Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Archive for June 2006

A sad day for science?

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This morning I received an email from The Omnivore saying he’s shutting down his site for good, basically because he’s sick of giving stuff away free to people, posting free advice and receiving abuse from ignorant idiots, demands from people too lazy to do their own work, and a general lack of thanks. He’s also pretty unhappy about the weak sales of his new book, The Great Cholesterol Con to newsletter subscribers.

I’m currently reading his book, and it has to be the most important, ground-breaking review on cholesterol and fat to date.

This is a really sad day. There’s so much mumbo-jumbo about cholesterol in the media that gets regurgitated, I imagine all of those occasions where someone could be referred to Colpo’s site for accurate information, and now that information isn’t available. Not everyone is as intelligent and inquiring as Colpo, and most people can’t spare the time to write an essay on a subject for someone they don’t know. The removal of Colpo’s information means the battle on the ground is being lost. Do we now have to wait another fifty years for the scientific community to cotton-on that their main paradigm is so wrong?

Don’t get me wrong–the site was never intended as a money-making venture, and at no time during the 3 years I ran the site did I ever ask anyone for a single cent. I simply hoped to make some sort of contribution to public health and knowledge by posting information for people to consider and research further. However, instead of becoming a repository of info for self-reliant free-thinkers, my web site seems to have become a magnet for free-loaders who seem to be under the impression that I am obligated to furnish them with free diet and health info on tap.

To quote my boyfriend, who is not entirely happy about the time I spend on this blog, giving stuff away for free “is such a waste of human endeavour.” Meanwhile, we’re struggling with finances, and I simply have no idea how I’m going to make some cash, unless I sell out and give people what they want to buy… a diet book!

This has come at a time when I myself have been thinking a lot about taking down my onymous site in its current form, or at least the blog, and making it pretty impossible for people to contact me or leave feedback. Getting abuse from people – no matter how utterly brainless they are – is still an unpleasant, frustrating experience, and I can relate to Colpo’s reasons entirely. Only a few days ago I had another nasty email – from a silly little girl who found my fairy name generator who ludicrously thinks “fairies are real”, and I am “lying to people” about having “met” them, and this makes me a really evil person… Yes, there really are people this stupid in the world, and if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry. More hurtful than random abuse from strangers, is some of the bizarre feedback from friends who always think you are speaking directly to them, on their particular issues, and haven’t a clue about the other dozen people you are writing for. I’ve discovered that publicly stating my diet and my opinions on my ill health on my website results in friends finding excuses to fall out with me. And it hurts, a lot.

Working against mainstream health dogma on cholesterol has the perverse effect of wreaking your health. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stressed and upset by the way medical authorities treat people, including close relatives, or I have been disturbed and worried by the atrocious ways in which people feed themselves and their children. Having the knowledge to make things better, but being forced by convention to keep schtum about it in case they start to think you are crazy or you offend their sensibilities/morality/religion/pseudo-religion – is one of the unhappiest feelings I’ve ever had.

The final trigger was the truly idiotic emails I received soon after publishing The Great Cholesterol Con. Right after I released the book, I received an abusive email from some wacko in Panama, who was most upset that the book wasn’t available in e-book form and that he would have to pay international shipping charges if he wished to purchase the hard copy version. Well boo-hoo, I’ve been living down under in Australia and paying international shipping charges all my life!

I’m amazed by the number of whiny people on messageboards who spend hours complaining about their health but are too tight to pay international shipping charges for a book that might change their life, or, when told that diet is an effective cure, continue to refuse to change their diet because they are too lazy. I’m also amazed by the number of people who spend huge quantities of money on snake oil just for the off-chance of a cure. People are very weird and hypocritical when it comes to their health.

I guess it’s way too much to expect the apathetic, lazy, unthinking sheep that constitute the majority of today’s population to actually use the search function on my site, or to plunk down a piddly 20-25 bucks for my book…nope, on top of the abundant info I’ve already given, I apparently still must provide them with their very own personalized answer!

If people want to act like a bunch of whining, unappreciative, free-loading shmucks, that’s their prerogative, but I refuse to be an accomplice to such idiocy any longer. That is a major reason why I have torn down the bulk of my site and why I will not be answering any more health/diet questions. Virtually everything I have to say about the saturated fat/cholesterol/CHD issue can be found in my book. Whether people choose to buy and read it or not is beyond my control, but it’s all in there…

Boy, and I thought I was a hothead. I think Anthony needs to calm down a bit or he’ll do himself some damage.

My degree is in social science. My degree was a wonderful process of discovery and learning and I thought I could right all the wrongs of the world. Politics has a lot to answer for. When I began to realise how resistant people are to complex scientific explanations of problems in society, and instead prefer to scapegoat and hate each other instead of sitting down and doing some constructive planning, I started to become very cynical about human nature. It made me very stressed and depressed to see the world in such a state when the knowledge was available to make it better – it just wasn’t what the common voter or the common politician wanted… The result is apathy, and a “let them stew in their own problems then” kind of attitude. Yes, people are lazy, whiny, selfish, and ignorant. But not all of us, and it isn’t always our fault.

There’s a point at which you can become so cynical about human nature that you either become a dictator or a hermit. I really don’t want to get to that point. That’s the point at which you start writing popularist diet books and suckering people out of their cash!

To quote L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is.”


Written by alienrobotgirl

28 June, 2006 at 9:21 am

So humans eat vegetables, huh?

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One of the silliest arguments I keep hearing against the existence of food chemical intolerance is that it is not “natural” to react to the chemicals in plants – this is usually from Weston A. Price Foundation members.

One of the very few people who actually studied neolithic diets before they died out was the dentist turned anthropologist, Dr. Weston A. Price. He documented his findings in the tome “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration“.

These statistics are courtesy of Chris Masterjohn of Cholesterol and Health, who has compiled them from some of Price’s other documentation.

Indians — 3% plant foods; 97% animal foods
Eskimos — 3% plant foods; 97% animal foods
Swiss alps — 50% plant foods; 50% animal foods (40% rye bread; 45% dairy; 5% barley; 5% vegetables; 5% meat)
Outer Hebrides — 55% plant foods; 45% animal foods

(Expressed as percentage of total calories.) native-nutrition

Note that the diet of the outer hebrides did not contain greens, it consisted of mineral rich oats and fresh seafood. To this day the Scottish remain suspicious of green vegetables, which do not naturally grow in such a climate.

The largest quantity of vegetables was eaten by those in the Swiss alps – and amounts to only 5% of total calories – or around 100 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of 3/4ths of a cup of potato, three cups of cabbage, or one apple: hardly “five a day”. Very few vegetables actually grow in the alps, and only during the summer months. Roots would have been stored for as long as possible, and vegetables like cabbage fermented into sauerkraut for consumption during the winter. The people of the Swiss alps were also considerably more prone to dental caries and ill health than were the Indians, Eskimos, and people of the Outer Hebrides, who ate even less in the way of vegetable matter, so we cannot attribute good health to lots of fruit and vegetables. Looking at the data, seems most likely that dairy is not an adequate substitute for flesh foods, and that carbohydrate consumption is detrimental.

The sheer bulk and the absence of calories in vegetables make them impractical and wasteful to cultivate in comparison to grain or animal products like eggs, dairy, and meat. Only a society in which a surplus of calories is readily and cheaply available can afford to waste time and effort growing high-maintenance low-calorie foods like vegetables.

If you are familiar with the seasonal nature of food chemical intolerance, you’ll know that vegetables are much better tolerated during the summer months, partly because this condition is connected to a need for sunlight, and partly because ripe fruit and vegetables contain lower amounts of salicylates.

Traditional staple vegetables, like those cultivated in Medieval times, are low in salicylates.

Written by alienrobotgirl

26 June, 2006 at 9:29 am

Posted in Historical Diets

Serendipity and the Shangri-La Diet: how I laughed

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Some people hit on the right method without even understanding why or having the right theory. Seth Roberts’ Shangri-La Diet is one such case.

Set point: Roberts believes in a “set point” theory of weight control: at any given time, your body wants to be a certain weight, and it will increase or decrease feelings of hunger and its metabolic rate in order to achieve that weight. Any attempt to modify your weight away from your current set point will meet with failure, or at least will be very difficult to achieve and maintain. Roberts compares the set point to the temperature setting for a thermostat.

Taste-calorie association: The set point idea is not new, but Roberts extends it by claiming that the set point can be modified by diet. This is the second part of his theory: the “taste-calorie association.” Roberts believes that the “tastiness” of the food you consume controls your set point. Specifically, tastier food raises your set point (i.e., makes your body want to get fatter), while bland food lowers your set point (i.e., makes your body want to adapt to being leaner). Shangri-La Diet

Seth: right method, wrong theory. This is a classic example of a food intolerance diet that doesn’t even know it. Phenols, amines, additives and MSG ARE the taste and flavour in food. Everyone has a different level of tolerance for these substances. There is a point where if you feed a population enough of these substances, everyone begins to exhibit symptoms. That’s why this diet will work for a significant proportion of the population.

Food intolerance deregulates appetite control and can lead to whacky weight gains and losses for no apparent reason. Roberts thinks this is all about “tricking the legacy brain left over from our hunter-gatherer days” into believing it is undergoing a period of fasting. Heh heh heh. No it’s NOT! It’s about removing the excess appetite-and-metabolism-deregulating neurotransmitters and plant poisons that have built up in your body.

Strategic consumption of bland calories: The first technique is the one that showed the greatest, longest lasting success. At first Roberts tried eating non-processed foods, on the theory that processing of foods results in more taste, or more intense tastes, through the addition of salt, spices, concentrated fats, and sugars. By eating unprocessed, blander foods, Roberts was able to lose weight. A second experiment involved drinking large amounts of the ultimate tasteless substance, water (from 3 to 5 liters per day), which also resulted in some weight loss.

Continues the article:

The Shangri-La Diet has so changed (screwed up? made go haywire?) his metabolic rate that his maintenance diet consists of 1,200 calories per day, which he gets as follows:

  • One normal meal (about 900 calories)
  • Two pieces of fruit (about 75 calories apiece)
  • Sugar water (150 calories)

Here’s a tip Seth: give up the fruit and the sugar! Then see how many calories you can handle! This guy rates alongside Mr “I just crave those raw veggies” for the “IF ONLY YOU REALLY KNEW WHY” award.

Written by alienrobotgirl

21 June, 2006 at 2:52 pm

Atkins succeeds where GI fails (again)

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Some time ago I had another gripe about the failure of the GI diet to control blood sugar in diabetics. If you or a relative have diabetes and are following this diet to control your blood sugar, you need to think again. The airheads who push this diet on the public as some sort of panacea need a lesson in endocrinology.

Someone posted a link to this on the LCHF yahoo group a couple of days ago. It’s an article about a study comparing the usefulness of a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet compared to a low GI calorie restricted diet in the treatment of diabetes:

At the end of the first three months of the study, the the mean HgbA1c for the LCKD [low carb ketogenic diet] group who saw a greater improvement when it dropped from 8.7% (1.8) to 7.1% (1.2) while the LGID [low GI calorie restricted diet] group only fell from 8.0% (1.8) to 7.5% (1.7).

Additionally, weight loss in the LCKD group was 8.3 kg in the first three months while the LGID group lost 5.6 kg.

Regarding diabetic medication usage rates at the conclusion of the study, Dr. Westman found that 79 percent of the LCKD group had either greatly reduced or eliminated their need for drugs to manage their diabetes compared with 66 percent of the LGID group. Diabetes Treatment Shocker: The Atkins Diet

This has to be the biggest understatement of the year:

“Sadly, confusion generated in the media over the past couple of years by competing business interests has misled Americans and caregivers,” Dr. Vernon said. “As a result many have turned away from what is likely the most effective means to not only control diabetes with fewer medical interventions and reduced medications, but actually reverse the course of the epidemic: The Atkins Diet.” Dr Mary C. Vernon

Written by alienrobotgirl

13 June, 2006 at 9:33 am

Argumentum ad populum

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Argumentum ad populum (Latin: “appeal to the people”), in logic, is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or all people believe it; it alleges that “If many believe so, it is so.” In ethics this argument is stated, “if many find it acceptable, it is acceptable.”

This type of argument is known by several names[1], including appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people, argument by consensus, authority of the many, bandwagon fallacy, and tyranny of the majority, and in Latin by the names argumentum ad populum (“appeal to the people”), argumentum ad numerum (“appeal to the number”), and consensus gentium (“agreement of the clans”). It is also the basis of a number of social phenomena, including communal reinforcement and the bandwagon effect, and of the Chinese proverb “three men make a tiger”. Argumentum ad populum

Written by alienrobotgirl

4 June, 2006 at 12:52 pm

Blue smarties and the cocktail effect

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A subject Sue Dengate got excited about recently was the issue of NestlĂ© dropping blue smarties in the UK. I had no idea what study had caused this turnaround. This is copied from the Soil Association’s consumer site,, which requires a login:

Blue Smarties are dropped shortly after research into the toxic ‘cocktail of additives’ in childrens’ foods

On 8 March the Soil Association presented the results of a three-year study, on the effects of combining four common food additives, to the offices of Rt. Hon Patricia Hewitt MP, the Secretary of State for Health. The research suggests that specific combinations can have a neurotoxic effect.

The researchers at the University of Liverpool examined the toxic effects on nerve cells by using a combination of the following four common food additives:

  • E133 Brilliant Blue with E621 monosodium glutamate (MSG) and
  • E104 Quinoline Yellow with E951 L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester.

The mixtures of the additives had a much more potent effect on nerve cells than each additive on its own. The effect on cells was up to four times greater when Brilliant Blue and MSG were combined, and up to seven times greater when Quinoline Yellow and Aspartame were combined.

The study shows that when the nerve cells were exposed to MSG and Brilliant Blue or Aspartame and Quinoline Yellow the additives stopped the nerve cells from normal growth and interfered with proper signalling systems.

The experiments were done in laboratory conditions and the additives were combined in concentrations that theoretically reflect the compound that enters the bloodstream after a typical children’s snack and drink.

Shortly after this research was published, Nestlé Rowntree dropped their blue Smartie. National newspapers covered the story, including the Daily Mail

This marks the start of a campaign from the Soil Association and Organix Brands who are calling for the additives in question to be removed from food. The Soil Association has identified 30 foods currently marketed to children, which include the four additives studied and are writing to the manufacturers as well as the Food Standards Agency with a call for an immediate response to this report.

Lizzie Vann, MBE, founder of Organix Brands, said, “Many parents of sensitive children know that food additives are a problem. In processed foods like sweets and snacks they are typically present in combinations. Many parenting and campaigning groups have been calling for stricter regulation and more caution to be taken with additives. At last, the scientific support for their suspicions is beginning to appear.”

Peter Melchett, Soil Association, Policy Director said, “Organix Brands and the Soil Association have identified 30 foods marketed to children, which use the four additives studied. We have written to the manufacturers, as well as to the Food Standards Agency calling for urgent action on these findings. This marks the start of a joint campaign from the Soil Association and Organix Brands, who are calling for the additives in question to be removed from all foods.”

It seems that additives don’t just produce bad behaviour and ADHD, they also result in brain damage. I wonder how many blue smarties it takes to lower your child’s IQ by one point?

Written by alienrobotgirl

1 June, 2006 at 12:53 pm

Posted in The Science of FCI