Public Health Conf. 2019 – Blaming Salt For What Sugar Did?

This is a video from a Public Health conference put on by the Public Health Collaboration.

It is by an English Doctor who just observed things, and asked questions, and didn’t stop.

Here’s the link for the whole conference:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1J9GrLlUYVKrUbAgKIKc6Benb4kT7bbq
It looks like many topics of interest. But this next one was of particular interest.

Some of this I’ve already seen, though from different angles and by different folks. In this case it is what I think is a rural Doctor working with patients, observing, seeing what happens, and then testing it. He also spends some time talking about how as a village doctor he has long duration data on his patients that just can’t be done on a National Study basis as the costs would be horrific.

He’s a low key nice guy who presents things in a very approachable way. I like the guy.

He also makes an interesting point, toward the end, about the basic nature of Science and that N=1 can matter far more than P value. His example is that a single Black Swan disproves the hypothesis that “All swans are white”. N=1 IS Important. Do not dismiss the single case of something different and interesting.

I also like the way it is the story of One Guy doing Real Science ™ despite what all the “consensus” thought of it and despite taking flack. I can relate ;-)

His “preamble” is a bit long, but also of interest. Then he gets to the “meat” of his story: That SUGAR causes high blood pressure, via salt retention, and that salt alone does not. It also mattered as he described curing his own “Keto Flu” by salting his food more. I’ve noticed the same. When I’m super low carbs, I really need the salt.

Lots of nice graphs and charts to back up his points.

It sure does look like the “consensus diet” high in carbs, avoiding saturated fats, substituting Omega-6 rich plant seed oils, and avoiding meat is the diet that is causing the “epidemic” in Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, and a whole lot more.

Since moving to “mostly meat and low carb vegetables”, I’m down to a weight last seen about 1990. My B.P. is down about 10 points (in normal range – just tested it) and it’s great. The Spouse is having similar results.

Oh, and I’m fairly heavily salting my food. Tastes great, BTW ;-)

There’s another video I may post later (if I can find it again). That guy finds that high Omega-6 levels in the diet messes up the mitochondria somewhat and creates more sloth and weight gain. Interesting bit in that one? Rats fed IDENTICAL diets, in terms of total calories, protein, fats, carbs BUT where ONLY the Omega-6 ratio changes, had the high O-6 group gain significantly more weight than the low O-6 group. The equivalent of 21 lbs in a human in 3 weeks. It is NOT that “all calories are the same”. Some are very very different.

So, in addition to avoiding Fructose as much as possible, sugars of all sorts next, starches and high glycemic foods after that; we also have avoid THE most common plant oils: Corn, Soybean, Canola, Sunflower, Safflower. Though, oddly, Safflower is the LOWEST of those in Omega-6 at 30-something percent vs 50 something. And it was Safflower used for the “high” Omega-6 source, so the others would have made the rat test even more dramatic.

Olive Oil was middling low but still had modest weight gain in comparison to saturated fats. So butter, coconut oil, lard, beef tallow: Good. Seed oils bad… Olive Oil OK-ish. Then go ahead and have yourself those lamb chops / beef steak / roast chicken, with a side salad (Olive Oil in the dressing, please… not soybean; or a sour cream based ranch even better) peas and broccoli or carrots slathered with butter. Skip the bread, potatoes, and the banana…
I can live with that ;-)

Oh, and that bacon and cheese omelette cooked in butter? Yeah, that one. Yum ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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37 Responses to Public Health Conf. 2019 – Blaming Salt For What Sugar Did?

  1. Serioso says:

    I didn’t watch the video but I have a comment anyway, if you will permit me: The Japanese are known for a low-sugar high salt diet, which has long been linked to death from strokes. Merely anecdotal, of course, although I suppose there is some statistical evidence backing up this claim. But the Japanese have a longer life span than any other national group. So maybe salt alone is not the villain.

  2. llanfar says:

    Thank you for a non-attacking reply

  3. Steven Fraser says:

    @EM: Agreed on the ‘not all calories are alike’. In recent reading, I see there has been a resurgence of interest in the ‘food pyramid’ which served us well in the first half of the 20th C, which somehow got inverted when fats were blamed for heart issues.

    I am particularly a fan of the FLAVOR and satiety that come along with saturated fats (think ‘bacon’ here,) sour cream, whole milk, salt, and butterrrrrr. As Julia Child is quoted: ‘You cannot have too much butter’.

    Kudos to you for your biometrics, as well.

  4. andysaurus says:

    Yes, I watched this too. Always good to have my pre-conceptions re-enforced. To me it is now quite clear that Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, Cardio-vascular disease, Hypertension, some forms of depression (I suffer from all of them) are almost nothing to do with calories in vs calories out. It’s ALL hormonal, particularly Insulin. I was pumping in poisonous levels of Insulin on doctor’s orders, as well as stimulating my pancreas/liver to produce more. Cutting carbs, particularly fructose from my diet is fixing everything.

    Also, the British early super-cooks “The two fat ladies” said you need fat to carry flavour. They were right. (Clarissa Dickson-Wright as I recall).

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @Serioso: Bingo! You got it. Exactly right.

    FWIW there are other similar examples. My grandad lived to 90 something. He ate a classical Amish diet (Spouse was Amish). That meant a LOT of fats, animal meat, cheese, eggs (they ate what they grew on the farm). But also a lot of salt presurved foods (home preserved). Corned beef (the “corn” is salt grains), pickled foods, salt pork, salted fish, etc. It was one of the most common preserving methods in the late 1800s early 1900s. People bought salt by the hogshead (small barrel).

    My family used lots of salt, and didn’t buy the hype. As a kid, I’d buy salt licks at the feed store for the rabbits we raised. One would end up in my room ;-) In fact, I have the last 1/3 of one one the shelf next to me… still a bit of a salt addict to today. Yet I have almost no health issues.

    Best I can find, stroke and similar cardiac issues are a result of low grade Vit C deficiency. The RDA is just too low. It takes closer to 2 grams a day (to match what gorillas get from leaves). Gorillas are fine, no circulatory disease. .. but remove the vit C in their diet, they get heart attacks like people.

    @Steven Fraser:

    You’re talking the Amish diet, the way I grew up :-)

    Butter by the pound, eggs by the dozen, bacon by the slab…

    @Andysaurus:

    Glad to hear it is working for you!

    I’m finding that a meat and low glycemic vegetables diet with added Vit C is making everything better. I didn’t have many issues, but sone hints of things starting (marginally flirting with 150 to 160 over 90 BP sometimes, “pre” diabetic (aka normal) at the lower bound of approching concern, about 30 lbs over best wt.) But all that is over. Just from dropping sugars, starches, and eating more meats. Also swapped seed oils for butter, coconut oil, lard, and olive oil in about that order.

    Bacon deep fried in lard with butter fried eggs is delicious. I do miss the toast and pancakes though… Also meat really wants a potato with it… but about 5 more pounds off I need to add a bit back in. Don’t want to drop to nothing! 8-)

    My not exactly resting BP when writing the article was 140 / 80. I’m 30 lbs off my max with abdominal definition starting to show and loose pants from a smaller caboose. Energy is up too. Also mood.

    Hopefully you can normalize too.

  6. Steven Fraser says:

    @EM: I got one of those ‘ding! huh!’ moments when one of the recent writers mentioned that higher salt is needed (that is, more than about 12 gm a day) when consuming 3 cups of coffee in the day. I think I may be coasting on the low side of the amount, so will do a personal experiment the next few days to see what happens with 4 extra pinches of salt added to my usual.

  7. H.R. says:

    @Serioso – You make a good point and a raise a good question; what’s interacting that isn’t accounted for?

    I’m wondering what effect positive, negative, or offsetting can be tied to all the soy in the Japanese diet.
    .
    .
    .
    The Japanese and Chinese (my daughter-in-law is Chinese) love their carbs in the form of rice, buns, and cookies. What is missing is sugar, although it is beginning to appear.

    The U.S. company I retired from is Japanese owned. When the CEO came to visit 2-3 times per year (strategy, results, capital plans, etc.), he adhered to the Japanese custom of bringing a gift of something edible.

    He’d bring Japanese cookies, small cakes, or candies and put them in the break room for all employees to share. What was really noticeable was there was barely any sugar in their *ahem* sweets.

    The standing joke at our company was that Japan imports a 5-pound bag of sugar from the U.S. at the beginning of the year. Whatever the country didn’t use that year was thrown out and another 5-pound bag of sugar was imported for the next year. Almost not funny if you’ve ever had Japanese ‘sweets.’

  8. Kneel says:

    A friend needed to lose weight and lower cholesterol at the same time. The ONLY thing that worked for her was a low carb, high protein, high fat diet. This supposedly “bad” diet (lots of meat and dairy, little grains or starchy food) improved every aspect of her blood chemistry. Her doctor asked how she did it. He was stunned by the answer.
    I recently lost about 15kg (about 35lbs) – not on purpose, I ended up on low carbs, just kind of “fell into it”, more a lazy thing than anything else.
    Never hungry, but lost weight anyway! Never depressed by it either.
    Go look for the “reply” to “Supersize me” – it’s called “Fat Head”. The guy lost weight eating nothing but “fast food” (Mickey D’s, Wendy’s etc) – just reduced his carbs and kept to a specific caloric intake and lost about 1-2lbs per week. No additional exercise, no other significant changes in lifestyle. At the end, he shows (2 years after first release) the huge number of people who lost sizeable amounts of weight by doing this – in some cases, half their body weight gone, total cholesterol down, “good” cholesterol up, diabetes markers retreating, all inside 12 months!
    It’s funny, innit? I mean, your mother knew that potatoes and bread and pasta make you fat. Her mother knew that too. And her mother. Yet for the last 50 odd years we have tried an experiment in the exact opposite of what folklore says and the result is: lots and lots of people overweight, with bad blood chemistry, diabetes et al.
    Those who say we should consider what we are evolved to eat should think about this: Q.What do you think humans survived on between the invention of fire and the invention of farming? A.Mostly meat. For 10’s of thousands of years. I suspect the body has adapted to that over time.

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    I had an interesting thought a while ago, regarding blood sugar and salt. One of the functions of salts in the blood stream in addition to the chemical mineral functions is simply to maintain osmolarity of the blood in balance with the intracellular fluid.

    So if you blood sugar is high, then to balance the osmolarity of the blood serum salt concentrations would have to drop (perhaps enough to start creating other issues due to low availability of salt ions.

    If that is a correct evaluation then it would be natural that as your blood sugar was brought under control by a change in diet, it would also change your demand for salt.

    Biochemists please kick in your thoughts on that idea.

  10. beththeserf says:

    Happened to watch this yesterday from Jo Nova exercise post.

    I’ve been eating lower carb diet for a few years, Soft drinks were never my thing, ) and then found rice and pasta gave me heart burn, Since then, cut down on bread too. More energy from meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, yummm, and berries and cream… say, how long to dinner time?! Almost time for my pre dinner scotch while I read Chiefio post on Trump. )

  11. corsair red says:

    About oils, although this won’t improve the low fats.
    I started baking about four years ago. I don’t remember what I first used for oil but I saw a recommendation for canola oil on a baking page. Canola oil is cheap, and produces an excellent cake. Then I found a recommendation for coconut oil. That is even better. So now I bake a cake with coconut oil or unsalted butter. I won’t tell you they are superb because none of you can verify that. You have to trust me. :-) I will say anyone who uses anything else is wrong. So there, some small, very small justification, for dessert.

    Of course, butter makes up a big part of the frosting.

  12. beththeserf says:

    Tart apple pie, dash of cinnamon, thin flakey pastry and thick cream.

  13. H.R. says:

    corsair red: “I won’t tell you they are superb because none of you can verify that. You have to trust me. :-)”

    Where’s the evidence of that? Why should we trust you?

    What?!? There is none? You ate it?

    You’re not getting a ‘Superb’ rating from anyone here until we have a slice.
    ;o)

  14. A C Osborn says:

    E M, I was in our local Hospital in an offshoot of the Cardiac unit where my Brother was being fitted with a 24 hour Heart Monitor.
    He has an Aortic Valve problem.
    I was shocked to see their wall chart of Recommended Diet for Heart Health.
    High Carb, low Fat, Low Red Meat and Low salt.
    The message is not getting through to our NHS.

  15. H.R. says:

    @A C – Oh the message is getting through, all right. Gotta reduce those rolls some other way now that the Liverpool Pathway scheme has been busted.

    Murder by cookies…

  16. corsair red says:

    H.R., let me know when you will be on I-10 headed west. I’ll make a slice available.

  17. cdquarles says:

    Re serum osmolality. *Any* solute contributes to it. Mineral salts, water soluble organic molecules, the whole works, from simple ones to polymers. Neutral ones contribute 1 per molecule. Those that can be split into separate charges contribute one per charge, so NaCl gives two per, MgCl gives 3 per, and so on.

    About span, no. The span of a man’s years shall be 120. The expectancy may vary, but that’s due to how many and where in the span from conception to bodily death that happens; and you *cannot* take published figures at face value without knowing how certain events get counted or even if they get counted. Don’t throw the WHO at me, for that is a *political* organization. Even if it wasn’t always such. It is so now.

  18. cdquarles says:

    “The only bad diet is the one that makes *you* sick.”

    Cholesterol: is an acute phase reactant, so it will have changes in its extracellular fluid volume concentration whenever the immune system is activated. Our bodies (mostly) produce it, so it isn’t strictly necessary in the diet. That said, you will get it that way anyway, whether from plants or animal sources (yes, even plants make cholesterol … they have to because they make other sterols, too).

    Recall that when this controversy first started, infectious disease was more common than now and killed a relatively larger fraction of the population, especially the very young and the very old, so do *not* forget survivor bias.

    The body’s ‘instinctive’ response to low blood pressure (for it!) is to retain salt and water. Kidney disease exacerbates this. The Starling curve is also a thing. Stretching a muscle increases its strength up to a point. Stretching it past that weakens it; so if you do get heart failure from *any* cause, the renin-angiotensin system will kick in, ‘thinking’ that you’re bleeding. So couple these things with within group as well as between group variability, poor studies, improper use of statistics, the general faddishness of humans and people in government wanting power over the ‘plebes’, well you get what we have now. A top-down good enough for government work set of recommendations that are tolerable for many, but not all.

    Re potatoes & etc making folk fat: my parents and grandparents never said that. Guessing they never saw that happen to folk they knew.

  19. p.g.sharrow says:

    You can’t eat enough potatoes to get fat! It is the crap you put on them that pumps up the calories. I have this argument with every Doctor I see. They went to school and I was only a livestock farmer so what do I know about nutrition, feeds and feeding of animals And humans. Simple starches turn into sugars as soon as your body starts working on them, some even in your mouth, Fine grinding grains makes them much more digestible, quicker, sweeter.
    GET rid of Sugar! Sweetness tells your body to make FAT for storage, pumps up Insulin to deal with it.
    Remember it is the sweetness that triggers the brain to signal “Produce Fat” for storage! Diet Drinks cause Fat creation just like sugar does. Then you must limit calories, feel starved as your body turns those calories into fats that go into storage rather then the energy that your body needs, craves. ..pg

  20. H.R. says:

    OK. I just finished giving the dogs a treat consisting of a lightly salted whole wheat cracker about 1″ x 2″. I split the cracker so each dog got a roughly 1″ x 1″ square.

    It got me to thinking; how are carnivores like wolves, cougars, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) getting salt? Isn’t their chemistry similar enough to ours? I’ve never really seen where they seek out salt licks like the other cuddly forest critters.

    I know deer can’t pass up a salt lick. Cows and other herbivores ‘get their licks in’ ;o)

    Are the carnivores sneaking around the salt licks and no one catches them at it or do they just carry a salt shaker around in their pockets?

    (I could search on this but I’m having fun using my imagination for now.)

  21. Larry Ledwick says:

    Just out of curiosity on the high carbo diet issue, and Japanese diet, what was the heart attack and diabetes probability for the Irish who lived almost exclusively on potatoes and a bit of meat?

    In the mid 1800’s the Irish had a diet that very much violated the lots of meat high fat diets we now think are ideal, (or at least that is implied by the stories relating to the potato famine) and although they may have compensated by having high physical labor life styles, I do not recall any references mentioning that they had problems with diabetes or heart disease that were out of the ordinary for other countries which had different dietary traditions..

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    Carnivores probably get their salt from the blood of the prey in the meat that they eat so have little need for dietary salt. Herbivores however must get their salt from the plants that they eat (which tend to be very low salt since it kills most plants) so have to depend on salt licks, or perhaps in areas near the ocean a bit of tidal sea water in the rivers increase their access to salt.

  23. Power Grab says:

    I have seen cattle lick other cattle. I was told it was so they could get salt.

  24. agimarc says:

    Gary Taubes covered this some years ago in his Good Calories, Bad Calories. Fairly technical. Decent read, though I like his Why We Get Fat. And What To Do About It better. Cheers –

    http://garytaubes.com/

  25. H.R. says:

    @Larry re carnivores – That’s been my first speculation; getting salts from the blood of herbivores who do hit the salt licks.

    I’m still going to wait a while before I break down and look it up.
    .
    .
    @Power Grab – Better that cows lick other cows than lick toads. That toad licking will make you crazy! (Don’t ask ;o)

  26. Larry Ledwick says:

    Animals find all sorts of salt sources. In Alaska and the far north of Canada trappers were warned not to leave an ax in the chopping block, as porcupines would eat the handle to get the salt from their sweat out of the wood according to Bradford Angier who wrote survival books based on his experience as a trapper in Canada.

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G.:

    Starch is a glucose polymer so does not enter the fat making branch of metabolism in the liver. It goes to glycogen or burned to make ATP energy molecule. Fructose enters the fat making cycle directly. Sucrose table suger is a glucose stuck to a fructose, so half each.

    Thus the potato not being fattening beyond gross calories while high fructose corn syrup is causing an obesity and diabetes epidemic.

    @Larry L:

    FWIW 1/4 of my family / ancestry survived largely on potatoes in County Mayo for about 200 years without obesity nor diabetes nor heart problems, then the potatoe famine sent them to America where grandad married an Amish girl from across the river in Ohio. None of them had the modern diseases but ate lots of meat and potatoes. As soon as I hit goal weight, the potatoes go back on the plate… covered in butter… just like the family always did.

    A big potato is still fairly small calories, but lots of minerals…

    @Salt:

    Every plant has some salt in it and herbivores eat a huge volume of plants. Up to the kidneys to hang on to it. Also, if deficient, animals will eat dirt for minerals and some herbivores are not above a bit of carrion. Lots of inland places have playa dry lake salts while coastal has the oceans.

    Oddly, people have been known to crave dirt and eat it too, so may be a generic method.

  28. tom0mason says:

    To survive in the human gut, bacteria need genetic ‘passcode’ …
    From https://www.sott.net/article/423270-To-survive-in-the-human-gut-bacteria-need-genetic-passcode

    The human gut is rife with bacteria. Feces contains about 100 billion bacterial cells per gram, and gut bacteria outnumber human cells 10 to 1. These microbes, collectively called the gut microbiome, take on all sorts of maintenance-type work, Mougous says. They digest food, keep the gut’s surface intact, provide vitamins, and kick bad bacteria out. “The gut microbiome is very important for human health — that much we certainly know,” he says.
    Over the last decade, Mougous’s team has worked out the details of a bacterial defense mechanism called the type VI secretion system. It’s like a molecular syringe that slams toxins into neighboring cells. The toxins break down cell walls, cleave membranes, and chew up cells’ energy source. “They’re pretty insidious,” he says.
    Bacteria use immunity genes to neutralize these toxins and protect themselves. Invaders that lack the right genes get booted from the gut. Mougous’s team had thought that toxin and immunity genes came together in pairs, like a lock and key. But an analysis of data from more than 1,000 human fecal samples revealed something surprising.
    Immunity genes from the gut bacteria Bacteroides fragilis vastly outnumbered toxin genes. All those extra immunity genes, the team discovered, actually belonged to other bacteria. Those bacteria had stolen B. fragilis’s genes to protect themselves from its toxins. That means the genes must be crucial for bacteria to survive in the gut, Mougous says — something scientists hadn’t known before.

  29. cdquarles says:

    *Cough* CRISPR *cough* and *cough* viruses *cough* along with direct uptake of pieces of DNA and RNA that are already in the gut from digestion from all sources. [It is my opinion that *no* DNA/RNA sequences ever get lost. Reshuffled, yes. Modified, yes. Lost, no.] Our use of these *natural* tools to do specific modification is just fancy breeding.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    @tom0Mason:

    Bacteria have a kind of ring of DNA called a plasmid. (occasionally non-bacteria have them too). These are not inside the nucleus but a separate bit.

    Bacteria regularly exchange plasmids. Regularly. Across species.

    Most drug resistance and such are on plasmids. That’s why overuse of antibiotics ANYWHERE is so bad. Once one bacteria develops immunity, they all will get it, eventually, as the plasmid swapping spreads it around. Yeah, bacteria have sex… of a sort. Across species.

    So, IMHO, it’s a bit of hyperbole to describe the other bacteria as having “stolen” the DNA. More like “they all talked”…

    Then there’s the other bit that when a bacteria dies and some other bacteria picks up the parts, sometimes they just use the DNA they ate…

    There’s this notion that things in biology are “perfect”. ( I think it comes from the German fixation with calling things “perfect”…) but it isn’t. Biology is a messy sloppy imperfect and very lackadaisical process with a “works well enough maybe, so move on” attitude. So the “Species Barrier” is really more like the “Species strong suggestion” and all sorts of interspecies hybrids happen all the time. Formal Biology says these are not a new species, by definition but we now have dozens of examples where a species was found to be a hybrid (including us…). The most notable being the “Triangle of Wu” that has 3 root species crossing every which way between them giving us the whole tribe of Brassicas. It starts with “A Turnip, a Mustard and a Cabbage check into a hotel”… and ends with Russian Kale, Rutabagas, other mustard types, and a whole lot more:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_of_U

    FWIW, I’ve met the offspring of a mule… She met a stallion and, well, that whole sterile thing went out the window… (There’s a technology / science behind this too, the sex with only one copy – male and X for humans – ends up sterile but the one with 2 copies often is not, so you ‘breed back’ the non-sterile sex [female in this case] to the parent opposite sex. Works with goats and sheep too…)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haldane%27s_rule

    Now think about that for a minute… Even mammalian species swap genes around to some extent. The human genome is almost the same as the pig genome, just swapped around. We’re about 97% to 99% Chimp / Bonobo (and could likely cross with them but for our chromosome #2 being a fusion of 2 of theirs in some long ago genetic accident).

    It is the notion that genes are stuck to a given species that is broken, and the idea that they don’t move around that is wrong. Then season with species do get in each others pants… and sometimes it works…

    Yeah, not at all “Perfect!” and instead very very messy and un-tidy and not neat at all…

    Oh, one other bit of tid:

    Some folks are chimeras. They had two fertilized eggs fuse and now they are 1/2 one genetic set and 1/2 the other. Sometimes by organ, sometimes by smaller bits. You can end up with the two eyes from different genes (so even dramatically different colors) and sometimes each cell line a different sex. Hopefully the “Happy Bits” all of just one sex… but not always.

    Nature does not engineer. Nature plays dice at the craps table…

  31. Larry Ledwick says:

    Which brings up the question of how you define the Human evolutionary tree. They have for several hundred years been trying to prune that tree like a bonsai down to just the essential elements and say this is the human evolutionary tree.

    I suspect human evolution is a lot more like a pack of feral dogs and the various branches have crossed and recrossed a billion times. The differences between the proto human primates was probably very much like the differences in genetics between a central African, an Arab, an Indian (sub continent), a Siberian, a Chinese a Japanese and Australian Aborigine, an Englishman, a white Russian, a Frenchman a Scandinavian etc.

    Superficial differences but at their core pretty much the same. Like blending colors in a bucket of paint, in the beginning before it is well mixed you have relatively dramatic differences depending on where you sample the paint, but eventually it all gets blended together in to a uniform shade of grey.

    Which is where we are today, you can still see small differences but a couple thousand more years of intercontinatal travel and inter-breeding and humans will settle to a base type just like all feral dog packs tend to slowly drift toward a dog that looks a lot like an African dog.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_wild_dog

  32. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting tidbit in the above link:

    Looks like “voting” is a fairly primative characteristic in mammals.
    I saw this process as being very similar to a “Who’s for Pizza” call at a party.

    Sneeze communication and “voting”
    African wild dog populations in the Okavango Delta have been observed “rallying” before they set out to hunt. Not every rally results in a departure, but departure becomes more likely when more individual dogs “sneeze”. These sneezes are characterized by a short, sharp exhale through the nostrils.[43] When members of dominant mating pairs sneeze first, the group is much more likely to depart. If a dominant dog initiates, around three sneezes guarantee departure. When less dominant dogs sneeze first, if enough others also sneeze (about 10), then the group will go hunting. Researchers assert that wild dogs in Botswana, “use a specific vocalization (the sneeze) along with a variable quorum response mechanism in the decision-making process [to go hunting at a particular moment]”.[44]

  33. Power Grab says:

    @ HR

    “Toad licking” . . . Now I’m going to wonder . . .

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @PowerGrab:

    Some tropical toads make a hallucinogenic material in there skins…

  35. Larry Ledwick says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River_toad

    No I do not use “Toad” but am aware of it.

  36. Power Grab says:

    @ EM re:
    “Oddly, people have been known to crave dirt and eat it too, so may be a generic method.”

    I remember reading not too long ago that pregnant women in Haiti were known to make “cookies” out of dirt when other food was lacking.

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