Hi everyone, it’s time for coffee with Afifah! And today I’m focusing on the ongoing attack on dietary fats — especially those associated with animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs. These real foods continue to be demonised by public health authorities, despite hundreds of scientific studies demonstrating the naivety of the “fat makes you fat” dogma.
So, this month I’m calling on you, dear reader, to grab your coffee (preferably with a large splash of cream or full-fat milk) and come with me for a quick trip into Crazy…
• Carbs, not fat, linked to CVD
• Sadiq Kahn bans butter, eggs and bacon from transport adverts
• Zero fat marketing
• Victorian diseases return
• Keir interviewed in French news
One of our posts goes viral
Our 2017 post, Carbohydrates, not Animal Fats, Linked to Heart Disease Across 42 European Countries, is making waves across the world having been viewed more than 22,000 times in the last two months as well as shared innumerabl on social media. If you have not read it yet, take a look: It is an important study which has received little media attention.
The researchers found that in contrast to the mainstream message, countries that ate more animal fats had less heart disease, while those consuming more carbohydrates had more heart disease. Why does this matter so much? Because (1) we are all being told to eat less fat — and especially animal fat — even though the science is increasingly pointing the other way, and (2) ‘Healthy eating’ policies based on these flawed ideas are now contributing directly to malnutrition and cronic disease.
You would think that after 50 years of pushing the low-fat message governments would pause in the face of such research and wonder if the soaring rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease might not be due to animal fats after all. But no, instead, they have dug in their heels and doubled down on the low-fat message, unaware, apparently, that the definition of stupid is to keep doing the same thing in the hope of achieving a different outcome.
So here they go again…
Sadiq bans junk food adverts on the underground — including ones showing eggs, bacon and butter
Playing his part in this misguided dogma, Sadiq Kahn announced earlier this week a ban on junk food advertising across Transport for London. Writing in The Mirror, the London Mayor explained: “This means that no adverts that promote food or drinks high in fat, sugar or salt will be accepted unless there’s evidence the product would not contribute to childhood obesity.”
Banning junk food advertising might sound wonderful until you realise that by including all foods “high in fat” this ban has led to posters containing images of bacon, eggs and butter being rejected by Transport for London.
Meanwhile, closer to home, the low-fat nonsense was getting in my way more directly…
“Zero-fat” dairy products are not health foods
There I was in the supermarket, though not my usual one, searching for some food basics: plain yoghurt, cottage cheese, crème fraîche, clotted creme… Frustratingly, the shelves were packed with “low-fat”, “0%”, “lite-” and “fat-free” varieties that I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. I nearly gave up searching for the full-fat varieties I wanted — you know, the ones that for centuries have been the norm: unprocessed butter, eggs, cream, cheese and gold-top milk. Is that too much to ask? It seems that anyone wanting these timeless foods is now the outsider: a savage, like Mr Savage in Aldous Huxley’s novel, ridiculed and outcast for wanting to eat real food and live a real life in his Brave New World of state-sponsored mind control.
Somehow, the public has allowed itself to fall for the ridiculous idea that traditional, wholesome foods are bad for their health and they ought to switch to unnatural, fat-free industrial-processed varieties if they want to avoid diabetes, heart disease and obesity. So the producers and supermarkets are doing their part and filling the shelves with “lite” products: lower in fat, but, inevitably, higher in carbs. But they have been woefully misled…
A paper published last year, Dairy Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: Do We Really Need to be Concerned? puts the case well:
The negative perception of dairy fats stems from the effort to reduce dietary saturated fatty acid intake due to their association with increased cholesterol levels upon consumption and the increased risk of CVD development. Institutions that set dietary guidelines have approached dairy products with negative bias and used poor scientific data in the past. As a result, the consumption of dairy products was considered detrimental to our cardiovascular health. In western societies, dietary trends indicate that generally there is a reduction of full-fat dairy product consumption and increased low-fat dairy consumption. However, recent research and meta-analyses have demonstrated the benefits of full-fat dairy consumption, based on higher bioavailability of high-value nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. In this review, the relationship between dairy consumption, cardiometabolic risk factors and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases are discussed. Functional dairy foods and the health implications of dairy alternatives are also considered. In general, evidence suggests that milk has a neutral effect on cardiovascular outcomes but fermented dairy products, such as yoghurt, kefir and cheese may have a positive or neutral effect. Particular focus is placed on the effects of the lipid content on cardiovascular health. [my emphases]Lordan et al. 2018 (Full Text)
