A study reported in April 2018 has made the news because it suggests that taking a statin drug might increase your risk of getting a motor neuron disease. Statin drugs are used to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood, to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Motor neuron diseases include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, because that famous baseball player had it. Physicist Stephen Hawking also had a form of ALS. Motor neuron diseases are a big deal, but so are heart attacks and strokes. So should you worry about this study? I don’t worry about it, for the following reasons:
- If you eat a healthy diet, you almost certainly won’t need pills to lower your cholesterol. So you could avoid even the theoretical risks of the side effects of the pills.
- Even if the statins do increase your risk of coming down with a motor neuron disease, the motor neuron diseases were rare to start with and are still rare, even though so many people are taking statins.
Continue reading “Do Statins Cause Motor Neuron Diseases, Such as ALS?”
Many people think that acne is a natural result of being a teenager. Yet the teenagers in many parts of the world are remarkably free of acne. The low rate of acne in those populations is not due to their genes. It is due to their low-fat, heavily plant-based diet. When people from those countries grow up in the United States, they generally eat a typical American diet which is rich in fat and animal-source foods. As a result, they too tend to get acne in their teenage years.
The rich, fatty, American-style diet increases your risk of acne. It supplies a lot of fat, which can make your skin oily. It also contains lots of animal-source foods, which can lead to an overload of two types of hormones: male sex hormones (androgens) and a growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). These two hormones work together to cause acne. That’s why acne tends to start when children go through puberty.
Continue reading “Acne Results from High-Fat, High-Protein Diets”
In 1996, a man named “Dr.” Peter J. D’Adamo published Eat Right For Your Type. This book promoted the “blood type diet.” It claimed that your diet should be based on your ABO blood type (type A, B, AB, or O). The ABO system of blood typing is important in blood transfusion. Getting a transfusion of the wrong type of blood can kill you. However, there is no scientific evidence that your blood type has anything to do with how your body reacts to food. People of any blood type thrive on a low-fat, plant-based diet.
The things that D’Adamo says about the natural history of the different blood types are wrong. So are the things he says about the effects of blood type on the body. Worst of all, D’Adamo gives particularly bad dietary advice to the people with the most common blood type. I suspect that his book has been so popular because he has been telling a lot of people exactly what they want to hear. He has been telling the people with the most common blood type that they need to eat a lot of fatty meat.
Continue reading “The Blood Type Diet Is Nonsense. Everyone Should Eat Plants!”
What is hypertension?
Roughly one out of three adults in the United States have hypertension (high blood pressure). Only half of those with high blood pressure have it under control. High blood pressure can be a serious problem. It can damage your blood vessels, particularly in your kidneys and your brain. Eventually, it can also damage the valves in your heart. Pregnant women are prone to a form of high blood pressure called preeclampsia, which is dangerous to the woman and her baby. For these reasons, millions of people are taking medications to control their blood pressure.
However, medication is not necessarily the best way to control blood pressure. Yes, it can reduce the blood pressure. But it does not cure the vascular resistance that the heart is trying to solve by beating so hard. The best way to solve the blood pressure problem is to relieve this resistance by eating a low-fat vegan diet.
Continue reading “Do I Need Blood Pressure Medication?”
As I explain in Where Do Gorillas Get Their Protein?, a low-fat vegan diet is good for people and good for the environment. However, an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) disagrees. It claims that vegan diets would be a disaster for public health. Yet the authors are not experts on human nutrition or public health. Instead, they are experts on how to feed livestock. Their did not base their conclusions on any studies of human nutrition. As a result, they give bad dietary advice.
Continue reading “Science journal spreads false rumors about vegan diet”
Lately, food faddists have been claiming that coconut oil is a health food. They claim that it will help you lose weight. In reality, coconut oil is as fattening as any other fat. Some people even claim that coconut oil can cure Alzheimer’s disease. In reality, coconut oil can promote atherosclerosis, which is an important cause of vascular dementia. Also, fats of any kind tend to make your body less sensitive to insulin. For this reason, eating coconut oil would probably make type 2 diabetes worse. Coconut oil could even make Alzheimer’s disease worse. Alzheimer’s disease seems to be related to insulin resistance in the brain.
So why are people promoting coconut oil for brain health? They know that coconut oil is part of a diet for children with epilepsy. However, they do not understand why this diet is used.
Continue reading “Is Coconut Oil Good for You?”
Today, many people on the Internet are urging people to eat a “keto” diet. A keto diet is so high in fat and so low in carbohydrates that it causes people to go into a state of ketosis. Ketosis means that “ketone bodies” have built up in the bloodstream. Ketone bodies are chemicals that are produced by an alternative method of burning fat. Ketosis does not mean that you are losing weight. It really just means that your liver is turning a lot of protein and other noncarbohydrates to sugar. No human society has ever eaten a ketogenic diet. So the long-term safety of ketogenic diets is questionable.
Continue reading “What Does Ketosis Mean?”
Some researchers in Belgium just did an interesting study about how yeast cells use sugar. This study helps to explain why yeast cells multiply rapidly when they have plenty of sugar. The results of their study could also explain why some cancer cells also multiply rapidly. However, this study does not mean that sugars and starches in the diet are a problem. In fact, high-carbohydrate diets actually help to protect against many cancers. Rather, the study explains why cancer cells with abnormal sugar metabolism might behave like yeast cells.
Many Cancer Cells Have an Abnormal Metabolism
Since the 1920s, scientists have known that many cancer cells don’t use oxygen to burn sugar, even when plenty of oxygen is available. By the 1950s, it was clear that tumors that are most likely to use anaerobic (no-oxygen) metabolism tend to be the most aggressive. Unfortunately, the reporters who have been covering this study for the popular press do not understand what the study is about or what its results really mean.
Many of the reporters have falsely concluded that the study shows that something in sugar is somehow causing cancer. As a result, they are urging people to avoid eating carbohydrates. But if people follow that advice, they would actually increase their risk of early death. If people avoid carbohydrates, they will end up eating more fat and more animal protein. High-fat diets increase your risk of heart attacks. Also, diets that are high in animal protein increase your risk of dying of cancer.
Continue reading “Dietary Protein, Not Sugar, Promotes the Growth of Cancer”
New York Times columnist Jane E. Brody wrote a silly attack on the documentary What the Health. Germany’s Iron Chancellor Otto von Bismarck supposedly once quipped, “Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” Since the New York Times is regarded as the “Newspaper of Record” in the United States, we could amend this saying to “Never believe anything in American politics until it has been officially denied in the New York Times.”
Continue reading “Jane Brody’s Misleading Attack on What the Health”
Since the 1970s, there has been a lot of hype about the diet of the Inuit, who were indigenous people in Greenland as well as northern Canada and Alaska. (The Inuit were often called Eskimos, but that name is considered offensive. The correct name is Inuit. The singular form of the word is Inuk.) The Inuit had managed to survive in a hostile environment: one that was frozen and covered in snow for many months out of the year. As a result, the Inuit’s traditional diet for most of the year consisted of meat and fish, often eaten raw. Since the 1970s, many food faddists have been claiming that the Inuit’s diet somehow magically protected the Inuit against coronary artery disease. The goal of this propaganda is to encourage people to eat meat and fish and to take fish oil capsules but to shun carbohydrates. Yet even the earliest outside observers of the Inuit noticed something odd about them. The young Inuit seemed hale and hearty, but the Inuit seemed to age quickly, and there were practically no Inuit older than 60 years. Studies of mummified and skeletal remains of Inuit who had died before the arrival of the Europeans confirmed that the traditional Inuit diet caused atherosclerosis and osteoporosis.
Continue reading “The Inuit (“Eskimo”) Diet Causes Rapid Aging, Early Death”