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50 Years Ago, the Sugar Industry Paid Scientists to Blame Fat (2016) (npr.org)
645 points by deegles 65 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 279 comments



This is way bigger than sugar or even one segment of research. This type of corrupting influence (direct or indirect) provides enough uncertainty to allow people to ignore all research that doesn't confirm their personal bias. It also fuels the anti-science groups that claim conspiracies to hide the 'truth'.


Both sides have convincing arguments and research to back it up. They have good answers to the seemingly contradictory research that the other side uses. They both provide a consistent picture.

One or both of the theories has to be wrong but I cannot decide. I can learn and read all about it and take both viewpoints into account but I still cannot decide. I could do my own research but I would come up with one or the other answer depending on what data I look at but it's not better than what I have already.

What should I do?

This is a real problem because science cannot provide the correct answer. It is more about choosing a side and sticking with it than about finding the truth.


For me it’s simple ... I ask myself what did my grandparents used to eat?

I’m not from the US and in our country the industrialization of the food supply happened much later, along with obesity and diabetes, which back in my grandparents’ time were very rare. My grandparents lived on the countryside, working on their farm, raising their own crops and animals.

Grandpa died at 99 years old and worked his land until 95.

He ate 6 to 8 eggs per day (they had a lot of chickens). Meat was more expensive, sacrificing an animal about once per week, but they were cooking with lard and butter all the time. They also had plenty of milk and cheese from their own goat or cow. You know, the kind of really fat milk that you can’t find in stores. They also drank their own wine, daily.

They were not eating sugar. Or vegetable oils.


If only it were that simple. Consider the lifestyles. If you're willing to live the same lifestyle and same environmental conditions, the same diet variables could potentially lead to similar lifespan.

But in lieu of the same conditions, the logic to consume same diet isn't that sound.


I think the inspiration one should take from their grandparents and further back, is to avoid over-processed foods and highly refined foods.

They didn't eat ready-made processed meals loaded with salt and sugar, they didn't drink soda except on rare occasions, they didn't eat nearly the same amount of candy that we do today.

I'm only 33 and from my childhood I remember soda as a rare treat that was saved for birthdays and other special occasions, or if my dad and I had been working in the garden or on a DIY project. Very few things are more satisfying than a well-deserved ice-cold sugary fizzy drink while taking a break from hard work.

Soda was a luxury we didn't get every day, and 25cl was the standard serving size. Anything smaller than a 33cl can seems to be exceedingly rare now, and usually people go for the 50+cl bottles.

Our habits are completely out of whack.


This is absolutely the right approach to nutrition in my opinion.


Lots of "science" and "research" is obviously and gratuitously corrupt. People who ignore politicized research results (like, for example, the "food pyramid" or pretty much anything out of psychology or nutrition "research") are the sane ones.


This is wrong. Is there nothing to know or learn about nutrition? Yes, it’s hard and there is a lot of bad stuff out there, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.


I didn't say we should not try to get better at knowing things about nutrition. I said we shouldn't trust most of the "results" in this topic. This is trivially correct unless you believe eggs both cause and cure heart attacks.


> This is trivially correct unless you believe eggs both cause and cure heart attacks.

Sure, but like often the case, it could be more complicated than that; different people can react differently to foods.


This is way bigger than sugar or even one segment of research.

In one sense maybe but it's hard for any one other factor to be larger than sugar in contributing to the decline of American (and world-wide) health.


> decline in world-wide health

Wat. Data please.


Every nation that switches to a western (American) diet gets fat.


American, maybe. Western, really?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/bigthink.com/two-maps-and-one-g...

It seems that obesity in Europe affects 1/4 to 1/5, while in the US is 1/3. The EU country with highest incidence of obesity is alse the one that is famous for its lack of a (decent) food culture, the UK.

As an Italian, I find it hard to convince myself that US obesity problems have one single cause to blame, sugar, rather than a food culture that is generally bent towards the childishly fancy: grilled meat, fried stuff, overwhelming sauces, the super-fatty, the uber-sugary, no vegetables and very little home cooking.


American food culture suffers from the same problem that afflicts the American culture in general: the infatuation with big: big cars, big army, big dicks, big coffee-mugs, big tits. And big soft-drinks.

No surprise they have an obesity problem. Of course Americans are also usually nice people in a big way, let's not forget.


> big cars, big army, big dicks, big coffee-mugs, big tits. And big soft-drinks.

One of these things is not like the others...

Buying big soft drink bottles instead of small is both cost-effective (as they're usually cheaper per liter) and a plastic saving measure.

(What I particularly dislike about modern consumerism is the infatuation with small: small bags of chips, small bags of fruits, individually-packaged sausages, small bottles of drinks, small bottles/bags of cosmetics, etc. Combined with disposability of packaging, it's just a huge generator of plastic waste.)


I like small for consumption on the go, such as waiting for a train or bus, without wasting food/drink or overeating ... But I do agree with you about plastic waste. I'd prefer some other packaging solution, such as if a snack vending machine could sanitarily transfer the contents of a bag of chips to my own reusable, washable, foldable (when empty) snack bag. No, I don't have a good practical answer right now.


Not a bad idea. Nobody seems to have a problem with the coffee bean dispensing bins at the grocery store, so maybe this isn't that far out.


I think the person you're answering to is talking about big cup of soft-drink, rather than big bottle. As in, big portions, not big stock.

Edit: I agree with your complaint about packaging, but it's another problem that's not uncompatible


> "Buying big soft drink bottles instead of small is both cost-effective"

True, but bigger serving sizes have been shown to increase consumption. If you reduce soft-drink serving sizes from 500ml to 350ml, for example, most people will not purchase two - and will consume less overall.


> Buying big soft drink bottles instead of small is both cost-effective

Carbonated drinks fizzle out quickly and they don't taste that good afterwards. So, if you buy bigger bottles, you are inclined to drink more so it doesn't go to waste.


Not buying soft drinks is much better, both cost efficiency, environmental impact and health.


America also lacks the density of Europe, the public transportation and the generally walkable and bikable built environments. It's probably not merely our lousy diets.


Have a read of books by Nina Teicholz or Gary Taubes. In there is a mountain of data showing the correlation of diets to adopting the national dietary recommendation (which vilified fats).

They all make a great case that fat is good for you (proper fat like animal, not vegetables oils which really aren't from vegetables at all).

You're right it's more than just sugar, it's carbs in general. Which includes French fries, pizza etc. The sauces they have tend to be loaded with sugar also.

One can still be healthy eating no vegetables and just meat. Just cut out carbs. And eat lots of organ meats which have high vitamin content (more than vegetables).

Another problem with cutting the fat is that vitamins are fat soluble. So no fat makes it harder to absorb.


>roper fat like animal, not vegetables oils which really aren't from vegetables at all

Why is the oil not from vegetables?


I’m guessing they mean they’re oftentimes from seeds.


And seeds are not vegetables?


Vegetables are really usually seed oils like sunflower oil and so aren't vegetables at all really. Although you can get oils from the vegetable part of the plant. They are called vegetable oils though and not seed oils as a marketing ploy to help sell them. To make them it involves an extreme process which leaves them volatile and so when cooked transform into so many strange and potentially damaging components.

Hence you would rather use more stable animal oils like fat or oil from process that aren't so extreme like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil etc.

Calling them vegetable oils is a misnomer to help sell them. I bet just like in the original article, and just like transfats, it will come to light that these mass selling "vegetable" oils are also damaging. It took 90 years for them to admit transfats were bad and now replaced animal fats with vegetables oils.


I don’t know, I don’t think most people classify them or nuts as vegetables, but I don’t know whether they are.


>One can still be healthy eating no vegetables and just meat.

Haha wow. Citation absolutely needed.


Big community on reddit about it https://www.reddit.com/r/zerocarb


zerocarb


US life expectancy is dropping. Globally obesity is on the rise. Those things are correlated.


Many others exist. Leaded gasoline is a big one.


Leaded gas was a big one, AGW denial is a big one.


The reason things like leaded fuel, cigarettes, DDT, CFCs (freon), and countless other conspiracies were so egregious is because 'influencers' were able to convince authoritative figures and the media to conspire in misleading the public. People, as in unaffiliated individuals, ought be free to believe whatever they want to. The problem is when authoritative figures are saying things they don't actually believe, generally because of some sort of a kickback. There have been a handful of instances there such as with 'Willie' Wei-Hock Soon, but for the most part everything has been, more or less, on the up and up - at least so far as we know for certain as of today. However, the media and authoritative figures are predominately in favor of AGW. Thus the conspiracy, if one were to exist, would be these individuals stating things they felt to be either untrue, or not as strongly supported as claimed.


People will probably deride me for saying this, but there's a legitimate criticism to be made of the ability for reasonable people to question global warming alarmism.

In my mind, I dont believe people have changed. People are still religious, our priests are just getting smarter at it by making more sensible crusades (and one that has legitimate environmental and especially world-security implications with respect to Russia standing to gain enormous competitive advantage). The politicians and Leonardo DiCaprio's flying around the world on private jets on one day flights to pick up participation trophies (yes, for global warming) see you as cattle, just as always. If they cared, the state of governance: corporatism and cronyism would be the exception.


I'd tend to agree, but I wonder if it's not really our priests getting better or smarter - but rather that this is the first time that the internet has brought issues to everybody's front door. For instance we all know about leaded fuel and can tell the stories of what happened, but I don't think anybody can imagine what it would have been like to really experience such a thing, let alone to actively interact with others on the topic. And stories are also always going to be told with hindsight bias, even when trying to avoid such things.

Whatever the outcome of things like global warming, I just hope that the internet leaves more of a living record that people can try to learn and understand what it was like to experience this while living through it. We need many more organizations like archive.org. They, in the long run, may be providing one of the most relevant services in our society today. Here [1] is an archive of this site from 12 years ago. Outside of historical record it's also just remarkably interesting browsing. Now imagine when that is from 100 years ago, or 1000.

[1] - https://web.archive.org/web/20070221033032/http://news.ycomb...


What's AGW?


Google says "Anthropogenic Global Warming", the concept that human activity has an impact on global warming


Scientists lied about sugar, maybe they're also lying about anthropogenic global warming. They were also wrong about lead, mercury, asbestos, DDT.


Not sure what you're saying, there was never a doubt about lead or mercury or asbestos harmfulness, the scientists are not the one putting it to market or regulating it.


I agree. The whole point about science is that you can look at the data and not have to take things on authority. If they faked their data, then that is one thing, but if they had real data, then this is just a part of science.


For years I've essentially not consumed sugar except for that in vegetables etc.

I still suffer from this rubbish though: 1. I often can't find any meat in the supermarket that has not been denatured by having the fat removed. 2. I reject a lot of products which I suspect I'd like because they have added sugar. 3. I have to tamp down on my anger when I hear somebody rabbiting on about the dangers of fat.

Humans truly are a stupid species.

Best to ignore "Public Health" advice, too much of it is demonstrably idiocy.


> 1. I often can't find any meat in the supermarket that has not been denatured by having the fat removed.

Youtuber Thomas Delauer makes the case that this is not such a big deal since you can always mix lean meat with other sources of fat (like butter or coco nut oil).

Also I once heard that toxins are accumulated in fat tissue so if you eat animals that were poorly fed (for instance cows fed with grains instead of grass), by only eating lean cuts you dodge that bullet.

The ideal meat might come from extinct megafauna anyway : I'm personally seduced by the theory that the neolithic revolution was some kind of a hack we had to pull off when we hunted down all big game to extinction at the end of the last glaciation.


Unless that extinction was not due to human intervention at all, but rather a cataclysmic event causing the Younger Dryas cooling. Maybe the meteor that created the Hiawatha crater on Greenland. [0]

Which doesn't really contradict your theory though, only your reason for the megafauna extinction.

[0] https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/695704


It's a debated issue among paleontologists, IIRC. Surely, human hunting did not help those species anyway. We also know for sure that in more recent times humans hunted many species of large animals to extinction (like giant birds), so until a definitive evidence is provided, to me the hunting hypothesis gets a high prior probability.

It also seems that most mass extinctions were not due to a single factor anyway, but to a combination of factors. So, yeah.


“Humans are a stupid species”

I was just now in a little farm watching animals being fed as a group (goats, llamas etc). They all fought each other over the food despite the fact there were enough for all of them, and this event happens multiple times a day. They can’t learn not to spend energy fighting based on past experience.

One week ago I flew 11 hours in a plane on high altitude and arrived safely in my destination.

My point is, let’s give some credit to our species. We’re trying and life is hard.


I was listening to the car radio only yesterday, tuned into a mainstream station and an advert came on for one of the major supermarkets. The gist of the advert was the holiday seasons had passed and you might be looking to lose some of the "excesses" e.g. body fat, so why not get some x brand low fat (high sugar) yogurts, six for the price of four.

I just said to myself, how can they get away with putting out a clear lie and one that is a health hazard.


The general public is still largely stuck in the past and actually thinks low fat foods == non-fattening foods. So it's effective marketing.


Yet another example of marketing being way underregulated and generally harmful to society.


>often can't find any meat in the supermarket that has not been denatured by having the fat removed

I generally find that to be the tastiest, since I can use way more butter or oil when cooking it.


> I have to tamp down on my anger when I hear somebody rabbiting on about the dangers of fat.

Tell me about. Fat fear mongering, fat less skin less chicken. I love myself fat. When I eat fat , I have a stable energy levels all through out the day, but as soon as Carb(bread, grains etc not the veggies) kicks in, I crash.


I'm prone to cholesterol, I wish I could turn to fat like you do.


We (UCSF) have a lovely database of internal food industry documents for those of you wanting to search for, and discover, new dirt :)

Also, we've got tobacco and chemical industry collections!

https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/food/


Thanks for the link - that is quite a resource.


And 50 years later I still struggle to find yogurt that hasn’t been stripped of its fat at office snack fridges.


I often struggle to find yoghurt for children that is flavoured but not intensely sweetened... though even that's beginning to change in Australia with some great options from a few different brands.

Look at these macros—pretty impressive for a kids food:

http://www.tamarvalleydairy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Screen...

Unfortunately they only sell it in pouches—no option to buy the same product in a large tub.


Yogurt is fairly easy to make at home, especially with electric pressure cookers like instant pot.

Then you can guarantee what goes into it.


You can make Kefir very easily. Is similar to yogurt but tastes better because it has also some additional yeast fermentation to the lactic acid.You do not need any device, just a lockable container and the bulb.


Where do you get cultures (or determine which are naturally present)?


just buy yogurt with live cultures. back when I used to make my own yogurt I would just put a tablespoon of dannon into a gallon of whole milk.


If you look at the box, it'll say active culture present. Any yoghurt with active culture will do. Once you have your first batch ready, you can reuse it.


And home made yogurt tastes sooooooo good.


I like to buy Bulgarian or Greek yoghurt and add jam to it. That way you can control the sugar content. Those types of yoghurts in particular also have a great, slightly sour taste that is great on its own once you get used to the relative lack of sweetness.


It's much cheaper to get a large tub of plain, unsweetened yogurt and add jam/honey/whatever to taste.


If the milk is good,almost probably good milk can find in Australia,, if that is your wish ate certain point, you can heat it until is hard(it kind of start to feel burn), to stay more than 10 seconds or around with finger immerse in milk.

Maybe for 3 liters of Milk you can use 2 around 200ml plain "natural" white yougurt cheaply sold.

I add honey most everyday, once a month brown sugar, or for variety aswell sugar cane syrup(what is superb, I have to say) on ocasions. First time better use only 1 liter of Milk only, to avoid waste if the mission goes unplannedly, for lack of training.

:for flavor: Is good for kids add redberries, or other color small berries, for adults, for magnesium, Almonds.


I rather suspect this is because the market for butter creates a complementary market for skim milk.

Skim milk isn't great, so the producers have little choice but to heavily market 'low-fat' products.

There's only so much ricotta that the market will bear.


I've never understood the market for skimmed milk; normal milk has so little fat anyway, it seems pointless to remove any, especially since it ruins the flavour.

I can only guess that the milk producers want that milk fat for something else, butter and cream perhaps, so created an artificial market by claiming skimmed is healthier.


The taste or lack thereof depends entirely on what you’re used to. I drink semi-skimmed 1.5% milk; 0% milk tastes really bland and ~3% milk is way too sweet and rich-tasting. But IME it doesn’t take long for your taste to adjust to either lower or higher fat content. Anyway, to me it makes perfect sense to separate the cream for other uses (what would be the alternative of selling the skimmed milk? Just throwing it away?)


I'm surprised anyone would actually want to drink skimmed milk. Semi-skimmed at least still tastes like milk, but skimmed tastes very watery (to me, at least).

> what would be the alternative of selling the skimmed milk? Just throwing it away?

Huh, hadn't thought of it that way!


Some people (myself included) just prefer the taste of skim milk. I know it’s not healthier - compared to whole milk, it doesn’t fill you up but it has the same amount of sugar and almost the same amount of calories - but I still enjoy it more.


As bizarre as it sounds it is possible to buy lactose-free whole milk (from cows) that has half the sugar of skim. (It's still more calories per serving.)


My daughter is lactose intolerant and drinks this - it does indeed have less sugar, and the taste is still really similar to normal whole milk.


One case where I like skimmed milk is when I'm using it to accompany a peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich. I get plenty of fat from the peanut butter, and a modest amount of healthier unrefined sugar from the banana and honey, but in that context my meal doesn't need the extra calories from the milk fat and already has enough strong flavours that the milder taste of skimmed milk works well.

And yes, I use the natural kind of peanut butter with just peanuts and sometimes salt. The bread is commercial loaf bread but of a healthier variety than white, with several whole grains and nontrivial protein, for example.


I personally don't mind. In fact, I look for yogurt that's low in fat and low in sugar as it tends to be high in protein and relatively low in calories, case in point FAGE Total 0%. 90 calories and 18g of protein in a 6oz. serving. Better than most protein bars.


Also, I might be alone in this, but I think the lower-fat FAGE yogurts (specifically the 2%) taste better than the full-fat one. They have a certain "tang" to them that isn't present in their whole milk yogurt, which I absolutely love for making sauces, dips, etc.


I don't think they taste better (I find them very claggy too), but I do think it tastes great, and it's the best low-fat yoghurt I've ever had, by a wide margin - and there isn't any added sugar, which is almost unheard of in low-fat yoghurt.


Low fat french kwark is what you want. It has like 20g of protein per 100g and is very low in calories. It taste great too (at least once you've added honey or a bit of jam).


FAGE and Chobani seem to be the best of supermarket yogurts (and Yoplait the worst).


I'm glad Whole Foods has this - https://www.instacart.com/whole-foods/products/163404-white-... - it's pretty much the only reason I go to Whole Foods, as prefer Trader Joe much more (but they don't have it there)...


Siggi's skyr is pretty good, too. A bit more calories and a bit less protein (110 cal, 15g protein), but definitely tastes better than the 0% fat FAGE, in my opinion.


Yogurt in America really sucks.

They're either "Greek" (strained yogurt), which tastes horrible IMO, or sweetened to death with artificial flavors.

I just want some "traditional" types that are sweetened by just sugar with no whey or whatever stripped out.


You should try to find this one - https://www.instacart.com/whole-foods/products/163404-white-... - I'm bulgarian, and this one while not perfect is pretty close to my taste.


Thank you, will try.


There’s one that I think is local to the Bay Area, but you might be able to find something similar: Pavel’s Russian Style (full fat). It is excellent.


... and no added sugar, or "fruits" in it...


Relevant talks by Robert Lustig:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmC4Rm5cpOI "Sugar -- the elephant in the kitchen" (20 minutes, year 2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" (90 minutes, year 2009)


The guy is a quack. Bunch of stuff he says in his Bitter Truth talk is false.

For example, Japanese consume much more fructose sugars than an average USA citizen. He somehow skipped that, when he used the Japanese as an example of healthy diet people. Japanese individuals consume 1000kcal less than USA daily average. That's probably the only thing that matters.


Lustig's "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" talk when it first appeared on YouTube completely changed my attitude towards refined sugars. I highly recommend it.

My parents are European, in childhood my mother (and her mother) would regularly give up sugar completely for months at a time to control their weight. They weren't scientific people, and couldn't explain any of the mechanisms or anything - but they taught us kids that sugar and sweets make you fat. It was not treated as any special lesson or profound knowledge, it was basic common sense back in their home country. I vividly remember them riffing me for putting so much ketchup on hotdogs or hamburgers whenever we grilled american style, saying it's mostly sugar (and I was getting fat...).

As a result I've always controlled my sugar intake in adulthood, but the Lustig video gave a scientific explanation for the mechanism of action behind my inherited vague understanding of sweetened foods being fattening. I went from somewhat moderating consumption to avoiding it and refined carbs in general like the plague. My health has improved substantially. It was impactful enough that I emailed Robert Lustig to thank him years later, he even replied.


I'm European. Is it not common sense in the rest of the world that sweet things make you fat? Wow.


I don't know about the rest of the world, but the American public has been heavily misinformed on myriad subjects. My European parents were constantly baffled by how unexpectedly bad it was, with my father often wondering aloud how they won the war.

Raising a family here isn't ideal, but the economy is strong arguably because of the poorly-informed, convenient-entertainment obsessed, consumer society. It's a great place to start businesses and/or earn money. This is what attracted my parents to leave Europe, but they were very young and hadn't predicted how potentially bad the culture and education would be, and seemed to regret not raising us kids back in the motherland.


Do you know other examples of such misinformation?


An obvious one which comes to mind from childhood memories is the campaigns surrounding the effects of tobacco smoke. The industry flooded the media with misinformation for a number of years, and it was incredibly effective at turning smoking into a divisive topic where smokers were fighting for something by embracing ignorance just to spite the non-smokers / be "free". It was a serious battle just to get smoking banned from common interior spaces like restaurants then bars, that wasn't very long ago. It's insane.

I don't think I need to make some kind of exhaustive list here. Climate change is another obvious large-scale disinformation campaign.

EVs vs. gas vehicles is another particularly hot one over the last decade. Countless times I've seen a talking head on a screen claiming EVs are no better, that it's just a longer tail pipe. Completely disregarding the fact that EVs enable options for clean energy production, an impossibility when everyone's physicaly driving the actual oil combustors. Even if we continued using fossil fuels to generate electricity, you can do it a lot more efficiently without being space, safety, and weight constrained like you are under the hood of an automobile. Not even considering solar/wind it's an obvious win.

This stuff is so effective on a large subset of the population because we don't do a good job educating people and have long had a strong culture of celebrated ignorance. We don't optimize for producing skeptical, critical-thinking folks in our public education system. Such people don't make good consumers, it's bad for business.

