Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Man the Fat Hunter" Paper Defines Paleo Diet As Meat-Based, Plant-Poor

I continue to read comments on my blog, and around the web, suggesting that anyone who believes that paleo diet is meat-based and low in carbohydrates is at least misinformed and at worst stupid.  Supposedly, by the time I had written Farewell To Paleo [which I have updated with references supporting my supposedly subjective evaluation of meat-based diets], some panel of experts had already decided that paleo diet is not necessarily meat-based, nor high in fat, nor low in carbohydrates, and I was well behind the learning curve.  Paleo 3.0 had arrived without my knowing it.

Or so some would like to think.

Perhaps unbeknownst to some people, "paleo diet" is short for "paleolithic diet,"  referring to the diet that humans evolved to eat during the so-called stone age.   The people who originally promoted paleolithic diet as a modern method for supporting health and preventing disease conceived of a modern paleo diet as an attempt to replicate the salient nutritional features of the diet that supported human evolution using foods from the food groups believed to constitute prehistoric paleolithic diets.

Anthropologists, biochemists, and biologists who study the evolution of humans and human nutrition and the recent diets of hunter-gatherers have produced the evidence for the model of paleolithic diet that informs Loren Cordain's works.  Among these people it seems there is a general agreement that prehistoric human diets were meat-based, high in animal protein and fat, and low in plants and carbohydrates.  There are dissenters who have attempted to argue against this notion, such as Richard Wrangham and Katherine Milton, and, in the medical community, perhaps David Jenkins, but these individuals are in the minority.  The majority adheres to some form of the Man The Hunter hypothesis, i.e. that increased carnivory separated the human line from our closest primate relatives; that increased meat-eating coupled with decreased plant-eating drove human evolution.

On February 21, 2012, after several people commenting on this blog had repeatedly tried to convince me that paleo diet is not necessarily meat-based, high in fat, or low in carbohydrates, Paul Jaminet posted the following message on the Facebook page for the Journal of Evolution and Health:

In case you have trouble reading it, it says:

"I'd like to welcome Miki Ben Dor to the journal effort. Miki was the lead author on the excellent recent paper "Man the Fat Hunter"" [Jaminet forgot to hyphenate Ben-Dor's name.]

Does this paper depart from the hypothesis that prehistoric paleo diet was meat-based and assert that humans evolved on random combinations of meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts, so that any combination thereof constitutes a paleo diet?

No.  Here is part of the abstract:

"We show that rather than a matter of preference, H. erectus in the Levant was dependent on both elephants and fat for his survival. The disappearance of elephants from the Levant some 400 kyr ago coincides with the appearance of a new and innovative local cultural complex – the Levantine Acheulo-Yabrudian and, as is evident from teeth recently found in the Acheulo-Yabrudian 400-200 kyr site of Qesem Cave, the replacement of H. erectus by a new hominin. We employ a bio-energetic model to present a hypothesis that the disappearance of the elephants, which created a need to hunt an increased number of smaller and faster animals while maintaining an adequate fat content in the diet, was the evolutionary drive behind the emergence of the lighter, more agile, and cognitively capable hominins."

They believe that H. erectus in the Levant was so dependent on dietary fat (and meat, particularly of elephants) for survival,  that the disappearance of the elephants drove them to hunt smaller animals, and this need to hunt smaller, faster, more agile animals coupled with a presumed physiological need for dietary animal fat provided a selective pressure that favored survival of a lighter, more agile, and smarter hominin, namely H. sapiens.

They expressly argue against the idea that human evolutionary diets could have been plant-based.  For example, they state that human ancestors needed to consume animal fat because they couldn't eat enough plants to meet nutrient requirements:

"The need to consume animal fat is the result of the physiological ceiling on the consumption of protein and plant foods."
Under the heading "The Obligatory Animal Fat Dietary Model" they use the standard argument for an animal fat-based based paleolithic diet using the expensive tissue hypothesis; they think our supposedly small gut coupled with our large brain provide evidence that meat-eating fueled human brain evolution:

"The more compact, the human gut is less efficient at extracting sufficient energy and nutrition from fibrous foods and considerably more dependent on higher-density, higher bio-available foods that require less energy for their digestion per unit of energy/nutrition released. It would therefore appear that it was the human carnivorousness rather than herbivorous nature that most probably energized the process of encephalization throughout most of human history."  [Emphasis added]
(Ben-Dor et al incorrectly state that encephalization took place during human history, when presumably it actually took place in prehistory, i.e. before written records.)

Under the heading "The physiological ceiling on plant food intake" they argue that plant foods could not have been a significant part of prehistoric diets for all the time-worn reasons given by previous paleo diet theorists:  takes too much time to gather plants, impossible to get adequate calories from raw plants, too many toxins and antinutrients in plants, no control of fire by H. erectus, lack of large cecum in human gut.  

You will find this passage in their paper:

"Similarly, modern hunter-gatherer (HG) groups, despite having access to fire and metal tools, also seem to have a strong preference for carnivorous foods over vegetal foods ([53]:682), a notion also supported by a recent study [75] that emphasizes limited consumption of carbohydrates by present day HG groups.

"Indeed, an analysis of nine HG groups for which detailed dietary information exists ([76]:166) shows that five groups, located in an area abundant in vegetation, consumed only a meager amount of plant foods (17% of calories on average)."[Emphasis added]
This paper also includes a line I think I might have read first in Paul Jaminet's book, The Perfect Health Diet:  "In fact, the natural diet of mammals is a high-fat diet." (Apparently they imagine that no mammal could break this supposed general rule, not even it it was peculiarly dependent on glucose to fuel its extraordinary brain.)

So, there you have it:  These archaeologists and anthropologists, like others before them, believe that humans probably evolved on (and presumably are presently adapted to) a diet consisting largely of meat and fat with "only a meager amount of plant foods" and "limited consumption of carbohydrates."  They apparently believe that because we are mammals, our natural diet is a high-fat diet.

Apparently Ben-Dor et al have not gotten the update on paleo diet from the blogosphere.  Anyone want to send them version 3.1?

Of course those internet experts know more about paleolithic diet than these anthropologists and archaeologists, right?

Just like Denise Minger, who admits having no formal training in statistics or medicine, knows more about statistics than Richard Peto, PhD, the Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology from Oxford University who was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (for the introduction of meta-analyses) in 1989, and was knighted (for services to epidemiology and to cancer prevention) in 1999, and worked on the Cornell-Oxford-China Project, right?

