I Made a Book

When I was little, I wanted to be a cat when I grew up. I used to meow in response to questions and decapitate Barbies so that I could bat around their heads with my paw-hands. When Cat stopped seeming like a viable career goal, I decided I wanted to be an author instead.* I could think of nothing more magical than making words happen. And if I was stuck with my opposable human thumbs, I might as well put them to use.

*This is actually kind of a lie. In preschool, I learned the words “author” and “pilot” around the same time. Neither one made much sense (does an author “auth”? Does a pilot “pile”? What kind of convoluted language is this?), and I spent a while confusing the two. The worst was when a local news channel came in to interview my preschool and ask all the students what they wanted to be when they grew up. I was going to say “cat,” but my mom told me she would give me all my Hanukkah presents early if I didn’t say “cat,” so I decided to say “pilot,” which I thought was the word for a person who writes books. People kept giving me toy airplanes after that, which I tried to flush down the toilet. I never got my early Hanukkah presents, and it was the last time my mother succeeded at gift-bribery (hi Mom I love you!).

Anyway, I thought I’d open with that anecdote to distract you from the fact that I haven’t updated this blog in seventeen months and I disappeared without warning and it was weird and horrible. I’m sorry. But let’s not think about it that way. The real issue here is that I was a really messed up kid, and there’s nothing to be done about it now.

That said, I have some news! The reason I dropped off the face of the earth was this:


This is a book. Some of you know about it; some of you don’t. I started writing it in March of 2011. I thought I’d be done by September of that year. To which my now-older-and-wiser self responds,


I still think I should have majored in Cat instead of English.

But you know what? Something magical happened and the book became done. I’m still not quite sure how that worked.* The important part is that it’s a thing that exists now, and that the end product—with all the craziness it took produce it—is something I’m really super excited about.

*Actually, I am sure how that worked. It took lots of not sleeping, the help and support of my incredible editor Jessica Tudzin, the urging of the Primal Blueprint Publishing team, and making wishes at 11:11 and 12:34 EVERY DAY.

But before I go further with that, some radical honesty.

As it turns out, writing a book is hard. I wish I could say Death by Food Pyramid’s journey into existence was nothing but happy happy rainbow unicorn sparkles, and that I never once felt like smashing things or faking my own death and moving to a felt-lined yurt in Mongolia to live among yaks and my own unceasing shame. But those would be lies. In reality, writing this book sometimes felt like being stuck in a three-year abusive relationship with someone who didn’t let me sleep, go outside, or do fun things. All-nighters were pulled. Eating was forfeited or forgotten. Birthdays whizzed by uncelebrated. Relationships imploded under the pressure of Not Having Time To Do Anything Ever (I imagine the only thing more frustrating than being a writer is dating one). It was kind of awful sometimes, and there were moments where I truly thought the book-baby I’d conceived would be stuck in my womb forever, growing to monstrous proportions and slowly devouring my soul. Death by “Death by Food Pyramid!”, the obituary headlines would exclaim.

There were a few reasons for that long, drawn-out anguish (and the ever-moving publication date, which slid forward for over a year and a half). Part of it was because I’m a pathological idealist when it comes to estimating how long it’ll take me to do stuff, especially writing stuff, and very especially nutrition writing stuff. I often spend hours reading and researching before feeling confident enough to put a single sentence on the page.

Another part of it was because when I first started, I wanted to shove the entire universe inside this book. When I realized that wasn’t possible, I thought maybe half the universe would be sufficient. Surely this book should contain everything I ever learned about everything, and also the things I haven’t learned but will learn after my next eight-month-long research binge, and also the everythings that other people learned, which I will find a way to osmotically absorb. Apparently, books cannot, in fact, contain all of the things. Lesson learned! I’m not going to insert the laughing cat picture again, but now is a good time to retrieve that image in your mind.

But there was another component of this book’s rocky journey, too. Not long after I started writing it, I came down with a serious illness, one that’s generally uncurable and rarely discussed by the medical establishment. It’s called Disillusionmentitis. And it can happen to any of us.

Disillusionmentitis (disəˈlo͞oZHənməntˈītis), noun. A condition in which previously held beliefs become subject to obliteration, once-trusted sources reveal their fallibility, and the accepted course of history takes on new and grotesque shapes in the light of new information.

Let me explain. When I first departed from the raw vegan community a decade ago, I did so in the most bubble-bursted, broken-hearted, eyes-pried-opened way imaginable. I went from tightly embracing everything I’d heard from other raw vegans (we’re not adapted to cooked food! Animal products are toxic! We have the same anatomy as all those other vegan primates!) to believing it was all a spectacular amount of hogwash. I really hoped I’d never have to go through that experience again. You get a bit of whiplash when your world does such a rapid 180; a second round might actually snap some vertebrae.

Unfortunately, this book quickly sparked déja vu in that regard. My next post—which, come heck or high water, will not take another year and a half to write—is going to divulge the specifics, but the nutshell version is: wow, the paleo and low-carb communities hold a lot of unsubstantiated beliefs. Not just about nutrition and anthropology and evolution, but also about more recent history—including all that fabulous drama of the last century involving Ancel Keys, John Yudkin, George McGovern and the Dietary Goals for the United States, and the unfolding of our low-fat message. The process of untangling some myths, healing the face-palm bruises from my forehead, and reorienting myself to a more objective version of events slurped up a lot of time. But I think the delay was worth it. I cherish accuracy. Hopefully you do too. As much as humanly possible, I promise you nothing less.

To be fair, I don’t think anyone will ever top the raw vegans in terms of complete disconnection from historical reality (at least the corner of the raw-vegan world I experienced, which was probably more culty than others). And while I don’t identify with a specific diet, I absolutely support the ancestral health movement and the vast majority of what it pumps out—in terms of research, theory, and genuinely awesome people. But I’ve come to realize that every diet community has its own “creation story” about how our problems all started. And they’re all at least a little bit wrong. And then the depths of Hades rumbled, and from its fiery center emerged [carbs/saturated fat/salt/animal protein/fructose/vegetable oils/Paula Deen], forever destroying the state of human health! With great fervor, these tales are embraced and parroted. Their ubiquity becomes evidence of truth. And when we spend our time hanging out in niche diet circles where most people think the same things and eat same foods and gripe the same gripes, it becomes all too easy to stop questioning what we “know.”


More than ever, I want to help demolish the tribalism existing within the nutrition world—to encourage us to learn from each other globally, instead of listening only to the voices tumbling around whatever dietary echo chamber we’ve locked ourselves into. I think that’s the only way to advance our collective knowledge. Among the rivaling diet communities, we seem to get stuck in a scarcity mentality where the success of The Other is seen as a threat to our own. But that shouldn’t have to be the case. We should approach dietary anomalies with curiosity and intrigue, rather than the knee-jerk reaction to defend our own kind.

What’s it All About, Alfie?

Anyway, back to this book thing!

I’m pretty awful at summarizing stuff, and Death by Food Pyramid is no exception. So I’m just going to drop this little linky-link here and let you guys read the table of contents and first 26 pages, including the incredibly generous foreword by Chris Masterjohn. Hopefully that will give you a decent enough sense to decide whether Death by Food Pyramid is up your ally.

That said, I do want to clarify a few things:

  1. Death by Food Pyramid is not pro-paleo, per se. Nor is it anti-vegan. Nor is it a platform for promoting any particular eating plan (or excessively bashing another). I’m grateful to Mark Sisson and the Primal Blueprint Publishing team for letting me craft a book that respects the success of paleo and Primal diets, but doesn’t assert them as optimal for all people, and even critiques them in some regards.
  2. I do, however, explore the reasons why some people are genetically equipped to handle higher-starch diets; why the effects of saturated fat aren’t uniform among all humans; why we should focus on individually tailoring our diets; and where various successful eating programs seem to intersect.
  3. Although this book certainly takes a swipe at conventional wisdom, I hope it also opens a discussion about some of the dogma existing within the “alternative” health communities as well.

Now the nuts and bolts. If you want to read Death by Food Pyramid, you’ve got a few options:

*To you lovely folks abroad: from what I understand, the cost of shipping this book to another continent is astronomical. I’m incredibly sorry about that. If you’re trying to be kind to your wallet, you should probably wait for the Kindle version.

I don’t know if it’s possible to really finish a book. There just comes a point where you stop working on it, and you call that the end.

But ultimately, a book is only part of an evolving dialogue. You might divide its physical space with two covers and a spine, and slap an ISBN on there to make it all official-like. But those boundaries are arbitrary. They keep some stuff out, but they hold nothing in. What matters more than a book is the ripples it leaves, the seeds it plants, the fires it sparks—the ways it shapes the course of what follows.

So for those of you who end up ordering Death by Food Pyramid, I hope that you view yourselves not as readers, but as active participants. I hope that when you reach the last page and close the book and go pick your kid up from school or check Facebook or take a shower and sing Journey songs at the top of your lungs, that you don’t stop there—but that the thoughts continue to churn and percolate; that you share what you learn and question what you know; that you never underestimate your own role in this untiring dialogue on health, one relevant to every human alive. This book was my baby, but I’m now handing it to you. (And not just because I’m sick of changing its diapers.)



  1. Can u update us on specifically what ur current diet is like (general typical day if meals, macros, raw amount, meat amount, foods u avoid and why)? I value your insight and research and love how u don’t fall into dogmas. Cant wait to get the book… Congrats!

  2. Pingback: I Made a Book….
  3. Great to hear from you, Denise….I’ve missed your most entertaining writing style….and want the book…..please consider Barnes & Noble for a marketing outlet….I’ll order the eBook from them if they have it….

  4. Denise Canadians won’t get it until January. One suggestion for Canadians. If you order both the Death by Food Pyramid and Perlmutter’s Grain Brain you get a great discount and free shipping. Got David’s already, Denise is expected in a couple of weeks.
    And of course Thanks Denise, for the update and I don’t think you should have any worries about your ‘extended family’ keeping things under wraps 🙂

  5. yea yea yea yea!! assumed that you went incognito cause this project may have you totally absorbed – can’t wait to read (although you are preaching to me in the choir… nonetheless…)

    a huge congrats Denise –

    but do get ready for praise and damnation in massive amounts!

    best to you –
    ravi wells

  6. Your baby will be in good hands, Denise! I promise! And I look forward to changing its diapers 😉 And I´m glad, it has not become neither a paleo nor a vegan book. Both sides have good points, and both miss some important points…and yes…”disillusionmentitis” can happen to any of us, but very unlikely will it happen to the readers of your book. I`m curious, and I look forward to reading it! Best wishes from one of the lovely folks abroad! 😉

  7. Congratulations, and welcome back from the Dark Night of Authorship! I am really looking forward to “devouring” your book, all the more so in view of your remarks about wanting to put EVERYTHING into it. On the remote off-chance that you are not already aware of the INTP personality type, perhaps the following pages might ring a few bells:


    (Yes, I’m an INTP: feeling compelled to provide three separate references for parallax is typical). Your account of the authoring process put me in mind, for instance, of this:

    “One of the few bottlenecks that INTPs impose upon themselves is their restless fear of possible failure. No other personality type worries that much about missing a piece of the mental puzzle or overlooking some crucial fact that might lead to a better solution. Unlike their more confident INTJ or ENTJ cousins, INTPs could spend ages reflecting on their actions. Even when an INTP is arguing with someone, this should be taken with a grain of salt – they might as well be arguing with their own mind”.

    1. Tom–She’s an INTJ. Both INTJs and INTPs can wrestle with perfectionism, but where with INTPs logical purity is the central issue–making sure all the pieces of the puzzle are identified, and fit correctly–INTJs, especially young INTJs–wrestle with an endless series of possibilities, each of which can spawn its own train of thought, digressions, and…possibilities. Generally, as INTJs get older, extroverted thinking (Te) kicks in more, and helps “edit” those possibilities down to the most relevant/probable/realistic, etc.

      –Danny (INFP)

    2. I’ve taken some psychology courses, including a brief introduction to personality psychology, and I’m pretty sure the Myers-Briggs personality testing (which results in the INTJ, ENFP etc. designations) is not evidence-based and has been researched a bit and not found to be particularly useful or true to reality. There are actual genetic and neurological bases to some personality traits, such as “the Big Five” which are more supported.

      1. Cat–psychological type (Read: MBTI) has been researched up the Whazzo (what exactly is a Whazzo??)–if you want to read papers on it, I suggest starting with http://www.capt.org/research/library-services.htm

        One of my favorite newish areas of research is the “hardwiring” of personality type in the brain; if you’re interested in that I suggest investigating the work of INTJ Dario Nardi, for example:

        1. I know it’s been researched, but psychology research tends to have tons of methodological issues (though hopefully now that people in the field are more aware of this there will be some change soon) and I’m pretty sure that’s what MBTI has been criticized for. It’s definitely wasn’t taught as concrete science in the uni course I took, but psychology is a constantly growing field, so who knows. Thanks for the book recco though! Looks interesting.

          1. What’s taught in universities is more political than evidence based. Heck, my own university – one with a moderately good reputation in science and engineering called MIT – didn’t even have a relativity course offered.

  8. Denise – congrats! Glad to see this came to fruition. I ordered mine the first day I saw it on MDA – looking forward to reading. Hope all is well. -Andrew Lyon

  9. Thanks, Denise, for “proof of aliveness” – again! I was unsure about reading your book because my nutritional beliefs have changed during the time you were writing it. But this comment in your post “I want to help demolish the tribalism existing within the nutrition community” has me interested enough. So Kindle here I come. Congrats and all the best.

  10. I ordered mine from Primal Blueprint. Free shipping is nice but 18.95 for handling? OMGWTFBBQ! Amazon calls that shipping and handling. XD …So I guess it all evens out in the wash. My main question is, why isn’t Chapters carrying this book? I’m starting to get annoyed with them and I don’t like that, I love their physical stores. Shopping only online just isn’t the way to find new things.

  11. Denise, first and foremost allow me to congratulate you on the completion of your book. I am sure I speak for thousands of people, it was much awaited and will be widely read. You and Chris Masterjohn have been a beacon of sanity in a blogosphere of infighting and antagonism (bordering on the childish). There are others, such as Mark Sisson and Chris Kresser to name a couple who continue to be an inspiration.

    Allow me to introduce myself. I am a Meds ’81 grad from Queens University in Ontario, Canada. After 30 years of practicing conventional medicine, I stumbled across the ancestral health community and their blogs. I have never looked back, and continue in my educational quest. I have formulated a lifestyle for myself, which includes dietary guidelines for what I believe to be maximum hormonal sensitivity, a respect and nurturing of my microbiome, and a high-intensity exercise program. Of course stress reduction and adequate sleep, social circles and loving relationships, are all part of the process. I share this with you, not to pat myself on the back, but to tell you that my appreciation for your body of work comes from an informed position.

    Erella Rousseau

    On Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 8:36 AM, Raw Food SOS

  12. No doubt, when I first came across you, that your propensity to rip things apart to get to the stuffing was unusual and necessary. Congrats on putting it all together. Perhaps you only hooked up with Sisson et al. once you had determined that meat was necessary. It’s a little disturbing that you are so closely allied with the paleo movement even though I did read your disclaimer. Among all the nutty diets I find paleo has this sort of masculine energy allied to it that says “If it’s good for me I’m eating it. I’m the center of the universe.” I’m just wondering if your book takes into account what is good for the pig. Or as my 3 year old guru Luiz Antonio (why he doesn’t want to eat his octopus -search it on YouTube)”…in order for us to eat them they must die.” No being goes to its’ death willingly and we can survive without meat, and certainly meat would prefer to live it’s one life without us as well. I hope that’s in your book as well as how much we need snouts and choline and all that self-centered stuff.

    Erica E Martell IBD Healthcare NY Asst +1 212 325 3964 (*105 3964)

    1. I wonder if you take into account what’s good for the plants. Or for the whole ecosystem, for which Lierre Keith’s “The Vegetarian Myth” provides a good analysis.

    2. another veg*an with an agenda. you bet I am the center of the universe. and if it is good for me, I am eating it. animals are not humans. humane treatment of animals is the biggest nonsense I’ve ever heard of. it took my kind some time/effort/luck and fight to rise to the top of the food chain. I really enjoy being there. if you don’t, that’s your problem.

  13. Honestly, I don’t know why you’d waste years writing a book when in only an instant it will be handily deconstructed and proven 100% wrong in a 12-part series of scintillating 20 minute videos by that rock star of YouTube excitement, Plant Positive.

  14. I am excited to read this because of your sincerity and devotion to the scientific truth. It is so interesting to me that I just happened to think about your website a few moments ago when I was listening to a Vitamin B12 lecture from a raw vegan practitioner, and on this very day you are releasing your much anticipated book! Even though I have an ethical bias in my food lifestyle (vegetarianism), your research helps me understand the implications of my dietary fashion on a deep level. What seems clear to me is that it has to do with the focus of one’s consciousness. If one is focused on the bodily consciousness, a paradigm that says that the body should be utilized to get the most out of physical reality, then everybody should hope to follow your strategies perfectly. But if our body is a temple then we are naturally bound to favor ethics over nutrition science. Thanks so much for your contribution! You actually helped me to see that ethical dairy can work for me (instead of being vegan). Personally, I wish that I could be raw vegan.

  15. I am excited to read this because of your sincerity and devotion to the scientific truth. It is so interesting to me that I just happened to think about your website a few moments ago when I was listening to a Vitamin B12 lecture from a raw vegan practitioner, and on this very day you are releasing your much anticipated book! Even though I have an ethical bias in my food lifestyle (vegetarianism), your research helps me understand the implications of my dietary fashion on a deep level. What seems clear to me is that it has to do with the focus of one’s consciousness. If one is focused on the bodily consciousness, a paradigm that says that the body should be utilized to get the most out of physical reality, then everybody should hope to follow your strategies perfectly. But if our body is a temple then we are naturally bound to favor ethics over nutrition science. Thanks so much for your contribution! You actually helped me to see that ethical dairy can work for me (instead of being vegan). Personally, I wish that I could be raw vegan.

  16. Definitively going to read your book, as I do love your writing style. Looking forward to the storm your book is going to create, as some people won’t like their long-standing beliefs challenged. But this is how we learn and progress. It would be silly to reject the conventional wisdom dogma, only to embrace a whole new set of dogma. We are like teens who are intent on being “non-conformists” by emulating to the lifestyle of their friends in drone-like fashion. You aren’t a free-thinker if you let other people do the thinking for you. I’m looking forward to reading your book and hope that I keep honing those critical thinking skills.

  17. Hi Denise,

    I thought that it was probably your book that was keeping you away from the wonderful world of internet blogging.

    Well, since I am Scottish, I have put your book on my Xmas wish list. If nobody can be bothered to buy it for me, I will just have to order it myself. I can’t wait to read it.

    By the way, since you are interested in language, it might interest you to know that the word “Minger” comes from the Scottish verb “To Ming”, meaning to smell. Badly. E.g. “Your feet are minging”. It can also be used metaphorically, as in “Your singing is minging!” It can also be employed as a derogatory term for a woman. “Did you see Jimmy’s new girlfriend? She’s a real minger”. Just thought I would let you know in case you ever visit Glasgow.

    You, of course, are not a minger even though you are a Minger.

    Best wishes,

    Paul Doherty

  18. I backed a Kickstarter for the film “In Defense of Fat” and am supposed to get a free copy of “Death By Food Pyramid” as a reward. Do you know if these will actually be sent out to backers? The Kickstarter page and other social media for the film have not been updated in months. I messaged Kennon and have not heard back from her.

  19. Thank you, thank you, you. It was worth the wait (though I’m only in chapter 6). Fascinating about Luise Light. Must read her book.

  20. I fully expected you would disappear and believed you were probably going to go a little crazy trying to produce your book. I would check your blog every few months and think, gee she’s really working hard to grind this book out. I knew you would get it done and that given your life, research and writing style it would take a lot more time and be a lot harder than you thought. Well, it’s done. Thanks to you for the work, your publisher for the patience and Mark for his involvement. I will go to his web site today and buy a couple of the books. Good Luck.

  21. Hi Denise, congratulations on finishing your book. I can only imagine how much work lies behind such a project (my 130 page Master-Thesis got me to the edge of despair) and I am really looking forward to read your book. But, as I have a very good friend who isn’t good enough in English to be able to read it, can you tell me if the translations in foreign languages have started (especially into the german language)?
    Best greetings and a wonderful upcoming christmas time to you 🙂

  22. Another hard part is a month after the book is published, when you realize that something you said is wrong, and you can’t change it. I wrote Honest Nutrition, published in 2006, without much publicity and with less expertise, it didn’t go far. But writing a book serves to organize your thoughts and help you make sense of many questions. It forces you to think, and to think more clearly. Except, it see books where that didn’t seem to happen.
    Ira Edwards

  23. I just discovered you and am so glad I did! I love your passion for accuracy! In the past year, I have gone gluten free, then incorporated a low lectin diet, then the Page Diet Plan and more recently the Paleo Plan. I’ve gone back and forth so much on what I think I can eat and not eat. I feel like a yo-yo. There is so much information out there. I don’t have time to decipher it all. None of these diets seem to fit me perfectly. I had come to the conclusion that I just want to know what the truth is. If I have the truth then it gives me something to work with to customize my own diet plan or to choose one that will work for me. I wanted to know who out there is smart and objective enough to lay it all out there in a clear, understandable, and unbiased way. And then I found out about you through Mark’s Daily Apple. Yea!!! Just what I’ve been looking for! I can’t wait to read your book!

  24. Whatever the “experts” may believe, I think your background, such as I am aware of it, gives you a marvelous perspective on the very complex subject of diet and nutrition. To those who believe credibility should be based solely, or even primarily, on academic credentials (let alone age, affiliations, etc., etc.) where groundbreaking discoveries are concerned, one has only to consider that the rubiks cube was “solved” not by one of the world’s pre-eminent mathematicians, but a 14 year old boy to whom sheer numbers were no doubt totally irrelevant. Now kids not long out of diapers make a mockery of the difficulty of this task by doing it while, among other things, juggling (you gotta check this out on YouTube!). While solving the RC may not have the complexity of human nutrition this phenomena makes clear the importance of perspective and intelligence in tackling any subject. Love your work, and whatever it takes keep up your blog (well, okay, you can take time out for books – but no mundane tasks like sleeping and taking out the garbage).

  25. SO excited for this book. Stumbled across your blog in 2012 and was so pleased to find someone out there talking about nutrition who was practical, funny, and well researched (understatement of the year). Best of luck and can’t wait to read it.

    Suzanna Neeley Bridges http://www.walkingforpennies.com 917-375-7013


  26. “…up your ally”? That’s a nasty thing to do to your ally, I must say. Perhaps taking it up an alley might be better.

    Sounds like a very interesting book. I will definitely be checking it out.

  27. A lot of words put down on paper to say very little, indeed!! Why not get down to the subject that you want to discuss and give us a conclusion?


  28. Good to have you back, Denise. Congrats on the book, I will be getting it. Nothing is ever all black and /or white. Keep up the good work!

  29. Congratulations on completing and publishing the book! I can imagine the difficulty of the journey, but you should feel very proud at this point. As an aside, you really hit the nail on the head in this post when mentioning “tribalism” among food communities. Its really frustrating how people cling to single, uniform ideals and get brainwashed into thinking it’s the only way. As if they’ve found the answer and everyone else needs to listen. Food is becoming like semi-religion. Argh. Well anyway, great job Denise! I look forward to the read.

  30. Ok, but next time you leave, ( I know, I know, I know, I know . . . ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone – ok, maybe too dramatic ), let me know in advance. You have inspired me to do my own research into personal nutrition and public health, and an article is nearly complete. I find the most difficult thing is “simplicity”.

    Welcome back!

    Jim Whiting, Never Stop Exploring

    Sent from my iPad


  31. I’m really looking forward to the book. After I learning about you and your critiques of the China Study, I’ve been popping back here waiting to hear when your book would be complete (and looking for more posts). I’m glad you took all the time you needed to get this right for you. I’m excited to read your thoughts and wisdom, and I really appreciate that you’re not stuck on any labeled dietary/nutrition ‘way’ and are wiling to look at entrenched ideas more deeply. I don’t want to become too hung up on a certain “camp” (can’t think of the right word) and have felt some uncomfortableness when people seem to get so attached to a certain way of health and nutrition (I don’t think I worded that too well, but I hope you get what I’m saying). Thank you in advance, Denise, for putting so much effort in this. I know it will be very valuable.

  32. Denise! Congrats! I am thrilled that the book is done. I am an amateur data geek myself and a seeker-after-nutritional-truth and I have had your book on pre-order at Amazon since it became available there. I am so happy for you, and happy for myself that I will get the treat of reading it soon. – Carol

  33. Congratulations, Denise. What a huge accomplishment! So excited for you, and I can’t wait to read your book (!!!!).

  34. Beautiful write-up.. and your description of the writing process is just dead-on, in my experience. I can only imagine what it must have been like, drowning in that giant pool of ideas, searching for truths throughout the rubble..

    I am really, really looking forward to reading this one. I’ve been telling friends and family about it since learning of the book a few days ago..

  35. I am actually waiting HealthyLongevity’s review about the book more than the actual book, which I know will be filled with pseudoscientific nonsense and plagiarism. Don’t tell me you are goin’ to repeat at least 12 times how Ancel Keys “cherry-picked his data and never explained us why”.

    “Broadly speaking, death rates ascribed to specific causes are not very reliable under the best of circumstances. Certainly it would be difficult to insist that the values in Table 3 for “degenerative heart disease” in the different countries are stricktly comperable nor would it be reasonable to suggest that the values listed for all circulatory diseases are actually precise.”

    “The list in Table 2 includes the countries with good vital statistics which are reasonably compared in race, climate, culture, medical services and vital statistics. The omissions are Western Germany and Finland, because of major population shifts and other effects from the war, and Iceland, Luxemburg and some colonies and semi-independent states with very small populations. (…) So far it has been possible to get fully comparable dietary and vital statistics from 6 countries.”

    –Ancel Keys, 1953

    The humanity would have been served better without your lies, manipulation and plagiarism.

    Forks Over Knives and Healthy Longevity: A Missed Opportunity for the Cholesterol Skeptics

    1. It says a lot about Mark sisson that not only is he willing to perpetuate and make up lies about Keys to sell books and supplements, but he’s also willing to leave that blog post up even after being tipped of that it is bullshit.

  36. Minger,

    I hope you bring up the cofounders in order to explain why it’s very stupid to look for primitive hunter gatherers as a role model.

    Parasites: all hunter Gatherers carry them, and they are known to lower LDL cholesterol in the host and in experimental models they’ve induced regression of artery via the LDL mechanism.

    Doenhoff MJ, Stanley RG, Griffiths K, Jackson CL. An anti-atherogenic effect of Schistosoma mansoni infections in mice associated with a parasite-induced lowering of blood total cholesterol. Parasitology. 2002 Nov;125(Pt 5):415-21.

    Bansal D, Bhatti HS, Sehgal R. Altered lipid parameters in patients infected with Entamoeba histolytica, Entamoeba dispar and Giardia lamblia. Br J Biomed Sci. 2005;62(2):63-5. PMID:

    Role of cholesterol in parasitic infections.

    “Thus changes in lipid profile occur in patients having active infections with most of the parasites. Membrane proteins are probably involved in such reactions. All parasites may be metabolising cholesterol, but the exact relationship with pathogenic mechanism is not clear”.

    Second problem with genetically isolated HG tribes is the fact that some of them may have excessively effective cholesterol metabolism due to genes:

    1) The Masai of East Africa: some unique biological characteristics

    2) “In contrast to white-americans who have a limited maximal absorption capacity of 300mg of cholesterol, the Masai could absord more than 650mg cholesterol. Compared with the 25% suppression of synthesis found in white Americans, the Masai could suppress 50% of their endogenous cholesterol synthesis”.

    Cardiovascular disease in the tropics. IV. Coronary heart disease

    However, not even parasites could rescue some of these tribes. In 1904, Bertelsen proved the existence of cancer in the native Inuit, diagnosing a case of breast cancer. During the following decades researchers documented that the existence of cancer was exceedingly common among the Inuit despite their relatively short life expectancy.Consistent with Bertelsen’s findings, an Inuit predating western contact who was mummified in approximately 1475, 450km north of the Arctic Circle was shown to have evidence of cancer, likely of the breast.It has also been documented that numerous preserved pre-contact Inuit who were mummified dating all the way back to 1,500 years ago had a severe degree of atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis, consistent with studies of Inuit living in the 20th century. Other evidence of poor health among the pre-contact Inuit includes iron deficiency anemia, trauma, infection, dental pathology, and children with downs syndrome and Perthes disease.

    In 1940, based on decades of clinical practice and reviewing reports of medical officers dating all the way back 175 years ago, Bertelsen, who is considered the father of Greenland epidemiology stated in regards to the mortality patterns among the Greenland Inuit that:

    “…arteriosclerosis and degeneration of the myocardium are quite common conditions among the Inuit, in particular considering the low mean age of the population”

    In 1925, Kuczynski reported on the nomadic pastoralists of the Kirghiz and Dzungarian Steppes in Central Asia and northern China that were of Mongolian descent. Similar to the observations of the diet of the nomadic Mongols of the 13th century, Kuczynski observed that these nomadic pastoralists subsisted almost exclusively on enormous quantities of meat and milk from grass-fed, free-ranging animals. Kuczynski observed:

    “They get arteriosclerosis in an intense degree and often at an early age as shown by cardiac symptoms, nervous disordes, typical changes of the peripheral vessels, nephrosclerosis and, finally, apoplectic attacks. Even in men thirty-two years old I frequently observed arcus senilis.”

    It was also observed that in the 1960s the prevalence of coronary heart disease among the nomadic pastoralists in Xinjiang in northern China who consumed large quantities of animal fat from grass-fed, free-ranging animals was more than seven times higher than that of other populations both within Xinjiang and throughout China which consumed significantly less animal fat.

    I need to point out that chronic disease has traditionally been near absent among the people who eat the most wheat in the world. Beduins in Southern Israel eat app. 26 slices of whole-grain bread per day and 90% of their calories come from wheat-products, mainly bread and porridge. Fat intake is around 11% calories.

    I personally promote cereal rich, plant-based diets to everyone because they seem to work to nearly everybody.

    1. It would be interesting to understand the profile of the wheat that is consumed in large quantities, because in all likelihood it will matter significantly and vary wildly from what is available to the average grocery ‘shopping’ consumer. I am personally looking into baking my own bread, so I would love to learn about the best all-around home-made recipe for health as per the science of wheat. Having read Wheat Belly I initially thought it was time to eliminate wheat, but baking my own bread might be the reasonable answer.

      1. Until modern mills were invented, human populations ground grains in stone or wood mortars just prior to cooking them as flatbread on hot stones. Weston A. Price observed this, and theorized that this procedure preserved something important in the grains.

        A more recent researcher theorized that the problem is that industrial grinding is so intense that it liberates the starch from the plant cells, and the dense concentrations of acellular (outside the cell) carbohydrates (both starch and sugar) are what contributes to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

        There is a way around this, and it is called “sourdough.” The sourdough bacteria digest the starch and sugar, and as a side-benefit they produce Vitamin K2 as in cheese fermentation. The longer the dough is fermented, of course, the better. Here is a fascinating article on the subject : http://www.wholeliving.com/183942/our-daily-bread

        Good Luck! Cami

    2. Plaque is just a repair mechanism for damaged arterial walls.Think of plaque as a bunch of plumbers, where having heard that your pipes are springing leaks , converge on the house and lend a hand. Regression is not success. Coronary heart disease is not a disease of tape over a leaky pipe.Putting tape over a leaky pipes is not a good long term answer.

      Whatever is causing this damage is where we mneed to focus.

    3. Good idea.
      So more meat and food of animal origin will be available for those who like them.
      Thanks a lot. We’re all different and overpopulation is a big problem.

  37. Congratulation Denise… it’s a book! Having just devoured the teaser at Scribd, I can’t wait to read the rest!

    Also looking forward to your next blog post, as I’m often accused (usually by trolls and dogmatic-thinkers like Richard) that I am closed-minded and dogmatic myself. No, I prefer to keep an open-mind, apply critical thinking and examine evidence rather than blindly accepting “authority”. I see your book as promoting this approach as the way forward for humans… heck maybe we can finally start to mature… just so long as we keep a sense of fun about it 🙂

    BTW not to second-guess your English but I also noticed the “ally” vs.


  38. Denise,

    As others have asked, when will Kindle version be released?

    Can’t help but note the comment by ‘Richard’ at 09:06:58 mark on 12/18/13. He certainly provides ample evidence that a high carb, grain-based diet produces aggressive, accusatory, non-charitable, and mean-spirited behavior in many individuals.

    My wife of 40 years has noted I have changed back to a reasonable, likeable personality she originally married. Two decades of a low fat, high grain diet had me with a sourpuss demeanor. Over the past year, I made the slow switch to a high fat diet (now around 70% of calories) sans grains and my wife has marveled at the mental and behavioral improvements – that was a definite unintended, but very welcome, consequence.

    Btw, your writing style is incredibly enjoyable and informative. So much more impressive than simply quoting obscure passages from old peer-reviewed journals and claiming that a scientist’s journal opinion is “scientific” proof, thus the debate is over.

    You put the joy back in science for a lot of people. Thx.


  39. Dennis,

    I hope you also share some light to the strengths of diet-heart, not just critique. I think this is one of the stories that your readers get wrong as well:

    The closet to definitive types of studies supporting diet-heart are not observational, they comes from 4 independent lineages of research

    1) Thousands of animal studies showing that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol accelerates atherosclerosis across virtually every type of vertebrate, and that they are the sine qua nons for the dietary modification of experimental atherosclerosis. This includes mammalian, avian and fish species- herbivores, omnivores and carnivores, and over one dozen different species of nonhuman primates. Again this cannot be attributed to the way that the animal was raised as when taking into consideration the amount of antioxidants and carotenoids as well as the lack of cholesterol, tropical plant fats high in lauric, myristic and palmitic acids will also accelerate atherosclerosis in animals to a similar degree as saturated animal fats.

    2) Hundreds of rigorously controlled metabolic ward studies establishing that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat elevate LDL and total cholesterol. The cholesterol raising effects of saturated fat is not the result of how the animal was raised as tropical plant fats high in lauric, myristic and palmitic acids will also raise total and LDL cholesterol.

    3) Meta-analysis of 108 randomized controlled trials with 300,000 subjects and with a mean follow-up of only three years establishing that lowering LDL significantly reduces both coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality independent of changes to HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and non-lipid effects of specific interventions.

    4) A meta-analysis of mendelian randomization studies with over 312,000 individuals demonstrated that inheriting any of nine studied genetic variants that modify lifelong LDL cholesterol concentrations, but not any other known risk factors predicted a 55% lower risk of coronary heart disease for each mmol/l (38.7 mg/dl) lower LDL cholesterol. This represents a three-fold greater reduction in coronary heart disease per lower unit of LDL cholesterol than the statins trials which lasted only 5 years and the average participant age was 63. The p-value for this finding was 0.000000000000000000843. This is also expected to also translate into a 3 fold lower risk of all-cause mortality. The authors concluded:

    “We found no evidence of any heterogeneity of effect on the risk of CHD per unit lower LDL-C among any of the polymorphisms included in our study. This lack of heterogeneity of effect strongly suggests that the results of our study are unlikely to be significantly confounded by pleiotropy or linkage disequilibrium because it is unlikely that each of the included polymorphisms are acting through similar pleiotropic effects or have similar linkage disequilibrium patterns… This finding suggests that the effect of long-term exposure to lower LDL-C on the risk of CHD appears to be independent of the mechanism by which LDL-C is lowered. Therefore, the method of lowering LDL-C is likely to be less important than the magnitude and timing of LDL-C reduction. As a result, diet and exercise are probably as effective at reducing the risk of CHD as are statins or other treatments that lower LDL-C when started early in life (and when measured per unit lower LDL-C).”

    These can be considered the strongest lines of evidence for the diet-heart, with other lines of evidence simply adding confidence to the hypothesis.

    The most relevant models for human atherosclerosis come from the experiments performed with non-human primates. It has been observed that the long-term feeding of cholesterol and saturated fat has resulted in heart attacks, sudden death, development of gangrene, softening on the bones and numerous other serious complications in nonhuman primates. For example, it has been shown that when diets rich in cholesterol and saturated fat are fed to monkeys of the genus Macaca, including the rhesus monkey and the crab-eating macaque, they experience heart attacks at approximately the same rate as high-risk populations living in developed nations. Armstrong and colleagues induced severe atherosclerosis in rhesus monkeys by feeding a diet with 40% of calories from egg yolks for 17 months. The egg yolks were then removed from the monkeys diet and replaced with a cholesterol-free diet with either 40% of calories from corn oil or low-fat chow with 77% calories from sugar for three years, resulting in a reduction of serum cholesterol to <140 mg/dl and a marked regression of atherosclerosis.

    Unfortunately, these lines of evidence have been consistently neglected by the promoters of saturated fat confusion. As noted by Stamler to the proponents creation stories:

    “To neglect this fact in a review about humans is to imply that the Darwinian foundation of biomedical research is invalid and/or that there is a body of substantial contrary evidence in humans. Neither is the case”.


    1. Great to be reminded that statins aren’t necessarily the way to go but they way I eat and the effect it has on my lipids may have far-reaching effects on my cardiovascular health. Clearly what I am doing must be working then… Thanks 😛

    2. Bullshit.

      Wy wife is from Cameroon. Saturated fat ,such as palm oil intake in fairly natural not “refined” form, is huge in countryside there.

      Yet no noticiable incidence of cardiovascular disease.

      Red palm tree oil is highly saturated and therefore ridiculously demonized in so called “civilized” countries.

      In the few big cities, however, “refined” PUFA vegetable oils have unfortunately appeared among other bullshit and cardiovascular disease too.

    3. Your response comment is very interesting. I am particularly intrigued by the following information in your post:
      1) Thousands of animal studies showing that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol accelerates atherosclerosis across virtually every type of vertebrate, and that they are the sine qua nons for the dietary modification of experimental atherosclerosis. This includes mammalian, avian and fish species- herbivores, omnivores and carnivores, and over one dozen different species of nonhuman primates.

      The following information completely refutes your fictional facts (people, this is a perfect example of why you need to be informed and skeptical until you tirelessly research subjects).

      I would suggest you read and research information on why animals don’t get heart attacks. A book written by Dr. Matthias Rath: Why Animals Don’t Get Heart Attacks but People Do (Aug 2003) demonstrates that cardiovascular disease is an aftereffect of insufficient levels of vitamin C. Animals have a gene that produces infinite amounts of the antioxidants and they do not suffer with cardiovascular disease. Experts know that a heart attack in the majority of the vertebrate animals is not possible because they have this functioning gene; few animals such as the guinnie pig has this gene non functioning and can actually develop atherosclerosis. According to research Dr. Perlmutter presents in his book, Grain Brain. He informs us that no amount of oranges, wheat grass…or vitamin C can combat the body’s production of free radicals and a diet rich in DHA can actually switch on the human gene/protein which produces infinite amounts of antioxidants appropriate to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

  40. In addition to the 4 lines of evidence I presented, the 5th line of evidence for diet-heart comes from the research by Brown & Goldstein in regards to the LDL receptor. In their Nobel talk in 1985, Brown & Goldstein stated:

    “Several lines of evidence suggest that plasma levels of LDL-cholesterol in the range of 25-60 mg/dl (total plasma cholesterol of 110 to 150 mg/dl) might indeed be physiologic for human beings. First, in other mammalian species that do not develop atherosclerosis, the plasma LDL-cholesterol level is generally less than 80 mg/dl. In these animals the affinity of the LDL receptor for their own LDL is roughly the same as the affinity of the human LDL receptor for human LDL, implying that these species are designed by evolution to have similar plasma LDL levels. Second, the LDL level in newborn humans is approximately 30 mg/dl, well within the range that seems to be appropriate for receptor binding. Third, when humans are raised on a low fat diet, the plasma LDL-cholesterol tends to stay in the range of 50 to 80 mg/dl. It only reaches levels above 100 mg/dl in individuals who consume a diet rich in saturated animal fats and cholesterol that is customarily ingested in Western societies”.

    1. But so long as my lipids are good that means I’d doing OK right? Or do you mean to suggest that I’m gonna die early because I didn’t listen to your advice (my choice surely?) despite having excellent health markers.. the same health markers that all your “studies” keep rabbiting on about?

      Or perhaps I should ignore the health markers, ignore the advice of my own doctors, no longer apply any critical thinking to my choices, shut up and just do as you tell me… because you say so? LOL 😛

  41. Second comment. Finished “Death” last night. Without equivocation, it is much more than worth the wait (and its weight). A nuanced sojourn through the science and silliness of nutrition advice. The product of a nimble mind keenly tuned to subtlety. A tour de force. Bravo, Denise, bravo! Deserves to be the all time NYT best seller.

      1. Daniel:
        I took your sage advice and wrote a nice review of “Death by Food Pyramid,” and posted it on Amazon. They rejected it. I read their guidelines twice, and the rejection remains inexplicable. Perhaps because I bought the book from Marks’s Daily Apple rather than Amazon? Because I mentioned the names of other researchers/scientists? Because they don’t know what a book review is (the four currently posted are neither reviews nor written by people who’ve read the book)? Quien sabe. I wrote this as a gift to an absolutely first-rate and delightful truth-teller, and to help these truths reach a wider audience. Here it is:
        Essential Reading for Humans
        I finished reading “Death by Food Pyramid” last night. Couldn’t put it down, actually. Six decades of interest and concern about the relationship between diet and health, due to the early demise of my father from to heart disease, was largely for naught until I discovered the work of Weston A. Price, Chris Masterjohn, Denise Minger, Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, Stephanie Seneff, and many others, because our government and media have consistently supported industry at the expense of public health. Denise Minger is a gifted artist with the English language (we English majors appreciate that in one another). The book is, without equivocation, much more than worth the wait of more than two years. It is a nuanced, wide-ranging sojourn through the science and silliness of nutritional advice, with an excellent section on reading and interpreting scientific studies, and recognizing the difference between good science and shaky science (of which there is and abundance, and probably always has been). It is the product of a nimble mind, keenly attuned to subtlety. A tour de force. Bravo, Denise, bravo.

    1. I haven’t read yet, but I have no doubt that the book is great.
      And, it’s official now:
      Our baby of nutrition is now a grown up.

  42. I’m waiting for the kindle version but after reading the stress you underwent writing this book, just wanted to apologize for those emails asking about it:) I’ve been excited for a while.

  43. In 1978 Jeremiah Stamler, one of the leading pioneers of Diet-Heart, asked whether (he and) the AHA have been wrong all those years. This is a landmark article which provides rather compelling evidence for diet-heart.

    Did you consider any of these Denise? Stamler refers to multiple lines of evidence including autopsy studies and studies that used carotid atherosclerosis as an end-point, he also discusses range of methodological issues in regards prospective cohorts and trials.

    Click to access 3.full.pdf

    1) Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is not associated with a reduction in carotid atherosclerosis: the Genetics of Coronary Artery Disease in Alaska Natives study

    “Dietary intake of omega-3 FAs in a moderate-to-high range does not appear to be associated with reduced plaque, but is negatively associated with IMT. The presence and extent of carotid atherosclerosis among Eskimos is higher with increasing consumption of saturated FAs


    2) Dietary fat intake and carotid artery wall thickness: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.

    ”Wall thickness was measured with B-mode ultrasound. After adjustment for age and energy intake, animal fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, cholesterol, and Keys’ score were positively related to wall thickness, while vegetable fat and polyunsaturated fat were inversely related to wall thickness.These associations persisted after further adjustment for smoking and hypertension and were consistent across the four race and sex groups. Thus, elements of habitual dietary intake were consistently associated with carotid artery wall thickness, compatible with their putatively atherogenic and antiatherogenic properties”.


    Anyways, have to take an open-minded look to your book, maybe you tell us something that Stamler missed in 1978 and in his 2010 editorial.

    1. Where is the evidence relating to the actual mortality rate for these people Richard? All your talk of atherosclerosis is is so very scary isn’t it. Oooohh!:-P

      But please do keep an open-mind about this new book rather than rely on others’ deconstruction of it for you. Maybe YOU have missed something along the way.

      Meantime I will keep on doing what I am doing to stay healthy. I’d be interested (and probably amused) to hear your rationalization as to how I can possibly be healthy, despite eating contrary to your advice. You must have one hell of an ego, or are being well paid by some vested interest, or you must be completely deluded if you think that any your “evidence” can convince me to eat the way you suggest; when I know (from experience) what harm eating that way, would do to me.

  44. It’s a bit awkward you’re releasing it through Mark sissons company, when you have 3 chapters called:
    How to determine whom and what to trust for health information.
    How to spot a charlatan and run for the hills away from poor nutritional advice.
    Why the most confident and self-promoting “health experts” are often the least competent.

    His book and blog posts more often than not fall into the “shoddy science and shady special interests” category.

    1. I don’t agree with that assessment of Mark Sisson, James–at all–but all credit to him for offering a book contract to someone whom he knew would be scrupulously honest about the areas–if any–where the data showed his recommendations to be errant…

      1. He offered her a book deal because he knew he could make money of it. She has worked for him before in blog posts defending low carb diets. If she didn’t tread lightly on certain topics the book wouldn’t be published, period. Mark is a good business man I admit that much.

  45. I am very much looking forward to reading this book, despite knowing there will be recommendations on how to cook meat (as I am a vegetarian). The sampler is a page turner. If you managed to write a book that doesn’t make my head explode but also informs me deeply, I will be more than amazed, Denise.

  46. James,

    good point. LOL! I see lot of people commenting here have really put their faith in Minger. It feels somewhat bizarre that someone would sincerely think that Minger and Masterjohn, a renown quack & denialist, are in bed with integrity, honesty and hard-work. Well, each to their own.

    I must just say that it is not Denise Minger who visited the national library in DC for 19 times to conduct his research like PrimitiveNutrition did for example. Minger did not hesitate to tarnish Keys legacy by creating false accusation and confusion. Minger could not even withhold from resorting to outlandish lies when she dealing with such a straight-forward topic such as fruit.

    These are not a bunch of nice, humble people sincerely interested in nutrition science. These are pretty much some of the worst merchants of doubt and confusion you can find on the face of this planet.

  47. And while I don’t identify with a specific diet, I absolutely support the ancestral health movement and the vast majority of what it pumps out—in terms of research, theory, and genuinely awesome people.

    LOL…..yes, Minger, your friends are awesome, not a hint denialism.

    41 PUFAs Oxidize!

    My favorite Mingy quote:

    “(I) ‘did a deeper analysis of the 1950s data than Keys himself probably did’”

    Sure, baby: you took a careful look at the diet-heart especially from perspective of statistics, and that’s why you were first to let us know the fact that Stamler showed already in the 1970s that most of the studies used in S-T meta-analysis would show zero correlation because methodologic shortcomings….ahem! I really appreciate your sincerity Minger!

    Saturated fat and heart disease

    Liu K, Stamler JS, Dyer A, McKeever J, McKeever P. Statistical methods to assess and minimize the role of intra- individual variability in obscuring the relationship between dietary lipids and serum cholesterol. J Chronic Dis 1978;31:399–418.

    1. I’m glad to see that this new book poses such a threat to your beliefs, or the profits of your paymasters… must be scary to see your own credibility slipping inexorably away LOL 😛

      1. I thought Richard was just a troll at one stage but but the more you hang around the paleo bloggers the more you realize just how transparent and deceptive they can be to further their beliefs. If we are supposed to get upset and be outraged when mainstream health advice is wrong but Mark sisson and Robb wolf get a pass, even when are purposely misleading or confusing certain issues.

        Now, Denise seems to be acknowledging this now to an extent but I’m sure she doesn’t rock the boat too much considering she is pandering to the butter loving crowd to sell her book. It must of been quite the balancing act realizing that they are mostly spouting gibberish to sell their books and supplements after she has already accepted a book offer and made so many friends in the community.

        I can guarantee plant positives video series, especially his recent ones are one of the main reasons for the book delays. If it wasn’t for his video’s coming along her book would of been a lot easier to write and would of been filled with a lot more pseudoscience.

        I hope she doesn’t focus on a false dichotomy between butter or margarine. Neither are a good idea for people interested in health. I also hope the book at least informs the paleo crowd that eating a diet that ensures they are maintaining a high LDL/LDL-P is most certainly a really stupid idea.

        1. If he is not simply a troll then he is being paid well to spout his verbal diarrhoea on oh so many blogs… he even works from a set script at times. The fact that you support him and apparently Pee Pee, obviously now has me doubting your sincerity and certainly your credibility as a source of anything useful.

          How anyone could even sit through five minutes of that awful droning voice on Pee Pee videos, without getting a little weird in the head.. well maybe that explains a great deal.

          In my world view NO-ONE gets a free pass, not Gary Taubes, Not Mark Sisson, Not Denise Minger and certainly not Pee Pee, HL Richard or any other person who hides behind the anonymity of the internet to try and persuade me to deny the evidence of my own eyes. I don’t take an editorial by Stumpler or whatever the heck his name is as any more “evidence” than an opinion piece written by Albert Einstein.

          This is why I am happy to support a book that seems to be about applying critical thinking to health and nutrition. I’m not about to simply shut-up and take the word of anyone.

          1. Plant positive? Well, I brushed his videos of for a while for the same reasons as you an apparently everyone else does, because of his tone of voice and attitude, and the fact that he was a vegan ( I myself am not a vegan by the way). But if you actually watch his videos especially his new sets you’ll realize he deserves credit for smashing many of the so called paleo/primal/saturated fat/cholesterol truths. Even Denise will give him that credit I’m sure.
            The only blogger that chose to take on PP probably didn’t know what he got himself into seeing that he only watched a few minutes of his video. I was an avid follower of Anthony Colpos blog and I only really started watching “Pee pee’s” videos after he got into a feud. I was humbled and surprised when Plant positive literally tore apart all his talking points and studies cited and basically exposed him as an amateur blogging fitness instructor who distorts and even blatantly misinterprets research. I kind of had him in high regard after he clearly got the better of Eades, who I also held in high regard at one stage. He has does decent standard bodybuilding weight loss advice but that’s about all.

            1. My impression is that videos are generally done by people whose arguments won’t stand up to careful reading if put in print. However, if you’ll link to a short video where he “smashes” a paleo – not primal – “truth”.

              And, Colpos “got the better of” Eades? That’s not the way I saw it.

              1. “My impression is that videos are generally done by people whose arguments won’t stand up to careful reading if put in print”

                I think you’re confusing him with the paleo crowd, which he does a great job debunking. Also, he’s videos are actually in print on his website.

                You’re really going to have to put aside bias and watch the videos. I wouldn’t know where to begin but here’s a topics which he exposes the paleo promoters.

                – The truth about the masai and inuit
                – Why high LDL and saturated fat are not “benign”
                – Some history of ancel keys and john yudkin
                – Just some of the history behind diet-heart and cholesterol
                – How uffe ravonskov and Gary tabues blatantly lied, emitted facts and even misrepresented not just studies but many people he actually quoted.
                – How the Weston Price foundation also lies about studies they link in hoping people don’t actually look at the studies themselves.
                – How promoters like sisson, Wolf, Jaminet and countless others do the same.
                – Why the actual touted studies by Eenfeldt and other low carbers make the diet look rather poor.
                And plenty more on basically everything you can poke a grass fed T-bone at, including agriculture, cholesterol, high protein content, carbs, wheat, depression, Japan, Cholesterol, Cordain, Phytates, heart disease, etc etc.
                At the very least, upon watching his videos you’ll get a glimpse of some of the tactics, deception, motives and ignorance behind the top paleo/primal promoters

                1. I think PP’s work is amazing. However, if I had to choose favorite, it would these 3 from his Response serie:

                  Anthony Colpo’s Confusionist Mind, Part 1
                  Anthony Colpo’s Confusionist Mind, Part 2
                  RaCCG3: Colpo’s Journal Article

                  The 3 videos on cholesterol in his reponse serie (the futility of cholesterol denialism) are nice as well. I had lot of fun with these.

                  Anyways, the cutting edge of cholesterol “skeptics” do not even know the terms confusionist and apologetics, English is not my first but even I can tell that these words do not refer to confucianism nor apologies. Most of these skeptics are just blatantly dumb. Chris Masterjohn talks about “negative liver fat” and how sunflower sucks all the fat from the liver so that nothing is left out)… homeostatis, anyone….phew..(41 PUFAs oxidize).

                  What does it tell about the level of intellectual and rational reasoning among WestonPrice/Paleo-people when they collectively as a sect decided that Ancel Keys cherrypicked his countries to fabricate a trend? They obviously never took a paus and paid attention to the fact that Keys (1953) omitted Finland and Ceylon from his bunch of 6 countries as well. Both Finland and Ceylon made the best examples of diet-heart with the opposite conditions. Why leave out Finland with the highest intake of SFA and highest CHD mortality in the world?

                  Effects of dietary cold-pressed turnip rapeseed oil and butter on serum lipids, oxidized LDL and arterial elasticity in men with metabolic syndrome

                  Click to access 1476-511X-9-137.pdf

                  1. Come on, it’s not hard to do a 2 second youtube search.

                    Want to know about the large fluffy LDL which doesn’t contribute to heart disease as we’ve heard so many paleo promoters say?
                    Skip to 10:24 unless you want to hear other rubbish from Lustig.

                    The number of people on paleo forums who take false comfort in their jacked up LDL becuase they are told it’s mainly the large fluffy kind which is “non athrogenic” is disturbing.

                    1. Lustig isn’t a paleo advocate. Lustig thinks fructose, and thus fruit, is a poison. The paleo viewpoint is that fruit is fine, and the evolutionary evidence for this is that we’ve evolved a specialized system, the hepatic portal system, that shunts fructose directly from the gut to the liver, where it is processed into harmless glycogen and fat. That prevents the fructose from reaching the rest of the body, where it could damage other tissue.

                      The whole “types of LDL” discussion is a red herring from the paleo diet standpoint. No form of cholesterol has ever been shown to cause heart disease. TC and LDL are correlated with heart disease, but correlations are not causations; in addition, if you must argue correlations, the TG/HDL ratio is much more strongly correlated to heart disease, and when controlled for the TG/HDL ratio, the correlations between heart disease and TC and LDL basically disappear.

                    2. Incidentally, in case it wasn’t clear from my previous comment, I did view about 10 minutes of your linked video starting at the point you recommend. Plant Positive seems unaware of the difference between correlation and causation, incorrectly concluding from a study showing “association” – that is, correlation – between LDL and atherosclerosis that LDL is “atherogenic” – that is, causes atherosclerosis. I can’t overemphasize how incorrect it is to assume correlations imply causations. In some cases, the causations have been shown to be directly opposite of what would be expected from the correlations, as with hormone replacement therapy, which is correlated with positive outcomes, but where clinical trials capable of examining causation showed that the the therapy actually increased total cause mortality.

                      I do appreciate your helping me look at Plant Positive’s stuff, but I have to conclude it’s worthless for drawing conclusions about the paleo diet, both because of his failure to understand key issues regarding analysis of the data, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to address actual paleo arguments, which are different from nonpaleo arguments for low carb.

            2. Having done the research for myself instead of relying on others, I’ve realized that Anthony Colpo is in fact correct about saturated fat and cholesterol. PP is really the one who has no clue what he is talking about and distorts the views of others. He could not even properly criticize Gary Taubes without putting his vegan spin on every study.

              1. I had done the “research” at one stage as well. I have read almost all the cholesterol books including Colpo’s.
                By the way, what exactly do you believe Colpo is “right” about?
                Saturated fat doesn’t raise Cholesterol?
                LDL is completely meaningless?
                Total cholesterol is of zero concern?
                Low cholesterol causes depression?
                Ancel keyes was a dishonest scientist who cherry picked his data?

                  1. Z.M
                    That was a pretty extreme data dump. But, what exactly refutes that high LDL is not a risk factor for heart disease?
                    You post a lot about other factors also contribute to heart disease. That isn’t disputed and it doesn’t contradict the fact that LDL is one of the primary concerns.

                    I did notice at the end you referenced Peter Attia’s “Straight dope on cholesterol” blog posts.

                    Are you aware that Peter Attia along with Thomas Dayspring regonise LDL-p as the best predictor of Athrosclerosis and future coronary events?

                    If you have spent enough time on low carb and paleo forums you would realise that nearly everyone that posts their NMR results have an extremely worrisome LDL-p number. I just hope they take some steps at least see a little common sense.

                    1. James: “That isn’t disputed and it doesn’t contradict the fact that LDL is one of the primary concerns.”

                      Where is the evidence that LDL causes disease? If you are claiming that LDL per se causes disease then you need to provide the evidence. The point of my blog posts was to show that the burden of (inductive) proof has not been met. Not even close since most of the evidence even argues against cholesterol lowering.

                      James: “Are you aware that Peter Attia along with Thomas Dayspring regonise LDL-p as the best predictor of Athrosclerosis and future coronary events”

                      Of course. I even mentioned Dayspring in part 2. Their views are based on the response to retention hypothesis which hasn’t been proved.

          1. Re: “Lustig thinks fructose, and thus fruit, is a poison.”

            If I recall correctly from AHS’11, Lustig believes fructose consumption via fruit is generally fine because the other components of fruit–fiber, water, etc. make it difficult to overeat fruit & thus consume “too much” fructose.

            (I’m not a fan of Lustig for other reasons–principally his blowhard personality and his desire to use the power of government to wage a “war on sugar” and force people to eat a diet he approves of, AKA Lustig Knows Best.)

            Re: “Denise has always been more negative about paleo than she is able to justify.”

            Rather odd, then, that Denise would be one of the most universally admired figures within the “paleo community”, capable of generation simultaneous acclamation from the likes of Richard Nikoley, Melissa McEwen, Jimmy Moore and Robb Wolf. It would probably be easier to get Benjamin Netanyahu, The Palestinian Authority, Taylor Swift and Kanye West to agree on Just One Thing…

            Instead, how ’bout: Denise is an independent researcher, wise far beyond her years, who tries her darndest to be scrupulous honest and call ’em as she sees ’em, and that means acknowledging both the good/valid points of paleo diets and “the paleo movement” and the flaws and possible drawbacks, such as initial emphasis on very-low carb diets, unnecessary avoidance of dairy, viewing food as a panacea, etc.?

            1. danielkirsner: Excellent Write Up: ” Denise is an independent researcher, wise far beyond her years, who tries her darndest to be scrupulous honest and call ‘em as she sees ‘em, and that means acknowledging both the good/valid points ”

              Is way I see it as well :0)

            2. Lustig is on the record repeatedly as stating that sugar, and fructose in particular, is the problem – not just a problem, but the problem. As far as he’s concerned, any diet without sugar is fine. Possibly he’s also okay with whole fruit, but the fact is, he doesn’t care about many of the other dietary issues that paleo also addresses. He can’t reasonably be characterized as a paleo advocate, which is what the comment I was responding to was trying to do.

              Denise is admired in ancestral health circles – which, it is to be noted, are much broader and more diffuse than paleo specifically – primarily for her debunking of “The China Study”, which is basically the bible of the vegetarian movement. Many people in the ancestral health movement remember her for that and that only.

              However, Denise’s skepticism about paleo has never been as specific as you suggest; rather, she just states she’s skeptical without giving much of a reason. That’s justifiable if she simply hasn’t investigated the science underlying paleo to the extent that she would need to to make a judgement, as I suspect is the case. However, she gives the diets she identifies with culturally, such as whole foods vegetarian, much more benefit of the doubt than she does paleo.

              Incidentally, avoidance of dairy is no more “unnecessary” to paleo than is avoidance of grains. The justification in both cases is the same: carbohydrates that most of us are not adapted to eat, with the exception of adult lactose tolerant individuals in the case of dairy and high amylase copy number individuals in the case of grains, but more importantly nonmeat proteins that we’re not adapted to eat, which cause abnormal immune response and are linked to a wide variety of autoimmune diseases. This is why paleo, unlike other primal and “ancestral” diets, is not only reasonably effective for losing excess fat, it’s also normally effective for putting autoimmune diseases such as endometriosis and multiple sclerosis into remission.

  48. Excellent points James,

    PlantPositive must have caused nightmares for Denise, although, in the end she probably just decided to neglect his material and rely on the fact that her audience is more interested in hearing good stories than the actual science. Her audience won’t be screening PlantP’s videos nor reading HealthyL’s blog, but she pays prize for knowing that those who do will see through her bluff. Money and fame over integrity. Business as usual.

    I’d like to comment on the margarine issue. Margarines today are very different chapter to what they were back in the 1960s and 1970s when most of the diet trials were done. I personally don’t promote margarines but I tend to always store 1 pack of canola-oil based margarine in fridge to buffer for shortages for oil-free Hummus or Tahini. So, I am not scared of that stuff but neither am I trying to loose weight. Appeal-to-nature fallacy is a fallacy, and that’s the fallacy mostly used to rationalize the alleged health damaging effects of margarines.

    This guy did a nice round-up for margarine vs butter, although if one is to rely solely on RCTs and prospective cohorts, then only the weakest form of evidence against SFA will ever be considered (see the 5 lines of evidence I presented for diet-heart).

    Butter is not healthier than margarine or vegetable oil

    Let’s not forget that there are actually 3 trials that I am aware of the tested the hypothesis that smoking cessation would lower the risk of lung cancer mortality. All 3 trials failed to produce statistically significant findings despite reporting significant reductions in smoking prevalence in the group that received counselling on smoking cessation. These trials include the Whitehall Study, the Lung Health Study, and MRFIT, which included in total over 20,000 participants and up to 20 years of follow-up. This makes these trials considerably larger in both in terms of participant size and length of follow-up than the trials that focused on replacing primarily saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats. The largest of these 3 trials found that the number of lung cancer deaths were actually 15% greater, albeit not statistically significant in the group that received counselling on smoking cessation.

    The relative failure of these smoking cessations trials can be considered a very good example of why all forms of evidence need to be considered when evaluating a hypothesis, not just a few data points from a few randomized controlled trials. The lack of statistically significant favourable findings in the group that received counselling on smoking cessation has been explained by a lack of follow-up time sufficient to achieve the maximum benefits of smoking cessation (which is believed to be more than 2 decades), lack of participant size, a smaller than anticipated number of participants in the group that received counselling that quit smoking, and a greater than anticipated number in the group that did not receive counselling that quit smoking. These limitations are very similar to those that plague the trails that attempted to test the diet-heart hypothesis.

    1. Some margarines might be ok to use in minute amounts but the majority still contain all sorts of garbage. There is a few olive oil spreads available today that seem benign, but you really have to scan the labels for them.

      The fact that artificially chemically laden trans fat containing margerines in the 80’s done as well as butter in certain trials shouldn’t be giving people any confidence in butters healthiness . In fact it’s almost mind boggling. Such low standards in low carb land.

      1. ^Yep,

        nowdays the transfat content in margarines in near 0% at least in Northern Europe, UK/Scandinavia.

        When looking at surrogate markers, margarine beats butter top down (LDL; LDL/HDL ratio, etc). Finland experienced over 80% decrease in age-adjusted CHD mortality out of which 50% was explained by the changes in mean serum cholesterol that took place in few decades; this change was explained almost completely with changes in saturated fat intake (from 21% calories to the current 12-13%); the biggest dietary change occurred when the Finnish people ditched butter at the favor of margarine. Similar, albeit less dramatic, changes occurred throughout the Northern Europe (Iceland, Norway, Sweden etc).

        Moreover, ecologic data shows that when people increase their intake of seed oils at the expense of animal fats, CHD and total mortality plummet. This may not provide compelling evidence for the health benefits of oils and margarines but it certainly refutes most the nonsense surrounding plant oils.

        After a decade of steady increases, the rates of coronary heart disease mortality in the Czech Republic and Poland fell almost immediately and halved within about 15 years following the abolishment of communist subsidies on meat and animal fats after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nearly half of this decline has been explained by decreases in serum cholesterol.

        Zatonski WA, Willett W. Changes in dietary fat and declining coronary heart disease in Poland: population based study. BMJ 2005;331:187–8.

        Zatonski W, Campos H, Willett W. Rapid declines in coronary heart disease mortality in Eastern Europe are associated with increased consumption of oils rich in alpha- linolenic acid. Eur J Epidemiol 2008;23:3–10.

        Plant oils have traditionally been in used in Northern China as well:

        “In 1940, I confirmed De Langen’s results… by the observation that in North China, coronary disease, cholesterol [gall]stones and thrombosis were practically nonexistent among the poorer classes. They lived on a cereal-vegetable diet consisting of bread baked from yellow corn, millet, soybean flour and vegetables sautéed in peanut and sesame oil. Since cholesterol is present only in animal food, their serum cholesterol content was often in the range of 100 mg. per cent. These findings paralleled the observation of De Langen that coronary artery disease was frequent among Chinese who had emigrated to the Dutch East Indies and followed the high fat diet of the European colonists”.

        –Snapper 1964;

        1. Richard.

          I want to give you the option of continuing to post here. I really do. I’ve never deleted any of your comments, even the extremely rude ones; I try to trudge through your emails even when you address me as “You sick f*ck” and paste a confusing hodgepodge of unattributed excerpts from other people. Believe it or not, I think you make valid points once in awhile — and it’s for those little gems that I plow through the rest. I do appreciate being challenged and questioned. And I always love to learn.

          But you have a tendency to launch irrelevant monologues on every post I write, and it makes the comment sections pretty inhospitable. For that reason, you’re now banned.

          If you’re willing to behave and stop writing the same broken-record diatribes here, you’re welcome to plead your case to my inbox. Until then… stay classy, my friend. 😉

        2. Richard, you seem to be more interested in convincing yourself of something here with all your links and blurbs from “studies”. Do you have a blog where you discuss your ideas? You could simply post your rebuttals there and then leave a link to those posts.

          And you may be aware of this quote, which applies to any human communication and interaction: “You have very little morally persuasive power with people who can feel your underlying contempt.”

        3. Genuine scientists have moved on from the 1950’s nonsense. It is far more complicated.

          LDL becomes modified and/or oxidized, then the immune systems’ T-cells do NOT recognize it and attack it. Immune system involvment is the new area in CAD. ScienceDaily has many articles. Get in the 21st century, D I C K .

          Science does not work by FIAT. We continually become “less wrong”. Einstein was “less wrong’ than Newton.

          LDL is nopt thrown away, but it is far more complicated. Viruses, bacteria p[ollution ALL appear to be involved., D I CK ,

  49. Anyways,

    I am glad Minger touches the seven country study in her book. I wrote couple word about it here:

    Diet-Heart Denialism

    That study should spark some puzzling for a sincere SFA confusionist, does such person exist? People in Ushibuka Japan (1 of 2 Japanese cohorts) had their TC around 3.7mmol/l (145mg/dl) and 1/37 level of CHD mortality compared to Eastern Finland. 70% of the Japanese males smoked, out of whom 40% smoked 20 fags of more. Blood-pressure in Japan was higher than in the US. Yet, atherosclerotic artery disease was practically nonexistent at the time. What else would have explained this if not the cumulative, life-long exposure to low-fat diet induced low serum cholesterol (only 2,5% calories from SFA; compare to Western vegans who top often +6% SFA). In Finland, 21% calories came from SFA and TC was around 6.7mmol/l. The highest CHD mortality in the world; obesity and diabetes were rare at the time. Transfats did not exist in the Finnish food supply in the1960s apart from what consisted naturally in butter and dairy. The Finnish men that were screened in 7CS for decades had never visited McDonald’s, most likely had never drank Coca Cola, sugar consumption was significantly lower compared Sweden at the time which had “only” 1/2 of the CHD mortality that was observed in its Eastern neighbor subsisting on a high-fat, butter-based diet.

    Best article for the lipid-theory that I know, by Daniel Steinberg; cholesterol skeptics, this is your one of a kind opportunity, do not miss it.

    Evidence Mandating Earlier and More Aggressive Treatment of Hypercholesterolemia

      1. Well not really,

        besides even if it was wheat-based by some standards, there was no changes in wheat that coincided with the changes in CHD mortality in Finland. In Finland, saturated fat was replaced with carbohydrate and margarine, which was pretty much how it went in Norway and Sweden as well. However, the staple grains in Finland, especially Eastern Finland was the typical Eastern European rye bread and oats. Intake of refined wheat-products must have been marginal in the poor and agrarian Eastern Finland in the 1950’s and 1960s. Breakfest cereals did not exist in these backwoods at the time.

        Besides, remember that the most wheat-eaters in the world have had traditionally very low levels of CHD. This includes the Beduins in Southern Israel as well as some Jewish groups and in a larger context pretty the whole rural Middle-East/Northern Africa. Also, pay attention that the highest intakes of table sugar per capita have traditionally been observed in countries such as Cuba, Costa-Rica, etc. These countries have showed very low rates of CHD as well.

        1) Why have total cholesterol levels declined in most developed countries?

        2) The importance of reducing SFA to limit CHD (2011).

        3) Response to Hoenselaar from Pedersen et al

        1. It a little thing eh “dick”? 😛

          Your preferred tack seems to be trying to get everyone to accept that there is a solid line of causation from Saturated Fatty Acids (SFA) (from animal products of course) -> raised “cholesterol” -> atherosclerosis -> cardiovascular disease -> sudden death from myocardial infarction, stroke or early death from heart failure.


          You constantly overlook the nuances and subtleties like (as one example) even failing to recognise the differences between “cholesterol”, LDL, LDL-C and LDL-P… when it suits you of course.

          Your “experts” are all “world renowned authorities in their field”, while anyone (even an accredited scientist) who disagrees with your point of view is a “charlatan”, a “denialist” or a “fraudster”.

          Your “evidence” is presented as if it is irrefutable.. which in and of itself goes again the very principles of the scientific method but it is rarely the case anyway that your “evidence” is as rock solid as you like to present it… especially as (just as you display above) you intersperse the real data with your own opinion, so as to conflate the two.

          Have some respect for others, stop being so damned ignorant and allow others to speak.

          I am living proof (among plenty of other apparently) that the conclusions you try to draw about the lipid hypothesis are incorrect. No amount of your quoting “studies” or the interpretation of studies, will make me deny the evidence of my own eyes and my own life experience.

          You’ve tried ad nauseum (and failed) to make your point ,so time to move on now and let the grown-up have a reasonable discussion.

          As suggested, you could always go and make your own blog which folks could read (or not) as they chose. You might even do so by shedding the anonymity… stop hiding behind multiple aliases, proxy servers etc,,, etc… all you little games.

          Surely even you can see how much more credible someone is who puts themselves out there for public scrutiny; as compared to an ignorant low-life like yourself? Of note: neither healthylongevity nor plantpositive have contact details, or even an “about” section saying who they really are or what qualifies them to preach at anyone. Why hide if you have the truth?

          1. FrankG,

            it has come to my knowledge that even Minger raises some corcern over the health of low-carbers in her book, especially in regards to thyroid function. I’d say that the thyroid health is important but probably not the most important and certainly not the only concern for someone doing paleo long term.

            This “healthy” paleo-blogger ate lot of real food and experienced a sudden cardiadic death, which is exactly what is expected as the worst case for someone eating a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fats. This is very sad, and should elevate some concern on people doin’ similar lifestyle!

            If you look at the experimental data, if atherosclerosis is to be induced in lab animals, lectins, wheat and sugar are NOT the first foods on the list, butter, egg yolks, and lard are….speaking of causal links!.

            All the major health organizations around the world provide rather congruent message: eat more whole-grains, fruits and vegetables and replace SFAs with plant oils. Has Minger done such a profound investigation and found out something that all the educated nutrition and atherosclerosis experts around the world have missed?

            1. I find it very notable that you failed to address a single point which I raised.

              It seems that every response by you, is simply another opportunity to write “the same broken-record diatribes”

              You talk a great deal but say very little, “dick”

            2. The man who died in your link above was in his fifties and died suddenly while out biking with his two best friends. His father had also died suddenly of an heart attack in his fifties. Yes it is sad for those he leaves behind but given a choice, I’d just as soon go quickly while living my life to the full, than waste away in some old folks home, wearing a diaper and not even recognising my own son. You have absolutely no objective evidence that his diet led to his early death, so all your posturing is purely speculative. I could just as well say it was the SAD he ate, before changing his lifestyle, along with a strong genetic predisposition, which ultimately set him up for his heart attack — prove me wrong, why don’t you.

              Interesting to the note the supportive comments from those who followed his blog. An helpful blog to a great many, so far as I read. Especially those with IBS and Crohns. Notably I don’t see commenters in their droves saying anything like “OMG! Thanks for the timely warning! I really must change my diet and stop following his healthy paleo advice, in case it kills me!” — odd that eh???

              You’re also still harping on about atherosclerosis as if that is what we really all should fear. It’s either that or “cholesterol” …right???

              Me, I’m more interested in living an happy, healthy life and hopefully, chasing my grandchildren around the garden someday. By every measure I am on good track to do just that — much better that I was when listening to the same advice as you still spout… or perhaps I should ignore all my health markers and the support of my Doctors, on the word of some very ignorant, disrespectful and contemptuous person who skulks around anonymously on the interweb?

              You also like to try and score points with “consensus” or the “weight of evidence”… as if quantity somehow make up for quality in science.

              If all the major health organisations do speak with the same voice and their advice is sound, then why are we not all healthy?

              Why are you so put out by a book written by Denise? Do you really think she carries so much influence and that she is determined to undermine the health establishment and drag us all down with her?

              Same question as before really… you swear by anonymous skulkers like Pee Pee and HL, who really serve no purpose because they only parrot the mainstream (with clear a vegan agenda), while you go out of your way to try and discredit those who really stand no chance of success because (so far as you say) they are so obviously wrong and the weight of evidence is firmly against them.. so why bother?

              Oh dear… what a monumental waste of everyone’s time you are!

            3. PleadingDick: “If you look at the experimental data, if atherosclerosis is to be induced in lab animals, lectins, wheat and sugar are NOT the first foods on the list, butter, egg yolks, and lard are….speaking of causal links!. ”

              Atherosclerosis can be induced in lab animals but can also be reduced, prevented or regressed with various treatments without changes in cholesterol or in the presence of hypercholesterolemia. Therefore, it is not correct to blame it on cholesterol per se. Also, saturated fat does not necessarily cause harm to animals especially without cholesterol feeding and there is no evidence it is harmful in humans.

        2. Unrefined wheat is just as bad as refined wheat from the standpoint of gluten and the other proteins in grains that cause the chronic inflammation that increases heart disease risk. Rye is even worse than wheat in this respect, and oats also have such proteins.

          Your argument that sugar is fine would imply that you should think that modern prepared breakfast cereals are healthier than black bread, so maybe that’s what helped Finland.

          But hey, I went back to your link to read more about Finland, and guess what I found? The thread says “prospective cohort studies suggest no independent associations of SFA intake with CHD risk”. In other words, the actual facts indicate there’s no problem with saturated fat, and you’re just cherry picking meaningless examples.

  50. Glad you banned him. He pretty took over the comment section, and he’s not interesting or coherent enough to make that a good thing. He’s free to create his own blog and “debunk” you to his heart content over there.

    In the meantime, your book looks awesome. I’ll looking forward to being challenged.

  51. A fantastic book, which was well worth the wait! As such, how did you get through it all? I’m doing something similar, and really am wondering what it takes to get over these time-sink slumps

    1. “Yes, it will eventually be available on Kindle. Likely first thing in January when the book officially drops at Amazon and at other retail locations. Stay tuned.”

      –Primal Blueprint Publishing Team, December 8, 2013–

  52. Ordered the book (been waiting on this). Glad to see you posting here again, Denise. Looking forward to whatever intrigues you next enough to write about.

  53. Really looking forward to the book. Ordered and will apparently ship on January 1st in Canada. I know it will be informative and interesting. I’m also glad you banned Richard. He has polluted the comments section of too many of your posts already.

  54. Long time since you wrote last time, I wondered what happened. Like Christbartos I`m waiting for Kindle edition. Is it in plans?

  55. Oooooh, Kindle in January, I’m on it! Congratulations on your new book! And I’m sure, with such dedicated research and fascination tendencies, you would have made an excellent Cat, if you had decided to go that way.

  56. Kudos Sister Cat!
    All the things you said above spoke to me, personally! Fantastic to make serendipitous connections in this surreal world. I am a vegeterrorist/occ.vegan/freq.raw foodie also starving for the real truth. Tis a life study. My nourishing journey began with illness so every bite counts! Even if I read the good aspects of eating animal friends I will not be interested. I choose whats best for my friends. I will devour your experiential knowledge and be better for it. Pce-meow!

  57. Don’t expect to receive book orders from Primalblueprint.com before Christmas. I ordered 3 copies as Christmas gifts on Dec. 13th; USPS just notified me they won’t be arriving until the 26th. Primal doesn’t use FedEx, and calls to them on Monday and today were fruitless. Bummer!

  58. Thanks Denise. A book that questions everything and then ties together all the existing information was exactly what I was hoping for. Can’t wait to read it.

  59. Just found out that Amazon has released and shipped the book. Should be getting it in time for Christmas. Oh! Kindle is now available!

    1. “This casual assumption of both one’s own genius and the idiocy of mainstream scientists is a core feature of the crank”. You make up your own pithy aphorisms? – I see you haven’t credited your “quote” to anyone else. In light of DM’s mainly respectful references to those she comments on, you apparently aren’t referring to her, and in any case a weighty education does not make one immune to idiocy.

  60. I pre-ordered the book on June and it arrived today. I sat down and started reading it and just now finished it. Thank you for writing it. It’s meticulously researched and written in a way that I can recommend it to a large variety of people.

    I’ve done a lot of my own research and have drawn many of the same conclusions, and while it’s nice to feel I’m on the same page, it’s even better to have the heavy lifting and citations you’ve done here. This book is amazing and it’s going onto my list of must read recommendations Also on my list of books I must have extras of since I’ll lend it out and won’t get it back in time for me to read again.

    Thank you for your commitment, quality of writing and analysis.

  61. “Now officially retired, the USDA food pyramid endures as part of the national consciousness, representing more than just a set of government-approved food guidelines, but the culmination of big business, shady politics, and slippery science.”

    “more than just … but”? Did you mean “not just … but”? Or “more than just … but also”? Might have needed one more editing pass here.

  62. Denise,

    What has frustrated me so much in my journey to eat healthier is that many individuals with credentials seem to be incapable of having a collaborative dialogue with a view towards changing their _own_ mind on what reasonably promotes health with respect to food. It is for this reason that I have really enjoyed reading your posts and listening to you reflect on your doubts using a thought process of uncertainty–something that is more profound to me that the fiat certainties proclaimed by the Food Patriarchs with credentials. Please, what ever you do, don’t stop being yourself!

    Oh, and would you pretty please consider narrating an Audible.com version of your book? I would adore that!

    Double Oh–No matter what anyone says, I will never stop eating chocolate!


  63. Denise! Any chance your brilliant mind will formally weigh in on the GMO debate in the future? I would *love* to know where you stand on that issue! Say yes! Say yes! (But take your time…I know you’re recuperating after birthing a book).

  64. Congratulations Denise. Excellent writing is the hardest job and I admire everything you have done. You deserve all the support we can give you for the huge task you undertook. 5 copies ordered a couple of weeks ago. It’s Canada……they’ll arrive eventually.

  65. Congratulations, Denise, on your good work. I have one quibble, though, about the Cretan fasting behaviours: snails and shellfish provide a respectable amount of protein per 100g serving, 19.55g and from 6.00 to 17.26g, respectively.

    Granted, this is less protein than would be provided by a 100g serving of beef, lamb, or chicken.

    I particularly like your analysis of the Big Three food paradigms.

  66. “Their ubiquity becomes evidence of truth.”

    Thank you for that quote. It sums up so much for me.

    Specifically, the terrible job of trying to figure out what nutritional recommendations are based in facts coupled with sound logical deductions… and what is just “bro-science”.

    Worse still, the “bro-science” seems to affect even large swaths of medical researchers. As a consequence my esteem for a great many of them has vanished.

    A painful concrete example is the heart-lipid hypothesis. No matter how many research findings contradict it, the ubiquity of it’s veracity preserves it seemingly unscathed in perpetuity.

  67. Have received and read the book and it is every bit as great as I expected it to be. Congratulations and thank you. I hope that you will soon be able to dissect the recent reports condemning wheat, not merely as a carbohydrate, but as much more deleterious — as reported by Drs. Perlmutter and Davis.

  68. I just received your book tonight and started reading the intro – I’m in trouble! I have a lot of work to get done but so far I can tell that Death by Food Pyramid is a page turner! I love your style of writing, I love your advice on critical thinking and questioning. I teach my boys the same but I admit that I am guilty of evangelizing Paleo. We went through a lot of hell before Paleo so I am not that ashamed. After years of trying every sort of diet for my youngest son with serious challenges, not until we accidentally stumbled upon Paleo (for another son who was wrestling), did we find healing. We use it as a template though, not the Holy Grail. I went back to school, and am now a nutritional therapy practitioner in Portland. I feel passionate about not letting other children and families go through the same pain (someday I’ll write a book about it). Thank you for giving me another tool to support my mission. I want to promote the truth so people will listen. I hope you will be doing book signings in Portland soon! I so want to meet you! Congratulations!

  69. Denise, so sorry about all your anguish over getting this book to the public, but selfishly, I’m like everybody else here – glad you did! I feverishly checked your site and amazon waiting for the release date, giving a Uggh when the date was pushed back, but enjoying the anticipation. What else can be said but Thank You.

  70. I finished your excellent book and restructured my entire diet based on it. I only have 1 question & hope to ask it on your Jan 8 webcast. If fish oils may be ‘bad’ & we could use vegan oils instead, but they turn out to be the same in plasma, what do we do? Not take any omega 3’s at all.

  71. Pre-ordered your long-awaited book (along with Chris Kresser: Personal Paleo Code) so Amazon only shipped on 31 Dec to Cape Town, South Africa. ETA Jan 15. Please restart your blog when you get your mojo back 😉

  72. I got the book a few days ago and enjoyed it. Very balanced view of the situation at hand and I learned a few things I didn’t already know. The comments section here turned in to 1 big pissing contest which is regrettable given all the work you did to write this baby of yours. I think you should have gotten out the ban hammer much sooner. Stay strong.

  73. When I checked at Powell’s bookstore on SE Hawthorne they didn’t have it yet.

    Questions: Have you read “Grain Brain?” If so, any comments? I think it is very good, but a little extreme on carb restriction.

    Can carb restriction lead to “starve mode” even when there is no associated calorie restriction?


    1. I can leave you with a story that will probably just confuse the subject for you further, but confusion can lead to research and new information if you have the time.

      I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 200-and something. I was already fairly familiar with some of the newer ideas on nutrition, weight loss, good fats-bad fats….blah blah.

