Robert Lustig Exposed

Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease. He specializes in childhood obesity and studying the effects of sugar in the diet. He is the director of the UCSF Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Program and a member of the Obesity Task Force of the Endocrine Society.

Unfortunately, much of what he says is simply wrong, which given the amount of media exposure that he receives, is deeply worrying.

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The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What We Eat – A Review

Alan Levinovitz is an assistant professor of Religious Studies at James Madison University, Virginia.

His book, The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What We Eat, “takes on bestselling physicians and dietitians, exposing the myths behind how we come to believe which foods are good and which are bad—and pointing the way to a truly healthful life, free from the anxiety of what we eat.”

Whilst the book was fascinating in describing how easily it is for society to be deluded about food issues, the book adds several misconceptions of its own.

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The Pioppi Diet

The Pioppi Diet is a book by the London cardiologist Aseem Malhotra and Donal O’Neill, an Irish film-maker.

Pioppi is a small village on the Tyrrhenian Sea which is located on the west coast of Italy. It is approximately 150 km (90 miles) south of Naples. Ancel and Margaret Keys resided here for over 25 years. Martii Karvonen of Finland and Jerimiah Stamler of the USA are other well-known medical researchers who resided in the village.

Malhotra is a keen high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet advocate and is desperately trying (unsuccessfully) to merge this opinion into a distorted view of the Mediterranean diet.

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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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Polyunsaturated Fats Cause Cancer – LA Veterans Trial

The Wadsworth VA Hospital in Los Angeles operated a home where male army veterans resided. The meals were provided by one of two dining halls.

Men in dining Hall A continued their usual diet. The “saturated animal fat and hydrogenated shortening replaced with vegetable oils in the experimental diet” for the diets provided in dining Hall B. Low fat diets were not considered because such a diet required “gastronomic sacrifice”. The total fat content of the 2 diets were the same, providing 40% of the total energy. (Diets of 40% fat cannot be considered a healthy diet.)

This study is sometimes used to “proof” that a polyunsaturated fats promote cancer.  A reading of papers from the trial shows that this is not the case.

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The Big Fat Surprise

An article relating to Nina Teicholz book, The Big Fat Surprise, was printed in the Australian on 29th December 2014. Unfortunately, it is largely a repeat of misinformation and misunderstanding of the history of diet and cardiovascular research that is found in popular books and websites.

Whilst the current western diet is appalling and contributes to our poor health, it is absurd to contend that we have been lied to by the government, nutritionists and researchers. The contention that saturated fat from animals is actually quite good for you and cholesterol isn’t really important is simply wrong and not supported by research.

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TIME Magazine Article – Eat Butter – Part 2

TIME magazine published an article by Bryan Walsh that appeared in TIME magazine on 23 June 2014.

The cover of the magazine asserts “Eat Butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.” Unfortunately, much of the evidence that Walsh presents in the article “Don’t blame the fat” is simply wrong and misleading. Walsh states that between 1977-2012, egg consumption fell 9%, beef 37% and milk 72%.

For the period 1970 – 2000, total added fats (up 40%), dairy products (up 8%), cheese (up 107%), low fat milk (up 79%), all meat products (up 10%), poultry (up 89%) and fish (up 22%) increased. These significant increases were not included in Walsh’s report. All of these food products, even low fat milk, are high fat foods.

 

The total calories consumed also rose significantly by 24%.

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TIME Magazine Article – Eat Butter

It is with alarm that I read Bryan Walsh’s article Ending the War on Fat that was published in TIME magazine on 23 June 2014.

According to Walsh:

Keys’ work became the foundation for a body of science implicating fat as a major risk factor for heart disease. The Seven Countries Study has been referenced close to 1 million times.  But Keys’ research had problems from the start.  He cherry-picked his data.

If the book has really been “referenced close to a million times”, it means that it has been referenced close to 80 times every day, including weekends, since the book was published in 1980.

Walsh claims that Keys “cherry-picked” his data.  It is evident that Walsh has confused with Keys’ 1953 paper Keys’ paper, Atherosclerosis, A Problem in Newer Public Health and his later study Seven Countries, A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease.

Walsh fails to elaborate on how Keys “cherry picked” his data. Commencing in 1957, the Seven Countries Study studied 12,763 men in 16 regions in seven countries. What data was omitted from this study? How was the data “cherry-picked”?

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