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!)

Friday, February 27, 2015

No Big Surprise ... A Compendium of Errata Etc. from The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz

After reading the new book  The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Ninary Taueicholz more throroughly, I became rather frustrated.  How does a book that contains so many glaring errors even make it into print?  This book is being promoted as discussing how scientists got everything all wrong, one in particular.  It discusses nutritional science and recommendations gone wrong.  It firmly places the blame for obesity on advice to reduce dietary fat.  In doing so, however, Teicholz commits far more egregious errors than any she would like you to believe have occurred.  So I'll do a revolving post, adding them in here as the mood strikes, rather than clutter the blog with tons of posts.   My hope is that this post doesn't end up to be of epic length, and that this book turns out to be a flash in the pan that fades quickly from memory.    Each new entry will bump the post and be at the top with previous entries to follow, most recent first.  They will be separated by a horizontal line and each section dated with a *** preceding it that you may search on that string in your browser to scan for others.  

*** 2/27/2015

Americans Have Reduced Fat Intake From 43% to 33%

In the Introduction, Teicholz makes the following claim:

Unaware of the flimsy scientific scaffolding upon which their dietary guidelines rest, Americans have dutifully attempted to follow them.  Since the 1970s, we have successfully increased our fruits and vegetables by 17 percent, our grains by 29 percent, and reduced the amount of fat we eat from 43 percent to 33 percent of calories or less.
When I first read this book, I was taken aback by these numbers which conflicted with even the statistics most commonly cited by low carb advocates (NHANES).   I was further taken aback that such a crucial premise to the entire book was unreferenced.  That was, until, I became aware of Teicholz's use of Taubesian obfuscatory notes.   What makes both her and Gary Taubes' use of these notes all the more curious and maddening that, in seemingly arbitrary fashion, both do at times utilize a numbered referencing system.  In order to know whether a statement is actually referenced, one would have to flip back and forth to the Notes as they read each paragraph.  It's little solace that at least on Kindle one can click on the note and be linked back to the text.  This makes fact checking these two abominable works very difficult and time consuming, a fact that is evidently deliberate on both of their parts.  

I'm not sure why I didn't bother until now, but the ridiculous tooth gnashing going on in LLVLCluelandia of late over the release of the 2015 DGAC Report has spurred a new spate of "low fat made us fat" hysteria and ever the more wild claims about American compliance, dutiful adherence, obedience and whatnot with what their government told them to eat.

So, here is the note (formatted as it appears in my Kindle version of BFS)
“33 percent of calories or less” . . . “share of those fats that are saturated has also declined”: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ‘“Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients— United States, 1971–2000,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 53, no. 4 (2004): 80– 82.
So, first things first.  The 43% figure remains unreferenced, because, as you can see, this notation style uses snippets of phrases and links those to the source.  However, since this same source dates from 1971, one would expect to see the 43% figure in this report.   For a change, this report was incredibly easy to find online.  Googled the title, and first link clicked and voila!  If you prefer some further analysis in PDF form, there's also this.

As it turns out, this is the exact same source as for these plots that are ubiquitous around the IHC thanks to renowned thermodenialist Richard Feinman.

What the report says is as follows, direct quotes but bullet-pointed for ease of reading, (all p-values removed were p less than 0.01):

  • During 1971--2000, a statistically significant increase in average energy intake occurred (Table). 
    • For men, average energy intake increased from 2,450 kcals to 2,618 kcals
    • for women, from 1,542 kcals to 1,877 kcals 

  • For men, the percentage of kcals from carbohydrate increased between 1971--1974 and 1999--2000, from 42.4% to 49.0% , and for women, from 45.4% to 51.6%  (Table). 
  • The percentage of kcals from total fat decreased from 36.9% to 32.8% for men and from 36.1% to 32.8%  for women. 
  • In addition, the percentage of kcals from saturated fat decreased from 13.5% to 10.9% for men and from 13.0% to 11.0%  for women. 
  • A slight decrease was observed in the percentage of kcals from protein, from 16.5% to 15.5% for men and from 16.9% to 15.1% for women.
The decrease in the percentage of kcals from fat during 1971--1991 is attributed to an increase in total kcals consumed; absolute fat intake in grams increased (5).
USDA food consumption survey data from 1989--1991 and 1994--1996 indicated that the increased energy intake was caused primarily by higher carbohydrate intake (6).

Data from NHANES for 1971--2000 indicate similar trends. The increase in energy intake is attributable primarily to an increase in carbohydrate intake, with a 62.4-gram increase among women and a 67.7-gram increase among men. Total fat intake in grams increased among women by 6.5 g and decreased among men by 5.3 g.

This would amount to a net 1.2 gram INCREASE for the population as a whole.  In other words, as a population, we did NOT decrease our fat intake.   This amount, either way, amounts to roughly one pat of butter.  A teaspoon of oil.  In other words, it is MEANINGLESS no matter if statistically significant.

As far as I'm concerned, peddling increases or decreases in percentages as meaningful increases or reductions in intake is rank dishonesty.  Further compounding that deception by representing changes as percentages of percents is unconscionable.  

But by percentages, fat intake fell from 36.5% (averaged men & women) to 32.8% (same for both).  This is a FAR cry from the 43% claimed in the text as a starting point in the 1970's.  And this is Teicholz's source for the 33% "or less" flair.  A figure of 0.2% less is hardly worthy of displaying the decimal place.   Rather than a reduction of 10% of total calories, we're talking slightly more than one-third of that:  3.7% of total calorie difference.   But this is meaningless anyway since the change was -- in the words of the report Teicholz cites -- due to an increase in total caloric intake that was predominantly in the form of carbohydrate.  A mathematical anomaly.  Not, NEVER WAS, due to a reduction in fat intake.  

We have not successfully cut a darned thing.  The real question in obesity and nutrition these days should be:


*** 5/21/2014

Excess Protein, Rabbit Starvation, 

The Inuit & Vilhjalmur Steffanson

In Chapter 10, entitled Why Saturated Fat is Good For You, Teicholz bemoans Volek's frustration with the mainstream nutrition established for not taking a "more unbiased, balanced" approach.  (Ahem)  She discusses how a long term trial of two or more years would be needed to see the effects of so much protein and fat in the diet.  This includes a link to end-of-chapter note XIX.
XIX . The effects of too much protein was one concern, and this is justified— but is problematic only when a diet lacks fat. When protein is eaten, the kidneys and liver remove the nitrogen and excrete it through the urine. Dietary fat is essential to this process.(1)  When overly lean meat is eaten, nitrogen cannot be properly processed and builds up to potentially toxic levels. This condition is a common danger to dieters nowadays, eager to cut back on carbohydrates but, given longtime biases, reluctant to eat more fat. (2)    The Inuit considered overly lean meat to be an inadequate source of nourishment. Stefansson dubbed the problem “rabbit-starvation” and suffered from the condition himself when he went through a period of eating lean meat but not enough fat during his yearlong meat-only experiment in 1928 (Stefansson 1956, 31) (3).   {Kindle Locations 5768-5771}
(1) The idea that dietary fat is involved in, let alone essential for protein metabolism is simply not to be found in any reputable text on the topic. We're in Nora-land here on this one.  Here's a quick look at protein metabolism, etc., probably unnecessary here, but more to drive this point home.  The problem with protein is that while it can be broken down to feed into various energy generating pathways, when the "amino" part is removed, we get ammonia and this is indeed toxic if levels get too high.  Luckily, most of us have lovely livers that make sure this doesn't happen by converting it to urea that is excreted in urine.   As with alcohol, the liver can only process so much and the kidneys can only clear so much.    Too much protein is a concern whether or not carbohydrate or fat accompanies it in the diet.  