Another from 2016, Comprehensive Review of the Impact of Dairy Foods and Dairy Fat on Cardiometabolic Risk, explains:
This comprehensive assessment of evidence from RCTs suggests that there is no apparent risk of potential harmful effects of dairy consumption, irrespective of the content of dairy fat, on a large array of cardiometabolic variables, including lipid-related risk factors, blood pressure, inflammation, insulin resistance, and vascular function. This suggests that the purported detrimental effects of (Saturated Fats) on cardiometabolic health may, in fact, be nullified when they are consumed as part of complex food matrices such as those in cheese and other dairy foods. Thus, the focus on low-fat dairy products in current guidelines apparently is not entirely supported by the existing literature and may need to be revisited on the basis of this evidence.Drouin-Chartier et al, 2016 (Full Text)
Not only is there plenty of evidence that dairy fat is not harmful to health, but it is quite possible that a low-fat diet may actually be harmful. People who reduce animal products generally are at heightened risk of being deficient in vitamin B12, DHA, creatine, zinc and iron. According to the BMJ B12 deficiency “is a common but serious condition”
Furthermore, eating low-fat products inevitably pushes up the ratio of carbohydrates, which may in itself be problematic — especially in the case of metabolic conditions — but in my opinion one of the important problems with low-fat diets is the inevitable reduction in the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K2, which have critical roles in bone health and immunity.
Along with full-fat dairy, eggs and meat are similarly vilified — as we have seen in their banning from London Underground advertising. Could the move away from these traditional, nutrient-dense foods be contributing to the decline in the health of the nation? I think the answer is a resounding “yes!”…
Malnutrition is estimated to affect 3 million people in the UK (4.5%). Hospitals have a particularly poor record of adequately addressing this with 1 in 4 patients leaving more malnourished than when they were admitted! When I had a family member in hospital recently, I had to ferry them home-cooked meals, sausages, bacon, cooked chicken legs, cheese, cream and chocolate omelettes because the meals provided were very low in animal products and always served with a low-fat sugary dessert (which was wisely declined). There is no way they would not have deteriorated nutritionally if I had not done that! A 2010 study of German hospitals found that on average patients were fed between 200 and 1300 kCal per day — the lower end is shocking, whilst the upper end is still woefully inadequate AND this would have been low-nutrient, low-fat, minimal animal product crap. And, let me remind you, dear reader, tax payers foot the bill for this harmful set up.
I believe that all of this can be laid fairly and squarely at the feet of governments and policymakers who have pushed the public away from traditional nutrient-dense animal products in a misguided attempt to reduce heart disease and obesity. What we are witnessing, as a result, is the law of unintended consequences, including the following…
Victorian diseases making a comeback
The data also show huge numbers of people – both young and old – being admitted to hospital with malnutrition.
In 2017/18, there were 9,307 admissions where malnutrition was a main or secondary factor, up on the 8,417 the previous year – with 739 having malnutrition as the primary cause.
The data include cases in which the illnesses were the primary cause of illness as well those in which they were secondary, meaning the patient had initially been hospitalised for something else.
Rising numbers of people with vitamin D deficiency has prompted experts to call for action to protect public health.Mail Online, 25th Jan 2019
So here we finish our little tour of Crazy: 50 years of demonising traditional nutrient-dense foods, banning images of bacon, butter, cream and eggs, pushing everyone towards low-fat industrialised foods, and the result? A population increasingly malnourished, sick and metabolically degraded. We can’t rely on the authorities to sort out this mess. It’s down to each and every one of us to come to our senses and get back to eating real foods, even if we have to fight the system to get the foods we need.
“Bring me my eggs, beef and cheese!”
Finishing on something lighter…
French Newspaper publishes interview with Keir about the politics of meat (with unexpected cartoon!)
Keir was interview just before Christmas by Le Point — a French Newspaper/Magazine a bit like New Statesman — about meat and why the bad press it attracts is far too black and white, often failing to distinguish between best and worst practice. When the article came out we were surprised to see that they had made a cartoon of Keir in a leek costume (presumably because he used to be a vegetarian), gnawing on a steak, with a gustatory Sherlock Holmes based pun beneath which translates quite well as “Alimentary my dear Watson”
The full article, in French, is here, but, unfortunately, most of it is behind a paywall.