Monday, July 25, 2011

This is like Beachfront Property for a Cave Man

Hey, take a look at this home!  It's like a cave, for the perfect cavewoman or caveman.
I have visited this home in person, but have never been able to get inside.  It is nestled in a forest, with a large park nearby, so I am sure that any modern-day hunter-gatherer would find some fun places for all that foraging.  The area is also infested with deer, and though it is probably illegal to shoot them, it is pretty easy to hit one with a car and then get to keep it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Diet Experts have Failed!!!!!!!

I was reading Jimmy Moore's blog this morning, and he mentioned a study (a poll) that said that 60 percent of consumers want more low-carb options in stores.  That's 3 out of 5, folks.  That is, for every mid-size carpool on the highway, the whole back seat has ignored the crazy advice from the registered dietitians.
Hope Warshaw must have gotten it wrong again.  Low carb isn't old, its the new black.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Intermittant Fasting My n=1

Hey Dr. Mercola!  I listened to you on Jimmy Moore's podcast.  I just defended you on sparkpeople, when one of the moderators said you were a "known quack", but I totally disagree with you on this IF-for-everybody thing.  But I know you and your team comb the literature, so I hope you will visit this here blog and read up.

My Anecdote

After I turned 50, I scheduled a colonoscopy.  Then I started the longest fast so far in my life.  My first day without eating started with several hours of gardening, followed by several hours of hard volunteer work.  Later that day, I was blessed with an orchard windfall, and I spent the rest of the day and evening in a hot kitchen making and canning jelly and grape juice.  The heat got to me a bit, but my hunger wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

The next day I felt miserable (drinking that vile stuff didn't help) and couldn't wait for the procedure to BE OVER so I could eat again.  I had a can of soda waiting for me in the car, for the ride home.  As miserable as a colonoscopy is, the really neat thing is that during the process I got rid of all my allergies, and many of the aches and pains I associated with aging.

A few weeks later, something else happened.  I got a stomach bug.  Predictably, it cleaned me out.  I ate very little for a couple of days, and then a bit of food every other day into the next week because I was still feeling nauseous.  But again, the really neat thing is that during all the vomiting and thinking I was going to die, I got rid of all my allergies and the aches and arthritis-like pains.

Thinking, Hey!  this is interesting, I started reading about fasting and found Dr. Johnson's Up Day Down Day Diet.  I started it.  I lost several pounds rapidly, and started to feel much better.  This went on for a month or so until the holidays hit.  Then, I found that the diet was difficult to stick to after a few days of regular eating.  But, I continued, and told several friends about it.  Some went on the plan.  One friend lost about 30 pounds.
I continued this plan off and on for a few years, usually returning to it after the holidays and dropping a few pounds.  After awhile, life and lack of motivation got in the way, and I just gave up on dieting.

After finishing menopause I was shocked at my weight gain.  I started a plan to lose weight.  You can read about it here.  I went on the Sparkpeople diet (carby, low-fat), and then started with IF again.  My typical plan was to eat a fairly large meal in the evening of the "up day", and then the next morning, I would skip breakfast and lunch, starting to eat my reduced calories in the afternoon.  Then I would attempt to eat a couple of small meals in the evening. 

But, this time it wasn't working for me.  I found that when I quit eating, I didn't want to start up again, but when I finally did start eating, I couldn't stop.  I found myself not hungry and didn't eat until 1 or 2 pm EVERY day, not just on the down days.  When I did start eating again, I headed for the more carby/low-fat choices, and started going for the mini-meals every couple of hours or so, all the way until midnight.  I was still hungry, but since my stomach was so full, I couldn't sleep.  It started to look just like nighttime eating syndrome. 

After a couple of months of this nonsense, I stopped the IF, and went on the straight sparkpeople diet, and continued to fail miserably for another month or so until I switched to a lower-carb diet.

So, Paleo boys, the plan that worked earlier certainly did not work after menopause, and until you-all actually go through menopause or some similar hormonal disruption yourself, I don't really expect you to get it.  Just please don't declare that what works for you works for everybody.  Yep, I'm dissing IF, and it's not because I'm full of BS.

Hopefully, Dr. Kruse will be able to explain what happened to me in his Quilt.  Read about it here.  I am hopeful that he has the best explanation I have seen on why IF worked so badly for me.  Now that I am low carb, I am still very wary of trying any type of IF.

Here's more on some of the problems with IF:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Declaring my Independence!!

