las

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

Nina Teicholz "Corrects" The Big Fat Surprise ~ Digs Hole Deeper

TO SUM IT UP WITH AN IMAGE



UPDATE!!!  I've found a genuine, real-life, actual error in Teicholz's book.  She spelled the author's name incorrectly in her notes.



BACKGROUND


Since the publication of The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, there has been a media deluge surrounding the book and various articles referencing it.  For this reason, I and others, have taken it upon ourselves to check some of the references for accuracy.  This was not met with great enthusiasm by the author, perhaps coming as no big surprise to me.  Last week, Nina Teicholz was at her pot-stirring best once again.  This time it was in the New York Times in the form of an editorial blasting the report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.  Marion Nestle of Food Politics blog, weighed in.  In her article she linked to Seth Yoder's reviews of BFS, to which Teicholz did not take kindly.  In the ensuing comments, I did manage to have brief exchanges with Teicholz before again being cut off with "this is my last response to you" nonsense.  In responding to Nestle, Seth and myself, Teicholz has grabbed a big-old shovel and continued to dig her hole ...




Here is the relevant exchange pertaining to me:

It was shortly after this that I was "honored" with my second and final response regarding the LA Veterans study.  That and other things ... another day perhaps.

However the response reminded me Twitter interaction last May, it had been about the Native Americans of the Southwest.  So I include that here as well for context.


I am not sure why Teicholz thought she could get away with the sloppy and obfuscatory referencing job that she did, but this tweet was already indicative of Teicholz's persona, shall we say.



THE "MISTAKE"


In Chapter 1, The Fat Paradox, Teicholz goes into some detail about Stefansson and the Inuit, followed up with Mann and the Masai.  Again, there are issues with both, but they are not the topic for today.  Having become way more familiar with the dietary habits of the Pima than anyone really needs to be, but also familiar with the diets of various other tribes across North America, I knew right away that this was not true:
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.

Teicholz's manner of referencing here is important.  As with Taubes, and apparently a few others who write about science, Teicholz prefers to keep her text relatively devoid of direct citations, and lists copious un-numbered "notes" with brief quotations at the end of the book.   In this instance, however, Teicholz works her specific reference right into the text.  Anyone reading this would presume that if they went to Hrdlička's book (free to read Medical Heritage Library, Google books), they would find at least a few references to this buffalo eating in a 460-page report!

Only they would not.  So that was what my initial Tweet-inquiry was about.  Once I found my way to the Notes section, it became clear why Teicholz was so put-off by my question and off-putting in response.  She had been caught.  This was no mere awkwardly phrased paragraph, or oversight.  No.  In the notes you had interspersed:
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). 
direct link
“no error could account for”: Hrdlička, Physiological and Medical Observations, 40– 41.
There is no indication in the text to indicate there is a second source here.  For those who are not aware of Little Bighorn or the Lakota, this is up above the buffalo killing guy on the orange, while the tribes visited by Hrdlička were in the yellow region.

I stumbled upon this image and decided to use it even though it doesn't contain all of the specific tribe names, because of the image choices.  Take note!

The biggest problem with the Lakota reference, however, is that it even exists at all.  This was not a mistake.  I'm going to coin a new acronym, it's been a while! (grin).  What Teicholz did with Hrdlička and the buffalo is an

ITTYWOP: Incorrect Thing That You Write On Purpose  

An oversight would have involved just the Hrdlička reference.  At least there's plausible deniability there if called on it.  She could have claimed an inadvertent deletion, that she misread Hrdlička, or misattributed the recollections of the Lakota to Hrdlička due to an innocent misremembering, etc.   But the inclusion of the reference means Teicholz KNEW.  She just chose to mislead people to promote her agenda anyway.




THE CORRECTION


So off to a bookstore, where they had never heard of BFS (insert reference to existence of higher being here), I went and snapped a few quick surprisees on the phone, and I cropped the important parts for the opening comparison image in this post.  I'll write out the full text, without emphasis below.
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 elders among the Native Americans he visited would likely have been raised on a diet of predominantly meat, mainly from buffalo until losing their way of life, yet, as Hrdlička observed, they seemed to be spectacularly healthy and lived to a ripe old age.
There is still no indication of a second source, and one is left to believe that this notion about the elders comes from Hrdlička himself.  So next, let's look at the quote with just the altered passage highlighted (blue), and once more with the original "offense" and "fix"

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 elders among the Native Americans he visited would likely have been raised on a diet of predominantly meat, mainly from buffalo until losing their way of life, yet, as Hrdlička observed, they seemed to be spectacularly healthy and lived to a ripe old age.
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 elders among the Native Americans he visited  were eating would likely have been raised on a diet of predominantly meat, mainly from buffalo until losing their way of life, yet, as Hrdlička observed, they seemed to be spectacularly healthy and lived to a ripe old age.

She essentially changed the meaning of the paragraph by surmising that the elders had some residual health benefits from their former diet.   Leaving aside the likelihood of this for a moment, this STILL misrepresents Hrdlička's book, which was more of an accounting of the (then) present day customs and diet.  

But then I flip to the Notes, and we have:
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). 
would likely have been raised: W.W. Newcombe (sic), Jr., The Indians of Texas:  From Prehistoric to Modern Times (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961):  92, 98, 100, 134, 160, 163, 197 and 323. 
“no error could account for”: Hrdlička, Physiological and Medical Observations, 40– 41.

Phew!!  I guess she read that reference!  Eight times the buffalo eating is mentioned!!!   However, this provides further proof that Teicholz's "mistake" was not a simple mistake at all, it was intentional.  An ITTYWOP (gosh I like that acronym!).  That is what this example of journalistic indiscretion is on Teicholz's part.    Teicholz did NOT:
  • correct the record to reflect statements/observations actually made by Hrdlička in his book
  • correct the wording to reflect a second source (Marshall) for the buffalo eating quote
  • omit the reference to non-relevant non-meat eating Native Americans entirely
No ... What Teicholz DID do was compound her original ITTYWOP with another one.  Perhaps she doesn't know her geography, or she thinks there's enough ambiguity in today's meaning of the Southwest (true) that nobody will notice that Texas is not where the tribes Hrdlička wrote about were located.    It matters not that the Kindle search on "buffalo" maxes out at 100 instances for the Newcomb book.  It matters not that a full one section out of five is dedicated to the nomadic tribes that hunted buffalo.  No, what matters is that Teicholz has now diligently referenced, with multiple page numbers no less, yet another source that does NOT say anything about the tribes Hrdlička wrote of in his 460 page book.  Closer in geographic proximity, but no cigar.  Not even a cigarillo.  

To further complicate matters, Teicholz editorializes that the elders "would likely have" eaten buffalo regularly when they were raised, but no longer do now.  Technically, she doesn't say that you'll find this in Hrdlička ... clever ... doesn't change the fact that the paragraph still reads as if the whole thing is to be found in Hrdlička.

Without even perusing the detail of the Appendix in Hrdlička, one readily realizes that this section in BFS was, and remains, grossly erroneous.  Now we know it is deliberately so.  I include the screenshots (cobbled together) of the main text section on Food.  This will give anyone who wants, an opportunity to click on the image, resize in their browser, and read what is actually said.

Further to buffalo, as previously mentioned, there are no mentions of the consumption of this animal.  This should come as no surprise, as these are not a desert animal.  But I'll summarize the Food section in which foods are listed in terms of importance, not quantity.  This is an important distinction, because we hear a lot about fat and meat being prized and desired, but also hear a lot about it being scarce.  I'm not surprised, it's not like humans have ever prized the rare thing, right?  As food goes, importance is given primarily to corn/maize and then to wheat.  After that, meat and fat and beans.  But:
... Meat is scarce.   
... Beans of many varieties are a more important article of diet, especially to the Mexican Indians, than meat. They are much easier to procure and combine large nutritive value with palatability. They are generally cooked with a little fat into a sort of stew; this is eaten with the tortilla, which serves as a spoon.
OK ... but what of Teicholz's suggestion that the elders remaining in Hrdlička's day were raised on primarily buffalo meat?    What did Hrdlička himself have to say about any changes in the diets of the tribes he visited?    Again, I do not understand what is wrong with Teicholz.  Does she not possess rudimentary search skills or have actual access to various materials?  Even many of the scanned older journo articles have been digitized.  Hrdlička IS digitized.    There is NO mention of buffalo.  As to changing food availability, the main items mentioned are clams, fish and deer.   Other animals, such as beef (cows), mules and even the fat field mouse are mentioned.   But no buffalo.  I think it is fair to say that it is HIGHLY unlikely -- one might say impossible! -- that the "not demented" elders Hrdlička encountered simply forgot to mention the glory days of buffalo for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This culture was no paradox.



