What the dangerous low-fat diet looked like

Low-fat diet advice

Low fat

The low-fat diet just lost another huge trial, resulting in significantly more heart disease than a higher-fat Mediterranean diet. It lost badly enough that the trial was stopped in advance, as it was considered unethical to let the low-fat diet group continue to eat like that.

When I wrote about it yesterday I was criticized in the comments. Calling this study low fat was labeled “simply absurd and intellectualy inappropriate”. I disagree.

Above are the dietary guidelines for the low-fat group. It’s a regular low fat diet, like it’s been practiced and taught during the last few decades.

Is it a strict vegan-Ornish low-fat diet, that only a select few manage to actually eat long term? No. This is much worse. These are the common low-fat guidelines that hundreds of millions of people have been trying to follow for decades, as they’ve been told it would protect them from heart disease.

Unfortunately this is just the latest in a long line of studies proving that the regular low-fat diet is not only useless to people. It’s actually harmful.


More about failed low-fat diets

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  1. Sabine
    Thanks Wade, HCLF gave me diabetes! (I also became fat, had atrial fibrillation, muscle- weakness, some signs of neurological damage.....) I should add that you have to do this insanity to yourself for a while before the side-effects appear. This is the reason, I cannot recommend HCLF to anyone, I do not want to be a killer.

    Of course, I would never keep you from doing this to yourself, if you insist. After all, it is your life, and you choose what you believe is best for yourself.

    HFLC fixed it! It borders on the miraculous, how all health problems disappeared after leaving the Ornish diet behind.
    I wish, I would not have been so deluded to follow the Ornish vegetarian advice.
    Too bad we are being flooded with this bogus advice. It could have saved me a lot of health troubles if I would have known about Low-carb/high-fat diets sooner.

    The few people who have copied what I have been doing for the last five years also had great success. Most of them are also older, so they are less resilient to dietary abuse via carbs.
    These are the facts I can observe with my own eyes, better proof than some flimsy studies.

  2. FrankG
    I'd rather characterise the way I eat nowadays as "normal fat, normal carbs" or simply call it "food" :-)
  3. John2
    Dr. Dean Ornish seems to be joining the ranks of low-carb practitioners. From his article in today's Huffington Post concerning the MeDiet study:

    "Also, the researchers appear to have done everything they could to bias the outcome in favor of the Mediterranean diet by encouraging the "low-fat" diet to increase consumption of foods that are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including bread, potatoes, pasta, and rice, and not to limit their intake of sodas (which also increase cardiovascular disease risk). "

  4. Wade Henderson
    John2, Yes, that was a rather odd comment by Ornish. I've seen discussion of that comment on certain vegan/vegetarian LFHC groups where they are equally perplexed and feel betrayed.

    The problem you have with either extreme, HFLC or LFHC, is that the proponents write a book, laying out the opposite as being dangerous, then as science evolves, and for certain people it is seen that carbs present a problem, it is very difficult for the Ornish, or McDougall, or Esselstyn types to even allow for a bit of the opposite view.

    Of course the same problem holds true for the extreme low carb types.
    I love where one of them is now experimenting with the "amazing, new, incredible" potato "hack" and how everyone is all abuzz about the results.

    I do think that Ornish is a bit more flexible when not forced to speak to people who demand pureness. His book, The Spectrum, allows for a wide variety of foods depending on one's condition and problems.

    The entire question of human nutrition in modern post-labor society is still being researched.
    Yet everyone feels the need to have the pure ultimate answer, and then when they find it, they circle the wagons to protect their "truth".

    Usually there are parts of their "truth" that are completely wrong, or at least wrong for a good portion of the population.

  5. John2
    Wade, after having resigned myself to being overweight for 30 years, it was actually blood sugar problems that drove me to seek a solution. Diagnosed as pre-diabetic (I missed the cutoff by just a few points), my MD told me it was time to do something or start thinking about shooting insulin. I read Taubes and Jenny Ruhl and found low carb. Jenny Ruhl's website is actually pretty good. Glucometer in hand I found which foods kept my blood sugar down and which didn't. For me, VLC was the only way. Two years later I'm down 100 pounds and HbA1C is 5.4. I now look good naked like I did when I was 25. I'm sure others find low-this or low-that works for them, but for me it was all about the carbs. I didn't count calories, I wasn't hungry, and I didn't exercise. VLC simply worked. For me. YMMV.
  6. Clearly this was NOT a comparison using LCHF diet, I did not intend to created confusion with my comments. My point however is that the MeDiet was indeed higher in fat and, albeit slightly more, there was statistically significant reductions in those hard endpoints. Remember that this was not a weight loss study and maybe the small change in fat content along with other confounders like more unprocessed foods in the MeDiet contributed to these findings.
  7. Sabine

    interesting video with a famous lipidologist!

  8. Sabine
    And another short interview: Speciality Health William Cromwell MD

    (I know it is a bit off topic). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAx4Qd3tF_g

  9. David
    Why is it that the HCLF proponents conveniently omit the FACT that carbohydrate has yet to be proven essential in human nutrition? The first so called 'Food Guides' introduced by governments at the turn of the last century are a bell weather of the politics behind carbohydrates. These guides which were really marketing programs intended to inferr a scientific endorsement of carbohydrate predated nutritional science. It was only later that protein and fat were confirmed as essential macronutrients but not carbohydrate. Nothing has changed today. Since industry shills could not state carbohydrate was an essential macronutrient without exposing themselves as frauds and liars they took a backdoor approach by vilifying saturated fat and cholesterol, promoting fibre intake and stating carbohydrates were important sources of nutrients thereby implying these nutrients were only available from carbohydrate. Carbohydrate consumption was also backdoor promoted by food guides that stressed that "at least 60% of calories should come from carbohydrate". And boy did it ever work. Today we have epidemics of diabetes and obesity that are growing by the day. My experience was similar to Sabine's. When I was young I could and did eat enormous amounts of carbs and never gained an ounce (gram). I was thin as a rake and trim with little or no fat on my body. I was the envy of my friends right up until my mid 40s when I started to gain weight. When I was diagnosed with diabetes my blood sugars were off the charts. What reversed my condition? HFLC. One more thing. Remember Ancel Keys? He's the guy who alerted the world to the dangers of saturated fat. But before that he developed the prototype for fast foods under the code name K-Ration. Anyone see a conflict here?
  10. What is replacement for rice and refined bread
    Reply: #61
  11. Zepp
    Replacement for rise, bread and other refined carbs is fat!

    Refined carbs is energy, not that much nutrients!

    And to that one eats normal amounts of meat/fish/poultry/veggies!

  12. vkool
    The best way to protect our bodies from disease is to eat fresh food and much vegetable. We should eat a suitable amount of grain, little meat but a lot of vegetable each day. We should also do excerises regularly to have a strong body.
  13. Chandrashekhar Acharya
    Your explanation does not inform anything about Risk Of low fat diet.
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