Zoe Harcombe Credentials II

Zoe Harcombe was on the LLVLC Show (for those that care, taped after the David Duke controversy had unfolded) last week.    I think she holds the record for packing the most misinformation and hypocrisy into an interview with this one, and she's had a lot of stiff competition.  She's definitely the Queen of such in LLVLCluelandia.   She also vies for the crown of resume inflation, though I think there are others who might beat her out on that one.  

Still, some time back I questioned her credentials.  Here is her current biography.  Zoe is big on bragging on her Cambridge education in Math/Economics.  As well she rightly should be proud, but this degree is nowhere near relevant to the study of health, nutrition or obesity.   She's probably aware of this, and has likely been challenged about it.  She calls herself "Author and Nutritionist" on many of her YouTube videos, and from the bio:
Zoë is a qualified nutritionist with a Diploma in Diet & Nutrition and a Diploma in Clinical Weight Management, but she is first and foremost an obesity researcher.
She's previously claimed that she was pursuing a PhD in Nutrition, but that claim vanished for a while, no doubt after Ben Goldacre (who used to write a Bad Science column for The Guardian)  outed her: 
We all rely on heuristics, or shortcuts. Trusting an authority is one. Zoe boasts in the Mail that she is “studying for a PhD in nutrition” but she admitted to me, tediously, inevitably, that she’s not registered for a PhD anywhere (although she is thinking about doing one in the future).
That was in two years ago in January 2011.  Well, the claim is back now in January of 2013, at the 4:26 mark, Zoe claims that she is ...
... currently doing a PhD looking at macronutrient confusion and Seven Country Study all sorts of good stuff.
OK, first "macronutrient confusion"??  What is that?  Is there anyone confused over macronutrients?  Well perhaps Zoe, but we'll get to that in a moment.  So in any case, remembering Goldacre's outing, I decided to ask her on Twitter:

(I responded to her quip about my nastiness with one about her stupidity on thermo ... a topic for another day, and probably shouldn't have used that word, but it was stuck in my mind after her calling people stupid in her podcast.)

So anyway, here's the website for University of the West of Scotland.  I'm having a hard time of it finding a listing of degree programs, degrees offered, so perhaps someone familiar with this institution, or who might be able to contact them by phone (I emailed the address here)   could help.   My question is does this uni even offer a PhD in Nutrition or something related to "Macronutrient Confusion"?   I'll leave it to any journalist that is interested to confirm if Zoe is indeed matriculated at UWS, I have no intent to pursue that as a private US citizen.  Please don't violate Harcombe's privacy or harass her by inquiring about her specifically.  If you are a member of the UK media legitimately interested in this woman's credentials that is, of course, another story.  But if not, understand I'm only looking for the information about programs.  Period.  To Zoe Harcombe, I would say that given her history of stretching the truth, we can add Ms. Harcombe to the list of diet book authors and other various and sundry gurus that should voluntarily come forth and provide proof of claimed credentials.   This includes those Diplomas listed in her biography.   Let's see if she does.

Speaking of which, what exactly are these Diplomas?  Harcombe's bragging on Cambridge makes the lack of detail there all the more suspicious, and I'm not the only one to notice this.  Seth at Science of Nutrition blog asked much the same question back in June 2012 when Gary Taubes referenced a Zoe Harcombe blog post on red meat (yes, you read that correctly!).  
A “qualified nutritionist”? What does that even mean? Who “qualified” her and gave her “Diplomas”? Were these actual universities or did she just pay 30 bucks (or pounds perhaps, since she’s from the UK) for some shady online certification that means nothing? We are not told, and I suspect for good reason.
She is also an obesity researcher, huh? A quick Google Scholar search of her name came up with no publications. Is she actually a researcher or does she just call herself one? I suspect the latter. I love how Taubes apparently thinks she is some sort of authority on the matter but the Harvard School of Public Health is full of incompetent boobs.
{p.s.  I want to give a hat tip to whomever sent me a link to this blog/post back when, but I just don't recall who/how/etc.   If it was you, stand up and be recognized in comments!} 

So, I asked her about these Diplomas in my follow-up tweet.  No response to date.  If she holds any such "Diplomas" at all, I suspect these don't even rise to those of letters after one's name, or apparently not letters she wishes to use.    This also makes one more wary that she even could pursue a PhD in some nutrition related field.  This is, again, something I know a little about having switched fields of study for my Masters.  It would appear she has a greater chance of pursuing an MD than a PhD, because medical schools generally accept applicants from diverse fields of study.  Still, applicants generally need to have completed certain courses as "pre-requisites".  You can't go from an undergrad degree in math/economics to a PhD in nutritional sciences or related.  You would have to take a crap load of classes to fill in the blanks first.  Not saying it's not possible, but I think it makes it all the more highly unlikely.  If UWS awarded her any life experience credits for the abominable 134,000 word The Obesity  Epidemic -- which is even less an academic work than her mentor's 3 PhD theses otherwise known as The Diet Delusion (UK title) -- the institution deserves scrutiny for its academic standards.

Before I sign off here, let's go back to this notion of Macronutrient Confusion ... whatever the heck that is.   Zoe Harcombe's diet seems to suffer from it!    The 5 Day Phase I of her diet includes all meat, fish, eggs and veggies (except potatoes and mushrooms) in unlimited quantities.  You are also allowed 50g dry weight brown rice.  Here's where macrofu comes in, however.  If you are a vegetarian (ovo-lacto presumably) and do not eat meat, you are allowed to substitute an additional 100g dry weight brown rice.  

Brown rice in place of meat for a vegetarian?  Ummm ... should you not be substituting vegetarian protein?  Well, perhaps Harcombe prefers grains, did she pick a high protein grain?  Of course not!  While not a comprehensive list, here is one that I found listing protein to carb ratios.  And I used nutritiondata.com data to check a few of those, and if anything protein content is understated for some near the top of the list.

We see that in absolutes, oats contain more than twice the protein of brown rice (17g vs. 8g per 100g dry weight) , less total carb (66g vs. 77g per 100 g dw), and even less non-fiber carb (55g vs. 74g dw).  

There's a free Crock(o-sheet)tail in it for the first person who identifies the other main nutritional error Harcombe makes in her Phase I video above.  Hint:  Avocados are not allowed in Phase I.

It bears reminding that Harcombe herself ate nothing like the diet she espouses.  As a vegetarian for 20 years, she -- eager to establish her LC "cred" -- runs through the usual porridge for breakfast, cheese salad for lunch, butternut squash curry on brown rice dinner menu.  But she assures the audience she had an epiphany at a WAPF conference in Spring 2010 and is a veritable meat-maniac these days -- "and feeling so much better for it" {paraphrase}.  That is interesting as well, as Harcombe's ultimate credentials are her story of overcoming eating disorders and maintaining a slim weight for 15-20 years.  Kudos to her, but this was neither achieved nor maintained with anything resembling a low carb diet, but by adopting a vegetarian diet so derided by the low carb community.  Heck, even she's turned on the veggies, as Seth pointed out, because one of her qualms about the red-meat study she wrote about was that the author was a vegetarian.  Up until 2010, you could say that about her as well.  

