Gary Taubes, who I had discussed earlier in my review of Colin Campbell’s book The Low-Carb Fraud, had a opinion piece in the New York Times Sunday Review this week. The title was “Why is Nutrition So Confusing?”
He talked about all of the research nutritionist have done in the past 50 years related to Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, yet the number of people with these chronic diseases keep increasing.
It would be nice to think that this deluge of research has brought clarity to the issue. The trend data argue otherwise. If we understand these disorders so well, why have we failed so miserably to prevent them?
Because the nutrition research community has failed to establish reliable, unambiguous knowledge about the environmental triggers of obesity and diabetes, it has opened the door to a diversity of opinions on the subject, of hypotheses about cause, cure and prevention, many of which cannot be refuted by the existing evidence. Everyone has a theory. The evidence doesn’t exist to say unequivocally who’s wrong.
However, Taubes is the author of two best-selling books advocating a low-carb diet. He has a theory – the closest he gets to letting us in on his con game is this.
Obesity and diabetes are epidemic, and yet the only relevant fact on which relatively unambiguous data exist to support a consensus is that most of us are surely eating too much of something. (My vote is sugars and refined grains; we all have our biases.) Making meaningful inroads against obesity and diabetes on a population level requires that we know how to treat and prevent it on an individual level. We’re going to have to stop believing we know the answer, and challenge ourselves to come up with trials that do a better job of testing our beliefs.
What he fails to mention is that there have been trials, studies and proven methods that do halt or reverse diabetes, obesity and related chronic illnesses like heart disease, stroke and erectile dysfunction.
Work done by Drs. Caldwell Esselstyn, Neal Barnard, Dean Ornish, John McDougall, Colin Campbell and many others have shown that a whole food, plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat.
Last Spring, Kaiser Permanente, America’s largest managed care company and hospital system, told their doctors to “consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients…encouraging whole, plant-based foods and discouraging meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.” In order to hold down healthcare costs and control the spread of diabetes.
I am appalled that the Times printed his “opinion” piece without identifying him as someone who is part of, as he put it in the article, “the noise generated by a dysfunctional research establishment.”
The Times refers to Taubes as “a health and science journalist and co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative.”
The Nutrition Science Initiative is
unencumbered by bureaucracy or by an obligation to do anything other than find the truth. We can move quickly and efficiently to execute a novel plan: harness the talents of the best scientists in the field and channel their skills into one concerted effort to generate reliable knowledge, once and for all, on the nature of a healthy diet.
The companies that produce dairy, eggs, meat, sugar and processed foods don’t want the majority of Americans to stop buying their products. So they spend lots of money lobbying Congress to not change food policy or dietary guidelines.
Whole food, plant-based advocates have to find a way to break through the noise of fad diets and the confusion fed us by the media and our own government.
The truth is out there. It is unambiguous. Whole food, plant-based diets work.