Tag Archives: food pyramid

Posted by in podcast, wellness

Podcast 240: The Louder the Blogger, the Wronger the Blogger.

by Sean Croxton

I had no idea what I was talking about.

It was the first video I’d ever made on YouTube, way back in 2007 — all about the mathematic model of fat loss. Burn more calories than you take in and you’ll lose fat. Take in more calories than you burn and you’ll pack on the pounds.

I even brought props. To drive home my point, I held up a rubbery, yellowish model of a pound of fat. Then for comparison, I held up a pound of muscle. If my memory serves me, I went on to explain how adding a pound of muscle will help you burn an extra 50 calories per day.

Be sure to hit the weights, oh YouTube people. Those calories really do add up!

I clicked the “upload” button and a few hours later returned to my account to find hundreds of comments and “thumbs up” from people around the world who seemed to enjoy the way I explained things.

That was the day that my life completely changed. As a rather shy, socially-anxious personal trainer at the time, I was instantly hooked on my newfound ability to connect with people all the way on the other side of the globe through video.

At the same time, I had no idea that the information I was so righteously espousing to my subscribers was totally and completely wrong.

The mathematical model of fat loss was a myth. And there was absolutely no scientific evidence proving that a pound of muscle burns 50 calories a day. None.

I wasn’t teaching, I was repeating — literally parroting what some “authority” (most likely one of my college professors) had so confidently parroted to me.

And on it went, like a bad game of telephone. My early YouTube videos were shared and embedded all about cyberspace. What’s more, very seldom was the content ever challenged, as if the confidence and conviction I spoke with was tantamount to trust and credibility. It’s not.

Don’t believe everything you hear and read, especially when it’s coming from some guy wearing a backwards Yankees cap, talking into a janky microphone connected to the world’s most garbage webcam.

Be selective and think for yourself. I mean, it’s your health at stake here. Just because the ear-splitting vegan guy wants you to eat 30 bananas a day doesn’t mean you should do it. The same goes for the paleo blogger, the Weston A. Price girl, the raw foodie, even the JERF guy.

In her ridiculously awesome book Death by Food Pyramid, Denise Minger writes…

“Anyone who’s certain they’re right about everything in nutrition is almost definitely wrong.”


Last week on Underground Wellness Radio, Denise revealed what she found when she combed through the scientific research looking for evidence supporting public food policy. Her conclusions will make you think twice before putting “authorities” in charge of your health.

Listen up, she knows what she’s talking about.

Here are my notes!

3:03 – From raw food vegan to real food nerd.

6:15 – Does industry influence food policy?

8:30 – How the government mangled the original food guide.

13:25 – The power of repetition: why so few question food and health guidelines.

15:30 – The people who are speaking the loudest are usually wrong.

19:54 – How to determine whether a potential authority is quality or “quack”.

22:52 – Diploma mills: how a dead cat can get a health certification!

26:28 – How to translate “science-ese”.

30:35 – How an old elephant proverb applies to nutrition research.

35:33 – What no one ever tells you about the Mediterranean diet.

38:28 – What a “high-fat” lab rat diet really consists of!

40:21 – Why nutritional outcomes vary due to individuality and genetics.

46:50 – Is there one perfect diet for everything?

48:40 – “We’re doing meat wrong.”

52:31 – The Denise Minger Dietary Guidelines. (In a nutshell…)

Listen to the entire episode below and be sure to go out and buy Death by Food Pyramid.

More Health Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Sean Croxton on BlogTalkRadio


Author, The Dark Side of Fat Loss

Posted by in wellness

New USDA Food Guidelines Strike Out Again!

Sheesh. Here we go again.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon an article on CNN titled Federal Dietary Guidelines Target Salt, Saturated Fats. Ugh! Will they ever get it right?

Our government is recommending “people over age 51, African-Americans (that would include me), and people with a history of hypertension, diabetes, or kidney problems limit their daily salt intake to a little over half a teaspoon”.

Thanks for looking out for me, but I’m not giving up my unrefined Celtic sea salt. My body likes those minerals. Never mind the fact that cutting refined salt consumption does little, if anything, for blood pressure.

“Systematic reviews of the evidence, whether published by those who believe that salt is responsible for hypertension or by those who don’t, have inevitably concluded that significant reductions in salt consumption – cutting our salt intake in half, for instance, which is difficult to accomplish in the real world – will drop blood pressure by perhaps 4 to 5 mm Hg in hypertensives and 2mm Hg in the rest of us.” – Gary Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories

Just 4 to 5 mm Hg?

How motivating…

Okay, let’s say I did decide to follow Uncle Sam’s recommendations and lowered my salt intake to almost nothing. Yeah, my blood pressure would drop a bit (4 to 5 mm Hg) at first. But I’d eventually become weak and develop digestive challenges. It’s like trading one problem for two! Salt contains chloride, which is essential for the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl). HCl is produced in the stomach and is responsible for the breakdown of proteins. When HCL is low (also known as hypochlorhydria), it can throw off the entire digestive process, as it is the acidity of the food leaving the stomach that initiates the proper function of the gallbladder and pancreas in the small intestine.

Is refined table salt bad for you? Absolutely. However, what you can do is replace it with unrefined Celtic sea salt (my fave brand is Flower of the Ocean). Since the sea salt has not had all of its minerals processed out of it, it provides plenty of magnesium, which helps to reduce blood pressure! I use mine several times a day and my blood pressure is awesome!

And don’t even get me started with these fat-phobic imbeciles!

The new guidelines recommend that we consume less than 10 percent of our calories from saturated fat.

My goodness.

Personally, I can’t understand how an old food (animals) or nutrient (saturated fat) can cause a new disease (heart disease).

If it were not for saturated fat, we wouldn’t be here. Our ancestors consumed tons of the stuff. And they didn’t have a heart disease epidemic!

“The commonly held belief that the best diet for prevention of coronary heart disease is a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet is not supported by the available evidence from clinical trials.” – European Heart Journal, Volume 18, January 1997

The link between saturated fat and heart disease has NEVER been proven! And dietary cholesterol has little, if anything, to do with blood cholesterol. This has been known since the 1960s.

Saturated fats are critical to human health. They make up our cell membranes. They are resistant to oxidation. They are the preferred fuel for the human heart, liver, and kidneys. They raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

Cholesterol is an antioxidant. It builds your hormones. It repairs damage to the arteries. It is found in the nerve sheaths, the white matter of the brain, and the adrenal glands. It helps regulate the body’s electrolyte balance. It boosts mood by way of stabilizing neurotransmitters.

You want cholesterol!

The government would like us to replace our saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Well, I kinda like the monounsaturated fat recommendation. Olive oil is good for you. Just don’t cook with it at high heat. This will make it go rancid and not so good for you.

Telling us to consume more polyunsaturated fats really chaps my hide. In the last 100 years, saturated fat consumption has gone down while polyunsaturated fat consumption (mostly processed, rancid vegetable oils) has more than tripled. Meanwhile, heart disease is still the number one cause of death!

Replacing butter, bacon fat, chicken skin, coconut oil and the like with oils made from soybean, corn, and cottonseed is NOT a good idea. The latter are loaded with Omega-6 fats, which in excess (it doesn’t take much) will cause oxidative stress, inflammation, and eventually heart disease!

Then again, we’ve gotta do something with all that subsidized soy and corn.

Thanks, Mr. Vilsack (Head of the Department of Agriculture)!

Before I move on from this topic, I should point out that not all polyunsaturated fats are bad for us. The essential fats EPA and DHA are polyunsaturated. They are found in properly raised animals and wild fish, as well as fish and cod liver oils.

The CNN article ends with a quote from noted NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle,

“The new guidelines recognize that obesity is the No. 1 public health nutrition problem in America and actually gives good advice about what to do about it: eat less and eat better. For the first time, the guidelines make it clear that eating less is a priority”

At least she didn’t say “eat less and exercise more”. I may have puked.

The problem is that the USDA would like us to eat less of what is good for us (saturated fats) and more of what is not (polyunsaturated fats). And if their intention is to address obesity, it may be a good idea to consider WHY people overeat in the first place. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that our dietary guidelines vilify the very foods that keep us satiated (animal fats).

It’s kinda hard to eat less when we’re hungry all day.

The USDA guidelines are updated every 5 years. Let’s not wait until 2015 to turn the pyramid upside down. Start making noise now! Start up a blog. Spread the word. Write your representative.

And enjoy your bacon.


Sean Croxton
I Eat the Skin!