From The News …

      143 Comments on From The News …

Interesting items from my inbox and elsewhere …

We’re under-statinated!

Yup, according to this article about a Harvard study, even more people should be on statins:

A new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers has found that it would be cost-effective to treat 48-67% of all adults aged 40-75 in the U.S. with cholesterol-lowering statins. By expanding the current recommended treatment guidelines and boosting the percentage of adults taking statins, an additional 161,560 cardiovascular-related events could be averted, according to the researchers.

Well, why the heck stop at 67 percent? The way these guidelines keep expanding the definition of “at risk,” you’ll soon be considered at risk for a heart attack the day you’re born.  Best start adding statins to baby formula just to be sure.  I’m reminded of something Dr. Malcom Kendrick wrote in his terrific book Doctoring Data:

The boundaries that define illness have narrowed inexorably. When I first graduated from medical school in 1981, a high cholesterol level was anything above 7.5 mmol/L. Over the years, this level has fallen and fallen to the point where a ‘healthy’ level is now 5.0 mmol/L. I suspect it will soon be 4.0 mmol/L. Anything above this figure, and you have an increased risk of heart disease – allegedly. Considering that over 85% of the adult population in the western world has a cholesterol level higher than 5.0 mmol/L this is a quite amazing concept. I will admit that I have never been that brilliant at statistics. However, it seems to me that attempting to claim that more than 80% of people are at high risk of heart disease stretches the concept of ‘average’ to the breaking point – and well beyond.

Back to the article about the Harvard study:

“We found that the new guidelines represent good value for money spent on healthcare, and that more lenient treatment thresholds might be justifiable on cost-effectiveness grounds even accounting for side-effects such as diabetes and myalgia,” said Ankur Pandya, assistant professor of health decision science at Harvard Chan School and lead author of the study.

Yeah, what’s a little muscle pain, memory loss or diabetes when you might reduce your risk of a heart attack by teensy-weensy percentage?

They also found that the optimal treatment threshold was particularly sensitive to patient preferences for taking a pill daily, which suggests that the decision to initiate statins for primary CVD prevention should be made jointly by patients and physicians.

When your physician sits down with you to make that joint decision, I suggest you give the answer I gave when a doctor suggested a statin for my (ahem) “elevated” cholesterol:

“I wouldn’t take a statin unless you held a gun to my head and I was convinced you’d pull the trigger.”

Fat makes you feel full … and makes you fat … and … say what?

Pronouncements by nutritionists often make me want to bang my head on my desk. Others just leaving me scratching my head in wonder. A reader sent me a link to an article about avocadoes which includes this gem from a nutritionist:

As with many other fruits, avocados’ primary risks are related to overconsumption. “Consuming too many avocados may lead to weight gain because of the fat content, even though it is an unsaturated fat,” said Flores. “It can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, since fat is digested slower and leaves you feeling fuller longer than [do] other nutrients.”

Go ahead, try to wrap your head around that one. I double-dog dare ya. In just two sentences we learned that 1) fat makes you feel full longer than other nutrients, but 2) fat also makes you fat. So I guess the key to weight loss is to eat foods that don’t make you feel full. Oh, and 3) feeling full leads to nutrient deficiencies.

Uh … uh … because you stop eating before you eat enough to get your nutrients? But then you gain weight?

I’m starting to think every time a nutritionist leaves a crowded room, the average IQ goes up by at least 10 points.

Soy sorry about the soybean oil.

Somebody get Paul Newman on the phone and convince him to change the formula for those Newman’s Own salad dressings. A new study reported in an online article suggests soybean oil induces weight gain:

Sugar has been blasted in recent years for its link to obesity and a slew of health problems, but now experts say the food world has a new problem child: Soybean oil.

Soybean oil, considered a “healthier” alternative to some oils that contain more saturated fat, actually leads to more weight gain than fructose, according to new research on mice that was published in the journal PLOS One.

Okay, how many scientists and health organizations have to announce that saturated fat isn’t actually bad for us before we stop seeing products labeled as “healthier” because they’re low in saturated fat? A hundred? A few thousand? All of them? Anyway …

For their research, scientists divided the mice into four groups and fed them each a different diet that contained 40 percent fat (similar to the average American diet). One diet used coconut oil (which largely consists of saturated fat), another used half coconut oil and half soybean oil (which primarily contains polyunsaturated, or “good” fat). The third and fourth diets had fructose added.

All four diets had the same number of calories, and the mice were fed the same amount of food.

Here’s what researchers discovered: Mice that were on the soybean oil diet gained 12 percent more weight than those that ate a fructose diet, and 25 percent more weight than mice on the coconut oil diet.

The mice on the soybean oil diet also had larger fat deposits in their bodies and fatty livers, and were more likely to have developed diabetes and insulin resistance. Mice on the fructose diet didn’t get off easy, either — they had similar issues, but to a less severe degree.

It’s only a mouse study, so let’s not get too excited. We can’t conclude that the effects on human beings would be the same. But here’s what I find most interesting: the ol’ calories-in/calories-out theory sure didn’t hold up in this study, did it? Yes, these are mice, but we’re told over and over that CICO is A LAW OF PHYSICS. Mice aren’t immune from the laws of physics.

Neither are humans, of course. If you gain weight, you absolutely, positively consumed more calories than you burned. But what this study demonstrated (again) is that the quality of the calories consumed affects the number of calories burned. To repeat a quote from the article:

All four diets had the same number of calories, and the mice were fed the same amount of food.

So only an idiot would believe the mice on the soybean-oil diet gained 25% more weight because of calories alone.

It could also be a matter of calories alone, certified dietitian-nutritionist Jessica Cording tells Yahoo Health. Soybean oil is a fat, and fats contain nine calories per gram, she says. However, carbohydrates such as fructose contain four calories per gram.

Every time a nutritionist leaves a crowded room …

This thing will stop your weight from ballooning?

Up, up and away …. or down, down and in your belly. A balloon is the latest, greatest weapon in the Just Eat Less! battlefront, according to this article:

The FDA has approved a gastric balloon to treat obesity, adding to a fat-busting device arsenal that includes gastric banding and a vagal nerve stimulator.

The ReShape dual balloon system is indicated for obese adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 40, and at least one other obesity-related comorbidity such as hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

It’s placed into the stomach using an endoscope, and once it’s inflated it is meant to diminish obesity by triggering feelings of fullness, “or by other mechanisms that are not yet understood,” according to the FDA press release.

It gives me great confidence in the FDA to hear that they’re approving medical devices whose mechanisms are not yet understood. But I totally understand that “triggering feelings of fullness” method for losing weight. I feel full after my meals. But those meals don’t include sugars or grains (or soybean oil) that induce weight gain.  In fact, I’ve lost weight while eating meals that made me feel full.

So what kind of dramatic weight loss does the up, up and away balloon induce?

In a 326-patient clinical trial, patients on the device lost an average of 14.3 pounds over 6 months, compared with 7.2 pounds for those in the control group.

Hmm, let’s do a little simple math here. The balloon-belly treatment group lost 14.3 pounds, while the control group lost 7.2 pounds. The trial lasted six months. Okay, hang on … subtract, divide … WOW!! That balloon was responsible for an additional weight loss of 1.18 pounds per month!

I think it would do more good if they filled it with helium and gave it a slow leak. Then people could at least sound like the munchkins from the Wizard of Oz when they say, “I walked around with an inflated balloon in my belly all month, and I only lost one extra pound? What the @#$% is the point of that?!”

Rice not nice to teeth?

This isn’t from an article; it’s from a book. When I commute to Nashville or spend five hours behind a mower cutting the back pastures, I listen to books. The one I just finished is Helmet For My Pillow, by Robert Leckie. If you saw the terrific HBO series The Pacific, Leckie was one of the marines featured. The audiobook is read by James Badge Dale, the same actor who portrayed Leckie in the series, which is a nice touch. You can listen to part of the book and then watch an episode of the series (as I did last week), and you’re hearing the same character speaking with the same voice.

Anyway, in Helmet For My Pillow, Leckie describes how after a battle, some marines would go prospecting in the mouths of dead Japanese soldiers. Why? Because at the time, Japanese dentists filled cavities with gold – and according to Leckie, some of the Japanese soldiers had a treasure of gold in their mouths. Lots and lots of cavities.

The Japanese weren’t eating lots of sugar in the 1940s – even today, the Japanese consume less than half as much sugar per capita as Americans. But they were certainly eating plenty of white rice in the years before WWII. In fact, on Guadalcanal, the U.S. navy was forced to withdraw for awhile, which left the marines stranded without a food supply. They ended up living on rations captured from the Japanese — which mostly consisted of rice.

So I’m thinking whatever its status as a safe starch, perhaps white rice isn’t so great for keeping a pearly smile.

Good thing I don’t much like the stuff.

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143 thoughts on “From The News …

  1. Barbara

    When my doctor prescribed a statin for me I took them for 2 weeks; then went back and told him there was no way in ‘HELL’ I would take them any longer. I felt horrid! At an early time I also refused to be medicated for being “pre-diabetic”. Since then he’s given up on me, probably because I’m intelligent and stubborn. I’ve been trying to get my sister to stop taking statins, she is more brainwashed and not as stubborn. BTW, I changed my diet and am no longer “pre-diabetic”.

    Reply
  2. j

    “Best start adding statins to baby formula just to be sure”

    Maybe theyll just add it to tap water…

    “..perhaps white rice isn’t so great for keeping a pearly smile”

    Starchy/sugary carbs are the main cause of tooth decay. Imagine that.. it’s like we were meant to eat low starch diets..

    What was the saying? ..nature isn’t stupid?

    Reply
    1. Bret

      Starchy/sugary carbs are the main cause of tooth decay.

      Not quite accurate unless you add “refined” at the beginning, j. Of all people, Dr. Weston Price debunked this popular belief in Chapter 16 of Nutrition & Physical Degeneration (link), pointing out that many of the primitive peoples he had studied “have their teeth smeared with starches almost constantly and make no effort whatsoever to clean their teeth. In spite of this they have no tooth decay.”

      I think the real difference is in the freshness, unrefined nature, resultant micronutrient wholeness, and other quality contrasts between the starches those primitive peoples ate and the starches most westerners eat today. The latter are highly refined, highly concentrated, stripped of micronutrient wholeness, and fortified with iron. Big differences, but it still is possible for we western folk to eat starches and avoid tooth decay…just difficult.

      Reply
      1. Tom Naughton

        Agreed; it’s the refined carbs that are the problem. Dr. Andrew Weil distinguishes between cellular and acellular carbohydrates. The distinction makes sense and perhaps explains why native people who live largely on sweet potatoes or other cellular carbs don’t have the tooth decay and metabolic issues we associate with high-carb diets in the industrial world.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/carbohydrates-weight-loss_b_1937312.html

        http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03415/Using-The-Carbohydrate-Density-Index.html

        Reply
        1. j

          “..add “refined” at the beginning..”

          “..it’s the refined carbs that are the problem”

          Fair enough..thanks for the links and explanations.

          Also, found this:
          “..foods with living cells will have their low carbohydrate density “locked in” until their cell walls are breached by digestive processes..”

          And I suppose this explains the white rice issue:
          “Grains themselves are also highly dense, dry stores of starch designed for rapid macroscopic enzymic mobilization during germination..”
          (link)

          By the way, I eat starches like white rice and tubers..mainly because it’s an inexpensive source of energy for weightlifters. I do (for the most part) restrict highly processed and refined sources..especially gluten sources..

          Reply
    2. Mike G

      Hey – that is no joke. My primary care doc said years ago, “I think they should add statins to the drinking water…” When I proceeded to educate him about the mechanism of statins, and how awful the side effects were, he told me I was being “..sold a bill of goods…” I responded that it was the doctors who were being sold a bill of goods by the drug reps (the young females who look like college cheerleaders that bring them lunch). Let’s just say the conversation didn’t end well.

      Reply
      1. Nowhereman10

        And remember, this is nothing new. Most people forget that cigarette companies up into the 1950s actually sent free samples to doctors and even had doctors recommend their patients take up smoking. Now of course people know better, but many people were hooked on smoking and suffered the horrible health-related effects as a result.

        Now I think its the statins and the low-fat paradigm is what took its place and only now are people starting to realize them for the monsters they actually are.

        Reply
  3. Barbara

    When my doctor prescribed a statin for me I took them for 2 weeks; then went back and told him there was no way in ‘HELL’ I would take them any longer. I felt horrid! At an early time I also refused to be medicated for being “pre-diabetic”. Since then he’s given up on me, probably because I’m intelligent and stubborn. I’ve been trying to get my sister to stop taking statins, she is more brainwashed and not as stubborn. BTW, I changed my diet and am no longer “pre-diabetic”.

    Reply
  4. Stephen Richardson

    I used to be afraid of statins but now that somebody from Harvard says everyone should take them, I don’t want to miss out.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Here’s what you do: get some whole grains, pour olive oil all over them, then swallow them with your statin. According to Harvard, you’ll live forever.

      Reply
  5. Bruce

    “I’m starting to think every time a nutritionist leaves a crowded room, the average IQ goes up by at least 10 points.”

    And if they walk into a room full of politicians, it’s like a black hole of stupidity.

    Reply
  6. j

    “Best start adding statins to baby formula just to be sure”

    Maybe theyll just add it to tap water…

    “..perhaps white rice isn’t so great for keeping a pearly smile”

    Starchy/sugary carbs are the main cause of tooth decay. Imagine that.. it’s like we were meant to eat low starch diets..

    What was the saying? ..nature isn’t stupid?

    Reply
    1. Bret

      Starchy/sugary carbs are the main cause of tooth decay.

      Not quite accurate unless you add “refined” at the beginning, j. Of all people, Dr. Weston Price debunked this popular belief in Chapter 16 of Nutrition & Physical Degeneration (link), pointing out that many of the primitive peoples he had studied “have their teeth smeared with starches almost constantly and make no effort whatsoever to clean their teeth. In spite of this they have no tooth decay.”

      I think the real difference is in the freshness, unrefined nature, resultant micronutrient wholeness, and other quality contrasts between the starches those primitive peoples ate and the starches most westerners eat today. The latter are highly refined, highly concentrated, stripped of micronutrient wholeness, and fortified with iron. Big differences, but it still is possible for we western folk to eat starches and avoid tooth decay…just difficult.

      Reply
      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        Agreed; it’s the refined carbs that are the problem. Dr. Andrew Weil distinguishes between cellular and acellular carbohydrates. The distinction makes sense and perhaps explains why native people who live largely on sweet potatoes or other cellular carbs don’t have the tooth decay and metabolic issues we associate with high-carb diets in the industrial world.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/carbohydrates-weight-loss_b_1937312.html

        http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03415/Using-The-Carbohydrate-Density-Index.html

        Reply
        1. j

          “..add “refined” at the beginning..”

          “..it’s the refined carbs that are the problem”

          Fair enough..thanks for the links and explanations.

          Also, found this:
          “..foods with living cells will have their low carbohydrate density “locked in” until their cell walls are breached by digestive processes..”

          And I suppose this explains the white rice issue:
          “Grains themselves are also highly dense, dry stores of starch designed for rapid macroscopic enzymic mobilization during germination..”
          (link)

          By the way, I eat starches like white rice and tubers..mainly because it’s an inexpensive source of energy for weightlifters. I do (for the most part) restrict highly processed and refined sources..especially gluten sources..

          Reply
            1. j

              Yea I think, for athletic people anyway, there’s success to be found on many lengths of the carb intake spectrum..
              I think Ive traversed through its entirety during the last several years. Im just at a point where I dont want to do the high fat thing, and I dont enjoy stuffing down high amounts of protein or greens lol..
              So for me that leaves potent carbs from starch and/or fruit to complement a moderate protein/fat intake…no complaints..mmv

            2. Duck Dodgers

              In my recent research, I’ve come across a lot of evidence that whole wheat was widely regarded as the healthiest and most nourishing vegetable or food. From the time of Hippocrates to prominent 19th century physicians and scientists wrote about how health-promoting wheat was. Wheat was worshipped by ancient cultures (see ancient god, Ceres). Wheat wasn’t even controversial until wheat started to get refined.

              In 1892, Erastus Wiman published an open later blaming rising modern health issues on the change from whole wheat to white flour.

              http://www.jstor.org/stable/25102331

              Speaking of tooth decay. Even Wiman observed that dental issues had increased since white flour became fashionable. Dental issues in ancient grain-eating societies were almost always due to attrition, the grinding away of enamel, which led to abscesses and cavities. It was a very different form of tooth decay from what we get now.

              I’ll keep digging.

              Cheers

            3. Paul M

              Wheat was different since before Hippocrates time. Back then Einkorn Wheat was first cultivated in the Middle East and was a 14-chromosome grain. All of today’s modern wheat grain is a 6-chromosome dwarf hybrid. Commercial agriculture much prefers dwarf wheat because it produces much better yields. As you might guess Einkorn wheat has many nutritional health benefits unlike today’s hybrid form.

              Brown rice may have more nutrition and less total starch per-weight than white rice, but brown rice carries with it the anti-nutrients phytates and lectins, which prevents nutrient absorption anyway. White rice has no anti-nutrients. Also, like peeled cooked potatoes, white rice can be turned into a resistant starch by cooking it as you normally would and then adding fat (like coconut oil) and refrigerating it for 12 hours.

            4. Duck Dodgers

              The antinutrients appear to protect us from absorbing too much iron—phytates and other antinutrients are considered “antioxidants” when consumed by those in developed nations, according to the scientific literature. Besides, man does not live on bread or rice alone (i.e. nobody gets all their nutrition from those staples).

              Also, Einkorn was a weedy admixture that played second fiddle to Emmer wheat. Einkorn was less desirable because it mainly eaten as porridge and it made a miserable bread—it didn’t have enough gluten. The Romans went from eating mainly Emmer to later adopting common bread wheat. (Emmer and Spelt are often confused in the literature). Interestingly, up until at least the mid-1800s, gluten was considered to be the most desirable part of wheat.

              We investigated this and other aspects of wheat history in a recent post:

              How Wheat Went From Superfood To Liability

              Bread was considered to be the healthiest and most important food you could eat, right up until modern milling/baking/refining practices appeared. After that, it was all downhill. Borlaug’s modern hybrid came long after wheat became a liability.

              Cheers

    2. Mike G

      Hey – that is no joke. My primary care doc said years ago, “I think they should add statins to the drinking water…” When I proceeded to educate him about the mechanism of statins, and how awful the side effects were, he told me I was being “..sold a bill of goods…” I responded that it was the doctors who were being sold a bill of goods by the drug reps (the young females who look like college cheerleaders that bring them lunch). Let’s just say the conversation didn’t end well.

      Reply
      1. Nowhereman10

        And remember, this is nothing new. Most people forget that cigarette companies up into the 1950s actually sent free samples to doctors and even had doctors recommend their patients take up smoking. Now of course people know better, but many people were hooked on smoking and suffered the horrible health-related effects as a result.

        Now I think its the statins and the low-fat paradigm is what took its place and only now are people starting to realize them for the monsters they actually are.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          “More doctors smoke Camels than any other brand.” Yup, there were ads like that back in the day.

          Reply
      1. jChris

        If that were the case, tooth decay would’ve been highest for our paleo ancestors right? But I thought that fossil evidence indicated tooth decay wasn’t really widespread until we developed agriculture and starchy grains (and maybe larger access to cultivated fruit?) became a large percentage of our diets.

        Think about it, do you really think humans evolved to need toothbrushes and toothpaste to keep their teeth reasonably healthy over a typical lifetime? I’m not arguing against brushing but surely it’s just a compensation for modern unhealthy dietary habits.

        Reply
  7. Stephen Richardson

    I used to be afraid of statins but now that somebody from Harvard says everyone should take them, I don’t want to miss out.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Here’s what you do: get some whole grains, pour olive oil all over them, then swallow them with your statin. According to Harvard, you’ll live forever.

      Reply
  8. Walter Bushell

    Why it’s just obvious that if people eat more avocado they might by feeling full eat less “heart healthy” grains and thus become malnourished. (Some mal-nutritionists seem to have given up the fight for whole grains or at least whole wheat.)

    Perhaps this is true for people basing their diet on nutrient scarce foods such as grains, and avocados are the primary addition to the diet. Context is king

    Maybe they feel that if you are not hungry all the time you are not following the proper diet and hence are malnourished.

    Oh, and notice all those books touting “Superfoods” and none of them touting beef liver?? Remarkable blindspot.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Yup. If you’re looking for nutrient density, the grains those wacky nutritionists recommend are a lousy choice.

      Reply
  9. Tom Welsh

    “I’m starting to think every time a nutritionist leaves a crowded room, the average IQ goes up by at least 10 points”.

    Did you leave off a trailing zero from that “10”? 😎

    Reply
  10. Tom Welsh

    “…according to new research on mice that was published in the journal PLOS One”.

    And, by the way, when did mouse metabolism become close enough to human metabolism that a statement like this would have the slightest credibility?

    Reply
  11. Tom Welsh

    “It could also be a matter of calories alone, certified dietitian-nutritionist Jessica Cording tells Yahoo Health. Soybean oil is a fat, and fats contain nine calories per gram, she says. However, carbohydrates such as fructose contain four calories per gram”.

    I expect she also thinks that a ton of lead weighs much, much more than a ton of feathers.

    Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        To be fair a pound of lead weighs more than a pound of gold.

        One pound gold is 373.236 grams and one pound of lead is 453.584 grams thus a pound of lead is heavier than a pound of gold.

        Reply
  12. Bruce

    “I’m starting to think every time a nutritionist leaves a crowded room, the average IQ goes up by at least 10 points.”

    And if they walk into a room full of politicians, it’s like a black hole of stupidity.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Politician vs. nutritionist in an intelligence test … hmm, I’d call that a toss-up.

      Reply
  13. James H.

    re: avocados and overconsumption

    Hold it..HOLE DIT! Satiety is a good thing because it keeps one from overeating but because one doesn’t eat as much one will suffer nutritional deficiencies so we should eat more? I…um…wait…I’m trying to wrap my mind…dammit…wait…

    Reply
  14. Walter Bushell

    Why it’s just obvious that if people eat more avocado they might by feeling full eat less “heart healthy” grains and thus become malnourished. (Some mal-nutritionists seem to have given up the fight for whole grains or at least whole wheat.)

    Perhaps this is true for people basing their diet on nutrient scarce foods such as grains, and avocados are the primary addition to the diet. Context is king

    Maybe they feel that if you are not hungry all the time you are not following the proper diet and hence are malnourished.

    Oh, and notice all those books touting “Superfoods” and none of them touting beef liver?? Remarkable blindspot.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Yup. If you’re looking for nutrient density, the grains those wacky nutritionists recommend are a lousy choice.

      Reply
  15. Ishtar

    Paul Newman has been dead for quite some time, getting him on the phone might be a bit difficult…

    Reply
      1. Firebird

        Best Paul Newman quote ever…regarding his long time marriage to Joanne Woodward. “Why go out for hamburger when I have filet mignon at home?”

        Paul loved his wife and apparently a good steak.

        Reply
  16. Armando

    I like the way Dr.Kendrick says it, “We all are going to die, all we are doing now is delaying death.” I wonder if the doctors themselves took statins, would they still recommend them? Eh… Odds are, they would blame their symptoms on something else.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      That would be an interesting study. How many doctors who prescribe statins actually take them?

      Reply
      1. Firebird

        That reminds me of the Monsanto lobbyist who said drinking Round Up is safe but refused to drink it when offered.

        Reply
  17. Josh

    Goodness! You still don’t have it right. If lowering cholesterol below 200 hasn’t worked, then it must be lowered more and more. We do more of the same until it does work. This should be obvious.

    Of course, the real issue is that it is far more profitable to treat a large group of healthy people to supposedly prevent an illness, than it is to treat only those who are truly ill.

    The idea of giving drugs to a large proportion of our population – maybe a majority – that is not ill ought to raise some issues, one would think.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      If the Grand Plan fails, we take it as evidence that we need to do the same thing again, only bigger.

      Reply
      1. Nowhereman10

        What envision is that during the short span of years before the nasty side effects of the statins kicks in, the politicians and “scientists” will loudly proclaim that the drugs must be working, and when the former group of healthy people start suffering side effects and their health degenerates, there’ll be some excuse as to why that happened thanks to a “study”.

        Reply
    2. Walter Bushell

      And much more profitable to sell a treatment that must be continued for life rather than a cure.

      Reply
    3. Jeanne

      One of the sickest patients I ever worked with had a total cholesterol of 50. I’m sure her doctors thought that was the healthiest thing about her.

      Reply
  18. Tom Welsh

    “I’m starting to think every time a nutritionist leaves a crowded room, the average IQ goes up by at least 10 points”.

    Did you leave off a trailing zero from that “10”? 😎

    Reply
  19. Tom Welsh

    “…according to new research on mice that was published in the journal PLOS One”.

    And, by the way, when did mouse metabolism become close enough to human metabolism that a statement like this would have the slightest credibility?

    Reply
  20. Tom Welsh

    “It could also be a matter of calories alone, certified dietitian-nutritionist Jessica Cording tells Yahoo Health. Soybean oil is a fat, and fats contain nine calories per gram, she says. However, carbohydrates such as fructose contain four calories per gram”.

    I expect she also thinks that a ton of lead weighs much, much more than a ton of feathers.

    Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        To be fair a pound of lead weighs more than a pound of gold.

        One pound gold is 373.236 grams and one pound of lead is 453.584 grams thus a pound of lead is heavier than a pound of gold.

        Reply
  21. Josh

    Get the new cholesterol lowering shot. It’s only $1200 a month.

    Unfortunately, the experts have been wrong so often – eggs, saturated fat, giving sugar bomb cereal the healthy for the heart symbol, that we no longer know if we can trust them. Even if they are honest hard working people with no conflicts of interest, we just don’t know.

    What a mess big pharma, big medicine and the health organizations have made!

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Why, in nutrition, of course. Apparently an understanding of basic science isn’t a requirement.

      Reply
  22. James H.

    re: avocados and overconsumption

    Hold it..HOLE DIT! Satiety is a good thing because it keeps one from overeating but because one doesn’t eat as much one will suffer nutritional deficiencies so we should eat more? I…um…wait…I’m trying to wrap my mind…dammit…wait…

    Reply
      1. Firebird

        Best Paul Newman quote ever…regarding his long time marriage to Joanne Woodward. “Why go out for hamburger when I have filet mignon at home?”

        Paul loved his wife and apparently a good steak.

        Reply
  23. Armando

    I like the way Dr.Kendrick says it, “We all are going to die, all we are doing now is delaying death.” I wonder if the doctors themselves took statins, would they still recommend them? Eh… Odds are, they would blame their symptoms on something else.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      That would be an interesting study. How many doctors who prescribe statins actually take them?

      Reply
      1. Firebird

        That reminds me of the Monsanto lobbyist who said drinking Round Up is safe but refused to drink it when offered.

        Reply
  24. Josh

    Goodness! You still don’t have it right. If lowering cholesterol below 200 hasn’t worked, then it must be lowered more and more. We do more of the same until it does work. This should be obvious.

    Of course, the real issue is that it is far more profitable to treat a large group of healthy people to supposedly prevent an illness, than it is to treat only those who are truly ill.

    The idea of giving drugs to a large proportion of our population – maybe a majority – that is not ill ought to raise some issues, one would think.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      If the Grand Plan fails, we take it as evidence that we need to do the same thing again, only bigger.

      Reply
      1. Nowhereman10

        What envision is that during the short span of years before the nasty side effects of the statins kicks in, the politicians and “scientists” will loudly proclaim that the drugs must be working, and when the former group of healthy people start suffering side effects and their health degenerates, there’ll be some excuse as to why that happened thanks to a “study”.

        Reply
    2. Walter Bushell

      And much more profitable to sell a treatment that must be continued for life rather than a cure.

      Reply
    3. Jeanne

      One of the sickest patients I ever worked with had a total cholesterol of 50. I’m sure her doctors thought that was the healthiest thing about her.

      Reply
  25. Josh

    Get the new cholesterol lowering shot. It’s only $1200 a month.

    Unfortunately, the experts have been wrong so often – eggs, saturated fat, giving sugar bomb cereal the healthy for the heart symbol, that we no longer know if we can trust them. Even if they are honest hard working people with no conflicts of interest, we just don’t know.

    What a mess big pharma, big medicine and the health organizations have made!

    Reply
  26. Linda

    “I’m starting to think every time a nutritionist leaves a crowded room, the average IQ goes up by at least 10 points”. Well, fer sure! Just a little while ago I posted about my amazement at the fact that a government employee (VA Dietician) had recommended full fats, etc for my aging father I take care of. I was amazed and “Older Brother” said not to give them too much credit- maybe they were trying to kill my father..” Well Yup!! After the perfectly lovely conversation with this nutritionist that I thought was enlightened, she asked was I interested in having some recipes for smoothies that would be good for my father. Of course, I said yes. I got them today! Each and every recipe started with one cup of low fat milk!! Yes, Older Brother, you are right, they were just trying to kill him off because he is so old- will be 96 on his next birthday in February, 2016.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Why, in nutrition, of course. Apparently an understanding of basic science isn’t a requirement.

      Reply
  27. Linda

    “I’m starting to think every time a nutritionist leaves a crowded room, the average IQ goes up by at least 10 points”. Well, fer sure! Just a little while ago I posted about my amazement at the fact that a government employee (VA Dietician) had recommended full fats, etc for my aging father I take care of. I was amazed and “Older Brother” said not to give them too much credit- maybe they were trying to kill my father..” Well Yup!! After the perfectly lovely conversation with this nutritionist that I thought was enlightened, she asked was I interested in having some recipes for smoothies that would be good for my father. Of course, I said yes. I got them today! Each and every recipe started with one cup of low fat milk!! Yes, Older Brother, you are right, they were just trying to kill him off because he is so old- will be 96 on his next birthday in February, 2016.

    Reply
  28. Bret

    So only an idiot would believe the mice on the soybean-oil diet gained 25% more weight because of calories alone.

    Silly Tom, it was the mice’s deficient character that made them gain weight by sitting around. The soybean oil group cleary had the most deficient character and sat around the most. The fructose group had moderately deficient character, and the coconut oil group had superior character. Worked out that way by dumb luck. No other explanation possible.

    Agreed completely on the white rice front. The only times I eat it are on in rare sushi meals or after it’s been cooked in a high quality chicken broth. Otherwise it is just a nutrient-poor refined carb food.

    Reply
      1. Bret

        No!!! Just random luck! Saturated fat is evil!! Fat makes you fat! (Close eyes, cover ears, repeat)

        Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Outstanding! Excellent description of The Anointed in action. Thanks for the link … although now that I’ve seen his blog, I suspect I’ll be spending more time reading it than I should, given everything on my plate.

      Reply
    2. Thomas E.

      Not that you will see me running to the defense of the current administration often.

      But, for the first few moments, Ms. Obama actually had it better. IIRC she lobbied for real food, get rid of the processed crap.

      I am sure all of the lobby’ists had a collective heart attack. And before Ms. Obama could get another hair cut the message was changed to “Let’s Move”. The Obama’s chef, who was the expert behind the scenes was quietly replaced and now back in Chicago with his own restaurant.

      Interesting interview of Sam Kass here:
      http://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/06/18/sam-kass/

      Reply
  29. Bret

    So only an idiot would believe the mice on the soybean-oil diet gained 25% more weight because of calories alone.

    Silly Tom, it was the mice’s deficient character that made them gain weight by sitting around. The soybean oil group cleary had the most deficient character and sat around the most. The fructose group had moderately deficient character, and the coconut oil group had superior character. Worked out that way by dumb luck. No other explanation possible.

    Agreed completely on the white rice front. The only times I eat it are on in rare sushi meals or after it’s been cooked in a high quality chicken broth. Otherwise it is just a nutrient-poor refined carb food.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Outstanding! Excellent description of The Anointed in action. Thanks for the link … although now that I’ve seen his blog, I suspect I’ll be spending more time reading it than I should, given everything on my plate.

      Reply
    2. Thomas E.

      Not that you will see me running to the defense of the current administration often.

      But, for the first few moments, Ms. Obama actually had it better. IIRC she lobbied for real food, get rid of the processed crap.

      I am sure all of the lobby’ists had a collective heart attack. And before Ms. Obama could get another hair cut the message was changed to “Let’s Move”. The Obama’s chef, who was the expert behind the scenes was quietly replaced and now back in Chicago with his own restaurant.

      Interesting interview of Sam Kass here:
      http://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/06/18/sam-kass/

      Reply
  30. Wenchypoo

    We’re under-statinated!

    In economic-speak, doctors and Big Pharma think there’s a worldwide statin deficiency going on. I just had a major blowup with my own doctor about wanting to put both me & spouse on Crestor, and I think I may have located a sane doc who takes my insurance.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      I have to give my doctor (using the term “my doctor” loosely, since I haven’t seen him in two years now) credit. When I replied that I wouldn’t take a statin unless he had a gun to my head, he dropped the subject without another word.

      Reply
    2. Josh

      Well, as I understand it Crestor will lower your LDL and total cholesterol. There seems to be no doubt of that. But, will it lengthen your life or improve your quality of life? That is the question.

      I noticed on one of the statin commercials I see on TV, a happy guy is celebrating his new low cholesterol number, but no mention is made of any actual improvement of his health.

      My question is simple: Is there actual scientific proof that giving an otherwise healthy person a statin will meaningfully lengthen life or meaningfully improve the quality of life?

      Reply
      1. Tom Naughton

        Statins slightly lower the risk of a second heart attack for people who have already had one. They slightly lower the risk of a first heart attack for men under age 65 with a combination of risk factors. Many of the studies don’t include a figure for all-cause mortality — which means no additional lives were saved, or they sure as hell would have reported the figure.

        And keep in mind, these were the positive studies.

        Reply
  31. Wenchypoo

    We’re under-statinated!

    In economic-speak, doctors and Big Pharma think there’s a worldwide statin deficiency going on. I just had a major blowup with my own doctor about wanting to put both me & spouse on Crestor, and I think I may have located a sane doc who takes my insurance.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I have to give my doctor (using the term “my doctor” loosely, since I haven’t seen him in two years now) credit. When I replied that I wouldn’t take a statin unless he had a gun to my head, he dropped the subject without another word.

      Reply
    2. Josh

      Well, as I understand it Crestor will lower your LDL and total cholesterol. There seems to be no doubt of that. But, will it lengthen your life or improve your quality of life? That is the question.

      I noticed on one of the statin commercials I see on TV, a happy guy is celebrating his new low cholesterol number, but no mention is made of any actual improvement of his health.

      My question is simple: Is there actual scientific proof that giving an otherwise healthy person a statin will meaningfully lengthen life or meaningfully improve the quality of life?

      Reply
      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        Statins slightly lower the risk of a second heart attack for people who have already had one. They slightly lower the risk of a first heart attack for men under age 65 with a combination of risk factors. Many of the studies don’t include a figure for all-cause mortality — which means no additional lives were saved, or they sure as hell would have reported the figure.

        And keep in mind, these were the positive studies.

        Reply
  32. Nick S

    I get a little pleasure every time the old “it’s calories in, calories out!” chestnut is debunked. The degree of faith some people have in that idea is mind-boggling. You can provide evidence to the contrary until you’re blue in the face and they’ll continue to deny that any factor other than how much you eat and how much you exercise can possibly be admitted to a discussion of body composition.

    Reply
  33. Nick S

    I get a little pleasure every time the old “it’s calories in, calories out!” chestnut is debunked. The degree of faith some people have in that idea is mind-boggling. You can provide evidence to the contrary until you’re blue in the face and they’ll continue to deny that any factor other than how much you eat and how much you exercise can possibly be admitted to a discussion of body composition.

    Reply
  34. Bob Niland

    re: So I’m thinking whatever its status as a safe starch, perhaps white rice isn’t so great for keeping a pearly smile.

    Rice is a pretty high glycemic grain. Anyone paying attention only to net carbs wouldn’t want to consume more than condiment quantities. Even if that didn’t matter to someone …

    Rice contains wheat germ agglutinin (WGA; so named because it was first isolated in wheat). It’s an adverse lectin with what I understand is a pretty linear response (no lower threshold of harmless), so again suggesting condiment quantities, and then we have …

    It was recently discovered that rice uptakes inorganic arsenic hugely. This can be As native to the region, or residue from other crop pesticides decades ago (so the farm still qualifies as organic, and indeed “organic” rice buys no protection on this). There is no US standard yet for As in rice. Some California wild browns have 160% of the PRC standard for As contam. CU has already warned parents on feeding rice to children (since the FDA won’t). If someone insists on eating rice, get a grower statement on As contam. The WGA they can’t do anything about.

    Reply
  35. Bob Niland

    re: So I’m thinking whatever its status as a safe starch, perhaps white rice isn’t so great for keeping a pearly smile.

    Rice is a pretty high glycemic grain. Anyone paying attention only to net carbs wouldn’t want to consume more than condiment quantities. Even if that didn’t matter to someone …

    Rice contains wheat germ agglutinin (WGA; so named because it was first isolated in wheat). It’s an adverse lectin with what I understand is a pretty linear response (no lower threshold of harmless), so again suggesting condiment quantities, and then we have …

    It was recently discovered that rice uptakes inorganic arsenic hugely. This can be As native to the region, or residue from other crop pesticides decades ago (so the farm still qualifies as organic, and indeed “organic” rice buys no protection on this). There is no US standard yet for As in rice. Some California wild browns have 160% of the PRC standard for As contam. CU has already warned parents on feeding rice to children (since the FDA won’t). If someone insists on eating rice, get a grower statement on As contam. The WGA they can’t do anything about.

    Reply
  36. Michael Steadman

    Meanwhile back in the tone deaf world of “mainstream” business CBS News reported today that Aramark, one of the largest food service providers to sports venues, schools and hospitals is partnering with the American Heart Association to make its offerings more healthy by cutting back on fat and salt. Even more incentive to eat at home and stay out of the hospital!

    Reply
  37. Michael Steadman

    Meanwhile back in the tone deaf world of “mainstream” business CBS News reported today that Aramark, one of the largest food service providers to sports venues, schools and hospitals is partnering with the American Heart Association to make its offerings more healthy by cutting back on fat and salt. Even more incentive to eat at home and stay out of the hospital!

    Reply
  38. Mark

    Hi Tom, couldn’t contact you via your email (my Outlook won’t work) but saw this and thought it might be worth sharing (despite being a little off topic with your article above):

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/ar-BBlAJBC?ocid=mailsignout

    It definitely lends credence to your Wisdom of the Crowd theory. You can’t change people’s minds when their personal experience trumps your diatribe.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Yeah, I don’t think Coke’s campaign will work for exactly that reason. Too many people have already discovered that cutting sugar and refined carbs from their diets works way better than exercise for losing weight.

      Reply
  39. Mark

    Hi Tom, couldn’t contact you via your email (my Outlook won’t work) but saw this and thought it might be worth sharing (despite being a little off topic with your article above):

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/ar-BBlAJBC?ocid=mailsignout

    It definitely lends credence to your Wisdom of the Crowd theory. You can’t change people’s minds when their personal experience trumps your diatribe.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Yeah, I don’t think Coke’s campaign will work for exactly that reason. Too many people have already discovered that cutting sugar and refined carbs from their diets works way better than exercise for losing weight.

      Reply
  40. David

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/why-salad-is-so-overrated/2015/08/21/ecc03d7a-4677-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html

    Why salad is so overrated
    They’re turning on salad veggies and endorsing corn. You can’t make this stuff up.

    “Not because nutrition isn’t important, but because we get all the nutrition we need in a fraction of our recommended daily calories, and filling in the rest of the day’s food is a job for crops like corn. But if you think nutrition is the most important metric, don’t direct your ire at corn. Turn instead to lettuce.”

    Reply
  41. David

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/why-salad-is-so-overrated/2015/08/21/ecc03d7a-4677-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html

    Why salad is so overrated
    They’re turning on salad veggies and endorsing corn. You can’t make this stuff up.

    “Not because nutrition isn’t important, but because we get all the nutrition we need in a fraction of our recommended daily calories, and filling in the rest of the day’s food is a job for crops like corn. But if you think nutrition is the most important metric, don’t direct your ire at corn. Turn instead to lettuce.”

    Reply

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