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218 thoughts on “Dr. Oz revisited

  1. Geoff says:

    So earthing definitely sounds like a bunch of woo on the surface, and in fact it may be. I don’t have any personal experience, so I can’t really speak to it either way. Having said that, it is recommended by Dave Asprey of Bullet Proof Executive, and in the past I have found his advice to be very sound and in line with my own experience, so I am willing to give it its fair shake.

    Dave recommends earthing specifically for improving sleep and getting rid of jet lag. He has quantified this benefit for himself using a device called a Zeo, which is actually a pretty precise device that tracks brain waves via a headband that is functionally the same as the kind used in sleep studies. I do have a Zeo, and plan on self experimenting with earthing in the future. Until then, I’m just relaying information, but let’s not write it off out of hand just because we don’t understand the mechanisms.

  2. Harriet Hall says:

    @Geoff,

    The way to find out if something works is to study it with the methods of science. Personal experience and the advice of someone you trust are not reliable guides to truth.

    I wrote about the Zeo at
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/zeo-personal-sleep-coach/
    Even if you see a change in Zeo readings, that may not be reliable evidence that you are better off. And it would not prove that the Zeo changes were due to the earthing.

  3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    You could do an n=1 challenge-dechallenge-rechallenge to test it though. Have someone (other than you) flip a coin. If it comes up heads, they unplug the grounding mat. Tails, they plug it in. Have them note the state of the equipment. Independently note the quality and quantity of your sleep (with the Zeo, you’d probably use your sleep score). After a month, do some math or something. You’d have your answer.

    If you really want some fun, flip a second coin. If it comes up heads, you get to peek at whether the mat is plugged in. Tails, you don’t. Some fancier math, maybe a graph or table, you’d have another, possibly more interesting answer.

    Add a third coin and they’d plug in/unplug your Zeo machine. Note the quantity and quality of your sleep before looking to see if it was on. Hire someone to do the math for you.

  4. sarah007 says:

    DW “He did no “orthodox” treatment for the leukemia because it was never symptomatic.”

    DW “no I was not trying to tell you that he did no orthodox treatment for leukemia.”

    What does that mean. I am pushing you for facts DW because if I was claiming death by medicine you would do the same. So if he had orthodox treatment during the early acute phase his heart and vascular system would have been affected, if he was elderly more so. If this damage was done when he first went that route no amount of eating moon dust would change that.

    DW “I was saying that despite many years of taking natural organic everything, eating mainly crap sold to him by the “natural health foods store” to do things that you tout, like “restoring gut flora,” and submitting to treatment by nuts like yourself, he came down with cancer, heart disease, and stroke ANYWAY. Get it?”

    No I don’t at all get it. According to you and your type you can eat what you like and it makes no difference because it was all genetic, he was going this route whatever he did. What I see in your post is trying to blame everything else. Parents dying is shit, absolutely, but if his first brush with leukemia treatment ruined his health you cant blame him rebelling against that and trying something else.

    Without a context, your interpretation of events in this story don’t make sense.

  5. sarah007 says:

    Hi Carl

    Maybe you’ll tell us we are all going to die from swine flu!

  6. DW says:

    Papertrail, yes the CAM world has a very seedy underside. The image these people like to portray of themselves as wholesome and happy is not reality. Reality is a lot of underhanded shit – a lot of taking advantage of vulnerable people. It’s often connected to “multilevel marketing,” pyramid schemes, and preying on the gullible and undereducated. The real crime is when these gullible people are truly hurting individuals, elderly, disabled, or mentally handicapped. It is one thing to be 30 and robust, and convince yourself you’re improving your chi or something, with some silly herbal concoction. No real harm done. It’s another matter when you’re telling old people with multiple serious ailments that you can cure their cancer, and they follow this advice instead of medical advice. They are responsible for a lot of misery.

  7. Geoff says:

    @Harriet

    “The way to find out if something works is to study it with the methods of science. Personal experience and the advice of someone you trust are not reliable guides to truth.”

    This is a non-sequitor. Just because the methods of science are how you prove definitively whether or not something works does not mean that personal experience and the advice of someone you trust are not reliable GUIDES to truth. Things work in empirically before they are proven to work scientifically.

  8. @Geoff, there is something called “a priori knowledge” that usually guides research. We usually suspect (an educated guess) that something works in a certain way due to prior knowledge and then devise an experiment that allows us to accept or reject the hypothesis. There is no “a priori knowledge” that “earthing” does anything whatsoever, so it’d be ridiculous to perform an expensive double-blinded randomized controlled trial to see if “earthing” is effective for treating jet lag. Wouldn’t it make more sense to see if “earthing” has any actual effect on the body instead of just assuming that it does and then going from there?

    That is precisely the same mistake a lot of CAM research makes. They assume something works, and then try to find some way to justify it. They’ll perform some quack modality, and then measure every possible thing in the body and then mine the data looking for any chance difference that they can manipulate to be “statistically significant” and then make a claim about the sCAM modality that has absolutely zero clinical relevance. That’s not science, it’s closing your eyes and throwing darts.

    Or, to put it another way: earthing is a stupid idea, and it’s stupid to believe that it’s going to cure jetlag.

  9. qetzal says:

    Geoff,

    Personal experience and advice from someone you trust certainly have some value as guides. That doen’t mean they are always reliable. In a case like yours, with subjective outcomes like ‘better sleep’ and ‘less jet lag,’ where placebo effects and observer biases are major confounders, advice and personal experience are very unreliable. That’s a key lesson of science.

    If you do try to test this yourself, I agree with WLU. The minimum you should do is get a helper to randomly connect or disconnect your ground on different nights, without you knowing which. Otherwise, your knowledge of whether you’re grounded could easily affect your sleep directly.

  10. Geoff says:

    @SkepticalHealth

    Not all experiments have to be expensive, or double blind. Yes, if we wanted to definitively prove that earthing works, we would need to perform such an experiment, but we could perform many inexpensive experiments that will confirm or deny Dave’s empirical finding prior to setting aside the resources to do this in a systematic way. All of this would fall under the category of “a priori knowledge.” Larger, more difficult and expensive studies have been done based on more dubious findings. For example, anything related to saturated fat and heart disease.

  11. Geoff says:

    @qetzal

    Placebo effect may play a role, but observer bias should not. As far as I know, a Zeo doesn’t care whether you ground yourself on a mat before jumping into bed or not.

  12. @Geoff, I clicked through to your blog and saw you eat a paleo diet? Are you one of those “cholesterol deniers”? Ie, you think that saturated fat is perfectly good for you?

  13. DW says:

    “Otherwise, your knowledge of whether you’re grounded could easily affect your sleep directly.”

    Absolutely! This is the reason the sleeping pills I have in the medicine cabinet help me sleep, even though I don’t usually take them!

  14. Geoff says:

    @SkepticalHealth

    Not the time or the place to have that debate, but yes, I eat a less restrictive version of the paleo diet (more closely resembles the Perfect Health Diet from Paul Jaminet, although I also include sugar and corn, though don’t necessarily recommend that for everyone), and in my opinion a diet that is wheat and vegetable oil free but very high in saturated fat will not cause heart disease.

    I operate from the premise that the human body is healthy under environmental conditions that it has evolved under. A result of this premise is that foods are either unhealthy or neutral. There is no such thing as a “health food” per-se. Saturated fats, for a variety of reasons, fall into this neutral category.

  15. Harriet Hall says:

    @Geoff,
    “Not the time or the place to have that debate”
    This is not the place to have any debate based on opinions alone. It’s the “Science-Based” Medicine blog.

  16. papertrail says:

    “I operate from the premise that the human body is healthy under environmental conditions that it has evolved under.”

    You can build an untold number of faulty beliefs on top of faulty premises. Why in the world would you start with that unsupportable premise?

  17. Geoff says:

    @Harriet

    Doctors live in a bubble. You’ve all been trained based on the same information, most of which is science based and some of which is not. The doctors who post on here do their best to avoid biases, and we all appreciate that, but some biases are extremely pervasive, and have been a part of the knowledge base for long enough that every single one of you has been brought up on on them your entire medical careers despite the fact that the original findings were based entirely on pseudoscientific nonsense.

    There is a community of self-experimenters out there that can inform some of these discussions. For example, two scientists can banter back and forth about whether a vitamin a derivative used to treat acne causes Crohn’s disease in .00000whatever percentage of people, but you’d make a lot more clinical progress if you had someone interject into that debate the fact that he has numerous anecdotes of people reversing Crohn’s via dietary interventions.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      @Geoff,
      “you’d make a lot more clinical progress if you had someone interject into that debate the fact that he has numerous anecdotes of people reversing Crohn’s via dietary interventions.”

      No, you don’t make clinical progress by debating. The value of anecdotes is that they can suggest things that might be worth testing with scientific methods. Even an n=1 self-experiment is only a starting point: there are many ways it can lead to false conclusions.

  18. Geoff says:

    @papertrail

    I start with that premise for a variety of reasons. Number one is that evolution is the unifying theory of biology, and nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution. Second is that all animals thrive in their natural environments, and I have no reason to suspect that humans would be different. Third is that there are a number of anthropological examples of human populations that are almost entirely free of modern disease, as well as documented case studies of their kin transitioning into modern cities and experiencing all of the diseases that their ancestors did not.

  19. papertrail says:

    RE: earthing. Seems to me that there are thousands of these kinds of claims. It’s not just that the mechanism is unknown, it’s that there is no reason to think that it does anything beyond an imagined effect because, in the least, the proposed mechanism for what is taking place makes no sense at all based on what is well known about electricity. I don’t even know that much about electricity and even I can see that it’s bogus.

    I don’t understand why some people are so trusting of their own assessment of what is causing what, when I see every day how easy it is be wrong. And yet I am called closed-minded. No, while I see multiple possibilities, my critics see ONE. It must be the acupuncture, or it must be the arnica crap, or it must be that my body’s free-radicals were neutralized by the earth’s negative charge that somehow made its way up a wire and into my cells through my $600 magic blanket.

  20. qetzal says:

    Geoff,

    The Zeo may not care, but you’re the one reading and interpreting the Zeo’s outputs. If you know whether you slept grounded or not, that may bias how you do that reading and interpreting. Obviously, the potential for that depends a lot on what kinds of outputs the Zeo gives. But even seemingly straightforward outputs can be subject to observer bias.

  21. Geoff says:

    @papertrail

    RE: earthing – I totally agree. I was pretty surprised when Dave wrote about it, but as I said, I trust his judgment to a point; he has a long track record of rigorous n=1 testing; so his saying that it works is sufficient for me to consider it worth testing on an n=1 basis, particularly since I struggle with sleep.

  22. papertrail says:

    @geoff

    David who? I don’t see anyone promoting it named David.

  23. papertrail says:

    Oh, you must mean Dave Asprey. Haven’t looked at that.

  24. weing says:

    “in my opinion a diet that is wheat and vegetable oil free but very high in saturated fat will not cause heart disease.”

    Well. That is only an opinion.

  25. Geoff says:

    Yea, I mean Dave Asprey. Here’s his post on the subject: http://www.bulletproofexec.com/earthing/

  26. papertrail says:

    @geoff
    “Second is that all animals thrive in their natural environments, …”

    Trut, except when they don’t.

  27. papertrail says:

    I meant “true,” except when they don’t.

  28. Geoff says:

    @weing

    I offered my opinion in response to a question about my opinion: “@Geoff, I clicked through to your blog and saw you eat a paleo diet? Are you one of those “cholesterol deniers”? Ie, you think that saturated fat is perfectly good for you?”

  29. @Geoff, you are correct that there is no need for a debate. Your opinions on diet are absolutely wrong and are just as dangerous as those of the Weston A. Price Foundation. You simply want a certain lifestyle, so you molest science to fit your world view. The belief that saturated fat doesn’t lead to heart disease is completely wrong. Here, let’s get you started:

    Astrup, Arne, Jørn Dyerberg, Peter Elwood, Kjeld Hermansen, Frank B Hu, Marianne Uhre Jakobsen, Frans J Kok, et al. 2011. The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: Where does the evidence stand in 2010? Am J Clin Nutr 93 (4): 684-8
    “Current dietary recommendations advise reducing the intake of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) to reduce coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, but recent findings question the role of SFAs. This expert panel reviewed the evidence and reached the following conclusions: the evidence from epidemiologic, clinical, and mechanistic studies is consistent in finding that the risk of CHD is reduced when SFAs are replaced with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). In populations who consume a Western diet, the replacement of 1% of energy from SFAs with PUFAs lowers LDL cholesterol and is likely to produce a reduction in CHD incidence of ≥2-3%. No clear benefit of substituting carbohydrates for SFAs has been shown, although there might be a benefit if the carbohydrate is unrefined and has a low glycemic index.”
    -> For every 1% of saturated fat replaced by polyunsaturated fats there is a 2-3% reduction in coronary heart disease. So, a 10% replacement leads to 20-30% reduction in coronary heart disease.

    Bhupathiraju, Shilpa N and Katherine L Tucker. 2011. Coronary heart disease prevention: Nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns. Clin Chim Acta 412 (17-18): 1493-514.
    “Diet is a key modifiable risk factor in the prevention and risk reduction of coronary heart disease (CHD). Results from the Seven Countries Study in the early 1970s spurred an interest in the role of single nutrients such as total fat in CHD risk. With accumulating evidence, we have moved away from a focus on total fat to the importance of considering the quality of fat. Recent meta-analyses of intervention studies confirm the beneficial effects of replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fatty acids on CHD risk. Scientific evidence for a detrimental role of trans fat intake from industrial sources on CHD risk has led to important policy changes including listing trans fatty acid content on the “Nutrition Facts” panel and banning the use of trans fatty acids in food service establishments in some cities. The effects of such policy changes on changes in CHD incidence are yet to be evaluated. There has been a surging interest in the protective effects of vitamin D in primary prevention. Yet, its associations with secondary events have been mixed and intervention studies are needed to clarify its role in CHD prevention. Epidemiological and clinical trial evidence surrounding the benefit of B vitamins and antioxidants such as carotenoids, vitamin E, and vitamin C, have been contradictory. While pharmacological supplementation of these vitamins in populations with existing CHD has been ineffective and, in some cases, even detrimental, data repeatedly show that consumption of a healthy dietary pattern has considerable cardioprotective effects for primary prevention. Results from these studies and the general ineffectiveness of nutrient-based interventions have shifted interest to the role of foods in CHD risk reduction. The strongest and most consistent protective associations are seen with fruit and vegetables, fish, and whole grains. Epidemiological and clinical trial data also show risk reduction with moderate alcohol consumption. In the past decade, there has been a paradigm shift in nutritional epidemiology to examine associations between dietary patterns and health. Several epidemiological studies show that people following the Mediterranean style diet or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet have lower risk of CHD and lower likelihood of developing hypertension. Studies using empirical or data driven dietary patterns have frequently identified two patterns – “Healthy or Prudent” and “Western”. In general, the “Healthy”, compared to the “Western” pattern has been associated with more favorable biological profiles, slower progression of atherosclerosis, and reduced incidence. Evidence on changes in dietary patterns and changes in CHD risk is still emerging. With the emergence of the concept of personalized nutrition, studies are increasingly considering the role of genetic factors in the modulation of the association between nutrients and CHD. More studies of genetic variation and dietary patterns in relation to CHD are needed.”
    -> Saturated fats = bad; PUFA = good.

    Jakobsen, Marianne U, Eilis J O’Reilly, Berit L Heitmann, Mark A Pereira, Katarina Bälter, Gary E Fraser, Uri Goldbourt, et al. 2009. Major types of dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease: A pooled analysis of 11 cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr 89 (5): 1425-3
    “BACKGROUND: Saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake increases plasma LDL-cholesterol concentrations; therefore, intake should be reduced to prevent coronary heart disease (CHD). Lower habitual intakes of SFAs, however, require substitution of other macronutrients to maintain energy balance.
    OBJECTIVE: We investigated associations between energy intake from monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and carbohydrates and risk of CHD while assessing the potential effect-modifying role of sex and age. Using substitution models, our aim was to clarify whether energy from unsaturated fatty acids or carbohydrates should replace energy from SFAs to prevent CHD.
    DESIGN: This was a follow-up study in which data from 11 American and European cohort studies were pooled. The outcome measure was incident CHD.
    RESULTS: During 4-10 y of follow-up, 5249 coronary events and 2155 coronary deaths occurred among 344,696 persons. For a 5% lower energy intake from SFAs and a concomitant higher energy intake from PUFAs, there was a significant inverse association between PUFAs and risk of coronary events (hazard ratio: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.77, 0.97); the hazard ratio for coronary deaths was 0.74 (95% CI: 0.61, 0.89). For a 5% lower energy intake from SFAs and a concomitant higher energy intake from carbohydrates, there was a modest significant direct association between carbohydrates and coronary events (hazard ratio: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.14); the hazard ratio for coronary deaths was 0.96 (95% CI: 0.82, 1.13). MUFA intake was not associated with CHD. No effect modification by sex or age was found.
    CONCLUSION: The associations suggest that replacing SFAs with PUFAs rather than MUFAs or carbohydrates prevents CHD over a wide range of intakes”

    Mozaffarian, Dariush, Renata Micha, and Sarah Wallace. 2010. Effects on coronary heart disease of increasing polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Plos Med 7 (3): e1000252
    “BACKGROUND: Reduced saturated fat (SFA) consumption is recommended to reduce coronary heart disease (CHD), but there is an absence of strong supporting evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of clinical CHD events and few guidelines focus on any specific replacement nutrient. Additionally, some public health groups recommend lowering or limiting polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) consumption, a major potential replacement for SFA.
    METHODS AND FINDINGS: We systematically investigated and quantified the effects of increased PUFA consumption, as a replacement for SFA, on CHD endpoints in RCTs. RCTs were identified by systematic searches of multiple online databases through June 2009, grey literature sources, hand-searching related articles and citations, and direct contacts with experts to identify potentially unpublished trials. Studies were included if they randomized participants to increased PUFA for at least 1 year without major concomitant interventions, had an appropriate control group, and reported incidence of CHD (myocardial infarction and/or cardiac death). Inclusions/exclusions were adjudicated and data were extracted independently and in duplicate by two investigators and included population characteristics, control and intervention diets, follow-up duration, types of events, risk ratios, and SEs. Pooled effects were calculated using inverse-variance-weighted random effects meta-analysis. From 346 identified abstracts, eight trials met inclusion criteria, totaling 13,614 participants with 1,042 CHD events. Average weighted PUFA consumption was 14.9% energy (range 8.0%-20.7%) in intervention groups versus 5.0% energy (range 4.0%-6.4%) in controls. The overall pooled risk reduction was 19% (RR = 0.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.70-0.95, p = 0.008), corresponding to 10% reduced CHD risk (RR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.83-0.97) for each 5% energy of increased PUFA, without evidence for statistical heterogeneity (Q-statistic p = 0.13; I(2) = 37%). Meta-regression identified study duration as an independent determinant of risk reduction (p = 0.017), with studies of longer duration showing greater benefits.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide evidence that consuming PUFA in place of SFA reduces CHD events in RCTs. This suggests that rather than trying to lower PUFA consumption, a shift toward greater population PUFA consumption in place of SFA would significantly reduce rates of CHD.”

    Clarke, R, C Frost, R Collins, P Appleby, and R Peto. 1997. Dietary lipids and blood cholesterol: Quantitative meta-analysis of metabolic ward studies. BMJ 314 (7074): 112-7.
    “OBJECTIVE: To determine the quantitative importance of dietary fatty acids and dietary cholesterol to blood concentrations of total, low density lipoprotein, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
    DESIGN: Meta-analysis of metabolic ward studies of solid food diets in healthy volunteers.
    SUBJECTS: 395 dietary experiments (median duration 1 month) among 129 groups of individuals.
    RESULTS: Isocaloric replacement of saturated fats by complex carbohydrates for 10% of dietary calories resulted in blood total cholesterol falling by 0.52 (SE 0.03) mmol/l and low density lipoprotein cholesterol falling by 0.36 (0.05) mmol/l. Isocaloric replacement of complex carbohydrates by polyunsaturated fats for 5% of dietary calories resulted in total cholesterol falling by a further 0.13 (0.02) mmol/l and low density lipoprotein cholesterol falling by 0.11 (0.02) mmol/l. Similar replacement of carbohydrates by monounsaturated fats produced no significant effect on total or low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Avoiding 200 mg/day dietary cholesterol further decreased blood total cholesterol by 0.13 (0.02) mmol/l and low density lipoprotein cholesterol by 0.10 (0.02) mmol/l.
    CONCLUSIONS: In typical British diets replacing 60% of saturated fats by other fats and avoiding 60% of dietary cholesterol would reduce blood total cholesterol by about 0.8 mmol/l (that is, by 10-15%), with four fifths of this reduction being in low density lipoprotein cholesterol”

    Hooper and Lee. 2010. Meta-Analysis of rcts finds that increasing consumption of polyunsaturated fat as a replacement for saturated fat reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Evidence Based Medicinedoi:10.1136/ebmed1093. Web.
    “A 2011 systematic review from The Cochrane … A 2011 systematic review from The Cochrane Library analyzed 48 studies conducted between 1965 and 2009 and included 65,508 participants. All studies reduced or modified participants’ dietary fat or cholesterol for at least six months by at least 30 percent. It was found that reducing saturated fat by reducing and/or modifying dietary fat reduced the risk of having a cardiovascular event, such as heart attack, stroke and unplanned heart surgery, by 14 percent. Of the 65,508 participants, 7 percent had a cardiovascular event. “The findings are suggestive of a small but potentially important reduction in cardiovascular risk on modification of dietary fat, but not reduction of total fat, in longer trials. Lifestyle advice to all those at risk of cardiovascular disease and to lower risk population groups, should continue to include permanent reduction of dietary saturated fat and partial replacement by unsaturates. The ideal type of unsaturated fat is unclear”. In a summary it goes on to say “there are no clear health benefits of replacing saturated fats with starchy foods”.”

    Mensink, Ronald P, Peter L Zock, Arnold D M Kester, and Martijn B Katan. 2003. Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: A meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr 77 (5): 1146-55
    “BACKGROUND: The effects of dietary fats on the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) have traditionally been estimated from their effects on LDL cholesterol. Fats, however, also affect HDL cholesterol, and the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol is a more specific marker of CAD than is LDL cholesterol.
    OBJECTIVE: The objective was to evaluate the effects of individual fatty acids on the ratis of total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipoproteins.
    DESIGN: We performed a meta-analysis of 60 selected trials and calculated the effects of the amount and type of fat on total:HDL cholesterol and on other lipids.
    RESULTS: The ratio did not change if carbohydrates replaced saturated fatty acids, but it decreased if cis unsaturated fatty acids replaced saturated fatty acids. The effect on total:HDL cholesterol of replacing trans fatty acids with a mix of carbohydrates and cis unsaturated fatty acids was almost twice as large as that of replacing saturated fatty acids. Lauric acid greatly increased total cholesterol, but much of its effect was on HDL cholesterol. Consequently, oils rich in lauric acid decreased the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol. Myristic and palmitic acids had little effect on the ratio, and stearic acid reduced the ratio slightly. Replacing fats with carbohydrates increased fasting triacylglycerol concentrations.
    CONCLUSIONS: The effects of dietary fats on total:HDL cholesterol may differ markedly from their effects on LDL. The effects of fats on these risk markers should not in themselves be considered to reflect changes in risk but should be confirmed by prospective observational studies or clinical trials. By that standard, risk is reduced most effectively when trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids are replaced with cis unsaturated fatty acids. The effects of carbohydrates and of lauric acid-rich fats on CAD risk remain uncertain.”

    Micha, Renata and Dariush Mozaffarian. 2010. Saturated fat and cardiometabolic risk factors, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: A fresh look at the evidence. Lipids 45 (10): 893-905
    “Dietary and policy recommendations frequently focus on reducing saturated fatty acid consumption for improving cardiometabolic health, based largely on ecologic and animal studies. Recent advances in nutritional science now allow assessment of critical questions about health effects of saturated fatty acids (SFA). We reviewed the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of lipid and non-lipid risk factors, prospective cohort studies of disease endpoints, and RCTs of disease endpoints for cardiometabolic effects of SFA consumption in humans, including whether effects vary depending on specific SFA chain-length; on the replacement nutrient; or on disease outcomes evaluated. Compared with carbohydrate, the TC:HDL-C ratio is nonsignificantly affected by consumption of myristic or palmitic acid, is nonsignificantly decreased by stearic acid, and is significantly decreased by lauric acid. However, insufficient evidence exists for different chain-length-specific effects on other risk pathways or, more importantly, disease endpoints. Based on consistent evidence from human studies, replacing SFA with polyunsaturated fat modestly lowers coronary heart disease risk, with ~10% risk reduction for a 5% energy substitution; whereas replacing SFA with carbohydrate has no benefit and replacing SFA with monounsaturated fat has uncertain effects. Evidence for the effects of SFA consumption on vascular function, insulin resistance, diabetes, and stroke is mixed, with many studies showing no clear effects, highlighting a need for further investigation of these endpoints. Public health emphasis on reducing SFA consumption without considering the replacement nutrient or, more importantly, the many other food-based risk factors for cardiometabolic disease is unlikely to produce substantial intended benefits.”

  30. Geoff says:

    @SkepticalHealth

    You don’t understand heart disease at all. You don’t understand the biological role of lipoproteins in the body. You don’t understand the relationship between heart disease and oxidized LDL. You don’t understand the relationship between chemical stability of a fatty acid and its ability to oxidize in the blood stream. You don’t understand the relationship between particle size of the LDL particle and it’s ability to oxidize in the bloodstream. You don’t understand how saturated fat effects particle size. You don’t understand how contradictory it is to say that eating a diet high in saturated fat causes heart disease when weight loss diets reduce heart disease risk (on a weight loss diet, the balance of calories come from your fat tissue, most of which is saturated and monounsaturated fats).

    In addition, the most thorough meta-analysis on the subject, done by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2001, found no link. Large, long term studies have all gone down in flames. I’m sorry, but you don’t have a leg to stand on. Even Dr. Harriet Hall of SBM, who I have many public disagreements with, has stated on more than one occasion that the evidence is dubious.

  31. weing says:

    “You don’t understand heart disease at all. You don’t understand the biological role of lipoproteins in the body. You don’t understand the relationship between heart disease and oxidized LDL. You don’t understand the relationship between chemical stability of a fatty acid and its ability to oxidize in the blood stream. You don’t understand the relationship between particle size of the LDL particle and it’s ability to oxidize in the bloodstream. You don’t understand how saturated fat effects particle size….”

    And you do? BTW, you forgot particle number. It’s the beta lipoproteins that matter. Regarding the role of lipids in health and disease I suggest you get a copy of the recently published Review Article “The Human Plasma Lipidome” http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1104901

  32. Chris says:

    Geoff:

    In addition, the most thorough meta-analysis on the subject, done by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2001

    I’m only an engineer, but even I know that in an area of active research anything over ten years old is ancient history.

    Doctors live in a bubble. You’ve all been trained based on the same information, most of which is science based and some of which is not.

    I highly recommend you read Dr. Hall’s autobiography. Or at a minimum read the blurb about her here.

  33. EricG says:

    @ geoff

    then why do most zoo animals live longer in captivity?

    Anecdotes are funny because they are so useful in some domains and critically unimportant in others. Would you withold trust that “the french laundry” is delicious until there was random controlled trials of the food? silly. your friend says…its good. you go, agree or not, end of story. its the very foundation of film, food and literary evaluation. as it stands, it is all a matter of personal taste.

    “does Apple make great mp3 players and tablets?” is also a matter of anecdotal reporting, and the sole industry determinant. A “clinical trial demonstrating their statistically significant preferance when compared to a placebo ipod” is absurd.

    there are a thousand instances where the ONLY thing I would trust is an anecdote. medicine is not one of those cases. its an area of “knowing” that *requires* science. I find it equally absurd to say, “my friend stan says acai berries make you strong” or “1000 people think chanting keeps the demons away.” the evidence must match the claim. what is at stake simply requires something more than “I/we/he/she or (most devastatingly) they feel it might work and have no reason to think otherwise.” the distinction between “know” and “think/feel/believe” requires an equally distinct method of arriving at the respective conclusions.

  34. EricG says:

    aww, my html pun got erased. in any event, geoff, only the first statement is directed at you. the remainder is sort of just to the open air. I am not calling on you to refute that or not.

  35. Harriet Hall says:

    @Geoff,
    “You don’t understand how contradictory it is to say that eating a diet high in saturated fat causes heart disease when weight loss diets reduce heart disease risk (on a weight loss diet, the balance of calories come from your fat tissue, most of which is saturated and monounsaturated fats).”
    You don’t understand the difference between dietary fat and cannibalizing your own body tissues.

  36. nybgrus says:

    been a while Geoff. Glad to see you are still spouting the same, tired, wrong ideas.

    Let me be unambiguous about this… you are wrong. period. end of story. I’ve debated and destroyed you enough times. It’s gotten rather old for me. But when complete ignorami like yourself trot out evolution in such a wrong way to try and offer some sort of support for their wrong ideas, it really gets my goat. But for the newbies here to the forum – have at it. Geoff is just as bad as troll007 except that he is at least cogent and tends not to flood the fora with his wrongness quite as much. Nothing gets through and he thinks himself an expert on evolutionary biology, anthropology, and of course molecular biology. My undergraduate degrees were in evolutionary biology and anthropology and my post-grad work was in molecular pharmacology. Try and understand for a moment Geoff – you are wrong. It isn’t even worth me getting into the details of why anymore for many reasons, including the one Dr. Hall just pointed out.

    Did I mention that you are incorrect?

  37. @Geoff, thank you for writing an entire paragraph of things that you assume I don’t “understand” while you actively promote and utilize a diet that directly results in increased cardiovascular disease and death. I think your hair spray is eating into your brain. :)

  38. Geoff says:

    @EricG

    Lack of predators, no risk of malnutrition, antibiotics… Zoo animals often get the same diseases of affluence as humans and pets though, and putting them on an evolutionarily appropriate diet reverses these diseases.

    @weing

    I have a pretty good understanding of what is known to this point, it’s not perfect, but certainly enough to be actionable. You, along with everyone else on here, is more than welcome to continue avoiding saturated fats in your diet, you’re not going to really “hurt” yourself by avoiding them unless you replace them with PUFA, in which case you will have problems. The only real thing to be weary of in doing so is that you’ll be missing out on a number of fat soluble vitamins that are pretty hard to get elsewhere.

    @Chris

    There have not been any large scale studies done since then that would change those conclusions.

    @Harriet

    From the perspective of your mitochondria, there is no difference. By the time that any dietary fatty acids hit the bloodstream, they are chemically identical to fatty acids made in the human liver via lipogenesis, as well as fatty acids released from the fat tissue for fuel. The same can be said for free glucose from a digested potato versus fasting glucose. Honestly, I really don’t know how you could deny this point. Then again, if I am missing something, please point it out. I have an open mind, it’s just that to this point you’ve yet to give me any reason to change my opinion.

  39. papertrail says:

    geoff said: “Yea, I mean Dave Asprey. Here’s his post on the subject…”

    That’s your credible source?! I give up.

  40. Harriet Hall says:

    My husband just had an interesting thought about the evolutionary/paleolithic diet. We have good evidence that our ancestors practiced cannibalism. Extending the logic of evolutionary diet proponents, would they classify that as something we should consider for an optimally healthy diet?

  41. papertrail says:

    Geoff said: “In addition, the most thorough meta-analysis on the subject, done by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2001, found no link.”

    Here’s the latest conclusion
    Cochrane summary 2011
    “Cutting down or changing the fat we eat may reduce our risk of heart disease”

    Authors’ conclusions:

    The findings are suggestive of a small but potentially important reduction in cardiovascular risk on modification of dietary fat, but not reduction of total fat, in longer trials. Lifestyle advice to all those at risk of cardiovascular disease and to lower risk population groups, should continue to include permanent reduction of dietary saturated fat and partial replacement by unsaturates. The ideal type of unsaturated fat is unclear.

  42. Harriet Hall says:

    @Geoff,

    “if I am missing something, please point it out.”

    You are missing all the evidence that indicates that saturated fat is a risk factor for heart disease.
    You are missing the fact that you don’t have any evidence that switching to a high saturated fat diet prevents heart attacks.
    You are missing the fact that ketosis is not required for weight loss.

  43. DW says:

    “We have good evidence that our ancestors practiced cannibalism.”

    Ha! I’m sure the paleodiet folks can work this in somehow. Remember, cannibals boiled their friends and roasted their enemies.

  44. nybgrus says:

    Then again, if I am missing something, please point it out. I have an open mind, it’s just that to this point you’ve yet to give me any reason to change my opinion.

    Ever heard of apolipoproteins? Free fatty acids? Albumin? Hormone sensitive lipase? You know, those things that do, in fact, make triglycerides from diet different from those synthesized in the liver different from those released from adipocytes? Of course you haven’t.

  45. @Geoff wrote:

    . You, along with everyone else on here, is more than welcome to continue avoiding saturated fats in your diet, you’re not going to really “hurt” yourself by avoiding them unless you replace them with PUFA, in which case you will have problems.

    I’m sorry, but I have to believe you are just trolling. You simply can’t be that misinformed. Are you that dead set on a paleo diet that you will honestly believe such utter nonsense? We have actually quantified the decrease in cardiovascular disease achieved by replacing SFAs with PUFAs. And you’re sitting here saying the exact opposite (albeit, with absolutely zero proof.)

    You are free to use the paleo diet if you think you are going to lose weight or whatever, but don’t be so naive as to trick yourself into thinking that it’s actually healthy. It’s not. And you don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Jakobsen, Marianne U, Eilis J O’Reilly, Berit L Heitmann, Mark A Pereira, Katarina Bälter, Gary E Fraser, Uri Goldbourt, et al. 2009. Major types of dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease: A pooled analysis of 11 cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr 89 (5): 1425-3.

    Mozaffarian, Dariush, Renata Micha, and Sarah Wallace. 2010. Effects on coronary heart disease of increasing polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Plos Med 7 (3): e1000252.

    Etc. I can’t be bothered to go upstairs and go through the dozens of other studies I have in my database and paste them, these are several of the ones I’ve already pasted in this thread.

  46. Geoff says:

    @Harriet

    When I said “if I am missing something, please point it out,” I meant specifically with regard to the idea that dietary fatty acids are chemically identical to those in one’s fat tissue.

    To the question of cannibalism, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that human meat would be significantly different from pork or really the meat of any other omnivore. Humans can achieve optimal health on a wide variety of diets, from 0% carbohydrate, 95% carbohydrate, and pretty much any meat source can be considered “healthy,” as animals use techniques like running, hiding and fighting to fend off predators, unlike plants, for which poison is typically their anti-predation method of choice.

  47. DW says:

    “So if he had orthodox treatment during the early acute phase”

    So you still can’t read. I’ve said the opposite of what you write above. The exact opposite.
    You missed my point COMPLETELY. Even after it was repeated, in extremely clear English.
    You really do need to consider that your thinking is messed up.

    “his heart and vascular system would have been affected, if he was elderly more so. If this damage was done when he first went that route no amount of eating moon dust would change that.”

    If this damage was done …. huh? You’re inventing things. I said plainly he did not have orthodox treatment for leukemia. EVER. For the heart disease, also, he refused medical treatment. Get it? He did EXACTLY WHAT YOU WOULD PRESCRIBE, dearheart. And it killed him.

    Nope, sorry, you can’t blame it on doctors. He ignored everything they ever told him. I think he might have taken the Plavix for about 3 days while I was there, ‘cus I was yelling at him every day to take it. Then he quit.

    “No I don’t at all get it. According to you and your type you can eat what you like”

    What? Again you cannot read. I have never said anything remotely like that, nor is it remotely what I believe. There is very strong evidence, Sarah, that your thinking is impaired. Can you fix that with diet? No – only education.

    “and it makes no difference because it was all genetic, he was going this route whatever he did. What I see in your post is trying to blame everything else. Parents dying is shit, absolutely, but if his first brush with leukemia treatment ruined his health you cant blame him rebelling against that and trying something else.”

    There was no first brush with leukemia treatment. You made that part up. I said nothing like that. Go back and read it – you invented it. My posts say the opposite. You did not ever grasp what the first post I wrote about it said.

    Without a context, your interpretation of events in this story don’t make sense.

  48. DW says:

    “To the question of cannibalism, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that human meat would be significantly different from pork or really the meat of any other omnivore. Humans can achieve optimal health on a wide variety of diets, from 0% carbohydrate, 95% carbohydrate, and pretty much any meat source can be considered ‘healthy,’”

    Uh wait, are you agreeing cannibalism would be okay then?

  49. Geoff says:

    @SkepticalScience

    “albeit, with absolutely zero proof”

    It is a logical impossibility to prove a negative. If I were to engage you in a debate about saturated fat, I would have to go through every single one of the studies you cited individually and explain what variables are confounding the results. While I am completely capable of doing that, it would be a lot of thankless effort, so I am going to abstain.

    It is much easier to use heuristics to explain why the idea that saturated fat causes heart disease doesn’t make sense, and round it out with the fact that the quality of evidence available with respect to saturated fat causing heart disease is too low to overturn the null hypothesis that would be established by those heuristics.

    That said, for a complete debunking of this nonsense, feel free to dive into all 600 pages + 200 pages of citations of “Good Calories, Bad Calories.” To be clear, I don’t actually eat low carb, nor do I think that low carb is necessarily optimal, but Gary’s debunking of the lipid hypothesis is complete and indisputable.

  50. Geoff says:

    @DW

    Strictly from a health perspective, yes. From a moral perspective, only as a last resort in defense of one’s own life.

