Monday, December 12, 2011

Primitive Nutrition Critique Parts 4 and 5

In The Protein Debate, Loren Cordain wrote the following:



He seems to be saying two things:

1)  Nutrition as a science suffers from “chaos, disagreement, and confusion.”

And

2) Use of ‘an evolutionary model’ would elimate “chaos, disagreement, and confusion”  by providing “coherent way to interpret the data.”

With regard to the first statement, I don’t know where he finds the “chaos, disagreement, and confusion” in nutrition science.  I can’t find this in any standard nutrition textbooks, in the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board Dietary Reference Intakes publications, or among various expert panels making dietary recommendations to the public.  Among these scientific sources, I find very little or no debate as to human requirements for protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals.   Also, the general guidelines for diet vary little from expert panel to expert panel.  Do I see a straw man here?

Or is Cordain preoccupied with the confusion among lay people, generated by the profusion of fad diet books?

Or is the disagreement he refers to the disagreement between his recommendation for a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, and the science which shows that humans only require a small amount of protein (one-third of what Cordain advocates) and lots of carbohydrates?

With regard to the second statement above, this implies that we should find even greater agreement among those who profess to use “an evolutionary model” to evaluate nutrition than we do among the conventional sources that Cordain derides. 

So let’s take a look.

Fruits and Vegetables

Regarding consumption of fruits and vegetables, expert panels of the USDAAmerican Heart Association, National Cancer Institute, American Institute for Cancer Research, World Cancer Research Fund, and many others generally agree that we benefit from eating fruits and vegetables.

In contrast, among those using an evolutionary model, Cordain believes that we should eat them because they provide important phytochemicals that protect against cancer and inflammation, but evolutionary model advocate and radiologist Kurt Harris, M.D. has once expressed the view that “plants and plant compounds are not essential or magic,” stating:
"Show me a randomized intervention that shows the benefits of fruits and vegetables. Such trials have been done and they have not shown a benefit." 
Unfortunately I do not know to which trials he refers as he provided no reference.  In that essay, Harris added that the idea that a particular plant compound is essential is inherently implausible and in need of a rigor of proof suitable for establishing the idea that there exists some extraterrestrial intelligence:
"To overcome the inherent implausibility of a particular compound or plant being essential or uniquely beneficial to health, there must be a high standard of proof.

"Similar to the level of proof there that there is extraterrestrial intelligence. It's implausible, so good evidence is needed."
Dr. Harris has amended his view on this topic somewhat since those words, and has written a blog indicating he believes that some plant compounds may provide benefits and "that eating some veggies is a hedge against going without unspecified beneficial compounds."

My question is, if the evolutionary model is so helpful for eliminating chaos and confusion, why didn't it clearly favor one or the other of these views about plants and plant compounds? 

Nutrition science recognizes many plant compounds essential to health (although apparently not those that Dr. Harris had in mind in his 'plant compounds are not essential' essay).  Those include, minimally, the vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, folate, ascorbic acid, phylloqunione (vitamin K1), tocopherols (vitamin E); the essential fats linoleic and linolenic acids; and the essential amino acids isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, and histidine.

All of these compounds are originally synthesized by plants and, except for niacin, appear in animal tissues only because the animal ate plants directly or ate another animal that ate plants.  The evidence that we require these plant compounds is thoroughly discussed in the various Dietery Reference Intakes publications of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences as well as numerous standard nutrition textbooks.

Amazingly, nutritional scientists discovered the essentiality of these nutrients for modern humans without speculating about the habits of stone age hunter-gatherers, consulting archaeologists, or asking anthropologists what isolated hunter-gatherers eat. Am I to believe that all of this talk of essential nutrients is nonsense because it was discovered without applying an evolutionary model?

In addition, while I would agree that it is implausible that any particular plant (e.g. spinach) is essential to health, plants world-wide have similar constituents (including non-vitamin phytonutrients).  For example, polyphenols occur in many species of plants world-wide.  To my knowledge, no nutrition scientist is arguing that any particular plant is essential or uniquely beneficial to human health, but many would suggest that humans have adapted to (possibly to become reliant upon) consumption of families of plant compounds (e.g. polyphenols).  I find this considerably more plausible than the idea of extraterrestrial intelligence (I don't know if Dr. Harris has changed his opinion here), since we already have established a human need for the plant compounds I have listed above.
So far as I can tell, except for vitamin D, which our own bodies synthesize if exposed to sunlight, not one nutrient mentioned in those FNB documents as an essential dietary component for humans is originally synthesized only by animals; i.e. all are originally synthesized by plants or microbes, or present as inorganic components of the earth's crust.  This table lists the essential nutrients and their original sources:

Nutrient
Original Source(s)
Essential amino acids (9)
Plants
Linoleic acid
Plants
Linolenic acid
Plants
Glucose
Plants
ß-carotene (provitamin A)
Plants
Tocopherols (vitamin E)
Plants
Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3)
Endogenous synthesis after sunlight exposure
Phylloquinone (vitamin K)
Plants
Thiamine (B1)
Plants and microbes
Riboflavin (B2)
Plants and microbes
Niacin (B3)
Plants
Pantothenic acid (B5)
Plants and microbes
Pyridoxine (B6)
Plants and microbes
Folate
Plants and microbes
Cobalamin (B12)
Microbes
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
Plants
Minerals
Rocks, soil (brought into the food chain by plants)

Cholesterol

Regarding dietary and blood cholesterol, scientific bodies consistently agree that dietary cholesterol is not beneficial or essential, and reducing cholesterol levels is desirable and necessary for avoiding cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis).  For example, the NAS Food and Nutrition Board writes:

"There is much evidence to indicate a positive linear trend between cholesterol intake and low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration, and therefore increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). A Tolerable Upper Intake Level is not set for cholesterol because any incremental increase in cholesterol intake increases CHD risk. Because cholesterol is unavoidable in ordinary diets, eliminating cholesterol in the diet would require significant changes in patterns of dietary intake. Such significant adjustments may introduce undesirable effects (e.g., inadequate intakes of protein and certain micronutrients) and unknown and unquantifiable health risks. Nonetheless, it is possible to have a diet low in cholesterol while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet. Dietary guidance for minimizing cholesterol intake is provided in Chapter 11."
Let me emphasize some lines from this passage:

"There is much evidence to indicate a positive linear trend between cholesterol intake and low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration, and therefore increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)."

"....any incremental increase in cholesterol intake increases CHD risk."

Of interest, this paragraph illustrates my previous point that the dominant nutrition paradigm includes Cordain's belief that elimination of animal foods from the diet "may introduce undesirable effects (e.g., inadequate intakes of protein and certain micronutrients) and unknown and unquantifiable health risks."  This passage documents that Cordain's perspective is conservative, not revolutionary, compared to Campbell's, because, unlike Cordain and the Food and Nutrition Board, Campbell does not believe that eliminating cholesterol from the diet would result in protein or micronutrient deficiencies or 'unknown and unquantifiable health risks.'  

Nevertheless, the  Food and Nutrition Board maintains that dietary cholesterol (i.e. animal food) intake increases coronary heart disease risk.  The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute concurs and adds that "the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack."    Their publication "High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need To Know" includes this:

Again, no confusion or chaos apparent in the nutrition science Cordain has attacked.

In contrast, among those using the supposedly ‘unifying’ evolutionary model, Cordain believes that LDL cholesterol should be less than 70 mg/dL, but Kurt Harris, M.D. has expressed an opposing opinion of no confidence at all in any version of the lipid hypothesis:
"I do not believe in any of the versions of the lipid hypothesis, ranging from Ancel Keys' original idea that cholesterol or dietary fat clogs the arteries, to the currently fashionable one that “small, dense” LDL particles are like microscopic rodents that are designed to burrow under the intima of your blood vessels and kill you."
Why didn't their common use of an evolutionary model eliminate this disagreement?

Saturated Fat

Regarding saturated fat, scientific consensus documents such as the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the NAS clearly state that we have no requirement for dietary saturated fat and any incremental increase in dietary saturated fat increases heart disease risk.  Here again I quote the FNB Dietary Reference Intakes for Fats:

"Saturated fatty acids are synthesized by the body to provide an adequate level needed for their physiological and structural functions; they have no known role in preventing chronic diseases. Therefore, neither an AI nor RDA is set for saturated fatty acids. There is a positive linear trend between total saturated fatty acid intake and total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration and increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). A UL is not set for saturated fatty acids because any incremental increase in saturated fatty acid intake increases CHD risk." [emphasis added]
You will find that all major expert panels around the world maintain this position. 

In contrast, among those claim to use the supposedly ‘unifying’ evolutionary model, Cordain believes the evolutionary model prescribes lean meat and low intake of dietary saturated fat, while Michael Eades, M.D. thinks that the evolutionary model prescribes fatty meat and high intake of saturated fat.

Should I really believe that the members of the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board, composed of individuals who have invested their whole lives in studying nutrition both as scholars and bench scientists, do not understand the effect of nutrition on CHD risk, because they failed to use an evolutionary model?  Do you think the members of the FNB know the difference between correlation and causation?  Or did they get to the top of their field without mastering this concept presented in any undergraduate course in statistics or science?

Fitness 

Regarding fitness, at least one advocates of looking at things with an evolutionary model, Art DeVany believes that the scientific data proscribes distance running (note:  in the comments below Dr. Harris disavows using an exclusively evolutionary model to come to this conclusion), while Daniel E. Lieberman, a Harvard evolutionary biologist, and Dennis M. Bramble, a biologist at the University of Utah,  believe that an evolutionary model prescribes distance running.  If the evolutionary model is so powerful for eliminating chaos and confusion, why don't advocates of an evolutionary model agree on this point?

Confusion Within the Evolutionary Model

The ‘evolutionary model’ offered by Cordain and low-carbers also seems to introduce some confusion into the ‘evolutionary model’ itself.

According to this model, we should eat the imagined meaty low-carbohydrate diet of stone age mammoth hunters in order to increase our metabolic rates and lose body fat.    

Does this make evolutionary sense? 

I mean, would a high metabolic rate induced by a high protein/lean meat intake really benefit to a stone age hunter gatherer who already had difficulty getting hold of enough food to meet his metabolic needs?  

And would a low body fat level  achieved by a meaty low carb diet be an evolutionary advantage to humans dealing with extremely cold winters during the ice ages? 

Groking the Source of Confusion

Could it be that Paleo advocates are confused and confusing because they rely on an imaginary Grok for their guidance rather than science?   

By that I mean that the paleo diet ‘evolutionary’ model is based on largely imagining what stone age people did.  In case you didn’t notice, we don’t have any body composition data, diet or medical records, photos, or videos from the stone age people the paleo crowd wants to emulate.  

 This means you have to use your imagination to come up with any picture of them and their diets and lifestyles.   My imagination is different from yours, so we just might come up with different Groks to emulate. 

Cordain and his colleagues used their imaginations when they published "Estimated macronutrient and fatty acid intakes from an East African Paleolithic diet"  in the British Journal of Nutrition.  

I have realized that few if any of the conclusions in this document are subject to either confirmation or falsification.  You can invent any number of 'models' of paleolithic diets and none can be either confirmed or falsified simply because we have no direct access to or records of East African Paleolithic human diets.

Let me put it this way.  If I estimate that present-day Italian farmers consume 400 g of wheat bread and 3000 kcal per day in the winter, I can test my estimate by going to Italy, collecting diet records, and doing the math.  Others can test my estimate by the same procedure.  I could be proven wrong by someone else.  But if I estimate that Neanderthal females consumed 1200 kcal, 500 mg of DHA, and 30 mg of vitamin C daily in the summer, neither I nor anyone else can test my estimate against reality because neither Neanderthals nor their habitat exist any longer. 

And that is my introduction to these two videos:







75 comments:

Jorge said...

Farewell to Don

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

Congratulations, Don.

You've managed to use my name to construct a straw man argument for each of your points in fine fashion.

Have you read any of my posts that are newer than say, the last 2 years???

I particularly like how you say:

"I don't know who Dr. Harris imagines believes that plants or plant compounds are 'magic' (or what he means by 'magic') "

Gee, Don, if you actually read the essay you linked to, you could see EXACTLY what I mean by magic. Try reading the essay and maybe you won't be confused.

"All of these compounds are originally synthesized by plants and, except for niacin, appear in animal tissues only because the animal ate plants directly or ate another animal that ate plants."

Yes, Don, isn't that neat how animals aggregate nutrients for us in addition to providing ones that we cannot get at all from plants like B12 and long chain N-3 fatty acids?

After actually reading the essay, you could read the following essay to see my later and current thinking about plant compounds and hormesis:

http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/2/28/william-munny-eats-his-vegetables.html

It was written a full year ago, by the way and describes how plant compounds can be beneficial via hormesis.

Then you could read these essays and maybe look at me actual dietary recommendations and see how well they fit your characterizations here:

http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/3/30/paleo-20-a-diet-manifesto.html\

http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/1/29/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-macronutrient-part-i-fats.html

http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/2/5/no-such-thing-as-a-macronutrient-part-ii-carbohydrates-revis.html

http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

After reading those, you could see that there is plenty of room for healthy starch and politically correct fruits and vegetables as well as tasty animals in my dietary world.

You've made a real stupid mistake thinking it must be either plant OR animals, Don.

Someday you will feel mighty foolish. Much more foolish than I feel for eating VLC for a while. That's for sure.

Then you could re-read this essay:

http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2010/7/21/statins-and-the-cholesterol-hypothesis-part-i.html

Nowhere in this essay do I say that "no blood cholesterol fraction has any influence on heart disease".

The point is that "cholesterol measurements" are reflections of a diet that may influence risk and are contextual. I do not say "have no influence". I do say "not worth measuring" and no proof manipulating them modifies risk favorably - just the opposite, in fact.

Feel free to post it if you have PROOF otherwise.

You could then read this essay, where I clearly convey that LDL receptor function is related to heart disease risk, even if it is unproven that taking statins for hetFH has a favorable risk/reward ratio.

http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/2/14/a-quick-post-on-fh-and-statins.html

As far as animal fat or cholesterol consumption per se causing heart disease, I say to you PROVE IT.

Quoting some politically influenced acronymic government mouthpiece is not proof of anything.

No one has and there is no prospective intervention study showing such.

You and "professor cordain" are on the same totally wrong page there.

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

continued...

"Should I really believe that Michael Eades and Kurt Harris know more about the effect of saturated fats on heart disease than the members of the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board, composed of individuals who have invested their whole lives in studying nutrition both as scholars and bench scientists?"

Believe whatever you want, but If you don't side with me and Eades, you also are contra Guyenet, Masterjohn and Colpo, just to name a few. You think Mike Eades and I are the only ones who doubt the diet/heart nonsense?

Why don't you take Walter Willett's advice and eat more PUFA for your heart?

Or will you side with Bill Lands instead?

Pay your money and take your chances, Don.

I do NOT make an evolutionary argument against distance running. I never have. I have described possible dangers of marathon running based on actual scientific studies.

I really, really hate people that misquote and misattribute what others have said to try and make a point. In this case, that would be you.

I agree with Cordain and DeVaney on practically nothing, especially the value of making ad hoc evolutionary arguments.

I am not going to take the time to deconstruct all your gross mischaracterizations one at a time, as anyone who can read can see you are seriously misrepresenting what I actually said.

I wonder, though, why didn't you just quote old posts of your own from when you were "paleo" a mere 12 moths or so ago?

You've gone from near carnivory to MacDougall veganism in that time frame with no real explantation for why you are any more credible now than you were then.

Don, you're like those alcoholics that quit the drink and turn to Jesus, and now chain smoke while eating donuts at AA meetings.

You go from one batshit crazy extreme to another, and now basically have zero credibility. And I'm not even counting the superstitious nonsense you tout about "traditional chinese" medicine, yin and yang and other pseudoscientific bullshit.

Please leave my name out of your dumb crusade against "paleo", if you can't quote me accurately or even bother to read my more recent writings.

Or just quote yourself to show how stupid paleo is.

You've got plenty of posts that would fit better than ones I put up more than 2 years ago.

Eric said...

Your blog posts have become frustrating to read because it seems like you're trolling or as if you have a personal vendetta at play. You've become master cherry-picker.

Just one example... You're quoting the National Academic Press (??) about SFAs. They say:

"any incremental increase in saturated fatty acid intake increases CHD risk."

They leave no reference to a source, which a scientific mind would question. But you quote it because it suits your message. You don't know the details of the study, or what mortality was, if they established causation as the sentence implies, if it's correlation, or what confounders were adjusted for.

Now I Googled this, and the first result was something that claimed the opposite of what you were saying (screenshot: http://screencast.com/t/zaTmyuSp5). It's a Reuters article referencing a new meta-analysis (http://www.ajcn.org/content/91/3/535.abstract) of 21 studies (n=348,000) whose findings directly contradict your quote from the NAP. In fact, on that Google search results page, most of the links point to studies that contradict your quote. That tells me you must have tried pretty hard to overlook that data.

You go on to say the following biased, utterly unscientific statement:

"You will find that all major expert panels around the world maintain this position. It is really pointless to belabor this."

This is laughable. If I were you I'd be careful about putting too much faith in "expert panels." Sometimes panel members aren't even scientists, but rather MDs, or people under corporate influence. Regardless, an expert panel's opinion is not scientific. It's an opinion.

I have faith that intelligent people will see right through what you're trying to do here. The rest of them are yours :)

Emerson said...

Don,

I realize that this is somewhat off topic. Maybe you'll get to this point when you review Primitive Nutrition videos 62 through 65. But here goes. . . . . .

What is your opinion of the controversy between Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Denise Minger and the data accumulated via the Cornell-China-Oxford project?

Do you think that Dr. Campbell's interpretation of that data is more accurate? Or do you think that Denise Minger's analysis is mostly correct?

It seems Campbell saw the data and concluded that human beings are more suited to a plant based diet. Minger, on the other hand, took from the data that while human beings need to stay away from wheat, they should view animal based foods as healthy.

Your views on this?

Gretchen said...

Don, I think you are too impressed by credentials and official sources. Remember, scientific evidence keeps evolving, and it's often by questioning the current dogma (like the suggestion that the earth isn't the center of the universe) that leads to new research and then new dogma, which will be questioned in turn.

Remember, it was "expert" panels that came up with the old Food Pyramid, which urged us to eat more carbs like white bread and breakfast cereals and undoubtedl contributed to the diabetes epidemic.

Someone I know went to a nutritionist (who had presumably spent years studying nutrition and had a degree in the subject) because she couldn't tolerate wheat and asked the nutritionist what she could have for breakfast. The nutritionist recommended plain toast.

Another friend was told by a nutritionist to put raisins in her oatmeal ("to get the carbs up"). The woman was diabetic, and her blood sugar got worse and worse following the "expert" advice. Only when she decided to find out what worked for her was she able to control her disease.

Some people do well on your currently recommended high-carb diet. Others do better on low-carb diets. There's no point in digging up old papers to try to prove that your current preferences are best for everyone.

I agree with you that we really have no firm evidence about what paleo people ate. They probably ate different things in different parts of the world. What is important is how a paleo diet affects individuals, and some find that it works for them.

Razwell said...

Hi, Don :)

Dariush Mozaffarian , the head of cardiovascular epidemiology at Harvard, came out recently and admitted that there is no evidence saturated fats increase risk of coronary artery disease. You can hear it on the podcast on my blog. He goes into great detail in this podcast.

Razwell said...

I forgot to mention, Don:

Coronary artery disease is complex stuff. I know that Anthony Colpo is a crackpot, and I am not basing any view of mine on him.




I am only saying that there are factors well beyond diet in this disease.


No one on the planet has a complete understanding of coronary artery disease. To do so, one would have to have a complete understanding of human cellular biochemical operations. We're nowhere near that,yet.


Science is like peeling an onion , not opening a box. I am not willing to say yet that cholesterol does not matter at all. It's one of the things involved, and a level of 600mg/dl will complicate things in an artery that already is very damaged etc.

But , saturated fatty acids do not seem to be the problem, as Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian points out.

But genuine science ALWAYS admits to uncertainty. :)

Take care,
Raz

Peter said...

Don,

I'd love you to extend this serie to cholesterol deniers as well. The video 39 about Uffe Ravnskovs book (published by Weston Price Foundation) is sheer hillarious. The segments on Ancek Keys and Cholesterol deniers are blast (36-39)!

Peter said...

@Kurt, MD

Very nice that you can admit being wrong. The fact is however, that as role of medical doctor you've said some silly things, and still continue to do so:

"Yes, Don, isn't that neat how animals aggregate nutrients for us in addition to providing ones that we cannot get at all from plants like B12 and long chain N-3 fatty acids?"

You missed the point. The point was the evolutionary model and its application among the pushers of fad diets. This model creates loads of confusion for the reasons Don pointed out, nutritional sciences do not create confusion that much. That was the point, not whether you have it correct or not. I cannot see how Don has constructed a straw man argument against you at all. You used the evolutionary model and arrived at some very bizarre conclusions. That was the point.

Peter said...

"As far as animal fat or cholesterol consumption per se causing heart disease, I say to you PROVE IT".

Kurt Harris, MD. It's proved already with Ancel Keys seventh country study and repeatedly after, time after time. Just because the paleo-crew doesn't understand the power epidemiology doesn't change anything. Videos 36-39 and segment of cholesterol deniers 42-45. Watch them, please. The info, could be of a great benefits to your patients.

Peter said...

@Gretchen

Don, I think you are too impressed by credentials and official sources. Remember, scientific evidence keeps evolving, and it's often by questioning the current dogma (like the suggestion that the earth isn't the center of the universe) that leads to new research and then new dogma, which will be questioned in turn".

sure, we should listen bunch of bloggers that say Americans have gotten fat because they ate like the official recommendation prescribed. Do you have any idea what are the adherence rate of these recommendations? Do you see diabetic "brothers" ordering carrots and whole-wheat porridge at KFC?

Don said...

It took at least 50 years for the scientific community to accumulate enough evidence that the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board has confidence to make that statement in the Dietary Reference Intakes.

Kurt Harris,

I am sorry if I offended you by quoting your earlier views on plants and cholesterol et al, while being ignorant of recent developments in your thought.

But if you put up a post with a title that says plants and plant compounds are not essential or magic, that is known as an absolute statement, translated in logic thus: No plants or plant compounds are essential or magic. You may have changed your views but at that time you apparently were confident enough in your belief that you used it as the title of your post. I don't see the straw man, unless you can show me that, logically, I have mistranslated the title of that post.

Further, I only took that as an example of how, at one time, two people claiming to use an evolutionary model, came to directly opposite conclusions, which according to Cordain ought not happen since the evolutionary model is the only way to 'unify' and make sense of all the data.

B-12 is produced by microbes, not animals.

To my knowledge, long chain omega 3s are not recognized as essential nutrients, because we are capable of converting the 18 carbon omega-3 found in plants into the longer chains to meet our requirements.

I would certainly put all of my 'paleo-logic' posts in the same bin. I followed the lead of the Ravnskov-inspired crew for a long time. And I also pretended to know more about lipid science than lipid scientists at times. I am certainly hoping to put those mistakes behind me.

WRT the distance running, again I was pointing out that people operating with an avowed evolutionary model have very different interpretations of the science on distance running. Again, trying to show that, contrary to the expectation set up by Cordain, use of an evolutionary model does not reduce chaos and confusion. Apparently you didn't think the effects of distance running on human physiology had any evolutionary basis.

With this post, I am primarily trying to show that the 'evolutionary model' does not appear to reduce the 'chaos and confusion' in opinions about nutrition.

"You've gone from near carnivory to MacDougall veganism in that time frame with no real explantation for why you are any more credible now than you were then."

So I need to establish my credibility in order to make diet changes and explore non-paleo views on my blog? And how exactly would I go about providing an explanation for why I am more credible now that I was then?

As for foolish, I have felt it many times in my life, but no more than for buying into paleo logic. I now have a dear friend who has breast cancer. She ate a paleo-inspired diet for more than 14 years. By the estimates of one of her oncologists, the cancer she has developed about 6 years ago, i.e. after about 8 years on a diet high in animal protein and saturated fats. I have researched this and so far, it looks very likely to me that her paleo diet promoted this cancer.

We will always find naysayers on any topic. I ask, do the naysayers have the bulk of evidence on their side? Or are they relying on the 'noise' in the research?

Eric,

I just quoted from the summary section of the NAS FNB Dietary Reference Intakes publication chapter on fats. If you want the references, read that publication. It provides plenty of references. I only quoted it as an example of the conclusion of a panel of experts who have reviewed the scientific research on this topic.

