Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Nutrition Debate #202: White House Pastry Chef Quits

White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses, will be leaving his gig in June, according to a recent article in the NY Times. The quote from the piece that caught my attention was, “I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs.” His future plans, according to the NYT: “…he hopes to put together ‘a group and foundation of like-minded creative people’ for promoting delicious food as healthy food. He offered no more details about his venture, but said it would be devoted to food literacy from the bottom up.” So, we’ll have to wait and see if he’s going to be a “turncoat.”

In the meantime, Andreas Eenfeldt, MD, “The Diet Doctor,” is getting impatient…and frustrated. This recent post has resorted to the this/this/this hyperlink tactic to cite multiple sources and meta analyses all rebutting and refuting the idea that saturated fats are harmful to your health. The title of the piece, “Saturated Fat Completely Safe According to New Big Review of All Science,” is a bit hyperbolic, but he makes his point.  The piece begins, “Are butter and other saturated fats bad for us? No,” he says. I couldn’t agree more, and I share The Diet Doctor’s frustration. I have been carping about this since the inception of The Nutrition Debate in 2010. See this, this, this, this, and this. (Just kidding.)

But the Titanic is turning. It just takes time, and patience, to re-educate an entire society. And it is the more difficult so long as the diet Dictocrats in government, agribusiness, academic research (funded by agribusiness and government), big pharma, the medical societies and individual medical practitioners (dictated by insurance payments, the medical society guidelines and corrupted by big pharma to boot) hold the line of policy gone wrong since the 1950s. As Gary Taubes said at the end of his recent NYT op-ed, cited in my #192 and #193, “Making inroads against obesity and diabetes on a population level requires that we know how to treat and prevent it on an individual level.”

Whole populations are hard to turn, especially when so many nations around the world follow the lead in public policy in the social and natural sciences provided by the U. S. But not always, and that too is changing. Andreas Eenfeldt makes that point when he says, in the piece cited above, “When are older so-called experts going to give up their outdated and unscientific warnings about butter? It’s time to embrace science.” OUCH!

The Diet Doctor continues, “Today, fear of butter lacks scientific support. It’s based on old preconceptions and on an inability to update knowledge. If you want to be taken seriously as a ‘nutrition expert’ you’d better keep updated. It’s not good enough to continue spreading ideas from the 80′s about fat, ideas that have long since been refuted. There has to be a limit to how long you can bury your head in the sand.” WOW! That’s gutsy. Come to think of it, though, I got “fired” by an endocrinologist about a year ago for telling him he “needed to go back to school.”)

But Eenfeldt gets his courage, in part, from the lead that his government (Sweden) took a little over a year ago to advocate a LCHF (Low-carb, high-fat) diet. His excitement and enthusiastic support for that decision is palpable in this post, announcing the change to his 57,000 followers. He says, “This could be an historic day in Sweden.” “Health Impact News Daily” piles on with this excellent analysis. I’ve been a subscriber of the Diet Doctor blog since this 2 year old post.

Another hard-hitting and favorite blogger, Kris Gunnars at “Nutrition Authority,” posted this “authoritative” and comprehensive piece about the saturated fat and dietary cholesterol myth almost a year ago: “It Ain’t the Fat, People.” It’s a good read, with lots of citations for the healthy skeptics and science nerds alike.

More recently there was a lot of excitement about and acclaim for the new draft dietary guidelines promulgated by the Brazilian government. They’re described here (with a link to the Portuguese original) in Marion Nestle’s February 19 “Food Politics” blog post. There’s a lot to like about them too. The Diet Doctor calls them “almost perfect.” For one thing, they advocate “real food” and “cooking at home.” It’s a bold and audacious move for a growing segment of the world’s nutrition nabobs. I salute Brazil for “coming out” in favor of “real food,” and Marion Nestle for reporting it.

And then, exactly one month later (3/19/14) Nestle comes out with this post debunking the diet/heart hypothesis that was widely reported that week. And while Nestle still tows the line and cows to the AHA and the Harvard academics, at least she reported on the shattering development. In doing so, she affirms that she is just another passenger on the Titanic, and that, in the case of this Titanic, she is “on board” as the “ship-of-our-health-state” slowly changes course.
Personally, I jumped ship a long time ago. I’d probably be dead now if I hadn’t.


  1. Ditto. I'd be dead now as well if I hadn't ditched all medications, doctors and conventional diet advice. As it is, it's a bit too late to reverse all the damage but at least I'm alive and relatively alert and mobile. Great post as usual Dan.

  2. Oh, thanks again, Hormfilania. I'm glad you're a follower and regular reader.

    I usually judge how I feel in the context of comparison with my peers (the living ones!). This morning at the Farmers' Market, which I haven't been to in NY all winter and spring so far (while we were in FL), I asked a vendor/friend how he was doing. Just the usual salutation stuff, and he answer, "as well as could be expected." I noted the qualifier so I inquired a little further, not wanting to be too nosy. And he didn't share much, but I could see he had no color in his face. He did not appear to be thriving. Maybe I am projecting too much, and I didn't want to bragg or rub it in, but I feel great. I mean healthy and full of energy. When I finish this comment, I'm going to change into work clothes and spend the next 4 hours working outside in the garden. There's lots of work to do, and I'm looking forward to it. And then, I'm taking my wife out to dinner. Life is good, if you eat right.