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The case for Keto – a review

By Malcolm Kendrick | December 9, 2020

Gary Taubes has a new book out called ‘The Case for Keto,’ which he sent to me in the form of a real book with real pages, that he wanted me to read. Which I have.

I then suggested I should do a review and stick it up on my blog. I shall say, right up front, that I strongly recommend this book.

This may not be a surprise to those who know my thoughts on diet, heart disease and suchlike. In my case Gary is preaching to the converted. This is a book which covers the fact that fats, saturated fats, indeed any fats (other than trans-fats, and the industrially produced fats from grains) are perfectly healthy. Humans have eaten them for millennia.

You don’t see cave paintings of early humans out scything autumn wheat fields. No, you see pictures of men, because men always get the easy jobs, chasing woolly mammoths with spears. They are not just taking the mammoths out on early morning exercise, and throwing the spears to play catch. They are throwing those spears at the mammoths, and chasing them into spike filled pits, then eating them – saturated fats and all.

Anyway, as Gary makes very clear, despite the endless claims that animal fats are bad for us, when you get down to it, the evidence simply does not exist. The idea that fats make us fat and diabetic and kill us with heart disease is simply a ‘meme.’

An idea so widely held that everyone just believes it must be true. So much so that there is no need to even think about it. Fat gets into your body, floats about and gets stuck to your artery walls. Fat, cholesterol, same thing innit? ‘My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts.’

I think I should mention that Gary first gained considerable fame in this area with his book ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories.’ In the UK and Australia, it was called. ‘The Diet Delusion.’ This is where he first looked at the idea that fats were bad for us and found it to be based almost entirely on hot air.

So, if it is not fat in the diet that is capable of causing weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and other such nasty things, what is it? As Gary points out clearly, and inarguably, the answer is sugar. By sugar, he means carbohydrates (all sugars are just simple carbohydrates).

Slightly more complex carbohydrates are bread, and pasta, and rice and potatoes. These are just made up of lots of glucose molecules stuck together. Many people are unaware that our body takes in pasta, bread, rice etc. and simply breaks them down into sugar. So, pasta = sugar. Bread = sugar. Potatoes = sugar. Just as much as sugar = sugar. They all have the same effect.

Gary goes through the history of the brave individuals who have been those pointing out the damage that can be caused by excess carbohydrate intake for decades. Those who have been squashed flat by the mainstream. An English professor of nutrition, John Yudkin, tried to make this all clear in his book on sugar(s): ‘Pure, white and Deadly’ first published in the early 1970s. He was attacked and shouted down by Ancel Keys – the main promoter of the diet/heart hypothesis.

Gary maintains a calm and reasonable tone when discussing some of these events. Which is admirable. If I were him, I would be breaking the furniture, and chewing the curtains. He also calmly points out where the evidence is strong, and where it is weak, or where it does not exist at all. He does not overclaim, nor suggest that cutting down on carbs is a panacea that will benefit everyone. It is the calm reasonable tone that is actually most impressive. He knows his stuff, and he lays it out carefully and clearly.

What of the title of the book itself? ‘The case for Keto.’ For those who know this area ‘Keto’ is the metabolic state achieved when the body stops using sugar for energy and starts to break down the stored fats instead. These stored ‘fatty acids’ are converted to molecules known as ketone bodies in the liver. The body is perfectly happy to use them for energy. This is ‘ketosis’. Explaining the title of the book.

Many people think ketones are the preferred energy source for most organs in the body. Virtually the only exception being some processes in the brain, that require glucose, and only glucose, to function.

The downstream benefit to entering ketosis is that, when you burn up fats and ketones, you are also using up your “energy stores” aka fat. So, once you stop burning glucose, and start using ketones, you can finally lose weight. Also, your blood glucose levels fall, your insulin levels fall, and the body has a chance to reset itself.

Gary has spoken to many, many doctors and researchers who are now absolutely convinced that the best way to prevent, even reverse, the wave of obesity and diabetes sweeping the modern world is to change from eating carbohydrates and eat more fats. I agree with him. If you read this book, I believe you will agree with him too. He makes a compelling case. It is the Case for Keto.

December 20, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Dialog on Diet as Preventative Medicine

Joe Rogan Experience #1175 – Chris Kresser & Dr. Joel Kahn – September 27, 2018

Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac is a globally recognized leader in the fields of ancestral health, Paleo nutrition, and functional and integrative medicine. Dr. Joel Kahn is one of the world’s top cardiologists and believes that plant-based nutrition is the most powerful source of preventative medicine on the planet.

https://chriskresser.com/rogan

https://drjoelkahn.com/joe-rogan-expe…

October 1, 2018 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 3 Comments

Why the Low Fat Diet Makes You Fat (and Gives You Heart Disease, Cancer and Tooth Decay)

Book review by Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall | February 12, 2015

The Truth About Animal Fat: What the Research Shows

The Big Fat SurpriseThe Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet lays out the scientific case why our bodies are healthiest on a diet rich in saturated fat from animal products. Analyzing study after study, Nina Teicholz leaves no doubt that the number one cause of the global epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease is the low fat high carbohydrate diet doctors have been pushing for fifty years.

Blaming the Victim

My initial reaction on learning how the low fat diet became official government policy was to feel ripped off and angry. For decades, the medical establishment has been blaming fat people for being obese, portraying them as weak willed and lacking in self control. It turns out the blame lay squarely with their doctors, the American Heart Association (AHA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Congress and the food manufacturers who fund the AHA (Proctor and Gamble, Nabisco, General Foods, Heinz, Quaker Oats and Corn Products Refining Corporation) for foisting a diet on them that increases appetite and weight gain.

The low fat diet is based on a “theory” put forward in the 1950s that heart disease was caused by elevated cholesterol levels – and a few deeply flawed epidemiological studies. In other words, the low fat diet is a giant human experiment the medical profession conducted on the American public while attempting to prove that saturated animal fats cause heart disease. Fifty years of research would show the exact opposite: not only do low fat high carbohydrate diets increase the risk of cardiac death, but they’re also responsible for a myriad of other health problems, with obesity and diabetes being the most problematic.

The studies Teicholz cites also debunk the myth that animal fat increases the risk of breast and colon cancer.

Heart Attacks Rare Prior to 1900

Coronary artery disease and heart attacks were virtually unknown prior to 1900. When Ancel Keys, the father of the low fat diet, began his anti-fat crusade in the 1950s he claimed that industrialization and an improved standard of living had caused Americans to switch from a plant based diet to a diet that was higher in animal fats. This was total rubbish. Prior to 1900, Americans had always eaten a meat-based diet, in part because wild game was much more plentiful in North America than in Europe. Early cookbooks and diaries reveal that even poor families had meat or fish with every meal. Even slaves had 150 pounds of red meet a year, which contrasts unfavorably with 40-70 pounds of red meat in the current American diet.

What changed in the twentieth century was the introduction of cheaper vegetable fats into the American diet, starting with margarine and Crisco in the early 1900s.

Keys was also responsible for the theory, again without research evidence, that high cholesterol levels cause heart disease. This was also rubbish. Fifty years of research negates any link between either total cholesterol or LDL* cholesterol and heart disease. In study after study the only clear predictor of heart disease is reduced HDL. The same studies show that diets high in animal fats increase HDL, while those high in sugar, carbohydrates and vegetable oils reduce HDL.

Teicholz also discusses the role of statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) in this context. Statins do reduce coronary deaths, but this is due to their anti-inflammatory effect – not because of their effect on cholesterol.

Researchers Silenced and Sidelined

For decades, researchers whose findings linked low fat diets with higher rates of heart disease, cancer, stroke and tooth decay were systematically silenced and sidelined. As frequently happens with doctors and scientists who challenge the powerful health industry, their grants were cut off and, in some cases, their careers destroyed.

For fifty years, the medical establishment simply ignored the growing body of research linking the high sugar/carbohydrate component of the low fat diet to heart disease, as well as those linking vegetable oils to cancer. Vegetable oils oxidize when cooked, leading to the production of cancer causing compounds such as aldehyde, formaldehyde and 4-hydroxnonene (HCN). Unsurprisingly diets in which vegetable oils (other than olive oil) are the primary fat are linked with an increased incidence of cancer. Several studies overseas have found high levels of respiratory cancer in fast food workers exposed to superheated vegetable oils.

The Atkins Diet

The Big Fat Surprise includes a long section on the Atkins diet, a popular high fat/protein low carbohydrate weight reduction diet in the 70s and 80s. The use of a high fat low carbohydrate diet for weight loss dates back to 1862 and was heavily promoted by Sir William Osler in his 1892 textbook of medicine. According to Teicholz, recent controlled studies totally vindicate Dr Robert C Atkins, who was ridiculed as a dangerous quack during his lifetime. They also debunk claims that high levels of protein in the Atkins diet cause kidney damage. In addition to being perfectly safe, controlled studies show it to be extremely effective for weight loss and treating diabetes.

The USDA and AHA Quietly Reverse Themselves

As Teicholz points out in her conclusion, the nutrition researchers who blindly pursued their anti-fat campaign – and politicians and corporate funders who supported them – have done Americans an immense disservice by creating a virtual epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

A few years ago, the tide began to turn, largely due to the 29,000 subject Women’s Health Initiative launched in 1993. In 2013, the USDA and AHA quietly eliminated fat targets from the dietary recommendations. Because they made no real effort to publicize their change of heart, many doctors are still giving their patients the wrong dietary advice and hounding them about their cholesterol levels.

Dump the Skim Milk

The take home lesson from this book is that it’s virtually impossible to eat too many eggs or too much red meat, cheese, sausage and bacon. Americans (and their overseas English-speaking cousins) need to dump the skim milk and margarine down the sink because whole milk and butter are better for you. People need to go back to cooking with lard, bacon drippings and butter. Cooking with vegetable oils can give you cancer.

