Archive for March, 2012

Some of you may have heard Jimmy Moore’s interview with Dr. Mary Newport, who halted and partially reversed her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease by feeding him coconut oil.  My mom just sent me a newsclip that gives a brief version of the same story:

We tried giving coconut oil to my dad, but he was too far gone.  If only I’d known 10 years ago what  I know now, Dad and I might still be enjoying playing golf together.

Ketones have been shown to help with Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and other brain issues … yet your average nutritionist will still tell people to avoid ketogenic diets in general and coconut oil specifically.   Too much saturated fat, doncha know.  Eat your grains and cook with canola oil.

That’s why the average nutritionist is a menace.

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Time to catch up on some of the interesting news items readers have sent me lately.

Maybe they should just ban the consumption of their own product …

You’re probably aware that some companies are trying to keep their health-care costs down by charging overweight and obese employees more for health insurance.  I think that’s a dumb idea.  It’s based on the (mistaken) belief that the overweight employees know how to lose weight, but just don’t care to make the effort.

But when this company charges unhealthy employees extra, it seems double-stupid:

Four years ago, PepsiCo began rolling out a wellness program that charges its employees $50 a month if they smoke or have obesity-related medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and high blood pressure. Workers can avoid the surcharge if they attend classes to learn how to break their nicotine addictions or lose weight. When about 400 unionized PepsiCo bottlers and truck drivers in central New York learned early last year they’d be subject to the fee, they rebelled.

So we’ve got a company producing a sugary drink that can cause obesity-related medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and they’re going to levy a sin tax on employees who developed obesity-related medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.  Why don’t they just send out a memo:

Dear employee,

Please stop drinking our product.  We don’t want to have to charge you extra for insurance.

I’m waiting for a news story describing how cigarette manufacturers are going to charge higher insurance rates for employees who smoke.

The soda maker doesn’t think of its $50 assessment as a sin tax. Says [PepsiCo spokesman Dave] DeCecco: “What company wouldn’t want a healthy, engaged workforce?”

Oh, I don’t know … maybe a company that sells big bottles of sugar-water for less than a dollar apiece?

 

Truth in advertising

You’ve got to love the name of this new cereal:

Yup, I’m sure lots of kids will krave Kellogg’s Krave.  They’ll probably toss back big ol’ bowls of the stuff before going to school and attending the special classes for kids with ADHD.  But hey, it’s okay … as you can see from the label, Kellogg’s Krave contains fiber and whole grains!

“Johnny, where were you?  You missed Social Studies and English!”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Worthington.  I had to make a number two.  Again.”

“Well, that shouldn’t take two class periods to accomplish, young man.”

“It does if you fall asleep on the toilet.”

 

Paleo bagel-eaters

Okay, this isn’t exactly a news item, but a reader who happens to be a teacher sent me a copy of the guidelines she was given to teach 7th graders about the Paleolithic era and the “stone-age” diet.  Here are some quotes from an assignment for the kiddies:

No one expects you to eat raw mammoth brains, or even thistle, twigs, or your hamster. In fact, many species eaten by early hominids are now extinct. To duplicate the same foods our ancestors ate is almost impossible. Imagine trying to find in the local supermarket such foods as reindeer, fox, caribou, giant sloth, flamingos, bear, catmint, grubs, or quail eggs. Nevertheless, many foods exist that are similar to foods eaten during the Stone Age.

Yup … steaks, organ meats, chicken eggs, chickens, fish, a wide variety of vegetables, fruits …

Approved “Stone Age” foods to eat
• fish and seafood
• small game (e.g., rabbit, chicken)
• bison (buffalo meat)
• seeds and nuts (raw, without salt)
• lots of fruits (including figs)
• lots of vegetables (including beans)
• lots of water (eight to 10 glasses per day)
• whole grains such as barley, bulgar, oat bran, corn bran, rice, millet, buckwheat, and rye
• tubers (potatoes and sweet potatoes)
• small amounts of cereal grains
• pita bread and whole grain breads
• honey—the only sweetener allowed in your Stone Age diet!
• berries
• shoots and roots
• edible leaves and flowers
• lean red meats (sparingly)
• whole wheat bagels and rolls
• rice cakes

Whole grains, cereal grains, rice cakes and bagels – in the STONE AGE?!!  Do these goofballs have any idea when farming actually began?

Your goal is to eat an abundance of natural, wholesome food with few or no chemical additives. Keep track of what you eat on the STONE AGE DIET RECORD. Why not do one more thing your ancestors did—exercise by walking or running outside each day. The combination of wholesome, low-fat foods and daily vigorous exercise will make a difference in your life!

Yup, that was life in the stone age:  whole-wheat bagels, rice cakes, cereal and other low-fat foods.   Those paleo hunters were very concerned about saturated fat and cholesterol.

Well, at least the lesson planners probably explained how anthropologists have found that hunter-gatherers spent an average of 20 hours per week obtaining food, then spent their remaining time playing games, telling stories, and engaging in ceremonies.

For 2.5 million years, humans lived nomadic lives of hunters and gatherers. This era of human existence was one of continual scarcity. All human energy had to be devoted to daily securing the food necessary to survival.

Head.  Bang.  On.  Desk.

 

Yes, let’s get those cholesterol levels even lower!

I just knew that when the patents on statin drugs began to expire, something even (ahem) better would come along.  I’m sorry to say I was right:

A possible revolutionary way to fight cholesterol is expected to cause a big stir among thousands of heart doctors gathering in Chicago starting this weekend for the annual American College of Cardiology meeting.

No doubt. You mention fighting cholesterol, and cardiologists get all stirred up.  Fighting cholesterol makes them feel good about themselves.  That’s because they believe – despite all the contrary evidence – that high cholesterol causes heart disease.

The new drugs in development by top pharmaceutical makers and up-and-coming biotechs are injectable medications that block a protein called PCSK9.

They have shown promise in early clinical trials for slashing “bad” LDL cholesterol further than widely used statins can alone. Their biggest advocates say PCSK9 blockers have the potential to be the next multibillion-dollar class of heart drugs.

I’m sure they will be.  The makers of those drugs will sponsor educational conferences for doctors (in really nice locations) and present some dazzling, highly-manipulated evidence that these new drugs can save millions of lives.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc last year disclosed that its product slashed levels of LDL cholesterol up to 65 percent beyond reductions seen alone with statins – pills like Pfizer Inc’s Lipitor and AstraZeneca Plc’s Crestor that are today’s standard treatments.

Outstanding!  If we can just get people’s LDL levels down to, say, 20 or 30, we’ll make a fortune!  Granted, the people taking the drugs will be impotent, sore, tired, cranky, too weak to move and suffering from serious cognitive decline, but – here’s the important thing – their lab scores will make doctors feel good about themselves.

“PCSK9 is one of the most exciting targets in cardiovascular drug development today,” Michael Severino, Amgen’s chief medical officer, said in an interview. Severino said a large number of patients – some studies suggest 40 to 50 percent – fail to reach their cholesterol-lowering goals despite being on statins, and that PCSK9 inhibitors could give them the needed extra push.

Yup, right into the home for Alzheimer’s patients.  But – this is the important  thing – their lab scores will make doctors feel good about themselves.

 

Sure, you’ll lose weight … but then you’ll die

In my recent ORI speech, I listed this as the fifth ingredient for cooking up a crisis in nutrition:

Doctors, researchers, medical industry trade groups, government agencies and other authorities insisting that while the alternative advice may occasionally help some stupid, lazy, or gluttonous people lose weight and get their blood sugar under control, it will also kill them.

We had another example this week.  Take a look at this dramatic headline:

Low carb diets imperil people prone to heart disease

No ifs, ands or buts in that headline, by gosh.  There’s not even a maybe.  If you’re prone to heart disease, going on a low-carb diet is risky, period, end of story.  Surely a bold headline like is the result of a well-designed clinical study of how low-carb diets affect humans.

A low-carb, high-fat diet might help some people lose weight, but it could be deadly to those with a family history of heart disease, according to research presented March 25 at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Chicago.

Hey … that would be the same meeting where cardiologists were dazzled by the news that some new drugs can beat down cholesterol levels even more than statins!  I’m starting to see pattern here:  going on a diet that makes you feel great and lose weight will kill you, but the drugs we sell are fantastic and will save your life.  So forget the diet and take your drugs.

Anyway, back to the article:

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that obese rats fed a high-fat, low-carb diet — comparable to what many humans consume — had more damaging and deadly heart attacks than obese rats fed a low-fat diet.

Got that?  Obese rats fed a high-fat diet had more heart attacks than rats on a low-fat diet, so this proves (according to the headline) that low-carb diets imperil people with heart disease.  And you wonder why I think the average media health writer is a flippin’ moron?

