The ‘Atkins’ Study (ahem, ahem) According To Ornish

I was all set to spend part of today pointing out the many flaws in the latest “Low-Carb Kills!” study, but Denise Minger beat me to it.  She wrote pretty much what I would’ve written, so I’ll let her do the talking on that subject.  I’ll save my comments for an article written by Dr. Dean Ornish, who of course jumped all over this lousy study as proof that we should all live on low-fat  vegetarian diets.

But first, in case you missed them, here are some of the headlines and lead paragraphs generated by media reporting on the study:

Low-carb, high meat diet has high risks

Comparing the health effects of two diets over more than two decades, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Singapore found consumption of a low-carbohydrate, vegetable-based plan resulted in reduced rates of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, and a lower rate of all-cause death overall, whereas animal-based low-carbohydrate diet were associated with a higher risk for overall mortality.

“You can have the initial Atkins-type of low-carb diet, which is loaded with sausages, bacon, steaks, and you can have healthy versions of the low-carb diet with more vegetable- or plant-based protein and fat,” said Dr Frank Hu, lead author of the study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Low carb diets might be deadly

A big concern about low carb diets is the source of fat and protein. Researchers say emphasis on fat and protein is associated with higher mortality from all causes of death in both men and women.

Vegetable-based low carb diets, on the other hand, are associated with lower mortality rates. Researchers say while the idea behind the diets are similar, the differences that affect mortality lie in specific fatty acids, protein, fiber and other vitamins.

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:

Some of these “low carbers” 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.

Folks in the Animal Group were more likely to smoke and had higher BMIs than adherents of the Vegetable Group. Along with influencing mortality outcomes, this suggests the Animal Food group, in the aggregate, may have been somewhat less health-conscious than the dieters lumped into 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. If we compare the middle (fifth) decile, the Vegetable Group was eating a greater percent of total calories from animal foods than the Animal Group was. D’oh!

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).

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.

I’ve read the full study, and it’s a joke.  In addition to what Ms. Minger wrote, the first thing I noticed is that the researchers used food questionnaires to determine who was on a (ahem, ahem) “low-carb” diet.  One group answered a total of 14 questionnaires between 1980 and 2002, and another group answered 10 questionnaires between 1986 and 2002.  From this, the researchers supposedly can make very specific conclusions about total intakes of animal protein and fats versus vegetable proteins and fats.

Then there’s old missing-data problem.  You can pretty much guess how they handled that:

A multiple imputation procedure was used with 20 rounds of imputation and included all covariates to account for missing dietary and covariate data. The analysis was repeated by using noncumulative updating of dietary information, in which we used the most recent diet data to predict mortality rate.

Same as in the recent low-fat vs. low-carb study:  they performed mathematical magic to fill in the missing data.  As Dr. Mike Eades like to say, if you torture the data long enough, it will tell you whatever you want to hear.  This data appears to have been water-boarded until it screamed “Yes! Yes! Animal foods are deadly!”

So naturally, Dean Ornish decided this is the kind of unimpeachable study that proves he’s been right all along, as he wrote in the Huffington post under the dramatic headline:

Atkins Diet Increases All-Cause Mortality

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?

As I noticed immediately and Ms. Minger pointed out as well, even if we grant that the researchers could accurately determine dietary intake from a dozen questionnaires mailed out over 20 years, these people weren’t on anything close to the Atkins diet.  At the high end, their diets were 60% carbohydrates.  At the lowest end, the diets were 37% carbohydrates. According to the study tables, the average calorie intake was right around 2000 calories per day (which sounds low to me, but we’ll roll with it). So let’s do the math:

(2000 * .37) / 4 = 185 carbohydrates per day … for the lowest carb group.

Could you please point out a page in any of the Atkins books where he recommends consuming 185 carbohydrates per day? The Atkins diet starts at 20 grams per day and gradually increases the carbs until weight-loss slows down — which for most of us is well under 100 grams per day. I rarely consume more than 50.  That makes my diet less than 10% carbohydrates.

Dr. Ornish, whenever yet another clinical study demonstrates that people on low-carb diets experience greater improvements in cardiovascular markers than people on low-fat diets, you immediately say the results are illegitimate because the low-fat dieters didn’t restrict their fats as much as you recommend.  Okay, fair enough:  if they get 20% of their calories from fat, it’s not really the Ornish diet.

But when people in an observational (not clinical) study consume 185 carbs per day — at least three times what most Atkins dieters consume — that somehow becomes the Atkins Diet. Very consistent of you.

However, all-cause mortality rates as well as cardiovascular mortality rates were decreased in those eating a plant-based diet low in animal protein and low in refined carbohydrates. Although this plant-based diet was called an “Eco-Atkins” diet, it’s essentially the same diet that I have been recommending and studying for more than 30 years.

No, Dr. Ornish, you recommend a very low-fat (10% of calories) vegetarian diet.  As Ms. Minger pointed out (and as the study data clearly shows), people in the group labeled “plant-based low-carb” were getting 20% to 30% of their calories from animal products.  They consumed more than twice as much animal protein as vegetable protein, more animal fat than vegetable fat, and got nearly 30% of their overall calories from fat — and yet, according to the study, they experienced lower-than-average mortality rates.  So if you believe this study is accurate, it doesn’t support the diet you recommend at all.

