A Philosopher's Blog

Pigs, the other Unclean Meat

Posted in Business, Ethics, Medicine/Health, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on September 8, 2011
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Like most humans, I like pork. However, some of my religious friends assure me that pork is unclean. While I assure them that I cook it properly, they are unswayed by this mere physical cleansing. This, in a way, makes sense: no amount of fire can sear away a metaphysical filth. If, of course, there is such a thing.

While I am still unwilling to accept the idea of pork being metaphysically unclean, I do accept that pigs (like humans and birds) are flu factories. While everyone has heard of swine flu, most folks are probably not aware that pigs can serve as oinking germ laboratories. To grossly over simplify things, flu virus strains can jump species from humans to pigs and also from birds to pigs. Like many viruses, the flu virus can swap bits and pieces, thus creating strains that blend features of multiple strains. While not all these strains are particularly virulent (witness the recent pandemic “pandudic”) this sort of recombination is worrisome because it can produce nasty results.

Obviously, virus swapping between species  is nothing new. However, there are some relative new things. First, we have massive agribusiness that raise pigs (and birds) in large numbers and in highly concentrated areas. This means that we have created massive breeding grounds for diseases. Second, we have a worldwide rapid transportation system which allows new strains to be spread far and wide rapidly. So, for example, a new strain that appears on a pig farm in China can be spread to New York city via the next jet out.

Given that these factory farms are prime disease farms, one would think that governments would closely monitor them and be on the lookout for the next pandemic. Some countries, such as China, do this. In the United States, however, there is considerable reluctance to allow the state to monitor the herds for diseases that could be a threat to humans.

One reason is the view that the government should not “meddle” in the affairs of private industry (other than to send subsidy checks, of course). This can, of course, be countered on health grounds: if monitoring pigs can help deal with a dangerous new pandemic, then it would seem to be within the legitimate powers of the state to do so. After all, if the state can do a full body scan of airline passengers, surely the state should be allowed to check out pigs for threats to human life. The flu is, of course, far more dangerous than terrorists (just compare flu deaths and deaths attributed to terror).

Another reason, which has more substance, is that such testing can be a financial hazard to pig farmers. While eating bacon will not give you the flu, pork sales drop when the news is full of tales of swine flu. Not surprisingly, if the public learned that pig herds were being tested for pandemic flu viruses, this would also have an impact on sales. And, of course, herds that tested positive might not find any buyers, even after they recovered and were perfectly safe to eat (well, for unclean beasts). This problem would need to be addressed. One approach would be public education on the matter. Of course, since ignorance and emotion tend to dominate over reason, this approach might not work that well. A second approach would be to assure confidentiality of test results and to have the state compensate farmers in case a herd had to be destroyed (or could not be sold because of unfounded concerns).

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on September 8, 2011 at 7:02 am

    “This can, of course, be countered on health grounds: if monitoring pigs can help deal with a dangerous new pandemic, then it would seem to be within the legitimate powers of the state to do so.”

    Has it been shown that monitoring pigs can indeed help deal with a dangerous new pandemic? Or do we just want to do it for “security theater”?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      An excellent question. On the one hand, flu strains do emerge from the herds/flocks of food animals and pose an actual risk. On the other hand, it might be the case that monitoring them would cost more than the gain to health security.

      I am inclined to think that basic monitoring of the herds/flocks would be useful to catching a bug before it hit the human population. It would also be useful to the farmers. Naturally, the approach taking should be designed to not harm the farmers or burden them needlessly.

    • T. J. Babson said, on September 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      I have no issues with public health measures that work, like vaccines, and if monitoring pig farms makes sense then we should do it.

      Better use of resources than going after rogue lemonade stands, in any case…

  2. FRE said, on September 8, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Meat and other animal foods are not an essential for human health. And, as you say, food animals are raised in highly unsanitary conditions. To maintain some semblance of health for the animals, they are constantly fed antibiotics. That increases the risk that bacteria will acquire antibiotic resistance, which in fact has happened, and that makes it more difficult to treat infections in humans.

    As you travel around the country, you can easily find feed lots by their stench; you can smell them for miles. The cattle in the feed lots frequently are in feces up to their ankles which obviously increases the risk of spreading diseases among them.

    The quickest way to improve sanitary conditions for food animals, which would also reduce the risk of human disease and infection, would be either to stop eating animal products until the conditions under which animals are grown is greatly improved, or to eat only animal products from animals which are raised in sanitary conditions.

    It may be that there is not perfect proof that the way animals are raised constitutes a hazard to human health; that is similar to the arguments used by tobacco products to counter the position that tobacco is a health hazard. We can wait until there is irrefutable proof before rectifying the situation, by which time the human cost of delaying action could be astronomical, or we can take action now.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      Although I love eating meat, I do recognize that using meat for food is inefficient, wasteful, expensive, cruel and poses various health threats. As the affluent populations grow, they want more meat. However, there will not be enough resources to meet that meat demand. We can expect rising prices and a declining supply. Scientists are already looking at growing meat in “vats” to meet this demand.

      It makes more sense for people to eat less meat and rely more on other sources. It actually hurts to write that, given my deep and abiding love for bacon and steak.

      • FRE said, on September 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

        I was never especially fond of meat, so giving it up was no problem for me. Back in the 1970s, as meat prices soared, I saw it as a consumer rip-off, so I simply stopped eating it; it was no big deal. Later, I became aware of the health benefits of not eating meat and, still later, I became aware of the way the animals were raised and how that added to the heath risks.

        Where I grew up, the percentage of Roman Catholics was very high so in the high school cafeteria, no meat was served on Fridays. In principal, that annoyed me, though not having meat as part of the cafeteria lunch was no problem for me. I was amused that some people saw it as a big sacrifice to abstain from meat on Fridays and to have meat only once a day during lent; that was called fasting but I never saw it as fasting. It was also puzzling that fish, shrimp, etc., were not considered to be meat; I don’t know where that idea came from.

        There are so many wonderful things besides meat to eat that I find it somewhat puzzling that many people somehow see it has a hardship to do without meat. There are many ethnic restaurants which have an excellent choice of items with no meat. On the other hand, in some parts of the country, one who requests a meatless dish is seen as somewhat eccentric.

      • magus71 said, on September 9, 2011 at 7:59 am

        You’re completely wrong about the health effects of eating meat. Carbohydrates cause glycation (glycated proteins) and make you fat.

        Both Mike and FRE are wrong and uneducated about the truth on this matter.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 9, 2011 at 10:22 am

          Actually, I am fairly well informed. My girlfriend is completing her Phd in exercise physiology and is also getting her certification as a dietician. She knows a great deal about such things and makes sure that I am informed of them, usually while I am eating my steak or bacon. But, you can discuss it with her. She is, however, far more ferocious than I am.

        • FRE said, on September 9, 2011 at 11:43 am

          If carbohydrates make one fat, then my body must be abnormal because carbohydrates have not made me fat. I am now 73 and my weight is the same as it was when I was 23. There has been very little variation, perhaps + or – five pounds. Recently I discovered that with my lungs empty, I sink even in a salt water pool which would seem to indicate that by body fat is quite low. I never did eat much meat (that includes fish and poultry) and haven’t been a meat eater since about 1975. Probably keeping myself physically fit is a factor.

          Actually, excessive protein can cause kidney damage.

          The current fad of eschewing carbohydrates is a very serious mistake.

          • magus71 said, on September 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm

            It’s not a fad yet’ America gets fatter every year and it’s definitely not reducing carb intake.

            My guess is you didn’t eat a lot of carbs or meat. Much still comes down to calories in/out.

            How much meat one eats tells us little; we must know how much one eats in total and what it’s made up of.

            And just to add one more heretical twist (what? me heretical?) Alcohol is good for you and the higher one’s IQ, the more likely one is to binge drink. Google it,.

            • FRE said, on September 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm

              I don’t ingest ethanol. When I was a preppy, I developed a very strong distaste for ethanol as the result of observing others using it and the way they behaved.

              Correlation does not necessarily mean causation. A study showed that elderly people who quit smoking didn’t live as long as elderly people who continued to smoke. Later it was found that elderly people with serious health problems were more likely to quit smoking. Another study showed that students who had studied Latin had a better command of English. Later it was found that students who were planning to study Latin had a better command of English than students who had no plans to study Latin. So, I’m skeptical of studies that claim that ingesting ethanol is beneficial.

              Statistical studies can be very valuable, but statistics can be very tricky to interpret properly.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

              Alcohol has some benefits, in limited quantities.

              Even if smarter people drink more, that doesn’t mean that alcohol makes them smart. Professors are often liberals, but being liberal doesn’t make people smart. You know that. 🙂

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 12, 2011 at 6:49 pm

            As Florence has told me, it is not carbs that make people fat-it is the amount of calories consumed relative to the amount expended. A person could eat twinkies and lose weight. A person could eat only the healthiest of vegetables and become Jabba the hut.

            • T. J. Babson said, on September 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm

              Mike, if you think about this for a moment you’ll realize it is a non answer.

              Taubes explains:

              But now imagine that instead of talking about why we get fat, we’re talking about a different system entirely. This kind of gedanken (thought) experiment is always a good way to examine the viability of your assumptions about any particular problem. Say instead of talking about why fat tissue accumulates too much energy, we want to know why a particular restaurant gets so crowded. Now the energy we’re talking about is contained in entire people rather than just the fat in their fat tissue. Ten people contain so much energy; eleven people contain more, etc.. So what we want to know is why this restaurant is crowded and so over-stuffed with energy (i.e., people) and maybe why some other restaurant down the block has remained relatively empty — lean.

              If you asked me this question — why did this restaurant get crowded? — and I said, well, the restaurant got crowded (it got overstuffed with energy) because more people entered the restaurant than left it, you’d probably think I was being a wise guy or an idiot. (If I worked for the World Health Organization, I’d tell you that “the fundamental cause of the crowded restaurant is an energy imbalance between people entering on one hand, and people exiting on the other hand.”) Of course, more people entered than left, you’d say. That’s obvious. But why? And, in fact, saying that a restaurant gets crowded because more people are entering than leaving it is redundant –saying the same thing in two different ways – and so meaningless.

              Now, borrowing the logic of the conventional wisdom of obesity, I want to clarify this point. So I say, listen, those restaurants that have more people enter them then leave them will become more crowded. There’s no getting around the laws of thermodynamics. You’d still say, yes, but so what? Or at least I hope you would, because I still haven’t given you any causal information. I’m just repeating the obvious.

              This is what happens when the laws of physics (thermodynamics) are used to defend the belief that overeating makes us fat. Thermodynamics tells us that if we get fatter and heavier, more energy enters our body than leaves it. Overeating means we’re consuming more energy than we’re expending. It’s saying the same thing in a different way. (In 1954, the soon-to-be-famous — and often misguided, although not in this case — nutritionist Jean Mayer said that to explain obesity by overeating was about as meaningful as explaining alcoholism by overdrinking, and merely reaffirmed, quite unnecessarily, the fact that the person saying it believed in the laws of thermodynamics.) Neither happens to answer the question why. Why do we take in more energy than we expend? Why do we get fatter?


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm

              But it is an answer to the question as to why people get fat, taking the question in terms the physical system. The person you quote seems to be looking for a psychological answer. The question “why do people get fat?” is ambiguous, since the “why” could be taken as asking for any number of answer types (physical, physiological, psychological, social, and so on).

            • magus71 said, on September 13, 2011 at 1:27 am

              And to TJ’s post, what is not said by Taubes here is that insulin and sugar have great impact on how hungry we feel. Insulin has two jobs. 1-Remove sugar from the blood and drive it into our cells to be stored as fat; 2-prevent fat from leaving a cell to be burned as energy. With a certain level of insulin in the blood, the body will actually burn muscle before fat. Not good. This is where we get the “skinny-fat” look, a sure sign of bad health.

              When the body can access the lipids in fat cells because insulin is low, we feel much less hungry. As I’ve stated before, it does take time to adapt to it–full adaption can take anywhere from 4-20 weeks and there will be a certain level of discomfort if a person takes carbs away too quickly–I don’t dispute this.

              Let’s remember that a slice of 12-Grain Nature’s Pride bread I have on my counter right now has 20 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber. That means a person could have about 4-5 slices of this a day and probably help his health. Now, it seems that getting down to around 60 grams of carbs a day is better than 100, but still, is it unreasonable to have only 5 slices of bread a day? Hardly.

              Once the body adapts to fat burning, athletic performance is improved. Before the adaption period, it’s likely there’ll be a drop off. Russian endurance athletes “fat-load” they don’t carb load. Caveat: Endurance sessions of over 90 require more carb, but really it requires more caloric intake…


              I agree with Florence; calories do matter. I saw an experiment done by a guy who ate twinkies and other bad food for several months but ate very low calories. His health and blood tests improved. Calorie restriction is healthy. However, reducing sugar in the diet will reduce appetite and thus reduce caloric intake.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm

              Fat seems to be the currently touted endurance fuel. For example, sled dogs are supposed to be efficient fat burners, which gives them excellent endurance. Except in the heat, of course. Humans are among the best animals for running in the heat. I have heard some ultra marathoners talk about the importance of having a little extra fat on the body to use in those 50+ mile runs. I have no idea if they are right about that (the top marathoners are always wicked lean), but it does seem to make sense given the distance and time factors.

              I keep a little fat on hand (or rather, on belly), just in case. 🙂

            • Anonymous said, on September 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm

              “The person you quote seems to be looking for a psychological answer.”

              No, it is all about endocrinology.

            • T. J. Babson said, on September 13, 2011 at 11:20 pm

              Sorry, I cleaned my cookies…

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm

              Good. No one likes a dirty cookie.

            • Anonymous said, on September 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm

              Mike, experiments have been performed where people eat thousands of extra calories per day and some people gain weight and others don’t.

              From wikipedia: It was Thomas Willis who in 1675 added “mellitus” to the word “diabetes” as a designation for the disease, when he noticed that the urine of a diabetic had a sweet taste (glycosuria).[38] This sweet taste had been noticed in urine by the ancient Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, and Persians.

              If sugar can be in the urine then clearly not all the calories that a person eats are retained by the body. Insulin controls this.

  3. T. J. Babson said, on September 8, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

    –Mark Twain

    Again, you guys just swallow the CW without learning the facts.

    Gary Taubes:

    • magus71 said, on September 9, 2011 at 7:56 am

      Taubes is great. Mike still thinks carbs are good for you and meat is bad.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 9, 2011 at 10:20 am

        Carbohydrates are good-you need them to metabolize fat properly. As I noted, I love meat. However, it is a high cost food and also has some unhealthy aspects (especially processed meats).

        • magus71 said, on September 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

          People should eat under 100 grams of carbs a day. The modern American takes in about 400-500 grams.

          Carbs are the only one of the macro nutrients people don’t need. Watch the video by Taubes that TJ posted; or at least read his article “What if it’s all a big fat lie?” first published in the New York Times.

          People keep asking me about my secrets and I keep telling them and they keep refusing to believe.

          Milk,meat, nuts, dairy, a little fruit (very little), very little bread, and no potatoes or rice. If overweight people did that for a month they would see drastic differences in weight and blood lipids: all for the better. My triglycerides ( the lipid most associated with heart disease and other serious issues) barely registers in a test.

          • T. J. Babson said, on September 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

            The latest science agrees with Magus. Google “Dietary Reference Intake Carbohydrates.” The recommendation (for adult men) is 130 grams/day, with 38 of those grams from fiber.

            Compared to the 300-400 g/day of carbs most Americans eat, this is a low carb diet.



            • magus71 said, on September 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm

              Yes, and since the 38 grams of fibrous carbs can’t be digested, you end up under one hundred net carbs. That’s not say people can never go over this and it will take time for their bodies to learn to burn fat efficiently. Slowly reducing carbohydrate intake over weeks and months will result in tremendous health gains and slowing of the aging process. Everything in a human body works better when insulin levels are kept chronically low. Insulin is a destructive hormone, which is why the body secrets so little and only to get something even more destructive out of the blood: Sugar.

              One of the easiest ways to test health is to get a blood test and look at two scores: Fasting triglycerides and fasting insulin. Triglycerides rise with carb intake and triglycerides increase LDL which damages artery walls. Cholesterol level is not a factor in health except when it is too low (admittedly that doesn’t happen often except when people are on cholesterol lowering meds which cause all kinds of problems like loss of memory and sudden collapses.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm

              That helps explain the obesity problem.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 12, 2011 at 7:02 pm

            People do need carbs, or so the physiology seems to indicate. But, as you note, people generally eat too many carbs.

        • dhammett said, on September 11, 2011 at 9:17 am

          Try eliminating fats from your diet some time. 😦
          Back in the day, I spent a couple months tracking and limiting my intake of fats to the lowest level I could achieve and the local markets would allow. This was before much attention was being paid to the differences between saturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated fats, or fat in the diet in general. It was impossible to find foods labeled “no fat” on the grocery shelves. Yet I persevered. My detailed charts of my fat intake dropping to near-zero were comforted me, and disturbed my family as they watched some drastic changes in my personality occur.

          Of course, I was obsessed. I was training back then in a Taewondo dojang run by a mustachioed black belt who’d learned his art while in Korea as a sergeant in the Marines. Many in the class undertook similar unusual practices. One guy was saving all his toenail clippings and hair trimmings for reasons he refused to reveal. But I can’t blame it all on karate. Even before I began Taekwondo training I had gone through a very high fiber phase (long before fiber in the diet was fashionable) that was very unpleasant in so many ways. Wives and children don’t respond well to such changes in their routines.

          But, back to the no-fat diet. In a relatively short time I became nearly psychotic because, as I determined later, my body likely wasn’t effectively utilizing some very important vitamins that are necessary for efficient brain function.—fat is necessary for that process. That, combined with my obsessive nature, made Jack a mad boy.

          • magus71 said, on September 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm

            Trying to get near zero fat in one’s diet is dangerous. This is all evidence how “science” can easily become zeitgeist and outright myth.

            • dhammett said, on September 12, 2011 at 7:11 pm

              In my case it wasn’t “science”. It was lack of knowledge and more-or-less blind obsession. This was , as I wrote, back in the day. Mid to late 70’s. Before Atkins. Before Stillman. No Google to access info about such things as “importance of fat in human diet”. I don’t believe a cable health network existed back then, but if it had, we couldn’t have afforded it. I’d have had to travel a distance, to a university library, because our local library had basic references, biographies, mysteries , best-sellers, etc. but nothing like medical references or even current research studies.
              I learned the facts about fat the hard way. Experience. Realistically, thought, no one can experiment personally with everything and learn everything by personal experience. That’s one uncomplicated, but likely painful way to get very, very ill. Or die.

              I’m pleased you place the word science inside quotation marks in when you write “‘science’ can easily become zeitgeist and outright myth”. There are significant differences between “science” and science and ignoring those differences can lead to an entirely different and dangerous mode of thought such as the following:

              “Scientific” findings are corruptible . True. “Science” can be intentionally misleading and/or flat out wrong. True. “Science” can be an outright boondoggle. Yes. Because of those points some choose to take a foolish step and reject Science outright favor of other choices.
              But “science” is ^not^ science, and it’s incumbent upon a 21st century citizen to research the distinction, to dig through the BS spewing from the mouths and pens of profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies, academic and political seekers of power and fame, and religious and political demagogues.

  4. FRE said, on September 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Here is what the Mayo clinic says about a high protein / low carbohydrate diets:


    Summary: Not good!!

    • magus71 said, on September 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      This person sites no research; but even if they did, they’d cherry pick. My favorite was the study that biomass once published; it said that those who ate a lot of meat died earlier than those who ate less. Yes, probably true. However it didn’t say what else the people ate. My guess it that the people ate lots of everything. Fewer calories in a lifetime = healthier life. After WWII, disease throughout Europe went down drastically do to less food intake.

      Read Taubes’ book if you care about health and weight control. If everything is good with your health, keep doing what you’re doing.

      By the way: There are NO studies that show saturated fat increases once’s chances of heart disease.

      I promise: The scientific world is beginning to tilt toward restricting carbohydrates.

      • FRE said, on September 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm

        True; the article sited no research. However, a google search will find articles which DO site research.

        Considering that many people eat excessive carbohydrates in the form of carbonated beverages, potato chips, etc., it is entirely reasonable for “The scientific world is beginning to tilt toward restricting carbohydrates.” However, probably at least half of one’s caloric intake should be from carbohydrates.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm

        I defer to my girlfriend here. She is completing her dissertation in exercise physiology and is also completing her certification as a dietician. As such, she knows her stuff. While she and other experts in the field could be wrong, the consensus seems to be clear about meat and fats.

        However, I do agree that the harms of fats, meat and so on are often overblown. I do, however, avoid the heavily processed stuff (mainly because of the taste) and try to keep the trans fats out of my diet.

        • magus71 said, on September 14, 2011 at 2:01 am

          Ask your girlfriend to look at the Framingham Heart Study. It was one of the first and still may be the most comprehensive study on heart disease as it relates to diets. People who ate the most saturated fat and the most calories were thinnest and most active. And alcohol reduced heart disease massively.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2011 at 8:17 pm

            It might be that people you mention ate the most calories because they were the most active. This would also explain the thinness.

  5. T. J. Babson said, on September 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    This is interesting:


    I used to be a biochemist that worked in projects involving DNA repair, and the field of stem cells. There is one interesting theory about aging and cancer. As you read this: keep in mind that this is a theory that is supported by SOME scientific evidence (in terms of cells), but there is no clinical evidence behind it (in terms of people). I wrote this for interest only.

    The main balance is between aging and cancer. Aging protects us from cancer, while staying “young” at older ages such as immortality predisposes you to cancer.

    You get cancer not because telomeres get long, but due to the DNA damage you accumulate over the years. It has very little to do with telomeres. Telomeres are just one of many regulatory processes, not sure why media loved it so much.

    Cancer seems to be the inevitable killer of all mammals. I don’t see there being a one “cure for cancer”. There definitely is a lot of promising research into some common deadly cancers that hit people at a young age. However, it seems as though the older we get, we get more susceptible to other less common cancers.

    The theory goes like this: Metabolism in all mammals is not 100% efficient. Oxygen is actually a very toxic chemical that produces free radicals, which can be very destructive. Same goes for sugar. When we break down sugar and use oxygen to generate energy (ATP), our cells inevitably generate free radicals, which is a waste/unwanted substance. The main defense mechanism against free radicals are antioxidants. If the cell lacks antioxidants (usually it does), these free radicals attack lipids, proteins, and more importantly, DNA. The cell tries to repair DNA, but the process is not perfect. Over the years, due to our own metabolism, we acquire cumulative DNA damage, and the longer we live, the more chances that some key proteins are mutated, and we get cancer. Apart from antioxidants, cell cycle regulation, DNA repair, another mechanism exists to protect us from inevitable cancer: aging.

    As we get older, and accumulate DNA damage, our stem cells sense this happening, and put limits on their own reproductive potential. They slow their own cell replication to move themselves as far back from cancer as possible (fast replication). As a result, our tissue does not turnover as fast, hence our skin gets wrinkled, our immune system weakens, etc… Whether we remain young and have a high risk of cancer, or age very fast and be protected from cancer is a balance intrinsic to each and every one of us. Dogs get cancers at a very early age because their metabolic rate is incredibly fast, and they develop DNA damage much faster. However, your lifestyle can edit that balance. If you have a healthy diet low in sugar, high in antioxidants, in theory you can reduce DNA damage, keeping your DNA looking younger, and reducing risk of cancer when you are older, and prevent aging at a young age. Other things you can do is a long topic of discussion, but generally eat less sugars, eat “healthy”, have a low basal metabolic rate, avoid radiation exposure, have good DNA repair genes, and don’t stress (cell stress response).

    Edit: thanks for those that helped me format this… Edit: A few things to keep in mind:

    This is simply a scientific theory! It shouldn’t impact you directly. What does make an impact is clinical evidence, which is simply “doing A reduces mortality in PEOPLE” (not cells). There is no clinical evidence behind what I said. I didn’t mean to scare anyone, especially those with a high metabolic rate. Clinical evidence does support maintaining a healthy and active balanced lifestyle.

    Please don’t think i’m promoting buying antioxidant supplements and stuff. There is little CLNICAL evidence that they directly help – very controversial. Ask your doctor if you have questions.

    Nothing wrong with drinking tea and coffee. However, adding sugar/cream/sweeteners is not a healthy option, I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

    • dhammett said, on September 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      The author opines at length on a scientific theory that is backed by no clinical evidence. That’s fine.
      It might be more helpful, however, if he’d expand on the statement “Clinical evidence does support maintaining a healthy and active balanced lifestyle.”

      What exactly is “a healthy and active balanced lifestyle”? How active? What’s healthy and what’s not? Is a “balanced lifestyle” like “fair and balanced” news? Is there truly clinical evidence that cream in coffee or tea is “not a healthy option”? Even if used in sensible amounts?

      What I’m trying to get at is that the author provides a standard—“a healthy and balanced lifestyle”— but provides basically nothing but his opinion to define what such a lifestyle involves. Would he be the final arbiter, saying you can drink 3 cups of coffee without cream every day, but you can’t drink one glass of lemonade with sugar once a week—because that’s not a healthy option.

      Remember how bad eggs were 20 years ago? Now they’re a wonder food when used in moderation..

  6. magus71 said, on September 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    • dhammett said, on September 12, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      magus71: I listened to the one you posted, not the other parts. A good test of one’s skepticism.
      My first reaction? What a self-serving, money-grubbing, egotistical SOB.. . .
      Did I get this accurately? “I have the information that they need. . . .no, they don’t have it.” Nobody? Seriously?
      He includes important info in the (what a surprise!) book that he’s currently hawking. But he doesn’t reveal many specifics of the suggestions that are contained in a book that would appear to have been published, as found in Amazon, in 2003.. Why? Maybe he doesn’t want to reveal the weakness of his “theory”. His “theory”, if it even qualifies as such, sounds suspiciously like a less academic version of the kind of study that TJ’s former biochemist spit out.
      He did give one useful tidbit . I can drink upwards of six glasses a day of alcohol— but less than a fifth of Jack Daniels. “Jack Daniels (25 ounces in a fifth) = 25 ounces :-: 1.5 ounces = 16.67 x 105 = 1,749.99 calories in a bottle”. Yahoo!answers So less than 1749.99 empty calories is OK. Now that’s the kind of advice I can use. 🙂 He doesn’t specify what kinds of drinks. But that’s quite a claim, if you read the following chart:

      I’m not in the least interested in what he “meant” to say, or what I should have “assumed” he meant when he said alcohol. He didn’t make the statement specific. That would call into question is ability to communicate his ideas clearly and concisely. It could render parts of his “message” outright dangerous.

      All of those empty calories–no nutritional content. Six hundred to 12 hundred calories a day sucked up by sox servings of certain alcoholic drinks. That almost makes it worth buying one of his books. But wait!. .

      Perhaps I missed something other than a blatant, empty sales pitch for another overpriced health book. . . I just checked him out on amazon. He has one paperback going for over $300 and another for over $70. I guess it pays to keep a secret that could, in theory, make everyone’s life happier and healthier. No sense giving it away for, say, $10 for a skinny paperback. All of his books,, including the one in question here, were written and printed between ’02and ’04.. Quite prolific. But he’s still on the book promotion trail. What’s he trying to do—move all the remaindered books he can?

