Is LIVESTRONG.COM The Worst Source of Diet and Health Information?

Filed under Diet & Fitness Morons

I’m going to begin this post with a quote that should kinda give you a clue as to how this is going to go for Lance Armstrong & Co.

Saturated fat, found in animal products and tropical oils, does not dissolve in water.

Got it? Okaaaaay…. (my commenters will demolish this, to their credit, so I won’t bother; make sure you lurkers and passersby read comments, because they are typically a real riot)

So here’s the email I got from my longtime friend, David Brown who, totally unlike me, has a project to clue in the various whores who publish studies for money, prestige and…I dunknow, but I gotta assume genitalia (Ida just said "pussy," but last I heard, women can be whores too). David does not operate like me and I always encourage everyone to never sink to my level. David, rather, regularly emails authors of various peer-reviewed studies in a totally respectful tone and demeanor, offering evidence in contravention to their study. I’m privileged to be blind copied on all of those emails.

Hi Richard,

I have a Google Alert for saturated fat so I get notified when saturated fat is mentioned in an article. The award for the saturated fat-bashingest website probably should go to due to both the number and quality of the anti-saturated fat articles published on that site. Here’s a quote from the worst one I’ve seen thus far.

Saturated fat, found in animal products and tropical oils, does not dissolve in water. The saturated fat in your diet retains its solid form inside your body. This elevates the amount of low-density lipoprotein — LDL or "bad" cholesterol –as well as the amount of triglycerides, another type of harmful fat, in your bloodstream. Your high-density lipoprotein — the HDL or "good" cholesterol — attempts to eliminate the excess fat in your arteries by shipping it to your liver for disposal. But if you include a lot of saturated fat in your diet, your HDL cholesterol can’t handle the overload. Fatty deposits accumulate in your arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow freely to your vital organs.

Read more here.

I complained a few weeks ago carefully explaining why they are wrong to assert that saturated fats clog arteries. Yesterday I sent a message to Lance Armstrong himself and I’ll forward that to you if you want it. Anyway, perhaps some members of your knowledgeable audience could start commenting on the articles. So far, I’m about the only one who comments.

OK, the gist here is public service. Here’s the link to the article, again. David has always been busting his ass, being polite. I can’t do that. It’s far beyond me, truly, which makes the way I do what I do seem natural, at least to me. It is. Every reader could go away tomorrow and I’d still never suffer fools. But David can, and he’s long suffering and we do need people like that. For those of you who complain about me, here’s your chance to do it your way, if you actually care about doing something more than you care about complaining about the something others do. Contact David and I have no doubt he’ll be very willing to coordinate with you.

David is a superstar and you know why? He has never uttered a single whiff of a complaint about how I do things but rather, humbly comes to me now and then to see if I might be able to help his way, a bit. I’m glad to. Davis is real, and all I ever see from him is action, never girly whining — like, I make your [insert favorite cause] look bad, as though I have some obligation to do it your way.

Ok, right. Back to the quote form — oh, that’s right, I didn’t mention her name — Kathryn Gilhuly. According to the preeminent health site, Lance Armstrong…uh,

Kathryn Gilhuly is a wellness coach based in San Diego. She helps doctors, nurses and other professionals implement lifestyle changes that focus on a healthy diet and exercise. Gilhuly holds a Master of Science in health, nutrition and exercise from North Dakota State University.

Well, so much for formal education. It passes to just have a degree, now, and not an actual education…and there are lots predisposed to regurgitative bullshit. She looks young, so I’d normally like to extend a bit of my own flavor of dispensation, but then there’s the nagging issue that she’s young, with a masters in "health" …and look around you at the public — who used to be pretty lean, but has been following the advice she’s peddling, young and newly now, on the nutritional equivalent of dark street-corners — and it’s been going on for four or five decades. Well, it is an old profession, after all, and I take it that dark-street corner masters in high-heels are pretty good teachers. I’d assume so, anyway. The torch must be carried.

Commenters have shown their propensity to Google other stuff, and there are other articles by Miss Kathryn on as well, so let’s have ourselves a little intervention, just for fun.

Now go to it, if you please, and help yourself by involving your FB Friends and Tweeps; buttons up top.

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. Hank Garner on May 5, 2011 at 19:02

    I learned real quick when looking for running advice to stay FAR AWAY from livestrong. I’ll stick to my sat fat fueled workouts thank you very much.

    • rob on May 6, 2011 at 06:12

      I found running on fat to be too much of ordeal. Now eating 125g-200g of starch a day and running a very pleasant 25-30 miles a week.

      I don’t mind torturing myself for good results, but torturing myself for lousy results makes no sense.

      • Hank Garner on May 6, 2011 at 06:15

        I wouldn’t do anything to torture myself either. I have exercised for almost 7 months in a ketogenic state, fueled mostly on fat, running primarily for the last 2, and have never felt better. I have more energy, never “hit the wall” or any of those negatives.

      • rob on May 6, 2011 at 09:29

        How many miles a week do you run, Hank?

      • Hank Garner on May 6, 2011 at 09:32

        First off, I don’t classify myself as a “runner”. I did this as a challenge for myself. I was running 3 to 4 days a week for 4 or 5 miles then a long run on the weekend to build my distance. A typical week ranged from 20-30 miles.

    • Norris ford on October 7, 2019 at 15:39

      Just read her piece about diabites which she quoted diabetics should eat 45 – 60 grams of carbs per meal. She is disqualified as a thinker and put into a sponge capable of repeating information without the ability to understand its valitity. My dear, Eat that many carbs, need more meds, more meds, more carbs round and round. Regardless of what they say thats way too much and its irresponsible to promote that

  2. Sara on May 5, 2011 at 19:04

    Hahahahaha—I just bitched about a article a few days ago!!! ) I get their newsletters because I’d signed up to use their food tracker years ago, and while I normally trash the newsletters, lately I’ve been scanning the headlines just so I can laugh at how ignorant they are…but then get down-in-the-mouth at how screwed most people are thanks to all the bad advice. Good for your friend to fight as he can.

    Oh, and that chick has a Master’s in “Health?” And I thought my MA in English was worthless…sheesh.

  3. Josh on May 5, 2011 at 19:05

    Sat fat is solid inside my 98.6-ish degree body, yet liquid in my 75 degree house… uh huh.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 5, 2011 at 19:16

      Josh: that counts for a pithy demolition.

    • Carla on May 6, 2011 at 10:02

      wahaha love it

    • Eegah! on May 6, 2011 at 20:07

      Yep, perfectly put.

  4. Wayne on May 5, 2011 at 19:16

    Livestrong is now part of the shitbox that is Demand Media. Seems like Lance likes money more than integrity.

    • Becky on May 5, 2011 at 19:19

      The people writing those articles make $15 to $18 per article. They churn them out as quickly as possible and are required to have certain types of references. In a nutshell, everything that is on that website is regurgitated from a university or a newspaper. =)

      • Jake on May 5, 2011 at 19:24

        Otherwise known as ‘protecting the status quo.’

        I just wish they would stop their bullshit and do some actual, real, research and get the facts right. No matter what they are. I would rather have truth that hurts, than bullshit that will kill me. Perhaps we should e-mail them a link to the ‘vegan success story’ ?

      • matt on May 6, 2011 at 09:55

        Becky is right on here. I was ‘hired’ by Demand to write for Livestrong… what a joke. It’s the ultimate reference for people who think a Google search counts as research.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 6, 2011 at 10:12

        But Google is n excellent tool for research, for both primary and secondary sources. The trick is to not be so bright eyed as to be blinded.

      • J. Stanton on May 6, 2011 at 17:50

        There is an important difference between



      • matt on May 7, 2011 at 08:25

        The trick, Eegah!, is to use Google scholar in coordination with your brother’s access to the University of South Carolina’s library system for full-text. If you don’t have such a brother, pick one up.

