The Playbook For The Modern Man

Nutritionists Reveal Why People Listen To Low Carb Gurus Instead Of Science

The wrongful demonisation of all fats has caused low carb dieters to lose faith in mainstream science. But at what cost?

Buddhism. Christianity. Hinduism. Intermittent fasting? Whether it’s religion or diet people need an emotional ‘why’ — if they are to make a lasting change to their lives.

Just as you have to Marie Kondo your house to really keep it clean you have to jump on board a ‘movement’ if you want cheese-grater abs and Triceratops triceps.

Problem is, this has led many to believe that the entire food pyramid is a lie, when the truth is, the reason people tend to see more success on low carb regimes is because they religiously stick to them (rather than half-heartedly trying to eat a bit less junk and a few more veggies, as tends to be the case with people on the mainstream nutrition science diet).

Advertisement

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by your daily healthy meal guide (@daily.healthy.meals) on

So — just as Crossfitters don’t need to be paying a small fortune to get fit (but would be languishing at home if it wasn’t for  the cultural capital their cult community provides), Keto dieters don’t need to be so radical about the removal of carbohydrates from their diets, but would be stuck making two-penny changes like the rest of us if it wasn’t for the positive feedback mechanisms (incessant Instagram motivation, your morning smoothie being featured on your favourite influencer’s blog, etc.) being part of such a movement nets them.

Of course, like Crossfit, the benefits are real. But the point is: one does not need to go to such extremes to get healthy — and while making your shopping list “too simple to fail” has its benefits, it comes with a set of risks of its own.

As reported on Monday by the BBC, flaunting the official government saturated fat recommendations is a risky business — regardless of whether or not it’s better than badly following a mainstream nutrition science diet.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jessica (@realfoodwithjessica) on

While a diet high in full-fat dairy, butter, ghee and coconut oil can help us feel fuller for longer and reduce our sugar cravings, too much saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood, which can lead to “furred up” arteries and an increased chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

The question then becomes — how much is too much?

According to the BBC, “You’ll almost certainly be having more saturated fat than the officially recommended amount if you’re doing one of the popular low carbohydrate regimens, like the keto or paleo diet, or if you’re following the trend of spooning a butter or fat into your coffee each morning.”

Advertisement

Also.

“Eat much more than 100g of fatty meat, pastries, or cheese each day and you’ll also easily get beyond the limit, given by UK dietary guidelines as 20g for women or 30g for men.”

While some scientists argue refined carbohydrate induced inflammation is the real culprit for heart disease rather than saturated fat, even if this is true it doesn’t mean saturated fat is good for you — it just means they are both contributing factors.

As to why we have the rates of obesity and diabetes that we do? While low carb high-fat proponents say it’s because the food pyramid is a lie, medical professionals at places like the British Dietetic Association “believe it’s less that the guidelines are wrong, and more that we aren’t following them,” (BBC).

But because saturated fat used to be touted as the cause of heart disease (and now is acknowledged to be one of several dietary factors), there is perhaps more confusion, disagreeing experts, and conflicting headlines on this topic than any other.

As nutrition journalist Gary Taubes explained on the Sam Harris podcast — it is this confusion, the wrongful demonisation of all fats (including the healthy ones) which continued up until relatively recently, and the anecdotal evidence that ‘going keto’ works which has caused low carb dieters to lose faith in mainstream science (and turn to low carb Instagram gurus), perceiving the government to be in cahoots with the multi-billion dollar refined carbohydrate and sugar industries.

What they forget is that there is also money to be made from the saturated fat industry — and that it is possible to rectify a mistake without overbalancing in the other direction.

Fortunately, registered dieticians like Lynne Garton — a dietetic advisor to the cholesterol charity Heart UK — are on hand with the facts, with Lynne yesterday telling the BBC that most people already consume more saturated fat than the American Heart Association’s maximum recommended dietary percentage of 6% and the World Health Organisation’s more generous limit of 10% — and that’s before they even start a low carb high-fat diet.

“UK adults overshoot recommendations by consuming 12.5% of calories from saturated fat, even though their total fat intake is approximately on target… Americans average 11% of their calories from saturated fat and Australians 12%.”

The conclusion? Swap the saturated fat out of your diet for whole grains, high-quality protein, non-saturated fats or fresh fruit and vegetables — but not sugar or refined carbohydrates (white bread, hot chips, etc.) which are arguably worse for you than the saturated fat itself.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Max Lugavere (@maxlugavere) on

Read Next

  • noviant

    What science are you referring to?