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

@Peter

"It's proved already with Ancel Keys seventh country study and repeatedly after, time after time. Just because the paleo-crew doesn't understand the power epidemiology doesn't change anything. "

The power is irrelevant if you have had selected the data to give the result you want.

Anyone can create a good fit by tossing out data! That is what keys did go end up with only 7 countries.

I don't need to watch a video. I've read all the relevant papers over the past 4 1/2 years. Have you?

"You missed the point. The point was the evolutionary model and its application among the pushers of fad diets."

No, Peter, you've missed the point. I don't give damn what Don's point is. I care that I am being misquoted and that Don is claiming one can go more without animals than without plants, which is in denial of biological facts, documented by Price, among others.

I criticized evolutionary reasoning years before Don's conversion to your religion. I doubt if you have even read my blog based on your comments here.

Don is making me sound like an ally of DeVaney and Cordain, but I have never been allied with or even influenced them.

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

@Don

"I am sorry if I offended you by quoting your earlier views on plants and cholesterol et al, while being ignorant of recent developments in your thought. "

Don, I am not offended at digging up old posts, I am miffed that you are not quoting accurately their content and meaning. I have not changed my views that much.

"But if you put up a post with a title that says plants and plant compounds are not essential or magic, that is known as an absolute statement, translated in logic thus: No plants or plant compounds are essential or magic. "

Could you be more dishonest? You are using formal logical analysis on the TITLE in lieu of the content of the post itself? The essay does not say to AVOID plants, it is dissuading folks from thinking eating particular plant compounds or plants is a panacea. I've not changed my mind on this a bit.

Who thinks the TITLE of a movie or a novel is a complete and accurate description of the whole work?

You are cherry picking the title to construct your argument.

"You may have changed your views but at that time you apparently were confident enough in your belief that you used it as the title of your post. I don't see the straw man, unless you can show me that, logically, I have mistranslated the title of that post. "

You have. READ THE POST. I stand by it as written. The meaning, once again, is that there are no PARTICULAR, INDIVIDUAL plants that everyone needs to eat for health

"B-12 is produced by microbes, not animals."

No argument there, but we must eat animals or we eat feces to get the microbial product, unless we are choosing a totally artificial diet of supplements.

"To my knowledge, long chain omega 3s are not recognized as essential nutrients, because we are capable of converting the 18 carbon omega-3 found in plants into the longer chains to meet our requirements."

They are converted a rate so inefficient that they are better thought of as essential as a practical matter. I agree with Masterjohn, Kresser and others on this point.

I don't agree with Ravnskov that CAD is due to "stress" - my views are closest to Masterjohn.

"Apparently you didn't think the effects of distance running on human physiology had any evolutionary basis."

All biology has an evolutionary basis, even if I didn't make an evolutionary argument about running.

"With this post, I am primarily trying to show that the 'evolutionary model' does not appear to reduce the 'chaos and confusion' in opinions about nutrition."

OK, why not try doing it without mis-stating my views to make your points.

"And how exactly would I go about providing an explanation for why I am more credible now that I was then? "

A very good question.

"I now have a dear friend who has breast cancer. She ate a paleo-inspired diet for more than 14 years. By the estimates of one of her oncologists, the cancer she has developed about 6 years ago, i.e. after about 8 years on a diet high in animal protein and saturated fats. I have researched this and so far, it looks very likely to me that her paleo diet promoted this cancer."

I am sorry about your friend, but you don't have a clue what "causes" a single cancer.

We must read the literature, and there is no evidence that "animal protein" and fat are the cause of cancer.

And why would they be?

Don said...

Kurt,

First, are you disclaiming use of an evolutionary model?

If so, then I will gladly edit this to remove your name entirely, as I can illustrate my points without reference to you at all.

Otherwise, I have already edited it to hopefully eliminate any confusion.

That is the only point (use of an evolutionary model) on which I can see I have suggested you agree with Cordain. Otherwise, I have emphasized that you disagree with him on several points, have I not?.

Third, the seven countries study was not done by throwing out data. Keys was not using someone else's data, then throwing out the data he didn't like. The seven countries study is a longitudinal study collected original data using 15 cohorts, with follow-ups for more than 25 years.

http://www.sph.umn.edu/epi/history/overview.asp

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/124/6/903.short

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=SEven+Countries+STudy&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

Keys did original data collection for those 7 countries mainly because the data available at the inception of the study had many flaws. It was 'state of the art' for a cohort study initiated at that time. Anyway, the study only collected data on 7 countries, which is why it has its name.

The Humane Hominid said...

As a paleontology student, I often chuckle at how many people think evolution is as straightforward as basic arithmetic. As though it can provide Y answer to every X question (which is, I know, an algebra reference, but you get the point).

The point I take away from this series is that the "paleo" idea that nutrition science should be based on, or even can be meaningfully informed by, the fossil record is silly.

Don said...

Kurt,

A title is part of an article. You could have written something else; why choose an abolute statement if it isn't what you have in mind. Like this: No single plant is essential to health.

No matter, I will use another example.

No where did I say that animal protein or fat CAUSED my friend's cancer. I said that the science indicates it probably PROMOTED her cancer. The literature gives many reasons that a high protein diet or elevated cholesterol would promote cancers, but the limits of this comment box prohibit going into detail about that here. Some of the players are heme iron, IGF-1, serum cholesterol, and excess serum methionine availability,all of which promote tumor growth.

Here's one article addressing metabolites of cholesterol and promotion of breast cancer.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21304949

Plant Positive said...

Dr Harris, now that you are spelling "Keys" correctly, maybe you could learn a bit more about him by watching my videos called "The Infamous Ancel Keys". You will see that your belief that he tossed out data is mistaken. You really should be more careful before alleging scientific fraud, sir. You will be surprised at the real story. You should also have a look at my section on Denise Minger before you side with her over Campbell.

Sue said...

Plant Positive your videos are lame. Well, what I could stomach.

Sue said...

Don, you've lost the plot:
http://freetheanimal.com/2011/12/farewell-to-debunking-paleo.html

gwarm said...

re: "I've read all the relevant papers over the past 4 1/2 years."

Can you debunk this "Comments Off" KurtHarris tinyurl.com/drgregercomplete (PDFs) Watch for 16+hours and vol 7 is coming out Dec19.

I can see how anabolic proteins might be good for sarcopenia but otherwise what about the above.

Grandfather Smiles said...

"I ain’t afraid of your Yahweh,
I ain’t afraid of your Allah,
I ain’t afraid of your Jesus,
I’m afraid of what you do in the name of your god.
Rise up to your higher power,
free up from fear, it will devour you,
watch out for the ego of the hour,
the ones who say they know it are the ones who will impose it on you."

- Holly Near

Is diet any different? No. I respect your courage to listen to your body, Don, but I no longer value your polarizing health proclamations.

Nonetheless, thanks for inspiring me to value my body. I wish you the best in your dietary endeavors.

Farewell.

Don said...

Smiles,

not sure what is 'polarizing' about reporting some facts about nutrients and the recommendations of various expert panels.

And where did you find anywhere an idea that I or anyone else wanted to impose anything on anyone else.

This is information. Do with it what you will.

Don said...

To those who believe that the only way to get dietary B-12 is to eat meat, feces, or supplements:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/m34328h82716261u/fulltext.pdf

"The addition of pure BI2
or cow dung did not alter the B12 content in the soybean seeds but significantly increased that in the barley kernels and in the spinach leaves. For example, the addition of cow dung at the rate of 10 g kg-1 increased the B 12 content
in barley kernels by more than threefold (from 2.6 to 9.1 ng g-1 DW) and in spinach leaves by close to twofold (from 6.9 to 17.8 ng g-1 DW). Long-term addition of organic fertilizers to the soil also significantly increased the
soil content of this vitamin."

Notice that enrichment of the soil INCREASED B-12 content of spinach and barley, i.e. even without enrichment the plants had some B-12.

FeelGoodEating said...

Be well Don.
Your belief in yourself will keep you in the clear for years to come.

I did learn a few good things from your blog years ago. Thanks for that.
Signing off.
Marc

Gretchen said...

@Peter

> Do you see
> diabetic "brothers" ordering carrots and whole-wheat porridge at KFC?

I don't think KFC sells those things.

I know one diabetic "sister" who raised all her own vegetables and worked long hours at a tree farm and got diabetes despite that.