WHY THIS IS MORE THAN JUST 

A ONE-PARAGRAPH MISTAKE



Chapter 1 of BFS begins with the tale of Vilhjalmur Steffanson, the Inuit and his year-long experiment in meat eating that began with a short stay at Bellevue.  As soon as I read that the Inuit diet was 70-80% fat, I knew what the audience was in for with this book.   Next up, the milk drinking, meat eating Masai who thought plant matter was basically not fit for human consumption, and the works of George Mann.  Mann's entire body of work with the Masai is quite fascinating, too bad Teicholz follows in the footsteps of others, hitting only the convenient highlights while ignoring the rest.  You see, as paradoxes go, it is almost always "the rest" where the seeming inconsistency gets explained ... usually no paradox after all.

But the two cultures had served Teicholz's purpose, and she gathers steam with this:
Indeed, Steffanson and Mann represent but two of the many “paradoxical” stories that we could tell. As it turns out, many healthy human populations have survived mainly on animal foods historically and into the present day. It’s easy to find examples.  {KL 294/12033}
On Nestle's blog, Nina Teicholz bashes Seth, and then comments that back in July 2014 she went through his critiques and found she had made mistakes.  Presumably her statements about the mistakes Seth found extend to the one of mine that she saw fit to "correct".


The "assertion" of Chapter 1 is that it is easy to find healthy cultures consuming high meat and high fat diets.  Look!  Here they are!  Unfortunately she didn't follow the claim that such cultures are "easy to find" and include "the present day" with a list of readily identifiable populations.  Instead Teicholz brings (her dates):
  • McCarrison and the Hunza (throws in the Sikhs) -- early 1900's
  • Hrdlička and the Native Americans of the South West  -- circa 1900
  • General observations on the "negroes of Southern Central Africa" -- 1923
Why doesn't Teicholz mention one -- not a single one! -- culture close to "present day" with some verifiable health statistics?  It clearly wasn't so easy after all, or Teicholz wouldn't find herself in the pickle she's in.    She used Hrdlička and the Native Americans of the Southwest, but her source puts the buffalo eaters in the northern plains (and now the southern plains).  Which begs the question ...

Why didn't Teicholz use the various plains tribes instead?


This is really the crux of the issue.  Her ITTYWOP is more than a mere misplaced citation.  The proper correction would have been to either revise the section on the Hrdlička reference to reflect what he saw and wrote about meat consumption, or, preferably, to re-attribute the buffalo eating to the Native American tribes who did engage in the practice.   In "correcting" her "mistake", Teicholz did no such thing.  She couldn't correct the record on Hrdlička because then those healthy Native Americans would serve as examples of the healthfulness of a whole-foods, low fat, near-vegetarian, plant based diet.

One can never know what anyone else is thinking, but it seems pretty clear that the Hrdlička book was crucial to "meat/fat is healthy" assertions.  If she wanted to mention buffalo-eating tribes, there certainly were examples, and she could have used them alongside the Masai in the first version of the book.  But then she wouldn't have been able to use Hrdlička's observations regarding the health of the Native Americans HE visited.
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.”
Hrdlička was further struck by the complete absence of chronic disease among the entire Indian population he saw. “Malignant diseases,” he wrote, “if they exist at all— that they do would be difficult to doubt— must be extremely rare.” He was told of “tumors” and saw several cases of the fibroid variety, but never came across a clear case of any other kind of tumor, nor any cancer. Hrdlička wrote that he saw only three cases of heart disease among more than two thousand Native Americans examined , and “not one pronounced instance” of atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque in the arteries). Varicose veins were rare. Nor did he observe cases of appendicitis, peritonitis, ulcer of the stomach, nor any “grave disease” of the liver.
 And without the above, she could not have written the following in summary:
Although we cannot assume that meat eating was responsible for their good health and long life, it would be logical to conclude that a dependence on meat in no way impaired good health.   
This assertion remains intact in the revised paperback.    It was not supported by her source ... neither in the original, nor the revised paperback.  Yes, it might be logical to conclude that dependence on meat doesn't impair good health if Hrdlička's book had mentioned anything even remotely resembling regular meat eating rather than the semi-vegetarians he so painstakingly documented.  So—and this is fundamentally important—this correction did not alter the INACCURACY of the assertion made in her book.

Only now she has compounded her error by leaving the implication that this is all Hrdlička's.  In actuality, to paraphrase Teicholz's conclusions, something like the following would be more appropriate.
Although we cannot assume that their high carbohydrate, low fat, low protein diet was responsible for their good health and long life, it would be logical to conclude that consumption of grains, legumes and cactus fruits in no way impaired good health.  
But then we have no big Fat Paradox, right?   And then we have no Big Fat Surprise after all ...  

