Tag: saturated fat

Who gets type 2 diabetes? Addicts and athletes!

By Marika Sboros

Here’s an intriguing new take on type 2 diabetes. A US bariatric surgeon says that only two groups of people develop it. They are drug addicts and performance athletes.

That’s fighting talk about a life-threatening, lifestyle disease that is sweeping the planet. After all, many type 2 diabetics don’t look like your average junkie or performance athlete.

Dr Robert Cywes is up for the avalanche of criticism that will surely descend on him. Still, his theory makes sense once you know what drug he means.  It’s the drug of choice for both addicts and athletes. It is sugar and other carbohydrate foods.

Cywes is an author of Diabetes Unpacked. It’s another gem from Columbus Publishing and the Noakes Foundation. It is a compelling collection of writings by some of the world’s finest minds in diabetes and diet research. The subtitle says it all: Just Science and Sense, No Sugar Coating.



HAVE A HEART! WILL AHA OR COCONUT OIL KILL YOU?

By Marika Sboros

Heart associations worldwide tend instantly to raise researchers’ blood pressure into the stratosphere. The latest “Presidential Advisory” from the American Heart Association (AHA) is no exception.

The BBC reported it as branding coconut oil “as bad for you as beef lard and butter”. USA Today reported it as that coconut oil was “even worse than beef lard and butter”.

The advisory doesn’t actually say that. It does say that replacing saturated fat with “healthier fat” lowers cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. By healthier fat, the authors mostly mean polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) in refined, processed vegetable oils. They also say that coconut oil’s high saturated-fat content makes it a potential killer.

Should you believe the AHA just because it says so? You’re better off not believing the AHA precisely because it says so, say critics. They say that coconut oil won’t kill you but listening to the AHA might.



OBESITY? FORGET FAT – IT’S THE CARBS, STUPID!

 What has obesity to do with hearts? Lots. Icelandic cardiologist Dr Axel Sigurdsson spoke recently at a meeting mostly of cardiologists and endocrinologists.

He discussed, among others, the current status of diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease. And the possible relationship between fear of dietary fats and the obesity epidemic.

After the meeting, a senior colleague, an old friend and mentor, who Sigurdsson highly respects, lambasted him privately. The colleague said that the mortality from heart disease had dropped dramatically for the last 30 to 40 years. He said that was mostly from dietary changes to lower blood cholesterol. 

He was angry with Sigurdsson for asking: has the emphasis on low-fat food products ultimately steered us into an epidemic of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes? Here, Sigurdsson explains how and why low-fat diets contribute to obesity and a whole lot more. – MARIKA SBOROS



NOAKES ‘ENERGISED, WRATHFUL’ AS HPCSA GOES AFTER HIM AGAIN

By Marika Sboros

So, the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) has appealed the not guilty verdict for Prof Tim Noakes. His lawyers are furious and up for the fight ahead. Noakes is “strangely elated”. He says that it will “allow the exposure of much about which the South African public would otherwise have remained ignorant”.

Of course, an appeal was always on the cards. The HPCSA’s legal team has the right of appeal. However, even die-hard opponents of Noakes see it as a vindictive, stupid move. It may come back to haunt the HPCSA and the lone, “horrified” dietitian who started the case against Noakes. And her organisation, the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA). And the many other dietitians, doctors and assorted academics involved in his prosecution.

His lawyers call the case against him a persecution. The appeal lends more credence to that. It also feeds speculation of vested interests behind the HPCSA’s failed bid to silence him on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF). The case has lasted more than three years and cost many millions of rands. If the HPCSA pursues its path, as looks likely, it could go on for years and cost millions more. Noakes’  lawyers see it as “more waste of everyone’s time and money”.

All for a single tweet in which Noakes said that good first foods for infants are LCHF.



NOAKES VERDICT: HE WON THE BATTLE BUT THE WAR GOES ON

By Marika Sboros

The ashes have settled on the unequivocal not guilty verdict for Prof Tim Noakes but what’s next? Will there be a scientific phoenix rising? Any prospect of even a breath of fresh evidential air flowing through stale halls of “conventional” dietary advice?

Not if the dietitians involved in the case against him have anything to do with it.

Immediately after the verdict on April 21, 2017, Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) president Maryke Gallagher was on TV. She made it clear that ADSA would not change the “conventional” (low-fat, high-carb) dietary advice it dishes out. ADSA also issued a general, highly ambiguous statement to that effect the same day.

Two days later, the Nutrition Society of SA was equally emphatic. The verdict has “absolutely no bearing or impact on the current or future status of nutrition or the dietary guidelines in South Africa”, it said.

Thus, the dietitians and their backers have sent a clear message to Noakes. He has won the battle but the war against him and low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) science goes on. However, Noakes has made it clear he is more than ready for scientific battle. In the second in a series of reviews of the verdict, here are some views on the implications of his resounding vindication.



NOAKES: ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM PROVES HE’S INNOCENT?

By Marika Sboros

Prof Tim Noakes is guilty of unprofessional conduct on “a balance of probability”, advocate Ajay Bhoopchand argued yesterday. He also accused Noakes of using the Health Professions Council of SA’s (HPCSA) hearing to “settle personal scores”.

Johannesburg senior counsel Michael Van der Nest argued that Noakes is not guilty of unprofessional conduct.  The only ones using the hearing to settle scores are dietitians opposed to Noakes, he said.

The dietitian who lodged the complaint against Noakes did so because he wouldn’t agree with her on diet, Van der Nest said. And when she and her colleagues couldn’t persuade him to agree with her, she decided, on a whim, to ask the HPCSA to prosecute him.

The tweet regarding LCHF for infants presented a perfect pretext for a complaint against Noakes.

Somehow, the dietitian “miraculously” succeeded in getting the HPCSA to do her bidding, Van der Nest said. Thus, the case against Noakes has become an “unprecedented prosecution” of a scientist for his views on nutrition.



NOAKES AND THE WOMAN WHO HOLDS THE KEY TO HIS FATE

By Marika Sboros

What’s really behind the prosecution of scientist Prof Tim Noakes? Is it just a single tweet to a breastfeeding mother, which even she said she didn’t take seriously? Was one dietitian really so “horrified” that she reported Noakes – even though she dishes out the same information?

What of claims of a doctor-patient relationship between Noakes and the stranger on Twitter? The same dietitian admitted that there wasn’t one.

Or is it just because Noakes says things like “cardiology is an evidence-free zone”? (It often is, these days.) Or that he has exposed endocrinologists who preach that diabetes is irreversible? And that he exposes the malevolent influence on nutrition advice of food and drug industries and a shadowy international Coca-Cola proxy organisation? For proof, look to crack US investigative journalist Russ Greene.

What of the Medical Research Council (MRC) investigation into  staff member Dr Ali Dhansay? Dhansay was a key witness against Noakes.  Dhansay is a former president of the Coca-Cola proxy in South Africa. Will the MRC investigation reveal foul play? The Health Professions Council of SA  (HPCSA) has turned its hearing into a full-blown trial against Noakes resumes on April 4. Here’s a preview and a look at who holds the key to Noakes’ fate.



DAA CLUELESS ON LCHF – DIETITIAN DOWN UNDER

Feng-Yuan Liu

Feng-Yuan Liu, of Metro Dietetics, is a relatively rare but growing species Down Under: a dietitian who is a member of Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) and brave enough to speak up publicly for LCHF (low-carbohydrate, high-fat) diets to treat obesity and diabetes. DAA’s antagonism towards low-carb diets for diabetics is legendary.  Also becoming legendary is DAA’s response to some of its members who support LCHF. On January 30, 2017, Foodmed.net will publish the final of a four-part series on DAA’s links with Big Food. It will look at three dietitians who have fallen foul of DAA for various reasons.

Here, Liu goes head to head in a blog with DAA over the information it dishes out to the public on LCHF for diabetes. She quotes verbatim from DAA statements on its website and presents research in rebuttal. It’s another long read, but a fascinating one scientifically. Along the way, Liu shows that DAA uses a discredited study by South African researchers to discredit LCHF. She also suggests that DAA is clueless – she describes it as ‘confused’ – about just what constitutes LCHF. It will be interesting to see how DAA reacts to another of its members who believes that LCHF is a safe, effective option for diabetics.  – Marika Sboros



SWISS RE: DIETARY GUIDELINES A ‘FAILED HUMAN EXPERIMENT’

Photo credit: dzingeek via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

By Marika Sboros

Global reinsurer Swiss Re is calling for radical reform of low-fat, high-carb dietary guidelines. The call follows global investment bank Credit Suisse’s damning report on the guidelines in 2015. Swiss Re devotes its last medical newsletter of 2016 to a research demolition job of the guidelines.

In it, Swiss Re Chief Medical Officer Dr John Schoonbee calls the guidelines a “failed human experiment” over decades.

Credit Suisse is a $23 billion a year company with 48,000 employees. Swiss Re is even bigger at $35 billion with under 13,000 employees. These are big players in global financial markets. So, what’s in it for them to research and take sides in the scientific controversy around low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets? A former Swiss Re head of health underwriting and claims explains.



IN PRAISE OF LOW-CARB: CANADIAN DOCTORS RISE UP AGAINST DOGMA!

fistBy Marika Sboros

This is big: nearly 200 doctors and allied health practitioners in Canada have signed an Open Letter to their government calling for urgent, radical reform of nutrition guidelines to include low-carb diets.

They say that authorities told Canadians to follow guidelines for nearly 40 years. During that time, nutrition-related diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, increased sharply. The doctors are also concerned about sharp increases in childhood obesity and diabetes rates.

They say that the evidence does not support conventional low-fat dietary advice. In fact, they say it worsens heart-disease risk factors. They say that those responsible must be free to compile dietary guidelines without food and drug industry influence. They want the guidelines to promote low-carb diets as “at least one safe, effective intervention” for people with obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

At heart, the letter’s signatories call for mainstream medical advice to include low-carb, healthy-natural-fat. Here’s more of these doctors’ powerful challenge to orthodoxy.



FOR HEART’S SAKE, EAT SATURATED FAT: NORWAY SCIENTISTS

By Marika Sboros

Photo credit: mysza831 via Foter.com / CC BY

Norwegian researchers dispute the scientific pillar on which official dietary guidelines rest in most countries. It is the so-called diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease.

The hypothesis just happens to be the pillar on which the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) rests its case against scientist Tim Noakes. It also lies at the heart of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) muting of orthopaedic surgeon Gary Fettke. AHPRA doesn’t want Fettke talking to patients about sugar now or ever again.

The Norwegian study is a small, well-designed, randomised controlled trial (RCT). Scientists consider RCTs the “gold standard” of research. The study authors say that a very-high-fat diet reverses obesity and disease risk. They also say that experts have greatly exaggerated alleged health risks of saturated fat for hearts. Here’s more:



VICTORY FOR TEICHOLZ IN BATTLE OF BUTTER

Nina TeicholzBy Marika Sboros

US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz calls it “a victory for science.” South African scientist Tim Noakes says it proves that one person can “change the world.” I say it’s a decisive defeat for medical, scientific and dietetic establishments in their ongoing war against the critics.

The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) has announced that it will not retract the peer-reviewed investigation it published by Teicholz in September 2015. The feature documents in detail how the US Dietary Guidelines (DGAs) have ignored vast amounts of rigorous scientific evidence. This evidence is on key issues such as saturated fats and low-carbohydrate diets.

Teicholz’s article has been the target of an unprecedented retraction effort that was organized by an advocacy group that has long defended those guidelines. The BMJ stance is becoming a lesson in unintended consequences for those attempting to stifle debate on the topic. It raises fundamental questions about who was behind the retraction effort and their motivation.



KENDRICK: SWEDEN GETS IT RIGHT WITH ‘IDIOT’ DIETITIANS

Malcolm KendrickTrust Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick to get down and dirty to the heart of medical ethical dilemmas. Kendrick doesn’t suffer fools gladly. In particular dietitian fools who dish out dangerous dogma for obesity and diabetes. He reserves special antipathy for dietitian fools who try to silence doctors who go against that dogma.  

Here, Kendrick’s focus is Sweden and dietitians’ unsuccessful attempt to muzzle Dr Annika Dahlqvist. It’s an earlier blog, but eerily relevant today. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency has banned orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke from speaking to patients about diet. Dietitians complained that he was telling diabetics to avoid sugar. South African dietitians have joined forces with the Health Professions Council of SA to silence scientist Prof Tim Noakes. Kendrick makes a joke that is a serious commentary on the dietetic profession: ‘What do you call 500 dietitians lying at the bottom of the ocean?’  ‘A good start.’ – Marika Sboros



Zinn to parents: Don’t feed cereals to your babies!

Caryn ZinnBy Marika Sboros

Parents should not feed cereals to their infants as first foods, says New Zealand-based dietitian and academic, Dr Caryn Zinn. Zinn (pictured right) said this in her evidence in chief at the trial of University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tim Noakes,

It went to the heart of the matter of the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) case against Noakes in Cape Town on October 26. Here, in Part 2 of a two-part series on her testimony, Zinn looks at what science has to say about foods that parents should give infants: 



ZINN: ‘UNETHICAL FOR DIETITIANS NOT TO OFFER LCHF’

Dr Caryn Zinn and advocate Dr Ravin 'Rocky' Ramdass

Dr Caryn Zinn and advocate Dr Ravin ‘Rocky’ Ramdass

By Marika Sboros

Three things embarrass New Zealand-based dietitian and academic Dr Caryn Zinn most these days. At university, she never questioned what lecturers said about diet. In her private practice, she prescribed low-fat diets to adults and children for 15 years.  As a university lecturer, she told students low-carb diets were dangerous.

Zinn said this in her evidence led by Advocate Dr Ravin “Rocky” Ramdass, for University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tim Noakes, at the fourth session of Health Professions Council Of SA (HPCSA) hearing against him on October 26.

In Part 1 of a two-part series on her evidence in chief, she explains why she believes that it’s unethical for dieitians who know about  LCHF (low-carb, high-fat) not to offer it as an option to patients.



NOAKES: CASE AGAINST HIM FALLING APART? PART 2

Tim NoakesBy Marika Sboros

Something about South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes and his views on the role of carbohydrate and fat gets up the Health Professions Council of SA’s nose faster than a cocaine hit. The fourth session of the HPCSA hearing against Noakes began in Cape Town on October 17.

Noakes told the hearing that humans have “absolutely no essential requirement for carbohydrate”. There is no human disease that a deficiency of carbohydrate causes.  Carbohydrate in the body serves only two functions. It is either used as a resource of energy or it is stored as fat. “There is no other option,” he said. That applies to weaning for infants as well.

HPCSA advocate Ajay Bhoopchand didn’t like that one bit. In cross-examination, he said a low-carb diet for infants is dangerous – and by implication, so is Noakes.  Here is the final of a two-part review of the hearing so far. 



NOAKES TRIAL: WILL HPCSA TRY TO CLIP TIM’S ANGELS’ WINGS?

Tim Noakes

By Marika Sboros

Prof Tim Noakes and his legal dream team must think all their birthdays have come at once. “Tim’s Angels”, the nutrition science equivalent of “Charlie’s Angels” in the hit TV series, are flying in to be expert witnesses for him in the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) hearing against him.

Proudly South African-Kiwi academic Dr Caryn Zinn joins British obesity researcher and public health nutritionist Dr Zoë Harcombe, and US science writer Nina Teicholz.  When the HPCSA’s Kafkaesque trial of Noakes resumes in Cape Town on October 17, I expect the HPCSA to try to clip Tim’s Angels’ wings.



NOAKES TRIAL: COULD CARDIOLOGISTS BE AT ITS HEART?

By Marika Sboros

tim-noakesI’ve been thinking: could cardiologists be at the heart of the case against world-renowned scientist Prof Tim Noakes? The pun is intentional. Noakes really does seem to raise cardiologists’ blood pressure into the stratosphere with his views on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF).

Noakes’ trial on a charge of unprofessional conduct resumes in Cape Town from October 17 to 26. That was for two tweets saying good first foods for infant weaning are LCHF. In other words, he was advising meat, eggs, dairy and veg.

The Health Professions Council of SA, assorted academics and doctors (especially cardiologists), and Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) dietitians think that advice is rotten. Here’s what UCT cardiologists say about Noakes and his reply:



Statins insanity: Sir Prof Collins of Statinshire at helm

Photo credit: Phinzup via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Doctors, with UK professor Sir Rory Collins at the helm, say we should all pop statins like smarties. Even if our tickers are ticking along very nicely.

Others say that’s unadulterated, mad-scientist nuttiness. South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes calls statins ‘the single most ineffective drug ever invented’. 

Here, UK blogger Nick Mailer deconstructs the man he calls  ‘Collins of Statinshire’. It’s a fascinating, considered read – and harsh for good reason. Collins is his own worst enemy in the harsh way he deals with criticism from peers.  – Marika Sboros



Science in crisis: not just sugar souring faith in experts

sugar candyIt should be no surprise that there’s a global crisis in science. Scholars of history and philosophy of science predicted it 40 years ago. Yet it is surprising how many scientists are more interested in profit than universal truths.

Revelations that the sugar industry paid top Harvard scientists to downplay sugar’s harms for decades are but one example. US science writer Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise, makes a more important point in the LA Times: sugar only ‘got a pass’ while dietary fat and cholesterol were blamed for heart disease because other industries and, surprisingly, many of the country’s leading scientists colluded.

Here, Andrea Saltelli, a researcher at the European Centre for Governance in Complexity, sheds light on a growing lack of faith in experts, and how best to stem it. – Marika Sboros