Talk:Seale Harris

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Bias tag[edit]

This article displays an aggresive and obvious opinion regarding the "diseasestablishment'. It is not impartial or neutral and so its encyclopedic values ares impaired. This may stem from the single source and, so, require some leveling and balance.--Buster7 (talk) 06:44, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

"Disease Establishment" should be in quotes. This is a term that the author, William Dufty, uses in his classic nutritive study, "Sugar Blues." I believe that whole section on Seale Harris is "lifted" from Sugar Blues. So the term should stay but the source of the term should be more explicit.
Dufty's take on Seale Harris, btw, is correct. He was an M.D., who rallied against the world as it related to nutrition. Dr. Harris called distillery's "tomb-builders" because of the carnage alcohol caused. So the definitive biography of the man has yet to be written, but were you to read his own notes, letters, essays, it would cause you to think that Dr. Harris would agree with Wm. Dufty's assessment. --Chris Bruno —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Duffy is an idiot. The whole passage is utter rubbish. It is not "controversial"-- it is simply a bizarre fantasy by a charlatan. alteripse (talk) 17:35, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

His name is Dufty; ergo, you are the idiot. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bruno2k (talkcontribs) 22:46, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Added indentation and Wiki-links. (talk) 22:32, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

External Link[edit]

Hello, there is an article here that might be of interest. -- It might be useful for content or an external link.

Thanks, Justin --Duboiju (talk) 17:51, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Spontaneous hypoglycemia[edit]

The "spontaneous hypoglycemia" that Harris recognized, is it something other than plain old hypoglycemia? If so, then I would be very interested in getting a lot more information about it! (If not, then how did the adjective "spontaneous" end up here?)
--Seren-dipper (talk) 15:01, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Spontaneous is a vague term that is not considered very useful by doctors interested in hypoglycemia. In some contexts it refers to hypoglycemia that is not induced by exogenous insulin (i.e., diabetic hypoglycemia). In other contexts it is equivalent to idiopathic hypoglycemia (i.e., of unknown cause). And some people use it to encompass idiopathic hypoglycemia with measured low blood glucose, reactive hypoglycemia with measured low glucose, and idiopathic postprandial syndrome. Bottom line: too imprecise to be very useful. When Seale Harris was writing about hypoglycemia, the only two kinds that were well understood were diabetic hypoglycemia and insulinoma. He asserted that were likely other types as well. His assertion was widely enough accepted that the diagnosis was assigned to, or claimed by, a large number of patients with otherwise unexplained adrenergic symptoms. His contemporary, a surgeon named Whipple, formulated the Whipple criteria as a sieve to sort out those who might have an insulinoma requiring surgery from those with symptoms but not measured low blood glucose. We still use them for exactly that purpose. alteripse (talk) 17:29, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
This was very helpful, enlightening and useful! Thank you!
--Seren-dipper (talk) 03:54, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Lite for life needs to go[edit]

Why are there links to what appears to be a MLM wt loss company formed decades after Harris' death? Apparently they have appropriated his name for their marketing purposes but they actually provide no evidence of a relationship between his published work and this company's program. Any reason all those links shouldnt just be converted to the direct references to his published papers, or is the bibliography not available on a noncommercial website? alteripse (talk) 21:08, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

It sure would be nice to also have more references to Harris' published papers, but I fear that many of them will not be available fulltext online. Besides, but not least, Lay summaries (See: "laysummary:") do often make a subject more accessible for the layperson and therefore do have some value. Therefore I think that the links, to the "lite for life"-page about Seale Harris, should be kept. (Even though that page may be slanted towards being a sales pitch promoting certain comercial products or services).
Another side of the matter is that the continued (30 years) existence of such a company (that is living solely off Harris' idea) is an interesting, noteable, fact in it self! While I do think the company name "Lite for life" should be played down (i.e. not mentioned except in the external link) I still think the success story of such a company is worth a paragraph or two in the Wikipedia article about Seale Harris , because it kind of indicates that Harris' idea had substatially more value to it, than just beeing a fancy idea and a fad.
Now for the fact that the company, on its webpage, does not give much detail at all about Harris' idea or their use of it.
I suspect that the reason why, is that Harris' idea itself is so short and simple (nevertheless effective), that if they were to give away the secret right away, then they would loose a lot of paying customers! Even though their weight loss plan is very effective, the thing that makes their customers "get their money's worth" is not the plan itself, but rather the provided support with sticking to the plan.
--Seren-dipper (talk) 22:02, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
And if a company formed to sell peanut novelties in 1975 claimed that George Washington Carver was their marketing inspiration would you try link to them multiple times in the article about Carver? Frankly I didn't see any relationship other than it being a weight loss company exploiting a name that still has some reputation power in Alabama. What am I missing? alteripse (talk) 00:25, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Carver's idea was/is not largely being unduly neglected and forgotten, now is it?
--Seren-dipper (talk) 19:09, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
"Eat less sugar if you want to lose weight" is hardly a neglected or forgotten message, nor exactly original or unique. Again, any continuity beyond that between Harris and Lite for Life other than the company thought his name has marketing value is not apparent to me. Do you think that's enough to warrant the links? We really try to weed out irrelevant corporate links from wikipedia articles. Do you have a stake in Lite for Life? Should we go to WP:RFC and seek some other opinions? alteripse (talk) 21:22, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Hmm.. The thing is, that there is more to Harris' message than that! (And Harris' idea is important for some underweight people too!). Mention of (and sourced by one link each) successful business ideas, that are heavily based on Harris' idea, will be relevant here as far as they might help Wikipedia readers to avoid dismissing Harris' idea too quickly. The links will be circumstantial evidence for the truth of the idea.
Now, it appears to me, there is a problem in that Harris actually did not fully grasp all of the problem. Still, his proposed solution surely mitigates it and even goes a far way towards solving it.
I agree that it is important to weed out irrelevant corporate links from wikipedia articles, but the link in question is not yet irrelevant in this article. (And: No! I do not have any stake in the company).
Well! Now the task at hand, to mee, seems to be: 1.How to word a paragraph that fully describes Harris' idea (both the problem and solution). 2.Where do we find noteable sources backing up a more comprehensive description of the problem than the one Harris operated with.
--Seren-dipper (talk) 05:50, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I will leave the links for now but would like to know more about Harris' ideas. I am puzzled by the disparity between the early paper on hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia that made his endocrinology reputation and the much later association of his name with obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The 1924 paper that someone so obligingly posted is a combination of case report and speculation. Researchers in Toronto had just proven that juvenile diabetes was due to deficient insulin production by the pancreas. It was already known that hypothyroidism was due to insufficient thyroid hormone production and hyperthyroidism to excessive thyroid hormone production. So Harris speculated that there might be a disease of insulin excess analogous to hyperthyroidism. He found 4 cases of hypoglycemia and assumed they were due to excessive insulin secretion (he had no way to prove it). It was an impressive connection of new medical science with an unexplained set of symptoms and he is credited with first formulating the concept of hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia. Note that this is the first type of hyperinsulinism described in our article. These were not patients with obesity or insulin resistance and they did not go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Harris was primarily a doctor who treated patients, not a medical researcher, and as far as I can tell he published almost nothing further in the medical literature about insulin or hypotglycemia. Instead he developed a reputation at least in the 1920s for taking care of people with juvenile diabetes. This is why a children's diabetes camp is named after him. I searched Medline for any subsequent papers in the medical literature; he conducted no primary research that was published in the usual journals, and I have never seen a reference in the medical literature or medical histories to Harris except for his 1924 paper formulating the existence of hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia. I also searched Amazon for his books: he is credited with about 20. There were 5 endocrine titles: Insulin and diet in the treatment of diabetes (1923). This was the year he was getting access to insulin for juvenile diabetes and it is likely that this book deals with just juvenile diabetes and not with obesity or type 2. Banting's miracle: The story of the discoverer of insulin (1946) is either a story of the discovery of insulin treatment or a biography of Banting, who had just died in 1944. The sugar-fed child (1928) is an intriguing title, and one might speculate that it is about the evils of sugar. But was it an early version of the "sugar causes bad behavior and learning problems" or "sugar causes obesity and type 2 diabetes"--- since almost no one was worried about obesity-related diabetes in children in 1928, I have a hunch it is more about behavior, but would love to see the book or a synopsis. Next came Diabetes mellitus and hyperinsulinism of pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, hepatic and pancreatic origin (1937). I would like to see this book as well. Did it contain a summary of other people's published research, his own real research never published elsewhere, or simply his speculations from practical experience and imagination? Finally there is Hyperinsulinism (1944), his last endocrine publication. Which type of hyperinsulinism do you think it refers to? The hypoglycemic type he wrote about in 1924 or the insulin resistance/obesity type that has received so much attention in the last few decades? Has anyone seen a copy of this book or a summary? Since no one could measure insulin until the late 1960s, perhaps the book was just as speculative as his 1924 paper. So what does all this have to do with Lite for Life? Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia was first postulated by Harris, but has nothing to do with obesity or insulin resistance or sugar intake. Did Harris get interested in that topic later in his career? If so, he published nothing in the medical literature suggesting he was conducting scientific research and contributed nothing to medical science. Existing evidence suggests that as his career prospered he built a clinic, made a reputation in local politics, and wrote books about history, conservative politics, and other people's research. Did his endocrine interest go off in a crank direction unsupported by scientific evidence, like Linus Pauling? If so, then perhaps Duffy's nonsense should be considered a legacy of Harris and I was unjust to remove it. Is someone (like maybe L for L) trying to retrospectively and anachronistically credit him with modern understanding of insulin resistance and its relationship to type 2 diabetes for their own marketing purposes? Serendipper, do you have any of the missing pieces of this intriguing puzzle? alteripse (talk) 16:33, 30 April 2010 (UTC)


  • I suggest that the Encyclopedia of Alabama article cited herein is the most accessible and appropriate source for general biographical information, and could be cited more effectively than the information published by the commercial weight-loss business. I removed some of the blatant puffery, but did not remove the bias tag since I'm sure there's more to be done. --Dystopos (talk) 02:14, 8 February 2013 (UTC)