The same way that Anthony Colpo, who has no medical training and has never published any peer-reviewed cardiovascular disease research,  knows more about atherosclerosis than WC Roberts, who has authored several books on cardiovascular disease, has spoken at more than 1,300 medical meetings, serves as editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Cardiology, and with colleagues published more than 1,150 peer-reviewed articles on cardiovascular disease in medical journals, right?

And Gary Taubes, a science writer with no experience in bench obesity or medical research, and no peer-reviewed publications in the field of obesity research, knows more about nutrition and obesity, than, say, George Bray, Ph.D., Boyd Professor and Chief of the Division of Clinical Obesity and Metabolism at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, who over his 40 year career has authored or coauthored more than 1,700 publications, ranging from peer-reviewed articles to reviews, books, book chapters and abstracts, primarily in the field of obesity research.

If you think I am falling for a fallacious argument from authority, you don't understand that fallacy.   As explained at, an argument relying on authority is fallacious only if in the question under consideration, 1) no expertise is necessary or possible, 2) the cited authority is not a recognized expert in the field, 3) the authority is expert, but not disinterested, or 4) the authority is an expert, but his opinion varies markedly from the consensus of experts in his field.  Fallacy Files recommends this procedure for determining whether an argument from authority is fallacious or not:

To sum up these points in a positive manner, before relying upon expert opinion, go through the following checklist:
  • Is this a matter which I can decide without appeal to expert opinion? If the answer is "yes", then do so. If "no", go to the next question:
  • Is this a matter upon which expert opinion is available? If not, then your opinion will be as good as anyone else's. If so, proceed to the next question:
  • Is the authority an expert on the matter? If not, then why listen? If so, go on:
  • Is the authority biased towards one side? If so, the authority may be untrustworthy. At the very least, before accepting the authority's word seek a second, unbiased opinion. That is, go to the last question:
  • Is the authority's opinion representative of expert opinion? If not, then find out what the expert consensus is and rely on that. If so, then you may rationally rely upon the authority's opinion.
If an argument to authority cannot pass these five tests, then it commits the fallacy of appeal to misleading authority.
If you apply these five tests to Denise Minger's authority on the Cornell-Oxford-China Project, or Anthony Colpo's authority on diet and cardiovascular disease, or Gary Taube's authority on diet and obesity (or diet-related diseases), you will see who commits the fallacious appeal to authority. 

Of course, the consensus could be wrong.  But, when 50 or more years of research has produced enough evidence in support of a particular hypothesis to produce a wide consensus in a field, such as the lipid hypothesis, then you need really extraordinary evidence to overturn that hypothesis.

I highly doubt that Ben-Dor et al are going to change their view of paleolithic diet because some bloggers have decided that "paleo" includes plant-based diets with only meager amounts of meat and fat.

Just to be clear, I am not in this post agreeing, nor disagreeing, with any of the hypotheses of the Ben-Dor et al paper, so far as they apply to defining paleolithic diet or explaining the emergence of H. sapiens from H. erectus.   Even if their hypothesis about how modern humans emerged is strongly supported by evidence I do not believe that it in any way establishes or strongly supports the idea that a meat-based, high-fat diet with a meager amount of plant foods and limited amount of carbohydrates best supports human health in a modern context.  The direct way to discover the effects of foods on health of modern people in modern nations is to study the effects of various foods on modern people in modern nations, not speculate about how H. sapiens emerged.

In fact, if you believe that Ben-Dor et al have shown that a fat-based carnivorous diet is the best to support human health, I suggest you first subject them to the five tests to see if they are qualified authorities.  I submit that anyone who asserts that a fat-based carnivorous diet is the best to support human health fails the last test, at least, and that anthropologists and archaeologists are not appropriately qualified authorities on diet, nutrition, or health care (test 3). 

A strong theory of evolution of human diet would be able to explain why vegetarian diets are associated with a lower risk of heart disease than omnivorous diets (as another of many possible examples see this), why vegetarians have a lower body mass index than omnivores, why an essentially vegan soy- and gluten-rich diet reduces cholesterol as effectively as a statin drug, and why eating red meat increases the risk of all cause mortality.  Instead of providing an explanation for these painstakingly established scientific findings, some supporters of the hypothesis that humans evolved as carnivores spend their time trying to explain them away because they don't fit their hypothesis. This is not science, it is anti-science.  A scientist molds his hypotheses to accommodate the facts, not the other way around.

By the way, I wonder if Ben-Dor et al have any idea what hunting elephants entails.  The video below shows primitive spear hunting, including hunting of elephants and hippos.  Knowing the high level of intelligence and sensitivity of elephants (and the other animals as well), I find it appalling.

Thankfully we have evolved and found other ways to sustain ourselves in good health. 


Renaud said...

So, from point 4 i should trust only un unbiased expert. But, from point 5, an expert advice is reliable only if it's biased toward consensus.

Sorry, but if consensus and experts were that reliable we would still be living on a flat earth with sun orbiting around.

Phillip Upton said...

I'm not a dogmatic eater. And, even tho I don't swallow everything you say, I often find a few morsels worth digesting. (to go along with the plate of meat, of course)

All puns aside: you will do better to drop the character assassinations. The facts should be more than sufficient.

I often find that when people insist that someones position provides strength to their argument, they have a very weak argument.

Many have been ridiculed by what the "authority" of the times knew. Just ask Galileo, Copernicus and Columbus.

As far as training goes Einstein, Gates and Jobs seemed to be on the right path without it. Sometimes "education" isn't what it is made out to be.

I lived thru a decade of scientist saying that steroids provided no benefit. Now we test athletes for drugs they can get from eating regular food. (latest TDF)

Yet we don't test for mad cow because the "authorities" assure us that it isn't a problem, so no need to test. Oh, and we'll put you in jail if you test, because... really, it isn't a problem that needs to be looked into. (Whatever you do, don't look!)

Authorities can be corrupt. Just knowing the right thing isn't sufficient to say or do the right thing. Money, power and position confuse a lot of people when it comes to what is "right".

Sometimes it isn't even a case of being able to do the job better, it is simply a case of actually doing the job. (think regulatory oversight)

People have been listening to, and following the guidance of the "authorities who know" about nutrition for several decades. Look at the results. It should be no surprise that people are now looking elsewhere.

If these guys are the authorities, then we are asking the wrong questions. Because what they claim to know is "true" isn't germane to the problem we are trying to solve: being healthy.

Anyway, back to my point: your post was a lot more interesting (to me) once I mentally removed the emotional bits. I bet others would think so to.

BTW, it took 12 f*ing tries to prove I'm not a robot. Man that sucks.

George Henderson said...

Yeah, but what about addressing the actual arguments using logic and math skills (as Minger does) or experimentation (as Volek, Feinman et al. do), rather than telling us to obey authority and respect consensus?
If the authorities you defend were actually right, you wouldn't have to try to shut down discussion of their ideas by us know-nothings.
If you do meet an critic who is suitably qualified, then you say they are biased and unreliable.

