This is nuts

The Times newspaper ran a story today (6th March 2020) which perfectly exemplifies why we should be very careful about getting our scientific knowledge and dietary advice from newspaper articles. The headline was Serving of nuts rather than meat could lower heart and cancer risk. The article claimed that “Replacing one daily serving of any red meat for nuts — without increasing the number of calories a person ate — was linked to a 17 per cent lower risk of dying of a heart attack.”

This is a very powerful message; people are likely to be swayed by the idea that they can reduce their risk of heart attack by nearly a fifth simply by swapping meat for nuts. Of course, If you read on beyond the headline and opening paragraphs the article correctly states, “Their study was purely observational. That meant that it could not prove that swapping meat for nuts, wholegrains and legumes caused people to have better health.”

1. Observational studies on diets are notoriously unreliable. All of the data comes from Food Frequency Questionnaires which participants have to complete over long periods of time. Can you remember precisely what you ate a week last Thursday? No, neither can I. Inevitably, some of the data is a guess which invalidates the whole process as a scientific study.

2. Studies like this have to be interpreted by the researchers and adjustments made for confounding factors. This research was done by Harvard Chan School of Public Health. A cursory examination of their publications shows a clear and significant bias towards plant based foods. 

3. It is well known that people who eat more nuts and vegetables are generally more health conscious. They tend to be non-smokers, drink moderately, take exercise and sleep well. Among the ‘meat-eaters’ in these studies are people who eat fast food most of the time. They consume meat but eat it with a bread bun, fries cooked in inflammatory seed oils and washed down with a large sugar-laden ‘Coke’. They also do not look after themselves in other ways. We are not comparing like with like.

4. Heart disease has many contributory factors including: high blood pressure; systemic inflammation; high blood sugar/high insulin levels/type 2 diabetes (most diabetics eventually die from heart disease); toxins from cigarette smoke and air pollution; high levels of the stress hormone cortisol; high levels of homocysteine (due to a lack of B vitamins); low levels of vitamin D; drug abuse (especially cocaine); high levels of the clotting agent fibrinogen; and bacterial infection. None of these things are made worse by eating red meat. In fact, meat is a very good source of B vitamins which are protective against heart disease. There is simply no mechanism by which the consumption of meat can induce heart attack.

5. Our species has been eating red meat for millions of years. If it was as bad for as Harvard Chan continually tell us we would have died out long ago. Also, our skeletal muscle is the same substance as red meat. An average adult male is 42% red meat and an adult woman is typically 36% red meat. It is completely illogical to imagine that eating something which makes up more than a third of our bodies could do us any harm.

Vegetable oils linked to blindness

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting over 600,000 people. It is also increasing rapidly around the world. It involves deterioration or complete sight loss in the middle of the field of vision. Sufferers typically have enough peripheral vision to find their way around but cannot focus on anything well enough to be able to read or watch a film. As its name suggests, the greatest risk factor is advancing age but research has shown that diet can have a dramatic effect and the biggest culprit is modern cooking oil.

In Australia, Professor Paul Beaumont, ophthalmic surgeon and founder of their Macular Degeneration Foundation, believes the increased incidence of AMD is due to the increase of vegetable oils and margarine in our diet. “Vegetable oils are basically the reason why this disease has become more common. All the data is consistent with it.”

Vegetable oils do not come from vegetables; they are the highly processed products of various grass seeds. They are promoted because they are low in saturated fat, which has been mistakenly vilified for decades. The real problem is that these oils are very high in an omega-6 fat called linoleic acid which competes with the omega-3 fats we are supposed to have in our eyes. The DHA (docosahexanoic acid) component of omega-3 is found in high concentrations in the retina and is an important structural component of the photoreceptor cells. If our diet contains high levels of vegetable oils we consume too much linoleic acid and this displaces the DHA preventing its vital function..

The Womens Health Study examined the relationship between the dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids with age-related macular degeneration. The study was extensive, lasting 10 years in a large group of women who, in the beginning, didn’t have AMD but were diagnosed during the 10-year study. Researchers found that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids was strongly predictive of early AMD, and is consistent with similar findings for advanced AMD in prior studies. This supports the conclusion that both the level of omega-3 fatty acids and its ratio to omega-6 fatty acids are important in determining risks of AMD.

The conclusions of these studies are that regular consumption of omega-3 significantly reduces the risk of AMD, and this research gives strong evidence to support the role for omega-3 in the primary prevention of AMD, and perhaps a reduction in chances of developing advanced AMD.

The health authorities tell us to reduce the consumption of traditional fats like butter, lard and fatty meat and replace them with vegetable oils. While they do so, the incidence of blindness accelerates around the world. Vegetable oils are used in almost all processed foods, which is another reason to eat real food, which comes from a farmer or fisherman and not a factory.

Dietary fat and risk for advanced age-related macular degeneration

Junk Food May Be Bad for Your Eyesight

Fit children finish first in the classroom

The title of this post is the same as one of the chapters in my book, Stop Feeding Us Lies. The rest of this post, between the lines, is an excerpt from that chapter.


         In today’s politically correct world, you are unlikely to hear anybody in public office saying, ‘Physically fit children are academically superior to unfit children’, which is a problem because research from around the world has proved this to be true. As I explained in Chapter 3, physical activity increases the production of nerve-growth factors in the brain. One of the reasons we possess elaborate brains is because our ancestors, over a long period of time, were chasing animals for food. It has recently been discovered that the process of enhancing brain function by exercise produces rapid results in the development of children.

         In October 2013 Professor John Reilly, from Strathclyde University, and Doctor Josie Booth, from Dundee University, published their findings from a study which is following the lives of 5,000 children born in 1991 and 1992. This group is known as the ‘Avon Cohort’. The researchers examined the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity the children were doing at the age of 11 and compared this to their academic performance in English, mathematics and science. Their results showed that the children with higher levels of moderate to vigorous exercise had better academic performance across all three subjects, and this was true for both boys and girls. The children were assessed again at both 13 and 15 years of age, when it was found that their academic achievement was still linked to how much energetic exercise they had taken when they were 11.

         Professor Petri, from the University of North Texas, studied 1,211 children of very diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. As well as testing their fitness and academic achievement, he also took into account other influences like self-esteem, social support and economic status. At the end of the study he said, “Cardiorespiratory fitness was the only factor that we consistently found to have a positive effect on both boys’ and girls’ grades in reading and maths tests.” So, the frequently quoted idea that children from poor families, given little support, are always going to struggle in school because of their backgrounds is not proven in this study.[3] In fact, physical fitness was shown to be the most important factor relating to academic grades.

         There are many similar studies, by different universities, which also found a direct link between physical fitness and performance in school, but at the University of Michigan they went a step further and showed why this happens. Professor Art Kramer studied a group of nine and ten-year-olds by testing their ability to use oxygen while running on a treadmill. This is a standard measure of fitness, which is often used by athletes, and he discovered that the physically fit children were much more efficient at using oxygen than the less-fit children. When he tested their mental capabilities, it was clear that the fit children had a greater ability to remember and integrate various types of information than their less-fit peers. He knew that a part of the brain called the hippocampus is particularly important for the formation of memories, so he gave these children an electronic brain scan to measure the relative size of structures in the brain. When he analysed the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) data, he found that the physically fit children had a bigger hippocampus than the out-of-shape ones. On average, it was 12% larger which is clear evidence that physically fit children perform better in academic tests than unfit children. This happens because the physical exercise, which has made them fit, has also enlarged the parts of the brain that improve memory through the production of nerve growth factors.


       This is very significant information for the education of our children. I have studied the National Curriculum and it contains no requirement to improve the physical fitness of children during PE lessons. There is no mention of a raised heartbeat or increased strength but children are expected to be able to explain why exercise is good for them. There is a great opportunity here for schools to improve the performance of their children. Other research in the book also shows that increased exercise and fitness is likely to improve their general health, mental health, self-esteem and long term prospects.

Why ‘Veganuary’ is a bad idea

As the New Year begins, many people seek to lose weight and improve their health through a change in their diet. Some will be tempted to try a plant-based diet for a whole month, by signing up to ‘Veganuary’. Nutritional science deems this to be a bad idea because a vegan diet is nutritionally deficient.

Eating nothing but plants is fine for herbivores but humans are not herbivores. We require the nutrients found only in animal foods if we are to be healthy.
• Humans have been eating meat for hundreds of thousands of years. We evolved into the dominant species on the planet because of our regular consumption of meat, which is the most nutrient-dense and easily-absorbed food available to us.
• Veganism is a modern, fad diet. In the Western world, it began with a religious group known as the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists. Recent polls have shown that 80% of vegans eventually go back to eating meat because their health has declined.
• Vitamin B12 does not exist in plants; we can only obtain it from eating animals or by taking supplements in tablet form. This vitamin is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the integrity of our brain and nerve fibres. It is vital for children, whose brains are growing, to consume plenty of milk, eggs and meat to get enough B12.
• 12% of the structure of a human brain consists of an omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA. It is necessary for conscious thought, DHA is only found in animal foods. This may well explain why vegans suffer from depression at a higher rate than omnivores.

The Veganuary website boasts of its connection with many food producers, who continue to add to their range of vegan options. Food manufacturers are very happy to support this because they make far more profit out of the cheap ingredients in a ‘meatless burger’ than they do when they use real meat. We can all expect to see more ‘vegan’ options appearing in supermarkets. This does not happen because they are more healthy; it happens because they are more profitable.

The Veganuary website also talks about the avoidance of animal cruelty, without telling you that the vast majority of UK farmers take great care of their livestock. It also fails to mention all the small wild creatures, like field mice, that are killed when a plant crop is harvested by large machines, nor all the thousands of bees, birds and insects that die from the spraying of toxic pesticides. Because of the way plant food is grown, more animals die to feed a vegan than die to feed a carnivore.

Most people do not stop to think where vegetables come from in the middle of January. Many of them come from the vast expanse of plastic polytunnels that cover 160 square miles of the Spanish coast near Almeira. This is not eco-friendly food production Read more about it here

If you want to improve your health in January, cut back on carbohydrates and replace them with healthy fats; avoid ultra-processed foods; cook your own real food that comes from a farmer or fisherman not a factory.

Game Changers – the Truth

In recent weeks, I have been asked many times if I have seen ‘Game Changers’ and what I thought about it. Apparently, this film is regarded as convincing by many people. I watched it so that I can give my honest appraisal.

Having spent several years researching the science of our dietary needs and our evolution, I can state categorically that it is impossible for a vegan diet to be superior to an omnivore diet or, indeed, an entirely carnivorous diet. I can make this statement because we are not herbivores. This is the only indisputable fact that anyone needs to remember when wondering if veganism is for them. If you are a member of the human race, veganism cannot be your optimum diet: it is lacking in too many essential nutrients.

My book is called Stop Feeding Us Lies for a very good reason. We are constantly bombarded with myths, misinformation, fake news and downright lies. You just have to watch a political debate to know that. ‘Game Changers’ is just another big lie. It is part of a large and well-coordinated attack on our traditional foods by vested interests. Those vested interests are food manufacturing companies that stand to make a fortune if they persuade enough people to stop eating the animal foods our ancestors have been eating for a million years and switch to fake foods made in their laboratories.

The producer of ‘Game Changers’ is just one of those vested interests. His name is James Cameron and he is the founder and CEO of Verdiant Foods, an organic pea protein company with the goal of becoming “the largest pea protein fractionation facility in North America.” Pea protein isolate is the main ingredient in all those fake meat products that have recently arrived on the shelves. ‘Game Changers’ is not science: it is an indirect advertisement for the producer’s business. If this film persuaded you to go vegan, I believe you have been duped by a clever advert.

Do not just take my word for it. This link is to an independent, scientific review of the so-called ‘facts’ https://tacticmethod.com/the-game-changers-scientific-review-and-references/

The film claimed they had evidence that Gladiators in Ancient Rome ate a plant-based diet and this was supposed to convince us that veganism conferred physical strength on these people. The truth is that gladiators were slaves and ate what they were given. Also, they needed to be fat rather than strong because the more fat they had the more protection their vital organs had from cuts and blows.

There was one section in the film which I thought nobody could be fooled by, but perhaps I was wrong. I did not think anybody could be gullible enough to believe that a meal of vegetables, rather than meat, would make a man’s penis significantly larger (while he was asleep!) I suppose most men (and perhaps women) would like to believe something so unlikely might just be true.

We evolved into who we are because our ancestors ate meat for a million years. When I go to my local butcher’s shop and buy some meat; the butcher got it from a local farmer; the local farmer reared it on his fields using sunlight, rainwater and the fetiliser that came out of the cow. There is nowhere in this process for global corporations to make any money and that is why they are trying to persuade us it is wrong. It isn’t wrong; it is exactly what we should all be doing for the good of our health, the benefit of our local communities and the climate.

My complaint to the BBC

This is my complaint to the BBC about ‘Meat: a threat to our planet?’

Whilst I agree that the US Feedlots shown are an awful way to treat cattle and we should not be catching fish to feed to animals, this programme completely failed to show how sustainable farming is done in the UK. If it had pointed out the difference between the worst practise and the best of animal farming it would have been very useful. It did not. It implied that all animal farming is bad and damaging. This is a lie by omission. The programme completely over-used emotion in trying to change people’s perspectives. Many of the statistics given were grossly exaggerated.
The truth, which was completely ignored, is that correctly managed, grass-fed ruminant animals increase soil fertility and biodiversity; they sequester carbon into the soil and can be carbon negative. They provide the most complete and nutrient dense food our species can eat. Methane emitted by cattle is part of a carbon cycle and does not cause global warming. How can it do so when ruminants have been burping methane for 50 million years? Independent UK farmers care for their animals and the land: this programme implied they are pariahs.
The clear instruction that we should all stop eating meat involved absolutely no mention of nutrition. Research from all over the world has shown that children on vegan diets suffer from stunting, failure to thrive, a wide variety of mineral deficiencies and serious, sometimes irreversible, neurological defects. This programme openly encouraged parents to risk severe developmental problems in their children without any word of warning about the removal of meat from their diets.
As a licence fee payer, I insist that you balance this anti-meat propaganda with a programme showing how UK livestock farmers provide nutritious food in a fully sustainable way, whilst improving the soil and sequestering carbon.

Evolution

The ecosystem of Earth evolved over hundreds of millions of years. It flourishes because it is always in balance. Plants grow in the ground, herbivores eat the plants and carnivores eat the herbivores. This process evolved because it works. We evolved into exactly what we are today because our ancestors ate a largely carnivorous diet for a couple of million years. How can we be sure this is true?

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