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A few days ago, there was an updated report on critical care for coronavirus patients in hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

ICNARC report on COVID-19in critical care 17 April 2020.

Sometimes a single table can be illustrative, and this one gives the characteristics of those who end up in critical care. Covid-19 patients have been compared to viral pneumonia cases, and initially I went along with that comparison, finding relatively little difference, other than that men and Black and Asian patients (Indian and Pakistani) are more affected by Covid-19. I also noted that people who did not have co-morbidities requiring daily help with living were also to be found in critical care units.

This specific pandemic aside, there is a general problem in data analysis: what counts as a fundamental background measure? Age and sex are usually agreed to fit the bill, and the coronavirus shows differences, hitting the elderly and males more strongly. Social class? Race? Religion? All those are measured in many medical studies. Deciding what is fundamental is more problematic. Ideally it should be biological and likely to be causal.

What if one looks for something obvious to the naked eye?

Look at Table 1. What strikes you?

To my eye, it is striking that 74% of Covid-19 patients in intensive care are over-weight, compared with 60% for viral pneumonia patients.

This is very bad, but here is the context: in the UK in 2017/18, 62.0% of adults aged 18 and over were overweight or obese, up from 61.3% the previous year. So, it is bad, but that is the usual level of obesity in the UK population. Covid patients are higher even than that level.

(There is a case for saying that setting normal body weight index at 25 is too high. Hong Kong and Singapore use 23 as the cut-off for healthy weight, and when some researchers suggested that for the UK some time ago, it was rejected as being, although medically desirable, too demanding for public acceptance. Realpolitik.)

Rather than go on to find another set of explanations for the racial differences, why not see how over-weight each of the racial groups are? By the way, “Asian” in the UK means Indian sub-continent: Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi.

The Chinese control their body weight, Black citizens far less so, and all the others are at roughly at the same, somewhat lower levels of excess. Here are the same figures ranked:

Black people are twice as over-weight as Chinese people. Being too fat is bad for health, particularly leading to higher rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some 10 cancers. The hazard ratio for being over-weight has been calculated at 1.5 so that the chance of dying in a defined period is about 50% higher. Smoking complicates the interpretation of results, so the weight figures are generally calculated for non-smokers.

Since obesity is so widespread in the UK, obesity is apt to be seen as the norm in biological terms.

Some researchers studying racial differences in health list the higher levels of these illnesses as separate causes which contribute to the observed racial differences. That is, they argue that some racial groups are facing both obesity and diabetes 2, without making too much of the fact that most of the latter disorder comes from the former behaviour. The other approach is to see those illnesses as largely caused by a failure to regulate food intake. From that perspective, apparent race differences could be differences of a different sort: not something which gives the virus preferential access to an opening in the genetic code, but a behavioural difference, (with a possible genetic cause), which then gives patients an additional burden so that they are less able to survive.

There is a complication, but it requires accepting that race is biologically real. The complication is that health problems seem to go up in Chinese people at BMI 23. Also, people from the Indian sub-continent start getting health problems at around that level. (In 1998 the US guidelines were that unhealthy weight began at BMI at 27.8 so bringing that down to 25 increased the apparent level of obesity, though it might have encouraged maintenance of healthy weight in some citizens).

The Nurses Health Study, for example, tracked patterns of weight gain and diabetes development in 78,000 U.S. women, to see if there were any differences by ethnic group. (1) All women were healthy at the start of the study. After 20 years, researchers found that at the same BMI, Asians had more than double the risk of developing type 2 diabetes than whites; Hispanics and blacks also had higher risks of diabetes than whites, but to a lesser degree. Increases in weight over time were more harmful in Asians than in the other ethnic groups: For every 11 pounds Asians gained during adulthood, they had an 84 percent increase in their risk of type 2 diabetes; Hispanics, blacks, and whites who gained weight also had higher diabetes risks, but again, to a much lesser degree than Asians. Several other studies have found that at the same BMI, Asians have higher risks of hypertension and cardiovascular disease than their white European counterparts, and a higher risk of dying early from cardiovascular disease or any cause. (2–4)

Researchers are still teasing out why Asians have higher weight-related disease risks at lower BMIs. One possible explanation is body fat. When compared to white Europeans of the same BMI, Asians have 3 to 5 percent higher total body fat. (5) South Asians, in particular, have especially high levels of body fat and are more prone to developing abdominal obesity, which may account for their very high risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (6,7) In contrast, some studies have found that blacks have lower body fat and higher lean muscle mass than whites at the same BMI, and therefore, at the same BMI, may be at lower risk of obesity-related diseases. (8,9) (Keep in mind, though, that in the U.S., the prevalence of obesity is higher in non-Hispanic blacks than in non-Hispanic whites, so the overall burden of obesity-related diseases is still higher in this group.

Interesting what empirical enquiry throws up: if non-Hispanic blacks could maintain body weight at BMI 25 or so, they would have a lower risk of obesity-related diseases than whites of the same BMI. They are more muscular, a racial difference that means that blood test results for glomerular filtration rates have to be corrected by about 21%. The NHS has put this correction for “Black African descent” on all blood tests for a decade, without arousing any fuss. Evolutionary differences in bodies cause no problems when they are classified as medical.

Patients who are very over-weight may be too fat to breathe properly, an obvious possibility, since those extremely obese are often visibly too fat to walk properly, and are prone to knee problems. Additionally, or optionally, there may be something about fat which provokes and inflames cytokine storms.

Either way, the burden of fat is a burden to the patient, and given the demands of care, to society as well. Our herd is too fat for our own good. We may not like being described as a herd, but that’s what we are to a virus. Herd immunity, acquired by exposure or vaccination, denies the infectious agent the living warm hosts it needs to propagate. Denied stepping stones, some vulnerable bodies in the herd are relatively safe. The probability of infection is reduced, as it will be for a while because of the lockdown, and might continue to be for a while if masks and socially distancing and other restrictions are maintained. However, if the herd has many members who are too fat, they will be more at risk of all viruses, and more likely to have co-morbidities as a consequent of being over-weight.

At this point in an average academic discussion, it would be usual to list all the other possible factors which may be involved in racial differences: extended family structures, jobs which require interacting with the public, cramped housing, and so on. All those may indeed contribute to vulnerability to the disease. However, reducing weight is something which can be done simply by eating less.

One factor is enough for today.

• Category: Science • Tags: Britain, Coronavirus, Weight 
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  1. dearieme says:

    On another blog I wrote:

    … would anyone else like to have a go at blogging on the subject of how many – meaning probably how few – things we know with high confidence about this virus and its plague?
    I suspect we all have high confidence that it picks on the old and the frail, and especially on those who are both old and frail. What else?

    OK, fatsos; it picks on fatsos. Does it, however, pick on fatsos who are unold and unfrail?

    • Replies: @john cronk
  2. Need the full data set for that.

  3. Good analysis. Now, start thinking beyond ‘calories in/calories out’ and read the voluminous research about metabolic dysfunction caused by faulty dietary advice. Everyone should begin to eat a low carb, high fat, mainly animal product diet – the one we’ve evolved to thrive on. Dr. Paul Saladino’s work is a great place to start.

    There’s little reason for insulin-sensitive people – with healthy immune status and without metabolic disease – to stay home, wear a mask or ‘social distance’ themselves. Since they won’t be getting seriously ill, their staying home wouldn’t help ‘flatten the curve’ of sick people overburdening the healthcare system (as usual, to the expense of all of us). On the contrary, active healthy people can contribute something to the economy.

    The main benefit of herd immunity is that it will allow the country to function again. And that would be good for everyone, healthy and sickly alike. The metabolically/immunologically compromised will be vulnerable to catching the corona virus from anyone who’s contracted it and is temporarily contagious, no matter whether the carrier’s general health is good or poor. And that’s the same fix that people with poor immune function are in, always and everywhere. The answer for protecting these most vulnerable people from COVID – which is only one of the many dangers to their health that they face – can be one of two things; the best one being that they start eating right. And/or, we can build as much equipment and medical facilities, where they’re most needed, as they may require. Either of these solutions is much more viable, less disruptive and less expensive than what we’re doing now. And with either solution, healthier people would no longer be punished for possessing normal human vitality.

    While governments, health agencies and scientists take steps to upgrade the availability of care facilities, equipment and treatments, individuals should follow this
    Part A (Everyone)
    Begin a therapeutic diet to quickly upgrade and regulate the immune system. This consists of, wholly or mostly:
    Home cooked meat, oily fish, eggs (especially yolks), animal fat, bone broth, collagen or gelatin, and liver, and the elimination of corn, soy, canola, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed and rice bran oils as well as flours, sugar and prepared foods.

    Part B (those most at risk for COVID complications- individuals with high BMI or chronic health issues, or taking prescription medications, etc.)
    While following the part A protocol, take reasonable precautions to limit your exposure to possible infection from others, such as limiting time or wearing a mask when in close contact with other people.

  4. Svevlad says:

    I’m guessing it’s the cytokine storm. Fatter people simply seem to get infected less often, and get rid of it quicker. People seem to know of this correlation, since when I was little, and with a neighbor, she talked to a lady who was pretty fat, she complained that she gained weight and is already fat enough. The neighbor simply said “well, at least you’ll get sick less”

    • Agree: Sean
    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  5. The tables of obesity by race do not cover an important variable. Age. Asian communities, particularly the muslim ones are materially younger than the overall population. The above analysis could well understate the obesity of 60 year old Asian shopkeeprs and acccuntants.

  6. @dearieme

    dearieme, it doesn’t pick on the old just because they’re old – it picks on people with metabolic dysfunction and its associated comorbidities. Those who eat a poor diet increasingly fit this pattern the longer they do so, thus the effects mount with age.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Realist
    , @anonymous
  7. Some Guy says:

    Aren’t these two quotes contradictory?

    After 20 years, researchers found that at the same BMI, Asians had more than double the risk of developing type 2 diabetes than whites; Hispanics and blacks also had higher risks of diabetes than whites, but to a lesser degree.

    if non-Hispanic blacks could maintain body weight at BMI 25 or so, they would have a lower risk of obesity-related diseases than whites of the same BMI.

    Also, interesting difference among people with BMI under 18.5. Mostly because of under-representation among covid-patients or over-representation among pneumonia patients I wonder?

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  8. @Philip Owen

    Nurses study was age matched.

  9. res says:

    I know you find one factor enough for today, but I actually find the COVID-19 sex differences to be the most striking (both standalone and in comparison to pneumonia). Hopefully we talk about that soon.

    This podcast and paper might be of interest.
    Overfat and Underfat: New Terms and Definitions Long Overdue

    The WHO is currently undertaking a review and assessment of available data on the relationship between waist circumference, morbidity, health risk, and the interaction with BMI measurements (38). Waist circumference, more than BMI, has a very strong association with health risk (12) and is part of a series of practical tools that have greater assessment value than BMI, including blood pressure, triglyceride, glucose, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein (9, 37). These tests could appropriately replace BMI in both a clinical and, in the case of waist circumference, in the home environment to help measure and monitor body fat as a way to improve health and reduce the risk of mortality (37, 39).

    My big complaint about the paper is lack of detail about what exactly constitutes overfat and overfat quantitatively (perhaps I missed it?). Their population estimates seem quite fuzzy. I was particularly bothered by not seeing any attempt to remove people who are “metabolically normal, but overweight by BMI” from their overfat estimate (or offering any criteria to make that distinction).

    There are 37 citing papers listed in Google Scholar:,5&hl=en

  10. @res

    rez, waist circumference is probably more highly correlated with internal ‘visceral’ fat than overall BMI is. Visceral fat is directly related to metabolic dysfunction and immune dyregulation.
    By the way, the WHO is one of the prime culprits in advocating a diet which directly contributes to these problems.

    • Agree: Skeptikal
    • Replies: @Skeptikal
  11. @Some Guy

    Precisely, they are contradictory! The muscularity advantage of black subjects is lost because of their higher propensity to be overweight. If food intake was controlled, they would be better off relative to white subjects.

    • Replies: @john cronk
    , @Some Guy
  12. @James Thompson

    James, trying to control food intake without changing what constitutes the diet is a recipe for failure. This has been shown again and again. The problem is what we’re calling ‘food’.
    I recommend ‘The Carnivore Code’ as a start to your journey toward understanding.

  13. Well, I think the solution for this “problem” is coming faster than you think. A major recession is the surest way to make most people lose weight.

    • Replies: @Alden
  14. dearieme says:
    @john cronk

    Are you sure that it’s not just picking on the old because their immune systems have deteriorated as a function of age?

    P.S. What’s a “poor diet”? Whatever your answer: how do you know?

  15. Some Guy says:
    @James Thompson

    Wait, does the first quote say blacks have higher risk of diabetes at the same BMI, or just higher risk of diabetes in general?

  16. Check out the great Dr. Berg on Youtube who helped me lose 16 lbs with his nice short videos. From my blog.

    Feb 16, 2020 – Skip Breakfast

    Even television star Dr. Oz now says to skip breakfast. I started four months ago due to the logic presented by the great Dr. Berg. Eat perfectly healthy all the time and you can eat breakfast, but very few people are willing to eat perfectly. I like to eat a couple cookies a week, a donut, some ice cream or candy, a few alcoholic drinks ect. I exercise and watch my diet, but this cheating will add a couple pounds a year. That sounds okay, but means ten pounds added in five years and twenty in ten years.

    The way to burn fat is not to exercise or take strange pills. Your body burns fat when it has no more food. This means not just the stomach is empty but the intestines and the extra sugar stored in the liver. For most people this does not occur until after they haven’t eaten for ten hours, just as they start eating breakfast. So skip that to allow a few hours of fat burning time to get rid of the ounce of fat you added yesterday.

    This is difficult at first, but drinking two cups of coffee (without sugar) and adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to suppress appetite and one of MCT coconut oil for fat energy makes it easier. After a few weeks your mind adjusts and skipping breakfast is normal, and saves time and money!

  17. Black people are twice as over-weight as Chinese people.

    Black fatty-fatkins have less impulse control. Blacks like to do whatever they feel like at the moment. Whether fighting, humping, dancing, hollering, ‘twerking’, or eating, they gotta do as they feels. It’s like black churches are all about hollering and dancing.

    Also, black folks like stuff that are sugary, creamy, and fried. Blacks like to interact with their food. They don’t eat silent. They gotta talk with/about their food. “Umm mmm mm, dis here GOOOOOD!!!”

    One thing America doesn’t lack for is cheap food, and the policy became DO FEED THE BLACKS.

    • Agree: TrudeauSux
  18. joe2.5 says:

    On the whole, excellent observation, overdue, and coming from a psychologist, to put to shame all the scaredy-cat MDs supposedly in charge. And courageous, too, considering the number of diet cranks, macrobiorganic obsessives and the like that will be (is being) attracted like flypaper to the comment section, trying to drown the point you are making.

  19. Jorge Videla [AKA "trump 2024"] says:

    23 for a china person is like 25 for a european, especially a nw european.

    negroes weigh more for the same height and % body fat because denser bones.

    • Replies: @anon
  20. Kim says:
    @john cronk

    Everyone should begin to eat a low carb, high fat, mainly animal product diet – the one we’ve evolved to thrive on

    Most of your plate should be low carb vegetables, orange, green leafy, etc.

    Add some protein. Fish is great. Organ meats also good. But suit yourself.

    Get your fats from animals or fish or from coconut, palm oil (cheap and healthy), olive oil (be sure it isn’t fake.) Avoid seed oils. Get a lot of your calories from good oils/fats.

    Eat some carbs. Fruit or something. Or high carb veges. But keep carb consumption low on a typical day. Insulin control is very important.

    Don’t make high carbs, grains, etc the center of your diet. Drink little alcohol. Don’t smoke.

    Eat something probiotic every day, sauerkraut or kim chi, or similar.

    Get a good dose of sunlight every day or take D3.

    Don’t graze all day. Don’t eat in such a way that your blood insulin levels are always high. This will make you fat. Give up on breakfast. Don’t eat before bedtime.

  21. anon[268] • Disclaimer says:

    Most of your plate should be low carb vegetables, orange, green leafy, etc.
    Add some protein. Fish is great. Organ meats also good.

    Carbs are carbs. Krebs Cycle breaks down the carbs into Stored Fat, which is how people get overweight and obese. Ditch the carbs and go straight to the animal fat.
    Fish is an incomplete protein, and organ meats have carbs.
    Weston Price gave out plenty of hints about the perfect diet without being explicit in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

    • Replies: @Kim
  22. @Kim

    And your qualifications as a nutritionist are?

    Possibly much of what you recommend is sound, but you must remember that everyone is different – in terms of genetics and epigenetics – and a one-size-fits-all prescription is not only presumptuous but dangerous. Vegans are equally dogmatic, ditto those who insist that breakfast is good, ditto those who advocate intermittent fasting, etc., etc.

    What we can agree on, however, is that the industrialized diet and the hegemony of Big Food is a health nightmare. The USG could make a start by banning the production and use of high-fructose corn syrup. It won’t, of course, because it is owned by the corporations.

  23. @Carlton Meyer

    Eat heavy at breakfast, skip supper.

    • Agree: Skeptikal
  24. Alden says:
    @Brás Cubas

    Meh, in a recession people eat more rice beans, noodles, potatoes pancakes instead of eggs for breakfast. Poverty means carbohydrates.

    Wealthier people eat more meat and eggs.

    I remember when vegetarianism became popular. It’s not just vegetables. It’s rice beans noodles carbs carbs carbs.

  25. So, next time I’m in the USA, I’ll be accosted by fewer people on mobility scooters in my local food shop? It is an ill wind indeed that doesn’t blow some good.

    • Replies: @James Stark
  26. Anon[361] • Disclaimer says:

    My gal told me that in some city they had about 400 homeless tested for covid and about 200 of them had it, but they were asymptiomatic, which might underscore just how important vitamin D3 levels might be against this virus. I noticed that one reads of nursing homes where it runs rampant and kills a lot of old folks who get little to no sun.
    I hope everybody gets about 20 minutes of sunshine each day and takes as many natural antivirals as they can (zinc, elderberry, garlic, ginger, black pepper), and vitamin C. Dont wanna lose any of you guys and gals. Eat healthy and excercise.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Peter VE
  27. @Philip Owen

    Black and Asian people are much more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, as well. I tend to assume this correlates with weight (i.e. fatties get it more), but there must be something else as well.

    South Asians have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than other ethnic groups, particularly when they migrate away from the Indian subcontinent. The researchers say that a high BMI is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes; however, analyses have shown that when weight and BMI are taken into account, the South Asian population is still at greater risk than other groups. They say this suggests that the high rate cannot be explained by differences in the amount of body fat people have.

    All of the analyses were adjusted for age, BMI and fat mass. During the exercise tests, the South Asian men had a lower rate of fat metabolism during submaximal exercise (just under the limit of what they could do) than the European men. Compared with Europeans, the South Asians had less HDL-cholesterol (good-cholesterol) and a reduced sensitivity to insulin (26% difference; p=0.010). The researchers found there was an association between fat metabolism during exercise and insulin sensitivity, so people who metabolised more fat had a greater sensitivity to insulin and vice versa. The resting metabolic rate and rate of fat metabolism during rest did not differ between groups.

    However, this is preliminary research carried out in a very small number of people – only 20 people were included in each group.

  28. BMI is useful for population discussion, but less so for individuals. The differences between sexes is pretty obvious. Racial differences for normal levels of BMI are real and represent differences between groups. This does not mean that the groups are homogeneous.

    But it is quite normal in studies of variance to find with group differences at least as large as between group differences. Although some have mistakenly this to argue for the non-existence of the group categories, it simply means there is both within-group and between group variation. The differences that can contribute to BMI include muscle development, leg v body length , overall height, shoulder and rib cage width, and so forth.

    In short, a population level of 25 for white adult men may be reasonable, but simple variances in body type make a single universal BMI standard highly suspect. Anyone under evaluation surely has more information than height and weight readily available, for example waist size.

  29. gotmituns says:

    My wife’s an RN and she tells me of the problems they have with these fat slobs. Makes your hair stand on end.

  30. Hegar says:

    “Those who end up in the hospital to die or get permanently scarred lungs are just people with pre-existing conditions! They’d be gone soon anyway, so let them!”

    This is the dumbest thing an American can say. The main pre-existing condition is fatness and obesity, and 40 percent of Americans are obese. Another 32 percent are still fat. The fat presses against the lungs. It causes diabetes and for one third of Americans “pre-diabetes,” where the lungs are compromised. You are shooting yourselves in the head. Corona is the yankee killer like nothing else.

    If corona is allowed to spread everywhere so you can’t get rid of it, and so it comes back every winter, and not just in the end of the winter like now, the U.S. is screwed.

    And U.S. Blacks, of course, are the fattest group in the entire West. So … not all bad.

  31. Realist says:
    @john cronk

    dearieme, it doesn’t pick on the old just because they’re old – it picks on people with metabolic dysfunction and its associated comorbidities. Those who eat a poor diet increasingly fit this pattern the longer they do so, thus the effects mount with age.


  32. @dearieme

    Very interesting, laconic, account of how things were accepted then. Of course, by worrying about every illness we have now increased lifespan, as well as fear.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  33. There are racial differences concerning thickness and density of bones as well as muscle mass. BMI difference between racial groups can be in part explained by this, it is not only (or maybe not at all) a difference of body fat.

  34. Hirflawdd says:

    You can’t have a fit all measure of bmi that ignores genetic differences between peoples.

  35. Sparkon says:
    @Simon Tugmutton

    My qualifications as a nutritionist are the facts I’m well over 70 with BMI around 20. Good results matter most of all, and good results trump all theories or qualifications.

    What we can agree on, however, is that the industrialized diet and the hegemony of Big Food is a health nightmare. The USG could make a start by banning the production and use of high-fructose corn syrup. It won’t, of course, because it is owned by the corporations.

    Yes, and once again, I have the distinction of being the first to mention artificial sweeteners like aspartame and splenda, and their nefarious role in poor health, especially high BMI. Even U.S. Pres. Donald Trump noted that drinking Diet Coke makes you gain weight.

    Read about a known known, i.e. the role played by Donald Rumsfeld in getting aspartame approved.

    Yes, that Donald Rumsfeld, the “knowns and unknowns” guy who remarkably executed some of the worst decisions in American foreign policy and got a medal for it. I have been reading up on this strange chapter in the history of Donald Rumsfeld and have learned two things. One, the chemical additive aspartame is very potentially a cancer and brain tumor-causing substance that has no place in our food. And two, the reasons and means by which Rumsfeld helped get it approved are nefarious at best, criminal at worst.

    Betty Martini has written a host of articles about the evils of aspartame and its association with fat people who glug diet soda.

    Aspartame Inflames Coronavirus And Is Clearly Implicated In Pulmonary Distress… ‘Shortness Of Breath’

  36. Rich says:

    None of us is going to live forever. What, then, is the best age to die? Is being the sveltest 82 year old in the group home worth not enjoying a thick steak or apple pie when you’re 50? Is it worth it to make 90 but never eat pancakes or bacon? Just don’t be a pig, go for a walk, get a little exercise. Moderation is all anyone needs. It’s mostly your genetics anyway, and do you really want to be sitting alone in a nursing home watching whoever replaces Judge Judy? You’re going to die, guaranteed, try to enjoy the short time you have.

    • Agree: Stan d Mute
    • Replies: @Skeptikal
  37. Of course the W.H.O. are still recommending the food pyramid steeped in excessive carbohydrate consumption (6-11 servings) making everyone fatter and fatter. Obesity has tripled since 1980 and the WHO still believes it is from consuming too much fat.

    Black people live off cheap refined sugar carbohydrates they get in the middle aisles of the grocery store. They have higher rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance.

    51% of black women are clinically obese (not overweight…obese!!) in the USA….every other one!!!!!!

    Cheetoes and soda are killing black people not racism.

    Ironically China and India have now surpassed the USA (which you’d think is impossible) in type 2 diabetes diagnoses…..the Indians and Chinese are starting to adopt the Western diet…and it’s also killing them.

  38. dearieme says:
    @James Thompson

    by worrying about every illness we have now increased lifespan

    I think it more likely that lifespans have lengthened because of the golden age of medicine.

    Whether that happened because we worried about every illness is probably debatable. For example, would you argue that that golden age petered out because we stopped worrying about every illness?

    There’re also things that just happened, such as the dwindling of the epidemic of heart attacks among middle-aged men. Mention should also be made of the reduction in doctors killing patients by their evidence-free insistence that everyone who had had a heart attack should take six weeks bed rest.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  39. dearieme says:
    @Simon Tugmutton

    high-fructose corn syrup

    Logically an ounce of HFCS should be about as damaging as an ounce of sucrose. In fact, since HFCS delivers more sweetness to your palate than the same weight of sucrose it should be better for you to achieve your desired sweetness the HFCS way.

    What is your evidence for the evil of HFCS?

    • Replies: @Simon Tugmutton
  40. dearieme says:

    Ooh it’s much too early for elderberry. In fact here it’s too early for elderflower. Either that or our tree has died.

    Long ago when we were young and poor we used to make our own wines. Elderberry made a decent red – good enough to drink with food, not good enough to drink alone.

  41. @john cronk

    I would not touch any of the things you mentioned with a 50 foot pole.

  42. Agent76 says:

    Apr 19, 2020 The Propaganda Behind the Plandemic 2020 by Dr. John Bergman D.C

    Apr 19, 2020 The Truth About Fauci Featuring Dr. Judy Mikovitz

    Dr. Mikovits began a 20-year collaboration with Frank Ruscetti, a pioneer in the field of human retro virology. She helped Dr Russetti isolate the HIV virus + link it to #AIDS in 1983.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  43. @Alden

    You are probably right regarding mild recessions. Let’s hope that will be the case. I would not bet my chips on it, though. Of course, countries which perchance are relatively unaffected may lend a hand, in the way of tons of white rice and bowls to eat it in (don’t forget the chopsticks).

  44. Trinity says:

    My doctor is always on me about my weight. Admittedly I carry a little bit around the middle but I can still slip into a 36″ waist. About 5’10” on a good day and weigh about 220lbs or so, but I am reasonably active and blood work is all good. I am in pretty good shape as far as strength and aerobic capacity, even though my mobility and flexibility isn’t up to snuff. I think we need to start measuring people by what they are capable of doing and not what their waist or BMI looks like. Diabetes, heart disease, etc., can run in the family and take you out whether your BMI is 15 or 30. Being a 500lb whale isn’t about to help matters even with healthy genes but weight isn’t the issue me thinks that so many doctors make it out to be, especially in the case of someone like me, that is in decent shape, and doesn’t match up to those ridiculous antiquated height and weight charts where a 6’4″ man is supposed to weigh no more than 190lbs or so. Same thing with vets nowadays. My gawd, they want your American bulldog to look like a greyhound in his prime racing years. Lots of “skinny fat” Asians out there, and not to feed a stereotype ( pun unintended) eating rodents and roaches can’t be that healthy.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
    • Disagree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Mary Marianne
    , @Skeptikal
  45. Rosie says:

    I’m tired of being told what fatasses we all are. Look. There is a pharmaceutical that successfully treats obesity. It’s called phentermine. It has major side effects. Namely, a dramatic increase in energy levels and performance that surpasses even the mood and energ-enhancing benefits of nicotine, without turning your lungs black. (I know, horrible, right?)

    Obesity is either a damned health crisis or it isn’t. If it isn’t, they need to STFU. If it is, the medical establishment needs to ditch the moralizing and give people the damned meds, and not just for three months, otherwise the weight will come back. The obesity relapse rate is 80%. I don’t think even heroin is that hard to kick.

    We have to much food at our disposal and not nearly enough leisure time. For some reason, we all still have to work forty-five hours a week and commute for another fifteen. Our homes are just a place to shower and rest for the next day of drudgery for the man. A decent meal us the only joy in life for the plebs. Until the basic facts of our lifestyles change, there is no solution but drugs.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  46. @dearieme

    Fructose is not good for you, even when it occurs naturally in fruit, though the other benefits of fresh fruit (fibre, vitamins, various phytochemicals) outweigh that harm by a wide margin. I was taught this as an undergraduate reading biological sciences, long before HFCS was widely used. HFCS is an artificial additive in that it is processed, and suspect on those grounds alone, but this chap spells it all out:

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @anonymous
  47. dearieme says:

    She helped Dr Russetti isolate the HIV virus

    And to think that the world believes that Luc Montagnier did that!

  48. anonymous[402] • Disclaimer says:
    @john cronk

    Good point.

    A major consideration for placing your otherwise healthy elderly parent in an assisted living facility is that the nutritional guidelines are mostly 70s era food pyramid high carb/low fat disasters. Get great grandpa up at 7:00 am sharp for breakfast at 7:30. 3 meals a day whether he needs them or not. Lots of carbs and don’t cheat him out of orange juice and in the morning and a dessert with lunch and dinner.

    Only the very best care facilities are now aware of the effects of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia has on the immune system. Not to mention dementia and cardiovascular disease.

    Covid-19 when introduced to lots of elder care facilities simply wipes out the immune suppressed. The added fact that most of the care staff are morbidly obese and likely prime agent for spreading the virus is an added risk.

  49. dearieme says:
    @Simon Tugmutton

    That’s not an answer. My question was why would you think HFCS is worse for you than sucrose? After all sucrose is essentially a fifty:fifty compound of fructose and glucose joined by a weak organic bridge that falls apart quickly in your stomach because of enzyme and acid action.

    Whereas the HFCS mainly used for processed foods and breakfast cereals is only 42% fructose. So I repeat, why is 42% fructose worse for you than 50% fructose, especially when you need eat less of the HFCS to get the same sweetness effect?

    Your proposition sounds to me like a quasi-religious dogma rather than a fact of science. It might seem harsh to call it “Women’s Magazine Science”: harsh but fair.

    Fair, of course, because I await your evidence that might persuade me otherwise.

    • Replies: @Simon Tugmutton
  50. You’re missing the elephant in the room. (Okay, there’s a little pun in there.)

    The cause of uncontrollable obesity and the type 2 diabetes that so often accompanies it, is the destruction, in the developed world especially, of the microbiome by antibiotics. The evidence for this has been clear since the at least 2005, and has been mounting in the 15 years since then.

    The microbiome works symbiotically with the human immune system to “train” and regulate immune function — that is, TO OPTIMIZE IMMUNE FUNCTION AND MAINTAIN OPTIMUM HEALTH. It works in and with the lower bowel which is the largest immune system organ in the human body, did you know that?

    Penicillin came into mainstream use in 1942. Since then, dozens of other antibiotics have been developed and put into ever-increasing and widespread use. In short, the pharmaceutical and medical institutions have been poisoning the human microbiome for the past 75+ years. The result has been the full spectrum of auto-immune diseases — asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes & accompanying obesity, to list just a few; aggravation/amplification of a variety of mental disorders (yes, microbiome health is closely related to mental health); and diseases specific to the gut — IBS/IBD, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and opportunistic C. difficil infections (affecting 450,000 and killing 20-30 thousand older people annually).

    And that’s just the autoimmune diseases. There is no question that the immune system’s capacity for dealing with conventional microbial infections has been damaged as well. How badly, we don’t know.

    Diet, problematic lifestyle, and environmental pollution don’t help, but the major culprits are antibiotic destruction of the microbiome and the destruction in human living-spaces of the pre-industrial (ie state-of-nature) microbial ecosystem. The sterilization of human living spaces prevents the colonization of the human host in the early years of childhood, and the re-colonization of adult microbiomes afollowing antibiotic poisoning


    The good news:

    Fixing this monstrous (originally accidental, but now criminal) catastrophe is cheap and easy. Healthy, robust microbiomes for transplant are abundant worldwide, and would effect a massive improvement in human health world wide and a massive reduction in health care costs.

  51. Trinity says:

    Americans are indeed heavier nowadays, the proof is in the pudding and the increasing waist sizes. I looked back at my old high school annual from the year I graduated high school in 1979 and everyone looked so damn trim, I don’t even think I saw a kid that would qualify as obese, at least not obese in my book. Saw a couple of kids that were overweight even what I would call fat, but they were few and far between. It’s one thing to be carrying a few pounds extra but yet still be able to perform and meet physical standards or tests, but a lot of kids today, regardless of weight, are weak, and totally out of shape. How many kids today or young adults in the prime of their life, cannot even perform a single pull-up regardless of their weight or BMI? How many young healthy adults become winded walking a flight of stairs? Take a look at any videos from the Seventies and look at most of the people back then, not near as many fatties for sure, at least not like what we see today. The ironic thing is in 2020 there is a gym on every corner, people are much more knowledgeable about diet, (remember we were taught to follow the old food pyramid that was heavy on breads, cereals and grains, a recipe for diabetes and obesity, etc.) As kids we feasted on Capn’ Crunch or pop-tarts for breakfast and McDonald’s or Burger King for lunch or dinner, but yet we were always moving, going to play sports, going to the YMCA, etc. Terrible diets, but no smartphones, no sitting watching television for hours, etc.

  52. anonymous[402] • Disclaimer says:

    There is a complication, but it requires accepting that race is biologically real. The complication is that health problems seem to go up in Chinese people at BMI 23. Also, people from the Indian sub-continent start getting health problems at around that level. (In 1998 the US guidelines were that unhealthy weight began at BMI at 27.8 so bringing that down to 25 increased the apparent level of obesity, though it might have encouraged maintenance of healthy weight in some citizens).

    Major figures in the Keto-IF backing medical community will tell you that while BMI is an very important risk factor it can be misleading for other racial groups. Being able to store excess sugars as fat is highly adaptive if not health protective up to a point. Generating lots of insulin and then storing lots of fat protects you from cardiovascular disease and stroke from high blood sugar. While Asians seem to develop type II diabetes and cardio vascular disease at much lower BMIs.

    Dr Jason Fung of Toronto makes these points in videos.

    In your follow articles please focus more on the more specific risk factors of insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia and diabetes and compromised innate and adaptive immune systems.

  53. Trinity says:

    Remember when fat body, Andy Ruiz, beat body beautiful Anthony Joshua for the heavyweight boxing title. Ruiz’s body looked almost as bad as the guy in the photo that accompanies this article. Despite what Ruiz looked like, he is very athletic, extremely quick and fast for a heavyweight and obviously he is in shape. Of course, Joshua won the rematch, but we must learn that not all fatties are unhealthy, some carry their weight well and can outperform most of the general public in tests of fitness or an athletic event.

  54. Sulu says:

    So the virus kills obese diabetics at a higher rate than people of more normal weight. Cry me a river.


  55. @dearieme

    Culled from the first article I searched for:

    Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver and can’t be used for energy by your body’s cells. It’s therefore not only completely useless for the body, but is also a toxin in high enough amount because the job of the liver is to get rid of it, mainly by transforming it into fat and sending that fat to our fat cells.

    Excess fructose damages the liver and leads to insulin resistance in the liver as well as fatty liver disease. In fact, fructose has the same effects on the liver as alcohol (ethanol), which is already well known as a liver toxin.

    Fructose reacts with proteins and polyunsaturated fats in our bodies 7 times more than glucose. This reaction creates AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), which are compounds that create oxidative damage in our cells and ultimately lead or contribute to inflammation and a host of chronic diseases.

    Fructose increases uric acid production, which, in excess, can cause gout, kidney stones and precipitate or aggravate hypertension.

    While most of your body’s cells can’t use fructose as a source of energy, the bacteria in your gut can and excess fructose can create gut flora imbalances, promote bacterial overgrowth and promote the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

    In part because of the damage done to the liver, chronic excess fructose causes dyslipidemia, which means that your blood lipid markers tend to shift towards numbers that indicate a risk for heart disease.

    Fructose rapidly causes leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that controls appetite and metabolism to maintain a normal weight. Leptin resistant people tend to gain fat and become obese really easily.

    Excess fructose alone can cause all the problems associated with the metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity, heart disease).

    Cancer cells thrive and proliferate very well with fructose as their energy source.

    Excess fructose also affects brain functioning, especially as it relates to appetite regulation. It has also been shown to impair memory in rats.

    Sucrose is bad for you too, because it’s 50% fructose, as you say.

    I suggest you do your own search if you’re not convinced.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  56. You forgot to include people of Sri Lanka …

  57. Alfred says:

    reducing weight is something which can be done simply by eating less.

    The ongoing economic collapse – in the real economy not the stock market – will ensure that fat people will become fewer. It also means that young women in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, France and so on will become attractive once again. An added bonus is that it will improve their libido and fertility. 🙂

    • Replies: @Wielgus
  58. baythoven says:

    Yes, the sex difference is the most striking — a glaring difference which is under-discussed, particularly considering the endless talk about racial disparities.

    And yes, I find myself shaking my head when BMI is discussed as a gold standard. I’ve always been super-lean, waist size has never changed, but always with a BMI between 26-28. (Genetically so, not a health or exercise nut.)

    Finally, I’m feeling well again after five and a half weeks of wuflu. And it’s probably safe to say now that my wife will not have it, at least not symptomatically.

    • Agree: mark green
    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  59. anonymous[402] • Disclaimer says:
    @Simon Tugmutton

    Good Source.

    Covid-19 Risk Factors

    by Rob Lustig | Apr 16, 2020 |

  60. UK Pleb says:

    I can remember reading something about Taleb debunking IQ tests in the comments section here. Taleb has now been debunked himself by Allen Farrington who seems to be a disciple turned assassin. Farrington calls Taleb “the internet’s biggest asshole”.

    • Replies: @Wielgus
  61. @Simon Tugmutton

    Good idea to ban high-fructose corn syrup, perhaps corn syrup entirely.

    How about making it illegal to charge MORE for a lower-sodium version of a product (canned soup, canned veggies)?

    Our excise tax policy may also be a bit misguided. Extra taxes to discourage consumption may make sense for things that involve hot smoke (smokable forms of tobacco and marijuana) or a very high concentration of alcohol without offsetting health benefits (hard liquor).

    But it would be wise to impose an excise tax on products with added sugar or corn syrup, such as soda, candy, and garbage “cereals.” The revenue could be earmarked for treatment of diabetics.

    Conversely, some products seem to be taxed more than their typical relative effect on health — and public healthcare costs — would warrant. Perhaps we should LOWER the excise taxes on beer, red wine, and non-smokable forms of marijuana (“edibles”).

    When it comes to excise tax policy, unscientific prejudices and ingrained bad habits are giving a free pass to deadly sugary products, while unnecessarily slamming marijuana edibles and red wine.

    PS Marijuana edibles sometimes have so much sugar or corn syrup that they should be taxed extra for that reason, just like other Candies.

    But low-sugar super-dark chocolates (with or without marijuana) shouldn’t be hit with a sugar excise tax.

  62. Peter VE says:

    I read a long comment “somewhere on the internet” speculating that the reason for the high levels of diabetes amongst African Americans was the lack of sunlight in our daily lives. People who evolved near the equator are used to getting much higher levels of sunlight, and therefor vitamin D, than those of us who evolved further north. I suspect its not just the vitamin D, but many interrelated factors.

    • Replies: @Flo
  63. Alfred says:

    Poverty means carbohydrates

    Actually, poverty means a proper breakfast not one of those packets full of sugar – with cartoons on the side. Many beans have plenty of proteins and are low GI.

    I guess it will end up being a case of Darwinism – those will low IQ will drop out of the gene pool.

    Are beans good for diabetes?

    • Replies: @Wielgus
  64. Skeptikal says:
    @john cronk

    For more info on the importance to health of nutrient-dense foods, healthy fats, real milk, and other traditional foods, see

    Also, very good info on the dangers and distortions connected with vaccines.

    Me, I prefer to take my chances with the virus rather than with a Big Pharma vaccine.

  65. Well, since a BMI of 25 or more means they will get corona virus and likely die, then doesn’t that mean the issue of high BMI get solved in the first place? I know, I know…shut down the economies putting millions out of work so they can starve….now THAT will solve the BMI issue! Bwahahahahahah! (Being facetious, folks, don’t have a melt down over this!) And how does forcing everyone to “shelter in place” not getting exercise solve the BMI issue? Or am I just being a “walking” contradiction? Double Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  66. @Carlton Meyer

    The way to burn fat is not to exercise or take strange pills. Your body burns fat when it has no more food. This means not just the stomach is empty but the intestines and the extra sugar stored in the liver. For most people this does not occur until after they haven’t eaten for ten hours, just as they start eating breakfast. So skip that to allow a few hours of fat burning time to get rid of the ounce of fat you added yesterday.

    I first heard about the benefits of intermittent fasting, including potentially reversing early stage type 2 diabetes, from Dr Michael Mosley, a Brit, based on research by Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University in the UK.

  67. I know, I know…forced anorexia nervosa and bulimia! Since it’s become high fashion to wear “masks” made out of kerchiefs, maybe we should all become 100 pound super models with a BMI of zero!

    Just don’t clog the toilet during your “purge” after your “binge”…and read how to become anorexic by reading the novel “The Best Little Girl In the World” authored by a psychiatrist who treats anorexia…

  68. Skeptikal says:

    I often hear “covid-19 is not flu.” Pennington also makes that statement.

    But I don’t recall seeing a definition of flu, or on what basis the statement or the distinction is made.

    Is covid-19 “not flu” because caused by a different type of virus?

    How come covid-19 is not flu? Can someone explain?

    • Replies: @schnellandine
    , @dearieme
  69. @Priss Factor

    One thing America doesn’t lack for is cheap food, and the policy became DO FEED THE BLACKS.

    Urban South African blacks have more or less the same pathologies courtesy of food security provided by white farmers.

    One hypothesis is obesity was a survival strategy back in Africa because of droughts but this is now a mess with over-nutrition.

  70. Skeptikal says:

    Nothing wrong with thick steak, apple pie, or bacon.

    Choose the ingredients in your pancakes–avoid white flour and baking soda.

    For recipes and much more information, see Sally Fallon, “Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats.”

    One plus of this epidemic is that it seems to be prompting some very worthwhile discussions of nutrition, vaccines, and eating for overall good health and also for specifically building up the immune system, including getting outside every day to get as much sunshine (vitamin D) as possible.

    And don’t immed. go and take a shower. It takes about 2 days for vitamin D to be synthesized by your natural skin oils. People bathe too much anyhow. Use your common sense and conserve hot water.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  71. anonymous[402] • Disclaimer says:

    Yes, poverty means carbs, and carbs mean metabolic illnesses including inflammation and weakened immune systems.

    See the work of leading Keto-IF supporting investigative journalist Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, Why We Get Fat, and The Case Against Sugar.

    Taubes makes the case that mass adult morbid obesity and childhood malnutrition if not hunger can exist side by side. He uses decades long studies of the Pima Indians to make his case.

    Taubes argues that that metabolic illness and obesity is a not a excessive caloric driven phenomena but a hormonal imbalance issue caused by the improper consumption of sugars and processed carbs relative to satiety inducing healthy saturated animal and unprocessed plant derived fats.

    This why non Ketogenic dietic in the long run don’t work. Not all calories are the same, carbs are not just addicting in the dopamine effect sense, they actually increase the production of insulin which drives fat storage while also blocking the body’s satiety mechanisms.

    Without strong satiety sensations one tends to eat more frequently if not snack all day long. It is well understood that daily fasting or extended fasting enhances the immune system and reduces inflammation.

    Take the time to watch the dozens of outstanding lectures by Taubes available on Youtube. His videos should be mandatory for every elected official.

    Last, Taubes argues we need to combat obesity without needlessly shaming the overweight, many of us were once fat precisely because we followed very flawed government recommended eating guidelines

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  72. Wielgus says:

    Mediterranean breakfasts are pretty good. The full English breakfast on the other hand, though delicious, is a heart attack on a plate…

  73. @Rosie

    Rosie, you’re right about the pointlessness of the constant commuting. It hurts our bodies and takes time away from all sorts of healthy or happy pursuits for no good reason: more sleep, more relaxing walks or bike rides, more time with children, spouses, friends, or neighbors, and reading. But at least it spews toxins into our air and wastes vehicle maintenance, insurance, and gas dollars along the way. What a brilliant way to organize a society and an economy,

    Easily a third of all Americans could do their jobs productively and effectively by working at least three days per week from home.

    With the exception of most teachers and medical personnel, a very high percentage of white-collar workers can do our jobs well from home (people in insurance, banking, finance, architecture, import-export, IT, law, call-center customer service, medical billing, etc.).

    Without regard to this exaggerated virus crisis, telecommuting should substantially replace the retarded air-choking time waste that is physical commuting. We should demand that governments, big corporations, and banks allow the majority of their employees to work from home a majority of the time.

    (Restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, and bars near city downtowns would suffer a lot, but the same types of businesses would boom where the telecommuting employees actually live.)

    Along with universal basic income, the end of the five-day commute for tens of millions of Americans should be something good to come out of this fiasco.

  74. Wielgus says:
    @UK Pleb

    “the internet’s biggest asshole”.
    Quite a high hurdle to clear, that. Absolutely ferocious competition all around.

    • Agree: mark green
  75. @Skeptikal

    How come covid-19 is not flu? Can someone explain?

    Without researching, have seen couple blurbs and charts that indicate the strict ‘flu’ is caused by influenza virus, which isn’t a corona, but the cyclical ailments known as flu are attributed to a coronavirus in roughly 10% of cases, with moderate variation.

    Practically, absent hysteria, Corona-chan19 is a flu season warranting barely a blip for all but the few directly hurt and their circles. Hysteria, of course, derived from the Greek for uterus. Feminine.

    Put simply, compare eternal swath of deaths in Challenger shuttle CharlieFoxtrot to a normal 3-car fatal collision. Civil religion. Boneheads.

  76. @Skeptikal

    Interesting point about vitamin and from sunshine being synthesized by our natural skin oils. I’ve looked it up after reading your comment, and thank you:

    In any event, I can’t spend even one full day sweaty, whether at work or lying in the bed that my wife and young babies share. It’s not healthy and it’s rude. Forget TWO days without showering.

    Who can walk in the sun, jog, bike, or workout and then go two days without showering without smelling bad — thus being rude — feeling dirty, and starting to get a rash?

    Perhaps only people who don’t sweat much (pre-pubescent people and old people?), don’t share a bed with anyone, and can avoid work/school, stores, visiting friends and family, taking a bus or train, attending church, and being in any other close proximity to other people for 2-3 days. Thankfully, that’s not most people.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Skeptikal
    , @Telemachos
  77. @Omegabooks

    Good points, but we are “allowed” to go outside and walk or bike even here in California. And we do.

  78. @dearieme

    Good drains, watertight roofs, clean water, soap and warm fires had a share.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @dearieme
  79. dearieme says:
    @Simon Tugmutton

    You are completely missing the point. You implied that HFCS is worse for people than sucrose. I pointed out how extremely unlikely that is and asked for your evidence. Clearly you have none.

    I suggest you do your own search if you’re not convinced.

    Or alternatively I could look at the lecture notes I took when I was taught by a distinguished sugar chemist.

    • Replies: @Simon Tugmutton
  80. Rohan M says:

    No, Mr. Thompson: “reducing weight is” NOT “something which can be done simply by eating less.” If there’s one fact on which there’s consensus in dietetics, it’s that calorie restriction diets are useless in the long run. To achieve ideal body weight, and to minimize virtually all degenerative conditions, we need to eat more food, by volume, not less.

    More whole plants – which are high in nutrient density and low in energy density – thanks to their high fiber and water content (both calorie-free), their low fat content, and their tens of thousands of antioxidant phytonutrients.

    Fewer animals and processed junk pseudo-foods – CRAP, in Doug Lyell’s words: Calorie-Rich, Animal and Processed. These pseudo-foods are the opposite of whole plants: low in water and fiber content, high in fat (and dangerous ones at that), spectacularly low in nutrient density and spectacularly high in energy density.

    All the honest nutrition science of the past 30 years (i.e., not the reductionist scams of “low-carb,” keto and paleo), from population studies, to migration studies, to randomized controlled trials, including dietary interventions such as metabolic ward studies, shows that whole-food vegans suffer by far the least from diabesity (and virtually all other chronic conditions).

    Less than 40% as much diabetes as omnivores, according to Tonstad et al’s studies of the 7th Day Adventists of Loma Linda, CA… the vegans among whom may live up to 10 years longer than other Californios (according to Fraser). As Adventists add animals to their diets, moving from vegan to various kinds of vegetarian to omnivore, up goes their weight… and up soars their risk of diabetes.

    But why? What explains this population effect at the molecular level? Go to Google Scholar and type in “intramyocellular lipids” – which means “inside muscle cell fats” – and you’ll get a few thousand hits showing the work of such luminaries as Shulman, Petersen and Roden, and scores of others, who’ve proven since the late 1990s – complete with MR spectroscopy “photographic” evidence – that while refined sugar is certainly bad for diabetics, the main cause of type-2 diabetes (besides lack of exercise) isn’t sugar: it’s fat – both the kinds of fat we eat and the fat we wear: dietary fat and body fat.

    IMCLs are also called “ectopic fats,” because they build up where they don’t belong, inside our muscles, livers and pancreases, in which organs they cause insulin resistance. They hinder insulin’s ability to ferry glucose from our blood and into our cells. Do all fats do this? No. To answer that question, type in “lipotoxicity” – which means “fat poisoning” – and you’ll find that it’s the saturated fats and trans fats in animals and junk vegetable oils which help cause the fat poisoning and insulin resistance that lead to diabetes. Whole plants protect against diabetes and its #1 risk factor, obesity.

    Considering that it’s humankind’s addiction to animal-eating that’s responsible for the pandemics of infectious diseases which have plagued us only since the introduction of animal agriculture 10,000 years ago… genocidal scourges like smallpox, measles, whooping cough, typhoid fever, polio, TB, HIV/AIDS, flu, Ebola, SARS, MERS and COVID-19 – not to mention the common cold, leprosy and ‘mad cow disease’ – some would say that karma is having a say in who’s most at risk from COVID-19: animal-eaters and junk-eaters who’re overweight, diabetic, immune-compromised, hypertensive and atherosclerotic. These aren’t diseases, really – they’re “elective conditions” we choose to have by choosing to eat animals and other junk.

    It’s relevant that CORONAVIRUS and CARNIVOROUS are anagrams.

    This is the lesson we need to take away from the relatively benign (so far) COVID-19 pandemic: The next pandemic – perhaps of H7N3 or H5N1 flu, or another coronavirus, busy brewing out there in some massive pig or chicken concentration camp, or some live market, right now – might not be so kind. It isn’t a question of “if?” It’s a question of when. The best guess of experts like Drs Michael Osterholm and Greger? Within the next 5 years, if we carry on the way we are with factory farming, despite the pleading, for decades, of virtually all public health organizations all around the world.

    (And don’t get me started on antibiotic resistance, thanks almost entirely to animal agriculture. We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to ways in which animal agriculture may soon decapitate humanity. Did I hear climate change? Deforestation?)

    I admire Mr. Thompson’s work on statistics; I just wish he (and most of the rest of humankind) knew what is and what isn’t food before he brought his statistical acumen to bear on a field that he hasn’t studied and about which he knows precious little, and that outdated.

    Simply put, I wish he knew how to eat.

    • Replies: @Skeptikal
    , @Sunshine
  81. dearieme says:

    As schnellandine says, the flu is defined by the virus families that cause it. On the other hand it is often diagnosed by its symptoms. I gather that testing for the presence of the viruses is rare.

    The Wuhan coronavirus belongs to a different family, of which some other members cause about 15% of cases of the common cold.

    For a layman (such as me) the important differences from the usual flu might be:

    (i) COVID-19 is more lethal.
    (ii) It’s less seasonal.
    (iii) The population it kills is proportionately more old and frail than for flu.
    (iv) It can leave behind serious injuries to lungs and brains.
    (v) It is spread by infected people before their symptoms appear, if they ever do appear.

    Because the virus is new it’s not clear how much truth there is in (i) – (v). I suspect that (i) is true and that that’s why the Chinese government closed down the country for weeks. But would you want to base your knowledge on a guess at the motives of a bunch of gangster politicians who were necessarily ill-informed at the time? The data gathered so far seem to point to distinctly higher lethality but doesn’t look quite conclusive yet. It’s odds on though, I reckon.

    (ii) is a guess; we won’t know until the Northern Hemisphere summer. The news from the dormitories of the building labourers in Singapore hardly encourages hopes that hot weather will disable the virus. People spending more time out of doors might help (when finally they are allowed to).

    (iii) People write as if this is true but I’ve never seen a table comparing the age-related outcomes of the flu and COVID-19. I dare say that “people” are right.

    (iv) There have been various reports of this which imply, if only by omission, that flu doesn’t have such effects.

    (v) is the horror and seems to be well established. This means that many infected people won’t have self-isolated in the early days because they had no idea they had the disease. It also means that testing and tracing will always be handicapped by the existence of infectious but asymptomatic people.

    (i) and (v) seem the most malign features and unfortunately are probably true.

    On this topic I should be delighted to be corrected.

    • Replies: @res
  82. Max Payne says:

    Fat people ruin everything. I’ve said it before. Aversion to PT should be a crime.

    Dieting and fasting are signs you might be too lazy to care about your physical health. A cop out. In which case have fun with covid-19.

    I eat maybe over 2500-3K calories a day of whatever and still maintain great shape. You know why? Because I don’t call walking or hiking “physical activity”. Since 16 I’ve dedicated time to jogging, lifting, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and stretching.

    I can see myself maintaining great athleticism well into my 60s. There is a 78 year old man in our BJJ gym that would make 20 year old boys blush in his strength and stamina. And he only started BJJ in his late 60s. I’ve seen him smash 25 year old competitors.

    Work out! If you have time to stuff your pie hole with freedom fries then you got time to throw in some push ups and flutter kicks in your daily regimen. Fatty.

    Got no time? (Excuses) If you got time to read this article then you can also read it running on a treadmill (or on a stationary cycle like some middle age mom going through a midlife crisis).

  83. “Smoking complicates the interpretation of results,”
    I should coco! That’s the next factor to focus on. My hope is that the unfortunate victims of that 500-year plague will vanish from the planet. Apart from ruining their own lungs, the stink-disease-people throw off trillions of PM2.5 particles and don’t care who breathes them in. Save the children from that.

  84. @Kim

    I second this, I went from 18% body fat to 10% at 22.5 BMI in about 3 months eating mostly lean meats and veggies. Also gym twice a week for 40 mins or so. High intensity. Heavy lifts 6-10 reps to near failure. Can do 50+ push ups and 20+ pull ups now. Also get good sleep and keep your protein intake high if you want to put muscle on, maybe something like 1 gram per pound of bw or .5 per kg. I didn’t do any fasting though, just higher protein and fewer overall calories, minimal carbs. Gained a couple pounds back since the lock down started though. I expect many people are going to be a lot fatter by the time this is over. All that walking we aren’t doing adds up.

  85. @The Alarmist

    I think you may be disappointed. Sitting at home doesn’t tend to make people skinnier. The only people likely to lose weight during this are those in africa since their food donations are likely to be affected by this, exponentially more africans will likely die due to famine caused by a potential drop in the supply of western charity than from the virus itself. And agricultural products are the USA’s main export. Even if supply drops precipitously we are more likely to just ease exports and donations than have less food for ourselves to gorge on.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  86. Miro23 says:

    Everyone should begin to eat a low carb, high fat, mainly animal product diet – the one we’ve evolved to thrive on.

    It’s OK to talk about foods, but the main feature of the design, is adaption to handle fairly intensive daily physical exercise (hunter/gathering).

    Take that way (as most people do), and it’s a quick way to encounter all kinds of health problems.

  87. @baythoven

    Finally, I’m feeling well again after five and a half weeks of wuflu. And it’s probably safe to say now that my wife will not have it, at least not symptomatically.


    Obesity is strongly associated with vitamin D deficiency

    It’s Vitamin D, Stupid.

    The authors are experts in vitamin D/ immunoloy. We immediately saw the relationship between the corona virus and the ongoing, world-wide epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and wrote this paper to inform the world and it was ignored.

    We noticed that the immune system has been pretty much ignored in favor of completely unproven practices like distancing and masks.



    Every aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic (except the virus, itself) is explained by the on-going world-wide epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. The world is deficient in vitamin D. For the past 15 years, hundreds of studies have found vitamin D deficiency to be endemic from Labrador to Lima, from Wuhan to Wellington. Vitamin D is essential to multiple systems in the body. One of those systems is the immune system that protects you from viruses. Another is the respiratory system, the lungs. Vitamin D deficiency opens you up to virtually every pulmonary disease from the common cold to Lung cancer. Vitamin D deficiency causes a double whammy with Covid-19.

    It has long been recognized that seasonal Influenza is associated with seasonal changes in vitamin D secondary to seasonal changes in sunlight. Multiple studies have found that vitamin D levels are negatively correlated with many pulmonary pathologies ranging from emphysema to asthma. Vitamin D plays an important role in the process of innate immunity and vitamin D deficiency can be described as a form of immune-deficiency. Vitamin D supplements have been therapeutic in multiple forms of respiratory disease.

    Covid-19 is a new virus of the Corona family, related to SARS and MERS. It was first described in November, 2019, in Wuhan, China. It is very infectious, is spreading rapidly and can now (April, 2020) be found throughout the world. It has proven to be exceptionally lethal as respiratory viruses go, especially when it infects individuals with serious pre-existing conditions.

    Vitamin D deficiency interacts with latitude, altitude, sunlight, diet, air pollution, cigarette smoking, age, air pollution, skin color, obesity and all of these factors came together in places like Wuhan and Teheran and Seattle and New York. B-type Ultraviolet light (280-315 nm) (UVB), the frequency of light at which vitamin D is produced in the skin, changes intensity as one moves either north or south from the equator. Hence, 15 minutes of direct sunlight produces more vitamin D at the Mexican-American border than at the American-Canadian border. It also changes with the changing tilt of the planet as it move through its yearly orbit. In autumn, when the Earth tilts away from the Sun in the Northern hemisphere, vitamin D production is reduced. At my latitude, 40°N, the intensity of UVB on skin produces vitamin D between March 15 and October 15. Further south, the number of vitamin D producing days is greater, further north it is less.

    Vitamin D Deficiency causes a state of increased systemic oxidative load in the body, raising the level of systemic inflammation. Cigarette smoking, obesity, age and air pollution are additional sources of inflammation. According to the popular press, the following cities are or have been centers of Covid-19 infection: Wuhan, China is at 30.56° N and experiences heavy air pollution , Teheran, Iran is at 35.70° N and experiences heavy air pollution, Milan, Italy is at 45.46° N and experiences heavy air pollution, Seattle, USA is at 47.60° N and experiences heavy air pollution, New York, USA is at 40.71° N and experiences heavy air pollution, Los Angeles, USA is at 34.05 and experiences heavy air pollution. At this time of year, the people living in these cities are experiencing their lowest vitamin D levels of the year and it is lower still because of air pollution. Covid-19 has been particularly lethal to elderly men. In China, smoking is much more prevalent in men than women. Age and smoking are both risk factors for vitamin D deficiency.

    Diseases of the kidney, liver, lungs, digestive tract, pancreas and, perhaps, the heart are associated with vitamin D deficiency. So, when an elderly, dark skinned, over-weight, male, smoker, suffering from one or more of these comorbidities contracts Covid-19 and dies, the primary cause of death could be described as vitamin D deficiency with multiple contributing factors.

    Air pollution interacts with vitamin D deficiency at multiple levels (20). High altitude aerosols alter the frequency of ambient UVB reducing its ability to generate Vitamin D in the skin. Low altitude (visible) air pollution (PM2.5) acts as a barrier to UVB, reducing its intensity, altering the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D. People who live away from the sun: shift-workers, miners, shut-ins (shelerers-in-place), nursing home residents are vitamin D deficient. Submariners are supplemented with vitamin D. When we spend time in the summer sunshine, our skin becomes “tan”. This is to protect us from too much UVB. Highly pigmented skin does not absorb UVB as well as light colored skin. People with dark colored skin are much more likely to be vitamin D deficient. Immigrants who have highly pigmented skin, who move north, such as Africans who relocate to London, are at serious risk of vitamin D deficiency and all the diseases that go with it. African Americans are likely to be vitamin D deficient which explains Covid-19 hot spots in cities like New Orleans, Chicago and St. Louis. On this point, people with dark skin frequently cannot digest milk. That deprives them of the primary dietary source of vitamin D, fortified milk products.

    Few vitamin D-rich foods are in a usual diet: Fatty fish, egg yolk, mushrooms, blubber. Fortified foods are the chief dietary sources of vitamin D. Those foods vary by country but vitamin D fortified milk is commonly consumed by children. This might explain why Covid-19 has had a reduced impact on children. We feed our children vitamin D fortified food but not ourselves. A note: the manufacture of active Vitamin D in the liver and kidneys absolutely requires adequate amounts of magnesium as cofactor. Magnesium is frequently deficient from the usual diet and should be provided to insure adequate vitamin D.

    A 2000 IU capsule of vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) will cost about a nickel (15 minutes in the noon-day sun is free) and a 500 mg tablet of Magnesium Oxide about the same are available at Amazon, E-Bay or any healthfood store. The two together, every morning, will prevent deficiency and strengthen your immune system Many pathologies are associated with vitamin D deficiency, ranging from hypertension to macular degeneration … but that is for another day.


    • Agree: Skeptikal
  89. @john cronk

    Agree. I call the ideal diet “meat and leaves” oily, fatty, meats and fish and eggs and nuts and so on, and then for the leaves, green non-starchy vegetables, things like kale and broccoli and avocados and all kinds of leafy stuff.

    Also: Exercise. Being working class, I get a certain amount of it anyway but I’m starting to add more.

  90. @res

    It’s good to see that ‘authorities’ are finally accepting what non-retards have known for a generation: BMI is a retarded statistic because it takes no account of body composition.

    NFL linebackers average 6’2″ (in cleats), 245lb – solidly in the ‘obese’ range. ‘Normal’ guys who are 6’2″ and 245lb usually have a pronounced gut.

    A key difference between an NFL LB and the male Lesser Urban Landwhale (the smllest of the landwhales), is that the Landwhale has triple the bodyfat. Also the LB will have a 32-34″ waist, and the Landwhale will be 130% of that.

    (FWIW I’m 6’1½”, 235lb, 35″ waist – up 10lb and 2″ on the waist in the time we’ve all been on home detention… no excuses tho).

    This is the problem with the medical profession’s obsession with portmanteau statistics – they are fucking stupid.

    BMI used to be called the Quetelet Index, and was thought up by a Froggo-Belgian (Quetelet) who was a little too “wet patch in his undies” when it came to averages. He actually wrote –

    If the average man were completely determined, we might consider him as the type of perfection; and everything differing from his proportion or condition, would constitute deformity or disease…or monstrosity.”

    Anyway… so he was a fuckwit for that alone.

    Quetelet observed that if we grew a the same constant rate in all three dimensions, our weight would increase proportional to the cube of the growth rate.

    We don’t, and our weight doesn’t… so rather than estimate the approximate rates of growth of the other 2 dimensions, he just chucked them out and squared height.

    But why a portmanteau stat in the first place? And why ignore the obvious: that fatties – not ‘heavies’ – are fat around the waist (for men) and the hips/arse/things (for women)?

    Anyone with a lick of sense understands that an individual who is average on all relevant metrics would be a perfect example of a shit human. Imagine being an innumerate, fucntionally-illiterate 5’9″, 196lb person with an IQ of exactly 100, earning \$44,500 a year (the income bit gets slightly better if you adjust for age, but all the horror happens excluding income).

    Furthermore, there is a covariance structure among metrics with some high correlations (e.g., digit length vs ulnar length; femur length vs tibia length), and some low ones (neck circumference vs digit length), and some negative ones (educational attainment in STEM vs religiosity).

    The US Air Force has proved the fallacy of the average: when they were re-designing cockpit dimensions in the 1950s, they initially planned to fit an average pilot. (The old cockpit layout was designed based on the ‘average’ pilot in 1926, and fit nobody).

    They took 140 different measurements from 4,063 pilots – with N that large, their estimate of the average in any one dimension was unbiased.

    But – and here’s the thing – they paid absolutely no attention to the joint distribution until Daniels (the youngest member of the research team) investigated how many of the 4063 were within σ of the average on the 10 ‘key’ dimensions.


    Even if you refined it to the most important 3 of the 10 key ‘features’, only 3.5% of actual, real pilots had measurements in a σ cube around the joint mean.

    Daniels wrote it up in DTIC AD010203 – The “Average Man”?.

    That was 68 years ago, but the medical ‘profession’ thinks that abusing a Belgio-Frog’s portmanteau statistic is helpful.

    No surprise that BMI was thrust into the public consciousness by one of the most flagrant charlatans of the mid-20th century… Ancel Keys, the man whose research malpractice led to a half-century of actively-harmful dietary advice and who is pretty much responsible for the rapid rise in the proportion of Westerners who have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardio-vascular disease.

    (Another thing that’s increased since we were all incarcerated, is my decades-old infuration about bad quant – because we are fucking awash in that shit right now. Fortunately John Ioannides exists, as does the CEBM… and r/AnimalsBeingDerps )

    • Agree: Simon Tugmutton
    • Replies: @res
  91. anon[974] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jorge Videla

    BMI is bullshit, because it ignores body type, racial and sex differences, and scales poorly with height. All of NFL would be considered overweight, including CBs and WRs with 30-inch waists. Most would fall into the range of obese based on BMI, while being capable of tremendous feats of athleticism.
    Even many NBA players are “overweight”. A 6-11, 250 lb center would fall in the “overweight” range.
    A specimen like Zion Williamson, who can jump over 40″ in an eye-blink, is well into the “obese” range. Even Yao Ming was another “overweight” NBA player at 7-6 and 310 lbs.

    To be in the “low healthy” BMI range you basically need to be a waif with extremely narrow hips and shoulders and very little muscle or fat.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  92. @Svevlad

    Fatter people simply seem to get infected less often, and get rid of it quicker. People seem to know of this correlation, since when I was little, and with a neighbor, she talked to a lady who was pretty fat, she complained that she gained weight and is already fat enough. The neighbor simply said “well, at least you’ll get sick less”

    Read the stats. 74% of covid vics are fatties. Why would you lie on their behalf? Are YOU fat?

    • Replies: @Svevlad
  93. anon[350] • Disclaimer says:

    Take the shower immediately before sunbathing for best Vitamin D and Testosterone results.

  94. Svevlad says:
    @Jim Christian

    I’m not talking about death chance, but the chance to get infected in the first place, in usual conditions by usual diseases

  95. @anonymous

    I can’t recall if I’ve seen Taubes or Lustig mention this, but there are secondary effects on gut biota: a diet high in high-GL[1] carbohydrate and low in insoluble fibre, preferences types of gut bacteria that contribute to inflammation by crowding out ‘good’ bacteria that convert insoluble fibre to short-chain fatty acids. SCFAs are important in regulation of metabolism and inflammation.

    Worse still, gut bacteria are now known to express chemical signals that make us crave what they like – so if the ‘bad guys’ get ‘quorum’, then the interspecies signalling (between our gut bacteria and our metabolism and our brains) changes to make us crave shit that the bad guys want.

    This is actually a really interesting field – but it destroys the silly ‘paleo’ nonsense – “Caveman meat good. Caveman eat meat. Evolution slow. Me basically caveman. Me eat meat be thin like caveman.

    Yeah, fuck that – it’s stupid (I’m caricaturing ‘paleo’ – I know they advocate plenty of fibrous vegetables). It’s known that humans have evolved structural and chemical changes in their digestive tracts as a result of agriculture (lactase being one obvious change).

    Changing the gut biome is better done with fibrous vegetables (especially raw ones) than with meat. Meat doesn’t increase the food available to ‘good’ bacteria – so there’s still insufficient SCFAs being produced in the gut, which means that key processes that reduce inflammation will be running on empty.

    Starving the bad guys and feeding the good guys has fuck-all to do with what cavemen ate. Beside, cavemen ate fuck-all meat. The key thing of relevance was that their diet had negligible amounts of sugar – fruit at the time was much less sweeter and more fibrous. And they didn’t eat very frequently (which it turns out is a good thing to copy).

    Low-GL, high-fat, high-omega-3, massive-insoluble-fibre … equals “mostly plants, most of the time“.

    [1] GL: glycemic load – a far better measure than glycemic index. GI is based on a ‘dose’ of a food containing 50g of carbohydrate; GL adjusts this by the carbohydrate content of each food to give a measure based on a constant weight of the food itself.

    Also: TIL there was a study in 1925 that claimed that difference sub-populations in Europe had different-sized colons.

    • Replies: @vot tak
    , @Wielgus
  96. vot tak says:

    Most americans are grossly overweight. At least 3/4 of them. A little more than brits. Fatness causes many other health problems to be worse. Interesting to see that this article further confirms that age and males are more susceptible to the virus’s more serious conditions.

  97. vot tak says:

    “However, reducing weight is something which can be done simply by eating less.”

    And moving around more… 😀

    But basically it boils down to personal greed, a defective mentality and genetic attribute which the right promontes nonstop among the slaves. Be all you can be in screwing over your fellow slave in your quest to the bottom, but above all else, buy our toxic shit. Feed your face with it. Bummed about the shit we bury you with? Feed your face. It’s psywar that is all about emphasizing and promoting presonal greed. And it works. Look at places like the usa and uk. The completely zombiefied fattened sheep eat it up.

    And keep getting fatter.

    And fatter.

    And fatter….

    Obesity, Age, sex smoking, skin color, air pollution, where could all those lines cross?

  99. Mike-SMO says:

    Match your food intake to your energy output.

    Then go with whatever diet/menu works. My Grandfather ate a selection of grease (leftover in the pan), bread, and potatoes that would make a nutritionist cringe. He almost made it to 100. Must have been the pale green Hungarian peppers which were declared a crime against humanity after WWI. I survived eating one, barely.

    He allowed as he “cut back” when he retired from the mill. My late wife’s father always had a “propserous” look.. He also had to “cut back” when he leased the acerage and retired from his “city” job. The beer, chips and a “little extra” add up pretty quickly.

    If you are not moving, soon you will not be able to.

  100. Skeptikal says:

    Dear Radical,
    Regarding my point to use common sense regarding bathing, I didn’t mean don’t wash at all.
    Just spot-wash. maybe rinse the rest with warm water.
    I lived in Germany for years. Germans are very clean. Yet in those days (seventies) many people—and most students—did not have showers or bathtubs. This was also true in many Pensionen, when one went on holidays. How did they stay clean?
    TPA we called it (in English): Tits, pits, and ass. Clean the necessary bits. But leave your arms, legs, to do the synthesizing.
    Of course if you are jogging and working out all of the time, and are covered in sweat, then you share a bed with three others, I guess y’all will just have to forgo the vitamin D!
    Take three capsules of D3, 3,000 IU’s, per day.
    Also, you could try just rinsing with water, not soaping up all over.

    Actually, here
    is stated that vitamin D is formed in deeper layers of the skin, not on the outside layer.
    If that is true, then maybe showering makes no difference . . .

    • Thanks: RadicalCenter
  101. Skeptikal says:
    @Rohan M

    Have a death wish?
    Eat vegan.
    This diet is a dangerous scam.
    Sure, eat only vegetables and you will show some improvement, for a while.
    Then the deficiencies start to show up.
    Homo sapiens is an omnivore. A very flexible omnivore, but an omnivore nonetheless. From the arctic to the tropics to colonial North America to peasant societies the world over, no one eats vegan who can afford to do better for themselves and their families. In particular it verges on criminal to inflict a vegan diet on an infant, or growing child, or pregnant woman.

  102. Skeptikal says:
    @Priss Factor

    That film is disgusting!

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  103. vot tak says:

    “Also: TIL there was a study in 1925 that claimed that difference sub-populations in Europe had different-sized colons.”

    Is a long or short colon better for health? I know rightwingers prefer a narrow colon to one of wider girth, but that has zero to do with the health of the colon’s owner and more to do with an aspect of the mental disease commonly called rightwingery.

    • Replies: @Rich
  104. res says:

    (iii) The population it kills is proportionately more old and frail than for flu.

    (iii) People write as if this is true but I’ve never seen a table comparing the age-related outcomes of the flu and COVID-19. I dare say that “people” are right.

    I think (iii) is backwards. We talked about this some in this exchange:

    This paper has multiple variations of this plot for different flu seasons and countries. I’ll only include this one because the others are largely similar. I described this in words in the other comment, but did not include the graph because I already had too many.

    Compare that to this worldometers data (which I divide by two to adjust for asymptomatic infections):

    AGE | DEATH RATE all cases
    80+ years old 14.8%
    70-79 years old 8.0%
    60-69 years old 3.6%
    50-59 years old 1.3%
    40-49 years old 0.4%
    30-39 years old 0.2%
    20-29 years old 0.2%
    10-19 years old 0.2%
    0-9 years old _ no fatalities

    Keeping in mind that the plot above is semi-log we see the flu fatality rate declining about 10x per 14 years. More rapidly than for COVID-19, In the flu graph by age 55 the mortality rate is so low (less than 1 in 100,000) that they don’t even show it for younger ages.

    And here is what the paper text has to say about flu mortality compared to typical all cause mortality rates by age.

    Excess AC mortality rates in 85- to 90-year-olds are about 250 times greater than those for 45 to 50-year-olds, whereas AC total mortality rates for 85 to 90-year-olds are only about 75 times larger than the rates for 45- to 50-year- olds. A characteristic of exponential processes is that a proportional change in the process occurs as a result of a fixed change in the driver of the process, here, age. The age increase associated with a doubling of the AC mortality rate was 7.15 years in Canada in 1999, while the doubling age increment for influenza-attributable mortality was 5.33 years. The exponential variation with age is, therefore, steeper for influenza-attributable mortality than for AC mortality. Seasonal influenza, as a mortal force, is of unusual consequence to the increasingly elderly population.

    • Thanks: dearieme
    • Replies: @res
  105. res says:

    Thanks for that link. One nitpick regarding (emphasis mine):

    how many of the 4063 were within σ of the average on the 10 ‘key’ dimensions.


    Even if you refined it to the most important 3 of the 10 key ‘features’, only 3.5% of actual, real pilots had measurements in a σ cube around the joint mean.

    Take a look at Table I on page 11 of the PDF. Here is the description of how they determined average from the text (emphasis mine). Your first sentence is a factor of 3 off while your final sentence is a little more than 50% off.

    For the present purpose we have defined “average” more liberally to include all Individuals who fall within a range of plus or minus three-tenths of a standard deviation of the mean value. This definition seems reasonable on two counts:

    1. It results in the middle 25 or 30 of a group being classified as approximately average on any one measurement.
    2. It provides for most measurements a value range which is at least the equivalent of a fill clothing size (over 1.5 inches on chest circumference, over 1 inch for sleeve length, etc.)

    Actually it was necessary to use limits which were slightly different and, in general, slightly wider than those just described because of the form in which the data were available. The limits were net to the nearest whole value of measurement, i.e., the nearest whole centimeter.

    For a normal distribution, 38.3% should be within +/- 0.5 SD while 23.6% should be within +/- 0.3 SD.

    What is interesting is that even 38.3% ^ 10 is 6.8e-5 while 23.6% ^ 10 is 5.4e-7. So it is clear there is an appreciable correlation between the variables (even if it is less than you or I would expect).

  106. Wielgus says:

    During the 1990s, during “wild capitalism”, I had the impression the looks of Russian women improved compared to Soviet times. Feminine beauty was commodified – many were looking to find a husband or partner from abroad, and there was also a great increase in prostitution.

  107. Kim says:
    @Simon Tugmutton

    And your qualifications as a nutritionist are?

    You have appeals to authority. I have personal experience and the similar experiences of very many people recounting their experiences on the internet and seen in my personal life.

    You don’t trust my experience? You don’t have to.

    As to your trust in nutritionists, it seems to me that most nutritionists recommend the food pyramid, which is a flat out health disaster. You want to be obese, and get diabetes and heart disease? Eat the food pyramid.

    Nutritionists work for large institutions and industrial groups in the pay or under the thumb of Big Pharma, Big Ag, and Big Boxed Food.

    But again, you don’t have to trust me. And you don’t have to trust Big Food, Big Ag, Big Pharma, and Big Chem. You can experiment on yourself. It isn’t hard. It should be quite safe. So follow one of these regimes for a few weeks and see how you go. Then make up your own mind.

    Did you get that last part? “Then make up your own mind.” You’re allowed to, you know.

  108. Kim says:

    Fish is an incomplete protein, and organ meats have carbs.

    This is the kind of thing that gives cranks and nutcases a bad name.

  109. @dearieme

    The case against HFCS is that it is added to so many processed foods. This is the food industry’s response to governmental diktats about low-fat diets. When you spoon sugar into your coffee or eat a cake you have some idea of what you’re getting. With HFCS, not so much. That is all I’m saying.

    I wonder how long ago you took those notes and whether you have been keeping up to date.

  110. @James Stark

    I don’t kid myself that they’ll lose weight … I figure they’ll simply be culled.

  111. @Philip Owen

    Yes, and many of them prior to the medical advances usually credited with having done the heavy lifting.

  112. @Trinity

    I’m sorry to say this, but you’re fat. I’m not surprised that you’re in denial about your own weight though. Lots of people who are fat are in denial about this (NB: it’s the same as anorexics being in denial about their health/size), especially those living in the USA because they barely have any examples of what is a healthy human body shape in their direct social environment.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Trinity
  113. dearieme says:
    @Philip Owen

    But surely they were all in place by 1957? The point Dr T was making was (I think) that since 1957 lifespans have increased.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  114. @RadicalCenter

    The argument is not to not shower at all but just not to use soap on places (arms, face etc.) which get sun and, hence, vitamin D. Warm water and scrubbing is enough. Save the soap, they say, for those parts that obviously require it.

  115. @res

    I know you find one factor enough for today, but I actually find the COVID-19 sex differences to be the most striking (both standalone and in comparison to pneumonia). Hopefully we talk about that soon.

    Hi, I actually brought this up in a comment on the “Infection Fatality Rates Under Different Scenarios” column. I’d noticed that in Italy, if you exclude the oldest patients, men made up 73% to 79% of the deaths:


    Women: 1,731
    Men: 1,082


    Men: 5,329
    Women: 3,421

    So far what one might have expected given life expectancy in men vs. women. But:


    Men: 4,746
    Women: 1,786


    Men: 1,881
    Women: 537


    Men: 634
    Women: 165


    Men: 138
    Women 46

    This seemed extraordinary to me. But one paper analyzing the deaths in NYC wrote:

    “While men made up a grossly disproportionate number of both hospitalizations and critical illness, this difference was attenuated by multivariable adjustment for comorbidities such that gender [sigh] was no longer one of the most prominent risk variables.”

    I found that a few facts may explain things. For example, in the youngest adults in America (age 18 to 29) they found the following rates of high blood pressure:

    White women: 1%
    Black women: 4%
    White men: 5%
    Black men: 10%

    Which sort of thing might go some way towards explaining both the sex disparity and the race disparity.

    Also, we’ve got much more diabetes compared to Italy, and much more obesity, which again explains why so few younger Italians have been affected by this compared to younger Americans.

    • Replies: @res
  116. Sparkon says:

    This recent study offers more evidence — as if there weren’t already plenty — of the bad effects artificial sweeteners have on our gut microbiome, and our overall heath in general:

    Artificial sweeteners have become increasingly controversial due to their questionable influence on consumers’ health. They are introduced in most foods and many consume this added ingredient without their knowledge. Currently, there is still no consensus regarding the health consequences of artificial sweeteners intake as they have not been fully investigated. Consumption of artificial sweeteners has been linked with adverse effects such as cancer, weight gain, metabolic disorders, type-2 diabetes and alteration of gut microbiota activity. Moreover, artificial sweeteners have been identified as emerging environmental pollutants, and can be found in receiving waters, i.e., surface waters, groundwater aquifers and drinking waters.

    (my bold)

    Dump the diet sody pop, and watch your health improve.

  117. Rich says:
    @vot tak

    We know that those with that mental disease called “leftwingery” prefer a wider rectum to the shorter colon, and long slender fingers in order to more easily pick the pockets of working folks. But to each his own.

  118. anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:

    BMI is some one size fits all nonsense. According to an online calculator a man (no gender differential) 6 feet tall and weighing a mere 140 pounds scores a 19, classified as being of “normal” weight. For real? Where, in a concentration camp? This is just more establishment baloney just like all the diet advice of the past fifty years increasingly looks like quackery. Use of this index distorts being able to look at these numbers in a useful way since nearly anyone who is robust gets classified as being overweight. It has to be an individual assessment of what that person’s body fat percentage is. Not to say that nobody is obese since obviously there’s plenty out there in the well known order of B-H-W-A racial groups. This is known through common sense eyeball surveying. Lots of people have broken free of the diet advice of the ‘experts’ through trial and error, finding out what actually works for them.

  119. Trinity says:
    @Mary Marianne

    Oh yeah, I’m fat. I would wager my BMI is about 15-18% which is pretty damn healthy for a guy pushing 60 years of age. My wrist size is about 7 3/4″ so that makes me pretty large boned. Lets see, Mike Tyson in his prime was 5’10” and in fighting trim weighed 216-220lbs with a 34″ waist, my waist is only 36″ and I am a senior citizen. My neck is nearly 18″ while Tyson’s was 19″. I hike 3 times a week through very hilly terrain with a 50lb weighted vest, and I have been a fitness buff since the 1970’s. I am fanatical about physical fitness, but obviously not as crazy as I was in my youth, just more important things to worry about. You are right, I am in complete denial, I am a fat tub of lard who gets winded climbing a flight of stairs because I’m not a 6’1″ 165lb whippet. LMAO. When you can do 1,000 pushups in an hour, get back with me.

    • Replies: @Mary Marianne
    , @res
  120. res says:

    Thanks for that information! I find it helpful to include direct links so people can more easily follow up on what we say. So here are the links to your other comments:

    Here is a link to the iSteve post on the NYC decision tree paper (Ioannidis not an author, BTW).
    And the paper itself:

    That paper is actually looking at hospitalization and critical illness (not death, probably because the sample size then was too small). Two observations I found interesting.
    – For hospitalization the odds ratio for male is 2.8 while for critical illness it is 0.99.
    – The raw rate of %male is 68.0% for critical illness and 62.6% for hospitalization.

    I wish I understood which variables were obscuring the raw disparity in the critical illness results (anyone?). At first I thought it might be “First C reactive protein” (it has high ORs), but CRP appears to actually be higher in women on average:

    Perhaps the right way to think about it is their critical illness analysis compares to discharged without critical illness so the 2.8x OR disparity from who is hospitalized is already baked in. Thinking about it some more, I think this is the answer. And makes those critical illness results extremely misleading when taken out of context. Notice in Table 2 that “Discharged, no critical illness” is 60.1% male while “critical illness” is 68.0%. Compare to the corresponding not/hospitalized figures of 39.0% and 62.6% male.

    The Italian deaths results are dramatic. And your other comments include some useful observations about those results. I believe this is the paper:
    The data you summarize is presented as a bar chart in Figure 2 which includes data for all ages.

    As you observe, they really need to adjust that data for the sex balance of the populations at each age. I took a quick look, but did not find the data to do that.

    Thanks again for that information. Those are good references to help evaluate the sex differences in COVID-19 outcomes.

  121. @Trinity

    Suurrrrreeee… “large” boned… someone feels the need to compensate… LMFAO!

    • Replies: @Trinity
  122. Trinity says:
    @Mary Marianne

    Not compensating for anything. I am in wonderful shape especially for my age. I would even say that I am in EXCEPTIONAL SHAPE. Not bragging, it just is something that I have always been into and invested a great deal of time in so naturally I will get results. I have been working out on a regular basis since I was 15 years old and I am close to 59 years of age, so do the math. I try to mix it up with strength training, cardio, calisthenics, and even swimming. Last time I checked a wrist measurement of 7 3/4″ is considered large for the average male, while it isn’t exactly huge, it isn’t tiny either. Believe what you want, but I have forgotten more about physical fitness than you will ever know. Maybe my doctor didn’t like it when I made fun of her “cross-fit” workouts. I told her she could gladly do the hills with me anytime. Btw, I get compliments on my body all the time.

  123. Wielgus says:

    Poles – East have longer colons than Poles – West. I could have gone my entire life without knowing this.
    The intestines lose elasticity after death and I am sure this affects the results. A certain mania for measurement underlies all this.

  124. res says:

    I’m fat. I would wager my BMI is about 15-18%

    I assume you mean body fat percentage. You most definitely don’t have a BMI of 15-18 and it has units of kg/m^2 (though they are often omitted).

    You remind me a bit (your responses in this thread) of a friend who was an avid weight lifter his whole life. Strong and healthy (but with an even higher BMI and larger waist than you) right up until the point where he became diabetic and then had multiple debilitating strokes. Very sad to see what a man like that was reduced to before he died.

    I don’t doubt that you are healthy relative to most Americans with a similar BMI (giving you the benefit of the doubt on your approximations, 5’10” and 220 lbs gives a BMI of 31.6, generally over 30 is considered obese). But you might consider spending some time with this paper. For reference, a 36″ waist is 91.4 cm.
    A Pooled Analysis of Waist Circumference and Mortality in 650,000 Adults


    To assess the independent impact of waist circumference on mortality across the entire range of body mass index (BMI), and to estimate the loss in life expectancy related to a higher waist circumference.

    We pooled data from 11 prospective cohort studies with 650,386 white adults aged 20–83 years and enrolled from January 1, 1986 through December 31, 2000. We used proportional hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for the association of waist circumference with mortality.

    During a median follow-up of 9 years (maximum=21 years), 78,268 participants died. After accounting for age, study, BMI, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and physical activity, there was a strong positive linear association of waist circumference with all-cause mortality was observed for men (HR=1.52 for 110+ versus <90cm, 95%CI, 1.45–1.59; HR=1.07 per 5cm increment, 95%CI, 1.06–1.08) and women (HR=1.80 for 95+ versus <70cm, 95%CI, 1.70–1.89; HR=1.09 per 5cm increment, 95%CI, 1.08–1.09). The estimated decrease in life expectancy for highest versus lowest waist circumference was ~3 years for men and ~5 years for women. The HR per 5cm increment in waist circumference was similar for both sexes at all BMI levels from 20–50 kg/m2, but it was higher at younger ages, higher for longer follow-up, and lower among male current smokers. The associations were stronger for heart and respiratory disease mortality than for cancer.

    In white adults, higher waist circumference was positively associated with higher mortality at all levels of BMI from 20–50 kg/m2. Waist circumference should be assessed in combination with BMI, even for those in the normal BMI range, as part of risk assessment for obesity-related premature mortality.

    That said, this figure indicates you are in a fairly good place risk wise (in particular, a lower hazard ratio than any group with BMI 20-22.5) which your critics might ponder for a bit. But notice that the risk increases for waist sizes 2″ larger.

    Figure 3
    Hazard Ratios (HR) and 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) for Waist Circumference in 5cm Increments* and All-Cause Mortality by Body Mass Index (BMI) Category (Men and Women Combined), Adjusted for Education, Marital Status, Smoking Status, Alcohol Consumption, Physical Activity and BMI.

    *Waist circumference cutpoints (cm) for men <90.0, 90.0–94.9, 95.0–99.9, 100.0–104.9, 105.0–109.9, 110.0+ and women <70.0, 70.0–74.9, 75.0–79.9, 80.0–84.9, 85.0–89.9, 90.0+.

    I wish they had not lumped men and women together in that plot. Their eTable 3 has the results by sex. Looks even better for you.

    In any case, good luck to you. I hope you have found an approach which helps you stay healthy.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Trinity
  125. res says:

    I ran out of edit window. I would highly recommend taking a look at eFigure 4 in
    which is a sex segregated version of Figure 3 I included above.

    The waist buckets are 5 cm (2″) each. The risk curve is fairly steep with waist size and at your BMI starts with bucket 3 (95-100 cm). That is larger than your waist and that group has the lowest hazard ratio shown of ANY) so I would say this paper backs you up. Just don’t let your waist get over 100 cm. And stay fit.

    I am interested in what others think of these plots. For example, for men with waist sizes in the lowest buckets (and for the higher BMIs this is the third or fourth bucket!)the hazard ratios are almost the same for BMIs from 22.5 to 35. For women the 30-35 range is a good bit worse.

  126. Trinity says:

    I do lift weights, I hit a heavy bag and speed bag, I skip rope, swim, etc. To show how long I have been at this, a guy at the YMCA, ( there weren’t that many commercial gyms back in the mid 70’s) stated, “what are you trying to be the next Bruce Jenner. Of course, things have changed quite a bit since then, especially with Brucie.

    haha. A 5’10” large boned male in his late 50’s and having a 36″ waist is damn good. I guarantee you most of the people responding here have NEVER played a sport, aren’t athletic in the slightest, couldn’t bench press their bodyweight much less press their bodyweight, and they probably can’t even run a 7 minute mile much less a 6 minute or under mile. Have you people really taken a look at world class athletes? I was really into boxing back in the day and let me give you the height and weight of former light heavyweight champion and cruiserweight champion, Dwight Muhammad Qawi. Qawi was listed between 5’6-5’8″ depending on the source and had to weigh in at a DRIED OUT 175lbs to make the light heavyweight limit. That means that this WORLD CLASS AND WORLD CHAMPION ATHLETE would be considered “obese” by someone like your standards. Anyone who has ever had to cut weight knows that Qawi entered the ring at least 10lbs heavier after making weight. YOU PEOPLE on here HAVE NO REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE, the only thing you know is what you learn from books. LMFAO. Look at Andy Ruiz? As I stated earlier, he looks as bad as the guy in the photo, but the guy is in shape to box 12 rounds. Can you box 3 rounds? lolol. Btw, my blood sugar is 98, not great, but still acceptable,admittedly I don’t watch what I eat and I like my sweets. Everything else is GREAT. What are you people, shriveled up twigs?

    • Replies: @Sparkon
    , @res
  127. Sparkon says:

    Pro bicycle riders, or cyclists, are lean and muscular. You won’t see any plump guys riding in the Tour de France, where competing cyclists over the last 20 years have had an average BMI under 22:

    Average BMI Tour de France cyclists

    The BMI of the winners since 1947 also shows a tendency to get lower over time. The 2012 winner Bradley Wiggins had a BMI of only 19.1, as did Luis Ocaña, the winner from 1973… The heights of these two riders were very different (1.90 m v 1.65 m) but obviously they both carried very little bodyfat.

    BMI of Tour de France winners

    At the 2012 Olympic Games, the averages of the road cyclists were 180.5cm and 70.8 kg, with an average BMI of 21.7.

    Disclaimer: I do ride a bike, but I’ve never ridden in any organized bike race, and never dress up like a jockey. Still, I am built just like the guys who ride in the Tour, and that’s not like any shriveled up twig, but rather with all lean muscle.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  128. Trinity says:

    Me and my friends used to see an older gentleman back in the day always riding his bicycle, he had a large waist from what I could remember, but then again, the guy was probably in his fifties like myself. Different athletic events or sports require different skill sets and different types and levels of fitness. A guy that runs 5 miles a day and claims he is in shape is only in shape for running. Put the guy that runs 5 miles a day in a pool and if the guy never swims, guess what? He will be lucky to swim a 150 yards without becoming tired. It is all relative is it not? To me, most LONG DISTANCE CYCLIST are indeed “shriveled up twigs,” HOWEVER the cyclist who participate in the sprints have absolutely HUGE LEGS. It is like the marathon runner compared to the sprinter. IF you were to check the BMI of a sprinter or a cyclist who engages in sprints vs. a long distance runner or cyclist, I bet you a steak dinner, the sprinter whether it be a runner or cyclist carries less body fat. Muscle weighs more than fat or am I mistaken?

    Now, at 220lbs am I physically fit? HELL NO, not by a LONG SHOT, however, I am a FUCKING OLD MAN. Now,when I was 30 years younger and 25lbs leaner, I WAS very physically fit. So even being very physically fit at 5’10 and 195lbs I would probably be considered obese by some standards?? You ride a bike? Okay, you are fit to ride a bike. Can you run 5 miles? What is your time in the 440? The 40? Can you perform 100 bodyweight squats without stopping in 3 minutes? Are you flexible enough to perform a back bridge? You are an expert on fitness because you look like dudes that ride in the Tour and you carry lots of “lean muscle?” Okay.

    • Replies: @res
  129. Skeptikal says:

    This self-description is funny. What is the point? No one here knows you or cares about your physique. Keep on doing whatever you want.
    There is nothing special about your age.
    I am 73 and am the same weight as I was at 21. Slimmer, in fact.
    I sure don’t want you in my insurance pool.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  130. res says:

    You shouldn’t be so quick to assume things about other people. And as Sparkon noted (and as anyone who has been involved in more than one sport should realize) different sports (or even positions within a sport) favor different body types.

    It is also worth thinking about how the athletes you admire have fared with physical and mental longevity.

  131. res says:

    IF you were to check the BMI of a sprinter or a cyclist who engages in sprints vs. a long distance runner or cyclist, I bet you a steak dinner, the sprinter whether it be a runner or cyclist carries less body fat.

    You are awfully sure of yourself. It is good to be right if you are going to act like that. How about we compare sprinters vs. middle distance vs. long distance runners?

    Let’s take a look at this page.
    And focus on the highest level athletes (1968 Olympics) in their tables 2, 3, and 4. There we see for men and women. Note that these are averages for 8-79 athletes.

    Event Type | % fat
    Sprints | 9.8
    Middle distance | 8.8
    Long distance | 8.7
    Marathon | 8.7

    Event Type | % fat
    Sprints | 13.7
    Middle distance | 10.9

    The trend is clear.

    I like steak dinners so it is too bad I can’t collect in person. Though a simple “I was wrong” from you would suffice. Not that I expect anything of the sort ; )

    Muscle weighs more than fat or am I mistaken?

    Muscle is denser than fat which I assume is what you mean.

    “On average, the density of fat is 0.9g/ml. The density of muscle is 1.1 g/ml. Using the averages, 1 liter of muscle weights 1.06 kg or 2.3 lbs., while 1 liter of fat weights .9 kg, or 1.98 lbs. An easier way to think of it might be: if you have an equal volumn of fat and muscle, fat is going to weigh about 80% of what the muscle weighs. ”

    • Replies: @Trinity
  132. Trinity says:

    I said I was an old man, not ancient, grandpa. hahaha. And yet you tell me your age and how slim you are now? So, you were a skinny pencil neck when you were young and you are even more of a bone, now? A skeleton is slimmer than a normal breathing human being as well, now which is healthier. I sure don’t want you as my physical trainer. lolol.

  133. Sunshine says:
    @Rohan M

    Dr Michael Greger looks a half second away from dropping dead. If that’s who you are going to hold up as some shining example of a healthy vegan, you can’t be serious. He looks worse than a cancer patient. Most vegans do. I’ll continue to eat meat, but not all the time. I have my own hens, so I’ll eat eggs too and when I get goats, drink milk. Essentially, living like my ancestors as much as possible, on real food. But hey, you do what you think is best.

    • Agree: Trinity
    • Replies: @Trinity
  134. Trinity says:

    So much is genetic. I mean feasting on junk food all the time, smoking 4 packs of Camel cigarettes, and washing it down with a Jack Daniels every day isn’t going to help, but I knew a certifiable health nut who exercised daily, was a fanatic about what he ate, and the guy dropped dead with a heart attack in his fifties. Look at Jackie Gleason, the guy was a porker, he smoke like a chimney, and drank like a fish, and if I am not mistaken, Gleason lived to be 81 years of age. Seriously, he wants to live to be much older than 80 anyway. Have you taken a look at most octogenarians. I don’t want to live long enough to be bent over, walking with a cane, aches, pains, etc. Three score and ten is what the Good Book promises and that is long enough for anybody. I mean there are exceptions like Jack LaLanne, but that guy was borderline psychotic about fitness and diet, wouldn’t even enjoy a slice of cake, etc., and still he died eventually. I have an aunt who never exercised, ate what she wanted in moderation and she is 99 and still ticking, but she is mostly just merely existing. For the average person, no matter what you do, life starts going downhill physically at middle age ( mid 40’s and early 50’s) and it isn’t about to get any better physically as you age. That saying you are only as old as you feel and age is just a number is all crapola.

  135. Trinity says:

    I promise I will look at your links later, I promise, first I have to have my coffee. BUT I will say this, I don’t need any scientific evidence, only a good pair of eyes. Take a look at the average ELITE world class sprinter, male or female. Look at their physiques. Not an ounce of fat and relatively heavily muscled especially when compared to middle and distance runners. Remember Flo-Jo? Remember Ben Johnson? Sorry but I don’t really follow track and field, I know those people competed decades ago, but those two names came off the top of my head. I can also state that some football players had world class speed as well, Herschel Walker and Bullet Bob Hayes who actually participated in the Olympic games, not sure if he won a medal. All well muscled, trim waists, probably even a six pack or two among them, and to attain a six pack, I’m guessing you have to be carrying below 10% body fat minimum. Now let me bring up some distance runners or even triathlon legends, Frank Shorter is the only marathon guy right now who comes to mind, sorry, just not my sport of interest, and Dave Scott was the first Ironman winner I can think of and a legend in the sport of Triathlon. I think Dave won the first few Ironman competitions ever held for a spell. Place both of these endurance athletes, especially Shorter, who has no upper body musculature at all next to Bob Hayes, ( leave out Flo-Jo and Ben because of steroids) and you want to tell me that Shorter is carrying less body fat than Bob Hayes? Come on, I don’t care what fudged stats say.

    • Replies: @res
  136. @dearieme

    In Mid Wales I was still helping to install drains, water and fires in the 1960’s. It wasn’t just isolated farmhouses. The railway village my mother came from used a pump for water (my task at my Gran’s was collecting water), ash toilets and one tiny little range well into the 1960’s too. Until the council took it over from teh railway post Beeching in fact (Harold Wilson abolished tied housing too). I lived in villages in Cambridgeshire where people told the same story. Rural poverty lasted a long time.

    I don’t know about large towns and cities. What were slums if not dwellings beyond the reach of hygenic improvements? Literally millions were moved out of slums well into the 1970’s.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  137. res says:

    If you (dearieme) are interested, utu linked a paper elsewhere.

    Age depended IFR values from “Total COVID-19 Mortality in Italy: Excess Mortality and Age Dependence through Time-Series Analysis”, Modi et al.

    Which has a plot much like the above for COVID-19 in Bergamo, Italy. It is the right panel of Figure 4 on page 8. They look at 10 year age buckets and what we see is a fairly linear (on a semi-log plot, like the one in my earlier comment) decline in IFR from 10% at 90+ down to 0.01% at 30-39.

    If we assume this plot is representative (which I am a bit reluctant to do since Italy seems to be an outlier, and I am not sure of their analysis approach) then the age mortality curve looks a lot like the flu (splitting the difference between our statements about your (iii)). Just starting from a 10x higher baseline.

    Table 2 has tabular data for ages 40 and older. It also includes yearly mortality by age (for 2017) and asserts that IFR roughly follows that curve above age 60. COVID-19 IFR is lower below 60, which also is flu-like.

  138. Flo says:
    @Peter VE

    A severe lack of Vitamin D may also help explain why WuFlu swept thru NY’s orthodox community like wildfire — along with their stiff-necked refusal to practice “social distancing.” Similarly, Californians’ fondness for being out in the sunshine and fresh air may explain their otherwise mysterious low rates of serious symptoms.

    • Replies: @res
  139. res says:

    I don’t need any scientific evidence, only a good pair of eyes. Take a look at the average ELITE world class sprinter, male or female. Look at their physiques. Not an ounce of fat and relatively heavily muscled especially when compared to middle and distance runners.

    No doubt about the heavily muscled tendency for sprinters relative to longer distance runners. But we were talking about fat% not muscle%.

    All well muscled, trim waists, probably even a six pack or two among them, and to attain a six pack, I’m guessing you have to be carrying below 10% body fat minimum.

    For men. Probably a bit more for women. Notice that the % body fat I quoted for male sprinters in the 1968 Olympics was 9.8%. This article quotes 6-13% for men to show a six pack:

    Let’s engage with your comparison and look at Bob Hayes vs. Frank Shorter. Here is a photo of Bob Hayes in youthful competitive form.

    And Frank Shorter near his competitive peak.

    Obviously Hayes is incredibly athletic and muscular, but take a look at his waist then at the emaciated (unhealthy looking IMHO) form of Frank Shorter and tell me Hayes is not carrying more fat.

    And let’s look at longevity like I mentioned. Bob Hayes died at age 59:

    Frank Shorter is still alive at age 72:

    That despite who looked healthier by the eye test above. One problem with the eye test there is that people built like Bob Hayes (or my friend I mentioned earlier) is that they tend to gain more fat as they age.

    P.S. One of the nice things about looking at data from the 1968 Olympics is that was roughly pre-steroids era.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  140. res says:

    A severe lack of Vitamin D may also help explain why WuFlu swept thru NY’s orthodox community like wildfire

    That is an excellent observation which had not occurred to me. Thanks!
    Effect of different dress style on vitamin D level in healthy young Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox students in Israel.


    Ultra-orthodox Jewish lifestyle, which encourages modest dress and indoor scholarly activity, represents a risk factor for vitamin-D deficiency. Our study in healthy young males from higher education religious institutions located in the same geographical area showed frequent and severe vitamin D deficiency, strongly correlated with the degree of sun exposure. However, PTH level was usually normal.

    INTRODUCTION: Ultra-orthodox Jewish lifestyle encourages modest dress and indoor scholarly activity. As such, it represents a risk factor for vitamin-D deficiency, a worldwide problem previously underestimated in sunny countries. Our aim was to characterize the vitamin-D status of religious Jewish males according to sun exposure and outdoor activity, and study the correlation between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH) D) and PTH level.

    METHODS: Seventy-four young adult males were recruited from three Jewish higher education institutions (Yeshiva) in Jerusalem. Yeshiva-A ultra-Orthodox students (aged 20.1 ± 0.6) wear traditional clothing, live in dormitories and stay mostly indoor. Yeshiva-B ultra-Orthodox students (aged 33.0 ± 4.2) dress similarly but have regular outdoor activities. Yeshiva-C religious students (aged 19 ± 2.0) participate in a mixed army/Yeshiva program. Weekly outdoor activity time and degree of sun exposure were estimated by questionnaire.

    RESULTS: 25(OH)D was 8.9 ± 3.6, 10.2 ± 5.7 and 21.7 ± 10.4 ng/ml (mean ± SD) in Yeshiva A, B and C. 25(OH)D was correlated with degree of sun exposure (r = 0.54, p < 0.0001) and inversely correlated with PTH (r = -0.3, p = 0.01). Levels below 20 ng/ml were considered as vitamin D deficiency. PTH was normal in 87% of vitamin D-deficient subjects from Yeshiva-A and Yeshiva-C (mean age 20), compared to 52% of Yeshiva-B students (mean age 33). Bone mineral density studied in a random subset (n = 14) of vitamin D-deficient subjects showed Z-scores of -1.5 ± 1.0, -1.8 ± 0.8, -2.1 ± 0.4 in femoral neck, spine and radius.

    CONCLUSIONS: Severe vitamin-D deficiency is extremely prevalent in ultra-Orthodox males. Despite rare secondary hyperparathyroidism, they represent an important previously unrecognized high-risk group for metabolic bone disease.

  141. dearieme says:
    @Philip Owen

    Fair enough. I grew up in the middle of nowhere but it was clearly a better ordered nowhere than Mid Wales.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  142. Trinity says:

    Steroids have been around awhile and even before the 1968 Olympics. Wasn’t old enough to remember the isometric fad that was promoted as the wonder of the strength training world back in the 1960’s. So many people wrote books full of bullshit and made money. There was an American Olympic lifter by the name of Bill March, and another lifter, the guy’s name escapes me at the moment, who were said to have made such great gains by employing isometric type training in their programs. Well, March was using isometrics but the thing they didn’t tell you about was the usage of steroids. I believe steroids have been around since the late 30’s and early 40’s but really didn’t hit American athletics until the early 1960’s when March and other Americans were still pretty competitive in Olympic Weightlifting. After that, the sport was DOMINATED by Eastern bloc countries, namely Russians and Bulgarians, and lately the Chinese. Believe me, there were PLENTY of athletes using PEDs in the 1968 Olympics. And my guess is the Eastern bloc countries were using them prior to that.

    • Replies: @res
  143. res says:

    Yes. There was a reason I said “roughly.” Weightlifting was one of the first sports to get PEDs. Not sure if steroids would have made it to common use among sprinters by then.

    Any response to the more relevant body of my comment?

    • Replies: @Trinity
  144. Trinity says:

    Regarding the waist of Shorter and Hayes? Hayes is a much larger boned and larger man, so he is going to naturally have a larger waist measurement. I would have to search how Bob Hayes died? To suggest Hayes died before Shorter because Hayes was a muscular man and Shorter is still alive because he was a toothpick is laughable. Do you remember the runner, Jim Fixx? Of course I believe Fixx was a smoker before he took up running and before he wrote his bestselling book, but it looks like long distance running didn’t help him that much. The amount of mileage that marathoners like Shorter put in are to the extreme and probably are more detrimental to a person’s health if anything. What exactly is your argument? Shorter is and was a very small man. He looks to be short as well as small boned, so I would be surprised if his waist was even above 28″ tops. So what? How much is muscle mass and how much is fat? Look at Herschel Walker, he is in his late fifties and still is a physical specimen. My own personal observation on long distance runners, and I have known quite a few, is they age terribly. Anyone who looks at those photos that you presented will see a HEALTHY, somewhat muscular man with little body fat and another man who is short, light boned, with little to no muscular development at all what some people term as “skinny fat.”

    • Replies: @res
  145. @dearieme

    I visited South and mid Wales in 1969/1970 and some homes were very primitive, with coal fired ranges, stone floors, outside toilet, and little comfort. At that stage, many off-comers were trying to buy one, so as to tear it apart and “improve” it.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  146. @Skeptikal

    That film is disgusting!

    It certainly is. Everything Murphy did is disgusting. But some are funny. I recall Stanley Kauffmann remarked RAW is a foul piece of work but still had him laughing.

  147. res says:

    I would have to search how Bob Hayes died?

    It’s easy enough to find on Wikipedia:

    “On September 18, 2002, Hayes died in his hometown Jacksonville of kidney failure, after battling prostate cancer and liver ailments.”

    Shorter is and was a very small man. He looks to be short as well as small boned, so I would be surprised if his waist was even above 28″ tops. So what? How much is muscle mass and how much is fat?

    Look at that picture again. Not much fat on that man. And for him to be able to do the things he did running, there is some muscle. Just not the big bulky kind which many weight lifters prize so much.

    My own personal observation on long distance runners, and I have known quite a few, is they age terribly.

    In some ways that is true. Endurance sports (especially done to excess) can be very hard on the body (and the immune system). But I am not sure how that translates to longevity relative to having a large frame. Especially if the large framed man gains fat weight in later life.

    another man who is short, light boned, with little to no muscular development at all what some people term as “skinny fat.”

    If you think that then you don’t understand what “skinny fat” means. Stop just using it as a synonym for “skinny”. And remember, I argued above that your build is much healthier than most people realize.

    Again, look at Shorter’s picture once more. Very little fat on him there. If you can’t see that and admit to it then you aren’t worth talking too.

    But let’s offer even more evidence (rather than just anecdotes and opinions). Here is a 1975 study of runners which included Frank Shorter.

    Body Mass Index (BMI) and Percent Body Fat: It should be no surprise that the athletes had a much lower BMI and body fat percentage than the average 26-year-old American male. Their average BMI was 20.4 kg/m2 with 4.7% body fat (range between 1.2 and 10.8%). The average American male in this age group has a BMI of 26.8 kg/m2 and 18% body fat.

    Here Frank Shorter talks about his body fat going up to 4% as he aged and how that hurt his performance. Also note that he lifts.

    If you look around the net you will see statements about Shorter having a body fat percentage of 2.2 or 3% around the 1972 Olympics.