      Here was something I observed that still intrigues me. Hiking, well to be accurate, thru-hiking a long distance trail of 500+ miles, changes people’s bodies in different ways. I talked with enough hikers who had done other long distance hikes to learn that 500 miles was about the point that your body settled into whatever metabolism it would pick. One thing is that thermodynamics dictates that you are going to burn an amazing amount of calories a day hiking, especially the Appalachian Trail (AT) because of the elevation changes. We called them Mudds and Pudds, Mindless or Pointless Ups and Downs. When they drew a line for that trail they were very linear and disregarded that people would be one day walking the entire thing. I digress. Funny thing is, some people leaned out, some didn’t. Why? Genetics sure, but what genetics? Some kind of weird variation on “the thrifty gene”? For the people that actually hiked the entire 2000+ mile trail, most found out how to lessen pack weight and we would start copying each others tactics (and food choices) in order to do so. So by copying each other’s food choices for decent tasting calorie dense foods, a lot of us were eating the same things. It would take too long to tell the whole tale so suffice it to say that within the last 200 miles you are familiar with a group of about 100 individuals that you have spent time with at some point on the trail. You pass back and forth as your mileage varies. I was amazed then and still am, that some people, who were at least 15-20% body fat at the start of the trail, remained that way through the entire hike. Others, as I said, became very lean and out of those some became too lean, they were forced to take more downtime, and some simply had to quit. That was very interesting, for some reason there were this small percentage of people that never could adapt to being able to take in enough calories, even if people shared food with them, carried food with them….etc. They simply could not adapt. It was enough people to be statistically significant I believe. This has always stuck in my head and I think that within this oddity might lie some interesting information about metabolism.

      Okay, long story that probably didn’t mean much, but I was tired of lurking on this blog. Back to lurking.

      1. Addendum: And no, it was not due to people changing fat to muscle. I accounted for that in my purely unscientific observations. There were some pretty smart people on the train, doctors, medical professionals of different types. It was a common enough subject of conversation, this whole weight/fat loss oddity.

      2. Hey Shaun, that is fascinating. Roger Williams did a lot of work on nutritional individuality, and his 1956 book, Biochemical Individuality, might be of some help in teasing out some answers to your questions.

  74. God, Denise, you are FUNNY! I will read the book simply for your humor! Congratulations on completing the book. Also, I’m sorry you have to contend with so many nimrod comments.

  75. I just have to tell you that I love your book. The scientist in me appreciatess the painstaking detail with which you’ve investigated the science finding all sorts of studies and associations never before spelled out so clearly. The literature lover in me delights in your plays on and with words, you turn a phrase elegantly. What moved me to write to let you know all this is that the rower in me perfectly understands your sculling analogy.

    Thanks so much: one more link in the chain we need to drag our sorry selves away from conventional nutritional wisdom.

  76. p.s. Denise, if you have any interest in recording an audio book of Death by Food Pyramid, I know the folks who produce a lot of the audio material for Audible.com and for a skilled reader, can set you up in a professional sound studio and help you produce an audio version of your book. If you are at all interested, email me at Deborah@DrDeborahMD.com (I think you’d be a great reader of YOUR own material.)

  77. Just finished your book, Denise. It was a real page turner. I was hoping to enjoy it over a few days, but it paralyzed me almost as bad as a whole back season of “Sons of Anarchy”.

    Thanks for all the great info and great wit!!!!! Teachers living at school…that was a great one.

  78. Great book Denise! One thing – Barnard’s diet actually sucks for diabetics (p222), leaves them with a fasting bg of 150 mg/dl (HbA1c of 7%) and therefore still at risk of complications. Of course, the conventional diabetes diet suck even worse, but I’ve eaten Bernstein’s low-carb diet for 15 years, my HbA1c is 5% and my coronary artery calcium score is zero. Barnard may be just another zealot trumpeting his prejudice.

  79. Hi, Denise. Started reading your book. Excellent work.

    FYI for the 2nd edition: Fig 5 on page 27 is not from the 1930s. As mentioned in the ad text at the top, the actress pictured, Eva Six, was in the movie, “4 for Texas” released in 1963. Therefore, the ad was most likely from the same year.

  80. Would you be offended if I said the thought of you dressed up like a cat sound really hot? (to be clear I’m referring to the older version of you, not the one who wanted to be a pilot)

  81. Denise!!!!! You are back. Happy dance! I’ve missed you so much. Downloaded the book to my Kindle before I could finish your post. I’m so excited.
    (My daughter is going to kill me for finding yet another distraction from finishing her FAFSA).

  82. Great book Denise. One glaring omission I thought, nothing in there on your “infamous” critique of The China Study (though there was of Framingham and several other big ones). Are you saving that for your next book?

  83. Denise,
    I read part of your critique of Campbell’s work a few years ago so was looking forward to getting your book. Since I am not vegan or vegetarian, his book was not that interesting to me.

    I did get the Kindle version and am impressed with your thoroughness and the lack of bias you maintained very well. Thank you for that.

  84. Just finished reading it last night. Thanks for sharing your immense knowledge of nutrition. I esp. enjoyed the section on people who don’t produce enough amylase don’t do well on starches, but paradoxically might still do well on simple sugars. Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

  85. Would you kindly share your chapter on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Nutritional Research with me by email? Thanks for your consideration if at all possible. 🙂

  86. I have just read chapter 4 – twice – and am halfway through chapter 5 of the eBook. SO well done!! I am a woman in my 60s who has for 2 years eaten Paleo-ish. But there are times I wonder – Am I nuts?? Am I just ‘bowing to the GF fad?” All my friends eat donuts. Could they be that bad? Have I been ‘duped’ by Paleo gurus? Thanks for giving a clear and unbiased look into this most murky subject. Thanks for explaining clearly how to navigate studies and how to figure out who to trust.

  87. Hey Denise.

    “I absolutely support the ancestral health movement and the vast majority of what it pumps out—in terms of research, theory, and genuinely awesome people”

    And they absolutely support you. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re a vast majority of your audience.
    Speaking of which, you should do a blog post sharing Plant Positives new videos.

    I know that you know they REALLY need to be exposed to that information for the sake of getting their heads out of the paleoithic clouds. This includes your honest and righteous buddies leading the paleo movement and your blog readers.

    1. Two misleading claims from this video I’ll like to point out since they are cited so much.

      1) PP referring to LDL-apheresis claims that “This is not a drug like a statin, with the possibility of multiple effects. All this device does is selectively remove their bad cholesterol particles.”

      This is not true. LDL-apheresis does far more than simply lower cholesterol e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20129375
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21920771. Furthermore it would be removing oxidized LDL which is increased in FH patients. Therefore if LDL-apheresis works it is actually consistent with Minger’s position.

      The really question is, does LDL-a work? PP cites this study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9874053) which was a non-randomized study and as a result there were a few imbalances in baseline characteristics like less smokers in the LDL-a group. Being non-randomized, it is almost certain that other variables were also not equally distributed. Nevertheless, while the 72% reduction may sound impressive, when we look at the hard endpoints there were actually only 2 deaths in the study — 1 death in each group due to myocardial infarction.

      The evidence on LDL-a is limited mostly to small non-randomized studies. The only two randomized studies on LDL-a have been disappointing:

      In the FHRS study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7898227), even though LDL apheresis combined with simvastatin was more effective than colestipol plus simvastatin in reducing LDL cholesterol and lipoprotein(a), it was less beneficial in influencing coronary atherosclerosis. 2 myocardial infarctions occurred in the drug group compared to 0 in the apheresis group. There were no deaths in the study.

      In the LAARS randomized study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8635262), the mean reduction in LDL cholesterol was 63% in the LDL apheresis group and 47% in the drug-only group. This difference in LDL cholesterol had no incremental effect on halting of disease progression (using angiography) and when we look at the hard events, there was 1 cardiac death and 4 non-fatal myocardial infarctions in the LDL-Apheresis group compared to 0 cardiac deaths and 0 myocardial infarctions in the higher cholesterol drug-only group.

      2) Next PP states: “Another method of dealing with high cholesterol that has nothing to do with drugs is partial ileal bypass surgery. This long term trial has demonstrated that it is effective at lowering LDL cholesterol. Again, the only mode of action of this procedure relevant to heart disease is a lowering of cholesterol.”

      Again, a false statement. He is referring to the POSCH trial. Partial ileal bypass Increases cholesterol turnover which should result in reduced modified LDL — consistent with Minger’s position. Furthermore partial ileal bypass results in weight loss which occurred during the study. Nevertheless, even after a whole 10 years follow-up in the non-blinded study, there was no statistically significant difference in overall mortality.
      PP is referring to post-trial follow-ups which may be the result of long-term weight loss or other changes between the groups which were poorly documented.

  88. James: “Speaking of which, you should do a blog post sharing Plant Positives new videos”

    Yea, she should do a post on his videos to show just how misleading they are.

    James:”This includes your honest and righteous buddies leading the paleo movement and your blog readers.”

    Thankfully, her readers know better.

  89. Hi Denise,
    Stumbled on your blog by accident. Lucky me! Love your meticulous work and detailed critique on The China Study. And thoroughly enjoyed your writing style. Congrats on your book. My copy should be on its way from Amazon to Sydney in less than two weeks. Can’t wait to read it and looking forward to reading more posts. All the best.

  90. Denise, you are both brilliant and a gifted writer. I thoroughly enjoyed becoming less mis-informed, by reading your book.

  91. Loving your writing style and can’t wait to read the book but a snippet of your own personal comments raised a red flag. You mentioned a comment about not all bodies being able to handle a fatty diet but that is directly conflicting some heavy duty research and information published by Dr. Perlmutter (a neurologist) in Grain Brain. He presents vast amounts of information supporting fat consumption especially DHA for optimal brain and physical health. I would love to see you read and review Perlmutter’s book and research his material supporting his claims to see if you maintain your argument on not all bodies tolerating fat well. With the brain being mainly composed of fat, DHA and saturated fats and the correlation of mental degenerative conditions present with people having lower cholesterol levels, it seems there is one author that conflicts your ideas on that point.

  92. I had high expectations for this book based on Denise’s previous writings and I am happy to report that the book has lived up to those expectations. I see it as a much needed reorientation of the field of nutrition, showing how we took the wrong path and pointing the way to the future. I think that the future of nutrition is that of biochemical individuality, of finding biomarkers that can tell each one of us the best way to eat. Hopefully in a few decades we will have a DNA test and receive a prescription for the best personal diet for our own bodies, with best foods, foods to restrict and limit and foods to eat rarely or not at all. Only then will nutrition be truly scientific.

  93. Congrats on completing your book! I absolutely love the cover. The more information that we get out their the more people will start to wake up! Keep hope alive! ❤

  94. Thanks very much for taking the time to pull the book together. It’s provided much food for thought 🙂 especially the idea of personalising my diet rather than attempting to eat the average and the raising awareness of just the sheer variability of healthy human diets.

  95. Just finished reading your book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m always up for debunking myths and creating some. Congrats on a job well done. Keep your amazing sense of humor.

  96. I just bought the China Study and one of the companion cookbooks. Then I listened to your four session debunkation series of it on YouTube that had been a radio broadcast,

    A while ago, I remember either reading or being told that no one can diet forever. My husband and I have been on numerous diets for about the past 15 years, always searching for that ‘perfect’ diet.

    Then a friend ‘informed’ me of going organic. Wow! what a lot of hoopla there is in that ring! Sometime afterward, I read an article in Prevention Magazine September 2013 that spelled out USDA organic, organic, natural, etc. To top that, my friend’s spouse had asked Jack LaLanne about organic. Jack’s response was, how can you tell if some is really organic? (paraphrased)

    How does one go about finding what one should eat and shouldn’t eat and those things that should be consumed minimally? Is that covered in Death by Food Pyramid?

    We mostly follow the Levitical guidelines for eating meat for health reasons. Curious here. You state you eat raw meat. I read somewhere that you are of Jewish descent. How do you rationalize eating raw meat?

  97. Sez this fellow Portland left winga;
    Of our very own Denise (ms.) Minga
    She has deftly zapped the USDA
    With many a well aimed zinga

  98. This is the best book I’ve read on nutrition in a very very long time–better than a lot of medical/nutrition journal articles that I read. The mental pauses taken while reading are for reconsolidating information. It’s so nice to read a book where the author’s agenda is finding and promoting truth. Death by Pyramid belongs in a college level introductory nutrition course. Western medicine, complementary medicine and alternative medicine providers should read this too.
    I suppose I’d better buy this book so I can stop taking it out of the library when I want to refer back to it!

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