Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Fat of the Land


The evidence that conventional wisdom regarding the deceptive and misleading mainstream dietary advice is slowly gaining momentum and recognition. A slew of articles have been published recently, all addressing the notion that the emphasis on avoiding saturated fats to promote "heart health" has been wrong all along.

I still remember the first time I saw a low-carb/high-protein diet website that stated emphatically that I could eat as much bacon, eggs, cheese, steak and butter as I wanted, and that I would lose weight while doing so. I thought I was reading a website version equivalent to a tabloid media's cover story regarding Elvis spotted flying in a UFO over the White House.

Our mainstream, anti-saturated fat zeitgeist had been that deeply ingrained into my consciousness. Not only did it take me reading a whole host of websites over a period of about a year to overcome my initial disbelief...but it also took a trip to Europe to see the way they ate bacon, eggs and sausage every single day for breakfast, and I didn't see a society that looks like the people of walmart. Yet, I still expected to step on the scale when I returned home and see some sort of weight gain, since I was eating those high protein/high fat breakfast meals daily for two weeks at the various bed and breakfasts I stayed at.

I actually lost 5 pounds. And this was a trip for which I spent mostly sitting on my ass and driving or riding on tour busses, and drinking beer and whisky at pubs and B&B's like there was no tomorrow.

Only then did the realization truly dawn on me that those websites I had read were right...and that anti-fat, anti-animal protein programming I had been so thoroughly inculcated with was all based on lies and propaganda.

In retrospect, I think the programming about food and diet were even stronger than the cultural programming regarding misandry and feminism.

So now I'm in my 3rd year of eating a nutrient dense diet, and I have never felt or looked better. It is some what gratifying to see the truth is slowly gaining momentum towards mass acceptance.

The problem of course, is the fact that dietary misinformation is absolutely under the control of the Government, non-profit organizations beholden to grant funding, and the giant food processing, agricultural and pharmaceutical corporations who supply that grant funding and campaign contributions who all profit immensely from keeping the public ill informed and malnourished.

For example, lets look at the American Heart Associations dietary recommendations page, from their Using Healthier Food Preparation guidelines:


*Stock up on heart-healthy cookbooks and recipes for cooking ideas.

* Use “choice” or “select” grades of beef rather than “prime,” and be sure to trim the fat off the edges before cooking.

* Use cuts of red meat and pork labeled “loin” and “round,” as they usually have the least fat.

* With poultry, use the leaner light meat (breasts) instead of the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs), and be sure to remove the skin.

* Make recipes or egg dishes with egg whites, instead of egg yolks. Substitute two egg whites for each egg yolk.

* For recipes that require dairy products, try low-fat or fat-free versions of milk, yogurt and cheese.

* Use reduced-fat, low-fat, light or no-fat salad dressings (if you need to limit your calories) on salads, for dips or as marinades.

* Use and prepare foods that contain little or no salt.


I get angry when I read these LIES. This is exactly how I used to cook and eat for years. And I over a good 7 years of eating like this, I watched as I slowly but surely got more and more overweight.

Now the Scientific American just published an article entitled: Carbs against Cardio: More Evidence that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, Threaten the Heart

Eat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the U.S. government for the past 30 years. But while Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country’s biggest killer. Now a spate of new research, including a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies, suggests a reason why: investigators may have picked the wrong culprit. Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does—a finding that has serious implications for new dietary guidelines expected this year.


I'm not holding my breath waiting for any new dietary guidelines put out by the Government-NonProf-Media-Corporate conglomerate. Even if they finally admit that they may have been wrong about saturated fats, they will still find some way to align their recommendations to benefit the bottom line of the food processing and agricultural corporation's bottom line.

Don't believe me?

From Why the State Hates Cholesterol:

Additionally, the State-created cartel of subsidy receivers is heavily biased in favor of grain products. According to this breakdown, between 1995 and 2003, $8.5 billion in U.S. subsidies went to growers of plant-based food crops, while only $5.5 million went to animal products, which means that over 99% of agricultural food subsidies go to plant products. The largest 10% of subsidized farms received 72% of subsidies, but a full 60% were not subsidized at all. As Brian Riedl points out, the $360,000 per year cap on farm subsidies is easy for large farms to pull loopholes through: Tyler Farms of Arkansas collected almost $32 million in farm subsidies between 1996 and 2001 by dividing its farm into 66 individual "corporations."