Anyway, what qualifications did Darwin have?

This blog is not a scientific discussion.

el66k said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don said...


When the evidence is strong enough, the consensus changes.

In science, consensus is produced by EVIDENCE! Agreement with consensus is not bias when the consensus is based on evidence.


I didn't attack anyone's character. I pointed out facts of differences in experience, training, and qualification.

You really think Einstein had no training?

The authority in the times of Galileo, Copernicus, etc. was overturned by evidence and logical argumentation, which those scientists produced.

Let's see, now the consensus is the earth is spherical. Authorities claim this is true. Are all of you now saying that the authorities might be wrong, that anyone who agrees with the idea that the earth is spherical is "biased toward consensus," and that we should take flat earth hypothesis seriously because it challenges the biased authorities?

You also repeat the tired old myth that everyone has been following the advice of the AHA, ADA, etc. etc. for decades and "look where it got us." Sorry, that's just not true. There has been no mass adherence to a low-fat, whole foods diet in the U.S.


You repeat the same fallacy. You think Minger has better math skills than Peto? You think the consensus is just dogma, no experiments? Sorry, there are literally thousands of studies supporting the lipid hypothesis, which was developed carefully with supporting evidence over the course of more than 50 years. The idea that there is no evidence supporting it is simply hogwash.


Do you realize what it takes to get 1000 plus publications in peer-reviewed journals or books? Guess what, it requires producing evidence that contributes to the field. That means DOING THE SCIENCE RIGHT. If you don't do the science right, it doesn't pass peer-review.

You guys all seem to think that modern science is just a religion in disguise. Good luck to you.

Don said...

To understand how to use the raw data of the China study to produce reliable correlations you need a training in statistical mathematics for epidemiology. I see no evidence from Minger that she has had the appropriate training.

I guess you people would hire Minger to do the epidemiology for a large study like the China project. If she is so qualified, why is she writing a blog and not employed as a professor of epidemiology at a university? I'm sure she would earn more and do more good in such a position.

Bryan Rankin said...

The entire history of your blog HAS to be a very elaborate joke. This is the consensus of internet experts.

Phillip Upton said...

I see that you have a phd in Philosophy. So, I won't argue with you the differences between character assassination, shooting the messenger and Ad hominem attacks. Or anything else for that matter.

I'll even pretend to understand why you keyed off that, as if it was the point.

As for Einstein, yeah... I know he didn't fail math. I also know that he knew that he sucked at it and got people to check his work.

I also know he was the most credentialed of the individuals I mentioned. And, since you are so concerned with Denise not making as much money as she could... I'll point out that he (Einstein) was also, by far the least remunerated of the individuals.

By billions of dollars.

(That whole correlation not being causation thing aside, there seem to be quite a few "well monied" individuals that don't have advanced/any degrees.)

Again, not the point.

I see no evidence from Minger that she has had the appropriate training.

It appears that, instead of refuting the evidence and/or conclusion, you simply refute the qualifications of the person delivering the message.

Nice and tidy. Not science.

And not helpful. (this is my point)

The paper you presented, that was interesting. The reasons for presenting were also interesting. But, the tangent you went on after that... taking people to task because they listened to people that lack the credentials you value... that just stank of desperation. IMHO.

My point isn't to refute, or even discuss the issue of credentials. I simply wanted to let you know that I thought your blog was more attractive / meaningful / useful without that element, call it what you will.

What you do with that feedback is up to you.

P.S. I would be interested in why you thought that last item you linked to (about the red meat) is "valid" research when so many others think it was garbage. Might make for an interesting post. Again, IMHO.

Renaud said...

Man, turn your mind on, and look at what you wrote! Science is not a religion ? I agree it should not be, but 1/ you preach exactly the opposite, and 2/ wishful thinking does not make reality. Science is made by scientist, who are (mostly) human beings with their biases, funded by politicians and big companies.

Now more than ever Max Planck is right : "Truth never triumphs — its opponents just die out". He definitely was a scientist, and that tell a lot about how science cope with new ideas. That was when it was just egoes stories, but now it's also power and big money. Do you really believe consensus is reliable truth ?

And, BTW, don't you mind practicing alternative medecine while scientific consensus say it's scam ? I'm sure you are sincere, but who are you to challenge science ? Where's your PhD ? Your MD ? You don't have any... but you'll surely agree that this lack of "consensus knithening" don't make you an idiot ?

You may be right, even if you are outside the consensus.

Please, consider the same might be true for those who don't share your beliefs.

Don said...


Literally 100s of scientists have worked on the relation between cardiovascular disease and diet over the last 50 years.

When the consensus is based on EVIDENCE, I accept it.

The widespread rejection of Chinese medicine is not based on EVIDENCE, it is based on PREJUDICE. Those who reject it usually aren't even aware of the signficant amount of Western scientific evidence that confirms Chinese medical theory and practice.

When a 'consensus' rejects something without evidence, and without investigation, then it is clearly unworthy of attention. When someone rejects herbal medicine, ignoring that a) many western drugs are derived from herbal constituents, b) evolutionary adaptation theory predicts the occurrence of medicinal constituents in herbs, and c) ethnographic and zoological evidence shows that humans and other species successfully use herbs as medicine, then that someone is ignoring evidence.

When EVIDENCE contradicts authorities who ignore it, of course I ignore the authorities.


If you think training and experience in a field don't matter, I wonder if you would hire a person without demonstrated engineering expertise to design your next house?

Do you want your automobile designed by someone with appropriate training and education, or not?

Most people rationally seek out appropriately trained authorities when their safety depends on it.

But when it comes to diet, the less trained trumps the more trained?

Don said...

By the way, science is not a cowboy project of rugged vigilantes overturning corrupt authorities. It operates as a community project and relies on consensus for a very good reason: to weed out bias and correct for the imperfections of individuals and science in general.

In general, but not always, the consensus opinion is more likely to be correct that the opinion of an individual, because the individual is imperfect and prone to biases, and a community of investigators makes those biases evident.

When 100s of studies support a certain hypothesis (e.g. the lipid hypothesis), the community doesn't reject that hypothesis when one study comes out with a contrary finding, because it is more likely that the 100s of studies point in the right direction, while the contrary study more likely suffers from bias, poor design, etc.

Scientific journals and meetings provide the forums in which scientists debate and weed out the noise and junk. When someone publishes a study with unusual findings, it gets subjected to scrutiny and journals publish letters and editorials that point out all of the flaws, if any, in that study. This process pushes scientists towards greater integrity.

