The May, 2010 issue of Scientific American has an article with the headline “Carbs against Cardio“:
… while Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country’s biggest killer. Now a spate of new research, including a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies, suggests a reason why: investigators may have picked the wrong culprit. Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does—a finding that has serious implications for new dietary guidelines expected this year.
The article includes a quick recap of different studies that have shown fat intake unrelated to heart disease, including a large meta-analysis of 350,000 people. There is now compelling evidence that carbs, not saturated fat, are the greater health risk.
But will the upcoming dietary recommendations include the “new” information? It seems like a slam-dunk, but this is the government we’re talking about …
Will the more recent thinking on fats and carbs be reflected in the 2010 federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, updated once every five years? It depends on the strength of the evidence, explains Robert C. Post, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Findings that “have less support are put on the list of things to do with regard to more research.” Right now, Post explains, the agency’s main message to Americans is to limit overall calorie intake, irrespective of the source. “We’re finding that messages to consumers need to be short and simple and to the point,” he says.
In other words, rather than telling Americans to eat the right kind of food, the USDA will persist in telling them to do the most unnatural and dangerous thing you can do: starve yourself.
“Short and simple and to the point” translates to “people are idiots.” Funny that the American public has indeed reduced fat consumption (to its detriment), all the while absorbing the numbers and ratios promulgated as “healthy” by the government. Perhaps the real reason the story has to be told obliquely is that “the people” will see they have been misled. The government told us to eat this way, and its killing us.
The article goes on to slam the “sugared beverage industry”, one of the media’s favorite whipping boys these days, as lobbying heavily in favor of keeping the current dietary guidelines. But the problem is not just sugary drinks, but carbs; the difference between 16 ounces of Coke and 16 ounces of fresh orange juice is slight (and even then, the orange juice gives you more sugar than the Coke.) And loading up on a white rice side dish may have the same effect on your blood sugar levels as that Coke.
Its the carbs, stupid. The carbs.
The article is welcome, of course. And it is a sign of things to come as we transition into the Low Carb Age.
Its about time.