Taking A Grief Break

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I haven’t been in a posting mood this week. On Sunday night, our dogs Coco and Misha managed to find yet another way through the backyard fence and went exploring. Misha came home alone around 5:00 AM. She’s come home alone before, but Coco always showed up shortly after.

By noon on Monday I suspected the worst, and I’m sorry to say the worst did happen. Chareva and Sara spent a chunk of the day driving around the area looking for Coco, and eventually found her by the side of the highway. At Alana’s insistence, we buried her on the property instead of having her cremated. Alana wants to plant a flower garden over the burial site.

That’s all for now. I’ll thank you for your condolences in advance.

That’s Coco on the left.

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Why I Don’t Use (Or Need) Sunscreen

In my early thirties, I had a spot of skin cancer removed from my back. I was surprised at the diagnosis because I hadn’t sunburned my back since college, but the dermatologist told me skin cancer can show up many years after the sunburn that triggers it. I’ve never had another skin cancer, but I’m scheduled for a just-in-case visit to a dermatologist every 18 months or so.

During my most recent visit, the dermatologist informed me that the recommendation on sunscreen protection has been updated: we’re now supposed to apply SPF 50 sunscreen instead of SPF 35. Kind of like this, I suppose:

I responded to her advice by simply nodding. Truth is, I haven’t worn sunscreen in years. Back in the day, I slathered myself with the stuff because one of Woody Allen’s lines applied to me: “I don’t tan; I stroke.”

But after changing my diet and ditching the frakenfats in favor of real fats, I found I just don’t burn like I once did. I’m now the Bizarro Woody Allen: I don’t stroke; I tan. If I spend four hours doing farm work on a sunny afternoon, my arms and face get a little browner and that’s it. Kind of like this, I suppose:

Seeing how the change in diet changed my skin’s reaction to sunshine got me thinking, of course. Why would the sun be dangerous to humans in the first place? It makes no sense. We didn’t evolve indoors, and we didn’t evolve wearing SPF 50 sunscreen. We need sun on our skin to produce vitamin D naturally.

I also don’t remember skin cancer being a big issue when I was a kid in the 1960s. Out of curiosity, I went looking for information on rates of skin cancer over time. Here’s a quote from an article on sunscreens:

Americans are being diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, at steadily rising rates. According to the National Cancer Institute, the rate of new melanoma cases among American adults has tripled since the 1970s, from 7.9 per 100,000 people, in 1975, to 23 per 100,000, in 2016.

Hmmm … rates of melanoma have tripled since the 1970s, despite all those warnings to slather on the sunscreen. And what else has changed since the 1970s? … let me think for a moment … oh, I’ve got it: we’ve been ditching animals fats in favor of “heart healthy” vegetable oils.

That’s just an association, of course. But it’s one that makes biological sense. The fats you eat become the fats in your skin. If those fats never existed in the human diet and produce inflammation, well, go figure … your skin doesn’t function as it should.

I didn’t exactly find a wealth of literature on diet and skin cancer when I went looking, but what I did find is interesting. Take this study, for example:

Samples of subcutaneous adipose tissue were taken from 100 melanoma patients and 100 matched controls in Sydney in 1984–1985 and were analyzed for constituent fatty acids. The mean percentage of linoleic acid in the triglycerides of the subcutaneous adipose tissue (PLASA T) of these subjects was substantially higher than that in a similar group examined in 1975–1976. In addition, the percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids was found to be higher in the melanoma patients than in the controls (p < 0.01), and there were significantly more controls than patients who had a low PLASA T (p < 0.01). Relevant literature is quoted and the suggestion is made that increased consumption of dietary polyunsaturates may have a contributory effect in the etiology of melanoma.

Fascinating. Compared to people just nine years earlier, people examined in 1984-1985 had substantially more plant oils in their subcutaneous tissue. (Hooray for “heart healthy” dietary guidelines around the world!) And the real clincher: the melanoma patients had a higher percentage of polyunsaturated fats, leading the researchers to conclude that increased consumption of dietary polyunsaturates may have a contributory effect in the etiology of melanoma.

In other words, eat your margarine and perhaps increase your risk of skin cancer.

There are also studies done on rats and mice, like this one and this one, demonstrating that hydrogenated vegetable fats and diet high in polyunsaturated vegetable fats accelerate the development of skin cancers, while omega-3 fats inhibit the process.

So after personal experience and a bit of research convinced me natural fats are a better protection against skin cancer, I stopped using sunscreen. I didn’t consider it harmful, just unnecessary.

