I used to think excess weight was caused by eating too much and/or not exercising enough. “There was no one overweight on the Burma Railway,” I’d quip. Not any more.
When overweight people said “it’s my metabolism” or “I am big-boned”, I’d dismiss it as an excuse for gluttony and laziness. Not any more.
The myth that obesity is caused by overeating, especially a diet high in fats, is one perpetuated by the sugar industry and the “research” this industry has funded over the decades.
The sugar industry also perpetuated the myths that obesity causes diabetes; that diets high in saturated fats, high cholesterol and overeating generally cause heart disease; and that excess salt causes hypertension (high blood pressure). Anything, in short, to steer attention away from the real cause of these four maladies: sugar.
This is big: nearly 200 doctors and allied health practitioners in Canada have signed an Open Letter to their government calling for urgent, radical reform of nutrition guidelines to include low-carb diets.
They say that authorities told Canadians to follow guidelines for nearly 40 years. During that time, nutrition-related diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, increased sharply. The doctors are also concerned about sharp increases in childhood obesity and diabetes rates.
They say that the evidence does not support conventional low-fat dietary advice. In fact, they say it worsens heart-disease risk factors. They say that those responsible must be free to compile dietary guidelines without food and drug industry influence. They want the guidelines to promote low-carb diets as “at least one safe, effective intervention” for people with obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
At heart, the letter’s signatories call for mainstream medical advice to include low-carb, healthy-natural-fat. Here’s more of these doctors’ powerful challenge to orthodoxy.
The evidence linking body weight and cancer has been building for decades, with new evidence still emerging.
Only a few months ago the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a report saying there is now strong evidence linking body weight to even more cancer types than was previously thought. Bringing the total tally to 13 types of cancer.
Hyperinsulinemia plays the dominant role in provoking obesity and fatty liver disease, but what causes it? Insulin is intimately related to our diet, so that was naturally the first place to look. Highly refined and processed carbohydrates, such as sugars, flour, bread, pasta, muffins, donuts, rice and potatoes are well known to raise blood glucose and insulin production. This became known as the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis, and forms the rational basis for many of the low carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins diet.
These are not new ideas, but very old ones. The first low carbohydrate diet dates all the way back to the mid 19th century. William Banting (1796–1878) published in 1863 the pamphlet Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public, which is often considered the world’s first diet book. Weighing 202 pounds (91.6 kilograms), Banting had been trying unsuccessfully to lose weight by eating less and exercising more. But, just as today’s dieters, he was unsuccessful.
Yesterday, the BMJ officially announced that it won’t retract a “controversial” 2015 article by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, author of NYT best-seller The Big Fat Surprise.
Following a lengthy investigation lasting over a year, the BMJ said that two independent reviewers “found no grounds for retraction,” and that Teicholz’s criticisms of the methods used by the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) “are within the realm of scientific debate.”
As reported on this blog and The Sidebar (my US blogging buddy Peter M. Heimlich’s crack investigative journalism blog), Washington-DC based advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) – in bed with prominent members of the DGAC – aggressively campaigned to get the article retracted.