Weekend Link Love – Edition 206

Research of the Week

So a meta-analysis of around 240 studies just concluded that organic probably offers little nutritional benefit over conventional, leading to numerous “I told you so” quips and smug articles proclaiming organic to be a huge scam. But who ever thought organic was about increasing vitamin content? What about the other results of the study – the fact that conventional food tends to have upwards of 180 times more pesticide residue than organic food – that were mostly ignored by the media?

As told on a recent blog post from Suppversity, pre-workout baking soda allowed trainees to squeeze out 22 extra lower body reps.

Interesting Blog Posts

Who’s up for a toxoplasma love party? I’ll bring the infected rats and cat poop.

Anastacia from PrimalMedEd recently wrote a nice post addressing all the evidence “for” and against the saturated-fat-will-clog-your-arteries-and-murder-small-children hypothesis. Go check it out, or pass it along to anyone who subscribes to the aforementioned nonsense.

Media, Schmedia

“‘Published’ and ‘true’ are not synonyms,” claims Science Exchange, a new company that seeks to test the accuracy of published studies by attempting to reproduce their results.

P.K. Subban, a pro hockey player, follows a pretty Primal way of eating: “pretty much meat and vegetables, healthy fats” with a few yams thrown in for good measure. Oh, yeah, and there’s also the whole cow that he eats every summer.

Everything Else

Just what we need: more soybean oil-drenched battery farmed chicken in wheat!

I really like how these guys describe epigenetics. Food is information (to our cells, to our genes) about our environment.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (September 9 – September 16)

  • Listening to Your Body – It’s always trying to tell you all sorts of stuff, but are you listening?
  • Why Self Experimentation Matters – It’s ultimately the only way to get study results that definitely apply to you. Plus, access to the full text is usually free.

Comment of the Week

This is definitely an article for me. I’ll be sure to read it later.

– Well done, Moshen. I was expecting (and received) a deluge of similar comments, but the simplicity of yours really worked. I wonder, though – did you ever end up reading?

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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69 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 206”

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    1. Sorry, for the delay. Yes, I read it. But I truly am a big procrastinator.

    1. In particular watch out for foods from central and South American. Many of growers in those regions still use pesticides banned 30 years ago by the US.

      I use nutrition exclusively with my patients to treat numerous medical ailments. Clearly, my experience reveals that eating organic, avoiding processed pesticide laden foods produces the best results.

  1. Really liked the “food is information” video, particularly the part right around 9:00 where they start to talk about disease as not something the body is doing wrong, not a mistake it’s making, but something it’s doing to try to survive. Diametrically opposed to the standard diagnose-and-medicate approach to health problems.

    I also like the good doctor’s outfit. Striped pants and a velour t-shirt? How cool is that on a cardiologist? LOL

    1. Agreed.

      So simple, yet a revolutionary concept

      As is being interviewed in your pyjamas!

    2. Epigenetics were, for me, the most fascinating part of Art Devany’s ideas. Quite eye-opening and they give you a lot of power once you get it. (In my opinion)

  2. I once tried putting a bit of baking soda in some water I took on a training walk. Fortunately, I didn’t drink any of it until the end of the walk. I BARELY made it to the toilet before having explosive diarrhea.

    (In the forums I am hedonist2.)

    1. Yeah, more than a teaspoon, even if I needed it to kill a leg cramp, can give me the runs. I carry a tiny vial of it in case of unexpected cramps, but haven’t needed it in the months I’ve carried it now that I supplement magnesium and don’t give my legs more than they can handle.

  3. Completely agree with the point on organic food. The main reason I eat organic wherever possible is to reduce the number of chemicals that I eat. Yes, if its got more vitamins that would be a plus but the main thing is that it has less bad things!

    Therefore, when I read the news stories I pretty much instantly dismissed them as an argument against organic food. The point about the number of pesticides found in non-organic food was a major confirmation for me that organic is good!

    Its amazing how different people can pick up on completely different things from the same piece of research.

    1. I eat organic food because of the pesticide issue but also because I worry about chemical run-off from non organic farming and massive sterilization of the land caused by chemical fertilizers.

    2. With organic food, at least it is not genetically modified. Also, with organic meat, you know there won’t be any antibiotics or hormones given.

      1. Err… that’s not exactly true. Organic food can be grown from genetically modified seed. Most of what’s grown in nurseries is genetically modified. You have to buy heirloom, or heritage seeds, or non-gmo specific seeds to be non-gmo. And if you use pesticides or non-organic fertilizers to grow it, then it’s not organic.

        1. I guess this claim on GMO seeds is wrong. At least in Europe GMOs are strictly forbidden in organic farming.

          The EU standard (which are the most lax ones) say: “Absolute prohibition of the use of genetically modified organisms”


          The EPA writes: “The NOP [National Standards on Organic Agricultural Production and Handling, red.] rule prohibits the use of genetic engineering”


    3. Emily,

      I’ve always thought that the ‘same vitamins’ line is something dreamed up by the chemical industry to reduce consumer interest in organics. (I think most people are with you, and other commenters, that it’s about pesticide residues on food, in soil, contaminating farmworkers, etc.)

    4. Animals store pollution in fat, to protect other tissues. People who cannot afford to eat organic for everything should target organic dollars on animal fat.

  4. Hunter Pence, an All-star major league outfielder most recently with the San Francisco Giants, is on the paleo diet – which is fitting considering his first name is Hunter.

  5. I can appreciate the idea that growing things “organically” (ie using animal mnure for fertilizer etc) is beneficial in building healthy soil which builds healthy plants that naturally resist disease from inects etc. I know from personal experience that it works. I also know from personal experience that the “organic” pesticides don’t work as well as “conventional” pesticides, therefore you end up using more pesticide. Some of the OMRI approved pesticides are just as dangerous as Sevin or some other conventional chemicals.
    Just because a product has “organic” on the label doesn’t necessarily make it a healthy product…. I mean if a Twinkie were made with organic ingredients, it is healthier than a regular Twinkie????

    1. I think most approved organic pesticides are oils. More expensive but non poisonous. The way oils work as pesticides is by smothering pests.

  6. Excellent! Science Exchange would be like the Mythbusters for scientific studies!

  7. I think the organic vs non-organic argument often looses site of a larger more altruistic point. Eating and supporting organic production methods means less exposure of chemicals to farmers and farm workers. As a life long resident of working family farms I can attest to the statistically higher rates of cancer and autoimmune diseases amongst those living rurally. Although we farm organically it is like feeling smug about swimming in the non-peeing section of the pool-it’s all around us.
    Thanks to each of you who vote with your dollars.Demand by consumers is what will bring an end to chemical farming!

  8. Meh, in horse racing circles consuming baking soda prior to a race is known as a milkshake and is considered doping. Try it if you want, but it is a cheat code, basically.

  9. The “food is information” video was great overall, especially the part about cholesterol being an arterial band-aid. I would point out, however, that Chris Masterjohn and other studies have already showed the “acidifying diet leeches calcium from bones” thing to be fundamentally flawed. Vitamin and animal protein intake are much more important for preventing osteoporosis than the net acidity of the diet. Other than that, very up-to-date info from the good doctor and an excellent introduction to epigenetics.

    1. I think CM is addressing the idea that a traditional diet with foods commonly said to acidify – one of the main arguments against meat eating –

      however, an unscientific observation of the culture i now live in – swiss – would clearly demonstrate that lifelong consumption of refined grains, sugar combined with dairy (wrong cow dairy – A1 milk…) results in the abundance of post-60 dowagers humps and huge numbers of old people struggling to get around with walkers, canes and the rest.

      this kind of degeneration – due to bone density loss and osteoporosis, just does not exist in traditional cultures w/o these toxic acidifying foods.

      1. Good point. Looks like it’s only the protein that’s increasing the calcium absorption from the intestines. So the protein in dairy would… kind of work. Not nearly enough protein to fix its acidifying effect though (or lack of K2 if we’re talking grain-fed cows). And I have actually been to Switzerland! Healthier than America for sure, but I can see what you mean.

  10. Nearly everything Organic I eat usually tastes hell of a lot better for not that much more.

  11. Buried in the article in our newspaper – but there, if you read it all – was mention that meat from animals given antibiotics tended to have more antibiotic-resistant bacteria, percentage -wise, than “organically” raised animals. That, right there, is a great argument for not eating “conventional” meat. It even had a short paragraph on finding meat sources that don’t use antibiotics.

    1. Animals are colonized inside and out with bacteria. Animals given antibiotics certainly harbor more resistant strains as per the antibiotics they are given.

      We eat that meat and consume at least part of those resistant strains….we become colonized….so on and so forth.

      Great point!

  12. Yay for Subban!!
    (Not that i needed *another* reason to think he is awesome)…

  13. About “Media, Schmedia” they should search and the other side of the coin: the unpublished trials, because there is a tendecy a lot of journals to publish only studies with significant results (to the favorable direction) and hide studies with insignificant(or with the opposite direction)results. Publication bias should concern, as well.

    1. I agree. When looking at articles or “research” I always check out the conflict of interest sections declarations.

      Amazing the brazen conflicts of interest that exist!

  14. I couldn’t agree with you more. I also don’t see any difference with the organic and non-organic produce, except ofcouse witht difference in the price.
    Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    1. i’ll tell you a difference, fitness, pesticides and herbicides – as an organic grower of speciality tomatoes, it became abundantly clear – the cost of a super-toxic brew to control cutworms was 9 buck a gallon – one application and whamo – all bug life in the row dead. the cost of generally “safe” cutworm control organic was 46 bucks, 3 applications and only 60%-80% results.

      go on- whine about price and eat up them toxins–

  15. The supposed effects of consuming pesticide- and hormone-laden foods are not usually presumed to be immediate, but are most likely incremental and cumulative over time. A comparison of organic versus conventional foods and the hypothesized differential effects on health can only be determined by a randomized, longitudinal, study comparing groups that exclusively eat one type or the other. Such a study will never be done because it would be incredibly difficult and expensive. I will just say that, after years of dismissing organic foods, I have definitely decided that I would rather limit my exposure to exogenous pesticides and hormones, if I can help it. I have definitely increased my consumption of organic foods, especially eggs and meat.

  16. If the organic farm in question is doing business as usual in soil as depleted as it was before going organic, then it would come as no suprise that there is then no difference in nutrition.

    There’s conventional agriculture, there’s organic agriculture and then there’s sustainable agriculture. Organic and sustainable can be different things. Sustainable agriculture focuses on the fertility of the soil in perpetuity–it’s soil-centered. Whereas to be certified organic, one could merely swap the conventional chemicals one uses for the organic version of the same — plant-centered. You can be sustainable and not organic (conventional pesticides are used only as a last resort), and you can definitely be organic and not sustainable.

    You get out what you put in.

    1. Agreed -I work for a farm that uses sustainable methods and I think it’s a very good system. I also think eating locally produced food in season is preferable to remotely produced food whether it is organic or not. I know it may not be available to everybody, but your farmer’s market is a great place to start.

  17. I would love to see you blog more about food is info/epigenetics. That link was great!

  18. Thanks for the heads-up on Popeyes selling fried chicken! You’ve saved me the embarassment of going over there and ordering spinach!

  19. The food is information link is incredibly interesting. Love learning about this stuff! Thank you.

  20. There is an excellent analysis of the science of that study on greenmedinfo.com Also, one of the comments claimed that chemical pesticides work better than the organic ones and that organic “pesticides” are just as dangerous. This is not true. I have been gardening for 40 years and I believed that when I first went organic. Now that I have decades of experience, I know that organic techniques are far superior to chemical ones. It is like the difference between driving a car and flying a jet. Anyone can learn to drive a car and quickly, but a jet takes knowledge and skill. I could drink any of the organic pest controls that I use. There are organics that are poison, but most organic gardeners and farmers do NOT choose to use them.

    1. and Leslie – you forgot to mention the costs – here is where most people just don’t get it – like with humanely raised organic meats –

      it costs money to do it right!

      as i mentioned just above – the costs of organic controls in a production operation is horrific compared to the cheap, usually petrochemical derived conventional toxins –

      your choice – and don’t think you conventional veg are raised without these toxins! you CANNOT get bumper crops from conventional farming without these toxins applied.

  21. The type and amount of organic material that has gone into an organic garden is not the same for all gardens. The number of years a gardener has been building his soil also makes a big difference. I’m 60 years old, and been gardening without chemicals all my life. They would have to give me a count of the earth worms per square foot in their “organic” garden before I would pay much attention to their study.


    Be careful. I used it for awhile and it did good things, especially to prevent and instantly eliminate leg cramps. But it is also DANGEROUS in that it is extremely alkaline and can eventually lead to alkalosis. I was also told it can remove magnesium from the body. So save the soda for emergencies and maybe competition if you’re looking for some nitro in the tank. And the recommended doses range from one to three teaspoons per day max.

  23. Thank you for pointing out that we might be eating organic not because we think it definitely has more nutrients but rather to avoid the unwanted chemicals in conventional produce. Not to mention that we might choose food that is kinder to the planet and to the people who work to produce it.

  24. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I appreciate it =] I frequently visit your site as well for the great tips and advice on living healthy.

  25. Compromised organic certification is such that these studies mean nothing. Check the farm yourself if in doubt, and realise the vested interest is still working against your best interests.

  26. incidenally, a farm that is not fully organic, but say has started the process may still have toxins in the soil that have not been cleansed but the soil community, indeed if there are toxins in the soil you will maybe get toxins in the produce, hence the 3 year delay in certification..it is difficult to achieve and needs utter commitment..not always possible and hence the system is being erroded.

  27. If not considerable, at least there is some notable differences in the nutritional content of a organic egg yolk compared to a convetional one; we have about 10% more Magnesium, some more of the cholesterol and finally a few micrograms more of most of the minerals and vitamins. All this according to the very much conventional Swedish National Food Administration. These are lab measurements.
    We can be pretty damn sure that we will at least not miss out on anything should we buy the organic egg

  28. HA! toxoplasma love party…tell ya it made me nervous to click on the link..

  29. A study saying that organic food was “no more nutritious” thank inorganic food because it contains the same amount of certain vitamins or minerals is like saying like a person with cancer is “just as healthy” as a person who does not have cancer because they both have the same blood pressure.

  30. Surprised nobody’s mentioned the link on supplementing baking soda pre-workout. I’ve never heard of this and it sounds like something I’m gonna have to try for sure!

  31. I tried mixing a little baking soda and cinnamon in honey. It was good by itself in small quantities and made a good sauce for protein bars.
    I got a boost of energy after snacking on protein bars with the mixture. The bars also had baking soda in them and it tasted like a lot.

  32. I agree with Emily I eat organic wherever possible is to reduce the number of chemicals that I eat. I fill like I have been eating chemicals my whole life. My parents were not educated on this topic.