Part II – A Historical Timeline of LCHF
Low-Carb-High-Fat diets are not new. In fact, as early as 1860, low carb higher fat diets have been documented to be effective not only for fat loss, but for improving a variety of health parameters. In Part I of this series, I explored how the modern-day Diet-Heart-Hypothesis has wrongly shaped how we have managed and treated heart disease, high cholesterol, Diabetes, and Obesity patients for decades. In summary, that consuming cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease. Part II will review the history of LCHF and the insurgence of the Diet-Heart Hypothesis that still plagues modern medicine.
In 1863, William Banting was the first published case to use a successful low carb high fat approach to treating obesity. He was a British Undertaker and himself obese, standing at 5’5” and weighing 202lbs. His Doctor, William Harvey, prescribed this radical diet for Banting which resulted in extraordinarily successful weight loss and relief from his symptoms. Based on his success, Banting wrote a book titled, “Letter On Corpulence” in 1863 chronicling his experiences. This is where the term “Banting” originated from.
The Banting diet became commonplace treatment for obesity in the US and major European medical schools for decades following William Banting’s success. His success was no secret. He merely did what humans have been doing for 200,000 years, eating a diet of meats and fats with the occasional addition of berries and above ground plants. However, in or around the 1950’s, something changed that would eventually change Dietary Guidelines in the US and abroad.
Recall from Part I, we discussed the “Seven Countries Study” published by Ancel Keys. In the study, Keys’s showed a higher incidence of deaths from heart disease correlated to an increased fat calorie consumption, hence cholesterol consumption. However, in recent years his study has been widely accepted to be false and lacking scientific muster. Unfortunately, it has shaped current Dietary Guidelines and is still being touted as factual by many across the globe. Don’t you still think that a low-fat diet is healthy for you? That cholesterol leads to heart disease? That we must consume carbs as part of a healthy diet? Of course you do and that’s why I wrote this. To help inform you of the truth and make better decisions for your health.
During the aforementioned time period, the Seven Countries Study gained ground and the American Heart Association (AHA) took the study under serious consideration in further researching whether “saturated fat and cholesterol consumption correlated with heart disease and that consuming polyunsaturated seed oils would reduce the incidence of heart disease.”4
The “Banting” diet was removed from all major medical and nutritional textbooks.
In the intermediary between 1959 and 1961, a large-scale AHA study on saturated fat and cholesterol was started and abandoned due to “lack of funding”. Coincidentally, there was subsequent turnover at the AHA Board following the termination of the large scale Diet-Heart studies. The author of the Seven Countries Study, Ancel Keys, was hired onto the AHA Board and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine that same year.
“From this point on, the AHA started recommending what they call the prudent diet; low in total fat, especially saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in carbohydrates from grains and in polyunsaturated seed oils. Saturated fat and cholesterol slowly started to gain a bad reputation over the following years, but it wasn’t until several years later that the final nail in the coffin was added and the same dietary nonsense recommended to the general population.” 4
The US published its Dietary Guidelines, based on AHA recommendations, endorsing a diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates, exactly the opposite of what we have been eating for decades. Fat was on the outs and carbs were in. Sugar also made the main stage and it was accepted that sugar could be added to everything we ate. Fat became the perpetrator of all things bad for our bodies.
The diet was accepted worldwide and hence began the muti-billion dollar market for processed, low-fat foods that hit our supermarket shelves. Looking back now, it is of no surprise that since the early 1980’s, Obesity and Diabetes has risen rapidly. Coincidence? Does a bear like honey?
The final nail in the coffin. Time Magazine published the following article:
In this article, Time wrongly proclaimed that the AHA was right and the Diet-Heart Hypothesis had finally been proven. Time magazine decided to accept one study showing a correlation of high serum cholesterol to heart disease but failed to mention another study that same year that showed it was only oxidized serum cholesterol that leads to atherosclerotic plaques. In contrast, high-levels of non-oxidized cholesterol are essential to cell integrity, brain function, and life itself and do not cause atherosclerotic plaque formations. Without getting carried away into the molecular evidence behind oxidized vs non-oxidized LDL, suffice it to say that a variety of confounding factors, such as stress and systemic inflammation caused by chronic consumption of fructose, cause the beneficial serum non-oxidized LDL cholesterol to degrade and become oxidized. Once oxidized, LDL goes through a conversion process eventually winding up in a foam cell in an atherosclerotic plaque inserted into the intima of our arterial walls. It is this conversion that becomes harmful to us.
In recent years, studies have continually shown that some of the biggest factors contributing to oxidized serum cholesterol is the consumption of polyunsaturated fats from seed oils and excess fructose consumption. Does it concern you at all that those are the exact foods that the AHA and USDA have been recommending to us for decades to eat in order to reduce our consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol?
It is not the consumption of cholesterol itself that is causing plaque formation. The chicken and egg, in this case, is the chronic consumption of carbohydrates which causes the inflammation that leads to the oxidation process.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down yet?
In Part III, we’ll discuss the LCHF diet in greater detail and discuss the most recent research showing its effectiveness. If you like what you read, please subscribe to our Newsletter below. As always, questions/comments are welcome.
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