Shame on You, Sugar

We all now know that sugars are to blame for so much of our chronic disease and contracting life spans, right? Diabetes, heart, obesity, senility, possibly even certain forms of cancer (although cancer sounds like a stretch to me). But even more evidence is surfacing that missing the mark on the cause of increasing rates of disease was not mere negligence but downright malfeasance in both our government and our industries.

If you missed it, JAMA reported in its November 2016 edition that it had clear evidence that the sugar industry knew that sugar was the cause of rising heart disease in the 1950’s. So they promoted publicity to blame heart attacks on animal fats instead of sugars, and funded false-result studies to support their claims. The result was to form a tripartite force of food processors, the USDA and sugar businesses whose goal was to blame beef and pork for disease while adding foods like sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils to our diet. They cut off government funding to any researcher who dared to suggest otherwise, and pilloried anyone who used private funding to question their false claims. Wow. We all lost our innocence with this one, yes?

Summing Up, Fats Versus Carbs

Let’s sum up this three month topic by noting a recent report that compiled the results of 23 studies made over the last 10 years comparing the results of low carb (“LC”) against low fat (“LF”) diets. (See Gunnars.) The following conclusions are supported by the studies:

  1. The LC group always loses more weight, ranging from 150% to 300% more than the LF group.
  2. The LC group always shows improved bio-markers related to heart and pancreas issues. The LF group shows either no improvement or statistically insignificant improvement.
  3. Naturally occurring saturated fats are not the bogeyman they have been characterized as being in the past.
  4. In many of the studies, calories were not counted in the LC group but were reduced in the LF group. Nonetheless, the LC group lost more weight and had more improved bio-markers than the calorie-restricted LF group. This seems to prove Dr. Atkins’ point that fats and proteins are self-regulating. Once your body has enough, you will cut back on the quantity consumed. But carbs have the opposite effect - because they cause your blood sugars to gyrate, you eat more and do so sooner. We have certainly found that to be true in our eating habits.

Among the foods that Dr. David Perlmutter recommends are grass-fed beef, pastured pork and free range chickens. And he is big, as are we, on the economic and health benefits of the incredible edible egg. Eat all of these without caloric restrictions. Your body will self-regulate. Now that’s a diet we can all live with!

So there it is, folks. We have followed the faulty advice of the misinformed, misguided and intentionally misleading for 60 years and all it has gotten us is heart and diabetes troubles encased in obesity. What a monumental dietary debacle they have foisted upon us. So next time you see “low fat” on your grocer’s shelf, ask them why. Why are you promoting a product that replaces fat with processed sugars and selling it as healthy food?

So how should we eat? Despite the findings of the last 10 years, we still recommend a diverse diet of whole foods. The prescription established by Thomas Jefferson and now by Paleo still works best in our opinion. 4 foods on your plate in about equal volume, a meat, two vegs and a little fresh fruit or wine. Or a soup, pot roast, salad or bean pot that follows those same diverse guidelines. Just avoid or minimize those simple and processed carbs. (I was raised on white rice as our staple, so I still indulge the food memory occasionally. I think you can do that if you eat a more healthy plate most of the time. Perlmutter allows it as well but would prefer wild and whole grain rice.)

And that’s the healthy eating world as we see it. It’s a delicious one!

The Latest Study

Margaret Bremer keeps us up to date on the latest dietary studies and reported recently on the “meat/diabetes” study in the New England Journal. You may have seen this one - an “above average” consumption of meat seemed to correlate with an increased propensity for diabetes (I recall that there was a 14% increase). I must admit that this apparent connection stumped me at first glance since diabetes has long been associated with sugars, not proteins or fats. Since the authors offered no theory of correlation, here’s mine: first, remember that any broad-based study of meats in the U.S. are necessarily dependent on the effects of corn-fed meats; 99%++ of our meats are sourced from the feedlots, not from the pastures. As the feedlot industry increases the concentration of sugars in the finishing regime, those sugars must be showing up in larger concentrations in the commodity meats.

That’s the only explanation that makes sense to me.