As to her new book, it looks like her first (2004 I believe) book just got a facelift and re-publish ... for a fresh audience of dupes.   I put this picture out on Twitter, and since I'm giving away Asylum virtual freebies, I'll offer up the David Duke Special Edition LC Teaspoon to the first person who answers "what is wrong with this picture?"

Heck, I'm in such a generous mood, I'll host open bar (as always, non-alcoholic versions available!) on Friday for you and your 100 closest e-buddies this Friday if you can tell me what is wrong with the picture below!


Puddleg said…
Really I don't give a flying one about Zoe's matriculations. I judge my doctors by the things they do and say, I never count the plaques on the wall, and I wouldn't stop seeing a good doctor if their qualifications ceased to exist. Zoe's books may be disappointingly incoherent but her study smackdowns on her blog are always superior and lucid; she reads the papers carefully and points out details that are easily missed.
Food epidemiology is weak at best and far too many people read too much into it. The only really convincing study I've seen was about preserved vegetables and prostate cancer, where there was a 7-fold correlation. That made me stop eating salted cabbage.
Unknown said…
"what is wrong with the picture below!"

Large belt buckles are passe, from that I deduce that she has used the same cover photo for both her books even though many years have passed since the photo for the first book was taken.
Ev Barney said…
Evelyn, you have the URL to the grain protein/carb ratio page in the link twice, resulting in a 404. The URL you want is http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/grains-highest-protein-carbohydrate-ratio.php
Sanjeev said…
Arguments do need to stand on their own, away from the presenter

> judge my doctors by the things they do

And if a doc went to an established school one thing they did do is actually pass some exams.

Under the watchful eye of those who keep the institution's standards high enough to attract good students.

As I mentioned before, replying to someone that put up a link to a pretty infographic - doing the problem sets and having them marked and criticized is important. FAR MORE important in fact than reading the book or looking at the pretty pictures.

> judge my doctors by the things they do

How about things they don't do - like maybe unethically lying about qualifications

> Food epidemiology is weak at best and far too many people

Glad we agree, (and JJ commented recently he agreed too). How about 90 year old epidemiology (from before modern statistics) done in parts of the world where even to this day it's hard to get reliable data?
Sanjeev said…
> > judge my doctors by the things they do

> How about things they don't do - like maybe unethically lying about qualifications

I distance myself from anyone I see behaving unethically. If they justify by pointing out the behaviour benefits me I do this even faster - It just shows they're good at compartmentalizing their actions and someday when I'm on the receiving end they'll convince themselves and try to convince others it's a good thing.
CarbSane said…
Superior and lucid study smackdowns? LOL
Javeux said…
An aside, but how have Taubes and the shill circus responded to that study suggesting macronutrient ratios have remained fairly constant since the 70s, while caloric intake has increased and obesity has skyrocketed? It almost makes me believe I *will* gain weight eating 4000 calories/day, even if they're in the guaranteed weight-loss 80% fat range. Of course, I'd control my appetite by not exercising. The Prof (who I trust *does* hold a PhD lol) posted about it on SuppVersity ( http://suppversity.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/study-reveals-unsettling-data-about-how.html ) this week.
Javeux said…
^ The whole thing has left me with a serious case of macronutrient confusion.
LynMarie Daye said…
If weight gain has very little to do with calories, why is the key to being slim figuring out why you overeat? Makes no sense.
CarbSane said…
Winner winner chicken dinner!
Puddleg said…
Claiming to have a qualification and claiming to be studying for one are not the same thing. I'm studying for my drivers license but God only knows when I'll book a test. So maybe I'm lying about that, and it doesn't count as study, but that hasn't stopped me learning some rules.
Already I seem to be clearer on the road rules than people who sat their tests 10 years ago.
Sanjeev said…
Taubes has changed his story multiple times with his die hard followers either not noticing or not caring that he has severely undercut his original infinite-calorie-if-it's-low-carb rationale.

case in point: my G3P schtich has kicked the bucket "but insulin is such a strong force for fat accumulation it doesn't matter, even though my infinite calorie idea rested on G3P"

Case in point (paraphrased): "if you never had sugar/fructose/HFCS you can eat starch like the Asians do" ("which stance I support by reference to studies that show more fat gain on glucose than sugar/fructose/HFCS")

> left me with a serious case of macronutrient confusion

Stop reading here & concentrate your attention on hyperlipid, Eenfeldt, Moore & Taubes. IOW - take off your glasses before jumping out of the plane with no parachute - you'll still die but you won't see the ground coming.
Sanjeev said…
> why you overeat

the key is

"why you overeat the stuff that makes you fat (I don't know what that is, but it definitely ain't calories - if I admit calories matter no one will read me, since the next guy will say I'm accusing them of gluttony and sloth, and they'll leave me for the next guy.)
CarbSane said…
Nice catch! I have him in my reader but somehow missed that one :( LMD below gets the prize for what's wrong with the picture from the podcast. You cannot simultaneously acknowledge that overeating is the problem but claim it is not about calories ... or the "inanity of overeating". Did she not read Taubes' blog post of that very title!?!
CarbSane said…
Claiming you are doing a PhD is not the same as claiming you are studying for an exam! For one, most anyone can take the DL exam barring disability or criminal behavior. But not just anyone can undertake a PhD. You have to be accepted as a student which means fulfilling a number of requirements including successful completion (usually with high marks) of an undergrad degree with specific courses often required as well. So if she's not matriculated, she isn't "doing it". Period. Since she doesn't brag on where her Diplomas are from, they likely aren't anything any reputable institution of higher learning would consider appropriate for consideration towards entrance.

CarbSane said…
LOL! It's unclear how up-to-date her various pictures are, but I actually don't question her physique as I believe she was not even ever much overweight. She has spoken of anorexia and what appears to be binge eating, but most "bulimics" are not overweight (I put that in "" because while the classic bulimia involves purging, there are other behaviors that I think qualify including manic exercise, crash dieting/fasting and laxative abuse/detox/cleanses). Harcombe may indeed have supreme cred in overcoming this, and deserves kudos. However marketing her diet as "lose 14 lbs in 5 days" etc. undermines that whole message as well. Guess the market for that isn't very large.
Puddleg said…
But what does studying for a PhD actually qualify you to do?
Apart from study?
Puddleg said…
Doesn't heuristics mean relying on experience?
This may be a shortcut, one not taken often enough, but I don't see it as abrogating authority.

