Misconceptions of Denis Stewart

Denis Stewart is a herbalist from the Hunter Valley (NSW, Australia). He is an associate professor at University of Newcastle since 2002. He founded the Southern Cross Herbal School in the late 1970s.

He presents a weekly radio show on 2NUR FM, a Newcastle-based radio station, on health topics.

I am concerned about some of his material. I posted Denis a (real) letter and sent an email without receiving a response. I also sent an email to 2NUR FM listing some concerns.

Below is a list of some of the concerns that have not been addressed.

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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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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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Dan Buettner – Blue Zones

In the early 1970s, National Geographic magazine approached the world-renowned physician, Alexander Leaf, asking him to visit, study, and write an article about the world’s healthiest and most long-living people.

More recently, Dan Buettner began his research into Blue Zone examining communities in Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon and Loma Linda, California.

He published an article Secrets in Longevity in National Geographic Magazine’s November 2005 edition In April 2008, Buettner released a book on The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, through National Geographic Books. A second edition has recently been published.

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