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DoggerDan
2012-Aug-10, 07:46 PM
The following began in a different thread. I left a little bit there, but will include all of it here.


Nope. Only against overreaching, unjustifiable pseudo-medical claims by non-medical 'practitioners'. Not a fan of fear-based deceptive marketing, either.

No rational person enjoys being subjected to fear-based marketing. That doesn't mean that such marketing is void of truth, however. Are you ok with the concept that organic foods can be healthier for you, insofar as they've less toxic pesticide residues than foods in general? On another note, ever tried grass-fed beef? I don't know about the health benefits of it, but it's much tastier than stuff I normally buy at the supermarket!

As for organics, I'll buy them if they're comparable to the price of regular foods.

Moose's other statement, "unjustifiable pseudo-medical claims by non-medical 'practitioners'" troubles me, for several reasons. One, it indicates a bias that doctors are smarter than those of us who're well-learned but without an M.D. in front of our names. Second, it indicates a belief that simply because someone has an M.D., they're somehow an expert on all medical matters. Doctors, at the least the ones with whom I associate, are among the first to tell you their sheepskin doesn't magically confer medical omniscience, and that while they have a good general knowledge of medicine, their focus is on their specialty, often and undesirably to the exclusion of other specialties. One of my friends (and my own doctor) is a general practitioner (M.D.). He'll treat the sprains, breaks, warts, and other common ailments, but if a condition doesn't respond to his treatment, he won't hesitate to refer the individual to a specialist.

He's also the best M.D. I've ever met at preventative medicine. Like me, a bunch of years ago he found himself overweight and going downhill, said, "I'm too young for this," and embarked on a life-long journey of good nutrition and exercise. He's an organic nut, and he and his wife keep their own rather substantial garden at his home in Florida. He'll also relate how he began his path towards better health not on the advice of his fellow practitioners, but on the advice of his patients, including one knucklehead who kept pestering him to buy a bicycle and go cycling with him on the weekends until he finally did!

It's he who told me the kind of nutrition they teach in medical school is the kind which deals with the body's various metabolic processes and how various classes of foods support those processes. He said they never did touch on the idea of "food as medicine," and that is perhaps why most doctors in the U.S. never consider diet modification as part of their treatment program. Another factor, shared with me by my girlfriend, who's another kind of doctor, a Doctor of Psychology with a local practice here in Colorado Springs, is that it's easy to give a patient a pill and expect that they'll take it. It's very difficult to treat patients with a change in their cooking, as that's a complex change in several behaviors.

These aren't wacked-out concepts. Both Nutritionist and Physical Therapist are professions which are well-regulated here in the U.S. by the medical community and federal law.

Caveat: This thread is not about supplements. By "food" I mean the kind you'll find in your average supermarket, not the stuff more commonly found in a "health food" store.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-10, 08:05 PM
Are you ok with the concept that organic foods can be healthier for you, insofar as they've less toxic pesticide residues than foods in general?
I'm not speaking for Moose, but some of that organic thinking goes too far in my mind.
Pesticides? I can see that.
Requiring the seed for the plant to be organically grown to be considered an organic vegetable. Too far.

Somewhere there's a happy medium.


On another note, ever tried grass-fed beef? I don't know about the health benefits of it, but it's much tastier than stuff I normally buy at the supermarket!
Along with other meat raising methods. I think chicken is way too bland nowadays. I can't even make a decent chicken soup without adding some broth or bullion.



...but without an M.D. in front of our names.
I'd be a little leary if it was in front of your name. I've usually seen "M.D." after the name. http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/frech/e015.gif (http://www.cosgan.de/smilie.php)

Swift
2012-Aug-10, 08:11 PM
A couple of thoughts...


It's he who told me the kind of nutrition they teach in medical school is the kind which deals with the body's various metabolic processes and how various classes of foods support those processes. He said they never did touch on the idea of "food as medicine," and that is perhaps why most doctors in the U.S. never consider diet modification as part of their treatment program. Another factor, shared with me by my girlfriend, who's another kind of doctor, a Doctor of Psychology with a local practice here in Colorado Springs, is that it's easy to give a patient a pill and expect that they'll take it. It's very difficult to treat patients with a change in their cooking, as that's a complex change in several behaviors.