In many debates with Dr. Atkins before he died, I always made the point that it’s important to look at actual measures of disease, including mortality, not just risk factors such as HDL cholesterol. This is the first study that examined mortality rates in those consuming an Atkins diet, and it confirms what I’ve been saying all along: an Atkins diet is not healthful and may shorten your lifespan.

I can see why you’re pooh-poohing cardiovascular markers these days, since the Atkins diet keeps winning that battle in clinical research.  (Although let’s be honest:  you spent a lot of years bragging how your diet lowers LDL.)  And I agree that what matters is longevity and health, not an impressive lipid panel.

But once again, this study has zip to do with the Atkins diet.  These folks were consuming between 185 and 300 grams of carbohydrates per day.  So “the first study that examined mortality rates in those consuming an Atkins diet” did no such thing.

And of course, it’s nothing more than an observational study based on food questionnaires and a fair amount of “imputed” data.  It’s not a controlled study, so the results don’t tell us anything conclusive.  If animal fats and proteins caused cardiovascular disease, we’d see those results repeated consistently around the world.  But we don’t … that’s why there’s a French Paradox, a Spanish Paradox, a Swiss Paradox, an Indian Paradox, etc.

Your body makes HDL to remove excessive cholesterol from your body. Eating a stick of butter will raise HDL, but butter is not good for your heart. Pfizer discontinued a study of its drug, torcetrapib, which raised HDL but actually increased risk of heart attacks.

So let me get this straight … excess cholesterol causes heart disease, HDL removes cholesterol from your body, but foods that raise your HDL aren’t good for you.  And we know this because a drug that artificially raised HDL produced a higher heart-attack rate.  Makes sense.  But I noticed you conveniently failed to mention that the Pfizer drug also dramatically lowered LDL.  So using Ornish logic here, a diet that lowers my LDL isn’t good for me.  That means I should avoid the Ornish diet.

Or here’s another possibility:  artificially raising or lowering any type of cholesterol with drugs is pointless and possibly harmful.  It’s not the same as improving lipid profiles through a better diet, because the high HDL is just a biomarker for good cardiovascular health, not health itself.  Since you’re such a fan of observational studies, you can’t ignore the observation that HDL is strongly associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.  The Atkins diet (the real Atkins diet, that is) raises HDL.  It’s a diet, not a drug.

And if butter isn’t good for the heart, I guess that explains the screamingly high rate of heart disease in France, where they consume four times as much butter as Americans.  No, wait … didn’t I just mention something called the French Paradox?  Well, it’s probably because of all those other good health habits practiced by the French, such as higher rates of drinking, smoking, and visiting your mistress for an hour or two before going home for dinner.

By the way, Dr. Ornish, if you’ve done the research, you’re aware of the many intervention studies that attempted to lower rates of heart disease through low-fat diets, but failed miserably.  You claim you succeeded (of course, you also had your subjects give up sugar and flour, quit smoking, exercise, and take stress-reduction classes).  Perhaps so.  But if the results aren’t consistent and repeatable, they’re not scientifically valid.  As Karl Popper would say, if your theory is that all swans are white, it doesn’t matter how many white swans you show me; as soon as I point out some black swans, your theory is invalid.

Conversely, a whole foods plant-based diet that’s also low in refined carbohydrates may reverse coronary heart disease and beneficially affect the progression of prostate cancer and even improve gene expression despite reductions in HDL.

A whole-foods diet of any kind that’s low in refined carbohydrates will prevent disease.  Make it a balanced whole-foods diet instead of a vegetarian whole-foods diet, and you can keep your HDL high, too.

Finally, what’s good for you is also good for our planet. Livestock consumption causes more global warming than all forms of transportation combined. It takes 10 times more energy to produce animal-based protein than plant-based protein.

I’m not at all surprised you’ve swallowed the vegan nonsense about how meat production causes global warming and uses 10 times the energy to produce.  The figures about how much energy is required to raise cattle are, as Lierre Keith pointed out, based on the notion that cattle are supposed to eat grains. They’re not. Cattle are supposed to eat grass.

I’ll bet you’re also blissfully unaware of how much fossil-fuel fertilizer is required to grow an acre of soybeans.  Not your fault, really:  the United Nations, which originally made the absurd statement about cattle being responsible for global warming (based on nothing resembling actual evidence), managed to ignore that one as well. In fact, a recent book written by a former editor of The Ecogolist concludes that vegetable oils leave a larger “carbon footprint” than animal fats.  If we really want to save the planet by changing our food preferences, the answer is to raise our animals in pastures and stop farming grains.

But thanks for making it clear to us where you’re really coming from, Dr. Ornish:  you believe eating meat is wrong.  Just admit it.  This isn’t about science for you; it’s about your version of morality.  That’s why you’re able to ignore every bit of clinical evidence that doesn’t support your beliefs, then embrace one lousy observational study as if it were handed down on stone tablets from on high.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my steak is nearly done.

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100 thoughts on “The ‘Atkins’ Study (ahem, ahem) According To Ornish

  1. Laurie

    Not to get off topic, and not to spark a fetal rights thread (like trying to control what pregnant women are allowed to eat), but maternal gestational diabetes can adversely affect the developing fetal pancreas and set the kid up for future adult health issues- how’s that for additional guilt induction mothering?.
    “Lifetime consequences of abnormal fetal pancreatic development
    K Holemans, L Aerts, and F A Van Assche” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2342610/
    Ornish and his ilk should indeed be charged with malpractice. They can affect future generations with their dietary swill recommendations!

    Weston A. Price also believed the mother’s diet during pregnancy can have profound effects on the baby’s development.

    Reply
  2. Pierce

    I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and assume if possible their hearts are in the right place, but it’s difficult in this case. Either the “researchers,” and low fat gurus here are extremely bad scientists, and thus their advice is irrelevant, or they have no problem blatantly lying to people, and thus their advice is irrelevant. I really don’t see a middle ground here.

    Strange as it sounds, I think many researchers believe it’s okay to stretch the truth in order to present the truth. Ancel Keys, for example, really and truly believed fat in the diet caused heart disease. So he threw out the data that didn’t fit because he didn’t want “anamolies” to obscure a “truth” he believed everyone needed to know.

    That definitely makes people like him bad scientists, of course, but that’s my guess as to how they think.

    Reply
  3. Franklin Mason

    Folks like Ornish seem to have so very much invested in their anti-fat, anti-meat view. I really don’t get it. Why does it matter so much to them? Why can’t they allow themselves to go where the evidence leads? There’s a deeply ingrained world-view here; it has depths that I can’t quite grasp. Perhaps it’s anti-nature in some way, or anti-human. It appears obvious to me that life requires death, that all forms of life feed upon others. Why should we be any different? It appears obvious to me as well that we’re made to run off animal fat with a bit of fruit and vegetable derived carbohydrate. That’s what allowed us to climb down out of the trees, grow big brains, and become the dominant predator everywhere in the world. Ornish and others like him seem to want to make us into something we’re not, and I don’t know why.

    It’s a moral thing. They believe it’s possible to eat without other creatures dying.

    Reply
  4. Laurie

    When I was pregnant 24 years ago, I gave up drinking coffee. And of course I drank NO alcohol. Nobody ever told me to give up bread, potatoes or any other carb. I had a blood test to make sure I was already immune to Rubella. I had tests for anemia and a few other knows, all negative. But here’s the thing, during labor I had a grand mal seizure- eclampsia (toxemia of pregnancy) with respiratory arrest. My daughter is fine (just graduated from college Magna) and although eclampsia is very rare, I suspect it is a DOC and a kind of auto-immune problem that is exacerbated by the SAD. Ornish’s diet makes all this even worse IMHO because all you eat on his diet is starch and whole grains. I’m glad I wasn’t on Ornish, though I did hear of him soon after my daughter was born, because we’d both have been dead and my husband might have perished from watching her being born.

    Reply
  5. T

    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

    If you really want to believe researchers can accurately determine diet from a dozen food questionnaires over 20 years, be my guest. But I filled out one of those questionnaires some years ago, and it was a joke. No way to make it reflect my actual dietary intake. Take one sometime and see for yourself.

    The researchers accepted questionnaires as valid if, according to their analysis, the answers would indicate a caloric intake of 500-4500 calories per day. If you know people who live on 500 calories per day for 20 years, let us know. If you can find a page in any Atkins book where he recommends 185-300 carb per day, let us know. If you can explain why the Swiss and the French consume far more animal fat than Americans, have higher cholesterol, but far lower rates of heart disease, let us know. Not consistent, not repeatable, not scientifically valid.

    In the meantime, just yell out “number 35!”

    Reply
  6. T

    Dean Ornish, M.D., proved that not only that heart disease need not exist, but that it is also reversible. Both Tom Naughton and Denise Minger have absolute zero proof that a whole foods diet of “any kind” can reverse heart disease. In the mid-eighties when Dr Ornish first carried out his heart studies, refined carbohydrates were not adequately restricted yet patients were still reversing their heart disease. It was not until years later when Dr Ornish became as strict about refined foods as he is now. No study has shown that you can reverse heart disease by increasing both LDL and HDL cholesterol simultaneously; however Dr. Ornish proved it is possible to reverse heart disease even when HDL decreased and triglycerides increased in patients who experienced a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol. http://www.pmri.org/publications/1761.pdf
    Dr. Ornish is also aware that many studies on low fat diets fail to lower rates of heart disease as these studies are not whole food plant based ones. The results in Dr. Ornish’s studies have been repeated before, including the study carried out by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, M.D. which put patients on a diet similar to the Ornish Diet and reversed severe heart disease, which was is backed up with angiogram evidence. http://www.heartattackproof.com/resolving_cade.htm

    Dr. Ornish was trying to say that your body produces more HDL to accommodate for the increase in LDL cholesterol when consuming large amounts of saturated fat. His studies demonstrate that a high HDL is not necessary in order to maintain good cardiovascular health when a low LDL cholesterol can be maintained. Certainly a low HDL level in most western populations is a cause for concern due to a high average LDL cholesterol, however this is not a major concern for people in nations with a low average serum and LDL cholesterol.