Not only has the cholesterol hypothesis helped consolidate the government’s ties to the agricultural industry through a shift in the diet away from animal foods and towards plant foods, but doubtlessly the massive level of soy subsidies – soy is the fifth most subsidized crop – has contributed to a surplus to be disposed of, whose result has been the manufacturing of a massive myth that this odd-tasting, highly estrogenic bean is a "health food."


This is why soy is in everything nowadays.

Another common aspect of dietary misinformation is the catch-all phrase "high-fat diet," making no distinction between the type of fat...namely the distinction between Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Note the American Heart Association's recommendations:

* Use liquid vegetable oils or nonfat cooking sprays whenever possible.

* Whether cooking or making dressings, use the oils that are lowest in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol – such as canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil – but use them sparingly, because they contain 120 calories per tablespoon.

* Stay away from coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil. Even though they are vegetable oils and have no cholesterol, they are high in saturated fats.


In other words, only use Omega 6 rich vegetable oils.

No wonder I was getting fat following the AHA recommendations.

While it's good to note that more and more people are finally starting to recognize the role that sugar and high fructose corn syrup has played in creating our obesity and heart disease epidemics - I believe the true cause of the obesity epidemic has been BOTH the prominence of both sugar and polyunsaturated fatty acid, Omega 6 rich vegetable oils in all of the processed and convenience, take out and restaurant foods that now make up the majority of the Western diet.

12 comments:

Ulysses said...

Whatever, Dave. I'm pretty sure we evolved to eat heavily processed grain heavy diets, just like our ancestors ate when they were hunter/gatherers.

At work, biodegradable cups have shown up in the break room. The cups are made of corn. How can you think about corn cups and think that crop subsidies are out of control?

Hughman said...

The problem isn't as virulent in the UK (or Europe for that matter) because the Common Agricultural Policy allows us to have a wide variety of fresh foods in our shops at a reasonable price.

Although 'fat' is the enemy here as well, it's part of the wider understanding that it is calorific content of food that is bad. So sugar and processed carbs are just as bad.

As a student of medicine, I can tell you that going to the extreme of low-carb/high-protein diet is bad unless tightly controlled (it does have a use in treating epilepsy and other neurological conditions) - the Atkins diet has been shown to damage your kidney and liver. Plus your breath stinks.
You still need some carbs, and fresh & veg (not as much as you think though, the 5-8 a day is excessive, but it's there to make people aim for it)

The way to lose weight: cut your calories down, lose the processed sugars and fats, increase your fibre and protein intake, do some weights, do some cardio. Simple.

gallier2 said...

@Hughman

you're wrong. Read Gary Taubes' Good Calorie Bad Calorie to learn what the science really says about calories and low-carb.
Your curriculum is part of the problem of "nutrition science". You were taught bunk during your studies.

Keonie has some links to differents nutrition blogs with excellent material, you should check it out.

Hughman said...

I don't see how it's bunk.

To lose weight, you need energy spent > energy taken in.

Energy spent goes up with exercise (and technically can go up with adding 'complex' foods like meat and fibre to your diet, that your body has to work to process. Drinking all your water straight from the fridge can even help. Eating a large breakfast, medium lunch, small dinner may also help, but that research is still coming in, but there's a strong cultural basis for it as attested by Greek, Spanish and Fresh sayings. Even the English once had it: Eat like a king in the morning, a prince in the day and a pauper at night)

The other big thing is lowering your glucose tolerance/insulin intolerance. Exercise and lowering your stress levels helps (stress creates cortisol, which leads to muscle loss, central obesity and insulin intolerance. Exercise increases effective metabolism of glucose and raises your metabolic rate)

Cutting processed carbs/sugars (high GI) helps with this as well. But you still need some carbs - but get them from wholemeal, new potatoes, fruit and veg. Not having enough carbs will lead to ketoacidosis - fucks with your nervous system, liver and kidneys mainly, and puts you at risk of 'rebound' (your body considers itself to have entered starvation, so any future consumption of simple sugars will lead to rapid weight gain). There's no beating about the bush with that one.

