The Big Fat Fix
Produced by Dr. Aseem Malhotra and Donal O’Neill
The debate about what causes heart disease rages on, and another video weighs in on the plague that has haunted Western civilization for a century, give or take. Big names are thrown around on all sides of the debate. One of the first and increasingly well-known names is Ancel Keys. Keys of course was the instigator of the infamous six- and seven-country studies purporting to show a correlation between dietary fat intake and heart disease. One interesting point made by the video is that Keys himself later stated that he didn’t think there was any connection between dietary cholesterol and atherosclerosis.
Incorrect understanding of the problem leads to ineffective solutions. Diets low in animal fat don’t solve the problem because animal fat wasn’t the problem to begin with. Professor Christiaan Barnard, a pioneer in heart transplants, said he saved one hundred and fifty lives through heart transplants. He later realized that preventive medicine would have saved one hundred and fifty million lives. Thinking that the human body is a simple machine where parts can be easily replaced leads to ineffective and very expensive solutions.
The preventive approach in this video includes diet and lifestyle. The filmmakers refer to the “Mediterranean diet,” which seems to mean different things to different people. Fortunately the film gets more specific about which foods are good and which are not. One example is Crete, where goat and lamb are dietary staples and total fat intake can be up to 40 percent.
The video’s list of good or even super foods includes coconut oil, eggs, grass-fed butter, olive oil, cheese and fermented full-fat dairy. Sounds like the diet of health heretics everywhere. Sugar and vegetable oil are at the top of the public enemy list where they should be.
At least one quote in the movie suggests that exercise, especially intense exercise, is overrated if not dangerous. However the filmmakers show numerous examples of exercises that look pretty intense to me, so I’m not sure what the message is there. The main point of the video is that diet and lifestyle are more effective than any drug. That makes my thumb happy. My thumb is UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2017.