Brand-Spankin’ New Study: Are Low-Carb Meat Eaters in Trouble?

8 09 2010

We interrupt your regularly scheduled wheat broadcast for an important announcement!

A few of you lovely readers emailed me today (thanks!) about the study Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This paper compares mortality rates for folks eating a so-called “animal-based diet” versus a so-called “vegetable-based diet,” both of them so-called “low carbohydrate.” I finally got a chance to look at it, and indeed, a glance at the abstract looks a little spooky for any low-carb omnivores out there:

A low-carbohydrate diet based on animal sources was associated with higher all-cause mortality in both men and women, whereas a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet was associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates.

Oh noes! This abstract sounds vaguely China-Study-esque, with the conclusion that plant-based diets are healthier than ones featuring more animal foods. Was this study really comparing hardcore meat eaters with plant noshers, like the abstract implies? Is animal protein poison after all? Is it time to ditch the steaks and bow down in phytoestrogenic reverence to the almighty tofu?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: In most cases, abstracts tell you a whole lotta’ nothing—so don’t judge a study until you’ve read the full text.

For right now, I’ll give this study the benefit of the doubt and ignore the fact that A) the researchers used a pretty lame decile-based scoring system* and B) employed the notoriously unreliable food-frequency questionnaire to collect their data.**

*NOTE: The decile method divvies up dieters into ten levels of adherence—with the folks in the first decile adhering the least to a low-carb diet, and the folks in the tenth decile adhering the most. The reason it’s lame is that it uses a scoring system based on misconceptions about what a low-carb cuisine looks like, including the necessity of a high protein intake.

**UPDATE: For a mighty entertaining explanation of the flaws of this study—including why food-frequency questionnaires are terrible—please read Chris Masterjohn’s take on this whole shebang. If possible, bring a scuba suit.

First, let’s take a look at what the low-carbohydrate folks were actually eating. Click the thumbnails for a bigger pic—first one’s women, second one’s men.

Ha ha ha ha.

Oh man.

I’ll sum it up. Some of the participants were eating up to 60% of their diet as carbohydrates (first decile), which—last time I checked—is kind of not low-carb. Even the lowest low-carb eaters were still eating over 37% of their calories from carbohydrates. Whoever decided to call this study “low carbohydrate” is nuttier than a squirrel turd. That doesn’t mean it can’t offer anything useful, though, so let’s look at what else is going on in the highest decile for each group (which is the only decile the researchers really looked at):

  • Folks adhering the most to the animal-based diet were more likely to smoke and had higher BMIs than the best adherents of the Vegetable Group. Along with influencing mortality outcomes, this suggests the Animal Food group, in the highest decile, may have been somewhat less health-conscious than the dieters lumped into the highest decile for the vegetable category. And that’s the type of thing that has repercussions for other diet and lifestyle choices that weren’t measured in the study.
  • The Vegetable Group was nowhere near plant-based: They derived almost 30% of their daily calories from animal sources (animal fat and animal protein), versus about 45% for the Animal Group. D’oh!
  • The Vegetable Group adherents ate more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains than the Animal Group adherents—which begs the question: What kinds of carbohydrates filled this macronutrient void for the animal-food eaters? Could it’ve been refined grains and processed carbs, which the study conveniently forgot to document?
  • For the Vegetable Group, cancer and cardiovascular mortality was lower in the tenth decile than the first decile, even though both deciles ate exactly the same amount of red meat and nearly the same amount of total animal foods. This suggests animal products aren’t the driving force behind differences in mortality rates.
  • Similarly, at the fifth decile, the Vegetable Group had a lower cardiovascular mortality hazard ratio than the Animal Group (0.99 versus 1.21), even though the Vegetable Group was eating a slightly greater proportion of animal foods (33.3% versus 29.9% of total energy for women; 32.9% versus 31% for men).

Here are the mortality tables:

All Cause

Cardiovascular Disease

Cancer

And for the dieters scored based on Vegetable Diet adherence, the people with the lowest cancer mortality (male) and cardiovascular mortality (both genders) were not the ones eating the most plant foods—they were the folks in the sixth and seventh deciles, respectively:

Unfortunately, the article doesn’t show us the food/macronutrient breakdowns for any deciles besides the first, fifth, and tenth, so we don’t know what the average diet looked like for these people. But since the vegetable low-carbohydrate score was based on “the percentage of energy of carbohydrate, vegetable protein, and vegetable fat” the dieters consumed, it’s pretty safe to say that the folks in the sixth and seventh deciles were eating less plant foods than the tenth-decilers (and consequently, more animal foods).

Bottom line: In this study, when you look closer at the data, differences in mortality appear to be unrelated to animal product consumption. Changes in cancer and cardiovascular risk ratios occur out of sync with changes in animal food intake.

So what is responsible for the Vegetable Group’s lower mortality hazard ratios (and the Animal Group’s higher ones)?

Here’s a clue. Every time the researchers made multivariate adjustments to the data to account for the risk factors they did document (including physical activity, BMI, alcohol consumption, hypertension, and smoking, among other things), the hazard ratio went down for the Animal Group (meaning it got better) and it went up for the Vegetable Group adherents (meaning it got worse). That indicates pretty clearly that the Animal Group adherents had more proclivity to disease right from the get go, regardless of meat consumption, and the Vegetable Group adherents may have been more health-aware than most folks. (To see what I’m talking about, look at the mortality tables under the “10” column, and compare the “Age- and energy-adjusted HR” with the “Multivariate-adjusted HR” for each group.)

In other words, it looks like what this study really measured was a Standard American Diet group (aka highest Animal Group decile) and a slightly-less Standard American Diet group (aka highest Vegetable Group decile). Both ate sucky diets, but the latter had slightly less suckage. You can bet the farm that neither was anything close to “low carb.” And if you have two farms, you can bet the other one that neither diet group was anything near plant-based, so I’m not sure the vegan crowd has much to gloat about here.

The End.

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263 responses

8 09 2010
Jack In Tempe

I really love the dedication you’ve shown in running the numbers. I know it isn’t paleo, but if you’re ever in the area I’ll buy you a beer or two and we can shoot the shit.

9 09 2010
Richard Tamesis, M.D.

Indeed, if you ever find yourself within the Inland Empire in Southern California, my wife and I will extend you an open invitation for wine and cheese (and lots of drunken karaoke too).

9 09 2010
Bushrat

Same. If I am ever in America I will shout you a drink, or a steak (raw if you like) just to thank you for wading through this shit.

10 09 2010
neisy

Aww, wow! Looks like I’ll have to hit up Tempe and Southern CA and then drag Bushrat over to the States for winey, cheesy, good ol’ time of revelry. :) Thanks for the lovely offers!

11 09 2010
Richard Tamesis, M.D.

Hope you’re not allergic to dogs, because we have three pugs who would love to sit on your lap if you come over!

11 09 2010
neisy

As long as your pugs aren’t made of wheat, that should be fine. :D

11 09 2010
Richard Tamesis, M.D.

They are on a raw food diet sans wheat after having all sorts of health problems with regular dog food laced with corn, wheat and whole grains.

30 11 2010
Sarah

Actually there is a large market for grain-free dog food. I’m feeding my dog Taste of the Wild which has no grain. Other brands don’t have grain too if you’re interested. I think Orijen, acana, and one of the flavors of Fromm.

29 06 2012
Rhianna

Yes, Taste of the Wild comes in a feline version also. I have seen fat, sluggish, stinky, oily, dandruff-y cats chow down immediately on Taste of the Wild dry food, and then start their six-week-long transformations into sleek, glossy, energetic, brave, and fit creatures (especially if they will also eat raw meats). Grain-free is the way to go for cats! Even if the food is in dry, cooked, and kibbled form. Raw grain-free cat food is definitely better, but for many kibble-junky cats, a grain-free dry food will help immensely.

8 09 2010
Kim Øyhus

You Denise are obviously one of those rare people that have a real understanding of what science really is: The sifting of all possible explanations. That simpler ones are better. That those that explain more are better. And that absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
(http://kim.oyhus.no/AbsenceOfEvidence.html)

Surprisingly many so called scientists lack this understanding, and virtually all politicians too. But of course you know that.

If one study the writings of the big original ones, such as Darwin, Newton, Einstein, Shakespeare, etc., one can find comments that show that they too did understand this.

8 09 2010
brian0918

How does this crap get through peer review? Not only do the conclusions not follow logically from the data, but they are complete misrepresentations of the data. How can you label these groups “Animal” and “Vegetable”, or the diet “Low Carb”, when none of those labels are accurate, given the most common understanding of an Animal Diet or Vegetable Diet or Low-Carb Diet.

Do they even try to justify their labeling? The labeling was clearly pre-crafted to produce the desired plain-language conclusion.

8 09 2010
Masxon X Hamilton

Hey, don’t you read – this is from Haaaavaaaaad! Simply has to be beyond question. From a critical thought process standpoint this country is totally lost and there simply aren’t enough people like Denise to keep this kind of crap science out of circulation – Haaaavaaaaad or not.

9 09 2010
Jim Stone

Let’s be careful here. Willett does some good work (though I have some concerns about some of his work), and Hu (the primary on this one) has a lot of very good papers.

This particular paper does seem to be an exercise in creative framing, though.

For one thing, it’s a little confusing how we’re supposed to use the mortality tables when the baselines in the three rows are different.

If these are deciles, aren’t there also supposed to be roughly equal numbers in each bin? (Maybe I should dive into the main text of the article to get more info on how they created their bins)

For male CVD, the 373 deaths in the high veggie decile 1 bin, seems somewhat anomalous, and yet it’s the baseline for all those low veggie numbers in the rest of the veggie row.

For animal, (male CVD again) bin 1 has an n value of 270, and bin 10 is 264. Yet the HR ratio is 1:1.42. The latter number is “age and energy” adjusted. So, either there were some major age adjustments (and for that we need to factor in background demographic trends), major energy adjustments, or the bins aren’t close to equal for some reason.

Just a very confusing way to present the data, I think.

Jim

P.S. Overall, it looks like soluble fiber might be something good to hypothesize about based on this data.

10 09 2010
Richard Tamesis, M.D.

This paper was probably written by one of Dr. Hu’s fellows, given the fact that Dr. Hu is listed as the last author in the paper. They probably did it during their fellowship and he signed off on it when they submitted it for publication. He shares in the blame for any mistakes or poor analysis made in the paper, and so do the peer reviewers who didn’t seem to have as much sense and smarts as Denise.

30 09 2010
George D. Henderson

While you’re hypothesising about soluble fibre, spare a thought for poor maligned phytic acid; well absorbed, antioxidant, iron-chelating. As long as you don’t mix it with minerals you need (and I was impressed by the 40% multivitamin use in these subjects), it’s valuable stuff and may account for many benefits attributed to fibre (which it always accompanies). FOS counter the malabsorbtion effects of phytic acid, as do some other nutrients.

If you make a study messy and confusing you can stop people from reading it closely enough to contradict your dubious conclusions.

8 09 2010
Richard Tamesis, M.D.

Finding out that Harvard students and faculty aren’t really that much smarter than the rest of us was the first hard lesson I learned when I arrived to do a post-residency fellowship over there in 1988. And to think this study was funded by the NIH with taxpayer money.

14 09 2010
Kitty

If there was a “Like” I would have ‘clicked it’

8 09 2010
Peter Andrews

Hi Denise,

I enjoy the post and appreciate the work you put into this.

I also enjoy hyperbole and humor. However… sometimes I want to send a link to a great post like yours to fairly serious people — like professors and medical researchers. While toning it down would make things less fun for your regular readers it might increase your impact as your posts would be more widely disseminated.

All the best!

8 09 2010
Richard Tamesis, M.D.

I think the fact that it contains a lot of humor makes people pay more attention to the message than your regular dry, technical, English prose found in such journal articles, which tends to make the reader’s eyes to glaze over.

14 09 2010
Kitty

I’d have clicked ‘Like” again for this comment of yours Richard.

8 09 2010
zellia

Peter, medical researchers and professors know about blogs and the informal language used therein, especially in science blogs. Hell, lots of professors maintain science blogs with a tone just like this one. There’s enough content in this post that anyone who actually reads it should be able to give you an opinion without caring about what sort of language Denise is using, as long as you’re not obnoxious about the way you present it to them (“Hey, what do you think of this” vs “SUCK IT MORONS”).

9 09 2010
Jim Stone

Yes, let Denise be Denise.

Part of what she’s doing is undermining the value people put on “authority” just for authority’s sake. She drops the trappings of formal expert speak, and yet makes just as much sense as most “experts” with their stuffy tones. It’s a challenge to take the argument on its own merits.

I know what you mean, though, Peter. For instance, I wish nonstampcollector would drop the f-bombs from his YouTube videos, so I could share them with my religious friends :-)

11 09 2010
neisy

Hey Peter,

I’m sure your right — I know my hyperbole turns some people off and at least a few folks find my use of adjectives offensive. :) Alas, even if toning it down would reel in a wider audience, it’d also make blogging feel like a chore instead of something I really love doing, and I’d probably end up stopping altogether. I spend my “day job” writing stuffy things, and this is the only place I have to be creative. :)

Fortunately, there are quite a few fantastic bloggers out there who are much better at slashing away the cutesy than I am, and I trust that anything I write about here will also, at some point, appear elsewhere in a format that may be more suitable to send to profs and the like.

14 09 2010
Kitty

I love your ‘cutesy’ it allows us to take a breath while the scientific facts are digested. BTW “As nutty as a squirrel’s turd” – what a wonderful simmilie.

28 04 2011
Mark - Indy

I happen to like your prose — refreshing, humorous and easy to follow. Please don’t change that ~

27 03 2012
Lore

Profanity of any sort may be humorous to some but it is pretty low brow language. I love the way you write and I agree that it is more accessible info for it. I just really object to name calling of any kind because it is not respectful and that part of the dialog degrades the other wonderful and useful things that you say. Profanity has gone global like many other things but it is bad manners, if they still count. If I may say so, you might enjoy using a more elevated vocab more than you think…you can still be darling and funny and cutsie (which I think you are) and effective without the other junk. p.s. I love your dedication to details and thank you so much for the sharing and wonderful debunking and demystifying!

8 09 2010
Tom Welsh

Yes, thanks very much, Denise. I often think that one of the most glaring deficiencies in our present-day society is a whole profession of people like you critically analyzing and reviewing the public statements we see. Politicians, business people, scientists… everyone has an axe to grind (that’s a British ax). 8-) Ordinary people – even those who are otherwise well-educated – lack the time and, in almost all cases, the ability to determine and present the true facts.

Long may you live and prosper! IMHO your work is just as valuable as that of a teacher (again IMHO probably the most important job in the world).

Oh, and by the way, Jack, try some wine! Much more Paleo, as it’s not grain-based. You tend to drink less of it, and it complements meat beautifully.

8 09 2010
moksha

thanks for taking this on so pronto! gawd what the zealots won’t do to promo their causes – be it food, fad or fallacy (religion :-) ) all data it THEIR data no matter what —

great summary again – you’re now one of my toolbar stops in my computin’ day–

8 09 2010
moksha

… and “nuttier than a squirrel turd” is quintessential Minger…. :-)

8 09 2010
Richard Tamesis, M.D.

Great work dissecting this report, Denise! This is a classic example of the junk science that gets published in so called peer reviewed journals.

8 09 2010
John

Thank you again for doing this work.

8 09 2010
Carlos

May I propose a new term for the art of—literally—turning the statistical tables on you? DeMinger. As in “Dr. Hu, I’m sorry to inform that you’ve been DeMinger’d”.

Although I do worry it makes it easy for the likes of me to be intellectually lazy, and easy prey to confirmation bias.

9 09 2010
Jay

Hahaha… Awesome suggestion.

11 09 2010
neisy

Ha! That’d have unforeseen repercussions in the UK, though — minger is a derogatory term over there:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=minger

1. minger: a male or female who fell out of the ugly tree at birth and hit every branch on the way down

2. minger: Someone who was not just touched by the ugly stick at birth but was battered severely with it.
:(

11 09 2010
Tony

They’ll need to redefine it as in exposing someone as an incompetent, unscientific and illogical fool.

11 09 2010
Tony

As in Campbell and Ornish were mingered.

21 12 2010
Joyce

I don’t know about Campbell, but I think Ornish may have been mingered in the traditional UK sense. Or maybe it’s just his diet!

8 09 2010
ekonomen

Denise, thanks for the great work.

Some quibbles and additional thoughts:

Do note that all of the categories used by the researchers include the entire study population – hence it is incorrect to say that the study claims that “Some of these “low carbers” were eating up to 60% of their diet as carbohydrates (first decile)”.

What changes between the group analyses is not the population examined – it is the scale used to subdivide the population – Scale one measures only macronutrient ratios, while the “animal” and “vegetable” scales combine carb intake with intake of animal products, etc.

Of course, the basic point still stands: Hardly anyone in this study was actually on a “low-carb” diet.

8 09 2010
ekonomen

Also, some selection effects at work here are clearly massive. You mention smoking – and that´s something of a smoking gun (pun intended!) for how powerfully selection impacts these results.

Among the men who were the most “animal-ish-low-carb” in the study, for instance, smoking was nearly three times(!) more prevalent than among the most “anti-animalish-high-carb” men. Whoopsie. Clearly, the people eating animal products also appear to be the ones least concerned with their own health.

This is not surprising. The food questionnaires are from 1986, when the anti-animal-fat public health campaign was new and in full swing. The population examined consists of health professionals. You can figure out the rest of the selection process for yourselves.

8 09 2010
ekonomen

Knowing that the entire study population is included in every category (only ordered on a different point scale in each case) we can also analyze the raw death ratios. I have only taken a glance at them, but already I can smell something funny in the air.

Of course, overall, eating less carbs is associated with lower mortality. The 1:10 inter-decile ratio, for instance, is 1,11.

When using the animal/carb combined scale, the low-animal/high-carb group (decile 1) has a whooping 3% lower death rate than the high-animal/low-carb group (decile 10).

Exactly they have been able to boost the Hazard Ratios to about 1,3 (still low, but hey…) would be interesting to see. The 20:20 and 50:50 raw ratios are lower still.

8 09 2010
SkyKing

You’ve been adopted to be the poster-child for us Lo-Carbers! God bless you..!!

But I’ve a got this awful feeling you’ll soon pay the price and will be seeing some black helicopters hovering over your house at 3am one of these days, courtesy of those such as PETA, the USDA, the Soy Industry, etc., etc. ;0)

Please keep up the GREAT work..!!

8 09 2010
Marc

To me, the following is the real kicker:

“For the Vegetable Group, cancer and cardiovascular mortality was lower in the tenth decile than the first decile, even though both deciles ate exactly the same amount of red meat and nearly the same amount of total animal foods. This suggests animal products aren’t the driving force behind differences in mortality rates.”

Although it’s many years back, I vividly recall getting an “F” on a lab assignment in an undergrad experimental cell biology course FOR OVERLOOKING EXACTLY THE SAME SORT OF DATA pattern. How did a level of scientific “inquiry” that wasn’t good enough to complete one lab assignment of a 2nd/3rd year undergrad bio course become good enough to get you published in the Annals of Internal Medicine? Is the state of nutrition science really this bad?

8 09 2010
Jay Wortman MD

Good work, Denise.

I would add that the hazard ratio they found when comparing one extreme to the other was 1.23. This is not a large HR when derived from observational data. You need to see less than 0.5 or more than 2.0 to be worth pursuing.

When this same study group was used to look at hormone replacement therapy, they found that it was protective of cardiovascular disease with a HR of 0.39 which is pretty good (ie less than 0.5). However, when HRT was actually tested in the large Women’s Health Initiative trial, it was found to increase CVD risk with a HR of 1.29. Oops! Just goes to show that you must never, ever assume causality from observational data. You must first do the clinical trials.

Keep up the good work!

8 09 2010
Dawn Gifford

Thank you so much for your dedication to data over dogma, as well as your apparent inability to take yourself too seriously! The Raw/Real Food community needs more people like you.

8 09 2010
Catherine Clark

Well, if they wish to look at grass-fed and pastured animals, the results might be remarkably different. Beef is no longer just beef. Organically fed poultry is also a different breed from conventional poultry, as are the eggs! I would like to see an honest, non-industry study done comparing people eating solely organically raised/pastured beef, poultry, pork, vegetables, fruits, etc., to those consuming conventionally raised and see how both groups fare after say, 2-5 years (long term study) or longer. Eating habits would have to be tracked and documented. I think something like that would be very telling. Consuming conventionally raised animal protein is just inferior, because their feed and living conditions are inferior.

8 09 2010
Marc

Sadly, I think that is decades away, though given that a hormone laden grain fed piece of “beef” is just not the same as a pasture raised piece of beef you would imagine there would have to be some difference.

The biggest problem to me seems to be the self-reporting surveys done after the fact. If your data collection is bad you can really only do so much.

I’d really like to see a diet study that has participants take a picture of every single thing they eat with their smart phones and upload that to a photo blog that researchers could track. This certainly ain’t perfect as people would forget some of the time and maybe cheat, but imagine the improvement over just taking a retrospective survey.

9 09 2010
Bushrat

For the advantages of grass fed over grain fed, click here:

http://www.fitnessspotlight.com/2010/04/15/grass-fed-beef-meat/

8 09 2010
john

way to hit it right on the head the numbers don’t say what the conclusion is claiming they say.
Sometimes I fault the authors of studies like these for their overly broad conclusions and not digging into the numbers enough in their analysis. Then these one sentence conclusions get picked up and blared all over the popular media, despite the fact that the study often doesn’t say what the media reports.
I have to say though that when I publish my own research I fight like heckto get the information into the conclusions, due to publishers word requirements and knowing that the reviewers just want to see catch phrases. When my work hit the media my mother read the reports and told me two things
1. you didn’t tell me that you cured cancer
2. if you’ve done all these wonderful things, why are you still going to be in school for 3 more years.
The simple reply was that the media reports, and the press releases put out by the University, were completely wrong about what we had done. It’s hard as a scientist to get your message out to the public, often times the public doesn’t understand basic concepts (statistical significance, in vitro vs in vivo). The other problem is scientists are really bad at this kinda communication, it’s tough, we spend so little time interacting with normal people. Seriously, I’m leaving academia and I’m really gonna have a hard time getting acclimated to regular society, it’s like I’ve been in another world for the last 6 years or so.

8 09 2010
Jimmy Moore

WOW, you even got the great Dr. Jay Wortman to weigh in on your blog…BIG STUFF, Denise! Thanks as always for your dedication to the proper interpretation of scientific data. Can’t wait to share my interview with you on September 27, 2010. :)

8 09 2010
Richard Nikoley

Denise, you and Stephan Guyenet need to hook up. :)

9 09 2010
Bushrat

And then breed a master race of super intelligent paleo crusaders

9 09 2010
JD

Or her and Chris Masterjohn. I think they would be cute together.

It must be difficult these days for young, intelligent people interested in real nutrition to find partners. When I was that age all I wanted was beer and pizza. It’s the young people like Denise, Stephan, Chris and others in this movement that should be breeding the most, to cancel out all the idiots running amok.

8 09 2010
Gisela

Denise, you are my hero! Your gifts of clear sight and even clearer prose are so desperately needed in the world today. ¡Brava!

9 09 2010
mango genocide

The “Animal Group”:

9 09 2010
Connie Howard

I’ve just discovered you, and think you’re amazing. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! You have doctors like Jay Wortman and Michael Eades and Richard Tamesis taking you seriously for very good reason. But as someone else here has already said, prepare yourself for serious resistance—in addition to PETA, there is an entire “heart friendly” low fat, high carb food industry that is not going to like you …but I’m sure you already know that, and know exactly how best to deal with it :)

Keep doing what you do: you have no idea how important a service you provide to non-scientists like myself.

9 09 2010
anon

Holy crap, Denise…NPR needs to profile you.

And it sure is interesting how the vegans all went quiet once you pulled back the curtain on their great and powerful Wizard. ;-)

I can’t hardly wait for the next time you tap your ruby slippers together.

9 09 2010
Marcia

Just another HUGE vote of thanks for the work you do, Denise. How, do any of you suppose, could we register our dismay about spending our good tax dollars on this rubbish? Any ideas?

9 09 2010
ekonomen

“in addition to PETA, there is an entire “heart friendly” low fat, high carb food industry that is not going to like you …but I’m sure you already know that, and know exactly how best to deal with it :)”

The interesting thing about this study is that (if interpreted as the authors do, I.e. as fit to use as grounds for nutritional advice*) it essentially says “carbohydrates kill you, but meat does too”.

*It is not. That´s the main problem with the study.

9 09 2010
Andrea Schüler

I stumbled on an article from Dean Ornish in the Huffington Post yesterday. Usual Ornish message: this study proves that low carb makes you sick. I looked at the abstract and thought: well – no information here but I won’t pay money for the stuff. The abstarct looks as it would be a waste of money. Food questionnaires (over 20 years ???)….PLEEEEZE gimme a break! This looks like junk science.

I thought: Somebody should comment. Mark Sisson? Mike Eades? Richard Nikoley? Robb Wolf? Well – turned out that you are the helping hand (brain?) here. Thanks Denise – you rock!
I was right in my assumptions about the study: It’s always the same with this confirmation biased ” studies”. They didn’t test a high quality food low carb diet vs. a high quality food high carb diet. SAD vs. SAD doesn’t tell you anything. Junk Science.

9 09 2010
ekonomen

Funny thing is, the study “says” (it doesn´t really say much, but hey), that a high-carb diet makes you more likely to die prematurely. I´d be very careful touting it if I were Ornish.

(The attempted indictment in this case is against the animal products, not low-carb per se, really).

9 09 2010
Valtsu

Thank you for the article. It’s very interesting to see how true scientists make things look like something they are not.

10 09 2010
Richard Tamesis, M.D.

I wouldn’t call them true scientists if they don’t act like one.

9 09 2010
JD

FYI Denise, someone posted this on a different blog:

“Dr. Campbell told me today that a group of epidemiologists (about 7 of them, unaffiliated with him, from Johns Hopkins and other places) are about to systematically take apart Minger’s faulty assumptions about the China Study.

Minger is apparently associated with the Weston A. Price Foundation. The WAPF, like Mercola, lives or dies by its heavy promotion of animal products and came out swinging the minute The China Study was published. (They’re great about promoting whole foods–but they love organic meat and dairy.) The China Study is newer, bigger, and more scientific than the very old research of Weston Price.”

http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/blog/2010/09/08/i-just-interviewed-t-colin-campbell/

9 09 2010
anon

a group of epidemiologists are about to systematically take apart Minger’s faulty assumptions

Are any of “epidemiologists” going to reveal their names? Or will they be wearing masks when they jump Denise, like the bad guys in a martial arts action film?

Campbell hides behind epidemiology because it’s all he’s got. But Kurt Harris has it right:

“This is all just epidemiology, and epidemiology is bogus. Now, I don’t mean it has absolutely no value. It is good for hypothesis generation. It is almost worthless for finding the truth. It is especially worthless the way it is used by hacks like Campbell who are simply trying to sell people a book that tells them what they want to hear…To do as Campbell did, or as almost everyone does when they approach epidemiology, and say, ‘I suspect animal protein is bad, let’s see if I can prove that with epidemiology’ is, quite simply, epistemologically fraudulent. This does not get said often enough or called what it really is.”

9 09 2010
ekonomen

Campbell really is a piece of work.

Ad hominem? Check. Always a reliable sign of a serious mind in action. Not.

I assume they are going to data mine the bejeesus out of the data, so we can check that box as well.

Personally, I have a pet project – a worldwide ban on correlational studies, kind of like with chemical weapons, etc. Sure, they can generate hypotheses, and when you get hazard ratios of 13 or so (think smoking and lung cancer), hey, we might make an exception.

But sadly, I have come to the conclusion that they do more harm than good overall.

9 09 2010
CPM

I hope this isn’t just Campbell blowing smoke up some blogger and that some real epidemiologists are really planning to do this. It would be interesting.

If they put their real names and reputations out there, they would be hammered into taking a stand one way or another on Campbell’s science abuse and pseudoscience (such as Campbell’s claim that he uses a superior holistic science that allows him to use epidemiology as evidence that his hypotheses are correct.)

10 09 2010
Greg

Wow – more imaginary WAPF association! Just keep repeating something and eventually it’ll be true!

10 09 2010
Richard Tamesis, M.D.

Sounds like they are getting desperate to silence the girl who pointed out that the emperor wears no clothes.

10 09 2010
neisy

I guess I’m flattered that he’s using seven epidemiologists to tear down an uncredentialed English major who’s barely worth the time to debate! :) Really though, that’s awesome — ongoing discussion about controversial nutrition issues is a fabulous thing, and I look forward to whatever they’ve got to say. Round three… bring it on!

And yeah, I’m truly not affiliated with the WAPF.

10 09 2010
mango genocide

I guess this is a tacit admission by Skeletor that he had no real basis to pooh-pooh your criticisms of his work…

I hope the Esteemed Academics he hires to refute your work all have multiple PhDs, smoke pipes, wear tweed suits and speak like William F. Buckley so that when they tell him “She’s right, you’re wrong” he’ll either
1) Realize he really is wrong, or
2) Experience an episode of http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/SEHS

I’m betting on #2.

11 09 2010
William

Although I’m amused that poor widdle Campbell and his PhD couldn’t adequately defend their work and had to run for help, I’m somewhat irked by this. A scientist such as Campbell should be dedicated to the truth, and that’s not happening here. Minger pointed out the flaws in Campbell’s work, and Campbell replied with character assassination and a curiously self-unaware critique of the methods that Minger herself suggested were not worthy of using to draw conclusions.

If these seven epidemiologists were to spend equal amounts of their time taking apart Campbell’s assumptions, they’d probably have a lot more to say than they’ll find about Minger’s assumptions. Instead, we get intimations that they’ll probably be trying to discredit Minger’s work through nitpicking rather than doing what a real scientist would want to do: find the truth. Imperfect assumptions be damned. No matter how improper Minger and Campbell were in looking at the data, where does the data suggest we look next?

I suppose I needn’t worry. Between Minger and Campbell, at least one of them is open to being an adult and looking at the data itself.

11 09 2010
Chris Masterjohn

VegSource’s main piece of evidence of Denises “affiliation” with WAPF was a link to the blog I posted about the important significance of what she uncovered about Campbell’s animal research showing that whole plant proteins and casein were equivalent in his animal model of cancer. This is pretty ridiculous since I was one of dozens or maybe more bloggers who promoted her work.

And as far as I know, I’m a person and not a “foundation.” One of my two blogs is housed on the WAPF site, but it’s in my name and WAPF exercises no editorial control whatsoever over my blog. I would consider myself affiliated with WAPF since I’m a member, regularly contribute to their journal, and run a blog on its site, but I’m not an employee, not on the board, and don’t speak for the foundation.

Had they perused her site a little they may have found “I now see many holes in the Foundation’s claims (along with some still-sparkling gems of wisdom),” in her raw journey post. I could easily describe Joel Fuhrman’s program has having many holes as well as sparkling gems of wisdom and I’m sure no one would claim he and I are “affiliated.”

But this is typical for them — when Campbell responded to Mercola, since Mercola was obviously oldish and very credentialed judging by his pictures and the letters that come after his name, he introduced the critique with ‘Mercola’s rebuttal looks very much like Chris Masterjohn’s, and Chris Masterjohn is really young and has no credentials.”

The true believers may soak this stuff up, but most people will see through it as a circumvention of any attempt to address the arguments at hand.

10 09 2010
Rocker Steak Branding

[...] Brand-Spankin' New Study: Are Low-Carb Meat Eaters in Trouble … Is it time to ditch the steaks and bow down in phytoestrogenic reverence to the almighty tofu? I've said it before and I'll say it again: In most cases, abstracts tell you a whole 'lotta nothing—so don't judge a study until you've read the Thanks Denise – you rock I was right in my assumptions about the study: It's always the same with this confirmation biased ” studies” They didn't test a high quality food low carb diet vs. a high quality food high carb diet. [...]

10 09 2010
Fat Head » The ‘Atkins’ Study (ahem, ahem) According To Ornish

[...] Okay, you get the idea.  An Atkins-type diet loaded with meat will kill you.  Now here’s some of what Denise Minger — the same young blogger who recently shredded the China Study — had to say about the study: [...]

10 09 2010
Karen Vaughan

This is laughable. Just because you call a group “low carb” doesn’t make it so. Reminds me of Barnards “Vegan is better than ADA diet fpr diabetes” where the vegan group couldn’t eat flour, white rice. sugar or refined oils and basically consumed fewer carbs than the ADA group. Could have been called, ‘Low carb diet is better than crappy ADA diet’.

A similar bad diet study is the recent 2 year, $4 million Foster study comparing about 6 months of low carb dieting, increasing at 5 grams a week indefinitely to 2 years of low fat dieting. They call it “no difference” although when the low carb group was still low carb they had significantly more weight loss, lower TGL, LDL and BP and better HDL. That is a lot of “no difference.”

I shredded that one here: http://www.acupuncturebrooklyn.com/alternative-health/two-year-low-callow-carb-diet-study-misleading

Thanks for the heads up. There is a lot of bad science.

10 09 2010
Chris Masterjohn

If any of y’all are interested, I made a few additional comments about this study to complement Denise’s great post:

New Study Shows that Lying About Your Hamburger Intake Prevents Disease and Death When You Eat a Low-Carb Diet High in Carbohydrates

http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2010/09/new-study-shows-that-lying-about-your.html

Chris

10 09 2010
Branding Blog

Letter U Steak Branding Iron…

[...] is no longer just beef. Organically fed poultry is also a different breed from c [...]…

10 09 2010
Tuck

Well done as always, Denise. I was hoping you’d take a look at this study, but wasn’t bold enough to mail it to you. I should have.

10 09 2010
Just Wondering

Just wondering if anyone of Denise’s followers has actually ever eaten a real whole foods vegan diet? One which is composed of unrefined whole grains, sourdough breads, legumes, seasonal and locally produced fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds. From the commentary, it doesn’t seems so. Perhaps they should actually investigate and try such a way of eating before they extol the virtues of a low carb-ism. The low carb diet is a completely unnatural and unsustainable way of eating. No culture or society has ever subsisted on such a diet. The reason why North American society is so sick and fat is because of the hyper processed (refined carb) and rich nature (fat and meat) of its dietary habits.

11 09 2010
Dana

You are SO right, Wondering. People grow grain crops three seasons a year up in the Arctic. And the Maasai are allergic to beef. And the Lakota didn’t live on bison, they played tag with them.

Seriously.

14 09 2010
Just Wondering

Do you live in the Arctic? Are you a semi-nomadic African? Are you an 18th Century Aboriginal living on the American plains? What you have to realize is that there is a difference between circumstance and choice. These cultures had to eat what was available to them. Their circumstance dictated it. Would you want to live on a diet solely subsisting on raw seal blubber and fish? I doubt you would. Nor would it be appropriate or healthy considering that you probably live a modern, urban American life. What you further have to realize is that the domestication of grains for consumption by humans has existed throughout the temperate world for thousands and thousands of years. It fueled the most successful civilizations in the world. Agriculture has allowed humans to thrive. Just because modern hyper processed food had made our society fat and sick, it doesn’t mean that the blame has to be place on carbohydrate. That is ridiculously simplistic.

16 09 2010
Jeff W.

I live half the year above the arctic circle (two weeks out of every four). Grass barely grows here for about two months. It actually looks like a relatively well maintained lawn, since the grass never grows above five or six inches tall. The only thing taking away from the illusion is the fact that it never really turns green, just sort of a greenish brown before turning brown again. It’s brown right now, in fact.

Trust me, you aren’t going to grow anything above the arctic circle. Permafrost prevents plant roots from taking hold, which means the most you’ll see are short grasses and small flowers. It’s like trying to farm on top of a mountain – it ain’t gonna happen.

You could rent any documentary on traditional Inuit lifestyles and you’ll learn they subsisted on fish, seal, caribou, and whale. Often this food was raw, particularly in the winter times when driftwood was unavailable (trees don’t grow above the arctic circle).

There were no plants to eat, how could they eat plants?

16 09 2010
Just Wonderin

You just reiterated my point that there is a difference between choice and circumstance. Traditional Inuit had no other choice than to eat what was available to them. My point was that agriculture and domestication of grains has existed in the “temperate” world for thousands of years. The weather in those areas allowed it. Why would any person given the choice of a wide variety of food choose otherwise? It doesn’t make any sense.

Regarding the longevity of traditional Inuit, studies and examinations from 20th century have indicated that even those eating a traditional Inuit diet were relatively short lived with lifespans only into their 50s and 60s. And, records examining traditionally-living Inuit population during the years 1822 to 1836 indicated that the approximate life expectancy (excluding infant mortality) of this Inuit population was 43.5 years. Of course other variables would come into play (living conditions, accidents, etc.); however, one can not discount diet.

A diet of nothing but animal protein (like that of the Inuit) for urban North Americans is absurd. It is not natural, viable or desirable.

20 09 2010
Ben P

From your first post: “The low carb diet is a completely unnatural and unsustainable way of eating. No culture or society has ever subsisted on such a diet. ” There are many examples of such societies.

The Inuit diet was mostly animal fat, not animal protein. There is a difference. Also, all low carb hunting societies, that I’m aware of, selectively ate organ meats, something few Americans do today. The heart, brain, kidneys, eyes, and liver contain concentrations of nutrients not found in muscle meats and subcutaneous fat.

Grains require quite a bit of knowledge and technology to prepare properly. Corn, for example, requires nixtamalization if used as a staple food or else it causes pellegra. Pellegra caused by improper preparation of corn was common in certain areas. It wasn’t until 1937 that it was discovered pellegra was caused by niacin deficiency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellagra

21 02 2011
Marcia

I find nothing quite so annoying is someone telling me “what I have to realize.” Must be nice to have all the answers to everyone else’s life. And incredibly simplistic.

27 09 2010
Elisabeth

Really? Tell it to the Inuit and the Massai. I’m sure that this “fact” would be interesting to people who have successfully, and happily thrived on meat, fat, blood, and milk.
My sister-in-law has been a fan of Dean Ornish and has followed a “good” diet of low-fat meats, whole grains, organic vegetables, and fruits, and soy products to boot for many years. She continued on this diet regardless of the fact that she gained a great deal of weight on it. She’s thirty-eight now, and dying of ovarian cancer. Her six-year-old was recently diagnosed with severe colitis and hepatitis, accompanied by fructose sensitivity.

20 10 2010
Chris

“Tell it to the Inuit”

The Inuit worship a god called Matshishkapeu (the god of farts). Do you know why?

Acta Oncol. 1996;35(5):621-8.
Cancer in Circumpolar Inuit 1969-1988. A summary.
The results of an international, collaborative study of cancer in Circumpolar Inuit in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Russia are summarized. A total of 3 255 incident cancers were diagnosed from 1969 to 1988 among 85 000-110 000 individuals. Indirect standardization (SIR) based on comparison populations in Connecticut (USA), Canada and Denmark showed excess risk of cancer of the lung, nasopharynx, salivary glands, gallbladder and extrahepatic bile ducts in both sexes, of liver and stomach cancer in men, and renal and cervical cancer in women. Low risk was observed for cancer of the bladder, breast, endometrium and prostate, and for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, leukaemia, multiple myeloma and melanoma. Age-standardized incidence rates (ASRs) of cancer of lung, cervix, nasopharynx and salivary glands among Inuit were among the world’s highest as were rates in women of oesophageal and renal cancer.”

“We did a study with Greenlandic doctors, and basically we found that compared to a group of 5,000 women in Quebec City, the frequency of osteoporosis was 19 per cent compared to 7 per cent,” said Dr. Eric Dewailly of the National Institute of Public Health in Quebec” Health survey to screen Inuit for osteoporosis September 2, 2004 | 11:40 AM ET CBC News

“It is a common notion that coronary heart disease (CHD) is rare among Inuit, possibly due to a high intake of omega-3-fatty acids. The scientific evidence for this is weak and to some extent based on uncertain mortality statistic. The overall prevalence of CHD (AP+self-reported MI+ECG defined MI) was 10.8% in men and 10.2% in women. The highest prevalence was observed in the least westernized areas in Greenland. Atherosclerosis. 2008 Feb;196(2):772-8.

So, what’s so special about the Inuit diet? They have short life expectancies and they are as sick as most people… The high meat diet decreases pH and degrades the digestive system so Inuit are prone to many diseases…

“and the Massai.”

“Masai tribesman in Africa derive 60-65% of their calories from milk fat..” While they do have less heart disease “atherosclerotic plaque buildup is just as prevalent in Masai tribesmen as it is in American males.” Heart disease increased again when Masai included refined sugar adding oxidative stress of course. It is both refined sugar and animal fat that magnifies heart disease. “international survey did show a positive correlation between CHD incidence and national animal fat consumption.” http://www.mitochondriaonline.com/book/sci-mit9.pdf

“people who have successfully, and happily thrived on meat, fat, blood, and milk”

Although your necrophageous diet sounds natural enough and awfully tempting, blood has little nutritional value for humans and like all other species on this planet, milk is not only unnecessary but also a nutritional compromise after development and especially if it isn’t even milk from your own species. If, however, you are striving to turn into a cow, enjoy sucking the dirty udders of bovinae…

C.

20 10 2010
kat

Yesssss!!! I love it when you guys use vegan propaganda in your arguments, it’s such a hoot! But I am disappointed you didn’t use the word “secretions.”

20 10 2010
Chris

Some omnivarians (hunters and techno-scavengers alike) are secretive and particularly squeamish about topics related to their diets, especially regarding egestion and despite the unnatural/unnusually high rates of hemorrhoids and booming laxative industry within animal-centric markets. I find myself walking on eggshells (no pun intended) when referring to the impact/disease states of elimination related to dairy, meat, refined grains, etc.

More sophisticated meat-eaters also prefer to use French names or euphemisms for their meat (for obvious reasons…)

C.

20 10 2010
kat

Please enlighten us on the “obvious reasons” for corpse-eating euphemisms (Did I get that right? It’s corpse-eating, right?). I can’t wait!

19 10 2010
Auggiedoggy

Just Wondering: I followed a near vegan diet for a year back in 1994. By “near vegan” I mean the only animal foods consumed were the dairy and eggs in the bread I ate. Also, I didn’t cut out honey.

I looked pale (people commented on that 4 weeks into my diet) and really felt the cold during fall and winter. Over the short term I felt better but over time I always felt like something was missing. I was eating more often but never really felt satisfied. I was surviving but not thriving.

Reintroducing animal foods back into my diet had an immediate effect and apparently returned some colour in my face. I was energized now that meat, fish, poultry and dairy was in my diet. I must admit that I also followed lacto vegetarian and lacto-ovo vegetarian diets off and on during the late 80’s and into the 90’s.

I can honestly say I have never felt better, more robust and energetic than when I have included animal foods in my diet. The vegetarian experience did have an impact on my return to an omnivorous way of eating in that my diet these days is 70-80% plant-based. It depends upon the season. I allow myself just about any fruit or vegetable but have recently cut out grains.

On the subject of grains, are you aware that the human populations of the Neolithic period developed diseases never before seen in hunter/gatherer populations? The evidence from the remains of our Paleolithic ancestors and those of our Neolithic ancestors have been studied by anthropologists. The decline in health and in stature is obvious. Why would you promote grains to a species that lived for more than 2.5 million years without them?

Where are all the vegan civilizations? They never existed! The healthiest civilizations always included meat in their diet and that includes the Okinawans, who have the hight number of centenarians, per-capita, of any country. The Swiss and Icelandic peoples have excellent longevity records. The Swiss love their dairy and the Icelanders love their fatty fish.

Are you familiar with the Kitava Study? These islanders are extremely healthy and despite having a high rate of smokers enjoy better health than most people in the world. Their diet contains fruits, vegatables, tubers and fish but most of their fat comes from coconut, which as you know is highly saturated. Their BMIs are low as are their cholesterol levels. Check it out for yourself.

