My TEDx talk: Getting the public into public health nutrition

It’s pretty obvious we need to change the way we do things in the field of nutrition. It’s time to change, to try the new. Enjoy my take on how to redefine the way we do things in public health nutrition.

11 comments

  1. Marcus Hewitson · · Reply

    Nice Freudian typo Grant,

    Sin; the field of (public health) nutrition!

    1. Thanks fixed now!!!

  2. Kdoggy · · Reply

    Excellent speech love the humour . This guy could actually put together a really funny stand up comedy routine , just using govt health , and food industry recommendations over the last 50 years.

  3. Grant awesome man. I have been doing LCHF for 6 months running on fat feeling fantastic, Faster in my Marathons. Fasting regularly. Feel amazing.I have my own version of dying to involving running marathons not in bed with cancer or some sickness

  4. Hi Grant,

    Loved the talk but now sure what can be changed. My take is over here http://www.dialogcrm.com/blog/2015/05/30/public-health-for-people-like-us/

    From other research it seems like most medical studies are useless and often proven wrong.

    “Researchers cannot always replicate the findings of other researchers, and for various reasons many don’t even try. All told, an estimated 85 percent — or $200 billion — of annual global spending on research is wasted on badly designed or redundant studies.

    This means early medical research will mostly be wrong until maybe eventually, if we’re lucky, it’s right. More tangibly, only a tiny fraction of new science will lead to anything that’s useful to humans.”

    How can we make sense of all that.

    1. Agree that the bulk of research funding is wasted on rubbish. Agree that I don’yt know the solution – but the solution has to move beyond us few scientists

  5. […] products. Practitioners who advocate in this real food space will have no impact without this. As Prof Grant Schofield has said: it’s about the public taking back public […]

  6. Hi Jason, I loved your article and I’ve shared it on twitter.
    I was particularly taken with this quote
    “we need to look past the newest science to where knowledge has accumulated.” This is what I’ve found looking at diabetes research – to begin with there is a huge pile of consistent information from the pre-insulin era, and it is very rigorous, simply because the condition was not very gorgiving before the discovery of insulin and other drugs. The later and modern research makes sense in the light of this accumulated knowledge, it is still being added too all the time – and the researchers who know about, and look into, the previously accumulated research, rather than being blided by some smart new idea, are the ones reviving LCHF for diabetes, with often quite amazing results.
    Science can be all about building a better mousetrap, and that’s where the profit lies, but sometimes you can’t build a better mousetrap, and you can only weaken a perfect design by tinkering.

  7. Thanks George,

    Ironically 2 weeks after I wrote that post I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I was already switching in favour of LCHF but now I have even more incentive to make changes. Since then I have been LCHF ( about 3 weeks now) and besides dropping 2 notches on my belt I feel better.

    I’m off to supermarket to get some unsweetened peanut butter & some tasty cheese later today. Both items that have been off the menus for decades for supposed health reasons. And I have the WTF book.

    One of my friends who was diagnosed with Type 2 about 5 years ago stumbled onto the low carb thinking almost by accident. At the time he didn’t realise the significance but now he does. I also missed it at the time because I thought “one size does not fit all” – however when it comes to body chemistry nutrition- lowering the carb component does certainly help him and me.

    I had tried paleo before but the restrictions didn’t make sense although eliminating beer & bread were things that I kept on with.

    I like what you were saying about research pre insulin. The constraints of the time meant that the number of variables was also lower.

    My doc has prescribed Metformin which seems to be fairly orthodox now but I suspect it also contributes to self confirmation bias. When my next text results show an improvement he will attribute it to the drug. I will attribute it to LCHF lifestyle changes. But that is the health paradigm dilemma we live in.

    However if what I am doing is correct ( & I believe it is) then hopefully I can reduce the Metformin and in the longer term maybe even stop taking it.

    In time I hope that even doctors (actually especially doctors) will “look past the newest science to where knowledge has accumulated” and give some attention to LCHF.

    1. Metformin is the one drug everyone agrees gives relatively high benefit for low risk. Like many diabetes drugs, it mimics the effect of carbohydrate restriction; reducing uptake of glucose, and interfering with the part of the mitochondria that’s used mostly to metabolize energy from glucose (I find that part a bit counter-intuitive, but it seems to help). It also makes the goblet cells in the gut produce extra mucus for good bacteria to eat – it’s like fibre in a pill. This means that some of the energy you eat is diverted to these bacteria through the goblet cells, and they pay you back with short chain fatty acids (mostly butyrate, which everyone thinks a very beneficial fat) – so it’s changing the carb to fat ratio that comes into the body. Another diabetes drug is acarbose, which as its name suggests blocks the digestion of glucose from starch. There’s also SGLT2 inhibitors, which cause the kidneys to dump up to 119 grams of glucose a day; these can cause diabetic ketoacidosis, the main cause of which is the dumping of excess glucose and the consequent loss of fluid volume.
      So even the diabetes drugs seem to be saying that restricting carbohydrate is the way to go.
      But it’s only fair to say that Orlistat, which blocks fat absorption, also improves blood sugars. At higher carb intakes fats and carbohydrates compete to be metabolised in people with diabetes, which is why low-fat diets still seem to make sense to some. There are few if any studies where a really low fat diet has been compared with a true low carb diet (in the A to Z study Atkins did better than the very low-fat Ornish diet in overweight non-diabetic women), but I’m not impressed by the effects that low fat dietary advice has had so far.

      This is my favourite pre-insulin diabetes paper. It tells a story, many stories in fact, of what life was like in the diabetes ward of a public hospital in 1919-1923 before the mass-production of insulin slowly changed everything. They don’t distinguish between type 1 and type 2 (that was the achievement of Himsworth in the UK in the 1940’s), but there are very young children in the group, and in those days people with type 2 were more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes once the pancreas was no longer producing enough insulin, so the difference between type 1 and 2 wasn’t necessarily as obvious as it is today. They compare their results with those of Frederick Allen, one of the real greats of diabetes research (Newburgh and Marsh are much less recognised today), who basically starved his patients – low carb, but also low fat. The results are equivalent, but they draw attention to the difference between their practices; Allen ran a stand-alone diabetes clinic, Newburgh and Marsh worked in a public hospital that took charity cases and sometimes treated people admitted with trauma, infection or metal illness as well as diabetes. So their cases were on average harder to begin with, and their equivalence with Allen’s results was a kind of victory. Their patients must also have had more energy than Allen’s did.

      http://tinyurl.com/plopyzf

      1. Apologies, I need to correct a mistake in that comment – Elliot Joslin’s clinic, not Frederick Allen is the comparison in Newburgh and Marsh.
        Here’s a quote from an article about Frederick Allen’s researches (published in his 1913 book Studies Concerning Glycosuria and Diabetes) on theDiapedia blog

        “Dogs left with 20 per cent of their pancreas or more did not develop diabetes. The fate of those with 80–90 per cent of their pancreas removed depended on what they ate. On a low-carbohydrate diet, they remained relatively well, like middle-aged humans with diabetes — since Eskimos lived on very little carbohydrate, Allen called this an Eskimo diet. Large amounts of carbohydrate (a Hindu diet) wore out the pancreas and what had originally been mild diabetes turned into the severe pancreatic form. However, if the same animals were fed a high fat diet, the glycosuria disappeared or was greatly reduced. From this Allen decreed that patients should order their lives ‘according to the size of their pancreas’ which basically meant reducing the amount of food until glycosuria disappeared.”

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