    The majority French, Spanish and Swiss die of heart disease, strokes and cancer. The French DO have screamingly high rates of heart disease, it is just that many other nations have insanely high rates of heart disease. The French do not have 1/17th the mortality rate of heart disease compared to the U.S. like that traditionally seen in rural Chinese men, nor 1/20th the mortality rate of breast cancer compared to the U.S. like that traditionally seen in Vietnam or Laos, nor do they suffer from only 1/47th the rate of broken hips compared to the U.S. like that traditionally seen in Papua Nugini. Below are some studies that tackle the French Paradox. Among some of the reasons, the researchers talked about the “time lag hypothesis” in regards to the fact the French have been increasing saturated fat consumption in recent decades, and in regards to French doctors certifying many heart related deaths as “poorly specified causes”, and also in regards to the greater amount of medical intervention compared to other nations: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115846/
    http://cardiovascres.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/3/503.full
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115846/figure/F2/

    Ornish proved (according to Ornish) that if you have people give up smoking, start exercising, undergo stress management, give up sugar and other refined carbohydrates, and oh by the way give up meat too, you can reverse heart disease. To leap from there to “meat causes heart disease” isn’t valid. If meat caused heart disease, we would see high rates of heart disease among all meat-eating populations, but we don’t. Not consistent, not repeatable, not scientifically valid.

    More “let’s explain it away” nonsense about the French Paradox from the the Lipid Hypothesis True Believers. The papers you’re quoting are taking the absurd position that 40 years of higher saturated fat consumption in France aren’t enough to produce a rise in heart disease. If that’s true, you can stop pestering me now about your beloved low-fat, plant-based diet. I’m already in my 50s. If it’s consumption of animal fat early in life that causes heart disease, I can’t change that now. If it takes 40 years for the effects to show up, I’ll be in my 90s.

    The heart-disease death rate in France is 1/4 the rate in Britain. If you believe it’s because French doctors are lousy at ascribing deaths due to heart disease, that means you believe they miss 75% of them. A frenchman should slap you for the insult.

    Reply
  7. Pierce

    “That definitely makes people like him bad scientists, of course, but that’s my guess as to how they think.”

    If it’s deliberate, then IMO they aren’t scientists at all. Anyone who puts evidence secondary to any other consideration is not performing science. And what does peer review actually involve? Do they just make sure the statistical methods etc don’t contain any mathematical errors, or do they actually see if the study makes sense and comes to true and rational conclusions? This kind of research makes me question whether its pointless to ever believe a peer reviewed article without independently investigating.

    Reply
  8. Karen

    Back when Ornish’s book “Eat More Weigh Less” was everywhere, I bought a discounted copy at Costco. Tried to adhere to his cockamamie diet, but all I did was gain pounds and shiver from the cold. Endless brown rice, no fats or even olive oil, not so much as a sesame seed. The only way you were permitted to “season” the boiled veg and starch was with nasty infusions of apple juice concentrate and spices. Gross. Plus, all that cabbage, whole grains and lashings of fructose made for epic intestinal gas. I tossed the book and diet because his only reasoning for why no fats or oils were allowed was essentially “because I say so.” The man is a zealot, not a scientist. I switched to low carb years ago, and am effortlessly skinny at 48.

    Zealot is the perfect description.

    Reply
  9. Pierce

    I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and assume if possible their hearts are in the right place, but it’s difficult in this case. Either the “researchers,” and low fat gurus here are extremely bad scientists, and thus their advice is irrelevant, or they have no problem blatantly lying to people, and thus their advice is irrelevant. I really don’t see a middle ground here.

    Strange as it sounds, I think many researchers believe it’s okay to stretch the truth in order to present the truth. Ancel Keys, for example, really and truly believed fat in the diet caused heart disease. So he threw out the data that didn’t fit because he didn’t want “anamolies” to obscure a “truth” he believed everyone needed to know.

    That definitely makes people like him bad scientists, of course, but that’s my guess as to how they think.

    Reply
  10. Franklin Mason

    Folks like Ornish seem to have so very much invested in their anti-fat, anti-meat view. I really don’t get it. Why does it matter so much to them? Why can’t they allow themselves to go where the evidence leads? There’s a deeply ingrained world-view here; it has depths that I can’t quite grasp. Perhaps it’s anti-nature in some way, or anti-human. It appears obvious to me that life requires death, that all forms of life feed upon others. Why should we be any different? It appears obvious to me as well that we’re made to run off animal fat with a bit of fruit and vegetable derived carbohydrate. That’s what allowed us to climb down out of the trees, grow big brains, and become the dominant predator everywhere in the world. Ornish and others like him seem to want to make us into something we’re not, and I don’t know why.

    It’s a moral thing. They believe it’s possible to eat without other creatures dying.

    Reply
  11. Richard Tamesis, M.D.

    “Why can’t they allow themselves to go where the evidence leads?”

    That’s why it’s a good thing that they are not police detectives or criminal investigators. Otherwise, no crime would ever get solved if they were in charge.

    Reply
  12. T

    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

    If you really want to believe researchers can accurately determine diet from a dozen food questionnaires over 20 years, be my guest. But I filled out one of those questionnaires some years ago, and it was a joke. No way to make it reflect my actual dietary intake. Take one sometime and see for yourself.