(2) The issue with "too much protein" is based on the limits of metabolism, not the leanness of the protein.  The theoretical maximal range of protein intake is quite varied in reports -- I've seen anywhere from 250g up to around 400g.  That's anywhere from 1000 to 1600 calories.  Thus protein cannot sustain a human for very long on its own.  To repeat, this has nothing to do with carbs or fat in the diet, indeed your basic PSMF is generally considered quite safe and beneficial to many.  Dieters need not fear eating lean protein.  However, clearly lean protein cannot sustain a human being.  This brings us to ...

(3)  "Rabbit Starvation" - It's truly sickening how this term has been thrown around in the community and misrepresented.  All the more strange when this is a moot point to a dieter trying to lose weight who has plenty of fat to burn to sustain them.  But check out Wikipedia on this topic:
Rabbit starvation, also referred to as protein poisoning or mal de caribou, is a form of acute malnutrition caused by excess consumption of any lean meat (e.g., rabbit) coupled with a lack of other sources of nutrients usually in combination with other stressors, such as severe cold or dry environment. Symptoms include diarrhea, headache, fatigue, low blood pressure and heart rate, and a vague discomfort and hunger (very similar to a food craving) that can only be satisfied by consumption of fat or carbohydrates.
Starvation, as in malnutrition ... note that there is zero fear of malnutrition if carbohydrates are supplied in the diet.  Like in, oh, say, those Native Americans from the Southwest.  Rabbit Starvation was a very real issue for those like the Inuit when BOTH carbohydrate and fat sources were scarce, particularly in the late winter and early spring.  The Inuit didn't arbitrarily restrict carbohydrate, remember.  

Everyone with a basic knowledge of nutrition and human metabolism would consider lean meats to be an inadequate source of (total) nutrition.  That's why we eat other stuff when available, like the tubers, turnips, corn and berries in addition to fat.  

The next claim is the biggest whopper of them all:  "Stefansson ... suffered from the condition [rabbit starvation] himself when he went through a period of eating lean meat but not enough fat during his yearlong meat-only experiment in 1928"   FALSE

A pattern is emerging where one can only presume Teicholz has never even seen many of the primary manuscripts to which she attributes her facts and quotations.  Here is one paper describing Stefannson's Year 'o' Meat that has been so erroneously reported and abused to drive an agenda.
“During the first 2 days his diet approximated that of the Eskimos, as reported by Krogh and Krogh (3), except that he took only one-third as much carbohydrate. The protein accounted for 45 per cent of his food calories. The intestinal disturbance began on the 3rd day of this diet. During the next 2 days he took much less protein and more fat so that he received about 20 per cent of his calories from protein and 80 per cent from fat. In these two days his intestinal condition became normal without medication. Thereafter the protein calories did not exceed 25 per cent of the total for more than 1 day at a time. The high percentage of calories from protein may have been a factor in the production of the diarrhea. “
You see, Stefannson attempted to emulate the meat-heavy Inuit diet as reported, not as his various musings have been interpreted.  This is similar to that in Heinbecker.   You see for the first two days he tried to eat 45% protein, 55% fat which amounted to roughly 275 grams protein per day.  He got sick.  In TWO days.  After that his intake dropped by around 4-500 calories and protein was dropped to 20%, thus around 100 grams per day of protein.  He got better.  The Inuit eat a lot of rotted "high" seal flesh.  They are also adapted from rearing and no doubt genetically to high protein consumption.  Stefannson was not.  He was experiencing some degree of protein (ammonia) toxicity ... but starvation?  Hardly.  At 55% fat he  was taking in roughly 150 grams of fat.  In summary:
  • 2 days - no true "starvation" occurs in this time frame
  • 275 g protein - likely exceeded his threshold of metabolism and some degree of ammonia toxicity occurred.
  • 150 g fat does NOT equal starvation, rabbit or otherwise
I'd be remiss if I didn't point out one more flaw in including the Inuit in any discussion of saturated fats.  The fat in their diet is largely marine mammal derived, very heavy on the unsaturated fats, light on the saturated.   It's time to end the "me too" copycatting of using this culture and romantic notions of Stefansson to drive the agenda.  Please!

***  5/19/2014

UPDATE 2/27/2015:  There is an update to this error that I've blogged separately on here:  Nina Teicholz "Corrects" The Big Fat Surprise ~ Digs Hole Deeper.  Essentially, in the paperback released in January 2015, Teicholz corrected some errors.  In the case of this error, she altered the wording slightly to imply that the elders had residual health from being raised on meat-centric, mostly buffalo, diets, and attributes the buffalo eating to a different book and set of tribes.  This time to the Southern Plains Indians of Texas and a 1961 book by W.W. Newcomb, Jr.    /UPDATE

Hrdlička and the diet of Southwestern Native Americas

In my recent (partial) review, I highlighted a smattering of issues with the book but focused mainly on her misrepresentation of Aleš Hrdlička's Physiological and Medical Observations among the Indians of Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico.  In Chapter 1, entitled The Fat Paradox, Good Health on a High Fat Diet, Teicholz spans the globe misrepresenting the diets of culture after culture, from the Inuit to the Masai, then to the Hunza of India and the Native Americans of the Southwest US, Teicholz presents examples of cultures we are to presume consumed a high fat diet.  While the former two eat more animal fat, I'm hard pressed to find that the Hunza did, and as discussed at length in my last post, the SWNA (gotta coin an acronym here, South West Native Americans) most certainly did not eat anything of the sort.  Here is the quote I take issue with:

Meanwhile, the Native Americans of the Southwest were observed between 1898 and 1905 by the physician-turned-anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička, who wrote up his observations in a 460-page report for the Smithsonian Institute. The Native Americans he visited were eating a diet of predominantly meat, mainly from buffalo, yet, as Hrdlička observed, they seemed to be spectacularly healthy and lived to a ripe old age. The incidence of centenarians among these Native Americans was, according to the 1900 US Census, 224 per million men and 254 per million women, compared to only 3 and 6 per million among men and women in the white population. Although Hrdlička noted that these numbers were probably not wholly accurate, he wrote that “no error could account for the extreme disproportion of centenarians observed.” Among the elderly he met of age ninety and up, “not one of these was either much demented or helpless.”  {KL 305-311}
There can be NO doubt that Teicholz attributes the observation of eating buffalo to Hrdlička and the SWNA.   Again, per previous discussion, the free full book is digitized on Google.  I searched the book and found no reference to dietary use of buffalo at all among the SWNA.    So I tweeted a question to Teicholz:

Well, I DID buy a copy of this book and I have been reading it, but her response is typical.  

Now Teicholz has a peculiar notation and referencing style ... but not an unfamiliar one to anyone who has read Taubes' books.  I am convinced that the only reason to employ such a system is to make it as difficult as possible for anyone who choses to do so, to check references.  This is anathema to the spirit of science journalism, especially that of the "everything you thought you knew is wrong" variety.  In each chapter you have "linked" notes, there are four in Chapter 1 that explain some topics a bit further.  Then, towards the end of the book (from location about 6100 to about location 8100), we have Notes.  Here, chapter by chapter, blurbs and wordings are attributed to their sources in the following format -- I'll use the applicable notes to the SWNA excerpt as an example:
wrote up his observations in a 460-page report: Aleš Hrdlička, Physiological and Medical Observations among the Indians of Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 34 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1908).
were eating a diet predominantly of meat: Joseph M. Marshall III, The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn: A Lakota History (New York: Penguin Books, 2006).
“no error could account for”: Hrdlička, Physiological and Medical Observations, 40– 41.
“not one of these . . . demented or helpless”: Ibid., 158.  {KL 6173-6179}
It would be difficult to flip back and forth in an electronic text let alone a hard copy book! Nevermind that the notes section in Kindle is one third the length of the text itself. Note that these are neither numbered for easy location nor linked to within the text, though thankfully in the electronic copy, they do link back to the text location. Finding them in the Kindle book was made easier using the search feature. I would note that in many, but not all, page numbers are provided. Not for the relevant citations here, and we're talking lengthy books, not journal articles. Before going on, there is then a third set of references in the form of an alphabetically ordered list of all references. These are neither numbered nor linked back or forth to their usage in the book. All of which, as with Taubes, makes for what appears to be meticulous, considerable and comprehensive research ... as long as you don't look too closely.

