May 1, 2009

Fat-eating Swedish babes, the superiority of dairy, and the cause of the freshman 15

* Is Sweden experiencing a low-carb trend? Of course, we had one of those here too: it rose in 2002, peaked in 2004, and had burned out by 2006. Hopefully it will become fixed in Sweden, since it's more in line with their love of dairy products. We here never really had a special spot for dairy -- just those "Milk: It does a body good" commercials.

I've never been won over by them, but Swedish girls have robbed the heart of many a man, both for their looks and demeanor. Their traditionally high-fat diet probably has something to do with their greater femininity, especially compared to their fellow Northerners in England, who have given up most red meat and fat like we have here.

* Speaking of milk doing a body good, here's a news item on dairy being better for your bones than calcium carbonate, a typical supplement. It's odd that they found better absorption of calcium even when the milk was non-fat -- surely would've been even better with whole milk, whose fat would've allowed better absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D. So, there's something unique to milk, not just fat, that does the trick.

By the way, if you have ever been lactose-intolerant, you might want to go off of gluten for awhile and see if you're not merely gluten-intolerant. Eating gluten-containing foods when you can't process them will damage the part of your intestine that absorbs nutrients, so lactose-intolerance may just be a special case of this. I've been having 4 oz or more per day of heavy whipping cream, and I haven't had any bad symptoms like I used to, although it is lower in lactose than yoghurt. We'll see if I get around to testing milk.

* On the topic of vitamin D, here's a news item on lower vitamin D levels among the sick, something that you may have already known about. The easiest way to get more is to get 20 minutes of sunlight. If you take supplements, remember to take them with a fat source.

* I recently wrote here that the "freshman 15" (i.e., the extra pounds you suddenly pack on in college) is probably due to eating a shit-load more carbs than you used to in high school -- pizza, fries, pasta, rice, bread, cereal, sweets, etc., abound in college dining halls as well as the pantries of students off meal plan. When did people start noticing this, though?

I did a Lexis-Nexis search for "freshman 15" or "freshman fifteen," and the first article in U.S. newspapers is from the Sept. 27, 1987 edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. However, the tone makes it sound like everyone already knew about the phenomenon, so it may have tripped students' "wtf?" detectors several years earlier. That certainly coincides with the beginning of the mainstream anti-fat hysteria starting in the early 1980s. It probably didn't take long for the anti-fat weirdos to take over college meal plans -- it's one of the first places they'd get to re-vamp with no questions asked.

Here are some quotes from the article that suggest strongly that it's all the carbs that students are eating that's making them fatter, especially pizza (which is mostly a bunch of refined flour).

"We ate pizza nearly every night. And if somebody brought something around at 11 p.m., we'd eat it whether we were hungry or not."

Well, obviously you were hungry, since you can't stuff yourself with pizza if you're not. This is an example of how a high-carb diet leaves you hungry, while a high-fat one satiates you.

" ... I'd have breakfast in my room, then go down to the cafeteria and have toast. Plus everyone was into being vegetarians, and vegetarian food wasn't very sophisticated then 10 years ago . There was no such thing as fresh vegetables in the winter, so we'd eat big bowls of soybeans, peanut butter and wheat bread. Everybody gained weight."

Vegetarian diets -- is it any wonder that she suffered from "loneliness and depression"?

A Hot Springs native who was graduated from Hendrix College at Conway said the food served on campus was "awful, at least when I first went there in 1980; we counted 13 different ways that potatoes were served, plus there were different meats that we swore were cut out with cookie cutters from the same animal but had different names _veal, chicken _ all disguised by frying. So we'd eat off-campus, lots of fast foods and pizzas, especially late at night when we were studying."

Mmmm, 13 different ways to serve potatoes. They don't taste like anything by themselves, unlike meat, so you've got to get really creative about how to re-package the little starch bombs. Again, note the reference to pizza.

A food service director claims:

" There are no longer just starchy foods. We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from recipes created in a test kitchen in Eau Claire, Wis. , which are tested for nutrient and salt content. "

So he's admitting that not long ago, they were feeding their students what starving agricultural peasants -- SAPs -- would have eaten: a bunch of starch. How did that work out for the Spaniards who subsisted on corn? And sure enough, we see that meal plans in 1987 had begun to come from food labs, undoubtedly staffed by anti-fat numbnuts. What's replaced the all-starch diet?

things like lasagna, chicken and dumplings, roast beef; casserole items. Plus we have a baked item every day, such as fish or chicken. There's a salad bar with fresh fruit, and fresh chicken and tuna salad made with a minimal amount of salad dressing. We have desserts, too, but they're not the biggest sellers.

Lots of chicken, fish, no dressing, etc. -- clearly a low-fat diet. Unfortunately, nowadays (at least as early as 1999 when I began my fall semester of freshman year), the desserts are free -- all you can eat.

" By the end of the month there was no money for pizzas, so we'd cook heavy things like rice with butter and sugar and eat bunches of it. "

Dude, no money for pizzas! Our staple! Obviously they weren't eating lots of butter, since this stuff must have consisted mostly of the rice. The added sugar is a nice touch. I wonder if they polished the rice and got beri-beri like the Japanese navy did.

Listen to what a school psychologist says about counting calories (note that a psychologist is considered the expert on nutrition):

But [students] had a lot of misconceptions. They thought there were "good' calories and "bad' calories. They didn't realize that 1,200 calories are just that whether they come from chocolate cake or vegetables.

Hey, those students knew more about nutrition than a psychologist -- good for them! Read that again: 1,200 calories worth of chocolate cake is the same as 1,200 calories from vegetables. Satire is pointless when they do it to themselves.

The next article is from a 1988 edition of the Dallas Morning News, and it basically says the same thing -- freshmen are eating pizza like nobody's business in the evening, obviously because they didn't get much satiating fat during dinner. They also snacked on potato chips, M&Ms, and donuts -- now, what do those have in common? They should emulate Europeans, who aren't fat, and have a snack of salami and pepperoni (better if spread with butter), cheese, almonds in olive oil, and olives.

And as expected, the know-nothing experts all advised students to eat pizza with no meat and little cheese, baked potatoes with no cream or butter, etc. -- again, pretend you're a SAP who can't afford any animal products whatsoever, and gorge on starch. How did that diet work out for them back then?

More to the point -- how is it working out for students today? College freshmen didn't instantly pack on a bunch of weight during the 1950s. Sometime during the early or mid 1980s, right when the anti-fat hysteria had gone mainstream, people start talking about the freshman 15. And still do. The low-fat diets that the experts have been cramming down the students' throats haven't prevented the weight gain -- indeed, they are clearly the cause of it.


  1. "We ate pizza nearly every night...."
    Every night. Have you looked into the sleep cycle aspect of weight gain?

  2. melted cheese, bacon bits, tons of butter, salt, and sour cream.....................are the only things that can make a baked potato edible.

    Reminds me of a joke about eating carp when I was a boy. It labelled 10 different types of sauces and seasonings to be put on a carp fillet being prepared on a tree stump. After using all the sauces and seasonings, the chef was to discard the fish and eat the stump because it tasted better.

    A potato is a quite bland thing on its own accord, unlike a apple, strawberry, rasberry, bannana, peach, blackberry (wow!), blueberry, carrots, celery, grapes, oranges, pistachios, pecans, steaks, sausage, bacon, etc.

  3. try freshmen 10 on lexis-nexis and see if u find any earlier results.

  4. I'm sure that the low-fat hysteria has much to do with it, but you also have to consider that before that time many women didn't go to college, and dining was pretty austere for the college boys at even places like the Ivy League.

    It wasn't only that they weren't being served all this low-fat diet crap, it's that they weren't served that much food at all, and they didn't have all the 24 hour juice bars, cafes, delis, fast food courts, that are ubiquitous on college campuses these days.

  5. "I'll try to throw together a short post sometime on higher insulin = higher inflammation."

    I've read that dairy products, despite having a relatively small effect on blood glucose, actually cause spikes in insulin similar to starches and sugars. You might want to look into this...

  6. There's a lot of arguments to the contrary of your position as well, agnostic.

    whole milk & cancer

    low fat milk

    vegan diets & health

  7. dogdayzahead5/1/09, 11:26 PM

    Let's be real here.

    Who the hell can honestly say that they "know" whether vegetarianism is best, or high fat low carb is best, or whatever?

    There's a study in support of and against every kind of diet out there. It's hard for anyone to come to a firm conclusion. It seems like the anti meat vegetarian types are completely indoctrinated by the low fat hysteria as well as having moral sympathies for animals that make them lean against meat anyway.

    And it seems that guys like agnostic are partly driven by an anti-establishment attitude in general that spills over to the diet and nutrition sphere and makes them go against the mainstream by supporting high fat. Like that blogger "Mangan" who was extremely self-righteous and ultra confident that vegetarianism was the best until he had some kind of epiphany and now blogs about fat and Vitamin D every chance he gets.

    All of this has the feel of religious sectarianism. People fighting over what's best for one's body the way they used to fight over what's best for the soul.

  8. "The China Study".

    Case closed.

  9. "I've read that dairy products, despite having a relatively small effect on blood glucose, actually cause spikes in insulin similar to starches and sugars."

    Foods that are high in protein but low in carbs stimulate the production of glucagon, the anti-insulin hormone. So, although insulin goes up, so does the hormone that does the opposite of what insulin does -- releases fat from fat cells, etc.

    Cheese is fine -- high protein, low carb. Butter and cream don't have protein, but you're not going to eat lots of that stuff anyway. I'm avoiding milk and yoghurt because they have a fair amount of sugar.

  10. "Who the hell can honestly say that they "know" whether vegetarianism is best, or high fat low carb is best, or whatever?"

    Because homo sapiens who didn't eat dead animals and their products went extinct, while those who did eat such things thrived and left all of the descendants of today.

    Whenever someone says there's no long-term study of this or that diet -- human evolution is the longest experiment, rife with mini-experiments like people who eat only corn, rice, etc. They instantly got cavities and fucked up teeth in general, got shorter, got obese, and so on.

    "All of this has the feel of religious sectarianism. People fighting over what's best for one's body the way they used to fight over what's best for the soul."

    No, that would be the anti-fat people -- the priestly caste. I don't want to force any particular diet on anyone, nor do I think people who are vegetarians -- like one of my housemates, a grad student colleague, etc. -- are evil or stupid.

    What I and other low-carb people are against is the blackout of information that the anti-fat priests have maintained. Provide people with the info on low-carb, human metabolism, evolution, etc., and they can try it for themselves.

    You're right that low-carbers have an iconoclastic streak, but how does that bear on whether they're right or not? Some iconoclasts will promote the health benefits of smoking, just to go against the grain. Others will get the info out on human biodiversity.

    No one believes that iconoclasts are right in virtue of going against the establishment. Ultimately we judge truth based on the available evidence. Sometimes it takes a rambunctious group of trouble-makers to disseminate that evidence.

  11. agnostic,

    what do you think about Ray Kurzweil (the Singularity guy) and his diet? he's about 60 yrs old and he's all about life extension. he says that he thinks he will live forever, once the singularity arrives or whatever.

    his diet is low carb, and anti grains/starches, but he's also anti fat. he eats mostly veggies, proteins (fish/tofu, some poultry, no red meat). he also does ridiculous supplementation. also i believe that the okinawa diet is very low fat, and the okinawans as everyone knows have the highest life expectancy.

    and regarding evolution....aren't most modern people, with the exception of american indians and other aboriginal groups, descended from agricultural peoples? so haven't modern people descended from people who've adapted to grains and other carbs? and dairy wasn't really around before agriculture.

    i agree that there is something fundamentally "unnatural" about a vegetarian diet for humans. it's pretty clear that we've evolved to eat meat. but does this fact automatically discredit the notion that vegetarianism might be beneficial? after all other animals also don't eat according to what they've necessarily evolved to eat. pandas for example almost eat exclusively bamboo leaves, but they are naturally carnivores (maybe that's why they're going extinct...).

    and isn't the ultimate question how we actually define what we mean by "best" diet? "the priestly caste" seems to define and judge the "best" diet as one that will keep them living the longest, regardless of whether that means a diet that ensures that they will have low energy throughout life. their goal seems to be avoiding or putting off cancer and heart disease as long as possible. would you say they are misguided even with this specific goal in mind? and would you say that you define "best" diet differently than the "priestly caste", with your bias towards more energy, quality of life, etc?

    btw, sorry for such a long post and so many questions. i understand if you can't respond to them all.

  12. Dr. Atkins had terrible heart disease.

  13. i said in my earlier comment that kurzweil was "anti fat". This is wrong. he actually does talk about "good fats" and how its important to get omega 3s from fish, nuts, etc. he's against fat from red meat though.

  14. Okinawans eat a lot of pork and fish.

    Increased dietary protein depletes your body's store of vitamin A, so if you eat a super-high protein diet, you'll probably have little of it unless you eat liver. You can get beta-carotene from plants, and your body can convert this to vitamin A, but it's not very efficient. So, don't eat too much protein.

    We are descended from agricultural people, but they never thrived on a vegetarian diet -- always had horrible teeth, got shorter, etc. The descendants of agricultural people are harmed less by a vegetarian diet than are non-agricultural people, due to natural selection.

    But the correct analogy here is to resistance to infectious disease: malaria is new (maybe 3000 years old), and Africans have lived with it longer than have Northern Europeans. And they are better suited to dealing with it. But still, without modern medicine, malaria kills most of the people it infects even in Africa.

    Because the digestive and endocrine systems are so complex, it would take longer than 10,000 years to completely redesign them.

  15. "Dr. Atkins had terrible heart disease."

    No he didn't.

  16. I didn't know the Okinawans ate pork until you mentioned it here. I had heard and read about the Okinawa diet, and all the mainstream sources always mentioned how they ate tons of vegetables, and some kind of sweet potato, along with fish. But they never mentioned pork.

    After you said they eat pork, I did some googling, and lo and behold, they eat a lot of pork. Including all the organs and innards that no vegetarian would ever even go near. Okinawa is even apparently famous within Japan for its pork culture.

    This kind of shit is annoying, where the MSM and establishment just obscures basic facts.

  17. I've read that low-carb diets are good as long as you only eat the 'good fats' i.e. those unsaturated fats coming from fish, and not the 'bad fats' such as those coming from milk, butter, the saturated fats. Would you say it's ok to have the 'bad fats' in moderation?

  18. First, a large fraction of the fat in red meat *is* unsaturated -- indeed, the very same monounsaturated fat found in that saintliest of dieting foods, olive oil -- oleic acid.

    No, there's nothing wrong with saturated fat. More than half of the fat in breast milk is saturated -- natural selection did not design a system where a helpless child would be subsisting on a harmful substance for the first four years of life.

    Here's the first of three short articles on the low-down on the different kinds of fats:

    First articleYou may have to hit the stop button right after the text loads, to keep an annoying ad from popping up.

    Here's another article

  19. The only potentially bad fats are the omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. You need some of them (look up "essential fatty acid" on Wikipedia), but the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 -- the ones found in oily fish -- should be about 2:1.

    If you eat butter substitutes that have corn oil, soybean oil, or most other vegetable oils, you'll get far more omega-6 than omega-3. After Americans junked all the butter, dairy, beef fat, etc., we know consume a ratio of about 17:1 -- waaaay too much omega-6, hardly any omega-3.

  20. I see... what do you have to say about the problem of high cholesterol consumption when on a low-carb, high-fat, high-protein diet? Is it not a problem as long as you get aerobic exercise?

  21. Dietary cholesterol does not influence the cholesterol in your bloodstream. Cholesterol is not a predictor for heart disease. It's the size and density of the things that cholesterol ride on -- lipoproteins -- that matter.

    The small, dense low-density lipoproteins are associated with heart disease, while the larger and less dense ones are not. (This is sort of what people mean when they say LDL and HDL -- low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein.)

    The small dense ones are raised by dietary carb consumption. The larger less dense ones are raised by eating dead animals.

    This will probably be the last question I answer here -- you should buy Gary Taubes' book Good Calories, Bad Calories. It has all the info you want.

  22. While there have been many good points raised about the benefits and drawbacks of the things we eat, there's another issue that often gets lost in the discussion: many people simply eat too much, period. Portion sizes are spiraling out of control and snacking has become a fully accepted part of the diet.


  23. "While there have been many good points raised about the benefits and drawbacks of the things we eat, there's another issue that often gets lost in the discussion: many people simply eat too much, period."

    Which isn't lost at all.

    Fat sates you. Eating high carb foods makes you hungry. People eat when they're hungry. It's what we're designed to do.

    Compare gorging yourself on olives and pepperoni versus potato chips.

    Let me know what your results are.

    -Steve Johnson

  24. Bigger portions are due to the abandonment of fat and the surge in carbs.

    It's not as though people used to eat one steak, but now three, or one glass of milk but now four.

    When you choose between Value Meal sizes at McDonald's, you're only changing the portion size of the fries and soda, not the meat -- so, carbs. Same with the movies -- you can get a huge tub of popcorn or gallon of soda, but you can't buy three or four different sizes of hot dogs.


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