It always makes me laugh whenever someone refers to eating a low-carb diet as a “fad”. Be it LCHF, Ketogenic, Paleo, Banting, Atkins or whatever trendy name you want to call it, human beings have been nourishing their bodies with animal fats/proteins and vegetables since the beginning of their existence. Over the vast scope of time, humans in general, have always been carnivores/omnivores, feasting on hunted meats, gathered vegetables and the occasional seasonal fruit.
- Refined carbohydrates were introduced to our diet a mere 5 seconds ago.
- The dietary advice to eat low-fat for optimal health, only 2 seconds ago.
Perhaps these short sighted individuals should reexamine the definition of the word “fad”
What has happened since we have adopted this new “low-fat fad”? A global insurgence of metabolic disease, all in different stages of epidemiological development, all with the same root cause. Certainly heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the U.S., but could obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease all be related to this defective dietary advice as well? Many Doctors and nutritional research scientists believe this to be a fact. And the root cause is S.A.D. “The Standard American Diet.”
As far back as the 1800s our country was on the right path in regards to the treatment of obesity. Back in 1825 Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin published The Physiology of Taste in which he said “The second of the chief causes of obesity is the floury and starchy substances which man makes the prime ingredients of his daily nourishment.”
In 1863 William Banting published his Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. This pamphlet was considered by many to be the worlds first diet book. Banting believed that weight gain resulted from eating too many “fattening carbohydrates.” In fact, for most of the 1800s and into the early to mid 1900s, diets low in refined carbohydrates were accepted as the standard treatment for obesity. (By the 1950s it was considered to be standard advice.)
“Rich desserts can be omitted without risk, and should be, by anyone who is obese and trying to reduce. The amount of plain, starchy foods (cereals, breads, potatoes) taken is what determines… how much (weight) they gain or lose.”
–Dr. Benjamin Spock 1946
Notice the dietary advice to combat obesity in this short video clip from 1958
In the early 1900s the “calorie counting” philosophy was spawned by the publication of Eat Your Way To Health written by Dr. Robert Hugh Rose and then further expanded upon by Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters in her book entitled Diet and Health, With Key to the Calories. This began the debate as to the value of the calorie dense saturated fats. But still, the majority of the scientific community at the time, was still certain of the detriment of refined carbohydrates and sugar as the culprit in obesity. In 1972, John Yudkin’s published Pure, White and Deadly: How Sugar is Killing Us and further educated the medical community of the evils of sugar and its affects on our collective health. Dr. Robert Atkins’ famous Diet Revolution was published later in that same year and became one of the fastest selling diet books in history.
But then, the tables started to turn. In response to the popularity of Dr. Atkins book, in 1973 the American Medical Association’s counsel on foods and nutrition published a blistering attack on Dr. Atkins’ ideas.Many physicians had developed the unfounded belief that the high fat content of the diet would lead to heart attacks and strokes solely based on the 7 Countries Study conducted by Dr. Ancel Keys. Unbeknownst to scientists at the time, this study was not only inaccurate, but its conclusions were derived in a manner that should have prevented its publication in the first place. By 1977, bad science had officially invaded the mainstream and the demonization of “dietary fat” took hold. The debate was settled, not as a result of scientific discovery, but by a governmental decree. George McGovern’s Select Committee on Nutrition and Human needs declared The Dietary Goals for the United States. Thus requiring that the “low-fat” model for healthy eating become an official guideline for doctors, and medical professionals to follow, recommend and prescribe.
Keep in mind, there are but 3 macro-nutrients: fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Everything that we eat falls into one or a combination of these 3 categories. Food companies were faced with the challenge of removing the fat. In order to adhere to these new dietary guidelines, they had to replace the fats with either protein or carbohydrates. Being that many sources of protein are also rich in fat, adding refined carbohydrates became the only solution, and of course adding sugar for taste. Then came the chemical nightmare of changing from real butter, lard and healthy oils to the unstable, toxic molecules of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
Here we sit, 4 decades later amidst a disaster. These guidelines changed not only the way Americans ate, but changed the way Americans thought as well. Over the course of these past 40 years we have collectively sat back and watched as heart-disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and dementia has trended upwards to epic proportions. Believe it or not, to this day, a majority of doctors and health professionals will continue to substantiate this bad science in spite of its 4 decades of detrimental results and failure.
The New/Old Truth:
We now know that insulin is the hormone most responsible for triggering fat storage. Refined carbohydrates (sugars) is the macro-nutrient most responsible for spiking insulin and glucose levels in our bodies. The ritualistic ingestion of these high glycemic foods over the course of years cause obesity. Furthermore, this continued pattern of eating can also lead to the development of insulin resistance and a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. In this past decade, it has come to light that this same insulin resistance can begin to take hold in the brain, leading to what many scientists are calling “Type 3 diabetes” or as its been referred to in the past, “Alzheimer’s Disease”.
The Big Picture
Epidemic # 1 Obesity
Obesity started trending upwards in the 1970s. In the 1970s only 1 in every 10 Americans were obese. Today it has progressed to 1 in every 3. Obesity is projected to trend up to 1 in 2 Americans by the year 2030.
20 year later … Epidemic #2 Diabetes
Diabetes statistics start trending upwards in the 1990s. In the 1990s, diabetes effected 3% of the population, today it effects 10%. Diabetes is projected to effect 1 in every 3 Americans by the year 2050.
Epidemic #3 Alzheimer’s Disease
The data on Alzheimer’s disease started trending upwards in the 2010s and has just started its statistical upswing. See the chart below for current projections:
This has been a very simplified overview of the bastardization of the American diet, but solely for the purpose of brevity and sharing. And yes, I am aware that the U.S. Dietary guidelines have been altered a bit since their inception, but not by much, not by near enough. Recently these guidelines have been changed a bit towards taking the stigma away from cholesterol and by the addition of a reduction in “added sugars.” But the baseline problem is STILL the adherence to the continued demonization of healthy dietary fats and the recommendations of a low-fat diet for optimal health. (To learn more about optimizing your metabolism with proper nutrition Click Here)
In this day and age, everyone has the power of the internet at their fingertips. It is no longer necessary to simply place blind trust in the “old wives tales” parroted throughout your youth. With resources like Google Scholar and PubMed, the truth behind the many myths of modern nutrition are merely a few thumb strokes away. Gone are the days that Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz and your local news anchor wield the same influence that they once did. The current political climate has made most Americans distinctly aware of the reality of “fake news” and the abundance of resource information that is propagated by the corporate influence of the food, agriculture and pharmaceutical industries.
Small Victories = inspire CHANGE
Dr. Salim Yusuf is a world renowned cardiologist and epidemiologist. He is the Marion W. Burke Chair in Cardiovascular Disease at McMaster University Medical School and the current President of the World Heart Federation. Last month Dr. Yusuf publicly denounced the current dogma regarding the causes of cardiovascular disease in an effort to inspire change in the guideline treatment of this most prevalent illness. (To watch, Click Here)
Yoshinori Ohsumi, is a Japanese Biologist that was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in 2016 for advancing the knowledge of cellular autophagy. Thus, further spotlighting and legitimizing the science behind the detoxifying benefits of intermittent fasting, a state that happens naturally with a well formulated low-carb/high-fat ketogenic dietary lifestyle. (To learn more, Click Here)
Almost two years ago, the FDA implemented a three year phase out program to rid the American diet of trans fats by June of 2018. “It’s about time,” says Dr. Fred Kummerow who was instrumental in discovering the correlation between trans fats and heart disease way back in 1957! Since then, heart disease has become the # 1 killer of men and women in the United States. Dr. Kummerow, who will be 103 years of age this October, and has made this battle his life’s work. My hope is that he gets a chance to see this process through to completion. (To learn more, Click Here)
On May 20, 2016 the FDA finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. Among some other minor changes, the FDA is requiring food manufacturers to identify all “added sugars” in food products. Previously, these added sugars were lumped in with the “Total Carbohydrates” section of the label, and only naturally occurring sugars were identified. “Total Sugars,” in the past, have included added sugars, but this new label will expose those added sugars on an additional section of the label. Manufacturers will need to implement this new label by July 26, 2018. However, manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply. (To learn more, Click Here)
Professor Timothy Noakes has been accused of “unprofessional conduct” by the Health Professions Council of South Africa for a comment he made on social media. As ridiculous as that sounds (and it is ridiculous), Dr. Noakes has taken this opportunity to educate the world during his depositions by thoroughly explaining the detriment of the current “low fat” dietary guidelines and the benefits of low-carb/high-fat dietary intervention. Regardless of the outcome of this frivolous trial, Professor Noakes’ testimony is so organized and thorough that it could easily be formatted into a text book to benefit the education of past, present and future nutrition professionals. Here is a link to the videos of his testimony in its entirety (Click Here). Professor Noakes has also mapped out a therapeutic approach for doctors to utilize in the treatment of the metabolic diseases caused by the current inadequate dietary guidelines. (Click Here)
In the past decade there has been an insurgence of passionate leadership in the world of nutrition. Be it through the authorship of best selling books, the infiltration of mainstream media or simply tireless support and education on social media. These nutritional “Warriors” have been relentless in providing resources, education and motivation to a hopeful but misguided public. The list of passionate communicators grows longer with each passing day. The truth is out there.
These are the individuals that have inspired me on my journey back to good health:
For the latest articles from around the world that pertain to optimal health and ketogenic nutrition, as well as encouragement, advise, video lectures and the tastiest of ketogenic/low-carb recipes …Everyone’s Welcome in the Facebook Group: