Fat Head Kids Is Available For Pre-Order

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I’m not dead or sick or anything. Just busy with work and preparing my speech for the Weston A. Price Foundation conference. At this point, that mostly means creating slides and begging Chareva for new graphics to put on them. (I don’t have to beg very hard, for the record.)

Meanwhile, I got a couple of bits of good news – one expected, one not. The good news I expected is that the Fat Head Kids animated film is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Just in time for holiday gift-giving.  We don’t run GoFundMe or IndieGoGo campaigns to cover expenses, so I’m hoping fan support is all it takes. That’s the best way to contribute to the blog and my filmmaking efforts. The Amazon widget is below.  If you don’t see it, click here.

The unexpected good news is that Gravitas Ventures, our distributor, is also releasing the original Fat Head on DVD. Well, not entirely unexpected. When Gravitas agreed to pick up Fat Head Kids, the acquisitions manager floated the idea of releasing Fat Head at the same time.

As you may or may not recall, the original DVD distributor went bankrupt and never paid us. Meanwhile, a foreign distributor placed Fat Head with TV markets in France, New Zealand, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, Poland and a couple of other countries I can’t recall, then claimed there were no profits. I had paid all the production and post-production costs myself, I was getting fan email from around the world, and not getting paid a dime. It was beyond frustrating.

Gravitas picked up the film for the streaming markets two years after the original release – and shock of shocks, they actually sent royalty checks. I stared at the first royalty check that arrived in the mail, wondering what kind of strange document it was.

Oh, I see! It’s royalty check to pay me for my work! Heck, I didn’t know that could happen …

Gravitas wasn’t a DVD distributor at the time, so we ended up authoring a Fat Head DVD ourselves, getting copies produced at a plant in Pennsylvania, and selling them through the blog and on Amazon.

Between then and now, Gravitas has become a much bigger operation, which includes distributing DVDs. So when the acquisitions manager suggested perhaps they’d like to pick up DVD distribution for Fat Head, I said sure, I’m up for it, let me know what you decide.

I didn’t know they’d decided anything until a couple of weeks ago, when someone at the company sent me an email asking for some artwork for the DVD.  I was pleasantly surprised, because I thought they’d ask for all the usual materials and legal paperwork once they decided to produce a DVD.  I guess the paperwork for the streaming version covered all that.

Anyway, this means I’ll be out of the Fat Head DVD shipping business, and I’m happy to let it go. The DVD is also available for pre-order on Amazon … you know, just in case you’ve never seen the film.  If you don’t see the widget below, click here.

Here’s to hoping the Fat Head business grows enough for me to retire from the programming job …



Be Careful With Supplements

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Whew. I believe I finally have my speech for the Weston A. Price annual conference written. I gave a speech on Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds at a college almost five years ago, but I thought it was due for an update. Something like a third to a half of this one will be different.

While I was busy working on the speech, this BBC article about a guy who damaged his liver with a common supplement landed in my inbox. Let’s take a look:

It should have been one of the happiest days of his life. But Jim McCants looks back on his youngest son’s high school graduation with mixed emotions. As he sat down next to his wife Cathleen in the university auditorium, just outside Dallas, Texas, she turned to look at him.

“She said ‘Do you feel OK?'” Jim recalls. “I said, ‘Yeah I feel fine, why?’ ‘Your face is yellow, your eyes are yellow, you look terrible.’ When I looked in the mirror it was shocking.”

It was shocking partly because Jim, then 50, had been working on improving his lifestyle and losing weight, focusing on eating more healthily and taking regular exercise.

But soon after his son’s graduation, Jim was admitted to hospital with a suspected liver injury.

Trying to identify the cause of Jim’s liver injury, those treating him ruled out alcohol.

“For the last 30 years I drank maybe a six-pack of beer a year, no wine. So alcohol was not a big part of my life,” Jim says.

They also ruled out prescription drugs – he wasn’t taking any at the time – and smoking, something he had never done.

“Then my hepatologist drilled in to, ‘What about any over-the-counter supplements?'” says Jim.

As part of his mid-life health kick, Jim had started taking a green tea supplement because he had heard it might have cardiac benefits. These supplements have grown in popularity in recent years, often breathlessly promoted online for their antioxidant benefits, and their supposed ability to aid weight loss and prevent cancer.

The article doesn’t say how many green-tea pills Mr. McCants was swallowing per day. I assume he was taking rather large doses. Other people have apparently done likewise:

While millions of people take green tea supplements safely, at least 80 cases of liver injury linked to green tea supplements have been reported around the world, ranging from lassitude and jaundice to cases requiring liver transplants. Those harmed after taking green tea pills have included teenagers, like 17-year-old Madeline Papineau from Ontario, Canada who developed liver and kidney injury, and an 81-year-old woman diagnosed with toxic acute hepatitis.

A total of 80 reported cases around the world isn’t what I’d call crisis proportions, but the article is a reminder to be cautious with supplements. Just because a supplement is extracted from a plant that won’t hurt you, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to start slamming down pills.

[Addition on October 30: a reader provided a link to this video in comments.  It’s worth adding to the post.]

More than 30 years ago, I was hired as a freelancer to write a brief biography of Dr. Wallace Abbott, who founded what eventually became Abbott Laboratories. Dr. Abbott first developed drugs by learning to take plants with medicinal properties and concentrate them. That’s how most drugs were created back in the day. So when you’re taking that plant-extract pill, keep in mind it’s a drug of sorts.

Or put it this way: if you’re taking a supplement to change your body chemistry in a positive way, too much can change your body chemistry in a negative way.

One of the mistakes people make with both supplements and foods is thinking that if some is good, more is better. Or conversely, if less is good, zero is better.

Paul Jaminet covered that topic quite nicely in the Perfect Health Diet book. He pointed out that for every nutrient – vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, and yes, even glucose – there’s an optimal intake. If you don’t get enough, you aren’t as healthy as you could be. If you ingest too much, it causes damage. Even water will kill you if you drink too much of it.

So what’s the ideal intake? That of course depends on the individual. A body-builder’s ideal intake of protein isn’t the same as a sedentary grandmother’s.  A diabetic’s ideal intake of carbohydrates isn’t the same as a competitive sprinter’s.

Back in a 2015 post, I wrote about Jordan Ellenberg’s book How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. Although he wasn’t writing about nutrients, Dr. Ellenberg makes the same point as Paul Jaminet: when we only focus on the upside or the downside of something, we see a line. Something like this:

But the answer to many “is it good or is it bad?” questions actually looks like a curve. Something like this:

More is good up to a point.  But then even more causes damage.

That’s why I don’t melt sticks of butter in my morning coffee. Yes, it was a great relief to learn that saturated fats and cholesterol won’t kill me and are, in fact, beneficial as part of a whole-foods diet. But that doesn’t mean the more saturated fat I manage to swallow each day, the healthier I’ll be. Your body needs what it needs. It doesn’t need more than it needs and may not know what to do with the excess.

Getting back to supplements, yes, I take some. I take a multivitamin, vitamin D3, CoQ10, magnesium and Carlson’s cod liver oil. What I’m attempting to do with those supplements is replace some of the nutrients I’d be getting naturally if I lived in the wild, hunted and gathered my own food, and ran around half-naked in warm weather.

But before taking any of them, I did quite a bit of reading on what the proper dose should be for my age, size and health status.

I hope you’re doing the same if you take supplements.



On The Wise Traditions Podcast

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I may have to watch Multiplicity again to see if I should clone myself … although I remember something about never making a copy of a copy.

Anyway … yeah, it’s that crazy-busy time of year again.  I love autumn, but the occasions come at us so quickly … Chareva’s birthday, fall break from school for the girls, Halloween, Sara’s birthday, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  Now toss in working full time.  Now toss in being responsible for the girls, the dogs and chickens for a few days while Chareva was out of town at a Peace Corps reunion.  Now toss in writing a new and improved version of my Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds speech, which I’ll be delivering at the Weston A. Price annual conference in Baltimore in just over three weeks.

So I haven’t had much time for posting.  However, I was a guest recently on the Wise Traditions podcast, which was hosted by Hilda Labrada Gore, otherwise known as Holistic Hilda.  It was kind of a preview talk about my upcoming speech.  You can listen to the episode here.




From The News …

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Interesting items from my inbox and elsewhere …

Why people hate vegans, part something or other.

I understand (sort of) when vegan militants protest outside a steakhouse. But I didn’t expect them to choose this target, as reported in the U.K. Guardian:

For a full week, a big black banner was posted from a sidewalk in Berkeley, California. “OCCUPY WHOLE FOODS”, it declared in large, white block letters.

Yup, they’re going after Whole Foods — a store that was founded by a vegan and carries a wide variety of vegan products. But of course, radical vegans aren’t satisfied with a store selling what they want. The store also has to STOP selling what the rest of us want. Fortunately, the occupation didn’t last long.

Just days before a weeklong protest scheduled for late September, in which the activists had planned to call attention to alleged animal welfare violations by suppliers to Whole Foods’ parent company, Amazon, the Berkeley store filed a restraining order.

“We are not allowed to even step foot in the parking lot right now,” said Cassie King, a DxE organizer. “We can’t go inside the store and ask our questions.”

Why, that’s an outrage! They can’t go into the store to ask questions?! How are they supposed to satisfy their curiosity? What if they want to know who won the Crimean War, and a passing customer happens to have the answer?  Although I suspect before being banned, they did more than just stand around and ask questions.

DxE’s in-store tactics range from chanting and singing about animal rights to more extreme tactics: splattering eggs with fake blood, acting out scenes of animal slaughter (with members representing the animals) and displaying graphic photos and videos in meat and dairy aisles.

Dear nut-jobs: you have a right to protest. You don’t have a right to protest on other people’s property and damage merchandise.

Whole Foods’ website describes rigorous welfare standards for all of its animal products, and the company has implemented a rating system to inform customers’ purchasing decisions.

But the DxE co-founder, Wayne Hsiung, claims his organization is being silenced for exposing violations of the company’s standards.

Dear nut-jobs: you have a right to protest. But if companies demand you protest somewhere other than on their property, you are not being “silenced.” Your right to free speech does not require other people to provide you with an audience or a forum. If people want to hear your message, they’ll find you. If they’re not interested, they won’t. That, of course, is why the vegans are upset.

When asked, a few different groups of people eating lunch outside the store didn’t seem to notice – or care – about what was happening beyond their parked cars. Without access to the inside of the store, it was harder for the demonstrators to get attention.

In other words, people were choosing to ignore them. Zealots can’t stand being ignored.

Why people hate vegans, part— no, wait. We like these people.

Here’s a nice case of vegans changing their minds, as reported in Forbes:

But, where certain choices work for some they may not work for others and could possibly even result in serious health complications. Katie Forrest and her husband Taylor Collins experienced the latter outcome firsthand.

After suffering a variety of unidentifiable health issues that baffled their doctors, this former vegan couple known for competing in endurance cycling races and triathlons, had a complete 360-degree revelation where they embarked on a high-protein paleo diet that miraculously resolved their health issues.

I wouldn’t call it a miracle. I’d call it biology at work. But anyway …

“Katie and I have always done things ‘all or nothing’ on our journey to optimal wellness. In college you learn that meat isn’t great for the environment and that was the public discourse at the moment. We opted into a vegetarian diet and Katie began getting very ill. Her body was disintegrating and she suffered from serious knee inflammation. She had exploratory knee surgery in her 20’s and all of the doctors were telling her she would need a knee replacement and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the rest of her life. Can you imagine? We then decided to go raw vegan and things got worse. We had nothing to lose making the pivot to meat”.

So what happened after they starting eat meat again?

“We went in fully committed and our bodies recovered. We went through a lot of trial and error with finding what we liked. We boiled a steak and that wasn’t any good. Then we found bacon. Ultimately, the paleo diet was the prescription for healing my body. Within four days my stomach issues went away and in fourteen days my knee was healed”.

But wait, it gets even better.

Their collective epiphany and new found vitality led them to launch EPIC Provisions, an Austin-based meat snack company that specializes in making nutrient-dense whole food protein snacks from farmers that engage in regenerative farming practices, in 2013.

From vegans to owners of a company that sells meat snacks. There’s hope for the world.

Now that’s a dumb criminal, part one.

For reasons only he can explain, a man engaged in perhaps the most ridiculous heist ever, as reported in the New York Post:

A Georgia man is accused of stealing 150 pounds of waffle mix from a former employer and flipping it to a syrupy stream of buyers.

Peachtree City police spokeswoman Lt. Odilia Bergh told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday that 33-year-old Brandon Lee Nelson is charged with burglary.

I think they should slap on a charge of “malicious intent to induce diabetes.”

Police say Nelson drove to his former employer’s storage facility in August and stole five boxes of Golden Malted waffle batter. Bergh says Nelson then covertly sold it to buyers who contacted him about the stolen dough.

Dialog you’ll never hear on a TV detective show:  “Psst!  Are you the guy who can hook me up with the waffle dough?  How much?  Okay, but we need to test the purity first.  I got a waffle iron in the truck.”

Bergh says Nelson later was identified on surveillance video of the theft and arrested this month.

If you’re stupid enough to 1) steal waffle mix and 2) not ask yourself if perhaps there’s a surveillance camera nearby, you deserve to go to The Big House. Or better yet, The Waffle House.

Now that’s a dumb criminal, part two.

WJLA News recently reported a crime that should make people re-think the health benefits of the Holy Plant-Based Diet:

A man accused of rubbing produce on his buttocks at a grocery store in Northern Virginia was arrested Saturday.

I’ve had some hard-to-reach itches in my day, but there are limits to what I consider acceptable scratching.

The Manassas City Police Department said the suspect pulled his pants down, grabbed a nearby item and rubbed his buttocks with the produce at the Giant grocery store at 10100 Dumfries Road. A loss prevention employee relayed what they had seen to authorities and subsequently destroyed multiple pallets of produce.

The store had to destroy multiple pallets of produce? I hope the vegan zealots don’t read this story. Next thing you know, they’ll be invading Whole Foods and rubbing pork chops on their butts.  Then they’ll ask questions.

Michael Dwayne Johnson, 27, of Manassas, told WJLA’s Tim Barber in an exclusive interview that he never actually rubbed any produce on his bottom. He also says he never pulled down his pants. Johnson claims it was just a practical joke for a YouTube video.

This guy needs to be punished … not so much for the crime, but for being stupid enough to think posting it on YouTube would be a good idea. It’s one level of stupid to be caught on a surveillance camera. It’s quite another to provide the footage yourself.

I know we don’t allow corporal punishment in this country, but I think he should be ordered to drop his pants and endure a hard spanking with a bunch of celery. And the punishment should be posted on YouTube.

Scientists are freakin’ liars.

I’ve had a few people accuse me of going over the top when I said “Scientists are freakin’ liars” in my Science For Smart People speech. An article in the New York Post suggests I wasn’t exaggerating:

A prominent Cornell University food researcher resigned after an investigation found he committed academic misconduct, including misreporting data, the school announced Thursday.

Brian Wansink has been removed from all teaching and research positions and will retire at the end of the school year next June, Cornell said in a statement.

Misrepresenting data? With that kind of cavalier attitude towards science, perhaps he should work on the U.S. Dietary guidelines.

Wansink had previously helped update the US dietary guidelines and is known for his research on consumer behavior, which has been widely cited including in articles by The Associated Press.

Oops. Too late.

Thursday’s announcement comes a day after six more of Wansink’s papers were retracted. The most recent retractions included a 2005 paper that said people eat more when served in large bowls and a 2013 article that said grocery shoppers buy food with more calories when they’re hungry.

Ahh, yes, the “people will eat less if they use smaller plates and bowls” idea. I remember that one. I also remember thinking it sounded like b.s.

Ivan Oransky, a co-founder of Retraction Watch who teaches medical journalism at New York University, says Wansink appears to have engaged in a practice in which researchers cherry-pick data points to get their work published.

In other words, scientists are freakin’ liars.

Scientists are freakin’ liars, and it’s hilarious when they do it on purpose to expose bad science.

Back in April, I wrote a post comparing the drivel produced in academic (ahem) “disciplines” such as feminist and gender studies to the universe of Dr. Who:

I follow @RealPeerReview on Twitter. Whoever he or she is (if he and she aren’t offensive labels), he or she has access to a gazillion academic papers and regularly posts abstracts to demonstrate what passes for scholarship in today’s universities. The most amusing examples are produced by (ahem) “scholars ” in sort-of-science departments like gender studies.

… The Dr. Who universe, despite all its richness, complexity, and internal logic, is fiction. It’s all been made up.

Same goes for the universe produced in the imaginations of gender-studies scholars. It’s a rich and complex universe with lots of terms and rules, but it’s all been made up. It’s fiction. Let’s call it the Dr. Hooey universe. The main difference is that when fans of Dr. Who write about the Dr. Who universe, they don’t usually come across like morons attempting to sound intelligent.

Turns out some scholars were also concerned about the nonsense that passes for scholarship in these fields … so they highlighted their concerns by getting some ridiculous (and completely fictional) papers published in peer-reviewed journals. You can read the long article here, but this YouTube video sums up the story nicely:

Here are few choice quotes from the article:

Something has gone wrong in the university—especially in certain fields within the humanities. Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant, within these fields, and their scholars increasingly bully students, administrators, and other departments into adhering to their worldview. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not rigorous.

While our papers are all outlandish or intentionally broken in significant ways, it is important to recognize that they blend in almost perfectly with others in the disciplines under our consideration.

No kidding. Gobbledygook tends to look very much like similar gobbledygook.

What we just described is not knowledge production; it’s sophistry. That is, it’s a forgery of knowledge that should not be mistaken for the real thing. The biggest difference between us and the scholarship we are studying by emulation is that we know we made things up.

In case you didn’t watch the video, here’s a description of the kinds of “research” the pranksters managed to slip past those oh-so-scientific peer reviewers:

Many papers advocated highly dubious ethics including training men like dogs (“Dog Park”), punishing white male college students for historical slavery by asking them to sit in silence in the floor in chains during class and to be expected to learn from the discomfort (“Progressive Stack”), celebrating morbid obesity as a healthy life-choice (“Fat Bodybuilding”), treating privately conducted masturbation as a form of sexual violence against women (“Masturbation”), and programming superintelligent AI with irrational and ideological nonsense before letting it rule the world (“Feminist AI”).

There was also considerable silliness including claiming to have tactfully inspected the genitals of slightly fewer than 10,000 dogs whilst interrogating owners as to their sexuality (“Dog Park”), becoming seemingly mystified about why heterosexual men are attracted to women (“Hooters”), insisting there is something to be learned about feminism by having four guys watch thousands of hours of hardcore pornography over the course of a year while repeatedly taking the Gender and Science Implicit Associations Test (“Porn”), expressing confusion over why people are more concerned about the genitalia others have when considering having sex with them (“CisNorm”), and recommending men anally self-penetrate in order to become less transphobic, more feminist, and more concerned about the horrors of rape culture (“Dildos”). None of this, except that Helen Wilson recorded one “dog rape per hour” at urban dog parks in Portland, Oregon, raised so much as a single reviewer eyebrow, so far as their reports show.

None of the silly papers they got published have anything to do with nutrition, so I’ll explain why I wanted to highlight what these brilliant pranksters pulled off: supposed scientists in universities shouldn’t be allowed to just make up what science means. But that’s exactly what many of them are doing:

For grievance studies scholars, science itself and the scientific method are deeply problematic, if not outright racist and sexist, and need to be remade to forward grievance-based identitarian politics over the impartial pursuit of truth. These same issues are also extended to the “Western” philosophical tradition which they find problematic because it favors reason to emotion, rigor to solipsism, and logic to revelation.

As a result, radical constructivists tend to believe science and reason must be dismantled to let “other ways of knowing” have equal validation as knowledge-producing enterprises.

If I’ve said once, I’ve said it at least twice. An objectivist thinks like this: if it’s true, I’ll believe it. A subjectivist thinks like this: if I believe it, it’s true. The “scholars” these pranksters set out to bust are the worst kinds of subjectivists. If they want 5 + 5 to equal 11 and you point out that math says otherwise, they’ll just decide that math is a white-male-colonial-privileged-part-of-the-patriarchy-social-construct or whatever and go on with their “other ways of knowing.”

In other words, they don’t the rules of science applied to their supposed sciences. If we allow that kind of loony-tunes thinking to go unchecked in universities, good luck producing college graduates who can actually think critically.

I mentioned before that I follow @RealPeerReview on Twitter because he or she highlights nonsense that passes for scholarly work. Unfortunately, not knowing it was all a prank intended to highlight shoddy scholarship, @RealPeerReview busted the pranksters on one of their papers. That cut the prank short. They had intended to try to publish 20 ridiculous papers, but had to stop at seven.  Well, it was fun while it lasted.





Dr. Fettke Cleared … Oh No, Is Common Sense Breaking Out?

The persecution of Dr. Tim Noakes drew worldwide attention, as it should have. I’m not sure quite as many people followed the similar persecution of Dr. Gary Fettke in Australia. Dr. Fettke is an orthopaedic surgeon who began recommending a low-carb diet because he was appalled by the number of amputations he had to perform on diabetics. I’ve written about his case before, but let’s quickly recap with some quotes from an article published by ABC Australia nearly two years ago:

Doctor Fettke started pushing for changes to the food in the Launceston General Hospital where he worked and then criticised the hospital for a lack of action.

If you’ve seen what dietitian-approved menus look like in hospitals, you know why Dr. Fettke was pushing for changes. As I demonstrated in a post, the “heart-healthy” menus and even the menus for diabetics include awesomely healthy foods like pancakes with syrup (but no butter!), bagels, Honey-Nut Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, Captain Crunch and Frosted Mini-Wheats. Your highly trained, professional dietitians at work, ladies and gentlemen. Anyway …

According to Dr Fettke, an anonymous complaint from a dietician at the hospital sparked an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Of course the complaint came from a dietitian.

Two and a half years later the watchdog found he was working outside his scope of practise and was not qualified to give specific nutritional advice, and he was ordered to stop speaking about the low carbohydrate, high fat diet.

“The committee does not accept that your medicine studies of themselves provide sufficient education or training to justify you providing specific advice or recommendations to patients or the public about nutrition and diet, such as the LCHF lifestyle concept,” it read.

So that’s where we were two years ago. The news this week was better. Here are some quotes from an article in The Examiner:

Launceston orthopedic surgeon Gary Fettke’s name has been cleared, two years after Australia’s medical watchdog cautioned him against providing nutritional information to patients.

On Friday, Dr Fettke announced that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency had dropped all charges and formally apologised for errors made in dealing with claims against him.

An advocate for a low carbohydrate diet, Dr Fettke was officially cautioned by the AHPRA in 2016 after an anonymous notifier reported him for recommending patients to reduce their sugar intake.

I’m happy for Dr. Fettke, who never should have been put through this nonsense. And yet, as I read the article, I was troubled by the realization that I ought to be happier. I should be delighted, in fact.

Dude, what’s wrong with you? I asked myself. Besides referring to yourself as ‘Dude,’ I mean.

I re-read the article and found the source of my hesitation to be totally happy. It’s this quote from Dr. Fettke:

Dr Fettke said the “common sense” outcome from AHPRA was what he had always hoped for.

There it is. The AHPRA finally exhibited common sense. When Tim Noakes was exonerated, the HPCSA in South Africa finally exhibited common sense. That’s great …seriously … uh … yeah, I mean it, it’s great.

But what if this is just the beginning? What if common sense starts breaking out all over the place? What will I do with myself?

That’s the thought preventing me from totally enjoying the moment.

For those of you who have never heard me tell the story, Fat Head didn’t start out as a documentary. I’d been doing standup comedy for years and loved being on stage.  But when my girls came along, I knew it was time to say goodbye to a career that required so much travel. Being gone for weeks at a time wasn’t good for them or me. I had to put my creative energy into a project that would allow me to stay home.

After kicking around some ideas, I decided I’d like to pitch a series titled In Defense of Common Sense. Regular guy with a sense of humor looks at issues of the day and applies some common sense. You may recall that common sense is a frequently heard term in Fat Head, which began as what I thought would be a demo episode. Then the thing grew into a documentary as I kept researching diets and health and realized much of what we’ve been told is a load of baloney.

So I never developed or pitched the series. But I still like writing humor, and I depend on people who have no common sense to provide material. I especially depend on academic types and officials in governments and regulatory agencies. Granted, they’re not the only people who lack common sense. But as Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Thomas Sowell have both pointed out, people with meaningful jobs who show a lack of common sense tend to get fired. Among university intellectuals and government regulators, a lack of common sense is often interpreted as “is full of bold new ideas.”

But now it appears that common sense may be spreading among the academic/regulatory class. Sure, we’re talking about a mere two examples so far, but I’m seeing a trend. As a humorist, I’m a bit worried. I’m imagining decisions that would normally lead to great comedic material taking a turn for the worse:

“Moving on, this part of the pamphlet describes the diet we recommend for diabetics. Any comments from the committee?”

“Excuse me, Dr. Higginbotham, but you’re saying our dietary guidelines recommend six to ten servings of starch per day?”

“That’s right.”

“To diabetics?”

“That’s right.”

“Well, Doctor, remember that section earlier in the pamphlet where we explain that carbohydrates raise blood sugar, and the more carbohydrates you consume, the higher your blood sugar will be?”

“Of course.”

“So we tell diabetics that carbohydrates will raise their blood sugar. Then we tell them to get most of their calories from carbohydrates. That makes no freakin’ sense.”

“Well, uh … goodness, now that you mention it… Hello, Jenkins? Higginbotham here. Call the printer and halt production on that pamphlet.”

Or imagine this conversation at the USDA:

“Wait … we’re telling people to avoid which foods, exactly?”

“Red meat, butter and eggs.”

“And we’re telling them to eat what instead?”

“Soy protein, margarine and cholesterol-free egg substitutes.”

“Because …?”

“We want them to avoid heart disease, cancer and diabetes.”

“In other words, we’re telling them that ancient foods cause the diseases of modern civilization, while foods that only exist because of industrial processing are the cure.”

“Correct. Oh … well, when you put it that way …”

Yup, an outbreak of common sense would make it tougher to keep the blog going.  But I’ll deal with it if I must.


The Anointed And Free Speech, Part Five

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Back in 2016, I wrote a four-part series of posts (this was the first) on why The Anointed aren’t big fans of free speech. Allow me to provide a mix-and-match quote:

The Anointed aren’t big fans of freedom of speech or of concepts like The Marketplace of Ideas or The Wisdom of Crowds. Two of their most dearly-held beliefs are:

1. They are very, very smart.
2. The rest of us aren’t very, very smart and are often quite stupid.

Consequently, The Anointed don’t view wide-open debate and discussion as opportunities for the best ideas to be discovered and bubble up to the top. They view them as opportunities for the great unwashed masses with their inferior intellects to be fooled and led astray.

One way or another, The Anointed believe they must coerce people who disagree with them into shutting the hell up.

Public Health England recently provided another shining example of The Anointed in action. But first, a little background:

As you may have heard, a British politician recently made headlines by losing nearly 100 pounds. Here are some quotes from a BBC article online:

“Ashamed, guilty and embarrassed” – these are just some of the words Labour deputy leader Tom Watson used to describe himself when he hit 22 stone.

From that point, Tom – who suffers from type two diabetes – has dropped seven stone (44.5kg) after starting a new exercise regime last summer.

Combining healthy eating and taking part in sports such as cycling and boxing, he says his lifestyle change has even “reversed” his condition.

That’s quite a turnaround. So how did he accomplish it?

One of the most essential ingredients in the weight-loss recipe is nutrition. But how does someone go from all that fast food and beer to a strict, healthy regime?

Simple… get rid.

“To prepare for day one of my new life I cleaned out all the cupboards,” says Tom. “No more biscuits, no more cakes and no more pasta.

“I restocked on nuts, which I could snack on instead, and bought lots of tuna and mackerel along with some healthier oils.”

No more biscuits, cakes or pasta. The BBC doesn’t call it a low-carb diet, but an article in the U.K. Express does:

His “lifestyle change” consisted of following the Pioppi Diet, a diet designed to reverse obesity and type two diabetes – reversing Tom’s diabetes.

The diet advocates a low-carb regime, and allows three meals a day with the one rule “only eat until you feel full”.

Fascinating … a British politician lost nearly 100 pounds by ignoring the advice offered by his own government. As you’ll recall from this post, the head of nutrition science at Public Health England recently wrote an essay explaining that Britain has an obesity problem because people aren’t following “well-founded government advice.”

Here’s what that “well-founded government advice” looks like, as I discovered by visiting Public Health England’s Eat Well page:

The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

* eat 5 A Day
* base meals on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
* have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
* eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
* choose unsaturated oils and spreads, eaten in small amounts
* drink plenty of fluids

And here’s a helpful graphic from the site, showing people what the base of a healthy diet looks like:

Yum-yum! Cereals, bread, biscuits, bagels and pasta! Yup, that’s healthy eating, all right.

And here’s the helpful graphic teaching us which fats we should consume:

Vegetable oils and low-fat spreads. Yessir, nothing improves your health like consuming oils and spreads that only exist because of industrial processing.

So we have the “well-founded government advice” from Public Health England, and we have the low-carb Pioppi Diet that enabled Mr. Watson to lose nearly 100 pounds and reverse the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. People who believe in the marketplace of ideas would say let’s put them both out there and see which diet wins.  Perhaps some other politician will lose 100 pounds and reverse diabetes symptoms, then chalk up his success to following the Eat Well guidelines.

But of course, The Anointed aren’t fans of the marketplace of ideas. They’re fans of stifling dissent. As if we needed more proof, here are some quotes from an essay by Dr. Aseem Malhotra published in the U.K. Times:

In an effort to combat the epidemic of health misinformation I co-wrote a book, The Pioppi Diet, which brings together the evidence on what individuals and policy-makers can do to rapidly improve health and reverse the twin epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. I was pleasantly surprised when the deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, contacted me a few months ago to let me know he had “relatively easily” lost 94lb and improved his health by specifically following the diet.

For inexplicable reasons, according to one prominent healthcare leader (who has asked not to be identified), Public Health England tried to “sabotage” the launch and press coverage of the book last year. I was told by one eminent doctor that he had been contacted by a senior official from the body and warned from attending the launch in London, to be held at the headquarters of Penguin Random House. To his credit, he did attend.

Another health leader, who heads a national charity, did not attend, and said he had been “poisoned” against the book. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester and a former health secretary, endorsed the book and attended a launch in Manchester. His office also received a call from Public Health England, warning him against showing public support of the diet.

Public Health England makes different dietary recommendations to the Pioppi diet. It recommends placing starchy carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, at the base of the diet, and to reduce consumption of saturated fats. I have published evidence reviews showing no association between consumption of saturated fat and a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death, but Public Health England doesn’t want to debate the issues.

Of course Public Health England doesn’t want to debate. They’re afraid they’d get their public health asses kicked in public. They’d much rather try to intimidate people into silence. We’ve seen this pattern over and over, from the persecution of Tim Noakes, to the forced silencing of Gary Fettke, to members of the USDA’s dietary guidelines committee demanding that Nina Teicholz be disinvited from a conference on national food policy.

Back in my naïve youth, I thought to have governments go after you, you’d have to do something truly threatening … you know, like steal nuclear secrets, or expose covert operations, or read the 10th amendment to the Constitution.

Nope. Turns out all you have to do is tell people they’re better off without grains and industrial vegetable oils. Do that, and The Anointed will try to shut you up or shout you down.

Eat your grains and obey your rulers. Or not.