Meat: As bad a cigarettes?!

77 Comments

Just a quickie here:

A number of folks have asked for my thoughts on the new study  which would have us believe eating meat is as bad a smoking .

More epidemiology, more correlation without causation. Overeat, get poor sleep, stay sedentary and you have problems. That’s my complex, physiological un-packing of this study. My emotional response?

 

UPDATE:

A few folks seem to have their britches bunched that I did not spend 20 hours writing a detailed dissection of this bollocks. Sorry, unless the study is really good, unique are meaningful, I’m not wasting my time on this stuff any longer. I’ve broken down studies before and at this point it’s just a waste of my time. Even when folks did some molecular biology related work looking at Tmano the researchers omitted fish consumption data which would have completely scuttled their results as fish produces much higher Tmano levels than meat.

 

I know that part of my job is to act as an interface between the science/medical scene and the folks who do not have a medical background. I take that role seriously but I’m not a fan of Groundhogs Day. Well, the movie was kick-ass, but living it is not a party. Hence my very abbreviated treatment of this topic. Here is a comment from Woockman, give it a read:

Howdy,

As an epi and public healtlh professional what irks me about all these studies is your conclusions. Using data from the study of one chemical or one biomarker is ridiculous. Humans are never exposed to one one thing in their natural environment everything is a mixture. To allow the media to make assumptions like “Meat consumption is as dangerous as smoking” is irresponsible. The study admits in numerous places potential problems with their methods and data yet turns around only to attempt to justify conclusions. Cancer is a disease that often times progresses slowly. I find it interesting that the high mortality rate is in the 50 -65 age group. That is about the time when all factors (stress, occupation, lack of activity, etc.) begin to take the most toll on a body and increase things like inflammation and metabolic disfunction. All of which could account for your results. Too many of these studies smack of a specific agenda in part because the media picks it up and runs with it whether they understand it or not. A true scientist would try and limit these media associations until a true consensus with strong data is reached. This of course will never happen since much of science has been hijacked by politics and personal agendas. No one lives forever.

Epidemiology is an important tool, but it is being used as a shortcut to drive political agendas and policies. Folks are asked questions about what they remember eating…and this makes front page news. The last big round of this the researchers were subsequently chastised for going on outlets like NPR and talking about their research in a  way that was pretty misleading. By that point however the gato was out of the bolsa and it was just a matter of damage control. Why is research conducted in this way? It’s comparatively cheap and easy to do compared to say a large randomized, controlled trial. That’s a pretty factual statement, an opinion based statement is that this data is easily manipulated. Draw from that what you will. Speaking of the holy grail of research, the RCT, let’s look at some of the problems with that approach:

Let’s say we get some pretty big funding to look at gluten intolerance and autoimmune disease. In general the study will involve selecting a group of folks (as large as the budget will allow, which will help with establishing whether or not the intervention results are actually meaningful or just random noise) and placing them on a gluten inclusive or exclusive diet. These folsk will be counseled on what to (or not to) eat, some tracking metrics are employed, then they are released to live their lives. Time goes on, data is collected, we look at the results. Maybe we see a benefit of eating a gluten free diet with regards to AI. Critics will rightfully point out that we really do not know WHAT folks really ate as they were free living and largely just reporting food intake. It was NOT a metabolic ward which is a situation in which folks live in a hospital setting and all food, activity, meds etc are tightly monitored. metabolic ward trials are REALLY the gold standard for an RCT…but they are damn expensive and really invasive (want to live in a  hospital for a year?) So, the best science we can draw from (metabolic ward) is expensive and has huge wash-out rates, the next step down (free living RCT) starts looking not a lot different than this epidemiology paper if one really wants to be persnickety about the controls. Then we have another layer to this: Do the results actually apply to YOU? Drug trials try to establish average responses to a given dose of medication. This may mean nothing for you if your genetics and circumstances place you outside some number of standard deviations.

So, what the hell do you do? For me, I start with this Ancestral Health model and start working out from there. How does my body respond to different foods or macronutrient ratios? How do I look, feel and perform? How does my blood work change? It makes sense to me to start with this evolutionary template and then work out using outcome based medicine. Even here we do not have perfectly clear cut outcomes. My friend, Dr. Rocky Patel had clear hyperinsulinemia when eating a high carb diet. He had vascular calcifications and  markers of systemic inflammation. He went on a  ketogenic diet, his LDL-P went through the roof (generally not a good thing) yet his systemic inflammatory markers plummeted (good) and his subsequent carotid scan showed a reversal of calcification (really good). The clinical outcome seems good, but still lots of questions in that case.

I’m not sure what else to say about this other than I keep an eye on the science, but I put a disproportionate weight into personal experience.

Leave A Comment

Comments

Comment using Facebook

Comment using RobbWolf.com

  1. charles grashow
    March 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    It’s always good to see a thoughtful, well-reasoned critique!!

    Have you actually READ ANYTHING about the study??

    I think not

  2. John
    March 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    What a bunch of crock. Why don’t they do a study with people who eat grass-fed GMO FREE meat. Organic Vegetables and fruit. And someone who has been on the Paleo diet for at least 3 years. Just my emotional response.

  3. Brett
    March 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    I love how the article says it might be damaging to make this statement… yet they still run it as the title. I wish people would stop looking at things with this Monoculture mentality, it must be the meat, not the pasta under it, not the lack of sleep, lack of greens, years of stress, etc.

  4. charles grashow
    March 4, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Here’s a link to the FULL study

    http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131%2814%2900062-X#Summary

    Notably, our results showed that the amount of proteins derived from animal sources accounted for a significant proportion of the association between overall protein intake and all-cause and cancer mortality. These results are in agreement with recent findings on the association between red meat consumption and death from all-cause and cancer (Fung et al., 2010,Pan et al., 2012). Previous studies in the U.S. have found that a low carbohydrate diet is associated with an increase in overall mortality and showed that when such a diet is from animal-based products, the risk of overall as well as cancer mortality is increased even further (Fung et al., 2010,Lagiou et al., 2007). Our study indicates that high levels of animal proteins, promoting increases in IGF-1 and possibly insulin, is one of the major promoters of mortality for people age 50–65 in the 18 years following the survey assessing protein intake.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989112/?report=classic

    A low-carbohydrate diet based on animal sources was associated with higher all-cause mortality in both men and women, whereas a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet was associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates.

    • Jared
      March 4, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      Are you one of the authors? Do you think you’ve established a causal relationship?

      Do you honestly think this is due to the meat and not some other confounder?

      If this really increases mortality over some period 4x shouldn’t it be easily replicable in other populations who haven’t been told for 3 decades that vegetarianism is healthy?

      I love how mortality goes down in older people with higher protein intakes and then the hypothesis becomes: eat less protein from 50-65, then eat more protein. INCREDIBLY RIDICULOUS! What about people under 50? You don’t get to take some measurements, find an interesting statistic in that huge set of measurements and then come up with dietary recommendations from a hypothesis you created AFTER you made the measurements. Don’t you think the simplest explanation is that you have just shown a bias in people taking dietary questioneers? The ones young enough to live through the most anti-meat propoganda and try to be healthy ate the least amount of meat and maybe the older ‘healthy’ ones set in their ways didn’t change… Seems more likely to me.

    • Greg Venning
      March 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Associated, associated, associated. Correlation, correlation, correlation. These are incredibly complex systems being reduced to mechanistic parts with very meagre tools and the ‘results’ are then touted as facts under the guise of certainty where none exists.

      Poor science.

    • it doesnt fucking matter
      March 5, 2014 at 3:09 am

      again, correlation without causation. go eat a dick

    • terrence
      March 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      HAHAHAH – the lead “researcher” on this so-called “study” just HAPPENS to peddle a non-meat protein product. Surprise, SURPRISE!!!

  5. Tim
    March 4, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I’m so confused on how your Tribe can down play and disagree with all of these studies. Have you done any research on any of this? Just wondering. I know it affects business so Maybe that’s the issue.

  6. Neil
    March 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Robb can you reply to Charles Grashow above? There is no need to become aggressive with people like Tim. They like a lot of people are weighing up the arguments both for and against. Are there any recent scientific studies conducted by impartial researchers on the paleo diet and it’s contemporaries ?

    • Robb Wolf
      March 5, 2014 at 8:35 am

      Neil-
      I’ve been down this road dozens of times. If someone like Tim has not taken the time to thoroughly read the blog, they can pound sand, especially if they are questioning my ethics by implying that I’d make “more money supporting meat.” So, please, do not finger wag at me about that. If Tim had entered into this with some courtesy instead of straw man He’d have received help instead of the slap to the back of the head which he deserves.

      Also, it’s not my job to be a clearing house for current paleo literature, although I do try to push it out via social media and the newsletter. I’d appreciate osme effort on your part to see what HAS been done. I’ll give you a line of investigation: Terry Wahls.

    • einstein
      March 10, 2014 at 4:04 am

      no, they are not weighing arguments. they are parroting BS, not willing to listen to anything else. their mind is already made up and no chance to convince them. why would anybody even try? i mean they are not worth my time, are they worth yours? i do read the arguments of both sides, and I came to the conclusion, that their vegan agenda is total crap unless they do it for ethical or religious reasons, which I don’t dispute as everyone has a right to his beliefs and ideals. just go read Campbell’s reply to Dennis Minger’s China Study rebuttal to see they are building their pyramids on water. but most importantly, i did my own n=1 experience on myself and I don’t need anybody to tell me how I feel after having been paleo/primal for over 2 years. hey, i am still here, not yet dead and at 47 doing weighted pullups with a quarter of my bodyweight in a backpack. two years ago I was on elbow shots with my inflamed tennis elbows. Barely could wipe my butt. How is that for a change?

  7. Darragh
    March 5, 2014 at 12:14 am

    This was reported in Irish papers this morning. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/high-protein-diet-could-be-as-dangerous-as-smoking-study-1.1713266

    Author of study ended with this quote “I follow a fish and vegetable based diet which is high in complex carbohydrates. This is a diet that has been found in the most long-lived populations of the world,” he said.

    Queue everyone telling me paleo is dangerous now :(

  8. Malin
    March 5, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Thank you.
    I read the Guardian newpaper’s write up on the matter and then went and read bits of the original paper. I saw them justify the fact that they asked people about the earlier 24 hour eating habits BUT I didn’t see whether they fell into the trap of “this pizza has some meat on so therefore the whole thing is classed as meat”.

    The authors also seems to be a bit obsessed with prolonging life. They talk about calorie restriction to prolong life. I think I heard Robb say on one of the podcasts (it might have been Greg) words to the effect of, yes calorie restriction is linked to prolonged life but what kind of life is that? Prolonged life isn’t necessarily my aim in life – but getting to enjoy the life that I get. I saw my grandmother turn 100, but she’d basically spent the last 20+ years terribly frail, even though the surgeons who did her hip replacement ten years before described her as in very good health for her age. I would rather go out in my 80s after a short illness than have my health steadily decline from childhood. Death scares me less than severe disability/incapacity over a long period. I hated it even for a few weeks after surgery last year.

    I don’t know whether it’s just poor science or the authors had a particular agenda. I suspect the latter.

  9. Patrick
    March 5, 2014 at 1:05 am

    I bet you love it when people don’t think for themselves and you need to hand hold them through all these studies.

    • Robb Wolf
      March 5, 2014 at 8:30 am

      It just gets old and boring. To say nothing of time consuming.

  10. Kevin O'Connell
    March 5, 2014 at 2:12 am

    The only “reasoned critique” necessary is to remind all of GIGO and point out one line in the Human Population section of the paper, referring to the 6381 subjects (US, from NHANES III):
    “On average, subjects consumed 1,823 calories …”
    That’s a little more than inhabitants of CAR (Central African Republic) and about half the usual estimated intake of N.Americans.
    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

  11. EC
    March 5, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Don´t you think, that with that poor design and small number of observations connected with so many covariates and omitting other really important covariates, the CI for overall mortality being just a little above 1 is… well…. not enough?

  12. charles grashow
    March 5, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Since this article has a link to a story about the study I say you’re a liar about reading the whole study

    • Robb Wolf
      March 5, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Charlie, you simpering bag of shit, THIS passes for logic? Go play in the street or eat some paint chips.

      • Phil
        March 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm

        Way to keep it classy, Robb. I know you’re taking flak for your commentary but is it really that hard to take the high road and ignore the ignorant comments? Disappointing to say the least.

        • jim
          March 23, 2014 at 7:24 am

          Don’t be a dumbass Phil. Robb did exactly what was necessary. Chuck is an acolyte and participant in the “study”. The principal in the study is an investor in a plant based protein product! HE IS A SHILL. The study is an observational study and as such is VERY weak. To add the data used to preform this study is extremely inaccurate and based on NHANESIII. Garbage in Garbage out, Phil.

          So please Phil, don’t be a dumbass and definitely don’t be an enabling dumbass. Get off your ass and do some investigative work and try to keep up…

  13. Woockman
    March 5, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Howdy,

    As an epi and public healtlh professional what irks me about all these studies is your conclusions. Using data from the study of one chemical or one biomarker is ridiculous. Humans are never exposed to one one thing in their natural environment everything is a mixture. To allow the media to make assumptions like “Meat consumption is as dangerous as smoking” is irresponsible. The study admits in numerous places potential problems with their methods and data yet turns around only to attempt to justify conclusions. Cancer is a disease that often times progresses slowly. I find it interesting that the high mortality rate is in the 50 -65 age group. That is about the time when all factors (stress, occupation, lack of activity, etc.) begin to take the most toll on a body and increase things like inflammation and metabolic disfunction. All of which could account for your results. Too many of these studies smack of a specific agenda in part because the media picks it up and runs with it whether they understand it or not. A true scientist would try and limit these media associations until a true consensus with strong data is reached. This of course will never happen since much of science has been hijacked by politics and personal agendas. No one lives forever.

    • Robb Wolf
      March 5, 2014 at 8:18 am

      I really appreciate this. What is painful, is that Epi can give us some direction for RCT’s and mechanistic validations, but it’s not at all the end of the process, which is how it is generally presented.

  14. mhanch
    March 5, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Obviously, looking at the data, if those who consumed more protein had a higher mortality rate, the only reasonable conclusion is that those who were unhealthy craved more protein.

    You can make up any conclusion you want to fit such loose data. Give me some time and I could probably correlate sunspots and UFO data.

  15. Neil
    March 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

    People let’s stay chilled, I’m happy to read as much literature as I can. I’m not a research scientist not do I have any background in the subject matter. That’s why I was asking about other studies specifically on paleo. I think to debunk a lot of the myths around these ‘studies’ maybe some people in the nutrition should conduct more focused studies on a diverse range of diets and then show medical evidence as to how the stack up, just a thought

  16. Neil
    March 5, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Just to clarify, I’m just beginning on my own paleo journey and trying to convince the family to come with me, stories like these do not make it any easier, that’s why I ask about about paleo specific studies

  17. Mike
    March 5, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Trolls love a good headline that seems to support why they can’t get their crap together. Easier to point fingers and throw tomatoes at the people that stand for one thing the second something else contradictory surfaces.

    If you think the article provides enough evidence for YOU… THEN QUIT EATING ANIMAL PROTEIN! You can after all make your own choices, right? You don’t need the entire paleo community change their minds first.

  18. Francis
    March 5, 2014 at 9:25 am

    If you link something like higher protein with diabetes shouldn’t your first thought be “Hey, we probably have some omitted variable bias going on here”?

    This is of course in addition to Robb’s main point that correlative epidemiological studies are at best a place to begin asking questions, absolutely not a place to begin drawing conclusions.

  19. Cat
    March 5, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Robb, I know you’re tired buddy. I know you’re tired of fighting this fight, debating these points over and over again from multiple physiological, evolutionary, and conceptual backgrounds.

    We all are… but stay strong….

    You have helped so many people (including myself) take charge of their health. Personally, my depression would have me in the grave right now if it weren’t for your book and podcast. You saved my life Robb.

    The truth cannot be hidden in the shallows of poor research, emotional bias, and political under-workings – it will always come out and there’s no stopping it. They could publish studies like this everyday for the rest of eternity and they would still fail to explain the miraculous results that you and other paleo-pioneers have lead people to experience.

    People will still continue to have problems as they follow the advice of alarmist headlines of health and nutrition, and those problems will become progressively worse and much more common, but one day we will reach a tippling point where the plagues of modern disease will be so pervasive, so unimaginable, that they will be impossible to ignore.

    On that day people will reflect on those alarmist headlines, they will look at the advice they have been following for decades from drug companies, the medical establishment, and Shape Magazine, and they will intuitively discover that they’ve mislead – a painful lesson that too many will learn too late. They will look back at your work and those of other evolutionary medicine followers and say, ‘They were right all along’. Much like Dr. Atkins findings were years after his death, but much more powerful.

    Believe in your results Robb. They are everywhere and no amount of misguided research, pharmaceutical lobbying, or political influence can change that. The desparate firing of misguided research that challenge the evolutionary framework only bring more fuel for the truth to be discovered.

    Thank you for everything Robb. The headlines from this study have only pushed my business, my huge family, and myself closer to the evolutionary framework that you and all the paleo-pioneers have brought to light.

    Thank you.

  20. Greg Venning
    March 5, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Does food quality matter at all? These guys are forgetting rule number 1: FOOD QUALITY IS PARAMOUNT. Logic tells you that might be a good starting place for researchers with a genuine desire to seek the truth, not preconceived macronutrient bias.

    No mention of other lifestyle factors either… This passes for good science, does it?

  21. Humbug
    March 5, 2014 at 11:36 am

    They estimated normal diet over an 18-year period form ONE questionaire at ONE timepoint, asking participants to list what they had eaten over the previous 24 hours.

    Also, hidden in the Discussion section is this sentence…

    “our findings suggest that a diet in which plant-based nutrients represent the majority of the food intake is likely to maximize health benefits in all age groups”

    Unfortunately “eat more fruit and veg” is never going to make newspaper headlines.

  22. Humbug
    March 5, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Also… the study adjusted for age, ethnicity, disease status, smoking, ‘dietary changes’, attempted weight loss, and total calorie consumption but not for physical activity.

    Physical activity, in a normal population, is associated with diet quality and all of the outcomes they looked at…

  23. Andy
    March 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Robb,

    Thanks for this. It’s unfortunate that there is only one logical commentary like yours for every 50 links in the media with the headline “Meat and Cheese Will Cancer the Shit out of You”. An observation of a narrow age range based on food recall? Not a single causation was had that day.

  24. Tim
    March 5, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Wow Robb super classy and dignified response to a simple question. It’s seems you may be the one with “His panties in a bunch” didn’t know you were so sensitive. However it’s what’s to be expected from someone selling snake oil to all his pigeons.

    • Robb Wolf
      March 5, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Tim, these are cave people…I’m not into birds. Stay on your meds, don’t drive.

  25. Tim
    March 5, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    For the record at which point did I “launch into you” hahaha. Wonder why Robb’s so aggressive in his replys? I think your bullet proof coffee must be wearing of. Time for another injection. Be nice might help sales. And this would be the last site on the planet I would come looking for help. But thanks.

    • Robb Wolf
      March 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      It’s the last site you’d go to because you are a fucking moron.

      Next.

      • Nik
        March 6, 2014 at 5:02 am

        Robb cracks me up. People just need to eat some meat and veggies drinks water and chill out!

        • Robb Wolf
          March 6, 2014 at 7:16 am

          Where’s the fun in that amigo?? Without Charlie and Tim this would be boring.

          • Waz
            March 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm

            I’m quite enjoying this! Robb when are you coming to Australia so I can see a durianrider smackdown/BJJ choker hold? We have a new Paleo Cafe in my home town, we’ll do lunch!

  26. Brian
    March 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Robb,

    Have you done ANY research on this? – LOLOL.

    Hey Tim, why don’t you read the following article and come back when you realize the fallacy of comparing red meat consumption to gotdamn cigarette smoke inhalation.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53014/

    Thanks.

  27. Tim
    March 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Clever.

  28. Matt Lentzner
    March 5, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Just watched the TED talk referenced in the FB comments – Christina Werriner’s “debunking the Paleo Diet” TED talk.

    She debunks some crazy meat only Paleo diet and then explains that what you should really be eating is a Paleo diet – a high variety of fresh meat (including organs and marrow) and seasonal plant foods – steering clear of wheat, corn, and soy. Oh the irony.

  29. humbug
    March 6, 2014 at 12:25 am

    C’mon you guys…would the best man just stop..?

  30. Maryann Ramirez
    March 6, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Go Robb! I am with Cat who published the thank you comment above. There was a lightbulb moment for me when I read your book, then so many other books.