So, please remind me why would we want to eliminate all animal foods from our diet?

20 10 2010
Chris

“Just Wondering: I followed a near vegan diet for a year back in 1994.”

A very difficult time for feral primates, with few vegan products commercially available in the new world, much fewer fruit tree species available to order through brokers over the Internet and even more widespread misnomers and misinformation regarding nutrition in general…

“By “near vegan” I mean the only animal foods consumed were the dairy and eggs in the bread I ate.

Which makes as much sense as consuming meat. Bread is no healthier, especially bread with animal parts blended up inside the refined grain products.

“Also, I didn’t cut out honey.”

Maintaining the higher sugar in diet without the fiber (in fruit), which would have promoted better digestion with healthier bacterial colonies in the digestive system to absorb more nutrients in the otherwise, acidifying diet.

“I looked pale (people commented on that 4 weeks into my diet) and really felt the cold during fall and winter.”

How much beta carotene was in your refined bread, dairy and honey diet? And how much B12?

“Over the short term I felt better but over time I always felt like something was missing.”

No surprise as the cravings for animal fat remained since the animal fat was never eliminated. The toughest stage of becoming raw vegan was during the vegetarian transition, yo-yoing back and forth with cravings. This is why more people have long-term success with sudden changes in diet, eliminating ALL the animal products, then making note of proprioception.

“I was eating more often”

Humans and all great apes digest food better when consuming frequently and in smaller ‘meals’.

“but never really felt satisfied.”

Vague references to ‘never feeling satisfied’ among the inexperienced elimination dieters really equate to functional constipation as the intestine never habilitated with the steady diet of dairy and refined grains, which extend transit time and maintain that empty feeling in the stomach when yo-yoing and craving ‘comfort food’.

“I was surviving but not thriving.”

And omniconfused.

“Reintroducing animal foods back into my diet”

On top of the animal foods you already devoured, regularly? What ever could be missing that wasn’t in denatured, foul, fowl eggs (the perfect protein source!)?

“I was energized now that meat, fish, poultry and dairy was in my diet.”

Dairy was already there. Meat doesn’t ‘energize’, it requires more energy to digest, especially cooked meat, which is denatured and requires refolding of the misfolded proteins. This is most noticeable after traditional Thanksgiving dinners when culturists experience lethargy after customarily consuming animal products. Some confuse the anxiety created by meat consumption for energy.

“I must admit that I also followed lacto vegetarian and lacto-ovo vegetarian diets off and on during the late 80′s and into the 90′s.”

Eternally yo-yoing while maintaining ruinous dietary compromises of animal products and refined grains…

“I have never felt better”

Which may be the case in your unsuccessful attempts and limited experiences, given the confessions you’ve made.

“my diet these days is 70-80% plant-based.”

Which is similar to the average of Archaic H. sapiens during the ice age (over now), when food wasn’t available, out of habitat. The global custom today is 90% average plant based diet and the consequences of this much animal product is devastating of course..

“It depends upon the season.”

Seasons were far less pronounced during the Miocene, when the hominoidea digestive system was established, co-evolving with fruit.

“Why would you promote grains to a species that lived for more than 2.5 million years without them?”

You’re asking me? I don’t know why people consume grains or dairy or cooked meat or meat in general since those difficult-to-digest items are not biochemically compatible for humans and hominidae never adapted to be able to digest these after already establishing a frugivorous digestive system before regular consumption of meat or processed food.

“Where are all the vegan civilizations?”

Fascinating sociological question! Are they with the ‘civilizations’ that all exercise and breathe optimally?

“They never existed!”

The direct lineage evolved as biological frugivores for tens of millions of years in trees, before kindling fire or defending against carnivores on land with tools.

“the Okinawans”

Consume more plant food than meat, compared to westernized dieters. But Okinawans don’t have perfect diets either…

“The Swiss love their dairy”

I used to like ice cream too.

“and the Icelanders love their fatty fish”

Taste habituation.

“So, please remind me why would we want to eliminate all animal foods from our diet?”

Another failed dieter, out of the hominidae ecological niche, still backlashing… Perhaps one can consult or model the diet of someone who had success INSTEAD of failure on raw vegan dieting, in order to save the trouble?

C.

20 10 2010
Auggiedoggy

Chris,

“You’re asking me? I don’t know why people consume grains or dairy or cooked meat or meat in general since those difficult-to-digest items are not biochemically compatible for humans and hominidae never adapted to be able to digest these after already establishing a frugivorous digestive system before regular consumption of meat or processed food.”

Well, actually no, I wasn’t asking you. I was addressing someone using the ID “Just Wondering”. You just jumped into the conversation. Unless “Just Wondering” is your sock puppet ID, in which case I guess I was, unknowingly, addressing you.

“How much beta carotene was in your refined bread, dairy and honey diet? And how much B12?”

Don’t know or care. I was eating carrots and supplementing with a multi-vitamin but thanks for your concern.

“No surprise as the cravings for animal fat remained since the animal fat was never eliminated. The toughest stage of becoming raw vegan was during the vegetarian transition, yo-yoing back and forth with cravings. This is why more people have long-term success with sudden changes in diet, eliminating ALL the animal products, then making note of proprioception.”

All the animal products? I was getting trace amounts in bread and I never mentioned how much bread I ate. You ASSume too much.

“The direct lineage evolved as biological frugivores for tens of millions of years in trees, before kindling fire or defending against carnivores on land with tools.”

The frugivores you speak of were not human. Vegans love to talk about non-human species to try and legitimize their diet. There are no frugivores within the genus “Homo”. Even the australopithicines consumed some meat and insects with the exception of A. Robustus of whom most agree was a plant eater.

Why not go further back in time to the *ancestors* of the frugivores or further back still to their ancestors. We can go back to the point where life forms were aquatic and where the diet was largely … other fish! I guess that’s out of your comfort zone though, being a vegan or vegetarian or whatnot.

“‘the Okinawans'”

“Consume more plant food than meat, compared to westernized dieters. But Okinawans don’t have perfect diets either.”

Right! You vegans and raw foodists are going to school the Okinawans on how to really live! Good luck with that. lol.

“‘The Swiss love their dairy'”

“I used to like ice cream too.”

“‘and the Icelanders love their fatty fish'”

“Taste habituation”

And both groups have excellent longevity records as populations. Something that raw foodists and vegans will never duplicate.

“Another failed dieter, out of the hominidae ecological niche, still backlashing… Perhaps one can consult or model the diet of someone who had success INSTEAD of failure on raw vegan dieting, in order to save the trouble.”

Oh, I could have *survived* as a vegetarian but chose to thrive instead. I’ve seen some of the raw food “gurus” in photos and in videos on You Tube. They look like shit quite frankly. I do not want to look like them. Besides, I was never much for religion …

My current diet is close to that of the Okinawans, minus the rice, and that of the Kitavans, minus the coconut. These are like high-carb paleo diets and the people on them actually look healthy, unlike your raw food “gurus”.

20 10 2010
Chris

“I don’t know why people consume grains or dairy or cooked meat or meat in general since those difficult-to-digest items are not biochemically compatible for humans…”

I wasn’t asking you.

It seems you weren’t receptive to an answer from anyone… That it was just a rhetorical question since neither grains nor meat are digested properly for humans.

“How much beta carotene was in your refined bread, dairy and honey diet? And how much B12?”

“Don’t know or care.”

Words to die by… This is a requirement for consuming meat when food is available. I figured you didn’t know… But if you don’t care then why are you complaining about the results of your diet??

“I was eating carrots”

Obviously you cooked your food enough to kill many of the nutrients and/or procured food and meat from poor soil since there are raw vegans that do not consume eggs, dairy or bread and they don’t get the pale skin you complained about on that diet.

“..animal products? I was getting trace amounts in bread”

In your retrospective account there are obviously no numbers to deal with, just your ‘feelings’ so it doesn’t matter if you consumed the equivalent of 1 egg a day or 100, the cravings will not stop for animal fat until complete exclusion for an extended time. Any addiction and ‘cravings’ (especially dairy and wheat) can be maintained on ‘trace amounts’. You’re trivializing.

“and I never mentioned how much bread I ate”

I know, for the specific purpose of back-peddling. You maintained the dairy in your diet along with the symptoms you confessed.

“The frugivores you speak of were not human”

Trichromatic color vision was also a product of identifying emergent leaves and fruit. This too was established before you decided to call yourself ‘human’. The fact remains that the digestive system of direct lineage was already optimized for fruit and color vision and ~99% of the genetic instructions before supplementing the diet with meat on any semblance of a regular basis during any given window of time in the relatively recent past. To this day humans still digest fruit, reversing the varied meat-related health conditions. Fruit is digested best, as opposed to meat. Whether you call yourself ‘human’ or just another great ape, fruit is still digested better than meat and there is no requirement for meat when adequate food is available.

There are no frugivores within the genus “Homo”.

Humans digest fruit best and meat contributes to varied digestive disorders, whether you’re a member of the Inuit culture or African cultures. Culturists may choose to trade any amount of fruit for meat but don’t call it natural or healthy. Even deer consume meat but that doesn’t change the fact they are natural herbivores.

“Even the australopithicines consumed some meat”

Even H. sapiens consumed some other human beings. This didn’t cause humans to digest animals without disease risks. Raw fruit still grooms the digestive system of humans and reverses, postpones, cures or at least is negatively correlated with virtually every digestive disorder and disease state that meat contributes to.

“We can go back to the point where life forms were aquatic and where the diet was largely … other fish!”

Is that what you’ve been trying to do? Except you can’t synthesize vitamin C but fish that eat other fish have the genetic instructions for the uricase enzyme. Humans lack this gene so are prone to uric acid oxidation, hyperuricemia, gout, hypertension, etc . And uric acid is less soluble in acidic conditions. H. sapiens, along with all other members of the biological family of great apes, are not fish and do not digest fish as well as fruit. Conversely, fish cannot synthesize uric acid and humans do.

Semin Nephrol. 2005 Jan;25(1):3-8.
“the mutation of uricase that occurred in the Miocene resulted in higher serum uric acid in humans compared with most mammals as a means to increase blood pressure in early hominoids in response to low-sodium & low-purine diet..the epidemic of hypertension that evolved with Westernization was associated with intake of red meat with increased serum uric acid levels..gout & hyperuricemia is considered part of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension epidemic..”

Humans are the ONLY species that develop spontaneous gout on a regular basis. No other species ignores genetic instructions like humans. No other species is as culturable.

“I guess that’s out of your comfort zone though”

Yes, I’m not ‘comfortable’ in the ‘zone’ of a carnivorous fish.

“both groups have excellent longevity records”

As covered, Okinawans consume more plants than Westerners, yet the diet of Okinawans is far from perfect.

“I’ve seen some of the raw food “gurus” in photos and in videos on You Tube”

That proves it, you’re definitely a carnivore!

“I do not want to look like them”

More out-group polarizing…

“Besides, I was never much for religion …”

“Vegetarians are less likely than the general population to follow a conventional religion… are more different then similar in their social backgrounds, political beliefs” – Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. V. 3, 489-490. Solomon H. Katz & William Weaver. 2003.

C.

20 10 2010
Auggiedoggy

“I wasn’t asking you.”

Really? Your post was the 1st indented under mine and you were commenting on many points of my post so I think it was a normal assumption that you were asking me. Or perhaps you were just talking to yourself …

“In your retrospective account there are obviously no numbers to deal with, just your ‘feelings’ so it doesn’t matter if you consumed the equivalent of 1 egg a day or 100, the cravings will not stop for animal fat until complete exclusion for an extended time.”

Yes, you vegans like to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Fortunately the healthy long-lived populations don’t do that which is why they are healthy and long-lived and your fellow religionists will never match them.

BTW, the fish thing was tongue-in-cheek. I know that vegans and raw vegans like to dwell on the frugivore species. Its irrelevant to us from about H. Erectus onwards but it seems to be your “warm and happy place” for obvious reasons. ;)

“That proves it, you’re definitely a carnivore”

You deduced this because I said I saw raw foodist videos on You Tube? I’m astonished! But you are entitled to your own opinions.

““I do not want to look like them””

“More out-group polarizing…”

Huh? Have you really taken a good look at these people you call successful raw vegans? Yikes, the fact that they appear normal to you is a bit scarey! Some of these people could get a second job standing out in a corn field keeping the birds away!

“Vegetarians are less likely than the general population to follow a conventional religion… are more different then similar in their social backgrounds, political beliefs” – Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. V. 3, 489-490. Solomon H. Katz & William Weaver. 2003.”

This is too funny! Next to or perhaps on par with YECs (Young Earth Creationists) the raw vegan/fruitarian culture has to be right up there on the list of religious cults. You may not have your churches (yet) but you folks are religious with a capital “R”. For the rest of us, a diet is just a diet.

This banter back and forth reminds of my dealings with religious fundies in the past. I’m just dealing with a different religious group this time.

10 09 2010
I valet och kvalet « Paleofriend

[...] Det är pure junk science, men alltid lurar det någon. Vår nya stjärna på paleohimlen, Denise Minger, har läst studien och har sågat den längs med [...]

10 09 2010
Connie Howard

Really, Just Wondering? You think none of us here has tried a real whole foods vegan diet? Pretty bold assumption. It’s the diet that quickly makes me sick, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one here who’s experienced that. I’m gluten intolerant, and hyperinsulemic, and most of the foods permitted on a vegan diet create excess insulin production for me, which spells weight gain and the whole host of diseases associated with that. Call me less evolved than you, but it’s true, and on a Paleo kind of diet my weight and cholesterol and all the rest is normal.

10 09 2010
Just Wondering

Connie, what foods were you eating on your vegan diet?

12 09 2010
Sue

Connie, what foods were you eating on your vegan diet?

Why do you ask? Are you suggesting she did the vegan diet wrong so that’s why she didn’t see the so-called benefits?

11 09 2010
Dana

Too much wheat makes me itchy. I’ve never been tested for gluten allergy or intolerance, but I bet it’s a problem for me.

Plus you just plain can’t get *full.* I suppose you could go around drinking heated coconut oil for your saturated fat (which, by the way, you need in your diet)–but how’s that sustainable when most of the world has to import it?

14 09 2010
Just Wondering

If you are truly allergic to wheat, then avoid it. There are numerous other grains you could investigate. Also, if you truly think you can’t get full or satisfied on a vegan diet, then you obviously have never eaten a proper vegan meal. And, regarding your saturated fat comment, do you realize that fats (poly, mono, and saturate) are never found only solely one form in a food? Fat is always found in combination (eg. 1/4 cup Almonds: 1.4 grams saturated, 11.61 grams monounsaturated, 4.36 grams polyunsaturated). Eating a wide variety of foods would allow for one to obtain a variety of fats in the diet. I realize that we are evolutionary/geographically adapted to eat the foods (including fats) that are available to us. I would never argue that everyone needs to start drinking coconut oil; that is ridiculous. A locally produced vegan diet (grains, legumes, seeds, vegetables) would supply a more than adequate amount of all macro and micro nutrients, including fats.

10 09 2010
Daniel Hagg, MD

Denise,

This analysis, like your work on the China study, is excellent. I encourage you to think very seriously about sending this as a letter to the Editor of Annals. If they are unwilling to receive it, I would be happy to submit with you. The world deserves better than this paper and the shortcomings should be pointed out.

Dan

10 09 2010
mango genocide

“Minger is apparently associated with the Weston A. Price Foundation. ”

So far as I can tell this is not true. She doesn’t site them, isn’t Facebook friends with them, and eats a diet that is diametrically opposed from what they advocate. And Denise has already made it clear that she isn’t “funded” by any food-related interest.

And I really, really hate smear attacks of this nature. She could be funded by PepsiCo, Rupert Murdoch, Frito-Lay, Eli Lilly and NAMBLA for all I care–her work will stand or fall on its own merits…

10 09 2010
mango genocide

“Just wondering if anyone of Denise’s followers has actually ever eaten a real whole foods vegan diet? One which is composed of unrefined whole grains, sourdough breads, legumes, seasonal and locally produced fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds.”

Are you suggesting that “Denise’s followers” would have less-awful results on such a diet than the countless people who have failed to thrive on such a diet while sadly unaware of or indifferent to The Great Minger?

14 09 2010
Just Wondering

Most people who claim to have followed a vegan diet and failed to thrive didn’t really follow a proper vegan diet. I’ve known people like that and it’s a joke what they consider a vegan meal.

17 04 2012
Dorchadas

Ah, yes. Like communism or supply-side economics, the vegan diet, cannot *fail*, it can only *be failed.*

10 09 2010
Connie Howard

Just Wondering: whole grains, sourdough breads, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds (though not locally produced, as where I live that would limit me to a very short, very limited vegetable, fruit and nut season indeed.) But it really doesn’t matter–I know enough about this to talk endlessly, but that’s not the point. I simply wanted to respond to your assumption that none of us know what a real vegan diet is. As Mango said, there are countless people on “real vegan diets” that have failed to thrive. I am one of them.

10 09 2010
Jeff

Connie, Mango, Just Wondering: Check out what Denise’s diet is. 70 to 90% raw fruit and raw veggies and 30 to 10% nuts, seeds, raw fish (thats the only meat she eats) and no dairy.

Just Wondering: connie and denise are doing a version of the vegan diet! Its just raw vegan, still eating whole unrefined foods. They are also doing a paleo diet as per the paradigm that diet lists out. Denise is more raw vegan than raw paleo by her approach (read her about page) and thats perfectly fine as thats her ideal diet, one that works for her. Connie might be doing a high paleo v/s a high raw vegan diet. Grains are vegan but can cause a lot of problems for a lot of people even if consumed whole.

Denise is only debunking ‘scientific’ studies and the approach they take. Just as vegan based preferential studies can be debunked and flaws pointed out, there will undoubtedly be many pro meat based studies that would have analytical flaws. Her main goal seems to be to instill a sense of critical thinking and scientific temper among people instead of them jumping on a diet bandwagon. Research, understand, think critically and experience anything new before accepting it and never make it a dogma.

11 09 2010
mango genocide

“Connie, Mango, Just Wondering: Check out what Denise’s diet is. 70 to 90% raw fruit and raw veggies and 30 to 10% nuts, seeds, raw fish (thats the only meat she eats) and no dairy…”

IIRC, Denise also consumes raw eggs in smmothie-type drinks…

“Denise is more raw vegan than raw paleo by her approach…”

If paleo is necessarily low-carb, yes.

But in my opinion, the difference between a vegan diet and a plant-based diet with the addition of small amounts of animal products is enormous as far as outcomes are concerned…

The really bright people in this field, Denise and others, all seem to be open to the notion that while certain things may be more-or-less universally true, e.g. Little Debbie Brownies Are Not A Health Food, there exists a veritable buttload of variance in how people respond to various foods, beverages, percentages of macronutrients, etc.

Not everyone thrives on 10 cups of coffee day, for example;)

11 09 2010
neisy

Yup!

I may lean more towards plant-based than paleo, but I would never call my diet anything near vegan, because the animal foods I do eat are what make the difference (for me) between thriving and falling apart. The non-vegan portion of my diet may not seem significant in terms of quantity, but it *is* significant in terms of effect.

I try to avoid listing out what I eat in detail because I don’t want to promote my current diet as ideal, or even feasible, for everyone. Like you said — veritable buttload of variance in individual responses. Once you nix the modern atrocities of so-called food, there’s a lot of wiggle room in terms of building a successful diet, in my opinion. :)

11 09 2010
Ales

Denise, what exactly do you believe is “missing factor” in your (not significant) non vegan part of your diet, that makes the difference beetwen “thriving” and “falling appart”?

2 10 2010
Chris

“I may lean more towards plant-based than paleo”
Hominidae co-evolved during the Miocene epoch, digesting plants (particularly succulent fruit) best. The Paleolithic era didn’t change that.

“We have seen disease rates change over time so drastically that it is biologically impossible to put the blame on genes.” The China Study, p. 234.

“Just 15 crop plants provide 90 percent of the world’s food energy intake, with three rice, maize and wheat – making up two-thirds of this.” – Agriculture and Consumer Protection: Dimensions of need – An atlas of food and agriculture. Staple foods: What do people eat? http://www.fao.org/docrep/u8480e/u8480e07.htm

“but I would never call my diet anything near vegan”
Adopting vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous diets are behavior (psychological) choices reflecting sociological belief systems. Humans and all other great apes are biological frugivores, optimized to digest succulent fruit best.

“animal foods I do eat are what make the difference (for me)”
As opposed to other Hominidae? Eating connotes digestion. Human digestive systems are degraded with meat intake, which also contributes to numerous health conditions and diseases, otherwise preventable with biochemically compatible food.

The majority of differences in eating behavior (especially animal consumption) are merely the result of conditioning, addiction and relatively labile customs, not genetic instructions. “…[m]ost differences are psychological.”… “If people only ate because of internal eating cues, very few people would be overweight.” -Coon, D & Mitterer, J. Psychology: Modules for Active Learning (Eleventh Edition) 2009. Motivation and Emotion. Chapter 9; 348.

“between thriving and falling apart.”
Edible plants do not make humans ‘fall apart’ or prevent H. sapiens from thriving.

“The non-vegan portion of my diet..’
Non vegan portion? The diet portion that believes in meat and negates plants?

“..non vegan portion of my diet may not seem significant”
It seems very significant for any Hominidae, (requiring opposing digestive processes) in terms of disease risks.

“but it *is* significant in terms of effect.
I also noticed the physical and psychological effects when I consumed meat in terms of anxiety, pleural effusions, social acquisition, fibroepithelial polyps, weight gain, blood pressure, contagious disease susceptibility, congestion, functional constipation, body odor, acidosis, hiccups, burps, overall digestion, egestion and inflammation, etc.

“I try to avoid listing out what I eat in detail because I don’t want to promote my current diet as ideal… Like you said- veritable buttload of variance in individual responses.”

Now that concept seems both cryptic and irksome. The only extant human variants are psychological typologies. Chimps and most mammals have far more genetic variation than humans, yet you don’t see the vast ‘buttload’ differences in dietary requirements within any mammalian species, even those closely related apes with more genetic variation than humans. Chimpanzee Subspecies Are Genetically Mixed And More Diverse Than Humans. ScienceDaily Nov. 8, 1999.

Humans are a relatively homogenous species, often interbreeding across cultures with a genetic distance less than .01% between any 2 people. To put this into perspective, the number of genetic differences between humans and chimps is 10 times less than between the mouse and rat. On the other hand, the number of genetic differences between a human and a chimp is about 10 times more than between any two humans.(2)2. http://www.genome.gov/15515096

“Once you nix the modern atrocities of so-called food, there’s a lot of wiggle room in terms of building a successful diet..”
You meant to say ‘less wiggle room’, I’m sure. The need to build a successful diet is more, not less critical after the assaults of ‘modern atrocities’. For example, impairing insulin response or burning intestinal flora with acidifying meat intake reduces nutrient absorption and pancreatic function. The ‘atrocities’ of acidifying foods, lacking fiber and fermenting gut flora reduce ‘wiggle room’ to build successful digestion/diet.

Chris

2 10 2010
kat

did you just use a quote from The China Study to try to prove a point…on THIS blog? bahahahahaha

3 10 2010
CPM

I thought I would throw in my 2 cents. I used the content from your 30Bad post because it was formatted a little better (and there was some extra content there as well.)

Chris – “Hominidae co-evolved during the Miocene epoch, digesting plants (particularly succulent fruit) best. The Paleolithic era didn’t change that.”

CPM – And your point is…?

She is saying she eats less meat and fat than many on modern paleo-style diets. People in the Paleolithic era ate some meat. Your point is what again…? Nobody is saying plants are bad.

BTW, if you don’t think it is significant that humans began eating meat at some point, then that is just your opinion. Others do think it was significant, particularly in developing big brains where we can worry about history, science, ethics, etc…

Chris – “We have seen disease rates change over time so drastically that it is biologically impossible to put the blame on genes.” The China Study, p. 234.

CPM – And your point is…?

Many paleo people blame the food of the 20th century, not their genes. Many are also suspicious of the new foods of the Neolithic era (see the point below).

Chris – “Just 15 crop plants provide 90 percent of the world’s food energy intake.”

CPM – And your point is…?

If 90% of the world’s energy intake is from grain and legume crops and their associated seed oils, maybe we should look closer at these to see where the problem is coming from. You know, humans are the only Hominidae that eats grains and legumes (and now we get 90% of our energy from these). This just happened in a blink of an eye if you look at the length of Hominidae existence. Looks worthy of some investigation if you ask me.

Chris – “Adopting vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous diets are behavior (psychological) choices reflecting sociological belief systems. Humans and all other great apes are biological frugivores, optimized to digest succulent fruit best.”

CPM – I suspect up until very modern times humans ate whatever they could find and not much psychology was involved in those choices. I have seen arguments that eating shellfish saved humans from extinction and that human motivation to develop tools was based in part on the desire to break open bone marrow. These are all just arguments, but an argument can be made too that eating meat is what made humans what they are now – people that can argue on the internets over their psychological choices in food.

Chris – “As opposed to other Hominidae?

CPM – And your point is…?

She quite clearly says that she personally feels healthier eating a little bit of meat. Only a very small fraction of other Hominidae give a rat’s ass what she eats.

Chris – “Eating connotes digestion. Human digestive systems are degraded with meat intake, which also contributes to numerous health conditions and diseases, otherwise preventable with biochemically compatible food”

CPM – The whole idea of meat causing disease is just a hypothesis that has arguments on both sides. If you are a follower of Campbellian pseudoscience then you can cherry-pick your studies all day long and never worry about nullification. It is interesting though that a career scientist like Campbell had to turn to lying, hand-waving, and pseudoscience to make his point about meat being bad.

Chris – “The majority of differences in eating behavior (especially animal consumption) are merely the result of conditioning, addiction and relatively labile customs, not genetic instructions.”

CPM – Again, up until very recent times humans ate to stay alive. The customs can help guide us to what foods worked in the past, especially when comparing healthier cultures to ones that are not so healthy. The change in eating behavior in the 20th century that resulted in so much additional disease can be a great clue.

No matter the motivation, eating extra protein seems an important aspect to human evolution. Even chimps have developed tools to add more protein (insects) to their diet.

Chris – “Edible plants do not make humans ‘fall apart’ or prevent H. sapiens from thriving.”

CPM – She did not say that edible plants do this (not sure whether this is strawman or false dichotomy, but…). The vast majority of her diet is edible plants. She said that she felt healthier when she added some extra nutrition that plants were not providing her.

Chris – “It seems very significant for all Hominidae, (requiring opposing digestive processes) in terms of disease risks.”

CPM – Again, only a very small fraction of Hominidae give a rat’s ass what she eats. Hominidae appear to be rather opportunistic eaters to me (for millions of years). And again, the whole idea of meat causing disease is just a hypothesis that has arguments on both sides. (Btw, how may Hominidae other than modern humans suck down grain seed oil?)

Chris – “So after all the number crunching, it is practically not significant and an ‘effect[ive]‘ philosophical alternative is practiced and preferred, instead…”

CPM – Not sure what you are talking about here.

Chris – “I also noticed the physical and psychological effects when I consumed small amounts of meat, in terms of anxiety, pleural effusions, social acquisition, fibroepithelial polyps, weight gain, blood pressure, contagious disease susceptibility, congestion, functional constipation, body odor, acidosis, hiccups, burps, overall digestion, egestion and inflammation, etc.”

CPM – No effing way! The human genome is too tightly wound for one person to react to food differently than another. No effing way! (I read ahead to your genetics remarks.)

Chris – “But if one includes meat in an ‘ideal diet’ and STILL can’t meet that ideal, what is the point?”

CPM – Not sure what you are saying here. Her point is to eat and feel healthier.

Chris – “Now that concept [buttload of variance in individual responses] seems both cryptic and irksome”

CPM – Just two points above you listed all the different physical and psychological effects that you got from meat that was different than Denise’s. But now the concept is “cryptic and irksome”. Maybe you are too wound-up in the issue and are just looking to argue.

Chris – “You meant to say ‘less wiggle room’, I’m sure. The need to build a successful diet is more, not less critical after the assaults of ‘modern atrocities’.”

CPM – She said it is a lot easier to have a successful diet if you remove the modern atrocities. What is there to argue with here? You seem pretty wound-up in getting your message out.

Chris – “If one forgoes the opportunity to apply the numbers to develop an ideal diet, what is all the debate worth, if not social acquisition (potentially at the expense of health)?”

CPM – Not sure what you are talking about here. Denise has been arguing that Campbell’s numbers are pseudoscience and that we need better science and numbers. You seem to be the one harping about ideal diets.

5 10 2010
Chris

A response from CPM and another from myself at http://www.30bananasaday.com/group/debunkingthechinastudycritics/forum/topics/official-responses-to-the

Chris (C): Hominidae co-evolved during the Miocene epoch, digesting plants (particularly succulent fruit) best. The Paleolithic era was a window of the past that didn’t change that.

CPM: “And your point is…?”

That the original poster is not unique (in terms of genetic instructions) in leaning toward plant food.

C: “We have seen disease rates change over time so drastically that it is biologically impossible to put the blame on genes.” The China Study, p. 234.

CPM: And your point is…?

That human diets have changed faster than genetic instructions. The original poster singled herself out as ‘”…mak[ing] the difference” with animal product intake. Later, I elaborate, explaining that there is no possible mechanism by which it would be theoretically possible for some members within the species or biological family to adapt to meat (which requires opposing digestive processes). The slight variance in genes among H. sapiens does not allow some humans to digest animal products without disease risks (acidosis, anxiety, obesity, putrefaction dysbiosis, high blood pressure, increased cancer, hemorrhoids, Alzheimer’s, etc).
Based on consumption of red, white, and processed meats, higher red and processed meat consumption representing a higher risk. After 10 years of annual follow-up, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died. Men in the highest quintile of red meat consumption had a 31% higher risk of death from any cause (95% confidence interval, 27%-35%), and women had a comparably elevated risk. Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management. May 2009. Vol. 16, Iss. 5; pg. 208

CPM: Many paleo people blame the food of the 20th century, not their genes”
Then the ‘paleo people’ wouldn’t claim they have special (unexplained) biological reasons for consuming meat. The Paleolithic era was a small window (after the Miocene, in which ancestors co-evolved w/fruit consumption) during a time in which there was no selective pressure for meat intake (as you admit later) and that ancestors just resorted to whatever they could get their hands on during the ice age. Likewise, people can resort to 20th century sodas for 20,000 more centuries and will not mutate into natural soda consumers.

CPM: Many are also suspicious of the new foods of the Neolithic era

But strangely, the ‘suspicion’ of the ‘paleo people’ ends at the Paleolithic era… Taking meat seems to impair the realization that the genetic instructions to digest plants best, was already established tens of millions of years before tool use or fire kindling and that the conditions of natural selection were present while co-evolving with fruit availability during the Miocene.

“Just 15 crop plants provide 90 percent of the world’s food energy intake..” – Agriculture and Consumer Protection: Dimensions of need – An atlas of food and agriculture. Staple foods: What do people eat? http://www.fao.org/docrep/u8480e/u8480e07.htm

CPM: “And your point is…?”

Still, the original poster is not unique (in terms of genetic instructions) in leaning toward plant food. It helps to understand what the point is when you quote in context to see what I was responding to.

“legume crops and their associated seed oils, maybe we should look closer at these to see where the problem is coming from”

I didn’t advocate seed oil. I’m not even advocating legume crops specifically, although legumes do not pose the disease risks that meat does. What I’m saying is that it is not unusual for humans to lean toward plant food. After this is recognized, a discussion (not a pillow fight) can develop as to what the optimal plant foods are for humans.

So, while plant oils and refined grains may also be sources of digestive compromises (to varying degrees) it is no easier to digest meat and dairy and no surprise that one would lean toward plant food in general (as the original poster said). I am trying to agree where there is a common view. Trying to determine when and how a human would lean toward 10% or any amount of animal products (as opposed to available plant foods in general) is another matter…

CPM: “eating shellfish saved humans from extinction”

[Citation needed]

Consuming food out of ecological niche was largely a stimulus motive resulting from exploration, not increased selective pressure for meat, specifically.

CPM: “humans ate whatever they could find..”

Finally! After having established a digestive system optimized for plants, prior to the Paleo era, w/no positive selection for meat specifically, humans resorted to consuming whatever they could find to survive abandoning the ecological niche during the ice age. Some even resorted to consuming each other or their own urine, etc… Back to square one… – a plant diet. Humans are still optimized for fruit digestion.

CPM: “eating meat is what made humans what they are now”

Humans are not scavengers. This is Lamarckian evolution, which is not accepted in modern theories of biological evolution and leaves out the natural selection equation. You’re confusing social evolution with biological evolution. Selective pressure was not increased for meat intake specifically but as you said humans “ate anything they could get their hands on” and largely a function of stimulus motives, exploring outside of ecological niche, so humans still can’t digest meat. It isn’t even possible in theory. Humans can smoke cigars and consume skittles candy for thousands of years and also not adapt to those, either.

D: “animal foods I do eat are what make the difference (for me)”

C: “As opposed to other Hominidae”

CPM: “And your point is?”

That the genetic differences within humans are relatively small and do not support the claim that there are biological typologies of meat-eating humans.

CPM- “The whole idea of meat causing disease is just a hypotheses”

“Systematic review of the prospective cohort studies on meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk: a meta-analytical approach… results indicate that a daily increase of 100 g of all meat or red meat is associated with a significant 12-17% increased risk of CRC. A significant 49% increased risk was found for a daily increase of 25 g of processed meat…the overall association between meat consumption and risk of CRC appears to be positive.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2001 May;10(5):439-46

CPM: “until recently humans ate to stay alive”

Humans and protohumans have always been under the influences of not just genetic instructions or to stay alive but cultural influences of rituals, social roles, political reasons and to explore polar regions and eventually the moon and beyond. The optimal food (in terms of digestion and reduced disease risks) are neither processed food, dairy nor meat, however.

CPM: “No matter the motivation, eating extra protein seems an important aspect to human evolution.

A contradiction of terms. If there is ‘extra protein’ then it wasn’t important for evolution. Humans consume protein IN SPITE of the important aspects of human evolution. The gold standard for diet requirements is breast milk. There is a difference between a stimulus motive and a biological motive, just as there is a difference between a psychological craving and a biological craving. Please consider this before responding with the patented, “And your point is…?”

http://www.parentingscience.com/calories-in-breast-milk.html

“Human breast milk in zoological perspective reflects status as a slow-growing species dependent on frequent infant feeds. Zoologically speaking, there aren’t a lot of calories in breast milk because human milk is relatively low in fat. It’s also low in protein.
• Human: 3.8% fat; 1% protein; 7% lactose
• Cow: 3.7% fat; 3.4% protein; 4.8% lactose
• Rat: 10.3% fat; 8.4% protein; 2.6% lactose
• Dog: 12.9% fat; 7.9% protein; 3.1% lactose
• Rabbit: 18.3% fat; 13.9% protein; 2.6% lactose

So, how ‘important’ is ‘extra protein’ for humans developing? Apparently, a lot less than for rabbits and virtually all other mammals (including other great apes).

CPM: Even chimps have developed tools to add more protein (insects) to their diet.”

Adopting tools in spite of biological adaptation is the result of aberrant cultural processes, not evolution. Chimps didn’t adapt to tools and meat, they adopted tools in spite of meat related diseases.

Chris – “Edible plants do not make humans ‘fall apart’ or prevent H. sapiens from thriving.”
CPM – She did not say that edible plants do this

D: “animal foods I do eat are what make the difference (for me) between thriving and falling apart.

The only other type of food mentioned besides animal foods was plant foods so by process of elimination, the difference between the animal food consumption is exactly the plant foods, as the original poster explained previously. In essence, the poster is claiming that an all plant food diet causes her to ‘fall apart’. This is an irrational fear.

CPM: “The vast majority of her diet is edible plants”

Yet the poster claimed that an all plant diet makes her ‘fall apart’… Essentially this exposes a lack of experience or success with plant diets.

CPM: “she felt healthier when she added some extra nutrition that plants were not providing her”
[citation needed]

Chris – “It seems very significant for all Hominidae, (requiring opposing digestive processes) in terms of disease risks.”
CPM: “Hominidae appear to be rather opportunistic”

And have taken the opportunity to acquire rampant diseases of affluence, mostly avoidable with plant-based, raw diets.

CPM: “how may Hominidae other than modern humans suck down grain seed oil?”

Strawman. I’m not advocating oil.

Chris – “I also noticed the physical and psychological effects when I consumed small amounts of meat”

CPM: “The human genome is too tightly wound for one person to react to food differently”

The original poster mentioned a big difference of adding animal products. I agreed. And you are correct, there is so much interbreeding among humans that there are not metabolic typologies that can safely digest meat.

CPM: “eat and feel better”

Until one detoxes with a long-term, plant-based, raw diet, how can one contrast a particular diet with the biochemically compatible diet to determine objectively or experientially whether one actually feels better. What are you comparing your feelings to? Inexperience? Other poor diets you’ve cycled through?

CPM: you listed all the different physical and psychological effects that you got from meat that was different than Denise’s.”

I never claimed the effects I experienced were much different from anyone else consuming meat. The topic was just the vague ‘difference’ experienced with meat intake. All humans acquire health conditions and diseases from meat intake. No human has adapted to eat meat. The original poster just chose not to specify the ‘difference’ experienced but I did allude to some differences that are common for humans consuming meat, in contrast to raw, plant-based food.

Deglaciating, detoxing, deprogramming, post ice age,
Chris

6 10 2010
CPM

Hi Chris,

Chris – That the original poster is not unique (in terms of genetic instructions) in leaning toward plant food.

CPM – I think there is a significant difference between “leaning toward plant food” and a plant-only diet being optimal. Your logic seems to be that we have eaten plants longer, so a plant-only diet would be optimal. I could be mistaken, but I believe we have eaten insects for a very long time as well; would an all-insect diet be optimal? How long do we have to eat something before we become adapted? Do grains and legumes get a free-ride because they come from plants?

You seem to say that a plant-only diet is optimal, but how many human civilizations have been purely vegan?

Chris – That human diets have changed faster than genetic instructions. The original poster singled herself out as ‘”…mak[ing] the difference” with animal product intake.

CPM – You are making similar arguments as the paleo crowd, except you are singling out meat. The paleo argument is that we have eaten meat for 2.5 million years while we have eaten grain and legumes for only 10 thousand years, and we have eaten industrially processed seed oil and other modern processed “foods” for just 100 years or so. The grains and legumes make up 90% of human food energy according to Campbell and are very new to our diet. Meat consumption hasn’t really changed a whole lot. There are various hunter-gatherer tribes still in existence that would seem to mimic the lifestyle of Paleolithic man that eat meat but do not have the modern diseases of civilization. Therefore greater suspicion should be placed grains, legumes, and foods of the 20th century. This isn’t to say they that these are necessarily all bad and meat is necessarily all good, but it does seem to indicate where the priority in research and public health should be.

Chris – Later, I elaborate, explaining that there is no possible mechanism by which it would be theoretically possible for some members within the species or biological family to adapt to meat (which requires opposing digestive processes).

CPM – You are talking here in absolutes (“not theoretically possible”) that don’t I think are close to being supported in the science. Furthermore, you seem to be saying that omnivores are an impossibility in nature – that a species must pick a team and stick with it forever – no adaptation possible. It is a little beyond me to argue the details here, but for practical purposes it is not that important to me. Humans have eaten meat for millions of years, and if you are looking at recent causes of disease then there are much more likely suspects than meat.

Chris – The Paleolithic era was a small window (after the Miocene, in which ancestors co-evolved w/fruit consumption) during a time in which there was no selective pressure for meat intake (as you admit later) and that ancestors just resorted to whatever they could get their hands on during the ice age. Likewise, people can resort to 20th century sodas for 20,000 more centuries and will not mutate into natural soda consumers.

CPM – I think there would be a “selective pressure” if not purely for energy density then because of the seasonal nature of plants. This is not opposed to the idea of “eating anything they can find”, especially when you cannot find enough plants to survive. Like I said, some believe that humans first developed tools to get to bone marrow. Humans eventually turned to grains because other plants were not as well suited for helping humans survive a winter. You seem to be arguing that we “adapted” to grains in 20,000 years but not to meat in 2,500,000 years.

I admit that I don’t know much technically about the processes of adaptation, but you seem to have a much more rigid view of “adaptation” than I. You argue that true omnivores are impossible and that 2 million years is not long enough to adapt to regular food source.

Chris – But strangely, the ‘suspicion’ of the ‘paleo people’ ends at the Paleolithic era… Taking meat seems to impair the realization that the genetic instructions to digest plants best, was already established tens of millions of years before tool use or fire kindling and that the conditions of natural selection were present while co-evolving with fruit availability during the Miocene.

CPM – Again, from a purely practical standpoint, the Paleo view is that the more modern foods (that comprise 90% of the world’s food energy) is where the attention should be turned. I believe the Paleolithic era was the period where humans started to separate themselves from other hominids, so this is a decent baseline. There are various hunter-gatherer tribes that provide a loose approximation of Paleolithic lifestyle, including eating meat, but the diseases of civilization are rare. It seems to be that there is something that occurred later in our history that we should be looking at.

Chris – Still, the original poster is not unique (in terms of genetic instructions) in leaning toward plant food.

CPM – I am not sure what we eat now has much to do with “genetic instructions” instead of food cost and storability, but it might be a leap to say that our “genetic instructions” to lean towards fruit would be responsible for us eating grains and legumes to the extent that we get 90% of our energy from these. Why not 90% energy from fruit since that is our main “genetic instruction” according to you?

Chris – So, while plant oils and refined grains may also be sources of digestive compromises (to varying degrees) it is no easier to digest meat…

CPM – I think if you look at modern hunter-gatherer tribes though, meat is not a problem. It is when they begin adopting plant oils and refined grains when the problems start. It is not proof, but it is suspicious.

Chris – [Citation needed] (for shellfish possibly saving humanity from extinction)

CPM – http://www.boingboing.net/2009/12/16/how-shellfish-saved.html

Chris – Consuming food out of ecological niche was largely a stimulus motive resulting from exploration, not increased selective pressure for meat, specifically.

CPM – Lack of abundant plants during winter and during ice ages could provide selective pressure. Competition for plants by other animals could provide selective pressure. We started eating grains and legumes due to some type of pressure where other plants were not plentiful enough. Whether the pressure was to “specifically” eat meat or not is kind of irrelevant; we did eat meat, and so do modern-hunter gatherers with apparently no ill effects.

Chris – Finally! After having established a digestive system optimized for plants, prior to the Paleo era, w/no positive selection for meat specifically, humans resorted to consuming whatever they could find to survive abandoning the ecological niche during the ice age. Some even resorted to consuming each other or their own urine, etc… Back to square one… – a plant diet. Humans are still optimized for fruit digestion.

CPM – So you claim we are optimized for a fruit diet, but yet the human race gets 90% of its food energy from grains and legumes.

I am not sure what you mean by “Back to square one.” You seem strongly opposed to the whole idea that humans have evolved.

CPM – “eating meat is what made humans what they are now”
Chris – Humans are not scavengers. This is Lamarckian evolution…

CPM – various non-Lamarckian arguments have been made – shellfish saved us from extinction, meat made us smarter (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128849908), meat (bone marrow) led to develop tools, all the “smart animals” eat meat, etc, etc… All just arguments for now.

Chris – so humans still can’t digest meat. It isn’t even possible in theory

CPM – I think you must be using some nuanced meaning of words that I do not comprehend. Again, for convenience, I’m sticking to the argument that meat is not even on the radar compared to other Neolithic and modern foods when it comes to potential for promoting disease. Modern hunter-gatherers are enough indication for me personally to support this paradigm. I will leave the more specific argument concerning digestion and impossible theories to others more energetic than myself.

Chris – That the genetic differences within humans are relatively small and do not support the claim that there are biological typologies of meat-eating humans.