If you reject the consensus process, you are rejecting the very process which helps cleanse scientific knowledge of individual biases, corporate influences, results produced by poor quality study design, and so on.

The lipid hypothesis and alternatives (e.g. the sugar hypothesis) have been subjected to scrutiny for more than 50 years. The lipid hypothesis has survived and alternatives have not, despite much resistance to the lipid hypothesis from individuals and food lobbies. This is an example of science working as best as it can.

Will said...

"When EVIDENCE contradicts authorities who ignore it, of course I ignore the authorities."

But this is exactly what cholesterol skeptics are saying too, Don. There are more than enough holes to cast doubt on the common understanding of heart disease, which is why several people were able to write entire books criticizing the diet-heart hypothesis. Were there not anything wrong with the conventional wisdom, those would have been some pretty difficult books to write.
There is of course evidence in favor of the hypothesis as well, and I tend to believe the middle ground per Masterjohn's interpretation.

Have you read any of Colpo's books, by the way? Just curious, because you write as if there are no limitations to the available evidence in favor.

You are claiming that you will evaluate the evidence for yourself and ignore authorities if necessary. But by your own reasoning, who are you to assume that your analysis is superior to that of the authorities? Perhaps their training and experience have allowed them to see the totality of the evidence in a way that you have missed.

On a different topic, if I remember correctly you are an acupuncturist. Is the rejection of acupuncture really based on pure prejudice? I submit that there has been research on acupuncture, but probably not to your liking. The review studies I have seen on acupuncture suggest that positive results are most likely due to the placebo effect. Acupuncture efficacy has not had a good showing in the over scientific literature so far...

Don said...


The cholesterol skeptics have not produced any evidence contradicting the lipid hypothesis. Their books are not peer-reviewed, and they contain numerous holes. I can't address them all in this post.

I have read Colpo's "Con" book. I have read Ravnskov's "Myths" book. I have read Kendrick's "Con" book. Talk about cherry picking. They take fail to take into consideration all of the evidence. For example, Ravskov thinks that dietary cholesterol doesn't raise blood cholesterol. He cites studies that feed additional cholesterol to people already eating cholesterol who already have elevated cholesterol. He ignores the studies that started with people eating zero or essentially zero cholesterol, which is the only rational way to test the effect of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol. He (and Colpo) ignore cross-cultural studies that don't agree with their agenda. I don't have space here to critique their books entirely.

Science has very clearly elucidated the role of LDL and the mechanism by which elevated LDL promotes athersclerosis, and has also demonstrated that lowering LDL to physiologically natural levels (less than 75 mg/dL) results in reversal of atherosclerosis.

All of the studies that claim to show acupuncture is only placebo focus on pain reduction and use placebos that aren't placebos, so-called sham acupuncture that in many cases amounts to comparing accurate placement of needles to only slightly inaccurate placement of needles.

The focus only on pain reduction ignores the specific physiological effects of accurate needle therapy that are well documented, such as changes in blood flow, changes in organ functions, changes in blood pressure, etc. .

MRI and hemodynamic studies clearly show specific effects of accurate versus inaccurate needle placement, on brain activity and internal organ functions.

An example of the performance of acupuncture for dry mouth due to radiotherapy:

At 6 months after treatment, about 75% of subjects in the needle therapy group had normal saliva flow, vs only about 36% in the conventionally treated group. Both arms had potential for placebo effect.

Additionally, numerous studies with animals show effects of acupuncture. I don't think the placebo effect works in animals.Here's one establishing that needle therapy affects estrous cyclicity and neuroendocrine function in a DHT-induced rat polycystic ovary syndrome model:

Here's one showing that it induces positive endrocrine changes for human PCOS patients as well:

Again, I don't have space here to show all the flaws in performance of studies of acupuncture, or to present evidence in favor. If you want to see that, I regularly post on the facebook page for my clinic Barefoot Acupuncture,

and I have cited a lot of relevant research on my clinic web page

This brings up an important point. Medical doctors who have not studied acupuncture or Chinese medicine are not qualified experts on either, just as I am not a qualified expert on epidemiology, particle physics, or Western medical practice. If you want to know how to properly practice acupuncture, you should consult someone trained in it, and if you want to do a proper trial of acupuncture, it should involve people properly trained in needle therapy (i.e. at least 4 years of Chinese medical school, like me, or even more highly trained practitioners).

Don said...

Re Evidence, I am talking about the difference between, for example, the evidence for a flat earth, and the evidence for a spherical earth. I reject the flat earth hypothesis because there is simply too much evidence for the spherical earth.

I don't know how anyone who has no training in acupuncture and does not practice it according to established Chinese medical theory could have any authority on its efficacy.

In my estimation, the evidence for the lipid hypothesis, freely available and shared by the scientists who have produced it, on pub med and elsewhere, is overwhelmingly more voluminous and credible (i.e. peer-reviewed) than that for any of the alternatives proposed by cholesterol skeptics. I challenge anyone to show me otherwise.

Colpo, Ravnskov, Masterjohn, and Kendrick have all already failed to produce any peer-reviewed evidence or arguments comparable to that supporting the lipid hypothesis. There is an immense difference between a blog post or a self-published book and peer-reviewed journal articles. If any of these guys really have some explanation of heart disease that has more evidential support than the lipid hypothesis, I invite them to submit it to a top cardiology journal for peer-review.

Bog said...


nice post. I just pity you for having to deal with these conspiracy theorist fools who think Robb Wolf is equal to Copernicus and lipid hypothesis was creates by statin salesmen....yes, yes.

Anyone thinkin Colpo does a good job debunking lipid hypothesis, may want to check this out (this is what essentially happens to bodybuilders who want play scientist:

Bog said...

"He (and Colpo) ignore cross-cultural studies that don't agree with their agenda. I don't have space here to critique their books entirely".

I've never encountered more pseudoscientific bullshit than in Colpos and Ravnskovs works. Primitivenutritions response serie to Colpo does a good job.

Will said...

"Science has very clearly elucidated the role of LDL and the mechanism by which elevated LDL promotes athersclerosis..."

Can you clarify the mechanism you are referring to? Is it oxLDL or something else?

Will said...

Hi Bog,

Thanks for linking to those videos. I was wondering where all the Plant Positive response videos were supposed to be, since he kept saying they were "coming soon."

Guess he released them all at once a few days ago.

Bog said...

"It appears that, instead of refuting the evidence and/or conclusion, you simply refute the qualifications of the person delivering the message".

I know a Swedish blogger who did his own analysis of the China raw data and came to the conclusion that Minger is basically intellectual dwarf, whose skills in math is that of a average high-school student, unable to use cofounders. Now, blogist Minger is debunked by another blogist. We are back in the square one.

