Know The Experts: Nora Gedgaudas, Page 151 & More

Updated slightly: 8/3/13.  Original publication date: 1/13/13.

While I have no inclination to vet every so-called expert in the community, every now and then one comes along that deserves closer scrutiny.  Scrutiny as to what their expertise really is in the areas in which they are giving so-called "expert" advice and information.  On a few occasions this past year, Nora Gedgaudas -- author of Primal Body - Primal Mind -- has weighed in on the "controversy" over so-called "safe starches".  While I've highlighted issues with her statements from time-to-time here, and Nora has been on my radar for a very long time, the fact that she seems to have such a prominent voice in paleo circles warrants this post.   I first heard of her from (who else) Jimmy Moore's podcast with her aired October 2009.

According to her website:
Nora Gedgaudas is one of the World’s leading experts on Paleolithic (Paleo) nutrition and author of the international best selling book “Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond The Paleo Diet For Total Health and a Longer Life”.

She is Board-certified in Holistic Nutrition® through the National Association of Nutritional Professionals (NANP) and is recognized by the Nutritional Therapy Association as a Certified Nutritional Therapist (CNT).
Huh?  World's leading expert ... on ANYTHING?   I'll get to her credentials later.  For now let's look into her great works as an international best selling author first, and we'll also look a bit on her website as well.

Poke about her website a bit and it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that she is totally unqualified to discuss human physiology and metabolism.  Period.  Even a cursory review of the erroneous statements she has made on some very basic concepts should bring one and all to that same conclusion.  One of the first "red flag" things I read from Nora was the following on her website:  
Long chain saturates such as 18-carbon stearic acid (the most saturated fat in the body) is THE preferred fuel for the human heart. Stearates are commonly synthesized from glucose in the diet and are the primary storage form of saturated fat everyone wishes they had less of.
I interrupt this quote with minor quibbles.  First, by the most saturated fat I think she is referring to chain length and not degree of saturation.  All saturated fats are equally saturated.  They contain no multiple bonds.  But stearate/steric is the 18 carbon sat fat denoted 18:0.  One can see from here and here that this is not the primary storage form of saturated fats is 16:0 palmitate/palmitic acid representing 5-6X the amount of stearic.   Stearic is generally under 4% of the fatty acids, while palmitic is around 20% of the stored fatty acids.  Continuing on ...
If you don’t like it, eat less carbohydrate (the Textbook of Medical Physiology states “All body fat is made from glucose.”). All body fat can be potentially burned for fuel, assuming one has a well-adapted fat burning metabolism, low insulin levels and expends enough energy to do so.
The title of that book jumped off the page.  It is a highly regarded text used in medical programs, and it was the textbook for my advanced Anatomy & Physiology lab at RPI.  I recently unearthed my copy, the Sixth Edition authored by Guyton.  This text has undergone some revisions, subsequently adding Hall as an author (not that young biophysicist).  Gedgaudas lists the 1996 Ninth Edition in her "Miscellaneous Dietary Topics" section of references on p. 365 of 2009 PBPM.  The most recent version I own is an ebook of the Twelfth Edition.  

I was astonished to see such a glaringly erroneous statement attributed to this authoritative text.  So I emailed Nora to see if she'd made a mistake or could provide a more detailed citation in terms of edition and page number.  She emailed me back that she didn't have her copy handy but {paraphrasing her} "I didn't make it up!"    Well, that's the only way something like that makes it into print.  It is indisputable that the vast majority of fatty acids stored as body fat -- especially in humans -- come from dietary fatty acids, not glucose.  

Elsewhere on her website, she makes the same statement in an even more erroneous discussion of metabolic use of fats and glucose for fuel  (item 4):
Your body tries to take sugar from a meal out of the bloodstream as quickly as possible. The first order of business is to send glucose to your cells for immediate energy. If those cells are insulin resistant, then the sugar has to go somewhere (and energy cannot get into the cell). Your body sends some glucose to storage in the liver and muscle as glycogen. The rest of the glucose (i.e., most of it) goes to the liver to get converted into triglycerides so it can get sent to storage as body fat. Unless you have a very high rate of metabolism (not necessarily a good thing) you are likely to gain unwanted weight. This conversion to fat from sugar is a labor intensive process metabolically and takes a LOT of energy to accomplish. –It takes even more if a lot of fat was eaten at the same meal as the carbohydrates. Since burning the carbs off is priority #1 (and because it is impossible to burn fat AND sugar at the same time), whatever dietary fat is there also must be first converted to sugar before it can be re-converted to triglycerides and finally stored as body fat (“All body fat is made from glucose”—Basic medical Biochemistry).  This is a very energy INefficient process and takes an enormous amount of energy to do.
There is really so much wrong with the above paragraph, one does not even know where to begin.  Suffice it to say that this version of human metabolism will not be found in any reputable academic work.  Period.   The whole excess carbs converted to fat can be somewhat excused as an exaggeration of a real metabolic pathway (de novo lipogenesis), but the red highlighted passage above is made up or perhaps gleaned from the  pop-science "literature".

PAGE 151

The Trifecta Summary + Bonus:
  • Grossly erroneous biochemistry attributed to big authoritative text, mis-cited
  • Leptin science "lifted" from pop-sci mass media diet books
  • Peer review research misrepresented.  "Prehistoric" diet not VLC

And now back to our regularly scheduled discussion ....

Interestingly, this altered citation -- Basic Medical Biochemistry instead of The Textbook of Medical Physiology , from Nora's blog -- is made on page 151 of PBPM (2009).  Here she states:
Ultimately, all body fat is made from glucose (Basic Medical Biochemistry).
With regard to Nora's book, either you are going to write a work of opinion, or based on experiential knowledge, or you are going to write a science-backed work that is thoroughly referenced. This does not mean the latter cannot include opinion or experiential knowledge, but that the lines should be clearly drawn as to which statements are supported by which references, and which are the statements made solely by the author.

