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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Heart Question
Date: 15 Aug 1998 06:58:31 GMT

In <> Tom Matthews <> writes:

>Steven B. Harris wrote:
>> Adelle Davis was a pioneer in the idea that nutrition is important in
>> disease. However, she's out of date, and dead. And she wasn't THAT good
>> when she was alive.
>Steve, I think you come down too hard on Adelle Davis, just as you come
>down too hard on Pearson and Shaw for their work in the early 80's.
>After my mother's books concerning Doctor Hay's diet from the 30's,
>Adelle Davis' books were what started me into thinking of the nutrition
>in what I ate and trying to do something about it.
>It is true that much less was known about nutrition then, that Adelle was
>sometimes wrong, and that her books should not be used today. However,
>they were also mostly right, offered good, inspirational advice to a lot
>of people, and I believe they put a great many people on the track to
>healthy eating and supplementation.
>Neither you nor anyone else can take away from her the overall value of
>her work in making people conscious of nutrition as important for their
>health, and you should not be trying to do so.

   They'd have been better off reading Roger Williams, who was writing
far more intelligently and correctly at the same time.  What DO you say
about people who do good things to public opinion, but are wrong in
their facts?  Adelle is also largely responsible for the FDA's
crackdown on vitamins, and for doctors' generally low opinion of
nutritional therapy, since she was so often wrong in specifics.  YOU
see the good, and I see the harm.  I think the harm probably outweighs
the good.  The prejudice doctors have about vitamin cures does NOT come
out of some money conspiracy or some evil tendency.  You don't see
anything like it with acupuncture, for example.  What really gets
doctors' backs up, is a really successful, and wrong, popularizer.  I'd
almost rather Adelle Davis, not to mention Pearson and Shaw, had gone
into other fields.  The connection between medicine and nutrition would
be in better shape now if they had.  Overstating claims is poison.

                                      Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Heart Question
Date: 16 Aug 1998 08:29:45 GMT

Technologies) writes:

>>>   And what makes you think Adelle Davis knew what she was talking
>>>about?  I mean, what nutritional regimen would you take for the
>>>prevention and/or treatment of bone cancer (what killed Adelle)?
>>>                                    Steve Harris, M.D.
>I'd be more careful in my choice of parents.  That wasn't her real name,
>by the way.

    It was certainly the name by which John Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts, and
Joseph Campbell knew her by in Monterey circa 1930.  When did she
change it?

>As for knowing what she was talking about, I'd say the M.S. in
>biochemistry and the 35 years of clinical experience were excellent
>credentials, but more than that, I'm confident enough of my ability to
>distinguish bullshit from genuine knowledge that I don't take her
>misfortune to discredit all the valuable knowledge she imparted in her

    What gives you this confidence in your ability to detect bullshit?

>Also, I've had confirmation from a person with a PhD in Nutrition
>Science, who was a faculty member of a well-known state university, and
>was used by the GAO to audit nutrition research. This person said "Adelle
>Davis was ahead of her time. Everything she says is pretty much right on
>target, though of course there has been some progress in research beyond
>what was available to her in the 1960s when she wrote those books." In
>other words, the nutrition science community is well aware of the
>nutritional therapy methods Ms. Davis recommended, and indeed a lot of it
>is used routinely in veterinary medicine. It's just us HUMANS who have to
>pay the higher cost of pharmaceuticals, in terms of money and
>side-effects! :^)
>Does THAT answer your question, Steve?

    No, it just says you have a friend who doesn't agree with most of
his colleagues in the field.   So you say.  So what?

>Now, would YOU like that, or would you rather keep the size and cost of
>the medical industry at its present level? :^)
>-John S.

     You can pull any number from the air you like.  Until there's
solid proof from clinical studies, Ms Davis remains a repository of
nutritional folklore.  An example is her emphasis on lecithin, which
started this conversation.  Long ago it has been found that the
component in lecithin which lowers cholesterol is the polyunsaturated
fats in it, and it doesnt' lower cholesterol any better than an equal
weight of these fats.  And the LA VAH study showed that lowering
cholesterol by adding polyunsaturated fats to one's diet is not the way
to go.  Heart disease goes down, colon cancer rate goes up.  I suspect
it would with lecithin also.  And the stuff tastes awful to boot.

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

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