From The News …

      46 Comments on From The News …

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.


46 thoughts on “From The News …

  1. ethyl d

    You said: “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.”

    My thought: And when those people are impotent, sore, cranky, too weak to move and suffering from serious cognitive decline, then there will be a whole lot more drugs we can develop to ‘help’ them with those conditions.


  2. Marilyn

    Reminds me of a friend who used to say, “Chin up, things could get worse. So I kept my chin up and, sure enough, things got worse.” So does one take this new LDL bludgeoning drug separately, or with statins for best effect?

    Once statins go generic (after the patents expire), big pharma will be pushing the new drugs to replace statins. They may, however, try combining statins with another drug — that would qualify for a new patent.

  3. Ash Simmonds

    Typical LCHF rat chow is actually something like 35% carbs and 30% fat or something, sadly I’ve lost my references to it.

    On the subject of rats, here’s a study comparing various diets – including a ketogenic one so at least we know this is low carb high fat:

    The specs on the “Atkins Diet” for rodents that I have are 55% fat, but it’s mostly garbage fats. The carbs are mostly corn starch. So you give an animal consisting mostly of corn starch and garbage fats and, duh, it gets sick.

  4. Lori

    Anything in the school assignment about where stone age people got high-gluten flour, culture, a pot and and an oven to make bagels? Maybe the teacher could suggest setting a good example for the kids by having the assignment sheet cite the sources of this information.

    That list of rat chow ingredients reminds me that I need to pick up some casein, sucrose and blue dye at the store this weekend since I follow an Atkins style diet. Who needs nutrients?

    Don’t forget the corn starch. You’ll want some blue pellets around for weekend snacking.

  5. Makro

    Well, nutritional science does at least cause high blood pressure.

    The beautiful thing with rats is that they´ve bred so many strains of ’em by now, so that you can usually get one that shows what you want (there are some rat types that react poorly to high-fat diets even when not fed crisco and sugar as “Atkins”).

    Now, if you´ve been saddled with a non-fat-sensitive type of rat for some reason (poor background research?), you can always go the trans fat/soybean oil/sucrose route to obtain the desired results. Otherwise, you risk ending up like our good friends Axen & Axen.

    In their first paper that is. They corrected the mistake in the second one.

  6. Nowhereman

    Here’s another interesting question for you: How did the researchers get the rats obese in the first please, hmmmm? It’d be interesting to see what they fed them beforehand, and I’d bet you it was loaded with carbs, which is probably why it didn’t get brought up in any news or other article.

    They probably used rats that bred to be obese.

  7. Nina

    If Pepsi are anything like Coke as an employer, drinks are free to staff. I’m looking forward to the first lawsuit by an obese employee blaming them for providing the addictive weight boosters.


    Give it time.

  8. David

    You mention that charging obese employees more for health care is based on the mistaken belief that they know how to lose weight but they don’t care to make the effort. Not at all. It’s based on the fact that obese employees make more claims for reimbursement. It’s a smart economic decision.

    They charge higher rates as the stick, then offer wellness programs as the carrot: if you attend these classes and lose weight, we’ll lower your rates. That assumes the fat people just need some encouragement and training and then they’ll stop being fat.

  9. Tuck

    “The lard is good…”

    The lard they use in those rodent diets is at least 30% linoleic acid… The harmful fat (in large amounts) that makes corn oil and soybean oil bad for you.

    What that study shows, if that’s the diet they’re using, is that linoleic acid will kill you if consumed in excess. That finding I’ll agree with. hydrogenated linoleic acid is what Crisco is made from.

    Good point; they’re probably not giving them the natural lard.

  10. Bushrat

    They are trying to counteract paleo before it even becomes mainstream by getting kids to believe caveman ate low fat high grain

  11. Jeanne

    One of the sickest and saddest people I ever met in the nursing home where I work was a woman whose cholesterol was 50. She had cellulitis in both legs, was depressed and agoraphobic, but, hey, her doctors must have thought they were doing something right! Her cholesterol was spectacular!
    I thought she was proof that very low cholesterol was verrrrry bad for you.

    I’m surprised she was even alive with that level.

