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The Stupidest Thing I’ve Read Today

Well, other than T. Colin Campbell’s response to my post of yesterday, recommending a vegan diet to…"prevent erectile dysfunction," that is. I’m working up something kinda unique and creative in response to that and if it works out, should be amusing. Oh, wow, just in. Even more material.

Two readers sent me links to this bit of stupid nonsense apparently from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and some dingy Dr. Teri L. Hernandez of the University of Colorado at Denver. Now, beyond the opening where you’ll see that the whole piece rests on a faulty premise — that cholesterol should be lowered — I’ll just quote this one bit of astounding lunacy.

The low-carb group also showed greater increases in their levels of free fatty acids, which are released into the blood when the body breaks down stored fat. High levels of free fatty acids make it more difficult for the liver to store glucose, which in turn ups sugar levels in the blood. Consistently high sugar levels define diabetes.

Mind numbing. Of course, the reason the FFA in the high-fat, low-carb group is higher than the sugar-gobbler — and I presume calorie restricted — group in spite of both groups losing 13 pounds is of course because they are both high-fat diets as are all weight loss diets. It’s just that the low-carbers were higher in fat.

I wonder if they questioned the subjects on which group enjoyed those six weeks of losing 13 pounds the most.

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

19 Comments

  1. Organic Gabe on February 25, 2010 at 16:18

    Poor research is common, sadly. Worse is that it seems that mostly the crappy ones make it to the news …

  2. Alex K on February 25, 2010 at 16:29

    Er… wait. They paid attention to THAT article and NOT this one? CONTEXT, people!

    Plus, the article TESTED for glucose. So if FFA really meant increased glucose, they should have seen that, right?

  3. djinn on February 25, 2010 at 16:42

    some friends of mine have been arguing with vegans and started bringing me nutrition studies the vegans gave them, for review. So far every one that supported low fat thinking was flawed, and I’m not worried that will change.
    Kind of like the Marines say about hunting tanks – it’s fun, and easy.

    • Zach on February 26, 2010 at 11:08

      Another great saying of the jarheads:
      “We do more, with less”

      it’s kind of making the best out of a bad situation… like, we don’t have jack squat, but look how badass we are… makes you wonder what would be possible with more resources.

      And that’s where the analogy comes back to your tank hunt, djinn. Imagine how much more effectively “one shot, one kill” would be in that hunt to debunk the lowfat myth if we actually had more unbiased studies looking at the observed evidence devoid of vegan political dogma! It would be over really quick… but for now we have to wade through a lowfat storm of diarrhea flawed analyses using an umbrella of a just a comparatively few valid studies which shows the “truth” to guide our way, to make our points.

      If it was just a slightly more level playing field regarding funding access to research lowcarb/normal carb diets, the lowfat lie would not hold.



    • djinn on February 26, 2010 at 12:23

      Well said, Zach.

      ………and pass the ammunition.



    • Zach on February 26, 2010 at 11:10

      by the way, err



  4. Ryan on February 25, 2010 at 16:50

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully invested into the primal/paleo/ancestral fitness lifestyle. I frequent your blogs for tips, stories, and, of course, food porn. But all that being said, I don’t come here to hear someone gets worked up about all that which is wrong with the world. Sure, TCC is probably making millions peddling his “research,” but attacking “conventional wisdom” with such venom can be counterproductive to one’s own cause. See PETA, Animal Liberation Front, most vegans. Besides, the cortisol levels you’re probably attaining by stressing out about a sad little geriatric is probably trimming your benefits as a primal practitioner anyway. To my mind, posting another picture of a slow and low prime rib would do much more good. Just my two cents.

    • Rick on February 25, 2010 at 17:27

      I like watching Richard throw hand grenades at tanks. Remember, that tank is trying to run you over or blow a hole in the side of your house. These people have an agenda. It’s not coincidence that you see so many of them marching in lockstep.



    • Steve on February 25, 2010 at 18:02

      Ryan,

      You must understand that for people such as Richard – who have a proper psych0-epistemology, but who have never known that that’s what it was – discovering the truth about an issue like nutrition is the equivalent of a teenager discovering his favorite philosophy. It has the same profound, emotionally-moving impact.

      Not all of us with proper PEs were fortunate enough to have them fully identified, much less justified, when we were in our formative years. The luxury of having that happen is that much of the induction you do can be done “in reverse.” That means that once you learn these philosophical concepts abstractly, because the situations you’ve encountered in your young life are relatively simple, they are much easier to apply to them, and thus it’s much easier to appreciate the fact that every issue you’ll encounter in the rest of your life has a philosophical issue underlying it. By the time you reach Richard’s age most of what you encounter – even in seemingly non-philsophical realms like nutrition – you deal with by deduction rather than induction. It still sucks to have to live in a world dominated by people with expressly bad PEs, but the cost isn’t so great and the enlightenment, when it came, wasn’t so traumatic.

      That’s essentially what’s happening to Richard. He’s beginning to go through that “induction in reverse” process and becoming enlightened. In fact, that’s exactly why issues like nutrition (and the closely related topic of exercise/sports) have such a wide interest; and why they’re so contentious. What happens is that people reach a point in their lives where the unidentified philosophical assumptions they operate upon (their psycho-epistemology) can no longer avoid direct confrontation with the conflicting unidentified assumptions of other people. Most people will let it slide when it comes to how they structure their social lives, their careers, even their religious and political beliefs – and they can survive and even prosper like that for decades – but once they start feeling the direct affect of bad psycho-espistemology, in terms of bad counsel for physical appearance and pain, they get interested, passionate, and if they’ve always been good people, angry.

      The reason is that there’s nowhere left to go once you reach an avid interest in nutrition. There has to be a show down with those of a bad philosophy. Neither side may want it, but it has to happen. The veneer of polity, scientific sincerity, and intellectual-honesty quickly crumbles and the philosophical issue at the heart of the topic shows itself.

      Richard is so angry – about something which, at first glance, seems so silly – because he’s realizing slowly that there were so many other things in his life that, had he known to look for the philosophical issue first and foremost, he would have been able to get a better result out of. He may not have won in terms of existential success – he is only one man – but the psychological cost may not have been as great. That isn’t to say that what’s happening is a bad thing – it’s a very good thing – but unlike teenagers or college students who discover that bad philosophical fundamentals made them squander a good deal of their past, adults react differently. The young develop a cynical, laughing attitude towards it – confident that they still have their best years ahead of them – whereas the older become (quite understandably) angry.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 25, 2010 at 18:36

      That’s an interesting psychoanalysis of me, Steve, and welcome, actually. I’ll read it a few more times to make sure I get maximum understanding and value from the effort.

      Man, I haven’t read ITOE since about 1991, but it did make an impression. At the time, I was a US Navy officer on exchange with the French Navy and. Shortly after reading that (plus most of Rand’s other works) I was in a discussion with French officers after lunch and it was during a coordinated exercise with other ships so I was talking to people who’d just come off watch in the combat center and bridge.

      One guy was lamenting over continual mistakes his guys were making in areas they should not have been, because it was basic. He jokingly convluded that such mistakes were “metaphysique,” to which I replied, “non, c’est psycho-epistemologique'”.



    • Steve on February 25, 2010 at 21:44

      Richard, thanks for taking it in stride, and even finding value in it. I kind of regretted posting it the moment after I sent it because I realized that what I was doing was jumping at the chance to express a theory I recently developed simply because you were the first person I saw who did something that fit. I didn’t think that was appropriate, it’s kind of dehumanizing and rude, but good for you for taking it how you did. I respect you even more now!



    • djinn on February 26, 2010 at 07:40

      Steve –

      Read with interest your discussion of Richard; partly because it could apply to me (given more energy, and probably more smarts)

      Not bad, really. What seems to be missing is not the philosophical but the concrete.
      When a person has become adequately informed about the great physical harm caused daily by the advice of ignorant people in positions of authority, it is no longer a “disagreement”.

      The PROPER reaction to yet another fool talking harmful rubbish from a position of authority is “shutup you ignorant sonofabitch, go learn something before you pontificate”
      Hasn’t necessarily got to do with anger………



    • Richard Nikoley on February 26, 2010 at 10:17

      Now having read that a 2nd & 3rd time, Steve, pretty cool. I like it. The only thing I’d quibble with is that I got my “head” philosophy straightened out around ’91, reading Rand. That’s where I dumped religion and my sense of ethics and how that relates to politics changed. But I suppose I still lived with some degree of cognitive dissonance, particularly as relates to health.

      But you’re dead on right: everything has a philosophical underpinning.



  5. Richard Nikoley on February 25, 2010 at 16:57

    You’re of course welcome to add your 2 or however many cents you want, and I do read all criticisms. But I think I’ve made up my mind on this one. In fact, it was the stress created by not blowing my stack that motivated me to stick with what I know how to do.

    Mileage may vary. I get it. But nonetheless, there you have it.

  6. jerome on February 25, 2010 at 17:32

    300 million Americans suffer from the prevailing anti-nutrition climate. Ranting about it is not the only way to turn things around, but it’s one way. If that’s what you’re best at, then you’re doing your best. And don’t worry too much about “demonizing” those who deserve it.
    Because there ARE demons.

  7. Nigel on February 25, 2010 at 17:56

    “The low-carb group also showed greater increases in their levels of free fatty acids, which are released into the blood when the body breaks down stored fat. High levels of free fatty acids make it more difficult for the liver to store glucose, which in turn ups sugar levels in the blood.” That must be why people on low-carb diets have such high serum glucose levels. Oh, wait…!

    “But the individuals on the low-carb diet actually had an average increase of 12 milligrams per deciliter increase in their LDL levels, up from 109 milligrams per deciliter (less than 100 is considered optimal); the high-carb diet group showed a 7 milligram per deciliter decrease, down from 102.” They’ve had the technology for measuring LDL particle size for how long? Geez!

    • Dave, RN on February 26, 2010 at 12:50

      Hey, I did a treadmill test as part of a checkup and when I asked the doc to draw for particle type and size, she said “I don’t think they can do that”.
      Needless to say, I won’t be going back to her.



    • Nigel on February 27, 2010 at 05:49

      We don’t yet have lipid profiling in the UK. Every time I have blood tests, my GP wants to statinate me. My chol’s not even that high.



  8. zach on February 26, 2010 at 10:59

    Richard says,

    “It’s the crap.” Yep. What could be more clear? Campbell and even lots of paleo types attack dairy, for exampe, (like cordain)-even though many traditional cultured free of the diseases of civilization in Europe, Africa, and Central Asia used it as a staple. Campbell’s religion is pushing his animal product agenda, facts are superfluous.

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