August 16 2019

Weekly Link Love — Edition 42

By Mark Sisson
64 Comments

Research of the Week

Findings from a new meta-analysis of vitamin D studies: D3 better than D2, D protective against cancer.

Keto is looking quite promising for cancer.

Among children with a genetic proclivity toward celiac disease, eating more gluten than average increases the risk of developing celiac.

Animal milk is better for the environment than plant milk.

Social exclusion makes the room seem darker.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 364: Carnivore and Cancer: Host Brad Kearns explores the relationship between carnivore dieting and cancer.

Episode 365: Paul Robinson: Host Elle Russ chats with thyroid expert Paul Robinson.

Episode 366: Keto Q&A, plus Carnivore Rationale: Host Brad Kearns fields your questions.

Primal Health Coach Radio, Episode 22: Erin and Laura welcome Brad Kearns to the podcast.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Media, Schmedia

C. diff is really enjoying the sugar in people’s diets.

NPR gives a nice rundown on the environmental benefits of grass-fed beef.

Interesting Blog Posts

Why’d it take so long to invent the bicycle?

Here’s what happens when you ignore the experts.

How meat affects the environment.

Everything Else

What’s it like being an extreme morning person?

The death of the calorie.

Another famous study bites the dust.

Bronze Age marsh diets involved a lot of undercooked frogs, mollusks, and parasitic worms.

Must have been flour tortillas.

To my German readers: a meat tax may be coming.

Wanna take Neanderthal survival courses in Italy?

Join the resistance.

Humans are narrative-spinners out of necessity in a chaotic world.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Podcast I enjoyed doing: The Skinny Confidential, talking business, longevity, fasting, and keto.

Paper I found interesting: “Domestic Livestock and Its Alleged Role in Climate Change

Study I found surprising: Weighted hula hooping seemingly enables spot reduction of belly fat.

I’m disappointed but not surprised: Researchers are working on a “pill for loneliness.”

I’ve been saying this for years: Why drinking tons of water isn’t the best way to hydrate.

Question I’m Asking

When has ignoring the experts worked out for you?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Aug 11– Aug 17)

Comment of the Week

“I had 4 centenarians in my family in my family who lived in Greece and if they had to give blood, it would have been 90% Olive oil and 10% lunatic juice.”

– Sounds like you’ve got a marketable product there, Mike.

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64 thoughts on “Weekly Link Love — Edition 42”

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  1. When has ignoring the experts worked out for you?
    Where to start?
    My cardiologists say no more than 1.5 liter of fluid/day.
    My urologists and nephrologists say at least 2.0.
    I ignore both. I follow Ayurvedic medicine, which says sip through out the day.
    I also do other things to stay hydrated.
    I have repeatedly been told to just eat less and exercise more. I do Primal.
    Recently, I was in the hospital for two days for a reaction to an antibiotic.
    The doctors chose to ignore the antibiotic issue and treat me for acute heart failure and pneumonia.
    They told me to go straight into hospice. I did not.
    Since then, I have had routine visits to four doctors, two of them cardiologists including an electrophysiologist.
    They found nothing wrong with my heart or lungs.
    Since I have had kidney stones and urinary tract infections, I have been told to do the low oxalate and low purine diets.
    This would eliminate nearly all of the healthiest plant foods. I ignore.
    Doctors and nutritionists have said very low sodium and fat. I do moderate sodium, low carb/high fat.
    For years, I had frequent severe pain in my left chest, shoulder and neck.
    Many doctors, including many cardiologists said it was just arthritis.
    Even the cardiologists apparently didn’t consider that it could be my heart (which it wasn’t but still . . . .)
    Then shingles broke out in that exact area. Treating the shingles outbreak stopped the pain.
    A while back, they told me I had tachycardia. The doc gave me a prescription that made me to dizzy to stand.
    He said the only other option was ablation, burning nodes in my heart.
    I said “no.” He said “Find another doctor,” which I did.
    I, myself, figured out that blood pressure medication was making my pressure too low.
    My heart tried to compensate by beating faster.
    With the OK of my regular cardiologist, I stopped the medication and the tachycardia stopped.
    I am 76. Doing Primal about 10 years. Have lost about 50 lb.
    Diagnosed with congestive heart failure 15 years ago. Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 10 yrs ago.
    Seeing a functional medicine doctor and doing very well.

    1. Harry, you are a survivor and I admire you and wish you all the best. I’m a spring chicken, 10 years younger than you. 🙂

    2. Hi Harry. Without going into detail, I’m a similar age to you, 77, and have had similar experiences. At our age we have learned that one size does not fit all, that everyone is unique. Over a lifetime we have learned what works for us, but when asked for advice can only add the caveat: try it modestly and see if it works for you. Cheers! Ross

    3. I had issues with L4 and L5 pain and my doctor told to stop lifting or essentially using them so much. For a few years I followed his advice and stayed out of the gym and health generally declined. One day I decided I missed the gym too much and went back gradually working back up to my old workout levels as well as adopting a primal lifestyle. On my next visit to this specialist for an injury from an impact, he asked what he’ll i was doing to look so great. I told him. He replied that whatever I was doing; keep doing it.

    4. I hear you Harry and I salute those taking matters into their own hands. But will have to agree with the low oxalate recommendation. You been a member of our community for many years and I am surprised that you still think the plants are chuck full of goodness, while ignoring all the anti nutrients and pesticides that they produce, in amounts far greater than those through spraying. If you want to consume a few in limited quantities and in season fine (same for certain fruits) but don’t think that they are your friends -they don’t want to be eaten either and that why they basically in a permanent state of chemical warfare. I suggest you do some exploration and search information that is not confirmation bias. You can start with Sally Norton writing on oxalates. And there’s Dr Georgia Ede which you must have came across by now. All the best!
      https://sallyknorton.com/

    5. Hi Harry thanks for sharing this, very inspiring
      And this is perfect:

      He said “Find another doctor,” which I did.

      It seems that you have a good cardiologist and not at all like ours: overweight guy (even after having had a gastric bypass) trying to get the wife and I into statins (angry face here) , even after getting perfect results in heart tests

  2. Denying the impact of humans in climate change, Mark ?

    Hope Albrecht Glatzle is not what you call an expert.

    1. Seems like he is legit…

      Albrecht Glatzle is retired Director of Research of INTTAS

      Is he not an expert because you disagree with him?

    2. Questioning Anthropogenic Global Warming is as valid as questioning any other Accepted Wisdom.

      It is dishonest to apply ad hominem labels like “denier”, instead of accepting the validity of questioning and “show me the data” scepticism.

    3. He casts doubt on the effect of raising livestock on climate change, not climate change itself.

      1. He goes way further:

        “Climate has always been changing, and even the present warming is most likely driven by natural factors.”

        He is no climate specialist by the way.

        I agree, and the data too, that the effect of farming is often exagerated in the media, but saying that it is mostly natural is not accurate when you look at the data.

        Saying livestock don’t emit a large quantity of methane is just wrong. Not saying it is the only guilty for it.

        1. Actually, the science is clear that climate change IS primarily a natural phenomenon. The argument for or against anthropogenic warning is whether human activity is accelerating that natural development (the data are also pretty clear in this – it is); climate change is still “mostly natural.”

          Cattle farming, especially on an industrial scale, does produce significant amounts of methane but to a significantly lesser impact than climate alarmists would have us believe (as they’ve been predicting global catastrophe from emissions “within a decade,” for the better part of a century, now.

          That doesn’t mean global warming shouldn’t be addressed, it’s incredibly important. However, alarmist science is science with an agenda, which is just bad science; that doesn’t help anything.

          1. The VAST majority of CREDIBLE scientists concur that the climate crisis is very real and is primarily caused by man produced carbon dioxide emissions. Last month was the hottest July ever recorded since we have been tracking temperatures. Glaciers are melting, coastal water levels rising, forest fires and droughts on a scale never before seen … you are in a very dangerous state of denial.

          2. HealthyHombre,

            Please re-read what I wrote and understand that you’re making some assumptions about my stance that are unfounded. Then, review the geography and climate science (particularly regarding the historic patterns of warming and cooling). Climate change remains a natural phenomenon, while the acceleration of said change by human activity – global warming – is a dangerous addition. True, the most impactful of the greenhouses gas emissions today is CO2, but methane (which was the gas in-discussion) and others are also a factor. Methane, incidentally, was a larger greenhouse factor in the last warming period. It’s an important issue, but accusing everyone who takes a less-impassioned approach to the findings is hardly the way to bring about change.

          3. Sure there have been climate changes in the past. But the difference today is that what we’re seeing is NOT natural, but rather forced by human activity.

          4. Mark Field,
            None of what I said is contrary to that, beyond the argument that anthropogenic factors are an acceleration of an already natural phenomenon; climate change is still a primarily natural event that is being made significantly worse by our comparatively small contribution. Altering the scientific argument to lend weight to a cause will only, ultimately, undermine it. Again, science built on agenda is bad science. The real science clearly indicates a serious, naturally-occurring issue that is being exacerbated by human factors.

            Of course, an argument could be made that those human factors are, themselves, natural because human beings are natural animals and our effect on the environment is no less-natural (in principle, not scale) than that of beaver dams or ant colonies, but that’s too broad a tangent than the space allows.

    4. Questioning Anthropogenic Global Warming is as valid as questioning any other Accepted Wisdom.

      It is dishonest to apply ad hominem labels like “denier”, instead of accepting the validity of questioning and “show me the data” scepticism.

      It s entirely valid for sceptics to point to historical climate change, our lack of complete knowledge of the mechanisms of climate change, and the inaccuracy of AGW predictions over the last thirty years.

  3. When has ignoring the experts worked out for you?
    Where to start?
    My cardiologists say no more than 1.5 liter of fluid/day.
    My urologists and nephrologists say at least 2.0.
    I ignore both. I follow Ayurvedic medicine, which says sip throughout the day.
    I also do other things to stay hydrated.
    I have repeatedly been told to just eat less and exercise more. I do Primal.
    Recently, I was in the hospital for two days for a reaction to an antibiotic.
    The doctors chose to ignore the antibiotic issue and treat me for acute heart failure and pneumonia.
    They told me to go straight into hospice. I did not.
    Since then, I have had routine visits to four doctors, two of them cardiologists including an electrophysiologist.
    They found nothing wrong with my heart or lungs.
    Since I have had kidney stones and urinary tract infections, I have been told to do the low oxalate and low purine diets.
    This would eliminate nearly all of the healthiest plant foods. I ignore.
    Doctors and nutritionists have said very low sodium and fat. I do moderate sodium, low carb/high fat.
    For years, I had frequent severe pain in my left chest, shoulder and neck.
    Many doctors, including many cardiologists said it was just arthritis.
    Even the cardiologists apparently didn’t consider that it could be my heart (which it wasn’t but still . . . .)
    Then shingles broke out in that exact area. Treating the shingles outbreak stopped the pain.
    A while back, they told me I had tachycardia. The doc gave me a prescription that made me too dizzy to stand.
    He said the only other option was ablation, burning nodes in my heart.
    I said “no.” He said “Find another doctor,” which I did.
    I, myself, figured out that blood pressure medication was making my pressure too low.
    My heart tried to compensate by beating faster.
    With the OK of my regular cardiologist, I stopped the medication and the tachycardia stopped.
    I am 76. Doing Primal about 10 years. Have lost about 50 lb.
    Diagnosed with congestive heart failure 15 years ago. Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 10 yrs ago.
    Seeing a functional medicine doctor and doing very well.

  4. Ignoring the experts has worked for me when I decided to go barefoot for my foot health. I had *terrible* joint pain in my ankles (and wrists) all throughout my childhood, it started from a young age, around 4-5 according to my mom, and besides cutting out grains, seed oils, and sugar, the best thing I’ve done for my joint pain is not wearing shoes (or wearing xero shoes when I do). My joint pain is far less frequent, and when I have it it’s usually in my hips or shoulders rather than my ankles (probably a result of pregnancies and holding babies/locking my hips, and sleeping on my shoulder for too long every night to breastfeed). I can’t even fathom wearing regular shoes again, having anything on my feet drives me crazy!

  5. Haven’t seen anything about Dr Thomas Seyfried on the blog…did I miss it? He is working on proving that cancer is a metabolic disease. Seems that it might be interesting to look into what he has to say?

    https://youtu.be/o1i4EMq3dcQ

  6. “Bronze Age marsh diets involved a lot of undercooked frogs, mollusks, and parasitic worms.”

    Aha, so that’s why no obesity in the Bronze age… cue the parasitic worms diet! LOL

    But seriously, there’s a fairly large group of people who purposely ingest whipworms to calm down their immune system by giving it a real target. Then later, I assume they kill them off, since we have the technology to do that. I haven’t embraced the idea, but it’s not a totally wacky one.