It is not difficult to properly reference and distinguish one's own statements.  It may be slightly time consuming, but that's no excuse.  If one reads something on page 255 of Text 1, Author 1, and several studies confirm a similar statement, this could be referenced as follows:
In Text 1, Author 1 first identified confusiun is the hormone that causes blinkered belief in dogma (1)  This was studied by several research groups, and multiple studies have confirmed a strong correlation between heightened belief in dogma with high levels of confusiun in the blood. (2-5).  Therefore, this author believes the evidence is compelling to suggest confusiun levels are a good biomarker for susceptibility to dogma-based arguments in the population.  Reducing confusiun levels is a potential therapy to avoid this adverse state of mind.
  1. Text 1, Author 1, JonQPublishers, 1935 , p 125.
  2. Jones,  Confusiun associated with belief in dogma.  J. Dogma Res.  12:1322-1325.  1965.
  3. Smith,  Review on the role of confusiun in dogma acceptance.  J. Pop Psy.  130:12-22.  1989.
  4. Taubes, GT.  Confusiun made me do it.  Science Magazine.  999:999.  2012.
  5. Bailor, J.  Meta-analysis on using confusiun supplements for fun and profit.  Private Communication.
This paragraph and referencing structure makes it unambiguous which statements go with which references. In fairly short order, one could go to each to check and read further if interested. Teachers used to randomly do just that to check for accuracy and possible plagiarism.   Even my hypothetical #5 is acceptable as it allows one to draw their own inferences on the strength of that reference, based on what the others say on the topic and perhaps even one's assessment on the credibility of the authors.  It is then made clear that the remainder of the paragraph is the author's own opinion and words.

To his credit, Taubes does provide page numbers for texts, but his footnoting placement is far from transparent.  His references are fairly "checkable" even if it takes a little more work than would be required were his books referenced more clearly as above.  Bailor is less forthcoming on page numbers in texts, an unacceptable practice repeated to far greater extent by Gedgaudas.  While Bailor only presents a smattering of texts in his references, Gedgaudas presents long lists of books -- mostly mass-media diet books, not academic works -- with no page references.  Ultimately she puts both of these guys to shame with her referencing shenanigans as they are not even numbered at all.  They are not in one alphabetical list by lead author., they are not even organized by chapter in some sort of chronological order.  No.  In PBPM, there are 30 pages of references organized by general topics, then sub-organized as books, articles and technical.  At least at this level things are alphabetical, but it is darned near impossible to trace a statement made in this book to the source.  As such, although she quotes and references Ron Rosedale several times, much of her book flirts dangerously with plagiarism (especially since much of his work is experiential and opinion).  I'm frankly surprised he hasn't made an issue of this ...

But here's a classic case where Nora's bad referencing obscures crucial errors.  On p. 151 -- same page as the presumable Guyton quotation -- she writes:
A fairly recent twelve-week study in Sweden compared the effects of a prehistoric (very low-carb) diet with what was termed a "Mediterranean diet" comprised of whole grain cereals, low-fat dairy product, fruit, vegetables and unsaturated fats.  After twelve weeks, participants' blood sugar peaks dropped 26% with the prehistoric diet, and only 7% with the Mediterranean diet.  (True Mediterranean diets actually look nothing like this.)
When I read this, I knew immediately she was talking about this study: A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease, so I knew at least to look for the lead author Lindeberg.  I could be wrong, but I don't see this particular study in the references, though Lindeberg is cited, yet there can be no doubt this is the study she's referring to.  Why not reference this directly?   This is the oddest part of her referencing ... at random she provides inline references in the text -- from names only to a full reference -- why not consistently just reference them all??  In any case, for Paleo v. Med:   calories:  1344 v. 1755, protein:  90 v. 89 g,  fat:  42 v. 50 g (sat fat: 11.5 v. 16.8 g), and carbs: 134 vs. 231 g.  Since the caloric intake was substantially different, the percents are also relevant:

Protein/Fat/Carb      Paleo:  27/28/40 (alcohol 4%)     Mediterranean:  21/25/52 (alcohol 2%).  

BOTH of the diets studied were "low fat" diets, the Paleo diet was even lower fat than the Mediterranean diet in terms of absolute intake.   But more importantly, Gedgaudas misrepresented this study.  The "prehistoric" diet was lower carb, but at 134g carb and 40% of energy, it's hardly a low carb diet by many standards, certainly not very low carb.  Gedgaudas' focus throughout the book is on how our Ice Age ancestors led to our evolved physiologies to be fat burners.  Glucose is BAAAAAAAD.   This study in no way bears this out.

Before moving on from the references cited in the book to which Nora owes her status as "expert", I have to reiterate how many of her references are mass-media, pop culture diet & fitness books.  Let's hang out on page 151 a while longer here -- because she brings up leptin and insulin.  PBPM is heavily referenced with respect to leptin to the sorts of books I'm talking about.  The book, interviews and internet articles of one Ron Rosedale (L.Ron baybee!), along with Byron Richards' book thrown in for good measure, make up the endocrine section of this book and populate other reference sections.  It is disturbing how many times Mercola himself, or interviews with him are cited.  Given as she does cite some peer review literature in other areas, one has to wonder why not one -- just one, but preferably more -- from, say,  the "founder" of leptin, Dr. Jeffrey Friedman and other researchers?   Here's one that might be appropriate:  The Function of Leptin in Nutrition, Weight, and Physiology.   Rosedale's version of the leptin-insulin relationship, parroted in PBPM by Gedgaudas, is not found in any of Friedman's works, or any scholarly work that I've seen, especially through the mechanism of dietary carbohydrate spikes and surges these two subscribe to.  Why not at least a textbook here?

The Bonus:  In the original post I forgot to add this statement.  Yes, a fourth one on the same single page 151:
(a) The hormone glucagon is required for the mobilization of fat stores and allows them to be burned for energy.  (b) Glucagon does not operate in the presence of insulin.  (c) If one consumes enough carbohydrate to stimulate insulin secretion, glucagon cannot function, and body fat cannot be burned.
Addressed statement by statement:
(a)  The action of glucagon on adipocytes was controversial at the time of publication of PMPB.  Currently the evidence points to either no or a minor direct role for this hormone on adipocytes, but regardless the statement of "requirement" ranges from gross exaggeration to outright false.
(b)   If this were true then it makes no sense that protein stimulates secretion of both of these hormones.  It does this because in the absence of carbohydrate, insulin secreted to facilitate amino acid transport into cells may also stimulate glucose clearance and cause hypoglycemia.  Therefore glucagon stimulates glucose production in the liver.
(c)  Leaving aside the notion that glucagon cannot function, but in (a) Nora states a role for lipolysis of fat for glucagon.  Burning of body fat is oxidation, not lipolysis.

What of Gedgaudas' Credentials?   

She is:  Board-certified in Holistic Nutrition® through the National Association of Nutritional Professionals (NANP)
The NANP offers certificate programs at several colleges.  Don't be fooled.  You will not receive a degree (Associates, Bachelors, etc.) from that school, and the institution.  According to this PDF, the outlined requirements seem substantial, but this is mostly a listing of academic study/assessments the institution must submit for a person to sit for their "Board Exam".  If Nora Gedgaudas has completed substantial *for credit* classes at any of the institutions, one wonders why she does not sport an official degree.  Chances are these classes are specifically designed for this program and are not acceptable for credit (e.g. can be used as an elective for a degree program).  The college can exempt these classes from consideration for their various accreditations.  Happens all the time, quite often for specific continuation education programs for large employers.   I cannot imagine the Board Exam is very rigorous given Nora's misunderstanding of metabolic basics.
Bottom line, any group can conjur up a program and certification requirements and sound all official-like.  But it doesn't make it so.  Put otherwise, "board-certified" means only so much as the Board that is doing the certifying.   
How about:  Recognized by the Nutritional Therapy Association as a Certified Nutritional Therapist (CNT).
NTT Programs:   You must first and foremost pledge your  "allegiance to the teachings of such pioneering greats as Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr. two of the greatest scientific minds ever to research nutrition, food and its’ effects on modern society. Their work is the basis for NTA’s core belief in properly prepared, nutrient dense whole foods."
We can be assured that Nora Gedgaudas participated in "in a rigorous course curriculum that includes anatomy and physiology, basic chemistry concepts, and the science of food and its’ nutritional components."  This must be where she got her keen understanding of human metabolism.
Look folks, I'm not bashing these programs or any who complete them.  I know nothing about them, though I'm not impressed.  EDIT:  On second thought, these programs rightly deserve bashing as they are NOT science based curricula.  Any relationship to a serious degree in nutrition, biochemistry or physiology is an illusion, and these programs seem nothing more than indoctrination into the fad diet beliefs of program developers. /EDIT   Seems to be a money-making scheme to me.  Pay fees to put letters after your name that qualify you to do nothing else.  You can't transfer the fruits of your labors to an accredited institution of higher learning should you decide to pursue further education.  Red flag to me, and I would suggest (just friendly advice) if you are into forging a career in alternative practice, get the "mainstream" degree, and then "specialize".  So, I am, however, pointing out the difference between these programs and those that are offered for the purpose of earning a degree from an accredited school.  Colleges and Universities routinely go through assessments to maintain some degree of academic integrity as to the content and skills that, say, a future employer or client or whatever would expect for one presenting "letters".  Either Nora Gedgaudas shames these organizations by sharing her self-appointed expertise of made up sheet, or she learned it from these programs.  I welcome input from any and all who have attended similar programs or are similarly certified to share their experiences in comments here.

But at least Nora can tell an emotionally stable keto-adapted voice in the wilderness of carb-addicted maniacs ranting about teh internet.  I dare not link to where this gem is located lest my rabid followers try to hunt down the keto goddess of serenity.  ;-)  Eh, just this once.  Be nice and don't "troll" a private diary blog, kay?    {EDIT:  Ms. Wooo has represented this linking as my urging readings to troll and harass her.  No.  I only link to this as an example of Nora's judgment regarding rational voices in this community.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Read and judge for yourselves. }


LeonRover said…
Certified Nutritional Therapist or CNT.

There are many Uncertified Nutritional Therapists around as well.

And when a 3rd party Certifies that the Nutritional Therapist is Uncertified . . . ?

yulotid said…
I read her book too. I agree - it doesn't smell right. Pefect Health Diet is a much better book on the topic.
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Diana said…
The Paleolithic Diet looks increasingly suspicious as we learn more about what actual Paleolithic people ate, from real scientists.

They ate grains! Starches! Cereals! Paleo wheat bellies!
Anonymous said…
I noticed the 'lean meat' part of the Lindeberg study. Gahhhh! It drives me crazy that people often don't seem to be talking about the same thing, yet act as if they are. I went to Cordain's website (I didn't WANT to) to see if 'lean meat' was touted, and it was not. In the FAQs, there is a question about meat, recommending bison meat - and that you eat free-range beef if you can get it. Yeah, so?

Hiit Mama said…
I gave this way of eating a go for too long a time. I lost my period doing this. It came back when I added starches back in. It became regular when I stopped all added fats, reduced meats (not eliminated), and started eating starches and fruits freely, at relatively the same caloric intake as the low carb eating I was doing. This paper that talks about this low carb high fat ice age type diet says this: "Certain metabolic adaptations were necessary to accommodate low carbohydrate intake because the brain and reproductive tissues had evolved a specific requirement for glucose as a source of fuel. " Itis clear that my ovaries and uterus need glucose.

I think it's better to have a menstrual cycle than to self inflict insulin resistance on one's self via this type of diet. But maybe that's my carb addiction talking :)
Amy said…
For a long time Sally Fallon Morell at WAPF didn't have a doctorate in nutrition. Don't think she got any smarter when she got one. Some of the low-carb bloggers may get a doctorate in nutrition as time goes on. But, does that make them anymore right? I am not a Dr. Ornish, Dr. Andrew Weil or Dr. OZ fan. But, they have excellent credentials.

And if you can tell a good story and have the right credentials you appear to make a lot more money. Most people I know in real life don't know who Gary Taubes is, but they've all heard of Dr. Ornish, Dr. Weil and Dr. Oz.

Anonymous said…
As someone who was never under the impression that you *had* to give up all starches of all kinds to eat paleo, I am genuinely baffled at people who did this. Even when I would eat zero carb for several days a week, I would still include tubers and white rice in my diet on an occasional basis, as did my spouse.

I thought the point of paleo (or primal) eating was that meat/shellfish +greens was optimizing and you could throw the rest in (tubers, dairy, rice, culturally familiar grains, fruit) as your n=1 dictated.
Ev Barney said…
My head is still spinning trying to understand all of this, but are you saying that low carb eating can cause insulin resistance?

I have raised my carb intake some, for economics and convenience. But, I'm still looking for that magic spot where I'm not hungry (though honestly, I'm told by those near and dear to me that even though I don't feel what I'd call hunger, I am a cranky bitch if I need to eat and don't)
Ev Barney said…
"NTT Programs: You must first and foremost pledge your "allegiance to the teachings of such pioneering greats as Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr. two of the greatest scientific minds ever to research nutrition, food and its’ effects on modern society. Their work is the basis for NTA’s core belief in properly prepared, nutrient dense whole foods."

That sounds like religion, not science.
Hiit Mama said…
Ack I am not an expert don't pretend to be one and merely have a BA in english. From what I understand, going very low carb causes a physiological insulin resistant state to spare glucose for the brain and for the reproductive system. My only point was that it for sure did not work for me as evidenced by my missing period. This is only to serve as a personal account and not advice or an over arching statement about what's the best way to eat for everyone.

Ev Barney said…
Ha! :) It's okay Mama - I get it. I also have a BA in English and despite the fact that my 'specialty' was technical communication (it pays better than Chaucer, you know?) I still find piles of scientific studies hard to wade though.

As for me, my reproductive system is retired, but I'd like to keep my brain. Kthanks. ;)
Unknown said…
I don't have an anything in nutrition, neither do a lot of talented people who write about nutrition. I took a few food science and nutrition classes in ag school. The people that bother me are the ones who pump up their resumes with meaningless diploma-mill certificates to bolster their perceived authority. That, to me, is unconscionable, as is writing a book about science using inappropriate and unusable references.

Also as far as I know, Fallon does not have a doctorate in nutrition.
Diana said…
It's the credential inflation, along with the mangling of primary sources, and the echo-chambering of other pop books, that is so annoying.

You can be an amateur and still come up with great info. I can think of a couple of foodie bloggers who do that, from different ends of the spectrum.
P2ZR said…
I'm seconding the amenorrhea experience on VLC. And it was NOT because it fat-burned me to an enviable degree of leanness--I was noticeably LESS lean on that diet.

The whole 'starving cells can't access stored energy' thing--yeah, that's EXACTLY how I felt on VLC. Ate so much meat and non-starchy vegetables that my stomach was always painfully distended after a meal--and I would still be ravenous. AND I lost my period to vindicate the subjective feelings of starvation.

Of course, YMMV. But for some of us, the 'LC flu' is a horror that doesn't go away, and also has some very real ramifications.
Diana said…
HIIT Mama, A lot of us were Paleo-whipped and cowed by the high octane shizzle. Do yourself a favor and read the academic paper I referenced. People have been eating carbs/starches/grains/cereals for 10s of thousands of years. Maybe longer. There's evidence that older types of human beings were herbivores.
Anonymous said…
I conceived to term multiple times on what is an lc and often vlc diet that is often considered paleo or primal. But then, I always ate more than just meat and greens, because I noticed there was in fact more to eat than that and still be pretty paleo.

In my (brief) time posting to sisson's forums, it seemed pretty obvious to me (and i said as much) that tubers and some forms of dairy were reasonable to call primal or even paleo (as in not agricultural, but horticultural/pastoral). I always tried to eat more horticulturally/pastorally and less agriculturally, as that was my understanding of paleo/primal.

Paleo was for me not about restrictions, but freedom to eat decent food that didn't make me sick. I would never have continued eating that way if it made me sick as the mainstream 'healthy' ways of eating did and I truly do not know why anyone would stick with something that isn't working.
Simon Carter said…
Hi Evelyn, so when are you going to update "Who is Carbsane" on the top of your blog? Who are you and what are your credentials? Do you think that this is a fair question?
Hiit Mama said…
@2.0 Despite my lack of menstruation and relative low carb eating, I also had 2 healthy pregnancies that reaped 2 very healthy (knock wood) baby boys.

Clearly you have better critical thinking skills than I. I was a fool and followed the Rosedale/Gedgaudas woe since they seemed to me (at the time) to make a credible arguments about insulin control/leptin manipulation. etc. Actually, it was due to years of breastfeeding and the expected amenorrhea that usually follows that delayed my questioning of the starch free/glucose free diet.

I am not alone in my hormonal issues with vlc paleo - just go to paleohacks and search on amenorrhea.

@ Diana totally, I did open your referenced article and my mind is wide(er) open regarding diet.
Diana said…
Hey Simon,

Can you point out exactly where Evelyn has messed up a citation, and where she has been wrong on her science?
Simon Carter said…
Hi Diana, you don't think that this is a fair question to ask Evelyn?
Diana said…
@HIIT Mama,

One of the proudest boasts of the Paleo crowd is that they had low birthrates. It's often pointed out that H/G women start menstruating late, breastfeed for many years, and space births widely.

I wonder - maybe they suffered from amenorrhea?
blogblog said…
Menstruation is complely ABNORMAL.

Women originally had a child about once every five years or so starting in their early teens until menopause (with about half the children dying during infancy). Each baby would have been breast fed for 3-7 years.

A paleolithic woman may have had only a few dozen periods in her entire life.
CarbSane said…
I have a BS in Biology and an MS in Materials Science. I worked as a research scientist for around a decade, the most applicable of which jobs was my work in the pharmaceutical industry. This blog is not about me, though it grew out of seeking answers for my own issues with weight and health and history following a low carb lifestyle. I don't know how you describe what this blog has grown into in a sentence or two anymore, but it is what it is. It's mostly just a hobby for me and I'd like nothing more than to be able to research the literature and share what I've found that might be of interest or importance to others. It's why I started the blog in the first place, but it sure has taken some twists and turns. Hope you find interesting things to read here to learn, and perhaps that some of my break-downs of peer review research are helpful. If not, then this isn't the blog for you ... though with the amount of mangling of science and outright fraud that goes on in this community, I don't see my "alter ego" retiring any time soon.
CarbSane said…
Yep! It's been a while since I read that and it hit me just as hard the second time. Say wha? Even "mainstream" education requires no such "allegiance" to anything!
CarbSane said…
Nora is VLC. In her world, she sees no reason to eat any starch. She is of the extreme that believes there's no such thing as eating certain foods in moderation or on rare occasions either. In her view, doing so just shortens your life and harms your body.
CarbSane said…
BTW, the "throw the rest in" is highly variable from "paleo" to "paleo". Many still shun dairy, and the grain shun is pretty universal (along with legumes).
CarbSane said…
BTW with regards to credentials, there are some excellent examples (I won't name names) of folks who have no formal ones but do an excellent job of researching the literature and making it accessible to others. There are also examples of folks with and without credentials who make a mockery of that. That list is, sadly, long and varied in the low carb and paleo communities. When I read something that conflicts with what is in any basic textbook, I think that gives me or anyone the right to question their credentials, don't you? You will not find the statement "all body fat comes from glucose" in any textbook. You just won't. Just as you won't find Stefani's version of how insulin works, or that typically 30% of glucose in a meal is converted to fat, or that you can't store body fat without dietary carb (remember that one?).

Just yesterday someone going for a masters in public health nutrition cited Mark Sisson's ridiculous carb curve and his website twice as a good source of biochemistry information in a "nerdy" biochemistry post :( Mark is a prime example of someone who uses his credentials for gravitas but routinely mangles the science.
CarbSane said…
This is why I keep harping on some definition of the paleo diet. There isn't one. Remember the Frasetto paleo diet? It wasn't even reduced carbs, if memory serves, it was just different carbs with lots of carrot juice and such. IF it is based on the foods likely to be available to humans evolving in Africa (the Eaton papers) in the paleolithic, then this does not include ANY dairy or isolated fats or coffee or chocolate. It is more difficult than just looking at studies on LC diets because of this. Even the LC studies are a mess to make sense of, and it doesn't help that if it comes out positive for LC, anything less than "SAD" counts, but if it doesn't come out positive, then the induction level carbs and below are the only diets considered "authentic".
CarbSane said…
That's a good term for it: diploma-mill certificates.

I want to make it clear that I'm not dissing various degrees and backgrounds. But it is important to understand what they involve when someone is putting forth their "letters" for credibility. There are any number of people like, ahem, Dr. Duke, who have PhD's in wholly unrelated fields from questionable institutions or that are only honorary in nature.

As others besides me have noted, there's also a different skill set for a research scientist vs. an engineer vs. a medical doctor.

I think it's deplorable that folks like Lustig are going to enshrine incorrect (easily shown) biochemistry in the mass media mind with his new book. Gedgaudas is the one claiming to be one of the World's leading experts on paleo? Based on WHAT?? That was the point of this post and I found it interesting one singlely egregious page demonstrated that all of what is wrong with the entirety of her book.
Diana said…

"Menstruation is completely ABNORMAL."


"A paleolithic woman may have had only a few dozen periods in her entire life."

Maybe because she died age 30, after being pregnant or lactating constantly since age 18?


I'm so happy blogblog put that up. Because it's without a doubt the sickest thing that the Paleo cult says, repeats and believes.

It's actually a major part of their belief system, and says a lot about them.
CarbSane said…
The evidence is pretty solid that chronic VLC establishes an insulin resistant state when protein is kept low as well. There's one study on the Inuit (who in that study consumed roughly 45/55 protein/fat as largely seal meat) who had excellent glucose tolerance, no doubt because of the protein in their diet (and likely because seal fat is NOTHING like warm land mammal meat).

Some consider this "physiological IR" to be OK. I do not. That is just my opinion based on everything I've read over the past three to four years, and at the very least, it does not appear to be an optimal metabolic state.

Since we're talking Nora, there are a lot of people who base their longevity ideas on studies with worms:

This misconception that carbs CAUSE insulin resistance is something I have a keen interest in dispelling.
Diana said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon Carter said…
Hi Evelyn, thank you for your reply. I agree that there is a great deal of nonsense posing as science on the internet. If I remember correctly didn't you once have entries in "Who is Carbsane" and "Welcome Brochure" above. Did you take them down for a reason?
I have no problem with you or anyone else questioning anything or anyone. You do good work here, period.
Diana said…
@HIIT Mama -

And there is so much more on the subject.

This kind of evidence is harder to find than animal bones, so the picture of Paleo man the meat eater became so entrenched.

Really HIIT Mama - think of how most Paleo peeps lived. They'd live near a source of water, eat the animals that came to the water source, either by directly killing them or eating the bodies. They'd eat anything they could get their hands on: frogs, insects, crawly things, yum, yum. And of course they'd eat all the plant life they could. Ever notice how lush plant life is around a water source, any water source?

Houston, I think we need a paradigm shift.

HM, I hate to pull the sexism card, which has been so abused and overused, but in this case I think it is warranted.

The obsession with meat (hunting) combined with the horror of normal female bodily functions (menstruation) and the disgust at higher birthrates following the AR, leads me to believe that the basis of the Paleo cult is hatred of women. They probably don't like people at all, but esp. women.
CarbSane said…
I think it is a fair question to ask, and I've answered above. I "lost" both the Welcome page and the bio when I went to do edits last summer. When people began personally attacking me with disgusting vulgar rants and targeting me and encouraging people to harass me by making up any sort of shit they wanted about me, they would post it because they didn't care and it didn't matter, I made a "business decision" for this blog to focus on the science and whatever, and away from my personal story. This NEVER was a weight loss blog, or a blog promoting any WOE (I still believe there is great utility to low carbing). It was started to share information I gathered in my own quest for various things and that it has turned into somewhat of a watchdog/debunking blog is a a result of the state of the integrity and scientific validity of claims made in the paleoloca community.

The point Diana was making (I think?) was that my credentials, while subject to scrutiny, only really matter if you are asserting that I'm misrepresenting anything here.

Indeed I've seen people comment about the internet how I'm wrong about this or that but somehow those people don't have the cahones to comment here to challenge me specifically where we could have a constructive dialog. Usually their argument boils down to that I haven't sufficiently reversed my obesity to the point of being able to comment on basic human physiology. Or the fact that some fugly middle aged boor wouldn't want to screw me has any bearing on my intelligence or the science I discuss here that he is clearly ill-equipped to understand. Excuse me?

Please note that in the recent two cases, Stefani and Nora, their credentials do come into question because both are claiming expertise and authority on certain subject matters, and both have written clearly erroneous accounts on those matters.

If a magic cure salesman came to town peddling vials of special oil and you caught him behind the building filling vials with canola oil, wouldn't you consider it your duty to tell the town folk? I do.
Diana said…
Sally Fallon is another of my fallen idols. First, I tried some of the recipes in NOURISHING TRADITIONS and thought they were awful. Her lacto-method of fermenting is ridiculous - traditional methods of fermenting (in my experience) involve submerging vegetables in brine, not whey.

And then there's her obsession with phytates. Turns out that phytic acid has a good side: it inhibits free radical formation and may be anti-carcinogenic. And if you aren't depending on staple grains you can get the trace minerals that are bound up by phytic acid.

She thinks canola oil is "poison" and that you should only drink (lots of) raw milk. I mean, look, raw milk does have advantages over pasteurized, but when you want to feed masses of people, you need to sterilize the milk. There were numerous cases of food borne illnesses in the past due to pathogens in milk.

She's a crank. Let her argue with the anti-dairy folks. I'll make my yogurt from pasteurized (low-fat!) milk.

Some of the stuff W.A. Price Foundation says is excellent. But mostly it's another food cult.
CarbSane said…
Hey Simon, I believe I've answered that a bit below. My intent was simply to edit and revamp but Blogger effed me and I lost the former content. I have been toying with migrating to WordPress for some time and it just never seems to be the right time and I figured I'd just update that then. I should put up a short bio and "mission statement" I suppose.

Truth be told, I'd love nothing more than to just re-don the anonymous bunny ears. The very personal vulgarity-laced attacks on me (and Melissa McEwen) have not occurred in a vacuum. They effected me in real life because they sought to interfere with my "real life", and that was just sick. Sick. I do not engage in gratuitous personal attacks, I have NEVER encouraged internet harassment despite what a certain blogger continues to insinuate (if she continues I'll repost the comments and allow my readers and hers to judge for themselves), or allowed free-for-all bashfests in my comments section. I do try to allow as unmoderated a comment section as possible and it is largely self-policing. Yes, from time to time some commenters will post things I would not post or I'd rather they not, but I do my best to keep things moving along. There are also times when it gets busy that I can't get to respond to comments I'd like to, or address those that might be a bit out of line. I'm proud of the comments section here. It's not always perfect, but I do my best and if someone who felt they were unjustly treated registered a complaint (never had one, ya gotta complain TO me, not about me!) I would take it seriously. I would also allow that person to speak for themselves as unlike the cowards (Moore, FatHead, Taubes, Eenfeldt, etc.) I do not censor in blanket fashion while allowing free for alls. Taubes' comments are a cesspool, as are Peter/Hyperlipids and Wooo's. I won't even bother with the biggest cesspool of all. Ah ... sigh ... sorry for the rant! :D

Thanks for the compliment on my work!
Diana said…
"The point Diana was making (I think?) was that my credentials, while subject to scrutiny, only really matter if you are asserting that I'm misrepresenting anything here."


@Evelyn, I'm trying to to feed the plant-life. I have a weakness for that. I didn't think the question was worth answering. But since you answered him, I would say that credentials are really not the issue here. You mentioned them, which led you to be questioned about your own.

This is a blog. I'm not your editor. But if I were editing your book, I'd put "Make this clearer" on the manuscript.

There is a certain blogger who shall be nameless who had zero credentials in nutrition. He has changed from one eating plan to another, due to emotional factors. That's his business. He comes up with some excellent items, and I have never known him to get the science wrong, or to misrepresent anything. I take what I need, and leave the rest.

Just a personal note, it is quite possible for a lightly-credentialed person to be a great scientist. How about an obscure Ph.D. candidate, working as a patent clerk....
Diana said…

Can you point out exactly where Evelyn has messed up a citation, and where she has been wrong on her science?
Hiit Mama said…
The idea that menstruation is abnormal exists in other diet cults as well. I think the raw vegan crowd considers it as a sign of toxicity or some such.

blogblog, there is no real evidence that I have ever come across that shows the benefits of amenorrhea in premeno women. On the contrary, it has been shown to be quite dangerous on many levels and is an indicator of hormonal imbalance.

@Evelyn, carbs and insulin resistance is something I have been reading up on these days. Looks like they improve it on many levels especially if consumed with their natural fiber. Also looks like BCAAs and saturated fat are terrible for insulin sensitivity. Looking forward to your take on this subject.
Simon Carter said…
Hi Diana, you make a good point about Einstein. Unfortunately my brevity can come across as harsh and unfriendly some times. Having said that I think that Evelyn represents herself as an expert and can expect to be looked at very closely.
OnePointFive said…
Another 'expert' from JM podcasts is Dr Barry Groves.
His website says
"With a doctorate in nutritional science from the American distance learning university, Trinity College & University, (NOT the Spanish diploma mill with a similar name) gained from 20 years' research experience and a 60.000-word dissertation on the Politics of the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies"

He changed his spec when a blogger suggested it came from the Spanish Diploma Mill of that name.
No doubt he has written a book on fluoridation.
As to his PHD, there are lots of Trinity colleges but the only institution with that exact name I can find in the US is now known as Bronte International University. Both Bronte International and Trinity College and University appear on a list of unaccredited institutions.
Perhaps someone knows of an accredited institute with this name.

CarbSane said…
Actually, when I think Trinity, I think "the" Trinity:

I took two classes there towards my MS Biomed Eng from the then Hartford Graduate Center (affiliated with my undergrad alma mater RPI, last time I checked called Rensselear at Hartford, never completed as I transferred to MS Mat Sci when I quit my job to complete degree full time) ... a neuroscience class and an anatomy and physio one.

OnePointFive said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
OnePointFive said…
Not the 'Trinity' to me, Evelyn .My son is a tutor at this one
which probably predates yours by a few hundred years (proud Mum here)
Partly why I get so cross with the official sounding name Trinity Coll and Uni, I also have nothing against distance learning from credible universities. I have an Open University M.Sc. and that was a lot of hard work.
CarbSane said…
Touche ;) I'm speaking as an American here of course, one likely from the NE. Groves is from US so that would be the presumed institution.

You are right to be proud!
Unknown said…
I made a C+ in the "Chemistry For Idiots" course in college so anytime somebody wants to debate some chemistry I'm game.
Dustbunny said…
@Evelyn - "The point Diana was making (I think?) was that my credentials, while subject to scrutiny, only really matter if you are asserting that I'm misrepresenting anything here." Not necessarily. Your credentials would matter to anyone who wouldn't recognize a messed up citation or erroneous comments about science if they saw one and/or didn't have the time or inclination to research every statement you make. Most people believe that if someone has impressive sounding credentials, they must be correct in what they say, although I know that's certainly not always the case. But for the average lay person who just wants diet and nutritional advice, they just like to see what credentials you have so they can feel comfortable accepting what you say at face value.
Diana said…
No problem, Simon. This is not really OT so indulge me.

I always enjoy the patent clerk example because it is such a great example of somebody coming in from left field (forgive the baseball analogy) to stun the world. But in reality Einstein did have mainstream creds: he had a good physics teaching degree from an excellent institution. (I do not know how that degree equates to a modern B.S.) He achieved his doctorate in 1904-1905 (not exactly sure) during his "miracle year." His work at the patent office involved evaluating complex technical data relating to electricity. And when he achieved his doctorate, far from spurning mainstream academia, he relished it.

He said later (paraphrasing), "God has punished me for rebelling against authority by making me one."

This is so different from people misreading the record, ignoring data that doesn't fit their crazy ideas, and fibbing.

I do not think that Evelyn represents herself as an expert, but as someone with scientific qualifications who is subjecting the claims to sharp scrutiny.

Your mileage varies. So be it.
CarbSane said…
Somewhere along the line I have backed up pretty much everything here with direct links to full text citations. I understand your last statement, which is why I have no qualms offering up my creds. Still, if we require a higher degree or something just to call foul over someone else's issues, that's helpful to nobody. I would point out that Taubes has no credentials to criticize the scientists he routinely bashes.
Dustbunny said…
No, I agree you don't need a higher degree to do what you do. But if you want people who don't know you to trust what you say, it helps to have credentials.
Anonymous said…
'...carbs and insulin resistance is something I have been reading up on these days. Looks like they improve it on many levels especially if consumed with their natural fiber. Also looks like BCAAs and saturated fat are terrible for insulin sensitivity. Looking forward to your take on this subject.'

I do, as well.
CarbSane said…
The sat fat and IR connection is relatively well documented and straight forward. I'm not aware of BCAA's , indeed my gut feeling is the opposite, that BCAAs would be insulin sensitizing. If either of you have any cites about the BCAAs you would like me to look into, I'm happy to. Link away!
CarbSane said…
Unlike many others, however, my sources are mainstream and peer reviewed and are consistent with what I say. I understand your point, but this is where I have to wonder where the scrutiny of the "experts" is. They are assumed knowledgeable in this community because they say so and since they are promoting the message of the cause, it's OK ... right?
OnePointFive said…
Evelyn, he isn't. He is an ex RAF serviceman living in Oxfordshire.
His degree was based on 'experience' and at a distance. I still don't think it's your Trinity college.
Anonymous said…

'Surprisingly, application of metabolomics technologies has revealed that branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and related metabolites are more strongly associated with insulin resistance than many common lipid species. Moreover, the BCAA-related signature is predictive of incident diabetes and intervention outcomes and uniquely responsive to therapeutic interventions. Nevertheless, in animal feeding studies, BCAA supplementation requires the background of a high-fat diet to promote insulin resistance. '

BCAAs combines with high fat, not good. Sat fat and carbohydrates, not good. (Sat fat without carbohydrates, good!)
CarbSane said…
I think we have a misunderstanding. All I'm saying is that an American hearing Trinity is likely to assume it is the one I'm referring to. It's quite well known in my area, not sure throughout the US. I thought it was Jesuit, but perhaps I was mistaken. I only took the one or two classes there for a program at another school. I'm not even sure I paid tuition there, but rather to my school and it was "traded" between the schools.

Incidentally, American University is quite well known here in the states. That is sure not the American U -- whatever it is -- that David Duke claims to be a prof at.
The paleo diet from the Mediterranean vs Paleo study is very close to Loren Cordain's first edition of The Paleo Diet, actually.

That diet is low in fat and moderate in carbs.
CarbSane said…
I'll have to find the cite, but one of the interesting things I learned (re-learned?) when I recently unearthed my one of my college biochem texts was that certain AA's require more insulin action than others to enter cells. Guess which ones? Yep, the BCAA's. They are also the most insulinogenic. Imagine that, eh? The AA's that most need insulin to get into cells stimulate its secretion most strongly, and like glucose are elevated in circulation when IR presents.

So my first thoughts (havent' looked very far) are that BCAA are probably insulin sensitizing like carbs in the right dietary milieu.
CarbSane said…
OMG Euler! I just listened to the first few minutes of Lustig's latest interview and he says BCAA's are akin to alcohol too! This man is a menace to polite biochemical society :(
CarbSane said…
I recall reading Cordain's original diet summary free on the internet years ago. My recollection is as you describe. Indeed I recall him advocating lean meat and canola oil to replicate the composition of the diet moreso than the exact food item composition. Couldn't seem to find that last time I checked. If you can find that I'd much appreciate it! Thanks for the input about paleo!
Diana said…
Excuse me but you say first that you and your spouse would go days eating zero carb, and you also claim that the Paleo crowd doesn't demonize carbs, starches especially.

This is totally inconsistent, not to mention total revisionist bullshit. It is reminiscent of LCers denying that the LC gurus don't deny the relevance of calories to weight reduction, when that's all they do.

If starches esp. were not demonized, I fail to see why Jimmy Moore devoted an entire blog post to the subject:

Don't bother quibbling that LC isn't Paleo. They've pretty much joined forces and become the same thing.
Unknown said…
We better get Alan Aragon on this one before it spirals out of control.
Hiit Mama said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hiit Mama said…
(EDITED to say that I'm little embarrassed that I brought this up since I cannot speak intelligently about this subject at all. )

The BCAA thing comes from someone I've seen talked bout here in comments - Plant Positive in his How to Become Insulin Resistant the Paleo way series, of course he has an anti meat agenda so is making a case against protein - at least excess protein. I guess I don't know what to make of it all. I **think** these are some of the links PP refers to: (I really just searches on the scientist's names he mentions in his transcript.)

Sanjeev said…
> the first few minutes of Lustig's latest interview and he says BCAA's are akin to alcohol too!

And his usual schmuckish schtick - micro-mechanistic theories trump controlled trials.

Here, BS on insulin vesicles trumps repeated randomized, blinded, controlled trials that show artificial sweeteners don't have much effect consumption - some RCT studies found more, some less.
Anonymous said…
My menstruation started resuming while breastfeeding at about 6-7mo and became regular periods about 9mo after my first. My second is currently 3mo, so it remains to be seen if the pattern holds. I tend to encourage women to be comfortable with 10-30% animal protein and to not worry about carbs while pregnant or lactating. My impression of paleo was that you could 'earn' your carbs through hard physical work. What's harder than growing and sustaining new life? Seemed obvious to me that carbs had their place. I just personally don't thrive on only or nearly only carbs, I need a goodly share of protein and fat.

I've never been on the zero carb train, that doesn't reflect any of the paleo literature. melissa has been very helpful in her blogging, confirming my n=1 suspicions.
Anonymous said…
No, I said i personally didn't demonize tubers. I always found the zero carb thing and the meat only thing silly.

blogblog said…
"Just a personal note, it is quite possible for a lightly-credentialed person to be a great scientist. How about an obscure Ph.D. candidate, working as a patent clerk...."

The Patent Clerk story is an urban legend. Einstein was already a well known physicist with a number of publications in prestigious journals long before his major breakthroughs in 1905.

Einstein title at the Swiss patent Office was an Engineer Patent Examiner. This was a highly technical graduate engineering position involving the study of complex mechanical devices.
Anonymous said…
Basically, since I came to "paleo" through primal blueprint and wholehealthsource and kurt harris, i never really got into some of the more common paleo myths in the first place.

since i was interested in 'how to eat healthfully without feeling sick', i was always open to new information about different foods. the blogs i tended to stick with through this whole food journey were melissa's, stephan's, kurt's when he was still updating, and chris masterjohn (both his own and his pieces posted to the weston price site). i am data driven and ok with including new information as it becomes available.

as i have said before, i am 'low carb' if you define that as 200g/carbs/day or fewer. if i just list out my food for a week, that's about the highest it gets and since i do eat a fair amount of meat, it's often less.

i get bristly i think because it seems to me that the new pushback is to define healthy eating as 80% carbs and if you don't eat like that, you are totes destroying your health, especially if you're a woman. sorry if i don't think the data supports that one. but i never believed it supported 80% fat, either and have never suggested anyone eat like that.

that is part of why i got on kurt harris' 2.0 bandwagon. the data showed that it wasn't about specific macronutrients for healthy eatings, but a more individualized picture, which fit with my n=1 experiences. that said, there were a few broad truths (like women needing more carbs than dudes by default and everyone needing some animal products in their diet) that consistently appeared.
Unknown said…
Sure some paleo's are embracing starch but the emphasis is still on protein and fat. Protein and fat consumption doesn't seem to have a limit but starch seems to be only given the ok in small amounts or only "post workout".
Unknown said…
And dairy is just as or even more problematic than grains. A lot more problematic in my case. But dairy is mostly embraced mainly because it's extremely tasty and high in protein/fat.
Alex said…
I spent the better part of two decades believing all sorts of new-age hippy bollocks about the idealness of diets based on whole grains and beans, despite my body telling me in no uncertain terms that it was not appropriate for my physiology, so I can thoroughly understand the paleo diet limitations on starch. My original thirty pound weight loss, nine years ago, came about because I shifted from a diet largely based on starch to a diet where the only starch was two slices of sprouted whole grain toast per day.

In all my experimenting since then, the one thing that is consistently true is that regularly eating starch in sufficient quantity increases appetite and drives me to overeat. I prefer the convenience of eating ad libitum, and I can do that while keeping my weight stable on a diet that is 50-60% fat and 10-15% protein, with carbs coming mostly from fruits and non-starchy veggies. I eat a sushi roll about once a week, and lately I've been enjoying a few tablespoons of hummus with carrot sticks as my evening snack. I eat the little bit of starchy food that I do because I enjoy it, but it would be complete idiocy to go back to eating starchy foods as dietary staples.
Diana said…

It's not an urban legend that he was a patent clerk. And did you not read what I wrote: " His work at the patent office involved evaluating complex technical data relating to electricity."

Can you cite his pre-1905 publications in prestigious journals? This is interesting to me.

David Bodaniss states, "He managed to get a few physics articles published, but they weren't especially impressive."

The linked article states, about his status as a patent clerk:

"The year before, in 1904, he had applied for a promotion from patent clerk third class to patent clerk second class. His supervisor, Dr. Friedrich Haller, had rejected him, writing in an assessment that although Einstein had "displayed some quite good achievements," he would still have to wait "until he has become fully familiar with mechanical engineering."

Read the whole thing.
Drew said…
Diana, I agree with a lot of what you are saying and WAP has definitely become a food cult; but, I think it's a tad unfair to call Fallon a crank. Canola oil or rapeseed oil was somewhat 'poisonous' (carcinogenic and causing heart lesions, I think) and it's only through selective breeding that it is now considered safe-- so a fear of it and many 'industrial oils' may not be completely sound but considering our nations Crisco history, it may not be off the wall to regard 'new-fangled' oils with skepticism. Also, most of the information about fats and oil in NT come from Mary Enig and I wouldn't be too quick to relegate her opinions to the dustbin. I doubt she is infallible, but she was one of the early researchers to raise the alarm on trans-fats. I have also tried a lot of the recipes and I'm pretty discriminating with food and usually don't like what I coook, but I've really loved most of the recipes from NT -- from salad dressing to beef stew. I have never tried the fermented stuff, though --or the brain recipes ;-) I digress, however. What I really wanted to say is that the 2 of them wrote NT in the 80s and early 90s when our grocery stores were overrun with fat free snackwells and wesson oil. I think it was almost a polemic against the processed, low-fat food culture. In that context, I think it's an important work and I think she has done much to advocate for a more traditional food culture-- where farming practices and quality count (as they absolutely do in Europe -- though probably less and less) in America.
Hiit Mama said…
Again, kudos to you for taking such a balanced approach. My only interest in posting my experience above was to say that the Gedgaudas approach didn't work for me as evidenced through hormonal imbalance and not carb addiction like she and Rosedale like to say. These are self proclaimed "experts" in nutrition. Many people have followed their advice based on their expertise. Many women on PH are complaining of hormonal imbalance/amenorrhea. Many people on PH are also striving to reach and stay in ketosis based on the claims of these kind of "experts." All I am saying is that it caused me to stop menstruating and that perhaps paleo dieting ladies who are following the Gedgaudas way and who are having hormonal abnormalities may want to simply consider their carb intake instead of looking to yet another self proclaimed "expert" who wants to sell them a book that tells them they have Type II PCOS (which is not a real thing).

Congrats on your baby.
Diana said…
Drew -

We all get things wrong. I've gotten a LOT of things wrong, and believed things that now make me wince. But Fallon is in a position of some responsibility, and AFAIK she has never renounced her opinion that canola oil is poison.

Sally wrote in 2002:

"Canola oil is a poisonous substance, an industrial oil that does not belong in the body. It contains "the infamous chemical warfare agent mustard gas," hemagglutinins and toxic cyanide-containing glycocides; it causes mad cow disease, blindness, nervous disorders, clumping of blood cells and depression of the immune system. This is what detractors say about canola oil."

It's still up there.

None of this is true. Anyone who stands by that is IMO a crank. Your mileage varies.

Yes, Fallon was part of a movement against crap foods. She was one of many, but in that regard, she did do some good. The problem I have with her is that a lot of confused people, when they read things like the above, give up in disgust. They say, "What does it matter? It's ALL bad," and they go back to a crap food diet.

I'm coming around to the idea (which would horrify Fallon) that all added fats are unnecessary. But as added fats go, canola is OK. In small amounts. It is NOT what Fallon says it is, it's an oil created from hybridized plants, like any other, and it doesn't contain mustard gas. Geesh.
Diana said…
PS - I posted the above without reading the entire article. I stopped at the part I quoted. Then I went back to the article and read this:

"Let's start with some history. The time period is the mid-1980s and the food industry has a problem. In collusion with the American Heart Association, numerous government agencies and departments of nutrition at major universities, the industry had been promoting polyunsaturated oils as a heart-healthy alternative to "artery-clogging" saturated fats."

This is crank talk.

Look, I admit that the US public has suffered from a deluge of bad nutrition info. I still wince at the phrase "heart healthy." But the malicious collusion that Fallon charges above never existed. I wish she would name names. As it is, she sounds like a dietary Joe McCarthy.

This kind of talk is very characteristic of the paranoia rampant in Incestralism, which Evelyn talks about in the latest post. You can't trust 'em, they're all together in a conspiracy to kill us. CW.
awayinla said…
You need to re-read the article and put it into context. The study was about methods of sowing and harvesting of cereals before tools for such were invented, as a possible pre-cursor to agriculture. It also talks about the Upper Paleolithic period, around 11,000 years ago. This is many thousands of years after the last period of human evolution, which is what the paleolithic diet is all about. Have you TRIED eating the way evolving humans might have? Try it, just for a few weeks, and see what happens, then you'll understand why so many people follow it.
CarbSane said…
Even if one gives you that humans stopped evolving, we did not stop adapting. The case is hard to make that whatever humans ate in the paleolithic is more appropriate for our species now.
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