A lot of what this site is about bothers people that hide behind what they call “science based medicine” (SBM). SBM is a skeptic’s approach to whatever they see in nutrition and medicine that is new and makes claims that counter the accepted and “science based” status quo, or current state.
Paleo, for example, bothers a writer at www.sciencebasedmedicine.org. Here’s a link. Paleo folks make a lot of claims, so it is easy to find one you don’t like. That does not prove that the overall concept is wrong. Paleo argues that the accepted norm or current state for diet and nutrition is not optimal for health. The logic is simple and it’s not a fallacy-Evolution works. We are products of a long process of evolution and have adapted to become omnivores. The modern diet is far from what humans evolved on, and you can make a list of health problems that can be tied to these drastic changes (then you can chose to not believe any of it, and have pizza and beer with the SBMs).
I could spend a lot of time picking apart the strawman arguments in the SBM thing on Paleo, but I’ll skip to the end- This SBM writer makes the same mistakes they all seem to make over and over, and that is that they accept the current state as correct, and spend all their energy telling you why the new idea is wrong. Never mind that the old idea is a turd.
I still look at what SBM folks have to say. Sometimes a broken clock is right (twice a day) and a good example is the SBM automatic rejection of anything that has to do with homeopathy, which happens to be a sensible thing to so.
Last word on the SBM nonsense, the author argues that Paleo just comes down to a rejection of modernity-
Ever since the rise of science and industry, there has long been a significant proportion of the population who distrust, fear, and sometimes even loathe modernity. Science changes too fast; it is thought to endanger “spiritual matters”; it tramples on “traditional values.” People fantasize about and long for a (nonexistent) time long past, when humans supposedly lived in harmony with their environment, and view science, specifically for the purposes of this discussion modern biomedicine, has having participating in destroying that “ancient wisdom.”
This is nonsense. As an engineer, I’m trained to use science and not reject it. Just because an industry uses the science label, it doesn’t mean that science was done right or even understood. The current state for what “science” tells us about diet and nutrition, and the resultant diseases that are out of control, is not something SBM folks should be proud of. Right now, a smart high school kid with a Paleo blog could probably offer you better advice. The problem with the current state is not that it is modern. The problem is it just sucks.Share on Facebook
Millions of Americans are panicking about cholesterol and stuffing themselves with unhealthy drugs that don’t really help. The medical industry is following a debunked model of heart disease that is leading people in the wrong directions. Most people that are worried about cholesterol would be better off becoming low-carb experts and figuring it out themselves and doing the opposite of what most drs and experts say to do!
To skip to the end, if you just want to read what this is leading to, just go here, read the summary, then listen to the best program you will find to get up to speed on cholesterol.
The Lipid Hypothesis:
Cholesterol mass insanity starts with “The Lipid Hypothesis,” which is taught as fact in medical schools, and practiced just about about everywhere. The problem with it is that it is outdated and wrong, but medicine has too much invested in it to be honest, admit the mistake, and move on. In 2010, Americans (or their insurance companies that paid for this at a profit) spent over $7B on just Lipitor.
I work with engineers every day, many of them struggling with cholesterol and needlessly stressing over numbers, or maybe even already taking drugs that are doing them no good at all. When the topic comes up and I mention that this is all based on an outdated and wrong hypothesis, they simply can not accept the possibility that an entire profession like medicine can simply be wrong and unwilling to admit it.
It’s true. An entire profession can be wrong, and it is. It’s shameful and hard to believe, yes, but it is true. If engineers were as incompetent and stubborn as the drs are about cholesterol, planes would not fly, bridges would fall apart, and horses would still be high tech transportation!
Have Faith, the Dr is Right:
This is really a tough subject for people that have been able to live a comfortable and healthy life believing everything the dr says. They have had faith in them and that has so far worked. Suddenly it seems, just one test reveals a new and dangerous condition, one that must be pushed back with drugs, and a tougher focus on “healthy eating.”
Standard practice for people with so called cholesterol problems is to send them to a pharmacy for statin drugs, along with the shame that goes along with it, to keep you in line…”Do it for the family, we want to have you around for a long time. Get the pill. Take the pill. Make us happy…” Then, the worst possible diet advice is applied, and this sets the person up to fail. They are told that eating cholesterol raises cholesterol (false). They are told that low fat is healthy (false). They are told to avoid red meat and salt (try telling that to a lion). Soon the fridge is full of egg-beaters, margarine, turkey franks, soy Frankenfoods, and low-fat junk crammed with fillers and whatever to make it edible. This is moving in the wrong direction.
They still have faith that the dr is right. They have to have faith, or start the painful process of understanding that the dr may just be wrong, and they are being lied to.
The problem is, all these medicines and low fat Frankenfoods don’t work, and eventually reality sets in. Now what? More tests, more drugs? Join a gym and try harder? Buy an exercise machine and stare at it? Or, (Heaven forbid) read the blogs and figure it out yourself. If you do that, eventually you have to face the question of “Big Medicine’s” credibility. The truth will come out, and that truth is the Lipid Hypothesis that drives this is wrong, and so is low fat dogma. You would probably be better off doing the opposite of what the dr says.
Letting go of the “dr is right” thing is the hard part. It is understandable that for a lot of people, this is too far a jump to take. They can read all kinds of good news online from people who solved their own problems by ignoring the dr, or even work one cube over from someone who did it, but for them, taking on the dr is still too scary. What if the dr is right? If not, now what, the Internet!?”
Victims of the Lipid Hypothesis are not alone. Dieters, diabetics, and thyroid patients all face the same problem-a medical industry that is often making them worse and saying the wrong things because practice is maybe 20 years behind the times and everyone is making too much money passing out the drugs they pass out. You can find their patients online very day, looking for their own gurus with answers, sometimes finding good ones, sometimes not, and it’s all on fast forward. People are figuring out that official low fat dogma is a health killer and it’s useless for managing weight. People are figuring out how to reverse and even cure diabetes without drugs simply by eating low carb the right way. People are becoming more informed about how the thyroid works than their own dr is, and figuring things out themselves. There are plenty of takedowns of the Lipid Hypothesis, and plenty of good stuff to replace it with, but first, one must let go of the baggage.
Where to Start:
This part is specifically for the fence sitters-
When you are back home from the dr after getting “the news” about cholesterol for the first time, staring at the new pill bottle, reading about low fat dieting and all the food you have to give up, feeling like things got out of control and a long difficult road is ahead, consider that it as at least possible that this is all BS.
Then, proceed very carefully. The web is full of anecdotes (I have some too) and success stories. You can find people every day that will tell you just disregard what the dr said and solve it yourself with Paleo, with low carb, or some plant from Thailand. Not so fast. The next step is to learn more about current knowledge on cholesterol than your dr knows (probably not too hard), and start solving it one step at a time.
It is true that most people taking statins for cholesterol are wasting their time. Even critics though, admit that under some conditions such as advanced heart disease, they do help people live longer, but these are cases that already got to the danger stage.
Pause for Anecdote:
I was in a hospital recently, and a nurse stops by for vitals. It goes like this-
“Blood pressure 90 over 40, pulse 58. Damn. That’s great. Are you supposed to be sick?”
“You are going to hate it when I tell you cholesterol is 124, and why it’s low…”
“OK, I have high blood pressure and cholesterol, so tell me!”
“I eat a lot of eggs and bacon. The idea is you eat the right fat to burn fat. Skip the bread and carbs, and it works.”
“You are telling me you eat eggs and bacon, and cholesterol is 124? I can’t believe that!”
“That is because everything people are told is basically wrong, so it’s no wonder that it doesn’t work…”
What to Eat then?
Do the right low carb or Paleo diet, and you are on your way to optimizing your cholesterol yourself.
The cholesterol myth is a popular topic on low carb and Paleo forums and blogs. There you will find people who skip the drugs, eat right, and proudly post their labs, myself included. To borrow the term from Sisson, the more you adapt to burning fat (by eating fat and not carbs), the more you become a “fat burning animal.” When you are a fat burning animal, you use that cholesterol the way your body was meant to work, and levels correct themselves, pretty much.
It’s hard to find drs who will admit this works, but the ones who do are easy to find on low carb and Paleo sites. My own dr cringed when I told him I dropped the last stubborn 20 lb, and did it eating a big bacon breakfast every morning. He asks what about all that saturated fat? I go if you are adapted to low carb, doesn’t your body burn it for fuel, and that’s good? Total cholesterol is 124, so he says, “Just keep doing what your are doing, it’s working.”
NOTE: This blog is more about diet and stuff I have experience with like thyroid and adrenals. I don’t spend much time with this because it doesn’t matter. But, it must be said that the above and anything you find on cholesterol online is mostly targeted for people who haven’t really developed heart disease and are just getting the pitch to manipulate their blood chemistry with drugs. Even the critics of mass use of statins, who like to point out how many people should not be taking them, will also say that there is a percentage at the more advanced stages of heart disease where they help slow the damage and extend lives. I think for people who just get a cholesterol lecture after their check-up and the pitch for statins, they should punch the dr in the nose and storm out. Or, just politely decline and don’t go back. For people seeing a dr for heart problems, question authority, but use your best judgement too!
Share on Facebook
Some people think that motocross is not much exercise and you just sit on a motorcycle, steer it, and go real fast. Yeah, try it! It’s actually quite strenuous, and the people that do it are known for being fit and tough. Just about anyone that grew up reading the magazines will tell you about the time the top Moto pros went to a university sports center to be evaluated against other athletes for fitness, and the drs basically said “Where did you get these animals!?” They were among the most fit and well-rounded athletes they ever studied, and all they do is race dirt bikes, hmm. What’s up with that?
Over the years I’ve done running, football on a team (as a kid), some weights, cycling, some hiking, and moto, and nothing makes you feel like you got a good workout like moto does. I didn’t think about why until I heard an interview with Jonathan Bailor, who just spent ten years trying to sort out published nonsense about diet and exercise, and then write a book about what he found.
The book he wrote is called “The Smarter Science of Slim,” and to skip to the exercise part, the answer is you should be doing short eccentric exercises, not killing yourself on a cycling machine, massive weight bench, running until you drop, or those new trendy things like Crossfit and HIIT, or whatever goes around next.
What’s Eccentric Exercise?
Eccentric exercise is using muscles backwards from what you think of when lifting a weight. These are also known as “negatives.” Think of a weight bench where you lift a selected amount of weight, then slowly lower it-the lowering is what you want, the negative. Bailor goes into this in detail in his book, so for now let’s just suppose he is right-that you get more benefit from exercise when you work muscles the other way. What kind of sport is like that, one where you work your muscles the other way, or maybe back and forth?
Can’t think of anything…
If you have done moto, you already know how it feels to work muscles back and forth. If you haven’t, picture yourself standing and using both arms and legs at the same time to move your weight, a 230 lb or so motorcycle, and absorb impact, then smash through something so rough that you can barely hang on, then do it as fast as you can. Every muscle gets a heck of a workout, and it’s back and forth, so you get as much eccentric or negative muscle work as just standing or lifting.
So is this really saying that exercise like you get with moto actually has some science behind it? Maybe!
More:Share on Facebook
You would think that a company making money off helping people stay healthy would have sense enough to not send out a newsletter from one of those incompetent Registered Dietitians (RD) that is licensed to tell you the wrong things.
RD dogma is simply incorrect, outdated, and literally unhealthy. RDs can’t do anything about that, if they want to stay RDs.
The best we can do is ignore them and keep telling them what they have wrong-a big task.
The Vitamin Shoppe, in their last email newsletter, turns the floor over to Sharon Richter, RD, who is typical of the “licensed to lie” crowd.
The newsletter was drooling over the unpopular and discredited USDA Food Plate. The best thing to do with that food plate is make fun of it, which is what the informed blogs have done.
From The Vitamin Shoppe Newsletter-
The plate is a wonderful tool to follow as it provides an actual visual of what your plate should look like as opposed to interpreting a food pyramid. Each section will vary in portion depending upon age, sex and activity level. For example, children under the age of 3 need approximately one cup of fruit daily while an adult between the ages of 19-30 needs two cups. Did you know that males between the ages of 15-50 need more vegetables than women?
It can be tricky to always fill your plate with half fruits and vegetables, one quarter grains, one quarter protein and a serving of dairy, but once you fulfill these requirements you should remember to:
Make half of your grains whole grains
Switch to low or fat free dairy
Choose lean protein sources
(No link this time, the source was email)
No, the plate is not ideal. It’s not based on science, or even good logic. The Food Plate is the USDA’s gift to agribusiness, not your health.
It’s interesting that know-nothing Richter, RD picks the worst three points to make from the USDA Food Plate.
Whole Grains- Not a human food! Grains are out, and so are the dietitians still pushing this. Eat grains and wreck your gut first, then your health.
Low or Fat-Free Dairy- Wrong. Fat is the most important macronutrient. For RDs to try and ban it from the diet is literally dangerous. I don’t know why these people don’t end up in liability suits over it. It’s no different that a crooked dr prescribing junk.
Chose lean protein- Why? This is just code for low fat, the worst dietary advice of the last 50 years.
With her newsletter to Vitamin Shoppe customers, Sharon Richter moves to the bottom of the “Who to Believe” list. Shame on Vitamin Shoppe. Let’s gets someone to write that knows something useful!Share on Facebook
One of the more persistent lies that people read in the news about diet and health just won’t go away-that lie is “red meat kills.”
No, it doesn’t. In fact if you manage it right, red meat can be and is part of the healthiest diet possible.
This week’s media scare started with a NY Times article that looks at a fake science report and just repeats it. Now the blogosphere is busy with people ripping it to bits.
Here’s what started it- NYT: Fake Science Story on Red Meat
When you see these stories in the news, they don’t show where the info comes from or what kind of info went into it. You just get the answer and have to trust someone else’s opinion on what it means. Zoe Harcombe from the UK dug a bit deeper and got to the meat of it, even the red part- Zoe Harcombe rips up bad science
One of the better takedowns of this nonsense is from Gary Taubes. Link:Share on Facebook
For real. As far as this problem goes, Dr Hyman nailed it.
Most medicine today is based on clear-cut, on-or-off, yes-or-no diagnoses that often miss the underlying causes and more subtle manifestations of illness. Most conventional doctors are taught that you have a disease or you don’t; you have diabetes or you don’t. There are no gray areas.
Practicing medicine this way is extremely misguided because it misses one of the most fundamental laws of physiology, biology, and disease: The continuum concept. There is a continuum from optimal health to hidden imbalance to serious dysfunction to disease. Anywhere along that continuum, we can intervene and reverse the process. The sooner we address it, the better.
The way I see it is this is like the oil light in your car. Once the light comes on, the damage is done. It’s really a “You have a bad engine and it’s too late now” light. These conventional drs Dr Hyman is writing about practice just like that. Until you have a “disease,” you are not really a legit customer.
Some other related evidence-
I tried a couple of medical reference apps to get some extra info on meds and some basic facts. One, “Medscape,” was a complete waste of money. If you look up cortisol for example, all you find is a prescription version and a list of diseases that may cause cortisol problems. They don’t ever talk about how it works, just what they think a broken system looks like once it’s broke. There is another app that is a blood test reference but it’s the same way, all you get is what disease may cause a test result number to be off, no info on what the numbers really mean. Crazy.Share on Facebook
Sorting through all the diet and nutrition information available can be frustrating. Some friends just say, “It’s too much! I hear everything. Isn’t there a short version of what I should eat, and who should I believe?”
OK, sure.. here’s a short version.
I’s that time of the year. The time when we all decide we’re going to be healthy and eat better. The question that frequently arises is, what is the best diet for me to follow? The answer to this question has been so varied and changed so frequently over the years that it’s no wonder we all suffer from analysis paralysis when trying to decide what we should be putting into our mouths. We have been influenced by nutritional researchers, our doctors and our government and look at the sad state we’re currently in. Let’s try empiric logic and attempt to discover what we should be eating based on what our genes dictate. We couldn’t do any worse.
The new diet I am recommending is actually 60,000-100,000 years old. It is called the Paleolithic, or Caveman diet. Simply, if you can hunt it, fish it, pull it off of a tree or out of the ground, then you can eat it. Simple as that. This is how we ate thousands of years ago and how we have evolved to eat and should be eating now. Back in Paleolithic times there were no processed foods or food manufacturers. Another basic recommendation is, eat what you are. We are primarily composed of protein and fat and very little carbohydrate. We don’t need to spend millions of dollars to figure that out…”
The whole article is a good explanation of the logic behind Paleo.
My favorite defense of Paleo right now goes like this: Consider the many thousands and thousands of diet studies published each year, but we get less healthy and more confused. It’s just not working! I don’t think anyone is going to work out how to buy food at Wal Mart and look like you don’t, at least not while I can still walk.
Paleo eliminates the variables (to an extent). Until science can figure about a better way of eating than nature did, I think I’m going to switch off the whitecoats and their boring papers and hang out with the hunter gatherers. Maybe the whitecoats will figure it out someday, but they have to learn how to think first.Share on Facebook