Search Results for: quinoa

The Oldest Profession: Quinoa, Millet, and Emmer and Einkorn Wheat

I thought I’d bring some information up from the comments so it can be visible to people doing searches.

In the book we speak of “safe starches” whose safety is well attested: rice, sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes, taro, tapioca, sago. We also speak of the toxicity of grains and undercooked legumes. But a variety of less popular foods were left unmentioned. These include quinoa and millet.

Mark asked about quinoa and I gave this view of it:

Well, quinoa is not a grain or legume and so does not fall in our excluded foods, but we haven’t been including it in our “safe starches” list either, mainly due to caution and unfamiliarity on our part.

Quinoa does contain saponins ( even after being debittered (, and needs proper handling including washing before cooking. With proper handling it seems to be relatively safe. A Pubmed search on “quinoa toxicity” yields nothing; “quinoa saponins” yields 22 hits.

Quinoa does have a lot of protein (12-18% per Wikipedia), which makes me suspicious. Plant proteins are behind nearly all the toxicity effects of grains and legumes, and I prefer to avoid plant protein. It’s possible there are undiscovered toxicity effects.

There was a debate in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in Nov 1999 about quinoa. (See and One writer notes that the Celiac Sprue Association classed quinoa as “unsafe” because some celiac patients have had bad reactions to it. This does not mean that quinoa would cause problems to someone with a healthy bowel, but there is a lack of evidence either way.

Off the cuff, tentative view? Quinoa seems to be quite a bit safer than grains, and since “the dose makes the poison” it can probably be eaten in moderation as a way to diversify the diet. However, its safety is not as well proven as, say, rice or sweet potatoes or taro, and personally I wouldn’t make it my primary starch source.

This is the basic problem: we just don’t know. We know about the toxicity of wheat because billions of people have made it their primary calorie source and we can see that after 60 years of eating it, people have worse health than those who made rice their primary calorie source. Then, because wheat is so important, scientists have studied it and identified most of its toxins.

With quinoa, we lack that kind of usage and there has been little scientific study.

Since the Perfect Health Diet only calls for around 400 starch calories a day, it’s not too arduous to confine one’s self to only those starches known to be safe. At least, that’s my view.

Becky then asked about millet. I replied:

Millet is a grain and so it is guilty until proven innocent. Grains in general are very rich in toxins, so odds are millet is no exception.

That said, it is an ancestral variety which may not have undergone a lot of modification by breeding. Dr. Davis has presented some evidence that the biggest problem with wheat may be that it has twice been hybridized, expanding its genome from 14 chromosomes in its ancestral form (einkorn wheat) to 28 chromosomes (emmer wheat) through hybridization with goat grass, later to 42 chromosomes through another hybridization with Triticum grass to create modern wheat. This means wheat has toxins from three separate species, which may explain why it is the most toxic grain.

Dr William Davis has reported that some people who cannot tolerate modern wheat can tolerate einkorn: see here and here.

I recommend avoiding millet and other grains except rice, whose safety is well-attested. Since we only need about 400 carb calories a day, it’s not too difficult to confine one’s self to known-to-be-safe carbs.

But, daredevils, drunkards, and other risk-lovers may find millet worth the risk!

I was fascinated by Dr Davis’s report that ancestral wheat varieties may be much safer than current strains. It makes sense: tripling the number of plant toxins through hybridization must increase toxicity.

It appears that the progress of agriculture through hybridization and breeding has caused our food to become progressively more toxic. And this toxification of food was not an innovation of modern industrial agriculture, but was already underway in the early Neolithic.

So next time you’re tempted to criticize Big Pharma and Big Agriculture for placing mammon ahead of safety, remember that Natufian farmers were doing the same thing! Perhaps the oldest profession was not prostitution, but genetic engineering of food.

Fit Fat Fast Podcast, Seoul Event, and Reader Stories

I have a number of blog posts in progress but before finishing those I want to put up a few items.

First, I recorded a new podcast with Jon Smith of The Fit Fat Fast Podcast, which is devoted to endurance athletes but covers a wide range of topics. Check it out!

