Lion of the Blogosphere

Not healthy to be a vegetarian

A study from Austria:

The vegetarian diet — characterized by a low consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol that includes increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products — carries elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders.

Vegetarians were twice as likely to have allergies, a 50 percent increase in heart attacks and a 50 percent increase in incidences of cancer.

So it’s not healthy to be a vegetarian. Luckily, I never fell for the vegetarian mumbo-jumbo, just as I never fell for global warming.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm

130 Responses

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  1. ‘and mental health disorders’

    Can they tell which one is the cause and which one is the effect?

    Dave Boxthorn

    April 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm

  2. LION!


    You make this mistake again and again. Look at all studies. Assume they’re all veridical. You’ll find that some find much lower rates of heart disease and cancer in vegetarians. But the population under study wasn’t the same in place or in genes or in social status or in etc.

    jorge videla

    April 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm

  3. I suspect that the healthiest diet is one that is lower in meat than the average American diet. But lower in meat doesn’t mean meat-free.


    April 2, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    • maybe. but savages eat, on average, 25% of their calories from meat, fish, clams, animal flesh. dairy and eggs are worse.

      the BIG problem with meat isn’t the meat it’s what’s called meat—corn fattened beef or buffalo, canned and smoked meat, corn fed pork and chicken kept in tiny pins, tortured.

      lion thinks what one eats eats makes no difference. BUT IT DOES!

      grass fed beef is very lean and has a much higher % of stearic acid and omega-3s. wild meat is so lean it’s inedible to most americans. it has to be braised for a long time.

      although studies on diet and health may seem to contradict one another they all point in the same direction—DON’T EAT ANYTHING YOU’RE PALEOLITHIC ANCESTORS WOULDN’T HAVE EATEN.

      i don’t follow this, but it’s blindingly obvious to anyone who gets deep in the literature.

      jorge videla

      April 2, 2014 at 10:34 pm


        This is nonsense. The great majority of cultivars are post-agricultural innovations. Your sentiment also ignores New World animals such a turkey, which no one’s “paleolithic ancestors” would have eaten.


        April 3, 2014 at 9:49 am

      • this is nonsense! you’re confusing cultivars and domestication with artificial.

        a domesticated fig is still a fig. a domesticated animal is still an animal.

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      • literal mindedness is a sign of something. are you a philadelphia lawyer?

        what chimps and cavemen didn’t eat:

        1. dairy
        2. grains in large quantites
        3. anything processed. e.g., sugar, oil, etc.
        4. salt

        what they ate:

        fruit, meat, nuts, greens, vegetables, …

        the transition to agriculture resulted in the following (as shown in all excavations):

        1. enormous reduction in variety of food
        2. cavities
        3. stunted growth
        4. shorter life expectancy

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      • the people you have called “paleotards” DO NOT EXIST.

        eating almonds (the wild species are poisonous) or apples (…are bitter) or domesticated animals is not off anyone’s list. these people would have to actually hunt, fish, and gather themselves if they existed.

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      • obesity and its sequalae are IMPOSSIBLE eating a chimp or caveman diet!

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      • I am sure that people with a genetic propensity to be fat can get fat on a caveman diet, if they eat enough caveman food.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 3, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      • again lion you’re confusing a propensity in one environment with a propensity in all environments.

        the pima had no type ii diabetes or obesity until the 20th c, and the mexican half of the tribe has lower rates of these than european americans.

        what does “it’s impossible to unbake a cake” or “a redwood withers in the desert…” mean?

        in simple mathematical terms it means that the function which takes genes and evironment to traits CANNOT be decomposed into a weighted sum of genes and environment.

        the usual decomposition into aG + bE to which data are FITTED is an approximation just a gradient or derivative is the best linear approximation of a surface near a certain point.

        what this means is though false this is still a good approximation ONLY IF the region of GxE space for which it is used is small.

        heritabilities for the same trait can vary from 0 to 1 and all of them be CORRECT!

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      • Until modern agriculture, only very few rich people could eat so much food that they got fat. That doesn’t mean that pre-industrial diets were healthier.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      • Paleo diet makes sense in principle.

        Whenever I see a typical obese person i can tell it’s usually due to an excess of addictive processed junk food…soda, candy, fast food ie industrially processed carbs.

        Mayor Bloomberg knew this, hence the soda ban.

        Fell in Love With a SWPL

        April 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      • no. chimps and humans “living in the wild” are not limited in their calorie consumption or consumption expenditure balance except by laziness and lack of appetite.

        you’ve written about post scarcity. well “the original affluent society” was/is that of savages. even in greenland eskimos could stuff themselves with narwhal until they threw up. but they don’t.

        yes. if you wanted to make yourself fat eating like a caveman i’m sure you could. otherwise you couldn’t. and i also suspect your body composition would differ from a “civilized” fat person. that is, a lot of your weight gain would be muscle.

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      • No, the studies show a rate of about 60% to 70% animal foods is normal for hunter gatherers. The lower rate was from older calculations where things like shellfish and eggs were put down as ‘gathered’ and lumped in with the veg, and any groups thought to eat an abnormal amopunt of flesh were dropped when working out the stats.

