And now for something completely different

Note: before anyone pooh-poohs this article for being in a blog mostly about weather and climate, note the description on the masthead. Note also that I have recently experienced cancer in my family as I’m sure many readers have at some time, therefore it is relevant to me, and may be helpful to others, and that’s all that matters. – Anthony

Guest post by David Archibald

Before starting out in climate science in 2006, my main hobby was cancer research. To that end, I had co-invented a cancer drug with two professors from Purdue University, Professor Jim Morre and his wife Professor Dorothy Morre. I went on to lodge a patent on a benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) drug myself. I still operate in that space. Early in that journey, I was given the draft manuscript of a book on how isoflavones from soy and other legumes modulate the human female hormone system.

That was in 1998. The manuscript had been written by Dr Graham Kelly who had founded a company to commercialise isoflavone supplementation in men and women. Dr Kelly’s journey in cancer research started in the 1980s when a friend with bowel cancer asked him to look into the science of it. Dr Kelly was intrigued by the epidemiological differences in cancer rates between populations. For example, Japanese who migrate to the US go to the US breast cancer rate in a generation. The US breast cancer rate is five times the Japanese breast cancer rate. The difference in cancer rate is not genetic, it is obviously dietary. So what is the difference in diet that is causing the difference in cancer incidence? A big difference is isoflavone consumption. Amongst the Japanese, it is an average of 40 mg per day. The US average is 3 mg per day.

In Western countries, breast cancer and prostate cancer have the same incidence. In women, 11% get diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and 5% die of it. In men, 11% get diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and 5% die of it. There are very big epidemiological differences in prostate cancer rates. As the following graph shows, the Vietnamese prostate cancer rate is one fortieth of the Western prostate cancer rate:

clip_image002

Defeating the scourge of a lot of common cancers is as simple as changing your diet. It is a bit like Vitamin C. If you don’t get any Vitamin C in your diet, you die of scurvy within three years. Pigs and dogs make their own Vitamin C, and presumably some precursor ape to humans had the ability to make it. Humans must have lost the ability for an evolutionary advantage. There are probably a large number of other plant molecules which we evolved to rely upon in our diet. We might not die in the near term if we don’t get them in our diet, but we suffer an increased incidence of degenerative diseases if we don’t. With respect to the dietary components that might cause the low Vietnamese prostate cancer rate, the national dish of Vietnam is called pho. It is a bowl of noodles and meat with three side dishes – bean sprouts, chillis and mint. The anticancer effect would be the result of synergistic blocking of the tNOX molecule on the external membrane of cancer cells by sulforaphane from the bean sprouts with capsaicin from the chilli peppers, stopping the overproduction of anti-apoptotic proteins and allowing the death receptors to trigger the apoptotic cascade of the caspases.

Back to Dr Kelly’s book, “Hormones with Harmony”. It is 70,000 words and goes into highly readable detail on how the daughter metabolites of isoflavones become human hormones in the body. They then become very useful in evening out the peaks and troughs of the body’s estrogenic hormones: estradiol, estrone and estriol. The book goes into detail on how the plant-derived hormones are beneficial in pms, mastalgia, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, senile dementia and breast cancer. Without being overly technical, it does not talk down to its readers. Earlier this year, I undertook to get it published and it is now available on Kindle for $5 per copy. I do recommend it.

Further to the subject of prostate cancer, there are a number of plant molecules that have an effect on it and BPH. All cancers have tNOX molecules on their external membranes. tNOX is the tumour variant of cNOX, or normal constituent NOX. No plant molecules bind to cNOX but a number bind to tNOX. tNOX has two binding sites. If both are bound to simultaneously, the effect is synergistic. For example, the combination of sulforaphane with capsaicin has twenty times the effect of sulforaphane alone. Another example of synergism is curcumin from turmeric with piperine from black pepper.

David Archibald

December 2012

About these ads

209 thoughts on “And now for something completely different

  1. interesting. a friend of mine got prostate cancer in his 30s. since recovering he has a Japanese diet and swears by it. been fine since. n=1 ;)

  2. Very interesting article. There are so many confounding factors. Sugar consumption as a percentage of calories, obesity rates and diabetes are also much higher in the US than the other countries mentioned. Interestingly, there are those who also believe soy consumption in the form of industrial oils contributes to some of these issues. So, fermintation could also play a role in health outcomes, as this is often how soy is consumed in Asian countries.

  3. Very convincing, and thought-provoking. I frequently consume the foods and spices David mentions, with the exception of soya. A favourite (and cheap) dish is dhal – lentils cooked with turmeric, chillies and ginger. Fingers crossed then.

  4. hmm? and what research done on GMO soy?
    which is whats eaten if the japanese etc come to usa and still eat soy..
    personally I would rather avoid all soy until GMO is removed entirely from the food system, ditto the corn.
    seems I have it half right re the alternative:-) I love pepper and can add turmeric to diet.
    and how many of the present older age group cancers get tested for SV40? In the cancer itself.
    millions of us copped the polio vax carrying that too.
    then add a fair whack of our lives eating food off of or cooked and stored in hormone and chem emitting plastics.
    having tried the soy based hormone replacer patches and getting near immediate breast lumps,, again I think I prefer to leave it well alone.

  5. It should be pointed out that both prostate and breast tissue are influenced, indeed controlled by hormones. Cancers occurring in these tissues therefore are special. Possible benefits of isoflavones cannot be extrapolated to all cancers.

  6. As a member of a family who parents died of cancer, I find this post interesting and appropos. Anything that can help reduce the incidence of the cancers listed in the article is a GOOD thing. Especially if all it takes is a minor adjustment in one’s diet

  7. Very interesting article. I thought that much of the difference in breast cancer rates had been correlated to later menarche in Asian countries reducing lifetime exposure to estrogen. The later menarche was due to lower caloric intake. That being said, I do believe that soy can alleviate many female hormonal swings and associated symptoms.

  8. David,
    A very interesting analysis, and one I am in no position to dispute. I will just state that in my opinion, the statistics being cited are being done in an overly simplistic manner. For example, you can’t discuss cancer mortality and morbidity without controlling for life expectancy differences between cultures. So yes, the differences appear dramatic (and thus likely are real), but I believe the analysis needs to be a bit more careful.

    Having said that, thank you. Cancer touches almost all of us in one way or another during our lifetimes.

    Kerry

  9. Hi
    This is a naive question from a lay person. Do bean sprouts (or soy bean sprouts) actually contain sulforaphane? I was under the impression that sulforaphane was a constituent of the criciferous vegatables — and found in high concentration in broccoli sprouts. Does the Vietnameese meal you referenced contain broccoli sprouts? Could you please give me a reference for sulforaphane in bean sprouts — I want to make this part of my diet.

    Thank you, Jim Rose

  10. I knew this high school student that had stage 4 cancer in the digestive region. Her doctor had her taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day to compliment chemotherapy. She beat it last spring.

    Here’s the background on how vitamin D3 prevent/fight cancer – http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/cancer/

    http://grassrootshealth.net/media/download/london032311.pdf

    I only take 5,000 IU a day just to prevent cold, flu and especially sinus infection. It works perfectly for 4 years now. It’s like your universal vaccine against cold and flu. Apparently, cancers too.

  11. Just to be anal about it, I see two mastheads, the first and more prominent states:
    The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change

    Not that I have any problem with Anthony putting up articles on any subject that interests him. On those few occassions when it’s not a topic that interests me, I just skip to the next article.

  12. Pigs and dogs make their own Vitamin C, and presumably some precursor ape to humans had the ability to make it. Humans must have lost the ability for an evolutionary advantage.

    Not necessarily. Millions of years living with a diet that had no vitamin C deficiency may have allowed the ability to create vitamin C to be lost with no downside, so it could have been lost by chance mutation with no evolutionary consequences (at the time).

  13. Thanks David,

    An informative review and it is good to consider how much the existing compounds in foods are often biologically active (not just the added compounds used in production/processing). I also think it is noticeable that disease rates change in ethnic populations when people move from one area to another – I have reviewed a number of projects which used this as a starting point for some very useful research. However I am always concerned with any comparison of cancer rates across countries as there are massive differences in medical care in these countries which account for a good deal of the differences in incidence rates.

    One of the issues now being widely recognized with both breast and prostate cancer screening is that we are detecting higher levels, but not affecting death rates from these diseases to the same level we have with many other cancers. This has been interpreted as suggesting that we are finding many tumours which would not go on to cause disease (or death) and thus increased incidence rates are a symptom of the screening and not an underlying cause. Screening is a difficult subject right now, with good arguments on both sides and made more complex because the treatments are not benign and cancer impacts individuals directly (not a hypothetical population).

    I do not doubt the biological effects you have pointed out, but I am wary of ascribing the differences in incidence to one (or even a few) dietary components. This is a case – very similar to ascribing a cause to climate change – where there are a lot of factors involved and one should be as sceptical about deterministic mechanisms of cellular responses as about climate models.

    Thanks again for the review – I hope I can make the time to read the book and that it will allay some of my scepticism. I am always hopeful that we can find some valid approaches to reducing cancer incidence: cancer treatments have improved immensely in recent years, but are still very unpleasant by their very nature. I suspect Anthony is not alone on this site in having direct knowledge of what cancer treatment involves – I sincerely hope you are done with that part now and wish you (and other readers) all the best.

  14. Got hooked on pho a few years ago and am pleased to discover its medical benefits. It is a very tasty lunch that leaves me energized. The broth is the secret and is anything but simple to make. Every restaurant has it’s own version, enjoy finding your favorite.

  15. Pho Bo and Pho Ga are iconic dishes of Vietnam, but most meals are probably rice, chicken or fish, fresh vegetables and vegetable soup, accompaniment of herbs, with chilis and lots and lots of fish sauce. The Vietnamese eat lots of fish. Typically, the dishes are simple, fresh and untouched by preservatives. However, pesticide contamination is a concern.

    There are other factors that may affect the average Vietnamese person’s overall well being besides a great diet. Their positive happy go lucky culture with an uncomplicated and comparatively low stress way of life (to a degree).

    Also sadly the fact that probably many die of causes that were never properly diagnosed (or even any attempt at a diagnosis), records are simply unavailable and individuals are unable or unwilling to seek healthcare that they cannot afford. The health system is can be indescribably bad, being involved in a significant amount of charitable work in Vietnam, we have seen what the average Vietnamese family faces first hand.

    I would not believe any statistics from the region. Health issues are simply unquantifiable.

  16. I can see where this field can take a lifetime to learn and understand! But your short synopsis was very clear and educational. You also forced me to Google sulforaphane and find out where it comes from. While I am a BIG capsaicin consumer (I like my foods spicy), I was unsure of where to get the sulforaphane. Seeing Broccoli at the head of the list made me smile.

  17. Anthony, thanks for posting this. If it’s science it’s all good! David, do you have a PDF version for those of us w/o Kindle?

  18. an interesting post – I must start eating more chillis and stuff!
    I wonder has anyone actually produced a reasonably scientific list of proven or ‘highly likely’ anticancer type foods?

  19. I’ve remarked (OK, ranted) to people before how odd it is that people who rant about phthalates then consume soy milk.

  20. I think that thousands of years ago people lived to be hundreds of years old. Then the agricultural revolution happened and life span declined up to 90% because the human body is not optimized for the new diet.

  21. I understand this is a blog post and not a scientific paper or book, but would it be possible to add a bit more detail – in particular, what is the evidence for isoflavones being the key difference between Asian and Western diets? There must be a large number of other candidate carcinogens or cancer inibitors that might be responsible.

    Thank you for consideration.

  22. It would be great if this relationship continues to build empirical evidence and we can defeat the twin scourges of prostate and breast cancer. However, this article tends to gloss over some significant hierarchical uncertainty, specifically the tortuous path between a metabolic effect and a statistically signficant effect on the stochastics of cancer nucleation. Is there better empirical evidence that soy prevents cancer than, say, the evidence that continued CO2 emissions will lead to catastrophic global warming?

  23. Jeff in Calgary says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:16 am

    So, are you saying I should eat more bean sprouts and chilli peppers?

    Yes.

    But shortly after you do, I’m going to leave the room. And turn on the vent fan. 8<)

  24. Very interesting, and it tends to fit our knee jerk reaction to ‘commercial food’…but…..before we rush off to a life eating vegetables and living in a eco-dwelling…can we be sure of the statistics? If I put on my ‘McIntyre’ hat for a mo, I’m always suspicious of comparing disease records from one country to another? I’m worried that we may do what we criticise climate alarmists for, and just assume that because this ‘solution’ fits our general consensus about western diet it is indeed the answer. And in our naivity we use iffy data to convince ourselves we are right?
    I’d love to believe its true, that diet can reduce this, but having seen how data can be ignored/fiddled etc to make a case for climate alarm, I’m skeptical of all statistics on anything these days. Is anyone out there super confident of the data being shown here (no offence intended Mr Archibold).
    ??

  25. Medical practice and research makes such a fascinating contrat with climate research. The promoters of the “settled science”, who often have tremendous faith in the incorruptibility of “Big Government” researchers in the climate field have, simultaneously, widespread sketicism about research sponsored by “Big Pharma”.

    My own experience of medical practice in different countries showed widely different “orthodoxies” in treatments and drugs often unknown between one country and another.

  26. Two possibilities: a) There are age differences in the populations that have not been taken into account, cancer, to all intents & purposes with a few rare & sad occasions, is a primarily a disease of old age, prostate cancer being a typical example,& b) They don’t have vast armies of medical bureaucrats telling them they have to constrain what they eat to so many mg of this & or that per day, as we have in the western world, inflicting ever increasing scare stories upon us!

    Still, it is very interesting reading & there may be something in it for sure!

  27. For those of without Kindles (or any other type) of readers, is there another way to read this book? Or, what is the summation? As someone already asked, eat more bean sprouts and chilis? Eat pho every day? (Easy for me, many Vietnamese cafes near me.)

  28. Gosh..in the time it took to compose my comment many people had already said the same thing, but more eloquently. So apologies for repetition. I’ll get my coat…

  29. Thank you for the insight and this interesting finding. I have have friends who are using literally 5 different treatments for the same disorder. I have learned to be open and respect each decision. People who continue to take responsibility for their own healing, and who research the options themselves, are said to have the best recovery. And it is also known that treatments and therapies are always most successful when the patient has strong family bonds and close loved ones supporting them and hoping for his full recovery.

    For those who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, one of the options which is less known is Proton Beam Therapy.

  30. A few things:

    1) scurvy is caused by a vitamin C deficiency, which is caused by excess carbohydrate consumption; sailors got scurvy not because they didn’t have fruit, but because they were subsisting on a diet of hard tack. Populations like the Inuit and Masai, who didn’t eat fruit, never got scurvy because you can get more than enough vitamin C from animal products if you’re not leaching it out with carbohydrates.

    2) diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases are at their heart, insulin based diseases. Chronic insulin levels are driven by chronic blood sugar levels, which are driven, from a dietary perspective, by carbohydrate.

    While I’m sure there are some interesting correlations we can make on diet from immigrants to the US, the primary biological pathway of the “diseases of civilization” is insulin, and the primary determinant of that is dietary carbohydrate. A healthful human diet is actually one based on lots of healthy animal fats, adequate protein, and a very very tiny amount of carbohydrate.

    Gary Tabues wrote the seminal “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, as well as the more layperson friendly “Why We Get Fat” – I highly suggest anyone interested in the science behind diet (the *falsifiable* science, not just the AGW-like “low-fat/low-calorie” trope pushed by Ancel Keys), to read either or both of those books.

  31. I encourage skepticism. My feverent hope would be that something as simple as this could prevent cancer. But there are a number of “holes” in the theory. For exaample Japan has a cultural difference in the way they treat the seriously ill. That is you could go to a doctor who might diagnose you with breast cancer but his culture would proscribe that he not tell you. The reason is that you are going to die and he feels it is more human to allow you peace in your last days. Second point is that until recently Japan did not have the massive modern medical practice that the U.S. has. They often did not diagnose serious illnesses and the Japanese people dutifully died conveniently at home and as a result the cause of death was “old age”. Third in many countries and Japan is not exempt from this, even when the real cause of death is know it is not used officially out of cultural norms and/or to protect the patient. The bottom line is many/most countries have poor statistical data on disease, cause of death and even birth problems. This makes it problematic to compare their data to a country like the U.S. which is “anal” in their collection of data.

    Japan has stomach cancer as a cause of death roughly 10 times greater then the U.S.
    Japan has stroke as cause of death twice the U.S. rate.
    Japan has influenza as a cause of death 3 times that of the U.S.
    Japan has almost twice the rate of colon-rectal cancer over the U.S.
    Japan has almost six times the rate of liver cancer over the U.S.
    Japan has higer rates of kidney disease and pancreas cancer over the U.S.

    Were these higher rates caused by higher isoflavones??? Are the causes of these higher rates of disease obviously dietary??? Can all these things be cured by a simple thing like tumeric and black pepper???

  32. Really glad you posted this Anthony – thanks. As a practicing biomedical scientist for half of my professional life I have always had a healthy respect for nature’s medicine cabinet. I also did a lot of business in Japan at one time, and always came back from each trip feeling fitter and healthier following 2-3 weeks of oriental cuisine. I will purchase this book and read it with interest.

  33. I recall seeing that while rates of some cancers in Asian countries are far fewer than in the west, that others are far more commen in Asia, such as stomach cancer. Could we be trading one form of cancer for another by following their diet?

  34. Adding to the interesting links, in those animals in which vitamin C is synthesized, it is synthesized from glucose. The presence of the test for sweetness is in the DNA of virtually all animals, and the section of our tongues with those receptors is well researched. The craving for sugar has a deep biological root. It is not so far fetched to suggest that our sugar craving is driven by a relative lack of vitamin C.

    Research in the area of vitamins at the University of Texas in the 1960’s led to a suggested minimum daily intake for vitamins based on body weight for the primates to keep them in optimum health. For vitamin C in particular, the level was between 1500 and 3000 mg per day for adult humans. This is from the research of Dr. R. Williams at UT. It is obviously many times higher than our current RDA. Given that our kidneys have a reclamation process for vitamin C to reclaim it from urine, it’s that important, a little more thought on our recommended intake would seem advisable.

  35. Pho is a staple in my diet. Many dishes I prepare produce byproducts that can become broth for making pho. And I even buy leg bones and oxtails specifically for making it. Many “Pho Palaces” today use bulk-made broth concentrate that I suspect is not as healthful as fresh made broth. I boil pork ribs before cooking them on the grill, for example, to get the fat out. That water is chilled, the fat skimmed off (that becomes a candle), and the broth is then frozen until needed. Seasonings can be found in any Asian market. Pho is one of the cheapest things in the world to make, and can be made in huge volume.

    I always knew pho was good but I’m even happier to know it is good for me.

  36. Thank you very interesting, another glimpse into our ignorance and the possibilities that abound when we take the time to look.
    Maybe once the climate hysteria is subdued we will see blogs like this , crowd source this kind of research and see if we can sort the wheat from the chaff.
    There is something here numbers don’t lie, but what and how many synergies is yet to be seen.
    Saw an article, you are what you eat, maybe at the Chiefio’s site, and it opens up the cancer-food interconnections a little farther.

  37. Nice post! This explains why vegetarians experience lower cancer rates. Isoflavones primarily come from legumes (beans), which are the most common substitute for red meat.

    I’m a little confused regarding the following:
    “Further to the subject of prostate cancer, there are a number of plant molecules that have an effect on it and BPH.”

    BPH is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, which is enlarged prostate, which is a natural condition that affects about 90% of men late in life, because the prostate continues growing (like the nose and ears) throughout a man’s life.

    BPH is not a cancerous condition. But if the prostate is very enlarged then the bladder won’t empty fully, etc, and this can cause other complications, which could possibly lead to cancer.

    I have BPH, which simply means that since I’m in my mid-50s my ever-growing prostate causes pressure on the bladder, which sends a signal that I have to urinate, when there is practically nothing there. (By the way, I highly recommend Saw Palmetto, an herb that naturally shrinks the prostate instead of the FDA-approved drugs. It works amazingly well – no more getting up several times at night.)

    After this statement is:
    “All cancers have tNOX molecules on their external membranes. tNOX is the tumour variant of cNOX, or normal constituent NOX. No plant molecules bind to cNOX but a number bind to tNOX.”

    So if “there are a number of plant molecules that have an effect on … BPH” then it must be other plant molecules, since BPH is not a cancerous condition?

    Or am I missing something?

  38. @ krischel says: December 12, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for the explanation of Vitamin C. I was always curious how people in the colder climates managed to get a sufficient amount of them. I am aware that some vegetables have small amounts as well, but the concentration was in the citrus fruits – and those were not universally available.

  39. hormones given to cows that pass into the milk, duh.
    the same reason girls mature years ahead of boys in the usa.

  40. Krischel,

    I tend to agree with you, and have been on a low-carb diet for years. My doctor put me on it when I weighed 230 pounds and had high cholesterol levels. In six weeks I lost 15 pounds, and the cholesterol dropped 30 points, while I ate all the meat and cheese I could stand. I am now a steady 195 pounds for the last 15 years. That same doctor claimed to have cured certain types of diabetes in patients by getting them on a low-carb diet.

    I’m sure, when comparing Vietnamese diet with USA, that the sheer carb intake is much lower in VN than here. The sprouts and chilis could be incidental at best.

  41. ” Another example of synergism is curcumin from turmeric with piperine from black pepper.”

    I saw a clip recently of a village ‘sage’ in India claiming the virtues of curcumin as pretty much a cure-all. He specifically mentioned cancer.

  42. Most interesting and cogent. It is good to think about other things besides climate. The scientific principles and methods used in science (not pseudoscience) are essentially universal. Most but by no means all life science seems to reinforce the old philosophical idea of the golden mean. Thanks Aristotle. It is always good to remember that natural systems tend to favor balance. Dynamic systems never achieve for very long but the tendency toward it is constant. The golden mean also suggests the need for balance and moderation. Both commodities we humans, at least of late, i.e. our experience base, are short of in far to many aspects of life.

  43. Yes! I’m into this topic also, but had not considered the benefits or magnification effects of the combinations of sulforaphane and tumeric. I was getting the benefit through the silo approach of research findings that recognizes the benefits of them individually. I recommend the site Science Daily to all to open up this channel of science info. You might need such science truth to survive the Maunder Minimum and multidecadal ocean cycle downswings. Of course you will have to budget for this while paying the carbon taxes in support of the opposite policy misdirection plays and propping up the nonprofit for profit ecosystem.

  44. My understanding is that piperine acts in the liver to exhaust a certain enzyme that would otherwise break down curcumin. Hence, the curcumin can get out of the liver and into the general circulation.

    Here’s a paper that describes curcumin, capsaicin, and piperine concentration, and their interactions, in serum (in rats).

    http://www.icmr.nic.in/ijmr/2010/May/15.pdf

  45. The French drink lots of wine but have lower death rates from liver disease than Brits and Americans.
    The Italians eat lots of olive oil and fat but have less obesity related fatal diseases than the Brits and Americans.
    The Japanese eat lots of soy and have fewer deaths from certain cancers than the Brits and Americans from the same cancers.
    So eat and drink what you like – it is speaking English that kills you.
    (Well, some of the AGW “science” is on that level.)

  46. Charles Tossy says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:14 am
    I think that thousands of years ago people lived to be hundreds of years old. Then the agricultural revolution happened and life span declined up to 90% because the human body is not optimized for the new diet.

    The basis for this is?

  47. Dr Weston Price studied healthy populations in the 1930’s. Populations with no so-called western diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, cancers, etc. The common thread amongst these many disparate populations was diet. Plain and simple. That is the cure for cancer. Diet.

    The key to good diet is ensuring that the body gets all the nutrients it needs to function as designed, and avoiding those “foods” that are more poison than they are food. Soy is in the later category. Firstly, most soy is GMO, and it is actually illegal for producers to label soy as GMO or as not GMO. Soy has never been historically used as a food crop except in times of serious hardship and deprivation. The Chinese revere the crop for its nitrogen fixing ability not for it’s food value. It has only been used as food when it is fully fermented and used as a condiment, ie. soya sauce, miso paste, etc. It was an American who started marketing as a supposedly healthy protein alternative, which it most definitely is not.

    One does not get cancers or other chronic disease because one did not have certain pharmaceuticals in ones system. Without rock solid nutrition, one will become diseased to some degree. Read more here:

    http://www.westonaprice.org/

  48. More info on Isoflavones

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isoflavones

    All plants are chemical factories. Everything a plant “does” is chemical in some way. Isoflavones are just a tiny part of that story. We animals evolved along with plants, including our diets. The pre-agriculture (traditional) diets always included a wide variety of local plant materials. If half of your diet is local, fresh plant material, it makes sense that you would evolve to partially depend on those local fresh plant materials. Remember the hunter-gather diet was half plant, half animal based. Their health was good enough. Their life spans were limited by low calories and lack of infection control. If modern people ate the hunter-gatherer diet (in adequate amounts) they would live far longer and with better health compared to the sugar snack, potato chip diet people.

  49. On the topic of health two American cardiologists have just published a book where they claim cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease. They start off with a convincing “roughly half the people who get heart disease have high cholesterol, which means that roughly half the people who get heart disease have low cholesterol”. Anyway thanks David/Anthony for the interesting article. Where ever you look the science isn’t settled.

  50. Cancer is driven by many factors, some inter-related, and no matter what you do – you can’t avoid the cancer risk entirely. Same goes for heart disease…. But you can try to reduce the risk or buy some time so to speak.

    – Genetics
    – Hormones
    – Diet
    – Stress
    – Exercise
    – Environment (Exposure to certain things…)
    – Age
    – Abnormal interrruption of natural health and reproductive cycles.

    I’ve known about a dozen folks in my 44 years who have died from cancer of some kind. As I think back to them, several common variables stand out:

    1. Avoidance of the sun – indoors, sun blocks and sun glasses. (This one dominates…)
    2. Religious buy-in into the low fat high carb diet – and vegan diets. (This one as well…)
    3. Sedentary life style – house chair, car chair, office chair. (Same as above…)
    4. Night shift work, day time sleep, abortion, stomach stapling, hard core drug use, etc. (Varies among a few individuals…very anecdotal….)

    The interesting thing is that #1, goes right to the point of the OP’s article.

    Hormones…

    Vitamin D ladies and gentlemen IS a hormone. Deficiency of Vitamin D as more and more studies are showing seems to not only have a cascading effect – but a cascading effect that branches out into all kinds of different areas of bodily health.

    – Immune System (Flu and Cancer)
    – Bone
    – Cardiovascular (Heart and Diabetes)
    – Respiratory (Flu, Pneumonia, Asthma)
    – Mental Health (Sleep, Memory, Dementia)

    As to myself, I’ve taken two steps in the past 4 years.

    1. 3000-4000 IUs of Vitamin D per day starting back in November 2008. Since then my bones have felt fantastic. I’ve had one case of flu at the most though I still get colds. A couple nasty warts I had literally detached themselves and took a flying leap.

    The downside? Short term memory loss. My mother, myself, and two friends all report the same exact side effect – short term memory loss. At first it’s bothersome – but then again we remind ourselves – Vitamin D is a hormone. So we stop whining.

    The other downside is the return of dandruff…

    2. Total abandonment of high fructose corn syrup. My diet is best described as a high fat high sugar diet.

    I decided back in April to at the very least eliminate high fructose corn syrup from the sugar part of the equation. I literally went cold on it…

    6 weeks later, IBS that I had been struggling with for a decade – vanished! Poof! Gone!

    I’m still on a high fat high sugar diet – but at least now my sugars are relegated to sugar, corn syrup, and sugar via starches from chips, breads, etc.

    Will I be free of heart disease and cancer for life? Doubt it? Have I bought some time? Probably.

    The science seems to indicate that once past 40 – age plays a role as well. And I doubt there’s much we can do about that.

    Wish me a happy birthday everyone…(12/11/2012)

    =8-)

  51. I can’t live forever and I suspect I wouldn’t want to. But I’d like to live well until the day I fall over after a particularly good glass of wine.

    Thanks for this, and who should care if it is not climate? One day, clear-thinking willing, CAGW will be as historical as wtichcraft. Then we’ll talk about other things that clear-thinking will help, like cancer.

    Good on yer.

  52. @brians356: Wow, great results for you! I only realized that the calories in/calories out trope was a bunch of hooey in 2007, so it’s only been around 5 years for me, but the dramatic reduction of carbohydrate, and recently the increase in fat intake (to try and get into nutritional ketosis), caused a huge change in my triglyceride/HDL ratio, blood pressure, blood sugar, and of course, the 50 pounds I’m not carrying around any more. Unfortunately, the HMO I work for still promotes the low-calorie/low-fat/exercise advice, and it pains me to see the deleterious effect it has on our members, but one day, people will look back at the calories-in/calories-out and realize that it’s a silly as the idea of controlling the thermostat of the planet with a trace gas used by plants to grow :)

    Thus far, my experience has been about 80-90% of the benefit just comes from sheer carbohydrate reduction, and the last percent can be addressed by omega3/6 ratios (grass fed butter, baby), higher intake of fat (75-85% of calories), and some minor supplementation (magnesium, zinc). Jimmy Moore (notable low-carb blogger and zealot) got me clued into the whole nutritional ketosis thing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc96Lk1VVS4).

    I’m not sure if the world is prepared to sustain its entire population on healthy animal fats and meat, but I’m hopeful that one day, the powers that be will abandon their promotion of cereals and grains, and that our chronically increasing health care costs will fall dramatically as we avoid the “diseases of civilization” caused by our carbohydrate intake :)

  53. “I think that thousands of years ago people lived to be hundreds of years old. Then the agricultural revolution happened and life span declined up to 90% because the human body is not optimized for the new diet.”

    Well, I think the general limit of human lifespan peaks around 114 -> all of our improvements to life expectancy (lower infant mortality, treatment of chronic diseases as we age), haven’t moved the bell curve up, they’ve simply hit a wall somewhere in the hundred-teens.

    http://singularityhub.com/2012/02/14/while-average-lifespans-increase-114-remains-a-stubborn-and-mysterious-upper-bound-why/

  54. “The difference in cancer rate is not genetic, it is obviously dietary.”

    A false dichotomy. If it is not genetic, it is environmental. “Dietary” is part of environment, but not its totality. There are a gazillion cultural/environmental differences between Japanese and Americans, any one of which could cause a difference.

  55. Certainly diet plays a role in cancer rates. But is the large increase in rate of cancer in western countries the result of lifestyle, or better diagnostics?

    Cancer research is continually discovering new ways of finding cancer. Imaging equipment, lab work, and DNA sequencing are continually improving.

    It would be interesting to compare Viet Nam’s diagnostic system with the western world’s system.

  56. I have the beans and the chili in my customary bowl of Texas Red chili. Maybe I should add a pinch of mint to my recipe…

  57. Intended to include link to pre-agriculture diet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet

    I never eat dairy, sugar, oils, soda, candy or fast foods. I do eat fish, red meat, some whole wheat, fruits, garden vegetables, onions, peppers, fresh legumes, etc. I do eat hamburger once a weak. You don’t have to adhere perfectly to the diet, but try it. I’m far healthier than most people my age, with no health issues at all. My weight is exactly where it should be. I’ve been told I look much younger than most people my age. Also, I am smart enough to see the global warming issue for what it is. A grotesque political hatchet job by a mob of crazed city dwellers. Eventually the farmers will decide to stop sending food to the city dwellers and that will be the end of global warming.

  58. Krischel,

    That original regime low-carb came in my 30s, I am now 58 and, while still maintaining ideal weight for my height, and excellent blood pressure, the LDL and cholesterol are not so easy to keep low, partly because I do eat more carbs nowadays than I should. Buy by cutting down on dairy fat (I can live on cheese and milk!) I am now reversing those lipid trends again as well. Doctor said “fat-free milk only!” but I cheat and mix 3:1 ratio of 0% with 1% milk, to yield “~1/4%” milk, no longer blue colored and has enough solids to satisfy the craving.

  59. Phooey on pho. Since I’m deathly allergic to peppers (capsaicin), a diet including peppers would indeed keep me from developing cancer, since I would die very quickly from anaphylactic shock. But this is great news for people who have no allergy/sensitivity to peppers. And I’m going to convince the women in my life to use more soy products.

  60. I wonder if the soy-based protein powders (e.g. Trader Joe’s brand) are a satisfactory source of whatever benefits soy has to offer? I mix that protein powder with a ripe banana and orange juice in the blender for a quick meal. Yummy!

  61. I think there are strong parallels in the dynamics of climate science and health science. It is my opinion that mainstream scientists confuse cause with effect. i.e. CO2 is an effect of rising ocean temps vs. C02 causes rising temps. I suspect that high LDL cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, but it is an effect of whatever is the real cause of heart disease. Trying to control the effect vs. the cause is not especially productive.

  62. Sounds reasonable. And then there’s this that I ran across just recently:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2239110/Just-soft-drink-day-raises-mens-risk-aggressive-prostate-cancer-40-cent.html

    While general diet change would be a confounder, I would imagine that drinking Western style sodas has probably made a much faster/bigger inroad of change in the Vietnamese diet over the last 50 years. So if the soda connection is real I would think it would show up pretty strongly given the low rates to begin with.

    – MJM

  63. The health food business is the last refuge of the old time medical quacks and they are thriving like never before, using words like isoflavines, flavinoids, anti-oxidants, and so forth. As for the rest of us, well, there’s a sucker born every minute. When it comes to pseudo-scientific BS, the health foods promoters are worse than climate scientists. A word of warning.

  64. When I think of each person I know who has been diagnosed with anything from cancer to ADHD, it occurs to me that none of them have chosen the same modality of healing for the same disorder. One thing I have learned is to respect the individual decisions people make.

    What people with perfect bills of health might not be able to understand is that some of the cures modern medicine prescribes are, on balance, worse than the actual disease. If you get diagnosed with a life threatening disease, I think it is important to make it a goal not to be killed or maimed by doctor-caused illness; and also not to let the disease become the center of your life and all your thinking.

    Anyways, people all have a different sense of what they should do to become well. This is why Obamacare and the state exchanges boards (which are government panels which tell insurance cos what to cover), is such a horrifying thought. Americans do not want this layer of bureaucracy telling them how to care for their own bodies.

    http://blog.heritage.org/2010/09/29/why-states-should-reject-the-california-model-of-a-health-insurance-exchange/

  65. Charles Tossy says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:14 am

    There is no archaelogical evidence to suggest that people lived longer thousands of years ago. The life of the hunter gatherer was brutal, and for the most part short.

  66. gnomish says:
    December 12, 2012 at 9:15 am
    Yes, hormones do pass into the milk, but those hormones were already there. One of the requirements of the FDA is that these treatments not increase hormone levels in the milk.

  67. “””””…..MarkW says:

    December 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Just to be anal about it, I see two mastheads, the first and more prominent states:
    The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change…..”””””

    Gee; “””””…..Commentary on puzzling things in life, nature science, weather climate change, technology and recent news by Anthony Watts…..”””””

    Dammit Anthony ! this place ain’t supposed to be about climate change, until we run out of puzzling things in life, to talk about. You better shape up, or I’m leaving.

    George

  68. Elevated LDL cholesterol levels is a sign of ongoing irritation or inflammation. One major and frequently unmentioned cause is gum disease – yep, your dentist can help protect your heart. The reason is that inflamed gums are essentially infected, and that infection has direct access to your circulatory system, and thus the rest of your body. So, take care of your teeth and they will take care of you.

    Also, it seems that the higher LDL levels in US beef are the result of feed-lot use of corn. “Corn-fed beef” was a major marketing ploy back in the day and has now become a fixture in the US consciousness – corn fed beef is special. But really, no, no it’s not.

    “Corn fed” was used to help drive up the corn market. Industrially corn is far more useful than wheat for example, and it is immensely more productive per acre. However as cattle food, it isn’t a great idea. Cattle are ruminants (cud-chewers) and are evolved to eat and happily digest relatively low value feed such as grasses and forbes, breaking down the complex carbohydrates that comprise cellulose into simpler sugars. A diet weighted heavily to corn (the entire plant is a grass, but feed-lot cattle are fed a grain-heavy diet) is hard on the cattle’s health. It throws off pH in the rumen for instance, and is directly the cause of the increasing use of antibiotics in factory-fattened animals. That in turn is a major factor in emerging antibiotic resistant bacteria strains, either number one, or two with hospitals right next door. Grass-fed beef is lower in LDL (like bison in fact). It isn’t as fat, and if you prefer well-done beef, may be a disappointment.

  69. @mpainter: Agreed, but there are also benefits from navigating this chaotic industry with research tracts in hand weighted by the number and quality of the studies. That navigation is much harder without some solid research channels and crosschecks. This is comparable to navigating the science and policy issues of climate with limited or biased sources coming from all directions.

  70. As you stated in your note, Anthony, this article is entirely appropriate for your site. Personally I think it’s refreshing to get away from the climate aspect for a change. On that note, a critique of David’s article:

    Scientifically speaking, if the theory, which is supported by the statistics, has not been supported by clinical trials then this has still been validated.

    Although I agree with the premise that diet can directly affect cancer rates, I do not, and would not, dismiss the genetic connection. It is my profound belief that genetics is the primary factor in causing cancer, but it only signifies a predisposition to get certain types of cancers, not the inevitability of developing cancer. In order for cancers to develop I believe that the genetic predisposition for that type of cancer has to be present and there has to be exposure to some sort of environmental trigger. One environmental trigger is your diet.

    One of the things that isn’t mentioned in the article is although the Japanese (compared to Americans) suffer from lower rates of breast and prostate cancers, they suffer from significantly higher rates of pancreatic, liver, and stomach cancers. These types of cancers have also been statistically linked to diet, in particular that the Japanese eat more foods which have been deep fried, or fried in soy oil. No clinical trials have been used to substantiate those claims either, that I am aware of.

  71. ARGHHH – proofread before submitting:

    Scientifically speaking, if the theory, which is supported by the statistics, has not been supported by clinical trials then this has still NOT been validated.

  72. I’m hugely sceptical of the cancer research being conducted by pharmaceutical companies with a vested interest in not finding a cure. I wonder if anyone else has looked into the alleged therapeutic properties of THC, a compound found in cannabis resin? I understand for the alleged benefits to be had one needs to swallow it rather than smoke it.
    On the other hand, I have also read reports that it cures everything from glaucoma to arthritis to practically all forms of cancer, and such claims should invite equal scepticism. Still, one wonders why such a completely harmless compound as TCH (which is not mind-altering) is outlawed in the West except when licensed in very rare cases. I mean: Why? Couldn’t possibly be because it’s a natural compound and therefore can’t be patented by a drug company, could it? Or am I being cynical?

  73. @ Duster says: December 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Anthony, this IS a great blog!

    Duster, I had always heard about gum disease and over all health, but NO ONE explained it to me. Thanks for more great information (I just endured the dentist, so now I know the pain is worth the gain).

  74. oldseadog says:
    December 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

    The French drink lots of wine but have lower death rates from liver disease than Brits and Americans.
    The Italians eat lots of olive oil and fat but have less obesity related fatal diseases than the Brits and Americans.
    The Japanese eat lots of soy and have fewer deaths from certain cancers than the Brits and Americans from the same cancers.
    So eat and drink what you like – it is speaking English that kills you.
    (Well, some of the AGW “science” is on that level.)

    This fits with the second generation from Japan having the same cancer rates as the US population ;-)

  75. mpainter says:
    December 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

    The health food business is the last refuge of the old time medical quacks and they are thriving like never before, using words like isoflavines, flavinoids, anti-oxidants, and so forth. As for the rest of us, well, there’s a sucker born every minute. When it comes to pseudo-scientific BS, the health foods promoters are worse than climate scientists. A word of warning.
    Sure, it’s a mine field out there, but on both sides. Health care is an industry, and one not always devoted to actual health. The bottom line is that people have to educate themselves, and not just automatically accept whatever the doctor says. Traditional western medecine leaves a lot to be desired.

  76. I had prostate cancer but it’s been in apparently total remission for years after radiation oncology. I bought the book -and I’ll pass it to a few friends who might benefit. At 83 I listen to my body about what I eat, and my diet has changed gradually as I age. My weight is constant, and I rarely have a viral ‘cold’.

  77. Terry says:
    December 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Dr Weston Price studied healthy populations in the 1930′s. Populations with no so-called western diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, cancers, etc. The common thread amongst these many disparate populations was diet. Plain and simple. That is the cure for cancer. Diet.

    Yes, and I’ll go you one better. The less you eat past the minimum necessary to survive, the healthier you will be.

    Less is more.

    Please refer to the work of Ancel Keyes. From the Wiki article:

    His interest in diet and cardio-vascular disease (CVD) was prompted, in part, by seemingly counterintuitive data: American business executives, presumably among the best-fed persons, had high rates of heart disease, while in post-war Europe, CVD rates had decreased sharply in the wake of reduced food supplies.

    Bad stuff for the prostate: Booze, animal fat, especially processed meat of any kind. Bad stuff in general: too much sugar, soda, artificial flavoring & coloring, most preservatives.

    As I recall from reading his obit in the LA Times back in ’04 when Keyes died just short of his 101st, all diseases were reduced in post-WWII Europe among the nearly starving populations.

    Finally, the golden wisdom about the prostate is this:

    Many old men die with prostate cancer, but not from prostate cancer.

  78. Soy is an alkaline food and there is a school of thought that says out of wack body pH is one of the main causes of many diseases, cancer being one. So a diet high in soy should show positive results. Most western diets are said to cause a lower pH than what would be naturally healthy. Sugar is one of the most acid foods we ingest and is thought to also be a major contributor to increased cancers in our society.

  79. @Duster: “One major and frequently unmentioned cause is gum disease – yep, your dentist can help protect your heart. The reason is that inflamed gums are essentially infected, and that infection has direct access to your circulatory system, and thus the rest of your body.”

    Actually, I’ve found that without consuming the copious carbohydrates I used to, my gum disease (as well as the whole more cavities thing) went away, without dentist intervention. So, rather than your dentist protecting your heart when he treats your gum disease, it may be that when you eat significant carbohydrate, it causes both gum disease as well as heart disease.

  80. Tin foil hat time! A long time ago I stumbled across a site that claimed giving soya milk to young boys increased the chances of them becoming homosexual.

    To be honest, I didn’t follow the arguments too well but it’s amazing how headlines stick with you. I’ve never touched soya milk since then – I had been looking for dairy free options for my wife – but it shows how certain scare stories, whether based on facts or not, can influence public opinion and get firmly embedded in the sub-concious (you all know what I’m talking about).

    I’d actually pretty well forgotten about the soya story until this popped up.

  81. I have a question unrelated to the very good diet info. It might be a dumb one. (If so, feel free to say so.)
    The graph said “age standardized”. I’m not sure what that means.
    I know that since chlorine and other methods of disinfecting drinking water have been introduced and other advances in the medical field (antibiotics, diagnostic equipment, surgical techniques etc., the average lifespan has increased. Our bodies won’t last forever. I wonder if and to what extent the increase in things like cancer and arthritis might be due to more people living long enough for such things “show up”?
    Does “age standardized” mean that the age of the shortest average lifespan is used across the board for the comparison?

  82. First – Thanks to AW for allowing this off-thread, but significant, post.
    Second – an earlier poster indicated that cancer ['The Cancers', I think, as I think they are not homogenous], like global climate change, probably has many causes.
    Some of them we know.
    Some of them.
    {Cancers and Climate Change}
    Studies of UkK cancer clusters [IF - a query - I remember right] have indicated an incomer effect [so it’s not the Nuclear Power Station in your midst that causes the cancers – the same cancer cluster is true for a water treatment plant, or urban light railway – if, and only if, the ‘project’ involed a lot of immigrant labour. “Immigrant” here, meant – I surmise – from outwith the traditional marrying sphere. So for much of the UK from over 50 miles [80 km] away – not, necessarily, from the Ends of the Earth!
    But fascinating. I like the spices so capsicum and the peppers do feature in our diets. [Different colour veggies are SuPpOsEd to be good for one. Do no harm, surely – and if they vary your diet, your life becoms a little bit richer!

  83. I have blue eyes. Is there a diet that I can adopt that will help me change them to brown?

    I look pretty much like my older brother. I am less overweight but we are clearly from the same gene pool.

    I don’t believe that diet overrides genetic predisposition. If I have a gene that wants to clog my arteries or put a lump in some otherwise not lumpy part of me, then I need to shut off that gene, not play roulette witchcraft. Look UP the APO1 Milano gene.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apolipoprotein_A1

    The family that has this gene an eat fatty cheeseburgers 10 times a day and they suffer no plaque accumulation.

    It ain’t diet….. it is individual metabolic machinery.

    I can no more change my eye color as I can change my cancer susceptibility.

    Oh yes I can always starve myself….

  84. This article is the worst kind of Junk Science. No controlled population studies. No controlling for age, genetics, socio economic status, different diagnostic techniques, and a myriad of other cofounding factors. This is hippie New Age crap. This is the same kind of lazy thinking that lead to the the Alar ban, the DDT ban, believing that that Sandy was caused by AGW, and a thousand other lazy thinking correlations. The lack of skepticism except by a few commenters above is an embarrassment. This is an article about modern hippie snake oil and most of you are waiting in line to buy it.

    That said, there is nothing wrong with exploring nutrition as a means to better health and well-being but it is not a panacea for cancer prevention.

  85. I’m going with “David, UK” and anyone who says there is no money to be made in selling a cure. Plenty is made selling treatments that will carry on over a lifetime.
    Far more money is made when even more drugs have to be prescribed to balance off side effects of the previous drugs.

    Can you imagine the effect on US tax revenues, exports, share values on Pharma and red faces fit to murder if a couple of cheap, common items were found to be a prevention never mind a cure?

  86. Michael Tremblay says:
    December 12, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Although I agree with the premise that diet can directly affect cancer rates, I do not, and would not, dismiss the genetic connection.

    ===========================================================

    The good doctor said, “For example, Japanese who migrate to the US go to the US breast cancer rate in a generation. The US breast cancer rate is five times the Japanese breast cancer rate. The difference in cancer rate is not genetic, it is obviously dietary.”

    Note that he did not say that Americans who migrate to Japan go to the Japanese breast cancer rate in a generation. Without this, the “difference in cancer rate is not genetic” is mere speculation.

  87. Charles Tossy says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:14 am
    I think that thousands of years ago people lived to be hundreds of years old. Then the agricultural revolution happened and life span declined up to 90% because the human body is not optimized for the new diet.

    Aren’t there aboriginal tribes that still live that way, or did until they were encountered by Western Civilization? There is no record of aboriginal peoples living so long. Childbirth and it’s complications is a major cause of death for women where modern medicines do not exist. In those societies, most people don’t live into adulthood. In the days before vaccines and antibiotics, diseases and infections killed many people.

  88. When Japanese women go live in the US they are five times more likely to develop breast cancer.
    And so the conclusion is that it must be the diet. Not differences in smoking, drinking, drug use, drug abuse, obesity, lack of exercise, diffences in medical surveillance, pollution levels, all sorts of stuff in the food…etc. No. It’s soy. Just like we had the infamous “french paradox” in the past, we now have the “asian paradox”. Likely the latter will prove as much based on shoddy statistics as the former.

  89. For a list of veggies: Foods With Sulforaphane

    Guess I will be dumping bok choi and broccoli flowers in the chicken soup I am making. (I normally use just bok choi instead of potatoes)

    I normally toss in turmeric, looks like I will be adding ginger and cayenne pepper too.

    Thanks David.

    The various “health foods” may not help but the junk food certainly HURTS so modifying the diet makes sense.

  90. The easiest way to add massive amounts of turmeric to your diet is by realizing that Gulden’s brand already has some in it, but not enough, so just quickly stir in more and use it to flavor your favorite comfort foods.

  91. I salute you, Anthony, for going off topic with a vital topic such as cancer. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University provides a comprehensive and interesting summary on isoflavonoids; a key point is that the effects of soy isoflavones are strongly influenced by their metabolism, which is dependent on the activity of bacteria that colonize the human intestine (2). For example, the soy isoflavone daidzein may be metabolized in the intestine to equol, a metabolite that has greater estrogenic activity than daidzein, and to other metabolites that are less estrogenic. Studies that measure urinary equol excretion after soy consumption indicate that only about 33% of individuals from Western populations metabolize daidzein to equol (3). Thus, individual differences in the metabolism of isoflavones could have important implications for the biological activities of these phytoestrogens. Also, there is much information on this topic that inconsistent.
    Here is a partially abridged version of what is published at http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/soyiso/ :

    Soy Isoflavones

    Summary

    Isoflavones are a class of phytoestrogens—plant-derived compounds with estrogenic activity. Soybeans and soy products are the richest sources of isoflavones in the human diet. (More Information)
    The results of randomized controlled trials suggest that substituting 50 g/day of soy protein for animal protein results in only a modest 3% reduction of LDL cholesterol. Isolated soy isoflavone supplements do not appear to have favorable effects on serum lipid profiles. (More Information)
    Consumption of soy isoflavones, at doses of <90 mg/day, may inhibit bone resorption and stimulate bone formation (More Information)
    Overall, the results of numerous observational studies do not support the idea that high soy isoflavone intakes in adults are protective against breast cancer. Limited research suggests that higher intakes of soy foods early in life may decrease the risk of breast cancer in adulthood. (More Information)
    Although scientists are interested in the potential for soy isoflavones to prevent or inhibit the progression of prostate cancer, evidence from observational studies that soy isoflavones are protective against prostate cancer is limited and inconsistent. (More Information)
    To date, studies on the effect of soy isoflavone consumption on menopausal symptoms have reported mixed results. (More Information)
    Some health effects of soy isoflavones may be dependent on whether or not the isoflavone metabolite, equol, is produced. (More Information)
    Although diets rich in soy or soy-containing products appear safe and potentially beneficial, the long-term safety of high doses of soy isoflavone supplements is not yet known. (More Information)
    At present, there is no convincing evidence that infants fed soy-based formula are at greater risk for adverse effects than infants fed cow’s milk-based formula. (More Information)

    Introduction

    Isoflavones are polyphenolic compounds that are capable of exerting estrogen-like effects. For this reason, they are classified as phytoestrogens—plant-derived compounds with estrogenic activity (1). Legumes, particularly soybeans, are the richest sources of isoflavones in the human diet. In soybeans, isoflavones are present as glycosides (bound to a sugar molecule). Fermentation or digestion of soybeans or soy products results in the release of the sugar molecule from the isoflavone glycoside, leaving an isoflavone aglycone. Soy isoflavone glycosides are called genistin, daidzin, and glycitin, while the aglycones are called genistein, daidzein, and glycitein (chemical structures of isoflavone aglycones). Unless otherwise indicated, quantities of isoflavones specified in this article refer to aglycones—not glycosides.

    Metabolism and Bioavailability

    The biological effects of soy isoflavones are strongly influenced by their metabolism, which is dependent on the activity of bacteria that colonize the human intestine (2). For example, the soy isoflavone daidzein may be metabolized in the intestine to equol, a metabolite that has greater estrogenic activity than daidzein, and to other metabolites that are less estrogenic. Studies that measure urinary equol excretion after soy consumption indicate that only about 33% of individuals from Western populations metabolize daidzein to equol (3). Thus, individual differences in the metabolism of isoflavones could have important implications for the biological activities of these phytoestrogens.

    Biological Activities

    Estrogenic and Anti-Estrogenic Activities

    Soy isoflavones are known to have weak estrogenic or hormone-like activity. Estrogens are signaling molecules that exert their effects by binding to estrogen receptors within cells (chemical structures of endogenous estrogens). The estrogen-receptor complex interacts with DNA to change the expression of estrogen-responsive genes. Estrogen receptors are present in numerous tissues other than those associated with reproduction, including bone, liver, heart, and brain (4). Soy isoflavones and other phytoestrogens can bind to estrogen receptors, mimicking the effects of estrogen in some tissues and antagonizing (blocking) the effects of estrogen in others (5). Scientists are interested in the tissue-selective activities of phytoestrogens because anti-estrogenic effects in reproductive tissue could help reduce the risk of hormone-associated cancers (breast, uterine, and prostate), while estrogenic effects in other tissues could help maintain bone density and improve blood lipid profiles (cholesterol levels). The extent to which soy isoflavones exert estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects in humans is currently the focus of considerable scientific research.

    Estrogen Receptor-Independent Activities

    Soy isoflavones and their metabolites also have biological activities that are unrelated to their interactions with estrogen receptors (6). By inhibiting the synthesis and activity of certain enzymes involved in estrogen metabolism, soy isoflavones may alter the biological activity of endogenous estrogens and androgens (7-9). Soy isoflavones have also been found to inhibit tyrosine kinases (10), enzymes that play critical roles in the signaling pathways that stimulate cell proliferation. Additionally, isoflavones can act as antioxidants in vitro (11), but the extent to which they contribute to the antioxidant status of humans is not yet clear. Plasma F2-isoprostanes, biomarkers of lipid peroxidation in vivo, were significantly lower after two weeks of daily consumption of soy protein containing 56 mg of isoflavones than after consumption of soy protein providing only 2 mg of isoflavones (12). However, daily supplementation with 50-100 mg of isolated soy isoflavones did not significantly alter plasma or urinary F2-isoprostane levels (13, 14).

    Disease Prevention

    Cardiovascular Disease

    Serum Cholesterol

    Although controlled clinical trials conducted prior to 1995 suggested that substituting 25-50 g/day of soy protein for animal protein lowered serum LDL cholesterol by about 13% (15), more recent and better controlled trials indicate that the LDL cholesterol-lowering effect of soy protein is much more modest. A recent review of 22 randomized controlled trials concluded that substituting 50 g/day of soy protein for animal protein lowered LDL cholesterol by only about 3% (16). There is limited evidence that soy protein containing isoflavones is more effective than soy protein without isoflavones in lowering LDL cholesterol (17,18), but the consumption of soy isoflavones alone (as supplements or extracts) does not appear to have favorable effects on serum lipid profiles (16, 19-21). For more information on soy protein and cholesterol, see the article on Legumes.

    Effects on Arterial Function

    The preservation of normal arterial function plays an important role in cardiovascular disease prevention. The ability of arteries to dilate in response to nitric oxide produced by the endothelial cells that line their inner surface (endothelium-mediated vasodilation) is compromised in people at high risk for cardiovascular disease (22). To date, results of randomized controlled trials on the effect of soy isoflavones on arterial function have been mixed. However, most placebo-controlled trials found no significant improvement in endothelium-mediated vasodilation when postmenopausal women were supplemented with up to 80 mg/day of soy isoflavones (23-25) or up to 60 g/day of soy protein containing isoflavones (26-30). Arterial stiffness is another measure of arterial function. Measurements of arterial stiffness assess the distensibility of arteries, and a strong association between arterial stiffness and atherosclerosis has been observed (31). In placebo-controlled clinical trials, supplementation of postmenopausal women with 80 mg/day of a soy isoflavone extract for five weeks significantly decreased arterial stiffness (32), as did supplementation of men and postmenopausal women with 40 g/day of soy protein providing 118 mg/day of soy isoflavones for three months (29). Although most studies have not found supplementation with soy protein or isoflavones to improve endothelium-mediated vasodilation, preliminary research suggests that soy isoflavone supplementation may decrease arterial stiffness. However, a recent randomized controlled, cross-over trial in hypertensive individuals found that supplementation with soy protein containing 118 mg/day of isoflavones for six months did not improve measures of arterial function, including arterial stiffness (33). More research is needed to determine whether supplementation with soy isoflavones improves arterial function.

    Hormone-associated Cancers

    Breast Cancer

    Breast cancer incidence in Asia, where average isoflavone intakes from soy foods range from 25-50 mg/day (34), is lower than breast cancer rates in the Western countries where average isoflavone intakes in non-Asian women are less than 2 mg/day (35, 36). However, many other hereditary and lifestyle factors could contribute to this difference. Epidemiological studies of dietary soy and breast cancer have reported conflicting results (see the article on Legumes). A few studies suggest that a higher soy intake during adolescence may lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life (37, 38). At present, there is little evidence that taking soy isoflavone supplements decreases risk of breast cancer. See the article on Legumes for more information about soy consumption and breast cancer risk.

    Endometrial Cancer

    Because the development of endometrial (uterine) cancer is related to prolonged exposure to unopposed estrogens (estrogen not counterbalanced with the hormone progesterone), it has been suggested that high intakes of phytoestrogens with anti-estrogenic activity could be protective against endometrial cancer (39). In support of this idea, three retrospective case-control studies found that women with endometrial cancer had lower intakes of soy isoflavones from foods compared to cancer-free control groups (39-41). However, supplementation of postmenopausal women with soy protein providing 120 mg/day of isoflavones for six months did not prevent endometrial hyperplasia induced by the administration of exogenous estradiol (42). Although limited evidence from case-control studies suggests an inverse relationship between consumption of soy foods and endometrial cancer, there is no evidence from intervention trials that taking soy isoflavone supplements decreases endometrial cancer risk.

    Prostate Cancer

    Mortality from prostate cancer is much higher in the U.S. than in Asian countries, such as Japan and China (43). However, epidemiological studies do not provide consistent evidence that high intakes of soy foods are associated with reduced prostate cancer risk. See the article on Legumes for more information about soy foods and prostate cancer risk. The results of cell culture and animal studies suggest a potential role for soy isoflavones in limiting the progression of prostate cancer (44). Although soy isoflavone supplementation for up to one year did not significantly decrease serum concentration of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in men without confirmed prostate cancer (45-47), soy isoflavone supplementation appeared to slow the rising serum PSA concentration associated with prostate tumor growth in two small studies of prostate cancer patients (48, 49). One small, short-term (60 years, found that neither supplemental soy protein (18 g/day) nor isoflavones (105 mg/day), alone or in combination, significantly affected BMD over a one-year period (75). To date, results of studies are conflicting, but a recent meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials (trial duration, one to 12 months) concluded that soy isoflavones, at doses of <90 mg/day, inhibit bone resorption and stimulate bone formation (76). Some authors have proposed that the effect of soy isoflavones on bone health may be dependent on whether or not the individual produces the isoflavones metabolite, equol (see Metabolism and Bioavailability above) (77-80). This could possibly explain disparate results among clinical trials. Thus, while there is some evidence that isoflavone-rich diets have bone-sparing effects, it is not known whether increasing soy isoflavone intake appreciably decreases the risk of osteoporosis or osteoporotic fracture.

    Cognitive Decline

    Scientific research on the effect of soy isoflavones on cognitive function is limited. An observational study that examined the relationship between soy intake and cognitive function found that Hawaiian men who reported consuming tofu at least twice weekly during midlife were more likely to have poor cognitive test scores 20-25 years later than those who reported consuming tofu less than twice a week (81). In an Indonesian study of elderly men and women, consumption of tofu was associated with worse memory, while consumption of tempe was associated with improved memory (82). In contrast, the results of several small clinical trials in postmenopausal women suggest that increasing soy isoflavone intake may result in modest improvements in performance on some cognitive tests for up to six months. Postmenopausal women given soy extracts, providing 60 mg/day of soy isoflavones for 6-12 weeks, performed better on cognitive tests of picture recall (short-term memory), learning rule reversals (mental flexibility), and a planning task compared to women given a placebo (83, 84). In a longer trial, postmenopausal women given supplements that provided 110 mg/day of soy isoflavones for six months performed better on a test of verbal fluency than women given placebos (85). In a cross-over trial lasting six months, women receiving 60 mg/day of soy isoflavones experienced significant improvements in cognitive performance and overall mood compared to when the women were given a placebo (86). However, in larger placebo-controlled trials, postmenopausal women receiving 80 mg/day of isoflavones for six months or 99 mg/day of isoflavones for one year did not affect performance on a battery of cognitive function tests, including tests for memory, attention, verbal fluency, motor control, and dementia (67, 87). A recent review of eight trials, seven of which were conducted in postmenopausal women, found half reported that soy isoflavone treatment was associated with improvements in cognitive function (88).

    Disease Treatment

    Menopausal Symptoms

    Hot flushes (flashes) are the primary reason that women seek medical attention for menopausal symptoms (89). Concern over potential adverse effects of hormone replacement therapy (90, 91) has led to increased interest in the use of phytoestrogen supplements by women experiencing menopausal symptoms (92). The effects of increasing soy isoflavone intake on the frequency of hot flushes have been examined in a number of randomized controlled trials (93-95). To date, at least four reviews of such trials have been published. A review published in 2002 found that only one out of eight randomized controlled trials of soy foods reported a significant reduction in the frequency of hot flushes, while three out of five controlled trials of soy isoflavone extracts reported a significant reduction in hot flush frequency (96). In general, any reductions observed were modest (10-20%) compared to placebo. A 2004 systematic review that examined ten randomized controlled trials found that only four trials reported beneficial effects of soy preparations in the treatment of menopausal symptoms like hot flushes (95). More recently, another systematic review and meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials found that soy isoflavone supplementation was associated with a small reduction in the number of hot flushes; this analysis found that women with a higher number of daily flushes experienced the greatest benefit from isoflavone therapy (94). One review that analyzed various trials according to the specific isoflavones contained in the supplements found that use of supplements containing primarily genistein reduced symptoms of hot flushes (97). Interestingly, a recent study found that only women who produced the isoflavone metabolite, equol (see Metabolism and Bioavailability above), which was detected in the urine, experienced improvements in menopausal symptoms like hot flushes following soy isoflavone supplementation (98). Breast cancer survivors in particular may experience more frequent and severe hot flushes related to therapies aimed at preventing breast cancer recurrence (99). However, none of the randomized controlled trials in breast cancer survivors found that soy isoflavone supplementation was significantly more effective than a placebo in decreasing the frequency or severity of hot flushes (100-103). To date, studies on the effect of soy isoflavone consumption on menopausal symptoms have reported mixed results.

    Sources

    Food Sources

    Isoflavones are found in small amounts in a number of legumes, grains, and vegetables, but soybeans are by far the most concentrated source of isoflavones in the human diet (104, 105). Recent surveys suggest that average dietary isoflavone intakes in Japan, China, and other Asian countries range from 25-50 mg/day (34). Dietary isoflavone intakes are considerably lower in Western countries, where studies have found average isoflavone intakes to be as low as 2 mg/day (35, 36). Traditional Asian foods made from soybeans include tofu, tempeh, miso, and natto. Edamame refers to varieties of soybeans that are harvested and eaten in their green phase. Soy products that are gaining popularity in Western countries include soy-based meat substitutes, soy milk, soy cheese, and soy yogurt. The isoflavone content of a soy protein isolate depends on the method used to isolate it. Soy protein isolates prepared by an ethanol wash process generally lose most of their associated isoflavones, while those prepared by aqueous wash processes tend to retain them (106). Some foods that are rich in soy isoflavones are listed in the table below along with their isoflavone content (107). Because the isoflavone content of soy foods can vary considerably between brands and between different lots of the same brand (106), these values should be viewed only as a guide. Given the potential health implications of diets rich in soy isoflavones, accurate and consistent labeling of the soy isoflavone content of soy foods is needed. More information on the isoflavone content of foods is available from the USDA nutrient data laboratory.
    (See link for Tables of Total Isoflavone, Daidzein and Genistein Aglycone Content of Selected Foods* (107); the table does not copy well)

    *Isoflavone content of soy foods can vary considerably between brands and between different lots of the same brand (106); therefore, these values should be viewed only as a guide.

    Supplements

    Soy isoflavone extracts and supplements are available as dietary supplements without a prescription in the U.S. These products are not standardized, and the amounts of soy isoflavones they provide may vary considerably. Moreover, quality control may be an issue with some of these products (108). When isoflavone supplements available in the U.S. were tested for their isoflavone content by an independent laboratory, the isoflavone content in the product differed by more than 10% from the amount claimed on the label in approximately 50% of the products tested (109).

    Infant Formulas

    Soy-based infant formulas are made from soy protein isolate and contain significant amounts of soy isoflavones. In 1997, the total isoflavone content of soy-based infant formulas that were commercially available in the U.S. ranged from 32-47 mg/liter (~ 34 fluid ounces) (110).

    Safety

    Soy isoflavones have been consumed by humans as part of soy-based diets for many years without any evidence of adverse effects (105). The 75th percentile of dietary isoflavone intake has been reported to be as high as 65 mg/day in some Asian populations (111). Although diets rich in soy or soy-containing products appear safe and potentially beneficial, the long-term safety of very high supplemental doses of soy isoflavones is not yet known. One study in older men and women found that 100 mg/day of soy isoflavones for six months was well tolerated (112). Yet, long-term studies are needed to evaluate the safety of isoflavones.

    Adverse Effects

    Safety for Breast Cancer Survivors

    The safety of high intakes of soy isoflavones and other phytoestrogens for breast cancer survivors is an area of considerable debate among scientists and clinicians (99, 113). The effects of high intakes of soy isoflavones on breast cancer recurrence and survival of breast cancer patients have not been well studied. The results of cell culture and animal studies are conflicting, but some have found that soy isoflavones can stimulate the growth of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer cells (114, 115). High intakes of the soy isoflavone, genistein, interfered with the ability of tamoxifen to inhibit the growth of ER+ breast cancer cells implanted in mice (116), but it is not known if a similar effect would be seen in humans. A recent prospective study in 5,042 female breast cancer survivors in China, who were followed for a median of 3.9 years, found that consumption of isoflavone-rich soy foods was significantly associated with a 29% lower risk of death and a 32% lower risk of cancer recurrence (117). In this study, soy isoflavone consumption was associated with a nonsignificant, 21% reduction in risk of death and a significant, 23% reduction in risk of cancer recurrence (117). Very limited data from clinical trials suggest that increased consumption of soy isoflavones (38-45 mg/day) can have estrogenic effects in human breast tissue (118, 119). However, a study in women with biopsy-confirmed breast cancer found that supplementation with 200 mg/day of soy isoflavones did not increase tumor growth over the next 2-6 weeks before surgery when compared to a control group that did not take soy isoflavones (120). Given the available data, some experts think that women with a history of breast cancer, particularly ER+ breast cancer, should not increase their consumption of phytoestrogens, including soy isoflavones (99). However, other experts argue that there is not enough evidence to discourage breast cancer survivors from consuming soy foods in moderation (113), and the recent study mentioned above (117) indicates that moderate consumption of soy foods (11 g/day of soy protein) may even be beneficial to breast cancer survivors. Due to conflicting results, more research is needed to determine the safety of high soy isoflavone intake in breast cancer survivors.