The most fundamental heuristic is trial and error, which can be used in everything from matching nuts and bolts to finding the values of variables in algebra problems.
Here are a few other commonly used heuristics, from George Pólya's 1945 book, How to Solve It:[2]
If you are having difficulty understanding a problem, try drawing a picture.
If you can't find a solution, try assuming that you have a solution and seeing what you can derive from that ("working backward").
If the problem is abstract, try examining a concrete example.
Try solving a more general problem first (the "inventor's paradox": the more ambitious plan may have more chances of success).
Unknown said…
The only article from Zoe Harbombe was "Fruit is fueling the obesity epidemic". That was enough for me.
PhilT said…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23324441 says "Daily energy intake increased over time for men (9832 to 11 652 kJ, P < 0·01) and women (6418 to 8142 kJ, P < 0·01) in all BMI classes. Percentage of energy intake from carbohydrate increased over time (men: 42·7 % to 48·0 %, P < 0·01; women: 45·4 % to 50·6 %, P < 0·01), whereas percentage of energy intake from fat (men: 36·7 % to 33·1 %, P < 0·01; women: 36·1 % to 33·8 %, P < 0·01) and protein (men: 16·4 % to 15·1 %, P < 0·01; women: 16·9 % to 14·7 %, P < 0·01) decreased."

So we're left with an increase in calories (18.5% in men, 26.9% in women) *and* a 5% shift towards carbohydrates to untangle.
Gabriella Kadar said…
What I don't quite understand is how do all these people make money on their productions when diet books are as common as dirt. Do they earn a living from this stuff or are they thin because they don't?
Anonymous said…
Except those numbers invert as BMI increased:

"With surveys combined, daily energy intake varied among BMI classes for women (underweight/normal weight: 7460 kJ; overweight: 6799 kJ; obese I: 7033 kJ; obese II/III: 7401 kJ; P < 0·01) but not men. Percentage of energy intake from carbohydrate decreased with increasing BMI class (men: 46·6 % to 45·5 %, P < 0·01; women: 49·0 % to 48·6 %, P < 0·01) whereas percentage of energy intake from fat (men: 34·3 % to 36·5 %, P < 0·01; women: 34·4 % to 35·4 %, P < 0·01) and protein (men: 15·3 % to 16·5 %, P < 0·01; women: 15·2 % to 16·0 %, P < 0·01) increased."

Not enough in that abstract to draw any conclusions.
Ev Barney said…
For me, the macro-nutrient thing is just a matter of what makes me more hungry. It's easier to control calories when not hungry and, for me, fewer carbs (not NO carbs, or even VLC) and avoiding most grains (I still succumb to oats from time to time, and rice) and not eating a lot of fruit seems to do that for me. It may have nothing whatsoever to do with my macro-nutrient intake. Maybe when i eat this way I get more of the micro-nutrients I need.

Also, joint pain that I've been plagued with for the last few year (in cold weather) has been mild to non-existent this winter. I also have significantly less edema (to the point where I walked out of a pair of shoes that had just fit two months ago) Coincidence? Could be! More apt to be related to the fact that I have dropped a few pounds? Maybe, but I'm a long way from even an 'overweight' BMI - so "shrug" DUNNO!
CarbSane said…
With regards to the quip above, I'm trying to figure out whether you are just being an ass hat or are this totally ignorant of what a science-research PhD actually involves. Since you frequent blogs that routinely ridicule Stephan Guyenet, may I suggest that you go to the website of his institution of higher learning and pretend you want to apply to study for one. Then you will realize that just being accepted into a program is an accomplishment, as are the fellowships many are awarded to study, and the reputation of the advisor/mentor one studies under. Then look at the academic study involved in addition to requirements for research/thesis (unfortunately those might not all be available online to the non-student) and you will see that claims of being a PhD candidate are not to be taken lightly. Chris Masterjohn was clearly Phd Candidate material and now a PhD. Zoe Harcombe? You don't just write a hundred thousand word book and shop it around to universities to see if one will give you a degree. Sheesh. Harcombe's grasp of metabolic science leaves much to be desired.
LynMarie Daye said…
Yay for me! :)

But I can't figure out the second one. I was thinking it might be the strawberry but berries are still acceptable last I heard.
blogblog said…
Evelyn the UK and US university systems are COMPLETELY different. In Britain (and many other Commonwealth countries) you normally go directly from an undergraduate (4th Year) Honours degree straight into a PhD programme. You don't do a Masters degree and the PhD programmes have little or no coursework component. The PhD candidate is expected to learn any prerequisites by their own efforts via a "sink or swim" process.

The most important criterium for acceptance into a Commonwealth PhD programme is your academic results and the quality of your undergraduate university (all British universities are fully fledged research universities).

It would be considered fairly unremarkable for mathematics graduate to study a PhD in nutrition (or virtually any other discipline).

In Britain medicine is a six year undergraduate degree.
blogblog said…
You naivete astounds me. PhD programmes exist to provide universities with a source of extremely cheap labour - nothing more and nothing less. The poor deluded PhD candidate spends years thinking they he is doing something important. In reality most will PhDs are simply discarded with almost no career prospects and no money the moment their thesis is accepted.
Sanjeev said…
Aesop is LOLing, ROFLing and and facepalming as we speak.
Unknown said…
You're generally correct on those points.

Hell, if one has a research proposal that a given university is interested in, then one can certainly become a PhD candidate for a very self-tailored subject. So searching through a general list of subjects to verify someone's particular PhD thesis candidacy is pointless.
CarbSane said…
blogblog -- I never said you needed to get a masters before a PhD in the States. Actually that's more the exception than the rule here (happens to be how it worked in my department at my grad school -- unfortunately?) No courses for the PhD? So there are no graduate level classes in the UK? That's news to me. In the states, MS and PhD candidates take the same level of classes and they are of a much more intense level and specialized topics as well. While undergrad many of the pre-req's can be bogus, and often students can make it through w/o having completed them, I can assure you that few if any could complete a graduate degree in any science -- pick one, even a "soft" one -- without a related undergrad degree. I didn't say it couldn't be done. If it is more likely in the UK, remind me to take undergrad academics more seriously for UK PhD's then. I think this shows many PhD's from the states carry more clout -- unless of course formal academic instruction, investigation and actually demonstrating comprehension and competency through testing and other assessments means nothing to you.

