As Usual, The Experts Are Blinded By Their Own Biases

You’re probably aware of the tragic story about a teen who apparently lost his vision because of a lousy diet. Here’s the opening to an article from CNN:

Eating a diet of french fries, Pringles and white bread was enough to make one teenage boy lose his sight, according to a case study published in a medical journal. Scientists from the University of Bristol examined the case of a young patient whose extremely picky eating led to blindness, and have warned of the dangers of a poor diet.

The unidentified patient told doctors he had only eaten fries from the fish and chip shop, Pringles potato chips, white bread, slices of processed ham and sausage since elementary school, and he avoided foods with certain textures. He first visited a doctor at age 14, complaining of tiredness, according to a case report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday.

He wasn’t taking any medication, had a normal BMI and height, and showed no visible signs of malnutrition.

Doctors discovered low vitamin B12 levels and anemia, treating the patient with vitamin B12 injections and offering dietary advice. One year later there were signs of hearing loss and vision symptoms, but doctors did not find the cause.

His vision had worsened to the point of blindness by 17 years of age, and doctors identified vitamin B12 deficiency, low copper and selenium levels, a high zinc level, reduced vitamin D level and bone level density, according to a statement from the University of Bristol. By this stage, vision damage was permanent.

That’s horrible. As I read the article, I was expecting someone to point out what seems obvious to me: when your diet is refined carbs, more refined carbs, and even more refined carbs, your blood sugar is probably sky-high most of the time. Chronically high blood sugar damages nerves and other tissues. That’s why diabetics go blind or have their limbs amputated.

But the CNN article mostly blamed the tragic results on malnutrition:

Researchers from Bristol Medical School and the Bristol Eye Hospital examined the case and concluded that the patient suffered nutritional optic neuropathy, a dysfunction of the optic nerve.

The researchers say that poor diet and reduced intake of minerals caused vision loss in this case, and warn that nutritional optic neuropathy could become more common due to the consumption of junk food. They also warned vegans to make sure to supplement for vitamin B12 to avoid deficiency.

Yeah, okay, the kid probably wasn’t getting sufficient vitamins and minerals on that lousy diet. Maybe that figured into it. But again: WHAT ABOUT CHRONICALLY HIGH BLOOD SUGAR? Did anyone even check what his glucose levels were on a diet of fries, Pringles and white bread?

An article on the NPR news site did mention the dangers of too many refined carbs, but boy, it took them a long time to get there – and of course, they had to take a swipe at red meat and high-fat dairy foods along the way, as if that somehow explains what happened to the kid.

“It’s intriguing,” say Allen Taylor, the director of the Nutrition and Vision Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts. “But it’s important to remember it’s a study of only one case with very limited information in it,” Taylor says.

“There is, absolutely, a link between poor diet and vision loss,” Taylor explains. But, he says, usually people don’t develop symptoms until much later in life.

He points to a study he and his collaborators published back in 2014, which found that poor-quality diets can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration. This can lead to blurry vision and can make reading more difficult. It usually occurs after age 60.

Oh, boy, here we go … I looked up Dr. Taylor’s study. It’s yet another observational study based on those oh-so-reliable food questionnaires. Dr. Taylor divided people into two groups: those who followed what he labeled an “oriental” diet pattern and those who followed a “western” dietary pattern.  The NPR article recounts the results:

People in Taylor’s study who consumed plenty of vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, tomatoes and seafood had a lower risk of developing AMD. On the other hand, people who consumed a diet rich in red meat, processed meat, high-fat dairy products, French fries and refined grains had a higher risk of developing the condition.

Head. Bang. On. Desk. Do we see the problem here? Fries and refined grains have nothing to do with red meat and high-fat dairy products. Refined carbs jack up your blood sugar. Meat and butter don’t. Lumping red meat and high-fat dairy foods together with fries and refined carbs because they’re all “western” foods is like lumping gin, vodka and water together because they’re all “clear liquid foods.”

Speaking of lumping foods together, we need to add fruitsvegetableswholegrains! to our dictionary of terms like arterycloggingsaturatedfat! and hearthealthywholegrains! Poke a dietician or health reporter in her sleep, and she’ll mutter fruitsvegetableswholegrains! fruitsvegetableswholegrains! fruitsvegetableswholegrains!

The kid who lived on fries, white bread and Pringles didn’t go blind because he failed to consume enough fruitsvegetableswholegrains! If he did, we can expect carnivores like Dr. Shawn Baker, Amber Hearn and Jordan Peterson to start having vision problems any day now. But I suspect that won’t happen.

Waaay deep into the NPR article, we finally get a possible explanation other than the lack of fruitsvegetableswholegrains!

Consuming a lot of refined carbohydrates, including foods such as white bread, chips, crackers and sweets, is linked to a higher risk of developing AMD and some forms of cataracts. Taylor and his collaborators are trying to understand how refined carbohydrates may inflict damage on the cells within our eyes and bodies.

“If you look at the chemistry behind what’s going on in the cells, you can actually see the vestiges of the carbohydrates in the cells,” Taylor says.

“The carbohydrates end up damaging the proteins within the cells of the eyes,” he says, so the proteins are no longer as functional as they might have been.

Yes. Now we’re getting somewhere. The refined carbohydrates lead to high levels of glucose, which end up damaging the proteins within the cells. Not the meat. Not the high-fat dairy foods. And all the fruitsvegetableswholegrains! in the world won’t prevent a diet of fries, Pringles and white bread from jacking up your glucose.

But as usual, the experts and the people who quote them are blinded by their own biases.


Review: FAT, The Documentary

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I finally got around to seeing Vinnie Tortorich’s documentary FAT, which is available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and on Blu-ray if you prefer to own a physical copy.

Vinnie and The Older Brother sometimes poke each other on Twitter, so when The Older Brother tweeted that he’d just seen it, Vinnie tweeted back:

OK Jerry, if you had to choose one movie, mine or your brother’s… Which one would win the Sophie‘s choice award?

Talk about putting a guy on the spot. The Older Brother replied:

He’s going to be here this weekend & he’s bigger and stronger than me now so Imma taking a pass on that one!

Seriously, I don’t think you can do a side-by-side score. Fat Head was 10 years ago and one of the first to take on the “fat – baaaad, grain – gooood” paradigm in an accessible way for the general public. Production tech & nutrition info have exploded since then.

So Fat is obviously more current & a “cleaner” looking production, but I think Fat Head set the path for lots of folks.

Heh-heh … wise response, Older Brother. Seriously, though, that’s pretty much what I would have said.

I produced Fat Head on a shoestring budget with barely any crew. (My nephew Grant was in town while I was shooting part of it and served as cameraman. In Fat Head Kids, he’s the voice of Marty Metabolism and Mr. Spot. Thank goodness for talented relatives.) Fat Head and FAT are around the same length, but the first half of Fat Head focused on pointing out the b.s. in Super Size Me.

So while both films tell the story of how the demonization of fat and cholesterol sent our diets off the rails, let me just come out and say it: FAT tells that story better. It’s beautifully shot and edited. It’s more detailed, with more history and more film clips – including an interview with Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the explorer who lived with the Inuit and later agreed to be locked in a hospital and eat nothing but meat and seafood for a year to prove his health wouldn’t decline on the diet.

Lots of people we all know now but I didn’t know 10 years ago provide commentary in interviews: Dr. Eric Westman, Nina Teicholz, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, Ivor Cummins, Dr. Jeffrey Gerber and Gary Taubes, to name a few. (Gary graciously agreed to read the script for Fat Head to make sure I was representing his ideas accurately, but his publisher didn’t want him to appear in a film billed as a comedy.)

Vinnie moves the story along in what I’d call a series of fireside chats – he’s literally sitting in a room with a fireplace. When I was on his podcast show a few years ago, he was known as America’s Angriest Trainer, and I’d say the label still applies. He’s not screaming and yelling or anything, but during the fireside-chat scenes, he comes across as an intelligent and knowledgeable guy who’s seen the damage caused by lousy dietary advice and is frankly pissed off about it. (I was pissed off about it when I made Fat Head too, but I tend to turn anger into humor.)

Of course, we should be pissed off.

To underscore that point, film director Jim Abrahams (of Airplane! fame) tells the story of his son, who suffered from severe epileptic seizures and spent years going through the whole medical rigmarole. Desperate to find some kind of treatment that would work, Abrahams finally went to a medical library himself and started reading. Imagine his surprise (and outrage) when he came across old articles describing how a ketogenic diet can prevent seizures in many patients – which is exactly what happened when Abrahams put his son on the diet. Abrahams confronted the doctors and demanded to know why none of them had recommended a ketogetic diet.

Uh, well, ya see, we wouldn’t want to put a kid on a dangerous high-fat diet when there might be a drug that would work …

To further underscore the point, Australian surgeon Dr. Gary Fettke appears to tell how he was ordered by the medical authorities to stop recommending low-carb diets to his diabetic patients. Yes, that’s right … he was ordered to stop telling people who can’t tolerate carbohydrates to limit their carbohydrates.

That decision was, thank goodness, finally reversed. But as FAT makes clear, the problem goes way beyond one regulatory body in Australia. The arterycloggingsaturatedfat! and hearthealthywholegrains! nonsense is like a disease that began in the U.S., spread around the world, and became embedded in governments and industries.

FAT employs old news and commercial clips to show how quickly the bad-information disease spread, and how quickly the American food industry latched onto the low-fat/low-cholesterol message – and why not? The real money isn’t in real foods; it’s in low-fat, processed frankenfoods.

Vinnie talks about the power of the media by sharing a story I hadn’t heard before: back in his modeling days (I didn’t know he had modeling days, either) he was invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show for an episode about men who date older women. Just before the show began, Vinnie was informed he had to pretend a woman appearing on the show was his girlfriend. (You don’t believe reality television has anything to do with reality, do you?)

Unhappy about being blindsided, Vinnie decided to torpedo the show by being so outrageous, the producers couldn’t possibly choose to air it. (The clips from the episode are hilarious.) Yet it became one of highest-rated Oprah episodes ever. The message for Vinnie? Lies sell. Nonsense sells. Our dietary guidelines are lies and nonsense, but damn, they sure helped sell a lot of junk passing as food.

Toward the end of the film, we see clips of one president after another introducing plans to provide Affordable Health Care to All Americans! … against a background showing the cost of healthcare going up … and up … and up … and up.

Health care will never be affordable when the public keeps becoming more and more metabolically damaged. And we’ll never stop the metabolic damage until we stop blaming fat for crimes it didn’t commit and promoting “health” foods that are anything but healthy. That’s the message of FAT.

So sure, Vinnie’s still angry. Fortunately, he channeled that anger into a very enjoyable and informative film.


Not-Yogurt Experiment

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I’ve been threatening to make a batch of not-yogurt and skip the crushed BioGaia tablet for one of the three cups to see if it made any difference.

Nope, no difference.  I added yogurt from the previous batch and potato starch to the center cup, but no tablet.  The other two cups got the additional tablet.  They’re all equally thick, and they taste exactly the same.

So apparently the bacteria count in the yogurt is high enough that a tablespoon of the stuff is enough to seed the next cup.  Given the happy result, I’ll probably just add the extra tablets every third or fourth batch.


Tweaks To The Not-Yogurt

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I’ve experimented a couple of times with the ingredients for the not-yogurt. The last four batches have been great – thick and creamy through-and-through, with no runny stuff to pour off or mix in, and no cottage-cheese chunks. So here’s my current process:

I make just over two quarts at a time. I prefer to mix, incubate and store without changing containers, so I use these 32-oz. cups for the NutriBullet. I ordered four of them from Amazon.

