Dr. Tavis Campbell blasts fat, but completely ignores the carbs
I'm sure you've seen all the news stories out of Calgary, Alberta Canada over the past couple of days about the study showing how "dangerous" eating one high-fat meal supposedly causes to stress and high blood pressure, haven't you? You can't help but notice an attention-grabbing headline like "One Fatty Meal Won't Hurt? Think Again" from our friends at CBS News.
Can they really be THIS stupid?! Yeah, they can, and so can the researchers who conducted this flim-flam research. I'll explain why you should be suspicious of the study findings in a moment.
Lead researcher Dr. Tavis S. Campbell, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Calgary, along with his fellow researchers observed 30 healthy adults who fasted the night before consuming one of two predetermined meals:
A HIGH-FAT FAST FOOD BREAKFAST or
A LOW-FAT CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST
Take a good hard look at this "high-fat" breakfast: A McDonald's meal with a sausage McMuffin, an egg McMuffin, and two hash brown patties. EWWWW! Oh, my stomach's churning just thinking about eating all of that! Incidentally, the "low-fat" breakfast was dry cereal with skim milk, a cereal fruit bar, fat-free yogurt, and a glass of orange juice. Yuck, that doesn't sound very appetizing either!
Both of these meals had about 800 calories, but the "high-fat" meal consisted of 42g fat while the "low-fat" meal only had 1g fat. The researchers also added a sodium supplement to balance the salt differential between the two meals.
A couple of hours after the meal, the study participants were put through some stress tests to see how their body would react to both mental and physical stress. For example, they were asked to perform public speaking about a sensitive and personal subject as well as dipping their hand in ice water.
The researchers measured their cardiovascular response, including blood pressure, heart rate, and resistance within blood vessels. What they found was the "high-fat" study participants experienced higher blood pressure than those who ate the "low-fat" diet. They conducted the experiment twice to confirm the results.
Therefore, Dr. Campbell concluded that eating just one "high-fat" meal can induce stress which is a precursor to cardiovascular disease. In other words, the researchers believe it's the fat that may bring on a heart attack or stroke.
But they would be just as wrong as this study on saturated fat from last year. Why? Just take a look at the macronutrient breakdown of the "high-fat" meal again. Yes, it is indeed high in fat, but it is also high in something else. Oh yeah, carbohydrate!
Is it possible that the combination of a high-fat with high-carb diet brought about the "exaggerated cardiovascular reactivity" and not the saturated fat content of that meal? I'd love to know what Campbell and his researchers would have found in their study if the participants had thrown away the English muffins and replaced the hashbrowns with a salad and full-fat Ranch dressing (thus making it a low-carb meal).
There's no doubt in my mind the results would have been MUCH different compared with the high-carb, sugar-loaded low-fat meal. It's amazing how researchers like this Dr. Campbell so conveniently look past the high-sugar, high-carb content of these "high-fat" foods in their experiment and just automatically assume it's gotta be the fat. No, Dr. Campbell, it doesn't!
This study was published in the April 2007 issue of The Journal Of Nutrition.
Wouldn't you know the lead researcher was going to play up the "high-fat" aspect of this one meal?! Yep, Dr. Campbell didn't disappoint one bit.
"It's been well documented that a high-fat diet leads to atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries] and high blood pressure, and that exaggerated and prolonged cardiovascular responses to stress are associated with high blood pressure in the future," Dr. Campbell contended. "So when we learn that even a single, high-fat meal can make you more reactive to stress, it's cause for concern because it suggests a new and damaging way that a high-fat diet affects cardiovascular function."
Oh cry me a freakin' river, Dr. Campbell! What a bunch of ridiculous hogwash that you are spreading about fat consumption. You really need to read up on some of the latest studies about how protective fat consumption is when it is combined with a reduced carbohydrate intake. Please read the research conducted by Dr. Jeff Volek, Dr. Eric Westman, Dr. Stephen Phinney, Dr. Jay Wortman, Dr. Mary Vernon...there's MANY more, but that'll keep you busy for a while.
With such nonsensical misinformation about a high-fat diet like this, it is more important than ever that we distiguish to people that it is the carb consumption and not the fat that leads to heart disease. One of these days that truth will FINALLY get through. That's why we must be vigilant about sharing the facts every moment we can.
E-mail Dr. Tavis Campbell your concerns about his study on a "high-fat" diet at firstname.lastname@example.org.