Interesting items from my inbox and elsewhere …
Has this site been blocked?
A reader sent me a screen cap of what showed up on his phone when he tried to access the Fat Head site while at a hospital in Chicago:
Okay, it’s just a glitch, right?
I don’t want to seem paranoid or anything, but maybe I shouldn’t have written that post about the lousy “heart healthy” menus in hospitals …
Harvard is pure poison, part one
I mentioned Harvard’s latest “low-carb shortens lifespan” study briefly in last week’s post. Zoe Harcombe took it apart, and so did Chris Kresser. Since they covered the study so well, I chose not to do a deep-dive on it. But I did download the study and found this table rather interesting:
That tells you all you need to know about the reliability of studies based on food questionnaires. According to one of the questionnaires used in the study, people who are overweight (according to the BMI scale) are living on 1546 calories per day on average. As you know, I’m not a fan of the BMI scale, which will declare you overweight if you’re muscular. But there’s no way on God’s Green Earth thousands of people with a BMI of 28.5 are living on 1546 calories per day, muscular or not.
In his WWII-era starvation study, Ancel Keys had men live on 1500 calories per day. Here’s what they looked like:
Apparently if they’d consumed 46 more calories per day, they would have beefed up to a BMI of 28.5.
This study sucks. Period. Harvard should put Walter Willett out to pasture before they lose all credibility … if they haven’t already.
[Note: earlier I had the wrong photo of starving men in this post. That one was a POW photo … although the guys in the correct photo look just as bad.]
Harvard is pure poison, part two
Meanwhile, another Harvard professor made headlines not with a stupid study, but with a stupid remark about coconut oil. Here are some quotes from The Chicago Tribune:
A Harvard professor wants you to reconsider the dangers of consuming coconut oil, a popular trend within the wellness crowd as of late. Self-appointed “wellness experts” and “health gurus” online promote coconut oil for its immune support, digestive help and as a healthier fat for cooking.
But in her German-language talk “Coconut Oil and Other Nutritional Errors,” which is nearing 1 million views on YouTube as of Wednesday, Karin Michels, an adjunct professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, calls coconut oil “pure poison” and “one of the worst foods” she can name.
Notice the attitude of the reporter. Self-appointed “wellness experts” and “health gurus” online promote coconut oil, but – hold your breath in awe, now! – a Harvard professor called it “pure poison.” LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE TRUE EXPERTS HAVE SPOKEN!
The attitude continues with this paragraph:
Still, there is a disconnect between public and health expert perception in the United States. A 2016 survey by the New York Times showed that 72 percent of the public versus 37 percent of certified nutritionists believe coconut oil is “healthy.”
Got that? A majority of the unwashed masses believe coconut is healthy, but just 37 percent of certified nutritionists do. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE TRUE EXPERTS HAVE SPOKEN!
What that survey tells me is that the Wisdom of Crowds is in full effect. Most nutritionists still believe coconut oil isn’t healthy … um, yeah, because that’s what they were taught in school.
“Class, repeat after me: saturated fat is bad!”
“Saturated fat is bad.”
“Vegetable oils are good for you!”
“Vegetable oils are good for you.”
“Saturated fat is very, very bad!”
“Saturated fat is very, very bad.”
“Whole grains are good for you!”
“Whole grains are good for you.”
“And saturated fat is very, very, very bad!”
“Saturated fat is very, very, very bad.”
“Congratulations, you’re now an expert. Go out and design heart-healthy menus for hospitals.”
Most news outlets felt obliged to also quote from the American Heart Association and to point out that coconut oil is 82 percent saturated, while butter (a known killer, of course) is just 63 percent saturated.
So there you have it. It’s more saturated than butter, so it must be poison. Good luck explaining why people on the island of Tokelau, who get a majority of their calories from saturated coconut fat, have virtually no heart disease. Mark Sisson mentioned several studies of coconut oil in a post as well. Bottom line: there are no studies that demonstrate any harm, and several studies that demonstrate improvements in overall health.
Harvard’s advice on diet and health is pure poison.
It’s not the fat harming our health, says a medical-industry ultimate insider
At least one former Harvard faculty member isn’t blinded by dogma. Dr. George Lundberg, who served as a JAMA editor for several years in addition to stints on the faculty at Harvard, Northwestern and Stanford, recently let loose in an editorial on Medscape. Dr. Lundberg begins with praise for Gary Taubes:
Taubes demolished what the medical, scientific, and nutrition fields (since at least the 1960s) had spent countless billions of dollars building and profiting (but also dying) from: the fat food theory of the causation of “diseases of human civilization”—atherosclerosis, coronary artery heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, stroke, cancer, dementia, and even osteoporosis and arthritis.
Then he moves on to why the fat food theory gained such a foothold:
Big Public Health. Big Farming. Big Agriculture. Big Government. Big Academia. Big Industry. Big Marketing. Big Advertising. Big Advocacy. Big Medicine. Big Publishing. All were marching to the tune composed by what they thought—in good faith, I believe—was good science.