@Kade, "Shopping around" a research proposal would be extremely difficult. Research groups tend to have grants in place and lines to more/different money, to fund a general line of research. That said, self-tailored projects within this construct are more likely.
CarbSane said…
If you believe that blogblog, you're an idiot.
CarbSane said…
You are onto it LMD! I was going to hint to lian as well. Harcombe is very anti-fruit. She may allow them as "cheats" in Phase 3, but her Phase 1 specifically forbids all fruit. So it's odd to have one's logo be a strawberry. In the equal opportunity department, I found the original Perfect Health Diet cover to be an odd match for the diet. It looks like a chocolate ice cream with berries, and fructose = poison (big problem I have with) in PHD.
CarbSane said…
Hey Phil, This is a point I've been trying to make when discussing the purported purpose of Taubes/Attia's NuSI. They complain that existing science has not answered the essential question because LC is often not LC enough, when there is no evidence our American diet has even approached the 20-30% of calories. I would argue that LF is not LF enough because fat intake was quite a bit lower than it is now historically (not talking 70's), at least in a ton of traditional cultures and certainly amongst the poor. But carbs cannot be the cause of this epidemic.
CarbSane said…
I used to binge on oats in college. It was something I had on hand in the dorm, nothing particularly about oats I don't think. When I added back carbs more regularly in 2010 I was rather shocked that I couldn't even make it through my carefully measured out first bowl of oatmeal.
CarbSane said…
Rod Taylor who sponsored Jimmy's whirlwind lying tour of Australia is another fruit is making us fat person. Sheez. There is NO evidence for this whatsoever.

OK folks, the first challenge is still out there. I know it's just one drink, and you'll have to watch 4 min of Zoe, but I'll up the prize to a drink with a commemorative David Duke swizzle stick, kay?
CarbSane said…
Furthermore, just who do you think is doing the research and writing up many of the articles in peer review journals? The vast majority of PhD theses spawn at least one accompanying journal article. Here in the States anyway. But I guess that doesn't count for jack sheet in your world either?
Unknown said…
Master's degrees do have classes. On the other hand, at PhD level, depending on the field, you can join a research group or go independent while being monitored within. Really, it depends on the subject and field, as well as the individuals.

As for the education system and testing protocols and how they reflect on the quality of the degrees. I am of the opposite opinion. It's got very little to do with clout. It's been the English way, even dating back to the rigid O levels and A levels, which are mountains more annoying and tougher than American schooling and even freshman college education. I should know since I came from the American system and crashed in the British. The latter system--as a whole--puts more of the burden to learn and demonstrate knowledge on the student with everything hanging on a final exam in the case of earlier education, or a very heavily scrutinised thesis in the case of post-graduate study, which is no easy feat, mind you, even at lower rated institutions. That is how one demonstrates competency over here, by being self-actualising and then letting their work reflect that independent effort and mature grasp of the topic at hand. I would hardly consider it lax; as Blogblog put it, it's a very 'sink or swim' process.
CarbSane said…
I'm speaking specifically about a research science type PhD. I have little knowledge of other fields.

Here is UConn Nutrition http://www.cag.uconn.edu/nutsci/nutsci/gradprog.html
(Note: I believe, but am not entirely sure this is what Chris Masterjohn completed just recently)

You can't learn everything "sink or swim".

Kade, what did you study?
CarbSane said…
Taken with BB's other comment, perhaps this "join a research group" way of things is why people have such low regard for PhD.
Anonymous said…
This is such a bizarre thread of comments. George, I don't think you understand what heuristics are. I suggest you read the work of Tversky and Kahneman, which is far more lucid and superior than work by their 'fellow' economist, Zoe Harcombe.

As for blogblog's comments about PhDs offering cheap labour and leaving them unemployed... The unemployment rate in the US for those with PhDs is around 2 percent, and they certainly qualify you to do far more than study. I think the impression you have of an academic holed up in an office reading books is quite misguided. A PhD is your training to be a researcher and your entry into academia, if you so desire, though the degree also prepares you to pursue paths outside academia.

This thread reminds me of recent comments on another article Evelyn wrote about hostility toward experts. I'm beginning to think that comment was spot on. Whilst I don't think we should treat experts as gurus who deliver knowledge from on high, I am baffled by the idea that it's now somehow deplorable to pursue knowledge and expertise in higher learning. Shall we all attend University of Google, then?
Anonymous said…
"There is NO evidence for this whatsoever. "

WHAT DO YOU MEAN? FRUIT HAS CARBS, Evelyn! Worse still, sugar! All carbs are the same! 100g of apple = 100g of HFCS90!
Anonymous said…
I agree to a certain extent with the way PhD programs in the UK are described here (we have the same approach in Australia, and I am also an American ex-pat who has experienced both systems), but I think something is being lost in translation. Basically, in the UK and Australian systems, more emphasis is placed on the original contribution of the PhD research and the thesis itself. Perhaps in the UK it is not remarkable to do a PhD in a completely unrelated field of study, but I would be surprised because that would mean it's more rigorous here in Australia. Generally, yes, you go to a PhD program following your honours, which is basically a mini-thesis that takes about a year. But if you want to be accepted for a PhD and get support for it, you have to get a high mark on that honours, and it's generally related to the field you will study for your PhD (though I know some people who went through and decided to change fields, so much like a post-bacc program for med school, they went back and took more undergrad courses to switch fields). So no, there is no coursework, even for research science PhDs in the UK and Australian systems, so who your supervisors are is of utmost importance, in my opinion. Then you aren't left to entirely sink or swim, but have a mentor who will let you struggle but will also teach you a lot. If Zoe is indeed doing a PhD, I would think she would need such a supervisor, especially to protect her from confirmation bias in interpreting her data!
Unknown said…
I agree with the idea that learning isn't always accomplished through 'sink or swin', Evelyn. I just think that it was worth mentioning that it is tougher on certain levels, and sometimes, that's to the detriment of the student. In fact, I tend to favour the Australian system myself.

"Taken with BB's other comment, perhaps this "join a research group" way of things is why people have such low regard for PhD."

Heh. I think there's more to that lack of regard than just the above, but very well. Again, it's a bit of a subject-related matter and you usually see this kind of thing in the social sciences and more largely in the arts. Rarely happens in research science.

I am curious to know your thoughts on why the idea of joining a group would explain the low regard?

Oh, and I consider myself an individual lacking credentials.
an3drew said…
I used to binge on Fruity Pebbles™.
Unknown said…

I actually defer to you on this topic. I think there was a lost point in my own message through translation. When I say 'sink or swim', I am speaking in terms of regular module work and classes. We certainly do have supervisors and people who watch over our work on a regular basis and keep tabs on the progress with the intent to advise and even reel in the student if they start to exhibit discernible flaw in their academic judgement.

Also, it is very hard to get on a decent course without either having great honours results with a compelling proposal. Or having made equal headway through a Master's degree to gain the support of a supervisor for the application process and further studies.
an3drew said…
Diana said…
"Shall we all attend University of Google, then?"

That's my school now.

I formerly attended The University of Life. My diploma was in Fat Girl Studies.