Teicholz replaced the mass media historical accounting of a famous battle with the following:  The Indians of Texas: From Prehistoric to Modern Times (Newcomb, 1961).    If Teicholz wanted to expose her readers to examples of meat eating tribes, this book is full of such references.   Did she have this reference when writing the book?  Doubtful.  If she did, why didn't she write a few paragraphs about these tribes, toss in a few more about the Lakota in the north?  Why Hrdlička? 

The proper thing to do when Teicholz "corrected" herself, would have been to simply omit Hrdlička.  His book goes nowhere in supporting her Fat Paradox.  Instead she adds insult to injury and puts her own words in Hrdlička's mouth.  This is unacceptable.    But the change of reference is tacit acknowledgement that not only did Hrdlička's book not contain references to a predominantly buffalo diet, but the Lakota were utterly inappropriate to sprinkle in as a reference.  


None of this squares with her "crash deadline" excuse, other than to imagine a few late night bacon fests trying to figure out how to save the Hrdlička reference so as to even have a point about health to begin with!   None of this was innocent.  It had to be intentional, and the change in reference confirms that the objective is and was all along to deceive the reader into believing these were Hrdlička's findings.  


The assertions in Teicholz's book are, all too often, fundamentally unfounded, and unsupported by the references she puts forth.  This particular "correction" doesn't alter anything about her assertions -- they remain unsupported by her evidence -- but it should alter any perception that The Big Fat Surprise is in any way a serious look at nutritional science.  

Nina Teicholz insists -- and this is fundamentally important!:
... none of these corrections altered ANY of the assertions in my book.
For once, the truth.  At least in this case, it is true that Teicholz didn't let her mistake/correction alter her assertions.  To do so would be to demonstrate open-mindedness and integrity in the face of inconvenient facts.  But because the assertion was never supported by her inaccurate information in the first place, it comes as no big fat surprise that her "correction" changed nothing.



{If I get a chance, I have some interesting things to say about the Newcomb Pbook, but life is busy and trying to focus just a wee bit ...}

17 comments:

charles grashow said...

If she changed her mind about the central thesis of the book she would have had to return her advance. Follow the money as they say.

Nutrivorous said...

The whole argument that indigenous peoples would have never ever eaten plant based food is ridiculous on its face. Plants are just sitting there. Animals you have to catch. Suppose you're a hungry hunter/gatherer and you're staring at a 10-pound squash, or a tree full of fruit, or meadow filled with berry bushes. Do you eat those, or do you say 'you know what, I'm going to chase down a buffalo'?

Even today, in steakhouses across America, the bulk of your meal, by weight, is most likely going to be composed of plant-based foods rather than animal-based foods. The animal-based foods might be the majority of calories, but the plant-based foods are going to take up the majority of your plate.

carbsane said...

Teicholz got the book deal almost a decade ago (longer?) Her thing was transfats. There's a money trail there somewhere.

MacSmiley said...

This is just amazing. Did she think no one would notice? 👀

Or…

Did she think those that noticed would just 🙈🙉🙊⁉️

Nice to know there was an undocumented Blue Zone right there in the Southwest!!

Let's see…do I have…?

Corn ☑️
Legumes☑️
Squash (pumpkin(☑️
Scarce meat ☑️

😉

charles grashow said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/16/opinion/16teicholz.html?_r=0
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Nuggets of Death
By NINA TEICHOLZ
Published: April 16, 2006

Nina Teicholz is writing a book about fats.

Karin said...

What I find really frightening about this whole thing is that Nina, who is obviously a terrible researcher, keeps getting featured in major publications. Now the New York Times, and last year The Economist published a review of her book. The Economist hardly ever features nutrition related books, and I found the fact that they chose hers extremely frustrating - as in AARRRGGG!!! I can only come to the conclusion that she must have connections in high places, and she could probably totally make up all of her references and it wouldn't matter at all as to the success of her book, and... assertions.

carbsane said...

It is really frightening and exasperating. There's definitely some money bags behind this, but unfortunately no investigative journalist seems to have caught on.

Emmie said...

I remember when Mike Eades did a blog post/review of her book--and he was so over the top, gushing over her wonderfulness, that I was convinced this was simply a low-carb 'party line' screed of no real value. You've proved to my that my instinct was accurate.

charles grashow said...

NT sent gallery proofs to Eades for him to look over. SO - how could one expect him to give anything but a positive review AND the mistakes in her book were not caught by him!

carbsane said...

It's all one big happy circle jerk. Eades reviewed both Taubes and Teicholz's manuscripts, Teicholz reviewed Taubes, Taubes reviewed Teicholz.

StellaBarbone said...

It makes me sad when otherwise intelligent people buy into it. Aaron Carroll keeps promising a Teicholz review since he is an anti-grain guy. He's also a health care economist and a pediatrician (and pro-vaccine), but certainly not a lipidologist. As far as I'm concerned, you either review ALL of the data and make up your own mind or you listen to the experts, but taking the word of somebody essentially off the street just isn't a sensible approach. If you want to say that someone can be perfectly healthy even though they omit grain or milk or meat from their diet, then fine, I agree, but to say that the average person can't be healthy without omitting your particular hobbyhorse from their diet is frickin' ridiculous. OTOH, I'm more than willing to accept Dr. Carroll's expertise as an academic pediatrician on the subject of childhood immunizations.

A few years from now, someone will publish a big study or a massive review article that says that high intake of certain saturated fats is strongly correlated with heart disease and then everyone will through up their hands because "doctors can't make up their minds what a healthy diet should be". Meanwhile, no one will change their diet much at all.

carbsane said...

EXCELLENT comment! Thanks Stella!

MacSmiley said...

Discus is getting weird with images again.

What's going on, I suspect, is massive industry damage control in the face of economic pressures and a consensus on the health-promoting properties of a plant-centered diet, both of which are cutting into animal agriculture profits.

What doesn't make sense to me is why Mediterranean types like Malholtra and Mozeffarian (now on Twitter, is Willett next?) are hanging around with Taubes and his LCHsatF gang? The Med diet is higher in fat than Asian diets, for sure, but it's still low in saturated animal fat.

David_Brown said...

From my perspective, as one who has followed the anti-saturated fat campaign for more than 35 years and explored linoleic acid research these past five years, the saturated fat debate is silly. It's like making a big fuss over a cut finger while ignoring a severed femoral artery. The world is hemorrhaging financial resources into the maw of a healthcare system struggling to meet the demand for pain killers, organ transplants, and everything else medical that promises protection or relief from the consequences of consuming poor quality food.

So how much healthier would Americans be if they swapped saturated fats and some carbohydrates for linoleic acid. The Harvard study that supposedly justifies this advice reports, "A 5% of energy increment in LA intake replacing energy from saturated
fat intake was associated with a 9% lower risk of CHD events and a 13%
lower risk of CHD deaths.

I suppose that sounds OK if one is not aware
of what researchers learned from inadvertently lowering linoleic intake
in an earlier experiment. In a 2009 review entitled "Dietary Fat Quality
and Coronary Heart Disease Prevention: A Unified Theory Based on
Evolutionary, Historical, Global, and Modern Perspectives" scientists
commented, "The only long-term trial that reduced n-6 LA intake to
resemble a traditional Mediterranean diet (but still higher than
preindustrial LA intake) reduced CHD events and mortality by 70%.
Although this does not prove that LA intake has adverse consequences, it
clearly indicates that high LA intake is not necessary for profound CHD
risk reduction."

According to these statistics, plotting LA intake against mortality should yield a hump-shaped curve of some sort. Perhaps it's intermediate levels of LA intake that are the most damaging, especially if it turns out that, at higher LA intakes, something going on in the gut causes most of the LA to become hydrogenated before it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Not likely, however, because although this happens in the rumen of mature cattle, it doesn't seem to happen in swine.

Nina Tiecholz blames the government's dietary advice. Apologists for
government policy insist the dietary advice can't be to blame because
Americans are not following it. As Michael Jacobson says, "... we are
now faced with an obesity epidemic and
the ensuing rise in diabetes rates. But where's the evidence that diet
advice is to blame?"

It's out there but you have to go looking for it. From media coverage one wouldn't know that high levels or LA intake are problematic. But Researchers at the University of California, Riverside recently
reported, "In our previous study we found that a high fat diet
containing comparable amounts of soybean oil to what Americans are
currently consuming caused mice to become obese, diabetic and insulin
resistant and to have large lipid droplets and hepatocyte ballooning in
their livers. Others had found similar results and proposed that
linoleic acid (an omega 6 polyunsaturated fat) that makes up >55% of
the oil was responsible for the negative metabolic effects."

Is everyone on both sides of the saturated fat divide ignoring the linoleic acid research? Certainly seems like it.

Did the UCR researchers misinterpret the data? Or did scientists trying to link saturated fats to heart attack over-interpret their findings?

StellaBarbone said...

There's lots of available data about the reduction in heart disease risk from the substitution of PUFAs for SFAs; many studies, many end points. There's no question about it, even if you cite one study that showed a rather anemic result. However, I think that you are kind of right. SFA reduction isn't nearly as important a goal as eliminating tobacco use for the continued reduction of heart disease.

However, while increased PUFA use correlates with increased obesity, it does not imply causation even a tiny bit. Overfeeding PUFAs, SFAs or carbs (or, presumably, protein) will also result in weight gain with corresponding lipid changes. Calorie for calorie, they all have the same effect. Yes, you can argue that cheap industrial oils (or cheap sweeteners or readily available, cheap, highly palatable, highly engineered processed foods -- nobody swigs corn oil) lead to obesity which leads to insulin resistance which leads to CHD. If you substitute purest grass-fed butter and lard for the cheap oils, you would have the same result. There is no particular property of vegetable oils beyond cheap and ubiquitous that leads to CHD. You could just as easily argue that tobacco cessation, which leads to weight gain, also leads to CHD by the same mechanism.

I also understand that many people worry about ratios of O6 to O3s causing inflammatory effects. There is also a body of literature about that and it appears that it just is not a clinically relevant effect.

David_Brown said...

Overfeeding PUFAs, SFAs or carbs (or, presumably, protein) will also
result in weight gain with corresponding lipid changes. Calorie for
calorie, they all have the same effect.

If you're correct, how do you explain this? "... even zoo gorillas need to switch to a heart-healthy diet...After Brooks, a 21-year-old gorilla, died of heart failure at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2005, Less and other researchers here took a hard look at how the animals' lifestyle affects their health. Less now leads an effort to counter the killer disease by returning the primates to a diet more akin to what they'd eat in the wild. Gone is the bucketful of vitamin-rich, high-sugar and high-starch foods that zoos used for decades to ensure gorillas received enough nutrients...Although they take in twice as many calories on the new diet, after a year, the big boys of the primate house have dropped nearly 65 pounds each and weigh in the range of their wild relatives. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217091130.htm

Elena Less, the Cleveland Zoo researcher, furnished the name of the company that manufactures primate chow. The ingredients list on the company website lists 6.5 percent soybean oil (stabilized) as the only fat ingredient in the gorilla chow. http://www.marionzoological.com/leaf-eater/nutrition/

Another article said, "Gorillas are vegetarians, consuming no animal products. This may be essential for health, as elevated cholesterol levels (281 to 311 mg/dL, McGuire et al., 1989) have been reported in zoo gorillas, leading to premature cardiovascular disease. http://www.zutrition.com/gorilla-nutritional-disorders/#sthash.9bW7HWPZ.dpuf

Everyone knows (or should know) that sugar elevates total and LDL cholesterol. But for decades, nutrition scientist thought leaders insisted saturated fats were the problem, totally ignoring sugar. How do I know this? From around 1980 until 2002 I collected newspaper and magazine articles (upwards of 500 altogether) about saturated fats, cholesterol, and heart disease. Not a single one mentioned sugar. In all that time I collected two articles discussing the impact of sugar on health markers.

Now for linoleic acid (LNA) in mouse research. A diet consisting of 12.5 % fat in which 8% of total calories consisted of LNA produced obesity. The same % total fat content where 1% of total caloric intake was LNA resulted in normal weight mice. The same held for fat intakes of 35% and 60%. The researchers commented, "Our findings imply that low fat diets could be made more effective in reducing adiposity if LNA were lowered to near 1 en%. Indeed, total dietary fat intake may not need to be lowered if LNA is selectively lowered."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24081493

David_Brown said...

"There's lots of available data about the reduction in heart disease risk from the substitution of PUFAs for SFAs; many studies, many end points."


Actually, there are very few studies involving substitution of PUFAS for SAFAs that have morbidity and mortality as end points. How do I know this? I collect and analyze them. Thus far I have five studies in my files. None of them demonstrates anything approaching the 70% reduction in morbidity and mortality seen in the Lyon Trial. The vast majority characterize risk in terms of LDL or total cholesterol alone. The repeated meta-analysis of endpoint studies is an indication of the level of uncertainty that persists. If the available data were solid, I would not be writing this response. Google - "linoleic acid overwhelming"

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