Lotsa More Links

– The Romans knew how to fatten up their Gladiators in order to protect them from minor injury by means of subcutaneous fat. "Gladiators, it seems, were fat. Consuming a lot of simple carbohydrates, such as barley, and legumes, like beans, was designed for survival in the arena. Packing in the carbs also packed on the pounds. 'Gladiators needed subcutaneous fat,' Grossschmidt explains. 'A fat cushion protects you from cut wounds and shields nerves and blood vessels in a fight.'"

– Probably the best review of Good Calories, Bad Calories I've yet read is to be found at Robert McLeod's blog. See how a physicist evaluates Taubes, and, see how he handily ridicules the nutrition "experts" who thinks that our body's homeostasis has anything to do with the Fist Law of Thermodynamics.

– Dr. Michael Eades is pretty optimistic about how absurd, fraudulent diet studies such as the one I reviewed the other day are the signal of "the last gasp of the dark ages of nutrition," a fraudulent dark ages perpetuated by the fraud Ancel Keys and frauds like Frank M. Sacks, M.D., George A. Bray, M.D., Vincent J. Carey, Ph.D., Steven R. Smith, M.D., Donna H. Ryan, M.D., Stephen D. Anton, Ph.D., Katherine McManus, M.S., R.D., Catherine M. Champagne, Ph.D., Louise M. Bishop, M.S., R.D., Nancy Laranjo, B.A., Meryl S. Leboff, M.D., Jennifer C. Rood, Ph.D., Lilian de Jonge, Ph.D., Frank L. Greenway, M.D., Catherine M. Loria, Ph.D., Eva Obarzanek, Ph.D., and Donald A. Williamson, Ph.D.

Nanofoods. As Monica exclaimed when she emailed that: "moronic."

– Rattlesnake; it's what's for breakfast. Pretty primal if you ask me, hold the biscuits and gravy. I've filed this one under 'rednecks: if they didn't exist, we'd have to invent them.'

– Idiocy I. Translation: Atkins wins yet again; so danger, stay away. "Most humans for the past several millennia have eaten a diet largely comprising grains, seeds and vegetables (that is, carbohydrates) with a little meat." Oh, wow, several millennia? Only several? Hey, I'll spot you 10 millennia if you give me the previous 2,500 (millennia). Christopher Wanjek: you're a fuckin' moron.

– Idiocy II. Well, actually, I don't think John McDougall, MD is an idiot or a moron. I think he's a bald faced liar with an agenda. "The proper diet for human beings is based on starches. The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans you eat, the trimmer and healthier you will be – and with those same food choices you will help save the Planet Earth too." Drop dead, fucker. The sooner, the better.

Late entry (after publication): Well, how about some sanity to tie up the idiocy and insanity of those last two? "A Calorie is not a Calorie, and Other Dietary Heresy," a great post by Keith Norris, superstar.

More later: I just looked at my RSS. I now stand at 230 unread posts from many great health and fitness bloggers. The way I do it: I have my daily folder with a handful of my favorites and most relevant to what I do — not to mean they are inferior — and I try not to get behind more than about a dozen. Then, there's everyone else in various folders by general category. I hate missing out on good stuff (tons of it) and not being able to blog it individually or include it in a roundup, but I guess that's a good thing: it's a sign of the explosion of this kind of rational evolutionary thinking. Also, my cherished readers are are so diligent at sending me good stuff, and, frankly, they must take priority. Thanks one and all. It's just been weighing on me. I'd love to highlight every single great post out there, but it's just impossible. One must ultimately face the reality of things.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. minneapolis J on March 8, 2009 at 15:14

    Indians(East) eat a ton of grain, potatoes, starches etc. Surely they are healthy according to McDougall's assessment? WRONG! Dravidian(South Indian people) carry some of the worst body composition of all races. They have a tendency to be inactive, high processed carb eaters. Those two seem to go strangely together. A typical Dravidians frame will be long skinny limbs and large fat accumulation around the belly(skinny fat syndrome).

  2. Monica on March 8, 2009 at 14:53

    I daresay this comment immediately disqualifies Dr. McDougall as an expert on human nutrition: "..with those same food choices you will help save the Planet Earth too."

    Ah, yes. Without animals we would have fertile, healthy soils on which to grow a grain-based diet. NOT.

  3. Richard Nikoley on March 8, 2009 at 15:13

    One of many other laughable parts is how he described chimpanzees as only non-vegetarian in terms of the bugs & insects they ingest. Either he's ignorant of the facts…

    …which I doubt, as I maintain he's a manipulative, agenda-driven liar; or he's an idiot-moron. Take your pick. I'm comfortable with either judgement.

  4. Keith Norris on March 8, 2009 at 15:37

    Hey, thanks for the shout-out, Richard! And I've always thought of Gladiators as the offensive and defensive linemen (American football) type. Of course, those of us who played in the secondary were of the Spartan/300-ilk 😉

  5. Richard Nikoley on March 8, 2009 at 15:49

    It would be interesting to do an analysis of pro football players from a diet / training perspective. Obviously, football is most fundamentally about getting your really fat guys (immovable objects) and your really lean (strong, quick) guys in the right positions at the right places and times.

  6. Richard Nikoley on March 8, 2009 at 15:56

    My wife and I, living in Silicon valley, have lots of cherished Indian friends (she has been the 5th grade teacher for most of their children, spanning 10 years or more — many of them now on college).

    I have loved Indian food in general since being introduced by Brit friends in Thailand (lots of Indian restaurants) back in the 80s. I maintain to the day that Indian food is the most varied and tasteful food on the planet. Unfortunately, it gives me nuclear heartburn, almost every time — much of that, probably, a function of being helpless in terms of not pigging out. Simple: place some saffron rice, nan, and a bunch of lamb and chicken curries in front of me and I am going to stuff myself silly. I literally cannot help it. The aromas and flavors are just too compelling. My favorite of all time: butter chicken. Oh. my. God.

    So, that's my sad story. I'd love to have dishes I could make that don't give me the severe heartburn. Even still, I'll likely indulge ever few months for the rest of my life.

    Curiosity: since India has a ginormous population of lifelong vegetarians, are you aware of any studies that assess the healthfulnes long term against the meat eaters?

  7. Paleo Newbie on March 8, 2009 at 20:44

    that should be a t-shirt.

  8. Chris Wanjek on March 12, 2009 at 18:24

    Hi, everyone. I'm the aforementioned fuckin' moron, Chris Wanjek. The several millennia I was referring to was the dawn of agricultural about 10,000 years ago. Less is known about diets before this.

    I myself wouldn't venture back 2,500 millennia, as the blogger relays, for my understanding is that homo sapiens only go back about 200,000 years, or 200 millennia.

    The blogger could augment his gladiator example with that of the sumo wrestler. (Actually, I never knew this about gladiators.) Sumo wrestlers gain weight through chankonabe, which has a good deal of meat (Atkins) but which is supplemented by lots and lots of rice (carbs). In the end, calories matter more. In fact, a study last month in the New England Journal of Medicine established as much. They couldn't test the Atkins diet because they felt that it was too unhealthy, but they could that low-carb is as good as low-fat as long as calories are cut. Dieting is more about losing weight, though. The concern with low fat (high carb) is the tendency to make those carbs simple, which promotes diabetes. The concern with low carb (high fat/protein) is the tendency to have that fat be saturated, which promotes heart disease and stroke.

  9. Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2009 at 08:34

    [Continued from above]

    Finally, the study in the NEJM. Are you referring to this one?

    "They couldn't test the Atkins diet because they felt that it was too unhealthy…"

    How convenient for them. Look: that study was designed in the first place in a way to show what they wanted to show coming out at the other end. But, as Dr. Eades has observed, it's a sign of the last days for all these fat-o-phobes.

    BTW, I'm not a huge fan of Atkins myself. I don't think it's as much about carb intake as about the franken foods of modern civilization. If you look at the studies of the people of Kitava, they do just fine on 70% energy from carbohydrate (starchy roots and tubers). On the other side of the spectrum, you have the Inuit at almost zero carbs (careful about brining up the "longevity" issue), and then there's the Tokelauans, who derive 50% of energy from "artery clogging saturated fat" (with total fat intake at about 60% of energy).

  10. Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2009 at 08:33

    Well, two preliminaries.

    1) Looks like Google did its job.

    2) You get props for the courage to post a comment. I like that.

    I don't really enjoy doing that — well, maybe a bit — but more importantly is that some of us call attention to the prevailing nonsense.

    Now, while you are certainly correct about agriculture (though 10 millennia is certainly more than "several" in my book), your other assertions expose quite a bit of ignorance.

    "Less is known about diets before this." While technically true (less is known), that has no bearing on whether we are evolutionarily adapted to grains (or high intakes of sugar / sweet things chronically) or in the last 100 years, processed, solvent extracted, deodorized vegetable franken-oils.

    The fact of the matter is that we know a great deal about what both H. sapiens and other ancestral lines ate. There are many sources of such information, but the most readily available is the research of Dr. Loren Cordain. Here's a few links.

    As to H. sapiens being around for only 200 mil, what, do you think they just appeared out of nowhere? No, they evolved from H. rhodesienis, and before that, H. antecessor / mauritanicus, and before that, H. ergaster. That's our genetic lineage.

    And one thing is clear if you do your research: the success of this lineage is a direct result of including increasing amounts of meat and fat in the diet. In fact, what kicked the whole thing off was primitive ancestors discovering that they could break open the bones and skulls of animal kills to get at the marrow and brain, mostly fat. This is what ultimately increased brain size.

    As for H. neaderthalensis, carbon analysis of skeletal remains puts them right below the wolf in terms of carnivory.

    Moreover, it makes a lot of sense when you consider the huge advantage in terms of nutrient and energy density in animal kills vs. eating plants. Gorillas, for example, literally have to eat ALL. DAY. LONG.

    [Continued below…]

  11. christopher wanjek on March 15, 2009 at 22:32

    Reply to Richard:

    Good points. And congratulations on your weight loss. If that's you in the top left corner, you look great.

    Just fyi, my Google alert is set to "wanjek + moron" to limit it to just a few dozen hits a day. Try "simpleton" or "idiot" next time to avoid Google detection.


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