You'll also miss out on almost all the B vitamins (needed for metabolism and tissue growth/repair), vitamin C and trace elements like magnesium. Beriberi is caused because of overdependence on white rice, but brown rice sorts that out. Kwashiorkor comes from adequate calories but no dietary protein. Ketoacidosis from a lack of glucose entering cells (starvation or type I diabetes)
Obesity is because of an energy imbalance coupled with genetic predisposition. Eating healthily and in moderation from a young age can prevent it.

gallier2 said...

There are several points in your post that are common knowledge but are blatantly false, when one looks in detail. I will try to give some hints to some of the common errors. At the end of the post I will provide some links to blogs and site which have looked in detail to these points.

To lose weight, you need energy spent > energy taken in.

This is the classical
weight diff = calorie in - calorie out
equation, the problem is, that the 3 terms of that equation are interdependent, change one of the terms and the 2 others change in an extremly complex way. Gary Taubes spends half of his book to show that the calorie hypotheses is naively wrong on the calorie in part and on the calorie out part also.

complex' foods like meat and fibre[...]your body has to work to process.

Meat is very easy to process and fibres are not processed at all by your body, per definition it is the indigestible part of your meal.

Exercice

Mainly agree but only for short high intensity work. Long cardio/endurance is imo a waste of time.


But you still need some carbs
Name me the essential carbs? There are none, why, because we can synthesis glucose from proteins (gluconeogenesis). It is established beyond any doubt that one can survive (thrive) on essentially 0 carb diets. The Inuits lived (nearly) that way for millenia. Vilhalmur Stefansson lived for several years only on a pure carnivorous diet.

Not having enough carbs will lead to ketoacidosis

No, it will lead to ketosis, a normal metabolic process. Ketoacidos will come when you don't have insulin. There's a big difference.
http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/ketones-and-ketosis/low-carb-diet-takes-one-below-the-belt/

As for the vitamins, minerals and trace elements, there are normally more of them in low-carb/paleo diets (vitamin A/D/K2 are fat soluble, are often missing in high-carb/low-fat diets) or there are much less needed.

I invite you to learn more on paleo/lowcarb, especially from the scientific point of view. Here some ressources where you can look for yourself:

Blogs with high science content
http://www.paleonu.com/
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/
http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/
http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/
http://conditioningresearch.blogspot.com/

Blogs with a more testimonial approach
http://freetheanimal.com/
http://www.fathead-movie.com/

Blog about zero carb
http://zeroinginonhealth.com/

Site about debunking the cholesterol hypotheses (it's linked to the villification of saturated fats)
http://thincs.org/
http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/cholesterol-blog.html

Anonymous said...

Yet, I still expected to step on the scale when I returned home and see some sort of weight gain, since I was eating those high protein/high fat breakfast meals daily for two weeks at the various bed and breakfasts I stayed at.

I actually lost 5 pounds. And this was a trip for which I spent mostly sitting on my ass and driving or riding on tour busses, and drinking beer and whisky at pubs and B&B's like there was no tomorrow.


Did you ever figure that you simply ate less while vacationing? Protein and fat have a satiating effect on the appetite, so how do you know you weren't simply eating less? Did you track calorie intake? Self reporting and ballpark figures are worthless as the vast majority of people are terrible at estimating food/calorie intake.


Eat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the U.S. government for the past 30 years. But while Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country’s biggest killer.

The problem isn't where the calories are coming from so much as the amount. People have been trained like monkeys to eat ALL THE TIME. Who gives a shit if the percentage of calories people are eating from saturated fat has gone down when the TOTAL calories people are consuming have gone UP. Not only have total calories gone up, but the amount of exercise people get has gone down. This results in people getting fat.

gallier2 said...

Here another link about the energy balance

http://sparkofreason.blogspot.com/2008/06/energy-regulation-1-do-calories-count.html

gallier2 said...

Protein and fat have a satiating effect on the appetite, so how do you know you weren't simply eating less?

Oh, what an insight! May be it would be a good strategy for weightloss then? Man, am I good, I just reinvented Banting, Yudkin, Atkins, Lutz, Groves, Eades Protein Power , low carb diet.

Who gives a shit if the percentage of calories people are eating from saturated fat has gone down when the TOTAL calories people are consuming have gone UP.

Ever considered that there may be perhaps a causal link between the two? Maybe the consumed calories went up, because saturated fat consumption went down?

The problem isn't where the calories are coming from so much as the amount.

The insight above and this sentence are in opposition. Depending on where the calories are coming from, the amount consumed will change. Never had the McDonalds effect? Eat 1500 calories at McD and being hungry 2 hours later. I never have that effect when eating my own cooked meals, even with less calories than that.

Aaron said...

A week ago, I had lunch with some people from my church. Everything at this place---except maybe the salads---was breaded and fried in vegetable oil, so nothing there could be considered healthy. But it was still depressing to listen to them talk about healthy food and share their knowledge.

It was like a list of bad mainstream beliefs, only broken further. I heard that saturated fat is bad for you because you can't process it, so it just piles up and clogs your arteries. I heard that chicken and fish are the best foods you can eat. (Some fish can be pretty good, but there's nothing special about chicken, especially factory raised.) I heard that a total cholesterol level of 120 is something to celebrate. (Never mind that the correlation of mortality risk rises when cholesterol goes below 160 just as much as it does above 220.) I heard that chicken gizzards are super high in cholesterol, but onion rings battered and fried in the exact same stuff are apparently fine.

I just kept my mouth shut, although I couldn't help but shake my head at the bizarre thing about sat fats. Sure, I could have spoken up, and maybe even convinced a couple people of a couple things (while ruining everyone else's lunch). But it would have been wiped out a dozen times over by the end of the day, as the conventional wisdom was reinforced in them by everything from TV to magazines at the grocery aisle to the packaging on their food at home.

I agree: nutrition may be the area where people are brainwashed most completely, more so than politics or economics or cultural issues like feminism, because it's so completely pervasive. You can't go a single day without seeing numerous repetitions of bad info on diet, always presented entirely as accepted fact.

John Smith said...

if you take anything i've ever posted online or otherwise to be worthwhile or at least worth consideration...watch/rent/download the documentary, "Food, Inc." it examines the fast food industry, the usage of corn and other additives as making up our diet and directly contributing to our increase in health problems as a nation.

fast food is so cheap b/c it is subsidized by the government, and cows are now raised on CORN not their natural food of grass/etc.....i could go on and on.

Michael said...

@Ulysses

I'm pretty sure we evolved to eat heavily processed grain heavy diets, just like our ancestors ate when they were hunter/gatherers.

What hunter/gatherer groups ate heavily processed grain heavy diets?

@Hughman

the Atkins diet has been shown to damage your kidney and liver.

By whom?

Plus your breath stinks.

Your breath only stinks while you are in benign dietary ketosis 9and maybe not even then), which is an extremely small part of the Atkins diet (first two weeks actually).

Rawsome said...

"Eat like a queen in the morning, a princess in the day and a nun at night"...

I've always been a big breakfast eater. If I eat a big breakfast though it keeps me full for the entire day and I don't get hungry til late at night, which is not a good time to eat.

Ayurveda advises that the largest meal of the day be at high noon and a short nap on one's left side taken to aid digestion.

Both breakfast and dinner are meant to be "light". And of course some form of exercise performed in the morning before eating.

Like a half hour of yoga in the early morning followed by meditation is a great way to jumpstart your metabolism. Then, drink a few tall glasses of room temp water with some lemon juice squeezed in.

After that, soaked and sprouted garbonzo beans with shredded ginger provides you with protein, vitamins, and digestive aid (ginger is a digestive aid).

Or maybe a green smoothie - your favorite organic greens (don't forget those marinephytoplanktons), blended with flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds or other Omega 3 rich seeds.

Or maybe just a plate of fresh fruit drizzled with organic coconut oil or better yet - relished alongside the meat of the coconut.

Living in Hawaii is AWESOME for that!

Anyway, there are so many approaches.

Raw, organic food is the tastiest and healthiest.