Top 13 Nutrition Lies That Made The World Sick and Fat

Woman Holding an Apple and Chocolate, LargerNutrition is full of all kinds of nonsense.

The worst examples are listed here, but unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are the top 13 nutrition lies that have made the world both sick and fat.

1. Eggs Are Bad For Your Health

Eggs are so incredibly nutritious that they’re often called “nature’s multivitamin.”

The nutrients in them are enough to turn a single cell into an entire baby chicken.

However, eggs have been demonized in the past because they contain a large amount of cholesterol, which was believed to increase the risk of heart disease.

But the truth is that despite being high in cholesterol, eggs don’t really raise the bad cholesterol in the blood. In fact, eggs primarily raise the “good” cholesterol (1, 2, 3, 4).

Despite all the warnings about eggs in the past few decades, studies show that they are NOT associated with heart disease (5, 6, 7).

If anything, eggs are pretty much a perfect food for humans. They’re loaded with protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and unique antioxidants that protect the eyes (8, 9).

They are also an excellent source of Choline, a nutrient that is very important for the health of the brain and about 90% of people aren’t getting enough of (10, 11).

Despite being a “high fat” food, eating eggs for breakfast is proven to cause significant weight loss compared to a breakfast of bagels (12, 13).

Bottom Line: Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and do not raise your risk of heart disease. Eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight.

2. A Calorie is a Calorie

Apple And Calculator

It is often said that the only thing that matters for weight loss is “calories in, calories out.”

The truth is that calories matter… but the types of foods we eat are just as important.

That is because different foods go through different metabolic pathways in the body (14).

Additionally, the foods we eat can directly impact the hormones that regulate when and how much we eat, as well as the amount of calories we burn.

Here are two examples of why a calorie is NOT a calorie:

  • Protein: Eating protein can boost the metabolic rate and reduce appetite compared to the same amount of calories from fat and carbs. It can also increase your muscle mass, which burns calories around the clock (15, 16).
  • Fructose vs glucose: Fructose can stimulate the appetite compared to the same number of calories from glucose (17, 18).

Even though calories are important, saying that they are all that matters when it comes to weight (or health for that matter) is completely wrong.

Bottom Line: All calories are not created equal. Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and have varying effects on hunger, hormones and health.

3. Saturated Fat is Unhealthy

Foods High in Saturated Fat

For many decades, people have believed that eating saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease.

In fact, this idea has been the cornerstone of mainstream nutrition recommendations.

However, studies published in the past few decades prove that saturated fat is completely harmless.

A massive study published in 2010 looked at data from a total of 21 studies that included 347,747 individuals. They found absolutely no association between saturated fat consumption and the risk of heart disease (19).

Multiple other studies confirm these findings… saturated fat really has nothing to do with heart disease. The “war” on fat was based on an unproven theory that somehow became common knowledge (20, 21).

The truth is that saturated fat raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. It also changes the LDL cholesterol from small, dense LDL (very, very bad) to Large LDL, which is benign (22, 23, 24, 25, 26).

There is literally no reason to fear butter, meat or coconut oil… these foods are perfectly healthy!

Bottom Line: New studies show that saturated fat does not increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. It raises the good cholesterol and changes the “bad” cholesterol to a benign subtype.

4. Eating a Lot of Protein is Bad For Your Health

Many people believe that eating a lot of protein can damage your bones.

High Protein Foods

While it is true that increased protein can increase calcium excretion from the bones in the short term, the long term studies show the exact opposite effect.

In fact, eating more protein is consistently associated with improved bone density and a lower risk of fracture in old age (27, 28, 29).

This is one example of where blindly following conventional nutrition advice will lead to the exact opposite result.

Another myth is that protein increases strain on the kidneys and contributes to kidney failure.

The reality is a bit more complicated than that. Although it is true that people with established kidney disease should reduce protein intake, studies in healthy individuals show that protein is perfectly safe (30, 31).

In healthy individuals, protein actually reduces two of the main risk factors for kidney disease… which are diabetes and high blood pressure (32, 33, 34).

Eating a high protein diet has many other benefits, including increased muscle mass, reduced body fat and a lower risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease (35, 36, 37).

Bottom Line: Studies show that protein has positive effects on bone health in the long run and does not raise the risk of kidney disease in healthy individuals. Eating a high protein diet has many important health benefits.

5. Everyone Should be Eating “Heart-Healthy” Whole Wheat

Boy Eating a Sandwich

Commonly mistaken as a health food, evidence is mounting that wheat can contribute to various health problems.

Yes… this includes “heart-healthy” whole wheat.

Wheat is the biggest source of gluten in the diet. New studies are showing that a significant percentage of the population may be sensitive to it (38, 39, 40).

In sensitive individuals, gluten can contribute to various symptoms like digestive issues, pain, bloating, stool inconsistency, fatigue and may damage the lining of the intestine (41, 42, 43, 44).

There are also some controlled trials associating wheat gluten with various disorders of the brain, including schizophrenia, autism and cerebellar ataxia (45, 46, 47).

Not only that… but a controlled trial in humans showed that whole wheat increased various risk factors for cardiovascular disease in as little as 12 weeks (48).

Even though whole wheat is “less unhealthy” than refined wheat, the best choice would be to skip the wheat altogether.

Bottom Line: Wheat is the biggest source of gluten in the diet. Many studies are showing that wheat, including whole wheat, can contribute to various health problems.

6. Coffee is Bad For You

Cup of Coffee And Coffee Beans

Coffee has gotten a bad reputation in the past.

It is true that coffee can mildly elevate blood pressure in the short term (49).

However, long term studies show that coffee may actually reduce your risk of some serious diseases.

Coffee drinkers:

  • Have up to a 67% lower risk of Type II diabetes (50, 51).
  • Are at a much lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s (52, 53).
  • Have up to an 80% lower risk of liver diseases like cirrhosis (54, 55).

Caffeine also helps to mobilize fatty acids from the fat tissues, boost metabolism and increase exercise performance by an average of 11-12% (56, 57, 58).

Many studies have examined the effects of caffeine on the brain, showing that it can improve mood, memory, reaction time, vigilance and overall brain function (59).

You may be surprised to hear that coffee is also loaded with antioxidants. In fact, it is the biggest source of antioxidants in the modern diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables, combined (60, 61).

If you’re sensitive to caffeine or it tends to disrupt your sleep, then green tea has many of the same health benefits but a smaller amount of caffeine.

Bottom Line: Coffee contains very large amounts of antioxidants. Studies show that coffee drinkers are at a much lower risk of developing many serious diseases.

7. Meat is Bad For You

Meat

Blaming new health problems on old foods has never made sense to me.

One example of that is meat… which humans have been eating throughout evolution, for millions of years.

For some very strange reason, many people are now blaming meat for diseases like heart disease and type II diabetes, which are relatively new.

This doesn’t make much sense at all and the studies don’t support it.

While it is true that processed meat is associated with all sorts of diseases, the same is not true for unprocessed red meat.

A massive review from 2010 that looked at data from 20 studies with a total of 1,218,380 individuals revealed that unprocessed red meat had no significant association with either cardiovascular disease or type II diabetes (62).

Other studies that included hundreds of thousands of people agree with this… processed meat is bad, but unprocessed red meat is harmless (63).

Even though some observational studies have found a link between meat consumption and cancer, review studies that look at the data as a whole show that the effect is weak and inconsistent (64, 65).

If there really is an association between red meat and cancer (which has NOT been proven) then it is most likely caused by excessive cooking, not the meat itself. For this reason, it may be important to avoid burning your meat (66).

Also, let’s not forget that meat is incredibly nutritious. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, quality proteins, healthy fats and various lesser known nutrients that are important for the body and brain (67).

Bottom Line: Studies show that unprocessed red meat does not raise your risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. There is a very weak association with cancer, but most likely caused by excessive cooking and not the meat itself.

8. The Healthiest Diet is a Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet

Food Pyramid

Since the year 1977, the health authorities have told everyone to eat a low-fat, high-carb diet.

This was originally based on political decisions and low quality studies that have since been thoroughly debunked.

Interestingly, the obesity epidemic started at almost the exact same time the low-fat guidelines first came out.

Since then, several massive studies have examined the health effects of the low-fat diet.

In the Women’s Health Initiative, the biggest study on diet ever conducted, 48,835 women were randomized to either a low-fat diet or continued to eat the standard western diet.

After a study period of 7.5 years, the low-fat group weighed only 0.4 kg (1 lb) less and there was no decrease in cardiovascular disease or cancer (68, 69, 70).

Other studies agree with these findings… this diet is notoriously ineffective (71, 72).

Even though it may work for healthy and active individuals… for people with obesity, metabolic syndrome or diabetes, the low-fat diet can be downright harmful.

Bottom Line: The low-fat, high-carb diet recommended by the mainstream nutrition organizations is a miserable failure and has been repeatedly proven to be ineffective.

9. Refined Seed- and Vegetable Oils Are Healthy

Bottles of Vegetable Oil

Some studies show that polyunsaturated fats lower your risk of heart disease.

For this reason, many have recommended that we increase our consumption of vegetable oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil and corn oil.

However, it is important to realize that there are different types of polyunsaturated fats, mainly Omega-3s and Omega-6s.

While we get Omega-3s from fish and grass-fed animals, the main sources of Omega-6 fatty acids are processed seed- and vegetable oils.

The thing is… we need to get Omega-3s and Omega-6s in a certain balance. Most people are eating too little Omega-3 and way too much Omega-6 (73, 74).

Studies show that excess Omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation in the body, which is known to play a causal role in many serious diseases (75, 76).

Most importantly, seed- and vegetable oils are associated with a significantly increased risk of heart disease… the biggest killer in the world (77, 78, 79, 80, 81).

If you want to lower your risk of disease, eat your Omega-3s but avoid the refined seed- and vegetable oils.

It’s important to keep in mind that this does NOT apply to other plant oils like coconut oil and olive oil, which are low in Omega-6 and extremely healthy.

Bottom Line: Excess consumption of refined seed- and vegetable oils can increase inflammation in the body and dramatically raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.

10. Low-Carb Diets Are Ineffective and Downright Harmful

Woman Who is Not Losing Weight

Low-carb diets have been popular for several decades.

Because they are high in fat, they have been demonized by nutritionists and the media.

They repeatedly claim that such diets are “unproven” or downright dangerous.

However, since the year 2002, over 20 randomized controlled trials have examined the effects of low-carb diets on various aspects of health.

Almost every one of those studies agrees that:

  1. Low-carb diets lead to significant decreases in blood pressure (82, 83).
  2. Low-carb diets where people are allowed to eat as much as they want cause more weight loss than low-fat diets that are calorie restricted (84, 85).
  3. Low-carb diets increase HDL (the good) cholesterol and decrease triglycerides much more than low-fat diets (86, 87, 88).
  4. Low-carb diets change the pattern of LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol from small, dense LDL (very bad) to Large LDL – which is benign (89, 90).
  5. Low-carb diets have powerful positive effects on type II diabetes, significantly lowering blood sugar and reducing the need for medication (91, 92, 93).
  6. If anything, low-carb diets appear to be easier to stick to than low-fat diets, probably because people don’t have to restrict calories and be hungry all the time (94).

Even though low-carb diets are unnecessary for people who are healthy and active, studies show that they are extremely useful against obesity, metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes… which are some of the biggest health problems in the world.

Despite these powerful results, many of the “experts” that are supposed to have our best interests in mind have the audacity to call low-carb diets dangerous and continue to peddle the failed low-fat diet that is hurting more people than it helps.

Bottom Line: Low-carb diets are the easiest, healthiest and most effective way to lose weight and reverse metabolic disease. It is pretty much a scientific fact at this point.

11. Everyone Should be Cutting Back on Sodium

Sea Salt in a Bowl

The health authorities constantly tell us to reduce sodium in the diet in order to reduce blood pressure.

Whereas most people are eating about 3400 mg of sodium per day, we are usually advised to cut back to 1500-2300 mg per day (about 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of salt).

It is true that reducing sodium can cause mild reductions in blood pressure, especially in individuals who have elevated blood pressure to begin with (95).

But it’s important to keep in mind that elevated blood pressure itself doesn’t kill anyone directly. It is a risk factor, not necessarily a cause of disease.

Interestingly, many studies have examined whether sodium restriction has any effect on cardiovascular disease or the risk of death. These studies consistently found no effect… even in individuals with high blood pressure (96, 97, 98).

Other studies show that too little sodium can also be harmful, leading to adverse effects such as insulin resistance, elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as an increased risk of death in type II diabetics (99, 100, 101).

Overall, there is no evidence that healthy people need to cut back on sodium.

Bottom Line: Despite sodium restriction being able to mildly reduce blood pressure, this does not lead to improved health outcomes.

12. Sugar is Bad Because it Contains “Empty” Calories

Glass Full Of Sugar Cubes

Many think that sugar is unhealthy just because it contains “empty” calories.

This is true… sugar contains a lot of calories, with no essential nutrients.

But this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Sugar, mainly due to its high content of fructose, can have severe adverse effects on metabolism and set us up for rapid weight gain and metabolic disease (102).

When we eat large amounts of fructose, it gets turned into fat in the liver and is either shipped out as VLDL particles, or lodges in the liver to cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (103, 104).

Studies in humans show that excess fructose can lead to insulin resistance, elevated blood sugars, elevated triglycerides, increased small, dense LDL and increased abdominal obesity in as little as 10 weeks (105).

Fructose also doesn’t lower the hunger hormone ghrelin and doesn’t affect satiety in the brain in the same way as glucose. This way, sugar causes a biochemical drive in the brain to eat more and get fat (106, 107, 108).

This applies to fructose from added sugars, NOT the natural sugars found in fruits.

When consumed in excess, added sugar is associated with multiple diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes and even cancer (109, 110, 111, 112, 113).

Sugar is probably the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.

Bottom Line: The harmful effects of excess sugar go way beyond empty calories. Sugar can have severe adverse effects on metabolism, leading to weight gain and many serious diseases.

13. Fat Makes You Fat

Bacon

It seems to make sense that eating fat would make you fat.

After all, the stuff that is making people soft and puffy is fat.

For this reason, eating more fat should give us more of it.

However, it turns out that it isn’t that simple. Despite fat having more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates, diets that are high in fat do not make people fat.

This depends completely on the context. A diet that is high in carbs AND fat will make you fat, but it’s NOT because of the fat.

In fact, the studies consistently show that diets that are high in fat (but low in carbs) lead to much more weight loss than diets that are low in fat (114, 115, 116).

14. Anything Else?

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Feel free to leave a comment if you want to add to the list!

161 Comments

  1. Perfect, except for the fruit bit. Fruit is a LOT more sweeter than it used to be. Ever had wild berries or crab-apples? I think we should clarify that the fructose, even in fruit, in excess (specifics, please?), can be less healthy than loading up on veggies. After all, everything you want to find in fruit you can find in veggies w/o the fructose. My dad always repeats the story about the woman who went on the peach diet and gained this weight… I get it!

    Thanks for a good article.

    • You’re right, modern fruit is way too sweet.

      One or two servings a day is more than enough.

    • I personally found that I gained weight when I started eating a lot of Medjool dates (I was making my own Larabars). They have a very high fructose content.

      • Try it out again with seven dates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also drink water and milk, but that’s it- nothing else and it should work and leave you feeling satisfied. I don’t have the sources right now, but I learned that the dates contain everything your body needs except for vitamin b12, which you will get from the milk. Eating dates will work, but any more than seven should backfire. Good luck!

      • Oh wow! I just made that recipe for my husband! I wondered what the differences in dates were! Thanks, I would’ve never thought of that!

      • Here’s some good information regarding dates.

        Check out the website: http://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/ingredient/Dates-dried-/101

        “Date sugars contain more complex carbohydrates than other fruits. These complex carbohydrates are heavier to digest, and because they release their energy more slowly into your body, curb your appetite longer than simple sugars. For this reason dates have been used to treat obesity; they satisfy the sweet craving and prevent binging on heavier, fattier foods like ice-cream. Too many dates, however, can make your stomach feel heavy and digestion sluggish. Since dates are high in sugar, they are contraindicated for diabetics.”

    • “This applies to fructose from added sugars, NOT the natural sugars found in fruits.” Wrong. Cite your evidence.

      • Cite what evidence? Are you trying to maintain the position that whole fruits are harmful? The burden of proof is on you then.

        If you can show me a study where eating whole fruits leads to negative health outcomes in humans, then I’d love to see it. I haven’t seen such a study yet, and I’ve read a lot of them.

        • Fructose is not good for you, no matter where it comes from. Although whole fruits are far from the biggest source of fructose, you CAN in fact eat too much fructose from it. That’s why I think we should stick to low fructose fruits (berries, et al) most of the time and absolutely avoid fruit juices, which are just glorified fructose drinks.

        • It applies to fructose, period. However, if a person limited their consumption of fruit exclusively as a substitute for dessert (if one must eat dessert), then it would be self-limiting since you would be satiated by the meal just eaten. The ‘sweet’ would just ‘finish’ the meal, for those who are unable to ‘give up’ fruit completely as a cultural change.

          However, we should all be aware of the fructose content of whole foods. I constructed the tables contained in the attachment from the USDA database: http://www.thenutritiondebate.com/2013/04/the-nutrition-debate-97-fructose-in.html

        • Oliver made no claim regarding the health benefits of fruits (which are substantial), but regarding the sugar content of fruits. The origin of a sugar does not change its metabolic effects, and fruit is normally high in fructose (fructose actually means “fruit sugar”). The claim about the fructose applies to fructose from added sugar as well as fructose from natural fruit sources.

          • I disagree. The origin of sugar does changed its metabolic effects. The fructose found in fruits is paired with fiber which slows the release of the sugar into the blood. This is discussed in detail in Robert Lustig’s book, “Fat Chance.”

          • Well said Tim. Sarah, the amount of fiber in most fruits is negligible. The apple you eat today has 10x the fructose that your grand dad did. Historically, people only ate fruit for a few months of the year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWdO5NhHdbo

          • I’m gonna call BS on the 10x fructose claim. The most popular apple variety today is the Red Delicious, which has been around for 130 years… certainly old enough for my great grandparents to have had it. And newer varieties like Honeycrisp are no sweeter.

            Granted, fruit is now available year round. But people aren’t getting sick from overconsumption of fruit. They’re getting sick from sugary processed foods and soft drinks.

        • No, you can’t really eat enough whole fruit to get a negative metabolism effect because of the high fibre. It’s when you start juicing the fruit that it gets dangerous for the liver, it’s a full glass of almost pure fructose.

          Base your juices on veggies and add fruit as a treat, or have a fruit salad. Eat berries!

          The recommendation here in Europe is not to eat more than 15-25 grams of carbs/ day. I measured my fruit salad with banana, orange, apple, pomegranate, berries, kiwi and more and it contained about 45 g of carbs. So now I base my fruit salad on strawberries and other berries and use banana as a treat.

          We eat about 100-150 g in Sweden. So much wheat!

      • The sugars are all the same. The only difference is when you eat a whole fruit, there’s a bunch of fiber to help slow the absorption of the sugar into the blood stream.

      • There are two important points here. First, the principle of Toxicology first expressed by Paracelsus that “the dose makes the poison” is very pertinent to this discussion. We shouldn’t make claims that fructose is “bad’ for you. Oxygen at high enough concentrations causes pulmonary toxicity. The question we should be asking is at what dose does fructose cause toxicity? That is a much more helpful statement. Paul Jaminet (in his book Perfect Health Diet) claims that this dose is around 25grams of fructose per day and around 10grams of fructose in one sitting. You can go to his website to see his research and explanations regarding this.

        Second, as stated above, fruit has fiber which gets digested in colon by beneficial bacteria (pro-biotics) producing short chain fatty acids that are likely to be the substances that ameliorate the toxic effects of fructose.

    • The sugars in fruit aren’t the same as the sugars mentioned. Sugars in fruit are mostly glucose (natural ‘sugars’ created and used by most plants).

    • Ji Cottrill says:

      I think we have to be less concerned about fructose in fruit compared to fructose in processed foods. In all my years as a coach and trainer I’ve never heard of anyone getting fat from eating fruit.

      Sure, it slows down fat loss due to the path it takes to storage, but it’s not an issue in a balanced nutrition plan.

    • Even though fruit has tons of sugar, it also has lots of fiber, which would greatly slow down the digestion of the sugars, effectively diluting its concentration.

    • Good point regarding fruit. I have been feeling for a long time that fruit is way too sweet for me, but didn’t have a good explanation why. I hadn’t considered that it has been bred to be sweeter than it used to be.

    • If you can stomach eating veggies, bravo for you.

      Many of us want to wretch at the taste.

    • Mina Kostova says:

      They are sweeter and different in structure because of GMO. Everything is modified nowadays. I would consider all corn GMO so we should never eat corn. It’s empty calories and we can not burn them throughout the day because of let’s face it, sedentary lifestyle. Many office workers use their cars instead of walking. Also walking doesn’t make your heart rate go that high anyways!

  2. “Everything in moderation”. That’s a phrase I’d really like to see eliminated. Not to say that everyone needs to eat a perfect diet 100% of the time (I certainly don’t) but there are some things some people just shouldn’t eat, and I see this phrase used as a license to do whatever you feel like doing. We all make less than perfect choices sometimes but that doesn’t mean that damaging foods have a healthy, normal place in a balanced diet.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself! It’s very true and I believe it’s a way for people to just ignore the crap that the consume.

    • Joseph Flesche says:

      I cannot agree more about the statement “everything in moderation”. Whenever I hear people using it I ask, “whose version of moderation?” Or “who has been successful in the long term using moderation?”

      I see people using it as a way out or a way to make their own rules / excuses.

    • Very well said, Maranda. If someone inquires about my gluten-free habit and I give them the low-down, they inevitably seem to respond, “Well, everything in moderation, I guess.”

      Certainly a little gluten to enjoy life for people who aren’t particularly sensitive seems reasonable, like having a drink once in a while. But if you’re having certain health problems, the “moderate” amount may be sabotaging your wellness.

    • Amen Maranda!

    • Moderation made me 145kg. Extreme reverse, no carbs minimum fats, lost me 40kg and cured my diabetes. Next person who tells me moderation is the way to go is going to get my opinion loud and clear.

    • Miranda – I TOTALLY agree. “Moderation” is possibly the biggest lie of all. Well said.

    • I disagree, moderation is key.

      But to different people with different health concerns you’re right, moderation can mean something different to different people.

      Consider the Saturated Vs Unsaturated. Moderation is key. Your body does still need saturated. But it only needs about 7% of your total calorie intake a day. Whereas unsaturated can be considered to 30% of your calorie intake. But that is just a suggested range you can place yourself in wherever your needs lay.

      Moderation. Too much of anything can make you sick, really. And your own personal view of “moderation” really depends on your own body. So I agree, but I disagree. Everyone is built differently.

      Moderation to me will mean something different to you, considering my metabolism is so high that if I lower my calorie intake to match someone with a slower metabolism, I get dizzy. I have different needs. So moderation is definitely key, but it won’t be the same level of moderation for each person across the board.

    • Bingo!

      I completely agree on this. What we need is expanded knowledge so that every individual can tune in their diet based on their individual needs. For some a “balanced” diet can work, for many others an “extreme” low carb might be better. A balanced diet for a panda is to eat bamboo every single day of their life.

    • Maranda,
      I actually disagree with you to some degree. The idea of everything in moderation stems from the principle of Toxicology where “the dose makes the poison”. This is actually a very healthy way of seeing the world in that everything has a positive and a negative. There is no demonization of any material thing – a very western concept (good vs. bad, believers vs non-believers, Heaven vs. Hell). Where I agree with you is that if we only knew what those doses are that create toxicity for individual foods (and for foods mixed in meals), we could actually live by this motto. So in the real world where we don’t know the toxic doses of substances, living by the phrase “everything in moderation” becomes obsolete and an impossible goal to attain.

  3. GrannyMumantoog says:

    Very well put together! Now if only the “experts” handing out all that old/wrong advice would just read this!!!

    Just a side note on #12. I keep encouraging my son & DIL to have the kids eat actual fruit and to cut back on the fruit juices. The amount of fructose in a glass of fruit juice is usually equal to eating several of the actual fruits themselves… which nobody would really do. The fiber and bulk of the fruit make one feel full so it would be difficult to consume several apples or oranges at one sitting.

    Because of this, juice adds much more fructose to the liver. I know when my boys were young I thought they could drink juice all day long and it would be good for them. I was brainwashed by all the ads… now I wish I had started researching nutrition earlier. It was only when my health was affected that I started finding out how many lies I had so completely believed!

    Articles like this are so needed and help to keep reminding consumers that they are being lied to so that BigAgra and the top food companies can keep raking in billions of dollars while the health of people everywhere gets steadily worse. Keep up the good work!

  4. I agree with almost all of the info here, except the low carb idea. I have been losing weight steadily for months now on a well balanced macronutrient diet. I have been consuming lean meats, dairy, complex carbs like oatmeal and rye berries and fats like olive oils, coconut oil and almonds. I have tried the “low carb” diet before and it left me feeling drained, irritable and my joints were achey. I believe the universe exists in balance and so too should your diet.

    • Yeah… my diet is also “well balanced”… at least for me anyways :-P

      It’s just another of those catch-all phrases like “in moderation”. It doesn’t really mean anything specific.

      Not sure what exactly you are eating but based on the overview you give, it doesn’t sound much like the Standard American Diet (SAD) or Western Industrialised diet of processed and packaged foods high in sugars and refined starches. I wouldn’t be in the least surprised to check your numbers and find that you’re in fact eating much lower-carb than many folks.

      The term “low-carb” is all relative — it really just relates to the percentage of energy that you derive from each of the three main macronutrients. It is not an absolute amount. In fact for someone who eats around 2,500 calories per day (not that I count calories myself), substituting just 43 grams of fat instead of 100 grams of carbs, can be enough to tip the balance from high-carb to high-fat… potentially while eating a smaller amount of food :-)

    • I’ve been eating low carb and have lost 81 pounds. I feel great and my energy has never been higher! I eat High Fat, Moderate Protein, Low Carb (NOT no carb). I do not suffer the ills I had previously (heartburn, restless sleep, afternoon slump, high blood pressure – the list goes on and on) and my blood work is always fantastic!

    • Sounds to me like you ARE eating low carb. Like Frank says – it’s a relative thing. Also pay attention to your blood type. Type O is in need of more protein from meat. A is quite happy being vegetarian. There are many books on the subject. It’s very interesting and beneficial.

  5. Amanda Saunders says:

    A high fibre diet is important. Another lie.

  6. Interesting article again, and I especially liked your first item, as I always start my day with an egg. Sometimes fried, sometimes poached, often scrambled – I thought YES “Eggs are so incredibly nutritious that they’re often called “nature’s multivitamin.””

