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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ornish Tries To Mop Up Low-Fat Washout


BUSTED! Low-fat leader Dr. Dean Ornish is in full spin mode now!

The low-fat diet apologists are out in full force now attempting to defend the indefensible -- everything they thought was true about the low-fat diet has come crumbling to the ground in an instant after an historic 8-year study was released last week showing that particular nutritional approach is not as healthy for weight management and disease prevention as was once assumed.

But, that hasn't stopped some people who have defended it their entire life from coming to its defense now.

This Newsweek Health column written by Mr. Low-Fat Diet himself, Dr. Dean Ornish, founder and president of Preventative Medicine Research Institute, is nothing more than a "now-let-me-explain-what-this-study-really-means" attempt to whitewash the very clear and damning results of a study that goes against the very foundation of what he believes is nutritionally accurate.

For those of you who may not know who Dr. Ornish is, this man has been preaching the extreme low-fat message for a quarter century and has received high accolades in the media and from the health industry for being such a pioneer of research on weight management and disease prevention. He has appeared on major national magazine covers and has gotten a ton of television face time spouting his low-fat theme so many times without one nary word of dissent from anyone.

Contrast this royal treatment for Dr. Ornish with what Dr. Robert C. Atkins had to endure during his career. While bringing just as much scientific evidence and clinical studies to the table as Dr. Ornish, Dr. Atkins had to withstand the scorn and hate-filled ridicule of those who frankly didn't care how incredibly ignorant and foolish they sounded in disagreeing with his before-his-time low-carb nutritional approach. Dr. Atkins was never given the proper respect that he deserved for helping millions of people change their lives forever. I, for one, will always feel a great deal of gratitude for his life's work because it saved me from what was sure to be an early death because of my morbid obesity. But not anymore.

As for Ornish, why would people put themselves through the agony of his diet plan? No thank you! With low-fat diets, I've been there, done that, and they made me fat!!! I even previously outlined 10 reasons why I could never do a low-fat diet like Ornish recommends. EEEK! I'm getting shivers just thinking about EVER having to eat that way again. Eebie jeebies! Brrvrrvrrvrrvrrvr!!!!

You know, it's really too bad that Dr. Atkins had to miss this week's seemingly inconceivable news condemning the low-fat diet. Do you think Dr. Atkins ever thought this day would come in a society so indoctrinated by fat phobia?

But it now seems that very same revolutionary approach to weight loss and health that Dr. Atkins promoted is being proven right after all with all the bad news about low-fat that has been revealed to the whole world. I'm sure he's looking down from heaven right now and grinning from ear to ear knowing that all those years he invested in the remarkable low-carb way of eating are now helping people even as the low-fat diet is quickly waning in popularity and for good reason.

With low-fat going away for good once and for all, people are going to turn to other healthy ways to eat and live so they can be fit for a lifetime. Nevertheless, Dr. Ornish and other low-fatties like him will be pushing their radical low-fat agenda on us STILL. In fact, Newsweek just gave him his own regular column to bestow his wisdom about low-fat diets on us all. Lord help us!

In his debut column entitled "The Facts About Fat," Dr. Ornish makes a few good points along with some not-to-good points regarding fat in the diet.

First, the good points by Dr. Ornish. Yes, I'll give him credit where credit is due.

1. "If you don't change much, you don't improve much."

Absolutely! That was EXACTLY what I wrote about in this blog post about bringing about permanent changes in your weight and health. But if you fail to make measurable changes, such as cutting out sugar, white flour and process foods from your life, then don't expect your weight and health to improve much either. It's not an all-or-nothing proposition, but a substantial effort towards making a REAL change in your life MUST take place for your lifestyle to truly change.

2. "If you go on a diet and feel constrained, you are more likely to drop it."

As a career dieter before I started livin' la vida low-carb two years ago, I cannot agree more. That's the #1 downfall of any weight loss program -- feeling "constrained" and like you are in prison. For most people who go on a "diet," you really are sentencing yourself to a needless hell all for the illusion that you are doing something about your weight and health. Stop doing that to yourself and come to the realization that you need to enjoy an occasional planned splurge so you can stay on track for weight loss success. That served me VERY well during my weight loss phase.

3. "It’s not just about living longer, but also about living better ... make you feel good."

That would perfectly describe my low-carb lifestyle experience. When I first started it weighing over 400 pounds, my goal was to lose weight. Did it really matter how much when I started considering I had so much that needed to be lost? Heck no, I just needed the scale to start going down. Of course, it did. Then when I reached my goal in weight loss, I continued livin' la vida low-carb to keep making myself healthier and feel better than I have in my entire life. It really has been the lifestyle change that I so deeply craved and desired my entire life. I'll never go back to my old ways again.

But as much as I agreed with Dr. Ornish on the above points, he does make a few bone-headed statements that I cannot ignore. Because he is a low-fat extremist, I wouldn't expect anything less from him. Yet his comments still need to be put in their proper place.

1. "With a large number of women in a randomized controlled trial in a major peer-reviewed journal, these findings must be true. Right? Well, no--not exactly."

What?! This was an EIGHT-YEAR (that's long-term for those of you playing at home) study of nearly 20,000 (a very LARGE sample of participants mind you) women, Dr. Ornish!!! What is there "not exactly" to understand about the results of the study? You have a problem with it because it goes against everything that you have talked about, written about, and passed on to others for nearly three decades. But now it has been shown to be a BIG FAT LIE! Why try to sugarcoat it now? Your scam has been uncovered and it's high time the whole world knows the truth about other more nutritionally-sound health and weight loss programs.

2. "The study had some serious limitations."

Among these "limitations" that Dr. Ornish lists in his article are that the study participants didn't eat low-fat enough, did not eat a larger quantity of fruits and vegetables or grains, and (this one is the most laughable of them all) the study wasn't long enough to determine the long-term effects of a low-fat diet on preventing cancer. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, that's just too funny, Dr. Ornish. You're kidding, right? Give me a break! This was supposed to be the study to end all studies about the low-fat diet, but instead it became exactly the opposite of what Dr. Ornish and his cronies had hoped. Now they're trying to spin the results by claiming it wasn't genuine research. That's not gonna fly, my friend, and you know it.

3. "If you indulge yourself one day, you can eat more healthfully the next. If you're a couch potato one day, exercise a little more the next."

This man is considered an "expert" in health and diet?! Dr. Ornish, with all due respect, sir, I have to disagree. For people to make lasting changes in their life, especially when they are overweight or morbidly obese like I once was, they need to make immediate BIG CHANGES in their life that will last for a short period of time while they work on getting their weight under control. While there will be the indulgence here and there during this period of time, I think it is very incredulous for you to suggest that people can "indulge" themselves one day, eat "more healthfully" (whatever the heck that means!) on the day after that, and expect to lose weight. It doesn't work that way and you know it! While that strategy may work for "normal"-sized people without a weight problem, it is very dangerous and discouraging for someone who needs to shed pounds -- quick!

Dr. Ornish and the rest of the low-fatties are not gonna let up their staunch defense of the low-fat diet even as the science behind it is proving it to be an incredibly ineffective and irrelevant way to eat and live in the 21st century. Someday in the near future we'll read in school textbooks about this strange period in our nation's history when the government tried to play doctor by encouraging a failed nutritional approach for weight and disease management and simply laugh.

But for now, those of us who have lived during this time and KNOW how serious our government was recommending this failed low-fat diet approach will NEVER forget just how wrong they were. That's why we must continue to raise the banner for other nutritional approaches to be taken just as seriously as the low-fat diet has been for the past 30 years. The American public DESERVES to have MANY choices to help them battle their weight problem and should never again be subjected to a monopolized message again. Whether it is low-fat, low-carb, or whatever, just give the people the facts and let them decide for themselves what they want to do with their own life!

Let Dr. Ornish know what you think about his diet advice and opinions by sending an e-mail to his web site at Preventative Medicine Research Institute. He will even be on a LIVE TALK for Newsweek on Thursday, February 16, 2006 at 12:00pm EST to discuss his column and to continue his defense of the low-fat diet. You can even submit your questions ahead of time by clicking here.

