Doctor FAIL: Garth Davis, Bariatric Surgeon (and China Study Balderdash)

Don’t you just love it when someone purports to be an authority, bemoans the fact that nowadays, people have little need of such self-proclaimed authorities and actually—gasp—go find their own information, act upon it, and manage their own issues? Hell, they might even go to an English major!

By now, most everyone has heard of or seen the stupid, misinformed, alarmist, hand-waving diatribe against The Paleo Diet over at “Forks Over Knives,” authored by none other than John McDougall, MD. It reads like someone from high school wrote it.

As such, there’s really no point in going over the masses of bullshit. It’s more wrong than a very wrong thing. And for one thing, Cordain as the authority? Who even hardly cites him, anymore that much? What about Sisson and The Primal Blueprint? How about Wolf and The Paleo Solution—or the many other recent works out there, blogs by MDs, PhD’s, English majors…or even general shit stirring, hit & run guys  like me? How about the thousands of commenters in all of the blogs and forums of all of us, detailing their successes, mistakes, adjustments, continued success, more mistakes…in a continuing self-directed process? Yea, I know. It’s anecdotal. Nothing to see here. Move along, citizen. Trust the “controlled” studies and the results of the faceless, whom you’ll never get to question or interrogate as you can in comment sections and forums.

So I did scan through the comments of that poor excuse for an article and came across one thread that illustrates my points, above. Yes, a comment and ensuing thread by none other than Garth Davis, bariatric surgeon. Or, should I say: total, demonstrated failure at helping obese patients lose weight through proper diet, nutrition, exercise et cetera? You know, like this shit stirrer seems to be able to do quite effectively (and Sisson, and Wolf, and Hartwig, and many others). …No “knives” involved—except those Forks & Knives, hardy har har, we use to properly eat real food. Contrast all those cited testimonials with these on his clinic website. And he’s gonna lecture us?

So here’s where the thread begins.

Such a great article. I have been making these arguments to patients and physicians alike. It is amazing how easily people will adopt a fad without looking at the facts. paleo diet is much of the same, and the same has gotten us sick and fat!

Ah, he’s been making these same arguments, eh? You mean those same stupid, alarmist arguments? You mean against the sorts of things my readers, Sisson’s, Wolf’s, Hartwig’s find so much success on without resorting to Knives Over Forks? Perhaps that’s your fundamental problem, doc: you spout the same shit over and over and ultimately, you end up having to cut. What’s that saying about doing the same stupid fucking shit over and over again, expecting other than a stupid fucking shit result?

Here’s some more choice excerpts from the thread.

Dropping processed food will help everybody. BUT epidemiological studies ate clear. The EPIC study, the China Study, The seventh day Adventist study all show that the more meat consumed the lower the life span and the more disease. The paleo diet has very little if any good scientific evidence. That said if you increase your fruit and vegetable consumption you are doing a lot for your health and the paleo diet is A LOT better than the standard American diet.

Oh, gee, thanks doc. By the way, no study shows anything of the sort. Then someone cites Denise Minger’s great work tearing apart The China Study limb from limb—where that original critique post sits at 875 comments, many from researchers and statisticians who confirm the soundness of Denise’s work (in-between the typical ad hominem and argument from authority comments from ignoramuses). The doktor continues and yea, it’s a mess.

Deb your reference to Denise is EXACTLY the reason I started this page. The China study was a HUGE epidemiological study. In order to draw conclusions the raw data has to go through a regression analysis to eliminate confounding factors. A lay person such as Denise simply cannot understand that data. For instance she states that in one area in China they increased grain consumption and then gained weight. What she does not know is that there were several variables causing increase grain including loss of crops. This region ALSO increased meat consumption. There are confounding variables. You cannot simply say there was increased weight because of grain. That blog you referenced is the exact pseudoscience that leads people along the wrong path and the exact reason we are the sickest country in the world. Remember the blue zone studies of the healthiest cultures in the world? None if them are a paleo diet. All of them ate beans. In fact beans were the most common food eaten by people who lived over 100, and yet paleo forbids beans. You say you have read articles on both sides and I can tell you that is not true because there are no peer reviewed journal articles on paleo diet that are worthwhile epidemiological studies.

Where to begin? Did he even read the far more exhaustive critique? Did he catch the part where she actually used the original monograph? Probably no, and no. He’s basically just another wanker so cock sure of himself he can’t be bothered with “A lay person such as Denise [who] simply cannot understand that data.” He can’t even get enough of his own appeals to authority.

Here is Dr. Campbell’s response to your above reference. Remember he is the former chair or nutrition at Cornell and hold a PhD in nutrition. Needs (sic) has no qualifications. Just a blogger with opinions.

Well, ok, how about another blogger with “opinions,” then? Ned Kock. Only, this one happens to be a PhD-level engineer and mathematician—who actually writes code for his own statistical analysis. Here’s his China Study posts, and guess what? Using even a different data subset then Denise and different multivariate analysis, he largely reached the same findings.

So, for example, in his post The China Study II: Wheat may not be so bad if you eat 221 g or more of animal food daily, Ned finds this:

What we haven’t done yet, however, is to look at moderating effects. And that is something we can do now.  A moderating effect is the effect of a variable on the effect of another variable on a third. Sounds complicated, but WarpPLS makes it very easy to test moderating effects. All you have to do is to make a variable (e.g., animal food intake) point at a direct link (e.g., between wheat flour intake and mortality). The moderating effect is shown on the graph as a dashed arrow going from a variable to a link between two variables.

The graph below shows the results of an analysis where animal food intake (Afoods) is hypothesized to moderate the effects of wheat flour intake (Wheat) on mortality in the 35 to 69 age range (Mor35_69) and mortality in the 70 to 79 age range (Mor70_79). A basic linear algorithm was used, whereby standardized partial regression coefficients, both moderating and direct, are calculated based on the equations of best-fitting lines.

From the graph above we can tell that wheat flour intake increases mortality significantly in both age ranges; in the 35 to 69 age range (beta=0.17, P=0.05), and in the 70 to 79 age range (beta=0.24, P=0.01). This is a finding that we have seen before on previous posts, and that has been one of the main findings of Denise Minger’s analysis of the China Study data. Denise and I used different data subsets and analysis methods, and reached essentially the same results.

Here’s some other specific posts to check out, all basically confirming the lay English major, know nothing’s findings.

Is that enough, Doktor, you condescending little asswipe? You fucking failure!

Go to hell. Straight. Or, how about getting your inflated head out of your ass, do some real research and thinking for yourself and turn yourself into an real asset to obese people.

It is hard to argue with someone who believes mingers critique is a slap down. It just tells me you have no background in reading scientific data. Minger selected data to make a point without factoring in confounding variables and doing statistical analysis. Taking a statistics course does not make you a statistician. The actual china study was printed in Nature, one of the premiere scientific journals that only accepts peer reviewed statistically analyzed data. You cannot take raw data and make conclusions like she does. Her opinions were printed in her blog, not a journal. The problem is that lay people just cannot understand the difficulty of statistical significance and therefore will believe anything anybody tells them. That is the gigantic problem we have. The Weston price foundation is one of the least scientific organizations I have ever studied. Why would people believe Minger over physicians and epidemiologists? I think because most statisticians are not as eloquent. While others are spewing nonsense the scientists are studying. Recently the European Union did the largest epidemiological study to ascertain why Europe is having increased obesity and cancer. The first article was published in the journal of Clinical Nutrition. The answer: meat. Funny enough it is the same answer found in the china study. Same answer found by ornish and essylstyn. I am an evidenced based medicine doctor. Years ago I wrote a book espousing the virtue of the zone diet. But unlike everybody else I am not wedded to one idea. I can make serious scientific investigation. The serious science is clear, meat is bad for you. Very bad for you.

What a moron. And he cuts into people.

Ok commenters, your turn. I’m particularly interested in other sources confirming some of Denise’s work. You can also contradict the Doktor’s completely unsupported, well contradicted claim that “…meat is bad for you. Very bad for you” if you like.


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  1. Garth Davis on July 13, 2012 at 18:55

    This is one of the funniest yet saddest commentaries I have ever seen. You guys are ridiculous. Actually I started as a big time meat eater. I wrote a book in 2007 called “The Experts Guide To Weigh Loss”. In that book I actually wrote a section on diet that basically supported a zone diet. My thought was patients need as high protein as possible. My diet for patients was eggs for breakfast. Turkey and veggies for lunch. Chicken and veggies for dinner. Problem was after reviewing thousands of patients I was finding problems with cholesterol levels and weight gain over time.
    This concerned me so we set up a retrospective and prospective study. The results were interesting. Patients that claimed they could not tolerate meat had much better weight loss and less cholesterol issues. So I then focused on patients that were failing weight loss surgery. We did RQ respiratory measurements to assess metabolic rate, did food journals, and tested inflammatory mediators as well all vitamin levels. The evidence was clear: the more meat the worse the vitamin profile, lipid profile, and the weight gain.
    This concerned me greatly as our standard of care is to recommend a diet very similar to paleo. I at the time was eating a zome diet and was shocked to find out I had a cholesterol of 300. This set me off. I turned all my attention to studying nutrition. I was surprised to find out just how unhealthy the USA was, but even more shocked to find out there were societies that lived and thrived without obesity, cancer, and diabetes. I was impressed with the Blue Zones but was more interested in the EPIC/PANACEA study which is a prospective study done by the European Union looking at 500,000 people and evaluating how diet affects weight and disease. The first articles of this study showed a clear correlation between meat and weight gain. So the blue zones showed that the longest living societies live on plants and grains and the EPIC study shows weight gain with meat. That was not enough. I had just read Good Carbs Bad Carbs by Taubes and found his arguments compelling. Possibly my patients were lying on their food journals and consuming more simple carbs then they were admitting. Problem is I decided to look past the rhetoric of the book and actually look at the referenced scientific journal articles. It started to appear that Taubes had selectively picked articles that made his point and avoided others that contradicted him. He also chose so studies that I would say are less scientifically vigorous. For instance, when I heard him talk I became impressed with his stories of the Massai. They eat mainly meat and dairy and seem not to have the typical American diseases. Finally I had found a civilization that ate mainly meat and was healthy like the Blue Zone populations. Except further inquiry showed I was misled by Taubes. The Masai only live to average age of about 50. Of course the argument can be made that their environment is responsible for their short life span, except that autopsy studies showed in fact that they did have coronary artery disease, they just died too young to exhibit the heart attack. In fact for every small powered series looking at high protein in a favorable light I found multiple high powered scientifically vigorous population studies against meat consumption. You guys focus so much on the China Study but since that time the study has been repeated all through Europe with the same results. Most recently a British Medical Journal article studying people for 15 years in Sweden showed a definite correlation between meat and cardio vascular disease. These are studies all control for confounding variables wwithe regression analysis. The ridiculous commentary by the Minger is laughable to anybody who understands statistics. You cannot look at raw data and make conclusions, as Denise did, without controlling for confounding variables.
    The study that I really found interesting was the Seventh Day Adventists health study I and II. Turns out Loma Linda California has been labeled a Blue Zone. This is remarkable considering the US ranks 50 for longevity and yet Loma Linda is top 5. They have such great longevity because, it was assumed, that is the home of the seventh day aventists, and they are vegetarian. In fact they are not all vegetarian. They have quite a few vegans, pesco-vegetarians, lacto vegetarians, and then those that just said forget it I am eating meat. This appeared to be an excellent study group. They decided to look at cancer rates, heart disease, diabetes, weight in each of the groups. They controlled for confounding variables by trying to make sure cohorts were age matched, income matched, and activity matched and the data underwent rigorous statistical analysis. The findings were remarkable. No matter what disease you looked at, the standard diet had the most, then the pesco-veg, then the lact veg, and the vegans had the least disease of all groups. Fantastic scientific study and in line with so many other studies. I can go on forever with references.
    So I changed my diet. It was a bitch in the beginning but I figured I had to walk the walk before I could tell patients to change. But soon I felt great. My cholesterol soared down and I had more energy than ever. I began teaching patients and the results were remarkable. Excellent weight loss and drops in cholesterol.
    I am still learning and studying. Unlike you guys who get your science from blogs I go to the source sitting through lectures and reading journals. I will never be set in my ways. If there is some ground breaking science that shows me there is a different way then so be it. I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING vested in supporting a vegetarian diet. I get no money for having people eat fruits and veggies.
    If you want to read more here is my blog . If not go on in ignorance.

    • Me on July 13, 2012 at 20:48


      I think he’s wrong (and I think he’s blowing smoke about finding fault with Denise Minger’s statistics chops, when Ned Kock & Seth Roberts could not), but after reading his post, I do think that Richard’s post is a bit unfair. Especially as it’s clearly been drafted to rank for his name, forever.

      Just for not being paleo, he must be punished, forever?

      I guess I preferred it when the Vegans owned the low road.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 13, 2012 at 21:55

      Hey Me.

      You are absolutely Correct. I want my post to come up in Google forever for Dr Davis–and my blog is popular enough that it probably will if Google stays Google–just as I do for myself for every single mistake I’ve made. In fact, it’s the mistakes that are profoundly more important.

      What you may not realize is that I’m trying to help the doctor and his patients.

      That’s all that matters.

    • Me on July 13, 2012 at 23:29

      Hi, Richard,

      I understand. And I was on board for your Kruse post. He was not just a liar, but he lied specifically TO YOU.

      But this guy was posting on his own facebook page. What you’re doing here is asymmetrical warfare, and fundamentally unfair. Though in my (our) opinion, he is wrong about diet, he is not alone in his view, and from his post above, he is undeniably sincere.

      I think you should take this post down. He’s simply talking to his facebook friends, yet you are out to destroy his livelihood. It’s not fair. It’s vicious, in fact.

      I’m a bit surprised to see McGuff chiming in. I’m sure he does think you’re right. But I would bet a chill ran down his spine at the idea that a random guy like you could set out to destroy someone who’s spent two decades trying to be a good physician.

      [And if you were to claim that you believed that, with this post, that you were going to make a low-carber (if that’s even what you are any more) out of anyone that was considering Davis as their bariatric surgeon, I would call you a liar.]

      I’m wondering how many people shake your hand because they like you, and how many simply because they’re afraid of you.

      (Not that I think you care either way.)

    • Richard Nikoley on July 13, 2012 at 23:53

      “But this guy was posting on his own facebook page”

      Ah, that’s the basis of the dissagreement, in which case, I might be inclined to agree (I don’t see an FB page same as a blog–total fans v total pubic).

      That’s not the case. These were public comments to the FoK post slamming paleo.

      Not sure, but perhaps you missunderstood. No worries. Happens.

      • Me on July 14, 2012 at 22:06

        Hey Richard, I apologize. I didn’t realize that he was trolling in the FB paleo group.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 14, 2012 at 22:34

        Sorry, Me, but you still don’t seem to get it. I posted his public comments in the cmment thread on the Forks over Knives post. I have zero idea what you are so hung up about.

      • Me on July 14, 2012 at 23:35


        You are such an asshole.

        Serves me right.

      • Jared on July 14, 2012 at 23:38


        You didn’t even bother to follow the links before you started making accusations, and then you didn’t even bother to figure out what was going on after Richard responded. Are you stoned? Get your shit together buddy.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 15, 2012 at 07:24

        “You are such an asshole”

        I give it my very best.

    • Sean on July 14, 2012 at 01:27

      This is one of the funniest yet saddest commentaries I have ever seen. You guys are ridiculous.

      And why, exactly, are we ridiculous?

      Unlike you guys who get your science from blogs I go to the source sitting through lectures and reading journals.

      Ah yes, the whole tired old bloggers don’t know real science and mathematics schtick. Because no paleo-type bloggers have ever read or wrote about any scientific papers or understand that correlation does not equal causation, or have any sort of inkling of what real Science is, right Doc?

      I will never be set in my ways. If there is some ground breaking science that shows me there is a different way then so be it.

      I find your self assessment of open-mindedness pretty difficult to take seriously, coming from someone who repeatedly uses appeal to authority as an argument.

      The ridiculous commentary by the Minger is laughable to anybody who understands statistics. You cannot look at raw data and make conclusions, as Denise did, without controlling for confounding variables.

      So Colon Campbell’s interpretation of the raw data without controlling confounding variables is spot-on because it jives with your incredible open mind and because he allegedly understands statistics better than that little upstart Denise? You’ve obviously never read much of Ms Minger or else you have an incredible capacity for self-delusion.

      Fantastic scientific study and in line with so many other studies. I can go on forever with references.

      And I and many others could go on forever debunking shitty studies.

      And speaking of Blue Zones, they were ‘discovered’ Dan Buettner. A bicyclist and motivational speaker. Seventh Day Adventists, yeah they are completely and utterly objective when it comes to vegetarianism. I mean, it’s not like a religion for them or something. Oh wait, it is!

      I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING vested in supporting a vegetarian diet. I get no money for having people eat fruits and veggies.

      And I get no money for having people eat meat and healthy SFAs. So what? You want a fucking award for that? It doesn’t make you objective. In fact, your ignorant and glib comments about Denise Minger show you to be a biased intellectual snob. Denise’s blog is “pseudoscience” but a motivational speaker’s (and really good bicyclist, let’s not forget that) “blue zones” are the gold standard for scientific integrity.

      You love appeals to authority so much, Garth, how about this? Being a doctor has very little to do with science, it’s a glorified tech degree. Neither does an advanced knowledge of statistics. If knowledge of statistics was of ultimate importance then I’d be asking poker players for my health advice or their opinion on string theory. Not that there aren’t plenty of doctors who have a strong grasp of scientific reasoning, but judging from what you’ve written you aren’t one of them.

    • Andy on July 14, 2012 at 05:13

      You may be right, I may be wrong, but I know for sure that the article “The Paleo Diet Is Uncivilized (And Unhealthy and Untrue)”, written by a M.D., is full of BS. This guy is three times as old as me and is supposed to be scientific, yet I am capable of spotting a bunch of obvious manipulative fallacies in his article.

      I don’t know if it’s selection bias or not, but every article I’ve read trying to slam “paleo” is like this. If someone knows of something better I would like to read it.

    • Andy on July 14, 2012 at 06:16

      In an attempt to not “go on in ignorance” I’ve read your article.

      < So when it came time to discuss diets with patients I instructed them to eat protein.

      < This intrigued me because at that time I barely ever at fruits and veggies. I was also in the habit of having patients fill out a food diary, and those food diaries seldom had any fruits or veggies.

      < They would tell me that they were doing everything I told them to do, including getting over 80 gm of protein everyday.

      So you got unsatisfactory results by prescribing 80g protein a day to your patients. Now you are convinced that a plant based diet is the only solution? How about processed food and "vegetable oil"? If you read cookbooks from different cultures of the world you might discover their focus on food quality, which is almost never reflected in scientific studies. I think this is important to think about if you are going to learn from the "Blue Zones" too. Avoid reductionism.

    • Doug McGuff, MD on July 14, 2012 at 07:09

      I only chimed in to point out that the arguments posted by Dr. Davis were not logical, but instead appeals to emotion (ad hominid, argument from authority, slippery slope etc.). Even if Miss Minger misuses data (which she doesn’t), at least she has the integrity to use the data to make her argument.

    • Sean on July 14, 2012 at 08:14

      @Dr Doug, but could you talk more about the chill that went down your spine? Richard is putting medical careers on the Google precipice and you are contributing, I think that makes you an accessory after the fact. Who cares about intellectual dishonesty when one of your scalpelists-in-arms is in such a perilous situation? Solidarity!

    • Janey on July 14, 2012 at 09:16

      If you advised your patients to eat protein, it’s no wonder they weren’t successful. “Grilled chicken and protein shakes”? You have completely misunderstood the low carb diet. Any successful (healthy!) lowcarb diet is a high FAT diet, not high protein.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 14, 2012 at 15:38

      …”They [Masai] eat mainly meat and dairy […] except that autopsy studies showed in fact that they did have coronary artery disease, they just died too young to exhibit the heart attack.”