Turns out it may be harmful as well. Here are some quotes from a recent article by Reuters:

The active ingredients of commonly-used sunscreens end up in the bloodstream at much higher levels than current U.S. guidelines from health regulators and warrant further safety studies, according to a small study conducted by U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers and published on Monday.

The study of 23 volunteers tested four sunscreens, including sprays, lotion and cream, applied to 75 percent of the body four times a day over four days, with blood tests to determine the maximum levels of certain chemicals absorbed into the bloodstream conducted over seven days.

The study found maximum plasma levels of the chemicals it tested for – avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and in one sunscreen ecamsule – to be well above the level of 0.5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) at which FDA guidelines call for further safety testing.

You know how every time a study demonstrates that statins have nasty side effects, we always see quotes from doctors telling us to continue taking statins because the benefits outweigh the harms, blah-blah-blah? Same thing here:

The results in no way suggest that people should stop using sunscreen to protect against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, researchers said.

“The demonstration of systemic absorption well above the FDA guideline does not mean these ingredients are unsafe,” Dr. Robert Califf and Dr. Kanade Shinkai said in an editorial that accompanied the study in JAMA.

Okay, maybe there’s nothing unsafe about elevated levels of avobenzone, oxybenzone and octocrylene floating around in your bloodstream. But I’m pretty sure my ancestors didn’t chew on avobenzone plants, so I’d rather not take the chance.

Eat natural fats and get some sun … but if you’re fair-skinned, build up your tolerance over time so you don’t burn. I think that makes more sense than slathering the biggest organ in your body with chemicals that seep into your blood.

And as usual, my thanks to all the previous the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committees for producing dietary advice that ensures doctors of all types – from cardiologists to dermatologists – will never run short of patients.

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My Thanks To The Dietary Guidelines Committee (Again)

Dear Members of the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee:

I wrote to you eight years ago to thank you and all the previous committees for your tireless work on the USDA’s dietary guidelines. As I explained back then, your guidelines and the federally approved school lunches based on them are giving my daughters a competitive advantage in life by causing other kids to become tired, experience difficulty concentrating in class, etc.

My prediction that my daughters would bypass most of their classmates is looking pretty good, by the way. My older daughter was recently selected to participate in a math competition. Only the top 50 math students from her high school’s 900 freshmen and sophomores were invited. She ended up with the highest score among the 50.

Granted, her math abilities are largely genetic. But when I see her eating brain-building foods like fatty meats and eggs while so many of her classmates live on “heart healthy” vegetable oils, processed grains and other frankenfoods, I can’t help but think your dietary guidelines tipped the scale in her favor.

But I’m not writing today to thank you for that. No, today I’m writing to thank you for weakening each succeeding generation of Americans so thoroughly, I no longer fear growing older like I once did. Thanks to your dietary advice, you’ve guaranteed that if old guys like me take care of ourselves, we’ll remain stronger and healthier than many guys who are young enough to be our children or grandchildren – and it will stay that way for years to come.

I’m thinking back to a story that hit the news several years ago. Some knife-wielding young punks tried to rob a group of tourists on a bus. The robbery was foiled when a 65-year-old man grabbed one of the young punks and snapped his neck. Later that year, I read a news story about a man in his 70s who cold-cocked a 20-something who attempted to mug him in a men’s room.  Just plain punched out the punk.

What is going with these butt-kicking old guys? I thought at the time. Well, now I know. Those young would-be robbers were probably weak, tired, sick, diabetic, soft-boned … heck, there are all kinds of ways your dietary advice could help us old guys come out on top in a physical confrontation.

And thanks to your tireless efforts to convince Americans to cut back on meat, eggs and animal fats and eat even more hearthealthywholegrains!, the weakening of each succeeding generation is continuing. Back in 2012, researchers reported that Baby Boomers aren’t as healthy as their parents were at the same age:

Obesity among baby boomers is more than double the rate of their parents at the same age, and boomers with three or more chronic conditions was 700 percent greater than the previous generation.

In 2017, Bloomberg news reported this:

Americans in their late 50s already have more serious health problems than people at the same ages did 10 to 15 years ago, according to the journal Health Affairs.

And now an article in the Daily Mail informs us that Millennials aren’t even waiting until middle age to decline physically:

It’s all downhill from 27, new research reveals. At least if you’re a millennial, chronic conditions and diseases start to rear their heads in your late-20s, and from there things continue to deteriorate, according to a new Blue Cross Blue Shield report.

Millennials, as a generation, are in overall poorer health than their predecessors, Gen X-ers, with higher rates of depression, hyperactivity, substance misuse, type 2 diabetes and Crohn’s disease, among other chronic conditions.

When the researchers narrowed their focus to older millennials, ages 34-36, they found higher rates of nearly all of the top 10 most common conditions than were seen in generation X at the same ages – despite the fact that 83 percent of millennials think they are in ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ health.

Yup … each succeeding generation is getting fat, sick and tired at a younger age, while testosterone levels among men keep dropping compared to previous generations.  I’m waiting for bumper stickers that read 30 is the new 50!

Give it another generation, and your awesome dietary advice will revolutionize sports. Teams will be out-bidding each other for players over 50. People will follow the senior leagues in golf and tennis because the youngsters just can’t compete at the same level.

But sports are just the beginning.  Soon we’ll see 25-year-olds in big cities crossing the street to avoid walking past a couple of 60-year-olds lurking on the corner — you can never be too careful with these old guys, you know.

Or imagine an urban road-rage incident: some 30-year-old believes he was cut off in traffic, so at the next red light, he starts to exit the car to confront the offending driver… until his wife yanks on his arm, screaming, “Are you trying to get yourself beaten to death? Look at him – he’s at least 70!”

So thanks again, USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee. I used to worry that I’d feel over the hill by the time I turned 60. But since I ignore your advice and so many young people don’t, I’m looking pretty darned fit and healthy by comparison.

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The Fat Head Report: The Latest “Meat Causes Colorectal Cancer!” Study Is Nonsense

The latest Fat Head Report video is about yet another “meat causes colorectal cancer!” study a reporter for the Telegraph described as “frankly terrifying.” It’s such weak observational nonsense, Walter Willett would no doubt approve.

Here’s why you don’t need to be terrified. Transcript below the video.

TRANSCRIPT:

Hello, I’m Tom Naughton and this is the Fat Head Report.

Well, I guess I need to create an ongoing segment called Meat Will Kill You.

Meat won’t kill you of course, but there are people who desperately want you to believe it will. So they’re constantly producing studies designed to scare you.

And when I say scare you, I’m not kidding. A writer for the UK telegraph described the most recent meat will kill you study as frankly terrifying.

So let’s take a look at the reason this writer for the telegraph was apparently hiding in her closet, in case her home was invaded by several ounces of murderous meat.

Oxford University research on half a million people found that eating red meat just once a day increased the risk of bowel cancer by a fifth.

Wow, that IS terrifying. Unless you understand how these studies are done.

A study like this is what’s called an observational study. And to explain what that means, here’s a clip from my recent film, Fat Head Kids.

If you conducted the study Dr. Fishbones did, you wouldn’t have to guess who does or does not have a tattoo. So at least you’d be starting with accurate data.

For dietary studies, that’s not the case. To determine what people eat, researchers have them fill out a food survey that looks something like this. Do you see the problem here? These surveys are wildly inaccurate. Some people report eating so little, they couldn’t possibly develop cancer, because they’d starve to death first.

Then near the end of the study, researchers have people fill out the same survey again. And from this, they decide what people have been eating for the previous five or 10 or 20 years.

But let’s suppose people can actually remember how much of everything they been eating and report it accurately. You still have that problem with the confounding variables Mr. Spot mentioned.

And guess what? In this study the people who developed colorectal cancer didn’t just eat more meat. They were also more likely to smoke. They also drank more.

Ah, but wait, the researchers tell us, we adjust our data for lifestyle factors like smoking and drinking.

Well, actually, they adjust the data based on how much people tell them they’ve been smoking and drinking.

But heavy drinkers routinely underestimate how much they drink. And smokers routinely underestimate or just plain lie about how much they smoke – or even if they smoke.

But okay, let’s forget all that. Let’s pretend that by some miracle, the researchers had accurate data all the way through, top to bottom.

In that case, would the higher cancer rate among the heavy meat eaters be frankly terrifying? After all, one-fifth more colorectal cancer sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

Well, let’s look at the data. This was a study of nearly half a million people.

Among the people classified as labeled as lower meat eaters, 5.49 out of every thousand developed colorectal cancer.

And among the people classified as heavy meat-eaters, it was 6.58 out of every thousand.

So for the people classified as heavy meat eaters, the actual increase in the odds of developing colorectal cancer was one in a thousand.

And here’s the final reason not to be terrified. Good scientists don’t accept a hypothesis unless the evidence supporting it is consistent.

So if we say this food or this behavior causes cancer we need to see that result over and over and over.