    The researchers accepted questionnaires as valid if, according to their analysis, the answers would indicate a caloric intake of 500-4500 calories per day. If you know people who live on 500 calories per day for 20 years, let us know. If you can find a page in any Atkins book where he recommends 185-300 carb per day, let us know. If you can explain why the Swiss and the French consume far more animal fat than Americans, have higher cholesterol, but far lower rates of heart disease, let us know. Not consistent, not repeatable, not scientifically valid.

    In the meantime, just yell out “number 35!”

    Reply
  13. T

    Dean Ornish, M.D., proved that not only that heart disease need not exist, but that it is also reversible. Both Tom Naughton and Denise Minger have absolute zero proof that a whole foods diet of “any kind” can reverse heart disease. In the mid-eighties when Dr Ornish first carried out his heart studies, refined carbohydrates were not adequately restricted yet patients were still reversing their heart disease. It was not until years later when Dr Ornish became as strict about refined foods as he is now. No study has shown that you can reverse heart disease by increasing both LDL and HDL cholesterol simultaneously; however Dr. Ornish proved it is possible to reverse heart disease even when HDL decreased and triglycerides increased in patients who experienced a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol. http://www.pmri.org/publications/1761.pdf
    Dr. Ornish is also aware that many studies on low fat diets fail to lower rates of heart disease as these studies are not whole food plant based ones. The results in Dr. Ornish’s studies have been repeated before, including the study carried out by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, M.D. which put patients on a diet similar to the Ornish Diet and reversed severe heart disease, which was is backed up with angiogram evidence. http://www.heartattackproof.com/resolving_cade.htm

    Dr. Ornish was trying to say that your body produces more HDL to accommodate for the increase in LDL cholesterol when consuming large amounts of saturated fat. His studies demonstrate that a high HDL is not necessary in order to maintain good cardiovascular health when a low LDL cholesterol can be maintained. Certainly a low HDL level in most western populations is a cause for concern due to a high average LDL cholesterol, however this is not a major concern for people in nations with a low average serum and LDL cholesterol.

    The majority French, Spanish and Swiss die of heart disease, strokes and cancer. The French DO have screamingly high rates of heart disease, it is just that many other nations have insanely high rates of heart disease. The French do not have 1/17th the mortality rate of heart disease compared to the U.S. like that traditionally seen in rural Chinese men, nor 1/20th the mortality rate of breast cancer compared to the U.S. like that traditionally seen in Vietnam or Laos, nor do they suffer from only 1/47th the rate of broken hips compared to the U.S. like that traditionally seen in Papua Nugini. Below are some studies that tackle the French Paradox. Among some of the reasons, the researchers talked about the “time lag hypothesis” in regards to the fact the French have been increasing saturated fat consumption in recent decades, and in regards to French doctors certifying many heart related deaths as “poorly specified causes”, and also in regards to the greater amount of medical intervention compared to other nations: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115846/
    http://cardiovascres.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/3/503.full
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1115846/figure/F2/

    Ornish proved (according to Ornish) that if you have people give up smoking, start exercising, undergo stress management, give up sugar and other refined carbohydrates, and oh by the way give up meat too, you can reverse heart disease. To leap from there to “meat causes heart disease” isn’t valid. If meat caused heart disease, we would see high rates of heart disease among all meat-eating populations, but we don’t. Not consistent, not repeatable, not scientifically valid.

    More “let’s explain it away” nonsense about the French Paradox from the the Lipid Hypothesis True Believers. The papers you’re quoting are taking the absurd position that 40 years of higher saturated fat consumption in France aren’t enough to produce a rise in heart disease. If that’s true, you can stop pestering me now about your beloved low-fat, plant-based diet. I’m already in my 50s. If it’s consumption of animal fat early in life that causes heart disease, I can’t change that now. If it takes 40 years for the effects to show up, I’ll be in my 90s.

    The heart-disease death rate in France is 1/4 the rate in Britain. If you believe it’s because French doctors are lousy at ascribing deaths due to heart disease, that means you believe they miss 75% of them. A frenchman should slap you for the insult.

    Reply
  14. Pierce

    “That definitely makes people like him bad scientists, of course, but that’s my guess as to how they think.”

    If it’s deliberate, then IMO they aren’t scientists at all. Anyone who puts evidence secondary to any other consideration is not performing science. And what does peer review actually involve? Do they just make sure the statistical methods etc don’t contain any mathematical errors, or do they actually see if the study makes sense and comes to true and rational conclusions? This kind of research makes me question whether its pointless to ever believe a peer reviewed article without independently investigating.

    Reply
  15. Karen

    Back when Ornish’s book “Eat More Weigh Less” was everywhere, I bought a discounted copy at Costco. Tried to adhere to his cockamamie diet, but all I did was gain pounds and shiver from the cold. Endless brown rice, no fats or even olive oil, not so much as a sesame seed. The only way you were permitted to “season” the boiled veg and starch was with nasty infusions of apple juice concentrate and spices. Gross. Plus, all that cabbage, whole grains and lashings of fructose made for epic intestinal gas. I tossed the book and diet because his only reasoning for why no fats or oils were allowed was essentially “because I say so.” The man is a zealot, not a scientist. I switched to low carb years ago, and am effortlessly skinny at 48.

    Zealot is the perfect description.

    Reply
  16. Richard Tamesis, M.D.

    “Why can’t they allow themselves to go where the evidence leads?”

    That’s why it’s a good thing that they are not police detectives or criminal investigators. Otherwise, no crime would ever get solved if they were in charge.

    Reply
  17. brendan

    Good point. To use unreliable questionnaires in the study is just plain dumb.

    @T : What is consistent in the scientific litterature is the fact that refined carbs and sugar are bad for us. Not meat or fat. In the US, for the past half a century, the consumption of animal’s fat has dropped but the rate of obesity and heart disease has increased.

    Reply
  18. brendan

    Good point. To use unreliable questionnaires in the study is just plain dumb.

    @T : What is consistent in the scientific litterature is the fact that refined carbs and sugar are bad for us. Not meat or fat. In the US, for the past half a century, the consumption of animal’s fat has dropped but the rate of obesity and heart disease has increased.

    Reply
  19. Bob Kaplan

    Great post, sir!

    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.”

    Reply
  20. Bob Kaplan

    Great post, sir!

    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.”

    Reply
  21. Crusader

    It’s probably not a good idea to load up on sausages and hot dogs due to all the fillers and preservatives. Better to eat steak, chicken, pork & turkey in as whole a form as possible most of the time. Oh and add in organ meats!

    Reply
  22. Crusader

    It’s probably not a good idea to load up on sausages and hot dogs due to all the fillers and preservatives. Better to eat steak, chicken, pork & turkey in as whole a form as possible most of the time. Oh and add in organ meats!

    Reply
  23. KD

    From poster Chris B:

    “I’m no lawyer, but Ornish’s article seems to border on malpractice. He’s clearly misinterpreting the study’s data (as is the study’s author) as well as misrepresenting the “Atkins” diet.”

    I’m no lawyer either, but if I were part of the Atkins company (even though I don’t particularly care for many of their practices nowadays, but that’s another story) I would certainly look into suing for libel. The diet breakdown, however ineffectively gathered, is not Atkins and to say it is while accusing it of also causing higher mortality doesn’t seem like a good idea to do, legally speaking.

    Reply
  24. KD

    From poster Chris B:

    “I’m no lawyer, but Ornish’s article seems to border on malpractice. He’s clearly misinterpreting the study’s data (as is the study’s author) as well as misrepresenting the “Atkins” diet.”

    I’m no lawyer either, but if I were part of the Atkins company (even though I don’t particularly care for many of their practices nowadays, but that’s another story) I would certainly look into suing for libel. The diet breakdown, however ineffectively gathered, is not Atkins and to say it is while accusing it of also causing higher mortality doesn’t seem like a good idea to do, legally speaking.

    Reply
  25. lwhiteside

    I’m almost finished reading “My Life in France” by Julia Child. One observation in particular stuck with me. She had a conversation with a restaraunt owner in France who talked about his town’s large meals, a large portion of which was meat. The man was very lean. I’ve also heard the stuff about raising cows contributing to global warming but have never really reserached it. Now, I’m curious! What’s really screwed up is our factory style of food in general (from grains, to oil, to animals). I can’t help but think that we just need more localized production and less vegetarians brainlessly brandishing their form of morality.

    Reply
  26. lwhiteside

    I’m almost finished reading “My Life in France” by Julia Child. One observation in particular stuck with me. She had a conversation with a restaraunt owner in France who talked about his town’s large meals, a large portion of which was meat. The man was very lean. I’ve also heard the stuff about raising cows contributing to global warming but have never really reserached it. Now, I’m curious! What’s really screwed up is our factory style of food in general (from grains, to oil, to animals). I can’t help but think that we just need more localized production and less vegetarians brainlessly brandishing their form of morality.

    Reply
  27. Jojo Bizarro

    Funny thing I gotta mention about meat production. The Hi-Carb Crowd denounce meat as the reason for the loss of the rain forests in South America, but people are cutting down those rain forests for agriculture, not pasture. Last time I checked, agriculture was for growing plant-derived foods, not meat.

    Monocrop farming is what’s screwing up the planet.

    Reply
  28. Jojo Bizarro

    Funny thing I gotta mention about meat production. The Hi-Carb Crowd denounce meat as the reason for the loss of the rain forests in South America, but people are cutting down those rain forests for agriculture, not pasture. Last time I checked, agriculture was for growing plant-derived foods, not meat.

    Monocrop farming is what’s screwing up the planet.

    Reply
  29. Blanche

    The trend is to think that a low fat diet is good for the heart. Since, we are so healthy in America this must be the way to eat. The logic is really good, if someone can improve on a diet it shows the diet is good. However, when you take people away from the Halloween candy, the pre-packaged food, and the overeating you will find most diets will improve health.

    I think it is scary that we need such intervention. The typical American diet isn’t a paleo diet of grass fed beef. It is one of ” so-called chopped beef between two “buns” with a side or fries. If we turn back time we would see what people shoud be eating. When people shed pounds they improve their health.

    Nourishment doesn’t come from processed protein or processed carbs. Common sense would say you have it right on this blog.

    Reply
  30. Blanche

    The trend is to think that a low fat diet is good for the heart. Since, we are so healthy in America this must be the way to eat. The logic is really good, if someone can improve on a diet it shows the diet is good. However, when you take people away from the Halloween candy, the pre-packaged food, and the overeating you will find most diets will improve health.

    I think it is scary that we need such intervention. The typical American diet isn’t a paleo diet of grass fed beef. It is one of ” so-called chopped beef between two “buns” with a side or fries. If we turn back time we would see what people shoud be eating. When people shed pounds they improve their health.

    Nourishment doesn’t come from processed protein or processed carbs. Common sense would say you have it right on this blog.

    Reply
  31. John

    US News ranks the Ornish Diet as the #1 diet for your heart, and also said it’s the ONLY diet that has been proven to not just stop heart disease, but to reverse it.

    Uh, no … Dr. William Davis has also reversed heart disease. The Ornish “diet” includes instructions to stop smoking, stop drinking, take stress-management classes, etc. But it’s that meatless diet that does the wonders. Riiiiight.

    Reply
  32. John

    US News ranks the Ornish Diet as the #1 diet for your heart, and also said it’s the ONLY diet that has been proven to not just stop heart disease, but to reverse it.

    Uh, no … Dr. William Davis has also reversed heart disease. The Ornish “diet” includes instructions to stop smoking, stop drinking, take stress-management classes, etc. But it’s that meatless diet that does the wonders. Riiiiight.

    Reply
  33. NoRemorse

    “Atkins Diet Increases All Cause Mortality”

    Don’t expect Ornish or any low-fat advocate (and that is what he is, no matter how he might try to reinvent himself), to ever back off their low-fat advocacy and embrace the growing body of science that runs counter to their theories. To do so would be to acknowledge their contribution to the unhealthiest American population – ever.

    Their insistence of a high percentage of calories from carbs and a low percentage of calories from fat has produced declining life expectancy rates for the first time ever. Obesity is rampant and type II diabetes isbecoming an epidemic crippling an already vulnerable US health care system – both entirely preventable by moving from low fat to low carb.

    Ancel Keys, the godfather of all these low-fat advocates was wrong – how wrong in terms of actual increased mortality will be something folks will get to argue about for years to come.

    They don’t have arguments any more, the science has never been on their side, all they have left are the false beliefs that, having followed them, have ruined our health.

    They aren’t going to admit they were wrong – how can they?

    Reply
  34. NoRemorse

    “Atkins Diet Increases All Cause Mortality”

    Don’t expect Ornish or any low-fat advocate (and that is what he is, no matter how he might try to reinvent himself), to ever back off their low-fat advocacy and embrace the growing body of science that runs counter to their theories. To do so would be to acknowledge their contribution to the unhealthiest American population – ever.

    Their insistence of a high percentage of calories from carbs and a low percentage of calories from fat has produced declining life expectancy rates for the first time ever. Obesity is rampant and type II diabetes isbecoming an epidemic crippling an already vulnerable US health care system – both entirely preventable by moving from low fat to low carb.

    Ancel Keys, the godfather of all these low-fat advocates was wrong – how wrong in terms of actual increased mortality will be something folks will get to argue about for years to come.

    They don’t have arguments any more, the science has never been on their side, all they have left are the false beliefs that, having followed them, have ruined our health.

    They aren’t going to admit they were wrong – how can they?

    Reply
  35. Richard Lodvenko

    I haven’t seem such a large number of deluded people on an online forum since going on a conspiracy theory website last year.

    There are numerous studies linking high red meat intake to all sorts of negative health outcomes (CHD, cancer) and all cause mortality. Have you seen any regarding vegetarians? The british study even showed a decrease in certain cancers. Look up the Adventist studies.

    Get out of your bubble for a second. Dean Ornish did show that his diet reversed heart disease in multiple studies. And no, cutting smoking wasn’t a part of what he did. That didn’t even include smokers. It was stress management + diet. And no, stress management wasn’t the main determinant of positive results. Look for the studies done on stress management after CHD and you’ll see how small the gains were. And there were control groups who went on the American Heart Foundation diet + physicians advise. So it wasn’t Dean Ornish Diet vs junk food diet. It was Dean Ornish diet vs healthy less refined food diet (+ surgery in one study).

    And while you’re at it, could you give me a link showing the low carb diets links to health outcomes? not clinical markers which is all you have but actual results. Let me guess, you don’t have any.

    So what do we have here. Evidence based medicine vs non evidence based delusion. Let out of you evolutionary mind frame and think with rationality without bias.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      You people crack me up. You think Ornish considers all the evidence? You think you do? That’s hilarious. But I want to thank you for inspiring me to update my post titled “To The Vegetarian Evangelists.” I just posted that one.

      What do you mean by “actual results” vs. markers? You want me to to dig up all the studies that followed low-carb dieters for 20 years? There aren’t any. But since Orish cites markers all the time (including markers in mice!), I suggest you issue the same challenge to him.