      Only one little problem. The Masai only eat the Muran Warrior diet (milk, meat, blood, about 33% of calories from saturated fat) for 15-20 years from age 14. By 30-35 they are back to eating whatever they want, including wheat flour and sugar. As one of the papers on atherosclerosis put it:

      “We believe… that the Muran escapes some noxious dietary agent for a time. Obviously, this is neither animal fat nor cholesterol. The old and the young Masai do have access to such processed staples as flour, sugar, confections and shortenings through the Indian dukas scattered about Masailand. These foods could carry the hypothetical agent.”

      Hypothetical agent? Well, the thing is in that in the autopsies performed, atherosclerosis is nearly nonexistent until age 40.

      Dr. Stephan Guyenet, an obesity researcher at UW, dug up all the 70s era papers and summarized the findings.

      “My cholesterol…”

      That’s you. My trigs are about 50, LDL 66 (direct measure, not friedenwald calc) and HDL 133. My ratios, which you ought to recognize as stellar:

      Total/HDL = 1.68 (19% improvement; I’m now off the scale)
      HDL/LDL = 2.02 (98% improvement; again off the scale)
      Triglyceride/HDL = 0.35 (20% improvement; off the scale)

      “The ridiculous commentary by the Minger is laughable to anybody who understands statistics. You cannot look at raw data and make conclusions, as Denise did, without controlling for confounding variables.”

      She addressed this. She actually did numerous MV regressions before publishing her first critique, but wanted to keep it simple and basic for readers (just as is The China Study book). In her formal critique of 30 pages or so, she includes the MV analysis.

      Also, it’s as though you didn’t read this post you’re commenting on. I included a number of links to Ned Kock, a statistician who performed a number of MV regressions on the same and different data sets (China Study II) and came to the same findings as Minger.

      Finally, you talk of Blue Zones, including Okinawa. Well, Okinawans eat more protein than the main Japanese islands and it’s not from seafood, but pork, and their traditional cooking oil is lard.


      The original inhabitants of the Ryūkyū Islands, of which the island of Okinawa is the largest, are believed to have the highest life expectancy in the world.

      One of the staples of their diet is sweet potatoes. The carbohydrate percentage of a sweet potato is about 20; that is, each 100 g of sweet potato mass has about 20 g of carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes have a medium-high glycemic index, and are often avoided by those with impaired insulin sensitivity, and certainly by diabetics.

      The other main staple of their diet is pork, as you may have inferred from the title of this post. The quote below is from the first of the three links provided below the quote.
      Pork appears so frequently in the Okinawan diet that to say “meat” is really to say “pork.” […] It is no exaggeration to say that the present-day Okinawan diet begins and ends with pork.

      So, what is the secret of the Okinawans’ longevity? Maybe it is the diet. Maybe it is the lifestyle. Maybe it is the fact that their mothers and fathers are Okinawans (the heritability of longevity has been estimated to be about 33%, and to be higher among females than males). Here are some interesting points that are worth noting:

      – Their diet is not only of meat, but includes plenty of it.

      – Their diet is not particularly low in saturated fat, and maybe it is high in it.

      – Their diet is not particularly low in dietary cholesterol, and maybe high in it, since they eat the pig whole, including the parts (e.g., organs) rich in dietary cholesterol.

      – Their diet is not a no carb diet, not even a typical low carb diet, but it seems to be very low in refined carbs and sugars.

      • Paleophil on July 15, 2012 at 05:37

        Indeed, and even the popular accounts of the alleged Masai warrior diet may be misleading. Chris Masterjohn wrote that “Merker’s study, moreover, shows that even the supposed exclusivity of the warrior diet is a gross exaggeration and ignores their extensive use of herbs and tree barks, as well as the fact that necessity often drove them to consume honey, roots, tubers and fruit as sources of water and calories while on the march.” CM also wrote that the Masai people as a whole “regularly consumed wild honey” and mead (a fermented honey beverage) was consumed by male elders and at rituals.

        Multiple sources confirm that honey and mead were significant elements of the traditional Masai/Maasai diet. For example: “The traditional Maasai diet consists of six basic foods: meat, blood, milk, fat, honey, and tree bark.” (Maasai – Introduction, Location, Language, Folklore, Religion, Major holidays, Rites of passage, Relationships, Living conditions, Honey is not exactly kosher on a Gary Taubes diet, to say the least.

        A major source of the Masai milk/blood/meat-diet myth that apparently misled GT and others is the 1962 research of George Mann et al that was cited by GT in GCBC and about which CM wrote “Mann’s discoveries pertained to certain Maasai men at a particular time and in a particular place.” )

      • Jscott on July 14, 2012 at 18:28

        Damn, son. Fine fine thing you did there.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 14, 2012 at 20:27

        Well, the Doktor needs help.

      • Paleophil on July 15, 2012 at 07:37

        P.S. To clarify–I’m not trying to imply that wild honey was a causative factor for Masai atherosclerosis or that GT’s diet recommendations are necessarily good or “Paleo” (Gary Taubes himself doesn’t even regard his diet as Paleo, AFAIK), just that the most popular accounts of what the Masai traditionally ate appear to be even more misleading than even more knowledgeable folk are aware of among both critics and proponents of Paleo, LC and vegetarian diets, so that just focusing on one or two sources on Masai diet and health may give a skewed picture.

  2. Nikhil on July 13, 2012 at 13:26

    Nice work, Richard. You tore him asunder.

  3. Deb on July 13, 2012 at 13:29

    Wow! Nicely done! :-) I’ll be happy to follow this post and see what else floats to the surface. LOL

  4. Lily on July 13, 2012 at 13:34

    My knowledge and vocabulary are not up to yours (not by half) but I did read your piece and love the ending, “and he cuts into people.”

    I (nicely) fired my beloved gastro-enterologist because he said (direct quote, how can I forget it?), “If you understood how little nutrition has to go with gastro-intestinal health.”

    This man has cut into ME. Heck, I had a crush on him for years. Right down the shitter (gastro reference pun intended).

    • Lilana on July 15, 2012 at 11:02

      Wow! That’s like saying, “You have no idea how little fire has to do with skin burns.” Unreal.

  5. Holly Rains on July 13, 2012 at 13:51

    I was reading the same, incessant comment thread this morning and had to shut it down. That guy IS a wanker (I love that word!). Thank you for putting all of my feelings into words and for rebutting his ignorance with uh…science. Bariatric surgeon? Well that says it all, doesn’t it? Oh and if meat is so very, very bad for me then how come I lost 40 lbs on DIET ALONE in 4 months? hmmm? BTW, I thoroughly enjoy your blog and your style!

  6. Andy on July 13, 2012 at 13:52

    “Primates, including humans, have practiced hunting and gathering for millions of years. I know of no large populations of primates who have been strict vegans (ate no animal foods at all). However, plants have, with very few exceptions, provided the bulk of the calories for almost all primates. This truth has been unpopular in part because of a well-recognized human trait, sexism. Grandparents, women, and children did the gathering, while men hunted. Glory always goes to the hunters.”

    What the fuck did I just read? I bet their target audience likes this one though.

    • rob on July 13, 2012 at 14:19

      That’s the reverse of my pet theory, which is that the feminization of society resulted in the demonization of animal flesh as a source of human nutrition, resulting in obesity, low testosterone and man-boobs.

      As far as primates go, the males masturbate compulsively and fling their feces at people so I doubt we want to go down that road.

    • bonita on July 13, 2012 at 21:04

      don’t suppose the jerking and flinging has anything to do with living in a cage? i’m not sure primates in the wild indulge in such behaviour.

      i’m thinking that the reticence for meat eating is more related to the reality is that people aren’t obliged to eat meat (that is, they think there are reasonable alternatives) and many of us don’t have deal with the nitty gritty of life any more. the less we have to deal with life and death, the less we want to. we have the luxury of time and resources that allow us to pretend that life isn’t messy. i suspect moobs are more a by-product than a cause–just my theory. i’d be interested to know the statistical incidence of vegans raised on farms vs those raised in the city, or the incidence of vegans in poor vs. rich countries..

    • Robert Ve on July 13, 2012 at 23:49

      “don’t suppose the jerking and flinging has anything to do with living in a cage? i’m not sure primates in the wild indulge in such behaviour.”

      They do all kinds of nasty things in the WILD. You’d be surprised.

      • bonita on July 17, 2012 at 08:34

        perhaps, but have you noticed the all kinds of nasty things humans already do… in so-called civilization or the wild? we’re hardly in a position to judge other species.

    • rob on July 14, 2012 at 06:49

      I think most men are ready and willing to eat plenty of animal flesh, the problem is the constant nagging and scolding and being threatened with a heart attack.

      Once you acquiesce to no longer being captain of your own ship the inevitable consequence is drifting aimlessly around the high seas until you crash on a rocky shoreline.

    • Joseph on July 14, 2012 at 15:03

      What is really interesting is that the primitive tribe appears to have been capable of an egalitarianism more radical and effective than anything the modern progressives can come up with (even on paper). A small group needs everyone — the old and the young, the male and the female, the hale and (yes) the not-so-hale. You wouldn’t catch me turning my nose up at stuff gathered or hunted by someone less “masculine” (whatever the heck that even means — maybe we should just say “someone with less testosterone”) than myself. To me it seems like society at large is still stuck in a kind of Hobbesian mythology, in which cavemen are short-lived, stupid, angry, pointlessly aggressive dolts. Real tribes in the wild have their share of assholes, I am guessing, but those I have actually seen in action (in documentaries on primitive medicine or hunting), are always very polite and capable (even if they are old, young, or female). Knowing how to live, having a place in the community that you don’t have to justify arbitrarily all the time — it’s amazing how these factors make people kind and intelligent. If we could look past our Hobbesian nightmare and learn how to implement this kind of thing in our own society better, I think many social problems would go into permanent remission (kind of like my erstwhile joint inflammation, which was a natural part of getting older until I discovered Paleo and realized that I could have the joints of an active kid again, if I avoided poisonous food).

      • Neal Matheson on July 15, 2012 at 00:58

        Hi Joseph, Hunter gatherer co-operation i s dealt with very well in Marlowe’s work on the Hadza . He argues that heirachies among males are impossible because even the best hunters have to accept food from the worst. Women also provide a great deal of meat in the form of birds.
        In addition the most effective hunters are the older men as wisdom and experience are more important than aggresion or strength. I have to say that fro my experience of hunting aggresion would be of little to no use.

      • Joseph on July 15, 2012 at 10:53

        Word. Aggression is more for dealing with assholes of the same species (intraspecific combat for status, as opposed to interspecific predation). In other words, people who think that membership in a scientific organization or profession qualifies them to act without any accountability.

    • Neal Matheson on July 15, 2012 at 00:46

      This statement is true in part for primates but the archaeology and anthropology show that for hominids and H/G humans it is in fact a bald lie. Hominds have eaten ever increasing amounts of animal foods throughout our evolution including some cases of near carnivory (with no apparent adverse effects).
      Described Hunter gatherer poulations rarely get all or even most of their calories/nutrition from plant sources even in the tropics. Women also hunt and men also gather in most cases and if one is to make such a statement a source or rather sources should be provided. Inddeed the poorer and most vegetarina sections of society are clear in archaeology because of the shortness and increases incidence of ill health.
      My principal objection to this statement is the assumption that economic activity is the most valuable/valued. I believe the good doctor is rather playing into our culture’s sexist bias that economic activtiy is the most important and that domestic activites and childcare are of far less value.

      The Doctor should also provide evidence of any primate population (save urban elites) providing the vast majority of their nutrition from grains, tubers and beans. The archaeology is clear, non-supplemented vegetarianism is devestating for populations.

      • Neal Matheson on July 15, 2012 at 01:12

        Damn spelling mistakes!
        To labour my point McDougall (like all these vegan doctors looks like an animated corpse) claims(ed) that Oetzi the iceman was a near vegan. Oetzi the man in a bearskin hat and leather clothes who actually had some dried meat on him may well have derived his nutrition primarily from plants.
        He was an agriculturalist in a particularly tough environment with appalling teeth and athritis. He was very short and slightly built and was riddled with parasites.
        In fact Oetzi could hardly be a worse advert for agriculture or veganism or even limited animal protein intake. I oten wonder why McDougall used him as a model for prehistoric veganism.

  7. Blake on July 13, 2012 at 13:55

    I love how people go into the China Study and look at the data collected, crunch and re-crunch the numbers. You really only have to ask yourself one question to determine whether or not the China Study is good science: Who funded it?

  8. Judy on July 13, 2012 at 14:15

    Um, Richard, do you think McDougall disabled comments? Or am I completely blind? I’ve read his article, scrolled all the way to the bottom, looked left right and center, clicked on your link to the start of one thread, and all I can see is the article itself. It’s been a long, hot week. Maybe my brain is fried.

    • Deb on July 14, 2012 at 04:17

      A number of my comments have disappeared, including several responses to Ashish rebutting his claims that every steak we eat is a slap in the tear-stained face of a hungry child (paraphrased), and a response to Lauren who claimed (also paraphrased as that post and my response have disappeared) that anyone could come up with an article supported by “facts;” her example was something ludicrous like proving a correlation between the ending of the Brady Bunch and an increase and suicide; I replied that IMO that sort of twisting facts was precisely what Dr. McDougall was doing: using opinions and misinformation and presenting them as fact, and all the worse as he’s a medical doctor and using his influence as such. Yup, that comment is gone this morning as well.

      S’Okay, it’s McDougall’s own blog – he can delete if he wants to instead of rebutting the rebutters himself. That’s how blogs work.

    • Sean on July 14, 2012 at 07:47

      Of course people can delete comments instead of rebutting them but it’s intellectually dishonest and they ought to be called out for it. If someone makes an obnoxious comment on my blog that I don’t feel merits a response I’ll just let it stand on its own, my self-esteem can handle it. If they disagree in an adult manner I respond in kind.

      Speaking of which, Andreas Eenfeldt can go fuck himself for deleting mildly critical comments off his blog.

  9. Amy Haines on July 13, 2012 at 14:22

    A blogger I read from time to time, The Rational Male, uses the term “ego investment” to describe that trait which prevents a person from allowing dissenting opinions, hard data, anecdotal evidence, or even the fact that differences exist to enter their minds, as a form of a shield against having to question his premises:

    I have found that there are few people more invested in their egos than vegans. I was a borderline vegan once, trying to be a perfect, strict, and holier-than-though vegan until a pizza crossed my path, and then I would just be a lacto-vegetarian for a few hours before reverting to veganism. The stress involved in that lifestyle and line of thinking made maintaining sanity very difficult.

    One day, I ate some steak and I couldn’t tell you the reason why. It smelled good and my then-boyfriend-now-husband was eating steak, so I had some too. My DOG! how good it was. I never looked back. When right back to carni-dominant omnivory and started to feel great. I was not in a fog, I started to lose weight, I appreciated a range of foods I’d previously thought were unhealthy. How could I feel so good if meat was bad for me? I started to read stuff that debunked vegetarianism, even before I found the paleosphere, and started down the rabbit holes that led me to the Weston A. Price foundation, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, &co. Thank goodness.

    I’ve recently embarked on an n=1 self-experiment eliminating grains. If eating fat, meat, veg, and fruit is bad for you, my body never got the memo and continues to function just fine.

    Keep it up, Richard. We all have our ideologies and reasons for believing, some more founded than others, but at least you and most in the p-sphere are willing to entertain data, anecdotes, and opinions and shift your thinking if desired or necessary when the science and reasoning is sound.

    • Amy Haines on July 13, 2012 at 14:27

      You could also put doctors, lawyers, and religious zealots in the category of ego-invested people.

      The thing that frustrates the hell out of me is they don’t have a monopoly on knowledge. They only have a license to apply the knowledge and get paid for it. More credential/authority worshiping a-holes.

      I’m fairly certain I could give myself a full book-based medical education – practical experience would be hard to come by – and use what I learn to more effectively diagnose myself than my docs can. But hey, I was only an English major, what the f*ck reading comprehension and understanding of the written word do I have?

    • Richard Nikoley on July 13, 2012 at 22:47

      “We all have our ideologies and reasons for believing, some more founded than others, but at least you and most in the p-sphere are willing to entertain data, anecdotes, and opinions and shift your thinking if desired or necessary when the science and reasoning is sound”

      I call that prescient-future.

      And I love changing my mind.

  10. Amy Haines on July 13, 2012 at 14:40

    I was just reminded of something Bourdain said in one of his episodes of No Reservations. I think it was Mozambique, or Madagascar…somewhere in Africa. While sharing a communal meal in a village, he said something like “health advocates and vegans want everyone in the world to adopt a vegetarian diet. What they don’t realize is, most of the people in the world [the numerous poor] already do eat a vegetarian diet – and they ain’t too happy about it.”

    He ate a meal heavy in cassava and other roots and leaves, with some bugs thrown in. They got meat for him in his honor, I can’t remember what, some local wild critter, stuff they almost never get to eat in that particular place.

    So where, exactly, do these glorious, peaceful, vegan paradises exist?

    • Richard Nikoley on July 13, 2012 at 22:51


      The most wondrous thing about Bordain is that he loves his life, makes no bones about it ever. His only modest aspect is that he invites you.

      I lived 2 yrs in France and speak the language. Don’t know his roots, but he’s totally French in my view.

    • Amy Haines on July 14, 2012 at 04:56

      He IS French, his great-granfather emigrated first to Argentina from France, then back, and ultimately Bourdain’s grandfather emigrated to America. He spent summers in France as a child.

      The invitational aspect of his speech and writing is exactly what I like about him. Read his book Kitchen Confidential if you get a chance.

  11. KenP on July 13, 2012 at 16:48

    I find it difficult to believe that eating the exact same components my body is comprised of is bad, very bad, for me.
    Fucking tool.

  12. Mo on July 13, 2012 at 17:26

    Hi Amy,
    Your Bourdain story reminded me of a conversation I had this week with a former vegan. She spent time in rural China, where the people she met just could not understand her avoidance of meat. They ate it every chance they had, which was not often, and boiled bare bones for broth. She came to understand that her veganism was a first world indulgence, and that the poverty stricken of the world are grateful for any animals as food that come their way.

    • Amy Haines on July 13, 2012 at 18:15

      Yeah, the Save The World types could do with paying some actual attention to the realities of the World.

  13. Garth Davis on July 14, 2012 at 08:13

    I can’t believe all the inflammatory words. You guys are an angry bunch. Doug I can’t believe your comments especially. What kind of doctor are you? I spend my whole life studying diet. I run a very big weight management clinic where we do medical and surgical weight loss and research into the cause and treatment of disease. Denise may be intelligent but any scientist who reads her work can tell she does not know how to analyze data properly. She made huge errors in her critique that even a junior med student should notice. I am not authoritarian. In fact you guys get more support from establishment than I do. I do however practice evidence based medicine. You say my arguments are illogical and have no data. I can present and absolute books worth of articles. If you guys want to get into a true scientific debate I am game. All I have seen from you guys are isolated reports of short term success on a diet. That and a bunch of childish insults. Show me the data. Lets talk science. Lets take a topic like meat causing cancer. I will provide scientific evidence proving the correlation and you can provide data against. We can do it civilized like we do in our true scientific meetings or you can act childish I don’t care. I have thick skin.

    Deb, you are quite correct. There are many factors that need to be isolated. Is it grass fed meat or hormone treated? What is the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. The omega issue has been investigated and excess omega 6 does lead to inflammation. We are currently trying to sift through confounding variables, but meat eaters have very high omega 6 levels. This is probably due to amount of food that is fried of course but thank you for actually bringing intelligent points.

    Sean, calling an MD a glorified tech degree just shows how ignorant you are. Most doctors read scientific journals daily and go to scientific meetings to try and decipher evidence based medicine. Calling it a glorified tech degree is rather funny though. You did make me chuckle. But it also makes you look pretty uneducated.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 14, 2012 at 15:57

      “Lets take a topic like meat causing cancer.”

