Column #128

Most health conscience consumers have a difficult time separating con artists from legitimate sources. Unfortunately our internet connected world is partly to blame. The internet is a wonderful invention but too often it’s no better than village gossip. It has several drawbacks.

Communicating with emails leaves a lot to be desired versus the telephone or better yet face-to-face discussions. It’s easy for websites to have the trappings of legitimate sources of information on various topics, but behind the scenes they’re simply using common knowledge, schmooze, and scaremongering to power their heavy-handed marketing. On the other hand, more genuinely authoritative sites are relatively boring and far less visited.

Some of the best websites for providing solid information are not emotional. Rather they are matter-of-fact and often dry as toast. They use language that doesn’t resonate with the vast majority of health conscience consumers and is over the head of the average Joe. And all too often they present uncomfortable viewpoints because they aren’t following the well-worn paths of common knowledge.

For an authoritative science-based example, go to Bill Lands’ website titled “” Yes, the website’s name doesn’t make sense to most folks and low visitor traffic indicates the vast majority of promoters of health food, Paleo, Ketogenic, or other similar venues give Bill Lands’ work hardly a nod. Yet his information provides the public with an understanding of one of the most important aspects of diet. It’s all about the science. No flowery rhetoric. No scaremongering. Just pure science.

Bill Lands is among the world’s foremost authorities on essential fatty acids (EFAs). He is credited for discovering the beneficial effects of balancing Omega-6 EFAs with dietary Omega-3 EFAs. Lands graduated from University of Michigan in 1951 and served on the faculty there from 1955 to 1980. He then moved to University of Illinois (1980–1990) and subsequently the National Institutes of Health (1990–2002). He has impeccable credentials.

Now compare him to Jeffrey M. Smith who has written two popular books on GMOs. Smith has a questionable background with no scientific credentials. Before becoming an anti-GMO activist, Smith studied business at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, which bases its curriculum on transcendental meditation. He also taught swing dancing and worked for The Natural Law Party which is a transnational party founded on “the principles of Transcendental Meditation,” the laws of nature, and their application to all levels of government.

Smith’s books and film have been throughly debunked by the scientific community. In spite of that, his website, Institute for Responsible Technology, is one of the world’s more active websites. That’s probably due to the promotion given him by the many websites that specialize in health foods. His theories are very good for their businesses even though most of his claims do not have peer-reviewed support.

This isn’t saying that everything Smith says is wrong, but commencing in 2012 geneticists moved well beyond GMO to Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR). CRISPR, which earned the breakthrough of the year award in 2015 from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is focused on many aspects of genetic engineering with much of it aimed at humans. So some years after geneticists advanced way beyond most of which Smith wrote, he continues to pound the same old drum.

If you read about CRISPR you will fully understand what I mean about information being over our heads. And if you read Bill Lands website, you will only understand his information if you have studied EFAs on your own or have been reading my essays going back to 1999. What’s comforting to me is that everything Bill Lands writes about regarding the balance of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) for improving health is backed by thousands of peer-reviewed studies.

This should make you wonder why all the websites that tout the works of Jeffrey Smith seemingly ignore the nutritional science regarding the balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 EFAs. Is it because if they followed Lands they would not be able to promote easy to sell grain-fed beef, heritage bacon, free range chicken, almond flour, avocado oil, and other foods loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids?

There’s an incredible amount of knowledge in the world. Consequently no one person can know it all. Even experts in their fields don’t know everything in their speciality. That’s because with seven billion people pushing ahead with new ideas built on old ideas and new concepts knowledge grows exponentially. But it doesn’t mean you can’t dig into a topic and become knowledgeable. Although to be successful at it you have to evaluate your sources for credibility.

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

For additional reading:

Bill Land’s Website

William E.M. Lands from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Balancing Proportions of Competing Omega-3 and Omega-6 Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (HUFA) in Tissue Lipids by Doug Bibus and Bill Lands

Who is Jeffrey Smith? - Biology Fortified, Inc.

Anti-GMO former dance instructor Jeffrey Smith writes ‘scientific paper ...

Jeffrey Smith: ‘I know nothing about GMOs but that doesn’t stop me ...

Yogic Flying and GM Foods: The Wild Theories of Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey Smith’s Institute for Responsible Technology

Questions and Answers about CRISPR | Broad Institute

CRISPR from Wikipedia

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Ted Slanker’s Omega-3 Blood Test

Omega-3 Blood Test and use slanker as a code for a discount