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Contrary to claims, Virta has not reversed diabetes.

Reading Time: < 1 minute Contrary to claims, Virta has not “reversed diabetes”. Not tolerating carbohydrate is a pathology. If diabetes has been reversed, glucose tolerance should be restored. If glucose tolerance has not been restored, then LCHF is no different paradigmatically than symptom management with pharmacotherapy. That disease reversal requires a test with carbohydrate does not imply that a high carbohydrate diet should be resumed for more than a few days, if a low-carbohydrate diet is the preferred means to achieve disease reversal. That disease reversal requires a test with carbohydrate only implies that a brief demonstration of carbohydrate tolerance is necessary to demonstrate…

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The data do not support the idea that the low-fat dietary guidelines caused the obesity epidemic. (A reply to Dr. Ludwig–Part 1 in the macronutrient trend series.)

Reading Time: 10 minutes (Originally posted January 10, 2018 on Medium: https://medium.com/@kevinnbass/the-data-do-not-support-the-idea-that-the-low-fat-dietary-guidelines-caused-the-obesity-epidemic-687e382894ed. Copied in full to Patreon September 21, 2018, with sporadic additional commentary as noted in the text.) According to Dr. David Ludwig and many others endorsing the Low Fat Dietary Guidelines Caused Obesity Story (including Dr. Robert Lustig, journalists Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz, and others), the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (1980) caused Americans to reduce fat consumption, increase carbohydrate to compensate for the reduction in fat, and become obese. This occurred because, according to the story, carbohydrate is uniquely obesogenic: carbohydrate consumption is said to stimulate appetite and food intake. And,…

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When pursuing health, you should choose modern science over popular myths about your ancestors–some arguments (and facts) against so-called Paleo diets

Reading Time: 3 minutes “Eat like your ancestors. Go Paleo like your caveman forebears. Eat in an evolutionary way. Cut gluten—our ancestors didn’t eat wheat—and gain your health back. Intermittent fasting—like hunters who haven’t yet caught their prey—maintains lean muscle mass but shreds fat: it’s how we were evolved! Whole30: 30 days of eating like evolution wants us to!” We are told over and over that if we “just eat like our ancestors,” we will attain optimal health. But what if this is a popular myth, an ideology that romanticizes the past, and what if the diets that propose that one eats in this…

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Why I don’t train (or sometimes even eat) with a fever: learning how to manage personal illness from fitness tracker data and scientific research

Reading Time: 5 minutes It was two months since I had last stepped into a Jiu Jitsu gym. A white belt having started training 6 months ago, spar after painful spar I had been getting absolutely DECIMATED. It was demoralizing. While I had played plenty of sports as a kid, I didn’t have a martial arts or wrestling background except for Tae Kwon Do, briefly, when I was 10. I hadn’t even watched much UFC. But I had always admired martial artists and loved, loved, loved the movies. And I had always wanted to be like that. But until a fellow MD/PhD student, who…

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20 popular, must-read books on health, science, and nutrition (1-5 complete)

Reading Time: 4 minutes 1. The Role of Medicine by Thomas KcKeown McKeown’s book had an extraordinary influence on the discussion of what we now call the “social determinants of health.” The central argument of The Role of Medicine was that the vast majority of improvements in health through the 20th century have not been due to medicine–but due to social factors promoted by reformers, activists, and philanthropists. Although his hypothesis that nutrition undergirded much of the gains in 20th century health is now usually disregarded for one favoring cleaner water supply, McKeown’s arguments are persuasive and they haven’t been entirely set aside by…

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Tim Noakes is a kook: a discussion of an infamous debate.

Reading Time: 5 minutes Professor Timothy Noakes is well known in the world of science. His work has played an important role in the world of sports science. He has published more than 400 scientific articles–a remarkable and unusual feat of scientific productivity. He has earned both a medical degree and a doctor of science and received a remarkable number of accolades. Tim Noakes is also a kook. In 2014, for instance, he wrote a tweet suggesting a defense of Andrew Wakefield stating that the CDC was behind a conspiracy to cover up a link between vaccines and autism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Noakes&nbsp; Also in 2014, Noakes…

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The logical structure of the pseudoscientific personality

Reading Time: 2 minutes 1. The desire for total self-reliance leads to the belief that one can and should have a competent opinion on everything; 2. The belief that one should have a competent opinion on everything leads to a lack of nuance, since having an opinion on everything requires a massive oversimplification of every subject. An insistence on discarding nuance is therefore an insistence on oversimplification; 3. Resistance on the part of experts to the insistence on oversimplification directly challenges and denies the values of total self-reliance. Nuance, given the finitude of the human mind, makes those values impossible from a practical point…

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How to Write a Pseudoscientific Best-Selling Diet Book

Reading Time: 3 minutes Want to write a best-selling pseudoscientific diet book? Look no further. Follow these tried-and-tested rules, and you too are guaranteed to have your very own pseudoscientific diet book best-seller. 1. Pick a calorie-dense, commonly over-consumed food;2. Invent or cherry-pick evidence to demonize ingredients in such calorie-dense, commonly overconsumed foods using scientific-sounding jargon;3. Recommend not consuming such toxic ingredients;4. Enhance and “knit together” the above effect by tying the above facts into an emotional narrative commenting upon contemporary prevailing political, social, moral, or cultural concerns. That’s it! But how does this work? Now here’s the payoff that will allow you to…

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Good Low-Carb, Bad Low-Carb: Many low-carbohydrate diet gurus constantly lie. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Reading Time: 3 minutes I do not pretend that I am the final judge of scientific fact. Sometimes—or even often—I am wrong. My emphasis is on intellectual humility, an openness to evidence, and a respect for the weight of that evidence. It is important to keep our discussion of health science within the realm of the factual, and it seems to me that recently Jason Fung and many of his friends’ claims have begun to diverge ever more from this norm of decent behavior. Their claims grow ever more extreme, their self-reinforcing circle of gurus ever more cloistered. When their errors are pointed out,…

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The psychology of a charlatan

Reading Time: 5 minutes The distinction between ideology and fraud is commonly asserted, but strikes me as false. Both ideology and fraud are premised on the privileging of personal interest or feelings over a serious-minded respect for facts. Both sacrifice a respect for carefully considered facts to the desires of the ideologist or fraudster. Both represent moral failings with potentially grave consequences for others. Ideologists and fraudsters both become charlatans. That we cannot readily distinguish between ideology and fraud in nearly any case of charlatanism—ever—testifies to the fact that they are essentially the same. A charlatan is a charlatan. Whether ideology or fraud motivates…

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