July 12th 2021.
- The Big Fat Surprise: why butter, meat, and cheese belong in a healthy diet
- The Nutrition Coalition website
- Nina on Twitter
- Mary Enig Wikipedia page
- Weston Price Foundation
- The Great Inflation by Robert Samuelson
- John Yudkin’s book Pure, White and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What We Can Do to Stop It
[00:03:40] Saifedean Ammous: Hello and welcome to another seminar of The Bitcoin Standard Podcast. Today’s guest is Nina Teicholz, a science and diet journalist and author and president, and executive director of The Nutrition Coalition and the author of The Big Fat Surprise, an excellent book on diet and nutrition which has been enormously successful.
It was named best book of the year by The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Mother Jones and Library Journal, as well as a finalist for The Investigative Reporters & Editors annual book awards, published in 2014, I should add. Seven years on her book continues to attract a lot of attention, cause a lot of controversy and more importantly of course, help a lot of people fix their So we’re going to talk to Nina about what got her into this business of being a contrarian on nutrition and diet, and then her adventures with Fiat nutrition science. So Nina, [00:04:40] thank you very much for joining us.
Nina Teicholz: Well thank you for having me. I’m really pleased to be here.
Saifedean Ammous: Thank you. I guess we could start with a little bit about your background and what got you into the nutrition business and into the idea of writing this book?
Nina Teicholz: Well, I’m a journalist and I really came to this whole field with no preconceptions. I was actually assigned to do a story on trans fats by Gourmet Magazine in the early 2000’s. And I started to look into this field of dietary fat, which is one of the central obsessions of our nutrition recommendations.
So the way we all grew up thinking, that non-fat, good fat, bad fat, what is it? What do you do about the fat in your diet? And that investigation for that article, which was a pretty groundbreaking article at the time, it really plunged me into this world of dietary fats. One of the things that interested me most as a journalist was that when I would call up [00:05:40] professors to interview them, they were terrified to talk about the low fat diet.
I just couldn’t understand it. My father’s an engineer we have all these rational, logical conversations about science. And then all of a sudden I was calling up scientists at legitimate universities, and they were saying, listen if you’re going to talk about low fat diet, if you’re going to challenge that in any way, I can’t talk to you.
Or people would hang up on me or one woman named Mary Enig was telling me stories about how her work on trans fats had led to scientists heckling her at conferences and people trying to get her papers you gained from journals. And I just, I couldn’t really believe that this was the world of science that I was hearing about.
And it also told me that there was a really big story here and with a little more reading I became convinced of that, and it took me about nine years to really read through thousands and thousands of nutrition, papers, and interview hundreds of nutrition, scientists, and others around [00:06:40] the world.
When I started I was a vegetarian, like I hadn’t eaten red meat in 25 or so years. Hadn’t eaten any butter in about that amount of time. My research just showed me that everything I had been doing was wrong. It was a difficult journey to convince myself.
That was one of the things that just took me such a long time.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I think one of my favorite observations is how a lot of the critical thinkers always have an engineering background. So I’m delighted to hear that your father was an engineer and it had an impact on you. I was an engineer as well, and it’s very common that people from engineering will be the first to call bullshit on things because the engineering mind makes you think very systematically and you don’t buy these things.
I heard you mentioned Mary Enig. I’ve read her work, she used to publish with the Weston Price Foundation. Can you tell us a little bit more about her story and the persecution that she got into? I’m not very familiar [00:07:40] with, I’ve heard a little bit of details, but I’m more familiar with her work than her story.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah, I’ll try to remember as much as I can. I think I was one of the last journalist to interview her. She was quite old when I met her, but she had been a serious molecular biologist, I believe at the university of Maryland. And she had stumbled on this question of trans fats, which people don’t really even remember so much anymore because they have been now banned and they’re not allowed to be part of our food supply.
It was interesting, she had noted that the Jewish community, in which she was a part, that they had much higher rates of cancer. And she also noted that they avoided dairy. They would have margarine instead of butter, for instance. And they would do that in order to keep kosher, and they had much higher rates of cancer and she thought maybe it was what was in those vegetable oils or in that margarine, which they were eating to avoid dairy.
And so she did a bunch of work that was some of the pioneering work in the late 70’s [00:08:40] on trans fats. Well, who makes those vegetable oils and that margarine, those are some of the biggest companies in the world. Your ADM, Monsanto Cargill, Unilever. She didn’t realize she was going up against these huge industries. It turns out that they have a trade organization and part of the work of their trade organization, as the head of that organization once told me or a former head, he said our work was to go around and stop people like Mary Enig because we didn’t want her to reveal this science.
So they assigned people to heckle her at conferences. Whenever she wrote anything, they would publish a retort that was so vicious and so cruel. They were sexist, they condoscended to her. She really took an extraordinary beating for the work that she was doing because she came up against industry.
And that story unfortunately has been retold and retold throughout various different scientists who tried to research transfats [00:09:40] and they suffered similar consequences. They were just heckled out of the field. This is an interesting part of what makes nutrition science, not science. Which is that there is this incredible tradition of bullying that goes on where scientists really have no problem rubbishing other people’s work, talking about it in very derogatory ways, trying to accuse people of all sorts of things, ad hominem attacks. That is bizarrely part of the story of nutrition science. And I don’t really see it in many other fields. It might be present, but it is…
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I see it in economics for sure. I started getting these heretic thoughts about economics when I was doing my graduate degree at Columbia. And it takes a very tough skin to be able to handle the kind of, there’s a consensus way of dealing with heretics, which is you laugh, you [00:10:40] snicker, you point and you call them crazy.
And there’s all these fixed mental toolkits that they give them, which is, oh, this guy just, he’s one of those weirdos who believes in this and guilt by association. So for instance, in economics, oh you’re into Hayek well, Hayek was into , he had a relationship with Pinochet and so somehow that discredits all of the ideas.
Of course on the other side the mainstream ideas had all kinds of relationships with some of the most brutal murderous dictators of the 20th century. And that doesn’t affect anything. For instance, Keynes in his book, he wrote praising the Nazi regime in the 1930s and saying, this is more suited for the kind of economic system that I’m calling for.
But that doesn’t affect it. Whereas, on the other side, they’ll always come after it. And I think we see this today as well with Bitcoin, like a lot of the economists when they deal with Bitcoin. It’s very clear that there’s no honest way of approaching it.
You talk to somebody like George Selgin, it’s [00:11:40] very obvious he’s not arguing from good faith. He’s not trying to arrive in a way of how do we understand what’s going on? He’s just constantly trying to pick things, point, laugh, mock, deride and bring up rank, use his rank to mock others. He got two reviews published for my book that were essentially snarky, stupid pointing fingers and laughing without making valid arguments.
It’s extremely common, yeah. Sorry, go ahead.
Nina Teicholz: What you’re talking about is that anybody who challenges conventional wisdom, there is a healthy, let’s say skepticism of people who are skeptic of everything. There’s a healthy I think desire to, not to question everything and not to embrace every passing fad or fact, that might come up.
But and we face this now, in this tension with skepticism or alternative ideas that are actually backed by a great deal of science and rigorous science or logical thinking. It’s questionable, which skeptics are you going to embrace and which [00:12:40] are not going to embrace.
And it’s certainly true that there’s an unequal playing field for people who are on the outside. It’s a completely unequal playing field. And that’s largely the kind of tactics that you’re talking about. They’re tried and true communications, PR tactics that were many of them invented during a Nazi regime.
There’s a bunch of tools that you use to try to marginalize people who are bringing up contrarion uncomfortable, contradictory kinds of ideas to what the dogma, in my case, the nutritional medical dogma. The reason for that as and as you’ve discussed, I think in your book and also the book that you have coming out, which is there’s just so much at stake.
In the case of nutrition, what is at stake on the other side, it’s a fascinating kind of confluence of forces. There’s the ones that you would automatically think of such as, big food, all of big food, but then there’s also big pharma, pharmaceutical companies. There’s not a single member of the US Congress that doesn’t [00:13:40] take money from big pharma and they do not profit when people are healthy, they do just fine in a world where everybody’s taking on average four or five medications a day, that’s their profitable world.
And then there are other forces that contribute to this kind of sclerosis around ideas that really don’t have any science behind them. There’s the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which has a religious belief that everybody should eat vegan. Should eliminate all animal products from their diet.
That seems crazy and bizarre, but it’s also true. You have animal rights activism, a very well-funded movement that doesn’t want people eating animal foods. They’re very, not only they well-funded, but they’re very deeply networked into nutrition leadership. And then finally you have, I think what you experience in economics, which is just that there are established ideas.
There’s a kind of professional investment among a class of scientists and [00:14:40] researchers who have invested their whole careers in certain ideas. And they really cannot, they can’t back out of that. And then I haven’t even talked about the US government,
Saifedean Ammous: Of course they have an infinite money printer, which allows them to continue to override the rules of economics and science and everything by just continuing to subsidize whatever it is that suits their interests. And it’s true, I think in nutrition as well as in in economics. In your work, you discuss Ancel Keys as being a key person in the development of the modern nutrition dogma.
Tell us a little bit more about this interesting character.
Nina Teicholz: Well, he was the most influential nutrition scientist, really, probably of all times. And he was working, he started working really seriously in the 1950s. He was a pathologist from the University of Minnesota and he had this tremendous faith in his own beliefs. He was [00:15:40] an evangelist for them.
And he came into the nutrition world at the right moment in history because he was, in the 1950s, there was this real rising panic about what caused heart disease. Heart disease had risen from being almost non-existent in the early 1900’s although they knew how to diagnose it and had written textbooks on it, but they couldn’t, they really didn’t see many cases. But it risen to be the number one killer in America by the 1950s.
And so in 1965, president Eisenhower himself has a heart attack and is out of the oval office for 10 days. And you can just imagine the focus of the nation on this question, what causes heart disease? For which there were a number of competing explanations and people thought it was nutrition, vitamin deficiency.
People thought it was rising ammounts of auto exhaust due to more cars, people thought it was a type a personality where you run around screaming at everybody all day, and then you have a heart attack. But into this vacuum of knowledge, stepped Ancel Keys. And [00:16:40] it was his idea that it was saturated fat and cholesterol that caused heart disease, saturated fat by raising the cholesterol in your blood would eventually clog your arteries and like hot oil down a cold stove pipe would fill them up and cause a heart attack.
That’s called the diet heart hypothesis. And due to the force of his personality, he would argue anyone to the death, according even to his friends, he was able to convince basically the nutritional establishment to adopt his idea. And he did that most concretely by getting on the nutrition committee of the American Heart Association, which was really the only professional group giving advice about heart disease at the time. Such that in 1961, the year after Ancel Keys joins that group, he’s able to get them.
Whereas previously they had been saying, look, we just don’t know what causes heart disease, not enough data. One year later Ancel Keys is on that committee. There’s no greater amount of data, but he’s able to get them to issue the [00:17:40] first ever statement anywhere in the world saying that the best measure prevention against cardiovascular disease was to cut down on saturated fats and dietary cholesterol. That meant cutting down eggs, cutting down red meat, dairy and those ideas that diet heart hypothesis exploded to, that grew into sort of the whole giant web of advice that we have ideas, but the kernel of it started with Ancel Keys in the American Heart Association.
Saifedean Ammous: Is there truth to the story I’ve heard on the Weston Price website, once that he used to eat a lot of eggs and bacon himself. And he used to say, well normal people should eat the industrial waste, but I’m rich and I can eat meat and eggs. Is that true? You think?
Nina Teicholz: I don’t remember the exact quote, but I will tell you that when he was quoted in Time Magazine as saying people should reduce the red meat. He was saying they needed to produce from down to just three [00:18:40] nights a week to have red meat. And he was cited as enjoying classical music and candle at dinners and beautiful roast of meat.
And I don’t remember if it said that the masses should eat grains, but he was known to be against meat. And so I also have a letter from a colleague who who writes about finding Ancel Keys at a conference eating up rashers of bacon and eggs. And that’s I suppose a kind of hypocrisy that we probably would see today, if we could peer into the life of more of our vegan leading scientists.
Saifedean Ammous: For sure. And we see the same thing in economics, people implementing all kinds of horrific economic policies in their third world, dysfunctional kleptocracies. They send their own money to Switzerland where there was a gold standard until recently and where the banks are the most conservative and least reckless and least inflationary.
So they put their own money in Switzerland, but they put your [00:19:40] money in a highly inflationary, and they inflate the currency in their own countries. And yeah, it makes sense. I think people are self-interested and it makes sense for them to promote those ideas, but it doesn’t make sense for them to harm themselves with those ideas.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. It’s interesting that, I don’t really know if the world’s elites which have currently adopted a vegan diet for various different reasons. I’m not sure they’re really aware of the nutritional deficits that they are or will be suffering as a result. I think there is a genuine buy-in for that. And it’s the ultimate irony is of course it was the diet of the peasants.
The poorest people were the ones who are confined to eat grains and whatever was left over. And they were desperate for more meat. Meat is what they craved most in all of the records from anthropologists and researchers looking at core populations. So it’s [00:20:40] this strange and deeply ironic twist that now we have the world’s richest people adopting the diet of peasants.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely, you look at Bill Gates, he’s got more than a hundred billion dollars net worth, but it’s very clear he doesn’t get enough meat and it’s very clear he truly does believe his own bullshit when it comes to eating grains and artificial meat. In my mind, I’m pretty sure Bill Gates has got some secret lab where he’s got a lot of scientists working on designing all of these top secret cutting edge fake meats made out of all kinds of disgusting industrial stuff.
And he thinks of himself as being at the forefront of it. And he’s eating all of this garbage because he genuinely believes that meat is bad for you and you can see it by looking at him. You look at generally people in Davos and people who are promoting all of these crazy anti meat ideas, they certainly look the part.
Nina Teicholz: They want to be slim and look healthy and you can see it in movie stars who, they’re [00:21:40] paid to be beautiful or many of them, maybe they don’t think that, but if they were supposed to be able to, it’s just that they clearly believe what they’re doing. And they are suffering ill health as a consequence.
And it’s really a kind of tragedy. I don’t know when people will slowly wake up from this.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. It is a self-correcting problem in the long run because unfortunately people who eat like this are just not going to live very long and they’re not going to reproduce a lot and they’re not going to produce healthy offspring.
Nina Teicholz: That’s an interesting question. Whether or not people will be able to change their thinking, even though their kids have brown teeth and are of short stature, and they’re very thin. If your kid is not obese, you feel like your kid is healthy, even if they’re short and don’t have any muscle on them.
That is the current aesthetic. The thing about veganism is that it takes many years for it to show up. You can certainly [00:22:40] reproduce in that time, even if you’re reducing unhealthy offspring, but it’s not so immediately self-correcting, as you might think. And I’m sure you encounter this as well, which is the ability to not respond to observations that are directly in front of your own eyes.
I could tell you a thousand stories of people going to their doctors, they’ve lost 50, 60, a hundred pounds, all their blood pressure markers look better, everything, their blood pressure is down. Everything about them looks better. They stand there in front of their doctor who often is overweight and doesn’t look very healthy.
The doctor says, that’s very good, very impressive that you’ve done that, beware of that keto diet, it could kill you.
Saifedean Ammous: Yes, yes. I’ve had this being told to me, I’ve had this told to me, everybody who’s lost weight on a low carb diet has had all of this concern trolling about, well we gotta be sure that it’s not going to kill you because it’s bad for your kidneys, it’s bad for this as bad for that.
And what’s [00:23:40] really amazing for me is that, I used to eat very unhealthy. I used to drink two liters of Cola every day, and I used to love all the junk and nobody was concerned about me back then, nobody would tell me, oh you have to watch it, it was fine. Everybody’s feeding their kids all kinds of horrible industrial waste, nobody bats an eyelid.
But when I tell people, I feed my kids meat, they’re like, oh no, you got to be careful. Everybody’s suddenly extremely concerned. And of course it’s not concerned, it’s that it hits at their cognitive dissonance that you can’t be healthy and feeding your kids meat because then that would mean that I’m wrong.
And the only way that I can square that reality is to put it out there that you’re wrong and you’re being reckless and you’re endangering your child’s health. It’s your child. If you want to kill them, it’s up to you. But I would advise you to get back to a diet of industrial waste if you want to take care of your kids.
Nina Teicholz: Well, we’re in a state of tragedy right now because the vegan [00:24:40] diet is being seriously entertained as the global reference diet for the entire world by the, there’s a summit on it of the United Nations.
And this global reference diet called EAT-Lancet diet is one that they want to, really to impose on the whole world if possible. And that diet includes 0.5 ounces of red meat per day, which is like this much meat. It’s a protein deficient diet, it’s a diet that doesn’t meet many nutritional requirements for human life and healthy reproduction.
We’re living in a kind of delusional state that is fueled by multiple forces. Now including multinationals that are deeply invested in the plant-based market, but all the other forces that we talked about before as well.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely. I’m curious a little bit, if you could tell us a little bit more about Ancel Keys’ work on the Mediterranean and the Seven Countries Study and all of the myths about the Mediterranean diet. You’re amazing on that.
Nina Teicholz: That is like a particularly fun chapter of my [00:25:40] book that I do recommend for people because it’s such a, it really is a window into the world of nutrition science and why, into the sloppiness of it and just how it comes up with ideas. So the Mediterranean diet was first discovered by Ancel Keys during his work on something called the Seven Countries Study.
This was the biggest ever nutrition study that was at the time, it started in the late 1950s and concluded in 1970, it was on nearly 13,000 men, only men that would never be done today, all around the world, but mainly in Europe, but also in the US and Japan.
And he followed, it’s called an epidemiological or observational study, so he followed these men. He measured their cholesterol levels. He tried to capture something about their diets. And he had gotten into this study with the preconceived sort of notion, which I should call [00:26:40] hypothesis, but he was completely convinced of it before he started his study, which was that saturated fat and cholesterol were the causes of heart disease.
And so indeed that is what he found when the study came out. But part of this study involved looking at the Islanders on Crete which is in southern Greece, in the Mediterranean. And he looked at the diets of only about 30 to 33 men on that island, but he decided they were like his star subjects.
They ate very little meat. They toiled long days in the fields. They seem to be very healthy. They eat lots of fruits and vegetables. And so these became sort of the basis of these 30 to 33 men came to the foundation of the Mediterranean diet. And he wrote a cookbook called Eating The Mediterranean Way with his wife, where he acknowledged that actually the diet of the Mediterranean cannot be, there’s no one typical diet.
The diet in Morocco is different than Spain is different than southern France. [00:27:40] And he pointed out all the differences and how ridiculous it was to call it just one thing. And that idea was then picked up by Walter Willett, who was the head of the Harvard School of Public Health, who had traveled to the Mediterranean and has fallen in love with it.
Anybody that goes to Greece, I’m sorry, but if you’re going to Greece or Italy or any of those countries, the food is so delicious. So it’s really easy to fall in love with that food. Ancel Keys said himself that when he was in Europe post World War II where the dollar was the all mighty king, they could buy anything they wanted.
The food was delicious. They were coming from Minnesota, eating white bread. You can only imagine the pleasure of being in the Mediterranean. And so this also, this kind of swoon of the Mediterranean also happened to Walter Willett of Harvard. And he then constructed this idea of Mediterranean diets and he commercialized it.
He made it like Mediterranean diet with a capital M that was the subject of many books and articles. And it’s still had this same problem that it really, there [00:28:40] was no one precise definition. If you go to Italy or Greece, they eat a lot of meat. Meat is the main state of the menu and they also eat plants, fruits, and vegetables, but it’s not really a plant-based diet.
What I discovered was that this whole, the ability to transform this diet into an international phenomenon was that they had this series of conferences all over the Mediterranean, beautiful, sunkissed spots. And they invited journalists and scientists and chefs, and they had these wonderful multi-day events.
And it was all funded by the foods, well principally by the European olive oil council. Because they wanted to increase the consumption of olive oil in the United States, which they did. And then it was also funded by other, by people who had sold vegetables and dairy.
It was all this industry funded series of like beautiful fragrant [00:29:40] conferences. And out of that came scientific papers and this whole Mediterranean diet fad. And it’s just an extraordinary story on that that’s the foundation of it. And again, it goes back to just like 30 to 33 people, and it has not been really confirmed in randomized controlled clinical trials, which I think probably your audience knows is the gold standard.
That’s the way the kind of experiments that you need to do to show actual cause and effect. There has been really only one major, well there’ve been quite a few trials in the Mediterranean diet, however you define it, but the one that is the hallmark one is called PREDIMED which was done in Spain, again, funded entirely by the food industry or largely by the food industry.
And they seemed to show that there was some cardiovascular benefit from the diet. They’ve never been able to show any bit that it helps you lose any kind of significant amount of weight, but there seemed to be some cardiovascular benefit. But ultimately what they found was like a [00:30:40] 0.2% difference in absolute risk, which is a tiny reduction in risk, which they expressed as relative risk to make it seem much bigger.
And then the study was seriously questioned whether it had actually been randomized and it was actually not properly randomized and they had to reissue it. And so there’s still a cloud that hangs over that one single study that is supposed to show that the Mediterranean diet is efficacious in preventing any kind of chronic disease.
It’s quite a story!
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, it absolutely is. And it’s fascinating because I lived in Lebanon for a very long time, and there’s a common saying there, which is some people are ghee and some people are oil. And it’s a way of saying, some people are good, some people are bad, some people are rich, some people are poor, it can be used in different contexts to signify essentially that poor people are the ones who eat the oil and cook with the oil.
And the rich people are the ones who cook with ghee. It’s something that you’d hear all your life and Lebanese people hear all their life, and they all [00:31:40] know it. It’s quite amazing. People today, they still think, yeah well, our ancestors ate olive oil and the reality is, they ate olive oil as a dressing.
They used it to make soap. They used it to make candles. They used it for their hair. They’d have it as a dressing and for the skin, but when they had to cook, they’ve cooked with animal fat and the only time you would cook with olive oil was if you couldn’t have had animal fat, which is if you were really poor and that’s where the saying comes from.
The people will have to cook with oil, they have to be really poor if you can’t afford ghee or tallow. And what’s really fascinating about it is watching people in the Mediterranean today just have this Harvard idea of what their ancestors ate and today people’s grandparents were around in the sixties and seventies.
Their diet isn’t quite representative of what their grandparents ate. And we don’t talk to them about it, the sixth generation removed grandparents to know what they used to eat. But if you look into it, the meat was the heart of the diet [00:32:40] and the meat is how people managed to survive, and the animal fats.
It’s amazing how successful this has been. And you see this also in just how much people are scared of that. It’s amazing. You travel all over the world. I’ll go to the most obscure little place anywhere, and people will always look at you weird. It doesn’t matter, this could be the richest place in the world could be the poorest place in the world.
Everybody’s, no are you sure this is okay that you’re eating meat? Yes. I’m sure humans have been eating it for 3 million years. Are you sure it’s okay that you’re drinking all this sugary sludge that your grandparents wouldn’t have recognized if they’d seen? Well, your great-grandparents maybe. And the cognitive dissonance is just, it’s fascinating.
Nina Teicholz: When you’re in grade school, they teach you this lesson, you must study history so that you’re not bound to repeat it. And yet, when you talk about how, we don’t know how our great grandparents ate anymore.
[00:33:40] We have lost all of our old recipes or old traditions. We’re shocked to find an old cookbook and find that it’s full of recipes or how to use various kinds of organ meats. Like we’ve never heard of that, it would be unimaginable to us, but it’s only a couple of generations ago, or I should say it only takes a couple of generations to forget.
I don’t think in Italy or Greece that they’re aware, as you said, olive oil was not even used as a food stuff until the mid to the late 19th century. It had no use as a food item. It was mainly to anoint the body of the ancient Greeks.
We forget at our peril. People do not remember, and it really doesn’t take long for people to forget that, where does margarine even come from? It’s factory produced. And it goes through multiple steps involving a metal chelate.
And it has to be deodorized and winterized and de-gumified and it’s actually a disgusting product to see. And it’s [00:34:40] disgusting, I went into a vegetable oil factory, so you have vegetable oils and it really is not appealing to see the kind of the gray sludgy product that comes out of pressing soybeans. And then how that has to be deodorized, winterized and all these things in order to make it seem like something that might be palatable.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, in order to basically kill you slowly, rather than just killing you quickly.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah, but it was cheaper. All of these things were cheaper. So again, it’s this irony that we embrace, we’ve been told, something is healthy, that is an industrial product, that is a cheaper product. We’ve been brainwashed to think that is healthier than what our healthy forefathers used to eat.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. And it only takes a couple of weeks for you to just, try to stop the stuff for a couple of weeks, eat animal fats for a couple of weeks, and just you’ll notice the difference immediately, but people are so addicted and so brainwashed by it that they refuse to even try it.
Nina Teicholz: Well, of course, that’s part of a [00:35:40] campaign, a very successful communications campaign to scare people away from a low carbohydrate, higher animal protein, animal fat diet.
That’s been just a relentless communications campaign. And now we have global warming that you’re considered to be denialist, global warming denialist if you eat meat which is I think a brilliant tactic on somebody’s part because those arguments also don’t really pan out very well.
Saifedean Ammous: Of course.
Nina Teicholz: You should take one less airline flight or own one less car or house, or something. Because all those things you can do without damaging your health. Versus giving up meat, which is a health risk.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. And we’ve had Patrick Moore who was one of the co-founders of Greenpeace on a couple of weeks ago to discuss the science behind climate.
And you may agree or disagree, but I think there’s a very strong case to be made that it’s as rigorous, it’s probably much less rigorous than the science behind the Mediterranean diet and the low [00:36:40] fat diets. There’s very little evidence that all the carbon that we’ve been emitting has caused any damage to the world.
And then when you think about just the need that we have for emitting those things, we emit carbon dioxide when we breathe, the idea that we’re going to get to a zero carbon dioxide world is only possible if we just genocide all of humanity.
Nina Teicholz: Well, I can’t enter into the debate about climate science, but I will say that one of the very influential ideas that really began this notion that we should give up meat began in the 1970s with this idea that, if a pound of meat was much more expensive in terms of all the inputs than a pound of plants.
So why should we not just, this was the idea of Frances Moore Lappé and her book called the Diet for a Small Planet. When there were all these original concerns about overpopulation and how are we going to feed everybody and what do we do with our burgeoning population. If you believe that a pound of [00:37:40] meat and a pound of plants deliver the same nutrition, that is a viable argument.
But when you start to realize that a pound of plans, not only is that nutritionally poor, right? They don’t have what does meat have, iron, selenium, zinc, all these and a perfect protein, a perfect complete protein that your body can use to function, make muscle, maintain muscle. Plants have none of that.
And plant comes with these anti-nutrients that they create immune responses. And then the one that we all know is gluten, but there are quite a few others that plants contain because the whole strategy of a plant to avoid being eaten, it can’t run away the way an animal can.
So it has to develop poisons inside of various plant foods that can be toxic and are toxic to people, to many people. And this pound of plants is all carbohydrates. So you’re also talking about foodstuffs that will provoke and drive metabolic disease. So [00:38:40] these are not at all equal.
If this equals health, if the meat equals health, the externalities that you want to include are chronic disease. And if you just count chronic disease, this becomes much less valuable. In terms of just, you’d have to look through the entire healthcare system on that calculation.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. And in The Fiat Standard I argue that I think a lot of that was driven by the fact that prices were going up. The reason that this kind of apocalyptic vision of, we’re consuming too much, it was driven by the fact that people were seeing prices rise so much.
And, government economists weren’t going to tell you, yeah, prices are rising because we’re printing money to fight all these wars and to finance all of our cronies, they’re not going to stay that. Prices are rising because Earth is angry at us. And because we are abusing Earth by eating meat and because meat is bad and a Gaia is going to take revenge at us.
And the answer is to stop consuming and the answer is to have [00:39:40] less. And the answer is to make do with the cheap stuff that Earl Butz and the department of agriculture had been heavily subsidizing because if you get the people to stop eating a lot of meat and they start hitting more of the industrial stuff, that’s very easy to scale and has very little responsiveness to inflation because it can be produced. The more you produce it, the lower the price becomes because it has economies of scale.
You can hide the inflation quite effectively. And so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all of these crazy dietary guidelines of the 1970s came after the inflation. In fact, there’s a story mentioned in a book called The Great Inflation by Robert Samuelson in which the price of eggs had gone up.
And president Nixon got on on the phone with the sergeant general and told him, tell people to stop eating eggs. And apparently that’s where all the insane criminal hysteria about eggs causing cholesterol and heart disease, and all that stuff comes from. And just think about how much of that is due to the [00:40:40] inflation.
And that’s really the fascinating connection that I find here.
Nina Teicholz: That’s super interesting. I know that the egg story has another, its history goes back to Ancel Keys as well. But I think that it’s very interesting. If you believe, it’s not necessarily a terrible idea to feed people more grains if you believe that grains, if you don’t understand nutrition.
If you don’t understand that it’s not just about providing a certain number of calories a day, which is what people think, and so if you provide that same number of calories, maybe it’s okay if it’s all soy and sorghum and wheat and rice, maybe that would be okay.
But if you understand nutrition and you understand the needs of the human body, and you understand that we need all these nutrients and minerals to survive and to reproduce healthily, that doesn’t work at all. That system doesn’t make any sense. A calorie is not a calorie, different calories deliver different nutrients.
And I think one of the best ideas that I know in [00:41:40] nutrition in terms of fixing one’s own personal health, is to eat for nutrients, eat for protein and eat for nutrients. Go for the foods that give you the most nutrition and understand that artificially fortified foods like they put iron in grain, so you couldn’t have like captain crunch and it has your iron.
And that’s why the government still has to recommend refined grains, because those are the ones that are enriched and fortified. But many people cannott absorb nutrients either from tablets, pills or from the food that they’re eating it in. And they think they’re getting it from the fortified foods, but many people can’t absorb that.
They can’t absorb it from pills. Your best way to get those nutrients in your body is to get them through foods. And if you guide yourself through this principle, that will deliver a completely nutritious and healthy diet.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely, yeah. You can’t really expect politicians who are looking to get reelected to get into thinking about [00:42:40] how do we feed people for the sake of the health of their children 20 years from now. How do we feed people so that we get reelected two years from now? That’s the concern.
And if you managed to convince them that the best food that they should be eating is the cheap stuff, that’s going to make the inflation problem look much less of a problem when you dig into it.
Nina Teicholz: There’s a very simple structural problem why we cannot have good dietary guidelines.
Maybe I should explain what dietary guidelines are and why they’re influential, if you’d like. The nonprofit that I work on is called The Nutrition Coalition, which I founded. The whole idea is that we need dietary guidelines that are evidence-based or based in a rigorous scientific process, which they’re not currently.
And why should we care about the dietary guidelines? Which is a really good question, because most people don’t even know about them, you don’t know about them, but they know about you. They reach out to, not only are they followed by most nations around the world in [00:43:40] case people are calling in from other nations, but they’re considered the gold standard, they reached out to every sector of society. They’re taught by doctors and dieticians and pretty much all healthcare workers have to follow the guidelines. And you, when you go to your doctor to get advice about diet, it comes from the dietary guidelines.
They influenced all institutional food and the hospitals and cafeterias, school lunches, feeding programs for the elderly, the militaries food. We have a huge obesity problem in our military. So they’re just incredibly influential. They exert a kind of vise-like control over our food system and our food choices in institutional settings.
So they’re vastly influential and they are not reactive to goodawareness ofscience. So ours is really the only group in the world that is trying to ensure, trying to raise awareness of these guidelines and what’s wrong with them. And one of the basic structural problems that we have is that the [00:44:40] people who are responsible for the food policy is our department of agriculture.
In Congress, the people who oversee the department of agriculture has no relationship with the people who worry about the budget for healthcare. So there’s no connection there. So if you fix the dietary guidelines, you have no incentive to fix the dietary guidelines, because you’re a member of Congress, you’re either in this job over here or that job over there, but there’s no connection between those two. You have no incentive to reduce healthcare costs in this country, which are bankrupting us. Diabetes alone, you’re bankrupting our country.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely, and I think you saw this with the coronavirus hysteria where it was considered okay to lock people up at home and muzzle them and try experimental gene therapy. All of that was just considered common sense. And if you opposed it, you got called a heretic and you got abused by all the world’s idiots.
Whereas simply telling people to maybe stop eating industrial waste and start eating healthy food that will [00:45:40] make you less susceptible to damage from it. Because the biggest confounding, well the biggest comorbidity, the biggest cause of negative outcomes for getting the coronavirus, the difference between having a bad flu and having serious damage for life or dying is almost entirely about obesity and diabetes and all of these metabolic diseases.
And yet there’s absolutely nobody in all of the fiat authorities.
Nina Teicholz: Yes, I reviewed all the research and wrote an article on this, the best predictor for poor outcomes from COVID, after age, being old was probably the greatest predictor of poor outcomes.
The second greatest one was your blood sugar, chronic high blood sugar, which is found in people with obesity and diabetes and other chronic diseases. That’s why they’re all linked together by that common feature, which is that you have excessively chronically high blood sugar from eating chronically too many carbohydrates.
[00:46:40] So I think I was the only person that I know, I wrote up that piece and it was published in the Wall Street Journal is an op-ed. And usually when you write an op-ed, you get picked up by a radio show or a TV interview or somebody who’s interested in that point of view. And I’ve got zero interest in that idea.
It was almost unimaginable to me that the New York Times or your leading newspapers, they were advertising it’s fine to binge eat, and here’s our extra large size brownies. And here’s my story, eating through an entire bag of potato chips and is fine because it’s emotionally what we need at this time.
You know what you need emotionally is to not die from COVID. What you need is to be as immune, as healthy as you possibly can be. It’s amazing. And I’m sorry to mention this one other thing that you don’t hear anywhere politicians talking about obesity and diabetes at all.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely, and this is one of the things that really infuriates me. As you were saying earlier, that there’s no [00:47:40] genuine honest attempt to actually make an argument. There’s just an endless list of pre-conditioned responses where, all right the science says this stuff is good. The science says your based on a study done by a guy who was discredited. And the, and then one of the ones that really gets me is this one, which is well, you’re being really cruel on people.
They’re going through an epidemic of they’re locked up at home. They’re sacrificing so much, they deserve their tortillas. It’s amazing. And it’s so common and it’s always being levied at people who talk about healthy eating as if, trying to tell people to stay healthy and fix their mental issues, all the sort of psychological problems of bad eating that , fixing all of the psychological problems that come with bad eating would go an enormous way in helping people deal with all of those things. But somehow all of that is considered bad because there’s just no money in it. I’ve been pretty outspoken on my Twitter.
I don’t have a [00:48:40] forum where I can publish about health. But I’ve been pretty outspoken about all of this stuff for since January, really. I remember my first tweet about COVID was in January 31st. 2021. And my tweet was, the people that are telling you to worry how the people that are being hysterical about it are the World Health Organization, and these are the same people who tell you to eat vegetable oil.
And this is the same people who tell you, you need to eat grains and that you need to reduce your meat consumption. They’re sponsored by all of these industrial manufacturing foods. I’m inclined to just not listen to what they’re saying, because if I were to listen to what they’re saying, I’d be diabetic today.
I I used to be overweight. I used to be probably pre-diabetic. At this point I’d be debilitated. Because I went low carb about 12 years ago and it completely change my life. I’m healthier right now and I’d be completely debilitated and I wouldn’t be able to take care of my family.
Given the trajectory of my [00:49:40] health, given how bad I used to eat before I fixed things. That made me skeptical of all the things that they promote. You don’t even need to look into the details of the crazy things that they promote. It’s obvious that they’re full of shit, because if they weren’t full. Of shit, they’d be out there telling people to fix their food, but they don’t.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. Here’s some hard facts story on that. I just want to go back and say one thing, which is that I don’t want to discount how hard it is to give up junk food. And to say that oh it’s easy, there’s no such thing as emotional eating, that that isn’t real, or that isn’t really difficult to overcome.
Sugar addiction is real. All of that is real. And I have enormous sympathy for how hard it is to change one’s diet. But I think at the same time, it is the responsibility of our public health officials and those who are leaders in the media to say, this is worthwhile because your very life may depend upon it.
And you can dramatically improve [00:50:40] your, just in case we have another round of COVID, you can dramatically improve your blood sugar and all of your cardiovascular risk factors without necessarily losing weight. Those studies have been done. Those clinical trials have been done, you experienced tremendous benefits, even if you do not immediately see weight loss.
So that’s important to know, but to give you a really graphic example of just how corrupt, I guess I have to say, our systems are. We did an an analysis of the US dietary guidelines advisory committee. This is the expert committee appointed by the government, 15 members.
They’re supposed to review all the signs to tell us, what we need to eat to be healthy. Well, in general, the national academies of sciences says that in order to, if you’re going to issue guidelines, then no more than, less than half of the committee should have any kind of conflict of interest.
Financial being the primary one. But the US dietary guideline committee that oversaw the guidelines that just came out the end of [00:51:40] last year, almost all of them, 95% of them or all but one had really serious longstanding conflicts of interest with the food industry, with the pharmaceutical industry. They had multiple connections going back for years with many different companies.
And you have to be very naive to think that they don’t bring that. Even if they believe they’re doing their best, they have been so influenced and marinated in an industry way of thinking, that those users are bound to convert into their advice, into their scientific report.
And then at the level above that you have the fact that the US department of agriculture and I know this is also true of the WHO you have these companies, they have the partnership, the whole idea of public private partnerships with these public institutions, so that our department of agriculture is partnering with Domino’s pizza and is partnering with Unilever and what does that partnership do for you?
Saifedean Ammous: Well, one of the things [00:52:40] that it does is that pizza is considered a vegetable in schools, right?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. A pizza is perfectly healthy by the government standards. If you’re supposed to have six servings of grain a day, so there’s your grains and you’ve got tomato, which is a vegetable.
Actually it’s a fruit, but anyway, but that’s healthy, and cheese is dairy. Nutritionists always go around saying it’s a fault of Americans because they eat too much pizza and sandwiches, but let’s review all of that is completely considered healthy and covered by the US dietary guides. Those are health foods!
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. It’s interesting, these people will have all these blatant conflicts of interest and they’ll spend 20 years making millions of dollars from these companies, nobody mentions it. And then somebody who’s talking about low carb, somebody like you, or many of the fitness coaches on Twitter and Instagram, they will sell a supplement or will sell something on their Twitter.
And then they get completely bashed [00:53:40] for it by the media because those people are profiting from it.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I want to be very clear, I don’t take any money from industry and my group takes no money from industry of any kind, but there’s there is a Professor at NYU who has a whole whisper campaign against me, that I get funding from the meat industry.
That’s printed up in a journal article on me. So yeah, if I were actually to be involved with the meat industry, that would I’m sure attract even more press, but as we said earlier, there’s a tradition of bullying in the field. And one of the tactics is to accuse people of being financially motivated.
And actually that goes back to Ancel Keys, who would accuse all of his competitors. For instance, there was a professor at the Imperial College in London, it was his idea in the 1970s that it was sugar that was driving.
Saifedean Ammous: John Yudkin, right?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah, John Yudkin! So Ancel [00:54:40] Keys noting that this is a competitor to his hypothesis. He attacks John Yudkin. And one of the things that he attacks him for is he accuses him of being in the pocket of various unnamed industries. And he went after him using all these tactics. And he used the same tactics against an esteemed professor at Texas A&M who was challenging his hypothesis.
This comes from the very origins of the field. And now these tactics are used viciously and principally by the Harvard School of Public Health, they’re deeply engaged in quite a bit of these kinds of bullying attacks. One of them was that they tried similarly to Mary Enig.
There were papers that were published in Annals of Internal Medicine. That was the most comprehensive and rigorous review ever done on subject of red meat and cancer and cardiovascular outcomes and other metabolic outcomes that would cover diabetes. There were a number of Harvard professors and others who all signed a letter and flooded the [00:55:40] inbox of the editor in chief of that journal.
Asking for a pre-publication retraction of the paper. Don’t even publish it. Because it will be so damaging and so confuse people and people should not even see it.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. I just want to comment on something you said earlier, which is that it’s hard to break the addiction to junk food.
I know it is hard, but you know the hardest parts of it is the fact that the authorities that you would look to in order to guide you in the right direction, the ones that would put you in the direction where you could start thinking about exercising your willpower in that direction, they’re turning you onto the exact opposite direction.
Your doctor tells you to stop eating meat and reduce it, your newspaper, all of those things. All of these authorities are constantly moving people toward the direction of making things worse for them. And rationalizing the addiction and justifying it and indulging it and thinking about it as [00:56:40] if it’s just normal and healthy, treat yourself.
And it’s amazing. In my mind, I think if we didn’t have an entirely corrupt medical system, I think a doctor would be somebody you would take your kid to whenever you started thinking that your kid is having a problem with eating too much junk food, you go to the doctor, you should take your 14 year old kid.
The doctor sits there in a very somber voice, in a very terrifying voice and shows you pictures of people who had their legs amputated because of diabetes and shows you what it means to get diabetes and start scaring the little kid and making it clear to him. Every time you’re eating these tortillas, every time you’re eating this junk, you’re choosing to not be fit enough to join your friends on their soccer team.
You’re choosing to not be attractive to the other gender. You’re choosing to get diabetes by your twenties or thirties. You’re choosing to do all those things. What doctor does that? It’s almost impossible to find doctors who do that.
Nina Teicholz: Remember that they’re getting [00:57:40] their, the doctors are informed by the dietary guidelines.
So many well-meaning doctors really do not know that when they’re telling people eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and seeds and reduce their meat and eat low fat dairy, they’re delivering the guidelines and many doctors believe that is correct. So they’re not all bad, we live in a culture where the messages of industry have been so broadly disseminated.
So in our schools, children are rewarded with candy and let’s have a fun challenge and see how many gumballs are in this jar, and then we’ll eat them all. And then, every birthday party anybody goes to, one of the more damaging messages that comes from industry is the idea of all foods in moderation.
You can do anything in moderation. Well, that may be true for some people, but for many people, there is no such thing as a moderate amount of ice cream. There’s just a pint.
Saifedean Ammous: And it’s very hard to do moderation when the [00:58:40] foods have been designed over decades to be massively addictive.
Nina Teicholz: Try having 1 cookie, it’s very hard for people.
And actually these foods are meant to be addictive and if you really have metabolic disease like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, you really cannot be eating a moderate amount of sugar. You just can’t, that’s not something that you can do anymore because you’ve tipped over into metabolic ill health.
But that idea of moderation is an industry message that we’ve just absorbed.
Saifedean Ammous: It’s one of the many zombie talking points that they hit you with. Well, okay fine, maybe this is bad for you, don’t be such a party pooper. Don’t ruin the kid’s childhood. Let kids be kids. No, the childhood doesn’t mean indulging in poison.
The, this notion that indulging kids addiction is loving them is just absolutely destructive. And yet it’s promoted everywhere in Hollywood, in movies in TV and newspapers and worst of all, of course in bullshit nutrition [00:59:40] science, where instead of the being the job of the scientist to tell people what the reality is and what the truth is, the job of the scientist is to tell people to indulge themselves.
Nina Teicholz: Just think of the Krispy Kreme rollout for getting your your COVID vaccine. Then I remembered seeing a tweet by one of the women. Again, these trusted experts, they’re supposed to be our trusted experts instead they’re funded by food and pharma companies. And she’s got a box of Krispy Kreme donuts.
This is from the dietary committee saying, have some Krispy Kremes. I’m wondering, is she also funded by crispy Kremes?
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, the Krispy Kreme have done a great job of funding nutritionists. There’s a lot of nutritionists who show up on Twitter, talking about, you should treat yourself to Krispy kreme.
Nina Teicholz: One in moderation. How could anyone be against it? You’re such a naysayer.
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly, yeah. I wanted to get to the American Heart Association. Tell us about them.
[01:00:40] Nina Teicholz: Well because heart disease was rare, remember in the early 1900s, there were no cardiologists. Really, there were none until sort of the 19 teens, you start to see more of them.
And then and then by the twenties, there’s this little tiny office of cardiologist. A little sort of group that comes together and they see let’s be the American Heart Association, but they have no money. They almost have no office. They have no power in the world. And they don’t know what causes heart disease.
Well in 1948, of course this is research that I dug up in the process of writing my book. They’re tagged by Procter & Gamble, makers of Crisco oil which later the American Heart Association would come to recommend over your saturated fats, like butter. In 1948, they approach this small, tiny American Heart Association just starting out.
And they said that will make you the designee of this huge radio contest that was called The Walking Man Contest at the time. And so [01:01:40] overnight, according to the company’s official history that they themselves wrote, the American heart association received a giant check for millions of dollars from Procter & Gamble.
And the money just flew into our coffers. And then overnight they became just a giant with offices all over the country. They are still, I believe the largest nonprofit in America. They’re huge, they’re just a giant. And they have had a close relationship with Procter & Gamble that still funds them.
And you remember in 1948 and 1961, they were saying you need to have the vegetable oils instead of saturated fat. So no one can say that they’re launched by Procter & Gamble, but they have at least a third of their funding coming from the food and drug manufacturers.
Yeah. So their story is really incredible, they’re a trusted highly professed organization. They had [01:02:40] very close relationships with all the white houses, really. They always had their annual fundraiser, was held at the white house for many years.
They hold a position of tremendous trust with the public. And so they’re not going to, it creates real dissonance and difficulties for them to change their basic tenants of their advice. And to be seen as flip-flopping on the public. That said, they did actually change the recommendations to say that, we no longer believe in a low fat diet so much, you can have more vegetable oils. That’s what that means to them. But they’re backed off the idea of a low fat diet.
Saifedean Ammous: They still warn you against cholesterol and meat, right?
Nina Teicholz: You still have to have low fat dairy because of the saturated fat. So they’re still against saturated fats.
You still have to have low fat dairy and you still shouldn’t be eating red meat for those reasons. You should have poultry instead. Their basic advice has changed very little. I think that they used to say, you should snack on things like gumdrops and hard candy, because [01:03:40] anything was better than fat, like fat was the worst.
So you should have pretzels and gumdrops, I actually have an American Heart Association brochure saying, this is what you should eat for your snacks. So they’ve backed away from that understanding that sugar is probably bad for health, they have backed off that. But it creates this really small basket of foods that they can actually recommend.
You can have fish, fish is unfordable or unaccessible for most people at least in the United States. And you can eat, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, but it’s hard for them because they need, there are not that many processed foods that they can promote.
Saifedean Ammous: And what kind of foods do they promote? What are the things that they like?
Nina Teicholz: Health food is still like a cereal. Any of those box cereals are because they’re grains, which is fine, as long as they’re not sweetened. I don’t think they promote Pop-Tarts anymore.
They used to promote things like that. When they were promoting a lot of [01:04:40] sugar, but they don’t do that anymore. But our US government has sugary cereals as part of the food that it gives away to women and children. And and I think that, now we’re allowed by the American Heart Association one egg a day, maybe.
They’re still really vociferously against saturated fats. I think another thing to note about them as an organization is that they oversaw and did some of the most important trials, clinical trials on saturated fats. And those trials were all done in the 1960s and seventies altogether on more than 69,000, 70,000 people.
A huge number of people were tested in randomized control trials, trying to show that eating more saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease, trying to test Ancel Keys’ hypothesis. And none of those trials showed that the people eating more saturated fats, up to 20% of your calories is saturated fats.
None of those people died of higher rates from [01:05:40] cardiovascular disease or any disease. So total mortality or cardiovascular mortality. And in most cases they did not have more heart attacks. It’s a little bit harder to measure that. And the American Heart Association, many of their people are participating in these studies.
They see the study results coming out and they do nothing to respond to that data. Doesn’t change, and many of those studies, some of them, these are amazing stories that I describe in my book. Some of the studies weren’t published some lay languishing and basements. Some of them were, they became what’s called silent studies where they’re just never cited or never quoted.
The entire community of nutrition scientists just agrees. We don’t know how to do with these results. They don’t agree with our preconceived notions, so we’re just going to do nothing about them.
Saifedean Ammous: One of my favorite tricks that they pull is to call these results paradox. Well, we have our theory and our theory is obviously correct.
But this thing completely flies in the face of our theory and falsifies it. So we’re not just going to reconsider whether we are [01:06:40] wrong, we’re just going to call it a paradox. And then we’re going to write more papers about, the French paradox and this and that paradox. And it’s all over.
In economics, there’s many examples like this where it’s not a paradox. There is no paradox there. It’s just, you’re getting the truth. You should just accept it, but what’s amazing is there’s no corrective mechanism in the scientific process anymore. No matter how many studies the American Heart Association comes up with that falsify their own assumptions.
There’s just no mechanism for them to back down and announce something like, maybe we’re wrong. Why do you think that is the case? I have my answers obviously, but I’m curious about your experience of why can’t scientists change their mind. It’s been 60 years and they’re still promoting the same thing at the AHA and all these other places.
Nina Teicholz: It’s mainly the things that we’ve already talked about, which is that there are many large commercial interests that fund these scientists. And then there’s all these other interests we [01:07:40] also talked about that are influencing nutrition science like the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the animal rights books, all of this. But I think for the scientists themselves, and I’ve spoken to many people in the field, well for one, there are people who just, when you talk about these silent studies, people today don’t know about them.
So they really don’t know the history of their own field. What they read in textbooks and what they’ve experienced they came up and got their PhDs, nobody talked about any of this. Nobody knows it. So it’s been journalists like myself or Gary Taubes or other journalists who’ve written about this.
We are the ones to write these histories. And nutrition scientists, they don’t know this. And the ones who do are very afraid to speak up because you have a system where all of your research funding is controlled by the, or most of it is controlled by the government. And government is invested in this diet, right?
It’s invested in it. Not only because the NIH, National Institutes of Health, they really signed on and bought the diet-heart [01:08:40] hypothesis going back to 1948. They were very much invested in this hypothesis, but also if their program is the dietary guidelines, if the dietary guidelines are wrong, if they’re making people sick and they’re not healthy, you’re just merely not doing the job of preventing a disease, then they’re culpable or liable, they have a lot at stake.
And so if you’re a nutrition scientist, you cannot really start veering away from the established medical nutritional dogma, because you risk losing, being expelled from the community, being unable to get research funding and being expelled professionally. I’ve talked to many of the people who were expelled and I write about them.
You’re no longer invited to professional conferences, you no longer get an invitation to speak. You’re no longer considered a collegial person. There’s something that’s questionable about you. You risk just being excluded from your own field and being unable to do the science that you’re trained for. That’s also why you see in the field, the people doing the cutting edge science now [01:09:40] on carbohydrate restriction on vegetable oils, they come not from the field of nutrition.
They come from other fields who have made their way to nutrition through something else, like exercise physiology or some other field. But it’s very rare to find nutrition scientists who are not only aware of the problem, but are willing to write papers that slightly push against all of them.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. One of my favorite genres of Twitter is the gym bros and the personal trainers and the Instagram influencers who, their business is much closer to the scientific process because they try things out and they see what works and they try it on their clients and they tweet about it. And they post the before and after picture.
That’s what science is. And one of my favorite genres of Twitter is when those people post their results and their recommendations, and they’re obviously getting results and people are paying them money. And then you get these fat [01:10:40] nutrition scientists come and start mocking them and telling them no.
You look great and yes, you’ve cured people from diabetes with this, but that’s not scientific. And you’re going to ruin their kidneys with the low carb. You should listen to the science and start looking more like me, overweight, depressed, miserable. It’s amazing. It’s amazing. In my mind, what I say in The Fiat Standard is government funding of science is one of those things that is like motherhood and apple pie, like who could hate those things.
It’s just, science is the best thing in the world. Science is amazing. And obviously we want to have the government tax rich people so that we can get science. It’s just one of these no-brainer ideas, but really what it means is that you’ve established a monopoly on science. And what it means is that the people in charge of the funding are now isolated from all manner of real market feedback.
No matter how many people your advice kills, doesn’t matter, your paycheck doesn’t come from the people who are paying you like the Instagram influencers and [01:11:40] like the gym bros who have to deliver results to their clients or else they don’t get paid. If you’re a fiat scientist, if you’re in an American university or any university all over the world, the American system of universities has basically invaded the planet.
If you’re a scientist in that field, you’re just churning out papers. You don’t care. You just want to make sure your papers flatter the people who assign the funding and the people who assign the funding, there’s no way that they’re going to change the diet-heart hypothesis.
They have no interest in it. One thing that I’ve seen in the fiat standard is fiat science is about who gets to decide what the null hypothesis is. And so 1948, the null hypothesis was that it is the diet-heart hypothesis. And then that’s it, you could present mountains and mountains of evidence against it.
Doesn’t matter. They’ll ignore it. They’ll smear you. Call you an industry shill, doesn’t matter. And then they’ll present the most ridiculous studies like The Seven Countries study or [01:12:40] all of these terribly designed, and some of the nutrition studies are just absolutely hilarious. Like you could read them if you just know a little bit of statistics, like you look at how they design it and then you look at how they interpret the results.
It’s just so idiotic, it’s funny. But it doesn’t matter, they keep churning out these studies and they keep confirming their hypothesis and everything that contradicts the hypothesis is ignored and they can get away with it because their funding doesn’t come from the market.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah, I think what you’re saying is largely true. Who would oppose having government funding and yet it does create, by having a single government funder you also create an easier situation for industry capture, right?
So you can capture. You’ve focused on a target, and that’s why, having the WHO is so great because, companies like Unilever don’t necessarily have to go around every country anymore. They can just focus and target. And there’s a concentration of power that allows for [01:13:40] greater possibility of industry capture.
I will say the null hypothesis has slightly changed since Ancel Keys. It is true that in 2015, for the US dietary guidelines and a couple of years earlier for the American Heart Association, they dropped their caps on cholesterol and they did in this silent way so that there was no press release.
There’s no announcement, nobody knows about it, they tiptoed away from that. Their papers actually say we can find no evidence for continuing caps on cholesterol. And that means mainly that you can eat eggs again. The egg yolk is what you’re supposed to avoid. The egg yolk is also where all the nutrients are.
Including, ones that are critically short in the diet, like choline and also nutrients that are needed for eye health. And shellfish of course was the other food that we couldn’t eat due to cholesterol. Also incredibly high in nutrients like [01:14:40] vitamin B12 is the main finding.
I think clams is the highest concentration of B12, another nutrient of concern and shortage that many people don’t get enough of. So there has been a bit of a change in the null hypothesis. There is an effort now to switch over to something called precision medicine. And it’s a sideway shift away by saying like everybody has individually unique diets and that is something that could incorporate low-carb, although it’s unlikely that it will, because nobody makes any money off of, or a few people make money off of low carb diets.
But it is hilarious from a scientific perspective. If you know about what we know about nutrition, it’s like saying we’re going to design precision garments for each and every one of you. When your skills in sewing, you haven’t even invented the needle yet.
We just don’t even have the data to make clothes if that’s the parallel of nutrition, much less design everybody their own specific kind of diet. [01:15:40] There’s so much individuality and we really don’t even know things that are, we know very little at a basic level about how to make people healthy.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, well honestly I think I might disagree with that.
I think all of our ancestors, if you go back far enough, all of our ancestors at some point ate meat only, more or less.
Nina Teicholz: Or animal foods.
Saifedean Ammous: And then they started essentially using plants as a ways of ingesting animal fats. So if you run out of meat, you still kept the fat and then you cooked the plants with it.
And that was nutrition. And that’s how most cuisines come along. For the vast majority of people, they could get 80% of the results with very simple rules that don’t need any individuality. And I think there’s a lot of, people want to feel like they’re special and they’re unique , but really just quit eating everything that comes in a plastic wrapper made by a giant [01:16:40] multinational company and get one pound of beef a day.
Like I think 99% of people would solve 80% of their problems if they just did that.
Nina Teicholz: I would say that those are pretty good percentages. It doesn’t get you all the way there. There really are stories, there are people who have all kinds of strange issues or people whose metabolism has been broken for so long.
It’s very hard for people to recover. It’s hard as you get older. There is a lot of individuality, but you’re right that you need to head off in the right direction. And we know what that direction is.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, my own brother is a medical doctor, he’s with us today and him and I used to laugh at the kind of nutrition education that he used to get to in his medical school.
Ahmad has a question for you. Do you wanna jump in?
Ahmad Ammous: Yes, hi! Thank you Saifedean, thank you, Nina. Yeah, what’s interesting to point out, I just finished my training and finished my residency as a physician. And what’s interesting to note is [01:17:40] just the lack of education about diets in our curiculum. It’s pretty incredible how they tell you everything about a disease and they never mentioned anything about how lifestyle can lead to this disease.
And what that has done at the bigger picture is that we don’t think of disease as something related to diet, so we never asked that. And everything related to diet is done by people looking at studies, and looking at macronutrients. And so they’ve separated the patient and their problems from the diets. Two different people looking at the two issues.
And so that’s why we get to the point where dietary recommendations just don’t make any sense.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. My understanding is that medical education has been largely, has shifted to reflect the interests of the pharmaceutical companies. So what they’re interested in is what are the conditions for which I can prescribe a pill or a [01:18:40] device or a procedure.
And a doctor considers it a successful visit if he or she is able to write out something on the prescription pad and leave with the patient that is a successful visit. That’s the formation of the medical education. If you go to the doctor with symptoms for which they do not have a pill or a device or something, they’re like, well that’s all I can help you with.
So for instance, if you go with a sleep problem, your doctor is not going to tell you about meditation or using room darkening or having a cold room, they’re going to give you sleeping pills. Cause that’s what the medication is designed to do. So it is really unfortunate that, and when they do talk about nutrition and they outsource it to, well at least in the US to the dietician.
So the dietician has been trained in the American Dietetics Association was founded by a Seventh Day Adventist. They’ve been trained in this plant-based diet stuff. And that’s plants, grains, whole grains, [01:19:40] fruit, vegetables and nuts and seeds. So that’s the advice that they’re going to give patients and that’s how patients are taught and then they don’t get any better.
And so it’s very interesting in the medical professional, they come to the belief, that generally the diet doesn’t work. They’re just like I tried diets, sent all my patients to the dietician. And we’ll give it a try first, before we go for the procedure or whatever, but diet never works.
And that’s because the dieticians are prescribing the wrong diet. It creates this sense in the medical profession that diets don’t work, and that is consistent with their observations.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. Ahmad, can you tell us what they taught you about diabetes and diets in medical school? I don’t remember the details, but could you remind us?
Ahmad Ammous: All the dietary teaching that I got in four years of medical school was this one lecture that was 45 minutes. And all they taught us was how [01:20:40] many units of insulin do you give for each different amount of carbohydrates that you give. That’s that’s all I have studied. So the only chart that I saw was just, oh if you want to eat desserts, give them that many units of insulin.
If you want to eat apples, give them that many. And that’s it.
Nina Teicholz: That’s awful.
Saifedean Ammous: It’s astonishing.
Nina Teicholz: Insulin provokes weight gain, which they probably didn’t tell you. So it worsens the disease. Cause weight gain also worsens diabetes. It just sends them down this path of progressive diabetes. And until very recently and still in most of the mainstream, diabetes is considered a progressive disease.
That there’s just no way it can’t progress. It will progress until you cut off your limbs and you have dialysis and you go blind and that’s it. And so it wasn’t until really the experiment by Dr. Sarah Hallberg and the verdict group that we even really understood that diabetes could be reversed.
For which they got no press [01:21:40] coverage, even though that is again, the disease that is most bankrupting nations, because it’s a very expensive disease to treat progressively.
Saifedean Ammous: This is for me, I think that the redux position of just how absolutely corrupt this is. For most people, I think in most people’s mind, the scientific process is such that if somebody managed to actually cause diabetes to go into remission, if they managed to get a diabetic person to go back to living normally and not have to cut off their limbs and go blind, most people have the idea that what would happen is that all of the world’s scientists would drop whatever it is that they’re doing and focus on this new, whatever it is, technique or medicine or whatever it is.
And they’d focus their attention on what can we learn from this case? We haven’t one case of diabetes reversal. And in this world, we know we have tens of thousands, probably millions of people all over the world. I’m part of a [01:22:40] bunch of Facebook groups where, I learned about all of this stuff.
You have groups in South Africa that have hundreds of thousands of people. So there’s millions all over the world that are fixing their life with all of this. And the entire scientific and medical community has exactly zero curiosity to find out what is going on. It’s absolutely astonishing.
Nina Teicholz: I was at a conference in Geneva where Dr. Sarah Hallberg who’s one who was the head of this large controlled trial on reversing diabetes using a low carb diet and a phone app. So they could have continuous immediate care. Because they so rapidly go off their medications. It’s necessary to be monitored. Anyway, she was on a panel with three other scientists and she’s talking about reversing diabetes.
And nobody, none of the other people on the panel aren’t even curious. And I got up to say, to ask a question, I was like I don’t know if you’ve heard that Dr. Hallberg said you could reverse diabetes. I understand that this may [01:23:40] be an unconventional approach, but are you at all curious, do you have any questions for her? It was really just, it’s astonishing.
It’s cognitive dissonance. It’s the fact that everything that they have learned would be wrong. It’s the knowledge in the back of their minds that all the companies that are investing in them would no longer invest in them. One of the people on the dietary guideline committee I keep going back to, he’s got connections with Nestle, but one of his major companies that he works with is one of the big weight loss drugs.
You prescribed this drug for weight loss and sure enough, when the dietary guideline committee got around to reviewing the science on the low carb diet for the first time, they actually were charged with looking for the science for the low carb diet.
Any of us, I’m sure any of your listeners who’s been even remotely connected to this way of eating, they understand that there are probably a hundred randomized controlled clinical trials on low carb. And this committee could only [01:24:40] find one single one of these studies because one of the committee members was an author. And so they couldn’t ignore the one study that actually a committee member had been on. It was really not in their interest to find this diet.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely, Peter has a couple of questions for you. Peter, you want to go ahead?
Peter Young: Yeah, sure. Nina, thanks for that. I wanted to ask you a question about your view on vitamin supplements because some of the ideas that you discussed, some of the dynamics you discussed regarding nutrition signs and non-mainstream views reminded me a little bit of the story of Linus Pauling and his views about vitamin C.
And so I wondered what your thoughts were on vitamin supplements and taking doses of vitamin C in particular. Is that something [01:25:40] that you’ve looked into and that you think can be beneficial?
Nina Teicholz: No, I feel like I have not looked into that enough to be able to say anything that I feel is reliable. It seems to me that excess vitamin C is easily excreted out of your system. And so there’s probably no harm in taking vitamin C. I know that the studies that they’ve done looking at multivitamins have repeatedly failed to show any benefit from taking a multivitamin. I know that the ideas that taking vitamin E turned out to be harmful and that taking any of those, the antioxidant vitamins were shown ultimately to have no effect or be harmful.
So I can’t say about every single vitamin supplement. But I know there are multiple studies showing that getting vitamins from food is more, you absorb it better. I will also say about vitamin C, is that the need for vitamin C, I know people take mega doses to prevent colds. To take vitamin [01:26:40] C is because you’re not eating fruit to say
If you have a low carb diet and you’re eating meat, you do not have the same need for vitamin C.
It’s an interesting question. Like why did the Inuit not get scurvy, right? They’re not eating citrus fruits. And the answer is that if the carbohydrate impedes your vitamin C absorption, but you can get vitamin C from animal foods and enough of it, if you are not eating carbohydrates, which inhibits the absorption of that.
Does that make sense? I hope that answers your question.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I think it does, Peter?
Peter Young: Yeah. That’s great, thank you.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. It’s these examples I think, the historical examples of the Inuit and the Maasai are also two favorite examples of mine. And it’s another example of just the complete lack of curiosity that science has.
If we really did need the modern pyramid or the eat my plate or whatever it’s called, how did these people survive? All of these thousands of years in the [01:27:40] Arctic where they couldn’t grow grains and they couldn’t grow fruits and yet zero curiosity about it, nobody will talk about it.
There was a study done by Vilhjalmur Stefanson in the 1920s. You may have heard of him. He spent a year up there and he then spent a year at the Bellevue Hospital in New York being supervised by the doctors, eating nothing but meat. And his health was better at the end of the year than at the beginning of the year.
And yet it’s amazing, this is an example of just, no amount of facts can be thrown at the fiat scientists to get them to change their mind. You need one example, you need one case to falsify a theory. They always dismiss it as, oh well it’s n=1, it’s just one case.
Well, one case is enough to falsify the theory. One case of diabetes remission is enough to show us that diabetes is not a progressive disease that is hopeless. But there’s [01:28:40] very little curiosity about any of that.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah. I read about Stefanson in my book and that story about him. It was him and another man who actually had a year long experiment of eating nothing but meat and fat.
And it’s really interesting to me and everyone was outraged at the time. Even back then in 1926, I think it was. But I but I was going to say, it’s not just falsification via one clinical trial or a handful of people, case studies. It’s also just some basic common sense ideas.
I live in Connecticut where for three quarters of the year, there really are no fruits and vegetables, no fresh fruits and vegetables. And you see that because we have a local farmer’s market and you can see. It doesn’t open up until late June and then it closes in November and the rest of the time, historically you would have had no fruits and vegetables.
So it’s only because we use huge shipping containers and bring them from all over the world and get our avocados from Ecuador or wherever, that we are able to live this way. [01:29:40] That’s fairly available common sense. Like you just could not have your five a day fruit and vegetables in most parts of the Earth until modern trade.
And sorry, refrigerated containers is really what it took. It’s funny when we started out talking about like, why it’s good to have an engineer’s brain, but in the end, when I was at Stanford, I studied politics.
And in the end it’s politics. I should have studied communications, PR tactics. Really, this field is so much more about politics than it is about science.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely. And people didn’t have access to all those fruits and they were much healthier. Nobody draws that connection. Before Connecticut could get all of these avocados from Ecuador and all of these grains from all over the world, people in Connecticut were much healthier.
It’s amazing nobody notices. Kiki has a question for you.
Kiki: I want to thank you for your [01:30:40] book. Really changed my life.
Saifedean Ammous: I’m sorry, but your audio is really bad. We can’t really make out what you’re saying.
Well, I’m going to go with Carrie’s question while Kiki writes it in the chat. Carrie wanted to ask you about canola oil. What do you think of that?
Nina Teicholz: So canola oil is a product of Canada and it’s rapeseed oil and it’s also combined with, they’ve made it high oleic oil.
Oleic is the kind of oil in olive oil. And it’s actually probably the best kind of oil if you are going to use oil, because it’ s less likely to be oxidized, because it only has one double bond, not to get into all the chemistry, but it’s less likely to be oxidized. Canola is quite similar to olive oil because they have inserted this component of it being high oleic.
So it is a little less likely to oxidize. [01:31:40] Oxidation creates inflammation, which is one of the drivers of disease. So in general, if you know chemistry and you remember in school doing your chemistry experiments, you have to heat up everything to make the chemistry experiment go faster.
You don’t want to be heating and cooking with oils in general because they have these double bonds that oxidize and that happens much more quickly and much more aggressively when your oils are heated. So in general I would use, and it’s also one of the reasons that eating out is dangerous because most restaurants use oils for their cooking and frying.
It’s far better cook and fry with animal fats. But if you use oil for salad dressing or another cold application, olive oil is probably the best and canola is decent as well.
Saifedean Ammous: Oh, okay. I’m wondering, the promotion of olive oil in industry, there’s very strong evidence just that the vast majority of olive oil on the market is at [01:32:40] least mixed with canola and rapeseed and soybean oil, right?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah.I’ve heard it I’m not an expert on this, but like nut oils, various kinds of nuts. So those are all polyunsaturated, multiple double bonds, much more likely to oxidize. So when I say olive oil, you don’t know if you’re really getting olive oil, but if you’re doing studies of oils, just if you look up the word, look up oleic, O L E I C. And that is the type of fatty acid that it has only one double bond, and it’s the least likely to oxidize.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. I’m wondering how likely is it that part of the push to promote olive oil is due to the fact that soybean and canola and not oil manufacturers are, they need people to buy olive oil because that’s how they sell their industrial waste.
They mix it in.
Nina Teicholz: I think that in this country or in the US, I think every country is a different story, depending upon what [01:33:40] their needed industry is. Most olive oil is not made in the United States.
Despite Harvard’s promotion of the Mediterranean diet, there was a kind of hard stop on promoting olive oil as part of it, because there’s no native, well there’s very little native olive oil industry. So we need to promote in our country, the oils that we make, which is predominantly soybean and high oleic oils.
Yeah. All right, well Kiki, do you want to go ahead and ask your question?
Kiki: Hi Nina, I’m so glad that you’re here and thank you for your work. I have two questions. One, I’m wondering what the focus of your group is now or your next focus now that these new guidelines have come out? And then also, can we look forward to another book from you?
Nina Teicholz: Yeah, those are great questions. So my group, I would urge you to visit nutritioncoalition.us [01:34:40] and please donate because we do not, as I said we don’t take any industry money and we really are supported by individuals, by people around the world. And we’re the only group in the world who is working to make the guidelines more rigorous. The guidance come out every five years. So there is going to be another round of them and that’s going to come up.
It’s going to start in about a year and a half. And in the meantime I’ve been working with various academics. Sort of those courageous academics who are at the end of their careers, are willing to speak out to come up with a series of papers that we will soon be able to publish. Just about various aspects of the guidelines that don’t reflect the science, are not rigorous.
What are some problems with the methodology and the process? And our hope is that, due to the caliber of the scientists who are offering these papers, that they actually will have a bit of impact. And we also have been instrumental in getting a new national academies study mandated by Congress to review the dietary guidelines and to explain [01:35:40] why they are not responding better to chronic disease.
So that’s been part of our work. And then as far as writing a new book, I do want to write a new book. I have sort of one in the works that I’m thinking about that would really be about this question of veganism and how it’s been promoted, pulling back the veil on this diet everybody has accepted, especially young people, as being the most healthy best option.
And I want to talk about what are the nutritional problems with that diet? How does it affect people and what are some of the politics? Again, it’s always the politics that really have driven nutrition.
And I want to explain that. So I hope you’ll be interested in that topic or give it to the young people that you know, who are all going vegan.
Kiki: As a former vegan vegetarian for 30 years and now a carnivore, yes, I absolutely support a work like that. So great, thank you for everything. And I will donate to the coalition.
[01:36:40] Saifedean Ammous: Well, Nina this is the time where I shill you Bitcoin, if you want to get donations, you should consider accepting Bitcoin because a lot of Bitcoiners are going to be very receptive to your message. But also I think the long-term vision here is that basically Bitcoin fixes everything in the world.
And this is a constant running theme in our discussions here. And I think my argument, how it relates to diet is that, when we were talking about all the science funding stuff, all of that comes from the fact that government has an infinite money printer that can finance all of these things without regard to market feedback.
So that’s how they can keep telling people essentially murderous nutritional advice for 70 years. No private company could get away without a government protection. And the reason the government is able to get away with it is because of their money printer and Bitcoin takes that away.
So you’ll get more donations and you’ll help starve the beast that has been feeding people all this stuff that has been making them sick.
Nina Teicholz: Okay. [01:37:40] Well, you’re going to set me up with that after this podcast.
And there are remarkable similarities. I wish I could figure out what is the Bitcoin of nutrition. And I think that I have a two part answer to that, which is that one is everybody’s in control of their own health. So everybody can experiment on themselves.
It’s not environmental pollution where we have no control over that. You have control over your own body, what goes into your mouth you can control. And so we have the power of doing experiments on ourselves, which is tremendous. What concerns me and is why I care about The Nutrition Coalition is that there are so many people who are unable to, don’t have this knowledge or are unable to control what they put in their mouth.
All of the food programs for the kids at schools and kids’ breakfasts and people who are elderly and people in hospitals and people in prisons, and all of that, these people really are what we call [01:38:40] captive populations, they don’t have choice. And then make people who go to their doctors, they just don’t understand that is all driven by this incredibly rigid system.
I can’t figure out how to get around that. The government is, in the little time that I ventured into trying to change policy, I’ve just realized what a tremendous Titanic of a ship it is and how hard it is to change and how much money there is in invested in just keeping it just the way it is.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I think I’d argue that the Bitcoin equivalent in nutrition is getting in touch with your local rancher and getting meat from them and just ignoring everything else. Ignoring all of these giant supply chains that are out there, making people sick with all of that money, all of the centralized food production, all the centralized dietary guidelines.
That’s the equivalent of central banking essentially. And Bitcoin is the alternative to that. Bitcoin is the decentralized alternative for that. So I think getting a [01:39:40] cow from your rancher and making sure that you’re friends with your rancher because ranchers and the meat industry, as you know, are under tremendous attack currently.
And ultimately everywhere in the world, there are people growing animals. If you live in a society of more than a hundred people, there will be somebody who’s growing animals, who’s grazing animals and eating their meat and selling their meat. And so the answer really is for people to just get in touch with that person. Keep buying from them directly, make sure that they can stay in business because if they can’t stay in business, you’re left to the vultures of the multinational corporations to feed you, their poison.
Nina Teicholz: Yeah, I think that’s true. There’s a saying, pay the farmer, not big pharma. And I think, this is true. These farmers are really under attack. Especially ranchers are under attack in every way. There’s terrible stories I hear all the time about really, in England they’re literally going to [01:40:40] farms and harassing them.
It really is up to people like us to support our local communities. I think that’s true. I still have this kind of communitarian sense that we do need to take care of people who are these captive populations. And we do have this problem where we don’t have enough people to go to our military because we have an obesity problem.
We keep missing recruiting targets. So we don’t have really a functional military anymore. And that creates the need for, I guess more drones and more remote killing. And it is a societal problem. I believe that you should fix your own health and take care of your own community.
We do have this larger societal problem that I believe we have to somehow fix.
Saifedean Ammous: Bitcoin! Yeah, this is where this podcast is a little bit of a trap. We did the same thing with Patrick Moore when we were discussing carbon [01:41:40] dioxide. It all comes back to Bitcoin. It’s insane how much of a monomaniac you become when you start getting into Bitcoin, when you take the orange pill as they call it, you start seeing the effects of fiat money everywhere, and you start seeing how Bitcoin fixes that everywhere.
Nina Teicholz: Well, I do think it is a very powerful convener of independent thinkers and people who are open to new ideas, who respond to new observations, people who may be a little bit of a Maverick mentality. I see that those are also the people who are able to open their minds to the possibility that a different diet might be helpful to them.
So I see this sort of connection and Bitcoin has created that community, which is hopefully, ultimately it needs to be a powerful force in the world. It’s one of the forces, one of the movements that is rising up against what I see is increased corporatism [01:42:40] and corporate control.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely. And the difference between Bitcoin and other movements is that Bitcoin has a very powerful super power and the secret weapon, well not secret, but a very powerful weapon, which is what we’d like to call number go up technology. And it basically says, essentially Bitcoin is designed to go up in value.
So Bitcoin, there’s no way of increasing the supply. And so over time, more and more people keep hearing about Bitcoin, but the supply doesn’t increase. And so the only way that more people can get into Bitcoin is if the price goes up. And so if you get into Bitcoin, you end up becoming more influential over time, end up having more resources because you’re putting your wealth, you’re storing it in a superior technology for value storage.
As opposed to people who are trying to make progress, essentially while running on the treadmill of fiat money, which is constantly devaluing. So if you just hold money in your bank account, you’re losing purchasing power. And if you try and do [01:43:40] other things, you need to turn into a full-time asset manager at the expense of your real work to try and manage to beat inflation, and then you have to pay fees and all of that stuff.
And Bitcoin is just, it allows you that freedom to just put the money in that thing and not worry about the fact that in five years time, it’s not going to be inflated away. It’s not going to be destroyed. In five years time it will almost certainly be worth much more than what it is worth today.
And so, A.) it gives you more financial resources and B) it frees you up. And I think this is a very common experience among Bitcoiners, I’ve spoken to many Bitcoiners obviously over the years, once that you can provide for your future self, then things become much more secure for you.
And then your mind is clear and then you can use your time to build things that matter. It’s a much more of a long-term focus, long-term approach to life, which is it almost feels like you’re replacing people’s software when they move from fiat money to Bitcoin. Because [01:44:40] they go from living on a treadmill, no mental clarity, constantly in the horror of, how am I going to be able to provide for myself five years from now into, oh well, the future is now secure and taken care of.
And let me think about me. Let me think about my career, the things that I want to build. Let me think about building things that last over time. Hopefully that will get you on board.
Nina Teicholz: It is, and it’s also also great for me to hear that the Bitcoin, I was so excited when you first reached out to me because it was exciting to hear that your community’s interested in these nutrition ideas, because our ideas in the world of nutrition make no money, nobody makes. So in fact, medical doctors are putting themselves, there’s plenty of people who need their help, but ultimately you put yourself out of business if you make people healthy.
So there needs to be, exactly what you’re describing, which is some other, [01:45:40] there has to be some way to invest in what will make people healthy without having to worry about the loss of income that comes with that.
I said you’ve solved that problem too now.
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly! Well, I’m delighted that you’re being sold and I will definitely help you set up your website and set up donations on your website. We’ll be very glad to do it and I really wish you all the best of luck with all of your amazing work. It has been transformative for me personally, and for many people all over the world.
You’re a hero. Thank you so much.
Nina Teicholz: Well, thank you very much. It’s really great to talk to you and your audience, so thank you.
Saifedean Ammous: Thank you, thank you. All right, have a good day.