Hey Michael - many thanks!
I am glad to see you changed your conclusion on nuts from “90% of published studies suggest that nut consumption does NOT lead to weight gain” to “Nut consumption does not appear to lead to the expected weight gain.”
So you are agreeing that nuts cause weight gain, which has been the point of my articles, just not as much as the estimated amount of weight, as I've been also saying.
Regarding your updated video, I just looked at it and, to be honest, I am still seeing a number of problems, at least from how I understand these.
I am seeing you included studies I debunked in my first article, here:
One thing a leading veg researcher we all know (from an org we all know and love) pointed out to me a few weeks ago is that you can't just take the conclusions as gospel that the nut-industry researchers present. They can adjust certainty to render weight gain "insignificant" -- when nearly everyone would consider that amount of weight gain very significant.
So for example in your new video, one of the studies I noticed you touted was this new one:
A randomized trial of the effects of an almond-enriched, hypocaloric diet in the treatment of obesity. Foster GD, Shantz KL, Vander Veur SS, Oliver TL, Lent MR, Virus A, Szapary PO, Rader DJ, Zemel BS, Gilden-Tsai A. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun 27.
You read the researchers conclusion that: There were no differences in weight loss or cardiovascular disease risk factor outcomes between groups at 18 months.”
But check out Table 2 in that study. You will see that the nut group was 5 pounds heaver than the non-nut group after 18 months. For many people, 5 pounds in 18 months is significant. And, after 10 years at that rate, the nut group would be 30 pounds heavier than the non-nut group, according to that study.
For most people, like Chef AJ, being 30 pounds heavier in 10 years from just adding nuts would be VERY significant! :)
This study also shows 18 months of nuts had no impact on cardiovascular disease risk factors for the nut-eaters. So that study you're promoting would seem to argue for not adding nuts since they cause an average of maybe 3 pounds weight gain a year without improving heart disease risk.
So in reality, doesn't that "latest" study say exactly the opposite of what you've been asserting about nuts? It shows that 18 months of added nuts did nothing to improve heart disease markers like cholesterol, but it did cause 5 pounds average weight gain.
And I think this is why the FDA finds these nut studies so weak. I put in my other article the fact that FDA gives a “C” grade to these claims about nuts, based on the same studies you're presenting. As you probably know, a “C” grade from FDA “represents a low level of comfort among qualified scientists that the claimed relationship is scientifically valid.”
In other words, scientists at FDA, who are much smarter than we are in evaluating studies since they do it for a living, have looked at this nut research and concluded that it's not very good evidence at all. (The research around walnuts is the only exception, but it still only gets a "B" grade.)
Frankly, I'm pretty sure I could find the same problems with most of the studies you've included in your new video, but I need to find the time I don't have right now to get into each one.
Yes, nuts lead to less weight gain than expected, based on mechanisms that have been known for years, but they still cause a net weight gain, unless allowances are made. I noticed you didn't spend any time on the studies showing explicitly that nuts cause weight gain. Was there a reason you omitted those?
Also, regarding the point you make about some subjects not gaining as much weight as expected, I believe you (and those researchers who did those studies) used an outdated model for predicting weight gain.
To predict weight gain, they used to use 3500 calories equals a pound. So, if you added 350 calories per day to your diet (about 2 ounces of nuts), they used to guess you would gain about 1 pound every 10 days or 35 lbs in a year.
However, the current model, which you should know about, says that this estimate is not true because as the body begins to gain weight, it makes adjustments and the original equation no longer applies. So, you need a dynamic equation, which changes as your weight changes. So, instead if gaining 35 lbs in a year, it takes more like 3 years.
All the nuts studies you're citing were done before they knew this so all the predictions should be off considerably.
Here is a paper about this:
And here is a link to an online calculator for estimating weight gain:
In the paper above with the latest formula for estimating weight gain, they review how most weight studies end up with less than predicted weight gain, regardless of what they eat (nuts or otherwise) because of this flaw in the original equation.
So, i just ran a test on the simulator I linked to, starting with a 40 yr old active guy who is 5'8". He eats 2351 calories per day. If he added another 165 more calories per day (like one ounce of nuts) for a year, we used calculate him to gain about 17 lbs in a year based on the old formula. 165 calories per day x 365 days equals 60,225 calories. Divided by 3500 calories (per pound) = about 17 lbs.
However, the new calculator says he would only gain 10 lbs in the year.
The reason why his weight increase isn't as much as previously expected is that with each pound he gains, he is no longer the original person we did the original calculations on as he is now a little heavier and his body has made adjustments. And, as time passes and he gains more weight, it all changes again. So, all predicted weight gains based on the old formula are wrong, which includes the gains you (and the researchers in these studies) predict in your video.
Now it's well known that nuts don't put on as much weight as the *estimated* calories would suggest, and the mechanisms for this have also been well known for quite some time. But people still put on weight, when nuts added to the average diet, as I believe you now agree (and even if the nut industry calls the amount of weight gain "insignificant"), unless there is a compensation made.
I eat nuts and seeds, I like them. But I do not consider them in any way a "super food" which are required for optimal health. Need magnesium that nuts have? Lots more in greens, zucchini, you name it -- than nuts. Need cholesterol lowering? Don't settle for a measly 5%. Go on a diet like McDougall, Fuhrman, Barnard or Esselstyn, with or without the nuts (depending on your weight), and you'll do way better than the few points that may go down with nuts, if you're eating a terrible diet to start and the nuts are replacing saturated fatty foods.
I truly believe, like the FDA scientists, that the hype around nuts is a myth because the science is just not there. Now as I know you may strongly disagree, we need to come up with some kind of worthwhile bet and a manner to prove who's right. :)
Or maybe just agree to disagree...
I think you're mistaken, VegHead. I don't believe Dr. Greger say "nuts do NOT cause weight gain."
He did assert that previously. But he changed his video and now concludes that: "Nut consumption does not appear to lead to the expected weight gain."
That's a big difference, and if you look a little further up this discussion string, you will see he linked to his newer video with the newer conclusion.
So Dr. Greger agrees that nuts do cause weight gain, just not as much as he expected, based on estimated calorie counts of nuts.
But every study that has looked at adding nuts to diet has shown that nuts do always cause weight gain. I am not aware of any studies that show nuts do not cause weight gain. Can you find me just one?
Also, it's well established that cutting fat (which nuts contain a lot of) really does help you lose weight, e.g. --
I highly recommend the new talk on nuts by Jeff Novick MS RD, which he gave at our Expo in October. It's 2 hours long and Jeff goes through all the studies on nuts, including those Dr. Greger cites, and breaks it down.
Also, you really have to look at the quality of a study before deciding how strong or weak it is. For example, the Nurses Health Study is regularly cited by some, including Dr. Greger I believe, to support this claim or that. The Nurses Health Study, for example, shows that nuts, olive oil, and dairy products are all associated with reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and lower BMI.
Now using this same data, the dairy industry made claims in advertising that milk helped with weight loss. Well PCRM hates it when animal food manufacturers use junk science or very weak science to make unfounded nutrition claims. So PCRM sued the dairy industry. PCRM said the Nurses Health Study and other such association studies like it were extremely weak evidence and could in no way justify a conclusion about milk and weight loss.
PCRM won in court, and the dairy industry had to withdraw the marketing claims about dairy and weight loss, and toss out their commercials.
So if you cheer PCRM for beating dairy industry exaggerations based on very weak science, why would you applaud Dr. Greger when he uses the exact same weak science to make similar claims about nuts?
If you follow Dr. Greger's studies there, you would have to accept that milk is a wonderful health food, and that olive oil is just the thing to combat heart disease. But none of the veg MDs (other than Dr. Greger) advises that olive oil is good for your heart. Not Fuhrman, McDougall, Esselstyn, Barnard, Ornish -- they all contend olive oil is bad for your heart. And all of them, including Greger, give a thumbs down on dairy. So why is Dr. Greger using a study selectively? Agreeing with the data when it supports his beliefs, but rejecting the same data when it shows something he doesn't believe?
It's a serious question, and I do like Dr. Greger and respect a lot of his work, and look to promote what he is doing.
So that is my suggestion to you -- watch Jeff Novick's DVD so you can start to see that you can't take a study at face value, but have to go a little deeper to evaluate the quality of a study, and see whether it says what the authors of the study claim it shows (especially when those authors may have been paid by the food industry).
Colin Campbell PhD, famed researcher and author of The China Study, says of Jeff Novick:
"Jeff, your ability to probe and analyze the research literature is as good as anyone I know, inside or outside of the professional research community. You actually obtain the papers and critically review the tables and charts of the data, then see if the authors discussion of their own data is consistent. "
By the way, when is the last time you picked up a can of nuts and read a claim that nuts aid in weight loss? Never. That's cause the nut industry isn't allowed to make such a claim. If it were true that nuts caused weight loss, and the nut industry could back it up, don't you think it would be in nut commercials or at least on every package of nuts out there? But it's not. Think about it.
Association studies like the Nurses Health Study have large numbers of people fill out questionnaires about what they normally eat, then researchers come back many years later and check on the participants' health, and try to draw sweeping conclusions about the food the people said on their questionnaire years earlier they were eating, and the diseases they did or didn't get. At best you can get information about eating patterns from these kinds of studies, but not about a specific food, like nuts, dairy or olive oil.
Here's a short excerpt from Jeff Novick's recent 2-hour presentation on the actual science behind nuts and health claims, this section being about diabetes:
But there is much much more in the full talk. Don't be "super fooled" by super foods. :)
Novick pulls back the curtain on the studies and claims someuse to promote nuts, and it is massively convincing. Nuts are a good food, but they are way overhyped in some quarters, and when you look at the studies, you start to understand how it all works.
And here's where you can get Jeff's full 2-hour nuts talk from the Expo: https://secure2.vegsource.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=73&products_id=501
VegHead - I love nuts too, and I do eat them, as well as seeds. Jeff Novick does too. Hey, I've seen Jeff eat peanut butter (once) with my daughters when we were filming! He must've been hungry! :)
Nuts are a good food, we can agree on that for sure. Novick recommends about an ounce a day, for people who wish to eat them, as he says in his talk.
Where I'm going to disagree with some others: I don't subscribe to the "superfood" mentality on nuts or just about any other food.
And nuts and avocados and other high-fat plant foods can definitely be a problem for vegans who are trying to bring their weight down.
Did AJ put her health at risk in some way when she gave up nuts and quickly lost 15 or 20 pounds as a direct result?
Definitely not, is my take.
But the nut people seem to disagree almost violently, and went apoplectic claiming she somehow made a huge mistake and was going to fall over and die any minute when she pushed away the nut jar.
That's all this has been, is push back against people pushing nuts based on very shaky, mostly nut-industry funded science.
Nuts aren't bad foods, they're good. But they aren't required for nutritional excellence and great health. The Okinawans are some of the longest living people on the planet, and nuts had nothing to do with it. Sweet potatoes did, but even though sweet potatoes are a great food in a lot of ways, once again you can have a very healthy diet even if you don't eat very many of them, just like nuts. Your overall dietary pattern is what matters, not any individual food or particular tea or special ingredient. That kind of stuff is just an interesting distraction.
Now here's a piece of advice that CAN really save your health, from Dr. McDougall: http://bit.ly/W6y0r9
Yes, have seen that new one, which is a nut-industry funded study of a number of nut-industry studies, most of which studies actually had little to do with weight loss. In fact it "reviews" several of the same studies we already debunked, where nut-eaters were fed fewer calories during the study period when their weight started to go up, so that there would be no weight gain. In other words, it's another nonsense study from the free-spending nut industry.
A little busy right now, but we will be taking that one apart before too long. Meanwhile, Chef AJ has lost way more weight since this series of articles went up...doing nothing other than eliminate the "recommended" amount of daily nuts from her diet.
Nuts are great! They're healthy! But they're not "super foods" and the science, when it's actually examined and not just skimmed over, shows they do make most people gain weight if they simply add them and don't use them to replace.
Posted by Jeff Nelson, May 4, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Posted by Jeff Nelson, May 4, 2013 at 10:25 AM
Posted by Jeff Nelson, April 18, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Posted by Jeff Nelson, April 17, 2013 at 09:56 AM
If nuts and seeds stop heart attacks, why is heart disease still the number one killer of all Americans?
And if someone still has fat on their body and they give up nuts as an experiment for 3 weeks, I seriously doubt they will have a heart attack. Excess weight, on the other hand, carries great risks.
Chef AJ looks good in whatever she chooses to wear. Lighten up folks.
Just wanted to point out there has been a new report by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluding nut consumption does not cause weight gain and may actually have a modest slimming effect. The report is based on a review of thirty-one studies in which subjects added nuts to their diet and replaced other foods with nuts. I happen to be terrible with computers so I can't link to the report but it was released by Reuters. Sorry to reignite this controversy but I couldn't resist. I doubt this will change many minds but I would still be interested to hear why this latest report doesn't hold water. Thanks
Are you going to have the Wednesday Bus Tour as you did last year with Chef A.J.? We really enjoyed it and would like to experience it again this year.
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