    Soy-based Infant Formulas

    Infant formula made from soy protein isolate has been commercially available since the mid-1960s (121). As much as 25% of the infant formula sold in the U.S. is soy-based formula (122). Since infants fed soy-based formulas are exposed to relatively high levels of isoflavones, which they can absorb and metabolize, concern has been raised regarding potential long-term effects on growth, development, as well as reproductive and immune function (110, 123). The results of at least six clinical trials comparing infants fed soy-based formula with infants fed cow’s milk-based formula indicate that soy-based formula supports normal growth and development in the first year of life (124). A prospective study evaluating growth and development in children fed breast milk, cow's milk-based formula, or soy-based formula is currently under way at the Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center. After five years into the study, adverse effects of soy formula have not been observed, and no differences in growth and development among the various groups have been noted (125). In addition, one retrospective study of 811 men and women at 20-34 years of age found no differences in height, weight, time of puberty, general health, or pregnancy outcomes between those fed soy-based formula as infants and those fed cow’s milk-based formula, although women fed soy-based formula reported significantly greater use of asthma or allergy drugs than women fed cow’s milk formula (126). The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a report that reviews the indications and contraindications for the use of soy-based formulas (122). At present, there is no convincing evidence that infants fed soy-based formula are at greater risk for adverse effects than infants fed cow’s milk-based formula. However, long-term studies on the growth and development of infants fed soy-based formulas are currently ongoing (127, 128).

    Thyroid Function

    In cell culture and animal studies, soy isoflavones have been found to inhibit the activity of thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme required for thyroid hormone synthesis (129, 130). However, high intakes of soy isoflavones do not appear to increase the risk of hypothyroidism as long as dietary iodine consumption is adequate (131). Since the addition of iodine to soy-based formulas in the 1960s, there have been no further reports of hypothyroidism in soy formula-fed infants (132). Several clinical trials, mostly in premenopausal and postmenopausal women with sufficient iodine intakes, have not found increased consumption of soy isoflavones to result in clinically significant changes in circulating thyroid hormone levels (133-137).

    Pregnancy

    To date, studies have not examined the effect of an isoflavone-rich diet on fetal development or pregnancy outcomes in humans, and the safety of isoflavone supplements during pregnancy has not been established.

    Drug interactions

    Because colonic bacteria play an important role in the metabolism of soy isoflavones, antibiotic therapy could decrease their biological activity (138). Some evidence from animal studies suggests that high intakes of soy isoflavones, particularly genistein, can interfere with the antitumor effects of tamoxifen (Nolvadex) (116). Until more is known about potential interactions in humans, those taking tamoxifen or other selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) to treat or prevent breast cancer should avoid soy protein supplements or isoflavone extracts (see Safety for Breast Cancer Survivors). High intakes of soy protein may interfere with the efficacy of the anticoagulant medication warfarin. There is one case report of an individual on warfarin who developed subtherapeutic INR (prothrombin time) values upon consuming ~16 ounces of soy milk daily for four weeks (139). INR values returned to therapeutic levels two weeks after discontinuing soy milk. The amount of levothyroxine required for adequate thyroid hormone replacement has been found to increase in infants with congenital hypothyroidism fed soy formula (132, 140). Taking levothyroxine at the same time as a soy protein supplement also increased the levothyroxine dose required for adequate thyroid hormone replacement in an adult with hypothyroidism (141).

    NormanS

  92. Jim Rose says:
    December 12, 2012 at 7:45 am
    This post is a bit over-simplified due to space considerations. Sulforaphane comes from cruciferous vegetables. It is stored in the plant as glucoraphannin. It is released by being cleaved by the enzyme myrosinase. Bean sprouts contain a range of compounds apart from the isoflavones, such as coumestrol, depending upon the species of plant. Glucoraphannin is formed in the seed and is diluted as the plant grows. Mature broccoli heads contain one fiftieth of the concentration of sprouts.

  93. PaulID says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:01 am
    My opinion is that the best meal to have is Thai salad – mostly raw green vegetables, sprouts, chilli and some animal protein. Better than pho in that if you don’t get much exercise, you should try to back out carbohydrates.

  94. I think this is an excellent post.

    Leland H Hartwell, Tim Hunt and Sir Paul Nurse won the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 2001 for discovering key regulators of the cell cycle. This was a well deserved Nobel (unlike the Gore/IPCC/EU nonsense) as it greatly improves our understanding of life and cancer.

    It’s commonly known that when a cell in the body duplicates itself the DNA separates into two parts. Cancer starts when cells begin to grow abnormally. Recently Dr Mark Petronczki and his team of reaearchers have made significant progress in discovering more about the division of cells and had a paper published in Nature this year.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v492/n7428/full/nature11773.html

    A belt forms around the middle of the cell and tightens to split the cell into two. The research team discovered that a protein is a key part of this process. Understanding cell division and why it goes wrong is essential for the development of treatments for cancer and finding ways to prevent cells dividing uncontrollably in the first place.

    Survival rates for cancer have greatly improved over the years but far more money needs to be put into research into the different cancers to make significant progress.

    If the money wasted on CAGW had been spent on medical research doctors would probably by now have better treatments for all types of cancer and other diseases, as well as replacements for antibiotics which are increasingly becoming becoming less effective.

    Concerning food (apologies if already mentioned) onions and garlic are thought to contain powerful anti-cancer properties:

    “Like many vegetables, onions and garlic contain antioxidants that can block highly reactive free radicals from damaging cell DNA and starting the cancer process. Laboratory studies have shown that onion and garlic compounds can increase enzymes that deactivate carcinogens in the body, enhancing our ability to eliminate carcinogens before they do any damage.

    “Furthermore, in the laboratory onion and garlic compounds slow the growth and stimulate the self-destruction of cancer cells that form. Given this protective potential, the challenge now is to identify amounts that will provide optimal effects.

    “Some research hints garlic and onion’s protective compounds may work more effectively when combined with other compounds that work through different pathways. For example, animal studies show even greater reduction in cancer development from garlic and tomato than from either alone.

    “The protective effects of onion and garlic seem related to wherever cancer cells grow in the body and not to any specific tissue, such as breast or thyroid. That leads many scientists to say that although research offers more proof of onion and garlic’s impact on some cancers than others, they are likely to offer protection against a wide range of cancers.”

    http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11136&news_iv_ctrl=0&abbr=pr_hf_

  95. Michael Palmer says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:20 am
    Agreed. There is a host of other molecules from things like green tea, wasabi, ginger.

  96. Matt Skaggs says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:29 am
    There are four isoflavones: genistein, daidzein, formononotin and biochannin A. Your gut flora converts them to daughter metabolites. There is plenty of literature on anti-cancer effects of the daughter metabolites. Soy contains genistein and daidzein while chick peas have all four. The chick pea isoflavone profile is slightly better for osteoporosis than soy.

  97. GoneWithTheWind says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:50 am
    Yes, the Japanese are known for their high stomach cancer rate which apparently is due to high consumption of white rice. It is the lack of fiber that is the cause. Eating white rice is not much different to eating sugar granules.

  98. Stuart says:
    December 12, 2012 at 9:09 am
    I consider BPH to be a neoplastic condition. As for treatments, things like saw palmetto are merely five alpha reductase inhibitors. The current main commercial treatment is a smooth muscle relaxant. These things treat the symptoms but not the underlying cause. The most effective treatment for BPH that I have come across is sulforaphane, taken as glucoraphanin in broccoli sprouts or seed extract. There are a few other plants that are also quite effective. A friend of mine uses the weed purslane, Portulaca oleraca. It has come up in my garden self-sown. These days I water it instead of pulling it out.

  99. So that’s why I like mustard (turmeric) on my pastrami sandwich (black pepper crust)!
    ;-)

    Seriously, though, plants matter. Even the phosphorus compounds in rice bran change cancer profiles. Brown rice keeps the bran, so keeps the particular compound, and reduces bowl cancer rates.

  100. The subject is obviously an important one, I’m glad that David wrote it, and that Anthony went forward with it.

    That said — although the isoflavone hypothesis may have some merit — human bodies are very complex, and there are many more differences between Asian and North American diets, among them the amounts of food we eat here, the amounts of refined sugars, and as a consequence, the climbing rates of diabetes and the high rates of heart disease. I seem to recall a couple of decades ago that the hypothesis at the time for differences in cancer rates (and rates of other diseases) was that Americans eat more meat, especially steak, often (at the time) in the form of hamburgers. Which of the many dietary differences (other than soy consumption) might also explain the much higher rates of hormone-related cancers (e.g., breast and prostate cancers)? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to say that we only have to eat more soy, or more fermented soy, and the problem goes away.

  101. @John Robertson:

    This one?: http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/you-are-what-you-eat/

    about how some food switch genes on and off…

    I also found that a soak in a tub with Epsom’s Salts and some added Boraxo helped feel better too. Raises blood Mg levels via absorption and assures you have a bit of Boron as well (that is just being recognized as needed…)

    On Japanese Cancers:

    Don’t forget that they also consume high salt diets, and various things with other ‘odd’ chemical compositions (fermented et. al.) some of which correlate with intestinal cancers. Not to mention the very high smoking rate (and not just smoked fish…)

    In general, if you eat whole fruits and grains and fish you are better off.

    On Vit. C:

    The Eskimo tradition includes a very careful division of, IIRC, the adrenal cortex. That is high in Vit. C levels.

    It’s not just a carbohydrate thing. It’s also knowing your food source very intimately and acting wisely.

    BTW, avoid Bear Liver unless you want to die from Vitamin D overdose and ALWAYS cook bear like pig. It has tricinosis in it too…

    @Oldseadog:

    One of the interesting things I learned (the slightly hard way…) is that BOTH acetaminophen and ibuprofen (Tylenol and Advil) can “blow out your liver” if consumed with a bit of alcohol. I knew about Tylenol, but was washing down Advil with some wine when the wife noticed my eyes a bit yellow the next day… (Good things liver regenerates…)

    Along the way, found out that Asprin doesn’t have those problems BUT also is specifically protective against the metabolic cascade that results in liver damage. And not just from the NSAIDS, but also from Alcohol…

    So all these years of folks saying to save your liver by stopping the drinking could more effectively have been dealt with by “Take an aspirin for your hangover before you start drinking”… Which just makes me wonder what the level of French aspirin consumption might be…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/apirin-good-advil-ibuprofen-tylenol-acetaminophen-bad/

    at least when mixed with wine…

    @Steve From Rockwood:

    Cholesterol is a product of an animal metabolism, not a disease agent.

    The whole ‘saturated fats bad / unsaturated oils good’ is based in part on bad studies. Trans-Fats were treated as ‘saturated fat’ since both were solids at room temperature and they figured it wouldn’t matter. So the early studies did not distinguish between lard and hydrogenated vegetable shortening with trans fats.

    In a more recent study straight tri-stearate ( ‘perfect’ cow fat if you will) was tested and did exactly NOTHING to cholesterol levels.

    Trans-fats have been tested and found quite evil.

    A few years back we started religiously avoiding any food with the word “Hydrogenated” on the label (since our FDA lets trans-fat be in food labeled as zero trans-fat as long as it’s less than 1/2 gram / serving … when one gram is enough to bolix up your works and one cookie can be one serving…) Since then, I eat all I want, but end up not eating all that much as the fat we do eat is metabolized for energy, not stored due to a trans-fat gummed up set of enzymes.

    Basically, where before a box of “Oreos” could be eaten and still ‘feel hungry’ due to plugged up fat metabolism, I now can have one piece of toast and real butter and not be hungry for hours…

    FWIW, my Dad ‘blew off’ the saturated fat idea and we were raised on bacon and butter. When he died (lung cancer, 40 years of unfiltered Camels) at autopsy they said he had no circulatory problems… HIS Dad died at about 90 something. Lived on a farm eating Amish style cooking (Mom was Amish). For those who don’t know, it’s essentially all fat all the time. There are dishes that are things like “Pile of toast soaked in butter with melted cheese poured over it eggs on top and bacon in layers”… If out of butter, you can use bacon grease instead… No, that’s not an overstatement. You raise pigs, eggs, and dairy; so most of what you eat are pigs, eggs, and dairy… I remember a “mayonnaise sandwich” and then there were those fried chicken with potatoes drenched in butter AND pan gravy heavy on the chicken fat… With bread with a thick layer of butter on it…

    In short, if it can be buttered, gravied, or have bacon and cheese added, you do. If not, it’s a desert and gets mayonnaise or cream in it.. ;-)

    IMHO the whole ‘cholesterol and fat’ diet thing is another scientific cockup. It’s the transfat.

    @Duster:

    Also note that corn is a grain, so has more omega-6 fatty acids in the oils. Grasses (the leaves part) have more omega-3. BOTH go through the same enzyme to make some prostaglandins that have an effect on inflammation rates. (IIRC it is a protaglandin..)

    So the 3 vs 6 ratio determines those hormone ratios via competition. That we’ve skewed by from about 1:1 over to about 20:1… toward the ‘more inflammation’ side.

    Short form: AVOID Omega-6 oils (mostly seed oils – soy, corn) and ADD Omega-3 oils (flax, some specialty oils) or REPLACE with mono-unsaturates and saturateds ( Olive, safflower, coconut, palm, butter ).

    An old Indian (India) proverb is that “Ghee is the key to longevity”. It’s clarified butter.

    BTW, one of the ‘hotspots’ of longevity is in N. Italy. They eat a LOT of sheep’s milk cheeses and grass fed lamb. The short chain fatty acids matter… (Cocoa butter is in the same class)

    So if you want to live a long happy healthy life, eat the way folks traditionally did. That includes things like Sheep’s milk cheeses (Pecorino Romano) and wine and butter and whole wheat pasta with olive oil and garlic … and chocolate … not just a Japanese diet..

    And avoid the ‘hydrogenated’ anything…

  102. Diet and neutraceuticals raise complex questions that will not be resolved for a long time. My first exposure to the public health domain was a year in Nha Trang, as an Army health inspector during the war. Things have improved in the last half century, but one still cannot be confident about any statistic from a ‘third world’ regime.

    On nutrition in general as preventive medicine, both extreme opinions are wrong — there are strong critiques for both the mainstream and alternative medical cultures. It would take a long time to go into that aspect. The short version is: The mainstream has conflicts of interest, regulatory capture, little or no support for substances that cannot be protected by a composition-of-matter patent, and a culture that is generally uneconomic. The alternative types are not doing appropriate research and sometimes lack educational qualification.

    There is a lot of free information, however. For example, on Medline, enter
    altern med rev [jour]
    and get 507 hits, of which 478 are free pdf files that you can download. If the search term is neutraceuticals and the limitation or filter is free full text, there are still more than 10,000 hits. If you google the word ‘pubmed’ the first hit should have a link to the Medline search page.

    There are also controversial or dissident doctors (regular MDs) who defend neutraceuticals. Two who are working today are Julian Whitaker and Jonathan V. Wright, see the wiki articles.

    The classical dispute is ascorbate in high or massive IV doses. Antiviral effects were claimed in the mid-XXth century by Fred Klenner, MD, and a google search could find some of his early papers. They are too early for Medline, which also refuses to index papers from the journal of orthomolecular medicine. That can also be found through google, however. The late R. F. Cathcart, MD (d. 2007), still has a website

    http://orthomed.com/

    which has lots of links — and anger about the mainstream exclusion. Note the Belfield-Stone paper on animal therapy.

    Dr. Thomas E. Levy has recently published a book on the extreme-dose ascorbate approach; the customer reviews on Amazon are mostly positive.

    There are other situations where a disease is said to be stabilized or a chronic inflammation mitigated by a neutraceutical. For example, one might try to stabilize Alzheimer’s Disease with a combination of alpha-lipoic acid and low-dose lithium, according to information that one can find on Medline or the Wright and Whitaker dissident websites. At the mainstream level, there are now Phase III trials of IV immunoglobulin, (IVIg, gamma globulin therapy), and there is preliminary evidence of efficacy. This approach would be very expensive — but, then, that is the idea.

    Finally, the real disaster on a worldwide scale is the developmental and general health effects of micronutrient deficiency. The Copenhagen Consensus organized by the climate semi-skeptic, Lomborg, concluded that the best bang-for-the-buck in world improvement would be micronutrient supplements:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_Consensus

    About two billion people out of the ~7 billion world population are brain damaged by micronutrient deficiency, my reading suggests. See also the Flynn Effect in the wikipedia and apply Occam’s razor to the fancier explanations.

    Logan

  103. David Archibald says:
    December 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    My opinion is that the best meal to have is Thai salad – mostly raw green vegetables, sprouts, chilli and some animal protein. Better than pho in that if you don’t get much exercise, you should try to back out carbohydrates.

    ==========================================================

    Pho?

    Mostly raw green vegetables and sprouts will do you little good. Humans can’t digest plant cell walls, and our mastication is limited, so little nutrition will be derived from uncooked vegetables.

  104. David Archibald says:
    December 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Matt Skaggs says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:29 am
    There are four isoflavones: genistein, daidzein, formononotin and biochannin A. Your gut flora converts them to daughter metabolites. There is plenty of literature on anti-cancer effects of the daughter metabolites. Soy contains genistein and daidzein while chick peas have all four. The chick pea isoflavone profile is slightly better for osteoporosis than soy.
    _________________________________
    I am very happy to hear that. A favorite dish is TURKISH MOUSSAKA which contains chick peas.

    Cinnamon BTW is thought to improves blood glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

    I found it gets rid of the after meal crash common in hypoglycemia. It seems to “stabilize” blood sugar levels and also aids in weight loss when a low carb. diet quit working.

    This is an interesting resource in what is in various veggies: http://www.phenol-explorer.eu/reports/40#onion-family vegetables

  105. One of the main reasons human are such a successful species is that they can survive and reproduce on just about anything which is edible, and any combination of them.

    Discussions on nutrition are always fun. Soy is bad! No, says someone else, it is the elixir of life! Humbug, says a third person, it is OK but only if it is fermented. Sheesh.

    So-called ‘nutritional science’ is about on a level with phrenology. It is often based on ideology (going back to some alleged golden era is a popular theme, although the eras identified as golden vary widely). Personal anecdotes, wildly contradictory from person to person, abound.

    It may be that David Archibald, or E.M. Smith, or one of the millions of other diet enthusiasts who spruik their views, are on to something. But there are uncountable competing theories out there, and none of them passes the tests of scientific rigour that we require of – oh, I don’t know – climate science. Anecdotes, invalid epidemiological studies, inter-country comparisons that are not statistically valid, fads and fashions – we have those in abundance. Facts are thin on the ground, and the ones that most people do accept are at a very simple level of understanding – like that consuming Vitamin C prevents scurvy. Why this is so, how much V.C. is needed, and why people who eat little or no food containing it can survive are still subject to debate.

    All the guff about ‘superfoods’ in the popular media is typical of the ignorant and superstitious level on which we still operate when it comes to food. It is no better than (arguably worse than) modern witchcraft. That goes for ‘bad’ things like cholesterol and oxidants as well. They are today’s evil spirits, but don’t stand up to a lot of objective scrutiny.

    Food evangelists are tedious bores when one is dining with them, and often at other times as well. Eat, drink and be merry, folks. Your friends and relatives will like you more, and you will be happier as well.

  106. E.M.Smith says:
    December 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I agree whole heartedly. (So does my more recent blood work)

    Animal fat also turns off hunger so you just do not eat as much. I think the rotten dietary habits are the main problem for Americans. Since WWII we have been eating more and more junk food. They even have candy and coke machines in the schools now and then want to put kids on Ritalin because they are bouncing off the walls.

    Glad to hear about the lamb but I do not think my ram lambs will.

  107. Jeff L says:
    December 12, 2012 at 10:25 am
    I suspect that high LDL cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, but it is an effect of whatever is the real cause of heart disease. Trying to control the effect vs. the cause is not especially productive.
    ========
    my doctor recently made the same observation.

  108. A friend of mine is a western trained oncologist who now practices in Asia, further is now a highly respected and “well known”.
    She has studied the high rate of nose and throat cancers, stomach cancers and bowel cancers prevalent in Asia compared to western countries.
    One of her theories is that long time open cooking on woks with suspiciously carcinogenic Asian cooking sauces has an impact on professional restaurant cooks. A high rate of nose cancer patients seem to come from the cook profession or those whose house duties consist of a large percentage of the day over the wok.
    She also holds to the theory, as D.A. has commented on above. Too much white rice maybe a possible influence on the high rate of stomach and bowel cancers among Asians (In Asia).

    She also comments that you need to bear in mind that the life expectancy rates are much lower in S.E.Asia and this has an impact on the cancer incident figures.

  109. @johanna:”But there are uncountable competing theories out there, and none of them passes the tests of scientific rigour that we require of – oh, I don’t know – climate science.”

    Well, one of them does – it’s called the Kreb’s cycle, it’s absolutely basic biology, but despite this, even otherwise smart doctors gloss over it and buy into the low-fat/low-calorie dogma of the USDA. Insulin promotes fat accumulation. Not in the “CO2 produces warming in the laboratory” sense, but in the “our sun is responsible for daylight” sense. There may be other minor actors in the fat accumulation game, but they’re illiputians compared to insulin.

    Insulin is excreted in response to blood sugar. Not in the “H2O amplifies the small warming effect of CO2″ sense, but in the “we can measure gravity by repeatable experiments” sense. As complex as the human body is, we can directly measure this effect in action.

    Blood sugar is raised by the consumption of starches and sugars. Again, not in the “record low ice extent in the arctic means we’re all going to drown” sense, but in the “there is a thing called the maximum speed of light, and it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law” sense. They even have a thing called a “glucose tolerance test” that you can administer to a human (although, frankly, now that I know what kind of effect that has on the body, I wouldn’t let anyone do that to me).

    Now, you’re right, there are a *bunch* of dietary zealots out there based on the worst observational studies and misinterpretation imaginable (http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/). Some people think eating “mostly plants” is the way to go. Others still just believe it is calories in/calories out (in the same sense that human emitted CO2 must simply *add* to global averages, since every other source and sink out there is in perfect balance and will not react in any way). Others are positive that whole grains and organic fruit are panaceas. However, when it comes to the basic, repeatable, literally-not-disputed-even-by-these-other-diet-zealots science, the real thing to avoid is starches and sugars. There are certainly minor tweaks to help after that, including things already mentioned about omega3/6 ratios, and other small bits. But the biggest factor? The great big flaming ball in the sky that the AGW proponents ignore? Carbohydrate.

  110. I eat Indian curry regularly which has tumeric and chili. Would be interested to see the condition incidence for the Indian sub-continent (incontinent!). 8% of the population will die of Introns. More than cancer and accidents. (mike Lynch KITP 1/2010). Also

    Creating stem cells and predicting who will die of prostate cancer (free, stream on demand-Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics)

    http://online.kitp.ucsb.edu/online/bblunch/levine2

  111. @Logan in AZ:

    Thanks! I’ll be looking…

    FWIW, for decades I was plagued by ‘cold sores’. (Mouth sores from a virus). I now basically never get them, due to generally keeping my Vit-C level up.

    WHEN I do get one (usually after letting the Vit-C drop and then doing something very stressful that raises vit-C demand); I’ve now got a 100% rapid cure method. I dampen a vit-C pill and apply it directly to the (incipient) sore; while taking 10 Grams / day orally. At whatever state it has reached (from ‘little starting to hurt knot under the skin’ to full on sore) it immediately starts to reverse. Inside a couple of days the whole thing is over (with at most a scab / healing not hurting – if I let it get to the large sore stage… That hasn’t happened in years ;-)

    I’ve also recommended this to others who have had the same result, so it’s not idiosyncratic to me.

    I’d be willing to bet it generalizes to other viruses, but I’ve not tested it.

    @Gamecock:

    Depends a bit on your personal ‘gut length’. I have a long one, so digest plants better. A friend had a very short one and what came out was a lot like what went in (expecially corn… he didn’t chew much either ;-)

    But generally, yes, we’re evolved toward cooked food. We’ll still get some out of the raw stuff (as we started from that pole) but not enough for full time…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/glires-and-euarchontoglires/

    per Pho?: look up thread. It’s a very tasty Vietnamese soup / stew dish.

    @John:

    It’s not the level of steak and beef, or there would have been cancer “hot spots” of long standing in the entire Mid-West to Texas prior to 1920…

    There’s a lot of traditional ‘farm families’ with high meat consumption and low cancer rates. It’s something in the processed packaged lifestyle that does it. (Which might well be mitigated with lower meat consumption, I don’t know.)

    BTW, I’m not coming at this from any ‘Food Bigot’ POV. 1/2 the family eats vegetarian and I spent about 2 years cooking ‘mostly vegetarian’ for all of us. Even the non-vegetarian 1/2 is presently on a ‘modest meat’ diet with mostly chicken and fish as the ‘meat’…

    Over the years I’ve joined various friend on various odd diets. From “all meat all the time” to “high carbs” to “no carbs” to … Mostly nothing much changed, though I did lose some weight on the “all meat all the time” diet (even though it was surprisingly hard to do… I really like my mashed potatoes and peas ;-) and home made bread… with butter…

    Then again, I seem to be more omnivorous than most of them were…

    @Mfo:

    “Without onions there would be cooking, but no cuisine…”

    One of the other things hard to live without…

    Yes, the alliums as a group are good. Oddly, they are poisonous to many kinds of animals. We share some ability with rabbits (that are more closely related to us than are cows and horses, dogs and cats) who can also eat onions. (Mine like to nibble them in the garden ;-)

    They are also somewhat good at killing off various kinds of pests and fungals. Eat your alliums!

    @Gail Combs :

    Your link didn’t work… just paste in the URL and it’s easier, if not as fancy ;-)

    Love to make soup with the ‘odds and ends’… ;-)

    @WetMan:

    In Okinawa, the young generation that eats a more western style is getting western style disease profiles. Despite living right next to the older generation that still eats the traditional way. Despite many other factors NOT changing…

    Food matters. (Though maybe not as much as the fanatics think ;-)

    @Michael Tremblay :

    YES!

    There’s a ‘colon cancer gene’ that makes you more likely to get it, BUT, if you load up on ‘bulk’ and raw / lightly cooked vegetables, the rate drops a lot. So a predisposition can be offset with some changes.

    There is ZERO doubt about that one. Diet directly changes the environment of the gut to produce more or less of the toxic things that cause cancerous changes and the lack of bulk slows down the rate of processing such that things “plug up” and the concentration rises fast. Lots of bulk, things move faster and the toxins are more dilute; cancer rates drop.

    I know, not exactly like the ‘food to blood’, but you didn’t limit your ‘food does not reduce’ to that ;-)

    (BTW, there’s a pretty good list of foods that clearly cause higher cancer rates. Just leaving them out reduces cancer… Or, like nitrosomines from bacon, just drink a glass of milk with it and they get neutralized ;-)

    Each person is a unique genetic mix and we all react to our environment differently.

    (My clan, for example, needs our bulk and veggies, but also seems completely unharmed by any amount of fats, meats, smoked foods, etc. etc… Guy next door over might well keel over dead from what I eat. Had a friend that did poorly on veggies, but could spend all day on mostly meat… )

    @Steve P.:

    There was a guy, stuck on a raft at sea, nearly starved for something like months. Finally drifted into S. America (he came from the other side of the Atlantic). His metabolism had shifted and he never could eat as much again… but ended up living longer.

    @ColdOldMan:

    Soya does contain some phyto-estrogens that act like estrogen to animals. So there’s a theoretical reason why it might have an effect.

    With that said, I have no idea if it has any impact on sexual orientation development.

    (Personally, I’d think the plasticizers that have shown strong estrogenic impact to be more important..)

    @Gunga Din:

    There’s some of that (cure heart disease, you get more cancer from old age). BUT you have expected rates by age group, so you can see if the time of onset is shifting

    @Jeez:

    Food effects on health and cancer are real. You may not like the way it was presented, but it isn’t a mystery. In many cases it starts with identifying a food – correlation, then moves on to eventually finding the exact chemical and pathway.

    If you stop at the first step, or prevent that first step, you never get to the rest of the process.

    For example, phyto-estrogens. Absolutely have an effect. Asian women were using tofu long before the rest of us “scientifically” figured out what a phtyo-estrogen was…

  112. krischel says:
    December 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm
    …. Insulin promotes fat accumulation…..
    ___________________________________
    Very much so.

    Sugars and starches are bad news, otherwise a variety of meats and veggies, preferably fresh makes the most sense.

    I also think different people react differently to different foods. Probably depends on how much Neanderthal DNA we have.

  113. @Les Francis:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylamide#Occurrence_in_food_and_associated_health_risks

    Polyunsaturated oils, in particular, make a lot of acrylamide on prolonged or high heating.

    That’s why it’s best to use polyunsaturated oils for things like mayonnaise and salad oil while shifting to saturated fats or mono-unsaturated if you must for frying and high temperatures.

    This is well known… in some parts of the world (Europe?) there are even mandated maximum hours to use oil in deep fryers.

    (For the “food science is bunkum” folks, yes, it’s been lab tested with dead rats from cancer and everything…)

    So spending all day working over a ‘hot wok’ is likely to give a high dose of acrylamide right up the old snoot…

    That’s why some recipes particularly call out the oil to use ( like peanut oil) in addition to the flavor aspect ;-)

    It isn’t enough to say “fat is fat”. Each one is highly different in health effect, flavor, and best use.

    ( I use Palm Oil as a vegetarian shortening and Lard as the non-vegetarian one. I save bacon grease for various kinds of cooking due to the high heat resistance (and flavor). Olive oil for most ‘flavored’ sauté, butter for those that benefit, and a 50/50 butter / Olive Oil mix for many thing ;-) Safflower is next in line for most ‘general purpose’ uses (the high mon-unsaturated variation). Then Canola for the more generic needs. No soy oil. No corn oil. I’ve tried Grape Seed oil and it’s great, but a bit expensive. Oh, and coconut oil in baking. It makes breads that are delicious ;-)

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/bread-potato-flour-millet-amaranth/

    FWIW, I do occasionally buy soy or corn oil. When I’m rushed or just need something and can’t get to the store with Safflower oil. But it is NOT used in frying… In otherwords, this is a preference and optimizing thing, not a ‘must do’ thing…

    This is based on the well understood formation of acrylamide and the well understood omega-3 / omega-6 effect on inflammation. You want a high “smoke point” oil for high temperature cooking and less omega-6 lower inflammation, for health. Pretty simple. Understood to the level of individual chemical compounds and hormones / metabolic pathways. No voodoo involved. No speculation.

    @Krischel:

    I keep hearing folks say that about carbohydrates in general. Yet my experience is contrary.

    A friend was diagnosed hypoglycemic some decades back. I decided to see if I could experiment on me to help him. (The was before hypoglycemia was ‘popular’ and before the internet… yes, that old…)

    I ‘could eat anything’ without issues, so figured it was ‘safe’.

    It took me many months, and some very extreme effort, but I managed to induce hypoglycemic like effects. (Didn’t have a doctor confirm, so have to say ‘like’…) Mostly eating “all carbs all the time and nothing else” did it; but it took weeks.

    Then discovered that my strong blood sugar swings did NOT just go away as soon as I ate a steak and that pasta was still ‘an issue’ the next day…

    OK…

    Long story short, after about a week of more meat and veggies, I was back closer to normal. After a month, I was fine. Then I tried some more “sugar shocks” and nothing happened (again! Yay!)…

    My conclusion? For any reasonably modest period of time, a load of carbs is not hard to deal with for a relatively normal metabolism, well fed on normal foods. IFF highly excessive for a long time, it can become an issue (but can reverse). For some individuals with genetic susceptibility, “‘excessive for a long time” can be much shorter than for me.

    So not carbs, per se, but amount of carbs for your metabolism and history.

    For population studies, there may well be enough such sensitive people to show a ‘significant result’ from carbs, but be careful about generalizing that to all people all the time…

    BTW, I don’t know what was the “active or causal” item in the hypoglycemic response. Did I deplete some B-Vitamin or push the liver to some extreme or shift gut bacteria or… ??? Who knows. But it was reversed with adding back animal protein and fats along with more fibre / bulk from whole veggies. (Yet that doesn’t mean ‘carbs are evil’ and only eat meat, fats, veggies either… my typical “healthy” diet has a plate that is 1/3 each “Protein, Veggy, Carb”. Learned the ‘meal plan’ as a kid at home. Chicken / mashed / peas, or fish / rice / parsnips, or Chili Beans / Crackers / Corn-on-the-cob, or… It has worked well for at least 100 years in my family that I know of. )

    @Gail Combs:

    Ah, that would explain why my morning “Cinnamon Toast” works so well… (Home made bread, toasted, real butter – to soak ;-), sprinkled with mix of about 1/4 cinnamon 3/4 sugar to saturation… that is, once it stops soaking butter out of the toast, stop adding more ;-)

    @johnnythelowery:

    OK, I’m remember Marmite… (Now what?)…

    (Do like curry… haven’t made it in a while… hmmm…. Dinner Time! Ding Ding!!)

  114. @Gail Combs:

    Got me thinking… maybe it’s the WAY we eat our carbs…. Mine are typically not refined, but inside rice, potatoes, or pasta. Only sugar used is in tea, coffee, or on that toast… Unlike the spouse, I don’t eat much sweets, deserts, or ‘breakfast cereal’ (other than cooked like oats that does get a spoon of sugar, but in a load of whole grain…)

    Basically, I don’t get much of a ‘sugar pulse’ as it’s always being slowed down by the context…
    so not much insulin overshoot / rebound…

    Hmmm…. Going to think about that over a nice lentil and potato curry…

  115. When receiving dietary advice I take everything I read with a pinch of salt! Then I follow my grandmothers advice,” A little bit of what you fancy does you good”. Hardly scientific, but I have never met anyone who cannot prescribe a miracle cure for both my arthritis and asthma within minutes of meeting me. Forgive my skepticism, but I feel that there are too many forks in the dietary path to make one direction preferable to another. At the end of them all is a wooden box. I just want to get to it just when my fuel runs out and not a minute before.

    Ivor Ward

  116. E.M.Smith says:
    December 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm
    @Gunga Din:

    There’s some of that (cure heart disease, you get more cancer from old age). BUT you have expected rates by age group, so you can see if the time of onset is shifting
    ===============================================================
    Thanks for responding to me (and everybody else!). I know you didn’t write the post but then “age standardized” probably relates to age of onset?

  117. In Asia they eat fermented soy a lot more than unfermented. Historically that was due to a lack of refrigeration. If their diet changes as refrigeration becomes common it will be interesting to see if any changes in cancer.

    As to the GMO influence on us we are all lab rats for Monsanto if we eat it. Avoiding it is hard but can be done. The “research” Monsanto does is worse than anything I’ve seen. For example in their RBGH research they claimed that “any residuals were destroyed at pasturization temperatures” but didn’t mention that they kept it at that temp for 30 minutes! That is like baking a turkey for 2 weeks and claiming there is no salmonela.

    You may want to look into reshi mushroom extract as well as curcumin as very effective anti-cancer compounds. Pubmed has lots of research on them available.

  118. @Gunga Din:

    http://www.michaelwosnick.com/category/age-standardized-cancer-rates/

    has a comment that goes over why ‘age standardized’ is important.

    As a quick hypothetical example:

    By about 80, a male is pretty much guaranteed to have prostate cancer in some stage (modulo a few odd folks who don’t). So if you just took an old folks home, and said “A recent sample in Miami found 78% of men had prostate cancer.” it would be meaningless. Similarly, if you look at a kindergarten and find 100% of males have no such cancer, it doesn’t say much.

    Now let say you pick a population, like NYC, and make a %/year-of-age graph. Then look at Tokyo and make the same graph. IF they are offset, the odds are there’s a causal factor. You can say the “age adjusted rate for Tokyo is 5% lower than for NYC” by taking (for example) the band of 50 to 60 year olds and subtracting the Tokyo number from the NYC number and finding 5% as the residual.

    (Really you would need bias by number of individuals in each year of age band, but you get the idea).

    Do that enough, you get the “standard” (or baseline) rate for each age group. Now any given location can be compared to any other by “age adjusting” via comparing their rates in any given age group to the “standard / baseline” .

    That’s slightly different from ‘age of onset’, but more correct. For things like deafness, age of onset can be more enlightening just because it’s hard to adjust for “degree”. Essentially, it uses a threshold of ‘first time strong enough to notice’ to make up for “never die from it and can’t tell how much one guy differs from another very well” (especially in old data pre-testing machines). So you can easily spot that in an industrial society, ‘age of onset’ of deafness was about 40-something (prior to ear protection) while in hunter gatherers it was as a very old man, or never. (Generally). You might even notice ‘nodal points’ with a 4 to 5 year old mode and a 50 to 60 year mode and eventually discover measles related deafness and noise related deafness…

    Does that help?

    @TRM:

    GMO scares the heck out of me. (Largely because I do know a lot about biology and genetics.) There is no way on this earth that Monsanto has done enough testing or has a clue what the long term effect on health can be. From epigenetic issues to the fact that they use “lock on” codons for the inserted genes (and that bacteria can pick up genes from what they eat and move them around, look up plasmids, so potentially get end up with a locked on toxin making gene…) to the way genes are “splattered” randomly into the genome (locking on ‘whatever’ is nearby? or breaking ‘whatever’ they got shoved into? )

    It’s spinning the biological chemical factory wheel and hoping you don’t make something very very bad… It is not as described / advertised… ( That is, it is not a well understood well controlled known insertion and activation of just the desired gene… It’s a virus particle gene used to force insertion of a crowbar lock on control sequence with a chunk of following DNA into “whatever” and “where ever” then grow out the few cells that didn’t outright die and hope the insertion shot didn’t damage anything important…)

    As “genes move”, it also means that those genes will NOT stay just in the target species / variety.

    So take a ‘BT Corn”. It has genes to make the BT Toxin in each and every cell. You can’t wash it off. You eat it. Some gut bacteria, being none too careful (as bacteria are…) pick up a copy of that gene and start using it. Now you get an ongoing and potentially growing gut concentration of BT toxin. Nobody knows what that will do.

    (No, it won’t happen often. Maybe only 1 in a million. Now take a few Billion people… then the bug starts to spread from animal to animal or person to person… )

    I’ll stop now before I get too wound up on this. ( FWIW, I had upper division genetics at University, at an Ag school. I’m from “Farm Country” and very pro-farmer. GMO is NOT farmer friendly. It’s Monsanto friendly. I haven’t even touched on the ways Monsanto attacks farmers… Nor am I a Luddite. I think the tech has a lot of potential, and done carefully could be highly beneficial. But force feeding every farm animal and person on the planet toxins built into the food cell wall is not one of them.)

    At least in California you can avoid GMO if you buy ‘organic’ labeled food. I’d rather be able to buy food labeled “Non-GMO” (as I see no reason to not use synthetic fertilizers and some classes of pesticides) but Monsanto bought the laws that say we are forbidden to label food “Non-GMO”… (though there are efforts to change that. Don’t know if they have gotten anywhere).

  119. i think boiling or cooking denatures dna, amirite?
    stomach acid has a pH as low as 1.5, which also denatures dna, amirite?
    unless somebody is mainlining corn, i’m not seeing a big threat.
    on the other hand, starvation is serious, so there’s a good argument for increasing food supply, amirite?

  120. When evaluating the merits of foods, dietary practices, etc., one should always consider the effects on gut flora. Western maladies may be as much a result of medical and dietary insults to our inner “Whoville” (as in Horton Hears a Who) as to the presence or absence of nutrients, genetics, environmental factors, etc. Our little symbiotic friends are essential to health. They perform myriad beneficial functions including manufacturing vitamins, metabolizing otherwise indigestable nutrients, etc.

    My interest in gut flora led me to begin brewing and consuming (with pleasure!) lactofermented beverages, particularly ginger beer, and therein lies a relevant anecdote. I had some commercial soda products lying about the house, leftovers from one of my sons’ social gatherings. Thinking I could turn the junk into something healthy through lactofermentation, I opened three bottles, let them outgas a bit, then inoculated them with some of my very active lactobacillus culture. Had they been mere flavored sugar water, they would have quickly begun fermenting and their sugar content reduced to be replaced by beneficial lactic acid compounds, etc. No such thing happened, even after weeks in a warm and dark environment. The likely explanation is of course that the sodas were “stabilized” by sorbates to prevent fermentation (“spoilage”). I couldn’t help wondering if sorbated commercial soft drinks might have the same effect in vivo, knocking our microbiotic friends– and thus our health– for a serious loop. Something to think about.

    I also second the recommendation to check out the fascinating and sensible work of Dr. Weston A. Price (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration) and the organizations that follow in his footsteps: Price-Pottenger Foundation and the Weston A. Price Foundation. I also caution against an uncritical approach to the work of Ancel Keys, who I consider to be the Michael Mann of nutrition science, manipulating the results of his work in favor of low fat and vegetarian diets to the dire detriment of at least one generation’s health. For starters see

  121. It is with the utmost respect that I say thank you Anthony, this man is a real scientist doing real stuff, that makes a positive difference. Much like the work you have done but more personal.

    Have a bloody good christmas and have a bit of time out for yourself.

  122. @Gnomish:

    There are many ways to physically get the “package” into the nucleus of a target cell. From micropipettes to little gold bead bullets. (There are many choices for several of the various steps).

    One of the problems is how to get the DNA embedded into the target genome. One of the ways to do that is take the chunk of a virus that inserts ITS DNA and just change the ‘payload’. Now your ‘golden bullet’ delivers a batch of this hybrid virus / payload DNA to the nucleus and the virus particle (since it came from a virus, but is only part of the whole DNA package) does the job of stitching the new DNA payload into the host genome.

    Part of the payload is a ‘lock this gene on’ control sequence (you want that gene to be functioning, after all). The problem is that what with all the ruckus, like being fired in with a golden bullet and having a virus mini-machine slicing and dicing into the host DNA and all, well, things are not always done ‘just right’. Because of that, most cells so traumatized just up and die. (Not very comforting…)

    But some few live. They were not so busted up as to be DOA, but may have all sorts of ‘not quite right’ problems. These are grown to maturity and used to make the final GMO seed crop. One hopes that the evaluation / selection process catches any ‘big ooopsies’, but it is not guaranteed.

    Per BT:

    It isn’t broken down by cooking. The kind used in ‘organic’ farming is a bacterium that can be washed off the food. It is not built into every single cell of the volume in such a way that it can not be removed, as it is in GMO plants. The bacterium is unlikely to be consumed by other bacteria (so the gene for BT tends to stay in that bacteria). The BT gene in a rotting bit of GMO plant in the gut is just the kind of thing that other bacteria break down and consume. Bacteria often pick up bits of DNA from their environment. ( Messy eaters ;-) This means it’s only a matter of time…

    Per DNA denaturing:

    The denaturation of nucleic acids such as DNA due to high temperatures is the separation of a double strand into two single strands, which occurs when the hydrogen bonds between the strands are broken. This may occur during polymerase chain reaction. Nucleic acid strands realign when “normal” conditions are restored during annealing. If the conditions are restored too quickly, the nucleic acid strands may realign imperfectly.

    It goes back where it was upon cooling. There are animals living on black smokers in several hundred degree water…

    There are nice little bacteria that live in your stomach and make ulcers. There are a large number of viruses and bacteria that make it through the stomach and cause all sorts of digestive diseases. The stomach is not protection from foreign DNA inside cells.

    DNA and RNA are broken down into mononucleotides by the nucleases deoxyribonuclease and ribonuclease (DNase and RNase) from the pancreas.

    The pancreas dumps into the intestines after the stomach…

    NO digestion is perfect, there are lots of things poorly broken down and many active parts floating around all along the pathway. Besides, partial digestion makes it even more likely that a bacterium (or even your own intestinal lining) will have that BT toxin genes (or any others) floating around where it might get picked up (as it has been snipped out of the nucleus and made available).

    These kinds of processes happen all the time. It’ how bacteria change. They are even so fond of picking up and swapping around bits of DNA that they have a dedicated set of structures for it. Plasmids. It’s how they swap antibiotic resistance between bacterial species…

    Per yields:

    Many GMO varieties have shown lower yields, not higher. They do cut back a great deal on labor required. (You can wholesale drench the crop in Roundup a few times during growth, so no disking weeds or such needed) But herbicide use goes way up. It is about reducing COSTS (that is a good thing) mostly, and not about more yield ( for most GMOs).

    It is a large and complicated topic, and not really appropriate here ( i.e. it would become a ‘thread hijack’) so I’d rather not expand on this more. It is well covered elsewhere. If you really want to do more “to and fro” on it, hit my blog with a comment and I’ll open a GMO thread.

    But, in short: No, you are not right.

    (And there’s a few dozen more, often worse, problem with GMOs, such as landrace genetic pollution and more… I’m prone to allergies. What happens when folk develop a food allergy to BT toxin and it’s in everything? BT Toxin is a known allergen… Just for starters…)

  123. David
    What was the rate of diagnosis and cure for these cancers when western civilizations emerged from an agrarian society?
    Could we also suggest diet is the cause of autism on the basis of the numbers diagnosed in the USA vs the prevalence in Vietnam?
    Sorry for appearing skeptical but we are currently dealing with doctors prescribing iodine drops on you skin for people who end up in hospital with pneumonia.

  124. E.M.Smith says:
    December 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    @Gamecock:

    Depends a bit on your personal ‘gut length’. I have a long one, so digest plants better. A friend had a very short one and what came out was a lot like what went in (expecially corn… he didn’t chew much either ;-)

    But generally, yes, we’re evolved toward cooked food. We’ll still get some out of the raw stuff (as we started from that pole) but not enough for full time…

    ===============================================================

    This is seriously wrong. We have not evolved – or devolved – to anything. Our digestive abilities with cellulose date back 400,000,000 years.

    “No vertebrate can digest the cell wall unassisted”

    http://www.amjbot.org/content/93/10/1531.full

  125. [sorry - can't promote that here - mod]
    You can’t promote what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services owns a patent on?
    Someone else mentioned THC: that post got through.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/12/and-now-for-something-completely-different/#comment-1171408

    Interesting.
    I also mentioned DiChloroAcetate (DCA). and gave a link to “CHEAP SAFE DRUG KILLS MOST CANCERS” in New Scientist ,explaining a long held “assumption” that held back cancer research for decades, and the role of mitochondria in apotosis (suicide) of mutant cells.
    You can’t “promote” that here? Really?
    Even though not a single mention of a cancer mechanism of a link to optimistic research amongst all the comments?

    And my comment to E.M Smith, regarding L-Cysteine (the standard treatment for acetaminophen poisoning),which also shows promise in preventing a variety of cancers.
    You couldn’t “promote” that here either?
    Is this just a snake oil show?
    The cancer industry is also no interested in demonstrated treatments that can be produced for a few cents. Shameful.

  126. The main thing to remember is humans are omnivores. Our teeth are shaped to eat various sorts of plants and meat. Too much meat can have a bad effect in the long term but zero meat will have you in bad health much faster.

    Among the most important things a human body needs from meat are the B vitamins, especially B12. We can store quite a lot of B12 but cannot produce it. Other omnivores and carnivores have the same problem. Herbivores like cattle and buffalo produce their own B12 and eating herbivores is how omnivores and carnivores get the B12 they need.

    What happens if you don’t eat your herbivore meat and run out of B12? Brain damage and other problems with your nerves.

    You can take vitamin supplements but it’s better, easier and cheaper to eat a steak or hamburger.

    Another thing that’s vital for human (and other onmivore) health is animal fat. Fats are essential to brain and nerve health, especially in children as they’re growing.

    Some sources for vegan and vegetarian information recommend strongly *against* having children on such a diet. Then there’s the nutjobs killing themselves with a pure vegan diet, without any supplements, and demanding the removal of all animal products from school lunches.
    No meat+no animal fats+no supplements=brain damaged. ;-)

    http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/vitamin-b12-deficiency-symptoms-causes

    Eat a properly balanced omnivore diet and you’ll have the best health because it’s how your body works.

  127. Iodine consumption is 75 times higher in Japanese diet versus US … Competing toxins bromide and fluoride block iodine uptake and build up in the glands. As extreme sugar consumption makes an acidic cancer-favorable environment in the body the severe deficiency of iodine interferes with glands doing what they do.

    http://www.iodine-resource.com/

  128. @E.M.Smith:”For any reasonably modest period of time, a load of carbs is not hard to deal with for a relatively normal metabolism, well fed on normal foods. ”

    Agreed, but only about 25% of the population has a “relatively normal metabolism”, and even for those, the unseen deleterious effects (cholesterol profiles, cancers, alzheimer’s, etc) can still come and haunt you.

    Put another way, if you’re overweight or type 2 diabetic, you simply don’t have a “normal” metabolism, and the proper treatment is carbohydrate restriction.

  129. e.m.smith:
    your response is a hodge-podge of inapplicable generalities. you’ve lapsed into mannian cya. you do that occasionally. it’s why i no longer frequent your place.
    your sci fi fantasy might make a good script for The Day After The Day After Tomorrow
    i flag your content as seriously misleading.

    http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/GM/PDF/GMquestions.pdf

    the cry protein is on a plasmid.
    annealing doesn’t happen in acidic conditions.
    that bacterium is everywhere and we’ve coevolved.
    you could make a more credible case against polio vaccine.

  130. E.M.Smith says:
    December 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    ….GMOs scare the heck out of me…..
    ___________________________________
    Amen to that and thanks for more info.

    I do not like the fact that Monsanto’s lawyer, Mike Taylor while working in the FDA got a GMO = Natural and therefore no testing required (or labeling needed) passed. I was also aware that Horizontal Gene Transfer from GMOs Does Happen

    Like you I have no problem with the concept of GMOs but I do have a problem with the lack of ethics involved.

    For what it is worth, I found the amount and type of carbs as well as what else I eat with them mattered when I was young.. Once I got older I got more and more sensitive to carbs and now I keep them to a minimum if I want to feel good. If I slip off the low-carb diet I feel rotten for at least a day no matter what I eat.

    The type of carb is important too. Brown rice and beans like chick peas I can tolerate in small doses but not anything with refined flour or sugar.

    I also think it depends on the person. Arthritis for example comes in various flavors. Some people are helped by glucosamine and chondroitin and some are not. Therefore trial results are mixed. My arthritis is mainly from wear & tear and glucosamine and chondroitin got me off painkillers and mobile again. Others I know have also been helped by it while still others have not.

    Arthritis Foundation Statement on the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial
    The long-awaited results of the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) have now been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This 24-week study was conducted to assess the safety and efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin in the management of pain in knee osteoarthritis…

    Key findings of the study:
    * The more severe the pain, the better the response. People with moderate-to-severe knee OA pain experienced 25 percent greater pain relief than those taking other treatments. Only a small number of people – 22 percent of all study participants – were in the moderate-to-severe subgroup. Further studies to better understand and confirm the benefit in this group of people are needed.

    * The combination is important. Even among the moderate-to-severe group, the improvement in pain was only observed in people receiving the glucosamine-chondroitin combination therapy; no significant benefit was detected with glucosamine or chondroitin alone.

    * No benefit was observed in people with mild knee OA pain….

    * Side effects were minimal. No differences in adverse events were observed between the study groups….

  131. E.M.Smith says:
    December 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm
    @Gunga Din:
    ……….Does that help?
    ======================================
    Yes, thanks.

  132. If I remember correctly, one of the 1st links of colon rectal cancer was to diets was in east Africa,many years ago, There a lot of fibrous food is eaten.

    In looking at the old family photos, >50 yrs. ago, we noticed how scrawny, people looked. Even the school photos. Going shopping today there seems to be an entirely different picture.

    One thing that also developed as my wife & I got older, was that we discovered meals made from scratch tasted so much better, along with a taste for vegetables, breads & fruits, & a noticeable decline for sugary foods..We wondered if nature was telling us to cut down on some foods, for more nutritious ones. . .

  133. Gamecock says:
    December 13, 2012 at 3:25 am

    ….This is seriously wrong. We have not evolved – or devolved – to anything. Our digestive abilities with cellulose date back 400,000,000 years.

    “No vertebrate can digest the cell wall unassisted”

    http://www.amjbot.org/content/93/10/1531.full

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    As your link points out:

    ….The three digestive systems are the hindgut fermenters (HGFs) with relatively fast and variable gut passage rates and the foregut fermenters (FGFs), which are of two types: (1) the ruminants, with relatively controlled gut passage rates, which by regurgitating the food allow voluntary repetitive chewing of ingested food and (2) the non-ruminants, which can only chew the food at ingestion….

    In small HGFs, which include many rodents and folivorous marsupials, there is selective retention of small particles in a part of the gut, the caecum, where fermentation of the cell wall by bacteria takes place…. Periodically, the caecal contents, rich in nitrogenous bacteria, are expelled, and the animal may consume the pellet and digest the bacteria in the small intestine. [They eat their own feces to recover nutrients gc]

    I think all of us are aware of the bacteria in our gut that is absolutely necessary for the digestion of our food. Anyone dealing with horses vs cows is certainly aware of the difference four vs one stomach and cud chewing makes in digestion of plant matter.

    Now back to what E.M. Smith said and evolution. There seems to be an update.

    Evolution Of The Human Appendix: A Biological ‘Remnant’ No More

    The lowly appendix, long-regarded as a useless evolutionary artifact, won newfound respect two years ago when researchers at Duke University Medical Center proposed that it actually serves a critical function. The appendix, they said, is a safe haven where good bacteria could hang out until they were needed to repopulate the gut after a nasty case of diarrhea, for example.

    Now, some of those same researchers are back, reporting on the first-ever study of the appendix through the ages. Writing in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Duke scientists and collaborators from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University conclude that Charles Darwin was wrong: The appendix is a whole lot more than an evolutionary remnant. Not only does it appear in nature much more frequently than previously acknowledged, but it has been around much longer than anyone had suspected….

    Using a modern approach to evolutionary biology called cladistics, which utilizes genetic information in combination with a variety of other data to evaluate biological relationships that emerge over the ages, Parker and colleagues found that the appendix has evolved at least twice, once among Australian marsupials and another time among rats, lemmings and other rodents, selected primates and humans. “We also figure that the appendix has been around for at least 80 million years, much longer than we would estimate if Darwin’s ideas about the appendix were correct.”

    …..He also was not aware that appendicitis, or inflammation of the appendix, is not due to a faulty appendix, but rather due to cultural changes associated with industrialized society and improved sanitation. “Those changes left our immune systems with too little work and too much time their hands – a recipe for trouble,” says Parker.

    That notion wasn’t proposed until the early 1900’s, and “we didn’t really have a good understanding of that principle until the mid 1980’s,” Parker said. “Even more importantly, Darwin had no way of knowing that the function of the appendix could be rendered obsolete by cultural changes that included widespread use of sewer systems and clean drinking water.”

    Parker says now that we understand the normal function of the appendix, a critical question to ask is whether we can do anything to prevent appendicitis. He thinks the answer may lie in devising ways to challenge our immune systems today in much the same manner that they were challenged back in the Stone Age. “If modern medicine could figure out a way to do that, we would see far fewer cases of allergies, autoimmune disease, and appendicitis.”….

    Article says more at : http://www.dukehealth.org/HealthLibrary/News/evolution_of_the_appendix_a_biological_remnant_no_more
    but the link dumps you to the main page so I wonder if the original research was retracted. Would not be the first time.
    Other links:

    http://www.darwinthenandnow.com/tag/william-parker/

    Actual paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&cmd=Search&TransSchema=title&term=%22Journal+of+theoretical+biology%22%5BJour%5D+AND+Biofilms+in+the+large+bowel+
    ———

    In browsing through the Duke Health library I came across this on cancer
    Alphavirus-Based Vaccine May Slow Some Cancers

    http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/alphavirus_based_vaccine_may_slow_some_cancers

    An experimental vaccine based on a virus that causes encephalitis in the wild appears to block tumor growth in some cases of advanced cancer, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.
    Updated: July 28, 2010

  134. J. Bob says:
    December 13, 2012 at 7:47 am

    If I remember correctly, one of the 1st links of colon rectal cancer was to diets was in east Africa,many years ago, There a lot of fibrous food is eaten….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I remember that too. Mainly as the salad that appeared on the table for dinner every night and at lunch on the weekends. Mom’s Doctor in the 1950’s – 1960’s was very much into prescribing dietary changes and using pills as a last resort.

  135. more soylent green! says:
    December 12, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Charles Tossy says:
    December 12, 2012 at 8:14 am
    I think that thousands of years ago people lived to be hundreds of years old. Then the agricultural revolution happened and life span declined up to 90% because the human body is not optimized for the new diet.

    The basis for this is?

    , This is an opinion. If your species exists for millions of years on one diet then suddenly over a few years the diet completely changes, will the new food contain the micro-nutrients that the body is optimized to use?

  136. ” Paul Westhaver says:
    December 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I have blue eyes. Is there a diet that I can adopt that will help me change them to brown?”

    Lasik will do that for you. I had blue eyes and they turned brown after my procedure. (Really, I know you were just being sarcastic, but it changed them for me).

  137. On my first pass, what jumped out at me was the remark about piperines. Back in the 1980s (I’m thinking 1986) Bruce Ames had an article published in AAAS _Science_ “Carcinogens and Anti-Carcinogens” in the diet. And piperines from black pepper were on the naughty list.

    “Going Meatless May Shrink Brain”

    http://www.kermitrose.com/econ200809.html#20080914

    hmmm, an estimated 76M cases of food-borne bacterial illnesses each year in USA from bacterial contamination in the home. (Amanda Hesser 2004-01-28 _NY Times_)

    Grump, I was aiming for a vaguely-remembered article that claimed a study concluded that men who eat too much soy and not enough meat have increased difficulty controlling anger.

    cause, # of deaths
    heart disease, 710760
    cancer, 553091
    stroke, 167661
    accidents, 97902
    motor vehicles, 43354
    [murders, 16K]
    falls, 13221
    crossing the street, 6047
    fires & burns, 3418
    choking on small objects, 2828
    electrocution, 874
    bikes, 800
    choking on food, 640
    air crashes, 570
    drowning in swimming pools, 530
    [natural gas, 400]
    bath-tub drowning, 320
    lightning, 64
    contact with hot tap water, 51
    cribs, 27
    suffocation from plastic bags, 25
    baseball, 6
    drowning in toilets, 4
    BIC lighters, 1?
    sources: Office of Statistics & Programming, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
    CDC Data Source: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) vital Statistics System,
    National Safety Council, and
    Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    John Stossel 2004 _Give Me a Break_ pp76-77, 89

    2007 USA
    • Number of deaths: 2,423,712
    • Death rate: 803.6 deaths per 100,000 population
    • Life expectancy: 77.9 years
    • Infant Mortality rate: 6.75 deaths per 1,000 live births
    Number of deaths for leading causes of death:
    • Heart disease: 616,067
    • Cancer: 562,875
    • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
    • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
    • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
    • Alzheimer’s disease: 74,632
    • Diabetes: 71,382
    • Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
    • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
    • Septicemia: 34,828

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

    see file “nvsr59_08.pdf”

    2000 USA
    tobacco smoking: 435K
    over-weight and obesity: 111,909
    ethanol: 85K
    infectious diseases: 75K
    toxins: 55K
    motor vehicle collisions: 32K
    firearms: 29K
    suicide: 16,586
    homicide: 10,801
    accidents: 776
    death by cop: 270
    unknown: 230
    STDs/veneral diseases: 20K
    drug abuse: 17K
    A.H. Mokdad, J.S. Marks, D.F. Stroup, J.L. Gerberding 2004 “Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000″ _JAMA_ vol291 #10 pp1238-1245

  138. If anyone has doubts about eating genetically modified foods, please use the internet to research where you can purchase the expensive, organic, and pristine cultivars you prefer. Enjoy your diet, enjoy your food. It is not healthy for you to eat while clouded with doubts and horrors about GM or pesticides. Meanwhile, don’t expect every one else to share these fears of dietary or environmental transgression: these are your personal ethics.

    The rest of us may very understandably not wish to be placed under your dietary laws. I cannot afford to pay twice as much for half as much, or to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous local-only supply. World grain prices are going up pushing many people in the world from poverty to extreme poverty. Really, have you nothing better to do than misuse science to enforce your dietary proclivities on others? Is that all you have? Well two can play that. Maybe eating – or even looking at – organic food turns test subjects into a self-righteous elitist snob. Study:

    http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/05/14/1948550612447114.abstract

  139. Logan in AZ says:
    December 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm
    “Finally, the real disaster on a worldwide scale is the developmental and general health effects of micronutrient deficiency. The Copenhagen Consensus organized by the climate semi-skeptic, Lomborg, concluded that the best bang-for-the-buck in world improvement would be micronutrient supplements:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_Consensus

    About two billion people out of the ~7 billion world population are brain damaged by micronutrient deficiency, my reading suggests. See also the Flynn Effect in the wikipedia and apply Occam’s razor to the fancier explanations.” [emph added]

    In particular, many countries in which children eat mainly rice are suffering from Vitamin A deficiency. This causes blindness and death follows within a year of the loss of sight. Golden Rice has been genetically modified to divert the Vitamin A from the green tissues to the endosperm, which people eat. Once this is done, the seed from the previous year can be used to plant the Golden Rice. Think long and hard before joining the academic elitists who would begrudge Golden Rice from feeding children all over the world and supplying their growing bodies with the main micronutrient their swiftly growing bodies need.

    http://goldenrice.org/index.php

  140. I did my M.S. on increasing nodulation of soybeans with flavonoids. Prior to initiating the study and while writing the thesis, I was forced to do a significant amount of background reading (of course!). One of the studies I read that caught my eye concerned the higher incidence of stomach cancer in Japanese compared to Americans. The study involved feeding varying amounts of soy sauce to rats, under the hypothesis that soy sauce caused stomach cancer and the Japanese ate more of it. The results were counter to the hypothesis, in that there was lower incidence of stomach cancer in rats fed soy sauce. (As an aside, I tend to have more faith in studies where the results are not what was expected). As part of my research I developed an HPLC program that seperated flavonoids (nols, ones, etc) quite well because some flavonoids I wanted were unavailable commercially. In my thesis studies, flavonoids significantly (2-3X) induced nodulation in soybeans. So for some fun I ran soybean sauce through the HPLC. Apparently the fermentation process concentrates flavonoids as the level was very high.

    So label me a believer. Do some web surfing, then eat cucurbits or broccolli with tumeric and drink red wine to live forever.

    (Understand, there is also unquestionably a genetic predisposition for cancer)

  141. I’ve read a bunch of the above comments so I think I should add something.
    My wife and I have consumed a diet high in fresh vegetables, low carb, olive oil and meat for 30+ years. But all three of her uncles have died, one aunt, and her dad is dying of cancer. Not the same types, so thus I state the genetic link to cancer, as she has had four rounds of cancer in the last ten years, and been pronouced clean following each. I don’t think she would have survived without our diet.
    My mother’s favorite admonition was:
    “It’s not what you eat that gives you cancer, it’s what you don’t eat.”

  142. @Tim Clark: Actually, I’d completely reverse what your mom said :)

    For the cancer side of things, in general, cancerous growths are simply unavoidable in humans. That being said, they don’t start going really haywire until you give them a high blood sugar environment to live in. Cancer cells *literally* have a better ability than normal cells to process blood sugar – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626131854.htm

    Funny, though, instead of just advising you stop eating whatever is increasing your blood sugar levels (starches and sugars), they’re focusing cancer research on stopping cancer from taking advantage of high blood sugar (as if it must simply be a given that that happens). It’s like, no matter what their research discovers, they simply tweak their model to avoid concluding that cereals, whole grains, and other sugary fruits are bad for you :)

  143. Here are some things I’ve learned:

    LDL cholesterol will always rise when you are working out. You need more of it to transport protein to your muscles. Don’t worry about high LDL or total cholesterol. They are not harmful (but glycated or oxidized cholesterol is). The only useful cholesterol number is your HDL (“good” cholesterol). The higher the better. High HDL means your gut is in good shape, has good bacteria, and is not leaking large immune-provoking protein fragments into your circulation. Get it up above 60 by eating coconut oil.

    Go low carb and eat a paleo diet with lots of fish (especially shellfish). EPA and DHA (fish oils) are not burned for fuel, instead they pass directly into your circulation and are used by your brain cells to build cell membranes. For this reason, if you don’t eat enough fish, your brain will slowly shrink as you age.

    Stop eating gluten! So many people are gluten sensitive and don’t know it, and it masks many other problems. You don’t need wheat, beer, barley, or bread. If you crave them, it’s because gluten gets you high.

    Take an Mg supplement. You probably need one, especially if your blood pressure is creeping up or if you’re slowly developing type 2 diabetes. Even if you’re not diabetic, get a sugar meter and start testing your blood glucose. You can record your BG after eating particular foods, to see how they affect you.

  144. Gail Combs says:
    December 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I think all of us are aware of the bacteria in our gut that is absolutely necessary for the digestion of our food. Anyone dealing with horses vs cows is certainly aware of the difference four vs one stomach and cud chewing makes in digestion of plant matter.

    ==============================================================

    This has nothing to do with humans.

    “Even though humans eat cellulose, the contribution to cellulose digestion by both the human caecum and its associated appendix is negligible.”

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/vestiges/appendix.html#background

    Additionally, attributing wonderful functions for the human vermiform appendix, such as special contributions to the immune system, is bogus.

    http://surgeonsblog.blogspot.com/2007/02/god-of-appendix-of-truth-and-worms.html

    My original comment concerned E.M.Smith’s statement:

    “But generally, yes, we’re evolved toward cooked food. We’ll still get some out of the raw stuff (as we started from that pole) but not enough for full time…”

    Reduction of the caecum and appendix in primates to vestigial state precedes cooking by millions of years. We aren’t the only apes with vestigial appendixes. To my knowledge, none of the others ever cooked.

  145. Zeke said @ December 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    The rest of us may very understandably not wish to be placed under your dietary laws. I cannot afford to pay twice as much for half as much, or to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous local-only supply. World grain prices are going up pushing many people in the world from poverty to extreme poverty. Really, have you nothing better to do than misuse science to enforce your dietary proclivities on others? Is that all you have? Well two can play that. Maybe eating – or even looking at – organic food turns test subjects into a self-righteous elitist snob. Study:

    http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/05/14/1948550612447114.abstract

    You’ve got to be joking! What laws? And if that “study” is the best you can come up with, I truly pity you. It’s a “study” worthy of Stephan Lewandowsky.

    This may come as a surprise to you, but I eat organically grown food because it’s less expensive than conventionally grown. Yes, it does cost more in the shops, but just as there is no law forcing anyone to eat organic, there’s also no law preventing you from doing what I do: grow your own food.

    I have been growing food for thirty years now and never, not once, has a “superficial” fertiliser company ever offered me their products for free. On the other hand, I have been given tonnes of spoiled hay and spoiled fish meal, and sheds full of cow and goat manure. For the ten years that I grew produce commercially, I had to buy in organic fertiliser. Mostly, this was chicken deep litter from the grower sheds. It was by far the cheapest source of nitrogen by weight, cheaper even than sulphate of ammonia. But as well as the nitrogen, I was receiving absolutely free phosphorus, potassium, and importantly cellulose and lignin, the necessary ingredients for humus formation in the compost heap.

    But I don’t eat organic food just because it’s cheaper. I mainly grow organically because it tastes much better than conventionally grown and I really care a lot about the quality of what I stick in my mouth. Additionally, I get a real kick out of the politicz of it. When you grow your own food, you don’t spend money on it at the supermarket, nor do you need to earn as much money to live. You are depriving the government of some of its revenue. As well, working in the garden costs a lot less than working out at the gym. More savings, less income for the government. (If it’s true that I am also healthier, then I’m also saving money being doctored.

    FWIW I was an elitist snob (aka Pompous Git) long before I ever ate organic food :-)

  146. Important to note that there is no such thing as an ideal universal human diet; there’s simply too many different types of humans. Most SE Asians lose the ability to create the lactose digesting enzyme before reaching adulthood. Some Mediterranean folk are severely allergic to broad beans (AKA fava beans) though not everyone with the genetic defect causing this is so allergic. And so on…

    Best book on food I’ve read in a long time: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham.

  147. TPG, well said.

    Following my original comment about the new-age, unscientific nature of so-called ‘nutritional science’, a read through the comments has done nothing to switch off the BS meter.

    Everyone has their own favourite recipe for good health, and I say, if it works for you, good luck to you. Just don’t pretend that it is the elixir of life for anyone else, let alone the whole human species. It is well known that many Asians are (currently) lactose intolerant, and that many people have foods that ‘disagree’ with them to varying degrees. This should be an alert to the evangelists that statements which purport to apply to all, or even most, people on the planet should be treated with extreme caution. But no. Having had quite a few excruciating encounters with diet fanatics, I must report that they are like converts everywhere – boring and wrong.

    With regard to the OP, my question is – do people with Western backgrounds revert to the cancer patterns of their adopted countries after a generation or two? Even if they do (and my research shows no evidence of this), how can diet be untangled from all the confounding factors?

    With regard to cause of death statistics, they are dodgy enough in developed countries – see Steve Milloy’s work on the alleged deaths attributed to smoking. To then compare those with stats from countries where medical resources and statistical services are very thin on the ground is worthy of Michael Mann. Turtles all the way down.

  148. @The Pompous Git: “Most SE Asians lose the ability to create the lactose digesting enzyme before reaching adulthood.”

    Fun fact (albeit n=2) – reducing my carbohydrate intake eliminated my lactose intolerance. Even worked for my wife. I had never been able to eat cheese or dairy without severe intestinal distress, and that just plan *vanished*. Never would’ve thought it possible, but it would be fascinating to see that sort of “off-label” treatment studied.

  149. Pompous Git says: You’ve got to be joking! What laws? And if that “study” is the best you can come up with, I truly pity you. It’s a “study” worthy of Stephan Lewandowsky.

    The study is meant to have a little slightly retaliatory fun because I get tired of having studies thrown at me all of the time about what I should do with my life down to the last little watt and rice grain and air molecule.

    http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/05/14/1948550612447114.abstract

    Inre “What laws?” On the wheat threads, I have been posting about the agreements that China has been seeking with the EU and the USDA – but this was on another thread. Why don’t you have a look at these agreements? The laws involve sustainable agricultural policies which would set back farming to Medieval practices.

    http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/EU_China_agree_on_ag_sustainability_999.html

    Are you saying that you are not aware of any legislative pushes, anywhere, to begin to reverse modern agronomy and outlaw pest control and fertilizers? These kinds of movements involve such catch phrases as “local-only” and are hostile to big growers and pest control. It’s Green Party nonsense that promises to end the wasteful purchase of food from other countries and bring jobs back home. It is prevalent, and it will become more of a constant drumbeat in the next few years.

    So in answer to your question “What laws?” I am referring to Agricultural sustainability agreements and policies by the EU and the USDA with China.

  150. I was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer about 11 months ago. At that point my PSA reading was 56. Cancer had metastasized into my ribs and pelvis. Oncologists put me on their standard protocol of Luperon and Zometa. It was recommended to me that I supplement with AveMar Ultra, taken with Pomegranate or Cranberry juice. AveMar Ultra is fermented wheat germ. After measuring 56, my PSa dropped to 23, then 16 and has been in a range between 8 and 10 since then. I’m 74 now and feel well enough that I think I’ll die of something else before the cancer gets me. I would love to hear from others who have been supplementing with AveMar Ultra.

  151. Is the diagnostic rate the same or is one country better or more efficient at diagnosis?” South Vietnam likely has no screening, Japan only a modest program, and the US an intensive program. Therefore your diagnostic (numerator) rate can change dramatically because of this. So my question is – have the different diagnostic rates been accounted for? Dietary associations with cancer must be viewed with a lot of caution.
    I personally think the food and dietary supplement industries have much more “charlatan science” than even the climate science industry and a strong skepticism is vital when examining claims of “better” health. Additionally I’m a “super taster” (In the aprox 20% of population who are this), and won’t touch the foods that Dave suggests lower the cancer rate, e.g. chilis. So thanks for the advice, but no thanks.

  152. Zeke said @ December 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

    The study is meant to have a little slightly retaliatory fun because I get tired of having studies thrown at me all of the time about what I should do with my life down to the last little watt and rice grain and air molecule.

    If what you say is tongue-in-cheek, perhaps you should say so. Sorry for not immediately seizing on that you were making fun. As it happens, I too tire of people telling this libertarian what to do (and think).

    However, you have failed to provide support for your thesis regarding being forced by law to purchase and consume organic produce at twice the price you are prepared to pay. The link you provide is to agreements regarding low-input sustainable agriculture (LISA) and this is not organic agriculture as defined by law. LISA advocates use artificial fertilisers, synthetic pesticides and herbicides eschewed by organic practitioners. However, I’m happy to play your little game.

    Back in 1980 if memory serves, we had an agricultural conference in Adelaide under the auspices of IFOAM. It was well attended by farmers of every ilk and we had many interesting farm walks on LISA and organic farms. Attendees from overseas remarked on how well we all got along as similar events in Europe and North America had the various camps all at loggerheads with no serious communication occurring.

    Sam Jericho is a LISA farmer on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia where he grows wheat using no-till. The wheat is drilled into sod killed with herbicide, rather than killing the sod by mechanical ploughing hence it’s often called chemical ploughing. As well, Sam’s father had planted out many shelter belts of trees, commencing this in the 1920s.

    The ABC radio reporter who was on the walk with us asked Sam if he would have made more money farming the way his neighbours had. Sam said it was likely he would have, “…but I’d only have spent it!” It’s of note that, in this particular season, the area was deeply drought affected and Sam’s neighbours didn’t have a crop worth harvesting, sending some into bankruptcy. Sam had a 30 bag/acre crop to harvest. Yes, Sam’s neighbours’ crops were heavier than his in a good year, but Sam had a crop to sell when prices were at their highest due to drought when they had nothing to sell.

    You see Zeke, maximum yield of crop per acre is not the farmer’s goal. His (or her) goal is to have more money in the bank at the end of the year than was there at the beginning. The goal of the agro-chemical industry is to maximise its profits at the expense of the farmer. As for LISA and organic farmers having a crop to sell in difficult years rather than no crop at all, I fail utterly to understand how this “doubles prices”. I also note that almost every organic farmer I have talked with has been proud of their low level of debt. Almost every conventional farmer I have with has been heavily in debt and suffered badly during the world financial crises during the last 30 years.

  153. krischel said @ December 14, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Fun fact (albeit n=2) – reducing my carbohydrate intake eliminated my lactose intolerance. Even worked for my wife. I had never been able to eat cheese or dairy without severe intestinal distress, and that just plan *vanished*. Never would’ve thought it possible, but it would be fascinating to see that sort of “off-label” treatment studied.

    Interesting… I’ll have another go at persuading my lactose-intolerant, diabetic sister to give low carbs a try. I gave up sugary things nearly forty years ago and reduced other carbs recently with immediate and obvious benefits. My brother, sister and mother were all type 2 diabetics at 30 years. I’ve passed 60 and still haven’t become diabetic. Close, but no guernsey as we say in these parts.

    For those having trouble understanding the carbs issue, if I want to fatten a cow, I feed it cereal grain. Pigs, chickens, geese also fatten nicely on cereal grain. If I wanted an “obesity epidemic” I’d be telling everyone to eat less fat and protein and up their carbs…

    Since I don’t, I recommend my friends read Jennifer McLagan’s Fat. Great recipes for annoying Marxist/Lentillists and the Salt Police :-)

  154. Don says:December 13, 2012 at 12:04 am
    [...]The likely explanation is of course that the sodas were “stabilized” by sorbates to prevent fermentation (“spoilage”). I couldn’t help wondering if sorbated commercial soft drinks might have the same effect in vivo, knocking our microbiotic friends– and thus our health– for a serious loop. Something to think about.

    Brings to mind ruminations regarding the effect of chlorine in the drinking water. Obviously the overall result is beneficial to health with regard to harmful bacteria and viruses. But what is the effect on the gut?

  155. As Zeke so ably illustrates with his comments and links, Western fads and paranoia about our daily diet can have repercussions well beyond our good intentions. It has been conservatively estimated that eliminating modern farm practices like using chemicals and fertilizers would cut world food production by 1/3 and would increase food prices by 50%. Billions of people around the world are struggling to maintain food security now. Imagine the predicament the world would face with food price inflation of that magnitude.

  156. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the
    screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon.
    Cheers

  157. Rick said @ December 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    It has been conservatively estimated that eliminating modern farm practices like using chemicals and fertilizers would cut world food production by 1/3 and would increase food prices by 50%. Billions of people around the world are struggling to maintain food security now. Imagine the predicament the world would face with food price inflation of that magnitude.

    Apart from the ecoloonies, agrochemical companies, and people like you and Zeke nobody is contemplating “eliminating modern farm practices like using chemicals and fertilizers”. All farmers, organic, LISA, as well as conventional use fertilisers, pesticides, tractors… Here’s a few of the industrial chemicals used by organic farmers:

    Copper sulphate, basic slag (byproduct of iron smelting), sodium silicate, sodium bicarbonate, potassium permanganate, potassium stearate, iron chelate… Oh dear, not so “chemical-free” is it?

    The single most important crop-limiting factor is water. If you are worried about food security, worry about that! As it happens, there is, as Willis has pointed out elsewhere on this site, no looming world food shortage. The world’s food problems are those of distribution (the poor got no money to buy it) and overproduction that keeps prices low so farmers make sweet fanny adams in the way of income without subsidies from the government. That is, you pay less for your food at the shop, but more in taxes to the government. And guess what the government record is like in this regard. This attempt at scary shit is worthy of.. oh, an Al Gore, a Micky the Mannikin?

    And just for the record, I have inspected the results of many agricultural trials, including in some cases withheld data. The agrochemical companies only allow the publication of the results they want promulgated. It’s widely known in farming circles that herbicides reduce cereal yields/acre. As I wrote earlier, it’s not about yields/acre, it’s about the excess of income above expenditure. And even that might not be obvious from a short-term trial.

    Back in the mid 80s I came across two 30 year long cereal trials in Europe. The control plots received no fertiliser nor were crop residues handled organically. The fertilised plots were fed the recommended rate of artificial NPK. Yes, there was a yield increase (15% IIRC), but that was insufficient to pay for the fertiliser, never mind the cost of applying the fertiliser!

    I note with somewhat grim amusement that some years ago the vegetable growers on the North West Coast of Tasmania were persuaded to use high-analysis fertilisers. Naturally they cost a lot more per unit of N, P & K than the ordinary fertilisers they were used to, but they were assured that because they would spend less time applying the much smaller volume, they would be ahead financially. Unfortunately, the crop responses to the new fertiliser was to say the least, disappointing. Turned out that most of the crop response to the old superphosphate was down to its sulphur content. There being no sulphur in the high-analysis fertiliser, yields went down. There’s nothing quite like a good plummet, I always say.

    I live among farmers, on a farm, so I have a different perspective than city-slickers who, by and large, are completely clueless when it comes to farming Frankly, you and Zeke are no better than the woman who phoned me to ask what organic sprays to use for organic apple production. When I explained that it was much more than sprays, it was an integrated approach requiring attention to fertilisers, varieties and past land use, she interrupted me to say she wanted to tell her neighbour what to use so she wouldn’t have to put up with his nasty chemicals. I asked who her neighbour was and when she told me I fell about with laughter. Her neighbour was an organic orchardist! So it goes…

  158. wordpress.com said @ December 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the
    screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon.
    Cheers

    I suspect that the problem is at your end. No problem here and I’m using Chrome.

  159. Re: WordPress and Chrome: I’m using Chrome and this site has always looked fine to me!

    Re: Pompous Git and Lentillists: **LOVE** it! :>

    Re: Chlorine in our water: Did you know that suburban neighborhoods that allow swimming pools expose their children to 1,417% more deadly chlorine gas (Outlawed in war by the Geneva conventions!) than suburban neighborhoods that ban swimming pools? Do you love your children? Join Ban The Pools today!

    ;>
    MJM
    P.S. Yes, I made up the 1,417% number… but it could well be true! Play it safe: live with hippies who don’t take showers!

  160. “It’s widely known in farming circles that herbicides reduce cereal yields/acre.”
    Could you please link to the sources that would support that statement. How do herbicide companies remain in business when the use of their products reduces yield?

  161. Rick said @ December 15, 2012 at 7:46 am

    “It’s widely known in farming circles that herbicides reduce cereal yields/acre.”
    Could you please link to the sources that would support that statement. How do herbicide companies remain in business when the use of their products reduces yield?

    Since Googling “herbicide grain yield” seems beyond your Googling ability:

    http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/documents/PlantIndustries_FieldCropsAndPasture/Sensitivity-barley-wheat-cultivars-herbicides.pdf

    As with most research, the questions that arise are interesting. How did they obtain weed-free ground for the control plots? Methyl bromide? What is the history of herbicide use in these plots? Glyphosate (Roundup), for example, accumulates in the soil leading to long-term disease problems in wheat crops.(smut, rust, bunt etc.) Fungal diseases are more prevalent in some years than others; some are controllable, but at the expense of spraying fungicide; some are controllable by changing to another variety, but different varieties differ in yield.

    Herbicide companies remain in business because, unlike you, they know that the farmer is not at all interested in maximising yield. Here’s a link to the world record tomato grower Charles Wilber:

    http://home.comcast.net/~pobrien48/Tomatoes_World_Record.htm

    Now, ask yourself: “if maximising yield is what it’s all about, why don’t all tomato growers use the same technique as Mr Wilber? Why do they tolerate yields of less than 5% of Mr Wilber’s crop?” See my previous comments for the answers.

  162. michaeljmcfadden said @ December 15, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Re: Chlorine in our water: Did you know that suburban neighborhoods that allow swimming pools expose their children to 1,417% more deadly chlorine gas (Outlawed in war by the Geneva conventions!) than suburban neighborhoods that ban swimming pools? Do you love your children? Join Ban The Pools today!

    ;>
    MJM
    P.S. Yes, I made up the 1,417% number… but it could well be true! Play it safe: live with hippies who don’t take showers!

    Well, this hippy doesn’t take showers, but he does enjoy a long, hot soak in his bathtub. You will be happy to note that the water The Git harvests remains completely chlorine (and fluoride) free.

  163. Pompous Git says:
    “The fertilised plots were fed the recommended rate of artificial NPK. Yes, there was a yield increase (15% IIRC), but that was insufficient to pay for the fertiliser, never mind the cost of applying the fertiliser!”

    Corn yields in bushels per acre since WWII have increased by a factor of 5. Countries that were unable to grow enough wheat to support themselves have become net exporters of wheat after the Green Revolution. This includes the use of dwarf varieties, the use of chemical fertilizers, and the use of pesticides. Wheat rust is a nasty disgusting beast – including 100’s of varieties – that has been vanquished largely due to the scientific genious and vison of Drs Stakman and Borlaug, and to allow it to come back because of this misplaced faith in the glories of organic farming would be a devastation to the grains on which so many lives depend. I have no problem with other people sticking to their own diets. I never, ever buy organic and the food I prefer often comes from several continents. We are each paying an additional 1,000 bucks a year in higher gas prices, and food prices are climbing, while taxes are increasing and power bills are also getting higher. Respect my decision not to eat organic, as I respect others’ decisions to go on a Paleo or a raw food diet or an organic regimen. Reading this thread is sufficient to illustrate that no one agrees, and the science is not settled, on the best diet or the best way to treat any given disease. Preserving individual liberty is the best default in this case.

    I am speaking because the Sustainable Agriculture push is beginning right now, and is being carried out, like the co2 regulation perpetrated on us by the EPA, by unelected, unaccountable offices and officials in the EU and in the US.

  164. These many long years ago, The Git wrote a fortnightly column on organic production for a rural newspaper. The publicity officer of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Association also used to write an occasional article basically coming out with the same sort of tosh as Rick and Zeke to which I would respond. When I was asked to participate on the Aerial Spraying Implementation Group that was to advise government on its proposed legislation I met the AVCA guy for the first time. Over coffee in the first break, he informed me of some particularly interesting research that reinforced my arguments and directly contradicted his own. Surprised, I asked him why he wrote what he did. “Oh, that’s just what I’m paid to write,” he told me. You’ve gotta laugh :-)

    It was during those meetings that I parted company with the ecoloons and discovered through the ag scientists that there was a lot of unpublished research supporting the claims of organic farmers. The suppression of opposing views in the literature by Micky the Mannikin is nothing new!

    Farmers, being pragmatists, are free to adopt organic techniques that suited their farming practices. The apple and pear growers of Tasmania set themselves a goal of reducing pesticide inputs by 95% in ten years. They achieved this in five. I applauded this (and still do); the ecoloons moaned because it wasn’t a 100% reduction. But then they don’t have to make a living from farming.

  165. Zeke said @ December 15, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Corn yields in bushels per acre since WWII have increased by a factor of 5. Countries that were unable to grow enough wheat to support themselves have become net exporters of wheat after the Green Revolution. This includes the use of dwarf varieties, the use of chemical fertilizers, and the use of pesticides. Wheat rust is a nasty disgusting beast – including 100′s of varieties – that has been vanquished largely due to the scientific genious and vison of Drs Stakman and Borlaug, and to allow it to come back because of this misplaced faith in the glories of organic farming would be a devastation to the grains on which so many lives depend. I have no problem with other people sticking to their own diets. I never, ever buy organic and the food I prefer often comes from several continents. We are each paying an additional 1,000 bucks a year in higher gas prices, and food prices are climbing, while taxes are increasing and power bills are also getting higher. Respect my decision not to eat organic, as I respect others’ decisions to go on a Paleo or a raw food diet or an organic regimen. Reading this thread is sufficient to illustrate that no one agrees, and the science is not settled, on the best diet or the best way to treat any given disease. Preserving individual liberty is the best default in this case.

    I am speaking because the Sustainable Agriculture push is beginning right now, and is being carried out, like the co2 regulation perpetrated on us by the EPA, by unelected, unaccountable offices and officials in the EU and in the US.

    What makes you think that organic grain farmers don’t use modern varieties wheat? Are you aware that an estimated 15% of that increase has come from the increase in atmospheric CO2?How do you avoid eating organically grown food? Do you avoid eating in restaurants?

    http://www.rickstein.com/Eggs.html

    Currently I’m quaffing some very excellent 2008 Viking Grand Shiraz. It comes from a vineyard that is biodynamic (even more organic than organic according to its practitioners). The grapes in Viking used to be sold to Penfolds where they were included in the justifiably famous Grange Hermitage. I note that the same vintage Grange is selling for nearly $4,000 a case overseas. I paid $240/case for the Viking. Is the Grange a superior wine? Yes, but not by very much. When you buy your Grange (or equivalent), how do you know that it doesn’t contain any organically grown grapes? Is $4,000 really only a little over $240? Hint: the rapidity of conversion to organic by Australian grape growers has amazed me, though since I know why they are converting, it shouldn’t: higher yields and an increase in quality.

    In my fridge is a piece of Italian ham (prosciutto) from Italy, a country in a different continent than Australia. As it happens, this too is organic, though it’s not labelled organic. How do you avoid this problem of food that’s organic, but not labelled as such? Are you psychic? Or do you just avoid high quality food? Note that just because the food you buy is from a different continent doesn’t mean it’s necessarily conventionally grown. I’m not alone in growing organically, but not bothering with organic certification required if you want to label your produce as organic.

    Yes, food prices are rising, though I note not as fast as energy prices and they impact all farmers! This has absolutely nothing to do with the move towards more sustainable agriculture that began several decades ago. LISA was and is about reducing costs and improving the farmer’s bottom line. And, once more, LISA does not equate to organic. Examples:

    Broccoli growers in the Lockyer Vally, Queensland were experiencing increased resistance to synthetic pesticides by aphids. The solution adopted was to alternate rows of broccoli with rows of rape. The rape wasn’t harvested; it was grown because it was particularly attractive for predators that consumed the aphids. While yield/hectare went down, the cost per kilo to produce the broccoli fell even more, so the farmer’s bottom line improved.

    My neighbours are apple growers and during a Christmas party conversation many years ago, one asked me what I’d use to control Light Brown Apple Moth. I told him that I would use Dipel (Monsanto’s brand of Bacillus Thuringiensis var. Berliner). I also told him that it would cost a lot more than malathion, but it was available in bulk from the local rural supplies store. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I got around to asking my neighbour if he’d tried using Dipel. His face broke into a large grin as he told me that far from being more expensive, because he only needed to apply it far less often than malathion, it worked out far cheaper in use. He also liked that he didn’t have to wear his “space-suit” while applying it.

    While you might wish to dictate to farmers what they should, or shouldn’t use, I have only ever told my neighbours what I thought when they requested it. As one of them told me years ago, about a decade after I bought the farm, “We just watched what you were doing and ended up copying you.” His brother came to me several years later and showed me the results of a petiole analysis from one of their orchards. He asked me what fertiliser I’d apply based on the result. I said: “Nothing.” He replied: “That’s what I was going to do.” The yield from that orchard was a record crop. The following year was almost a complete repeat: the second biggest harvest ever. The goal in orcharding is producing fruit, not wood and leaves at the expense of fruit, which is what applying fertiliser, organic or artificial, would have achieved.

  166. Re: link provided by The Pompous Git http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/documents/PlantIndustries_FieldCropsAndPasture/Sensitivity-barley-wheat-cultivars-herbicides.pdf
    Southern Queensland Australia must be a fertile farming area or they wouldn’t be testing and selling herbicides.
    21 barley varieties and 19 different chemical or chemical combinations were tested in plots.
    46 wheat varieties and 36 different chemical or chemical combinations were tested.
    3 different applications were made in an attempt to produce a negative(yield loss) result.
    1)Double recommended rate of chemical coded yellow- no farmer would deliberately spend twice the required amount for herbicide so this one should be disregarded.
    2)Recommended rate coded orange but only 1 plot out of sometimes as many as 8 test plots produced a negative result.
    3)Recommended rate coded red where more than 1 plot produced a negative result(yield loss).
    Out of the hundreds of test plots a handful of plots produced a red flag; hardly the smoking gun TPG has trumpeted. The herbicide companies support work of this nature because they want to know what does and what does not work in a given area.
    If these test plot results are the smoking gun against herbicides for this area in Australia why do farmers continue to purchase these products in this area?
    In our neck of the woods, organic farming is not exactly mainstream and I’m guessing that Southern Queensland Australia is no different.

  167. Rick said @ December 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Southern Queensland Australia must be a fertile farming area or they wouldn’t be testing and selling herbicides.

    If these test plot results are the smoking gun against herbicides for this area in Australia why do farmers continue to purchase these products in this area?
    In our neck of the woods, organic farming is not exactly mainstream and I’m guessing that Southern Queensland Australia is no different.

    Perhaps you should have read what I wrote above more closely. “As with most research, the questions that arise are interesting. How did they obtain weed-free ground for the control plots? Methyl bromide?” Some method of preplant weed suppression would appear to have been used. If it was methyl bromide, or steam sterilisation, then that would have suppressed yield. In that case, what was being compared was one yield-suppressor versus a different weed-suppressor.

    What I was thinking of when I passed the original remark was the conversation that occurred between conventional and organic wheat/sheep farmers at the IFOAM conference in Adelaide in 1980. The conventional growers asked the organic growers “what do you do about smut, rust, yellow-spot?” etc. The organic growers all reported no problems. Note well that this does not mean these diseases were necessarily entirely absent; just that controlling them was economically unviable because they were occurring at such a low level.

    When farmers conduct trials on their own properties it’s in the context of their individual whole farm operation. The farmer isn’t just applying herbicide to a crop, they are also applying fertilisers, often including foliar nutrients, organic and inorganic as well as pesticides. Unsurprisingly, they all interact and often in unpredictable ways. At Grove, the agronomists identified thirteen variables affecting the results from apple thinning sprays. I don’t know of a single orchardist who ever even attempted to evaluate their use of thinning sprays on the basis of those thirteen independent variables.

    I became aware of the downside of soil sterilisation when there was a trial of specific transplant controls here in the Huon Valley. When you transplant a young tree into existing orchard it will not thrive. The “traditional” method was to sterilise the soil with methyl bromide. The study looked at that versus a commercial compost called OR90 and a commercial pelletised poultry manure product called Dynamic Lifter. I told the agronomist the orange ruffy (a fish) had shown herbicidal properties when used on pasture at a friend’s farm. Indeed, it exhibited similar properties after having been composted with eucalyptus bark, that contains a natural herbicide, Anywho, the first year the methyl bromide and poultry manured trees were neck and neck, both well ahead of the control and OR90. By the third year, the poultry manured trees were way ahead. SE Queensland agronomists replicated the trial a year, or so later.

    Yes, you can kill everything in the soil: earthworms, actinomycetes, mycorrhizae, etc, but there’s a cost to this as there is to everything.

  168. “While you might wish to dictate to farmers what they should, or shouldn’t use…”
    I have communicated precisely the opposite and have repeatedly emphasized individual decisions in matters of diet and medicine on this thread, which is on topic because the study here is about a potential link between diet and cancer.

    I am defending because I know it would be disastrous for the USDA to begin to systematically take away food choices and reverse agricultural advancements, and drive up prices by implementing Agenda 21/Sustainable Ag/Rio +20.

    I wish more students would learn about Lysenko, Stalin, Mao, and the disastrous effects of government using science to destroy the food supply.

    It always comes with the promise of Eden. Maybe a computer model is coming.

  169. In terms of diet and cancer, remember that “there is no safe level” for any Class A Carcinogen, including such things as sunshine and ethyl alcohol. The latter element is present in quite measurable quantities in orange juice. If you give your child a nice glass of OJ every morning, by the end of the year you’ll have given then the rough equivalent of a pint of Guinness Stout.

    So not only are you getting your little children drunk, you’re giving them cancer.

    Of course my REAL point is that worrying about such things is simply neurotic.

    – MJM

  170. TPG says: “How did they obtain weed-free ground for the control plots? Methyl bromide?”
    Methyl bromide, first used in the early 1930’s, was placed under restriction after the Montreal Protocol because its use is believed to cause depletion of the ozone layer. I don’t know about Australia but it was effectively banned in Canada in 2005.
    Your link shows the Queensland plot trials were run from 1999 to 2008 and any trials I have seen try to use multiple locations each year and over the course of years. Concern about the chemical that was used prior to planting the plots seems to me to be a red herring.

  171. Zeke said @ December 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    “While you might wish to dictate to farmers what they should, or shouldn’t use…”
    I have communicated precisely the opposite and have repeatedly emphasized individual decisions in matters of diet and medicine on this thread, which is on topic because the study here is about a potential link between diet and cancer.

    I am defending because I know it would be disastrous for the USDA to begin to systematically take away food choices and reverse agricultural advancements, and drive up prices by implementing Agenda 21/Sustainable Ag/Rio +20.

    I wish more students would learn about Lysenko, Stalin, Mao, and the disastrous effects of government using science to destroy the food supply.

    Discussed this with some friends. Their take was that US and European farmers are on the government teat and so likely will reap the consequences; he who pays the piper calls the tune. Australian farmers are not subsidised by government.

    Your original claim was that organic and LISA would lead to a dramatic decline in food production. I demurred and pointed to the examples of the world record tomato grower and Sam Jericho having a worthwhile harvest when his neighbours didn’t. You have provided no counterexamples. I do agree that implementing ecoloony policies would be a disaster. The fact that they promote organic/LISA doesn’t mean they understand what organic/LISA actually entail and you conflated the two concepts yourself. I can remember one ecoloony who wrote to me that they favoured biodynamic agriculture because “it’s animal-free”. BD is centred on the use of preparation 500 manufactured by filling cow horns with cow manure and burying them over the winter!

    On your latter point I agree. But be aware that it was the overzealous promotion of synthetic pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides led to a backlash among farmers and agronomists that peaked here several decades ago here. Growers didn’t take up the then new methods of LISA/organic/IPM because of government mandates; they did so because they gave improved profitability and other benefits. The researchers at Grove here in the Huon Valley told me in the late 80s they had ceased chemical research back in the 60s in favour of research into biological controls for pests such as the introduction of predator mites and methods of avoiding killing pollinators by selecting appropriate insecticides and alternate row spraying.

    I became involved when James Wong developed a new spray regime that substituted agricultural lime for most of the fungicidal sprays then used in the apple orchards. The optimum result was the traditional copper, followed by one (sometimes two) conventional fungicide applications and after that several applications of lime solution. The organic producers merely omitted the conventional fungicide. Or, as in my case, used sodium silicate. Incidentally, the lime spray also eliminated codlin moth as the newly hatched grubs, like the fungal spores, couldn’t tolerate the high pH on the apple surface. Despite your assertion that the organic producers should have been harvesting only half what the conventional orchardists were, I never saw any evidence of a significant difference in yields. As I pointed out early in this thread, the major crop-limiting factor is water.

    At that time I was asked to deliver papers to conferences held by the Australian Institute of Agricultural Scientists and Australasian Institute of Plant Physiologists among others. They were well-received The only hostility I experienced came from the ecoloons who claimed that I was “rubbing shoulders with the enemy”. A couple of years ago I was invited to undertake a doctorate in agriculture despite my lacking a relevant degree. I demurred because I find my more recent research into the history and philosophy of science more fascinating.

    The new improvements to orchard practise led to pack out rates of between 90 and 95% compared to 60% of the previous decade. Unfortunately, world markets have changed since then and this is the first year that Tasmania (The Apple Isle) hasn’t exported any apples overseas. The largest orchardist went into receivership a couple of years ago and many have had to leave the industry. The organic growers who rely on local markets continue to increase their market share and remain profitable. A similar story applies on the North West Coast where the major vegetable processor relocated to New Zealand. The rubbing of hands among the NZ growers didn’t last long as the vegetables being processed are imported from China. So it goes…

  172. Rick said @ December 16, 2012 at 3:23 am

    TPG says: “How did they obtain weed-free ground for the control plots? Methyl bromide?”
    Methyl bromide, first used in the early 1930′s, was placed under restriction after the Montreal Protocol because its use is believed to cause depletion of the ozone layer. I don’t know about Australia but it was effectively banned in Canada in 2005.
    Your link shows the Queensland plot trials were run from 1999 to 2008 and any trials I have seen try to use multiple locations each year and over the course of years. Concern about the chemical that was used prior to planting the plots seems to me to be a red herring.

    Not a red herring at all. Killing the soil biota would reduce nutrient uptake in the crop regardless whether methyl bromide or steam sterilisation was used. A more useful comparison would be between actual farm practise: post-emergent herbicide, drilled into pasture knocked down with a broad spectrum herbicide, drilled into a pasture of summer-dormant sub-clover and conventional (that is drilled into mechanically cleaned soil followed by harrowing to destroy weeds). All accompanied by identifiable costs.

    From the Tasmanian Consolidated Regulations:

    AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY CHEMICALS (CONTROL OF USE) (METHYL BROMIDE) ORDER 2011 – REG 4

    4. Handling and use of methyl bromide
    A methyl bromide fumigant must not be handled or used in a quantity exceeding 50kg except as authorised by a permit granted and in force under the Act.

    Displayed and numbered in accordance with the Rules Publication Act 1953.

    Notified in the Gazette on 14 September 2011.

    This order is administered in the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

  173. @ michaeljmcfadden

    The Git delights in teasing the ecoloons with the following observation. There is a demonstrated link between stress level and incidence of cancer. By frightening people about potential carcinogenic properties of agricultural chemicals ecoloons are definitely increasing the cancer rate in the general population, directly contradicting their purported desire to reduce cancer rates. When I was on the Aerial Spraying Implementation Group, we had the Menzies Institute conduct a literature search on agricultural chemicals and cancer. All they came up with was a potential link between non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and agricutural workers who applied glyphosate (Roundup) more than 20 times (IIRC) per annum. Apparently this cancer is rare, so the result may not have been statistically significant. Given that all the research into the negative effects of glyphosate appear to arise from the surfactant used with glyphosate it would seem sensible to discover a safer surfactant than to ban the use of glyphosate.

  174. Thank you David Archibald,
    I have read this fine work in one day!
    You helped me to discover I can access Kindle material on my pc without using a wirless Kindle since this troglodyte is still tethered by a land line!
    WUWT SHOULD HAVE MORE RESPECT!!!

  175. My late friend Bert Farquhar owned 30,000 ha of pastoral land in NE Tasmania. Mike Temple-Smith from the Department of Primary Industry assisted Bert to introduce earthworms into the paddocks at Wyambi/Rushy Lagoon increasing the fertility of the soil by 25%. Following his acquisition of the property for a record (in Australia) 10.1 million dollars, Bert also built a 128 km long irrigation scheme that ultimately doubled the stock carrying capacity. According to Zeke & Rick, the stock carrying capacity should have halved. A brief summary of Bert’s life here:

    http://www.abc.net.au/rural/legends/stories/13_2.htm

    While the pine plantations Bert established get a brief mention, the Forestry Commission were also planting pinus radiata back in the day. Bert’s thrived and the Commission’s pines failed to. Bert would take a walnut-sized lump of soil from under a mature thriving pine and put it into the planting hole with every pine seedling. According to Forestry, this was “muck and mystery” and “unscientific” so for a decade the Forestry Commission wasted much taxpayers’ money planting out trees to die of starvation regardless of the amount of fertiliser applied at planting.

    These days we know that what Bert was doing was inoculating the soil with a mycorrhizum, a beneficial soil organism that plays a vital role in organic production systems. Mycorrhizae trade phosphorus from the soil for carbohydrates from the plant’s roots.

  176. Pompous Git:

    I did bring up the most deadly pathogen, rust, and neither have you responded to how your existing system will protect against 300 varieties of constantly interbreeding, migrating wind born varieties of this deadly killer. Likewise, as can be seen by the potato famines, one single plant infected with blight is sufficient to infect thousands of local plants, as well as plants at very great distances. These are both very genetically diverse and have claimed many lives.

    The organic approach is fine for small areas of voluntary participants, but as a national policy would lay our country open to previously vanquished smut, scab, rust, blast, blight, bunt, wilt, mildew and the rest. We know that malaria was at one time nearly eradicated, claiming at its lowest point 50,000 deaths in the world. Malaria now takes the lives of millions per year. It is in the letting down of our guard, through woeful ignorance of our past sufferings, history, and enemies, that the destruction is brought back.

    I have no arguments against organic farmers, just as I have no bones with any one who is able to meet their own electrical requirements with solar power. However, neither of these technologies are ready, and may never be. The reasons for reversing, removing, and replacing our present systems is not settled science, either. Therefore, I am not conflating anything, but arguing against national implementation of local-only, organic, water restriction, and other Sustainable Agricultural policies supported by the UN.

    Organic farming has its place and niche market, like renewables or dietary cures for cancer. Once again, I am not arguing against your research or successes. Why would I do that? I am certain that individual farmers can be responsible and not become breeders of blight. But the government has proven to be totally irresponsible on many occasions, such as its unwillingness to spray bark or Aisian Longhorn beetles, allowing them to wipe out whole forests here in the US under its management. Then, – it blames the fires on global warming!

    It just isn’t ready, and it is most importantly, not necessary to remake our energy or our agricultural sectors.

  177. Zeke said @ December 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Pompous Git:

    I did bring up the most deadly pathogen, rust, and neither have you responded to how your existing system will protect against 300 varieties of constantly interbreeding, migrating wind born varieties of this deadly killer. Likewise, as can be seen by the potato famines, one single plant infected with blight is sufficient to infect thousands of local plants, as well as plants at very great distances. These are both very genetically diverse and have claimed many lives.

    The organic approach is fine for small areas of voluntary participants, but as a national policy would lay our country open to previously vanquished smut, scab, rust, blast, blight, bunt, wilt, mildew and the rest. We know that malaria was at one time nearly eradicated, claiming at its lowest point 50,000 deaths in the world. Malaria now takes the lives of millions per year. It is in the letting down of our guard, through woeful ignorance of our past sufferings, history, and enemies, that the destruction is brought back.

    I have no arguments against organic farmers, just as I have no bones with any one who is able to meet their own electrical requirements with solar power. However, neither of these technologies are ready, and may never be. The reasons for reversing, removing, and replacing our present systems is not settled science, either. Therefore, I am not conflating anything, but arguing against national implementation of local-only, organic, water restriction, and other Sustainable Agricultural policies supported by the UN.

    Organic farming has its place and niche market, like renewables or dietary cures for cancer. Once again, I am not arguing against your research or successes. Why would I do that? I am certain that individual farmers can be responsible and not become breeders of blight. But the government has proven to be totally irresponsible on many occasions, such as its unwillingness to spray bark or Aisian Longhorn beetles, allowing them to wipe out whole forests here in the US under its management. Then, – it blames the fires on global warming!

    It just isn’t ready, and it is most importantly, not necessary to remake our energy or our agricultural sectors.

    Actually, I did respond to your remark regarding rust & other wheat pathogens.

    What I was thinking of when I passed the original remark was the conversation that occurred between conventional and organic wheat/sheep farmers at the IFOAM conference in Adelaide in 1980. The conventional growers asked the organic growers “what do you do about smut, rust, yellow-spot?” etc. The organic growers all reported no problems. Note well that this does not mean these diseases were necessarily entirely absent; just that controlling them was economically unviable because they were occurring at such a low level.

    Now I can claim no special expertise in wheat growing; I am reporting what was said by wheat growers at a major agricultural conference. I can also report that not very long after this, the breakfast cereal manufacturer Uncle Tobys began manufacturing its big seller Vita Brits made with 100% organically grown wheat. Hitherto, most of these wheat growers had sold their produce to the AWB where it became indistinguishable from the conventional wheat it inevitably became mixed with. You claim that you never eat organic produce and despite my asking how you determine the provenance of the food you presumably eat, have not indicated how you can tell.

    You say you are not arguing against my research or successes, but you claim that organic production reduces yields by 50% and increases prices by 100% without providing a single shred of evidence to that effect. You are merely parroting what the manufacturers of agvet chemicals assert. I also gave the anecdote when I discovered that the PRO for AVCA admitted to me that the anti-organic diatribes he engaged in when we both were writing for the local rural newspaper were entirely bogus and made up. He merely wrote what he was being paid to write.

    Your remarks about late blight in potatoes seem to indicate that you believe an organic potato farmer would just sit and watch his crop die from it. Just how stupid do you think we are? Like their conventional counterparts organic producers control blight with copper-based sprays, the more modern ones being preferable to Bordeaux since far less copper is applied to the crop and copper is toxic to earthworms. In thirty years I have had late blight on only one occasion, the year I commenced market gardening when it rained for 28 days in the first month of spring. Since I’m not the idiot you think I am, I grabbed some copper oxychloride that all apple growers, organic and conventional, apply to their trees each spring and put it on the spuds. That crop of spuds yielded close to 10 pounds per square foot, a far from trivial yield and one I have only rarely bettered.

    You also state that it’s OK for small scale growers to be organic which would seem to imply that you disapprove of farmers like my late friend Bert Farquhar. Wyambi/Rushy Lagoon carried 8,000 cattle and 50,000 sheep, more than double the numbers when run by the previous owners British Tobacco and the Cascade Brewery. How do you reconcile this with your claim that organic reduces yields by 50%? Incidentally, not all of Wyambi/Rushy Lagoon was managed organically. The very sandy coastal strip was extremely phosphorus deficient so Bert applied super-phosphate there. He was the largest single purchaser of super-phosphate in Tasmania when he did that.

    Finally, you are bitching about the UN and the US government. Really, I couldn’t give a rat’s left testicle unless they get in my face and try to tell me what to do and how to do it. I have far too few years left in me to waste my time on lunatic fantasists. You refer to the government being irresponsible and I can only agree.

  178. @ Zeke & Rick

    In the absence of any sort of support from you for your increased crop yields from herbicide use, I’ve been noodling around and discovered the following:

    Avoiding crop damage from residual herbicides

    http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farming-management/chemical-use/agricultural-chemical-use/chemical-residues/ag1258-managing-chemical-residues-in-crops-and-produce/ag0924-avoiding-crop-damage-from-residual-herbicides

    It seems you can be quite restricted as to the type of crop you can plant following “selective” herbicides. It seems that the earlier herbicide trial I criticised has another flaw. There’s no indication of the effect of those herbicides on the yield of the following crop.

    Also, glyphosate appears to be worse than I thought:

    Degradation of glyphosate in most soils is slow or nonexistent since it is not ‘biodegradable’ and is primarily by microbial co-metabolism when it does occur. It is not readily degraded and can accumulate for years (in both soils and perennial plants). Very limited degradation may be a safety feature with glyphosate since most degradation products are toxic to normal as well as RR plants. However, phosphorus (P) fertilizers can desorb accumulated glyphosate that is immobilized in the soil to damage and reduce the physiological efficiency of subsequent crops.

    http://fluidfertilizer.com/pastart/pdf/S10-A4.pdf

    So it seems you’re OK with glyphosate if you don’t use phosphatic fertiliser. Hilarious. Even funnier is that the very famous ecoloony/communist garden presenter on the ABC TV’s Gardening Australia, Peter Cundall, was a big promoter of Roundup on the show until he retired on the basis that since it didn’t kill earthworms it must be OK.

    I think I’ll take a pass on those kinds of yield “increases”…

  179. Rick said @ December 17, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    You can read more about DrHuber’s science here

    Thanks for that. Mind you, I’m a little unsurprised that a fertiliser salesman is making exaggerated claims. I will nevertheless remain very judicious in my use of glyphosate. I’m experimenting with acetic acid as a desiccant herbicide this year. If I were certified organic I would not be allowed to apply the small amount of glyphosate I use, nor the acetic acid. I would however be allowed to use “natural” vinegar :-)

    I note that Ms Bodnar is a promoter of GMO crops, another area where exaggerated claims seem to be the order of the day. Here in Tasmania the pressure to introduce them was resisted by the Department of Primary Industry who initially imposed a moratorium on their use. Eventually, a licence was granted for a limited canola trial. The truck carrying the GMO canola seed “accidentally” spilled some on the roadside while travelling to the trial location, a fact not discovered until the seed germinated, potentially affecting nearby canola crops.

    Tasmanian canola growers obtain a healthy premium from our GMO-free status and demand for GMO-free crops appears to be increasing.

    Tasmania’s GMO-Free status reaping rewards
    Tasmanian Government Media Release – 26 October 2011

    Tasmania’s GMO-free status could reap dividends for farmers following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to supply canola to Japanese consumers. Japan’s two largest consumer cooperatives have confirmed they want to source GMO free canola from the State.

    This is an exciting opportunity for farmers and demonstrates the potential for Tasmania to produce premium GMO-free produce. Tasmania has the capacity to supply up to 3000 tonnes of GMO-free canola over the next two years with the potential to double production in the medium to long term.

    The MOU builds on the work being done to facilitate the growth of crops such as poppies and canola could be a valuable rotational crop. Tasmania has the available land and the expansion of our irrigation network will give farmers the opportunity to make the most of opportunities to diversify and grow their businesses.

    These cooperatives have a combined membership of 750,000 consumers seeking premium GMO-free produce. The MOU sets out the cooperatives’ desire to source the majority of its GMO-free canola from Tasmania exclusively through TAP.

    Tasmania’s GMO laws ban the use of gene technology in commercial agriculture and prohibit imports of viable GM organisms such as canola. The work we have done over recent years has ensured Tasmania is well-placed to take advantage of its reputation as a reliable supplier of the best and safest food to a range of new markets.

    Many years ago, the agvet industry were heavily promoting hormone growth promotants (HGPs) for beef production. In local trials, the weight gains were trivial and certainly not sufficient to cover the cost of the HGP and administering the drug. These days, Tasmania’s beef growers receive a worthwhile premium as a consequence of our HGP-free status.

    While you talk about laws contemplated by the UN decreasing yields by 50%, we are currently battling to preserve the remnants of our apple industry and our aquaculture industry. Our feds signed up to international free-trade agreements that they are insisting mean we have to allow the importation of apples from New Zealand and salmon from the US & Canada. The NZ apple growers have a disease called fire blight, a bacterial disease they control with the antibiotic tetracycline. Understandably, our apple growers would rather not subject themselves and their workers to exposure to a broad-spectrum antibiotic, or lose access to markets that do not want to buy apples so treated. There have been two attempts to introduce fireblight into Tasmania in the past, both fortunately nipped in the bud before the disease became entrenched. Our salmon industry remains free of a number of diseases that exist in salmon stock overseas and want their stock to remain so.

    As I said earlier in this thread, farming like any other business is all about having an excess of income over costs. Any strategy to ensure this has to take into account what markets demand.

Comments are closed.