Dr James Muecke, the Australian of the Year in 2020 and Diabetes
My name is Richard Harding. I am a friend and colleague of Professor Stewart Truswell of University of Sydney.
He and his colleague, Professor Jim Mann from were, in their words, “incensed” when Arne Astrup’s article WHO draft guidelines on dietary saturated and trans fatty acids: time for a new approach? was published in the BMJ in July last year and received so much attention in the popular press.
His colleague Professor Jim Mann, from University of Otago was at a World Health Organization diabetic conference in Europe and the meeting decided not to engage in a public debate because it will “give them oxygen” – they will always lose out to the well-funded dairy and beef industries.
I disagreed. I have produced an 85 page A5 document that reviews Astrup’s paper which Stewart has reviewed. I also produced a 97 minute video with some of the highlights. An increasing number of people are more comfortable with getting information from videos which has a greater impact.
Dr James Muecke, the Australian of the Year in 2020, refers to this article to justify his high-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-animal based diet to minimise diabetes and its associated blindness. (It causes diabetes – it does not prevent it.)
I have a recording of Professor Robert Lustig, a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California announcing that:
Stewart is “appalled” with Lustig’s and John Yudkin’s influence in the popular press. Stewart was Yudkin’s successor as Head of Department of Nutrition at Queen Elizabeth College, London University.
My book – and video – documents how the food industry has manipulated the media and researchers to ensure that profits become before public health.
I have taken the material to the Newcastle Herald, our local members of parliament, The Australian newspaper and Sydney Morning Herald but no-one is interested. The Australian Medical Association and the Medical Journal of Australia have indicated that it is not within there scope to bring this to the attention of medical doctors or the Australian public.
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 the 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.
Dr Muecke was interviewed by Keith Wheeler for a FarmOnline National article . Wheeler summed up his article with, “Dr Muecke faces a challenge to defeat type 2 diabetes, but if people eat more meat and dairy it would be a good start. And dark chocolate. That’s the sort of report I like!”
Muecke refers to a 2019 article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Unprocessed Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption: Dietary Guideline Recommendations From the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) Consortium to support his beliefs.
Walter Willett, the Harvard professor of epidemiology and nutrition, called the study “the most egregious abuse of data I’ve ever seen.”
The publications produced by the NutriRECS organisation are concerned with proving that red meat consumption is healthy – or at least not detrimental.
Bradley Johnston is the director and co-founder of NutriRECS, and is an Associate Professor with the Departments of Nutrition & Statistics, Texas A&M University (formerly Agricultural and Mechanical College).
Stover was also a co-author on the Annals study with Johnston, along with an international team of researchers. Stover has since hired Johnston as an associate professor of community health and epidemiology at Texas A&M.
Dr Muecke is providing advice that people dearly wish to believe but is detrimental.
I have written two articles, one which addresses Astrup’s 2019 paper and the other addressing Dr James Mueke’s views on diabetes. Both articles are fully referenced from peer-reviewed medical journals.
There are many doctors (including my doctor) and health professionals who believe that a low-carbohydrate diet, one rich in fat and protein diet is beneficial. These diets are rich in animal-sourced products.
In 2018, 36% of Australians aged 18 and over are overweight (BMI of 25 to up to 30) and 31% of the population are obese (BMI 30 or more). xiv
34% of adult Australians have hypertension (greater than 140/90 or taking medication).
According to the Framingham Risk Assessment calculator, a systolic value of less than 120 mmHg is ideal.
5.3% of Australian adults aged 18 and over had type 2 diabetes in 2017–18. Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia; increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. xvi
Between 25% and 35% of Australians diabetics report some form of diabetic retinopathy.
Something is seriously wrong and the situation is becoming worse.
The views of Muecke and Astrup and the reporting in the popular press are detrimental and are contributing to the problem.
I have also produced a 17 page booklet, Fat, Carbohydrate and Type 2 Diabetes that is available from my website which explores these ideas in more detail.
This booklet shows Diabetes Australia recommending bacon and pork recipes even though WHO has labeled these products as Class 1 carcinogens. Diabetes Australia has many recipes containing eggs. Many studies that are highlighted in the booklet, show a a highly significant correlation between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes.