Whole Grains, Empty Promises

 
Whole Grains Empty Promises

I hate to put up two book posts in a row, but it just came to my attention late last night that Anthony Colpo has a new book out titled Whole Grains, Empty Promises.  I want to get this up quickly because the book is FREE on Kindle now, but I don’t know how long it will stay that way.

I downloaded a copy moments ago and quickly thumbed through it (if one can thumb through something that is digital).  I haven’t read it through, though, so I can’t provide a thorough review.  I just wanted to get it up so anyone who wants it can get it for nada.

As most of you know, Anthony and I have had our differences over the years, but I’m a big tent sort of guy.  Anything that blasts the high-carbs and empty calories contained in grains, America’s favorite food, the food that takes up the bottom third of the infamous Food Pyramid, I’m all for.  So give it a read and post your own reviews in the comments section.

 

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46 thoughts on “Whole Grains, Empty Promises

  1. Such generosity of spirit on your part. Kudis to you. And to Anthony Colpo, too, for publishing on this subject. Faith in humanity restored!

    Haven’t read it yet, though. Just saw your post on NetNewsWire soon after you put it up.

  2. As Lynda notes above, this book loves white flour bread. Let me be clear Dr. Mike – you’re not in agreement with this now are you? Have you left your low-carb no-grain position? Ty!

    • You wrote:

      Have you left your low-carb no-grain position?

      Hardly. I can’t get inside anyone’s head other than my own, and I certainly can’t get into Anthony’s, so this is speculation. But it seems reasonable that he wrote this book because he was tired of all the so-called nutritional experts (not to mention practically everyone in the mainstream media) taking the knee-jerk position that whole grains are the holy grail of nutrition. So he specifically went after whole grains to show the literature refutes the notion that they’re the best thing since sliced bread (bad, bad pun).

      From what I’ve read of Anthony’s writings (which, admittedly, is not much), it seems he has gone from vegan – or at least vegetarian – to low-carb to now what appears to be and eat-anything-you-want-as-long-as-you-keep-calories-low approach. But I’m being unfair even with this. I think his approach is to not worry about fat or protein as long as calories are watched. And if he wants to eat carbs, he eats them, but watches his kcals. I may have misrepresented his approach, so if any of his faithful readers feel the need to correct me, have at it.

  3. The book isn’t available on Kindle. I just tried, and it’s not available to buy, not even for money.

      • I could download it from the Canadian amazon site (.ca); but not from the co.uk or the US sites (.com).

        So, it depends the country you are in when you try to download it; i.e., you can only download it from that country.

  4. I predict that your act of goodwill means nothing to AC at all. I hope I am wrong. It would be obviously better for him, but he might sell less books. People eat up that underdog taking on the scientific establishment narrative as a general rule, even when it is not true. Controversy sells. You are the better man, though, and the better scientist/philospher/thinker. AC has got a nice six pack. I will give him that, though but he would do much better making fitness videos and being the next Shaun T. or that PX-90 guy or even Fred Hahn. But we’ll see. I am interested in the response.

    • I didn’t really do this to reach out to Anthony or to seek a rapproachement. I did it because 1) it has some value and 2) it’s free. Why wouldn’t I pass it along to my readers? There are a ton of artists of various kinds whose personalities and politics I despise, but I still enjoy their works and recommend their works to my friends.

  5. I am concerned that you are recommending a book you haven’t given serious consideration. You say you’ve only thumbed through it.

    I rely on you and your colleagues to carefully consider the content you recommend.

    • I thumbed through it enough to see that it was of value. I had no idea how long it was going to continue to be free on Amazon, so I wanted to get it up as quickly as possible so that as many people as wanted could take advantage. We’re it a book you had to pay for, I can assure you I would have read it from cover to cover before making a recommendation.

      I have since read the book, and it’s fine.

  6. Thanks for telling about this Mike ! I just downloaded it 🙂 Not that I’ve eaten a grain for the past eight years ! And I know you, and others, have had differences with Colpo regarding metabolism, I believe, but I like his cholesterol book so am happy to download this book for free 🙂

  7. Dear Dr. Mike,

    I had never heard of Anthony Colpo, so googled him and found an article explaining why he thought you are a prat (!). Well, in my albeit limited research into health and weight loss, if I’d come across him I’d have discounted him as a source of information right away. My red flags are: name calling, angry sounding, ‘everyone who has a different opinion is stupid’ and harping on the same old themes. He fits all of those. In fact he sounds so rabid that I couldn’t read very much of the article, it seemed to get angrier and angrier. Not worth my time. I certainly won’t read his book. If he indeed has anything worth while to say, he has an awful way of trying to get it across.

  8. Thank you for the tip! Just added it to my Kindle. But, from what Lynda is saying, how in the world can you blast whole grains and not white refined flour? I’ll give it a try……..

  9. Thanks for the tip. I’ll be looking forward to your review. I tend to be in favor of most books that poke holes in the conventional dietary “wisdom” of the day. I know by now what works for me, and it’s not resistant starch, or even Paleo, but for people just beginning to change their diets, nearly anything is an improvement over the “low fat, healthy whole grain” diet, don’t you think?

  10. Well, that was an interesting read! As a longtime whole grains fanatic (didn’t allow white flour in house for 20 years), I felt as if my sacred cows were being slaughtered in front of me. But independently I had come to similar conclusions, thanks to celiac, diverticulitis and CHD. Ahh, Burkitt, I mourn your passing before you realized your fallacy. And Colpo isn’t substituting refined grains – he’s dumping the bunch!

  11. Sometimes a science field gets broken up into the teachings of isolated cults, the members of each then hating each other. In truth, most have something worthwhile paying attention to. Its not easy, but developing discernment between different ideas and opinions is essential and if you don’t do that the cult mentality develops. This is how Global Warming has become a scientific fiasco with two sides making unsubstantiated claims in an attempt to win. We don’t want our progress towards a more sensible diet to be sidetracked by this approach. So read the book and submit a rational non-personal critique with pluses and minuses

  12. Hey thanks, almost missed that till I just now realized there’s a free Kindle app for iPod.

    FYI for anyone else out there, install the app then open it and sign in to the kindle app with your Amazon account ID. Then go back to Amazon and do the one click, it will install it in your Kindle app automatically.

  13. I downloaded the Kindle e-book, and found it interesting reading. He is somewhat of an angry man and is really certain of his conclusions.

    I want to believe that his research and interpretation is fair and valid. But, I really doubt that I will find the time to investigate it in detail.

    He has provided what appear to be a number of valuable references to information I had previously had difficulty obtaining through the usual web searches.

    I thank Dr. Mike for providing the link to this interesting resource. I fully agree that a grand role of a researcher can be the providing of interesting information for provocation of thought rather than predigested “verified perfectly correct” information.

    Too often the “verified perfectly correct” information is actually a verification of the pre-existing belief of the provider. Which may the the verdict on the Colpo publication. I don’t have time to digest the Colpo artice in adequate detail.

  14. I got the e-book while it was free, it’s $2.99 now, and I think it’s good if only for the studies he lists. You could look up the studies yourself and draw your own conclusions. It can be difficult to sort through thousands of studies pulled up by keywords alone, so if you’re interested it seems like a good deal.

    The stuff he says makes sense (whether it’s true or not). Wouldn’t that be the kicker if refined grains were actually less dangerous than whole ones. I don’t think any of them are good for you but let’s face it, most people like how white bread tastes way better than the cardboard stuff. They only eat the cardboard stuff because they think it’s doing something positive for them. Think of what a disaster that would be for manufacturers of the “healthy” stuff. They charge more for it because there’s a market that will pay more for it. White bread is cheaper lol.

    I still can’t eat any of it. I am allergic to dairy and soy and one or the other is ALWAYS in bread now.

    • You’re probably closer to the truth than you think. Most testing indicate whole grains have a higher glycemic index than refined grains. Looking more deeply into what we call wheat, we find it is very different from what we used to call wheat. Genetic modification has been intense resulting in a hexaploid plant with twice the number of chromosomes. This was created by what you might think of as accelerated evolution by crossing and intensely selecting generation after generation, the goal being to increase productivity and pest resistance. So wheat now contains much higher levels of natural pest repellents, what we usually call pesticides. These are at much higher levels in the outer parts of the grain, the parts removed by refining. So Colpo is probably right in saying refined grains are less hazardous to human health than refined grains. Whether grain of any kind is good for you to eat is quite another question.

  15. I read the book yesterday, it’s a pretty quick read.

    The biggest negative to me is Colpo’s attitude and his flip, sarcastic language. It is thoroughly unprofessional and doesn’t give a positive first impression at all, even if I happen to agree with the points he is making.

