Author Archives: Bix

Saturated Fat Increases Risk For Diabetes, PREDIMED Cohort

Butter, cheese, and other sources of saturated fat were found to increase risk for type 2 diabetes.

The articles that say, for example, “Butter Is Back” are produced, at their source, by the meat, dairy, and egg industries – that is, the fat industries. It is their form of marketing. That doesn’t mean science doesn’t continue to show that eating butter and other saturated fats is unhealthful; it just means industry has a better marketing apparatus.

Here’s some science:

Total And Subtypes Of Dietary Fat Intake And Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus In The Prevención Con Dieta Mediterránea (PREDIMED) Study, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2017

This is a prospective study of 3,349 people who took part in PREDIMED (the famous Mediterranen Diet study), follow-up at about 4.3 years.

In both the Mediterranean diet and control groups, participants in the highest quartile of updated animal fat intake had an ∼2-fold higher risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) than their counterparts in the lowest quartile.

The consumption of 1 serving of butter and cheese was associated with a higher risk of diabetes.

Did you see that? One serving of butter a day significantly increases your risk for diabetes? Butter is back?

People who ate the most animal fat had 2 times the risk for diabetes than people who ate the least.

Per each 5% increase in energy from SFA [saturated fat] intake, the risk of type 2 diabetes increased substantially.

The main contributors of the animal sources of SFA intake in our population were cheese (22.9%), red meat (17.6%), and processed meat (8.0%), followed by eggs and other dairy products (ranging from 1% to 5% of the animal SFA intake).

I also want to point out that people in the Mediterranean Diet group, which emphasized olive oil and nuts, had an increased risk for diabetes if they increased their animal fat intake.

It is also worth noting that we found that total animal fat intake was associated with a higher risk of T2D in the total population but also when stratified by intervention group. In this sense, our results support the current dietary recommendations that favor plant-based fat diets over animal fats.

This is why I don’t like the Mediterranean Diet. All those nuts and olive oil and vegetables don’t protect against disease. What does protect against disease is reducing meat, dairy, and eggs. But you won’t hear the government saying that because industry influence is too strong.

Saturated fats increase the risk for diabetes because they increase insulin resistance. I’ve written about this often. They say it too:

Greater SFA content of membrane phospholipids in creases insulin resistance (41). Moreover, increased serum SFAs have been shown to be associated with insulin resistance.

Deer Nursing Outside Our Window

We live along a buried pipeline. (That orange pole is a marker.) It has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that we get to see things like this:


Watching a deer nurse is something else. The fawns use their snouts to “punch” her underside which I guess helps release milk. It’s hard enough that her back legs lift up sometimes. She’s not fazed though.

She had three fawns. Looks like there’s just two left now. A few weeks ago I caught a fox with a baby deer in its grasp. The baby was crying so loud I ran outside and startled the fox, who lost his grip and the two ran fast (unbelievably fast!) back and forth in wide circles in front of me. That baby could run! and it was about half the size of these here. It did eventually get back to its mother who was eating someone’s bushes across the street. That’s a disadvantage: herds of deer that pass through and consume, on a daily basis, all vegetation in their path. Oh, and these deer aren’t like Bambi. They’ll charge you if you get too close. I took this photo through the screen, very surreptitiously. If I went outside the mother would have approached me stamping her feet.

I should make a list of all the animals I’ve seen wandering along the pipeline: fox, skunk, wild turkey, possum, ground hogs, racoon, and the regular rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, voles, snakes (that make tasty treats for the owls, hawks, and vultures). It’s a pipeline ecosystem. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bear. And you can see how closely spaced the community is!

The Food Industry Has A Stranglehold On Legitimate Health Information

The meat, egg, and dairy industries want us to buy their products. If someone comes out with information that might stop us from buying their products, they will do (indeed, they have done) everything in their power to shut it down. It doesn’t matter if the information is credible. They don’t care about people’s health. They care about selling product.

That’s what Chris Hedges says in this article:
Eating Our Way To Disease, TruthDig, 9 July 2017

Hedges’ article is a review of the book, “What The Health” (written by his wife, Eunice Wong) which was a companion to the recently released film/documentary of the same name. Below are some excerpts from his article. But if you’re short on time, my opening paragraph says it all.

It was way back in 1976 when someone, the government, came out with information that the meat, dairy, and egg industries didn’t like:

In July 1976, the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, chaired by Sen. George McGovern, held hearings titled “Diet Related to Killer Diseases.” The committee heard from physicians, scientists and nutritionists on the relationship between the American diet and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Six months later, the committee released “The Dietary Goals for the United States,” which quickly came to be known as the McGovern Report. “Decrease consumption of meat,” the report urged Americans. “Decrease consumption of butter fat [dairy fat], eggs, and other high cholesterol sources.”

The information was science-based and credible. But because it would lead to reduced sales, industry shut it down:

The response to the report was swift and brutal. The meat, egg and dairy industries lobbied successfully to have the document withdrawn. … A new report was released in December 1977. This second edition insisted that “meat, poultry and fish are an excellent source of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.” The Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs was abolished. Its functions were taken over by the Agriculture Committee. “The Agriculture Committee looks after the producers of food, not the consumers, and particularly, not the most needy.”

To this day, the Department of Agriculture (USDA), who still write the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, suffers this conflict of interest. And to this day, in the battle of producers vs. consumers, producers are still winning.

The animal food industry is not alone in this:

The animal agriculture industry intimately joins with the pharmaceutical industry, the medical industry, health organizations and government agencies to mask and perpetuate the disastrous effects of animal products on our health.

I know you’re shaking your head. It sounds too much like a conspiracy, right? Well…

“We sometimes joke that when you’re doing a clinical trial, there are two possible disasters,” one biotech stock analyst told The New York Times. “The first disaster is if you kill people. The second disaster is if you cure them. … The truly good drugs are the ones you can use chronically for a long, long time.”

Statins fall into that category. So do stents:

“You have a $5 billion stent industry. … There is zero evidence that you can prolong life or protect against a future heart attack with stents.”

Public health has taken a back seat to product sales. The only thing that will change this is action by the institution that is in charge of safeguarding public health, the government. And that won’t happen until government stops colluding with business.

I’ve written about all this for over a decade:

  • How eating animal food contributes to chronic disease. (My latest: Dermatologists Know That Meat- And Fat-Rich Diets Promote Skin Lesions, But…) (In 2015, the World Health organization classified red and processed meats as carcinogens.) (Dr. Campbell: “Cows’ milk protein may be the single most significant chemical carcinogen to which humans are exposed.”)
  • How health organizations (e.g. the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society) take money from industry to perpetuate the myth that eating animal food is good for you.
  • How our genes are not responsible for most of our chronic illnesses; our lifestyle is, especially our diet. Here’s Wong quoting Dr. Greger:
    “The reason we know cancers like colon cancer are so preventable is because rates differ dramatically around the globe. … There are places where colon cancer, our No. 2 cancer killer, is practically nonexistent. It’s not some genetic predisposition that makes people in Connecticut die from colon cancer while people from Uganda don’t. When you move to a high-risk country, you adopt the risk of the country. It’s not our genes; it’s our environment.”
  • How high blood sugar is a symptom of diabetes. It is not the cause of diabetes.

I’m going to end with this excerpt about how chicken is processed. If this doesn’t turn you off industrially-produced livestock…

“The birds come through on hooks,” Dr. Lester Friedlander says in the book in explaining the processing of chicken carcasses, “and then a mechanical arm goes up the cloaca [the opening through which the bird releases urine and feces] and pulls out everything inside the cavity. Unfortunately, when the mechanical arm pulls the intestines out, they often burst. Then all the fecal contamination is inside the bird. At the end of the poultry slaughter line there’s a big chill tank to cool the birds down quick so they can get packaged and shipped out. If you have just one of those chickens with broken intestines and fecal contamination, the whole chill tank is contaminated. They call the water in the tank, ‘fecal soup.’ All the chickens throughout the day, if they don’t change the water, are contaminated with feces. Hundreds of thousands of chickens go through that water. And while they’re in the tank the chicken flesh soaks up that fecal soup. That’s what they call ‘retained water’ on the chicken label.”

“About 90 percent of the nation’s retail chicken is contaminated with fecal matter,” the book states. “Yes, that includes the kind you buy at your clean, local supermarket. This is according to a 2011 FDA report, which monitored bacteria such as E. faecalis and E. faecium, on meat, concluding that 90 percent of chicken parts, 91 percent of ground turkey, 88 percent of ground beef, and 80 percent of pork chops have fecal contamination.”

Dermatologists Know That Meat- And Fat-Rich Diets Promote Skin Lesions, But…

Dermatologists know that people who eat more fat and animal food get more acne, wrinkles, skin lesions, and skin cancer. But they have disincentives in relaying that information: the meat and dairy industries, the US government that promotes the meat and dairy industries, and patients who may be put off by advice to eat less meat and dairy.

Diet And Dermatology, The Role of Dietary Intervention in Skin Disease, The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 2014

Here are a couple studies … This next one uses the gold-standard, randomized control trial (RCT). It found that those eating a low-fat diet (less than 21% of calories from fat) significantly reduced occurrence of skin cancers vs. those eating a normal-fat diet (~38% fat):

Evidence That A Low-Fat Diet Reduces The Occurrence Of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer, International Journal of Cancer, 1995

These data indicate that a low-fat diet can significantly reduce occurrence of a highly prevalent form of cancer.

In this next one, an 11-year prospective study, a meat- and fat-rich diet was found to increase risk for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a type of skin cancer:

Dietary Pattern In Association With Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin: A Prospective Study

Results: The meat and fat pattern was positively associated with development of SCC tumors (RR = 1.83; 95% CI: 1.00, 3.37; P for trend = 0.05) after adjustment for confounders and even more strongly associated in participants with a skin cancer history (RR = 3.77; 95% CI: 1.65, 8.63; P for trend = 0.002) when the third and first tertiles were compared. A higher consumption of the vegetable and fruit dietary pattern appeared to decrease SCC tumor risk by 54% (P for trend = 0.02).

Conclusion: A dietary pattern characterized by high meat and fat intakes increases [squamous cell carcinoma] tumor risk, particularly in persons with a skin cancer history.

A relative risk (RR) of 3.77 is approaching a 4 times increased risk for skin cancer. That’s high.

I know you know all this because you read my blog. Here’s a post about melanoma skin cancer from last year:
Study: Red Meat At Least Once A Week Led To Poor Outcomes In Melanoma Skin Cancer (Fruit Improved Outcomes)

Luke’s Modern Art

I really like this.

About Luke:

I grew up in a small West Yorkshire town called Batley, though actually born in Dewsbury, which is only about 10 minutes away.
While still at Batley Boys High School, I was diagnosed with Leukaemia aged 15. (Actually the week before I turned 16).
​The treatment left me in a wheelchair due to complications from the 6 months I spent in ICU.
​Once at home I set myself rehabilitation goals. Including speech and physical theropies and art for a pastime. This is now something I try to do daily and have found abstract and mixed media to be my favourites.
Im self taught from youtube and books from which I learnt many techniques, which shows in my art.
I’m now 30 and live at home with help. I have a positive attitude to life and take my inspirations from people, places and things I see throughout my day.

This Article On “Barriers To Organic And Local Food Access” Leaves Something To Be Desired

I feel ambivalent about this:
Top Ten Barriers To Organic And Local Food Access For Low-Income Individuals, Organic Consumes Association (OCS), March 2008

On the one hand, it gives valid reasons why some people have difficulty eating local and organic food. On the other hand, it talks about it at all. That is, it assumes that local and organic food is preferable. How can something that is costly, in low supply, and that millions of people cannot access be preferable? I’m having a hard time reconciling that.

The article is almost 10 years old and the links in it are dead. In fact, it was reposted on OCS from Sustainable Table where it no longer resides. (It looks like Sustainable Table was purchased by Grace Communications in the interim.) So I’ll post it here in case it disappears altogether: (I’ll meet you at the bottom.)

1. Financial Restrictions

We believe that cost is the greatest obstacle low-income individuals face in accessing fresh, and especially organic and locally-produced, food.

* The cost of vegetables and fruit rose 120% between 1985 and 2000, while the price of junk like sodas and sweets went up less than 50% on average. (source 3)
* Fresh food often doesn’t provide as many calories per dollar as processed food.
* Fresh food doesn’t stay fresh as long as processed food.
* Fresh food requires more labor to make into appealing, satisfying meals than processed food.
* Eating a variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, as recommended by the USDA, is expensive. Even though some fruits and vegetables can be bought at Farmers Markets for a good price, purchasing products of different nutritional contents on a regular basis throughout the year is costly.
* Eating out-of-season fresh fruits and vegetables is even more expensive.

We believe that healthy food is often one of the first things cut from a family’s budget when they are experiencing financial difficulties. Faced with limited resources,

* One out of six Americans turns to government food assistance programs.
* People skip meals.
* People substitute less expensive, less nutritious alternatives.
* People go to soup kitchens or food pantries.
* Parents skip meals to make sure there is enough food for their children. For parents, it is more important to ensure that their children have enough food and “are full” than it is to provide children with a healthy diet.
* People cannot afford a balanced meal.
* People choose to pay bills (e.g. rent, utilities, and prescription drugs) instead of buying food.(source 2)

We believe that individuals depending upon supplemental food assistance from the government can be restricted in the types of food they are allowed to purchase.

* The government places restrictions on where food assistance coupons can be used. For example, WIC coupons cannot be used at the New Pioneer Co-op, the natural food stores in the Iowa City/Coralville area.
* Organic foods are not always eligible for purchase with WIC coupons. Individual states make the decision. (source 9)

2. Preparation and Storage of Food

We believe that low-income families lack, and cannot afford, much of the equipment and companion ingredients needed to prepare fresh food into a variety of interesting, fulfilling meals throughout the year.

Individuals might lack such basic ingredients as: cooking oil, garlic/onion, butter, milk, flour, spices, etc. Purchasing basic kitchen equipment can be an obstacle as well, such as blenders and adequate pots/pans for recipes that aren’t “one-pot” meals. Major appliances might be absent from their lives or might be inadequate for storage and food preparation. Lots of low-income folks live doubled up (with friends or family members) or in rooming houses where they may be lucky to have one shelf in the fridge for cold storage. Appliances can be unreliable – a cooktop with one working burner, for instance.

3. Distribution of Food

We believe that individuals and families have trouble knowing where to buy fresh local food, in addition to having difficulties getting to these locations. The challenges individuals face can be specific to the area in which they live, be it an urban, suburban or rural environment. Low income individuals might live in areas with restricted access to affordable, healthy/fresh foods.
* Cars
o One-stop grocery shopping is easier for low-income individuals because it saves time and gas money.
o Going to the farmer’s market or a grocery store featuring local foods would require making an additional trip.
* Public transportation
o It is not always adequate or easy to use.
o Carrying groceries on a bus or subway is difficult, especially with children.
o It is often inadequate in rural areas.
* Big cities often have food deserts, where only convenience stores are available for food shopping in low-income areas.
* Food delivery services can be expensive, if available at all.

4. Lack of Knowledge and Education ­- Low-Income Individuals

We believe that low-income individuals might lack knowledge on how to prepare fresh food for a variety of reasons, including lack of quality education, inexperience of family members, and popular cultural influences. Individuals often lack:

* An understanding of the meanings and benefits of fresh, organic, and local food.
* Awareness of the health benefits of eating fresh food.
* Confidence in preparing fresh food.
* Skills in preparing fresh food in fast, easy ways.
* Knowledge of ways to make produce attractive to children.

5. Cultural Values and Lifestyles

We believe that low-income individuals might lack experience eating meals highlighting fresh food.

* Eating habits developed during childhood, memories from holidays and other celebratory occasions, and positive, community-centered experiences might have centered on comforts foods made with lard, fat, sugar, as well as processed foods.
* An individual’s life might be lacking in pleasurable and affirmative food-related experiences. Children attending crowded public schools, for example, are forced to eat lunch hurriedly, in shifts as short as 20 minutes, so that maximum use can be made of cafeteria space.
* Individuals living in urban and suburban settings might be completely disconnected from the agricultural origins of the food they eat. Never having seen a vegetable, a grain, or a fruit growing on a plant, they might be unaware of the simple form food has in its original state, and the changes it undergoes during processing.

* We believe that low-income families are accustomed to eating fast food because a great deal of fast food advertising targets low-income families and these restaurants are clustered in low-income communities.
* Families seeking emergency food assistance often receive boxed, canned, and processed food, which has a longer shelf life and can be more easily transported than fresh food. Families who depend on food pantries to survive long-term financial crises can become accustomed to convenience foods.

6. Disabilities

We believe that individuals with disabilities who take care of themselves, and those who depend upon others to care for them, face even more obstacles to local food access than those faced by the low-income population in general. There is a very high correlation between having a disability and have a low-income.

* To remain eligible to receive services through Medicaid, individuals are forced to remain at a very low-income level, hindering their ability to purchase fresh food. (source 5)
* Undiagnosed individuals with mental retardation usually don’t know how to use the store or even the oven. They often rely on microwave and take-out.
* Diagnosed individuals with mental retardation might receive funding for services and have access to Support Community Living (SCL). SCL is a one-on-one service that teaches, assists and creates skills for individuals with disabilities. The goal of SCL is to work toward specific goals and increase client’s independent living skills and community development. SCL clients can have goals that help them learn about nutrition and how to cook and shop wisely. However,
o SCL workers might not be educated in the areas of fresh food, nutrition and cooking.
o Recipes need to be easy and only a few steps long.
* Similar challenges are faced by individuals with physical and mental illness and brain injury. These individuals might be eligible for Consumer Directed Attendant Care (CDAC). CDAC workers can grocery shop and prepare meals for clients.
o However, CDAC workers might not be educated in nutrition and cooking.

7. Preparation and Storage of Food Social Service Agencies

We believe that the variety of social service agencies which are in a position to assist their low-income client increase their consumption of local and fresh foods often lack the time, funding, experience and education to do so. Examples of the types of agencies and organizations that we believe could help their clients learn more about local and fresh food include: food pantries, neighborhood centers, Lion’s Clubs, churches, homeless and domestic violence shelters, medical clinics, family resource centers, and environmental action groups.

* Few staff members at social service agencies have the extra time to add the component of local foods to their work.
* These agencies might not have adequate space, kitchen equipment and utensils with which to prepare fresh food.
* These agencies might lack the major appliance for the storage, refrigeration and freezing of fresh food.
* These agencies might lack the extra volunteers to process and store fresh ingredients safely.

8. Fulfillment of Government Nutrition Standards ­ Agencies & Institutions

We believe that state and federal restrictions on food purchasing can negatively affect the decision to acquire local foods by agencies and institutions that serve food to their clients, such as senior centers and school districts. If government money is used to purchase foods at an institution, it might be required to meet government nutrition standards. Reconfiguring a menu to incorporate local foods and continue to meet these standards can be a burden.

9. Lack of Education ­ Social Service Agencies

We believe that the knowledge and understanding of local and fresh foods can be limited at all levels with a social service agency’s workforce.

* Workers at these agencies might lack the same knowledge of nutrition and lack fresh food preparation skills as the clients do.
* Agency administration might not have considered the potential positive relationship between improving their clients’ health through their diet, and improving other aspects of their clients’ lives. In order for agency staff to integrate nutrition and food into their interactions with clients, there must be interest in and commitment from the agencies’ supervisors or board of directors.

10. Lack of Education – General Population

We believe that if the general public understood the obstacles to local food that low-income families face they would support programs and organizations that increase this population’s access to good, fresh food. We believe that the general public lacks knowledge of:

* The extent of poverty in Iowa.
* The causes of poverty.
* How poverty affects food shopping habits.


1. 2007 Hunger in Iowa Report by Susan Roberts and Erin Feld (and the 2003 report)
2. The Hartford Food System: A Guide to Developing Community Food Programs, Replication Manual put out by World Hunger Year
3. Don’t Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America by Morgan Spurlock
4. Iowans Fit for Life, Active and Eating Smart: Nutrition and Physical Activity by the Iowa Department of Public Health,1, Nutrition and Physical Activity.
5. Eligibility requirements for individuals with disabilities: and
6. The ARC of East Central Iowa
7. Living Well Iowa (run in this area by Keith Ruff through the Evert Conner Center)
8. Retail and Consumer Aspects of the Organic Milk Market by Carolyn Dimitri and Kathryn M. Venezia for the US Dept. of Agriculture, May 2007.
9. Frequently asked questions of the WIC program
10. Are Lower Income Households Willing and Able to Budget for Fruits and Vegetables? by Hayden Stewart and Noel Blisard for the USDA: Economic Research Service, Jan 2008
11. Dynamics of Poverty and Food Sufficiency by David Ribar and Karen Hamrick for the USDA: Economic Research Service, Sept 2003
12. Household Food Security in the United States, 2006 by Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews and Steven Carlson for the USDA: Economic Research Service, November 2007

There is also classism here, as if low-income people are somehow less-than. According to the USDA, low-income people cook more meals at home from scratch than middle- and upper-income people, so they would have more cooking knowledge, not less. Many older adults on fixed incomes have a lifetime of food and cooking knowledge. These next statements are just plain condescending:

“Never having seen a vegetable, a grain, or a fruit growing on a plant, they might be unaware of the simple form food has in its original state.”

“[Low income] Individuals often lack … awareness of the health benefits of eating fresh food.”

Low-income individuals – some who have been cooking for their families for decades, some who are scraping to put themselves through college, some who are having difficulty finding work after their company downsized – don’t know that apples grow on trees? Or that eating an apple is healthier than eating fast food? Please … Just because you lack money doesn’t mean you lack knowledge.

The article talks about barriers that exist for low-income people, but many people don’t purchase, prepare, and eat fresh, organic, local food. Why? I think there are more barriers than income. Some of them they mentioned like disabilities and cultural values. I’ll add things like: people who travel for work (truck drivers, flight attendants, journalists, anyone with a long commute), frailty, poor dentition, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of appetite from medications, inadequate daycare, lack of time. Can you think of others? This whole foodie movement that steers people towards behaviors that are unrealistic seems elitist to me.

After detailing all these barriers, the Organic Consumes Association continues to tell people to eat organic. Who are they talking to?

As you know, I think we should spend our efforts fixing the food everyone eats, instead of supporting an elite, parallel food system that only a privileged handful eat.