  • ken

    still pushing the General Mills funded research down our throats. that way they can keep us fat and sick and they get get rich. NO SUCH THING as a essential carbohydrate. humans need it like they need to eat card board. that’s why we don’t listen to the crap of “healthy carbs” anymore!

  • ken

    General Mills funded science!

  • Levi Blake

    If the food pyramid was such sound science, then why was it published by the US department of Agriculture instead of the Department of Health?

    I could tell from the first paragraph that the author is completely ignorant about what they’re writing about.

  • Tmny

    OMG, YOUR OPINION IS SO GREAT, THANK YOU FOR HELPING US SIMPLETONS UNDERSTAND WITH YOUR DEEP NUTRITIONAL KNOWLEDGE!

  • MrIndependent

    Cite your source of proof that saturated is unhealthy. Which meta analysis or RCT has show a statistical benefit to reducing saturated fat intake on hard endpoints (all cause mortality). Saturated fat has been demonized without adequate proof. Our nation’s health began to deteriorate when THEORIES about fat causing heart attacks began influencing our diets. It all been a big fat lie.

  • Matthew England

    There is no correlation between high fat diet (saturated or not) and high cholesterol, in the original study published in the 50s he completely disregarded the stats from more than 50 countries and reduced it to NZ, Australia, England, Canada, USA and when he did that the rates of high cholesterol and heart disease followed a perfect curve upwards. When Catalyst aired their episode on cholesterol not being bad and maybe statins aren’t necessary they were taken off air for a year or two because big pharma threatened ABC. Eskimos/inuits ate incredibly high fat diets and had zero rates of heart disease, then grain based carbs we’re introduced and rates of heart disease skyrocketed. Even if carbs aren’t as bad we think the science behind fat and cholesterol being responsible for heart disease is so flawed it should be ignored until real scientific research is done that isn’t funded by an org. with a vested interest.

  • Philip

    My overall cholesterol dropped but my HDLs went up when I went on a high fat diet. My doctor was bemused.

  • disqus_7ZqiZ0tQ0q

    I used to follow a standard diet – 1200 calorie intake with 5 days a week at the gym. In 2 years I lost 40 pounds only to gain some back after plateauing. When I started Keto (without more than light walking SOMETIMES) I lost 70 pounds. For someone like me who has been struggling since I was little with my weight when eating almost nothing, and as someone who worked out from the ages of 19-21 (now 22) with little to no lasting results or speed this article is frustrating. The Keto weight came off between Sept. 2018 and now. MUCH faster – and I feel like I have more energy than before. I feel like I’m making more concious food choices and most of all… I barely even miss grains. In fact, when I “cheat” (which is rare, only on vacations or special occasion), I skip the pasta and rice. Its so worthless. None of this is fueled by “positive feedback mechanisms” in the form of social media. My choices are fueled by my success and weight loss after struggling my whole life. I’ve never been healthier and I’m not sure what you were paid for this article, but at least do your research.

  • Jason Kutlik

    Hi. I weighed 272lbs a year ago. I went lazy mans keto (no real counting just cutting carbs and replacing with alot of chicken fish and veggies). I’m down to 154lbs. My H1C was 12.7 they were talking insulin pumps and all sort of drugs that had I listened to my doctor, would do no good for me. My H1C is 5.5 as of 2 month ago I even stopped taking the metformin on my own the doctor doesn’t even know! All my numbers are phenomenal now actually… ALL including my cholesterol. So, I dont care what any schmoe writes about their opinion on unless it’s just wrong in which case I have to chime in … I’m living proof and it has completely and entirely changed my life. I’m literally half the man I use to be and feel better than I have at any point in my life I can remember… my stomach issues and indigestion have gone away etc.

  • Adam

    I think the comments in here says it all.

    You’re talking out if your ass.

    Prove it.

    I’ve done strict low fat healthy carb diet for months without deviation and lost a small amount of weight before plateauing.

    I’ve done strict keto and lost a ton of weight in the same amount of time without plateauing.

    Got my blood work checked before and after… My cholesterol and other vitals improved.

  • David

    Good points about the effectiveness of joining a movement being independent from the absolute quality of the movement’s approach.

