We’re At The Tipping Point

      152 Comments on We’re At The Tipping Point

A couple of podcasters who interviewed me recently asked if I believe we’re at a tipping point. I do. I’m seeing a major shift in what the public at large considers a healthy diet, thanks largely to the Wisdom of Crowds effect. It seems that more and more people are rejecting the decades-old anti-fat message and embracing real food – fat and all.

I’ve sometimes wondered if I’m just experiencing the Red Toyota Effect, which works like this: While shopping for a car, you make up your mind that you want a red Toyota … and soon after, you start noticing them all over the place, which leads you to think, “Holy moly! Everyone’s buying red Toyotas all of a sudden!” In fact, the red Toyotas were always there. You’re just noticing them now because owning a red Toyota is on your mind.

Sure, I’ve got diet on my mind. I write about diet, I think often about diet, I hang out in social media sites where the subject is diet. But I don’t believe I’m experiencing the Red Toyota Effect. I think there’s a real shift happening out there.

For starters, I keep seeing more mainstream media articles declaring that – surprise! — saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease after all. Here are some quotes from an article in the U.K. Telegraph with the headline No link found between saturated fat and heart disease:

For the health conscious reader who has been stoically swapping butter for margarine for years the next sentence could leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Scientists have discovered that saturated fat does not cause heart disease while so-called ‘healthy’ polyunsaturated fats do not prevent cardiovascular problems.

In contrast with decades old nutritional advice, researchers at Cambridge University have found that giving up fatty meat, cream or butter is unlikely to improve health.

They are calling for guidelines to be changed to reflect a growing body of evidence suggesting there is no overall association between saturated fat consumption and heart disease.

Earlier this month Dr James DiNicolantonio of Ithica College, New York, called for a new public health campaign to admit ‘we got it wrong.’ He claims carbohydrates and sugar are more responsible.

Admit we got it wrong …. Yeah, that would be awesome. Despite my optimism about a big shift within the public at large, I don’t expect a We Got It All Wrong announcement from the USDA anytime soon. They are, however, slooooowly backing away from some of the advice they’ve been handing down for the past 35 years. Here are some quotes from a Forbes article titled Fat Is Back: Time To Stop Limiting Dietary Fats, Experts Say:

The latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – the government-sanctioned recommendations about what we should and shouldn’t eat – will include a game-changing edit: There’s no longer going to be a recommended upper limit on total fat intake. This hasn’t gotten as much press as the other big change – that cholesterol will no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern,” meaning that we can now eat eggs without feeling guilty.

But as the authors of a new paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association point out, the true game-changer in the new recommendations is that we won’t have to worry so much about the total fat content of our food. And this makes a lot of sense, since in many ways, fats are much better for us than what they’ve typically been replaced with in low-fat diets – refined carbs and added sugars.

For people who lived through the low-fat/no-fat craze that started in the 80s, this is big news. The change in fats recommendations has been coming for some time now, as studies have consistently shown that low-fat diets are in no way the beacon they once seemed to be, and can in fact be quite unhealthy over the long-term.

The USDA (ahem) “experts” are willing to admit that cholesterol is no longer a “nutrient of concern,” but can’t quite bring themselves to say saturated fat is okay. However – and this is huge, since so many people get their dietary advice from registered dieticians – the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has already jumped ahead of the USDA. The organization’s official commentary on the latest USDA guidelines first praises the USDA for its efforts, then disputes much of what the USDA has to say.

Dr. Stan De Loach (who has been recommending a high-fat, real-food diet to patients in Mexico for years) summarized the points made by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

1. Cholesterol contained in food items is NO LONGER a nutrient of interest or concern. That is, limiting cholesterol (egg yolks, for example) in the food plan makes no sense because there is no trustworthy scientific evidence that it may produce negative or harmful effects on the human body or cardiovascular system.

2. NO scientific consensus or concrete scientific evidence exists that could justify the recommendation that the quantity of dietary salt (sodium) be limited. This long-standing recommendation to not consume salt freely has been overturned. Moreover, the Report mentions that probably and certainly “there are persons who are NOT consuming a SUFFICIENT amount of sodium.”

