Diet & Nutrition

© Brooke Clarke 2014 - 2024


The Calories In Calories Out Myth
Cell Biology
Food Programs
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Nutrition Science Initiative
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Trans Fats
Annotated Bibliography
Good News
Other Diet Ideas
Confounding Factors
Science, How Science Works in General
Correlation vs. Causation
Gut Bacteria
Specific Carbohydrate Diet
Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance
US Preventative Services Task Force


I recently watched this video and that started this page and a lifestyle change for me.
UTSA 2012 Provost's Distinguished Lecture: Gary Taubes then this one Authors@Google: Gary Taubes

This led to getting Gary Taubes book Good Calories Bad Calories and have studied it and a couple of his other books and a number by other authors (see list below)

As recently as 2011 I thought a "low fat" diet is healthy.  There's no scientific proof of that and in fact a strong case can be made that it's not healthy.  Before the 1960’s the recommended diets were low in carbohydrates and sugars.  Then through poor "science" studies, journalist’s misunderstandings and ”official” documents like the food pyramid the "low fat" (which is a high carb) diet became the accepted in the United States and the world.  This has led to making untold numbers of people all over the world sick and leading many of them to a premature death.

A number of decades ago I tried the Atkins Diet (Wiki) and lost about 30 pounds in a month and that was all I needed to do.  Robert Atkins first book was titled Atkins' Diet Revolution.  He was challenging the medical profession for messing up so badly.  That made a "face" problem for the AMA and the establishment and instead of admitting that they were wrong they started to battle Atkins based on bad science like that by Ancel Keys (Wiki).

2022 April Update

Resistant starch (Wiki) might be an explanation of why populations that eat a lot of rice can still have a low incidence of diabetes.
. . . .

2020 October Update

I'm in the process of reading The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes.  In his past books he made the case that fat was not the cause of obesity and that carbohydrates were.  But after spending about ten million on scientific studies that case could not be made so far, he has joined Robert Lustig in putting the blame on sugar.  In this book he invokes Occam's Razor (Wiki).  So instead of blaming different causes for a number of different problems a better explanation may be to blame sugar for all of them.

So far in the book he has not credited Robert Lustig.

I have the book Being Wrong:  Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz, 2011 - on order.  See new web page about that Reality and Belief.

The book: Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin (Wiki) came out about the same time as Ancel Keys published his Seven Countries Study (Wiki).  But Yudkin's book was ignored maybe because he was in the UK or maybe it didn't get much publicity in the U.S.  In any case Yudkin got the connection correct between sugar and sickness even to the point of making predictions that have now come true.  The "low fat" idea of Keys ended up being the recommendation of the George McGovern (Wiki) United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs (Wiki) (the report is titled: Dietary_Goals_For_The_United_States.pdf ).  The McGovern committee botched it and instead of recommending a low carb diet put us on the wrong track and we've been on the wrong track for over five decades and officially still are.

To use Taubes' own summary from Good Calories Bad Calories:
1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.

2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis--the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body.  The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the greater the effect on our health, weight and well-being.

3. Sugars--sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically--are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates.

4. Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes.  They are most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization.

5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation not overeating, and not sedentary behavior.

6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter, any more than it causes a child to grow taller.  Expending more energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger.

7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance--a disequilibrium--in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism.  Fat synthesis and storage exceed the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation.  We become leaner when the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this balance.

8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage.  When insulin levels are elevated--either chronically or after a meal--we accumulate fat in our fat tissue.  When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel.

9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be.
10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity.
One of the areas that's instructive is “diseases of civilization” (Wiki). If people (who) eat neither refined carbohydrates (Wiki, Wiki: nutrition) nor refined sugars (Wiki) then  they have vanishing small incidence of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. For example the Pima Indians (Wiki):
"As was previously mentioned during the discussion of the diversion of the Gila River, the Keli Akimel O'odham and the Onk Akimel O'odham have various environmentally based health issues that can be traced directly back to that point in time when the traditional economy was devastated. They have the highest prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the world, much more than is observed in other U.S. populations. While they do not have a greater risk than other tribes, the Pima people have been the subject of intensive study of diabetes, in part because they form a homogeneous group. The general increased diabetes prevalence among Native Americans has been hypothesized as the result of the interaction of genetic predisposition (the thrifty phenotype or thrifty genotype as suggested by anthropologist Robert Ferrell in 1984) and a sudden shift in diet from traditional agricultural goods towards processed foods in the past century." 
Note although it was not mentioned, obesity goes along with type 2 diabetes and many Pima are obese.  Taubes says this is because their "modern diet" includes soda pop and other foods high in carbohydrates.  This same pattern of overweight along with under nourished people in the same population is telling us that there's something causing a problem.  This is not seen in the animal kingdom.

An example of the failure of the "low fat diet" is the French Paradox (Wiki).  The French paradox is the catchphrase frequently used to summarize the apparently paradoxical epidemiological observation that French people have a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease (Wiki), while having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats.

It's pretty much common knowledge that "low calorie" diets (Wiki) do not work and that exercise is not a way to loose weight.  The expression "work up an appetite" applies to exercise, so you will eat enough to at least make up for any calories burned.  There have been a number of scientific studies that show that calorie restricted diets and exercise based weight loss programs fail to work for most people.

Robert Lustig Md. (Wiki) is mentioned by David Taubes as one of his sources.  Lustig has a couple of YouTube videos (see list below) on a similar track as Taubes, but Lustig considers fructose and HFCS is the key health problem areas, but is in agreement about how carbs drive insulin which drives fat.  But Lustig is more concerned about sickness than obesity which correlates with internal fat as opposed to love handles which are subcutaneous fat and not a health problem.  He says that maybe forty percent of normal weight people have metabolic syndrome problems.

21 May 2014 - Received an email from the local Co-Op promoting a Smoothies & Popsicles Kids Class!  I talked to them about this and found out they make them from fruit, not fruit juice.

The Calories In Calories Out Myth (aka Energy Balance)

Most diets are based on the false premise that if you control the number of calories you eat and the number of calories you burn due to physical activity you can control your weight.  In the early 1970s I wrote a computer program that calculated your basal metabolism (Wiki) based on your age, sex, height and weight and had a table of calories burned depending on your level of physical activity.  The result was a table showing the weight loss or gain that would occur depending on the number of calories you eat.  I now know that it was completely wrong.

What Taubes is saying in Good Calories Bad Calories, and I believe him, is that the energy balance equation is true, BUT. . .  there is no causality or direction of action in the equation.  The common interpretation of the equation, and the one Ornish is espousing in his TED video, is that our weight gain or loss is the dependent variable and how much we eat and how much we exercise are independent variables.  But Taubes makes a very good case the variable types are reversed.  That's to say our body controls how much we will gain or loose (based mainly on the type of foods we eat) and that drives how much we eat (how hungry we are) and how much we exercise or don't exercise.  Some people minimize any physical activity (couch potato).  Others maximize it, for example today I saw a skinny women who was constantly shaking her leg as she sat in a waiting room.  Some children seem to be constantly moving whenever they are awake while others have no such compulsion.

Believing in the classical energy balance idea is similar to believing that the reason children grow taller because they eat a lot.

We now know that how much you eat is driven by how hungry you are and how much physical activity you do depends on your bodies need for blood sugar.  Both of these are related to how much carbohydrate you are eating.

The Sunday May 18, 2014 New York Times gets this.  See: Always Hungry? Here's Why.  One of the authors of this article is the head of NuSI.

Obesity Denial - there really is an obesity epidemic

Cell Biology

Insulin was sequenced by Frederick Sanger (Wiki) in 1953, but he didn't know how it works in adipose (fat) cells (Wiki).  One of the first endocrinologists (Wiki) was Earl Wilbur Sutherland (Wiki) who worked in the 1960s to see how hormones (Wiki: hormones) effect cells.  The point is that prior to learning the relationship between carbohydrates, insulin and adipose cells, any theory on obesity (Wiki) will be only guess-work based on observation rather than scientific understanding.  But by the mid to late 1960s this was known.

How Stuff Works (How Fat Cells Work) makes clear that when insulin (Wiki) is present in the blood it drives glucose (Wiki) and triglycerides (Wiki: from carbs) into adipose cells which then change to stored fat (Wiki).
Quote from Wiki Fat\Physiology
There is a constant flux of FFA (Free Fatty Acids) entering and leaving adipose tissue. The net direction of this flux is controlled by insulin and leptin—if insulin is elevated there is a net inward flux of FFA, and only when insulin is low can FFA leave adipose tissue. Insulin secretion is stimulated by high blood sugar, which results from consuming carbohydrates.

We are the sum of our cells, so the above sentence is crucial to understanding the importance of reducing or eliminating carbs in our diet.

It's as simple as-- eating carbs raises insulin in the the blood which in turn causes fat to accumulate in adipose cells.  Insulin overrules all the other hormones that can get fat to breakdown in a cell and be removed.

In the late 1800s Ivan Pavlov (Wiki) found that if you condition a dog by ringing a bell just prior to feeding the dog will salivate when you ring the bell even when there's no food present.  We now know that when humans smell food their hunger grows.  This is because insulin flows into their blood.  In a similar manner after you eat a meal containing refined carbs you will be hungry soon afterwords "I feel hungry shortly after eating Chinese food" is a common expression and if the meal consisted mostly of white rice, noodles and other carbs that makes sense.


Wiki: "Nutrition is the selection of foods and preparation of foods, and their ingestion to be assimilated by the body. By practicing a healthy diet, many of the known health issues can be avoided."  The problem is that science has not been applied to nutrition.

Gary Taubes (Wiki) after writing a couple of books dealing with bad science in physics where he has an educational background (Harvard & Stanford) some of his colleges told him that if he wanted to see a lot of bad science to have a look at nutrition in the U.S.  Five years later his book Good Calories Bad Calories came out.

The vast majority of diet books point out the very high correlation between eating some fad food and the good or bad effect in some "scientific" study.  But, correlation does not imply causation (Wiki).  I've seen whole books written where 99% of the book is showing many plots that correlate the authors pet idea with some outcome, but there's no strong case made that there's causation and without that causation part the rest is just speculation (and more times than not is flat out wrong).  I remember in the 1950s it was shown that there was a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer.  But it took decades before there was science to prove causality.  We're in the same position today where the establishment is promoting a "low fat" (i.e. a high carb) diet when we should be eating a low carb (higher fat) diet for overall health.

One way to look at this is through the eye of evolution (Wiki).  Obesity has become an epidemic (Wiki, US) "Obesity in the United States has been increasingly cited as a major health issue in recent decades. While many industrialized countries have experienced similar increases, obesity rates in the United States are among the highest in the world.[3]"  The low fat diet (Wiki) got started with Eisenhower's heart problems (Wiki).  It may be fair to say that presidents Eisenhower, Washington (Wiki) and Garfield (Wiki, NYP) were killed by doctors.  In Ike's case by being put on a low fat (high carb diet and the Washington's case by having his blood let (Wiki) so many times there was not enough left to keep him alive.  In Garfield's case by not following Alexander Bell's instruction to remove the metal springs from the mattress so his metal locator could find the missing bullet.  Since the heart healthy diet has been promoted by many organizations including the American Heart Association, Dept of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, Center for Diereses Control, etc. since the late 1950s, the country has followed it's advice and is eating a low fat high carb diet.  That results directly in many problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and death.

Since obesity has been a problem only in the recent past, i.e. nowhere near the evolutionary time frame of a million years it is not probably caused by a genetic change to homo sapiens (Wiki).  Also there are populations in the world where obesity was not present until they adopted the diet of modern civilization.  So what's changed?  About 10,000 years ago there were two major developments that have since proven to be very detrimental to homo sapiens, they are religion (Wiki) and agriculture (Wiki).  Prior to this nomadic (wiki) hunter-gatherer (Wiki) tribes ate some wild animals and wild edible plants (Wiki).  It's not clear to me if it should be "hunter or gatherer", the idea being that their diet for some parts of the year would be exclusively from hunting and at other times of year from gathering.

If we ate the same diet as these nomadic hunter-gatherers then we might be much healthier (that's the basis of the Paleo fad diet (Wiki).  There's some evidence that prior to agriculture people were healthier, worked less and led more affluent lives.  In the 1960s Stewart Brand (Wiki creator of the Whole Earth Catalog) espoused the idea that we should all return to the agrarian life and grow our own food and be independent.  But in June 2009 in his TED Talk he has a change of mind.  His book on this is:  Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wild-lands, and Geo Engineering Are Necessary.  So, what's changed?  This has not been determined using science, but there's a couple of likely theories.

One is that because of the "low fat" diet the food industry changed it's ways.  For example instead of eating butter (fat) they invented trans-fat and used it to make margarine.  In order to extend the shelf life of packaged foods the fiber was removed (fiber holds water which leads to spoilage).  It turns out the fiber slows down our digestion of carbohydrates and that's a good thing, removing them does more harm that constipation.

Another is that our consumption of various types of sugar including HFCS (see below) has increased dramatically since the 1950s.  Note this includes organic (or any other) fruit juice, like those that come in boxes for children.

There are two current U.S. food programs where the government is making people sick.
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka: Food Stamps) Wiki - It's run by the USDA (Wki: SNAP, Farm Bill) and so promotes "low fat" i.e. unhealthy foods.
WIC  (Women, Infants and Children) Wiki - the foods provided are toxic to the children according to Robert Lustig and I agree with him.  In the prior link to foods provided they even mention "metabolic or other diseases" yet are providing foods that cause these.

The current (May 2014) Food Guide Pyramid for Children (2 to 6 years old) shows boxed fruit juice and at the small peak of the pyramid "eating less" of fats and sweets and at the base eating 6 servings of carbohydrates. 

Food Programs

You would hope that when the government gives out food it would be healthy for those receiving it, but that's not the case, in some cases it's very unhealthy.
To see the foods and their nutrition labels look for "fact sheets or recipes".

It seems that all of these programs are still based on the low-fat (which is the same as a high carb) diet and include fruit juice which is as bad for health as beer.

USDA - Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) - The foods listed on this page are typical of the "low fat - high carb" diet and includes fruit juices that have no fiber and a lot of carbs.  These foods damage the health of those eating them.

USDA - Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) - like the CSFP program above the foods are based on the "low fat - high carb" diet (fruit juices, low or no fiber, carbs).
USDA - The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) -
Here's an example:
110371, 110372, 110373, 110374 Cereal, Whole Wheat Squares, Ready-to-Eat Grains TEFAP (probably in other programs)
Serving size 1 cup.
Fat 2% (not trans, no saturated) i.e. "Low Fat"
Total Carbohydrate  45 g           i.e  "High Carb"
    Dietary Fiber         8g
    Sugars                   0g
USDA - Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) - pays for meals so it's not clear what food is involved
USDA - Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program - makes available $50 to $75/per student/per year but not as part of the school lunch program - good idea - does it work?
USDA - National School Lunch Program (NSLP) - supplies cash and food. Based on Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
USDA - School Breakfast Program (SBP) - supplies cash and food. Based on Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
USDA - Special Milk Program (SMP) - can not be used if any other food program is being used, reimburses at cost for milk.
USDA - Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) - administered at the State level so hard to say what gets served.
USDA - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP)  - Looking at Recipes (the first one under drinks) - "Super Drink" Smoothie -
calls for 4 cups of Yogurt, plain, low-fat where a 1 cup serving contains 4g fat and 17 g carbohydrate (all from sugar).
So this program is still rooted in the "low fat" is healthy mistake that's making us sick.
USDA -Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) - California juices, Wonder Bread, Soft, 100% Whole Wheat - 2 slice serving: 2g fat, 18g carbs, 3g fiber (15g net carbs).
USDA - Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) - great idea but there's no farmers markets in the inner cities, when tried here it sold out
USDA - Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) - "

 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

These come out every 5 years so now in 2014 the current version is 2010 and the 2015 version is in the planning stages.  These guidelines drive what's done in the food programs (see above).  So, when these guidelines result is a lot of medical problems that means our children are going to suffer.

Here are the highlights from the 2010 web page:
The first bullet is completely wrong.  (See above)
The second bullet is still promoting "low-fat" which is wrong, i.e. low fat has no health benefits.  Fruit juice is unhealthy whereas fruit is healthy (to the extent you don't consume too many carbs).
The third bullet is mostly wrong.  The idea that everyone should restrict salt intake is now known to be false (see below).  Yes trans fats are not good (they came about for margarine), but saturated fats pose no health problems, this is the "low-fat" mistake.  Cholesterol is not a problem, this is wrong.  Yes added sugars are not good, but there's no labeling requirement for added sugar or subtracted fiber.  Most things labeled as Whole grain.... do not have the fiber of true foods.

The 2010 guidelines (My Plate) says to make half the carbs whole grains, but what does that mean?
The emphasis is on loosing weight, but that's the wrong, much better to focus on being healthy.  Being overweight in and of itself is not a problem.  That's to say overweight does not cause other problems, it's just correlated with them.  Again the past research has made the correlation vs. causation mistake.

Vitamins (Wiki)

Scurvy (Wiki) is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C (Wiki). It turns out that the sailors who got scurvy were on high carb diets and so needed more vitamin C than others who are not on high carb diets.  For example the Inuits eat a low carb diet consisting of meat, no vegetables, i.e. high in fat and protein.  (Wiki)  The meat has enough vitamins that there's no problem.  It's not some genetic effect in them because when explorers stay with them for a year or more and eat their diet they are more healthy than on their normal diet.

This indicates to me that the Recommended Daily Dose of vitamins that now exists may be skewed to account for the damage caused by our high carb diet.


Any diet that requires you to count calories or do some other reasoning is going to fail.  It takes a life style change to be healthier.  The key idea is to reduce your intake of carbs to a level that works for you.  There is a considerable difference between people about how much of which carbs they can eat and not gain weight.  Once you have a feel for that then it's simple.

A Ketogenic diet (Wiki)  is one where the carbs are so restricted that there's a lack of insulin in the blood and so the adipose cells burn their fat and make ketone bodies.  A quote from the Wiki page:
  "In adults, common side effects include weight loss, constipation, raised cholesterol levels and, in women, menstrual irregularities including amenorrhoea."  All these are consistent with the idea the the body thinks there's a lack of food and will burn fat to make energy.  The brain works fine under these conditions."
This diet need only be followed during the period of weight loss.  Once at the desired target weight the carbs can be stepped up to the point where you still don't gain weight.  But you should not eat food that contains refined carbs or refined sugars or HFCS.  According to Robert Lustig fruit juices are toxic as is HFCS, they both contain fructose which can only be processed by the liver just like alcohol.

Atkins low carb Diet (Wiki) was not the first, but it was the most popular because it worked.  The AMA, AHA, Dept of Ag, CDC, NIH and most doctors believed it was a quack diet because it was in direct opposition to the current thinking that in turn was based on bad science.

Ketones (Wiki)

There is a rumor saying that our bodies need a little over 100 grams of carbs per day to feed our brain, but that's not true.  On a totally carb free diet our body will burn fat and generate ketones which will feed our brain. (Wiki: Biochemistry, Krebs Cycle, Ketogenic diet). 

This level of ketones is normal and most people are at this level while they sleep.  Do not confuse this low level of Ketones with ketoacidosis (Wiki) which is a pathological metabolic state marked by extreme and uncontrolled ketosis.

What I'm planning on doing is maintaining a slightly ketonic condition, pretty much anything above zero and see what happens.  To do that I have to really watch the carbs.

In March of 2014 I got from eBay "URINE KETONE TEST STRIPS 100 BOX" and when used the strip showed no keytone.  Here's their web page for this test.
Wallmart carries ReliOn test strips.  Note the eBay bottle has 100 strips and the Wallmart is 50 strips.
16 Jun 2014 now shows keytone.
mg/dL (mmol/L
5 (0.5) +/-
15 (1.5) +
40 (4.0) ++
80 (8.0) +++
160 (16) ++++

16 Jun 2014
Keytone Test strip
17 Jun 2014
Keytone Test strip
On 17 Jun I had a Bacon Cheese Whooper, but no other carbs.  On 18 Jun my keytone level was 5(0.5)+/- so it moved down one step, but not to zero.

Now no more carbs and we'll see what happens in a few days.

Note:  If you have slept with someone who restricted their intake of carbs (maybe a vegan or some other restrictive diet) you have have noticed their breath smelled like acetone or alcohol, but they had not been drinking.  This is the smell of ketones.

2013 The Art and Science of Nutritional Ketosis Stephen Phinney - an explanation of the different levels of keytones and how good a low level is for your health.
He also mentioned the idea that on an all meat diet for a year no scurvy (Wiki).

Cell, 2018 April 27:
The Gut Microbiota Mediates the Anti-Seizure Effects of the Ketogenic Diet - a connection between Ketones and Gut Bacteria 
UCLA 2018 May 24: Gut bacteria play critical role in anti-seizure effects of ketogenic diet, UCLA scientists report -

Nutrition Science Initiative

The co-founders of NuSI, the Nutrition Science Initiative, are Gary Taubes and Peter Attia, M.D.  The first three science programs they are funding, due to be completed by 2016, are aimed at showing that low fat diets are not as beneficial as low carb diets.  This is different than the research done at the Atkins Foundation in that it's aimed at showing that a low carb diet is healthy.  These experiments are very difficult in that you need to have good control of what's being eaten and that the results are meaningful.

Weight Loss Diet Study: Low Carb vs Low Fat

2016: Do Genotype Patterns Predict Weight Loss Success for Low Carb vs. Low Fat Diets? NCT01826591 Results not public as of April 2017 (609 Stanford students, started 2013.
One of the original studies setup when NuSI was founded
 in 2012.  As of 30 Oct 2015 (it's almost 2016) there has been no report at NCT01661426.
I got a copy of the paper were 12 people were stabilized on a standard diet and a ketogenic diet at at the end of each diet spent time in a calorimeter to measure their energy intake and output.
The results suggest that calories in - calories out = weight gain hypothesis is not correct, but there was a criticism and rebuttal paper, so it's not definitive.
In their experiments they are not trying to discover if the solution to the health crisis is just reducing sugar consumption, or is it necessary to lower all carbs?
2018 Feb 21 - Overview article: Low-fat vs low-carb? Major study concludes: it doesn’t matter for weight loss -
2018 February 20 - JAMA: Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion: The DIETFITS Randomized Clinical Trial, Christopher D. Gardner, PhD et al (pdf)
"Findings  In this randomized clinical trial among 609 overweight adults, weight change over 12 months was not significantly different for participants in the HLF diet group (−5.3 kg) vs the HLC diet group (−6.0 kg), and there was no significant diet-genotype interaction or diet-insulin interaction with 12-month weight loss." Identifier: NCT01826591
A TED Talk :Peter Attia (of NuSI): Is the obesity crisis hiding a bigger problem? - What if we're wrong about diabetes?

Christopher Gardner, Ph.D. - Energy Balance Consortium Study - he has a paper coming out in 2016 

Stanford YouTube: The Battle of the Diets: Is Anyone Winning (At Losing?)Why We Get Fat: Diet Trends and Food Policy - Gary Taubes & Christopher Gardner

Stanford Health Policy Forum - Videos -
The Nutrition Science Initiative
6020 Cornerstone Ct. W.  Suite 240
San Diego, CA 92121
office: (858) 914-5400  |  fax: (858) 914-5373  |  email:
On a number of occasions I've tried to see study results on the NuSI web page, but they keep changing their web pages making it impossible to see any results.  It's been over 4 years since they started and still no results. is on place to look, but again, no published results:

A to Z Study: Comparison of Popular Weight Loss Diets (?):  July 2002 to August 2006, No. people = 300 Trial Complete but No Results published
A to Z Study Follow-up: Collection of DNA Data From Buccal Swabs:  March 19, 2009, No. women = 150 Trial Complete but No Results published
Weight Loss Diet Study: Low Carb vs Low Fat: August 7, 2012 - March 2013, No. people = 61,  Trial Complete but No Results published
Diet X Genotype Study:  March 2013 to May 2016, No. people =609 Trial Complete but No Results published
Framingham State Food Study ((FS)2):  February 2014 to May 2017 (now Nov 2016) so not complete, No. people = 150
Dietary Treatment Study of Pediatric NAFLD (DTS):  July 2015 to August 2017, (now Nov 2016) so not complete, No. people= not specified, by appointment only

High Fructose Corn Syrup (Wiki: HFCS)

Robert Lustig, MD says a can of soda pop with HFCS or a glass of organic orange juice is exactly equivalent to a can of beer except there's no buzz with the soda pop or juice.  The effect on your liver and waistline is exactly the same. This is because naturally occuring fructose and HFCS have the same effect on the liver.  Eating fruit is OK because it contains fiber that slows down the impact of the sugar.
Here are a couple of lectures by Dr. Robert Lustig (Wiki), UCSF Division of Pediatric Endocrinology.  His focus is on fructose and he calls it "Toxic"  He is particularly interested in (just) reducing fructose and HFCS.  He believes that fiber has been removed from all processed foods to allow shipping and storage which degrades the health benefit of the resultant food stuff.  The natural combination of water soluble fiber and non-soluble fiber has many health benefits and those benefits are lost in processed foods where all or most of the fiber has been removed.

2013 YouTube video: Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0 - The cost of "Metabolic Syndrome" (Wiki) will bankrupt our medical system in a couple of decades.
2009 YouTube video: Sugar: The Bitter Truth - The 2009 talk that went viral.  All this info is in the newer 2013 talk so you don't need to watch this one.
TEDxBermuda: Sugar -- the elephant in the kitchen 2013 -

According to Dr. Lustig, Medicare will be broke by 2026 because the main health problem in America is chronic Metabolic Syndrome and his research shows that sugar and particularly HFCS appear to be responsible for this problem..

HFCS 55 (mostly used in soft drinks), approximately 55% fructose and 42% glucose; and HFCS 42 (used in beverages, processed foods, cereals, and baked goods), approximately 42% fructose and 53% glucose.  Starting in 1978 the use of HFCS increased the sugar use in the U.S from 120 pounds/person/year to 150 pounds/person/year.

The Glycemic Index (Wiki: is a measure of how quickly blood glucose levels (i.e., blood sugar) rises after eating a particular type of food. The GI of HFCS is low which to some indicated that is was a "Natural" sugar like those in fruit and so was a healthy sugar.  For example it's added to "low fat" Yogurt.  But the fructose goes directly to the liver where it's converted to fat.  Naturally occurring fructose in whole fruits is accompanied by a lot of fiber and it's OK to eat whole fruits, but fruit juice is a problem according to Robert Lustig.

Because of the table sugar lobby (Open Secrets) the price of table sugar in the US is 3 to 5 times higher than anywhere else in the world.  Couple that with the mistaken perception that HFCS is a "healthy food" and that makes a real problem.  The food industry uses HFCS to replace sugar and/or fat in many products and so this both lowers their cost and makes them "healthy foods".

Book:  Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Robert Lustig
Book: The Fat Chance Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes Ready in Under 30 Minutes to Help You Lose the Sugar and the Weight by Robert Lustig and a couple of women.

Institute for Responsible Nutrition - info to counter the sugar lobby - info on HFCS

In the past few years (2010?) the American Heart Association better understands the problem with HFCS.  But they are still talking about low fat and counting calories and none of the federal agencies has caught up with the science.

Trans Fats (Wiki)

It's pretty much agreed by all the mentioned authors that trans fats have no place in a healthy diet.  They were a mistake made in response to the "low fat" directive, i.e. use margarine (Wiki) instead of butter.

Note butter is a saturated fat (Wiki) and not only is not bad for you, it supplies needed amino acids.  In May 2014 a study of red wine has come out saying there's no medical benefit.  It was thought that the French Paradox could be explained by their use of red wine with dinner.  Note the french typically end meals with a cheese course, Leeks (see bacteria below) are very common as are salads, they use butter and oil in their cooking and eat French bread on a daily basis, i.e. their diet is high in saturated fats yet they are healthy.  The thing they don't eat much of is sugar because it's expensive.

Annotated Chronological Bibliography

I'm only listing books and videos that I've watched, not anywhere near all that each author has done.

1955 Dwight Eisenhower (Wiki) had heart attack
1961 American Heart Association publishes the first diet recommendation for a "low fat" diet based on Ancel Keys work.
1972 Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution - challenged the AMA and a battle ensued and continues to today
1989 Cold Fusion Announced (Wiki) - turns out to be bad science
1990 Cold Fusion Conundrum at Texas A&M Gary Taubes writes article in Science magazine pointing out the bad science (maybe cheating) by Texas A&M which leads to a book.
1993 Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion. Gary Taubes writes a book with "Bad Science" as the first two words in the title.  People tell Gary that if he wants to see some really bad science just look at Nutrition in the U.S.
1995 Epidemiology Faces Its Limits (pdf)- In this Science article Gary Taubes looks at the various ways scientific studies are done and how good they are.
Randomized Trial (Wiki) - "In science, randomized experiments are the experiments that allow the greatest reliability and validity of statistical estimates of treatment effects."
Case Control Studies (Wiki) - "It is a type of observational study in which two existing groups differing in outcome are identified and compared on the basis of some supposed causal attribute."
Cohort Studies (Wiki) - "Cohort studies are largely about the life histories of segments of populations, and the individual people who constitute these segments."
Meta-analysis (Wiki) - "In statistics, a meta-analysis refers to methods that focus on contrasting and combining results from different studies, in the hope of identifying patterns among study results, sources of disagreement among those results, or other interesting relationships that may come to light in the context of multiple studies."
"The observational studies suffer from bias and confounding factors" says Gary.

In his talk How to Think Like a Skeptical Neurologist at TAM 2014 Steven Novella goes into Bayesian probability (Wiki) and the significance of various randomized clinical trials (Wiki) and their meaning.
1998 The (Political) Science of Salt (pdf)- Although the "common knowledge" was that everyone should restrict their salt intake, it turns out to be bad science says Gary.  The proponents of restricting salt say that even if doing so lowers your blood pressure by 1mm or 2mm that would save hundreds of thousands of lives. But . . . there is not science to support any benefit.
2000 The Protein Power Lifeplan by Michael R. Eades - how much protein you need? (approximately 1.5 grams per Kg of body weight).
            Reading 10 June 2014 - many theories, general agreement with Taubes.
            The basis of most of the theories is the Paleolithic diet (Wiki) - but there's a lot of guesswork in what that is.
            This book suffers from the bad science idea that correlation means causality, over and over the authors point out a "study" that shows correlation
             then talks about the result as if they had proven causality.  It's my opinion that many of their ideas are Woo-Woo, but they have some correct.
            It turns out this is not the book I was looking for but it's sequel.  The correct book was Protein Power which I think goes into great detail about protein whereas this book hardly mentions it.
2001 The Soft Science of Dietary Fat (pdf) - Gary Taubes points out that Trans-fats (Wiki) were developed to make margarine because the fat in butter was considered bad for your health.  In order to remove far from our diet the food industry added trans-fats and sugar to many processed foods.  We now know that trans-fats are bad for us and butter is OK.
2002 Food Politics Marion Nestle - not read yet. 
2002 What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie? NYT Gary Taubes - This is the popular article that introduced the idea that the "low fat" diet was based on bad science.  This article got Gary a book contract that paid for his research for the next 4 years and he added another year on his own.  It points out the bad science that resulted in the "low fat" diet recommendation.
2003 Stanford A TO Z: A Comparative Weight Loss Study 2003 to 2005, report 2007 Compared the Atkins, Traditional, Ornish and Zone diets for weight loss and metabolic markers.  Atkins showed not only the best weight loss but also very much better metabolic markers.  An interesting result is that in every group there were a spectrum of results from loosing a lot of weight to gaining some weight suggesting that some diets may work better for different people.
2005 What to Eat: The Ten Things You Really Need to Know to Eat Well and Be Healthy by Luise Light - Her USDA work was tossed so we could have the pyramid. -
It turns out that her ideas have no scientific basis according to books like Good Calories Bad Calories.
2005 Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America's Obesity Epidemic Eric Oliver - BMI is not a measure of any health related factor nor is overweight or obesity.
Obesity is not a disease but the CDC and big pharma want it to be considered that way so they can make money.
Robert Lustig gets into obesity in his 2013 YouTube video Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0 where he shows a Venn diagram of the overweight and normal populations and what percentage of each has metabolic syndrome.  It's a huge mistake to use BMI as a measure of anything related to health, yet that's what's being done at all levels of government.  There are a huge number of "normal weight" people who have metabolic syndrome.
2007  Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
goes into detail about the history of nutrition research and what we should eat to keep from gaining weight.  The opinion held in the U.S. after W.W. II that all Germans were bad caused all their good research on diet and nutrition to be ignored and instead to use home grown bad science to determine our policies.  This book is good if you want to get deep into the bad science, but not so good if you just want to understand what you need to know about what's healthy and what's not, so the next book was written.

Gary Taubes and the Cause of Obesity - criticism for making recommendations without evidence
2008 Stanford Youtube: The Battle of the Diets: Is Anyone Winning (At Losing?) -  Gardner is now doing a trial for NuSI.
2009 Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Robert Lustig This Youtube video went viral and has over four million views - Lustig sees sugar and HFCS as toxins
2009 Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association - states that excess sugar is a problem.
2009 Fat Head by Tom Naughton - YouTube (1:44:40) - 28 days of eating fast food, see what happens. Lost weight - a lot of Gary Taubes ideas
2010 Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It by Gary Taubes
Is an easier to understand book than Good Calories Bad Calories.  It points out the problem of carbohydrates driving insulin and insulin driving the diseases of metabolic syndrome.  This lead to large donations and the founding of Nutrition Science Initiative which has three studies underway.

Why We Get Fat - criticism for making recommendations without evidence
2010 The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response 
points out the bad science in the "China Study" (correlation only, no causation)
The China Study - criticism for poor references and sloppy thinking
2011 Low Carb Explained Youtube by Dr Mary Vernon co-author of Atkins first book
2011 Is Sugar Toxic? by Gary Taubes based on work by Robert Lustig NYT article - insulin drives some cancers
2011 Forks Over Knives (Wiki: movie) supporting Campbell - refutation by Minger: “Forks Over Knives”: Is the Science Legit? (A Review and Critique)
2011 Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis
         I didn't like the authors confusion between the effects of wheat and carbohydrates in general. 
         So while many of his statements are technically true they apply to all carbs, not just wheat.
         This is a case where so far (Oct 2014) there doesn't seem to be any evidence that Glycemic Index (Wiki) is a factor, although it may be.
         That's to say maybe the harm a carb does is proportional to it's GI, the higher the GI the more damaging the carb, but I'm not aware that anyone has tested that.
         The wiki page (reference) says when comparing fruit with fruit juice the main difference is the initial rate of rise.
         Since we already know fruit juice (fructose) is unhealthy and fruit may be healthy this difference seems to be saying just GI or II are not the thing that's important for health.
         From the reference it seems the GI is too simple and a more complex metric is needed, maybe the initial slope?
"The glycemic index (GI) characterizes foods by using the incremental area under the glycemic response curve relative to a similar amount of oral glucose. Its ability to differentiate between curves of different shapes, the peak response, and other aspects of the glycemic response is debatable."

"The message to eat whole grains can result in the intake of carbohydrates with a GI no different from that in response to the consumption of white bread. Finally, if a reduction in postprandial glycemia is to be part of the strategy for preventing and managing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the GI is as relevant as the amount of carbohydrate."
2012 The Paleo Answer Loren Cordain  (have only read free parts on Amazon - will not buy) - have very misleading information on plumbing and lead.
            PS "shares" on his web page means ads not information, that's to say his web page is designed for ad revenue, not disseminating information
            PPS in Paleo times salt was not only used it determined the location of cities.  Years ago I put a block of salt on a tree stump, but after the first winter it was dissolved.
            But, even now animals eat the top of the stump to get the salt that's still there.  Our bodies are made of salt water, ever hear of a standard saline solution in a hospital?
            See 1998 The (Political) Science of Salt above.
            I have heard Loren say that salt when combined with carbs is a problem, but it seems to be that the book is condemning all salt.
2012 Stanford Medicine- Why We Get Fat: Diet Trends and Food Policy -
2012 Apr 26 - The Atlantic - How Vegetable Oils Replaced Animal Fats in the American Diet by and excerpt from The Happiness Diet - about added sugars, refined carbohydrates omega-6 & trans fats and how Crisco (hydrogenated vegetable oil) came to replace lard. patent 1135351 Food Product (Crisco) 1910 filing date
2012 "How to win an argument with a vegetarian" by Denise Minger - covers Confounding Variables - Slides (not on camera so watch slides and listen to talk)
2012 The Toxic Truth about Sugar by R. Lustig - Nature article - it should be taxed and controlled like alcohol and tobacco.
2012 The Sugar Epidemic Policy versus Politics - Robert Lustig at Harvard Law School
2013 Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0 by Robert Lustig this is an updated version of the 2009 Youtube video Sugar: The Bitter Turth.  If  you watch this one you don't need to watch the 2009 version.
2013 PLOS: The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence: An Econometric Analysis of Repeated Cross-Sectional Data Robert Lustig - talks about causality rather than just correlation.
2013 Fat Chance: Beating the Odds against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Robert Lustig  While Robert agrees with Gary on how carbohydrates work, Robert says that all forms of sugar (sugar is a carbohydrate) are now being consumed in amounts that are many times what was the case before the "low fat" diet became the official diet.  Food processors needed to remove fiber (a huge mistake) and add sugar and salt to make processed food taste good and more importantly so it will have a long shelf life.  For me the key idea is that it's OK to have natural fruit that contains a lot of fiber, but it's just as toxic to drink a glass of organic fruit juice as it is to drink a can of beer or a can of soda pop that contains sugar.  The effect on your waist line and liver is the same.  For me Lustig answers the question about why some cultures can eat a lot of rice, pasta or French bread and not have these problems.  It's that they did not eat much sugar along with it.  (0:54) He mentioned his paper where he shows a causal link between sugar and type 2 diabetes.
2013 Crisis In Nutrition IV - Vox Populi by by Tom Naughton given to the Office of Research Integrity -
        The interesting part of this is that he is openly saying the public has no respect for the government nutrition information and that's as it should be.
        But the down side of that is it opens the door for people like Dr. Oz and the other woo-woo types.
2013 Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Ruined Your Health... and How to Reclaim It! by Denise Minger
The early part of the book that goes into what went wrong has some new information and I agree that some of the early investigators were like blind men describing an elephant, they were right in some ways and wrong in some ways.

Some nit picking: A table is a matrix of (typically) numerical data, a figure or chart is a graphical deception of numerical data.
pg 226 should read ...through  the mouth rather than the heart.

She has missed a number of things and so her recommendations may not be a good as they might, but still a great book.  Read in a day.

pg 70 sidebar "A note on correlation" (see Correlation vs. Causality below) makes clear that correlation is not causation, yet as far as I can tell ALL the studies mentioned in the book are based only on correlation.  I get the feeling that these studies took a snapshot of what some population was eating and what their physical condition was at that time and assumed that they had been eating that diet for all prior time.  I see that as a huge problem.  For example looking at how many packs of cigarettes are smoked in a day is not enough to predict cancer, but the number of pack-years does do that.  I would hope that a good study would monitor a number of time varying parameters and look for correlations after time shifting the data as is done with the pseudo-random codes used in GPS.  The neat thing about that approach is that you don't need to know before hand what the time delay is.  This is part of showing causality rather than just static correlation.

Although Gary Taubes is mentioned as the source of a quote, none of his work is mentioned.  That's too bad as it excludes a number of concepts that are not accounted for such as carbs drive insulin which drives fat and how the energy balance idea is not real.  Atkins is not mentioned at all.  There's a sidebar on pg 233 about a possible fertility problem with a zero carb diet, but no chapter or even paragraph about the benefits of low carb diets and it's not included in the New Geometry section that looks at three diets: Paleo, Mediterranean & Whole-Fools-Plant-Based.  Note the 2003 Stanford A TO Z study (above) looked at Atkins, Traditional, Ornish and Zone.  Atkins outperformed the others by a wide margin.

TED - Christina Warinner: Tracking ancient diseases using ... plaque  - a way to learn a lot about ancient man by the plaque on his teeth
TEDxOU - Debunking the paleo diet: Christina Warinner - pretty much all the fruits, vegetables & meat you can buy today is highly genetically modified.
Neil deGrasse Tyson on gmo food! - for more on "artificial selection" see chapter 1 "Variation Under Domestication" of Origin of the Species by Darwin or chapter 2 "Dogs, Cows and Cabbages" of The Greatest Show on Earth by Dawkins.

Not mentioned at all is the development of agriculture (Wiki) about 10,000 years ago but our species has been around for more than an order of magnitude longer.  This is important because hunter gather tribes are mentioned in the book relative to their diets.  But in Sex At Dawn by Ryan it's clear that there are no nomadic hunter gather tribes now on Earth, i.e. they have been impacted by agriculture, so the idea of a Paleo diet based on what current non nomadic tribes eat is flawed.  Rice, potatoes, grains &etc. are all post agriculture foods. Ryan has a great section in his book about the misconceptions regarding how pre agriculture humans lived and how many popular authors got it all wrong (he names names and cites specifics).  The book: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. Ch 1 "Quest for Raw-Foodists" talks about the Giessen raw food study [DbFP pg 17). But Wrangham hasn't heard about how humans have muscular dystrophy of our jaw muscles.

PS when a deer dies in the forest the vultures can only eat part of the carcass, then depend on other animals, like a bear, to tear it open.  But note the bear is not a deer predator, it eats deer that are already dead, see my backyard video.  Note the bear does not eat everything, he only has a jaw, a leg and some organs then leaves the rest.  This may be the answer to the question posed on pg 188 of DbFP.

Chapter 10 Meat Your Meat has what appear to be personal ideas.  For example ref 4 about carcinogens related to cooking meats over fire uses "in the test tube" and rat studies.  While the tone of the book is that all these things are now factual, that's not the case.  It would be better to use more tentative language.

As a rebuttal to the various flavors of vegetarians the work of Katharine Milton and the difference in digestive tracts is mentioned but DbFP doesn't mention the difference in jaw muscles.  It's my understanding that one of the key genetic differences between humans and other primates is that we have muscular dystrophy of our jaw muscles.  The implication of this is that there's no way a human can chew enough leaves to stay alive (It takes about 6 hours per day).  It also allows our skulls to take much longer to become rigid so there's time for our brains to grow larger.

Starch is mentioned as if it was a new type of micronutrient separate from carbohydrate.  This to me is misleading and may be related to why she has not discussed the work of Gary Taubes.

The only person that I've seen talk about causality is Robert Lustig.  See his 2013 video by scrolling up a little.

I'd like to see some clinical trials on diet where the genetic markers as mentioned in DbFP.
Maybe not, see:  The FDA and Personalized Genetic Testing

In the Epilog "The Well Informed Cook" the Atwater method of counting the calories in various macro nutrients is described. Then two problems are pointed out:
1. digestion is a costly process
2. proportion of food digested is always the same.
In his book Good Calories Bad Calories Gary Taubes makes the case the our bodies digest different types of food in different ways and Robert Lustig goes into great detail about this in his books and YouTube videos.  For example the effect on your liver of a can of beer, a can of soda pop with HFCS or a glass of organic orange juice is identical.  Yet, these differences are not mentioned in DbFP.
2013 Smash The Fat - Death By Food Pyramid with Denise Minger - Video
2013 The Art and Science of Nutritional Ketosis Stephen Phinney - Video an explanation of the different levels of  keytones and how good a low level is for your health.
2013 AHS12 Denise Minger Meet Your Meat: An Objective at a Controversial Food - Video Found her book by reading her blog then found this video at AHS12
2013 AHS12 Robert Lustig, MD — Sugar: No Ordinary Commodity -Video  This talk is the same as his 2012 talk at Harvard, but it's interesting the AHS12 appears in here 3 times.
2013 AHS12 Gary Taubes Calories vs Carbohydrates: Clearing up Confusion over Competing Obesity Paradigms -Video a low fat diet also reduced carbs
        AHS12 was the Ancestral Health Society meeting in 2012.  There was an AHS13 but so far not all of those videos are posted on their web site.
2014 Always Hungry? Here's Why. The  New York Times gets the fallacy of the "low fat" diet and is promoting a "low carbs" diet.
2014 The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz (on my wish list June 10, 2014) - NYT Review - debunks fat causes heart attacks
                YouTube - Nina Teicholz at TEDxEast: The Big Fat Surprise 7 Mar 2014- Video
                YouTube - The Big Fat Surprise with Nina Teicholz May 28, 2014 - Video
2014 June 12 Time Magazine cover article:  Eat Butter: Scientists labeled fat the enemy.  They were wrong by Bryan Walsh (a copy is on the way. 
           Ending the war on fat - video at time
2014 Denise Minger: Death By Food Pyramid, Women Who Gain Weight on Paleo, and How to Spot a Fraud - @45:00 the topic is "Bad Scinece".
2014 Lessons From the Vegans — Denise Minger (AHS14) - Devil's advocate of very low fat diet (<15% fat)
2014 Nina Teicholz: The Big Fat Surprise – (08/07/2014) Commonwealth Club of California talk (Causation vs. Correlation mentioned)
2014 May 16 New York Times - Always Hungry? Here’s Why By and - We get hungrier because we’re getting fatter.
2014 June 4 JAMA - Increasing Adiposity, Consequence or Cause of Overeating? by Ludwig and Friedman, see above NYT article.
2015 Sweet Revenge: Turning the Tables Dr. Robert H. Lustig Netflix, PBS
2015 The Gluten Lie: and other myths about what you eat by Alan Levinovitz (who is also making the case that big time sports have no place in colleges).
          Have not ordered it yet.  He looks at most diet fads in a parallel way to religious belief.
2015 The Dorito Effect: TheSurprising New Truth About Food and Flavor, Mark Schatzker - not yet read
2015 The Resistant Starch Bible: 2nd Ed, Resistant Starch - Gut Health, Fiber, Gut Balance by Chase Williams,(no ISBN).
2016 Obesity Society - paper by Gardner later in year.
2016 Nature - The Gq signalling pathway inhibits brown and beige adipose tissue - study in mice but hopeful for humans
2016 The Guardian - The sugar conspiracy - Sugar tax: Osborne's two-tier levy brings mixed response -
2016 PLOS: Is Butter Back? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Butter Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Total Mortality -findings do not support a need for major emphasis in dietary guidelines on either increasing or decreasing butter consumption
2016 Time: The Case for Eating Butter Just Got Stronger  -
2016 Time: The Case Against Low-fat Milk Is Stronger Than Ever - people who consume full-fat dairy weigh less and are less likely to develop diabetes
2016 AJCN: Dairy consumption in association with weight change and risk of becoming overweight or obese in middle-aged and older women: a prospective cohort study  - Paywall - women in the Women’s Health Study, those who consumed the most high-fat dairy products lowered their risk of being overweight of obese by 8%
2016 AJCN: Increased colonic propionate reduces anticipatory reward responses in the human striatum to high-energy foods - Our results suggest that colonic propionate production may play an important role in attenuating reward-based eating behavior via striatal pathways, independent of changes in plasma PYY and GLP-1.
2016 Neuron: A Postsynaptic AMPK→p21-Activated Kinase Pathway Drives Fasting-Induced Synaptic Plasticity in AgRP Neurons (Paywll, Gizmag) - "This provides a signaling and neurobiological basis for both AMPK regulation of energy balance and AgRP neuron state-dependent plasticity." Controls felling of hunger.
2016 Sep13 - UCSF - Sugar Papers Reveal Industry Role in Shifting National Heart Disease Focus to Saturated Fat by Stanton Glantz
2016 Sep 16 - FoodMed -Noakes trial: experts flying in to support LCHF science -  LCHF = Low Carb, Hi Fat -
2016 ajcn Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in over weight and obese men Kevin D Hall -
        There is a small debate on how much can be told from this pilot study, but the results indicate that calories in - calories out <> weight gain/loss. 
        i.e. it matters what the calories are.
        The human scale Calorimeter may be similar to:
2016 The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
2018 August 15 - Guardian: We’re in a new age of obesity. How did it happen? You’d be surprised - "While our direct purchases of sugar have sharply declined, the sugar we consume in drinks and confectionery is likely to have rocketed.."
2018 November 16 - Science: Dietary fat: From foe to friend? - see Box 2 "Points of consensus" at bottom.
2018 Dec 10 - NYT: What We Know About Diet and Weight Loss -
2021 Dec 13 - STAT: How a ‘fatally, tragically flawed’ paradigm has derailed the science of obesity, Gary Taubes - a money-balance analogy to the calorie balance falsehood: "People get rich because they take in more money than they spend."While true it offers no useful explanation or prescription.
2022 Feb 22 - The Calorie Counter: Evolutionary anthropologist Herman Pontzer busts myths about how humans burn calories—and why by Ann Gibbons: about Herman Pontzerwho has a book: "Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Lose Weight, and Stay Healthy."

