Friday, November 25, 2011

Checking the Lights

Today is Daughter's birthday.
This shows Middle*Granddaughter inspecting Grandad's work. (She approved.)


  1. Howard's first this fine frigid morning!

  2. About the diff between dietitians and nutritionists, lol!

    I never had much faith in doctors, since they don't need even one nutrition class to be an MD. But truly lost faith in dietitians when caring for my mom who was diabetic, and looking at what the dietitians at the Diabetes Association were recommending. I figured they might as well sign on as serial killers. I was seeing the same chit when scoping out DaVita (major kidney/dialysis company/provider) for Rick. They keep to main-stream/common wisdom. Which can/will kill you quickly if you don't know what your doing.

    So much of what passes for medicine today is based on horribly faulty research of many decades ago. Cholesterol for instance, started with one study that may have been deliberately skewed by one doctor in the sixties. Then big pharma got involved, and it's gone downhill since then. (Ancel Keyes: "Keyes hypothesized that a Mediterranean-style diet low in animal fat protected against heart disease and that a diet high in animal fats led to heart disease. In order to do this, Keys collected data on deaths from coronary heart disease and fat consumption from 22 countries. Despite the fact that 22 countries provided statistics, Keys cherry-picked the data from the 7 countries which supported his theory that animal fat was the main cause of coronary heart disease in order to publicize his opinions. The results of what later became known as the “Seven Countries Study” appeared to show that serum cholesterol was strongly related to coronary heart disease mortality both at the population and at the individual level.[26] As a result, in 1956 people representing the American Heart Association appeared on television to inform people that a diet which included large amounts of butter, lard, eggs and beef would lead to coronary heart disease. This resulted in the American government recommending that people adopt a low fat diet in order to prevent heart disease. Interestingly, this idea still prevails despite the fact that there is not a shred of scientific evidence to prove it." ) Whew!

  3. Aha! Thanks for this info. I am so tired of being given the standard AMA recommendations, with not a single shred of personalisation or creativity. I have learned more from reading the website of a Vermont naturopath:

  4. There is a LOT of evidence, going back to at leastto the mid-1960s results of the Frimingham Heart Study, that people's cholesterol levels predict their risk of heart disease. If you want to dispure the idea that consuming "animal fat" (not clear whether this should be taken as equivalent to saturated fat) leads to elevated cholesterol levels, that's a different and essentially unrelated question.

    And I really have to point out that the quote you gave is inaccurate on its fact. Since the "Seven Countries" study didn't appear until 1980, it couldn't possibly have resulted in representatives of the American Heart Association appearing on television in 1956. In fact, that date is almost certainly wrong. I have a clear memory of the diet-cholesterol-heart disease meme erupting into public consciousness while I was teaching biochemistry at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in the early 1970s -- wtill well before the "Seven Countris" study, of course.

    FWIW, I will note that it's true that the initial AHA pronouncements linked eggs with butter, lard, and fatty meat. But this was something quite different: Eggs are a source of actual cholesterol, not saturated fat. And within a fiew years studies had shown that the more cholesterol we consume, the less the body produces, with minimal net effect of serum chelesterol levels. It's been more than 30 years since anyone who paid attention has thought eggs are bad for the heart.

  5. Well, they've all left (including Mah*Sweetie who had to go to work today), excepting only Middle*Granddaughter, who is here for several more hours, and currently napping.

    And dearest Sweetie let me take a nap before he had to leave. Ahhhhhhhhh

  6. Hi guys.

    Got a notice this afternoon that I won an item on ebay that I don't remember placing a bid on. I hope this is a case of simple forgetfulness, not an indication of something worse. At least the item isn't a Deaf Lepard album or anything like that. It is something I might reasonably have been expected to bid on. I just don't remember doing so. Oh well.

  7. So, listener, does the picture out front mean your tree is up?

  8. The American Medical Association at first opposed the commercialization of the lipid hypothesis and warned that “the anti-fat, anti-cholesterol fad is not just foolish and futile. . . it also carries some risk.” The American Heart Association, however, was committed. In 1961 the AHA published its first dietary guidelines aimed at the public. The authors, Irving Page, Ancel Keys, Jeremiah Stamler and Frederick Stare, called for the substitution of polyunsaturates for saturated fat, even though Keys, Stare and Page had all previously noted in published papers that the increase in CHD was paralleled by increasing consumption of vegetable oils. In fact, in a 1956 paper, Keys had suggested that the increasing use of hydrogenated vegetable oils might be the underlying cause of the CHD epidemic.11

    Stamler shows up again in 1966 as an author of Your Heart Has Nine Lives, a little self-help book advocating the substitution of vegetable oils for butter and other so-called “artery clogging” saturated fats. The book was sponsored by makers of Mazola Corn Oil and Mazola Margarine. Stamler did not believe that lack of evidence should deter Americans from changing their eating habits. The evidence, he stated, “ . . was compelling enough to call for altering some habits even before the final proof is nailed down. . . the definitive proof that middle-aged men who reduce their blood cholesterol will actually have far fewer heart attacks waits upon diet studies now in progress.” His version of the Prudent Diet called for substituting low-fat milk products such as skim milk and low-fat cheeses for cream, butter and whole cheeses, reducing egg consumption and cutting the fat off red meats. Heart disease, he lectured, was a disease of rich countries, striking rich people who ate rich food. . . including “hard” fats like butter.

    It was in the same year, 1966, that the results of Dr. Jolliffe’s Anti-Coronary Club experiment were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.12 Those on the Prudent Diet of corn oil, margarine, fish, chicken and cold cereal had an average serum cholesterol of 220, compared to 250 in the meat-and-potatoes control group. However, the study authors were obliged to note that there were eight deaths from heart disease among Dr. Jolliffe’s Prudent Diet group, and none among those who ate meat three times a day.

  9. Lol! I just saw Susan's meatloaf turkey out front. Gorgeous!!! And fun!

  10. Let's be clear that we're just trying to sort out the timeline. Everything else seems to be about the effects of diet on cardiovascular disease which, as I said before, mixes two quite distinct questions.

    I wasn't watching TV in 1956. I don't know how many Americans were. It was relatively new, especially outside the big cities, and rather expensive for the average American. Going by my personal memories -- do your memories differ? -- I don't recall any of this talk about heart-nealty foods until the day CCOM basic science faculty were sitting around and talking about what this new information meant for our personal dietary choices. Perhaps I should mention that I was a vegetarian from about 1954 until early 1966, shortly after I got married. And between 1966 and the 1970s Penny and I used cooking oitls and nargarine, and ate cold cereal for breakfast, simply because that's what we'd grown up with and were used to. So this talk wouldn't have had that much personal relevance. But that doesn't explain why whatever came out in the early 1970s had so much relevance to the other CCOM faculty members.

    The 1953 Keys paper you mention isn't available on-line, but another of his 1953 review articles, one that would probably have had wider readership, is. He again cites reselts from several countries, including comparative data for rich and poor Spaniards. But what strikes me is that he flatly denies that there is any difference between animal and vegetable fats. At the end, corn oil and margarine are among the fats for whose reduced use he specifically calls. So whatever the basis for the AHA's "prudent diet," it wasn't Keys's 1953 papers.

  11. That's a live tree outside, so yes, it's up! :-) We planted that little blue spruce 15 years ago, and look at it now! Whoo!!

    Our indoor tree is set to be an event here the weekend of December 10th-11th. We are taking down an ailing tree that's in our yard, and using the top of it as our Christmas tree. All the granddaughters will be here to help us decorate it! :-)

  12. Yah! Isn't it grand!?

    If anyone missed it, go check out the second photo on yesterday's front page!!!