And I can assure you I didn't get fat on fruit. I got fat on repeated high carb-high fat binges. I was literally a case study in overfeeding carb/fat bombs.

I do believe that academic studies prove that this is an ideal way of losing weight, no, Evelyn?

I lost the weight by stopping the binges, and then by Eating Less and Moving More.

Fruit was part of my detox program.

Harcombe is an ass. It's a scandal that someone like her gets a PHAT book deal.
Joy Tracey said…
First time poster, long time lurker.

Here's my problem with the whole thing: It's a LIE to say you are in a Ph.D. program when you are not, which she lied about in 2011.

The problem with a lie of this magnitude is that it calls into question everything else she says about herself. So, semantics about what it takes to get a Ph.D. aside, lying about it and then saying, "well, I was thinking about it" makes her credibility shaky at best.

I think about a lot of things but don't claim to be doing them.

What I see this blog as doing is pointing out the liars. And then the liars are mad. Well, I am glad this blog is out there to clear up the "experts" and their credentials.

Finally, you can't have people citing studies while simultaneously discounting all academia, which is what these people do. It's ridiculous!
Diana said…
"I do believe that academic studies prove that this is an ideal way of losing weight, no, Evelyn?"

Should have been GAINING weight.

Talk about a Freudian loss of grip....
Diana said…
Exactly - low fat historically has meant 10%-15% fat calories max. The Japanese used to eat that, 80% carbs. Geez, 80% carbs and look at how slender to normal they are. Now they are "down" to 65% carbs and they are getting fatter....and carbs are the reason?

Look, live by the Paleo sword die by the Paleo sword, but I believe that our Paleo ancestors kept thin by exercising loads on empty stomachs. And by eating very little fat. Skinny animals hunting skinny animals, no added fats, and now it turns out that even the nuts they ate were starchier than modern cultivars. Thank you, lian for that fact.
Diana said…
Just one more think, Evelyn - sorry for the multiple comments but this just occurred to me. If 10% fat is the lower threshold for de novo lipogenesis, this should tell us something about what "evolution tells us" (I dislike that Paleo catchphrase but I can't think of another one) about the ideal fat content of a human diet. Pour moi, it can't be much more than that.
Diana said…
@an3drew: The article you linked to is an example of why I pay zero attention to broscience websites. I used to read them thinking that maybe they might have some folk wisdom, or links to good studies. Now I ignore them completely. Waste of time.
CarbSane said…
Thank you HHJJ ... You see the big picture!

I stand by my assertion that if Zoe lied before, she should come forth with proof of the claims this time.

I've also recently been highlighting what certain letters mean. I realize it is en vogue in this community to poo poo standard academic programs (and of course if you do get that degree, you must become a renegade against the establishment once conferred), but this is mostly misguided IMO.

I can think of a number of people with absolutely no formal training or letters after their names who have done bang-up jobs of reading the literature and assessing current studies and such. I can think of just as many who think they are doing so but it's clear early on they have no idea what they are talking about -- that is made worse when said person has unrelated letters after their name that confer authority when there is none.

As regards Harcombe, I'm interested in those Diplomas as well.
CarbSane said…
Thanks for your perspective littleums (and Kade). I'm reacting to BB and George's characterizations that reduce pursuing a PhD to something anyone can do so long as they want to join up as menial labor corps in a research group.

I must say I'm extremely puzzled that a PhD could include no coursework at all. How does someone learn advanced concepts? Or perhaps this is how we get PhD's that are so very knowledgeable in just exactly what they did their thesis in and utterly ignorant of everything but? I don't get it.

Even the most intensive undergrad programs only teach so much.

From UConn Nutrition page linked above: (MS and PhD)

Admission to degree programs is determined by evaluation of undergraduate academic standing and preparation, letters of recommendation, GRE scores (a minimum of 1000 points by adding Verbal + Quantitative and a minimum of 3.0 in the writing evaluation is required) and a personal interview, when feasible. Priority is given to applicants with an undergraduate background in Nutritional Sciences or a related area. Where inadequate undergraduate preparation is apparent, students must take the necessary preparatory course work prior to graduate study. Applications are mostly done on line in the graduate school web site: http://grad.uconn.edu/apply.html.

Pre-requisites: The pre-requisites for the graduate program are: General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physiology, Biology and Basic Nutrition.

A math/eco major might have taken a bio and or chem class but highly unlikely, perhaps a basic nutrition class as an elective. There's a good chance if they did take any of the bio or chem classes they would not be at a level to meet these prereq standards.

You should note that for the MS there are two options, both involving a qual exam, one with a thesis and the other where related work experience can be substituted for the thesis along with a review paper presented orally. Many schools/departments/majors offer academic-only MS programs classes & qual exam. You will note the thesis plan is only 15 credits while non-thesis is 24 credits -- many grad classes are 3 cr each so 5 to 8 advanced classes.

The PhD requires 25-30 credits IN ADDITION to MS so we're talking a lot of classwork. But do not underestimate the thesis here! I'm not sure you need to progress MS to PhD in that department. An example of a department I'm familiar with at UConn where you just go straight to a PhD, would be the Polymer Program: (I'd link to my own program but there were a lot of dead links and missing specifics) http://www.ims.uconn.edu/polymer/curriculum.html

Are you telling me that in the UK and Australia someone can get a PhD in polymer chemistry w/o any further coursework??????? This blows my mind!!

Further, the original thesis involving original research or development of a novel technique, algorithm, etc., is the cornerstone of a PhD in the sciences (can't speak for non-sciences).

So back to Zoe Harcombe, she wouldn't stand a chance of going to UConn for a PhD in nutrition. So yeah, if standards are such that she could pursue one in the UK I consider them lax and such a degree from there of less meaning in assessing someone's qualifications and competence.
"What I see this blog as doing is pointing out the liars. And then the liars are mad."

That's it. And I guess what irks me is why do they have to even lie in the first place. She could have just originally said, "I plan to pursue a PhD in X in the near future." End of story. That would have been the truth.

Every time these folks fib and inflate their credentials, for me, it speaks a great deal about character and , well, greed. Why lie unless you're trying to convince folks to follow you, believe you, and buy your stuff. Hence, yes, follow the buck. $$$

Folks not trying to get praised and plumped up and profits don't have to lie and inflate bios.
Sanjeev said…
this study was posted as proof or at least suspicion that inactivated wheat germ agglutinin, when digested in human stomachs (acid environment) could reform into an active form (I suppose the commenter meant it could again bind sialic acid and also act as an adjuvant)

I find this fishy and highly suspect but I'm completely unfamiliar with this technology - anyone want to comment?


That forum was discussing Lalonde's assertion that WGA was undetectable in commercial pasta after normal cooking for pasta. From what I remember from the paper Lalonde cited they used ELISA, not optical assays.