I have highlighted part of the middle note in red, because, THIS is the source of Teicholz' buffalo claim.   The Day the World Ended at Little Big Horn: A Lakota History was written in 2006 by Marshall who was born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.  The book is described as a different look at the Battle at Little Big Horn.   As per the map on the right, the Lakota are a Central Plains nation, an estimated 1000+ North East of the SWNA (depending on whether one were to go edge-to-edge, or center to center, and when boundaries are drawn).

So firstly, Teicholz didn't just mistakenly attribute a different first-hand accounting of food traditions to the wrong author as an omission.  Marshall is no Hrdlička to the Lakota.   One could almost chalk this up to a mistake was there no notation citing the Marshall book.  But there was.  Buffalo was the major food consumed by the Lakota, but to infer this was necessarily a high fat culture is pretty absurd.  Wild buffalo meat is lean and fairly low in saturated fat.  So yeah, had Teicholz accurately cited this tribe, they make a case for meat consumption.  But buffalo isn't today's beef (even grass fed), and butter and cheese?  Sorry.   Further, the Lakota eat quite a lot of tubers plentiful to their region.  All a rather moot point because Teicholz never mentions the Central Plains Indians in general, nor the Lakota specifically, as she claims their diet was that which Hrdlička observed in what is now the South West United States.  UNBELIEVABLE!!!  I guess Simon & Schuster can't be bothered with any fact checkers?  

Teicholz could have provided me with the source from her footnotes.  Instead she said "read the book" ... which is the all too common retort.  I understand that one can't properly review a book without reading substantial portions of it, and for that I did purchase the book.  But I should not have had to purchase it to get the information on the reference.  She knew it wasn't to be found in Hrdlička's book.  This is journalistic malfeasance and dishonesty.  The book is FULL of it.


Sanjeev Sharma said...

>as difficult as possible for anyone who choses to do so, to check references

maybe she took lessons from someone else who lied about their citations' contents

Genevieve Evans said...

Not at all surprised the book takes so many liberties. (I first become skeptical of the whole low-carb/paleo community when I decided to actually check Robb Wolf's references in his book, and he misrepresented everything he pointed to as "proof." Check the references, people! But I digress.) I briefly flipped through this at the bookstore, and decided a good indication that a book was probably crap is that 4 of the endorsements on the back are from pretty quack-y doctors. It definitely turns my skeptic eye on. But what gets me the most is that nothing in this book is at all original - didn't Gary Taubes write this same book years ago? How many ways can you rehash the same tired idea?

carbsane said...

Interestingly, even some positive reviewers are pointing this out (about GCBC). Her fawning over GT is over the top. I plan to include a comment or two on that in my Amazon review.

Sanjeev Sharma said...

seems to me her fanbois are going down the same path Taubes' fanbois did, to wit:

"clearly you never read it"

I wonder if that twitter tool is making the "people have to read it themselves" point KNOWING how few will check the references (apparently THE AUTHOR and her editors and reviewers didn't check but the accountant and the plumber, both working overtime, WILL check)


StellaBarbone said...

Citing inaccurate references is not a new technique. Remember Adele Davis? Her books had pages and pages of bogus references. I like to follow links in blog posts for just that reason. Don't get me started on dietary salt....

carbsane said...

That Dixon dude used to be a huge GT fanboy on his "spark of reason" blog. Cuz he lost weight on LC ya know.

carbsane said...

Gosh I remember reading some Adele when I was a teenager. Mom gave me a book of hers when I went on my idiotically very low fat (cuz at 800 cal/day you can't eat much of anything) diet in order to persuade me to eat a bit of oil on my salads. I've never really read much since.

MacSmiley said...

These schlocky authors are all depending upon their reader's "suspension of disbelief".

rudyInLA said...

It would have taken fewer characters and been much classier to just point to the reference. How stupid does one have to be to not understand how dishonest you might be with a snarky answer like this?

MacSmiley said...

Trying to find a map of the historical range of American Bison which shows any past (pre-bisoncide) presence in the SW USA. So far, I got nothin'. Finding all Northern Plains states plus plains in Canada.

MacSmiley said...

So, OK. Found this map in Wikimedia, but no page links to it, so I've got no dates to reference.

MacSmiley said...

Teicholz says on WheatBelly's interview,

In fact, most of the scientific literature shows that very low-fat diets, vegan and near-vegetarian diets, such as the kind Ornish recommends, lead to obesity and greater heart-attack risk.

…which is why Medicare reimburses for Ornish's program and Pritikin's LIVE-IN program. Talk about making stuff up.

charles grashow said...

She also says

"Our distrust of saturated fat dates more than 50 years, and can be
traced to just one man: a bullying, charismatic but revered pathologist
named Ancel Keys, whose quest for fame caused him to run roughshod over
basic scientific standards. His deeply flawed “Seven Countries” study
was the “Big Bang” of all our nutrition recommendations today. In an
effort to quickly address the terrifying heart-disease epidemic, Keys
persuaded the American Heart Association and ultimately the U.S.
government to subscribe to the notion that saturated fat was our chief
dietary culprit. Fat generally — and saturated fat specifically — came
to be blamed for causing heart disease, obesity and cancer. Eventually
this unfounded belief became ingrained as our national dogma, and many
of our most esteemed nutrition scientists today endorse this idea based
on the same kind of soft science that originated with Keys."

EXCEPT that Ancel Keys wasn't a pathologist!

At the University of California, Berkeley, Keys initially studied chemistry, but was dissatisfied and took some time off to work as an oiler aboard the S.S. President Wilson (1st), which traveled to China.[3] He then returned to Berkeley, switched majors, and graduated with a B.A. in economics and political science (1925) and M.S. in zoology (1928).[3] For a brief time, he took up a job as a management trainee at Woolworth's, but returned to his studies at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla on a fellowship. In 1930 he received his Ph.D. in oceanography and biology.[3] He was then awarded a National Research Council fellowship that took him to Copenhagen, Denmark to study under August Krogh at the Zoophysiological Laboratory for two years.[3][4] During his studies with Krogh, he studied fish physiology and contributed numerous papers on the subject.[4] Once his fellowship ended, he went to Cambridge but took some time off to teach at Harvard University, after which he returned to Cambridge and earned a second Ph.D. in physiology (1936).

More mistakes.

charles grashow said...

She says she's been working on this book for a decade so that means she must have started research in late 2003 - early 2004. SO - GCBC comes out in 2007 - why would she and the publisher continue with her book?

Jay said...

Carbsane, is Anthony Colpo, and his latest short "anti-grains" book, as bad as the rest of the paleo crowd?

Screennamerequired said...

Because GCBC was popular.

charles grashow said...

What has she added in the way of anything new to the debate?

As Seth says in his review

At any rate, BFS is not much different than the other low-carb books on the market. In fact, it's quite similar to the book Good Calories, Bad Calories (GCBC) by Gary Taubes, published in 2007. Other Amazon reviews agree. Start with the title: both authors use the same play on words ("big fat surprise" and "big fat lie"). Both structure their citations
in the exact same format. Teicholz uses many of the same figures that
are in GCBC, either in this book or her recent TEDx talk. Teicholz discuss the very same peculiar issues that Taubes does (including the Masai people, the Samburu people, the MRFIT, the Anti-Coronary Club trial, the Seven Countries study, the American Heart Association, the Western Electric study, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Native Americans living in the southwest, Framingham, George McGovern... the list goes on).

