We are carnivores

As paleo and primal become more complex, authoritarian, licensed, profit driven, subverted and infected with fear based marketing efforts, Primal North seeks to simplify, unify, and advocate a proper level of scientific skepticism to the world of paleo, primal and low carb nutrition. Meat is food, plants are medicine, food is fuel, and movement is pleasure. Lets stop making a mess of it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Thyroid Rant!

Another fear mongering, bad science based attack on low carb regarding the thyroid.


First of all, understand going in that reduced T3, or increased reverse T3 is NOT HYPOTHYROIDISM and not even an indicator of an issue.  It is NORMAL in a ketogenic diet, NORMAL AND HEALTHY.

On with the rant on the above link...

Do these studies meet actual scientific criteria that could even prove the theory that low carb damages the thyroid?

Every single study quoted in this article shows no actual manifestation of hypothyroid, only reduced T3 WHICH IS NORMAL on low carb ketogenic diet.  This is the EXPECTED and HEALTHY T3 level when doing low carb.  You simply need less T3 in this different metabolic state that "safe starchers" so fear and misunderstand at the same time.

Almost all studies quoted also provided ridiculously low calories yet the low carb aspect is solely blamed for lowered T3.

This is the type of bullshit science paleo followers are supposed to know enough to ignore.

Confounding variables? Check.  A cause B so likley causes C logic fail? Check  (low carb lowers T3, there it must also cause hypothyroidism even though no symptoms were recorded).  Correlation = causation?

A leads to B so likely leads to C logic?
Confounding variables? (Super low calorie diets)
No noted actual hypothyroidism in studies, yet concludes it happened anyway because T3 fell?
(A to B to C without proof)
Correlation = Causation?
And even if it did we are talking about 500-800 calorie diets! These are starvation diets and NOT typical of low carb which allows you to eat ad lib!

We in paleo are supposed to know better!  Shame on us for constantly accepting this bullshit bad science!

Where is Taubes when you need him?

Gary Taubes, Tom Naughton, and a few others I am sure, would tear these studies apart as "proof" of any low carb causes hypothyroid claim.  Heck, anyone who has watched "Science for Smart People" for 15 minutes on YouTube could rip this article apart, yet its treated as gold.  Why?

(In case you need a refresh on good science)

We DO NOT accept this bullshit science when it comes to studies on oat bran reducing cholesterol and then by extension reducing heart attack risks, why is paleo so quick to embrace this LOUSY science about low carb diets?

Where is the thyroid tests before and after the low carb intervention?  None

Where is the removal of confounding variables by giving people an adequate calorie low carb diet? None

Let me quote the introduction of the article

Before I discuss the clinical research on carbohydrate intake and thyroid hormone levels, allow me to get a little ‘unscientific’ and report some anecdotal findings noted by myself and others

Confirmation bias - Google it.  Here, let me...

Quote:  Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses.[Note 1][1] People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs.

Can we get some real science to spur debate?

Now, if we could get some ACTUAL REAL SCIENCE showing hypothyroidism I am happy to examine it, but all we have driving this claim in paleo is Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet, neither of whom that I am aware of have ever actually proved this claim with anything beyond anecdotal evidence and last I checked neither one of them had the actual qualifications to even diagnose hypothyroidism let alone determine a cause.

Dr. Phinney, Volek, Eades, Rosedale, all have decades old medical practices and all treat with low carb diets and NOT ONE of them find this issue.  NOT ONE.  And these are doctors who, if they found that issue, could just prescribe the necessary drugs to correct.  They have no vested interest in denying this if it is a possibility, they just do not see it.

Bad science, bad analysis, confirmation bias.

I am open to actual proof of this claim but in 2 years now I have yet to be confronted by any actual clinical trials (and there have now been hundreds on low carbs) where subjects had to drop out due to thyroid problems with the diet.  IT JUST DOES NOT HAPPEN.

Anecdotal evidence is meaningless as proof of anything!

Think about this, people feel like shit, they are obese, sick, on lots of drugs.  They go on a low carb diet and start to feel better in so many ways but they do not get the energy surge when the Atkins flu ends.  They then investigate and find a low thyroid function, get some meds for it, and feel better.  So in this example, was it the low carb diet? Or was this an undiagnosed condition of an already sick, obese person going in?

So tired of this nonsense.  Show me a clinical trial on point and we can talk, until then articles like this represent supposition unsupported by any real evidence.

What would it take to actually prove this claim?

A clinical trial where the only intervention was the removal of carbs.  Calorie limits would not be enforced as in low carb we eat according to hunger.  The low carb diet should be a properly formulated low carb diet, not some high protein toxic diet, but a high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet.

Participants would need to be fully screened for thyroid issues and symptoms by qualified diagnosticians prior to the intervention, then screened again repeatedly throughout the study.

True indicators of hypothyroidism should be the criteria, not just lowered T3 which is the normal outcome for anyone in a low carb diet simply because less T3 is necessary in this metabolic state.

But THAT is a study that has yet to be done.  Until then, we are left only with anecdotal evidence from laymen that contradicts all actual clinical experience by experienced low carb medical practitioners...

Something, anything, that can show cause and effect.

That is the study I am waiting for.

Is it so unreasonable to want some real proof before real debate?

We have nothing on point anywhere, and I been looking.

Until then, its all hype designed to justify higher carb niches in paleo.  Now I got no problem with their chosen path, but does it have to come at the cost of lying about mine?

Some other clinical trials we would like to see

Kitavans and Okinawans as a dietary intervention vs a control group and a properly done low carb trial group.

Lets take some fat sick obese Americans and apply this diet to them, and see how they fare.

Right now all we have is population studies, correlation does not equal causatin remember?

I would love to see the results of some actual science on that as well.

Low carb diets have constantly met the criteria of proof, the others are still catching up.

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