I couldn’t find the study online (it may not be published yet) and therefore couldn’t determine what was in that “high-fat” diet the rats consumed, but I did find a spec sheet awhile back for something called the Atkins-Style Diet that’s frequently used in rodent studies.  Here are some of the top ingredients:

  • Casein
  • Corn Starch
  • Milk Fat
  • Crisco
  • Lard
  • Dextrin
  • Sucrose
  • Soybean Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Blue Dye

Boy, that sounds exactly like the average Atkins dieter’s dinner, doesn’t it?  The lard is good, but I urge all of you to avoid basing your meals on corn starch, Crisco, dextrin, sucrose, soybean oil and corn oil.

In other words, don’t eat the typical school lunch, even if the USDA approves.

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I recorded an interview recently with Jordan Rockwell, creator of the Sensitive Nice Guy blog and podcast.  It was a fun, freewheeling conversation in which we  talked about diet and health (of course) among other topics and both expressed our disdain for Michael Moore.  (Well, okay, Jordan expressed his disdain more than I did.  I mean, he reeeeally doesn’t like Michael Moore.)

You can listen to part one of the interview here, part two here.

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Spring has sprung in Tennessee, and our little farm is full of critters – some welcome, some not. We’ll start with the “not” variety.

As I discovered recently after spending an afternoon helping Chareva fence off the back yard to keep the puppies corralled, we have ticks on our land.  Lots of them.  I didn’t notice any while working in the yard, but later that night, as I was sitting at the computer answering blog comments, I felt something akin to a pinprick in my armpit.  I couldn’t think of anything positive that would produce that sensation, so I pulled off my shirt and went to the bathroom mirror to investigate.  There was a tick, digging in.

Chareva later found a couple of them digging into her as well, and we’ve pulled several off the puppies in the past week.  We do, however, have a plan for reducing the tick population.  More on that later.

We’ve also had several mice take up residence somewhere in the house.  I heard scratching behind the walls now and then and figured it was one mouse, maybe two.  We tried setting “humane” traps, but they turned out to be so humane, all we were doing was feeding the mice with whatever bait we put inside.  Once Chareva started finding mouse poop inside her kitchen cabinets and drawers (which meant pulling out all the dishes and washing them), she agreed it was time to go lethal.

That was six mousetraps ago.  Yes, six.  I set a fresh trap late Saturday night, sat down to watch a movie, and heard a THWAP! in the kitchen about 15 minutes later.  After disposing of the mouse, I set another one.  Another half-hour later, THWAP! So I set another one before bed.  Chareva disposed of that one this morning.  I hope that’s the end of the slaughter, but we’ll keep setting traps until they stop springing.

The most unwelcome critters of all (to me, at least) are the wasps.  They seemed to show up all at once, as if they flew north for the summer on the first warm day.  They haven’t built luxury condos in the attic like they did when the previous owner was living here and letting everything go to pot, but they’re constantly buzzing around, looking for a way in.  Last weekend, we killed three of them inside the house – two in Chareva’s office, one in the sunroom.

I thought at first we were seeing a lot of wasps simply because we live in the boonies, but I’ve since noticed them flying around no matter where we go.  Last week two of them were crawling on the hood of my car when I left my office building in downtown Nashville.  When I was parked at a Kroger yesterday, a wasp landed on my side-view mirror and then bounced against the window a couple of times — probably just to watch me jump.

Those of you who read my other blog already know I have a history of run-ins with wasps — two of which led to what are known as the “scream like a girl” incidents in family lore.  I hate wasps more than any critter on earth.  While we have plans to rid ourselves of other insects with natural methods, I don’t mess around with wasps — I resort to chemical warfare.  I’d napalm the little @#$%ers if it wouldn’t screw up our gardens and pastures.  Since that’s not an option, we keep a can of RAID handy as our shotgun and a bigger can of Wasp & Hornet spray handy as our cannon.

The first time Chareva went after a wasp with the RAID, she gave it a little spritz and then seemed surprised when the wasp flew away.  I stood nearby, shaking my head and wearing my best grizzled-veteran expression, and said (in a voice reminiscent of Nick Nolte), “Darling, you don’t plunk a wasp.  That just makes them mad.  You have to blast them.  Don’t stop spraying until the wasp hits the ground.”

Chareva has been planning for some time to turn our small barn into a chicken coop.  Last weekend while I was playing a round of disc golf, I landed a disc near that barn and went to fetch it … then noticed at least a dozen wasps milling around on one side, with more flying in and out.  I tiptoed up to the disc as if being quiet would prevent the wasps from noticing me.  I also allowed myself to step well away from the barn for my next shot without taking a penalty stroke, figuring no one should have to risk stirring up a dozen wasps just to play by the rules.

(“Mr. Naughton, the bad news is that you’re extremely swollen and it took the paramedics 20 minutes to revive you.  The good news is that you made par on the sixth hole.”)

I warned Chareva that we’d need to bug-bomb that barn before she started working on it.  She did, wisely choosing a chilly morning when the wasps were docile.  Then she got to work on the barn … which brings us to the critters we’re happy to have.

Some weeks ago, Chareva bought 10 little chicks, which up until now she’s been raising in a trough in the basement.  Five are Ameraucanas, which lay blue-green eggs, and five are Buff Orpingtons, which lay brown eggs.  If all goes well, we’ll be plucking farm-fresh eggs from the chicken coop around September.

Meanwhile, Chareva has been busy starting her vegetable garden in little trays in the basement, building raised beds (and filling them with stuff that doesn’t smell very good) and constructing a fence around her future vegetable garden in one of the front pastures.  The bench you see in the picture below is there so she can take breaks while working.  The Beware of Dog sign is there because it was already attached to the gate.  As much as possible, Chareva has been re-purposing whatever the previous owner left behind – and she left behind rather a lot.

Chareva hasn’t been working out at the gym lately, but she hasn’t needed to.  Pretty much all the farm work she’s been doing is physically demanding.  While I’ve been sitting in a cubicle programming software all week, she’s been dragging around 100-pound rolls of wire, hefting bags of topsoil, digging trenches, and pounding t-posts into the ground with a t-post hammer.  I’ve used that hammer as well, and trust me, it’s heavy.  By the time you pound in a few t-posts with it, your triceps have gotten a good workout.  Chareva’s as lean as ever, but her arms are like steel bands.  If she weren’t so sweet, I’d be a little bit afraid of her.

She finished fencing off the area around the chicken coop on Saturday, so on Sunday she announced it was time to move the chicks outside.  Everyone got into the act, as you can see from the pictures below.  If memory serves, it was the first time in my 53 years on earth I ever picked up a chicken in my hands … er, gloved hands.

Once the chicks were all in the coop, we dumped the chicken poop remaining in the trough on top of the other smelly stuff in the garden.  The farm is mostly Chareva’s project, so she’s been doing a lot of reading up to educate herself.  The one lesson I’ve learned so far is that there’s a lot of poop involved in farming.

The chickens are gone from our basement, but they’ve been replaced by these critters:  Guinea fowl.  Ten of them.

I must admit, I had never heard of guinea fowl until Chareva told me we needed to get some of them.  “Why?” I asked.  “Do they lay eggs?”  Yes, she explained, but that’s not why we want them.  We want guinea fowl on the land because they’re bug-eating machines.  They devour ticks, roaches, bugs that invade your garden … they’ll even attack and eat wasps.

(They’ll go after wasps?!  Okay, that’s all I needed to know.  I didn’t think any critter would take on a wasp.)

From what I read online later, guinea fowl are very tough, protective of chickens, and will surround and kill snakes and other predators that get near the coop.

(Yes, yes, very nice … just to confirm, did you say they’ll KILL WASPS?  Seriously, that’s all I needed to know.)

So thanks mostly to Chareva’s efforts, the farm is starting to feel like a farm, complete with farm critters.  We even had some uninvited (but welcome) guests show up yesterday in our back pasture.

Speaking of critters, Coco and Misha – our ferocious guard dogs – are growing quickly on their raw-meat diet and are already looking less like puppies and more like dogs.  They’ve even starting producing deep-throated barks instead of puppy yaps.  It won’t be too long before they’re patrolling the land and (we hope) keeping predators away from the chickens.

My other little critters – Sara and Alana – seem to be enjoying life on a mini-farm immensely.  They’re crazy about Coco and Misha and are fascinated with the chicks.  When we returned home yesterday after running some errands, they bolted from the van and ran to the chicken coop to watch the chickens.  This will be a great place for them to grow up.