Second, Shou-Ching and I will be speaking in Seoul, Korea, on Saturday June 29 at CrossFit Sentinel. We’re excited to be visiting Korea again, it’s been quite some time, and we’re very happy to begin spreading our diet into Asia.

Third, I want to thank everyone who leaves Amazon reviews and reader results stories. Let me share a few that we especially enjoyed.

At Amazon, Matt Marcheski wrote:

If this is the bible Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet are gods…. I have absolutely no problem stating that this is the best book written on nutrition that I’ve come across.

I think Paul Jaminet intended this book to be simply stated, non-exaggerated book with TONS of properly cited information. He hit the nail on the head. However, my new found energy does not allow me to see this book in that light. It reads like an epic, feels like an enlightenment and tastes as delicious as our taste buds can handle. Our bodies are the result of millions of years of evolution. Is it possible that our sweet teeth, fatty preferences and insatiable hunger are screw ups? As Fall Out Boy and Elton John would say….. NO!

When I was reading this book I had already lost 60 pounds and doing GREAT, I simply read it for fun. I thought my diet was great, reading this book confirmed that statement, but I also found out that it could be MUCH better. I made small tweaks and followed their infamous supplement routine and WHOA. I lost an additional 20 pounds; BUT the diet definitely took ten years off my appearance. People used to think I was 25, now everyone says I look like I’m 16. THIS is no exaggeration, in fact I have been given a very difficult time buying alcohol because the picture on my ID looks nothing like me now. I HAVE NOT BOUGHT A DRINK WITHOUT GETTING CARDED YET. I got carded for redeeming a SCRATCH OFF ticket. I did not know that they were allowed to do that at the time. I’ve also had a MUCH better sense of well-being and A LOT more energy. You haven’t lived until you lived Perfectly.

I may be leading the review in the wrong direction though. DO NOT underestimate the amount of information in this book. What upset me about other books on diet & nutrition is that they consist of 95% gobbley-gook and 5% decent information. The Perfect Health diet is mostly 97% great information. If you are looking for motivation, go watch Dr. Phil, but quite frankly, no motivation is needed after reading this book. Your new hunger levels and taste buds provide all the motivation you need.

I have more respect for the Jaminets than any other people on Earth at this moment. They do not sell out, they provide ALL the information you need and if they do not have the answers to your questions they will find out. Take a look at their website. The community is actually OUTSTANDING as well, they are very well informed.

If you take into account all the chicks (or guys) your new appearance will be attracting, the years of perfect health you put on your life, your new sense of well-being and the money you will save on health care, this book could easily sell for $1,375,876.00 precisely.

Thanks, Matt! I’ll pass your pricing advice on to Scribner.

Francesca introduced us to a future astrophysicist, who has experienced many benefits but retains a puzzling itchy scalp:

The PHD has helped my whole family tremendously, but especially my sixteen year old granddaughter. She had frequent headaches and stomach aches since she was a toddler, at the age of seven a blood test showed that she was anaemic, had a TSH of 5.25mU/L, an FT3 level of 5.8mU/L and thyroid antibody levels consistent with auto-immune disease. She had no obvious signs of thyroid problems – she was always slim but had low self-esteem and struggled at school despite being an obviously intelligent child. At 14 the headaches became migraines and she was anxious and upset that she could never achieve the results needed to follow her dream of becoming an astro-physicist – she has had a passionate interest in astronomy from the age of about four.

We found the PHD almost two years ago and within a few days her headaches and stomach aches disappeared and her schoolwork improved tremendously. She said that before PHD she felt that her brain was in a fog and she couldn’t think properly. She is now achieving A’s in physics and chemistry and her dreams seem to be within reach….

She breaks the diet extremely rarely, not even for Christmas or birthdays, because even a bought smoothie caused a stomach ache and a headache. She loves Ris a la Mande and other recipes on your site.

Your diet has turned her life around and she is very grateful. Her only health problem is a terribly itchy scalp. She has had the problem for about two years and complains that it is now driving her insane. I developed the same problem at the same age and it drove me crazy for fifty years but since following PHD it has almost stopped itching. The itching followed exactly the same pattern for both of us – mainly in the crown area; perfectly healthy scalps; no dandruff; shiny healthy hair; we tried all possible hair products with no benefit yet washing with any hair product stops the itching for some hours….

My granddaughter has had almost miraculous improvements in her life from PHD so an itchy scalp doesn’t seem much of a problem but she is finding it very hard to cope with, especially when studying (which is most of her time) so we are hoping you can help.

Thank you for all your amazing work which has helped my family and so many others.

I suggested some nutritional steps, but I imagine it will take some experimentation and continued healing to figure this one out.

On the Reader Results page, Leo Delaplante left a great note (it was left while we were experimenting with Livefyre comments and I think this disturbed the formatting):

i want to thank  paul  and shou-ching for the for all their time spent researching ,compiling and publishing the perfecthealthdiet,,,you guys educated yourselves about nutrition with open minds and an unbiased view of all nutritional info available ,,,only then did you put all the pieces together and to write your book,,,your 5 year research to help yourselves with your health issues and then to unselfishly share it with us is truly and act of love and compassion to us all….i am sure that mainstream diet and health advisers are closet readers of your informative book,,,your down to earth  intentions to help others is truly reflected in the ad free website you have and the amount of time and money you must be spending  to answer questions and be guests on radio and conventions,,you are both the salt of the earth,,,,,,,,,,myself i picked up on your book last january and really felt i had found something different and complete to improve my eating habits and health,,,i raised four kids and did all the cooking myself rarely going out for fast foods,,i cooked in a 50′s 60′s style so meats vegies and potatoes were often used,,i wish i would of known more about nutrition but my 3 girls and boy all in their 20′s are all healthy and their weights are perfect….now that i know about seed oils,,grains,fructose ect. i have educated them all on your nutritional knowledge,,

since january 1st i have lost 25 pounds,,the first 10 came off within 2 weeks and now i am consistantly losing 1 lbs/week…i havent eaten wheat, sugar, grains (except for buckwheat and quinoa (buckwheat in my smoothies in the morning make me carb happy)) i understand why you reject any grains as a food but always hope that one day with more research  you will let us know that quinoa, buckwheat, chia and hemp seeds are ok as this is were i cheat in my diet ,,,,i supplement ,intermiten fast,,,sleep 8 hrs a night(always have) and generally follow your guidelines 95% of the time,,,,i used to have heart burn(from wheat),,,,,,gone…………..take naps,,,,,,,,no more,,,,,,,,,snore like crazy… moderatly,,,,my last bloodwork showed my cholesterol numbers almost perfect(doctor took me off the statins) ,,blood sugar levels slightly below normal,,my doctors was amazed,,,,,,,after four months my new eating habits are a natural part of my life,,i have also spread this diet to my friends and family,,,,,,both of you are a rare find in this day and age and i want to thank you for what you have done to the health of all your followers,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,leo delaplante

Bethany at MyFitnessPal left a great story:

I feel good. I’ve lost an unbelievable 10 pounds in 17 days (seriously, I keep getting back on the scale in disbelief), I’m sleeping like a baby, I have TONS of energy, I’m enjoying my food, and it’s only day 17.  No, I don’t expect the weight loss to keep up at that rate, but I do expect that there’s something to this, considering my “perfect” diet from the past left me grumpy, hungry, malnourished, and overweight & gaining. It seemed impossible to me that I was gaining on my past regimen – every part of traditional diet science said I was doing the right thing, and many of my doctors confirmed it. Then I read this line written by Jaminet (from memory, may be slightly different in print):

“Nutrient hunger can cause weight loss to plateau and reverse, even if the diet does not change.”

Wow. That was it – the breaking point for me. My body wanted fat, and starches, and protein, and wanted to stop dealing with toxins.  And now that it’s getting all the good fats my heart literally desires, I feel good. I feel happy.

And I have God to thank, and Paul Jaminet & his wife Shou-Ching, and everyone on MyFitnessPal that’s supportive and helpful – even if we do disagree on the details. 🙂

Bethany left an update this week.

There have also been many great stories over on the Perfect Health Diet Facebook group. I don’t want to cite people by name or quote too much because it’s a closed group, but I’ll just share this reminder that sometimes there is an adaptation period when you change diets:

I was relatively low-carb in 2012. On January 1, 2013, I went very low-carb and it immediately did not work. When I started PHD, I did puff up a bit–much to my distress. But I stuck with it because I felt so good. Two months in, I tweaked the starch down (maybe to 6 ounces a day) and started doing IF. I am now at the lowest weight of my adult life and feeling so strong. Many thanks to the Jaminets.

Thank you to all who leave personal stories and positive reviews!

Finally, an animal photo as we wish you a joyful weekend and, to our American readers, Memorial Day holiday:

Very Low-Carb Dieting: Are the Hormonal Changes Risk-free?

I was in Chicago earlier this week to record a video discussion with Dr Ron Rosedale hosted by Dr Mercola. Ron and I have taken opposite sides in several “safe starch debates” (First installment here; reply to Ron here; Ancestral Health Symposium panel discussed here.) This new discussion was intended to be more cordial and uncover common ground as well as differences.

I was intrigued to see that Ron’s lunch consisted mostly of plant foods which he ate avidly; he said he believes that most people on his diet eat a significant amount of plant foods. I came away with the impression that the Rosedale Diet resembles the ketogenic version of PHD, only with less starch and MCT oil.

One of my objections to Ron’s recommendations has been that very low carb and protein consumption can be stressful to the body. Scarcity of carbs and protein invokes certain starvation-associated pathways – for instance, lower T3 thyroid hormone. We discussed this in “Carbohydrates and the Thyroid,” August 24, 2011.

Ron believes that low T3 on low-carb diets is healthy, and other low-carb advocates, such as Sam Knox, have made similar arguments.

I believe that intermittent fasting, which invokes starvation-associated pathways transiently, is usually health-improving – but that you can overdo it. What happens if you invoke these pathways chronically and continuously?

Prof Dr Andro on the “Athlete Triad”

Some light was shed on this question recently by Adel Moussa, aka Prof Dr Andro, who discussed the “athlete triad” in three posts (Part I, Part II, Part III) at his blog Suppversity.

The athlete triad appears most commonly in athletes who undereat and overtrain. Symptoms include low energy, amenorrhea in women and low testosterone in men, osteoporosis, reduced cognitive ability, and impaired immune function. The syndrome is surprisingly common, especially in female athletes:

Although the exact prevalence of the female athlete triad is unknown, studies have reported disordered eating behavior in 15 to 62 percent of female college athletes. Amenorrhea occurs in 3.4 to 66 percent of female athletes, compared with only 2 to 5 percent of women in the general population. [1]

As Adel discusses in Part II, the athlete triad is characterized by the following hormonal pattern:

  • low estrogen and testosterone levels
  • low T4 and low T3 thyroid hormone levels, often with low TSH and high reverse T3
  • a disturbed circadian cortisol rhythm lacking an appropriate cortisol spike in the morning and a normal decline in cortisol levels in the course of the day
  • low leptin, low insulin, and low IGF-1

Precisely the same hormonal patterns, including lower thyroid hormone levels, higher cortisol, and a suppressed circadian cortisol rhythm, are observed in total fasting and starvation. [2] [3]

These hormonal changes conserve glucose and protein, an appropriate step during starvation. The energy-intensive tasks of immune function and reproduction are temporarily suppressed until energy is more readily available.

Similar patterns of reduced T3 and elevated cortisol excretion were recently seen in a clinical trial of a 10% carb weight maintainance diet. [4] This trial shows that even in the absence of calorie restriction, carb restriction is sufficient to reproduce much of the “athlete triad”/starvation hormonal pattern.

This pattern reaches its most extreme form in anorexia:

[H]ypocaloric diets causes changes in thyroid function that resemble sick euthyroid syndrome. Changes consist of a decrease in total T4 and total and free T3 with a corresponding increase in rT3….

States of chronic starvation such as seen in anorexia nervosa are also associated with changes in thyroid hormone, GH, and cortisol secretion. There is a decrease in total and free T4 and T3, and an increase in rT3 similar to findings in sick euthyroid syndrome…. [T]here is an increase in GH secretion with a decrease in IGF-1 levels…. The changes in cortisol secretion in patients with anorexia nervosa resemble depression. They present with increased urinary free cortisol and serum cortisol levels. [5]

In chronic starvation, hunger is replaced by anxiety and a desire to move. In evolutionary context this urge to be active may have stimulated food-seeking, but in modern life it can exacerbate conditions like the athlete’s triad.

