paleolithic state, tend gardens mainly to supply tobacco and coca. Apart from these they also use ayahuasca daily; I doubt they have much room in their bellies for other green leafy vegetables, nor much need.
      When such tribes do grow carbohydrate vegetables it is often so they can make beer/wine.
      The bush is full of game and they just don’t need vegetable calories, but I can’t see them passing up on ripe fruits and honey (not at all the same things as fructose and sugar).
      BTW, is Matt stone the guy who invented South Park?
      If so, why the heck is he any kind of authority figure?
      It’s not GI, it’s total carb, indeed, its carb/protein/fat balance that matters. Get that right and no doubt you could eat high-GI carbs. It’s all sugar in the end, regardless of GI.

      BTW, any junky will tell you, it takes more than 3 months to get over an addiction. 3 years is more like it.

  43. I remember reading long ago that professional golfers had the highest suicide rate of any profession.
    Now we know why.
    In my work life I’m a musician, this means working for two hours at a stretch. One of the best ways of ensuring I still have energy to burn at the end of that time is to have a few slugs of olive oil before I get on stage. The biggest mistake I’ve made recently was to use a high-fructose energy drink instead.
    What the hell is agave anyway? it just sound pretentious, like the latest thing for the rich people to show off, “Oh, agave is so much better than honey”. There’s a reason they turn it into tequila – if it was fit to eat, they’d use something else.

  44. Does anyone know, or has anyone ever heard of, someone getting fat or diabetic through eating too much honey?
    It may be mainly sugar, but it’s also a whole food for bee larvae. I find it pays to credit nature with some intelligence.

  45. for @George – honey (carbohydrate) and pollen (protein source) are fed to female larvae who will become worker bees. They are smaller than queens, and sterile. The female larvae who will grow up to be queens are fed royal jelly, which is a higher protein, higher fat diet.
    Given how well bees (especially African bees) protect their hives, honey has always been a rare treat. Even when Europeans learned how to maintain bee colonies honey was expensive, because traditional bee-keeping involved destroying the hive to harvest the honey.
    And here in North America the native Americans had maple sugar, which involves an incredible amount of work to produce. It takes 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of syrup, which then has to be boiled even more to make sugar that will keep over the winter without modern preservative techniques (i.e. bottling and canning).

    • You’re right, though I remember pollen being quite sweet, it supplies the protein, fats, vitamins and minerals to supplement those in the honey. My point is not that bee feeding is a good model for humans, just to point out the fatuity of warning people about consuming honey when I’m reasonably certain that honey consumption per se has never harmed anyone to anyone’s knowledge. We can’t say that about other high-carb foods like wheat sugar or fructose – we can see the effects of thse around us. So why pick on honey, which might well bee an exception to the general pattern (it may contain something that limits appetite once you eat a pot or two, for instance). I mean, why not stick to what we know, instead of condemning extra foods by association?

      • Honey wasn’t too rare to make mead from in europe – brewing is usually a sign that something is reasonably ubiquitous, that there’s more around than people want to eat right away. Or maybe it was too sweet for the tastes of those days, and no-one overconsumed it. Or maybe honey, by some property that is more than the sum of its currently known parts, is relatively resistant to being over-eaten.

        • Mead was common (such as it was, I’m not sure how common it really was overall) because monks wanted the wax from destroyed hives for their candles. Mead was just a way to get rid of the waste honey. The common man didn’t really get much mead from what I can tell – you just hear about it because the people who were writing had access to it.

      • There’s a reason honey isn’t supposed to be given to babies and small children. It’s called botulism.

        Honey per se does cause harm. I don’t see why it would be any different than whole fruits with a high relative glucose content, when those fruits have more nutrition to offer. Honey, even raw honey, is mostly sugar by a huge margin. If you can’t deal with sugar, you can’t deal with honey.

        It is not some special miracle food.

        • Yes, if you can’t deal with sugar.
          But the reason people can’t deal with sugar is, sugar, fructose, wheat and so on.
          Not honey. Honey does not cause the problem that sugar does.
          It would be different to fruit because it is sucrose, not fructose.
          Low-carb diets have an allotment of carbs and if you wanted to use some of that to sweeten a drink, then – strictly on the scientific evidence – honey, especially dark honey, seems the best choice.
          Almost all honey sold (except that labelled as unheated) is pasteurised by law and has no risk of botulism.
          It does not need to be a miracle food, it just needs to outperform other carbohydrate sweeteners, which it does.
          It is also a valuable topical antibiotic.

          • Also – fructose from fruit is NOT the same as fructose from HFCS. From Weston A. Price agave link
            Many researchers have pointed out that the fructose in HFCS is free, unbound fructose, which is not the same as the fructose in fruit, which is bound to other sugars, and is part of a complex that includes fiber, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

            Leaving this obvious difference aside, the industry would have the public believe that the fructose in fruit and in HFCS are chemically identical. However, most of the fructose in fruit is in the form of L-fructose or levulose; the fructose in HFCS is a different isomer, D-fructose. Small amounts of D-fructose do occur in fruit, but the D-fructose in HFCS has the reversed isomerization and polarity of a refined fructose molecule.12 As explained by Russ Bianchi, Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc., a globally recognized food and beverage development company, the fructose in HFCS is therefore not recognized in the human Krebs cycle for primary conversion to blood glucose in any significant quantity, and therefore cannot be used for energy utilization.13 Instead, these refined fructose sweeteners are primarily converted into triglycerides and adipose tissue (body fat). In fact, a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that obese people who drank a fructose-sweetened beverage with a meal had triglyceride levels almost 200 percent higher than obese people who drank a glucose-sweetened beverage with a meal.14

        • Fruits contain mostly l-fructose, not glucose. Botulism only applies to unpastuerised honey or syrup in any case. Honey is not even the major cause.
          But I don’t think this site is aimed at babies, do you?

          Infant botulism is a neuroparalytic disease which affects otherwise healthy children less than one year old. It was first recognized in 1976. Early symptoms of infant botulism are constipation, generalized weakness and a weak cry. While most cases require hospitalization, fatal cases are rare.
          Infant botulism is caused by the food poisoning bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This is the same bacterium that causes the food poisoning known as “botulism”. Spores of these bacteria are ingested by the infant, grow and produce a neurotoxin (i.e. poison) in the infant’s intestine.

          Spores of C. botulinum may be easily ingested as they are common in soil and dust. This may lead to botulism in children younger than one year. Many infants who develop infant botulism have been fed honey, the only identified food source of C. botulinum spores causing infant botulism.
          The most common and earliest symptom is constipation. Other symptoms include generalized weakness, a weak cry, poor sucking reflex, irritability, lack of facial expression, and loss of head control. Paralysis of the diaphragm may result in respiratory collapse. While most cases require hospitalization, fatal cases are rare.

          How common are C. botulinum spores in honey?

          C. botulinum spores have been found in honey that was implicated in infant botulism. Random surveys of honey produced in Canada indicate that C. botulinum spores are rare. Spores of C. botulinum are present in less than 5% of honey and are typically found in very low numbers.

          How can honey become contaminated with C. botulinum?

          It is not known how honey becomes contaminated with C. botulinum. Spores of C. botulinum, which are commonly found in the environment, may be picked up by bees and brought to the hive. Other microorganisms found in the environment around honey (ie. bees, hives, pollen, soil, flowers, etc.) are also likely to occur in honey.

          How common is infant botulism?

          Infant botulism is rare in Canada. Only sixteen cases of infant botulism have been recorded in Canada since the first case in 1979. Three of these were associated with feeding honey to the infant. More cases of infant botulism may go unreported due to misdiagnosis. In the United States, approximately 70 to 90 cases of infant botulism are reported every year.

          How common is infant botulism?

          Infant botulism is rare in Canada. Only sixteen cases of infant botulism have been recorded in Canada since the first case in 1979. Three of these were associated with feeding honey to the infant. More cases of infant botulism may go unreported due to misdiagnosis. In the United States, approximately 70 to 90 cases of infant botulism are reported every year.

          How is infant botulism treated?

          If your baby develops this disease, he/she may need to be cared for in a hospital for days or weeks. Close attention is paid to proper nutrition and pulmonary aid. Approximately one in four infants affected requires mechanical ventilation. Neither antibiotics nor antitoxin are usually administered. A complete recovery is made in nearly every case.

          How can infant botulism be prevented?

          Honey is the only food implicated in infant botulism.
          [yet is only involved in a minority of cases. This suggests that food contamination or intestinal dysbiosis is involved in the others. It would be interesting to see how many babies with botuluism recieved antibiotics prior to the attacks]
          Since it is not essential for the nutrition of infants, parents and caregivers are reminded not to feed honey to infants less than one year of age. Honey should never be added to baby food or used on a soother to quiet a fussy or colicky baby. Concerned parents should discuss alternative methods for quieting their baby with their pediatrician or family doctor

  46. Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes.

    His new book due out in January 2011.

    I’m looking forward to reading it.

    • Thanks — just put in a reserve at the library for when it arrives. I think Taubes’ Good Calories Bad Calories is a masterpiece.

  47. Checking my ignornance of honey, I find this –
    Following McInnes was Dr. David Baer, from the USDA Agriculture Research Service Beltsville
    Human Nutrition Research Center. His paper entitled, “The Challenges of Insulin Resistance –
    Does Honey Have a Role?” outlined the history, diagnosis and prevalence of diabetes in the
    United States and around the world. In summarizing two significant research studies, one from
    1985 and one from 2007 comparing the plasma glucose responses to the ingestion of honey,
    sucrose and glucose, Dr. Baer showed graphically that the body’s tolerance to honey is
    significantly better than to sucrose or glucose alone. Individuals with greater glucose intolerance
    (e.g. those with mild diabetes to Type 1 diabetes) showed significantly better tolerance to honey
    than to sucrose. In his summary, Dr. Baer said that “some clinical studies show improvement in
    glucoregulatory control with honey compared to other carbohydrate sources (most notably
    glucose).
    From the United Press International in a story published January 8th, 3:13 PM that referenced the
    Symposium, Dr. Baer was quoted, “Experimental evidence indicates that consumption of honey
    compared to some other sweeteners may improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.”

    this: honey is better than sugar free (wheat?) for rats:

    The long-term effects of feeding honey compared with sucrose and a sugar-free diet on weight gain, lipid profiles, and DEXA measurements in rats
    Authors: Chepulis, Lynne Merran
    Starkey, Nicola J.
    Issue Date: 2008

    To determine whether honey and sucrose would have differential effects on weight gain during long-term feeding, 45 2-mo-old Sprague Dawley rats were fed a powdered diet that was either sugar-free or contained 7.9% sucrose or 10% honey ad libitum for 52 wk (honey is 21% water). Weight gain was assessed every 1 to 2 wk and food intake was measured every 2 mo. At the completion of the study blood samples were removed for measurement of blood sugar (HbA1c) and a fasting lipid profile. DEXA analyses were then performed to determine body composition and bone mineral densities. Overall weight gain and body fat levels were significantly higher in sucrose-fed rats and similar for those fed honey or a sugar-free diet. HbA1c levels were significantly reduced, and HDL-cholesterol significantly increased, in honey-fed compared with rats fed sucrose or a sugar free diet, but no other differences in lipid profiles were found. No differences in bone mineral density were observed between honey- and sucrose-fed rats, although it was significantly increased in honey-fed rats compared with those fed the sugar-free diet.

    and this:
    Effect of honey on serum cholesterol and lipid values.
    Münstedt K, Hoffmann S, Hauenschild A, Bülte M, von Georgi R, Hackethal A.