For my part, I’m looking forward to cracking some of those blue-green eggs into a frying pan.

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In the speech I gave at the Office of Research Integrity conference, I listed this as the first ingredient for creating a crisis in nutrition:

Doctors, nutritionists, researchers, medical industry trade groups, government agencies and other established authorities handing out dietary advice that flat-out doesn’t work very well for an awful lot of people.

Today I saw another example of that ingredient in action.  A co-worker who heard from another co-worker that I know a thing or two about nutrition and health sent an email asking if he could drop by for a chat.  When we talked, he explained that he’s confused because his latest blood-work results aren’t good, even though he’s following the kind of “healthy” diet his doctor told him he should.

We’ll look at the results in a moment.  First let’s look at his typical diet, which he printed out for me.

Morning
Water, lime and honey (2 glasses), two egg-white omelet with little salt, 1 chili.

Breakfast
Oatmeal with water and fat-free milk, glass of fat-free milk
or
Milkshake with fat-free protein powder, fat-free milk, orange juice, fiber, blue berries, black berries, strawberries

Lunch
Bunch of carrots, cucumber, tomato, 1/2 cup rice and curry
or
Spaghetti and vegetables

Snack
Wheat bread or plain bagel with jam (fat free), peanut butter.

Dinner
Two whole-wheat tortillas, curry, apple or another fruit, 1 glass fat free milk.  (The curry is usually vegetable curry, but includes a little chicken cooked in olive oil twice per week.)
or
Spaghetti and vegetables

Snack
Mix of cashews, almonds and raisins

Now there’s a diet that would make your average doctor or dietician stand up and cheer!  Mostly plant-based, egg whites instead of whole eggs, fat-free milk instead of whole milk, very low in fat, devoid of red meat, lots of vegetables, and high in “good” carbohydrates:  oatmeal, orange juice, fruit, rice, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat tortillas, and spaghetti.  This is the kind of diet the USDA believes everyone should be eating — and by gosh, we probably would if only we weren’t so gluttonous …  or so stupid that the Food Pyramid confuses us.  It’s also the kind of diet the USDA is pushing in schools.

Now let’s look at a couple of my co-worker’s lipid panels.

Two years ago
Total cholesterol: 212
LDL: 133
HDL: 46
Triglycerides: 161

Two weeks ago
Total cholesterol: 212
LDL: 140
HDL: 38
Triglycerides: 168

Notice anything?  The guy has been following the diet he was told is good for him, but his triglycerides are up and his HDL is down.  Those numbers may not look particularly alarming individually, but his triglycerides/HDL ratio is pretty bad.

For those of you who don’t already know, the most reliable predictor of heart disease you can calculate from a lipid panel is the triglycerides/HDL ratio.  You want that ratio below 3.0, preferably below 2.0.  If the ratio is above 3.0, it’s more likely that your body is producing small, dense LDL.  If the ratio is below 2.0, it’s more likely that your body is producing large, fluffy LDL.  A high ratio can also be an indicator that you’re becoming insulin resistant.

Thanks to that diet full of “good” carbohydrates and low in fat, my co-worker’s triglycerides/HDL ratio is 4.42.  And by the way, he’s a lean guy:  5’5”, 142 pounds.  Nobody can blame these lousy results on overeating or being overweight.  As he told me, his doctor is a bit frustrated as well, seeing those lousy numbers in a lean guy who eats a “healthy” low-fat diet.

In my speech, I talked about a common sequence in the treatment of type 2 diabetes:  a doctor tells a patient to start following the American Diabetes Association diet, the patient does, his blood sugar continues to spiral out of control, so the doctor prescribes a drug.  Frankly, I don’t know how any doctor with a functioning brain can recommend the ADA diet and then be surprised at the lousy results.  A diet based on foods that are rapidly converted to glucose raises fasting glucose levels?  Duh!

But I understand why doctors believe a low-fat diet will reduce triglycerides, since triglycerides are fats.  What they fail to realize is that high fasting triglycerides are a response to excess carbohydrates.  Here’s Dr. William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, explaining the process:

One of the most common triglyceride myths is that eating fats increases triglyceride. But that’s only a half-truth, since fats do indeed increase triglycerides-but only if triglycerides are measured after eating (i.e., in the postprandial period). The real story is that fats in the diet decrease triglycerides-at all other times except after a meal. The higher the fat content of your diet, the lower your triglycerides will be in a fasting blood draw. This has been well-established in numerous diet trials comparing low-fat with low-carbohydrate diets.

