Category Archives: Culinary

Nutrition “Science”

A fraud is exposed, but it’s a much larger problem:

Data dredging is fairly common in health research, and especially in studies involving food. It is one reason contradictory nutrition headlines seem to be the norm: One week coffee, cheese and red wine are found to be protective against heart disease and cancer, and the next week a new crop of studies pronounce that they cause it. Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, said that many researchers are under enormous pressure to churn out papers. One recent analysis found that thousands of scientists publish a paper every five days.

I liked this:

“P-hacking is a really serious problem,” said Dr. Ivan Oransky, a co-founder of Retraction Watch, who teaches medical journalism at New York University. “Not to be overly dramatic, but in some ways it throws into question the very statistical basis of what we’re reading as science journalists and as the public.”

You don’t say.

It goes far beyond nutrition. A lot of drug research is based on this sort of thing as well, including the statin scam.

Hospital Food

There’s no doubt it could use a lot of improvement, but I think this is bogus:

Dr. Eisenberg says the jury is no longer out on the benefits of eating a more plant-based diet with less refined foods, sugar and red meat. A study published last year in JAMA estimated that nearly half of the deaths from heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes are caused by poor diet.

They are, but there’s zero evidence that red meant causes any of them. Patricia had to spend a night in the hospital for a procedure a few weeks ago, and her breakfast was terrible, nutritionally.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: Incorrect diagnoses kill 80,000 people per year.

The medical profession gets far too much respect.

A Sea Change In Dietary Advice

Low-carb should be the first approach in treating diabetes and obesity.

[Update a few minutes later]

Meanwhile, “Big Pasta” Barilla has been meddling in nutrition science.

[Sunday-morning update]

No, despite the headline, there is zero scientific evidence that listing calories on menus is helping people lose weight, and this article provides none. This “study” is nonsense. First, it’s self reporting. Second, it’s premised on the assumption, for which there is zero evidence, that counting calories is helpful, when calorie counting is a scientifically bogus concept, that assumes all calories are equal in their effects on metabolism. The kind of calories matter, and the way they measure calories, by literally burning food, is not how your body metabolizes calories, so it doesn’t even make sense thermodynamically.

Deep-Fried Fair Food

A lot of nutrition mythology in this.

No, you won’t get a coronary from eating fried food, or if you do, it’s not because it’s fried, or has saturated fat. Probably the least unhealthy of these is the fried cheesecake, because at least it has additional sat fat in it, along with protein. The others are basically fried sugar and flour. And at least adding the fat mediates to some degree. Also, counting calories is stupid.

Low-Fat Diets

LCHF seems to be getting more attention:

The mistaken belief that fats cause heart disease stems from weak, outdated research. Back in 1961, the American Heart Association published its first report recommending that people limit consumption of animal fats and dietary cholesterol. The report cited several studies that showed a correlation between high-fat diets and heart problems.

But that hypothesis had never been put to the test in a clinical trial. A controlled trial is the only way to prove a cause-effect relationship, rather than a mere correlation that could occur due to random chance or some other unknown variable.

As Dr. Phillip Handler, the former president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences stated nearly 20 years later, “What right has the federal government to propose that the American people conduct a vast nutritional experiment, with themselves as subjects, on the strength of so little evidence?”

Eventually, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) started conducting clinical trials. However, these trials were deeply flawed. Additionally, when evidence contradicted the dominant medical narrative, researchers effectively buried it. One NIH study, which found little-to-no relationship between saturated fats and various health problems, was conducted between 1968 and 1973 but wasn’t published for another 16 years.

Despite the flimsy evidence against saturated fats, mainstream nutritionists still advise people to eat lots of carbohydrates and steer clear of fats. The AHA recommends restricting saturated fat consumption to 6 percent of total calories. Federal guidelines encourage people to eat fat-free or low-fat dairy and plenty of grains.

This advice is dooming hundreds of thousands of people to early death and disability. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. The disease costs Americans $200 billion annually in medical care and lost productivity.

For decades, our public health leaders have dispensed deadly dietary advice. That needs to change. Many doctors, myself included, have seen with our own eyes how low-carb diets help patients lose weight, reverse their diabetes and improve their cholesterol.

As time goes on I get more and more convinced that this criminally bad dietary advice killed my father in 1979.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Jordan Peterson and his daughter are on an all-meat diet. And of course, this nonsense comes up, as usual:

…doctors don’t think it’s healthy to have all meat, all the time. To prevent heart disease, the American Heart Association and the World Heart Federation recommend a low amount of saturated fats, the kind found in beef, pork, chicken, and other foods. Research links red meat to colorectal cancer. And an absence of vitamins and fibers, which normally come from fruits and vegetables, is a precursor to conditions like scurvy and constipation.

“I don’t see any health benefits of a diet focused primarily on red meat,” said Kristen Smith, a registered dietitian nutritionist with the Academy of Nutritionists and Dietetics, who said she’s seen the carnivore diet’s popularity grow on social media. “There’s currently no research to support that this type of diet has favorable long-term health outcomes.”

…Cholesterol is one of Weiss’s concerns, since too much of a certain kind of cholesterol heightens risk of heart disease and heart attacks. (Saturated fats, found in red meat, have long been assumed to drive up that risk, although some new evidence suggests that they may be less dangerous than believed. In a controversial editorial last year that departed from the recommendations of major public health groups, three cardiologists argued that saturated fats do not clog arteries and are not on their own a problem.)

Unscientific quackery from the usual suspects. And “…less dangerous than believed….” There is zero scientific evidence that saturated fat or dietary cholesterol are a problem at all.