obesity conference

This is an email I got from a GSG reader. Dr. Larsen is a dentist who studies nutrition to help his patients and practices what he preaches. His observations at the obesity conference he recently attended parallel my own, as documented sometimes on this blog. What do you think?

Robyn,

I attended a seminar in Salt Lake a couple of weeks ago titled, “Obesity: A Scientific Update.” It was presented by Beverly White, PhD, RD and it was very interesting, thought you might be interested in what was said.

I will attach my notes, some of which may not make any sense, but the following are my overall impressions after the seminar.

First of all, the room was mostly full of nurses and dieticians, and I would say at least half of the group were either over weight or obese. These are the dieticians who are teaching Americans how to eat and be healthy.

The success rates for Americans who attempt fad diets is about 5-10% after 1 year. The success rates of the prescription medications is less, and ALL of them have serious side effects, and some physicians are leaving patients on them indefinitely because they know if they take them off, the weight will return, although none of the drugs have been approved for long term use. Bariatric surgeries are super expensive, and have complications and side effects as well, and not a great success rate. Dieticians working with clients may have a slightly higher success rate than the 5-10%, but when they stop seeing the nutritionist, the bad habits return and the weight comes back on. I got a very weird feeling about the whole obesity epidemic, kind of like there is nothing we can really do about it, even though we are the ones trained to help people eat healthy. Beverly cautioned the dieticians to not try to make too radical of a change to anyone’s diet, or they will rebel and not follow through.

I asked Beverly one-on-one between one of the breaks if she had read Colin Campbell, Joel Furhman, Mike Anderson, or had studied anything about plant-based diets in her PhD program. She was not familiar with any of the people I mentioned, had never heard of the China Study, for example, and they did not study plant-based diets.

At one point in the program, she asked how many eat 3-5 servings of fruits or vegetables/day (could be from a can, frozen, etc.) and about 30% of the group raised their hand. She asked if anyone eats 6-9 servings/day and I raised my hand along with I think one other person. After the class, one of the RD’s came running up to me and asked me how in the world I eat that many servings a day. I said it’s easy. I told her about green smoothies, she had never heard of them. I told her about plant-based diets, she had never heard of them.

They have done research that shows that children who are taught good nutrition at a young age can follow that for many years to come, and may be more likely to eat healthy than adults. Too bad what we’re teaching children isn’t always the best information, when it comes from government food pyramid.

Anyways, thought this might be interesting to you. It was kind of an eye-opener to me. I really feel like the MD’s and the RD’s and the nurses who are in our health care system don’t really believe in nutrition themselves.

Sincerely,

Garon Larsen

Weston Price Foundation versus The China Study

A yahoo group I belong to, “Natural LDS Women,” is having a debate about the “science” of the Weston Price Foundation, versus The China Study.” A recent poster said that with scientific “facts” so conflicting, you really just have to pray about it and go with your gut. “LDS” means Mormon (my religion), and in this post I refer to the famous before-its-time scripture known as the Word of Wisdom, as I have in other places in my writings, about nutrition:

I rarely have time to respond to yahoo groups even though I follow some threads, but this morning I responded with this posting, about the two research titans, about research in general, and about navigating the “science” versus “gut” decision making tension:

The first people to tell you there are no scientific “facts” are scientists themselves. We have evidence, but not proof. Good science is hard to come by. In the modern world, the vast majority of our “science” (not even qualifying as “facts”) is bought and paid for. That is, the science looks objective but is funded by someone with a profit motive.

Industries paying for lots of research such as pharmaceuticals, dairy, meat, or processed foods (four huge industries that are very powerful) may have sifted through a lot of data and cherry picked whatever makes them look good, for promotion and publication.

Studies begin to become compelling when they are valid and reliable, the two highest standards in research. Briefly, VALID means the study truly measures what it purports to measure. (If a study saying wine consumption reduces heart disease is valid, it will have controlled for the fact that wine drinkers are more affluent than beer drinkers–so they also eat more fruits and vegetables. That’s hard to do!) RELIABLE means the research study was repeatable with consistent results.

The China Study is one of the most reliable studies I have ever encountered. Colin Campbell (PhD, Cornell) conducted the original animal studies, but other researchers all over the world copied them with the same results, over and over. Then he found similar findings in humans–in a huge study of 6,500 people spanning now 30 years (so the study is also longitudinal–that’s expensive and very rare in research, but one of the ways to achieve validity).