Now if you're going to write about a history of nutrition policy in the US
there will naturally be some overlap of coverage. But this level of overlap is quite extraordinary. I counted 140 references that Teicholz uses that were also used in GCBC; ranging from the popular that any nutrition expert should know to the amazingly obscure (at least one was written in a foreign language). In many cases they both pluck the exact same quotes from a specific text. For example, on page 75 Teicholz discusses a dietary trial by Dayton et al and quotes from Dayton's paper stating: "'Was it not possible,' he asked, 'that a diet high in unsaturated fat...might have noxious effects when consumed over a period of many years? Such diets are, after all, rarities.'" This is part of a larger argument by Teicholz to paint unsaturated fats as unhealthy and potentially dangerous. The funny thing is that on page 37 of GCBC Taubes uses the very same quote and phrases it the exact same way, ellipses and all! Isn't that strange?

Rosie May said...

I think there's something seriously lacking in her overall vision. I've never seen obesity mentioned as a risk factor for people going on a low fat whole food plant based diets nor increased cardiovascular disease.

MacSmiley said...

Taubes's NYT article was published in 2002. Her inspiration?

Wuchtamsel said...

He is even worse... In the case of Colpo it's very easy to grasp that the reason for his "views" is his severe lack of even basic intellectual capacity.

Wuchtamsel said...

Put em all in a big sack and beat it with a club. You won't hit anyone who doesn't deserve it...

Susanne said...

Good God, please, Nina, tell me that you didn't just lump the Lakota and the Pima together and decided they had the same diet because "they are all Native Americans." Didn't you say one her degrees was in history? I would give one of my students an F for that, and they live 12 time zones away from the Americas.

carbsane said...

What's even more strange, though it might just be her ordering of things, but

"..... The Sikhs and the Hunzas ,” notably, suffered from “none of the major diseases of Western nations such as cancer, peptic ulcer, appendicitis, and dental decay .” These Indians in the north were generally long-lived and had “good physique[ s],” and their vibrant health stood “in marked contrast” to the high morbidity of other groups in the southern part of India who ate mainly white rice with minimal dairy or meat. McCarrison believed he could rule out causes other than nutrition for these differences, because he found that he could reproduce a similar degree of ill-health when feeding experimental rats a diet low in milk and meat. The healthy people McCarrison observed ate some meat but mostly “an abundance” of milk and milk products such as butter and cheese, which meant that the fat content of their diet was mainly saturated.

Meanwhile, the Native Americans of the Southwest were observed between 1898 and 1905 by the physician-turned-anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička, who wrote up his observations in a 460-page report for the Smithsonian Institute........."

Teicholz, Nina (2014-05-13). The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet (Kindle Locations 298-306). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

The Indians in India ... and meanwhile the Indians in America .... That's the way this read to me with the use of the "meanwhile" segue.

carbsane said...

If you ask me, she stopped and then when this new craze hit, they dusted it off. Or maybe she quite possibly works more slowly than Taubes who took 5 years to write GCBC.

Here's her groundbreaking article citing Mary Enig

I hear Eades liked to mock Ancel Keys' appearance at 100. Ummm.... Just pathetic.

carbsane said...

That statement has to be one of THE most absurd I've read yet. It comes from the nonsense that is "Americans replaced fat with carbs". That's stated, once again, in the NuSI promotion piece in the NYT and it's ridiculous. When I was in high school, one of the things us teenage girls might get for lunch was a Dannon fruit yogurt -- these were full fat and basically had jam on the bottom to mix in. When dieting became more the rage, both fat and sugar were cut.

carbsane said...

Thanks ladies! Even if I knew nothing of the SWNA, the mere mention of buffalo being a major food source in the desert tripped my "something's not right here" switch.

charles grashow said...

So how come this great investigative journalist failed to mention this guy in her article

In 1957, a fledgling nutrition scientist at the University of Illinois
persuaded a hospital to give him samples of arteries from patients who
had died of heart attacks.

When he analyzed them, he made a startling discovery. Not surprisingly,
the diseased arteries were filled with fat — but it was a specific kind
of fat. The artificial fatty acids called trans fats, which come from
the hydrogen-treated oils used in processed foods like margarine, had
crowded out other types of fatty acids.

The scientist, Fred Kummerow, followed up with a study that found
troubling amounts of artery-clogging plaque in pigs given a diet heavy
in artificial fats. He became a pioneer of trans-fat research, one of
the first scientists to assert a link between heart disease and processed foods.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will take onthe thorny subject of trans fats in food, a decades-old controversy
that has set public health advocates against the food industry. The FDA
has all but declared that partially hydrogenated oils can no longer be
“generally recognized as safe.”

This turn of events is a decades-old dream of Fred Kummerow, 99, a
professor of comparative biosciences at Illinois. Kummerow was the sole author of a petition to the FDA in 2009 to ban trans fats, a petition the agency had not responded to in any substantive way until this month. His petition outlined the many ways that artificial trans fats are harmful to health, relying on data from decades of research from his lab and others to bolster his case that people should not be eating anything with hydrogenated or partiallyhydrogenated oils as an ingredient.

This summer Kummerow filed a lawsuit against the FDA for its lack of response to his petition. Now the agency has at last addressed the dangers of trans fats in food. It is proposing to ban artificial trans fats from the food supply unless they are proven safe.!searchResults;rpp=25;po=0;s=2009-P-0382;fp=true;ns=true

Kade Storm A.K.A. Hedonist said...

So much fail in one sentence... might be a record contention of ignorance.

Susanne said...


carbsane said...

It sure is. Her TEDx talk is strange, frankly. She juxtaposes Fat Louisa and a picture of a Masai warrior and makes the outrageous claim that the Masai were not particularly active -- heck the old ones apparently just sit around all day swatting at flies. How does one even .... ??

carbsane said...

Oh ... and THIS will be presented at AHS this year! :(

Ramondelli said...

I enjoyed it. It's not a complete paleo-type bashing, but its just speaking on how grains aren't this magical health food. I'm sure it'll be on sale (for free or for ~$3), so just wait for it then.

Ramondelli said...

Woah there. Let's not act like Colpo isn't up there with Aragon/Krieger/McDonald in giving out information. Colpo has done leagues of good on debunking diet camps (esp. low carb variants).

Richard Arppe said...

In 1940, based on years of clinical practice and reviewing medical reports, Bertelsen who is considered the father of Greenland epidemiology stated in regards to the mortality patterns amongst the Greenland Inuit that:

...arteriosclerosis and degeneration of the myocardium are quite common conditions among the Inuit, in particular considering the low mean age of the population.

In 1904, Bertelsen proved the existence of cancer in the native Inuit, diagnosing a case of breast cancer. During the following decades researchers documented that the existence of cancer was exceedingly common among the Inuit despite their relatively short life expectancy.18 Consistent with Bertelsen’s findings, an Inuit predating western contact who was mummified in approximately 1475, 450km north of the Arctic Circle was shown to have evidence of cancer, likely of the breast.19 It has also been documented that numerous preserved pre-contact Inuit who were mummified dating all the way back to 1,500 years ago had a severe degree of atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis, consistent with studies of Inuit living in the 20th century.20 21 22 23 Other evidence of poor health among the pre-contact Inuit includes iron deficiency anemia, trauma, infection, dental pathology, and children with downs syndrome and Perthes disease.24 25

Recent investigation to Inuits cast rather problematic picture for the diet-heart denialists.

Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is not associated with a reduction in carotid atherosclerosis: the Genetics of Coronary Artery Disease in Alaska Natives study

"Dietary intake of omega-3 FAs in a moderate-to-high range does not appear to be associated with reduced plaque, but is negatively associated with IMT.The presence and extent of carotid atherosclerosis among Eskimos is higher with increasing consumption of saturated FAs"

charles grashow said...