CPM – As far as I can tell there has not been a single human culture that has been strictly vegan. Every culture has ate meat or utilized dairy. Evidence would seem to indicate that herbivore typology is not supported in modern humans using the rationale of small genetic differences.

CPM- “The whole idea of meat causing disease is just a hypotheses”
Chris – [one random study of cancer epidemiology]

CPM – Epidemiology -> hypothesis (unless your name is T. Colin Campbell…). Again, someone more energetic than I can argue this with you, but for convenience, I’m sticking to the argument that meat is not even on the radar compared to other Neolithic and modern foods, and the energy should be spent investigating those instead of meat.

Chris – If there is ‘extra protein’ then it wasn’t important for evolution

CPM – Some people contend that adding more protein to our diet contributed to our brain development as a species.

Chris – Adopting tools in spite of biological adaptation is the result of aberrant cultural processes, not evolution. Chimps didn’t adapt to tools and meat, they adopted tools in spite of meat related diseases.

CPM – Okay…this is news to me…I will have to research this further.

Chris – Yet the poster claimed that an all plant diet makes her ‘fall apart’…

CPM – Okay…the key phrase here is “all plant diet”…that is different than saying “plants”.

Chris – Essentially this exposes a lack of experience or success with plant diets.

CPM – I would guess that she means lack of success…though maybe you are using the word differently than I would

Chris – And have taken the opportunity to acquire rampant diseases of affluence, mostly avoidable with plant-based, raw diets.

CPM – Modern hunter-gatherers eat meat without rampant diseases of affluence – maybe something else is going on…maybe there is a commonality to explore here…but it aint meat.

Chris – Strawman. I’m not advocating oil.

CPM – But you seem fixated on meat while avoiding all the more likely suspects that match your criteria for indicting meat.

Chris – The original poster mentioned a big difference of adding animal products. I agreed. And you are correct, there is so much interbreeding among humans that there are not metabolic typologies that can safely digest meat.

CPM – I was being sarcastic…at one point you said you had a lot different experiences with meat than what others have had, then you said this was impossible…

Chris – Until one detoxes with a long-term, plant-based, raw diet, how can one contrast a particular diet with the biochemically compatible diet to determine objectively or experientially whether one actually feels better. What are you comparing your feelings to? Inexperience? Other poor diets you’ve cycled through?

CPM – I was just suggesting her motivation. I believe based upon the information that she has provided that she satisfies your criteria for making such a decision.

Chris – No human has adapted to eat meat

CPM – Again, I don’t think this is not supported scientifically (unless you are using an especially nuanced version of the word “adapted”)

6 10 2010
Bobby Swayback

The statement that hominids ate meat is banal. All mammals have faunivorous ancestors if you trace their lineage back far enough… even cows, who have a carnivore relative in their family tree more recently than primates do.

What humans have is a capability to digest nutrient-dense food. While this enables us to digest meat, it doesn’t require us to do so. Our body doesn’t care where the nutrients come from; it will take what it needs from what it’s fed. There is nothing magical about meat.

CPM, you seem to be misunderstanding the Expensive Tissue Hypothesis. All it states is that an increase in “high-quality” foods eased an energy constraint on hominid encephalization. While it does postulate meat as the most likely source, it doesn’t require the source to have been meat. The key to the ETH is nutrient density; if Richard Wrangham is right, the ETH could just as easily have been fulfilled for australopithicenes by fruits, cooked seeds and USOs, and a bit of scavenged meat now and then.

Plus, compelling as it is, there’s good reason to question the ETH, especially in light of recent fossil finds and re-evaluations of the fossil record. And it was never been anything more than an hypothesis, anyway. As currently formulated, it lacks a mechanism, and until that is sorted out, the status is unlikely to change. By giving it as much weight as they do, its champions are “cherry-picking,” too.

Meat doesn’t have magic powers. Neither do raw fruits. And evolution doesn’t give a damn what you eat. It just wants you to make babies. If anything, our bodies are adapted for sex, not diet, so make the most of it everyone. :)

7 10 2010
CPM

Hi Bobby,

I said nothing about meat having magical powers. Chris was arguing:

– that it is theoretically impossible for humans to digest meat,
– that our “genetic instructions” to eat fruit were locked-in during the Miocene era and has never changed,
– that these “genetic instructions” to eat fruit mean that an all-plant food diet is “optimal” (even if it is plants other than fruit)
– that true omnivores are not possible,
– that a subset group of a species cannot evolve at a different rate than the whole
– that modern diseases of affluence are result of meat consumption instead of more recent dietary changes that have quickly come to comprise 90% of human food energy
– that the belief that meat causes disease is much more than an hypothesis
– that one random epidemiological study proves this
– that the development of tools by primates is “aberrant cultural” activity and not evolutionary significant

And probably a few other things I disagree with, but of all these possibilities to post about, you decided that I was saying that meat had magical powers…

Chris seems pretty absolute in his views about human history and evolution, and I was just providing counter arguments and questioning his reasoning. If ETH is true, then it could be *argued* that meat would be a key player, especially in winter or ice ages. I mentioned there were *arguments* that shellfish saved us from extinction and that the first tools were developed to process meat.

I am saying there are arguments that meat was not totally insignificant in the history of human development as Chris so strongly believes.

My main argument actually centers on modern diseases of affluence. I was not saying that meat was great – I actually avoided discussing the possible merits of meat in modern times. I was saying why point the finger at meat for modern diseases when there are much more likely suspects based upon his own reasoning that we are more adapted to fruit because we ate it during the Miocene era. If we ate meat during the Paleolithic era, then it should be a less likely suspect than Neolithic foods or modern foods using his own reasoning. And I pointed out that modern hunter-gatherer societies do provide some support that meat is not the root of all evil.

But if out of this whole discussion you want to take away that I was saying meat has “magical powers”, then so be it.

7 10 2010
CPM

Hi again Bobby,

I just noticed that you are one of the 30Bad people too. Thanks for coming outside of the protective cocoon.

I also noticed that you are a paleontology student. Really now, do you buy much of Chris’s arguments at all? Seriously?

7 10 2010
Bobby Swayback
7 10 2010
CPM

Hi Bobby,

Bobby-> The low-quality of their energy supply and the high level of physical activity, not their meat-eating, are the most likely explanation [for avoiding diseases of affluence].

CPM -> Again, I did not say that meat-eating was an explanation to modern hunter-gather health. I said they were healthy in spite of eating meat, therefore meat is not likely the agent of modern disease that Chris argues that it is.

Bobby -> You may not be saying it directly [meat has magical powers], but what I’ve read of your posts here certainly implies that you engage in a level of magical thinking about meat, as many “paleo” types do.

CPM -> I think you just have a biased view of “paleo” types and just saw what you wanted to see in what I wrote. Chris was making some really out-there statements in support of his thesis that “meat is bad”. Just because I disagree with someone and their reasoning about meat being bad does not automatically mean that I think meat has magical powers. To disagree to that “meat is bad”, I have to give some counter arguments that “meat is not so bad.”

Again, my whole argument is that blaming meat for the diseases of civilization does not appear to be too logical, even using much of Chris’s own reasoning. “Not an agent of modern disease epidemic” != “magical powers”.

Bobby -> Whatever mistakes he’s made, Chris is on stronger ground than you

CPM -> His reasoning and logic are wrong and his conclusions are wrong (i.e. meat is the cause of the diseases of affluence, our Miocene era “genetic instructions” to eat fruit means that an all-plant diet is “optimal”) so I fail to see the “stronger ground” that you speak of. He was saying that “meat is bad,” and I was saying that his arguments were flawed. You somehow want to twist this into that I was arguing that “meat is good” and that he was simply disagreeing (even if he is was using some out-there “facts” and reasoning).

In your responses you have kind of quibbled over details in my counter-arguments but never really supported Chris’s direct arguments, and you have constructed a “meat has magical powers” strawman to attack.

I think he is on “stronger ground” only in that he “plays for the same team” as you do, but I am always open to be proven wrong.

14 09 2010
Just Wondering

I agree with you on the difference of a plant-based diet and a truly vegan diet. Small exceptions or additions to the diet can make all the difference.

11 09 2010
Dana

Yeah, Denise’s diet is ideal for her until she loses her ability to convert beta carotene, then she’s screwed. Not everyone can do it. I either can’t or I can’t do it enough to count. I’d die on a vegan diet. A lot of people would.

If you have to fudge and count on luck and good health status to “thrive” on a diet, is that really thriving? About the best you can say about Denise’s “effective” diet is that it gives her cred with posts like this one that she otherwise would not have.

That said, I have a tremendous amount of respect for her.

11 09 2010
mango genocide

“Denise’s diet is ideal for her until she loses her ability to convert beta carotene”

Or until a sinkhole swallows her home at 3AM.

Why would Denise lose the ability to convert beta carotene, assuming this is not a problem now?

11 09 2010
neisy

“Yeah, Denise’s diet is ideal for her until she loses her ability to convert beta carotene, then she’s screwed.”

For what it’s worth, I take cod liver oil. :)

11 09 2010
Connie Howard

I’m glad to hear it; cod liver oil is awesome:)

11 09 2010
Chris Masterjohn

And it’s raw too, if it’s from Green Pastures. :)

20 09 2010
mango genocide

I should also point out the liver is a uniquely regenerative organ, unlike, for example, the heart (as Dick Cheney can surely attest) so provided only, say, 1/2 of the cod’s liver is removed during surgery (performed laparoscopically under general anesthesia in a clean marine OR) and the cod is given appropriate palliative care (e.g. opiates) while he or she recovers from this procedure, not only will Denise be happy & healthy but the cod (let’s call him Teddy) will be as well as well.

8 10 2010
Chris

“I’d die on a vegan diet.”

Why would you want to die on a vegan diet? Or, how would you do this?

Chris

14 09 2010
Just Wondering

I agree with you on the cohort study. The diets consumed by the participants do not qualify as true meat based/low carb or vegan diets. Self-reported questionnaires are not reliable.

My main problem with raw foodism and paleo is that it is completely unsustainable environmentally. And, it seems to be less natural (more restricted and not followed in such a form before in human history) than would a varied whole foods vegan or vegetarian diet. But, if it works for them then that’s great.

11 09 2010
Connie Howard

Mango: I know nothing about Denise’s ability to convert beta carotene, but I do know that those with liver or thyroid impairment (and children under five) are unable to make the conversion at all. So while it may not apply to her, it’s a valid point for the rest of us to consider.

11 09 2010
Marissa

Denise I’m wondering, what are your criticisms of Weston A Price? I came to raw veganism after following a WAPF style diet for several years, during which I was healthier than on SAD but not as vibrant as I wanted and had trouble keeping my weight down. I got skinny and felt great as a raw vegan, but then got too thin and lost my period. Now I’m trying to integrate elements of WAPF and raw but sometimes it’s hard to know what things to keep doing and which ones to stop.

11 09 2010
kat

Marissa,

Denise details most of her diet journey in the “About” category of posts, found on the upper right of the main page.

14 09 2010
neisy

Hi Marissa,

I don’t really have any criticisms of Weston Price himself or of the work he did — I think Nutrition and Physical Degeneration should be required reading for anyone interested in health.

My main beef (har har) is with some of the ways the WAPF uses his work — eg, drawing assumptions about the overall health of primitive societies even though Price didn’t actually document mortality rates or data on cancer, cardiovascular health, etc. Skeletal and dental development may be a good indicator of health in some ways, but it’s also possible that diets (or specific foods) that promote physical growth would also promote disease in some contexts — especially for Westerners who aren’t living primitive lifestyles and don’t have the protection of frequent physical activity. I think that should be taken into account when designing a diet based on traditional food principles.

I’m also pretty skeptical about the healthfulness of grains, even when prepared through traditional methods. The populations Price studied all made the best use possible of the foods available in their native environments (developing methods to minimize lectins and phytate, etc.), but just because some populations developed well physically with the inclusion of grains doesn’t indicate that they’re the best choice when other types of foods are available. Ditto for dairy, which so few of Price’s primitives even consumed. I think it can be fine in certain forms (butter, ghee, fermented) but can still give quite a few people problems (including me — and I’m part Swiss! ;)).

Apart from that, my only other WAPF criticisms are the caustic tone in some of their articles, which reminds me too much of the stuff I’ve seen within the raw vegan world.

That said, I think the majority of the stuff they put out is solid, I integrate many of their principles into my own diet, and I credit Price and the WAPF for helping me turn my health around when I was struggling as a vegan — so in the grand scheme of things, the above issues are only small quibbles. Hope that helps! :)

16 09 2010
Chris Masterjohn

Hey Denise!

These are really excellent points, like virtually everything that gets typed by your fingertips, and I’d like to express wholehearted agreement with everything you just wrote.

I’d also like to chime in with a few impressions I’ve gotten from having worked so intimately with WAPF over the years:

The foundation is pretty new, having been around for barely more than a decade. Like any other organization, it is subject to human error and reflects the sum of the contributions of flawed humans (like myself) who compose it. It has grown a lot over the years, in many ways, as it has interacted with more scientists, health professionals, parents, farmers, and other contributors. Due to the grassroots local chapter organization it has, there is very strong two-way communication with the foundation, which continues to shape it.

For a few examples, for the last several years there have been gluten-free, casein-free versions of all meals at the conference, due to the influence of GFCF chapter leaders. A recent journal article addressed why some people still get tooth decay on a wapf diet and noted the importance of reducing or eliminating grains for some people, and addressed a variety of other intolerances. So, these positions don’t remain static within the foundation.

I agree with what you said about its limitations. Price did obtain some data on cancer and tuberculosis from other physicians, but didn’t collect any such data in a rigorous manner. I don’t think his observations of primitives ‘prove’ much about diet, but they allow a paradigm that can form a basic starting point needed to interpret the vast sea of uncertainty in which we swim. There are other useful paradigms, of course, to use in conjunction.

I have seen Sally speak and point to a slide showing a Coca-Cola machine in a developing country and say “this is what I consider evil” without the slightest bit of anger in her voice and move on to talk about the importance of forgiveness. I think the caustic tone in some of the articles is largely a stylistic choice, which makes it more interesting for some people, turns other people off, and certainly doesn’t help with bridge-building, but they don’t come out of anger. In person, Sally is a really wonderful, radiant, friendly, loving spirit.

Personally, I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt even if logic would suggest they don’t deserve it. I think you do a really great job not only catching all of the nuances of limitations to scientific interpretation, but even treating your ‘opponents’ in a very friendly spirit, both of which are quite admirable in my book and are among the reasons I always love reading your posts.

Chris

18 09 2010
neisy

Thanks for chiming in, Chris! (And double thanks for the kind words.)

I’ve never gotten anything but a loving/caring vibe from what I’ve seen of Sally, and I’m glad to hear she’s that way in person as well. I haven’t kept up with the new additions to the WAPF site over the past few years, and it’s possible some of my impressions are outdated at this point — from what I remember, a lot of the caustic-ness came from the book review section, actually, and probably mainly from specific reviewers. I’m also super glad the stance on grains and dairy respects differences in individual needs. Yay!

Chris, you’re a phenomenal asset to the WAPF because you not only have a solid understanding of Price’s findings, but also of the science behind it all. In the coming years, I have no doubt your work will become an increasingly relevant liaison between mainstream science and traditional nutrition, and will likely help get Price’s studies more widely accepted among those who currently dismiss the WAPF as unscientific. They are lucky to have you. :)

19 10 2010
Auggiedoggy

Denise,

I have Irish/Welsh ancestry and the lactase enzyme to digest dairy foods. I have never had a problem with dairy and I see no need to give it up. My only issue is that I would prefer to buy raw dairy products and would like to find a source a raw dairy in Canada (preferably in Ontario where I live).

Great work btw. :)

20 10 2010
Chris

“I have Irish/Welsh ancestry and the lactase enzyme to digest dairy”

It may seem eerie at first that some humans have a duplicate lactase enzyme gene, but this does not mean there are any human variants who have evolved to digest cow milk (as calves), since lactose is merely the sugar in milk and there are numerous other biochemically incompatible proteins in dairy (excess protein, fat, Neu5Gc, purines, hormones, etc).

“I see no need to give it up.”

You haven’t been acculturated otherwise.

“I would prefer to buy raw dairy products”

And the manufacturers would prefer to $ell it to you too.

C.

11 09 2010
Why Dean Ornish is Wrong | Abundant Brain

[...] there’s more.  To see a thorough and excellent dissection of the problems with this paper, check out Denise Minger’s analysis.  I’m going to summarize the other main problems I found with the study, many of which she [...]

11 09 2010
The Healthy Skeptic · Is meat bad for you? No, but junk science and the clueless media are.

[...] Brand-spankin new study: are low-carb meat eaters in trouble?, by Denise Minger at Raw Food SOS: Troubleshooting on the Raw Food Diet [...]

11 09 2010
the0great0t

This study used statistics from studies following 85,168 women and 44,548 men for a minimum of at least 20 years. The researchers came to the following conclusion “A low-carbohydrate diet based on animal sources was associated with higher all-cause mortality in both men and women, whereas a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet was associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates.”

The study does not merely show the damaging effects of animal based foods, but also the protective effects of plant based foods. The results from this study certainly do not suggest that “animal products aren’t the driving force behind differences in mortality rates”, as it was clear that the participants in the highest deciles of animal-based diet and lowest deciles of the plant-based diet had the highest overall mortality. When comparing groups that consumed similar amounts of animal foods, it was the group consuming the most plant foods which had the lowest mortality. Ms. Minger is only able to make these statements (about animal products not causing increased mortality due to the fact that groups that consumed a similar of animal products had significantly different rates of mortality) because she believes that plant foods do not provide a significant amount of protection. In a prospective study of over half a million people, the researchers came to the following conclusion: “Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19307518

Ms. Minger made a good point that the people in the animal-based low carbohydrate group were fatter, however she failed to mention that both the men and women in the 10th decile of the animal low-carbohydrate group had the lowest calorie intake out of all groups, yet both men and women in this group were on a average fatter than the participants in all other groups. In a study with over 370,000 participants, the researchers concluded that “Our results suggest that a decrease in meat consumption may improve weight management.”, as total meat consumption was positively associated with weight gain in both men and women even after adjusting for energy intake. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20592131
Ms. Minger also failed to mention that the plant based group consumed more alcohol.

This study may not have shown the effect of a truly low carbohydrate diet, nor did it show the effect of a truly plant-based diet. However what is did show was that an increased consumption of animal food intake together with a decreased in consumption of plant food was strongly correlated with an increase in mortality. Many other studies have found similar results:

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/70/3/532S

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/78/3/526S

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6720674

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20675107

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/157/5/434.abstract

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a912717769~tab=content~order=page

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/157/5/434.full.pdf+html

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1196/annals.1396.037/full

11 09 2010
Tony

Let me give you a clue about what these studies have in common and what’s wrong with all of them:

1. They are observational studies.
2. Observational studies can only generate hypotheses about what is being observed, not prove cause and effect.
3. Correlation/association does not equal causation.

Bottom line is that ALL of these studies you cited, including The China Study and Dr. Hu’s paper, are USELESS for proving anything. Only a well designed, randomized clinical trial can determine if any of the hypotheses are valid at all.

11 09 2010
Tony

Allow me to restate the above with a quote from Dr. Kurt Harris from http://tinyurl.com/2esjwql if what I wrote previously is still not clear to you or anyone who loves to provide lists of epidemiological studies that supposedly prove beyond all doubt their favorite hypothesis:

“This is all just epidemiology, and epidemiology is bogus. Now, I don’t mean it has absolutely no value. It is good for hypothesis generation. It is almost worthless for finding the truth. It is especially worthless the way it is used by hacks like Campbell who are simply trying to sell people a book that tells them what they want to hear.

What epidemiology is good for is to use it the way Ms Minger has in her investigation. To say, lets look at these data for associations, and from that generate ideas about what causes what. She seems to have done this in as close to an neutral fashion as is possible

To do as Campbell did, or as almost everyone does when they approach epidemiology, and say, “I suspect animal protein is bad, let’s see if I can prove that with epidemiology, is quite simply, epistemologically fraudulent.”

11 09 2010
CPM

“The researchers came to the following conclusion…”
I think it is kind of silly to re-quote the researcher’s conclusion as the thesis of your counter-argument after Minger spent an entire post showing that the conclusion was bad science. It is almost like you were not paying attention…Maybe you are trying the “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it…” gambit.

I don’t see your point about the plant-based group consuming more alcohol. Alcohol decreases mortality.

She was just critiquing this study, not really presenting arguments on why “meat is good.” I can google out some random studies that show that fruits and vegetables are not so great and meat is not so bad though:

http://www.epic-oxford.org/publications/1507/mortality-in-vegetarians

http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/results/WHEL0907

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17855692

http://www.epic-oxford.org/publications/1544/fruit-and-vegetable-intake-and-cancer-risk

http://www.epic-oxford.org/publications/1300/key-et-al-2004-03-int-j-cancer

http://www.epic-oxford.org/publications/1513/fruit-and-vegetable-intake-and-risk-of-pancreatic-cancer

http://www.epic-oxford.org/publications/1549/meat-and-dairy-intake-and-risk-of-lymphoma

http://www.epic-oxford.org/publications/1548/meat-poultry-and-fish-and-risk-of-bowel-cancer

13 09 2010
Tony

The vegans recently did the same thing at Tom Naughton’s blog, where a few of them posted loooong articles citing long lists of epidemiological studies and appeals to authority as if that would intimidate anyone who dares question their beliefs. It seems to me that they don’t know how else to respond to any critical analysis of their core arguments.

11 09 2010
A

theOGreatOt,

Here is a study for you to interpret.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20479151

Please explain why this analysis shows that there is no association between red meat consumption and CHD.

In regards to:

: “Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19307518

You should read the rebutals that were publised in the Journal that this was published in. They question the aplication and use of the statistics. Also the curious thing about this study is that it showed that increasing white meat consumption was associated with reduced rates of CHD and Cancer. Also the red meat group that they tested included red processed meats. So the title and abstract of this study doesn’t give a complete picture. By the way this is antother good study for Denise to evaluate.

