Monday, December 08, 2008


Hi everyone,

Hyperlipid is now getting back to a reasonable semblance of normality. I'll try to answer the comments as soon as I can. What happened? Well, about six weeks ago I was invited to join THINCS. Within two weeks of my email address going up on the THINCS website I was invited by the Skeptics Society of St Paul's School in London to present a 40 minute overview of why I was unconvinced by the lipid hypothesis of CHD. After some initial teething problems due to lack of software ownership (resulting in a crash course of teach yourself Powerpoint on my wife's PC), I got a presentation together. It was two and a half hours long. Major butchery got it down to an hour and a half. Has anyone ever tried to demolish the lipid hypothesis in just over 30 minutes?

The presentation was last Tuesday and it was a really enjoyable day for all of us. Staff and sixthformers were very interested and the discussion carried on over lunch. I had pitched the talk as neutral as possible, just draw the graphs, discuss the studies and let the science speak for itself. Never mind statin bashing or the weird data from the 4S study.

Interestingly, most of the audience were perfectly willing to draw their own conclusions about data manipulation if you show them Yerushalmy and Hilleboe's paper analysing Keys' Six Countries Study (many thanks Alex). I never did mention the 4S study data.

A number of people commented, positively, on this fairly dead pan approach. You don't need to be aggressive or sarcastic to make your point when the facts speak for themselves so clearly.

It all took a great deal of preparation. In addition to this my wife is in the last two weeks of the lab work of her PhD (she has ligands, that's good! Woohoo, happy dance) and will start writing up over Christmas... Anyone who has played the PhD game will know exactly what this has meant for the last few months and what it will mean for the next few months. PhDs are not intended to be recreational!

So posting when I can and I'll answer the off blog outstanding emails soon. When I get to comments about a discussion forum, I agree, it would be a great idea but I think it would be impossible to do at the present time from my commitment perspective. I'm about 350 emails behind (just reading) on the THINCS discussion board at the moment.



Dave said...

Hi Peter. Any chance you'll be posting your slides?

Jeremiah said...

I second that notion: Please post your Powerpoint presentation, Peter.

Chris said...

I was about to ask the same thing!

Half Navajo said...

i am so happy your back!!!

Mark said...

congratulations on presenting.


Stan Bleszynski said...

I have another article found as usual, in some shady places 8-:)

If you have an access to the full text it would be interesting to review it:

"Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood."


"The present data show memory impairments during low- carbohydrate diets at a point when available glycogen stores would be at their lowest. A commonly held explanation based on preoccupation with food would not account for these findings. The results also suggest better vigilance attention and reduced self-reported confusion while on the low- carbohydrate diet, although not tied to a specific time point during the diet. Taken together the results suggest that weight-loss diet regimens differentially impact cognitive behavior."

Dr. B G said...


You're such a big THINC-tank!!!!!!!

First lunchin' with Ebringer then the THINC crowd. Next, the world...


Unknown said...

Is the THINCS-discussion available on the net? On the discussion ends (unfortunately) Jan-Feb 2006.

Stan Bleszynski said...

Is the THINCS-discussion available on the net? On the discussion ends (unfortunately) Jan-Feb 2006.

True! Unfortunately, THINCS decided to marginalize themselves out of the society by not communicating with the outside world, I no longer look them up since nothing seems to be happening. I find more life, stimulating ideas and science here and on Stephan's blog, then there.

Peter said...


Interesting abstract. Since my wife dropped off of PhD time in to extra time from maternity leave, her Athens account has folded so I can't get much in the way of papers. I just pubmeded D'Anci and he has done some very interesting stuff on sucrose augmentation of morphine analgesia.

Isn't Tufts one of the LC hotbeds in the USA?

Slides, I might be able to do something but I never did any speakers notes, so some commentary would be needed, especially on the more abstracted/modified graphs from Keys, Framingham and MRFIT... There's really nothing new unless you are outside the LC world, when old stuff is an eye opener.

Re THINCS, yes there is a lot of off site discussion but very little in public. The base provided by people like Stephan is very broad compared to THINCS, which is quite on topic for a great deal of it's discussions. Very focused but absolutely no Groupthink about what does cause heart disease.


Peter said...

Lack of Groupthink being an excellent attribute!


Dave Lull said...

See here for a .pdf copy of "Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood."

JohnN said...

Thanks for the link to the paper.
I agree that practitioner of low-carb diet will probably endure performance impairment initially.
However, three weeks is hardly sufficient for the brain to switch from glucose to ketones - to draw a conclusion. IMO, it would take at least 10 times longer.
Once the switchover is complete blood sugar will rise to the upper range (due to body's preference for NEFA) and therfore become available for fight/flight response (i.e., any aneaerobic demands.)

JohnN said...

Welcome back and congratulations on your presentation.
Regarding your low-key, matter-of-fact approach: when the facts are on your side there's no need to pound the table, isn't there?

Peter said...

Hi Dave (and all),

Thanks for the paper. Zero carb and you feel crap.

Now there's a surprise!


Sue said...

Good to have you back!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to your wife for finishing up on the PhD. I know how it feels.

JMC said...

Hi Peter, love your blog.

Here's one for future comment, in case you think it is worth comment.

Hermione said...

Yes you can get your presentation done in 30 minutes or less but you have to write the script first. Remember that if your slides make sense for a person who did not attend the lecture then you are wasting your time giving the lecture.

Read "Beyond Bullet Points" by Craig Atkinson and download the aids of the internet you will find the time well spent.

Peter said...


Thanks for the link, a similar article was emailed to me off blog by Taka. My problem with the hypothesis is the pretty ubiquitous meat and dairy consumption in very health long lived non industrialised communities.

Any thoughts on how this might tie in?

I tend to cringe when I read comments about early hominid life being nasty brutish and short. Life for an early hominid was the normal life for a well adapted species in its natural environment. Harmonious is the word which comes to mind. Nasty brutish and short makes me think of life in cotton mills and coal mines!


Peter said...

Point taken Hermione,

I'm thinking of putting up a section at a time with some explanation attached. The talk dropped in to about 5 sections, some less important than others


JMC said...

Hi Peter,

I understand what you mean and thanks for taking the time to see this.

A possible (but perhaps neive) explanation is the fact that Vitamin D status since intra-uterine life seems to be more important in auto-immunity development than any other factor. For instance, in countries with year round UVB radiation, there's virtually no Type 1 Diabetes.

Mohr SB, Garland CF, Gorham ED, Garland FC. The association between ultraviolet B irradiance, vitamin D status and incidence rates of type 1 diabetes in 51 regions worldwide. Diabetologia. 2008 Jun 12.

I think isolating factors doesn't cut it, since the human body is a complex system, where everything is connected and, as you said, all animals thrive best in the environment to which their genes are adapted, which means food, feeding habits (breastfeding, intermittent fasting, etc), sun exposure, exercise, sleep, sex, exposure to pathogens, etc.

This could explain why the Masai are healthy on a high milk and meat diet and the Kitava are healthy on a totally different diet (high carb diet).

Here's some other theory on the subject (health in H/G and in Neolithic people), by Staffan Lindeberg:

Jönsson T, Olsson S, Ahrén B, Bøg-Hansen TC, Dole A, Lindeberg S.
Agrarian diet and diseases of affluence--do evolutionary novel dietary lectins
cause leptin resistance?
BMC Endocr Disord. 2005 Dec 10;5:10

Peter said...

Yes, lectins are probably very important, especially plant derived lectins. You realise that lectins look at sugar moieties and so the lectin hypothesis is not so far removed from the sialic acid derivative hypothesis, the difference being that bulk lectins are neolithic and the Neu5Gc mutation has been around for 3 million years of (variable but on going) meat consumption...


Dr. B G said...


Do you think it's all related to grains?? This Neu5Gc?

All the meat tested in the article that JMC posted appear to be the grain-fed meats ("mystery of the meat...")
--beef, lamb, pork

Like...everything else...

'Those d*mn dirty grains' (and legumes/lectins)!!


Peter said...

Hmmmmm G, you do have to wonder. Another of the problems I have with the hypothesis is that "normal" animals all develop the full range of auto immune diseases that humans do, despite making the enzyme for the final sugar conversion. If this defect is what makes humans prone to auto immune diseases, what right do cats, dogs and horse have getting systemic lupus, haemolytic anaemia and aseptic meningitis? Which they do, I've got some cracking cases on the go at the moment....

I still, probably as you do, keep coming back to plant lectins as being central to these diseases.


Dr. B G said...


Thanks for your reply.

!!Your inter-animal perspectives are always so INSPIRING and ILLUMINATING.

Yes, lectins/grains have no business in pet food or lab chow!

We really are no different in many respects from our beloved pets. I started taking taurine -- since I don't eat a whole lotta seafood or grassfed meat. Taurine boosts the immune system, lower BP, reduces angiontensin II and acts as a diuretics. BTW it raises HDL, esp synergistically with CLO.

Now, if my cat would die of taurine deficiency, how about humans? Like Scurvy to vitamin C?