No-Bologna Facts

  • There’s never been a single study that proves saturated fat causes heart disease.
  • As heart-disease rates were skyrocketing in the mid-1900s, consumption of animal fat was going down, not up. Consumption of vegetable oils, however, was going up dramatically.
  • Half of all heart-attack victims have normal or low cholesterol. Autopsies performed on heart-attack victims routinely reveal plaque-filled arteries in people whose cholesterol was low (as low as 115 in one case).
  • Asian Indians – half of whom are vegetarians – have one of the highest rates of heart disease in the entire world. Yup, that fatty meat will kill you, all right.
  • When Morgan Spurlock tells you that a McDonald’s salad supplies almost a day’s allowance of fat, he’s basing that statement on the FDA’s low-fat/high-carbohydrate dietary guidelines, which in turn are based on … absolutely nothing. There’s no science behind those guidelines; they were simply made up by a congressional committee.
  • Kids who were diagnosed as suffering from ADD have been successfully treated by re-introducing natural saturated fats into their diets. Your brain is made largely of fat.
  • Many epileptics have reduced or eliminated seizures by adopting a diet low in sugar and starch and high in saturated animal fats.
  • Despite everything you’ve heard about saturated fat being linked to cancer, that link is statistically weak. However, there is a strong link between sugar and cancer. In Europe, doctors tell patients, “Sugar feeds cancer.”
  • Being fat is not, in and of itself, bad for your health. The behaviors that can make you fat – eating excess sugar and starch, not getting any exercise – can also ruin your health, and that’s why being fat is associated with bad health. But it’s entirely possible to be fat and healthy. It’s also possible to be thin while developing Type II diabetes and heart disease.
  • Saturated fat and cholesterol help produce testosterone. When men limit their saturated fat, their testosterone level drops. So, regardless of what a famous vegan chef believes, saturated fat does not impair sexual performance.
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848 Responses to “No-Bologna Facts”
  1. Kathleen says:

    Tom, I just saw Fat Head and after also reading this post, and most of the comments, I had to share my huge revelation.

    DAVEY JONES IS DEAD????

    I am upset.

    Seriously. I had no idea.

    I also want to agree with Richard Nikoley that you are indeed benevolent when it comes to responding to comments. You are surely more benevolent than Richard Nikoley. I imagine that you care that someday your daughters will likely google you. Good for you :o)

    And. I want to make sure I am not the only one who caught the Monkey’s song reference/pun when ‘tinydrop . .’ said ‘sorry i am not a believer’

    Lastly, I loved Fat Head and I am sharing it with abandon. I will email you before and after pics when I lose 100 pounds. Thanks!

    Thank you. I hadn’t thought about my daughters Googling me someday. I respond to comments when I can because I like to keep the conversation going and I’m grateful for readers who take the time to post them.

    Sorry about Davey Jones.

    • PJ (RightNOW) says:

      > You are surely more benevolent than Richard

      Oh because THAT was a hard mark for Tom to meet… heh

  2. Daniel says:

    Hey Tom. I’ve always been a fan of a paleolithic diet, and watching your documentary convinced me even more of its validity. I mean it just makes sense. We’ve been eating this stuff for millions of years. Why just stop?

    Anyways, I have a few questions and hoping that you can answer them. I’m a broke college student, and this kind of diet is quite expensive. My favorite meal I make is an omelette with ground beef, cheese, deli ham, and jalapenos. Love it. cheap, tastes great, and starts my day off great. I was wondering if you had any ideas for this kind of diet that is more on the financially conservative side. Some cheap ingredients, recipes, any suggestion really.

    I also have a question about your thoughts on dairy products. The paleo diet says to stay away from it, but I just love my chocolate milk too much. I usually drink it after a workout for a nice refreshment. I would just like to know your thoughts and maybe some studies about it.

    Thanks for your time and especially thanks to your documentary. Your hard work and comedic relief really sheds some light. (especially the “heart attack scene)

    Dairy depends on your tolerance of it. Some people have problems with casein. I don’t, so I include full-fat dairy in my diet.

    You can usually find cheap protein at the big-box stores. Tuna, chicken thigh-and-leg combinations, ground beef, pork parts, etc. My wife tells me those usually go on sale on Wednesdays. She’s found a lot of meat for around $1 per pound by shopping on Wednesdays.

  3. Mindy Jacobs says:

    Like many of us who have dealt with difficulty losing weight and maintaining normal weight, who’ve bought into the low fat band wagon, I have a “fat phobia”. In my search for “truth” and the optimal diet I was a vegetarian for 20 yrs. Like they say “The pathway to hell is paved with good intentions.” So now at age 59 I am on 3 different blood pressure meds, Type 2 Diabetes and 70 lbs over weight. My issue is, although I will now eat beef, chicken and fish I am not a fan of eating too much meat. My taste runs to more vegetarian. My shout out is can someone help me get into ketosis, lose weight, and stop the carb cravings with less meat protein?

    • Tim Stockstill says:

      Hi Mindy. Something you might consider is taking a look at the slow carb diet. I was introduced to it through Tim Ferriss’s book and it’s what I’m eating right now to lose some weight. It always works for me. I can usually expect to lose an average of 3 lbs a week, and that’s with minimal exercise (I’m a technical writer and have the luxury of sitting and staring at a computer screen all day loooonng).

      Basically, you are able to incorporate plenty of legumes and beans into your diet. This should help with the cravings. But, let’s be honest, you really need to include those animal proteins and fats in there as well. You would be shocked at the amount of food I eat to consume 1500 calories daily. It’s a lot, and I stay full and satiated. It took about 5 to 7 hard days to break my addiction to empty carbs (bread, rice, potatoes, etc). Also, I start the day off with a massive amount of protein (40+ grams) and fats (20+ grams) to get going. My blood pressure looks great for my age.

      Hope this helps a little. I’m not an expert by any means, but this I know: what I’m doing works. I feel fuller, better, more energetic, and think more clearly now.

    • Tracy F says:

      Hi Mindy,
      I work worth a Doctor who has 25 yrs of clinical experience under his belt and is a Naturopath MD. He views the body on a wholistic approach and uses clinically verified, scientifically proven, medical nutrition that supports and promotes the function of the body. I would gladly send you the info you are looking for that will turn your life around and put you back on the track to perfect health!

    • iloveketo says:

      If getting into ketosis is what you want, then go with the ketogenic diet. You’ll only be consuming low-moderate protein, your carbs will be largely made up of vegetables with small amounts of nuts, seeds and fruits and the majority of calories in your diet will come from fats. Trust me on this, I used to be a vegetarian too and I ended up with systemic candida and a bunch of other issues because of it. Adjusting to fat as most of your calories can be a bit tricky at first but I end up beyond satiated and full of energy even on 1200-1500 calories some days. I make semi-homemade high fat/low carb dressings, dips, sauces and other condiments to go with my meals and keep fatty plant foods such as olives and avocados around practically at all times.

  4. S. Lyons says:

    Hello. In the movie’s bonus interview with Sally Fallon she says that there is a lawsuit going on against statin promoters for targeting women. So that would have been in 2007? I cannot find information anywhere on the outcome of that lawsuit. Can you provide me any direction? Thank you.

    I haven’t heard if that one went anywhere.

  5. Chris says:

    Saw the documentary today. Not bad. I wish it was less political and more “sciency” and/or consistent (e.g. nobody is forcing you to eat a vegetable-based diet; don’t belittle the word “expert” as there are indeed experts who are correct with their conclusions).

    Being anti-government does resonate well with much of the american right. However, they may get turned off with any mention of “millions of years of human biology” as repubs are largely anti-evolution. So I wonder if that segment of the population will simply ignore that part of the documentary. Anyway….

    I’ve been skeptical (on the surface without much investigation) of the paleo diet (or low-carb diet). But your results surprised me and I want to pursue such a diet. So I thank you for that.

    • dscerpella says:

      Most Republicans are anti Evolution? This is silly on its face. I wont get into why, which should be obvious, but suffice to say it is your pro nanny state bias undoubtedly causing you to make such fatuous and self serving statements.

