L. Ron Rosedale's Church of Scikrispology

L*. Ron Rosedale's Church of Scikrispology
Creating a chasm between science and medicine.

Jimmy's original data dump "debate" over safe starches seems to have taken on a little life of its own of late.  For many of us it merely served to further draw the curtain back to reveal the lack of critical thinking in LLVLClue land.  But it also seems to have ignited a resurgence of another LC guru:  Dr. Ron Rosedale.  Rosedale hogged the most "cyber ink" in Jimmy's post, and also posted advanced snippets on his Facebook page.

If the Taubesian-led LLVLC circle seems cultish, you really gotta get a load of Rosedale.  After all, Taubes may surely be enjoying his supreme guru status, but he didn't cultivate it as a populist movement (although he does have delusions of grandeur thinking if only all these idjuts in research and medicine would just listen to him). Rosedale, on the other hand, sees himself as a visionary leader of a  movement.  I had heard of Rosedale, and knew something about him and leptin.  There was a thread or two about him and his book on Jimmy's forum but not much of a following even there.   When I went to Rosedale's FB page, the first thing that struck me was the imagery.  What's with the televangelist schtick?  Or is that just me noticing this?  

Rosedale is, according to him, an "internationally known expert".   Umm... what does it take to be "known" by folks residing in more than one nation these days?  Heck, judging from my blogger stats, I'm rather internationally known!  But I digress.  Self describing one's work as "truly groundbreaking" is also a bit much.  The blurb?  So you don't have to enlarge the graphic:
"Inside each of us lives the proper information for perfect health and internal harmony, yet people are getting sicker.  The root of the problem lies in the breakdown of the communication within; a disruption in the harmony and unity between the 20 trillion cells that make up you."  
On his website, the following paragraph precedes this:
The human body is not a single being, but a vast and beautiful community; a living republic of cells and bacteria, all working in harmony towards the continued survival of the being we call you. Aging, health, and longevity are all dependant on the accurate and effective communication between the different parts of the body; the harmonious unification of the universe inside each of us. Through his program, Dr. Rosedale aims to improve that communication; to recruit 20 trillion separate cells and bring them together to function as a whole.
Sounds a little "out there" to me.   Really, I do get that diseases basically boil down to miscommunication between parts of our body.  Cancers are cells that have lost their ability to (a) differentiate into their respective cell types and (b) stop growing and dividing at the appropriate time, for example.  But it was bad enough that Gary Taubes put the entire cause of obesity on a single hormone and only one of the macronutrients that   elicits its secretion.  Rosedale puts basically pins "anti-life" on it (oh ... and leptin ... well, mostly on leptin, but because of what it does to insulin I guess ... or something like that).  Anti-life?  Yeah ... well, I don't know what else you would call whatever it is you're doing that is damaging your body and clogging your fountain of youth.  Those carbohydrates sure are some bad sheet.

The whole longevity angle makes Rosedale's pitch come off even more cultish.  It's like "follow me and you'll live forever".  Repeatedly referring to his work as "groundbreaking" with the equally repeated contention that the vast majority of other doctors have yet to learn his amazing discoveries, he comes off as a self-described leader seeking followers.  It's this sort of grandstanding that turns me off, but is not all that unlike what those sent out to recruit cult members engage in:
This information was ground breaking and way before its time, and to this day this information is still new to the vast majority of doctors in 2011. Dr. Rosedale was one of the first to speak throughout the world detailing the critical importance of insulin to health and disease.  The transcription of this talk that a participant  had recorded and posted on the Internet is now considered a classic on the subject.  
Dr. Mercola.  “I am very grateful to Dr. Rosedale, as he is the one who convinced me in January 1995 of the great importance of insulin.”   Posted By Dr. Mercola on his popular website, July 14 2001; 194,916 views (as of 11/2011)