    For anyone who has spent a fair amount of time researching nutrition science, it is not hard to realize that it is possible to cherry-pick through the literature and come up with studies that support almost any point of view, and thus find the ‘proof’ that supports one’s bias. I think it takes a good deal of time and honest effort to get to the ‘next level’, as it were, and examine the research with a critical eye, which often involves reading the opinions of researchers and bloggers whose opinions we have learned to trust; and, in doing so, distill out the research studies that actually tell us something. Unfortunately, the pickin’s is slim for the truly well-designed and informative studies.

    To his credit, Colpo makes a point of criticizing the overwhelming dependence on epidemiological studies and the lack of the more rigorous Randomized Control Trials in the literature of nutrition studies. But the impression I get is that he is still cherry picking to support his point of view, especially when it comes down to his embracing the old saw “ a calorie is a calorie”. He doesn’t get in to citing research supporting this point of view, but just makes sure the reader knows where he stands, in his usual abrasive manner.

    One of Colpo’s strengths is assembling the case-studies and references to make his points, and it’s worth reading Colpo’s book just for these. and this applies to his book “The Great Cholesterol Con” as well. But the reader should maintain a healthy skepticism of the areas in which he seems to be stepping on his own feet.

    Aside from the book review, I have been following your blog for several years now, Dr. Eades, and it has been very interesting and informative. It is on my list of regular reads in the nutrition study area. One of the things that impressed me early on, is your willingness to say “I don’t know.” It may sound funny, but it seems all too rare to run in to someone who is professing opinions on a certain subject who is readily willing to acknowledge their own limits. It leads me to place greater trust in your opinions on the things that you do have knowledge of.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for the blog.

  16. I tried following Colpo’s recommendations in order to address problematic flatulence. In a few days, I realized that he is totally off the wall. The flatulence is not caused by whole grains but by fresh fruits and vegetables, the stuff he highly recommends in lieu of whole grains.

  17. Hi there, Dr. Eades. I don’t know…. Anthony Colpo is a little too certain for me and my taste. He is far too sure of himself and scientifically reckless.

    Remember, genuine scientists always express uncertainty and admit to vast unknowns. A great scientist is never absolutely certain. It is uncertainty which makes science so successful. Certainty is useless.

    Richard Feynman and J. Robert Oppenheimer said this and stressed it. Colpo is “Cargo Cult Science” to me.

    I feel he is desperately expressing certitude where none exists. We are all taking risks regarding diet. It’s a minefield.

    Best Regards,
    Sarah

  18. There is one whole grain that is not full of empty promises and that is Spelt. Spelt is full of energy, is water soluble so it’s very easy for the body to digest and rather than cause inflammation like wheat for example, it actually reduces inflammation. The final best part about spelt is that it hasn’t been genetically modified.

    • Not only spelt, but also buckwheat groats (which most people know isn’t wheat), brown/wild rice, millet, quinoa, barley, amaranth, and steel-cut oats. I love these “horrible” grains, and they’ve never caused me any grief whatsoever. That’s not to say I don’t eat meat and other animal products (other than dairy). Those are excellent foods too, as long as one knocks off a lot of veggies along with them. Along with some fruit.

      Just my opinion.

  19. Hello Dr. Eades. If I may say one more important thing that I forgot: Thank you .

    In the Blogosphere I see a lot of “randomized clinical trials” being promoted with regard to dietary studies. These studies are still rather weak evidence. Yes, weak 🙂 Having people shove foodstuffs into their mouths and then tracking their mortality rates over several years is still weak evidence. It’s the wrong approach. This is a different area than drug testing and other subjects.

    Human beings are absurdly complicated beings. There are literally millions of variables at play. What we need is a complete or near complete understanding of human biochemical cellular operations. Then, and only then, will we have the information necessary ( and weighty evidence) to give better dietary advice. Scientists are still unraveling how cells work. We are nowhere near understanding human biochemical cellular operations fully. We have so much more to learn.

    Once we have a much, much greater understanding of how cells work, we will then likely be able to treat various cancers, Alzheimer’s Disease and coronary heart disease better. We may even be able to help prevent them to a large degree. I never see the Blogsphere mention this ( i.e. The immense importance of understanding how cells work in far greater detail vs weaker RCT evidence).

