I typically pass my time driving by listening to podcasts. For the most part, I have listened to Jimmy Moore or Robb Wolf, and now and then, others. I listen to Jimmy mostly because he brings so many interesting folks to the table. On the drive back from our "Climate Change" wakeup call this morning, I listened first to Jimmy’s recent interview with Uffe Ravnskov (Ignore the Awkward.: How the Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive), after which I then went way back to where I’d left off, scrolling through a few podcasts I wasn’t particularly interested in, to finally land on an excellent interview with Dr. Mat Lalonde, a PhD Chemist.
Mat’s interview encompasses the subject of this post because he’s right, and "wrong" (as I think all good scientists are, if they’re good scientists). Mat said something at least a couple of times in the interview that I don’t believe I’ve heard before. It’s essentially true, but as I will argue below, misses the point a bit.
He made reference to the anthropological science — you all know the drill — that Paleos assert, that our primitive ancestors did this & that for a very long time, and therefore, that’s what we should do. He makes the point that such is not necessarily optimal and in particular, that there is a difference between toleration, or, in the context, survival — and optimal nutrition and health. It’s observational science. This much is true. So, he withholds scientific conclusions until tested; say, in a randomized, controlled intervention trial.
Mat is a scientist. As such, he behaves as one should. Let’s review. A true scientist; first, thinks (that’s the first problem because most of them know better how to fill out a grant whore application than think). That thinking, which can involve preliminary experimentation, is supposed to lead to a hypothesis. That hypothesis is supposed to be stated in such a way as to be falsifiable. This simply means that it should be testable, which is to say, hypothesized in a fashion that it could be proven false, if false. The classic illustration for this was the centuries long European observation that "Swans are white." Then they shuttled their penal colony off to the Down Under and it took only one observation to totally falsify the hypothesis: a Black Swan. With a quick glance, centuries of "certainty" was rendered wrong. A more recent example might be the hypothesis that high cholesterol causes atherosclerosis, but rendered meaningless over and over and over again by the simple observation that on average, those with the highest cholesterol live the longest. This is not a perfect example, simply because as with almost all drug whore "science," reductionism is key. That is, they scare the shit out of you about dying from a heart attack (which probably isn’t valid, anyway), but always ignore total mortality. Bluntly: they’re happy to have you not die from heart disease, but if you die earlier of something else, their engineering (whoring) remains "technically" unaffected. Winning!
Real science is not a method for proving things true (shock!), but rather, a much safer, more sure method of enlightenment: proving things false because that’s the only certainty we can muster, as human animals. We can know for sure that something is bullshit, and beyond that, most bets are off. Through a process of knowing what all is certainly not true, we gain increased confidence of what just might be true; but not absolute certainty.
The primary reason that I was motivated to write this blog was because of the juxtaposition in hearing Ravnskov’s interview, later coupled with Lalonde’s. The former was about — to wrap it up in a nice package — what I’ll call confirmation fraud. I’ve long had a category on the blog called "confirmation bias," but what Dr. Uffe reveals is not bias at all, but simple grant whore fraud. FRAUD. And there are thousands upon thousands of PhD and MD whores engaged in this, and they are engaged in it to your and your loved ones’ detriment because whore bucks are a sure thing. Merry Christmas! Chances are, if you meet an MD or PhD in nutrition and diet research, they’re figuratively working the dark street corners at 2am.
Mat’s not one of them and thankfully, there are a precious few others. If I had to guess, while not really guessing at all, he errs on the side of caution. He’s unwilling to take anthropologic science and conclude that what H-Gs did must be necessarily optimal for modern humans simply because they did it for a long time and survived. In other words, they had little to no choice, but we do. We can seek out and tease out the optimal and to do that, we have to conduct sound experiments.
But here’s my punchline: you have to start with a baseline and that’s why I chose The Human Animal, and so named my blog. When you look around, you do not see wild animals with any problems other than environmental and climatological — all things they have no control over. When the environment and climate are suited to what they evolved to exploit, they thrive. That’s because they evolved to exploit a particular niche. For us, it’s a bit more complicated because our "niche" is no niche at all; it’s equator to arctic circle and sea level to 16,000 ft elevation, and everything in between. We have many more options, which ushers in the idea of optimal, and one way to get clues about that is with real science. Then again, those clues may not particularly pertain to you individually so where does that leave you?
We’re generalists, but some may be more adapted to certain things than others, so you must find your individual optimality, and no study, no matter how rigorous, is ever going to give you certainty about that. I applaud the continuing science and hope it’s framed in a falsifiable (testable) way. But we have to begin somewhere and in no way ought anyone sit by the sidelines waiting for the science before dumping the bought & paid for "Food Pyramid," engineered by high-priced hookers, before going to real food.
If you stick to the basics — meat, fish, fowl, vegetables and fruits — it’s very unlikely that any hypothesis is going to be falsified and leave you in the lurch. It will only be up to you to determine if any science is really relevant to you individually, then test it out and see if you thrive.
In my view, if you eat as a human animal, almost no nutritional science is really particularly relevant to you. In fact, virtually all nutritional science is decidedly irrelevant to you. You know more about you.
Sound principles — the Animal Human — trump science. Science is a discipline. It’s a negative discipline, when done properly and as such, has very little to offer in the realm of diet and nutrition when one is simply eating as humans evolved, and tweaking accordingly in order to obtain maximum well being. What we seem to have now, more than anything else, is something called "science," but always focussed on enhancing various big food, drug and industrial financial interests (and their political bedfellows) rather than on being an endless process of tossing out everything that doesn’t work (like the SAD, bit by bit), until we finally arrive at the point where we should have been all along: real food.
Share it if you Like it, using buttons.