Ha Ha Ha! Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets Damage Arteries.

Oh, those silly low-carb diets. Will they ever learn! Here’s more bad news for low-carb. A new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found low-carb, high-protein diets damage arties:

Diets based on eating lots of meat, fish and cheese, while restricting carbohydrates have grown in popularity in recent years.

But the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US found such habits caused artery damage in tests on mice.

The researchers and independent experts both agreed a balanced diet was the best option…

…Lead researcher Anthony Rosenzweig said the findings were so concerning to him that he decided to come off the low-carb diet he was following.

He added: "Our research suggests that, at least in animals, these diets could be having adverse cardiovascular effects.

"It appears that a moderate and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, is probably best for most people."

And in 2007, a study found low-carb diets, like Atkins, cause long-term damage to blood vessels. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of high-protein diets, all that saturated fat and insufficient plant nutrients increases risk of heart disease and cancer:

The Atkins diet (and other diets rich in animal products and low in fruits and unrefined carbohydrates) is likely to significantly increase a person's risk of colon cancer. Scientific studies show a clear and strong relationship between cancers of the digestive tract, bladder, and prostate with low fruit consumption. What good is a diet that lowers your weight but also dramatically increases your chances of developing cancer?

A meat-based, low-fiber diet, like the one Atkins advocates, includes little or no fruit, no starchy vegetables, and no whole grains. Following Atkin's recommendations could more than double your risk of certain cancers, especially meat-sensitive cancers, such as epithelial cancers of the respiratory tract.1 For example, a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute looked at lung cancer in nonsmoking women so that smoking would not be a major variable. Researchers found that the relative risk of lung cancer was six times greater in women in the highest fifth of saturated-fat consumption than those in the lowest fifth.

I asked Dr. Fuhrman to comment on this study. He chuckled at the news, saying, “This study definitely proves once and for all that mice should not be eating the Atkins diet. They should get Jenny Craig. Furthermore, vegetables make pigs fat, so maybe we shouldn't eat them either.”

Continue Reading...

Low-Fat Diets Heart Healthier After Weight-Loss

New findings in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reveal diets low in saturated fat are healthier and help keep LDL, or “bad cholesterol”, in check after someone loses weight. For the study, experts assigned 26 healthy, non-obese diets to one diet, Atkins, South Beach or Ornish, for one month apiece, with the intent of studying biological effects of each diet, specifically cholesterol, blood vessel function and inflammation. Data concluded high-fat diets, like Atkins, raised LDL, but the low-fat, vegetarian Ornish style had the best affect on blood vessel function; Reuters reports.

A low-fat diet, i.e. eating less animal foods and more fruits and veggies, has been proven to not only prevent heart trouble, but reserve it. And just last week, scientists found pomegranates help fight cell inflammation that can lead to heart disease. Also, a previous report observed fad diets, such as high-protein low-carbohydrate, don’t hold up overtime, with dieters gaining back weight after only six months.

High-fat diets, like Atkins, are dangerous. A recent study showed participants eating an Atkins diet plan, consuming 50% saturated fat, performed the worst on blood vessel testing.

Continue Reading...

Ha Ha! Atkins Diet Raises Heart Risks, Duh!

More bad news for the Atkins fad, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association new research reveals the high-protein, i.e. high-saturated, Atkins diet reduces blood vessel dilation, an important factor in heart health. Scientists placed 18 healthy people on three different diets, the Atkins diet (50% fat) and two others lower in saturated fat, 30% and 10%. Four weeks after completing the experiment, Atkins participants performed the worst on a blood vessel test. Atkins Nutritionals had no intelligent rebuttal; HealthDay News reports.

High-fat diets are dangerous. A couple years ago, a study linked the Atkins diet with inflammation linked with heart and artery disease. Atkins himself was overweight and had heart problems. In addition to heart problems, consuming copious amounts of meat, i.e. saturated fat, and little to no fiber and fruit, heightens risk of colon cancer and other cancers. Recently, hotdogs were tied to leukemia risk and red meat with blindness.

