Konstantin Monastyrsky – Pseudoscience of Nutrition (Part 1)

Surfing through my Facebook wall last week, I came across a post by a self-taught nutrition “expert” Konstantin Monastyrsky. I hesitate to even link to his website here, as it is so full of bad information, misrepresentation, and misdirection that I don’t want people to go there and start believing it. Click the link below if you’d like, but I will break down several areas within it that should leave one to question his expertise and his claims.

First, let’s look at Mr. Monastyrsky’s biography. It begins:

Mr. Monastyrsky graduated from medical university in 1977 with a pharmacy degree. He is also a certified nutritional consultant and an expert in forensic nutrition, a new field of science that investigates the connection between supposedly healthy foods and nutrition-related disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.

There is no mention as to which medical university, although in Russia alone there are several. In the Ukraine where he was from (though it was still part of the USSR at the time), there are also several medical universities. I am not sure why he wouldn’t reveal which one specifically, but it does lead me to question his expertise. There is also no mention as to what type of degree it is. It is possible at that time the Soviet Union still graduated people with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, though at that time the Doctor of Pharmacy degree was pretty common throughout the world. From an education standpoint, much of his “expertise” appears to be self-taught.

The next year he emigrated to the United States from what was at that time the Soviet Union. He worked in the technology field here, working for several banks and contributing to the GUI of Windows and business programs for Windows. I believe he is including this in his biography to somehow bolster the claim of his intelligence. I have no doubt he is intelligent, but intelligence comes in many forms. I know quite a bit about computers and physics, but it in no way makes me an expert in biology or nutrition.

From there his biography is all about his personal experiences with various health conditions, which include diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hemorrhoids, and others. He later in the bio explains that his diabetes led to many complications such as:

…sky-high triglycerides, erratic blood pressure, chronic colds and infections, painful gout and arthritis, debilitating carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, migraines, insomnia, irritability, and depression.

So far, it seems like he has many of the complications of diabetes. But the timeline is a bit jumbled from here. I will pick out a few highlights.

Mr. Monastyrsky quit smoking in 1984 and claims shortly thereafter he developed the symptoms of IBS – but only points out the constipation as a symptom. Constipation is common among those who first quit smoking, so this doesn’t seem like IBS, but just a common withdrawl symptom from the various chemicals in cigarettes, including the nicotine. He went to a doctor, where he was advised to increase his fiber intake, drink more water, and exercise more. Mr. Monastyrsky says his constipation went away. it would seem the doctor used the right approach.

However, when his began developing hemorrhoids two years later, he was advised to increase his fiber and water intake again. He isn’t clear as to whether or not he stuck to his original plan from 1984, but it is clear Mr. Monastyrsky feels the fiber and water approach is not a good one. In 1988, he was diagnosed with IBS, and was told to continue on the high fiber diet. He says by 1994, he had embraced “…a vegetarian lifestyle with even more fiber and water,” and even though he “… kept loading up on carb-heavy juices, fruits, vegetables, breads, rice, and pasta,” he ended up “…twenty-four pounds overweight, clinically depressed, and suffering from a whole range of degenerative conditions specific to type 2 diabetes. The situation with IBS, constipation, and hemorrhoids degenerated, too.”

So far, the entire biography on his expertise is studying his personal situation. He blames the vegetarian, high-fiber diet for his condition, with no measure of the number of calories consumed, a measurement of his water intake (a key component to the high-fiber diet), nor any mention of any medicines he was taking for which he could be having side-effects. He also mentions how his career and his wealth was destroyed by his condition. However, his conclusions get more confusing from here.

In 1996 he began researching his condition further, and decided the best approach to his condition was to go on a gluten-free, fiber-free, and low-carb diet. He says, “Almost immediately the symptoms of IBS—abdominal bloating, flatulence, and pain—cleared up, but not the constipation or hemorrhoids. They got worse.” I am not surprised. My casual research would indicate a gluten-free and low-carb diet lends itself to being lower in calories. Lowering calorie intake and the usual weight-loss that goes with it often helps resolve diabetes symptoms. Also expected, without fiber, bowel movements become less regular.

What is bizarre is his conclusion resulted in a book (with others to follow) in direct contradiction to what he experienced. He writes:

[For my first book, I wrote a] section on constipation because it‘s by far the most common and troublesome side effect of low-carb/low-fiber diets, including Atkins‘, South Beach, Protein Power, and others. By the time I finished writing that section, it was almost 300 pages long.

So, he changed his diet from a high-fiber to a fiber-free diet, and his constipation got worse…and somehow fiber was the cause of his constipation? This fails both on what he observed in himself, as well as not following the scientific process and being based on anecdote.

Throughout this process, he claims to have become an expert on forensic nutrition. He also has used his expertise in the computer industry, because he coined a term that not many people have used, thus his results come up first in a search. His claim is doctors suggest doing everything to excess, using this example:

Traditional nutrition seeks out food to improve health using a simplistic approach: If one apple is good for you, then more apples are better. If water is good for you, then more water is better. If fat is bad for you, then no fat is better.

My personal experience with my doctor is about everything in moderation. Eat some fruits and vegetables every day. Eat less of the saturated fats, and replace with olive oil and similar fats. Eat leaner meats. Drink enough water as to not become dehydrated as judged by the color of the urine. My doctor never suggests specific amounts of water or foods, just to try to watch calories and eat a variety. It seems rational advice is to do just that.

The most egregious claim he makes is that his “science” of forensic nutrition is the only one that follows real evidence. He states it this way:

Forensic nutrition is deeply grounded in an existing well-established, undisputed, and well-settled body of science in human anatomy, physiology, biology, anthropology, and medical biochemistry — collectively, fundamental science. This approach precludes personal biases, which are typical for most medical writers. Hence its answers are exacting and specific:

  • If soluble fiber causes diarrhea, then exclude foods rich in soluble fiber instead of wiping out intestinal bacteria with antibiotics just because the bacterial fermentation of excess fiber produces diarrhea-causing substances.
  • If insoluble fiber causes large stools, large stools cause straining, straining causes hemorrhoidal disease, and hemorrhoidal disease causes constipation, then exclude fiber instead of enlarging (bulking up) stools even more in order to overcome constipation.
  • If overhydration causes hypercalcinuria (calcium loss with urine), and hypercalcinuria causes kidney stones, then consume fluids in moderation instead of drinking even more water to wash out the said calcium, and ending up with debilitating osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia on top of kidney stones.
  • If a low-fat diet causes gallstones, then consume fat in moderation to facilitate a timely and regular release of bile from the gallbladder instead of losing your gallbladder to a surgeon‘s knife.

Nutritional intervention is the next logical step in reversing food-borne diseases, or “nutropathies” (nutritionalpathologies). It combines nutritional hygiene (proper style of eating), nutritional profiling(matching food with age-related physiological needs), and nutritional augmentation (compensating missing micronutrients with basic supplements instead of consuming factory-made foods fortified with iron, folic acid, vitamins A, C, and D, and calcium).

His entire body of research by his own claim is based on his personal experience. That is the opposite of science – it is anecdote. He throws out a quick ad hominem that most medical writers suffer from bias, but that his “science” is so pure that it cannot contain bias. All science has some bias, but the very process of science is designed to reduce and eliminate most of it. Mr. Monastyrsky does not follow any type of bias reducing process.

He then leads into an insinuation that all diarrhea is treated with antibiotics. His claim on insoluble fiber is again based on his personal experience, in which he did not talk about his medications or his fluid intake, thus his single person “study was uncontrolled and does not hold up to research. It also doesn’t fit his own results where his constipation got worse after cutting out the fiber in his diet. His claims on water are in regards to extreme water consumption, and not how a doctor would recommend hydration. Finally, he claims that somehow supplementation is superior to fortified foods – when in reality they are nearly identical. Both put nutrients into your body in their pure form instead of being embedded in the food naturally. There wouldn’t be much difference, and some studies would suggest fortified foods would better aid absorption of the nutrients over a pill passing through by itself. I also enjoy his word salad of “science-y” sounding terms in the last paragraph as a way to bolster his credibility.

Mr. Monastyrsky puts himself out there as an expert in nutrition based on his personal experience. He further made his own version of nutrition called forensic nutrition which he claims is the only purely settled science, when the science is based mostly on anecdotes. He claims he isn’t selling a diet, but then advises buying his books in order to learn how to eat “correctly” – thus selling his own version of a diet. Not only does he promote his poorly constructed evidence, he leaves out several key details and his results contradict his conclusions. He continues to be misled by his own confirmation bias. He doesn’t show any data, nor any studies he has published on the area of forensic nutrition or in treating the conditions he claims to be treating.

A few other classic red flags of misinformation includes a clear need to point out all other scientists are wrong, that he is fighting against big organizations like the USDA, FDA, and food manufacturers, that the current approach is “not natural,” and that while others are just in it for the money, he is putting out this information as a higher calling to help people. These are all hallmarks of someone trying to prove his superiority above all others as a way to market his “expertise.” Mr. Monastyrsky may truly believe in what he is writing, but next week I will discuss some of his other writings which will put that into question. Stay tuned!

About Eric Hall

My day job is teaching physics at the University of Minnesota, Rochester. I write about physics, other sciences, politics, education, and whatever else interests or concerns me. I am always working to be rational and reasonable, and I am always willing to improve my knowledge and change my mind when presented with new evidence.
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65 Responses to Konstantin Monastyrsky – Pseudoscience of Nutrition (Part 1)

  1. jimthepleb says:

    The amount of woo i have come across since being diagnosed with early onset Ischemic heart disease has been an eye opener. The number of people who have told me that it is carbohydrates that I need to cut, and that I can eat as much animal fat as I wish is actually quite frightening. I am not in medicine myself but my father and cousins are and obviously i am under the care of a consultant cardiologist. The ‘advice’ i get from the woo merchants follows a recognisable pattern.
    1) I am told that I am being given the wrong advice by my doctors and that actually I would be better off doing the opposite to what they have told me.
    2) I’m offered a (usually expensive) tablet or herb or book that will ‘prove’ their claims.
    3) When I ask for peer-reviewed papers proving their claims I’m told; ‘ this is so new/old that no research has been done yet.
    4) Anecdote starts to fly: ‘My dad did this for 20 years and never had heart disease.’
    5) The doctors are dismissed as a) under the influence of big pharma. b) Not up to date or c) Unable to use these as yet unproven methods as they are …well unproven.
    Talking to my doc if I were to listen to the 0 carb lots of animal fat advice my prognosis would be death in 2-5 years.
    Having watched an aunt die needlessly after quitting radio/chemotherapy in favour of having crystals waved over her body I am highly sceptical, but can see how others could fall for this, potentially lethal, advice.

  2. gwen says:

    The sheer quackery on facebook astounds me. I AM in the medical field, and it is disheartening to see other nurses, who too exactly the same science courses I did, and used the same critical thinking skills I did at work, fall for and promote this. I can excuse medically naive family members, but I am surprised I have not been defriended yet by family and co-workers who do not appreciate me pointing out the bunk and explaining WHY it is bunk, although in some cases I have had to just shut down the conversation out of frustration (like the one on staving off flu by placing cut onions around the house).

  3. Crystal says:

    His LinkedIn page says he went to Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University.

    I’ve googled him and watched some of his videos. While I’m skeptical, I think he’s been very upfront with his credentials.

    • Eric Hall says:

      That’s good to know. I still am not sure why he wouldn’t reveal this on his website. I don’t think that alone implicates him of anything, but my guess is he is trying to balance his medical credentials with a “regular guy just offering an anecdote” and, to me, is failing at both.

      • Al says:

        “I am not sure why he wouldn’t reveal which one specifically, but it does lead me to question his expertise.” – Eric Hall

        • Eric Hall says:

          I’m not sure what you are trying to imply here – but if I get your direction I will explain as I have to others.

          His education is one piece of the puzzle. Just like it is for me. If I go see a doctor, I can assume (as part of the licensing process) they have a medical degree. This alone doesn’t make them a good or bad doctor, but it becomes a piece of the puzzle. If the degree is from backyard shack university, I might be more skeptical of the doctor’s opinion than if the degree was from Yale. I am not a doctor – my education is in physics. I wouldn’t expect anyone to read this blog and take my word alone on my conclusions on fiber or nutrition in general. But if I was vague “I have a degree in science” versus “I have a MS in physics” – the vagueness would raise a red flag.

          So again – I am not discounting his opinion solely based on his education – but his area expertise + his vagueness on the where gives me pause as to if he is offering a valid opinion.

          • Julie says:

            Did Mr. Monastyrsky actually say he graduated from a university? I noticed that some people say they went to college, meaning they went there for a while, leaving you to think they graduated and have a degree. Just saying.

          • Noah Dillon says:

            Yeah. The first line of his bio on his website says he “graduated from University with a pharmacy degree” and gives a link to something written in Cyrillic. Even if he didn’t make this specific claim, it doesn’t mean that what he alleges has any factual basis. It would seem, instead, to hint at a higher likelihood of factual error. But the point is moot, given this very clearly articulated description from the man himself.

      • kodas says:

        Because he first has to write his full name that is Konstantin Monastyrsky Charlatan

    • natasha says:

      He did go to med.school in Lvov, major in pharmacy, please stop questioning his credentials, I went to university in the same city.

      • Eric Hall says:

        Again – please read what I said in the post as well as these comments – why not then reveal that on the website? Credentials are not the single way to measure one’s knowledge, but obfuscating them raises a red flag.

        • mmortal03 says:

          I’m not defending the guy’s claims, but part of the confusion may stem from the fact that he doesn’t capitalize “medical university” on his page. It seems as if he has finally provided a link to the actual school on his bio page now.

      • tmims says:

        He may have graduated from there with a degree in Pharmacy but that does not make him a medical expert. It does not even make him a pharmacist because he never even took the boards after moving here less than a year after graduating. What did he do when he moved here? He worked on Wall Street, as a medical stock guy right? Nope not even close! He was in the technology markets in the late 80s and then president of a software company. So how does any of this give him a medical expertise? It doesn’t but it does give him a business expertise which is what he is doing, running a business scaring people into buying his crap with no research to even back his claims. If you went to the same university in the same city I would think his lack of medical knowledge and basic scientific methodology would piss you off.

        • Tenly J Connor says:

          I’m just a person with IBS and I used his products. I used a lot of over the counter products and they didn’t help. I was in severe pain. The products he sells work. I haven’t had any problems since I used them. The only complaint I would make is that they are expensive, so I don’t know that I can continue the whole program. I went on a new diet of mainly vegetables and fruits with a small amount of meat. I am in hopes that my change of diet and continuing with the Hydro C will be enough, but I would definitely go back to the products if my problem continues. I tried Miralax one time and it didn’t work for me and I read the reviews of it and decided that I would not try it further. A lot of what he says makes sense to me because I actually suffer from IBS. If you don’t have it, then you don’t have any clue, you only know what others tell you and hearing and feeling it are two different things. Perhaps you should read Dr. Wahl’s book. She is a doctor that didn’t believe that food made any difference and medicine could cure everything. Then she got MS and was in quick decline. You can listen to her on youtube too. I’m not sure what they are teaching doctors in medical school. We seem to live in a blame and punishment society. I’ve been to the hospital twice because they gave me Synthroid and I had an allergic reaction. My tongue would swell so much that I could hardly breath. The doctor didn’t believe it was Synthroid. The nurse did. The second time at the ER they told me to stop taking Synthroid and I went to a different thyroid medicine. The swelling stopped and I never had another problem. There is some additive in the medication that I had an allergic reaction to. Not everyone has this reaction. Doctors are puzzled, but the blind faith in medicine sometimes gets in the way of true scientific inquiry. A good doctor, to me, must have an inquisitive mind and must be able to accept things that go against what is believed or what a test might show. If the patient is showing something different then go with what the patient is saying and try to figure out what is wrong.

  4. diane says:

    What I am curious about is why people are so quick to discredit this approach without trying it first. This only offers his advice and research and personal experience. If you have the problems he addresses, why would you not try some of his suggestions? I guess, it’s just easier to stick with wonder bread for sandwiches and be a nay sayer.

    • Eric Hall says:

      There are a few key reasons why one would not want to take his advice if faced with similar symptoms as Mr. Monastyrsky.

      1. If someone has these symptoms, especially if it is a change from past patterns, it is vital to see a doctor. Changes in the digestive system can indicate a more serious condition, which should be ruled out. While he states this on his “about” page, it is not clearly indicated in his posts.

      2. We are given an incomplete story of his health. For example, he worked in the computer industry for many years. That type of job would usually require may hours at a desk. We do have medical evidence that being sedentary is a good indicator for weight gain. Weight gain can cause digestive changes, hemorrhoids, and other symptoms he faced. Changing to a high fiber diet doesn’t change the fact he would not be getting much exercise. If he happened to change to his own style of diet at the same time he changed his career, there is no way to know for sure if it was the diet or the exercise that led to his improvement.

      3. Changing your diet dramatically away from what a doctor recommends to treat your condition could be dangerous. If one is on a high-fiber diet on the recommendation of a doctor, one shouldn’t use Mr. Monastyrsky’s story as evidence to change from that diet. If could make their symptoms worse. Instead, a person should talk to their doctor about changing their diet, and perhaps making other lifestyle changes (more exercise, maybe reevaluating medications, stress, etc) to help correct the problem. Over the long-term, studies show that changing one’s diet alone isn’t enough to change one’s health – it usually requires other changes as well.

      If you look at my other post (part 2), you will see Mr. Monastyrsky has a general misunderstanding of medical science. I can’t be sure if he just doesn’t know or is purposely misusing the information, but his post on MiraLax is very misleading. I don’t find the site to be a trustworthy source, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. There is also a chance of some harm. For examples of how that question is answered 1000s of times showing harm – see http://whatstheharm.net/

  5. diana says:

    Actually, he may not be credentialed, but he’s right about fiber. And the importance of gut flora.

  6. Logan says:

    Being a skeptic myself, when I chose to follow this link from a google search I was hoping to find an article written by someone in the medical sciences who could address Mr. Monastyrsky’s claims. But instead I find a recent physics major who, like most young people, don’t have enough experience in life to know just how little they actually know or learned in school (in time they will learn just how stupid they were out of college), who thinks that attacking a person’s character some how disproves their point of view. Mr. Monastyrsky’s website provides many links to fairly recent medical reports backing up his assertions. And to be sure, just about any belief can be supported by studies, but the only rational means to counter these beliefs is to provide better contradicting evidence, not by attacking a person’s character or credentials. An appeal to lack of authority is just as irrational and fallacious as an appeal to authority.

    If you really want to be taken seriously as a critic by intelligent rational people, please take the time to learn about logical fallacies and how to avoid them in your writings. Focus on discussing ideas and concepts and spend less time talking about people.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I hope you will reconsider with a few more pieces of info.

      First, I have over 10 years of work experience between my undergraduate and graduate work. I won’t post my resume here, but my knowledge goes beyond my school work.

      Second, please notice this is part 1. His credentials are one piece of the puzzle. I agree, I wouldn’t expect you to go on credentials alone as a judgment, good or bad. I said that in the post and in these comments. But if you read part 2 (another post) – you will see an example of his poor understanding of basic chemistry. When taken as a whole, credentials included, you will see he is a poor source of information.

  7. Victor says:

    i stumbled on his website and, yes, some info makes sense, others are contradictory. But what really got me concerned was his claim that “fibre causes autism”. He deduced this by the sheer pattern of increasing diagnoses of autism with the “increase” of fibre put in food. By this you could also say Facebook, the internet or the decline of fossil fuels all directly associate with autism! WTF?!

  8. Bivoj says:

    Erick you are a Idiot or you working for gestapo FDA. I was in Tijuana 17 years a go with 4 stage of colarectal cancer and I thing that Monastyrsky is right.

  9. It never ceases to amaze me how vehemently and religiously so many people will defend every crank who comes along selling some unscientific nonsense that he made up. Advise caution, and you’re an “idiot” or “the gestapo”.

  10. BarryBoy says:

    I don’t see that your credentials are any more compelling than his, frankly.

    • Eric Hall says:

      BarryBoy – Credentials are only part of the story. I certainly wouldn’t ask you to take my advice on a medical matter as the final answer for my area of expertise is physics, not medicine. But even if I am talking about physics, or you are talking to a doctor about medicine, it is important not to judge what is being said on credentials alone. Credentials and experience can help you judge a person’s trustworthiness – meaning you may be willing to accept someone’s explanation more easily if they have the education and reputation, but that alone shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor.

      The other part is I didn’t use my credential as a reason for you to trust what I wrote. Sure – people want to know my educational background to understand my perspective, but I don’t hold my degree out at the front of each blog and say that is the reason you should trust what I wrote. Read what I wrote. Look at the evidence presented. I think the science as I presented it validates my point.

  11. Mr. Hall:
    Anyone that bucks the USDA, FDA and government nutrition experts is OK in my book. One of the officers at FDA is a past executive of Monsanto, ( the Agent Orange and Roundup Poison folks.) Monsanto has contaminated and poisoned almost l00 percent of all processed food, and FDA passes it gleefully. Why on earth would you believe that swallowing tons of fiber is a natural thing for the body?

    America’s food has become so contaminated with pesticides, hormones, genetically modified organisms that many, many countries are banning it, but FDA thinks it is swell. Like I said, one of the officers at FDA is a past Monsanto executive.

    Masses of fiber, chemicals, additives, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms are foreign to the human body and cause horrible illness. Just look at the huge increase in illness among the population since the FDA allowed this junk into our food.

    This nonsense about whole grains is just that. It is loaded with gluten, another substance that the human digestive tract is not able to handle.

    Mr. Monastyrsky did not rely upon his own personal experience with fiber. He spent years researching and studying cases. It is this kind of determined research, outside of the box, that brings to light the hideous fraud perpetrated on the public by people that are in the health field business strictly for money, which is the majority.

    • Gayle Lyle says:

      Elizabeth, I think you made the best argument in the strand because it’s based on bona fide facts and documented trends. What I want to know is: has ANYBODY in this conversation ever tried the 2 products other than the one responder above??? I have Parkinson’s disease and believe it or not constipation is my most debilitating problem after 12 YEARS OF A DIAGNOSIS. FIBER is absolutely the WORST thing for my condition as I’ve seen over and over again. I have become laxative dependent and am presently on a self-imposed diet of yogurt and Ensure until I can find SOME medical professional somewhere who can help. I’m a Ph.D. but I teach MDs so I know the difference. I’m not a medical authority (an neither are most of the blog’s responders). So I seek empirical evidence. That means does ANYBODY here have FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE with the products or the process? Please answer. I need help — and i’m not the only one! Thanks anybody.

      • Erin Ola says:

        I am CURRENTLY using his program and will do a write-up in a few weeks! I am both reading the book and taking the entire Colorectal Recovery Program supplements.

        • joel says:

          Did you finish the program?
          What are your results?

        • Traci Horgan says:

          Good Day Ms. Erin Ola.
          I am currently in the process of buying Mr.Monastyrsky book (Fiber Menace) also the entire Colorectal Recovery Program supplements. I’d love to know if you did do a write up of your experience with this? Please share with me if have done so.
          Thank you

  12. Jason Richardson says:

    Thanks for enlighting me on this, Eric Hall.

    As I was reading pages on his website, I just had a feeling the entire time that this guy is not legit. What really set me off is right at the point he is about to tell his “secrets” to cure constipation, you must first buy his book as he explains in a condescending way.

    And you are so right about him basing everything on his personal experience. He claims that the fiber/water intake/exercise method that every doctor on the planet recommends is not the right way, was in fac the right way for me to overcome constipation and the other side effects related to this condition.

    People like this think that everybody else must be exactly like them. Well I’m never going to buy his books.

    • denisebreslin@aol.com says:

      Exactly … there is this insular type of thinking, ego-centric that cannot tolerate anyone else’s opinions, knowledge, experience.

    • Brigitte Caron says:

      I am reading his book online for free so it isn’t an expensive a secret….

  13. VeganBum says:

    The best thing to understand if what someone is saying is true is find out what they are trying to sell you. This guy is selling books and Supplements to ‘help’ your non fiber digestive system…waiiit a second I thought fiber caused constipation, so if I eat a 0 fiber diet I wont be? Yet I need his super special supplement, which constains all the super awesome vitamins and minerals you would get by êating fruits and vegetablês, and books to cure my constipation???? GTFO quack.

  14. denisebreslin@aol.com says:

    The HUGE ego’s of people like this is a problem. They refuse to hear any other methods or science or experiences. When someone condemns an entire area of food, I am skeptical to say the least. Honestly it’s a sad story. CONSUMER BEWRE OF “EXPERTS.”

  15. Al says:

    i opened this article with the feeling “yeah, take that guy apart! show everyone what a quack he is”. When i finished reading i got a feeling that the author of this article doesn’t know the topic he talks about.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Can you point out specifically where I am in error? I will be happy to discuss it. Otherwise, your comment adds nothing to the conversation.

  16. Tryan says:

    That’s the problem — everybody thinks he’s an expert. Look at some of the comments here. More BS from so called experts with nothing to go on except personal anecdotes. I have a personal anecdote, too. For twenty years I ate a diet heavy in beef and animal fats (nothing like a well marbled ribeye!), tons of sugar and transfat, I didn’t exercise and was 50 lbs overweight. Basically, I did everything doctors say not to do. What did that get me? Heart disease and high blood pressure. I don’t care if your Uncle Billy ate nothing but steaks and smoked 2 packs a day and lived until he was 90. Good for him. But I sure as hell am not going to take a chance with my life just because you say Uncle Billy did all of that and lived to a ripe old age with no problems.

  17. grinich says:

    Don’t you ever look down on Soviet education. The Soviet system may well have been authoritarian delusions of world conquest coupled with shitty economic reason (no reason to piss on the Soviet Union on and on here – there may be entire libraries covering the subject). I am acquainted with the works of C. Iserbyt but still, don’t you piss on Soviet education. It has produced geniuses in mathematics, physics, and yes, pharmacy among many other areas of interest. Don’t you dare do this.

    jimthepleb, look around for the studies establishing that glycated hemoglobin is a better marker of risk of heart disease than total serum cholesterol. Also, there’s the homocysteine link and even calcium may play a role in forming atheriosclerosis. Plus, a lot we don’t know. The massive failure, Nazi Holocaust I’d call it (and there are many Jews who wouldn’t find this offending), of statin medication is the best example that we know shit about nature, a lot about miracle money machines and then again very very little about ethics.

    And yes, even the very symptoms that K. Monastyrsky describe that the author has cited are really really about inflammation (haemorrhoids is a red flag). Inflammation is systemic you have to realize. There’s talks about lipids and herbs that could help and the Japanese have pioneered hydrogen medicine or rather, taken it mainstream.

    Bottomline: do not throw the baby with the bathwater. K. Monastyrsky raises many relevant issues even if he plays the part of a convinced crank and shamelessly self-publicizes.

    • Eric Hall says:

      If you go back and read the paragraphs – I didn’t look down on Soviet education at all. I have both been taught by and worked with Soviet scientists. Let me post the paragraphs again for you here:

      “Mr. Monastyrsky graduated from medical university in 1977 with a pharmacy degree. He is also a certified nutritional consultant and an expert in forensic nutrition, a new field of science that investigates the connection between supposedly healthy foods and nutrition-related disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.”

      There is no mention as to which medical university, although in Russia alone there are several. In the Ukraine where he was from (though it was still part of the USSR at the time), there are also several medical universities. I am not sure why he wouldn’t reveal which one specifically, but it does lead me to question his expertise. There is also no mention as to what type of degree it is. It is possible at that time the Soviet Union still graduated people with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, though at that time the Doctor of Pharmacy degree was pretty common throughout the world. From an education standpoint, much of his “expertise” appears to be self-taught.

      Just like in the United States, there are good schools and bad schools. It makes it suspect that he wouldn’t reveal which school.

      Second, he says a “pharmacy degree.” We don’t have 4-year level pharmacy degrees, and haven’t for a long time. It would have been unusual, even in the 1970s, to still get a bachelor’s in pharmacy, but because he doesn’t specify a school, I can’t rule it out because I am not going to take the time to research every Soviet school that existed then. It would be too much time.

      Where I think you may have been confused is his claim to be an expert in “forensic nutrition” and a “certified nutritional consultant.” He doesn’t list any formal education for this, and based on the order would have been something he learned after coming to the US. He also doesn’t list any governing body for this certification. So again, the expertise I am questioning is the expertise and training he claims to have received, yet he is so dodgy about the where and how he got these degrees and certifications.

      Let me repeat – I have no problem with someone who received a Soviet education. I don’t doubt the rigor of most Soviet colleges. What I do doubt is someone who is unwilling to give the basic information required to determine their expertise, such as the level of their degree, and the method by which they received advanced training and certifications.

  18. Eric:

    I think you have been a little hard on Konstantin. Although I don’t agree with all his views I think he is spot on when it comes to many health issues. His views on the gut biome are similar to David Perlmutter in his most recent book “Brain Maker”.

    You claim his views are based solely on his own personal experiences yet there are many solid research studies supporting many of his views.

    You might consider me to somewhat of a crackpot because I disagree with mainstream medicine in many areas as outlined in this article that I wrote several years ago.

    My the way how are things back in Minnesota (I call it Weirdesota but that’s another story). I graduated from the University of Minnesota and practiced in Northern Minnesota for many years before moving to the Boston area.


    Bill Wilson

    • Eric Hall says:

      He may be right tangentially about the importance of diet, gut biome, etc and the role it plays in overall health. However, his reasoning, along with much of his advice, is very far off. Some simply harms scientific literacy. Other advice could actually be harmful.

      It is a little like homeopathy. It might cure a headache, but it is not due to anything claimed by homeopaths, rather it is due to rehydration.

      I miss northern Minnesota, but I am happy to still be in the state and teaching science.

  19. Kate says:

    I do not care where Km was educated or what field he studied in , because I work in a hospital ( I am a pharmacist but my support of him does not stem from that ) and every single day I see serious physical evidence of what he writes about . I am astonished at the accuracy of a great deal of his writing . Yes he is an extremist but if you are knowledgeable in the field you can find the balance in his writing . Colorectal disease is rife and the treatment of it is frightening and pretty hopeless , so if you have constipation ( especially latent ) or IBS then read his advice with a very open mind. Yes we all have unique physiology but there are a lot of commonalities. Personally I suffered from constipation although I ate masses of fibre and drank tons of water. The more water I drank and the more fibre I ate the worse it got . All the while I watched people around me NOT do that and have absolutely no problem with constipation . Fibre and water Was the advice I heard from all the medical experts day in day out . And yet …. I took KM’s advice – cut fibre and water intake by less than half for just a few days , PROBLEM SOLVED !
    Thought provoking don’t you think ? I am not yet done with reading or deciding or thinking about it all but everyday I see that popular medicine does NOT have the answer . So before you criticize KM – get some experience in the disease he is discussing .

  20. Kate says:

    Oh – what I have learnt for damn sure from working in a hospital is that something that should most definitely be cut from everyone’s diet is everything containing flour .
    The real cause of heart disease , diabetes and the consequent liver and killing kidney disease is white flour . A diet rich in Carbs made from white flour leads to obesity this leads to diabetes then to cardio pathy , and kidney disease . I see this a lot in the hospital .

    With respect to my previous post what I want to say is that I believe KM to be absolutely correct in saying that Carbs ( from flour ) are a major cause of gut problems . They are valueless and cause trouble . as I said though I do think KM is an extremist an people who eat these carbs occasionally and in very small quantities , will probably be ok. In the same way , I believe in eating a little fruit and a sensible amount of fresh vegetables . I do know that eating lots of healthy fats is important for overall health , reduces constipation a great deal , and I personally believe that they absolutely do not contribute to heart disease UNLESS you eat them together with a diet high in sugar (carbs) .
    Beacause of my job , I see a lot of the results of peoples’ diets and their lifestyles and all I really want to do here is perhaps help someone who doesn’t have that opportunity . Take it or leave it , I’m ok with either.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      People have been eating flour for thousands of years with no heart disease, diabetes, liver, or kidney problems. Cultivated grains are the foundation of civilization. The medical community has a pretty good idea of what causes this stuff: overeating and too much fat and sugar. If you were in East Asia you’d probably correlate all these problems with rice. If you were in Latin America, other grains. In Ireland, potatoes. These are health issues found all over the world in diverse diets. What all those people have in common is overeating and sedentary lifestyles. I don’t think anyone’s going to argue against fruit and vegetables, but eating flour is perfectly healthful. Also, there are lots of naturally occurring toxic compounds in uncooked vegetables. Nathanael Johnson has a really interesting chapter about that in his book “All Natural.” But, like most things, they’re very healthy in moderation, just like flour.

      • Brigitte Caron says:

        There is likely very little wrong with non genetically modified whole grains of all type….there isn’t much of it around…read almost none… and French farmers are reintroducing the “ancient” variety without super glutens but are still getting flack from parties With vested interests…if you are a French baker and want to bake a bread with flour with wheat from “ancient” times….you have to be a farmer and grow it yourself and bake it….can you imagine the monipoly involved in creating that kind of restriction and eliminating the choice of a consumer to not have to eat super gluten breads….it’s not even about being able to choose organic…you want to choose non genetically modified grains…almost impossible given the Monsanto-like monopoly in major growing fields….Being able to stretch a gluten beyond its normal/”ancient” capacity has consequences in the human digestive system. Maybe we need to evolve into super gluten,genetically modified, grain eating beings …but for now….there is an internal civil war being raged in the guts of too many….I am off grains and all is well…which doesn’t mean I don’t need supplements. I am 50 and using the services of a competent, homeopath who is also a nurse and a nutrionist makes sense!
        Quinoa is a seed,use it…use coconut flour, chickpea flour, raw flaxseed wraps….there is life after grain free!

        • Noah Dillon says:

          Uh… yes? Certainly there’s nothing wrong with food that is not genetically modified. So what? That doesn’t mean that there’s “something wrong” with GMOs. There is plenty of non-genetically modified grain around. Farmers buy organic and conventional seeds just like they buy genetically modified seeds.

          I don’t know what this story about the French farmers is. I don’t know what a “super gluten” is or what variety of “ancient” grain you’re referring to. I don’t know what kind of flack you think farmers are getting from some undescribed “vested interest.” What’s the basis of this claim about bakers? Is it a law or something? What’s the statute? Why can’t people choose organic bread? You can do that in America no problem.

          I agree that Monsanto shouldn’t have a monopoly. They don’t have one. They’ve tried to obtain special rights for their products in court, and that’s troubling. But there’s no evidence that GMO crops cause any harm or are nutritionally inferior.

          What’s the civil war you’re talking about? Wait. So you’re saying that French farmers are bringing back ancient grains with super glutens but they have to grow the grains themselves but they can’t because of vested interests? I don’t understand. Are the bakers making bread or not? If they are, then why don’t you eat that bread?

          YOU DON’T NEED SUPPLEMENTS OR HOMEOPATHY! If you eat a balanced diet you don’t need to add supplements. Homeopathy has nothing in it.

          Grains are seeds. Quinoa is a grain. Flax is a grain. I know you can eat wheat-free. Have you told the bakers about this? Maybe it’ll help them sort out whether they can bake or not. None of this has anything to do with anything else and a lot of it is contradictory.

          • The Force says:

            Correction: So when The Force spoke it was wrong, but it is OK for little Noah to make fun of Brigitte? His response to her points is totally belittling, he misses her points altogether and his own reasoning is fallacious and without proof.

            His para about Monsanto is out of context and impugns her integrity. She doesn’t say Monsanto has a monopoly. She doesn’t say the other things he just decides to bring up. She mentions “Monsanto-like monopoly in major growing fields.

            He doesn’t understand the civil war she’s talking about, but does think it’s OK to ridicule her in the next para. He wouldn’t understand that civil war happening in the guts of so many because he is not old enough. All he understands is the “balanced diet” mantra. He’ll find out soon enough when he hits that time in his life.

            If Noah isn’t a short little redundant dick then what else is he?

            The last part of the second paragraph has all the tell tale signs of a lobotomized moron.

            “Have you told the bakers. ..?” he says. That last part is over the top. Just because he cannot follow her points doesn’t give him license to be condescending.

            He should try and open up a cow rendering plant that will test EVERY cow for mad cow disease and he’ll learn a bit about vested interests. Can he prove GMO is safe? Brigitte is not focusing on the nutritional inferiority or superiority of GMO, yet Noah needs to bring it up. What’s the basis to any of the points HE makes?

          • Noah Dillon says:

            What? What? Dude, I asked for specific clarification for specific claims. How is that not speaking directly to what she wrote?

            What civil war? (Second time I’ve asked about this.)

            Thanks for the ad hominem. Talk about a fallacy.

            How is “Monsanto-like monopoly” not the same way as saying “a monopoly, like the monopoly Monsanto has”? It’s a common refrain among anti-science claims like these.

            What you call ridicule I call asking questions for clarification about claims that are, on their surface, apparently contradictory. I’m taking her serious enough to ask her to elaborate and clear up some confusion I’ve got about this. Neither she nor you have answered the questions. I assume it’s because they’re bogus claims, though maybe I’m wrong.

            I don’t understand how pointing out that organic bread is sold all over the US makes me a lobotomized moron, which, wow, what a crappy thing to call someone else. Thanks. And thanks, again, for offering a fallacy rather than a clarification or anything helpful.

            Well has she asked bakers? People make all sorts of claims based on stuff they read online, rather than asking people directly affected whether the claims check out. Do you want me to ask some bakers?

            Dude, in parts of Europe they cull whole herds if one cow tests positive for mad cow. The meat industry would probably prefer testing and only killing those animals that test positive. I don’t eat meat and I don’t understand what this has to do with the subject of the blog post, grains, or GMOs. It sounds like you’re just throwing that in.

            GMOs have been demonstrated safe over and over. Can you demonstrate that they’re unsafe? Also: some kinds of genetic modification, such as radiation and chemical baths are allowed under organic farming standards. Where do you draw the line? I’m assuming you’re arbitrarily excluding those GMOs, right?

  21. Gary Yaari says:

    Eric, I’m quite skeptical about your own brand of skepticism. You seem to think that by attacking the messenger ad hominem you’ll debunk his message, but instead you are putting your entire claim into question. Read the book, check the links to academic, peer-reviewed articles and we might have then something to discuss.

  22. Steve says:

    Gary probably has the most objective comment of all

  23. Bruno Castilho Simonetti says:

    more than 3 years have passed since this started and i just discovered this occasionally. I think this means this guy’s book or statements have not reached the “important issue” field. I mean, no medics criticising his works, no studies hitting the mainstream media, nobody has debunked or acknowledged his work.
    If i were to bet, this is crap, broscience. But i must admit, if its all false, he is good in building up a big lie and backing up his statements using real studies and all.
    I usually tend to believe in science that back up history and evolution like the paleo diet. And the paleo diet has fibers indeed. SOoooo, i believe nature made fibers available in it’s products and us animals have evolved to eat them from the foods nature gives us. That’s it.
    Now, eating lots of supplements rich with fiber or abusing fiber-rich foods isn’t a ood idea probably as well as anything that runs off of our “normal evolutionary diet” like Mc Donald’s for instance.
    By the way, Mc Donald’s and almost every fast food and highly processed foods are completely lacking any fibers and they simply ruin people’s lives, so i think some fiber must be good and important to us in some sense, even if we can’t explain it yet via scientific ways.

  24. Gavin says:

    Comments like “the real cause of heart disease etc is white flour” really makes me cringe. Heart disease has a number of risk factors, some of them not modifiable, such as genetics, and some of them modifiable, such as diet. Smoking, diet, exercise, obesity are all risk factors there is no one “REAL CAUSE.” As for KM, I agree with the author, he has woo written all over him. While there will always be people who have special needs and probably do need to follow a fringe method for treatment, the best way to prevent and treat diseases such as heart disease, for the grand majority of the population, is to follow the balance of evidence. Our current best evidence is that high fiber whole foods that are plant-based is the best diet for certain chronic diseases. Most of KM’s claims seem to go contrary to the balance of evidence and when he’s questioned with studies that reflect the balance of evidence, he makes moronic remarks like “well we’re now discovering that most of the studies that we’ve had on nutrition are useless.” Oh really? Pretty convenient retort. He’s a snake oil salesman; he can’t sell you plants so instead he tells you it’s not about the good food in your grocery store it’s about my products. A friend of mine put it well when it comes to these types of “professionals,” it’s harder to make a name in science by regurgitating the balance of evidence on a topic than to come up with your own unique treatments no matter how baseless they are, because there will always be enough sheeple out there to believe it and make you rich.

  25. Bender says:

    Anything that isn’t peer-reviewed doesn’t hold an once of legitimacy. This guy can go ahead and bark off on any subject he likes, but if there is no process to review and analyze his claims, then they mean nothing. What’s even funnier is seeing all of the people commenting here as “experts”…that’s the problem with the internet…while it IS the greatest information tool of the past half century…it also means that any idiot can have their bold claims legitimized. It’s just like the creationists and the man-made climate change deniers. There is no solid science to back it up. I don’t care what some guy with a pharmaceutical or computer engineering degree thinks about fiber….I care what colorectal surgeons and proctologists think about fiber. After-all, they are the ones that have studied the subject for decades. But, of course, you get these conspiracy theory wack jobs that think its all some “massive conspiracy” for these scientists to get more money. Ugh…I bet they wish they’d see some of that money. The stupifying affect of an uneducated or self-educated population. In short, show me multiple peer-reviewed papers supporting his claims and I’ll give him some thought…until you can do that, his claims mean nothing. Just like all of the other holistic, untested, pseudo-scientific claims out there. I’m not saying that all holistic healing options are b******t, but I am saying that they have no validity until they are tested over an over again. It’s called science kids. I know “science” is a bad-word in today’s ignorant America.

    • Brian says:

      To play devil’s advocate, I am a grad student in biochemistry. A fair amount of peer-reviewed research also does not hold an ounce of legitimacy.

      A fair number of studies in the highest impact journals (Nature and Science) are either totally fabricated or are just plain wrong.

      Many of the classes you take in your first couple of years in grad school are specifically designed to teach you how to critically analyze scientific publications. There are numerous methods scientists use to manipulate their data and this often makes it past the reviewers and into the journal.

      I always look at the raw data and am especially critical if the figures in the paper look too clean.

      Just because it is peer-reviewed and in a high-impact journal does not mean it is true.

  26. Elojo says:

    It amuses me to read so many “comments” on a subject that so few people no anything about. I come from the viewpoint of having actual experience of trying to combat constipation. Briefly, as background information, I am presently retired in Spain. Whilst working in the UK I had absolutely no colon problems. I came to Spain and for 15 years also had no problems. Two years ago constipation began gradually to impact on my life. Most of you would say that this state of affairs pointed to a medical problem perhaps related to age but I held the belief rightly or wrongly that it had to be a dietary related cause. I was otherwise fit and healthy and thought that my diet was OK. I embarked on a variety of regimes to try and identify the cause of my problems. If you ask any of your acquaintances for their opinions on the subject everyone will have a different and often firm belief in a solution. I tried the accepted medical recommendation of a high fiber diet with plenty of water, Flax seed, Allbran, fruit, prunes, apples etc. etc. I tried this regime for probably around six months with variations trying desperately to avoid chemical laxatives although I did find Epsom Salts & Enos marginally helpful. I was casting around for any helpful suggestions on the subject on the web and came across “gut sense” on Amazon. I read one or two comments some of which seemed to trigger my interest. I have to say I am generally something of a sceptic and do not rush into things without some due diligence. I admit I was in a frame of mind to try anything within reason such was my exasperation with my own attempts to rectify my problem. Upshot was having read some of KM”s opinions I tried his formulas. I cut out the extra fiber and the above and beyond water intake and embarked on his recommended rehab. course. I knew I was taking a risk that he might be a phoney but could see little harm in trying his solution other than being hit in the pocket. All I can say, 9 months on, I have completely restored things to normality after completing his course. Because it worked for me, and I stress that fact as it may not work for others, I have followed up with his half a teaspoon a day Ageless Hydro-C and a single tablet of a recommended probiotic. All I can say again is I am on a stable routine, fully recovered, and am relatively pleased that I have worried my problem until I have found a solution. No doubt I will receive many critical remarks but I have only ventured to report on my experiences without any prejudices. I took a risk and it seemed to have worked for me. I know very little about KM and am not promoting his offerings because, as I have said before, everyone is different and has to resolve their own problems as best they can. I do however take the view that the medical profession and the pharmaceutical giants have a lot to answer for. Good luck to anyone experiencing constipation.

  27. Nicolas Martin says:

    Credentials mean zip. Knowledge is everything.

    Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman nailed it: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” Feynman also noted that “In this age of specialization men who thoroughly know one field are often incompetent to discuss another.” There is nothing about physics training that transfers expertise to medicine or nutrition. Even medical and nutrition experts have poor track records.

    Not long ago respected neurologists and psychiatrists were still arguing that epilepsy was evidence of a narcissistic propensity to criminal behavior. Gastroenterologists were claiming that gastric ulcers were usually caused by “stress.” Many American physicians went gaga for eugenics that influence Germany’s National Socialists. There are countless examples of medical authorities adopting dogmas that would be considered quackery if they emanated from non-experts. Psychiatry is rife with unproven and unprovable claims that are rarely challenged by skeptics.

    Debunking medical quackery is important, but it should aways be done with humility, recognizing that the claims of medical experts are not much more reliable, and lead to a lot more harm. (See research on preventable medical errors as cause of morbidity and mortality.)

    One more Feynman quote: “A very great deal more truth can become known than can be proven.”

  28. Brian says:

    I have Crohn’s. I think KM is right. If I eat a zero carb, all-meat diet I am like a normal person. If I eat anything with carbohydrates, especially fiber, I have a severe flare and go into tachycardia for hours followed by severe diarrhea and loss of appetite.

  29. Brendan says:

    “So, he changed his diet from a high-fiber to a fiber-free diet, and his constipation got worse…and somehow fiber was the cause of his constipation?”

    He doesn’t say fiber is the direct cause. He says that after years of eating lots of fiber, the gut is then unable to deal with dramatically lowering fiber. He questions why some people experience constipation after adopting a low-carb diet and others don’t.

  30. Peep says:

    I had a hemorrhoid surgery years ago and dealt with fissures for a long time, trying to heal them. My doctors kept telling me to increase fiber (my diet was mostly fat, meat, carbs and no veggies) and I was mad at them, wanting to tell them to stop the fiber propaganda. I really thought it was BS. I even looked for websites to support my opinion and used Mr. Monastyrsky’s website as proof. Everything I believed was there! He’s right!! Except that he isn’t. I gave in and started taking Benefiber. Guess what. I’m regular, no hemorrhoids, fissures finally healed (imagine!) and I feel great. And no, fiber didn’t stretch my colon, my stool is still the same size. I also believed Miralax was evil but I had to keep taking while dealing with the fissures because I didn’t believe in fiber. Well, I had 0 side effects on Miralax (read analfissure.org website and you’ll see how many people call it a lifesaver. I can’t recall a single post complaining about Miralax and some people take it for years) but had I listened to my doctors I wouldn’t have had to take it in the 1st place and be all stressed out about the potential neurological problems because that’s what these “experts” and mothers said would happen. People, you can react badly to anything. We’re all different but just because 1 person gets an allergic reaction after eating strawberries doesn’t mean strawberries are evil. Maybe Miralax causes real side effects in a minority of people but anything can. The majority will be just fine but they won’t go online to tell the world. It’ll be those who who did have a reaction. I used to read posts about medications prescribed to me by doctors and get so worked up I would be scared to take it only to find our that nothing happened. I was fine. We need to trust our doctors again. We need to trust scientists. Mistakes happen, scientists sometimes cheat, doctors sometimes do prescribe medicine pushed on them by pharmaceutical reps and cops are sometimes bullies, a-holes and racists but not all of them. Let’s not turn our backs on them and start believing in pseudoscience and “alternative” truths and facts.

  31. Dacia says:

    I have IBD UC/Crohns. Still not definitive of which yet since I have symptoms of both. Anyone with IBS or IBD knows each person is different. The foods you can and can’t eat are different. I also have IBS-C when not in a flare state. I got tired of multiple doctors pushing steroids and suppositories and biologics down my throat scaring me about cancer. The meds made me feel better temporarily but caused awful side effects and as soon as you stop, there the disease comes again. I believe in quality of life more than quantity of life. If I get cancer for using natural approaches, then I will deal with it then. If I need surgery I will deal with it then. All I know is that since using Ageless Nutrition I have been having normal bowel movements, have energy again, and am slowly introducing new foods one by one to my diet. I think fiber is important in moderation for IBD/IBS, but we don’t function the same way normal people do. Don’t knock something that may work for someone else. It’s the pot calling the kettle black. How do I know doctor’s know everything. They only say what Big Pharma wants them to. Those “Drugs” cause more problems on top of the one they treat and can cause increased risks of cancer themselves. Live a happy, healthy life with moderation. Stay away from chemicals, eat organic.

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