I get lots of correspondence from readers, but I particularly enjoyed this letter from David Brown, an avid writer, warrior for good nutrition and organic gardener. David shared this information about himself and his letter follows.
David Brown, a retired carpenter aged 65, studies nutritional controversies and corresponds with scientists, health professionals, politicians, and journalists. A 1977 back injury was the initial impetus for learning about proper nutrition. More recently, concern about the deterioration in the public health keeps him busy writing articles and messages with hopes of helping to correct mistakes in the U.S. Government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. At home, using enormous amounts of compost, David conducts ongoing gardening experiments aimed at testing the limits of what soil fertility can accomplish.
Dear Dr. Berkeley,
I just want to share a few thoughts (and web pages) regarding the ongoing precipitous decline in the public health. To reverse the trend we need to address two problems; 1) the quality of the food supply and 2) wrong-headed nutrition advice. The latter affects the former because the public health sector's dietary advice determines how foods are configured by food manufacturers.
The global corporate food system is here to stay; no doubt about that. But why does it market foods that fail to satisfy the appetite(1,2) while, at the same, time stimulating overeating(3)? I'd say it's because it has the blessing of the establishment to do so. What establishment? That would be the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), formerly the American Dietetic Association. How did corporate food interests obtain the blessing of the establishment? By (for many years) shaping the content of dietetics education(4). This is a pernicious, ongoing arrangement that, apparently, academics have not paid close attention to and politicians are not equipped to deal with.
Everyone I encounter wants to be healthy. And every politician wants to protect the public health. But consumers generally rely on advice furnished by AND dietitians, and politicians rely on experts chosen by AND dietitians. It's going to be really, really hard to reform the system as it is now configured(5).
On the bright side, there are a few prominent scientists who understand what's going on. Here's comment from a recent article by South African fitness researcher Timothy Noakes(6):
We have now reached the paradoxical situation: global medical research has grown exponentially, yet it is probable that much public health information propounded as undeniably ‘true" is manufactured to serve the commercial interests of several global industries...I concluded that the cause of the global epidemic of obesity and diabetes is simple; both conditions occur in those who are genetically carbohydrate-resistant but who persist in eating the high-carbohydrate diet according to the US Dietary Guidelines. This interpretation is not novel – it was the standard teaching in most medical schools in Europe and North America, but disappeared when the fallacious diet/heart hypothesis took hold in the 1970s.
But if obesity and diabetes are due to the overconsumption specifically of carbohydrates in those who are carbohydrate-resistant, then their prevention and cure require only that those who are the most severely affected eat a high-fat and -protein diet to which carbohydrates contribute less than 60 g per day. Yet as long as these conditions present massive commercial opportunities to the pharmaceutical and food industries, there will be no appetite for such a simple solution. Our sole recourse is to change the behaviours of those at risk, one meal at a time.
The evidence is tenuous for the related diet/heart hypothesis, which holds that a diet full of ‘artery-clogging saturated fat; causes an elevation of blood lipid concentrations, thus promoting coronary atherosclerosis and ultimately heart attack. I argue that the evidence is essentially non-existent. Opposing this is that coronary heart disease (CHD) is, like obesity and diabetes, an inflammatory disorder caused by abnormal carbohydrate metabolism in those eating a diet low in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and high in trans fatty acids and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats.