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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Apr-25-19, 04:47
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Angry Fat lies & bad science: The truth behind the headlines

Quote:
Fat lies & bad science: The truth behind the headlines

Viva!’s Dr Justine Butler examines the recent media reports about fat and reveals the truth behind the sensational headlines.


The pro-fat lobby are determined to get butter, cheese and beef back on the menu. Bad science, poor journalism and commercial interests are at the heart of this issue, which has left many people confused.

Saturated fat is the unhealthy type of fat we don’t need – it raises cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease. It’s found in meat pies, sausages, fatty cuts of meat, butter, ghee, lard, cream, hard cheese, cakes and biscuits and foods containing coconut and palm oil. Our bodies have no requirement for saturated fat at all and all major health organisations advise reducing it and/or replacing it with healthy, polyunsaturated fat – which we do need in small amounts.

The pro-fat crusaders, however, seem hell-bent on turning this sound scientific advice on its head with poorly designed studies which lead to headlines such as: “Saturated fat ‘ISN’T bad for your heart’: Major study questions decades of dietary advice” suggesting it’s perfectly safe to gorge on butter, cheese and sausages.

This claim was based on a review in the Annals of Internal Medicine that combined the results of 72 studies examining the links between fat and heart disease. It concluded that saturated fat may not lead to heart disease after all. Sounds convincing, but after it was published, other scientists noticed a number of mistakes. They had got some of the numbers wrong, results from other relevant studies had not been included and it overlooked a large review in which a significant reduction in heart disease risk was found in relation to healthy polyunsaturated fat.

Professor Walter Willett, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health said: “…this meta-analysis contains multiple serious errors and omissions, the study conclusions are misleading and should be disregarded”. Two months later a correction was published pointing out the errors.

Questioning the evidence

Next up was the Open Heart study, which suggested UK dietary guidelines are based on shaky evidence. The authors said that they didn’t know what evidence was available when the guidelines were written so they selected six randomised control studies (RCTs) published before 1983 – all conducted in men, most of whom already had heart disease.

Results suggested that advice to control saturated fat intake didn’t affect deaths from heart disease among this small group of unwell men. But that doesn’t mean the recommendations are wrong. Headlines declared: “Butter ISN’T bad for you after all”, despite the fact that the study was slammed by experts. Victoria Taylor at the British Heart Foundation said: “Guidance in the UK is based on a consensus of the evidence available”, and Professor Christine Williams, Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Reading, said: “The claim that guidelines on dietary fat introduced in the 1970s and 80s were not based on good scientific evidence is misguided and potentially dangerous”.

This study was scientifically flawed, and why they chose to look at old studies is unclear – surely, present guidelines would be better-challenged if current research contradicted them, but it doesn’t. A substantial body of evidence shows that saturated fat is bad for heart health. Even the accompanying Open Heart editorial questioned the study’s validity – cardiologist Rahul Bahl, of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, wrote: “Public policies generally do not require RCT evidence, so to advocate their withdrawal here on the basis of the absence of such evidence seems
unusual”.

Vested interests

It turned out that the lead author, Zoe Harcombe, runs a diet-club and has published books on her version of good nutrition. She has previously advised people to ‘ignore public health advice’, so clearly takes a novel approach. A month after publication, the authors of this paper were asked to update their competing interest statement. Pascal Meier, Editor-in-Chief of Open Heart, said: “In this case, Open Heart feels that the books and companies with which Mrs Harcombe has been involved should have been declared”.

US dietary guidelines have been targeted in a similar way in the British Medical Journal. The author of this study was journalist Nina Teicholz, who also wrote a book called The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. In an open letter to the BMJ, Dr David Katz, of Yale University School of Medicine, expressed his concern at them publishing a journalist’s commentary as if it were authoritative, saying: “It is, in a word, absurd and testimony to the breakdown in integrity where science and media come together”. Errors in the study were identified and a month later a correction was published.

In 2016, the National Obesity Forum (NOF) published a report saying that avoiding butter, cream and cheese is actually fuelling the obesity epidemic. Headlines declared that: “Official advice on low-fat diet and cholesterol is wrong”. Dr Aseem Malhotra, one of the authors of the report, said: “We must urgently change the message to the public to reverse obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Eat fat to get slim, don’t fear fat; fat is your friend”.

Irresponsible and misleading

The NOF report described calorie counting as a red herring as calories from different foods have different effects on the human body. They said that in spite of dietary guidelines, the number of people with obesity and type 2 diabetes is rising. But that doesn’t prove the guidelines are wrong – it shows that people are ignoring them! Public Health England said: “the report is irresponsible and misleads the public”. Professor Susan Jebb, of Oxford University, condemned the report as “non-rigorous and irresponsible”, questioning their motives as they accept funding from the pharmaceutical industry (GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Roche Products, as well as the British Meat Nutrition Education Services and weight loss business LighterLife UK). Shortly after that, four of the seven board members of NOF resigned.

