15 Million Reasons We’re Told to Eat a Low-Fat Diet

Boy Eating a Sandwich, LargeFor the past 6.5 years, I have been pretty much obsessed with nutrition and health.

At first, I thought the government was mostly right and I blindly accepted conventional wisdom.

But as I dug into the literature, I realized that the mainstream authorities seem to have got it mostly wrong.

Their recommendations are based on outdated science that has been thoroughly debunked in the past few decades.

The diet they ALL seem to recommend… a low-fat, calorie restricted diet, has been proven to be useless.

In a massive study that included tens of thousands of people, women who follow such a diet for 7.5 years end up weighing only 0.4kg (1 lb) less than women eating the standard western diet. There is also no effect on heart disease (1, 2).

I asked myself… what is the reason they are still pushing a diet that is proven to be ineffective for the people it is supposed to be helping?

Well, I’ve realized that there are many good reasons for this. In fact, there are tens of millions of good reasons.

It turns out that the organizations that tell us what to eat and why are being sponsored by the food and drug companies, by millions of dollars every year.

The diet these organizations recommend keeps people dependent on the foods and drugs these companies sell. There is such a massive conflict of interest going on that these organizations can not be trusted.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Logo

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is “the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals” and formerly known as the American Dietetic Association.

Most health professionals associated with the AND are Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Technicians.

Registered dietitians in the U.S. receive their license from this organization. The AND also has a research journal and is a highly influential organization in shaping public nutrition policy.

The AND recommends that people eat a low-fat, calorie restricted diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, vegetable oils and low-fat dairy products.

They encourage the consumption of sugar as part of a “healthy, balanced diet.”

Who Sponsors The AND?

It is scary that this highly influential health organizations, which educates Registered Dietitians (RDs) and grants them their licenses, is heavily sponsored by companies that sell the unhealthy foods that are making people fat, sick and diabetic.

The corporate sponsors of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • The Coca Cola Company
  • Pepsico
  • Kellogg’s
  • General Mills
  • Hershey’s
  • Truvia
  • SoyJoy
  • Abbott Nutrition
  • National Dairy Council
  • Unilever

Don’t believe me? It’s right here on the AND’s official website.

Is it possible that this highly influential organization recommends that people eat a high-carb, grain-based diet that includes sugar… because it profits their corporate sponsors?

If you want to learn more about the massive conflicts of interests of the AND, read this damning report created by Michele Simon of Eat Drink Politics.

One of many things uncovered in this report is that companies like Coca Cola and Pepsico provide continuing education courses to RDs… where among other things, they’re “taught” that sugar isn’t harmful to children.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - Corporate Sponsors

It gets even worse… the AND is actively trying to have laws put in place in the U.S., forbidding everyone who is not an AND-licensed registered dietitian to give dietary advice to others.

If they could have their way, you giving dietary advice to your loved ones (or blogging about it) could land you in jail.

My advice… don’t take dietary advice from anyone who has been sponsored or educated by the likes of The Coca Cola Company.

Of course, this does NOT apply to all registered dietitians.

Many of them seriously object to this conflict of interest and are actively fighting against these financial ties. You can support them on their Facebook page and help spread the word, Dietitians For Professional Integrity.

American Diabetes Association

American Diabetes Association Logo

The American Diabetes Associaton is a U.S.-based organization dedicated to the fight against diabetes… or so they say.

Their stated purpose is to fund research, deliver services and provide objective and credible information.

They also recommend that people eat a low-fat, high-carb diet. According to them, diabetics should eat 45-65 grams of carbohydrates per meal.

Anyone with a basic understanding of biochemistry knows that carbs get broken down into glucose, which spikes blood sugars. Diabetics can’t handle all that blood sugar and need to take drugs to bring it down, otherwise they’ll get sick and may die.

The people who stand to benefit the most from low-carbohydrate diets are diabetics. Such a diet has been proven to be much more effective against diabetes than a higher carb diet (3, 4, 5).

Anyone with half a brain who has an elementary of understanding of biochemistry will understand how a high-carb causes harm to diabetic patients… and keeps them dependent on drugs.

Why would the American Diabetes Association recommend such an awful diet that keeps people sick? Maybe their corporate sponsors have something to do with it.

Let’s see which drug companies pay for this excellent advice:

  • Abbott Laboratories – 675.741$
  • Merck – 1.118.925$
  • Amylin Pharmaceuticals – 502.235$
  • Novo Nordisk – 3.606.495$
  • Eli Lilly and Company – 2.436.840$
  • BD Diabetes Care – 526.704$
  • GlaxoSmithKline – 145.325$
  • Pfizer – 185.073$

… and more. For a sum total of 15 million dollars in the year 2011 alone.

The ADA takes money from companies that sell drugs to treat symptoms of diabetes. Then they tell diabetic patients to eat a diet that keeps them sick and dependent on the drugs sold by these companies.

It’s important to keep in mind that these drugs are no actual solution to the problem. It’s not like people just take a few pills and a few shots of insulin and then live happily ever after.

No, diabetes is a progressive disease and the drugs only mask the symptoms. This disease gets worse over time, ending in early death or heart disease. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness and amputation.

Recommending a high-carb diet to diabetics is a crime against humanity in my opinion, especially when there’s another solution available that is FREE and scientifically proven to work MUCH better.

Take Home Message

This was just a sample of two organizations, in one country. The food and drug companies exert their influence all over the world.

Here is a list of many more health organizations who receive money from food and drug companies that have a vested interest in keeping people dependent on bad food and drugs.

I think it’s a conservative estimate that the food and drug companies pay tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars per year to health authorities all over the world to influence their policy and guidelines.

I’m not the kind of guy who believes in “conspiracies” – but it’s hard to ignore things like these when the facts are staring you right in the face.

32 Comments

  1. Nice article, Kris! As a registered dietitian, I agree 100% with you assessment of the AND. However, the ADA is coming around, albeit slowly. The editors of one of their journals, Diabetes Spectrum, asked me to write a balanced article on a low-carbohydrate meal pattern for diabetes and prediabetes management, knowing that LC is the approach I recommend.

    Although I was asked to modify the piece considerably and add many qualifiers, it’s still a good sign that they actively sought someone to write an article favorable to carbohydrate restriction. Can’t argue that they have ties to Big Pharma, but at least they appreciate that some people with diabetes would rather follow a LCHF plan in order to reduce and in some cases eliminate meds.

    Franziska

    • Thanks Franziska. I read your excellent paper and I’m glad to hear the ADA is coming around. The tide is definitely turning, albeit slowly.

      P.S. Anyone interested in Franziska’s paper on low-carb diets and diabetes can view it here:

      http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/4/238.full.pdf+html

    • Great read! I’ll be forwarding this to a few friends and family members who still think my approach to fat is ‘going to give me a heart attack.’ I’ve lost 120lbs and counting following a LCHF lifestyle, whereas I never really lost anything doing low-fat/low-cal. Not to mention, my physical well-being is much better now than it ever was while attempting to eat low-fat.

      Also wanted to say thank you to Franziska for being a diamond in the rough in the field of nutrition. So many dietitians these days are still adamantly pushing the low-fat/low-cal business on people, and the more we see dietitians shifting to smarter, more sensible approaches on eating, the better!

  2. Love this article and shared 3 times. :) Knew about the problem with AND but didn’t know about the ADA recommendations… that is truly awful and shocking.

  3. Good article Kris and very provoking of course. However, just reminding you that the cardiology community has not been totally asleep, see: http://www.docsopinion.com/2013/03/17/low-carb-diets-and-heart-disease-what-are-we-afraid-of/

  4. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1970. At that time the ADA wasn’t scared of fat yet and wasn’t pushing starches. I spent the Eighties and Nineties and much of the Aughts shunning fat and red meat and living mostly off starch thanks to ADA advice. Only a change to low-carbohydrate eating has helped of late, but I’m permanently damaged and blame the ADA for helping make it worse.

    I probably still eat too much, particularly too much protein, but I can actually control my blood sugar now and don’t spend half my waking hours hungry. ADA fundraising does tend to make me furious, though.

  5. Kris,

    You’re doing important work here, my friend! The truth is out there and you’re helping people wake up to it. Great work, man!

    Cheers,
    Scott

  6. Another great post I’ll be sharing with my readers. It’s hard to believe that anyone still is following or promoting low fat diets but this battle has not yet been won. I’m dismayed that Dr. Neal Barnard just published a book on how to protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and it promotes a low fat diet. Thanks for your great content and continuing to “fight the good fight”.

  7. This reminds me of how the tobacco companies encouraged people to smoke and told everyone that it’s healthy. The world is full of corrupt mega companies whose shareholders think only about profits.

  8. Kris, Another fantastic article, perhaps your best and most important message. I’ll be forwarding and sharing this one. Thanks!

    Along very similar lines, you may be interested in reviewing an organization called SHAPE – Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication. http://www.shapesociety.org/about-shape/mission

    Part of their mission includes: “Mass protective therapy of the at-risk population by using an effective, safe, and inexpensive cocktail of drugs” and “Primary prevention through immune modulation and vaccination strategies”

    I’d take a wild guess and say they get most of their donations from that same list of big pharma you mentioned.

    It’s everywhere.

    Lon

    • Thanks Lon! I did a quick google search and found their list of sponsors here.

      No drug companies on the list, not yet at least. But who knows who could be pulling the strings behind the curtains.

  9. Komel Crowley says:

    As a RD, I’m very frustrated with organizations like AND partnering with big food companies and promoting outdated research that is making more people sick. Thank you for posting this.

  10. Great article! I too, share your nutrition obsession. Keep up the good work.

  11. Peggy Holloway says:

    Bravo for a scathing and accurate article. I have often said that doctors who prescribe insulin and medications to “Type II Diabetics” instead of a low-carb diet are guilty of malpractice. I have seen the tragic consequences of poor medical management as my father and grandfather died of complications of “diabetes” and my sister battles this scourge having progressed too far with this horrible condition before figuring out that the medical advice she was given was making her worse.

    My brother and I and my children have been fortunate to have changed to low-carb diets in time to reverse our march to “diabetes.” We all have severe insulin resistance, however, and I am following an almost “no-carb” and ketogenic lifestyle which is the only way for me to keep my blood sugar/insulin low and stable. I wish I hadn’t been brainwashed by the medical establishment for 30 years before I finally “saw the light.”

  12. I am sharing this post. You always do great work at summing up the truth, the enemy and the solution. Bravo!

  13. Big pharma and junk food outfits have a grip on just about every organisation involved in health advice in the UK. One neat trick is call yourself a charity, of make your organisations name sound like a Government Institution. Big pharma and junk food spends $billions every year on their propaganda, far too many healthcare professionals have either swallowed the lies hook, line and sinker, or are on the payroll. Meanwhile, we have to rely on a relatively small (but growing) number of honest and informed HCP’s and bloggers. A David versus Goliath situation for sure. Check out these black OP’s outfits and their pay masters.

    DUK The diabetes charity.

    Abbott Bayer Boehringer Ingelheim Bristol Myers Squibb Bupa Bunzl Everyclick First Capital Connect Flora pro.activ Kodak Lilly Lloyds Pharmacy Menarini Merck Serono Morphy Richards Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited Novartis Novo Nordisk Nursing Times PAL Technologies Ltd Pfizer Rowlands Pharmacies Sanofi-aventis SplendaTakeda Tesco Diets

    HEART UK -The Nation’s Cholesterol Charity

    Abbott Healthcare Alpro UK AstraZeneca BHR Pharma Cambridge Weight Plan Cereal Partners UK (Sh Wheat) Food & Drink Federation Fresenius Medical Care (UK) Limited Genzyme Therapeutics Hovis Kellogg’s (Optivita) Kowa Pharmaceutical Europe Co Limited L.IN.C Medical Systems Limited Merck Sharpe & Dhome PlanMyFood Pfizer Premier Foods Progenika Biopharma s.a. Roche Products Limited Unilever (Flora) Welch’s (Purple Grape Juice)

    The British Nutrition Foundation

    However, the organisation’s 39 members, which contribute to its funding, include – beside the Government, the EU – Cadbury, Kellogg’s, Northern Foods, McDonald’s, PizzaExpress, the main supermarket chains except Tesco, and producer bodies such as the Potato Council. The chairman of its board of trustees, Paul Hebblethwaite, is also chairman of the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Trade Association.

    The European Food Information Council

    Current EUFIC members are: AB Sugar, Ajinomoto Sweeteners Europe, Bunge, Cargill, Cereal Partners, Coca-Cola, Danone, DSM Nutritional Products Europe Ltd., Ferrero, Kraft Foods, Mars, McDonald’s, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Pfizer Animal Health, Südzucker, and Unilever.

    The British Heart Foundation

    Unilever Flora margarine.

    Regards Eddie

  14. John WillKnox says:

    This is ridiculous. The ADA recommends the 45 to 60 g of carbs per meal because most diabetics eat about 150 to 200 g of carbs. Yes less carbs than that may be beneficial for a diabetic or anyone else. If you want to look at primary literature then look it up instead of agreeing with every article posted on the internet.

    • What’s your point? The average diabetic may eat more than 45 to 60g carbs per meal (I doubt it’s 150-200g), but that number is still way too high for many diabetics.

      What primary literature are you referring to? I actually cited a few papers on low-carb diets and diabetes in the article.

      • John Willknox says:

        I worked in a diabetic clinic. One example is this woman that ate the chicken alfredo at olive garden and 4 bread sticks, not including her drink and salad. The alfredo is 105g carbs and each bread stick is 15g. Also, these people have terrible diets and usually don’t exercise, type 2 DM that is. Your body has to have a certain amount of carbs, and your brain has to have a constant supply of glucose which is why people have seizures when really hypoglycemic. Your liver produces a certain amount of glucose as well.

        • The best controlled diabetics I know, i.e. holding non diabetic HbA1c long term, are using between 30 and 50 carbs per day. Some of the type two diabetics are using no medication. BTW there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate.

          “There are three kinds of foods–fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. All of these provide calories. But the carbohydrates provide calories and nothing else. They have none of the essential elements to build up or to repair the tissues of the body. A man, given carbohydrates alone, however liberally, would starve to death on calories. The body must have proteins and animal fats. It has no need for carbohydrates, and, given the two essential foodstuffs, it can get all the calories it needs from them.”

          Sir Heneage Ogilvie, former vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, England.

          Regards, Eddie.

        • The liver can produce all the glucose that the body needs, there’s no actual need for large amounts of carbs in the diet.

          Take a look at this article here, it addresses many misconceptions about low-carb diets:

          http://authoritynutrition.com/10-things-dietitians-say-about-low-carb-diets/

          I will admit that the typical ADA diet which includes 45-65g carbs per meal is probably healthier than the standard western junk food diet… but that applies to pretty much any diet.

          However, studies show that it is far from being the “optimal” choice for diabetics, which is my point. Why tell diabetics to eat a high-carb diet when there’s a much healthier option available? It makes absolutely no sense.

          • “The reality is that over the years, and around the world we have killed literally millions of diabetics by advising them to eat a high-carb diet and avoid fats. Only now is it being recognized that previous advice was and remains useless, dangerous and scientifically illiterate.”

            Dr. Malcolm Kendrick a well known GP working in England.

            “The low-fat “diet heart hypothesis” has been controversial for nearly 100 years. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, promulgated vigorously by the National Cholesterol Education Programme, National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association since the Lipid Research Clinics-Primary Prevention Program in 1984, and earlier by the US Department of Agriculture food pyramid, may well have played an unintended role in the current epidemics of obesity, lipid abnormalities, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndromes.

            This diet can no longer be defended by appeal to the authority of prestigious medical organisations or by rejecting clinical experience and a growing medical literature suggesting that the much-maligned low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may have a salutary effect on the epidemics in question.”

            Sylvan Weinberg, former president of the American College of Cardiology.

            Regards, Eddie.

          • John Willknox says:

            Low carb is fine and yes the liver produces glucose. You get carbs from fruits, and vegetables which are healthy for you. If people don’t get a certain amount of carbs from diet, several of them go low. If you want to post links and crap go somewhere like new England journal of medicine or PubMed and search for studies that are not flawed/biased and let people read that.

  15. How very true. It’s also interesting to note that the chances of developing many forms of cancer can be lowered by following a low carb diet, since cancer cells literally feed off sugars. Why aren’t cancer researchers telling us THAT? Because most of them are also heavily funded by pharmaceutical companies who depend on money from treating cancer – not preventing it.

    • Actually there isn’t much evidence that low-carb diets help with cancer. There are a few very small studies with promising results, but certainly nothing to make a fuzz about yet. It needs to be studied much more thoroughly.

      You can read more about it here:
      http://authoritynutrition.com/ketogenic-diets-and-cancer/

      “Ketogenic diets may turn out to be a useful weapon in the arsenal against this foul disease, but it is definitely premature to make any recommendations based on current research.”

  16. Nolan Cooley says:

    Thanks. Great article. I wasn’t aware of the funding issues, but I was aware of the misguided advice.

    Gary Taubes’ book Good Calories, Bad Calories is a great resource on the history of diet. I am still amazed that sugar remains on the list.

  17. Sarah Gray says:

    Keep reminding us, Kris, about the importance of low carbs.

    My Type 2 diabetes is keeping at 5.0 while I consume 30-50 gms of carbs daily and the weight drops off.

    Keep up the good work. This is a very thought provoking article again from you.

  18. Just been having a quick look at Eat and Drink Politics – pretty interesting reading so far.

    Big problem is that food production companies have been led down the path of making stuff “low fat” as a primary goal unfortunately by making stuff high carb. Our bodies insulin sensitivity is up the creek with being overloaded with carbs.

  19. As a Slimming World consultant i have seen great results from members following a diet that only limits the amount of milk, cheese, bread and cereals you can eat, all other food is unlimited. Many of my members have lost over 40 lb as I have myself and most of them have kept the weight off.

    So much rubbish is talked about weight loss without some people actually experiencing the plans!

  20. Bjorn Winsnes says:

    Which type of diabetics are you referring to? Type 1 who develop it at a Young age or type 2 who eat themselves into the disease?…

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