Friday, September 6, 2019

Retrospective #202: Obama White House Pastry Chef Quits

When Obama’s White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses, announced that he would be leaving his gig in June 2014, the quote from the New York Times piece that caught my attention was, “I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs.” His future plans: “(H)e hopes to put together ‘a group and foundation of like-minded creative people’ for promoting delicious food as healthy food. He offered no 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 what he means by that auspicious comment.
In the meantime, “The Diet Doctor,” Andreas Eenfeldt, MD, is getting impatient…and frustrated. A recent post has resorted to the this/this/this hyperlink tactic to cite multiple sources and meta analyses all 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 grousing about this since the inception of The Nutrition Debate in 2010. See this, this, this, and this. (hehe.)
But the Titanic IS turning. It just takes time, and patience, to re-educate an entire society. And it is even more difficult so long as the Diet Dictocrats in government and academic research (funded by Agribusiness, Big Pharma and Big Government), the medical societies and individual medical practitioners (dictated by insurance policies, medical society guidelines and corrupted by Big Pharma) hold the line on policy gone wrong since the 1950s. As Gary Taubes said in a New York Times’s op-ed, cited in Retrospective #192, “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 since so many nations around the world have unfortunately followed the U. S. lead in matters of “healthy eating.” 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makes that point when he says, in the piece cited above, “When are older so-called experts going to give up their outdated and unscientific warnings about butter?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 continued, “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! Andreas is gutsy. Come to think of it, though, I got fired by an endo about a year ago for telling him he “needed to go back to school.”
Eenfeldt gets his courage, in part, from the lead that his native country (Sweden) took a little over a year ago to advocate a LCHF (Low-carb, high-fat) diet. In announcing the change to his Diet Doctor followers, his excitement and enthusiastic support for that decision was palpable. He exulted, “This could be an historic day in Sweden.”
More recently there has been a lot of excitement about and acclaim for the new draft Brazilian dietary guidelines. Marion Nestle described them (with a link to the Portuguese original) in a February 2014, “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, just one month later Nestle debunked the diet/heart hypothesis with, “Is Saturated Fat a Problem? Food for Debate.” And while Nestle still tows the line and cows to the AHA and the Harvard academics, at least she reported on that shattering development. By towing the line, though, she affirms that she is still just another passenger on the Titanic. n the case of this “Healthy Eating” Titanic, she is still “on board” as the “state-of-our-health-ship” ever so slowly changes course.
Personally, I jumped ship a long time ago. I’d probably be dead now if I hadn’t.

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