Wednesday Bonus: The Big Meal Video

A reader named Jane sent a link in a comment to a video of CSPI’s latest bologna-on-parade. Her link was to a Canadian TV story, the one below is to the ABC version:

Notice that ABC, like most media outlets, insists on referring to CSPI as a “consumer group.” No, they’re a bunch of vegetarians pushing a vegetarian agenda.

I replied to Jane that there’s so much wrong in this story, it deserves a full post. For one thing, you are much more likely to suffer a heart attack after a high-carb meal than after a high-fat meal. That’s not in dispute.

Well, it turns out Dr. Mike Eades already took this load of bologna and ground it up in his own post. He explained the science (and lack of it in this news story) better than I could, so I urge you to read his article.  Here’s a sample:

It’s pretty impressive when the lab tech holds up the tube of blood taken after the meal and compares it to the one taken before the meal.  There is a lot of fat swimming in the serum, that’s for sure.  What the producers of this piece (and, sadly, the doctors commenting although they should know better) want you to take away from all this by the way they set it up is that all that saturated fat went directly into the blood.  And how can you argue with them?  It’s there for all to see.

Problem is, that’s what blood samples look like after almost any meal, especially one that contains carbohydrates.  The fat you see isn’t the fat the two reporters ate; it is the fat the liver has made from the carbohydrate.  It’s the same picture a tube of blood would show after either of the two doctors had eaten a high-carb, low-fat lunch.

If you find yourself scratching your head and wondering how so many people can still believe the Lipid Hypothesis despite all the evidence against it, now you know … medical reporting in much of our media is just plain awful.

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5 thoughts on “Wednesday Bonus: The Big Meal Video

  1. Lynda

    I just caught up on your last post – I remember when that bacon ad was on TV here in New Zealand!! One other thing (beside the fact that we have now been low carb for about 5 weeks and loving it!)…. I saw a recipe the other day for a ‘FAT FREE CAKE’…. its enough to give you a heart attack just looking at the ingredients. It really demonstrates how wrong “low fat” diet really are. Here is the recipe:

    2 cups of SR flour
    1 cup of caster sugar
    450g can of crushed pineapple

    Mmmm so three cups of carbs – that will sure make up for the no fat.

    No wonder I got fatter when I did this sort of diet.

    Yeee-ikes! That’s enough to send my pancreas into a panic just reading the ingredients.

  2. Arlo

    Yet another reason I’m glad the people I rent a room from don’t subscribe to regular TV.

    It’s so hard to change these generally accepted ideas that self perpetuate. And I know, I’ve been outside of the norm my whole life and suffered for it in some ways, thinking and doing for myself without buying into cultural consensus.

    I just can’t really conceive of a way to speed up the change of general consensus to our way of thinking about diet and health. I mean, SLOWLY some strides have been made, but the snowball of low-fat has such huge momentum it just seems like it’s going to take longer than my lifetime to get people to realize how backwards most thinking about diet is.

    Nobody is ever going to win someone over in one discussion/argument, so I guess the point is, like your blog and many others, to just get as much information out there as possible so that people are exposed to it.

    Then again, diet tends to be like religion and politics… it’s not polite conversation between friends (and those are the ones you want to help the most). A friend of mine in OZ did “low carb”, and was frustrated with it. I quickly learned that his fat phobia meant that he was trying to do low fat low carb. Even him hearing about my progress can’t crack into his beliefs about fat. I had to wonder what he was eating… protein powder???

    Even in the medical community, I remember Taubes talking about how his book was sent to many people in that community and very few actually read it, for various reasons.

    Sigh. That recipe above is a great example of the crazy things people will do once conditioned to fear fat. It really is quite amazing, because fat-phobia almost inevitably leads to moving further and further away from “real, minimally processed” foods.

    I’m afraid you’re right; it’s a slow process. Someone Jimmy Moore interviewed said if you want to start a fight at a family reunion, talk politics. If that doesn’t work, talk religion. If that doesn’t work, talk about diets. But what’s strange is that lowfat diets have failed over and over, both in clinical studies and in people’s experiences, yet the idea that it’s the correct diet doesn’t seem to go away.

  3. Amy Dungan

    Unbelievable. Talk about some terrible and irresponsible reporting. As Dr. Mike said, they should have taken tests after a low-fat meal as well. Of course if they had, then there would be no “BIG” story full of scare tactics. They’d just be left with “Oh crap. The results are the same. Now what? Anybody want a big mac?”

    In debating media bias with friends and associates, I’ve tried to explain that a reporter’s beliefs going into a story determine which facts are judged to be important, which storyline is pursued, which experts are consulted, etc. The reporters are not bad people, and they’re not TRYING to bias the story (usually); it’s just the result of beliefs guiding actions and perceptions.

    Couldn’t ask for a better example than this story. They consumed a ton of carbs, but they believed going in that fat is the problem, and that’s what they pursued.

  4. Jane

    Great post Tom. When I first watched the video on the news the other night it made me angry because I knew it was just wasn’t right. Then I thought, what would Tom have to say about this? You didn’t disappoint. 🙂

    I appreciate that, but I’d say it’s Dr. Mike who didn’t disappoint in this case. I was just starting to do some online research and then saw his post. Can’t top the Doc on medical issues.

  5. TonyNZ

    This is the very video I mentioned in your last post saying I was surprised to log on and not find you or Dr Eades herniating over it. It happened eventually.

    I don’t herniate, but I do curse when prodded. When I saw Dr. Eades tackled it, I didn’t bother. He’s way more of science wonk than I am, and he shredded it as much it could be shredded.

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