  51. @Geoff, that’s so cute. When I was 18 I would use the “you can’t prove a negative” gambit and think that I was making a meaningful point. Now that I’m well into my 30s I’ve realized its “put up or shut up.” (Geez, how obnoxious I must have been at 18.) We’re asking for a substantial amount of proof that shows replacing SFAs with PUFAs is unhealthy and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. So far all you have is… nothing? This is actually another rather fascinating example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. You’re an IT guy with Lego man hair who supports a fringe diet and you’re coming into the a forum populated with medical professionals and scientists telling us that we don’t know anything and that you have “seen the light” and “figured out the secret” that we all are just too dumb to understand. Truly foolish.

  52. DW says:

    Nice, so we’ll be sleeping in shifts if your nutty dietary ideas catch on.

  53. Harriet Hall says:

    @Geoff,

    “for a complete debunking of this nonsense, feel free to dive into all 600 pages + 200 pages of citations of “Good Calories, Bad Calories.”
    I did. I don’t consider it “a complete debunking.” I read both of Taubes’ books and I was not as impressed as you were. See
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/why-we-get-fat/

    Did you miss the part where he admitted his ideas have not been tested?
    And the part where his diet recommendations differ from the evolutionary/paleo diet.

  54. weing says:

    @Geoff,

    “It is much easier to use heuristics to explain why the idea that saturated fat causes heart disease doesn’t make sense, and round it out with the fact that the quality of evidence available with respect to saturated fat causing heart disease is too low to overturn the null hypothesis that would be established by those heuristics.”

    Did you ever wonder why the quality of evidence for what you disagree with is too low to overcome the heuristics? Do you ever wonder whether you could be wrong?

  55. Chris says:

    SkepticalHealth:

    You’re an IT guy with Lego man hair

    I was a structural engineer, does that help? I had to quit working because I gave birth to a much too interesting baby (the seizures were the first clue). Don’t worry, I was already subscribing to Skeptical Inquirer, I already knew that a real skeptic (and a good engineer) will admit to being wrong.

    I confess that my only “mommy instinct” is to model the behavior I expect from others. Though I do sometimes resort to mocking those who really really deserve it. And you do not want to hear what I virtually scream into my laptop.

  56. nybgrus says:

    When I said “if I am missing something, please point it out,” I meant specifically with regard to the idea that dietary fatty acids are chemically identical to those in one’s fat tissue.

    Ahem.

    Ever heard of apolipoproteins? Free fatty acids? Albumin? Hormone sensitive lipase? You know, those things that do, in fact, make triglycerides from diet different from those synthesized in the liver different from those released from adipocytes? Of course you haven’t.

    Yes, the FA and TG portions are identical when they are stored and utilized. They are NOT identical when they are transported through them things that get the atherosclerosis. Very different indeed.

  57. Geoff says:

    @SkepticalHealth

    I didn’t say that substituting PUFA for SFA would increase heart disease, I said that it would increase mortality. That said, if you eat a diet that is otherwise perfect, substituting PUFA for SFA can only increase the likelihood of heart disease, as there is nowhere to go from zero but up.

    @Harriet

    I was referring specifically to his examination of saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, the lipid hypothesis and the diet-heat hypothesis in Good Calories, Bad Calories. WWGF is a children’s book by comparison.

    As far has his dietary recommendations, I don’t buy his carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis, and while I think that it is possible to achieve optimal health on a diet that stays within his guidelines, I also think that it is possible to achieve optimal health on a diet that completely flies outside of the guidelines (e.g. 95% of calories from potatoes, the rest from meat and fish).

    @weing

    Absolutely I’ve wondered, I didn’t get converted to my current beliefs about nutrition overnight, believe it or not I am a skeptic at heart. You can’t imagine how resistant I was to giving up wheat, the fact that I gave systemic scleroderma to myself as a result of its overconsumption be damned. The reason that the quality of evidence is so low is because SFA aren’t actually unhealthy, despite the efforts of hacks like Ancel Keyes try to will it to be so.

  58. Geoff says:

    @nybgrus

    I said specifically free fatty acids, not dietary triglycerides. The composition of the dietary triglycerides are completely irrelevant to health, as triglycerides cannot pass across the intestinal barrier without first being broken into free fatty acids. Palmitic acid from the diet is identical to palmitic acid made in the liver is identical to palmitic acid released from fat tissue. QED

  59. Linda Rosa says:

    Is Oz getting worse? True, he is reaching more people, and that is worse. But he’s certainly no odder. He is probably only calculating in when and how to introduce CAM to the public.

    In 1995, Dr. Oz had started a rudimentary complementary medicine program in the cardiac department at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He worked with Julie Motz, a public health student and self-described “radical energy healer.” Yes, Oz preferred to refer to Motz as a “Reiki” practitioner, but that seems more caution on his part. While Motz did “energy chelation” (aka Reiki or TT) before and after surgery, her antics in the surgical theatre were far more bizarre. Motz claims that Oz was concerned about the reaction of his colleagues to his CAM center and, in particular, worried that referrals would dry up.

    Motz was a psychic jack-of-all-trades. She was a great devotee of perinatal psychology. Motz claimed she inserted her consciousness inside the bodies of Oz’s patients during surgery, and that while there she looked around for unresolved *in utero* trauma that blocked “energy” needed for surviving surgery. An example of such trauma might be the long-repressed memory of a pregnant mother who would not cooperate with the fetus in making a placenta. In one case, Motz determined that a patient being operated on by Oz had a repressed desire to die, so she told him to go ahead and do so. Motz also did “hello” and “good-bye” rituals when Oz did heart transplants, and calmed angry organs and panicky veins that hadn’t been prepared for surgery. In that world of Motz and Oz, patients were being reduced to something akin to an agglomeration of surreal cartoon characters.

  60. weing says:

    “You can’t imagine how resistant I was to giving up wheat, the fact that I gave systemic scleroderma to myself as a result of its overconsumption be damned.”

    Who convinced you of that “fact”?

  61. sarah007 says:

    DW “He did no “orthodox” treatment for the leukemia because it was never symptomatic.”

    DW “no I was not trying to tell you that he did no orthodox treatment for leukemia.”

    You have completely avoided answering this. I would never discuss close familly on a blog but you brought it up. For the record I know quite a few people who have gone down the alternative route for cancer with varied results. Two Lymphoma between the lungs, one did orthodox died on life support couple of months after starting orthodox treatment. This patient developed a ‘chest infection’ so the doctors said we will sedate you and put you on a life support machine and give you massive doses of antibiotics. Took 2 weeks to die in a chemical coma. The other who had the same tumour type in similar area which was a co incidence decided to do Gerson and went back home. She still lives, 15 years after first diagnosis with no relapse.

    Another with multiple tumours in the liver and one metastatic elsewhere started Gerson, in 3 months the tumours in the liver had reduced from 6 to 1 and the metastasis was 1/3 the size. The oncologist who had seen him was stunned. The holdiays came and this patient decided to take time off from juicing and coffee enemas against advice from person mentoring him as his system was in the middle of systemic cleaning. In 6 weeks he got one more tumour back in the liver and was pressurised into doing chemo. After chemo and radiation for metastasis he developed a cataract and auditory nerve damage. Then the cancer spread to the lungs, spleen and pancreas and adrenals. Patient carried on smoking and drinking against advice from his alt med but the medical specialist told this patient this would make no difference, you can eat what you like. He also carried on juicing but stopped the coffee enemas, as far as the partner was concerned the patient was doing ‘everything’. Juicing the right foods provides break down biochemistry, if you don’t support the liver excretion with coffee enemas the system backs up. So this patient did the worst of both, a shotgun wedding of mix and match.

    He died in a lot of pain, the partner still believes this patient tried everything but those who know about these approaches also know that the strict plan was not followed, how do I tell at the funeral friends that knew this patient, that he was doing brilliantly when he followed the plan but as soon as the medics got hold of him they killed him and that was still smoking and drinking too.

    I am truly sorry DW that you went through what you did but having spent many years being aware of proper alternatives, yes I grant there is total shit out there, when I have consistently seen brilliant results with people who really get on the programme I also find that the total story of those that went the alternate route and failed miserably the total picture usually reveals that they didnt, or that the first orthodox treatment they underwent was the real culprit. This doesn’t help your grief but I didn’t bring that up. It is hard for me to write this because someones nuts are on the table in the middle of a great big mess.

    You need to get help with your grief over this because sharing it here is not going to help you.

  62. sarah007 says:

    DW “He did no “orthodox” treatment for the leukemia because it was never symptomatic.”

    DW “no I was not trying to tell you that he did no orthodox treatment for leukemia.”

    So we now see the same ‘editing and medical peer review’ because my considered answer to this has been removed. So:

    I can now assume that from the orginal diagnosis and first round of acute treatment for leukemia the patient’s CV system was damaged. The patient then moved to chronic status with no symptoms but then proceeded to have CV events due to chemo that eventually proved non recoverable. It is totally logical to see how someone being subjected to this treatment regieme would rebell and consider anything else, that doesn’t make the course of action right but non the less it is understandable.

    Doing the alternative doesnt mean mix and match, as I explained in the post that has been removed. It is sad to me that DW has presented only half of a story and been left very unhelped by this site which only serves to add more gasoline to his fire.

    I know plenty of people who have done Gerson and totally recovered from cancer, I also know many who have not done the whole programme and not survived, this is not a failure of Gerson it is a failure to comply with the requirements of the programme which is not easy. Steve Jobs didn’t die of alternatives he had plenty of ops like having his pancreas and liver transplanted, to blame his death on alts is misreprentation.

    DW you need help elsewhere to find closure and move on, this site is too poisonous to take this any further and out of respect for your grief I am moving on.

  63. DW says:

    Sarah. You simply cannot read.
    THERE WAS NO TREATMENT, acute or otherwise. He did not have chemo. He did not “mix and match.” What part of “He had no treatment” can you not understand, no matter how many times I repeat it? You are certain that a treatment he did was bad for him – a treatment he never had. You are completely irrational.