Anyone with a weight problem needs to totally eliminate sugar and carbohydrate (the Atkins diet recommends less than half a slice of bread a day).

And if your doctor hassles you about your cholesterol tell him or her to read this book.


*LDL (low density lipoprotein) is referred to as “bad cholesterol” due to its alleged link to heart disease. HDL (high density lipoprotein) or “good cholesterol” appears to provide some protective effect against heart disease.

March 21, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are the Government’s Dietary Guidelines Making Us Obese?

By Margie King | GreenMedInfo | February 25th 2013

Since the early 1980’s the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans have urged trusting Americans to eat a low-fat high-carbohydrate diet for their health and weight control. Since then, there has been an alarming increase in chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. In addition, obesity rates have shot up to 30%, and more than 70% of Americans are overweight.

Can the dietary guidelines be to blame?

Many experts believe that the USDA and other government agencies have stubbornly disregarded the science and continued a 30-year long nutrition experiment on Americans that has had disastrous results.

Nutrition experts from The Healthy Nation Coalition, which includes the Weston A. Price Foundation, the Salt Institute, and the Nutrition and Metabolism Society, have voiced concerns about the current USDA Dietary Guidelines issued in 2010.  They criticize the guidelines for perpetuating the wrong-headed advice to eat a low-fat diet, high in processed grains and cereals, which has contributed to the current obesity and health crisis.

What’s wrong with the government’s nutrition advice?

Dietary guidelines are a creation of politics and not science. Critics claim that the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee ignored scientific research that validates low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss and improved health. Low-carb diets generally recommend 60 to 120 grams of unprocessed carbohydrates per day, although some provide more, and some as little as 20 grams.

Besides encouraging people to eat processed carbohydrates such as cereal, rice, pasta and bread, the guidelines have made Americans fearful of eating real natural whole foods such as whole milk, cheese, red meat, eggs, salt, butter and full-fat yogurt. As a result, Americans have stocked their pantries with processed fake soy meats, vegetable oils, margarine and skimmed dairy products, all of which are depleted or completely devoid of key nutrients, such as vitamins D, A, K and choline.

The Campaign Against Saturated Fats

Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, faults the guidelines for continuing to demonize saturated fats based on unsound science.  The most recent guidelines reduce the recommended intake of saturated fats from 10% of calories to less than 7%.

The proposed 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines perpetuate the mistakes of previous guidelines in demonizing saturated fats and animal foods rich in saturated fatty acids such as egg yolks, butter, whole milk, cheese, fatty meats like bacon and animal fats for cooking. The current obesity epidemic emerged as vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates replaced these healthy, nutrient-dense traditional fats. Animal fats supply many essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain from other sources,” explained Ms. Morell in a press conference sponsored by the Healthy Nation Coalition.

Ms. Morell noted that for the past 60 or 70 years, saturated fats have been blamed for clogging arteries, and for causing heart disease, diabetes and even multiple sclerosis. None of these accusations is based on sound science she says.

Health Benefits of Saturated Fats

On the other hand, Ms. Morell points out the critical roles that saturated fats play in the body, including:

  • Make up 50% of cell membranes
  • Help the body put calcium in the bones
  • Lower Lp(a), a marker for heart disease
  • Protect the liver from alcohol and other poisons
  • Are required for lung and kidney function
  • Enhance the immune system
  • Work together with essential fatty acids
  • Support the body’s detoxification mechanisms

The government’s rationale for promoting a low-fat diet is the belief that fat makes us fat. Ms. Morell cites, however, the famous Framingham Heart Study which demonstrated that those eating more saturated fat, more cholesterol and more calories actually had lower blood serum cholesterol levels, weighed less and were more physically active.

In addition, a 1965 British heart study showed that heart attack survivors eating a saturated fat diet lived longer than those eating a diet of polyunsaturated or mono-unsaturated vegetable oils.

Finally, she cites a study of European countries which found that countries in which the population ate a diet high in saturated fats had lower rates of heart disease and those eating a low saturated fat diet had higher rates of heart disease.

The government and nutrition experts often lump saturated fats in with trans fats. Even worse, the fear of saturated fats has led many to replace the butter in their diets with trans fat laden margarine. Since 1926, Ms. Morell points out, use of butter in the U.S. has plummeted and at the same time rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease have skyrocketed.

Other “grave concerns” with the guidelines include

  1. Restriction of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day (less than 2 eggs);
  2. Restriction of sodium to 1,500 mg per day (2/3 of a teaspoon of salt);
  3. Promotion of low-fat milk and lean meats;
  4. Use of meat substitutes in federally funded school lunches; and
  5. Absence of any restrictions on refined carbohydrates and sweeteners in school meals.

Ms. Morell warned that the harm resulting from these misguided recommendations fall disproportionately on the nation’s children who will be fed these nutrient poor, fat inducing diets every day at school.  And that is a tragedy.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment