Sally Fallon Morell takes on the Diet Dictocrats
How does the world of conventional nutrition rein in the wayward consumer who so easily falls off the wagon of “evidence-based healthy dietary patterns. . . high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts in moderation. . . [with] limited quantities of lean meats, including poultry and seafood, lowfat dairy products, and liquid vegetable oils?” What to do about “controversial dietary patterns, foods, and nutrients [that] have received significant media exposure and are mired by hype”? If you have spent your whole life promoting food puritanism, what you do is publish a debunking “study” to reestablish the dogma, garner articles in the press and return backsliders to the fold. Such a paper, entitled “Trending Cardiovascular Nutrition Controversies” appeared in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Vol 69, No 9, 2017), with several familiar names in the list of co-authors including Neal Barnard, MD, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD, Arthur Agatston, MD, Dean Ornish, MD, and Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD—all promoters of a “plant-based” diet—plus James O’Keefe, an advocate of a lean-meat paleo diet, and Michael Miller, MD, senior author of The AMA Guide to Preventing Heart Disease. The current “fads” these authors address are eggs and dietary cholesterol; coconut oil; berries and antioxidant supplements; nuts; green leafy vegetables; juicing; plant-based diets; and gluten-free diets. As expected, berries, nuts, green leafy vegetables and plant-based diets receive their blessing; antioxidant supplements, juicing and gluten-free diets are OK for “special situations”; and eggs, dietary cholesterol and coconut oil get a smackdown. That means no eggs, butter, whole milk, cheese, cream, bacon, sausage or liver for anyone over the age of two—all because they might raise your LDL-cholesterol—the kind that takes fat-soluble nutrients to your cells—a tiny bit. The authors don’t even mention a number of other food trends, including lacto-fermented foods, kombucha, bone broth, sourdough bread and cod liver oil, which are probably too radical even to show up on their radar screens.
VITAMIN A FOR THE MIND
One of the things lacking when you prohibit butter, cream, whole milk, cheese and liver for everyone over the age of two is vitamin A. A new paper looks at discoveries on control of the brain by vitamin A. We can do no better than quote the abstract. “Vitamin A is essential for many physiological processes and is particularly crucial during early life, when vitamin A deficiency increases mortality through elevated rates of infection. This deadly aspect of vitamin A deficiency masks other effects that, while not lethal, may nevertheless cause significant issues if vitamin A insufficiency reoccurs during later childhood or in the adult. One such effect is on the brain. Vitamin A is essential for several regions of the brain, and this chapter focuses on two regions: the hippocampus, needed for learning and memory, and the hypothalamus, necessary to maintain the body’s internal physiological balance. Vitamin A, through its active metabolite retinoic acid, is required to support neuroplasticity in the hippocampus, and vitamin A deficiency has a dramatic effect on depressing learning and memory. The effects of vitamin A deficiency on the hypothalamus may lead to depression of appetite and growth.” Put another way, vitamin A deficiency in both children and adults can disrupt learning and memory and result in an imbalance of body homeostasis that could lead to obesity and sleep problems (World Rev Nutr Diet 2016;11:98-108).
BUTTER CAUSES DIABETES?
The press release begins with the same old dogma: “Recently, dietary guidelines for the general population have shifted toward a plant-based diet rich in legumes, whole-grain cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and low in animal-based foods like red meat.” “Recently” is the wrong word, of course. The relentless propaganda for this monkish diet has been going on since the Second World War. And just in case you are growing weary of the government-approved regime, and want to put a little butter on those dry legumes, the diet dictocrats have another study for you. “Consuming saturated animal fats increases the risk of type two diabetes” appeared in the February 17, 2017 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. According to the study, eating twelve grams of butter per day (just over two teaspoons) doubles your risk of developing type two diabetes; paradoxically, eating the same amount of butterfat in whole-fat yogurt was associated with a lower risk. We are indebted to Zoe Harcombe who pointed out a number of flaws in the study and subsequent analysis. The main one is that butter is typically consumed with refined carbohydrates—such as bread or in pastries—whereas yogurt is not. Also, “Where the authors encounter an association that contradicts their idea that vegetable fat is beneficial, which happens often in this analysis, they suggest that this is due to compliance or confounding issues. Where a negative association is for animal fat, the same explanations are withheld. . .” Harcombe also points out that the incidence of diabetes has increased in countries (such as the U.S.) where butter consumption has declined since the 1960s and is highest in those low-income population groups where spreads based on industrial seed oils have replaced nature’s perfect fat.