  12. LaurieLM

    Paleo diet and autism

    Hi, I find it unimaginably depressing to be reminded about the sadness, poor prognosis and frustration of autism. I have my limits, so I usually position myself so I can tune out stories about it if I feel I’m not up to handling, what I think is its UNNECESSARY, diet-deficiency-induced, occurrence. I was helping my parents last night and my Dad enjoys watching the news and I found couldn’t get away from this particular story.
    It was on the national news and they were lamenting the increases in autism and its ‘mysterious nature’ and no one knows what causes it. I wanted to SCREAM. It’s deficiencies of cholesterol-sulfate during pregnancy and continued lack in infancy and childhood that is most likely the cause. And the mitigation of this epidemic might be the simple remedy by including more dietary animal fat, protein (and its unremarked high sulfate content) and more sunlight exposure and almost more importantly consumption of zero grains- forevermore. The Mom they interviewed talked about the devastation she felt when her child was diagnosed- of course. Is there any worse diagnosis? I can’t imagine there are many.
    My wise daughter reminds me I cannot help everyone. But I suffer when I see others suffer. Some people, and I work with one, have tried ” a gluten free diet” with their autistic child, and conclude (after a month or two)- ‘they don’t work’. This is such a tragedy…….
    Oh well, I just needed to vent. Laurie

    Vent away. I feel the same about what lousy diets are doing to kids.

  13. Howard

    If you are looking for the spec sheet for the Atkins-bashing Purina Test Diet rat chow (more accurately called crapinabag), just type in “5TJP” into a good search engine like Bing or DuckDuckGo. Or you can even find it using a second-rate search engine like Google.

    Hey, Tom! I’m really looking forward to seeing your LC celebrity roast in May!

    I hope it’s funny. Trying to roast people you don’t know is a bit of a challenge.

    1. Howard

      Oh, it was. You did a fabulous job.

      I regret that I didn’t get to interview you this year. If I get to go again next year, I would definitely like to do a video interview with you.

      Any time, Howard.

  14. Christi

    This is a little off topic, but have you seen the news this week where the Government officials are trying to “pretty up” the pink slime? Touring plants, and then exclaiming “It’s Meat!” and my favorite was, “It’s low fat, so it’s better for you-you people just don’t get it!” Well if they want to eat that crap, they can go ahead. How many people are really going to fall for this? I can only hope that the damage has already been done, and this stuff will be off the market, period!

    Chemically treated AND low-fat! What’s not to like?

  15. Wiz

    Just thought you might find this amusing…

    My office had a “Heart Healthy Breakfast Social” to support some American Heart Association 10k run. The heart healthy foods included:
    Nonfat yogurt with fresh berries
    Bagels and cream cheese
    Cheerios and Special K with skim milk
    Granola bars

    So much wrong with this! Anyway, people were totally jealous of my sausage/egg/spinach breakfast casserole.

    They did the same thing at the company where I work. Lots of people were worrying about their cholesterol afterwards.

  16. Cor Aquilonis

    No one expects you to eat raw mammoth brains, or even thistle, twigs, or your hamster.

    I don’t think paleo-persons ate their pets – after all, they’re the ones we have to to thank for dogs.

    Also, way to promote the “desperate savages” stereotype. Thistle? Don’t you mean gourmet food item “the artichoke?” Also, it’s cute how they shoot for the most unappetizing (to the western palate) examples of paleo eating, while they ignore things like steaks cooked over the campfire, clambakes on the beach, berries picked straight from the bush, and so on.

    Other portions of the lesson plan explain all the great advances that sprung from farming (did you know farming gave us GOVERNMENT? How fabulous!), so they weren’t aiming to make a paleo life look good.

  17. Linda

    Our governor here in Iowa is on a tirade to stop this negative on-slaught against pink slime. I guess it does provide jobs and of course it brings down the cost of ground beef at the store.
    I’ve decided to get my KitchenAid mixer back out and use my grinder attachment and start making my own fricken hamburger.
    I really don’t need ammonia in my cheeseburgers……………

    Let the governor eat all the pink slime he wants.

  18. Darren Doyle

    That’s the first I’ve heard about the PCSK9 blockers… so I immediately went out and looked it up. For anyone interested:

    PCSK9 is a protease (it breaks down proteins) that acts on the LDL Receptors (LDLR). LDLR is especially prevalent in the liver which has a primary function of recycling or removing cholesterol from the blood.

    The normal function of LDLR is to bind to LDL and bring it into the cell. After that, the receptor is recycled back to the surface of the cell to start the process over. When PCSK9 is bound to LDLR, instead of getting sent back to the surface of the cell to continue functioning, LDLR is broken down thus diminishing the cells capacity to absorb LDL. It is this function of PCSK9 that is getting blocked with these new drugs.

    Scientist 1: Hey, there’s a great idea! In addition to crippling the body’s ability to produce a substance required by every single cell in the body (and blocking the production of a couple of other critical substances to boot …we’ll just sweep that fact under the rug), let’s also cripple the body’s ability to keep available what little cholesterol remains!

    Scientist 2: Brilliant!

    What this makes me think is that, when your cholesterol supply is getting lower than the body requires to function and repair itself properly (thanks to statins), it has a mechanism that tells the liver, “Hey, we need this LDL! Stop taking it out of the blood!” Doctors can now use this new superpower … uh… medicine to make the liver respond with, “I’m sorry, what?” . Thus, the potential crisis caused by your body’s attempt to mitigate the damage done to it by harmful external forces is once again averted; The Doctors can fly away back to the land of make-believe and sunshine, and sleep tight knowing that their miserable patients must be doing something else to cause all their suffering (because they are fat, lazy, and stupid, after all).

    I shudder to think of the damage a drug like this could cause in the long term as your body begins starving for cholesterol at the cellular level.

    We can only hope the clinical trials are huge failures.

  19. Digger

    a)As far as Pepsi, It’s worse than just the sugary drink. They own
    Pepsi-Cola Brands
    Frito-Lay Brands
    Tropicana Brands
    Quaker Brands
    Gatorade Brands
    All of which are very healthy.
    2) And not only will those people taking the LDL drugs be impotent, sore, tired, and cranky,there’s a chance they will also be dead. I think the last 2 cholesterol drugs that did exactly what they were supposed to do caused significant mortality over the placebos.

    Sure, they might be dead, but their LAB SCORES will look great!

  20. Beowulf

    I stock groceries part time, and the cereal aisle is the WORST when it comes to nutritional [false] advertising. Everything is promoting itself as “a good source of calcium,” “high fiber,” “contains whole grains,” and other brightly colored pitches. They’re pretty much the same garbage re-worked in various proportions with different crazy dyes and flavoring agents.

    I’ve worked at a school for years and never touched the school lunch. I virtually always bring one from home, and if I happen to forget, fasting for a few extra hours makes better nutritional sense.

    They should just cereal with the cupcakes. Pretty much the same thing.

  21. David

    From the article “One reason might be the role of fat in inducing oxidative stress and creating free radicals, which are highly reactive atoms and molecules that damage DNA and cellular walls, ultimately killing heart muscle cells.”

    I have never heard of saturated fats doing this.

    Exactly. Trans fats and corn oil, sure.

  22. johnny

    Attention researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Based on your rat study I propose an additional test:

    Grab an obese rat and go stand in front of a full length mirror. Can you spot any difference between the obese rat and yourselves?

    Most people I know would spot a difference.

  23. Peggy Holloway

    I’ve mentioned several times the employee discount incentive program at Whole Foods – you can have perfect markers for BMI, HDL, and triglycerides, be a non-smoker, but…if your total cholesterol is over 150 you can’t get an increase on your basic discount. Who has cholesterol below 150? At least, without having a really low HDL. Of course, they encourage their employees to go vegan, or at least vegetarian and sell a lot of absolute junk. My son works in prepared foods and it is difficult for him to sell a lot of those items in good conscience. He does take every opportunity to dissuade people from being certain things if they tell him they have diabetes or pre-diabetes. He is trying to get transferred to seafood, where he feels more comfortable being a “product pusher.”

    I wonder if Whole Foods has actually tracked long-term disease rates for people with cholesterol below 150.

  24. Julia

    Heh. I can see it now…in our school text books. Illustrations of cavemen walking into bagel shops. It’s only a matter of time…

    And warming their bagels over a fire.

  25. Erik

    If cavemen didn’t eat blue dye, how do you explain the existence of Fruity Pebbles cereal? There’s a caveman right on the box.

    That’s probably what convinced the lesson planners that the stone-age diet included cereal.

  26. Mike W

    That obese rat study caught my eye, too. And I have to admit I seriously considered the possibility that maybe an already-obese rat (or human) really could have more heart attacks on an LCHF diet.

    But in my digging around I found basically what you found about the rat chow. Steve Lloyd, the UAB professor who presented the rat results in Chicago, said it’s a followup to a study he published in 2008. And in that paper, yep, he says he used the Purina “Atkins-style” TestDiet. So I think it’s safe to assume he’s still using the 5TJP formula that Howard mentions above. 5TJP has its fats evenly divided between lard (ok), milkfat (ok) and Crisco (wtf!).

    Crisco has lowered its trans fat levels in recent years, but it still contains partially and fully hydrogenated vegetable oils. No way can you feed rats a diet that’s about 20% Crisco, and say with a straight face that you’re simulating the Atkins diet. The study was worthless, IMO, and the headlines about it were irresponsible journalism.

    The 30% of the diet from corn starch probably doesn’t help matters either.

  27. Gilana

    I remember seeing that Krave cereal in the store. To the best of my recollection, it is a crunchy chocolate cereal shell filled with some sort of chocolate cream-like substance. Or, that’s how it appeared on the box. I would have begged for that cereal when I was a kid. My mother would have given in maybe once every couple of months, and stuck to Cheerios, Raisin Bran, and Rice Krispies the rest of the time. She thought she was doing the right thing. Every morning I ate a big bowl of “non sugary cereal,” and then at school, at about 9:30, my stomach would start to rumble and I’d be in a foul mood and feeling just horrible. Every morning. The only thing that worked at all was simply not eating breakfast. It is actually a little bit painful every time I realize how different things could have been.

    P.S. Please post more puppy pictures.

    You’ve got to love puppy pictures. I’ll keep ’em coming. Coco and Misha are already much bigger and heavier than when we got them. I’m picking them up for hugs while I still can.

  28. Lori

    “Who has cholesterol below 150?”

    I do, with an HDL over 60. And I’m from a family full of diabetes, obesity and stroke.

    Even on my previous diet, which was quite a bit better than the SAD, I had health problems, weight gain and nutritional deficiencies–so a decent lipid panel doesn’t always indicate good health. I’ve fiddled around enough with my diet to know a vegetarian diet would kill me. Shopping the seafood selection at Whole Foods sounds a lot better.

    Don’t forget the most important issue: sure, you may have had health problems, but your lipid panel would make a doctor feel good about himself.

  29. Becky

    As an anthropologist, that “curriculum” makes me go “uggg”. Clearly, they don’t have anyone who knows anything writing that crap.

    The point of that lesson plan seems to be to praise farming and grains.

  30. Nowhereman

    “They probably used rats that bred to be obese.”

    After reading the Axen and Axen paper in the link provided so kindly by Makro, I have to wonder since the food provided was so heavily laced with transfatty acids. No pun intended and no intended insults to rats, but I smell one.

    It’s outrageous that they’re essentially considering all fats the same. Corn oil and butter are totally different fats, with totally different effects on our cells.

  31. Walter B

    “Krave”. A good name but not as good as “Chocolate Covered Sugar Bombs”. I was in a plaza where there was a dessert stand and the guy running it was offering free samples, just like a heroin pusher.

    As New Mexico’s slogan, “Land of Enchantment”, no thanks, I really , really, prefer not to be enchanted.

    Sugar is a drug and people don’t notice because almost everyone is maintaining.

    Too true.

  32. Craig

    Remember Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal? I was walking through a grocery store yesterday and saw a large endcap display for a new frosted version. The top of the box proudly boasted that “whole grain” was listed as the first ingredient.

    I’m sure that makes parents feel good when they give their kids a bowl of it covered with skim milk along with a glass of orange juice.

    Of course it does. A friend of Chareva’s some years back bragged about her sons were on a low-fat diet … as she handed them jelly sandwiches on white bread.

  33. Laura

    Reading about this new cholesterol drug reminded me of something.

    There was a short story I read many years ago; I think by Stephen King, but I can’t be sure, where people had taken this ‘miracle’ drug that caused the body to use up all its own fat. Problem was, that after the body ate all its own fat, they were forced to start eating other people to keep their fat content up.

    I sure hope that the scientists don’t cause something like that to happen with their messing around.

    On another note, I think Dr. Lustig is going to be on 60 minutes tomorrow night to talk about sugar.

    That’s a positive step.

  34. Janelle

    Thanks, Peggy, for reinforcing my Whole Foods hate. They push a vegan diet while demonizing fat employees–PLUS they reward unhealthy cholesterol levels. I’m pretty sure I can find somewhere else to buy over-priced food.

  35. Bernice

    At the Pepsico office my husband works in, there are free fountain drinks offered, as well as a 10% discount on Pepsico products.
    Can’t even comment on the other stories- it’s all too depressing. Pardon me while I go eat some bacon to lift my mood.

    Free sodas, but we charge higher rates for the people who have the medical conditions that can be caused by sodas. Makes sense.

  36. Charlie

    This is was “new” about heart disease; it seem it has all to do with inflammation, antibodies and oxidation they are now developing a vaccine.

    It was in the early 1990s that identification of antibodies against oxidised low density lipoproteins (LDL) in artery plaques, first gave rise to the concept that CVD might be an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks oxidised LDL. To test this hypothesis Nilsson and colleagues conducted experiments immunizing rabbits with high blood cholesterol with their own oxidised LDL. “We had anticipated that immunization would result in the atherosclerosis becoming more aggressive, but to our initial disappointment found that immunization appeared to be activating protection against atherosclerosis. At the time this made no sense to us at all,” he recalled.

    The team subsequently discovered that through serendipitous use of an adjuvant (agent added to vaccines to increase the immune response) they had in fact stumbled upon a way to shift the T cells from pro-inflammatory Th1 responses towards protective Th2 and regulatory T cell responses. “This had the overall effect of dampening down inflammation and reducing the plaque severity,” said Nilsson.

    Since it is impractical to develop vaccines based on oxidised LDL (due to difficulty of standardising the particle) Nilsson looked to identify structures within the oxidised LDL that triggered the desired protective response. Working with Prediman Shah, from Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute (Los Angeles, CA), the team screened a number of different apolipoprotein (apo) B peptides (the only protein permanently associated with LDL) sequences. The team were able to identify three 20 amino acid long apo B peptides, which when formulated with a carrier and adjuvant, reduced development of atherosclerosis in mice by 60 to 70%.

    The resulting CVX-210 vaccine, currently in development by CardioVax, involves one of these three amino acid fragments (residues 3136 to 3155). CardioVax are currently awaiting FDA clearance to start phase 1 clinical trials with the vaccine, which will be given subcutaneously. Also in development is a second vaccine using the same amino acid sequence that has been formulated in a way that makes it possible to give intranasally.

    Further along the development pathway, and already in clinical trials, is an altogether different immune approach involving injection of antibodies directly targeting oxidised LDL. “The rationale is that since oxidised LDL plays a major role in the development of atherosclerotic plaques and harmful inflammatory processes, directly targeting oxidised LDL should prevent plaque formation and reduce inflammation,” explained Nilsson.

  37. Dori Wilson

    My first thought is how did they get the test subjects “obese” in the first place? I mean, since it isn’t a “natural” occurence in wild rats… or is it? I know those suckers in New York get pretty big but I’d be willing to bet they are living off of the SAD, it’s so plentiful in the garbage! So the question becomes: Was the heart disease induced by the diet they ate to become obese?” What was the time frame of these heart attacks our oversize rodent friends experienced? I’m sure you thought of all of these questions and more Tom and when you get your hands on the actual study, we will be reading another ‘Bad Science’ post.

    There are so many factors involved in what can cause heart disease, it is ludicrous to focus on one possible component. Take for instance, what type of high fats were they feeding the animals? So healthy processed vegetable oil?? And speaking of… I’m tired of the crap they put in our food!! Bought a fresh cucumber salad from the deli last night thinking it would be good for lunch today… I’m munching cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes in a vinegar, oil, dill mix and as I’m reading the ingredients on the top of the container, after the veggie listing the first thing I see is “Soya Oil” ARGHHHH!! Really?? They couldn’t even use olive oil? Damn this label reading habit I’ve developed!

    They fed the rats junk oils.

  38. Carrie M

    I watched Fat Head a while back, started eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, cut carbs, and dropped my triglycerides in less than half. lol Now if I can just convince my mom (my dad is on board!). 🙂

  39. Paul L in MA

    I thought it’s not so bad or evil for health insurers to take known risk factors into account when pricing policies. It’s just rationality. Safe-driver discounts are not seen as outrageous in the car insurance industry.

    But they ought to have correct theories about what the risk factors are — and you would THINK they have great financial motivation to get the theory right.

    Meaning, I wouldn’t like to see them charging more for “high” total cholesterol or BMI which are imprecise measures of risk.

    On the other hand, why don’t we all agree that if you smoke, you know damn well you should quit, and we who don’t, object to subsidizing your smoking related health problems which are not random misfortunes. Quit or pay higher premiums.

    That’s what bugs me. It’s not as if most people know how to lose weight but don’t bother. Most fat people hate being fat and have tried diet after diet.

  40. Paul L in MA

    Regarding paleo… I lately read _Catching Fire_ by Richard Wrangham. Have you? Short message: PALEO IS NOT RAW.

    There is a whole chapter on the evidence of the wrongness of the raw-foodist fad for human health (even omnivorous versions). We humans are the animal uniquely evolved for dependency on cooked food, since Homo erectus even.

    Chimpanzees labor at CHEWING several hours each day! It is COOKING that allowed the hunter gatherers the time for sustained hunts in the first place — and, for relaxed story-telling by the fire.

    Wrangham also says hunter-gatherers also developed manners for orderly sharing of food.

    Grok says, don’t narrate with your mouth full.

    I did read it. Excellent book. It cured me of any temptation to try a raw diet.

  41. Walter B

    Agriculture did begin in the stone age. Neolithic is called the “New Stone Age”. It was very short in some place compared to the Old Stone Age, but persisted in the New Guinea well into the last century.

    I’m pretty sure they weren’t making bagels.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *