February 7

Weekend link-o-rama


I’ve got about a hundred (93 to be exact) tabs up on my Firefox browser, many of which are filled with articles about which I would like to post.  But these articles either keep getting displaced by something more timely or more blogworthy or even more substantive.  Many are interesting, but not worth an entire long post.  So, I decided to do one of those sort of potpourri linkfest things like so many bloggers do and be able to close a bunch of these tabs.  Plus it gives me a chance to indulge in my interest in the political situation without having to devote an entire post to it.
First and foremost, I want to link to the latest post in MD’s blog.  When I posted earlier about our meals in Mexico, I mentioned this great Andalusian gazpacho recipe she had.  A bunch of people asked for it, so she put it up.
Richard Feinman sent me a link to an annoying Mayo Clinic nutrition blog by a couple of ignorant dietitians.  Reading stuff like this that is written with such certainty always makes me think of a couple of lines from Shakespeare’s’ Measure for Measure:

Man, proud man!
Dress’d in a little brief authority:
Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d.

These women are oblivious to the fact that the studies upon which they base their idiotic ramblings are worthless as proof of the nonsense they spout.  The first considers a diet with 45 percent of calories as a low-carb diet.  Oh, really?  The second is an observational study, and, as such, totally useless for proving causality.  Yet, in their words, these studies

caused a couple of “aha” moments

for them.  I suppose they could have meant, “aha, we’re really clueless.”
I read a nice little summary in the journal Hepatology of a study published in Nature Medicine.  The study looked at chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) and aging.  As we age, we tend to accumulate protein debris in our cells.  Over time this accumulation interfers with the proper functioning of the cell and is thought to be one of the components of aging and cellular sensescence.  Organelles within the cell called lysosomes are charged with the responsibility of basically chewing up (auto-phagy: self eating) these junk proteins to keep the cell free of garbage, allowing it to do its job.  Chaperones are proteins that bind to junk proteins and move them into the lysosomes for degradation.  Researchers developed transgenic mice that had the ability to make more of the chaperone proteins than normal mice, giving them the ability to increase the degradation of junk protein.  Their study showed that increasing the CMA in these mice resulted in lower accumulation of junk protein, better ability to deal with protein damage, and improved organ function.  The reason I like this paper so much is that it confirms what I wrote in one of my favorite posts from the past about ketosis doing the same thing.  Maybe you don’t have to be a transgenic mouse to get the benefits of cleaner cells; maybe just staying in ketosis more of the time will do the job, too.
Politics alert! POLITICS ALERT! POLITICS ALERT! For those of you who chastise me for daring to bring politics into what is at heart a nutritional blog, beware: politics to follow.  If you want to avoid reading about anything to do with politics and get back to the nutrition stuff, skip on down until the politics alert has been removed.
Here is one from the Karma-is-wonderful department.  By now everyone knows that Tom Daschle got the rug pulled out from beneath him in his attempt to become the secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration because of his failure to pay over $100,000 in taxes.  And everyone knows that former Senator Daschle didn’t pay taxes on the car and driver he was provided as part of one of his lobbying efforts. (One wonders what kind of car would run up enough imputed income to result in over $100,000 in taxes.) But what many people might not know is that Mr. Daschle, in his days as a Senator from South Dakota, ran ads showing that he drove an old car while working in Washington for the folks back home.  The irony is so sweet.
While we’re at it, you might enjoy this cartoonist’s ideas on how we can afford the stimulus package being argued in Congress. Now we can add one more with Solis.  We really can begin to refill the coffers if this keeps up.
02-04-09 Nominating
An insightful article in the Economist from a few weeks ago got me thinking.  This piece was talking about the government in the UK, but it could be applied to any government anywhere when faced with a crisis.  Governments all follow these two rules:
First, eschew all blame.
Second, do something.
I’ve never seen our own government here in the US not follow these rules.  For example, let’s look at the subprime mortgage situation that has gotten us into our current bad way.  When the house of cards began to fall, what did the government do?  Pointed fingers at everyone but itself.  It eschewed all blame.  It was the fault of all the independent mortgage lenders making shaky loans; it was greed on Wall Street; it was Bernard Madoff.  And on and on and on.
And what did our government then do, after all the finger pointing?  It did something.  It passed an emergency stimulus bill to the tune of $700 billion to keep all of these people from losing their homes and to keep the economy from cratering as a result.  As near as I can tell, I have about 5,000 people who read this blog every day.  And those 5,000 people know a lot of other people.  In fact, I would imagine that, on average, each of these 5,000 people probably knows or knows of at least 50 people, which means that all of us together know around 250,000 people.  Of all these people, some are bound to be in financial trouble and are behind on their mortgages.  So I ask you this, has anyone reading this blog learned of anyone he/she personally knows getting mortgage help from this $700 billion?  I didn’t think so.
So the government pointed fingers and did something.  We know that whatever it did, didn’t really help the individual people who were hurting during this mess.  It helped Wall Street guys get their bonuses, and it helped management of troubled banks get their health insurance premiums covered, and it redecorated a few offices, so maybe the do-something part of the equation actually helped some individuals (though not the ones it was sold to us to help).  But what about the blame?  Wasn’t it Wall Street greed and independent mortgage brokers?  As Will Rogers used to say, “All I know is what I read in the newspapers.”  I’m kind of the same way, but I like to think I’m a little bit of a critical reader.  The single best and most comprehensive piece I’ve read yet on the current financial debacle was written several months ago in The Spectator, published in London, and my favorite weekly magazine.  The author of this article musters the data to show that it is the government itself that is at fault.  And if you don’t believe the author, here is a piece written in the New York Times on September 30, 1999 when the seeds for this subprime meltdown were sown, discussing the potential problems that could come to pass.  Sadly, they did.
On the global warming front, here is part of an email I received today from an outraged friend of mine in the UK.  This friend is a famous author who hobnobs with everyone who is anyone in the UK.  Name withheld mainly because it’s too late at night there for me to be asking for permission.

Tonight I sat watching television which I don`t do a huge amount of. We have been snowed in for 4 days and tonight it is minus 8. I watched a hapless man from a council lamenting that they had run out of salt and grit so the county`s roads would be death traps. Asked why their stocks were so low, he said because they had all been led to believe we would never have winters like this again because of GW. so they spent the money on recycling and ‘Climate Change initiatives’ instead. ‘And I have to say,’ this brave man ended ‘I think we`ve all been badly conned.’   Ten minutes later the US Vice President Biden appeared on my screen – what a pleased-with-himself guy he is. In Munich, and he said to me that the USA was now wanting dialogue with Iran and Pakistan and Russian and…. and that this will be an initiative that will work … well I am glad he is so cocky about it. He then said ‘we have far more to fear from global warming than we have from international terrorism.’    What the hell planet is this guy ON?   It`ll take a 9/ll and the entire mad middle east to explode in their faces for the truth to dawn….. meanwhile, does it not occur to them that most of Western Europe has been trying to engage these countries in dialogue for the last 10 years – and that meanwhile, weekly, a terrorist plot is detected and defused by our counter-intelligence and  anti-terrorist police … He looked so smug I wanted to throw something at him.

Okay.  Politics over.  The all clear whistle has sounded.  It’s safe to go back into the water.
One of my readers sent me this great link to an article in the journal Archeology about the diet of the Roman gladiators.
It appears that far from being the cut and shredded specimens of masculinity that we see portrayed in films, the real gladiators were fat.  Why?  Because body fat protected them from injury.  It provided a kind of a built-in shield.  And how did the gladiators make themselves fat?  According to researchers on the subject, gladiators ate a lot of simple carbohydrates and not much animal protein.  I can already see Dean Ornish’s next book: The Gladiator Diet.
You’ve all read my whines and rants about the sorry press coverage of scientific studies.  Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Here is a writer from the prestigious British Medical Journal bitching about the same thing.
Says he:

Every day one of our national newspapers publishes a piece reporting on “scientific research” and nearly every day the report is misleading, inaccurate, shows poor understanding of science and scientific research methods, and irritates the hell out of many a hardworking researcher. Often the original research is crap too. Millions of innocent people are misdirected and confused as new and often harmful myths are started.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Last week an article appeared in the Los Angeles Times about intermittent fasting.  I’ve gone through quite an evolution myself on this subject, going from pro to not so pro back to pro with some reservations.  I’m planning a post within the next couple of weeks on the subject, specifically about one of the papers mention in this LA Times article.
A pretty good review article on the treatment of obesity appeared in Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology (free full text and pdf) last December. (See, my tabs have been up for a long time)  This article provides an overview of all the different diets available for the treatment of obesity.  And, what makes it nice, is that not only does it not ridicule or give the low-carb diet short shrift as most mainstream journals do, it actually seems to imply that the low-carb diet works the best.  Slowly but surely we’re making progress.
Last but not least, lets end with a death-defying bit of daredevilry.  Watch this guy jump this motorcycle both ways.  I like to push the envelope risk-wise sometimes, but you couldn’t get me to do this for all the money in the world.  Bravo!

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  1. correction…..Tom Daschle was a South Dakota senator. I found the ad quite humorous.
    Fixed it. Thanks. I knew I should have double checked.

  2. I am still trying to conquer the 3 foot high stand in the swimming pool to jump from, this guy is something else. I was once challenged by a girl to skyjump to prove that I am not a chicken and love her more than I fear heights. I am still trying to concur that 3 feet high stand in the swimming pool! Thanks for the post. BTW Biden is indeed a guy full of himslef, plus he has proven numerous times he has no clue whats out there. Talking to Iran head to head is like me negotiating with carbs and sugars, very losing proposition right form the get go. Russia is a different story, they are not fanaticals. They are motivated by common human woes. You can seduce them with practical approach. I have been there, these people love good wine, beautiful women and money just as much as the next person. There are some ideologs out there as well. But Iran is run by a bunch of lunatics whose idea of Heaven is so different from Western philosophy that any negotiation will start when they have no oil, no nuclear refineries and no will to build anything more powerful than a rifle. How in the world can you allow this counrty to develop Nuclear anything with their rhetorics and history of region violence? For the world of me I am puzzled at US Government now. Great post!