Renaud said...

Don, i used to find your blog interesting. I'm interested in "paleo" in the true and broad sense of it, including largely vegetarian way of eating and wide range of different macronutrients ratios.

You were an open window to a neglected side of the "paleo" framework. You're now a closed door. Bye.

Trilobyte said...

Now this is just plain sad.

Don, I used to follow your blog regularly when I was into the paleo movement a year ago. Yours was my favorite among the five sites I frequently read. You never jumped aboard the VLC train(wreck) and always stressed the inclusion of veggies, which was a breath of fresh air. All in all I found your blog to be very reasonable and moderate.

Your sudden paradigm shift and proselytization of extreme, no-compromise veganism is almost as disturbing as your new-found expert worship, pleading to the authority of epidemiology, and abandonment of critical thought.

I wonder... are you still a vaccine skeptic, as you once claimed? You could take all this bullshit and expert knob-polishing and make the same argument pleading to the authority of the CDC and WHO, and anyone else who isn't an "expert" should shut their mouth, get in line, and roll up their sleeve.

Vaccination, the lipid hypothesis... case closed. The science is in. That question has been asked and answered. Science has spoken, and the consensus agrees!

Have you done a 180 with your thoughts on that subject too?

Do you not see the enormous irony of an alternative health practitioner of "Chinese medicine" telling us to respect and adhere to scientific consensus and expert opinion?

Anyway, enjoy your new hardcore vegan friends as it looks like every reasonable person is bailing on you. "Bog" seems like a real catch.

Amy said...

I had my husband, who gets paid good money to do math look at Denise Minger's statistics. He gave up trying to follow what she had done. She may be right, but she can't prove it with math. She doesn't have basic math "street skills".

On a personal level, I don't think saturated fat causes heart attacks because there are too many other variables that are going to be more important: like weight, genes and fiber.

I read Primal Wisdom because it is one of the few places on the web that is positive about fiber. There have been a lot of studies done recently on fiber, that show it reduces heart disease and belly fat. (Look at Science Daily)

The vegan/low fat thing, I don't like because I gained 50 pounds being a vegan. Paleo, I don't like because it was lowish in fiber and I think that made me gain 12 pounds.

Bog said...

"Your sudden paradigm shift and proselytization of extreme, no-compromise veganism is almost as disturbing as your new-found expert worship, pleading to the authority of epidemiology, and abandonment of critical thought".

I can only imagine what a sense mental relieve it must have been dor Don to "come out from the closet" and align himself with the science. This paleo-online world is religious sect who have own set of fallacies which are perpetuated as truths (denial of lipid theory, Ancel Keys Store, Masai and Inuit myths, etc). Nothing ever said from the paleo-frame makes any sense. It's pure pseudoscientific bullshit.

Bog said...

Ancel Keys story, that is

"...and abandonment of critical thought".

Very few of us have any ability to excersise critical thinking in regards to epidemiology for example. We are better off by listening to Oxford professor who is not selling anything to us as opposed to a girl with a blog and history of plagiarism, fraud, manipulation, etc. In fact anything else would be plain silly

Renaud said...

Ode to B&W

Happy people of this world! How I envy your certainty!
Unfortunately my Lord, gave me colours in plenty
And lights and shades of grey so perverse
I can't live in a manichean universe.

Will said...

Well said, Trilobyte. After observing (and interacting a tiny bit) with Don and other vegan regulars on this blog, I understand why a lot of reasonable people are signing off in disgust. And it's not just because they don't agree with the vegan message. :)

The good news is that you can find coverage of the all same anti-paleo material elsewhere on both paleo and vegan sites. There's no need to read this blog for that info if that's all you need. Not all vegans are fear-mongering, short-tempered, uncompromising rhetorical writers, which is the impression one could easily get from reading these comment sections.

alexleejohnson1000 said...

Trilobyte - '"Bog" seems like a real catch.'

A truly compact and withering comment. Kudos :-)

alexleejohnson1000 said...

Trilobyte - '"Bog" seems like a real catch.'

A truly compact and withering comment. Kudos :-)

Bog said...


did you see primitivenutrition new response serie?

First clip, "Vegan propaganda"

Excellent illutration how it works in the online dietary world. I feel pity for you having to deal with these folk who think Phd level lipid research is best done by fitness intsructors online, and everything else is just bowing to the authority. These folks are nothing but bunch of religious sect members.

Keep up the good work.

Ryan said...

I can't believe all the justification people spout about their inferior diets filled with meat. The difference removing meat or strongly restricting it from your diet is quite clearly imparts noticeable improvements based on my own experience. Don, you speak with wisdom and experience and invest much of your time to find the truth and to help others find it also, I appreciate your work, thank you.

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex said...

Hi Don,

First, thanks for blogging. Interesting stuff. I used to be a firm believer in everything paleo. I tried eating lots of meat, dairy, eggs, and fish with veggies over the past two months. My stress levels, went up. My heart pounded in my chest. I felt wired and exhausted all the time.

I went to see a TCM physician recently. He told me to eat like a Chinese peasant; rice, beans, veggies, sweet potatoes, lemon water, etc. I have started sleeping soundly again, my stress has diminished, I feel less dehydrated all the time. So I'm gonna stick with TCM for the time being. Tried and true. No need for arm chair speculation on what primitive hunter gatherers ate.

However, I would like to add that I think that everyone needs a slightly different diet. We are all hybrids of different races. "Caucasian" is not just one race. We are all under a lot of stress, and what works for one may not for another. The obsession in this country with vegan vs. vegetarian vs. raw vs. cooked vs. paleo vs. carnivore vs. frugivore vs. whatever-else loses sight of the possibility for a wide ranging diet that includes meat, fat, dairy, veggies, grains, nuts and fruit in different proportions for different people under different circumstances.

Balance is what it all comes down to so it seems...

Jimmy Gee said...

Well Don, if this is your logic then perhaps you should shut your blog down, go get some credentials and then come back and spew your "Wisdom". Believe what you want, but there are just as many mighty brains (with credentials) that can refute your current lifestyle / diet choice as those who you say support it.

Bog said...


Is there someone who is a bigger authority in heart-health issues than William Clifford Roberts? Never heard. That's why I guess he is the chief editor of American Journal of Cardiology. Jenkins comes close, but he is a) Canadian and b) of the same opinion.

Are there any more aknowledged statisticians in the world than Richard Peto. Again, never heard of such person.

And so forth....

Jimmy Gee said...


Spewing epidemiological association from any so called "big authority" doesn't prove cause and effect. And so forth....

Don said...


If you watch the Primitive Nutrition series responses to critics you will find he presents the necessary references re. how excess LDL (certainly >50-75 mg/dL) promotes atherosclerosis.

Here's how the Merck Manual online explains it:

"Atherosclerosis begins when the injured arterial wall creates chemical signals that cause certain types of white blood cells (monocytes and T cells) to attach to the wall of the artery. These cells move into the wall of the artery. There, they are transformed into foam cells, which collect cholesterol and other fatty materials, and trigger growth of smooth muscle cells in the artery wall. In time, these fat-laden foam cells accumulate. They form patchy deposits (atheromas, also called plaques) covered with a fibrous cap in the lining of the artery wall. With time, calcium accumulates in the plaques. Plaques may be scattered throughout medium-sized and large arteries, but they usually form where the arteries branch."

Excess LDL (above what is physiologically required, which may be as low as 25 mg/dL) is prone to oxidation due to limits on the body's antioxidant systems; i.e. the more LDL you have, the more oxidized LDL you will have. This oxidized LDL contributes to the inflammation/damage of the intima. In any case, the more LDL you have, the more the foam cells can collect. If you have low LDL, even if you somehow managed to damage the intima, the foam cells would have a difficult time collecting LDL if you only had the physiologically required amount, so not much if any extra in the blood stream.

Lower the LDL (statins or diet), you reduce oxidized LDL, and allow the removal of LDL from the intima, thus reversing the atherosclerosis. This has been documented with both dietary and drug interventions.

Don said...


I am not aware of many large scale studies on safety and effectiveness of vaccines, on the contrary I can only think of one and it was not favorable to flu vaccines. The science has NOT been done there and only recently have scientists been questioning cost-benefit and side-effects of vaccines.

That said, Chinese physicians were historically the first to use inoculation to prevent smallpox epidemics.

Sorry I can't refer you directly to Needham's historical work documenting the Chinese discovery of inoculation and regrettably need to use wikipedia.

I think their method was superior to the Western. Rather than injecting the antigenic substance directly into the blood (which is what I think causes the hazards of vaccines) they innoculated into the nasal cavity, allowing the body to produce a full range immune reaction.

I don't see how being a Chinese medicine practitioner should make me reject the lipid hypothesis, particularly since Chinese medicine has had its own version of the lipid hypothesis for some hundreds of years.

The lipid hypothesis has been under intense investigation for more than 75 years now. It has been challenged from the start (plenty of scientists resisted Ancel Keys, and he successfully responded). It has withstood challenges for that entire time. It will take more than a few outlier studies to overturn literally 1000s of epidemiological, laboratory, and clinical trial studies that support it


I have a Master's degree in philosophy with a minor emphasis in the philosophy of science, a Master's degree (4 years, 3000 hours) in Chinese medicine (which includes Western biomedical training), and accredited education in nutrition equivalent to a bachelor's degree in hours. I have credentials where I want them right now.

The paleo/low carb crowd chants "correlation is not causation" at every epidemiological study, seemingly hoping to make the findings go away by incantation, and as if the authors of the study didn't realize that correlation is not causation.

Most of us, and certainly all of the scientists involved, know that principle. Epidemiology only shows relationships, but when dozens or hundreds of studies show the same relationship, probably that relationship is not spurious, accidental, or a result of bias.

Don said...

This came to me in email from AgingHippy:


I can't believe you posted a link to the NY Times article on that study that eating red meat will kill you.

Here's a very good refutation of that study

Then there are these studies

Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association
of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease

Conclusions: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies
showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that
dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD
or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are
likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace
saturated fat.

Dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk Study

Conclusion: SFA intake was inversely associated with mortality from total stroke, including intraparenchymal hemorrhage and ischemic stroke subtypes, in this Japanese cohort

Dairy consumption and patterns of mortality of Australian adults

Results: During an average follow-up time of 14.4 years, 177 participants died, including 61 deaths due to CVD and 58 deaths due to cancer. There was no consistent and significant association between total dairy intake and total or cause-specific mortality. However, compared with those with the lowest intake of full-fat dairy, participants with the highest intake (median intake 339 g/day) had reduced death due to CVD (HR: 0.31; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.12–0.79; P for trend=0.04) after adjustment for calcium intake and other confounders. Intakes of low-fat dairy, specific dairy foods, calcium and vitamin D showed no consistent associations.

Don said...

My first response to AgingHippy:

Aging Hippy,

First, the authors of that study did not say "red meat will kill you." They reported that eating red meat increased the risk of death from all causes and also from cancer and heart disease. This is a subtle but important distinction. Riding a motorcyle increases your risk of dying in an auto crash, compared to driving a car, but that doesn't translate to "riding a motorcycle will kill you."

Second, Mark didn't refute the study. He may have pointed out some of the flaws in it, but he didn't show that it was of no value at all.

Herein lies one of the big problems with the paleo/low carb crowd. They want to think that if they find any flaws in any single study, they have refuted it AND the hypothesis which is supports. Not so. You can find flaws in almost every study that is published, including all those that paleo/low carb people think support their view (e.g. the meta-analysis, the Japanese stroke and Australian dairy studies you cite).

While I see bloggers like Sisson rapidly attack every study that contradicts paleo/primal diet, I have never yet seen any one of them use a fine-tooth comb approach on any study thought to support paleo/primal diet. For example, you cite Sisson's review of the Harvard red meat study as "refuting" it, but you accept the meta-analysis, the Japanese stroke study, and the Australian dairy study without discussing their limitations, or whether anyone, particularly any expert in the field, reviewed the study to find its flaws.

This is why scientists don't rely on any one study as conclusive for or against a hypothesis. They rely on the bulk of evidence/studies. If 1000 independently done studies point in the direction of meat-eating or saturated fats having adverse effects, and 100 point in the opposite direction, probably the 1000 are correct and the 100 have produced spurious results or have neglected to account for some important factor. So far, the number of studies supporting the lipid hypothesis far outweighs those questioning it.

This is why the Institute of Medicine does not reverse its position, for example, on saturated fats, based on one or two new studies. They review a very large body of relevant research on a nutrient before formulating the IOM position. What is its position on saturated 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."

Don said...

AgingHippy responded:

"If 1000 independently done studies point in the direction of meat-eating or saturated fats having adverse effects, and 100 point in the opposite direction, probably the 1000 are correct and the 100 have produced spurious results or have neglected to account for some important factor. So far, the number of studies supporting the lipid hypothesis far outweighs those questioning it. "

So you're saying that the studies that show no relationship between saturated fat intake CVD are incorrect?