Like I wrote above, I'm skeptical it could recover binding and immune adjuvant functionality but I suppose it's possible.
Sanjeev said…
> paper Lalonde cited they used ELISA, not optical assays

and IIRC they didn't expose the pasta to acids after cooking but before assaying
Unknown said…
Yeah. It's not as easy as, "Anyone can get on." You have to have a very well-proven track record from previous classes and an evaluated proposal, which isn't a small deal at all, especially depending on the subject.

"Are you telling me that in the UK and Australia someone can get a PhD in polymer chemistry w/o any further coursework??????? This blows my mind!!"

Not quite. In the case of such a subject such as polymer chemistry, which is no light feat, the potential candidate would've most likely have had to achieve very good honours results at BSc level. Further to that, if they're taken on, they will study classes towards a traditional MSc upon which their final results and proposals could be considered for extension into PhD candidacy, at which point they're then under supervision and they must show very strong self-management skills while being overseen. Some work could still be integrated but it is a highly discretionary process and varies from candidate to candidate.*

So the short end of it. Technically, if you've done really well at undergraduate level--and people are watching--then you have a chance to get into PhD candidacy, but this must be proven. In quite a few cases the individual will undergo an additional year of studies in class, which if they complete, they will be at Master's level with the option of moving forward. However, it all depends upon the subject and something very empirical and hard-science oriented will have much more tighter requirements and levels of work to make it to PhD candidacy.**

* Keep in mind, I am speaking generally and a lot of it boils down to discretion, and individual university and student circumstances.

** That wasn't short enough. Shame on me.
Unknown said…
As for Zoe Harcombe. Have you considered the possibility that maybe it isn't a science degree doctorate? I don't think she actually openly declared the title or area of her PhD. I refer you to the discussion over that other paleo lady's qualifications where Diana questioned whether it was a BSc or a BA.

I think you're picturing this as a bio chemistry venture, when it might be something more along the lines of some kind of long critique of statistical methods from a critically philosophical perspective since there was mention of that seven nation study.

It's just my guess at this point but before we start ruling on the higher education standards of entire countries, perhaps we should get an idea of what kind of PhD this really is, and I can make an educated guess that anything with the phrase 'Macronutrient Confusion' is not likely a core science research project.
markgillespie said…
She says you can eat tomatoes, but a tomato is a fruit?
markgillespie said…
In fact so are peppers and courgettes, strictly speaking.
Unknown said…
FYI there are phd students and masters students taking the same courses as me (I'm an undergraduate final year chemistry student in the UK).
Diana said…
So is buckwheat.
CarbSane said…
Hi Kevin, that is similar here in the states. As a senior (I think even in junior year) I took a couple of classes that grad students did. In some cases, the grads were required to do extra work, and I recall in one the grads and undergrads were graded on separate curves, but in others it was the same for both. However I could not have used any of those credits towards an advanced degree -- no double dipping on the credits.

Undergrad there's a loose numbering system for classes 100's are basic, 200's usually sometimes still basic to intermediate but more specific to majors, 300's intermediate to advanced undergrad, 400's are advanced undergrad/graduate, 600's graduate. An undergrad major is usually required to take a certain number of 300 level classes in their major, and 400's are usually only open to undergrads in that major w/o special permission. The classes for MS and PhD don't really differ, it's which ones and how many. These are 400/500 and 600's (don't ask me why many schools only do 400 and 600) and there are usually maximums for how many 400's and or minimum 600's specified.

So the other thing I'm getting from your comment here is that in chemistry, the grad students do additional coursework.
CarbSane said…
We have our winner!

In her FAQ's she is asked if avocados are allowed on her diet. Speaking of macronutrient confusion, the FAQ on her diet site includes a question about avocados. She says not on Phase I since they are a fruit, should be eaten with fat meal in moderation in Phase II (Zoe is into macro mixing woo woo) and as a "cheat" in Phase III! A cheat???!!!! But tomatoes have sugar in them, and they are allowed on Phase I. Rookie nutritionist mistake I suppose ;-)
markgillespie said…
Yes! I've always wanted a David Duke swizzle stick!
CarbSane said…
Zoe's previous claim was PhD in Nutrition and when pushed by Goldacre she admitted that she was not in a program but was considering it for the future. So I think it is reasonable to assume her PhD claims now are in Nutrition. If they are in some sort of mathematical re-analysis of the 7CS? Well then this would be that other sort of padding one's resume. Ya know, like "Dr." Duke - evil grin.

I'm not passing judgment on entire countries. I have the feeling something's getting lost in translation here. At least I hope so. After all, a PhD implies a considerably higher level of knowledge than a bachelor's. I am not seeing how a year of honors work that involves a thesis equates to the coursework involved here in the states IN ADDITION TO a thesis/more coursework for MS and thesis for PhD. PhD and even MS theses are highly student directed. The only work I would consider "grunt work" in my graduate days was grading my advisor's undergrad course problem sets.
CarbSane said…
Kiefer is that Carbnite hack or something like that I think! He actually claims his diet kills off fat cells. I just can't stand it much longer!

I note with the new supplement line out, Wolf is highlighting the research biochemist thing again. As if he went back into the lab to develop this stuff. Sigh.
CarbSane said…
Amen, some more sanity!

Thanks to you both for distilling down what I'm getting at here. If someone lists credentials (or makes claims to them) it is for the reason of status, pure and simple. Nothing wrong with that. If I were looking for information on something I know little about, if I came across someone with a degree in that field I'd give them a little more credence from the get go. That doesn't mean I go in with blinders on and accept everything they say, or that I'd write off a X-philes writings on the topic out of hand, but this attitude that somehow formal credentials are meaningless but "anonymous" people on the internet hold all the answers is ridiculous and counterproductive. And then we have the resume padders, and they are always selling you something.

Forget the Diplomas and the PhD whether she's working on one or it's just in her dreams. The very fact that Harcombe describes herself as an obesity researcher is, frankly, offensive to me. You can't do 20 years of research, come up with the notion that calories are irrelevant but obesity results from overeating due to three conditions (candida, food intolerances and hypoglycemia) and make up some arbitrary diet that is "perfect" to fix all three of these conditions in 5 days, and call yourself an obesity researcher.

Harcombe slammed how there was a lack of evidence-based science in nutrition. I'd like to see the scientific evidence upon which she bases her claims both for the causes of overeating and how her diet fixes them. It's not there.
Diana said…
I looked on the UWS website for post-grad education. I don't see any Ph.D programs at all.


Have a look yourselves. Maybe it's somewhere else on the UWS website but from what I can tell, she can't be in a Ph.D program at UWS because there isn't any. Am I missing something?
Diana said…
I'm repeating my comment of above because sometimes people don't scroll to the top when comments become numerous. It does not appear to me that UWS offers any kind of PhD program, making the the point about what Harcombe is studying nullified.


Now, I just noticed that UWS has something I've never seen before, called "post-experience" - I don't know what that is. Life credit? Maybe Harcombe is saying she deserves a degree for landing a phat book deal.
Vaclav K. said…
Paleo Freindly RD Esther Bloom on JM's latest podcast.

"A potato is “just a big lump of sugar” in your body"

Sanjeev said…
I would give her way more cred & take her seriously if she said

"just a big lump of sugar with a wrapper made of poisonous lectins"
CarbSane said…
"Grass-fed meats give you great omega-3 fats
Grain-fed meats are providing inflammatory omega-6 fats"

The O6:O3 ratio and amounts in grass fed vs. grain fed is one of THE biggest hoaxes. Beef fat is always low in PUFA and has an unfavorable O6:O3 ratio (if you believe that is important). It's like 5:1 to 4:1. The omega 3 eggs, same thing.
Unknown said…
Yeah I have heard a fair bit from Rod taylor in Australian media. At least our other Aussie sugarphobe David gillespie is fine with real fruit because of the fibre levels things out. This "fruit = fattening" still persists today in paleoland though.
blogblog said…
"If you believe that blogblog, you're an idiot."

Senior academics have told me that PhD students a are basically nothing more a cheap source of labour. In fact most senior science academics I've spoken to seem to think the PhD is an incredibly stupid idea and outdated idea.because is so narrowly focused.

A PhD will work 70/hr week for at least four years. This means they save the salries of two research assistant. In Australia enrolling a PhD student will save a university about $500k in salries over four years.

You seem think you are are a genius because you have an MS degree and worked as a lab tech for a pharmaceutical compnay. I hate to inform you but an American MS degree (even from an Ivy League university) is considered to of no higher standard than a three year bachelor's degree from Britain, Australia or New Zealand. You certainly aren't a real scientist despite your pretensions (or should I say delsuions) of grandeur.

I have a research masters in biotechnology and was offered a place in a PhD programme. I have never had any real interest in peusuing an academic or research career because it is basically a suckers game - shit pay and no job security.

I know dozens of PhDs. I've worked with them in laboratories and even shared houses with them. The vast majority are like mules, hard working, stubborn and not overly intelligent.
blogblog said…

I know exactly what PhDs do because I have lived with them, worked with them and studied with them.

Basically the PhD is cruel hoax used by universities. The university gets very cheap labour. The PhD student typically gets a virtually worthless piece of paper and poorly paid job at the end.

Here's a good summary:


"The Economist published an article citing various criticisms against the state of PhDs.[17] Richard B. Freeman explains that, based on pre-2000 data, at most only 20% of life science PhD students end up getting jobs specifically in research."

"In Canada, where the overflow of PhD degree holders is not as severe, 80% of postdoctoral research fellows earn less than or equal to the average construction worker (roughly $38,000 a year) during their postdoctoral research tenure.[17]"

"Only in the fastest developing countries (e.g. China or Brazil) is there a shortage of PhDs."

"Higher education systems often offer little incentive to move students through PhD programs quickly (and may even provide incentive to slow them down)."

"Mark C. Taylor opines that total reform of PhD programs in almost every field is necessary in the U.S., and that pressure to make the necessary changes will need to come from many sources (students, administrators, public and private sectors, etc.). These issues and others are discussed in an April 2011 issue of the journal Nature"
blogblog said…

heres what a high rice diet really does:

Br J Nutr. 2009 Aug;102(4):632-41. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508207221. Epub 2009 Feb 10.
Body size, body composition and fat distribution: comparative analysis of European, Maori, Pacific Island and Asian Indian adults.
Rush EC, Freitas I, Plank LD.

"Asian Indian men and women (BMI of 24 and 26 kg/m2, respectively) had the same percentage of BF as Europeans with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or Pacific men and women with BMI of 34 and 35 kg/m2, respectively."

In other words skinny people can often have HIGHER body fat than supposedly grossly obese individuals.
blogblog said…
you live in a bubble. Only the top 50 or so US universities are genuinely world class. Even some of the Ivy League universities don't make the Top 100 (Dartmouth = 124). The rest range between average to absymal. Many US well known universities are no better than some universities in Iran or Saudi Arabia.

To put things into perspective Australia has five universities in the Top 100 whereas the USA with 15x times our population has only 35 universities in the top 100. England has three universities in the Top 10.


An undergraduate degree in Britain (Australia, NZ etc)is vastly more demanding than in the USA. In three years you cover as much area as a combined American BS and MS degrees. [Some of the subjects I learned in second year of my 3-year undergraduate food science course were GRADUATE subjects at Cornell and Purdue.

In Britain (and Australia) a research student is expected to teach themselves. They are lucky to get 30 minutes a week access to their supervisor who will simply advise them to read a textbook or ask another research student for help.

US PhDs are generally NOT highly regarded outside the USA unless they are from one of the very top universities. US PhD degrees are often considered to contain too much coursework and too little original research.
blogblog said…

"Now, I just noticed that UWS has something I've never seen before, called "post-experience" - I don't know what that is."

UWS is a totally legitimate research university.

"post experience" is a term for relevant work experience. eg someone who has worked as dietitian for 10 years may be considered eligible for entry to a PhD programme in dietetics even if they had poor grades from their undergraduate degree.
Unknown said…
But to go from Cambridge to UWS?

Cambridge is like #1/2 in uk, UWS? Not even sure if it's in the 50..
Dr.Maas said…
Wrong. For grass fed, it's more like 1.65:1

Diana said…

Yes, I understand that, "skinny fat," so-called. I looked up the study's abstract though you didn't supply a link, and didn't see the word "rice" mentioned anywhere. Perhaps you could supply a link to the whole study and I could look for it? To my knowledge, Asian Indians don't necessarily eat a lot of rice. They do eat a lot of sweets.

What's the situation of "skinny fat" among the true rice-eaters in China and Japan?
Diana said…
Harcombe tweeted me & pointed out that UWS does confer PhDs, here:


"Awarded to an individual after a minimum period of 3 year’s full-time in-depth research and the submission of a thesis that is considered to be an original contribution to knowledge in the field of study.

Previous research experience is normally required for direct entry to a PhD programme."

I wonder what her previous research experience is. C'mon, anyone who claims that fruit eating caused the OE....?
CarbSane said…
I'll stand conditionally corrected on that point, had not seen that study. A while back when I looked into this, the change was nominal and not anywhere near the two fold difference in that study. I wonder why (?). I will however stand by my assertion that beef is a poor source of O3's. Would you agree?
CarbSane said…
Interesting. Minimum 3 years full time research. So we'll know sometime in 2015 at the earliest if we're all still here ;-)

She has no research experience. Calling herself an obesity researcher does not count. And her Obesity Epidemic is not an "academic work"
Diana said…
@blogblog -

You've really hijacked this discussion and distorted it.

