Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why Don't More Doctors Recommend Low-Carb High-Fat Diets?

I recently listened to an old podcast featuring Dr. Jay Wortman's presentation from the 2015 Low Carb Cruise, which brilliantly answered a question that has been bugging me for months:

"Why don't more medical doctors recommend low-carb high-fat diets to reverse chronic disease and maintain optimal health?"

For every Dr. Sarah Hallberg, Dr. Peter Attia, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt or Dr. David Perlmutter there are hundreds of thousands of Dr. Buffaloes who follow the herd of conventional nutrition advice.

Even the Tin Foil Hat Cat
is skeptical about
high-carb diets
Wortman is a Canadian physician who reversed his diabetes with a ketogenic (low-carb high-fat) diet. Though he jokingly suggests donning a tin foil hat because his medical herd metaphor sounds like a kooky conspiracy theory, he is dead serious.

The reason more doctors do not recommend their patients follow a low-carb high-fat diet is they are trained in medical school to stay in the middle of the herd where it is safe -- even if the herd is moving in the wrong direction. For a doctor, being on the fringe is dangerous.

So why does the medical herd continue to clomp along in the wrong direction when it comes to dietary advice?

Any hunter can tell you that to control a herd, you do not have to kill all the animals in it, says Wortman. All you have to do is shoot the leader and all the other animals will fall in line.

Which is exactly how the food industry influences the dietary guidelines adopted by most Western governments and promoted by mainstream disease organizations, such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.

Food industry is in cahoots with medical opinion leaders
Food companies and industry groups deliberately target opinion leaders from prestigious institutions like Harvard to publish articles and books that promote the high-carb dietary recommendations which the mainstream medical buffaloes blindly follow.

To be fair, Dr. Wortman is on the advisory board of Atkins Nutritionals, an affiliation which he states upfront so his bias is transparent. However, I feel confident he is on the board because it aligns with his belief system and appreciate that he does not attempt to hide his association with Atkins.

In his presentation, Dr. Wortman mentions a nutritionist I had never heard of named Dr. Frederich Stare, a now discredited "expert" who founded the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Stare published 18 books and hundreds of articles, most of which promoted the idea that the American diet of "meat, potatoes, bread and grain, pasta and sugary desserts" did not harm people's health. Turns out Stare was heavily financed by the sugar and tobacco industries and was influential in the FDA decision in 1976 to label sugar as a food that is Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS).

Dr. Wortman also calls out the former Chancellor for Health Affairs at the Duke University Health System, Dr. Victor Dzau, who was previously on the board of Pepsico -- where he earned more than a quarter million dollars per year plus shares of the company's stock. What are the odds this respected cardiologist was not influenced by his cushy affiliation with the sugar water cola company?

Dr. Wortman says that in 2004, when the low-carb movement started gaining steam thanks to the popularity of the Atkins and South Beach diets, the junk food industry began quivering in fear and designed a subversive strategy to discredit what it repeatedly referred to as the "low-carb craze."

One group that helped implement this strategy was Oldways, a non-profit organization that promotes itself as dedicated to supporting "healthy eating and drinking, with programs that help consumers improve their food and drink choices, encourage traditional sustainable food choices, and promote enjoyment of the pleasures of the table."

The fact that this alleged "healthy food" advocacy group is funded by corporations like Con Agra, Pepsico, Kellogs and the Juice Products Association -- the latter of which plies children with sugary fruit stripped of fiber -- obviously has no bearing on its recommendations.

Meanwhile, says Dr. Wortman, the international public relations firm Hill+Knowlton publicly boasts on its food and beverage industry strategy website that it has "experience and contacts to help engage key stakeholders in a constructive dialogue and help inform public perceptions through outreach and communications with academics, nutritionists, government health bodies and special interest groups."

In PR speak that means these flacks knows how to "manipulate the herd by controlling the leaders of the herd," he says.

Which is why doctors continue advising their patients to follow a high-carb, low-fat diet.

It's not that I didn't know any of this, but Dr. Wortman's presentation makes the case for a high-carb conspiracy so compelling, it alleviates any doubts I might harbor about ignoring conventional dietary advice.

Listen to Dr. Wortman's full presentation here.

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