    Abstract
    Small studies have suggested that honey benefits patients with high cholesterol concentrations. The present study aimed to confirm this finding in a larger group of subjects. Sixty volunteers with high cholesterol, stratified according to gender and hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitor (statin) treatment (yes/no), were randomized to receive 75 g of honey solution or a honey-comparable sugar solution once daily over a period of 14 days. Baseline measurements, including body mass index (BMI) and lipid profile, were obtained, and subjects also completed dietary questionnaires and the Inventory for the Assessment of Negative Bodily Affect-Trait form (INKA-h) questionnaire. Measurements were repeated 2 weeks later. BMI and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol values were significantly correlated (r = -0.487; P < .001) as were BMI and a lower ratio of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to HDL cholesterol (r = 0.420; P < .001), meaning that subjects with a high BMI had a lower HDL cholesterol value. INKA-h scores and LDL cholesterol values were also significantly correlated (r = 0.273, P = .042). Neither solution influenced significantly cholesterol or triglyceride values in the total group; in women, however, the LDL cholesterol value increased in the sugar solution subgroup but not in the women taking honey. Although ingesting honey did not reduce LDL cholesterol values in general, women may benefit from substituting honey for sugar in their diet. Reducing the BMI lowers the LDL cholesterol value, and psychological interventions also seem important and merit further investigation.

  48. Dr Baer again “He
    concluded that the small amounts of antioxidants in honey may be beneficial in reducing oxidative
    stress, frequently by a larger factor than can be explained by the actual amount of measurable
    antioxidants found in honey.”

    in otherwords, we don’t have the last word on honey. One effect can be the anti-inflammatory effect of pollen residue in honey desensitising us to airborne pollen. This definitely works if the honey is locally produced (or produced somewhere with similar plant species) and unpasteurised; even though most pollen allergens are not found in honey (bees are not needed to collect airborne pollen); whether it is due to pollen or antioxidants i’m not sure.

  49. It’s easy to make fun of golf and golfers, but I can tell you that the endurance that a pro needs during the week of a tournament is not like going to some muni dog track for a 5-hour 18 holes with your buddies. The pros don’t (read are forbidden to) take carts. They and their caddies walk the the course in all kinds of weather (read hot mostly), and when they are through with their round they practice for a few more hours afterwards. They do this 6 days a week… practice round, pro-am on Wed., tournament Thursday – Sunday. If you look at the tour pros out there, they are mostly a lean bunch of guys. John Daly and a few others are the exception, not the rule.

    Having played tournament golf in my youth, I can tell you that it is very physically demanding in the long run. I was a banana, peanut butter and almonds guy myself. Water – no sports drinks.

    • Thanks for the info, I stand corrected from my previous observation. Shows what a little ignorance can do……..

      I recently read that the regionally preferred tournament food in places like Atlanta is pimento cheese on white bread. (Chopped pimentos, grated cheese, mayo, spices). Nutritionally horrible stuff, but if you have to grab a bit of “off the diet” food, this is it!

      I miss eating pimento cheese. All the grocery store stuff has soy oil in it. I made a fair substitute of fat free cheese, pimentos, and yogurt, but it just wasn’t the same as that innocent decadence.

      • You could probably make a clone from homemade mayo made with olive oil, full fat cheese, jarred pimentos, and spices or whatever. Given that it can be made with good-quality, fairly healthy ingredients, I don’t see why you’d have to stop eating it, or why it would have to be “off diet”.

  50. ItsTheWooo,

    I’m going to respond to you by quoting from my original post:

    “I know low-carb might be helpful for overweight or pre-diabetic people, but I believe as Matt Stone does that this a crutch and not a solution for a more complex underlying disorder. Anyways I’m just asking that you stop recommending low-carb for everyone, and acting like dietary glucose is unnecessary.”

    Also, my acne remained with me the duration of my low-carb low-fructose experiment, but has now gone away since I’ve cut out the polyunsaturated fats (peanut butter, bacon grease, and fish oil pills being the main sources during the low-carb days). Also it’s a little more complex, as I’ve had to cut out carrageenan, which is found in almost every ice cream; but that’s beside the point– I really don’t think carbs cause acne.

    Sorry about your glucose management problem. I don’t have a solution for you, besides what you’re doing. I’m mainly trying to prevent healthy people like me from thinking low-carb can’t possibly be bad because we “know” it’s how our ancestors ate for millions of years.

    • You know what? I’m just going to say this to clarify my position on Matt Stone. Matt Stone is flat out wrong. He is wrong 100% of the time, all of the time. There is no exception to this rule when it comes to the high everything diet.

      It’s like drowning a woman to prove she’s not a witch – if she floats, she’s not a witch like we thought… women who are mortal will all drown. All people with metabolic problems will drown on Matt Stone’s advice. Only people who have superhuman protection (i.e. are totally metabolically healthy) can maintain health on it. So what are you proving? Why even call it a diet then if you have nothing you need to avoid?

      Matt Stone. This is an overly opinionated young man who, for some reason only he knows, thinks he has the solution to every health problem in the world. He has no formal medical training, he has no experience with scientific research, and he has no first hand anecdotal experience (as he was never overweight or had any problems health wise that he has resolved). It’s like one day this kid woke up and decided he was a scientist, a doctor, or someone who resolved a major health problem that he had… but none of that is true. Matt Stone just has lots of crazy wacky ideas with zero testing or evidence yet he’s convinced he’s the messiah.

      To be honest, I’m going to agree with Steven from whole health source – bipolar / manic disorder probably best explains the paradox of Matt Stone. The more I read Matt Stone the more he comes off like someone who is chronically manic.

      Anyway. Yea.

      That your acne improved on a lower fat diet (I am assuming you reduced dietary fat) might reflect the fact that dietary fat helps augment free testosterone levels, which are in turn responsible for acne. For someone like myself (a female with PCOS), my acne is 100% related to my insulin levels – in PCOS, insulin causes my ovaries to make too much testosterone and so I get acne pretty quickly. To keep my insulin levels normal I need to control my metabolic problem by not eating many carbs and eating reasonable calories.

      But for a male with acne, I can see that perhaps reducing dietary fat would be better than reducing carbs, since the issue in your case might not be abnormal production but excess signalling/binding to receptors.

      Most common cause of acne is excessive androgen , there are some exceptions, but generally acne follows androgen signaling. THerefore, when analyzing what exacerbates or resolves acne, it’s instructive to look at how those factors might affect androgens.

      Insulin and IGF are powerful mediators of SHBG. SHBG is a protein that binds to testosterones and makes them not work, effectively reducing androgen activity. Insulin and IGF both lower SHBG, which is effectively like increasing your testosterone levels. Dietary fat and protein will do the same thing.

      So, when a man switches from a low carb diet to a more carbohydrate dense diet, ASSUMING this man has no metabolic problems which would otherwise augment insulin/IGF abnormally when eating carbohydrate… this man can expect less signs of androgen excess while eating carbohydrate dense diet because he isn’t getting the testosterone/DHT augmenting effect of the fat and higher protein.

      I don’t think anyone is saying we all need to eat extremely low carb diets… but if you fit the profile of someone who has a metabolic issue, you do need to eat this way.

  51. Hi Dr. Eades,

    I am a registered dietitian, and also a huge fan of yours, just finished Robb Wolf’s book, read Uffe Ravnskov’s book while in college… you get the picture 😉 I read the first paragraph of this entry and thought “here we go again, WHAT is accomplished by STEREOTYPING like this?” In every profession, there will be those who “put their thinking caps on” and those who follow blindly. I have to respectfully disagree with the whole angle of this post…while of course your analysis of the article is correct, wouldn’t it be more productive to give your readers guidelines on how to know if they have found a GOOD registered dietitian? Or at least just stick to the misinformation you are refuting in the article?

    What is even MORE idiotic than the statements made in the article by the dietitian is the practice of judging and stereotyping someone based on some letters after their name. Unfortunately, this article may have only encouraged that narrow thinking, as demonstrated by comments such as “them Dietitians pander to the crowd.” and “What will it take before people realize that someone who is a “registered nutritionist” is, in the majority of cases, a danger to the health of anyone who would listen? “…

    How does bashing the good dietitians along with the bad help anyone?!

    Just like finding a good DOCTOR, a good dietitian can change your life. And a good dietitian will also help your cause, Dr. Eades, of busting through nutrition myths and helping to correct the misinformation supplied to the general public.

    Maybe you could suggest some screening questions…
    1. What blogs do they regularly read?
    2. How many nutrition/health books do they read each month?
    3. What groups are they a member of?
    I guess if I had to pick one, it would be “Is coconut oil healthy for me?” That one weeds them out right away 😉 Or maybe “Have you read “Protein Power” and what’s your analysis of it?”

    My concern is that promoting this stereotype will deter someone from working with a registered dietitian who could actually help Because you and I both know that doctors don’t have time, and most don’t have the knowledge. So who’s going to do it?

    • I was afraid a “good” dietitian was going to think I was casting aspersions on the whole tribe. I’m really not. There are many dietitians out there who are in the know – we had an excellent one who worked for us in our clinic for several years. In general, though, I’ve found most dietitians to be blindly obedient to the low-fat prescription and unable to shake their ways even when presented with vast amounts of data showing their ideas to be outdated. Physicians have many of the same ideas, but they have so little training in nutrition that they can sometimes be easily persuaded. Not so with dietitians. They have to overcome virtually all of their training to adopt a different dietary paradigm.

      • Exactly. It’s what I’ve been saying for YEARS. Too many MD’s trying to give nutritional advice they don’t even understand, and too many allopathic nutritionists doling out information that is so wrong as to make folks worse instead of better. We’ve seen it over and over, but as you say, even when face to face with proven evidence (clinical research or call it what you may) they cannot bring themselves to acknowledge things such as the fact that cholesterol is a good thing, etc. Most studies have shown that autopsies done on older folks conclude those with the highest cholesterol readings lived the longest and were less ill throughout their lifetime. How can someone with a degree in a subject like nutrition NOT look at all the evidence? IMPO, they only acknowledge half of their education when they behave that way.

  52. Yes, this type of crap is taught in school. I’m finishing up a masters in Sports Nutrition and I see it everyday that I’m in class. Ever since before I got into studying nutrition I was intrigued by the evolutionary aspect of the science and how most people seemed to ignore it. Unfortunately, not only was most of my education done on my own, but it was directly contrary to what I was being lectured about in class. Fortunately, I had an introduction to Cordain, Eades, Weston Price, etc. before the program started. Who knows where I would be now if I hadn’t.

    One of the best quotes I heard in class was about a series of graphs demonstrating how protein, carb, and fat use for energy increases as each is consumed. The graphs for protein and carbs showed increased metabolism as each was consumed. The graph for fat was flat. And the interpretation, “So now you can see why it’s possible to get fat from eating fat, but not from eating carbs.”

    I hope the academic atmosphere is more accepting if/when I go for my PhD.

  53. Good lord. Agave nectar is NAFL disease in a bottle.

    Unrelated question: Have you had a chance to read Taubes new book yet? I assume you would have gotten an advance copy. Amazon has the pre-order up for sale already, so you might want to have your webmaster put a link up for it on the sidebars.

  54. Question in regards to sugar.

    I was standing behind an elderly lady at the supermarket check-out line when I noticed she had a bag of “organic sugar”. I wondered, what the hell do they put INTO regular sugar that would make someone purchase organic sugar?

    Not being much of a cook, baker, or consumer of things with sugar I’m honestly curious what the difference is!

    Or is it all just marketing?

    • As far as the consequences to your metabolism, there is no difference. I suppose that if it is legally labeled “organic” that means the sugar cane or beets from which the sugar came were grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

      • They sell low-GI sugar here now, GI around 50; it looks and tastes like normal raw sugar but has some natural extract of the cane that slows digestion.

        Chelsea LoGiCane™ Sugar uses world first technology to develop a sugar with a naturally Low Glycemic Index (GI). It works by spraying an all natural molasses extract onto raw sugar, the molasses naturally increases sugar’s resistance to digestion. By having a low GI, Chelsea LoGiCane™ takes longer to be digested, resulting in a slower release of energy, which can help to curb hunger cravings. Chelsea LoGiCane™ represents innovation in sugar. All natural, it has the same sweet taste and functionality as ordinary sugar, with the added benefit of a Low GI rating of just 50. Chelsea LoGiCane™ carries the official Low GI symbol and is available in a 500g packet at major supermarkets nationally.

    • I buy raw or organic sugar all the time. It is not as processed (which is why the granules are larger) and it is organically grown (as much as that’s possible, these days). Sugar cane and beets are heavily sprayed crops, and now all sugar beets come from GM seeds (thank you Monsanto, you big, fat, bald, toothless, disgusting company).

    • I grab dried cane juice (sucanat) for my occasional foray into carby baking. I get asked to make gluten-free baked goods for people now and then, and find the sucanat gives a better, richer flavor, especially when I cut down the overall sugar content of the recipe.

      I don’t know about organic white sugar, but that seems pretty pointless, other than avoiding pesticides.

      • Ginny, what’s “pointless” about avoiding pesticides??

        I like sucanat, rapadura and a couple of others, too. Anything NOT made from something GM.

        • @D
          No, Ginny really said that avoiding pesticides was the only point she saw in it. Syntax is everything – the meaning of “other than” in this case.
          These comments are radidly degenerating into Fowler’s Modern English Usage, with the discussion of “healthy” food.
          I like that – I like conversing with people who care about such things. It reinforces my confidence in their judgement.

  55. Dr. Eades wrote: “I suppose agave is ‘healthier’ (a totally grammatically incorrect construction, by the way). . .”

    Thanks for that. The substitution of “healthy” for “healthful” is right up there with “one-on-one” on the list of things that make me cringe.

  56. Paul Verizzo

    Ah, pimento cheese. I learned to love it when I lived in North Carolina, though back then I ate it on whole wheat bread, not white bread.

    Make your own “real” pimento cheese, man! No soy oil, no processed cheese products.

    Grate some nice sharp Coastal English cheddar (or any good quality aged traditional sharp cheddar made with whole and preferably raw milk) and mix it with homemade mayo (tip – the Dr/Mrs Eades has a great mayo recipe on her blog – you’ll find a link right up at the top of this blog screen).

    if you really want to guild the lily, instead of using jarred pimentos, roast your own red peppers over a flame or under a broiler, let them sit in a sealed paper bag a few minutes to steam, scrape off the skins & remove the seeds, and dice into small pieces. Roasted pepper will keep a few days in a covered container in the fridge.

    I like pimento cheese on celery stalks, cucumber rounds, even on a slice of cheddar cheese. You can also wrap some up with a good thin slice of homemade deli style roast beef or leaf lettuce, or heck, just eat it with a spoon. It’s also great with a drained can of tiny pink shrimp mixed in, too.

  57. “Honey is OK as a sweetener, although agave is healthier.”

    I’ve always loved this construction! Once, when sitting down to a meal with friends, one of them observed that our main dish of poached salmon was “healthy.”

    “Doesn’t look at all healthy to me,” I said. “It’s dead.”

  58. Unfortunately, the notion that carbs are a good source of energy begins as far back as high school biology. I teach biology and anatomy/physiology in high school (23 years!). Every textbook states that carbohydrates are a source of energy. What the text neglects to state is that they are referring to the use of glucose in aerobic cellular respiration in the conversion to ATP in the mitochondria of the cell. What I have to remind students is that it is not necessary to consume carbohydrates in order for the cell to use glucose for energy – that your body does a great job of supplying your cells with glucose without having to consume carbs. I think this is the root of the problem. Every kid is taught this (unless they have me for Bio) and this idea of “carbs=energy” carries over for a lifetime. I also dispel the Ancel Keys- fat- cholesterol myth as well. Keys makes a great example for how NOT to do science!

    • That reminds me of a thing that I noticed when trying to understand a little bit more about metabolism, all books or online resources focus on glucose metabolism. You can find easily anaerobic, aerobic metabolism explained, with animation, without, with ATP yields, whatever. Try to find info on fat metabolism, it’s an order of magnitude more difficult. Not speaking of ketone, alcohol or acetic acid metabolism, which is almost impossible to even get mentioned. So no wonder that most people know only that glucose=energy.

      • There’s still plenty of it being taught in the “Advanced” Health classes taught by the school phys-ed and foods teachers. They have big posters of the food pyramid on their walls. I have a copy of Sisson’s Primal Blueprint poster on mine 😉 What’s amazing is the absolute hunger, no pun intended, with which my students eat up the true information. I start with teaching the biochemistry of the organic molecules and functional groups first, then we investigate lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins. Then we investigate CW vs study-based science and the light bulbs go on. I also show Fat Head and King Corn, both of which hammer home the point that the guv’ment is not necessarily looking out for our best interests. One of my students told me last year that I “rocked her world.” My best compliment yet as a teacher.

  59. Tons of interesting comment and information here. Worth re reading.

    I wish to add only one comment:

    Playing golf, or any other sport, is about playing sport.

    Its not about munching your way thru the day. U cannot play sport and eat. DUH!

  60. I work for a publishing corp that makes college textbooks. Including some of the leading textbooks on nutrition. Every person studying nutrition or any line of medicine must take the classes that focus education with these books.

    As recently as right now, they still say that saturated fat is horrible avoid at all costs, you will DIE without carbohydrates, whole grains are absolutely critical and the primary focus in the diet, and they treat even the candy-est fruit as if it is the same as asparagus, and recommend only vegetable oils.

    I really appreciate my corp, most our products, and my job, but it drives me crazy knowing this crappy “expert” content is going to spend the next year+ educating the people who will be nutritionists in a few years, nurses in a couple more, doctors in a few more. It is no wonder our medical community is often so “indoctrinated by ignorance.” How can it be otherwise when this is what their education consists of?

    PJ

    • How right you are. Richard Feinman and I have spoken about writing an accurate nutritional textbook, but such an undertaking is a God-awful amount of work. And if we went through the brain damage of writing it, we would have no guarantee that publishing companies such as your own would publish it.

          • I know. That was said half-jokingly. :-)

            But I’d love to see the two of you publish a nutrition book in the same format as one of those politically-correct ones–cover exactly the same topics–but with the right information.

          • As far as I know textbooks are rarely read unless they are assigned to a class by the lecturer (then they are often grudgingly skimmed right before the exame at least). So, unless you get someone teaching a decent nutrition class, what hope does a nutrition text book wrote by the Drs Eades have?

          • I have done this, and it is incredibly easy, at least the physical publishing part of it. Produce a PDF and ship it off to a printer. The printer does all the hard work. Feel free to email me if you want the skinny.

    • Actually, the information is already out there. It’s just that no one in the allopathic community has any intention of acknowledging the correctness of their work.

      http://www.westonaprice.org

      Their work is based on fact, not fiction. Our gov’t and medical communites prefer the fiction because it sells their products, crappy and dangerous as they are.

      Let’s face it. 90% of Americans will stay ignorant because it’s the path of least resistance.

  61. I forgot to add an element even worse than the textbook content. One of the big sellers is online products that make the student report on what they personally do for food, exercise, etc. — and the grades actually depend on doing it “the right way,” agreeing they need change if they’re not following the line already. So now you not only get graded on your ability to give nonfactual answers the ‘establishment’ likes, but you get graded on whether or not you conform to living the way they want you to live, or consistently lie about that too. I consider this unbelievably invasive, but apparently it is seen as a great thing.

    Curiously, back in the day, Bandler and Grinder (founders of NLP) were fired from their university, and there was a specific quote that had to do with, their job was not to have an effect on the students’ psychology, merely to teach them psychology, or something like that (verrrry old memory here). (Resolving phobias and improving performance without 20 years of ‘treatment’ were apparently very threatening to established psychology.)

    But now that very focus, effecting (forcing!) ‘change’ in the students, not just providing them info-education, is apparently that’s ok.

    PJ

    • Ha. You think that’s bad, my company’s health care provider is now pushing “health assessments” and “preventative care.” And my company is giving health care $$ (towards medical coverage) if you have both the assessments and follow the recommended preventative care.

      One example they use is cholesterol tests and getting on recommended drugs means YAY! We’ll put $$ in your health care spending account!

      I filled out the first questionaire, where I list my weight and goals and so forth and so on. my BMI is 30 – it was much higher 34lbs and carbohydrate living in January before PP. Because I indicated I was following a weight loss program, they have inundated me with “hints for healthy eating and weight loss” that is complete and utter malarkey. If i had followed those recs I’d still be 200+ lbs. Mor. On.s

      But what bothers me is the “one size fits all” and CW being linked to financial (and like in your example – grades) compensation/benefits.

      This is just so scary.

  62. Good article. And what about the well-known American nutritionist who says using artificial sweeteners every day is perfectly fine in small amounts?!

  63. This is a great post, as a medical provider (physician assistant) in family practice, I see a tremendous and dishearteningly large amount of diabetes and obesity. It is very difficult to counter years of advertisement and diet information pushing low fat high carbohydrate diets reinforced by the Food Pyramid. Lets not even talk about processed foods and the food industry. I use a quote form Michael Pollen about food shopping: If your great/grandmother was on your shoulder, would she recognize what you are buying?

  64. I think you’re still “Mad as Hell!” Mike. I don’t blame you. But this kind of garbage is everywhere.

    My current favorite is the ad for Nutella. Basically, it’s low fat chocolate/hazelnut frosting being put on multi-grain bread (NOT whole grain, notice. Although the whole grain is still high carb. ) Supposed to be healthy for you. I’d rather have green eggs and ham.

    I don’t use Twitter, are you on Facebook? I work very close to Newark airport. Would love to come by and say hello if you’re there again.

    I have a feeling the cave bears were probably closer to hunting the prehistoric humans to extenction than vice versa, but it doesn’t matter. Your point is well taken. I get it, she doesn’t.But I love her Pepsodent smile.

    Take care, glad you’re still in form. Jim

      • Do it, Dr. Mike, do it!

        One of the things I like about my favorite websites being on Facebook is that new posts appear in the News Feed, saving me the trouble of remembering to visit your website periodically to check for new posts.

    • The first and last time I picked up a jar of Nutella, I read the label and found partially hydrogenated oil buried in the list of ingredients.

      • This is interesting because the same Nutella in New Zealand has no partially hydrogenated oil, just vegetable oil.
        The reason is that no-one will buy trans fats here, and although their restriction is voluntary, products that make claims re: cholesterol, omega 3s etc must list trans fat content by law. One good thing dieticians do do here is to regularly demonize trans fats (as “2 to 5 times as bad as saturated fat” – JW – but also “unlike saturated fat, trans fats will lower HDL cholesterol”).
        In the NZ diet more trans fats come from dairy and beef fed on palm oil expeller residue and pasture than come from processed food. I suspect that higher levels of trans fats found in heart disease here may be produced by gut dysbiosis/translocation rather than derived from diet, but this is not the working hypothesis. Also that trans fats are more likely to end up in the heart when other dietary fats are low or out of balance, especially omega 3 but also possibly monoUFAs and some of the saturated fats (which are after all the predominant fats normally).

        • To clarify, total amount of trans fats consumed per capita in NZ is very low, just a few % of what it is in the rest of the developed world, so low that natural trans fats from fermentation of dairy pasture and feed slightly outweigh trans fats from processed foods.
          New Zealand has one of the world’s highest rates of heart disease nonetheless. Other relevant factors are very low soil selenium, high latitude (43-45o) and a population rich in non-gluten adapted genotypes; Celtic, Maori, Pacific Island, all being recommended to consume at least 6 slices of bread a day.

  65. Oh, Dr. Mike: reconsider — the big-time computer guru Leo Laporte has actually quit Facebook (as have a number of other ‘big-names’ in the computer field) because of Facebook’s terrible horrible lack of ethics about member privacy. And Facebook has made quitting extremely hard to effect, and members who post info or a link to the ‘how to quit’ page (because the place to quit is very, very hidden) find their that info/posting/message — on their “OWN” page — is deleted by Facebook. Skip Facebook and stay here where we love you and you have control over your writings!

    • Oh yes, puhleeeez, skip Facebook. I would never join there because of all the flaps they’ve have in just the past six months. My son also found out how difficult it is to “quit” Facebook. He still has trouble from that site and people follow him all over — people he doesn’t even know. It’s weird. And he told me that he revealed very little about himself there, but he said it’s just amazing at how much personal information people will talk about and the personal pictures they will post.

      It’s a fact that prisoners are using Facebook to find people with whom they have past grievances and settle scores. Seriously. Hey, it’s a little too social, ya know?

      But to each his own, I suppose. Personally, I like regular computer life, or a telephone works well, too. (I don’t twitter either. In fact, I don’t utilize social networking at all anymore.)

  66. My favorite “Jesus wept” moment: My 80 year old mother was hospitalized with COPD. First doctor visit in 40 years. She was prescribed Pulmocare, a “low-carb” beverage/meal substitute for lung patients.
    While in the hospital she had an episode of increased CO2 in her blood. During this she had an irregular heartbeat which triggered heart ultrasound, cardiologist visit etc. Once a cardiologist was involved she was put on a “heart healthy”diet due to slight high bp. She could have wheat toast and lemonade but no real eggs–the usual. While still drinking the low carb/ high fat beverage at every meal!! They looked at me strangely when I questioned it.

    Of course the Pulmocare first 4 ingredients…water, caseinates, sugar and canola oil. It’s not really all that low-carb/high fat, (Does have some MCTs) Hard to even begin to discuss diet with even totally lucid senior citizens when this is the advice they get from professionals.

    • The metabolism of carbohydrates produces significantly more CO2 than does the metabolism of fat. The metabolically-produced CO2 is disposed of by the lungs. Obviously, those with diseased lungs have more difficulty getting rid of the CO2 than do those with healthy lungs. Consequently, pulmonologists (lung doctors) usually put their patients with diseased lungs on low-carb diets to reduce the amount of CO2 the diseased lungs have to deal with. What beggars belief is that a cardiologist would come in and add carbs to such a diet. It goes to show how much lipophobia there is in the cardiology tribe and how little thought often goes into actions that can have serious consequences. I’m sure the cardiologist was simply operating on auto pilot, i.e., here’s a patient with a heart problem, let’s prescribe a ‘heart healthy’ diet. Forgetting, of course, that the patient’s primary problem is pulmonary.

      • Is that because there is so little oxygen in fats compared to carbs? It may be a coincidence, but oxygen free fat soluble antioxidants (like carotenoids and squalene) have a special affinity for pure oxygen radicals like singlet oxygen and superoxide, and little or no affinity for hydroxyl radicals (which property belongs to mostly water-soluble antioxidants with hydroxy groups). Which is why you need both types to clean up ionised H2O.

        How cholesterol and squalene from animal fats and olive oil respectively protect against cancer:
        (Squalene is a cholesterol precursor)
        If there is no cholesterol or squalene in your diet you have to make cholesterol de novo. One of the intermediates in their synthesis is farnesyl, a precursor of farnesyl pyrophosphate, which attaches to the protein that activates the ras oncogene; “farnesyl transferase has been recognised as an attractive target for inhibition in cancer chemotherapy. Inhibitors of this enzyme interfere wiuth the growth of cancer cells in culture”. Given the large amounts of cholesterol needed in daily metabolism, and which can either be supplied from the diet or synthesised de novo with farnesyl as a constant intermediate, do we realy need to maximize its production?
        Further, if we consume squalene from olive oil it will be used to synthesise cholesterol, but if we already get dietary cholesterol more of the squalene will go to our skin where it acts as an antioxidant (similar to carotenes) and helps prevent skin cancer and skin aging (just as having retinol in our diet from animal foods spares dietary carotenes from conversion to retinol, not a reliable retinol pathway in any case, also protecting the skin from solar radiation).

        • Pure fat produces 70% of the CO2 for a given amount of oxygen intake as compared to carbohydrates. The RQ (respiratory quotient) of pure fat is 0.7 whereas that of pure carb is 1.0.

      • This just boggles my mind. I did not know about the effect of carbs on the lungs until recently. I do wonder if my grandmother who died of lung cancer this past April (she was formally diagnosed in March) would have lived longer had carbs been removed from her diet.

        • Low-carb diets have been used in cancer therapy as “the ketogenic diet”. Recently this concept has entered the mainstream; a recent episode of NZ hospital soap “Shortland Street” involved low-carb feeding of cancer patients.
          This may tie in with the “alkalizing foods” and obsession with internal pH seen in some naturopathic and homeopathic schools; CO2 is an acid, and lowering CO2 content of blood has to be alkalizing. Yet these practitioners often recommend carb foods, based on inadequate science (for example, using the pH of the ash of a nutrient that is not completely oxidised in metabolism, such as ascorbate in a recent example reported to me). Nonetheless they often seem to get it right, but if only they knew about fats…

    • Looks very interesting, almost like they took part of “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and submitted to a journal.
      Is that journal considered a peer reviewed publication? What is the reputation of that journal in the general nutrition or medical community?

  67. @Paul451, that’s absolutely wonderful, and quoteable at length.
    Obviously the grain producers hold the whip hand whenever dietary guidelines are dreamt up. The egg and meat producers don’t even seem to have a voice at the table.
    Governments mandated iodisation of salt based on hard science and a real epidemic of goitre and cretinism.
    Then these health-food cretins come along and sabotage it by scaring people off salt consumption. It’s consumption of iodised table salt that drops, not consumption of salted junk food. And we start seeing goitre again, and an epidemic of thyroid disease.
    How can they say I should eat less salt or less fat when they have no idea how much salt or fat I eat? When suggestible people already on low-fat or low-salt diets hear this advice, do they reduce even further?

      • I’ve looked at beets a bit; they are one of the best sources of trimethylglycine (betaine) which is good for lowering homocysteine and upping methylation, cooked beets are as good as raw here. (Other good TMG sources are spinach and bran). TMG was once called vitamin B15; not really a misnomer as it can substitute for many functions of folate and B12 in deficiency (conditionally essential).
        Also, the purple pigment in beets seems to be the same type of anthocyanin found in berries and is protective of small blood vessels. The combination of anthocyanin and betaine makes beets a very good food for the liver.

  68. @D == This is a good example of what I meant. You and I know to go for real salt (black salt is my favourite), but the Dietary Guidelines we are critiqeuing are meant for the masses.
    The whole problem began with Elite Eaters trying to impose their values on the masses, then having those values corrupted. OK the values were wrong, but you even have to be careful about right ones – they will not be understood.
    Give people the idea that iodised salt is bad for them and most won’t buy sea salt; they’ll just eat less iodised salt.
    It’s better for the masses to have iodised salt (even bleached – after all, their flour is already bleached, I doubt the bleach in salt adds up tro a millionth of that) than no salt and no iodine.
    Counsels of perfection are dangerous on the national level.

    I have never heard of flouridated salt, it’s not available here (caveat emptor), and none of the blogs you linked faults iodine or even bleach. I question whether all table salt is bleached (if it’s recrystallised it doesn’t need to be).
    I like the Health Skeptic blog though – anyone who makes people read Klenner is alright with me.
    http://healthjournalclub.blogspot.com/search/label/vitamin%20C

    • George, I never buy bleached flour.

      And, if given a choice, people will buy what they’re used to buying, which in the case of salt would be the Morton type table salt. Explain that grocery store salt is not the best idea. Don’t even go into the whole iodine/salt talk. Just say “buy sea salt from a reputable source” and let it go at that. Giving people too many options is what confuses them. I’m not faulting iodine at all, but the bleaching process takes out the minerals and then the iodine is placed back into the salt as a synthetic material. Not a real great idea.

      There are other ways to consume iodine. For people with thyroid issues, I recommend Armour Thyroid; for those who want to maintain an iodine intake for a healthy thyroid I recommend Thyactin (drops) from TriMedica. Also, Deseret Biologicals makes a great Iodine Drop. 3-4 drops daily into a 6-8 oz glass of filtered water.

      Kelp is wonderful stuff for the thyroid (in tablet form look for Atlantic Kelp); spirulina and L-Tyrosine are excellent for thyroid gland upkeep and maintenance.

      But the sodium in a good sea salt is what is actually more necessary than the iodine, since sodium is a little harder to obtain in our diet than iodine.

      There are a lot of good sites on the ‘net about not using bleached salt. Would you use a bleached salt/mineral block for cows and horses? I sure wouldn’t, so I don’t wanna use bleached stuff myself, either.

  69. Good Morning!

    A theory of mine…..

    Recently a longitudinal study of the nutritional content of whole foods (fruit, vegtables, meats) over the last 30 years has shown that the nutritional content of whole foods available today has 18-53% less than it did 30 years ago but still holds roughly the same caloric amount. (Can’t remember where I read this but was also reported on in the media; I do take that with a grain of salt!) The study correlated these results with the growth of industrial farming, pesticides and hybridization of the things we grow. As everyone is aware we have an obesity crisis in the US population; which is blamed on food choices and inactivity. I am sure with alot of people this is in part a valid cause. BUT what does eating food with less nutritive value do to the metabolism? I’ve heard that when one eats empty calories (isn’t this exactly what low nutrient content and high calorie content mean? Empty calories?) the result is fat storage. My theory is that as our food stores have less nutrient content and calorie content remains constant that the human body will store more fat; thus obesity. Combine this with decreased activity levels, increased serving sizes and poor food choices we have a morbid combination brewing! What do you think?

    • Caloric intake hasn’t remained constant; it has increased. The increase in average caloric intake has been made up of carbohydrate calories, most of which are empty calories.

      • @Maren, I suspect this is one reason that low-carb diets come with a multi-vitamin and mineral programme; Atkins’ was quite extensive (and sometimes excessive in my book, and I’d consider myself an advocate of such things), Dr Eades’ seems more sensible.
        If you’ve been eating empty calorie foods long-term, you can end up well behind the 8 ball nutritionally – the amount of minerals like magnesium or chromium or B vitamins needed to correct the effects of prolonged deficiency is greater than the amount you can get from food. After a few years of low-carb eating this might change as your body becomes more efficient (for example, the requirement for vitamin C is greatly increased by impaired glucose and insulin metabolism as the vitamin enters cells through GLUT4 receptors in its oxidised DHAA phase).

    • Once upon a time obesity was considered a self-inflicted disability, but since 1977 it’s been imposed on the population from on high, by edict of governmemt and the “health”, or rather disease-focussed associations, and by people’s doctors.
      Here’s a thought – there are dozens of modern diseases, but health, or freedom from these diseases, is one single thing. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to focus on that?
      Take one example that’s struck me; on the Life Extension Website there are nutritional supplement protocols for various diseases. Most of the recommendations overlap significantly, and those for rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and hepatitis C (to take only three examples I’ve looked at more closely) are virtually identical. If you can treat arthritis or depression with an evidence-based protocol designed for hepatitis (and I think you can), then why do we go to such trouble to seperate and distinguish between these diseases of civilisation, and specialise in their treatment?
      Perhaps getting a diagnosis and seeing a specialist for these things is a mistake; and admitting that we’re just not healthy, and seeing instead someone who has made all sorts of sick people healthy, even – perhaps especially – people with diseases (but not necesarily symptoms) different from our own – makes more sense?

      • I have really mixed feelings about LEF.org. On the one hand — their magazine (and website) is filled with studies and medical research. And their vitamins are high quality and super prices.

        I *massively* appreciate their very low pricing on blood tests: I have no insurance; the one time I had to pay my doc for the thyroid panel (three tests) he/the lab charged me $395. If I’d HAD the time to order it through LEF, the same three tests totaled only $83 — for bloodwork done at the SAME LAB!!)

        But they’re still all ‘go low fat, avoid sat-fat,’ and … it’s like they’ve never even read Taubes (which, I expect, they have NOT!) Early on, I wanted to write a complaint to them about it — but decided to just keep my head down and not jeopardize my only source of affordable blood tests… For the most part, I’m my own doctor for my thyroid — although my doc IS a member of LEF, he’s not up-top-date on thyroid treatment. {sigh}

        • I cancelled my free email “news” from LEF and told them it was because of their low fat, no saturated fat, low salt, etc advice — and because they sent articles they had not read or even agreed with.

  70. More on the original subject: I was in a waiting room yesterday and picked up a diabetes self management magazine. The theme of that particular issue was vegetarianism. One of the articles was about a “study” that found that people who ate more fat, cheese, eggs, and meat–especially red meat–had a greater chance of becoming diabetic than those who ate more vegetables.

    Yeh, right!

    Meanwhile, I found myself the unwilling audience to a discussion between a woman and a technician about her neuropathy, and overheard her say, “but my sugar has always been in good control. . .” She was in her 50s–somewhat overweight, not hugely so, but VERY flabby, and was having a very hard time getting around, even with her walker. And I’ll bet her problem was NOT caused by too much red meat and too few vegetables!!!!

  71. I’ve been saying for a long time that people in America need to take the current USDA Food Pyramid and turn it upside down — and THEN follow it. It’s not a completely accurate picture/statement, but it’s pretty close.

    Here’s a guy who agrees. This is a well-written article explaining why the “medical industry” has something as simple as the Mediterranean Diet all messed up because they don’t understand plain English. They twist it to make it say what they want it to say. This guy tells it the way it should be told: http://www.tendergrassfedmeat.com/2010/10/05/call-it-medical-not-mediterranean/

    Also, George, he mentions how the Mediterranean people consumed quite a fair amount of salt in their diet. Well said and maybe you and I should borrow his words to explain it to others!!

    • I finally got the time to read through the long article you linked to. I do think PUFA’s can be overdone, but I don’t think they need to be eliminated entirely. Plus, the carb intake and resulting insulin status can have a profound effect on what happens to fats as well. It is indeed true that saturated fats aren’t prone to attack by free radicals while PUFA are, but we need a little bit of PUFA in our cell membranes for fluidity. Saturated fats can be desaturated by the body to make unsaturated fats, so we don’t need nearly as many PUFA as a lot of people believe.

  72. Yup D, I totally agree with you re: salt, and value of spirulina (the vitamin K2 and carotenoid content alone are enough to make it valuable; you get the health benefit of plants without adding any pesky fibre) and kelp etc.
    To make a tasty spread from kelp, mix fine ground kelp powder with olive oil. This also improves absorption of carotenoids and vitamin K.
    My original comment was aimed at the Dietary Guidelines for America and their overall effect on health.
    It’s better to have enough sodium, chloride and iodine rather than too little.

    • George said: “to make a tasty spread from kelp, mix fine ground kelp powder with olive oil. This also improves absorption of carotenoids and vitamin K.”

      True enough as long as you have sufficient lipase to utilize the oil mixture. Enzyme are so totally misunderstood.

      Dr. Mike should write a post on all the enzymes and what they’re functions are, etc.

      For instance, I must take additional lipase in supplement form because my digestive tract will not fully utilize fats whether they’re good or bad ones. I really NEED those fats in my system because I have a drying condition which is also an autoimmune disease. Getting my body to use the good things I feed it can be a real challenge. Without the help of my ND to guide me, I’d be taking mega Rx pills right now, I’m sure. As it stands, I take none. Hoo-rah!

      Vitamin A is another area where people are woefully misinformed. I need vitamin A for my above mentioned “disease” but it spikes my BP if I take it everyday. Another learning experience! I now take 10,000 IU’s every other day, along with my D3.

      When discussing nutrition, in general, there are soooo many variables: enzymes, probiotics, supplements and overall digestive capability. It can be simply mind-boggling.

      You offer much good advice, George, as do many others here. Dr. Mike is terrif !!

      • We take enzymes for granted.
        I have a general theory here – that the pancreas at any time has a certain limited potential for enzyme generation, so that reducing the need for one sort of enzyme (amylase or sucrase) ought to leave more ability to put out other enzymes. I don’t know the specfics of pancreas function but I do know that any cell in the body can synthesise hundreds of different enzymes, they need not be specific to one cell type. And there will be limited energy, protein and so forth to make the enzymes in a given time. That’s something to check up on at liberty, I suppose.
        One thing I do know is that the pancreas is exquisitely sensitive to oxidative stress and pancreatitis is a condition that responds to antioxidant therapy in a gratifying way.
        Also, deficient bile as well as deficient lipase will impair fat absorption. Bile production requires fat (mostly saturated), cholesterol, protein (especially taurine and glycine) and alkaline minerals (magnesium and bicarbonate). Although the liver can produce saturated fat and cholesterol, bile production seems to work best when recycling these dietary components.
        An ND is unlikely to recommend adding saturated fat and cholesterol to your diet, so I hope you have some experience of these foods to assess their impact.
        Dietary cholesterol and saturated fat also protect against “leaky gut” which is a factor in autoimmunity. Anecdotally, the people I know who eat the least saturated fat and cholesterol seem to have most of the allergies, sensitivities and autoimmunity.
        In my own experience my gut performs much more quietly now that beef tallow is used in cooking, compared to any vegetable oil, even olive oil. Vitamin D also seems to be very important in this way, and of course vitamin D is made from cholesterol.
        Perhaps the reason I used to need probiotics more than I do now, is that I was trying to emulate the digestion of a ruminant animal with a gutful of bacteria fermenting its food … instead of just eating one as nature intended.

        • George said: “One thing I do know is that the pancreas is exquisitely sensitive to oxidative stress and pancreatitis is a condition that responds to antioxidant therapy in a gratifying way.”

          [MINE: Oh how I wish I had known this 25 years ago when my sister was in the hospital with pancreatitis. I think she was on about seven different medications and it was sickening to watch her decline. She eventually had RA and died in 2005 from the complications of her meds at age 59. I don’t intend to follow that route and I’m now 57. The disease I have (Sjogren’s Syndrome) is related to RA.]

          George also said: “An ND is unlikely to recommend adding saturated fat and cholesterol to your diet, so I hope you have some experience of these foods to assess their impact.”

          [MINE: Actually, my ND (not MD) did recommend butter and eggs and stuff, but she knows that I already follow that way of eating (WOE). She did, however, prescribe the lipase for my digestion. I suffered with dysbiosis a while back, but it seems to have improved significantly in the past couple of years. I’m sure that healing is due to the nutritional goodness of things like homemade yogurt, kefir, butter, and many other fermented foods. Homemade sauerkraut and kimchi are some of my favorite foods.

          My ND is also a real, live nutritionist (not a dietician)! However, it took me about three years to convince her that soy was not an ideal food. I guess even nutritionists can take wrong turns occasionally, but for the most part she has helped me through several rough spots with my health.]

          Probiotics and enzymes, in pill form or even powdered Culturelle and stuff, seemed to make my gut problems worse, if you can believe that. So I started eating fermented foods (homemade) and it’s helped so much.

          • I remember my friend being in hospital swollen and red as a beet with pancreatitis; wish I’d known about antioxidants then. I agree probiotics can make things worse – for one thing they have to be in balance with prebiotics in the diet, and with genetics (consistent with evolutionary exposure), sometimes also the dose is too high or too low. I like bifidus, reuterii and rhamnosus myself, and they do help, but wouldn’t have been as necessary without the carbs and fibre in my diet.
            I had a form of Sjorgens for years as a result of Hep C; this cleared miraculously 2-3 weeks after supplementing 5-HTP, cysteine, selenium & ACE, magnesium and some B vits, and eating some raw fish every day. My saliva suddenly ran so much I forget to drink and nearly died of dehydration, it balanced out over the next week and I never had a dry mouth again.

          • I wish I could find the magic supplement (there I go, wishing again) to help with my Sjogren’s. I was diagnosed in 2003 and have held it at bay pretty well, but my eyes give me more problems every year. The dry mouth is bad, and I drank a lot of filtered water even before I had this, so now I feel water-logged most of the time. I slosh when I walk. =8o)

            The only fish I can tolerate is locally caught, fresh-water fish. We have trout here where I live now, but I’m not a fan of trout, to be honest. They are mushy. I grew up along the Missouri River and I really like walleye and perch but now I don’t have access to those. I can’t stand seafood (like lobster or shrimp) or ocean fish except the occasional salmon. Just not a fish person – blech.

            I cannot tolerate 5HTP – made my heart race, but I do take D3, B Complex, Dry A, and a formulation which has E and selenium together. I also take liquid cat’s claw daily. The rest of my nutrition I try to get from food, if possible.

  73. A vote for plain raw oatmeal?

    Before booting me for heresy, please read my story:
    I’ve lost 75 pounds doing a very strict carb restriction diet – 260 lbs to 185 lbs at 6’2 male.
    Obviously very happy with the results. However, I am unable to exercise on this diet. When I was losing the fat, I was very inactive and felt fine. But, now when I try to do strenous sports for two-three hours I run out of energy very very quickly.
    What has worked for me is a mix of raw oatmeal and unflavored whey protein. I get the energy I need without the subsequent uncontrollable cravings.
    Prior to the raw oatmeal, I experimented with orange juice and bananas which did give me the required energy but led me to binging on sugars in the evenings and gaining fat at an alarming rate.
    On the off days, I go back to strict zero carb. This regime has really worked for me as I’m slowly putting back muscle I lost.
    thanks!

    • @Peter, If I was to follow the diet of my ancestors this would include oats (with milk and cream) and barley (with organ meats in a haggis). Are you perchance of Scottish descent?
      There will be occasional exceptions to the low-carb paradigm. Gluten and casein are pro-inflammatory proteins, honey seems to an anti-inflammatory sugar. Perhaps oats are another exception for some. There are many medicinal polysaccharides (in herbs and fungi) that have anti-inflammatory and insulin-moderating effects. Perhaps there is one of these in oats – beta-glucans, for instance.

  74. Hi Dr. Eades:

    Thank you for using this article to contrast and compare the many falsehoods of dietary related advice.

    I’ve encountered all too many nutritionally guided articles using inaccurate methods to assess optimal nutrition. One of the biggest struggles in my practice is to debunk all the dietary inaccuracies in our industry.

    Yours in Health,
    Stella Metsovas B.S., CCN

  75. @Amy: The ‘studies’ showing the ‘cholesterol-reducing’ effects are fundamentally examples of confirmation bias, along with the modern trend in nutritional science in which a bunch of people with white coats say whatever their paymaster tells them to.

    Most of what passes for science in the field of nutrition would not get a passing grade in any science course that I taught.

    Try finding a study that compares a diet with lots of oatmeal in it to a low-carbohydrate, low-trans-fat, grain-free diet. Hint: There aren’t any. For good reason — such a study would devastate the conventional wisdom. (BTW, most of the “fat is bad for you” studies use Crisco as the principal fat. Duh.)

    I will accept that Ornish has changed his tune as soon as he publicly admits that his dietary advice has contributed to the early deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

  76. @D
    You could try a high-DHA fish oil, or, better still, krill oil to get benefits of fish.
    After some time I tried to explain the experience I described. Firstly, Sjorgen’s is strongly associated with Hep C so I probably had the real thing. My eyes were bad too but my mouth was worse because I was also on methadone. Sjörgens is an autoimmune/inflammatory condition (and strongly linked to gluten sensitivity, in case you didn’t know).
    Inflammation depletes tryptophan and tryptophan is the rarest essential amino acid; if you have tryptophan catabolism going on you have a kind of protein deficiency, because you can’t make enough tryptophan-containing proteins. 5-HTP doesn’t supply tryptophan but it does spare tryptophan that would otherwise be converted to serotonin. Wastage of serotonin in inflammation (platelet clumping) is one pathway of tryptophan depletion (this may even help account for your reaction to 5-HTP).
    So in this model the 5-HTP helped by making more tryptophan available for protein synthesis, and the oil from the fish spared the serotonin by preventing platelet clumping. Niacinamide is IMO the best supplement for preventing tryptophan being degraded by inflammation. Lysine is also said to work.
    The other explanation centers on magnesium, which is needed to activate B6 and B3 and which is an easy nutrient to be deficient in. Again, this can be an effect of gluten. Magnesium is also needed to make melatonin from 5-HTP, and melatonin itself could account for such a dramatic effect.
    A third possibility is that the antioxidants would have produced this result eventually even had I not taken the 5-HTP and magnesium.
    It became obvious later that I was then protein-deficient which was why amino acids and fish had more dramatic effects than vitamins.

    • No can do on the krill oil. No idea why, but it makes my legs numb from the butt down. I’ve tried various brands and various doses and various times, yadda yadda. It happens no matter what, so I’ve given up on krill. I used to take fermented cod liver oil, but I’ve gotten so I just can’t handle it anymore. It’s just soooo gross, I got to the point where I don’t care how good it is for me. I take the Green Pastures stuff now, in oilcaps.

      Gluten doesn’t seem to cause me any problems, although I don’t consume much of it anyway. I try to get most of my vitamins and minerals from the food we eat. My husband and I have been eating as close as possible to a WAP diet for the past 10 years.

      I do take some supplemental magnesium but my system seems to be extra-sensitive to some things and magnesium can have a disastrous side effect for me. Bowel tolerance with Mg and C are my strongest indicators of when I’ve had enough!

      Tryptophan – geez, haven’t thought about that in a long time but I do occasionally take an amino acid supplement because I’m trying to build support of my adrenals. It’s from Carlson, the company who makes fish oil supps. No tryptophan in it, though. Might have to look into supplementing that.

      After the 1st of the year, I am going to start the 60 day program and the New West Diet proposed by Tim O’Shea, DC. http://www.thedoctorwithin.com

      It’s actually not much different from what I’m doing now, except the supplements he recommends, like collagen. It’s expensive, so I’m only going to give it the 60 days. I’d like to see if it will help to balance my immune system. I don’t want to “boost” my system because I don’t think shocking it would be a real great idea. I just want balance, so we’ll see what happens.

      All kinds of good advice and information from you, George, and I thank you for taking the time. Always willing to see what others think, especially regarding immune function and support.

      • Collagen is just gelatin, like what you get when you make broth with bones and cook it long enough that it becomes a gel when refrigerated. I’ve also put a little flavoring and sweetener in Knox gelatin and drank it.

        • Gelatin is also a wonderful source of glycine, which is an anti-inflammatory amino acid with heaps of health benefits; hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, as good as taurine for nerves and gall bladder. Glycine as 5% of diet (by weight I think) provides these benefits; this ought to be easy on low-carb diet supplemented with gelatine.
          http://www.frontiersin.org/molecular_neuroscience/10.3389/neuro.02.009.2009/full

          In The Diet Delusion (is this Good Calories/Bad Calories under another title?), Gary Taubes describes how a meat-only diet does not cause scurvy. One mechanism he does not mention that could help account for this is as follows;
          asorbate is an essential co-factor for the synthesis of l-carnitine. Meat is a rich source of pre-formed l-carnitine. Ascorbate is an essential co-factor for the hydroxylation of proline. Meat (collagen – skin, gristle and gelatine) is a rich source of hydroxyproline. The all-meat diet is supplying many of the substances (there will be others) that otherwise require vitamin C for their synthesis.
          It is not impossible that the human adrenal gland can produce trace amounts of vitamin C – it can certainly store it under the right conditions, and it is only the incidence of scurvy that proves the vitamin is not being formed. It would be very hard to prove or disprove that ascorbate synthesis by specific cells or gut bacteria never takes place in healthy humans. All we can be sure of is that synthesis is not adequate to prevent scurvy on a diet lacking fresh fruit or vegetables, unless the diet is all meat.

          • Our objective was to demonstrate the protective effect of glycine (Gly) and vitamin E (VE) on a model of ethanol-induced acute liver injury during the early phase of liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy (PH) in rats. Fifty male Wistar rats (body weight (b.w.), 240 – 280 g) were divided into four groups (n = 10, each, respectively) as follows: 1) control partial hepatectomy (PH), 70%; 2) PH + ethanol (EtOH) at 1.5 g/kg b.w; 3) PH + Gly (0.6 g/kg b.w) + EtOH, and; 4) PH + VE (400 International units [IU]) + EtOH. Twenty four h after surgery, animals were killed and liver damage and oxidative stress parameters were measured. Ethanol caused a decrease in serum albumin (2.27 vs 3.12 g/dL; p < 0.05), cholesterol (31.4 vs 48.0 mg/dL; p < 0.05), Aspartate aminotransferase (AST, 70 vs 380 UI; p < 0.05), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT, 110 vs 170 UI; p < 0.05) in comparison with the PH control group, but these decreases were reverted with either Gly or VE administration. Furthermore, Gly and VE administration decreased (p < 0.05) Thiobarbituric acid reactive (TBARS) levels, stimulated superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and a significant restitution of liver weight was observed. Our results suggested a protective effect against liver injury with glycine and VE supplementation. Treatment with either Gly or VE causes an elevation in total SOD activity and a decrease in TBARS levels, showing a protective effect in liver regeneration on a model of ethanol-induced acute liver injury after PH in rats.

          • This might mean that vitamin E as well as Vitamin C is also less essential on a high-meat diet as glycine is filling its antioxidant function. And the as-yet-unknown co-enzyme role of alpha-tocopherol is almost certainly to create some metabolite that is obtained from meat. Vitamin E is needed to synthesise retinol from beta-carotene, and there’s retinol in meat. A further role of tocopherol is to protect co-enzyme Q10, and meat supplies co-enzyme Q10. So the traces of tocopherols and tocotrienols found in the fat of grazing animals may be adequate on an all-meat diet, even if the vitamin E level happens to be below the RDI.

          • Here is the full text of the above. http://www.academicjournals.org/ajpp/PDF/%20pdf2009/August/Parra-Vizuet%20et%20al%20pdf.pdf
            glycine is not as effective as Vit E in protecting the lipid membrane from peroxidation.
            Our
            results strongly sustain that Gly and VE protect the prolixferating
            liver in its early stages from oxidative damage
            produced by acute ethanol administration, significantly
            decreasing TBARS concentrations and presenting levels
            similar to PH group (Figure 3). Thus, these antioxidants
            revert the effect of ethanol by decreasing SOD activity
            during liver regeneration by means of generating a
            significant increase in levels of this antioxidant enzyme
            (Figure 4), consequently conferring a hepatoprotective
            effect against ethanol during liver regeneration. In
            addition to this, and as other studies have demonstrated,
            the protective effect of Gly and VE aid against necrosis,
            inflammation (Yin et al., 1998; Ishizaki et al., 2004), and
            oxidative stress by different toxic agents such as ethanol
            (Qu et al., 2002). Therefore, VE, as a stabilizer of
            biological membranes, can act as a liposoluble
            antioxidant that acts in preventing ROS damage of
            polyunsaturated fatty acids (Bradfprd et al., 2003).

  77. Sounds like you might be allergic to shellfish. I guess that if DHA is essential for all animals, then eating meat ought to supply it.
    I really think that niacinamide is preferable to tryptophan as a supplement if you want to elevate tryptophan in inflamation. The enzyme that breaks down tryptophan is the first step in the synthesis of niacin from tryptophan, and supplying niacinamide inhibits this enzyme (IDO) by biofeedback. Whereas, if you supplement tryptophan in this condition, it will just cause tryptophan to be degraded faster. There seems to be an NAD+ sink causing the problem, and niacinamide plugs the sink. There’s a good reason why orthomolecular doctors prescribe so much B3 – you could write a book about all the ways it helps, in fact Abram Hoffer did write a book called B3 (with Harold Foster) shortly before his death.
    I would put niacinamide in the same category as vitamin C or Vitamin D – a vitamin that can act like a panacea.
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FDN/is_6_7/ai_96416605/
    Also, LEF have a good article on tryptophan degredation somewhere online.

    • NONEGIVEN:

      Actually, no. Collagen is not collagen and unless you’ve read about his hydrolyzed collagen, you probably don’t/won’t understand.

      http://www.thedoctorwithin.com/collagen/Collagen/

      Quote from article at above link:
      “The best companies produce a grade of gelatin that is actually used in hospitals as a blood plasma substitute. So we might imagine the strict QC standards for sterility and cleanliness in place in producing collagen of this quality.

      Hydrolyzed collagen as a food supplement came about later on, once scientists learned to break the long chain triple helix protein into shorter pieces, and then to separate the 3 helices from each other. The resulting short individual peptides make up hydrolyzed collagen. Cleaving peptides into sections is known as hydrolysis.

      ENZYMATIC HYDROLYSIS

      The method for hydrolyzing collagen, that everyone agrees is far and away the best, is using proteolytic enzymes. Without heat and acids, the bio-compatible integrity of the finished molecules will be guaranteed.”

      Very small peptides. 2,000 daltons.

      • It’ll get peptonised in the gut anyway. The reason I prefer gelatine is, that I can easily afford to take 10-20 grams of collagen a day taken as gelatin; I imagine 20 grams of hydrolysed collagen would be somewhat expensive, plus you’d need to swallow 20 capsules. Yes I believe the quality is superior, but quantity (of glycine and proline mainly, and protein in general) is really what I’m after when I use gelatine. It is easy to digest, that’s why they feed invalids jelly.
        Consider this – glycine as a supplement is equivalent to taurine, and the effective dose of taurine starts at around 4g daily. In order to get 4g of glycine from gelatine, you need around 16-20 grams. What dose of collagen you need to benefit skin, I don’t know, but to benefit the gall bladder and liver you need gram amounts of the individual amino acids.

        That website is kind of misleading when it says collagen has all the essential amino acids except tryptophan – some of those amino acids are in such small amounts that you would starve if gelatine plus tryptophan was your only protein – in fact, gelatine is most valuable as a rich source of inessential amino acids. People have died of protein starvation on gelatine diets (according to Wikipedia, admittedly).

        • I have to say, the claims made of collagen’s curative powers are ridiculously optimistic.
          Taken long-term, it is practically impossible not to benefit from such a supplement, even if there is some serious underlying pathology. Once the body is provided with usable building blocks for new collagen, often for the first time in years, so many systems can show improvement:

          •lean muscle gain
          •muscle tone
          •skin toning and thickening
          •joint rebuilding
          •arterial strengthening
          •thickening hair and nails
          •increased energy from musculoskeletal surcharge
          •organ rebuilding: heart, prostate, lungs, liver, kidneys, blood vessels, etc.

          Well yes, but these building blocks are just amino acids, you would have to protein starved and scorbutic to need them. But so many people are today, so I suppose it does work for them. I say scorbutic because collagen supplies hydroxyproline, and your body will make this (and thus strong collagen) if your vitamin C intake is adequate. It may be the hydroxyproline that is most valuable for some people, but again, ascorbic acid is cheaper.

  78. The writer of this article has no idea what he is communicating. It is sad that it was posted on the web.

    His points are so off the scientific scale it would take me a book to straighten it out.

    Marty Davey, MS, RD

    • Marty, are you an allopathically trained RD?

      What would prompt you to make a statement like this and then not back it up with some sort of evidence? To just come to a comment section and make crude remarks, without foundation, is really rather crass.

      Which “points” are off the scientific scale? Which scale do you mean? And are scientifics the only way to gauge things? Certainly not in my estimation. Science is generally quite flawed and full of holes.

  79. George D. Henderson, November 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm
    “I have to say, the claims made of collagen’s curative powers are ridiculously optimistic.”

    Well, actually I feel that until and unless you have used his product, you probably shouldn’t make statements like this. I’ve just received my order of the Hydrolyzed Collagen and have taken it for two days. I can’t tell anything yet. Maybe I never will, because maybe my body didn’t NEED collagen. I try to eat foods high in vitamin C and in the winter I supplement with extra C, as well as extra D3 because I live way up north in the hinterlands!

    But after I’ve taken the first 1 pound container, and possibly even a second container, I’ll let you know if I feel different, or better, or worse, or stronger, or smarter — or whatever.

    There are several extractions of gelatin, which makes for an interesting parade of information on the ‘net. I have talked with this doctor on the phone and know that this collagen of his is not the same as some cheaply extracted gelatin.

    Nevertheless, I’ll keep you informed.

  80. I would assume Marty is referring to your writing, given that Marty is a registered dietitian.

    Just to add my two cents, the comments you have written about registered dietitians, Michael, are very unprofessional. Opinions on nutrition are rampant in the medical community and vary between dietititians as well as physicians. That is why we can only refer to scientific literature when making claims and specify clearly when an opinion is expressed.

    For instance, evolutionary nutrition is a theory, that humans are well suited to a low carbohydrate high protein diet. There is an entire field dedicated to providing evidence for the nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet and the suitability of our anatomy and physiology for the same.

    In the future, it would be prudent to back up your claims with scientific references.

    • I don’t believe there is any such evidence as you state, that a strictly plant-based diet is suitable for humans and, um, where is your “scientific reference” for such a statement?

      Most of us reading here are believers in the Weston A. Price Foundation way of eating, which is centered around fresh foods — all foods, not just vegetables and fruits. I, personally, believe we need all of the good fats available to us, which you won’t get from a strictly plant-based diet, no matter how hard you try.

      As a registered dietitian, Marty (and possibly yourself) should investigate the possibility of something else besides what you were taught in a school of “diet”. Search outside the box and you’ll learn more on your own than you’d ever learn in any school where the curriculum is bought and paid for by the allopathically-led community.

      I enjoy raw milk, cream, butter, pasture-fed meats and chickens (and their lovely eggs!) too much to worry about only eating plants.

  81. Wow, I can’t wait to meet all these enlightened dieticians mentioned in the comments above. I’ve met so many, and they’re all complete idiots so far.

    I’m sure that with dieticians, like the joke about attorneys, it is merely that 95% of the profession is giving the other 5% a bad name. It’s just a lot less funny when it ruins the health and lives of so many people.

    Maybe Dr. Eades was a little ‘generalizing’ there — but probably because as a generality, it’s true.

  82. While I read that, I’d like to debunk one of the myths around vitamin C; that it’s only healthy to get vitamin C from food because of all the co-factors in fruit and veges.
    Guess what – that’s not how over 99.99% of animal species get vitamin C; they just synthesize pure ascorbic acid. They don’t make any flavonoids, carotenoids or fibre with that (especially not the carnivores); just gram doses of synthetic ascorbic acid delivered straight into the circulation.
    Why should humans be different?
    Oh, that was actually Dr Within’s point; that vitamin C is really the whole mixture of ascorbic acid and co-factors found in fruit and vege.
    Tell that to a cat.
    I’m not denying that those co-factors have their uses; but they are pharmacological (in the wide sense of the word as used by nutritionists), not universally essential; Inuit do without them for much of the time (however, Inuit do know to use pine needles to prevent scurvy in times of inadequate fresh food; this remedy was also used by the Russians during the Seige of Leningrad, during which soy milk baby formula was first introduced).
    Interestingly, a cat’s eyes are proverbially sharp; what substitutes therein for lutein and zeaxanthin?

    There are lots of people out there whose health could be improved or whose lives could be saved by synthetic vitamin C. They can’t afford complicated plant extracts. The myth that synthetic ascorbic acid is something less than vitamin C (like the old myth that atabrine makes you sterile) is something the world can do without.
    “Vitamins cannot be isolated from their complexes and still perform their specific life functions within the cells. When isolated into artificial commercial forms, like ascorbic acid, these purified synthetics act as drugs in the body. They are no longer vitamins, and to call them such is inaccurate.”
    To the contrary, the whole point of a Vitamin is, that (by definition) it is an essential, non-mineral, non-protein part of an enzyme (the co-enzyme, or the part of a co-enzyme that cannot be synthesised) that can be completely isolated, but when supplied to an animal can be re-incorporated into the enzyme as if it had been there all along. Vitamins in foods are not always in enzymes; folic acid in plants, for example, is mostly in a storage form.
    Dr Within is being all post-modern here, like the hookah-smoking caterpillar – “when I use a word it means exactly what I choose it to mean, nothing more, nothing less”.
    He’s decided that the word Vitamin should have the special meaning he likes. Unfortunately, the rest of the world will continue to misuse his special word.
    What the heck is factor J, and how can there be a dietary requirement for tyrosinase?

  83. “Whole food vitamin C as found in potatoes, onions, and citrus fruits is able to quickly cure any case of scurvy. By contrast, the fractionated chemical ascorbic acid has been shown to be insufficient in resolving a scurvy condition, simply because it does not act as a nutrient. (Lancet 1842)”
    Galloping gullability Batman! The putative ascorbic acid isolated in 1842 had no anti-scurvy activity? Well, that proves it once and for all!
    Scurvy in the real world is not just a deficiency of vitamin C, because no-one could contract full-blown scurvy outside of a modern experimental setting without being starved of other essential nutrients. But this does not contradict the vitamin C activity of ascorbic acid. Only ascorbic acid (reacting with non-heme iron and ketoglutarate) can be used to hydroxylate carnitine and hydroxyproline. This is what prevents scurvy. But carnitine synthesis also requires B12, folic acid, and high quality protein (lysine and methionine), so a shortage of fresh meat on board ship was also a contributing factor.
    That ascorbic acid is made from corn can be a problem for people like me who react to corn, especially as food sensitivities are magnified by colds and flus. Some brands seem to be cleaner than others, and sodium ascorbate is better than calcium ascorbate. Still, ascorbic acid is far preferrable to corn, a natural food of which the good doctor no doubt approves.
    To call ascorbic acid, as Dr Within does, a “sulfuric acid by-product” is mere perjorative. Firstly, there is no sulfur in it, secondly, there is plenty of sulfuric acid in the human body, in fact sulfate is essential and does many good things there.
    More sulfuric acid goes into in a multivitamin that contains zinc sulfate, or in sea salt, than there is in ascorbic acid. If there must be homeopathic traces of catalysts, I think sulfuric acid is preferable to most other catalysts in common use.

  84. What I like about Dr Within, is, he’s a good, old-fashioned Vitalist. The Vitalist hypothesis has never been disproved; seperate claims can be debunked (as I’ve done here), but the idea that, when all is finally added up, a living thing will always produce something a little bit different from the expected sum of its measurable parts, is a valuable concept; a grain of Vitalism provides a good skeptical barrier against being swamped by overweening scientific hubris. Until the day that scientists actually do know everything about everything, I think I’ll call myself a Vitalist.

  85. George D. Henderson: I will send your comments to him (the doctor within) and lets him answer you. It’s his stance, not necessarily mine, although I do believe ascorbic acid isn’t the best source of C.

    • George, I forwarded your criticisms and opinions to Dr. O’Shea at the link provided on his site, but have never heard back from him. He may be out of the country. He may never have received my communication. I don’t know the answer, but I’ve sent it twice and have gotten no response. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to let him explain his overweening scientific hubris to you, but I did try to give him that opportunity. I will say, however, that you should not wait for science to answer all of your questions. You’ll be a disappointed vitalist.

  86. My husband has offered to buy me a new set of china for Christmas. I like yours as shown in your Jan., 2008 post — Red ribbons. Who is the manufacturer and pattern name please.

    Thanks so much.

  87. I guess the problem with being a doctor who sells books pushing fad diets and contradicting science is that you spend most of your time bloviating, and not much of your time reading what’s in front of you. In the very scanned page you posted up it says, “it has the good monounsatured fat, plus protein for energy.” And then you go on and on about how they think only carbs provide energy.

    But the bigger issue is your complete lack of knowledge of our evolutionary history. The paleo diet pushers are often very misinformed on this subject. Now, the paleo diet is healthier than what most Americans eat–there’s nothing wrong with eating good, non-grain fed animals, nuts, berries, and other unprocessed foods. But there’s no evidence its optimal. Still, let’s assume it is, for the sake of argument.

    You said: “Gotta get those carbs in. I suppose that these people are blissfully unaware of our millions of years of evolutionary history. A time during which we humans cut our teeth on protein and fat while pretty much hunting to extinction most of the large game animals on the planet.”

    WRONG. Contrary to popular portrayal, gathering was the dominant source of food for paleolothic societies. Yes, there were some where hunting was dominant, but by and large, up to 80% of all food was procured from plants. Also, they didn’t bonk women on the head and bring them back to their caves. Just thought you should know.

    Furthermore, what the “paleolithic diet” consisted of was different depending on what group you look at. Even 50,000 years ago humans were spread far and wide, and they ate a great many different things. The paleolithic diet boils down to this: eat what’s available, and as much of it as you can. That’s what we’re adapted to. That’s even why most people of European descent can digest lactose. And we’re also adapted to getting lots of exercise and being on our feet for most of the day.

    The brave doctor is, unfortunately, concerned primarily with selling his books and contradicting what other experts will tell you (because if he agreed with the science he wouldn’t get any attention). Other fad diets don’t work, and not because of the Doctor’s claim that they’re just inferior to his diet. His doesn’t work, either.

    What does work is exercise. Unfortunately, that startling revelation doesn’t sell books.

  88. Hi I see from your reply to Christine that you really DO read all the posts. I’m new to this but doing masses of research on heathy eating, I’ve always been ‘organic’ so I’ve never eaten much rubbish but I’m going all the way healthy now I am getting older. Thanks for a very informative website and blog, I especially like that you are not afraid of using real biochemistry ( about which I know nothing but am learning). I am also reading other diet sites but low-carb seems to have the best science behind it.
    One thing I would ask, for those of us new here, is making it easier to find older articles from your home page, it only lists most popular and new ones. No need to reply, I know you have read this!

  89. Read the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans regarding carbohydrates and weight loss. They advocate 45 – 56% of calories from whole grain types of carbohydrates and vegetables. Stating that this leads to lower BMI, and low level of risk for type II diabetes. Hmmmm. Why is this seen as the holy grail of diets???

  90. One always has to remember that marketing budgets are huge in these mega-corporations. The lobby the federal agencies, get their executives to rotate between the federal agencies that set food policy and the executive seats in the corporations. They buy the names of well known athletes as well as medical people. And they even write the curriculum for the alleged halls of learning.

    As for the best diet? People are not all the same and we need to individualize our diets. Joseph Mercola, MD, ND promotes the idea that we need to know our body types to design our optimum diet. Some people need high protein diets, others high carbs and others somewhere in the middle. But always is the requirement that food selection by of high quality. Sugar is not a useful carb, but vegetables are, as are organic whole grains. For that matter, some grains are much better than other, particularly the ancient grains of millet, barely and quinoa.

    But even organic, vegetarians can be unhealthy if they are still junking out on sweets, breads, chips, etc.