Repost from @veganeverything333 via @igrepost_app, it’s free! Use the @igrepost_app to save, repost Instagram pics and videos, “Dear non-vegans, %99 percent of us grew up eating and using #animals. We know all of your arguments (excuses) for why it’s your “right” to continue participating in their exploitation and murder. We explored all of those arguments and still decided we could no longer #participate in their violence. No argument about God wanting animals to be enslaved, #plants having feelings, we’ve done it for thousands of years so it must be right, or that we are going to die from a lack of #cholesterol, #protein and #fat is going to sway us. Aren’t you a little curious as to why we broke away from a #culture that feeds itself off the pain and suffering of others? I know that I was. Go #vegan” - Gary Smith #quotes #awareness #love #compassion #disobey #diet #happy #healthy #questioneverything #choices #loveyourself

So much for government science; Cholesterol, fat and salt aren't all that bad for you

A recent article in the New York times admitted something that I never thought it would admit: The government doesn’t know what’s best for you (at least where food is concerned). The article didn’t go as far as I would have liked in its call to view government with a healthy dose of skepticism, but hey, it’s a start. The article came on the heels of a series of announcements by various federal agencies that several foods that for decades the feds said were bad for us, aren’t so bad after all.

From the NYT:

FOR two generations, Americans ate fewer eggs and other animal products because policy makers told them that fat and cholesterol were bad for their health. Now both dogmas have been debunked in quick succession.
First, last fall, experts on the committee that develops the country’s dietary guidelines acknowledged that they had ditched the low-fat diet. On Thursday, that committee’s report was released, with an even bigger change: It lifted the longstanding caps on dietary cholesterol, saying there was “no appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.

…How did experts get it so wrong? Certainly, the food industry has muddied the waters through its lobbying. But the primary problem is that nutrition policy has long relied on a very weak kind of science: epidemiological, or “observational,” studies in which researchers follow large groups of people over many years. But even the most rigorous epidemiological studies suffer from a fundamental limitation. At best they can show only association, not causation. Epidemiological data can be used to suggest hypotheses but not to prove them.

Instead of accepting that this evidence was inadequate to give sound advice, strong-willed scientists overstated the significance of their studies.

…Since the very first nutritional guidelines to restrict saturated fat and cholesterol were released by the American Heart Association in 1961, Americans have been the subjects of a vast, uncontrolled diet experiment with disastrous consequences. We have to start looking more skeptically at epidemiological studies and rethinking nutrition policy from the ground up.

Read the Rest

I found the three bold sections particularly interesting (which is why I made them bold). Let’s sum them up:

  1. The government gave us incorrect scientific data because of lobbyists in Washington (AKA: Crony Capitalism).
  2. At their absolute best, the available data can only suggest hypotheses, not prove them.
  3. Stubborn scientists (which are, by definition, not scientists) perpetuated false information because they didn’t want their own studies and research debunked.

Do these things sound familiar? Can you think of anything going on in our current political climate (pun intended) that this might parallel?

As I stated earlier, it was refreshing to see this article in the New York Times. But something tells me that very few of the readers will ever ask the honest question: “If the government can be fallible in this area, can’t it also be fallible in another?” And that is a shame. I’m not sure why millions and millions of Americans instinctively trust a government that is habitually wrong but I remain optimistic that one day, we’ll wise up.

First-ever view of protein structure may lead to better anxiety drugs

When new medicines are invented, the drug may hit the intended target and nullify the symptoms, but nailing a bull’s eye – one that produces zero side effects – can be quite elusive.

New research conducted at Michigan State University and published in the current issue of Science has, for the first time, revealed the crystal structure of a key protein, TSPO, which is associated with several forms of anxiety disorders. By identifying the structure at the atomic level, scientists can now pinpoint where drugs may interact with the protein.

“Many other scientists have studied this protein, but what exactly it is doing has been very difficult to determine,” said Shelagh Ferguson-Miller, University Distinguished Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. “Drugs and other compounds bind to TSPO, but without knowing the structure, their effects are hard to interpret. Now that we’ve obtained the structure, it could provide important clues regarding anxiety disorders and the basis for a new generation of anti-anxiety drugs.”

These next-generation treatments could be years away, she added. This is partly due to TSPO being shunned from the spotlight. Even though it was discovered in 1977 during studies of the anxiety-controlling characteristics of Valium, it was deemed as a peripheral binding site, one not pursued by pharmaceutical companies as a key target for new drugs.

Interestingly enough, TSPO is found at high levels in regions of tissue damage. This finding was used to aid in imaging areas of inflammation in the brain. In these PET scans, doctors can view damaged regions because TSPO is concentrated and highlighted there.

Using X-ray technology rather than PET scans, Ferguson-Miller and her team were able to solve the crystal structure of the protein ­– creating an image of TSPO at a molecular level. This gave the researchers an increased understanding on how TSPO interacts with cholesterol and how this relationship affects the creation of steroid hormones.

Cholesterol plays a key role in the creation of steroid hormones. Without cholesterol, steroids hormones couldn’t be made. It appears that TSPO plays a key role in shuttling cholesterol into mitochondria, the cells’ powerhouse where the cholesterol is converted to hormones that are essential for our bodily functions.

The team also identified a TSPO mutant, which provided an important breakthrough. People suffering from conditions such as bipolar disease are found to have a higher probability of having this TSPO mutation, which is fairly prevalent. Cholesterol seemed to bind less strongly, perhaps related to the fact that the mutant structure is more ridged, limiting cholesterol interaction.

“When we compared the two forms of TSPO, normal and mutated, we were able to see substantial differences in structure,” Ferguson-Miller said. “This could be a clue as to why the human mutant form has an association with anxiety disorders.”

This insight into a previously unseen structure, one that could lead to new understanding of human disease, provides a strong argument for conducting basic science research.

The TSPO proteins used in this work came from bacteria rather than human cells, but they are closely related. Getting enough of the pure human protein to carry out these types of investigations is difficult, though a future objective of these scientists.

“One reason that TSPO’s function has been so hard to pin down is that many studies have been done in the complex and diverse environments of whole cells and tissues, where a clear-cut interpretation of the results is difficult,” said Fei Li, MSU postdoctoral researcher and co-author. “We were able to obtain a pure protein that was still functional, but isolated from these complications.”

The diet-heart hypothesis [that suggests that high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol causes heart disease] has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprises, food companies and even governmental agencies.

The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.

—  Dr. George V. Mann, participating researcher in the Framingham study and author of CORONARY HEART DISEASE: THE DIETARY SENSE AND NONSENSE, Janus Publishing 1993.

Thought this was really interesting; heart disease is far and away the #1 killer in the US, and much of the world.  In completely related news, eating a healthy vegan diet has been proven to reduce heart disease.  Going vegan took me from borderline hypertension and high cholesterol to perfect heart health.  Veganism really is the best thing for everyone involved.

Forks Over Knives Review

Voila, another movie review! Long awaited, I know, but this is a pretty lengthy post for a reason. Forks Over Knives just covers a pensive topic, which is veganism. In my January Favorites post, it made my favorites list as a super enlightening documentary that opens eyes.

Unlike many others, however, I did not disclose as to whether or not my own eating habits will change based on this movie.…

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