Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
11 Dec

Introducing Death By Food Pyramid

Death by Food PyramidToday marks the release of the book for which you’ve all been waiting patiently or impatiently (I’ve got the emails to prove it!), and with it a very special limited-time offer (see details below). But first, let me tell you how we got to this point.

About three years ago, Denise Minger – a statistics-savvy English major in her early 20s – set the nutrition world ablaze with her careful, methodical parsing of the data behind The China Study. As your probably know, The China Study is that “authoritative” tome that vegans and vegetarians carry around as an instant comeback to any omnivore who dares assert the healthfulness of consuming things with faces. I was very impressed with her ability to take otherwise overwhelming data sets and pull out conclusions that were equally – if not more – valid than what the research scientists were culling from their own studies. Her China Study takedown was the capper. We met for lunch and I pitched her this idea of a book that would inform and educate the general public as to how we have been misled by the “authorities” (public policy makers and researchers) and which would deconstruct the precise history and point out the failed logic, so that anyone could see what a disaster the pyramid was. I wanted it to appeal to everyone – not just Primal/Paleo – as an empowering tool. Death by Food Pyramid is the long-awaited result, and it more than succeeds in achieving its goals.

On these very pages, you’ve seen her dissect the flawed science pointing the finger at red meat’s homicidal tendencies and a low-carb diet’s predisposition to give you heart attacks. You’ve marveled at her witty deconstruction of the purportedly inevitable conclusions to a high-fat diet – type 2 diabetes and breast cancer – as well as the claimed life-extending effects of whole grains. And when you worried whether fish oil would give you prostate cancer, Denise was there to quell your concern. Now, with this book, she sets her sight on the disastrous, farcical USDA Food Pyramid, exposing the twisted liaisons between government and industry that enabled it and dismantling the shoddy science and erroneous conclusions supporting it.

Ultimately, Death by Food Pyramid is about empowering you, the consumer, the eater of food, the arbiter of what goes in your mouth, to make the right choices and bypass the middlemen when it comes to interpreting science. That’s what Denise has been doing throughout her short but eventful career, and now she’s giving you guys – the readers – the keys to the kingdom.

Of course, empowerment doesn’t come easy. It’s not instantaneous. Troubling emotions will arise as you read. You’ll feel shock – at what passes for evidence-based nutritional guidelines. You’ll get angry – at the entrenched special interests shaping government policy and deciding what humans should be eating. You’ll be sad – when you realize how far back the experts have set us. You’ll be confused – as to how we could have gotten things so terribly wrong even with all the evidence standing right in front of us, waving its arms frantically, and jumping up and down. But you’ll also be informed. This stuff stinks, and it shouldn’t be like this, but ignoring it won’t make it go away or render it impotent. You have to face it. Luckily, you’ll come away with the ability to spot the inconsistencies, the bad science, the misleading interpretations that fool so many people (citizens, politicians, doctors, and researchers alike).

Who This Book Is For

Who’s this book for? Anyone currently relying on exogenous sources of nutrients for sustenance – whether you’re in the United States, subject to the Food Pyramid and its related offshoots, or living abroad and bearing the brunt of similar policies. Tragically, the US-borne “fat bad, meat bad-ish, animal fat lethal, sugar mostly-harmless, grains good” message has disseminated globally. No one is totally free from it, and it’s important to know how it started, and what we can do to reverse its damage and take control of our health.

What You’ll Learn from This Book

  • How our current nutritional guidelines evolved and entered the realm of accepted truths
  • How the worst kind of collusion between government and industry sent us down the low-fat, Frankenfood-laden path to obesity
  • How to read and parse a scientific study, think like a scientist, and sniff out bad science
  • How to decode confusing science jargon and understand studies relevant to your health
  • How to determine whom and what to trust for health information
  • How to spot a charlatan and run for the hills away from poor nutritional advice
  • Why the most confident and self-promoting “health experts” are often the least competent
  • How “artery-clogging” became forever wedded to “saturated fat” – and whether that marriage was truly legitimate
  • Why cholesterol, both in food and in your blood, became the bad guy in the flawed “lipid hypothesis” heart disease saga
  • The limits – and strengths – of epidemiology
  • How to discern between causation and correlation (and why the latter isn’t always totally useless)
  • Why nearly everyone, including those in the low-carb and Primal/Paleo communities, misunderstands the truth about researcher Ancel Keys
  • What the media will never tell you about the “real” Mediterranean diet
  • How the rise of vegetable oil killed lard and coconut oil (and is killing us!)
  • How Crisco captured America’s heart (in an embrace tight enough to impair the heart’s pumping)
  • How 20 years of Big Agra industry interference prevented the release of research condemning trans-fats
  • How the much-ballyhooed controlled trials appearing to show the heart health benefits of vegetable oils over animal fats are deeply flawed and inaccurate
  • How the way we treat, cook, and select our meat may not be doing us any favors – even if we’re Primal
  • How to minimize the formation of carcinogens when cooking meat
  • Vegetarianism’s long and fascinating history in America, rooted in one woman’s brain trauma and one man’s quest to kill the nation’s libidos
  • How vegetarian and vegan diets may actually be healthy despite – not because of – their avoidance of animal foods
  • Why some people do better on high-starch diets than others – and why you can blame your parents for it
  • How to get the best of both plant-based and omnivorous diets
  • Where seemingly disparate dietary paradigms intersect, and what we can glean from their commonalities
  • The big takeaways from the work of Weston A. Price, particularly the diversity of diets that can sustain human health
  • How to transcend conventional (and not so conventional) nutritional advice to find a style of eating that works for you and your body

Read an excerpt of Death by Food Pyramid:

Why You Should Pick Up a Copy Right Now

If everything you’ll learn above isn’t reason enough to grab a copy right now, I’m offering you some fantastic free gifts through Tuesday, Dec. 31, 11:59 pm PST.

Order one or more copies of Death by Food Pyramid and receive:

1. A “Primal Coupon Book” – A collection of gift certificates and coupons from popular Primal/Paleo retailers just in time for holiday shopping, including:

2. A personal invite to a private Live Webcast Q&A Session with author Denise Minger.

Denise StreamSpend two hours with Denise on Wednesday evening, January 8, from 6:00pm-8:00pm PST for a live Q&A discussion. Ask Denise anything you want via in-browser instant message. She’ll be answering as many questions as she can about the problems in both conventional and “alternative” wisdom, how to individualize your diet for optimal health, and how to understand the scientific findings we hear every day in the news.

3. Your name entered to win one of several prizes totaling $1,800 in value:

  • TicketsOne lucky winner will receive a grand prize $1000 gift certificate to Tropical Traditions. Order up to $1000 of grass fed meat, wild Alaskan fish, organic coconut oil, organic dark chocolate, natural skin care products and household cleaners, or anything else from Tropical Tradition’s large range of primal products and get it all for free if your name is selected.
  • Three lucky runners-up will receive 10 packs of Tendergrass Farms pastured pork franks ($100 value). These are not your average hot dogs. Tendergrass sent me some of these and let me tell you, they are delicious. They’re also sugar-free, nitrite-free, GMO-free, and 100% pastured pork, and only contain these seven ingredients: Pastured Pork, Salt, Coriander, Nutmeg, Garlic, Red Pepper in real pork casings.
  • Five lucky runners-up will receive a Focal Mogo ($100 value). As I shared in my “How-To: Standup and Mobile Workstations” article, I use a Focal standup workstation at my home office. This is your chance to win a Mogo: a telescoping stool of sorts you can use to take some of the weight off while at your standup desk.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of the riveting new book Death by Food Pyramid for just $24.95 (plus FREE S&H) and claim all of these free gifts today!

Thanks in advance to everyone that orders a copy and participates in this special offer. Grok on!

Fine Print

  • Unlike previous retail channel promotions, this one is simple: You order the book directly from and we send you all the free bonus items. No worries, no hassles!
  • You will receive an email within an hour of placing your order that will provide you with all of your coupon codes and instructions on how to access the Live Webcast. This email is separate from your email receipt.
  • This special bonus offer ends at 11:59 pm, Dec. 31, 2013 (PST).
  • Only orders placed on will receive the bonuses.
  • Death by Food Pyramid is not yet available on or at other retail locations.
  • Sweepstakes winners will be randomly drawn and announced on Jan. 1, 2014; a great way to start the new year!
  • Both domestic (U.S.) and international orders are eligible for the bonuses, but keep in mind that only Mogo, Vejibag and Rad Roller ship outside of the United States.
  • Only domestic orders receive free shipping and handled on Death by Food Pyramid book orders. A handling fee is added to international orders.
  • All coupons expire on or after Jan. 15, 2014.
  • The gift certificate expires on January 31, 2014, and is valid for a single use.
  • The “Primal Coupon Book” is not an actual physical coupon book. All coupon codes will be sent to you via email.
  • Read all sweepstakes fine print here.

Winners Announced

Linda H. was the grand prize winner of the Tropical Traditions gift certificate. Runner-up winners include:
Aaron O.
Abbe D.
Amanda L.
Elliot L.
Greg B.
Mary H.
Maureen M.
Rachel C.

Get Your Copy of Death by Food Pyramid Today!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Ordered. Have to get it. She is amazing to read and I know her book will be great!

    Heather wrote on December 12th, 2013
  2. It’s not a food pyramid now though, right? Not saying the book isn’t great, but it just loses me a bit with that title since it doesn’t accurately reflect what we’re dealing with at the present time. The history of how we got to this point would be interesting though. And, yeah, the language seems to make it a bit polemic which doesn’t seem necessary, but, hey, it’s controversial and might sell more copies… Anyway, I’ll gladly read it.

    Dylan wrote on December 12th, 2013
  3. Needed the Nook version and I would have ordered already!

    Rita wrote on December 12th, 2013
  4. Wish I could read the Scribd version. When I try it says document is set to private (“Sorry! This document is not publicly available.” ) is this happening to anyone else?

    Anne wrote on December 12th, 2013
    • Hello, Anne,

      Sorry, but we can’t replicate that problem on our end. Maybe try a different browser?

      Worker Bee wrote on December 12th, 2013
  5. My Vejibag discount is only $18….? Am I doing something wrong that I’m not seeing the coupon appear with a value of $24?

    Krista wrote on December 12th, 2013
  6. Wow, good stuff! Her prologue is a brilliant description of what’s wrong with just about everything: the total reliance on and total trust in “experts” (the more degrees, the better and the government knows what’s best for us!) the inability to think critically or to question anything, including our own premises; the inability to be open minded enough to search for Truth without regard for where it leads, and the total lack of healthy skepticism.

    Terri wrote on December 12th, 2013
    • Well said…

      Ara wrote on December 14th, 2013
  7. Hello.

    Thank you for your contribution! Do you know if the book will be translated into German?

    Best regards.

    Torsten Fleischer wrote on December 13th, 2013
  8. As a dentist I may be biased in my comments. First I find it interesting that she makes fun of her dentist despite the fact that he appears to be the one that triggered her to question her diet. Also, maybe I’m stupid, but I did not know that being deprived of fat soluble vitamins caused decay. I thought that decay was caused by ingesting a lot of carbs which are then metabolized by oral bacteria into acids that rot the teeth- but then I’m just a stupid dentist.

    Michael Burlakoff wrote on December 13th, 2013
    • Hi Michael,

      I apologize if the prologue came across as making fun of my dentist — my only intent was to paint him as a colorful, quirky dude (which he was, in an awesome way). I am grateful for that experience as the wake-up call that prompted me to research nutrition more seriously.

      I’m no longer convinced about the link between carbohydrate and tooth decay, so long as the rest of the diet is nutritionally adequate. As I discuss in the book, there have been a number of grain-eating, non-toothbrush-using cultures who remained virtually free from cavities — but their diets were universally rich in fat-soluble vitamins. Likewise, I healed my own teeth on a high-carbohydrate, fruit-based diet; the only thing I changed from my raw vegan days was adding sources of vitamins A, D, and K2 from egg yolks, hard cheeses, fermented goat yogurt, and eventually seafood. I still eat a high-carbohydrate diet and no longer get cavities.

      Google “fat soluble vitamins and tooth decay” or “vitamin K2 and tooth decay” and you’ll get a lot of research leads. It’s pretty fascinating territory. :)

      Denise Minger wrote on December 14th, 2013
  9. Catchy title. Denise, I look forward to the book. You are a prolific writer and I hope this is a book grounded in science. Hopefully it isn’t rife with statistical fallacies like your “critique” of the the china study, as exposed at as well as by t colin campbell’s himself.

    Benjamin wrote on December 14th, 2013
  10. I backed a Kickstarter for the film “In Defense of Fat” and am supposed to get a free copy of “Death By Food Pyramid” as a reward. Do you know if these will actually be sent out to backers? The Kickstarter page and other social media for the film have not been updated in months. I messages Kennon and have not heard back from her.

    Annika wrote on December 15th, 2013
  11. …come on sunbeam let your words and smarts speak for themselves as they so frequently do.
    It’s a super site, really.
    Piccies of you with your shirt-off have you coming off like Arse De Vany..uber smart and equally grandiose 70+ male with some sensibilities of a late teenager (this is not a compliment !)
    I may be jealous, i don’t think so but what do i know.

    Simon Fellows wrote on December 15th, 2013
  12. While I would prefer Kindle, for some reason I seem to be trending toward hard copy for a lot of Paleo stuff. Primal Blueprint is dog eared, highlighted and stained now. The mark of a well-used book. I went ahead and ordered here rather than on Amazon (though I might have saved about $7 on Amazon.

    Julie in Cali wrote on December 16th, 2013
  13. I note the date on this article is December 11, exactly a month to the day after Veterans Day (Remembrance Day to us Aussies) , a more than slight irony when you consider the food pyramid has (in my opinion) probably caused the deaths of more Americans than both World Wars plus the Korea and Vietnam conflicts combined.

    Paul in Australia wrote on December 17th, 2013
  14. I reviewed the excerpt. It appears to be a first-person account of a journey to enlightenment, including lots of colorful metaphors, with elements of fact-based scientific foundation mentioned or implied in the story and its arguments. This may be a great read.

    However, the excerpt does not include any part of the Notes section (pp 249-276), in which a potential buyer may expect to find a listing of references or sources that the author researched. But maybe not, because the body text pages excerpted here have no in-line references or footnotes.

    I agree with the other comments about the book cover’s hyperbolic and dissonant text. It can be kind of a… turn-off (for lack of a better term).

    I would hesitate to give this as a gift to somebody who is not already on a Primal (or similar) path — i.e. somebody who needs conversion; somebody who (as the subtitle selectively states) is unhealthy.

    These issues result in a product that, to an important part of a potential audience, initially *appears* to be incredible and unauthentic.

    Dan wrote on December 23rd, 2013
  15. To Denise, if you are still checking this blog:
    I finished your book today. I could not put it down, literally, for two days, although I did actually have to get work done. And, wow, thank you for getting this project done. Infuriating, fist pounding, jaw dropping, eye bulging, and….embarrassing! I think that pretty much sums it up. I am looking at so many things I am doing in a different way so thank you for that as well.
    Although we in the primal community understand the underhanded role of the USDA, FDA, etc. in these instances, still truly shocking to realize the extend and we thank you for exposing it all, and so much more.
    You are definitely a gifted young researcher and I for one will be following your work, as you take the next steps, with much excitement.

    David Churchill wrote on January 7th, 2014
  16. I want this book so very, very badly. And while we’re at it I want people to start understanding that even if they read this book and get rid of a lot of baseless prejudices around eating, there’s one more they need to jettison: the idea that the worst thing that has happened to us as a result of all the changes Minger writes about is an “obesity epidemic.”

    I am seeing signs all around me that *people are not developing correctly anymore*, never mind how fat we get. Faces do not grow to full potential (guess what? Wisdom teeth are not vestigial, and we are NOT failing to make room for them due to food being “too soft”), more and more kids need orthodontic braces and glasses, and more and more women are having trouble carrying pregnancies to term–or getting pregnant at all. We may even be able to lay some of the autism epidemic at the feet of substandard nutrition. There’s some actual evidence in that direction, though I’m not sure how strong it is.

    We’re in big trouble, people. If all you care about is how many fat people you have to see in the course of your daily life, you are completely missing the point.

    While I do not like the WAPF’s heavy emphasis on grains, I appreciate Dr. Weston Price’s work in this vein and I think everyone interested in Paleo and Primal should read it at some point. I have not yet read Pottenger’s Cats but that’s on my short list along with Minger’s book. The true measure of a good diet is how well it *develops bodies*. Period.

    I’m having to live with the physical effects of my mother not having eaten well during her pregnancy with me (or before, or after). My daughter is having to live with the effects of me not having eaten well for her. I want to see an end put to this sort of thing. It’s tragic and so unnecessary.

    Dana wrote on February 21st, 2014
  17. After exploring a few of the articles on your site, I really appreciate your way of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site as well and tell me what you think.

    Keri wrote on August 1st, 2014
  18. This is a good book on the expose of the collusion of the government and big business. It is also helpful in explaining how studies are done and the value of different types of studies.

    It’s sad that after doing such a good job explaining the importance of proper studies and science in the selection of how one should eat, Minger concluded the book with recommendations based on her personal experience, and logical analysis along with anecdotal evidence, which she accurately states indicates no cause and effect relationship.

    Jeff wrote on September 28th, 2014

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!