Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Where is the brain of Rosemary Stanton?

I've posted on Dr Peter Clifton in the past. He's in the news again. Here's the link to the Telegraph article from Blogblog plus the text is also over on the trialblog archive for when the link goes down. Obviously there is a limit to the functionality of his brain implant (inability to perceive that obesity is a symptom not a disease for example, still pro vegetables because they are low in calories, no idea of the role of insulin in obesity etc) but he does seem to be able to conceive that five a day of fruit 'n' veg are a waste of money. That is utterly amazing.

Hmmmmm. On re reading the article, apart from finding fruit and veg useless, he still seems utterly lost as far as meaningful comprehension goes.

Still, Clifton's brain implant has some residual functionality. But where did the brain come from???? Could it have been stolen from Dr Rosemary Stanton? The Dr as in the last sentence in the Telegraph article:

"Nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton cast doubt on the findings and suggested the study [Clifton's] could be flawed."

Her brain could easily have been taken as the source of whatever residual central processing power is available to Dr Clifton. Replacing Dr Stanton's brain with a low IQ parrot would leave her fully functional as a nutritionist... It all fits together.



Anonymous said...


I've been on a professional email list with Dr Stanton for years. She is often held up as teh goto authority on these things in Australia.

Here are some interesting comments from Dr Stanton on various issues;

In response to some success I had with a patient no longer grinding her teeth at night after removing gluten:

"I have seen figures quoted recently that 1 person in 100 has a gluten sensitivity. I've searched in vain for some evidence to support that, but the lack of evidence doesn't stop it being repeated. Then we have saying such as the one you have included that it's plausible that 1 in 10 could have gluten intolerance. I'd like some real evidence for that.

Unfortunately, this all seems to provide grist for the rumour/myth mill and then we have people avoiding breads, cereals and other basic and nutritious foods when there is no nutritional reason to do so.

As I have mentioned before, I do not hold much store for the paleo approach to food. The animals we eat today are nothing like those that were consumed by our ancestors. Neither is any other aspect of our lives. We can't go back to eating or living the way our ancestors did and why would be really want to?"

But then in an exchange following the release of the Krauss meta-analysis on SFA & CHD:

"In my experience, people who are told to cut down on saturated fats think that all they need do is choose margarine, lean meats and fat-reduced dairy products. Whether they actually do this or not is debatable - sales of cheddar cheese, cream, ice cream, lamb grilling chops and sausages suggest many do not. But even if they did swap butter for margarine and use leaner meats and fat-reduced milk (skim milk sales are small), such changes wouldn't necessarily produce the healthy diet we might desire, especially if they are unaware that much of our saturated fats come from foods in every aisle of the supermarket - crackers, biscuits, cakes and baked goods, snack foods (sweet and savoury), crumbed and coated frozen foods, pastries, sauces, instant noodles, various ready meals and many other items.

Basically, for about 40 years, I have suggested to individuals that they read ingredient lists and reject most foods with more than five ingredients (muesli is an exception) or any food containing ingredients that are unlikely to have ever been alive. OK, it's a bit simplistic and may sound unscientific, but I think people can understand it better than telling them to cut down on saturated fat or refined carbs or talking in terms of nutrients. Where possible, I also stress the need to eat fresh foods, which then goes on to the need to be able to prepare your own food."

Last time I looked at all the foods Dr Stanton thinks are crammed full of saturated fat, they all had lots of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in them. And she simply flatly refuses to get her head around Paleo eating, even though she advocates that people focus on eating real food.

Needless to say I spend far more time being schooled up by the likes of your blog Peter than worrying what the opinions are of Australain dietitians.

Anonymous said...

leading nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton explodes the myth that carbohydrates make you fat


Anonymous said...

Nice Bill.

She recommends the equivalent of 8 slices of bread per day!!

I find this interesting:

"The research review was commissioned by Go Grains - a nutrition communication program developed by BRI Australia and supported by Australian grain growers and the Commonwealth government through the Grains Research and Development Corporation."

But then in another email on the NUTNET nutrition list she has this to say:

"I am in agreement with you about rolled oats. Indeed, if you carefully read many of the studies extolling the virtues of wholegrains, some [most - JS] are often referring specifically to oats. In Australia, rolled oats cost just $1 for 750g, making them a cheap and highly nutritious choice. By contrast some packaged cereals cost seven to eight times as much per serve."

"If you need more vitamins than are available in natural foods, the difference between getting them from a pill and a sugary cereal is that the pill avoids a heap of kilojoules and some dental problems from the sugar in the cereal. Therefore if you need extra vitamin, a pill seems preferable to me..."

"New Zealanders and Australians have a genuine problem with low levels of iodine, but I don't see manufacturers bending over backwards to add that to cereals. The bread manufacturers had to be coerced into doing it and protested vigorously. But cereal makers seem to like adding vitamins that are unlikely to be lacking in the diet, with or without vitamin-enriched cereals."

Unknown said...

T. Colin Cambell himself had such an interesting response to Cordain with a discussion of an evolutionary approach to diet - a comment on genes that showed no appreciation for the nuances of biology, and a bizarre dismissal of the randomized controlled trial. I'm not sure what they teach in nutrition school. In med school we are to memorize, memorize, memorize, but at least we were scolded for not thinking at all!

Anonymous said...


Nutrition school teaches you to memorise, memorise, memorise too! You are also required to think - as long as you think exactly the same as everyone else.

I recall, just out of nutrition school, picking up a patient who had requested to see someone else after consulting with a dietitian whom I had also trained with. This Dt was straight A+ throughout her undergrad qual + her Dt diploma. Yet faced with a local farmer who had presented with high cholesterol (I am so ashamed of my past!), she had told the farmer he needed to become a vegetarian!! All brains, no commonsense.

The other thing with nutrition school - in an intake of 70 or so, I was only one of about 5 or 6 males (and most of us had previously completed a degree in exercise physiology so were coming at nutrition from a sports nutrition interest - the only guy who didn't in our intake came from a nursing background). With very few exceptions, all of those women entering nutrition were slim (and most were skinny-fat based on our first year anthropometry labs - much to their horror), and were either vegetarian or vegetarian-leaning (didn't eat red meat, etc). There were 2-3 Seventh Day Adventists who were vegan. I also flatted with a vegan & vegetarian who were in the years above me. Most were also obessed with food and often found us guys who could stuff ourselves at the all you could eat nights at Pizza Hut quite disgusting! 90% of the undergrads apply for entry to the post-grad dietetics programme.

Interestingly, in my (limited) involvement with those who have eating disorders, all had the intent to undertake some sort of nutrition training. My year had one 'recovering' anorexic.

The only person I know who has an interest in Paleo eating and who also wants to go study nutrition at university is now having doubts as she doesn't want to undertake 3 years of being told things that are contrary to what she believes. I wonder how common this is, meaning that nutrition school becomes self-selecting for a certain type.

Unknown said...

Jamie! We are doomed! Well, if evo/high fat nutritionists and health professionals aren't mainstream, at least in the long run we will be the fittest and best-looking!

Michael Barker said...

Jamie. trust me, they were right on this one.

"...often found us guys who could stuff ourselves at the all you could eat nights at Pizza Hut quite disgusting!"

Anonymous said...


There are some high-fat researchers based at Otago where I trained, but the main one there is on the Unilever payroll too.

The other thing of note is that many of the lecturers (again with biases toward vegetarian & wholegrain nutrition) have been there forever. This makes it very difficult for these sorts of academics to turn around and say, based on their new understanding of it all, that they were wrong. Won't happen. Also won't happen because the School of Nutrition is largely dictated too by the dietetics programme, which is run by the same person who has been running it for in excess of 20 years - another woman fitting the profile of what I noticed as an undergrad. One of the medical professors who attends my weekly spin classes was asked to be part of the panel that recently reviewed the Dietetics programme there, so he was able to give some interesting insight.

I recall too, after graduating, I was working with a New Zealand cricket player. He made the comment that generally most of the guys in the team don't listen to the dietitians that get contracted in to work with the team because if they followed the Dt's advice, they would starve. This was a sentiment repeated to me on several occasions - that the Dt's, who rarely engaged in sport themselves (maybe do some chronic cardio), had little understanding of how much a male athlete eats... the whole 'meat no bigger than a deck of cards' type of thing.


Fully agreed - makes me sick now. But all you could eat night was a godsend when you were a poor student! It didn't last long however. At most I could do a dessert pre-pizza, 7 slices of pizza, and a dessert after and I. WAS. STONKERED. The other rugby guys (I was a skinny 60kg cyclist) good easily do twice that!

blogblog said...

Rosemary Stanton is supposed to be an authority on nutrition. The reality is very different:

- her doctorate is only honorary.
- her actual research experience is neglible - a couple of years as a lab tech back in the 1960s.

Her opinions haven't changed in the past 30 years. She thinks a diet should be <10% fat.

blogblog said...

Dietitians are little more than apologists for the processed food industry. The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) is largely funded by major food processing organisations. However the list of these companies is now only acessible to DAA members (to avoid criticism). However in the past they included Kellog's and Nestle. They have even included confectionary manufacturer Allen's.

In the recent past the DAA has recommended diets which seem to match almsot perfectly with the products produced by the DAA sponsors - eg procesed breakfast cereals and yoghurt. The DAA has even suggested that confectionary is a healthy part of children's diets.

Anonymous said...

I posted on the shanigans of a UK dietitian here:


Including the work she did for Coca-Cola showing how soft drinks were part of a healthy diet:


They help with hydration don't you know.

blogblog said...

When I was an undergraduate food science student in the 1980s we were taught that nutritional advice was complete and utter claptrap based almost entirely on studies of genetically defective rats and dodgy populations studies. Nothing has changed in the last 25 years.

blogblog said...

Virtually every dietitian I have encountered is either very skinny with no muscle tone or fat with no muscle tone.

I suggest you have a look at photos of famous nutrition "experts":

- Rosemary Stanton (very low fat diet) looks like a cadaver.

- Artemis Simopolous (Mediterranean diet)is extremly fat.

- Barry Sears (The Zone)is very flabby.

-Loren Cordain (paleo diet) is lean and athletic.

Peter said...

Hi all,

Well I'd no idea that Dr Stanton was already infamous! I've certainly enjoyed the comments thread (very interesting) but I'm a bit worried I may have accidentally insulted low IQ parrots somewhere along the line.

Jamie, I remember chatting paleo to a very bright guy who who wouldn't see. "Would you rather live an a modern house or a cave?" is the classic paleo question. Obviously the house. But when the house involves a wheelchair and the cave allows free mobility the question becomes less straightforward and Dr Stanton shows as a monster. Potatoes put you in a wheelchair if you have AS...

Anyhoo, gotta go do some work...

Oh, on the pig out front, yes, as a skinny athlete my friend and I would routinely split a whole wholemeal Hovis loaf longitudinally, butter it and eat it as the side dish to a massive bowl of spag bog (no plates, you get more of a heap in a bowl). I used to pass out for 2 hours afterwards!


LeonRover said...

(What is the difference between Iceland and Ireland?

One letter and 6 months!

Financial joke 3 years ago.)

What is the difference between Dr Stanton's "field of study" and L Ron Hubbard's "The Modern Science of Mental Health"?

One letter - the fourth - and El Ron has been been deified by his Church of Scientology.

Peter said...

Hi Leon,

"The book earned scathing reviews from critics, who charge that it presents these claims in superficially scientific language but without evidence"...

I love it. Still working at Gorbals. Partick is more likely a source of fibre toxicosis, stomping ground of Higgins methinks...


Sue said...

Yep, Rosemary Stanton is an Aussie - not too proud of that!
Sally Fallon wrote a review on Rosemary Stanton's book - Good Fats, Bad Fats in 2008:

blogblog said...

The most disturbing fact is that Rosemary Stanton is actually one of the influential nutrition policy makers in Australia. Rosemary Stanton is on the NHMRC health and nutrition panel which creates Australia official nutrition guidelines. The NHMRC has just released a new draft policy recommending that meat be eaten no more than once a week to protect the environment.

Unknown said...

But what about all the methane released from eating too much fiber? That's sure to contribute to global warming.

Peter said...

Emily, I'd also worry about all of the extra [hungry and sick] people produced too. Back to Daniel Quinn and the Two Rat Experiment in the big cage Earth...


Unknown said...

The experiment lives! Just look here:


Peter said...