    First and foremost, the paleo diet is “elimination of processed junk foods”. It is not about gorging oneself on all manner of animal proteins to the exclusion of fruits and vegetables.

    No one is forcing anyone to try this for 30 days to see how you look, feel and perform… but, what have you got to lose? Maybe a few pounds and some inflammation.

  31. Rowdy
    March 6, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Robb,

    I might be a little late jumping in on this, but someone just put this groundbreaking news story on my desk this morning (knowing I’m a Paleo/Primal supporter). So I have a couple of questions:

    1) The study states “When compared to those with low protein consumption, subjects who consumed high amounts of protein had a 28% reduction in all-cause mortality,” and “Subjects with high protein consumption also had a 60% reduction in cancer mortality compared to those with low protein diets.” So where is the correlation with death from high protein?

    2) Isn’t it obvious that if you inject mice with cancer, then feed the cancer protein (increase IGF-1, anabolic hormones, etc.), the cancer will grow? This seems to be the only way the study links protein with mortality.

    The whole argument against high protein diets seems flimsy here, especially considering the aforementioned lack of food quality data.

    Thanks for everything you do, keep it up!

    • Robb Wolf
      March 6, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Rowdy-
      1- I’m not sure either amigo! Quite a few other studies have indicated BETTER longevity with higher protein intake as we age, I believe they even alluded to this in this piece.

      2-This is one of the dirty secrets of the China Study folks: In that experiment they fed mice aflatoxin (potent carcinogen) and a high or low protein diet, high protein being from casein if I recall correctly. High protein animals took longer to DEVELOP cancer, but once they got it, they died faster. So, protein may be protective from carcinogens (increasing glutathione production is one likely mechanism) but it may accelerate cancer progression once you have it (things tend to grow better with adequate substrate!) Only the later findings are reported, the chemo-protective findings are swept under the rug.

      More concerning for me is IF there is really any usable data in this at all. Folks were given questionnaires and asked to recall their eating habits. Recent research has damned this line of investigation as being literally, worthless. It looks like science, it keeps statisticians off the streets…but to make the claims these folks are making, based off the methodology they are using…wow. At best these things should be used to construct metabolic ward+RCT trials. But that stuff is expensive, hence the constant flow of stuff like this.

      Appreciate the questions.

  32. Alice
    March 6, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Every time I read one of these studies I’m reminded of an old joke I learned from my college Biology professor.

    This researcher studying a frog makes a loud noise; the frog jumps. The researcher cuts off one of the frog’s legs then makes the loud noise; the frog jumps but not as far. The researcher cuts off another leg then makes the loud noise; the frog jumps but not as far as the last time. Again the researcher cuts off another leg then makes the loud noise; the frog sort of jumps. The researcher cuts off the last leg then makes the loud noise; the frog doesn’t move. Researcher’s conclusion is frogs cannot hear when you cut off their legs.

    Thanks for all you do Robb. I’m going to go grill a steak now.

  33. Morgana
    March 8, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I can understand you not wanting to take this study apart. It’s such an inane paper, it defies reason. How can a particular macronutrient be *so* unhealthy that it will kill you between the ages of 50 and 65, then after that it suddenly switches and becomes healthy? Makes no sense. But I think the sensationalist title is proof that it’s just a load of bunk. This is not science: real scientists try to *disprove* their theories, and only if they can’t do that do they *cautiously* make a claim about something. And then of course there’s the obvious conflict of interest…….I would advise everybody not to get uptight about sensationalist headlines.

  34. PaleoDentist
    March 9, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Great responses Rob! These idiots do need a slap in the back of the head! If I see another epidemiologic study on “do you remember what you ate 10 years ago” I’m gonna puke! when will they ever learn????

  35. Elenor
    March 10, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Love it Robb! (As I do all your stuff!)

    But, um, could you get your web designer/poster/person to use the lovely new-ish HTML code called ‘acronym’? Because I’m immersed in paleo/primal/low carb/nutrition, I can read right over acronyms like “RCT” and the like (intialisms, actually) but my … hoped-for recruits … don’t know what a lot of our jargon means.

    The ‘acronym’ HTML code puts a dotted underline under the acronym/initialism (or anything else you want to include information about), and when a reader hovers the mouse over it, it provides a (hovering) ‘pop-up box’ with the definition (or other text you wish to provide).