    You lost me after that though. The demonization of fats you sort of acknowledge includes the fear of saturated fats. Science has proposed mechanisms for how SFA may affect CVD but consistently fails to show actual CVD or all cause mortality linked to SFA. As a general rule the more dire the warning the more robust the evidence should be. When the evidence of a speaker’s consensus position is inconclusive the audience naturally suspects foul play.

  • dan deal

    Obvious propaganda. Keto changed my life. Wont go back. Blood pressure stabilized and so did my blood sugar. Have more energy than ever. Plus all you can eat bacon… who doesn’t love bacon.

  • Peter McDougald

    I was diagnosed as having six heart attacks, ten ischemic strokes, two exacerbations of congestive heart failure, diabetes type 2, atrial fibrillation, peripheral neuropathy, obstructive sleep apnea, etceteras. High fat diet works for me now no diabetes nor any heart drugs, lost eighty pounds and feel like I will live, don’t have erectile dysfunction now, aged sixty three.

  • http://batman-news.com gallifrey1

    I was willing to give this article a shot until this…

    “…if it wasn’t for the positive feedback mechanisms (incessant Instagram motivation, your morning smoothie being featured on your favourite influencer’s blog, etc.) being part of such a movement nets them.”

    What a crock of manure. The positive feedback mechanism that keeps people on a low-carb regimen is WEIGHT LOSS, and all the health benefits that come with it. The “science” has failed, because it isn’t science. It’s “consensus”, and it’s demonstrably WRONG.

    I’ll NEVER give up satisfying, satiating fats and proteins for grass seed ever again, and your insistence that people continue to do so despite reams of evidence showing that the approach not only doesn’t work, but is actually detrimental to overall health in multiple ways, destroys any credibility you may have enjoyed.

    You advocate doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Shame on you.

  • vinay

    NO SUCH THING as a essential carbohydrate. Keto works!

  • HordePlayer

    My story is very similar to yours. I was around 365lbs at might highest. Went to a low carb high fat diet. A little over a year has passed and I am down to 290, my A1C was in the 7 range, and is now under 5.5. My Blood Pressure was so high I as on meds to control it. I started getting light headed a couple months back, and it was due to my blood pressure being too LOW now. Getting off the meds, my blood pressure is in the normal range. All my blood work came back showing to be in the normal range as well.

    So yeah, I agree. These hack writers can push the “healthy carb” fallacy all they want. Simple fact is our bodies are designed to run on 2 forms of energy. The quick carb that we could occasionally find and then the bulk of the time running on ketones from fat.

  • HordePlayer

    BINGO!!! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • Eliezer Wagner

    Maintream science? There is only one type of science. It’s called SCIENCE, and the author seems COMPLETELY ignorant of current food science. Here are some examples of studies done:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12761365
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12761364
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19246357
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18258623
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16287956
    and also, ya just had to google it
    https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=low+carb+reasearch&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    It’s not that people arent following the science. They are, the author just has not read the science.

  • Muhammad S Saleem

    The guy doesn’t even know the difference between whole grain and white bread and dates to call one worse and other the best.

    It’s pseudo experts like these who are perpetually making people and ensuring that they stay sick with their junk nutritional recommendations.

  • Urni Jonz

    Lugavere earned a degree in film and psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. No science need he has a degree in film making.

  • https://lifebykanda.blogspot.com Flavaboyfan

    Totally agree with you. Just another ploy by Big Pharma and the medical community to get you to believe in their way of thinking which, in turn, keeps you dependent upon their services (prescription drugs and treatments not meant to cure you) that result in your being plagued with diseases and inflammation for the rest of your life.

  • Jonathan K

    I have been on Keto for 4 years. I no longer consume fruit (berries are ok!), pasta, soda, grains, oats, rice or bread. I went from pre-diabetic and 375lbs to a healthy 195lbs. 185 is my “goal” weight for my height/age. My HDL (good cholesterol) hovers at the top of the average range around 48mg/DL and my LDL (bad cholesterol) hovers in the optimal range around 80mg/DL. My physician had me do quarterly lipid and CBC tests for the first 2 years and now we will do them yearly because the results have been predictable. How’s that for science?
    This article is very misleading. It fails to understand the basic premise of “net carbs”. That is total carbs minus fiber. In reality, if you’re doing Keto properly, you are consuming a lot more than 20g per day total. 1 serving of cauliflower has around 5g of carbohydrates and 2.5g of fiber. So it has a net of roughly 2.5g per serving. This is what counts against your daily total of 20g.

