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Dr. Oz and Green Coffee Beans – More Weight Loss Pseudoscience

I can’t keep up with Dr. Oz. Just when I thought the latest weight loss miracle was raspberry ketone, along comes another weight loss panacea. This time, it’s green coffee beans.

Eveyone knows Dr. Oz, now. Formerly a guest on Oprah, he’s got his own show which he’s built into what’s probably the biggest platform for health pseudoscience and medical quackery on daytime television. In addition to promoting homeopathy, he’s hosted supplement marketer Joe Mercola several times to promote unproven supplements. He has been called out before for  promoting ridiculous diet plans, and giving bad advice to diabetics. And don’t forget his failed attempt to actually demonstrate some science on his show, when he tested apple juice for arsenic which prompted a letter from the FDA about his methodology.  His extensive track record of terrible health advice is your caution not to accept anything he suggests at face value. So when the sign in front of my local pharmacy started advertising “Green coffee beans – as seen on Dr. Oz”, I tracked down the clip in question. The last time I saw Dr. Oz in action when when he had SBM’s own Steven Novella as a guest, where there was actually a exchange (albeit brief) about the scientific evidence for alternative medicine. Replace Dr. Novella with a naturopath, and you get this:

Yes, Oz did use the terms “magic”, “staggering”, “unprecedented”, “cure” and “miracle pill”. And clearly the naturopath, Lindsay Duncan, is enamored with this product. But Dr. Oz is a health professional – he’s the Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University. He’d be a bit skeptical, right? This exchange at the end, made me shake my head – Dr. Oz really has crossed the woobicon:

Now I always pride myself at having the smartest TV audience out there. So I’m hoping that some of you are skeptical about this. I was certainly skeptical about it. Am I speaking for a couple of you, anyway?  It does seem a little too good to be true.

So what did Dr. Oz do – issue cautions about obesity panaceas? No. He created some anecdotes:

So I gave the supplements to two viewers 5 days ago. I gave all the information I could find on this product to our medical unit, they did diligent work, but we still wanted to see what would happen in real life.

One viewer dropped 2 pounds in 5 days. The other viewer lost 6 pounds in 5 days. Convincing weight loss?  It was persuasive to Dr. Oz.

So now I’m going to do what Dr. Oz, the producers of the show, and the naturopath Lindsay Duncan didn’t do — actually review the evidence.

The Evidence Check

There is some suggestion, but no convincing evidence, that coffee consumption or caffeine consumption may have a modest, effect on weight. This study examined unroasted or “green” coffee beans, and was published in the online journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy. The journal says it’s a peer-reviewed publication, but with an average of 12 days from submission to editorial decision, which apparently includes peer review, it’s obvious the review is cursory at best. The study is entitled Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects. The lead author, Joe A Vinson, is a chemist at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. None of the three authors appear to be clinicians or medical professionals, and none appear to have published obesity-related research before, according to PubMed. The study was funded by a supplement manufacturer, Applied Food Sciences.

To start — this is a very tiny trial — just 16 patients (8 males, 8 females) with an average age of 33 years. The research location was a hospital in Bangalore, India. How these patients were recruited was not disclosed. Normally a trial would list detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria, and then describe how many patients were considered and the reasons for exclusion. This paper just reports the final number, and there is no information provided on why 16 was felt to be the desireable number. The average weight was 76.6kg (168 lbs) and the average body mass index (BMI) was 28.22. While the BMI on an individual basis may not be informative, when looking at a population, a score between 25 and 30 is usually accepted to mean overweight, but not obese. The details on how these measurements were taken were not well described — which is surprising, given this is a this is a pretty important part of the study.

One of the tricks that researchers (both pharma and supplement) can play when conducting clinical trials is to change parameters of the trial, after the trial is started. Because of the risk of conflicts of interest, there has been a growing commitment to publish the trial parameters in advance of the trial at the website clinicaltrials.gov. Many medical journals will now refuse to publish a trial if it was not initially entered into a public registry. Not only does a registry ensure that negative results don’t disappear, it gives valuable information about the study, including its design, entry criteria, and who gave formal ethics approval for the study. This study was never registered at clinicaltrials.gov. And there’s no evidence provided that a research ethics board ever reviewed the protocol. I find it hard to believe that any investigator would undertake a clinical trial of an unproven supplement without obtaining prior ethics approval – but that seems to be the case.

Green coffee extract (the brand “GCA”) was used in the study. The authors note that GCA has a standardized content of 45.9% chlorogenic acid, which is purported to be the active ingredient. Now contrary to what was said on the Dr. Oz show, chlorogenic acid is also in roasted coffee in significant amounts, so you don’t need to take green coffee extract to get a good dose. Patients were “randomly” divided (method was not disclosed) into three groups: high dose, low dose, and placebo (which was described only as an “inactive substance”). No clear justification for how the dose was determined was provided. Each group stayed in one group for six weeks, had a washout of two weeks, then moved to the next group. Here’s where we run into more problems.

Double-blind in name only

Groups served as their own controls, and rotated betwen a “high dose”, a “low dose” and the placebo.

  • Group 1 (6 patients): High dose (x 6 weeks) — washout (x 2 weeks) — low dose  (x 6 weeks)- washout (x 2 weeks) — placebo (x 6 weeks)
  • Group 2 (4 patients): Low dose — washout — placebo — washout — high dose
  • Group 3 (6 patients): Placebo — washout — high dose — washout — low dose

This doesn’t look that unreasonable. But the investigators noted the following:

The high-dose condition was 350 mg of GCA taken orally three times daily. The low-dose condition was 350 mg of GCA taken orally twice daily. The placebo condition consisted of a 350 mg inert capsule of an inactive substance taken orally three times daily.

Wait, what? The low dose arm was twice daily, while the placebo and the high dose arm were three times per day? That means that participants and investigators could determine which period was the “low dose” treatment. Knowing this, the other two treatment periods can be determined.  So much for blinding and placebo control – we can’t credibly consider this to a blinded trial.

Based on the protocol, participants were evaluated at weeks 0, 6, 8, 14, 16, and 22. Diet was assessed by interviews and recall — a notoriously unreliable means of measuring actual calorie consumption. Weight, height, body fat, and blood pressure were calculated each visit.  So here are the results for the three groups:

The table above is where Dr. Oz got his statistics of “17 lbs” of weight loss and 10% weight loss over 22 weeks. Oz also points out that there is no reported difference in dietary intake at the beginning and end of the trial – which is correct, but this is based only on patient recall. So is the weight loss due to the intervention? The group-by-group results are baffling.

Spot anything odd? Check out the HD/LD/PL group. This group  lost about 4kg during the 6-week treatment period, but then lost an additional 4kg during the washout. There was relatively no change thereafter on the low dose. The PL/HD/LD group is even odder. In the first eight weeks of no active treatment (placebo & washout), the group lost about 8kg, but then didn’t budge on the high dose, and lost about 1kg on the low dose. Finally the LD/PL/HD group lost about 3kg on the low dose, was flat on the placebo, and then lost a smaller amount of weight on the high dose, which continued during the washout.

The results don’t add up. If the green coffee is having an actual effect, it should be occuring when the dose is given, not during the washout, or when a placebo is taken. Bias? Random noise? In a tiny, poorly-controlled trial, it’s not possible to say. The breakdown of the results by arm are interesting:

Here it’s a bit more revealing. The changes in each period are modest. Given the small sample size, the repeated measurements, and lack of proper blinding, the risk of bias is high.

Safe and Effective?

Both Oz and the authors state that the supplement was safe and free of side effects. But the trial doesn’t report any side effect information at all, other than stating “no side effects of using GCA”. Given no information seems to have been systematically collected, it’s not clear we can accept this statement. At a minimum, the authors should have reported side effects between the three treatment periods. Surprisingly, there was a non-significant increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which the authors note appeared restricted to the placebo treatment component.

Did the weight loss last? The authors claim that 14 of 16 participants maintained their lowered weight after completing the study – this is doubtful, as no supplement or medication for obesity continues to work after you stop taking it.

The Red Flag Bogus Weight Loss Test

Diet products that promise rapid weigh loss with no exercise or calorie restriction are nothing new. The Federal Trade Commission routinely takes on on diet supplement scams, and has a list of claims it calls “red flags” in advertisements for worthless products. Let’s put green coffee beans to that test:

  • Cause weight loss of two pounds or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise? Weight loss claim is just under 1lb/week with no dieting or exercise.
  • Cause substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the consumer eats? Investigators claim there was no difference in calorie type or intake, yet weight loss occurred.
  • Cause permanent weight loss (even when the consumer stops using product)? Investigators claimed weight loss sustained after trial ended.
  • Block the absorption of fat or calories to enable consumers to lose substantial weight? Actual mechanism (if any) is not clear. On the show it’s called a “fat blocker”.
  • Safely enable consumers to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks? Claims 10% over 22 weeks.
  • Cause substantial weight loss for all users? Study claims all participants lost weight, lost fat, and reduced their BMI.
  • Cause substantial weight loss by wearing it on the body or rubbing it into the skin? — not applicable

The Dr. Oz segment raises several of the FTC’s red flags – if it was a paid commercial message, you could report it to the FTC.

Conclusion

Green coffee bean supplements have the characteristics of a bogus weight loss product. The supplement lacks plausibility, the only published clinical trial is tiny, and it appears to have have some serious methodological problems. Ignoring all of this, Dr. Oz has instead embraced it as the newest panacea for weight loss. Obesity is a real health issue, yet Dr. Oz seems quite content touting unproven products instead of providing credible, science-based information. In the real world, permanent weight loss is difficult, and there are no quick fixes. But not in the Land of Oz.

Reference

ResearchBlogging.org
Vinson, Joe A, Burnham, Bryan R, & Nagendran, Mysore V (2012). Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy (5), 21-27 DOI: 10.2147/DMSO.S27665

Posted in: Herbs & Supplements, Naturopathy

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105 thoughts on “Dr. Oz and Green Coffee Beans – More Weight Loss Pseudoscience

  1. Scott, thank you for another fantastic article. Your articles are always so well researched and read so smoothly.

    Dr. Oz went from being an interesting surgeon, to being a somewhat quacky doctor, to being a complete promoter of woo. I tuned in once and saw him introduce a naturopath, in her white lab coat, as “Dr. Xxxxx” and just about lost it.

  2. David Gorski says:

    Dr. Oz has become Joe Mercola’s shill and has promoted psychic medium John Edward. That should tell anyone all he needs to know about Dr. Oz’s scientific acumen these days. Either that, or he has his acumen and doesn’t care anymore, having opted to pander to his audience and go for ratings and, of course, money.

  3. niftyblogger says:

    I don’t think people on this site like me very much, so I probably shouldn’t be saying anything pedantic. However, a long time ago when I went to college to study to become a registered dietitian (not a clinical nutritionist or any other iteration thereof) we were told that the random, unannounced interview/24-hour recall was the “gold standard” of gathering nutrition information, above food frequency questionnaires and diet records (food journals). The caveat was that it had to be done properly, and at a job I had in a research lab during those years I trained for 3-4 months to learn how to properly give an interview without introducing the ridiculous amount of bias that is possible when a person asks someone in a study what they had to eat. I guess there’s no way to know how well those techniques work because people lie anyway, and I’m also wondering where the “notoriously unreliable” thing came from. If there is research out there discussing why the 24-hour recall is not the “gold standard” of gathering dietary intake, please let me know because I’d like to read about it. It always seemed funny to me that it was the gold standard, but as a student I accepted it.

  4. My method of weight loss is to stop taking in the hormones/antibiotics/pesticides (containing obesogens?) in non-organic food. It does help stop cravings and food obsession. Eat healthy organic. I did this twice..went organic, and both times it happened, cravings/obsession stopped. (before getting on line and finding other information) A ‘clinical trial’ should be tried on that, but, that’s my personal “anecdotal” experience anyway:)…

    “The chemicals in non-organic foods can disrupt the endocrine system. (The endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies. It is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, metabolism), One type of chemical called Obesogens (OBESOGENS?! hmmm) disrupts the function of hormonal systems, leading to weight gain. Obesogens are derived from a variety of sources —hormones administered to animals, plastics in some food and drink packaging, ingredients added to processed foods as well as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides sprayed on produce. In addition, these chemicals are phytoestrogenic and xenoestrogenic, meaning they mimic estrogen in the body!. Estrogen is produced by fat cells, so excessive estrogen causes the body to become more insulin-resistant and create more fat cells.!! Cyclically, the fat cells produce more estrogen,!! causing the body to become more estrogen dominant.”

    “Besides pesticide-sprayed animal feed, antibiotics and hormones are provided to animals on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, the source of non-organic meats. The hormones that Make the (unhappy) Animals Gain Weight Faster can also Make (unhappy) People Gain Weight. These hormones are fed to animals to help reduce the waiting time and the amount of feed eaten by the animal before slaughter. The different kinds of steroid hormones (STEROIDS?!! I thought Congress was ‘against’ Steroids?!!:) that are currently used in food production in the United States include estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, trenbolone acetate, melengestrol acetate and zeranol, a commercial form of zearalenone, a Fusarium fungal toxin. In dairy cows, hormones such as the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBHG) are used to increase milk production. Low-level feeding of antibiotics also promotes faster weight gain in animals raised for meat. Over a dozen antimicrobials are approved for farm animal growth promotion in the United States, including antibiotics that are utilized for treating human disease, such as penicillin, tetracycline and erythromycin”.

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/272122-how-do-organic-foods-help-you-lose-weight/

  5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    So to summarize your argument:

    - you did something once
    - you think it worked for you
    - therefore it is a universal law that applies to all people
    - plus you read something on the internet
    - that makes it true

    Good to know.

  6. Janet Camp says:

    @rustichealthy

    I guess you haven’t read this blog before today.

    ————

    Silly me! I’ve been drinking coffee for nearly 40 years (strong stuff too–lots of espresso)–yet somehow I didn’t lose weight until six years ago when I cut my calories quite a bit–I was always active so that just stayed the same only became a lot easier.

    ——–

    @niftyblogger

    The NYU Nutrition and Public Health Professor, Marion Nestle writes often about the “recall method” of food consumption. I believe she says that it is mostly unreliable, but that due to the difficulty of isolating people and controlling their food intake, it is usually all we have. This is one reason that diet research is so difficult.

    My feeling as someone who has done it (and maintained), is that people simply refuse to accept that they have to EAT LESS (forever), so they want endless research to find some way they can eat whatever they want and lose weight–enter the gazillion dollar weight loss industry. It is certainly true that while weight loss is simply–it is not easy, but what is?
    ————-
    SG: Thanks for a great dissection of this study that may look quite legitimate to the untrained reader. I learn so much here and while I’m a natural skeptic and have some science background, the information presented here is turning me into a real pro!

  7. daijiyobu says:

    Thanks for NOT titling the naturopath “Dr.”

    Lindsay Duncan — not the Scottish actress (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindsay_Duncan ) — interestingly, doesn’t list the school his ‘naturopathic doctorate’ is from at his own Oz biography page (http://www.doctoroz.com/bios/lindsey-duncan ).

    That’s a weird stench, IMHO.

    And he markets himself as a “celebrity nutritionist.”

    Does that mean that he thinks he’s famous, or that his clients are?

    -r.c.

  8. WLU..that makes it my experience, and, actually one other’s (that I know of). Maybe something to look into, is what I’m saying.

    Janet…my experience still stands. I lost cravings/obsession when I went organic, cutting out hormones/antibiotics/estrogens/obesogens. What exactly makes it ‘non-science’ … that it hasn’t be clinically tested. So you all are that closed to shut everything down without atleast ‘disproving’ it first?

  9. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    WLU..that makes it my experience, and, actually one other’s (that I know of). Maybe something to look into, is what I’m saying.

    I wasn’t aware that the experience of RusticHealthy was valid in all cases, for all persons, irrespective genetics, activity level, medical conditions, geographic location, congenital disorders, liver health and the like. Should you alert the thousands of reserachers working on weight loss throughout the world that they should change to a new topic because the problem has been solved, or shall I?

    Janet…my experience still stands.

    Yes, your experience stands. But your experience is unique to you and may not work for other people, your description may not accurately represent what actually happened, and what you attribute your weight loss to may not be what caused it. A point that has been repeated many, many times.

    I lost cravings/obsession when I went organic, cutting out hormones/antibiotics/estrogens/obesogens.

    Did you change the amount of processed food you ate? Did you start cooking your own food? Did you stop eating out? Did you get more exercise? Did you alter your sleep habits? Change dishes? Change friends? Change lifestyle? Change medication? Stop or start birth control, start menopause? Evaluate your diet? Evaluate your lifestyle? Are you certain the only thing that changed was the amount of hormones, antibiotics and obesogens that you consumed, but otherwise your calorie count remained the same? The very act of thinking about things can change behaviour, even if you didn’t intend it.

    Estrogens are hormones by the way, making that part of your statement redundant.

    What exactly makes it ‘non-science’

    How about a different question. What makes it science? Why is your experience a better guide for decision making than science?

    … that it hasn’t be clinically tested. So you all are that closed to shut everything down without atleast ‘disproving’ it first?

    The burden of proof rests with the individual making the claim. It’s not up to us to disprove your hypothesis (which is impossible anyway, theories are not proven or disproven, merely supported or not supported to a greater or lesser extent when tested), it’s up to you to prove it.

    The conventional advice for losing weight is to reduce calorie intake and exercise. It’s hard but it works, if followed consistently. You are making a dramatic claim that by switching to a different (more expensive, much more resource-intensive) source of food your weight loss was easy. So it’s up to you to substantiate your claim. There are an infinite number of possible hypotheses, scientists use pre-existing research (prior probability based on a pretty extensive body of knowledge) to guide their thinking on what to test. The article you link to isn’t actually a bad starting point – not the article itself, the references (pubmed documents, though a lot of “in rats” studies and people aren’t rats). Real scientists look at those references and think “there might be something there, I wonder if it works in people.” Jami Cooley, like a lot of people in the alt med world, apparently think rats are the same as people (so long as the study confirms something they thought in the first place) and that a single study is the only thing you need to know about a field.

  10. WLU:I wasn’t aware that the experience of RusticHealthy was valid in all cases, for all persons, irrespective genetics, activity level, medical conditions, geographic location, congenital disorders, liver health and the like. Should you alert the thousands of reserachers working on weight loss throughout the world that they should change to a new topic because the problem has been solved, or shall I?

    I didn’t say they were valid for all cases. I’d say it’s probably healthier anyway to cut out toxins and chemicals in one’s diet, that would go for anyone.

    The burden of proof rests with the individual making the claim. It’s not up to us to disprove your hypothesis (which is impossible anyway, theories are not proven or disproven, merely supported or not supported to a greater or lesser extent when tested), it’s up to you to prove it.

    I’m not selling organic food to anyone to have to prove the claim. I’m giving my experience. One can try it..for themselves..or not. I’d still say…cutting out chemicals/toxins/hormones/antibiotics in one’s diet is a very good thing for anyone to do.

    I know what the ‘conventional’ advice is. I’ve tried it for years. It didn’t work for me (and many others apparently). It didn’t address the constant cravings/obsession. And, it didn’t explain the way I would actually gain weight, when I did eat less, exercise more toward the end.. (according to conventional wisdom, it should have addressed that right?)… in anycase..the issue really should be, why so many chemicals and toxins are going in our food to begin with. I don’t put any more hope/help in any one nutrient/ingredient such as green coffee beans. So I guess we can agree on that :)

  11. daedalus2u says:

    There is no data that “organic” foods have lower levels of hormones, antibiotics, estrogens or obesogens, other than on a cost basis.

    Organic food is more expensive, so for equivalent cost, organic food will have reduced levels of the primary “obesogen”, calories. If you reduce calorie intake, you will reduce weight.

  12. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Organic food is more expensive, so for equivalent cost, organic food will have reduced levels of the primary “obesogen”, calories. If you reduce calorie intake, you will reduce weight.

    Which raises another point – if 99% of obesity (either per-person or for a population) is caused by nothing more than calorie intake and expenditure, why spend a lot of time looking into the 1% when you’re better off finding ways to reduce intake and boost expenditure? Sure, obesity increased along with hormones in meat and pesticides/herbicides in plants – but the real net effect of those interventions was to increase the food supply and decrease the cost. Are people who eat organic food thinner at all would be a starting question. If so, is this because they eat less food? Or because they take greater care in what they eat? Or because it’s more expensive to purchase it, so they buy less? Because they’re more conscious of the health effects of food, including obesity? Because they have enough money to support active leisure activities? Because they’re not working three jobs and have to get whatever fast (fatty) food they can afford?

    So RusticHealthy, you’re saying “I switched to organic, I lost weight around the same time, and therefore I know what causes obesity”. You don’t know. You have presented a testable hypothesis, but haven’t tested it. You’re at the same point that Greek medicine was at 2500 years ago – they knew that illness was caused by the uterus wandering the body, and they stopped there.

    I suggest eating organic because it tastes pretty good, though a hundred mile market is probably a better substitute. But both are expensive and if you can afford to eat this way, be thankful you’ve got the money and free time to shop for these premium foods.

  13. Scott says:

    @ rustic:

    Yeah, cut out chemicals from your diet. That’ll work REAL well.

    Heck, cut out anything which might be toxic. That’ll work almost as well.

    Either one leaves you unable to eat or drink *anything.* Absolutely pure water is a chemical which is toxic at sufficient dose.

    Yet again you are just parroting words without the faintest clue what they actually mean.

  14. ConspicuousCarl says:

    Is the voice in the promo video supposed to sound like Don Lapre? I think Doc Oz might have switched to full-on f#cking with us.

  15. Harriet Hall says:

    “I lost cravings/obsession when I went organic”

    Some of the subjects in the study apparently lost cravings/obsession when they were enrolled in the study, since they lost weight on placebo.

  16. chaos4zap says:

    Organics are more marketing than anything. The very idea that there are “toxins” and “hormones” in run-of-the-mill food has any direct link to adverse health effects on a normal, healthy individual is not substantiated. Clearly, rustichealthy went into the organic change with this bad information already in mind and had the expectation that “it must be better for me”. People only think that organic is intuitively healthier because of the nonsensical use of scare words like “toxins”. The “pink slime” fiasco is a good example of this process….something is in our food that serves a purpose and has no indication of causing harm to the average individual. Next, someone that has no idea what they are talking about discovers it, usually by accident and between them and the media, they will slap a terrible sounding name to it (i.e. pink slime, toxins) that is designed to stimulate emotion, as opposed to the brain and just like that…people think it is unhealthy and rally together around their self-righteous, misguided attitudes to have it eradicated. Come to think of it, the same goes for the anti-vaccine movement. There is good reason to think that these memes have a very real potential to be dangerous for us in the end. If something is in our food, or used to produce food….it is usually there for a reason. It’s not as if someone sit’s around and thinks of arbitrary substances to add to food for no good reason.

  17. DavidRLogan says:

    Great post…very fun read. I have a couple curious questions:

    1) On what inclusion/exclusion criteria would you guys and gals focus for a weightloss study?

    2) Tangential obesity question I’ve been worried about…I’m constantly hearing people gain weight after quitting smoking because of nicotine’s effect on the deiodinases. Can anyone speak about this (specifically whether nicotine in fact increases conversion to T3)? I found some compelling evidence on pubmed, but other conflicting evidence…lots of rat studies, in vivo, etc. Some give the idea nicotine really suppresses thyroid function. Would love to hear from NYB or anyone else (I’d be happy to make my confusion, which studies I’m thinking of, etc. more clear if that’d help).

    I realize it’s a bit lazy to post question here…thanks for another interesting post…tho my mom won’t want to hear it…she loves Dr. Oz :)

  18. nybgrus says:

    ugh. rustic is back and the conversation is already degenerating.

    Anyways, I didn’t have much to add here besides a quick snark at Oz himself when he says in the first 3 seconds of the video:

    magic is make believe but….

    Says the guy who believes in Reiki! I mean it truly amazes me what drivel comes out of his mouth.

    A friend of mine actually went to Columbia and did research there and had some class/lab time that involved Oz himself. He said the best way to describe him would be something untoward for polite company, but I’ll give you all a hint that it starts with “ass” and ends with “hole.”

    —————————————————————————–
    @Janet Camp:

    My feeling as someone who has done it (and maintained), is that people simply refuse to accept that they have to EAT LESS (forever), so they want endless research to find some way they can eat whatever they want and lose weight–enter the gazillion dollar weight loss industry. It is certainly true that while weight loss is simply–it is not easy, but what is?

    I’m right there with you. I was about 75 lbs overweight my entire adult life and have lost it and kept it off for the past 5 years. That is what it boils down to – you need to change your entire lifestyle permanently. You can’t expect to lose weight and then keep it off by going right back to doing exactly what got you and kept you fat in the first place!

    How to achieve that is a different story. Many different ways to skin a cat and all. But one thing is certain – there is no evidence that there is a magical fix that will take care of it for you.

  19. Jeff says:

    Now contrary to what was said on the Dr. Oz show, chlorogenic acid is also in roasted coffee in significant amounts, so you don’t need to take green coffee extract to get a good dose

    Nonetheless roasting coffee apparently does reduce levels of chlorogenic acid:
    http://www.coffeechemistry.com/index.php/Chemistry/Acids/chlorogenic-acid.html

    While the Vinson study may be weak, there are animal studies showing that:

    1. Chlorogenic acid significantly lowers body weight (pubmed/20064576).

    2. Chlorogenic acid could be useful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and by inhibiting glucose absorption and the formation of new glucose.

    So there is plausibility, but better human trials are needed.

  20. nybgrus says:

    @David:

    I don’t have any off-hand knowledge on that specific question. I’d have to look it up specifically and honestly just don’t have the time to research it de novo on my own these days (crunch time for me with exit exams for my rotation in a week, plus research deadlines, and a wedding to fly to).

    My (very superficial) knowledge on nicotine and weight gain is that it involves both learned behavior and neuromodulation from the effects of nicotine. In other words, when you don’t have your hands and mouth occupied with cigs you sub in food (which is part of why gum is useful for quitting, even without nicotine). Also the nicotine directly affects a number of neural pathways which I have in my head as being related to satiety/hunger. Specifically how and why is deeper than I know though.

    If you have some specific studies and/or claims (both would be handy) that you could link to I wouldn’t mind taking a peek at them when I get tired of crunching APACHE scores. Otherwise someone else in this esteemed commentariat might well be able to answer.

    Off to clinic!

  21. Quill says:

    “The lead author, Joe A Vinson, is a chemist at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. None of the three authors appear to be clinicians or medical professionals…The research location was a hospital in Bangalore, India.”

    Is this common in published studies these days, to have non-medical researchers in the US outsourcing the actual work to India?

    In any case, it seems that a good rule of thumb these day is to note anything Dr. Oz promotes and then promptly ignore it.

  22. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Some of the subjects in the study apparently lost cravings/obsession when they were enrolled in the study, since they lost weight on placebo.

    The fact that all the groups followed the same weightloss pattern (rapid drop, plateau, second, slower drop with the one group ticking up at the end) really, really, really suggests that the cause of weightloss is simply being more aware of their weight, eating and energy expenditure as part of being enrolled in a clinical trial. If green coffee beans have any impact on weightloss, it looks like it’s much less effective than whatever’s happening shortly after starting the trial.

  23. @daijaiyubo,

    I looked on that idiot quack’s website, and he doesn’t list where he went to school either:

    http://drlindsey.com/a-man-with-a-healthy-mission/

    You gotta love that the moron brags about studying DETOXIFICATION with a CHIROPRACTOR. Damn, these idiots are so infuriating. And he refers to himself as “Dr. Lindsey.” How is that not illegal? He is literally a dangerous know-nothing scumbag.

  24. ‘DavidLogan..I did begin gaining weight after quitting smoking… sorry, that’s all I know :) 1) On what inclusion/exclusion criteria would you guys and gals focus for a weightloss study? Organic foods..all, versus non-organic foods..all (fresh)..same foods..meat/milk/eggs/fruits/vegetables/grains even organic sugar vs. white..etc. No restrictions on amount, calories, weight, etc. Processed anything is not good..I suppose we all can agree on that…I think. The thing is..they will both perhaps lose some weight…it’s whether the cravings/obsession stops for those who eat regular non-organic foods also. chaos: Clearly, rustichealthy went into the organic change with this bad information already in mind and had the expectation that “it must be better for me”. Yes I did, I just didn’t realize how bad regular non-organic “healthy” food was or had gotten. Now I do. Scott: Heck, cut out anything which might be toxic. That’ll work almost as well. Either one leaves you unable to eat or drink *anything.* No Scott..just these: “The chemicals in non-organic foods can disrupt the endocrine system. (The endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies. It is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, metabolism), One type of chemical called Obesogens (OBESOGENS?! hmmm) disrupts the function of hormonal systems, leading to weight gain. Obesogens are derived from a variety of sources —hormones administered to animals, plastics in some food and drink packaging, ingredients added to processed foods as well as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides sprayed on produce. In addition, these chemicals are phytoestrogenic and xenoestrogenic, meaning they mimic estrogen in the body!. Estrogen is produced by fat cells, so excessive estrogen causes the body to become more insulin-resistant and create more fat cells.!! Cyclically, the fat cells produce more estrogen,!! causing the body to become more estrogen dominant.” and these: “Besides pesticide-sprayed animal feed, antibiotics and hormones are provided to animals on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, the source of non-organic meats. The hormones that Make the (unhappy) Animals Gain Weight Faster can also Make (unhappy) People Gain Weight. These hormones are fed to animals to help reduce the waiting time and the amount of feed eaten by the animal before slaughter. The different kinds of steroid hormones (STEROIDS?!! I thought Congress was ‘against’ Steroids?!!:) that are currently used in food production in the United States include estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, trenbolone acetate, melengestrol acetate and zeranol, a commercial form of zearalenone, a Fusarium fungal toxin. In dairy cows, hormones such as the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBHG) are used to increase milk production. Low-level feeding of antibiotics also promotes faster weight gain in animals raised for meat. Over a dozen antimicrobials are approved for farm animal growth promotion in the United States, including antibiotics that are utilized for treating human disease, such as penicillin, tetracycline and erythromycin”. I eat plenty of real food..without having the added chemicals and toxins above. daedalus..that is true, except it doesn’t explain the loss of my craving/obsession still. I believe you have to try it to see. One other thing is..non-organic food containing estrogen..is not good especially for women..which produces fat in itself, and then to get added estrogen on top of it from non-organic food. (in pesticides on fresh fruits/vegetables).

  25. WLU..I am thankful..but I eat less also, because I no longer crave/obsess all day..so it kind of evens out. Harriet..some of us are strong in the placebo force http://gethealthybehappy.yolasite.com/comments-and-new-findings/my-placebos-work :) I don’t know if green coffee beans work or not…I gave up on looking for any one thing now. I do have to watch my balance of alkaline fruits/vegetables for health’s sake though…that’s a problem not getting to a fresh organic market every day, but then, my placebo vitamins work so..it’s okay! I’m ok! :)

  26. DWATC says:

    As an athletic trainer, I get a constant barrage of weight loss questions and concerns on a daily basis. Yes, “conventional” methods recommends decreasing caloric intake and increasing expenditure, but as some have eluded to, it also involves behavior modification. Those are the 3 base components of most weight loss programs, that are sensationalized in whatever marketing method used to bring in the money. The giant nutrition and exercise industry pisses me off due to these marketing schemes. The “organic” and “all natural” marketing terms are popular now. Anyway…

    I get this, “I’ve tried it for years. It didn’t work for me (and many others apparently). ” (rustic), ALL the time, and basically what that boils down to is effort. Not enough effort in learning what calories to take in, how often, and not enough effort in general. I tell them that weight loss is simple, but hard. People make it complicated by thinking it’s supposed to be easy, just like everything else in our society. Enter the chiropractic, when talking about injury relief (don’t get me started on that and my interaction with them). People want quick fixes (chiropractors fill this role, then make the pt forget they’ve been going for a year when the injury could have been fixed in a few months if that), and weight loss isn’t one to do it with.

    Exercise has minimal effect on initial weight loss but is necessary for maintenance, and helps the body work more efficiently in general. A problem I see with much of the general population is the term “exercise”. People feel they need some special program or movement that classifies as “exercise”, instead of realizing that increasing physical activity in general IS exercise. Playing with your kids, going for a walk or hike, yard work, etc. Another issue is the fad weight loss themes, high protein/low carb, high carb/low protein, or whatever era we’re in now. High protein diets works but set up extremely inefficient digestion, leading to gaining it all right back. Carbs are necessary…Anyway I’m rambling and I shouldn’t be ‘preaching to the choir’, calorie in/calorie out model works and yes Oz annoys me as well.

    Figured you all might enjoy this study done recently. I haven’t looked in depth into the methodology, but it definitely rings true for the people I have interacted with that strictly shop “organic”. Psychology study so…grain of salt…

    “Wholesome Foods and Wholesome Morals? Organic Foods Reduce Prosocial Behavior and Harshen Moral Judgments”~Kendall J. Eskine

    http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/05/14/1948550612447114.abstract

  27. nybgrus says:

    @WLU:

    Spot on. And also in line with pretty much all the other studies which show that all the efficacy from pretty much any specific diet (or fad diet as it were) has to do with so,ply being more aware and proactive about what you are putting in your mouth. Nothing specific to the diet… just being on a diet is sufficient.

    @DWATC:

    Also spot on. And I did read an article on that paper. I can also anecdotally confirm its findings. LOL.

  28. daijiyobu says:

    @SkepticalHealth:

    In certain states, when the ‘four-year residency’ -type school grads get their way with licensure, they must accommodate the so-called ‘mail-order’ ‘home-study’ naturopathic types who outnumber them.

    Naturopaths often cut political deals with each other, whereby members of the former can use the term ‘physician’, ‘doctor’ and ‘medicine’, and members of the latter can use the term ‘doctor’ but not ‘medicine’ or ‘physician’.

    But, even that varies from state to state.

    Duncan’s contact address is Austin, TX.

    There’s very few of the ‘in residency’ naturopaths in TX, http://txand.org/?page_id=0 .

    There, they tell us “we use tools such as homeopathy.”

    So, I don’t see much of a point to pointing out a difference in schooling when they ALL purport nonsense!

    Truly the Wild West.

    -r.c.

  29. DWATC..just a little side..I wonder how people got along without knowing what their BMI/BMR, calorie in/out how much what had..when one had it, etc. got along before this? anyway, I got tired of it. You’re right..I didn’t try hard enough. I’m glad though, since, somehow, organic did it for me, and I don’t have to count or try any more :) and, so, people were non-compassinate before chemicals and toxins came along?..is that what Eskine is saying? I know One who was…:)

  30. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    ‘DavidLogan..I did begin gaining weight after quitting smoking…

    Do you think this, perhaps, had something to do with your asthma also ceasing to be a problem? This is yet more evidence that your assumptions [vitamins = good, chemicals = bad (note that vitamins = chemicals), natural = good (note that developing, and dying of cancer is far more natural than surgical excision or chemotherapy)] are founded on your own prejudices and reinforced by your confirmation bias rather than anything rational.

    Processed anything is not good..I suppose we all can agree on that…I think.

    Wrong. Processed foods are convenient. Bread is processed, and a whole lot more convenient and delicious than wheat berries. Cooked tomatoes are more nutritious than raw tomatoes. Processed foods that are low in nutrients and high in simple sugars and fats should be eaten in moderation. Absolutes do not serve anyone, and there is no magic formula, food or nutrient that will make you lose weight (though amphetamines are probably close).

    The hormones that Make the (unhappy) Animals Gain Weight Faster can also Make (unhappy) People Gain Weight.

    Do You Know If The Hormones Survive Passage Through The Digestive Tract? How Much Do Hormones Contribute To Weight Gain Compared To Simply Eating More Cheap Beef? The article you linked to linked to real scientific articles, one of which was a review article that proposed some tentative possibilities.

    except it doesn’t explain the loss of my craving/obsession still.
    Because cravings aren’t psychogenic in the least…

    non-organic food containing estrogen..is not good especially for women..which produces fat in itself, and then to get added estrogen on top of it from non-organic food. (in pesticides on fresh fruits/vegetables).

    Do you consume soy? Do these estrogens survive digestion? Do you think women shoudln’t have any estrogen? Do you really think estrogen produces fat? Assumptions, assumptions and a failure to understand biology.

    that’s a problem not getting to a fresh organic market every day, but then, my placebo vitamins work so..it’s okay! I’m ok!

    It’s true, all you’re doing is wasting your own money.

    DWATC..just a little side..I wonder how people got along without knowing what their BMI/BMR, calorie in/out how much what had..when one had it, etc. got along before this?

    Food was a much greater proportion of take-home income, so people couldn’t afford to eat as much. There was much less processing of food, people spent more time exercising because they had no choice. Liquid calories were more expensive and much less common. People still got fat, but usually you had to be well-off, with both money and time to spend on food. It’s not magic, the US government has put lots of money into establishing and perpetuating a very secure and fruitful food supply, with lots of incentives and perverse incentives – and the food industry has become very, very good at producing foods people like to eat.

    I’m glad though, since, somehow, organic did it for me

    No it didn’t, changing your lifestyle and eating habits did.

  31. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    people were non-compassinate before chemicals and toxins came along?..is that what Eskine is saying?

    Eskine is saying the marketing and arbitrary “moral” qualities assigned to organic food turns people into smug, judgemental jerks. The holier-than-thou attitudes of people who buy into the organic movement, with its attendant obsessions with purity, contamination and fear, means they think they’re better, smarter and healthier than people who don’t eat organic. “Organic” is a near-religion for people who incorrectly think food is medicine.

    People think eating organic means they are a good person, when really all you’re doing is spending money for a false sense of superiority.

    I bought organic because it tasted better, not because I thought it was magic. But it turns out the taste was better becuase the place I bought it from was scrupulous about quality and I could pick it up just after it arrived in store. Time from tree to plate is a better measure of food quality than organic or not.

  32. WLU..funny because you and most con-meds I’ve come across seem smug, arrogant, condescending and judgemental to me. just my own observation :)

  33. DWATC says:

    @rustic…..

    We, as humans, eat excessively period, especially in the US. These vague, nonspecific “chemicals and toxins” (which you still seem to missing a step in logic by not understanding, after being told repeatedly that EVERYTHING is made of chemicals and has toxicity) you’re referring to, are new stimuli as a result of industrialized society. The same “chemicals and toxins” you interact with on a daily basis via driving, using anything made with plastic, using shampoo and body wash, being in your home, going to any random building, etc. We interact with these new stimuli on a daily basis. Buying foods you THINK are “organic” or “all-natural” (in reality are by majority cross-breeds and still go through processing, encountering many pathogens and “chemicals”) doesn’t mean you aren’t interacting with those “chemicals and toxins”.

    Maybe if I explain what I (my opinion, nothing substantiated as factual) feel is lacking in our healthcare system. I see three things lacking in our system. One is in-clinic patient education. Whether due to higher quantity and rushed exams or general laziness, the practitioners generally don’t spend extra time educating the patient about their particular condition, and even if they do the patients don’t understand or even attempt to understand. Which brings me to the second thing lacking, patient compliance. The general population knows what’s “healthy” and “unhealthy” to eat and do. The information is there, but do they listen? CAM capitalizes on this and rolls in the money. The CAM industry spends a lot of marketing telling people that “western” medicine doesn’t teach or give this information, while they steal the info from scientists doing the actual work getting their hands dirty in labs confirming their hypotheses, while they claim rights to them and do nothing to prove their claims. The third component is preventative measures. Again, the information is there, but it is often not relayed to the patient (pt ed) and even when they hear it, they don’t comply. So, do you have recommendations to fix these issues? Propaganda documentaries to spread various conspiracies, while fitting in some small beneficial nutritional info? A large portion of the population can’t afford or have access to many nutritional needs. Everyone seeks to blame something. I blame the monetary system. I could spends days ranting about how much I hate the monetary system, but I will avoid it here.

    We are a lazy, conformist species of followers seeking guidance and authority. When we find that authority, we feel it gives us right to make claims with certainty whether it’s legitimate or not. Religion, conspiracy theories, and other various ideologies are examples. WLU mentioned “near-religion”. I would take it a step further and say it is religion. A faith-based ideology that relies on supernatural components as confirmation of it’s “reality”. CAM is by this definition, and it’s actual definition, a religion. The people (generalized I know) that strictly do the “organic” lifestyle end up believing that these foods do miraculous, unfounded, and sometimes supernatural things. They flock together, hold non-”mainstream” ideologies, hold holier-than-thou (thanks WLU) attitudes toward those that don’t believe what they believe, have anecdotal testimony that this specific thing caused their benefits while ignoring other factors, etc. It is a religion. WLU made the other obvious points that are often ignored by proponents of CAM and “all-natural” lifestyles. One thing I
    ve learned interacting with religious folk and conspiracy theorists, is that one can’t change others beliefs especially if they are enabled by others. If those “others” are proclaimed “experts” or have “Dr.” in front of their name, and goes against “mainstream” (“big pharma” “shills”), these people will believe every word that comes out of their mouth. We don’t put emphasis on the scientific method and critical thinking. Even many of those that proclaim “critical thinking” like many conspiracy theorists, neglect the scientific method/analytical thought and still go by intuition. Rambling again…

  34. DWATC: ((after being told repeatedly that EVERYTHING is made of chemicals and has toxicity))

    Well, and, I’ve repeatedly been saying..I don’t/can’t/refuse to see how organic natural foods have the same Toxicity/chemicals as other toxic/chemical/man-made substances. I’m not sure how difficult that is to see..it’s amusing to me frankly. Maybe that’s my “organic” nature coming out :)

    ((The same “chemicals and toxins” you interact with on a daily basis via driving, using anything made with plastic, using shampoo and body wash, being in your home, going to any random building, etc. We interact with these new stimuli on a daily basis. Buying foods you THINK are “organic” or “all-natural” (in reality are by majority cross-breeds and still go through processing, encountering many pathogens and “chemicals”) doesn’t mean you aren’t interacting with those “chemicals and toxins”. ))

    I know actually, that’s why I cut out as many toxins in shampoos, soaps, cleaning products, etc. as I can..”less is more”..so to speak:)

    ((The general population knows what’s “healthy” and “unhealthy” to eat and do. The information is there, but do they listen?))

    You’re right, most are obstinate, pigheaded, undisciplined..etc.. Actually, I tried staying as natural and “healthy” as I could all these years..except, once in a while anyway..but, none of it helped the craving/obsession..until I went organic, for some weird strange reason, except, then I find out that non-organic “natural” “healthy” foods contain all kinds of hormones/antibiotics/pesticides and Obesogens.. that promote weight gain and obesity! They in themselves are producing the obesity and other health problems in America.

    ((The CAM industry spends a lot of marketing telling people that “western” medicine doesn’t teach or give this information, while they steal the info from scientists doing the actual work getting their hands dirty in labs confirming their hypotheses, while they claim rights to them and do nothing to prove their claims))

    wait, those same scientists that work for pharmas?..hmmm..and…I don’t endorse any and all CAMs, I don’t know them all… only the things that have worked (what I’ve been able to “placebo” for myself :) see my website:)

    ((We are a lazy, conformist species of followers seeking guidance and authority. When we find that authority, we feel it gives us right to make claims with certainty whether it’s legitimate or not.))

    I only make claim to what has worked for me…actually, found others whom it worked for as well..and to tell anyone who wanted to try for themselves.

  35. Scott says:

    I don’t/can’t/refuse to see how organic natural foods have the same Toxicity/chemicals as other toxic/chemical/man-made substances.

    “Refuse” is most honest. You consistently refuse to admit that there’s the faintest possibility you could ever be wrong about anything, even when you know nothing about it…

  36. @rustic

    on’t/can’t/refuse to see how organic natural foods have the same Toxicity/chemicals as other toxic/chemical/man-made substances. I’m not sure how difficult that is to see..it’s amusing to me frankly. Maybe that’s my “organic” nature coming out :)

    No, it’s not your “organic nature.” It’s because you are a blithering idiot. You have below average intelligence, likely bordering on handicapped. You are a fool.

  37. DWATC says:

    @rustic…

    “I know actually, that’s why I cut out as many toxins in shampoos, soaps, cleaning products, etc. as I can..”less is more”..so to speak”

    I’m not disagreeing with you, but I’ll still live to the same ripe ol’ age as you, even with all the “toxins” and shit I shovel into my mouth. Predisposition plays a huge role in all of this, but by no means has this “organic” lifestyle shown to increase longevity. All we ask is stop throwing around the term “toxin” like one actually knows what it means. We’re are unfortunately in the guinea pig generation of industrialized society which is self-correcting. Self-correcting as long as we put importance on science instead of superstition. We have to do wrong to know what to do right, and in this rushed society things go bad quick. Society can take three routes, regression, maintenance, and progression. Society progresses regardless of whatever ignorant superstition holds it back, albeit slowly. The question to ask is, which one are you contributing to by promoting what you believe in? Regression, maintenance, or progression? Ultimately this “organic”, “all-natural” fad, is just that, a marketing fad and phase for profit that will die out. The progress is toward completely synthetic food, that will be more nutritious than “natural” foods and have less impact on the environment. Enjoy the ride…

    “They in themselves are producing the obesity and other health problems in America.”

