The theory of “consensus science reliability” seems to have taken another hit, as a new report has been released that asserts government-based dietary fat guidelines “have no evidence base”.

Publishing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr Zoë Harcombe of the Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science of the University of the West of Scotland researched both the origins and the results of following the dietary fat guidelines that have prevailed in the US and the United Kingdom for almost 40 years. The evidence provides no support for the assertion that low-fat diets are healthier, especially as the incidences of obesity and diabetes have escalated dramatically during the same four decades of the guidelines’ implementation.

Until the introduction of dietary guidelines in 1977, the view of Tanner, from the Practice of Medicine, prevailed “Farinaceous and vegetable foods are fattening, and saccharine matters are especially so” …. In 1960, 13.3% of US adults were obese; 44.8% were overweight. By 2007, 34.7% of US adults were obese; 67.7% were overweight.68 In the UK, in 1972, 2.7% of men and 2.7% of women were obese and 23.0% of men and 13.9% of women were overweight. By 1999, obesity rates had risen to 22.6% of men and 25.8% of women, while 49.2% of men and 36.3% of women were overweight.69 (Health was devolved in the UK in 1999 to the regions of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and thus UK statistics terminated).

The diabetes rate was 2.4% in 1976 in the USA. The introduction to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reported that 24 million Americans, almost 11% of the adult population, were diabetic and 78 million Americans, 35% of the adults, were pre-diabetic.71 This has recently been updated to 29 million diabetics and 86 million pre-diabetics. A recent review in the Lancet estimated that the lifetime risk for developing diabetes was 40.2% for American men and 39.6% for women. There were 800 000 people with diabetes in the UK in 1980, from a population of 56 million—an incident rate of 1.42%. The diabetes rate in the UK in 2015 was 6.1%.75 The incident rate of diabetes, both in the USA and the UK, has increased more than fourfold since the dietary fat guidelines were introduced.

Harcombe, who is a noted obesity researcher, takes a look at the obesity epidenic and its relationship to dietary guidelines in the following video:

Her research assessed the “science” used as the basis for the guidelines, and found it questionable. For example, the actual look at the control trials tying coronary heart disease to saturated fat consumption was not statistically significant for most studies; those promoting this guideline merely focused on one report. Additionally, she highlights a 2015 report that analyzed data collected between 1974 to 2000 and concludes dietary carbohydrate restriction should be the first approach in diabetes management.

What suggestion does Harcombe offer based on her assessment? In a nutshell: Ignore the consensus science.

It seems simple and obvious to suggest that populations should return to eating the natural, unprocessed food that was consumed before obesity and diabetes reached epidemic proportions; yet this is considered heresy by public health advisors. Clarification of the distinction between processed food and saturated fat could provide opportunity for agreement that processed food is unhealthy, while saturated fat is a natural part of most natural foods. It is worth noting that every food that contains fat contains all three fats: saturated; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.65 The notion that saturated fat is harmful and unsaturated fat is healthful is illogical given their coexistence in foods required for human survival.

It appears many healthcare professionals are already offering new recommendations:

Diet experts say there’s a good reason to put some fat back in our diets.

“Higher fat intake gives us a greater sense of fullness and you can cut down on consumption of starches and sweets,” Dr. Louis Aronne, Weill Cornell Medicine said.

…In fact, there are large studies that show people who ate diets very, very high in good fats — olive oil and nuts — actually lost weight, and reduced their risk for heart attack and stroke.

The critical factor is what you combine those good fats with.

“The lethal combo is fat plus carbs. So you can have protein and carbs, you can have protein and fat, but you can’t have fat and carbs,” Dr. Aronne said.

The more processed those carbs are — white flour, white pasta, sugar, etc. — the worse the combination for your heart and waist.

First, the case against eggs was cracked. Recently, salt has been shown to lower blood pressure. Based on the new report, I am having steak and eggs for breakfast tomorrow!

The next time the government offers a guideline to follow, it may be prudent to do the opposite.


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