An unfortunate effect is when you optimize your population for consumerism/business interests, and politicians are marketed for elections through the same means as commercial products, you don't really have a democracy anymore. It's just something going through the motions of being a democracy. The influence is too reliable and its control too concentrated. The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal is a good example of how bad it's gotten.


The conversation around this in the US has been almost entirely around fat, until relatively recently.


I've known and talked about the latter one for years. I can't follow all the science, but a surprising amount is comprehensible and the conclusions are always straightforward. The takeaway: it's sugar that makes you fat, and all sugar is sugar. There's NO advantage to other forms like fruit sugars etc, it might as well all be high fructose corn syrup.


I grew up somewhere else and came to US when I was 18 for college. One thing that struck me was, people add sugar to their yogurt. All my life I added salt to my yogurt. I mean, I was perfectly familiar with fruit yogurt, but adding straight up sugar was new to me. My favorite snack is adding cucumber, olive oil and tons of salt to yogurt. The first time my American roommate from LA saw me eating this, he literally lost himself. He almost puked. He said "this is so against the idea of yogurt. Yogurt must be eaten sweet".


While yogurts in America are indeed way too sweet, sweet yogurt is definitely not just an American thing.

I, also from somewhere in another hemisphere, never heard of "salty yogurt".

(By sweet yogurt, of course people (American or not) normally don't "add sugar" on-the-fly. It is done during making the yogurts.)


Adding salt to something sweet can make it taste sweeter and better.

Try sprinkle a dash of flu de sel over your m deserts next time and watch them pop.

Or a bit of salt on some strawberries before eating.

Fact your saliva is about 0.04% saline so any food not at that level will taste a little bland.


I'm from Bulgaria, and as kid my grandmother would add sugar, but then no longer. Some people put salt...

Here are other things you can do: Just take yogurt and mix it with water 1:1 (or try different ratios) - shake it, or use a spoon - and make sure it's cold (tastes better). Now this drink can be found (usually persian stores), and some of it might have added salt.

Then add some mashed garlic, cut cucumbers + some more things and you have TARATOR - https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/233760/bulgarian-tarator-c... - also some people like it more watery, some not.

Then you have the greek Tzatziki, or if you like mousaka (greek, bulgarian, or any kind) you can have on the side yogurt to dress.

Best is, but I avoid it now (due to my lowcarb diet) - BANITSA (or spanakopita, or similar) with it - or pastry.

Or just have it as morning drink...


No I don't think it's exclusively American, as I said I was familiar with fruit yogurts (which is basically yogurt + sugar + "fruit flavors"). My American roommates would add sugar to their yogurts "on the fly", like one of them added cane sugar, and the other added honey.


many cultures have these types of differences.

in Japan beans are a sweet dish (sugar added). Many other places they are savory (Mexico)

In South East Asia avocados are a sweat dish (avocado smoothies/ice cream) where as many other places they are used in savory dishes


    people add sugar to their yogurt
We do this in France (at least, kids do and some adults), even with a (I think) decent food/cooking culture


  people add sugar to their yogurt.
I literally have never seen this.

For my own use, sugar stats are my top criteria for rejecting yogurt.


I think you misunderstood. Buying yogurt with sugar in it is "adding sugar to yogurt". Someone had to do it for you.


In French cantines, yoghurt is either sweetened beforehand or packs of sugar are available. It's very common to add sugar after opening, but it makes little difference with sweetened yoghurt (at least in taste).


He maybe thought that Americans invented yogurt...


While there is no doubt that this happened, any one has any idea why there was no reverse push from the fat industry? Was it less organized than the sugar industry or were the profit margins more slender?


> While there is no doubt that this happened, any one has any idea why there was no reverse push from the fat industry?

The "fat" industry is the animal agriculture industry and it has heavily swayed and influenced American dietary guidelines for decades.

Various food industries presented their side of the argument at a second senate hearing in 1977. This meeting resulted in a watered down version of the Dietary Goals, with less emphasis on reducing meat and dairy products. The American Medical Association also protested the McGovern Report, because it said that providing this basic knowledge on what we should eat might interfere with the medical doctor’s right to prescribe, even though doctors then, and now, know nothing about human nutrition. The effects of the McGovern Report were widespread, and as a result, the consumption of meat, eggs, and milk fell, temporarily.

Industries fought back successfully with every means at their disposal, including hiring lobbyists, purchasing medical and nutrition experts, launching huge advertising campaigns, driving the nutrition education of our children with their bias, and funding nutrition research that favored their products. Their success can be measured by the US food availability data, which documents an increase in mean daily total energy intake from 2,057 kcal in 1970, to 2,405 kcal in 1990, and 2,674 kcal in 2008. We eat more oil, meat, and dairy now than when the McGovern Report was published in 1977. The incidence of obesity and type-2 diabetes has both doubled in that same period of time. These figures are undeniable evidence that industry won and Americans lost.

https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2012nl/oct/mcgovern.htm


Total animal food consumption declined, as advised by guidelines...

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DxMoxXqWsAAjlso.jpg:large


Here's a conjecture - "Sugar" is a product. There is an industry and a lobby for that. Fat is not really a single product (meat, edible oil, chocolate etc.), so probably there was no single lobby which could co-ordinate the effort. Now there is a lot of effort from the meat industry to promote particular diets, so that's perhaps a form of "pushback".


The keto/paleo/etc. diet fads almost certainly are supported in part by the meat industry.


FWIW, I don't think low carb diets are fad, they're here to stay.

I agree with the last point though.


There was no push back because it benefitted them.

By villifying fat, they were able to remove naturally occurring fat from whole foods and turn it into new products to sell consumers.

The public didn't stop consuming fat, they continued consuming fat but it was spread across a greater variety of food stuffs.

An obvious example is skim milk, it's practically water. They don't throw the fat away, it goes into other products like cheese, which people who drink skim milk also buy and consume.

Sugar didn't replace fat in the diet, it displaced fat from some foods, then more foods were added to the diet containing the displaced fat. Sugar just joined the party across the board.


Maybe the "industry" is too fragmented? Although the best fat to eat is leaf lard from pigs (the secret to a really good pie crust), the fat we consume comes in a variety of meat products, oils of numerous plants, nuts including avocados, etc.


You do see studies coming up from time to time about the benefits of this oil or that oil (e.g. olive oil). I suspect the science is similarly biased.


My mother was a head nurse / nurse practitioner before she retired and to this day she is a fountain of unwanted, long disproved (or at least questioned) nutritional "facts" which she repeats endlessly.

The one that has grated on me for decades is old propaganda from WWII about carrots promoting eye health and bestowing night vision... though fats are easily in her top five evil substances list.

There is literally nothing I've been able to do to change behavior, including keeping an entire directory full of publications of studies refuting whatever falsehood she's spouting to read out loud at the dinner table when I come to visit.


This undue exaggeration about sugar lobby influence has been thoroughly debunked - http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6377/747

Aside, it is really a shame how reductionist the popular view of nutrition is that we come to scapegoating "fat" or "sugar". T. Colin Campbell says it well:

This is reductionist experimentation that encourages the development of out-of-context remedies targeted to one risk factor or one causal event at a time, a recipe for failure. Reductionist experimentation is valuable for understanding nutrient structure and function, but it too often encourages endless speculation and confusion caused by highly subjective, personal preferences as to which factor to favor in research and to offer to the market.

https://nutritionstudies.org/fallacious-faulty-foolish-discu...


You read the article or the abstract? I read the abstract. It doesn't (to me) actually rebut all and any conspiracy theories it rebuts some and says people went too far. It doesn't say there was no industry shilling or industry funded science distortion.

What do you think it says?

I'm not a believer in a single grand sugar conspiracy. I am a believer in industry lobbying distortions in science funding. It's common for any industry with downside risks to consider funding science which suits their message.

Why do you think we have an issue across science about non publication of negative results and hiding datasets?


> there is a serious danger in interpreting the inevitable twists and turns of research and policy as the product of malevolent playbooks and historical derailments.

Neither malevolence nor conspiracy need be invoked to fear sugar lobby influence. A simple confluence of strong incentives and ambiguity in nutrition science is sufficient. It's entirely possible for sugar lobbyists to believe their products are safe and wholesome and channel funding to scientists and institutions that believe the same.

All we need to be concerned is

1. A finding that a powerful and concentrated industry is providing massive funding to research and regulatory bodies at all levels.

2. A recognition that their motivated reasoning is at least as powerful as our own.

No mustache twirling villains need apply.


Nutrition is so much more nuanced than any of us really know. Everytime I think i know something, I learn more details and learn that there's even more to it.

Sure, Sugar can be acceptable if you use it responsibly. You can even safely consume a Soda if you're in a glycogen depleted state such as after a marathon or from 16 hours of fasting. But, do you really wanna waste you're precious calorie/sugar alotment for the day on a soda?

In any case, it's good that people are starting to think about these things, the pros and cons. Hopefully, people can learn why it's good/bad and thus enable them to make better decisions the next time they need something sweet.

On a related note, I heard Dr. Berg say, sugar craving are a sign that your body is not getting enough potassium. Evolutionarily that would make sense, since fruits are higher in potassium than almost anything else except vegetables.


> "Sure, Sugar can be acceptable if you use it responsibly. You can even safely consume a Soda if you're in a glycogen depleted state such as after a marathon or from 16 hours of fasting."

Of __all__ the soda consumed what percentage would you image falls into this loop hole?

The reality is, sugar (and carbs) for many people are not consumed responsibly. And give the degree of irresponsibility, 99.9% of these people aren't running a marathon or fasting for 16 hours.


OO I'll guess... I'll say... 0.0015%.... .. .. that also might be generous...… and that no one who has just completed a marathon or 1/2 or any portion _wants_ to drink anything other than water or maybe the saltiest flavor of Gatorade or powerade that exists... seriously after a lot of physical exertion I'd far rather see a deer salt lick and a bucket of water than an infinite vending machine of anything...


>You can even safely consume a Soda if you're in a glycogen depleted state such as after a marathon

You “could” but that will also not help, and actually hurt, with the natural inflammation from running. If you ran the marathon in ketosis, you really wouldn’t be in a “glycogen depleted State” - even though that’s what ketosis generally is - because your body and brain are primarily running on ketones and internally producing all the minimal glucose the body/brain actually require.

In either case after a marathon your muscles will be catabolic, so protein is good, and of course water/electrolytes. But really it should be telling your example of using sugar responsibly is after running a marathon.


> But, do you really wanna waste you're precious calorie/sugar alotment for the day on a soda?

No, but 1 can (maybe 100-160 calories), isn’t close to most people’s daily calorie burn.

Sure it might push you over the limit, all other things being equal, and it doesn’t do you much good (aside from the water content), but it’s not going to kill you.


My dad used to tell me this story of how when he was in his 20s he had a can of drink and he was looking away at something and as he looked back at the can to take another sip he just saw a bee crawling inside the can.

Never say never.


Was he deathly allergic to bee stings?


I’m curious, does that assessment include the difference between glucose and fructose?

My mental model was more that pure glucose is rather safe (given healthy insuline response) while fructose should be avoided even after a 16h fast.


