1) Seeing as I was taken to task by a couple of people for my “disrespectful” words toward Dr. Campbell here, is this going to be more of the same?
Answer: It’ll start off much milder than the title to that last, but no guarantees. We’ll just have to see how worked up I get. In any case, whatever it is, it’ll be what it is and I’ll make sure I enjoy it.
2) Why bother with Dr. Campbell?
Answer: I’m not. I’m using him. Look, it’s clear to me that he’s operating under his own agenda, in the making for decades. There’s no chance I’m going to convince him of anything. But with more than 100,000 visits to this blog each month and more than double that in pages viewed — combined with the fact that search logs consistently show vegetarian subject matter near the top, when not actually the top — I want to continually build material that meets that demand. The Amazon discussion is well over a thousand posts now. I’m taking a few important ones, bringing together other relevant material, and creating something more accessible for everyone, particularly those new or confused.
So let’s get on with it, now that my own agenda is unabashedly right out there in front. I had put this out on Twitter for laughs when Dr. Campbell showed up in the forum again the other day to whine at length about how badly he’s been treated by myself & others. I’ll excerpt a bit.
So what do I get? Mostly, it is hostility, anger and worse. It has been virtually impossible to find reasoned explanations in the midst of so many attacks and lies. Because there are so many kooks on this site, I have lost faith in almost anything that is said. […]
I am guided by the famous suggestion of President Kennedy, “Ask no what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country (i.e., others).” People on this site seem not to give a whit about the societal effects of eating animals and other high resource-requiring foods on our society and our environment. It’s all about you and only you. Have you heard the recent analysis of two World Bank people (of all things!) who recently published findings showing that livestock production causes more than 50% of global warming?
Yes folks: step right up; you too can put the spurious claims of unnamed “others” above your own health, well-being and enjoyment of your food in the name of general, various, unspecified environmental causes. …Oh, yea, the crumbling AGW movement.
You’d need to read a lot of the discussion yourself, but in actuality it has been Dr. Campbell who almost never answers questions directly (ignores most of them), never gives much in the way of reasoned explanations but spends pretty much all of his time telling us how well his book sells, how long he’s been doing this, dropping names, and letting us know how much he’s adored by so many. As poster Greg observed in a half-dozen or so posts — that are pure gold — in describing precisely the way Dr. Campbell operates (his posts start here)…
And THAT’S been shown in many studies, too, which you apparently won’t look at because you already know they’re wrong. How many more times should we link them? And how many more times should I call you to task for ad hominem attack? It’s just ridiculous. You just did it again in this post. Do you even realize this? I guess you obviously think it’s a valid form of argument, because it’s literally the only one you use: we’re wrong because we’re angry, disrespectful, have no experience in science, are pretentious, are primarily concerned with excess body weight, and “claim” we can lose weight and improve our health with low carb. That’s all in one paragraph! […]
Your arguments are all based on setting yourself up as the ultimate authority who can’t be questioned and then discounting everyone else – if they’re not credentialed, then they’re just making stuff up or relying on editors; if they have science backgrounds, then they’re not doing primary research; if they’re medical doctors, then they’re cynically writing harmful books and possibly faked their medical degrees. You are really Mr. Ad Hominem Ad Nauseum. Based on your biography it seems to me that you MUST have a lot more you could be contributing to the conversation, but I guess you just have no interest.
And here’s how he operates in debates with other scientists who actually do their own research. This one, The Protein Debate (PDF) between Cordain & Campbell. Dr. Eades was going to review that but one of his readers did an excellent job of it. An essential excerpt:
Cordain’s paper contains no less than 134 references, and his rebuttal to Campbell contains another 30. Campbell, in support of a low protein, low fat, diet provides, uh, let me count, ZERO citations. He manages a few in his rebuttal to Cordain, but a couple of those are to himself, and only one that I saw appeared to be a peer-reviewed article. He makes some fairly bold statements, like “overwhelming findings on the adverse health effects of dietary protein” and “remarkable healing effects now being routinely accomplished by my clinician colleagues”, again with no citations to supporting peer-reviewed literature.
Campbell’s stance appears to be largely one of “because I said so”. The first sentence in his rebuttal is “My critique of Professor Loren Cordain’s proposition almost entirely depends on my philosophy of nutrition”; as opposed, say, to evidence gathered via the scientific method? In fact, he goes so far as to argue in favor of what is essentially sloppy research in nutrition science.
Alright, so now you know what we’re up against. So then…this morning, a bit of a different tone from Dr. Campbell.
Greg and Richard et al,
Why don’t you comment on my reporting of evidence that animal protein-based foods, when exceeding the amount of protein (as in dairy) that the body needs, causes cancers to grow robustly, increases blood cholesterol, increases atherogenesis, increases calcium loss and bone fracture incidence, increases formation of kidney stones? Are you interested in the idea that cow’s milk protein is the most relevant carcinogen that humans consume? Are you interested in the idea that this protein-specific effect is only the tip of a much larger story? Are you interested in why it is so easy to cure heart disease in its advanced stages? Or that the dietary effect, when done right, acts so fast that for those on diabetic meds, they could go into glycemic shock if they failed to decrease meds in the first day or so?
Do you want to know how I got those conclusions?
Well, though I’ve read all of these before, poster Markus from Germany helps us out on the protein issue. As to most of the rest of it, note the supplementation section in my reply which I cover below.
From: The Protein Debate (PDF)
Aflatoxins are naturally occurring toxins ….The toxin is also found in the milk of animals fed contaminated feed. Aflatoxins are metabolized in the liver to become potent liver carcinogens for all mammals including humans (157). ….
Colin’s research group developed a rodent model of liver cancer in which they dosed the animals with high concentrations … of aflatoxin and then fed them diets containing varying amounts …) of casein (158-161). Regardless of the casein dose, all animals developed cancerous or pre-cancerous liver lesions (161), however the animals fed the higher amounts of casein developed more cancerous lesions, particularly when a level of approximately 12 % casein was reached (160)….
Although Colin has inferred from his experiments with rodents that high protein diets promote cancer and low protein diets repress it following cancer initiation by a carcinogen, this interpretation is incorrect. The only logical conclusion that can be reached from his series of experiments is that only the milk protein, casein, when consumed at more than 10% of energy, promotes liver cancer in rodents exposed to high concentrations of aflatoxin. His experiments cannot be generalized to other animal proteins, such as those found in lean meats. …. Accordingly, current consumption of casein in the U.S. diet would have little or no bearing on cancer incidence rates if we assume Colin’s rodent model of cancer is correct and applicable to humans.
From: The China Study: More Vegan Nonsense, Anthony Colpo
Extrapolating from the deleterious effects demonstrated by casein in rodents, Campbell goes on to warn that all animal proteins are a deadly threat to humans.
Campbell’s position constitutes little more than a totally unscientific leap of faith. Casein is one of the major protein-containing fractions of milk; the other is whey. Campbell does not mention that while casein is often observed to promote cancer in rats, whey protein does the exact opposite. Numerous experiments have shown that rats lucky enough to be fed whey experience greatly reduced tumor incidence when compared to rats fed casein, beef, soy or standard rat chow[Badger TM][Hakkak R][Hakkak R][McIntosh GH][Papenburg R][Bounous G].
From: The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Chris Masterjohn
Campbell is aware that casein has been uniquely implicated in health problems, and dedicates an entire chapter to casein’s capacity to generate autoimmune diseases.17 Whey protein appears to have a protective effect against colon cancer that casein does not have.18 Any effect of casein, then, cannot be generalized to other milk proteins, let alone all animal proteins. Other questions, such as what effect different types of processing have on casein’s capacity to promote tumor growth, remain unanswered. Pasteurization, low-temperature dehydration, high-temperature spray-drying (which creates carcinogens), and fermentation all affect the structure of casein differently and thereby could affect its physiological behavior. What powdered, isolated casein does to rats tells us little about what traditionally consumed forms of milk will do to humans and tells us nothing that we can generalize to all “animal nutrients.”
So I ask you dear reader: how far do you want to go down that rabbit hole of finding out that, because casein by itself (without the whey as occurs naturally) in high doses gives rats cancer, we ought to be overwrought with fear of eating what our ancestors have been eating for millions of years? And while we’re at it, let’s refresh our memories as to the overall association with dietary protein in The China Study. From Masterjohn’s review, linked above.
What is most shocking about the China Study is not what it found, but the contrast between Campbell’s representation of its findings in The China Study, and the data contained within the original monograph. Campbell summarizes the 8,000 statistically significant correlations found in the China Study in the following statement: “people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease.”26 He also claims that, although it is “somewhat difficult” to “show that animal-based food intake relates to overall cancer rates,” that nevertheless, “animal protein intake was convincingly associated in the China Study with the prevalence of cancer in families.”27
Let’s take a look at Table 1 from Masterjohn’s review.
So for those not used to postitive vs. negative correlatioins, the plus sign means the more they ate it on average, the more average death from cancer. The minus signs mean that the more they ate it, the less death from cancer. Finally, only one of the above reached statistical significance, which is sort of an arbitray line of 5%; meaning, an association (more or less of A is assocated with more or less of B) must be less than 5% due to simple chance. What do you notice? Of all these associations (among a total of 8,000 identified associations in The China Study) all Dr. Campbell seems to wish to place focus is on…
…animal protein intake was convincingly associated in the China Study with the prevalence of cancer in families.
Amazing. Oh, and one other thing. There was another negative association orders of magnitude higher than animal protein and unlike animal protein which wasn’t significant at all, was highly significant (2 **): home-made cigarettes. That’s right, those smoking their hand-rolled tobacco had a highly significant negative correlation in death from cancer.
I won’t be holding my breath for Campbell to be coming out with that. Which — and given the shocking nature of the above picture and what he’s out rabidly promoting — scaring people off the high-density nutrition of animal products — means really only one thing. He’s merely — as mentioned earlier in his own words — promoting “[his] philosophy of nutrition.” Now, if he were out there dissing processed foods, flour and sugar in favor of his veganesque philosophy, I wouldn’t have a complaint in the world. Instead, and it’s critical to understand, he’s promoting his philosophy of nutrition by tearing down your animal food, relentlessly and, as you can see above, quite dishonestly. And then when you combine it with the tripe about environmental concerns you begin to get into areas of public policy and how do you think that’s going to go?
And he’s good at it, which is why I make the effort. No doubt about it, in terms of sales, The China Study is a phenomenal success. As of this moment, Amazon lists it as #84 in sales rank. And of course, that’s only because people are swallowing the message and telling their friends. So, I think that a compilation like this is worthwhile, given the power of Google.
I did have my own reply on the forum this morning that I’ll recompose to follow, perhaps with a few edits.
Excellent digging, sir. I had read all those in the past but this was a good review. Since Dr. Campbell adressed me in his last and this discussion forum is explicitly about low carbing, I ought to perhaps lay out where I differ.
I’m a paleo lifestyler, and that applies to things beyond diet as well; such as the way I exercise, the way I intermittently fast, the way I spend time in the sunshine, the way I sleep and the way I interact socially — eschewing modern collectivist politics completely, i.e., I don’t vote as I’m not interested in a 1/270 millionth say in my own affairs. Rather, I cultivate close bonds and relationships with family and a manageable number of close friends.
At to diet specifically, I practice avoidance behavior rather than seeking behavior.
I avoid grains, flour, sugar, processed foods in general, and industrial vegetable & seed oils. All else is fair game; however, due to concerns about the overload of fructose and omega-6 poly-unsaturates that ancient man would not have gotten chronically, I limit fruit to berries now & then and I keep nuts to a minimum, sticking mostly to macadamias with a fatty-acid profile similar to olive oil.
As to carbohydrate, here’s a study that demonstrates a profound difference between 100% fructose carbs and 100% glucose carbs (starch).
Dr. Stephan Guyenet:
The investigators divided 32 overweight men and women into two groups, and instructed each group to drink a sweetened beverage three times per day. They were told not to eat any other sugar. The drinks were designed to provide 25% of the participants’ caloric intake. That might sound like a lot, but the average American actually gets about 25% of her calories from sugar! That’s the average, so there are people who get a third or more of their calories from sugar. In one group, the drinks were sweetened with glucose, while in the other group they were sweetened with fructose.
After ten weeks, both groups had gained about three pounds. But they didn’t gain it in the same place. The fructose group gained a disproportionate amount of visceral fat, which increased by 14%! Visceral fat is the most dangerous type; it’s associated with and contributes to chronic disease, particularly metabolic syndrome, the quintessential modern metabolic disorder (see the end of the post for more information and references). You can bet their livers were fattening up too.
The good news doesn’t end there. The fructose group saw a worsening of blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity. They also saw an increase in small, dense LDL particles and oxidized LDL, both factors that associate strongly with the risk of heart attack and may in fact contribute to it. Liver synthesis of fat after meals increased by 75%. If you look at table 4, it’s clear that the fructose group experienced a major metabolic shift, and the glucose group didn’t. Practically every parameter they measured in the fructose group changed significantly over the course of the 9 weeks. It’s incredible.