Which is the case, for example, with smoking and lung cancer. You’re never going to see a study where smokers and non-smokers have identical rates of lung cancer. And you’ll certainly never see a study where the smokers have lower rates of lung cancer.

But in this observational study, people who ate red meat did not have a higher rate of colorectal cancer.

And in THIS observational study people who ate more meat did not develop more colorectal cancer.

And in this observational study it was the vegetarians who had a higher rate of colorectal cancer — 39 percent higher.

If eating meat causes colorectal cancer, how can that possibly be?

Good scientists don’t just pick and choose the results they like. And when it comes to meat and colon cancer, the results are all over the place. Which means it’s highly unlikely that meat causes colon cancer.

So enjoy your bacon.

And you can stop screaming now.

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Dietitians Still Want Their Advice To Be The Only Advice

I had an interesting couple of days on Twitter earlier in the week. It began with a tweet from the South African doctor I described in this post … the one who insisted that hard-working, professional dietitians would never recommend pancakes as “heart healthy.”  As you’ll recall, I posted several hospital menus designed by dietitians listing foods like pancakes and Frosted Mini-Wheats in the “heart healthy” section.

In response to being proven wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt, The Doc of course tried to change the argument. Twitter trolls never, ever, ever admit they’re wrong — and The Doc is quite a troll.  Tim Noakes is one of his favorite troll targets.  The Doc must have been beside himself when the dietitian-initiated charges against Noakes were dismissed.

Anyway, as you know, dietitians have tried – and in some cases succeeded – to convince state legislatures to grant them a legal monopoly on dispensing dietary advice. They’re doing this to insulate themselves from competition.

That’s not just my opinion. In a video you can watch on this page, the president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics actually encourages people to report “disruptors” to state licensing boards. Here’s the official description of the video:

President Lucille Beseler, MS, RDN, LDN. CDE, FAND, offers members ways to protect the public’s health (and the nutrition and dietetics profession) from “disruptors” – competitors who offer lower-quality care and less-comprehensive services.

Absolutely no doubt about it. Straight from the horse’s mouth: dietitians want these laws to protect the profession from competitors.

On Twitter, Crossfit (one of those competing “disruptors”) posted a link to an article encouraging the Missouri legislature to legalize diet advice – in other words, get rid of laws making it illegal to give advice without a license. Crossfit’s tweet included this quote from the article:

“… rather than genuine health and safety concerns, licensed dietitians are mostly just worried about protecting their monopoly status as the only group that can provide nutritional services in states like Missouri.”

That just annoyed the heck out The Doc. He replied to Crossfit’s tweet with this:

This unconscionable slur against mostly hard-working and knowledgeable professionals shows just what a nasty, unscientific little outfit CrossFit is.

Somebody needs to sit down with The Doc and explain that engaging in wild hyperbole doesn’t strengthen an argument; it simply makes the arguer look pathetic. Unconscionable slur? Really?

The first definition I looked up for unconscionable is shockingly unfair or unjust. Given that the president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics posted a video stating that one purpose of licensing laws is to protect the profession from competition, I don’t see how The Doc could possibly interpret “licensed dietitians are mostly just worried about protecting their monopoly status” as shockingly unjust or unfair. In fact, it’s clearly fair.

And then there’s the fact that Crossfit was merely quoting an article. How exactly does that show them to be a nasty, unscientific little outfit … ?

So I couldn’t resist. I know arguing with trolls is a waste of time, but I tweeted this reply, which included the graphic below:  Crossfit doesn’t want the “hard-working and knowledgeable professionals” who designed this “heart-healthy” hospital menu to have a monopoly on dispensing dietary advice? Why that’s an UNCONSCIONABLE SLUR! Shame, Crossfit!

The Doc replied by calling me a clown and telling me my reasoning is very poor. Heh-heh …. people who want to simply dismiss me after starting an argument they’re going to lose like to point out that I was once a comedian, as if that settles something.

I worked a with a lot of comedians back in the day. If you remove the ones who rely on scatological material to get laughs (what we in the biz call “dick joke” comedians), they were all highly intelligent. Guess what? It actually requires high intelligence to write material that can make a room full of strangers laugh for an hour without resorting to “dick jokes.”  And of course, The Doc and other trolls like to conveniently forget I’m a programmer who designs complex systems.

But since The Doc likes to dismiss me as a comedian, I pointed out that his habit of immediately resorting to insults when he’s proven wrong makes for great comedy.  I asked if he’d charge a fee for me to quote him directly when I need new material.

When he replied with another insult, I suggested that instead of borrowing his tweets as material, we should work together as comedy duo.

THE DOC: Tom, stop saying dietitians recommend Frosted Flakes as heart healthy. It’s not true!

TOM: Uh, Doc?  (Tom holds up big ‘heart healthy’ hospital menu designed by dietitian.)

THE DOC: Your reasoning is very poor.

TOM: Look, Doc, we’ve got people out there recommending Frosted Flakes, Frosted Mini-Wheats and pancakes as “heart healthy.”  Shouldn’t we do something about this?

THE DOC: Yes. Give them a legal monopoly on dietary advice.

TOM: But they’ve even got cinnamon rolls and blueberry muffins listed as “heart healthy.” You do see the big threat to public health, don’t you?

THE DOC: Of course. It’s Tim Noakes.

I don’t think The Doc liked my idea to work as a team.

In the meantime, some dietitians chimed in. Turns out they believe (and as Dave Barry used to say, I’m not making this up!) they’re in the same category as doctors.  Some of their tweets:

You’re so right! Licensed physicians — who needs em’ for medical treatments and care?

Who needs health care professionals anyway? Lets let blogs & 3rd-party gyms diagnose disease & prescribe meds too.

RDs have a 4-year science-based degree. Regulated professions are regulated for a reason, why is that so hard to get!?

Regulated professions are regulated for a reason?  You mean like when Illinois made it illegal to charge a fee for braiding hair without first acquiring a cosmetology license?  Yeah, that was certainly to protect the public.  Lord only knows how many people were rushed to emergency rooms with bad braids.

Milton Friedman once pointed that people have an inexhaustible capacity to believe that whatever benefits them personally also benefits society as a whole. If you have the I.Q. of an eggplant or happen to be a registered dietitian, I suppose Oh, sure, why don’t just let gyms prescribe medical treatments too! sounds like a sensible argument for regulating who can give dietary advice.

For those whose I.Q. is higher than an eggplant’s (and who aren’t registered dietitians anxious to stifle competition), that argument is laughable.

Hate to break it to you, dietitians, but what you do isn’t at all like prescribing medical treatments. The effects of prescription drugs are often profound. The effects of surgery are irreversible. A bad decision by a doctor – the wrong drug, a mistake during surgery – can maim or kill the patient. Quite often, there’s no coming back from a bad medical decision.

Recommending a diet is like that, is it?  Don’t make me laugh. The effects of a diet play out over months or years. Patients can easily monitor many of the effects. Is my weight going down? Are those irritable bowel symptoms going away? Is my skin clearer? Do I sleep better? Do I have more energy? Toss in few inexpensive home testing kits, and patients can also monitor their glucose, blood pressure, A1C, lipids, etc.

If the results of a diet aren’t good, there’s a fix for that: try a different diet. That’s exactly how many of us finally found a diet that works: experiment, monitor the results, adjust the diet, monitor again.

If (egads!) someone takes dietary advice from a trainer at Crossfit and the results aren’t good, nobody was maimed or killed.  It means Crossfit has lost a customer. The frustrated dieter will seek advice elsewhere.  But of course, that’s exactly what some of these dietitians fear.  People who get lousy results following our advice could GO ELSEWHERE?!  We can’t let that happen!  We need laws to make sure our advice is the only advice!  It’s to protect the public!

As you might suspect, some dietitians on Twitter took issue with me posting those hospital menus. No, no, no, those hospital menus weren’t designed by dietitians!

Oh, okay.  I guess that explains the text at the top of this menu:

One dietitian began arguing with me back and forth. She eventually tweeted this:

I am sure you have skill in managing the complications of diabetes, medications insulin dose adjustment and nutritional support of the gut microbiota. Maybe I should focus on entertainment.

If only she had any idea how many diabetic readers over the years have described how they couldn’t get their blood sugar under control until they ditched their dietitian’s advice.

I replied:  Heh-heh … the hospital dietitian’s “skill” in managing my father-in-law’s diabetes was to tell him to eat at least 30 carbs per meal and then inject more insulin to bring down his blood sugar. The “insulin dose adjustment” is done by my mother-in-law, who measures his glucose, reads a chart, and injects insulin. Not complicated, apparently. And yes, I know how to support the gut microbiota.

She kept coming back for more, so I asked a simple question: I tweeted a link to this post about the dietitian who explained why it’s just crazy to give up sugar, and asked, Seriously, would you want me taking advice from this dietitian?

