You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changing. – Bob Dylan.
The times are indeed a-changing, and I believe we’re going to see the anti-fat hysteria that led to so much bad dietary advice eventually sink like a stone. Perhaps even sooner than most of us thought. As evidence for my optimism, here’s some good news from around the world.
British cardiologist say saturated fat is good for you
Sure, other cardiologists have come out and said saturated fat and cholesterol in foods don’t cause heart disease. Dr. William Davis and Dr. Dwight Lundell, to name two examples. But the good news here is that major newspapers are starting to pay attention to the contrarians, as in this article from the U.K. Independent:
Four decades of medical wisdom that cutting down on saturated fats reduces our risk of heart disease may be wrong, a top cardiologist has said. Fatty foods that have not been processed – such as butter, cheese, eggs and yoghurt – can even be good for the heart, and repeated advice that we should cut our fat intake may have actually increased risks of heart disease, said Dr Aseem Malhotra.
He told The Independent: “From the analysis of the independent evidence that I have done, saturated fat from non-processed food is not harmful and probably beneficial. Butter, cheese, yoghurt and eggs are generally healthy and not detrimental. The food industry has profited from the low-fat mantra for decades because foods that are marketed as low-fat are often loaded with sugar. We are now learning that added sugar in food is driving the obesity epidemic and the rise in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
I suspect some people will read that article and feel frustrated by all the conflicting advice in the media … one article says saturated fat will kill you, another says it’s harmless, a third says nobody knows for sure, etc. I feel their pain. But if you’ve spent years believing something that simply isn’t true, being confused is a step in the right direction.
Anti-fat hysteria blasted on Australian TV
Some months ago, an Australian science reporter named Maryanne Demasi emailed me to ask where I found the news footage of the McGovern committee. I answered her and then forgot all about it … until some Australian readers sent me a link to an episode of ABC’s Catalyst that aired Down Under a couple of days ago. Check it out:
I love it. And from what I’ve heard through the internet grapevine, the Australian Heart Foundation has been swamped with complaints about their lousy advice since the program aired. (No surprise, since their representative in the Catalyst program admitted the evidence is “inconclusive.”) There’s even an online petition demanding that the Heart Foundation stop with all the anti-fat nonsense.
Swedish government changes its official position on saturated fat
Okay, I’ve made it pretty clear over the years that I want governments to get out of the dietary-advice business. We were better off before they started telling us what to eat. But if governments are going to give out dietary advice, they should at least get it right.
In Sweden, they’re finally getting it right. Swedish doctor Andreas Eenfeldt of course wrote about the change on his blog, but my favorite take on the news came from Dr. Malcolm Kendrick – because as you know if you’ve read his blog or his book The Great Cholesterol Con, the man does not mince words:
Now, I have been aware that there has been a movement towards a high fat low carb diet (HFLC) going on in Sweden for some years. This has been led recently by the heroic Dr Annika Dahlqvist, a General Practitioner who had been advising her diabetic patients to eat a low carb high fat diet (LCHF).
She was, of course, attacked by the idiots…sorry experts.
… In reality all that the Swedes really ‘discovered’ is the quite astonishing fact that eating a high carbohydrate diet is bad for you, and worse for you if you are a diabetic. Well, blow me down with a feather. They have found exactly what a working knowledge of human biology/physiology would tell you would happen.
But we live in a wold controlled by entrenched stupidity, dogma, and the financial interests of massive companies who are making billions selling tasteless low fat mush. These companies know that the only way you can make low fat food, e.g. low fat yoghurt, taste like anything half palatable is to stuff it with sugar. Cheap, nasty, and damaging to health – also driving the ever increasing weight gain and diabetes in the Western World.
In December, I’ll be giving a speech on how the Wisdom of Crowds effect is changing what people believe about diet and health. I think that’s exactly what we’re seeing here. Bloggers, independent filmmakers, podcasters, rebel doctors – heck, even people who leave blistering comments when online media articles promote anti-fat hysteria – are spreading the word and turning the tide. Major media outlets are paying attention, and more and more people are questioning what we’ve been told about saturated fat and cholesterol for the past 40 years.
The times they are a-changing.
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