This Is What We’re Up Against, Part Two

      170 Comments on This Is What We’re Up Against, Part Two

The following is a transcript of an online debate between me and someone who works at a medical center and is either a nutritionist or has great respect for the advice they dole out.  This should give you an idea of what sick people are being told about diet.  My mom received the same advice from a nutrionist, but between my lectures and the books by Drs. Eades & Eades, she was persuaded otherwise.

Nutritionist comments are in italics, mine are plain text.

it’s not wise to cut grains out completely. your body needs varieties of different foods, grain included.

Humans lived without grains for 99% of their time on earth. Many native cultures still live without eating grains, which require processing to be edible. On what are you basing your claim that it’s “not wise” to cut out grains completely? (I have, and all that’s happened is several ailments have gone away.)

well good for your individual results. humans have been eating grains for at least 10,000 years, some evidence found it going way further back. granted it only seems like a blink of the eye, but it a significant amount of time nonetheless.

basically you need carbs to function. you need them for your brain and also to exercise. i’m not saying go out and eat a bunch of white bleached and enriched bread, just eat healthy grains.

Evolution doesn’t work that quickly. Some humans have adapted to grains, but many have not. No humans NEED grains to be healthy, and grains can have negative effects on health. The lectins in grains can lead to autoimmune diseases, to name just one. Nor do we need carbohydrates to exercise (I exercise frequently) or for brain function (I write, do standup comedy, and program software all without benefit of carbohydrates other than vegetables). Look up gluconeogenesis.

you actually do need carbs for lots of things, including the central nervous system, the kidneys, brain and muscles (including the heart). you need it cause it’s your main source of energy. without carbs your body will consume protein from your muscles. you also get carbs from fruit and veggies. and again, i’m not saying go eat a bunch of refined carbs, but brown rice, whole grain pasta, and multigrain breads should be a moderate part of your diet.

With all due respect, you’re simply stating an opinion with no facts to back it up. If you consume enough fat and protein, your body will not digest your muscles. I’ve gained quite a bit of muscle since cutting carbs. Carbs are the “main source of energy” as a matter of convenience in grain-growing societies, not as a biological necessity. Most of your body will happily burn fat for fuel — that’s why your body stores energy as fat. (Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?)

your body will burn muscle and fat as a last resort, it’s a survival mechanism. and with all due respect, you don’t know my educational background, therefore are not qualified to call my opinion just that. an opinion, and with no facts nonetheless. i don’t know if you’re promoting this film for someone or if it’s your film, but arguing on youtube is not a good way to endorse a product.

What is your scientific basis for the “last resort” theory? Without fat or protein, you’ll die. Without carbs, you’ll live just fine, as many hunting and fishing tribes throughout history did. My ancestors lived in Ireland. Pre-agriculture, how did they manage to get all that “essential” carbohydrate? No potatoes, no grain farming, no wild fruits or vegetables except in season. The idea that we evolved to “need” grains and starches a mere few thousand years later is absurd.

it’s a well known medical fact in the order in which the body burns its resources. first carbs, then fat, then muscle. therefore, it’s a last resort. if you didn’t know that then i suggest you take a nutrition class.

Let’s see … biologically, we evolved to “need” foods that are new to the human diet, that were mostly unavailable before agriculture and transportation, and require extensive processing to be edible. (Try plucking wheat and eating it.) But the foods that were abundant and can be eaten immediately and raw — game meats and fish — are “last resort” sources of fuel, and our bodies chose a “last resort” form of storing calories, a.k.a. fat. Wow, evolution is strange indeed.

We burn carbs first to avoid the biological emergency of high blood sugar, which is toxic — therefore, it’s a survival mechanism — not because carbs are the body’s preferred fuel. If you didn’t know that, I suggest you take a biochemistry class.

[NOTE:  It occurred to me later that our bodies will burn alcohol before anything else.  According to the nutritionist’s logic, that makes alcohol our preferred fuel.  All in favor a 60% alcohol diet, raise your hands.]

funny, i always though eating meat raw was dangerous as well. believe what you must, but stop telling everyone to alter their diet when you’re obviously not a doctor nor a nutritionist.

Your lack of knowledge is becoming more apparent. Eating a fresh kill isn’t dangerous, and humans did it for ages. Bear Grylls does it on Man vs. Wild and lives to tell. Cooking provided an advantage by allowing meat to be kept longer without spoiling.

No, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, which is why I don’t offer lousy, unscientific, because-my-nutrition-textbook-­said-so advice such as “you need grains.” (Works for doctors … then they can prescribe arthritis drugs.)

“No, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist” then stop pretending you know what people need. what works for you may not work for someone else.

Gosh, yes, because only a doctor — who is trained to prescribe drugs and spends a scant few hours in nutrition classes during all of medical school — can talk intelligently about nutrition. Certainly people who merely read dozens of books and hundreds of academic papers and regularly interview researchers aren’t qualified. As for not telling other people what to eat, you’re the one who felt compelled to encourage people to eat grains — which will make many of them ill.

but a nutritionist is specifically trained to be able to tell certain people how they should eat, unlike you who bunch everyone together and say no grain for you. asians are the healthiest people on earth, what is one of the staples in their diet? rice. hello. it’s a grain. if you would pay attention to what i said at the beginning you would understand that i’m not saying people should eat refined carbs, but veggies, fruits and beans, and whole wheat are needed in your diet.

Nutritionists are trained to follow the food pyramid, which isn’t based on science. It’s based on the USDA’s desire to sell grains.

Rice is the least problematic grain, but can still cause blood-sugar spikes for people whose ancestors didn’t come from rice-eating areas. Nobody “needs” rice or especially whole wheat, which can be disastrous. Read Loren Cordain’s paper on grains, lectins and diseases or Dr. William Davis’ posts on wheat … then tell me we need whole wheat.

they do not only follow the food pyramid, they use common sense. you wouldn’t give everyone 6-7 servings of grain. the USDA isn’t out to get us, neither are the majority of doctors and by encouraging people by saying eating tons of fast food isn’t bad for you is ridiculous. come work where i do at a dialysis center for one day and you’ll figure out why.

It isn’t common sense to promote a food pyramid with a base built on a food — grains — that cause health problems for many people. It isn’t common sense to tell people in a population where insulin resistance is rampant to consume 300 carbs per day. That’s partly why dialysis centers are necessary.

High blood sugar damages kidneys. High-carb diets spike blood sugar. The last thing people with kidney problems need is advice from carb-promoting nutritionists.

dialysis patients don’t need to limit grains, and some are encouraged because they need to gain weight. however, because of levels of phosphorus, whole wheat shouldn’t be consumed. but they’re encouraged to eat white, rye and sourdough bread. continue to argue if you must. it’s not the way to win customers.

So you encourage dialysis patients to eat white bread, a sure-fire way to spike blood sugar?!!  Lord help us.  Business must be booming.

white bread doesn’t have as much phosphorus, therefore better for them then whole wheat. again, don’t try to understand something you have no education in.

I see … because “don’t eat bread or other foods that raise your blood sugar” would kill them outright.

High blood sugar damages kidneys. White bread spikes blood sugar. Which part of this equation am I failing to understand because I did’t attend nutritionist school?

too much carbohydrates can result in high blood sugar levels, and too little can result in low blood sugar levels. you need to go to your nutritionist to see the amount you need. dialysis patients can’t eat a lot of foods as it is, so moderately eating white bread is needed to keep their weight up. that’s what you’re failing to understand.

Well, that make sense. After damaging their kidneys with foods that spike blood sugar, dialysis patients need white bread to raise their blood sugar and keep their weight up. And this therefore proves your original contention that all humans require grains in their diets, especially the whole grains that dialysis patients can’t eat because it would further damage their kidneys.

I stand corrected.


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170 thoughts on “This Is What We’re Up Against, Part Two

  1. Franklin Mason

    I don’t buy into any of the conspiracy theories suggested here. The ADA, AHA, AMA, CDC, etc. didn’t set out to make us fat and sick. Neither did the pharmaceutical industry. I find Taubes’ account in Good Calories, Bad Calories Plausible. The authorities in the U.S., led by the likes of Ancel Keyes, began to advocate a diet whose efficacy was quite hypothetical at the time, and did so to combat a very real rise in CHD.

