Weston Price, Take Your Pseudo-Science Elsewhere

Dr. Fuhrman addresses another wave of Weston Price silliness. A follow up to Weston A. Price Foundation, Stupid Traditions.

Informed people know that they should disregard any comment about a person who lived a long life, who ate bacon, smoked cigarettes, drank whiskey, snorted cocaine, etc. There is a bell-shaped curve of life-spans of people who eat a poor diet or have poor health habits. Some of these people with risky habits live longer and some shorter, genetics and other factors play a role. A plant-based, high-nutrient diet, or nutritional excellence as I call it, attempts to take the people who might fall in the bottom half of that bell curve and give them a high quality long life too. We have to look at long-lived populations and people who are already diseased and see what it takes to induce reversal to discuss real dietary excellence. And, these Weston Price enthusiasts that are attracted here, whenever their poor science is discussed, bring up more bad science (like irrelevant rat studies fed saturated fats or processed oils and vitamins) add nothing of interest to support those looking to protect themselves with nutritional excellence.

I’ve discussed this topic on DiseaseProof numerous times, but I want people to be clear about nutritional excellence and what constitutes a disease-protective diet. Sometimes commenters, adding their opinion make things less clear. Please do not comment if you have not thoroughly read through the Diet Myths category.

Gerry is not a scientist, physician, or nutritionist. He is here to foster discussion and promote awareness of nutritional excellence, sometimes I don’t like his non-scientific comments, but DiseaseProof is for entertainment too and if a person did go back and read all of my earlier comments on Disease Proof. He wouldn’t have to constantly reiterate my same points.

Unlike Gerry, who is just my blogger and writer, I have diligently spent my entire adult life studying almost every scientific study ever written on human nutrition and carefully going over the data. My 6 books have over 3,000 medical references. I document almost every statement I make, and when you do that, it takes much longer to write. Besides the thousands of readers of my books and this blog, I have also tested my dietary guideline with over 10,000 patients and achieved dramatic disease reversals of diseases such as lupus, psoriasis, headaches, fibromyalgia and heart disease. The true test of nutritional excellence marries the preponderance of evidence from scientific studies, and distilling it down into a lifestyle and dietary advice that works. I am not posting more references here now. That won’t change the views of these people, who already ignore them.

People often view their nutritional viewpoints like a religion. They have a viewpoint and they attempt to defend it to the death, sometimes their own death. Nevertheless, the Weston Price Foundation promotes out-dated and bad science. If you review the data they attempt to promote their views with it is insulting to any real person interested in the science surrounding an issue. They take scientific-sounding positions about soy, meat, daily, butter, children’s feeding practice and much more and they distort the science, present a one-sided view and confuse the decision making. They and their followers promote a range of irresponsible and potentially dangerous ideas, including:

  • Butter and butter oil are “super foods” that contain the “X factor” discovered by Weston Price.
  • Glandular organ extracts from animals promote the health and healing of the corresponding human organs.
  • Poached brains of animals should be added to other ground meats for better nutrition.
  • Raw cow’s milk and meat broth should be fed to newborns who don’t breast-feed, rather than infant formula.
  • Regular ingestion of clay (Azomite Mineral Powder) has detoxifying effects because the clay particles remove pathogens from the body.
  • There are benefits to feeding sea salt to infants and babies.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be limited in children’s diets.

People should not be going to the Weston Price Foundation looking for nutritional guidance. They are not true scientists and neither are their defenders who spew negative and insulting comments here on DiseaseProof. A true scientist tests a theory without a pre-determined agenda and collects, not just the facts favorable to their position, but all the facts. Let’s just outline the argument to reset this discussion, so people can see what the issues are here:

  1. The American diet promotes a premature death. Cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia are the result of nutritional stupidity. Nutritional science has advanced to the point where we can be protected from these common killers. Most adult Americans already have the early (or late) stages of atherosclerosis and the early stages of cancer already, present in their body. It is not sufficient to give them moderately effective advice, derived from short-lived native populations. They need advice that can be counted on to reverse the disease that is present (from the American diet) and prevent a premature death. That is what nutritional excellence is all about and what it is what it is capable of. We can also use science to live longer and healthier than ever before in human history. High micronutrient and high phytochemical eating is life-saving.
  2. My nutritional protocols predictable reverse heart disease and atherosclerosis. The dietary guidelines when applied by patients with advanced blockages in their coronary arteries result in the blockages being removed. This is documented not just by symptoms resolving and stress tests, but by coronary CT scans and MR angiograms. Furthermore, my nutritional protocols have enabled hundreds of patients to make dramatic recoveries from autoimmune diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, allergies, asthma, headaches, digestive disturbance and more. The results are supported not just by my experience but by the scientific studies that support the protocols and other doctors who have published similar results and benefits in their patients. High micronutrient eating also removes food-cravings and is the most effective weight-loss strategy.
  3. Vitamins and minerals are only a fraction of the micronutrients, needed by humans, as a primate we have requirements for a huge array of protective phytochemicals to achieve cellular normalcy, maximize longevity, and protect against disease. The American diet is now about 60% junk food; 30% animal products; 8% fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds; and 2% whole grains. To get micronutrients to a high, truly protective levels a much higher percentage of natural plants foods are needed. That means more vegetables, beans, berries and seeds, not more meat, butter and milk. Animal products contain almost no anti-oxidants and no phytochemicals.
  4. However both sides agree that this high percentage of junk food (white flour, sweeteners and oils) are not health promoting; except for misguided people promote olive oil as a health food and coconut oil as a health food too. This is a disgrace! All oil is processed food with 120 calories per tablespoon and little micronutrient content. There has never been a study that showed adding more coconut oil or olive oil to a diet resulted in significant health benefits. You could show benefit replacing more dangerous oils, but that is still has nothing to do with nutritional excellence and promoting disease reversal. There are hundreds of studies that remove butter and other saturated fats from the diet and instead use olive oil there is some benefit, but the science is overwhelming and not debatable—that when you use whole raw, high fat plant foods, such as raw seeds and nuts (not the extracted oils) you dramatically reduce sudden cardiac death, heart disease, and all cause mortality. That’s why I do not advocate a “low-fat diet.” Rather I advocate a diet where oils and animal products are reduced as a percent of dietary intake in favor of raw seeds and raw nuts, such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, pistachio nuts and flax. I recommend replacing most of the oil in one’s diet with raw seeds and nuts. I share great tasting salad dressings, dips and smoothies using these foods in place of oil. By the way, the average American eats over 2,000 calories from oil a week, resulting in lots of extra body fat, but no significant micronutrients or anticancer lignans to show for it.
  5. I teach that the 30-35% of intake from Animal products in the American diet is already too high. The Atkins’ followers and the Weston Price crowd think this number is not high enough and recommend a diet with unlimited amounts of animal products encouraging people to think animal products are health foods that should be consumed without limitations. Any way you slice it; that is bad science. The Okinowans eat less than 10 percent of calories from animal products, mostly fish and loads of vegetables. However, we still could improve on what they do!

Atkins and Weston Price devotees are just wrong; promoting bad science is a serious matter, it encourages disease and hurts people. If someone wants to post any well-done human study that shows disease reversal or improved longevity statistics from increasing the percent of animal product intake from 30% and reducing natural plant food like vegetables in favor of meat, please do so. But, this is just too silly to even contemplate. Our diet is deficient in vegetables, not meat. Neither do I present a vegan of vegetarian diet as the best diet or the only option. However, I am very clear that animal products should be reduced to a lower percentage of total dietary intake, and I set the goal around 10% of calories and I modify that up or down based on individual needs and disease risks. The idea that some body types will survive longer or be thinner or healthier on a meat-based, diet richer in animal fats, is also false and has no scientific support.

In summary, Weston Price, Atkins, low-carb or other such supporters if you want to post modern, human studies for me to comment on do so. But otherwise take your nonsense elsewhere, where people are easily fooled by your pseudo-science.

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Comments (28) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Steve - August 13, 2008 9:40 AM

Thanks for this post.

I have no answer for people who say raw milk is healthy, that tobacco is not harmful, that the Apollo moon landing was fake, that they have been in a UFO, that modern physics is corrupt, yet I don't believe any of these. When it comes to nutritional information I do believe that DrF is the best out there. If you don't I have no answer for you, hopefully we will all make choices that are the best for each of us.

Cheers,
Steve

Walter Pittman - August 13, 2008 12:21 PM

The fact that there are no studies showing that a meat-based diet is better or worse than a plant-based diet does not prove that a plant-based diet is superior; it only proves that there have been no studies constructed to resolve the issue. The issue is unresolved in favor of one side or the other, in my opinion.

Yes, Fuhrman claims to have improved the health of many people in his clinical practice, and I believe him. But Atkins and Lutz and other low-carb practitioners have also claimed the same thing, and I believe them, too.

I think any diet will be successful, which removes most of the junk carbs and junk fats Americans eat. I think THAT is likely the primary reason for the success of the Fuhrman diet.