When you see a study saying oatmeal prevents heart disease, you don’t run out and buy all the oatmeal you can and knock every other good thing out of your diet. You watch and wait until you see lots of OTHER studies showing the same thing. You have a healthy skepticism about what you read–open minded, keen eye looking for more data. You are waiting for further light and knowledge. And you use your common sense. (For instance, in this case, “Well, I know that UNREFINED oats have bran and germ–vitamins, minerals, and fiber–so it’s good. But other grains have the same thing, so I’ll keep using them, too.”)

Vitamin D is one of those issues. The first time I read a study that those getting more sun get vastly less cancer, I was intrigued but skeptical. Now, more and more research is coming out with consistent conclusions, and I am beginning to believe strongly that getting more Vitamin D is critical to the strength of our immune systems, to our ability to minimize disease risk, to our ability to build and maintain bone mass. And it’s hard to get enough D in places with long winters, or for people who aren’t outside much–without supplementation. It has given me pause, since I have not been much of a fan of taking vitamin supplements in the past. Now that it’s cold here in Utah, I can’t get sun. I took a Quest Diagnostics baseline test during my peak of sun exposure in July, and now I’m supplementing with Vitamin D tablets and will test again in Feb. or Mar. I want to know if my synthetic Vita D consumption actually is utilized in my own body.

Double blinded, placebo-controlled studies are the best. Peer reviewed articles in journals are the best. Even they are not foolproof, though. Plenty of flawed research has been published in the most prestigious journals of the world. Studies that have had to be pulled back when their flaws are revealed. Good research is extremely hard to achieve. It’s meticulous, it’s difficult to isolate one factor, and above all, it’s time consuming and expensive.

This is not the place to go into why I vastly prefer the more recent, more thorough work in The China Study to the much older, much more flawed, much more biased work the Weston Price Foundation has done.

But let me say this, briefly: the findings of China Study match the LDS Word of Wisdom that we discuss in this yahoo group and are a fan of. Campbell’s studies weren’t meat eaters versus vegetarians. They were meat eaters (20%, matching the Standard American Diet in that respect at least) versus eating meat sparingly, in times of winter, cold, and famine. (Language culled from D&C 89, The Word of Wisdom.) Following the Word of Wisdom wins–with more than 200 statistically significant findings. (That means that the margin of error is NOT the reason for the finding.)

Yes, pray and receive revelation to guide your journey through what is admittedly a CONFUSING path in nutrition and health. But also be smart, savvy, educated consumers of information. Some research–though NONE of it qualifies as “fact”–is better than others.

That’s my $0.02. With that and a quarter, you can buy a phone call.

Robyn
GreenSmoothieGirl.com

raw food diet: why not raw meat?

Talking more about the raw food diet here.Most raw foodists don’t eat animal protein (supermodel Carol Alt is an exception).See my book review here of The China Study http://greensmoothiegirl.com/reviews.html or read the book for why.I won’t go into detail, since I often talk about that huge study in great detail on this site.

But also, while carnivores have high hydrochloric acid concentrations–so they can digest unchewed meat–humans don’t.We put a tremendous strain on our ability to digest, particularly on our kidneys and liver, when we eat meat, even raw.The uric acid in the meat has to be neutralized, causing our body to struggle to find enough alkalinity and ultimately robbing calcium from the bones.Plus meats are high in phosphorus, leading to more bone loss.

does God intend for us to eat whole foods?

Today at church, they taught my favorite lesson, on “The Word of Wisdom” (7 million LDS people in the U.S. had this lesson today).   Mormons have a scripture (Doctrine & Covenants 89) revealed in 1833 that is all about what we should and shouldn’t eat.   Consider that this was almost 200 years ago, when little was known in the scientific community about nutrition.   Even if you’re not LDS (Mormon), I think you’ll find this scripture so interesting, that I’m going to put it here, in its entirety over a couple of days.

The green smoothie “testimonial” in my last post sets the stage for this scripture perfectly, since it links the body and spirit.   The most significant reason to care for our bodies as D&C 89 teaches is to become more spiritually pure.

The teacher today told a story about how he once went to get a homemade roll out of the cupboard, and ended up eating the whole bowl of rolls, with butter, and then a bunch of Pop-Tarts, Snickers bars, and Coke.   He said he had been in a positive mood at the beginning but his physical sickness after he ate destroyed his mental and spiritual state.

Please comment on these scriptures, regardless of whether you are LDS or not.   Are they not interesting and “before their time?”   I will  make some comments at the end, too.

“To be sent greeting; not be commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days–

“Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

“Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation–

“That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

“And behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

“And again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.

“And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.

“And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.

“And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man–

“Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudcnce and thanksgiving.

“Yea, flesh also of the beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”

Note from Robyn: I’ll post the rest tomorrow.   But consider these questions:

What do you think about this scripture relative to the Oxford-Cornell China Project, what the world now knows?   (See thechinastudy.com.)

What are the “evils and designs” of “conspiring men” in these last days with regard to health, nutrition, and food?   What do we learn from this scripture regarding the complaint, “Eating whole foods is too hard!”

What nutritional philosophies out there do you know that embrace the counsel in the last two verses?   And which absolutely defy them?

 

foods that help digestion . . . part 5

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   What are foods that help digestion? Some raw foodists eat raw meat.   Raw meat and milk have enzymes, so aren’t they good foods?

Answer:   We’ll leave the Oxford/Cornell China Project out of this discussion, which shows that animal protein causes many diseases.   (The primary author of that pivotal study, Dr. Campbell, told me he did not study predigested or fermented milk products, such as kefir or yogurt.)   Raw milk has over 35 enzymes.   If you’re going to use dairy products or milk, raw certainly has those many advantages over pasteurized.   One very old study showed the highest morbidity (death) rate in newborns drinking pasteurized cow milk, a much improved rate for those drinking raw milk, and higher still for those who were fortunate to be breastfed by their mothers.

However, you run many bacterial risks with the way milk and meat will be raised, handled, and transported to you.   Meat in particular is troublesome, and I would not recommend eating it raw, even if you go to all the trouble of finding truly range-fed, organic chickens or beef.   The shockingly lax U.S. standards for poultry allow virtually anything to be legally given labels like “natural” and “range fed.”   We can obtain live enzymes through plant food, much more safely.

That said, I believe much evidence shows kefir or yogurt to be an excellent food with its natural probiotics.   If you can find a source you trust of raw milk, and can obtain kefir grains, you can use the raw milk and predigest the casein proteins with the action of the live kefir grains.   Raw goat milk is preferable to cow milk, with its smaller fat molecule that is not mucous forming like cow milk is.   (Vegans can make kefir with coconut liquid.)

I’m visiting my grampa in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, for the rest of the week and may be offline.   (He is in a home, and I am flying out with my aunt.)   After that I’ll talk about what enzymes supplements to take.   Happy Thanksgiving!

The Essential GreenSmoothieGirl Library . . . part 2

Here are three more of my picks from my Top Shelf–the most pivotal books on health and nutrition:

Dr. Robert O. Young and Shelley Young’s books and recipe books:   Sick and Tired, The pH Miracle, The pH Miracle for Weight Loss, Back to the House of Health I and II (containing many excellent recipes).   Dr. Young, with multiple PhDs, is the most credible authority on why an alkaline diet is the most important aspect of disease prevention and treatment.   His ace-in-the-hole over other authors is that his wife is a recipe developer and therefore gives practical help in addition to this century’s leading-edge nutrition theory.

  

Dr. Colin Campbell’s The China Study, the largest and most comprehensive nutrition study in history conducted jointly by Oxford and Cornell, the most empirical evidence ever gathered validating a plant-based diet.  

 

Colin Campbell is a professor of nutrition at Cornell University and has sat on the highest nutrition governing boards in the U.S.   He is the son of a cattle rancher and believed, in his early nutrition research, that he would find lack of protein to be the cause of childhood liver cancer in the Phillipines.

He found just the opposite: the wealthier children with good access to meat/milk were dying of liver cancer, not the poor children who could afford only plant food.   Time and again, Campbell and many other researchers discovered the same results: that in animals and humans, high consumption of animal protein causes all the modern Western diseases, including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and much more.

The rodent studies are fascinating: two groups of mice are put on 5% animal protein pellets (casein, from milk) and 20% animal protein pellets, respectively.   That parallels an almost-vegan diet versus the typical American diet.   At the typical rodent lifespan, the 5% group were lean and healthy and the 20% group were full of cancerous tumors and many were dead (all would die early).

 

Even more fascinating is how the researchers could SWITCH the groups’ diets.   Lean, healthy rodents develop tumors and die when placed on the 20% animal protein diet, and formerly cancerous rodents lose weight, tumors are eliminated, and they live and thrive when placed on the 5% animal protein diet.   These studies were duplicated with the same results, by other researchers all over the globe.

 

Campbell went on to conduct the largest, most longitudinal, most comprehensive nutrition study in human beings, in history, yielding hundreds of statistically significant correlations.   He has been studying 6,500 people in China for about 30 years now.   Whether or not you completely eliminate animal foods from your diet, this book is so compelling that you will be motivated to make a commitment to a plant-based diet and share the message with others.