That the sheer number of studies supporting the hypothesis PROVES the hypothesis is correct? - The Framingham Study

“Using either method of analysis (the actual follow-up from the time of the diet study, (or, as presented here, the 24-yr follow-up from inception of the Study), there was no evidence of any significant association of egg consumption with the incidence of death from all causes, total CHD, myocardial infarction, or angina pectoris (Table 2).”

Don said...

Part 1 of my second response to AgingHippy:

I did not say the sheer number of studies 'proves' the hypothesis. The greater the number of studies supporting, relative to those not supporting, the more likely the hypothesis is correct. Scientists typically do not talk about 'proof' they talk about 'support' and 'probability.'

Re the paper to which you link and from which you quoted:

If you take a population in which a certain factor, e.g. egg consumption, varies little, you will find it hard to detect an effect of that factor. If almost everyone in your study eats above a certain number of eggs weekly, and that number is above a threshold necessary for an effect (positive or negative), then you will not find much difference between the participants.

Studies that look only at one population (Framingham) are not enough to establish no effect of the variable, because in that one population, habits will likely vary little. To find an effect you may need to compare that population to others that consume significantly fewer eggs, say less than one per week, or less than one per month.

To use another example, if you study only people who exercise more than twice weekly, you might get the impression that exercise has no effect on fitness, because everyone in your population trains often enough to achieve fitness. You will have to study some population that trains less than twice weekly.

Don said...

Part 2 of my second response to AgingHippy:

The paper you linked to says that "there are almost no male subjects with distinctly low cholesterol consumption (eg below 250 mg/d)." It also says that the men in the lowest tertile had an average cholesterol consumption of 506 mg per day, the women 352 mg/d. Thus, this study used people who on average already consumed more cholesterol than in a single egg every day. This could be (and I think research clearly shows it does) exceed the threshold at which dietary cholesterol has some adverse effects (barring compensatory factors like parasite infections, statin drug use, or dietary components that reduce effects of cholesterol like fiber, plant proteins, etc.)

It also says that the average egg consumption was about 6 per week for men and 4 per week for women. The zero egg group is only 4 % of the total population for the men and about 7% for the women. Thus, this population had an average of nearly one egg daily for men and one every other day for women, in addition to other dietary sources of cholesterol and nutrients that increase cholesterol production (saturated fats, animal protein).

The graph shows that not one of the men had a serum cholesterol under 200 mg/dL, and only 5 of the women had a serum cholesterol under 200. The entire pool is stated to be 912 subjects. That means that of these 912, only 0.5% (5÷912) had a serum cholesterol under 200. Since 50 to 60 percent of CHD occurs in people with cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dL, it is no surprise to me that they could find no difference in CHD risk linked to egg consumption.

Basically, this is a high risk group, with already very elevated cholesterol (above 150 mg/dL), so varying egg intake is not going to affect risk since other sources of cholesterol, saturated fats, and animal protein produced elevated cholesterol, and therefore elevated risk, in at least 99.5% of the study population had cholesterol levels above 150.

So yes, I am saying that the evidence indicates that most likely those studies showing no relationship between dietary cholesterol ( or saturated fats) and heart disease are incorrect in the largest sense. They may, like this one, show that in a particular population, there appears no effect, but when you compare that population to another with a lower intake of cholesterol and fat, you will find that this finding applies only to the pop with the high cholesterol intake and high serum cholesterols.

Basically, this study shows that if you are an average American, with a cholesterol level already above 200 mg/dL, then reducing your egg consumption alone will not reduce your risk of heart disease if it does not result in a cholesterol intake of less than 250 mg/d and a serum cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL. So long as you go on consuming more than 250 mg cholesterol per day and maintaining a serum cholesterol of more than 200 mg/dL, you will have a typical risk of heart disease regardless of how many eggs you eat. If you have these characteristics, this study shows that in order to reduce your risk of heart disease, you need to do more than adjust your egg consumption.

Bog said...

NĂ­ce analys Don,

Colin T Campbell does excellent job pointing the flaws of studies which measure up homogenous populations (in terms of dietary habits) such as the Harvards WHI study. But guys as Campbell and you have the problem that you are saying stuff what most people in the Western countries do not want to hear. Don't be surprised if you see your blog clientele plummet. Campbell has sold 1 million book which may sounds a lot, but next to Atkins 20 million that's as little as 1/20 :)

Pieter said...


I would like to see some "My Meals" posts like you did in the past, to see how your plate looks like nowadays.

Thanks in advance.


Don said...


We have posted some of our meals at The Food Way Blog:

Sanjeev said...

> Sorry, but if consensus and experts were that reliable we would still be living on a flat earth with sun orbiting around.
Scientific consensus is the result of an argument between investigators.

It's not about strictly adhering to what's written.

scientific consensus has lots of problems. Political influence, editorial biases and many others can be cited. Erroneous past consensus too.

But to compare it to adherence to religious/cultural canon is invalid. That doesn't come out of argument. It doesn't come from investigators. It doesn't come from many parties seeking to shoot each others' ideas down.

Please let this stand on its own, not agreeing or disagreeing with anything Don's written.

Sanjeev said...

> we don't test for mad cow because the "authorities" assure us that it isn't a problem, so no need to test. Oh, and we'll put you in jail if you test
Am I understanding this properly - people are being jailed for testing their own meat for prions?

I had not even known a consumer level test was available. Do you have links?

Sanjeev said...

> In science, consensus is produced by EVIDENCE! Agreement with consensus is not bias when the consensus is based on evidence.
Part of consensus is getting rid of bad evidence.

Evidence produced by biased researchers, biased test subjects (where test subjects have a stake in the outcome, say), bad statistics, bad methods(bad blinding, bad equipment (electric impedance scales)), whatever. These lists are endless by the way.

raw Evidence is usually not the most important factor.

Sanjeev said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sanjeev said...

> (religious/cultural adherence) doesn't come from many parties seeking to shoot each others' ideas down
and a scientist that overturns consensus is rewarded in the end. There's financial and status reward for disagreeing with the consensus, but only if you're proven right in the end.

As a scientist you don't get stoned to death or excommunicated until you're the last one in the room railing against the consensus when the rest of your colleagues have left the building.

Even then, if you're tenured in the US you don't suffer hugely.

Kieran said...

Thanks Don, I agree that typically employed paleo is too light on veggies, and pretty out of balance not only with what Chinese Medicine considers a moderate and balanced diet, but I would argue is out of balance with what many people's ancestors actually ate. I think alot of people take the paleo diet as an opportunity to increase meat and fat while decreasing veggies. Thinking that "if cavemen ate it, it's healthy" and not thinking past that to look for specific foods to balance their symptoms, harmonize with the climate and environment, and maintain a heathy intake of phtyonutrient packed organic fruits and veggies. Kudos to you for being vocal in a pretty inhospitable group of people.