The same year, the BMJ published a review questioning if cholesterol is bad for heart health in the elderly. More sensationalist headlines followed, saying: “High cholesterol ‘does not cause heart disease’”. A bit of digging revealed that four of the authors had written books challenging the idea that cholesterol is bad for you and nine were members of a group called The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics, who oppose the idea that animal fat and cholesterol play a role in heart disease.

Dr David Nunan, senior research fellow at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, said: “Given that the authors failed to account for significant confounding as well as the methodological weaknesses of both the review and its included studies, the results of this review have limited validity and should be interpreted with caution. At this time it would not be responsible, or evidence-based, for policy decisions to be made based on the results of this study”.

The pro-fat lobby will keep trying, and we should not forget the meat and dairy industry has money and influence. However, despite that it seems the government will not be swayed on this point and the scientific community is well-prepared to stand their ground. It’s a shame these few, flawed studies continue to receive so much media attention but ‘Five or more fruit and veg a day lowers the risk of heart disease’ just doesn’t have that tabloid ring to it.



https://www.veganfoodandliving.com/...-the-headlines/
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  #2   ^
Old Thu, Apr-25-19, 05:53
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cotonpal cotonpal is online now
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Plan: very low carb real food
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I don't have the stomach to read the whole article. I only skimmed it but I will point out two things that should give anyone pause about potential bias of the author. She refers to Dr Zoe Harcombe as just Zoe Harcombe and quotes a so-called expert who refers to Dr Zoe Harcombe as Mrs Harcombe. Who say Mrs nowadays? This is a smear job, plain and simple. Describing Dr Harcombe a someone who runs a diet club and publishes books without mentioning her PhD does her a distinct injustice.
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  #3   ^
Old Thu, Apr-25-19, 05:54
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teaser teaser is offline
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Major studies don't show it's safe to "gorge" on anything. They do suggest that it's safe to eat butter. Now we need to establish where gorging starts. I eat a half liter of heavy cream, plus an ounce or two of butter for cooking eggs etc. a day. I'm in maintenance, and doing quite well in a lot of ways on this diet. "Gorge" is not a health term, it's a moralistic one. If you want to judge my moral character, you have bigger fish to fry.


Quote:
Even the accompanying Open Heart editorial questioned the study’s validity – cardiologist Rahul Bahl, of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, wrote: “Public policies generally do not require RCT evidence, so to advocate their withdrawal here on the basis of the absence of such evidence seems
unusual”.


That's right, public policies generally do not require the sort of evidence that actually proves anything. This might not mean they should be removed, except perhaps from my consideration when I'm deciding what to eat.

Sometimes it's said that randomized control studies in humans are impractical, because they're unethical. I think there's a big reason--even if you accept correlations between eggs or red meat or saturated fat and various disease as causativie--and causative in the right direction--even after that assumption, the effect size is often so small that a randomized, controlled study is prohibitively expensive. Even in mice, you often have to cheat and design a mouse where a particular dietary intervention has a strong enough effect to measure in a reasonable sized group.
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  #4   ^
Old Thu, Apr-25-19, 06:07
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cotonpal cotonpal is online now
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Plan: very low carb real food
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teaser
Major studies don't show it's safe to "gorge" on anything. They do suggest that it's safe to eat butter. Now we need to establish where gorging starts. I eat a half liter of heavy cream, plus an ounce or two of butter for cooking eggs etc. a day. I'm in maintenance, and doing quite well in a lot of ways on this diet. "Gorge" is not a health term, it's a moralistic one. If you want to judge my moral character, you have bigger fish to fry.


Great observation Teaser. Gorge is a moralistic term not a health term. I would also suggest, just to be fair, that "clean" is also a moralistic term not a health term (I'm not accusing you of using that term Teaser). I find the term "clean" when it is applied to eating offensive because of this moralistic tone. I wish we could just stick to issues of health and not moralistic assumptions when discussing diet.
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  #5   ^
Old Thu, Apr-25-19, 13:14
Grav Grav is offline
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Interesting how they referenced Aseem Malhotra in the vested interests section of the article without even offering what his supposed vested interests are. Perhaps they were going to mention his book The Pioppi Diet, until they discovered that he doesn't actually collect any profits from it.