        You want to read Cordain’s work on HG diets.


        April 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm

  4. If the body craves it, the body needs it. All things in moderation.


    April 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm

  5. This may be so, but given that I’ve heard absolutely every diet is bad for you, and then heard the exact opposite, I’ll take it with a grain of salt. (Which is also terrible for you, I know…)


    April 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    • ALL studies on diet and health are by themselves meaningless and sure to be “contradicted” by subsequent studies. BUT there is still a general direction they point.

      THAT direction is: to the extent it is new or artificial it’s bad.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 10:41 pm

  6. this is hilarious.

    also associated with lack of preventative healthcare and avoiding vaccines, and anxiety/depression.

    so, vegetarians are silly bobos? almost makes you feel bad for them until you remember theyve been calling meat eaters and those who got their kids vaccinated idiots.

    i wonder if vegetarianism among parents is corrrlated with autism in their children


    April 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    • mental illnesses other than anxiety and depression may be authentic pathology, but unlike those there are often very good reasons to be anxious or depressed (there’s no good reason to hear voices).

      the medicalization of anxiety and depression is at the summit of ideology.

      which isn’t to say that in some cases these are mental illness. but those cases are a tiny minority of diagnoses. the majority of american psychiatrists’ business is helping people “adjust” to the artificial and unreasonable demands of contemporary civilization. for more read this:

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 10:48 pm

  7. Should Lion honor this entry with a philly cheese steak?

    The Undiscovered Jew

    April 2, 2014 at 9:18 pm

  8. From the original study:

    “Potential limitations of our results are due to the fact that the survey was based on cross-sectional data. Therefore, no statements can be made whether the poorer health in vegetarians in our study is caused by their dietary habit or if they consume this form of diet due to their poorer health status”.

    So beware before drawing hasty conclusions. Many ill patients are put on a vegetable-only diet by their doctors.

    What I personally find interesting in the data is that vegetarians seem overall immune from an increase in diabetes, a fact which, if confirmed, would be extremely problematic for the “paleo pushers” like Gary Taubes. High consumption of carbohydrates (which comes de facto in a vegetarian diet) does *not* seem to be linked with diabetes.


    April 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    • the robust health and longevity of loma linda’s seventh day adventists is FACT.

      jorge videla

      April 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm


      There’s a link between sugar and diabetes.

      Thinking about the ancestral human diet is a helpful exercise. A harvard grad student named Mat LaLonde did a study of the most nutrient-rich foods per calorie. Unsurprisingly, they were meats, fruits, vegetables, i.e the foods that have been consumed the longest by humans.

      Carbs are fine from this perspective…fruits and vegetables are carbs that are loaded with nutrition and are relatively low in calories. Just so happens that some of the most calorically dense, nutrient-poor foods out there are industrially processed foods that are high in carbohydrate. Soda, beer, candy, french fries, etc. also interesting that these foods are the most recent additions to the human diet.

      Bringing this back to the topic of Lion’s post, it makes sense to eat a lot of vegetables, eliminating meat doesn’t make sense.

      Fell in Love With a SWPL

      April 3, 2014 at 9:08 pm

  9. I noticed over a decade ago that many of my Indian co-workers were vegetarians and they seemed unhealthy. Most were either scrawny or – in the case of many of the Indian women – fat. Then I noticed the same thing in terms of the SWPL types who were vegans. Most Americans need to eat more fruits/veggies and less processed foods. But vegetarianism takes it too far.


    April 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    • They stink too.


      April 2, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    • indians more than any other east asians are prone to type ii diabetes.

      jorge videla

      April 2, 2014 at 10:38 pm

  10. I’ve survived a long time on a diet rich in fish, red meat and wine.

    Black Death

    April 2, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    • what’s most artificial about vegetarian or vegan diets isn’t the absence of meat.

      it’s seed oil and grains and soy bean protein extract and etc.

      there is no diet like diet and exercise except one.

      calorie restriction in humans has been shown with no ambiguity whatsoever to eliminate ALL risk factors for cvd.

      and periodic fasting reduces risk for cancer more than any other intervention. laron dwarfs are IMMUNE to cancer. laron dwarf mice live 50% longer than other mice. if you get your igf down (unlike a rod) you can reduce your risk of all cancers by at least 2/3.

      jorge videla

      April 2, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    • maybe that was unclear, if anyone reads this:

      calorie restriction in humans, unlike in rodents, DOES NOT reduce IGF.

      FASTING DOES! along with a dairy free low protein diet.

      it’s no coincidence that danes and mongolians and tibetans have such high cancer rates. milk has lots of IGF in it. as arnold said when asked ig he drank milk, “no milk. no. milk is for babies. when you grow up you drink beer.”

      jorge videla

      April 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

  11. Everyone should look at their teeth. Not designed to eat vegetables…


    April 2, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    • Amusing argument, but sophistry nonetheless.

      Evolution has also gifted men with one of the most carbohydrate-adapted digestive system among mammals. That it happened quite late in our evolutionary history does not change in the slightest the well-proven efficiency of this biochemistry: amylase in the saliva begins to break down pasta and rice as soon as it chewed, carbohydrases in the stomach complete the work, and a sophisticated gut flora handles what had escaped the enzymes. This process does produce more gas than digestion of protein, but beyond that, I cannot see how it is unhealthy.

      Our omnivore nature should be embraced. I am personally quite content and proud to be able to digest such a wide range of foods.


      April 3, 2014 at 9:23 am

      • Thank you. Funny how people will believe in some late trends in evolution but not others.


        April 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      • At moderate doses it is not unhealthy, although not all carbohydrates are created equally. At higher doses– say, in excess of 120g/day, especially if a lot of that is refined sugars that are highly bioavailable– our metabolisms get deranged. Sometimes quickly, sometimes over time.


        April 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      • The average amount of amylasein saliva varies by ethnic group. Groups that traditionaly consume more carbs produce more amylase.

        The problem with high carb diets is starts when the insulin resistant eat them. It causes heart disease, infertility and obesity in IR people. IR is the norm for many hunter gatherer groups. Some people are not evolved to eat a lot of carb, but high amounts of animal fat and protein as a norm.


        April 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    • human dentition is closest to that of the frugivore primates.

      going by dentition alone, humans were meant to eat fruit.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      • @karlub

        “At moderate doses it is not unhealthy, although not all carbohydrates are created equally. At higher doses– say, in excess of 120g/day, especially if a lot of that is refined sugars that are highly bioavailable– our metabolisms get deranged. Sometimes quickly, sometimes over time.”

        This rings true, but so far science has not proven it at all in a consistent manner.

        I do agree though that cutting on the soda and sugar as much as possible is a good idea. I personally dilute my orange juice in water.


        April 4, 2014 at 7:55 am

  12. “Many ill patients are put on a vegetable-only diet by their doctors. ”

    Yes. And people with sensitive stomachs and food allergies are the most likely to become vegetarian.

    Also, more cancer may just be a result of lower rates of heart disease. Heart disease is the developed world’s #1 killer, so if they are dying of it at a lower rate, they have to die from something else at a higher rate.


    April 2, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    • But these vegetarians, at least, also experienced a 50% increase in heart attacks, too.


      April 3, 2014 at 7:51 am

    • cvd has many risk factors. few of cancer’s risk factors, if there are any, have been found. smoking, drinking too much (for throat cancer), radiation, asbestos, etc. these explain a minority of cancers. your doctor can tell you you have no risk for cvd. he can’t tell you you have no risk for cancer WITH ONE EXCEPTION.

      laron dwarfs never get cancer, but their relatives do. the community in ecuador has a high rate of alcoholism but throat cancer is unheard of.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 10:59 pm

  13. Agreed.

    Vegetarianism is a form of evolution denial. Humans evolved to eat other animals.

    Some of the health benefits correlated with vegetarianism that come up in studies can be chalked up to confounding factors, such as the fact the vegetarians are people who also avoid fast food, alcohol, and exercise.

    The Meat-cancer link that vegetarian boosters always talk about is probably due to the fact that modern farm animals are loaded up with various hormones and toxic additives in their food.

    Fell in Love With a SWPL

    April 3, 2014 at 12:18 am

    • the what is natural is best can only be taken so far.

      there may be quite unnatural ways of doing things which increase life expectancy. like bathing with soap.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:01 pm

  14. global warming is real.


    April 3, 2014 at 12:33 am

    • Do you have a precise definition of “global warming”?

      Most people I meet are unable to even define the theory in which they so fervently believe. But perhaps you are an exception.


      April 3, 2014 at 10:29 am

      • there’s no elite debate anymore as to whether the earth is warming. now the debate, such as it is, is just whether it’s caused by human activity and if so whether anything should be done about it.

        for most of earth’s history there were no polar ice caps and glaciers existed only on the highest mountains.

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 11:03 pm

  15. This meat versus vegetarian thing is kind of like the fats vs carbs thing. People need both fats and carbs but they need the right kinds in the right amounts. Most people should be eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes; moderate amounts of fish, poultry, dairy; and less red meat. But people still need red meat once or twice per week. Studies have shown this reduces obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and alzheimers over most other diets.


    April 3, 2014 at 3:32 am

    • the problem with red meat isn’t red meat. the problem, in the us, is it’s been fattened on corn before slaughter. this isn’t the case in argentina or uruguay.

      but chimps eat very little meat and since humans and chimps differ so little genetically i’d go for less meat than more. but when it’s replaced by things no chimp eats, it’s even worse.

      i bought some grassfed beef and came back for more only to be told they’d had complaints it was tough and flavorless. it tasted like butter to me. compared to wild meat it is butter. wild meat takes a really long time to cook, because it’s so lean.

      legumes are not paleo according to the paleo people, but tobias schneebaum describes amazon hgs gathering wild peanuts and the cynics ate wild lentils.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:11 pm

  16. Vegetarianism, apart from the cases when mainstream religion demands it (like in parts of India etc.), is a mental disorder. I would not necessarily call it illness, but it is definitely a disorder. Disorders do correlate with other disorders and illnesses. If something (DNA, brain chemistry, metabolism) got screwed up by some sort of force, chances are good the damage is in few places, so here you have all those correlations. Classic example is Steve Jobs: vegetarian/pescetarian, bipolar/OCD/psychopath/other mental issues, and he got cancer at a relatively young age.


    April 3, 2014 at 3:51 am

    • If “religion demands it” then religion is the mental disorder here, regardless of whether the religion is mainstream or still considered a cult.


      April 3, 2014 at 11:17 am

    • It’s morally wrong to contribute to the industry that abuses animals in horrific ways. Eating wild animals is not as bad. If abstaining from animal cruelty or being complicit it in it is a disorder to you, then your entire philosophical base is off and you are not worth listening to anyway. It’s called conscientiousness.


      April 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    • if you’re a billionaire or a success in any way, you’re sane by definition. as john dewey said, “if hitler is crazy, then he’s crazy like a fox.”

      if whatever your supposed disorder is, it doesn’t get in your way then it’s not a disorder.

      to quote tom cruise, “psychiatry is a pseudoscience.” psychiatrists are generally crazier than their patients.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:21 pm

  17. I was wondering if this was an April Fool’s day joke. Most studies come to the opposite conclusion about cancer and heart risks for vegetarians.

    I wonder if Austrian vegetarians are motivated more by poor health than is the case in the Anglo-sphere. It seems that Brits and Americans are more interested in ethical vegetarianism than Europeans.

    The only consistent health advice seems to be not to smoke. Ticked that box.


    April 3, 2014 at 7:49 am

    • Good luck finding an Austrian vegetarian. Left-liberalism and SWPL-dom is associated with vegetarianism in the US. Much less so in Europe.


      April 3, 2014 at 11:55 am

      • and even less so in german and the oseterreich. sausage fest.

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      • The last time Austria had a vegetarian, 30 million people died…


        April 4, 2014 at 9:46 am

    • Actually, Simon, it is becoming incontrovertible that there is no relationship between saturated fat and heart disease.

      Since from roughly 1930 – 2010 conventional medical wisdom hypothesized that heart disease has something to do with saturated fat, and since it was further hypothesized that saturated fat must have come from meat, you are going to have to rethink that.

      In regards to the smoking, you may want to be more specific: “Don’t smoke cigarettes” is pretty incontrovertible.


      April 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm

  18. Also, running not so good for you:

    Dave Pinsen

    April 3, 2014 at 7:58 am

      • need to find smarter blog. is there one?

        men’s hearts beat more slowly than women’s. birds’ hearts beat much faster than mammals’ (birds of the same mass live longer btw).

        lifespan in mammals isn’t even related to basal metabolic rate consistently. bats live a really long time.

        it used to be thought mammal life expectancy could be predicted from brain size, body mass, and metabolic rate.

        it used to be thought it was related to free radicals.

        basically ALL simple theories of mammalian lifespan have been disproved.

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 11:35 pm

  19. Perhaps neurotic Austrians with pre-existing health problems are more likely to be vegetarian or vegan. I didn’t become a vegan until I was half dead from various health problems. I’ve since gone back to eating meat, seafood & dairy occasionally but not much.

    All the “ethical” vegans I know are eccentric, moody people which might explain the mental health problems found in the study. If you believe meat is murder, how could you NOT be depressed in the land of the sausage?

    no sausage for me

    April 3, 2014 at 9:10 am

  20. Before the advent of reliable hunting rifles and bows, humans were skillful enough, smart enough, and resourceful enough to actually hunt down or trap wild animals about once or twice a week (On top of that, it was human males who hunted. I always laugh at feminists recreation of this tribal history because there is no historical proof that females hunted much). That’s where the ‘eat meat once or twice a week’ figure comes from.

    Reagan's Corpse

    April 3, 2014 at 10:22 am

    • “…humans were skillful enough, smart enough, and resourceful enough…”

      he said while high.

      there’s this thing called culture. and it didn’t start 100 years ago or 1000 years ago. it started at the dawn of man. it’s what makes man unlike all other animals.

      the savage dad teaches his savage son how to hunt and fish.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:37 pm

  21. I like vegetarians. If something ever happens to the meat supply, vegetarians will be an important food source.


    April 3, 2014 at 11:11 am

  22. ‘and mental health disorders’

    My mother was living in a religious commune in the 1970s. Sometimes members would become ‘too spiritual’ — there is a fine line between a spiritual high and empowerment and optimism on the one hand and full-blown mania and becoming disconnected from reality on the other. (And no, I wouldn’t say that all religious people are disconnected from reality, snark anticipated).

    But if someone slipped into the category of being too spiritual and manic, my mother would immediately feed them a proper meal of meat to bring them back down to Earth. No fasting for you: here is some meatloaf.


    April 3, 2014 at 11:53 am

    • again an example of a new and artificial environment. contemporary religion is ridiculous or rather despicable, but it hasn’t always been so. in fact, it was for some an attempt to actually grasp ultimate reality, something which one might expect to precede natsci (the attempt to grasp particular phenomena) in man’s intellectual development. needless to say, this has been forgotten by modern men religious and not. the whole world has come to accept the natsci worldview as total. to understand is to understand particular phenomena. but the man who said, “the world is all that is the case” was a 3/4 jewish christian true believer!

      “We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being.” — John Scotus Erigena (9th century): “We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being.”

      jorge videla

      April 4, 2014 at 1:27 am

  23. I doubt it really matters, as the main determinant of health and lifespan is our old pal, the Fickle Finger of Fate.



    April 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    • but NOT genes.

      the age at death of identical twins is hardly correlated AT ALL.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:39 pm

  24. Off topic Lion but I know you’re looking for robot companies. You should look into Intuitive Surgical. There is a greater incentive for a robot to replace human labor that costs hundreds of dollars an hour than labor that costs minimum wage like vacuuming.


    April 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    • There will still be a surgeon overseeing the robot so the robot will increase healthcare costs.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      • You have to vacuum the corners manually if you own a roomba. Same difference.


        April 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    • lion should just put all his money in FANUC.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:40 pm

  25. Shunning red meat didn’t keep Dr. Andrew Weil from losing his hair or evolving into Papa Smurf.


    April 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    • are there any enviromental changes known to prevent hair loss?

      one might expect there were as hair loss rate or extent at a given age is not 100% heritable.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:42 pm

  26. Lion,

    Surely you aren’t basing your entry off the linkless local CBS affiliate news site. That would be quite blockheaded. Read about The China Study.

    And yes, Global Warming is real, and it’s caused by burning fossil-fuels–especially coal. To the guy who said “define global warming” it means the planet is getting hotter, smart alek!


    April 3, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    • Hotter since what starting point? Why is it getting hotter? How much hotter? Hot enough to cause any real problems that it’s a global emergency to do something?

      I believe that the earth is warmer today than it was during the last ice age.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      • Geology tells us that if you burn up all the coal, then the planet gets very hot. In prehistory, volcanoes did a much better job of burning up coal than we have, but if we don’t cut it out, we will get hot like mass extinction hot (see the Permian-Triassic extinction event). I don’t think that will really happen, but if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels, it will. That would not be a desirable outcome.

        In addition, I think deforestation plays a much larger part than most liberals admit.


        April 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      • Volcanoes don’t burn coal.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        April 3, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      • Geologic processes calcine limestone (and other carbonate minerals), which are the primary store of CO2. Not “burn coal.”

        Some Guy

        April 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      • Volcanoes don’t burn coal. You’re thinking of Kim Kardashian.


        April 3, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    • The China Study has many, many flaws. In spots it sounds close to fraudulent. It is also inconsistent with two recent major meta-analyses examining the relationship between saturated fat and cardiovascular health.


      April 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      • of course it’s inconsistent. that doesn’t mean it’s fraud. the gxe function can’t be written as a weighted sum of g and e. ceteris paribus is always NEVER. all ealse is NEVER equal.

        the best any one person can do is find what lowers his risk. but even then he may be an outlier. he may have high bp, high cholesterol, high bmi, high blood sugar, and never have an mi. but i wouldn’t count on being that guy!

        jorge videla

        April 3, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    • When I look into the windows of Chinese vegetarian restaurants, I mostly see white people in there. Also, I’ve only had white people quote the China study to me, never Asians.

      When I dine out with Chinese people, the waiters know to bring out the noodle, rice and vegetable dishes towards the end of the meal, after everyone’s had a chance to have the meat and fish dishes, because they rightly see the carbs as filler if one didn’t have enough to eat. The waiters only bring out the fried rice with the entrees when it’s non Asians at the table.

      India seems to be the only civilization in the world with a fully developed vegetarian cuisine.

      Maybe the best argument against veganism is the cover of this book. What’s the point of being a vegan if you might end up fat anyway? The cover was an interesting choice by the publisher.


      April 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    • the china study is very convincing.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:43 pm

  27. Your ancestors normal diet is most healthy one for you. Mongolian and Eskimos (or Inuits in politically correct terms) are pure carnivores since you do not have any eatible plants on steppe and ice. For these people, meat is healthy food.

    There is no single healthy standard for all human on this earth due to our biodervisty.


    April 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    • no. mongolians eat mostly dairy. disgusting but true.

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    • and human biodiversity is exceedingly small.

      i’m not making this up—

      an australian abo and a swede are more alike at genetic level than chimps in the same troop!

      jorge videla

      April 3, 2014 at 11:58 pm

  28. Sabril:

    I’ve always sneered at everything hippy/ left, and always argued AGW is nothing more than carrerist scamming, but I’m getting worried. I live in a city that’s been a perennial joke for depressing cold and fog, and we’ve now had 56 days of sun in the last 60. I don’t like having to put on sun block every day.

    nice cake

    April 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    • Is the city in the Pacific Northwest? Or in northern Europe?

      I hate sunlight as I strongly prefer overcast weather so that sucks.


      April 3, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      • all people with taste prefer rain, heavy rain to any other sort of weather.

        jorge videla

        April 4, 2014 at 12:00 am

    • “…everything hippy/ left…”

      as if these were synonyms. they’re closer to antonyms than hippy and conservative. the puritans settled new england NOT alabama. the bolsheviks would shoot you in the back of the head and laugh.

      jorge videla

      April 4, 2014 at 12:03 am

  29. Re global warming.
    First the earth is still in an ice age. An ice age that has lasted for 2.x million years or so. Geology shows that glaciers run thru periods of minima and maxima. The earth is currently in the bottom of the minima. 8000 years ago ice sheets 3 to 4 THOUSAND METRES thick covered NA down to about Wisconsin. The sea was much lower with large portions of the continental shelf exposed and forrested. It is noted that most of what we think of as human civilization erupted during this short hiatus in the ice. Do any of these warming doom mongers feel we will be better off when the ice returns and your house is under several KM of ice? If we return to a glacial maxima as all cyclic evidence suggest it must, that human civ as we know it will exist at all?


    April 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    • you are correct, but the concern is NOT warming per se. the concern is the rate of warming.

      one of the lessons of history which conservatives are right about is that revolutions always fail.

      whatever the change, if it’s too fast it will mean misery real misery poverty depression etc.

      jorge videla

      April 4, 2014 at 12:07 am

  30. Paleocons and paleodieters should cut out the snide attacks on vegetarians. Sure, it is not the ideal diet, but for many lardasses, going vegetarian is an improvement. Bill Clinton is now a healthy weight after being 50lbs overweight for much of his life, in part because he went vegetarian.

    Also, the ideal diet has tons of fish, of which our oceans do not have nearly enough. In fact, the oceans aren’t even producing enough fish to keep up with current production, much less if more people ate an ideal high-fish diet.

    Meat production is bad for the environment as well, between the giant hog feces lakes they have all over the south, to the destruction of the Amazon for cattle grazing. I think it is a good thing many people avoid meat, even if it isn’t what I do.

    Same with with Priuses too. I don’t like them, but I am glad other people do. Making fun of people who make these more ethical choices just makes you look like a mean-spirited jerk.


    April 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    • there is no ideal diet there is only an ideal point in environment space for each genome.

      e.g. modern men very rarely get as much exercise as savages. mightn’t the ideal diet depend on how much exercise one gets?

      and of course, if only there were a lot fewer people or the earth were infinite in circumference everyone could drive a hum-v, eat whales, live in always heated mansions, etc. and it wouldn’t matter at all.

      jorge videla

      April 4, 2014 at 12:11 am

    • Meat raised with modern industrial practices are what is hard on the environment. More traditionally raised pastured meat is better for grasslands, better for the animals on them, and (perhaps incidentally) better for carbon sequestration.

      If we shifted to preferring that type of meat it would get more expensive, although not as prohibitively expensive as some people think. There are farms out there that make tens of millions of dollars a year that are not industrial, provide products that are reasonably priced, and do not leave gigantic footprints.


      April 4, 2014 at 7:20 am

  31. Vegetarians have a longer life expectancy in American and British studies. Aside from smoking most lifestyle factors don’t seem to have a strong enough influence to be consistently observed.

    Indian vegetarians may be less healthy because of inbreeding and/or a higher fat intake (ghee).

    Paleo diets seem to be a bunch of fat people persuading themselves to eat like Eskimos, I mean who doesn’t want to look like an Eskimo? Old beach boys with bleached blond hair on TRT telling us how to live naturally.

    Whether being moderately overweight is unhealthy – it’s socially undesirable. Most days I eat two big serves of carbs (rice/pasta/potatoes) and snack on fruit but try and not eat too much fat. At work people complain about my ability to eat carbs without putting on weight (not much of a skill considering there are continents full of ppl with just that ability).


    April 4, 2014 at 6:52 am

    • Simon:

      The problem with your “vegetarians live longer” thesis have everything to do with the control. Vegetarians, by definition, are people obsessively concerned with their diet. The control in these studies are people who– at best– think the recommendations of the Ag Dept. are a good idea, and usually just eat whatever processed crap is handy.

      A proper control would be two groups who are each very concerned about diet, one eating pastured meat and one forgoing meat entirely.

      My n=1, btw, since you offered yours: By going paleo I have lost ~75 lbs, kept it off, and gotten into the best shape of my life. Ever. Along the way I have cured myself of latent diabetes and high blood pressure without using any pharmaceuticals or dietary supplements.

      Your understanding of what paleo is, incidentally, seems wrong. It is not about trying to mimic exactly how our paleolithic ancestors lived. It is not a reenactment exercise. Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be. It also does not recommend eating massive amounts of meat and little else. Eating vegetables is highly encouraged, mostly of the above-ground variety.


      April 4, 2014 at 7:26 am

      • Paleo diets are expensive, difficult to follow, according to dietary associations unhealthy and the followers of said diet are far fatter than their biochemistry theories would suggest.*

        Given the tenuous nature of health study findings, I think complex explanations about insulation sensitivity, gluten damage, etc should be regarded as unconvincing. Seeing as it can’t even be agreed whether cholesterol is unhealthy.

        Vegetarian diets on the other hand are inexpensive, easy to follow (rice, beans, potatoes, pasta, fruit etc), healthy according to most studies and at least the famous proponents are lean.

        *A real world paleo diet would be beef salads without dressing and variations thereof. I’m sure if someone actually followed this diet they would eventually be lean. However, few people would be able to follow this consistently resulting in my real world observations of overweight paleo advocates.

        Compare to eating mostly carbs and few fats. Whole cultures adhere to this diet for a life time while enjoying inexpensive food while being leaner than paleo/low carb advocates.

        Follow a mostly vegetarian diet and could easily. 1. Attain an ideal weight 2. Save money (easy to eat for under $20 a week in the US). 3. Contribute to less suffering, consume less scarce resources.

        Paleo only offers the vague promise of looking like Conan the barbarian or Mark Sisson. Don’t forget the steroids! …. and carbs – you can’t just eat beef salad without dressing.


        April 4, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    • Simon, vegetarians eat massively more vegetable matter and nuts. Both are known to reduce disease risk.

      People on paleo diets long term, aren’t fat.

      Humans did not evolve on a carb heavy diet: isotope values on ancient bones usually show about 2/3 of calories came from animal sources. Which is still true for modern hunter gatherers.


      April 4, 2014 at 11:29 am

      • no. hgs animal calories averages 25% of total calories, but it varies from almost none in new guinea to almost 100% in eskimos. and ancient eskimo mummies have athero.

        chimps average only 2% of calories from animal sources but it varies over the year a lot and from troop to troop. and gorillas are vegans of course. though the human gut is more like a meat eater’s human teeth aren’t.

        jorge videla

        April 4, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      • No Jorge, hunter gatherers average about 2/3 flesh. The last time I saw that ‘25%’ it was from very old text books. The most recent average comes out to 60-70% as a norm. What you’ve posted is incorrect and was widely quoted when a grain based diet was assumed to be what was normal and healthy for humans

        One relevant data source:

        “In this review we have analyzed the 13 known quantitative dietary studies of HG and demonstrate that animal food actually provided the dominant (65%) energy source, while gathered plant foods comprised the remainder (35%)”

        I’m also referring to ancient European bones that show isotope values consistent with a majority meat diet.I know this subject well.


        April 7, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      • wrong again. though it may depend on what one means by hg.

        i was quoting a german review article which speculated on the cause of low cancer rates in hgs. if new guinea has no hgs then i’d say…whatever…

        is sago palm not gathered?

        savages, primitives, hgs. they’re all the same to me. and their calories from animal sources average 25%, but range from near 0% to near 100%. so the average may be meaningless.

        but i have no doubt that an eskimo who fasted regularly would have lower igf levels, and lower cancer rates, than a typical vegan.

        btw, the fasting of hgs may be the opposite of penance. according to dan everett the piraha went without at least once a week simply because they didn’t want to work.

        jorge videla

        April 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm

  32. DON’T get me started.

    Was a veggie for four years, ended up anemic and way fat from the excess carbs. Last time I checked, the theory was any health benefits veggies do get are from the higher number of fruit and veg portions and the extra nuts they eat, not from meat avoidance. There’s an informative vid on youtube (rare but can happen) by a vegetarian doctor explaining exactly why vegetarian diets cause health problems. Too much Omega six, not enough B vitamins etc and how this leads to inflammation related illnesses and depression.

    Humans evolved on a diet which was mainly flesh and vegetables. Stray from that and a lot of non adapted people will get ill. I’m now borderline Paleo. Much better all round.


    April 4, 2014 at 11:27 am

    • w/o recourse to theory but only cold hard fact, the best single predictor of overall risk for cancer is igf level. the higher the igf level higher the risk. igf has been associated with aging in nematodes and mice. it’s part of an ancient mechanism of aging and development.

      igf is a growth hormone produced in the liver. (cirrhosis is the only disease other than laron’s known to reduce igf levels to 0.) tall people do have significantly higher rates of cancer.

      low protein diets are the second most effective means of reducing igf after periodic fasting. the monks of mt athos who are mostly vegan and as monks is suppose fast frequently and eat little have very low rates of cancer.
      one article on mt athos and cancer rates:

      the bottome line:

      cvd, athero more generally, and cancer are almost entirely preventable with a very severe diet. but perhaps this leads to other problems or isn’t worth it.

      jorge videla

      April 4, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      • Unfortunate low protein diets monumentally aggravate PCOS and other insulin sensitive systems. Eat a low protein high carb diet and the insulin resistant will be sick at an extremely early age.

        Fasting reduces cancer, therefore assuming those monks’ low protein diets are the cause of thier low cancer is a pointless. The fasting is a confounding factor.

        Last time I checked (and I do fairly often) the lifespan of vegans and heavy meat eaters was the same (tied for shortest). Veganism isn’t the healthy option.

        The fact that a lot of people ignore is that vegetarians eat a lot more F&V and nuts, these are both protective for heart disease and cancer. Quite a few paleo eaters eat very high levels of veg as they no longer consume grains, and they also avoid processed meat, which is where the risk for cancer comes from for meat consumption.


        April 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      • vegan and low protein aren’t the same thing. soy protein raises igf more than red meat.

        if you went to your doctor and asked for a test which would indicate risk for cancer in general, the only thing he could do would be to measure your igf. human laron dwarfs are IMMUNE to cancer, and in normal people igf level is very strongly associated with increased risk, an association as strong as drinking and throat cancer, an association too strong to be explained by confounds.

        cr prevents cancer in rodents, but it also reduces igf. in human luigi fontana at washington u med school in st louis found cr in humans does not reduce igf. but his cr subjects after following a protein restricted diet reduced their igf.

        it is true that fasting reduces igf more than protein restriction. this was determined by another italian, this time at usc.

        jorge videla

        April 7, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      • here is one of cordain’s papers which agrees with mathilda:
        but here’s a comment from the same journal:

        and excerpt from the comment:

        Indeed, using data from the same Ethnographic Atlas, Lee (1) found that gathered vegetable foods were the primary source of subsistence for most of the hunter-gatherer societies he examined, whereas an emphasis on hunting occurred only in the highest latitudes.

        Data on modern-day hunter-gatherers as well as hunter-gatherer-agriculturalists who consumed traditional diets indicate that such societies are largely free of diseases of civilization regardless of whether a high percentage of dietary energy is supplied by wild animal foods (eg, in Canadian Eskimos), wild plant foods (eg, in the !Kung), or domesticated plant foods taken primarily from a single cultivar (eg, in the Yanomamo) (7–11).

        the problem with the modern diet, if there is one, is that it is dominated by “edible food like substances”, grains, and dairy. the forks over knives people don’t advocate veganism, per se, they advocate whole food veganism.

        jorge videla

        April 9, 2014 at 12:05 am

  33. it’s off topic but i found the geneticist who derided charles murray on charlie rose. Starts at minute 5.

    jorge videla

    April 5, 2014 at 2:36 am

    • There is no shortage of people willing the deride HBD.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      April 5, 2014 at 9:47 am

      • Yes. But unlike when I was in college, it’s clear to me now that the hbd crowd lack the mathematical and conceptual sophistication to make their case. HBD may be true, but it’s advocates are dumb.

        jorge videla

        April 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      • Jorge,

        Most of the discussion about HBD I’ve seen revolves around claims that blacks have lower average standardized test scores than other groups, that they can run VERY fast, and that these differences are genetically rooted.

        I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it doesn’t really seem like a far-out concept to me. Considering the fact that environmental explanations can’t really be proven true, either, why should “HBD” require any extra mathematical or conceptual support?


        April 7, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      • hbd isn’t a far out concept, but those for whom it is, those with an agenda, have made very good points regarding why the supposed evidence for it is jive.

        one may be neither an hereditist nor an environmentalist. the effect of environment and genes can’t be separated or written as a linear combination phenotype = h x genotype + sqrt(1 – h^2) x environment.

        the reason is that the same environment affects different genomes differently.

        from the public policy pov, left vs right, whatever “the system” some will not reach their potential simply because they’re a poor fit for the system. some will be screwed. so redistribution and a safety net are justified.

        there can never be a meritocracy. the link on “reaction norms” i gave explains why.

        but some systems can be closer to being meritocracies than others. given that wordsum has 0 correlation with income for those with at least a bachelor’s, the us is very very far from the most meritocratic system possible.

        jorge videla

        April 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    • Steve Jones.. endless repeater of Lewontins fallacy, therefore a borderline twit.

      He insisted for years that it’s possible for members of different races (say a random pygmy and Japanese) to be more related to each other than their own race. Never found a case where this is true, as the clustering studies for DNA show this has not happened yet, and the odds are billions to one against, if not trillions.


      April 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      • wrong. it all depends on how similarity at genetic level is measured. at genetic level humans are homogeneous compared to chimps and other apes.

        jorge videla

        April 7, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    • His argument is essentially that HBD is hogwash because…. racism and anti-semitism.


      April 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      • it used to seem that way to me when i was much younger. amd when murray was in high school he did burn a cross. cross burners are his people.

        genetic distance can be measured as the cosine of the angle between genome vectors. in a sufficiently high dimensional space, 1000 snps for example, a japanese will never be mistaken for a bushman. but for lower dimensions, fewer genetic variants, a japanese can be more like a bushman than he is like another japanese. so if the phenotype depends on every last base pair the japanese should be treated as a japanese. if it depends on only a hundred then it might be better to make no distinction.

        jorge videla

        April 7, 2014 at 10:10 pm

  34. steve jones smart. charles murray dumb.

    jorge videla

    April 5, 2014 at 2:40 am

    • “charles murray dumb.”

      I doubt that.


      April 7, 2014 at 7:04 pm

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