Ancel Keys did not manipulate his data

Popular commentators frequently accuse Keys of manipulating data in his 1953 paper, Atherosclerosis, A Problem in Newer Public Health.1

This study is sometimes referred as the “Six Countries Study”. A number of popular commentators think this is the Seven Countries Study— they count England & Wales as two countries.

This paper was presented in Amsterdam in 1952 and in January 1953 in New York.

Far too much attention is paid to one page of a minor discussion paper written in the early 1950s. Keys writes, “The fact that the present high rate from degenerative heart disease in the United States is not inevitable is easily shown by the comparison with some other countries.” This was the purpose of the paper.

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Michael Mosley and Coconut Oil

Dr Michael Mosely (Trust Me, I’m a Doctor) instigated a trial to determine the impact of coconut oil on cardio-vascular health.

In a University of Cambridge study, 94 participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. They were asked to consume an additional 50g of fat – either coconut oil, butter or olive oil, daily for a period of four weeks.

The main measure was the change in total cholesterol.

Based on this study, Michael Mosley now thinks that coconut oil may be good for you. The study showed nothing to suggest that this could be true.

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Iodine and Thyroid Function Tests

Iodine is a major component of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3). They are based on the amino acid tyrosine. T4 contains four iodine atoms and T3 three iodine atoms. The only known function of iodine is for the production of the thyroid hormones. Excess iodine is secreted in the urine.

Thyroid hormones are required for normal growth and development of the brain and central nervous system. It is required for energy production and oxygen consumption in cells and the maintenance of the metabolic rate.

The regulation of thyroid hormone synthesis, release, and action is a complex process involving the thyroid, the pituitary, the brain, and peripheral tissues.

Sea foods and iodine added to table salt are the highest contributors of iodine to our diet.

Tornadoes, Seagulls, Grasshoppers and the Butterfly Effect

Edward Lorenz was a mathematician and meteorologist. Whilst his name may not be familiar, you would have heard about the results of his work.

Whilst he is best known for his work on Chaos Theory, he made very valuable contributions to other areas of mathematics including climate theory.

Lorenz presented a paper at a meeting in December, 1972 in Washington, DC, the title of the talk being, Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?

The title was a question. The answer is – of course it does not. If it did we would be creating tornadoes every time we clapped our hands. Lorenz conclusion was that long-term weather forecasting was doomed.

The problem of accurate, long-term weather forecasting has been recognised for some time – and seagulls, grasshoppers or butterflies are not part of the problem or solution.

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Bats, Fish and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a type of motor neuron disease, a group of rare neurological diseases that mainly involve the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement. Voluntary muscles produce movements like chewing, walking, and talking.

Despite dozens of studies being published linking ALS with neurotoxins that can be found in fish, it is unlikely that you will hear this information from a doctor or motor neuron disease support groups.

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Robert Lustig and The Men Who Made Us Fat

Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease. He specializes in childhood obesity and studying the effects of sugar in the diet. He is the director of the UCSF Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Program and a member of the Obesity Task Force of the Endocrine Society.

Unfortunately, much of what he says is simply wrong, which given the amount of media exposure that he receives, is deeply worrying.

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Nutrients Lost When Food is Processed

A significant amount of nutrients may be lost when food is processed. Below are two charts showing the proportion of selected nutrients found in white rice compared with brown rice and white wheat flour compared with whole wheat flour.

Often white wheat flour is enriched to attempt to make up for the nutrients removed.

White rice and white wheat flour are created when the hull, bran layer and cereal germ removed. The germ is part of the grain that germinates to create a seedling.

Storage life is increased due to the removal of oils and nutrients.

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The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What We Eat – A Review

Alan Levinovitz is an assistant professor of Religious Studies at James Madison University, Virginia.

His book, The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What We Eat, “takes on bestselling physicians and dietitians, exposing the myths behind how we come to believe which foods are good and which are bad—and pointing the way to a truly healthful life, free from the anxiety of what we eat.”

Whilst the book was fascinating in describing how easily it is for society to be deluded about food issues, the book adds several misconceptions of its own.

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