      Ornish didn’t reverse heart disease in “multiple studies.” He conducted one small study that demonstrated a very slight reversal in the narrowing of arteries. (You are free to cite the “multiple” studies.) Smoking cessation was absolutely, positively part of the program. The intervention is described in Ornish’s paper as:

      Intensive lifestyle changes (10% fat whole foods vegetarian diet, aerobic exercise, stress management training, smoking cessation, group psycho-social support) for 5 years.

      The published study states that only one person in the intervention group of 20 people smoked, but quit. The study doesn’t mention (at least not that I can find) how many people in the control group smoked, which is a bit suspicious.

      Stress management was definitely part of the program — several sessions per week, according to the study document. You have no way of knowing whether or not stress management was the “main determinant” of the outcome. You also have no way of knowing whether the extra exercise was the main determinant. That’s the problem with a multi-factorial intervention: there’s no way to isolate the effects of any one factor.

      In Ornish’s other studies, he demonstrated improvements in markers — blood pressure, LDL, etc. That’s not a reversal of heart disease. It’s a change in markers — but you’ve already made it clear you don’t care about changes in markers.

      Reply
  36. Richard Lodvenko

    I haven’t seem such a large number of deluded people on an online forum since going on a conspiracy theory website last year.

    There are numerous studies linking high red meat intake to all sorts of negative health outcomes (CHD, cancer) and all cause mortality. Have you seen any regarding vegetarians? The british study even showed a decrease in certain cancers. Look up the Adventist studies.

    Get out of your bubble for a second. Dean Ornish did show that his diet reversed heart disease in multiple studies. And no, cutting smoking wasn’t a part of what he did. That didn’t even include smokers. It was stress management + diet. And no, stress management wasn’t the main determinant of positive results. Look for the studies done on stress management after CHD and you’ll see how small the gains were. And there were control groups who went on the American Heart Foundation diet + physicians advise. So it wasn’t Dean Ornish Diet vs junk food diet. It was Dean Ornish diet vs healthy less refined food diet (+ surgery in one study).

    And while you’re at it, could you give me a link showing the low carb diets links to health outcomes? not clinical markers which is all you have but actual results. Let me guess, you don’t have any.

    So what do we have here. Evidence based medicine vs non evidence based delusion. Let out of you evolutionary mind frame and think with rationality without bias.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      You people crack me up. You think Ornish considers all the evidence? You think you do? That’s hilarious. But I want to thank you for inspiring me to update my post titled “To The Vegetarian Evangelists.” I just posted that one.

      What do you mean by “actual results” vs. markers? You want me to to dig up all the studies that followed low-carb dieters for 20 years? There aren’t any. But since Orish cites markers all the time (including markers in mice!), I suggest you issue the same challenge to him.

      Ornish didn’t reverse heart disease in “multiple studies.” He conducted one small study that demonstrated a very slight reversal in the narrowing of arteries. (You are free to cite the “multiple” studies.) Smoking cessation was absolutely, positively part of the program. The intervention is described in Ornish’s paper as:

      Intensive lifestyle changes (10% fat whole foods vegetarian diet, aerobic exercise, stress management training, smoking cessation, group psycho-social support) for 5 years.

      The published study states that only one person in the intervention group of 20 people smoked, but quit. The study doesn’t mention (at least not that I can find) how many people in the control group smoked, which is a bit suspicious.

      Stress management was definitely part of the program — several sessions per week, according to the study document. You have no way of knowing whether or not stress management was the “main determinant” of the outcome. You also have no way of knowing whether the extra exercise was the main determinant. That’s the problem with a multi-factorial intervention: there’s no way to isolate the effects of any one factor.

      In Ornish’s other studies, he demonstrated improvements in markers — blood pressure, LDL, etc. That’s not a reversal of heart disease. It’s a change in markers — but you’ve already made it clear you don’t care about changes in markers.

      Reply
  37. Laurie

    When I was pregnant 24 years ago, I gave up drinking coffee. And of course I drank NO alcohol. Nobody ever told me to give up bread, potatoes or any other carb. I had a blood test to make sure I was already immune to Rubella. I had tests for anemia and a few other knows, all negative. But here’s the thing, during labor I had a grand mal seizure- eclampsia (toxemia of pregnancy) with respiratory arrest. My daughter is fine (just graduated from college Magna) and although eclampsia is very rare, I suspect it is a DOC and a kind of auto-immune problem that is exacerbated by the SAD. Ornish’s diet makes all this even worse IMHO because all you eat on his diet is starch and whole grains. I’m glad I wasn’t on Ornish, though I did hear of him soon after my daughter was born, because we’d both have been dead and my husband might have perished from watching her being born.

    Reply
  38. Markus

    Also people like Ornish show their true colours when they say that, because of negative environmental effects (assuming the are for real) of the current food production system we should stop eating meat.

    If they really cared they would say: “Ok what can we do to make things better, what are the options” The only option might be to stop eating meat, but it could also be a industrialised version of the old farming system with the manure of the live stock used as fertilizer, efficiently converting unedible (for humans) plant calories to not only meat by to milk, eggs etc.

    But instead the just jump to where they wanted to be from the beginning: STOP EATING MEAT!!!. And so they are quite happy about the whole disastrous soy/wheat monocultures as long as no cow has ther manure stolen.

    Bingo. They don’t form their beliefs from the evidence; they pick and choose evidence based on their existing beliefs.

    Reply

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