Sunday, February 07, 2021

Just an announcement

The World Nutrition Summit is coming soon as a virtual meeting based in South Africa. The organisers kindly asked for a presentation based around the ROS hypothesis of obesity. I haven’t tried to make it particularly user friendly, Mike Eades has already done that, this is more of a brief whirlwind tour of the many technical papers which went to make up the Protons thread and spawned the idea.

Thee's a lot more information from the Nutrition Foundation here.

I bought a microphone.



Bob said...

"I bought a microphone."


Bob said...

From just the pictures, I recognized Ivor Cummins, Jason Fung (I think), and Angela Stanton, who lives in the county south of mine. She seems to have had asymptomatic COVID with some residual lung damage.

Peter hasn't made the line-up (yet) on the linked page. But I notice I missed Tim Noakes from just the photos. I don't really know any of the other participants.

Thanks for the heads-up. I expect to buy a ticket and collect a lot of videos.

Captain Sunset said...

Fantastic! This, is something to really look forward too.

Stefan said...

Nice! That I would like to see :)

DLS said...

I haven’t tried to make it particularly user friendly

try Peter, just try!

karl said...

Interesting paper - detecting ATP problems (hypothesized to be deficient in ME/CFS)

If this paper is solid - it pushes the case that ATP is behind this syndrome..

What a puzzle - viruses, ATP, immune system.. no viable treatments.. Sometimes goes away on it's own.. A mitochondrial disease?

Galina l. said...

Excellent! I took couple courses in Nutritional Network founded by Noaks!

Peter said...

karl, yes, if it pans out it would be major. I have long felt that CSF might represent the end stage of the damage mediated to ETC components by lipoxides of linoleic acid. This is Tucker's field, rather than Protons. But advanced LA toxicity should present as severe mitochondrial dysfunction with ATP depletion. Once the group you cite gets beyond the diagnostics in to mechanisms they have the potential make progress.

Currently my thoughts are that your cardiologist gave you ME/CFS. Nothing new there then...


Peter said...

Galina, we're working on a presentation or two for NN too. Not quite so time limited as the WNS.


Richard B said...

Peter, nothing pleases me more than seeing you gradually emerge into the limelight in the low carb world. I have read your blog over many years and while not always the easiest read, it was clear that you were motivated by the challenge of the science and not the chance to earn a buck. I have learned a lot from Hyperlipid, and I expect I will continue to learn.

ctviggen said...

That post from Angela Stanton illustrates why covid-19 is such a difficult disease, and why the Great Barrington Declaration is unlikely to work. The TL;DR of Ms. Stanton's post is that she never knew she had covid, but still got lung damage..from the covid she did not know she had.

At least for the flu or SARS1, when you get it, you get sick in a meaningful way. With covid-19, you might get sick and not even know it (and be communicable, or at least some of the science suggests this).

Sounds like an excellent group of people.

karl said...

Here's the rub - some people get better after having ME/CFS - some get better only to relapse a few years later.

My original interest in viral disease is related to this - Could be a virus trigger of ME/CFS? Could be the RNA from viruses mess with the mitochondria - could be viruses change mDNA? (lots of 'could be's here ).

Anyway - our immune system appears to be in a constant dance with viral challenges - from warts to deadly cancers.

We do know that people are infected with a long list of viruses all the time - some may even be symbiotic. (Even our e-coli have bacteriophages (a type of virus). This has recently been part of the explosion of wild narratives about intestinal flora. Even the food safety folks are now wondering if bacterial strains are modulated into safe or nasty types by the bacteriophages. )

My concern is that viruses might be behind senescent cells - we have lots of inactive (dormant) virus infections - could be that the viruses are behind blocking the immune system's self destruct signals?

So if Tucker is right - that LA is messing with immune function - it yet another possible path for the increasingly common ME/CFS cases and increases in senescent cells.

There are papers about polyphenols reducing senescent cells - but the details are troubling - I'm not even sure that polyphenols are actually absorbed in amounts that matter - might all be happening in the intestine. There is so much I'm quite sure we don't know.

I think you missed the point - yes CoVid is a nasty bug - but not worse than the bugs my ancestors 100 years ago dealt with. Somehow they coped - pushed forward - had children - lived life. (I got permanent damage from influenza in 1968 - stuff happens)..

CoVid takes life in two ways - by making mostly sickly people die and scaring people out of living a normal life - where we take daily risks in order to meet people, love, reproduce etc.

Pretty much everyone is going to get exposed (R(0)=5.7 according to the CDC) - that is not in question.

But the health policy of scaring people out of living - cutting off future lovers with a mask-covered face - instead of focusing on improving innate immune response has caused a year without smiles - a year of life gone missing and is simply wrong. They have triggered countless phobias that will not just harm people this year. IMO, the people pushing these insane polices, originated by the CCP, have blood on their hands.

The Great Barrington Declaration has been successfully ghosted - most people don't know of it.

Life is tough - we get sick - things don't end like they do on TV - and in the end - no one gets out alive. But we do have a chance to live while we are here - if we don't all feed each other mindless fear.

CoVid is nasty - but people get all sorts of diseases that damage lungs and other organs - for which cooler heads in the past have not shut down civilization. Living in the world is dangerous - but I for one - don't want to miss it.

You say "At least for the flu or SARS1, when you get it, you get sick in a meaningful way" - actually, a lot of people get influenza without knowing it - I suppose you would be happy getting polio in a meaningful way? or TB or Malaria? Or T2D? Sorry, but CoVid is not the worst disease in the world - a nasty bug yes - but take a look at the death statistics for TB or T2D - we share a common reality - even if you can't see past the 24/7 mantra telling you to hide from life and be fearful.

Passthecream said...

Karl (and Peter as always), you make interesting points. I have an in-law who suffers badly with some kind of post viral CFS. He has always been a very bad asthmatic but the CFS seems to have come about after a bout of whooping cough. However he is also a so-called "health food" nut and doses up on heart healthy oils, margarine, nuts and fruits etc.

Wrt polio it is slightly personal because my father's sister caught that in the early 20th C and survived but was quite disabled by it, her crutches and leg irons were part of my childhood. Vaccination wasn't the whole of the victory against Polio, better public and personal sanitation also was part of the pervasive behavioural and structural changes since in that case the transmission is oral/fecal. Are there any good estimates of how many members of the general herd caught the disease knowingly or unknowingly, without long term sequelae?

Washing your hands, not playing in drains, keeping your distance and taking other reasonable precautions is not irrational.

Btw: "Today, only 3 countries in the world have never stopped transmission of polio Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria."

I do not know why not.

Richard B said...

@Passthecream - aren't these countries where local Mullahs claimed that the vaccines were Western imperialist schemes to sterilise Muslims? Recently an Iranian cleric warned that the Covid vaccine would make you gay. Seems an Ultra-Orthodox rabbi in Israel had the same view. Heart-warming to see how this virus is creating such unity.

Passthecream said...

Surely no worse than any of the other conspiracy theorists in any other part of the planet, north south east or west ???

Richard B said...

@Passthecream, I would hate to even try to estimate which conspiracy theorist is the worst of all, although until recently I have always has a special gripe with evolution deniers. But the real impact of the polio vaccine deniers is to keep a disease alive that was almost ready to become an extinct disease, like smallpox.

On another note, Cummins provides data showing that in Japan, with its 3.5% obesity rate and "prevalence of vitamin D levels in the active elderly <30 ng/mL below 5%"...has total Covid deaths today of 6,601 in a population of 126 million. This would be like the UK having about 3,000 deaths or the USA having about 17,300. And its not like they've prevented the viral spread, the way NZ has. Seroprevalance of covid Antibodies was nearly 50% in a random Tokyo sample back in September.

Perhaps between the ranting about masks, lock-downs, and social distancing, a few more words about getting in shape might have been appropriate.

karl said...

@Richard B
The death rate in Japan - and that part of the pacific - even New Zealand and Australia has been low - multiple possible explanations - Earlier infections of corona-viruses (about 10% of colds are a type of corona-virus) or the earlier SARs infection may have gone through there?

It could also be that it just hasn't gone through there - yet. They might luck out - the vaccinations might prove to be safe and effective and work for them - or not.

One last bit - when someone repeats a story - of someone associating lung problems with symptomless CoVid - it feeds the fear - the hysteria - the cause of a lung problem isn't just from Covid - people get GERD, allergies, COPD etc.. I don't know how one could be certain of the 'cause'. Association/correlations do not show causation - but these days - the hysteria narrative is always reinforced. If someone gets a hang-nail - it might get chalked up to CoVid.

To put this point in perspective - a friend of mine got influenza - got really sick and lost the hearing in one of his ears - permanently. If they were covering influenza that year in the same way that they are covering this virus - the story would have been passed around - amplified in the same way bad CoVid outcomes are amplified. But in his case, it was just life - stuff happens - tough break.

A lot of people that get exposed to CoVid don't get sick - most that do get sick recover - some get lasting harm - but the exact same thing can be said about influenza. I see continual confirmation bias used to amplify the fear - and this fear - on both the individual and cultural level is harmful.

That being said - I think people need to speak out - push back against the people parroting the fear narratives.

I've seen people literally trembling in fear as they enter the store - seeing people all masked up like there was some zombie apocalypse going on. I've taken several phone calls asking my advice from old host students riddled with fear - suffering anxiety problems the first time in their lives. We had a warm day - I walked downtown - there was a bit of a breeze, yet I only saw one other person NOT wearing a mask. This is a breakdown of civilization - a fear that has a life of it's own - reminds me of times in history where there was a disconnect from reality - such as witch trials.
One last bit - the pore sizes of surgical masks are 10um - the virion particles are 10nm - that is 100 times the diameter - but actually, it is the area - the square of the radius that matters - or a factor of 100,000. The CCP narrative supporters talk about the water droplets - but are clearly ignorant that these droplets (say 10um) evaporate in about 1 second leaving behind virion particles. So someone infectious sneezes or coughs - 1-million virion particles go out the sides of the mask, a second later water droplets are gone - just virions - yet the theater continues.

Non of this is new science - they had serious problems with people shedding particles in the electronics industry clean rooms - including viruses - in spite of masks/bunny suits, sticky floors, HEPA filters - virions would land on the work and cause problems making electronics.

What is clear, is there is no clear inflections on the death rates that correlate to the masking policies. (Meanwhile Dr. Fauci: "Double-masking makes ‘common sense’ and is likely more effective" - why not 3? or 6? What an idiot! - If he advises putting a plastic bag over your head - will people follow?). Fearmongering is a crime against humanity.

One last detail - face masks are VERY unsanitary - might want to wash your hands afterwards if you have had to wear one.

Bob said...

Karl and ctviggen,

I've read there is a distinct pattern of "ground-glass opacities" (GGO's) in COVID.

So, I assume when Dr Stanton's doctor said she had GGO's, it was a COVID-associated pattern (I know what can happen when you assume stuff). So she could well have had COVID without symptoms and suffered lung involvement. Definitely...concerning.

I was exposed to someone with COVID in mid-December. She had symptoms and a positive PCR. I never tested, assumed I was positive, and self-quarantined except for helping my friend. She recovered, and I never had any symptoms. But Dr Stanton's story shook me a bit.

ctviggen's concern is that GBD is unlikely to work. I guess it matters what you mean by "work". Hard to tell if lockdowns "work". People get sick and / or die either way. Is the added misery and destruction from lockdown worth the un-quantifiable benefit?

I'm not sure, but I suspect not.

Bob said...

The CDC now recommends double-masks.

Peter has pointed out the UK mask mandate began during last summer's COVID nadir. This new mandate has come as US cases have fallen off their recent peak. Timing may not be everything, but it sure is something.

Bob said...

Oops, double-masking is not a mandate...yet. Gotta be clear about that.

Richard B said...

@karl, NZ managed to lock out the disease while Japan showed widespread exposure to the virus but exceptionally low death rates and given other things we know - the association with metabolic disease, obesity, and low D status, it seems likely that this at least partly explains why Japan has 1/30th the covid death rate of the USA. Exposure to earlier corona viruses might also be a factor. Japan's position is robust while NZ's is extremely fragile.

Association does not prove causation, but exceptionally high risk ratios, plausible causal mechanisms and finally, previous knowledge from other studies that show metabolic syndrome and low D affect immune response and severity of ARDS...well we do not live in a world of perfect proofs but we do have to make reasonable inferences, even if there is a chance they are wrong. Fauci et al have promoted drug and vaccine as the only hope , and yet we've has a year now to motivate people to fix their metabolic issues. Maybe the scared aunties would feel better if they knew there was something they could do about it for themselves to meaningfully reduce risk.

Masks: I don't think its about whether a virus can pass through the cloth, stopping fast out-breaths, coughs, etc from shooting across a room raising the viral load for those close by. If I try to blow out a match with the mask on, nothing happens. Presumably droplets will tend to fall toward the ground even if at a slow rate, rather than go straight into someone's face.

Here in Dubai temporary field hospitals are currently overflowing and severely affected patients are being turned away, one of whom from my workplace died the following day. My wife and I took our second sinopharm shot nearly a month ago. But its not like we were hiding at home before it - we went to work every day and interacted with others continually. Sensible precautions =/= "fear", this is not a hairy balls competition.

karl said...

Ground glass opacities are common with influenza as well

This is just more of the narrative to make CoVid more scary than it really is. Yes, it is a nasty virus - but it does not have supper powers - it is not out of a horror movie. It is not a valid excuse to shut down the world.

Isolation should work a bit - even the isolation produced by making going out to the store an unpleasant theater-of-the-mask experience - yet the effect is so small - the inflections in the graphs are not noticeable - any effect (increase or decrease) is just not significant. The cost to the public - they are doing serious harm to humanity - is not something to take lightly.

@Richard B

Sorry - but blowing out a match has nothing to do with how many virus particles you are launching.

We know how fine particles spread - such particles float around for hours. Double masking will just increase the amount that goes out the sides when people sneeze or cough.

Hospitals have gotten hammered by influenza cases in the past - just not part of the bonkers hysteria narrative - but if people want to see this as 'unprecedented' in our time, it helps amp up the fear. They set out to scare people - they succeeded. But this is not any worse than the pandemics of '57 and '68 .

I understand that people want to believe they can do something that matters - have control over their lives - but what is going one is simply sick - wrong.

Scaring people by wearing masks is not a kindness. Fear is contagious as well - I don't like being mandated to act in a way that scares people.

My hunch is the masking pressure will not stop - it is beginning to look like a new religion - complete with virtue signalling, heavy handed pressure to conform. Will the pressure increase? - perhaps not to the level of the Spanish inquisition - but the individual that resists or stands out - must be pounded down - ghosted from the debate. We have seen this before in history.

These masks policies are a crime against humanity.

Passthecream said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claudino said...

Dr. José Neto, fron Brazil !!!

Passthecream said...

That's a great lineup Peter, good to see you included with that crew.

Passthecream said...

Karl, infection and mortality rates in the UK seem to be falling. Care to guess why? I don't understand how you can assert that masks have no effect, or anything else since no-one seems to have much of a clue about the drop or the timescales involved - is it lockdown, masking, distancing, sunshine, vaccination, herd exposure, what makes a difference ??? I'd like to see verifiable data sketched out on the back of an envelope please.

OTOH if you had some hypothetical intervention that could lower the infection rate by a mere 20% would you still not use it if you didn't agree with the inconvenience and philosophy of it??? What would the cost of that be?

Bob said...

Interesting piece on masks supporting Karl's points.

Richard B said...

@Bob, the article you referenced was a worthwhile read. Thanks, its certainly put the idea of masks to bed.

@Karl, I have never treated this issue primarily with "fear". As already mentioned I am disappointed that given the obvious inverse link between metabolic health and disease severity, guys like Fauci have has so little to say about it. Perhaps they just don't think it's useful given such large swathes of the population won't do anything about it even with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other ailments no moving them.

This is a mistake. Humans are poor at reckoning with long slow frog-in-the-saucepan threats. They react much more strongly to immediate threats, and so covid could be a motivator for real action.

The next problem, of course, is that nobody agrees on what to do to improve metabolic health aside from the vague advice to lose weight. I'm with the low carb low linoleic acid side of things, but that's still not mainstream advice.

karl said...


Sure - I will float a possible 'why' - corona viruses are seasonal viruses - we have known this for decades - this is the time they usually drop - it varies a bit - other things can effect the timing. (I expect they will claim it is due to the start of vaccinations - ignoring medical history - hoping to increase sales, CYA etc..).

(I picked a paper from before CoVid-19)

I've posted the next link here before - they used to say that colds and flu hit in the winter because everyone was inside - close together - that narrative took so much hand-waving that it has been abandoned - today it is thought vit-D plays the dominant role - could be other factors, but sun exposure seems to be the big factor.

We know that viral replication rates go down when there is more vit-D - this is not new in the last year.

We also know that viral replication rates goes up with high blood glucose. Also not new to science.

The public policy of discouraging vit-D and not focusing on blood-sugar, but instead the sick fear-mongering masking-policies is insane - bonkers - it has hurt a lot of people. (at least for several months they ghosted vit-D articles and called it a myth that it is preventative)

If one's innate immune system is compromised by high blood-sugar or low vit-D - a rather nasty virus becomes a lethal virus.

Just because the head of the CCP says to use masks we should not rewrite medical knowledge.

Understanding small particles is not intuitive - I know I'm a bit of a nerd - I own a particle counter - I've counted particles coming out of HEPA filters. (they are supposed to block particles larger than 300nm - the block some of them - not all).

But there is even more - the high counts of virions happen when people cough hard or sneeze (10^6 or more) - and there is a limit to how much air can go through a mask - even if it snags a few - when people sneeze or cough - even with a N95 mask - air pops out the side blowing an invisible mist - that evaporates in about a second - leaving particles in the air that are so small they float - people that sneeze or cough are kicked out of clean rooms.. non of this is new.

The policies ARE hurting people - malpractice. (Sometimes there is a trade-off of risks - but the harm caused by masking is not trivial)

Medicine used to focus on a saying: Primum non nocere - First, do no harm. Yet these policies ARE doing harm.

I suppose the saying has been edited recently - 'First, find a billable procedure or marketable pharmaceutical and get indemnification and government funding'.

Stefan said...

Thanks Karl, makes sense to me. Unfortunately I don't make policy...

Passthecream said...


The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the reproduction or R number had fallen below 1 for the first time since July and was now estimated to be between 0.7 and 0.9 across the UK.

Passthecream said...

Karl, Most of those things you mention were in my short list of possibles although I should have included metabolic health in that list. So many variables unlike what you hope for in a proper scientific study ... and still no real data about any of it. The report if low R value above happens to coincide with a period of dramatically cold wintry weather in the UK so the vit D, sunlight and warm theories obviously don't presently hold water --- they are in a much worse position than the mask theory.

Isolation/lockdown might be holding up as a protective intervention since people don't go out much in that weather, vaccination could also be another explanation.

Passthecream said...

karl said...

Re: R values
You are talking about R(e) - R(0) was supposed to be 5.7.

R(e) is effected mostly by the number of people that have been exposed and now have antibodies - repeated exposure gets you T-cells.. I think vit-D levels and BG levels also effect R(e)

The graphs of viral infections have been studied - predictions can be made - but predictions are never exact - ("Those who have knowledge don't predict. Those who predict don't have knowledge." ) Generally, seasonal viruses rise during the winter months - peak - die out as spring approaches. This is not new - or news..

(speculation warning) I think if there was a valid gold-standard-test for exposure, you would find that most people have been exposed by now - in spite of masking/isolation policies. To be clear, some people get exposed - don't become a 'clinical case' (that would include high fever etc) - develop anti-bodies etc.. My take is they should have been encouraging normal activities in the summer when exposure would have done less harm than now (if one is exposed with higher D levels and lower BG(due to more outdoor physical activity) the probability of getting resistance with out dying or getting seriously sick goes up - can't prove this - but I think it is highly likely). If my take is correct, the policies actually increased the death rate which would mean that the pols that put them in place have blood on their hands - even if the public can't see it.

Getting your information from 'News' sources is not helpful - today what passes for 'news' is 100% propaganda. Even peer reviewed papers are slanted - if you go back before the hysteria, you can read papers that reflect something a lot closer to reality. The CDC's initial take that the public masking and isolation would be ineffective was correct. The 'why' this is happening is a bigger puzzle - I suspect it reflects the changes of economics over the last decades - the world stops for no one. The center of capital - the economic center has moved before - Spain - Netherlands - England - USA.. "Money doesn't talk; it swears" ... The center of power moves with the money.

Passthecream said...

R(0) can only be a modelled estimate I presume whereas Re is the measurable quantity on which that estimate is based.

I feel that I've wasted far too much blog-bandwidth on the subject even though it's the most interesting thing happening atm. It does expose all of the weaknesses in medical politics and political medicine, and current epidemiological thinking.

I'm watching it all blow up from a country where the policies and interventions are still keeping the bug at bay and vaccinations are about to start rolling out --- even 3 new cases can get to be national news some days although it has been worse. There just isn't any clear seasonal signal to it here. Person to person contact is the engine of it, from returning travellers mostly via quarrantine leaks.

My son believes he had it btw, back in March. He was staying in a hotel where some passengers from the Ruby? Princess cruise ship were also staying and then was very ill for three weeks. He kept to himself. No-one else in the family has had any signs of it.

We are obliged to stay home and get tested whenever we have a respiratory infection and we scan QR codes everywhere we go to.facilitate contact tracing.

Shrugs shoulders, resumes working. Mask not required.

Passthecream said...

"watching it all blow up " everywhere else I mean, not here.

Passthecream said...

5.7 seems high?

Some comparable R-0:

Ebola, 2014 1.51 to 2.53
H1N1 Influenza, 2009 1.46 to 1.48
Seasonal Influenza 0.9 to 2.1

Measles though is est. 12 to 14

Currently not only is covid sweeping through Guinea but there is a new Ebola outbreak, and measles!!!

Passthecream said...

Cholera makes for an interesting comparison to SARS2.

And ( sorry no link, search the title)

" Historical Epidemiology of the Second Cholera Pandemic: Relevance to Present Day Disease Dynamics

Christina H. Chan, Ashleigh R. Tuite, David N. Fisman* Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Abstract Despite nearly two centuries of study, the fundamental transmission dynamic properties of cholera remain incompletely characterized. We used historical time-series data on the spread of cholera in twelve European and North American cities during the second cholera pandemic, as reported in Amariah Brigham’s 1832 A Treatise on Epidemic Cholera, to parameterize simple mathematical models of cholera transmission. Richards growth models were used to derive estimates of the basic reproductive number (R0) (median: 16.0, range: 1.9 to 550.9) and the proportion of unrecognized cases (mean: 96.3%, SD: 0.04%). Heterogeneity in model-generated R0 estimates was consistent with variability in cholera dynamics described by contemporary investigators" etc

karl said...


The 5.7 was from the CDC -- R(0) is the infection rate before anyone has been exposed. It is a real number if you have a gold-standard test and can look at historical data. R(e) is the effective rate as time goes by - after some of the people have been exposed - it goes down over time. Cholera is bacterial - still kills a lot of people every year..

Bringing it back to protons - The reason my interests in viruses has to to do with lasting damage from influenza - I think the ME/CFS FMS etc syndromes are likely caused by viral infections - The tests and treatment seem to be drifting into a ATP narrative.!po=0.310559

My hunch - speculation - is that the damage is due to viruses creating zombie cells by messing with mitochondria(they make adjustments to the mitochondria to ramp up virion production - possibly turn off immune response?? ) . Is old age partly the fault of repeated battles with viral infections? Or dormant viral infections.

If this is the case - how should we go about treating it. So much to learn in biology.

Passthecream said...

My interest in the Cholera paper was the dynamics of it and that even after 200 years the numerical detail ie the modelling is not fully worked out. People are still guessing. As Malcolm Kendrick's latest post clearly demonstrates, there is no way you can make much sense out of any of the statistical reporting about the current disease-du-jour. It is far too political and it just doesn't add up.

Passthecream said...


karl said...

Back to dietary understandings - this gets close to the thinking on synthetic diets - sounds like the agriculture - live stock people have crunched some numbers, but human numbers are some what lacking - we really need synthetic diet work.

Anyway - one big take away is that the calorie numbers on food packaging are calculated - not measured (I sort of figured that was the case).. The measurements are not simple - I suppose there are places to fudge things a bit.. I found this quite interesting (I don't miss any of his clips - I do speed them up somewhat.. ) ..

Bob said...

Karl, that video was incredible. The guy is just brilliant. And the comments are hilarious.

Eric said...

Just slightly off topic:

Presumably, due to higher demand during the pandemic, Canadian farmers have been feeding more palm oil based supplements, raising the melting point and making the butter watery and rubber like.

This surprises me acutally. I would have thought they use some depleted corn or soy based junk first that would turn the butter soft.

cavenewt said...

Eric—you beat me to it! I heard about Buttergate on the radio and have been meaning to look it up. It sounded to me like an extrapolation of the same old tired misconception that eating bacon will line your arteries with bacon grease, i.e. feeding cows palm oil well produce butter made of palm oil with corresponding higher melting point. I don't know, though, perhaps the palmitic acid does make it directly from the feed to the butter fat. But at this point the palm oil idea is just an idea and they seem to be really leaping to a conclusion here. A dairy lobbying group is already calling for farmers to stop using palm oil supplements pending further study.

Aside from the first world problem of butter being harder to spread, naturally they're using this opportunity to push hearthealthyvegetableoil because, you know, saturated fat. "Another step in the right direction would be to see supply managed dairy farmers including Canadian grown oils in their feed additives over imported palm oil. However, they chose not to. So disappointing" says the senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, whose opinion piece has been churning the controversy.

Palm oil production is ecologically damaging because of deforestation, which would be a more legitimate reason to discourage its use. But substituting canola oil instead…aargh.

Passthecream said...

They could just feed them beef dripping, after all no human would be mad enough to eat that stuff so it's waste product ... errrh? And what could possibly go wrong feeding cows with cow products?

Peter said...

BSE = "A bit of a booboo"


Eric said...

Cave, we had a similar discussion here a while ago, finding some evidence that fats in the feed make it into the milk or meat of ruminants too (it has long been know to be true for pigs and chickens).

I am just surprised all that nice veggie oil isn't cheaper than palm oil. Canola is not the worst you can do. Think depleted corn, aka distiller's grain.

In my experience, and I am a butter lover, texture depends a lot on processing. My goto butter is from our local equivalent of Whole Foods, from Alpine meadows, so pastured and organic. It is almost sweet (they allow the milk to go slightly sour before buttering) and has a very creamy texture. This is true of most Alpine butters, but not all, not even some of the better known organic brands. There is also some great butter (some non-organic) from pastures of Northern Germany and Denmark.

So one should expect that pastured Irish butter would be even better, but it isn't. Kerrygold is pretty hard and has uneven texture. I believe I read in a consumer test magazine that is because it is thawed form frozen blocks. Less well known Irish brands are a little softer but taste bland and watery to me.

There is also some pretty good butter from Normandy, the most reliably creamy but somewhat bland being the biggest brand, President. I have also tried several farm or coop made butters, and they don't do anything for me. So far, all of them had a strange aftertaste, a little like strong cidre from Brittany without the alcohol. Also, they were pretty hard and watery.

Now, US butter sticks I've always found barely tolerable. Canadian, I have no recollection of, maybe because I've rarely spent more than a night or two in a hotel there.

My guess would be that if it is true that texture has changed, the processing plants maybe cut down on the time for homogenisation when faced with higher demand.

Captain Sunset said...


Back to Covid if I may. I take a lot of what many say with regard to SARS2 with a big pinch of salt, but as time goes by many are offering some valid views that I think do have some credence with regard to the gain of function of the virus. I keep trying to suspend my instincts… But.

Increasingly, there are scientific views on the origins of SARS2 trickling out other than the ‘obvious’ conclusions drawn back in February and March 2020 and, I recently listened to some views of a noted scientist (Gabor Erdosi – see Episode 110 Ivor Cummins/The Fat Emperor), and he too is now all for some kind of virus meddling – as such meddling is scientifically possible. It is in no way blue sky’s rocket science, in fact, it is a bit old hat today, and Erdosi’s hat is most certainly not of the tin foil kind.

Unlike many, I’m not one for knee-jerk conspiracies, but I increasingly find myself starting to have some doubts. To me, it has been disturbing how folk tried/try to shut this calamity down with no real governmental discourse, and so are we seeing some 1984 “rectification” in all this? Further, it’s been something of a shock to me how psychologically, and mostly through ignorance and a bit of lack of curiosity, how folk readily acquiesce to medical/health… circumstance. It’s much more than being a bit dumb, or of some runaway white coat fear/fever.

Taking Occam’s Razor into account, the way I see it is that the virus, in a blind watchmaker-like manner, is merely proffering some utility. Admittedly, this is from a bit of a nihilist, yet logical evolutionary biological perspective, but a virus must have some utility in nature? As such, it could just be that the virus is simply offering up an immune system software update. However, if your hardware is buggered it’s not gonna go well. Wee Kids have ‘clean’ hardware, and hence it’s a non-issue.

My gut feel, as otherwise, in all of this is Covid-19 imbroglio, that too many players have too much skin in the game surrounding this (unfortunate) viral outcome, but as otherwise Occam’s razor should be allowed to prevail for someone somewhere to feel able to ask some very straightforward questions. Furthermore, my guess, again as otherwise is, that if there has indeed been some Wuhan hanky panky, it is that this is a known known, and that is why there is no international squealing. Move along peoples, nothing to see here.

If you follow evolutionary biology ( along the lines of Paul Ewald ( there is something of an explanation as to how the 1918 flu, for example, was so deadly. In that case, it mainly affected soldiers who had been mustered in Spain at the end of WW1, and thereafter it began to explode on packed troop ships taking them back to the US. As is reasonably well known the flu actually got going some time prior in a military camp in the US.

Part 2 follows due to Wordpress word count

Captain Sunset said...

Part 2

Ewald worked-up his new viral bug theory after studying cholera in Hati. Basically, if you let an infection run free it will become more virulent – which was against the then-prevailing theory that it would burn itself out in time. It was a bit like Darwin’s theory of evolution in that later you think… well how bloody obvious! Or, indeed Wagner’s continental-drift theory. A virus does not ‘want’ to kill you, but if ‘allowed’ to it will. All it’s seeking to do is spread itself (as an immune system update). It could, as otherwise, not give two hoots about any individual. Why should it? It doesn’t need your money or your vote, just your body.

In Asia, COVID-19 has not been a big thing. Tokyo has 35-million residents (…more than the whole of Canada), and seemingly testing has shown that 50% of the population in Tokyo are carrying Covid-19 antibodies, with minimal Covid-19 deaths. Bats are a common feature in Asia, and it is believed that prior Coronaviruses infections are a more common feature there. Of course, crowded and polluted cities (such as London, Northern Italy, New York etc., etc.), offer an extra risk with stale air, and less healthy folk. Further, it has been deduced that all the world’s free floating coronaviruses would fit in half a can of coke, which makes it a very efficient software update system! Nature, in its bounty, can as otherwise, be quite ‘wasteful’, and maybe that is all part of the confusion.

My theory, simply, is that if you stay clear of stale air and stale people you will be fine. The virus, and its potential virulence, is such that it will respect your environment if you to respect it. It’s what it’s designed to do. It’s simply an immune update ‘patch’.

The flu in London in 1957 was a shocker. My younger brother and I had it. London in 1957 had shocking pea-soup pollution. Coming to London in winter from having lived in Malaya, in 1957 was like entering Dantes underworld. Anyway, if all this sounds a bit daft, I’m sorry!

Stefan said...

Peter, thanks for your podcast with David Gornoski. I enjoyed it.
I hope your presentation today(or are you tomorrow?) went well too. Is there a chance that one will be available on YouTube in the near future? I'd like to hear it, but $150 is somewhat steep for a single presentation.

cavenewt said...

@Richard B "I am disappointed that given the obvious inverse link between metabolic health and disease severity, guys like Fauci have has so little to say about it. Perhaps they just don't think it's useful given such large swathes of the population won't do anything about it even with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other ailments no moving them...The next problem, of course, is that nobody agrees on what to do to improve metabolic health aside from the vague advice to lose weight."

I'm a whole lot more cynical than you. A big reason we don't have good advice on how to lose weight and become more metabolically healthy is because there's no profit in it; and yes, large swaths of the population won't do anything about it because they're addicted to crap thanks to Big Food. Even though Donald Trump made the CDC look heroic by contrast, they are still captive to the pharmaceutical industry, among others. @karl acknowledges this in more than one comment.

@karl "they used to say that colds and flu hit in the winter because everyone was inside..." Well, the easiest way to check the seasonality of things like this is to compare the northern and southern hemispheres. From what I remember reading there hasn't been a good correlation, but maybe I disremember. After having been the parent of a school-age kid (aka disease-carrying vermin), my pet theory was that re-opening school in the fall was where all the new germs got swapped around and carried back to respective homes. My n=1 experience strongly reinforced this.

@Captain Sunset "Ewald worked-up his new viral bug theory after studying cholera in Haiti...A virus does not ‘want’ to kill you, but if ‘allowed’ to it will." It may or may not matter for your argument but cholera's bacterial, not viral.

Galina l. said...

I was there. Thank you, Peter! You presentation was excellent! You managed to get to make a good lecture from 10 years old thinking somehow squishing it in 45 minutes!

Passthecream said...

Cavenewt, young teachers starting out in my part of the world get an extra amount of sick leave entitlement due to all the interesting new diseases they will catch. Child-care workers likewise

Captain Sunset said...

@cavenewt, Yes, as an ex-fish farmer (finfish and shellfish), I well know the infectious perils of both bacteria and of viruses (there is no better way than either being spread than farming beasties in water!). OK, be that as it may, Ewald did indeed "work up" his insightful theory on bacteria, but if you had read the links (in lieu of brevity on my part), his insight has led him, and others, on to infectious theories about viruses as well. I did indeed mention "viral bug" but that was a descriptive term as to the wayward(?) transmissible manner of infections, and indeed that of viruses especially. Many things (too many?), can go wrong in aquaculture and vibrio is a clear sign of matters getting quickly out of wack - much like sewage fungus (Saprolegnia) does so in freshwater hatcheries. Sadly, I think both finfish and shellfish aquaculture has been wrecked by big-players/industry/politics, and so if anyone wants to negatively barrage me on that topic, spare yourself, I am with you all the way on it!

Peter said...

Thanks Galina,

As always, trying to streamline the concept is not easy. But it has made me think more about laying out the logic and origins of the idea...


Galina l. said...

It is a very good thing that your gave the theory different name @The ROS theory of Obesity" - the former name "Peter's proton theory" didn't contain any explanation. I was fortunate to read your blog for several years. I guess my understanding was negatively affected by my initial lack of a biochemical knowledge but I kept trying and managed to learn something eventually. I think that unavoidable passing by on many details due to obvious time limitation actually streamlined the whole concept by default in a way leaving only most important statements like "Insulin signaling is ROS dependent" and that "ROS generation is highly controlled". Most still think that ROS are just dangerous garbage which we should fighting consuming tons of antioxidants