Most low-carb diets do encourage a relatively high consumption of leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables. If I eat a low-carb diet that includes every day a large salad and a big mess of stir-fried veggies, do I really need even MORE phytonutrients on top of that? Must I additionally eat whole grains and more veggies rather than coconut oil and meat? I don't think Fuhrman has any evidence to prove this, because I don't think the studies to prove this exist (and may never exist, since the cost would be enormous). How many antioxidants do we really need? And at what point does fiber cease to be a virtue and begin to burden the digestive system? Is more always better?

Fuhrman champions phytonutrients, but downplays fauna-nutrients, such as DHA, EPA, Carnitine, Carnosine, CoQ-10,Creatine, etc. Meat is high in several nutrients that are missing or scant in plants. This is simply the truth, and it's an argument the pro-meat people constantly puts forth, which I've noticed the pro-plant people always avoid.

I don't eat a low-carb diet. My diet is probably more like Fuhrman, but with meat and some coconut oil. But I've read Colpo and Lutz and Eades and Taubes, and I think they have some interesting and very valid things to say.

Damon - August 13, 2008 12:29 PM

Hello Steve,

This is very good information and it seems you have an excellent website devoted to debunking pseudoscience, but I wanted to add a comment about the AZOMITE Mineral Powder that you mention in this post.

First, AZOMITE is the trade name for a volcanic deposit mined from central Utah and actually contains only less than 5% Montmorillonite clay. The deposit is very rich in the trace minerals. You can find a typical analysis here.

Second, AZOMITE is not approved by the USA Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for human use. The product has been given GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status with FDA and it is approved for use in animal feed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). In animals, AZOMITE has been shown in scientific studies to bind some mycotoxins typically found in animal feed as well as improving Average Daily Gain (ADG), Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR), and reducing mortality rates even the absence of any mycotoxins. There is speculation that the presence of approximately 70 trace minerals may be the reason for these results, and may improve the health of animals who ingest the product.

In soil, AZOMITE powder is used to increase the level of trace elements that all plants require. Often, crop soil is lacking these trace minerals through erosion or decades of heavy harvesting and use of chemical fertilizers (NPK). AZOMITE has been given "certified organic" status for use in soil by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).

It would be interesting to find out what effect AZOMITE has in humans, but at this time that is an unknown. There are some people who may ingest the product and make claims about its results, but until the lengthy scientific studies are done, we will not know for sure.

More information on AZOMITE can be found here or here.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Damon
AZOMITE International

HappyCat - August 13, 2008 12:47 PM

People who say "You have to die of something" just don't understand that it is not a quantity of life issue but a quality of life issue. You want to live your life up until the day you die, not sit on the sidelines because of poor health.

Sharon Shaw - August 13, 2008 2:34 PM

The comments posted by Walter Pittman prove one thing: he has either not read any of Dr. Fuhrman's books--or--he has a hidden agenda. No one with an open mind, possesing basic logic, would make such comments in light of the thousands of references and living testimonials/studies....The only thing that Mr.Pittman and the Weston Price folks prove is that the Flat Earth Society is alive and well....

Joel Fuhrman, MD - August 13, 2008 5:48 PM

Walter-

Walter you are the perfect example of these guys that will not give up, unless you hit them over the head with a jack-hammer. Ten thousand studies showing as animal products increase in a population’s diet, so does all causes of death is not sufficient, they will still search for an argument to deny it. Yes, there are thousands of studies that show a plant based diet is superior and not one that shows a meat-based one is.

So Walter, read the scientific studies below, if you want to learn something, otherwise-- as some radio guy once said “so get off my phone.” I have heard enough of your “opinion.” And, I don’t avoid any of those points. They are all addressed with science and with careful documentation to the studies and not just claims. If Atkins with his millions had the data to show his diet could reverse heart disease, he would have published it somewhere. Why is it that only plant-heavy diets have such data to prove reversal? Eat whatever way you want, but just don’t act like you know something and try to teach others to do it.

Studies:

Ames BN. Micronutrients prevent cancer and delay aging. Toxicol Lett Dec 28,1998;102-103:5-18. Ames BN,, DNA damage from micronutrient deficiencies is likely to be a major cause of cancer. Mutat Res 2001:475(1-2):7-20.

Jensen CD, Block G, Buffler P, et al. Maternal dietary factors in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Cancer Causes Control 2004;15(6):559-570.

Frankel S, Gunnel DJ, Peters TJ, et al. Childhood energy intake and adult mortality from cancer. BMJ 1998;316(7130):499-504.

Maynard M, Gunnell D, Emmett P, et al. Fruit, vegetable, and antioxidants in childhood and risk of adult cancer; the Boyd Orr Cohort. J Epidemiol Community Health 2003;57:218-225.

Satia-about a J, Galanko JA, Martin CF, et al. Food groups and colon cancer risk in African-Americans and Caucasians. Int J Cancer 2004;109(5):728-736.

Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism 2001 Apr;50(4):494-503.

Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al. The Garden of Eden--plant based diets, the genetic drive to conserve cholesterol and its implications for heart disease in the 21st century. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol 2003 Sep;136(1):141-151.

Hu FB. Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an overview. Am J Clin Nutr 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):544S-551S.

Walter Pittman - August 13, 2008 7:39 PM

Yeah, just keep jackhammering away on this thick old skull of mine, and maybe I'll end up a vegan.

You may think I'm stupid, but nonetheless I have read many hundreds of articles in medical journals, I subscribe to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, I've read too many popular nutrition books, I've read 3 of your books; I'm no expert but I'm not a babe in the woods, either.

All I'm saying is that there have been no definitive studies performed on human beings comparing a plant-based non-junk food diet versus a meat-based non-junk food diet. Maybe your heavy-vegetable approach is better, maybe it isn't.

Tell me what you make of these two studies, which apparently you haven't read or don't want to cite, since both indicate no difference in all-cause mortality between vegetarians and meat-eaters:

"Mortality in Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999 516S (supplement). In an analysis of 5 prospective stuides,the all-cause mortality ratio is essentially the same for vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

"Mortality in British Vegetarians," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003, 533s: "For all causes of death combined, the Health Food Shoppers Study and the Oxford Vegetarian Study show almost identical mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians; the preliminary analysis of EPIC-Oxford shows slightly, but not significantly, higher all-cause mortality in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians [DRR 1.05 (0.86, 1.27)]."

So you can see how, for me, the issue is not exactly settled.

As far as the studies you cited, I'll take the last as an example (the Hu opinion piece). Hu sets up a dichotomy between a "prudent pattern" diet and a "western pattern diet." The prudent pattern contains fish, whole grains, and flora. The western pattern contains meat, refined grains, potatoes and high-fat dairy. Of course, if the western pattern is the alternative to the heavy-vegetable pattern, naturally the heavy-vegetable pattern will be found healthier. But the "western pattern" is not the only alternative! A lower-carb diet can consist of fresh meat, non-starchy vegetables and nuts, with no refined carbohydrates; and I believe such a diet can be healthy.

This is your website, and you have the right to tell me to stay off it, which you have and which I will. I wish you the best of health, and God bless.

Jean Finet - August 13, 2008 7:46 PM

"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”

Leo Tolstoy

Scott - August 13, 2008 8:33 PM

Now we're talking. Dr. Fuhrman has shown how to deliver a fact based KO to the high fat, high meat crowd.

Gerry, I hope you didn't take my comments about not producing scientific data personal. I understand that isn't your job and I apologize if I've come across as attacking when in reality I am an avid supporter.

Josh Souverain - August 14, 2008 9:16 AM

KO punch? what KO punch. I invite anyone to prouduce a single study that shows that animal fat/protein or even just saturated fat CAUSE any harm. It has to be a study that doesn't mix meat with processed meat, or that includes trans fats, or includes grains or a lot of carbs, etc. And no epidemiological studies either, too many confounding factors.

On the other hand there are studies that show benefits to eating high fat diets. Improved HDL, LDL, lower trig.

There's even some evidence high fat diets can be usefull in FIGHTING cancer.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1662484,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

Joe - August 14, 2008 11:33 AM

Hey Josh,

Nice fluff piece in Time Magazine. There's a little thing called peer review.. oh and actually siting real studies instead of magazine articles. I guess the KO stands.

Monty - August 14, 2008 1:21 PM

Looking at Walter's vehement objections to a vegetable-based diet and his defense of Weston Price and Atkins, he appears to be a public-relations agent for the meat-and-dairy industry hired to shout down and confuse anything derogatory to his employer's business. Let him follow his own advice. He is what George Orwell would call a doubleplusgood duckspeaker.

Scott - August 14, 2008 5:17 PM

Hey Josh, as soon as you produce a study showing that a high fat diet can fight cancer, improve HDL/LDL, Tris, I'll be happy to read it.

Time Magazine does not qualify as scientific evidence. Just because the guy is a "science writer" doesn't mean he is a scientist. Taubes anyone?

Joel Fuhrman, MD - August 14, 2008 8:23 PM

Walter-

I must need something stronger than a jack-hammer. When you are so blinded by your food preferences, I think people can’t think logically anymore.

First of all, if you actually read all the longevity and disease studies on vegans and vegetarians and the data they collected they actually are quite revealing. Remember, you can’t just pick out the lines you like and ignore all the other data. Not that you guys are not entertaining for the readers, but I think I have had enough, just for a while. Especially that you essentially lied and twisted the results of what those studies did show.

And, but the way, I call these people veg-junkatarians, because when you look at what British vegans and most vegans and vegetarians eat, it is mostly nutritionally barren grains and processed foods.

But, I know you meat-promoters have no desire to learn and read, you just want to bury your heads in the sand and ignore the findings that contradict your view.

The American diet is less than 10 percent of calories from produce—fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans. The average vegan’s diet is less than 15 percent of calories from fresh produce, not so much better, nevertheless, they have significant less heart disease. And don’t forget, the chief issue to defeat disease is not whether your diet is vegan or not, rather it is the percentage of total calories from whole, natural plant foods. You must reduce both processed foods and animal products to get that level of vegetation to the point where lifespan and disease-protection and reversal not just enhanced a little but we want to get to the point so we are totally protected from heart disease. So clearly meat and animal products must be reduced significantly to get to that protective level. But since Walter brought it up lets read the whole studies and see what they really did find:

1. Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, et al. Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: a collaborative analysis of 8300 deaths among 76,000 men and women in five prospective studies. Public Health Nutr 1998;1(1):33-41.

Walter lied à This study reviewed 8330 deaths before the age of 90 years and found vegetarians had a 24 percent reduction in heart attack deaths, compared to people who ate meat once or twice a week. A review of the data was clear--as meat eating increased, so did heart related deaths. The researcher’s final conclusion was that “vegetarians have a lower risk of dying from heart disease than non-vegetarians.”

----

2. Appleby PN, Key TJ, Thorogood M, et al. Mortality in British vegetarians. Public Health Nutr 2002;5(1):29-36.

Walter lied again. This study found that British vegetarians (who are known for their high white bread consumption) has a low mortality compared to the general (meat-eating population. However, when the researchers compared them to other non-vegetarians who ate healthy (health food shoppers) who had healthy lifestyle habits the death rates were similar.

----

3. Fraser GE. Association between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality in non-Hispanic, white California Seventh-day Adventists. Am J Clin Nutr. 199:70(3Suppl):532s-538s.

This is a better study because even the Seventh Day Adventist’s who ate some meat, had similar lifestyle and diet habits, with those who did not. “Multivariate analysis showed a significant association between beef consumption and fatal heart disease.” “Significant protective association between nut consumption and fatal and non-fatal heart disease.” “Cancer of the colon and prostate were significantly more likely in non-vegetarians.” “The frequent beef consumers also had a higher risk of bladder cancer.” They concluded that the vegetarians were healthier.

But let’s be clear here. I am not professing a strict vegan diet is not as good as a near-vegan diet which has just a little animal products but lots of vegetable, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. I am however saying that meat and other animal products must be restricted in the amount of their use to achieve the degree of disease protection, my audience of health enthusiasts are interested in and looking to achieve. For those of you like Walter and Josh who want to eat their high meat, high saturated fat diets and take their chances, I say go ahead, do what you want, but just stop promoting nonsense.

Walter Pittman - August 14, 2008 8:26 PM

Well, I will make one last comment, to point out a couple things.

1) Everyone IS avoiding the inconvenient studies I cited, in which several large studies came up with equivalent all-death rates for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Put up or shut up.

2) Clearly nobody bothered to actually understand what I was saying, which was simply that I think that meat is important in the diet, and that there's no evidence that huge amounts of veggies are any more protective than more moderate amounts. I never claimed to be anti-vegetable. I eat probably eat more vegetables than most of the readers of this blog, but I also eat meat and detest tofu.

3) It is quite clear that this blog exists simply to reinforce dogma, rather than to engage in scientific inquiry. Since you KNOW the truth, you don't want to be bothered with pesky little guys like me who don't agree with you 100% (who are probably industry shills, anyway). But remember--even Fuhrman has changed his viewpoint a good deal, from what I recall of his "Eat to Live" book. Then all fats were bad; now he advocates eating more fats, in the from of nuts and avocados. This is good and rational. In a few years will he also be advocating small amounts of meat? I think he will.

Joel Fuhrman, MD - August 14, 2008 9:16 PM

Walter-

Eat To Live is a weight loss book, especially designed for people with a metabolic hindrance to weight loss. Nuts and seeds are not unlimited, but the book clearly states, (page 184).

“Pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and others may be rich in calories and fat, but scientific studies consistently report that nuts offer disease protection against heart attack, stroke, and cancer and also help lower cholesterol. (footnoted) They can be used in larger amounts once you reach your ideal weight. Raw nuts and seeds are ideal foods for kids, athletes and those who want to gain weight. One ounce of nuts is about 200 calories and can fit into a cupped hand, so do not eat more than this one handful of nuts per day. They are great in both fruit salads and green salads.”

