PYP 125: (Bonus) Glenn Livingston and Howard Jacobson on Proteinaholic and Suspect Science

rp_Proteinaholic-cover-3D-300x300.pngSo I helped Dr Garth Davis write Proteinaholic, which came out this month (and is getting lots of love at the bookstores and in amazon reviews, so thank you very much).

(Note to reader: for maximum effect, this next paragraph should be read in one long breath.)

And the book basically says (spoiler alert) that we're obsessed with protein, and we're eating way too much of it, and excluding many other important nutrients because we're so obsessed with protein (I'm looking at you, fiber), and we would be healthier and slimmer if we just calmed down a bit and ate a plant-based diet that limited our protein intake to levels appropriate for humans.

And inhale…

But… but… but… you may splutter. What about all the studies that show we need more protein than we're getting now?

What about the evidence that saturated fat (animal protein's best friend) is good for us, and we should be eating bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning?

How do we make sense of all the conflicting scientific information out there?

The answer, my friends, can be summed up in one word.


Oops, wrong movie.

I meant, Statistics.

When you rely on your Facebook feed or the evening news, or sadly, even the New York Times (check out this particularly SMH column from earlier this week), for nutritional guidance, you're missing a crucial filter: validity.

As Harvard researcher John Bohannon revealed recently, it's scandalously easy to run a terrible study that's practically guaranteed in advance to return any result you want and get it published in an online journal and get an ignorant media to blurt your false conclusions to the world.

It cost him 600 Euros to get published. Imagine what an entire industry willing to subvert science in deference to profiteering (dairy, meat, egg, sugar, and soda industries, I'm looking at you) can do with their virtually unlimited “R & D” budget.

Unless you look behind the curtain at the quality of the study, every nutritional debate simply devolves into a “he said she said” shouting match in which the merchants of disease wield by far the biggest megaphone.

And central to quality and validity is statistical analysis.

glenn-livingstonMy long-time friend Dr Glenn Livingston is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and data-driven marketer. He uses statistics intensively in all three capacities, and his track record of profitable ventures testifies to his ability to use statistics accurately.

Glenn read Proteinaholic, liked it a lot, and wanted to ask me about the statistical underbelly of the nutritional world.

We got on the phone and recorded a rollicking conversation in which I explain why there's so much misinformation masquerading as real science.

We start with an overview of Proteinaholic, and then turn to the statistics.

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots!

3 Responses to “PYP 125: (Bonus) Glenn Livingston and Howard Jacobson on Proteinaholic and Suspect Science”

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  1. Ralph Cook says:

    This was an intellectual tour de force for the McDougall version of WFPB, exactly what I follow with passion. Reading and loving Proteinaholic at the moment.. it’s a lot of fun to be part of an intellectually superior but politically weak minority. What really matters over the long haul is that reality always imposes its authority on situations like this, albeit in a painfully slow time frame. We are not going to reach the carnist majority anytime soon, and nor should we try, which is what I in the early months of this journey focus on leading by example in the form of long-distance running. First marathon three months away.

    • Howard says:

      Thanks, Ralph. I appreciate your kind words.

      And I agree with you about reality and time frame. I’ve often felt that we need the truth much more than the truth needs us.

      Best of luck on your marathon – which one is it?

  2. Thank You says:

    The book is on the way. Perhaps this book or similar should be required reading for all. At the very least for health professionals.

    Thank You, for another wonderful episode.

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