|Big Fat Lies by David Gillespie|
As he says, he may not be a doctor or nutritionist, but what lawyers are really good at is following the evidence - which he presents in Big Fat Lies.
The tale that Gillespie uncovers about sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup is the same one told by Yudkin and Lustig in books previously reviewed here. Sugar is an addictive poison, which is stuffed into almost every manufactured food item because Big Food knows that it's hard for us to resist its addictive sweetness. So they sell more, and we end up with 'an obesity epedemic.'
Also, sugar is a cheap preservative, and helps to make it possible for packaged food to sit in warehouses and on shelves for months, even years, without decaying. (And food should decay - if it doesn't, then the colonies of bacteria who live in our guts, and do the work of digesting for us, can't do anything beneficial with it.)
|Be afraid, be very afraid|
Chromium, for instance. We need tiny amounts of the stuff to be healthy, and it's virtually impossible to be deficient in it (though that doesn't stop the food & diet industry from selling it to us in 'supplements' which don't work, and may even do harm.)
However, if your diet is high in sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup - if, say, you drink a lot of soft drinks, or ready meals, or takeaways with sugary sauces - then the sugar very efficiently carries the chromium out of your body, resulting in the theoretically impossible chromium-deficiency.
And what is the effect of chromium-deficiency? Oh, have a guess - go on, guess. Chromium-deficiency makes us resistant to insulin, that's what. Which means high blood-sugar and diabetes 2.
It also means high insulin levels, as the body floods the blood-stream with insulin in an attempt to reduce blood-sugar. And how does insulin reduce - or attempt to reduce - blood-sugar levels?
By turning the excess sugar into fat. and tidying it away into fat cells.
So you're constantly hungry, constantly craving more sugar, and your weight gain is accelerated. A state of affairs that the processed food and diet industries are very happy about. A cynical person might suspect that, if they didn't exactly set out to create that state, they're very happy to perpetuate it.
(Remember how the tobacco industry denied, for decades, that there was any link between smoking and cancer? And banged on about 'the freedom to smoke?' (And the freedom to acquire all the disease associated with it.) Then it turned out that Big Tobacco had known there was a link with cancer for decades, for almost all the time they'd been denying there was and insisting that 'the research was inconclusive.'
(What does the food industry say, when it's told that sugar is poisonous and addictive? Sounding very like the tobacco industry, it says that sugar is simply a food like any other, that there is no clear link to disease or weight gain 'as part of a calorie controlled diet' and consumers should have the freedom to choose. So stop worrying, shut up, and have another fizzy drink.
(When huge, multi-national industries start being ever so worried about your 'freedom', be afraid, be very afraid.)
There's another condition which has been increasing, besides diabetes, and that's thyroidism. Pollution's been blamed; radioactive fall-out has been blamed. But you know what? There's another possible cause, much closer to home. A high sugar/fructose diet blocks the absorption of iodine, which means thyroid problems. Fancy that.
Big Fat Lies book is not so much eye-opening as eye-popping - and one of its most eye-popping aspects is on just how little research and poor evidence the 'government' and 'medical' nutritional advice has been based for the past thirty years and more.
|Good for us all along?|
It turns out that not only is this wrong - but it was always known to be wrong.
Ancel Keys was the man who designed the American army's field rations for WWII - that's why they're called 'K-rations,' the 'K' being short for 'Keys.' This seems to have given him a lot of influence at government level.
So when he published research demonstrating a link between high saturated fat consumption and heart-attacks, the American government listened. Keys' study, published in 1953, looked at the saturated fat consumption in 7 countries: Japan, UK, Italy, Wales, Australia, Canada and the US. His stats showed, with perfect correlation, that the higher the fat consumption in these countries, the higher the rate of deaths from heart disease. This research is what all the 'avoid the killer fry-up' advice has stemmed from.
And it was nonsense. Even at the time, Keys' contemporaries pointed out that if he'd used the figures for Israel, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Finland and Norway instead, his graph would have 'proved' exactly the opposite: that the more saturated fat consumed, the fewer deaths from heart disease.
Combine the figures from these 14 countries, and there is no significant correlation at all. The figures prove nothing whatsoever - unless you cherry-pick those that show what you've already decided the result should be.
Nor is there any proven link between cholesterol in the blood and heart-disease - but statins, which disrupt the body's natural functioning in order to lower its cholesterol production, are the highest selling drug in the world.
I wonder if there's a connection between that and the continuing message that 'high cholesterol means a high risk of death from a heart-attack.' (It doesn't. There is no clear connection between cholesterol in the diet and heart-attacks, and no evidence at all that eating a diet low in saturated fat has any effect on cholesterol levels in the blood.)
Dr William Castelli, part of the long-running Framingham Study, said in 1992 that, in fact, Framingham was finding that those who ate the most saturated fat, weighed least and were most active.
Gillespie uncovers evidence - and names the papers - to show that, in fact, the most dangerous fats are those we're constantly being urged to eat: the polyunsaturated seed oils, such as sunflower, rape and canola oil. They have been strongly linked to cancer - and may even be the cause of the increasing number of skin-cancers. Not sunlight and sunburn after all - since we've evolved, over thousands of years, to cope with sunlight. Rather, the cause seems to be the action of sunlight on the polyunsaturated (and therefore, chemically, highly reactive) fat stored just under our skin.
If you're interested in your own or your family's health - or are just increasingly suspicious of the multi-nationals which control our food and sway our governments, this is a book worth reading.
It's also worth reading if you'd like to get back to this:
Lard is good for you!
Or, at least, not bad for you. You might also find this link interesting.