I divide two quarts of organic half-and-half into three of the 32-oz. cups, then add a little more until I’ve reached the Max line. Next I add two tablespoons of yogurt from the previous batch to each cup. Then I crush one additional BioGaia tablet for each cup.

That may not be necessary, of course. Could be the previous yogurt is all it takes. But what the heck, I’m doing this to make sure I get the L. reuteri into my system, so I’m willing to use three tablets per batch. Perhaps I’ll experiment with some future batch and skip the additional tablet for one of the three cups, then compare the results.

Someone mentioned in comments that if the not-yogurt is runny, it likely means the bacteria ran out of food during incubation. Well, we mustn’t let that happen. Potato starch is dirt cheap, and I’d rather give the bacteria too much food instead of too little. So I add two full tablespoons of potato starch to each cup. Haven’t had a runny batch since I started doing that.

Sometimes when we reach the bottom of a cup, there’s a thick, white layer.  I assume it’s mostly leftover potato starch the little critters didn’t eat. Since potato starch is a probiotic (don’t let the word starch scare you), I just scoop it out and add it to my yogurt shake.

Once all the ingredients are in the cup, I plop it on the NutriBullet to mix everything – no need to make a slurry first. Then I cover each cup with a coffee filter held in place by a rubber band. Then it’s off to the Sous Vide pot to incubate for at least 36 hours.

I took a picture of the not-yogurt after a recent batch was fully incubated, then realized it just looked like a cup of cream. To demonstrate how thick this stuff is, I plunged a butter knife into the yogurt, then took another picture.

Now that’s thick.

When we finish off two of the cups, I open the third cup and spoon out what I need to start another batch. That seems to work out well as far as timing. The next batch is done just about the time we reach the bottom of that third cup.

How are the rest of you doing with your batches?


From The News …

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Items from my inbox and elsewhere ….


You probably noticed (at least I hope you noticed) I haven’t posted for a while. We ended up taking a brief vacation to visit my family in Illinois. It was good to get away and visit with my mom, The Older Brother, his kids and grandkids, and my son Zack. It was also good not think about work or blogging or much of anything else for few days.

I was mentally lazy but physically active. On Saturday I played nine holes of golf with The Older Brother’s sons Eric and Grant. On Sunday, The Older Brother joined us for 18 holes. It was something of a belated sendoff to my dad. We played his favorite course and talked about him several times … partly because of what The Older Brother called Operation Ashes or something like that.

My dad was an avid golfer. He loved the game, but it didn’t love him back. He played as often as he could, but never developed a reliable swing. When I was kid, the bookshelves were full of books on how to play better golf, and the basement was full of golf clubs my dad had abandoned in a fruitless quest to find clubs that would swing themselves properly.

He would have loved it if The Older Brother and I had shown some interest in the game when we were kids. We didn’t. I didn’t start playing until I was nearly 30, and The Older Brother plays perhaps one round per year. But after I did take up the game, I spent a lot of weekend afternoons on that golf course with Dad. Those are some of my fondest memories.

The 17th hole was Dad’s nemesis … well, one of them. It’s a par three with a narrow fairway surrounded on both sides by water. Sand traps in front of the green shrink the fairway to a ribbon. If your tee shot doesn’t land on the green, you’re probably in trouble.

Dad’s tee shots often found the water. More than once, he turned to me after the splash and said, “When I die, dump my ashes in the water hazard on this hole so I can spend eternity with my golf balls.”

Operation Ashes was to honor that request.

He would have loved seeing the four of us out there, playing a round of golf together. My nephew Eric (who posted the now-famous Fat Head Pizza recipe) swats the ball like a pro. He hits the longest, straightest drives I’ve ever seen from an amateur. His leisurely backswing is a thing of beauty. It reminds me of what Bob Hope once said about Bing Crosby: “You can measure him for a suit during his backswing.”

My nephew Grant (who re-ignited my long-dormant interest in golf during his recent visit) is no slouch himself, despite only taking up the game a few years ago. Fortunately, The Older Brother and I ensured that slouches weren’t underrepresented in the foursome. We admired Eric’s and Grant’s shots, then saw to it that the local kids who sell golf balls they find out of bounds remain gainfully employed.

As we were approaching that dastardly 17th hole (it’s now the eighth hole because the front and back nines were flipped), The Older Brother’s Youngest Son Kenny joined us. We each took some of Dad’s ashes and poured them into the murky water. Mission accomplished.

With the little ceremony finished, Eric and Grant hit high, lovely tee shots that landed on the green. I chunked my tee shot, but the ball landed on that narrow strip of fairway in front of the green, bounced, and rolled on. Then The Older Brother pulled his tee shot into the water. Splash. Well, someone had to pay homage to Dad.

On Monday, I played 18 holes of disc golf at the local college course with Grant and Sara while Chareva and Alana baby-sat with Grant’s son. Then we finally headed back to Tennessee. As you might suspect, I was pretty worn out by the time we got home. On the other hand, I’m happy to be 60 years old and still able to engage in so much physical activity over a weekend.

I’m resistant to sunburn but not immune

Nine holes of golf, then 18 holes of golf, then an outdoor “Family Fun Day” at an Elks Club by the lake, then 18 holes of disc golf, with most of that time spent in the sun. Back in the day, I would gotten completely fried without sunscreen. I didn’t get fried, but my arms and legs finally went from browned to red. Turns out I’m not quite immune to prolonged sun exposure. The good news is that the redness is fading and I show no signs of peeling. Perhaps healthier skin not only doesn’t burn as easily, it recovers more easily when it is burned.

Scientists are freakin’ liars

A clinical study came out last year that compared people assigned to vegan, low-fat and low-carb diets. The conclusion? Low-fat diets are best for cardiovascular health – in fact, low-carb diets increase cardiovascular risk. Here’s part of the abstract:

One-year body mass changes did not differ by diet. One-year lowered-carbohydrate diet significantly increases cardiovascular risks, while a low-to-moderate-fat diet significantly reduces cardiovascular risk factors.

One of the authors was Keith Ayoob, who I refer to as Ayoob The Boob because he champions the arterycloggingsaturatefat! theory, commenting to the media that coconut oil is bad for us and other such nonsense.

So what do we make of a study like this? Turns out we shouldn’t make much of it at all. If you go to the listing for the study on, you’ll find this:

The above article from Clinical Cardiology, posted online on September 27, 2018 in Wiley Online Library (, has been retracted by agreement between the journal Editor in Chief, A. John Camm and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The article has been withdrawn due to concerns with data integrity and an undisclosed conflict of interest by the lead author.

Concerns with data integrity … yeah, that tells us all we need to know.

Sorry if I’m typing slowly … I have Avocado Hand

Yeah, I never heard of it either. But according to CBS News, Avocado Hand is a growing problem:

The number of injuries caused by improper handling and cutting of avocados is on the rise. The U.K. newspaper The Times reports that the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons is seeing a growing number of patients in the emergency room as a result of “avocado hand” – injuries from failed attempts to cut an avocado.

What the heck is wrong with those Brits? They can’t slice up an avocado without severing a finger? Must have something to do with all those years of sticking out a pinky while drinking tea.

Stateside, doctors say they’re seeing a similar trend.

Oh. Sorry, Brits.

A flurry of social media posts have emerged with people sharing their own tales of avocado hand injuries.

Excellent. Because people just don’t share enough stupid @#$% about themselves on social media.

Experts recommend against cutting an avocado while holding it in your hand; instead, slice into it on a cutting board.

That seems rather obvious … but it’s nice to know our big, beautiful world contains experts in how to cut an avocado.

What kind of nuts write these laws?

In Fat Head, Reason Magazine editor and writer Jacob Sullum pointed out that regulations are often based on the belief that most people are stupid. A recent article in the U.K. Daily Mail provides a rather nice example of that belief in action:

Health and safety rules have been ridiculed after a brand of peanut butter was withdrawn because the jar does not warn it contains nuts.

The Whole Earth product is called ‘3 Nut Butter’ and makes plain on the front of the label that it contains walnuts and pecans as well as peanuts.

But thousands of the £2.50 jars, available in major supermarkets such as Tesco, are being recalled because they breach rules which state there has to be a nut allergy warning in English on the jar.

The article includes a picture of the jar. It’s right there on the label for everyone to see: 3 Nut Butter. Peanut, Pecan & Walnut. So apparently the regulatory goofballs want another label that reads: Warning! This product, which is clearly made of peanuts, pecans and walnuts, CONTAINS NUTS.

As do many government agencies.

What kind of boobs write these laws?

Here’s a bit from my old standup act about the day Sara was born:

Women have been breast-feeding for hundreds of thousands of years, but nowadays when you have a baby, the hospital sends in a breast-feeding consultant. Someone to sit there and watch and make sure Mom knows how to do it.

Well, I dunno, the guy did seem to know what he was talking about. We never got those pictures he promised us; that was kind of disappointing.

Okay, that didn’t actually happen, but the hospital did send in a lactation consultant. Didn’t occur to me to ask if she was licensed. Frankly, I don’t care if she was licensed. But the boobs in government do:

More than a quarter of American professions require a license, compared to just one-twentieth in the ’50s.

Well, you all remember how millions of Americans died in the ‘50s because of unlicensed service providers, don’t you? Something had to be done.

For fiscal conservatives, it’s a sign of the growing crawl of government into the pocketbooks of citizens trying to make a living, leading to such bizarre outcomes as hair braiders requiring more training hours than EMTs.

Well, you all remember how millions of Americans used to die from bad hair braids, don’t you? Something had to be done.

The next policy battleground? Breastfeeding. Starting last month, the Peach State found itself with a shortage of lactation consultants. That’s because two years ago, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a law requiring all experts to complete 14 college courses in health science, 90 hours of breastfeeding education and 1,000 clinical hours, as well as pass a written exam.

When the lactation consultant visited Chareva, it took her roughly 10 minutes to say all she had to say. I can certainly see how 14 college courses in health science, 90 hours of breastfeeding education, a thousand hours of clinical work and a written exam would be necessary. You all remember the days when millions of American newborns died because their mothers couldn’t figure out how to stick the kid on a boob, don’t you?

States are often called the laboratories of democracy for good reason, but few see them as testing grounds for nursing a newborn. Yet that’s what states like Georgia are becoming with the decision to police a profession that operated “just fine” untouched, says Buzz Brockway, a state legislator who voted against the law during the 2015–16 session.

In this case, Brockway didn’t see evidence of bad breastfeeding tips leading to illness or death. In fact, the legislation was not driven by cases of dire outcomes from sketchy breastfeeding advice.

No kidding. So here’s the real reason the law was passed:

The main beneficiaries of the legislation are universities that provide general health courses and now get a new customer base, as well as the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE), which became the only certification group legally allowed to issue licenses in Georgia. The board generates hundreds of dollars per applicant in examination fees.

With this kind of nonsense coming from legislators, next thing you know, they’ll be passing laws saying you need a license to give nutrition advice. No, wait …

What kind of boobs … boobs … boobs … sorry, I was just getting myself into a positive mindset

The New York Post published an article on how men can live longer. Avoid processed carbs and get some exercise, you say? Nope. Here’s the top suggestion:

1. Stare at boobs

It may seem like an inconvenience or an invasion of privacy to many women, but staring at boobs creates a positive mindset in men.

I’m a very positive person. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

The same effect occurs when they look at cute animals.

Well, if I have to choose …

A 2012 study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at the effects positive thinking had on men’s health. After a year, positive thinking had a powerful effect on health choices.

Uh … I’m still not seeing the connection between living longer and staring at boobs.

More than half of the patients with coronary artery disease increased their physical activity versus 37 percent in the control group, who were not asked to write down positive thoughts in the morning.

Ah, I see. A guy stares at boobs, and this puts him in a positive mindset. Then, because of the boob-induced positive mindset, he gets up the next morning and writes down positive thoughts (perhaps about boobs), which in turn prompts him to become more physically active.

Let me write down a positive thought of my own: I’m positive if I take up staring at boobs and tell Chareva I’m just trying to extend my lifespan, my lifespan will be in danger of ending shortly thereafter.

By the way, the other suggestions for men on how to live longer were, in order: have lots of sex, get married, have kids, be responsible, and get a “dad bod.”

Sex, marriage, kids, responsibilities … yeah, that’s what happens when you stare at boobs.


Dogs Need Grains? Here We Go Again … With Commentary From My Dog

The FDA recently released a report linking grain-free dog food to a rare heart condition in dogs. Some people on Twitter have suggested the real problem is the pea protein in grain-free dog food.

Frankly, I doubt pea proteins are worse than grains for dogs. This is just another lousy observational study (if you can even call it a study) with a huge confounder, as I explain in the video below. The Save The Grains Campaign of course insists this proves dogs need grains – just like people! My dog Misha comments on that in the video a well. Transcript below.


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

Well, it looks like the save the grains campaign is expanding into new markets.

As we’ve seen before, the save the grains campaign is the grain industry’s ongoing PR effort to convince us if we don’t eat grains, we’ll get sick and die.

Since human beings didn’t eat grains for more than 99 percent of our time on earth, the idea that we need grains to be healthy is, of course, ridiculous.

But you know what’s even more ridiculous? The idea that our dogs need grains to be healthy too. But that’s what some scientists are trying to tell us.

According to the New York Times, the FDA has reported that 560 dogs have been diagnosed with a rare heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. And wouldn’t you know it, a high proportion of those dogs were fed grain-free dog food.

Well, if grain-free dog food is correlated with a rare heart condition, then these dogs must have developed heart disease because they didn’t eat grains, right?

No. Of course not. This is another example of why we shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on observational studies. Because there’s a perfectly logical explanation for this correlation.

People with high disposable incomes are much more likely to go to a vet and pay for an expensive test to find out Fido has a rare heart condition. Which is exactly what happened here. The heart condition was reported to the FDA by people who own the dogs.

People with high disposable incomes are also more likely to feed their dogs grain-free dog food. Because it’s expensive.

So when a rare heart condition is diagnosed in 560 dogs, out of 70 million dogs by the way, it’s no surprise that more of those dogs were eating expensive dog food.

And yet the perfectly logical explanation didn’t seem to occur to the expert the New York Times quoted for the article. He seems to think dogs actually need grains. And here’s his explanation:

“If they look at the dogs’ relatives in the wild, like coyotes, wolves and hyenas, they live on their prey. Those animals they prey on are typically herbivores, so they are ingesting grains anyway.”

First off, that’s like saying since I eat cows and the cows eat grass, I should just eat the grass myself and cut out the middleman. Or middle moo.

And second, it’s just not true. And here to explain is my own expert: my dog Misha, who’s almost eight years old, and his been living her entire life on a diet that consists mostly of raw meat. Misha, what about this idea that coyotes and wolves live on animals that eat grains?

Misha: I looked up what my relatives in the wild eat. They eat deer, bison, moose, elk, caribou and small animals like rabbits and rodents. Then I look up what those animals eat. They eat grass, twigs, roots, tree buds, flowers and insects. None of these yummy animals live on grains.

Now, as I’ve already explained, we don’t feed you any grains at all. What would you say is the biggest health problem you’ve experienced because of that diet?

Misha: Nothing. I feel great.

And so what would you say about this whole notion that dogs need grains to be healthy?

Misha: It’s a pile of dog poop.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.