We were astonished to discover that the diet dictocrats have so brainwashed the American public that data has been trumped by dogma. We recently interviewed Eric Westman, MD. He is associate professor of medicine at Duke University Health System and director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. Together with Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek, he has written a book titled The New Atkins for a New You.
Now we would agree with many of our listeners that Dr. Westman takes no prisoners. He was insistent that a low-carbohydrate diet is the best solution to weight loss and his dismissal of fruit as “nature’s candy” infuriated many who were listening. As fruit lovers ourselves, we understand the outrage.
What is disturbing about the controversy that erupted among our commenters is that many people seem to have dismissed the data without even looking at it. The idea that carbs, especially sugar, could raise total cholesterol and triglycerides and lower beneficial HDL cholesterol is hard for many people to swallow. But that is what the research shows (JAMA, April 21, 2010).
People have heard about the evils of saturated fat for so long that they cannot imagine any possibility that an Atkins-like diet would not clog coronary arteries. Anyone who says it’s OK to eat a steak must be crazy. And yet the research repeatedly demonstrates that such a diet does not have a negative impact on blood lipids. One of the most rigorous studies to date was carried out in Israel. It lasted two years and compared a low-fat restricted-calorie diet, a Mediterranean-style restricted-calorie diet and a low-carb diet with no caloric restriction. The subjects lost more weight on the low-carb diet and had better blood lipids. Although this data defies conventional wisdom, it was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (July 17, 2008).
We encourage you to listen to our bonus interview with Dr. Eric Westman, check out the amazing and emotional comments that followed our radio show broadcast, look at the references and then comment yourself.
You may also want to watch Robert Lustig, MD, University of California, San Francisco, Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology. Dr. Lustig provides the science on sugar and high fructose corn syrup. He compares high fat to high sugar intake as a cause of obesity and he is incredibly compelling.