This is old news, but I think it is worth a reminder! (Do your own research of course, but I think Joel Fuhrman’s advice–based on research of research–is quite sound. His books always include lots of supporting research references to studies one can read oneself on PubMed, etc. And exercise!)
NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE UNWISELY TOUTS HIGH-PROTEIN DIETS . . .
This ill-advised “news”may heve been fit to print, but the diets surely are unfit to eat.
By Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
In July, The New York Times printed an article titled “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?” by Gary Taubes. Taubes states that the cause of the obesity problem in the U.S. is that Americans eat too many carbohydrates and that low-fat, high carb diets make you fat and lead to other diseases. His solution is the high-fat, high-protein diets advocated by Dr. Robert Atkins and others. After reading the article, I sent a letter to the editor, which the Times did not print. The information that follows was included in that letter.
The recent New York Times article by Gary Taubes perpetuates many of the nutritional myths spread by Dr. Robert Atkins and others. The fact that high-glycemic diets-rich in refined carbohydrates such as sugar, pasta, and other junk foods–are large contributors to the obesity epidemic and also to serious disease in no way justifies a recommendation to eat a diet that is rich in saturated fat. Without question, high-glycemic diets are dangerous, But diets rich in the highly saturated fat of animal products are also dangerous. Why debate which dangerous diet is worse?
Taube reiterated the false claim of authors like Atkins and Barry Sears that Americans are eating less fat than ever before but our obesity rate is skyrocketing. The truth is that because we are eating more calories than ever before, the percentage of fat in the diet has gone down. The total amount of fat in the American diet has changed very little.
Atkins recommends that you eat primarily high-fat, high-protein, fiberless, animal foods and attempt to eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. Analyses of the proposed menus show that animal products comprise more than 90 percent of calories in the diet. Hundreds of scientific studies have documented the link between animal products and various cancers, Increased consumption of animal products combined with the decreased consumption of fresh produce has the most powerful effect on increasing one’s risk for various kinds of cancer.
There are more than 3,500 scientific studies, involving more than 15,000 research scientists, reporting a relationship between the consumption of meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy products with heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, constipation, gallstones, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids, just to name a few.
A meat-based diet like the one Atkins advocates (which includes little or no fruit, no starchy vegetables and no whole grains) could more than double your risk of certain cancers, especially of meat-sensitive cancers, such as epithelial cancers of the respiratory tract. A study conducted by the National Cancer Institute found that the relative risk of lung cancer was six fold greater in women in the highest fifth. Atkins devotees adopt a dietary pattern that is completely contrary to the one recommended by the world’s leading research scientists studying the link between diet and cancer.
There are numerous ways to lose weight. However “effective” they may be, some simply are not safe. No responsible person would advocate smoking cigarettes or snorting cocaine simply because these can be effective in promoting weight loss. Advocating a weight-loss program based on severe carbohydrate restriction also is irresponsible. following this advice can cost people their lives!
Diets that are designed to be low in refined carbohydrates, while rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, offer the greatest protection against cancer, and at the same time enable individuals to lose weight healthfully and permanently. My patients who follow a high-nutrient, high-fiber, low-glycemic, plant-based diet invariably achieve more substantial weight reduction, compared to patients who follow the meat-based diets irresponsibly supported by the recent article. Remember losing weight healthfully and permanently is the key to success.