“Simply, we were dumb.”

Dr. Richard David Feinman*: “Whatever else we know or don’t know about Paleo, we know that our ancestors did not get three squares a day, and evolution must have invested far more in ketogenic metabolism than was reflected in our research interests.

“Simply, we were dumb. We’re trying to fix that now.”

Dr. Robert Lustig**: “The thing is I’m a practicing physician and a scientist and for every one patient I took care of and got better ten more would show up in my door. There was no way I was ever going to fix this.

“And the thing that really really bothered me was I learned virtually everything I know about nutrition in college because I majored in nutrition and food science at MIT. And then I went to medical school and they beat it out of me and told me that everything I’d learned was the irrelevant, it had no place in patient care, it wasn’t necessary, and that really all I had to do was focus on calories. I figured these are the clinicians. I’m gonna be closer. I better listen to them and so I practiced that way for like 20 years.

“And then I started doing research because my patients weren’t getting better and I started doing research to try to figure out what’s going on and it like all came rushing back to me, kind of like post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s like, oh my, I knew this stuff back in 1975. So I got pissed off. So I think part of the passion actually is sort of the the being dumbfounded and the anger of what I see going on in medicine today. So I’m glad it translates in a positive way and that people appreciate the passion but I’m just like really ticked off.”

* * *

*”[Dr.] Richard David Feinman is Professor of Cell Biology (Biochemistry) at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center  in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Feinman’s original area of research was in protein chemistry and enzyme mechanism, particularly in blood coagulation and related processes.

“Dr. Feinman has worked in several scientific areas including animal behavior and he has had a previous life in the visual arts. His friends consider him a Renaissance Man but he has made peace with the term dilettante.

“His current interest is in nutrition and metabolism, specifically in the area of diet composition and energy balance. Work in this area is stimulated by, and continues to influence, his teaching in the Medical School where he has been a pioneer in incorporating nutrition into the biochemistry curriculum. Dr. Feinman is the founder and former co-Editor-In-Chief (2004-2009) of the journal, Nutrition&Metabolism. Dr. Feinman received his BA from the University of Rochester and he holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Oregon.” (from bio on his blog)

Dr. Feinman is quoted by Kathryn Goulding in a Paleo Magazine interview for an article on his book Nutrition in Crisis (June/July 20019).

**Dr. Robert Lustig is a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. He specializes in neuroendocrinology and childhood obesity. He is a leading expert on the obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome epidemics.

His career has included working as a physician, involvement in research (authored 125 peer-reviewed articles and 73 reviews), public speaking (videos of his talks have received millions of views), and authoring books (Fat Chance, Hacking the American Mind, Sugar Has 56 Names, and Obesity Before Birth; also the introduction to John Yudkin’s classic Pure, White and Deadly). He has also been a co-founder, president, director, chairman, member, and consultant of numerous public and private medical, health and dietary task forces, committees, board of directors, institutes, and other organizations.

His focus has been primarily on sugar, not carbohydrates in general. Dr. Feinman has been critical of him on this account. But it appears that he is moving toward the low-carb diet, along with a convergence of his views with those of Gary Taubes. See the discussion on the Ketogenic Forums: Has Lustig moved toward us?

Dr. Lustig is quoted from the below video:


3 thoughts on ““Simply, we were dumb.”

  1. Patients surely “got pissed off. So I think part of the passion actually is sort of the the the the the being [coerced] dumbfounded and the [what comes before anger seeps in?] anger of what I see going on in” shame;?; shame on him for playing along; guilt transmuted to pissy vinegar word salads about anger. He needs to calm down and get down to business…he is? Good. 😆 He was not dumb. He is mortal. I can forgive him for loosing the groove in the late 70s. You? Forgive my glib emotive content. I don’t know anything.
    I ate a Baconator from Wendy’s for my supper. My blood feels angry.
    “Simply, we were dumb.” Great quote thanks for sharing. Does Burger King still sell the Angry Whopper?

    • Some people deserve more blame than others. Some of the failure can be forgiven. Knowledge and alternative views were less widely available before the internet. But maybe Lustig should have known better. After all, he can’t claim ignorance like so many others. He admits to having been taught this knowledge by experts in that field. On the other hand, I don’t doubt the power of medical school in beating out such knowledge and making people question what they think they know.

      What is more maddening is that medical schools were doing that. It demonstrates a willful ignorance that was institutionalized and a callousness toward public health. All that medical professors had to do at the time was talk to the nutritionist professors in another department and they instantly would have been explained their ignorance. It’s hard to blame the students. Even many medial professors in the decades before that understood the role of carbohydrates in diabetes and obesity. It was knowledge suppressed, the history of which is detailed by Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz — and these accounts are damning.

      The ignorance was imposed from above. The medical professors were simply repeating what they had been told by the AHA and whatnot. So many who were repeating and few thinking for themselves, few questioning what they were told. That is why indoctrination and propaganda are so often effective. If that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t see so many authoritarian regimes throughout history. How many people now openly and vocally question much of anything, whether in nutrition or elsewhere? So many problems in our society could be avoided if those in positions in power and influence were willing to challenge the status quo.

      We need more people to be angry. And we need people like Lustig to get angry much sooner. 20years is a long time to delay one’s anger. Do we have to wait another 20 years for more doctors to wake up to the obvious?

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