Cholesterol Is Not Bad For You; or, The 8 Stages Of Science Scams

1) it is propagated by scientists on a non-scientific mission

2) it is believed because it plausibly explains an observation (increasing global temperature [for a time], increasing heart attacks from smoking in the 1950s and 60s). It taps into large anxieties about too much wealth, too much happiness, in western societies. There must be sin somewhere, and the public is ready to flog itself in the cause of a secularized idea of God, uh, I mean Good.

3) the causal relationship is weaker than first supposed; the research is found to be sloppy, the facts have been fudged, subsequent studies do not fully support the original claims, nevertheless the orthodoxy is promulgated all the more harshly for being doubted.

4) by now, powerful economic and ideological interests have taken hold. They supply an ongoing source of funds and opinion to ensure the perpetuation of the alarm: in the case of cholesterol, the margarine industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the medical establishment, and in the case of AGW, the tribe of bureaucrats and leftists who seek to control markets, whose god of Marxism had failed, and who needed a new god (Gaia) to justify their rule.

5) The skeptics who have patiently argued on the basis of facts that the science of each phenomenon was weak, are ostracized by the opinion establishments of medicine and global warming. Cranks, but the cranks are right and the orthodox priests and Levites are wrong.

6) Eventually, after fifty or sixty years, the subject of discussion just changes. In the case of cholesterol, the evidence gets weaker and weaker, and the problems caused by too much sugar consumption (obesity, diabetes), caused in part by people not eating enough fats and meats, reaches a stage where it can no longer be ignored.

7) the retreat of the orthodoxy is covered by a smokescreen of fresh concerns for some other catastrophe. No admissions of error or apologies for wrecked careers and following bad science are ever issued. Time flows on, bringing neither knowledge nor greater understanding of the role of folly in human affairs.

8) stages 6 and 7 have been reached in the cholesterol cycle; they are beginning in the anthropogenic global warming scam. Fifty years from now, there will still be clanking windmills in the North Sea, but whether they will be still linked to a power grid is less likely, and whether anyone will pay attention is doubtful. The lobbies that keep them there, however, will still exist.

Source: RIP: The great cholesterol scam (1955 – 2015) – Barrel Strength

Truth We Won’t Admit: Drinking Is Healthy

The evidence that abstinence from alcohol is a cause of heart disease and early death is irrefutable—yet this is almost unmentionable in the United States. Even as health bodies like the CDC and Dietary Guidelines for Americans (prepared by Health and Human Services) now recognize the decisive benefits from moderate drinking, each such announcement is met by an onslaught of opposition and criticism, and is always at risk of being reversed.

Noting that even drinking at non-pathological levels above recommended moderate limits gives you a better chance of a longer life than abstaining draws louder protests still. Yet that’s exactly what the evidence tells us.

Via Truth We Won’t Admit: Drinking Is Healthy – Pacific Standard: The Science of Society.

NYTimes: Low Carb Eaters Lose More Fat, Show Better Health

People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study shows.

The new study was financed by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. It included a racially diverse group of 150 men and women — a rarity in clinical nutrition studies — who were assigned to follow diets for one year that limited either the amount of carbs or fat that they could eat, but not overall calories.

By the end of the yearlong trial, people in the low-carbohydrate group had lost about eight pounds more on average than those in the low-fat group. They had significantly greater reductions in body fat than the low-fat group, and improvements in lean muscle mass — even though neither group changed their levels of physical activity.

While the low-fat group did lose weight, they appeared to lose more muscle than fat.

By the end of the yearlong trial, people in the low-carbohydrate group had lost about eight pounds more on average than those in the low-fat group. They had significantly greater reductions in body fat than the low-fat group, and improvements in lean muscle mass — even though neither group changed their levels of physical activity.

While the low-fat group did lose weight, they appeared to lose more muscle than fat.

In the end, people in the low-carbohydrate group saw markers of inflammation and triglycerides — a type of fat that circulates in the blood — plunge. Their HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, rose more sharply than it did for people in the low-fat group.

Those on the low-carbohydrate diet ultimately did so well that they managed to lower their Framingham risk scores, which calculate the likelihood of a heart attack within the next 10 years. The low-fat group on average had no improvement in their scores.

Score another one for Atkins, Taubes, et al. Note also that this is a direct refutation of the Food Pyramid the Federal government has been shoving down our throats for years. What else have they gotten wrong? Via A Call for a Low-Carb Diet – NYTimes.com.

Thank Evolution For Your Alcohol Tolerance

The boozing gene can be traced back 10 million years to the common ancestor humans share with chimpanzees and gorillas, new research claims.

It is believed these ancient forebears were the first to pick up fruits fermenting on the ground after they developed a lifestyle away from the trees.

Individuals able to stomach the boozy fruit would have survived better in this new environment than those who could not, programming the ability into their descendants’ genetic codes.

The theory could explain why humans, chimps and gorillas are able to digest alcohol, while our tree-dwelling cousins like orangutans cannot.

“The cause of, and solution to, all life’s problems.” Via Scientists trace the boozing gene: Taste for drink ‘originated 10million years ago in common ancestor of humans and chimps’ | Mail Online.

Study: Rigorous Diet And Exercise Does Not Reduce Heart Attacks In Diabetics

The study randomly assigned 5,145 overweight or obese people with Type 2 diabetes to either a rigorous diet and exercise regimen or to sessions in which they got general health information. The diet involved 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day for those weighing less than 250 pounds and 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day for those weighing more. The exercise program was at least 175 minutes a week of moderate exercise.

But 11 years after the study began, researchers concluded it was futile to continue — the two groups had nearly identical rates of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths.

Looks like it was caloric-restriction diet. Maybe the next study should put them on a high-fat high-protein low-carb diet and see what happens. Via Diabetes Study Ends Early With a Surprising Result – NYTimes.com.

Chocolate Gorging Linked To Opium Chemical In Brain

This explains so much:

A new brain study suggests an opium-like chemical may drive the urge to gorge on chocolate candy and similar fatty and sweet treats.

Researchers discovered this when they gave rats an artificial boost with a drug that went straight to a brain region called the neostriatum: it caused the animals to eat twice the amount of M&Ms they would otherwise have eaten.

The team also found that when the rats began to eat the chocolate-coated candies, there was a surge in enkephalin, a natural opium-like substance that is produced in the same region of the brain.

via Chocolate Gorging Linked To Opium Chemical In Brain.

Smart People Stay Up Late And Sleep Late!

File this under “flattering, and appeals to my prior beliefs”:

Researchers from the London School of Economics have found that people with high I.Q.s are more likely to be night owls, whereas folks with lower I.Q.s are more likely to wake up early and function their best during the day. Other studies have found a link between “eveningness” and getting good grades in school.

However, all is not well with those who burn the midnight oil. People who are disposed to staying up late are less reliable and more likely to suffer from depression and various addictions when compared to early risers.

Thank goodness I don’t have the “addictions” part. /me pours another drink

Via Smart People Stay Up Late And Sleep Late!.

Drinking at work: The boredom of boozeless business

Several other experiments showed that Americans link even moderate drinking with stupidity, which the professors call the “imbibing idiot bias”.

This may be short-sighted. Another recent paper from the journal Consciousness and Cognition by psychologists at the University of Illinois confirms what many have long suspected: a couple of drinks makes workers more creative. Tipsy employees, they say, find it hard to focus on a task, but this makes them more likely to come up with innovative ideas. This may help to explain the success of Silicon Valley, one of the last workplaces in America where hard and soft drinks still jostle for space in the company fridge.

via Drinking at work: The boredom of boozeless business | The Economist.

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? (“No.”)

In fact it isn’t cheaper to eat highly processed food: a typical order for a family of four — for example, two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two small sodas — costs, at the McDonald’s a hundred steps from where I write, about $28. (Judicious ordering of “Happy Meals” can reduce that to about $23 — and you get a few apple slices in addition to the fries!)

In general, despite extensive government subsidies, hyperprocessed food remains more expensive than food cooked at home. You can serve a roasted chicken with vegetables along with a simple salad and milk for about $14, and feed four or even six people. If that’s too much money, substitute a meal of rice and canned beans with bacon, green peppers and onions; it’s easily enough for four people and costs about $9.

By the way, note the phrase “despite extensive government subsidies.” It’s almost as if the government doesn’t know what’s best for you. Via Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? – NYTimes.com.

Steak Night, and Scotch

Tonight looks to be the last Steak Night at Casa de Jones in Memphis. Benito fixed a porterhouse with peppers, onions, and mushrooms, with a great claret (2007 Faithful Hound from Mulderbosch). I bought a bottle of the 25-year Highland Park scotch, seeing as I fell in love with it on my recent trip to Seattle, and we finished off dinner with that — mmm mmm.

Picture courtesy of Ben Carter.