      Garth. I think you might want to take up that discussion with non other than T Colin Campbell. Why, you ask? Well…

      “Does animal protein cause cancer? Dr. Campbell conducted two decades of rigorous animal research addressing this question, funded by the National Institutes of Health, one of the most reputable sources of public funding in the land. He would have us believe that it does.

      “Herein, however, we will take a wild ride through these decades of animal studies, discovering many glaring omissions and arriving at many new, unanswered questions. Campbell’s animal research has, in fact, raised critically important questions about the ability of dietary protein to promote the growth of cancers once they are formed. His failure to tell us that high levels of dietary protein offer equally dramatic protection against the initiation of cancer and that rats fed low levels of protein have many health problems of their own, however, unfortunately obscures the true importance of his work.

      “Buckle up everyone! The wild ride is about to begin…”

    • Sean on July 14, 2012 at 08:37

      Yes, Garth, you’ve mentioned repeatedly how funny, laughable, ridiculous, funny and funny anyone who disagrees with you is. I’m glad I also managed to make you chuckle with my funniness. I also suggest you buy a thesaurus.

      My family is lousy with doctors, not to mention having a few friends who went through med school. In fact, it was a doctor friend of mine with a strong science background who called med school a glorified tech degree, but my general impression of interacting with doctors has confirmed it. The big difference is that someone with a normal tech degree doesn’t typically have such an outsized ego.

      The uneducated jab really hurts, though, I’d hate to look uneducated in your eyes. When I was struggling to figure out complex variable transforms and quantum optics in college my biggest underlying fear was that I would one day be called out as uneducated by an intellectually dishonest person such as yourself. This is why I often use things such as logic and facts in my comments here and on my own blog, but you’ve found me out.

    • Andy on July 14, 2012 at 09:18

      Thanks for responding. I would really appreciate it if you could shed some light on “the British Medical Journal article studying people for 15 years in Sweden that showed a definite correlation between meat and cardio vascular disease”.

      Please take a look at these two articles:

      Do you disagree? If so, why? Please provide proper rebuttals instead of things like “she made huge errors in her critique that even a junior med student should notice” and “it’s just a blog”.

      Are you not at all skeptical about studies based on questionnaires? Let’s just talk about this one study, as I would be very interested to learn about the level of scientific rigour you practice.

    • Anna K. on July 14, 2012 at 09:37

      Garth, great, let’s have a debate about “meat causing cancer”. Not omega-6, but grass-fed meat. Any studies to back this up? I’m all ears. Most of omega-6 in america’s diet comes from vegetable oils and chicken. I eat primal grass-fed meat and fish and I rarely eat chicken. All my blood numbers are fine, inflammation low, omega-6 low, I’m thin and feeling great. Actually, I’ve never felt better and never was stronger, way better then when I was a vegetarian years ago. So please convince me why I should stop eating meat and my grass-fed butter and go back to beans… and canola oil. Oh, almost forgot, my blood sugar has also improved greatly. But, I’m always up for new evidence of why this diet is killing me. Please show us some studies . Let’s talk facts because my n=1 experiment is clearly useless to you (not so much to me)

    • Mo on July 14, 2012 at 10:12

      Bring it, Garth. What have you been waiting for? Describe specifically the “huge errors” Denise Minger made.

      Also, I eagerly await your scientific evidence “proving the correlation” that “meat causes cancer”. I expect it to include your explanation of how correlation is, in fact, causation.

    • Jared on July 14, 2012 at 17:27

      Glorified tech degree sounds about right.

      It’s funny that there is so much respect for medical doctors in our culture, when PhDs, especially in engineering, are all more intelligent (From my own limited sampling).

      Engineers have to understand complex math, calculus, statistics, all kinds of in-depth sciences, not to mention hone creative problem solving skills at least to the point of producing some original research. MDs have to be able to stay up all night and memorize/regurgitate things. I think society already gives MDs an inflated enough perception of intelligence and authority, there’s no need for you to act entitled to these perception. You don’t deserve them.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 14, 2012 at 18:06


        I tend to agree, in large part. I call surgeons mechanics. That is not ever meant to be disparaging. The skills needed to cut into a human, do the work, close them up, avoid the super real risk of septic infection, and improve their lives is truly, truly awe inspiring remarkable.

        That said, there is no more reason to get nutritional or dietary advice from your himan mechanic than your car mechanic,

      • Jared on July 14, 2012 at 18:24

        I’m engaging in hyperbole of course, but only as a counter to how well-revered MDs are in our society. It’s completely human nature for someone given this authority and notoriety to believe that they deserve it, that they are special, that they are the best and the brightest of society. Of course they believe what they are told, but it’s simply not true.

        Surgeons are a whole other game, and definitely they have impressive skills, but like you say, that doesn’t give them the right to argue from authority. If we’re talking about interpretation of a scientific study heavy on statistical analysis, there are many other professionals whom I would trust over surgeons to provide an analysis.

    • Paleophil on July 15, 2012 at 07:38

      Garth Davis wrote: “All I have seen from you guys are isolated reports of short term success on a diet. That and a bunch of childish insults. Show me the data. Lets talk science.”

      Below is some data. If you feel so strongly that your approach is superior to Paleo-type approaches, why not challenge Dr. Staffan Lindeberg to a clinical trial, with your recommended diet pitted against his?

      Paleo diet beat the much vaunted Mediterranean diet:
      A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease.
      Diabetologia. 2007 Sep;50(9):1795-807. Epub 2007 Jun 22.
      Lindeberg S, Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Borgstrand E, Soffman J, Sjöström K, Ahrén B.

      Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study.
      Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, Branell UC, Pålsson G, Hansson A, Söderström M, Lindeberg S.
      Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009 Jul 16;8:35.
      “Approval of the study was obtained from the regional Medical Ethics Committee and the trial was registered at (Identifier: NCT00435240). The study was a randomized, cross-over, dietary intervention study in 13 patients with type 2 diabetes without insulin treatment, 3 women and 10 men, recruited from three primary health care units in the Lund area in Sweden. ….
      Conclusion: Over a 3-month study period, a Paleolithic diet improved glycemic control and several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a Diabetes diet in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

      A Paleolithic diet confers higher insulin sensitivity, lower C-reactive protein and lower blood pressure than a cereal-based diet in domestic pigs
      Tommy Jönsson, Bo Ahrén, Giovanni Pacini, Frank Sundler, Nils Wierup, Stig Steen, Trygve Sjöberg, Martin Ugander, Johan Frostegård, Leif Göransson and Staffan Lindeberg
      Nutrition & Metabolism 2006, 3:39 doi:10.1186/1743-7075-3-39

      A Paleolithic Diet is More Satiating per Calorie than a Mediterranean-like Diet in Individuals with Ischemic Heart Disease
      Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Nov 30;7:85.
      A paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease.
      Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Erlanson-Albertsson C, Ahrén B, Lindeberg S.

      C.M. Cassidy, Nutrition and Health in Agriculturalists and Hunter-Gatherers: A Case Study of Two Prehistoric Populations.

      There are others, and there are more in the works like these:

      Nutrition, Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) and Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS)
      Terry L. Wahls, MD, University of Iowa

      Recreating the caveman diet
      17 September 2010
      Unilever Study of Hunter Gatherer-Type Diet. “Research will focus on how the food eaten by hunter-gatherers could enhance modern day nutrition.”

      If you want people with excellent academic or professional credentials, here is a sampling of folks to check out: Stephan Guyenet, PhD at the Whole Health Source blog (and co-author of the clinical research review “Regulation of Food Intake, Energy Balance, and Body Fat Mass: Implications for the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Obesity” and presenter of a TED Talk at Harvard University entitled “The American Diet”), Staffan Lindeberg, PhD (leader of the Kitava study research group and author of Food and Western Disease: Health and Nutrition from an Evolutionary Perspective), Kurt Harris, MD at the Archevore blog, Loren Cordain, PhD (author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Answer and co-author of numerous research papers), Terry Wahls, MD (see her excellent TED Talk entitled Minding Your Mitochondria), Andreas Eenfeldt, MD (Sweden), Michael Eades, MD (author of Protein Power), Boyd Eaton, MD (author of The Paleolithic Prescription and co-author of the seminal paper in the New England Journal of Medicine–“Paleolithic Nutrition. A Consideration of Its Nature and Current Implications”), Mat Lalonde, PhD (see his presentation at the 2011 Ancestral Health Symposium) and Emily Deans, MD at the Evolutionary Psychiatry blog.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 15, 2012 at 23:00

        Nice work, PaleoPhil.

        I’ve either met, and/or each of those cited in your last para are friends. Wahls is the only one I’ve not had any contact with. Some have commented on this blog in the past.

        I’d add Petro Dobromylskyj to the list, the UK veterinarian who can analyze a study like none else.

        Peter saved my dog, via email from UK, when all local vets wanted to feed him rice. Peter: “I doubt Rotor is suffering from a rice deficiency.” That was two years ago. Rotor now thrives on having desiccated porcine pancreas mixed in his food because his own pancreas stopped producing the enzymes necessary to digest and absorb food. He was eating and shitting more than ever, and he was skin and bones.

        Dr. Garth. Well, what do you think? Inn’t interesting that pure layman are quoting studies to you? You’ve yet to respond to mine, or any of the others.

        You stepped in shit. Didn’t you? You should very well know that I am going to blog your comments and your total failure to respond to valid responses if you don’t—and when I do, it’ll be far more Googlishly devastating than this post. I take no prisoners, but I’m a sucker for redemption.

        …Yep. You did. You thought everyone would run and hide because you read studies all the time (but have yet to cite one—perhaps you’re afraid of how we’ll tear it to shreds?). We do too (and a number have been cited by myself and others).

        Isn’t it wonderful? You have zero power. You have to earn your respect and you know what? You suck in this thread, compared to what others have posted….and everybody knows it. This blog gets over 100,000 visits per month. Thousands of people over years who are curious enough to look at comments are going to see who you relly are. Authoritarian. That’s about it.

        And here’s another thing. OK, I can accept that a surgeon with an interest in nutrition eventually tires of the debate. But that’s only because there’s no real debate. This is clearly not the case, here. Very clearly. You have been challenged by your own standards, and you are silent, which of course speaks volumes.

        At a point, I debated with myself whether my treatment of you in this post was justified.

        Now I know that it was. I’ve been at this for a long time. My judgment of character is pretty spot on.

        I remain a sucker for redemption.

      • Paleophil on July 19, 2012 at 17:42

        Thanks, Richard. That rice deficiency quote from Peter is a real beaut, and there are many more brilliant people who support a science-based evolutionary nutrition and medicine approach that I left out.

        Well, we provided Dr. Garth Davis with the scientific data he requested and cited people with good credentials and excellent reasoning and so far the only response I hear is crickets chirping. I have found that calling the bluff by providing the data and top-notch proponents supporting evolutionary nutrition and medicine often silences the critics.

        So far the case made here by Davis and his supporters appears to be based on:

        > mistaken assumptions and anti-science soundbites generated largely by the media, dogmatic vegetarians and other fanatical opponents of evolutionary nutrition and medicine
        > arguments from authority
        > ad hominem and mistaken negative assumptions about the people who follow an evolutionary Paleo/ancestral-type approach and report benefits (would he so casually dismiss such reports from his patients?)
        > the bogus interpretations of the China Study by T. Colin Campbell, hero of faith-based vegetarians and vegans and bane of science, that even at least one of the scientists who worked on the study disagreed with

        Here are a couple telling quotes from TC Campbell, to give some sense of his orientation:
        > “My critique of Professor Loren Cordain’s proposition almost entirely depends on my philosophy of nutrition.”
        > “I admit that my views represent a paradigm shift from the traditional views of nutrition, including many of my colleagues in the field, and it is this very different world view that prompts so much of my skepticism of Cordain’s observations and views.”

      • Paleophil on July 19, 2012 at 17:46

        And I should mention, as you pointed out, that Dr. Cordain is far from the only prominent thinker in Paleo circles and there is a wide range of views and fascinating scientific debate within the big and growing tent.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 19, 2012 at 17:52

        Shorter T Colin Campbell: “The Bible says it, I believe it.”

    • TiminUA on July 15, 2012 at 05:07


      from your website:

      “People on diets, exercise programs or weight loss medications are able to lose approximately ten percent of their excess body weight, but tend to regain two-thirds of that weight within one year, and almost all of the weight is regained within five years.”

      Your business model is predicated on people being fat and believing they can’t do anything about it. So why should we listen to your dietary advice?

    • Mo on July 15, 2012 at 11:30

      Here’s how it looks to me, from where I sit in the cheap seats.

      You tell us:
      You “spend your whole life studying diet.”
      You run ” a very big weight management clinic where” you “do medical and surgical weight loss and research into the cause and treatment of disease.”
      From your FOK comments you made it clear that you’re a credentialed expert and that the public should trust you, not the no-nothing, ignorant bloggers and English majors out there spreading misinformation.

      Except , Garth , those ignorant bloggers seem to be the ones who have actually dug deeply into the research, analyzed the studies in great detail, and contributed a far more comprehensive and nuanced perspective than what we’ve gotten from you.

      You appear to have just accepted those sources you site at face value. Why? Well, I suppose you just trusted the “experts.” Exactly what you expect the rest of us to do when you speak – that appeal to authority. Do you see what a misleading echo chamber that is?

      The great news is that appeals to authority don’t work anymore. We see the failings of the so-called credentialed “experts” all around us; from the “policy makers” in nutrition, in economics, in finance, and geo-politics, to their ventriloquist’s dummies in the media. Their monopoly on information has been broken; the internet has blown it all wide open. And it’s all there, for all of us, for free! That astounds me every day. Thanks to all those bloggers (some of them English majors) from whom I’ve learned so much, the cheap seats are priceless.

    • Sarah on July 20, 2012 at 05:37

      “Evidence based medicine” is code for pseudo-scientific CAM. If anyone is unaware of the meaning of this rhetoric, please take a look at “” And many other articles on

      “Evidence based medicine” is used to try to justify pseudoscientific “evidence” for homeopathy, reiki, acupuncture, naturopathy, massage therapy, and many other “Alternative medicines”

      Basically, Garth, you give yourself away by using that term.

  14. Doug McGuff, MD on July 13, 2012 at 18:38

    “Taking a statistics course does not make you a statistician”- ad hominem attack
    “The actual china study was printed in Nature, one of the premier scientific journals….”-argument from authority
    “Her opinions were published on her blog, not a journal”- argument from authority
    “The problem is that lay people just cannot understand the difficulty of statistical significance and therefore will believe anything anybody tells them.” Nice combo of argument from authority and slippery slope analogy.
    “The Weston Price Foundation is one of the least scientific organizations I have studied.”- Unsubstantiated, narcissistic ad hominem attack.
    “Why would people believe Minger over physicians and epidemiologists?”- Oh, the same people that gave us heart healthy margarin?-argument from authority.
    “You cannot take raw data and make conclusions like she does.”- But you can use the raw data to show how epidemiologists are manipulating statistics to support their pre-determined beliefs. The entire basis of evidence based medicine is an emphasis on raw data as opposed to statistically derived data.

    As a physician that has actually met Miss. Minger, I can tell you that I was utterly humbled by her intellect, almost as much as I am horrified by your responses above. It makes me ashamed to be a doctor, and proud that there are young people as brilliant as Miss Minger out there.

    • Alex on July 13, 2012 at 18:49

      Reminds me of the old joke: 50% of doctors graduated at the bottom half of their class.

    • Jacob on July 13, 2012 at 19:02

      I’ve heard a version of that:

      Q: What do they call the guy who graduates last in his class at med. school?

      A: Doctor.

  15. Mo on July 14, 2012 at 04:28

    I suggest, since you are open-minded, that you read both Denise Minger’s and Anthony Colpo’s evisceration of that recent British Medical Journal article from Sweden. Then offer a specific, point by point rebuttal without resorting to your usual fallacious arguments.

  16. Deb on July 14, 2012 at 04:32

    Not that I think The Good Doctor will read this, but:

    When you did your study, did you truly account for all variables? Did you remove, say, gluten and nightshades – two if the more highly inflammatory foods – from the diet, or did you serve them anyway, and in what proportions to the rest of the meals? Following a basic Zone diet would have allowed these foods, but I find I have to limit or completely eliminate them or I have horrendous joint pain – and my Mommy-blogger persona has found anecdotal evidence all over the Web that led me to research inflammation on its own (even some in *gasp!* peer-reviewed literature LOL), and other research that found a correlation among different A-I disorders, including Hashimoto’s and celiac and gluten intolerance, the two of particular interest to me. Did you control for the quality of the meat? The fat content? Use of Omega 6-heavy vegetable oils,which are also inflammatory? I don’t suppose you have a link to the study; I’d like to see it, and I promise I’m not afraid of big words even though I’m only a music teacher and stay-at-home unemployed mommy-blogger mom. :-) Seriously, I’d be interested to see what was included.

    As for using blood work to show all the factors, my doctor did iG blood tests to see if she could find any evidence of a reaction to gluten (I was still consuming gluten at the time), and the blood work came out completely clear – but I’ve self-experimented with my own diet, changing nothing except consuming gluten, and that was the culprit, whether in bread, cereal, even beer. When I get “glutened” unintentionally, I can feel physical symptoms within the hour, including my thyroid swelling, often lasting several days – and this is with blood work that convinced my doctor that I could – and should! – have as much as I wanted. This is the same doctor who congratulated me on what was then 11 pounds of weight loss so far, stalled out as I was still on gluten, and fantastic cholesterol numbers while admonishing me about the dangers of saturated fats like coconut oil. ::rolleyes:: Damn lipid hypothesis. *grin* If we’re relying on bloodwork numbers as indicators of health, mine are great. If it’s maintaining a healthy weight, mine are great. But apparently bloodwork has its limitations.

    I do follow a number of blogs with dietary advice, and most of them are Paleo blogs because I’ve found that it works best for me. Mark’s Daily Apple and Robb Wolf in particular go into the science of Paleo, supported by research, but so do many others out there, some of them even written by medical professionals (at least one by a medical doctor!). And I would bet that if you did some reading you might find other factors that you might not have accounted for in your original study. But I agree that the attitude some of the doctors on the Forks Over Knives post’s comment section that they are the anointed few who can truly understand all the implications really does none of you any credit, especially when coupled with the staggering amount of cherry-picking and misinformation Dr. McDougall himself posted.

  17. Deb on July 14, 2012 at 04:50

    Heehee – this just showed up on my FB news feed: Very apropos. :-)

  18. Anna K on July 14, 2012 at 06:04

    Another condescending asshole who pretends to be open mined!

  19. Janey on July 14, 2012 at 09:00

    There’s a thread at the Active Low Carber Forums about Dr. McDougall’s Paleo newsletter. Someone from there emailed him, to correct his misstatements about the Atkins diet.

    Instead of considering the information and responding intelligently, he accused the emailer of being “angry about something”. You can read the entire correspondence there. All of his replies are…odd.

  20. J. Stanton - on July 14, 2012 at 13:04

    I have not yet seen a single veg*an respond to Denise Minger’s critiques of The China Study and Forks Over Knives with anything but the same ad hominems Garth Davis has issued above: “she’s just a blogger,” “she doesn’t understand statistics,” etc.

    (Even better, Davis and McDougall have added the tired “you guys are an angry bunch” canard…in other words, “I’m going to characterize you as idiots and then act offended when you refuse to accept the label.” )

    Veg*anism is religious in origin, religious in thought, and religious in action. Yes, as of 2012, enough veg*ans have managed to accumulate advanced degrees that they can appeal to the authority of their own echo chamber to justify veg*anism in their own minds — just as enough creationists have managed to accumulate advanced degrees that they can appeal to the authority of their own echo chamber to justify “creation science” or “intelligent design” in their own minds.

    Rule of thumb: if the proponents of a hypothesis must continually resort to “it’s too complicated to explain” and “trust the authority figure,” there’s a good chance they’re selling you bunk.


  21. Paleophil on July 14, 2012 at 15:19

    The criticism of Paleo diets as “fad” diets is the most ignorant and idiotic of all. Paleo diets are anti-fad. It’s the oldest, longest-lasting way of eating for humans on the planet. If a diet is a fad, then by definition, it’s not Paleo. There’s no such thing as a Paleo “fad” diet. Anyone who puts “Paleo” and “fad” together instantly proves themselves an idiot.

  22. Joseph on July 14, 2012 at 15:28

    “Kiss my ass!” “Why?” “Because I’m a scientist.”

    “Kiss my ass!” “Why?” “Because you’re a scientist.”

  23. Contemplationist on July 14, 2012 at 18:58

    Hey look! It’s the flailing expected from the commissars of received wisdom! How dare these filth be venture forth into forbidden territory! Knowledge must be guarded! RUBES! IGNORAMUSES! FILTH! TRUST MY AUTHORITAHHH

  24. Contemplationist on July 14, 2012 at 19:06

    Pay attention fellow rubes! This is the bleating of the debased, corrupt scientific establishment. Do you see the error cascades and failed models they have perpetrated in so many fields? Do you now understand why the public doesn’t take their word as holy writ whether it comes to Climate Change (TM) or vaccine? Whether public cynicism is warranted on those specific topics is not the question! The important point is that the establishment through foul, wretched corruption and insularity has been washing away its credibility for decades. And real knowledge will suffer because of it. Lay people will accept ridiculous theories and conspiracies. This is AN EFFECT of the ridiculous bullshit spewed by the establishment. When I hear a major figure in nutrition APOLOGIZING for margarine, and demonizing saturated fat, I might be able to take these people seriously again. But until then, the informal network of actual scientists, researchers, amateur bloggers and commentators combined with people who care about their own health will move knowledge forward. The internet will leave scum like this in the dust.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 14, 2012 at 20:29

      “Whether public cynicism is warranted on those specific topics is not the question! The important point is that the establishment through foul, wretched corruption and insularity has been washing away its credibility for decades.”

      Chew. Go.

  25. Richard Nikoley on July 14, 2012 at 19:57

    “This is AN EFFECT of the ridiculous bullshit spewed by the establishment.”

    That’s worth a whole book.

    “When I hear a major figure in nutrition APOLOGIZING for margarine, and demonizing saturated fat, I might be able to take these people seriously again.”

    And that’s an appeal to reality, which I always love because even I sometimes look the other way far too much.

    I admonish you: consider that quote in all its fullest implications over decades and the deleterious effect for the sake of profits (c’mon, that’s all it ever was, at base).

    • Contemplationist on July 14, 2012 at 21:05

      Bootleggers and Baptists, Richard! The coalition of the moralizing weenies and the rapacious subsidized coterie of pharma, big ag and AMA.

  26. Steven Marjieh on July 14, 2012 at 20:02

    Keep the discussion simple. I simply ask, if stuck in any extreme situation: Caught in a blizzard, sailing across the oceans with no modern stuffs, climbing Mt. Everest as an example what would you want as your one food source and why?

    For me pemmican. With out doubt a true super food. Does the body best. Expeditions lived on nothing but for months at a time with no ill affect. Says a lot right there.

    • Neal Matheson on July 15, 2012 at 01:00

      Not even an extreme situation try living on wild plants in any environment for a protracted period, let alone thriving in one for millenia.

  27. Danny J Albers on July 15, 2012 at 17:56

    Best comments ever, makes me wish I wasn’t a massive fan of low carb carnivorism or I would have made popcorn.

    Doc, you are really reaping what you sow with your “Im a scientist dammit” spiel. I really do not think scientists are defined by the lectures they attend or journals that they read. Generally scientists are the ones doing the science, not reading about it later. You are a clinician and while that is respectable it is not the same thing.

  28. Ned Kock on July 15, 2012 at 07:13

    We can debate the Masai, but one of the best examples of a highly carnivorous diet was that of the traditional Greenland Inuit. They consumed a lot of fat, by the way. And what was the heart disease prevalence among them in the 1960s? It was about 0.11 percent. Recent stats suggest that the prevalence in the US is 63 times higher:

  29. Swedish on July 15, 2012 at 08:24

    Both low-carb diet and vegetarian diet are stupid. There are no reasons to fear carbs or meat, and don’t label yourself because of what you eat.

  30. Marc on July 15, 2012 at 11:30

    “Rule of thumb: if the proponents of a hypothesis must continually resort to “it’s too complicated to explain” and “trust the authority figure,” there’s a good chance they’re selling you bunk.”


    Very very wise words!!! And very very historically acurate…..sadly.
    Thank you JS!


  31. […] up a few days, I was scanning the comment thread on that ridiculous Forks Over Knives piece and came across a comment from a writer and voice actor in LA, Jeff Nimoy. Like I sometimes do […]

  32. Arian Ryan on July 15, 2012 at 16:32

    I was one of the first to post a critical comment on the Forks Over Knives article. Reading through the comment thread that was highlighted in this article actually brought me to this article. Now I’ve lost all faith in humanity, as it’s clear that you paleo zealots are even bigger assholes than those veggie heads.

    Btw, paleo diet is a fad, losers.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 15, 2012 at 16:35

      More hand waving.

      “paleo diet is a fad”

      Arian Ryan is a moron, clearly.



      • Arian Ryan on July 15, 2012 at 20:29

        I don’t even understand what you’re trying to say in that reply. Whatever it was, calling me a moron sure doesn’t help get your message across.

        The Paleo Diet ™ might be everything it’s espoused to be and more – time will tell. In the mean time, I think it’s fair to call it a fad, because its trending popularity is just a new addition in a seemingly endless series of dietary popular fashions. That doesn’t mean it’s totally bogus. That just means that it’s rational to anticipate that in a few years a new twist on human nutrition will captivate popular attention.

        As for the harshness of my previous comment, I think it was warranted by the tone of this article. I criticized the FOK article for clearly having an ax to grind, but then I come over here looking for something a little more objective and intelligent and it’s just a lame rant about how some guy hurt your feelings because he doesn’t believe in your diet. Pathetic, dude.

        I’m not really sure what a “wanker” is. Are you American? Anyway, next time try using your words instead of pounding your conk like a meathead.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 15, 2012 at 20:45

        “I don’t even understand what you’re trying to say in that reply. ”

        I believe you.

        “…calling me a moron sure doesn’t help get your message across.”

        Look, fuckhead. I’ve been “getting my message across” for years. 100K+ visits per month. I’ve been at this since 2003 (blogging, since 1992 on the Intertubes). Why would you think I’d give anything more than a runny shit to some random guy who comes in here outta the blue to tell me and everyone…what-the-fuck-ever:

        “Now I’ve lost all faith in humanity, as it’s clear that you paleo zealots are even bigger assholes than those veggie heads.

        “Btw, paleo diet is a fad, losers.”

        Did you forget?

        “The Paleo Diet ™ might be everything it’s espoused to be and more – time will tell.”

        See, that’s why you’re a dismissible pissant moron, and you don’t even know why. I’m not going to help you, either.

        Rest of that para from the quote? Bullshit based on a stupid premise, the one quoted above (by the way, there is a clue to the error of your ways in comments, above).

        “As for the harshness of my previous comment, I think it was warranted by the tone of this article.”

        Look, mutherfucker: I don’t give a crap about what you think of this blog, the comments, my tone or anything. You act as though you have some competency to judge anything. You don’t. You stepped in shit. That simple.

        “…and it’s just a lame rant about how some guy hurt your feelings because he doesn’t believe in your diet. Pathetic, dude.”

        Yes, I know. You’re an equivocator and conflator unlike the world has ever known. I get them, from time to time. Nothing really matters, only procedure and demeanor.


        “I’m not really sure what a “wanker” is.”

        I don’t hold it against you that you don’t, but dude, there’s Google. Check into it.

      • Arian Ryan on July 15, 2012 at 21:11

        Are you drunk?

      • Richard Nikoley on July 15, 2012 at 21:13

        “Are you drunk?”

        Shorter Arian: I have no answer. Welcome to the shit, man.

        Let me ask you: are you new at this?

      • Arian Ryan on July 15, 2012 at 21:27

        New at what? Dialogue? Right now it feel like it!

        I read your bio and thought you’d probably be somebody I’d admire in real life. Your online people skills could use some work, but I guess that’s the way of the internet. I’ll now go back to my established practice of disengagement. You know what they say…


      • Jared on July 15, 2012 at 21:39

        What kind of an ass starts name calling and then pretends he’s better than someone talking to him on his own terms?

        Go fuck yourself.

      • Richard Nikoley on July 15, 2012 at 21:43

        Yea, Arian, only posers do that.

        You can’t ague. You expected to get other than you got, and it’s you with the tucked tail and everyone knows it.

        I told you the first time: you stepped in shit.

      • Robert Ve on July 16, 2012 at 05:19


        You’re right. I think it’s pretty funny. Maybe it works on other blogs?

        @Arian Ryan

        One thing I like about paleo is that the proof is in the pudding. There is no need to argue it endlessly you can just look at all the amazing testimonials with pictures. Or you can ignore it all. At your own peril of course.

        Just keep stuffing your face with all kinds of stuff and time will indeed tell.

      • mark on July 16, 2012 at 08:22

        Fucking hilarious – see ya!

      • Contemplationist on July 16, 2012 at 21:19

        Lol this is awesome. What a passive-aggressive cunt! Get some balls and make some arguments you shriveled mangina.

      • bonita on July 17, 2012 at 10:34

        so the ultimate insult to a man is to accuse him of being a woman?


      • Andy on July 18, 2012 at 19:00

        Your wishful thinking amuses me.

  33. Jeff Kastner on July 16, 2012 at 09:40

    Great article, Richard. I came here from the link under that article. I’m learning to never argue about religion, politics and now diet!
    I’ll never give up my meat though.. even if did turn out to be evil.

  34. Adria on July 16, 2012 at 05:56

    God I love this blog. Not only does Richard consistently write thought-provoking (emphasis on the “provoking,” snort) posts, but the commentary is more intelligent than what I heard in some of my graduate school seminars.

