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Episode 90: Science, Lies, and Dietary recommendations

Video Highlights

- Dangers of "cherry picking" studies.
- Flawed science leads to bad recommendations.
- Your education is your greatest asset.

Hi everybody, Dr. Cobb back with you.

Today we’re going to talk about recent conversation around dietary recommendations in the United States.

Now, if you’ve been alive for any period of time, you have heard about the idea that dietary fat will raise your cholesterol levels which will create heart disease. As a result we have for decades been told that low-fat diets were good for people that have heart conditions or whatever.

Now, that may be extremely wrong. Not just kind of wrong, but extremely wrong. The reason I’m bringing this up is that there’ve been a lot of articles that have come out the last couple of weeks saying, “Hey, we may have been wrong about eggs.” Lots of people have been told, “Don’t eat eggs. Eggs are bad. Eggs will raise your cholesterol levels,” and this, like I said, has been around for probably over 40 years now. What I want to talk about today is that bad science can lead to bad results, particularly when you ignore other evidence.

In 1983 there was a lot of evidence that dietary fat and dietary cholesterol had no significant correlation to death or heart disease. In fact, the studies in 1983 were far stronger than the studies that the government based their recommendations on low-fat diets on. They just ignored them, and that’s kind of a frustrating point for me because the thing that happens whenever we get big decision makers that say, “Hey, it has to go this way.”

When they ignore existing evidence, we wind up with people that are in a dilemma, because if you’re one of those people that were raised in the low-fat era, you had to make a decision. You’re like, “Okay, well, I want steak. Steak sounds good.” Or, “I want eggs because eggs sound good but man, they’ve got a lot of cholesterol in them and so I shouldn’t have them.” You have to still eat and so what wound up happening in a lot of people’s lives is they replaced healthy, generally healthy, good whole foods with stuff from packages.

If you aren’t going to eat fats your calories have to come from somewhere and guess what? For most people that’s not going to be more protein because protein’s associated with fat. It comes from carbohydrates. Now we have a lot of people that probably, when they could have been eating meat, started eating more sugars and things like that and now there may be some correlation to what we’ve seen with the obesity epidemic.

Like I said, this is a big topic for me to try and cover in a brief blog, but what I want you to understand is that as science shows us, about 70% of people are what we call hypo-responders to cholesterol. If you think about that in the context of the United States, that’s probably close to 300 million people who are hypo-responders to dietary cholesterol, which means that they can eat as much as they want and it will not raise their blood levels of LDLs or the so-called bad cholesterol. It won’t change it at all because most cholesterol is made within us. It has very little to do with how much we consume from the outside.

Now, there are a few people in the population that may have more difficulty with consumed cholesterol and that’s something you have to talk to your health care provider about, but the whole point here is that in the Z-Health approach to diet we always say, “Hey, you are a experiment of one. We have to figure out what works for you.”

A lot of the stuff that we do around diet is we have to look at where you’re at, we have to try some things, and we have to retest you to make sure that you’re feeling the way you want to feel and that the blood markers and everything that your doctors are worried about are improving. One of the goals here from my perspective is to say, “You know what? There’s a lot of dogma out there about what you should eat and a lot of it is based on bad science.” Or at least flawed science. We’re still learning so much.

If you have questions about any of this, what I’m going to do is I’m going to link to an article I want you to go read.

Article Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/upshot/behind-new-dietary-guidelines-better-science.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

It’s very important to me that you read the whole thing because in the first half it’s written by a professor of medicine. He’s going to talk about this cholesterol issue and in the second half he’s going to talk about the low-salt issue because at the same time we talked about low-fat diets, we also said, “Hey, low-sodium diets may be really good for you.” In fact, a lot of the research points to the exact opposite, that low-sodium diets may put you in the hospital more quickly.

I want you to really understand that a lot of these big generalizations could be wrong, so if that’s the case, education is really your best defense against those things. Read the article. If you have questions about any of this you can let us know. I also recommend printing this stuff out, taking it to your health and fitness professional and saying, “Do you know this stuff?” Then maybe you can have a good conversation about how to improve both your health and that of your family.

There you have it, guys. Have an egg for me.

Enjoy. Talk to you soon.

Article Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/upshot/behind-new-dietary-guidelines-better-science.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

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