    So are you arguing that Bob Hayes had a body fat percentage under 4%? Because if so at least that would be entertaining.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Ray
  148. res says:

    Some more on this topic.
    Differences in life expectancy between olympic high jumpers, discus throwers, marathon and 100 meter runners

    We identified a death date for 336 of 429 (78%) Olympic athletes including 229 males (55 marathon, 56 100-m 58 high jump, 60 discus), and 107 females (54 100-m, 25 high jump, 28 discus). Discus throwers were heaviest and marathon runners the lightest and oldest athletes (p < 0.01). Observed-expected survival was highest for high jumpers (7.1 years for women, 3.7 years for men) and marathon runners (4.7 years for men) and lowest for sprinters (−1.6 years for women and −0.9 years for men). In multivariate analysis controlling for age and gender, type of sport remained significantly associated with mortality with greatest survival for high jumpers and marathon runners compared to discus throwers and sprinters (p = 0.005). Controlling for weight, reduced the survival benefit of high jumpers over discus throwers, but had little effect on the survival benefit of marathon runners vs. sprinters.

    That said, there is evidence that extended hard long distance training is hard on the immune system and can shorten lifespan relative to people who train more moderately.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  149. Ray says:

    In terms of longevity , the greatest athlete is none of those guys mentioned above . May I propose for that slot M. Robert Marchand . He cycled nearly nearly 23 km in an hour in 2014 . His date of birth is 26 November 1911 – not a typo.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Trinity
  150. res says:

    Impressive. Also impressive is riding 100 km over the age of 100 (see link below).

    Thanks for the pointer. More about M. Robert Marchand

    “I am not here to be champion. I am here to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike,” Marchand said, per Eurosport.

    • Replies: @Ray
  151. Ray says:

    I thought referring to M. Marchand would be more useful than referring to my running time of 7.8 secs . for 100 meters, my marathon time of 1 hour 33 and that I can lift 2300 kg . I am also modest about my resting pulse of 21 , and my BMI of 7 and my blood pressure of 90 /12.5

    • Replies: @res
  152. Trinity says:

    You might want to check out one Percy Cerutty. Mr. Cerutty unfortunately passed away at 80 but he was quite the physically fit elder statesman. The guy inspired me to run hills, particularly sandy hills long before Walter Payton.

    • Replies: @res
    , @anon
  153. res says:

    Interesting. He sounds like an Australian version of Jack LaLanne who made it to 96.

    I have “fond” memories of literally throwing up after running too many hill repeats.

    I think you will appreciate the comments in this thread by “Freudian.Percy.Cerutty.Hills.”

    P.S. One commonality between Cerutty and LaLanne is they both had health problems when young. I think that makes their stories even more compelling.

    • Thanks: Trinity
    • Replies: @Trinity
  154. Trinity says:

    Yes, hill training is super tough, especially if you live near sand dunes. haha. Want a real tough workout, try jogging up steep hills backwards just be sure to watch where you are going.

  155. @James Thompson

    I was spending my school holidays tearing out the ranges and putting in coal and oil fired Rayburns. Also water tanks on the hill, septic tank below the cottage and hot and cold running water. Some places hadn’t changed since the 16th C except for the coal fired range. Hooks on the ceiling for the sides of bacon. Kitchen cabinets were the rage then not fitted kitchens. We used to put our name in the concrete behind the Rayburns. Totally destroyed “Yr hen fordd Cymraeg o fyw” (the old Welsh way of life) all around Builth Wells. The things we didn’t get to are, literally, in the St Fagan’s folk museum now.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  156. Sparkon says:

    I took a quick survey of selected Olympic champions and Tour de France winners where enough information was available to calculate both BMI, and age at death, in parenthesis, or with a tilde (~) where the individual is still alive.

    100 meter dash

    1932 Eddie Tolan -22.4 (58)
    1936 Jesse Owens – 23.7 (66)¹
    1948 Harrison Dillard – 21.8 (96)²
    1952 Lindy Remigino – 22.3 (87)
    1956 Bobby Morrow – 21.8 (84~)
    1960 Armin Hary – 21.3 (83~)
    1964 Bob Hayes – 24.4 (59)³
    1968 Jim Hines – 24.3 (73~)
    1972 Valeriy Borzov – 22.6 (70~)
    1976 Hasely Crawford – 25.8 (69~)
    1980 Allan Wells – 25.8 (67~)
    1984 Carl Lewis – 22.8 (58~)
    1988 Carl Lewis

    400 meters

    1932 Bill Carr – 22.5 (56)
    1936 Archie Williams – 23.9 (78)
    1948 Arthur Wint – 20.7 (72)
    1952 George Rhoden – 21.5 (93~)
    1956 Charles Jenkins – 21.5 (86~)
    1960 Otis Davis – 21.5 (87~)
    1964 Mike Larrabee – 22.4 (69)
    1968 Lee Evans – 24.0 (73~)
    1972 Vince Matthews – 23.0 (72~)
    1976 Alberto Juantorena – 23.1 (69~)
    1980 Viktor Markin – 21.8 (63~)
    1984 Alonzo Babers – 19.8 (58~)
    1988 Steve Lewis – 23.8 (50~)

    1500 meters

    1932 Luigi Beccali – 21.8 (82)
    1936 Jack Lovelock – 21.0 (39)⁹
    1948 Henry Eriksson – 21.0 (79)
    1952 Josy Barthel – 22.8 (65)
    1956 Ron Delany – 22.4 (85~)
    1960 Herb Elliot – 20.9 (82~)
    1964 Peter Snell – 25.3 (80)¹⁰
    1968 Kipchoge Keino – 22.2 (80~)
    1972 Pekka Vasala – 19.1 (72~)
    1976 John Walkker – 22.1 (68~)
    1980 Sebastian Coe – 17.6 (63~)
    1984 Sebastian Coe
    1988 Peter Rono – 20.7 (52~)


    1932 Juan Carlos Zabala – 20.1, (71)
    1936 Sohn Kee-chung – 20.7, (89)
    1948 Delfo Cabrera – 19.9 (62)⁴
    1952 Emil Zátopek – 21.6 (78)
    1956 Alain Mimoun – 19.3 (92)
    1960 Abebe Bikila – 18.1 (41)⁵
    1964 Abebe Bikila
    1968 Mamo Wolde – 18.6 (69)
    1972 Frank Shorter – 19.2 (72~)
    1976 Waldemar Cierpinski – 20.4 (69~)⁶
    1980 Waldemar Cierpinski
    1984 Carlos Lopes – 19.7 (73~)
    1988 Gelindo Bordin – 20.9 (61~)

    Shot Put

    1932 Leo Sexton – 29.0 (59)
    1936 Hans Woellke – 33.1 (32)⁷
    1948 Wilber Thompson – 26.6 (92)
    1952 Parry O’Brian – 31.0 (75)
    1956 Parry O’Brian
    1960 Bill Nieder – 28.1 (86~)
    1964 Dallas Long – 31.6 (79~)
    1968 Randy Matson – 29.9 (75~)
    1972 Władysław Komar – 32.7 (58)⁸
    1976 Udo Beyer – 35.8 (64~)
    1980 Vladimir Kiselyov – 36.9 (63~)
    1984 Alessandro Andrei – 32.5 (61~)
    1988 Ulf Timmermann – 30.8 (57~)

    Tour de France

    1902 Maurice Garin – 22.7 (85)
    1938 Gino Bartali – 22.6 (85)¹¹
    1947 Jean Robich – 23.1 (59)¹²
    1949 Fausto Coppi – 21.7 (40)¹³
    1953 Louison Bobet – 23.4 (58)
    1957 Jacques Anquetil – 22.6 (53)¹⁴
    1958 Charly Gaul – 21.4 (72)
    1967 Roger Pingeon – 21.7 (76)
    1969 Eddy Merckx – 22.3 (74~)
    1973 Luis Ocaña – 19.1 (48)¹⁵
    1980 Joop Zoetemelk – 22.7 (73~)
    1983 Laurent Fignon – 22.1 (50)¹⁶
    1986 Greg LeMond – 21.1 (58~)¹⁷


    ¹ Owens was a longtime cigarette smoker; died of lung cancer
    ² Won gold in 100 m in ’48 and 110 m hurdles in ’52; died Nov. 15, 2019
    ³ Prostate, liver and kidney cancer
    ⁴ Car accident
    ⁵ Car accident
    ⁶ Drug allegations
    ⁷ Killed by partisans in WWII
    ⁸ Car accident
    ⁹ Died when thrown by horse, hit by train
    ¹⁰ Died on Dec. 12, 2019
    ¹¹ Two-time Tour winner
    ¹² Car accident
    ¹³ Murdered? Two-time Tour winner
    ¹⁴ 5-time Tour winner; admitted drug use; stomach cancer
    ¹⁵ Suicide
    ¹⁶ Two time Tour winner; admitted drug use; metatastic cancer.
    ¹⁷ 5-time Tour winner

    • Replies: @res
  157. res says:

    That is quite a collection. Thanks! One that jumped out at me was Peter Snell (not knowing anything about him). Not sure if this comment is 100% true, but interesting if even close.

    5’10” 175. Still the highest BMI of any Oly Champ above 400m. McMullen and a few others probably were bigger with sub-4 though.

    Other than marathoners being skinny and shot putters being big–which are not exactly shocking revelations to me–not much is jumping out at me from that data. What do others think?

  158. Trinity says:

    haha. SPOT ON. Lennox Lewis carried 240lbs on a 6’5″ frame and was a physical specimen. A man that is 6’11” should damn sure weigh a minimum of 250lbs in my opinion unless he wants to look anemic. The 7’1″Wilt Chamberlain weighed 250 as a rookie and bulked up to nearly 300lbs.

    You have Olympic weightlifters who SQUASH the vertical leaps of elite NBA and NFL players by the way. Mark Henry can dunk and he is well over 300lbs or at least he used to be able to dunk, the guy has to be up in years now. The late Brian Oldfield, a shot putter, could dunk a 16lb shot from a standing position under the goal. Oldfield was huge and looked like a statue but he would probably be “obese” according to the medical “experts.”

    I think your last sentence tells the tale of the tape. A lot of the people that cite this BMI range bullshit are waifs “with extremely narrow hips and shoulders and very LITTLE MUSCLE OR FAT. People like to feel superior to others or they are just jealous of people. I think we call them, haters. haha.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Sean
  159. @Philip Owen

    I knew you were coming, and would have bought one of the Aga palaces had I been able to afford it. My research assistant wages were £15 a week, so even Wales was too expensive.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  160. anon[300] • Disclaimer says:

    Cerutty was a vegetarian ratbag who got a lot of good press in Melbourne.
    His star athlete was 1500 metres champion Herb Elliot, unbeaten at the distance, expert opinion was that Elliot was so good anyone could have trained him.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  161. Trinity says:

    You could make the same claim about someone like Angelo Dundee. Dundee training guys like Ali and Ray Leonard, I mean it isn’t like he really did a significant amount in making these guys great boxers. How about coaching some of the recent New England Patriot teams, or coaching the those 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers teams? Hell, I could take those teams to the Super Bowl. How about Joe Torre and those 1990’s Yankee teams? Same thing. I really don’t think trainers, managers, coaches, etc., really make a helluva lot of difference in the end.

  162. res says:

    People like to feel superior to others or they are just jealous of people.

    You might consider how much of that comment is driven by projection.

  163. Sean says:

    You only have to look at Lewis’s early pro bouts to see he subsequently put on a huge amount of muscle; too much for it to have been done by natural means. While strength exercise is beneficial, the athletes you cite are abnormally huge anyway and almost certainly carrying extra muscle from you-know-what use.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  164. Trinity says:

    I would have to check what Lewis weighed for his early bouts, but for a fighter to put on weight and muscle as he ages from his teens ( yes, fighters like Pipino Cuevas, Wilfred Benitez, and others turned pro as teenagers, Benitez won a world title as a teenager) is NATURAL. Boxers of the past AVOIDED weight training like the plague, at least 99% did, a tiny group like Randolph Turpin and Earnie Shavers did some weight training in the past. Even today, weight training is shunned by more than just a few fighters, some engage in it, others do it very sparingly. Personally I think fighters of today spend too much time lifting weights, Anthony Joshua was a good example and that probably cost him in his first fight against Ruiz. Joshua slimmed down for the rematch and regained the title.

    Anyhow, back to Lennox Lewis. Fighters, especially heavyweights who normally turn pro in their early 20’s always routinely gain muscle and weight NATURALLY and even without weight training much less steroids. I believe Muhammad Ali weighed less than 185lbs for his professional debut, I think his actual weight was 182lbs. Ali was anywhere from 6’2 1/2″ to 6’4″ inches in height according to different sources, I will go with the 6’3″ figure. Ali NEVER touched a weight in his life and yet with just normal boxing training, mostly bag punching, sparring, running with heavy boots, and chopping wood, his physique became noticeably more muscular as he matured. Ali’s prime weight was about 212lbs in fighting trim. Ali turned pro in 1960 or 1961 and in the space of 3 years or so he went from a very lean almost skinny 182lbs to a muscular 210lbs when he fought Liston for the title, Ali had put on 28lbs of lean muscle with not even no steroids, but ABSOLUTELY no weight training at all. Angelo Dundee said that Ali never even did pushups much less lift weights.

    • Replies: @anon
  165. anon[151] • Disclaimer says:

    Ali likely ate a heavy carb diet until he left home and continual training kept his weight from ballooning. Although Angelo Dundee wasn’t a boxer, he had learnt to train from the best at Stillman’s Gym.
    My guess is that Dundee got him onto a heavy steak and saturated fat diet and that, combined with the amount of work he did built up his body.
    I attended a gym run be an ex boxer who had fought 20 rounders and trained professional boxers for over 50 years. He taught to use 5lb dumbells with arms outstretched to the front and then the side and lift to shoulder level and back down as slowly as possible as many times as you could.
    Also situps on an inclined bench holding a weight behind the head and twisting the torso one way and then the other on consecutive reps.
    One other bit of advice I remember was to only swim when injuries made no other form of training possible. Swimming develops muscles that are antagonistic to the practice of boxing [or anything else beside swimming].
    Anther bit of advice while I remember: Hit the heavy bag as light as you like and as quick as you can, the purpose is to develop stamina rather than wear yourself out by smashing it with force.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  166. Trinity says:

    Hmm, Ali was just a big man who had not yet matured. Bag punching, chopping wood, and roadwork done in heavy works will build up muscles to an extent. Using the heavy bag is mainly meant for power and stamina ( although for the most part, punchers are born and not made.) I have seen fighters work the heavy bag in a variety of ways. I have seen Mayweather throwing COUNTLESS light punches, he had his trainer counting each series, so the thing there was to develop stamina, HOWEVER, George Foreman, Sonny Liston, and Rocky Marciano mauled the heavy bag, all 3 would use rather large bags as well. None of these fighters hit the bag light or with quick shots, each shot was slow and deliberate, but hard. I’m guessing that old trainer you are talking about had you doing dumbbell lateral and front raises to develop stamina in the shoulders, after all the shoulders have to have endurance to hold your hands up and protect yourself in a defensive posture. The speed bag is meant more for developing shoulder and arm muscles, teaching the fighter to keep his hands up than it is meant to develop speed, it is also good for hand and eye coordination. Marciano attacked the speed bag clumsily, looking to practice punch combinations instead of the way other fighters hit the small bag, however, his trainer Charlie Goldman didn’t care as long as Marciano kept his hands up. HUGE muscles can sap stamina and limit snap in the punches often causing the fighter to push his punches rather than punch with snap. HOWEVER, although not anywhere near as muscular as bodybuilders, some fighters, particularly heavyweights like Sonny Liston, Mike Weaver, young George Foreman, Oscar Bonavena, George Chuvalo, Ken Norton, and others had to be closet lifters or they were blessed with super genetics.

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