A Thumbs Down Book Review
The Homocysteine Revolution
By Kilmer McCully
Review by Sally Fallon
Like so many other nutrition books on the market today, The Homocysteine Revolution contains much good information, but absolutely maddening errors in the section on dietary advice.
McCully lays to rest the notion that high serum cholesterol values cause atherosclerosis and heart disease. He points out that high levels of a protein metabolite called homocysteine in the blood have a high correlation with both the tendency to build up pathological hardened plague in the arteries, and to form blood clots–a deadly combination. This condition of “homocysteinuria” happens when certain enzymes do not completely transform the amino acid methionine, present in meat and eggs, into the various derivatives needed for the formation of protein in the tissues, but instead cause a pathological buildup of homocysteine, an intermediate product.
In rare cases the root cause may be an inherited defect that leaves the body unable to produce the vital conversion enzymes, but for most people the condition is caused by deficiencies of certain vitamins, namely folic acid, B12 and B6. So far, so good.
But turning to the dietary recommendations we find that McCully promotes the same darling of the lipid hypothesis folks–lowfat, low-protein, and high carbohydrate! While admitting that a recent study found no correlation between dietary methionine intake and levels of blood homocysteine, he still advises cutting back on methionine-rich foods like meat, milk products and eggs, even though such foods also supply B12.
McCully’s work should inspire a movement to return raw milk–a superb dietary source of B6–to the diet. Instead he has opted for political correctness–lots of vegetables.
He says we need zinc for good enzyme function, but recommends more zinc-blocking whole grains and forgets to mention that red meat is the best and most absorbable source of this vital trace mineral.
Fats are bad, he says, because they diminish the absorption of water soluble B6—a claim for which he gives no reference, and which contradicts Weston Price’s findings that the vitamins in fats improve the uptake of water soluble vitamins like B6. But politically correct oils like olive oil, corn oil and canola oil are OK, says McCully.
One wonders just who wrote the section of dietary advice–was it the pro-vegetarian Dr. Weil? In any event, it’s the Prudent Diet all over again–what a shame!