Friday, April 23, 2021

How the Food Industry Implemented the Dietary Guidelines

"On being challenged on the incompleteness of the science, Senator McGovern said 'Senators do not have the luxury that the research scientist does of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in...'"

Senator George McGovern
That was 1977, at the occassion was the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, which ultimately led to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines under which we continue to live.

The American Medical Association's response was "The evidence for assuming that benefits [are] to be derived from the adoption of such universal dietary goals … is not conclusive, and there is potential for harmful effects," which may be one of the great understatements of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Senator McGovern, having left government and failed while attempting to run a business due in part to excessive regulation, reflected in 1992:

"The problem we face as legislators is: Where do we set the bar so that it is not too high to clear? I don't have the answer. I do know that we need to start raising these questions more often."

It's nice that Senator McGovern, who by all accounts was a decent person, had this revelation later in his life. Unfortunately, we continue to live under the regime of the Dietary Guidelines he implemented. Fuller accounts of those guidelines and the flaws thereof are available elsewhere, what I'd like to focus on is what happened after they were implemented.

In 2011,  the Institute of Food Technologists published an account:

"The American Dietetic Assn., Inst. of Food Technologists, Intl. Food Information Council (IFIC), and the North American branch of the Intl. Life Sciences Inst. convened 2 expert roundtables of rigorous discussions, whose purpose was to enable the 2 key scientific audiences to interact, innovate, and close the knowledge gaps that are crucial to integrating and translating the DGA [Dietary Guidelines for America]. As stated at the outset, the content of this paper is formed from the proceedings of the roundtables held in early October 2010 in Chicago, Illinois, and in Washington, D.C."

Upon reading this, many years later, I was appalled to see what had gone on in the food industry in response to these so-called Guidelines. I published what I will confess was a Star Wars-inspired, somewhat hyperbolic tweet-thread, from which this post is taken.

I've found the Evil Empire (Food Division)'s plans for all of us. The roadmap for the conspiracy is open access, as it happens. First, the marching orders (the Soviets would've loved the tone):

"A coordinated strategic plan that includes all sectors of society, including individuals, families, educators, communities, physicians and allied health professionals, public health advocates, policy makers, scientists, and small and large businesses (e.g., farmers, agricultural producers, food scientists, food manufacturers, and food retailers of all kinds), should be engaged in the development and ultimate implementation of a plan to help all Americans eat well, be physically active, and maintain good health and function...."

"It is important that any strategic plan is evidence-informed, action-oriented, and focused on changes in systems in these sectors (United States Dept. of Agriculture 2010a)." Note well: only "evidence-informed", weaker language even than evidence-based.

Who's the audience? "Food scientists and nutrition scientists (dietitians and nutrition communicators)" The stormtroopers of the New Food Order, in other words.

How are they doing? “What has been done till now isn't working. To do nothing more effective than we have, means that five years from now we'll be in an even worse situation."

That's harsh! Who said that? "Linda Van Horn, a professor of preventive medicine at the Northwestern Univ. and chairman of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee." Well, she should know! (Van Horn was again on the Advisory Committee in 2020.)

So what are our Food Lords going to do about this "unconscionable" (Van Horn) failure? "Food scientists, dietitians/nutrition communicators, and government representatives" have a plan, with some gobbledygook:

"Reduce the incidence and prevalence of overweight and obesity in the U.S. population by reducing overall caloric intake;" They're going to starve us...

"Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas," Make us (more) malnourished...

"Reduce intake of foods containing added sugars, solid fats (SoFAS), refined grains, and sodium (USDA 2010a)." And make us hate our food.

"Two well-known successes cited were the consumer switch to whole-wheat products and the move away from trans fats." Who got us to eat trans-fats in the first place?

"Richard Black, PhD, a nutrition scientist at Kraft Foods, offered the group some of his company's insights about the obesity issue:" It's quite sensible, actually, read the whole thing. Let's hear it for industry pushback!...

Black: "Recommending dietary change that is so extreme as to be only aspirational rather than achievable will not serve the greater public need for dietary guidance to address the obesity epidemic.... After all, we are asking people to fundamentally change how they think about food, shop for food, prepare food, and eat food. This will take time, patience, commitment and trust from everyone."

I think he was sealed in Carbonite after. 

Next speaker: "...consumer taste likes and dislikes, some of which are genetically based, are a major challenge to vegetable acceptability." New Food Man is required, in other words. GMO foods are not enough, we need GM people! "Nelson Almeida, PhD, FACN, a food scientist with Kellogg Co." Made it perfectly clear that more plant-based means more carbs: “Currently, the wheat flour tortilla is the fastest growing product line of all grain-based products."

"Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, The Pennsylvania State Univ." advocates brainwashing: "cognitive-behavioral strategies have proved effective in behavior change—notable among these is motivational interviewing, with its well-ordered feedback and monitoring."

"Robbie Burns, formerly of Cadbury" offered more common sense: "Since their inception in 1980, Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) have included, in some form, advice to decrease dietary intakes of added sugars, solid fats, refined grains and sodium.... As a result and to meet consumer desires for more healthful products, the food industry has developed alternatives where all these negative components are reduced and in some cases eliminated.”

They called for "Trust and mutual understanding" between parties implementing the DGA; but for, the victims? "Stealth vs persuasion Consumers have been resistant to dietary change, partly because of established food preferences: “stealth” methods of change are... effective..."

"Food scientist participants of the roundtables informed their dietitian colleagues that food companies typically spend 60% to 70% of their research and development budgets on renovation and only 30% to 40% on innovation of new food products." Woah!

"Dietary change advocates have argued that the food industry, with its highly persuasive... marketing departments, can simply produce products with healthier nutrition profiles and “sell them” to consumers. The 80% to 90% failure rate of new products is a sobering reality check."

"A public preference for extremely short ingredient lists on processed food products also poses major challenges to food scientists in renovating/reformulating food."

So if you're wondering why opposition to people like Professor Tim Noakes and Nina Teicholz and the whole idea of Real Food is so vehement, it's literally a conspiracy. 

Read it and weep (Rowe et al., 2011).

McGovern, G. (2012, October 21). George McGovern in the Journal. Wall Street Journal.
Rowe, S., Alexander, N., Almeida, N., Black, R., Burns, R., Bush, L., Crawford, P., Keim, N., Kris-Etherton, P., & Weaver, C. (2011). Food Science Challenge: Translating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to Bring About Real Behavior Change. Journal of Food Science, 76(1), R29–R37.
Who’s On The Guidelines Committee. (n.d.). The Nutrition Coalition. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from
Why Does the Federal Government Issue Damaging Dietary Guidelines? Lessons from Thomas Jefferson to Today. (2018, July 10). Cato Institute.

Experts: Do As We Say, Not As We Do.

This is a little off-topic, but relevant.

I live in Idaho now, and since I'm still into getting out into the wilderness to hike, trail run, backpack, etc., I'm getting up to speed on Idaho issues with being in the wilderness.

One of the issues is predators. Like in the East, there are ticks, snakes (more rattlers than back East, where they are very rare), and black bears; but there are also mountain lions, wolves, and grizzly bears.

Grizzly bears are a particular issue in certain parts of the state. Montana is adjacent, and since grizzlies don't know about state lines, they have a habit of crossing back and forth, especially around Yellowstone National Park.

"Angler Killed by Grizzly in First Attack of 2021":
"The first responders transported Mock... to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. Mock passed away Saturday morning in Idaho Falls following a massive stroke."

A very sad incident, the fellow was only 40 years old, with a family. It's relevant because of what he was doing to mitigate his risk:

"According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Mock was carrying bear spray when he was attacked. Although the safety tab was found off, it’s unclear whether he was able to deploy the canister."

Well that's just idiotic. It doesn't take an "expert" to figure out if a can full of fluid is full or empty. If it's full, he didn't deploy it, if it's empty, he did. (It's exceedingly unlikely that he was carrying an empty can of bear spray into grizzly country. We can dismiss that possibility.) 

Given the dishonesty our expert and journalist classes seem prone to, it's safe to assume he used the bear spray and it was ineffective. If he hadn't used it they would have just said so, as there are reasons why he may not have been able to use the bear spray.

So then the experts come in, to see what's going on with this bear: 

"Investigators later found a moose carcass cached within 50 yards of the original attack site, indicating that the bear was defending the food during both incidents."

Well, that's a fine reason to attack a person from a bear's perspective, but not from ours.

The experts, needless to say, didn't rely on bear spray to deter the bear.

"The group attempted to haze the bear away but were unsuccessful. Members of the team were ultimately forced to shoot the bear dead at only 20 yards."
So what is the advice the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks gives after a careful analysis of this incident?
"Carry bear spray. Know how to use it and be prepared to deploy it immediately."
And don't worry, if the bear spray doesn't work, as it didn't in this case, the "experts" will come in with proper tools and dispatch the bear.

Guns aren't the only way to deal with a bear. Pepper spray certainly can be effective.

But it would be nice if our experts would be honest with us about the risks and benefits.

Eckel's Creek Trail:
There's bears up there!
P.S. So after posting this I went camping in the Hell's Canyon area, which is spread across several national forests, national recreation areas, and private land on the border of Idaho and Oregon.

We decided to go for a long trail run, but since there are only black bears in the area, we didn't bother with bear spray or anything else.

Three-quarters of the way through the run, we see a mother black bear with two cubs running down the slope. They were across a steep and rugged ravine, so we stopped to see if we could get a picture of them when they came out of of the copse of trees they had run into. They never did come out, but a very large, light brown bear did appear, running in the opposite direction. Sadly the dash from one copse to the next was too quick to allow for photography!

"That looks like a grizzly...", we said. It was still quite far away, so there was no immediate risk, but we proceeded to high-tail it down the trail back to the car, which was a couple of miles away.

Some of the locals explained to us that there aren't grizzlies in the area, but there are some blond black bears (which do exist) and some bears that might be hybrids of black and grizzly bears (which are rare, but also do exist). Apparently a large blond bear had come down and availed himself of a sprinkler system a couple days prior!

I don't think it was a blond black bear, as it was much bigger than the black bear sow we had seen moments before.

Note to self: The experts may say there are no bears in an area, but the bears don't know where they are supposed to be. 

Bear spray, like a gun, are both useful tools to deal with the threat of a bear. This isn't an either-or case.

And gun control is rather beside the point here. Norway has strict gun control laws, and has a lot of polar bears, which are even more aggressive than grizzlies.
"The use, trade and import of bear repellent spray and pepper-balls for protection against polar bears in Svalbard is prohibited."

So what are your choices?

"Due to the polar bear threat in Svalbard, anyone travelling outside the settlements must be equipped with appropriate means of frightening and chasing off polar bears. The Governor of Svalbard also recommends having firearms with you."

Pity our "experts" aren't quite so forthright.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

H7N9 Influenza Vaccine Trial: Follow-up 1

 So I tracked my symptoms (or lack thereof) for seven days, today is day eight. After the initial, mild symptoms, nothing happened, and happily, nothing continues to happen.

The slight elevation in body temp I had before getting the shot continued for a couple of days, and then disappeared. Although I haven't hit 98.6F at any reading!

I'm due to get the second shot in a couple of weeks, so will post another update then.

Original post: "H7N9 Influenza Vaccine Trial: Being a Guinea Pig for Science"

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Miki Ben Dor: "The Complete and Unifying Explanation of Human Evolution"

I agree with everything he writes here.

To date, no complete evolutionary explanation has been given for the formation of the human species, and certainly not a complete and unifying explanation at the same time.

An evolutionary explanation explains a physiological or behavioral phenomenon in a species and is complete when it includes a description of adaptability to a defined ecological change. A unifying explanation explains several phenomena as a result of a single reason, as, for example, a description of many geological phenomena as a result of the displacement of tectonic plates (displacement of continents).

