The Week the Paradigm Shift Happened?

Does this week mark the turning point for when the paradigm shift on carbohydrates and fat really took off? Here are four reasons to believe so:

  1. The episode of Dr. Oz’s TV show where he denounces low-fat dietary advice
  2. The acclaimed article in BMJ on saturated fat not being the problem
  3. The report from Credit Suisse on the dangers of sugar
  4. The recent episode of the Australian science television show on how saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease.

A week to remember!

33 comments

Top comments

  1. Jay Wortman MD
    There may be a tipping point approaching. I was invited to debate the merits of a low-carb diet for diabetes at a big conference last week. It was a combination of the Canadian Diabetes Association annual conference with the annual Stroke, Cardiovascular and Endocrine conferences. Before the debate began, the moderator asked the audience how many believed that low-carb was the preferred diet for diabetics. I was stunned when half the room raised their hands.
    Reply: #21
    Read more →
  2. Robbin
    In many ways the truth has been out there for years, but there is a vicious resistance to it from commercial interests who also profit from the general inertia in us to change. The paradigm is changing very slowly like a supertanker changing course, but its hard to be patient when people are suffering or even dying unnecessarily. Just keep spreading the word by being a good example and support blogs like these. Change will come.
    Read more →

All comments

  1. Duncan
    I really hope so
    But not so good news from the department of health in the UK

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24668937

    "The DoH (Department of Health) said cutting the amount of saturated fat in people's diets by 15% could prevent around 2,600 premature deaths every year from conditions such as heart disease and stroke."

  2. Jan
    Being a positive person I do think that this past week has been a special week in the real food and better health information stakes.

    Wherever you go on blogs and forums the good news is coming through. We must all do our best to keep the momentum going.

    All the best Jan

  3. Robbin
    In many ways the truth has been out there for years, but there is a vicious resistance to it from commercial interests who also profit from the general inertia in us to change. The paradigm is changing very slowly like a supertanker changing course, but its hard to be patient when people are suffering or even dying unnecessarily. Just keep spreading the word by being a good example and support blogs like these. Change will come.
  4. Cris
    I'd like to think so. Would be better if we could have that Australian documentary picked up by Sanjay Gupta and shown on CNN. Need to reach a large audience to create a real shift. But the nay-sayers, big pharma, the food and agri business, plus the militant vegan groups, will not sit still and will vent their say.
  5. Jan
    Robbin I absolutely agree when you say "there is a vicious resistance to it from commercial interests"

    But like you I believe, and hope, that if we do keep spreading the word, even if we only change a few peoples views and thoughts...the ripple on the pond will get larger, and larger.

    All the best Jan

  6. FrankG
    It may be a slow but inevitable change, or maybe it is starting (thanks in part to the interweb and blogs like this) to reach a critical mass where it suddenly takes off and changes society; as happened with smoking not so very long ago :-)
  7. Ted Hutchinson
    Although the recent videos have been a very good summary of what we already knew what has impressed me has been the quality of the responses on the Australian Heart Foundation facebook page and many in the Daily Mail. (the BBC comments still had room for improvement)

    It will be interesting to see how The Australian Heart Foundation responds on Monday.
    I suspect they will take the facebook comments down and pretend it never happened but they may just shrug their shoulders and just ignore it?

    As far as the UK's concerned the food companies who have agreed to take some saturated fat from their foods and replace it with sugar will be laughing all the way to the bank. They know fat satiates and sugar is addictive and promotes more food consumption. So although they will pretend to complain Brer Rabbit style ("oh please don't throw me in the briar patch or make me take the saturated fat from our products) anyone with any common sense will know that's exactly what is best for the profit line.

    I suspect the BBC is intimidated by the threats of funding cuts and will not want to contradict government policy on so called "healthy eating" so I'm not expecting a UK version of "Heart of the Matter"

    I think it's far too early to become complacent and ignore the fact that Susan Jebb and Tam Fry in bed with the food manufacturers.
    They will stay where the money is and allow the food processors to set the agenda.

  8. Sandi
    I believe this shift is real. I am especially concerned about the high amounts of sugar in our diet. Having had a lot of trouble losing weight, I am now shifting to a LCHF diet. I do know that I am beginning to feel better! It is contradictory to everything that I have been taught in USA culture, so it is taking time for me to switch!
  9. Jay Wortman MD
    There may be a tipping point approaching. I was invited to debate the merits of a low-carb diet for diabetes at a big conference last week. It was a combination of the Canadian Diabetes Association annual conference with the annual Stroke, Cardiovascular and Endocrine conferences. Before the debate began, the moderator asked the audience how many believed that low-carb was the preferred diet for diabetics. I was stunned when half the room raised their hands.
    Reply: #21
  10. Galina L.
    Dr.Wortman,
    Could you, please, tell more about that event.
  11. Joe
    I hope it's starting to change. I just read an article today that was encouraging me to eat "six smaller reduced fat meals" blah blah blah you know how it goes. Change takes too long sometimes.
  12. Per Wikholm
    A noteable thing here is that the paradigm shift starts with people outside (or at least not directly inside) the field of nutritional "science". This week strengthens this trend we have seen for a long time. Neorologists questioning the low fat dogma, cardiologist and competent and respected science journalist doing the same. Nothing really new here this week but the fact that this time the message is spread to a much wider audience with the help of Dr Oz, BBC and Australian ABC.

    The really startling news this week is that a big, multinational, hypercapitalistic bank like Credit Suisse issues a report and a video blaming sugar and not fat for the obesity and diabetes epidemic threatening the global economy. That´s really a paradigm shift.

    I blogged on this paradigm shift issue this friday on a Swedish blog. This is a Google translation of it:
    http://translate.google.se/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&...

    [As always, things get lost in translation like the Swedish metaphore for brutally dismiss something - Sawing something at the hight of its ancles]

  13. Abigail Burns
    Its not rocket science is it? When did people become so gullible when it comes to what goes into their food? We are animals that have evolved over thousnads of years and if you are not eating foods that we have evolved eating over that period and are eating things that are full of stuff that doesn't occur naturally in nature (obviously not poisonous things) then it stands to reason that our bodies will not deal with it well as we didn't evolve to do so. Eat more natural foods and do everything in moderation, cavemen didn't fall over their dinner thye went out and got it and exercised in the process and had a few bits to keep them ticking over between larger meals. Why are we as a rule so terrified of feeling hungry, its good to be hungry, you don't have to eat every time you are hungry, just eat at meal times.

    I get so annoyed with people nowadays wanting something for nothing yesterday, its as though worldwide we have lost our common sense and maturity of thought unless you look at a more deprived nation who are very much in touch with foods real place in our lives. Sorry rant over.

    Reply: #15
  14. Galina L.
    It takes years and close to two decades, according to epidemiological observations, for a population which used to eat their traditional food, to develop a full rage of deceases of a Western civilization after they start eating "modern food" which include refine grains and sugars, not necessary fast and boxed food . It looks like that for many people who ate for years the diet with the wrong for them ratio of carbohydrates, just eating "the real food" is not enough. I have been cooking all my live all my food, I started to cook at the age of 10, and at the moment I am almost 53, most of my meals are traditional for a Russian cuisine. I can testify that the wrong amount of carbohydrates a person can get even consuming sourdough rye bread, potatoes and a buckwheat. It is way better than the Standard American diet with breakfast cereals, peanut butter sandwiches and pizza night ones a week + soft drinks, but still...
    Thinking about populations deprived of food will not help at all to a person who have to figure out how to manipulate better in his/her current environment. I always suspect that the people ranting about "real food" ate too much junk and don't cook often enough, and as a result developed romanticized impression of the whole concept, or they just naturally more carbohydrates tolerant, and don't need big diet change.
    Reply: #18
  15. sten
    That Credit Suisse issues a report and a video blaming sugar and not fat for the obesity and diabetes epidemic threatening the global economy should come as no surprise.
    If the current drain of monetary resources into the widening hole of disease isn't drastically reduced many of the governments that regularly borrow money through financial institutions where Credit Suisse have interests could even default; next time there will be no bailouts judging from the poor experience enjoyed by the countries that were trapped in them recently, compared to the rising star of Iceland that simply said no.

    In other words the bank has decided that enough is enough, we need to find the problem and start getting it sorted before we - the bank- also disappear into the deepening hole caused by forever-treatment of heart disease and diabetes, followed now also by Alzheimer's appearing in the 40's! After all a 30 year loan taken out at 25 isn't paid off until 55 and when mortgage insurers start to go bust the end of many banks are near.

  16. Glen0
    The ABC Catalyst program was brought up at a party I was at over the weekend but unfortunately about 80% of those in the conversation immediately dismissed it as quackery without a second thought.
    The Dr Oz show has a huge following in the US (and Australia) as far as I know, so to me it is big news that he is man enough to admit he has been wrong and is risking upsetting some very powerful groups to tell the truth. I have a new-found respect for the man.
  17. Jan C
    Hi Galina: I agree with what you say and enjoy your contributions, but I must just also say that I'm one of those people who bangs on about 'real food', although I also stress limiting carbs. I've never eaten junk, always cooked and never been very overwieght, but I did need to cut down drastically on my healthywholegrains and other carbs in my mid fifties when my weight began to rise.

    Like most people here, I eat proper meals with a good amount of fat and I don't have any problems keeping my weight stable. I do keep my starchy carbs low but tend to follow the Jaminets' and Kresser's guidelines of including some starchy carbs in the form of root veg and some white rice - not possible for some people I think, however. I think the 'real food' emphasis is a useful one because so many people's diets don't bear any resemblance to real food. It saddens me greatly that in the UK we've had this latest nonsense about reducing sat fat in processed foods when it's the processed foods themselves that should be eliminated completely.

  18. Galina L.
    @Jan,
    I know you are my friend, and you know I am not against eating normal human foods instead of manufactured imitations or some monstrosity which a person from 100 years ago wouldn't even recognize as a food. Did you ever noticed that phrases like "eat more natural foods and do everything in moderation" are the more recent way to criticize the way of eating based on individual tolerance of carbohydrates? Just recently CICO was more popular, even though it is still not in an archive. I never claimed that everyone should stay in ketosis, BTW! "Real food" definition is as stretchable, as the definition of a "high reward" and "palateability" , and in a way follows the same concept - your brain and minds are to blame, not how the food you eat influences you hormones. Such concept looks attractive from the first sight, but doesn't necessary address the main problem of an individual metabolism - lets blame evil food producers who secretly put addictive brain-manipulating substances in their products and found the way to mix salt, sugar and fat in a such proportion than no one can stop eating . Probably, blaming sugar for everything is the next turn in a marketing campaign, presenting sugar as the next evil substance , like saturated fat just recently. I have no fondness for a sugar, but way too often under the disguise of fighting it, more use of starches is being pushed as a healthy option, like my husband brought me as a funny curiosity the recipe which was distributed among employees as a part of a healthy life-style campaign, for buns for diabetics with added yams instead of added sugar. We will see more and more marketing for food with added fiber from some super-natural sources, with some extract of exotic berries as a sweetener, added yams and pumpkin puree in tomato souses. Still cut oats and other whole pulses, honey, legumes, tubers are all natural and real foods which could be really damaging for many of us,who are carbohydrates sensitive, even though are mostly benign in small amounts .

    Saying "Eat more natural foods and do everything in moderation" is often an attempt to shut-up the discussion other people have ,and to make others look like the set of people with an imaginary problem, which the author of the comment doesn't have . My advice to the people like Abigail Burns - do not read what irritates you (unless you are a masochist who enjoys to be irritated), it is arrogant to try to impose the sense of guilt on the people who try to improve the quality of their life and health because there are others who have problem of a bigger magnitude, like being underfed. It is the same as coming to a forum where people discuss their children being lazy students at school and to start to runt about that some families can't even conceive a child, or have a child who is incurably ill. Abigail Burns, your runt is narrow-minded and judgmental.

  19. Ted Hutchinson
    This link is from Norm Robillard
    Dr. Richard Feinman
    In this short video, Dr. Richard Feinman offers some clarity and common sense in how we can move nutritional science forward. And you will laugh so hard at the end of the video. What more could you want information and comedy all in the same video.
  20. Wade Henderson
    Dr. Wortman "the moderator asked the audience how many believed that low-carb was the preferred diet for diabetics. I was stunned when half the room raised their hands."

    Just wondering how many of them would have raised their hands if asked if low-carb was the preferred diet for normal healthy individuals?

    Seems to be so much emphasis on individuals with health and weight problems.... then taking the same dietary idea and suggesting the same way of eating is best for all individuals.

    Quite a leap of science.

  21. Ted Hutchinson
    The Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modifcation Trial: An inconvenient finding for the diet-heart hypothesis T D Noakes
    It's easier to read if you click fullscreen or download the PDF.

    One goal of the US$700 million Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial was to determine whether post-menopausal women who adopted what was regarded as a ‘heart healthy’ low-fat diet, high in vegetables, fruits and grains, reduced their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
    The trial substantially favoured the outcome in the intervention group, who also received an intensive nutritional and behaviour education programme not offered to the control group.
    These studies neatly disprove the diet-heart hypothesis since adoption of ‘heart healthy’ eating not only failed to influence future cardiac events in the healthy but it increased such events in the unhealthy and worsened diabetic control in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus."

    i liked this bit
    In fact, there were a number of negative findings from the WHIRCDMT.
    The leanest women at the start of the trial gained weight on the low-fat diet[3]
    and those with the least insulin resistance at the start of the trial were at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) if assigned to the low-fat diet.[4]
    The low-fat diet also worsened glucose control in women with diagnosed diabetes,[5] a finding that ‘agrees with some, but not all, previous studies evaluating the effects of high- and low-carbohydrate diets in persons with diabetes’ (p. 83).
    [1]
    The authors concluded: ‘… caution should be exercised in recommending a reduction in overall dietary fat in women with diabetes unless accompanied by additional recommendations to guide carbohydrate intake’ (p. 84). [1]

    Reply: #25
  22. @lowcarb_zealot
    Unfortunately, I suspect that the next approach by the food manufacturers will be simply to replace the sugar in their low fat foods with artificial sweeteners. I can already see the advertising slogans: "New and improved! Now even healthier! Low fat AND low sugar!" etc.
  23. Galina L.
    Food industry is a big part of an economy, there are a lot of scientists and skilled marketers work for its success, and most population appreciate the convenience of buying the prepared food. Realistically, all that will not go anywhere, ideas of "food reward" will not convince people to seek out bland unsalted food low in everything but starch. Food manufacturers just follow most recent food trends, + the pendant of current trends is swinging all the time.We will see more of LC junk on a market, probably, not for a long. So far, many products like that flopped in a past. I think people who feel well enough or don't care will continue to buy chips, candies and cookies. More businesses will offer LC choices, like nowadays there are vegetarian options everywhere. I hope the abnormal amount of added sugar will be reduced in a nearest future, margarine outlawed, and natural animal fats will be considered healthy again. I also hope more people will get informed about health potential of LC diets. It is really tragic that most people who need and want to follow a healthy life style receive a health-damaging health advice.
  24. Wade Henderson
    Ted, in fairness, the study cited in that article you link to did NOT include a low-fat diet.

    The so called "low-fat" group ended the study with a average fat intake of 29%...

    Hardly the type of diet advocated by the likes of Dean Ornish, John McDougall and the rest of the low-fat crowd.
    Actually double to triple what they advise.

    About as misleading as the packaging we see in the stores when they shout, low-fat or low carb.

    How is it that everyone manages to see only what they want to see in each and every article?

    I do agree with one thing you quoted

    "The authors concluded: ‘… caution should be exercised in recommending a reduction in overall dietary fat in women with diabetes unless accompanied by additional recommendations to guide carbohydrate intake’ (p. 84). [1]"

    Now that is absolutely correct.

    Reply: #26
  25. Wade Henderson
    Ted, is it so important to you that you choose to distort the truth.... thinking no one will ever check.

    Your quote
    "Women in the dietary change group decreased their fat intake to 20 percent of their total daily calories" is related to the design of the study.

    It does not relate to the actual implementation of the study, what really happened.

    http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/feb2006/nhlbi-07.htm

    "By the end of the first year, the low-fat diet group reduced average total fat intakes to 24 percent of calories from fat, but did not meet the study’s goal of 20 percent. At year six, the low-fat diet group was consuming 29 percent of calories from fat. The comparison group averaged 35 percent of calories from fat at year one and 37 percent at year six. Women in both groups started at 35-38 percent of calories from fat. The low fat diet group also increased their consumption of vegetables, fruits, and grains."

    Why in the world can people not deal with actual facts, but must twist and contort everything to pair up with their strongly held theory or belief.

    Why not just deal with the truth no matter what it reveals?

  26. murray
    The Empire Strikes Back: "LCHF is not evidence-based medicine. There are no tier one long-term RCT studies proving its safety. LCHF is merely anecdotal."

    "Evidence-based medicine" is code-word for pharma-friendly medicine. The main rhetorical ploy is to rig the terms off debate to require any departure from the status quo (which we know to be bad and requires lots of expensive medication) to be proven beyond doubt with tier-one RCT studies. No one can afford to conduct tier-one RCT studies without industry support. Ergo, the status quo cannot be dislodged. A secondary ploy, in response to the existing studies and overwhelming anecdotal evidence, is to claim LCHF has not been proven safe in long-term studies. And who will fund them? Not industry. Thus the status quo is safeguarded.

    "Young Luke Lab-reasearcher, why fight the Carb side of the Foodsource? It is futile to resist. Your funding will shivel to a mere salary. Feel the purchasing power of a panoply of palpable perks--appointments to panels to dispense funding and panels that set treatment guidelines, handsomely paid speaking engagements at corporate-sponsored healthcare events, a swimming pool in the yard for your children. Come, Luke, pledge your allegiance to .... the Carb-opoly!!!"

    Obi: "Luke, be true to your powers of critical thinking and empirical observation. Reject the illusions of "evidence-based" medicine and apply functional medicine to draw on the healing powers of the Foodsource."

    Reply: #30
  27. Galina L.
    I encourage to do what I did - ask your family physician to make the data about your diet to be the part of your medical history,
  28. Paul the rat
    I add to this, that I can also see increasing trend in not blaming any kind of food or food components for obesity or some disease. It is rather 'workings of your brain' which make you sick. See for example S. Guyenet. It is very clever strategy - because if it is your brain than you can not replace it, it can only be fixed with drugs.
  29. Sakari
    Hi!

    Where are the new swedish high-fat nutrition recommendations everyone is talking about?

    Reply: #32
  30. Zepp
    Here it is!

    http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchf

    But its not the new nutrient recomendation.. its going back to the old way of eating.. befor the new low fat dogma enterered the scen!

    It have beeing cald a lot of things over the years.. first named was the Banting diet, later it was cald Atkins diet.. but in reality its just a helty diet frome real food, less carbs and some more fats!

  31. omyusof

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