Archive | Food

Demonization and Deception in Cholesterol Research – Great New Presentation by Professor David Diamond

Have you heard that saturated fat has been wrongly accused, starting with the shenanigans of Ancel Keys? Or that a total cholesterol number is not very helpful for determining risk of heart disease? Or that the benefits of statins have been vastly exaggerated?

Probably all these facts are familiar to you already. But I’d still recommend to watch this new presentation by Professor David Diamond. I’ve heard this story many times but still found the presentation well-worth watching. Not only does Professor Diamond bring up new details to the story, he also does it in great style and with lots of (sometimes dark) humor.

Statin humor

A quick example, which of these drug ads would make you most likely to have a pill a day for the rest of your life?


Obviously the left ad is the original one, for the biggest blockbuster drug of all time. Amazingly the right ad may be a more honest and transparent way to present the exact same study finding.

The 1 percent number is the real chance that the drug will benefit you, over many years of taking it (without even mentioning the risk of side effects).

Could you even imagine a drug company printing the more honest right ad? It would look like a joke.


The US Dietary Guidelines Expert Committee Said to be “Completely Dissociated” From the Top Level Scientific Community

Professor Arne Astrup

Professor Arne Astrup

The harsh critique of the low-fat US dietary guidelines continues. Are they the result of an expert committee “completely dissociated from the top level scientific community”? That’s what one of the world’s top nutrition professors and researchers now says.

CardioBrief: Second Opinion on BMJ Dietary Guideline Takedown

Here are the quotes from Professor Arne Astrup:

…the committee seems to be completely dissociated from the top level scientific community, and unaware of the most updated evidence. There are now several new meta-analyses of both observational studies and also of randomized controlled trials clearly showing that there is no benefit of reducing saturated fat in the diet. All analyses and research can be criticized, but these meta-analyses have been published in leading scientific journals typically after critical reviews by three to five independent scientists (including a statistician), and by expert editors, so they cannot and should not be dismissed so easily.”

Equally important, wrote Astrup, is “that the scientific studies that were the basis for the ‘cut down on saturated fat’ recommendations have been re-evaluated, and it is quite clear that today we would have concluded that there is no robust evidence to substantiate the advice.”

“The same,” he continued, “applies to the importance of carbohydrate amount and source. Reducing total carbs or selecting the low glycemic index carbohydrates are well documented tools to produce weight loss and treat type 2 diabetes, and there is quite good evidence for efficacy and safety.”


It’s quite clear there are big changes coming to the field of nutrition, and the old & moldy fear of fat is dying. Only question now is how long it’s going to take. Will the stalwart defenders of this failed idea make it to their retirement, or not, before it’s “game over” for them?


The British Medical Journal Slams Unscientific and Biased Low-Fat Dietary Guidelines!


Diet Guru Dr. Katz Goes Ballistic (Again)

To say that the influential diet guru Dr. David Katz disprove of the recent BMJ article about saturated fat is an understatement:

Dr. Katz on LinkedIn: An Open Letter to the BMJ Regarding US Dietary Guidance

It’s not the first time Dr. Katz is over-the-top disappointed in great scientific journals or NYT publishing something involving Gary Taubes or Nina Teicholz, in fact it tends to happen every single time. Dr. Katz might qualify as the (h?)angriest diet guru in America.

Dr Katz’s rebuttal usually involves denigrating his opponent for having books to sell. Here’s a few examples from his latest critique:

With all due respect to Ms. Teicholz, she is not a nutrition expert, and not a scientist. She is a journalist herself, and one with a book to sell. […] The notion that the opinion of one journalist with a book to sell…

And finally…

I don’t have a diet to sell.

So that’s no less than three times in one brief article that Katz attempts to discredit Teicholz by bringing up her excellent book The Big Fat Surprise (one of the best books of last year according to publications like The Economist and The Wall Street Journal). This even though Teicholz never mentions the book in her article.

However Dr. Katz still insists we should not listen to Teicholz as she has written a book on the history of the science behind our dietary recommendations. He, on the other hand says “I don’t have a diet to sell”, and technically that is correct. Dr. Katz does not have one diet to sell, he has many diets to sell.

A few of Dr. Katz’s diet books



Yep, there they are, complete with their “lose X pounds in Y weeks” taglines, while showing chocolate cake on the cover, wildly unsubstantiated health promises and cover blurbs by Dr. Oz.

Even Dr. Katz may have to agree that Dr. Oz is an entertainer, not a scientist, regularly promoting any dubious idea or product when it can bolster his ratings. No self-respecting scientist would put a Dr. Oz blurb on the cover of his diet book, let alone twice, unless he’s desperate to sell more books.

So – this attack may be the biggest dose of hypocrisy I’ve had all week. Sorry, Dr. Katz, but when it comes to integrity and focusing on the real scientific questions it’s game, set and match to Teicholz.

Update October 1, 2015

This story just gets better. Dr. Katz has also been writing glowing reviews about a book he himself wrote under a pseudonym.


The British Medical Journal Slams Unscientific and Biased Low-Fat Dietary Guidelines!


The upcoming low-fat US dietary guidelines are based on an unscientific report, from a biased expert committee. The report fails to consider any evidence that contradicts the last 35 years of nutritional advice. This is the just published message in the British Medical Journal, in an article written by the journalist Nina Teicholz:


BMJ: The scientific report guiding the US dietary guidelines: is it scientific?

Dr. Fiona Godlee, The BMJ’s Editor in Chief adds:

“These guidelines are hugely influential, affecting diets and health around the world. The least we would expect is that they be based on the best available science. Instead the committee has abandoned standard methodology, leaving us with the same dietary advice as before – low fat, high carbs.

Growing evidence suggests that this advice is driving rather than solving the current epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The committee’s conflicts of interest are also a concern. We urgently need an independent review of the evidence and new thinking about diet and its role in public health.”

Harsh criticism indeed, from one of the premier scientific journals, but well-deserved. For the US government to keep promoting low-fat diets in 2015 is beyond unscientific, it’s approaching a sick joke.

At least more and more smart people are taking notice.

TIME: Here’s What’s Wrong With the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, Report Says

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Credit Suisse: The Future is Lower Carb, Higher Fat

credit suisse logo

The fear of fat is a thing of the past. In the coming years demand for fat will soar worldwide, while demand for carbohydrates will fall. The entire world will start eating higher fat, lower carb diets (on average).

This is what a big report from Credit Suisse predicts, based on trends and the evolving medical scientific knowledge.

Bloomberg Business: No Bread, Please, Just Pass the Butter as Fat Demand to Soar

PRNewswire: Credit Suisse Publishes Report on Evolving Consumer Perceptions about Fat

The report:

Credit Suisse Research Institute: Fat: The New Health Paradigm


The report is fascinating reading and I highly recommend the first two pages (introduction and summary). It gives you a quick look into how expert prognosticators look at the evolving debate.

  • Fat is on its way back in a big way and there are no longer any valid scientific reasons to fear saturated fat or cholesterol in the diet. Global demand will rise by 43 percent by 2030.
  • Carbohydrates are the main cause of the epidemics of obesity and diabetes. More and more people understand that. The worldwide consumption will fall by 8.3 percent by 2030 (despite a growing population).
  • Surveys by the institute show that a majority of nutritionists and doctors still have outdated beliefs about fat and cholesterol, incorrectly believing it to be bad for cardiovascular health. Modern science shows this belief to be false, according to the report. This fact is likely to spread fast as more and more experts update their knowledge.

The future is lower carb, higher fat.


“Butter Unlikely to Harm Health, but Margarine Could Be Deadly”


How’s this for a nice headline?

The Telegraph: “Butter Unlikely to Harm Health, but Margarine Could Be Deadly”

This is just one example from hundreds of headlines around the world in the last two days. They’re all based on a new review in The British Medical Journal, looking at all available observational data on the intake of saturated fat and trans fat and risk of disease.

The review finds no association between saturated fat and any bad health effects. On the other hand, industrial trans fat – as used to be find in large quantities in margarine – is associated with heart disease. No such association can be found to naturally occurring trans fat from real food.

This review basically finds the same thing as dozens of recent articles: There’s no evidence that eating butter is anything but perfectly fine for our health. Decades of scaremongering has more or less been based on pure speculation.


“Fat is Back”


Fat is back. Quite a nice CNN headline:

CNN: Fat is back: New guidelines give vilified nutrient a reprieve

Forbes: Fat Makes A Comeback: Experts Say It’s Time To Stop Limiting Dietary Fats

This comes after an article by a couple of top researchers in a the highly respected scientific journal JAMA. They urge the relevant authorities to remove any restriction on how much dietary fat to eat. Any such restriction is said to be not only useless for improving health, but actually harmful to the public health.

“I think it is crucial for all government agencies to formally state that there is no upper limit on fat,” says one of these top researchers to CNN. Very true. He also says that saturated fat is neutral for heart health. It’s simply not something to worry about.

Here’s the final paragraph of the JAMA article:

The limit on total fat presents an obstacle to sensible change, promoting harmful low-fat foods, undermining attempts to limit intakes of refined starch and added sugar, and discouraging the restaurant and food industry from providing products higher in healthful fats. It is time for the US Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services to develop the proper signage, public health messages, and other educational efforts to help people understand that limiting total fat does not produce any meaningful health benefits and that increasing healthful fats, including more than 35% of calories, has documented health benefits. Based on the strengths of accumulated new scientific evidence and consistent with the new DGAC report, a restructuring of national nutritional policy is warranted to move away from total fat reduction and toward healthy food choices, including those higher in healthful fats.

Fat is back. Almost all sensible people are starting to understand this. Quite a few also understand that this includes natural old-fashioned saturated fat. Butter is also back.

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