Dr James Muecke – Australian of the Year in 2020

Dr James Muecke is the Australian of the Year in 2020 which was awarded for his work as an eye- surgeon and his work in preventing blindness.

He is trying to convince Australians to eat more meat, eggs and dairy. Australia is ranked number 2 in meat consumption, just behind United States but in front of Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and New Zealand.

Muecke has declared that we need to “Declare war on type 2 diabetes and cut back on sugar” in order to reduce the incidence of blindness.

He believes that it is the introduction of sugary drinks and highly processed foods are the cause of diabetes – not a high-fat, high-protein diet as shown by numerous papers dating back to 1927.

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The French Paradox – The Myths

‘Everyone knows’ about the French Paradox – that is, the French consume lots of saturated fat in the form of meat, butter, cheese and eggs and yet have a low risk of heart disease. This proves that the health advice regarding the role of fats and saturated fats in causing heart disease is wrong.

The French Paradox has only been with us for a short period of time but it quickly resonated with the general population – we no longer need to be concerned about the amount of meat, butter, cheese and eggs that we consume.

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PREDIMED Trial – Mediterranean Diet with Olive Oil or Nuts

The PREDIMED trial examined 7447 participants ranging from 55 to 80 years of age who were at high cardiovascular risk, but with no cardiovascular disease at enrollment, to one of three diets: a “Mediterranean Diet” supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil; a “Mediterranean Diet” supplemented with mixed nut; or a control diet with advice to reduce dietary fat.

The “Mediterranean Diet” was the participants normal diet.

50% of the participants that did not have metabolic syndrome at the start of the trial, were afflicted at the end of the trial.

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Lyon Diet Heart Study

The Lyon Diet-Heart Study was a “randomized, single-blind secondary prevention trial aimed at testing whether a Mediterranean-type diet, compared with a prudent Western-type diet, may reduce recurrence after a first myocardial infarction.”

The study consisted of 605 patients who had recovered from a myocardial infarction at a hospital in southern France. The experimental group emphasised “more bread, more root vegetables and green vegetables, more fish, less meat (beef, lamb and pork to be replaced with poultry), no day without fruit, and butter and cream to be replaced with margarine” which was high in alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid).

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Ancel Keys and the Mediterranean Diet

In 1951, Keys was working at Oxford when the Food and Agriculture Organization asked him to chair their first conference on nutrition in Rome. He states, “The conferees talked only about nutritional deficiencies”. When he asked about the new epidemic of coronary heart disease, Gino Bergami, Professor of Physiology at the University of Naples, said “coronary heart disease was no problem in Naples”.

In 1952, Keys and his wife Margaret visited Naples. Margaret measured serum cholesterol concentrations and found them to be very low except among members of the Rotary Club. Heart attacks were rare except amongst the rich whose diet included daily servings of meat. He obtained similar results in studies in Madrid.

Ancel Keys and colleagues posed the hypothesis that differences among populations in the frequency of heart attacks and stroke would occur as a result of physical characteristics and lifestyle and diet. Surveys were carried out between 1958 – 1970 in populations of men aged 40-59, in sixteen areas of seven countries. Follow-up surveys were continued until the 1990s. Most of the areas were stable and rural and had wide contrasts in habitual diet.

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Harvard Researchers Paid to Support Sugar

A recent story that has been appearing on the internet is that Harvard Researchers Paid to Support Sugar and this is the reason why sugar and carbohydrates have been exonerated in their role of causing heart disease. Fats and saturated fats have unfairly blamed for the obesity and heart disease epidemic.

The article states that, “Early warning signals of the coronary heart disease (CHD) risk of sugar (sucrose) emerged in the 1950s.”

“By the 1960s, 2 prominent physiologists were championing divergent causal hypotheses of CHD: John Yudkin identified added sugars as the primary agent, while Ancel Keys identified total fat, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol. However, by the 1980s, few scientists believed that added sugars played a significant role in CHD, and the first 1980 Dietary Guidelines for Americans [4] focused on reducing total fat, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol for CHD prevention.”

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Ancel Keys and the High-Fat Diet “Experts”

Popular commentators frequently accuse Keys of manipulating data in his 1953 paper, Atherosclerosis, A Problem in Newer Public Health.

This study is sometimes referred as the “Six Countries Study”. A number of popular commentators think this is the Seven Countries Study— they count England & Wales as two countries.

This paper was presented in Amsterdam in 1952 and in January 1953 in New York.

Far too much attention is paid to one page of a minor discussion paper written in the early 1950s. Keys writes, “The fact that the present high rate from degenerative heart disease in the United States is not inevitable is easily shown by the comparison with some other countries.” This was the purpose of the paper.

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Eye Cataracts and Diet

There are four eye disease in the US that accounts for 75% of the cases for blindness and 85% of cases of visual impairment for adults 40 years and older in the US.

  • age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • cataracts
  • diabetic retinopathy – blood vessels in the retina leak fluid or bleed caused by diabetic complications
  • glaucoma – slow clogging of the drainage canals which results in increased eye pressure

The effect of diet on eye health is much greater than expected given the amount of attention paid to the effect of sunlight on both our eyes and our skin.

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Ancel Keys did not manipulate his data

Popular commentators frequently accuse Keys of manipulating data in his 1953 paper, Atherosclerosis, A Problem in Newer Public Health.

This study is sometimes referred as the “Six Countries Study”. A number of popular commentators think this is the Seven Countries Study— they count England & Wales as two countries.

This paper was presented in Amsterdam in 1952 and in January 1953 in New York.

Far too much attention is paid to one page of a minor discussion paper written in the early 1950s. Keys writes, “The fact that the present high rate from degenerative heart disease in the United States is not inevitable is easily shown by the comparison with some other countries.” This was the purpose of the paper.

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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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