  3. Hi Dr Mike,
    In my readings recently about diabetes (my father-in-law is diabetic and my wife and I are constantly trying to get him off his bread and potato diet!), I have seen references to “fat-induced” diabetes and that saturated fat can cause insulin resistance. Is there any truth to this? How does fat cause insulin resistance? Or is this another just another mechanism for mainstream medicine to get us to keep away from those “demons”?
    Love your work!!
    There is evidence that fat can cause a problem with the insulin receptor, but not the fat we eat. It’s the fat we make, most of which is made from carbs. This is a really broad brush explanation of something more complex than I’ve made it sound. I should post on it at length at some point.

  4. I agree that the media is beginning (just beginning) to put low-carb eating in a more positive light, but it will take a very long time for the average person to change his or her thinking about low-fat eating. For quite a while, despite what the papers and magazine articles say, people will STILL believe that low-fat (or maybe a little higher fat, but “make mine olive oil … anything but that nasty saturated fat!”) is the healthiest way to eat.
    The other day I was in the grocery store. I noticed that the stock of Kerry Gold Irish Butter had dwinded to a mere 8 packs, so I bought all 8. They don’t stock this very often, so I buy as much as I can and freeze it.
    Invariably, I get comments from the cashiers about the butter. The one the other day asked if it was really that good. Then she said that she has butter sometimes, but rarely. Her cholesterol was so high, you see. So she switched to Smart Balance and her cholesterol went down! Hooray! I said, “Cholesterol is a number, not a diagnosis. You’re not going to get heart disease by eating butter.” She looked at me like I had two heads.
    Here are the ingredients of Smart Balance: Natural oil blend (soy, palm, canola, olive), water, contains less than 2% of the following: salt, whey, vegetable monoglycerides and sorbitan ester of fatty acids (EMULSIFIERS), soybean lecithin, potassium sorbate, lactic acid (to protect freshness), natural and artificial flavor, vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate), calcium disodium EDTA, vitamin A palmitate, beta-carotene for color.
    Aren’t emulsifiers similar to hydrogenators? If not, what’s the difference?
    The times they are a-changin’, but it will still take a very, very, very long time for the truth to permeate down to the average Joe and JoAnn on the street.
    Emulsifiers are not the same as hydrogenators. Emulsifiers allow fat to mix with water.

  5. Hi Dr. Mike. The Mayo Clinic article puts me in mind of another quote:
    He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not is a slave.
    – Sir William Drummond
    Good way of categorizing the nutritional dogmatists, e.g. Ancel Keys was a bigot, the media are fools, and the authors of the Mayo article slaves.
    Well put!

  6. “Every day one of our national newspapers publishes a piece reporting on “scientific research” and nearly every day the report is misleading, inaccurate, shows poor understanding of science and scientific research methods, and irritates the hell out of many a hardworking researcher.”
    Way back in the last century when I was in grad school, I took a virus course from Jim Watson, the DNA guy. He always included in the final exam a quote from the New York Times concerning some recent discovery, and we were supposed to explain why the journalists misinterpreted it. So this sort of thing has been going on for decades, maybe centuries.
    In those days, everyone tried to relate their research to curing cancer. Now it’s cancer, AIDS, heart disease, or obesity.
    BTW, this is a funny typo: “Senator Daschle didn’t pay taxis on the car.”
    Your right, it is a funny typo. Thanks for the heads up – I went ahead and fixed it. But not before thinking about it for awhile since it was so apropos.

  7. What Daschle and his cohorts in government clealy demonstrate is this: our tax code is convoluted, in need of change and no one likes to pay taxes.
    Unfortunately, most believe that the sub-prime mess is the cause of all our problems. While on the surface it appears that way, the real cause is American profligacy- spend, spend and spend. What enabled sub-prime mortgages to reach their lofty hights was our deficits that resulted from two Iraq and Afghanistan, and the culture of consumption financed primarily by the Chinese, and the Japanese. Wall Street and others were nothing more than actors doing their job.
    Do you really think there would be a sub-prime problem if interest rates were not artificially low as a result of the Chinese,Japanese,etc financing our profligate consumption ways? We are all to blame and we are now only beginning to pay the price.
    Agreed on the convoluted nature of the tax code. Not so agreed on the profligacy of the American people. If people have money, they are going to spend it. What’s wrong with that? It’s not our own profligacy that gets us in trouble, it’s the profligacy of everyone else.
    As I see it, the mess was started when Greenspan et al dropped the interest rates to zilch in an effort to ward off the coming recession after the dot.coms crashed. The decreased interest rates and the easy ability to refinance (all encouraged by our leaders in Washington) lead a lot of people, including yours truly, to do so. It added needed liquidity into the economy.
    Problem is that people didn’t just refinance to reduce their payments, they refinanced (using adjustable rate mortgages), took money out, and kept their payments the same, only on a larger mortgage at a lower interest rate. Once rates went back up, as they invariably do, house payments went up, and people got squeezed.
    Then the government defaulted its two step program of eschewing all blame and trying to do something. Gov’t pointed the finger at mortgage brokers, most of whom are now history. Then the gov’t threw money (and continues to throw it) at the wrong people. And gov’t lowered the interest rate to almost nothing, but because gov’t eschewed all blame and went after the easy loan conditions and ubiquitous mortgage brokers, there is no way to get a loan now to receive the benefits of those low interest rates. In my view, what the gov’t should have done instead of throwing hundreds of billions of dollars the wrong way would have been to set up a program allowing anyone who wanted to to refinance at the low interest rates, but to refinance only the amount of their current mortgage. In other words, no cash out. House payments would have dropped, people could have kept their houses, and the economy would have been more liquid. But, no one asked me.

  8. Could Tom Daschle’s old pontiac possibly be a muscle car… a GTO perhaps? It looked as though the front of the car was intentionally avoided. Maybe he did the ad right before sending the car into restoration, soon to be worth millions. Wouldn’t that be a hoot.
    To all these topics I guess one could say “common sense is not so common”.
    Dr Mike, you’re not over-doing the espresso, are you? Not that I’m complaining…

  9. Dr. Mike,
    I have a great deal of respect for you, and it comes in large part because you do your research before developing an opinion. In this light, I urge you to review the preponderance of evidence related to global climate change. You will learn that scientists are in consensus that global climate change is occurring, that it is occurring in a manner which allows them to show that it is not part of a natural cycle of climate, that it is in a significant part occurring due to the carbon we are placing into the environment, and that if we do not do something about it now, there is a high enough chance that we will be in a world of trouble in a generation or two that it seems like a good bet to do something about it.
    Climate change is not defined by a short cold spell in winter. That is looking at one small piece of evidence and saying that a theory is blown because of it. It is 55 degrees at 11AM in Pennsylvania today. This data point does not show that climate change is occurring any more than the information you provide from the UK. In fact it is expected that localized temperature fluctuations (up AND down) will increase as global warming occurs. I can’t remember why.
    We are the laggard country here, and it is because we have allowed politics to get in the way. This is not a political issue. This is a scientifically studied situation that has been extensively peer reviewed.
    In my opinion global warming is the new Marxism, the latest ‘religion’ to take over the academic community. There is far from a scientific consensus on the issue as witnessed by the recent report that 650 scientists thought global warming was a farce. This act would be comparable to 650 nutritional scientists signing a document saying the low-fat diet was a disaster.
    The reason I’m so adamant in my position on this is that I happen to know a couple of the major players (scientists at the heart of the movement) in the global warming drama who have mentioned privately that it is indeed a hoax (although they didn’t think so at the beginning – at the beginning, they were believers), but that they are making so damn much money right now promoting this madness that they can’t quit.
    Here is a site that provides an ongoing source of information on both sides of the GW issue. It’s a nice site because no matter which side of the debate you come down on, you can find corroboration for your selection bias here. It’s like being able to watch Fox News and MSNBC all at the same time. And it gives the lie to the notion that there is any scientific consensus to the idea of global warming.

  10. Dr Mike, I went back to my medical literature books from college years and discovered something rather intresting that describes my symptoms to a T. I know my doctor cringes every time I self-diagnose myslef, but hey I am the pest. The book described the phenomemenon called Idiopathic Postparndial Hypoglycemia where blood glucose is lowered by an extra rush of adrenalin which brings on a cascade of uncomftable and debilitating symptoms such as anxiety, palpitations and mental fog. It is different than insulin induced hypoglycemia because adrenalin is involved. It was kind of shoccking to me. I was always under the impression that adrenalin helps regulate the blood sugar by increasing it since it is flight or fright respose! Anywya, I think whatever it is the best way to deal with it is just go on a low carb diet and deal with my emotional demons.
    Dr Mike, have you see a new study that came from Britain that claims we only need 7 minutes of exercise a week, yes a week to get all the healthy benefits of exercise! But the trick is one has to do it intenisively, more like all out sprint kind of attempt. It reminds me more of our ancesstors trying to flee from a raged animal. Intresting, but makes sense, at least int theory.

  11. It flagged as spam when I tried to include this link earlier so trying again. Scroll down or link to the peer reviewed journal section. In the face of this, I have a hard time understanding why there are skeptics, similar to how in the face of the low fat dogma I have a hard time understanding why so many believers continue to reject the science. The only difference here is that more people, and the media, actually do believe the science in this case. http://logicalscience.com/consensus/consensusD1.htm
    There is no consensus. See my answer to a previous commenter.

  12. Love your science and clear headedness on nutritional issues. Sure don’t like the lack of those when applied to politics and climate science. So an extremely cold winter means global warming isn’t a clear and present danger? So Ancel Keyes lived to 100 years old means a high carb diet is OK? You cannot ignore the 1000’s of points of data that indicate the planet is warming. I really don’t like to hear that government is incompetent. The worst that can be said about government is it is what the American public deserve for their attitude toward it. If you don’t like your government then make it better. The GOP has been selling the government is no good line to get elected. Then they turn around and dismantle anything good for the middle and bottom to say I told you so. Government is suspect while large corporations have free reign to loot and pillage. Please don’t take the side of the wreckers. You are too good for that.
    You wrote:

    Love your science and clear headedness on nutritional issues. Sure don’t like the lack of those when applied to politics and climate science.

    By this I assume that you mean I have a lack of “science and clear headedness” when I write of politics and climate change because my take on those subjects is different than yours, and, therefore, in your view, incorrect. A little hubristic on your part, don’t you think?
    I suppose George Bray or Dean Ornish would write the same thing to me about my take on nutrition.

  13. here’s my take on global warming, it might very well be a hoax, but what if it isn’t, and we completely ignore it? Then we’re pretty well f*cked. Of course, we’re f*cked anyway, cuz nobody is really doing anything really effective about it anyway…
    I feel like, unless we can absolutely prove that GW does not exist, we MUST take steps to deal with the possibility that it is very real.
    Problem is we can’t prove that it does not exist other than to look at data showing that temperature rhythms have been a part of history. The other problem is that it will costs an enormous amount of money to deal with – and we don’t even know if it is something we have to deal with. At this precarious financial time, we cant afford to spend real money to protect ourselves against what could be (and in my opinion and in the opinions of at least 650 respected scientists is) a fantasy.
    If we take significant steps to prevent or undo global warming, we unleash the horrendous monster of unexpected consequences, which has a higher likelihood of being our undoing than GW itself. Just for a small example…our local paper reported that gasoline tax revenues are down because people are buying less gasoline because a) more people are driving hybrids, b) more people are buying more fuel efficient cars, and c) people have been traveling less by car because gasoline has been so expensive. Since governments thrive on tax revenues, anything that reduces them (in this case an unintended consequence to the government for its own prattling on about requiring more fuel-efficient cars) creates a crisis that can be dealt with only by raising taxes in some other way. According to the article, the government is contemplating the idea of putting mileage calculators in the GPS systems of all new cars. Then when you stop to fill up your hybrid (that you’ve spent more money on than you’ll ever recover by purchasing less gasoline), the gas pump will add an amount to your gas purchase for a tax to reflect the miles you’ve driven. Sensors in the gas pumps will be able to detect the mileage readings on your GPS and calculate the tax. Big Brother is on the way to help us.

  14. Kathy from Maine,
    Keep buying the KerryGold butter! Even though it goes against my “buy local” ideals, I also stockpile unsalted KG butter from Ireland in the freezer (Trader Joe’s has the best price I can find), because it’s butterfat is from cows on pasture, not CAFO grainfed cows (the majority of herds in Central and So Cal are intensively CAFO).
    You probably know already, but many don’t, that grassfed cows make butterfat that is much higher in vitamin K2 – the MK-4 (menatetrenone) variety, that is so important for good health (especially development of bones and teeth). It’s likely to be the X-Factor identified by Weston A. Price in his worldwide dental studies in the 1930s.
    K2 isn’t the same as the better known (and much cheaper) K1 clotting factor from veggies that is only inefficiently converted to K2 in humans; K2 is only found in animal fats. So while calcium gets all the attention, adequate magnesium, Vit D, and K2 are the other table “legs” of proper mineralization. Supplemental K2 is expensive, but good high vitamin butter is priceless!
    I get the same “you have two heads” look at the cash register when, if asked, I cheekily explain I buy so much butter because I consider it “a health food”. Love it!

  15. Maybe “consensus” is the “new low fat”? I know my own skeptic sensors tend to light up nowadays when I hear the words consensus and science in the same sentence. Doesn’t mean I dismiss the consensus notion, but I don’t blindly accept it anymore, either.
    Good for you. My instinct is to go the other way. I wonder what I’ll do when the consensus is that the low-carb diet is the best?

  16. The problem with the Global Warming Theory is that it is not falsifiable. How do you disprove it? If the earth gets warmer we say it must be Global Warning. It gets colder, whoops, same thing: Global Warming. More hurricanes? GW. Less? GW. Is it science? No, but woe to those that try to argue against it. Neither logic, reason, math, nor common sense will cause the true Global Warming Believer to question his faith. “But what of the consensus?,” they will say. Karl Popper wept.
    On a similar note, you simply cannot believe the madness that this guy ran into when he tried to convince a Verizon rep that cents are not the same thing as dollars:
    I find it interesting that in the face of the worst winter in years, the GW advocates how now switched from calling it GW and now call the phenomenon Climate Change so that all the bases are covered no matter what happens. Hard to argue against that using falsification or even plain ol’ reasoning.
    I loved the link to the call with the Verizon rep. I especially loved the following dialog:

    The guy: Do you recognize the difference between a dollar and a penny?
    Verizon rep: Definitely.
    TG: Do you recognize the difference between a half a dollar and a half a penny?
    VR: Definitely.
    TG: Do you recognize the difference between 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents?
    VR: They’re both the same.

    Jesus wept!

  17. Hi Dr. Mike. Thanks for this post, it was very interesting, as well as entertaining. I linked to your post on ketosis and found it very interesting and enlightening, but it pointed out what a complicated process it is. But I have to say that I have gotten a true education from your published work as well as this blog. Again, today, I’ve learned something new just from reading your blog. Thanks very much.
    WRT politics and global warming – RIGHT ON!!!! Good job and thanks for speaking up publicly. I see that you have already suffered personal attacks (in this post) due to not toeing the PC line about global warming. I suggest a book called The Deniers which very adroitly outlines the fact that there actually is no consensus about GW, and whether it is man-made (if it does in fact exist). There are numerous scientists who disagree with Al Gore, and who know far more than he does about climate science, and unfortunately are suffering badly from speaking about and publishing their scientific research. As for Joe Biden, every time he opens his mouth he puts his foot in it anyway. He’s perfect for Vice President.
    Thanks for introducing me to Robbie Madison. I was only really familiar with Evel Knievel in that sport. It was pretty exciting. But I’m not doing it either.
    Have a great day. Jim

  18. I was reading the comments to the RD’s from the Mayo blog. Man did they get blasted! Hopefully it will make these two think outside their boxes and gain some insight. We can dream can’t we?
    This puts me in the mind of the book “Child 44” about Stalinist USSR. How the state was infallible and everything broke against it. Murder was denied happening because that would mean people were unhappy in the utopian socialist state! Puts me in the mind of the lipid hypothesis … how these deluded fragile ideas must be so venomously defended.

  19. Dr Mike – another fine smorgasboard of opinion!
    I chuckled when I read the comments. What is the saying? “Science by consensus is not science”.
    I doubt anyone thinks that the climate isn’t changing, its just the driver for this change that we argue about. I know that here in the UK when we get a winter WITHOUT snow “IT’S GLOBAL WARMING”. Now we have had a winter WITH snow and “IT’S GLOBAL WARMING”.
    We have had some wet summers recently and “IT’S GLOBAL WARMING”. We have also had a few hot dry summers and “IT’S GLOBAL WARMING”.
    Oddly enough we had some uncharactersiticly severe floods in 2006 which were apparently “NOT TO DO WITH GLOBAL WARMING”.
    From my background in geology I am confident that the climate is in a continual state of flux and that ‘freak weather events’ are anything but freakish. There are good reasons for me not to waste resources on this planet – but doing so to stop climate change is not one of them.
    I agree with your analysis that the movemnt concerning ‘climate change’ it is more like religion. As atheism grows and communism falls, we need to be kept fearful. Lucius Annaeus Seneca nails it:
    “Religion is regarded by the ignorant as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful”
    I recommended a good book to you a while back that tackles media coverage of science. I am sure you’d like it:
    I just put in an order a week or so ago from Amazon.co.uk. The book you recommended is winging it’s way to me. I’m eager to read it.

  20. Dr Mike,
    Why is it that old white men in the last 10-20 years of their useful life feel compelled to spout off in public about issues in which they lack expertise? A nutritional guru you are but why offer opinions about other subjects? I KNOW it’s your blog and you can do whatever you want with it. My question is why? Is it just for fun? Are you bored? For example, I agree the Spectator is an interesting rag but Dennis Sewell’s article is the “single best and most comprehensive piece…?” It not only gets the problem wrong but also is nasty like Rush Limbaugh. Here, try this short video featuring Peter Schiff to get closer to the truth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfascZSTU4o
    Maybe old white me (old men of any color, for that matter) have lived long enough, been through enough boom and bust cycles and endured enough gov’t generated BS that they can see through it and have something to offer. As you put it, these are my opinions. What drives you (a man of indeterminate color and age) to respond to them?
    BTW, I agree with Peter Schiff, especially when he says that the best way to get through a recession/depression is to let it do its thing. Make those people pay who have made stupid or ignorant decisions. When all these mistakes have run through old Mr. Recession’s meat grinder, the world will be a better, cleaner place, and we’ll be poised for another economic expansion. But that won’t happen. Why? Because the people who made stupid or ignorant mistakes will scream like Banshees for the gov’t to help them out. And the gov’t will oblige. And will claim that it is not really the fault of the people who actually made these mistakes (as I recall, no one has come forward yet claiming that he/she was forced at gun point to sign any of these loan documents, which means they were signed volitionally and voluntarily), but is the fault of the evil rich, the greedy mortgage bankers, or the villain du jour. Therefore, we the gov’t will punish those evil doers while at the same time rescue you from your idiotic mistake, so that you won’t learn and will simply repeat in the future, knowing that you will be bailed out.

  21. “here’s my take on global warming, it might very well be a hoax, but what if it isn’t, and we completely ignore it? Then we’re pretty well f*cked”
    Even THE END IS NEAR freakazoidz like Gore and Hansen acknowledge that there is nothing we can do, even if we utterly decimate the economy, to reduce CO2 levels sufficiently to have any discernable effect on global temperature. Even if we use THEIR idiotic computer models, which consistently overstate the influence of CO2 on global temp to begin with.
    In other words, my dear AGW believer: WE’RE DOOMED.
    As the Great Brain amongst you, His Holiness Ted Turner prophesied, “We’ll be eight degrees hotter in 10, not 10 but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals.”
    On the plus side, that does sound like a low-carb diet.
    Does Mary Dan have any recipes for us, Dr. Eades?
    It’s nice to see that readers of this blog have a diversity of opinions on subjects other than nutrition.

  22. Dr Eades — I have read your blog for a couple of years and always thought you knew what you were talking about. However, when you link to someone like Alex Jones (on Infowars website) to buttress your disbelief in the science of climate change, you destroy your own credibility on all science. How can you expect people to believe your criticisms of mainstream nutritionists and their history of ignoring low-fat evidence, when you use a conspiracy theorist right-wing #$1@* as a source for your desire to continue unrestrained consumerism? Do you also believe his allegations that Israel was responsible for 911? Or that David Koresh was just a peaceful guy who was murdered by the US gov’t? Please check into the guy’s history before believing his stance on anything related to science.
    I don’t even know who this guy is or what his beliefs are. I read this piece in the mainstream media when it first hit a month or so ago. When I wanted to link I Googled ‘global warming 650,’ and linked to the first one I saw.

  23. Why is it that old white men in the last 10-20 years of their useful life feel compelled to spout off in public about issues in which they lack expertise?
    Wow, that guy has surely gotten his date straight! Old, white men in the last 10-20 years of their useful life feel compelled to…. yada, yada yada. First of all, he only gave you 10-20 years of useful years to live, thats odd. Whats useful again? Second I am really amazed at your nobelity and patience at times! I know some, me included can leave annoying and irrelevant comments, but this guy has some balls, and he is an ignorant shmack too! I am sorry, I usually dont call people name, but he is one. I just needed to vent a bit. Mother nature has so much intellect, that we humans can only salivate . Everything is in devine order, not that we have to sit and wait for miracles or disasters. But this guy stepped over himself. And if there is no inified opinion to begin with, how is it that an intelligent guy like you cant comment on the issue that so many scientist are puzzled by. I just dont get people like that dude.

  24. Dr Mike,
    You can post on politics all you want as far as I’m concerned as I always agree with you when you do. Here is a good site on the global warming hoax:
    The guy was, the man for weather, when I was growing up in Northern California and he has been documenting how many of the weather stations in the country are not located correctly to give accurate measurements.

  25. Dr. Eades,
    I agree that the political solutions for global warming that are being proposed would be a nightmare. The government can’t regulate much of anything effectively. They want to regulate the climate of the entire earth!?
    In any case, I’m definitely skeptical of APGW now based on some faulty arguments I’ve seen made in the past. I used to consider myself solidly in the APGW camp. However, my current lack of a position is due more to the fact that I see the same types of political shenanigans about global warming that I see in nutritional science, rather than any honest research about the science itself. I’ve come to realize that until I actually evaluate the science myself, or at least read the commentary of a trusted source, that I shouldn’t form an opinion about it. (This is all so much easier with diet because I can and have validated these ideas for myself, and the terminology is much easier to navigate as a biologist.) I’m not saying that you or your readers haven’t done this, and I’m sympathetic to your view.
    To that end, are you (or any of your readers) aware of any objectively researched book, such as Gary Taubes has written on nutrition, that evaluates the evidence (or lack thereof) for, and political influence upon, the idea of global warming? Such a book would be exceedingly useful since the information and preponderance of arguments on the internet is overwhelming to the novice or non-specialist. The Climate Debate Daily site is impressive (and a refreshing change from the typical he said/ she said simplistic tit for tats so often seen in the popular media global warming arena) but the number of links and articles there is staggering. One would have to make a serious part-time study of that site to make any headway and come to any kind of informed conclusion. At least, that’s what I concluded about a year ago after seeing a British piece portraying the skeptic view but then seeing evidence that some of the information was exaggerated/misleading or that certain interviews were selectively presented.
    Well. I guess that is what we have all had to do with nutrition given the lack of objectivity in that field as well. *sigh* Any reading in the form of a book that anyone could recommend, though, would be welcome.

  26. I agree with mrfreddy… I do think the climate is changing, some of it our fault, some of it just normal cycles of nature. But I do think humanity, most on the planet live in coastal areas, is going to have to devise coping mechanisms for upcoming changes.

  27. Dr Mike
    Keep up the these great discussions.
    GW is indeed a worldwide power grab. The genius of it is how GW has been used as an emotional tool (crisis) to empower and en-RICH a global government movement.
    Once one is committed emotionally to a belief no matter how flawed, they are most likely slaves to it. That is the genius of this GW fraud.
    Whenever I see “scientists are in consensus” I know I’m subject to a Gore disciple.
    Low fat = less heart disease is also the consensus. How’s that working out?
    Please never shy away from these issues.
    This planet was here long before man and will be long after, the arrogance of the consensus community can never change that or afford to admit it. We are and will be just a speck of its history.
    Take care

  28. hi Dr Mike.
    i’ve been lurking around here for a few months now and enjoy your blog. learning much. however, your political views are what just inspired me (ironically) to comment. as a Canadian my blood pressure is constantly tested by the inane leftism of my political system. i shake my head regularly. you would not believe the crap that’s going on up here.
    when you warned of the upcoming political stuff on this post i thought “uh oh… is this guy gonna be another statist moonbat social liberal?”
    you seem to be a guy who, to a degree, heads toward the libertarian viewpoint. we all need much more of this. don’t be afraid to relate it to your dietary agenda more often.
    good stuff.
    I’m a guy who much more than heads toward the libertarian viewpoint; I pretty much embrace it.

  29. Dear Dr E,
    Global warming had become a non-issue here in Australia over the last year, and for most of the summer, temperatures had been mild and hardly any ocean swell. Then over the last week or so, NSW (particularly the town of Ivanhoe) was predicted to be the hotest place on the planet this Sunday. Instead, the temperatures in Sydney didn’t make the prediction, especially on the coast where it was only a mild 26 deg C. Ocean temperatures plummitted (from 23 deg C to 19 deg C, and you could REALLY feel the chill) and early in the morning the waves were so loud, they woke me and the wife up.
    But, of course the temperatures soared further south in Victoria (and remember that south here is closer to the Antarctic) and we had over the weekend the worst fires on record there with at last count a loss of 108 lives. So the global warming debate is going to go back to a high pole position in the national debate. Yet all this is hapenning while London experiences the biggest snowfalls in 30 years.
    My own position: after believing in man-made global warming for so long, I am no longer convinced. CO2 levels MAY contribute to global warming (though there is a debate as to whether CO2 levels precede or follow global temperatures) but this is a multifactorial situation and by far the greatest influence is solar activity — which is currently at a low not seen for a few centuries, at least so I’m told.
    So, you are entitled to your opinion and I welcome it especially when it doesn’t happen to coincide with mine. I don’t know you; you don’t know me. Why should we be 100% in agreement? Please feel free to express your opinions, predujudices and hobby horses. Sorry, all you outraged commenters, but where’s your sense of adventure, democracy and fun?
    Oh, and by the way, a reminder, Australia dare-devilry rocks! “Life is short … stunt it!” as the surfers round these parts say.
    Michael Richards

  30. The man with a tan and a meat-eating plan takes on the hypocrisy of Washington AND the lunacy of annihilation-by-climate-change in the same post???!!! As if I needed one more reason to visit your blog daily. Loved it.
    The man with a tan and a meat eating plan. I may co opt that and use it for the name of my blog. I’ve been looking for something a little more snazzy that The blog of … Thanks.

  31. “However, when you link to someone like Alex Jones (on Infowars website) to buttress your disbelief in the science of climate change, you destroy your own credibility on all science.”
    @John Livesey: The same type of argument could be used against Stephen “junkscience” Milloy of junkscience.com — but this line of argumentation is ad hominem, which is fallacious. For instance, Milloy has defended the tobacco industry and is a skeptic of evolution. For that reason, I’m certainly more suspicious than I would be otherwise of Milloy’s position on global warming. At the same time, I recognize that many honest or otherwise intelligent people have disagreed with the APGW hypothesis — so I don’t necessarily accept a hypothesis just because a few right wing nutjobs disagree with it. If we disagree with something, we should present reasons having to do with the evidence for or against the actual hypothesis.
    Arguments from authority are also fallacious. It would be absurd to say that because X number of scientists believe in evolution (or intelligent design), it must therefore be true. The argument of “consensus” is a sort of argument from authority. There’s no rational case against evolution, nor is intelligent design a testable hypothesis. Almost the exact opposite is true for the APGW hypothesis. It lacks testability because there is no control, which means it lacks rigor. And while I don’t like arguments from authority, there are some well-respected scientists working in the field that do disagree. That’s not even remotely the case for the “arguments” against evolution, which are all strawmen.

  32. Regarding GW, I have been fortunate in studying some geology and ecology here and there. I seem to remember a college professor almost 20 years ago talk about how much climate has changed over the eons – and we don’t know why. We have absolutely no way of knowing if the current climate change is man-made or not. I’ve actually seen so many GW headlines over the years I was starting to lean towards thinking it was real … but eventually common sense reasserts itself. There’s no proof. We just don’t know enough about climate to know why it changes. And I agree with you about the potential for unintended consequences. So thank God that there’s nothing we can do! 🙂
    And for all those people who are indignant about Dr. Eades expressing his opinions about anything other than low-carb dieting – you don’t have to agree with him! On anything!!! Expressing his personal opinions on stuff other than low-carb stuff does not invalidate the low carb stuff. I think y’all are confusing “agrees with me on important topics” with “integrity”. They are two very different things.
    Quite frankly, Doc, I like it when you post something I disagree with, because it’s a nice reminder that you’re a human being and not an omniscient X-ray vision superhero (um, which I’m not either). And your off-topic stuff is sometimes even interesting.

  33. Love your blog on health and nutritional issues. I wanted to put in some links to sites dealing with the huge differences of opinion on evolution. Or the controversy surrounding the high number of abortions in the USA. But what do they or my opinions about them have to do with health and nutrition? Right? I think we can agree on keeping those controversies out of here. Whoops, a huge debate rages about global warming. Ice core samples began showing climate warming about 8000 years ago. Just about 2000 years after the age of carbohydrate eating humans began. The first Spanish explorers to enter San Francisco Bay by sailing ship found a couple thousand whales living there. Not one today. But no we don’t live in a ecological desert now with loses in wildlife recorded minute by minute. Just doesn’t look that way in my lifetime. So rather than being at the least agnostic about possibilities concerning all the global changes wrought by man’s huge carbohydrate spawned population surge let’s conclude that there is no problem. You may be right. You may be wrong. Just keep looking at the data. Opinions and emotional heat over who agrees or not with you is a waste of your time. As I sit here on my sail boat anchored off Phuket, Thailand connected to the internet with the great cellular data technology cheaply available in Thailand I wonder – So where does that mercury come from that prevents me from eating tuna very often? Don’t you see the degradation of the planet? Does it matter if the poisons we are spewing out and killing off the ecosystem occur on a cold or warm planet? It is not all about climate change and who’s fault it is.
    So from a world traveler living in nature every day – Keep up the great work!

  34. Dr Eades,
    I really enjoy reading your posts on nutrition.
    Your response to the above comment reinforces the readers point. Would you provide a link on this blog to an article on nutrition that you hadn’t thoroughly checked out? I imagine the answer would be no. I would hope the same standards would apply to any posts on political topics.
    I read the article itself. There are dozens just like it that have been picked up by various websites. It’s the website it appears on, not the article itself that is problematic.

  35. Dr. Eades, if I can squeeze in a comment that has to do with nutrition.. 🙂
    I read your 2006 post on ketones and checked out the autophagy paper and a little bell went off.. could this ketones charged trigger of the CMA process explain why giving coconut oil (MCTs) to Alzheimer’s patients helps them recover some function? See this paper on the web.. http://coconutoil.com/AlzheimersDiseaseDrMaryNewport.pdf
    The doctor who wrote the paper says: “MCT oil is digested differently by the body than other fats. Instead of storing all MCTs as fat, the liver converts them directly to ketone bodies, which are then available for use as energy.”
    It’s possible. MCT is absorbed differently than long-chain FA. Many of the fats in coconut oil are short-chain triglycerides that are also absorbed differently and provide many benefits as well.

  36. My opinion on global warming is…who cares? If the fear of global warming drives green industry and innovation, it drives good jobs and attractive products and voluntary conservation of resources. Everyone wins. I also find the idea of experiencing and studying changing climate kind of exciting.
    I’m slowly reading Daschle’s book and now it’s irrelevant! Ah well. There’s probably no one for HHS that I would be totally delighted with. Some folks I respect were behind Kitzhaber, but he decided he didn’t want the job before I got a chance to investigate him further.
    I’m looking forward to your article on intermittent fasting.

  37. I used to buy into global warming hook, line, and sinker… until I witnessed a certain online conversation internal to the NASA center where I work. It was between a climate scientist who may or may not be a prominent participant in the global warming “field” (but is certainly an outspoken activist) and an aerospace engineer. The crux of the thread went like this:
    Engineer: I model jet engines with computers. Even when we know everything about the systems being modeled, and they are still very difficult to get right. How can global warming computer models be anywhere near accurate when so little is known about the systems involved?
    Scientist: It’s the best we can do right now. Should we do nothing?
    Engineer: But why are predictions and recommendations to make huge changes to our way of life being published when there’s such a small chance of those models being accurate?
    Scientist: Why do I even bother talking to laymen and the jerks on this board?
    The scientist’s inability or unwillingness to defend his position even slightly against these points really snapped my head around. For awhile I still found advocacy of the concept tolerable because who doesn’t want to reduce pollution, right? Then I heard vegans on NPR complaining that we should all stop eating meat because it contributes to global warming. That pretty much killed it for me.
    The idea that meat eating contributes to GW enables the liberal/vegan wing of humanity to tie all their fantasies up into one religion.
    The conversation you related sounds pretty typical of those between someone who is hanging on to a specious belief for idiological reasons and someone asking hard questions based on the real data. I’ve been in a few of these conversations myself with hardcore vegans and rabid low-fatters.

  38. Hello Dr. Eades,
    Your Firefox “pack-rat” habits sound very similar to mine. I also tend to use tabs a lot and keep them all open until I’ve dealt with them to my satisfaction. Although this habit annoys me because it slows down opening my browser by a significant amount. Often I’ll fire up IE instead when I want a quick look at the weather because I don’t want to wait for Firefox to reload a zillion tabs. I also find managing all these tabs unwieldy.
    I am trying to cure myself of tab bloat my using this extension called “read it later”. Read it later lets you create a reading list of articles you want to read. It lets you manage this list in several useful ways. You can add to the list by simply clicking on a check mark next to the URL. You clear the article (marking as read) by removing the check mark. You can view your reading list, sorted by date, by clicking on a icon. You can change the sort order, or search it. You can even synchronize your list to an online account so you have the list wherever you go, although that’s optional.
    You can get it here https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7661
    Thanks for the suggestion. I just read about this extension in the latest issue of Macworld and planned on giving it a try. I appreciate your providing the link. Now I don’t even have to look it up.

  39. Thanks for all of it, Dr. Mike. The meteorologists can’t even predict an accurate 7 day forecast, but somehow Al Gore has succeeded in rallying up enough hysteria that, now that the US govt will own US automakers, they will force them to make tiny little hybrids. People are duped into thinking they need these cars to save the planet, yet they will pay more in the long run and it will be meaningless. The Earth doesn’t care one way or another.
    Seems to me that if you steal a television, you go to jail. But if you steal (or confiscate) a few billion, you can call it an honest mistake and get elected.
    Articles like that Mayo one really boil my blood. Imagine for a moment that there was no internet- none of those excellent comments would exist. I wonder if the authors are embarrassed yet.
    I hate to admit that I hadn’t read the comments before I posted the link. It seems that I spend most of the time I devote to this blog dealing with the comments, yet it never occurs to me to read the comments on other blogs.

  40. Dr. Mike,
    I’ve just started following your blog, and I find many of your posts both enjoyable, and beneficial.
    2 things:
    I found it very heartening to read the comments on the Mayo post–lots of people seemed very informed about the high carb/diabetes connection.
    Climate change (CC): I believe it’s happening. But, even if it’s not, can’t we all agree that spewing toxins into the air is a bad idea? Even if CC isn’t happening, look at all the marker species, like frogs, that are being wiped out because their porous skin absorbs the toxins in the rain.
    I’m sure you don’t want your grand-kids to live in a world in which the diversity of life is depleted day by day.
    Just an observation Dr. Mike–hope it wasn’t too preachy.
    I do enjoy this blog!
    Not too preachy at all. Bit it brings up a good point. Just because I don’t believe in the notion of global warming, i.e., that we’re headed all too soon in to some catastrophic meltdown of the planet (as prophesied by that idiot Ted Turner), doesn’t mean that I don’t believe we shouldn’t worry about pollution or do anything about it. I’m all for clean air and clean water. I simply believe that climate change is a cyclical phenomenon that we aren’t going to be able to change by our efforts that are piddling on a cosmic scale but enormous on a national financial scale. In my view, battling climate change is like our paying huge amounts of money to employ King Canute to try to hold back the tide.

  41. Obviously, CO2 and Climate Change have caused the subprime disaster and our current financial predicament!
    Hmmm. Maybe you’re onto something.

  42. LOL, lots of comments about global warming here! Me … I have never been convinced that it’s all our fault. The earth has been around a long time, with constant warming and cooling trends. Look at the climate at the time of the dinosaurs, look at the ice age. I do think it’s a good idea to husband our non-renewable resources carefully, and to avoid polluting the earth. But those are just good and responsible things to do anyway, regardless of their contribution or otherwise to global warming, or the new buzzwords of “climate change”.
    But my main comment was about the linked article about Dietary Treatment of Obesity. How nice to see low carb not being trashed. But as one who has tons of weight to lose it still makes me sigh sadly to read sentences like: “Obese patients have an unrealistic view of the amount of weight that they can lose and this belief can have a dramatic impact on dietary intervention drop-out rates…patients are invariably disappointed by the poor results of dietary treatment for obesity…weight loss stabilizes between 3 and 6 months…Only 20% of individuals on dietary treatment for obesity maintain a weight loss of 10% after 3 years.”
    I do like what he says about low carb diets, and protein intake – but he seems to attribute the highest success to bariatric surgery, and in his conclusion states: “When dietary therapy fails, surgery offers the only reliable method of sustained weight loss with substantial reductions in comorbidities…Only surgical therapy can lead to long-term weight loss of >15% and a reduction in mortality and comorbidities”
    Not sure that conclusion appeals to me! My doctor has several times tried to suggest I look into gastric banding surgery and I so *don’t* want to go there.
    There was a great study done by a friend of mine at the University of South Carolina a few years back that looked at this very issue. They were doing a study on bariatric surgery and were operating on obese people right and left to gather data. One of the patients showed up for surgery without having fasted for 12 hours as instructed (necessary to prevent vomiting of stomach contents during anesthesia) so couldn’t undergo the surgery. The folks doing the study asked him if he would act more or less as a control for the subjects who did undergo the surgery. He agreed. What they did, then, was to keep him in the hospital and fed him exactly the same foods in the same amounts as the post-surgical patients ate. And he lost the same amount of weight at the same rate as those who had undergone the surgery. And he had the same metabolic changes. So, it’s not the surgery itself that’s magical – it’s the diet that follows the surgery. So, if you want to avoid the complications and risks of bariatric surgery yet have the same results, just follow the same diet as post-bariatric surgery patients follow.

  43. Another point I wanted to make. It seems that the medical profession starts to get it. I was this weekend in a renowed University Hospital in Germany (Homburg/Saar) and read one of their brochures in the waiting room. It was the one concerning the nutrition of cancer patients and I was really surprized to see, that they actually consider saturated animal fats to be the most important part of it. They had some disclaimers, because it contradicted the official recommendation from the DGE (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung) but recommended it (because of the caloric density/associated vitamins…). I didn’t expect that. I will take the booklet next week and cite from it (with translation) if you’re interested.
    I would love to see the translation. Most interesting. Thanks in advance.

  44. I have a question about cholesterol numbers. In PP you said that 180 to 200 is optimal. Would you now consider this to still be true in any way? Or should one only consider triglycerides and the ratios?
    Some of my friends are finally listening to me when I tell them to disregard the prevailing stupidity about statins and the lipid theory, etc. I am saying that cholesterol numbers ( ratios and triclycerides can be markers for other problems, which can be corrected by diet. But I would like to know if the total number has any relevance whatsoever ( as you stated years ago in PP)
    thanks in advance for this
    Depends upon whether or not you believe in the lipid hypothesis. In my opinion, if anything is important lipid-wise it’s the triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol and the ratio of the two.
    If you look at mortality curves as a function of total cholesterol, you find the least mortality at cholesterol levels of between 180-200. But does that mean that cholesterol is the driving force behind those numbers? Of course not. It’s simply an observational relationship. And it doesn’t mean that if you work to get your cholesterol in that range that it will affect your own health and longevity because we don’t know if cholesterol itself is even involved. It’s like saying that the optimal belt size for health and longevity is 34″ (which, if the relationship were ever studied would probably be true (for men, at least)), then running out and buying a size 34″ belt in an effort to be healthy.

  45. I’m just not feeling it on the global warming skepticism. THe skeptics are tossing around very minimal data. The science is right and is easy to break down. Inhofe is a politician, his list of 650 is not a signed document by 650 scientists, is is his review of quotes, which as we all know are easily taken out of context. I can’t hold much to that list.
    Here’s a blog similar to yours that goes into the science. Please take a look with an open eye.
    And I’m just not feeling it on GW. I read the blog post you sent, and I can send you one back for everyone you send me. It all boils down to the fact that it’s a matter of belief, not science. And since science hasn’t been able to prove it, I tend to be in the unbeliever column.

  46. Let me get my head around this: …fed him exactly the same foods in the same amounts as the post-surgical patients ate. And he lost the same amount of weight at the same rate as those who had undergone the surgery. And he had the same metabolic changes…. So, if I keep losing until the excess is gone, I’ll see the same bennies as those undergoing bariatric surgery? I suspected but wasn’t sure. Question: do beta cells recover?
    I don’t think the guy in the study was frankly diabetic, but based on my own experience with patients, as long as the beta cells aren’t too far gone, they do recover.

  47. With respect to your comment that science by consensus is not science – I always say that advocacy science is not science. I find it somewhat sadly ironic that when a scientist gets funding from industry, he is a shill/liar. But when another scientist gets funding from a advocacy group they are not.
    I have nearly finished an MS in Space Studies and have done some research on the whole Global Climate Change brouhaha as part of my course work. Hopefully that will carry some weight when I say – right on Doc! There is so much pressure to adhere to the party line on this that any young researchers would be committing career suicide to call it into question.
    The comment by John Baker above is absolutely correct – if a theory is not falsifiable it is not science. Another bit of irony is how so many people in the GW camp attack Intelligent design for that defect, but can’t apply it to Global Warming.
    Excellent analysis. Those in the GW camp attack religion as we know it while practicing their own.

  48. Hey dr mike
    i just recently found your blog and have been enjoying your articles on the proven scientific benefits of low carb high protein/fat eating. But there’s something i’m really confused about and was hoping you may be able to help me?
    Ofcourse low carb/zero carb helps one to lose weight, and this is how our ancestors ate. But the thing is, our ancestors went through periods of famine and feasting, like when they made a kill, ate it and then didn’t make a kill for a while. So gaining fat was optimal as it enabled them to survive. But, if they ate mostly meat/fat why is insulin – the hormone that causes fat gain – only affected greatly by carbs? How did our ancestors gain that vital life-saving fat if they only got carbs in small amounts and rarely??
    I ask, because i’ve become underweight, and it seems the only way to gain fat is to eat carbs, carbs and more carbs!
    Lion pretty much eat nothing but meat and they have insulin. Insulin doesn’t just regulate the carbohydrate that comes from the diet, it regulates the sugar that is make by the liver, which is the source of most of the sugar you have circulating at any given time. If you eat more carbs, your run insulin up, and you do gain fat. In prehistoric times (and in today’s times for wild animals) fruits ripen in the fall, which is the time animals in the wild need to fatten. The increased carb content increases insulin, which increases fat storage. Now people eat carbs all year long and are fat all year long.

  49. Regading Daschle, someone said that (referring to Daschle’s speech announcing his removing himself) that “distraction” is Washingtonian for, “there’s other stuff that would come out”.

  50. A couple of years ago Analog magazine had an article that made a pretty good case for GW being tied to land under cultivation, more land under cultivation=more warming, less land under cultivation=the little ice age. Eat less grain and more grass fed meat to cool things down.

  51. Dear Dr. Mike,
    Thank you again for yet another wonderful blog post. You might enjoy this article from last year’s Australian Herald Sun, describing how psychiatrists have officially identified the first case of “climate change delusion.” The article also mentions that India’s Council on Climate Change has determined that “No firm link between the documented (climate) changes…and warming due to anthropogenic climate change has yet been established.”
    In my humble opinion, it’s a waste of your valuable time arguing with troubled souls like Matt and Mike G. Perhaps you should instead suggest that visiting a therapist might be time well spent.
    Thanks so much for being a beacon of sanity in a delusional world!

  52. Vadim,
    In the many years in which I (stupidly) trained for and ran marathons (20+) and ultra-marathons (8?), the phenomena you’ve described were an all too frequent occurrence. Retrospectively, during those years I was eating a “biblical” Pritikin fare. doc at the time said, you need to quit the damn carbs (this was in 1979-1982); she was sure ahead of her time. With respect to the 7′ per week of excercise, check out http://www.bodybyscience.net and do a google search on the Tabata Protocol.

  53. Though we’ve gone far afield, I feel compelled to put my 2 cents in…
    Matt, you actually dare to present realclimate.org as a credible source? Run by dear old Gavin, Hansen’s Mouthpiece? As for throwing around “minimal data” do you actually – with a straight face – think that Hansen, Gavin and their co-conspirators are actually competent to do statistical analyses?
    (For all y’all not in the know, Hansen, Mann and Gavin are the point men on the whole AGW religion.)
    If you want real information derived from COMPETENT statistical analysis, you want to visit
    run by Steve McIntyre, the co-debunker of the ridiculous “hockey stick”.

  54. Dr Mikes response to Tad’s Feb 9 comment follows:
    “The idea that meat eating contributes to GW enables the liberal/vegan wing of humanity to tie all their fantasies up into one religion.
    The conversation you related sounds pretty typical of those between someone who is hanging on to a specious belief for idiological reasons and someone asking hard questions based on the real data. I’ve been in a few of these conversations myself with hardcore vegans and rabid low-fatters.”
    Dr. Mike’s response begins to reminds me of the talking heads on FOX that need to villify and namecall their opposition to raise a sympathetic following of like minded angry people.
    Of course there is a reasonable question to answer about our planet: If we could shift all six plus billion of us humans to Dr Mikes 50gram carbohydrate per day recommendation (which I live by). If we could do this could the planet support it? You don’t have to skewer a lesser class of people out there to make your point (don’t ya just love Rush). Do you really think the planet can support this human population?
    If the agricultural revolution of 10,000 years ago led to massive production of carbohydrates to support a huge human population increase and this has led to large changes in the ecology and possibly climate then, yes, meat eating may be a problem to our depletion of available sources if used to reduce carbohydrate consumption. So what’s the solution? 1. We could be quiet and let the USDA convince everyone else (except us in the know) of the need to eat 70% calories as carbohydrates. 2. Mount an aggressive solar system colonization program by convincing people to live in the outerworld a la Blade Runner. 3. Expend an enormous amount of resources to manage, increase and protect the worlds resources to support a healthy ecology. You have any other suggestions?
    Number 2 has some benefits. To colonize space you would have to solve all the ecological problems that the planet is facing, would have quicker results than number 3 and have long term payoff for earth. Let’s not just focus of GW. You miss too much other data. If it were not for all the other human wrought destruction of our planet the (possible) climate changes could probably be handled.

  55. An apropo article which just appeared in New Scientist:
    Short version: meat aminals make methane. Methane bad. Thus eating meat is bad for the environment.
    Obvious questions (the relevance of which is conditioned on the hypothesis that human activity has a significant effect on the environment):
    1) How much methane is produced by 100% pastured animals vs. grain-fed?
    2) What is the size of the carbon sink created by pastured animals (animals eat grass and other plants, stimulating growth).
    3) What quantity of greenhouse gases are produced by grain-fed vegetarians?
    Question (3) leads me to the following hypothesis: Eating high-fiber foods causes intestinal bacteria to produce greenhouse gases. Therefore a high-fiber diet is bad for the environment.
    See? Pseudo-logic can be fun for everybody!
    It’s funny in that some conservative politician – George Bush, maybe? – made the statement that more damage was being done to the ozone layer by cow farts than by automobiles and was ridiculed for it. Now it has become part of the standard propaganda fare for GWers.

  56. Here’s the problem with these newconcept cars. If you’re single and have no family, they’re fine. But how can even a small family go anywhere together in one of these? How would they be able to fit father, mother, baby in car seat, and all the accessories you need in one of these:
    (Sorry for the long link; I’m not sure how to embed it.)

  57. Meanwhile, today on the BBC
    If no-one can see the connection then we’re all doomed
    I love the paragraph near the start of the first article, titled “Why saturated sat is sad for you:”

    saturated fats are dangerous because they raise ‘bad’ cholesterol and can block up the arteries to the heart.

    That’s it. An entire article on why saturated fats are bad, and that’s the only actual statement of why they’re bad, and it is issued with no proof or documentation whatsoever. And this after Gary Taubes has written an entire book showing how there has never been an actual study showing saturated fat to be bad. It beggars belief.

  58. Lets not make this a GW blog. The most real possibility is a loss of credibility on the part of all participating. Not useful.
    Agreed. I spent a bunch of time writing that particular post and had a lot of interesting information in it, and all anyone wants to comment on is a line in an email I got from someone else. No mention of the Gladiator Diet, which I found fascinating. Nor much mention of the ketones as antiaging substances, which I also found incredibly interesting. I can now see why political blogs have such high readership. People love to engage about politics, which is all opinion. The Gladiator Diet isn’t – it was a scientific analysis of the diets of gladiators. I would think that would be much more thought provoking than an email from one of my friends in the UK.

  59. Falsifiability of a hypothesis is an oversimplification, I think. Belief in a hypothesis is built up from a combination of supporting hypotheses and observations. Thus we factor in the belief in the supporting hypotheses as well. No hypothesis can be proven absolutely false; absolute beliefs are pathological in scientific inference, because they do not allow you to update your beliefs, i.e. 0 times anything is still 0.
    For example, suppose I make the following hypothesis: “All swans are white.” One might argue that this hypothesis is easily falsified by observing a black swan, but this is conditioned on some hidden assumptions. Observation of a black swan actually presents us with some other hypotheses, e.g. that somebody spray-painted the swan black. The belief in our original hypothesis is conditioned in our belief in these other hypotheses, which in turn are modified by further testing. So, a priori we admit the possibility that the black swan was in fact painted; our belief in that hypothesis is updated by testing for paint, and so correspondingly is the belief in the original white swan hypothesis. We may not find paint, but of course there could be other explanations, like somebody gave the swan a pill that turned it black, etc.
    At some point the a priori belief in these other ad hoc hypotheses becomes sufficiently low that we feel safe in ignoring them. We tend to think of the original hypothesis as absolutely false, but really we simply have a very low belief in that hypothesis along with conditioning ad hoc hypotheses.
    The aether theory provides a nice example of this process. For a detailed description you can see my blog post and links therein:
    The short version is that physicists one thought that the universe was permeated by “aether”, a substance with some rather magical properties that served as the medium in which electromagnetic waves propagated. The aether theory was never “falsified”. Various tests were done to demonstrate its existence, all of which showed bupkus to a high degree of precision. Scientists happily came up with increasingly bizarre ad hoc hypotheses to explain these results. Aether theory ultimately faded away due to a combination of factors. One was Einstein’s development of Special Relativity, which provided a mathematically and conceptually simpler model. Combine that with the ever dwindling plausibility of ad hoc hypotheses supporting the aether theory, the fact that there was never really any reason to believe it in the first place, along with the gradual die-off of aether theory’s proponents, and its demise seems inevitable. But note that it was never actually disproved, just displaced.
    I suspect the situation with global warming is rather similar. One of the comments above pointed out that we can’t even predict the weather beyond a few days. Global warming is a far FAR more complex situation to predict, due to the long time scales involved and the large uncertainties in how various factors interact. Thus when considering the hypothesis “Human activities are causing significant climate changes” our belief must be very small, if only because there are so many other hypotheses which could equally well explain the observed climate variations.
    And that hypothesis isn’t even the relevant in this case, because it is entirely about the past, and thus doesn’t affect our future decisions. The relevant hypothesis is “Changes in human activity can reverse the global warming trend.” Belief in that hypothesis is necessarily smaller; the first hypothesis is at least supported by correlation between mean global temperatures and human population growth, industrialization, etc. (and even this is weak, being just observed correlation). The second hypothesis has almost no evidential support.
    People argue that the potential downside of not reversing climate change is essentially infinite, so we should throw infinite resources at this problem regardless of the probability that anything we do will have the desired effect. Is it any wonder there’s so much scientific “consensus”? Not only do we have the usual sociological phenomena at work (see “Aether Theory” above), but impetus to tap into a never-ending source of funding. There are big downsides to other potential global catastrophes, such as meteor strikes, massive volcanic eruptions, etc. Why don’t these get the same treatment as global warming? I think the answer is that people recognize we have a limited ability to change the outcomes in these cases: if Yellowstone is going to blow, there’s probably not much we can do about it. The current situation with global warming is founded upon pseudo-logic, stemming from bogus reasoning: mean temperature increase is correlated with human activity, thus changes in human activity can effect a reversal in the current trend.
    The artificially inflated belief in this scenario causes tremendous tunnel vision. We need to be considering broader options. For instance, given the hypothesis that humans cannot reverse the warming trend, what actions should we be taking now to maximize chances for future survival? Rather than focusing all of our energy on just reduction of greenhouse gases, what about figuring something that would be useful in the likely event that the trend is not reversible by humans? After all, we know Earth’s climate has undergone major changes in the past. Shouldn’t we be thinking about things like where our food is going to come from in the event that the current trend continues? This strikes me as having considerably greater value for humanity. Alas, it doesn’t make for sexy press. Fear-mongering is much more powerful than rationality for generating funding.
    Very nice, Dave. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  60. @Dave: I think you are misunderstanding falsifiability (or else I’m misunderstanding your post). In science falsifiability means simply that *if* something is false, then that can be proven through observation or experiment.
    Your (or rather Popper’s) example of the white swans is an example of naive falsification, which is really hard to make stick for universal statements (like all swans are white).
    Falsification in the scientific sense deals instead with the whole theory – in the broadest sense we say that a theory needs to make predictions that can be observed to be true or false. Not finding any false predictions doesn’t mean that the theory is right, just acceptable for the time being.
    This is why some in my world argue that cosmology isn’t really a hard science, since it makes no falsifiable predictions. (That is changing, but hopefully you see the point). It is also why I’d argue that epidemiology isn’t a real science, but that’s a horse of a different color.

  61. @ Dave: “1) How much methane is produced by 100% pastured animals vs. grain-fed?
    2) What is the size of the carbon sink created by pastured animals (animals eat grass and other plants, stimulating growth).”
    Great questions, Dave. According to one SciAm article I’ve read (admittedly Scientific American in NOT the greatest source), grass-fed cows produce about half the methane that grain-fed cows do. There are approximately 100 million head of cattle in the US. I don’t know what the carbon sink of re-growing grass is vs. the current corn situation.
    Funny, though, that there was no methane “problem” when 60-100 million bison roamed the earth. And bison are bigger than cows.
    @Sam: thanks for your opinion on realclimate.org. I’ve always wondered how much stock to put in that site.

  62. Hi Ben. I don’t think it’s fair to define “real science” in terms of falsifiability. Science is ultimately about drawing inferences about hypotheses from information. For instance, that cosmology makes no “falsifiable predictions” doesn’t mean we can’t assess our level of belief in the theory. It does mean that it is more difficult to assemble and evaluate supporting evidence, as it tends to be indirect.
    Falsifiable hypotheses are just a subset of all hypotheses, those which make predictions for which we can perform experiments which provide significant direct information about the hypothesis. So, for example, I might posit that feeding mice 50% calories from fructose will lead to weight gain. I can do this experiment in a highly controlled fashion, and thus have very high confidence in the results. Correspondingly my belief in the hypothesis is updated one way or another by a large amount. For cosmology, our experiments tend to test only isolated aspects of the theory, often are observational/indirect (e.g. trying to measure the cosomological constant) rather than controlled, and must be interpreted within the context of other theories with varying levels of evidential support themselves. Such an experiment tends to update our beliefs rather less than the highly controlled variety.
    So there is no black-and-white distinction between those theories which are falsifiable and those which are not. Rather we have a continuum, described by the degree to which experiments can update our belief in those theories. Again,there is no such thing as true falsifiability, as you can never be absolutely sure of anything in science. Absolute truth is a strictly logical construct.
    See the work of Jaynes on Probability Theory for deeper discussion.

  63. Oh, and Dave, I guess the corn sink would need to be offset (aaahah!! offset!!!! why oh why did I pick that word!?) by carbon released from tilling the soil. My guess is that the sink from corn is a lot larger than that from grass but I honestly don’t know. It’s just based on the biomass produced per acre, but comparing that to native prairie is difficult, I think. Maybe it has been done. I’m guessing there is more biomass in corn than native prairie.
    The numbers would be interesting, but why we are worrying about agricultural practices and their effect on global warming, when it is what humans have done for millenia, is very disturbing to me. If people are really that worried about the effect of their food, etc. on global warming, the only true solution is to kill themselves. I fear that is where we are going to end up to “save the planet”: http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/2008/12/epa-tyranny-cow-fart-tax-coming-your.html
    On a lighter note. All you people who are losing weight are just shedding that carbon into the environment where it will harm the Earth. You should instead be sequestering it in your bodies by eating more and more sugar and getting fat. Plus if you gain weight and die of diabetic-related complications, you’ll reduce the human footprint on the Earth.
    Even that comes at a cost, I suppose. All that carbon in our bodies would be released through decomposition when we die. What, oh what, are the poor little environmentalists to do? 😉

  64. OK, Doc, after writing far too many comments on global warming, I do have a comment on your Gladiator diet, and some questions.
    I saw this article a few months ago because my fiance gets Archaeology, and should have mentioned it to you. In any case, I find it very interesting, and possibly telling, that the gladiators were not only eating carbs but a specific type: grains and legumes. Which both have lectins that could potentially affect leptin resistance. What about other cultures that eat carbohydrate in very high amounts to the exclusion of almost everything else? Do they get fat?
    We know sugar is bad, but this leads me to wonder whether all carbohydrate is really implicated in modern diseases. There is one group that might help us out but I don’t know enough about them. The Irish. We know that the Irish ate a heck of a lot of potatoes. It would be fascinating to know whether this population from 1600s to the mid 1800s was exempt from other western diseases of civilization that we believe are caused by carbohydrate. Until the potato famine, the Irish were almost completely dependent upon potatoes. It would be fascinating if there was some study of health at that time period. My guess is that they would have done poorly if they did not have any source of animal protein or fat, but I wonder if there is any evidence of diabetes, heart disease, etc. at that time. There probably is not, but anecdotal reports might be helpful.
    Not only did the average Irish family of six consume 250 lbs. potatoes weekly, the population doubled from 1800 to 1845. Because the climate was so remarkable for growing potatoes, people were able to be fairly leisurely and abandon other food production — and married earlier, had larger families, and were able to nurse more newborns. That means an average of 6 lbs. potatoes per person per day. Of course, although potatoes are starchy they have a fair amount of complete protein, too, unlike other vegetables. That’s around 2500 calories, with 63 grams of protein if one just eats potatoes. !! That starts to make potatoes sound pretty good. 🙂
    When corn was imported from America to aid in alleviating the famine, the Irish rejected it, even though they were starving. Apparently their digestive systems were very conditioned to potatoes. We know they relied on them heavily. In light of this, it would be fascinating to discover more about Irish health at that time. Were they fat? Did they get heart disease? What about diabetes?
    (The book where I get this information is “Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds” by George Hudler. (It’s discussing the potato famine caused by the infamous Phytophthora infestans.) He cites his sources for this historical information in the back of the book.)
    Potatoes lack some toxins found in grains and legumes. In light of this, it would be fascinating to know more about he body composition and health of the Irish just prior to the potato famine — especially since controlled dietary experiments are difficult to carry out as you’ve mentioned before. It might give us a basis for the types of experiments that Taubes calls for at the end of his book.
    Believe it or not, I actually have the Hudler book, but I can’t find it. I can’t imagine eating 6 lbs of potatoes per day, especially if that’s the average across the population. It would mean that since children and smaller women ate less, that a normal sized male would eat 8-10 lbs per day, and I find that stretching it. The potatoes do contain some protein, but I can’t imagine them not being eaten along with at least (this being Ireland, after all) some butter, which would add a little more protein. But, having said all this, I really don’t know because I haven’t read anything at all on this era of Irish history, especially not on Irish nutritional history. I’ll have to amend that gap in my learning. Thanks for the inspiration.

  65. @Dave: I don’t think we are far off on our opinions – thanks for responding.
    @Monica: The ability of a system to serve as a carbon sink is based more on the amount of biomass *below* the surface. Native prairie grass has a much deeper root system than corn or wheat, and it is a perennial instead of an annual (although some work is being done on developing perennial wheat). Corn has a very poor root system – perhaps the worst of the grain crops.
    Also remember that biomass sinks are short-term. Microbial consumption of dead plant matter will release the carbon back into the atmosphere (I have a paper from Sweden, I think, on that around here somewhere). The long-term cycle involves the weathering of silica rock and plate tectonics, probably a bit to complex for a food blog 🙂

  66. We went to dinner with a family a year or so ago. After a couple of drinks, the guy starts in on politics. We somehow end up on globabl warming. He was absolutely convinced it was real, while I was not so sure. But after a couple more drinks, I knew he was wack. He started his argument with the earth is going to fry and 30 minutes later tried to convince me that our children would freeze to death. I don’t know, but when you try to make a scientific argument with passion and scare tactics, you lose credibility.
    Oh, and by the way, heights really bother me. REALLY bother me. I was a little on edge with the motorcycle vid.
    Keep it up,

  67. “Funny, though, that there was no methane “problem” when 60-100 million bison roamed the earth. And bison are bigger than cows.”
    I was thinking the same thing as Monica about the bison. American bison are infinitely more adapted to the Great Plains of North America ecology than the cattle, or the wheat cropping beginning in the 19th century that started the Dustbowl storms of the 1930s.
    But are bison really bigger than cows? I buy a half bison twice a year, but it comes cut and wrapped so I can’t say with certainty the original size of the animal in comparison. One half bison cut and wrapped fits a side-by-side freezer compartment. My rancher tells me that is half the space a half side of beef needs. But the final bison product is quite lean (too lean actually, so I often add home-rendered lard), so perhaps that accounts for some of the reduced yield.
    Bison weigh between 1000 and 2200 lbs and the average steer weighs between 1000 and 1500 lbs. The shoulders of bison are enormous, but the hindquarters are about the same – maybe even a little smaller – than a steers.

  68. Hi Dr. Mike,
    Let’s look at this GW thing in a different way.
    During cold periods, crops often don’t ripen, the amount of viable cropland
    diminishes, animals die, travel becomes difficult, glaciers grow, life gets a lot harder.
    Think of everything you ever read or saw in films about the horrors and suffering
    from the 1300s to the 19th centuries.
    During warm periods, however, crops and animals flourish, glaciers retreat,
    cropland increases, life gets easier and a lot more fun. OK, so maybe people
    on the coasts will have to move to higher ground, but, that’s do-able.
    So, if the globe IS warming, let’s EMBRACE IT. Put on your shorts and flip-flops,
    pour some agreeable wine, and sit outdoors to watch the sunset (or stars or
    the moon or whatever).
    Enjoy it thoroughly. Because the COLD will return, eventually.

  69. You wouldn’t believe how many comments on that Mayo Clinic blog have been deleted (mine included) Even so they got a good and justified beating which the censorship has failed to eliminate.
    Next we must march on Joslin, the poor guy must be spinning in his grave at some of their current advice.
    Like the ADA they appear to have reduced their recommended carbs from 60% to 40%, still toxic but less toxic for Type 2 (and IMNSHO many nondiabetics) but one of their endos reputedly told a patient that her A1c in the fives was “far too low” and demanded that she eat enough carbs to put it up to 7

  70. I guess I’m having a hard time understanding why adding so much carbon to the carbon cycle is not considered a problem by some people. I know, I know, we have volcanoes that go off. They would go off with or without us. But without us nobody is digging up coal and burning it, nor are they pumping up petroleum and refining and burning that, nor are forests being decimated in such huge numbers. (Yeah, sometimes we grow them back. Which still doesn’t do much for biodiversity–a new forest ecosystem is not an old-growth forest ecosystem, but that’s a different subject so never mind. About the best you can say about, say, tree farms vis-à-vis global warming is young trees still in their height-attainment phase eat up more CO2 than old trees do. And that’s when we bother replacing the ones we cut down.)
    Even if someone can establish that we aren’t really trapping more solar radiation by adding to the carbon cycle–the latter of which, by the way, I learned about in eighth grade and maybe that was a hoax too, but as I haven’t seen libertarians or conservatives bad-mouthing it, maybe not–can you explain to me how all the pollution and waste caused by coal and oil consumption are good things? Because I’m not seeing it. It’s interesting that in the 1300s, Edward I of England assigned the death penalty to anyone caught burning coal. If he only knew. The reasons he gave at the time sound quaint today but weren’t too far off from what coal was demonstrably doing to the landscape and to the population. About the best thing it did, besides keep people from freezing to death in winter, was save the bare remnants of Britain’s forests. But only just.
    And we never should have used petroleum to power the internal combustion engine. We should have saved it for plastics, and then only for some applications. It has turned out to cause more trouble than it has solved. Even when you don’t consider global warming at all.
    If you read personal finance writers, particularly the ones who aren’t selling anything but their books by way of their writing, you’ll see it emphasized over and over that ecology and economy go hand-in-hand; if it saves you money, it’s probably being a lot less damaging to the environment too. Now I’m no saint about this, I simply recognize it as a valid hypothesis, one with lots of evidence to back it up.
    What’s wrong with spending money when you get it? Everything, if you’re in a money economy. You have to spend some, but an economy based on consumption is inherently unsustainable *even when you do not account for ecological issues.* Sooner or later you must save money as well, or you will have nothing when you cease to earn money.
    I mean, y’all libertarians tell poor folks exactly this when they apply for welfare. Tsk, tsk, you say… why aren’t poor folks more economically responsible? Why, indeed. And if you’d quit spending money like it was going out of style and set yourself up for financial independence early, you could free up your job for someone else to come along who needs it more, and then maybe fewer people would need welfare and we wouldn’t need an expansionist economy either. Y’know. It’s one of those things.
    Just throwing some ideas out there. It must be human nature or at least strongly encouraged in the dominant culture to hold fast to dogma til it screams. But it’s not doing us any favors, whether you’re talking about diet, health, money, or the economy.
    I didn’t vote for Obama but as long as we insist upon perpetuating large nation-states for whatever reason I can’t fathom, sooner or later the government has to step in. It’s that or large corporations, and I’ve seen enough of what they do when given free enough rein to be willing to take another eight years of George W. Bush rather than live in an Avantis-run fiefdom. And that’s saying a lot, because I hate the b—–d, and I don’t hate many people.

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