After being enlightened to the profoundly positive effects of carbohydrate restriction on patients with obesity, diabetes, pre-diabetes, high triglycerides and high blood pressure (i.e. most of my patients with chronic disease), I increasingly realized that the primary culprits in our diets were highly processed foods. While sugars and starches stripped of fiber and nutrients caused the most damage via induction of insulin resistance, these foods contained many other toxic elements such as trans fats and chemical additives. What became more evident each day was that we are designed to eat all sorts of real food from both animal and plant sources. Unfortunately, the vilification of fat was firmly entrenched in the mind of most everyone so educating patients or colleagues about diet was extremely difficult. A patient would start to “get it” then stop the diet after hearing from a national “expert” or some other pundit that fat was deadly. A tremendous number of patients have proudly told me about their particular commitment to a healthy diet. “Doc, I haven’t had red meat in 3 months.” Or this statement, “I’m eating a healthy breakfast: Special K with skim milk and a banana and a nice glass of orange juice.” (No fat but more than a days worth of sugar!)
For these reasons, I’ll never forget the day that I “met” Gary Taubes. It was the fall of 2007 and I was tagging along with my wife to a medical conference in Amelia Island, Florida and had ample time to rest, reflect and read. The New York Times magazine had an article which caught my attention entitled “Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy” by science journalist Taubes. It was a wonderfully researched and written article which described the flawed source of so much of our current knowledge regarding public health including our assumptions about fatty diets causing heart disease. What was that source? I’ll explain in the next post.