In a series of four scientific articles published at the end of 2020 and throughout 2021, all of them together with my partner at Tel Aviv University, Prof. Ran Barkai, we laid out the basis for the explanation and the complete and unifying evolutionary explanation for the formation of the human lineage leading to the Homo sapiens species. We explained many of the significant phenomena in human prehistory, such as increased brain volume, language development, changes in stone tools, and more.

The purpose of the post is to present a concise description of the explanation.

Read the whole thing.

Casey Ruff recently interviewed Miki on this topic, it was a really excellent interview. I especially enjoyed his comments on anthropologists and the Paleo Diet at the end. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Podcast Interview: "The Destructive Power of Vegetable Seed Oils", Podcast with Shashikant Iyengar

 So this was a first, and quite interesting. is an Indian low-carb diabetes group, founded by Anup Singh—an engineer, natch—who was recently recognized as an "Icon of India" for his work with this group.

Icons Of India Award From Outlook Group
" came into existence on the 21st Of August, 2014, as a forum. This was, and always will be, dedicated to promoting “Low Carb High Fat (LCHF)” diet for managing metabolic syndrome disorders like Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, PCOS, Insulin Resistance, Hypertension, etc. In short, we called it “of, by and for Indians” as the animal protein-centric western low-carb diet was not easy to follow, given the low per-capita animal protein consumption in the subcontinent."

(That video is here, but he discussion is in Hindi...

Best quote: “Engineering is an exact science and engineers are inherently trained to be problem solvers.”

Probably why engineers keep discovering how to treat diabetes while physicians remain clueless.)

Being asked to discuss the issue of seed oils by an Indian group was really an honor, and a bit of a challenge, as seed oils are a long-standing part of Indian culture and diet. Diabetes was first described and diagnosed in India:

"Around the 5th century BC, the famous Indian surgeon Sushruta, in his work Samhita, identified diabetes, by using the term madhumeha (honey-like urine) and pointed out not only the sweet taste of the urine but also its sticky feeling to the touch and its ability to attract the ants (!). Sushruta further mention that diabetes affects primarily the rich castes and is related to the excessive food consumption as the rice, cereals and sweets[6]." (Karamanou et al, 2016)

The consumption of seed oils has been linked to disease in India for some time, prior to the current recognition that the consumption of saturated fat is probably not to blame, and that dairy fat is protective (Mozaffarian et al, 2014):

"Our data, however, do not support this association of high fat intake with the liability to develop ischemic heart disease, because while in the north the consumption of fats, most of which are animal fats, is 19 times more than in the south (Indian Council of Medical Research, 1964), the disease is 7 times less in the north than in the south. Moreover, while the milk fats eaten in the north have a preponderance of saturated fatty acids, the seed oils used in the south are mainly composed of unsaturated fatty acids (Indian Council of Medical Rsearch [sic], 1963)." (Malhotra, 1967)

Shashi sent me an excellent list of questions, and we made good progress in getting through the topic during the Zoom session. 

  • Please tell us about yourself. Your background
  • How come you gained so much knowledge on Seed oils?
  • Please tell us about your personal journey. What were all the ailments you were suffering & how come you identified it and took action
  • Please tell us how these seed oils are harmful / What’s issue with the usage of these seed oils
  • How does these seed oils affect the mitochondria / Electron chain transport?
  • What happens when these oils are heated at high temperature?
  • What are all the ailments caused by excess Linoleic acid
  • Does excess LA cause IR independently
  • What’s the optimal level of Omega3:Omega 6? How has this changed?
  • What’s the issue with the refining process that’s carried out with these seed oils
  • How does excess linoleic acid cause damages to our DNA
  • Can these excess oils which we take be burnt as energy?
  • Does it accumulate in our body? If so how do we eliminate these?
  • How long does it take to clean up our system of the excess LA stores
  • These oils reduce LDL. So how is it bad?
  • How deep has these seed oils penetrated our food supplies
  • How much has the % of Linoleic increased in human consumption in the last decade or 2
  • What are the safest oils / cooking fats we can use?
  • India has some oils as traditional oils- Groundnut or also called as Peanut oil, Sesame oil or mustard oils. How are these if we use cold pressed oils?
  • About S L Malhotra Indian Railway study & the learning from this study.
  • Your view about india and its status as the diabetes capital or on its way from No2 to No1 in times to come
  • Your message to India

We discussed some of the findings about how a change in the use of dietary fats could benefit India specifically, where other interventions are not practical, due to the long-standing traditions of the country.

