2

votes

USNews report, plant protein best?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 14, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I'm sure people have responded to this study. If you know and can send me to a link, that would be great.

I was listening to an old podcast this morning where I heard about this report for the first time: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/heart/articles/2010/09/10/the-best-low-carbohydrate-diet-one-thats-plant-based

USNews & World Report say that the conclusion of a several decades long study is that low-carb leads to longer, healthier life, if most protein comes from plants.

Can anyone point me to a Paleo rebuttal of this? Or are we all wrong?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on July 21, 2011
at 08:27 PM

I wouldn't go after USNews. After all, they are just paraphrasing the experts.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:55 PM

I already posted the link to the original thread about it. I just wanted to point out the obvious, if they don't control for micronutrients then how can they know if it was macronutrients that affects the scores? Bit of a change in cardiovascular mortality, why can't it be explained by copper and magnesium intakes? Aha, and now we see just how inert macronutrient diet studies are.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:23 PM

Don't you think it is a bit silly to wag your finger at people who don't immediately believe that an epidemiological study in nutrition could demonstrate causality? Isn't skepticism and the desire to read and evaluate something the correct stance and that suggesting that anything has been "proven" by poorly adjusted correlations the incorrect stance?

36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d

(812)

on July 14, 2011
at 04:14 PM

my bro wrote it, he has bad grammar

E34fbfa1bca9ae970c9c7313bf9de9f8

(1436)

on July 14, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Yes, we're all wrong. Gluten is good for you. :D

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 14, 2011
at 02:47 PM

Yeah (and to Josh M, too), that was my first thought, but since I hadn't seen any of the debunking that I saw after the latest USNews story, I wasn't sure if I just missed something or what. But Josh & Wavehunter did a good job.

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 14, 2011
at 02:03 PM

Matt, thanks for that, very interesting.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:46 PM

I am now even more entrenched in my belief that it doesn't matter.

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:45 PM

Well, given that the strongest argument for the Paleo diet is scientific evidence, I think it does matter if the science changes. Or I could just be deluded.

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Was it the animal or vegetable protein people who were more moral? (Sorry, that was such a great typo, couldn't resist).

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7 Answers

best answer

1
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on July 14, 2011
at 09:13 PM

Harvard basically owns the Nurses Health Study, and just mines it constantly and cranks out papers based on the data they have received. These are STUDIES, not actual EXPERIMENTS. I just read the abstract, not the whole paper, so some things are difficult to tell. In this case, they asked the people what they ate, and based on that, ranked them into 10 categories, and compared the first with the last ranks. First, they attempted to show that the people in the lowest carb category had the highest overall mortality. (However, look closely at the p value - not significant. My-o-my, how did that get past the editor?) Then they split up the group into the animal-fat people and vegetable-fat people. Not sure how they did it, they don't say. Was it 50/50? Did they again take the top 10 and the bottom 10 percent? Then they did the same analysis, comparing the low-carb meat-eaters to the high-carb meat-eaters. That's where they saw significant differences in overall mortality, cancer and heart disease. Then they did the same thing for the people who ate veg fat, and saw the opposite relationship for all-cause and heart disease. They left off what they got for cancer (presumably because it didn't look good ;-)) The problem with studies like these is that you are going off surveys, and it is probably the case that there are only a few vegetarian low-carbers anyway. This will really throw off the results when you compare the two groups. The wider the spread between the two deciles, the more you are likely to pick up a significant correlation. It is also probably the case that the non-meat-eaters study is comparing someone who eats veggie burgers with a ww bun to someone who eats veggie burgers with the bun, fries and a Coke. Who knows what is going on with the low-carb meat eaters side? They are probably people who ate according to the recommendations for awhile, got fat and sick, and then started eating low carb. There are several other studies that attempt to show that people on low carb diets are fatter and sicker. All this says to me is that people who are fat and sick are more likely to go against dietary recommendations in order to get where they need to be. Then again, I tend to discount all of what comes out of Harvard, not because I am particularly biased, but because I have much of a Bayesian bent, and go into looking at one of their studies with a prior probability that it is going to be POS, based on my past experience with them.

4
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on July 14, 2011
at 02:31 PM

Wasn't it USNews that put out that other study that ranked Paleo last on a list of 20 'diets'?

When you consider the source, you don't really need to be concerned with what they say.

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 14, 2011
at 02:47 PM

Yeah (and to Josh M, too), that was my first thought, but since I hadn't seen any of the debunking that I saw after the latest USNews story, I wasn't sure if I just missed something or what. But Josh & Wavehunter did a good job.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on July 21, 2011
at 08:27 PM

I wouldn't go after USNews. After all, they are just paraphrasing the experts.

3
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on July 14, 2011
at 02:24 PM

Articles like this and the studies they use just make me shake my head and sigh. Conclusions based on correlations means nothing. If people take the time to read and logically think through any evidence it can be seen there is little there. These things reek of big business and big pharma, just follow the money. Also consider the source, as in the web site and the agencies behind it and the writer has no credentials she is spewing what can be politically approved. One reason the World is in such a bad state is that many people take articles like this at face value and never question or investigate.

This video may be useful to some: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1RXvBveht0 it explains the different kinds of scientific studies.

3
36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d

on July 14, 2011
at 11:46 AM

They took data from the nurse's health study and made guidelines to decide who was low carb and further divided them by deciding who was low carb vegetable or low carb animal. After doing that they correlated mortality, causes of death etc.

Bottom line its a study based solely on correlations, which means it BS for the most part. There could be 100s of reasons why people who eat slightly more vegetable protein seem to live longer.

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Was it the animal or vegetable protein people who were more moral? (Sorry, that was such a great typo, couldn't resist).

36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d

(812)

on July 14, 2011
at 04:14 PM

my bro wrote it, he has bad grammar

2
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on July 14, 2011
at 11:27 AM

It doesn't matter if we are all wrong and there is study after study to prove it:

http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:45 PM

Well, given that the strongest argument for the Paleo diet is scientific evidence, I think it does matter if the science changes. Or I could just be deluded.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:46 PM

I am now even more entrenched in my belief that it doesn't matter.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:23 PM

Don't you think it is a bit silly to wag your finger at people who don't immediately believe that an epidemiological study in nutrition could demonstrate causality? Isn't skepticism and the desire to read and evaluate something the correct stance and that suggesting that anything has been "proven" by poorly adjusted correlations the incorrect stance?

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:50 PM

http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2011/02/does-protein-leach-calcium-from-bones.html

Plant protein has negative correlation with bone density, while animal protein has a positive correlation. So if you want to live long without osteoporosis, then eat your steak and not your tofu.

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 14, 2011
at 02:03 PM

Matt, thanks for that, very interesting.

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