Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

SysteMeta-Antics in the Paleo Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis

This was intended to be a targeted post on one specific issue pertaining to the recent AJCN study and the actions of some of the study authors involved.   Not sure I succeeded ;-)

When I wrote my first post on the topic, I had not read the full text of the study.  Instead I compiled a table of characteristics for the four individual studies involved, and concluded that no meta-analysis was appropriate for such disparate studies.  That initial "analysis" holds despite the table containing a few errors.

After being called "unscientific" by author Esther van Zuuren on Twitter, I obtained a copy of the full text and read it.  Additional information contained in the full text makes matters worse, not better, on virtually every point I made in my original post.  So I am working on a letter to the AJCN and in doing so am working on an expanded and more accurate version of the summary table.  During this process I sought to check values published in the original studies against those used in the Manheimer analysis.  The original focus was on the statistical significance and variation.  But along the way I found myself unable to reconcile some values and the reason is because they didn't all come from the original publications.  This important piece of information is not mentioned anywhere in the full text of Manheimer.  As I said.  Worse, not better.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Is Gary Taubes Trying To Rescue His Legacy?

It seems to me that enough folks, including Kevin Hall PhD himself, have weighed in on the specifics of his recent LC  more [body] fat burning smack down metabolic ward study that I didn't have the need to.  I do, however, have a bit of a retrospective look at things in the works.   

But Gary Taubes has seen fit to respond in the New York Times, in most ridiculous fashion:  Diet Advice that Ignores Hunger.   First of all, Gary Taubes is no young whippersnapper, in fact he's a bit older than me.  I remind folks of this not to pick on his age, but to put some context to how ridiculous this notion that hunger on extreme diets has been ignored.  Does he not recall the widespread use of amphetamines and their OTC counterparts in the form of Dexatrim and such?   Seriously ... diet pills to curb hunger have always been around, they've just fallen a bit out of favor due to the inefficacy of most.   

If you really want a flashback laugh, go take a gander at this post:  Gary Taubes' Diet Doctor.   **Seriously funny stuff there** Screenshot of current URL.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Manheim Steamed-over Paleo: The Shai'ning of Mellberg

The controversy should serve as a warning about meta-analyses, Willett adds. Such studies compile the data from many individual studies to get a clearer result.
"It looks like a sweeping summary of all the data, so it gets a lot of attention," Willett says. "But these days meta-analyses are often done by people who are not familiar with a field, who don't have the primary data or don't make the effort to get it." And while drug trials are often very similar in design, making it easy to combine their results, nutritional studies vary widely in the way they are set up.
"Often the strengths and weaknesses of individual studies get lost" 
"It's dangerous."

Walter Willett MD
Speaking about Chowdhury,
(HT: Colby Vorland of

Yes.  This.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

What Non-Scientists Do When You Criticize Their "Science" -- A Meta-Analysis

I have conducted a systematic search on my Twitter notifications for all people who have retweeted a tweet in which my ID has been mentioned.  I then narrowed it down to tweets in which inaccurate claims were made about me and furthermore to whether the retweeter had subsequently blocked me.

I'd draw you all a funky flow chart, but it's not really worth my time.  I did, however construct this nice table.

Conclusion:  Inability to answer to criticisms based on the merits of their study.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

That Paleo Meta Analysis

Screenshot of Meta-analysis lead author
Eric Manheimer's article on Cordain's
ThePaleoDiet commercial website.
Is it that time already?  For systematic review and meta-analysis?  Apparently someone thinks so and managed to get some time at or off of work to do one on the paleo diet.  Seriously?  What even is the paleo diet?  I have asked that question many times here myself.  If a premier expert in paleolithic nutrition cannot provide an answer, then who can?

I've also written on this many times.  I believe that THIS POST is a great place to start as it contains links to the various studies and blog posts I've done on those studies.  I'll repeat some links here in a bit.

These were the clinical trials (not all randomized-controlled) to date as of January 2014.   I've included the purported composition of "paleo diets" as well.

Direct links to blog posts:  Frassetto, Lindeberg & Jönsson, Ryberg, Osterdahl

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sugar Addiction & Minerals ... Accidental Evidence Countering Addiction

Blogstress Note:

I wrote most of the analysis in this post around a year ago when I was looking for some additional examples of what I call "accidental evidences" against the concept of sugar addiction (and food addiction in general), just never got to tidying it up.  Therefore this post will be formatted a little oddly as it's what I have time for.  I'll do some general conclusions as regards sugar addiction, and then include the detail afterwards.  Whatever conclusions one might make vis a vis the minerals involved in this study are welcomed in comments, with the understanding that I'll likely not engage on those points due to time constraints.  In the end it seems difficult to arrive at any consistent conclusion  from the study I'll discuss, as results often contradicted themselves from one of the three experiments to the next.   While perhaps not as striking as the image I've chosen here, I believe the size (and thus age) differentials of the animals used is a confounding issue.

Accidental evidences

I don't know if I coined the phrase, but I've referred to stories as "accidental anecdotes" before here or in my comments in social media.  When a person thinks they're sharing an experience that supports their position when they are actually giving contradictory anecdotes, I call these accidental anecdotes.  Some of these may simply be related "side effects" one could say, effects the teller of the tale often doesn't consider to be related to whatever they're talking about.    

But experiments are not anecdotes, so I decided to broaden the scope to include this phenomenon in the scientific literature.  Accidental evidences then, are the results of some experiment that did not set out to show a particular effect or examine a particular hypothesis.   Sometimes such evidences can be better than confirming evidence in a study constructed to investigate the phenomenon proper.  Why?  Well, it seems to me that there can be no less biased an investigator out there than a disinterested one!  Such an investigator who "accidentally" designs an experiment controlling for various factors without intending to see some particular outcome is unlikely to present their data in a way such as to favor their particular hypothesis.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Revisiting the Fatty Diets & Diabetes Study ~ How to Make Mickey Fat or Fattier

High Fat Diets! 

I'm going to continue bumping up some of the hundreds of blog posts I've written on studies that support the role of dietary fat in obesity and diabetes.   As I do this I'll make some formatting changes for ease of reading, may fix a typo or awkward wording here or there, but won't alter the content meaningfully.  Instead, I'll insert Ed. Notes where I feel an update or clarification is needed.


In her piece over at MDA on the How Fatty Diets Cause Diabetes, Denise Minger spent a bit of time discussing the strain of mouse used in the study.  That being the not-uncute fella you see pictured here:  A C57BL/6J mouse.   Denise describes these mice as:  "uber-susceptible to obesity, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and all that other fun stuff plaguing modern humans."  This didn't really square with my memory from when I blogged on a study involving this critter.  Took me a few minutes to remember what that blog was ... Of Mice and (Wo)Men.  That post dealt with a calorie restriction study in the C57BL/6J mouse.  In looking for more info on this strain, I had come across this paper:  The High-Fat Diet–Fed Mouse.  Since I was mostly looking for info on lifespan and such at the time, the subtitle didn't "hit me", that being:  A Model for Studying Mechanisms and Treatment of Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Type 2 Diabetes.  The paper describes this mouse's propensity towards obesity (and IGT and T2 diabetes) when fed a high fat (58%) diet vs. a standard low fat (11%) chow.  However, in the calorie restriction study, these mice did not become obese on standard chow (11%F, 69%C, 20%P, Teklad Global 2016).  Therefore I think it would be more fair to say that they are susceptible to diet-induced obesity (DIO), but not obesity per se on a more appropriate diet.  I mention this as in contrast to some mice that become obese pretty much regardless of diet (though diet may impact the degree of obesity).

Friday, August 7, 2015

Swedish Dietary Guidelines

A quick post.  Sweden has released their latest version of their Dietary Guidelines.  I think Andreas Eenfeldt must be busting all manner of guts by now!!  This includes an activity/lifestyle component, but the recommendations are shocking!   There's no paleo, no low carb.  Two screenshots.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Metabolic Lessons from Anorexia Nervosa

I've been poking around some eating disorder research recently due to both working feverishly on getting Restriction Addiction back out there, and the recent Elizabeth Licorish-Tara Lipinski kerfuffle (see also the follow-up).

But something else, that's seemingly always a hot topic when calories are discussed, is this concept of metabolic adaptation.  Quite often this gets referred to as having a "damaged metabolism".   I'm just going to use that term (and w/o quotes), and don't mean to imply that it is necessarily appropriate or justified, just that it's easier than explaining it repeatedly.  The damaged metabolism is thought to develop from frequent, chronic, and/or severe calorie restriction.  The mechanism is that the body down-regulates basal metabolic rate such that a 150 lb person who has dieted down from 250 lbs will require fewer calories to maintain that weight compared with a person whose normal, stable weight is 150 lbs.   

So I was looking for some additional references about the "hamster wheel" (increased activity in anorexia, to be blogged on eventually as well) and energy expenditure, and came across this study from 1977:   Weight gain, thermic effect of glucose and resting metabolic rate during recovery from anorexia nervosa.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lessons from the Cafeteria Rat: Adiposopathy ~ How/Why Does Fat Get "Sick"

For today.  Just thoughts.  No references.  Also I will use the term theory, it sounds better, and frankly in the semantics of scientific progression, we've been there for a while now with Adiposopathy (I'll capitalize it for emphasis) anyway.

Since off-handedly throwing out the term Adiposopathy in response to a query as to what I consider to be the cause of CVD/diabetes, etc.  -- otherwise known as "metabolic diseases" and sometimes "chonic diseases" -- there's been one question raised a few times:  How and/or why do fat cells get "sick".  I think I found the perfect illustration ... take it away Lucy and Ethel ...