Here’s where it gets confusing: While dietary fats cause triglycerides to increase after eating, carbohydrates cause triglycerides to increase at all other times. This means that carbohydrates (starches), like breads, pasta, breakfast cereals, pretzels, crackers, potatoes, soft drinks, and candies increase fasting triglycerides if consumed habitually.

A carbohydrate food like bread actually contains very little triglyceride . . .  So why would bread cause triglycerides to increase? Because carbohydrates are converted to triglycerides in the liver.

The human body has little capacity to store carbohydrates. So it needs a method to store the energy of excessive carbohydrates. It does so by converting carbohydrates to triglycerides, which are then converted to fat, especially the fat in your abdominal region (visceral fat).

Not surprisingly, the quickest way to reduce high fasting triglycerides is to cut back on the carbohydrates.  The easiest way to raise HDL is to eat more fat (natural fat, that is).  But since most doctors don’t know that, they see someone with a lipid panel like my co-worker’s and immediately recommend a low-fat diet with lots of fruit and whole grains.  In other words, they hand out dietary advice that doesn’t work.  When the dietary advice fails, as it did for my co-worker, they reach for the prescription pad.

That’s why we have a crisis in nutrition.  That’s why the advice the “experts” are handing out has to change.

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First I’d like to thank The Older Brother for taking over the Fat Head chair while I was in Washington, D.C.  (You’ll be hearing from him again in May when I’m on the low-carb cruise.)  I received a record number of emails about Harvard’s latest “Meat Kills!” study just before I left town, so I was pleased The Older Brother gave it a worthy whack and pointed readers to Denise Minger’s slice-and-dice.  Gary Taubes also took the study apart and made the remaining points I would have made (and then some), so I won’t bother weighing in on that one.  Bottom line:  it’s another worthless observational study.  Enjoy your steak and burgers.

Now, about that speech I gave in Washington …

The good news is that I received some very positive feedback from the five people who saw it.  The bad news is that five people saw it.  (I’m not counting Dr. Richard Feinman or Dr. Wendy Pogozelski, who were presenters in our group.)  So it wasn’t exactly my version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

I spent hours writing the speech, more hours making slides, still more hours memorizing (I can’t stand reading a speech from a script), had myself all geared up to handle any hostile questions afterwards, flew 650 miles to do battle, and ended up talking mostly to empty chairs.  It felt a bit like training for a fight and then stepping into the ring, only to find the opposing fighter’s corner empty.

Nonetheless, here’s the speech.  In the first half-hour after I posted it to YouTube, more people had already seen it online than saw it in person.

The Office of Research Integrity conference (titled Quest for Research Excellence) wasn’t a nutrition conference; it was conference dealing with research issues in a number of disciplines, with multiple presentations being delivered simultaneously.  Apparently nutrition wasn’t the hot topic among the attendees.  Too bad.  In Dr. Feinman’s presentations, he offered several examples of research that was definitely not excellent.  Dr. Wendy Pogozelski, a colleague of Dr. Feinman’s at State University of New York, also gave an interesting presentation about childhood obesity and how the current dietary guidelines aren’t helping (to put it mildly).

Aside from their presentations, the second-most interesting part of the whole trip for me was standing in line at Reagan International airport in front of two older women with the thickest New Jersey accents I’ve ever heard.  They had just dropped off a rental cah and were heading back to Joysey.  Either one of them (going by voice, at least) could have been Bugs Bunny’s grandmother.  I kept wanting to turn around and ask if they made a wrong toyn at Albukoyke.

The most interesting part of the trip was finding myself in a bit of mini-debate with Dr. Feinman over dinner on Thursday night.  We’re both convinced people are getting sick and dying younger than necessary thanks to lousy dietary advice from the USDA and other organizations that promote the usual low-fat nonsense.  He believes we need to focus on convincing the federal government to re-evaluate the science and, by extension, the dietary advice.  I believe the USDA is basically a division of Monsanto, Cargill and ADM, and always will be.  I don’t expect the federal government to ever stop promoting a high-carbohydrate diet based on wheat and other grains, so my goal is to convince people to stop listening to the USDA.

One of us is right.  So perhaps the only logical strategy is to wage this war on both fronts.  That was the point of going to Washington to pick a fight.  I hope it’s more of a fight next time.

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