3. “Not a single study included in this revision of the dietary recommendations meant to prevent cardiovascular disease was able to identify saturated fat as an element in the diet that has an unfavorable or adverse association to cardiovascular disease.” The experts recommend de-emphasizing saturated fat as a nutrient of interest or concern.

4. The lipid/lipoproteins LDL and HDL are NOT appropriate nor adequate for use as markers of the impact of diet on the risks of cardiovascular disease, for example, in the scientific studies that attempt to measure diet’s impact on the risks for cardiovascular disease.

5. “The consumption of carbohydrates carries a GREATER risk for cardiovascular disease than that of saturated fats.”

6. “It is likely that the impact of carbohydrate consumption on the risks for cardiovascular diseases is positive (that is, their consumption INCREASES the risks).”

7. “Therefore, it seems to us that the scientific evidence summarized and synthesized by the Committee suggests that the most effective simplified recommendation to reduce the incidence of cardiac disease would be a simple reduction in the consumption of carbohydrates, replacing them with polyunsaturated fats.” Polyunsaturated fats tend to reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Avocados, fish (tuna, trout, herring, salmon), some varieties of nuts (peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame), some mayonnaises, some salad dressings, olive oil, etc., contain polyunsaturated fats.

8. “The strongest scientific evidence indicates that a reduction in the consumption of added sugars (carbohydrates) will improve the health of the American public.”

Okay, ya can’t win ‘em all, at least not right away. The dieticians want carbs replaced with polyunsaturated fats. But this is still huge. Look at the basic message: Stop worrying about cholesterol, saturated fat and salt. Start focusing on reducing sugars and refined carbohydrates. If this keeps up, people will soon believe you can eat food that tastes good and still be healthy. Dr. Ornish must be terrified.

It isn’t just that people are no longer accusing saturated fat of a crime it didn’t commit, either. There’s also been a huge rise in the demand for quality food, food that hasn’t been processed into nutritional oblivion. Food manufacturers are wondering what the bleep happened and trying to adjust, as this article in Fortune magazine online explains:

Try this simple test. Say the following out loud: Artificial colors and flavors. Pesticides. Preservatives. High-fructose corn syrup. Growth hormones. Antibiotics. Gluten. Genetically modified organisms.

If any one of these terms raised a hair on the back of your neck, left a sour taste in your mouth, or made your lips purse with disdain, you are part of Big Food’s multibillion-dollar problem. In fact, you may even belong to a growing consumer class that has some of the world’s biggest and best-known companies scrambling to change their businesses.

“Their existence is being challenged,” says Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo of the major packaged-food companies. In some ways it’s a strange turn of events. The idea of “processing”—from ancient techniques of salting and curing to the modern arsenal of artificial preservatives—arose to make sure the food we ate didn’t make us sick. Today many fear that it’s the processed food itself that’s making us unhealthy.

It’s pretty simple what people want now: simplicity. Which translates, most of the time, to less: less of the ingredients they can’t actually picture in their head.

Steve Hughes, a former ConAgra executive who co-founded and now runs natural food company Boulder Brands, believes so much change is afoot that we won’t recognize the typical grocery store in five years. “I’ve been doing this for 37 years,” he says, “and this is the most dynamic, disruptive, and transformational time that I’ve seen in my career.”

So it’s definitely not the Red Toyota Effect. This change is real, and it’s coming to a Kroger near you. In fact, I recently found – for the first time ever – dry-roasted almonds in a Kroger where the only ingredients were almonds and salt. A sign above that section of the store bragged about the lack of additives in the several varieties of nuts, which you can buy in bulk.

As the Fortune magazine article explains:

Shoppers are still shopping, but they’re often turning to brands they believe can give them less of the ingredients they don’t want—and for the first time, they can find them in their local Safeway, Wegmans, or Wal-Mart. Kroger’s Simple Truth line of natural food grew to an astonishing $1.2 billion in annual sales in just two years.

The search for authenticity has led organic food sales to more than triple over the past decade and increase 11% last year alone to $35.9 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association. Data provider Spins found that sales of natural products across nearly every category are growing in mainstream retailers, while more than half of their conventional counterparts are in decline.

Perhaps more frightening for Big Food, shoppers are doing something else as well: They’re skipping the middle aisles altogether.

The war on fat is ending, with fat emerging as the victor. Cholesterol is no longer a “nutrient of concern.” The low-salt nonsense is being abandoned by doctors, nutritionists and even the CDC. Consumers are avoiding foods with ingredients they can’t pronounce, and Big Food is both scared and scrambling to adjust.

Yes, we’re at a tipping point. Let’s hope the nation tips right over into better health.


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152 thoughts on “We’re At The Tipping Point

  1. Stephen Blackbourn

    Great news. But judging by what I see people buying at the checkouts, we’ve still got a long way to go.

    1. Tom Naughton

      Give it time. Lots of people still think being healthy is about eating low-fat, but the message will filter down to them eventually.

  2. Dina

    “Dr. Ornish must be terrified.” And Big Pharma! What are they going to do with all those statin pills? 🙂

    1. Bret

      Pay legislators and regulators to mandate their use. Strip doctors of their licenses when they fail to prescribe them.

      In fact, I’m pretty sure versions of those two have already happened.

  3. Matt Huston

    Was amazed to find full-fat fritattas for sale (say that fast) in local Safeway tonight.

    The Salt Wars can tend to get overlooked at times, since The Fat Wars are so much more fun (and have been so much more profitable). Had to double-check, but indeed it was *17 years ago* this August that Gary Taubes pointed out that something was fishy in the science of Salt the Killer…http://garytaubes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/science-political-science-of-salt.pdf

    1. Tom Naughton

      Wow, time flies. But even the CDC has abandoned the low-salt message now. Better late than never.

  4. Stephen Blackbourn

    Great news. But judging by what I see people buying at the checkouts, we’ve still got a long way to go.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Give it time. Lots of people still think being healthy is about eating low-fat, but the message will filter down to them eventually.

    1. Bret

      Pay legislators and regulators to mandate their use. Strip doctors of their licenses when they fail to prescribe them.

      In fact, I’m pretty sure versions of those two have already happened.

  5. Matt Huston

    Was amazed to find full-fat fritattas for sale (say that fast) in local Safeway tonight.

    The Salt Wars can tend to get overlooked at times, since The Fat Wars are so much more fun (and have been so much more profitable). Had to double-check, but indeed it was *17 years ago* this August that Gary Taubes pointed out that something was fishy in the science of Salt the Killer…http://garytaubes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/science-political-science-of-salt.pdf

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Wow, time flies. But even the CDC has abandoned the low-salt message now. Better late than never.

  6. Tammy

    Tom I completely agree with you about the tipping point however what I see mostly is the wanting or trying to return to whole foods. I see that a lot all over the place, coworkers, family, friends, etc… Even if they aren’t actually doing it, they are aware that they should not be eating so much artificial junk.

    Saturated fat on the other hand, still has a strong hold on a lot of people. I think its going to take A LOT of mainstream media attention for the majority of folks to change simply because they don’t do their own research, they just go with what the doctor and media are still pushing. People still are in shock or don’t believe my husband or me when we say anything regarding saturated fat.

  7. Tom Welsh

    When will we be holding the mass trials to shoot, hang, or imprison for life the criminals who condemned hundreds of millions of people to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer and the whole spectrum of “diseases of civilization” – just so they could line their pockets?

    Yeah, I know. They were only trying to make money – who could object to that? I sometimes wonder if the US Constitution could effectively be replaced by those seven classic words of Phineas T Barnum: “Never give a sucker an even break”.

  8. Thomas E.

    On queue, the CPSI are back with a new video, topic, sugary drinks causing diabetes, obesity, and liver disease:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F1U95v0JPs
    h/t: http://www.weightymatters.ca/2015/06/id-like-to-buy-world-drink-that-doesnt.html

    And then there is the Timothy Noakes HPCSA trial in South Africa, where he has been charged with giving incorrect advice. It will be interesting to see if the HPCSA trial happens, I can’t imagine that they will be too happy with 7 days of actual dietary evidence.

    http://www.biznews.com/health/2015/06/18/tim-noakes-in-his-own-words-why-i-choose-to-go-on-trial/

    As far as the middle isles at the grocery store, I personally go down 2 of them, 86% dark chocolate, pork rinds, and occasionally some really good corn chips that have a short ingredient list and the picks 🙂

    1. Tom Naughton

      I predict the dieticians will end up regretting taking on Tim Noakes. It will be a repeat of when dieticians took on Dr. Annika Dahlqvist in Sweden. She kicked their asses on national TV.

    2. Bret

      “charged with giving incorrect advice”

      That phrase absolutely makes me gag…mainly because I can see it happening in the US at some point, so ignorant are people becoming of the downsides of free speech (and more importantly, the consequences of not having it).

  9. Barbara

    I’m am a fairly recent convert to the LCHF way of eating. When I started it was hard to get my head to go against the food lessons I’d been taught for 60 years and my family and friends that were sure I was doing myself harm. But my body was telling me I was on the right track…I was losing weight, I had more energy, my skin was “younger”, so many good things. Maybe now that things are tipping they will join me instead of fighting me.

  10. Linda

    What a great post! I immediately shot a link of this to a friend in the UK, who has repeatedly sent me articles from one “expert” or another about the horrors of cholesterol, saturated fat, salt etc. This same friend has patiently explained about a thousand times that anything we eat is okay in moderation, as long as we don’t salt it and carefully trim every visible scrap of fat off! And of course, be careful to only eat “heart healthy whole grain bread!”

    Your post made my day! The wisdom of crowds is finally taking effect!

  11. Andrea

    Nothing much to say but WOOHOO! Having some of these big “trusted” agencies come out and say it is definitely helpful for those of us constantly arguing with family as we load up on meat and eggs and skip the grain.

    (Also, loved that BodyIO podcast you did.)

  12. Kevin Benjamin

    Great post Tom and totally agree. Here’s where I see a problem down the road. Most of the articles written about bringing back the fat fail to mention the importance of doing this in a carb restricted context. We will see anecdotal stories of people eating the SAD with increased fat getting even fatter. We need to add in the carb restriction message so people will enjoy better health and weight loss success!

  13. Elenor

    Great write-up, Tom. (As always!)

    I’d remind folks too — that the “no-salt” thing also has badly affected millions of thyroids: most of our soils are depleted in iodine, so most grown foods are deficient in iodine; if the major source of folks’ dietary iodine is “iodized salt”; and iodized salt has just barely enough iodine to prevent a deficiency disease (i.e., not NEARLY enough for health, merely enough to avoid *symptoms* of a deficiency {frown}); and folks were warned (and acting) to AVOID salt and thus getting even less than the ‘barely enough’; — it’s fer shure not contributing to health! (Well, except: ILL health!)

    Hope you’re right and folks are getting the “new” message!
    El

  14. Elenor

    Oh, other comment:

    I’d point out in the idiot conflict between no. 1 and no 7. above. No. 1 says:
    “Cholesterol contained in food items is NO LONGER a nutrient of interest or concern. … there is no trustworthy scientific evidence that it may produce negative or harmful effects on the human body or cardiovascular system.”

    but no. 7 still says:
    “Polyunsaturated fats tend to reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood.”

    They STILL can’t quite get away from the “ACK!! It’s cholesterol! Run away! Run away!”

    (And nearly all brands of mayonnaise and commercial salad dressings are made with SOY oil; an ‘industrial seed oil’ that is a major cause of health damage! So not healthy!)

    1. Firebird

      Follow up. I didn’t buy it…out of protest from Crisco selling us their garbage for the last 40 years. I’ll do the same thing if Wesson follows suit…but I stop short at boycotting the Brady Bunch. I still like Florence Henderson.

      1. Devin

        To be fair, Crisco is just a company trying to make money by selling people what they want to buy.

  15. Tammy

    Tom I completely agree with you about the tipping point however what I see mostly is the wanting or trying to return to whole foods. I see that a lot all over the place, coworkers, family, friends, etc… Even if they aren’t actually doing it, they are aware that they should not be eating so much artificial junk.

    Saturated fat on the other hand, still has a strong hold on a lot of people. I think its going to take A LOT of mainstream media attention for the majority of folks to change simply because they don’t do their own research, they just go with what the doctor and media are still pushing. People still are in shock or don’t believe my husband or me when we say anything regarding saturated fat.

  16. William Norman

    I remember similar stories about decline in sales of bread and starchy boxed foods about a decade ago, when Atkins made a comeback, and the South Beach Diet was new and trendy. But Ornish and others were on the war-path, with the backing of the USDA and health agencies, so fat and protein were re-demonized and bread and starch made a comeback.

