YET ANOTHER MAJOR STUDY SHOWS HOW WE ARE BEING DUPED BY CURRENT DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS
About six weeks ago I showed you A LARGE STUDY that concluded that higher consumption of carbohydrates was associated with increased morbidity and mortality. And not only that, but saturated fats were actually shown to be heart-protective. This is not so different than a Czech study that was published one year ago this month in Food & Nutrition Research (Food Consumption and the Actual Statistics of Cardiovascular Diseases: An Epidemiological Comparison of 42 European Countries).
In this study, the five authors from Masaryk University started by using the premise that all the foods we grew up being told were bad and believed were bad, are in fact bad. This list included things like red meat, butter, high-fat dairy products, eggs, and refined cereals. From there they compared average national health parameters (physical findings and blood lab values) as well as national morbidity and mortality rates for a wide range of illnesses, to what people were actually eating as measured by long-term questionnaire results from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAOSTAT), which is based in Rome.
Using this database, we collected daily consumption rates of 53 foodstuffs. We included all main food items and even some subcategories, whose annual per capita consumption was higher than 5 kg, concentrated sources of fat (olive oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil), and the general indicators of fat, protein, and energy intake. In addition to that, we computed nine additional food items (the energy from carbohydrates and alcohol, potato and cereal carbohydrates, and plant food; animal fat and animal protein; total fat and animal protein; total fat and total protein; pork and beef fat) in order to reveal more subtle relationships.
What did these authors find. "Irrespective of the possible limitations of the ecological study design, the indisputable finding of our paper is the fact that the highest cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevalence can be found in countries with the highest carbohydrate consumption, whereas the lowest CVD prevalence is typical of countries with the highest intake of fat and protein. The polarity between these geographical patterns is striking." Did you catch that? After looking at the dietary habits of all forty-two European countries, these authors determined (using UN statistics) that carbs were related to heart problems and that fat / protein was heart-protective. But it gets better. These authors came to almost identical conclusions that the authors of the previous study mentioned came to. It's conclusive folks' we've been duped!
The positive effect of low-carbohydrate diets on CVD risk factors (obesity, blood lipids, blood glucose, insulin, blood pressure) is already apparent in clinical trials lasting 3-36 months and low-carbohydrate diets also appear superior to low-fat diets in this regard. However, these findings are still not reflected by official dietary recommendations that continue to perpetuate the unproven connection between saturated fat and CVDs. Besides total fat and protein consumption, the most likely preventive factors emerging in our study include fruits (particularly citrus fruits), wine, high-fat dairy products (especially cheese), sources of plant fat (tree nuts, olives), and potentially even vegetables and other low-glycaemic plant sources.
And in similar fashion to the other study, these authors said that dietary recommendations need to be changed to reflect their conclusions --- conclusions that are echoed by a large number of previous studies. The cool thing is that these guidelines have already been done for you by a group of thirty physicians and researchers who are considered elite in their field (HERE).
And while simply going LOW CARB is far better than not, I would suggest you take a look at THESE ARTICLES to see exactly why the Paleo Diet is incredibly anti-inflammatory / anti-reactive --- huge factors to consider if you are dealing with CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES or AUTOIMMUNE ISSUES. And for some of you, a KETOGENIC APPROACH might prove beneficial, at least for awhile. If you want to see how diet fits into the bigger picture as far as getting out of pain and returning to health, HERE is the short post you need to take a look at.
NEW STUDY TALKS ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIETARY CARBS, DIETARY FATS, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, AND DEATHRead Now
NEW STUDY TAKES ON THE FAT -VS- CARBS DEBATE AS RELATED TO DISEASE & DEATH
"High carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality.Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality, whereas saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke. Global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of these findings." From the study being discussed today
"The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." From President John F. Kennedy's Commencement Address at Yale University, June of 1962
If you are a person who lives every day with CHRONIC PAIN; or maybe you treat people with chronic pain, why would it pay for you to read yet another post about diet? Simple. As you were taught back in grade school, you are what you eat. And with a huge segment of Americans subsisting on HIGHLY PROCESSED, SUGAR-LADEN, JUNK (HERE is a study that shows that young people's chief source of calories is soda), figuring out overarching dietary principles is critical as far as successfully addressing pain is concerned. But as you already know, diet is a much bigger deal than simply pain. (can anyone say INFLAMMATION?) Case in point....
The Lancet has long been considered one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world (established in 1823, it also happens to be one of the oldest). In light of the direction the journal has taken over the past several years, I was surprised to see their latest issue carrying a massive study called Associations of Fats and Carbohydrate Intake with Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality in 18 Countries from Five Continents (PURE): A Prospective Cohort Study.
Over 40 authors from universities and labs around the world crunched a decade's worth of data from the dietary intake questionnaires of over 135,000 people (both males and females between the ages of 35 and 70) from five continents, looking chiefly at ratios of carbs to fats to protein as related to....
Before we look at their conclusions, I want to share some history on this topic. To do that, I am going to take you back to 1988; the year I finished at Kansas State University (Nutrition / Exercise Physiology) and started the CHIROPRACTIC PROGRAM at Logan University. Because I remember years by music or sporting events (HERE), here are a few songs that were playing on the radio back then to help your mind drift back in time three decades.
Thanks to ANCEL KEYS work in the 1950's, 1988 was just another year in an ongoing battle. No; the word "battle" is not nearly strong enough. It was a full-on war against an evil enemy --- a war that I have written about at least three different times (HERE, HERE, and HERE). It was a war so big and deeply filled with propaganda (think Orwell's 1984 here) that many people are unaware it ever ended. A war whose remnants are still widely seen in the average medical clinic and university research facility. We are talking, of course, about the war on dietary fat as the major culprit in HIGH CHOLESTEROL, OBESITY, HEART DISEASE, CANCER, DIABETES, HYPERTENSION, and a host of others. This war ushered in the "Low Fat" / "Fat Free" era of American dietary history, and as this section of the supermarket expanded, oddly enough to the powers that be, so did our nation's collective waistlines.
By 1992, the USDA had put out their now infamous Food Pyramid. While the idea of using diagrams to simplify the process of helping people make smart dietary decisions was nothing new, the Food Pyramid (picture below) attempted to simplify things even further, and was nothing if not simple. The Pyramid's insinuation was that since it was fat that made you fat as well as being the causal factor behind just about any disease process you cared to mention, you could eat as much of the bottom row (grains) as you wanted. The problems is, as a person who grew up on a Kansas beef farm, I can tell you exactly what happens to cattle if you feed them unlimited quantities of grain. And unfortunately, it's no different for people.
Furthermore, we were told to use fats and oils "sparingly". Again, the insinuation was that since dietary fat was the cause of our collective health problems, the less you could eat the healthier you would be, with many touting novel ways to eat totally "Fat Free". Interestingly enough, in the pre-WW II dietary recommendations, the government was already touting FORTIFIED MARGARINE as a healthy alternative / equivalent to butter (any time you see the word "fortified," run far and run fast because it means that any real nutrition has been removed and replaced with SYNTHETIC NUTRITION, usually for the express purpose of increasing shelf-life). Who invented this pyramid that has wreaked so much havoc on American health, leaving in it's wake a path of disease and death?
Enter Dr. Luise Light, who tells her story in a short article called A Fatally Flawed Food Guide. In brief, while working as a Professor of Nutrition at New York University, she was hired as the USDA's Director of Dietary Guidance and Nutrition Education Research to create a simple visual to be modeled after Sweden's original food pyramid. Only something happened along the way. Her team's original pyramid was hijacked by the financial interests of "Big Ag" and altered by her bosses.
The original recommendations of up to 4 servings of grain a day was replaced with up to 11 servings (GULP!). And that's not all, the final pyramid even had a picture of saltine crackers --- something for years touted as a "healthy snack" on the AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION'S sample diet and dietary recommendations (I used to keep a copy in the office but am not sure what happened to it). I am cherry-picking her article here (for the record, realize that the primary aim of the USDA has nothing to do with safety or health, but instead to promote US agriculture in America and around the world).
"When our version of the Food Guide came back to us revised, we were shocked... As I later discovered, the wholesale changes made to the guide by the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture were calculated to win the acceptance of the food industry. For instance, the Ag Secretary’s office altered wording to emphasize processed foods over fresh and whole foods. Where we, the USDA nutritionists, called for a base of 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, it was replaced with a paltry 2-3 servings. Our recommendation of 3-4 daily servings of whole-grain breads and cereals was changed to a whopping 6-11 servings forming the base of the Food Pyramid as a concession to the processed wheat and corn industries. Moreover, my nutritionist group had placed baked goods made with white flour — including crackers, sweets and other low-nutrient foods laden with sugars and fats — at the peak of the pyramid, recommending that they be eaten sparingly. To our alarm, in the “revised” Food Guide, they were now made part of the Pyramid’s base."
Unfortunately, having been fed the "eat-all-the-carbs-you-want-it's-fat-that-makes-you-fat" message from professor after professor, I bought in, even though looking back, I had more than enough knowledge of physiology to have known better. Stupid me; I didn't question what I was being taught (I am actually BEATING MYSELF right now like Edward Norton in Fight Club). Fast forward eight years to 1996. I saw a picture of myself in shorts and a T-shirt and realized I was starting to put on some pounds and it freaked me out a bit because I had always been thin (mirrors will lie to you in ways that photographs will not).
I got my hands on Atkins' original book (1971), and not too long after that started attending seminars by Dr. Janet Lang. Needless to say, except for the occasional "CHEAT" (yes, I have been on more than one carb-induced "bender"), I've been trying to follow a LOW CARB, WHOLE FOOD, NO-GRAIN, PALEO, and at times even a high fat (KETOGENIC) approach ever since. And although I would certainly not call myself "shredded" like I was back in 1988, I feel good, and by the grace of God have managed to stay strong and healthy. But since this sort of evidence is anecdotal (BTW, I am not necessarily against ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE), let's take a look at what the PURE study had to say about diet and disease as related to the Fats -vs- Carbs -vs- Protein debate.
"For decades, dietary guidelines have focused on reducing total fat and saturated fatty acid intake, based on the presumption that replacing saturated fatty acids with carbohydrate and unsaturated fats will lower LDL cholesterol and should therefore reduce cardiovascular disease events. This focus is largely based on selective emphasis on some observational and clinical data. Recently, several meta-analyses of randomised trials and prospective cohort studies and ecological studies, largely done in European and North American countries, showed either no association or a lower risk between saturated fatty acid consumption with total mortality and cardiovascular disease events. Consistent with most data, but in contrast to dietary guidelines, we found fats, including saturated fatty acids, are not harmful and diets high in carbohydrate have adverse effects on total mortality. We did not observe any detrimental effect of higher fat intake on cardiovascular events. Removing current restrictions on fat intake but limiting carbohydrate intake (when high) might improve health."
Ah, there it is folks --- "selective emphasis". This is simply another way of letting us know that INVISIBLE & ABANDONED research is alive and well, and as real as a proverbial heart attack. I cherry-pick what I give you simply because as much as I may want to, I can't share it all. Read between the lines and you'll see that these authors are (much too gently) accusing authors of similar studies, both recent and in the past, of cherry-picking. Why? As Dr. Light showed us, it's the same reason it always is; the money.
If you are wanting to turn your life around, lose weight, lessen your body's inflammatory burden, decrease your pain, and start addressing root physiological causes of disease processes (remember that drugs don't usually do this well -- HERE), I've created a GENERIC TEMPLATE for you to take a look at. No; it's not going to solve everyone's problem(s). Some of you may end up needing medical intervention or testing by a specialist in functional medicine. Or then again, your problem might be related to your fascia --- HERE. But how can you go wrong simply living a healthier lifestyle and eating healthier foods (HERE)? HERE is a crazy testimonial from a person that used these ideas to lose 100 lbs in seven months, and get off her meds for five (5) autoimmune diseases.
THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION TAKES ON DIETARY FAT ONE MORE TIME THIS TIME WARNING ABOUT THE
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).