Aspartame (Wiki)

Is a no carb sweeter used in diet drinks.  There is some controversy about it's safety (Wiki).  This Wiki page says it's safe and may be the most studied food ever.

So far I haven't found any scientific evidence that it's harmful, but have found evidence that it's safe. So here are some papers:
nejm Volume 330 FEBRUARY 3, 1994 Number 5:  Effects of Diets High in Sucrose or Aspartame on the Behavior and Cognitive Performance of Children - no effect

Biological PsychiatryVolume 34, Issues 1–2, 1–15 July 1993, Pages 13–17: Adverse reactions to aspartame: Double-blind challenge in patients from a vulnerable population -
        We conclude that individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener and its use in this population should be discouraged.  This is the only negative study I've found and so I question if it's valid.

Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology Volume 35, Issue 2, Supplement, April 2002, Pages S1–S93: Aspartame: Review of Safety -
Over 20 years have elapsed since aspartame was approved by regulatory agencies as a sweetener and flavor enhancer. The safety of aspartame and its metabolic constituents was established through extensive toxicology studies in laboratory animals, using much greater doses than people could possibly consume. Its safety was further confirmed through studies in several human subpopulations, including healthy infants, children, adolescents, and adults; obese individuals; diabetics; lactating women; and individuals heterozygous (PKUH) for the genetic disease phenylketonuria (PKU) who have a decreased ability to metabolize the essential amino acid, phenylalanine. Several scientific issues continued to be raised after approval, largely as a concern for theoretical toxicity from its metabolic components—the amino acids, aspartate and phenylalanine, and methanol—even though dietary exposure to these components is much greater than from aspartame. Nonetheless, additional research, including evaluations of possible associations between aspartame and headaches, seizures, behavior, cognition, and mood as well as allergic-type reactions and use by potentially sensitive subpopulations, has continued after approval. These findings are reviewed here. The safety testing of aspartame has gone well beyond that required to evaluate the safety of a food additive. When all the research on aspartame, including evaluations in both the premarketing and postmarketing periods, is examined as a whole, it is clear that aspartame is safe, and there are no unresolved questions regarding its safety under conditions of intended use.
Magnuson BA, Burdock GA, Doull J et al. (2007). "Aspartame: a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations, and toxicological and epidemiological studies". Critical Reviews in Toxicology 37 (8): 629–727. doi:10.1080/10408440701516184. PMID 17828671.

EFSA National Experts (May 2010). "Report of the meetings on aspartame with national experts". EFSA.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand: "Food Standards Australia New Zealand: Aspartame – what it is and why it's used in our food".

Aspartame – Truth vs Fiction - "Aspartame is a highly studied food additive with decades of research showing that it is safe for human consumption."

Good News

Somewhere in my recent reading there was a comment that any food promoted as "Healthy or Nutritious" should be avoided as should any food that has a nutrition label.  The latter idea is because real food does not need a nutrition label.  Another saying is do not shop in the center of the supermarket. But . . .

There are some packaged foods that get the idea that a low carb high fiber food is desirable.  I've found two so far by looking for something specific like ketchup and tortillas.
I expect that there are more packaged foods that are fit to eat.

Other Diet Ideas

Response to someone who believes in McDougall (promoting starch and elimination of meat and dairy) , The China Study by Campbell (meat and dairy are harmful).


Google the "baloney detection kit" for ways to recognize arguments that are not scientific. 

For example McDougall starts off his TED talk by giving examples of people who he says were helped by eating starch.  That's not proof and has no merit in developing a factual case.  Also... he mentions "traditional western diet", at what point in time?  Our diet has undergone radical changes.   Especially in regard to pounds per year per person of sugar consumption.  He talks about later generations abandoning starch, but I'll bet they also started eating more carbs and processed foods.  This is where there's the problem of thinking correlation means causality.  But that's just not scientific.

Yes, there are many diets that show no signs of the diseases of modern civilization and the hope has been that by studying what those healthy people eat we can improve our diet.  But bad science gets in the way.  For example in the Ancel Keys 7 country study he removed many countries whose diets conflicted with his starting position that fat was the problem and so instead of a 20+ country survey it ended up being 7 countries.  He also studied the diet on Crete during Lent when people were not eating the same as they did the rest of the year. 

McDougall claims people prior to 10,000 years ago (the start of agriculture) had a diet where starch was the main nutrient.  How is that possible without agriculture?  Can you cite one scientific study that will confirm that?

McDougall mentions the Aztec's eating corn, but that was only 800 years ago, i.e. they used agriculture to raise corn, it was not a wild plant they gathered.   In a similar manner rice and potatoes are agricultural crops, not wild plants.

As a side note the current Paleolithic diet fad (note the Wiki page is full of challenges) is based on the idea that McDougall is trying to espouse i.e.  based on what some people think we ate prior to 10,000 years ago, but at that time iPhones did not have a record function so there's no records to refer to.

TED - Christina Warinner: Tracking ancient diseases using ... plaque  -
TEDxOU - Debunking the paleo diet: Christina Warinner -

The idea that meat and dairy products are not good for us comes from the "China Study" by Campbell.  Here's a web page that talks about the problems just with Campbell's correlations and inferences:
but the larger problem is that correlation and causality are two very different things that are not related.  That's to say that a 100 % correlation does not prove that there's a causal connection.  See Causation below.

Is there any scientific study that supports McDougall?  (Contact me if  you know of one)

Neal Barnard tries to make the case the we are herbivores, but that's just not the case.  We are omnivores, that's a fact you can confirm by many methods.  Hunter Gatherers hunted animals and eat them as well as gathering plants.  Our jaw muscles and digestive system are not designed to survive on plants alone.

Douglas Lisle's TED Talk - He gets the problem of the super stimulus correct, but then veers off and starts making claims about the problems with salt, sugar, meat and foods with a high calorie content per unit weight like oils as being the problem, citing Campbell and McDougall.  In another talk he points out the problem of confusing correlation with causality, but that's exactly what McDougall and Campbell have done.

Michael Moss  author of "Salt Sugar Fat: How the food giants hooked us" In the video Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0 starting at about 1hour 6 minutes Lustig talks about this book.  The four factors really are: Salt, Sugar, Fat and Caffeine.But Salt, fat but sugar and caffeine are addictive.  Caffeine is not toxic so it's not regulated.

In the video Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0 starting at about 1 hour 11 minutes the movie Super Size Me is mentioned.  Morgan's doctor keeps saying that he needs to get off this high fat diet, but that's not the case.  The problems were caused by the high sugar diet.  There's a clip of day 18 where Morgan is in sugar withdrawal and needed another hit.
Note: the rebuttal movie Fat Head shows Tom Naughton eating all his meals at fast food outlets and loosing weight and improving his bio markers (mainly by restricting calories and exercise.

Comments on various health claims by Denise Minger's in her paper The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response  see the link above for 2010.

1. John McDougall. While McDougall’s program embraces whole plant foods, he also advises against consuming refined flour, refined and sugar-coated cereals, soft drinks, vegetable oils, white rice, and other processed carbohydrates.

2. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. The diet promoted by Esselstyn involves not only the elimination of animal products, but also the avoidance of vegetable oils and refined grains—including white rice, white flour, and products made from enriched flour such as pastas, breads, bagels, and baked goods.

3. Dean Ornish. Along with eschewing meat, Ornish’s program—as outlined in the book Eat More, Weigh Less—also involves reducing ―sugar and simple sugar derivatives‖ such corn syrup, white flour, and white rice, avoiding margarine and vegetable oils, limiting alcohol, and avoiding commercial products with more than two grams of fat per serving, which is likely to disqualify most ready-made processed foods from dieters’ menus. Ornish also notes that his program involves more than just a plant-based diet: He emphasizes increased exercise104 and other lifestyle changes to achieve better health.

4. Neal Barnard. In his book Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes, Barnard advises his readers to ―keep vegetable oils to a minimum‖ and ― "favor foods with a low glycemic index," which ultimately eliminates refined carbohydrates, most processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and other common sweeteners. Barnard also recommends avoiding fried foods, including fried starches such as potato chips and French fries.

5. Joel Fuhrman. Along with reducing or eliminating animal products, the diet Joel Fuhrman espouses shuns refined grains, refined oils, and refined sweets; Furhman lists these foods as less healthful than all forms of animal food in terms of nutrient density, and notes that ―"eating a diet that contains a significant quantity of sugar and refined flour … leads to an earlier death."108 Fuhrman also notes that ―"a low-fat diet can be worse than a higher-fat diet" if it centers on refined carbohydrates and contains trans fat, stating specifically:
A vegetarian whose diet is mainly refined grains, cold breakfast cereals, processed health food store products, vegetarian fast foods, white rice, and pasta will be worse off than a person who eats a little turkey, chicken, fish, or eggs but consumes large volumes of fruits, vegetables, and beans.

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell   rebuttal by Denise Minger:  China Study Debunked by Denise Minger (part 1 of 4), 2/4, 3/4 & 4/4.

Confounding Factors

In most diet studies that are not clinical after some time everyone tends to be eating the same thing.

Historically the effect of smoking was not accounted for and in those studies might become meaningless if one of the study groups smoked more than the other group.  In a similar way of someone who was not previously on a diet starts a study where they are indoctrinated with the basis of the new diet you would think that they would be eating in accordance with the new diet, unless it's a clinical setting where all the food is supplied by the study, the person may stop eating things that they know are bad for them, such as sugary deserts.
So the improvement they see after some time may be due to the official diet or more probably it may be because they stopped eating the sugary deserts, how to tell which one?

So when a new patient shows up at a doctor's clinic and starts on that doctor's diet they are motivated to improve and even if the official diet is not as good as it might be they may still improve in spite of the diet they are officially following because they cut out foods they know are not healthy.

This is one of the reasons why it's very difficult to do a valid scientific study that has meaning.

The Decline Effect (Wiki) - Why Most Published Research Findings Are False by John P. A. Ioannidis "It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false."

August 2015 - A thought.
I get hungry at different times of day and am motivated to eat when hungry.  In the Stanford A TO Z study they found that some people lost weight and some people gained weight on each diet.  The cause of this variation is unknown.  Maybe it has to do with when an individual is hungry during the day and how that relates to when and what that individual eats.

Gut Bacteria

This is an area where there's current research going on so is speculative, not solid science.  In the past few months (2014) I've read that studies have shown that the glass of wine the French take with meals has been shown to not be a factor in why they are healthier than Americans.  An area where they differ from Americans is their consumption of salads and Leeks in particular which is much higher than the average American and probably higher than a Californian.

Most people think of bacteria (Wiki) and the medical problems they cause, but there are bacteria that are healthy for us and feeding them is important to health.

BBC - Can vegetables help you resist infection?  yes, Prebiotics (Wiki) (1995) "non-digestible fiber compounds that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the growth and/or activity of advantageous bacteria that colonize the large bowel by acting as substrate for them." or a newer definition:
(2007) "A prebiotic is a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-being and health."

Note: Probiotics (Wiki) are a health fad related to gut bacteria, but their benefits are to be determined.  They are needed after using antibiotics (Wiki: side effects) that can kill off  your gut bacteria.  This caused me problems after a lot of Penicillin (Wiki) which years later was fixed by taking Lactobacillus (Wiki) pills (no prescription needed, but it's in the refrigerator at the drug store so you need to know to ask for it).  Any doctor who prescribes a broad spectrum antibiotic should also tell you about the need for something like Lactobacillus to restart  you gut bacteria.  The early antibiotics, like penicillin, were "broad spectrum" and attacked any and all bacteria, but the newer antibiotics are more refined and tend to target the bacteria that's causing a problem, so you may not need to restart your gut bacteria after a course of a targeted antibiotic.  It's easy to tell because if your gut bacteria gets wiped out you will become lactose intolerant (Wiki).

Cell: Human Genetics Shape the Gut Microbiome - Kings College London: Weight influenced by microbes in the gut - The British Gut Project! - American Gut blog

Human Microbiome Project at NIH

Earth Microbiome Project - just getting started 2014 website has broken links, not just gut, but all types

Your Wild Life - "We’re a team of scientists, science communicators, students, and citizens who are passionate about exploring the ecological frontiers that exist right under our noses, from the surface of our skin to our backyards and neighborhoods. Shockingly, these familiar places where we spend our every day lives have been so little studied. We aim to change that."

YouTube: Gut Ecosystem Restoration via Fecal Transplantation -
TED Tal Danino: Programming bacteria to detect cancer (and maybe treat it) -

This may have implications on how a baby is born.  If a normal birth the baby is swathed in it's mother's vaginal bacteria, but in a C-section birth the baby does not get those bacteria and that may lead to various medical problems.  It seems to be that a simple procedure could be done after a C-section birth to manually swathe the baby using the mother's vaginal fluids to give that baby it's mothers bacteria.  Let me know if this is a option that modern Ob Gyn doctors practice.
YouTube - The assembly of an infant gut microbiome framed against healthy human adults
NPR - Bundle Of Joyful Microbes: Mom's DNA Alters Baby's Gut Bacteria -

American Heart Association - Low gluten diets may be associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes, March 09, 2017 - low gluten is associated with low fiber and hence low gut bacteria.

PNAS: Protective major histocompatibility complex allele prevents type 1 diabetes by shaping the intestinal microbiota early in ontogeny, (behind pay wall)

2018 August 27 - New Atlas: Revolutions: The gut microbiome - overview article with links to other articles

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

I discovered this diet when looking into Crohn's Disease (Wiki) for a friend.  "The Specific Carbohydrate Diet limits the use of complex carbohydrates (disaccharides and polysaccharides). Monosaccharides are allowed, and various foods including fish, aged cheese and honey are included. Prohibited foods include cereal grains, potatoes and lactose-containing dairy products." 
Allows orange juice which Robert Lustig is very much against, so that seems to be a problem.  Fresh dairy products not allowed, but aged cheese is OK.

It looks like there's a very small amount of anecdotal evidence that the trademarked SCD is of help.

The official web page claims this diet is good for: Crohn's diseaseinflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic diarrhea and autism, but there's no scientific data to support that claim.  RCTs are now underway to better understand it.

 "One basic principle of the SCD™ diet must be firmly established and persistently repeated: no food should be ingested that contains carbohydrates other than those found in fruits, honey, properly prepared yogurt, and those vegetables and nuts listed."

The book reviews on Amazon for Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet are very positive, but personal testimony is not proof.

Stanford study underway:

This thing that's interesting is that not all carbs are seen as a problem.

GMO (Wiki)

Just read this The New Yorker article: Seeds of Doubt:Vandana Shiva’s Crusade Against Genetically Modified Crops

By pausing the reading and looking up the subjects it's seems to me that GMO have many benefits and are not guilty of the charges made by Vandana.
Here's an unbiased source of GMO related information: Biology Fortified (Wiki).
The lead article today ( 2 Oct 2014) was on a fear mongering piece Dr. Oz did on GMOs where his information was both inaccurate and misleading.

It's interesting that there are a large number of GMO medicines that people demand, yet when the very same technology is used for food people become upset.
It seems to be that the resistance to GMOs is not rational in the same way that very religious people don't believe in evolution.  These same people seem to be believers in products that are banned in Europe, but allowed in the U.S. under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (Wiki).
More info on woo-woo ideas on my Faradic web page.

The areas of controversy (Wiki) are:
Health - all the scientific studies show there's no difference when compared to the unmodified version
Environment - large benefit by reducing the use of conventional pesticides by using none or a much milder pesticide.
Biodiversity - Gene Flow has been shown to happen and is similar to escape of GMO crops which has caused legal and sales problems but no health problems.
                    There has NOT been a case where Monsanto sued someone where they did not plant patented seeds. See Wiki

                    There's a concern that if only a single crop is planted by many farmers and climate change causes that crop to fail there will be a big problem.
                    But that's an argument against what's called monoculture and applies to non GMO crops as well, so is not part of the GMO issue.

The Seralini GMO Study – Retraction and Response to Critics - retracted by Elsevier, they wrote: "Ultimately, the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology."

No Health Concerns for GMO -article by Steven Novella

Neil deGrasse Tyson on gmo food! - YouTube (<3 minutes)

More bad science in the service of anti-GMO activism - criticism of article/study at entitled GMO feed turns pig stomachs to mush! by Judy Carman

SUPER SCIENCE MASHUP - "Attack of the GMOs!"  - YouTube (1:07:16)

TED Pamela Ronald: the case for engineering our food -


This page is based on the effect of bad science.  This paragraph is being added to explain what nutrition science is.

This website has excellent information on medicine that's based on scientific principles:
Science-Based Medicine - Steven Novella (Wiki)

Here are a couple of videos that give a feel for real science:

2018 Alex Edmans
  What to trust in a "post-truth" world - excellent overview - confirmation bias

2013 Crisis In Nutrition IV - Vox Populi by by Tom Naughton given to the Office of Research Integrity

        Has good pointers on how to interpret scientific papers.
        The interesting part of this is that he is openly saying the public has no respect for the government nutrition information and that's as it should be.
        But the down side of that is it opens the door for people like Dr. Oz and the other woo-woo types.

2012 The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Authors at Google - Steven Novella (Wiki)
A lot of information about the progression of an idea through multiple scientific studies and how most of the preliminary test results are wrong.   Also a good explanation of how the placebo effects are subjective and do not have a clinically objective improvement associated with them.  Test data is shown from the following paper:
Active albuterol or placebo, sham acupuncture, or no intervention in asthma  Here's the full paper, note Fig 3 and Fig 4 are the ones in the Google talk by Steven. 

2014 In his talk How to Think Like a Skeptical Neurologist at TAM 2014 Steven Novella goes into Bayesian probability (Wiki) and the significance of various randomized clinical trials (Wiki) and their meaning.

PLOS: Why Most Published Research Findings Are False -

The first randomized controlled trial (Wiki RCT) for a new medical idea it's usually for a time frame around one or two years and involves less than 100 people.  It's purpose to to see if the idea has any merit.  Any conclusion is very tentative and in most cases is wrong because of the short time frame and small sample size.  If there's a positive result then another RCT is done with more people and for a longer time, but even if the results of these are positive the truth may still be negative.  Only after a trial lasting over a decade and with tens of thousands of subjects is the science solid.  This is why you can say that most of the results of RCT's published in pier reviewed journals are wrong.  That's the nature of the process.  It's not an argument that we should stop the system, but rather we should understand where in the process a given result is located.

In the case of the "low fat diets are heart healthy" even after the multi-decade studies with thousands of subjects the bad science came to the wrong conclusion.