As the scientist, medical journal editor, insider, I was even involved in the mass “Campaign Against Cholesterol,” led by the American Medical Association, doing everything we could from within organized medicine, and using many industry partners who, of course, stood to profit via their new low-fat products.
Real-world application is where the science, and especially the public health, communities failed. They did not keep their eyes open to the evolving real-world experience. They did not challenge the dogma and prevailing practices as the truth became more and more obvious during the mass-fattening of the population in the developed world.
I’d say there’s a good reason fewer people are listening to doctors, nutritionists and Harvard professors these days, wouldn’t you?
I suck at Facebook … sorry
I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I appreciate the power of social media, but I don’t like the Facebook interface. Never have. The privacy issues bother me as well.
But the main problem is that I can’t keep up. The Fat Head group has more than 12,000 members — which is great, but I can’t possibly read all the posts. Because of the group and Fat Head itself, I also have more than 2500 “friends” … which again means I can’t possibly keep up. It would take a week to read what people post in a day. When my real friends (i.e., people who actually know me) post on Facebook, I never see it because my feed goes on forever.
So I don’t keep up on Facebook. I’m okay with that … but I recently discovered there’s a feature called Messenger that I’ve never checked before. And course, there were hundreds of messages in there I’ve never read … people asking questions, thanking me for making Fat Head, inviting me to be on podcasts, etc.
Sorry. I promise I wasn’t intentionally ignoring y’all. I’m just not good at keeping up with Facebook and probably never will be. If you want to reach me, I actually do check my Twitter feed (@TomDNaughton) and my Fat Head email address (TomNaughton@fathead-movie.com).
Vegetarianism is a temporary condition
I’ve mentioned in a few posts that most vegetarians quit the lifestyle within ten years. Turns out they don’t last anywhere near that long, according to an article in Smithsonian Magazine online:
In the United States, most meat-abstainers lapse within a year, according to a new report put out by the the Humane Research Council, an animal advocacy organization.
In a survey of around 11,000 Americans, the organization found that 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans return to eating meat, says the Huffington Post. Most lapse within a year, while nearly a third don’t last more than three months.
Hmmm, since an animal advocacy group conducted the survey, I wonder if they have any theories on why people don’t stick with vegetarianism?
So why do so many people fall off the bandwagon? According to the new survey, says HuffPo, the researchers “found that a majority of them lacked social support, vegetarian-themed group activities and didn’t like sticking out from their friends… Other reasons for giving up: having trouble with animal-based cravings and the difficulty of doing anything cold turkey, so to speak.”
I see. It’s the lack of vegetarian-themed group activities. Perhaps they should get together more often and protest outside of steakhouses.
I have another explanation: they give up meat, they start to feel lousy, so they start eating meat again. And many of them probably only gave up meat in the first place because of a dumbass Harvard study.
Our chickens will never wear diapers
Our newest flock of chickens is coming along nicely. I like chickens. I like their eggs. I like their quirky behavior. But I will never, ever like chickens enough to put them in designer diapers:
Around 10 years ago, Julie Baker was raising chickens with her daughter on their small farm in Claremont, New Hampshire when she first saw a YouTube video of a chicken wearing what looked to be an upside-down apron that stretched across its backside. The diaper, so to speak, was used to catch chicken poop so the birds wouldn’t leave droppings everywhere (chickens do not urinate separately from defecation. Their urine is technically in their excrement). “I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, I so need to do that,’” Baker said. Baker’s daughter liked to bring her favorite chicken, an Old English hen named Abigail, inside their house, and because chickens poop close to a dozen times per day, Baker needed a better system for managing Abigail’s excrement.
So she began sewing Abigail diapers out of cotton fabric, and soon other poultry owners asked if Baker could make diapers for their chickens, too.
Diapers for chickens. Good grief. Sounds like something you’d sell to a bunch of kooks in San Francisco.
In wealthy cities like San Francisco, chickens have even become an unlikely status symbol, with poultry owners going to unimaginable lengths to care for their pets. As The Washington Post reported in March, certain chicken owners have hired “chicken whisperers” to consult on their pets’ comfort (to the tune of $225 per hour). These nouveau livestock enthusiasts have also been known to invest in personal chefs for their birds, and some have even installed smartphone-enabled, motion-detecting coops that control ventilation, temperature, lighting, and security from afar (ballpark cost: $20,000).
Our latest flock of 25 chickens cost $100, by the way. I can’t imagine who spends $20,000 on a smart-phone enabled system to take care of birds that cost $4 each.
That being said, if anyone out there wants to pay me $225 per hour to whisper to your chickens, I’m up for it. Heck, at that rate, I’ll even sing to them. But I’m definitely not changing any diapers.