Robert Lustig and The Men Who Made Us Fat

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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Eggs are Not OK

Australians’ usual egg consumption is a document prepared by researchers at the CSIRO. The CSIRO is the premier Australian government-funded research organisation.

The conclusion of this document states:

Eggs provide a low cost, convenient source of protein and other key nutrients. Our results [from the Healthy Diet Score survey] suggest their inclusion in the diet is associated with a higher diet quality, in particular higher consumption vegetables and lower consumption of discretionary foods.

This document is a marketing document. It needs a lot of imagination to make such a conclusion from the CSIRO’s published research papers. This conclusion also contradicts a number of other studies that show consuming eggs is detrimental.

I sent an email on 28th October 2017 to the lead author of this document, Dr Gilly Hendrie. Hendrie is also the lead author of a number of journal articles relating to the Healthy Diet Index. A copy of this email can be found at CSIRO Healthy Diet Score and Egg Consumption in Australia

The response will be published when it is received.

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CSIRO Healthy Diet Score and Egg Consumption in Australia

In May 2015, the CSIRO (Australia) Healthy Diet Score survey was launched. This survey describes Australian’s self-reported diets and their compliance with the Australian Dietary Guidelines. As at June 2016, more than 85,000 people have responded.

This survey was used to justify the “Eggs are OK every day” campaign. This is despite the fact that the only measurable health outcome was weight status and despite the fact that there is only a fair correlation between two different self-reported dietary surveys that were performed a week apart.

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CSIRO Low-Carb Diets

The CSIRO Low-Carb Diet and CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet were developed in Australia by the CSIRO.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet plan “is higher in protein, and lower in high Glycemic Index carbohydrates which supports weight loss, especially fat mass whilst helping with appetite control”.

The CSIRO Low Carb Diet is “lower in carbohydrate and higher in healthy fats which may improve blood glucose control and possibly a reduction in need for diabetes medication”.

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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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Best Diet to Lose Weight – And it is Not Low-Carb

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) was established in 1994. It is the largest study into long-term weight loss programs. The principal researchers are Rena Wing (Brown Medical School, Rhode Island) and James Hill (University of Colorado). There are now over 10,000 participants enrolled in the study.

To be eligible to enrol in the study participants must be at least 18 years have lost at least 13.6 kg (30 lbs) of weight and kept it off for at least one year.

According to the researchers “almost nobody is on a low-carbohydrate diet” and they have looked “very hard to locate them. We can’t find more than a handful of people who follow the Atkins program in the registry”.

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Eating Red Meat is Not Natural

Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose is popularly known as alpha-gal. It is a carbohydrate found in the meat of mammals – exceptions being primates (which includes humans) and other African and Asian apes.

Since the early 2000s, severe allergic reaction has been observed several hours after the consumption of red meat. Several deaths have occurred. This is associated with IgE antibodies to alpha-gal as a result of the patients been bitten by ticks. This has occurred in eastern Australia, south-east USA and Sweden.

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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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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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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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