    Here lies the problem. Claims made but just can’t seem to substantiate them and when people try to, it doesn’t quite turn out the way they planned. My hypothesis is that we eat in excess, don’t get off our asses, and made meat a main dish when it should be a side dish, BUT those are few of hundreds of different variables for why we have the issues.

    “I only make claim to what has worked for me…actually, found others whom it worked for as well..and to tell anyone who wanted to try for themselves.”

    I agree. I understand you are making statements from your views, ideologies, and experiences. I’m not going to insult you for that, or put words in your mouth as I see happening here. You have rights to your opinions, even if they contradict current evidence or objective reality. The general public needs simplicity, and you will finds others your methods worked with, as long as you take them step by step through it, whether it has actual physiological benefit or it’s placebo. I will generally let my athletes and patient try something (not me doing it of course, because I try to have more ethics than trying unfounded tx on them) if I know there is extremely minimal likelihood of harm. I give them as much information that I can about a particular treatment because I know they won’t get that info from the people giving the treatment, especially CAM. I butt heads with chiropractors constantly in my field.

    “wait, those same scientists that work for pharmas?”

    Yes ANY study or trial done that disagrees with the ideologies held by people similar to yours is apparently all done and funded by “big pharma”. Yes, people that do those regulated studies under extreme scrutiny and put through peer review repeatedly are all greedy, malevolent basterds being bribed by the pharmaceutical companies. It’s all about making money right? Yes we are all jealous of Mercola and Oz because they thought of this stuff first, and figured out how to stuff their pockets full. Those damn pharmaceutical lab techs are rolling in the dough too. I got into the wrong business….although if I was really looking to make money I’d get into making rehab equipment.

  38. DWATC says:

    Dr. Hall wrote a post about evolutionary thinking, that although I agreed with majority of what she was saying, I do use that frame of thinking a lot. Not in the sense that I think we should abandon current practices to pick up primitive ones. As many comments eluded to, most physicians (at least in my experience also) don’t even attempt to incorporate evolutionary theory let alone attempt to understand it. I dove into it just recently (past 3-4 years…transition to antitheism triggered my adventure into evolutionary theory) and it’s dramatically helped my understanding of anatomy, physiology, medicine, and social psychology. Anyway, I make comment about this because I used the phrase “new stimuli” earlier. Evolution doesn’t give rats ass what we put in our mouth. We adapt to environmental influence (natural selection). We adapt to what we use to steer our evolution (artificial selection). We evolve regardless, and there’s no such thing as “devolution”. The issue is, adaptation is slow…very slow. Introducing new stimuli, whether you call them “toxins” or something that’s simply new to us in our environment, can have detrimental effect. Excessive introduction of these new stimuli to certain anatomy can cause cells to go haywire and behave abnormally (unsubstantiated claim). “Excessive” being the key term. New stimuli could classify as decreased physical activity, increased caloric intake, “man-made” chemical compounds, varied sleep patterns, visual stimuli like sitting in front of a computer all day, etc. We do in excess, especially in america. Our ancestors ate less and went longer without eating. Over time that caloric intake increased, especially with the introduction of meat, which also boosted brain power through hunting, cooking, and increased protein intake. Anyway, we’re adapting now to this increased caloric intake, which isn’t necessarily good adaptations. Point is, I think we’re eating too much and I don’t think we can point to synthetic compounds as a sole reason for issues. Sorry off topic slightly.

  39. DWATC says:

    Moderation, moderation, moderation….

  40. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    WLU..funny because you and most con-meds I’ve come across seem smug, arrogant, condescending and judgemental to me. just my own observation

    What exactly is a “con-med” anyway? Conventional medicine? So you’re criticizing me for asking for proof before investing time and money in a product? I’m a lot less smug than frustrated because you consistently criticize straw men and make points that are painfully, obviously factually incorrect. You know nothing about medicine, refuse to read anything you don’t already agree with, and you say I’m arrogant? I’ll admit when I’m wrong, I’ve yet to see you ever even acknowledge someone else’s point. And as for condescending, you give medical advice on the basis of “what worked for you” without even knowing the basic facts about the medical condition you are giving advice for.

    I will totally cop to judgemental. I do make judgements about facts, arguments and observations. You, of course, do the same thing – but are completely blind to your own biases, ignorant of basic facts and have no qualms about cherry-picking information you like and discarding what you don’t.

    Skeptics may come across as smug, arrogant and condescending, but they have to deal with credulous and ignorant fools on a regular basis. Imagine trying to discuss history with someone who stated, repeatedly, that the first President of the USA was Genghis Khan, and when shown a map of the world, identified Ghana as New Hampshire. Are you really going to listen to them when there is obviously no merit in doing so? Are you “arrogant” in dismissing what they say? Are you “condescending” when you point out they are wrong on extremely basic facts? Are you “smug” when you ignore their statements? Are you judgemental when you refuse to change your opinion?

    DWATC: ((after being told repeatedly that EVERYTHING is made of chemicals and has toxicity))

    Well, and, I’ve repeatedly been saying..I don’t/can’t/refuse to see how organic natural foods have the same Toxicity/chemicals as other toxic/chemical/man-made substances.

    Honestly it’s hard not to flat-out insult you when you say things like this, but the editors have expressed a preference that be avoided. So I’ll ask a question. Would you eat an organically grown Amanita phalloides? It’s natural, so it’s got to be harmless. Right?

    I’m not sure how difficult that is to see..it’s amusing to me frankly. Maybe that’s my “organic” nature coming out

    It’s frustrating for everyone else, not amusing. You’re reveling in your ignorance and not bothering to even register the fact that you’re wrong, repeating the same mistakes and factual inaccuracies again and again, and don’t bother learning anything new. It’s like constantly having to read posts about how jet fuel isn’t hot enough to melt steel and therefore 9/11 was an inside job, despite being told repeatedly that the heat was more than enough to plasticize the beams. You’ve made your decision to believe what you want, why are you bothering to discuss it anywhere? You’re not going to convince anyone here, the other posters know what a chemical is. You don’t. There is genuinely no merit to you posting here, every time you just demonstrate once more that you have nothing to contribute factually and can’t form logical arguments even with your flawed facts.

    I know actually, that’s why I cut out as many toxins in shampoos, soaps, cleaning products, etc. as I can..”less is more”..so to speak:)

    Do you know anything about the safety testing that goes into the ingredients in cosmetics, soaps and the like?

    You’re right, most are obstinate, pigheaded, undisciplined..etc.. Actually, I tried staying as natural and “healthy” as I could all these years..except, once in a while anyway..but, none of it helped the craving/obsession..until I went organic, for some weird strange reason,

    Confirmation bias, that’s the reason. I like how you included “undisciplined” in there. Do you see the contradiction in your own posts? On one hand you are claiming people are fat because of pesticides and toxins, and here you’re saying they’re just lazy.

    except, then I find out that non-organic “natural” “healthy” foods contain all kinds of hormones/antibiotics/pesticides and Obesogens.. that promote weight gain and obesity! They in themselves are producing the obesity and other health problems in America.

    You think that they promote obesity, rat studies and speculation are not a substitute for real evidence. You don’t think that perhaps access to cheap food and reduced exercise are responsible for obesity?

    wait, those same scientists that work for pharmas?..hmmm..and…I don’t endorse any and all CAMs, I don’t know them all… only the things that have worked (what I’ve been able to “placebo” for myself see my website:)

    “Big Pharma” isn’t an argument, it’s something intellectually lazy people say to avoid having to actually think about the claims being made. Not to mention all those vitamins you are so proud of are produced by the exact same “Big Pharma” you’re demonizing here. Big Pharma loves vitamins because they are cheap to produce and require exactly zero research investment, but credulous fools buy them anyway.

    Not to mention, and I’ve said this before, your argument is extremely hypocritical and cherry-picked. You’ll happily cite research that reinforces your prejudices, claim bias against Big Pharma, and ignore the fact that your preferred sources of information, Mercola, Null and the like, sell supplements and products on their websites. The difference, of course, is that Mercola, Null and their ilk have no scientists working for them, they just say whatever they think will make you buy their products.

  41. DWATC ((I’m not disagreeing with you, but I’ll still live to the same ripe ol’ age as you, even with all the “toxins” and shit I shovel into my mouth.)) ..umm..isn’t that kind of presumption?? How do you know that? My younger brother, a black belt, died at 28 of hodgekins..not sure how you can make such a statement.

    WLU..I didn’t say, nor EVER imply that EVERYTHING natural is edible..or good for us.. I wouldn’t eat cow manure either…I do imply that most everything man-manipulated, additives, modifications, chemicals, added to Everyone’s Food supply is actually, unethical. People are eating foods they do not know what is in them now. ..I hope I can get that over..somehow. I know..cyanide is NATURAL..but I wouldn’t eat it. see? Are you Purposely acting ignorant..I’m trying to be nice here too :)

    And, sorry..any “safety” testing..is/has gone out the window long before this. There are so many toxic substances people are predisposed to now, why cancer is rampant, among every other new and up coming disease..it’s beyond..”safety” anything. The substances do not belong on/in or even near humans..if they are chemically artificial and manipulated, “safety” tested or not.

    I cite sources that confirm my own experience. My experience comes first. That’s why I use them.

  42. And, yes..’con-med’s are those in ‘conventional medicine’..glad you got that one.

  43. WLU: ((Confirmation bias, that’s the reason. I like how you included “undisciplined” in there. Do you see the contradiction in your own posts? On one hand you are claiming people are fat because of pesticides and toxins, and here you’re saying they’re just lazy))

    No, I was sarcastically saying what most ‘successful’ skinny people imply..that anyone overweight has to be ..”obstinated, pigheaded and undisciplined”…

    when, in fact, I believe now it’s the chemicals/substances in the production of regular foods that may cause these cravings/obsessions in the first place.

  44. Composer99 says:

    I’d say rustichealthy needs to look to the beam in his (her?) own eye before pointing out the spots in others’. After reading through the comment thread I find the most condescending, smug, arrogant (&c) comments have been those made by rustichealthy. And what is with those passive-aggressive emoticons?

  45. DWATC:((The progress is toward completely synthetic food, that will be more nutritious than “natural” foods))

    So, unproven… what some have determined is “progress”…we’re being experimented on with synthetic food? being forced on us all. Is this what you’re talking about?….

    http://gethealthybehappy.yolasite.com/just-say-no.php

    Compared to traditional seed, genetically engineered seeds are very expensive and have to be repurchased every planting season

    Genetically engineered crops require much more water to grow, have much higher requirements for fertilizer and pesticide, in spite of Monsanto’s claims to the contraryvii and, in spite of their cost to farmers, provide NO increased yield

    It’s been called the “largest wave of recorded suicides in human historyi.”

    Indian farmers have been robbed of their livelihoods, causing them to take their own lives in despair.

    Over the past 16 years, it is estimated that more than a quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide.

    What GE food has done to animals fed it:
    When animals were fed GM crops, they developed:

    Problems with blood cell formation
    Problems with liver cell formation
    Toxicity in the liver and kidneys
    False pregnancies and sterility
    Damage to the reproductive system with alteration of the DNA function
    Damage to every organ system

    In addition to these problems, countless animals and their offspring died as a result of eating genetically modified crops!

    and..one other thing…organic farms can feed the world..it is not a necessity to have ‘synthetic’ food…

    http://www.naturalnews.com/033925_organic_farming_crop_yields.html#ixzz1q9UEByW9

    It is not about progress and a better future for mankind.

  46. One other thing..

    ((Evolution doesn’t give rats ass what we put in our mouth. We adapt to environmental influence (natural selection). We adapt to what we use to steer our evolution (artificial selection). We evolve regardless, and there’s no such thing as “devolution”. The issue is, adaptation is slow…very slow.))

    evolution..I thought is/was something that occurred naturally (though I don’t hold to the ‘theory’)…what is happening is..man (a few) are manipulating us. It’s not the same. It’s not evolution. It’s manipulation (by a few)..and it seems more to the detriment of us all…to give it some kind of ‘higher calling’ type aspiration..it’s not. It’s seems to really be a cover up for another scheme of ‘power, money, and control’ actually…but, it’s not ‘evolution’…and so no we don’t have to ‘adapt’ to it.

  47. Chris says:

    Rusti (in an ellipse filled comment):

    I know actually, that’s why I cut out as many toxins in shampoos, soaps, cleaning products, etc. as I can..”less is more”..so to speak:)

    So how do you buy soap that has not been made with lye?

    This is something you can make yourself by running water through wood ashes. But it is still a very caustic, not something you want to fool with casually.

    You are still making a fool of yourself by not understanding what you are writing about. Please get another hobby. Perhaps learning how to grow those organic foods. You might actually learn how some of them have toxic parts that you need to avoid.

  48. Chris says:

    Argh… did not close the html, but at least it works.

  49. WLU..regardless of what you or Eskine..’think’ of why people buy organic, and what you believe is some kind phoney ideal of “purity”… what you’re doing is, actually, flexing your psychological b.s. muscle to say they (we) are really obstinate, and so you’re going to demonize in some kind of “moral” way, for not complying to YOUR belief..that all chemicals are all good, and we should stfu and take our (non-organic) medicine…is what you’re saying..at least it’s what you and Eskine wish to accomplish.. I get it.

  50. Chris..I use white vinegar and baking soda, pretty easy, and I buy organic shampoo..one is from lemons, ..really nice…what is your problem Chris..sorry about your situation, but, you’re beginning to bother me.

  51. and..we all have our own ‘situations’, by the way.

  52. weing says:

    @rusti,

    “organic farms can feed the world” Put your money where mouth is. Try it for a year, then report back to us.
    Why are you using a computer? http://www.genderchangers.org/docs/200609_Greenpeace_ToxicChemicalsincomputers.pdf

  53. I would be perfectly fine with someone removing rustic’s ovaries so that she doesn’t pass down whatever “dumb gene” she inherited. I mean, this is stupid to epic proportions.

  54. mousethatroared says:

    @SkepticalHealth – That was really low. Makes me kinda ashamed to be on the same side as you.

    WTF – anyway. You obviously have a brain. Does it just shut off when you get upset?

  55. mousethatroared says:

    I’ve actually been avoiding this thread, but I got drawn in because I always read a weing comment when I see one.

    But I’ll just ad my anecdotal experience. I’ve been seeing a dermatologist lately, and I’ve learned that just about anything on this lovely earth can cause skin reactions. I don’t think it’s useful to think in terms of toxin non-toxic, because something that is healthy for one person can cause a severe reaction in another person.

    Sunlight – isn’t that healthy? (yes, it’s all in the doses) But it’s now on my list of things to avoid until I’ve got my skin figured out.

    Sadly, there’s no simple answers. I say, hey! if eating organic help RHy, great. Maybe there is one trigger in one food that she is reacting too, that it helps her to avoid, but it’s to hard to isolate what that trigger is. Or maybe the more limited selection of organic foods helps her maintain a healthier diet. That’s okay in my book too.

    RusticHealthy – I would just request that you don’t overestimate what you know. When you feel something has worked for you, it’s hard not to want to share it with others. But for other people, with other health problems, your solutions may not work, or may be unhealthy or a real unrealistic burden on their finances or time.

    It’s one thing to believe a method works for you, but another to think that you can generalize that method out to something that is effective for a broader population.

  56. Purenoiz says:

    It’s interesting how a article on the low plausibility of green coffee bean extract for weight loss has devolved into such childish comments.

    Organic “feeding the world” is a straw man argument. The organic food movement was a response to DDT and then helped by the use of agent orange in vietnam. The logic being DDT kills up the food chain, do we want that in our farming communities. However… it has gotten freaking ridiculous and become all about the end user. OMG SLS in my toothpaste, I don’t know what it is but it must be bad. BTW I do garden, mostly perennials like berries and asparagus. Overuse of pesticides is a problem now, in that weeds have developed resistance to the most common pesticides http://the-scientist.com/2012/05/20/revenge-of-the-weeds/
    I showed my mother, a horticulturalist, this article, her response “Didn’t the chemist have to study evolutionary biology?”. Both organic and conventional farming have problems, through in some drought and commodity speculators and we will all face food price issues.

    Weight loss isn’t hard, if you make a game out of it, literally find a sport and PLAY. Play is good for the mind and the body, at least that is what John J Ratey, MD has to say in his book “Spark, The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain.” No pill can make up for play.

    I see a lot of cognitive dissonance in this thread, blind spots that people are un aware of. No reason to say mean things when somebody can’t see what you are saying. No insult will break down the dissonance in their brain, it will only cement it. Being a jerk does feel good though.

    Time to walk the dogs, get a coffee and go to Jiu Jitsu class.

  57. Skeptical is the typical “smug, arrogant, condescending, judgemental” chemically filled conmed…who apparently needs more chemical pills for psychotic reasons.

    I simply threw in my experience since green coffee beans and weight problems was the topic. I didn’t expect the total attack on organic food too in here. I actually thought we could agree on something..atleast in our food supply. I thought it perhaps contained itself to chemical meds. Now I know the goal is to have a total ‘synthetic’ (chemical/toxic) foods…yes..I kind of suspected that., I just didn’t think too many people would actually defend it, but that’s what I see in here too. Strangely stupid new world we are coming to.

  58. nybgrus says:

    @mouse:

    agreed. and well said.

    On another note….

    …. yet another thread bites the dust thanks to RH and those who can’t help but scrabble down at her level (yes composer99, she has stated before her sex).

    Though I am almost tempted to jump in after her comment re: evolution (as y’all here know it is my hobby horse). But I have much better things to do with my time.

  59. Chris says:

    Rustic:

    Chris..I use white vinegar and baking soda, pretty easy,

    That is not soap. You said soap. And your showers must be very interesting.

    Though I suspect you had no idea what it takes to make soap, and are lying.

  60. @Chris

    Though I suspect you had no idea what it takes to make soap, and are lying.

    I see what you did there!!!

  61. Chris says:

    I noticed that she often pontificates on stuff by just parroting the dreck she has read elsewhere, without even bothering to learn about the details. She has no clue that “organic” and “natural” are not synonymous with “safe.”

    Perhaps if she just cracked open a book to learn about what it takes to garden organically (some of the “organic” pesticides are nasty, like pyrethrin and those derived from tobacco plants), or even what it takes to make soap. But that would require that she actually open her mind to learning new things.

  62. Haha, I thought you were making a pun with regards to talking about what it takes to make soap (lye!)

  63. Chris says:

    Aaargh! I did not even notice that!

  64. Harriet Hall says:

    Anyone who values personal anecdotal experience over science and comes to a website devoted to science with the expectation that anyone here will accept his unfounded opinions is badly mistaken.
    Anyone who translates criticism of the “all chemicals are bad” meme into “YOUR belief..that all chemicals are all good” is incapable of carrying on a rational discussion and should be ignored.

  65. DavidRLogan says:

    It sucks this thread got hijacked (here’s my surprised face)…

    I’ll ask again, can anyone besides NYB (thanks for the response, btw, NYB!) speak about the connection (or lack thereof) between nicotine and the diodinases? I’ve heard so much about it, and lots of anecdotal stuff from smokers, but can’t really make sense of the pubmed (some say it increases conversion to T3 in vitro, some say N damages thyroid function generally, etc.)

    I’d appreciate if someone (SkepticalH, Dr. Hall, Chris, WLU) would chime in about their clinical experience with smokers or their interpretation of the evidence (or lack thereof).

    Sorry that’s a bit of a hijack but is relevant to obesity and maybe more interesting than RH’s pontifications…

  66. Harriet Hall says:

    I don’t know anything about nicotine and diodinases, but I used to teach a “Stop Smoking” course. Some people gain weight when they stop smoking, some don’t. My best guess is that when they stop putting cigarettes in their mouth some of them compensate by putting more food in their mouth. (Oral fixation? Nervous habit? Alternate source of gratification? All of the above?) Some patients used weight gain as an excuse: “I don’t want to stop smoking because I’d get fat.” I would tell them smoking was far more dangerous than a few extra pounds, and extra pounds could be lost. The same willpower that helped them stop smoking could help them lose weight.

    One of my patients worked as a bartender and found that holding one of those short bar straws in her mouth and handling it like a cigarette helped subdue the temptation to smoke.

    Even if there were a physiologic tendency to gain weight, it could be thwarted by adjusting total calorie intake to compensate.

  67. Chris says:

    Mr. Logan, to be honest I have no medical training, and I get interested in these issues because of having a kid with lots of medical issues. I actually know a bit about organic gardening, and how soap is made as a hobbyist.

    Smoking affected my family because my dad quit smoking in the mid-1960s because his dentist noticed precursors to mouth cancer. He, fortunately is one of those persons who could just quit. Then he became the adamant anti-smoker I have ever known. One thing he noticed was that he could now actually taste his food.

  68. DavidRLogan says:

    Thanks for the input gals (and guys?)…I’ll look into it more. I agree, Dr. Hall, focusing on calorie intake would be the thing to do, even if it were an issue…I’m just curious for curiousity’s sake I guess (and because I’ve heard it so much…always without an accompanying reference).

    @Chris so you’re a regular Tyler Durden with the soap, huh? (I keed)…ah whatever I’m in the same boat as you, except it’s me who’s had medical issues. I remember you called me out (correctly) about some ridiculous statements I made…ever since then I think you’re one of the most thoughtful and funny posters (group hug).

    Have goo night everyone.

  69. nybgrus says:

    @David:

    I am a sucker for people asking good questions with a genuine desire to learn. That and I am honestly not feeling well and my eyes are bleary from staring at APACHE scores for most of the day after attending a funeral which left me feeling… odd. (I won’t go into the details of it all, but suffice it to say the deceased was not particularly close to me and I was reminded yet again of why I don’t like religious ceremonies).

    In any event, I researched your question as a means of “productive procrastination” :-D It was reasonably easy to come to a conclusion (not that I am saying it is definitely so, but the pubmed review all seemed to point me in the same direction).

    Since I will include many links, I will do it in a second comment to follow as a references cited. (also note that most data is from rat studies, though there are some that correlate the findings to humans)

    First off, I found no evidence that the acute exposure of nicotine has any effect on plasma levels of T3 or T4. From a 1983 (1):

    “Nicotine did not alter the plasma levels of either of the thyroid hormones but did produce a significant increase in plasma corticosterone, an effect which peaked at 20 min post-injection and lasted for 45 min.”

