BMJ Editorial – Are Some Diets “Mass Murder”?

Richard Smith’s wrote an article Are some diets “mass murder”? in The BMJ on 15 December 2014. He uses a work of a popular commentator to reach his conclusions in this article. Smith's claim that Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise, demolishes the hypothesis that saturated fat is the cause of cardiovascular disease fails with just a little scrutiny.

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Deception from The BMJ

On 24th September 2015, BMJ issued a press release titled “BMJ investigation questions expert advice underpinning new US dietary guidelines”. The press release stated:

The expert report underpinning the latest dietary guidelines for Americans fails to reflect much relevant scientific literature in its reviews of crucial topics and therefore risks giving a misleading picture, an investigation by The BMJ has found.

The “BMJ investigation” was an article written by Nina Teicholz in response to the above report. It was not a BMJ investigation. Why is The BMJ press release stating that they, The BMJ, performed an investigation when it is clear that this is not the case.

This article was fully funded with a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (www.arnoldfoundation.org).

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation provided the seed funding for NuSI, the organisation founded by Gary Taubes and Peter Attia to promote low-carbohydrate nutritional science.

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Dr William Roberts – Causes of Heart Disease from an Expert

William Roberts is a leading cardiovascular pathologist. He is the current editor (at 2016) of the American Journal of Cardiology—a position he has held since 1982. He has published over 1,500 articles. Roberts served as the first head of the pathology service at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health from 1964 to 1993. He has been located at Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute and Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas since 1993.

He is a genuine expert in heart disease. View his videos on heart disease.

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The Ketogenic Disadvantage

Several studies have been published comparing low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets with low-fat diets, mostly regarding the treatment of diabetes in overweight and obese participants. Prominent researchers in this field are Richard Feinman, Stephen Phinney, Mary Vernon, Jeff Volek, Eric Westman, and William Yancy—all supporters of low-carbohydrate dietary regimes.

Ketosis occurs during starvation. It is not a normal, healthy condition. No animal species or human society normally lives in a state of ketosis. Ketosis occurs when fat in the body is utilized to obtain energy in the absence of glucose. Glucose is normally obtained from the digestion of carbohydrates. Ketosis results in the production of ketones—acetone being one of the three types of ketones produced during ketosis. Blood acidity rises with an increase in ketones.

During pregnancy, ketosis has been linked to adverse outcomes for the unborn child.

Ketogenic diet trials almost invariably compare a ketogenic diet with a mislabeled “low-fat, high-carbohydrate” diet. Both the control diet and the ketogenic diet are not healthy diets—the participants are far from healthy at the start of the trial or at the conclusion.

The ketogenic trials appear to assume that the only criteria for a healthy diet is the ratio of fat, carbohydrate, and protein. Many other components are important for health such as fiber, refined sugars, phytonutrients, and protein sources.

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Everything in Moderation

The most common response to the idea that a whole-food, plant-based diet is an optimal diet for people is —“everything in moderation.” This response is almost universal.

It is a philosophical debate – and I am not convinced it is a great life principle.

The same argument was used in in the 1950s and 1960s to convince people to reduce smoking. After all, you would not want to deprive people of the “solace, relaxation and enjoyment to mankind” that smoking has provided for more than 300 years. These days, doctors do not suggest that people reduce smoking but to stop.

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What is the natural diet for humans?

What is the natural diet for humans?  This is a common question but — we evolve based on behaviour and our behaviour may have a number of consequences, some beneficial and others not so much.

Giraffes have long necks, not to enable them to reach leaves high in a tree, but because males fight using the necks.  Males with the longest, strongest neck wins. It does make life more awkward when eating grass or drinking from a water-hole in the evening.

Evolution is based on changes that enable us to pass on genes for future generations.  If a genetic change affects cholesterol metabolism and causes an increase in heart disease this may not be relevant in evolutionary terms because heart disease usually affects people later in life.

It still may have an impact on human society because of the important influence of grandparents involved in child-minding and their importance as a repository of knowledge.

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Macadamia and Cashew Dukhah with Australian Bush Spices

Dukkah (pronounce the u as in duke, dū’ka) originated in Egypt.  It is made a mixture of seeds, nuts various roasted nuts and spices. It can be used as a topping over salads, pasta or anything else that takes your fancy.

The recipe below uses Australian spices but you can try any spice, herb or nuts that takes your fancy.

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