It's only fair to share…

In the movie Jerry Maguire there is famous line from the main character who yells “show me the money”. Following the money will usually explain much of what may on the surface appear to be nonsense.

It also works in reverse. Looking where the money is going to can be a pointer to what is about to happen. Reinsurance giant Swiss Re last year devoted an entire newsletter to dietary guidelines. It states, “Significant data has been published showing that our long-held beliefs around the diet-heart hypothesis is perhaps not as robust as previously thought”.

This is in one respect quite mildly put. However, for a major international re-insurer to state this is quite powerful. Keep in mind, as a reinsurer they pay out a lot of money when health claims are made. Thus they have interest in how to reduce payouts by keeping people healthy. The newsletter went on to publish extracts from studies, which essentially debunk the, fat is bad doctrine, which has dominated public health thinking for 40 years.

Last year an investment bank suggested to clients that they consider investing in companies which made higher fat foods and got out of those making low fat and high carb foods. They saw that consumer demand was changing and that profits would follow.

Over the last 40 years there has been a major increase in rates of obesity and type two diabetes. This is claimed to cost the western economies billions each year in lost production as well as the direct cost of medical consultations, pharmaceuticals and other treatments.

Hand wringers in public health often moan that the problems we face are due to people not following the dietary guidelines.

Yet the facts and figures tell a different story. Nina Teicholz, author of the Big Fat Surprise, has published figures on the actual consumption of foods by Americans. It shows that between 1970 and 2014 there was a 35% increase in fresh fruit consumption and a 20% increase in that of fresh vegetables. Fish and shellfish consumption went up 23% and that of chicken (which is to replace red meat) was up 114%.

Meanwhile red meat intake was down 28%, whole milk down 79% (with low fat milk up 127%) and vegetable oils (unsaturated fats) went up 87%.

Teicholz notes, “In nearly every possible way, Americans have followed official dietary advice”. You could substitute Australia or the UK or many other western countries here. She concludes that Americans have done a very good job following the guidelines and that “to blame obesity, diabetes and other nutrition related diseases on saturated fats or red meats is strongly contradicted by this data”.

The only defense that public health has is to claim that when the guidelines to eat low fat were introduced that it seemed logical at the time. They can claim, fairly in my opinion, not to have been aware of the flaws in the theories of Ancel Keyes or that he massaged his data to make his theory look good.

However there has been no excuse for the last decade or more and absolutely none since original works on fats in the diet were revisited and exposed as wrong in the last four years.

The bottom line is that the increase in obesity, diabetes and other nutrition related disease are not due to people ignoring official dietary advice- it is due to them following it!

Government and public health advice on diet has been wrong. This could be forgiven if they now apologized and changed their recommendations based on the facts we now have. They refuse to. Maybe it will take a class action to get them to act. Who knows?

The bottom line is that saturated fats in the diet are not a problem. Low fat foods are to be avoided. The current guidelines are flawed and do not warrant following!