Michael Shermer with Nina Teicholz — The Big Fat Surprise About Diet and Nutrition (#32)

Michael Shermer with Nina Teicholz — The Big Fat Surprise About Diet and Nutrition (#32)

okay we're rolling let's just we can just go ahead and get started okay you are the author of the big fat surprise everybody well no we'll give a proper introduction in the write-up to the podcast but it's been four years now actually let me point out something on the subtitle of the book which people forget the title of the book is big fat surprise Sceptile is why butter meat and cheese belong in a healthy diet so right off the bat you're not saying it's the only thing you should ever eat right so yeah differently I think I I think there's a case to be made that these foods do belong in a healthy diet but I don't think I actually make that case in my book I think my book makes the case that they can belong in a healthy diet because my book essentially argues that saturated fat was unfairly villainized and and doesn't turn out to cause heart disease and so the basic argument I make is that you know people haven't been eating these foods because they believe they caused heart disease and I'm saying with that fear removed you can eat these foods without fear I think it's another step to make the positive case for eating those foods and I don't I don't do that in my book so in retrospect you know and you're it you're always doing like a million miles an hour when you're getting your book ready for publication and the marketing people come in and they think oh let's do this language and I just didn't fully think it all through it but I think it should be I think the appropriate subtitle would have been these foods can belong in a healthy diet but so you're saying there are some people who maybe shouldn't eat those foods no I think that the argument to be made for why you should include them in your diet involves a set of arguments that I don't make in the books such as their nutritional density the complete set of nutrients that they provide for human health that cannot be found if you eat a plant only based diet okay right so let's let's pull back and take a bigger person for a moment before we get into the weeds that it's been four years now I know but came out in May of 2014 so how is the reception been I just kind of did a quick scan there's you know quite a few positive reviews like in the Wall Street Journal and then quite a few negative reviews and sort of predictably all over the board given the controversial nature of the topic how have you how have you felt that the book has been received in terms of its fare the fairness of the assessment of the thesis yeah so the main thief book really talks about the history of how we came to believe that fat saturated fat dietary cholesterol are bad and it really tells the story right so it's been called a nutrition thriller and a page-turner and it really is it's meant to really tell the story of the politics the personalities the players the shocking story of evidence being buried and ignored but its central thesis is that saturated fats in particular have been unfairly villainized and and do not deserve the wrap up for causing heart disease the reception has I mean it's interesting the Google search results have you know you can play with Google search results and people have clearly been doing that with mine I mean the top level reception has been it's been uniformly positive I mean it was named a best book of the Year by The Economist The Wall Street Journal for some other Jones on the other side of the spectrum Kirkus Reviews Library Journal it was it received really rave reviews unusually for a lay persons book in nutrition journals American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gave it a full page so did the BMJ big spread and vmj The Lancet just recently published a full-page review of the book which is another top top medical journal saying we checked the facts of this book and we think it is correct and and both The Lancet and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said every health practitioner every person interested in health should read this book so I mean in terms of the top level reception of the book it has been really 100% positive where the negative reception has come from you know the vegan community and some bloggers but not in a single publication you know not in a single mainstream publication has there been a serious negative review of my book I mean they're questions about some of the points that it raises but but you know I think that's fair but I mean I think the reception by people who are you know who don't have an agenda or some kind of you know aren't aren't defending a vested interest of some kind the reception has just been extremely good so I feel pleased about it and it's still you know it's still selling well and it's still considered sort of the go-to book to to educate yourself about you know how we got into this seeming Menace on nutrition policy right yeah I know Gary I've known Gary Taubes since the 90s and I hosted Amit our lecture series at Cal Tech and and we've reviewed his books and so when I just had him last year for the sugar book at one of our salons I asked him if he felt somewhat vindicated because he was really out in the out and in the weeds there I mean the sort of frontiers by himself back in the late 90s and you know he was vilified pretty pretty harshly and it's really looking like he and and you are now being vindicated by the science well I think so I mean without sounding like we're adding her own horns and I you know I've known Gary we used to go out to lunch and talk about LDL cholesterol when his wife was would say don't talk to me about LDL cholesterol anymore okay and he wasn't well known at all but you know what has happened since Gary as you so rightly put so bravely stepped out into this arena and challenged the conventional status quo on fat and saturated fat and cholesterol what has happened so the American Heart Association and the US dietary guidelines which are the two principal official Dietary Guidelines that we have they have both dropped the low-fat diet so the words low-fat do not appear on their website that's it's a little tricky and that they haven't actually backed off the low-fat diet when they give you the percentages of what you're supposed to eat they still really recommend a high carb diet but they've backed off the low-fat language they've also dropped their caps on cholesterol just in the last few years nobody really knows about that either because there's no press announcement there wasn't a one you know like a one-line statement in their recent publications just saying no evidence found for this this pillar of our dietary advice for the last 50 years but you know those are big shifts and we are starting to see the saturated fat the back consensus really crumbling now there are more than a dozen overall papers by teams of scientists all over the world reviewing the evidence on saturated fats because it was unearthed by Gary tabs because I wrote about it and saying you know what we got it wrong in saturated fats so that's starting to Teeter as well and basically fat saturated fat and cholesterol are the three major pillars of dietary advice over the last you know since the early 60s and and now we see they're starting to fall yeah I think it's good to make a distinction between what specific problems that we are addressing is it weight lock gain and weight loss or cardiovascular disease or maybe say athletic performance you know I'm always interested in well what can I eat so I can ride my bike faster farther or whatever and all athletes think about that and so it depends on what your goal is you may have different dietary needs depending on what your particular goals are you may be cardiovascularly just fine but you want to lose 15 pounds that's a different question then your weight is fine you know take someone like David Letterman he was always super skinny but he had a you know these cardiovascular issues and he had to have a you know you know whatever not that heart transplant but the and this dance he had put stents in or something like that so you know that would be a different question eating for cardiovascular health something like that so and you're when you're talking about cardiovascular ated fats cholesterol you're mostly on the target of heart disease question not weight loss but weight loss is obviously probably the biggest thing everyone is constantly worried about half of Americans are on diets constantly losing and waiting and gaining back the same pounds over and over a year after a year that would be a different kind of discussion or do you put them all in the same general health category I do and it's also it's not an original concept it really goes back to writers and thinkers including voyagers in mid 1800s who came across populations who really had their own indigenous diets and found out that when they started importing refined carbohydrates in a jam crackers sugars that they that they lost their health and they in they lost their health altogether in a number of ways that got heart disease they became obese they became diabetic and there was this cluster of what was called then Western diseases that all seemed to appear together and they do cluster you know if you're obese you're at high risk for diabetes here at diabetes you're at high risk for the heart disease if you have any of those you're at high risk for Alzheimer's and the idea is that at the base there is a common metabolic dysfunction that is going on that produces all these diseases and they appear in different people in different stages in different ways but it explains why you can have marathoners getting diabetes it's not you know it's because they're they're controlling their way through through a lot of exercise but they're still having this metabolic dysfunction and I think that that metabolic dysfunction is our best understanding of it now although I don't think it's the only explanation is that it is caused by excessive carb consumption of carbohydrates maybe some kind of maybe ever fine carbohydrates maybe too many carbohydrates and in combination with sugar some combination of those explanations which exhausts your pancreas is ability to produce insulin and then at some point your body becomes unable to respond to the glucose the carbohydrates that you're consuming and and that's when you during your body tips over into this state of metabolic ill health and that's when you start seeing all these diseases develop at the same time so I think there is a common source I mean just going back to saturated fats saturated fats were always accused just of pausing courtesies they were accused of causing obesity or anything else so it was what was pinned on them was just heart disease this was triggered by Eisenhower's heart attack in the late 50s and others and and so we latched onto that well what's he doing well and no one no one pointed out the smoking four packs a day probably probably wasn't this healthiest thing he could be doing but instead focused on is his dietary cholesterol and and and then linked that to heart disease even that link seems to now be broken right scientifically the one between the nitrate yes correct there's a causal chain there you have to follow along and there's a it looks like there's a break in that in that chain now well yeah the original hypothesis called the diet heart hypothesis proposed by Ansel keys from the University of Minnesota was that the idea was saturated fats would raise your blood cholesterol that would clog your arteries like hot oil down a cold stove pipe and give you a heart attack that was his theory but it was just a theory and it was adopted in 1961 by the American Heart Association in response to this as you say this like panic over what caused heart disease your President Eisenhower had a heart attack was out of the Oval Office for 10 days so everybody wants to know the answer what causes heart disease and it was into that vacuum that Ancel keys and his diet heart hypothesis stepped but when it was adopted by the American Heart Association there was just very weak evidence for it but there it was in response to a the public's need to have some kind of advice right initially you know the story that I think is completely fascinating is that in the subsequent decade decades in the 60s and 70s there were efforts by governments all over the world to undertake to try to fill the gap of this evidence you know to do the gold standard of rigorous seven just called randomized controlled clinical trials and do those trials to try to prove the diet heart hypothesis right you know here we had the American Heart Association has already told everybody in America to eat this diet it better be right but the results of these trials which tested more than 75,000 people all over the world they could never get the results that they wanted they never show that switching out saturated fats for polyunsaturated vegetable oils like eating margarine instead of butter you know yeah eating Crisco instead of lard they could never show that that reduce either cardiovascular mortality or her total mortality and in at least a dozen of these sorry almost a dozen of these experiments they found that people on the high vegetable oil diet the margarine and the Crisco they died at much higher rates of cancer mm-hmm they couldn't really explain so they could never prove Ansel Kita's hypothesis correct and really what happened to those studies is that they were ignored they became what is kind of known I'm sure you know this from other fields of study you know kind of silent studies there nobody reviews them nobody cites them they're not part of reviews and I think really importantly something that I discovered when I was looking at the evidence for our US dietary guidelines which is the most important policy the most powerful lever on what Americans eat but no expert committee for the dietary guidelines going back to 1980 when they were launched had ever reviewed any of these clinical trials mm-hmm they're just like not their data that disappeared so you know I think that it's starting to be recognized that data but there's still a lot of resist institutional resistance to to allowing this data to be fully kind of seen and reckoned with what triggered this by inviting you to do this dialogue was that report on let's see the Iceman they finally after all you know almost two decades now found his stomach which I guess had been pushed way up from the ice pressure on him over the thousands of years and they finally pulled it out and found the food in there and it was mostly meat ibex and deer and you know high fat like a marbled meat and this is the kind of thing you want to take with you when you're going on you know six day hike into the Alps and there was some some grains and stuff like that so you know I thought oh boy vindication of the you know meander diet Neanderthal diet but then they said oh but he also had arthrosclerosis you know I'm not sure how they measured that if they actually sliced open some of his arteries and and looked at them but you pointed out in a tweet that in fact the Inuit eat a lot of high-fat blubbery meat and so on but their arteries just the they may get some plaque buildup but the arteries are just larger so the blood is still flowing you're not gonna get an occlusion to cause a heart attack yeah I mean this is one of the early misconceptions that still lives with us and that idea that plaque buildup in your arteries is a sign that that is correlated with your risk of a heart attack that turns out not to be true but there were very influential experiments where they sliced people's arteries and autopsies and found that they had plaques and we're convinced that this is what was causing people to it seems logical you're already a shrink but it turns out that two things one is that people's arteries expand and to accommodate the plaque buildup plaque buildup seems to be a normal and natural part of Aging and the second thing that has been discovered in cardiology is that that it's not plaque per se that is risky it's the unstable breakaway plaques that break away and then they they Lodge in your arteries and that is what causes a stoppage and it's not clear what it is about those plaques they tend to have oxidized LDL cholesterol in them there for some reason they're less stable but it is not related to the total amount of plaque which is why you know stenting has not been able to be correlated with improved cardiovascular outcomes because it really is not about the diameter of your arteries but you know old myths die hard that's why I one of my roses don't don't pass policies for which you don't have rigorous evidence because we're singing out of bad policies is very hard mm-hmm what so if dietary cholesterol does not directly lead to heart disease and heart attacks what what what causes heart attacks and heart disease in well I think that we cannot so I don't think the data is there to answer that question with confidence I can say that Gary Taubes has documented in populations how the appearance of sugar refined sugar in those populations is soon thereafter followed by the first documented cases of people having heart attacks we know that's true in England and in France so it might be sugar I think that there is a number of clinical trials now quite a number of clinical trials show that the vast majority of cardiovascular risk factors are improved by reducing your total carbohydrates so that if here's somebody who is fighting with heart disease reducing your carbs and this I mean not only sugar but you know bread pasta even whole-grain pasta your body understands all of that is glucose and if you reduce that glucose load on your body you will see your and replace it with your mainly fat also protein you see your good cholesterol your HDL go up you see your triglycerides go down those are both signs of improved risk your you will see your blood pressure go down I mean a recent study that looked at 22 cardiovascular risk factors after a year on the ketogenic diet 21 of them got better come on you genic diet so and that I think is a fairly consistent finding now so while we don't know exactly what causes heart disease we know the diet that can help improve the vast majority of cardiovascular risk factors mm-hmm mm-hmm I mentioned I had dinner the other night with Garrett with sorry John Mackey the CEO of Whole Foods he mentioned he debated you he didn't give the context and that you guys went out and he claims he has the evidence that you know the vegan vegetarian diet is the way to go plant-based although he did you know when I pushed him a little bit and we went back and forth he did admit that the evidence is me and that it's difficult to prove causality in these dietary studies in part because it's difficult to first get people to accurately record what they eat we all misrepresent what they're miss remember what we had for breakfast or you know every day how much you eat and so on and the other controlled studies like in prisons where they do control exactly how much and what the prisoners eat even there the sample sizes shift as prisoners leave the prison and new prisoners come in and that changes what's actually being studied even though that's not recorded in the data so it's very difficult to to actually set up a causal chain of of causal vectors you're looking for in this particular area because it's so complex yeah there are a lot of problems with nutrition studies and and but you know I think for his plant-based you know vegan diet the evidence is much much less rigorous it's a much smaller pot of evidence supporting his diet I mean mainly they rely on these epidemiological studies that show association but not causation that your listeners understand and and you know nutrition as you say nutrition epidemiologic Pepa Dini ology is especially fraud because you people you're relying on what people write down and what they remember themselves eating over the last day or the last six months and while it's easy to remember you know if you drink milk every day that's an easy one to check the box or if it's low-fat or not that it's a lot harder to say how many cups of ribs did you have and and you know and if I put this on yeah how do I know that that they're formerly our formulary for interpreting lasagna is the same one that I cooked you know where I cook it without pasta you don't mean it's just it's very this very very unreliable form of information and when nutritional epidemiological findings have been tested in clinical trials they've been found to be correct that is nutrition epidemiology is correct zero to twenty percent of the time so that's like pretty low odds on we should base you know things like you know geology said vitami Zeppelin supplements are good that turned out to be wrong I mean there's a whole series of findings like that and and the randomized controlled clinical trials on the plant-based diets show either no positive effect or as you say I mean it's it's or they should they consistently show one thing they consistently show is that they lower your HDL and they usually raise your triglycerides so those two signs that your heart disease risk is going up that's because it's very almost impossible to do a vegan diet although I know people who do it that is low carb meat it's art almost inevitably pretty high carb you're relying on grains to make a plot of your calories the booze they're all high in carbohydrates and carbohydrates really do drive your cardiovascular risk factors no yeah you know Daphne's right about the state of the evidence but but but but in his defense that are anecdotally he exercises a lot so it could be he's healthy as a vegan whereas somebody who doesn't exercise much on the same diet may not be as healthy so there's many other factors yeah but one of the things that's really come out I think recently in the literature is this idea that you can't exercise your way out of a bad diet in other words nutrition is the principal driver in weight and in in other disease factors that so and that's just because it just is I mean what you consume in your body you just can't exercise away easily and you know just as a little anecdote of that I know you know their numerous marathoners including quite famously Tim notes in South Africa who developed diabetes mm-hmm I mean you know he's run like 100 marathons he's this you know he's skinny but he got diabetes because he's constantly carb loading before his races drinking that GU stuff or whatever I have GU I like but you know when you when you're three hours out from home and you're and you're bonking a Google get you home if your glucose burner yeah but I have to say the stuff that cyclists eat that is gusta it's just like cake frosting it's just pure sugar yes I used to suck cake staying out of the tube when I was a kid like I just had such a bad day but you know I'm a counterexample I used to jog or bike an hour every day and was 15 pounds heavier than I am now doing but now I love exercise I continue to do exercise but I am always still suppressed by work like I do like maybe an hour of exercise a week now hmm and I'm effortlessly at a lower weight and okay this is we're just N equals one here and we're not talking about fighting do the large review the you know big meta-analyses of aerobic exercise they cannot find that it helps people to lose weight right was it your book that you were talking about enjoying a big bowl of granola and or even a whole box of granola because I've done that and I can tell the next day or the next two days I'm you know this was not a healthy thing to do even though we think of granola as like this organic non-gmo is super healthy but they pack a lot of sugar in there too even the this so called healthy granola is have a lot of sugar well they're grains too I mean it's just like as I said you know your body understands all grains as glucose that's the way it understands it so you know I used to do this I used to eat rice cakes no fat rice cakes I'm sure many men of my generation have that memory you know for dinner that's all glucose to your body so um so it's just you know it turns out and and interestingly although experts will say you know don't have eggs and bacon is bad for your health but they will all agree that it's better to have saturated fats than carbohydrates hmm so that the translation of that consensus that saturated fats is better than carbohydrates is eggs are better than granola for breakfast right that's how you understand that and bacon I would add bacon but you know I'm I'm not afraid of red meat so a good breakfast good breakfast for you would be like two eggs two strips of bacon cup of coffee maybe but not like they're not a glass of orange juice because that's just pure sugar right well actually I'm an intermittent faster so I don't eat breakfast yeah so I started doing that after Joe Rogan was telling me about it I think he I think he told you about it on his show – intermittent fasting but it's a say you have dinner at seven o'clock in the evening and you don't eat until the next day at around 11 or 12 say you've had a good 15 16 hour fast I do that pretty much every day that's now considered healthy right you know what it does is is it gives your body a rest from processing Bluecoats basically so anytime you have a glucose sugar circulating in your blood your pancreas reacts so that by secreting insulin right once you have circulating insulin it's like the bank teller window going down you cannot access your body's fat deposits because what your body says is oh I have this instant source of energy I'm not accessing my own fat deposits for fuel so you've just spent the whole night using your own you know you didn't die overnight because you're getting your energy from your fat that's how you're fueling yourself and if you don't eat in the morning you continue to fuel yourself from your fat that's what you want to do if you lose weight you want to you want to mobilize your fat out of your fat cells and use it for fuel the moment you have that juiced or really almost any kind of food you you're like the bank teller window shuts down says we're not accessing your fat stores anymore because now we've got this immediate source of energy let's use that first so you continue to lose lose weight or or mobilizer fat depositions while you're fasting and that's I think there are many other effects of fasting and we don't know that much more about it but that's the theory behind why fasting works and it's a really easy way for people to you know eat what they want a lot of it and just like it's an easy thing to do and it's in your diet with that like a lot of thinking right because it's easy to get through the morning without eating I would think working out then and the more would be better than the afternoon because you're using that body your own body's fat because you haven't put anything in there yeah I mean the key thing is it's easier to be to fast if you are somebody who has adjusted your body to live off your fat stores mm-hmm if you're somebody on a high carbohydrate diet your body has become accustom it accustomed to utilizing glucose so you're a glucose burner so you have to then shift your butt a little bit like becoming a hybrid car you have to be able to also have another fuel source which is your own fat cells if you've lived in a high carbohydrate diet for like decades as I did I mean I was a vegetarian for 25 years I eat tons of bread I was like I was incredibly out great bread maker but I was a glucose learner and I could not have easily fasted because glucose it's what you'd call bonking uh you know mm-hmm glucose stops coming in and if you can't bring your if you're not adjusted to also burning your fat if you don't have an alternative fuel source you just bombed right super hungry so you can train your body essentially to become a fat burner but that takes what once or years of sort of consistent diet and exercise no it just requires going on a low carb high fat diet some people can adjust their bodies over in a piece mmm people take a month or more most people can get adjusted to a low-fat a low-carb diet within a matter of weeks it really doesn't take that much I mean be an uncomfortable transition in spite people associate with flu-like symptoms or they feel bad because you're up regulating certain enzymes and down regulating other enzymes you're changing your metabolic pathways but you know you can make that adjustment your body can do that mm-hmm what about the role of genetics like this I remember reading this was decades ago now that the fad thermostat you know that you're you're born with this this level of fat that your body wants and you know when you're hungry you just crave certain foods to fill up fill up to that thermostat level that your body is set at but we can we can adjust that thermostat by changing your lifestyle and diet for some period of time like six months to a year and you lower the thermostat level so you don't need as much body fat but it's easier for some than others because of genetics that was the argument you know I think that there were just two articles out this week about how little we know too about individual genetics to really have kind of individually tailored diets for people you can use either a bath you can you can eat this and you can eat that I mean other than like lactose intolerance and it means it's there's very little that we know at that specific level of genetics because the data just isn't there and you know going back to this point of how hard it is to get good data doing a good clinical trial getting people to eat what they say they trusting the results getting and doing all of that and now you want to do it an individual genetic level mm-hmm the data is not there yet mm-hmm so I think it's sort of wishful thinking and maybe 60 years down the line in terms of what that can reap for us mm-hmm well the context for this is when the other trigger for doing this was you know my own personal family history my father died of a heart attack at 61 and his father died of our attack about the same age one of his two brothers died of a heart attack and I'm 63 now almost 64 so I'm a couple years passed you know when my my dad dropped dead from this and I have no idea what his cholesterol was but in the 1980s when I was a bike racer and I I would train probably 500 miles a week I had like 4% body fat and you know I was a you know lean mean fighting machine and yet my cholesterol was still you know kind of like 220 210 220 overall and I was always right on the margin and I've been a Kaiser patient for decades and you know they just had their formula okay you got to go on statins I just like you know I'm in my 20s you know what are you talking about I'm riding my bike 500 miles a week Stanton's I'm not doing it so I figured there must be just some genetic thing that that puts me just slightly higher but I don't care I'm working out so I just didn't do it and then you know so now I'm bet you know now I'm in my 60s and all the docs are oh you got to be on statins and so I moved to Santa Barbara I'm off Kaiser just so I just got a new doc and he's every cardiologist in America take statins even if they don't need it even if they have perfect cholesterol they take statins just in case I'm like okay all right all right you know and then I went back after my blood work and to get the final you know sign off on this with the new Docs and he was gone and I had some other doc and he's like you work out every day don't worry about it you know there's no evidence is weak I'm like you know these are two you know you know general practitioners who are supposedly up on the information the data and and they're telling me come to completely different things then after I tweeted about this last week and you jumped in on that I had people you know emailing me oh my god you know statins are the biggest scam of all time big pharma making money complete waste of time others oh no you Shermer get back on the statins