Why does Connie Bennett agree with Dr. James O'Keefe about high-fat?
It's not that often when I disagree with a fellow low-carb blogging friend who agrees with me that consuming sugar and excessive carbohydrates is bad for your weight and health. But when "SUGAR SHOCK!" blog author Connie Bennett wrote a post this week entitled "Just One High-Sugar, High-Fat Meal Can Damage Your Body, Study Stays," I felt compelled to respond.
The report was actually written by Connie's correspondent Jennifer Moore (no relation), but there was a brief "Note from Connie" at the beginning of the post that made me raise my eyebrows. Here's what she wrote:
"If you think one fatty, culprit-carb-laden meal won't do harm to you, think again."
Say it ain't so, Connie! I'll agree that a "culprit-carb-laden meal" may cause harm, but what's with the "fatty" part? Why even go there when you have seen all the studies in research for your SUGAR SHOCK! book showing a high-fat, low-carb diet is not only healthy, but beneficial in so many ways to the body. In fact, you should take a closer look at the book by Gary Taubes (who you interviewed recently) called Good Calories, Bad Calories to find out more of the science behind this.
The study cited on Connie's blog was published in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and led by a well-known pro-vegetarian, low-fat diet loving internist from the Mid America Heart Institute and University of Missouri–Kansas City named Dr. James H. O'Keefe. The primary point from his study is to eat more whole, high-fiber foods that come from plant sources as well as lots of whole grains, legumes, and nuts to prevent your blood sugar from rising too fast which then increases your triglycerides to in turn lead to inflammation in the body.
Sounds good, right? But...
But we already know what causes those health issues to happen. It's carbohydrates! Even those so-called "good" carbs that come from some fruits and vegetables as well as the much-heralded whole grains craze and legumes can and will spike your blood sugar and release insulin inside the body almost as fast as sugary junk foods do in those of us who are especially carb-sensitive (which is why we started livin' la vida low-carb to begin with!). Ignoring this fact is not giving people the entire picture and Dr. O'Keefe knows that.
Although you have people like Dr. Judith Wurtman espousing the absolutely absurd theory that saturated fat consumption can lead to Type 2 diabetes, the truth of the matter is a high-fat diet in the absence of carbohydrate is not at all harmful. Nobody has yet to offer any credible published research to counter this fact, so why do we continue to have imbecilic researchers like Dr. O'Keefe trying to shove their personal beliefs into the science when the evidence is just not there? And why is such research embraced by people like Connie Bennett who should know better?
This whole sage with the O'Keefe study reminds me of a study which was also published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in August 2006 by Dr. Stephen Nicholls that concluded eating one saturated fat-laden meal will reverse any good cardiovascular health markers that may have been present inside the body. Another study released in the April 2007 issue of The Journal of Nutrition by Dr. Tavis Campbell made similar ridiculous statements about the one fatty meal claim. But, again, the "fatty" meals used in these studies are also very high-carb meals as well. How about doing a study comparing a high-carb, high-fat meal with a low-carb, high-fat meal and let's see what happens to the health markers then, hmmmm? How about it Dr. O'Keefe?
And, with all due respect to my fellow low-carb blogging colleague Connie Bennett, she should know better. Sure, consuming the "culprit carbs" (as she calls sugary, simple carbs) is indeed unhealthy and most of us agree with that wholeheartedly. But why lump in dietary fat with the whole kit and kaboodle? No, Connie, one high-fat meal will NOT cause damage to your body when carbohydrates are severely reduced or eliminated. A high fat diet is only unhealthy in tandem with a high-carb one.
And perhaps that's what Connie's correspondent Jennifer Moore was TRYING to say in her post. But the way it was written with that finger-pointing headline, it certainly made it appear to be damning to fat. Perhaps some clarification is in order, Connie, and I welcome your feedback. We'd love to know why you believe a high-fat diet is so unhealthy (if you do). Feel free to share your comments so we can better understand where you are coming from.
As for Dr. O'Keefe, you can contact him to share your comments about his study at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him it's not the dietary fat, but the carbs that cause damage to health. Encourage him to take up my suggestion to do a study on a high-carb, high-fat vs. low-carb, high-fat diet comparison. Who knows, if he's a real scientist, then he should be up for the challenge, right? :)
1-29-08 UPDATE: Well, Connie Bennett responded today and attempted to clarify what she meant by what she wrote in the column that was posted at her blog. I appreciate that, but I do think she took this way too personally. It was all about the message and not YOU, Connie. Perhaps this will make you pay closer attention to what you allow on your blog from now on, hmmm?