Victorian Government Rolls Out the Anti-Low-Carb Propaganda Machine!

By Anthony Colpo.

March 16, 2004.

Here's a little quiz:

What do Australian politicians do when they have too much time on their hands and easy access to taxpayers' hard-earned money? Do they:

a) direct increased funding towards crime-prevention strategies;

b) increase 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;

c) channel 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)!

Yep, forget 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 diets!

According to Ms. Pike, low-carbohydrate diets raise the risk of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even depression. I have already explained here, here, and 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 scientific research.

Published 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 opposite effect.(1-19) 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)

As for 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)

The 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)

Perhaps the 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.

Heaven knows 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 diets.

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!

If you 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:

Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher and certified fitness consultant with 20 years' experience in the physical conditioning arena. To contact:

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.

Related articles:

An Open Letter to Victorian Health Minister Bronwyn Pike

Just how low will the anti-low carb crowd go?

Common myths about low carbohydrate diets

Did the Atkins Diet really kill Dr. Atkins?


1. Gutierrez M, et al. Utility of a Short-Term 25% Carbohydrate Diet on Improving Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1998; 17 (6): 595-600.

2. Coulston AM, et al. Deleterious metabolic effects of high-carbohydrate, sucrose-containing diets in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. American Journal of Medicine, 1987 Feb; 82 (2): 213-20.

3. Garg A, et al. Effects of varying carbohydrate content of diet in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1994; 271: 1421-1428.

4. Sestoft L, et al. High-carbohydrate, low-fat diet: effect on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, GIP and insulin secretion in diabetics. Danish Medical Bulletin. 1985 Mar; 32 (1): 64-69.

5. Gannon MC, et al. An increase in dietary protein improves the blood glucose response in persons with type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003; 78: 734-741.

6. Bisschop PH, et al. Dietary fat content alters insulin-mediated glucose metabolism in healthy men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2001; 73: 554-559.

7. Baba NH, et al. High Protein vs High Carbohydrate Hypoenergetic Diet for the Treatment of Obese Hyperinsulinemic Subjects. International Journal of Obesity, 1999; 11: 1202-1206.

8. Brehm BJ, et al., A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2003; 88 (4): 1617-1623.

9. Lewis SB, et al. Effect of Diet Composition on Metabolic Adaptations to Hypocaloric Nutrition: Comparison of High Carbohydrate and High Fat Isocaloric Diets. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1977; 30 (2): 160-170.

10. Volek JS, et al. Body Composition and Hormonal responses to a Carbohydrate Restricted Diet. Metabolism, 51(7), 2002, pages 864-870.

11. Layman DK, et al. Increased 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 high-protein, energy-restricted diet on body composition, glycemic control, and lipid concentrations in overweight and obese hyperinsulinemic men and women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2003; 78: 31-39.

13. Heilbronn LK, et al. Effect of Energy Restriction, Weight Loss, and Diet Composition on Plasma Lipids and Glucose in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 1999; 22 (6): 889-895.

14. Jeppesen J, et al. Effects of low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets on risk factors for ischemic heart disease in postmenopausal women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1997; 65 : 1027-1033.

15. B Gumbiner, et al. Effects of diet composition and ketosis on glycemia during very-low- energy-diet 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): 1481-1487.

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 intake: The impact on calcium and bone homeostasis in humans. Journal of Nutrition, 2003; 133: 855S-861S

see: Open letter to Victorian Health Minister


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