    If you’ll look near the bottom of this guestbook entry (I’m this man’s webmaster): http://www.psandman.com/gst2014.htm#fanatics you can see two examples; one (third para from the bottom) an ‘explanation’ (for our overseas readers) of what “comp time” means; and the other (“HR”) a description-with-comment of an initialism.

    (Since, you know, you have soooo much free time! {wink})

    • Robb Wolf
      March 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Sounds super cool…Elenor, could you copy this and ping it to squatchy via the contact form so it doesn’t get lost?

  36. Elenor
    March 10, 2014 at 7:22 am

    p.s., and just to be annoyingly didactic (sorry, it’s my worst addiction): Web conventions (that is, following the general pattern of function placement — I’d use a dotted underline under ‘web conventions’ to add this description if I could) allow your readers to ‘operate’ your website without having to think about what they’re doing. (Again, that is: have to focus on ‘how’ to use your site, rather than on the content you’re offering…)

    This is why dotted underlines should not be used for links (Denise Minger and Tom Naughton, I’m looking at y’all!). – People are expecting that hovering the cursor over a dotted underline will release a pop-up text box on that page, not take them to some other page. And just as we ‘expect’ the search box to be in the top-right corner (Tom? That’s you again!), or that the logo in the top-right will be a link back to the home page, or that the log-out button will always be found in the top-right somewhere (USAA violates that, very frustrating!), most people don’t associate (mostly unconsciously) a dotted underline with a link…

    (Sorry, sorry… can’t resist the tide of ‘doing it right’ to help the reader.)

  37. Elenor
    March 10, 2014 at 7:23 am

    {wince} that the logo in the top-right will be a link back to the home page

    That’s the top-left-corner logo. (Guilt is making me mis-type…)

  38. BrazilianPaleo
    March 13, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Robb,

    Instead of bothering writing an in-depth analysis of this study you could ask your readers to do it then elect the best one and post it

    Just saying…

    • Robb Wolf
      March 13, 2014 at 10:40 am

      That’s a great idea…maybe make a contest from it.

      Next time this happens, that’s how we do it.

  39. Draco Porphyreus
    March 13, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Some quotations that might add some light:

    “The problem with explaining complicated systems to the layman is this: it’s easy to simplify a concept to the point that it’s no longer true. [The greater danger is that] In the process of oversimplification, concepts can also become politicized.” –J. Stanton, quoting a friend.

    “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”–Albert Einstein “Experience is a hard teacher; she gives the test first and the lesson afterwards.” –Vernon Sanders Law, Former Pittsburgh Pirate Pitcher.

    “[O]ur opponents in this argument have a marked advantage over us. They need only a few words to set forth a half-truth; whereas, in order to show that it is a half-truth, we have to resort to long and arid dissertations.” –Frederic Bastiat (1845).

    “[T]he amount of information necessary to invalidate a hypothesis is considerably greater than the amount of information required to make an initial interpretation.” “When faced with an analytical problem, people are either unable or simply do not take the time to identify the full range of potential answers.” –Richards J. Hueur, Jr.

  40. Brewed
    April 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Terrible headlines like this make me seriously consider a career in Public Health.

  41. Matt
    July 3, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    This is just my humble opinion, so take it for what its worth but…
    – we basically know what was available to our ancestors in the way of food – Paleo style foods
    – the homo sapien lineage has thrived and become the dominant species on the planet – meaning Paleo did a body good or at the very least didn’t hinder our evolution.

    A majority of the studies that are being conducted today is just our attempt (all be it fallible at times) to understand evolution/nature’s design not completely disprove it.

    As others have already stated, it is ill advised to make broad statements based off of isolated components. So studies like this one dissappoint me not only because of my previous statement but also because of the animosity it brings towards communities like this one whose only goal is to provide quality evidence based subject matter for people to use and become a smarter/healthier individual.
    As Andy Deas stated “Part of the things we like to do is certainly get some opposing opinions on here because it helps us learn, grow, and healthy discourse and debate is always a good thing in our minds.” But there is no room for closed-minded, uneducated, conclusion jumping asses.

    Keep on keepin’ on,

    Matt

Leave a Reply