18 09 2010
the0great0t

The health authorities are fully aware of the serious flaws and omissions in this meta-analysis. This study was funded by the National Dairy Council, dairy being the number one contributor of saturated fat in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. It was also conveniently published just before the USDA lowered the dietary recommendations of saturated fat for the first time in 20 years, from 10% to 7% of total calories.

Below is a section from the statement released by the European Heart Network in regards to their opinion of this meta-analysis, titled “European Heart Network position piece: Impact of saturated fat on cardiovascular disease obscured by over‐adjustment in recent meta‐analysis”

“However, the meta‐analysis (and an accompanying opinion piece by the same authors (4)) is compromised by a number of serious flaws and omissions. These are enumerated and discussed in detail in an editorial from Jeremiah Stamler (5). The most serious of these flaws is an over‐adjustment for serum cholesterol levels. The meta‐analysis involves data from 16 studies that evaluate the impact of saturated fat intake on CHD incidence or mortality, and 8 studies that evaluate the impact of saturated fat intake on stroke incidence or mortality. The authors state that ‘wherever possible, risk estimates from the most fully adjusted models were used in the estimation of the pooled [relative risks]’. It is well‐established that saturated fat intake is associated with increased level of serum cholesterol (6), and that serum cholesterol levels are associated with CHD and CVD (7). Therefore, serum cholesterol levels lie on the causal chain between saturated fat intake and CHD and CVD, and to adjust for serum cholesterol levels in a meta‐analysis will obscure the impact of saturated fat intake on these health outcomes. Yet 7 of the 16 studies included in the meta‐analysis of CHD events, and 4 of the 8 studies included in the meta‐analysis of stroke events were adjusted for serum cholesterol levels. These studies accounted for nearly half of all CHD and CVD events included in the meta‐analyses. Adjustment for serum cholesterol levels will inevitably bias the results of the meta‐analyses towards finding no association between dietary saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease, but the authors do not mention this limitation in their article. As Jeremiah Stamler asserts in his editorial, what was actually found by the meta‐analysis was ‘a statistically non‐significant relation of SFA [saturated fat] to CHD… independent of other dietary lipids, serum lipids, and other covariates’ (5). A more appropriate and informative analysis would have included non‐adjusted associations between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. An examination of the forest plots provided in the article shows that those cohort studies that did not adjust for serum cholesterol levels were more likely to find a positive association between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease, suggesting that a meta‐analysis of unadjusted data would likely produce positive results. “

References 5-7
(5) Stamler J. Diet‐heart: a problematic revisit. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010; 91: 497‐499.
(6) Clarke R, Frost C, Collins R, Appleby P, Peto R. Dietary lipids and blood cholesterol: quantitative meta‐analysis of metabolic ward studies. BMJ, 1997; 314: 112.
(7) Prospective Studies Collaboration. Blood cholesterol and vascular mortality by age, sex, and blood pressure: a meta‐analysis of individual data from 61 prospective studies with 55,000 vascular deaths. The Lancet, 2007; 370: 1829‐1839.

The full statement from the European Heart Network can be found here:

http://www.sydan.fi/lehtiarkisto/sydan_210/artikkelit/fi_FI/elainrasvat/_files/83538765767049682/default/EHN%20position%20piece%20-%20sats%20meta%20analysis.pdf

Below is a published study showing reversal of severe heart disease backed up with angiogram evidence.

http://www.heartattackproof.com/resolving_cade.htm

13 09 2010
neisy

I’m guessing this is a case of spam-and-run, but in case you’re sticking around, the0great0t:

“When comparing groups that consumed similar amounts of animal foods, it was the group consuming the most plant foods which had the lowest mortality.”

Negatory. Please look at the dietary characteristics tables (here and here)

For women:

    -decile 1 was eating a total of 31.3% of calories from animal foods (17.9% for animal fat + 13.4% for animal protein)
    -decile 10 was eating a total of 29.9% of calories from animal foods (17.2% for animal fat + 12.7% for animal protein)
    -decile 1 was eating a total of 69.5% of calories from plant foods (56% for carbs + 4.1% for plant protein + 9.4% for plant fat)
    -decile 10 was eating a total of 69.9% of calories from plant foods (42.5% for carbs + 6% for plant protein + 21.1% for plant fat)

For men, the numbers are similar (66.6% of calories from plant foods for decile 1; 67.3% of calories from plant foods for decile 10).

Within the deciles scored by “plant foods,” there is almost no increase in total plant food consumption between the decile with lowest adherence and the decile with the highest adherence. The only thing that changed was that carbohydrate intake went down and vegetable fat intake went up — but total plant food intake stayed nearly the same.

Despite the fact that the proportion of animal foods versus plant foods didn’t budge, deciles 1 and 10 showcased statistically significant changes in cardiovascular and all-cause mortality hazard ratios. There’s no logical way to peg that change on either an increase in plant foods or decrease in animal foods. None.

Please also read Chris Masterjohn’s article to understand why the food-frequency questionnaire data is likely a load of hooey anyway: http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2010/09/new-study-shows-that-lying-about-your.html

3 10 2010
Stan Bleszynski

the0great0t,

Your first quoted anti-meat study by Sinha is MOST LIKELY confounded by some other factors, since the negative effect of red and packaged meat is contradicted by positive (health-protective) effect of whilte meat. This is also contradicting the China study (the real thing not Campbell’s book), where all meat was health-beneficial with the red meat being more so than white meat. I suspect that this confounding factor was the fact than in N.America and Europe the main source of red meat are hamburgers from fast-food outlets. The main factor I think are not the burgers but what these people tend to eat with them (fries ladden with transfat and sugary pop etc) . The fact that the meat consumption correlated with rising BMI seems to confirm that! Had the authors looked also at the overall carbohydrate intake, sugar intake and fasting blood glucose profiles, they would have been able to correct against that and the picture would have looked completely differently! I wonder why they didn’t?

Stan(Heretic)

11 09 2010
Denise Minger Deconstructs the New Low Carb Study « eLow Carb Menus

[...] Oh, man, do I have a girl-crush, and I mean that in a totally non-creepy, non-sexual, geez-I-admire-this-woman kinda way. The brilliant Denise Minger, who wrote the classic deconstruction of the China Study, has trained her laser gaze upon the new study “demonstrating” that “low carb” (hah!) diets high in animal foods will kill you, but “low carb” (hah!) diets based on plant foods are good for you. You gotta read this! [...]

11 09 2010
damaged justice

Denise Minger is the perfect illustration of this phenomenon:

http://newpaltzjournal.com/?p=2001

Truth doesn’t require lies to support it. Lies, on the other hand, require bigger and bigger lies to keep them alive. Campbell’s distortions, appeals to authority and ad hominem attacks will not stand up to exposure.

“A little sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

12 09 2010
mango genocide

Good link. I also think of

“When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side.”–Ayn Rand

11 09 2010
Tony

This study assumes that the data obtained over a 20 year period is accurate and bases its conclusions on that assumption. As Tom Naughton points out in his latest post http://tinyurl.com/24766to , the food questionnaires used to obtain the data are notoriously inaccurate to begin with, so any conclusions derived from faulty information obtained are questionable to the point of being meaningless.

12 09 2010
Rest up «

[...] Are low carb meat eaters in trouble? [...]

12 09 2010
Noah

Hi Denise

Thank you for this. Long time fan of science myself. It is absolutely wonderful to see someone actually walk the walk and crunch the numbers, in this echochamber of oppinions and rethoric we call teh internets.

Also it pleases me immensely to see the vegan rethoric meat (!) some qualified resistance. It is not that I would not do what you are doing, but I am a lazy f**ker. The vegan propaganda here has turned into a right headache, with a cacaphony of voices and lobbying groups that make life as an omnivore very expensive and loaded with guilt. You know what, Ima just gonna let it all out. Due to their influence we now have a heavy tax on saturated fats, and debating the public experts on the matters is like talking to a goddamn vuvuzela!

These superficial headline grabbing “studies” are their primary ammunition. That and Mhatma Campbell’s new gospel for a better more peaceful world through the individuals consumption of chlorophyll.

So thank you very much and may good things come your way. And like others said, if you ever come around the neighbourhood of scandinavia, you can cash in a beer and a meal.

13 09 2010
peterlepaysan

Why did the journal publish this nonsense?
Having been published it assumes a patina of “respectability”.

How many people read past the abstract? How many try to unravel the report?

The parasitic media will use the abstract to generate “news”. Sigh.

OBTW if you ever venture out of the USA into the deep south Pacific Ocean, like New Zealand, you are welcome to stay and share our home grown beef, sheepmeat, eggs, pork, and milk. We also grow vegetables and fruit.

13 09 2010
Monte Diaz

Rumor has it that none other than Lady Gaga is a follower of the rawfoodsos blog and in an apparent protest of the false anti-meat propaganda, as exposed by Ms. Minger, Lady Gaga has worn an all raw meat dress to MTV’s VMA awards!

“””As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth,” said Gaga. “However, it has many interpretations but for me this evening. If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. “””

Finally, rational “scientific” thinking is making inroads into popular culture.

Thanks Denise.

Source: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/entertainment/post/2010/09/lady-gaga-explains-her-vma-raw-meat-dress/1

13 09 2010
14 09 2010
malpaz

“Both ate sucky diets, but the latter had slightly less suckage”

hahahahahha this is the best line in your post, way to get at it and show the real stuff as always!

15 09 2010
15 09 2010
Bob Kaplan

Great post, Denise! “You are a blinding brilliant light from heaven,” as Will Ferrell as James Lipton would say.

I posted the following comment at HuffPo (awaiting approval) and thought I would share it here as well:

I created a blog post critiquing the study in question: http://su.pr/A8w8nG (Another study from the Annals raises important questions)

You should also read (before you take what Ornish and Katz wrote at face value:

Denise Minger: http://su.pr/1Y3KJF (Are Low-Carb Meat Eaters in Trouble?):

“Whoever decided to call this study “low carbohydrate” is nuttier than a squirrel turd.”

Tom Naughton: http://su.pr/1KldxF (The ‘Atkins’ Study according to Ornish):

“I’ve got to hand it to you, Dr. Ornish … most anti-fat hysterics manage to write at least a paragraph or two before they start misconstruing the facts. But you told a whopper right there in the headline. The Atkins Diet? Say what?”

Chris Masterjohn: http://su.pr/28FjzY (Lying about Burger intake Prevents Disease…):

“If we pretend [the steps to the scientific method] is a map and pay close attention to the arrows, we can see why the approach of this study is a bit like trying to travel from California to Virginia by going west. You’re going to get pretty wet.”

Fred Hahn: http://su.pr/1IwBLJ (“Medium and High Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause Mortality”)

“We, as lay people, rely on physicians, scientists and experts that can accurately read and assess scientific papers for the betterment of our health and well being. At the very least we assume that they can and will without bias.”

15 09 2010
Dave

“Both ate sucky diets, but the latter had slightly less suckage…”

The study only included nurses and other health professionals. People in all deciles were more health conscious, drank less than one serving of sweetened soft drinks and ate more fruits and vegetables than the general public.

The 10th decile in the high meat group ate significantly less carbs than the controls (35% v. 60%) even if they still ate more than strict low carb dieters. Therefore according to the principles that you believe in, these people should have improved at least a little bit.

This really makes it look like it’s mostly the addition of protective factors (all the things Weston Price talked about and more) and not the reduction of carbs that makes some cultures able to thrive on a high meat diet.

I’m not trying to convince anyone to give up low carb, just to think more carefully about why some groups eating a lot of meat are successful.

17 09 2010
neisy

Hi Dave — thanks for sharing your thoughts!

I’d have to disagree that nurses are necessarily more health-conscious than the rest of the population, especially regarding diet. Many of them live off hospital food when they’re at work — which, if such a thing is possible, is probably a tier below the standard American cuisine in terms of everything being canned/processed/cooked in the least healthful oils available/etc. Plenty of nurses are overweight, smokers, sleep-deprived, stressed out, don’t exercise much, etc. In that occupation, caring for others doesn’t always leave a lot of time to care for one’s self, unfortunately.

“The 10th decile in the high meat group ate significantly less carbs than the controls (35% v. 60%) even if they still ate more than strict low carb dieters. Therefore according to the principles that you believe in, these people should have improved at least a little bit.”

I’m not a low-carber myself and I can’t speak for all the folks who are, but I don’t think the benefits of carbohydrate restriction would necessarily be linear. That is, reducing carbs from 150 g/day to 20 g/day would have a *much* stronger effect than, say, reducing carbs from 300 g/day to 150 g/day. If visually plotting the relationship between carbohydrate level and health benefits formed a curve, a reduction from 60% to 35% of energy from carbohydrates may only be hitting a relatively level part of the line, with the actual effects of low-carbing becoming more dramatic when carbs are 15 or 20%.

So even if this study were more reliable and didn’t use such a strange scoring system, I’m not sure that a reduction from 60% to 35% carbs would offer any insight as to what goes on at truly “low carb” levels. In the group of people studied, I imagine other factors (such as whole vs. refined grain consumption, processed food intake, fruit and vegetable consumption, other lifestyle habits, etc.) are playing a much bigger role than macronutrient ratios.

This type of study design flaw isn’t unique to low-carb diets, either. Low-fat diet proponents often complain about the same thing — that research masquerading under the label “low fat” is studying people who still eat 30% or so of their diet as fat, and that the effects aren’t apparent until fat is restricted much further than that.

I definitely agree with you that there are other protective factors at play, and it’s not a matter of carb restriction being universally better than other diets. But I think this study was seriously too crummy to deduce anything valuable about diet and mortality.

17 09 2010
Tony

The study was flawed from the start, starting with a food questionnaire where people can fudge about what they ate. As computer programmers say, garbage in, garbage out.

18 09 2010
A

Denise,

I would like to hear more about your philosophy on the low carb/ excess fructose debate. The Paleo/Low carbers seem to blame many ills on carbs. Although I only eat foods from the Paleo food groups, I tend to eat much more fruit than the average Paleo Low Carber. After reading many blogs, I often feel guilty for eating so much fruit. I have over two hundred tropical and subtropical fruit trees. It’s not uncommon for me to eat 20 or 30 pieces of fruit on a summer day for snacks. I eat many nuts, meat, fish, and vegetables at meal time. So long as I stay away from grains, and dairy I have no trouble with weight. Denise, am I killing myself???

18 09 2010
neisy

Hi A,

If you’re killing yourself, then I’m killing myself, too. ;) Your diet sounds very similar to mine.

Here’s my take on the carb/fructose/fruit debate. I do think that many folks are legitimately unable to handle high amounts of carbs (fruit included), whether due to their own previous diet, the culmination of several generations of poor nutrition/processed food consumption, a history of obesity and insulin resistance, etc. Those folks often do beautifully on low carb. But there are far too many healthy, thin, high-carb-eatin’ populations in the world to be able to claim that carbohydrates are universally at the root of disease and obesity. Asserting that would require ignoring the success of many Asian populations, the Kitava, some of Weston Price’s primitives, and others who thrive on a diet with moderate to high carbs — which is ultimately the same error Campbell commits when he overlooks the healthy populations that liberally consume animal products. Just as the “animal foods = disease” hypothesis produces too many anomalies, the “carbs = fatness and disease” hypothesis is also incomplete, in my opinion. The role of carbohydrates depends on the type consumed, as well as the individual’s health situation.

As for fruit and fructose specifically, there seems to be a myth floating around that the main sugar in fruit is always fructose, which isn’t the case at all. There’s a *wide* range of variation between different fruit species, and some are glucose dominated. Per calorie, apricots have less than 1/5th the fructose content of apples, for example. And you’d need to eat almost 1000 calories worth of nectarines to get the amount of fructose in one bottle of Coke.

You may be interested in some of the work by Katharine Milton, an anthropologist who’s studied/written extensively on primate diets and the nutritional components of modern wild fruit (probably a decent approximation of the kinds humans ate for most of our history). She notes that wild fruit tends to be glucose dominated with smaller amounts of fructose, while cultivated fruit is more often sucrose and fructose dominated. Wild fruit tends to also be higher in protein and fiber and micronutrients. Here’s one of her papers, with a discussion of the differences between wild and cultivated fruit starting on page 3: http://nature.berkeley.edu/miltonlab/pdfs/nutritionalchar.pdf

If you’re concerned, you could look up the sugar composition of the species of fruit you grow and opt for the lower fructose/sucrose varieties to nosh on.

Some of the common paleo beliefs about fruit are also a little off base, especially the idea that early fruits were always small, bitter, and low in sugar. This may have been more typical of far northern climates, but tropical fruits can be sweet and ginormous even without human intervention (think durian and jackfruit-esque). At least that’s what a paleobotanist told me a number of years ago when I bombarded her with fruity questions.

As for fruit and weight, I’d have to strongly contest the idea that fruit independently causes fat gain, both from personal experience and observation. Some of the skinniest people I’ve ever met in my life eat almost exclusively fruit, and tons of it. When I was a raw vegan eating 3500 calories of fruit a day, I weighed 95 pounds and couldn’t gain weight no matter how many bananas I mowed down. That sort of diet may invite all sorts of health issues down the line, but weight gain is not a common one, that’s for sure. I also think the effect of fruit and carbohydrates at large may be highly situational, behaving differently in the context of a high-fat diet than a low-to-moderate fat diet.

Anyway — I’d say if you’re lucky enough to have 200 fruit trees, then bon apetit! Eat up shamelessly. :) There are plenty of worse things you could be snacking on.

18 09 2010
A

OOPS, Sorry picked wrong reply button. See reply comment in next topic. Thanks

20 09 2010
A

Regarding the topic of fruit quality. Just ran into this interesting video.

This is consistant with some of the Milton ideas.

16 02 2011
Nikki

I would love to hear you elaborate on this:

“I also think the effect of fruit and carbohydrates at large may be highly situational, behaving differently in the context of a high-fat diet than a low-to-moderate fat diet.”

I have my own theory in regards to this but would love to hear yours. I suspect that carbohydrates taken with a fat helps to keep your triglycerides from spiking as much, as in wine with cheese, oatmeal with butter, starchy vegetables with a fat, etc. I haven’t researched this enough to know for sure. I may be totally off here.

2 10 2010
Chris Masterjohn

I think what you are doing is yummifying yourself.

Chris

17 09 2010
Fred Hahn

Good one Denise. I recently blogged on this issue as well with Dean Ornish as the nemesis.

18 09 2010
A

Thank you for your thoughtfull and timely reply. I really enjoyed reading the Katharine Milton research on fruits. This all makes me a bit concerned. Milton clearly contrasts the differences between these natural wild fuits and modern day ones. Even though I have rare fuit trees from all over the world, I have never seen some of the species that she references. I don’t think that they would be easy to find here in the USA. The fact is that humans have gotten used to nice looking plump sweet fruits and they have eliminated all of the healthier variations from the cultivated fruit gene pool. This is very unfortunate. Well I guess I will just have to do the best with what I have. something like more apricots, necatarines and figs etc. and less apples and pears, etc. In the long run, I will keep my eyes open for research and plant material to see if I can find some of these paleo fruit trees for my collection. If you haven’t seen this here is an interesting accounting of sugars in fruits.

http://thepaleodiet.com/nutritional_tools/fruits_table.html

18 09 2010
Wes

I just watched FatHead and found my way here. Great article. Bonus points for using “oh noes!”

20 09 2010
20 09 2010
Tuukka Simonen

It would be a lot easier to take your texts seriously if I didn’t get the impression that you are writing to teenager boys. I give an example:

“is nuttier than a squirrel turd”

By using statements like that, you might get a connection with all the rednecks who thank you for bringing the text to their level but at the same time it makes your arguments so annoying to read that I can’t be bothered to read the full article.

21 09 2010
Connie Howard

The obvious superior intelligence Denise posseses, the critical thinking skills and analysis, these are more than enough for most of us to take her posts seriously. Her writing skills and sense of humor just add to the pleasure of reading them.

21 09 2010
Cindy

Then don’t read the full article. I find her humor apropos, as the studies she’s analyzing are quite ridiculous. Keep writing the way you enjoy to write, Denise; you’re providing an invaluable service.

22 09 2010
Gabriel

Dear Tuukka Simonen (is your name Finnish?),

While there is a grain of truth to what you write (please note that I am striving for ‘humour [which] is [not] out of the context and is [not] irrelevant to the subject’), is it possible that the real issue at hand is not the ‘impression(s)’ per se, which one may derive from the text, e.g., ‘[that she is] writing to teenager boys’ and ‘might get a connection with all the rednecks who thank [her] for bringing the text to their level’ (by the way, your prejudices are showing), but rather that you are an impressionable individual? (Having used that particular word, i.e. ‘impression’, already three times in two of your last three posts.)

Furthermore, are you aware that, in effect, what you are actually saying is that ‘[your (personal) impression] makes [her] arguments so annoying to read that [you] can’t be bothered to read the full article’? May I ask, is this true (for you) only with (serious) textual material or does this also translate to other areas of your life? If so, from personal experience, may I suggest that you not take humour… um… so seriously?

Incidentally, you also wrote:

‘I have been watching Monty Python since the 1980′s and comparing squirrel turd to Monty Python is blasphemy.’

Ah, so something along the lines of –

‘I don’t want to talk to you, no more, you empty-headed animal, food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. You mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.’*)

would be more appropriate, eh?

Have a good one, Tuukka :o)

Regards,
Gabriel

*) Monty Python and the Holy Grail

21 09 2010
Monte Diaz

Tuukka, I tried to read your reply but your superiority complex got in the way and I couldn’t be bothered to read it in full. (my monitor isn’t big enough).

I did however manage to read the first sentence and that was more than enough to get the impression that you do not understand humor at all. Which is understandable. It’s a lot more of a heady subject than simple math will ever be.

Just in case you are still reading let me try and educate you. Humor is the great disarmer. Here it is being used in many dimensions. Disarming the study of its ridiculous posturing as real science, disarming the reader’s subconscious Censor (Freudian, look it up), and unfortunately, you. Your reply exposes you more than I bet you want it to.

