Links & Quick Hits

~ Well I suppose I ought to say something about The Twinkie Diet before I get yet another email about it, a tweet, or a comment on one of the other posts. I guess I missed the ball on this one; because I thought it so obviously dumb that no one would take much interest in it, I didn't bother to say anything, ridicule it, break out the BULLSHIT! horn or anything. Guess I was wrong. There's a number of good blog posts about it. Stephan Guyenet at Whole Health Sourcet. RG at Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. Don Matesz at Primal Wisdom. The bottom line is that in relatively healthy people without broken metabolisms, calories do count a great deal. If you increase or restrict so much that you override your body's natural energy homeostasis, you'll gain or lose weight.

~ This is an amazingly interesting 35 minute speech given by Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky on The Uniqueness of Humans. The punch line isn't delivered until the last few minutes, but you'll learn a lot about what does not make us unique, first. Many of those things are likely to surprise you. Very interesting guy. I also like his classroom lectures on the Origin of Religion, which was very reminiscent of a book I read many years ago: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Hint: functional schizophrenia explains a lot. 

~ Dr. Monica Hughes gives a 17-day update on the McDonald's Mold Growing Experiment. Yes, plenty of mold.

~ For any who have not yet watched Fat Head the Movie , now you can get a very good summary of the science right here with Tom Naughton's Big Fat Fiasco Speech. Watch it online, order the DVD from Tom, or both. I ordered the DVD and Tom had it on my desk at the office within 3 days.

~ The "Honest" Food Guide is A Big Fat Fuckin' Lie.

Free from the corruption and influence of various food industries (dairy, beef, junk foods, etc.)

Yea? And what about soy, rice, and grains that feature prominently? And how does that compare to Marin Sun Farms from where I just ordered 102 pounds of local grassfed beef? Well, bullshit. Mike Adams is just another liar just cherry picking industries he likes and doesn't.

~ This is a pretty good idea: declare-it. Might be just the thing for some of the folks struggling with staying on a fat loss program.

Declare-It is a tool that assists you in creating, tracking and being held accountable to your goals. For every declaration you make, Declare-It requires you to add supporters. Supporters are notified of your declaration and receive progress reports along your journey. If you start to fall off track, your supporters are sent an ALERT message. They can send you comments and even add incentives to help you stay motivated.

~ Here's an excellent demonstration of thinking outside the box.

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Comments

  1. Regarding Dr Haub, this is just another example of bad science. The proper way to test the hypothesis that only calories matter you *need* to leave the composition of your diet unchanged, or else you add a whole truckload of potential confounding variables to the mix. There’s no proper control, we don’t have any idea what his diet was beforehand. I checked his Facebook page, from what I could gather, apparently he trippled or quadrupled the lipids in his diet, and since the calorie count was so much lower he defintely HAD to cut carbs a lot too. So, he pretty much did exactly what I did back when I saw Fat Head for the first time: eat at McD’s every lunch and shoot for the fattiest, less carbohydrates meals I could. It worked just as well (fat loss of 2 pounds a week), though I did not count calories at all and just ate until I was not hungry anymore.

  2. anand srivastava says:

    To his credit the professor is engaging in a dialogue. Seen at harder faster.
    http://hbfser.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/the-prof-mark-haub-nonsense/#comments

  3. The correct way to do the Twinkie diet experiment is to have the subject locked in a room for 30 days with nothing but water, toilet facilities and an adequate supply of Twinkies. Light and toilet are optional if you don’t like the subject.

    Weigh and do bloodwork before going in. Same when released after 30 days.
    Then the analysis can begin.

    Next time get it right.

  4. Good comment by Dr. Haub on that thread. Although, he has posed for pictures to go along with the story, so he’s playing along with the media. This wasn’t just a classroom project.

  5. golooraam says:

    interesting you mention Marin Sun Farms, I am having a 3/4 lb of the ground chuck for dinner

    I try to live on their stuff and Prather’s

  6. “where I just ordered 102 pounds of local grassfed beef”

    Wow. You must have a nice deep freezer. Is that delivered at one time?

  7. I took a look at DeclareIt. I like the idea, but the execution with the site is little rough as it stands right now.

  8. I have been just riveted by Robert Sapolsky’s videos…thanks so much for the link :)

    • What a captivating speaker.

      • thanks so much for putting this lecture on my radar. i’ve had a massive brain crush on this man for a long time. his lecture on depression actually changed my perspective on my own “battles” with depression that all the horrid stigma that i’ve carried all my life just went right up in a “poof”-it kind of changed my life. it’s so nice to celebrate and honor intelligence once in a while in this world where bullshit seems everywhere.

    • I too enjoyed Sapolsky’s talk on The Uniqueness of Humans. I have been a fan of Sapolsky for a number of years now, since reading his book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. I you have any interest in stress this is a must read.

  9. Sapolsky was hands-down the best lecturer I ever saw live, and I’ve never viewed human societies, religion, or even mating in the same light since.

    I love how the Honest Food Guide guy dismissed diary products for “lacking fiber”. By that token shouldn’t we shitcan his exalted oats for having no omega-3s?

  10. Try http://www.stickk.com

    It’s like declareIt, and you can have it automatically give to an anti-charity if you fail in your objectives.

  11. Dan Linehan says:

    Oh geez, not Mike Adams the anti-vaccine nut.

    This is a good place to start if you aren’t famalier with his “work”:

    http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2010/02/mumps-new-jersey-77-vaccinated-get-infected-mike-adams-fails.html

    or here.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/01/sometimes_i_think_we_break_the.php

  12. Thanks for the great links, Richard. If you like Sapolsky also don’t miss the one on toxoplasmosis: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/sapolsky09/sapolsky09_index.html

    It’s one of the most interesting topics I have seen in the past years.

    • Second on that edge link to Sapolsky’s talk about toxo: very interesting and somehow a little bit scary…

  13. Hey, twinkies are vegan–

    • For some reason, when I read this reply, I got a flash of the Monty Python skit where one of them trys to eat a cathedral. I guess with veganism you can have your religion and eat it, too ;)

  14. That Driscoll Middle School clip was great! Nothing wrong with walking slowly through the other team’s line. I wouldn’t even call that cheating.

  15. Thank you for the link to the Sapolsky lecture! That man is a true teacher.

  16. Religion comes from mental illness? Amazing. What a bombshell that the primary author of the new testament was mentally ill or had brain injuries. This is big news. What’s even more amazing is that Sapolsky knows Paul was humorless from a few writings on a serious subject. Hypergraphic? I wrote more in a month of high school creative writing. How many full length books or articles has Sapolsky written? And of course, someone antisocial and loath to trying new things forsakes a comfortable lifestyle of relative solitude (a Pharisee) to travel the known world with the express purpose of meeting new people, not knowing where he would end up or where he would sleep, and seeking speaking engagements at the acropolis. How scientific, how slick. I guess when you have a beard and glasses sagacity is just assumed. But hey, when you got a theory that you just know is true in all circumstances, pesky details must be omitted.

    • “How many full length books or articles has Sapolsky written?”

      That you don’t know pretty much puts your whole comment in a “certain” category.

      • paul was actually responsible for getting the ball rolling towards atheism for me. a recovering christian, paul’s writings/letter in the bible were so clearly the writings of an asshole (was gonna use fancy words, but that sums it up best), that he actually helped me start questioning the whole tangled mess of religion.

      • For an astounding history of christianity written from a gnostic perspective, read “Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief” by John Lash.

        p.s. Mr. Lash does not give christianity good reviews.

      • Dan Linehan says:

        Thanks for the book rec. Will be checking it out later this week.

    • What Sapolsky said is that social context determines whether the behaviors/thinking style he was refering to are valued or not…the behaviors themselves don’t change from era to era or from society to society.

    • Before we paint Sapolsky as “attacking” religion, we should remember that he recognized it as really neat method for keeping borderline dysfunctional people on as contributing members to society. As someone whose family includes neurotics (mostly OCD) and religious nuts (I used to be one, and still am in some ways, even as I try not to be), I have to say that my experience bears him out. Religion gives the nuts I know (including my former self) a place to put their craziness that, for all its problems, is often better than voluntary social isolation or a mental ward.

      After listening to Sapolsky’s lecture, I wonder whether it might be possible to categorize specific historical instantiations of religions by which end of the rational-irrational spectrum they favor. From my perspective, religion only becomes a problem when we insist that the crazy parts (e.g. believing literally in fables, requiring arcane rituals and confession to be “saved”) are more important than the sane (e.g. learning to be recognize and be responsible for one’s own moral behavior, learning to interact positively with other people). On the one hand, I am really uncomfortable insisting that people believe in a omniscient, omnipotent Person who will bless them and save them if only they do the right thing(s) (say the right prayers, have the right kind of heart, whatever). On the other, I have no problem meeting together with friends to serve people we know of with real needs and/or discuss what resources we can bring to bear on meeting those needs. I am willing to put up with the religious goofiness of anyone who is willing to put up with my own religious goofiness (fables are not history for me, and the “salvation” offered by rituals is something different from what the fables say). I think that’s fair.

  17. Yeah… Mike Adams… he’s a vegan, so… but not all his ideas are bad. It’s just that too many of them are influenced by his veganism.

    Now about that vaccine thing. Back in 2004-2005 flu season, there was a huge shortage of the flu vaccine. I had to write a query against our database and figure out who should get it, who shouldn’t etc. Lots of people that year did not get the vaccine. And yet there was no subsequent increase in flu morbidity or mortality that year. So my honest question is, since somewhere around 40% fewer people got vaccinated, why wan’t there a big increase in the flu that year? The stats I et from the CDC look just like all the other years.
    As for me, even though I’m a nurse, I never take the flu shot. I eat paleo (just got 250 lbs of grassfed greatness), and keep my D level in the 60-70 range. The day “they” mandate that I get a flu shot because I’m a healthcare provider is the day I walk out. They did try that in New York though, and the nurses cried BS and got that turned around. Funny how you’d think us RN’s would be the first to line up for the shot, but many of us opt out of it since there’s no real proof they work.

  18. and another quick hit – training video of Martin Berkhan in action at the gym: http://www.youtube.com/user/martinberkhan

  19. Thanks for the link to the Naughton speech – an enjoyable, informative and interesting presentation.

  20. Ben Wheeler says:

    Sapolsky’s book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” is excellent. If you haven’t read it yet Richard, you’d enjoy it very much.

  21. Joe Schmoe says:

    Like your blog a lot, just a random tip, you should spell check the Provanta statement on the side of your blog. Hopefully this doesn’t get published…

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  3. Mint says:

    Enjoyed the read, cheers…

    [...]as an author, I rarely take the liberty to read outside where I specialize… But wow[...]…