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'Healthy Diet' no Longer Defensible

4/6/2009

The idea that a fatty diet leads to heart disease has never been proven

Since the low-fat, carbohydrate based "Prudent Diet" or "healthy eating" recommendations were published in the 1980s, many studies have shown that it is based on very shaky foundations indeed. The idea that a fatty diet leads to heart disease has never been proven – and it isn't for want of trying!

More recent studies have demonstrated that the reverse is true – that high-fat, low-carb diets are healthier and that the recommendations to base meals of starchy foods and "eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day" have increased the numbers of people becoming overweight or obese and contracting serious diseases such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease, the very disease against which the recommendations were aimed.

Now I feel vindicated as Dr Sylvan Lee Weinberg, a former President of the American College of Cardiology, a former President of the American College of Chest Physicians and the present editor of The American Heart Hospital Journal, in a paper published in the 4 March edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, stated that these recommendations are no longer tenable (this has been my position for over thirty years!). Here is the abstract of that paper:

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The Diet-Heart Hypothesis: A Critique
Sylvan Lee Weinberg, MD, MACC
Abstract

The low-fat "diet heart hypothesis" has been controversial for nearly 100 years. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, promulgated vigorously by the National Cholesterol Education Program, National Institutes of Health, and American Heart Association since the Lipid Research Clinics-Primary Prevention Program in 1984, and earlier by the U.S. Department of Agriculture food pyramid, may well have played an unintended role in the current epidemics of obesity, lipid abnormalities, type II diabetes, and metabolic syndromes. This diet can no longer be defended by appeal to the authority of prestigious medical organizations or by rejecting clinical experience and a growing medical literature suggesting that the much-maligned low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may have a salutary effect on the epidemics in question.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2004;43:731–3

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Because Dr Weinberg's critique does not 'knock Atkins' I doubt very much whether it will be reported in the press, TV or radio over here in Britain. And probably not in the USA either.

There are certainly vested interests at work to cover up the huge body of evidence supporting a low-carb, high-fat diet. I imagine that, in such a litigious society as the USA, and increasingly here in UK, the nutritionists and dieticians, who really should have a better knowledge of their professed subject, dare not admit that they have been wrong and done so much harm. But the cracks are beginning to show and it only needs a trigger for the s*** to really start hitting the fan. This paper could be that trigger.
Last updated 4 March 2004

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