Quick update on the sciency stuff. I thought maybe Tom would dissect the latest “death by red meat” story when he returns.

Maybe he will, but the most awesomeful Denise Minger, who hit the Fat Head radar with her blistering analysis of The China Study, has done another superb piece on this new assault on real science as a guest post on primal guru Mark Sisson’s blog at marksdailyapple.com.

I took an amatuer stab at the Science for Smart People thing as lots of folks were commenting about the study here, and I felt really good seeing that I caught the main points Denise hit. But if you want to read a breakdown by a real genius, get over there for a good read. Sorry I can’t stick a link in here – I’m pecking away at this on my nook and my finger is killing me!


The Older Brother

19 Responses to “The Divine Ms. Minger Meats the Press”
  1. J. Stanton says:

    Anyone interested in a deeper exploration of the problems with observational studies in general — applied to the red meat study specifically — might enjoy my “Always Be Skeptical Of Nutrition Headlines.” This sort of scare story is going to come around again in many different forms, and I think it’s good to understand what’s behind them.

    Of course, Tom’s “Science for Smart People” presentation is another great resource: I’ve borrowed one of his analogies in the article (and given him credit).


  2. Galina L. says:

    It is impossible to keep up with cnn , after declaring that meat will shorten life, they now proclaim that saturated fat is sperm damaging

  3. Tim says:

    Between your analysis and Ms Minger’s, Tom has no need to comment further.

  4. Elenor says:

    Yeah, but it’s so fun when Tom comments!

  5. NotSoFast says:

    This bad study’s no biggie. The real threat is Marion Nestle’s new book on CI/CO, which just hit Nature. Who has the chops to deal with Marion? Notice Taubes & Minger are silent.

    I hadn’t heard of Ms. Nestle before this. She notes some of Taube’s points in some of her blogs, I didn’t sense from a position of disagreement.

    She seems to be of the “eat less, exercise more” mantra, with of course less processed and more real foods. One comment she made that I thought was telling was in a response to someone asking how to know what’s right between all of the various positions on nutrition (i.e., Fat Kills vs. Carbs kill):

    “My approach to conflicting research? I look for points of agreement.”

    Maybe she’s much deeper than that quote makes her sound, but I don’t see where Taubes or Minger would feel intimidated to debate someone who thinks looking for consensus is a legitimate way to sort out conflicting theories.

    Maybe her book will draw more attention, but it seems to have only been recently published.


  6. Firebird says:

    The only way I will die by meat is if I don’t eat it. They call that starvation. That’s not happening any time soon.

  7. Waldo says:

    My favorite Economist, Martin Armstrong, just wrote this in his latest essay and I paraphrase some. Economics has so many parallels to nutrition. After all what’s wealth without health. Crony Capitalism just affects everything…

    “One of the most curious aspects of acquiring knowledge is the resistance to change. The establishment at any given moment is constantly threatened by anything that challenges the status quo. Instead of constantly questioning and exploring the inter-workings of everything around us, there are those that just see evil in anything that furthers knowledge. There is too much vested interest in government and all the various institutions, think tanks, and lobbyists to allow for change voluntarily. Therefore, accepting something that alters the status quo is never welcome. You will even find those who claim to be analysts argue against discoveries they do not make for they too have vested interests in promoting only their methodology. Thus, the resistance to understanding the ‘truth’ has remained among those with a vested interest that would be disrupted otherwise. They stifle imagination and in the process hinder the advancement of knowledge.” – Martin Armstrong

    We need our champions (Tom N., Mark S., Robb W., Jimmy M., many others.) together we can change the status quo for health is wealth.

  8. labrat says:

    So??? A few more heavy meat eaters are dead than the little to no meat eaters in this study. The dead from both groups are still dead. I hope they enjoyed their meals while they were alive.

  9. Dave, RN says:

    The takedowns by the Smarter People are great, but they don’t have much effect on vegetarians. When you eat out of ideology, logic doesn’t come into play.

    As is their right. The problem is when people insist on wrapping their ideology in statistical FUD and calling it science.

  10. PJ says:

    Science by questionnaire. How can these possibly be inaccurate?!

    I’ve been doing a little reading up on the accuracy of those “validated” Food Frequency Questionnaires. Seems like around 30+ percent of people mis-report (usually under), and they tend to be off by 30 percent or so.

    How you take a margin of error that type of variance creates and try to use it with results that are nominal in real terms defies any benign intent.

  11. lantenec says:

    That guy in Linda’s article was on the radio in an interview just now.

    Podcast page 3/15 6pm hour, probably will posted later tonight; they’re usually pretty quick about posting those:


  12. Ron says:

    Death by red meat?

    Sounds delicious… I would opt for that one if I am ever on death row.

  13. Ricardo says:

    Awesome article Linda ever since i ignored the standard medical advice my CRP a marker of inflammation went down to 0.2.mg

  14. Peggy Cihocki says:

    “I hadn’t heard of Ms. Nestle before this. She notes some of Taube’s points in some of her blogs, I didn’t sense from a position of disagreement.” Really? Where? I’m curious. I check her blog out pretty regularly (she’s linked to Dr. Eenfeldt’s site) and whenever I’ve seen her post anything about diet and nutrition (as opposed to food politics) it’s pretty much the old CICO, healthy whole grains nonsense. The only thing I will say is she is pretty opposed to sugar and soft drinks (but not fruit juice) and does push real food as opposed to processed. Her ardent followers do mention Taubes every once in a while, but usually in a disparaging way. Not too far back, she blogged about that study where they force fed 3 groups 1000 extra calories and checked the results. As Tom showed in his talk, the one macronutrient that didn’t change over the 3 groups was carbohydrates and they all gained the same amount of fat. Dr. Nestle said that proved that it doesn’t matter where your calories come from, if you eat too much you gain weight and one of her groupies said “will someone please tell Gary Taubes?” I do worry about her book, only because she seems to have a fairly good size following, but not too much. Tom’s following and Gary Taubes’ following and all the other LC gurus’ following is growing and they won’t be taken in by her tired old mantra.

    When I searched on her blog, I saw a couple of responses where she pointed to Taubes as having researched nutrition pretty deeply and that he held carbs were bad; then did an “on the other hand” type of citation. Here’s a sample:

    “My thoughts: As I keep saying, nutrition science is complicated and this article… is the latest in a series by excellent science journalists (see, for example, the recent books by Gary Taubes and Michael Pollan) to point out the inconsistencies in data on saturated fat and heart disease risk.”

    I didn’t mean she agreed with Taubes, but she didn’t give the impression she’ d be interested in “throwing down” over it, either. As to her citing the rigged study, based on the short review I did of her posts and blog, I’d say that she’s just not a particularly good scientist, which is a little surprising as one of her degrees is in microbiology. Apparently, she uses that one for something else and uses her Sociology an Public Health degrees when analyzing nutritional topics. She had a column in 2007 referencing reviews of GCBC, but said she hadn’t read it yet.

    Again, I took the comment I was replying to imply that Ms. Nestle was some high caliber nutritional icon from the other side of the nutrition science debate whose toes Taubes or Ms. Minger would be loath to tread on. Ms. Nestle’s mushy “eat less/exercise more/real food/CICO” message may be popular and misguided, but doesn’t seem like a particularly hostile or direct assault on LCHF.


  15. jake3_14 says:

    Marion Nestle advises government nutritional bureaucrats and NGO in nutrition policy matters, so she’s a force to be reckoned with. Based on my concern for her misinformation, I wrote Taubes, Minger, and Eades about whether they planned a critique of her latest book. So far, after a week, only Taubes has replied. You can read his response (which I think is a bit naive) in this discussion thread: http://forum.lowcarber.org/showthread.php?t=440333.

  16. Ricardo says:

    Hi Tom i just wanted to share this really interesting video about Sugar. I think you will enjoy it.


    Very good. I was pleased to see the doctor explain that eating sugar produces fats in the blood.

  17. Ricardo says:

    Would that produce what is i believe is called Fatty Blood do Fats also do the same thing to a lesser degree?

    Here’s a good explanation:


Leave a Reply