Did she distort Dr. Gerald Reaven as well?
"I wrote this lay book because I was getting disgusted with all the diet
books that started with my work and twisted it in ways that were
totally wrong," he told me. His Syndrome X Diet is 45 percent
carbohydrate, 15 percent protein, 30-35 percent polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and 5-10 percent saturated fats."

In general, there are six basic nutrition principles in the Metabolic Syndrome Diet:

Eat fewer calories, whether it's through skipping dessert, reaching for fruit instead of cake or opting for skinless chicken

Eat very little saturated fat, i.e. no full-fat dairy and more lean protein sources

Consume more fish with a preference towards salmon, tuna or mackerel

Load up on plain or minimally-dressed vegetables and fresh fruit

Eat plenty of whole grains

Get in the habit of using olive, canola and sesame oil when cooking

A typical day might look like a bowl of oatmeal sweetened with a low-calorie sweetener and fresh berries for breakfast, baby carrots and hummus for a snack, grilled chicken salad and a whole grain roll for lunch, vegetable stir-fry for dinner and a baked apple seasoned with cinnamon for dessert.

charles grashow said...

Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates

We randomly assigned 811 overweight adults to one of four diets; the targeted percentages of energy derived from fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the four diets were 20, 15, and 65%; 20, 25, and 55%; 40, 15, and 45%; and 40, 25, and 35%. The diets consisted of similar foods and met guidelines for cardiovascular health. The participants were offered group and individual instructional sessions for 2 years. The primary outcome was the change in body weight after 2 years in two-by-two factorial comparisons of low fat versus high fat and average protein versus high protein and in the comparison of highest and lowest carbohydrate content.

Reduced-calorie diets result in clinically meaningful weight loss regardless of which macronutrients they emphasize.

charles grashow said...;2-9/pdf

Jay said...

I have read all of Colpo's works Ramondelli. That's why I'm bringing him
up. He doesn't associate with the Paleo group and is high carb. I
wondered if his anti grain book was just as "woo woo science" as the
Paleo crowd according to Carbsane. Colpo always seems to back his claims
with sound science than the rest to me, but I'm just an amateur. Maybe
Carbsane might have spotted some things.
@Wuchtamsel, you sound so sure of your bashing of him, why don't you point something specific out or are you all talk?

carbsane said...

Ughh ... I had a computer crash earlier and my response didn't post :( I don't think Colpo deserves derision here, but he's not in the class of any of those three when push comes to shove. He is THE guy when it comes to the metabolic advantage bullshit. Fat Loss Bible is a classic and the research is extensive and I haven't found any case where he misrepresented anything,etc.

He generously provided me a copy of the Cholesterol book years ago, but I didn't have the time to read it then. WIth the change of platforms I can no longer read it. :( Based on our conversation recently on Facebook, I gather he's not a fan of Keys and has fallen into the same trap as others not looking into all of his works on cholesterol. Anyone who claims LDL has nothing whatsofrigginevah to do with CVD is kidding themselves because familial hypercholesterolemia says otherwise. What dietary factors may be at issue and/or the mechanism is a different story, but that is looking to implicate sat fats more rather than exonerate them via the LDL receptor mechanism.

The problem with almost all of the clinical trials and even a lot of epidemiological studies is that we are too often looking in narrow ranges -- within 10 percent of calories on the high end of fat consumption for the vast vast majority of humans, globe-wide, for millenia. I don't relish a 10-15% fat diet any more than most of the rest reading this, but its hard to argue against one on the basis of what pre-industrial cultures consumed most of the time.

As to the grain book, I haven't read it yet and have so so much on my plate that it's doubtful I'll read it any time soon. From what I've heard, Ramondelli describes it well in his other comment. More that whole grains are not superfoods -- but really I find it difficult to support any assertion that they ever were. Some absurd school lunch requirements and a failure to just include starches at the base of the food pyramid notwithsanding.

Ramondelli said...

I can't lie. I caught some feelings from Wuchtamsel's comment. Sorry. I'm pretty bias when it comes to praising Colpo. He was one of the first who helped me get out of the whole low-carb/calorie denialism deal.

I can't say anything about cholesterol for I'm totally ignorant on the subject.

I just don't want ppl to think Colpo is some quack.

Richard Arppe said...

BTW, CArbsane,

A systematic analysis to literature on Inuits was performed around 2 weeks ago and published at Canadian journal of cardiology, the "paradox" is finally sorted out, in and out. The authors, Bang & Dyerberg who created the Inuit myth never directly studied the inuits but actually relied on statistics with very questionable role and actually showed very little understanding of medical statistics.!/httpFile/file.pdf

Moreover, the traditional diet of the Pima indians have documented to be around 70-80% carbohydrate mostly from corn, squash and beans. The authors conclude that diabetes became more common among Pima when the intake of carbohydrate steadily declined in their diet.

Wuchtamsel said...

" I don't relish a 10-15% fat diet any more than most of the rest reading this, but its hard to argue against one on the basis of what pre-industrial cultures consumed most of the time."

Hmmm, I don't think so.
We actually don't know much if anything about the cardiovascular health of pre-industrial cultures in relation to their fat consumption. Especially given that their life expectancy was generally so low that CVD couldn't be a decisive factor in their mortality anyway. So this can be hardly an argument.
What we know today is that there are HUGE CVD-mortality gaps between populations that follow LF diets. Compare Japan to India for example!
The most solid and impressive interventional data we have today strongly(!) argues for a mediterranean style diet with rather liberal total fat consumption. LF diet interventions in general where much less impressive not to say pretty much failures. And NO, the church of Esselstyn-"study" with its 12, 13 or 17 participants doesn't count as a piece of science OF COURSE.

Wuchtamsel said...

Well he is, I can't change the facts. He is actively KILLING PEOPLE with his cholesterol-"advice". It's hard to ignore that...

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Bris Vegas said...

"The most solid and impressive interventional data we have today
strongly(!) argues for a mediterranean style diet with rather liberal
total fat consumption."

You have to be kidding. The world's two most cited experts on nutrition, David Jenkins and Walter Willett both eat ultra low fat plant based diets with almost no meat or dairy. Willett's wife, a registered nurse, runs a vegan cooking school.

Kaiser Permanente, the largest healthcare provider in the USA, recently advised all its' physicians to recommend low fat minimally processed plant based diets and to avoid all animal foods.

carbsane said...

Japan v. India? How so? Please elaborate along with changes in the diets over the last 50-70 years or so.

Wuchtamsel said...

OK, Japan on the one side is the proof (as far as "proof" goes) that a very low fat diet can be very heart healthy as we know from the 7 countries study. On the other hand we have the Indian Paradox, one of the highest rates of CVD in the whole world in people eating the same ~10% fat-calories people ate in Japan in the 50s...
But that's not my main point. Because of the many confounders in epidemiological work we have to concentrate on interventional data. And the latter looks pretty bad for very low fat and VERY good for the mediterranian diet.

Wuchtamsel said...

I'm fed up with people like Colpo cause he is causing actual, real life DAMAGE by telling people not to care about their cholesterol and their statins are dangerous and this whole CRAP. It's not even worth to discuss about that.

carbsane said...

Reaven has been in the news of late. There's a little bit of something for everyone here:

His story is similar to Keys in many ways. Both have been very right and very wrong about some things, and both have unquestionably made major positive contributions even on issues in which they turned out to be wrong.

However, IR per Reaven has been increasingly shown to be incorrect -- almost to the point that peripheral IR has not been shown to exist. Here is where the radiolabel tracers have been invaluable in demonstrating that disposal of dietary glucose is NOT where the defect lies. This has, unfortunately, been ingrained and made its way into many a physiology and biochem text and the lay-person explanations.

Sanjeev Sharma said...

yeah, IR as some kind of uniform aggregate has not made sense to me for a long time, starting with arguments I had on Seth Roberts' boards with Todd Becker on how pancreatic insulin's dumped directly into the liver, and tracing out the consequences of that.

IMHO, that's one purpose of IR, to triage combinations or permutations of tissue+(energy substrates).

l bet my own guesses are wrong and I'm waiting for real researchers to take an interest

Larry Eshelman said...

Although Anthony Colpo criticizes the hypothesis that high serum cholester is the cause of atherosclerosis, he does believe that oxidized LDL is a likely cause. As far as statins are concerned, he doesn't deny that they can have a positive effect, although he attributes this mainly to their cholesterol-independent effects, e.g., anti-inflammation effects. See "LDL Cholesterol: 'Bad' Cholesterol, or Bad Science?" (2005),

carbsane said...

Thanks for the links!! I am already familiar with both, but it never hurts to share with the readers here. I recently came across yet another book on the Pima diet from the 1940s ... may need to get that in hard cover for my collection ;-)

Kade Storm A.K.A. Hedonist said...

Are there any studies that explore a 10% fat diet among Indians? Nina referenced this factor and I'm inclined to think that it is bunk. I am not aware of much outside of what we have on Kitavans, Okinawans, Pima, Hadza and Papua New Guinea. They're all rather low fat, some in the 10% range, some above 10 but 20 seems to be the upper limit with the Kitavans.

carbsane said...

I've seen you claim this before. (1) Kaiser may be the single largest provider because of it's structure, but it provides healthcare for a very small percent of our population ... (2) if memory serves it does not say "avoid all animal foods" that would be a vegan diet.

billy the k said...

"Rabbit starvation, also referred to as protein poisoning or mal de caribou...":
Nina Teicholz [p.309] writes that "Stefansson suffered from this condition himself when he went through a period of eating lean meat but not enough fat during his year-long meat-only experiment in 1928." You say [in red letters]: FALSE. But consider the following:

"...I forecast trouble when [Dr.] DuBois suggested that I start the test by eating as large quantities as I possibly could of chopped fatless muscle. But he countered by citing my own experience where illness had not come until after more than a week, and he now proposed lean for only two or three days. So I gave in...
...In the Arctic we had become ill during the second or third fatless week. I now became ill on the second day. The time difference between Bellevue and the Arctic was due no doubt mainly to the existence of a little fat, here and there, in our northern caribou--we had eaten the tissue from behind the eyes, we had broken the bones for marrow, and in doing everything we could to get fat we had evidently secured more than we realized. At Bellevue the meat, carefully scrutinized, was as lean as such muscle tissue well can be. Then, in the Arctic we had eaten tendons and other indigestible matter, we had chewed the soft ends of bones, getting a deal of bulk that way when we were trying to secure fat. What we ate at Bellevue contained no bulk material of this kind, so that my stomach could be compelled to hold a much larger amount of lean. Moreover, I had in New York a much larger stomach than in the Arctic; there it had become constricted in accord with the small bulk of a lean-fat diet; here in "civilization" it had been expanded through the needs of a bulky mixed diet.
The symptoms brought on at Bellevue by an incomplete meat diet (this ration of lean without fat) were exactly the same as in the Arctic, except that they came on faster--diarrhoea and a feeling of general baffling discomfort." [Vilhjalmur Steffansson: the Fat of the Land; Macmiillan (1956) p.68-69]

If you suspect that Stefansson was making this up, here's the same story from Dr. Lieb's report:
"After preliminary studies on a mixed diet Stefansson was put on an exclusive lean diet for the purpose of studying the effects of an excessively high protein, minimal fat dietary. Stefansson predicted that he would be ill in a few days, judging by his past experience in the arctic, and such proved to be the case. Although this experiment was planned for but four days, in the evening of the second day he became nauseated and developed some of the discomfort, lethargy and weakness of the knees which he experienced on an enforced lean meat diet in the North. The next day all the symptoms became intensified and diarrhea developed. This part of the experiment was, of course, stopped and by ading fat in tasteful quantities he fully recovered within two days." [Clarence W.Lieb, MD: The Effects on Human Beings of a Twelve Months' Exclusive Meat Diet; Journal of the A.M.A., July 6, 1929, p. 20]

Sure looks like a case of protein poisoning ["rabbit starvation" in looser parlance] to me, and that's just what Teicholz noted.

carbsane said...

No it looks like a case of protein overload. Look at the paper, he had 55% fat in those two days, 150 grams. So yeah ...

carbsane said...

Further, she is fear mongering with how dieters are supposedly at risk eating lean proteins. Unless this person is dieting when they shouldn't be, then she's full of it.

MacSmiley said...

Evidently, after Stefansson's diarrhea cleared up, he got more than better. He got constipated for the next 10 days.

MacSmiley said...

One of my favorite movies, and so prescient.

charles grashow said...
Peter Heinbecker
J. Biol. Chem. 1931, 93:327-336


charles grashow said...

"Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes,
cardiovascular disease, or obesity.""

Lighthouse Keeper said...

Willet is not a low fat diet advocate - he's for the reducing of saturated fat and replacing it with olive or canola (rapeseed) oil plus other MUFAs and PUFAs as in the Mediterranean Diet.

Ramondelli said...

You got me thinking here dude.

If his info on cholesterol is bunk, but his info on debunking low carb ideas/dogma is legit then is he a quack? When I think quack - I think Mercola, Alex Jones, Asprey, and the like. However, if one is harming others with bad info then they're spewing quackery.

billy the k said...

"Rabbit starvation, also referred to as protein poisoning..."

"...the body's ability to convert ammonia to urea peaks with a protein intake of 230g/day (920 calories per day), indicating that at that protein intake, marginal nitrogen is going entirely into ammonia." [from: Rudman, D et al: Maximal rates of excretion and synthesis of urea in normal and cirrhotic subjects. Jrnl Clin Invest (1973) Sept; 52 (9) 2241-9]

Here's Stefansson"s intake during the LEAN meat part of the experiment:
["the carb content...consisting solely of the glycogen of the meat]

Feb 28, 1928 protein: 270g (44.6%)
fat: 141g (52.6%)
carb: 17g (2.8%)
calories: 2489

Feb 29,1928 protein: 257g (44.0%)
fat: 137g (53.2%)
carb: 16g (2.8%)
calories: 2395 ["weakness, nausea and diarrhea"]

March 01, 1928 protein: 104g (22.2%)
fat: 157g (76.3%)

March 02, 1928 protein: 93g
fat: 174g ["nausea and diarrhea absent"]

[from: Walter S. McClellan & Eugene F. DuBois; Jrnl Biol Chem (1930) 87: 651-668]

Stefansson's protein intake for those first two days exceeded the aforementioned toxicity limit, and he was accordingly sickened by ammonia.
Take in around 45% of calories as protein and you're asking for it. "It" being protein poisoning or toxicity. Calling it "overload" suggests that it's not really "starvation" [whether "rabbit" or "caribou"] but keep it up and death can follow in weeks.

charles grashow said...

" Doesn't it make sense to push the low-calorie diet and therefore a diet low in fat?

There's been a very simplistic idea: Just because fats have more
calories per ounce than carbohydrates, we should be eliminating fats or reducing fats to control our total caloric intake, in other words, to help control our weight. What's really important though is how satisfying a diet is, because we have very complex mechanisms that control our total intake of calories, and it's become pretty apparent that if we have a high-carbohydrate diet, particularly high refined carbohydrate, it makes it much more difficult to control our total caloric intake. That's probably because when we eat refined carbohydrates, we get these swings in blood glucose and insulin that lead to hunger between meals; whereas if we have a diet that's somewhat higher in fat, we tend to be more satisfied over the long run.

