Here's a little quiz:
Australian politicians do when they have too much time on their hands
and easy access to taxpayers' hard-earned money? Do they:
increased funding towards crime-prevention strategies;
spending on anti-terrorism measures - which overseas experts believe are
not up to scratch throughout Australia - in order to prevent an attack
that could kill hundreds or even thousands of people;
more funding towards improving traffic black-spots;
d) roll out
a propaganda campaign promoting baseless and repeatedly-disproven claims
about low-carbohydrate diets.
Well, if you
are a Labor government minister in the Australian state of Victoria, the
correct answer appears to be d)!
about Al Qaeda, violent assaults, or dangerous drivers; Victorian Health
Minister Bronwyn Pike has decided that what Victorians really need
protection from is the late low-carb guru Dr. Robert Atkins and all
those other heartless scoundrels who recommend popular low-carbohydrate
to Ms. Pike,
low-carbohydrate diets raise the risk of cancer, heart disease,
osteoporosis, and even depression. I have already explained here,
why an abundance of scientific research has shown these claims to be
complete and utter rubbish. Ever since Dr. Atkins came out with his
first book in 1971, he has been the subject of intense derision from the
health and medical heirarchy, but needless to say, none of the numerous
criticisms levelled at the Atkins Diet have been supported by sound
studies have repeatedly shown low-carb diets to be extremely effective
for lowering elevated blood sugar levels and improving other indices of
glycemic control, while high-carbohydrate diets often have the exact
A wealth of research shows that elevated blood sugar levels, even below
the diabetic threshold, significantly increase the risk of
cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.(20)
cancer, the overwhelming majority of low-carb authors now call for an
increase of fruit and vegetable intake at the expense of cereal grains
and processed foods. The former possess a strong and consistent
association with decreased cancer risk. Low-carbohydrate diets have been
shown to reduce tumor size in animal studies and have been used with
success as part of the treatment of cancer patients.(21-23)
osteoporosis claim is especially ludicrous in light of the fact that
studies have consistently found low-protein, NOT high-protein diets, to
be associated with reduced bone density.(24)
most ridiculous claim of all made by Ms. Pike is that low-carb diets
cause depression. Ms. Pike, are you telling me that the sheer delight I
feel at having discovered a way of eating that makes me feel so much
better than the nonsensical low-fat, high-carb diet I followed for
almost a decade is all in my head? That the joy I feel at being able to
tuck into truly tasty meats, like lamb chops and chicken drumsticks,
instead of having to labor (excuse the pun) through low-fat tuna or
skinless chicken breast, is just an illusion? The elation of the
numerous people I have encountered who have lost stubborn pounds after
commencing a low-carb diet - gee, that was all a mirage? Well, if this
is what it's like to feel depressed, then bring on the blues, baby!
What I really
want to know is: Who appointed Ms. Pike as our nanny? In a free,
democratic society, it is not the job of governments to tell us what to
eat. That is a decision to be made by individuals themselves, of their
own volition, using information gleaned from a free market of ideas -
not from biased government propaganda that is produced and distributed
at taxpayer expense.
governments have already tried their hand at playing dietitian - and
failed dismally. The current epidemic of diabetes and obesity we are
witnessing is due in no small part to the establishment's enthusiastic
endorsement of low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets three decades ago.
Not only is it
not Ms. Pike's job to tell me or anyone else what to eat, it is clear
from her comments that she does not know the first thing about low-carb
Ms. Pike, if
you can't fight the urge to play nanny, then how about placing even more
emphasis on encouraging Victorians to do things that have actually been
shown to improve one's health - you know, eating more fruits and
vegetables, avoiding highly-processed, nutrient-depleted foods, avoiding
high-glycemic carbohydrates, avoiding excess alcohol intake, quitting
cigarettes, avoiding oxidation-prone polyunsaturated vegetable oils, and
getting some exercise?
Yes, I know,
these sorts of recommendations are pretty low-tech and lack sex appeal,
and may even upset some of your wealthy constituents in the food and
alcohol industry, but hey, they work!
can't bring yourself to do this then here's a revolutionary idea:
instead of wasting taxpayers' money on moronic, scientifically baseless
anti-low-carb propaganda campaigns, give it back to its rightful owners
- the taxpayers!
To tell Bronwyn Pike that precious
taxpayer funds should be used in a more responsible manner, e-mail: email@example.com
Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher and
certified fitness consultant with 20 years' experience in the physical
conditioning arena. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: This article
is presented for information purposes only and is not intended as
medical advice. Persons with medical conditions should institute dietary
changes whilst being monitored by a competent medical practitioner.
© Anthony Colpo 2004. http://www.theomnivore.com
An Open Letter to
Victorian Health Minister Bronwyn Pike
how low will the anti-low carb crowd go?
myths about low carbohydrate diets
the Atkins Diet really kill Dr. Atkins?
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Short-Term 25% Carbohydrate Diet on Improving Glycemic Control in Type 2
Diabetes Mellitus. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1998;
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7. Baba NH, et al. High Protein vs
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Hyperinsulinemic Subjects. International Journal of Obesity, 1999; 11:
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and Hormonal responses to a Carbohydrate Restricted Diet. Metabolism,
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Dietary Protein Modifies Glucose and Insulin Homeostasis in Adult Women
during Weight Loss. The Journal of Nutrition, 2003; 133 (2): 405-410.
12. Farnsworth E, et al. Effect of a
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and Glucose in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 1999; 22
14. Jeppesen J, et al. Effects of
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therapy in obese patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1996; 63: 110-115.
16. Golay A, et al. Similar weight
loss with low- or high-carbohydrate diets. The American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition, 1996; 63: 174-178.
17. Piatti PM, et al. Hypocaloric
high protein diet improves glucose oxidation and spares lean body mass.
Comparison to hypocaloric high-CHO diet. Metabolism, Dec. 1994; 43 (12):
18. Rabast U, et al. Dietetic
treatment of obesity with low and high carbohydrate diets: Comparitive
studies and clinical results. International Journal of Obesity, 3 (3),
1979, pages 201-211.
19. Fujita Y, et al. Basal and
postprotein insulin and glucagon levels during a high and low
carbohydrate intake and their relationships to plasma triglycerides.
Diabetes, 1975; 24 (6): 552-558.
20. Coutinho M, et al. The
relationship between glucose and incident cardiovascular events. A
metaregression analysis of published data from 20 studies of 95,783
individuals followed for 12.4 years. Diabetes Care, 1999; 22: 233-240.
21. Tisdale MJ, et al. Reduction of
weight loss and tumour size in a cachexia model by a high fat diet.
British Journal of Cancer, Jul. 1987; 56 (1): 39-43.
22. Nebeling LC, et al. Effects of a
ketogenic diet on tumor metabolism and nutritional status in pediatric
oncology patients: two case reports. Journal of the American College of
Nutrition, Apr. 1995; 14 (2): 202-208.
23. Cheraskin E, et al. Effect of
diet upon radiation response in cervical carcinoma of the uterus: A
preliminary report. Acta Cytologica, 1968; 12: 433-438.
24. Kerstetter, et al. Low protein
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Nutrition, 2003; 133: 855S-861S