I should preface any book review, no matter how amatuerish, by saying that I'm not the type of person who can trudge through any book, no matter how uninteresting, just for the satisfaction of saying "I read it". If a book doesn't hold my attention past the first 10 pages, I simply don't read it.
To provide an example of my almost-ADHD-mentality, I am familiar with Denise's blog and her widely acclaimed take-down of the China Study. I got through the first one third of that particular post before losing interest, not because it was unconvincing but because I didn't need convincing. If a weird-looking vego is spruiking bullshit, just say so, I don't need the 5,000 words of logic.
There is probably something for almost everyone in DBFP, and if I was to be really picky, I'd say she tries a bit too hard to please everyone (including the vegans) with tips on supplementing a nutritionally-void diet and taking things a bit easy on Mr Keyes. In saying that, she is up front about the book not being a 'you must eat this way' type of thing, which is what distinguishes it from thousands of others.
There does seem to be a few favourable nods to the paleo mob but if you're a hard core low carber looking for confirmation bias, then you may be slightly disappointed. Denise tip-toes on the side of caution when it comes to red meat and digesting lots of saturated fat. In fact she seems to ignore Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diets almost entirely, which I thought was slightly odd. Her comments toward the end about low carb diets and thyroid seemed like an unnecessary afterthought.
Despite DBFP being a good read, there were some negatives, the first (very picky, I know) being the foreword. I've learned a lot from Chris Masterjohn and I think he's a very smart man, but his foreword was awkward. I don't think I've ever read one that spent so much text explaining to the reader how much schooling he's done and how many websites he writes for. The word "I" is written 18 times and "my" 20 times. Not a great way to start a book.
The second negative - when a book I'm reading brings up Apolipoprotein E4, I get a little excited, especially if i wasn't expecting it. But to be brutally honest, I was disappointed by the flippant way Denise treated the subject. I'm not sure why she bothered if all she was going to do was repeat the same guess work and vague caution of so many others.
Given her considered explanation of how to read a science paper, I was puzzled. Maybe I'm just suffering from a bad case of Dunning-Kruger, but Yang et al just reads like one of the thousands of papers that equate 'higher' LDL cholesterol with increased risk of heart attack.
Yang et al kept an eye on a few thousand Cost Ricans (some who'd had a heart attack and an equal amount who hadn't) and tested their cholesterol after putting them under headings of "low saturated fat diet" and "high saturated fat diet". Details of how they actually kept track of diet composition was sadly lacking but despite this all-too-typical exclusion, that the "high saturated fat diet" people had higher cholesterol should not be surprising to anyone.
But if you're on the "I don't believe in the lipid hypothesis but I still base my beliefs on numbers on a lipid panel" team then you may also note they also had lower triglycerides and higher HDL.
If you're on the "so fucking what?" team, then you may be as baffled as I was. If they'd actually recorded cardiac events or deaths, then fine, but they didn't. Exactly how they calculated "risk of myocardial infarction" is beyond me, but comments such as "well-established association between saturated fat-intake and risk of MI" didn't fill me with great confidence of their non-bias.
That Denise is so thorough in pointing out faults in studies but thinks we should accept this as a good one is bizarre. I just didn't get it at all.
HanniaCampos, Michael D’Agostino, and José M. Ordovás, “Gene-Diet Interactions andPlasma Lipoproteins: Role of Apoliporpotein E and Habitual Saturated Fat Intake,”Genetic Epidemiology 20, no. 1 (2001)
I’m not sure why those results are a bad thing for E4s.
Song et al is a meta-analysis, and not a particularly good one in the opinion of Anoop et al, who wrote “However, these data were observational and confounding biases might have affected the pooled estimates. There are potential chances of argument toward the fact that the true genetic effects of APO E genotypes on CHD cannot be quantified from any pooling or meta-analysis of studies with heterogeneous samples.”
Rating - 7/10
A nice quote - "The burden is on our own shoulders to stay educated, informed, shrewd,
Disclosure - my care factor (zero) prevented me from actually reading the bits on "staying healthy when animal foods are off the menu" and "plant-based diets".