In Part II of his series, Adel made an interesting observation. Chris Kresser often mentions a patient who cured his health problems with pizza and beer. Here’s Chris recounting the story to Kurt Harris:

Chris Kresser: Back around 2000, I was interning for a holistic doctor down in San Diego, and this was before I got into Paleo or anything, and I was, I think, a vegan macrobiotic, for crying out loud, at that point!  So, we had a patient who was just really, really sick, and he was just getting sicker and sicker.  He weighed about 90 pounds.  I think he was about 6 feet tall.  And the doctor had him on a restricted diet, you know, one of those food allergy type of diets where all you’re eating is, like, broccoli, venison, and quinoa.

Kurt Harris:  The Specific Carbohydrate Diet?

Chris Kresser:  No, no, just like a really, you know, they do the IgG food testing, which is kinda bunk anyways.

Kurt Harris:  Yeah, that’s pretty bunk.

Chris Kresser:  And then they find out you can only eat strawberries, broccoli, quinoa, and ostrich!  You know?  And so, he was doing that, and he kept removing foods until he was literally down to, like, broccoli and steamed whitefish or something.  That was all he was eating.  And he just kept getting sicker and sicker.  So, he disappears for about six months, comes back a completely different person.  He’s back up to 160 or 170, which was his normal weight, you know, completely normal complexion.  Literally, we didn’t even recognize him, and the doctor was saying:  What happened?  Was it diet?  And the guy was like:  Yep, it was diet.  And he said:  Was it the candida diet?  Was it the Specific Carbohydrate?  What was it?  And he said:  It was the beer and pizza diet!  [laughter]  And this guy literally, I mean, the guy got to this point where he was like:  OK, if this is my life, I’m fine with just flaring out.  You know, this isn’t worth it.  And if I’m gonna go out, I’m gonna have fun.  And so, he started going out.  You know, he wasn’t ever hanging out with his friends anymore because he was on such a restricted diet, he had no social life, so he just said: Forget it.  I’m gonna drink beer and eat pizza at least three times a week, and then the other times I’m gonna do whatever I want.  And that completely restored his health.

Adel speculates (very plausibly in light of the man’s weight of 90 pounds!) that the patient was suffering from the starvation pattern which is replicated in very low-carb “euthyroid sick syndrome” and the athlete triad. What he needed was more calories, especially carb and protein calories. Pizza and beer are great sources!


It was a pleasure to chat with Ron and Dr Mercola in Chicago. We recorded a four hour discussion, which is going to be edited down to an hour or hour and a half.

We found plenty of common ground. We agreed that there are very real health benefits to low-carbohydrate diets. Low-carb diets are helpful against diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and quickly improve cardiovascular risk markers such as blood pressure, triglycerides, and HDL.

But in biology, good things can always be taken too far. One can restrict carbohydrates (and protein) too much. Extremism in carb restriction may, indeed, be a vice.


[1] Hobart J, Smucker D. The female athlete triad. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Jun 1;61(11):3357-64, 3367.

[2] Shimizu H et al. Altered hormonal status in a female deprived of food for 18 days. J Med. 1991;22(3):201-10.

[3] Palmblad J et al. Effects of total energy withdrawal (fasting) on the levels of growth hormone, thyrotropin, cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, T4, T3, and rT3 in healthy males. Acta Med Scand. 1977 Jan;201(1-2):15-22.

[4] Ebbeling CB et al. Effects of dietary composition on energy expenditure during weight-loss maintenance. JAMA. 2012 Jun 27;307(24):2627-34.

[5] Douyon L, Schteingart DE. Effect of obesity and starvation on thyroid hormone, growth hormone, and cortisol secretion. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2002 Mar;31(1):173-89.

Around the Web; Congratulations Naomi Edition

I had a great time talking to Sean Croxton on his Underground Wellness radio show Thursday night; check out the show here. I’m excited to be participating in Sean’s upcoming “Paleo Summit.” And it was nice to see that Miriam Knight of New Consciousness Review put our chat on Youtube.

Shou-Ching and I pleased to be blogging at Psychology Today. We join some great writers there, including Dr. Emily Deans and Dr. Kurt Harris, and are looking forward to introducing our ideas to a new audience.

[1] Reader Results: I’m always excited when readers report results. Here are a few from this week.

Naomi has recovered from longstanding digestive troubles:

Hi Paul, I have incredible news, my food intolerances are gone!! I just returned from a trip to India and Nepal, and while on the trip discovered I could eat anything with no reaction. If you recall from my questions in the Q&A section, I had severe histamine intolerance and fructose intolerance. After doing GAPS + buckwheat (but no ferments) for 7-8 months last year, I got worse, but after adding rice, via PHD and supplementing Vit C and D last fall, I felt a lot better, but still had the severe intolerances. I took ivermectin in early December after my stool test indicated the parasite strongyloides, but there was no noticeable change. For the trip to India, my doctor recommended artemisinin, 200 mg 2 x a day for prevention of malaria. I started it 2 weeks before the trip and had 3 days of mild die-off. It took about 2 weeks before I realized I could eat anything. Now that I am home, I cannot wait to add ferments or many of the simple things like tomatoes that I could not tolerate before.

I definitely credit PHD as well as your thinking about infection and parasites for helping me. Thank you so much.

I’m very happy for Naomi. Her case is also a capsule summary of our strategy for healing disease; disease is caused by bad diets and infections, so the strategy is to fix the diet, diagnose pathogens, and then optimize diet for that type of pathogen and take antimicrobial medicines as appropriate. Sometimes diagnosis is impossible, and it is worthwhile to just experiment with antimicrobial medicines. Artemisinin is known to work against protozoa such as plasmodium which causes malaria and trematode worms which cause schistosomiasis; perhaps it also works against the nematode worm strongyloides, or perhaps the stool test got her pathogen wrong. In any case, congratulations Naomi!

Naomi’s failure on GAPS recalls an observation I made in my Weston A Price Foundation Wise Traditions talk, which was discussed a bit on the Internet afterward. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS diet is a great approach, generally speaking, for bacterial dysbiosis of the gut, but isn’t necessarily optimal for infections with eukaryotic pathogens like fungi, protozoa, and parasitic worms. No one diet is perfect for every gut problem – as we wrote this week, “All healthy persons are alike; each unhealthy person is unhealthy in his own way.”

Helena reports:

Hi Paul, Thank you again! You helped my mom who has suffered with chronic constipation for 60 plus years. She had taken Senna for decades. I read your post about using Magnesium Citrate instead. It works like a charm and she is no longer taking toxic Senna. Thank you!

Think about this: Helena’s mom was magnesium deficient for 60 years, suffered constipation as a result, and never got the problem diagnosed or fixed. This says something about how easy it is to be magnesium deficient in today’s world, and how unaware people are about the need for key nutrients.

Finally, Ole reported his progress:

Here is a short summary of my time on the PHD: I have been on the PHD diet for over a year now. (I bought the draft version in September 2010). My health has improved a lot. I have lost about 25kg and I’m now about 87kg (i’m 185cm tall). I’m probably healthier than an average person on just about any performance metric.

On his blog Ole shared “before” (2010) and “midway through” (summer 2011) photos:

[2] Music to read by: Via Craig Newmark, here is They Might Be Giants covering “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba at A.V. Club:

They Might Be Giants covers Chumbawamba

[3] Interesting Items This Week:

In the book and the post What Makes a Supercentenarian? (Aug 18, 2010) we discuss supercentenarian diets, and find they’re almost always Perfect Health Diet compatible. Dr. Daniel Chong, a naturopathic doctor and primary care physician in Portland Oregon who recommends our diet, reports another example: the oldest woman in the world, age 121, eats “grilled meat, monkey, fish, manioc (a root vegetable), and banana porridge. She does not eat salt, sugar, or any processed foods.”

Jamie Scott compiles evidence against omega-6 fats. All of Jamie’s posts are good, but this one is really good.

At, Roman Sasik, Ph.D., argues that chlorella may be dangerous, because it carries giant viruses and is rich in LPS to which chronic exposure is dangerous. CarbSane objects to stevia, xylitol, and erythritol.

Dan’s Plan has a nice discussion of Paula Deen’s decision to treat diabetes with drugs, not diet.

Peter Dobromylskyj of Hyperlipid comments on Stephan Guyenet’s recent paper: Peter argues that injury to the hypothalamus increases adipose insulin sensitivity leading to a free fatty acid deficiency, after which obesity is an adaptation that normalizes free fatty acid levels.

Matt Stone argues the case for ice cream: “[I]ce cream is not only healthy, but far healthier than most human breast milk.” Of course, it’s not an either-or situation.

Seth Roberts comments on Tara Parker-Pope’s “The Fat Trap”: Its defects were what it didn’t say.

Are GMO foods safe? Brian Cormack Carr quotes from our book’s discussion of why genetically modified foods can be unsafe and need to be screened for safety. Elsewhere, Emily Willingham in Slate supports GMO foods against a critique by Ari LeVaux in the Atlantic. Unfortunately, LeVaux doesn’t seem to know much biology and cites unlikely mechanisms, such as miRNA, for potential harm from GMO foods. (Monsanto responds with a nice commentary on the Zhang et al. paper we commented on earlier.) Neither article states precisely what safety testing is currently being done on GMO foods. What is needed is careful testing for the levels of all natural plant toxins. Is this being done? I don’t know.

Prof Dr Andro calls a high-fat diet “exercise in a pill.”

John J. Ray reports that men over 6 feet tall have a 24% lower risk of heart failure.

LymeMD:  “Idiopathic means the doctor is an idiot and the patient is pathological.”

A student revolt may mean the end of “healthy” food in the Los Angeles schools: “The complaints have been heard … and dishes like quinoa salads and brown rice cutlets are out.”

The Economist (hat tip: Brad) and The Scientist report on a new paper showing that exercise may improve health by inducing autophagy. Here’s the Pubmed abstract. What’s exciting about the research is that exercise induces autophagy not just in muscles and the heart, but in organs like the liver and pancreas. This gives us a mechanism by which exercise will be therapeutic for diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Joshua Newman makes a powerful case for exercise.

Richard Fernandez ponders whether the FDA is on the side of the microbes.

Conrad’s Dairy Farm finds that it’s good business to give their cows waterbeds. Here’s a video:

[4] Some items I may do posts on: First, two critiques of our diet:

  • Travis Culp complains that we like butter too much; it’s the Pastoral Diet.
  • Danny Roddy complains that we don’t like sugar enough; it’s a Fructose-Deficient Diet.

I started writing a response but it’s too long for inclusion in this Around the Web.

Second, Dr Emily Deans has an important post: Tylenol and Autism? Paul Whiteley contributes a good comment to the post. Moms, don’t give your kids acetaminophen (paracetamol), and I wouldn’t take it during pregnancy either.

Third, Chris Kresser did an outstanding post on GERD, arguing that GERD is an inflammatory disease characterized by autoimmune attacks on the esophagus. I’ve been meaning to do a post or series on acid reflux and this fills in one of the missing pieces.

[5] Cute animal: Via Kamal Patel and, a Galapagos Island seal:

[6] Scary animal?: Those who have read the verso page of our book may have noticed that our niece, Seo Jung, did a few illustrations. Here’s a recent drawing she made:

[6] Notable comments this week:

Dr. Ricardo de Souza Pereira left a comment telling us how to buy his Protexid supplement for acid reflux. Michael Eades once blogged about this supplement.

Lucas Tafur notes that ketogenic diets suppress leukocyte chemotaxis and phagocytosis, and increase vulnerability to tuberculosis and staph infections.

Rhonda W of the National Starch Company reflects on the benefits of resistant starch, a fiber found in starchy foods. She favors cornstarch, we favor safe starches like potatoes as a source of resistant starch.

Mehlinda provides us with a student video I found fascinating. It turns out many supermarket potatoes are sprayed with Bud Nip, a herbicide and sprout suppressant:

[7] Not the Weekly Video:

Via Yoni Freedhoff, who claims he almost got his bride to process to the Imperial Death March.

[8] Shou-Ching’s Photo Art: I disagree with this one:

[9] Weekly Video:

Via John Durant.