"In conclusion, the results of this 6-month randomized intervention trial provide evidence that use of olive and canola oils (rich in MUFAs and having a balanced n-6/n-3 PUFAs ratio) as a cooking medium resulted in a significant reduction in fatty liver severity and liver span in NAFLD. Improvement of fatty liver was accompanied by amelioration in insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. All together, these beneficial changes may also decrease the risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease in Asian Indians predisposed to develop these diseases." (Nigam et al, 2014)
There was a Q&A at the end, which was a first for me, as was waking up at 3:30 AM MDT for a 5:00AM interview!

Thank you very much to all involved for such a productive discussion!

Some links to studies discussed, below.

Das, S. (2001). Susruta, the pioneer urologist of antiquity. The Journal of Urology, 165(5), 1405–1408.
Ghosh, S., Qi, D., An, D., Pulinilkunnil, T., Abrahani, A., Kuo, K.-H., Wambolt, R. B., Allard, M., Innis, S. M., & Rodrigues, B. (2004). Brief episode of STZ-induced hyperglycemia produces cardiac abnormalities in rats fed a diet rich in n-6 PUFA. American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 287(6), H2518-2527.
Henderson, G. (2016). The Minnesota Coronary Experiment re-analysis by Ramsden et al is a wake-call to re-evaluate the use of polyunsaturated oils and spreads in modern clinical diets? BMJ, i1246.
Karamanou, M., Protogerou, A., Tsoucalas, G., Androutsos, G., & Poulakou-Rebelakou, E. (2016). Milestones in the history of diabetes mellitus: The main contributors. World Journal of Diabetes, 7(1), 1–7.
Malhotra, S. L. (1967). Epidemiology of ischaemic heart disease in India with special reference to causation. British Heart Journal, 29(6), 895–905.
Mozaffarian, D., Cao, H., & Hotamisligil, G. S. (2014). Use of trans-palmitoleate in identifying and treating metabolic disease (United States Patent No. US8889739B2).
Nigam, P., Bhatt, S., Misra, A., Chadha, D. S., Vaidya, M., Dasgupta, J., & Pasha, Q. M. A. (2014). Effect of a 6-Month Intervention with Cooking Oils Containing a High Concentration of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (Olive and Canola Oils) Compared with Control Oil in Male Asian Indians with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 16(4), 255–261.
Ramsden, C. E., Zamora, D., Faurot, K., Majchrzak, S., & Hibbeln, J. (2013). The Sydney Diet Heart Study: A randomised controlled trial of linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death. The FASEB Journal, 27(S1), 127.4-127.4.
Ramsden, C. E., Zamora, D., Majchrzak-Hong, S., Faurot, K. R., Broste, S. K., Frantz, R. P., Davis, J. M., Ringel, A., Suchindran, C. M., & Hibbeln, J. R. (2016). Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: Analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73). BMJ, 353.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Podcast Interview: "Using a Clean Diet to Address Chronic Illness", Fitness Confidential with Vinnie Tortorich

Vinnie was kind enough to have me back on his show.

"On this Friday show, Tucker Goodrich joins Vinnie to talk his health issues, how he is using a clean diet to address so many of them, helping your family members, diet lies, and more."

We talked about how important motivation is for success, as I learned with my father who died last September. Vinnie discussed how he was able to help his parents. 

A tough discussion, on a topic I haven't really gotten into before.

Vinnie's got a number of projects going, including a movie he released (links at his site).

I reviewed his book a couple of years ago, that is here:

"Review: "Fitness Confidential" by Vinnie Tortorich"

H7N9 Influenza Vaccine Trial: Being a Guinea Pig for Science

So I came across a COVID-19 Vaccine Trial:

"Velocity Clinical Research... is looking for healthy participants that have a passion for research and a dedication to help fight COVID. We have a phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine trial... This vaccine is created using a plant based approach."

That was interesting, so I signed up. The ad I saw didn't mention the age range, which was 18 to 49, so, being 53, I didn't qualify.

As a consolation prize, the fellow who contacted me said they were doing a trial on a bird flu vaccine, for which I qualified.

OK, so I signed up for that one instead.

Probably a good thing that I wasn't getting a "plant based" COVID-19 vaccine, whatever the heck that means!

"All adjuvanted vaccines met regulatory acceptance criteria. In groups receiving adjuvanted formulations, seroconversion rates were ≥85.7%, seroprotection rates ≥91.1%, and geometric mean titers ≥92.9% versus 23.2%, 28.6%, and 17.2 for the nonadjuvanted vaccine. The AS03 adjuvant enhanced immune response at antigen-sparing doses. Injection site pain occurred more frequently with adjuvanted vaccines (in ≤98.3% of vaccinees) than with the nonadjuvanted vaccine (40.7%) or placebo (20.0%). None of the 20 serious adverse events reported were related to vaccination."

Well, I'm not suicidal, or a masochist, so this looked reasonable to see from the inside what a vaccine trial looks like.

This is a seriously dangerous virus, compared to SARS-CoV-2.  It's far less contagious, so far, but far more lethal, with a case fatality rate in the 40% range. Yikes! Up until 2020, this was considered one of the prime candidates for a serious pandemic virus, which is why they are developing a vaccine for it.

The trial I seem to be in is this one:

"A Study to Evaluate the Safety and Immunogenicity of GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals' Influenza Vaccine GSK3206641A Administered in Adults 18 to 64 Years of Age and 65 Years of Age and Older."

I say "seem" because at the time I went to the office and found out the details (April 7), this study was listed as "not recruiting", which surprised the physician who saw me, as she said it had been recruiting for a while. It was updated yesterday, however, and now says it is recruiting guinea pigs. Typical bureaucratic SNAFU, in other words. The information that Velocity provided to me suggested going to the site to look up the details, but didn't provide any information by which one could identify the trial. However this is the only one listed for H7N9. Sigh. 

At any rate, they were all quite surprised that I had actually looked up the trial, and had read the results of the previous trial, and was fully briefed on what was going on. I guess no one does this.

Dry hole.
So I went to the office on the 7th and went through the process. 

  1. Fill out the paperwork, including a medical history, read the disclaimer information and then go through the process of them making sure I'm actually willing to be a guinea pig.
  2. Answer some further questions about my medical history, and get a basic physical. I'm apparently quite healthy, and, most importantly, have no auto-immune diseases, and am not on any immune-suppressing drugs, which I gather would have been disqualifying. Allergies and asthma don't count.
  3. Get a blood draw. Took three tries to get a good draw, but I think the first person to try this wasn't too good at it, the second person had no problem.
  4. Get the vaccine. There are 7 arms to this trial, and only one is the placebo, so it's an 86% chance (6 in 7) that I got something injected.
  5. Go sit in the observation room to see if I grow a third arm or something.
Much to my surprise, I did have a little bit of a reaction to the shot. They injected the vaccine (86% likely) into my right deltoid (shoulder) muscle, and shortly thereafter, I got a mild shooting pain lower down in my arm. I got a few more joint pains around my body, but most noticeable, I got pretty spacey. Not dizzy, but spaced out.

So the physician came out and chatted with me for a few minutes, and decided I was well enough, and sent me on my way. I stopped by a store, and forgot my phone number. Whoops!

But I was well enough. Got a tiny bit of a headache too, but that went away quickly enough.

Running cures what ails you!
Went for a run in the afternoon, and was fine after that.

The joint pains and headache are expected reactions to the injection, btw, so no worries so far.

So now I have to keep a diary each day, and take my temperature—they gave me a digital thermometer for this, which is good, because I don't know where mine is.

Oddly, my temperature has been just above 99F, including before they gave me the shot. 100.4F was their cutoff for a fever, so that didn't disqualify me.

No reaction at the injection site, it's just a tiny bit sore if I press on it, which is typical for any vaccination, but not nearly so bad as a tetanus shot, for instance.

No reactions at all after the first day.

Study protocol. They skipped the pregnancy test.
I have to keep the diary for seven days, then go back for a second shot in a couple of weeks, then follow up by phone to see if I'm still alive for several months after that. The whole trial lasts 13 months.

Oh, they do pay a nominal amount for participating in the trial, and they will cover your medical expenses if you get sick from the shot.

This also means that I am not allowed to get a COVID-19 vaccination for a couple of months, as that would ruin this experiment.

Since I was already either infected or exposed to COVID, I'm not worried about that, especially since the risk to me of being seriously ill with COVID is minute.

Amusingly, they gave me a COVID-19 surveillance form, to see if I come down with COVID-19.

"But the symptoms are the same as the flu", I observed.

"Yes, we know."

So I'll find out in 13 months what they did to me.

P.S. Follow-up 1.

Friday, April 2, 2021

What Causes Heart Disease, LDL or Seed Oils?

Hat tip to Dave Feldman for calling my attention to this podcast: Which sounded interesting, so I downloaded it to listen to on my morning run.

Given the comment by the interviewer, I had been hoping to get farther than a few minutes into my run before having to stop and tweet!

So to be correct, what he says (LDL is the "genetic", "primary cause" of CVD) is what got me. This can only be said by relying on a subset of the science, not, as the interviewer says, "the science".

But let's let Professor Packard put it in his own words (all transcriptions are mine, as are any errors therein. These are all taken from the tweet thread starting with my retweet above.).

He's discussing LDL, and a sub-type of LDL, Lp(a), which is a sub-type of oxidized LDL (oxLDL). He mentions that Lp(a) can be reduced by niacin (nicotinic acid), but that:

"...was put aside because of the THRIVE trial..." 

Huh, so what's the THRIVE trial?

"...participants who were assigned to extended-release niacin–laropiprant had an LDL cholesterol level that was an average of 10 mg per deciliter (0.25 mmol per liter as measured in the central laboratory) lower..."

So if you think LDL causes CVD, then a reduction of LDL must be a good thing, right? Unfortunately, the THRIVE trial was a "failed" trial, one which failed to show a benefit:

"...Among participants with atherosclerotic vascular disease, the addition of extended-release niacin–laropiprant to statin-based LDL cholesterol–lowering therapy did not significantly reduce the risk of major vascular events..."
So LDL is a "genetic" "primary cause" except when it has no effect whatsoever, apparently.

"Effects of Extended-Release Niacin with Laropiprant in High-Risk Patients"

Niacin also reduced Lp(a), among other seemingly beneficial things, "...lowering triglyceride and lipoprotein(a) levels and blood pressure." But all was for naught.

It's an odd cause, in my simple engineering view, that is only occasionally causal, as this is not the first time that reducing LDL has failed to show a benefit for CVD.

Next we come to this:
"...the classic exception is the guy in the [NEJM] who ate 40 eggs a day... and never got any problems with his LDL cholesterol... "
Seriously? We're back to eggs causing heart disease? This is the expert? This was considered debunked in the 1950s, for heaven's sake.
Even the Dietary Guidelines dropped the recommendation against dietary cholesterol for lack of evidence.

"Normal Plasma Cholesterol in an 88-Year-Old Man Who Eats 25 Eggs a Day"

So ponder this: 
"LDL cholesterol is a marker of nutrition. So, that if you have a very poor diet, or you have existing disease, then you'll have a low LDL cholesterol."