    But they were wrong about the cause of CHD. It isn’t the fat. It’s the carbohydrate-rich foods, especially the grains, that are the primary cause of CHD (and many of the other so-called diseases of civilization). The problem now is this: a certain paradigm about diet has been enshrined by the medical community. This gives it a momentum that is extraordinarily difficult to overcome. Lots of folks in the medical community do really believe it and thus of course perpetuate it. (Most of these will believe it until they die. Scientific paradigms, even when they do finally fall, tend to be done in when a newer generation takes over.) Lots of folks profit from that erroneous paradigm too. This tends to cement it into place. Last, the medical community fears a loss of its authority; it fears that, if it were to change its story about the proper diet, it would leads ordinary folk to doubt that it really knew what the hell it’s talking about. Here in the U.S., we tend to equate changing one’s views with being wishy-washy. Thus when every anyone says anything in public, they feel obligated to keep on saying the same thing over and over no matter what the best evidence may really indicate. (We need to get over that. It ought to be a virtue to change one’s mind when new evidence comes in that contradicts what one held before.)

    What we need is enough ordinary people out there to get informed and not be afraid to challenge others. We need to shift the momentum. I’m not exactly hopeful that it will happen anytime soon, but I’ve been surprised before.

    I don’t think they’re out to intentionally make us sick, either. I believe the USDA latched onto the grains-are-good theory for obvious reasons, the doctors and nutritionists are parroting what they were taught, and the researchers simply can’t believe they’ve been wrong all these years.

    Reply
  2. Franklin Mason

    I don’t buy into any of the conspiracy theories suggested here. The ADA, AHA, AMA, CDC, etc. didn’t set out to make us fat and sick. Neither did the pharmaceutical industry. I find Taubes’ account in Good Calories, Bad Calories Plausible. The authorities in the U.S., led by the likes of Ancel Keyes, began to advocate a diet whose efficacy was quite hypothetical at the time, and did so to combat a very real rise in CHD.

    But they were wrong about the cause of CHD. It isn’t the fat. It’s the carbohydrate-rich foods, especially the grains, that are the primary cause of CHD (and many of the other so-called diseases of civilization). The problem now is this: a certain paradigm about diet has been enshrined by the medical community. This gives it a momentum that is extraordinarily difficult to overcome. Lots of folks in the medical community do really believe it and thus of course perpetuate it. (Most of these will believe it until they die. Scientific paradigms, even when they do finally fall, tend to be done in when a newer generation takes over.) Lots of folks profit from that erroneous paradigm too. This tends to cement it into place. Last, the medical community fears a loss of its authority; it fears that, if it were to change its story about the proper diet, it would leads ordinary folk to doubt that it really knew what the hell it’s talking about. Here in the U.S., we tend to equate changing one’s views with being wishy-washy. Thus when every anyone says anything in public, they feel obligated to keep on saying the same thing over and over no matter what the best evidence may really indicate. (We need to get over that. It ought to be a virtue to change one’s mind when new evidence comes in that contradicts what one held before.)

    What we need is enough ordinary people out there to get informed and not be afraid to challenge others. We need to shift the momentum. I’m not exactly hopeful that it will happen anytime soon, but I’ve been surprised before.

    I don’t think they’re out to intentionally make us sick, either. I believe the USDA latched onto the grains-are-good theory for obvious reasons, the doctors and nutritionists are parroting what they were taught, and the researchers simply can’t believe they’ve been wrong all these years.

    Reply
  3. Zach

    even if we hypothetically “needed” carbs (obviously we don’t need them to survive, but for some people carbs do definitely have their advantages), what is the nutritionist’s logic for consuming them from grains rather than something like sweet potatoes? or other fruits and vegetables? saying “it’s extremely important that we eat carbs” is an entirely different argument than “it’s extremely important that we eat grains”. she argued that we need carbs but didn’t say anything about why grains are necessary rather than other carb sources.

    also, the fact that she continuously used the ad hominem attack rather than addressing your specific claims clearly shows her logic is lacking. whether you are a doctor or a nutritionist has nothing to do with the validity of the claims you are making

    That’s what I was trying to get him or her to explain. Given how many societies lived without them, why would we possibly “need” grains?

    Reply
  4. Gigi

    How timely. I’ve had this *exact* debate, in minature, on Facebook recently. A young acquaintance who has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from our local Big Ag University, and is doing some sort of related graduate work, has disagreed with me, politely, in person, in the past. (One notable comment, “You would die without sugar!”)