  7. Following the experts. The only time that worked for me was with migraines. And it was an accident.

    I had been on the same four drugs for severe daily migraines for a decade when I explored the keto diet for the first time. I mentioned it to my neurologist who suggested I read Grain Brain.

    Later I was like, why didn’t you tell me this before? Apparently he had decided that he’d support anyone who found that advice on their own, but he wouldn’t suggest it to people who hadn’t heard of it.

    Long story short: I still have the drugs in case I get a flare up, but I haven’t had to use them in months. Usually I can go on them for a week and I’m off them for months without an issue. Saves money and agony. Not to mention, saves my liver.

  8. I’ve always been a morning person. I go to bed at 8 p.m. and get up at 4 a.m. (and I totally ignore Daylight Slaving Time and have for 13 years. I don’t spring forward or fall back. I don’t change my clocks or my habits. I just ignore it which is quite easy actually.) I also grew up on a farm where the animals had to be fed early. My step-father, conversely, loathed getting up before 10 a.m. He actually received several demotions in the Army because he just couldn’t get out of bed.

    1. Tips on ignoring daylight saving? I hate it and all my clocks automatically spring forward or fall back. Trying to put young children to bed on time when it’s still light outside is pretty stressful.

  9. I particularly love the ignoring the experts one… I have a friend with a young child with type 1 diabetes and they follow pretty much a keto diet. My friend wanted to lose weight so joined Slimming World (low fat) just to be weighed, each week they ask her what her “secret” is to good weight loss, she hasn’t yet told them she’s not following their low fat diet at all, in fact she’s doing the opposite. I think she should tell them.

    I also sorted out hamstring, ankle and foot problems, primarily plantar fasciitis, by slowly going barefoot. A big shout out to Katy Bowman. It took me a couple of years, but I no longer wear inserts and can now wear a variety of shoes, if I choose.

    I suppose the issue is when the experts actually have limited and narrow expertise.

  10. To Brad and anyone else trying to work out how plantfoods figures in the ancestral diet…

    In livestock there is a principle called “least discomfort”. When there is plenty of food, livestock will eat what they prefer. As food becomes more scarce, they will move further to graze what they prefer, until the discomfort of having to walk further exceeds the discomfort of eating food that they find less palatable (this assumes that they must stay within walking distance of a specific point like a water source .)

    I’m suggesting that the ancestors would have followed a similar pattern. When hunting was good, they would have tended to eat their favourite parts of game. As hunting be as hunting became more difficult, they would tend to eat “nose to tail” and start to include a few plant foods as snacks to tide them over between hunts or while waiting for the hunters to return from extended hunts.

    An exception would possibly be some seasonal fruits and nuts that are moderately palatable even in wild form. It would be natural for people to gather to take in known resources that were plentiful in the short term. Then the convenience of plentiful food facilitating a clan gathering would overcome preferences.

    But when we look at the limited palatability of most natural plant foods, it’s hard to see them being viewed asa preferred food.

    I’m very interested in the carnivore mode of eating. I’m one of those who has always found leafy greens unpleasant to eat and likewise most vegetables, unless flavoured or smothered in butter. Some modern fruits and nuts are on my list of preferred foods, but I tend to over-eat them and it doesn’t take much to give me digestive issues.

    So yes, sticking to animal products is easier, simpler, meets my taste preferences….. and I haven’t had a migraine since I got serious about it.

    1. Interesting insights, but I think convenience also plays a large role in what animals or people choose to eat. if I toss a spear at a deer and miss, I’m much more likely to pick vegetables as I continue to track whatever game I’m hunting.

      If one raids a bee hive of its honey, there really isn’t much of anything that is anywhere near as palatable by comparison. Too much of that will eventually send anyone into a diabetic coma. However, if one begins eating green leafy vegetables, it doesn’t take long to develop a taste for them. If you already have a taste for them anyways, hunting, and dressing out an animal becomes an almost idiotic challenge. Again, when it becomes just as convenient as eating vegetables, THEN it becomes a viable option. As the old saying goes, “vegan” is just another word for “bad hunter”.

    2. I feel the exact same way about fruit and nuts. They are preferred foods, but I uncontrollably binge on them and experience the same thing, pretty bad digestive issues. Not long ago, my dad said we could come pick up the pecans all over his yard and it yielded SO MANY PECANS, we all ate so many we were pooping all day (me and the toddlers). Not pleasant. I just don’t eat nuts anymore because I have issues with them, and I have leaned toward wanting to eat carnivore but have issues affording enough meat. Are you fully carnivore? or do you use seasonings?

  11. That diabetic article is the single most convincing article you could ever use to convince someone to change their diet. Truly powerful.

    1. Agreed. I’m watching too many friends/loved ones literally suffer from their dr’s advice while diabetic.

  12. Thanks, Mark, for consistently covering the global vegan conspiracy to ruin everyone’s day.

    Personally, I aspire to be a general in the anti-meat resistance. I can’t stand vegans. Their crappy food aside, I’ve never met a vegan whose presence I could stand for more than a few minutes. The whole movement selects for miserable, self-righteous Puritans. On top of that, vegans have recently taken to vandalizing traffic signs in our neighborhood.

    1. I think these people are generally often just quite miserable and seem to spread it around. I have a friend who, after a few personal setbacks, also turned hard vegan and animal rights. If you then watch videos about animal cruelty all day while already feeling alienated that just compounds it – people understandably have quite visceral reactions to someone who is negative all the time. This seems to be a constant with some people who have particularly extreme viewpoints.

  13. Hi Mark,
    thank you for rattling my brain with the “ambiguous data” article. Amazing how we as humans tend to jump on anything that sounds like a panacea. The “Happiness Blue zones” heaven Denmark as an example. Turns out the Danes have one of the highest consumption of anti-depressants! As a European it is common knowledge that people in the Northern countries are usually depressed because they lack sunshine and turn to alcohol a lot in winter. Along comes an American and states it is heaven. Based on what facts exactly?
    Our article reminds me to keep my own judgement active and not believe everything.

  14. Once again, you hit the nail on the head Mark. As a practicing physician for the last 27 years I have seen the quality of medical “research” deteriorate significantly. We get so much meta analysis BS with invalid conclusions it makes my head spin. Evidence based medicine is anything but based on evidence and takes the individual patient out of the equation entirely. This was very predictable when big business/hospitals took over the health care system and became the employers of the majority of physicians today. Equally predictable was the opioid crisis when doctors were told 20 years ago that we were “under treating” pain and hospitals made pain “the 5th vital sign” (the real vital signs are body temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure–things that can be measured).

    1. Preach it!
      How about the conclusions that are drawn by the researchers themselves that fly in the face of the research they have done because it meets the criteria of what doctor’s want to hear?
      I’ve gotten to the point where, when I see an assertation backed up by “research”, I don’t even believe it because anymore, they cherry pick the data to fit their own beliefs that they want to promote. (Sorry, Mark, I even do this when you reference research! Lol) And very few people have the time or understanding to read research critically.
      The other thing I see going on is that nothing is looked at holistically. They focus on one small piece of the puzzle and totally disregard the organism as a whole (physical, mental, and emotional). The specialization that has taken over our medical system encourages this as well.

  15. Funny thing about research…..you can “make” statastics lean in your favor. Big Pharma has been doing this since the beginning. Just look at the history of Statins. Do we really believe every American needs this drug for survival?
    I have learned many years ago…..statistics are biased.
    I feel we need to be completely hands on knowing our bodies the best we can for our own good. Pay attention.
    It is illegal in Europe for physicians to first hand out a prescription….without first helping patient with lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes…..why are Americans so resistant? A question for another day.

    1. Huh? In the US, an obese person has trouble even getting a CAT scan for possible lung emboli (yes it happened to me), because all doctors tell them is to go home and lose weight. So no they’re not just handing out pills. But that’s not exactly positive behavior either.

    2. No such law exists in all of Europe or even just the EU. Certainly not where I live. And I also don’t think the types of lifestyle changes many Doctors advocate would be beneficial.

  16. I remember in the 60’s(Happy 50th Birthday, Woodstock!),hearing about people who died of starvation following the extreme form of Macrobiotics and eating nothing but brown rice. Also, “blue zones “ – Hunza in particular – were ideal goals to try for. Medicine is still stuck – after even further in the past – in the anti-fat pro-carb(ANY carb) routine. How about just natural, fresh, organic, in-season food like our grandparents ate?

  17. The Blue Zone discussion appears to have ignored the Loma Linda, California, Blue Zone- 7th Day Adventist population – a population with likely accurate birth records and lack of poverty present in the the other Blue Zones

  18. Yes, yes and YES! I have thought about the issues in today’s email and came to the same conclusions. So thank you for this email.

  19. Re: Ignoring the experts.
    Twenty years ago my cardiologist recommended that I seek the advice of a cardiologist with more expertise. The reason being that my heart was now strong enough to undergo a catheter ablation. Originally, the prognosis was to simply get my affairs in order because I had the cardiovascular system of a 90 year old man. My heart function was below 20%. I was 35 at the time.

    I underwent two catheter ablations in a two year period, but was still incapable of maintaining a normal heartbeat for more than a couple of years at a time. I’ve been cardioverted more times than I can remember.

    Ever since the original diagnosis of congestive heart failure brought on by untreated atrial fibrillation was presented to me, I have been tinkering with my diet, lifestyle, etc. The first thing I did was to stop eating salted foods. That was my cardiologist’s only recommendation other than downing over half a dozen pills twice a day for the rest of my life. Then I began to eliminate scavengers from my diet, per the dietary laws found in the Mosaic law. Then I stopped eating fast food and junk food.

    After ten years of tinkering, I was down to two pills twice a day, but after investigating what these pills were actually doing which was robbing my body of magnesium, which is essential for a healthy heartbeat; I weaned myself off of them as well.

    I then decided to stop consuming not only anything with added sugar, but anything that already had too much sugar to begin with. I stopped eating wheat, corn, flour, grapes, watermelon, any fruits that were hybridized to boost their sugar content, fruit juices, and eventually all dairy.

    Six months after implementing this dietary plan, my cardiologist was dumbfounded. After the customary echo and EKG, he informed me that I no longer had congestive heart failure, and asked me what I had been doing. My explanation made sense to him, but he still insisted that I remain on the medications prescribed. I haven’t seen him in over five years now. My heart is beating stronger now than it was 25 years ago.

    There really wasn’t all that much to ignore. Western medicine only suggests surgical procedures, and medications. I ignored both, and see no point in ever returning to either of those options unless all other options have already been exhausted.

  20. Mark, since you mentioned the Blue Zones study again, I visited the Blue Zones website this week and they did post a reply to that study indicating that the study researches must have failed to do their own research. They claim that in fact, of course, verifying the ages with verifiable documentation was the very first thing they did. They further say that it was the pool of verified ages that formed the study subjects rather than the other way around. Maybe their study deserves a fair shake before we condemn it.

  21. I don’t think working with incomplete information is by itself a bad thing. What is wrong is to take that fragmented information and then deliver it as gospel to the masses – meaning me.

    Living in Florida, I can find shells many miles from any beach because Florida WAS indeed underwater eons ago. To study that shell and then “announce” what life was like is based upon insufficient data.

  22. We are definitely doing more harm. The deeper we dig into the building blocks of life, the more we see ever more incomprehensible complexity. While our debt to Darwin is immeasurable, post Neo-Darwinism has rapidly outgrown his ambitious assumptions, while simultaneously resigned itself to the fact that a much more forward thinking theory is necessary to frame the evidence.

    Ironically, this necessitates our looking into our own past to see what the ancients understood. The reason being that when we look around we see entropy. The answers will not be found in observing these structures as they slowly fall apart, but in seeing how they were originally put together. The ancients seemed to know how to maintain these structures far better than we can today. At least that seems to be their claim anyways.

  23. Hi Mark,

    In your latest Sunday with Sisson (Aug 18/2019) you ask “Are we doing more harm than good by working with information we know to be incomplete and, often, wrong”.

    I’d say the answer, _at this stage_ is probably both. We’re at a point in human development, and in the development of medical science, where we still _don’t_ know a lot more than we _do_ know. It’s inevitable that sometimes we’ll get it wrong and do more harm than good, and we might also get it wrong and do more good than we expected to do. This is all part of the learning process.

    The important thing is that we do this learning (research) in a controlled and scientific fashion, so that we learn the right things, as efficiently as possible, while managing the risks in the process.

    It’s all part of the journey from here, where we know so little, to there, where we have a deep understanding of how this all works, and what we can do to make things better. There will be mistakes along the way, but that’s the way of life.

  24. I try to think the best of folks, and therefore believe that in most cases, scientists and medical professionals do the best with what they have at the time.

    I tend to think the most harm comes from popular media, especially in an era of “click bait” headlines that lure desperate people toward shaky science. Neither the media, nor the consumer have the ability to nuance studies to see just how far off the mark they are.

  25. Ignoring experts: My big “ignore experts” is WRT salt. I have a tendency to dehydration so a low salt diet would be a mess for me. I did have a cardiologist once who actually recommended raising my salt intake to control my tendency to low blood pressure. He also said to get off my GP’s risky prescription for arrhythmia and get more magnesium to control it instead. That worked really well.

    Back to the group: how do you find the balance between fact checking the doctor’s prescriptions and being that non-compliant patient that annoys the doctor? Doctors here are few and busy, many without time to discuss treatment options. After filling a totally wrong prescription (I found myself with an asthma inhaler when I’ve never even had asthma) I’ve been much more wary of doctors’ advice, but I don’t want to end up blacklisted by local doctors.

  26. Mark, re: your ‘blue zone’ follow up post – simply put, no question… “Are we doing more harm than good by working with information we know to be incomplete and, often, wrong.
    Are we?” We certainly would be. Resisting the temptation to freak out with new revelations regarding longevity appears to be hard. Shile amusing and understandable these conclusions are premature and possibly immature. We would be best served by cooling our jets and continue seeking truth with patience and integrity. My two cents.

  27. Hey Mark! Happy Sunday to you! Without thinking this through real carefully I agree with you regarding the secondary and tertiary effects of anything we as humans do to interfere in the creative process, ie. “playing God”. I am a new reader of Primal Blueprint and although I come from more of a creation perspective I am learning a great deal from your perspective. Thank you for all your work research!

  28. I subscribe to A LOT of online newsletters and often reference to Mark’s Sunday with Sisson posts, when conversing with coworkers about “what did you do this weekend?” question. The 8/18 Sunday post was particularly serendipitous, as I had recently read an article at EcoWatch about the Arctic geological, etc. changes and the obvious and undetermined consequences taking place. After reading the EW article, I offered a discourse, very close to Mark’s 8/18 post. Seems he, I (and others) are parallel “wavelengthing” (yes, a new verb!). I will consider the connection, “gmta”!

  29. thank you, thank you, thank you for the post on “blue” science – questioning the data, the methods, etc is so critical BEFORE conclusions (or even suggestions) are drawn

    (why I was drawn to Chris Kresser’s website back when it was called the Healthy Skeptic years ago)

    1. You’re critique on the Blue Zone results is a mile wide and an inch deep. History and numbers have all the answers. Never did you mention the percentage of how many records have been lost, falsified, incorrect, etc. You didn’t mention it because you can’t; no one can. So why throw out the baby with the bathwater? Western science confirmed recently what they should have confirmed many moons ago: a diet with zero processed food, farm to table organic produce, wild caught small size seafood, strong family and social ties, minimal stress, clean air and natural spring water; these are the things that would make anyone’s longevity more significant. All common sense stuff. No ridiculous “diets” were practiced by the lucky centenarians around the world. The Diet Industry began shortly after the Industrial Revolution – and what has it done for Americans today? Now below 25 among all countries for longevity due to rampant disease cased by food choices.

  30. Well, this is all so good! I hope some of you will check out NeedGod.com !

  31. I Mark’s Sunday’s with Sisson. I love that he is such a buoyant spirit in a sea of negativity and how he doesn’t claim to have all the answers. Smart guy. The last two weeks he’s talked about the “blue” zone and what mistakes could be included in the data collection–no birth certificates, etc. This week he talks about our living and making health decisions based on what is likely faulty information (of all kinds) and how one gene pathway might do more than one thing. I’ve often thought about how we might accomplish one beneficial thing using a certain supplement or diet, but possibly we might be doing something detrimental at the same time–and how we likely won’t even know. This seems more serious with some of the conventional recommendations based on old agriculture pyramids or the ramifications of an insurance-pharmaceutical-driven industry. That’s why I love Mark–he presents all the information, gives his best take on it for his own life, but never claims he knows what’s best for anyone. I love how he asks what we think. I’ve been doing keto for about a year (with a bit of cheating) but also mixed with stretches of carnivore–which is when I seem to feel best. Perhaps since I have Hashimotos and carnivore seems to agree with those with auto-immune issues. I eat limited veggies during harvest/garden season. You can follow my journey on my website blog (I also write about dreams, my writing life (I’m a writer), and more. lekimball.com

  32. “Are we doing more harm than good by working with information we know to be incomplete and, often, wrong.”?

    Well an academic would say there’s no evidence of that. Because there is no evidence period. So we need to use our wisdom and judgement.

    We’re doomed!

    Actually there’s a really good step by step deconstruction of the old Nuclear Energy Plowshare program by two scientists who were opposed to it on the grounds that basically it was a real world lab experiment in how many rads humans can take before getting cancer.

    The mining tailings ended up… on Native American reservations, as “clean fill” and homes were build on it. The modern version of smallpox blankets. In a fools rush in where angels fear to tread moment, they simply assumed it was safe.

    The book has a sensational title, but it reads like my Environmental Science textbook from college days. And the authors are beyond reproach.

    https://www.worldcat.org/title/population-control-through-nuclear-pollution/oclc/801825841

    Based on historical precedent, I’d say, yeah we’re screwed. They’ll say we’re luddites if we don’t agree to let them experiment on us like lab rats.

    When you have a system where people are forever looking for the fastest way to a profit, common sense will get tossed out and even a “litigious” society won’t be able to stop it. Because they’ll give themselves immunity to prosecution.

  33. Scientists are constantly trying to fill in the gap with not enough information. I watch SciShow Astronomy and they have to constantly make educated guesses. Kind of hard to say if we are doing more harm than good. About gene manipulation, these are controlled gene manipulations. Gene manipulations are constantly happening in nature either from Gamma waves or viruses. I would say we are doing more good than harm with controlled gene manipulation if it is researched enough but then again it is a gamble that is worth the shot. Humans have always manipulated nature so I’m not bothered by the manipulation and thinking nature is the best course of action. I recently watched a George Carlin video saying the Earth has been around for a million years and considers us a flea so will retaliate by defending itself with viruses, weather, etc.

  34. Scientists are constantly trying to fill in the gap with not enough information. I watch SciShow Astronomy and they have to constantly make educated guesses. Kind of hard to say if we are doing more harm than good. About gene manipulation, these are controlled gene manipulations. Gene manipulations are constantly happening in nature either from Gamma waves or viruses. I would say we are doing more good than harm with controlled gene manipulation if it is researched enough but then again it is a gamble that is worth the shot. Humans have always manipulated nature so I’m not bothered by the manipulation and thinking nature is the best course of action.

  35. Thank you for yesterday “Sunday with Sisson”. For sure you are at least trying to use better scientific method than many so called “scientist”. It was also reflected in your previous Sunday post regarding “written history” is a better predictor of age. Only this year have I had my historical earth challenged a bit more by Graham Hancock’s “Magicians of the Gods”. We are (as we should be) shocked with the idea of rising ocean tides of a 100 meters, but then to realize that they have already risen 400 meters over time, which is where we lost Atlantis. We lost more than artifacts of history, but also lost ways of life that helped our species to survive. The real question will be, have we lost the ability to adapt?

  36. I completely agree with Mark’s concerns and questions. I think that most likely, people are doing more harm than good, using information based on “murky data” and jumbo-sized “meta-analysis”.

    Murky science: Besides astoundingly stupid gaffes in designing experimental studies, the conclusions drawn from them often lack all common sense. Example: in “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, Gary Taubes describes how, IIRC, rabbits were force fed polyunsaturated fats which thereby resulted in cardiac diseases. The problem? Rabbits only eat grasses and leaves. And from this experiment it was concluded that consuming fats caused heart disease in humans. Therefore, the advice during the 70’s was: don’t eat butter, instead eat hydrogenated soy bean oil margarine, which we now know is bad for us.

    A Greek medical doctor named John Ioannidis, who examined meta-analysis and medical research papers, wrote a famous and much-read paper: “Why Most Published Research Findings are False”. See https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/open-social-science-research/0/steps/31414

    As opposed to these large scale studies, It is best for each of us to work on our own bodies, which is what we call the “N=1” experiment, namely, only 1 body, our own. Together, we in the Keto/Paleo community form an “N=1 Collective”, because I think we’re all doing basically the same experiment, the same lifestyle, with good results, but we each tweak the diet as it pertains to our own bodies. Example: someone else might have no problems with erythritol, but I can only use Stevia. And we learn from each other. This is what works.

  37. Ignoring “experts”:
    Once some shelter staff forced me to go the hospital for a sprained ankle and the doctor poked it with his finger, said I have cellulitis, and wrote a prescription for antibiotics! The staff were so stupid they believed him and almost wouldn’t let me stay at the shelter because I refused to get the scrip filled. They said they’re responsible for my safety. dumb dumb dumb