    It’s funny, because when I first started reading this blog, I used to wince a little at the vulgar language and the impolite phrasing, but the content was always first-rate so I ignored my discomfort and kept reading. I used to think to myself, “If only they’d present these same ideas in a more measured way, people would respond better. Intelligent people aren’t supposed to be crude.” But over the years I’ve completely changed my mind about that.

    I now think that there is a time and place for politeness, and the people whining about swearing always seem to be the same people who are very politely using ad hominem, appeal to authority, and other shitty arguments. So now I just gotta say, “Fuck them and their tender feelings.” It occurs to me that the inability to look past the superficial presentation to access the meat of the argument (ha) is one reason why so many people continue to believe stupid shit spouted by credentialed authorities.

    My current theory is that people who are so put off by vulgarity that they don’t get the message are people who are intellectually incapable of doing so, anyway. They don’t have either the training or the intellectual horsepower to think critically, and that’s why they react to shallow things like an air of authority vs. vulgarity, rather than engaging directly with the material content of an argument.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 16, 2012 at 08:17

      Well put, Adria.

      And guess what, I still wince at myself often on that last edit. But I grit my teeth, close my eyes and hit publish anyway.

  35. Just Some Turd on July 18, 2012 at 07:34

    All this dietary hoop-la is amusing at best. Of course, if you weren’t sure, don’t each a bunch of processed crap that has been saturated in fatty oils. I don’t need to be a ‘nutritionist’ or ‘doctor’ to figure that out. Better yet, don’t take my superhuman deliberating abilities as fact, eat all that crap and prove me wrong!…. please? I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for 15 years. I’ve winged it the whole way through a process of moderation in my diet. EX: If I want sugar, I eat things with sugar in them, not sugar free (who knows what) items. I learned the experience that eating a bag of potato chips or a gallon of ice cream is a bad idea.. Why? because I paid attention to the way it made me feel, which was horrible. (I still eat ice cream, only now and again and in moderation.) My advice, stop listening to what a bunch of “creditable” resources/people tell you is how you should live your life, and just live your life with the sort of presence that allows you to understand and learn from it. If you need help, it might be a bad idea to warrant help from those who are in the business of making money off the helpless (IE: while it seems like sound approach, these resources have a biased reason to keep you off balance) Your best chances of success are in history and your own nature ability to deliberate.
    Oh, food for thought just to kick the nest a bit. There is no “free will”. Read some books to figure out why…. or better yet, figure that out yourself.. I did.

  36. Andy on July 18, 2012 at 18:57

    No more replies from Dr. Garth Davis? I am shocked.

  37. Richard Nikoley on July 19, 2012 at 09:11

    Memo to Dr. Garth Davis:

    Cat still got your tongue, sir? Well, here. Find me a study that contradicts and of this and factors in the nutritional cost of avoiding or eliminating whole animal foods from the diet.

    Grains, Vegetarians, Vegans and Nutritional Density

    An excerpt:

    Again, look at the numbers at the tops of the bars that are off the chart in order to judge the real relative comparison. As with our other nutritional comparisons, here’s how these meals stack up:

    – 850 Cal (5 pounds) Mixed Raw Fruit: 127% USRDA (4 of 21 nutrients over 100%)
    – 850 Cal (about 8-10 oz) Omivorous Meal: 440% USRDA (12 of 21 nutrients over 100%)

    Yes, indeed, in the fruit meal there are only 4 of the 21 nutrients that provide 100% or more of the RDA, but 3 of those 4, just barely (vitamin C being the only one off the scale). So in essence, a single nutrient at 1,500% of the RDA skews the whole analysis pretty badly. If we were to take vitamin C out of the equation and just average the other 20 nutrients, the fruit meal provides only 57% of the RDA. As you can see, however, we do not have nearly this same problem with the omnivorous meal, because 12 of the 21 nutrients are over 100% and of those, 5 are off the scale. Just removing vitamin C as we did in the fruit meal changes nothing at all, because the general nutrition is excellent and widespread.

  38. Tom on July 20, 2012 at 09:37

    Hey Richard!

    Ended up here after bouncing from Marks to the FOK post, and your response was what i was thinking but in a more articulate way.

    I find it funny how Arian Ryan,from the height of his moral ways, disengaged with a major insult to people who achieved much more than him. He’s the one who’s retarded.

    Thanks for another awesome post!

    • Arian Ryan on July 28, 2012 at 10:35

      To be clear, I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant that arguing with screen names on internet forums is a pointless waste of time. That meme has been around forever, and it just served to illustrate that everybody already knows that this name calling stuff is stupid. I have ultimate respect for all beings, regardless of their conditions or capacities.

  39. Stabby on July 27, 2012 at 23:47

    Hey Richard, haven’t seen you in a while, just dropping in.

    I can’t believe he would reference the EPIC trial. The other trials he cited are inane too, but the EPIC trial didn’t even show that vegetarians lived longer they had a moderately lower risk of cardiovascular disease, although correlation isn’t causation. But there was no difference in all-cause mortality

    So yes he is a moron about The China Study but he is also a moron about the EPIC trial. And even if vegetarians were significantly healthier than omnivores in it that wouldn’t mean much because then we would have to discuss the potential reasons why and it wouldn’t look pretty for the “meat kills you” side. But oh no, let’s just cherry-pick epidemiology instead of having a real conversation. We just want a “gotcha” hey my correlation says this.

    And if he’s going to cherry-pick like a knave he should at least learn how to be a good knave.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 28, 2012 at 15:30


      Thanks, man. You reminded me I needed to reconcile this. Your comment will be in the post. Coming up.

    • Frank Rizzo on December 4, 2012 at 08:21

      But this study was comparing a vegetarian diet to an omnivore diet. Even Dr. Michael Greger, and I’m pretty sure Forks Over Knives, have revealed that there isn’t a significant difference in health and mortality between the two. It’s only with a whole food plant-based diet, i.e. vegan, that significant improvements are achieved.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 4, 2012 at 08:28

        “It’s only with a whole food plant-based diet, i.e. vegan, that significant improvements are achieved.”

      • Frank Rizzo on December 14, 2012 at 11:18

        What does this useless article even have to do with my quote? The improvements I was referring to were the upwards of a decade in increased longevity for men (6 years for women) and a virtual elimination of chronic degenerative diseases.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 14, 2012 at 11:32

        Frank, what does your useless comment have to do with anything I care about?

      • Frank Rizzo on December 17, 2012 at 12:55

        Good answer, what a surprise. You and your ilk take any study that reveals the benefit of a plant-based diet and completely dismiss it with the assumption that it must’ve been cherry picked. How convenient. Then you turn around and claim that any vegan bodybuilder with a decent physique must be secretly eating meat, based purely on assumption, and post pics of vegan ectomorphs who don’t work out with the claim that the diet makes you look like a stick person. What a joke. But the most laughable angle of vegan bashing here is how it’s deficient in nutrition, the polar opposite of the truth.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 17, 2012 at 18:10

        Frank, I’ll accept your criticism sitting down, in the first part. I actually had had an explicit change of view (see my many recent potato posts). But I still think an omnivorous diet overall is best.

        Which goes to your last point, about nutrition. I can easily prove, and have done so, that a pure plant diet is deficient in nutrition and that an omnivorous diet is way more nutritious and if targeted, it’s off the scales. It’s all been blogged, but Im happy to have a discussion.

  40. […] blissfully confident—posted comments in the original Forks Over Knives thread I blogged about (Doctor FAIL: Garth Davis, Bariatric Surgeon (and China Study Balderdash)) basically did the same blissfully confident, dismissive commenting on that post. Such as […]

  41. No_Need_for_Meat_&_Dairy on January 27, 2013 at 17:11

    The term Vegan only speaks of what NOT to consume!
    It is a diet restriction primarily based on Ethical grounds, and is not a complete diet plan by itself!
    (Its about avoiding consumption of animal products and products processed from animals
    based on ethical consideration.)

    So on the Grounds of ethics, meat & dairy consumers are lost by default and
    have absolutely no argument against Vegan restrictions.
    Which must mean that you are arguing solely on the grounds of nutrition.
    In which case, can you detail the Innate dietary necessities required by human metabolic
    processes, that can only be met by consuming animals?

    As someone who avoids animal products entirely, I assume us humans have no such dependency.
    I used to consume meat & dairy products but now only consume plant products
    and haven’t experienced any discomforts as a result.
    In fact I feel better and I’ve also become more responsive to the variety of flavour in foods.
    Where as before I had a numbed response and would add lots of salt and spices to make up for it.

    If meat and dairy was as good as you say it is, one would expect this article to be mostly filled with the INNATE details of that good (and not insults and arguments by proxy of random bloggers).
    Instead your article is more indicative of someone defending a guilt pleasure(that I can relate)!
    You don’t have to be a slave to the Meat and Dairy industry!
    If you are addicted, then there are ways of overcoming it and rebooting
    your brains reward circuitry.

    • Joshua on January 27, 2013 at 21:40

      Is an insect a more worthy life than a cow? If not, why?

      Many insects and small animals are killed in order to bring you your vegetables every day. In what way is that more moral than my consumption of meat?

    • Richard Nikoley on January 28, 2013 at 07:59

      “So on the Grounds of ethics, meat & dairy consumers are lost by default and
      have absolutely no argument against Vegan restrictions.”

      Interesting, because I consider veganism to be profoundly unethical when it strays from a personal choice I have no _moral_ qualms with, into activism that seeks to deny others—as it places the value of non-human animals above the needs and rational, evolved desires of human animals to thrive.

  42. Matt Hartmann on June 2, 2015 at 16:42

    Post when you are able to deliver intelligent responses and accurate analysis of biochemical pathways involved in this issue. As of now you are one in thousands of belligerent bloggers with no credibility. Your followers are also as such.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 2, 2015 at 17:07

      Ok Mr Matt Harmon, now that I have your 5-yr-old girl complaint, ‘bla bla bla you’re just wrong, and stupid, and your friends are stupid too’…care to actually put forth a counter argument of some import worthy of more than an eye roll of a 5 yr-old-girl getting butthurt?

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