    Then last Friday, I had a thought that made me giggle, so I posted it:

    “Oh I just crack myself up! I just came up with this mnemonic with regard to sweeteners: ‘If it didn’t come out of a tree or a bee, don’t eat it!’ Hee hee hee!”
    (This isn’t, of course, strictly true, for a variety of reasons – but I found the rhyme amusing.)

    Young Nutrition Major posted this in response:
    “I hope that you actually get into the nutrition program at (Big Ag University) so you learn real science.”

    Mind you, I’ve posted all kinds of links to articles, quite frequently FatHead posts (my favorites!), and, pointedly, your ones about “credentials” vs numbers. But she has never commented before on any of them. I have to be polite, as she is great friends with our Daughters, so I replied thus:

    “Wow. That comment is completely inappropriate on so many levels. First off, I was just being funny & cute. I know you disagree with my ideas, but really? *This* is the post you chose to take issue with? And your ‘real’ science? Brought to you by Monsanto and ConAgra? No, thank you. I’ll eat my food the way God made it.”

    Several friends commented agreeing with me, and for good measure, stated their own credentials. 🙂 My favorite was this: “‎’Real Science’ is a crutch term that non-scientists hide behind; and which no real scientist ever needs to utter.”

    What makes me sad, is that when I post or suggest something to my 25yo stepdaughter and her fiancee, both of whom have WAY too many health concerns for such young women, they always send it to Young Nutrition Major for “debunking”. And so they continue on their soymilk, eggwhite, vegetable oil, unhealthy ways. *Sigh.*

    We’d die without sugar?! I’d better make sure my life insurance is paid up.

    Something is seriously wrong when nutrition professors are teaching students that in order to be healthy, we need foods that require processing to even be edible.

    Reply
  5. Zach

    even if we hypothetically “needed” carbs (obviously we don’t need them to survive, but for some people carbs do definitely have their advantages), what is the nutritionist’s logic for consuming them from grains rather than something like sweet potatoes? or other fruits and vegetables? saying “it’s extremely important that we eat carbs” is an entirely different argument than “it’s extremely important that we eat grains”. she argued that we need carbs but didn’t say anything about why grains are necessary rather than other carb sources.

    also, the fact that she continuously used the ad hominem attack rather than addressing your specific claims clearly shows her logic is lacking. whether you are a doctor or a nutritionist has nothing to do with the validity of the claims you are making

    That’s what I was trying to get him or her to explain. Given how many societies lived without them, why would we possibly “need” grains?

    Reply
  6. Gigi

    How timely. I’ve had this *exact* debate, in minature, on Facebook recently. A young acquaintance who has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from our local Big Ag University, and is doing some sort of related graduate work, has disagreed with me, politely, in person, in the past. (One notable comment, “You would die without sugar!”)

    Then last Friday, I had a thought that made me giggle, so I posted it:

    “Oh I just crack myself up! I just came up with this mnemonic with regard to sweeteners: ‘If it didn’t come out of a tree or a bee, don’t eat it!’ Hee hee hee!”
    (This isn’t, of course, strictly true, for a variety of reasons – but I found the rhyme amusing.)

    Young Nutrition Major posted this in response:
    “I hope that you actually get into the nutrition program at (Big Ag University) so you learn real science.”

    Mind you, I’ve posted all kinds of links to articles, quite frequently FatHead posts (my favorites!), and, pointedly, your ones about “credentials” vs numbers. But she has never commented before on any of them. I have to be polite, as she is great friends with our Daughters, so I replied thus:

    “Wow. That comment is completely inappropriate on so many levels. First off, I was just being funny & cute. I know you disagree with my ideas, but really? *This* is the post you chose to take issue with? And your ‘real’ science? Brought to you by Monsanto and ConAgra? No, thank you. I’ll eat my food the way God made it.”

    Several friends commented agreeing with me, and for good measure, stated their own credentials. 🙂 My favorite was this: “‎’Real Science’ is a crutch term that non-scientists hide behind; and which no real scientist ever needs to utter.”

    What makes me sad, is that when I post or suggest something to my 25yo stepdaughter and her fiancee, both of whom have WAY too many health concerns for such young women, they always send it to Young Nutrition Major for “debunking”. And so they continue on their soymilk, eggwhite, vegetable oil, unhealthy ways. *Sigh.*

    We’d die without sugar?! I’d better make sure my life insurance is paid up.

    Something is seriously wrong when nutrition professors are teaching students that in order to be healthy, we need foods that require processing to even be edible.

    Reply
  7. Silverminno

    ” No, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, which is why I don’t offer lousy, unscientific, because-my-nutrition-textbook-­said-so advice such as “you need grains.” (Works for doctors … then they can prescribe arthritis drugs). ”

    Right on! Hilarious, and so true. Good one, Tom.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  8. Silverminno

    ” No, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, which is why I don’t offer lousy, unscientific, because-my-nutrition-textbook-­said-so advice such as “you need grains.” (Works for doctors … then they can prescribe arthritis drugs). ”

    Right on! Hilarious, and so true. Good one, Tom.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  9. Ellen

    “Look up glocuneogenesis.”

    I think you mean gluconeogenesis 🙂 (Fortunately, Google seems to understand the misspelled version!)

    Thank you, yes. Strange my spell-checker didn’t flag it.

    Reply
  10. Ellen

    “Look up glocuneogenesis.”

    I think you mean gluconeogenesis 🙂 (Fortunately, Google seems to understand the misspelled version!)

    Thank you, yes. Strange my spell-checker didn’t flag it.

    Reply
  11. Chris

    “Don’t try to understand something you have no education in”

    I see, so we should only try to understand that in which we have already received education? Isn’t educaiton the very act of trying to understand something you have no education in?

    University would have been BORING if I could only take the same course over and over so as not to try to understand a subject I didn’t already study.

    This isn’t illogical…this is outright stupid!

    Reply
  12. Drew @ How To Cook Like Your G

    No, Chris, you’re missing something very important: Understanding and education are different. Education comes from a certified, credentialed teacher. This is different from learning, which you can do entirely on your own.

    Learning is good enough to form an “uneducated opinion”, but only education can lead to “understanding”.

    Get it now? It’s always about the credentials.

    Reply
  13. Chris

    “Don’t try to understand something you have no education in”

    I see, so we should only try to understand that in which we have already received education? Isn’t educaiton the very act of trying to understand something you have no education in?

    University would have been BORING if I could only take the same course over and over so as not to try to understand a subject I didn’t already study.

    This isn’t illogical…this is outright stupid!

    Reply
  14. Drew @ How To Cook Like Your Grandmother

    No, Chris, you’re missing something very important: Understanding and education are different. Education comes from a certified, credentialed teacher. This is different from learning, which you can do entirely on your own.

    Learning is good enough to form an “uneducated opinion”, but only education can lead to “understanding”.

    Get it now? It’s always about the credentials.

    Reply
  15. Jenny

    Hmm… so my 60% alcohol diet isn’t optimum? I thought I was just taking the “carbs for fuel” argument one logical step further.

    By nutritionist logic, you need at least some alcohol in your diet for proper brain function.

    Reply
  16. Jenny

    Hmm… so my 60% alcohol diet isn’t optimum? I thought I was just taking the “carbs for fuel” argument one logical step further.

    By nutritionist logic, you need at least some alcohol in your diet for proper brain function.

    Reply
  17. Mike

    Well, yeah, you do need some alcohol in your diet for proper brain function.

    That’s a fairly basic observation.

    And if you’ll excuse me, time to take care of that…

    Reply
  18. Mike

    Well, yeah, you do need some alcohol in your diet for proper brain function.

    That’s a fairly basic observation.

    And if you’ll excuse me, time to take care of that…

    Reply
  19. Bruce

    [NOTE: It occurred to me later that our bodies will burn alcohol before anything else. According to the nutritionist’s logic, that makes alcohol our preferred fuel. All in favor a 60% alcohol diet, raise your hands.]

    Both of my hands are up high!!

    This probably means the diet I was consuming in my mid 20’s was correct. But, at 56, I think I may have “dieted” a bit too much.

    I had read somewhere, that the body is designed to get you to the age of 40 (40 probably being a good lifespan at one time), so that you can reproduce. After that it’s pretty much done with you. You are no longer bullet proof and all hell breaks loose on your system.

    The author of “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense” (fascinating book on science) says much the same thing. At one time, the prevailing belief was that Nature set out to kill you after age 40 so you wouldn’t be a burden to the tribe. This author says your Nature doesn’t try to kill you, but really doesn’t care if you live or die after breeding age.

    Reply

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