Is this what Dr. Atkins was saying 30 years ago?

Dr. Atkins was saying as much as 30 years ago, that if we reduce our carbohydrate intake to quite low levels, that will make it easier to control our caloric intake and thus promote weight loss. As it turns out, there is a strong element of truth in that. A number of studies inthe last year have looked in a very careful way, comparing low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets with reduced-carbohydrate diets, and in general people have done better on the reduced-carbohydrate diets in terms of their weight.

"Our alternative pyramid, like the USDA pyramid, does emphasize plenty of fruits and vegetables, but we've taken potatoes out of the vegetable group. We've put legumes and nuts as a layer. If you want to be a vegetarian, those are good protein sources. But moderate amounts of poultry, fish, and nuts can also make a diet be a non-vegetarian diet and still very healthy. And up at the top we've put red meat and dairy products, dairy fat, because those are high in saturated fat. ... At the top of the pyramid, we've put foods like white bread, white rice, white pasta, and sweets as those that should be used sparingly. And that was really the base of the USDA pyramid.

Some nutritionists have criticized your pyramid as "floating on a lake of olive oil."

The formal studies that had compared a more moderate fat intake as we've suggested, with low-fat diets, have actually consistently shown that people did as well or better controlling their weight on a
moderate-fat diet compared to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.

Even good fats are more fattening than good carbs. So they think you're contributing to the obesity epidemic, or there's a risk of that. A tablespoon of olive oil is 14 grams of fat.

There are all kinds of beliefs about the amount of fat in a diet,
tremendously strong opinions. What we really need is sound data, and the studies that have been done show that people actually end up controlling their weight at least as well, and usually better, on moderate-fat diets compared to low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets.

Is it okay to get more than 30 percent of your calories from fat?

The evidence is quite clear that it's perfectly fine to get more than
30 percent of your calories from fat, and probably, in fact, it's even
better to be getting more than 30 percent of calories from fat, if it's
the healthy form of fat. ..."

Sanjeev Sharma said...

the low carbers are still out there and as I guessed years ago they're getting more militant[0].

the reactions to the critical reviews on Amazon are telling - the standard response reminds me of this

[0] shades of Hoffer's true believers, shades of all the doomsday cult survivors (who dig themselves deeper after the failed prophecy) and many other cases Carol Tavris covers[1]

Hello_I_Love_You said...

Supposedly you can't naturally try to eat that much protein. Satiety is just too overwhelming. That's why the low-carb camp is a bit divided on this whole protein thing. But I suspect you can get your protein up that high by drinking whey protein. I'm not so sure if whey protein will induce satiety the same way a piece of steak would.

Jay said...

Wuchtamsel, I'm fed up too with people ranting on the comment section about authors and can't back it up with at least one specific citation from their work. Follow Carbsane's approach and demonstrate their fallacy. You benefit no one with such an unsupported rant. Here let me try...I'm fed up with the government and the vegetarian "plant based" crowd shoving their super low fat dogma down people's throats, literally, like the school kids who refuse to eat such unappealing diet and throw untold millions of dollars of vegetables in the trash cans throughout America because the food Nazis like yourself won't allow a slice of butter or a sprinkle of salt on the veggies.

Lighthouse Keeper said...

I think that sums up his position nicely, thanks Charles.

carbsane said...

Thanks for this Larry ... now to find time to read and digest :)

carbsane said...

I deleted my former responses because they sounded abrupt. If one reads the Wiki entry in full, it is clear that rabbit starvation and protein toxicity are not one in the same. The "starvation" is specific to what that term means. The Inuit experienced "rabbit starvation" over the course of a couple of weeks. Eating more lean meat will not satisfy hunger (starvation) and will make them sick (protein toxicity).

Stefansson said "The time difference between Bellevue and the Arctic was due no doubt mainly to the existence of a little fat, here and there, in our northern caribou" ... this is not a statement made by a scientist familiar with metabolism. The time differential to protein toxicity may have been due to the amount of protein eaten in a short time span and/or the nature of that protein. In at least the first page (I don't have access to the full text as yet) of the JAMA article, the term "rabbit starvation" is not used. The inference from Leib is that the diet was 100% protein, but my paper is merely another write-up of the same experiment and it gives the caloric content and macro breakdown for those two days. Adding 150 grams of fat to 275 grams of protein did not ameliorate the protein toxicity. It seems doubtful Stefansson was getting 150 g of fat per day during "rabbit starvation" season in the arctic.

Teicholz then goes on to scare monger how low carbers might avoid fat from fear and experience this starvation. She said: "When overly lean meat is eaten, nitrogen cannot be properly processed [made up nonsense] and builds up to potentially toxic levels.[nothing to do with leanness of meat only how much] This condition is a common danger to dieters nowadays ..."

The scare mongering here based on made up biochemistry/physiology is inexcusable. First, dieters need not be so eager to cut carbs if they find themselves stranded in on a desert island with bananas and an ability to catch fish, they'll likely do just fine. The starvation part is about calories for energy. Those can come from fat, carb or any combination thereof. I should add that the prolonged carb restriction will mimic a metabolic starvation state, but with that high protein this may be mitigated some.

Interestingly from Leib we're told "Eskimos have been living on a high protein dietary as far back as records go".

carbsane said...

Actively killing people?

That's really kinda over the top. I have not read much from him on cholesterol, but in all the years I read his blog, I don't recall reading "now go out and have a steak with a stick of butter". He is also not a doctor, nor is he someone with a "functional medicine" cert, a chiro or an accupuncturist out there playing doctor. I haven't had a chance to read the article Larry posted yet, but I did notice it has a crapload of references. Knowing AC, I'm betting those are not taken out of context or misrepresented. When he starts having webinars or curing cancer with a stick of butter a day, I'll need to revisit ...

carbsane said...

Thanks Charles ... "should consider" is far from a mandate from on high, and I note options lacto and ovolacto

carbsane said...

I deleted and reposted a lengthier response ... we may have overlapped. How about this ... rabbit starvation may not even be protein overload. This is where the tales of Inuit foregoing lean meat because it would make them sick. Protein toxicity simply requires an excess of protein. Your numbers generally agree with my estimates from the paper I linked in the blog post. So Stefansson said that his "rabbit starvation" came swifter in the hospital than in the Arctic because in the Arctic he got a little fat here and there, but in the hospital he didn't? This is not what 150+ grams of fat means to me.

So it would seem we're in agreement? Most dieters are in zero danger of protein "overload" due to it being too lean. Just another outrageous statement Teicholz threw in there :/

Wuchtamsel said...

"That's really kinda over the top. I have not read much from him on cholesterol"

In this case DO IT before writing something like that!
He is "advising" post infarction patients to stop their statins, and we know very well how this will work out with regards to reinfarction incidence and mortality, don't we? The evidence for this "advice" being dangerous and statistically deadly is probably MUCH better and more clear than that for eating butter, although I have no doubt that this is not much less crazy...
Really, read his "cholesterol con"-BS and write an article about it, you are obviously out for a surprise. Even Ravenskov appears as an responsible man compared to Colpo...

Kade Storm A.K.A. Hedonist said...

Indeed. I think there's a general semantics issue over 'plant based' as a term. Some people simply mean 'plants as the base of diet', without necessarily excluding other foods. Perhaps plant-centred would be better since plant-based is so closely associated with veganism.

carbsane said...

This has been bugging me (not you, this rabbit starvation = protein toxicity thing). I took several courses where protein toxicity was discussed (on differing levels) ... never heard of the term "rabbit starvation". This is because it is *NOT* a medical term, and in biology/physiology and biochemistry we didn't learn about various dietary and survival habits of indigenous peoples.

