Disappointed in Low Carb gurus and covid-19 (and the Dunning-Kruger effect)

(Give me bacon, or give me death.) #41

Since I have now read through to the end of the thread (much to my regret), I am going to issue a caution to everyone to please remain civil. I understand that tempers are short because of the lockdown, but that does not excuse nastiness. Likewise, part of the understanding under which the admin staff agreed to permit these Covid threads is that they should remain not only civil, but also non-political.

I always feel bad about issuing warnings like this, but then when we don’t issue a warning and things fall into the crapper, it feels even worse. So hey, just go easy on one another, folks. These are hard times, and they won’t be getting much better any time soon.


I thought it was just me! Glad to see this post!

(Samuel Ashford) #43

PaulL thank you. I agree. I think dialing it down a little is quite in order now. A bit of grace and mercy.

While reading, I couldn’t help but remember hearing something recently on a podcast (I think it was Peter Attia’s) that made me realize how little we really do know. Peter has had a number of world-class scientists on the show to speak on the pandemic.

Just a cursory search on what we know about, for instance, the 1918 Influenza (arguably the worst pandemic of - at least - the past couple of centuries of human history), I turned up an NIH article (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2720273/) in which the authors stated that “Studying the extent to which the 1918 influenza was like other pandemics may help us to understand how pandemic influenzas emerge and cause disease in general. On the other hand, if we determine what made the 1918 influenza different from other pandemics, we may use the lessons of 1918 to predict the magnitude of the public health risks a new pandemic virus might pose.” This article was published in 2006, and is musing over the needs to continue studying a virus and a pandemic from 100 years ago.

One hundred years ago.

My point is, that we need to throttle down a little. From my perspective, it seems that we are on the front end of this thing. There is much we don’t know. Yes, we have some stats. But we don’t know (pardon me) jack about the range of the nuances of this virus and the strains of it.

Let me explain on a practical level.

I work for a very small pest control company. Total staff is ten people. Early on, one of my service techs’ wife tested positive, and had to stay home. Her case was moderate, and she recovered, but the tech was out for two weeks, and the entire family was quarantined. He lost two weeks of pay, and we temporarily lost a top tech. Soon after, another tech’s wife tested positive, and he was out for over a week until they came back negative. Four weeks ago, my boss’s wife, who is an admin at a local nursing home, tested positive, and was asymptomatic. She is still asymptomatic. My boss tested negative, as well as everyone else in the household. At that same time, my office manager developed a fever and cough and had to stay home until test results proved that she did not have the virus. Our little company has survived the ups and downs, but it was a stressful and crazy few weeks.

Early on in the pandemic, I was a maniac about sanitizing, masks, distancing, and the whole lot. Since my business is an “essential” one, we never skipped a beat and have been out working in it all. We work outdoors and never come in close contact with a client, so it is super minimal in any social contact. The most contact I had in public was the gas pumps and grocery stores.

My mania waned eventually, and my desire to sanitize my credit card and hands to the point of being raw was lost to the acceptance of the reality that I cannot know where the virus is, aerosol droplet or bead of sweat on a gas pump handle. I accepted the fact that I would probably eventually get it. Many people depend on me every day for many things. I had to make the choice to stay the course or let it drive me crazy.

As for my own health and lifestyle, I have been low carb, keto, carnivore, or some iteration thereof since 2004. I’ve been an endurance runner since 2010, and this year have logged over 400 miles. I work a very physical job, and the days can be 12-15 hours, easily. I have no problem getting my exercise, and religiously supplement Magnesium, Vitamin D3, and on and on. That’s the long and short of my health background. Nothing supernatural or fantastic here, but I try hard to take care of myself. I can’t remember the last time I was sick enough to stay home from work. I haven’t had a flu shot in 25 years, and haven’t had the flu in 30. Gratefully, I haven’t had more than a sniffle or tinge of sore throat since January, and just chalk that up to seasonal allergies.

With all the hoo-ha and COV2 stuff at work, I wondered about the possible unknowns within my own little circles. I went on the LabCorp website and ordered an antibody test. I had the blood draw last Monday, and got the results the next day. Positive. “Recent or prior infection with SARS COV2.” There was never a symptom. So, I got suspicious that it was a false positive, although the report assured me that false positives were infrequent with the IgG test. So I ordered test number two. Same result. Positive for SARS COV2 antibodies.

After all that, I’m still no farther ahead, in my opinion. To me, this tells me nothing definitive. I don’t know when I “had” the virus. My body produced the antibodies, and apparently fought the infection. But what does it all mean? It would be easy for me to feel that low carb has provided some mythical protection or conferred some superpowers. I don’t believe that. But I think that’s where we are in all this. Really brilliant experts often disagree, and I have heard many examples of the experts disagreeing on many points regarding the present pandemic. My own experience has provided not a lot to help clear it up.

To me, it appears we know a lot less than we think we do. If we’re still learning the implications of Influenza 1918, then certainly we’re only on the tip of SARS COV2 iceberg.

I think time will tell.

(Edith) #44

I’m going to weigh in here on a post made further back in the thread.

First, let me say that I understand the coronavirus is not an influenza virus. I’ve been reading a book about the Spanish flu outbreak and an interesting thing that was mentioned in the book was that over time, the Spanish flu did become less virulent. As the flu spread over time and made it into more isolated towns, the death rate went down.

Who knows? Maybe by the time this virus makes it into other places such as British Columbia, it won’t pack quite as big a punch.


During the first SARS-Cov outbreak during the early 2000’s. It was eventually found that “healthy” O/B blood types who naturally produce Anti-A isoantibodies were more likely to not have major symptoms and organ damage because the Anti-A isoantibody binds to the S spike protein which prevents the SARS-cov virus from entering the cell. I’ve noticed this to be true in those around me during this SARS-Cov-2 pandemic however the O+'s were still spreading the virus when infected and increasing my viral load as a A+ blood type.

The negative blood types including an O- 86 year old had absolutely no symptoms of infection while living with an unhealthy covid symptomatic O+ but I do wonder if negative blood types eventually produce IgG antibodies.

(Laura Victor) #46

Darwin was a charlatan, but chiropracter Dr. Berg is a solid source of information on the keto diet. Riiight.

(Samuel Ashford) #47

I’m B+

(Doug) #48

This is the most normal thing. Viruses tend to become less lethal, over time, more often than they tend to become more lethal.

The evolutionary dice are always rolling. After the first SARS (more lethal but less contagious) outbreak in 2003, Chinese researchers studied the prevalence of the disease and of the virus within other host mammals. There were and are a LOT of related viruses, in humans (at least 7 different ones in humans) and in leopard cats, partridges, peafowl, bats, civets, mice, sables, cows, pigs, mice, giraffes, cats and raccoon dogs.

In 2007, the researchers described this as “a time bomb.”

17 years after the first SARS, here we are. The timing could have been altered, and there certainly can be different, future outbreaks - perhaps far enough ahead that none of us will be confronted with them, or it could be in far less than another 17 years.

Why do viruses tend to get less lethal? I think it’s because many things have to go ‘right,’ for the virus, to be able to infect host cells. (And if it wasn’t hard to get there, or if viruses tended to get more lethal over time, then many species would already be extinct because of it.)

There are somewhere around 100 billion cells in our bodies that can host SARS-CoV-2. One of those cells can make hundreds/thousands of virus copies. (It may be even higher than that for SARS-CoV-2, because it doesn’t aim for the host cell bursting after a bunch of copies are made [as with some viruses], rather - it wants the host cell to remain living and making even more copies while individual virions exit the intact cell and head to neighboring cells to try and infect them.)

So, the evolutionary dice are rolling… Every time a virus copy is made, there are possible errors in RNA transcription. If something goes ‘wrong’ then usually what results is a messed-up virion, less able to act as the parent virus, rather than doing an even better (more infectious, lethal, etc.) job.

(Bunny) #49

Yes! Most of the time! He’s still learning just like the rest of us!

(Edward) #50

:wink: Yes, that’s pretty amazing.

Evolution is like gravity, the theory of evolution, the theory of gravity. We don’t know 100% about them, but there’s no sensible reason to doubt them. We know they operate.


Theories make sense to the extent they predict and explain reality. Evolutionary theory scores way on up there on that scale. Maybe not like gravity and quantum mechanics, but way (WAY) ahead of any social science theories and especially the “Dunning Kruger effect”

(Carolyn aka stokies) #52

This is precisely why I love reading your posts over the years. We are all unique individuals with endless iterations and for there to ever be a universal answer to what works, whoever figures it out will cure what ails humanity. I too find myself hesitant about some if the same things you listed especially when anyone speaks in absolutes about things such as covid. Moderate voices and thoughtful application is critical to discovering what works for each of us on this WOE. Thank you for raising these questions
I too have struggled and lost respect even for some who once I held in high regard. It reminds me how we are all human and no one person is absolutely expert on peripheral implications of something so brand new… or not well vetted empirically just yet.

(Randy) #53

Not sure who the “we” is you speak of. But there is no consensus on your assertion.

(Bunny) #54

I agree with that just ask the pro-exaggeration side of the debate what percentage of deaths would they say are falsely COVID or related, give me a number?

Even if they could, it would still be real high?

And if they are citing statistics from two or three months ago, they have some serious comprehension issues?

Winter time is coming soon and then we will see what this virus can really do? If heat like in Arizona (heat equivalent to the Middle East and Death Valley 135°) can’t kill it, I can just imagine how this virus functions in cold weather? This may just be, the calm before the storm? Or a small fraction of what it can really do? Imagine having the general flu on top of that, you probably would not survive healthy or not?

(GINA ) #55

I posted earlier about my county’s three deaths- two patients on chemo therapy and one in his 90s already in hospice. Well, we had another- a man in his 70s had a heart attack (after previously having heart problems). He tested positive for covid when he arrived at the hospital, so it is listed as a covid death.

By my figuring, my county is over-reporting covid deaths by 50%. I consider the cancer patients as having underlying conditions, but a heart attack and a person dying in hospice are not caused by covid.

(Peter) #56

Depends how you assess it - heart issues are an “underlying condition” when exacerbated by a disease that is causing all sorts of issues for people with blood problems such as metabolic syndrome, which people with heart conditions have a good chance of suffering from, and would clearly be dangerous for anyway.

Maybe they’re not overcounting by 50 per cent after all. (Not that the sample size means it means anything, anyway.)



“Efforts to track the severity and public health impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States have been hampered by state-level differences in diagnostic test availability, differing strategies for prioritization of individuals for testing, and delays between testing and reporting. Evaluating unexplained increases in deaths due to all causes or attributed to nonspecific outcomes, such as pneumonia and influenza, can provide a more complete picture of the burden of COVID-19… There were approximately 781 000 total deaths in the United States from March 1 to May 30, 2020, representing 122 300 (95% prediction interval, 116 800-127 000) more deaths than would typically be expected at that time of year. There were 95 235 reported deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 from March 1 to May 30, 2020. The number of excess all-cause deaths was 28% higher than the official tally of COVID-19–reported deaths during that period.”

(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #59

Even in this thread, I’ve seen people absolutely convinced that the virus selectively targets vulnerable groups. This is not at all proven; as the OP says, this is a new virus, and we have seen loads of cases where otherwise healthy young people are left debilitated, possibly for life. Some have died.

Where these folks would advocate for the precautionary approach, or for “science” or “science-based medicine” on the subject of nutrition, there’s a substantial subset of them who seem willing to throw caution to the wind on the subject of the virus.

The low carb “gurus” who have openly agitated on the virus issue have done untold damage – both to the public due to the misinformation they’re spewing about the virus, and to keto/LCHF. On the latter subject, it is now impossible to trust the claims of these gurus; for instance, that LDL doesn’t matter all that much, or that you don’t need to worry about saturated fats because “science.” They have zero regard for the scientific process when it comes to the virus, so I can’t trust their judgment on the scientific evidence when it comes to nutrition.

I am now 4 years LCHF and, as with so many things during this pandemic, COVID-19 has now laid bare the Emperor’s having no clothes. I trust almost nobody anymore, least of all unqualified charlatans that pretend to “know” this or that about fields in which they have no expertise. The virus has thus problematized a lot of the authoritative advice I’ve received on diet, and, as such, I will continue forward in my LCHF path with an ever more skeptical eye.


I can one up you. I don’t trust people who presumably HAVE expertise any more. Except the weather forecasters. They have this thing nailed down.