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Nutrition Past and Future

42 You Win, Anthony Colpo

A few of you may know that Anthony Colpo created some very ugly blog posts attacking me some months ago. I don't think it is necessary for me to get into a back-and-forth with him. For one thing, his blogs are nearly unreadable. Those blogs were about me and I could barely maintain enough interest get through them. His writing isn't good and I doubt many people out there are punishing themselves by trying to read it. But one of those blog posts was useful in a way because it showed us very clearly what sort of person he is. Let me show you why you should ignore the nonsense he writes.

Here is a part of that blog. Colpo is saying that no one bangs on about the Multicenter Lifestyle Demonstration Project. This was an effort to apply Dean Ornish's program on a wider scale as a part of a controlled trial. Colpo wrote that after three years, "there were no significant differences in cardiac event rates nor mortality between patients in the intervention and control groups." Wow, that sounds like a big failure for Ornish, doesn't it? Then he shares a bunch of stats to show you that indeed the differences between the groups were negligible. Apparently the Ornish program didn't accomplish a thing. Ornish can't hide from those numbers. Colpo has the goods on him. He is so smart. He gives us a reference for this information, number 16. Colpo is happy to provide his evidence because he's the real deal. You can see the reference is called "Improvements in medical risk factors and quality of life in women and men with coronary artery disease in the Multicenter Lifestyle Demonstration Project." Improvements in medical risk factors and quality of life? That doesn't sound so bad, does it? Why would they give such a nice title to a failed study that produced that miserable data? Could it be that they are trying to fake us out with their title? Is Colpo seeing through that and bringing us the truth?

Here is the abstract for the paper he has referenced. It really is about improvements in risk factors and quality of life for patients in the Ornish program. Those statistics Colpo used aren't in it. That's kinda weird.

Look again at those statistics that Colpo used. He is talking about an intervention and a control group. He has some numbers for stroke, myocardial infarction, etc. Just take a mental photo of those statistics. Look for example at where he wrote, "0.006 versus 0.012 for non-cardiac deaths."

Now look at this. Do these numbers look familiar? On the third line from the bottom, do you see that it says, "0.006 versus 0.012 for noncardiac deaths"? This is the source of that information. Do you see the subheading above that paragraph? Do you see the word "revascularization"? It's odd that Colpo didn't say anything about revascularizations, isn't it?

In case you don't know what a revascularization is, it is a heart surgery to restore blood flow. Bypass surgery is an example of a revascularization. People develop arterial blockages jammed full of cholesterol, usually because they fed themselves so badly. They need an alternate route installed in their chest so their blood can get around. That's revascularization.

This happens to be the actual paper where those numbers came from. This paper is written by Dean Ornish. This is not the paper that Colpo referenced. There is nothing about risk factors or quality of life in this title. Colpo didn't seem to want us to find the real paper so he gave us a phony reference to fill in the space where an honest person would put a real reference.

Take another look here. I did not alter this.

I saved that blog of his a while back as a PDF file so I could mark it up. I have noticed that Colpo has changed the look of his site since then. Here again is the same text and the same reference. This has been up for months now. This is the way he has decided to make a name for himself. This guy will sink this low and lie this obviously. That's all you need to know about Anthony Colpo.

The purpose of this paper was for Dr. Ornish to share data demonstrating the success of his approach. He showed that his methods were as successful as surgery, yet were far less costly. He thinks a change in lifestyle is preferable to open heart surgery. I guess Colpo disagrees.

Colpo must have known what that paper was about. The word revascularization is right above the paragraph with all his statistics. There is no way he didn't see it and there is no way he didn't know what this paper was about. The control group was the group that received heart surgery. The group doing the Ornish lifestyle treatment had more or less the same outcomes and they never had heart surgery! Colpo didn't tell you that.

Colpo wanted you to think the Ornish program failed somehow. Don't you think it's an important detail that what Colpo is calling a control group actually was a bunch of patients who underwent major heart surgery?

Ornish spells out how much money his plant-based lifestyle approach saved, not to mention all the discomfort it spared these patients who didn't have their chests sawed and splayed open. Did Colpo miss these statistics even though he saw those other ones? The Ornish approach saved almost $30,000 per person. That was where the  measurable differences were between the intervention and the control groups.