Well, I agree with Prof. Packard! In fact, one of my major arguments for avoiding seed oils is the fact that they lower cholesterol, which seems to correlate with their negative effects on heart disease. 

So one would logically conclude a diet change that raised LDL would be good, and one that lowered it (like seed oils) would be bad, right?

He continues: 

"With the canakinumab trial we had a proof of concept, and absolutely correct that Paul [Ridker]... showed that lowering inflammation gave rise to a benefit [in CVD] without a reduction in LDL. And that does suggest that if you target the correct pathway, the correct inflammatory pathway, which is the IL-1β / IL-6 pathway... you end up probably stopping LDL having it's deleterious effects."
We won't get too into the details there, suffice to say that drug stops a cytokine from being produced, and this has a benefit for CVD that does not depend on LDL reduction. 

Now how could we do that to prevent people from getting CVD in the first place?

"The induction of [IL-1β] release from human monocyte-derived macrophages by 9-HODE and cholesteryl-9-HODE suggests a role for modified LDL, and its associated [linoleic acid] oxidation products, in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation."

That's from 1992, which is shortly after it was shown that LDL alone did not induce the first step of atherosclerosis, it had to be "modified". The modification, it turned out, was the inclusion of linoleic acid from dietary seed oils, which would then become oxidized, and thus pathological, inducing the first step of atherosclerosis—and the rest, IMHO, and as suggested by the canakinumab trial.

"Induction of interleukin 1 beta expression from human peripheral blood monocyte-derived macrophages by 9-hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid."

So after assuring us that LDL is causal, Prof. Packard goes on to demonstrate, from the science, that it is not.

Yes, stop eating the precursor that causes that harmful inflammation, linoleic acid. 

Fix your poor diet: eat no seed oils

Don't worry about LDL.

Here's that podcast.

Listen to Prof. Packard explain (unwittingly) how a low seed oil diet could allow you to stop worrying about your LDL.

Effects of Extended-Release Niacin with Laropiprant in High-Risk Patients. (2014). New England Journal of Medicine, 371(3), 203–212.
Kern, F. (1991). Normal Plasma Cholesterol in an 88-Year-Old Man Who Eats 25 Eggs a Day. New England Journal of Medicine, 324(13), 896–899.
Ku, G., Thomas, C. E., Akeson, A. L., & Jackson, R. L. (1992). Induction of interleukin 1 beta expression from human peripheral blood monocyte-derived macrophages by 9-hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 267(20), 14183–14188.
Ridker, P. M., Everett, B. M., Thuren, T., MacFadyen, J. G., Chang, W. H., Ballantyne, C., Fonseca, F., Nicolau, J., Koenig, W., Anker, S. D., Kastelein, J. J. P., Cornel, J. H., Pais, P., Pella, D., Genest, J., Cifkova, R., Lorenzatti, A., Forster, T., Kobalava, Z., … Glynn, R. J. (2017). Antiinflammatory Therapy with Canakinumab for Atherosclerotic Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 377(12), 1119–1131.
Witztum, J. L., & Steinberg, D. (1991). Role of oxidized low density lipoprotein in atherogenesis. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 88(6), 1785–1792.

Podcast Interview: Seed Oil Madness with Tucker Goodrich! on Boundless Body Radio with Casey Ruff.

Listen here.
A very fun discussion with Casey Ruff of Boundless Body Radio:

"They are SEED OILS, not vegetable oils, and they are TOXIC. Tucker Goodrich is a warrior against this horrible sludge that is destroying people's health. He is a technology expert who designs, runs, and debugs complex systems in high-risk financial environments. When his health failed him, he started investigating in the same way that he TAUGHT HIMSELF how to manage large, complex software systems by looking at the data, and realized that oxidized vegetable oils were ubiquitously everywhere, and needed to be removed. His health has flourished ever since, and he continues to share his message. We are so grateful for Tucker Goodrich and his message, and we are STOKED that he took the time to speak with us today!"
(I tried to embed the player, which didn't work too well! LOL. Follow the link above to listen or subscribe.)