And of course, it's not like the noses of critics like Walter Willett and David Katz are completely clean, either. How does that old saying go? "Always accuse your opponent of that for which you yourself are guilty"?
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  #6   ^
Old Fri, Apr-26-19, 13:34
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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Plan: Ketogenic (LCHFKD)
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Willett fiddles while the ADA opens the door to include low carb as a healthy option to manage diabetes. Now, they didn't specify vegan low carb, did they Walt? There's a reason for that.
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  #7   ^
Old Fri, Apr-26-19, 20:02
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bevangel bevangel is offline
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Plan: modified adkins (sort of)
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Quote:
Willett fiddles while the ADA opens the door to include low carb as a healthy option to manage diabetes. Now, they didn't specify vegan low carb, did they Walt? There's a reason for that.
Unfortunately Rob, we low-carbers are in no position to gloat yet. The ADA's report ALSO mentioned plant-based low-fat and vegan diets as "healthy options" for diabetics. So while they opened the door to low-carb, they sure didn't close the door on low-fat, high-carb, vegetarian/vegan options.
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  #8   ^
Old Sat, Apr-27-19, 15:52
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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Plan: Ketogenic (LCHFKD)
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Hardly gloating here, Bev. Not my nature. However, what I am noting is the start of recognition that one diet type does not suit all. While other methods are mentioned, I strongly believe we do best in choosing the one that results in overall good health. My objection is with those who believe in a single protocol while publicly supporting their rationale with inaccurate, unsubstantiated claims. These folks influence others with scare tactics and limited views. I find this worse than intolerable.
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  #9   ^
Old Sun, Apr-28-19, 19:22
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rightnow rightnow is offline
Every moment is NOW.
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Plan: LC (ketogenic)
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I just saw this somewhere and went WAIT, WHAT?!

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  #10   ^
Old Sun, Apr-28-19, 19:25
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rightnow rightnow is offline
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This is quite an article. A ton of info. Mostly all bad news lol. Have not read it all (if I ever will) but thought I should link it here.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/...2616033285.html

PJ
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  #11   ^
Old Sun, Apr-28-19, 20:44
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deirdra deirdra is offline
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Plan: HF/vLC/GF,CF,SF
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At least they didn't call her Mrs. Andrew Harcombe.

Miss/Mrs/Ms Butler (she calls herself Dr./PhD) is upset that Dr. Harcombe did not reveal that she made money off of books on fat, but Butler herself makes money off of vegans and is clearly biased in that direction.

I just finished "Nutrition in Crisis: Flawed Studies, Misleading Advice, and the Real Science of Human Metabolism" (2019) by Dr. Richard David Feinman. It is a much better read.

Last edited by deirdra : Sun, Apr-28-19 at 20:55.
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  #12   ^
Old Sun, Apr-28-19, 22:18
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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I plan to keep eating my beef fat.

The obvious bias thruout the article turned me off. Couldnt waste my time reading more than first paragraphs then skimming the remainder.

Last edited by Ms Arielle : Mon, Apr-29-19 at 06:29.
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  #13   ^
Old Mon, Apr-29-19, 06:16
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Dodger Dodger is offline
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Plan: Paleoish
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A vegan who has only worked for a vegan organization writes an anti-animal fat article for that vegan organization. Shocking!
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  #14   ^
Old Mon, Apr-29-19, 06:33
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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Plan: atkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rightnow
This is quite an article. A ton of info. Mostly all bad news lol. Have not read it all (if I ever will) but thought I should link it here.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/...2616033285.html

PJ


Read thru a bit, definitely fit in with original posting by OP.

Instead of trying to understand the information, just vilifies instead. Points to all the ways a keto diet could fail-- which it can. Too much energy even via fat will cause weight gain. ANd no community has ever lived off fat? Ummm, the Inuits traditional ate meats and fat. Just a poor article.
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  #15   ^
Old Mon, Apr-29-19, 13:10
rightnow's Avatar
rightnow rightnow is offline
Every moment is NOW.
Posts: 20,486
 
Plan: LC (ketogenic)
Stats: 520/359/280 Female 66 inches
BF: Why yes it is.
Progress: 67%
Location: Ozarks USA
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Yeah, I should have been more specific, it was not the link I provided that was itself the focus, but the stuff that was linked to ON that thread and the articles it references.

So really... Gary Taubes? What does Gary say lately? Is he really dissing fat?

The man spent four years researching mostly a century of science related to fat and carbohydrates, reading research, interviewing experts, and now he's changed his mind? Allegedly the nusci group founded a study to demonstrate the carbohydrate problem and the study showed the opposite. This is the gossip I'm picking up from around the web.

Has anybody actually seen Taubes comment on these things clearly?

Not, mind you, that I am going to start eating rancid seed oil instead of grassfed butter and coconut oil. Sorry guys, if this is gonna kill me, I'm gonna die even sooner I guess.

I mean... it's like I'm all outta food I can eat that someone doesn't think is gonna kill me. But not eating at all would kill me... eventually. So... ? I'm just curious because of names like nusci and Taubes being mentioned, I give those a lot of credence.

Well and I read the book by the researcher dude (fasting mimicking diet dude, 'longevity diet' is the book) who basically says that as well -- that sat fat is just horrible for you.

I can't figure it out. I thought that a lot of that was bad science but modern science had "learned better." But now... what, it unlearned?

PJ
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