The Science rebuttal raises an interesting philosophical question - if evidence about industry influence is not slam-dunk, as it asserts SRF's influence here was not[1] - then to what extent is it appropriate that meta-conversations about nutrition science invoke external "machinations" to strengthen scientific shifts? For example, if, say >95% of the shift from "bad fat" to "bad sugar" was driven by improved scientific methodology (which the Science article seems to suggest), it seems like a risk of disproportionately highlighting the remaining negligible influence may artificially support the new status quo.

[1] "As we have also shown, the sugar industry approached Hegsted only after learning of the results of his dairy industry–backed study suggesting that fat and not sugar was a factor in heart disease. “There was no, ‘We’ll get money from them and make the results come out this way,’” recalled Lown, who worked in the department. “It didn’t happen that way,” he said."


This is reductionist experimentation that encourages the development of out-of-context remedies targeted to one risk factor or one causal event at a time, a recipe for failure.

I don't think you can compare fat and sugar. Sugar is a specific refined product. It's existed a rare thing for only a couple thousand years and one that's been common for at best a couple hundred years. The association of high sugar diets with diabetes is pretty strong, as an example of potential harm. The complete elimination of refined sugar from one's diet is fairly practical.

Fat, broadly has been part of the human diet since before the evolution of modern humans. It's something that can't really eliminated and certainly shouldn't be.

So, this "no reductionism" argument is fairly crude itself, reductionist-even, actually.


> Sugar is a specific refined product. It's existed a rare thing for only a couple thousand years

This sounds frankly absurd to me. Sucrose- the normal white sugar- simply breaks down into glucose and fructose; all three sugars- sucrose, glucose and fructose- are found in all fruits in 8-15% proportion on weight (much more for dried fruit, of course). They have always been part of our diet, even before we started hunting animals. It's not because you see it as a white powder it's right to assume it's a new ingredient in our diet. It's not.


More than "reductionist" I'd call it naive. It's the same mental short circuit that's behind the usual "this one weird trick" and "doctors hate her": the idea, or dream, that we can find a single culprit- and therefore a single solution- for all our problems. One time it's fat you shouldn't eat, then it switches to sugars, then you should eat proteins, etc.


I dunno. You know… my grandpa drank a 5th of whiskey a day and smoked one cigar a day until the day he died. Age 102. Sometimes I think that you enjoy the heck out of life and don't worry about anything. Shrug. I hope genetics matters more :)


Not sure why you're downvoted. There is a guy by the name of Peter Attia who has spent a lot of time studying centenarians and his conclusion has basically been, these people won the genetic lottery for longevity. He of course thinks those of us who aren't so lucky with genes can achieve similar results through diet and exercise. Very interesting stuff.


The question is do you want to play against the averages (smokers more likely to die sooner for example), or above them - it comes to a personal choice. What isn’t a personal choice is how little we control the environment in formative years. Kids growing up with parents that are told cheap carbs are healthy are gonna have a hard time changing later when it turns out it’s not healthy at all.


I don't disagree with you. I just wanted to give the first poster I responded to some credit. There needs to be a balance between quantity and quality of life. For some, they will enjoy drinking and smoking. Personally, I think meditation and mindfulness is a better path. But quality of life matters a lot.

Edit: I also didn't mean to imply that I think the key to a long life is simply not worrying. The key to a long life is definitely a combination of genetics and how well you take care of yourself. But part of taking care of yourself is worrying less.


I do think stress plays a role. Full disclosure, I work out every day and eat pretty healthy, I am not dismissing science, just saying, enjoying life is, IMHO, and important component. Enjoy your time on this planet. It is wonderous, all the beauty and ugliness are in an existential way, amazing.


I think people want to feel like they have some control over their fate. I certainly do. But, I am not sure that the data supports that. But, for me, in a situation where the data is not conclusive, maybe the best thing is to enjoy your time. I admit I could be wrong.


I'd wager most people already have a daily battle with their own waistline long before they are worried about longevity.

And there's much, much more to life than longevity, like day-to-day quality of life. If you focus on that, then longevity is just a bonus, even if it's true that you have no control over it.

You certainly have control over quality of life, though. And indulgence tends to hamstring that for short-term gain.

I'm in my 30s which is apparently when all the chickens start flocking home to roost from lifestyle decisions. It's sad to see a 35-year-old seat-ridden at the beach because of a smoking habit and obesity, winded from tossing a football around. Not sure my friend feels like that's the road to "enjoying the heck out of life".

Surely the key to life is getting to a point where you aren't dependent on vices like sweets and alcohol and food so that you can partake on your own terms, exercising total dominance over yourself.


Genetics, but not particularly uncommon genetics. I know so many people who smoked perpetually, drank hard, ate like birds, and lived in full physical health until their late 90s. Look at the Italians! The Japanese!

If I enjoyed smoking and drinking, I'd invest in that nutrition plan long before taking a stab at whatever the "scientists" and "nutritionists" are whoring out at the moment.


my grandfather did the same and died at 49. I'm sure you can find outliers to anything but alcoholics are not particularly known for longevity


Imagine how long he would have lives if he had NOT drunk a 5th of whiskey a day and smoked one cigar a day until the day he died. Age 102!!


This is pretty fucking evil considering how bad sugar is to the body.


So the sugarbusters people were right after all?


Milk industry did the same thing to make people think milk is good for people


Slightly related to research and meta-studies. The other day I was wondering: what stops a researcher from publishing random numbers (following some distribution they pick) as the results of their experiments?


Reproducibility. What's worrying is the surprisingly large number of papers that are not reproducible. Most of that is likely not because of fraud though.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002228281...


The general thing that's supposed to stop this is replication -- when an experiment is published, another researcher should be able to replicate the results.

Here's an example of researchers being caught doing exactly this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_contact_changes_minds


Not unheard of, but usually there are credentials and reputations behind researchers' names which other peer-reviewers/editors will know. Many articles are invited articles or follow-ups to previous articles. Seems very unlikely that most reputable scientists would put their careers on the line for provably fraudulent data when they can just p-hack or use biased methods on actual data. It's much easier to get caught fabricating, than cutting corners or using biased approaches.


Indeed. And now it's the turn of the Dairy industry. Many papers funded by Big Dairy in Canada and other places in the last few years.


I think PhDs don't necessarily realize how the world rely on them. You're pretty much out of school when you receive a PhD.


And if I remember from a nutritionist who posted here, the way we lose weight is by breathing CO2 out.

Food is extracted for its nutrients in our digestive tract and excreted. Yet the way we lose weight is by breathing.

(I cannot find the source of that claim)


All you're talking about is metabolism and respiration. All metabolism oxidizes fuel (broadly speaking, fats and sugars) and generates C02. Excluding anaerobic metabolism, which only happens in times of heavy exercise or hypoxia, all metabolism results in C02.




https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_respiration

It’s technically true that we (animals) can convert fat into CO2 and water.

But we burn this fat to release energy. If we don’t need this energy (if we consume more calories than we burn), the fat just accumulates.


Yes, this is true - and if you think about it, can't be any different way, really. I mean, where else would it go? No chemical reaction can destroy any noticeable amount of mass. Excretions - like peeing and pooping - don't carry out too much mass too. So how else you'd get rid of some mass?


I took Intro to Psychology in my mid to late twenties. We were required to participate in a study as part of the class. IIRC, the study was being performed by a grad student in pursuit of their degree.

So, really, both the "scientist" and subjects of the study were kind of compelled to participate. No one was there of their free will. We were all trying to tick off an educational checkbox on our way to a sheepskin in hopes of a better paycheck someday.

So they played some audio tape of a black person and white person talking. The theory was that they would switch the labels around and see if the same words were interpreted differently depending on whether you thought they were said by a black person or a white person.

The problem is that this was about as effective as switching the labels as to who was male and who was female on an audio recording of a discussion. None of us were fooled by labeling the black speaker "white." We could tell by the sound of their voice.

I participate regularly in unpaid surveys to get points for a reward program. They are often stupid questions like "Which pet would you prefer? A kitten? Or a puppy?" And I randomly click one when the real answer is "I'm not a pet person. I'm not likely to ever own either." But "None of the above" is never an option.

It's rare for me to see a survey that I feel is well designed and well executed. I think most of them are pretty sucktastic even before getting into questions of "Was this some Machiavellian plot?"

In many cases, it makes more sense to attribute it to unconscious bias or conflict of interest, not Machivellian plot. I rarely feel that the people involved are talented enough to successfully pull off some Machivellian plot. The grad student thought she was all clever at telling us the black guy was really white, as evidenced by how she behaved at the big reveal, while we looked at her like "I can't believe you think we were really fooled by this."

(I am not simply inferring this. Another student, coincidentally a black guy, outright told her "We weren't fooled. You can tell he's black when he speaks.")

Food interactions with the body are quite complex and there are myriad other factors involved. We really need to move past the fat vs sugar debate entirely. It's overly simplistic.


I'm not sure what a social science study has to do with a biology study.

If you feed rats sugar and 50% of them die of heart attacks and you have a control group where it's 10% you have found something about sugar and rats.

I'm not sure what the number in this case were but the sugar lobby scientists did a meta study where they used the logic in your post to throw out the studies that made sugar look bad, while keeping all the ones where it looked good.

At any rate the people who I've seen use the "It's just incompetence not malice" defense were most often both.


I've seen terrible logic errors in biology models as well. It just tends to be drama when I talk about those examples.

I have a form of cystic fibrosis. According to the CF Foundation website (last I looked), my body overproduces mucus and I am drowning in my own mucus and this is why lung clearance methods are prescribed.

I have seen exactly one study that concluded that people with CF actually underproduce mucus. This study makes more logical sense and fits with my first-hand experience that I'm sicker and cough more when my sinuses are too dry. I have more lung issues on days where my sinuses appear to have too little mucus, not too much.

It's more logical because mucus plays a critical role in the immune system in keeping out invaders and people with CF are chronically ill and infected due to a terribly compromised immune system.

I've seen at least two discussions on the internet where women with CF complained about vaginal dryness ruining their sex life. I have yet to see a woman with CF claim she left a mucus trail behind her like a giant garden slug and could comfortably have sex with ten men a day because she's just soaked all the time.

Yet, women with CF also complain of vaginal "goopiness."

Logically, the vaginal goopiness and the gunk filling the lungs of people with CF are both some form of phlegm or pus, not the body overproducing mucus. But that's not what the medical literature states. The medical literature illogically claims that I am merely overproducing mucus and drowning in my own mucus.

I'm getting well when the world says this can't be done, ergo my mental models are probably more accurate than the medical literature.

But I'm a former homemaker, so I am routinely told I'm crazy and making all of that up.

Whether you are talking racism or biology, our mental models for how it works shape outcomes. Weirdly, people seem to often think this is not true for biology.


I wouldn’t dismiss your claims, but I’d have some questions. First, have you had genetic testing to confirm that you have CF? If so, then that completely rules out a misdiagnoses of something presenting with a similar set of symptoms. Second I’d be curious what form of the disease you have, since that make make your experience different from someone elses’.

Concerns I’d have with accepting your theory about CF as it applies to people other than yourself (I’m not doubting your own experience) is that mucus and pus are fundamentally different, and this has been studied. For example one area of study is using various drugs to break down a key component of mucous called mucins, and this is based on assays of CF mucus. You would expect pus to be composed primarily of dead tissue and immune cells, especially neutrophils. No one is going to mistake a slide of pus and a slide of mucus, and no one will mistake a spectrograph of the two either.

In support of your idea is that the genetic basis for CF is known and can be replicated in tests, and the pathological mechanism involving over absorbing calcium and sodium ions is also known and reproduced. BUT... it’s also known that overproduction of mucus is not related directly to CFTR! What that means is that the observed overproduction is a secondary result of the underlying condition. That leaves room for the literature to be correct (probably) without accounting for all expressions of the disease. In other words you could be right, and so could the researchers and doctors.

One thing that occurs to me is that a thicker mucus as expected with CF might still create the perception of dryness. Accumulations or blockages resulting from it would be the result of overproduction, but still lead to poor “delivery on target” so to speak. It doesn’t help if one’s vagina is effectively dry because instead of producting a slippery material, an overly viscous substance is produced. Maybe in some people the net result is a lack of mucus where it needs to be, spread around, and resulting infections. It could be that the prognosis for people with a form less associated with overproduction also leads to a better prognosis, because it’s fundamentally an easier problem to solve than other forms or expressions.

It’s an interesting idea, although I’m sorry that you have to live with it.


Thank you.

First, have you have genetic testing to confirm that you have CF?

Unfortunately, no. I have had two or three blood tests that indicate I do not have any of the 100 most common alleles. Last I checked, there were 1600 known alleles. My insurance denied my CF specialist's request for a more comprehensive (and expensive) test from Stanford.

I was diagnosed with atypical cystic fibrosis at age 35 based on sweat chloride results and medical history.

My sweat chloride results were 41, as were my oldest son's. My understanding is that historically, below 40 was normal and above 80 was CF. The numbers in between were an undefined grey zone. At some point, they decided that this grey zone was a milder form of CF.

At the time that I was diagnosed, the life expectancy for CF was 36. I was diagnosed just before I turned 36.

So logically I shouldn't have any of the more common alleles. Those alleles really should result in a case of classical CF and have a more severe presentation.

My best understanding is that I have the same pattern of issues as classical CF, just less severe. The lessened severity combined with a late diagnosis meant I had my own mental models for what was going on with my health and allowed me to question what doctors were telling me.

Because CF is so deadly, most people with a diagnosis are terrified of questioning what they are told. I stopped participating on CF lists because they aren't places you can have a meaningful discussion of the science.

I've talked to a guy with a PhD in chemistry and a guy with a PhD in biology to help me understand a few things about how CF functions at the cellular level without having to deal with histrionics and hatred from people terrified of questioning the current mental models.

One thing that occurs to me is that a thicker mucus as expected with CF might still create the perception of dryness.

Mucus is supposed to be slippery. You can have thicker mucus from being dehydrated. Or it firms up to trap invaders.

If it is thick, it is either trapping something or it's incorrectly formulated. It can't do it's job.

People with CF are chronically infected. Logically, thickened mucus is a reflection of a high load of infection, at least in part.

it’s also known that overproduction of mucus is not related directly to CFTR! What that means is that the observed overproduction is a secondary result of the underlying condition.

I think most of what we think of as CF is really secondary, tertiary or further downstream effects.

If we had a condition called Pale Skin Disorder where you were chronically sunburned to the point of being at high risk of dying from skin cancer, you would have a lot of symptoms that aren't per se inherent to having pale skin.

If you are chronically infected your entire life and chronically malnourished your entire life because people don't know how to address issues with the CFTR, this will have consequences that aren't per se due to the defect in the CFTR.

No one is going to mistake a slide of pus and a slide of mucus, and no one will mistake a spectrograph of the two either.

No, of course not. But at what point does mucus become phlegm? How chemically deranged does mucus need to be before it gets recognized as not normal, healthy mucus? How many microbes does it need to contain to be considered some kind of drainage due to infection rather than mucus?

Phlegm is not pus. But they are both a form of infected drainage.

I don't have the language I want for the ideas I have, in part because I generally don't get meaningful engagement.

I'm trying to make a distinction that's clear in my mind.

When I'm adequately hydrated and have enough salt, etc, my mucus membranes are moist and I'm less infected.

I no longer have vaginal dryness either. I spent some time waking up worried that my period had started because dry was the norm. If it was wet, I was bleeding.

That fact did not prevent me from having vaginal discharge, including from frequent yeast infections. I no longer get yeast infections either.


Sad that this is getting down voted. Science is wonderful, and it's behind many incredible breakthroughs in modern technology, obviously.

But in my book, logic beats science every time. You can point to all the studies in the world, but if they conflict with my own literal experience, I am going to be at the very least skeptical of the science.


Thank you.

I wish people would actually engage me on the logic rather than acting like I must be crazy and making things up while they pretend such assumptions aren't some form of prejudice.

I'm starved for actual meaty engagement on such subjects. Like explain to me why you think I'm wrong instead of telling me I hallucinated my entire life and if I really do have CF and I really am getting well, it's 18 years of placebo effect and I couldn't possibly know what I'm talking about.

Fear me. I can apparently hallucinate my body into better health. Up next: Darth Vader Force chokehold, clearly.


You’re very articulate and it all makes sense. Science is about building better models and explanations of things which can be observed. It’s not about simple hypothesis testing. Read The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch if you’re interested in this subject. Please ignore the anonymous HN dilettantes.


Reading other replies to your original post is alternately enlightening and incredibly frustrating. So much armchair crap from people who have clearly never encountered anything outside of established science and so refuse to believe that anything outside of established science can exist! As if established science were somehow virgin birthed into existence, and not built upon centuries of painstaking observation and analysis.

Especially considering your form of CF is atypical, you'd think researchers would be tremendously interested in identifying a possibly conflated disease that presents with the same symptoms.


It's definitely very frustrating. In the good news column, this discussion is the most meaty engagement I've ever gotten and I'm generally pleased with this unexpected turn of events.

I think the most charitable reading I can give is that when I was much sicker, I tended to do a poor job of trying to present my case and "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." Hopefully the silver lining is that some people will recognize how much my writing has improved over time and will see my past typo-filled and often not very coherent posts as compared to later ones as evidence that my claim that I was very sick at one time and I've gotten healthier holds water and makes sense, even without ever meeting me in person.


Because this smacks of the same logic that people use to deduce things like "homeopathy works." Develop a hypothesis. Find a few people on the internet who support it. Badah bing badah boom you are now a quack.

The big problem with the GP's "logic" here is that, at least according to cursory googling (the best kind!), plenty of women with CF do report having thick vaginal mucous. Any doctor will tell you that a given disease can present many different ways. It's a terrible idea to reason from your own personal experience with a disease to how the disease works in general.


Except you have it backwards. I didn't develop a hypothesis and look for a few internet people to support it. Instead, I did what worked and then tried to understand why it worked.

Thick mucus tends to be poor quality mucus. Mucus is supposed to be viscous. Women self reporting on vaginal mucus also fail to distinguish vaginal "goopiness" from mucus.

This is why i paid attention to anecdotal evidence that lack of vaginal mucus was ruining their sex lives. This was pretty uniformly reported.

It's possible there is some sex worker or fetish club member out there with CF who has sex with multiple men every day and is just not admitting it for done reason. But I spent several years on multiple CF lists and the consesus was CF causes vaginal dryness and this harms women's sex lives.

Your casual dismissal also fails to explain how an excess of mucus causes a compromised immune system. It seems obvious on the face of it that a lack of healthy mucus would be a problem because an important element of our immune system would basically be missing.

Mucus is a gating system. It's like saying "We have too many illegal immigrants in this country because Trump not only built his wall, he made many layers of fencing to go with it, which makes it easier than ever for them to get through. It was better when there was no wall. That did a better job of keeping them out."

(Not intended as political commentary. Hopefully just a readily relatable example of logic fail -- more fencing should not be worse for keeping out unwanted invaders.)


I'm sorry, but no matter what you say, your experience on forums is not going to move my priors very much. Plenty of people hear plenty of things on forums. It's not an efficient way of obtaining reliable scientific knowledge. Every other person has their pet cause where they know better than doctors because they did X or Y and it helped, and they found other people on the internet who agreed with them. It's a common story, and 99.9% of the time it's incorrect.

People don't engage with you on this because it's pointless. You're not going to convince anyone who isn't predisposed to accepting your story, the same way a religious person who claims a divine experience isn't going to convince anyone who doesn't already want such a story to be true. In the same way, me telling Paul that he was probably hallucinating on the road to Damascus because he was dehydrated is not going to make him stop preaching the word of god. You don't have good evidence to present, besides hearsay about other internet people's anecdotal experiences. Read that last sentence. That type of thing is about three or four degrees removed from solid evidence. Surely you can understand how unconvincing this is going to be to a disinterested third party?


Emphasizing how very much you are convinced I'm hallucinating is not an explanation for how too much mucus makes more logical sense as an immune system failure than too little. It also cites zero sources.

Also, if you are so disinterested, why waste any time replying to me? If I'm a nutter, downvote, flag and move on. Let someone else talk to me who doesn't think I'm a total waste of their time.


You asked in another part of the thread why people are downvoting and not engaging. I explained why I downvoted, and why, if I hadn't engaged, that would have been. If you don't want the answer, don't ask the question. Also, I find myself congenitally unable to let anti-scientific behavior go without comment when it comes before me.

I don't know enough about CF to know why it works how it works. But I do know enough about science and have enough experience with people with "unique" theories of disease to know that almost always, the prevailing scientific wisdom is less wrong.


I don't think I asked that. I think someone else commented on the downvotes.

I'm just making the observation that you are being incredibly dismissive of me while not actually engaging any of my points.

Probably, I shouldn't have replied to such a dismissive position to begin with. The problem being I mostly get dismissive replies that don't take me seriously, so such a policy would have me not talking on HN at all, basically. And I've got no place else to go. HN is the least worst option for trying to find someone to talk with about such subjects, which happen to be a thing my very life basically depends upon. So I'm a tad stuck.

I don't know enough about CF to know why it works how it works. But I do know enough about science and have enough experience with people with "unique" theories of disease to know that almost always, the prevailing scientific wisdom is less wrong.

This was added after I hit the reply button. The word for this paragraph is "prejudice." You aren't actually qualified to rebut anything I've said, you just assume I'm a nutter because there are a lot of nutters in the world.

I refer you to Semmelweis:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis


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Nothing requires you to spend your own time investigating hypotheses you don't find plausible. But if you don't know enough about the subject to engage a conversation like this in some detail, a general statement that most nonexpert hypotheses are wrong really contributes nothing at all to the conversation and is frankly quite tiresome. Silence would, indeed, have been the wiser choice.


Racial profiling is a form of prejudice and racism but fits your accepted logic that it's fine to, for example, infer this black guy is more likely to be a criminal because of the color of his skin because statistics support that.

Anyway, I don't think this is productive. So I think I'll stop here.


> Racial profiling is a form of prejudice and racism but fits your accepted logic that it's fine to, for example, infer this black guy is more likely to be a criminal because of the color of his skin because statistics support that.

We don't do that not because it's irrational [1], but because of the ethical viewpoint that everyone should get a fair shake, regardless of the statistical background of their racial group (or other protected class). Having heterodox scientific views based on anecdata is not a protected class.

[1]: Although it is also irrational, or at least less rational than it appears on the surface. Here is not the place to get into why.


I'm not claiming to be a protected class. I'm merely frustrated at the preponderance of people on the internet who are unqualified to rebut what I'm saying because they don't have sufficient knowledge of the topic, yet are trigger happy about concluding that I'm both wrong and mentally unstable.

My only desire is to be able to engage in meaningful discussion on the topic. Dismissing me as a nutcase when you aren't qualified to engage any of my points is malicious behavior that makes it harder for me to get other people to engage me.

I'm not asking anyone to have faith and believe in me like I'm the next Joan of Arc. I just want to be able to talk about the science behind my health situation in spite of the tremendous social faux pas I have committed of getting healthier instead of politely dropping dead like the world expected me to.


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Please stop.


You appear to be missing the nuance of class knowledge vs individual knowledge.

You might discover that 99.9% of Ashkenazi Jews have Eidetic Memory. When you come across one on the street, that knowledge about the group tells you precisely zero things about that individual.


Yeah that was me. And I think you're totally blind to the way that scientific studies only provide additional proof to things that we think we know intuitively. Where do you think a hypothesis comes from? Observation.

Also, the amount of science that gets turned over due to conflation for example. A disease looked like one thing but turned out to be many things that looked similar (cancer). Science is constantly evolving, it's never fixed and finished. Please don't use existing science as a weapon to beat others over the head.

Also, applying your personal observations about people being right and wrong to someone you don't even know. Doctors and scientists aren't a priest class, they've just learned and had more experience than most, and typically only in their own specialties. They are often wrong, being human. And the best ones admit that there is a LOT they don't know.

Also, assuming you know much, or anything, about a topic you probably don't. Don't you think GP has spent more time than your cursory Google search? That you'd act otherwise is illuminating. What exactly do you think qualifies you to disagree here? OP is providing anecdotes, but you're providing... nothing.

Regardless of any of the above, please don't dismiss other people's experiences just because they fall outside some canonical realm (and I'm sorry if this sounds hypocritical after a somewhat rude post) because that's how science turns into religion.


Phlegm is mucus produced by lung tissue. And your lungs (or vagina) being filled with pus would be a very different thing.


My point is that phlegm is akin to pus in that it is drainage due to infection. It is not "normal" mucus.

Women routinely have vaginal discharge of various sorts that is not normal, healthy mucus. The fact that women with CF have both substantial vaginal discharge and vaginal dryness severe enough in some cases to "ruin" their sex life strongly suggests that there is a difference between what is produced in quantity by the mucus membranes of people with CF and normal, healthy mucus.

I'm saying that difference is that it's a form of discharge due to infection, not an overproduction of mucus per se. If it were the same thing as mucus, women with CF should not be simultaneously reporting vaginal dryness that interferes with sex and vaginal discharge.


You're saying then that women with CF have a persistent, chronic, but undiagnosable infection.

Note that if, as a medical researcher, one managed to identify an underlying causal agent for CF, that would be career changing.

Also, your vaginal dryness theory is only true if CF-related discharge works as a responsive lubricant. That could be, as you suggest, due to a difference in kind, but it could also be a change in composition, differential overproduction, or a complex interplay of several other factors.


Medicine agrees that all people with CF are chronically infected. That part is not some novel theory on my part.

I don't have a vaginal dryness theory. My point is that CF is genetic and impacts all cells of the body. The way it works vaginally and in the lungs ought to be consistent. Women with CF consistently report vaginal dryness. They also report vaginal discharge. This discharge appears to not be mucus, given the rest of their testimony.

The reports of women with CF concerning their reproductive tract should cast some light on lung function and is not consistent with prevailing theories that people with CF are "drowning in their own mucus."


There's a difference between chronically infected (which is true) and that the source of CF is an infection, which is the part of your theory that's unsupported.

"the way it works vaginally and in the lungs ought to be consistent." - not necessarily, and especially not when you're describing symptoms (vaginal dryness resulting in uncomfortable sex), because the mucous of your lungs and sexual lubrication serve very different purposes.

And other symptoms of CF in women, such as more difficulties conceiving, are consistent with mucus overproduction.

The discharge might not be mucus, but that doesn't mean that's not the root of what CF is doing.


and that the source of CF is an infection, which is the part of your theory that's unsupported.

I don't think I've said that anywhere and that's not what I'm trying to say.

CF is a genetic disorder. It's root cause is a malfunctioning cell channel, the CFTR, that is defective due to a genetic defect.

But I do think a lot of what we think of as CF is really a consequence of being sick and malnourished your entire life. If those issues can be addressed, outcomes can change.


Having more difficulties conceiving is also consistent with uncomfortable sex.

I found this article [1] that seems pretty consistent with the dehydrated mucus hypothesis. I don't know if it's reputable, and I only read the summary, because it quickly got over my head.

[1] https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/89752


I haven't paid much attention to the reproductive issues typical for CF, but I'm sure they are more complicated than thick mucus. IIRC, something like 97% of men with CF lack a vas deferens and are thus unable to deliver sperm when they ejaculate.

I think there is a lot more going on with CF than lack of adequate mucus. I was merely trying to provide a fairly straightforward example of what seems like an obvious error in logic for a biology mental model.

Since mucus has an immune function and people with CF have a terribly compromised immune system, the assumption that we overproduce it seems flawed on the face of it and fails to be consistent with widespread reports of vaginal dryness.

Thank you for the link, but this kind of argumentation is usually not helpful.


"The immune system" is not actually a single system. It's entirely possible for a condition to cause both the overproduction of a single aspect of the immune system and also harm your general immunity overall.

This is no more a failure of a mental model than the fact that autoimmune diseases, which also involve a heightened immune response, can leave people more vulnerable to certain infections.

But, as noted elsewhere, I don't particularly think this exchange is going to leave either one of us content. I wish you the best in finding a treatment that works for you.


"The immune system" is not actually a single system.

I'm well aware of that fact.

I'm not really a fan of the entire concept of autoimmune disease. There are things that go on with CF where they also claim that "overreaction" of the immune system is a factor, though I can't recall a specific example because I left all the CF lists years ago. I don't think ideas like that are helpful, so I made no effort to remember the specific examples.

Cystic Fibrosis is a misnomer rooted in an older mental of the condition which has since been abandoned. It was descriptive of the state of the pancreas in autopsies of people who died of the condition. I think in French they call it mucoviscidosis, which would be medically more accurate.

We have a terribly poor understanding of a lot of medical conditions. "Gulf War Syndrome" just meant you were sick in some mysterious fashion and had served in the Gulf War. Last I checked, they had distinguished three different syndromes, still without identifying an exact cause.

Malaria just means "bad air." It was so labeled because of it's association with swamps. It was only later that it was determined to be due to a parasite where mosquitoes are the vector.

Medicine is shockingly imprecise and organic and a lot of fancy labels in medicine are not as informed as laymen sometimes assume.

When I was asking a former RN one time "So, what exactly does this medication do at the cellular level?" She told me "We don't actually know. That's not how studies are done. You are asking questions that medicine can't answer."

But, as noted elsewhere, I don't particularly think this exchange is going to leave either one of us content. I wish you the best in finding a treatment that works for you.

What I'm doing for my health is working remarkably well. As stated elsewhere, I'm not seeking agreement from the entire world. I'm seeking meaty engagement. So I've been quite content to talk with you, overall.

But you have zero obligation to engage me further. Have a nice (whatever time of day wherever you happen to be).


"Having more difficulties conceiving is also consistent with uncomfortable sex." - Difficulties exist in women with CF who don't report pain during sex.


I did not realize the degree to which I suffered vaginal dryness until I was like 40 or something. Vaginal dryness was my "normal." I didn't realize it was quite abnormal.

I generally did not have pain during sex because I got married at 19 to my "high school sweetheart" and he and I accommodated my vaginal dryness without making a big deal of it and I didn't realize how much we were doing to accommodate it until after I finally had a diagnosis and was getting divorced. It was our "normal" and we were oblivious to the fact that it wasn't normal at all because neither of us had much experience prior to getting together when we were both 17.

So I will suggest that lack of reports of pain during sex may say more about a woman's sex partner than about how much vaginal dryness she is experiencing.


That's possible - but there's also a perfectly explainable mechanism of action (thickened cervical mucus) that doesn't involve you dismissing the experience of other women who don't report vaginal dryness as a problem but do statistically experience lower rates of successful conception.


See, I wasn't dismissing anything. I post as openly female on an overwhelmingly male forum. I routinely try to add information to the discussion that seems unlikely to occur to most men.

I said in another comment -- one you replied to, so presumably you read it -- that reproductive issues in CF are likely more complicated than just this one factor, so I think this characterization of my remark is completely unfounded.


Phlegm is mucous of the respiratory system, by definition.

Vaginal anything can't be phlegm for that reason.

Not to take anything away from the rest of your post; dealing with an idiopathic condition that your doctors don't understand must be very frustrating. Best of luck.


I'm aware that the vagina does not produce phlegm, which is why I added the word pus -- which someone else felt the need to correct and inform me phlegm and pus are not the same thing.

Both replies appear to assume that I don't know what I'm talking about. This is the norm: I'm a former homemaker, so I must not know anything medical.

I'm human. I make mistakes. I'm not a doctor and I don't speak like one.

However, I also have a certificate for "Certified life and health insurance specialist" that I got as part of my job at Aflac where I read medical records all day as part of my job. Among other things, the certificate program covered medical terminology and some basics of health and biology. For example, I had to know the different bones in the body because I paid accident claims and a broken hip paid different from a broken arm, etc.

I'm not a medical professional. But I did have a job for over five years that required me to be able to comprehend medical records and surgical reports well enough to decide how much money to pay people for their medical treatments for covered health events.

The rumors that I'm merely an uneducated former homemaker are a tad exaggerated.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time. This is just a long-standing pattern of how people reply to my comments.

Phlegm is mucous of the respiratory system, by definition.

Also, while we are all being pedantic here:

Mucus vs mucous

https://grammarist.com/spelling/mucous-mucus

Mucus is a noun.

Mucous is an adjective.

And I'm adding that because both you and the other person "correcting" me used mucous when you meant mucus:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18945575


One is a typo, the other a factual error.

Vaginas don't produce phlegm, period, and never will.

I don't know you from Adam, I have no idea about your past and also don't care much.

In this one, specific instance, you do not know what you're talking about. Pouring half a page out doesn't change that.

There's no need to be defensive about it, or take it as more than it is. This is HN. Mistakes get pointed out.


I spoke of both vaginas and lungs. Your assumption that I think vaginas produce phlegm when I provided two words -- phlegm and pus -- is the only error here. I have never thought vaginas produce phlegm and I don't understand why you think I do since I don't think that's a logical interpretation of anything I said.


Find a study that actually disambiguates between the effects of sugar and of caloric surplus. Hint: you wont. It doesn't exist. What we get is study after study that shows that if you put people (or rats) in front of a buffet of chicken breast and a buffet of cake the people (or rats) in front of the buffet of cake eat more.

It turns out the meaningful question in nutrition is how you get people to comply to a calorically balanced diet when they are depressed and in front of a buffet of both chicken breast and cake, not which is the best one. This has as much to do with social science (and psychology and everything else) as it does biology. In fact, the metabolic part is the easy part: we basically know how that works as well as we need to fix the problem: eat fewer calories.

Now how do you convince 150 million Americans using food as an emotional outlet to stop doing that? Especially when close to 100% of the population that is not experiencing food scarcity does this to some extent, some just worse than others.

It's a lot more complicated than explaining to them that eating too much is bad and that a diet high in sugar is more likely to cause them to do that. It's like telling heroin addicts that opioids lower their life expectancy and expecting them to then stop using heroin. This problem is existential.


I get her point, and this isn’t about pure biology, it’s nutrition which is biology without a lab plus all of the variables of a human population. That’s not to say that sugar isn’t something to be taken in extreme moderation, just that comparing half-assed, p-hacked, poorly controlled and non-replicable studies in social sciences to nutrition studies seems fair.


>Epidemiological studies of sugar consumption — which look at patterns of health and disease in the real world — were dismissed for having too many possible factors getting in the way. Experimental studies were dismissed for being too dissimilar to real life.

>One study that found a health benefit when people ate less sugar and more vegetables was dismissed because that dietary change was not feasible.

>Another study, in which rats were given a diet low in fat and high in sugar, was rejected because "such diets are rarely consumed by man."

The OP post makes no sense if you read the article.

The pro-sugar meta study rejected all studies which found sugar to be unhealthy. Biological studies were rejected because they were too restrictive and nutritional studies because they weren't scientific enough. Yet when the studies had a pro-sugar result they were accepted by and large regardless of their quality.

Which is more likely:

A). Someone is incompetent and randomly picked some dozens of studies which all fit the needs of their source of funding

B). Someone competent picked studies that fit the needs of their source of funding.

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.


C.) B occurred, but in the context of the entire body of research being somewhere between reading tea leaves, and phlogiston theory.

I’m arguing for C, which is sort of like arguing that Monsanto influences research around GMO crops and online discussion of same, but also that GMO crops are not the devil. The fact that the sugar industry twisted the “science” doesn’t mean the science was good, it just means they disliked the conclusions. I’m not suggesting that excess consumption of sugar is wise, or that the current average consumption in the West isn’t excessive. That doesn’t imply that sugar is poison, and that eliminating it completely is healthier than keeping consumption at a reasonable level.

Personally it seems clear that few people can spare so many calories in a day that the average sugar intake is healthy. That is an argument against excess that’s been known since antiquity.

μηδέν άγαν


My comment actually allows for scenario B: conflict of interest.

We all routinely do things because of financial pressure that we wouldn't do without it. When I had a corporate job, co-workers routinely said "I need my job" as an explanation for doing or not doing a particular thing at work when other people were suggesting "You should do X!" whether in jest or in earnest.


This is a common tactic for industry science denial.

Epidemiology studies aren't acceptable because of unmeasured confounding and they have no way of suggesting mechanism of action. We need lab studies.

Lab studies aren't acceptable because they're not in real people. We need RCTs.

RCTs aren't acceptable because they don't generalize to the population well. We need epidemiological studies.


> None of us were fooled ...

Related - the rat experiment described in http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/51/2/CargoCult.htm


This explains the full corruption of the food pyramid. Not all carbs are equal. Fast carbs damage you.


That's why it's important to personally check to which "science" comports with your living experience. In this age (and in the one we're entering), it's important to not only personally check, but to promulgate your assessments throughout your social graph in order to keep "science" in check with science.


This feels like saying "It's important to check science against a biased sample of confirmation bias."


I dispute both your use of the word "science" and your characterization, "a biased sample of confirmation bias."

The whole point is that research conducted with a lot of money on the line is often not science as you and I know it. It's not curious, dispassionate application of the scientific method with clear, honest reporting of the results.

And, ideally, your social graph is not merely "a biased sample of confirmation bias," but instead an interwoven web that connects to the entirety of living human society and which helps you glean truth about the world. I realize that Facebook isn't this. But give it time. We are all interconnected and capable of learning from and teaching each other and the internet is young.

There's no reason in 2018 - and certainly not in the decades to come - to blindly trust any research funded by, for example, a large agricultural company, pharmaceutical company, or government.

Checking results against lived experience is one check and is not perfect. Analyzing the research itself, to the degree that that's practical, is another.

I'm not saying that the solution I've outlined is sufficient, but I feel confident that it's necessary.


"The whole point is that research conducted with a lot of money on the line is often not science as you and I know it. It's not curious, dispassionate application of the scientific method with clear, honest reporting of the results."

You're talking to a working scientist with a substantial amount of grant funding.

"And, ideally, your social graph is not merely "a biased sample of confirmation bias, but instead an interwoven web that helps you glean truth about the world. I realize that Facebook isn't this. But give it time. We are all interconnected and capable of learning from and teaching each other."

I don't know why you're taking a jaded, skeptical approach to science, but an idealistic one to your social graph. Your social graph is biased. It just is. Homophily and communities are things for a reason.

"There's no reason in 2018 - and certainly not in the decades to come - to blindly trust any research funded by, for example, a large agricultural company, pharmaceutical company, or government."

You have just described, especially with that last one, all research.

"Checking results against lived experience is one check and is not perfect. Analyzing the research itself, to the degree that that's practical, is another. I'm not saying that the solution I've outlined is sufficient, but I feel confident that it's necessary."

While I think critical engagement with science is essential, "checking it against lived experience" is comparing your biased anecdotes to study results, and trying to draw a conclusion from that. That, itself, is not science, and is absolutely the fuel behind things like the use of "As a mother..." in antivaccine discussions.


> You're talking to a working scientist with a substantial amount of grant funding.

Thank you for disclosing that you have a vested financial interest in this topic.

FWIW, you are talking to someone who didn't need an exposé to realize that sugar was bad for me and made me feel bad. :-)

> I don't know why you're taking a jaded, skeptical approach to science, but an idealistic one to your social graph. Your social graph is biased. It just is. Homophily and communities are things for a reason.

I don't think that my approach is jaded, but skeptical yes. What's wrong with that?

Yes, my social graph is biased. What's wrong with that?

> While I think critical engagement with science is essential, "checking it against lived experience" is comparing your biased anecdotes to study results, and trying to draw a conclusion from that

Yes, I expect that study results, if they want to be taken seriously, not be easily disproven by available anecdotes in my life.

I remember the day - literally the day - in 2002 when a study - conducted at Johns Hopkins and published in Science - concluded that MDMA was a potential cause of Parkinson's disease.

In the study, a drug purported to be MDMA, in a dose purported to be typical, was administered to 10 animals - baboons and squirrel monkeys - and two of them died as a result of the drug.

I didn't need anything but personal anecdotes to tell me that something had gone horribly wrong in this study, since I had dozens of friends (and myself) who had taken MDMA and none of us knew anybody who had died. It was obvious to everyone from the very first day either that these animals had a very different sensitivity to MDMA or that a different drug or different dose had been administered.

I recall that Myself, Rick Doblin, Tom Angell, and many others took to the SSDP mailing list immediately to point this out.

However, it took another year for Johns Hopkins to sheepishly claim that a "labeling error" had caused the animals to be injected with methamphetamine and not MDMA.

Of course the study was retracted on this basis, but not before it went through all the rigor and peer review that is required to pass the filters and both Johns Hopkins and Science. [0]

That's the kind of bullshit that I'm talking about that masquerades as science and that personal anecdotes can easily and convincingly defeat, and the kind of thing I'm saying is required to verify with lived experience.

> That, itself, is not science, and is absolutely the fuel behind things like the use of "As a mother..." in antivaccine discussions.

This seems like an unmitigated cum hoc fallacy to me. The fact that I assert that lived experience is a meaningful mechanism to discover truth does not mean that I agree with every silly conclusion drawn by people who perhaps agree with me on this point.

[0]: https://maps.org/research-archive/mdma/retraction/maps_respo...


I wonder if you could sue anyone for damages? The harm done must be in the trillions by now.


Isn't govt suppose to protect us from these types of frauds?


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100 Years Ago, Psuedo-Science Industry Quietly Paid Meat To Blame People (2105).


200 Years ago, Psuedo-People industry quietly paid Science to blame meat. (2205)


500 Years Ago Meat Psuedo-Blamed Meat to Pay People To Eat Science (2533)


except a low carb diet is completely possible without the use of animal products, so that point doesn't really hold water.


A low fat diet is completely possible without the use of sugar. What's your point?


It would taste like crap and no one would eat it.


You could use artificial sweeteners. Also, there's plenty of lean meats or plant-based diets that are low in fat and sugar while remaining reasonably palatable.


Where is the energy supposed to come from if there is neither fat nor sugar?


Protein. And there are carbonhydrates besider sugar...


Try a proper Vegan meal and you’ll be astonished how good a low fat meal would taste without sugar. The app Happy Cow can help you find a nearby Vegan restaurant.


Really? I'm trying it now and finding it tremendously challenging to eat adequate calories without either grains or lots and lots of meat.

Vegetables are so calorie-poor and expensive that they're untenable, so you better love beans and lentils, because that's the vast majority of what you'll be consuming.


The answer is fat -- the majority of your calories necessarily come from either carbs or fats (protein is pretty constant for most people).

So if you cut way down on carbs, gotta go up on the fats, that's just how it works: I eat lots of cheese, full-fat strained ("greek") yogurt, tons of eggs, nuts and peanut butter, tons of olive oil on my salad and vegetables, lots of butter in my scrambled eggs, obviously avocados if you can afford them.

Since fat makes things delicious, it's really pretty easy.

If you're non-dairy or vegan then you don't get as much variety, of course.


> vegan then you don't get as much variety

I simply fail to see how it's possible to eat vegan low-carb. Everything vegan, be it legumes, vegetables, or fruits, have carbs. Legumes are 2/3 carbs, so they're out of the question. Even nuts, despite their high fat/moderate protein content, have an appreciable amount of carbs. Even peanuts, a low-carb legume, have 21 grams of carbs/100g. Which just leaves processed plant proteins and fats.

On top of that, protein gets converted into glucose via gluconeogenesis, so despite eating low-carb your body will be breaking down excess protein into sugar. So to try vegan low-carb is really an impossible fad diet.


You’re completely correct, Vegan is not low-carb. It is not the intake off carbs that make obese, imho it is the intake of sugars that cause the epidemic obesity. The average glycemic index [0] of a meal determines the effects of carbs, low GI is good and high GI is not good. A meal with large amount or percentage of carbs can be very healthy and not leading to obesity or type 2 diabetes as long as the Glycemic Index is low. And, above all, a Vegan meal can be very tasty and healthy at the same time.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycemic_index#Grouping


Maybe not all in its natural form of nuts and veggies, but most veggie and nut oils are vegan and full of healthy fats. Yes, drizzle it on everything. Flavor it. It may get tiring, but its easy, vegan, and filling.


I think when most people (myself included) refer to cutting out carbs, it's really shorthand for cutting out starches and sugar, or at its most precise, anything with an appreciable glycemic index.

So the carbs in nuts and vegetables can be simply ignored, it's fine. Fruit is only in small amounts. And you shouldn't be eating so much protein that it gets converted to sugar.

But I totally agree -- I think either you do low-carb or you do vegan, not both. I had a friend who tried to do both, I couldn't understand it either.


  protein gets converted into glucose via gluconeogenesis
But how much gluconeogenesis even happens on a vegan diet? On a keto diet, it's necessary for organs that run on glucose, such as the heart. Non-keto diets should have plenty of sucrose/fructose/glucose already available.


As far as I understand, all excess amino acids (that is, not used for protein synthesis), are indiscriminately metabolized for energy, diet doesn't factor into it. Your body cannot readily store amino acids outside of those free floating in the bloodstream (although it can store them in the form of tissue to catabolize later). A quick search will tell you that 13 amino acids are exclusively glucogenic (as opposed to ketogenic). Given that metabolism occurs in the liver, and the liver has little use for immediate energy, little direct oxidation occurs, so probably the majority of amino acids are converted into glucose and transported elsewhere. This is the reason your urine is yellow, it's from the urea which contains dietary nitrogen waste from the constant metabolism of protein (carbohydrates/fats don't contain nitrogen).

Didn't bother with sources, so feel free to do your own research.


Which is completely fine. Glucose is what your body needs, cells can use it. The other part of Sucrose is Fructose. The boby has no use for it, can only can only convert it in the liver to fat same with ethanol. There are hypotheses that cancer cells use fructose for energy.


  There are hypotheses that cancer cells use fructose for energy
Does fructose even reach the bloodstream?


Beans and lentils aren't low carb.


They're low carb by plant standards.


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The "selfish-lazy-greedy assholes" hypothesis doesn't do so well in the face of endocrinology.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15987666


I wish there was a definitive guide to how to respond to that hypothesis. Many many hn commenters and many outside of the internet normal people strongly align with the obese-are-lazy narrative and I’ve basically given up arguing with them.


"Lazy" obscures the addiction component, yes. But no other addiction has such an accessible and accepted narrative that the addiction is not your fault, there's nothing you can do about it, and so you shouldn't even try to change.


I'm not obese, but I was.

There is a weird Internet cult that celebrates obesity, but I think plenty who live in the "nothing you can do" camp internalized bad advice, got nowhere with it, and gave up.


I was in that "nothing you can do camp" for almost 30 years. Until I learned that I was a carbohydrate addict and carbohydrates are not necessary to live, I gave up completely.

Giving up is the only option after trying and failing diets and exercise programs your whole life. I started dieting when I was ~6 years old.


A generalized solution would be incredibly powerful for putting to rest these tired, ostensibly plausible clichés.


Related: Urban planning used to take human health into consideration as well and mostly has stopped doing do (at least in the US). People (in America) who can't find walkable neighborhoods with residential near their jobs end up spending unhealthy amounts of time behind the wheel and often hate it. There are lots of studies about how sitting too much, whether at a desk job or in your vehicle, does the things to you which are not adequately reversed by hitting the gym.

Desk jobs used to be uncommon back when most people worked on a farm. It is within my lifetime that this changed. When I was born, more than half of all people had physically hard jobs on farms, iirc.


Yes but it feels so good to repeat it.


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You're still posting flamewar-style (unsubstantive and inflammatory) after we asked you many times to stop. Since this isn't the first account you've done this with, we've banned this one.


So you're saying that it was your choice to have your first bite of sugar, and you could have abstained?

This kind of "abstinence-only personal fitness" might work fine for cigarettes, but kinda breaks down when it's stuff you've been fed since you were 5 weeks old and has been injected into most pre-prepared foods in a "sweetness war" that's lasted decades.


You are responsible for what you eat, you are responsible for breaking your own addictions. Pointing the finger at sugar sellers is just a way to wallow in the avoidance of accepting responsibility for yourself.

Want to break a sugar addiction, stop eating, fast until you've broken all food addictions and shed much of the stored calories, and then build up a better diet when you start eating again.


I dont know if I would follow the argument as sugar being an addiction, but I do agree with your description in general and the accountability when it comes to beeing addicted. To be frank, if you dont want to consume a substance any longer, dont look to your dealer, look at yourself.

Some people might find that a bit offensive, but its not really a moral argument but one of self determination. You chose to consume something and you choose to continue to consume that substance. The fact that it is a lot easier to start and to keep doing it then it is to stop, doesnt mean that you dont have a choice in the matter. The ods being stacked against you doesnt rob you of, or relieve you from, your freedom to choose.

If I understand the the concept correctly, Alcoholics Anonymous is partly to blame here for that mindset, with the focus on your powerlessness. But if you want it or not, it still is your choice, not an easy one and not one with a right or wrong answer, but ultimately your choice.

You are fundamentally not an object at the mercy of your circumstances, as easy as life would be that way.


> That something is addictive doesn't absolve you of accountability; you still got addicted to it

A fantastic lesson in how to not understand addiction in the slightest.

I look forward to a more mature response when you get past whatever juvenile phase your comment is the product of.


Look in the mirror, running around calling people juvenile is juvenile.

I understand addiction just fine, addictions can be broken: that is a fact; you can break your body of any such dependency and that you can, means it's your responsibility to do so and thus your fault if you remain addicted. I understand addiction, you don't understand that we don't all then conclude from that that one has no culpability. Other people have different moral reasoning than you do, that they disagree with you about something does not mean it's because they don't understand it.


> it's not anyone else's fault

Nobody's saying it's all somebody else's fault.

The only valid position to hold about this topic is that it's complex and multi-faceted.

Sure, self-discipline and personal choices are a factor - but the issue of what influences people's ability to exert self-discipline and make healthy choices is a vast and little-understood topic in its own right.

Whatever the case, if a child is raised on a high-carb/low-fat diet from a young age because their parents and schools accept the official advice, the carb-dependent metabolism they end up with by the time they reach adulthood will most certainly complicate their ability to make healthy choices.

> you still got addicted to it, you allowed it to happen

Societies everywhere restrict access to alcohol and tobacco to minors because it's accepted that minors are not capable of making fully-informed choices.

Why do you hold a different position regarding sugar?


> Nobody's saying it's all somebody else's fault.

Yes they are.

> The only valid position to hold about this topic is that it's complex and multi-faceted.

Incorrect. That's a valid position, it's certainly not the only one.

> the carb-dependent metabolism they end up with by the time they reach adulthood will most certainly complicate their ability to make healthy choices.

Nonsense, your metabolism is not set in stone, they can simply change their diets and if they don't, no one is to blame but them for their continued unhealthiness.

> Why do you hold a different position regarding sugar?

Sugar isn't remotely comparable to those two; they're restricted to minors because they're lethal drugs, sugar is not.


> Yes they are.

Please link to their comments.

>Incorrect. That's a valid position, it's certainly not the only one.

It is when you're talking about an organic system like a human body or any evolved system in nature.

> they can simply change their diets and if they don't, no one is to blame but them

No they can't; this is the entire point. If they could, they would, and metabolic illness would simply cease to be a problem rather than being one of the most pernicious problems in all of medicine.

> they're restricted to minors because they're lethal drugs, sugar is not

The evidence suggests otherwise.

But what's it to you anyway? What's your motivation for being utterly dogmatic and uncompromising, rather than engaging in a good-faith examination of the evidence?


Yeah this argument feels very much to me like "women belong in the kitchen"


I fail to see it's remotely related.


It's a short-sighted, unhelpful attitude that's gone out of fashion because people realize how short-sighted and unhelpful it is.


How does your sugary endocrinology align with OTC NSAID use? Comorbid or nah?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29311296/


I think that there is no shortage of endocrine disruptors in our environment. Sugar is a good problem to have, as you can opt-out. It's a lot tougher to isolate yourself from pesticides, plastics, fire retardants, and the whole host of other modern pollutants.


This doesn't change the fact that the underlying mechanism of weight gain is a net caloric surplus over a given period of time, which is (hypothetically, at least) addressable without addiction ever coming into the discussion.

But if sugar/food addiction is relevant, there should be some data on its effects on non-obese, physically active individuals who maintain a lifestyle that allows them to burn enough calories to offset the caloric effects of sugar consumption. What you linked doesn't mention obesity, yet you're conflating addiction with obesity in your response.


> This doesn't change the fact that the underlying mechanism of weight gain is a net caloric surplus over a given period of time

That's a necessary condition, but it doesn't really represent a useful model of the system of interest. It's a bit like saying that a car moves forward because the engine is hotter than the surrounding environment.


I don't quite follow your analogy. I think everyone understands that the more you drive a car, the more fuel it consumes, and this being analogous to biological functions.

> That's a necessary condition

And addiction isn't, it's merely a contributing factor. Like I wrote, how do you factor in non-obese sugar/food addicts, and, vice versa, obese people who don't suffer from food addiction?

Obesity doesn't necessitate food addiction, it could be as simple as neglecting to be physically active or other poor lifestyle choices. Placing unsubstantiated importance on the role of addiction is just as baseless as disregarding all obese people as lazy. Any individual can take measures to improve their lifestyle habits and lose weight - how is this not of "interest"? Because a doctor can't prescribe it in a pill?


> I don't quite follow your analogy. I think everyone understands that the more you drive a car, the more fuel it consumes, and this being analogous to biological functions.

The point of my analogy isn't that I was crying out for a slightly better car analogy. My point is this: if there's a problem with someone operating a system, it's usually unhelpful to model the system as a black box that happens to follow some universal physical law. It's not necessarily useless to do that, but it's unlikely to capture the aspects of the system that people directly experience and care about.

> Obesity doesn't necessitate food addiction, it could be as simple as neglecting to be physically active or other poor lifestyle choices.

Nobody in this thread claimed (or even suggested, by my reading) that food addiction was necessary for obesity. The description of "poor lifestyle choices" elides any serious analysis of specifically which behavior patterns are involved and what factors drive them. This is especially true when obesity is increasing across large populations. I don't think it's remotely sufficient to suppose that the behavior of hundreds of millions of people changed in similar ways in the span of ~50 years simply because they all spontaneously made unrelated individual decisions to have different preferences. I doubt that you believe this either, so I don't understand why you've arrived at this description as though it's an alternative to addiction and not just a larger category or higher level of abstraction that includes it.

> Any individual can take measures to improve their lifestyle habits and lose weight - how is this not of "interest"?

Of course such measures would be of interest; my objection to your previous post is, in some sense, that it failed to describe any.


I like to think of sugar, fructose in particular, as a meta food. It directly affects how the body eats other foods. In particular quantities of other foods. Quite simply, it makes people eat more than they otherwise would. Coupled with its high reward factor, its addictiveness and a food industry that has pumped it, in large quantities, in practically every food you eat, it’s no wonder that it is a plague.

Its mean-spirited and somewhat ignorant to blame your fat friends who, along with you, have been deliberately lied to about the ill effects of the massive amounts of sugar you consume on a daily basis for the last half century.

First, they can’t fight what they don’t know is killing them because they’ve been lied to that it’s lack of exercise, it’s the steak and fat. That it’s a problem with them. How can they win when the ‘health food’ shoved in their faces is packed with more sugar?

Second, once they realize how to get out of the mess, they find out how nearly impossible it is to eat anything of what they are used to eating. Sugar is so prevalent in everything in the supermarket, from the obvious ice cream, ketchup, sriracha sauce to mayo, crackers, smoked fish, practically all frozen or canned items, pizza, bread and on and on.

The system is rigged against them.


It's more than obesity. Diet feeds your gut. Your gut biome, in turn, affects the rest of your body- including your mood, personality, and behavior, in ways you are not anticipating.

My son, if he has a single cookie, will develop raging athletes' foot and become a complete monster for days. When I say monster, I mean violent and completely uncontrollable. Maybe you don't have to deal with it, and for that you should be thankful, but for others, it's a no shit problem that they have to deal with day in and day out. Be thankful, but don't presume that your blessings are bestowed on the rest of humanity.


Yeah lately HN is high on sugar and obsessed with China.

Maybe the next article will be some conspiracy theory combination of the two.


"Buzzfeed report: Chinese scientists limit impacts of sugar consumption using blockchain"


I actually laughed at out loud at that one. The blockchain got me. Because of course. Brilliant.


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