Well, now we know where Dr. Mercola received his education on insulin.  I'll address many of the (erroneous) points Rosedale made in that lecture/article at some future date.   This sort of pitch, to the disenchanted, aimed at driving a wedge to separate them further from the object of their disenchantment (mainstream medicine in this instance) is a classic strategy of the leaders of poison-laced Kool-Aid drinkers.  (I was shocked really that he even referenced Kool-Aid in his latest re-re-re...buttal).  Allll of those doctors are clueless, I hold all the answers my little ones.  His is *the* most scientifically advanced diet ever!  Rosedale's first rule?
You are about to embark on a program that will produce wonderful results for your body. You will learn a new way of eating that will make you look better and feel better than you have in years. Within a short time, usually within two to three weeks, most of you will notice that you look leaner, your clothes fit better, and you have energy to spare. There will also be some amazing things happening to you that aren’t visible, yet are ever more important. Your Longevity Profile, that is your biomarkers of aging, will be vastly improved as you regain your leptin sensitivity, and along with losing excess fat you will be de-aging your body and reinventing your body. So smile, feel good about taking this positive step, and get started.
Where do I sign on?  And then there's the "missionary" like philanthropy angle.  Don't get me wrong, I think it is wonderful that Rosedale would give so much of his own time and fortune to help others in underdeveloped nations like India.  But by having someone associated with his site/practice (Fiona Westby, who's photo sharing account hosts the images on his FB page)  remind us of his altruism is a bit off-putting.  Then one has to demonize any dissent if they are to assemble and keep a loyal cult following.  How might one do that?  Oh, accuse yours truly of killing millions of those who would otherwise be saved from their horrible fate.  How did I do that?  Well, apparently, merely by commenting on these matters and bringing the real science to some of his audience.  In the comments on Mercola's Safe Starch post, Rosedale had this to say to me for daring to question his version of the science:
Comments and thinking such as yours are continuing to kill millions worldwide. If this science would be recognized more widely, those lives could be saved.

At least Gary Taubes just drops arguments from his lectures and such when their erroneous nature becomes blatant enough that he can no longer persist repeating it.  And, after all, Taubes always has that "probably" wishy-washy out to go to anyway.  Rosedale, OTOH, seems incapable of considering any science counter to his opinions.  This whole notion of leptin spiking is so easily dispelled that it is simply laughable for him to continue to use the terminology.  He seems to be attempting a redefinition of spiking as some change in the level of a hormone vs. baseline, but that doesn't cut it.  When someone talks about insulin spikes or blood glucose spikes, this unambiguously refers to the acute rise (followed by an almost equally dramatic fall in normal individuals) seen after eating carbs.  The plots of which tend to even resemble actual spikes.  Rather than alter his vocabulary, Rosedale would rather you redefine what you've always known a term to mean.  Leptin simply doesn't spike.  You don't even need to be able to read English, but for a few words, in order to understand this.  