I can make not claims about what most MDs in the US tell their patients about nutrition, but I do know that both my GP and my gastroenterologist do talk about such things. I think your statement about the teaching of MDs was true a long time ago, but I don't believe it has been true for some time.


Moose's other statement, "unjustifiable pseudo-medical claims by non-medical 'practitioners'" troubles me, for several reasons.
I can't read Moose's mind, so I don't know what he meant by that statement. But I have concerns that could be covered by that statement, and I can explain my concerns.

My concerns are not from medical advice on nutrition and supplements that come from various types of MDs, Nutritionists, and other similar medical professionals. My concern is when such "advice" is put forth by the makers of many of the numerous supplements that are out there, with claims that sound just enough like medical claims about their wonders (lose weight, grow hair, better sex, whatever) to make you interested, but are designed to keep the FDA from forcing them to stop, which seem to be made with little or no testing of either their safety or efficiency to actual do what they claim they are doing.

Moose
2012-Aug-10, 09:47 PM
'Organic' means "contains carbon"; so yes, my food is all organic. Except my table salt. And my tap water. ('Organic' is another word, when used unironically or inaccurately, that will cause me to immediately not take seriously the person who used the term.)

There was a study a few years ago that measured the dosages of certain popular brands of herbal suppliments. That study discovered that the dose concentration from pill to pill could vary by a factor of 17. (Dr.) Steven Novella (, MD) called them [paraphrased from memory] "unmeasured, dirty drugs".

So thanks all the same, but I'm going to hold out for medication whose side-effects are well understood; medication that has been purified and measured so that I know _exactly_ what I'm getting, when I'm getting it, and how much of it I'm getting.

For what it's worth, DoggerDan, I have two health conditions (one causing the other) that have severe implications on my allowable (and mandatory) diet. In fact, sitting on the shelf next to me is a large glass of nature, laced with industry and woo, all justified by legitimate modern medicine, regulated by blood work, all of which, combined, do more to address my chronic pain than any one of these things could alone.



And try as I like,
A small crack appears in my diplomacy dyke.

By definition, (I begin),
Alternative medicine, (I continue),
Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved not to work.

Do you know what they call
'Alternative medicine'
That's been proved to work?

...

Medicine.




You show me that it works,
And how it works,
And when I've recovered
From the shock,
I will take a compass
And carve
'Fancy that'
On... [um... never mind.]


I don't take astronomy advice from the ATM forum, and I don't take medical advice from SCAM practitioners, all for the same reason. The key phrase of all of this is "justified by legitimate modern medicine". Reputable peer-review. I don't care how smart you think you/they are. I'm smart too. Smart enough to know that if it can't gain acceptance through the peer-review system, it hasn't earned legitimacy.

"But it works!"

If it does, you can prove it.

Moose
2012-Aug-10, 09:48 PM
I can't read Moose's mind, so I don't know what he meant by that statement. But I have concerns that could be covered by that statement, and I can explain my concerns.

My concerns are not from medical advice on nutrition and supplements that come from various types of MDs, Nutritionists, and other similar medical professionals. My concern is when such "advice" is put forth by the makers of many of the numerous supplements that are out there, with claims that sound just enough like medical claims about their wonders (lose weight, grow hair, better sex, whatever) to make you interested, but are designed to keep the FDA from forcing them to stop, which seem to be made with little or no testing of either their safety or efficiency to actual do what they claim they are doing.

Pssh. And you said you couldn't read my mind.

Swift
2012-Aug-10, 10:33 PM
There was a study a few years ago that measured the dosages of certain popular brands of herbal supplements. That study discovered that the dose concentration from pill to pill could vary by a factor of 17. (Dr.) Steven Novella (, MD) called them [paraphrased from memory] "unmeasured, dirty drugs".
I don't know if it is the same study you are referring to, but there was one discussed several years ago in Chemical & Engineering News that found similar findings. Even ignoring such questions as what might be the "active" form of a particular naturally occurring substance (such as echinacea), which might have a variety of enantiomers, isomers and other variations, the quantities varied enormously from manufacturer to manufacturer, as well as huge variations in other active or "inert" ingredients.

Now, even given that, upon the advice of my GI and based on a variety of research, I do take a pro-biotic for my colitis and it helps a lot (I even did a mini-controlled study on my own). And do wish that these substances were regulated by the FDA, but they are not.

And, for certain foods, I try to eat pesticide, additive, or hormone free varieties.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-10, 11:25 PM
I'm not speaking for Moose, but some of that organic thinking goes too far in my mind.
Pesticides? I can see that.
Requiring the seed for the plant to be organically grown to be considered an organic vegetable. Too far.

Somewhere there's a happy medium.

Agreed. For that matter, if it's a food which doesn't absorb pesticides, I'd think washing them would work well. Perhaps not as well as going pesticide-free, but perhaps well enough.


Along with other meat raising methods. I think chicken is way too bland nowadays. I can't even make a decent chicken soup without adding some broth or bullion.

Have you tried salt? When I bake chicken, all I use is Italian seasoning, kosher or sea salt, and a little freshly-cracked pepper.


I'd be a little leary if it was in front of your name. I've usually seen "M.D." after the name. http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/frech/e015.gif (http://www.cosgan.de/smilie.php)

(face-palm) Yes, of course. Thanks for that!


I think your statement about the teaching of MDs was true a long time ago, but I don't believe it has been true for some time.

That could very well be. I don't know any freshly-minted M.D.s


My concerns are not from medical advice on nutrition and supplements that come from various types of MDs, Nutritionists, and other similar medical professionals. My concern is when such "advice" is put forth by the makers of many of the numerous supplements that are out there, with claims that sound just enough like medical claims about their wonders (lose weight, grow hair, better sex, whatever) to make you interested, but are designed to keep the FDA from forcing them to stop, which seem to be made with little or no testing of either their safety or efficiency to actual do what they claim they are doing.

Excellent point, but this is why I specifically mentioned "food" and not "supplements" in the title. Because of the possible confusion, however, I've added the following caveat to the OP: Caveat: This thread is not about supplements. By "food" I mean the kind you'll find in your average supermarket, not the stuff more commonly found in a "health food" store.

R.A.F.
2012-Aug-10, 11:34 PM
Have you tried salt?

Sorry....gave up salt as much as possible...Heart Attack, and all...


....not that I've had one, but trying to prevent one...

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-10, 11:54 PM
Getting back on topic...

I'd like to know what those who hold bona-fide state or country-level certifications in nutrition think about these ingredients as found in these foods (second half of the table coming up...):

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff373/findleyd24/FoodsandIngredients.jpg

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-10, 11:59 PM
I apologize for the small size of this second graph. It's the second half of the first. These are the claimed usefulness/benefits of the ingredients listed along the left side of the previous photo.

http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff373/findleyd24/FoodsandIngredients2.jpg

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-11, 12:02 AM
Sorry....gave up salt as much as possible...Heart Attack, and all...

....not that I've had one, but trying to prevent one...

Aye, I was headed down that road a few years back (hypertension). My doc put me on a regimen of high heartbeats (cardio into the upper percentages of max) and potassium chloride (salt substitute).

BTW, most chicken stock and bouillon is loaded with salt. FYI...

Moose
2012-Aug-11, 12:16 AM
I don't know if it is the same study you are referring to, but there was one discussed several years ago in Chemical & Engineering News that found similar findings. Even ignoring such questions as what might be the "active" form of a particular naturally occurring substance (such as echinacea), which might have a variety of enantiomers, isomers and other variations, the quantities varied enormously from manufacturer to manufacturer, as well as huge variations in other active or "inert" ingredients.

Pretty sure that's the one. At least, the study that was getting kicked around various skeptical organizations a few years ago was talking specifically about echinacea.

Moose
2012-Aug-11, 12:19 AM
I apologize for the small size of this second graph. It's the second half of the first. These are the claimed usefulness/benefits of the ingredients listed along the left side of the previous photo.

Anything that claims significant benefits for cancer had better come with a bunch of darn good studies supporting those claims. Any lack thereof puts that claim (and all related claims, meaning both graphs in their entirety) into the "dangerous" category.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-11, 03:51 AM
Anything that claims significant benefits for cancer had better come with a bunch of darn good studies supporting those claims. Any lack thereof puts that claim (and all related claims, meaning both graphs in their entirety) into the "dangerous" category.

I asked: "I'd like to know what those who hold bona-fide state or country-level certifications in nutrition think about these ingredients as found in these foods."

It's a request, Moose, not a claim, and as I don't have unlimited access to or knowledge of peer-reviewed literature, I'm hoping someone here who might have an interest in this area might help me.

However, as that's only half this thread's focus, let's adjourn to the second half, that of exercise as medicine:

Specifically, the idea that high-level aerobic activity is will reduce hypertension and total cholesterol while improving cholesterol ratios, while low to medium level aerobic activity will not (or not nearly as much). By "high level" I'm referring to maintaining a heart rate between 80% and 90% of one's max heart rate, near one's O2 debt level. Source: Arthur Lydiard's Guide to Athletic Training. Lydiard training is more commonly known by another name today: Interval Training, or more specifically, fast interval training, sometimes referred to as "sprint interval." Source: "Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance," Martin J. Gibala, Jonathan P. Little, Martin van Essen, Geoffrey P. Wilkin, Kirsten A. Burgomaster, Adeel Safdar, Sandeep Raha and Mark A. Tarnopolsky, The Journal of Physiology, July 6, 2006. Link (http://jp.physoc.org/content/575/3/901.abstract?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=Gibala&andorexacttitle=and&andorexacttitleabs=and&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT).

What is happening physiologically behind this phenomena?

"A growing body of evidence demonstrates that high-intensity interval training (HIT) can serve as an effective alternate to traditional endurance-based training, inducing similar or even superior physiological adaptations in healthy individuals and diseased populations, at least when compared on a matched-work basis." - Source (http://jp.physoc.org/content/590/5/1077.abstract): "Physiological adaptations to low-volume, high-intensity interval training in health and disease," Martin J. Gibala, Jonathan P. Little, Maureen J. MacDonald and John A. Hawley, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada 2School of Arts and Sciences, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, British Columbia V1V 1V7, Canada 3Exercise Metabolism Group, RMIT University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia.

Moose
2012-Aug-11, 07:26 AM
I asked: "I'd like to know what those who hold bona-fide state or country-level certifications in nutrition think about these ingredients as found in these foods."

You start a thread specifically to call me out on something, but apparently do not want me to respond on what I was talking about. Okay. Enjoy your by-yourself time.

primummobile
2012-Aug-11, 11:38 AM
Do you know if this study is available online, or if it addresses herbal remedies in solution or tinctures?

Infinity Watcher
2012-Aug-11, 06:09 PM
This is a topic I can go on a very long rant about since it's something I feel very strongly about and like Moose I have very little time for a lot of "complementary" medicine or whatever the current term du jour is.

I think it's important to make distinctions between valid nutritional advice such as you might get from your doctor (eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, cut back on the salt and sugar, lose weight if you're overweight, gain it if you're severely underweight etc.). Those are all examples of good solid advice for use of food and exercise for better health. On the other hand you have a lot of rubbish out there as well, most of it coming from the CAM arena (perhaps most dangerously when it's mixed in with the valid advice since that can make it harder to spot).

In the case of herbal medicine (not to be confused with homeopathic medicine, which apparently can happen) there is some chance of an effect, not necessarily the one you want but herbal medicines can at least contain active ingredients: an example of this would be St. John's Wort (this is not to say they're exactly on the list of world's brilliant ideas: dose control is rather shoddy even if the amount of the plant in question is controlled since the quantity of active ingredients can vary widely between one plant and the next, not to mention the possibility of toxicity due to other chemicals in the plant: there's a reason we use aspirin rather than willow bark: willow bark will pretty much shred your stomach lining...), this is why there's a lot of drug research based on looking at plants and fungi: Aspirin, penicillin, the vinca alkaloids and many more all come from other organisms at least to begin with, then we found the active ingredients and found ways to synthesise only them and/or to modify them to get the same effect with fewer side effects, this is a good example of science at work.

A lot of other CAM modalities range from the unlikely to the ludicrous, for example Homeopathic remedies can be shown mathematically to not contain a molecule of active ingredient at the commonly used dilutions and via spectroscopy etc. to be identical to sugar water and what is left basically boils down to an appeal to magic.

As Moose said earlier, if it has an effect you can demonstrate it in good peer review studies and after a while the medical establishment will incorporate it into the body of practice, however the vast majority of CAM has been tested and found wanting (despite the excitement over acupuncture, I'm forced to include it too, as much as I once thought there *could* be some effect perhaps from nerve stimulation or endorphin release, I'm forced to conclude on the current body of evidence that it is ineffective), and promoting such measures is at best irresponsible (although I'm inclined to be *much* less charitable than that personally, but I'm trying not to go into rant mode here) when advocated for harmless self-limiting conditions and potentially lethal if advocated for dangerous conditions (the UK has the cancer act for a reason: it prohibits claims to treat cancer except in so far as they are advertised to medical professionals and are published in technical (i.e. medical/pharmaceutical) journals), such that they are used in preference to or delay people from seeking appropriate treatment.

The use of exercise as part of medicine is subject to similar issues, there's plenty of valid stuff out there (increasing your exercise level is generally good... well up untill you get to very high levels of exercise which can start causing physiological issues by itself... but it's pretty rare for anyone short of top level athletes to get close to those levels) and most doctors will tell you this, then there's stuff that falls under "plausible but unproven": the precise link between exercise and mood in depression is one for example, it's generally plausible, has some evidence behind it and no evidence of harm, just not quite enough evidence to make it completely confirmed (or at least that was the case the last time I looked at the literature but that was a while back). Then you have the complete rubbish: claims that exercising a certain way or with special equipment will prevent one illness or another (and anything that makes reference to ki, chakras, life energy or so forth is pretty much automatically suspect).

Moose
2012-Aug-12, 12:51 AM
Do you know if this study is available online, or if it addresses herbal remedies in solution or tinctures?

It probably is, but my half-sleepy attempts at Googling for it haven't been productive. I'll take another crack at it on Google Scholar tomorrow if I remember. (Feel free to pester me if I forget. I'm too easy to distrac---ooh, shiny.)

I don't think the form of the 'remedy' will matter much. The plant itself is what lacks the standardization, and so any method that makes no attempt to process for concentration will share these problems.

Oddly, if you grow hot peppers, you can demonstrate this phenomenon with an immature jalapeno. Simply slice it thinly along the pepper, stir to randomize, and you can make your victim play a form of Russian roulette. Most of the slices will be very weak. A few, however, will have _all_ the capsaicin.

LotusExcelle
2012-Aug-12, 01:42 AM
I'm jumping in a bit late but I'd like to add Skeptoid's episode on "organic" food to the discussion. Moose has already covered the issues with the word "organic" as used in food marketing but I think Skeptoid goes to a depth not likely to be covered here:

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4019

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-13, 02:40 PM
Along with other meat raising methods. I think chicken is way too bland nowadays. I can't even make a decent chicken soup without adding some broth or bullion.Have you tried salt? When I bake chicken, all I use is Italian seasoning, kosher or sea salt, and a little freshly-cracked pepper.
What's the difference? Most bullion or stock is extremely high in salt anyway.
I don't want the added salt.

Gillianren
2012-Aug-13, 03:37 PM
Personally, I wish the herbal remedy people keep telling me I should take worked for me. This is leaving aside quality control issues. My issue is that it is contraindicated for my condition, and people keep telling me to take it anyway. This is one of the real problems with the health advice a lot of people give out--they read a few articles, and they think they're experts. St. John's wort does turn out to be effective against mild to moderate depression. When you are moderate to severe, and you're bipolar, that's not actually the same thing. If I took it, it would trigger manic episodes. So what's the most common response to that information? "Why don't you try it anyway?"

LotusExcelle
2012-Aug-13, 03:46 PM
Not that the complexity is the same between a human and an engine.. - but in my industry I run into "herbalists" of a different variety. There are reasons medical professionals are "professionals" and trained so heavily. There is a reason herbal remedies are not recommended by most doctors. All that pesky science gets in the way and contradicts people's confirmation bias and anecdotes. If someone doesn't know an herbal remedy is contraindicated they could literally kill someone. What is the recourse then?

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-13, 04:41 PM
There are reasons medical professionals are "professionals" and trained so heavily. There is a reason herbal remedies are not recommended by most doctors. All that pesky science gets in the way and contradicts people's confirmation bias and anecdotes. If someone doesn't know an herbal remedy is contraindicated they could literally kill someone. What is the recourse then?
If a homicide charge was possible in that situation it would go really bad for the child killer.