The American Medical Association and the Fight Against Quackery, Posted on Jun. 14, 2015 - mentions the 1911 book by the AMA Nostrums and Quackery

Scientific Studies: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver -

How Science Works in General

I got started on this by: TED Talk David Deutsch: A New Way to Explain Explanation

Then read a couple of books by David Deutsch that make the case that science is about good explanations are:
The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes--and Its Implications, 1998
The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World, 2012

Many of the ideas expressed by David Deutsch come from Karl Popper (Wiki, Stanford).  I, like David, believe that Karl Popper has the best explanation of how science works.
Popper believes that part of a scientific theory is that it can be falsified (Wki).  If there is no way a statement can be falsified then it is not in Poppers definition a scientific statement.
So, rather than accept Bacon's idea that science works on the inductive process, Popper postulates a different sequence.
Problem -> conjectures -> experiments -> new theory -> Problem.
For example, to use the naming convention proposed by David Deutsch, Newton's misconception of gravity worked until there were problems (for example the orbit of Mercury: Wiki))
This led Einstein to come up with his misconception of relativity.  But that led to problems that lead to Quantum Mechanics, but that lead to problems that Quantum Electro Dynamics (QED) tried to solve, but those problems lead to some form of string theory (which no one yet knows how to calculate).

All of science is provisional, open for revision.  Because of this we have advanced.  So this is a very positive thing.
Books by Karl Popper:
Popper Selections by Karl R. Popper (Author), David W. Miller (Editor) 1985 - now reading
The Open Society and Its Enemies, Karl Popper, 2013 (combined volume 1 & 2 w/new material) - How Plato, Aristotle, Hegel & Marx believed in authoritarian government. Written in response to Hitler & W.W.II
The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Karl Popper, 1935 (He was involved in the English translation in 1959) - I think Popper's ideas on "demarcation" were clear after Special & General relativity, but became very blurred with the introduction of the scientific ideas of quantum mechanics and later Quantum Electro Dynamics where probability comes into play.  That makes those ideas what Popper calls metaphysical.  This book seems to be him trying to find a way for these ideas to be on the science side of his demarcation.
Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (Routledge Classics), Karl Popper, 2002 - a collection of lectures on very specific subjects - recommended
The Myth of the Framework : In Defence of Science and Rationality, Karl Popper, 1994 - a collection of lectures on very specific subjects - recommended

Bad Science Examples

Also see my acupuncture entry on the Faradic web page.  The Faradic web pages was started because a number of very intelligent men fooled themselves into thinking that what we now know is a quack medical device really worked.  There is a long list of things are are false ideas.
Richard Feynman said “Science is what we have learned about how to keep from fooling ourselves.”

2018 October 29 - NYT: He Promised to Restore Damaged Hearts. Harvard Says His Lab Fabricated Research. - an excellent suggestion in the comments is to setup a way for ALL results (including negative results) to be published.  In this case where Dr. Piero Anversa claimed he could grow heart muscle from stem cells, having easy access to prior attempts that failed might have kept this disaster from happening.  In any case it would have made it harder for him to publish faked papers.

Science alert: A bug in fMRI software could invalidate 15 years of brain research - "They tested the three most popular fMRI software packages for fMRI analysis - SPM, FSL, and AFNI - and while they shouldn't have found much difference across the groups, the software resulted in false-positive rates of up to 70 percent."

Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction - a dead Salmon has opinions about humans based on fMRI.
Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates -

Motherboard: A Huge Study Found Less than Half of Psychology Findings Were Reproducible -  this happened with the heart muscle stem cells, see 2018 October 29 above.
Science: Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science (Free) - "One of the central goals in any scientific endeavor is to understand causality. Experiments that seek to demonstrate a cause/effect relation most often manipulate the postulated causal factor. Aarts et al. describe the replication of 100 experiments reported in papers published in 2008 in three high-ranking psychology journals. Assessing whether the replication and the original experiment yielded the same result according to several criteria, they find that about one-third to one-half of the original findings were also observed in the replication study."
This means the DSM (Wiki) is not valid.  It's only value is as a dictionary.  Also note that Karl Popper does not consider any of the "social sciences" as sciences.

And here is bad Social Science (economics) on a scale as large as that of the bad science in Diet & Nutrition.  What I think is the correct view of economics is Modern Monetary Theory.
There are some parallels between Diet & Nutrition and economics.  The main one is the confusion about cause and effect.

Correlation vs. Causation (Wiki)

Most (99.9% in my experience) of the popular diet authors make the mistake of demonstrating (or trying to demonstrate) a statistically significant correlation and then claiming causation.

Some key ideas in demonstrating causality are that the cause comes first then the effect.  The time delay between the cause and effect hopefully will be similar between cases.  The magnitude of the cause may relate to the magnitude of the effect.  If this happens it makes the case stronger.  There are different types of relationships between causes and effects such as: necessary, sufficient or probabilistic.

For more on this see the As causal inference paragraph on the Wiki Epidemiology web page.
Also see the Wiki pages for: Granger Predictive Causality & Bradford Hill Criteria

In the 2013 YouTube video by Lustig
Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0 starting at about 54 minutes into the video he talks about causation showing that about 1/4 of the new type II diabetes cases are directly attributable to sugar world wide.  PS Aug 2015 Coke is funding an organization to promote the idea of energy balance (the idea that Gary Taubes has shot down) because if energy balance is real then drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) would be OK, i.e. people need to watch their total calorie intake and exercise.

If someone is making a case solely by showing correlation and not scientifically demonstrating causality then it's just bad science and can be ignored.  At best they can be used as the basis for a more scientific study.

In the GPS system each satellite transmits a unique pseudorandom code.  The GPS receiver compares the received signal to the known code by incrementing the time offset and when the peak of the correlation function is found that time offset directly related to the slant range between the satellite and the receiver.  The beauty of this is that  you do not need to know the time offset prior to doing the analysis.  Some drugs have an effect well within a days time, for example alcohol. Cigarette smoking takes some number of pack years to show up as a driver for cancer.  I expect that many of the effects of diet on weight may take weeks to months to show up and the effects on health, will take years.  The greater the time between cause and effect the harder it is to demonstrate.

In order to show causality Lustig made use of variations in the sugar supply by outside influences and then looked down stream at the impact on type 2 diabetes.
2013 PLOS: The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence: An Econometric Analysis of Repeated Cross-Sectional Data Robert Lustig -  talks about causality rather than just correlation.

The TED talk & book The Spirit Level by Wilkinson tries to make the case by showing plots of income inequality and some social outcome that those outcomes are because of the income inequality.  That's to say he's showing a static correlation, not causality which is more like a movie.  When I do a similar thing (scroll down a little for a table) using a proxy for Bob Altemeyer's Right Wing Authoritarianism I get stronger correlations that Wilkinson.  In his book there is a paragraph or two that's a hand waving exercise trying to show some causality but it does not convince me.

YouTube: Endogeneity: An inconvenient truth (full version), by John Antonakis - gives an idea how difficult it is to truly show causation.

A Layman’s Guide to Separating Causation from Correlation … and Noticing When Claims of Causation are Invalid - Alex Edmans


I added this paragraph because of the confusion caused by constraints that are not recognized.  This is really a huge problem in understanding sovereign state economics when for many hundreds of years money was tied to gold and so all observations of the economy had this constraint.  So when that constraint was lifter for 41 sovereign countries in 1971 it's easy to understand how colleges are still teaching ideas that are no longer applicable.

When studying diets a key constraint is that an individual needs to ingest enough usable energy to to replace the expended energy.  The key word there is "usable" and it may be that depending on your genetic makeup that means different foods for different people.  Hopefully that is what the Stanford study that's just ended will clear up.

Newton started his mathematical (no physical explanation was given) description of gravity by postulating two axioms: 1. space is a constant vacuum and has no properties of it's own and 2. time moves on in a constant progression.  Einstein's brilliant mathimatical idea was that both of these constraints were wrong: 1. space has curvature that is the heart of gravity and 2. time does have constant ticks, the thing that is constant is the speed of light.

Richard Feynman, in the Messenger lectures at Cornell made in the 1960s, spends hours talking about what gravity is and never mentions Einstein even though both the special and general theories of relativity were well known at that time.  I've asked Murray Gell-Mann (Wiki) why Richard did not mention Einstein in the lectures.

Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance

I learned of this problem from a PBS documentary  Frontline: Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria.  As of 2013 it looks like maybe 23,000 people in the U.S. are dying each year from this and the problem is getting worse.  On the causes of deaths in the U.S. list this is down around No. 30.  Heart disease and cancer and the two big ones.

With the mass production of penicillin (Wiki) after W.W.II and the subsequent introduction of a large family of antibiotics many infectious diseases have been cured with the result that millions of lives have been saved.  But recently new strains of bacteria, mostly gram negative (Wiki), have become resistant to all known antibiotics and this is a big problem that's going to get worse.
The major pharmaceutical companies have shut down R&D on antibiotics because it's more profitable to make a medicine that will be used for the rest of the patients life than something that's used once for a week then stopped.  That's to say they will make more money on something that reduces symptoms rather than on something that cures the problem once and for all.  (for more on how the economy works see MMT)

CDC - Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance - 2012
WHO’s first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public health - 30 April 2014
Executive Order -- Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria - September 18, 2014 - will not develop any new antibiotics, only lower the cost of testing for the problem.

This points out a problem with capitalism.  Businesses will choose what to do to maximize their profits not what benefits society.  The "invisible hand" (Wiki) mentioned by Adam Smith in the Wealth Of  Nations never was operational then or now.


In the 2015 book The Gluten Lie: and other myths about what you eat Alan Levinovitz makes the case that diet fads have a strong parallel to religious beliefs.  In the case of Gluten-related disorders (Wiki) as in the case of salt, sugar, wheat or whatever food is being vilified that the religious belief is far in excess of the science.

US Preventative Services Task Force

The A and B Recommendations are best practice for staying healthy and involve various screenings.


Faradic - there are an uncountable number of woo-woo ideas out there, these are just some of them, but far from all of them.
Nikon Labophot microscope
Recipes - unfortunately most are high in carbs.
Burton 6200 Induction cooktop - has temperature control unlike other cooking methods.
End 2 Party Government - abut the cause of most federal problems and how to fix them.


Raw Food SOS - Denise Minger's blog, scientific problems with The China Study - Tips for Vegans -

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This page created 15 April 2014