“Dietary guidelines necessarily are political compromises between what science tells us about nutrition and health and what is good for the food industry.”– Marion Nestle, New York University
– Where all of these calorie quality myths came from
– A short and surprising history of The Food Guide Pyramid, MyPlate, and the government’s role in health and food production in general
– What we are being told to eat today wasn’t even possible to eat, let alone healthy to eat, for 99.8% of our evolutionary history
– The simple and intuitive source of the obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease epidemics
– How starch is a very recent addition to the human diet…the most recently 0.02%, specifically
– Why gluten may not work so well for many
– Why many people have issues with lactose
– How we stayed healthy and fit for hundreds of thousands of years without trying and how we can do that again today
– Three ways to handle arguments such as “But our ancestors didn’t live as long as we do now so how can we compare ourselves to them?”
– How history can teach us a lot about how to stay healthy and slim without starving ourselves nor exercising excessively
– How the wheat and bread we eat today is not at all the same as the wheat and bread our grandmothers ate
– How the beef we eat today is not the beef we ate historically
– How red meat is completely misrepresented in the popular press
– How the scientific community has long demonstrated that starch and sugar are basically the same once they get into our body
– A SANE substitute for oatmeal
– Why paleo and primal are SANE and wonderful
– How low-fat and high-starch diets are the worst diets available for fat loss
– Why getting our kids eating SANE whole foods is so critical for their long-term health
– How the government’s dietary guidance did not come from doctors nor scientists, but from politicians
– Shocking scientific objections to our government’s recommended “healthy” diet
Millions of US Hospital Discharges for Cardiovascular Disease
Percent of Americans at Least Overweight
“The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet recommended by the…USDA Food Guide Pyramid may be among the worst eating strategies for someone who is overweight…. People on low-fat diets generally lose about two to four pounds after several weeks, but then gain that weight back even while continuing with the diet. Randomized trials of weight loss usually show little net weight changes after a year.” – The Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health
Millions of American with Diabetes
Millions of US Non-Fatal Heart Disease Incidents
“The way most North Americans are being encouraged to eat today is wrong. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that by eating a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, you will get healthier and thinner. Instead, there is ample evidence to support the fact that a diet too low in fat may eventually lead to adverse health consequences, especially an increase in heart disease—amazingly, the main problem a diet low in fat was supposed to solve.” – Dr. Fred Pescatore
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Trailer: Jonathan Bailor’s Smarter Science of Slim
Jonathan: Hey, everyone. Jonathan Bailor and Carrie Brown, coming to you from sunny Seattle, Washington. Carrie, how are you doing today?
Carrie: It’s been sunny for weeks! Quit whining.
Jonathan: It has been sunny for weeks.
Jonathan: Summer in Seattle, quite nice.
Carrie: We love that. I’m doing great!
Jonathan: We’re just going to move on.
Carrie: No, don’t move on! I mustn’t bang the table. I think we had feedback about banging the table. I won’t do that anymore.
Jonathan: Excessive banging.
Carrie: No banging. I’ve got to tell you, I’m now in a very intense love-hate relationship with my 20-pound dumbbell.
Jonathan: This is the dumbbell that you told us last week you had to take your other dumbbell back to the store because it wasn’t heavy enough for you.
Jonathan: I love it. So what’s the love-hate situation?
Carrie: Well, I love it for about the first minute and then I hate it.
Jonathan: Well, hopefully you will love what the dumbbell brings to you in terms of results, so…
Carrie: Yes, I do actually quite look forward to hanging out with my dumbbell, so we’re making progress.
Jonathan: I am happy to hear about that, Carrie. Well, Carrie, today I know you are excited about…. We’re going to kind of shift directions here a bit for the Smarter Science of Slim podcast. So far we’ve been digging into the science, we’ve been talking about a bunch of myths, and we’ve been talking about the scientific, essentially correction to those myths, but a lot of people wonder and we’ve heard up to this point is, how the heck did this get so confusing in the first place? I get a calorie is not a calorie. That makes sense now. I get that it’s not all about calories; it’s about hormones. I understand that we don’t manually balance ‘calories in, calories out’. But why did we get told all those things in the first place? So, over the next couple of podcasts, we’re going to change gears a little bit and focus on some history, focus on some politics, and focus on some business and marketing tactics to try to give us a little bit of background on how we got to where we are today because I think, Carrie, that will further empower us to go to a different, more scientific, helpful place moving forward.
Carrie: Well, I know that I’ve been very confused and I’m sure if I have, at least one other person has been confused along with me.
Jonathan: So if we understand what is the whole message about it and understand history so that we don’t repeat it, let us do that and let us start with Dr. Nestle at New York University who tells us that our Dietary Guidelines, which are the MyPlate or Food Guide Pyramid – the thing we all grew up learning is proper nutrition. This is a quote from Dr. Nestle who tells us that, “Dietary Guidelines necessarily are political compromises between what science tells us about nutrition and health and what is good for the food industry.” That is critical for us to keep in mind. The United States Department of Agriculture is called the United States Department of Agriculture; it’s not called the United States Department of Sustainable Fat Loss and Robust Health. So we have to keep in mind where we’re getting our information from. Let’s talk about where this calorie-quantity-confusion came from, shall we?
Carrie: I think that’s a much better name.
Jonathan: Which name?
Carrie: Your name.
Jonathan: Oh, the Department of Goodness.
Jonathan: Yes, yes, I mean, having health guidelines come from the Department of Agriculture is a bit like… Obviously, there’s a conflict of interest there. The Department of Agriculture is responsible for a profitable agriculture industry. That’s their responsibility. Their responsibility isn’t health.
Jonathan: So we need to keep that in mind.
Carrie: Scary, but true!
Jonathan: Scary, but true. So let us start to clear up the confusion, Carrie, by doing a quick exercise. Let’s go all the way back to the beginning. I’m talking of looking back in terms of history. Let’s look in terms of human history and our eating history using the scale of one day.
Jonathan: Okay. So let’s say that 12:00 a.m. last night was the dawn of our very first ancestors and right now, it’s one second before midnight. So we’re going to kind of plot out our history on that one-day timeline. Okay. So from 12 a.m. last night until about 11:57 p.m. today, our ancestors stayed healthy and fit eating only what could be hunted or gathered – vegetables, seafood, meat, eggs, fruit, nuts, and seeds – since that was the only food available to them.
Jonathan: The important point there is that it wasn’t until 11:57 p.m. on the one day of human evolutionary history that people started farming. Once we started farming, that’s when we became civilized because people could stay in one place and they began eating small amounts of starch and some amount of unrefined sweets.
Jonathan: So, keep in mind – that took place starting at 11:57 p.m. Now, the next big inflection point in our history was 2 seconds ago. So, very, very recently, only then did people start eating processed starches and sweets and then finally, right now, one second before midnight, did we start getting most of our calories from manufactured starch and sweetener-based food products. So the point of this exercise, Carrie, is if we look on the long continuum of human history, for about 99.8% of the time in which we were becoming and living as humans, the diet recommended by our government’s Dietary Guidelines and that many of us eat – that diet based on starches – was not even possible, let alone healthy.
Jonathan: So, right there, we start to see some hints as to what could be going wrong. We have a system that evolved and developed over millions of years that is now being fueled with substances which did not exist for the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority of that time.
Jonathan: And it’s also probably not a coincidence, that the obesity epidemic is recent; the heart disease epidemic is recent; the cardiovascular disease epidemic is recent; the diabetes epidemic is recent. When we ate the foods that we evolved to eat, none of these things were a problem. We’ve only started to see these problems once we started to stray from that evolutionary template.
Carrie: Okay. I can see that.
Jonathan: So, there are some key things to understand here – and I know it might start to seem a little bit odd because we’re saying things like, “Well, what about grains? People ate grains for thousands of years, didn’t they?” Well, a couple of things. In terms of our evolutionary history, a thousand years seems long to us now, but in terms of our evolutionary history, it’s very, very short. For example, Dr. Eaton tells us that during the late Paleolithic period – which is the vast majority of human history – the great majority of carbohydrates were derived from vegetables and fruits; very little from cereal grains, and none from refined flours. So, 12,000 years ago, which is when agriculture and starches and domestication of sweeteners became ‘common’ – it seems like we’ve been doing this for a long time – but in reality, on the continuum of human history, it’s the most recent 0.2% of our human history. It makes sense, too, Carrie, because when you think of common food allergies, gluten is one of the most common food things people have problems with. It’s a protein found in many wheat products and evolutionary biologists would argue that that’s because our digestive system has not had time to acclimate and evolve to handle that.
Jonathan: Similar things with lactose. If you look at populations which originated in African countries rather than European countries, the individuals in the African countries had less time, they didn’t have milk or dairy-based products in their diet as long as people from European countries and you’ll notice there is much more lactose intolerance among those populations than there are among European populations.
Carrie: That’s interesting.
Jonathan: The same kind of thing people wonder about diabetes and rice. Well, you can imagine again, the introduction of rice into the diet took place much earlier in Asian cultures than it did in non-Asian cultures, so that’s why they may be able to eat those foods without mal-effect while an individual whose ancestry did not eat those foods don’t have those evolutionary adaptations or as much of them. So, it’s very interesting to think about.
The key point I’m kind of making here, Carrie, is we do have a long history of not struggling with weight and disease. This is a recent problem. It’s not as if humans are genetically designed to be in the situation we’re in today. If we look at our great-grandparents, they never counted calories, they didn’t exercise, they just ate food and they stayed relatively slim and relatively healthy. But what a lot of people object with is if we dial the clock back far, which we’re doing today, people sometimes wonder how we can make these comparisons because long ago, people didn’t live as long as we do now. It’s a common objection. Well, during my research, I uncovered three really interesting facts about our ancestors. First, when we talk about our very ancient ancestors or our hunter-gatherer ancestors, there are not many of them still around; but there are some still around, and scientists have studied them extensively and these studies show them free from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cardiovascular disease almost universally.
They still exist and we can study them; there’s just not many of them. The second key point, Carrie, is that while their average age of death is lower than ours, many ancient hunter-gatherers lived well beyond the age of 60 and stayed free from these diseases and the average age. This isn’t a hard statistic, but it’s estimated, I believe, that one in every three to one in every five women died during childbirth prior to the advent of modern medicine.
Carrie: And the men got eaten by lions.
Jonathan: And the men got eaten by lions. And a lot of children died very young due to diseases. So again, the average age of death was lower. Dr. Boyd again tells us from Emory University, occasionally one hears the claim that primitive people all died too young to get degenerative diseases. This claim is simply false. Many lived well into and through the age of vulnerability to such disorders, yet didn’t get them. Carrie, my favorite point here when we talk about using our ancestors as an example, and again we don’t necessarily have to even go back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors if we don’t want to, we can just look at our great-grandparents because again they weren’t so obsessed with health as we are today and they were healthier.
Carrie: A lot healthier.
Jonathan: A lot healthier! So, let’s take age out of the equation entirely. Obese and type 2 diabetic children are running around all over the place. That was unheard of just decades ago; forget about tens of thousands of years ago! The fact that these conditions are affecting children takes age out of the equation entirely and basically is a wonderful example that we are fueling our system with the wrong stuff and when you do that, the system breaks down.
Carrie: And I know I grew up in England, which is different than here, but even then, I don’t remember there being any obese children at the school I went to. I just don’t remember any. And I don’t remember hearing all the fat jokes and all that stuff that you hear about now. It just didn’t exist.
Jonathan: It’s a very new problem, Carrie, and I think it’s really important for us to keep that in mind because I haven’t [Indiscernible 12:53] may not make sense yet, but for example, our grandparents and great-grandparents ate fat. In fact, you could argue, and statistics back up, they ate more fat than we did today. So if we had generations of people who are eating the same or more, let’s say specifically, animal fat, than we are today and they didn’t have the conditions we have today, how could that be a problem?
Carrie: My parents still tell me stories about how they used to spread lard on bread, dripping.
