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?