Ask yourself, does this writing meet what you would consider the lowest tolerable standard of honesty? Would you feel like an honest person if you wrote this?

Colpo can call me a liar all he wants. Words are cheap. I can't compete with him when it comes to name-calling. But fortunately, I don't have to resort to degrading language. I can simply show you Colpo's standards and let you decide for yourself what words you think characterize him best.

Here is an example of a Colpo defender. This is an individual with a law degree and an MBA saying that Colpo is "intellectually honest" and that he "knows his stuff". Read this and you'll see why I don't expect to be able to help everyone. Fortunately, angry kooks like this seem to be in the minority.

There are only a few items of substance I want to address in his blog about me. The rest of his dumb ideas are rebutted in my other videos. This video is mostly about the dishonesty and/or ignorance of this one particular guy, so feel free to skip to the next video if you don't need to see more evidence of this. If you would like to stick around, I will go through his other complaints fast. Here, Colpo tells us that the Lyon Diet Heart trial was very successful shortly after he tells us to avoid whole grains. He also says the intervention in Lyon worked despite the fact that the LDL levels in the intervention group did not differ from the LDL in the control group. He is trying to say that this means LDL doesn't matter and, I guess, that whole grains are bad for you.

He doesn't tell us that more of the control group patients were taking cholesterol lowering drugs that would explain why their LDL might have been a bit lower than expected. He also forgets to mention that the Lyon paper tells us that total cholesterol was a major predictor of the recurrence of cardiac events. "As expected," the authors wrote, "total cholesterol and leukocyte count were major independent and joint predictors of recurrence."

Take note that the subjects in the Lyon trial had already experienced a heart attack before the trial started.

So what was the intervention that Colpo thought was so successful? You know already that they consumed less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fat. Remember, Colpo writes so viciously about me because I say that saturated fat consumption can lead to heart disease. The intervention group was also told to eat more whole grains.

They ate less meat and butter. Here again you see that they ate whole grains as well as legumes.

It doesn't seem like he looked into that study very much, does it? He said it was the most successful intervention study like this ever but he doesn't seem to know what the intervention was.

Here is another goofy thing he wrote. I said that vitamin E hasn't been shown to be effective for preventing heart disease, which should be a problem for Colpo because he thinks antioxidants are really important for preventing heart disease while lowering cholesterol is not. He says the studies that found vitamin E ineffective did not use the right form of vitamin E. He likes gamma-tocopherol. He believes the fact that gamma-tocopherol hasn't been studied in a randomized controlled trial is reason enough for you to get upset with public officials. He wants people to demand that their politicians deal with this terrible oversight. I doubt a single person took his advice and called their representatives in Congress about gamma tocopherol.

Here are some problems with his complaint. He says the basic problem in heart disease is LDL oxidation. Alpha-tocopherol, the type of vitamin E he doesn't like, has been shown to reduce LDL oxidation. It should have worked if he were right about what causes heart disease.

Moreover, gamma-tocopherol has been subjected to a trial. Guess what? It lowers LDL. If it's going to work, that is how it is most likely to do it. Colpo wants you to think that if your cholesterol is low, you'll get cancer or commit suicide, and yet he wants you to call up some staff member at the office for your local Congressional district and make demands that they do more trials on a substance that lowers cholesterol.

Moreover, all those vegetable oils he says he thinks are so awful are actually major sources of gamma-tocopherol. Here is another trial that he apparently never heard of. Of course, most of the diet-heart intervention trials based their interventions on vegetable oils, so although they weren't explicitly about gamma tocopherol, one might argue that they showed some effect of gamma-tocopherol.

And then Colpo takes me to task over the issue of uric acid. I say we should adopt a lifestyle that lowers it to prevent heart disease. Colpo says uric acid isn't much of a problem because very few people have hyperuricemia, which is a higher than normal level of uric acid in the blood. But the same as with cholesterol, "normal" in the fat, sick American population doesn't mean "normal" or healthy for the human body. We used to call a cholesterol score of 300 normal, too, just because that's what was found in most Americans. Mr. Colpo doesn't understand that normal uric acid levels aren't low enough. So-called "normal" levels increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

How can you give yourself the higher levels of uric acid which will raise your risk of facing diabetes or heart disease? Follow Colpo's advice and eat plenty of meat and seafood.

As you know, I've made a video dealing with the rusty old claim that atherosclerosis at autopsy doesn't correlate with cholesterol in the blood right before people die. Colpo likes that argument. I've dealt with it enough already, but I'll just quickly address the two papers he picked on this topic anyway.

Here is one. It was done by Paterson, whose poor logic I showed you already. As you can see, this is a study of older institutionalized individuals who were likely to have comorbidities affecting their cholesterol levels. In this one, all that was done to deal with that problem was to remove from consideration those who fell below minimum weight standards from the old Met Life life insurance tables. That standard leaves a lot of room for people with comorbidities to be included. Imagine if someone had been overweight, but due to illness they lost a lot of weight. They may not have lost enough to fall below their minimum weight level on some table because they started off so heavy. Such a person would have been included in this study anyway. This was not an adequate measure to truly deal with such issues. Therefore, this old paper isn't worth much. Also, Paterson says that "morphologic grading was done in a rough manner." I appreciate his frankness about his imprecision. Only Colpo would be impressed with this lame study of shut-ins.

The next one is a little more interesting, even though it is ancient as well. This was an autopsy study from a hospital in India that only included 20 bodies for which they had measured cholesterol. The authors say they picked their subjects at random, but that is beside the point. With only 20 bodies, we are dealing with too small a data set. Colpo doesn't seem to understand the problem with that. On the plus side, these were individuals who died suddenly, so they were far less likely to have had comorbidities.

Look at the characteristics of their subjects. They all had pretty low cholesterol. This study was done at a hospital in Northern India. People there were not eating fatty and meaty diets comparable to Americans then, so we only see a high cholesterol reading of 180. You are not going to see a big effect from cholesterol among such people because no one has high cholesterol. Also, you see here that sometimes the delay in getting a blood draw after death was as much as 36 hours. You can see that in fact, the cholesterol readings taken after death were quite different than those before death, despite their claims to the contrary. The methods here were poor.

They admitted that practically no information was available back then about the general issue of the validity of cholesterol readings taken after death. Look at their numbers on the previous slide and it is clear enough that their cholesterol measurements after death were often too low to be considered accurate.

Had he read this, Colpo should have seen that atherosclerosis in these bodies did in fact increase with increasing cholesterol, but these authors made the mistake of attributing this effect to age, as though this is a totally separate factor. If you've seen my Exposure video, you know that high cholesterol does its damage over time, so rather than saying that age confounded the effect of cholesterol, they might have said that age worked with cholesterol to cause the plaques they saw. This study demonstrates the lipid hypothesis even if Colpo can't understand that.

Here's another reference which Colpo chose to misrepresent. You can see at the top that he says I've ignored this one. He thinks it shows that the incidence rates of heart disease increased or held steady between 1970 and 1986. This is supposed to show us that when Americans were told that they should lower their fat intake, heart disease may have become an even bigger problem. That would be an interesting fact if it were true. Lets read what this one actually says.

First, you can see that this article addresses hospitalization rates, which isn't quite the same thing as heart disease incidence rates. This states that while hospitalizations for ischemic heart disease did increase, rates of chronic ischemic heart disease declined sharply after 1981. Look at my bottom highlight. From 1981 through 1986, rates declined 40% among men and 50% among women. This seems to support the view that reductions in fat in the population had a positive effect. Colpo chose to only focus on the first highlighted area that said that hospitalizations increased. But why did they increase?

This very article he chose explains this. No additional research is required. One consideration was that there were more survivors of heart surgery, so that may have increased admissions as more patients survived to be later readmitted. More interesting is the next point. A change in the reimbursement system for hospitals may have affected their diagnostic classifications. Think about what that means. Hospitals probably found it in their financial interest to alter their paperwork under the new reimbursement system, shifting some cases from ischemic heart disease to myocardial infarction. So you see this was easily explained. Do you understand why responding to him isn't a great use of my time? Maybe he didn't read this part. Maybe he didn't understand it. Maybe he chose to lie. Whatever the reason, it's his problem. I can't fix him. He is wacko with a website and he is going to type whatever he wants. That's the internet.

Here's another study he says I ignored. Read it and you'll see it says that coronary events in Britain fell between 1978 and 1995. Just read it. It's all about declines in heart disease events. It supports diet-heart. He pretends otherwise. Why should I waste any more time on him?

Here's the part of that paper that Colpo must have liked. The study said rates of angina appeared to be increasing even as more severe manifestations of heart disease were falling. The authors explained this by saying that an increase in the rate of diagnosis probably didn't reflect an increase in the actual rate of incidence. Angina is not a hard endpoint like a heart attack. Statistics on it are less precise. This hardly contradicts the rest of the paper.

Here is Colpo at his goofiest. He talks about this little cross-sectional study which found different levels of antioxidants in the blood of men in Lithuania and men in Sweden. More men were dying of heart disease in Lithuania at the time. These particular Lithuanian men in this study had a lower antioxidant status. Therefore, low antioxidant status is the cause of heart disease. That's his flimsy argument. From there, he felt justified in writing this ungrammatical sentence. "Yep, Goldstein might be revered by the anti-cholesterol crowd and even managed to pick up a Nobel Prize along the way for his alleged contributions to humanity (just like war-mongering Henry Kissinger, Shimon Perez, Yasser Arafat and global warming shill Al Gore did), but he was wrong." Colpo thinks Brown and Goldstein won Nobel Peace Prizes and he thinks that the antioxidant status of a couple hundred guys measured at one point in time proves that they were wrong about something. Do you see why I can't keep responding to him? By reading his material in my videos, I am lowering the quality of my videos. This guy is just so dumb.

This Lithuania study he likes so much was just a cross-sectional study. Moreover, I am not saying I have any problem with dietary antioxidants and I'm not saying they have no bearing on heart disease. I'm asking people to eat more whole plant foods, for crying out loud.

There were other reasons why the men in Lithuania were more at risk of heart attacks. First, yes, they often ate terrible diets high in fat but low in vegetables and fruit.

Next, they were more likely to engage in binge drinking behavior. Also, they were more likely to be exposed to mental stress.

Lastly, the men in Lithuania were exposed to high levels of air pollution.

Of course, it is very likely that dietary antioxidants protect your heart. The idea that there are protective compounds in plant foods and the idea that low cholesterol is protective are not mutually exclusive ideas. Both can be true at the same time. Perhaps Colpo believes otherwise but that's his problem. I can't account for the way his mind works.

Colpo's blog is padded with all sorts of nonsense that I can't imagine anyone reads or believes or cares about. He says he had been innocently minding his own business when I attacked him for no reason. Anyone who saw how this exchange started knows that...

I made a video in which I used a blog of his as an example of the sort of deceptive tactics the cholesterol deniers use.

I repeated my criticisms of that blog in another video. Here they are again. He still hasn't responded to any of this. All he can do is call me names and swear and make a spectacle of himself. Whatever. Colpo apparently wants to engage me at the level of name-calling and profanity. That's not what I do. We have different goals. I am trying to help people and animals and turn a bright light on the dishonest tactics of cholesterol deniers like him. Colpo wants to sell books and get into an internet soap opera with me the way he has with so many others. Mr Colpo, make fun of my voice or anything else about me all you want. It doesn't matter to me. This project is not about me. Personal attacks are no answer to the work I've done here. What you do is easy. You don't have to research much. You don't have to think. You don't have to be right. You don't have to hold yourself to any standard at all. You just type your inane thoughts and recycle bogus references from past cholesterol deniers. These videos take a lot of time for me to put together, time I can no longer spare. You can have the last word. I am not making another video about you. Go ahead and declare yourself the winner of this confrontation. You make up everything else so why not that, too? I even made it easy for you to claim victory with my title. Now your very few ignorant readers who take your word for everything without thinking for themselves can also take your word for it that I have conceded to you.

As this video project begins to wind down, I would like to shift gears a bit with my next video. For the low carbers, cholesterol confusionists, and Paleo posers, vegetarian diets are challenging to their dogmas and must be opposed. Most of the raps against vegetarian diets are too weak to make it into a video of mine. A couple others are fairly interesting. I'll look at two of the more interesting arguments against vegetarianism, and I'll look at an attack on vegetarianism that is totally nonsensical, just for fun. My next video was the easiest one to make.