Healthy diet: Modern medicine’s ‘big mistake’


By Marika Sboros

If you’re expecting scientific consensus on just what constitutes a “healthy diet” in 2018, don’t hold your breath. Many doctors and dietitians continue to dish up conventional advice that other experts say is dangerous. They go further and say that the notion of a healthy diet is one of modern medicine’s biggest “mistakes”.

A new book reveals who is behind that big mistake and why so many keep making it. It is Healthy Eating: The Big Mistake  by Dr Verner Wheelock.  The subtitle speaks volumes: How modern medicine has got it wrong about diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, Alzheimer’s and obesity.

It is an important read. Publishers Columbus have made Healthy Eating: The Big Mistake heavily discounted on Kindle and in print on the book’s website for January 2018.

Of course, you could accuse me of bias as I contributed a chapter for the book and helped to edit it. However, other reviewers have been positive.  On his blog, Award-winning British health journalist Jerome Burne says that if you really want to know about a truly healthy diet Wheelock’s book is “a good, if firmly partisan, place to start”.

Burne is well versed in nutrition science controversies. “You might also expect nutrition to be a relatively calm and stable profession, perhaps even a little dull. But you’d be very wrong,” he says.

Ongoing disputes about carbs and fats

Behind the scenes disputes about carbs, fats rage and a healthy diet, Burne says.  Scientists are continually caught up in Twitter storms, hurling accusations of fake results and bad science at one another. Looming behind them are billion-dollar food corporations. with “large strong commercial interests in an approach devoted to cutting back on fats and increasing carbohydrates”, he says.

He calls Wheelock a “firmly committed member of the independent researchers trying to overthrow (the conventional) low-fat, high-carbs hypothesis”.

Click here to read: ‘Pure’ proof that fats don’t kill and dietary guidelines are wrong

Wheelock is an experienced food scientist with chemistry and agricultural chemistry degrees from Queen’s University. He also spent five years at the National Institute for Research in Dairying. His PhD is from the University of Reading. A period at the University of Bradford, followed, where he established the Food Policy Research Unit. The unit’s focus was research into food production and consumption.

He freely admits that he once bought fully into low-fat, high-carb dietary dogma. In the book, he focuses on the fundamental flaw in conventional dietary guidelines and the chronic lack of robust evidence supporting them.

Click here to read: UK ‘Eatwell Guide’ leads to food industry wealth

Over the years, he also became increasingly concerned about food and drug industry influence on official dietary advice.

In the book, Wheelock makes the scientific case for an urgent revision of official dietary advice in the UK. Thus, its message has global relevance.

Old and new ground

To that end, he goes over new and old scientific ground.

Along the way, he

  • Dissects original scientific evidence on which official dietary guidelines are based;
  • Dispels accepted myths about “good” and “bad” cholesterol;
  • Demonstrates how low-fat, high-carb diets have compounded the obesity crisis;
  • Examines the effect of big industry, bad science and arrogance on the nation’s health;
  • Shows how the widely accepted dietary advice for those with cancer, dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity is wrong;


  •  Reviews recent research to show the positive effects of an alternative approach for health and wellbeing.

His focus throughout is on the benefits of foods low in sugar and other carbohydrates and high in healthy fats. In other words, Wheelock advocates for low-carb, high-healthy-fat (LCHF) eating regimens.

That’s a function of his work promoting LCHF to treat and prevent types 2 diabetes. He sees diabetes as a modern-day scourge but also the tip of the iceberg.  Those with type 2 diabetes also have a much higher risk of developing other common chronic diseases. These include heart disease, various cancers and Alzheimer’s Disease.

At the same time, many people are discovering that they can control their diseases or even reverse their conditions completely, he says. And they can do so “simply by following advice in direct conflict with the official line”.

In the book, Wheelock shows how animal foods contain many individual fats that are valuable nutrients in their own right. He also shows that most people are simply not getting enough of them. And the less fat people eat, the more carbohydrates they eat.

Focus on type 2 diabetes

The result: spiralling rates of type 2 diabetes worldwide.

Click here to read: ‘Cure’  for type 2 diabetes? Doctor’s journey

He explains in the book that type 2 diabetes results from “quite simply an excess of glucose in the blood”. The cause: a high consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. The solution is obvious: eat less sugar and carbohydrates.”

Therefore, he hones in on the real “big mistake”: many doctors and dietitians still encourage people to follow official advice to increase carbohydrates and reduce fat.

Wheelock hopes that readers will see the faults in official nutrition advice. And therefore, they will be more likely to find their best way forward to achieve truly “healthy eating”. 



  1. Anton, I’ve now read the book by Dr Wheelock with Marika Sboros. Of course another book isn’t going to solve the problem on its own and I certainly share your views on Ancel Keys and his Seven Countries ‘study’. However, this will be some people’s first book on the subject and it will be a good choice.

    I think this is such a good book because it brings together so many seemingly separate subjects with the underlying theme of raised blood glucose and insulin resistance. There are chapters on cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, bad science, and the Tim Noakes ‘trial’. I thought I knew a fair amount about these subjects, but I now know a lot more and that helps me to fight this dogma.

    As for the occasional hubris of low-carb supporters, I think this is largely explained by the quiet anger many feel at the needless harm being done to so many people. I have occasionally spent some time on diabetes websites and seen how angry and deeply upset some diabetics are when they find out that they’ve been needlessly harmed for many years.

    The anger of people who have done their best to follow the idiotic high carbohydrate, low fat diet advice is difficult to witness. I remember one woman who had gradually got fatter and more unwell after twenty years of faithfully following current advice. She was deeply upset to discover that with good advice, clearly working for many others, that she could have had a healthy life, free of drugs and weight problems. I had to leave the site because I found it hard to witness this pain from so many people. I sometimes wonder if this fury and harm isn’t why so many dietitians prefer to cling onto an orthodoxy that hurts so many.

    I was not harmed to the same extent as diabetics, but I followed the low fat diet scrupulously and my health was undermined for at least a decade. I felt a huge surge of mental and physical energy when I dropped the low-fat nonsense.

  2. The problem of poor dietary practice is not going to be solved by publishing yet another book. Since the publication of The Real Meal Revolution that has been a veritable avalanche of books on the subject at our local bookstores and they all say basically the same thing. In fact this goes back all the way back to Robert Atkins. The bandwagon creaks ominously under the load. Ancel Keyes is now my pet peeve. Not because he was a fool but because I am heartily sick of hearing about him. As for the 7 Countries Study…aaargh!!

    What needs to happen is for the scientists, doctors, dietitians, informed bloggers, etc, to get around the table and start talking to each other with a solution in mind. The more insults that are swopped the less likely the cure. The number of people suffering the poor effects of a toxic diet will continue to grow and we will have more diabetes, cancer, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, etc.

    Bringing the warring parties together will be something profoundly praise worthy, even deserving of a Nobel Prize

    • Anton, one of the warring parties, the existing nutritional establishment, has a deep vested interest in the status quo, so they refuse to listen. The open minded might listen, but ‘open minded’ and ‘dietitian’ barely belong in the same sentence. Pharma certainly isn’t going to listen and neither is the food industry.

      There’s a huge amount to do, but the message is inching its way out there. A BBC medical series this week told us that coconut oil was good for heart health (raising HDL and lowering LDL). The same programme said to be careful with how much fruit we eat, pointing out how much sugar is in some fruits and in all fruit drinks.

      I’ve started Dr Wheelock’s book, which covers a range of subjects, and I’m enjoying it. A time might come when I’ve had enough of the subject, but I think I’m still learning.

      • Thanks Fred. Rule number 1 – there is no status quo. You will notice that I did not include Big Food and Pharma among the warring parties. This was deliberate because I do not believe that a solution can ever be found if we include them in the debate. It is time to cut them out of the picture and this will be a very important part of the debate when the “warring parties” that I mentioned finally sit down together and start talking to each other. It is time to tell Food and Pharma that their input is valueless in the context of dealing with the problem of caring for the metabolically disabled. Your reference to “open minded dietitians” could just as validly be applied to some within the ranks of the LCHF movement. Some of the LCHF public utterances are certainly not conducive to constructive engagement. These is undoubtedly wrong on both sides and whilst some in the dietary profession are exemplified by obdurate ignorance, I would argue that some within the LCHF profession are exemplified by equally obdurate hubris. They come across as know-alls. It is a toxic mix and those of us afflicted by the impact of poor dietary advice and practice can only look on in anger and increasing disdain

      • An unreported issue re the status quo of dietary dogma & the world dietetic association. The association was started, funded & works in harmony with medical research institutions & hospitals globally who are connected to the seventh day adventist church. Which also has links with big food players Kellogs & Sanitaruim. Their dogma of medical evangelism pushes plant based diet as the basis of good health, one of the cornerstones of the SDAC dogma is vegetarianism. SDAC owns large hospitals globally, they’ve invested in Ivy league universities like Cornel, & through these channels, they garner credibility & the ears of governments & public servants at all levels.

  3. Pre-ordered and looking forward to this read. Had the pleasure to meet Dr Wheelock at the last PHCUK conference and was fascinated by his deep insights. The genuine voice of scientific knowledge and accumulated experience.

    • I had the privilege of meeting Dr Wheelock at the Low Carb Summit in Cape Town in 2015. He paid his own way just to visit and attend, so serious is he about keeping up with the science. Was greatly impressed with him from the outset. Keen, open scientific mind.

  4. Dr Wheelock has an interesting background and I’ve ordered the book.

    How do we get the message out? This week I’ve discovered that my niece, a nurse, had gestational diabetes in her early twenties and now has PCOS in her late twenties. Her child is therefore at increased risk of diabetes. No one in the health system makes the link and explains insulin resistance and the link to sugar and carbs. After a few minutes with a doctor, my niece was prescribed metformin, presumably for life, unless she listens to my low-carb advice. It’s so very sad. She’s ill, overweight, worried about her ability to have more children, sleeps badly, and guilty about the tendency to diabetes that she’s passed on to her child.

    We’re poisoning ourselves with carbohydrates and dietitians are still recommending this nonsense. My niece was taught that we need a minimum of 130 grams a day of carbs to fuel the brain. She now knows this is wrong and her eyes are opening. Will we have enough healthy people to fund a healthcare system if this madness goes on?

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