Let us not forget that humor has physical manifestations. Starting with chemical chain reactions that lead to reduced stress and positive associations which of course enhance cognition. Only the most gifted among us can fabricate a cohesive message by seamlessly weaving serious thought and humor together.

But don’t worry Tukkaa. You can join the party too. There is hope. You just need to spend a few days watching Monty Python and MST3K episodes. Maybe some Bill Hicks oh and of course, eliminate grains. Come back in a few days and lettuce know how you feel.

22 09 2010
Tuukka Simonen

Dear Monte Diaz,

I am sorry you were not able to read the two sentences I wrote about the subject.

For your information, I am a big fan of excrement humour but at the same time, I acknowledge that it should only be used at the right context. Given the importance Ms. Minger’s writings seem to have, I don’t see why she has to use such language.

I used to have same kind of humour in my own texts, back when I was 9-10 years old, but my teacher informed me that if the humour is out of the context and is irrelevant to the subject, it just distracts the reader instead of distributing amusement. I then have been practicing the same kind of humour at a greater extent than I used to do during my childhood, but only when I have seen it to be suitable.

By pulling the discussion right from the beginning to the level where serious discussion is impossible, the writer immediately gives an impression that she ignores all the opposing views. When serious conversation cannot take place, it gives an impression that the writer is right. This is however not the case. By using appropriate language when talking about a very serious issue, the comments tend to be of higher quality and the result is that both the original writer and the commentators actually might learn something.

I have been watching Monty Python since the 1980’s and comparing squirrel turd to Monty Python is blasphemy.

Also, if grains are so damn unhealthy, why are people in Italy so healthy? Yes, for many people grains seem to be like poison, but for many people it does not seem to be a big issue unless it is being used too much. People are individuals and even if something does not suit you, please don’t try to make other people to give up on something that they really don’t have problems with.

I have to inform you that my native language is not English so please do not stick to my grammar.

22 09 2010
anon

Diaz, get a life. If your English is so bad you can’t handle English grammar, you are not competent to judge English language humor, nor do I believe that you really understand Monty Python.

22 09 2010
Tuukka Simonen

I would not say much if I was the one incapable of following the discussion in which there are only two participants. Diaz was not the one stating the thing you are referring to, I was.

I bet I understand the nuances in Monty Python better than an average American, which is not much, though.

If you really think that in order to understand Monty Python you should be able to write perfect grammar, you are utterly wrong. Right from the start the show became popular among kids and teenagers and the witty humour is largely based on visual things rather than difficult language.

Also, I am perfectly aware of the meaning of the word “nutty” and I know that it means both crazy and something which has nuts in abundance in it.

22 09 2010
Monte Diaz

Well Denise, you mentioned nuts and now you have squirrels. I guess this is to be expected.

Anyway, good points Tuukka. The Cheese Shop sketch has got to be my favorite. Anyway these issues have been addressed by Ms. Minger before.

All too often nutritional information is given in a militant “your with us or against us”, a sensationalist hyperbolic tone, or a dry-as-a-desert monotone. Those who straddle the middle ground often do so toting the party line. Which, as exposed here, is often not “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

Those with alternative viewpoints feel like they are buried in a crowd and resort to shouting. Sometimes figuratively, sometimes not. Either way it is the message that suffers every time. It’s refreshing to finally read something that is light hearted, witty and at the same time serious. This is a food blog after all and making information more palatable would seem of utter importance. Humor is the spice of life. :)

24 09 2010
anon

blah blah blah. Write me a dissertation on how brilliant your sense of humor is in foreign tongues. Code it in C++, then shove it up your ass.

The fact is that “nuttier than a squirrel’s turd” is funny. If you don’t get it, you aren’t competent to judge English language humor.

21 09 2010
Media Culpa: More Low-Fat Lies (Part Two)

[...] wanting more detailed critiques of the study, I recommend three articles: Denise Minger’s “Are Low-Carb Meat Eaters in Trouble?”, Tom Naughton’s “The ‘Atkins’ Study (ahem, ahem) According to Ornish”, and the [...]

21 09 2010
21 09 2010
Shawn

I see you’re having fun with the Nurses Study data. :) Before I get into the content of my comment, I just want to say that I’ve been on a stringent paleo-type diet for over five years. That said, allow me to play devil’s advocate:

I apologize if this was already addressed in the comments section, but if you look at Ornish’s original article that was published to the Huffington Post, he supported his hypothesis with several other published works:

A Look at the Low-Carbohydrate Diet

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcibr0908756

“However, a recent study by Foo and colleagues1 shows that HPLC diets may accelerate atherosclerosis through mechanisms that are unrelated to the classic cardiovascular risk factors.”

Abstract 3610: Comparative Effects of 3 Popular Diets on Lipids, Endothelial Function and Biomarkers of Atherothrombosis in the Absence of Weight Loss

http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/116/16_MeetingAbstracts/II_819?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Ornish&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

“In the absence of weight loss, the high fat Atkins diet is associated with increased LDL-C, reduced endothelial vasoreactivity and increased expression of biomarkers of atherothrombosis.”

The effect of high-protein diets on coronary blood flow.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11108325

“These results would suggest that high-protein diets may precipitate progression of CAI) through increases in lipid deposition and inflammatory and coagulation pathways.”

Not to mention the presence of exogenous AGEs, which likely have a role in arteriosclerosis development by increasing the rigidity of the arteries. Glycated lipoprotein is also one of the modified lipoproteins easily transformed to oxidized lipoprotein.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9186589

Not to mention that atherosclerosis usually occurs outside the reproductive years, meaning that human’s have had less selective pressure to adapt to meat consumption (or any food for that matter) in this type of way.

22 09 2010
24 09 2010
anonymouse

FYI Denise, the 30 banana people are trying to destroy you again.

http://www.30bananasaday.com/forum/topics/has-denise-minger-read-the

24 09 2010
el-bo

haha…someone should tell B that this, here, is an open forum where people can actually debate this with denise, et al, rather than attempt to undermine from a ‘safe’ distance

i guess denise should be flattered, precocious, bright and hard working as she is :) that people are going to such great effort to ‘destroy’ her position as if she HADN’T continually invited debate and counter-argument so that she, and the rest of us, may come closer to the truth

24 09 2010
el-bo

i’mma add a ‘JEEZ !!!’ for greater effect :o)

25 09 2010
CPM

Other than the occasional drive-by spamming with no follow-up, they do seem to prefer to masturbate together in their walled garden.

I think they are a little late anyway. As long as Campbell continues to argue that Correlation is Evidence then there is not much that can be done to redeem him scientifically. And more of his his fraud seems to be exposed everyday – http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/the-curious-case-of-campbells-rats-does-protein-deficiency-prevent-cancer.html

25 09 2010
Karen Vaughan

I couldn’t figure out what their problem was, other than some of Denise’s earlier articles used China 1 data and they apparently didn’t see the Tuoli article. And they thought she didn’t see the “point” of the China Study, whatever that means. Of course it would be too much to hope that they would read the rest of Denise’s articles and (gasp) change their minds. Nah.

26 09 2010
CPM

Yes, their arguments seem pretty lame. The whole idea of critiquing a critique has some built-in lameness anyway. In addition, they really haven’t bothered to read or pay attention to what Denise has written to begin with. The fact that she used China I data instead of China II data in critiquing Campbell’s use of China I data is surely worthy of spamming a bunch of blogs.

They fail to even see that she is attacking bad science, not veganism. The 300lb gorilla in the room that the 30Bad people ignore is that Campbell claims that CORRELATION IS EVIDENCE, and he claims that the common refrain of “correlation is not causation” does not apply to his new holistic science. Does any “cancer epidemiologist” in thier right mind want to stand on that side of the line in the sand?

It is amusing to watch though. Denise is WAY brighter than the 30Bad people (just WAY brighter than most in general), but they seem to think they have some kind of upper hand because Campbell referred to her as an English major. Following Campbell’s lead, the greensmoothygirl even referred to Denise as a college student. The fish don’t realize yet that they are the ones in a barrel.

25 09 2010
anonymouse

Watch out, the emaciated vegans are going to strike…this is at the bottom of that link.

“Have you sent this off to Denise?”
reply:
“Thanks for reading Andrew. We’re currently getting our blog bandits organized to post this all over the blogosphere and other forums. We’re aiming for top-notch rankings in google.”

Pathetic. Why don’t they all grow a pair and post it here, where Denise allows open dialogue?? Oh that’s right, they know she would outsmart them so they have to gang up together and do it behind her back. WTF. If veganism makes you cowardly like this then they’re their own best argument against their diet.

25 09 2010
B

Happy to oblige:

“Has Denise Minger Read ‘The China Study’? — A Collective Rebuttal”

http://www.30bananasaday.com/forum/topics/has-denise-minger-read-the

Brief excerpt:
“Regarding the title, it seems to be a strange question. How could anyone doubt whether she has read the entire book? The question actually is quite understandable…

Major points of criticism include:

1) The author does not appear to be familiar with many of the
objectives, content and key concepts presented in The China Study.
The intent, message and implications of the book are misrepresented
to her readers and strawman arguments abound.

2) In spite of claiming to maintain neutrality, the author shows an
unmistakable bias in favor of animal foods in her analysis.

3) As a result of this (and lack of experience in the field of
epidemiology) much of the data examined and analyzed by the author is
misused and/or misinterpreted.”

1 10 2010
CPM

Hi B,

Speaking of “lack of experience in epidemiology”, how do you defend Campbell’s claim that the common refrain of “Correlation is not Causation” does not apply to his new holistic science that he uses in the China Study?

This is from Campbell’s “Primer on Statistics” (found on the 30Bad website):

“In summary, I agree that using univariate correlations of population databases should not be used to infer causality, when one adheres to the reductionist philosophy of nutritional biology and/or when one ignores or does not have prior evidence of biological plausibility beforehand. In this case, these correlations can only be used to generate hypotheses for further investigation, that is, to establish biological plausibility. If in contrast, we start with explanatory models that represent the inherent complexity of nutrition and is accompanied by biological plausibility, then it is fair to look for supportive evidence among a collection of correlations…”

This is the entire basis of his use of statistics in the China Study. He says quite clearly that the common refrain of “Correlation is not Causation” only applies to suckers performing “reductionist” science, but if on the other hand you adopt a superior, holistic kind of pseduoscience that Campbell has embraced, then you can cherry-pick any simple univariate correlation that you find convenient and use it as proof that your hypothesis is correct. Any epidemiologists in the audience want to stand behind this?

For analogy, if you have a hypothesis that the Earth is only 7000 years old, then using Campbell’s style of new, holistic “science” you can freely disregard dinosaurs and radiocarbon dating. Those would be called “uncorrected” correlations in Campbellian “science”.

You could, in fact, using Campbell’s brand of science, pick whichever correlation fits your hypothesis then turn around and say that very same correlation helps prove that your hypothesis is correct. Kind of circular maybe? Kind of disturbing maybe to use simple univariate correlations to prove hypotheses rather than generate them?

Back when Chris Masterjohn and others tried to point out the problems of Campbell’s simple univariate correlations such as the figure below from Masterjohns’ website (animal products less correlated with cancer mortality than plant products), in his defense Campbell would start talking about “corrected” and “uncorrected” correlations. It turns out Campbell did not define “corrected” as multivariate analysis or an analysis that included confounders. All “corrected” means to Campbell is that it supports his hypothesis. “Uncorrected” correlations would be like dinosaurs – they don’t fit the hypothesis so they are disregarded.

Is that how epidemiology is performed – you use your own pet hypothesis to judge what correlations are “corrected”? Is there anyway one could nullify their own hypothesis using this approach? Is it really science if you cannot nullify your own hypothesis?

And again, all it is a hypothesis. Campbell likes to talk about “symphonies” in his head guiding his holistic science and “explanatory models that represent the inherent complexity of nutrition” as though there are somehow superior to hypotheses, but these are in fact just hypotheses. And from what I understand of epidemiology these cannot be proven by cherry-picked simple univariate correlations, but maybe someone who does not “lack experience in epidemiology” could explain this.

All I know about epidemiology is what the 30Bad “cancer epidemiologist” has posted to Denise’s blog, and what she posted seems to be in direct contradiction to everything Campbell does.

Figure 1 (from Chris Masterjohn’s website)
Associations of Selected Variables with Mortality for All Cancers in the China Study
Total Protein +12%
Animal Protein +3%
Fish Protein +7%
Plant Protein +12%
Total Lipids -6%
Carbohydrates +23%
Total Calories +16%
Fat % Calories -17%
Fiber +21%
Fat (questionnaire) -29%*
* statistically significant ** highly significant *** very highly significant
==============================
(Data taken from the original monograph of the China Study.)

25 09 2010
neisy

If they want to discuss this interactively and productively, they’ve got an open invitation. :)

http://www.giveittomeraw.com/forum/topics/b-and-other-chinastudycritic

25 09 2010
el-bo

maybe best to destroy MINGER in open debate, then hang her head
all over the blogosphere…or you could just do it THEIR way and go for the ‘over-sensationalist’ approach, looking for google hits, baying for blood rather from an inconclusive stance…what next ?? filling in wikipedia entries before the, proverbial ‘fat lady’ has even arrived at the opera house…. :) I would have expected better of the guy who posted and, unlike the above poster, would not be so absurd as to attribute this behaviour to a vegan diet ‘cept, possibly, that those practising the ‘marginal’ arts (veganism) gotta grab onto any, slight, possibility of victory that they can… in this case, however, they still have yet to realise that they can’t WIN anything because there is STILL no fight…I’ve yet to come accross the post, by Denise anyway, that has been discourteous about 30bad and the ‘plant-based diet it promotes…the same can be said for her interactions with Campbell…..

I hope they take you up on your offer, Denise….it might disappoint the mob (on both sides) but it would better serve the end result…

25 09 2010
T

There are many missing food groups in these charts including nuts, seeds, legumes, refined grains, and sugar/sweeteners [excluding sweetened beverages], and also all varieties of fruits and vegetables were lumped together in one category (white potatoes, blueberries and kale all have significantly different nutrient profiles). Combined fruit, vegetable and whole grain intake does not significantly differ between the 1st and 10th decile of the plant based group, yet plant protein intake increased approximately 50%, while carbohydrate intake decreased and vegetable fat intake increased simultaneously. This data strongly suggests that the participants were replacing refined carbohydrates with whole plant foods rich in protein such as nuts and seeds (which are also lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat), and legumes. Starchy vegetables were also likely to have been replaced with non-starchy vegetables, including green leafy vegetables which are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate.

Research from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study [which this study was derived from] and the worlds scientific literature consistently show a positive relationship between a diet higher fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, and lower in refined and animal food with various health benefits, including but not limited to a lower total mortality rate.
In a review of four large epidemiological studies including the Adventist Health Study, Iowa Women’s Study, Nurses’ Health Study, and the Physicians Health Study, the researchers found that the subjects who consumed nuts at least 4 times per week had a 37% reduction in risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who rarely consumed nuts. The researchers also stated that “Based on the data from the Nurses’ Health Study, we estimated that substitution of the fat from 1 ounce of nuts for equivalent energy from carbohydrate in an average diet [most of which is refined] was associated with a 30% reduction in CHD risk and the substitution of nut fat for saturated fat was associated with 45% reduction in risk.”[1]
In another paper from the Nurses’ Health Study, the researches concluded “Our findings suggest potential benefits of higher nut and peanut butter consumption in lowering risk of type 2 diabetes in women. To avoid increasing caloric intake, regular nut consumption can be recommended as a replacement for consumption of refined grain products or red or processed meats.”[2]
Research from the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study also found similar health benefits related to nut intake. During the 457,305 person-years follow-up, the researchers stated that “After adjustment for age and other known or suspected risk factors, men consuming 5 or more units of nuts per week (frequent consumption) had a significantly lower risk of gallstone disease than did men who never ate or who ate less than 1 unit per month (rare consumption)”.[3]
In a 12 year follow-up study of over 34,000 Californian Seven-Day Adventists, the researchers found that “High physical activity, frequent consumption of nuts, vegetarian status, and medium body mass index each result in an approximate 1.5- to 2.5-years gain in life expectancy compared with the corresponding high-risk values. The sum of these independent effects (9.7 years in men and 10.4 years in women) is similar to those predicted in subjects who have contrasting values for all variables simultaneously.”[4] In another paper from the Adventist study, the researchers found a “Multivariate analyses showed significant associations between beef consumption and fatal ischemic heart disease (IHD) in men…, significant protective associations between nut consumption and fatal and nonfatal IHD in both sexes”, and that “Cancer of the colon and prostate were significantly more likely in non-vegetarians…, and frequent beef consumers also had higher risk of bladder cancer.”[5]

25 09 2010
T

In a 14 year follow up of 110,000 men from both the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study, the researchers found that the those who consumed 8 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, were 30% less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke compared to those who consumed less than 1.5 servings a day. It was green leafy vegetables that had the greatest effect on major chronic diseases.[6]
In a review of the scientific literature on the relationship between vegetable and fruit consumption and risk of cancer, with results from 206 human epidemiologic studies and 22 animal studies, the researchers stated that “evidence for a protective effect of greater vegetable and fruit consumption is consistent for cancers of the stomach, esophagus, lung, oral cavity and pharynx, endometrium, pancreas, and colon”, and that the “types of vegetables or fruit that most often appear to be protective against cancer are raw vegetables, followed by allium vegetables, carrots, green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and tomatoes”.[7] In a prospective cohort study, the researchers found that a mere single serving or more of cabbage per week was related with a 38% decrease in pancreatic cancer.[8]
Many studies do not find a statistical significance in the relationship between cancer and different food groups or nutrient intakes later in life, as the foundation of many cancers are laid down in childhood and early adulthood, especially for hormonal cancers.[9] Despite the fact that every researcher in this field is aware that different fruits and vegetables have different nutrient profiles, many still lump all fruits and vegetables into a single category, and in most studies, even the patients in the groups who consume the highest quantity of fruits and vegetables are still only consuming them as an insignificant portion of total calories. In a 60 year follow-up study of 4,999 participants, the researchers found that the participants in the group that consumed the most fruit during childhood had a 38% lower risk of developing cancer as an adult.[10]

In an 18 year follow up of over 34,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, the researchers found that “Women who consumed four or more servings of legumes per week had a [35%] lower incidence of colorectal adenomas [the source of most colon cancer] than women who reported consuming one serving per week or less”. [11] In a 8 year follow up of over 90,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II, the women who consumed beans or lentils at least twice a week were 24% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who consumed them less than once a month.[12]
All of the populations in the Blue Zones (a region where people commonly live active lives past the age of 100 years) traditionally consumed a plant based diet high in legumes, a predictor of long-livity amongst these populations.[13]
For example, Okinawa has the highest centenarian prevalence rate in the world, and evidence of the dietary intake of the centenarians during youth comes from the U.S. National Archives statistics from 2279 Okinawans in 1949, which found that they consumed on average 1785 calories a day, with 85% calories derived from carbohydrate, 9% from protein, and 6% from fat of which 3.7 grams was saturated fat. Fish consumption was on average 15 g a day, meat (including poultry) 3 grams, eggs 1 g, dairy 950 grams(largely from sweet potatoes), sugar 3 g, oil 3 g, and sodium 1133 mg.[14] Less than 4% of total calories were from animal products, showing that meat such as pork was consumed infrequently, and most likely as a ceremonial food.

25 09 2010
T

In a study of five cohorts in Japan, Sweden, Greece and Australia, the researchers found that after adjusting for “gender and smoking, the legume food group showed 7-8% reduction in mortality hazard ratio for every 20g increase in daily intake with or without controlling for ethnicity”.[15] In a study following over 59,000 Japanese men and women, the researchers found that “Fruit intake was inversely associated with mortality from total stroke…, total CVD…, and total mortality…, Vegetable intake was inversely associated with total CVD…, Bean intake was inversely associated with other CVD…, total CVD… and total mortality”. The researches concluded that “intakes of plant-based foods, particularly fruit intake, were associated with reduced mortality from CVD and all causes among Japanese men and women.”[16]
In a 8.5 year follow-up study of 23,349 men and women in regards to health effects of the Mediterranean, the researchers came to the following conclusion: “The dominant components of the Mediterranean diet score as a predictor of lower mortality are moderate consumption of ethanol, low consumption of meat and meat products, and high consumption of vegetables, fruits and nuts, olive oil, and legumes.”[17]
In a cohort of over 10,000 participants in Europe with self-reported diabetes that were followed for a mean of 9 years, the researchers found that an increment in intake of total vegetables, legumes and fruit of a mere 80 grams per day was correlated with a 6% decrease in total mortality.[18]
In a case-control study from Uruguay, the researchers concluded that a “Higher intake of legumes was associated with a decreased risk of several cancers including those of the upper aerodigestive tract, stomach, colorectum, and kidney, but not lung, breast, prostate or bladder.”[19]

In a review of cohort studies which included the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professional’s Follow-up Study, the researchers found that “Pooled results indicate that a daily increase of 100 g of all meat or red meat is associated with a significant 12–17% increased risk of colorectal cancer” and that there was a “significant 49% increased risk was found for a daily increase of 25 g of processed meat.”[20]
In a prospective study of over half a million people, the researchers concluded that “Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and CVD [cardiovascular disease] mortality.”[21]
Furthermore, in a review of 6 prospective cohort studies, researchers studying the effect of a low meat diet found that “long-term vegetarians [>20 years] (estimated life expectancy = 86.5 y) do experience a significant 3.6-y (95% CI: 1.4, 5.8, from model) survival advantage over short-term vegetarians (estimate life expectancy = 82.9)”.[22]
In the only study that actually measured the underlying disease of the heart (rather than relying on risk factors such as cholesterol) in patients on a low carbohydrate diet [Atkins type] using nuclear imaging technology (SPECT scans), the low carbohydrate group showed an average decrease of approximately 40% blood-flow to the heart over the period of 12 months. However, patients in the low saturated fat plant based group had an average increase of over 40% blood-flow to the heart over the same period, showing evidence of a reversal of heart disease.[23] Other studies beginning in the mid 1980’s have shown that a plant based diet can effectively reverse advanced heart disease even though many participants did not adequately restrict refined carbohydrates.[24][25] These results have never been reproduced in any studies with participants consuming a moderate to high quantity of animal products.

