Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality

Yes, it’s a joke. Oral Sadism and the Veg­e­tar­i­an Per­son­al­i­ty was an arti­cle pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Poly­mor­phous Per­ver­si­ty, which was sort of like Mad Mag­a­zine for men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als. Here’s an excerpt from the arti­cle, sup­pos­ed­ly a direct (but bad­ly mis­trans­lat­ed) quo­ta­tion from some Ger­man-speak­ing author­i­ty:

The man who kills ani­mals for meat gives the pur­sued ani­mal a chance to escape. How more and more sadis­ti­cal­ly cru­el is the non-meat eat­ing man. The keen the­o­reti­cian must him­self this ques­tion deeply ask—What is the like­li­hood that the tran­quil car­rot from its vicious preda­tor suc­cess­ful­ly out­run can?

The arti­cle points out that in para­noid per­son­al­i­ty dis­or­der, there is, by def­i­n­i­tion, per­va­sive and sys­tem­at­ic dis­trust of peo­ple, while veg­e­tar­i­an per­son­al­i­ty dis­or­der involves mis­trust specif­i­cal­ly relat­ed to the con­tent of the din­ner plate:

Indi­vid­ual thinks that there are pieces of dead ani­mals on his plate…. In advanced stages of the dis­or­der, indi­vid­ual sus­pects that there are minus­cule ani­mal by-prod­ucts mixed with his food.

Some of the great­est hits from the jour­nal have been pub­lished in two books: Oral Sadism and the Veg­e­tar­i­an Per­son­al­i­ty and More Oral Sadism and the Veg­e­tar­i­an Per­son­al­i­ty. Enjoy!

Oil Your Hair, Not Your Food

If you put oil in your dog’s food, it sup­pos­ed­ly makes his coat glossy. If we eat too much fat, we can end up with a coat that is too glossy, with too much oil on our skin and hair. But what if your hair is dry? Does that mean that you should eat more fat? Def­i­nite­ly not. To find cas­es of peo­ple with a gen­uine dietary defi­cien­cy of fat, you have to look at peo­ple who were being fed noth­ing but sug­ar intra­venous­ly. If your hair is dry, add oil direct­ly to the hair, not to your food!

One effec­tive way to add oil to your hair is with a hot oil treat­ment. I tried this yes­ter­day and am thrilled with the results. My hair is curly and very thick, and it tends to mis­be­have, espe­cial­ly in the sum­mer. So I heat­ed up a few table­spoons of olive oil in the microwave for a few sec­onds (not too hot!) and applied it direct­ly to my hair. I couldn’t believe how much oil my hair absorbed! So I heat­ed up more oil and added that. I let the oil soak in for about 15 min­utes, then I sham­pooed my hair: lath­er and rinse, no repeat.

My hair turned out soft and man­age­able. I think that next time I’ll try a mix­ture of olive and coconut oil, to see how that works!

Pho­to by Inter­net Archive Book Images

Potatoes Provide Plenty of Protein!


Most diet-con­scious peo­ple today think of pota­toes as “a starch.” They think that if you are hav­ing pota­toes for din­ner, you still have to add “a pro­tein” to your meal. Yet pota­toes are an excel­lent source of pro­tein. Sci­en­tists have known that since the 1920s because of an inter­est­ing exper­i­ment that was done in Poland in 1925 and pub­lished in 1928 in Bio­chem­i­cal Jour­nal.  Thanks to the Inter­net, you can read the orig­i­nal arti­cle for your­self.

The researchers knew that pop­u­la­tions that sub­sist­ed on a diet based heav­i­ly on pota­toes seemed to be healthy and remark­ably free of scurvy, beriberi, and pellagra—diseases that were known to result from vit­a­min defi­cien­cy. Some ear­li­er work had sug­gest­ed that pota­toes can pro­vide enough pro­tein for human nutri­tion, and this study was intend­ed to con­firm those results.

For 167 days, the researchers fed a healthy young man and a healthy young woman a diet whose only sig­nif­i­cant source of pro­tein was pota­toes. Besides pota­toes, the sub­jects ate fat and salt and a few apples and pears. They could also have the occa­sion­al cup of black cof­fee or tea with sug­ar.

The sub­jects thrived on this lim­it­ed diet. Their health remained good and their weight remained sta­ble, except that the man start­ed los­ing weight toward the end of the study as he got more seri­ous with his ath­let­ic train­ing. Nitro­gen bal­ance stud­ies con­firmed that they weren’t hav­ing any trou­ble with pro­tein defi­cien­cy. Most sur­pris­ing­ly, they didn’t get bored with their monot­o­nous diet! To show that these results weren’t some sort of fluke, look at what hap­pened when some­one from the Wash­ing­ton State Pota­to Com­mis­sion ate noth­ing but pota­toes for 60 days.

At the end of the arti­cle, the authors thanked Dr. Casimir Funk, who direct­ed the exper­i­ment. Funk was a super­star in the his­to­ry of nutri­tion. In 1912, he pub­lished a land­mark arti­cle describ­ing how he had iso­lat­ed thi­amine, the chem­i­cal that is respon­si­ble for pre­vent­ing and cur­ing the defi­cien­cy dis­ease called beriberi. That same year, he wrote anoth­er land­mark arti­cle, which sug­gest­ed that sev­er­al epi­dem­ic dis­eases were actu­al­ly the result of a defi­cien­cy of some vital chem­i­cal that was need­ed in only tiny amounts. He guessed that, like thi­amine, the oth­er chem­i­cals would be amines, so he coined the term “vit­a­mines.” After it turned out that some of these vital chem­i­cals aren’t amines, the “e” was dropped, and they became vit­a­mins.

As this study showed, pota­toes con­tain plen­ty of pro­tein. So the next time that you think you need to add “a pro­tein” to your meal, eat a pota­to!

Bill Clinton Eats Plants!

A few years ago, Dr. John McDougall wrote a con­tro­ver­sial essay explain­ing that Bill Clin­ton was prob­a­bly suf­fer­ing from the side effects of his coro­nary bypass oper­a­tion.

For­tu­nate­ly, Bill Clin­ton even­tu­al­ly got the mes­sage about a healthy diet. To lose weight for his daughter’s wed­ding, Clin­ton joined the grow­ing list of pow­er­ful peo­ple who have adopt­ed a healthy, low-fat, plant-based diet.  Evi­dent­ly, he’s still stick­ing to his healthy diet. Good for him!

Pho­to by marc­tas­man

Why I Don’t Worry About Sugar

Most of the peo­ple I talk to about nutri­tion are con­vinced that car­bo­hy­drates are their ene­my. They think that “sug­ar spikes” cause dia­betes. (They have it back­wards. Sug­ar spikes are the result, not the cause of dia­betes!) Peo­ple seem to be par­tic­u­lar­ly wor­ried about the effects of a sug­ar called fruc­tose. Per­son­al­ly, I’m not wor­ried about car­bo­hy­drates, even fruc­tose, as long as it’s found in an unre­fined plant source. I even think that adding a spoon­ful of sug­ar or per­haps some maple syrup every now and then could help a lot of peo­ple stick to a healthy low-fat, plant-based diet.

Genet­i­cal­ly, human beings are almost iden­ti­cal to chim­panzees. Our DNA is almost exact­ly the same as theirs, which means that our body chem­istry is also almost exact­ly the same as theirs. Since chim­panzees, like many oth­er apes, are main­ly fruit-eaters (fru­gi­vores), it stands to rea­son that they prob­a­bly thrive on a diet that con­tains a lot of fruc­tose, which is a sug­ar that is com­mon in fruit. How­ev­er, the fruc­tose that wild chim­panzees eat is dilut­ed with water and fiber and pack­aged along with plen­ty of oth­er nutri­ents, along with antiox­i­dants and oth­er good things.

Yes, you can make your­self sick by eat­ing too much sug­ar. How­ev­er, it would be dif­fi­cult for most peo­ple to get that much sug­ar from eat­ing fruit! One study found that eat­ing way too much added sug­ar (at least 25% of total calo­ries!) is asso­ci­at­ed with only a rel­a­tive­ly small increase in the amount of fat (triglyc­erides) in the blood and a small decrease in the lev­el of HDL (“good”) cho­les­terol. Of course, if you are hav­ing a prob­lem with triglyc­erides, you should prob­a­bly cut way back on your con­sump­tion of table sug­ar and high-fruc­tose corn syrup.

Sug­ar does rot your teeth, at least if you don’t brush care­ful­ly after meals. As a result, chim­panzees are prone to den­tal caries (cav­i­ties), just as humans are. How­ev­er, wild chim­panzees don’t seem to be fat and dia­bet­ic and they don’t get heart dis­ease. So why should I imag­ine that I would get fat and dia­bet­ic and suf­fer from heart dis­ease if I ate a lot of fruit?

Eat­ing lots of sug­ar does not cause dia­betes. Instead, cow’s milk seems to be the cul­prit in caus­ing type 1 dia­betes. A diet that is high in fats and ani­mal pro­tein seems to be the under­ly­ing cause in type 2 dia­betes.

Eat­ing too many calo­ries from any kind of diet tends to make peo­ple gain weight. How­ev­er, you gain a lot more weight from extra calo­ries from a fat­ty diet than from extra calo­ries from a high-car­bo­hy­drate, low-fat diet. Con­vert­ing sug­ar to fat wastes calo­ries. That’s why it’s hard to fat­ten on carbs but easy to fat­ten on fats.

Of course, there are a few peo­ple with genet­ic dis­or­ders that make it hard for them to tol­er­ate fruc­tose. One of them is hered­i­tary fruc­tose intol­er­ance. Anoth­er is fruc­tose mal­ab­sorp­tion.

Hered­i­tary fruc­tose intol­er­ance is a poten­tial­ly fatal genet­ic dis­or­der that occurs in about 1 out of 20,000 peo­ple in Euro­pean coun­tries. The dis­or­der results from the lack of an enzyme called aldolase B. In peo­ple with this dis­or­der, eat­ing any­thing con­tain­ing fruc­tose, includ­ing sucrose (table sug­ar), sets off a series of com­pli­cat­ed meta­bol­ic prob­lems that can ulti­mate­ly cause liv­er dam­age. The only solu­tion is for these peo­ple to avoid any foods that con­tain sucrose or fruc­tose.

Fruc­tose mal­ab­sorp­tion is an unre­lat­ed prob­lem that is far more com­mon but much less seri­ous than hered­i­tary fruc­tose intol­er­ance. Fruc­tose mal­ab­sorp­tion results from the absence of fruc­tose trans­porters in the cells that line the small intes­tine. With­out fruc­tose trans­porters, the per­son can­not absorb fruc­tose from his or her food. Even peo­ple who have some fruc­tose trans­porters might be able to absorb only a lim­it­ed amount of fruc­tose. The remain­ing fruc­tose will then remain inside the intestines, where it will be fer­ment­ed by bac­te­ria. The result is syn­drome that looks a lot like lac­tose intol­er­ance: gas and diar­rhea. Fruc­tose mal­ab­sorp­tion is a com­mon but often unde­tect­ed cause of recur­rent abdom­i­nal pain in chil­dren.

For­tu­nate­ly, I don’t have hered­i­tary fruc­tose intol­er­ance or fruc­tose mal­ab­sorp­tion. This means that I can eat as much fruit as I like!

Note: For a clear expla­na­tion of how the body han­dles sug­ar, see my book Thin Dia­betes, Fat Dia­betes: Pre­vent Type 1, Cure Type 2.

Behind Barbed Wire_Print

How Congress Could Help Us Eat Better

Why do the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States keep get­ting fat­ter and sick­er?  One rea­son is that our fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is using our tax dol­lars to make bad food cheap, instead of mak­ing good food afford­able. It doesn’t have to be that way. Con­gress could decide to stop sub­si­diz­ing the pro­duc­tion of meat, dairy prod­ucts, and refined sug­ars and instead sub­si­dize the pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion of healthy foods, espe­cial­ly fruits and veg­eta­bles. On July 28, 2011, the Physi­cians Com­mit­tee for Respon­si­ble Med­i­cine issued a report explain­ing how Con­gress could go about doing that.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I saw the effects of our cur­rent agri­cul­tur­al sub­si­dies per­son­al­ly. I saw field after field of corn and soy­beans and alfal­fa that were being grown to feed farm ani­mals. I saw hard­ly any agri­cul­tur­al land ded­i­cat­ed to grow­ing plant-based food for human beings to eat. I saw hun­dreds of fast food out­lets, but only the occa­sion­al pro­duce stand. So it should come as no sur­prise that more than a quar­ter of the adults in Ohio are obese.

Why I Don’t Take Fish Oil

I have nev­er liked seafood. It smells bad to me. I’m so sen­si­tive to that smell that I don’t even like sit­ting next to some­one who is eat­ing seafood. Even the idea of tak­ing a fish oil cap­sule makes me queasy because I don’t want to end up tast­ing or smelling fish if I belch. So I was great­ly relieved to dis­cov­er that human beings don’t need to eat fish or take fish oil! The dis­eases that fish oil is sup­posed to help pre­vent are rare to nonex­is­tent among peo­ple who eat a low-fat, plant-based diet. Also, a recent study showed that veg­ans (peo­ple who don’t eat any ani­mal foods) had plen­ty of the long-chain omega 3 fat­ty acids in their blood­stream, even though they weren’t eat­ing any of the long-chain omega 3 fat­ty acids and were eat­ing rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle of their pre­cur­sor, alpha-linolenic acid. (For an expla­na­tion of the essen­tial fat­ty acids, click here.)

Fish oil is fat from a fish. An oil is just a fat that is liq­uid at room tem­per­a­ture. The fat from fish tends to stay liq­uid at room tem­per­a­ture because it is rich in polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fat­ty acids. (For an expla­na­tion of the dif­fer­ent kinds of fats, click here. Fish oil con­tains a lot of omega 3 fat­ty acids, which are much less plen­ti­ful than omega 6 fat­ty acids in the stan­dard Amer­i­can diet. Like humans, how­ev­er, fish CANNOT make their own sup­ply of omega 3 fat­ty acids. The omega 3 fat­ty acids in fish came from the plants at the bot­tom of their food chain.

Your body can make all the sat­u­rat­ed and monoun­sat­u­rat­ed fat­ty acids that it needs. How­ev­er, it can’t make omega 6 or omega 3 fat­ty acids. The only two fat­ty acids that are con­sid­ered essen­tial (which means that they have to be found ready-made in your food) in human nutri­tion are an omega 6 fat­ty acid called linole­ic acid and an omega 3 fat­ty acid called alpha-linolenic acid. How­ev­er, it’s extreme­ly rare to find any­one with a real dietary defi­cien­cy of either one. It’s the sort of thing that hap­pens only in tube-fed patients who are being fed fat fat-free solu­tions or being giv­en an unbal­anced fat sup­ple­ment. Their needs for these essen­tial fat­ty acids can be met by rub­bing a small amount of veg­etable oil on their skin.

Your body uses the omega 6 and omega 3 fat­ty acids as raw mate­ri­als to make eicosanoids and leukotrienes, which are sig­nal­ing mol­e­cules that play impor­tant roles in inflam­ma­tion and immu­ni­ty. These mol­e­cules also serve as mes­sen­gers in the ner­vous sys­tem. Because the eicosanoids that are made from omega 6 fat­ty acids inter­act with the ones made from omega 3 fat­ty acids, it’s prob­a­bly impor­tant to get a rea­son­able bal­ance between these two kinds of fat­ty acid in the diet. The most sen­si­ble way to do this is to cut way back on fat con­sump­tion and eat lots of fresh veg­eta­bles. For an extra mar­gin of safe­ty, you can add a spoon­ful of ground flaxseed to your cere­al in the morn­ing. Flaxseed is a good source of alpha-linolenic acid.

The omega 3 fat­ty acid that is found in plants is alpha-linolenic acid. Like fish, human beings can length­en the car­bon chain of alpha-linolenic acid to pro­duce oth­er fat­ty acids that the human body needs: docosa­hexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicos­apen­taenoic acid (EPA). DHA is found in the cell mem­branes in the ner­vous sys­tem, includ­ing the reti­na of the eye. EPA is used to make some impor­tant eicosanoids that help to mod­er­ate the effects of the eicosanoids that are made from omega 6 fat­ty acids.

The Food and Nutri­tion Board of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences does not con­sid­er DHA or EPA to be essen­tial nutri­ents, which means that those fat­ty acids don’t have to be found in your food. For a tech­ni­cal dis­cus­sion of which fat­ty acids are essen­tial and how much of each you need, see this report from the Food and Nutri­tion Board of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences: https://www.nap.edu/read/10490/chapter/10

Because of the com­pli­cat­ed roles that the essen­tial fat­ty acids and DHA and EPA play in the immune and ner­vous sys­tem, there’s been a lot of inter­est in using sup­ple­ments of these fat­ty acids as drugs. As with any drug treat­ment, the deci­sion of how and when to use these sup­ple­ments should be based on clin­i­cal tri­als, when­ev­er pos­si­ble. Since most of the dis­eases that fish oil is being used to treat are rare in pop­u­la­tions that eat a low-fat, plant-based diet, it makes sense to try cor­rect­ing the diet before using fish oil sup­ple­ments.

It is the­o­ret­i­cal­ly pos­si­ble that some peo­ple, espe­cial­ly those who have trou­ble absorb­ing fat from their food or who have a rare meta­bol­ic dis­or­der, might ben­e­fit from tak­ing some form of fat sup­ple­ment. How­ev­er, many peo­ple refuse for var­i­ous rea­sons to use fish prod­ucts. For­tu­nate­ly for those peo­ple, DHA and EPA sup­ple­ments made from marine algae are avail­able.

High-Fat Diet and Cigarette Smoking Cause Low Back Pain

Most peo­ple think that chron­ic low back pain is sim­ply due to wear and tear on the mus­cles and car­ti­lage of the spinal col­umn. In real­i­ty, one of the major caus­es of low back pain is poor cir­cu­la­tion to the struc­tures of the inter­ver­te­bral disks, as a result of ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis and/or cig­a­rette smok­ing. That’s why low back pain is most com­mon in the pop­u­la­tions that also have high rates of heart attack!

Check out the review arti­cle I wrote about this sub­ject for chi­ro­prac­tors. If you want to keep your back in good shape, start by keep­ing your arter­ies clean! If your total cho­les­terol is below 150 mg/dL, which is easy if you eat a low-fat, pure­ly plant-based diet, your arter­ies become self-clean­ing!

Cig­a­rette smok­ing makes the prob­lem worse because the nico­tine caus­es the arter­ies to tight­en up. It’s like putting your thumb over the end of a gar­den hose. It rais­es the pres­sure but decreas­es the flow.

Pho­to by sandiegop­er­son­al­in­jury­at­tor­ney

Olive Oil Is Junk Food!

Late­ly, many peo­ple have been tout­ing olive oil as some sort of “health food.” Sad­ly, olive oil is junk food, one of the worst junk foods there is. It’s emp­ty calo­ries that pro­vide prac­ti­cal­ly no essen­tial nutri­ents.

At rough­ly 9 calo­ries per gram, olive oil is packed with calo­ries, all of them from fat. Most of the fat­ty acids in olive oil are a monoun­sat­u­rat­ed fat­ty acid called ole­ic acid. You don’t need to get any monoun­sat­u­rat­ed fat what­so­ev­er from your diet, and monoun­sat­u­rat­ed fats have no known role in pre­vent­ing chron­ic dis­ease. About 14% of the fat­ty acids in olive oil are sat­u­rat­ed. You don’t need to get any sat­u­rat­ed fat what­so­ev­er from your diet, and a high intake of sat­u­rat­ed fat has long been known to con­tribute to coro­nary artery dis­ease.

There are only two kinds of fat­ty acid that are essen­tial in human nutri­tion, which means that you have to get them from the diet. One is an omega-6 fat­ty acid called linole­ic acid, which accounts for some­where between 3.5% and 21% of the fat­ty acids in olive oil. Since linole­ic acid is com­mon­ly found in nuts, seeds, and grains, most peo­ple get far more of it than they need. Olive oil con­tains van­ish­ing­ly small amounts of alpha-linole­ic acid, the essen­tial omega-3 fat­ty acid that is in rel­a­tive­ly short sup­ply in most people’s diets.

Too much fat of any kind will make you fat. Excess fats of all kinds also tend to build up in your arter­ies, thus lead­ing to heart attack and stroke. Fats of all kinds also tend to pro­mote insulin resis­tance, thus lead­ing to type 2 dia­betes in some peo­ple. 

Olive oil has been get­ting good press because it is con­sid­ered to be part of the “Mediter­ranean diet.” Pop­u­la­tion stud­ies had shown that rates of heart dis­ease were much low­er in some of the coun­tries that bor­dered the Mediter­ranean Sea than they were in Scan­di­navia and the Unit­ed States. How­ev­er, most peo­ple ignore the fact that the peo­ple in the Mediter­ranean coun­tries were eat­ing a more heav­i­ly plant-based diet than the peo­ple in the Unit­ed States and Scan­di­navia. Plants have no cho­les­terol, and the fiber they con­tain helps to car­ry cho­les­terol out of your sys­tem. Instead, peo­ple have been focus­ing on the fact that peo­ple in the Mediter­ranean coun­tries eat some olive oil.

Fat peo­ple in Mediter­ranean coun­tries tend to eat a low-carb, high-fat diet, with olive oil being the pre­dom­i­nant fat.  One study found that fat peo­ple in Spain had been get­ting 35% of their calo­ries from car­bo­hy­drate and 43% from fats, 55% of which were from monoun­sat­u­rat­ed fat­ty acids. So much for the the­o­ry that eat­ing fats instead of carbs makes peo­ple lose weight, or that olive oil has some sort of bel­ly flat­ten­ing mag­ic!