oh please please like wow it's incredible that we can be all over the map on such a seemingly simple thing that's obviously not that simple yeah you know I haven't waded into the statin debate too much because it is it is like another very hotly contested field but I will say that you know study quite in quite a lot of depth the literature on which cholesterol markers track well with your heart attack risk and there's been again a study that was started in the nineteen forty eight called the Framingham study well thousands and thousands of men to see and did you know which of their cholesterol markers tracked with heart attack and death and what they discovered by the mid to late 1980s was it's not total cholesterol your total cholesterol does not track almost at all and in fact in something that nobody ever publicized because heart disease the British because it was always focused on men but you know women women the higher cholesterol they had over 50 the long more likely they were to live longer and it was said that for you know for men and varied but you know for the most part really no strong correlation and and the best and also LDL cholesterol which is what statins are focused on they could not find a reliable they found that was weakly poorly correlated with your particular outcome so I will say cynically that the reason that that doctors tend to focus on LDL cholesterol is that they have a drug for it I mean that's what they know how they know how to lower LDL they tried the pharmaceutical companies tried very hard to figure out a way to raise your HDL cholesterol but those drugs turn out that killed people so they could never successfully commercialize a drug that would raise your HDL so HDL sort of became the disfavor they had no drug for it mm-hmm in the Framingham study it turned out that the most reliable predictor of your heart your cardiovascular risk comes apart attacks and death was HDL mm-hmm HDL and your triglycerides some of the things that are regularly measured in your standard panel it's your HDL to triglyceride ratio that most reliably predicts your cardiovascular risk say it again HDL triglyceride ratio Leicester all right what raises HDL red wine a little bit exercise a little bit what raises it the most any guesses good it'd be saturated the most efficient way to raise your gel and triglycerides are driven by your carbohydrate intake it's a direct reflection of how many carbs are right so the way to get that ratio looking really good is to eat more saturated fat and reduce your carbohydrates right and that those are the most reliable predictors according to not just Framingham but other studies that have come right LDL is a very hot political potato because again pharmaceutical companies have a drug for it and everybody has kind of focused their hypotheses their scientific hypotheses around LDL but it just does not have it just doesn't have the same kind of predictive power I'll tell you something else really fascinating is that people have discovered there's a whole community of people that have discovered that that they can completely rigged their LDL cholesterol by just changing what they eat in the last three days right we're measuring what we ate the last three days right I mean is that meaningful so you know it's um so I think that you know the numbers I worry about the numbers that my husband gets the same thing as you he goes to his doctor and his doctors like 100 percent of cardiologists agree with me like look sweetheart uh 100 percent of experts would tell you the dietary cholesterol is bad for your health and that that's gone now I'm Senate experts believed in the low-fat diet and that's gone now too so you know 100 percent of experts believe a lot that just turns out so is your husband on statins no he's not not in my house and you're not obviously so now I've drawn numbers now you know I have some records from when I was this like struggling fat in my young 20s I was actually like a hiking leader at a spa and I went and I how all my numbers done and they and my HDL was really low and everything looked bad even though I was hiking every day and eating all the spa food which was like very very low fat and very high carb and I have the little notations they're saying if eaten you know reduce saturated fat mm-hm yeah yeah yeah so but any part of its the culture of when you why we go to doctors and what we expect you know it's like I have this problem what can you do it for me and maybe they can't do any but they feel like well I got to say something or I gotta send a script home with this guy so he can feel like he's gonna take something that's gonna help I noticed this especially when my stepfather I was kind of a caretaker for him in his 80s and he had you know like what happens when you get old just aches and pains and this and that and you know we'd go and these poor docs they're just racking their brains trying to figure out what's wrong with my dad and you know he's just like well give me something okay here you know they'd write a script and you know I mean it's part of the culture you know you can't just say well sorry you're getting old or you know just go home and eat right and exercise and it's like yeah but give me something you know I think there is that pressure in that culture on the medical profession and they that so they're put under pressure to do something now right here yeah I mean it's it's a yeah it's a disheartening state of affairs I mean the medical education is largely funded by pharmaceutical companies and they're taught what they're taught is the basic basic formula is you you have a visit and it ends by you're giving somebody a script and that script is a pill and and so you match the condition to the pill but I think it's also fair to like recognize that you know most doctors would actually probably try diet and exercise but since they've been telling everybody it's the diet that I've been told to give people is a diet that doesn't work right you're the telling people go eat more fruits vegetables and whole grains and cut back on fat and that diet doesn't work right so and so they experience failure with that so I mean how can you blame them for then saying look I'll have guys the pill doctor the diet right doesn't work but what's kind of extraordinary see is are some of these diets working with low carb and there's one really beautiful diet doctor in the UK a named David Unwin who was on the verge of just giving up practice because he felt that all he did was just over see people getting sicker and fatter and he had nothing to offer them except for putting them on ever more amount larger muscles medication and then he discovered that he could actually cure people by giving them low-carb just telling them you know about the sugars get off grains and and so now he's you know he's come back to profession and it's transformed him because he's actually curing people right so in terms of in terms of lifestyle one of the problems that happened speaking historically of people going on these low-fat diets was that they felt hungry this wasn't nutritionally fulfilling enough so food companies pumped foods full of sugar and cheap carbohydrates that made people feel like they had a full meal and so the obesity problem was less that they weren't getting meat but more that they were getting empty so-called empty calories sugar and refined flour and those sorts of things yeah I mean it's interesting that Americans do eat about two hundred and eighty more calories per day than we did in nineteen seventy or eighty I mean it's all Ghana but ninety five percent of those calories are carbohydrates right and so what happened exactly what you described they said take all fat out of food and companies did but you know fat is what conveys texture flavor and it's essential for foods and protein is uniquely satiating it means it fills you up right you're told to you know cut back don't you so much meat and cheese right so Americans start eating more of these foods with fat replacers which are almost all carbs and sugars right you take out the fat you have to put in a fat replacer that's almost always carbohydrate base so our foods became much more high carb and carbohydrates do that thing to you your what sugar goes up and then it crashes and then you're hungry and then it goes up and then it crashes and then you're hungry again and you aren't eating foods they're naturally satiating like protein and fat right oh you're not getting fill that you can't you don't you don't fill up on carbs right we need to leave fascinating experiments where they actually put like stacks of pork chops in front of people subjects and say you must eat these people just there like I cannot you know young healthy man I cannot eat anymore and it you just can't overeat on those foods you know how many of us can dramatically overeat not that I've ever done it but you know cookies crackers chips that stuff forever because it's not satiating for whatever reason yep I'm addicted once or whatever right my wife's from Germany when she moved here to be with me she introduced her to nonfat milk and she's like oh this is terrible this is like water so she's got me on whole fat milk and it's so much better and cheese I you know I never used to eat cheese cheese is great and you know I feel really healthy eating cheese now but so what would you put the cheese on or do you just eat cheese by itself I mean on a piece of bread or a piece of cracker or just a slice of cheese by itself I just eat the cheese mm-hmm I don't eat crackers unless I'm in a social situation and I feel like I might be you know I don't know in general I just I just avoid grains I mean they're people who figured out how to make all kinds of grain free breads and grains wheat crackers there's tons of recipes out there but I'm fundamentally lazy so I deceive the Jews and and if you're recommending meat so let's go through you know fish chicken and red meat and then amongst the red meats you know you've seen I don't know if you follow Joe Rogan but he always posts the meat he eats oh he's a hunter a bow hunter so you know he's eating elk and deer and boar and I don't know what he's got there and it looks really good but it looks lean and I know there's some discussion between he you know should you have a nice marbled steak versus a super lean like a New York cut or you know what what's your recommendation on that well I can tell you historically that that humans have always sought out the fattest fattiest meat and they they would they there's a fascinating account and when travellers going put the expedition's going across country where they would go out and hunt but they come back with a bunch of you know deer ELQ and they said they said yet the meat was too lean for consumption and if they had to throw it away and throw it to the dogs yeah the same was true and it was also true you know the into it and were found that they would they would consume the fattiest me the parts of the animal of the caribou that they would eat was the best most treasured part was the fat behind the eyes and the fast back and then the fat from the shoulders and the fennel viscera you know the Oregon meats which are particularly high in nutrients and the leaner meat including the tenderloin which we of course prized was fed to the dogs mm-hmm there's always been in human culture this desire for fatty meat which you know I trust I mean I believe that that is I believe it's a reason though that tastes better to us and that's because we need the fact with the meat we need some horse back for our bodies to function just one other example that was fascinating which is that there was an experiment in 1928 of two men two individuals who were went in checked into in New York City hospitals hospital supervised by a team of doctors and they ate only meat and fat for an entire year this is the airmen of stab onsen because he had gone up and seen the Eskimos eating you know the Inuit only meat and fat and nobody believed him so he says like I'm gonna prove it and he checks himself into the hospital namely he his friend only eat mean fat for a year they come out at the end of it there's six published papers on this study they're in perfect health even though they've eaten no vegetables of fruits at all and they said the only time they felt sick is when they were not getting enough fat and they but they quickly restored themselves by by having some brains in fact they said that maybe you know they were quickly on the mend so you know I think there has been as historical preference for for fatty meats I believe there's a reef you know marbled the best way to have that wonderful taste that makes it really juicy as when its marbled all through the meat itself yeah I think the clean meat industry is it's now called will have to program in to their meat stem cells some fat cells as well I don't know if you follow that you know there are all the same people who say anything anymore with five ingredients on the label but you know for fake meat it's like it's like a hundred long already great so well they're not really they're not quite there yet but it's coming I think the most recent hamburger is like three hundred thousand dollars so it's a little pricey at the moment but well but but they're the emphasis is on more of the the morality of factory farming and how gruesome it is and that this would be a solution to that we still get our meat but from a test tube a laboratory rather than a farm but but you would eat it would you eat it if you couldn't tell the difference you know so it's not just can you tell their friends is does it have the same nutrients I mean red meat is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and I'm not just talking about the muscle meat which is what we eat but all the organ meats they have every nutrient that you need for life and those are often they they're not as bioavailable when you consume them in supplement form they don't come in the right proportions they're not in the right so to me you know I look at food eating food and this used to be the original kind of aim of nutrition nutritional studies was how do we get all the nutrients that we need for human life and healthy reproduction to live on for generations and the answer that question was how do you get all the vitamins and minerals that you need for life so one of the reasons that people eat red meat or you know they eat it but they eat it you know one of the reasons I eat it and give it to my children is that it has the nutrients needed for them to be healthy mm-hmm I get you know you can't get the same vitamins you can't get them in the same proportion they aren't as bioavailable you can't get that in in plant foods what about chicken are what about chicken and fish so chicken interestingly which replaced red meat you know in the last since 1970 we've decreased our consumption of red meat by 28% and beef by 34% and in that time we've increased our consumption of poultry by like one hundred and twenty one percent and so I mean we've just done this swap chicken is relatively quite nutrient poor hmm you get anywhere near the same quantity of nutrient and I can't just them all off but it's it's remarkable how few nutrients there are in chicken hmm so and it tends to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids which are not as healthy for you um so you know as a given in choice I think red meat is healthier better more but for your health and where do you put fish's fish likes a nice salmon steak yeah I mean you know I think fish is delicious it has omega-3 fatty acids which we've discovered have no do not prevent heart disease but but you are still better for your body than omega-6 is which are the kind found in vegetable oils and fish and especially shellfish actually is very dense in all kinds of minerals that are hard to get elsewhere so shellfish is actually incredibly healthy food mm-hmm which we've avoided for decades because it contains cholesterol but we no longer have to do that so like what are you and your family having for dinner tonight well we're pretty likely to have steak every night every night no we have other kinds of we almost always have meat for dinner and then we have we have fish and meat or chicken but we always have some protein at the center of the plate you know might just so happens that my younger son just love steak hmm he's like the healthiest little kid on the planet and he just loves steak so and I don't feel guilty about giving it to him so and I think I'm probably the only mother on the planet who does not like really berate my children it's about even your bed but you have vegetables right vegetables are okay yeah we do we do have them I'm just saying I don't get into big fight boys okay like when you pack up your kids to go off to school with their lunch what's in their lunch you're not putting a stake in their uh you know well you know they get their lunch at school so well I could be even worse the mystery meat or the vegetable or the vegetable plates or whatever they have lots of carbs and yeah you must be careful about that as a true school lunch programs no I mean you know if I had to pack a lunch you you can do you can do you know beef jerky you can do vegetables you know there's all kinds of vegetable stuff cheese cubes there are a bunch of kind of low carb bars now that are pretty delicious um but you know my kids also eat carbs I mean let's be real thank you we can't avoid it completely we don't have pasta and we don't keep bread in the house and we don't have a lot of we don't have that in the house but you know the reality is like we live in a certain kind of food environment and and it's the same way that like my parents didn't have television when I was up so I just grew up as a complete freak and never knowing what anybody was talking about and I'm acutely aware like I don't want to create I want to create freaks out of my children it's hard enough for them to go to school and say you know my mom thinks it's okay to you bacon and that's a yes now what about alcohol like beer or wine with dinner before dinner a couple of drinks what do you do I usually have a beer glass of wine before dinner and then maybe one or two with dinner net or after maybe two to three per day maybe five days a week I'd say yeah I mean so beer head is carb has more carbohydrates there's a you know the the hard alcohol if you're carb sensitive you really want to be thinking hard alcohol and has zero carbs then comes red wine then comes white wine think you can go down the Eternity you're sensitive to carbohydrates the evidence that alcohol causes disease all comes from epidemiology which I fundamentally think is a weak kind of science so I don't really trust that and not related to say liver disease oh that's for alcoholics I mean it's like if you really drink too much and you you max out your liver so we're just trying to hear about just just healthy eating a glass a glass of red wine would be with dinners is is probably okay you know all we have is epidemiological evidence which is fundamentally weak and say you can choose to believe whatever you like red wine I choose to believe there was an effort to do an actual you know randomized controlled clinical trial and alcohol I don't know if you've been following this controversy it was gonna be funded by the NIH and it was also gonna but they were trying to funnel money from the alcohol industry through the NIH to do this study it's littered unethical to do a study like this because if you randomize people into two groups and half of them you tell them to drink right say some of them become alcoholics right so that's an ethical risk right yeah they were gonna do this trial but then it was discovered that alcohol industry's hand in it and how they were manipulated and then the whole thing I believe it's been cancelled so there isn't that kind of rigorous evidence but you know if you go back I mean I one of the things that I did for my book and I loved to do just in the course of researching these topics is to go back through literature and go back you know thousands of years in the heute the written human record and see what did humans eat and drink before the epidemic of obesity before the epidemic of diabetes and heart disease and cancer and fatty liver disease right Bacchus the god of wine they you they drank wine mm-hmm so I think they had rose' back then right yeah yeah so well it looks like we're turning the corner on getting a grasp on what we should be eating let's say we're gonna colonize Mars I've just been researching writing about how to govern Mars like what kind of government will Elon set up other than Ilan's rules of good living according to SpaceX but but seriously I mean there's a lot of people that have written about this but I got to thinking you know of the problems to solve it's not even clear what food we should be taking but maybe we're getting a better handle on that in that movie the Martian you know he grows potatoes there because that's sort of the easiest thing to to do to survive that's probably not the best thing for for his health but it's better than dying but in the long run you know probably we should take meat or the equivalent thereof when we go to space you know it's interesting you can you can sir job parallel with what trappers and and travelers did in early America when they went in these long you know people go out to like do cattle runs across the country or they went the trappers that went off for weeks or months at a time what did they take with them to live on during that time they couldn't hunt they couldn't take there were no you know Ding Dongs or crackers or if they were freeze-dried food from NASA whatever they for for a very long time they created something called pemmican have you heard of that mm-hmm pemmican was there actually wars fought over pemmican because it was so highly valued and people could live on it for months and months and months of time in perfect health and it's basically beef jerky huh packed with oil or Patras kind of fat so so again getting this question of fatty meat if it were just dried beef it wasn't fat enough so they had they packed it in sacks with fat to keep it moist mmm moist chunks of material what you put in your child's lunch you know but pemmican is what these explorers trappers travelers all lived on maybe we can than that up in the station yeah no that's right when I was a boy scout let's see this has been in the 60s when we'd go on long hikes we had beef jerky it's like it's nice smoked beef jerky and I really liked it I didn't really I wasn't even thinking about you know what the nutrition value was but that kind of makes sense now yeah that's better than goo I mean goo is just sugar it's just sugar yeah and you know a lot of the the beef jerky is cured with sugar now or at the make the cure and you know that's high sugar but there are some brands that are pretty low sugar and and they're good and there's some that are more moist a little more pemmican like and they are good and you have to again just going back to history you know why do people cure meat and and why did they make cheese you can't carry around fresh milk you know you go off as a day laborer to go work in the for a day what can you take you can take cheese and some dried meat right yep so what's the next book how are you gonna follow this one well I'm not writing a book right now although I'd really like to but I founded this not-for-profit called the nutrition coalition in Washington DC because I haven't come to the realization of how powerful the dietary guidelines are in in controlling our nutritional advice and what people eat in the whole food supply and the military and school lunches everything and and realizing you know how non evidence-based that advice is not I mean basically telling every diabetic everybody everybody with heart disease to eat a really high carbohydrate diet and and ignoring all this literature all this clinical trial literature that exists to the contrary so the goal of our this group is to try to change the national conversation on Pat and and what's wrong and what what is a healthy diet and to try to change dietary guidelines try to reform them so they're evidence-based mmm-hmm and that's a lot of work so I don't have time to write another book yes I have a recommendation for your next book a cookbook if like here's 50 different you know recipes or whatever because this is really what people the average person they don't want to get into the weeds of the research they just what do I eat for breakfast tomorrow you know what that's exactly what my editor my my publisher wants me to do she's like just write a cookbook yeah yeah really I mean most people they don't want to read all these studies and stuff they just want to know what do I feed my kid what I wish I have for dinner tonight for my family yeah well I mean you've got it's it's there it's there on the cover of your book that nice slab of ribs oh boy it's very appealing looking well maybe I'll maybe I'll hook up with a chef and we'll do that yeah yeah it is it's like it would be fun to do I don't you know I think the food I now eat I enjoy so much so it would be great to share it with people yeah just in general does a historian of science just to see how science changes over the centuries this has been one of the more amazing episodes just the last half-century of you know how we got into this this mess and then how we're getting out of it now slowly how science can get it so wrong until you look at the details like you do in your book of you know which study exactly it was followed up with funding and then endorsement by governing bodies like the Heart Association and so on and then government agencies get on board and pretty soon you have this momentum that the science is just the scientists are just sort of off the page now they're not in the loop anymore it's just this kind of cultural momentum that happens independently of you and I just doing whatever we're doing and that shows that kind of the sociology of science just kind of how things kind of march along quite a while they can go for decades being wrong yeah now I'm learning three generations you know there's a theory as a theory that that hypothesis will die when you believe in it would die off and the new generation comes along they don't you met Mack Max Planck the polenta plank principle is that that the old generation has to die out for the new ones for the young tracks but in this case you know the experts spawn spawn their own to then carry the hypothesis forward in it and then and that isn't actually this was a system in academia where the senior scientists bring up through the ranks people who agree with them and people who don't agree with them are pushed out so that you have a kind of self-replicating function whereby you know every new generation of scientist just repeats the the same ideas of the one before it and and and why in this field it you have seen challenges to the science come from outside the field of nutrition science so the challengers have had to be people from you know exercise physiology or you coming from different coming at it from different fields because people inside it or journalists you know for gods are good like you know why should we be talking about this science some truly it you know there should be any a PhD nutrition scientist delivering this information to people but people inside the field well as my book documents many cases of this people inside the field fail in their profession if they speak out they can't get their paper published they aren't invited to expert conferences or they're disinvited or they're you know they can't get research funding they or they can't I mean there's so many stories of this so it's kind of a depressing indictment of the state of science itself it's not simply how it becomes rigidify and institutionalized but it's so an indictment of how science itself works yeah absolutely but it reinforces the role of investigative journalism and its importance because people like you and Gary Taubes can read the papers that this isn't you know quantum physics you can see how what the ends were and how the data was collected and you can see you know the quality of the research it's obviously not always there and and so you can report that and then economically speaking you can't be disinvited because you you don't care anyway in the first place your career is not dependent on going to these conferences what you want is a book contracts a and you can get a book contract so you could find support for having an alternative voice right but then you're accused of just just writing a book just well yeah cues of that directly to my face by a biased senior nutrition expert you said you just want to make money and I said do you really think it's a I think it's a good business prospect to spend ten years writing a book a serious non-fiction right yeah I think a kindergarten teacher it would be a better idea for making a living for a book author I mean if you factored in like just by the hour the number of years of just researching and writing and you know it's three four five six eight ten years to get a book out and depending on my book right yep and she wasn't interested in books she would have said go get yourself a nice dress yeah I mean a Malcolm Gladwell's of the world that you know sell millions of copies it's very very rare you know people see that and they think oh that's what all you nonfiction writers are doing know almost nobody sells that many books it's very rare you know keep your day job you know I have I know a lot of professors scientist so I want to write popular books and you know I'd like to get out of the Academy and not have to teach you more just write books it's like don't don't give up your day job if you're a professor keep your job and write the book on the side because you know those royalty checks they get smaller and smaller as the years go by and right yeah so no it's harder and harder to write books but but you know I think that in this case it's tremendously satisfying when you stumble on a topic as rich and interesting as this one which you know it turns out it's not like writing about you know I don't know mining in Brazil in the nineteen sixties well that's a everything's important but this is the topic that affects so many people and human health and is such a live and active topic around which the debate is still really broiling so totally I mean it's super important you got it's something you do two to three times a day every day for your life and people care desperately what should I be eating yet cookbook do it inquiring minds want to know what should I use tomorrow well thank you Nina and tell us again how we can the name of that organization and how people can find that online yes so it's nutrition coalition dot us you can sign up for our newsletter which I write so and and just it's really just about how the dietary guideline it's just about dietary guidelines and are evident push for evidence-based nutrition policy and my little pitch for it is you know even if you get recover your own health which isn't you know the most important health of your family I mean your elderly parent in a nursing home when you go to the hospital and military fighting for you your school lunches for your kids all of that is controlled by the guidelines and that's why they change and then my personal website is Nina titles calm which nobody will be able to spell but I'm sure they can figure it out just search big fat surprise that's right on Google you are at big fat surprise right yeah and on Twitter Google Twitter on Twitter I'm at big fat surprise right okay until I read my diet fast that's what people care don't care about our disease I want to lose weight [Laughter] well on that superficial note thank you so much for having me it's such a pleasure to talk to you really guys know that's it's super interesting material and I'm glad you're you're out there doing it and you and Gary and others just keep it up thank you so much you're a skeptic you're a true skeptic

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35 thoughts on “Michael Shermer with Nina Teicholz — The Big Fat Surprise About Diet and Nutrition (#32)

  1. These two are not very well educated and I must say the female doesnt really care about following good nutrition for herself or her kids. Next, Fulfillment comes from fiber as well. Whole food carbs like black beans, garbanzos, sweet potatoes are healthy and filling. Eating walnuts, macadamias, pecans. Brazil nuts, pistachios are a natural way of getting fat and oils that have not been pressed and or going rancid in a bottle. Throw those nuts on your greens and be the healthiest you can ever be. Do not put bottled dressing with preservatives, msg and rancid oil. Rather pour on balsamic or fig vinegar, no oil at all. That is so satisfying, try it you'll like it.

  2. He should have let her review info from her book. Instead, we get a seemingly softly contentious interchange. He expected her to answer questions well outside the books data which would be outside her knowledge base. Stations, fasting, what a ….

  3. Eating for cardiovascular health means eating for metabolic health. It means keeping insulin down. A good way to do that is avoid refined carbohydrates and particularly sugar. And simply eat less frequently (not necessarily less calories).
    One of the easiest ways to eat less frequently is to eat more non-industrial fats. These would be animal fats from ruminants, poultry, pork and and fish.

  4. Ask the French or Aussies, mate — a glass of wine with dinner is not only NOT harmful, it has many benefits. Especially with good cheeses, olives, prosciutto, pates, fish, pistachios, eggs, a little bread, traditional Greek-style yoghurt, etc.

    Whether red, white or rose, you want good wine, made the old-fashioned way and aged in the barrel, with high levels of tannins and polyphenols.

    In short, buy Australian wine … I'm not at all biased … and you're laughing! 😉

  5. A investigative journalist spends many years searching for truth and uncovers untruths, lies, deceit along with wasted tax dollar spending on health issues, statements, claims, and guide lines by FDA & medical field that are unhealthy & making a lot of people sick & very,very sick, making millions fo the Big Pharma Industry, Big Food, & Big Medical Industry and these negative haters are bashing her ?! Wow ! Where do these people come from ? They are so ill informed. So closed minded. Non progressive. Unwilling to accept change. So pro for increasing taxes for a the health care money machine. No common sense. So sad. Thanks Michael & Nina ! !

  6. @14:00 Diets high in "vegetable oil" caused an increase in cancer rates. But she's talking about margarine and "Crisco". Hydrogenated fats. So there's the question. Is it the hydrogenation that's the problem, or just eating too much soy/canola/etc. oil? This issue- separating out the effects of trans fats from other fats- is a real bugaboo. Further muddying the waters is the fact that animal products contain low levels of naturally-occurring trans fat.

  7. Great information. I respect Nina and all of her research, and how does she look younger now than a few years ago? What is her secret?

  8. This was quite an enriching conversation. I personally struggle with how a lot of intellectuals seem rarely if not at all to mention health and environment in what people are exposed to, as well as consume as far as food. Do they know not the circumstances which people exist in? How could people even be capable to think critically or lucidly if their body fails to get what it needs to function. Your're talking to a wall then, or worse their body gets flooded with a big amount of some by-product that throws their system out of whack, then your talking to some caricature of a human. The sheer havoc imposed on the digestive system, with the signals that sends to the brain, an atrophy and seizing of the hardware.
    The extent people fail to realize how far we've come with using industrial processing, and how many of billions of tons of crap, of substances we're creating, which invariably is being introduced to ecology, is severely destabilizing. Things are being wiped out, it would make sense that there are parts of our system which are not exempt from that. (makes interesting the idea of Dark DNA)The system receives insufficient nutrients, then it gets doused with an addictive or craving like substance, where people are reduced functionally to a crawl.
    You could expect the body would fail, or become abhorrent, having not a broader range of nutrients our system actually recognizes. In stead to use an nth degree, by-products of by-products, which we're increasingly becoming dependent on, now these agricultural (agri-mono-cultures?) mono-cultures of crops, approaching nearer and nearer to a singular. This truly extraordinary neglect, has been one of the most telling aspects of our specie, and reveals to the true extent our delusions. I'm troubled to ask, or figure, what this does to today's youth, or any developing generation. We are in a period where the kids have a shorter projected life span than their parents.
    Dr Tom O'Bryan is a a very good source, with lots of connections to many reputable folks, with researchers on the frontline of scientific understanding . With so many people clueless to the facts, if not debilitated so, this has developed to certain magnitude, if not decades ago. People can be misinformed on scales like never before really. Our hamster wheel seems to our ever subtle, aggregative, erosive wanting. We acclimate to our surroundings, than we want, which repeats, and to what extent? Enough to ask, if they were even able, what have we done, and what direction will we be going from here, as if they could even begin to see it.
    Capability proceeds sight, and few seem willing.

  9. I watched her Joe Rogan interview of four years ago and she seems to have backpedalled somewhat. She appeared to me to have previously implied that because in her view saturated fats had not been proven to cause heart disease then they are safe and even healthy to eat. Now she seems to point out early on that in her book she is only saying saturated fats have not been proven to cause heart disease. Also, she denigrates the epidemiological studies when they do not suit her agenda, but introduces them much more kindly when they do. And the one study where they gave half the people a high fat diet and the other a control, and the high fat did as well – the control group ate crap (I cannot remember the detail). So any diet that removed processed foods etc. was going to do better. Lower carb plant-based, no bottled or cooking oils, fats from walnuts and avocado, some exercise and time-restricted eating (6 hour a day eating window) is my gamble over animal products – (trimethyamine, endotoxins, leucine, methionine – Ampk mTor). I'll skip the bacon and the animal cruelty.

  10. For a critical revision of this crappy book:
    In conclusion:
    After reading The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz I am frankly disappointed – yet unsurprised – that a book like this was even published. We as readers need to start demanding better fact-checking from our publishers, especially the enormously successful ones like Simon & Schuster. Misinformation like this can actually affect people’s health in a potentially very negative way. I get that publishing companies want to make a profit, but you can publish a compelling pop science book that people buy without misinforming your audience.

  11. Just read the top comments and my first impression is "these people had no time to watch the whole talk . But wanted to comment anyway"

  12. I love Nina's book and recommend it all the time (along w/ Gary Taubes work and Michael Moss's book "Salt, Sugar Fat"). Nina…please write the book on OILS…you've spoken about it and is fascinating!

  13. Is that a Blue Yeti microphone? if it is then turn it around and it might be easier to get consistent sound level ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzHW6Jybp9g&feature=youtu.be&t=3m37s ).

  14. I put a lot more confidence into well-run clinical tests. Weigh that against the 'proofs' and evidence from "what they did in the old days". It's spotty and not worth a whole lot. It pained me to hear her use that as though it were worth something.

  15. I totally disagree with her with regards to overeating/drinking animal products. Back in the day I would devour plates of pork chops, gallons of milk, blocks of cheese but it's very hard to overeat nuts, vegetables and beans.

  16. 300k meat that Shermer mentioned seems to be referring to lab-grown meat. However the new heme burger (Impossible burger is very reasonably priced, within 200% of beef burger prices, at least with regards to restaurant pricing. I'm not sure how just the patties cost. It's not actually meat, but apparently it is difficult to distinguish the difference from meat, or that it doesn't contain meat.

  17. Regarding people historically eating fatty meat, that just shows a natural preference, not that it's actually healthier. We naturally have a huge preference for eating sugary foods or starchy foods, but that doesn't mean that it is healthy either. She's using illogical reasoning there. That said, fatty or non-fatty might not matter, as long as one is getting good amounts of fats and proteins overall in their diet (and perhaps most importantly water, fiber, and vitamins/minerals), although I don't know what that percentage is either.

  18. Michael Shermer is a fantastic human being. A wonderful healthy skepticism. disagrees with, however, remains friendly with people like Deepak Chopra. A wonderful, smart, individual, probably one of the most important humans of our time who debates with humility, generates so much interest on many different debate topics!!! I would love to meet him one day, say hi and thank you!

  19. I’m surprised that nobody is looking beyond the food type. Meat, eggs and dairy ARE bad for you, but they are also bad for the planet, and most importantly, tragic for the animals!

  20. My cardiologist asked me to take 40mg of statins a day together with a healthy diet controlled by a dietitian. After reading bad reviews about statins, whithout telling my cardiologist (because he wouldn't agree on that) I started to take only 20mg of statins a day for the last 6 months. To my surprise, even with lowering the dose, my latest blood results show that my LDL continues lowering down and it is now in a normal level.

    So, my question is, the meaning of statins are only to lower down the cholesterol? Or does have other purposes?

  21. I took a class on nutrition in college and the biggest surprise was that there was no such thing as food that is good for your or bad for you; only excessive and deficient. The text book was written in this manner. For any given nutrient it listed the health effects of too much or too little of said nutrient. I later found out this principle mirrored that of toxicology in that, the dose makes the poison. I know of at least two people who ate a diet exclusively using McDonald's products using this understanding and improved their health in every objective way (i.e. lower weight, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, etc). Sadly, sharing this information with others seems to have fallen on deaf ears. People just want to believe what they want to believe…

  22. I just recently seemingly encountered my first case of some sort of mild gastritis (mild stomach pain, no vomiting nor diarrhea). dyspepsia. I'm not sure what could have caused it, and have only had it for maybe 4–5 days 10+ days, but I feel like my recent seemingly quite high carb diet (lots of free food that I want to use up) is at least perpetuating it (feeding H. Pylori, although I don't know if I even have that), if not also possibly somehow the cause of it. At the least I've seemingly gained a small amount of weight from doing so (although perhaps just an inflamed stomach is just causing it to seem that way?)

    I guess that I may have to try to put a hold on finishing up this excess food.

  23. Fat and sat. fat aren't necessarily a problem, the problem is animal products, period. If you care about optimum personal health, environmentalism and Climate Change, there is no argument: animal products are terrible. And a whole foods plant based diet is as good as it gets.

    The book sells well becasue it's somewhat controversial and it's what people want to hear (permission to continue bad habits).

    Nothing to see here. Disappointed in Shermer.

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