She ignored the question and changed the subject in her next reply.  Troll tactic #4: if someone asks you a direct question and you have no good answer, change the subject.

I replied: Still waiting for an answer: should I take advice from this registered dietitian, since she has all that specialized training and such? I mean, if I had diabetes, she’d give me excellent advice, right?

She replied:

You have already made up your mind.

Now that’s a truly creative answer. Yes, of course, I’d already made up my mind about whether I’d take advice from a dietitian who says it’s crazy to give up “an entire food group” like sugar, but is also a vegetarian. But that shouldn’t stop the dietitian debater on Twitter from answering my question.  One has nothing to do with the other.  It’s about as logical as replying, “I’m not going to answer your question because it’s already Tuesday.”

I asked her to stop dodging the question and give me an answer. Should I follow that registered dietitian’s advice?  The reply:

Not dodging the question at all. You made a general stereotype about my profession and I took acceptance to it. You clearly have a strong belief system and a business model that runs off it. Good for you. Do I think you should give medical advice about a specific disease- nope

Brilliant. She isn’t dodging the question, ya see, but still refuses to answer it. And somehow the issue morphed into me giving medical advice about a specific disease. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when I say Crossfit trainers and other non-licensed individuals should be legally allowed to give dietary advice, what I really mean is I should be able to give medical advice about a specific disease.

I tried one more time:  Wow. Still won’t answer a simple question — should I follow this registered dietitian’s advice or not? Pointing out what is clearly lousy advice from registered dietitians is not stereotyping your profession. Your profession shouldn’t be immune from criticism or competition.

That brought this reply:

I respect that you have a movie to promote.

Fascinating. Really and truly fascinating.  After refusing once again to answer a simple question, she implies I’m motivated by the desire to promote my movie. So let’s see … if you have a movie to promote, your motives are suspect. If your living depends on people paying you for dietary advice and you want to stifle competition, your motives aren’t suspect at all. You just want to protect the public. Makes sense.

Eventually, someone who might be her daughter (same last name, younger-looking picture) chimed in and told me to just give it up already, because I was arguing with the smartest person she knows.

I replied:  I already gave up when the smartest person you know refused over and over to answer a simple yes/no question about whether I should follow this woman’s advice because she’s a registered dietitian.

The daughter or whatever replied with something like That’s because internet trolls like you aren’t worth her time.

I say something like because the message appeared for a few seconds, then the daughter or whatever quickly blocked me from seeing her tweets.  Now there’s a confident debater.  Jump into an argument, fire off a couple of rounds, then block the other person from seeing or replying to what you just wrote.

That bit about internet trolls like you aren’t worth her time made me laugh. I had been replying to The Doc.  I’d never heard of Mom The Dietitian.  Mom The Dietitian jumped in and started debating me, not the other way around. I asked the same simple question several times, which Mom The Dietitian refused to answer — but she’s definitely not dodging the question! — and yet she kept debating me. Then the daughter jumped in. But I’m the troll.

Man, if I’m not worth her time, she had a funny way of showing it.

Anyway, here’s a quote from the article that prompted this whole Twitter storm in the first place:

Dressing up their concerns in warnings about consumer safety, licensed dietitian groups are quick to invoke images of non-licensed individuals dispensing quack diet advice to uninformed clients. The problem with this argument is that the data utterly fails to back it up.

Dozens of states allow non-dietitians to provide nutritional advice, and there has been no rise in negative health outcomes in any of these states. In fact, there has yet to be a single complaint about bad results from non-licensed nutritional advice in Missouri or anywhere else. This means that rather than genuine health and safety concerns, licensed dietitians are mostly just worried about protecting their monopoly status as the only group that can provide nutritional services in states like Missouri.

Bingo. I’ve been ignoring those highly trained licensed dietitians for years. My diet is high in meat and animal fats. It’s high in cholesterol. I don’t eat “heart healthy” whole grains, whether in pancakes or cereals or breads. I follow the advice I’ve gleaned from reading books, reading studies, attending lectures, listening to podcasts, watching presentations by doctors and scientists on YouTube, etc.

So how’s that working for me?  As it happens, lectures like the one posted below (by Ivor Cummins, who isn’t a doctor or dietitian) finally prompted me to get a coronary calcium test this week. The result: ZERO.

The lab couldn’t send the results directly to me, so they forwarded them to my doctor’s office.  His nurse called to tell me the happy news and to say, “The doctor says that’s fantastic, and keep doing whatever you’re doing.”

I think I’m doing just fine without the government “protecting” me by limiting who’s allowed to give me dietary advice.

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