I know another who adhered to a very low fat diet and got diabetes despite that.

I don't know any who kept LC diets pre-Dx, but in the past 20 years very few people followed that lifestyle, so it doesn't mean much.

Jimmy Gee said...

Man, you are really losing it. Are you sure you should have changed your diet? You seem to get more weird the longer you eat this way.

ryan said...

Bye don. Enjoy your new vegan buddies!

Aaron said...

Don, can you prove that we can use the b-12 contained in spinach or barley? We know the b-12 in seaweeds are analogs that displace the true b-12 we need.

Most Vegan proponents agree there is no real b12 source coming from plants unless you eat dirt or feces. Or eating fruits and veggies in there natural setting.

I don't think we should go back to eating dirty veggies because it is not practical.

Also, most b-12 supplements contain WAY TOO MUCH b-12, and i feel the ratio of b-vitamins are way more important than absolutes.

I'm positive that eating some b-12 rich seafoods -- or liver once in a while (in small quantities) has to be a net-positive.

Aaron said...

I would also like to say that I've participated with Don and Kurt and others in the Blogosphere for years now.

I can remember way back when I posted on Danny Roddy's site (When he was a total carno) that I felt a Kitavan type diet was the best for longevity. I had Don argue with me at the time. But he opened my mind up to better prove what I already thought.

I would also make comments that you could alter this longevity diet to make it more growth promoting (but less life-extending). The diet would become a lot like devanys.

I am glad that Don is finally backing the science -- and to the higher carb diet.

I also remember having a back and forth with Kurt about veggies and how I thought they worked via hormesis. (just look back on his site when he had comments)

At the time I didn't feel like defending my position because he said there was nothing special about veggies (but then again, i thought I was right, and too lazy to respond). And now he is pretty much in my camp.

Most on my info was gained over the years by commenting at the immortality institute. The people on that site loved to used studies on which to look at IGF-1 etc.

TRY the longevity institute out!

The question I have for Don now is -- what carbs do we eat. For example, I get headaches from potatoes/sweet potatoes. I dont feel gluten grains are healthy (and I break out in pimples if I eat them. I can eat white rice (not brown because I feel bad on that too).

What is a sensitive person supposed to do?

Kurt Harris is 100% right that animal foods are easy to consume (I NEVER EVER HAVE A PROBLEM eating them) - but I don't think the protein or composition of them is optimal for longevity.

You can't just eat a shit ton of fruit because of the fructose and other allergy issues that can come with some fruit (ie salicylates)

My diet ends up using high-glucose fruits/and low anti-nutrient veggies. lots of white rice (but I would love a substitute) Some olive oil (not nuts because of the polys). And I do use a little butter oil (5g or less daily) just for the nutrients. And btw, I think that ABSOLUTE cholesterol matters alot. Even people with HDLs of 100+ could be potentially be harming themselves.

How can we prepare carb rich starches so that the anti-nutrients or allergies go away -- I mean I even get headaches from wild rice.

Sorry for the ramblings -- but I'm just too ADD to form this in any other way.

Peter said...

@Kurt

"The power is irrelevant if you have had selected the data to give the result you want.

Anyone can create a good fit by tossing out data! That is what keys did go end up with only 7 countries".

And you expect me to go after some blogger buffoon with no training in epidemiology nor statistics pushing his or her pseudoscientific fringe believes. Please!

Yes, I am much frequented with the "Keys was never familar with the Inuits" -style BS analysis.

Renaud said...

Don,

I'm sad, beacause you apears dishonest about your quotation of Dr Harris. I also have doubts where you so suddenly flip your mind, rejecting all that you tought right previously. And for what reason ? things have to be black or white ? I agree with Kurt : there definitely ARE shades of grey, and context is essential.

I started my jouney more than 18 month ago. By then, y was mostly "by default" a semi-vegetarian junk-foodist, with no real understanding in nutrition. That was based on opinions, earings, no sound critical thinking, and no real conscious choice. Then i started to realy ask myself questions, and jumped in the paleo wagon, learned a lot, and thought it made sense : all the LCHF, ketogenic, etc. We are clearly adapted to these way of eating, that's part of our metabolic flexibility, that allowed the human specie to grow and go anywhere on earth through incredibly diverse biomes, climates and conditions. Does it say this is the best diet ? I don't think so.

I also read Doug Graham, saw DurianRider and Michael Arnstein. And they also say things that apear (to me) to make sense. Even if in general i don't like the tone of most of their saying against their "oponents" (but there are harsh paleo talks also). Fruitarianism make sense. Does it means it's the best or the only way ? Of course not.

People are often biased, sometime strongly. I was too, being "excessively paleo" in he begining. But i learned a lot (and still do) from Kurt Harris, Chris Masterjohn, Denise Minger, the Jaminet, Jammie Scott and others. These persons have their bias and opinions, but they evolve and asks questions. I used to include you in this list, and initialy welcomed your farewell to paleo. But now you burn the land behind you, and i must say that i see less and less sense, too much radicality, in your message. I can't stand "science stuffed" religion, be it paleo, vegan or anything else.

Actualy i'm trying some hybrid diet as n=1 experiment. I eat two meal. At midday i eat meat/fish with a lot of veggies, and not affraid of some saturated fat. On the evening, i eat like a fruitarian, or eat "safe" starches. That's a relatively new experiment to me (was Jaminet style before), but i'm so far very well on it, even if i eat a lot of fructose in the evening.
I can say that if i eat fat within the fruitarian phase, that's not going well ! I ate a big piece of cheese one evening after a lot of fruit... i was sick as hell the next morning. That make sense, as it seems that fructose and fat do not mix well.

For now i'm heading to a mix of fruitarian plus some meat/organs/fish. Let's see what happens... but at least it does not apear to be incompatible with our evolved physiology. It seems reasonable to thing that we evolved from a frugivorous monkey, possibly one that evolved by an aquatic milieu to eat seafood. We clearly kept a fugivorous adapted physiology, and evolved to eat also starches (amylase) and meat things, having our digestive system adated to more nutrious food (small intestine / colon size), promoted probably by multiple factor : cooking, access to meat/fish, access to nuts and tubers through the use of tools, etc...

Our ability to make cholesterol, and the inability to make vitamin C, suggests that we were/are adapted to a no-meat environment. Our B12 requirement means nothing as in the wild unwashed veggies would provide them. But there a a bunch of other metabolic specificities saying that we are also adapted to eat meat. That are facts that establish our omivorous abilities. Then it gets more complicated to sort things and decide what the best diet is, if there is any !

Burning all things paleo, or all things vegan makes no sense !

Peter said...

@Kurt

I visited your site, you prescribe a diet:

"The Archevore Diet - A pastoral whole foods diet that can improve your health by more closely emulating the evolutionary metabolic milieu (EM2) and avoiding the hazards of industrial foodways".

You talk about "neolithic agents of disease" and tell people to avoid whole-grains, speaking about Ancek Keys as he was a criminal. Looks like you indeed have the "evolutionary model"-thing goin' on. Smells like a whole lot of pseudoscientific BS.

I highly recommend the primitivenutrition channel for you. If I remember correctly you appear in a few of the clips.

JRAC said...

How many soybeans did you snort before writing this Don?

Turrah.

AL-209 said...

Don,

I say congrats for having the stones to publicly admit you were, in your opinion, wrong. It takes a man to admit he is wrong. Whether or not i wholeheartedly agree aside, i have found your blog more informative since you discarded high fat. If certain others spent more time thinking than re-branding, creating acronyms, and making cash off the idea of paleo, they might see the flaws in their own thinking.

Not that im going vegan mind you. Those videos did not convince me that 0% animal is the best way either. But if anyone can watch that and still be convinced high fat paleo is the best, most natural way, well, perhaps they deserve everything they get. The gene pool would probably be better off without them.

Farewell to dogma i say. veganism may be healthier than paleo, but the fact is that when it comes to blind adherence to and defence of their beliefs, the vegans and the paleos are not so different.

The Humane Hominid said...

I think it's worth noting that although Plant Positive is up-front about his veganism, his videos are not arguing that veganism is our "natural" diet.

And if Dr. Harris took about 20 minutes to watch the guy's video segment on Ancel Keys, he'd see that the charge Keys "threw out data" for the Seven Countries Study is simply a lie.

Peter said...

"But if anyone can watch that and still be convinced high fat paleo is the best, most natural way, well, perhaps they deserve everything they get. The gene pool would probably be better off without them".

Well, said. Maybe there's some kind of a design indeed :)

A crew that uses high-carb, low-fat eaters such Minger as their spokeperson (she speaks at the low-carb cruise) must be quite desperate. Or what should we think of Mark Sisson who sells whey-powder with added, refined sugars at his primal blueprint website.(the ingredient list can be read online)

Then we have medical doctors making a point by reciting the buffoons at the Weston Price Foundation. LOL!

If one is stupid enough to fall for this paleo/atkins/"real food" fad diet bogus, then maybe you deserve to get atherosclerosis.

wattlebird said...

within Tao, there is room enough for all views.

Ed said...

The Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) trial spent 8 years trying to show that increasing fuits & veggies & fiber would improve your health. They did not succeed. This is one of the excellent quality interventional (NOT correlational) studies that fail to support the hypothesis that fruits, veggies and fiber are good for you. I'd like to figure out the budget & staffing for this trial, I'm sure it was huge.

 Will Don put the time in to reading about WHEL, or PPT? My bet is that if he does, he will mis-read them to his benefit :-) well here is WHEL anyway.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15746825

RESULTS: Total daily vegetable, vegetable juice, fruit, and fiber intake increased significantly [P <.01] while fat decreased significantly the percentage of women meeting healthy people fruit and vegetable objectives increased substantially. overall dietary adherence was associated with cooking-class attendance for trend.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17635889

CONCLUSION: Among survivors of early stage breast cancer, adoption of a diet that was very high in vegetables, fruit, and fiber and low in fat did not reduce additional breast cancer events or mortality during a 7.3-year follow-up period.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15309460

CONCLUSIONS: The dietary intervention efforts resulted in significant changes in diet toward an increase in plant foods and a decrease in dietary fat. Changes in weight, WHR, BMI, and body composition were not different over time or by study group assignment.

Peter said...

@ed

There's a difference between a healthy plant-based diet vs. Toxic diet with few fruits thrown in.

http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/jul/cancer.htm

Ed said...

Peter, so what exactly is your (and Don's) hypothesis? If the hypothesis is eating more plant matter and less animal fat increases health, then the evidence says "no." If the hypothesis is eating less industrially processed food will increase health, that I could get behind, and I don't know if any large scale intervention has been tried (I highly doubt it.)

"Eat less industrially processed food" is the heart of paleo, in my opinion. "Eat non-industrial plants only" is a subset of paleo, which I believe is sub-optimal, and not supported by any credible science, in my opinion.

Peter said...

The hypothesis is following

Cohort studies which solely rely on homogeneously carvivore American folk are useless whether comes to making assertation in regards to nutrition. You can read more about this on the book China Study by Colin T Campbell.

The above applies also to interventional studies were every single individual ate the same toxic american diet, the only difference was the "health concious" sticked to their one apple a day rule.

We have much solid data on this. The epidemiologic data f.e from Japan tells us that in 1950 a total 18 people died in prostate cancer. At that time the Japanese were consuming ultra-high carb, naturally low in fat and protein, neolithic diet. This diet was very low in animals, and a very, very high on starches.

Eating whole-food, plant-based diet makes you basically immune to heart disease, impotence, prostate cancer, etc. That's the hypothesis.

Don said...

Ed,

Your first linked abstract makes only one conclusion:

"A multimodal approach to dietary modification, based largely on individualized telephone counseling, can substantially change the overall dietary pattern of women previously treated for breast cancer."

The full article is behind a pay wall, but this aspect of the study only lasted 12 months. Cancers take more than 6 years to grow to detectible size, so a study must last well more than 6 years to detect the effects of a diet change.

Here's the full text of the second study:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/e7aqyn300cmdwy0l/fulltext.pdf

Table 2 reports the results of the intervention. At the end of 4 years:

1) the intervention group was eating 28% of calories from fat, same as the control.

2) the intervention group was eating 19 g saturated fat daily, and INCREASE from baseline, and 3 g/d more than the 16 g of the control.

3) Cholesterol: Intervention, 195 mg/d, control 177 mg/d.

4) Fiber: Intervention, 29 g/d, control 21 g/d. Still a low fiber diet.

5) Fruit, Intervention, 4 servings per day, control 2.5. An increase of only 1.5 servings.

6) Vegetables: Intervention, 5.3 servings, control 3.5 servings; a difference of only 1.8 servings.

7) Alcohol: Intervention, 90 g/d, comparison, 70 g/d.

8) Meat: Intervention, 36 g/d, an increase of more than 6 g/d from baseline, comparison, 27 g/d, a decrease of almost 3 g from baseline.

Caloric intake was more than 300 kcal less in the comparsion group than the intervention, and the intervention group had only an average 283 kcal decrease in energy intake.

Read the table for yourself. This data shows the WHEL failed to get the women to reduce the % energy from fat and absolute saturated fat intake, made little impact on their caloric intake, and it increased intake of meat, alcohol, and cholesterol, all suspects in breast cancer promotion; and while the changes in fruit and vegetable consumption were statistically significant, an increase of about one piece of fruit daily and 1 cup of cooked vegetables does not make this a dramatic example of dietary change.

These women did not shift toward a more plant-based diet, since they actually increased their intake of meat. Nor did they achieve the study goal of reducing fat intake to less than 20% of energy.

The abstract also states that they had a goal of increasing vegetable JUICE intake. This is a convenient way to produce an increase in vegetable intake, but not the same as increasing intake of whole vegetables. That these women probably opted for juice is reflected in the lack of sustained significant change in fiber intake.

Don said...

Ed,

Given all that, when you read the other linked article:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2083253/?tool=pubmed

Just the title is misleading:

"Influence of a Diet Very High in Vegetables, Fruit, and Fiber and Low in Fat on Prognosis Following Treatment for Breast Cancer"

Their own data shows that they did not succeed in getting those women to eat a diet "very high" in vegetables, fruit, and fiber or 'low' in fat. As their data shows, their intervention group had increased the intake of meat, alcohol, and cholesterol, and was eating more absolute grams of fat than the comparison group; and the two groups only differed by 8 grams/d in fiber intake. I don't think the words "very high" apply to a 29 g/d fiber intake, when untutored women already consume 21 g/d. If they had succeeded in doubling the fiber intake, I would have been more impressed.

In this report they claim to have gotten the women to reduce their fat intake by 13%, but the table from the other study shows an increase of energy from fat by 4%.

In short, this study failed to get the women to eat a plant-based or low fat diet, yet some people use their results to claim that a plant-based, low-fat, or produce-rich diet doesn't provide benefits?

Liam Ironman said...

Don, the above two comments by you are gold. Thank you for the poignant explanation of what the WHEL study was about. Also, thanks for these posts you have been doing. They are much appreciated by many. Unfortunately, the more vocal (on the internet) tend to be angry and rude types.

I just don't see how people can pull out studies like WHEL and hang their hat on that for going against solid dietary advice like eating a lot of plant foods, and thinking they can eat as much animal fat as they like. I can understand most people not wanting to read the study itself, but don't they bother to read any decent summaries of the study before assuming it supports their position?

Edward Edmonds said...

I've consulted with Don in the past, I found his advice to be useful in some ways and in other ways not useful. But any advice is context sensitive. Not once did he cram a vegan/vegetarian philosophy down my throat. The fact still remains that you should eat what gives you the best well being. End of story.

Science at it's present state can't give us a definitive answer. If anything the only thing we've learned is that if you eat real fucking food that's a good start. Whatever our thresholds are for shitty food varies from person to person. There is no getting around that, we are not blackboxes. Our self-preserving nature is inevitable, but if we spent time eating real food for the time being we could focus on doing cooler things with our intelligence like exploring space. Then when we actually know something about the human body we could start discussing whether or not eating this particular food or that is the fountain of youth. That's a long way off. First we must preserve the future, once we do that we can preserve youth.

We forget in the detailed darkness of science that around the world diets are varied. There are some cultures that tend to be disease free and others that tend to suffer. Sometimes it seems the controlling factor is diet sometimes it doesn't. But Price proved beyond a reasonable doubt (at least in my mind) that good health is beyond the realm of picking starch over fat. Price proved that it's what's in what you're eating that is the governing paradigm.

A head start is to adopt the philosophy that if you eat a clean mixed including food from all sources your on the right track. If you adopt a philosophy of chugging cream all day long or eating spinach all day long is it not reasonable to suggest that some problems are going to arise? Good health rarely arises out of extremes. And even when a culture is able to thrive on an extreme diet, we have to remember that it might not necessarily represent the optimal solution, it might just be that it’s the optimal solution for the particular environment which allows sufficient reproduction. The idea of an "optimal solution" is negated by the fact that again around the world cultures eat diets of varying extremes and exhibit similar life expectancies.

Dr. Harris has a sensible approach to eating. No bullshit attached, sure his views on carbohydrate have changed over time, but so what, everybody’s views change over time as we search for some type of optimal solution and optimal advice. Duh.

Edward Edmonds said...

...What we do know is humans are dynamic creatures. I think it's reasonable to suggest that at one point in time our diets were dynamic as well--their is no reason not to think so just like our environments were dynamic. I'm certain there were times where we had to survive eating vegetation and tubers just as I'm certain there were times that all that was available was animals. It was the act of survival that brought about the balance. Something we no longer have to do anymore, so we search for that balance, going from one way of eating to another way of eating. Don't you think there is a reason for that? Don't you think that there is a reason why as soon as us humans started settling down and getting habitual that disease started becoming a problem? We evolved for a dynamic changing environment, it's clear, look how we populated the entire world like a goddamn virus. Look around is there any single multicelular species quite as successful as us? We humans as animals are a fucking evolutionary masterpiece. Now look at us. We are dropping dead because we are getting too clever for our own good. Our adaptability to varying environments that gave us the edge is changing, we are now a lazy sophisticated brainy species we adopt the environment to our needs now, and we've done it all so cleverly but we've forgotten the environment were we came from, now we must adapt to the clever environment we've created for ourselves or face destruction. Pretty simple shit. Don't know how anybody reasonable person could miss that. Pass me two sticks, no pass me the lighter.

Would you pour fucking diesel into your gasoline engine? So why would you eat anything but real food? If you mixed a little bit of diesel into your gasoline would the car start. Sure would. Would it get you from point A to B? Sure would. Would your car last as long as if you just used gasoline? No. We are products of the environment. And unless Twinkies grow on trees then all we've ever eaten is real food. You eat real food you'll be fine most of the time. Sure shit goes down. You're an idiot if you think any one way of eating (besides eating real food and in a sensible way) is going to give you a 100% confidence level that you live a long healthy normal life. That's life, it's the lottery, some people hit the jackpot, eat shit all their lives and live to 110 years old. And some people get the shaft, eat seemingly well throughout their lives and drop dead. That's life. There is no such thing as rocket fuel for humans. What is optimal is individual, you might fit into certain paradigms but you aren't a machine where all you need is regular oil changes and gasoline. We aren't "designed" that way. Would be pretty limiting.

I'm so sick of these stupid debates it does nothing for progress but highlight how incredibly fucktarded people are, real food isn't going to kill you. And if you eat something and it gives you a headache, WTF? Don't eat it. If you eat a peanut and you break out in lepersy... use your head.

Instead we should be looking at prime suspects like soy feeding your baby and eating Twinkies and jelly beans but instead we are fucking worried about eating green beans and rice. Perhaps if we learn those mechanisms that make eating 20 pounds of Twinkies and jelly beans a day kill us (besides the common sense part) it will give us some insight into how the human body works and down the road to finding something useful and practical to apply to our lives. Standard reverse engineering. In the end if that means for each green bean pod you eat shaves 1 second off your life, than so be it, we won't eat green beans.

Edward Edmonds said...

Back to Don. Don is a nice guy, if you read his wife's blog you know that he cares and he works diligently in his own way to help at least those who he loves or care about. He's got a degree in philosophy so of course he is dense. He does over analyze grammar and it often seems dishonest the way in which he does it. I see this often in people who's blogs I've read for long periods of time where they are paradigm shifting. It's classic of people who can never settle for "Well, that's just the way it is." People who are constantly searching and want to give the right answer to everybody. I'm sure that one day through his experiences of different extremes he'll find the right balance. But I just wish Don, for the sake of his own dignity would be more honest about that search and what he is thinking.

If there is anything that we in this community have learned in the past few years is that eating real goddamn food will make the biggest difference for the most. Instead we are worried about legumes and "safe starches"... give me a fucking break. Is there anybody left on this goddamn planet with common sense?

STG said...

Wow! This is a scathing commentary. Good for you for being willing to question the Paleo paradigm(s)/dogma and encourage all of us to reevaluate our nutritional opinions.

STG said...

Gretchen:

Insightful, respectful comment. I appreciate Don's willingness to make dietary changes that work for him and raise inconsistencies in Paleo nutrition, however, as you point out not everyone is going to do well on a high carbohydrate diet. I also am not sure about trusting government/expert panels? Conflict of interest and industry lobbying might contaminate the process.

Emerson said...

STG,

I also am not sure about trusting government/expert panels? Conflict of interest and industry lobbying might contaminate the process.

What is the likelihood that all goverment panels could reach similar conclusions on, for example, saturated fat intake, if these conclusions were entirely based on industry lobbying?

Isn't there a fairly strong pro-meat, pro-dairy industry New Zealand? Is there any nation in their world in which their public health authorities say, "Go ahead and eat as much saturated fat as you want. In fact, we think at least 20 percent of ones calories should be in saturated fat. But stay away from wheat."

Any national health authority that says that? How about Canada? How about Italy? Portugal? France?

I understand the "question authority" concept. But are all governments in cahoots with each other on a mission to make all of their citizens eat rabbit food?

Or is the more simple explanation the more accurate? That human beings should act a little bit more like rabbits (vegetarians) than cats (carnivores)?

Not saying that we should accept what government says uncritically. But we shouldn't uncritically accept what a diet book seller or internet blogger says either. Right?

Emerson said...

Another thing that doesn't seem credible to me this idea advanced by the DvD "Fathead" and the Taubes book "Good Calories, Bad Calories."

Both make it seem like Ancel Keys simply faked a bunch of data, stuffed it into the Seven Nations Study and the entire scientific community just went along with it. And this has all been going on for decades.

Really?

Not a single nation said, "Hey, wait a minute. This doesn't add up."

Dr. William Castelli spent decades at the Framingham Heart Institute and he has endorsed a whole grain vegetarian diet in this interview.

2011-02-18 William Castelli MD Heart Disease Risk, Cholesterol and Lipids in 2011: What Do We Really Know?

KIRK HAMILTON: Let's say you had no medication and you could get everybody behaviorally to do everything you exactly wanted them to do by diet, the average American. How would you reverse the heart disease epidemic by diet?

DR. WILLIAM CASTELLI: I would. I would do it and it would work better than the drugs. And I can show you all of the reversibility trials and they were mostly drug trials.

KIRK HAMILTON: But what would the diet be if you didn't have drugs and you could get everybody to do exactly what you wanted diet-wise in the United States? How would you reverse the heart disease?

DR. WILLIAM CASTELLI: Well you'd have them on a pure vegetarian diet and not getting fat on the vegetarian diet.

KIRK HAMILTON: Well let me ask you, because you can say vegetarian diet and that can mean anything from a white flour vegetarian diet to you know a very -

DR. WILLIAM CASTELLI: It would have to be a whole grain

Josh said...

@Emerson - "Isn't there a fairly strong pro-meat, pro-dairy industry New Zealand?
There certainly is. A dairy company is now providing free milk to school children as a PR exercise - http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/6154339/Nutritionists-praise-free-milk-initiative

nothing91 said...

"You've gone from near carnivory to MacDougall veganism in that time frame with no real explantation for why you are any more credible now than you were then."

Don is a "critical thinker" now. He wasn't before. Well, he was way back when he was a vegetarian for 20 years. But then he lost his critical thinking ability and changed to a meat-based diet. (Due to health issues on the vegetarian diet which he wrote about before, but now denies. I guess vegetarian diets cause a loss of critical thinking!)

Now he has regained his critical thinking ability (perhaps due to his stint on a meat-based diet). So he's back to vegetarianism (or something very close to it) due to this "critical thinking".

It really couldn't be more simple. :-)

d said...

I love the egos in the blogospere nutrition world. Arguing back and forth. What are you to gain from it? Why not just eat what you think is right and check your ego at the door? Who cares what some "prominent" blogger thinks?

