Canadian doctors speak up in favor of low-carb diet
This is big: nearly 200 doctors and allied health practitioners in Canada have signed an Open Letter to their government calling for urgent, radical reform of nutrition guidelines to include low-carb diets.
They say that authorities told Canadians to follow guidelines for nearly 40 years. During that time, nutrition-related diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, increased sharply. The doctors are also concerned about sharp increases in childhood obesity and diabetes rates.
They say that the evidence does not support conventional low-fat dietary advice. In fact, they say it worsens heart-disease risk factors. They say that those responsible must be free to compile dietary guidelines without food and drug industry influence. They want the guidelines to promote low-carb diets as “at least one safe, effective intervention” for people with obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
At heart, the letter’s signatories call for mainstream medical advice to include low-carb, healthy-natural-fat. Here’s more of these doctors’ powerful challenge to orthodoxy.
It’s a daring initiative given that some signatories have already faced ridicule and attack from establishment quarters for their views on low-carb. There are also salutary examples in other countries of doctors who dared to challenge dogma and go up against powerful vested interests. In this case, there’s probably safety in numbers.
The letter’s drivers are anesthesiologist Dr Carol Loffelmann and anatomical pathologist Dr Barbra Allen Bradshaw. They have addressed the letter to Health Canada, the Federal Health Minister, and all Provincial Health Ministers. Click here to read the Open Letter.
In it, they knock the most enduring pillars on which official dietary advice rests. One pillar is the diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease. Another is the CICO (calories-in, calories-out) theory of obesity. That’s the one that says obesity is the result of gluttony and sloth.
The letter includes a Points for Change “manifesto” that draws from the work of the US Nutrition Coalition (click here to read the Coalition’s work) and the UK Public Health Collaboration. Among these are that the guidelines should:
- Clearly communicate to the public and health-care professionals that the evidence no longer supports the low-fat diet and that it can worsen heart-disease risk factors;
- Eliminate caps on saturated fats and stop advising people to replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oils to prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Favour “real” food, that is, whole, unprocessed foods that include full-fat dairy and regular red meat;
- Recognise controversy on salt and avoid a blanket “lower is better” recommendation;
- Not emphasise aerobic exercise as a weight-loss tool. In other words, language should not suggest that people can manage their weight sustainably just by creating a caloric deficit;
- Involve a complete, comprehensive review of the most rigorous data available;
- Promote low-carb diets as at least one safe and effective intervention for people struggling with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and
- Offer “a true range of diets” that responds to the population’s diverse needs;
Interestingly, the letter advances Brazil as a good example. Loffelmann says that’s because Brazil’s dietary guide is “as close to perfect as we can expect to get”.
Continue reading. There’s a lot more. Later in the article:
. . . Loffelmann and Bradshaw devised the letter after the Canadian Senate meeting and report into obesity in the country last year. Among those the Senate invited to give presentations were US investigative science journalist Nina Teicholz. Teicholz gave an hour-long presentation based on 10 years’ research for her groundbreaking book, The BIg Fat Surprise. Click here to listen to Teicholz’s testimony to the Senate that begins at1:03:40.
The Senate report made “some very sane recommendations about future food guidelines”, says Loffelmann.
“It excited us,” says Bradshaw, “because they were proposing the very things that will turn the health of Canada around.”
Among the report’s conclusions: “Canada’s dated food guide is no longer effective in providing nutritional guidance to Canadians.” By way of example, the report said that authorities often present fruit juice as healthy but it is “little more than a soft drink without the bubbles”.
That prompted Loffelmann and Bradshaw to organise a social community that started small – with just three members – but has grown quickly beyond their expectations.
The community now consists of approximately 1600 physicians and allied health professionals. These are people across Canada who are eating real food or low-carb or learning about it. As a result, many are now teaching whole-food, low-carb ways of eating to their families, friends and patients. . .