  64. DW says:

    DW “He did no “orthodox” treatment for the leukemia because it was never symptomatic.”

    DW “no I was not trying to tell you that he did no orthodox treatment for leukemia.”

    I see now. You are pasting these two in together because you think I contradicted myself.

    The problem lies in your reading strategies, dear.

    I said “I was not trying to tell you … x,y,z” because I was trying to tell you SOMETHING ELSE. I was telling you that you had missed my point. The point never had anything to do with any orthodox treatment he had for leukemia (because he never had any). I advised you then to go back and re-read, but you did not read trying to get my point – you read looking for what you already believed, and not surprisingly, found it. This is an interesting example of CAM reasoning.

    Maybe it was just the two negatives in that sentence that blew your mind. You figured if I wasn’t trying to tell you a certain thing, I must have been trying to tell you the opposite. That’s not the case. I was trying to tell you SOMETHING ELSE that you have yet to grok.

    I’m guessing this sort of low-level reading skill and poor reasoning skills explains what often happens when CAMsters try to make sense of medical or scientific literature.

  65. nybgrus says:

    The composition of the dietary triglycerides are completely irrelevant to health, as triglycerides cannot pass across the intestinal barrier without first being broken into free fatty acids.

    Just keep shooting yourself in the foot. Dietary fatty acids are not absorbed as FFAs. They are absorbed as TGs and packaged up into chylomicrons with ApoB48 via exocytosis into the intestinal lymphatics. So yes, in fact the do pass straight through that intestinal barrier without being broken down into FFAs. The TGs that are released for energy from adipose tissue (i.e. completely non-dietary origin) are transported as FFAs in the blood via albumin.

    Completely. Different.

    When I said “if I am missing something, please point it out,” I meant specifically with regard to the idea that dietary fatty acids are chemically identical to those in one’s fat tissue.

    Yep. They are different. The interact differently with all the cells in the body. But why am I even bothering?

  66. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    sarah, I wish I were as lucky as you. I knew three people that tried the Gerson protocol, followed it to the letter (with all that caffeine, it was a very unpleasant period) and all three died in agony, much more quickly than other people they met in support groups with similar types and stages of cancer. One developed heart arrhythmias and panic attacks, something she had never experienced before trying coffee enemas. I still keep in touch with the people in the support groups through an e-newsletter the group circulates to encourage each other. Most have had their cancer completely cured through conventional treatment, and a small number experienced significant remission – I only hope the next round of chemotherapy will keep helping.

    I only wish my three friends had gone the conventional route. They might be alive today, and I wouldn’t have had to watch them die without any dignity.

  67. DW says:

    “panic attacks”

    That doesn’t seem surprising with large amounts of caffeine.

    The whole thing sounds a bit sadistic. Of course, chemo can be ghastly, but these very bizarre and arduous regimens that have no evidence base are pointlessly cruel. It’s just my theory, but I think religious notions of sin and punishment lurk beneath the surface of these people’s motivations.

  68. stanmrak says:

    I have been using a grounding sheet on my bed for 4 months now. All I can say is that it is fantastic – maybe the best investment I’ve ever made! I have never had sleeping problems in my life, but now I only need to sleep 5 hours a night, down from my previous 6 or 7. The amazing thing is how refreshed I feel when I wake up; I never would have thought it possible, even though I’ve never had any complaints. Then, there’s the lower back stiffness I’ve had for the last 15 years – virtually gone, and getting better by the week, even though I sit at a computer all day and rarely exercise!

    My point is that if you insist on dismissing (even ridiculing) everything that hasn’t been “scientifically proven,” and refuse to even consider trying something like this, you will miss out on a world of health benefits that you don’t realize are available, because science hasn’t fully “proven” it. All you’d be left with for sleeping issues is Lunesta and Ambien. Sweet dreams.

  69. Scott says:

    @ stanmrak:

    The problem is that you have no idea whether the grounding mat is responsible. Belief and expectation that it will work are very powerful things, especially with something as both subjective and psychologically linked as sleep patterns.

    Doing good science is the ONLY reliable way humans have ever come up with to know whether there is any health benefit whatsoever.

  70. DW says:

    Long-term follow-up. Long-term follow-up.

    The world of CAM runs on testimonials like stanmrak’s.

    They get away with it because there is no long-term follow-up. We need to hear from stanmrak on this in six months, again in 12, again at 2 years, again at 5 years, and again at 10 years. I am fairly certain that stanmrak will have lost his enthusiasm for this silly gizmo and will have quietly understood, at some point, that it probably wasn’t actually doing what he thought it was doing way back when. Or he’ll simply stop using it at some point without giving it much thought, maybe vaguely wondering later why he quit using it or why he was using it in the first place? After all, he told us he didn’t have sleeping problems in the first place. But by then, who cares? He won’t give it a lot of thought at that point and won’t be on an internet forum talking about it then. If something else has changed in his health status, for instance, the back pain has gotten worse, it will be attributed to various other causes and the silly New Age sleeping cure long forgotten.

    It’s nothing unusual about stanmrak. It’s just human nature. We’re all enthused over the latest gizmo. In terms of health, we have science to weed out, over the long term, the things that we got excited over that really didn’t do anything special.

    The people who sell these things know this full well, but since it is hardly useful in selling it to you, they won’t be mentioning it. You can sell virtually anything using testimonials like stanmrak’s, it does not remotely matter whether the gizmo has any plausible means of efficacy or not – just totally doesn’t matter. We are all sheep!

  71. @stanmrak, … that last post has to be deliberate trolling.

  72. DW says:

    “that last post has to be deliberate trolling.”

    Seriously … why do such things strike us as blatantly obviously not to be taken seriously, yet to some people it’s like wow, well if Stan has been using it for 4 months, I guess I’d better get one for my bed too?!

    It’s like my elderly mother with her junk mail. I keep trying to introduce the simple principle that flyers that arrive in the mail saying things like, “I have been using a sleep mat on my bed for 4 months now …” can be moved immediately to the recycling bin? They don’t require your thoughtful consideration; they can be re-pulped, and hopefully the paper will be put to a better use the next time round. For now, it goes in this plastic bin under the sink which we set out on the curb on Tuesdays.

  73. sarah007 says:

    William said”Most have had their cancer completely cured through conventional treatment, and a small number experienced significant remission – I only hope the next round of chemotherapy will keep helping.”

    This is going nowhere unless we tot up a real list of who is making it and who is not, science is a science of disproof, not proof. My experience of the Gerson therapy has been largely a good one, my experience of the chemo route has been a horrible one, not me as patient but knowing others.

    I know people who have done nothing but Gerson and survived, like the conventional route there are people who die whatever is done. So far the ones that didn’t survive after some asking or just knowing from seeing were not doing it to the letter. I am certainly not trying to say you are not being honest, I just don’t have an answer to this conundrum. DW I am sorry you had such a shit time, there are no points to score here. It is a shame that this site seems to have a lot of people who have come here because of really crap experiences and there is nothing here to help these people. Venting crap at people is not going to bring closure so that one can move on. I genuinly would like this to happen, carrying this horrible anger is not healthy.

    I have no wish to contribute to your agony DW and can see no way to move this forward at all, especially on this forum. It runs the risk of just becoming some kind of macabre circus of I said you said she said. If I have added to your anger I am sorry, sincerely.

    If the medical science community was really interested in moving all this on something has to stop this mudslinging, it’s too distructive to be useful and brings the whole world of theraputics into disrepute.

  74. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    My point is that if you insist on dismissing (even ridiculing) everything that hasn’t been “scientifically proven,” and refuse to even consider trying something like this, you will miss out on a world of health benefits that you don’t realize are available, because science hasn’t fully “proven” it.

    If something genuinely helps people sleep, by selling it directly to customers instead of researching and proving it, companies are actually responsible for depriving the majority of the world from taking advantage of a genuinely helpful sleep aid. Something that genuinely works would be trivially easy to demonstrate under well-controlled conditions. It could then become part of the therapeutic repertoire of sleep aids that exist today. Of course, this would be fantastic for everyone and the company would make lots and lots of money. They don’t test it, of course, because they probably know it’s very unlikely it does work. Say what you want about Big Pharma, at least they genuinely put money into testing their products – because there’s good reason to believe they’ll be effective (of course, if they are they then exaggerate how effective they are and try to spin the results, but that’s another problem). Makers of sleep mats have two choices – test and either fail (thus losing credibility) or succeed (and become wildly successful making lots of money) or don’t test and sell a small number of products to those uninterested in knowning if they work. It’s a gamble; prior probability gives you a sense of the odds.

    Skeptics don’t ridicule all things that aren’t scientifically proven – just the ones that make incredibly strong claims that fundamentally contradict science we are already quite confident is correct.

    All you’d be left with for sleeping issues is Lunesta and Ambien. Sweet dreams.

    Have you ever heard of “sleep hygiene”? What about the recommendation to get regular exercise as a way of improving sleep quality? How about the last page of this fact sheet that lists 13 tips to improve the quality of sleep? The recommendations include avoiding drugs – including alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and explicitly mention prescription medications (“Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep, if possible. Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure, or asthma medications, as well as some over-the-counter and herbal remedies for coughs, colds, or allergies, can disrupt sleep patterns.“). In fact, the closest to a recommendation to take drugs is to see a doctor. Once again, CAM pushers don’t actually represent the reality of science-based recommendations. The first instinct is not to prescribe drugs, it is to change habits (often encouraging other healthy habits like exercise along the way).

    My point is – science based recommendations often include free options that promote good overall health. CAM recommendations, when not co-opting science, are often wallet-draining ones like unproven herbs, unnecessary vitamins, expensive services like acupuncture, lengthy (and costly) consultations and, getting back to the original comment, totally unproven devices based on magical thinking and concepts that contradict real knowledge.