    Even with obesity, for instance, scientists are looking at how fat cells work, how they become dysregulated. Again, it’s the intense study of cells. The Blogosphere generally misuses and erroneously extrapolates the first law of thermodynamics- as it says nothing whatsoever about fat cell regulation/dysregulation specifically.

    Best Regards,
    Sarah

  20. Well… This is something I was not expecting to see (given past exchanges). I am a fan of Anthony’s work. We may not agree on everything, but we do agree on most things. Also, it would be weird and not necessarily productive if everyone *did* agree on everything. Disagreements play a large part in fueling scientific investigation. That’s a good thing.

    Anyway, thanks for the heads-up on this, I just downloaded it.

    • I’ve never found anyone I’ve agreed with on everything, and I think you’re correct in that disagreement spurs scientific investigation. I’m surprised Anthony tolerates you unless you agree with him on everything. He doesn’t seem to me to be a person who tolerates dissension from whatever his current belief system is. But you know him better than I.

      My first obligation is to my readers. So when I saw this book was offered free, I wanted to give them a heads up on it. As I said in the post, I’m a big tent kind of guy, so if someone I disagree with on many fronts offers something of value, I’m not going to stiff arm him.

      Thanks for writing.

  21. Good day Dr Eades,
    I love your blog. I am a recent convert to the lo-carb diet and am learning heaps from all your writings. Been on lo-carb diet for 9 months, shed 10kilos and feeling great. In the last few days, here in Australia the newspapers and the radio talk shows have been giving a lot of coverage to a study purporting to show that hi-protein diets are worse than smoking (can’t understand the comparison). Here’s a link to one newspaper article:
    http://m.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/protein-diets-nearly-as-bad-as-smoking/story-fn3dxiwe-1226845436762
    I would love to hear your comments on this study if you came across it and had the time to go through it.
    Best regards
    Raj Bakshi
    Melbourne, Australia

    • I have come across the study, and I have read it quickly. When I read it, I know it’s all rehashed bullshit, but it takes a lot of time I don’t have right now to go through it paragraph by paragraph to show the fallacies.

      • I would suggest first checking for any conflicts of interest. I did and learned that the lead researcher, Dr Longo, is the founder of L-Nutra (a company that makes ProLon) which is an entirely plant-based meal-replacement product. Hmmmm….

        In the end…I think it was just another one of those observational studies that perhaps should’ve been better entitled, “Protein Will Save You in Your Old Age”.

        Please keep up the great work! I, for one, appreciate all the time and effort you make to better inform and educate us maggots on nutrition. People like you are doing a great service. I read all your tweets (when your tweeting) and blogs. Looking forward to the blog you promised to write on “brokeness” as a follow-up to your review of Minger’s book.

        Take Good Care!

        • It is a combination of an observational study on humans and an experimental study on mice fobbed off as a human experimental study. I’m working on a post on it right now, but have totally unreliable internet service in the hotel in which we’re staying.

  22. Thanks Dr. Eades for the tip on Colpo’s new book. I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. It is actually worth reading, although I certainly don’t agree with him on every issue.

    Although epidemiological studies have limitations we can’t just sweep them under the rug as Colpo seems to suggest.

    As a cardiologist I’m certainly interested in the effects of whole grains on cardiovascular disease. The epidemiological studies have highlighted a beneficial effect. This has formed the basis of the official guideline recommendations. But when it comes to whole grains I think the jury is still out there.

    Of course Colpo’s approach is a bit aggressive and at times unprofessional, particularly in the first part of the book where there is a historical perspective. However, he becomes much more professional as you read on.

    Here’s my review.http://www.docsopinion.com/2014/03/10/whole-grain-science-load-crap/

    – Axel F

  23. I know I’m reading this post late but before I look into Anthony’s book could you just tell me – IS IT WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS?

  24. I just got the little book and am about to start the second part where (I anticipate) he will talk about the toxins and antinutrients that accumulate in the outer layers of grain seeds.

    One can choose to take Anthony’s style as abrasive, brash, and unprofessional, or as humorous and attention-grabbing, not too unlike Rush Limbaugh’s on-air persona.

    I like to consider a variety of opinions, though I confess I do kind of gravitate to the “unconventional” ones — cholesterol is health food, grains are doo-doo, coffee is a health food, nicotine is a safe wonder-drug, etc.