TOP CARDIOLOGIST BLASTS NUTRITION GUIDELINES
Do yourself a favor and watch the otherwise conventional Dr. Salim Yusif—he’s a big statin pusher—speak at Cardiology Update 2017, a symposium presented by the European Society of Cardiology and the Zurich Heart House in Davos, Switzerland (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwGteseHyas). Presenting data from the PURE study, a large ongoing epidemiological study of one hundred forty thousand people in seventeen countries, Yusif delivers a deflating punch to the dietary guidelines balloon. The study showed a steep increase in cardiovascular risk as carbohydrate intake increased beyond 55 percent of total energy, and indicated that increasing fats was protective. The data suggest that saturated fats are not harmful and perhaps even beneficial. There are no data indicating a need to reduce the fat content of milk, and red meat in moderate quantities was not associated with harm. “You’ve got to think about the change in oils that has occurred in the world in the last thirty years,” said Yusif. “It was entirely industry-driven. We went from natural fats, which are animal fats, to vegetable fats, because they [the industry] can produce it and therefore charge for it, and this was swallowed hook, line and sinker by the AHA, and the WHO just repeated it.” To top off his presentation, Yusif pointed out that sodium is an essential nutrient. We need at least five grams of sodium (the amount in one and one-half teaspoons salt) per day, so reducing salt could have adverse consequences. Finally he takes aim at vegetables: “Where on earth did the concept that we should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables come from? Why not four, why not three, why not six, why not seven?” He reported that the PURE data found a neutral effect for vegetables and noted that it is almost impossible for a large portion of the world to follow the recommendations. “Why are fruits and vegetables not consumed? All the guidelines are written by people sitting in Geneva or Dallas who are white, rich and male. They are male, and so they don’t know the cost of foods, they don’t go do the grocery shopping.”
NOT EXACTLY AUTISM
Using the most dry, clinical language they can muster, the authors of “Temporal Association of Certain Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Vaccination of Children and Adolescents: A Pilot Case-Control Study” begin their report by insisting that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism. What they found is that “a subset” of children and adolescents were “temporarily” more likely to suffer from anorexia nervosa, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder and chronic tic disorder after receiving a vaccination. In other words, having a vaccination may turn a normal child or adolescent into one with great difficulties achieving relationships and bring heartache to their parents—for life. Here’s how the researchers deal with these alarming findings: “Given the modest magnitude of these findings in contrast to the clear public health benefits of the timely administration of vaccines in preventing mortality and morbidity in childhood infectious diseases, we encourage families to maintain vaccination schedules according to CDC guidelines” (Frontiers in Psychiatry, January 2017, Vol 8, Article 3).
MORE ON GMOs AND GLYPHOSATE
The bad news about GMOs and glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup, continues to accumulate. Scientists have discovered that high levels of glyphosate can retard the growth of farmed fish—a finding that reminds us to avoid farm-raised fish (Bull Environ Contam Toxicol, 2017)! Rats fed genetically modified (Roundup-treated) soybeans developed pathological changes in the liver over three generations (http://aminbiol.com.ua/20142pdf/12.pdf). And finally, pigs fed Roundup-Ready soybeans developed “protein dystrophy of the kidneys and liver, which testifies to the reduction of adaptive opportunities of the organs.” The most serious changes occurred in the adrenal glands, which developed pathologies indicative of “functional exhaustion.” Meanwhile, the FDA and EPA have allowed the introduction of three types of GMO potatoes in 2017. FDA claims the potatoes are safe because they contain genetic material only from other breeds of potatoes, so they “are not genetic engineering.” If you disagree with these agencies and wish to err on the side of caution, it’s best to avoid all commercial french fries and all potatoes labeled as Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet or Atlantic (NaturalNews.com, March 5, 2017).
DEFINING VACCINE REFUSAL AS CHILD NEGLECT
A new vaccine policy analysis written by three physicians looks at whether U.S. legal history supports the concept of defining vaccine refusal as medical neglect of a child, thus warranting the intervention of government officials. So far, few courts have found that vaccine refusal, in and of itself, is sufficient grounds for removal of a child from parental custody. The authors of the analysis suggest that because of increasing “vaccine hesitancy” among parents, states should take steps to legally clarify this issue and intervene. Although specific child welfare guidelines vary from state to state, medical neglect of a child is generally accepted as legitimate grounds for family intervention by government officials working for Child Protective Services (CPS) and may lead to parents losing custody of their minor child and/or losing the legal right to make health care decisions on behalf of their child. Noting that in the current atmosphere of “increased vaccine hesitancy, pediatricians are struggling to find ways to manage the resistance to vaccination in their practice,” the authors of this study suggest that vaccine refusal may be accepted as medical neglect given that “a child is exposed to some potential risk of harm by a parental act of omission.” The physician authors allege that many states do not go far enough to allow CPS to intervene when vaccine refusal is the sole or primary reason for the intervention. The authors take the position that if informed parents continue to refuse vaccinations for their children, it should be considered child neglect and those parents should be reported to local child health protection agencies (www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(15)01315-3/pdf).
SOY FORMULA ALTERS GENE EXPRESSION
Recent epidemiologic studies have shown that feeding soy formula to infants is associated with alterations in reproductive tract structure and function, including the occurrence of uterine fibroids, endometriosis and early age of menstruation. In rodents, perinatal genistein exposure can cause a variety of subsequent adverse consequences to the reproductive system, including altered estrous cycle, subfertility, infertility, delayed vaginal opening, ovarian dysfunction, uterine adenocarcinoma and obesity. Now scientists have found that infant girls fed soy formula compared to those fed cow formula had altered DNA methylation in vaginal cell DNA, which may be associated with decreased expression of an estrogen-responsive gene. These changes are similar to those produced in the female offspring of mothers exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES). Mice exposed to DES in utero express epigenetic changes in the uterus that persist as altered gene expression into adulthood (Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Mar;125(3):447-452). In other words, the changes induced by soy formula feeding in girls are downright creepy and can lead to infertility and even early death. Another name for this situation is genocide. When the effects of DES became known, officials quickly banned the drug. But soy infant formula remains on the market, poisoning hundreds of thousands of infants, both male and female.