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Showing posts from November, 2013

The Low-Carb Fraud: A Review

T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, has written a new book (more of a report at 57 pages) called The Low-Carb Fraud. Let's start with what Dr. Campbell gets right: There are different kinds of carbohydrates. Most carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the intestine. Refined carbohydrates are bad.  Low carb diets are fun! (I swear I'm not making this up) Calories don't matter unless you're going to extremes. People lose weight on low carbohydrate diets. People lower their insulin levels on low carbohydrate diets. That's about it. Mostly, he slanders low-carb proponents and he lies, lies again, and lies some more. He lies when he doesn't need to lie. To wit:  " Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution ...had not been especially successful in the marketplace." According to Dr. Atkins' obituary in The New York Times, " its various editions sold more than 15 million copies, making it one of the best selling books ever.&qu

No Cavities, but if that's not Working for you...

"You might want to read The China Study ." Good lord, there's someone still recommending that book after it was debunked by an English major and picked apart by Michael Eades and Chris Masterjohn ? Recommended by someone who works in a dentist's office, no less--where they're supposed to tell you to avoid carbage? Yet the dental hygienist did today. Maybe she was worried about business slowing down. Maybe she hadn't heard that at least two of its main critics got a mouthful of cavities on vegan or vegetarian diets. I didn't have any cavities, sensitive gums or other issues that a little more flossing wouldn't fix, and told her that I quit getting cavities after I started a low-carb diet. I added that since I'm from a family full of diabetes, that's another reason to be on a low-carb diet. "Well, if your diet isn't working for you, read The China Study. " I wasn't about to argue with a vegan holding a pick in my mouth.

The Woman Cave

Need a dining room set? I'm selling mine since all it does is collect dust and papers. Not having many of those health-giving, life-lengthening, cortisol-dampening relationships, I haven't had company in two years. I replaced the old furniture with a papasan chair, which I've enjoyed more than I the casual acquaintances I went to some trouble to acquire, who came and sat at the table once or twice. Of course, I've read about studies showing close relationships making us happier and live longer, and studies showing that introverts are happier when they act extroverted. But what about real life? Most relationships are friendships of convenience. Acquaintances who aren't classmates, coworkers or neighbors take time and effort to meet, and I've come by very few who were worth the effort. As for playing a gadfly, what would a study find if it had people calling in sick and getting drunk instead of going to work--that they were happier? Probably, but like someone w

Institute for Justice Kicks off National Food Freedom Initiative

This just in from the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian law firm: The Government vs. Your Food IJ Launches New National Food Freedom Initiative Arlington, Va.—A new national initiative launched today by the Institute for Justice seeks to make sure the government stays out of some of the most personal decisions people make every day:  What we eat and how we get our food.  This nationwide campaign will bring property rights, economic liberty and free speech challenges to laws that dictate what Americans can grow, raise, eat or even talk about. Read an Associated Press feature on the National Food Freedom Initiative To kick off the initiative, IJ is today filing three separate lawsuits challenging Miami Shores, Florida’s ban on front-yard vegetable gardens; Minnesota’s severe restrictions on home bakers, or “cottage food” producers; and Oregon’s ban on the advertisement of raw—or unpasteurized—milk.  Each case demonstrates how real the need for food freedom is in e

How to Write a Newspaper Nutrition Article

This article from the Miami Herald, " Popular Paleo Diet Still Has its Skeptics " by Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley, is a textbook example of how to write a nutrition article. Choose a hot topic. In this case, paleo diets. Describe the topic and how it got started. This article cites popular media and books written no less than 12 years ago; one book is from 1975.  Find some examples of people who've tried the regimen. One man interviewed lost 200 pounds (yes, two hundred) and got rid of his acid reflux; a bariatric surgeon lost 40 pounds. Somewhere in the article, mention that they are not alone.  Create conflict. A couple of registered dieticians interviewed trot out the gospel of food groups, healthy whole grains, and warnings that more research is needed. Recommend people talk to their doctor. What NOT to do when writing a newspaper article on nutrition: Proofread. "Just about everybody , including daytime talk show hosts and fitness bloggers, are touting.

AHA Recommends Statins for the Poor, People Near Airports, and Everyone in the Southeastern US

Not really, but why not? The American Heart Association now recommends cholesterol-lowering drugs for people who don't necessarily have low cholesterol, just risk factors for heart disease . (1) What is a risk factor? It's something that is statistically associated with heart disease. Everyone say it with me: association is not the same as causation. Take a look at the map below: Map from the Center for Disease Control . Obviously, living in the southeastern US (or Appalachia) is a risk factor for heart disease. As my father says about most car accidents happening within a few miles of home, you'd better move away from there. But the whole population there can't move out west, and I don't want them bringing their sweet tea and hushpuppies and green and orange jello here. The obvious solution is to prescribe statins by ZIP code, right? That goes for people who live near airports , too.(2) The AHA could get together with the IRS and doctors could prescribe

Need a Prosthetic Hand? Got $10? DIY!

From the Hit and Run blog at Shirking $30,000 in medical fees for a traditional prosthetic hand, videographer Paul McCarthy built a multi-colored “Robohand” for his son using a friend’s 3-D printer. McCarthy says he spent, “Five, maybe, ten bucks.” The boy, 12-year-old Leon McCarthy, was born without fingers on his left hand. Once he turned ten, Paul started searching for an inexpensive and functional prosthetic alternative. What he found changed his son’s life. A YouTube video by Washington-based special effects artist and puppeteer, Ivan Owen, shows the results of the artist's collaborative effort to build a Robohand for a disabled boy in South Africa. DIY hand. Photo from  More homemade prosthetics are here .

My Parents' Doctor Fired Them. Hurray!

December 17, 1999 found me so happy that I was jumping up and down and laughing. I'd just been laid off from my last engineering job, a job I could have done as a high school sophomore, a job so dull I felt a piece of myself dying every day as I sat through seven light changes to get out of the office park. No more. I was free of that miserable job. This should have been the reaction (in spirit) of my mom when her doctor fired her as a patient last week. She asked her nephew, an M.D. (who also left engineering) if a doctor could do that. Certainly--if you were a doctor, would you want to be forced to treat patients you felt you couldn't help? Call it at-will treatment. My parents' now-former doctor changed my mother's diabetes medication without giving her any advice to monitor blood sugar levels carefully or adjust her insulin, and my mother ended up with blood sugar levels in the 50s some mornings. My father didn't want to take a certain medication because of

Think All Doctors are Trustworthy? Read This

Let me start by saying that I think most doctors are decent people who want to help their patients. But sometimes I struggle to fathom the way they think. Dr. Michael Eades says most doctors aren't critical thinkers , so maybe that explains it. (Eades is a former civil engineer. If you can't solve problems, you don't last long in engineering school.) First, I have to wonder about the common sense (let alone critical thinking) of physicians, who in general can't transform a six-figure income into large nest egg . Yes, physicians have expenses, but so do the rest of us. Why don't they just start an IRA with Vanguard and set up automatic payments? How does this concern you if you're not a doctor? Where there's money, there's motive. Prescribing statins, PPIs and diabetes drugs and recommending ADA and AHA diets sounds a lot easier, and more profitable, than revisiting  endocrinology textbooks, learning to interpret medical studies, and working with patie