Sunday, February 12, 2006

Time Magazine's Feeble Low-Fat Diet Defense

Time magazine writer Christine Gorman says low-fat study changes nothing

Here come the mighty defenders of the low-fat diet to the rescue to try to make sense of this very clear 8-year study released last week showing the low-fat diet is not as healthy as it has been previously portrayed.

Following quickly on the heels of a column by Dr. Dean Ornish in Newsweek is this Time magazine story by senior writer Christine Gorman attempting to soften the very hard blow that low-fat diets took this week.

Gorman regularly writes on issues of health and obesity for Time magazine, imparting her talented writing skills to readers for more than two decades. But like Sally Squires at the Washington Post, Gorman has a decidedly biased point of view in favor of the low-fat lie that many of us have come to believe as the gospel truth.

With that in mind, she writes in her piece entitled "The Real Story About Low Fat" that all the headlines declaring an end to the low-fat diet are simply getting it wrong.

"Before you rush off to order a cheeseburger with an ice-cream chaser, however, you should take a closer look at the studies on which those headlines were based," Gorman writes.

Um, nobody in their right mind is doing that, Ms. Gorman. Unless, of course, you make it a bunless cheeseburger with lots of extra mayonnaise and enjoy a nice bowl of low-carb ice cream with whipped cream on top for dessert! Now THAT'S what I call a healthy way to rebel against the low-fat scam, don't you think?

As for those headlines slamming low-fat diets, where was your outcry about all the negative headlines against low-carb last August when Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection? The media hounds went wild with that one, but there was nary a peep out of you or anyone in the media about how totally unfair they were blindly declaring the "low-carb fad is dead." It cuts both ways, Ms. Gorman, and your hypocrisy stands out like Shaquille O'Neal at a midget's convention!

She makes the point that there are certain kinds of fats that you should eat (found in olive oil, nuts and fish) and there are certain kinds of fats that you shouldn't eat (found in "ice cream and ground beef" -- HER WORDS!).

While consuming essential omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts and olive oil are indeed good for you, unfortunately that message is completely lost in the low-fat template. NEVER have I ever hear a low-fat propagandist say that it is okay to eat certain kinds of fats while simultaneously cutting down or eliminating the obviously "bad" fats, such as trans fats. Not once.

And the line of deliniation between good and bad fats has been so obscured by the FAT IS BAD message that has been repeated so often I think they named a song after it by now, most Americans just don't understand that there is a difference. To them, just the mere mention of the word "fat" makes them run for their lives. You can credit the government, health leaders, and, yes, people like Gorman in the media for scaring people half to death about fat.

Yet, fat is and has always been an essential ingredient in our diets (even the much-vilified saturated fat can be good for you, too!). Studies have shown that consuming MORE fat is good for your heart health and that restricting your fat intake will actually make you fatter. Isn't it funny how you never hear any of these nutrition "experts" in the media ever call for public scorn against sugar like they do fat? Hmmmmm. Makes you wonder why, doesn't it?

Gorman said the low-fat study didn't have the participants lower their fat intake enough to show measurable comparisons. But this is a straw man argument because the fat intake was significantly lower than the control group. And even Gorman admits it is "really, really hard to get a lot of women to cut their fat intake to 20%."

Gee, I wonder why that is, Ms. Gorman? Could it be the food selection on THAT restrictive of a low-fat diet is so limited that you get extremely hungry right in the middle of the day at the very time you need a boost of energy? The bottom line is that these women ate a low-fat diet and it failed to produce the kind of health improvements that they were looking for. In fact, another study released in January 2006 found that there was a neglible weight loss over the long-term on a low-fat diet as well. This doesn't look good for people who promote a low-fat diet! That's why they're kicking and screaming about it now.

Moving on to the cancer results from the study, Gorman repeats the answer Dr. Ornish gave that the studies have not "gone on long enough."

Tick tock tick tock tick tock...we need more time, Gorman says! How much more time do you want? EIGHT YEARS is an eternity for a research project and the results show there has been no improvements in breast cancer prevention. Period. End of story. What is there to discuss and look at? If the study continues on for several more years, how long is it going to take to get the desired results? 5 years? 10 years? 25 years? INDEFINITELY?!?!?!

It's time to face the music, Ms. Gorman. The low-fat diet experiment failed. And failed BADLY! It was a diet that NEVER should have made it into the mainstream of American life and culture, but it did. No thanks to people like you and the influencers behind the scenes making recommendations to the U.S. government, the low-fat diet fad plopped itself into every dining room in America and look what we have to show for it now. Record-breaking obesity rates that keep going up and up.

Is this the kind of America that low-fat diet advocates want? It sure does seem that way.

At the end of her rah-rah article about the low-fat diet, Gorman said people should "exercise regularly and eat more fruits, vegetables and fiber-rich whole grains" while paying attention to the types of fat they eat.

That generic advice is about as useless as telling people to eat a "balanced" diet (what does that mean anyway?). Obviously it is good to exercise and eat fruits and veggies, but the real motive Gorman had when she wrote this column was to try to blow off the low-fat study as a harmless, irrelevant blip in the health roadmap.


When we look back on this a few years from now, the gaping crater that will still remain in the landscape of diet and nutrition will prove once and for all that this study was indeed an A-bomb on the low-fat diet.

Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye! SEE YA and good riddance!

2-13-06 UPDATE: I sent this to letter to Time magazine today:

Dear Time,

All I can say is that Christine Gorman is grasping at straws in attempting to explain away the recent damning evidence proving that low-fat diets are not the end-all nutritional approach for people desiring lasting weight loss and disease prevention.

Like so many Americans, I bought into the whole low-fat lie hook, line, and sinker and kept wondering why I was getting fatter and fatter each year.

It wasn't until I stopped listening to the dietary advice that was coming from my health leaders, government officials, and yes, the media and started researching on my own what the best weight loss approaches were before I was able to lose nearly 200 pounds -- FOR GOOD!

The low-carb lifestyle saved my life and I will never be the same again because of it. That's because I'm livin' la vida low-carb now.

As for the low-fat diet debacle, it's time for people to wake up and realize that the government is not going to lose weight for you. You have to make it happen for yourself no matter what it takes.

Jimmy Moore, author of "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb"


Blogger Science4u1959 said...

As one researcher puts it:

"There is no longer any excuse for propagating this disgraceful fraud. No information provider has the right to plead ignorance when decades of evidence clearly show that the low-fat paradigm is a baseless and counterproductive sham."

And also, with regard to the very real dangers and damage of low-fat dieting that also have been proven in this WIH study:

"One inconvenient fact mysteriously absent from most of the media and internet reports on the WHI study is that, among the 3.4 percent of trial participants with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, the relative risk of non-fatal and fatal CHD was increased by twenty-six percent! So while the low-fat diet was merely useless in women initially free of CVD, this study raises the very real possibility that it was harmful for the 1600+ women who already had diagnosed CVD at the start of the study."

This study is not just ONE A-bomb against low-fat, it is THE absolute and total expose that should have happened decades ago. Millions upon millions of Americans and citizens all over the Western world have died as a result of this total fallacy.

Let's hope that the media, for once, will do its job and notice that giant crater in the dietary landscape. Because if they do not, and keep ignoring or belittle these astounding results, the resulting fall-out may very well take them out as well - if their low-fat diet doesn't kill them, that is.

2/12/2006 9:09 PM  

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