Thursday, August 01, 2002

Junk Science or Jealousy?

UPI carries a report today that refers to a "study" that attacks the low carbohydrate diet that has saved the lives of countless obese people, and enhanced the lives of many more, including me. The item offers a glimpse into the way junk science and jealousy combine to attack an unpopular point of view. From DDT to Alar, PCBs to Global Warming, "science" is often used to advance an agenda. While that's my major peeve today, the ignorance of science writers is also an area where I have a longstanding bug up my butt.

First, motive. I believe that the reason that the medical and dietary establishment attack Dr. Atkins and the other proponents of low carbohydrate life is, if they are right, the low fat recommendations of the establishment have caused untold suffering and death, not to mention mental anguish, plus they look awfully foolish. If Dr. Atkins is right, when science could find no link between a low fat diet and a decreased risk of heart disease, it seized upon a study that showed a link to cholesterol lowering drugs, and started declaring fat in the diet as the demon to be exorcised from our lives. And if one can not eat fat, what is left but carbohydrate? Bread, rice, and sugar make up the majority of the recommended diet today (rice-cake as diet food?). Atkins dates the beginning or our modern epidemic of obesity and diabetes to this cholesterol recommendation, and his data are impressive.

But, it is counter-intuitive that a high fat diet causes low-fat blood. It is certainly true, at least in my own blood, but it doesn't SOUND right. Even I, knowing for a fact that this is true, feel funny ordering a cheese omelette with sausage and bacon, hold the potatoes and the toast, please. Until I had lost a bunch of weight, I had to eat breakfast at home. My brother lost over a hundred pounds years ago on this regimen, and has kept the weight off ever since. So I know, at least for my family heredity, it works. What doesn't work for me is the deception being used by the apologists for the low-fat concept.

If you read the link above, you will notice two things. One, the "study" quoted had a mere ten participants. The other, the writer uses the term "ketoacidosis" when the study noted "ketosis." the difference is, ketosis means you are losing weight, ketoacidosis means that you are a diabetic in danger of dying. They are not really related, but they sound enough alike to fool the gullible.

Anyway, this is not a diet blog (like this, this or this, so I will stop here.

There, I feel better. Now, if only I could get this beef jerky out from between my teeth!