Jonathan: If you had a child go over to a friend’s house and they served lard to them – that would almost seem socially irresponsible! But of course, pump them full of sugar, that’s no problem. But again, we consumed lard in mass and didn’t have these problems! So how could lard be the cause of the problem? What has changed? We can all agree what’s changed is the composition of what we’re eating. From moving away from ‘food’ – and I’ll be crazy and define food as things you can find directly in nature – and moving more towards, what I like to call, ‘edible products’.
Carrie: This brings to mind – and I read this sometime this last week and maybe it was because you posted it somewhere – now, it’s not just a case that we’re eating grains, which we’re not really evolved to do, but the grains are different now to the simple grains that were grown then. They now have these super grains that the intention was to feed ten times more people with the same amount of product, but what has actually happened is they’re making us even sicker than the basic simple grains were originally.
Jonathan: That’s exactly right.
Carrie: Was it on your site where I read that?
Jonathan: It was, yeah. This was an article talking about wheat specifically and how the wheat that is consumed today…. Let’s put all the cards on the table here. Another common objection to this – let’s look back at our ancestors thing – is I’ve said, “Starch is inSANE” and people say, “Well, my great-grandmother ate bread and people have been eating bread for thousands of years, so what’s the problem?” Well, our great-grandparents and our ancestors ate bread made from a much different form of wheat than the wheat we’re eating today. We’re eating dwarf wheat. If you want to learn a lot about wheat, read the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. It’s incredible! That gist is that even these things which are ‘they seem natural’ are not being given to us in their natural state.
That’s even the case with meat. If you look at beef, cows in nature eat grass. The cows we eat are fed starch; they’re fed corn. So you get a much different meat when you eat farm-raised corn-fed cows than if you eat a natural cow. This is just a bit of one my pet peeves. We see these studies that tell us ‘XYZ red meat consumption is going to kill you’. What they don’t say is, when you eat unnatural red meat, a.k.a. meat that has been taken from an animal fed an unhealthy diet, chances are that could make you sick. However, if you eat meat from an animal that was fed what it was designed to eat, that’s an entirely different situation.
Just to make sure we don’t come off as conspiracy theorists here, folks, I’m going to be a little bit more generous with my quotes and my references in these podcasts because I don’t want this to just come off as ‘Jonathan and Carrie are ranting and raving’. For example, we’re going to definitely talk more and more about the USDA and their Food Guide Pyramid and MyPlate and let me quote the Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health – so, just this random guy. He states, “Unequivocally, the USDA Pyramid is wrong. It was built on shaky scientific ground and has been steadily eroded by new research from all parts of the globe. At best, it offers wishy-washy scientifically unfounded advice.” Let me do one more for us now, Carrie. This is from The Journal of the American College of Cardiovascular Exercisology and it says, “The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet promulgated or publicized vigorously by the Food Pyramid may well have played an unintended role in the current epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndromes.” So, when Carrie and I sit here and say that we’re getting bigger and sicker because we’re putting the wrong quality of fuel into our body rather than just putting too much fuel into our body, we’re appealing one, to common sense. Let’s look back in time – we ate differently and we lived much differently and you could argue much better and in the scientific community, there’s quite a bit of agreement that we’ve been going on the wrong path as well.
Carrie: Well, I must just say here that while you may be choosing the generous road, you may have to pull me back because I might be the ranter this week because this makes me mad!
Jonathan: Well, it is upsetting! Just one more example is, the scientific community has long criticized our government’s Dietary Guidelines and one of the most heinous offences that these Guidelines – again MyPlay, Food Guide Pyramid – have is as again, Dr. Nestle from New York University, who’s a wonderful advocate in this space – I definitely recommend reading her work – Food Politics is just a fantastic book written by Dr. Nestle. She notes how the scientific community has long criticized our Food Guide Pyramid for its failure to ‘recognize the biochemical equivalency of sugars and starch in the body’. More simply, starch has the same impact on the body as sugar, essentially. Two slices of whole wheat toast spike our blood sugar more than two tablespoons of sugar. So when we have a Food Guide Pyramid that says the base of our diet should be that which is to our body equivalent to sugar and even when they ‘revise’ that, we’ve still got a section of our plate that we must fill with something which the scientific community has stated is biochemically equivalent to sugar in place of vegetables or nutrient-dense proteins or even fruits! That’s just….