OneOrbit said...

You can take any 'diet' and make it bad by eating too much of one thing. I eat Paleo "most" of the time usually consisting of a fruit and nuts for breakfast, a big green salad with lots of peppers, tomatoes and carrots and some grilled chicken, more fruit and nuts, dinner guacamole and fish and a veggie like green beans. I occasionally snack on a protein shake and or bar that might have some carbs but overall it's pretty paleo. You can make any diet stupid. By adding gross amounts or fats but that's up to the individual. Just I wouldn't go eat 3 pounds of rice after reading the China Study because it told me it's ok too. I guess to have a successful blog you need to write extreme and then respond conservative. Nice formula.

Anonymous said...


Also I would like to say that Colpo, being the poor scientist, cherry picking fraud, crackpot he is, REFUSES to acnowledge the FUTURE of coronary artery disease

Dr Daniel Rader and Dr. Steven Nissen have done promising work on HDL efflux capacity.

Scienctific dicovery seems to be like an ONION - peeling back the layers.

Cholesterol efflux capacity can explain why some poeple have HDL's of only 7 to 25ish ( yes you read that right) and almost no coronary artery disease.

Anthony Colpo is perhaps the greatest scientifically illiterate, scamming , charlatan on the Internet.

The saddest thing is the poeple who listen to him are even more stupid and uneducated on the scientific method.

Carl Sagan 's videos will cure that. Carl would have wanted poeple to have a nonsense meter detector to guard against Colpo et al.


That is the deal with human physiology. So complex.

Take care,


Frank said...


Here's my little story that i'd like to share.

I started out my nutrition journey as an uneducated young adult, going with the mainstream, because I did not know better.

Than, I started a degree in exercice science, followed by a master degree that i'm currently ending, so along the way I got formal physiology, biochemistry and scientific method formation.

Then in 2007 I discovered Colpo, Taubes, Eades, etc. and went onto the LC/cholesterol denialist bandwagon. As everyone, the evidence as presented by these individual seemed so ovherwhelming that I was really buying it.

In 2009, I discovered the Imminst forum, and then the calorie restriction list, on which some incredibly knowledgeable individual are, many of 'em who are vegan. After 1 year of intense discussion on the nutrition board, and constently being pointed out the logical fallacies in my argument (that I was actually taking from my ''leaders'' My mind had change. I was ready to accept that vegan might be the best science-based way to eat - given it's well executed.

The primitive nutrition series was the nail in the coffin. If only people were taking the time to listen objectively to it, Plant Positive puts light on so many contradiction/logical fallacies in the Paleo arguments, he shows how big the body of evidence is agaisnt the paleo idea, and indeed, it's pretty hard to ignore the large body of evidence in favor of vegan/agaisnt meat, even if we could debate on the quality of some of it.

And here's the killer question that I've been asking myself : So what If vegan was the best way to eat? Why do people so unconditionnaly don't want to contemplate the idea? Aren't we here to find the best way to eat? And who cares if it's vegan? Yes, meat it tasty, I like it too, and I don't think I'll stop eating meat forever for a few years at the end of my life - but why trying to defend meat so much with science. Just say ''yeah, I know meat is the not the healthiest food, but i'm making the choice to eat it anyway.'' That's it.

So many people say they are in for the science but the way they act show exactly the opposite. They are in for a thumbs war, with disproportionate ego and with the ''I'm right and I'll show you wrong no matter what'' mentality.

Sad, really.

Anonymous said...


Anthony Colpo is a well known Internet crank. He was busted by his own article from the years 2003- 2005 where he was praising Dr. Robert Atkins up and down and claiming low carb diets arefar superior for energy, health, and weight loss. He adamantly rejected high carb and went pn and on and on about the benefits of low wcarb.

He followed the money. Google "Low Carb Australia Common Myths"

If that is not evidence of a complete Internet charlatan, then I do not know what is.

He also misrepresents the obesity research. None of what he says is congruent with Dr. Jeffrey Friedman- a genius pioneer in the field of obesity.

Colpo is the antithesis of genuine science. His certitude is not permitted by science and completely inconsitent with the scientific method. Real scientists who study human physiology operate within the boundaries of massive uncertainty and vast unknowns . They admit to this.

Matthew Caton said...

You are forgetting something that throws a giant monkey wrench in that fallacy checklist.

MONEY $$$$$$

Consensus is often paid for.

Not to mention, throughout history consensus is often wrong.

Before it was discovered the world was round, how many scholars used to think the world was flat?

All of them.

And of course, scholars today, just like scholars of yesterday, think that they are so advanced, and unbiased. Science is great in theory, but people, even the smart ones are mostly self-deluded.

We don't even know with certainty what causes cancer or how to cure. We don't know jack.

We are not as smart as we think we are.

Don said...

Mathew Caton,

Item #3 in the Fallacy Checklist addresses the money issue (authority is suspect if not disinterested).

Who exactly do you think would have paid for an international consensus on diet and cardiovascular disease? Who would have enough money to pay off all of the thousands of scientists involved, with nary a one whistle blower?

"Before it was discovered the world was round, how many scholars used to think the world was flat?

All of them."

Not correct. The idea that the earth is spherical was not new at the time of Copernicus. It had been entertained by some astute thinkers well before him, particularly by Asian scientists (to whom the West owes many advances) who were well aware of the roundness of planetary bodies. You really only need to look at the sun and the moon to get the idea that probably the earth too is a sphere. But in the West, the Catholic church favored the 'earth is flat' hypothesis because theologians thought it fit better with the scriptures, and the church was also the main source of economic support for scholars, which put Western thinkers at a severe disadvantage. This is partly why Chinese and Hindu scientists made so many discoveries in advance of Europeans, including decimal mathematics, paper and priniting, mechanical clocks, the magnetic compass, manned flight ,steam engine, superior naval vessels, and more. See Robert Temple's The Genius of China. Even modern binary logic, the basis of computing, originated in China (the basis of the I Ching).

ICG said...

For the record, "Razwell" is a monomaniac on some sort of Jihad mission to destroy Colpo, for whatever reason. It doesn't matter if it's a paleo site, vegan site, Stefan's site or whatever, that's his only interest.

I'm not a huge fan of Colpo myself, but he's a pretty objective/independent thinker if nothing else. He's not a low-carb/paleo type and has just as many disagreements with Taubes as he does with raw food vegans. I'm not sure if he ran off with Razwell' girlfriend or what, but it seems to be a personal thing so take it all with a grain of salt (even if you're a low-sodium crusader).