Clinically, protein toxicity (ammonia build up) is rarely even due to excessive protein consumption -- unless one forces oneself to do so, or is so desperate for food that they are essentially forced, it is rather impossible to achieve as you get quite ill first. So the buildup of ammonia and the resulting symptoms are almost always due to a compromised liver which fails to convert ammonia to urea.

I know it may seem picky, but this injection of that term into the dieting vernacular as some sort of dire warning against high protein/low fat diets? Do we really need more nonsense in the diet industry? There may be reasons to select fattier meats over leaner ones. THIS isn't one of them.

ZM said...

Yea, I've never seem him recommend such extreme eating. As I recall, he has explicitly advised against such eating on several occasions.

billy the k said...

Here's where I think we are in agreement: Low-carb advocates writing of "rabbit starvation" often leave their readers with the following impressions:
1. lean meat is a dangerous food
2.. dietary fat is uniquely able to ameliorate the dangers of lean meat

These impressions are mistaken because (a) lean meat eaten in even larger than usual amounts will not lead to protein toxicity, and (b) the benefit of adding dietary fat to an otherwise extremely high (i.e, truly dangerous quantity) protein intake can of course be accomplished as well with a bowl of plain rice or a few bananas. The latter are admittedly somewhat scarce in the Arctic or the Great Plains, but the point is that their benefits (with regards to "rabbit starvation") reside solely in their providing the additional non-nitrogenous calories to meet energy requirements, thereby enabling the subject to decrease his lean protein intake to a level that does not exceed the human body's capacity for deamination.

It's not at all picky to point out the lack of precision in the term "rabbit starvation." As I've previously said, I too object to the use of misleading expressions in matters of science, and "rabbit starvation" is certainly one such example. Indeed, this one is doubly misleading because 1. those who succumb from prolonged "rabbit starvation" do not suffer deaths due to starvation (but rather to ammonia poisoning), and 2. you can last longer under actual starvation than under "rabbit starvation" [starving Irish prisoners in the 1980's lasted 45 to 61 days--up to a couple of months--whereas death can follow "rabbit starvation" in a matter of weeks]. Because going without any food whatsoever won't kill you as fast as will positively poisoning yourself.

Here's where we disagree: For a couple of days in 1928, despite a hefty fat intake, Stefansson did eat a protein intake that exceeded his body's toxicity limit and he consequently began to suffer the symptoms of ammonia poisoning. So I can't regard Teicholz as having made the "biggest whopper" by noting this on page 309 with the use of that commonly used [but misleading] term "rabbit starvation."

carbsane said...

WOW amazing comment. Going to take me a while to digest it all! Thank you for contributing here.

carbsane said...

I don't consider her "whopper" to be the use of the term so much as what came after it:

Stefansson dubbed the problem “rabbit-starvation” and suffered from the condition himself when he went through a period of eating lean meat but not enough fat during his yearlong meat-only experiment in 1928 (Stefansson 1956, 31)

First, and this is nit picky I'll admit, "a period" during a year long experiment implies more than 2 days at the beginning. But she described that as eating lean meat but not enough fat, which "brought home" the entire footnote when I read it.

THanks for clarifying our agreement and disagreement. I understand how you might feel that part isn't as much of a whopper as I do.

ZM said...

Exactly what is so amazing about this comment? It's a cherry-picked copy and paste job of rubbish he has been posting on various blogs he disagrees with for many years now.

billy the k said...

The "...not enough fat" [in bold print above] I took to mean: not enough fat to enable a corresponding reduction in the lean protein intake to yield the same total calories. I see that it can be read to imply that had Stefansson only taken in even more fat (on top of his >230g/day lean protein intake) he'd have been A-OK. Which we agree would be a mistaken implication.

ZM said...

Why did my comment disappear?

Sanjeev Sharma said...

I strongly suspect astroturfing- see Evelyn's comment here:

I expect my comment to be drowned out soon too.

Sanjeev Sharma said...

> Ninary Taueicholz

Is that her real non-stage name?

Where did you get it - I'd like to put it in comments

charles grashow said...

In “The Story of the Human Body,” Daniel E. Lieberman, chairman of the Harvard Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, discusses the impact of natural selection and the dynamics of evolution over all those millennia on the bodies we inhabit. His argument is that many of the health problems we battle have arisen out of a kind of evolutionary mismatch, with our bodies shaped by selective pressures that no longer govern whether we live or die — or reproduce. “Like it or not, we are slightly fat, furless, bipedal primates who crave sugar, salt, fat, and starch,” he writes, “but we are still adapted to eating a diverse diet of fibrous fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, tubers, and lean meat. We enjoy rest and relaxation, but our bodies are still those of endurance athletes evolved to walk many miles a day, often run, as well as dig, climb, and carry.” We evolved to run barefoot, he argues; we evolved to squat, not to sit in chairs.

carbsane said...

I'm inserting part of Gary Taubes name in there :-) Nin-ary T-au-eicholz.

charles grashow said...

How come Nina missed this from the "Godfather" of the paleo diet Loen Cordain?

"it is erroneous to conclude that these animal food-based diets would have been high in saturated fatty acids (SFAs). Furthermore, little or no objective data support the assertions that dietary SFA is nonatherogenic under eucaloric conditions or that SFA represents an effective satiating macronutrient.

We do not recommend consuming a high-SFA diet because SFA down-regulates the low-density lipoprotein receptor, thereby elevating total plasma cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations even in normal-weight individuals. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that elevated plasma cholesterol concentrations increase the risk for coronary heart disease. A necessary caveat to this statement is that dietary SFAs elicit this effect only under chronic hypercaloric or eucaloric conditions. Recent clinical trials of high-SFA diets such as the Atkins diet have proved them to be effective in improving the blood lipid profile on a short-term basis (<1 year); however, these beneficial blood lipid changes occurred only under hypocaloric conditions.

A final point is warranted. Ancestral hunter-gatherer diets would always have contained less carbohydrate and more protein in comparison to contemporary Western diets. This macronutrient composition (elevated protein at the expense of carbohydrate) was recently shown to be effective in both promoting and maintaining weight loss because of the greater satiety and thermic effect of protein compared to either carbohydrate or fat. Consequently, it is elevated protein that promotes satiety, not elevated SFA."

carbsane said...

It went to spam for some reason ... I don't get alerts for new Spam on Disqus dashboard so it's hit or miss when I remember to check there.

ZM said...

I see, thanks.

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Emmie said...

This is a CONSTANT hobby horse among low carbers these days--mainly from the Nina/Gary/Jimmy worshippers. They are obsessed with 'too much protein,' even though the average person barely eats his/her protein minimum daily.

And they are further obsessed with the notion that unless someone low carbing eats HIGH FAT, the individual will become ill, not lose weight, die or something.

So in limiting protein and adding enormous quantities of fat, they are not only failing to lose weight (the new 'excuse' is that weight isn't important, it's health), I'm sure they're destroying their health in the process by eating too little protein and quantities of nutritionally empty fat.

Emmie said...

When Ornish first published his popular books (80s?), I was obese and although I'm very carb sensitive, I tried his plan of low fat eating. I quickly lost 40 lbs, but then I began to gain slowly. I talked to my primary doctor (who was really good), and he told me that because of my carb issues, I'd probably been adding more rice and pasta to my meals than I realized, and it was the calories that were the issue. I began to check myself, and, of course, he was correct.

Any 'obesity' from the Ornish-type diet is simply due to increased calorie consumption. in my experience.

kylemeister said...

The matter addressed by the 2/27/15
update reminds me of T. Colin Campbell's book of a decade ago, which noted that
Americans had "outpaced our gorging on fat by gorging on sugary junk food" and
characterized the claims of reduced fat intake as either "severe ignorance or opportunistic deceit."

But I guess Nina "America is near-vegetarian"
Teicholz may have taken it to a new level.

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