Some of what you say about the higher education industry in the US is true. Some of it is simply anti-American horseshit. The former is irrelevant to the discussion about Zoe Harcombe. The latter is....anti-American horseshit. Take your contempt for the US and stuff it. Leave that to the experts: Americans themselves.

1. The higher ed industry - I have heard some of the same criticisms of the cheap labor PhD pool and the near-fraudulence of some PhD programs from college professors & scientists....so what? What does this have to do with Zoe Harcombe? The fact that Harcombe lied about being in a PhD program and feels the need to bedeck herself with its prestige means that it still means something. The fact remains that she lied about being in such a program once, and says loads of shit about the obesity epidemic. You CANNOT compare her to a serious obesity researcher, like, for example: Dr. J.P. Flatt, whose research yielded a puzzling result: it is very difficult for the human body to turn pure carbohydrate into fat, unless there is force-feeding. Let Harcombe chew on that one. You can look it up in Pubmed.

2. About US universities being mostly terrible, a lot are, and I think it's a shame that we've brainwashed a generation of kids into debt and going to schools that they aren't suited for. Again- so what? That's a different discussion for a different day. UWS is a perfectly respectable research institution, but Dartmouth is crap, because it's "only" 124 on the list of the world's great unis? Double standard, much?

The US higher ed sitch is quite a mixed bag. Suppose you want to study forestry. Or animal husbandry. Or get a degree from a grain milling program. Yes there is such a thing. You'd go Kansas State University for that, which I discovered reading this:


Who knew there was such a thing as a grain-milling program? I didn't. Now, KSU might not be in the list of world's great unis, but to consign it to the trash can, as you have done, is sheer pig-ignorance.

There must be dozens of such specialized programs in land-grant unis in the US. They don't make the prestige bragging lists you cited, but they are good schools and hardly deserving of your fine contempt.

Now, back to the subject at hand. I can't see one thing that Zoe Harcombe has said, which will help us deal with the modern OE, which I understand has hit Australia with full force.
rodeo said…
Here's the full text:


From my understanding, India is a bit special since many of the adults and their parents in turn grew up in poverty and intermediate starvation. This is likely to influence their adaptation to an affluent society.

For the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans the fat mass seems to be lower than other ethnicities, I haven't looked deeper into it but this is citation number 43 from the already mentioned article:


And a graph of fat mass:


I don't think the rice is to blame here.
Unknown said…
Not to mention, individual programmes taught by specific tutors/professors can have their own merit and enrichment with regards to shaping a student's knowledge base. This university bashing digression is just the lulz.
efaitch said…
Haven't read all the comments (yet) and haven't finished reading your post (yet), but I can find the post grad courses :-) Perhaps this is because I'm British and used to finding things by school, rather than by course?

Nothing in post-grad in School of Science:


Nothing in School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery either:


Now, I'm not convinced that that means that she's *not* doing a PhD here, but, here's the course listings for the relevant schools :-)
Diana said…
@Kade. Yep and further although it is OT....

The US is a very big, diverse country. Outsiders who have been brainwashed by Hollywood think it is all "America" but it isn't. Some have made the case that it really isn't one country but a bunch of different countries all "united" (haha) by a Federal government.

Our uni system reflects that diversity. I have already said that I think many of our kids shouldn't be going to college and many colleges don't deserve to exist. But we also have many which, to snotty foreigners, seem comical, but they are legitimate and necessary.

Perhaps Mr. Oxbridge or Ms. Sandstone Uni would find a specialized program in hog breeding from a Midwestern State U to be a laff-riot. Hog-breeding! Those Yanks! Well, I personally find women's studies programs to be a laff riot. One girl at Yale allegedly produced "art" with her menstrual blood. Shrug. If Mommy & Daddy want to pay for that shizzle, let 'em. It's a Yale degree, after all. And don't tell me that garbage like that doesn't go on at Oxbridge, or the Sandstone Unis of Australia. Of course they do, although maybe it is true that Yale sets the standard in privileged idiocy. I've heard stories.

Compared to that, studying hogf*cking at Midwestern State U is much more legitimate.

But I'm just a seppo, what do I know?
Diana said…
Thank you rodeo. I don't think it's rice either.

blogblog - from now on if you try to make a point can you please supply the URL, as rodeo did? Just a request.
Unknown said…
@Diana. Very good point. I often tell people that it's really a world of its own, even within the one nation of the united states. Far cry from a monolith.

As for university credibility. Preaching to the choir. It's more or less the same ratio of legitimacy to true individual academic growth to sheer pretentiousness and a petty grab for status and social distinction, anywhere on this planet and across a variety of universities on these rather linear rating charts. I've lost time having illogical discussions with a self-important idiot from Harvard, and I've had similarly futile discourse with another self-important idiot from Oxford. Now I don't care for Harvard or Oxford and this by no means reflects on their student body in general, but I most certainly miss those precious minutes of my life that I lost to the kind of idiocy that I believe can manifest under even the most prestigious institutions.

But what do I know? I'm just a reject seppo that is now a meagre subject of Her Royal Highness. Lol.
Diana said…

See my comment of 8:11 a.m. above about Harcombe tweeting me this:


She claims she is studying there.

Whatevs, she lied previously. And she's talking shite now.
Diana said…
What's a reject seppo? We don't reject anybody except the people who are silly enough to try to come here legally.
RRX said…
Unknown said…
Legally? Ahahaha!

A reject seppo is member of a rare species that is seppo but doesn't quite feel right at any given place on the globe by virtue of moving around a lot and not developing sentimental attachments to 'land'. Eventually, these creatures decide to settle down finally in one spot after becoming sick of aeroplanes, and that can be very random and practically anywhere. So incidentally, some of these seppos become the subjects of Her Royal Highness of England and then laugh at themselves for the remainder of their lives. Eh. I'm okay with the prospects.
Paris said…
Zoe Harcombe has become something of a nuisance in the UK. Her inconsistent dietary advice - carbs are in carbs are out changes like the wind. She has devised her own food plate with some charred steak and peppers!
I am not clear if she is really doing a phd - if she is then it is usual for those without a masters to complete an mphil first. That university is hardly a centre of excellece for nutrition and I am not sure even how a cambridge maths degree has got her in there! Clearly she has no credible nutrition qualifications - she is a real fraud. Well done for outing her!
If she really is doing a phd then it clearly shows what an out od date qualification it is - I think she wants to be like Dr Gillian!! If you are doing one then be honest about it Zoe - for once.
Emmanuel Olukpo said…
Hook up with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka’s website; http://www.unn.edu.ng for related issues.

Commander,E.O. UNN.