Since late 2016 we have entered the age of disclosures! Fasten your mental safety belt and enjoy the ride! Heretic

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bad science and politically motivated low fat dietary guidelines finally exposed and ditched!


Recent (20/02/2015) New York Times article by Nina Teicholz (**):

The Government’s Bad Diet Advice

First, last fall, experts on the committee that develops the country’s dietary guidelines acknowledged that they had ditched the low-fat diet. On Thursday, that committee’s report was released, with an even bigger change: It lifted the longstanding caps on dietary cholesterol, saying there was “no appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.
Instead of accepting that this evidence was inadequate to give sound advice, strong-willed scientists overstated the significance of their studies.
Much of the epidemiological data underpinning the government’s dietary advice comes from studies run by Harvard’s school of public health. In 2011, directors of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences analyzed many of Harvard’s most important findings and found that they could not be reproduced in clinical trials.
In 2013, government advice to reduce salt intake (which remains in the current report) was contradicted by an authoritative Institute of Medicine study[*]. And several recent meta-analyses have cast serious doubt on whether saturated fats are linked to heart disease, as the dietary guidelines continue to assert.

Uncertain science should no longer guide our nutrition policy. Indeed, cutting fat and cholesterol, as Americans have conscientiously done, may have even worsened our health. In clearing our plates of meat, eggs and cheese (fat and protein), we ate more grains, pasta and starchy vegetables (carbohydrates). Over the past 50 years, we cut fat intake by 25 percent and increased carbohydrates by more than 30 percent, according to a new analysis of government data. Yet recent science has increasingly shown that a high-carb diet rich in sugar and refined grains increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease — much more so than a diet high in fat and cholesterol.

It’s not that health authorities weren’t warned. “They are not acting on the basis of scientific evidence, but on the basis of a plausible but untested idea,” Dr. Edward H. Ahrens Jr., a top specialist at Rockefeller University and prominent critic of the growing doctrine on dietary fats and cholesterol, cautioned back in the ’80s.
Since the very first nutritional guidelines to restrict saturated fat and cholesterol were released by the American Heart Association in 1961, Americans have been the subjects of a vast, uncontrolled diet experiment with disastrous consequences. We have to start looking more skeptically at epidemiological studies and rethinking nutrition policy from the ground up.
Until then, we would be wise to return to what worked better for previous generations: a diet that included fewer grains, less sugar and more animal foods like meat, full-fat dairy and eggs.

Other links:

*) She probably meant this report: Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence (14/05/2015)

**) Nina Teicholz, author of “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”



JC said...

New study.Salt really is harmful after all....for now.

Stan (Heretic) said...

Hi JC,

The threshold in that paper was 2300mg/d, the study quoted in my links analyzed also the lower intake than this. The results are in agreement with respect to the extremely high sodium intake (harmful!), except I could not verify the hazard curve below this because your article is paywalled. The links I quoted concluded also that lowering the intake below about a gram or gram and a half (can't remember exact figure, you can look it up) may increase the hazard.

Tom Lemke said...

And yet hospitals continue their trend of being at least a decade behind the times, at best. About a year ago I was interviewed for a position as the nutrition education manager for a very well-respected heart hospital's cardiac rehab center (for folks who have had open-heart surgery). I got all the way to the last round of interviews, and had been instructed in the previous round that I would be teaching the "Pritikin Diet" to the patients, which apparently involves the restriction of fat to less than 10% of kcal intake, with saturated fat being essentially outlawed. In the final interview I politely asked the lead dietitian how she could, in good conscience, make such recommendations in light of recent findings (not to mention historical common-sense) regarding the necessity of fat, even and perhaps especially in the case of heart disease.

Long story short, I was not offered the position, which I would not have taken at that point anyway. It is illustrative of the problems in current medical care due to low fat politics, though.

Stan (Heretic) said...

Its law fat and high carb everywhere in the hospitals and schools, in Canada! Those are very conservative institutions. I spent 1 week in a hospital earlier this winter, looking after my wife who had a serious head injury due to an accident. It gave me an insight in to how this works. Its all procedures and catering decisions are all in the hands of the commercial suppliers with some superficial approvals only from the hospital directors. It is all high carbs but they do offer some better choices like eggs or chicken. I ended up buying her 10% cream in the hospital bar so she ate only that plus eggs. The nurses (they were very good BTW!) were quite surprized at the speed of her recovery from being initially half paralyzed after skull fracture & haematoma, to walking normally in 7 days.