Jonathan: That’s just wrong! So anyway, we’ve got kind of an uphill battle here to fight, but I think it’s a battle that we can win because we’ve seen things like this happen before, Carrie. Look at smoking. Smoking back in the day was not only portrayed as not bad for you, but there were doctors on television on commercials saying that smoking was good for you. However, when the science made it to the surface, things changed.
Jonathan: Slowly. We didn’t make smoking illegal, nor should we; however, we made it so that everyone in the country or in the world knew what they were getting themselves into, certainly didn’t think it was healthy, and for certain people who are not of age, we did block the availability.
Carrie: I think we touched on this in a previous podcast that there are still people that choose to smoke, but they are in no doubt that it is harmful for them and that’s all we’re trying to achieve here. You don’t have to eat the way we do, but at least know what it is you’re doing when you make the food choices that you do.
Jonathan: Exactly. And we will also try to save you from spending time and effort doing things which you’ve been told are healthy, but stink and aren’t helping you. For example, for breakfast – we talked about this, I think, last week, Carrie – where people are eating cereal that is dry and disgusting; like a bran-based cereal which is foul and they don’t enjoy it and they think they’re doing something healthy whereas in reality, if they would just have an omelet with a bunch of delicious vegetables cooked in some coconut oil, they would be healthier and happier. We can avoid all of that nonsense where we do try and we actually end up worse than if we didn’t try at all.
Carrie: I’ve got to tell you – I’ve been fiddling in the kitchen with a kind of oatmeal, but with no oatmeal in it, kind of making something that gives you that same feeling and I’m going to have to put it up on my recipe book so you can all do it, but it’s with chia seeds. I had a huge bowl of it this morning and it was really just as satisfying emotionally as a big old bowl of oatmeal, but it was completely SANE and it was thoroughly delicious!
Jonathan: And another great thing about the time we live in is – and you probably gleaned this from what I just talked about – talking about hunter-gatherers, there is this wonderful movement sweeping the country. It’s incredibly popular. It’s called Paleo, if you haven’t heard of it. I’m sure many of our listeners have – hunter-gatherer-type diet or Paleo diet, and really it’s just the resurgence of saying, “Let’s eat whole natural foods like our ancestors did.” Because so many people are getting into this and seeing incredible results on it, there are a massive amount of resources. There’s an entire book, I believe, called Paleo Comfort Foods, which is just how you can make these traditional dishes, not using these inSANE food-like products that have been introduced into our diet just recently. So I see the Smarter Science of Slim just as a wonderful compliment to the Paleo movement and hopefully can provide a bunch of scientific backing for it because it’s just been an awesome thing to witness, I think.
Carrie: Just so people know that, yes, we are doing these podcasts and the way we’re doing them, there’s a logic behind it but, particularly in the food department, I’m working on lots of different alternatives. So if you don’t have time to cook that omelet and veggies in the morning, there are lots of things that I’m coming up with that I will share with you to make breakfast fun and exciting and not take time to cook and all that kind of stuff.
Jonathan: In the meantime, basically if you look at any low-carb resource, which certainly Atkins, the Protein Power folks, even the Zone, if you look at things like Paleo, the idea of minimizing sugars and starch in the diet is not a new concept. The Smarter Science of Slim is simply a body of knowledge which affirms that, so there’s no shortage of starch-free and sugar-free recipes out there. Anything that’s really low-carb, things that are Paleo, anything for diabetics! I mean, there is just so much out there that helps support this. I really do think we are potentially at a tipping point in our dietary history, which is great!
Carrie: That is awesome! Very exciting!
Jonathan: So, let’s dig in a little bit to start the political aspect of this. We are digging a little bit into the political history of how we got into the state we got today and let’s start off, Carrie, with a quote from Dr. Willett over at Harvard University to just lay the facts on the table again. Don’t take my word for it, don’t take Carrie’s word for it, so quoting the good doctor from Harvard, “The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet recommended by the USDA Food Guide Pyramid may be among the worst eating strategies for someone who is overweight. People on low-fat diets generally lose about 2-4 pounds after several weeks, but then gain that weight back even while continuing with the diet. Randomized trials of weight loss usually show little net weight changes after a year.”
Carrie: It’s so sad! I’ve been in that place. I’ve been in that struggle, so I know…. I know you haven’t. You’ve not been to the dark side, but for the rest of us who have – I get that struggle and that is just why I’m so excited about having met you and the research that you’ve done and now all this is coming to the fore that we don’t necessarily have to go through that struggle anymore.
Jonathan: We don’t. I think most importantly, we’ve had to wade through a lot of this information and we went through the ‘Wonder Bread Years’ – “Let’s just have some Wonder Bread. It’s great for you! It’s wonderful Wonder Bread.” Our kids in the upcoming generations do not need to go through that. We’re in a position to spare them from that and that actually means a lot because childhood obesity breaks my heart. One of many reasons is because the metabolic impact of getting diabetes when you’re a child – type 2 diabetes, becoming pre-diabetic, having symptoms of metabolic syndrome, or even just becoming obese as a child – these are not things that go away. They may go into remission per se, but once you have a fat cell, it’s always there. It never goes away. It dehydrates. Similarly, if you have a child developing diabetes, that means their pancreas is overworked and your pancreas – you’ve got to imagine! – just like your heart, probably only has so many beats in it. If your pancreas works double-time for the first five years of your life, you can’t get that back.
Carrie: You’re in trouble, yeah.
Jonathan: So it’s critical that we get our kids started off on the right foot. Let me just provide a bit more evidence. Like I said, I’m going to be a little bit ‘heavy’ here, but we are going to be trying to displace information that’s been so ingrained in our brain we need quite a bit of evidence to help do that. Carrie, I’m going to do another quote here from the Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and he notes, “Some recommendations on diet and nutrition are misguided because they are based on inadequate or incomplete information. That hasn’t been the case for the USDA’s Pyramids. They are wrong because they brush aside evidence on healthful eating that has been carefully assembled over the past 40 years.” Further, Dr. Otto Bayani in The Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons, tells us “there is considerable concern today that the diet the Pyramid illustrates is responsible for the current epidemics of cardiovascular disease and the concurrent epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes are unintended consequences that can also be attributed to this diet.”
Carrie, one other quick key point of clarification in terms of the MyPlate Food Guide Pyramid – just clarifying terms here – so in 2011 is when we saw the release of the newest graphic called MyPlate. Before that, there was something called MyPyramid, which was just this horribly confusing. It’s a pyramid, but it was divided along vertical boundaries, which kind of made no sense, and that’s why they got rid of it so quickly. Prior to that, starting in 1992 was the traditional Food Guide Pyramid. That had a long and glorious 13-year run. The key thing to keep in mind is that all three of these graphics are based on Dietary Guidelines which first came out in 1980 and then have been revised every five years since, but essentially say the same things.
Carrie: Okay, so it’s just a different way of representing the same information.
Jonathan: Exactly. It’s just different ways of trying to communicate the same diet so that more people eat a low-fat, high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet – just different ways of communicating that same information.
Carrie: Okay, so the actual guidelines haven’t changed; it was just the way they presented it to the public.
Jonathan: Yeah, they’ve changed, but they’ve changed very, very subtly; nothing on a macro scale. If you look back at the original document – and speaking of the original document – Carrie, let’s actually close this week’s podcast. Let’s go back in history just a little bit further and really figure out where these graphics came from. So we talked about they’re all rooted in these documents. These documents are called our Dietary Guidelines. The first edition of the Dietary Guidelines came out in 1980 and that document was based on another document which came out in 1976 called the Dietary Goals for the United States. The key thing to keep in mind is that this document, on which everything else is based, was not written by nutritional scholars; it was a political document that came from the Senate Nutrition Committee and was designed to do two things. The first was, I’m quoting the document now, ‘increase carbohydrate consumption to account for 55-60% of calorie intake’, and the second was to, again quoting here, ‘reduce overall fat consumption from about 40% to about 30% of calorie intake’. So, political document in 1976 then begat this Dietary Guidelines document which begat Food Guide Pyramid, MyPyramid, and MyPlate.
Jonathan: All of which say basically the same thing. To understand the climate – because if we’re going to start criticizing these Guidelines and these graphics today, you might wonder or someone might say, “Well, what’s changed? Why didn’t people criticize them when they first came out? What’s new now?” Well, we’re not told about this, but quite a few of the actual experts, like the actual scientists and nutritional scholars in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, did speak out against these Guidelines. For example, Dr. German from the University of California tells us, “At the time the 1980 Guidelines were established, there was no solid basis for understanding what the consequences of such overall dietary changes would be for most persons.” Let me go on here, Carrie.
Dr. Sanders over at King’s College, London, tells us, “The scientific basis for a reduction in the proportion of energy from fat below 30% is not supported by experimental evidence.” This comes from all around the world! Dr. Truswell, from the University of Sydney, tells us, “The first edition of Dietary Goals took nutritionists by surprise. It was written by a group of politically interested activists with small knowledge of nutrition.” The collective objections can be summarized very briefly. “Too soon.” “More research needed.” “Relationships not proved.” “Politically motivated.” In fact, Carrie, here’s what the American Medical Association, who’s obviously a pretty prestigious institution and is saying different things today, but it’s interesting to know what they said when the Dietary Goals – the original document – was released. What they had to say was, “There is a potential for harmful effects for a radical long-term dietary change as would occur through the adoption of the proposed National Goals.”
Carrie: This gets scarier and scarier.
Jonathan: It actually does, in fact, because look at Dr. Harper from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who bluntly states, “The Dietary Goals report is not scientifically sound. It is a political and moralistic document.” Finally, Carrie, just one more – this is my favorite! – this is from the President of the National Academy of Sciences in his actual testimony to the Senate in regard to this political document called Dietary Goals. This is so beautifully put. “What right has the Federal Government to propose that the American people conduct a vast nutritional experiment with themselves as subjects on the strength of so very little evidence that it will do them any good?”
Jonathan: Amen. You know what the response was to all of this, Carrie.
Carrie: I’m not sure I want to know because I’m going to get mad.
Jonathan: The response to the scientific community was, “We,” – referring to the government – “live in the present and cannot afford to await the ultimate proof before correcting trends” – now remember that statement! – “before correcting trends we believe to be detrimental.” Okay, you want to talk about correcting trends? If we look at the rates of overweight, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, heart disease – all of the major killers, all of them, have gone up exponentially since the introduction of these dietary changes. So I’m not sure what trends they were trying to correct back then, but in any other area of life… Imagine if you went into your job and you’re like, “I have a proposal to make our company more profitable”, and ever since your proposal was implemented, for the next 40 years, your company did a nosedive in profitability. We all know how that situation would be handled! I’m not sure why this is being handled any different? You may be wondering how in the heck these goals ever were established and I think that’s a good place for us to pick up next week, Carrie.
Carrie: Yeah, I think I need to cut you off because there’s a lot of arm-waving going on and I’m sure the table-thumping is going to come next, so I think you should go and calm down and we’ll come back next week and carry on.
Jonathan: I thought you were going to be the one that gets riled up, but it looks like I beat you to the punch – getting riled up. Well, thank you so much for tolerating my rants this week, folks, and we look forward to talking more next week. Carrie, you got any closing comments?
Jonathan: No. Pretty much speaks for itself.
Carrie: It does. Yeah, and I don’t want to rant alongside you. I’m going to control myself. One of us ranting at a time is enough.
Jonathan: Well, folks, don’t forget. We’ve got a dour podcast, but we know the answer. We know we need to eat smarter, we need to exercise smarter, and when we do that, we can live better. So keep eating SANEly and we’ll see you next week.
[End of Audio 36:35]