      • Eegah! on May 6, 2011 at 20:10


        Thanks for that, I’d never seen Google Scholar before, I shall exploit it shamelessly henceforth 😉

  5. PK on May 5, 2011 at 19:25

    Can tell my bacon grease it’s doing it wrong and it should be solid at high temperatures?

    It won’t solidify on the tinfoil on my cookie sheet (easier cleanup that way) during the summer. How dare it go against Livestrong’s science!

    (My jar of saved grease has more in it than I can use for cooking, in case anyone was horrified I was tossing some good bacon grease!)

  6. Christian on May 5, 2011 at 19:31

    Can livestrong tell me what drugs Lance had? I heard he had the good stuff.

    Also, maybe it’s so obvious the joke needn’t be explained, but can Ms. Gilhuly name any fat that dissolves in water?

    • Richard Nikoley on May 5, 2011 at 21:56

      Christian, what, you give away the punchline so soon, so easily? 😉

  7. kricka on May 5, 2011 at 19:36

    Thank you! I was trolling their site a year or so ago and was AGHAST at the wealth of misinformation posted. It is truly horrifying that people are following that advice.

    And I would like to add to the people who have mentioned their misbehaving saturated fat, as my coconut oil is liquid for at least half of the year over there on my counter top. Bad coconut oil!!

  8. Lute Nikoley on May 5, 2011 at 19:47

    Just wondering, why are my TG at 45,my HDL at 75, my D at 90? Recently I had a cancer scare a tumor, a possible low grade malignancy. Had a lumpectomy. The pathology report? Confusing, they can’t figure it out at Emory U. Pathology Lab. Richard can post the report if he wants to. It’s kinda hilarious with all the it could be’s. As Richard said, they just can’t figure it out. Things are different when you eat the right food, i.e. plenty of animal fat.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 5, 2011 at 22:03

      Yea, it was a bit of a scare. Thought it might be male breast cancer, pathology totally inconclusive on biopsy, and then even after surgury with the whole thing and surrounding tissue, still imclonclusive with the balance from my reading going to benign. Tumor was in the pectoral muscle, not fatty breat tissue.

      Could have been there for a long while. Who knows, bit I do know that my dad, at 73, eats real food and thats really all you can do, in the end.

  9. perkinskit on May 5, 2011 at 20:34

    I got the first comment on the article!

    Feel free to read it here if you don’t want to gift LS your traffic:

    This is so incredibly wrong I want to explode.

    “Saturated fat, found in animal products and tropical oils, does not dissolve in water.”

    Do any fats dissolve in water?

    “The saturated fat in your diet retains its solid form inside your body.”

    This is completely inane. I don’t know of any saturated fats with a melting point higher than 98.6F. Hydrogenating fats can mess with this, but no one recommends eating hydrogenated fats.

    Also, if saturated fat hangs out in big unbreakable blocks in your stomach, how does it get to your bloodstream? Little elves with hammer and chisel?

    Fat goes in and out of fat cells almost constantly in the human body. Mostly saturated. If someone loses fat, they are burning their own body fat for energy. Yet losing fat decreases the risk for heart disease in most cases. So burning saturated fat for energy probably isn’t bad. Intuitive right?

    Also, I’m not going to risk posting links here for fear of losing my comment in moderation, but a little poking around The Healthy Skeptic website will uncover convincing arguments exonerating saturated fat and cholesterol of their alleged connection to heart disease.

    • Lute Nikoley on May 5, 2011 at 20:49

      Isn’t it amazing what a little logic will do to decimate the illogical?

    • Alex on May 5, 2011 at 23:38

      I may be wrong here, but from what I remember reading, human fat is about 40% saturated. Being less than 50%, that does not make it “mostly saturated”. You could get away with saying “almost half of which is saturated”, but not “mostly saturated”.

    • Sean on May 6, 2011 at 00:46

      Ha ha, little elves with chisels. It’s the South Park method of CHD.

      1) Hang out in human stomachs with chisels.

      2) …

      3) Heart attack!!!

      We are still working out step 2.

      • Barb on May 6, 2011 at 01:39

        OMG!!! It’s the saturated fat gnomes!

      • Sean on May 6, 2011 at 04:21

        Ha ha, Barb, that’s going to be my new catchphrase anytime someone brings up the lipid hypothesis.

    • Jan on May 6, 2011 at 11:06

      That was MY reaction when I read that – “Gee, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats don’t dissolve in water, either…”

  10. Bushrat on May 5, 2011 at 20:41

    “Saturated fat, found in animal products and tropical oils, does not dissolve in water. The saturated fat in your diet retains its solid form inside your body.”

    From this I conclude that my stomach mist be filled with water. Thank hell for that. I was worried because yesterday somebody told me I had stomach acid and I was worried it would burn a hole through my stomach lining…

    Also, Richard are my comments getting held up in moderation again?

    • Richard Nikoley on May 6, 2011 at 11:03

      Always, Bushrat. You must be coming from an IP my spam filter doesn’t like. Tragedy of the Commons, I guess (others must be pissing in your poll). At any rate, when I check, you get approved instanter. Best I can do.

  11. David brown on May 5, 2011 at 20:47

    To set the record straight regarding Lance Armstrong’s organization, here’s today’s response to my message to Lance Armstrong.

    Hi David,

    Thank you for contacting us at LIVESTRONG. If you are looking at articles through our sister website LIVESTRONG.COM, you must forward your request to That website is operated by Demand Media and we do not have access to their site or the information published on it regarding saturated fats. If you have any questions about our foundation or any of the support services we offer, please do not hesitate to ask.

    Kate Nicholson
    Organizational Support Volunteer

    • Richard Nikoley on May 5, 2011 at 22:09

      Ha, David. Always the gentleman. Even I’m the face of a BS dismissive response.

      • tnlakegirl on May 10, 2011 at 11:20

        So, basically Livestrong is farming out their BS article writing and taking no responsibility for the BS content. Why should I be surprised?

  12. Mia on May 5, 2011 at 20:52

    Livestrong has some truly awful hypothyroidism advice. Dishing out dodgy nutritional info is one thing, but misleading those that come to your site for help with a legitimate long-term illness makes me think they should be slapped.

  13. 05/05/11 – Farmer’s Friday on May 5, 2011 at 21:16

    […] Is The Worst Source of Diet And Health Information? – Free The Animal […]

  14. J. Stanton - on May 5, 2011 at 23:53 is the low-rent version of, which is the low-rent version of the Harvard School Of Public Health.

    All of them are killing people.


  15. Barb on May 6, 2011 at 01:45

    I have to say… as a Nutritionist who “gets it”, this kind of crap really chaps my a$$. For two reasons. 1. It makes knowledgable people think that all Nutritionists are just morons who tow the “high carb, low fat government recommendations” line, and 2. I end up having to argue and struggle with my clients after they read this stuff and want to take me task on it.

    Yes… even when they are paying me to help them, they are getting great results and feeling fantastic… they STILL want to challenge what I have them doing because of junk like this…

  16. Jennifer on May 6, 2011 at 04:56

    But, but, but . . .!!! I’m sure I heard Dr. Oz say that at some point so it MUST be true!

    • David brown on May 6, 2011 at 05:35

      Interestingly, in 2008 Dr. Oz was demonizing all saturated fats including coconut oil [1]

      “Take coconut oil. It’s loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat and oozing with calories (117 per tablespoon, to be exact). But the buzz on the street is that it’s a natural miracle food that can melt off unwanted weight, lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, fight heart disease and fend off cancer — without the artery-clogging effects of other high-sat-fat foods like beef, cream and cheese…But don’t be fooled. Plant-based or not, both of these oils are loaded with saturated fat, and coconut oil is the all-star: It has more saturated fat than pretty much any food out there. How much? A mind-boggling 87 percent. Compare that with 63 percent in butter or 38 percent in a burger, and you get the picture.”

      He can learn though. A few months ago Dr. Oz did a TV show extolling the “Super Powers” of coconut oil. [2]


  17. Tony on May 6, 2011 at 05:55

    I’m glad that other people have noticed how bad Livestrong is. I frequently end up there after doing a Google search on a health topic and typically after reading one or two sentence I have to stop and continue my search elsewhere. That site is filled with bad science.

    To answer the question posed in the title of this post, YES it is the worst source of diet and health information. There may be other sites that may have equally bad science, but I doubt they get the traffice that Livestrong does and therefore Livestrong does more overall damage to the collective health of the world.

    • Pete on February 4, 2018 at 06:59

      Lifvestrong is a danger to the public.
      Thank goodness I researched further.
      I hope everyone does…….

  18. heather on May 6, 2011 at 06:21

    I found back in my CW days looking for a calorie tracker. I never really read any of the content (the articles I have read do seem to follow CW pretty closely), but quickly found my way to the forums. That’s actually how I discovered paleo/primal…and there’s still a fairly strong contingent of paleo/primal folks on the forum.

    I’m a moderator on the forum (volunteer position and I have nothing to do with any articles posted on any other area of the site), but we do sometimes get posts from members that wonder why some of the articles are so very different than a lot of the info/discussion on the forum (like whether or not saturated fat is good or bad for you).

    I still like the site for food tracking from time to time and the forum has some really knowledgeable and helpful members.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 6, 2011 at 07:35

      Heather, then I think it would be a great idea to take the opportunity in those instances to encourage knowledgeable forum members to post dissenting comments on those articles, per David’s suggestion.

  19. Chris Masterjohn on May 6, 2011 at 07:24

    Apart from its irrelevance, I find the solubility comment funny because I used to make coconut oil “tea” by dissolving two tablespoons of coconut oil into a cup of warm water.


  20. Chris on May 6, 2011 at 09:14 is effectively the Huffington Post of health websites.

    • Fred B on May 6, 2011 at 11:08

      You mean also has Vegan, animal rights Psychiatrists who publish articles about diet & nutrition then wave their MD’s in the air as though it were some kind of proof that animal products will give you cancer?

      I’ve yet to have a comment published on under a Neal Barnard article. For some reason, the moderators just don’t like me.

  21. Jim on May 6, 2011 at 09:30

    OMG my fruit and whole grains dont seem to be dissolving in water either, my world is upside down!!!

    Pass the butter! Ah!!!!

    • Christian on May 6, 2011 at 10:16

      “OMG my fruit and whole grains dont seem to be dissolving in water either, my world is upside down!!!”


    • Carla on May 6, 2011 at 11:01


  22. Dave, RN on May 6, 2011 at 10:25

    These idiots forget that human breast milk is somewhere in the neighborhood of 43% saturated fat. Solid form in the human body. Sheesh.

  23. Fred B on May 6, 2011 at 10:56

    When I’m out of coconut milk, I use coconut oil in my coffee. It dissolves as much as any oil really can in hot liquid. At least, I’ve never had chunks of coconut oil in my coffee.

  24. Richard A. on May 6, 2011 at 11:27

    Coconut milk is coconut oil dissolved in water. Oil, including pufa, will not readily mix with water. You need an emulsifier like lecithin to help the water (that’s preferably hot) and oil mix.

  25. Mikie !! on May 6, 2011 at 11:32

    Hhhmmm, then why don’t I crap out globs of fat? Really weird. Maybe I’ll look closer from now on.

    Some people should have paid some attention to high school biology.

  26. Mimi (Gingersnaps) on May 6, 2011 at 11:38

    Aww, don’t go hatin’ on Durianrider’s friends! 😉

    Ugh, I had to see an RD my sophomore year of college because of some hormonal issues. I didn’t even know about Primal then, I just knew I felt godawful if I ate the pyramid’s 6 servings of grains. She was a very kindly person but we simply did not see eye to eye.

  27. Denise Minger on May 6, 2011 at 12:46

    I used to work for Livestrong and Demand Media when I first started freelancing. It’s a content mill, and writers generally don’t give a hoot whether their articles are accurate or not, as long as they pass for publication and earn payment. Most authors never even read the comments their articles generate.

    Livestrong/DM has an encyclopedia-thick collection of editorial guidelines about what you can write and who you can reference. During the writing/editing process, every “fact”has to be backed up by a link from the USDA, Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association, American Dietetic Association, etc. so that copyeditors can fact-check. Sites that aren’t “mainstream” are on their blacklist, and if cited, will get an article immediately rejected. And articles about low-carb, paleo, or anything else that defies conventional wisdom *have* to end with a warning about the diet’s dangers, per the guidelines. It’s embarrassing to write for them if you’re actually trying to communicate health information. Quite a few authors use pseudonyms specifically so they won’t have their real names associated with the garbage they write.

  28. Cheese on May 6, 2011 at 16:34

    I thought they just republished garbage found in random corners of the web…

    I’ve been using MyPlate for years, before it got swallowed up by Livestrong. And I continue to do so, use the rest of the site for amusement if I ever look around.

  29. Neil on May 6, 2011 at 22:28

    She also recommended pinto beans twice. Does that mean we should eat double the amount?

  30. Liz Downunder on May 7, 2011 at 04:13

    Just want to share my cool one-liner 🙂

    Dear Kathryn,
    Butter may not melt in your mouth, but it certainly melts in mine.

  31. Kujo on May 7, 2011 at 04:22

    Adam Bornstein, the former fitness editor of Mens Health, is now in charge over at livestrong. They’ve already started to put up better fitness articles up by guys like Eric Cressey, and Tony Gentilcore. Let’s see if the nutrition articles improve. That was a brutal read. I feel dumber after reading that. 😀

    Another thing, the layout of that site is atrocious.

  32. TandooriChicken on May 7, 2011 at 17:59

    Looks like the mainstream is coming around, little bit by little bit. Andrew Weil is already slowly shifting away from vilifying saturated fat, and I believe that the only reason he doesn’t do a total 180 is that he’s trying to let his audience down gently. It’s still a bit disappointing to read “Continue to emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and limit sweeteners and other high-glycemic-load carbs” at the end of his recent article, but he’s trying to do his part to gradually get people to see through the AHA/ADA saturated fat boogie monster.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 7, 2011 at 18:16

      Yea, I read that this AM over breakfast. It was great until the end. And 10% of calories?

      • TandooriChicken on May 7, 2011 at 19:22

        Yeah, I had to re-read that part. But it’s still better than the LESS IS MORE bullshit spouted by other outlets.

  33. Carla C on May 9, 2011 at 13:16

    I have my hands full dealing with the lipophobes and meatophobes and other Children of the Corn on Huffington Post. Every day they have some stupid article as to why meat is bad and fat is bad. I don’t think I could handle Livestrong too. I have been away from this site for a while it is good to be in the company of the non brainwashed.

  34. Paleo Josh on May 17, 2011 at 16:49

    It seems to be a content farm, which post any crab about health and fitness!

  35. Ashley on February 15, 2016 at 09:26

    Yeah…I was just rolling my eyes about this article:

    The thing that was getting me was the photo of the tiny woman holding a tray of 700+ calories worth of bread, fruit, fruit juice, and low-fat dairy, as if that’s the foundation to a healthy diet. I mean I guess if she’s planning on hiking to the top of a mountain later that day she might need all those carbohydrates….

  36. Jason on September 3, 2016 at 17:36

    Oh my god, you are such an asshole. Try talking about yourself more.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 3, 2016 at 18:01

      Everything they say about me is true, though understated.

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