      I thought this was interesting:


      Wonder what kinds of “insights” he can offer for free? Can he top the six servings of alcohol (apparently regardless of one’s weight)? I’d feel much better about the good Dr. Ellis, if someone would provide the details of his unique (^nobody^ else has it–except those who cough up the money) advice.

      So my reaction at this point, until I read or hear something much more convincing—- same as my first reaction.

      • magus71 said, on September 14, 2011 at 1:51 am

        Actually, Dr. Ellis offers tons of info for free. Yes, his books are expensive. I don’t own any of them, but have learned a lot from him from his blogs, podcasts, interviews and postings.

        You’re rather smoothing over what he had to say about alcohol. He admitted the question is what the right dose is. I’ve read articles and studies that state drinking 4-6 beers a day may not be as bad as you seem to believe. You may not get much done, but if you have a day off, it won’t kill you. Mind you, the alcoholics that I’ve known would laugh at 6 beers. I’ve known people that drink a 30 pack in a day. That’s alcoholism. Try eating 30 potatoes in a day for a year. No matter how good potatoes are for you, you’ll probably harm yourself.

        6 beers is considerable less than 6 glasses of Jack, as far as alcohol content.

        By the way, have you seen pictures of Dr. Ellis when he was 55 years old? Impressive.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2011 at 8:13 pm

          He might look good despite his behavior and not because of it.

          • magus71 said, on September 16, 2011 at 2:17 am

            I know where I’ll place my money.

            • dhammett said, on September 16, 2011 at 9:08 am

              Smokin’ drinkin’ George Burns looked and acted surprisingly spry in his later years because he smoked and drank? Good luck with that wager.
              If someone wants to put everything on the table, including “in large part because of genetic factors and a keen sense of humor”, I’ll placet my money there.

            • magus71 said, on September 17, 2011 at 2:09 am


              My response was to Mike about Ellis. Smoking is bad for us–I think Burns would have agreed.

            • dhammett said, on September 17, 2011 at 9:33 am

              Sorry I horned in your wager. Think you’d have won? 🙂

              Yet somehow Burns lived. Yes, there may be exceptions equivalent to George and Arnold in the cigar-smoking arena that prove a dubious rule that smoking upwards of 10 cigars a day can’t hurt you, I doubt you’d find any scientific research, cherry-picked or not, that proves it.
              But. . .maybe we should let Schwarzenegger and his physique speak for the wonders of smoking cigars. Two examplses such as Burns and Ahhnuld should speak for us all, right? Gotta get and buy me some stogies!

              How does the following from a post of yours (2:18, 9/9/11)
              “My favorite was the study that biomass once published; it said that those who ate a lot of meat died earlier than those who ate less..” . match up against Magus’ (your own) statement of 9/15/11/ 3:44) ” I know you don’t want to believe it, but drinkers live longer than non-drinkers.” Neither statement (assuming “biomass” made that claim, in those words— and I doubt it) ) specifies how much or what kind of meat or drink. However, at least the phrase “a LOT of meat” implies eating too much meat, overwhelming amounts of meat , just indiscriminately consuming a lot of meat on a regular basis, whereas simply saying “drinkers live longer” implies that no matter who you are and how much of what kind of drink—even grain alcohol— you imbibe, you’ll [DRINKERS in general will] live longer. I’d like to see the very real, not cherry-picked, clinical evidence that proves that. . . that proves that the teen who drinks a bottle of grain a day is going to live longer (all other things being equal) than the teen who drinks a glass of wine..

              Here’s what those quacks at Mayo Clinic have to say about the subject. Read the entire article, not just cherry-flavored tidbits. I’ll get back to you later with some “cherry-picked” claims from the article and set them up alongside Dr. Ellis’ recommendations for less than a fifth of Jim Beam and six glass a day of alcohol a day. Note as you read that the article distinguishes between men and women and provides specific recommendations for reasonable consumption. It also details the possible benefits and likely dangers of moderate and excessive alcohol use. And please no more about Ellis having only 30 seconds to answer the questions. . .


          • FRE said, on September 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm


            My mother lived for almost 96 years in spite of smoking. Surely that does not prove that smoking is beneficial.

            Genetics has much to do with how well people resist the negative effects of poor diet, insufficient exercise, smoking, etc. Thus, some people who do everything right don’t live as long as some people who do many things wrong. However, we can greatly increase the likelihood of living a long and healthy life if we do everything right.

            Eubie Blake, the well-known black composer and musician, when he was 100 years old, said on TV that if he had known that he’d live so long, he wouldn’t have smoked.

  7. dhammett said, on September 14, 2011 at 9:04 am

    magus71: There seems to be some “smoothing” in your defense of Ellis’ message. When asked about alcohol consumption, Elllis ^said^ upwards of six drinks/day. He didn’t say it “^may^ not be as bad as you seem to believe”. In fact I don’t think he used words like ”may’ and ^probably^ as much as you have in your response here. He didn’t specify whether he was referring to beer or hard liquor. Thankfully, he eventually does place an upper limit on Jim Beam consumption–less than a fifth. I’ve pointed out above what that means. May I say that for an interview that’s centered around health and well-being that’s an astoundingly stupid statement unless, perhaps he has a 320 lb. weight lifter in mind. Of course he didn’t offer that caveat. I suspect, however that weight lifters are looking for something more than zero nutritional value from their daily intake of food and drink.

    My father drank around 5-6 beers each working day–after work, of course. He drank more on weekends. He was a great worker at a crappy job. And he was a lousy father when he was home.

    I’m not particularly impressed by Ellis’ physique. Or with this interview. I doubt that, just to find some nuggets of gold, I’d be willing to wade through his blogs or podcasts to mine through information which, because of the incompleteness and non-specificity demonstrated in this vid , could be potentially misleading and dangerous to one’s health and well-being . You’ve done the mining apparently. Save me the money and give me the pure 24K info.

    Here’s a guy with an impressive physique. He died at 96. He ate no meat.
    First look at a picture (bottom of page) of him doing finger-tip push ups when he was 80.
    Now, in his 90’s:
    And, he never looked like an ex professional wrestler.

    • T. J. Babson said, on September 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

      • dhammett said, on September 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

        I refer you to #4 on the list of 10 provided in the second url at the end of my most recent post.
        I’ll edit my previous statement to read: He ate a negligible amount of meat. He considered himself a “scientific nutritionist”.
        Perhaps as he got older (in the article I provided) he got more sensible? Even in his younger years , as he appears in your vid, he seemed to be big on lots of vegetables and fruits (carbohydrates) and always offered an alternative to meat in the form of yogurt or cottage cheese. Not entirely inconsistent with his earlier views. Just more refined.
        When Dr. Ellis reaches 96 I’ll be the first to shout “Huzzah!”. Of course, he’s just as likely to pass far short of 96. Why, he’ll probably not live as long as George Burns, who, as far as I know, never wrote or read a diet, lifestyle, or nutrition book in his 100 years. . .unless we count “How to live to be 100” 🙂

    • magus71 said, on September 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      I know you don’t want to believe it, but drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. I’m sorry this doesn’t fit in to people’s perfect world where people who drink die at 40, poor and violent. I’ve read quotes from scientists who say there is no more argument in the scientific community about it. Alcohol is good for health.

      If someone cannot drink and obey the law at the same time, they ought not drink.

      True, Ellis doesn’t go in to depth about alcohol–he was given about 30 seconds in the piece for that. But I’m aware of his thoughts through other writings and interviews and by 6, he means the equivalent of 6 beers. I’ve studied this and the evidence is clear.


      I can’t drink 6 beers in a night. But I can drink 2-3 every night and still physically outperform people 20 years younger. Not bragging; just saying that whatever I’m doing is apparently working.

      Jack Lelanne at fish and egg whites, by the way. He also drank wine.

      Let’s be perfectly clear–people can live well on different diets. However, it comes down to maximizing our chances, and as Ellis states, knowing the rules of the body. When we know the rules, we know how far we can go before we’re out of bounds. I had pizza yesterday–3 pieces. If I ate 3 pieces of pizza at every meal, I would gain body fat. If I ate only steak at every meal, I wouldn’t. I know, I’ve done both.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

        There does seem to be evidence for that. However, it might be factors associated with drinking rather than the alcohol itself. But, as Ben Franklin said, beer is proof that God loves us.

      • dhammett said, on September 15, 2011 at 8:33 pm

        Was George Burns a leading expert in nutrition and wellness ? Ellis apparently is.

        “he was given about 30 seconds in the piece for that”
        Sorry, but it doesn’t take long to say, specifically, “beer” instead of “alcohol” in response to a question. And a quick qualifier explaining which individuals , specifically, can live healthy lives on “less than a fifth of Jim Beam” would be nice.

        I know wikipedia is scoffed at by people, most often by those who hold opinions that are not supported by the info there. Here goes anyway:

        I’m skeptical. My skepticism leads me to notice such statements as “These recommendations are varied, reflecting SCIENTIFIC UNCERTAINTY”. and Dr. Ellis’ assertion that “I HAVE the information. . .THEY DON’T have it.”

        Apropos of nothing whatsoever (sorry about this 😦 ), a tidbit about the newspaper source you provide:

        I also note that the Wiki article above shows that most countries in the civilized world make a distinction between the recommendations of alcohol intake for men, women, and pregnant women. I’m real sorry Dr. Ellis didn’t have time for such distinctions in his ^promotiona^ segment , but, obviously, he would have been better advised to say something like “I don’t have time here to provide an answer complete enough to take into consideration the variables involved.” He would have saved time. But , then again, I think his main concern had nothing to do with his audience’s health or well being and everything to do with hawking his books. “They can read it in my book”. . .

        Magus, just because something has been working for you doesn’t mean it will work for others. George Burns smoked cigars. I wouldn’t make a blanket recommendation to smoke cigars. Then again, I’m not a health and nutrition expert. Some people are more susceptible to cancers, lip, lung, etc. than others. For the same reasons, I wouldn’t recommend alcohol, because some individuals are more likely than others to choose alcohol as a crutch, become alcoholics, lose their families and livelihoods, develop cirrhosis of the liver, etc. Lelanne ate “fish, egg whites, and drank wine”. Burns smoked cigars. Their race to the finish was a tie! There is a difference between egg whites and eggs, between wine and grain alcohol, between cigars and Camels. “Steak at every meal”. 12 oz fatty cuts. I’ve sat in restaurants and watch obese people down 12 oz steaks, fat and all. Would you recommend that approach for every meal for many people since you’ve done it and you’re not fat? Or are you just genetically fortunate and physically capable of maintaining an activity level that can metabolize all of that fat and meat? How much time does Ellis spend on genetic factors in his legitimate presentations (the ones where has time to explain everything)?

        Seriously, if DR. Ellis doesn’t have time on his book promotion interviews to make such distinctions, he shouldn’t make the tour.

        • magus71 said, on September 16, 2011 at 2:12 am

          “Seriously, if DR. Ellis doesn’t have time on his book promotion interviews to make such distinctions, he shouldn’t make the tour.”

          Maybe people should read his book.

          • dhammett said, on September 16, 2011 at 8:59 am

            Maybe, out of his obvious concern for the health, happiness, and well-being of the masses, he should post his ideas on the internet , in concise, articulate, form on the internet.

            Seriously. He’s the only one who has this information?

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 16, 2011 at 10:42 am

          Good point. The experience of an individual is not an adequate basis for a causal claim about a population. In fact, the fallacy of anecdotal evidence occurs when someone “reasons” from an anecdotal case (like a person who smokes and drinks, yet looks good or lives long) to the general population. Understanding causal reasoning is rather important when making health choices.

          • magus71 said, on September 17, 2011 at 2:33 am

            Per usual, many of the postings here don’t seem to be original ideas, only arguments against something. Or maybe not; neither Mike nor dhammet are clear as to what they think a good diet is.

            I’m not reasoning from anecdote. Merely pointing out a fact that Ellis looks pretty good for 55 and there are plenty that follow a similar diet that do, too. In fact, there is much anecdote when it comes to “low carb diets” aqnd much of that is from the people who say meat is bad for us. I completely understand this and it’s a straw man to say that I’m arguing otherwise. In fact, more people have been produced that seem perfectly healthy while following at least a moderate carb diet (myself, Taubes, Ellis) than have been produced for the argument that meat will make you unhealthy. Taubes wrote a book: Good Calories Bad calories, that cites 1000s of studies. Is that anecdotal?

            No, I’m not from the school of thought that believes I need a scientific study to tell me everything, and I can’t advance unless a study tells me to. Personal observation DOES mean something. But if you need a scientific study to show reducing carbs is the way to go, there are lots and lots.

            Harvard Medical:

            “There wasn’t much evidence to support the notion of low-fat diets in the beginning. (18) There is even less now. Numerous reports over the years have questioned the wisdom of recommending low-fat diets for preventing or retarding heart disease. A big nail in the coffin came from the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial, published in the February 8, 2006, Journal of the American Medical Association. (8) This eight-year trial, which included almost 49,000 women, found virtually identical rates of heart attack, stroke, and other forms of cardiovascular disease in women who followed a low-fat diet and in those women who didn’t. What’s more, women on the low-fat diet didn’t lose—or gain—any more weight than women who followed their usual diets. (7)

            This randomized trial supports prior findings from the Nurses’ Health Study (19) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. (19) In both of these, no link was seen between the overall percentage of calories from fat and any important health outcome, including cancer, heart disease, and weight gain.”


            This man went on the Twinkie diet and lost a lot of weight.


            Reduce carbs, live longer and be healthier:

            “Professor Cynthia Kenyon, whom many experts believe should win the Nobel Prize for her research into ageing, has discovered that the carbohydrates we eat — from bananas and potatoes to bread, pasta, biscuits and cakes — directly affect two key genes that govern youthfulness and longevity.

            ‘We jokingly called the first gene the Grim Reaper because when it’s switched on, the lifespan is fairly short,’ she explains.

            Discovering the Grim Reaper gene has prompted the professor to ­dramatically alter her own diet, ­cutting right back on carbohydrates. That’s because carbs make your body produce more insulin (to mop up the extra blood sugar carbs ­produce); and more insulin means a more active Grim Reaper”

            Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1323758/Can-cutting-Carbohydrates-diet-make-live-longer.html#ixzz1YBlcSURE

            Who’s being anecdotal: dhammet and Mike, or me?

  8. magus71 said, on September 18, 2011 at 5:35 am


    One of my comments is stuck in your moderation box.

    • songary said, on September 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      “What is more, some high-fiber carbohydrates are unquestionably good for the body. But saturated fats may ultimately be ^neutral^ compared with ^processed^ carbs and sugars such as those found in cereals, breads, pasta and cookies.

      “If you reduce saturated fat and replace it with high glycemic-index carbohydrates, you ^may^ not only not get benefits—you ^migh^t actually produce harm,” Ludwig argues. The next time you eat a piece of buttered toast, he says, consider that “butter is actually the more healthful component.”

      The takeaway. I didn’t see anywhere in the article that saturated fats are good for us. I only find that, at this point in time, they’re not bad. At best “neutral”. I highlighted with ^s the words in the quotation above that are of concern to me.
      One thing for certain: the idea of unbuttered toast is not that appealing, but a slab of butter without the accompanying toast to sop up the yellow in my fried eggs is disgusting.

      • magus71 said, on September 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

        “The takeaway. I didn’t see anywhere in the article that saturated fats are good for us.”

        Yet, the previous line you quoted the article as saying: “butter is actually the more healthful component.”

        What IS healthy, Songary? You’re doing what others are doing: Offering nothing of use.

        • dhammett said, on September 19, 2011 at 9:31 am

          Yeah. Sorry about the screen name. I accidentally put up one that I use on a different site I frequently post on.
          Here’s something of use: Even if “butter is the more healthful component”, in my interpretation is that only means it’s not as unhealthful as the slice of toast. And, sorry, but I’d choose a slice of real homemade whole wheat toast (you know, with whole grains. . .) over a one ounce pat of butter any day.
          At the very least, I wouldn’t get drawn into the kind of thinking that Ellis seems to promote. in his little book spiel. Blithely recommending less than a fifth of Beam a day (is that an eye dropper full less or just an eye dropper full at most?) for an imbiber of unspecified size, age, sex is ludicrous, and you know it.
          Similarly we can’t assume that just because an unspecified amount of butter is “more healthful” than a slice of bread (kind not specified) that eating a stick of butter a day in preference to three slices of wheat toast a day makes sense. It doesn’t. It seems ludicrous.

          Something of use? Use common sense. Don’t jump on band wagons. Read and listen carefully. Don’t ridicule science and scientists, but understand that science, by nature is constantly changing. Also, scientists haven’t quite learned that we live in an age of 24 hour news. Anything they publish is likely to be oversimplified, presented without caveats, and generally perverted by some news organization that has a 15 minute block of time to fill.

          Something of use? Please don’t drink most of a bottle of Beam if you’re a pregnant 16-year-old, even if you’ve seen Dr. Ellis’ video on here. And for God’s sake, don’t build your search for health and happiness and longevity around suggestions like that, your search will be very short.

    • T. J. Babson said, on September 19, 2011 at 6:51 am

      “Eat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the U.S. government for the past 30 years.”

      So 30 years of “settled science” and “scientific consensus” turns out to be wrong? Imagine that.

      • magus71 said, on September 19, 2011 at 8:53 am

        What’s fascinating, is as Taubes points out, none of the individual scientific facts that lead one to see low carb is the way to go, are in the least controversial. More insulin=more sickness and body fat. More carbs=more insulin. Yet many cannot break through the cultural meme that is anti-fat.

        A fascinating look at the power of culture and zeitgeist that even our most educated cannot overcome.

      • dhammett said, on September 19, 2011 at 9:03 am

        Yeah. Damn those stupid scientists! Our world would be much better off without them. This whole science thing should have been nipped in the bud with Galileo. House arrest, hell. He should have been drawn and quartered.

        • T. J. Babson said, on September 19, 2011 at 9:31 am

          Sorry you feel that way, dhammett. I think science is our best hope.

          • dhammett said, on September 19, 2011 at 10:08 am

            I must have misunderstood. You wrote “So 30 years of “settled science” and “scientific consensus” turns out to be wrong. Imagine that.”? Who else but you has used the phrases “settled science” and “scientific consensus” on here? Did I? Did songary (I already explained that mixup to magus)? A phrase like “imagine that” is slippery. It can express, for example, genuine surprise, or, if the tone of voice is different , asomewhat negative implication that there’s nothing surprising about that at all.

            Of course, I, too, think “science is our best hope”. Some might choose faith to the exclusion of science. I do, however, believe that scientific findings as they’re presented to the public are frequently in flux. Over the past thirty years I’ve noticed that the research community has come to love and hate and love eggs. Quelle surprise! The fact that I write “quelle surprise” does not mean I hate science or that I’m in any way deriding scientists or the scientific method. I’m simply noting that it’s no surprise, because science, on this subject and on many others, is still finding its way. There’s a lot out there we don’t understand yet. Scientists will admit that.

            I’m sorry you misunderstood my attempt at humor. I guess some people don’t find pulling Galileo apart funny. . .:(

            • magus71 said, on September 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm

              The scientists doing the studies or reading most of them (Taubes, Ellis) agree with me. Or, I agree with them. Many others merely have an idea they’ve “known” for years and refuse to look at contrary evidence.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm

              Speaking of science, are you getting Gears of War 3?

            • dhammett said, on September 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm

              “The scientists doing the studies or reading most of them (Taubes, Ellis) agree with me.” How many times around this circle until there’s an off ramp leading us somewhere?

            • magus71 said, on September 20, 2011 at 1:37 am


              Gears of War 3, yes. When’s the release date?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 20, 2011 at 9:52 pm

              Today. I pre-ordered on Amazon and should have it soon.

            • dhammett said, on September 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm

              Michael, will it be shipped from their Breinigsville PA warehouse. If so, you should be aware of the following:


              It’s well worth a quick skim.

  9. songary said, on September 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    The following is about nutraceuticals, but the different modes of thinking behind the comments is relevant. Two voices from TIME magazine’s “Inbox” (9/26/11, p8):

    “Congratulations to John Cloud for exposing the idiocy of “nutraceuticals” business and recommending the only effective way to stay healthy: eat right. I just wish he had put more emphasis on the dangers of megadose supplements. Vitamins are drugs. They affect chemical processes in the body. All drugs have to be taken at proper doses or they are toxic.” Cynthia H Mackay M.D.


    “At 80, I chop wood and do all the yard work on our 1-acre property. I believe the dollar or two I paid for daily supplements has proved to be money well spent.” Lew Weick

    Two points:
    1/Alcohol is a drug. Its overuse, which could result for those who would follow Ellis’ blithely incomplete and generalized remarks is dangerous.
    2/ Lew Weick is Lew Weick. A 91-year-old man completed the run up Mt. Washington this year. Lew is Lew. The 91-year-old man is who he is. Gpd bless’em, but their experiences have virtually nothing to do with me or, for that matter, many, many other people.

  10. magus71 said, on September 20, 2011 at 1:37 am

    • T. J. Babson said, on September 20, 2011 at 6:50 am

      Yet another dishonest documentary.

  11. dhammett said, on September 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I love the look of those McDonald’s meals, don’t you? No green in sight.Not even a green french fries box. Nary a whole grain (fiber) in there. Jack LaLanne would be a regular McDonald’s customer, I’m sure. 🙂 What I’d really like to know is what a McDonald’s diet (before they stopped the supersizing and began the salads) would do to my colon. Would I ever be able to poop again?! Would the lack of vitamins somehow affect me over time?

    I still want to see Ellis–he’s a real DR! (unlike Spurlock,who doesn’t even play one on television)– “suck[] back” ^less^ than a “fifth of Jack Daniels “a day. Let’s see where that lands him three or four months,. Give the Dr. guy credit, though, he does imply that a whole fifth may be toxic–kudos to him.

    • Anonymous said, on September 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

      There’s a link I provided in a comment that’s still stuck in Mike’s comment box; a guy went on a “twinkie diet” and improved many measurements of health. He simply took in fewer calories than before.

      I think diet, like so many parts of “science” is too often determined by people like Al Gore. It would be one thing if Gore was simply a bad representative of the truth. But in actuality, he seems to have many facts wrong and when we plug in the real facts, you can’t come to the same conclusions as Gore.

      So, with diet when we look at the facts ie no studies showing bad effects from not eating vegetables; no studies showing positive effects of “phytochemicals” no studies showing saturated fat is bad for us; no increase iun heart disease form eating meat; substantial disease risk increase from high insulin levels. What conclusions does one draw? That an apple a day keeps the dctor a way?

      Your whole comment above was merely rhetorical.

      • dhammett said, on September 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

        Rhetoric my butt.
        First, why don’t you provide conclusive evidence that there are good “effects from not eating vegetables” . And what earthly reason would researchers have to study “the bad effects from ^not^ eating vegetables”. Perhaps there are studies out there relative to scurvy? Scurvy would be a bad effect of not eating vegetables. If you want non- veggie-and- fruit (also high in carbs) sources of Vitamin C, you’re stuck with liver, tongue, heart, brain, oysters, and roe. And IF there are studies that show that eating veggies is bad for you, do they consider quantities consumed relative to the subjects’ weight, age, sex, metabolic level, etc.? And how did Jack LaLanne survive vegetables for so long?
        We know that alcohol consumption in reasonable amounts has known health benefits. But provide conclusive studies that prove consumption of alcohol, ^specifically^ the implication that Ellis lets hang out there that possibly somewhat less than a bottle of Beam daily (Don’t know.He doesn’t say. Perhaps because he didn’t have time.And that’s what’s dangerous. He’s touting his book. ) over a 9- month period, for a pregnant 16- year-old, for ex, is conducive to good health. Perhaps Gore is a “bad representative of the truth”. But even if Ellis is God’s representative of the truth on Earth , in that interview, he was dangerous. Perhaps he should use note cards or a teleprompter.

        Twinkies, shminkies. If you had posted that earlier, I’d have posted this earlier. You should read this article by DR David Katz I watched your vid.


        Katz has a lot to say about the twinkie diet. He points out why it worked, and he points out why the two-month duration of the diet is significant. (sorta like safe alcohol consumption is related to weight, body structure, gender, metabolic rate, etc)

        And do read his bio:
        He’s got credentials worth noting. Definitely in his favor: He doesn’t seem to be a shlll or a flagrant self promoter. He’s fathered 4 more children than Ellis, so clearly there is hope. . . 🙂

  12. dhammett said, on September 21, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Go here, and read the report. Or scan the report and read the summary on page 108. This very up-to-date report is built on a great pile of legitimate research.


    The report is partially sponsored by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Board so the conclusions drawn may or may not be as clean as pig’s feet (before preparing for market).

    Nevertheless, the conclusion states “A BALANCED* diet builds upon a foundation of healthful foods from a variety of groups such as whole grains, legumes,FRUITS*, VEGETABLES*,LOW-FAT* dairy products, and LEAN* meats”
    Even the cattlemen and the porkers can’t get behind a fixed conclusion on red, processed meat, so, as a result, much of the remaining conclusion is spent pointing out that there is “no conclusive evidence” linking red, processed meat and various cancers but that “Future directions of research should focus on measuring diet with increased accuracy”
    I like the part where the conclusion points a negative finger at the American dietary lifestyle of “an EXCESS *of refined sugar, processed grains, and ALCOHOL*, and a DEFICIT* of fruits, vegetables and fibers”.

    So even in the cattle barn and the pig pen the dust/mud hasn’t settled on anything but ‘balance’. Moderation in all things is nothing new. Moderation generally doesn’t involve drinking bottles of Jim Beam daily—that would be excess— or seriously reducing vegetable consumption because of claims of the current science that carbs make it harder to maintain weight and thus maintain what some might describe as a “healthy” lifestyle.

    *[ all my emphasis]

  13. dhammett said, on November 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I must add this latest reference to alcohol consumption about a Harvard study of 106,000 women over a 28 year period


    From the article:
    The findings are the latest seemingly head-spinning medical advice about alcohol. For years, doctors advised that women could safely consume about a drink a day, which could be healthful by reducing their risk for heart attacks. Men could get away with two. More than that has long been known to have more risks than benefits, especially for breast cancer among women. Scientists believe alcohol can cause breast cancer by hiking estrogen levels.

    Many experts urged caution, however, about overreacting to the new findings. The slight increased risk for breast cancer from such low alcohol consumption was probably still outweighed for many women by the reduction in the risk for heart attacks, which by far kills more women than breast cancer.

    “I’m sure a lot of women will be thinking, ‘They told me last week a glass a wine was good for me. Now, they’re saying it will raise my risk for breast cancer,’” said Steven A. Narod of the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. “I would not want the average woman who is enjoying one, two, three drinks a week feeling guilty of negligence. At the level of one drink a day, I don’t think it’s a problem.”

    But Chen and others said the new findings should prompt women to individually calculate their risks and benefits of alcohol consumption.
    If you’re a female reader of this blog and you thought you’d follow any of Dr Ellis’ recommendations that are included in posts with this article, I’d suggest you reconsider your alcohol consumption.

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