In related news, a previous report showed low-carb high-protein diets sap people’s energy and discourage activity and another study revealed Atkins produced only modest weight-loss results with limited sustainability in the long run. Tisk, tisk.

Continue Reading...

Study Compares Veggie Diets vs. Low-Carb --UPDATE--

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Steven Acocella, MS, DC, DACBN and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of DiseaseProof or Dr. Fuhrman.

At the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association researchers evaluated the short to medium term weight loss results of popular diets. Popular diets: correlation to health, nutrition, and obesity grouped the most popular diets into categories based upon the prescribed ratios of energy for each macronutrient. If you remember from Nutrition 101, caloric energy comes from only 3 sources, fat, carbohydrate and protein. For example, diets such as The South Beach Diet and The Atkins Diet derive 50% or more calories from fat while Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live derives the majority of energy from natural, unrefined carbohydrate.

The study looked at food intake over a 2 year period and included several hundred participants who followed the various diet styles compliantly. They then analyzed the relationship between a reduction of Body Mass Index (BMI), the diet style and the Healthy Eating Index (HEI).

The Healthy Eating Index scores were highest for the vegetarian or near vegetarian diet style and lowest for the low carbohydrate, high fat diets. Conversely, energy intake was highest for the Low Carbohydrate group, often exceeding the average accepted recommendations of 2000 Kcal/day or men and 1500 Kcal/day for women. This is strange considering these were weight loss eating plans that were followed intently.

The weight loss results were no surprise. The healthiest body mass was seen in the vegetarian group. A direct, proportional relationship was seen with a rise in the percentage of calories derived from fat and BMI. As the percentage of fat calories increased so did those subject’s BMI. Total calories were also directly related to the percentage of dietary fat with the average daily energy intake for the vegetarian or nearly vegetarian group consuming 1450 Kcal/day and the high fat diet group consuming 2200 Kcal/day. Researchers noted the relationship between the Healthy Eating Index verses calorie and fat percentages were inversely related.

Putting all this together, this important study using an excellent group of subjects has made the following observations: diets low in fat have the highest Healthy Eating Index scores and are generally the lowest in total calories. Those subjects on these diets enjoyed the most favorable BMI measurements and other biomarkers of health. Conversely, the high fat, low carbohydrate diet styles have the lowest Healthy Eating Index scores and those that consumed this diet style had poor BMI measurements and other indicators of health.

It is worth mentioning that the authors of this study discuss a review of the literature suggests that weight loss is independent of dietary composition and is solely a result of total calories consumed. They suggest that their findings, although supportive of this confers that successful, healthy weight loss over time is a function of quality as well as quantity.

UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman had some thoughts on Steven’s post:

My health equation, Health = Nutrition / Calories is almost entirely ignored by the scientific community. If the micronutrient density index of a particular diet was published along with the other characteristics researchers would place less emphasis on the relative macronutrient composition and more on the micronutrient composition. Nevertheless, the long-term health potential of a given diet is based so much more on its micronutrient profile rather than its macronutrient profile.

Continue Reading...

Low-Carb Diets Make You Dopey

Despite the fads, “carbs” are not the enemy of health. Unrefined carbohydrates, like those in beans and fruit, are essential. According to Dr. Fuhrman, our brains are designed to run on carbohydrates. That’ll explain why new research in Appetite reveals eliminating carbohydrates, which are broken down into brain-fueling glucose, makes people more forgetful. Low-carb dieters actually preformed worse on memory-based tasks than participants on a reduced-calorie balanced diet; WebMD reports.

Me Man, Me Eat Fat!

Men get a bad rap. Just look at sitcoms. Male characters are depicted as chubby oafish slobs, basically CAVEMEN in flannel shirts. Like these guys from According to Jim; via YouTube.