Plus they are on the third level of my food pyramid in Eat To Live.

But, I realize you have to screw up the facts in everything you read to maintain your position that your daily meat is important in the diet. I certainly hope this is your last comment, but you certainly showed everyone what a good scientist you are; a perfect example for all to see and learn from of the typical comments of the Weston Price and other meat and butter promoting groups. And by the way, for some people, I may indeed recommend a small amount of animal products in the diet, but I don’t distort the science, like you do.

Scott - August 14, 2008 10:02 PM

I think that too many people (namely the Weston Price/high meat/fat crowd) seriously misrepresents Dr. Fuhrman's positions and certainly Eat To Live. To the WAPF folks, everything is viewed in extremes. When they see "reduce animal products" they automatically take that as "go vegan". It's so dishonest and infantile to distort what is said/written simply to try to prove a point.

I don't have my copy of Eat To Live with me because I let a family member borrow it, but if I recall there is even fish and poultry listed on the ETL pyramid at the top in the sparingly (once a week) block. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm almost positive.

A pyramid that includes the occasional option of animal products kind of shoots down the propaganda that Dr. Fuhrman and Diseaseproof.com are vegan shills, don't ya think?

Josh Souverain - August 15, 2008 8:07 AM

Dr. Fuhrman, you must know you hardly sound like an objective scientist with all that name calling and impatience.

As you said, you dont get to choose which lines to read, you also dont get to choose which studies to ignore, and you also don\'t got to choose when correlation is equivalent to causation. Correlation is NEVER equivalent to causation.

I don\'t have access to the full studies you mentioned, however, your brief descriptions reveal these to be another case of simple correlation. In fact, you even wrote \"when the researchers compared them to other non-vegetarians who ate healthy (health food shoppers) who had healthy lifestyle habits the death rates were similar.\" This tells me that it\'s probably the simple fact that anyone who chooses to be a vegetarian or to shop at health food stores is more likely to have other healthy habits, and to avoid unhealthy ones.

It would be very unscientific to conclude from this that meat is the causative factor. How have you eliminated all other possibilities?

The scientific method requires you to reformulate your hypothesis if there
is any proof that directly contradicts said hypothesis. It doesnt allow
you to make excuses.

The idea of course is to make sure you are as objective as possible. There
is no other way to find the truth.

Regarding the hypothesis that animal fat causes heart disease/cancer, there
is the following to consider:

Masai tribes found to have no heart disease/cancer, with a diet that is
almost exclusively from animal sources.

Same thing with the Innuit.

And many other primitive peoples.

If animal products caused heart disease/cancer, this could not be possible.

No excuses allowed. We are not talking about longevity. These people have NO HEART DISEASE.

There is only one conclusion, animal products DO NOT cause heart disease.
There is really no way around this.

Ok, so the hypothesis that animal products cause heart disease/cancer is
proven incorrect. Are there other hypothesis that better fit the known
data? Yes, in fact, there are. The idea excessive sugar/starch leads to
disease is a very strong one, and fits most of the known data. The
hypothesis that an imbalance of omega 3 to omega 6 oils is also a strong
one.

A truly objective scientist must accept that these other possibilities do
at least possibly explain the current levels of disease in the human
population, as well as, or even better than, the idea that it can all be
blamed on animal products.

And finally, given that true scientists don\'t really know what might cause the so-called diseases of civilization, I rely on the fact that we evolved over millions of years on animal
products. Our bodies are finely tuned to deal with animal products, as well as low starch/sugar plant products.

Joe - August 15, 2008 10:43 AM

Josh,

The "diseased of civilization" that you claim are caused by only by refined starches and sugars are usually called the "diseases of affluence." Rich people, kings, and nobility have been getting these diseases since recorded history, well before there were any refined sugars or starches. And guess what they were eating that the general public wasn't? Large amounts of meat and animal fat.

Dude, get your facts straight. No one here is advocating eating refined sugar and starches.

Adrienne - August 15, 2008 1:11 PM

What is up with all the WAPFers out there always going on and on about the Masai without even doing any research of their own?

The Masai are often misrepresented as they do get heart disease and atherosclerosis also, even though they are extremely fit, so how good a diet can it be. They also have a life expectancy of around 50 even after accounting for infant mortality.

To use their diets (or another rare/isolated example) and emulate a very rare native population that is forced to eat a certain way due to poor environmental situations, and has one of the lowest life spans, as an example of what is healthy, would not be a good idea.

Quoting from...

Atherosclerosis in the Masai. Am J Epidemiol
95: 26–37, 1972.–

The hearts and aortae of 50 Masai men were collected
at autopsy. These pastoral people are exceptionally
active and fit and they consume diets of milk and
meat. The intake of animal fat exceeds that of
American men. Measurements of the aorta showed
extensive atherosclerosis with lipid infiltration and
fibrous changes but very few complicated lesions. The
coronary arteries showed intimal thickening by
atherosclerosis which equaled that of old U.S. men.

Kathy Erickson - August 26, 2008 1:15 PM

I've been on Dr. Fuhrman's healthy eating for 4 years and both my husband and I have seen significant changes in our health, our weight and our medical problems. With all the changes in how we think about food and trying to implement all the changes the worst by far is people's comments when they see us eating this way. I've heard it all from "you have to die of something" to "A little won't hurt you". Some have even said, Oh you're Guhru Dr. Fuhrman"!!! It's frustrating but we'll see who has the last laugh.

Greg - March 26, 2009 9:37 PM

@Adrienne: Wow, is all the evidence here that selective! You chopped off the last 2 sentences from the summary:

The Masai vessels enlarge with age to more than compensate for this disease. It is speculated that the Masai are protected from their atherosclerosis by physical fitness which causes their coronary vessels to be capacious.

Zach - March 5, 2010 3:45 PM

So what if Adrienne left off those two sentences? Heart disease, as defined by atherosclerosis, is already proven. The fact is that few of us exercise like Masai warriors, and yet strict vegans don't suffer from atherosclerosis like carnivores do. So yes, perhaps if you exercise like the masai do, you can avoid the heart attacks that your high-animal product diet would otherwise condemn you to, but this doesn't mean that they wouldn't be healthier still on a vegan diet. Inuit and Masai both have highly abnormal rates of exercise compared to Americans, and yet they also have exceptionally short life expectancies. Not exactly my desired life model.

TruthorDeath - September 7, 2010 11:01 AM

Wow. I have read all the comments here. Walter Pittman and Josh Souverain seem to be of clear mind in their comments, discussing in a rational manner. Everyone else, on the other hand, are shamelessly flinging such childlish jibber jabber dogma that it amazes me the level of education these people have, including Dr Fuhrman.

Dr Fuhrman,

You have a reasonably popular site here, with a active forum that allows people to discuss the differences in viewpoint on diet. You have a lot of great info stored in the archives, and I'm quite sure that you DO help a lot of people acheive far better results with their diet and their health through your programs and advice than without. However, it is EXTREMELY obvious that you are bent against anything but your own perspective. You seem to have arrived at this point that you believe you already know everything, a critically dangerous mindset to hold fast to. It is a widely known positive to openly welcome commenters who disagree with your viewpoint. It opens up strong discussion. It attracts sharp people who WANT to bring their best. You say elsewhere on your site that you welcome this, that you appreciate people who comment against what you teach, yet the responses I see here seem to be rife with a staunch and contentious attitude that is extremely disconnected from that claim.

The plants over meats folks seem to believe that the supports of Weston A Price and the like are evil, from the pit of hell, who are out to destroy the world with terrible health advice.

It's amazing, because I am a very educated person, who has been around the block quite a few times. When I read the information presented on WAP.com, I see very well written material that seems to have pure intentions. I am not easily fooled, and by the sound of the comments I see from Walter and Josh, they seem to be good fine blokes as well, with sound thinking. There comments do not contain hateful remarks and/or profane cursing. So ease up. We are not crazies. We are simply looking at ALL the facts and saying that we are not convinced that good fresh meats (not processed) are not the cause of the array of diseases that riddle our health in today's era. In fact, I found your site because I was purposefully looking for what people had to say against the ideas and teachings of WAP. I WANT to know the other side. I NEED to know the other side. The 'argument' is that all we see is you and your camp frothing at the mouth to vehemently oppose anything other than your own viewpoint. When presented with a logically based contradiction, you squirm around it by saying that "it's been proven over and over again" and "the evidence is certainly clear" and "you crazies just won't quit" (those are all paraphrases, not actual quotes). Your responses here make it clear that you believe that anyone who supports the ‘ridiculous’ ideas that meat and sat fats play a positive role in health likely has ‘connections’ to the industry or some ridiculous junk like that. Do you know that hundreds if not thousands of highly educated doctors, well respected physicians, highly regarded certified nutritionists are very much in support of healthy sources of saturated fats from animal products. These are people who put their picture online, post their progress and openly discuss these topics. People are living VERY WELL using these principles, and they want to share what they’ve learned. Are you ignoring ALL OF THEM TOO??

You may still be thinking that I am some whacko dude who sits in the corner and smears peanut butter all over myself for fun, but the truth is I am just a normal guy who I believe most people view as pretty dang sharp. I care very much about possessing the true and correct knowledge on these important topics. I do not want to just eat all the dairy and meat and cheese I want and justify it by supporting the WAP group. I am actively seeking what is the best way to live a healthy, happy life. I have a very big family and I love people, and I mean well. So please, when you read comments from some folk that don't necessarily flow with you own, be a bit slower to attack right away to preserve your teachings. You shouldn’t have anything to be concerned about. It is for your own good anyway.

TruthorDeath - September 7, 2010 4:49 PM

More than you need to know about grass-fed beef vs grain-fed beef. It makes a WORLD of difference. And Dr Fuhrman... this was published in 2010!!! So don't be replying with the "This isn't 1939" nonsense!!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846864/

Nicola - September 26, 2010 12:11 AM

Here, here TruthorDeath - well said! I could hardly believe the attacks I've been reading on Walter and Josh - especially Dr Furhman's aggressive attidude. Good on you for posting.

Tracy - October 19, 2010 8:04 PM

Look all you WAPF'ers. Dr. Fuhrman does not agree with your institution and its' point of view. That is the bottom line and no amount of arguing or dragging up obscure studies about what tribes did in Africa is going to change his opinion. If you want to go elsewhere to find validation for what you believe is true, you will certainly find it somewhere but don't come looking for it here.

Jim Singleton - August 6, 2012 7:47 PM

Two years ago, I referred to my diet as "Paleo." While I still eat meat, I've grown to dislike the term Paleo. Now, I would refer to my diet as "mostly unprocessed" or a "whole food" diet.

For approximately two years, I have avoided all grains, cereals, breads, pastas, and legumes. For me, I feel much better. I have less gastric distress and no longer experience swings in blood sugar. Previously, if I didn't eat every two hours or so, I was ready to gnaw the legs off the dining table.

The concept that initially drew me to Paleo was more about what one does NOT eat, versus what one DOES eat.

That meant nothing that existed pre-agriculture. (That certainly meant no refined carbohydrates—something which is congruent with Dr. Fuhrman’s teachings.) No starches, for example. Also, due to lectins and phytates, no legumes.

The discussion then became about "safe starches." Then, the debate was (still is) how much of the safe starch is really safe. (Dr. McDougall would be rolling his eyes, right about now.) Next, certain people could probably eat some legumes, provided they you soak/sprout them first.

It became maddening to me, because I wanted to know "THE" truth. As if it’s one single truth that applies to all. However, different peoples and populations seemed to be thriving on vastly different diets.

In the end, we can only approximate eating like our ancestors, because we don’t have the same foods.

As one example, think about food growers have bred fruits to be bigger and sweeter. Add to the fact that that many foods are now available year-round. There’s little seasonality.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg...lettuce continue.

As I mentioned, I still eat meat. However, I now eat far less than I ever have. The amount might be slightly higher on some days and lower on others. I'm still working on listing to my body. The meat actually comes from a local farm and is grass-fed and -finished.

Now that I am eating more fat, versus high glycemic carbohydrates, I can go hours (4-5 or more) with little-to-no bother. As a (high glycemic) carbovore, after two hours without refueling, I would have been intolerable.

With all that as some context, I think Dr. Fuhrman is 100% right about increasing the amount of plant foods.

For those that believe the Paleo/Primal approach is nothing but meat, I would ask you to consider the "Updated and Expanded" version of Mark Sisson's "The Primal Blueprint." Since the original release, Mark has updated his "food pyramid" to place vegetables at the foundation.

Think of the term: "Plant-based diet." A diet based in plant food. That certainly makes sense to me.

Now, I'm not here to advocate The Primal Blueprint. (Or, any other plan.) I mention it only for the purposes of illustrating what I believe is a generally-accepted concept in Paleo circles -- a diet based in plant food.

Of course, there are other plans that seem to overlap into Paleo and Low-Carbohydrate and push high protein. I have tried this myself and did so at the expense of plant foods. I felt much worse.

For me, I seem to do better with less protein, more non-starchy vegetables, more fat, and limited fruit (mostly berries).

I'm fortunate that all the food I eat is as "clean" as one can reasonably expect -- organic fruits/vegetables (some local), grass-fed/-finished meat (some local), pastured eggs, etc. I spend quite a lot on food.

Since I spent over 40 years eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), I feel like I may not be able to unwind all the metabolic damage. But, I keep tweaking things to see how I feel.

In closing, I appreciate all the work that Dr. Fuhrman continues to put-forth. I look forward to following him in the future.

Jim S

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