    However, a 1984 article (2) seems to indicate that chronic exposure to nicotine can alter levels, but it shifts the balance towards T4 except in administration of a particular isoform of nicotine. They hypothesize that this is because of back conversion to nicotine (i.e. it enters the T3/T4/rT3 biosynthetic pathway and alters the rate and quantity of reactions by becoming a reactant itself).

    “These findings indicate that specific nicotine metabolites alter thyroid hormone concentrations after chronic low-dose administration and possibly do so through back conversion to the parent compound, nicotine.”

    However, more recent data all seem to point to the fact that nicotine itself is not the compound responsible for changes in thyroid hormones – the commonest compound implicated is thiocyanate which prevents uptake of iodine as well as its organification. A 1998 article (3) points this out clearly:

    ” Increased concentrations of the known goitrogen thiocyanate, generated from cigarette smoke, have been the major explanation for the decreased thyroid function in these women but do not explain the reported increased peripheral markers of hypothyroidism.”

    and

    “These studies provide strong evidence that nicotine is not responsible for the observed adverse effects of smoking on the thyroid in humans.”

    Other data seems to echo the thiocyante connection, which is also bolstered by a basic science plausibility.

    In even more recent human studies we find that this general theme – that it is something other than nicotine that causes the thyroid alteration – hold true. From a 2005 study (4):

    “Furthermore, current nicotine exposure regimens did not alter the total T4 level, T3 uptake and the calculated Free T4 index. The present findings are in agreement with some clinical studies reporting a higher body weight among children born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy. Furthermore, the data on thyroid status suggest that cigarette smoking-induced alterations in thyroid status might be mediated through compounds in cigarettes other than nicotine.”

    There is, however, some evidence that nicotine can affect thryoid hormone production by acting upstream on glial cells (brain cells) that contain deiodinase by affecting their function by binding to the nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptors that are upstream of this. Put more simply, the nicotine doesn’t directly affect the deiodinases in the cells, but does affect the cells themselves, which cause them to fire and thus alter the activity of the deiodinase in the downstream cells. This leads to decreased levels of intracellular T4 which makes the cells think there is less T4 and thus increase TSH output and stimulates the thyroid. Removal of nicotine would have the reverse effect. From a 1999 article (5):

    ” In conclusion, nicotine increases D2 activity probably via nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, and may influence brain function, at least in part, by affecting thyroid hormone metabolism.”

    As for what does actually lead to the weight gain we hear so much about after cessation of smoking, some very recent articles point to hypothalamic neural modulation (which is basically exactly what I had said in my previous comment). The hypothalamus controls the very basic functions of the body including temperature, hunger, satiety, sex drive, etc. There are 3 very recent articles (2011, 2011, 2012) that demonstrate nicotine having a modulatory effect on the hunger/satiety centers of the hypothalamus. In the first 2011 paper (6), we find that cells with nicotinic ACh act to modulate these centers . In another paper written just a few months later with the easy-to-roll-off-the-tongue title of “Nicotine excites hypothalamic arcuate anorexigenic proopiomelanocortin neurons and orexigenic neuropeptide Y neurons: similarities and differences” (7) the authors demonstrate that even though both hunger and satiety are modulated by nicotinic ACh receptor neurons, there exists a difference in activation pathways that favor the satiety center activation. The last paper, in 2012 (8), found a specific biomolecular aspect in that nicotine also seems to inactivate a protein called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in the hypothalamus. AMP is a molecule that tells the cell it is very low on energy thus an inactivation of the protein that responds to that would prevent the cell/body from responding to low energy states by increasing hunger.

    “Overall these data demonstrate that the effects of nicotine on energy balance involve specific modulation of the hypothalamic AMPK-BAT axis.”

    So, in a nutshell:

    There is little evidence to support any peripheral changes in thyroid hormone state from nicotine and more evidence to implicate thiocyanate as affecting thyroid function. However, these effects seem to be small and likely of little clinical significance except for a few articles I came across that seemed to implicate cigarrette smoking in worsening pre-existing thyroid conditions.

    The latest data seem to support the notion that upstream neuromodulatory effects of nicotine can and do affect hunger and satiety centers in the brain, which could be a larger contributor to weight gain/loss associated with nicotine.

    This is in addition to the behavioral aspects which I mentioned and Dr. Hall expounded upon.

    Hope that helps clear things up for you :-D

  70. nybgrus says:

    My references cited comment is currently in moderation. I did realize though that in my haste I did slightly misreference things in my original comment. Of course, this was a very quick review of the data and not at all intended to be a final word on anything, but I believe the overall gist and the important details are still accurate. I’m happy to have anyone else provide other insight.

  71. and Chris…why any of what you say, for example, that I don’t know what a tobacco plant produces, or all the chemicals in soap.. excuses 100′s of chemicals/toxins in our food supply, without our knowledge, I honestly don’t get yet. Don’t try to explain it..it’s ok.. ..between that, Skeptical’s absurdly barbarian tendancies..for no reason than, I don’t like chemicals in my food! If I can’t make my own soap, I therefore should swallow all the toxins I’m told. If there’s toxins on my computer, I have no place mentioning them in my food?, the fact that I somehow don’t see organic food the same as other chemical toxins/poisons?…..I do believe you all are all maybe over-toxicated. Sorry, DavidLogan..you mentioned a ‘clinical trial’ of the effects/differences between organic and regular foods way back when..and this is where it’s come in here…:) I’m sorry..Harriet you’re right…what I expected, a civil debate, not presumptions/accusations/twisted words ..this is the wrong place for it.

  72. Scott Gavura says:

    @DRL – This Cochrane review is focused on interventions, but the intro does quantify the extent and incidence of weight gain after smoking cessation:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006219.pub3/full

  73. Chris says:

    Mr. Logan:

    I remember you called me out (correctly) about some ridiculous statements I made…ever since then I think you’re one of the most thoughtful and funny posters (group hug).

    Aw, and a bit melty heart hug to you to. Thank you.

    I’ve only made soap with the stuff you melt, mixing it with the lavender from my yard. I have not tried to make my own lye., which I first read about in one of my dad’s “how to do everything” book (the only thing I think he did out of that book was make pomegranate wine). That was when I was a kid when everyone around me smoked, so I knew all about tobacco ash. I was remember imagining running water through the ash trays.

    Good luck to you. My stepmother struggled for over twenty years trying to stop smoking after marrying my dad. It is very hard. Except for my outlier nutty dad.

  74. DWATC says:

    @Rustic…

    Yes, I apologize. I should have used “potentially” or “likelihood of”, when referring to my chances of surviving as long as others. Also, theres an inconceivable number of variables involved in death. Variables are important. ….Anyway, I don’t think I mentioned a specific time period, but you are correct. I’m making a prediction I can’t verify. I believe I was given ‘natural news’ as a source, so I am politely withdrawing. Have a good evening.

  75. DWATC says:

    @Everyone else….

    I apologize if I dragged the thread down. Very well said ‘Mousethatroared’.

  76. weing says:

    @rusti
    Here is a Quentin Crisp quote you may find useful. “The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us.”

  77. DavidRLogan says:

    @Scott thanks for the great article. Of course I was able to only get through a small part, but after NYB’s thorough debunking of the thyroid idea it looks like this’s a great start regarding “where to go from here”. I filed it away and I’ll definitely revisit the article when I’m comfronted again by the issue IRL.

    @Chris thanks for the nice comments! I’ll be interested in hearing more about the soap/gardening as I follow the blog (and other thoughts from you…). Actually I’m not quitting smoking, I’m way too much of a paranoid health nut to’ve started. But people close to me have this problem, and I’ve heard it mentioned often around school, work, etc.

    @NYB Wow…thanks for your heroic attempt to answer this question. I’m blown away by your expertise and attention to detail. It took me about 45 minutes to digest your post, so….

    So we’re on the same page, and in a nutshell, you’ve shown smoking’s effect on thyroid metabolism are negative, probably mediated by cigarette smoke generally (goitrogens, etc.) and not nicotine. And smoking’s effect on weightloss is probably caused by deactivation of AMPK and/or effects on the hunger/satiety centers in the brain. Thanks!

    Here’s why I was confused, I guess. As you say, (5) does show nicotine can have a downstream effect on astrocytes, causing them to convert t4 to t3, lowering intracellular t4 and thereby (probably) stimulating TSH by negative feedback. If that’s right maybe there’d be increased thyroid effects elsewhere…however this idea is not even remotely endorsed by the other studies. Maybe because this study was in vitro? Or maybe in “real life” because thiocyanate, etc. mask the effect (probably not since the other studies specifically showed nicotine has no effect)? But that was my confusion (now mostly dispelled by the large body of evidence you’ve generated)

    Also, wouldn’t a large increase in corticosterone lead to some lipolysis? It’s pure speculation (the “S” word…I guess in my biochem textbook it says corticosterone is not nearly as mighty as cortisol promoting lipolysis…and it’ll be converted to aldosterone…that’s literally all i know) but what do you think? BTW at this point I point out you’ve very clearly denied the original hypothesis…this new speculation is mostly out of interest and probably not clinically relevant.

    I guess if you’re willing to post a multi-bulleted post you wouldn’t mind engaging in some more speculation :) Thanks again for all the awesome comments. I’ve put the original hypothesis to rest, despite these last few wonderings.

  78. nybgrus says:

    @David:

    Nothing heroic at all. It actually seems to have taken me about the same amount of time to read the studies and write what I did as it took you to read what I wrote. This is purely because 1) med school and my background teaches you how to quickly parse this sort of data and 2) I did not dissect the methodology of the studies and took their conclusions at face value. #2 I think is reasonable based on the journals from whence they came and the topic of discussion (i.e. no CAM BS or wishy washy types of outcomes to worry too much about).

    Glad you found it useful though.

    As you say, (5) does show nicotine can have a downstream effect on astrocytes, causing them to convert t4 to t3, lowering intracellular t4 and thereby (probably) stimulating TSH by negative feedback. If that’s right maybe there’d be increased thyroid effects elsewhere…however this idea is not even remotely endorsed by the other studies. Maybe because this study was in vitro?

    The reason here is that the effects on conversion of T4 to T3 via D2 was mediated not directly from the nicotine but indirectly from nicotine’s stimulation of the nicotinic ACh receptors on the rat glial cells which then caused downstream effect. Without those particular cells to react in that particular way there would have been no upregulation of D2 activity. That is why you don’t find the effect peripherally. Also, I would reckon that the overall contribution to thyroid hormone regulation via this pathway would be pretty minimal, though I can’t say for certain.

    Also, wouldn’t a large increase in corticosterone lead to some lipolysis? It’s pure speculation (the “S” word…I guess in my biochem textbook it says corticosterone is not nearly as mighty as cortisol promoting lipolysis…and it’ll be converted to aldosterone…that’s literally all i know) but what do you think?

    Cortisol (and by extension corticosterone) typically acts to increase adiposity – hence the buffalo hump and big bellies of Cushing’s patients. If you give people corticosteroids they tend to get fat, so I doubt that would be the mechanism you are looking for either.

    I am sure that all of these responses do ultimately play some role IRL. However, it seems to me that most of these are probably minimally clinically significant or useful. The major ones appear to be the behavioral aspect, the hypothalamic modulation aspect, and the goitrogen aspect of thiocyanate (in that order of significance decreasing from 1st to last, IMHO)

    Anyways, hope that is satisfying enough. Happy to try at a few more if they come up depending on my mood and time availability :-D However, I wouldn’t call myself “expert” but perhaps more informed than average for sure.

  79. DavidRLogan says:

    @NYB

    Thanks! I think that pretty much clears things up… good point about the glucocorticoids: I’m embarassed I didn’t think of that :*(

    Alright sounds like everything’s squared away…except you’ve now set the precedent for what counts as an “answer” on this board :) (kidding! sort of…) And tho it’s true what you say (about being a med student, about pubmed), at the same time I heard the original idea from some educated peeps…so your ability to digest research is probably a bit higher than you let on ;)

    Have a nice evening.

    -Davough

  80. nybgrus says:

    I’m not the only one to answer in such a way around these parts, though perhaps I do it a bit more often.

    As for the gluccocorticoids… no worries. I assume you are not a medical professional? Hardly a lapse worth considering.

    As for my ability to digest research… thank you very much. I still have a long way to go, but have spent quite a bit a time (especially the last 2+ years on this very blog) specifically honing those skills. Besides, I tend to be a bit cantankerous at people who make scientific claims without evidence, so I can’t exactly do the same myself. And when I disagree with my attendings and professors I better damned well be sure I know exactly what I am talking about because being the contrarian whilst in my position on the totem pole means you need to have really sure footing. I find that I get a lot of respect for that for the most part, which further fuels my desire to continue doing so.

    I have now finally caught up with all my emails and whatnot and will now attempt to have a nice evening. LOL.

    Best to you as well.

  81. @DRL,

    You are a med student or resident, right? You should qualify for a discounted subscription to UpToDate. Subscribe, now! It has expert written articles on essentially every single topic in medicine. It could be a textbook for most any specialty, and if you ever don’t know what to do or what something is, you can simply look it up there. I may be wrong, but I’d say that it’s probably the single greatest source of medical information on the planet.

  82. nybgrus says:

    I agree – UpToDate is excellent.

    I have also been using DynaMed which is like UTD except much more dry – not editorializing just a bullet pointed listing of the newest data, prioritized by the quality of evidence, with small factual synopses for each. Not for someone who doesn’t have a good background on the material but highly useful for rapid literature reviews.

  83. A Certified Non-Expert says:

    http://50kaccount.beep.com/index.htm

    Hmmm…is this the same rustichealthy that we all know and…er…love to prove wrong?

    It seems like she’s looking to make a quick buck with her nonsense. How wonderful for us all.

  84. @ACNE,

    Good find! :) You know, you gotta appreciate the … hilarity … of rustic’s writing style. She is absolutely clueless, and her writing reads like a 10-year old’s book report, and yet she believes she is some sort of expert. She’s such a classic Dunning-Kruger. Someone should publish an article on her.

  85. No..everyone isn’t a phd..and I certainly don’t have one. However, you all denigrate all natural real health doctors, even with phds, Null, Saul..etc. ..so, I’m in good company. Maybe read some of my comments, to see how amazingly clueless you all are to me as well. And, …I just want the information out, that’s my whole purpose..my site is free..for now..have at it! Thanks for the ad. :)

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  87. Chris says:

    Rustic, why should we care about your opinions? How do we know your information is true and not dangerous?

    This site is also free, and the articles are referenced with real data.

  88. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    No..everyone isn’t a phd..and I certainly don’t have one.

    The funny thing is, you lacking a PhD somehow makes you think you’re adequately informed to comment as if you were. You don’t actually understand what you criticize, you don’t educate yourself on any topic, you don’t know what the actual facts are, you don’t respond to people pointing out even basic factual errors, you don’t understand the basic terminology you use…and again you think you can contribute something.

    Just because you are painfully ignorant of a topic doesn’t mean everyone else is. Put another way, just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you get to fill in the gap with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you. Just because you don’t know the answer doesn’t mean whatever nonsense you come up stands an equal chance to being right.

    However, you all denigrate all natural real health doctors, even with phds, Null, Saul..etc. ..so, I’m in good company.

    Do you know why we denigrate these doctors? Medicine tests hypotheses, discards those that don’t work and elaborates on what is supported based on further tests. We denigrate these doctors because they take studies on petri dishes and rats, at doses that would kill a human (and often kill the rat) and proclaim it a valid medical intervention. Then they sell you a bottle of whatever rat-killing crap credulous fools now believe to be magic.

    Null, Weil, Mercola, all have one thing in common – they take hypothetical interventions that are being investigated and proclaim them to be medicines effective in living humans, and ignore any evidence to the contrary or wave it away with claims of conspiracy. Conspiracy theories aren’t explanations, they are the refuge of the lazy who don’t want to bother doing any research or aren’t intellectually honest enough to admit that they’re wrong. Real doctors have a harder job – they have to be honest with their patients, deal with serious (not self-limiting) conditions, using drugs with side effects that must be balanced with benefits, in situations with constrained resources. Null, Mercola and the like just sound off about nonsense then try to sell you a bottle full of it.

    Maybe read some of my comments, to see how amazingly clueless you all are to me as well.

    I’ve read your comments and pointed out that they’re wrong. That you’ve never understood, recognized or investigated my criticisms demonstrates you’re more interested in sounding off your own opinion than actually learning how to be a more critical consumer.

  89. WLU…I don’t take their (Null, Saul, Weil, etc) word, study, what they sell, as truth/good (actually I’ve never purchased anything from their sites)….because THEY say so. I take my own experience first. This is the thing. I’ve experienced for years the benefits of vitamins, that got me off of meds, and helped with arthritis..etc..as now my son has experienced it for himself too. The difference is..I’m not going by anything anyone else says because THEY say it, and I just want to believe it, and it sounds ‘right’, ‘rational’..it’s a lot more than that. I may use their studies, as my own confirmation and further information, and it only confirms they have it right, since I already know for myself personally, in experience. In the same way, it’s funny, but, there’s nothing you can say, prove, disprove..”scientifically” to me, if it’s against my own experience. It doesn’t matter what stats you come up with, I know what I experienced. You can tell me all kinds of ‘science based “facts” and stats, why you tell me ‘vitamins’ don’t work, or it doesn’t matter organic or not, and the reason I know they’re not “facts”? , is because, I know already for myself what I’ve experienced says otherwise..see? It’s a little more than “what I believe”. It’s what I know. I understand you or anyone else do not have to believe me, but the strange arguments, and attacks, personally, etc. in here, were not really expected. I thought you all were ‘above’ this lol. Anyway..peace.

  90. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    WLU…I don’t take their (Null, Saul, Weil, etc) word, study,

    You do link to them quite frequently. But more importantly, what do you think about their tendency to proclaim rat and petri dish studies as having an important role to play in human health?

    I take my own experience first. This is the thing. I’ve experienced for years the benefits of vitamins, that got me off of meds, and helped with arthritis…I’m not going by anything anyone else says because THEY say it, and I just want to believe it, and it sounds ‘right’, ‘rational’..it’s a lot more than that. I may use their studies, as my own confirmation and further information, and it only confirms they have it right, since I already know for myself personally, in experience.

    How do you know your experience is right? Bloodletting was based on experience and was immensely popular for over two thousand years, but when we stopped doing it, people died less frequently.

    You’re also ignoring the experience of the scientists and doctors who do genuine research and think about these topics every single day. You, who know nothing about medicine, drugs or research, are saying your experience is more important than people who study these things for years. But your experience is limited – you’ve never had cancer, for instance, but you proclaim you can prevent and treat cancer (probably all cancers, despite there being hundreds of manifestations of improper cell growth). You’ve never had MS. You’ve never had COPD. But still, you prescribe the same solution to all people – avoid “chemicals”, eat organic, take vitamins.

    When all you have is a hammer, you spend a lot of time breaking things.

    In the same way, it’s funny, but, there’s nothing you can say, prove, disprove..”scientifically” to me, if it’s against my own experience. It doesn’t matter what stats you come up with, I know what I experienced. You can tell me all kinds of ‘science based “facts” and stats, why you tell me ‘vitamins’ don’t work, or it doesn’t matter organic or not, and the reason I know they’re not “facts”? , is because, I know already for myself what I’ve experienced says otherwise..see?

    That’s because you don’t know what “scientifically” actually means. It’s like an illiterate person trying to correct my use of punctuation.

    It’s a little more than “what I believe”. It’s what I know.

    The definition of “knowledge” is “justified true belief”. Your beliefs have no justification, and they aren’t true. All you have is faith in your own experience, and experience in the absence of empirical testing has been shown repeatedly over thousands of years to be unreliable.

    I understand you or anyone else do not have to believe me, but the strange arguments, and attacks, personally, etc. in here, were not really expected. I thought you all were ‘above’ this lol.

    The arguments weren’t “strange”, you just never understood them, never bothered to educate yourself, never bothered to understand where they came from or how they evolved. Science and research is incredibly intricate but rather than trying to understand it, you just pretended it was dumb. As for personal attacks, I get frustrated when I point out why a person is wrong and they do the equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and saying “nuh-uh”. Your arguments were literally child-like – you didn’t understand the topic, you didn’t listen to reasoning, you just closed your eyes, plugged your ears and kept repeating yourself. Why should I pretend this is a civil conversation of equals?

    Ignorance is bliss, it’s great to be able to pretend that life is simple and controllable. The next time you see a sewer worker, thank them because they’re the main reason you aren’t dead of an infectious disease. Public health systems are the reason you get to pretend your vitamins are keeping you healthy. Again I will point out that despite “eating organic”, people living before 1900 died a lot younger, and in massive numbers compared to those in the “toxic” modern world.

  91. people living before 1900 died a lot younger, and in massive numbers compared to those in the “toxic” modern world.

    They died and/or go ill from not getting enough nutrients (as in scurvy)…and the tech today, (giving us vitamins) and transportation (giving us different foods all year round) helps also. And, yes, sanitary conditions are better today. That would be the reason. It wasn’t because they had chemical filled foods.

  92. people living before 1900 died a lot younger, and in massive numbers compared to those in the “toxic” modern world.

    They died and/or go ill from not getting enough nutrients (as in scurvy)…and the tech today, (giving us vitamins) and transportation (giving us different foods all year round) helps also. And, yes, sanitary conditions are better today. That would be the reason. It wasn’t because they * chemical filled foods.

    *Didn’t have

  93. Chris says:

    Why should we care about what you think when you just make stuff up? You obviously have not idea how food was preserved a century ago. Some of those evil “toxic chemical filled” foods were from various curing and pickling processes. You should try some lutefisk.

    Seriously, Rustic, get another hobby.

  94. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Rustichealth, we know what nutrient deficiencies look like. Scurvy has specific symptoms (bleeding gums, poor wound healing, muscle aches and lethargy) as does pellagra (diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia), rickets (bent bones, muscle weakness, hell we can even diagnose it in skeletons), beriberi and the like. The reason it took modern research to discover nutrient deficiencies is because they are quite rare as most traditional diets are more than adequate. People did not die of nutrient deficiencies, they died of rampant infection we can treat with antibiotics, or prevent with vaccines. People died of spear through the belly. People died of macronutrient starvation. People ate organic and free-range food and died in droves because of diseases we can now cure with medicine. The very diet you claim is currently curing all your ailments is what they ate, and they still died. They still got cancer. They still got arthritis. They still got asthma. Food is not medicine and chemicals are not toxins.

    Claiming it’s due to toxins just because you think everything is due to “toxins” reflects your preoccupations, it has nothing to do with reality. You blame imaginary toxins for all the world’s woes, and you’re simply wrong.

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