Now, AOL Men’s Fitness Center feeds into this Neanderthal nonsense with an article promoting the “healthful” benefits of saturated fats; like beef, pork chops, cheese, butter and sour cream. Get a load of this:

For years you've heard that eating saturated fat is like pouring superglue into your arteries. But the fact is, this forbidden fat actually increases your HDL (good) cholesterol, which helps remove plaque from your artery walls, decreasing your risk of heart disease. So quit depriving yourself and start eating these eight foods -- without guilt.

Make NO mistake. Eating copious amounts of saturated fat from animal products is NOT healthy; via Plos Medicine. For example, this guy ate a diet loaded with clarified butter and his heart was so COATED with dangerous fat, he needed emergency surgery to save his life!

A fat-based diet is DEADLY advice without an air of authority. It’s journalistically irresponsible, because many men are already looking for an excuse NOT to cut back on meat, dairy and other saturated fats.

Dr. Fuhrman wanted to weigh in. His thoughts:

AOL is promoting cancer, heart disease and dementia by promoting the consumption of red meat, butter and dark meat poultry as healthy and not disease promoting. It shows the pervasive influence and web-presence of the pro-animal fat crowd, in spite of a plethora of irrefutable scientific findings proving otherwise.

The bulk of evidence is IRREFUTABLE; red meat, butter and saturated animal fats are linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia. And thousands of scientific studies agree! Burying your head in the sand does NOT change facts.

Guys, if you’re striving for optimal health, you MUST restrict unhealthy foods. Research links the consumption of dairy products with prostate cancer and eating meat with prostate cancer; via CAT.INIST. So, AOL Men’s Fitness Center is promoting getting prostate cancer—which can make you IMPOTENT—not exactly good advice for men!

Okay, I’m NOT an expert, but I am a guy. I watch football, lift weights and play fantasy sports, but I also do Yoga, avoid meat or dairy and I LOVE of salads. Does this make me any LESS of a man? No! So, take Dr. Fuhrman’s advice and don’t be another knuckle-dragging modern caveman.

Weston Price, Take Your Pseudo-Science Elsewhere

Dr. Fuhrman addresses another wave of Weston Price silliness. A follow up to Weston A. Price Foundation, Stupid Traditions.

Informed people know that they should disregard any comment about a person who lived a long life, who ate bacon, smoked cigarettes, drank whiskey, snorted cocaine, etc. There is a bell-shaped curve of life-spans of people who eat a poor diet or have poor health habits. Some of these people with risky habits live longer and some shorter, genetics and other factors play a role. A plant-based, high-nutrient diet, or nutritional excellence as I call it, attempts to take the people who might fall in the bottom half of that bell curve and give them a high quality long life too. We have to look at long-lived populations and people who are already diseased and see what it takes to induce reversal to discuss real dietary excellence. And, these Weston Price enthusiasts that are attracted here, whenever their poor science is discussed, bring up more bad science (like irrelevant rat studies fed saturated fats or processed oils and vitamins) add nothing of interest to support those looking to protect themselves with nutritional excellence.

I’ve discussed this topic on DiseaseProof numerous times, but I want people to be clear about nutritional excellence and what constitutes a disease-protective diet. Sometimes commenters, adding their opinion make things less clear. Please do not comment if you have not thoroughly read through the Diet Myths category.

Gerry is not a scientist, physician, or nutritionist. He is here to foster discussion and promote awareness of nutritional excellence, sometimes I don’t like his non-scientific comments, but DiseaseProof is for entertainment too and if a person did go back and read all of my earlier comments on Disease Proof. He wouldn’t have to constantly reiterate my same points.

Unlike Gerry, who is just my blogger and writer, I have diligently spent my entire adult life studying almost every scientific study ever written on human nutrition and carefully going over the data. My 6 books have over 3,000 medical references. I document almost every statement I make, and when you do that, it takes much longer to write. Besides the thousands of readers of my books and this blog, I have also tested my dietary guideline with over 10,000 patients and achieved dramatic disease reversals of diseases such as lupus, psoriasis, headaches, fibromyalgia and heart disease. The true test of nutritional excellence marries the preponderance of evidence from scientific studies, and distilling it down into a lifestyle and dietary advice that works. I am not posting more references here now. That won’t change the views of these people, who already ignore them.

People often view their nutritional viewpoints like a religion. They have a viewpoint and they attempt to defend it to the death, sometimes their own death. Nevertheless, the Weston Price Foundation promotes out-dated and bad science. If you review the data they attempt to promote their views with it is insulting to any real person interested in the science surrounding an issue. They take scientific-sounding positions about soy, meat, daily, butter, children’s feeding practice and much more and they distort the science, present a one-sided view and confuse the decision making. They and their followers promote a range of irresponsible and potentially dangerous ideas, including:

  • Butter and butter oil are “super foods” that contain the “X factor” discovered by Weston Price.
  • Glandular organ extracts from animals promote the health and healing of the corresponding human organs.
  • Poached brains of animals should be added to other ground meats for better nutrition.
  • Raw cow’s milk and meat broth should be fed to newborns who don’t breast-feed, rather than infant formula.
  • Regular ingestion of clay (Azomite Mineral Powder) has detoxifying effects because the clay particles remove pathogens from the body.
  • There are benefits to feeding sea salt to infants and babies.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be limited in children’s diets.

People should not be going to the Weston Price Foundation looking for nutritional guidance. They are not true scientists and neither are their defenders who spew negative and insulting comments here on DiseaseProof. A true scientist tests a theory without a pre-determined agenda and collects, not just the facts favorable to their position, but all the facts. Let’s just outline the argument to reset this discussion, so people can see what the issues are here:

  1. The American diet promotes a premature death. Cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia are the result of nutritional stupidity. Nutritional science has advanced to the point where we can be protected from these common killers. Most adult Americans already have the early (or late) stages of atherosclerosis and the early stages of cancer already, present in their body. It is not sufficient to give them moderately effective advice, derived from short-lived native populations. They need advice that can be counted on to reverse the disease that is present (from the American diet) and prevent a premature death. That is what nutritional excellence is all about and what it is what it is capable of. We can also use science to live longer and healthier than ever before in human history. High micronutrient and high phytochemical eating is life-saving.
  2. My nutritional protocols predictable reverse heart disease and atherosclerosis. The dietary guidelines when applied by patients with advanced blockages in their coronary arteries result in the blockages being removed. This is documented not just by symptoms resolving and stress tests, but by coronary CT scans and MR angiograms. Furthermore, my nutritional protocols have enabled hundreds of patients to make dramatic recoveries from autoimmune diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, allergies, asthma, headaches, digestive disturbance and more. The results are supported not just by my experience but by the scientific studies that support the protocols and other doctors who have published similar results and benefits in their patients. High micronutrient eating also removes food-cravings and is the most effective weight-loss strategy.
  3. Vitamins and minerals are only a fraction of the micronutrients, needed by humans, as a primate we have requirements for a huge array of protective phytochemicals to achieve cellular normalcy, maximize longevity, and protect against disease. The American diet is now about 60% junk food; 30% animal products; 8% fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds; and 2% whole grains. To get micronutrients to a high, truly protective levels a much higher percentage of natural plants foods are needed. That means more vegetables, beans, berries and seeds, not more meat, butter and milk. Animal products contain almost no anti-oxidants and no phytochemicals.
  4. However both sides agree that this high percentage of junk food (white flour, sweeteners and oils) are not health promoting; except for misguided people promote olive oil as a health food and coconut oil as a health food too. This is a disgrace! All oil is processed food with 120 calories per tablespoon and little micronutrient content. There has never been a study that showed adding more coconut oil or olive oil to a diet resulted in significant health benefits. You could show benefit replacing more dangerous oils, but that is still has nothing to do with nutritional excellence and promoting disease reversal. There are hundreds of studies that remove butter and other saturated fats from the diet and instead use olive oil there is some benefit, but the science is overwhelming and not debatable—that when you use whole raw, high fat plant foods, such as raw seeds and nuts (not the extracted oils) you dramatically reduce sudden cardiac death, heart disease, and all cause mortality. That’s why I do not advocate a “low-fat diet.” Rather I advocate a diet where oils and animal products are reduced as a percent of dietary intake in favor of raw seeds and raw nuts, such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, pistachio nuts and flax. I recommend replacing most of the oil in one’s diet with raw seeds and nuts. I share great tasting salad dressings, dips and smoothies using these foods in place of oil. By the way, the average American eats over 2,000 calories from oil a week, resulting in lots of extra body fat, but no significant micronutrients or anticancer lignans to show for it.
  5. I teach that the 30-35% of intake from Animal products in the American diet is already too high. The Atkins’ followers and the Weston Price crowd think this number is not high enough and recommend a diet with unlimited amounts of animal products encouraging people to think animal products are health foods that should be consumed without limitations. Any way you slice it; that is bad science. The Okinowans eat less than 10 percent of calories from animal products, mostly fish and loads of vegetables. However, we still could improve on what they do!

Atkins and Weston Price devotees are just wrong; promoting bad science is a serious matter, it encourages disease and hurts people. If someone wants to post any well-done human study that shows disease reversal or improved longevity statistics from increasing the percent of animal product intake from 30% and reducing natural plant food like vegetables in favor of meat, please do so. But, this is just too silly to even contemplate. Our diet is deficient in vegetables, not meat. Neither do I present a vegan of vegetarian diet as the best diet or the only option. However, I am very clear that animal products should be reduced to a lower percentage of total dietary intake, and I set the goal around 10% of calories and I modify that up or down based on individual needs and disease risks. The idea that some body types will survive longer or be thinner or healthier on a meat-based, diet richer in animal fats, is also false and has no scientific support.

In summary, Weston Price, Atkins, low-carb or other such supporters if you want to post modern, human studies for me to comment on do so. But otherwise take your nonsense elsewhere, where people are easily fooled by your pseudo-science.

Low-Carb: No Fiber, No Poop...

Here’s another reason why low-carb diets aren’t healthy. One dietician calls them digestive nightmares. Via I’m Not Obsessed:

The myth: Give up bread and pasta and the pounds will melt away

The truth: Low-carb eating plans are a digestive nightmare, because they don't provide enough fiber, which frequently results in severe constipation, says Maye Musk, R.D., a New York City-based dietician. Healthy carbs are also crucial for energy. Stop eating them and you're likely to feel tired and grumpy all the time.

The fix: Eat good-for-you carbs. To make sure you get the nutrients you need, add four servings to your daily diet, suggests Musk. Try a slice of whole-grain bread, one-half cup cooked oatmeal, one-third cup brown rice and one-half cup whole-wheat pasta. Piling your plate with fiber-rich veggies such as spinach, broccoli, peas and asparagus can also help get things moving.

Kind of the opposite of eating a vegetable-based diet—not to be gross, but I always keep a plunger handy.

Low-Carb, Anti-Fitness

Milo F. Bryant, a personal trainer and Gazette columnist, scoffs at new research—funded by The Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation—claiming “vindication” for low-carb diets. He contends low-carb diets sap people’s energy. Via The Colorado Springs Gazette:

Which brings me to the results of a study released last week. It lasted two years and determined that the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet produced greater weight loss than the fish-rich Mediterranean diet and the low-fat guidelines suggested by the American Heart Association.

I have a huge problem with this study: The Atkins Foundation helped finance it. It doesn't matter where the researchers are from. It doesn't matter how much integrity they have. They are doing a study with money from a company that can and will gain financially based on the results. This study would have had much more credence if a group unaffiliated with Atkins had paid for it, orchestrated it and found the same results.