Time for some musings and speculation, then I'll sign off for this post to deal with some more serious science which is the real problem with Rosedale:  not really how he presents his science, but the science (or the inaccuracy of) itself.  Still, having read his responses in comments on blogs and over at PaleoHacks, I tend to think Rosedale is a victim of timing in terms of garnering the fame/recognition and, dare I say financial benefits of his "groundbreaking" work.  Why do I say this?  Well, apparently he was all over insulin's case back in the 90's and was probably one of the first to jump on the leptin wagon.  And he wrote a book in 2004 selling yet another low carb diet.  At that time the Atkins boom was beginning to fade, the last thing the public wanted was yet more of the same repackaged as some plan to turn off their leptin hunger switch.  I see no mention of it making a best seller list or anything.  Although Gary Taubes had already published the Big Fat Lie piece in the NYTimes, he was still interviewing scientists (perhaps instead of reading their work) for GCBC.  In his 2010 interview with Jimmy Moore, Rosedale mentioned some frustration with getting his message across in this country as a reason for going to India to minister to the less fortunate there.  His timing couldn't have been worse.  It seems that circa 2005-2006 was the golden age of the birth of low carb blogs and the beginnings of the internet boom for promoting the lifestyle.  And when LC seemed to be losing steam in 2007, Gary Taubes, not Ron Rosedale, was the savior.  Not only did he rescue a dying trend, he put a whole new sciencey spin on it.  It mattered not that GCBC was a tedious geeky read.  Folks cherry picked from the cherry picking enough catchy slogans.  Recognizing the opportunity that presented itself, Dr. Mike Eades started blogging with his own brand of metabolic advantage and all that schtick.  While Rosedale was spending his fortune to help others, back in this country the likes of Eades, Sisson, Taubes and many others were making names and dollars off things Rosedale said first!  It's hard to know exactly when Rosedale returned to the States, but when he did, he no doubt discovered that leptin still hadn't really caught on as the cause/cure for obesity.  Not that it doesn't play a huge role (it is THE fat mass regulating hormone to the best of our current knowledge), but efforts to manipulate it exogenously to prevent/resolve obesity or manipulate it endogenously through diet/exercise have proved largely fruitless.  Sure, Rosedale could go back to his insulin roots, but Taubes had pretty much sucked all of the air out of that room.  And now in 2011 along came Leptin Man, Jack Kruse to try and steal that thunder.   

Rosedale had given many indications that he feels shortchanged by this turn of events.  After all, HE was the first, the groundbreaker, he's been saying this for 20 years ... Clang that tuning fork for Ron:  me me me me meeeeeeee!   That appears to be a regular hymn sung at Scikrispology services.  Right before one receives the sacrilege of Wasa bread and a swig of Leptinade.

Only now Rosedale seems more like a Johnny-come-lately to the field.  To make matters worse, there are respected bloggers out there, some even with MD after their name, who have openly joined some of us more irreverent types in criticizing the flawed science behind the demonization of all carbohydrates on the basis of their hormonal impact.  In this day and age, his teachings from the pulpit are too easily countered.  It seems he's taken to chanting and silencing to keep his hopes of founding Rosetown alive.   And in the end, it's rather ironic that he likes to do the "appeal to authority" thing reminding us of his clinical experience as an MD.  Just don't trust the authority of all those other doctors out there.

That, and relying on his friend Mercola to come up with alarming headlines to scare us off starches.  

*I couldn't resist the take-off on L.Ron Hubbard, but needed an "L".  Well the word "doctor" in Ukrainian is  лікар (pronounced lə-ˈkär) ... so ... there you go.  I'm like the Greek dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Just as he could make any word something  Greek, give me any analogy and I'll make it work!


Dawn said…
So I take it you have Ukranian roots? Where I live (Slovenia) that root is used for "pharmacist" ("lekar") and "pharmacy" ("lekarna"). Close enough, anyway. (Oh, and I guess that does make you "internationally known" too, although in the interest of full disclosure I should probably mention that I am a US citizen.)

I enjoyed the Scientology parody (do you know Frank Zappa's album "Joe's Garage"? If you do you'll know why I ask) and am frankly shocked to see the way Rosedale presents himself. I hadn't checked him out myself so I didn't know how "in-search-of-a-following" he was.
CarbSane said…
Hi Dawn, my Uke roots are by marriage, although hubby is first gen born here in US. Glad you enjoyed the parody. Zappa? LOL. I can only think of one song by him off the top of my head that goes "why does it hurt when I pee ..." hee hee! Gonna go look at Joe's Garage. I'm probably familiar but don't have good song/album title recognition skills :p
CarbSane said…
LOL! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe's_Garage
Perhaps we need a Joe Inmate here ;)
Hamsta said…
So many words and so little information content!

I have been reading some of your stuff over the years. I get it that it can be fun and creative to be snarky and a gadfly. But at some point, can you break through the ADD and manage to connect the dots for a change? You know - a nice straightforward explanation to support or refute an hypothesis instead of this batty parsiflage that pretends to be using "Science" to hold everyone's feet to the fire.
carbsane said…