Recently there have been many interesting challenges to the low fat nutritional dogma that we have been told to follow for the past few decades. As you read any of these challenges keep an open mind, as the purpose of science is to always find the ‘truth’ and not hide behind political agendas set by food companies or pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Zoe Harcombe gave a brilliant defence of her position challenging the long standing and incorrect science of Ancel Keys and his suggestion that fat, and specifically saturated fat, was the cause of heart disease. There was a recent white paper defending his position and the subsequent low fat recommendations which have been with us for more than 40 years. Dr. Harcombe’s PhD was dedicated to actually looking at the science and long held belief in low fat, and she has readily concluded the recommendations were based on false interpretation of his (in)famous ‘Seven Countries’ study.
Dr. Gary Fettke has looked into the science behind vegetarianism and veganism, and whether plant based diets provide us with better health and a better planet. His findings are interesting and he exposes myths behind these diets (you can go to his web page and read his findings). Dr. Peter Ballerstedt (he has a PhD in agronomy – watch one of his YouTube lectures) also clarifies a difficult topic. It is always worthwhile listening to expert research even if it challenges hard held beliefs.
Dr. James DiNicolantonio (a cardiovascular research scientist) has written a book called The Salt Fix, which has experts who preach low salt diets in a turmoil. Again, it takes one expert to look at the data, and then see if a low salt intake truly is the proper way for all of us to eat. Low salt intake has also been challenged by the head of the World Heart Association. Again, I open this dialogue only to have people be aware of opposing views.
All of this discourse is gratifying. I believe it’s healthy for the scientific community to finally be challenged, because we've been entrenched for so long in a mythical low calorie, low fat, and low salt methodology. Despite this, obesity rates are climbing and chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes are becoming more and more common.
Admittedly, interpretation of nutritional science is confusing. However, it’s important for all of us to stay aware of experts who are challenging beliefs, and trying to find what works for us, not only for weight loss, but for general good health.
The purpose of this week’s note is not to confuse you, but to help you realize that even the experts differ in their thoughts. If you are struggling, realize that we aren’t even close to individualizing diets, and what works for one person may not work for you.
If you are struggling, don’t allow yourself to get to the point of giving up. We all struggle, but this is the ideal time to change something to find out if that makes a difference. Fasting as per Dr. Jason Fung? Very low carbohydrate, with more fat? Changing your exercise routine such that you have 2 days of full body strength training to regain lost muscle which occurs in each of us yearly? Eliminating all snacks – healthy or not – after 7pm? More sleep? Adding good probiotics with microbiome associated vegetables? Eating 2 meals per day rather than 3? Moving supper to an earlier time?
We know it’s not easy and we know it’s a difficult journey, but the important thing is to never ever give up trying to find what works for you.
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