25 09 2010
T

In conclusion, those who consumed the greatest quantity of whole plant foods, especially from high nutrient vegetables (such as raw and cruciferous vegetables), fruit (such as berries), nuts and legumes, and the lowest quantity of refined and animal food had a lower total mortality rate, as this is constant with other research from both the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study,[1-2,6,11,12,20] and from the worlds scientific literature.[4-5,7-10,14-19,21-31] However, clean animal products [excluding processed and separated fats] when consumed only as a condiment do not appear to significantly increase the risk of chronic disease as long as the diet is based around nutrient dense plant foods. Also, caution needs to be taken when considering following a very low carbohydrate diet, as there is a long list of complications that have been witnessed in even short term studies of less than a year, with the participants experiencing significant reduction in blood flow to the heart and even sudden death when following such a diet.[23,26,27] Not only does a nutrient dense, whole-foods plant based diet protect against cancer and many other chronic diseases due to the vast range of antioxidants, carotenoids and phytochemicals,[7] such a diet would also be low in carcinogens [cancer causing agents] such as acrylamides which are commonly high in any food baked together with common sugars at a very high temperature, and carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrates and N-nitroso which are commonly high in cooked and processed meat and fish. These carcinogens are also commonly found in cigarette smoke.[21,28-31]

References:
1. http://www.springerlink.com/content/g76464354481636g/
2. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/288/20/2554
3. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/10/961.full
4. http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/161/13/1645
5. http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/70/3/532S
6. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/96/21/1577.full
7. http://www.mi-cancergenetics.org/articles/veg-fruit.html
8. http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/15/2/301.full
9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1972548/pdf/brjcancer00214-0131.pdf
10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1732406/?tool=pubmed
11. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/66/7/3942.full
12. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.20741/pdf
13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Zone
14. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1196/annals.1396.037/abstract
15. http://www.healthyeatingclub.org/info/articles/diets-foods/Darmadi.pdf
16. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=5905736&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0007114508143586
17. http://ts-si.org/files/BMJ-AnatomyHealthEffectsb2337.pdf
18. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/138/4/775
19. http://www.springerlink.com/content/uv330j7213j67127/
20. http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/10/5/439.full
21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803089/
22. http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/78/3/526S%29
23. http://ang.sagepub.com/content/51/10/817.abstract
24. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1520-037X.2001.00538.x/pdf
25. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/280/23/2001 ; http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/274/11/894.pdf
26. http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/apjcn/volume12/vol12.4/fullArticles/crowe.pdf
27. http://www.annals.org/content/140/10/778.full
28. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/134/8/2011
29. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/55/20/4516.full.pdf
30. http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/25505/1/IND44168140.pdf
31. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=6&fid=795508&jid=PNS&volumeId=58&issueId=02&aid=795504&fulltextType=MR&fileId=S0029665199000336

25 09 2010
the0great0t

In conclusion, those who consumed the greatest quantity of whole plant foods, especially from high nutrient vegetables (such as raw and cruciferous vegetables), fruit (such as berries), nuts and legumes, and the lowest quantity of refined and animal food had a lower total mortality rate, as this is constant with other research from both the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study,[1-2,6,11,12,20] and from the worlds scientific literature.[4-5,7-10,14-19,21-31] However, clean animal products [excluding processed and separated fats] when consumed only as a condiment do not appear to significantly increase the risk of chronic disease as long as the diet is based around nutrient dense plant foods. Also, caution needs to be taken when considering following a very low carbohydrate diet, as there is a long list of complications that have been witnessed in even short term studies of less than a year, with the participants experiencing significant reduction in blood flow to the heart and even sudden death when following such a diet.[23,26,27] Not only does a nutrient dense, whole-foods plant based diet protect against cancer and many other chronic diseases due to the vast range of antioxidants, carotenoids and phytochemicals,[7] such a diet would also be low in carcinogens [cancer causing agents] such as acrylamides which are commonly high in any food baked together with common sugars at a very high temperature, and carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrates and N-nitroso which are commonly high in cooked and processed meat and fish. These carcinogens are also commonly found in cigarette smoke.[21,28-31]

25 09 2010
the0great0t

References:
1. http://www.springerlink.com/content/g76464354481636g/
2. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/288/20/2554
3. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/10/961.full
4. http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/161/13/1645
5. http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/70/3/532S
6. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/96/21/1577.full
7. http://www.mi-cancergenetics.org/articles/veg-fruit.html
8. http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/15/2/301.full
9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1972548/pdf/brjcancer00214-0131.pdf
10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1732406/?tool=pubmed
11. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/66/7/3942.full
12. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.20741/pdf
13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Zone
14. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1196/annals.1396.037/abstract
15. http://www.healthyeatingclub.org/info/articles/diets-foods/Darmadi.pdf
16. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=5905736&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0007114508143586
17. http://ts-si.org/files/BMJ-AnatomyHealthEffectsb2337.pdf
18. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/138/4/775
19. http://www.springerlink.com/content/uv330j7213j67127/
20. http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/10/5/439.full
21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803089/
22. http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/78/3/526S%29
23. http://ang.sagepub.com/content/51/10/817.abstract
24. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1520-037X.2001.00538.x/pdf
25. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/280/23/2001 ; http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/274/11/894.pdf
26. http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/apjcn/volume12/vol12.4/fullArticles/crowe.pdf
27. http://www.annals.org/content/140/10/778.full
28. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/134/8/2011
29. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/55/20/4516.full.pdf
30. http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/25505/1/IND44168140.pdf
31. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=6&fid=795508&jid=PNS&volumeId=58&issueId=02&aid=795504&fulltextType=MR&fileId=S0029665199000336

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25 09 2010
anon

I guess the above is part of the “blog swarm” strategy? Larding your comments with epidemiological compendia (ie, correlations)?

25 09 2010
A

T and theOgreatone,

If skim through your comments and references, I notice that you have made an excellent case for Denises diet. Very high in plant based foods with some raw animal foods, that are not processed. No cooked grains & starches, which are high in acrylamides. It is interesting that this collection of studies taken in it’s totality supports her diet.

Never the less I find the information that you provided as being very lacking. Anyone can find a number of studies that advocate a point of view and parrot them. But it is the great mind that can evaluate each of these studies and weigh them against the studies that contradict the studies that you have provided. It is also the great mind that can evaluate each of these studies to discover what they really show and to understand their short commings. Then it takes great skill to integrate all of this knowledge and come to a well reasoned conclusion.

This is why I find Denises work so refreshing, because she is able to perform many of these tasks. She seems to do a better job at this than most experts in these fields because she does no come at this with as many preconceived notions and is seeking the truth and not advocating some line of thinking in research for political reasons or defending a diet ideology from which she is unwilling to change.

26 09 2010
Tony

More useless epidemiological studies. Don’t these guys ever learn?

19 10 2010
Auggiedoggy

Tony,

Agreed. Quantity over quality. How pathetic!

25 09 2010
Monte Diaz

Wow, every move they make they look more and more scared. You’re digging your own plot in the graveyard of irrelevancy. Keep it up.

25 09 2010
Monte Diaz

Wow. The more these guys do, the more scared they look.

You’re digging your own plot in the graveyard of irrelevancy. Keep it up. :)

25 09 2010
neisy

For anyone who likes to waste time online reading long-winded China Study debates:

http://www.giveittomeraw.com/forum/topics/b-and-other-chinastudycritic?page=2#comments

26 09 2010
anon

The vegans seem really demoralized. Their hero has deserted them, and their villain is as relentless as she is polite & beautiful.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. :-)

27 09 2010
kat

Well it didn’t take long for them to take it back to their closed forum. Too bad, I was rather interested in the exchange. I refuse to give their site any more web traffic so I do hope B ventures back to GITMR, although clearly he is more comfortable in the echo chamber.

27 09 2010
kat

Something else to consider re: use of China Study II data. B suggested that Denise should have asked TCC if it was used for the book, but did B ask TCC? Did his number crunchers? If not, then why?

27 09 2010
Monte Diaz

These cat-and-mouse games can and will continue ad nauseam when the goals of one of the participants is to win instead of finding the truth. The only thing you can really do is state the truth, as you see it, and eventually they will be the only ones chasing their “tales”.

27 09 2010
JP

This is great. just wow.

28 09 2010
Sue

Campbell is calling in reinforcements to try to quash the negative reviews. As per the hysterical 30Bananas crew:

I just received the following from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation in a newsletter sent to graduates of his Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition. Part of the newsletter is course-related material that they state is only for graduates, but I think it is appropriate to share this part here:

“As you may or may not be aware, there has been a recent negative critique of Dr. Campbell’s book The China Study by Denise Minger. Minger is 23 years old and is using misleading statistical analysis to extract unsubstantiated conclusions about The China Project data. Dr. Campbell is working on a thorough response that should be ready in the next few days, and will be posted on the homepage of his Foundation website – http://www.tcolincampbell.org.

In the meantime, we would like to enlist your help. You can read Minger’s blog and respond directly to her posting at: http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/#mo…. This posting and postings like it have been popping up all over the web for the last 72 hours or so, and we would like to ask your help in posting informed responses to Minger’s critique. Here are a few other sites we have found that are spreading this same misleading message:

Fat-Head: You’ve been Fed a Load of Bologna

http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/07/13/outstanding-criti

Wellsphere: Health Knowledge Made Personal

http://www.wellsphere.com/healthy-eating-article/t-colin-campbell-8

Healthy Mind : Fit Body

http://healthymindfitbody.com/2010/07/12/the-china-study-bites-the-

Feed Me Like You Mean It: Cultivating Health through Food and Action

http://feedmelikeyoumeanit.blogspot.com/2010/07/critique-of-china-s

Healthy Future for Kids

http://www.healthyfutureforkids.com/2010/07/critique-of-china-study

The Daily Lipid

http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2010/07/denise-mingers-break

Mark’s Daily Apple (this seems to be a different post than #37 above)

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/showthread.php?11152-The-China

We encourage you to read and respond in a way befitting of Dr. Campbell and his message. Being graduates of the courses, you are the most informed people about the subject and we would greatly appreciate any and all help you can provide us and if you are aware of or come across any other sites/blogs that are criticizing Dr. Campbell and/or his work we implore you to respond.

This is a blog post Dr. Campbell has approved for us to post on other blogs as to head off this torrent of criticism about The China Study

http://www.30bananasaday.com/group/debunkingthechinastudycritics/fo

Thank you all for all your help,

T. Colin Campbell Foundation Staff”

29 09 2010
Marcia T

Sue – only two of the seven links in the list you provide work: Healthy Mind and Mark’s Daily Apple. The rest say something like “no longer available” or some such. What’s up with that? Have they been closed so no one from this side of the blog-sphere can comment? Hmmmm.

29 09 2010
Alex

The links got truncated in copying and pasting from the source. It’s a technical problem, not a conspiracy.

29 09 2010
el-bo

–> We encourage you to read and respond in a way befitting of Dr. Campbell and his message <–

perhaps dr.campbell could lead by example :)

and what's this ??? denise is only 23 ??? that's a game-changer, right there..how could she possibly have anything worthwhile to say ?? :)

29 09 2010
CPM

I believe Campbell’s call for reinforcements happened quite a while back (maybe 2 months ago.) Did you not see all the thoughtful and intelligent comments from Campbell’s supporters that bombarded these blogs?

What few people bothered to come defend Campbell often just mimicked his shtick – Denise is only 23, Campbell is an esteemed scientist, Denise is an agent of the WAPF, etc… His students learned science well.

It is all about reaffirming the faithful, not arguing science. The 30Bad people recently posted some new stuff over in their walled garden (keeping the infidels out), but again they don’t really argue a defense of Campbell’s scientific method and interpretations made from the data; they just try to cast doubt on his Denise’s critique and bolster the general idea that plant food is better than animal food. One of their basic arguments is that Campbell has some sort of hidden, superior knowledge that nobody knows about, so it is impossible for Denise to critique it. Everybody must bow to the great wizard behind the curtain.

They also continue try to make it look like Denise is the one making conclusions from the data and criticize the way she uses epidemiology to reach these supposed conclusions. All the while Campbell is the one claiming that CORRELATION IS EVIDENCE and freely cherry picks any simple correlation he wants to prove his hypothesis. And the vegan “cancer epidemiologist” cheers…

29 09 2010
Alex

Walled garden? That actually sounds quite lovely. I think of it more as the walled cult compound of the Branch Durianridarians.

30 09 2010
Tony

There’s a LOT of cognitive dissociation going on behind that walled garden.

29 09 2010
Interview and Updates and I Promise Wheat is Next « Raw Food SOS: Troubleshooting on the Raw Food Diet

[...] in the case of clinical studies—kind of the inverse of what we saw with that recent low-carb flapdoodle. A diet with 30% fat isn’t representative of Ornish any more than a diet with 30% [...]

6 10 2010
Monte Diaz

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/303/20/2058

“Conclusion In this representative sample of RCTs published in 2006 with statistically non-significant primary outcomes, the reporting and interpretation of findings was frequently inconsistent with the results.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

10 12 2010
koko

Thanks

26 12 2010
Roasted Pork and Braised Cabbage from the Fifth Worst Cookbook in the World | Free The Animal

[...] mind that both Denise Minger and Chris Masterjohn annihilated that stupid study cited by the PCRM here and [...]

29 12 2010
Razwell

Why do so many people on the Internet consistently use ad hominem INCORRECTLY?

Ad hominem is NOT realted to abuse , name calling or personal attacks. My blog does a detailed post about this.

30 12 2010
Paul C

I tried reading your blog post but you almost incoherent. Ad hominem is a personal attack. If you don’t believe me, here is meaning #2 from Merriam Webster:

2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

Your thought would be correct if you said not every personal attack is ad hominem. Some are. I have personally witnessed T. Colin Campbell use them on Internet forums and you can too with just a bit of googling.

The attacks here by the 30bad crowd are disturbing. Occasionally I scan their forums for interesting and entertaining items, and today saw one from a newbie that was really troubling. Basically it said “Why is my face swollen like Dr. Graham’s” (had to LOL at that one), “why am I still constipated”, “why do I have brain fog” and the suggestions from the replying skeletons were mystical, like “you are dehydrated”, “you ate too much salt”, “eat more cranberries”, and “exercise more”. The message was “if it didn’t work for you, you are doing it wrong”, similar to the message of the attackers posted here.

A bit of reading shows quite clearly the newbies have a basket of problems, and going vegan changes the makeup of the problems in the basket, but the basket is still pretty full.

Regardless, none of this has anything to do with Denise’s topic, which was another good piece of LOGIC, not belief.

Thanks Denise.

31 12 2010
Chris

“why am I still constipated”, “why do I have brain fog” and the suggestions from the replying skeletons were mystical, like… “eat more cranberries”…

An exclusionary diet in a market of processed food will require planning and time but what, instead of cranberries, would you suggest to prevent constipation? Consume more meat or dairy? This question is important because while one may fuss over how much and what type of nutrients (macro, antioxidants, etc) are in a given food, digestive disorders impair nutrient absorption and more importantly contribute to degenerative diseases. Since humans are the only hominidae with widespread constipation (1), nutrient deficiencies (2) and rampant degenerative diseases (3-8), the answer to the above question may be helpful.

1. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;61(5):616-22.
2. BioScience, Volume 28, Pages 761-766, 1978.
3. Prostate. 1998;36:64–67.
4. An overview of the world literature on spontaneous tumors in nonhuman primates. J Med Primatol. 1989;18:423–437.
5. Am J Phys Anthropol. 1973;38:425–429.
6. Lab Anim Sci. 1973;23:533–539.
7. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 January 26; 107(suppl_1): 1718–1724.
8. BMC Genomics. 2006; 7: 15.

“The message was “if it didn’t work for you, you are doing it wrong”, similar to the message of the attackers posted here.”
Some may choose to focus on the failures and give up, others may consider those who succeed with diet experimentation. Those with fruit based diets NEVER complain of digestive disorders, especially not diarrhea, hemorrhoids, constipation, etc since these are totally preventable with biochemically compatible diets.

“going vegan changes the makeup of the problems in the basket, but the basket is still pretty full.”
So refined grains or cooked roots without the skin may be as difficult to digest as meat.

“none of this has anything to do with Denise’s topic”
Yes, it seems the topic of digestive disorders is taboo for some…

C.

1 01 2011
Razwell

Wrong, Paul. You do not know what you do not know. The logical fallacy, ad hominem , is NOT a person attack, name calling or abuse. Actual instances of ad hominem are RARE,. The MISUSE of the word is RAMPANT among self appointed Internet gurus.

You need to research this properly. if you had typed in the phrase “ad hominem misused”, this is the FIRST thing you would have seen. I suggest you educate yourself.

http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

My blog is the BEST on the Internet for having the correct information on the subject of obesity . Dr. Linda Bacon, and Dr. Friedman are the best of the best. Your heroes often write about leptin. Well, I have news for you , Dr. Friedman actually DISCOVERED it, and knows far more than your heroes do.

read my blog and read it CAREFULLY NEXT TIME. It is anything but incoherent. it is VERY DETAILED with MOUNTAINS of citations to REPUTABLE , LONG TERM , LARGE SMAPLE SIZE studies, unlike the kind your heroes use.

9 01 2011
Amit

Hey Denise

Few interesting tidbits (I’ll send you references in a bit):

1. NYT had interesting articles on a lady who was over 100, not surprising she eat a low carb, low grain, Atkins
2. the article also mentioned that of the centegenerian studies that have been done, there was NOT A SINGLE VEGETARIAN that lived over 100. There were smokers, but no vegetarians.
3. Vegans have a 10 year lower lifespan than the average American (I need to reference this – my wife told me, she does a TON of research on this topic.)

I honestly don’t know how they make up this shit. I haven’t see an single healthy vegan or vegetarian in my life. When I did my undergrad at Cornell we used to joke about the PETA people, because they were all emaciated and sickly.

19 02 2011
Robert

Most vegans I’ve seen on TV or in person have been overweight. Isn’t a lighter bodyweight supposed to be one of the benefits of a vegan diet? I personally know two vegans, both are women and both were obese.

19 02 2011
Joanne Unleashed

Nuttier than a squirrel turd. LOL!!! That is priceless.

Yeah, all you have to do to prove that a low-carb diet is unhealthy is redefine what low-carb means.

28 02 2011
Misty

Love your articulation. If ever you hit Sonoma County, I’ll buy you sashimi and a beer!

26 03 2011
17 04 2011
Theron Zaruba

Simply want to say your article is as surprising. The clearness in your post is just spectacular and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

21 04 2011
27 04 2011
1 05 2011
Health Links of the Week - 05/01/11 | StickItMedia

[...] Are Low-Carb Meat Eaters in Trouble?  Denise Minger debunks latest study. Bottom line: In this study, when you look closer at the data, differences in mortality appear to be unrelated to animal product consumption. Changes in cancer and cardiovascular risk ratios occur out of sync with changes in animal food intake. [...]

4 08 2011
Paleo explained - Mythbusting | The Paleo Recipe Book Review

[...] to Campbell’s conclusions without bothering to but on their thinking caps, and contrary to overhyped news reports and fitness magazine fluff pieces, there are in fact no valid studies proving that a vegetarian [...]

11 09 2011
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17 10 2011
22 11 2011
chris

Hey Denise, just wanted to say excellent job with the sifting of the bull shit. Its exhausting trying to explain to so many of my compatriots that just because its published by such and such with a PhD, doesn’t mean that its writ of stone. Or as you said, that it was even published by that person as he might have just signed off on it to give it whatever credibility his name is worth. Glad to see/meet the others that use logic and real science as opposed to crap-science the media feeds on. Keep up the blogs miss your doing great things.

19 12 2011
Vegan, Raw foodie, ovo-lacto somethinatarian, primal, fruitarian, low carb, high fat – What?! | wednesdaywalk

[...] than I choose at this time, her posts are still a pretty friendly read. For instance – “Brand-Spankin’ New Study: Are Low-Carb Meat Eaters in Trouble?”is todays Wednesday Walkers fave… Denise Minger (Not [...]

25 12 2011
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10 01 2012
Lance Strish

“please read Chris Masterjohn’s take on this whole shebang. If possible, bring a scuba suit.”

And here is DrGreger’s take on it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iojFtL4jMao&feature=BFa&list=PL53AA35449C7DD652&lf=plpp

18 01 2012
Banodsoela

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22 05 2012
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 – CrossFit Toronto – Forging Fitness for Life

[...] non-stop onslaught of misinformation and poorly conducted studies in the nutrition world.  Here is yet another example of the public being misled through conclusions drawn from allegedly responsible [...]

22 05 2012
What IsThe Paleo Diet? « mytopweightloss

[...] to Campbell’s conclusions without bothering to but on their thinking caps, and contrary to overhyped news reports and fitness magazine fluff pieces, there are in fact no valid studies proving that a vegetarian [...]

18 07 2012
17 09 2012
Earth Of Nulled Scripts

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20 04 2013
Perry Rose

Many cultures eat mostly meat and fat, and they seem to be able to keep a skip in their step.

I do a lot of research due to my job, but I pay little attention to data, tables and clinical studies.

Just about all of them are fucked up, anyway.

When I see that whole nations eat an “unhealthy diet” (many cultures don’t eat fish) and yet they are healthy, well—DING! DING! DING!

They now say to take fish oil.

What the hell?!

We never have and never will need fish oil, or–even need fish in our diet.

So much BS out there.

I did want to comment on another poster’s comment about vegans being unhealthy.

Show me an unhealthy vegan, and I’ll show you one who just didn’t do it right (because a veggie lifestyle is a hell of a lot more complicated).

Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society lived to 95.

Both meat eaters and veggie eaters can be healthy, as long as they do it right.

13 06 2013
Are Low-Carb Diets Killing Sweden? (Also: New Interviews and Raw Vegan Immortality) | Raw Food SOS

[…] quite popular—and becoming ever more so—with observational health research. (I blogged about one such study in 2010, but there exists a wealth of other diet-score studies floating in the research sea, woefully […]

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