      I can’t speak for most Republicans, but the ones I know aren’t anti-evolution or anti-science. That’s a stereotype the left loves to toss around so they can convince themselves that conservatives are conservatives because they’re stupid.

      We live in one of the most conservative counties in the U.S., and evolution is taught in schools here with nobody protesting about it.

      • There are extremists on both sides who are so loud, they tend to drown out the majority of the reasonable, intelligent people there. Also, it’s a lot more headline-grabby to have a Sarah Palin saying that the President’s the head of a martian invasion and a Pamela Anderson saying that eating meat will make you kersplode.
        I’m a liberal, but I don’t go around burning my bra. I wear it, sometimes on my head.

        • Trish Fitzpatrick says:

          Addressing the pernicious idea of the fabled middle way:
          “The only things that are ‘middle of the road’- yellow lines and dead armadillos” It is quite tempting to believe that one doesn’t have to choose sides. Soccer Moms are famous for not taking a stand unless it is really popular first. The dietary recommendations here are NOT middle of the road AT ALL! But it is a principled stance to stake out a position and see what happens. See for yourself, take a chance… you all know the drill. Stuff here sounds mighty interesting.

      • Rick says:

        Let’s get real. Right wingers are predominately conservative Christians, who by their religious beliefs are anti evolution and science when it does not support their literal interpretation of the Bible and of course their love of dogma. What is the Republican platform built on? Preserving our Puritan founders moral obsession. Abortion, gay marriage, immigration, war on drugs, birth control, conforming, nationalistic patriotism, Xenophobia, etc. If you really believe in financial conservatism, then you must be Libertarian, not Republican.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          You seem to believe all Christians interpret the Bible literally and therefore don’t believe in evolution. That simply isn’t true. I live in one of the reliably conservative counties in the country (Williamson County, TN). Evolution is taught in our local schools, and there are plenty of conservative Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, etc., around here — faiths that all accept evolution as science. (I attended Catholic schools and was taught that evolution is part of God’s plan.)

          If you don’t believe liberals try to impose their version of morality on others, you are seriously deluded. Every time a liberal cries “That’s not faaiiiirrrrr!!” and demands a law to outlaw the unfairness, that’s imposing morality. The concept of “fair” is based entirely on moral beliefs. Same goes for rules about “hate speech” all the other politically correct nonsense. It’s nothing more than an attempt to impose a liberal vision of moral and acceptable behavior.

          I’m a libertarian myself, but the main difference I see between conservatives imposing their morals and liberals imposing their morals is that the conservatives don’t seem to believe they’re entitled to reach into my pocket to fund their version of morality.

  6. jester7707 says:

    Do you have easily accessible sources for these claims? Thanks.

    Easily accessible? No. There are links in the sidebars and links in quite a few of my posts over the years. Some of the no-bologna facts come from books.

  7. yuma says:

    Hi Tom!

    Can you recommend supplements to go along a low carb diet?

    Thanks!

    The supplements I take are the those I’d take regardless of diet: multi-vitamin, D3, CoQ10.

  8. Tnshopmom says:

    Thank you for spreading the truth! I am a believer because I have seen the positive effects of a low carb diet in my own life and I have seen the inconsistencies of cholesterol levels related to stroke in my own practice as a neuro nurse. My problem is trying to find a doctor that doesn’t continue to preach the whole cholesterol BS! Do you have any suggestions or a link to a physician data base for those doctors that do not push statin drugs on everything that walks through the door?

    No, sorry, I don’t have a list like that.

    • Katherine says:

      I don’t know about doctors who specifically won’t push statins, but here is a list of low-carb friendly doctors. Scroll down a bit, then look in the Right margin. Find your state, and hopefully you will see some names of doctors in a city near you. You can click on the names for more info. Good luck!

      http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com/

  9. Laura (So Ca) says:

    The Institute Of Functional Medicine has a location search by zip code and mile radius.

    There is probably an Integrative Medicine Institute as well.

    You could search using those key words, your county, or zip and get a list of website options.

    I found an east/west MD off the Functional website and he’s on Dr. William Davis’s “page”, so to speak. Real doctoring, imho.

  10. le says:

    My daughter is on a “ketosis” diet…and has lost 15 lbs in 1 month…. 25 carbs a day & no sugar. http://www.dietdoctor.com/lose-weight-by-achieving-optimal-ketosis I have learned a lot!

  11. Wilson says:

    OK this is disturbing me. Can Tom explain…? The poor performance on glucose tolerance tests taken by low carbers is well known and is called the Randle effect which allegedly normalises after 3-4 days of ‘normal’ carb eating. I have been curious about this. I am a fit and thin 54yo woman but a year ago thought I’d give low carbing a go for general health and to lower a slightly high (5.5) fbg. I now notice that I have become extremely carb intolerant and despite introducing more in the way of rice, fruit, yogurt to eliminate the Randle effect I remain more carb intolerant than I was before going low carb. My food choices are more restricted now – has my body ‘forgotten’ how to deal with carbs altogether and how much harm are the high blood sugars seen after say having plain yogurt and fruit doing? Could it me that in my case (and studies only seem to focus on a certain physiology) a high carb diet has done me no favours at all?

    I started having a high-carb Saturday night after reading about that. Seems to do the trick.

    Richard Nikoley has been writing a whole lot about adding resistant starch to the diet. RS doesn’t raise blood sugar but does seem to lower fbg. I’m going to give it a try myself soon. In the meantime, go to his freetheanimal.com site and read up. It may be what you’re looking for.

  12. Gabrielle says:

    So what do you make of people like me, who eat 300 g carbs per day with no ill effects or weight gain? I maintain my weight on about 2,000 cals per day, which is quite high for a 57-year-old woman. I exercise about 3 hours per week. I have (knock on wood) no health symptoms of any kind. Whenever I tried to reduce my carbs (just to see what the fuss was about) I felt physically and psychologically unsatisfied.

    GB

    Carb tolerance is individual. My wife and son can both eat whatever, in pretty much any amount, and never gain weight.

    • uncle joe says:

      Do you have stats for individual’s high, medium low carb tolerance? How would the individual know which?

      Best way to figure that out is to buy a glucose meter and check your glucose an hour after eating. Ideally, you’d stay below 140. Some docs say below 125 is best. If you find you’re up there in the 200 range, definitely start cutting back.

      Not at all carbs are created equal in that regard, either. Wheat and white potatoes push my glucose much higher than sweet potatoes or squash, even at the same carb count. So it’s an matter of experimenting.

    • kellymac says:

      It is widely documented that the first 5-10 days of restricted carbs can leave you feeling less than your normal self, and for some people, headache, flu symptoms. I can say from experience that after those first few days, I feel amazing. Tons of energy, no cravings, little to no hunger between meals — which when I am keto-adapted is usually only 2 meals/day. You can’t do anything new for a couple days and give a fair assement, whether it is your diet, an exercise routine or new skin care products.

  13. Tony says:

    Hi Tom,

    You have a great website and you have a lot of knowledge.

    I have a question: About six months ago I started a low carb diet. I’ve gone from 210 to 173 lb. with a target weight of 165. Not only has my weight dropped, my lipid levels have in improved dramatically – 201 TC, 74 HDL, 55 Trig, BP 120/80.

    The beauty of it is that it’s been fairly effortless. Never hungry, actually sometimes a bit overstuffed from my LC meals.

    This is my issue – the main staple of my diet has been cheese. I love cheese and it sits well with me when I eat it. It makes up 65-70% of my diet.

    The trouble is that I’ve read in some forums that cheese is not supposed to be eaten or lightly eaten in LC. Am I a disaster waiting to happen? Will something happen to me because I eat a lot of cheese? Should I reduce/eliminate it?

    Thanks!

    Cheese is supposed to eating lightly because dairy protein can raise insulin and stall weight loss. There’s also the constipation issue with too much cheese. If you’re not experiencing those problems, I say enjoy.

  14. Palo says:

    Hi Tom, I’m on a LCHF diet and wish to start interval training, consisting of three 20 seconds sprints – with a 2 minute recovery period between sprints – three times a week.

    Do I need to take a post workout shake with carbohydrates to replenish glycogen?

    Thanks!

    For a total of 60 seconds of sprinting, I wouldn’t think so.

  15. Angel says:

    Hi, Tom! I have been sharing your documentary and teaching what it has taught me for the past few years. I have one question- when you started watching your carbohydrates, what was the basis for your decision to limit them to 100? Was it based on your own personal height and weight or did you just choose that number? I ask because I am wondering if 100 carbs is an okay limit with my own 1500 calorie diet.

    100 grams seemed do-able on a fast-food diet. Getting down to that level also helps a lot of people lose weight more easily by lowering insulin levels. Some people aim for nearly zero, while some people (including Dr. Paul Jaminet, author of “The Perfect Health Diet”) say it’s better to get around 20% of calories from carbohydrates, which is still low, but not super-low. Jaminet believes forcing your body to produce all the glucose it needs by converting protein isn’t healthy in the long term.

    He wouldn’t recommend getting those carbs from wheat buns or french fries, however.

  16. Tim says:

    The problem with all of this is that there are black swans on both sides of the argument (more on the low fat guys IMO than on the low carb). Low carb uses the french etc.., low fat uses Japanese etc..

    The low carb guys point to how the low fat/veginazi’s try to explain away the french with wine, or cooking or whatever.

    The low carb guys try to make the argument the Japanese diet really isn’t ‘low fat’.

    It is, and I know from first hand experience. Fish and rice, miso soup, and lots of pickled veggies (tsukemono). My own opinion is the diet is a very poor one, and isn’t anything I would adopt willingly. They are significantly shorter (news flash) to the point that at 5’10″ tall there are many places I have to duck to not hit my head on a doorway.
    However, once you add meat to the diet, they get much taller. My niece is a head taller than her parents, and has always preferred meat to fish, and her case is not uncommon. So, you want to stunt your kids growth, by all means make them eat low fat diets and restrict calories.

    What’s been bugging me until recently is how to reconcile their long lifespans with such a poor diet, especially considering they smoke, drink, and work long hours. Stress relief might be part of what is going on, but the amount of alcohol consumed after work on a regular basis can’t be good.

    Where I’m going with this is it also points to the issue that trying to use diet studies to prove anything has been anything but easy.
    It’s because you can’t control the variables, and even when you think you can they are not independent.

    This is the real black swan – the underlying assumption that any of the variables in the diet/health studies are independent, when all the results are always tainted by confounding variables.

    You want me to believe cholesterol, or LDL particle size matters?
    Then you need to produce a graph like fig. 2 on this page:

    http://www.ccjm.org/content/75/6/424.full

    Doesn’t matter what risk factor you pick, exercise has the same effect, even on smoking! This is what an independent variable looks like. Best of all this is MEASURED.

    I’m sure the graph of smoking vs. risk factors is similar, but I couldn’t find one.

    If diet mattered and was truly an independent risk factor you should be able to produce a chart like that one. If cholesterol really mattered we’d see the same thing, but as you’ve already pointed out, we don’t.

    Back to the Japanese. The one thing that is true with them is they walk, and they walk a lot. You take the train (because driving is impossible), which means walking/biking to the station, walking up and down stairs to change platforms, and walking to your office from the station, 2x a day or more. I know, I lived it.

    The thing is it fits very, very well with the chart I linked to. Their physical activity is enough to offset smoking and drinking and poor diet. I believe it because I’ve got good confidence exercise has this effect regardless of the risk factor being looked at.

    The bottom line is, diet doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t help much compared to exercise.

    Also, anybody depriving themselves of a good bacon double cheeseburger in favor of raw vegetables…well no wonder you’re pissed off all the time and trolling.

  17. immabaleaver says:

    After watching Fathead I had an aha moment. I figuired I would give the low carb diet a try. As a child I was always sickly and anemic and even as an adult my blood sugar levels was horrible always making me feel tired and ill. At the suggestion of my doctor, I went on a strict diet and reduced my protein intake and replaced it with grains and starches no fats (butter, olive oil etc)

    Forget about eating bacon and eggs for breakfast. I felt so sick, I would get migraines. I could barely get out of bed in the morning and my boyfriend commented on how grumpy I was. lol. I even developed bad digestive issues that caused me to have to take medications.

    Its only been a week but I find that after trying the low carb diet, I am less hungry so I don’t snack on high sugar foods. In fact I was a chocoholic but haven’t even had any cravings for it. In addition I loss 2.5 pounds in only a few weeks of starting your diet and I feel better than I have ever felt in my life and I am in my 40′s. I am telling everyone I know about your diet even my mother who is diabetic. My only regret is that I didn’t find your video and website sooner.

    P.S. I also went vegetarian for a few years thinking it was the meat and animal fats that were making me sick. Big Mistake! I gained weight and felt worse than I ever did and I was only in my 20′s when I did it.

  18. The Fourth says:

    Tom, after reading your excellent review of the Perfect Health Diet, I have a question:

    Dr. Jaminet recommends a diet consisting of 15% protein calories and 25% carbohydrate calories and the rest healthy fats. Are these strict percentages for protein and carbohydrates or could they be switched to 15% carbohydrate and 25% protein or any other percentage as long as 40% of my calories are a combined protein and carbs?

    Thanks!

    • Tom Naughton says:

      His recommended range for carbohydrates is 20% to 30%, but he also states it as 100 to 150 grams per day. I think that’s easier to track.

  19. Mike says:

    Tom,

    Number 6 above states, “Kids who were diagnosed as suffering from ADD have been successfully treated by re-introducing natural saturated fats into their diets. Your brain is made largely of fat.”

    While I have no reason not to believe it, I’ve searched in vain to find any scientific references to support it. I’m trying to convince my in-laws to quit feeding my kids crap when I’m not around and some science here will help. Can you point me to any references on this? Thanks!

  20. Andre araujo says:

    hey tom quick question…any plans for future documentary’s? would love more of your work.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Chareva and I are working on a book for kids (and parents) that will include a companion DVD. That will more or less be the next documentary.

  21. Mark says:

    What about inflammation and the consumption of red meats and other animal products such as dairy. Hasn’t inflammation been linked to heart disease and hence the ingestion of foods that cause inflammation can then be linked to heart disease?

    I like eating eating meat and dairy but with heart disease in my family, mentally its tough to eat animal products because of inflammation.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Inflammation can be a problem for people who have allergies to dairy, but sugars and vegetable oils are far more inflammatory for most people.

  22. IAN says:

    Hi Tom.
    Last night I enjoyed watching Fathead and celebrated by eating at Mcdonalds after my gym workout.
    I have always kept a strict eye on my diet, following what was published in the public arena about eating cereals and vegetable oil just as you explain in your doc.
    However I was impressed with the research of Professor T. Colin Campbell on animal protein and it´s links with cancer and heart disease a couple of years ago.
    With the infinite amount of research and support on all types of diet available one can quite easily create a web page and support it with links and find rebuttals for any argument.
    If you have the time I would be interested in your opinion on this article.(link below) The main point in your film is about saturated fats but you only briefly touched on protein in your explanation of how cholesterol is transported in the body.
    How do I know whether this is another professor just waiting for his government grant or sound scientific advice?
    Right now I am on the fence and it seems quite a different outcome which way I go.
    Many thanks and good luck with your future projects.
    IAN
    http://nutritionstudies.org/fallacious-faulty-foolish-discussion-about-saturated-fat/

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Campbell fed an isolated dairy protein to rats and induced cancer. (Rats don’t milk cows, and they sure a shootin’ don’t isolate the casein fraction of the protein.) From this, he concluded that protein causes cancer, ignoring the fact that rats fed whey protein (another dairy fraction) had lower rates of cancer, not higher.

      He’s like most of the vegetarian zealots out there: he cherry-picks to make a case that meat will ruin your health. Not because it will, but because he thinks eating meat is immoral and he’s therefore willing to promote bad science to persuade people to give up meat. Here’s a nice summary of the many flaws in his studies:

      http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/cmasterjohn/the-curious-case-of-campbells-rats-does-protein-deficiency-prevent-cancer/

      Enjoy your steak.

      • Ian says:

        Tom,

        That´s exactly the information I was looking for. Thanks for your great work. I will definitely enjoy that steak.

        Cheers.
        Ian.

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