    Skeptics don’t say “I will never believe what you say”, they say “test it before you ask anyone to spend money on it”. CAM practitioners replies usually include ad hominen attacks of closed-mindedness, claims their “incredibly effective intervention” can’t be tested, attacks on the scientific process, shoddy testing, ignoring inconvenient negative results and recommendations to buy their products.

    And you accuse Big Pharma of being unethical.

  75. bgoudie says:

    I put up a new calendar in my bedroom this January. In the last two months I’ve slept better than I have in the previous year. There must be a connection right? What’s more the painful cramps and tingling I was having with my right hand went away about the same time. (yes I had surgery on it of them just before that, but what are the chances that could be what fixed things? After all it was invasive and changed my natural wellness state as it healed.)

    I know there’s no currently “scientifically proven” reason for a calendar to make these changes, but who are we to say that anything we think is true has any actual relevance to what is going on in the world? After all people once thought bats were a kind of bird and the whale was a fish.

    My point is that if you limit yourself to the laws of physics, chemistry, or biology you will miss out on this kind of potential healing. Life can be so much simpler if you just stop requiring evidence before making up your mind.

  76. weing says:

    “All you’d be left with for sleeping issues is Lunesta and Ambien. Sweet dreams.”

    You forgot Propofol, you know, the one MJ used.

  77. mousethatroared says:

    stamrack “My point is that if you insist on dismissing (even ridiculing) everything that hasn’t been “scientifically proven,” and refuse to even consider trying something like this, you will miss out on a world of health benefits that you don’t realize are available, because science hasn’t fully “proven” it. All you’d be left with for sleeping issues is Lunesta and Ambien. Sweet dreams.”

    When I was having sleep problems my doctor recommended exercise…hmmm. Which do you suppose is a more “holistic” health choice, exercise or a grounding mat?

  78. I wonder how lung until somebody, or if people already do, starts selling “extra conductive” bed sheets to ground people better while sleeping? Instead of thread count, people will worry about conductivity ratings… of cotton and linen. lol. “Come experience the power of QUANTUM BEDSHEETS that LINEARLY ACCELERATE NEGATIVE IONS towards the earth and IMPROVE ENERGY, BODY BALANCE AND WELLNESS. Only $599.99 for a king size set. Warning: Do not wash these sheets because the dryer’s static charge will counterbalance the conductive flow. Ohm.”

  79. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Don’t be ridiculous SkepticalHealth. They’d never use conductivity ratings, you could measure it.

    Now quantum, that’s something you can’t measure. You should trademark “quantum bedsheets” ASAP so you can collect the royalties.

  80. mousethatroared says:

    If I used quantum bedsheets, I’d be afraid that I’d wake up in an alternate universe next to one of my ex-boyfriends who my alternate self didn’t have the wisdom to dump…and I’d never be sure if my cat, who sleeps under the bed, is alive or dead.

    That’s how much I understand physics.

    I think I’ll stick to my flannel sheets and trying to get more exercise.

  81. EricG says:

    @ geoff

    you said “Second is that all animals thrive in their natural environments”

    then i said, “then why do most zoo animals live longer in captivity?”

    then you said “Lack of predators, no risk of malnutrition, antibiotics”

    so…your definition of “thriving” includes getting eating and dying of malnourishment and disease? have any evidence to support your claims coming after that? house pets, probably – people overfeed their pets like crazy. wild animals in captivity…i’d say their diet is pretty carefully monitored.

    I’d be interested to see that they *dont* eat an evolutionarily appropriate diet to begin with. many animals are fairly intolerant to food variety (marsupials come to mind) as well that there is evidence that they 1st) diverged in diet 2nd) suffered health consequences that were 3rd) restored with a better diet.

  82. DavidRLogan says:

    Re saturated fats, who honestly thinks posting an abstract ought to be persuasive? One needs to look at the data in the paper and determine if it should be interpreted in such a way as to actually support the conclusions of the authors. This meta-analysis (abstract!) has the opposite conclusion most of you are pushing regarding the saturated fats. So what now? The answer is far from “obvious”, as some of you have claimed (or is my abstract the winner?)

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract

    More Sat fat issues. “Saturated Fat” is too vague to be meaningful. The medium-chain fats in coconut oil are going to have different effects on metabolism than others. Ditto the polyunsaturates. And meat itself is not always (wholly) saturated fat. Most of the fats we feed farm animals are PFU’s and will displace some saturates in their tissues.

    Re our life in industrial civilization, neither side mentioned the moral hazard associated with putting animals in captivity (is your diet really the only thing that determines your well-being?) . But, aside from that, the bulk (90% +) of our decreased mortality in this here society comes from four factors: quitting smoking (since the 1950′s), less violence/better protection, penicillin and basic sanitation. So, I think most of what’s been said is too coarsegrained. Without our *awful* civilization we will not survive long. But also, most of our longevity comes from these factors and not from pharmaceutical intervention. A more moderate view is in order.

    Best,
    -David Logan, University of Nebraska

  83. Chris says:

    Mr. Logan, you don’t think that curbing smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus and other vaccine preventable diseases might have had a small effect?

  84. @DavidLogan,

    David, here is a link to the full text of the article of which you posted the abstract:

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.full.pdf

    Your homework tonight is to read this full study and figure out why your posting of it is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand, particularly to the posts that I have been making.

  85. DavidRLogan says:

    Thanks for the comment, Chris. Yes those vaccines have a substantial effect upon longevity. I do think, however, if you were able to talley the total number of human life-years saved by vaccines since the advent of civilization, it would pale next to the number of years saved by sanitation (all the babies that have been born! the food we have available!), safety (violent deaths are hundreds of times more common in non-industrial societies), etc. (of course these factors are not mutually exclusive)

    BUT it’s worth considering, of course, that microorganisms aggregate best in large industrial societies. It’s not at all obvious the net effect of industrialization should only include the people it cures and not the people who died from, say, horrible sanitation in the early cities or even the people who need to be cured. Or do you wish to argue it is obvious?

    But my point is not to tread on vaccines, which HAVE obviously saved millions of lives. My point is to question some earlier posts, which painted a one-sided picture of both those who call themselves “paleo” and the readership of this blog.

    I personally don’t partake in paleo. The body’s not meant to run on such a high percentage of ketones: they’re a highly protective fuel but only at the expense of a global stress response. Over the long term, the results of paleo are not impressive. But still I think some of paleo’s core “ideals” (for one: that not every industrial intervention has improved health) have some merit.

    Just “some” merit. That’s all I’m saying…hopefully doesn’t sound so bad to you.

    -David

  86. DavidRLogan says:

    Skeptical Health,

    Thanks but I have a copy (have a copy of all the papers mentioned in this thread, except for the one about curcumin…thanks for the heads up, btw…extremely interesting and the first I’ve heard…that’s why I read this blog!).

    But clearly that paper is not “irrelevant” to the conversation. Please be more careful with your words! We’re talking about the virtues (or lack thereof) of saturated fats. Any piece of evidence about these guys, no matter how crappy (and I don’t agree with you about the crappiness of this one) is-by the definition of relevant-relevant. If you’d like to discuss this matter with me in a sciencey way, feel free to email me davidrusselllogan@gmail.com and we can discuss the many problems of the PFU’s including how they become AGE’s 20+ times faster than fructose syrup. I’ll be happy to discuss these issues with you in a polite, professional, and (most importantly) NUANCED manner. If you’d like to know, my current view (subject to change!) is that reducing fat across the board is a good idea, but that some of the saturates (eg coconut oil) are quite protective.

    But if you can’t accept these issues as controversial, what can I say? There are different saturated fats, and they have different effects on different metabolisms in different tissues given different nutritional statuses and different delivery mechanisms (!!!). It’s not at all obvious that the jury is in on all of them based on the studies you’ve mentioned, much less that your sweeping generalizations about them in this thread are justified. Nutritional biochem is a controversial, complicated topic. If you can’t accept that, as a scientist and skeptic I’m obliged to suggest you’re missing out on some fun!

    Have a nice evening, and thanks again for your interesting contributions to this site and thread.

    -David

  87. weing says:

    ” If you’d like to know, my current view (subject to change!) is that reducing fat across the board is a good idea, but that some of the saturates (eg coconut oil) are quite protective.”

    I’ve heard that mentioned before (about coconut oil). Do you know what studies this comes from? I’d like to check them out.

  88. Chris says:

    Mr. Logan:

    I do think, however, if you were able to talley the total number of human life-years saved by vaccines since the advent of civilization, it would pale next to the number of years saved by sanitation (all the babies that have been born! the food we have available!), safety (violent deaths are hundreds of times more common in non-industrial societies), etc. (of course these factors are not mutually exclusive)

    Pray tell! Do tally them up for us. Tell us exactly how sanitation saved us, while at the same time delayed infection by polio until a later age when it was more of a problem. Do tell us how diphtheria was better served by dog sled races to provide serum than vaccines (you do know about Balto and the Iditarod?). Then tell us how measles was prevented though sewer treatment. We all want to know!

    Give us data, because we all crave data over profound declarations.

  89. papertrail says:

    The earthing debate seems a no-brainer, to me. The saturated fats debate, not so easy.

  90. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Expect the discussion to shift from “coconut oil” to “virgin coconut oil”. Actual discussions of coconut oil by proponents focus on rat studies, “miraculous” properties of the oil by vanity press, the usual nutjob crowd of Mercola-heads making claims unsupported by evidence, and the like. Actual recommendations by health associations for populations that consume large amounts of coconut oil are generally “reduce and replace with unsaturated fats”.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9100083
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19641346

    There is some question over whether the medium chain (saturated) fatty acids in coconut oil might be better for you than the saturated fats found in meat, but the evidence is not conclusive.

    http://www.jlr.org/content/36/8/1787.full.pdf
    http://www.ajcn.org/content/77/5/1146.full?ijkey=846a72387ebc0d82545acd5442a0c3a9e9fc3566

    Mayo basically says “there’s no evidence to think it’s anything but a normal saturated fat”:
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/coconut-oil-and-weight-loss/AN01899

    And the FDA says “it’s saturated fat, which should be avoided”:
    http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/ConsumerInformation/ucm192658.htm

    There’s also the usual “it improves a surrogate marker for health, therefore it can help you live forever!” claims based on tentative studies like this one:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=8094827

    And there’s some claims that since coconut oil has some of the same fats as breast milk, it’s exactly like breastmilk in every way!!!! sourced to a rather low-on-the-totem-pole fringe journal:
    http://www.sljol.info/index.php/CMJ/article/download/1351/1200 (pdf)

    Often the “scientific” basis for claims are found in quack nutter books and badly written articles like this one:
    http://medind.nic.in/jac/t06/i1/jact06i1p16.pdf

    Coconut oil might merit it’s own article actually – it’s popular among the CAM crowd and the research base is shaky.

  91. weing says:

    @WLU,

    Thanks. I was hoping they had something more substantial than this. When I was an intern, I had an Indonesian resident that told me that they would use coconut milk, directly from the nut, for fluid replacement during diarrhea epidemics. He could have been pulling my leg, though.

  92. WLU, I agree with your assessment.

    I’m currently writing an article on the Weston A Price Foundation, and one or their board members, a medical doctor who practices homeopathy and other garbage, suggests eating three scoops of coconut oil per day for Herpes:

    http://www.westonaprice.org/ask-the-doctor/herpes

    I almost feel like I’m giving away my hidden trove of comedy gold, but for anyone who wants hours of comical reading of bad medical advice, check this out: http://www.westonaprice.org/ask-the-doctor/

  93. DavidRLogan says:

    Chris,

    Didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers. I didn’t say sanitation cured measles (do you really attribute that to me?). I said the advent of civilization allowed for species other than humans to thrive (dogs, cats…and yes, some microorganisms). Therefore it’s hard to count the net effect of civilization upon microorganisms. I consider this part of my argument completely unassailable (or do you think dogs and cats are less numerous now?) and therefore the argument over.

    Obviously the number of human lives saved by each intervention is beyond the scope of this thread. As I mentioned few of the effects of civilization are mutually exclusive, so it would be hard to calculate how many lives are saved by each intervention. It seems plausible to me (not a declarative sentence!) that sanitation and the factors I mentioned account for the greatest part of our longevity, and that the advent of civilization itself has been breeding ground for microorgranisms humans have struggled with throughout the ages. You disagree, that is fine. Hopefully it is ok with you to speculate about such matters on an internet forum

    I await your next sarcastic response. Otherwise, have a nice day and thank you for helping me to think about my views.

    Best,
    -David

  94. DavidRLogan says:

    @WLU @SkepticalHealth @Weing

    WLU thank you for the resources (to all three: to whom does “they” refer? Hopfully not me!)

    As I made clear in an earlier post, I don’t think the evidence for coconut oil is conclusive. I don’t think lauric acid is the same as breast milk nor do I think CNO will help you live forever. And WLU, I use refined-not virgin-CNO for me and my family (not tablespoons…I cook with it!) because I don’t like the taste of coconuts :)

    Clearly we have a different perspective. To me, the “might” evidence, the effects on animals, and the positive experiences I’ve had with this food warrant further study. To you, it warrants the damocles sword of skepticism to fall on coconut oil as soon as possible. That’s too bad. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t find the large cultural studies persuasive toward a positive argument regarding a single nutrient. Metabolism is too complicated-nutrients are protective in some circumstances and not in others-for studies with such large numbers of uncontrolled confounding factors to say something meaningful. In absence of further data, I’m obligated as a scientist to say “I don’t know” and I worry about demonizing or worshipping coconut oil before there is more evidence. We should leave that sort of thing to Joe Mercola.

    FWIW, I really didn’t mean to ruffle anyone’s feathers on here. I realize you’re all a bit edgy having to deal with the Weston Price trolls and so on. But I love SBM and have the utmost respect for the editorial board. I only chime in when I think stuff is more controversial than “earthing”…and obviously the metabolism of fats is that controversial. I don’t think it’s in the spirit of this board to respond to criticism by comparing people to Weston Price zealots etc. saying ‘now the conversation will digress to virgin oil’ etc. We all have students, residents, interns, etc. (for me just students) and at least I consider it my job to treat their criticism much differently. If we pretend that the current literature has uncontroversial, unassailable answers to questions of nutrition for all people in all situations, we are no better than those we rile against here on SBM. (cue cheesy music)

    Have a nice morning everyone.

    -David

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      @DavidRLogan,

      “To me, the “might” evidence, the effects on animals, and the positive experiences I’ve had with this food warrant further study.”

      No argument with that! We only object when people claim certainty without the further study.

      “If we pretend that the current literature has uncontroversial, unassailable answers to questions of nutrition for all people in all situations,”

      I don’t think SBM is guilty of that.

  95. DavidRLogan says:

    @WLU

    A more pointed comment: can you post a full text of the second paper (Zevenbergen et al)? That’d be great if so, otherwise I’ll get it on interlibrary. My head almost exploded when I saw they’re recommending margarines. I’m very interested in what “substantial improvement” is going to mean there. If you don’t put it up in the next few hours I’ll go ahead and order, so no biggie.

    Also, the Mayo link is pretty worthless. No data, no experiments, a couple paragraphs and I doubt an LD/RD speaks for the whole MC. I think undergraduate chemistry is probably harder than the RD qualifying stuff.

    ALSO, the FDA link didn’t work. I tried searching but couldn’t find it? Can you please repost?

    Thanks,
    -David

  96. @David, I’m curious what wonderful benefits you experienced by using coconut oil?

  97. DavidRLogan says:

    @Harriet Hall

    Thank you. And I agree the second point was an overstatement. The OP’s on SBM are always free from that sort of thing. However, it is a problem in the comments (which is one reason I rarely chime in).

    @Skeptical Health

    Thanks for asking! (though I’m unsure if you’re sincere) I said they were “positive” not “wonderful”.

    Well I get my bloodwork done every few weeks because I’m obsessed with this topic. After the addition of coconut oil I saw that some of the indices for which I’m looking got better. But that’s not evidence! So I went back to my normal way of eating for about a month and tested again. I’ve written down everything I eat for the last five years and how I feel, slept, etc. so I have a decent control for four weeks. I’ve worked it out I get the same nutrition about every month and also I followed a strength testing protocol something similar to used by the baseball trainer Eric Cressey.

    Anyway after a month of no CNO and a month on I can say it made the difference in the relevent parameters. Also I noticed during the CNO month I have greater tolerance to the cold/dry weather here in Nebraska.

    But of course I’m not saying this is more than anecdotal crap. I’m alot healthier than most people so I can’t say what the effect would be in others. Maybe coconut oil is a huge stress, got damaged in my body and then I had elevated metabolism due to inflammation! I don’t know, but it did pique my interest.

  98. DW says:

    ” I’ve written down everything I eat for the last five years and how I feel, slept, etc. ”

    Good grief … that is so obsessive, it’s far from a way to get objective data on anything. I urge you in the interests of mental health to stop such a practice! There are other components to one’s well being than just nutrition. If you had back the time you’ve spent on the narcissistic project of recording your personal food intake, geez, think of the things you could do with your life.

    It’s pointless anyway. It reminds me of the crunchy-granola mothers on forums like Mothering.com exchanging misinformation about food allergies. They’ll say something like, “My son had a hard boiled egg this morning. A few minutes later, he hit his sister. Therefore, hard boiled eggs make my son aggressive. Therefore, my son has an egg allergy.” This is the only kind of data you can get from writing down everything you eat and then trying to correlate it with how you slept or how you feel. It is just a route to crazy.

  99. Chris says:

    Mr. Logan:

    It seems plausible to me (not a declarative sentence!) that sanitation and the factors I mentioned account for the greatest part of our longevity, and that the advent of civilization itself has been breeding ground for microorgranisms humans have struggled with throughout the ages. You disagree, that is fine. Hopefully it is ok with you to speculate about such matters on an internet forum

    The title of this blog includes the words “science based”, not “speculation based.” So do not be surprised when you are asked to justify your statements with real data. It works better if you actually provide supporting documentation when you post speculations.

    If you read a bit of history, you will learn that many people lived long lives over the past few centuries. Both Leonard Euler and Benjamin Franklin lived long lives (and you may want to research why the latter changed his mind on smallpox variolation). The trick to a long life up until the mid-twentieth century was surviving childhood. It was quite common for a family to lose multiple children to infections (my grandmother had two brothers who died before age seven). Another bit of history you should check out is the rubella epidemic of the early 1960s.

    The bit about “civilization” is a ironic when you learn that there were several civilizations in the Americas that were wiped out. The Incas were not just wiped out by Spanish guns, but by their infections. There is a reason that Jared Diamond’s book is titled Guns, Germs and Steel. Another book is 1491 by Charles Mann. There are descriptions of thriving communities along the American east coast by Europeans who first ventured there, only to be gone by the time the next European ship came by.

    So before you again speculate on medical achievements, and downplay one very important factor, actually learn about it. One place to start is:
    http://www.historyofvaccines.org/

  100. @David,

    Thank you for answering my question, without actually answering the question.

Comments are closed.