Friday, January 25, 2013

Is The Tide Turning On Sugar?

"Any defence of sugar is pure confection."

"The evidence shows that sugar, not fat, is the enemy"
The point not made in this article, but which needs to be made, is this: The evidence shows that the "experts" blew it, and demonized all fats because the fat that they used in their research (Crisco, a synthetic vegetable-based saturated trans-fat) was harmful.

By jumping the gun before they had enough research, they've had a huge negative impact on all of our health. A low-fat, high-carb diet is a recipe for disaster, as the "experts" are now realizing.
"There is universal scientific consensus that trans fats found in fast food and processed foods such as biscuits, crisps and frozen pizza are detrimental to health and may even increase the short-term risk of a heart attack."
That's nice, but...
"The British Medical Association has rightly called for a reduction of trans fats, salt and sugar in pre-prepared foods."
Salt? There's no good evidence that salt is bad for you, the evidence is the reverse.

The wise course to take is not to follow dietary advice from "experts" who jump the gun on what science knows about human nutrition. Eat what healthy populations have traditionally been eating. Eat what your great grand-parents ate, if they were healthy.

Especially don't follow the dietary advice of the average doctor.

"Prof David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum, says that all calories are not created equal. "It's extremely naive of the public and the medical profession to imagine that a calorie of bread, a calorie of meat and a calorie of alcohol are all dealt in the same way by the amazingly complex systems of the body. The assumption has been made that increased fat in the bloodstream is caused by increased saturated fat in the diet, whereas modern scientific evidence is proving that refined carbohydrates and sugar in particular are actually the culprits."
What was "naive of the public" was to trust the scientific and medical communities to tell us what to eat. It's rich that Prof. Haslam uses the passive voice, "The assumption has been made..." It wasn't "the public" that made this assumption, we've been told by the medical community to avoid fat for decades. It's only recently that this tune has begun to change.

Unfortunately "blame the patient" is far too common in medicine. Pity the profession won't own up to its share of the blame.

Via the Diet Doctor.

P.S. If you want to understand the medical mindset on obesity, this essay by Prof. Haslam ("A long look at obesity") is illustrative:
"There is a common presumption, particularly among those currently engaged in determining our approach to the issues of nutrition and obesity, that our ancestors must have been supreme specimens with healthy lifestyles. Even with their primitive understanding of nutrition, our neolithic forebears somehow made the “right choices”, thriving on a wholesome diet of nuts, seeds, and fruits with the occasional piece of meat. And what is more, their rare intake of animal protein could only have been obtained through vigorous exercise, which they would, of course, indulge in religiously every day.

"Interestingly, the historical evidence suggests a quite different story. Those inclined to drift into nostalgic reverie over the conjectured idyll of stone age man, are less inclined to consider not only the lack of solid evidence for the palaeolithic diet, but the implications of the visual clues left to posterity by mankind's earliest artists long before settled agriculture emerged....

"...What we may conclude from the past is that the potential to become obese is certainly not new, but the development of obesity on the scale of a global population pandemic certainly is."
The "historical evidence" Haslam uses to dismiss the paleolithic diet are sculptures. The evidence from modern hunter gatherers, and the skeletons of our paleolithic ancestors, indicates that if these statues represent a rare case, as Haslam finally concedes.

Needless to say, I find the paleolithic diet approach far more compelling.