15 Responses to “Animal protein as bad as smoking? Headlines based on 6 deaths!”


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  1. avatar Frank weir says:

    Devil is always in the details. As a layperson, i simply have to ignore medical research and the resulting media coverage. Statistical interpretation, study design, how study subjects are selected ( yet another way researchers can help manipulate results I understand), lack of neutrality by researchers, media misinformation with further conflicts of interest. The fact that Longo is the FOUNDER of L-Nutra pretty much makes me dismiss anything to do with this “research”. I would call it marketing research and advertising for Longo’s side business.

  2. avatar Mie says:

    Why should it get any news coverage? E.g. the separation of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and the exclusion of “safa –> pufa/mufa” exchange makes this meta-analysis precisely the sort of nutritional science what it aims to criticize: reductionist and redundant.

  3. avatar Robin Willcourt says:

    ” —a large and exhaustive new analysis by a team of international scientists found no evidence that eating saturated fat increased heart attacks and other cardiac events.

    The new findings are part of a growing body of research that has challenged the accepted wisdom that saturated fat is inherently bad for you and will continue the debate about what foods are best to eat.

    But the new research, published on Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, did not find that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat had more heart disease than those who ate less. Nor did it find less disease in those eating higher amounts of unsaturated fat, including monounsaturated fat like olive oil or polyunsaturated fat like corn oil.


    Finally! Although another non-study study… it at least shows that the chink in the armor is widening. This, only two weeks after the headline of this blog was announced all over the world just the opposite. We suffered through the pundits in Australia reveling on the TV “news” that we had irrefutable proof that meat and SATURATED fat were dangerous. Eat your grains, fruit and fiber and get in good amounts of dairy. You will be soooooo healthy.

    This new info will likely not get anywhere near the same coverage, of course. The Don Poldermans’ story got NO coverage at all. It is hard to believe that there is a 6 deaths vs 800,000 death news deficit. But, we all know that money talks.

  4. avatar Jessica says:


    Just thought you might be interested in this – the link goes to the Diabetes forum, so you may want to look at the National Conference instead, but the forum has the Powerpoint presentations (in which the anti low carb person seems not to be informed that veggies contain carbs)…

    Also, interesting quote of the day :- “Alongside taking any necessary medication, the best way to stay heart healthy is to stop smoking, stay active, and ensure our whole diet is healthy – and this means considering not only the fats in our diet but also our intake of salt, sugar and fruit and vegetables.” : Prof Jeremy Pearson. So we should consider our intake of fruit and vegetables? Really? Since when? I thought that five a day was considered not good enough for some countries? And perhaps my ‘necessary medication’ wouldn’t be so necessary without the brainwashing of the medical profession….

  5. avatar Joseph says:

    “if the conclusions from this study were valid…what better alternative has been consider

  6. avatar Mie says:


    “from Finland, the land of epidemiological mongering, I presume?”

    You presume wrong (not the Finland bit but the mongering nonsense) but I’ll forgive the mistake this time. :-)

    “if the conclusions from this study were valid, they would not have needed to limit to the very arbitrary cuts of the experimental group, but they could (and should) have used the normal tertiles, quintiles or even dodeciles and show how dose dependent results they. Done like this it is highly probable that someone just wanted to have a certain answer.”

    You’re not exactly wrong, I’ll give you that. However, notice that I haven’t disagreed with anyone concerning the limitations of the study. I’ve only commented on what I consider to be inaccurate claims. Concerning the link between animal protein and cancer, the study has several limitations (not a surprise, given the fact that it was a single epidemiological study), of course. Unfortunately, the criticism has in too many cases been directed towards irrelevancies.

  7. avatar George Henderson says:

    LeenaS makes a good point about dose-dependence. We know nothing about doses, i.e. the amount of protein consumed on that fateful day 18 years ago. We only know %E. This is not a dose – NOT any amount of protein. So if we wanted to live by this paper, assuming we all went insane, we would still not know how much protein to eat from it.

  8. avatar Michael B says:

    Interesting study today in Science Daily, somewhat relevant to this case study in how to lie with statistics.

    Diets high in animal protein may help prevent functional decline in elderly individuals

    “A diet high in protein, particularly animal protein, may help elderly individuals function at higher levels physically, psychologically, and socially, according to a study. The research suggests that as people age, their ability to absorb or process protein may decline. To compensate for this loss, protein requirements may increase with age.”


  9. avatar Kim says:

    Ivor, don’t hold your breath for a retraction or anything close. This appears to me to be much more of a marketing exercise for Longo and his plant protein company. And he certainly got a ton of free publicity in the mainstream media! I’m sure that’s all he was after. As for those of us who are interested in learning more about what’s really revealed in this so-called study, I’m afraid we’re a very small minority. Let’s face it, most people read the headlines, a few read the article, and that’s the end of it. Sad that this sort of thing goes on all the time.

    Zoë, please keep up the great work you do!!


  10. avatar LeenaS says:

    Dear Mie (from Finland, the land of epidemiological mongering, I presume?)

    if the conclusions from this study were valid, they would not have needed to limit to the very arbitrary cuts of the experimental group, but they could (and should) have used the normal tertiles, quintiles or even dodeciles and show how dose dependent results they. Done like this it is highly probable that someone just wanted to have a certain answer.

    Then again, in ten more years or so we may know how the dose dependency goes, since someone is bound to make that study, too. The sooner the better for me :)


  11. avatar ivor cummins says:

    Bravo Zoe!

    I was quite happy to show that there was no relevance to protein as a causal variable, but glossed over the fact that there was no meaningful difference in the first place!

    For the readers it might be useful to mention that there are two levels of difference – “statistical difference” and “engineering difference”; the former can be shown to statistically exist, but you need the latter to say that it actually has a meaningful, real life effect that is worth considering.

    I can sense a retraction coming from these guys ………..or does that ever happen, even with stuff as disgracefully risible as this? I’m beginning to think a real life engineer should be placed on every research team – a kind of “Internal Affairs” for bunches of biased academics, if you will……

    Great work and best regards

  12. avatar Mie says:


    Epidemiological studies are vulnerable to confounders and therefore raw data has to be adjusted. It’s the same in virtually EVERYTHING that involves observing and measuring somethings. (Of course raw data can and should be published too. The more transparency, the better).

    As for this study: given the number of participants, it’s hardly surprising that absolute differences are small, isn’t it? Talk about stating the obvious

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