...and, my recipe for successful fat loss.
1.  Eat real food
2.  Not too much
3.  Stay away from [redacted]

Ok, I stole the first two from Michael Pollan.  And the third rule I never thought I would write.  In fact, I put off writing it as long as I could.  After all, I'm still on [redacted]kpeople, and I have lots of friends there, doing all kinds of eating plans.

But, I finally decided that I just needed to go out and say it, and not pussy-foot around with stuff like, "don't hang around with de-motivating people who don't like you...." blah blah blah.  But, I do really feel that for anyone trying to lose weight, they do deserve a special warning about [redacted]people specifically.

When I first joined, hey it was fun.  I started sending around the emoticons and spinning the wheel every day.  I played some of the games in the evening to keep my mind off eating.  I was constantly hungry on the diet plan.  I was often one of the top scorers for monthly points and also for exercise points.  I joined lots of teams, even vegetarian teams, and became a leader for several of them.  Even though I wasn't losing weight, I kept plugging away, every day.

When I started to lose weight and eat lower carb, things were different.  I started blogging about it, and I was finding more comments on my blog made by people who were less than supportive of my food choices.

Soon I joined several low carb teams, and there I met others who were having difficulty with the increasingly hostile attitude towards low carb diets.  While many of the articles and sugary recipes started to get annoying, what really got my goat was an article by Coach [redacted] about a weight loss study.  She had, in my opinion, completely mis-read the study, and I found I just couldn't shut up about it anymore.  I wrote about it here. When I went to the original study, I found links to other studies, and I was shocked and disappointed to discover how badly they were designed, written and covered by the media.  I realized that Coach [redacted] had probably written her misleading article based on the media blurbs about the original studies, which I now believe are oftentimes written by editors and others with the intention to mislead readers.  The idea is to pull readers away from the actual content of the real study by pointing to an editorial with contradictory information.  Many media blurbs quote from the editorial, not from the original study.  I saw this over and over again, and it started to make me madder and madder.  It is just a symptom of the state of nutritional research, with so much of it ethically and scientifically bankrupt.

I knew that the lower carb diet worked for me, and yet every time I saw a clinical study with information pointing to the validity of such a diet, I found an accompanying article from some other researcher or registered dietitian saying the opposite.  So, I started blogging about it. (I still haven't posted all of those earlier blog posts on this here blog.)

Eventually, I started posting on the main [redacted]people message boards.  Every time a poster would ask a question about a low carb diet, a handful of anti-low-carb regulars would swoop down and criticize the diet and anyone who chose to follow it.  Stuff like, oh it'll kill you, it's a fad, you'll get kidney failure, you'll gain all the weight back. Then Coach [redacted] would get into the act, and make a post to re-assert her authority.  When low-carb advocates posted anything, they would get attacked.

Before I saw this myself, I thought the [redacted] coaches were so nice.  In fact, I made that comment to another low-carb friend who was having much difficulty with Coach [redacted] that I thought it was just a one-time deal, and had settled down, but my friend said that this was the typical pattern.  And, unfortunately for people trying to lose weight, my friend was right.  So, this is how it goes down:

1.  Someone asks a low-carb question
2.  They get attacked
3.  Coach [redacted] makes a post to re-assert her authority
4.  Others defend the original poster
5.  Coach [redacted] does an end-run by sending threating e-mails to people who disagree with Coach [redacted].  (You can read them here, here, here  here and here.)
6.  These people eventually leave or get kicked out and all the other readers don't know this is going on.

Coach [redacted] messages on and on about gobs and gobs of gold-standard clinical research and how we must stick to the science, meanwhile her bouncer is taking a baseball bat to the knees of anyone who disagrees with her, even if they are quoting "gold-standard clinical studies form the top journals".  This isn't science.  This is thuggery and censorship and dishonesty.

Recently, a poster asked the question about different rules on one of the main message boards.  The [redacted]people moderators have been silent, but several others have said that the original poster must be mistaken, that people would be censored only when they do something wrong.  They implied that my e-mail was blocked because it was a link to a commercial site, or provided unscientific information.  Well, I don't think that could be anything further than the truth in my case.

If you join one of these sites, and eventually you decide to try a low carb approach, here's what is in store for you.  Your diet choices will be ridiculed by plenty of people.  They will tell you that you are stupid, that it is dangerous, that it is disastrous, that it is unscientific, that you are crazy, that you will be bored, that you will gain all the weight back and then some.  Yes, you will hear this from the coaches!  If you speak up, they will take down your blog posts and your links.  They will follow you around the internet and find reasons to censor you.  You will be held to a different set of rules than the people who follow a high-carb diet.  You will not be allowed to suggest to anyone that they might benefit from a low carb diet, you will only be allowed to share your own personal experience only if you do not encourage others to do it.  Others can say all sorts of crazy stuff (as some moderators like [redacted] often do) as long as the diet doesn't disagree with what Coach [redacted] recommends.  If you continue to be vocal about a low carb diet that is working for you, you might be kicked out.  They'll tell others that it was for some sort of violation, but you know that is not true.

You will read rants about the low-carb advocates that are "trying to scam a buck" off you, when really the only people making any money off this website are "[redacted]Guy and team" and their advertisers.  You'll read that they regularly accuse people like Dr. Mercola of "quack" writings and trying to make money off his website, while at the same time, large banner ads for Skinny Cow and Kashi will fill your screen on a daily basis.

Eventually, if you are lucky, you will find a site that offers support for your eating choices without all the nastiness and redactorship.  You'll find other sites that have food, fellowship and tracking, and a place to post your success.  Better to find those sites now than to get on [redacted]people at all.  Enjoy your journey.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Denying Weight Loss Science? Not here!!!

Hey, if you are planning to sit beside the pool and do a bit of holiday reading, check these links out, but be sure to bring some extra iced tea and some sunblock, it might take a few hours.
Some of these studies I have already reviewed on this here blog.
Here's another post by Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt calling them out again.  (The studies, not the Dietary Flat Earth Society...)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Intent to make up data? Part 1

A recent post by Dr. Feinman reminded me of a very meaty post by Dr. Mike Eades, so I thought I would share both blogposts here.  Both posts discuss the different aspects of Intention To Treat, an analysis method that can result in misleading or biased results.

Personally, I am from the camp that you don't just throw out data points to "clean things up", nor do you make up data points to make everything even at the end.  The making up of actual data points used to be a common practice before computers did everything.  Data wasn't usually made up out of thin air, but a common practice when doing an ANOVA was that if you were taking say 4 samples per treatment, and when you got the data back and found that some of the treatments had only 3 samples, you would take an average of the three real samples and use that average as the 4th fake sample.  This would make the calculations go more smoothly.
Kind of like that joke where the guy is looking for his wallet under the street lamp because the light is better.
Anyway, here are the links:

Another big (well, to me) problem with some of these studies is that in addition to the methods of analysis outlined in the above links, researchers attempt to explain the reasons it's OK to make up data.  Here's how they do it.

Before any experiment is started, the appropriate sample size is selected.  It is usually a dance between what you want to know, and how much $$$$ you have to learn it.

You'll usually find information about how this was done in the paper, and almost never in the abstract.  It is in code, which is just as well, because if you don't really understand the stuff about statistical significance and the power of tests, it is probably better to just let your eyes glaze over that part anyway.

The study is designed to answer a main question, and the appropriate sample size is determined based on that question, what type of data you are collecting and what risks you are willing to take.  When people drop out of a study, for any reason, sometimes the researchers can get information on why, and sometimes they do analyze this information to see if something is up.  Trouble is, they are attempting to deal with the situation with a much different sample size than what is typically necessary to make such a determination.

For example, in a weight loss study, they might choose a sample size in order to detect a difference between say, 10 pounds lost in 8 weeks.  They pick a sample size that they can afford, but it might not be enough to detect a difference in, say, 5 pounds.  It's just not powerful enough.

Now, in Dr. Eades example, he choose a total of 100 participants, but in addition to keeping track of the weight lost, there was also this huge difference between the percentage of participants who dropped out of each group.  Usually, the proportions are closer together, and the situation is a bit more murky, and because the proper sample size was not determined to answer THIS question, it is almost certainly too low.  And the usual conclusion is that the differences in drop-out rates are no different.  This then gives the researchers green light to go away and feel justified in making up some data, assuming that the biases introduced are the same for both cases.
So here are the clif notes:
1.  Researchers design a study to answer question A
2.  Researchers get a bunch of bad data.
3.  Researchers run the data through a bunch of check-point Charlie's (question B, C....) that are ill-formulated and not powerful.
4.  Of course, Check-point Charlie's say all is OK
5.  Researchers proceed

There will be a bunch of statistical mumbo-jumbo about the additional questions, to make those check-point Charlie's seem like real statistics.  Yes, badges and guns, but no bullets.