This is how it works.

I found the following nugget in the comments on a piece on saturated fat on The commenter is David Brown.

The original piece is worth reading. It gives a good perspective on the fact that there is no evidence that saturated fats are harmful. This comment, however, sheds much needed light on how the whole business of nutritional science and policy-making has been thoroughly corrupted by vested interests in the agri-food sector. A cautionary tale, indeed:

“Quote from paragraph 7: “On the other hand, the vast majority of trans fats in our food are manufactured by adding hydrogen bonds to unsaturated fats.”

Technically, it would be more accurate to say that “the vast majority of trans fats are formed during partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acid chains.”

Quotes from paragraphs 6 and 15: “Why such a huge effort has been put in promoting the risk of saturated fat,s and their possible effects on blood cholesterol is hard to understand, not least because the scientific basis behind it is indeed fairly weak…In light of the available scientific evidence it is hard to understand how we have managed to create those misconceptions.”

This article explains how the anti-saturated fat campaign got started:

This article documents the rise of the low-fat ideology:

Corporations have always done what was necessary to protect supply chains. The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFICF) is the latest, most powerful iteration of a string of food and beverage supply chain protection schemes. It amounts to a corporation funded educational machine that shapes the content of dietetics instruction throughout academia. Here is what the IFICF says about itself:

“Incorporated as a public education foundation in 1991 and based in Washington, DC, the International Food Information Council Foundation is independent and not-for-profit. We do not lobby or further any political, partisan, or corporate interest. We bring together, work with, and provide information to consumers, health and nutrition officials, educators, government officials, and food, beverage, and agriculture industry professionals. We have established partnerships with a wide range of credible professional organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions to advance the public understanding of key issues. For example, we have a long-standing relationship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion as part of the Dietary Guidelines Alliance, a public-private partnership focused on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPlate Food Guidance System. Recognizing the global nature of food safety, nutrition and health issues, the Foundation extends its mission internationally. We share education materials with an independent network of Food Information Organizations and partners from around the world. We also serve as a news media resource. We provide science-based information to the media and refer journalists to our 350 independent, credentialed experts on a variety of nutrition, food, and safety topics…We believe in the importance of educating health and nutrition professionals. We regularly host Continuing Professional Education (CPE) programs which are offered in person and via Web cast, and have developed a series of Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the American Dietetic Association, CPE-approved learning modules on a variety of subjects.”

How do dietitians view this arrangement? Read Justin Stoneman’s article: America: A Big, Fat, Stupid Nation. Quote:
“People in America like to think that they eat with freedom. Ultimately, however, they can only pick what is presented to them, and what they can afford. Then, the decision is based on what they believe to be healthy, tasty and safe. With that in mind, can you imagine how great it would be for the industries mentioned above, if dietary advice given could be contained and restricted to just one organization that they could pour money into? That scenario is not just some North Koreanesque wet dream. It is USA 2010. The ADA (American Dietetic Association) has complete monopoly on dietary advice. To keep the bubble airtight, the full might of the law has even been implemented. Kim Jong-il would be proud of the attention to detail. Staggeringly, in 46 out of 50 States, the message the authorities want you to have is protected. The law determines who is able to provide you with nutritional advice. The Commission on Dietetic Registration is the credentializing agency for the ADA. A practicing dietician not registered with the ADA or CDR is liable to face prosecution in over 90% of the country. With that in mind, who precisely is ‘sponsoring’ the ADA and the nutritional advice you receive? My friends, it is a beautiful army. Partners (recent and current — and their latest annual revenue figures): Coca Cola (revenue $31.4 billion), GlaxoSmithKline (revenue $42.5 billion), Hershey’s (revenue $5.3 billion), Unilever (revenue $55.8 billion), Aramark (revenue: $12.3 billion). There are even some ‘premier sponsors’: Mars (revenue: $30 billion), PepsiCo (revenue $44.3 billion), Truvia sweetener (revenue of parent company Cargill: $116.6 billion), Kellogg’s ($12.7 billion). ADA ‘sponsors’ have combined revenues of over $400 billion.

Why are these gargantuan companies — whose only intention is to make money, not make you healthy — allowed to fund the ADA? The ADA themselves can perhaps assist us. On their own website (in the section where they are trying to seduce corporate America), they offer a helping hand: Why Become an ADA Sponsor? As ADA past president Martin Yadrick stated in a 2008 US News & World Report article: “We think it’s important for us to be at the same table with food companies because of the positive influence that we can have on them.” But, Martin, darling, they are paying you to be at their table. You are publicly telling America that you are somehow the one wearing the trousers in the relationship? My headline must be correct — even the ADA seem to think that America is stupid.”

“In the end, it’s not that hard to understand how the anti-saturated fat ideology originated, became common knowledge, and remains entrenched dogma. It’s simply good business for the edible oils industry. Or at least it was for the better part of a century.”

6 thoughts on “This is how it works.

  1. This is an excellent, stinging critique.

    It is remarkable how people react at a visceral level to dietary matters. Many people experience revulsion at violations of dietary norm, the same disgust reaction as to pathogens or foods and food preparation that are associated with pathogens (such as medium rare pork). Michel Foucault referred to the “panopticon” whereby powers in society shape people unconsciously to become self-monitoring to comply with moral norms that suit those powers. Science and reason are largely ineffective to undo these. It seems especially true with respect to diet.

  2. Dear Dr Jay,
    This link is the results of a recent study using a low fat diet, a low carb diet and a low-glycemic-index diet. The most weight loss found was on the low carb diet however they said that this diet caused high stress hormones and inflammation that could increase the risk of heart disease. So they said that the low-glycemic-index diet was the best which includes “healthy whole grains” They are so addicted to the grains they can’t imagine life without them. The low fat diet caused high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol. Isn’t that interesting that finally the cats out of the bag about low fat diets? Where was that information in the last 20 years?
    Would you please comment on why they found the low carb dieters had high stress hormones etc?

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    I have been off the grid for a few days so I haven’t had a chance to look at the actual study paper, yet. From what has been reported, however, it appears that the low-carb/high-fat diet performed better than the others in terms of improved energy expenditure. I can think of a couple of reasons why cortisol might go higher. I think carbs, particularly sugar, can be truly addictive and withdrawal from an addictive substance could provoke a stress reaction. Also, if other features of carb restriction, such as natriuresis, were not addressed properly, this could also lead to stress. As to why CRP would be higher, I am not sure. When Forsythe and Volek looked at inflammatory markers they found that 14 different markers went down on a LCHF diet although the CRP didn’t go down as much as it did on the low-fat control diet. I wonder whether the elevated CRP in the Ludwig study might have been a transitory effect and that, if they checked after a longer period on the diet, it might have trended downward. I will add further commentary if I find anything that might explain these findings when I get around to reading the paper.

  3. Your going to have high stress hormones whenever you are going through withdrawals from sugars and starches or any other addiction.

    A “Readers Digest” article years ago spoke about how our adrenaline glands begin to secrete and overflow like an artesian well when we try to break the cigarette habit.

    After several months they settle back down to normal and we become normal again.

  4. Hi Bunnell Farm,

    This seems pretty right to me and as I thought too.
    I still sometimes probably have high cortisol as I am in Italia at the moment and sometimes looking at the pastries and crusty sour dough breads!


  5. I too, loved wheat and flour.

    Imagine my shock when I discovered that refined sugar and wheat flour are the exact same thing when they reach your stomach.

    Straight to the blood stream.

    Natures seeds I thought.

    How could this be.

    Then the light came on.

    We had hybrid and hybrid a thousand times fold, what was once “Natures Food” into sugar factories.

    In the process we became addicted and consumed from ten to a hundred times more carbohydrates than nature intended.

    The growers and transporters and marketers and profit makers, feeding off from this feeding frenzy they had created.

    All the while thinking they had done a good thing.

    Sugars and carbohydrates are stimulant drugs in these quantities we consume and feed our children.

    Just like cocaine and amphetamines.

    Creating “Adrenaline like” effects.

    This is the core of all of this education and sophistication and culture stuff.

    We are all “high” on dope.

    The psychological effects greater than the physical effects on our bodies.

    It’s why we’re seven billion people and on the moon, and with no end in sight.

  6. I just saw this. Great post! Very powerful, and right on point!

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Agreed. There’s lots more to this. I should do a more in-depth post when I find the time.

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