Several nutritionists and dietitians I know have almost convinced me that mutations of the Atkins Diet are great for those who aren't as active as others.

But that leads to my next point. Many of us want to be active but find it difficult to gather the energy to do so. Still, we want the weight loss. So we seek out diets such as Atkins. And it works. We lose weight. But we're not active. And Atkins doesn't provide the fuel to get there.

Granted, Milo’s article is an opinion piece, but he’s onto something. According to Dr. Fuhrman our bodies need carbohydrates more than any other substance. He explains in Unrefined Carbohydrates Encourage Weight Loss. Here’s an excerpt:

Our muscle cells and brains are designed to run on carbohydrates. Carbohydrate-rich foods, when consumed in their natural state, are low in calories and high in fiber compared with fatty foods, processed foods, or animal products.


Fat contains about nine calories per gram, but protein and carbohydrates contain approximately four calories per gram. So when you eat high-carbohydrate foods, such as fresh fruits and beans, you eat more food and still keep your caloric intake relatively low. The high fiber content of (unrefined) carbohydrate-rich food is another crucial reason you will feel more satisfied and not crave more food when you make unrefined carbohydrates the main source of calories in your diet.

There are a lot of people at my gym on protein-heavy anti-carb diets, but these people are notoriously flaky. For weeks they’re thin and working hard, but then they disappear for months and when they come back they’re considerably fatter—anyone else notice this?

High Protein Diet: Lose Weight, Without Losing Bone?

“Nutritional research today is typically the blind leading the blind. People following nutritional belief systems like religion,” explains Dr. Fuhrman and this study claiming that high protein diets help preserve bone integrity during weight-loss is no different. From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

The scientists recruited and randomized 130 middle-aged, overweight persons at two sites—the U of I and Pennsylvania State University. Participants then followed either the higher-protein weight-loss diet or a conventional higher-carbohydrate weight-loss diet based on the food-guide pyramid for four months of active weight loss followed by eight months of weight maintenance.

"Essentially we substituted lean meats and low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, etc., for some of the high-carbohydrate foods in the food-pyramid diet. Participants also ate five servings of vegetables and two to three servings of fruit each day," Evans said.

Bone mineral content and density were measured with DXA scans of the whole body, lumbar spine, and hip at the beginning of the study, at four months, at eight months, and at the end of the 12-month period.

"In the higher-protein group, bone density remained fairly stable, but bone health declined over time in the group that followed the conventional higher-carbohydrate diet. A statistically significant treatment effect favored the higher-protein diet group," said Matthew Thorpe, a medical scholars (MD/PhD) student who works in Evans's lab and was the primary author of the study.

I asked Dr. Fuhrman about this research and here’s what he had to say. Take a look:

There are so many variables that the conclusions are simplistic. First of all, the vast majority of Americans are severely Vitamin D deficient and their higher protein group was given more Vitamin D fortified milk. Second, the intervention group was encouraged to eat more green vegetables and less sugar, bread and white potato, getting higher level of bone building nutrients, including Vitamin K, and thirdly, the intervention group, though eating less refined carbohydrates were only given a diet a little higher in protein (30 percent) which is not a very high protein diet.


All in all, if they are going to claim some benefit to lean muscle or bone for the higher protein diet, they have to control for Vitamin D, K and other bone supportive nutrients that were higher in the intervention group. Even though this was a poorly designed and poorly controlled study, I basically agree with what they found—that a moderate protein diet with more fruits and vegetable and less refined foods bread and pasta, with attention to more Vitamin D from fortified skim milk will result in better bone mass with dieting compared to a diet not paying attention to these details. However, I think the better results stem from numerous factors, and not likely from a higher percentage of protein and less carbohydrate.

No doubt, this report will whip the low-carb congregation into their usual zealotry.