Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Walk Around the Block At "The Daily Lipid" (And Welcome, Mark Sisson Devotees!)

by Chris Masterjohn

Revised on June 12, 2013 

Here's a brief introduction for people new to my blog.  Long-time readers might find this collection of links useful too.

I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut. You can learn more about me here.

I've been writing about nutrition since the fall of 2004, when I wrote "Vitamin A: The Forgotten Bodybuilding Nutrient" for Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.  The next spring I wrote  my initial review of The China Study for the same journal, which was a major go-to source for a critical review of that book until Denise Minger thoroughly and completely dismantled the book last summer.  

Perhaps my most significant Wise Traditions article has been "On the Trail of the Elusive X Factor: A Sixty-Two Year Old Mystery Finally Solved -- Vitamin K2 Revealed," which I wrote in the spring of 2007. I link to new Wise Traditions articles here. My most recent Wise Traditions article as of June 2013 is "Meat, Organs, Bones, and Skin: Nutrition for Mental Health."

The Daily Lipid is part of Cholesterol-And-Health.Com.  While my blog deals with all sorts of nutritional and sometimes other health-related topics (genetics, sleep, metabolism, etc), the main purpose of Cholesterol-And-Health.Com is to promote awareness of the helpful roles that cholesterol plays in the body and the importance of cholesterol-rich foods in the diet.  On my home page, I describe how a number of scientists have proclaimed themselves as generals in a "war" against cholesterol.  This paragraph sums up the purpose of my site pretty well:
Science is a Search for Truth, Not a War
Those who wage "war" on cholesterol may have impeccable scientific credentials but the war they are waging is not the path of science. Science is not a war against molecules. It is a search for truth.

On this site, I look for the truth about cholesterol, and I publish what I find. I also cover many related topics on the blog. I hope you find this search for truth as fascinating as I do, and I hope you enjoy the site!

I'm not engaged in a war against any molecules, in fact.  I'm highly critical of refined sugar, white flour, and vegetable oil, but I'm not involved in a war against fructose, gluten, or PUFAs.

I just do the best job I can, trying to find the truth about these things, trying to explain it in a way that's easy to understand, and trying to be honest with myself and my readers in the process.

Cholesterol-And-Health.Com, excluding The Daily Lipid blog posts, gets about 50,000 unique visitors, 75,000 visits, and 100,000 page views each month.  
That's up from 3500 visitors, 5000 visits, and 8500 page views in August of 2005, the site's first full month on the 'Net.

Over half of my traffic comes directly from Google.  Other top referrers include The Bulletproof Executive, Whole Health Source, Livin La Vida Low-Carb, and Chris Kresser.  Each of these sources accounts for less than 0.12% of my traffic, so the people who have contributed to the growth of this site are obviously too innumerable to mention, but I owe a deep debt of gratitude to all of them.

Here are some of the most popular pages:
The Daily Lipid, the blog you're reading now, is hosted on Blogger and routed through Cholesterol-And-Health.Com.  According to Google Analytics, over the past month this blog has received over 87,000 page views from over 8,000 visitors.  Chris Kresser, Mark's Daily Apple,, Health Correlator,  Kurt Harris, Gnolls.Org, Ancestralize Me, and are important contributors to my blog traffic.  
Here are the top ten blog posts:
My post "Can Christians Be Paleo? Christianity, Faith, Evidence, Dobzhansky, Evolution, and More" has the distinction of having the most comments.

I also write a blog Mother Nature Obeyed over at WestonAPrice.Org.  The name is taken from the closing words of Weston A. Price's epic work Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, "Life in all its fullness is this Mother Nature obeyed."  That blog is home to "The Curious Case of Campbell's Rats -- Does Protein Deficiency Prevent Cancer?" and many other posts.  For a collection of my articles on the fat-soluble vitamins, see here and here.

The best way to keep up with this blog is with email (see the right margin for the subscription box), an RSS feed, Facebook, or Twitter.  I post links to all my posts from Mother Nature Obeyed here at The Daily Lipid, so you can keep up with all my stuff through any one of these three ways.

Again, welcome!

Read more about the author, Chris Masterjohn, PhD, here.


  1. G'day, on behalf of the MDA readership.

    Some of us are already irregular readers of your insightful blog (and links to your articles often pop up in the forums anyway), but I guess we should thankyou for taking the time to do the hard work for us.

    Double thanks for that roundup of your best posts. It shows quite a few I've overlooked.

    - Bushrat

  2. "until Denise Minger thoroughly and completely dismantled it" you may not want to leave this 'it' ambiguous for the uninitiated readers...

    It's good to see you are getting more of the credit you deserve...

  3. Bushrat,

    Great, thanks, and you're welcome!


    Ha! Yeah that sounds like she may have dismantled my review. I'll fix it pronto. Thanks!


  4. Chris,

    Your blog is my favorite health/nutrition blog because you are committed to the science and the integrity of the method. You are also respectful to people who comment on your blog and don't engage in insults and condescending behavior unlike some bloggers.

    I appreciate the fact that you are not at war against any molecules. I have noticed that a lot of nutrition/paleo-type blogs vilify polyunsaturated fats--even in whole foods such as nuts. Where I live in the Rocky Mountains one of the most important food sources for squirrels and bears (grizzly and black) are pine nuts which are high in PUFS. I have a hard time believing that these nuts are unhealty even for humans. Chris, can you comment on this?

  5. Hi Anonymous,

    Unfortunately, there really isn't any definitive human research on consuming PUFAs from whole foods. It's clear to me that excess PUFAs in the diet can be a stress on the system, but the human body is designed to be rather resilient and to handle some stress. It's likely that the other nutrients found in whole foods will increase tolerance for some for some of the excess, protecting them from oxidation and allowing them to be burnt off rather simply, but this needs more research. I'm sorry I don't have anything more definitive to say at this point. My personal approach is to use whole foods like nuts that have substantial amounts of PUFAs in moderation rather than as major staples, and to cut out modern vegetable oils high in PUFA entirely.


  6. Chris,

    How do you like UCon? I'm planning to enter PhD program next fall and am looking at nutrition and public health options in the northeast. My ideal program would involve both science and policy (as did my master's) with good epi and intervention training.


  7. Chris,

    First of all, I just found your blog prior to Mr. Sissan's post and am ecstatic that I did. Your approach is scientific and balanced to a degree that I very much resonate with. I've already poached so much useful information reading through all of your past posts and reviews it is ridiculous. So, thank you, I look forward to following you for a long time.

    With that said, the main reason I'm commenting is that the link you provided to the "Getting Better Sleep" post takes me to the "Genes, LDL-Cholesterol, and the Central Role of LDL Receptor Activity in Heart Disease" post. I'll probably find the post I'm looking for if I do a search on your blog or did enough, but I just thought I should let you know. Jeff.

  8. i love your posts (except when they get too tec. my fault).

    What do you mean by "refined" sugar, "white" flour, ?

  9. I would love to be able to get your blog updates by email. Would you be able to add this option in addition to the Subscribe in a Reader option?

    I love your blog and want to make sure I don't miss any posts.

  10. You forgot Gary Taubes as a referrer to your site (that's how I found you). He speaks highly of you as a scientist.


  11. Stephanie,

    UConn has a great nutrition department, but it's mostly experimental. There is one researcher doing epi right now, but it is not the strength of the department. There is virtually nothing on policy here. I think, in any case, if you want to focus on a PhD it might be unrealistic to expect epi, policy, and experimental science -- I think, wherever you go, you would want to have a working competence in two areas and an expertise in one.


    Just fixed it. Thanks!


    Thanks! I wouldn't take all the blame -- a good teacher should be able to break down concepts and make them simple. By refined sugar and flour I mean the standard definition that is used almost ubiquitously.

    Stephanie B,

    I'll look into the email subscription. Thanks for the suggestion!


    Good to know. Thanks! For this post, I just looked at some of the top sources as listed in traffic stats.


  12. So happy to find you (thanks Mark Sisson) and see that you have articles re:non-alcoholic fatty liver disease! I am always looking for more info since I was diagnosed. I broke my liver but I'm hoping to get it back into shape.

  13. I've been trying for months to subscribe to the Daily Lipid. I'm not on FB, nor do I ever intend to be, and I don't do RSS feeds (whatever that is) either. Is there no way to subscribe through just a plain old email??

  14. I'm going to try to ad email subscription when I get back next week -- I have a talk to give tomorrow so I'm a bit too busy to figure it out. Sorry! But soon!

  15. "Science is a Search for Truth. . ."

    More accurately, the search for truth/s occur/s in the arenas of philosophy and religion.

    Science doesn't "search" for anything. This is an example of anthropomorphism. Rather, science is a method or a tool analogous to a hammer; it's the carpenter that does the hammerING.

    Therefore, scienTISTS using the empirical method hammer away in a search for "truth" or rather for the most accurate explanation that resists falsification.

    Otherwise, I found it interesting. Although the epidimiology so far seems to demonstrate the clinical efficacy of Esselstyn's protocol.

  16. Anonymous,

    Thanks for your comments. But I think you're misreading the grammar. If science is a search, this does not imply that science searches anything. Searches aren't performed by searches.


  17. Quite honestly, studies on cholesterol, and more so on cholesterol lowering drugs have a lot of contradiction going on. It's hard to tell yet who's right or who's wrong really, since most of the effects of nutrition changes & medications take decades to gain some more or less creditable data.

  18. Nutrition is so complex that it's very easy to set up research that ignores confounding factors that invalidate the research. I really appreciate Chris's efforts to sort through all the guff.

    But I have a question, Chris - have you tried to sort out/find the research that clarifies the PUFA issues? I was thinking that the reason why it is so difficult to convince authority figures to avoid corn oil, etc. is because there are really at least 4 issues:
    1) excessive omega-6 fats that overwhelm the omega-3 fats consumed
    2) excessive PUFA that are vulnerable to oxidation damage,
    3) inadequate intake of undamaged omega-3 EFA,
    4) Damaged PUFA due to processing.
    5) all the other nutrients that are needed to process PUFA properly in the body.

    Are you aware of a review that addresses all these issues well, with references?

  19. Just run into your blog today,
    wanted to say thanks.
    this is a great blog


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  21. Chris
    Risk stratification in cad and event probability is as much voodoo today as it was when most of these posts 4 years ago. Maybe a little better in populationstudies because of cac scoring.......but for an individual, still a mystery.

    Kburnett MD

  22. Hi Chris,

    I am most impressed by your work. How about an article like the one about Vitamin D for Vitamin A. I find [almost] no one talking about how it is really measured.

    And FWIW, I take K2-MK4 :).

    Keep of your honest, open work.

    Anon in New Hampshire

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