Oh this oughta be fun if we can get several supporters of the controlled-carb lifestyle to challenge Ornish, wouldn't it?! Hint, hint, hint! :)

2-17-06 UPDATE: Well, I got a response from Dr. Dean Ornish's group Preventative Medicine Research Institute and have now issued them this challenge. Will they take me up on it?

11 Comments:

Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Guess what? The "submit questions any time" link on their website doesn't work anymore. "Strange" huh?

Too bad... I was preparing some extra-nice virtual hugs for this extremist.

2/12/2006 10:01 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Actually, I really, truly don't understand why ANY of the media should give this so-called "doctor" any airtime whatsoever.

His dietary delusions are well-known and documented. The man has performed abysmally as a researcher and a scientist, and the only peer-reviewed "intervention trial" he ever conducted is, to put it mildly, extremely suspect, not only from a suspected lack of applying the scientific method, but also because he had to admit that as a result of his own so-called "scientific" multiple intervention trial more of his patients DIED than in the control group!

The man is a documented extremist and does not shy away from outright terrorism. Yes, terrorism! He is documented to be on the board of advisors for several extremist animal rights groups, that have placed BOMBS in people's cars and beat up researchers! The FBI has been involved and arrested several of his cronies.

The director of his very own PMRI got so SICK of the failures and dangers she personally observed on his unpalatable, unhealthy and extremely low-fat "diet" that she left and wrote a book about the very real, proven dangers of his malpractice!

This man is a total fraud, an extremist and wild-eyed fanatic, and his dietary delusions are pathetic. His comments and opinions are well known to be often totally unscientific and baseless as well as useless.

All of this proves only two things. First, that a person with "impressive" scientific credentials can be a total idiot too. And secondly, that the media will give ANY RAVING LUNATIC airtime and even call him a "dietary expert" while he is nothing more than a close-minded, unscientific fat-phobist and noisy negativist.

2/12/2006 10:22 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

>Dr. Atkins was never given the proper respect that he deserved for helping millions of people change their lives forever. I, for one, will always feel a great deal of gratitude for his life's work because it saved me from what was sure to be an early death because of my morbid obesity. But not anymore.<

Same here. I was a total carb addict. I still have those tendencies. But I now eat tons of veggies and salad and exercise regularly. I ain't going back!

2/12/2006 10:40 PM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

I just came over from Dr Mike Eades' blog, and in one of his recent entries he states that low-fat has never had any studies to back it up--it was always an untested theory!
Wow, I would have never put myself through the low fat diets that I tried had I known that! My metabolism is now so slow from repeated dieting in the nineties that low carb is taking slower for me than for others, but at least I AM losing, and the food tastes good!

2/13/2006 3:15 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Increase your fat intake, i.e. virgin coconut oil, butter, lard, and virgin cold-pressed olive oil, as well as fish oils, boost vitamin intake and, if you can, try to exercise some more, and your metabolism will speed up rather quickly.

2/13/2006 8:49 PM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

Science that's interesting--I didn't think about increasing the fat I'm already eating. I do have to be careful, as I'm only 5'2", so I'll see what happens.
As for exercise, I'm walking two miles daily and gradually increasing it, hoping to do five miles in a month or so.

2/14/2006 3:42 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

The exercise is excellent for you, but don't be discouraged when it will actually impair or slow down some weight loss. The reason for that is that you will grow lean muscle tissue as a result of your exercises and muscle is heavier than fat.

In reality, you will notice that your clothes keep getting more and more loose, as well as reduced girth. So yes, you are burning fat for fuel but (perhaps!) temporarily not losing (much) weight as a result of muscle growth. In other words you are nicely toning up!

If you increase exercise more (because you will like it more and more, and it gets easier too) its wise to make sure you have lots of water with you, and have a high-protein snack (preferably shake or smoothie) before and after the workout. That will help your body care for the muscles and also increase lean muscle mass. This also helps to keep your RMB (resting metabolic rate) up as well.

Low-carb diets, provided they contain sufficient fat, maximize the delivery of fats to the muscles and organs for use as fuel; in contrast, high-carbohydrate diets - via their effects on blood glucose and insulin - promote the storage of fat in adipocytes. Due to this effect of high-carbohydrate diets, under conditions of calorie restriction the body is then forced to breakdown muscle tissue to meet its energy requirements.

So make sure you get an ample intake of healthy fats, little (but healthy) carbs, and ample good proteins. Your body will thank you by toning up nicely and automatically shedding (burning) the fat it no longer wants.

2/16/2006 2:47 AM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

Science, thank you for the excellent advice. I wonder, have you visited Dr Eades blog ?

Check out
http://blog.proteinpower.com/drmike/archives/2006/01/we_never_failed.html#comments

It's the best short explanation of what low carb does on the cellular level for weight loss that I've come across. I now use it when talking to friends and family about why I'm doing low carb--yes, I'm getting flak about it, of course.

I'm also going to use the failed low fat study results when I talk about low carb.

BTW have you also seen the fat fast in the Atkins book? I had forgotten about it but this thread reminded me. I think I may try it out for the 3 day minimum.

2/16/2006 4:50 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

You are most welcome. Yes, I read dr. Eades blog, and it's an excellent piece indeed. And he has good taste in music too :)

Yep, you will get flak about your diet. Tons of it, actually, as there is much misinformation, nonsense and especially lies out there - especially from self-appointed health "experts" and even from some health professionals who should know better.

The best thing to do is what you presently do already: do your research, methodical and precise, and patiently and calmly try to educate the nay-sayers and noisy negativists you will no doubt encounter. But don't hold your breath. Most of them are extremely close-minded and its a waste of time, health, and breath to even try to educate them.

As for using the tons of scientific literature: excellent idea. There are literal mountains of evidence for the beneficial -also long term- effects of low-carb diets, and even bigger mountains of evidence conclusively proving the total and utter failure of the low-fat paradigm. A few good places for accurate and complete information by integer people:

- Jimmy's blog
- www.atkinscenter.com
- www.second-opinions.co.uk
- www.theomnivore.com
- www.westonaprice.org

There's much more out there, of course, but these are very good places to start. Enjoy :)

As for the fat fast: yep, I am familiar with that, but keep in mind that it is essentially targeted at individuals with extreme metabolic resistance against weight loss. For normal, more or less healthy individuals it is not really necessary to follow such a very high-fat version of the ketogenic regimen. The Atkins diet is excellently aligned towards the obese, and well-balanced for these individuals.

I presume you want to give it a try to speed up weight loss some more? Or do you experience extreme metabolic resistance, like having perhaps problems getting into ketosis?

Don't forget that ketostix (test strips to show ketone presence in urine) do not work for everybody - and you may very well be in ketosis nevertheless. Not the scales, but your clothes falling off your body are the best proof!

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to determine, firstly, how much you need to lose, and secondly, have all your vital biomarkers and bloodwork done before you start. That will give you not only a good reference point in time but also a clear goal. If possible, and if you have a reasonably intelligent and emphatic doctor or GP, preferably a doctor also educated in nutritional science (those are rare!) request him or her to monitor your progress and blood work over the course of time - say once every two months. Another benefit is that you will most likely turn around another skeptic :) In this sad world, the truth needs all the help it can get. Science is not what it used to be nor what it is supposed to be, unfortunately.

This is not a absolute necessity but I strongly advice it to anybody. And make sure you get plenty (and I mean plenty!) of water, a minimum of 8 large glasses of water per day. It will cleanse and detoxify your body during weight loss and actually make weight loss easier. It will also prevent constipation during the initial ketogenic phase.

Another wise thing to do is read as much as you can about this way of eating. Remember: this is NOT a diet, it's a way of life; an intelligent and scientific way of truly healthy eating for life (and that's most literally "for life"). Remember also that you are on a qualitative diet, not a quantative one. Eat enough, until you are full and satisfied. If you are hungry, open that fridge and eat something yummy - something healthy. Of course, avoid low-fat or fat-free products like the plague. You will lose weight, relatively easy, and keep it off - but keep sticking to this lifestyle.

As a result, you will also gain... health, that is. Tons of it!

2/17/2006 3:35 AM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

Science, I remember Weston Price, I haven't gone there in a long time, should visit again!

I'm thinking of trying the fat fast for the minimum time because every month after I finish my cycle, I get stuck, and I figure I can jump start the process by using the fast.

My internist does my blood workup every three months, as I'm now showing high blood sugar and triglicerides, so yes, I'm being monitored. She had me try two different meds for diabetes, I reacted badly to both, so I really need to do this the natural way.

Thanks goodness I've always been a water drinker, I only needed to up it a bit, adjusting for my weight beyond the eight glasses.

As for processed products, I find a lot of them make me gag! I prefer fresh meat and veggies.

2/17/2006 3:30 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Good site, isn't it? They are very much into Paleo-diets, the traditional diets humanity evolved and thrived on. Obviously, that's low-carb: a grain-based diet, according to conventional dietary "wisdom" the epitome of healthy eating, is something the human body is not well-adapted to. Very interesting to read, especially together with the experiences of the many other early researchers of traditional dietary habits. The very first thing that stands out clearly is that they all were basically low-carb, high-fat diets. The second inescapable conclusion is that these people were in perfect health - no obesity, diabetes, CHD, and so on. Only where "modern" foods were introduced health detoriated rapidly. Fascinating stuff, and one of my passionate hobbies.

The symptoms you describe - "getting stuck" after a cycle may be simple water retention, which often happens to women either just before, during and after a cycle, depending on hormonal balance. If you follow the regimen closely, with adequate fat intake and supplement vitamins, it may very well prove be a temporal thing.

That is not to say that I am trying to talk you out of a fat fast - it has shown to be a very powerful "kickstart" into ketosis and lipolysis, even for those with extreme metabolic resistance against weight loss. So yes, if that is what needed to kickstart it: go for it. And it's excellent that you are being monitored.

A diabetic female friend of mine who was almost killed by her BDA-recommended low-fat diet in the UK lost 11 stone (over 150 pounds) on the Atkins diet and kept it off since, and with ease. That's 5 years ago, and indeed she needed a fat fast too in order to definitely get into ketosis. Once she was "deep purple" she did not need the fat fast anymore.

What we found very helpful for her, also to break "plateaus" (weight loss stalls) was ample vitamin supplementation.

She took daily:

- A potent time-released or buffered multivitamin
- 3000 mg of vitamin C/day
- B complex, at least 300 mg/day
- Chromium, double normal dosage
- Cod liver oil, 3 caps/day
- Flaxseed oil, 1 cap/day
- Virgin coconut oil, 6 tblsp/day
- Garlic caps, 3 caps/day

Everything with meals. As said, she lost over 150 pounds (that's a lot on a short frame!) and was even weaned off diabetes medication before hitting her goal. She is now slim and slender and lives a normal life.

"Funny" thing was that recently she received a letter from the BDA advising her, for all intends and purposes, to go back to a low-fat diet! The very diet that made her diabetic, ill and overweight in the first place... She wrote back threatening to sue them and never heard anything since :)

I don't know how much you have to lose (and it's none of my business) but I'm telling all of this just to show you that indeed this regimen can do miracles for many of us, and is indeed proven to be clearly superior for diabetics. Completely common results are: excellent glycemic control, lower BP, higher HDL with low tri, perhaps a little higher LDL but overall excellent ratios (which is the most important anyway). Numerous long-term, tightly controlled scientific studies solidly confirm these vastly superior results time and time again.

You are absolutely doing the right thing for yourself and don't you let anybody tell you otherwise. Any person telling you that these results are unobtainable on a low-carb diet is either a total fool or has no clue of nutritional science, or both.

You keep up the good work!

2/18/2006 11:31 AM  

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