    Hopefully, the change in attitude regarding carbohydrates really IS a tipping point, and this time the change will be permanent. I’m not investing in any ConAgra stock.

  17. Dave

    If you asked me this time last year I would have said I’ll be dead before ‘good’ nutritional advice is the mainstream. That estimate was based on being 30 and planning on living a long life. The changes I’ve seen in the past year have been huge, from ‘certified humane’ meats becoming available at major supermarkets, to an ever expanding number of paleo/primal/LCHF and gluten-free options popping up at most restaurants. There is still a long way to go, but I now believe that within 10 years there will be a noticeable decline in obesity and the main illnesses associated with it. All illnesses.

    My road to better health started in 2013, in part thanks to watching Fat Head. Thank you, and please keep up the good work! I’m looking forward to reading your book, even though with this reader you’re preaching to the converted.

  18. Tom Welsh

    When will we be holding the mass trials to shoot, hang, or imprison for life the criminals who condemned hundreds of millions of people to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer and the whole spectrum of “diseases of civilization” – just so they could line their pockets?

    Yeah, I know. They were only trying to make money – who could object to that? I sometimes wonder if the US Constitution could effectively be replaced by those seven classic words of Phineas T Barnum: “Never give a sucker an even break”.

  19. Catherine

    I think you’re right in that we’re reaching a tipping point. I don’t believe this is my own observational bias because I’ve been following this way of eating for quite some time and there’s definitely been more widespread info about it lately. I love it! I’m hoping that all those people who mock me now will one day be on the bandwagon and will realise that they were wrong. I can only hope! Worse than ignorance is wilful ignorance…. It amazes me that I still receive daily ‘You’re going to have a heart attack’ comments from co-workers, despite the fact that I weigh less than 130lb at 5’5″ and I run keto-fuelled half-marathons! Is my homecooked keto food really worse than their frozen processed rubbish?

  20. Thomas E.

    On queue, the CPSI are back with a new video, topic, sugary drinks causing diabetes, obesity, and liver disease:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F1U95v0JPs
    h/t: http://www.weightymatters.ca/2015/06/id-like-to-buy-world-drink-that-doesnt.html

    And then there is the Timothy Noakes HPCSA trial in South Africa, where he has been charged with giving incorrect advice. It will be interesting to see if the HPCSA trial happens, I can’t imagine that they will be too happy with 7 days of actual dietary evidence.

    http://www.biznews.com/health/2015/06/18/tim-noakes-in-his-own-words-why-i-choose-to-go-on-trial/

    As far as the middle isles at the grocery store, I personally go down 2 of them, 86% dark chocolate, pork rinds, and occasionally some really good corn chips that have a short ingredient list and the picks 🙂

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I predict the dieticians will end up regretting taking on Tim Noakes. It will be a repeat of when dieticians took on Dr. Annika Dahlqvist in Sweden. She kicked their asses on national TV.

      1. Matt Huston

        A bit off-topic, but does anyone have a link to a video of Dr. Dahlqvist v the dieticians, which Tom mentions? Quick search didn’t turn it up for me.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I can’t find one either. Do you understand Swedish? If the hearings are on video anywhere, they’d be in Swedish.

      2. tw

        They gave him a national platform and a ton of free press to go with it. From there the message has wings.

        If the dietitians plan was to win, they are dumb as a bag of hammers.

    2. Bret

      “charged with giving incorrect advice”

      That phrase absolutely makes me gag…mainly because I can see it happening in the US at some point, so ignorant are people becoming of the downsides of free speech (and more importantly, the consequences of not having it).

  21. Barbara

    I’m am a fairly recent convert to the LCHF way of eating. When I started it was hard to get my head to go against the food lessons I’d been taught for 60 years and my family and friends that were sure I was doing myself harm. But my body was telling me I was on the right track…I was losing weight, I had more energy, my skin was “younger”, so many good things. Maybe now that things are tipping they will join me instead of fighting me.

  22. Linda

    What a great post! I immediately shot a link of this to a friend in the UK, who has repeatedly sent me articles from one “expert” or another about the horrors of cholesterol, saturated fat, salt etc. This same friend has patiently explained about a thousand times that anything we eat is okay in moderation, as long as we don’t salt it and carefully trim every visible scrap of fat off! And of course, be careful to only eat “heart healthy whole grain bread!”

    Your post made my day! The wisdom of crowds is finally taking effect!

  23. Andrea

    Nothing much to say but WOOHOO! Having some of these big “trusted” agencies come out and say it is definitely helpful for those of us constantly arguing with family as we load up on meat and eggs and skip the grain.

    (Also, loved that BodyIO podcast you did.)

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I don’t much care what credential “experts” say — I care about evidence instead — but yeah, we may get fewer of those “but my nutritionist said …” objections.

  24. Kevin Benjamin

    Great post Tom and totally agree. Here’s where I see a problem down the road. Most of the articles written about bringing back the fat fail to mention the importance of doing this in a carb restricted context. We will see anecdotal stories of people eating the SAD with increased fat getting even fatter. We need to add in the carb restriction message so people will enjoy better health and weight loss success!

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Sugar and fat is a bad combination indeed. I hope the renewed emphasis on reducing sugar and refined carbs gets through to people as well.

  25. Elenor

    Great write-up, Tom. (As always!)

    I’d remind folks too — that the “no-salt” thing also has badly affected millions of thyroids: most of our soils are depleted in iodine, so most grown foods are deficient in iodine; if the major source of folks’ dietary iodine is “iodized salt”; and iodized salt has just barely enough iodine to prevent a deficiency disease (i.e., not NEARLY enough for health, merely enough to avoid *symptoms* of a deficiency {frown}); and folks were warned (and acting) to AVOID salt and thus getting even less than the ‘barely enough’; — it’s fer shure not contributing to health! (Well, except: ILL health!)

    Hope you’re right and folks are getting the “new” message!
    El

    1. Tom Naughton

      I think the “one funeral at a time” statement was true when knowledge flowed down from on high. A handful of information gatekeepers could control the conversation. That’s less and less true these days.

  26. Elenor

    Oh, other comment:

    I’d point out in the idiot conflict between no. 1 and no 7. above. No. 1 says:
    “Cholesterol contained in food items is NO LONGER a nutrient of interest or concern. … there is no trustworthy scientific evidence that it may produce negative or harmful effects on the human body or cardiovascular system.”

    but no. 7 still says:
    “Polyunsaturated fats tend to reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood.”

    They STILL can’t quite get away from the “ACK!! It’s cholesterol! Run away! Run away!”

    (And nearly all brands of mayonnaise and commercial salad dressings are made with SOY oil; an ‘industrial seed oil’ that is a major cause of health damage! So not healthy!)

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Yeah, they just can’t quite bring themselves to totally abandon the Lipid Hypothesis. Give it time.

    1. Firebird

      Follow up. I didn’t buy it…out of protest from Crisco selling us their garbage for the last 40 years. I’ll do the same thing if Wesson follows suit…but I stop short at boycotting the Brady Bunch. I still like Florence Henderson.

      1. Devin

        To be fair, Crisco is just a company trying to make money by selling people what they want to buy.

  27. William Norman

    I remember similar stories about decline in sales of bread and starchy boxed foods about a decade ago, when Atkins made a comeback, and the South Beach Diet was new and trendy. But Ornish and others were on the war-path, with the backing of the USDA and health agencies, so fat and protein were re-demonized and bread and starch made a comeback.

    Hopefully, the change in attitude regarding carbohydrates really IS a tipping point, and this time the change will be permanent. I’m not investing in any ConAgra stock.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Dr. Jay Wortman gave an excellent speech on the low-carb cruise about how Big Food managed to kill the first low-carb revolution 12 years. They can’t do it now, at least not the same way. They depended on the old “information gatekeeper” model back then. The gates are gone now.

  28. Dave

    If you asked me this time last year I would have said I’ll be dead before ‘good’ nutritional advice is the mainstream. That estimate was based on being 30 and planning on living a long life. The changes I’ve seen in the past year have been huge, from ‘certified humane’ meats becoming available at major supermarkets, to an ever expanding number of paleo/primal/LCHF and gluten-free options popping up at most restaurants. There is still a long way to go, but I now believe that within 10 years there will be a noticeable decline in obesity and the main illnesses associated with it. All illnesses.

    My road to better health started in 2013, in part thanks to watching Fat Head. Thank you, and please keep up the good work! I’m looking forward to reading your book, even though with this reader you’re preaching to the converted.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I used to think that since the bad advice has been around for 35 years, it would another 35 years to wither and die. Now I believe the Wisdom of Crowds effect has been wildly accelerated by the internet, so the change will happen quickly.

  29. Catherine

    I think you’re right in that we’re reaching a tipping point. I don’t believe this is my own observational bias because I’ve been following this way of eating for quite some time and there’s definitely been more widespread info about it lately. I love it! I’m hoping that all those people who mock me now will one day be on the bandwagon and will realise that they were wrong. I can only hope! Worse than ignorance is wilful ignorance…. It amazes me that I still receive daily ‘You’re going to have a heart attack’ comments from co-workers, despite the fact that I weigh less than 130lb at 5’5″ and I run keto-fuelled half-marathons! Is my homecooked keto food really worse than their frozen processed rubbish?

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Give it time. They’ll not only agree with you, they’ll pretend they knew it all along.

      1. Thomas E.

        Cognitive dissonance at its finest.

        Thanks again for the book recommendation – Mistakes where Made, But not by ME 🙂

  30. Garry

    I noticed yesterday that my Safeway moved all the bottled waters to the shelves opposite the chips, where there used to be bottled soft drinks (e.g., Coke, Sprite, Pepsi).

    I guess it’s a small improvement that folks are now washing down their Fritos with water and not with flavored HFCS solutions.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’ll take the small changes. Enough small changes, you’ve got a big change.

  31. Linda

    “When will we be holding the mass trials to shoot, hang, or imprison for life the criminals who condemned hundreds of millions of people to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer and the whole spectrum of “diseases of civilization” – just so they could line their pockets?”

    I’m with you, Tom Welsh! For people like me, who could walk and work 16 hours a day and within 2 months had to quit working and walk with a walker due to statins, change is not enough! My doctor believed in statins and convinced me- she also believed in low fat, “heart healthy whole grains,” etc. I truly think some of these people in pharma, food, etc. should have to pay! I had to convert my own doctor after being crippled for life! I took tons of literature and bought her a copy of Fat Head and a couple of other books. Later, she remarked to me that she wondered how statins could be so heavily promoted? I told her- like Tom Naughton said in Fat Head, “Follow the money..” Now, there is one doc who doesn’t prescribe them anymore….a little late, however.

  32. Armando

    “Experts discovered that fat is not bad for you.” What bunch bs that is. It has never been proven that was bad in the first place. Our savior Ancel Keys has forsaken us and told us that carbs were good, fat =cholesterol, which means it will clog your arteries. Why arent they discrediting him(you and Taubes did a great job with that one) and his studies?

    At my local Burger King(it is called “Hungry Jacks” in Australia) do a great job catering to people who do not eat bread. At my local super market now they sell raw pork rinds so you can cook them yourself. That just started this month!

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s a face-saving thing. Easier to call it a discovery than an admission that anti-fat hysteria was based on lousy science in the first place.

      1. Thomas E.

        It might be beyond that. I have to feel there are 2 general categories.

        a) Professionals who really care about their patients and the public in general, and have a really hard time with the notion of how much damage they have done if the Lipid Hypothesis has wound up doing significantly more harm than good. I would like to think this is the majority of the holdbacks who should know better.

        b) Liability and vanity. These are the professionals, who probably no longer need to be professionals, that are worried about exposure to liability if proven to have done harm, or are just to embarrassed to admit they messed up.

        There may be a gr[e|a]y area in between. Either way, remember that little thing at the end of med school “Do no harm” …….

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I think we’re looking at the phenomenon described in the book you just mentioned: Mistakes Were Made (but not by me).

  33. samc

    Tipping point, don’t think that will occur until the prices of healthy options is less than or at least equal to the junk foods. When you shop, just watch what the people next to your are buying, it isn’t changing in a perceptible way.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s already occurring. More people are grasping what healthy food actually is and demanding it. More producers are producing it. That doesn’t mean everyone will choose quality food over cheap food, but many more are.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I think the “one funeral at a time” statement was true when knowledge flowed down from on high. A handful of information gatekeepers could control the conversation. That’s less and less true these days.

  34. Stephen T.

    We need to forgive those who honestly got it wrong or they’ll cling on even longer to protect themselves and do more harm. Doctors and nutritionists passed on the advice given to them from on high. It was based on bad science and was harmful. We need to make it as easy as possible for them to back away.

    Mistakes are human and so is the desire to defend credibility, prestige and position. The problem was the ridiculous ‘certainty’ that was nothing of the sort.

    I’m less forgiving of those who knew but resisted the truth for commercial reasons. They will be on the wrong side of history.

    1. Tom Naughton

      I agree. When I worked for a health magazine 30 years ago, I also wrote about the benefits of low-fat diets … because that’s the information I received from on high.

  35. Linda

    “When will we be holding the mass trials to shoot, hang, or imprison for life the criminals who condemned hundreds of millions of people to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer and the whole spectrum of “diseases of civilization” – just so they could line their pockets?”

    I’m with you, Tom Welsh! For people like me, who could walk and work 16 hours a day and within 2 months had to quit working and walk with a walker due to statins, change is not enough! My doctor believed in statins and convinced me- she also believed in low fat, “heart healthy whole grains,” etc. I truly think some of these people in pharma, food, etc. should have to pay! I had to convert my own doctor after being crippled for life! I took tons of literature and bought her a copy of Fat Head and a couple of other books. Later, she remarked to me that she wondered how statins could be so heavily promoted? I told her- like Tom Naughton said in Fat Head, “Follow the money..” Now, there is one doc who doesn’t prescribe them anymore….a little late, however.

  36. Stephen T.

    We need to forgive those who honestly got it wrong or they’ll cling on even longer to protect themselves and do more harm. Doctors and nutritionists passed on the advice given to them from on high. It was based on bad science and was harmful. We need to make it as easy as possible for them to back away.

    Mistakes are human and so is the desire to defend credibility, prestige and position. The problem was the ridiculous ‘certainty’ that was nothing of the sort.

    I’m less forgiving of those who knew but resisted the truth for commercial reasons. They will be on the wrong side of history.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I agree. When I worked for a health magazine 30 years ago, I also wrote about the benefits of low-fat diets … because that’s the information I received from on high.

    2. Walter Bushell

      As per Rwanda and South Africa, it may be necessary to let the malefactors off the hook to end the cycle of retribution and move to a workable society.

      Societies go screaming yellow bonkers at times.

  37. Jill

    On the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Facebook page there was a pic of a child in hospital, after a Type 1 diagnosis. She was eating a bowl of cereal and milk. I politely expressed my concern about her diet. My post was quickly removed. I was warned that any posts about diet will be immediately removed. They banned me.

  38. Sky King

    I just hope that as a consequence of more and more folks become educated that foods such as grains/grasses and its PUFA oils, the sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose, etc.), and processed carbs are the reasons for what’s slowly killing many millions of us that there will still be enough beef, fish, chickens, eggs, pork, etc., to go around to feed everyone.

    The prices for such commodities as beef, pork, chicken, butter, etc. will surely start to climb as quantities start to dwindle trying to meet demand. That’s the bad news!

  39. Troy Wynn

    As mentioned before, it is dangerous to combine saturated fat with refined carbohydrates. You can’t have it both ways. I remind my clients about this. The message is incomplete if you ask me. Food companies will add the fat to the flour and sugar and call it health food. It’s like “gluten free.” I’ll ask what’s the carb content? It’s high, yeah, still spikes your blood sugar. Not so good.

  40. Cindy

    in my eyes the problem is now going to be people eating high fat AND high carb. We are hearing the “saturated fat is good” message but not hearing the “carbs are bad” message clearly enough. Simply adding back in the fat isn’t going to improve our health and assuming that they will be filled up more with fat means they will reduce the carbohydrate simply won’t work. I’m sure of it. They will want their burger on a bun, their bacon and eggs with toast and their rib eye with potatoes and corn. Even going “gluten free” doesn’t remove the carbs, it simply switches to rice, soy and other grains and starches. Paleo doesn’t cut the carbs much either – just has people selecting different ones. Not going to solve the problem. Carb addiction and the blood sugar roller coaster continue…

    1. Tom Naughton

      I fully expect them to fight back. The anti-fat, anti-cholesterol message has entire industries built up around it. But at this point, it’s a desperate counterattack in a war they’re losing. It’s the Battle of the Bulge.

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