The formula for a best-seller in the realm of health and weight control is to promise the moon and stars, sprinkle pixie dust, refute everything everybody thought they knew before, invoke a scapegoat, or offer a savior. The formula has worked for decades, and been applied to just cutting fat; just adding oat bran; just cutting carbs; just adding protein; just combining this with that; just combining that with this; just cutting sugar; just cutting fructose; just eating grapefruit; just eating cabbage soup; just getting HCG injections; just cutting out gluten; just cutting out wheat; just cutting out all grains; just cutting out meat and dairy; and so on.
The trouble with this is- it’s nonsense. You can cut fat and eat well, or badly. You can be vegan, and eat well or badly. You can cut carbs and eat well or badly. You can cut out grains and eat well or badly. The influence of diet on weight and health is dependent on the overall pattern of the diet- period. All the endless barking up a sequence of trees does is obscure our collective view of the forest. Alas, there are many more ways to eat badly than well, and we seem committed to exploring every one of them. As we do so, we are paying with our lives.
“So let’s stop the this food or this macro makes you fat, or this food or this macro can’t make you fat nonsense. In this regard, the low fat camp has always been honest, save for a few Susan Powter types. Low fat in the context of body weight is, was and forever shall be about calories. The low carb camp has always been dishonest, save for the few that are shouted down and don’t write diet books.”—Evelyn Kocur aka @CarbSane http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2014/08/lc-blogger-answers-question-are-alcohol_22.html?m=1
Why reducing salt consumption in the US is difficult
Henry R. Black, MD:I agree. The other nutritional concern that is very important to me as a hypertension specialist is the question of salt and sodium intake. We have had some interesting Medscape discussion about this. My opinion is that 2300 mg of sodium daily is the appropriate level, and that a 1500-mg sodium limit is very difficult to do. In the United Kingdom, with Graham MacGregor, they have gradually reduced the salt in processed foods and it is already beginning to have an impact on the number of strokes and heart attacks in those communities. We ought to follow their lead on that.
Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH:I agree, but the food industry absolutely opposes it. In England, the food industry gradually reduced salt voluntarily, but <b>WE DON'T DO VOLUNTARY IN THE UNITED STATES</b> because nobody wants to go first. The food industry has said that they cannot sell products with lower salt. This is another environmental issue. It is very difficult for people to consume a low-salt diet in the United States if they eat out or buy processed foods. To consume a truly low-salt diet, you have to do all of your own cooking and control your food intake very carefully. Most people don't do that. Everybody in America eats out at least sometime during the week, and the food is loaded with salt. The reason that it is loaded with salt is that the people who are preparing the food eat a lot of salt, and it takes a lot of salt to make the food taste good to them. When people go on lower-salt diets, food starts tasting very salty to them.
Dr. Black:Research done by Dr. Henkin back in the 1970s showed that if you gradually reduce the amount of salt or sodium in the diet, that within 30 days foods that you used to think were fine taste too salty. That's part of the reason it has worked in the United Kingdom. The amount of sodium in processed food has been gradually, and not drastically, reduced. It is certainly beginning to be reflected in their data on strokes and heart attacks. I wish we could do the same here.
“The small size and short duration of weight loss trials often account for their lack of definitive evidence of the effectiveness of dietary interventions on CVD risk. By contrast sound observational data, population-level interventions and “natural experiments” in whole populations have demonstrated a reduction in population risk with adoption of recommended, balanced dietary strategies to lower cardiovascular risk. For example, over the past three decades, levels of population cardiovascular risk factors have declined in Finland, with the greatest change being dietary behaviour (reduction in total and saturated fat and increased vegetables and fruit intake). These declines explain most of the observed decline in CHD mortality in the Finnish middle-aged population over this period . Mortality due to coronary heart disease was reduced in Poland over a ten year period by partly replacing dietary saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats while maintaining a low intake of trans fatty acids . A large prospective cohort study in 30 to 49 year old Swedish women (n = 43396; average follow-up 15.7 years) reported significantly increased incidence of cardiovascular disease overall (n = 1270) with a one tenth decrease in carbohydrate intake or increase in protein intake, or a two unit increase in the low carbohydrate-high protein score .”—
Low Carbohydrate versus Isoenergetic Balanced Diets for Reducing Weight and Cardiovascular Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Celeste E. Naude, Anel Schoonees, Marjanne Senekal, Taryn Young, Paul Garner, Jimmy Volmink
Don’t eat the latest media hype (e.g., the Eat Butter TIME Magazine cover) on the lack of association between saturated fats and heart disease. Many of the “experts” given mainstream attention on the matter are promoters of a Low Carb High Fat ketogenic diet. They not only twist and fabricate the history of nutritional and cardiovascular science, but they misrepresent the science, as well.
“It’s time for us to reject these unfair attacks on Ancel Keys. We can agree to disagree on what the best diet is. But we should all have the decency to refrain from lying about someone who devoted his life to helping us all live healthier and longer lives.”—
Ancel Keys and Cherry Picking: Can We Please Get This One Thing Right?
“The reason we don’t have a magic bullet is that obesity is a difficult problem. Preventing and treating obesity means fighting the natural tendency of the human body and mind in the context of our current culture. You can tell people to eat less sugar, white flour, added fats, and processed foods in general, but only a minority of people will actually alter their behavior significantly as a result. This is because people don’t eat junk food for its health benefits— they eat it because they like it, it’s cheap, and it’s readily available (obesity isn’t caused by eating junk food in all individuals, but it is a major cause on a population level). Obesity is much more challenging than a simple infectious agent or nutritional deficiency that can be readily treated.”—
Scientists at Facebook have published a paper showing that they manipulated the content seen by more than 600,000 users in an attempt to determine whether this would affect their emotional state. The paper, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. It shows how Facebook data scientists tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds—specifically, researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. Facebook then analyzed the future postings of those users over the course of a week to see if people responded with increased positivity or negativity of their own, thus answering the question of whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Result: They can! Which is great news for Facebook data scientists hoping to prove a point about modern psychology. It’s less great for the people having their emotions secretly manipulated.
FB advertising customers are gonna LOVE this study.
“"Fat storage hormone" is a misnomer for insulin. The most accurate description would be the "fuel selection hormone" due to its role in switching between fat and carbohydrate metabolism in response to what’s consumed.”—
“Because give [rats] human junk foods and out the window goes their interest in any boring diet pellets and nom nom nom (some more than others) and obese they get. Due to their physiological reaction to the unique foods in combination, and not the components thereof. There is nothing, not even the disapproving look from a momma rat, to stop them and they just keep on eating.”—
Evelyn Kocur aka @CarbSane
Great isolated quote from a rat study that was poorly designed by a paleo researcher, which in many respects shows that many rat studies do not always approximate human behaviors. This quote was the only situation where they do, in contrast to the study in question.
Oh Rats!! II: Usefulness of Rat Studies & Unmotivated Fat Rats
[Gary] Taubes is easily exposed and debunked. That he’s still even in this game and hasn’t returned to something he presumably knows a little more about, is a testimony to the power of… persona… And more than anything else, the incredible draw to the messenger who is telling people what they want to hear.
But if Taubes has his way, and the doctors and scientists actually DO listen to him, the lives of many stand to be impacted through…treatments based on truly flawed science. Where medicine goes wrong today, it will not be righted by the likes of Gary Taubes.
Evelyn Kocur aka @CarbSane
Scientist Bashing I ~ The only sport approved by your favorite VLC guru?
For the practicing clinician, however, the major argument for extending measurement of subclasses [of LDL particle size] into the mass market is the hypothesis that one subclass is more atherogenic than another. Because evidence clearly indicates that all Apo B–containing particles are atherogenic, this reasoning is akin to the argument that an Uzi submachine gun is more deadly than an M16 or an AK47.
So you’ve got large and fluffy LDL instead of small, dense LDL? So Dr. Oz/Robert Lustig/Paleo and Low Carb gurus say they’re benign? Think you’re safe from Coronary Artery Disease?
Is a Very Low Fat Diet Required to Reverse Atherosclerosis?
Is it really the 10% fat content of the Ornish/Esselstyn diet which causes the regression of arterial plaques? Or is it, instead, the type of fat eaten that makes the difference rather than the fat percentage?
Is it actually the reduction of LDL and inflammation of a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet that reverses the disease process?
Revelatory research done by the Cleveland Clinic with high dose statins (80mg) and intravenous ultrasound (IVUS) gives us the answer:
Coronary plaques were verified with IVUS to shrink when LDL was lowered to 60 mg/dl or below. In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of the statins contributed even further to the reversal process. Even more plaque improvements were made with blood pressure reduction and blood sugar control in diabetics.
Of course, they could have tested a whole foods, plant-based diet, too, but what can one expect from an interventionist medical profession which has so little faith in supporting lifestyle change as the answer for most patients in a pill-popping culture and an obesegenic environment?
These drug trials and IVUS technology at least confirm that actual atheroma regression is FACT, not fiction. Nor is it mere vegetarian/vegan propaganda. And that’s VERY exciting!!
So how does a whole foods, plant-based diet reverse coronary vascular disease AND reduce cardiac mortality?
(1) Dramatic reduction of LDL.
(2) The anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties of copious and synchronous phytochemical compounds such as salicylic acid and others in their natural state, plus the absence or limitation of inflammatory endotoxins from animal foods.
(3) The blood flow enhancement of nitric oxide generated by leafy green vegetables (a process which is augmented, btw, by sun exposure).
(4) Lowered blood pressure lessens the constant physical trauma to arteries.
(5) Natural blood sugar control and increase in insulin sensitivity.
(6) Weight reduction further contributes biochemically to the decrease of endogenous saturated fat, LDL, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and inflammation.
So this begs the question about the percentage of fat in the WFPB diet. Obviously, the less total fat in the diet, the less LDL-raising saturated fat there will be in the body. However, it seems that the inclusion of whole food polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat sources like nuts, seeds, and avocados may help lower LDL and inflammatory CRP’s even further [possibly speeding up atherosclerotic regression], as mentioned in this video by Dr. Joel Fuhrman:
IVUS is fascinating technology. Unlike thallium stress tests or angiograms which are two-dimensional and really show just blood-flow, intravenous ultrasound is 3D and images the actual plaque itself! IVUS reveals the amazing reason a person can have a heart attack days or weeks after plaques have NOT been detected by current diagnostic imaging in common use:
Plaques begin by growing outward first before they ever encroach on blood flow inside the artery! Unstable plaques can kill without a single visible stenosis. Can you say Sudden Cardiac Death?
Check out the Cleveland Clinic videos on this subject:
“Can someone please take Justin Bieber out of here? I’m looking at you, Canada. He is your native son, please welcome him back with open arms. Or closed arms. Look, I don’t really care, just take him. Don’t make us catapult him across the border. The rest of the world, can you all take a Kardashian? Please? You can split them all between you. Just take them.”—Nisus Newsletter
“Evidently [Gary Taubes] instructed Dr. Willett to go read a chapter in a textbook titled Modern Epidemiology and learn how the “best epidemiologists” conduct real research. As it turns out Dr. Willett actually wrote the chapter in question.”—
Does this show, as the titillating headlines suggest, that saturated fat is unrelated to coronary disease? No, however we might wish it to be so. It merely shows there is more than one way to eat badly — and from my perspective, our culture seems committed to exploring them all.…
But the headlines we are getting, while much more exciting, are entirely misleading. There was no suggestion at all here of any health benefits of saturated fat, and some hint of harmful effects.
Chew carefully on headlines before choosing to swallow the hyperbole.
“We can now say that CHD [coronary heart disease] rates are not so low in France, animal fat intake not so high, and the diet-heart concept not so unique that the existence of a “French paradox” may be sustained any longer, except as cultural fantasy or a marketing ploy.”—Pierre Ducimetière, PhD—
Coronary heart disease in France and in Europe:
where are the facts?
Dialogues in Cardiovascular Medicine - Vol 13 . No. 3 . 2008
“For those whose sources of protein were heavily plant-based — nuts and legumes — the increased risk of dying of cancer declined and the increased risk of all-cause mortality disappeared altogether.”—High-protein diets: Bad for the middle-aged, good for the elderly
The advice we got decades ago to cut dietary fat was never intended as advice to eat low-fat, high-starch, high-sugar cookies. When the advice to cut fat was first provided, there was no such thing as highly-processed, low-fat junk food. The food industry exploited the advice and invented low-fat junk food to take advantage of it.
The advice to cut fat was intended to direct us to the naturally low-fat foods that existed at the time, namely vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, whole grains, and lean meats.
We never followed the advice we got. Instead…the percentage of total calories from fat in the typical American diet went down not because we reduced our fat intake, but because we increased our total calorie intake.
[cfsp key=”google_adsense_300x250”]“Apple is quietly investing far more money to acquire talent, technology and production capacity than the market appears to realize, having liberally outspent even Google over the past year,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider.
“While the identity of a significant number of Apple’s acquisitions remains intentionally shrouded in mystery, the dollar…
“LDL is not just a mere risk factor, like any other biomarker. It is the actual delivery mechanism of the very substance that forms most of the [atherosclerotic] lesion. Therefore, unlike the other risk factors, it alone is sufficient to drive the disease process.”—
PlantPositive.com —The Futility of Cholesterol Denialism, Part 1: How Much LDL?
“Why, then, do we love our smartphones and Twitter apps so much? Because we want to be lovers of our time. The urge to belong to our age is more powerful than the need to use our time efficiently.”—Adam Gopnik,
A Point of View: Why I don’t tweet http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26066325
Before The 17th Century, Almost All Cultivated Carrots Were Purple
The modern day orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the existing purple carrot and gradually developed them into the orange variety we have today. Before this,…
This is about the longest multi-pronged post I have ever seen. Interesting stuff, but why not break it up into individual “lessons” to make posts more focused and shareable?