  • Sergio Lostal

    I did not read the words metabolic syndrome and diabetes in the article. Maybe avoid a chronic disease is a strong motive that people had to follow the High Fat diet. Also, eating saturated fat raises HDL and lower triglycerides and these are good things. The LDL or “bad” cholesterol also goes up, although not by much. More important, the idea that high cholesterol produces the narrowing of the arteries have never been proven. Veins never get clogged even though the blood flow is slower.

  • Kathy Hix

    Interestingly, the author doesn’t even address the real reason “why people listen to low carb gurus instead of science,” which is amply illustrated by the comments below. When they stick to the conventional wisdom, even “religiously,” as he puts it, they see glacial results, if any. When they stick to keto, even half-heartedly, they see good results. It’s not rocket science: one works really quickly, which is encouraging and inspires you to keep going; one works very, very slowly, if at all, which is discouraging.

  • Davey Joe

    Lol. This garbage articles getting roasted in the comments. I bet this idiot just copied all the points from the other 500 anti keto garbage “articles” around

  • Atlanta_Girl

    I have MS. I took 14 scrips/day in 2010 and could barely walk to my mailbox. I thought I ate “healthy” – lots of whole grains, fruits & veggies. And I was obese. Friend suggested a more rigid form of Paleo – said to commit to it 100% for 90 days. 60 days in, I had stopped ALL scrips. Insomnia went away. Joint pain gone

    My doc said it was just a coincidence. Yet all my lab work continued to improve – inflammation markers decreasing quarter over quarter. 3 yrs in, doc started asking more about what I was doing. Had said it was “impossible” to be healthy eating grass fed organic protein and eggs. Impossible to get enough calcium without consuming dairy. Did a consult with a nutritionist just to shut her up – she was amazed at what healthy food choices I was making and acknowledged it was working for me. And then I fired my doctor. Haven’t taken as much as an Advil in almost a decade now.

  • Atlanta_Girl

    I had an obese nurse lecture me last month that my AIP diet was unhealthy. I was polite at first but he continued, got so condescending (while drinking a huge Diet Coke) So I finally said, how about we compare lab work? I will wager you $100 mine blows yours away.

    Crickets.

    I don’t believe there is one magical way of eating that works for everyone or works for a lifetime but realizing health is determined at every meal.

  • Atlanta_Girl

    I don’t like bacon or chocolate. Or pork rinds. But you do what works for you!

  • http://www.jacklovell.com/ JackL

    The writer’s whole argument falls apart since he is not clued up on science – “too much saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood, which can lead to “furred up” arteries and an increased chance of having a heart attack or stroke.” Cholesterol does not lead to arterial problems, but acts as a bandage, with other particles in the blood, to close damage caused by other factors. Know the science before parroting others.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY0eThVRmdYT3lFSzZAuMWpkMl9Wd1lQbGsxUkZAYcTdEa0JrZAzlaZADlITC1VczdDSWJMRnppQ0ttX25FQ0tfREdrQ1VZAMXhlQ0FOTXBnMTkwV0pfNXRET0x3anYxbjNsNGlD/ Glen Rubin

    I developed diabetes a few years ago and have tried every kind of diet. For a time i limited myself to eating carbs of the complex variety, substituting barley for rice and even milling my own whole grains to replace refined flour. The result was that my blood sugar and a1c continued its inexorable rise. Only by adopting a ketogenic diet have i been able to decrease my a1c and attain solidly prediabetic numbers.

  • Kevin Schlupp

    Low carb lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure, even if you do end up eating more days. it’s been proven saturated fats have minimal impact on us vs sugars. maybe next time use some science rather than opinions and quoting other oppinion articles to make your point.

  • Pedro

    So much misinformation in this article. Try reading the science behind low carb first.

  • tucson2

    I’ve just begun my keto journey and have my labs re-done tomorrow. I have learned that I am especially sensitive to carbs. That’s me. Might not be everyone’s problem, but I get mad carb cravings and on this diet plan I just don’t get hungry on one meal a day and maybe one keto “snack.” Unfortunately, I don’t care much for meat so I don’t know how long I’ll stay on it. But I’ve lost weight and would love to lose some more. And I am hoping this might extinguish my sweet tooth. Carbs are my weakness, so this diet works for me.

NEW ON D'MARGE


Show More

Subscribe

Close

The playbook for the modern man

Get the very best of men's style, health, travel & culture delivered to your inbox.

Dont show me this again