Here’s the link to the table he references.
And it makes perfect evolutionary sense. Paleoman, at least in most times & places would have had far more access to starchy tubers than fruit, and keep in mind that the fructose concentrations in wild fruits were significantly lower than our selectively bread fruit of today.
Moreover, if you look at what happens to bears when they consume massive amounts of wild berries, they pretty much become obese & near diabetic in advance of hibernation. It’s reasonable to speculate that for humans, seeking out fructose when available in the summer and fall was a specific mechanism we evolved to fatten up a bit so as to help us through the leaner months. Speculative, but I’m practicing a precautionary principle, here. It’s easy enough to just toss another piece of meat, fish, or fowl on the barbie.
So, essentially, unless you are trying to loose weight or are diabetic, I don’t think “low carb” is that essential for most people; but, those carbs should come primarily from starch and not fructose and in particular, not refined sugar and all the foods loaded with sugar.
My supplementation regime is pretty simple (there’s a couple more, but this is the foundation):
Vitamin D3, as I’m not in the sun nearly as much as our ancestors would have been and as well, the epidemiology of cancer when plotted against latitude is pretty interesting.
Omega 3s, to balance out the n-6s I get from trips to restaurants and so on.
Vitamin K2 (MK-4, menatetrenone). This is the form made from K1 by ruminants (found in marrow, organ meats & milkfat) and is also found in eggs, particularly fish eggs. This is Weston Price’s “Activator X.”
The combo of D and K2 in particular has had profound health effects for me. My personal anecdote is that I have always had huge plaque / calculus buildup on my teeth, particularly around the molars & the inside lower front. In time, this created places for bacteria to grow, invade the gum tissue, finally resulting in deep pockets, inflammation, bleeding gums and eventually two surgeries in 2001. But the surgery was only successful in setting back the clock. I still had to have four deep cleanings per year just to hold things at bay.
But when I went paleo and dropped the grains, flour & sugar, something interesting happened. My gum disease began to reverse, as documented by the dentist’s measurements. I still got the plaque and calculous buildup but it wasn’t having an adverse effect on my gum tissue.
Then I began taking the D and K2 and now, I have zero plaque or calculous. My teeth are like smooth pearls every morning and in fact, I only brush now & then — and I use wooden toothpicks instead of floss. The last cleaning I had, well over six months ago demonstrated my gums to be in better shape than when the dentist began warning me back in 1993, 17 years ago.
What do I take away from this? Well, if you read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price and take stock in the huge disparity in tooth decay and malocclusion (crowded teeth) between people existing on their traditional diets and those who left for contact with civilization it becomes quite clear that replacing high nutrient-density foods like raw milk, eggs, organ meats, meat, fish and organically grown vegetables with flour and sugar has profound costs.
And, I think that dental health is a great surrogate for asking: how healthy are your bones? How about your arteries? The combo of D and K2 helps to ensure that calcium and other mineral salts go everyplace they should (bones, teeth) and no place they shouldn’t (artery walls, kidney stones, etc.).
Here’s my links on K2.
And you might want to read Dr. Stephan Guyenet’s nine part series, Malocclusion: Disease of Civilization. Go to the bottom and read the posts in reverse. This is amazing work on Dr. Guyenet’s part.
In the end, everyone needs to decide for themselves. I took charge of my own health going on three years ago, now. Rather than paralyze and scare myself to death with contradictory, agenda driven, profit driven “science,” I sought to find out what healthy people were doing, then copy and experiment. Now I’ve lost 60 pounds, am stronger at 49 than ever in my life by far, sleep an average of 7 1/2 hours every night, have far better relationships, never watch the news or fret about quotidian politics, have dispensed with prescription medications for allergies & GURD and above all, feel great and happy.
You have to figure this out for yourself. Gather information, think about it, use what makes sense in your own life, but let no one — including me — tell you what’s right for you.
Well, as you can see by now, I didn’t end up blowing a gasket in this one. That’s fine. As I got going into it I was caught up in the idea of creating a fairly decent narrative of the whole shebang, and I’m pretty happy with it. In particular, if you read some of the links and look especially into Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and search posts using that title at my blog & Dr. Stephan’s, what begins to emerge is a picture of a time when health was a cinch. They simply ate the unadulterated, natural foods available in their environments without silly discrimination, like not eating animal products.
Propose to any currently living true hunter-gatherer group that they forego animals as a source of food. You will leave them befuddled.