STG said...

Emerson:

I posed a question about conflict on interest not a definitive statement. My post was more about Gretchen's ability to be articulate and respectful. I am not interested in impossing my dietary/health strategy on others. I am interested in the science and the debate from a congnitive perspective not from an emotional one. I do not have a vested interest in being "right." The only nutrition perpectve that I adhere to that I think may be "correct" is that whole foods are healthier than processed foods. I am trying to keep an open mind about other nutritional debates.

STG said...

Please excuse my spelling errors:

"on" should read "of"

"impossing" should read "imposing"

Peter said...

Don, I'd like to see you extending this serie in regards to primitive nutrition videos. These issues must be dealth thoroughly :)

Craig said...

It's moot whether or not Ancel Keyes cherry-picked the seven countries. When you add the rest of the countries in, there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease.

The old studies used to lump trans fats with saturated fat. The newer studies don't do this, which is why there used to be what looked like an association but now there isn't.

The Humane Hominid said...

When you add the rest of the countries in, there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease.

Yes, there is.

In Yerulshamy's & Hilleboe's paper on the 22 countries, there were strong correlations between "arteriosclerotic & degenerative heart disease" and both "calories from animal fat" (r=0.684) and "% calories from animal fat" (r=0.677). For the category "arteriosclerotic & degenerative heart disease and other diseases of the heart," the correlations were 0.562 and 0.557, respectively.

Other categories had stronger correlations than this, though. "Calories from protein" had values of 0.709 for the first category, and 0.694 for the second. "Calories from animal protein" had the highest correlations of all, with values of 0.756 in the first category and 0.695 in the second. "% calories from animal protein" gave values of 0.643 in category 1, and 0.608 for category 2.

"Calories from carbohydrates" had the lowest positive correlation of all: 0.305 for the first category, and 0.423 for the second category. "% calories from carbohydrates" did not positively correlate with either category. Neither did "Calories from vegetable fat," "calories from vegetable protein," "% calories from vegetable fat," or "% calories from vegetable protein."

You'd know this if you'd bothered watching video 37. Or, if you don't believe the vegan, just Google "Fig. 15 rank correlation coefficients between various dietary components and death rates for 22 countries" for yourself and see the Yerulshamy & Hilleboe table reproduced in Stamler's 1958 paper on epidemiology and atherosclerosis.

This is hardly evidence supportive of low carb or paleo, let alone evidence that Ancel Keys was in any way deceptive. I fail to see why it's cited as such.

Craig said...

The study I remember seeing had no trend. It was all over the grid.

Anyway there are also studies that say carbs are the culprit: http://www.njmonline.nl/getpdf.php?t=a&id=10000756

This study found those with the highest vitamin K2 intake had the least heart disease. The thing is that those with the highest K2 intake also had the highest saturated fat, cholesterol, and protein intake. This really makes sense to me since animal fats and cheeses are the main foods high in K2 in the West. http://www.nmcd-journal.com/article/S0939-4753%2808%2900209-3/abstract

Then there's this: "Conclusions: In postmenopausal women with relatively low total fat intake, a greater saturated fat intake is associated with less progression of coronary atherosclerosis, whereas carbohydrate intake is associated with a greater progression." http://www.ajcn.org/content/80/5/1175.full

The studies that show the opposite may have included a lot of processed meats.I don't know but something definitely isn't right.

And with my own experience of curing myself of Metabolic Syndrom, dropping my triglycerides like a rock to 52, raising my HDL, no longer being hypertensive and experiencing improved eyesight, (I know that sounds far-fetched but I no longer need reading glasses.) I just can't see animal fats as evil.

AL-209 said...

Craig the study of post menopausal women had a relatively low fat intake, high sat fat in relation to other fats, but low overall. Bit Like a kitavan diet.

Re k2, I don't think u have to have a massive intake of animal protein and fat to get useful amounts

AL-209 said...

Plus there's this bit from the postmenopausal study:

Carbohydrate intake was positively associated with atherosclerotic progression when replacing saturated fat and monounsaturated fat but not when replacing total fat, polyunsaturated fat, or protein. The association was perhaps stronger among women with lower physical activity, who would be more susceptible to adverse effects of carbohydrates—particularly refined carbohydrate—on HDL cholesterol, triacylglycerols, glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and weight gain.

Hunter Copeland said...

Emerson-

I understand your comment. I think you are trying to say that the government wouldn't benefit from pushing a diet of "rabbit food", but the processed food industry is big business. SO it may not be rabbit food, but it may be the processed carbohydrate crap food that is important. That is where the moneyi s, and that is what people are eating a ton of (cereal, crackers, granola brs, etc.)

Craig said...

Al-209, Eating like a Kitavan is Paleo, not vegan.

Paleo is not just re-packaged low carb as it says in one of the videos. Paleo is a framework. There are no macronutrient ratios ascribed to it. It's very flexible.

AL-209 said...

Craig, um, yeah I know, what's your point? My point was that the study you referenced was a low fat diet, don't recall saying anything about vegan ism...

Craig said...

AL-209. Sorry. I misunderstood. By pointing out the relatively low fat intake, I inferred you thought Paleo had to be high fat. Otherwise, I didn't know why else you'd point it out.

AL-209 said...

Just saying that sat fat may be protective in the context of an overall low fat diet, as appears to be the case with kitavans

Pski said...

Owned.

Leann said...

I was reading from ZetaClear's page regarding effective diets and I was redirected to your page. I really learned a lot from this post.

Teech said...

I don't think some of the vegan followers read Minger's analysis of keys all the way to the end because you'll find that fat and protein had a negative correlation with a whole bunch of other diseases. But then again, as with most studies we can't prove causation. Its kind of like the famous china study rat experiment. The low protein rats didn't get cancer, but they all died before the the high protein rats did, even though the high protein rats developed cancer. But the author doesnt mention that part!

Teech said...

Heart disease #1 killer of zoo gorillas here in the US because of high carb vegan diet. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217091130.htm

Zookeepers have since switched the gorrila diet to a high fat fermenting natural diet of leaves and bark. Despite eating twice as many calories, the gorillas have lost weight. I guess evolution does play some part in what is optimal to eat.

Unknown said...

@ Edward Edmonds—totally agree. Less navel gazing and more observing whole systems at work makes sense to me, too.

If you applied an evolutionary model to determine whether or not humans evolved to eat a meat based/high fat diet, the answer is blindingly obvious. It would be an odd paradox for humans to have evolved to thrive on a meat based diet when we have not evolved any physical means for obtaining such a diet. For example, no one will debate that cats are carnivores. It’s evident from their physiology alone (I won’t bother getting into their digestive system). They have evolved keen night vision, powerful musculature, sharp claws, super senses, and specialized teeth. These things allowed them to hunt and take down prey. If you can’t detect, stalk, chase down, and kill prey, you’re not going to be much of a meat eater. Humans have none of these things. Without tools, we have no way of catching the big game animals many paleo diet proponents claim humans evolved to eat. If you have any doubts about this notion, please spend one night on the African savannah without the aid of tools or weapons and see where you end up on the food chain. Better yet, see if you can take down even small animal such as a rabbit with nothing but your bare hands and feet.

I think many of the paleo advocates mistakenly conflate the distinct but similar notions of adaptation and evolution. Humans, through our cleverness, developed and adapted hunting tools and techniques in order to access a food source that would have been unavailable to us. However, that is not the same as saying we evolved to eat meat. Over five million years of evolution has not brought about any physical changes that would make humans more efficient hunters/killers. If anything, we have become weaker than our great apes cousins.

Evolution doesn’t produce absurd results. To make the claim that humans evolved to eat a meat based diet while ignoring the fact that our physiology is completely undeveloped to obtain such a diet is patently absurd.

Finally, my point is not that humans shouldn’t eat meat. Rather, I find the so called evolutionary arguments paleo proponents make for advocating a meat based diet to be ridiculous on its face.

Unknown said...

@teech--you misrepresented our own article. It didn't describe the old gorilla diet as being high carb vegan (which could mean anything). The old diet is described as: "vitamin-rich, high-sugar and high-starch foods that zoos used for decades to ensure gorillas received enough nutrients." Also, you ignored the part about zoo gorillas being more sedentary and fat than their wild counterparts. Sitting on your ass all day and eating starchy food is not a healthy lifestyle by any standard.