    Well worth repeating, I thought!

    All the best, Jan.

  7. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to be healthy. Just don’t listen to the fads. Eat what humans have been eating for centuries (fish, red meat, eggs, veggies, fruits, and rice) and try to be conscious of what you are putting in your body. As long as you are thinking about it, it shouldn’t be that hard to realize that eating 3 lbs of takeout is not good for you. Moderation? I think the key is awareness.

  8. Sounds like a pro paleo diet to me… read 80-10-10, fruit is almost all sugar, so it must be bad for you… oh and coconut oil should be bad for you as well, it comes from a seed.

    • Fruit is fine, except people who are on a very low-carb/ketogenic diet for health reasons may want to cut back on them.

      Fruit also contains fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and significant chewing resistance… it’s almost impossible to overeat sugar by eating fruit.

      Coconut oil is perfectly healthy.

      • AND Fructose in fresh fruit is still attached to the long fibers so your body has a better time assimilating it and sending away what it doesn’t need.

        As far as Juicing – YES drinking glasses of fruit juice every day is very bad for you… Think about it – How many oranges does it take to produce 8 oz of juice? 4 – 6. AND you aren’t getting the fiber with it.. I LOVE juicing, but mix it up with veggies and an EGG. (raw) Best smoothie you will ever have. :-)

    • Coconut oil is a *nut* oil, not a seed oil.

    • To my way of thinking, I would say that fruit is fine if you limit yourself to fruits locally gathered by you in the seasons they are available. Getting imported fruit from the supermarket, all through the year, would not be appropriate in this context. The body has a natural way of converting excess sugar from fruit, or whatever source, into fat.

      In nature this can be useful for tiding us through lean periods. However, if we can get all the nutrients we need from animal sources then we don’t need fruit (or carbohydrate at all) for that matter. We would reach natural satiety from the fat we consume and would keep a moderate weight, free of various diseases.

  9. Really great article! I agree with just about every point made and will be sharing with my anti-inflammatory client “followers.”

    I’m confused about the date conversation in the comments? Did I miss something in the article?

  10. Joseph Jolliff says:

    While I largely agree with the article, I believe diet is a tricky thing. Everyone will have different needs. The science is changing all the time. However, moderation is required in all things. If red meat makes up for more than 5% of your diet, studies show a much great risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease among other ailments.

    • The red meat thing — Most likely because people tend to cook the living daylights out of the meat. Carcinogens caused by cooking, not because of the meat. We are supposed to eat as raw as we can. Bring my steak to me lean, grass fed and blue, please…

      Raw (Blue rare) still has the enzymes needed to digest it properly. Well done does not and it sits in your gut for years sometimes… AND THAT is what causes the cancer, all that rotting over cooked muscle tissue sitting in your bowels going nowhere.

      • Years? You seriously believe that? And the “rotting in your gut” thing? C’mon…

        Things you ingest that can’t be digested pass through and out along with the regular flow of waste.

    • If you look at studies about meat you see that people who tend to eat meat tend to have an unhealthy lifestyle and unhealthy diet in general. The studies try to correct this but the result is bias against meat. If you look at people who eat meat and otherwise have a healthy diet and lifestyle you have a lot different result.

    • Feed a lot of meat to animals that usually eat a little, they don’t get cancer.

      “The results suggest that, in rats, beef does not promote the growth of ACF and chicken does not protect against colon carcinogenesis. A bacon-based diet appears to protect against carcinogenesis…”

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2527479/

  11. That is dictature, I am never going to skip sugar, wine or wheat out of my diet. I am french, I love food, I love life, I am healthy and thin, my parents, grand-parents, and grand-grand-parents had the same type of diet. Eating tartines in the morning, full of jam and butter makes me happy.

    Maybe it is not perfect but a whole life thinking every morning about what I can’t eat sounds like a nightmare. Especially considering that so many studies contradict each other. So I believe in moderation and pleasure, I am sure it works, I see it in my family and country full of sugar and baguette.

    • Sarah bru, consider yourself incredibly blessed to eat whatever you want and still be “healthy and thin.” Your blessing is rare. Most of us are not so lucky and must consider what we put in our bodies or else we end up unhealthy, fat and miserable.

    • Shirley says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Well what about the Mediterranean diet which is high first in vegetables but also in grains as well. Are all Mediterranean people lucky?! People live a long life and are quite healthy. How about the macrobiotic diet that Japanese people follow, which is high is cereals and low in protein that mainly comes from white fish. It is also proven that they live longer and healthier lives. By this I am not criticising the article, because I agree with many of the statements, but I would like to point out that there is evidence that leads to a different conclusion.

      I think it is impossible to look at nutrition by itself, we also have to look at the person and their lifestyle to understand the dynamic that nutrition plays in their health.

  12. Interesting that you chose to put a picture of a processed meat (bacon) next to the section on saturated fats. Didn’t an earlier paragraph tell us to avoid such meats?

    • The bacon I buy is from a local farm (pasture raised pigs) and butcher (run by the same family). It is minimally processed (brine soak and smoked) by the industrial standards of most of what is on sale in supermarkets.

      I suppose you might argue that hamburger meat is processed also?

      Where do you draw the line?

  13. @J.A. “…dates contain everything your body needs except for vitamin b12…”

    Looking at their nutritional composition, dates contain mainly sugar. And yes, some other useful stuff. One could even say dates taste sickly sweet. I haven’t eaten one for a long time, but I guess they certainly haven’t become less sweet.

    Compared to an ‘egg’ ( http://nutritiondata.self.com ), a date doesn’t look that appealing anymore.

  14. The only issue I have with sodium is it causes me to retain water like crazy if I eat even a little more than 2500 mg. My ankles swell and I’m uncomfortable for days.

    It’s amazing now that I’ve cut out the gluten, when I eat some, I feel like hell for the next day. Worse than a hangover, even.

  15. Michael Menard says:

    Animal fat. You are kidding, right? There are good sat fats and bad sat fats.

  16. Anne Ahnert says:

    Low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets are more effective than high-carbohydrate diets for decreasing blood pressure, especially as we women get older!!

  17. @FrankG: I can eat tons of hamburger meat that I make at home and nothing bad will happen to me as long as I don’t eat the bun, but if I were to start eating a ton of bacon–that I can also make at home–I’d obviously eventually find myself with different forms of cancer.

    You essentially need to pay more attention to what’s in the brine. Sodium chloride is fine but the minute you see sodium nitrite and other odd-named preservatives, that’s when you know you’re killing yourself. (Obviously toxic chemicals also form during the smoking process, so we have to be ever vigilant.) Life is complex.

    • “…if I were to start eating a ton of bacon–that I can also make at home–I’d obviously eventually find myself with different forms of cancer.”

      Why “obviously”?

    • Ummm… even in 2nd grade I knew that sodium chloride is literally just salt… and brine is salt water. So where along the line does that make meat bad?

  18. I don’t believe in the One Size Fits All approach to nutrition. I believe we need to find what works for us and stick to it. My FIL eats a high carb/sugar diet. He’s in his 80′s with no significant health issues. So, refined carbs are something his body tolerates well. My MIL, same age is gluten intolerant and suffered for years from the resulting digestive issues.

    Personally, I can eat gluten by the spoonful with no issues, but a bit of butter (dairy) in a restaurant meal will take me weeks to recover from the inflammatory response. See a Naturopath, get tested for allergies and inflammatory sensitivities, then eat what works for you instead of what is the ‘in food’ of the month.

  19. Great article, agree on all points, moderation is key, the one things I would add is to buy local as much as possible from your local farmer’s. Supporting the farmer’s that strive to raise or grow nutritious, humanely treated, clean food without chemicals is key.

    And yes, Eggs are essential, and according to Dr. Jerry Tennant “I like eggs because they are one of three things on the planet that has everything necessary for life.”

  20. I laugh when I see ads from fast food chains offering ‘new healthy egg white only sandwiches’. Marginal food made even less nutritious.

    On France… I noticed in Julia Child’s autobiography she had to adjust her recipes for American flour. Back in the 50′s the flour in France had more fat (fresher?? use it or it goes rancid??), while American flour had less fat (shelf stable).

    My impression was the French also eat fresher whole foods including butter and liver. Have 35 hour work weeks, 5 weeks vacation every year that people actually take… Maybe that is why they are healthier even with baguettes and wonderful pastries.

  21. I thought the article was great and well-researched, Kris. Thank you. I do agree with Annie in that everyone is unique and food allergies/intolerances may affect different people in different ways. I also believe genetics plays a part in what’s right for people. Some people may do well with caffeine, others may not. I personally do much better on a higher carb diet whereas others may do better following a lower carb diet.

    As far as fructose, the problem I see is that when studies come out, people tend to overreact. I’ve seen the fructose studies as compared to glucose, but the overreaction is to abandon fruit. Dr. Elizabeth Parks who was part of the 2008 fructose study even stated that you shouldn’t eliminate fruit from your diet. Here is a link to an article citing her and it also links the study:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/does-fructose-make-you-fatter/?_r=0

  22. Thank you Kris for your great articles. I would like to know more about dates as part of the diet. Maybe you could do an article on dates some time?

  23. Seems like the perfect diet is a little bit different for everyone.

    What makes mine – is looking at not just the ingredients alone. Like there is some perfect list to follow and that’s it. It’s the freshness of the ingredients, the growing or processing, preparation, and combination of foods. A holistic approach.

    My only disagreement is I think people do add too much extra salt, and that carbs are very healthy, and hate what I consider a “low carb” menu. I think it is the processing that makes carbs a problem- that and items like wheat and corn are overused. Just try eating out for one day and avoiding those two ingredients! So for me complex carbs no problem to eat, in a balanced diet. If the only carbs you eat are like wheat and corn daily then that is a problem! Cutting out carbs you are missing out on some great tasty food like millet, quinoa, amaranth, barley, oats, chia, rice, beans, squash, etc!

    Meats, no problem to eat either if it suits you just the amount varies from individuals. However, again it is the growing and processing – pesticides, antibiotics, poor living conditions, poor diet, the use of preservatives make the meat unhealthy. Seafood is yum, except be careful of pollution. Eggs no problem to eat plenty, again as long as the growing conditions are right and they should be fresh free range organic! Fruits no problem for me to eat, when in season it’s the best and I am happy to gorge on them! I would never restrict my consumption of fruit unless I was having sugar intolerance issues like a predisposition to diabetes But I don’t. So I eat as much as I want of fresh fruit.

    Fresh veggies I eat all the time, every day, raw and cooked. Also natural fat, great stuff. Don’t put something marked low-fat in front of me and expect me to eat it. Full fat only milk with cream in it, yogurt, duck confit, yummy oils including flax olive, coconut and dairy butter! Don’t even show me that soy margarine stuff. “Processed” food is not that great – including “health food” brand like soy cheese and soy milk. By processed I mean food that has been altered from its natural state by means other than harvesting, washing, drying, natural curing or cooking. Fermenting is great – things like miso, sauerkraut, etc and sprouted grains are super.

    I also feel like the plate should have a balance of ingredients instead of the main and side dish approach. Certain foods eaten together help the digestive process, as well as nutrient absorption – I think food combining is probably more important to dieting than counting calories or excluding food types. I don’t have any scientific studies to back it up, but I’m In my 40′s, in great shape and healthy, and love my food.

    • Someone else who seems to struggle with the difference between the words “low” and “no”… these are NOT the same words people :-)

    • Don’t be so hard on salt… sea salt, “light” salt with important minerals, pink himalayan salt. Humans NEED salt… and if you eat unprocessed foods you can add some salt when you eat… that is a good trick to make the salt taste with a lot less salt.

    • I think it’s also worth pointing out that the commercial production of certain foods (bread being the most obvious example) has encouraged the use of strains of wheat containing far more gluten than older varieties (which may account for the spike in gluten intolerance). Flour with higher gluten content proves and rises faster in commercial bread making, making it far easier and cheaper to produce more bread.

  24. “diets that are high in fat do not make people fat… In fact, the studies consistently show that diets that are high in fat (but low in carbs) lead to much more weight loss than diets that are low in fat”

    This explains how I managed to lose weight living in France for a year and eating buckets loads of fat in butter, cream and cheese.

  25. If I had to simplify advice about losing weight and taking in more beneficial nutrients, I would say replace some of your current eating habits of sugar/fats/carbs with vegetables (especially raw). Then exercise more!! This includes high energy cardiac and weight resistance. Diet alone can only do so much. Replacing some of your current drinks (that includes alcohol) with water and getting 7-8 hours of sleep will help too. As you add these new habits to your life, you will have to decide how much you are willing to sacrifice in order to be lighter.

    Are you okay with being 10 pounds overweight if that means you don’t have to give up your 3 beers and ice cream every night? Or are you willing to cut down on those things such as having a beer every other night and sticking to a lower calorie frozen yogurt? It will be different for every individual. Don’t overeat, but find a way to include the foods you love so you don’t make yourself miserable.

    Personally one of the many reasons I love to exercise is to be less strict with my own diet. After running 5 miles, I don’t feel as guilty about eating a few chocolate chip cookies, which I love! However, I throughout the day I try to eat lots of vegetables, lean meats, nuts, fruit and whole grain wheat. As far as the wheat goes, I am not sensitive to gluten, but you can run a food allergy test with your physician to check if you are.

    • Seems EXACTLY the kind of advice we keep hearing from the mainstream… so how well is that working out with the level of obesity worldwide?

      Eat more vegetables and do more exercise! …not that I am judging you of course…

      Are people just too dang gluttonous and slothful to follow it maybe?

      Perhaps if we just keep pushing that same message for another 30, 40 or 50 years or so we might finally start to make some impact on the problem… eh?!? And by “impact” I of course don’t mean the way this message is currently making the problem WORSE.

      It couldn’t possibly be that something else is going on here? Surely not?

  26. Bobby Caudill says:

    Thanks for the article Kris. Over the past year, I’ve been following almost all your suggestions as learned from a new age nutritionist, I’ve lost and kept off over forty pounds. The one thing not mentioned that I include often are various forms of fermented foods – yogurt, pickles, etc. As well having a positive affect on my weight, at 52, my energy level is back to that of a 30 year old.

    My doctor has been a combination of amazed and supportive, citing my ‘numbers’ have never looked better. So, I’ve discovered something that works for me. And, btw, for the record, I do eat a substantial amount of fruit each day, especially in the form of berries and apples.

    As to all the folks commenting here who seem to wish to debate and split hairs, I wonder if it has ever occurred to them that in the same way our brains are wired differently, that maybe, just maybe, our bodies each deal with food somewhat differently as well.

    Rather than argue about fructose or whatever, find what works for you and be happy about it. And, rather than smack others down for having found what works for them, applaud their success too.

    Why does it seem that so many people need to judge others who are happy and succeeding just because they are on different paths?

    As Lennon & McCartney would say, “Let It Be”.

    Peace.

  27. There is another good reason not to eat sugar and especially fructose. A lot of fructose never gets digested at all and ends up in the small intestine feeding the bacteria that produce hydrogen sulphide that will cause really nasty death breath, gas, bloating and who knows what damage?

    • Once again I think it come down to a question of quality vs. quantity.

      I think you’d have a really hard time proposing that humans are NOT adapted to eat fruit — especially the wild varieties that have not been bred for size, colour and sweetness.

      Wild fruit and honey are natural sources of Sugar that our ancestors had, at least, limited access to — some geographic regions more than others.

      So clearly we are OK to eat Fructose — even when, as naturally occurs in fruit, it is bonded to Glucose as Sucrose; more commonly known as “Sugar”.

      Although arguably, fruit is a seasonal food only — in the tropics humans may have had year round access but not so much once we moved away from the Equator… my Ice-Age European ancestors for example, would only have come across wild, ripe fruit in the Fall… possibly just in time to store up some extra fat mass for the lean cold Winter ahead.

      The quality and quantity issue comes into the picture for me when we see so many processed and packaged foods that contain Sugar and/or HFCS — often in addition to several other “hidden sweeteners” such as Maltodexrin (nominally a “Starch” but effectively a simple and readily digestible polymer of Glucose). These are present in so many foods — many that are not even thought of as “sweet”, that it has become ubiquitous and hard to avoid, unless you prepare all your own food from scratch.

      I know that Dr Lustig is constantly given grief in blog comments for saying that “Fructose is a TOXIN!” but if you actually listen to him he is clear that in his opinion, fruit is OK because of the reasons others have discussed above. That does NOT absolve fruit juices tho’ .. you may as well be giving your children soda-pop for breakfast.

      For those who listen beyond the attention-grabbing headline, he goes on to explain that Fructose is a “Dose Dependent Toxin” — in other words: much like alcohol (with which it shares metabolic pathways) a little may be harmless, or even beneficial to most people BUT beyond a certain threshold amount and it starts to become damaging to the body.

      What that threshold amount is will vary from individual to individual — an elite Ti-athlete will probably be able to tolerate a far greater amount of Fructose in their diet than I do with my daily walks :-)

      His position (and mine) is that: too many people eating the Western industrial diet are WAY above that threshold level between harmless and harmful.

      The message is not a blanket statement that “Fructose is Bad” but rather that “Too Much Fructose is bad” :-)

      • The other consideration with this “dosage” idea is the rapidity with which it impacts the system…

        I recall Gary Taubes (who was also a boxer in his early years) using the analogy of a fist to the face:

        If you hit hard and fast it has much more impact than if you were to gently place your fist against that face and then press firmly for a time — even if you were careful to ensure that the same total pressure was applied to the face in both cases.

        This is part of the reason why OJ is so much more potentially harmful than eating the equivalent in oranges… the OJ is like the punch to the face, while the orange itself has buffers to slow the digestion (these are stripped away during juicing) as well as providing appropriate satiety signals to your body. Of course this latter part about satiety is another reason why OJ is potentially harmful… try eating those same 5 to 6 whole oranges that it took to make your glass of juice!

        It’s a One.. two.. bam! KO!!!

        But even then, an Elite Triathlete in training would probably have no problem with a glass or two of OJ. Just like Mohamed Ali could probably shrug off most punches… not that so many landed on him, as I recall :-)

        • Absolutely right Frank. When a little fructose is eaten, of course it is easily digested in the stomach, especially when it is in the form of sucrose. The problem arises when excess sugars are consumed and they make it to the small intestine.

    • Dr. of Medicine says:

      This article does not seem to based on the most current literature. Eating high protein diets has been proven to cause a great deal of STRESS to the liver. Over time this can lead to scaring and early failure. When we do not have normal energy i.e. carbohydrates, we look to protein (this will often be mobilized from our muscles.

      The liver must go through the process of gluconeogenisis. This converts protein into glucose to be used as energy. Of course this only happens after we use all of our stored glycogen (in the case of heavy extended exercise or those who do not eat carbohydrates).

      • Your alias (appeal to authority?) notwithstanding, I seriously doubt you have any medical training worthy of recognition.

        Perhaps you can prove your point by referencing some of this “most current literature”.

        Simple point of logic that if eating a high-protein diet, then why on earth would the body turn to muscle stores of protein to make up for the lack of carbohydrates?

        And “those who do not eat carbohydrates”…? Are you also using the usual straw-man argument that somehow falsely equates LOW carb with NO carb?

        In any case, the way I eat is described as LCHF — low carb, high FAT.

        Fat is an excellent energy source for the body, along with providing essential micronutrients.

        In theory at least, there is no requirement to eat ANY carbohydrate. Not that I am advocating such a diet.

        Protein tends to be more expensive to buy and we really don’t need to eat more of it.

        IF you were really an MD you’d know that in most ad libitum dietary trials, it is the Carbs and Fat that are changed (one goes up while the other down or vice versa) while protein tends to stay fairly constant.

        None of which is to agree with you that protein is in any way harmful to the body. And I’m certainly not going to take your word for it.

  28. Something I would like to see added is “soy is GOOD for you.” NOT!!!

  29. Bottom line to anything in life… moderation! Almost anything can be done in a healthy manner if done in moderation. Excess will make you fat, give you heart disease, etc. Small doses… our lives are a marathon, not a sprint.

  30. Stephen Rushing says:

    The post and comments are eluding to the inherent safety of “natural” foods, but a point discounting the “natural is healthy” marketing hook would be great. The idea that anything “natural” is better than processed may serve as a valuable rule of thumb, but the word “natural” is largely exploited, on top of the fact that there are countless poisons in nature, (many) of which are not necessarily at the supermarket.

    Cooking itself is an attempt to alter the food from its natural state, and there are many processed foods that a majority of people would benefit from, such as whey protein.

  31. In my personal journey I have, for the last 6 months, been the sole arbiter and cook of the food my wife and I eat. In that time my wife has lost 8kg and I 11kg. For the first 3 months of that time we have done no exercise above and beyond our “normal” level. For my wife that has been zero sport, walking while at work (as a nurse) and just getting around in general. For me, playing 18 holes of golf 3 times a week (but in a cart since my knees require an operation before I can return to walking), and just getting around.

    We haven’t counted calories, we eat when we are hungry. Typically we have one cooked meal a day in the evening. We don’t experience tiredness during the day, in spite of having little to eat. In fact, now that we have lost a little weight we are more motivated to exercise. We go on bicycle rides together – something we haven’t done in more than 25 years. I’ve also started doing some resistance training on my Total Gym 1000 (which I’ve had for the last 15 years but which has largely gathered dust).

    Today, during my 4 and half hours of activity, all the fuel I’ve had has been two cups of coffee (which include about 50ml of heavy cream each) and a handful each of roasted/salted cashews and peanuts). My activity has consisted half an hour of strenuous resistance training and about 4 hours of digesting and replying to information on the Internet. (Like this post). I still don’t feel any hunger and I am quite happy to keep up the activity.

    What I have done in our diet is cut out any sugar, bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, cereals, grains and oil from grains/vegetables. I have increased fats from meats, dairy, nuts and eggs. I cook in saturated fats like coconut oil, butter, lard and beef dripping. Any vegetables I do cook will either be drenched in butter, cheeses, cream, cream cheese or all of those.

    If I’m cooking vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato, I cut them up small so there is always a greater amount of lard or other fat attaching to them. If we have any fruits it is likely to be berries – accompanied by generous lashings of fresh or whipped cream. Our consumption of heavy cream each week is about 6 litres between us (mainly taken in our coffee – which is usually between 4 to 6 cups a day).

    My wife has ALWAYS been a carboholic – loved her potatoes, bread, pasta and rice. She finds that all the meals I’ve been cooking to be tasty and have sufficient variation. While she would like to eat a piece of bread or a baked potato, she doesn’t have the cravings for them and she recognizes that this diet (if you could call it a diet) is producing something she has never before experienced in her 58 years – WEIGHT LOSS! She can see that it will be possible to get down to her original weight that she had before having children – something she had given up on.

    She had a cardiac episode 2 years ago and has been on various pills since then. We have recently taken her off statins, despite her doctors objections. Her blood lipids panel has shown low triglyceride levels and ‘normal’ HDL and LDL. Not that we are concerned about HDL and LDL – we do not believe in the ‘new’ levels being promoted by the companies that sell statins.

    Anyway, that is my story, take it or leave it. I’m confident that I’m on top of my health.

    • Great story, Greg. Congratulations to both you and your wife.

      • Thanks, Dan.

        I saw a video by Andreas Eenfeldt where he said that change will likely have to come from the people rather than the professional/governmental/pharmaceutical/corporate sectors. My story is just one part of that effort. Another part is the website I’ve created to help guide people to the experts. I see you have a website with some relevant information. Are you ok with me linking to it?

        Cheers,
        Gregg.

        • Sure, Greg. I like Kris (who has a MUCH larger following, aren’t doin’ it for the money. (We don’t accept advertising.) We’re doing it because we passionately believe in what we are doing and want to get the word out. Kris addresses a much wider, healthier audience than I. I’m a long-time type 2 and still considered obese so I focus on people who want to avoid becoming either. But I have noticed how closely our messages mesh. They are nearly identical, in fact. The only exception used to be fruit, but Kris has been sensitive to comments and now recognize that some of his faithful readers are totally carbohydrate intolerant and has adjusted his message accordingly.That’s why I love Authority Nutrition. His message is right on — for everyone!

          • The way I see it is that the more of us out there giving the same message in our own unique ways, the more of a groundswell it will be in overcoming the conventional messages from the “authorities”. I don’t really expect to get lots of followers. I just wanted a place to get my thoughts in order so that I could direct people (like my doctor) when the inevitable debates occur. Linking to like-minded people adds strength to the network.

  32. There are also negative side effects from low carb diets. Which include constipation, headaches, bad breath, muscle cramps, diarrhea, general weakness, rashes and more. Signs like this are not healthy. It’s not about cutting back carbs, if you diet is already balanced, (I am not talking about the media’s high carb, low fat diet) it’s about the food and it’s quality and the portions of food.

    I wish this article didn’t give the idea that a low carb diet is super healthy because it’s not. Just watch the carb intake and eat balanced!

  33. Hi Shayla,

    Those things don’t appear to apply to me.

    Some of them seem like the sort of symptoms applying to wheat withdrawal. Those should go away after a short time. Cramps may be a symptom of low magnesium. On a low carb diet you will also want to get your salt intake back up. I do this by sprinkling generously on food. You may get dizziness if you don’t get plenty of salt.

    As far as bad breath goes – well I usually brush my teeth when I get up in the morning and it goes away. My wife does the same food as me and same results.

    Cheers,
    Gregg.

  34. I loved the article! I totally agree. The only issue I would have is that there is a difference between “whole wheat” and “whole grain wheat”. True, it is looking like gluten is becoming a big issue in our culture (maybe it has more to do with GMO’s though, hmmmm), but whole grain wheat is much healthier than either white or whole wheat.

    We mill our own wheat flour and I think that is much better than whole wheat. Thanks for such a great article.

    • Whole wheat is the same thing as whole grain wheat. I don’t know where you got this information from, but it is not true.

  35. Ken Whitley says:

    Red meat isn’t bad for you. Blue-green meat that wiggles is bad for you.

    Wheat and corn aren’t bad for you. 21st century commodity grains are bad for you.

    I remember the “food pyramid” – a whole bunch of conscientious people had done a pretty good job with the science of the day, and at the last minute the commodity ag industry was allowed to rewrite the thing, resulting in the substitution of grains for vegetables as the base of a healthy diet. That, combined with the endless manipulation of the grain for more profit instead of better health and nutrition, resulted in every grocer now having a “gluten-free” section for a culture that’s eaten wheat for many thousands of years. When God says “unleavened wheat flour” it’s hard to argue “irritable bowel syndrome” in response.

  36. I’m curious about the coffee claims. Of course with that info the drinkers obviously have nothing added (ex:sugar/cream). What about the effects caffeine has on cortisol (stress hormone) levels? You say it helps metabolize fats, but doesn’t caffeine raise cortisol levels, hindering the body’s ability to build muscle and lose fat?

  37. “This depends completely on the context. A diet that is high in carbs AND fat will make you fat, but it’s NOT because of the fat.”

    The author has messed up with his own context. Yes, people who consume sugars and fat tend to gain weight more than when they consume either sugar or fat (depending on the calorie content). The reason is that body prefers to metabolize sugars first before turning its attention to fat. When sugars satisfy energy needs, the fat is simply stored.

    So YES, people get fat after combining sugars with fat, because of the fat. Converting fat molecules to energy is more costly to the metabolism, hence it is less favorable source of energy when other more easily metabolized sources are available. Higher consumption of carbohydrates above the immediate energy needs tend to increase the futile cycles and mildly increase the energy expenditure.

    This was not observed with consumption of fat above the immediate energy needs. What exceeds the energy needs is simply stored. We have virtually limitless capacity for storing fat, which is not the case for sugars or proteins. It is only when the carbohydrates largely exceed the energy needs that they are converted to fat, but this occurs after the glycogen stores were completely filled first.

    This article contains plenty of interesting and factual information, but there are some that would need more research by the author. It is good that the information here is backed up with some studies, but they are only few here while in the databases there are myriads of other studies which, if taken into account, would put some of the information presented here into a different perspective.

    • Michael Wassil says:

      You would also gain weight from eating an ALL carb diet. Your metabolism will convert and store as fat all blood sugar that is not immediately burned as energy. In fact, insulin is triggered almost as soon as the sugar from carb digestion hits the blood stream.

      Assuming you don’t have insulin intolerance, you’ll start storing fat even as some of the sugar gets burned as energy. When you reduce carbs low enough so there is too little blood sugar to provide the energy required to function, your metabolism will start to covert stored fat into ketones and burn them instead.

      As Gregg Sheehan has said, there are NO studies that indicate carbs are required human food. IMHO low carbs is better and no carbs is best. However, as long as you don’t trigger the insulin response you can consume carbs in small quantities, and this varies depending on body size, weight and base metabolic rate.

  38. Tanner M. says:

    I thought the same thing as some of the other commenters – the article was good for the most part, but quite a few of the studies cited are based on correlation not causation. Personally I think the whole “low carb” thing is a joke.

    Eliminating processed, nutrient deficient carbs is one thing, but America’s problem isn’t that they ate too much broccoli or fruit or yams. Do you have some studies that show “low carb” aids in body fat loss or simply “losing weight”?

    • Tanner, I’d like to put it the other way around. See if you can point out to us, a study that shows carbohydrates are a necessary part of the human diet at all. There is plenty of evidence that humans can thrive on a carbohydrate free diet for life, so that evidence would point to carbohydrates being unnecessary.

      If it turns out that there are no studies that prove the necessity for carbs then it would seem that they can be dropped completely with no harm done.

      The up-side to this would be that the body could concentrate on fueling itself on fat in preference to glucose and, in the case of (seemingly) most people, allow them to come back to a natural lean body weight without counting calories, (as I have.) I don’t discount the possibility of me eating carbohydrates in reduced quantities when seasonally available. I just don’t favor eating highly refined sugars and grain products – I see these as being the cause of our modern disease – not our natural food, which is meat.

      • A question: with absolutely CHO-free diet, i.e. based on meat and animal products only: where would you get the fibre, vitamin C and other phytochemicals protecting our health and providing a variety of other antioxidants than our own or in form of unsaturated fatty acids?

        I would like to see the study that proved long-term sustainability of such a diet and made the participants disease free for several decades.

        How about metabolic ketoacidosis from breaking down the fats and amino acids to gain energy and glucose for various tissues (brain, red blood cells) which run virtually on glucose only in a non-starving mode.

        I know about Inuits, but even they have some source of carbohydrate here and there.

        • Vitamin C can be obtained from various animal sources. The liver contains that as well as other micro-nutrients. Beluga whale skin apparently contains as much Vit. C as oranges. Fibre is not necessary in a human diet. The fact that we CAN eat it doesn’t mean that we should. There are no scientific experiments that show we need to have it. We make our own powerful antioxidants and if we take carbs out of our diet we don’t need so much of them anyway. Georgia Ede has a very good page on the pros and cons of fibre here: http://diagnosisdiet.com/food/fiber/

          You’ve already stated that you know about the Inuit and that would be the only study that proves a complete society can live entirely without carbohydrates for centuries. There is no evidence or likelihood that the Inuit got any substantial amount of fruit in the form of blueberry etc. in any consistent way. My understanding is that plants don’t grow very well in permafrost.

          Ketoacidosis is usually a pathelogical form of ketosis which occurs in diabetics when there is a shortage of insulin. Non-diabetics do not enter this harmful condition. People such as myself use nutritional ketosis as a dietary strategy to return our bodies to a normal healthy state. Peter Attia describes it well in http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/is-ketosis-dangerous

          • How about pregnant women and eating the liver?

            Have you heard of the retinol toxicity for the fetus?

            Would you expect her to eat the tissues raw to obtain sufficient amount of vitamin C as it deteriorates with heat preparation?

            The fact we have lost the ability so synthesize our endogenous vitamin C (unlike other carnivores) points to the fact that we are not carnivores and are not supposed to be.

            Moreover, the seas are already depleted from fish and other sea food. How would you expect the whole population to thrive on purely animal sources? And for how long? And if not only fish, but other animals: how would it affect the environment and sustainability? Have you thought of these as well?

          • In addition, your fiber article has at least one flaw: it compares the blocked drain due to the psyllium with human bowel, which is a nonsense.

            A/ The psyllium is given in spoons into the drink, already having plenty of water present.
            B/ The osmotic effect in our digestive tract can get extra moisture from the bloodstream, so that the blockage described in the article is not possible in humans, unless they shovel half of the package into their mouth and swallow it, washing it down with little water.

            I have never heard of anyone having blocked bowels from soluble fibre. But I have read plenty of stories and risks of being constipated from the lack of fibre in the food.

          • Hi Dagmar, I’m not saying a pregnant woman has to eat liver, I did say that liver is a good source of vitamin C. There are other meat sources as well. I eat liver raw. It is the tastiest way of eating it (plus I add a little salt).

            As far as sustainability is concerned, well I think that the greatest threat to sustainability is the escalating population of humans. I suspect that will sort itself out. Currently much of the race is killing itself with highly refined CHO while about 1% are doing it through veganism.

          • Michael Wassil says:

            Gregg, I’ve been on LCHF for a year and a half and my results are similar to yours. My favorite foods for the first 65 years were: ice cream, bread, pasta, pastries, rice, potatoes and fruit. I quit them all cold turkey and never have even the slightest craving for any of them! Your comments in this thread have been well prepared and presented. I appreciate it much.

          • Thanks, Michael. Your feedback is appreciated. I trust your new way of eating is keeping you in good health. In my case I haven’t exactly quit ice cream. I make my own and it doesn’t have sugar (apart from some berries), so I guess it meets the LCHF lifestyle. Only have it once a month or so.

    • Michael Wassil says:

      Try it and get back to us. Otherwise, your comment is just a joke to those of us who have tried it and know something you don’t.

  39. Clinton Keith says:

    This is filled with partial information and red herring arguments. I agree with much of it, but the research references are spotty and selective.

    Keep in mind this is written by a “medical student, personal trainer and someone who has spent years reading books, blogs and research studies on health and nutrition.” The only point being that this is no more valid or backed up than anything most of us can research online (and as reliable).

  40. I agree that juice is bad to drink a lot, and I always tell other adults to watch their intake of the stuff, but then I’m giving it to my small children regularly. Is it as harmful to them? What are some things I can give them to drink (besides water) that they will enjoy?

  41. The only correction I would suggest is in regards to the meat. Meat from factory-farmed animals force-fed pesticide-ridden GMO corn and soy is NOT healthy for you and CAN cause harm. Corn-fed meats are another source of sugar.

    Source your meat from humanely-raised, grass-fed only animals and ask questions. We called one company whose meat was packaged as “grass-fed” only to find out they fed them GMO corn the last few months before butchering. We go to great lengths to find local farmers that truly have grass-fed only cows and we will buy the whole animal and split the cost with other families to make it more affordable.

    Just like all calories are not alike, all meat is not alike either. Did you know grocery stores will dip their meat in fresh blood to make it appear fresh (meat is not that red naturally)? Or that they spray viruses on their meat to reduce bacteria growth? Did you know that factory farmed chickens are fed feed with arsenic that the FDA has finally admitted DOES wind up in the meat?

    Does it take more effort to develop a relationship with a local farm to get fresh safe meat? Sure it does, but it is well worth it!

    Go to eatwild.com to learn the benefits of animals products from grass-fed and pasture raised animals (raw milk, free-range eggs, butter and cheese from grass-fed cows etc.)

    Go to Mercola.com and naturalnews.com and do a search on factory farmed meat to learn all the horrible things they do to the animals and how it causes the meat to be toxic to us in so many ways. I was vegan for a while but got tired and sick and added humanely raised animal sources back into my diet and regained my energy and health.

    Mercola did a fantastic article with much research cited explaining why many people cannot go vegan long-term and stay healthy. My diet is high in saturated fats, raw veggies, healthy animal products and no grains, starches or sugars and I have lost 90 pounds. Still losing so I am happy with these changes.

    • I agree with Melissa, but note sadly that in the Northeast it is virtually impossible to find pasture raised beef that is not only grass fed but grass finished as well.

      Perhaps they are not being completely honest with me, but the local farmers tell me that in the winter it is necessary to feed their animals grain (as well as silage) and that therefore in the life-cycle of the animal, before it attains market weight, they will have had a combination of feed.

      In milder climates, of course, this is possible, so maybe I just need to start buying my meat through the sources Melissa names, and others, to get grass finished beef. The omega 3s are also higher, and the glycogen in the muscle lower (so there’s less ‘sugar’ in the beef, right?)

  42. “This applies to fructose from added sugars, NOT the natural sugars found in fruits.”

    Well, then don’t falsely call it fructose! Sugar is saccharose (disaccharide) and it should get all the bad publicity, not the fructose, which is found in fruits (monosaccharide)!

    Which makes me wonder, what else did the author got wrong in this article…

    • Sugar/sucrose is half fructose, half glucose. When it enters your bloodstream, the body just sees the two monosaccharides.

    • FYI: there is no significant difference between digestion, absorption and metabolic and endocrinologic effect between consumption of refined sucrose and HFCS, in which the glucose and fructose occur as monosaccharides. That is a fact.

      Intact fruits have different health benefits from added sugar, whether from the sucrose or HFCS. These two sugars in added form are equally bad when consumed in excess. It is pointless to argue about free or bound form of fructose and glucose in fruits and some vegetables. They contain both, free and bound in sucrose, which is then extracted and refined, like from the cane or beet.

      Large amounts of added fructose was shown to have negative metabolic properties, but in small amounts it is beneficial, aka caloric sweetener vs. naturally occurring sugar in crops and consumed as they are.

      Btw: the term sugar refers to mono and di-saccharide having sweetening properties. Fructose is probably the sweetest naturally occurring monosaccharide.

  43. There are some valid points in this post, but there is danger in basing everything purely off of scientific literature. First of all, some of the articles you have sited are certainly not high on the research chain so to speak. The conclusions you have come to on multiple topics were not even supported by the articles you sited.

    For the average person, the fact that you listed articles was good enough. However, a number of those articles don’t have any real data proving your “theories.” For example, claiming red meat is healthy based purely on literature pertaining to the association of CHD and diabetes is a bit short sided.

    Yes, there are plenty of nutrients found in red meat, but there is also a lot of arachidonic acid which causes systemic inflammation. Whether or not that leads to cardiovascular disease is only one piece of the pie.

  44. I quit reading comments half way through the fruit debate but just wanted to give my two cents. As someone who is obese and has lost 40 pounds and going strong, I have found through many fad diets over the years that cutting out a food group all together is a mistake (unless you have a health reason such as an allergy.) I eat 2-3 servings of fresh fruit a day and have nothing but benefits to my diet and health.

    • Hi Amanda,
      Some people don’t realize that they have an allergy to a “food group” until one day, like my wife two weeks ago, they discover they have already developed bowel cancer. At the moment the evidence points to wheat being an allergen to most people – it is just that some don’t appear to have any symptoms straight away.

      For some, the effects are immediate and include diarrhoea, for others it is the gradual onset of obesity and perhaps diabetes. Yet others may discover dementia and Alzheimer’s when it is far too late. Some have symptoms like ADHD and autism as a child but don’t link it to wheat in the diet combined with a lack of saturated fat. They end up taking drugs to hide the symptoms.

      The fact that you are experiencing good health on 2-3 servings of fresh fruit is great – but may be combined with other healthy lifestyle choices you make, e.g. perhaps you don’t smoke. Also your body may not have developed insulin resistance and can cope quite happily with what may be excess fruit for an obese person.

      My opinion is that the “fad” diet is what the authorities have been promoting over the last 30 years combined with some facets of our agricultural diet over the last 5,000 – 10,000 years (namely wheat).

      • Gregg: I smoke occasionally, drink occasionally, but I also don’t eat a lot of bread, grains, etc. Maybe one or two servings a day? Also 3ish veggie servings a day, lots of lean protein, drink plenty of water, and do 30-45 minutes of cardio 5 times a week, weight training 6 days a week, and stretching.

        There are random foods I can’t eat because they make me feel bad (e.g. romaine lettuce makes me have stomach issues so I don’t eat it, bacon gives me horrible heart burn, as do cucumbers so I don’t eat those either).

        All I am saying is that this article is great, but everyone has their own opinion because all of our bodies are different – they can tolerate different foods better than others, but there is no disputing that fresh food is better than processed (my apple may be horrible from a sugar perspective but it is far healthier than a sugar-free, fat-free snack that comes in a box.). Everyone needs to listen to their body, make smart choices, and be happy.

        I am sorry to hear about your wife and hope she is able to heal quickly.

        • Thanks, Amanda, I’m sure that we are on the right side of what to eat these days and that will go a long way for her healing.

          Sorry to hear you cannot enjoy bacon. :(
          Me – I cannot enjoy brussels sprouts – I’m pretty sure I’ve got the better deal ;-)

          If you are in good health and can enjoy and tolerate certain foods then more strength to you. Another factor may be age – my wife and I are only a year away from 60. Things are happening to our bodies that are probably a result of the stresses we’ve exposed them to over the years. In my case the odd bit of keretosis and mild melanomas from exposure to sun. My wife’s bowel cancer may well be caused by irritation from the likes of bran over the years. (Me, I could never stand the stuff and refused to eat it – preferring to go with red meat and dairy instead.)

          I’m picking that a casual smoke isn’t going to do any harm to someone – their body is just going to cope with irritants like that quite easily. In my case, I was addicted to nicotine until I was 32 but have now been free of it for 27 years – so there is no such thing as a casual smoke for me.

  45. I agree that whatever health advice is out there, it is not necessarily correct. And I also apply that to this very article on this website. I’ll bet within two years there is another article on this website pointing out things that are ostensibly not true in this one. The one thing that sticks out most to me is the attack on gluten. Gluten is good for you. It has an ugly-sounding name and that alone rallies people to campaign against it. Add to that that it is the fad of the day to bash gluten and it is the current sexy popular food allergy to have and you get junk like this.

    Let’s call gluten what it is–protein! It is the protein portion of wheat. If what you keep saying about the great wonderful benefits of protein throughout this article is at all correct, the one part of wheat that we should be least concerned about is gluten–the protein portion. Even though you cite sources, just as many, if not more sources/scientific studies could be found to say the opposite of all of this. If people trust their instincts in how they eat they will be fine. Human instinct has, after all, brought us this far.

    • It’s good to remain generally skeptical and open-minded about nutrition science/advice. There’s still a lot we don’t know, so some of what we “know” now will turn out to be wrong.

      That said, gluten isn’t just protein–as if all proteins are equally beneficial and benign. There may be people who can tolerate gluten without obvious side effects, but there are also people who are weakly, moderately, or severely sensitive to it. And there are indications that even people who don’t realize it are adversely affected by it. (E.g., google “gluten gut permeability”)

  46. Buck Robely says:

    To overcome my gluttony I exercise by doing the cha cha like a little girl. I like to do the cha cha.

  47. Even though some of this is relevant in a certain context, this article is very poor due to it’s lack of evidence. What’s harmful is giving information that is subjective and not giving all the research behind these factors. I am very disappointed in this article as it is just one more person trying to make their own diet look like the only proper diet. People are different and there are endless studies to prove and disprove these “facts”. It would be more helpful to provide all the facts so that people can make educated choices… since, as I said this is a subjective article. But nice try. Close but no cigar :)

    • Actually there are references to 116 peer-reviewed journal papers within this article. These pretty clearly back up the claims. I wouldn’t call that “lack of evidence.”

      • Sorry Kris. You are right. That is a fair a amount of references for one article. I guess what I meant was that the use of the word “lies” is very misleading to the reader. After all, as new studies arise your article could become a lie too by these standards and I know that’s not right. Just because one study says one thing and the next is different doesn’t make one a lie.

        After all, there are many healthy diets that could fall in and out of the boundaries of these “lies”. Every body is different. Just saying you could turn this article into something more productive,that is a learning tool and not act like this information is any more valid than other well founded studies. It is all great information. The delivery definitely left something to be desired for me. Have a good day Kris.

  48. Heard this info on the Rush Limbaugh show today and wanted to verify. Have been arguing about this for years with my wife, can’t wait to show her this. I also noticed there were no comments on blueberries. Why?

  49. So I agree with most of the points in the article, but one question I am left with is, if saturated fats don’t cause heart disease and high cholesterol, then what does cause these things?

  50. So saturated fats from eating animals don’t raise LDL or clog arteries??

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