Time Magazine: “Eat Butter”

TimeMagEatButterThe cover of Time Magazine’s next issue is going to say “Eat Butter.” The associated cover story by Bryan Walsh is entitled “Ending The War On Fat.” I haven’t read the article, so I don’t know what he bases his claims on. But I have read thousands of studies in my lifetime, and “eat butter” is not my conclusion. My cover story would read “Don’t Eat Butter.”

Here’s the video that accompanied Time’s story. It’s emceed by Walsh. It’s going to tell you that everything you’ve been led to believe about fat is wrong.  It’s wrong.
http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

Dr. McDougall addressed Time’s upcoming story here. Marion Nestle addressed it here. (Nestle says saturated fat consumption is down, and so are deaths from heart disease.)

There is an abundance of research that implicates consumption of saturated fat in the development of heart disease. I am curious how Walsh will present this. McDougall says that one particular study, paid for by the National Dairy Council, is often cited to justify the “eat butter” proclamation:

Meta-Analysis Of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating The Association Of Saturated Fat With Cardiovascular Disease, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2010

However, that study was taken to task, not least of which by the renowned Dr. Stamler, in the very same issue where the study was published:

Diet-Heart: A Problematic Revisit, Jeremiah Stamler, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2010

Stamler infers that the authors’ intent was not to clarify the association between fat and heart disease, but to inject doubt.

“… the authors seem to be dissociating themselves from prevailing national and international dietary recommendations to the general population for primordial, primary, and secondary prevention of CHD/CVD and the established major metabolic risk factors. But they are not explicit. Is that their intent?

What are those prevailing recommendations?

“Specifically, do they disagree with the merits of heart-healthy fare on the basis of DASH-, OmniHeart-, Mediterranean-, East Asian–type eating patterns, which emphasize vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes/seeds/nuts, fat-free/low-fat dairy products, fish/shellfish, lean poultry, egg whites, seed oils in moderation, alcohol (if desired) in moderation, and portion size/calorie controlled and deemphasize red and processed meats, cheeses, ice cream, egg yolks, cookies/pastries/pies/cakes/other sweets/sweetened beverages, snacks, and salt/commercial foods with added salt. Estimated nutrient composition of this fare is as follows: total fat ≈20–25% of kcal, SFA 6–7%, MUFA 7–9%, PUFA 7–9%, cholesterol <100 mg/1000 kcal, total protein 18–25%, vegetable protein 9–12%, carbohydrate 55–60% (mostly complex), fiber 30–35 g/d, 50–65 mmol Na/d (2900–3770 mg NaCl/d), mineral/vitamin intake high (6). A vast array of concordant multidisciplinary research evidence is the sound foundation for these recommendations.”

Nothing has changed. Don’t eat butter.

8 thoughts on “Time Magazine: “Eat Butter”

  1. Tired Of The Nonsense

    Why don’t you try reading the entire article (Walsh and others who study low carb biology factors) first before you go off discrediting it? I’m tired of the increasing confusion that the Medical community (who are misinformed in Med school and increasingly payed with perks/kickbacks from the pharmaceutical companies), as well as the Media, and other diverging nutrition scientist, who keep perpetuating old science and increasingly apparent myths. I have first hand knowledge (and see results) from a friend who recently was diagnosed with Diabetes -He changed his diet to a low carb – low grain – high lean meat and vegetable diet – avoiding vegetable oils and using butter, olive, and pure palm or coconut oils for cooking. He has lost weight – lowered/controlled his is blood sugar levels, and avoided being put on the daily routine of insulin injections. The American people deserve to be told the truth on proper nutrition, and not being fed crap from the government controlled by industrial food manufacturers, as well as the misinformed physicians who livelihoods depend writing books, prescribing dangerous drugs, and continue to have an insistence for perpetuating myths that allow them to sell their low fat diet books.

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      Many studies I’ve posted about over the years link consumption of animal foods with cancers. A low-carb diet is high in animal foods. Choosing a low-carb diet to lower blood glucose is like trading one disease, diabetes, for another, cancer.

      Dr. Barnard found that you can feed people with diabetes a high-carb diet and it can improve their blood glucose more than a lower-carb diet:

      A Low-Fat Vegan Diet Improves Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Randomized Clinical Trial in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes

      People with diabetes eating the high-carb (70%) diet for 22 weeks had lower blood sugars, lower LDL cholesterol, improved kidney function, and over double the weight loss than those eating the lower-carb (47%) ADA diet. There were also significantly greater reductions in BMI, waist circumference, and total cholesterol in the high-carb group.

      Reply
  2. Will

    I read Stamler’s critique and did some subsequent reading. Interesting stuff. In my opinion, the two killer points were:

    1. Overadjustment. Half of the studies included had adjusted for blood cholesterol levels in the fully-adjusted model, and the meta-analysis had always used the fully-adjusted model for each study. This might negate the effect of saturated fat since… well, it causes heart disease primarily by raising blood cholesterol 🙂
    2. The need to distinguish between fatal vs non-fatal CHD. Saturated fat was associated with an increased risk for fatal CHD (RR=1.32) but not non-fatal CHD (RR=0.99).

    Siri-Tarino et al did publish a comment responding the “overadjustment” concern, though. Even after excluding the studies which included blood cholesterol in the adjusted model, the results of the meta-analysis were essentially unchanged.

    Reply to P Scarborough et al

    …using data from the subset of studies in our meta-analysis in which the models did not include blood cholesterol concentration [9 coronary heart disease (CHD) studies and 6 stroke studies; n = 291,126], the results did not differ significantly from those that we reported for all 21 studies (n = 347,747) (1). The calculated relative risk estimates and 95% CIs for saturated fat intake in the subset were 1.13 (0.96, 1.33) for CHD, 0.84 (0.63, 1.10) for stroke, and 1.02 (0.86, 1.19) for total CVD.

    The following month, the same 4 authors published another paper. In it, they included a response to Stamler’s suggestion that saturated fat may have a significant effect on fatal CHD only. They found that the effect was not statistically significant (although it was close).

    Saturated Fatty Acids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Modulation by Replacement Nutrients

    …although it has been suggested that the association of saturated fat with CHD may be specific to “hard” (ie, fatal) versus “soft” (ie, nonfatal) end points [54], our analysis of the studies that considered fatal CHD as the outcome variable (n = 7) yielded a nonsignificant pooled RR estimate of 1.18 (95% CI, 0.99–1.42) (random effects model; P for heterogeneity = 0.02; test for overall effect = 0.07). Because the use of fatal CHD as the outcome involves both incidence and survival of the condition, it is difficult to separate the role of saturated fat in the development and prognosis of CHD.

    I also think Stamler’s (inferred) accusation that the authors were deliberately trying to inject doubt is probably incorrect, as the original 4 authors elaborated on their intent in the follow-up editorial (also in the same issue of the AJCN). Stamler actually cited this editorial at the start of his critique, so I’m assuming he must have read it.

    Saturated fat, carbohydrate, and cardiovascular disease

    …given the changing landscape of CVD risk factors and the increasing importance of the atherogenic dyslipidemia associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, the relative effect of dietary saturated fat on CVD risk requires reevaluation. This is of particular concern with regard to the implications of further restrictions in total and saturated fat beyond prevailing US dietary guidelines, which call for levels no higher than 10% of total energy, and the recognition that subsets of the population may not benefit, and may even be harmed, by the substitution of high intakes of carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, for fat in the diet.

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      “…given the changing landscape of CVD risk factors and the increasing importance of the atherogenic dyslipidemia associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, the relative effect of dietary saturated fat on CVD risk requires reevaluation. This is of particular concern with regard to the implications of further restrictions in total and saturated fat beyond prevailing US dietary guidelines, which call for levels no higher than 10% of total energy, and the recognition that subsets of the population may not benefit, and may even be harmed, by the substitution of high intakes of carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, for fat in the diet.”

      So, it is better to keep saturated fat intake high, because if not, people will eat more carbohydrate and “be harmed”? That is … it is better to eat more butter, cheese, and meat than more apples, carrots, squash, rice, and beans? Even though the fat of animals has been shown to be the primary source for human’s body burden of environmental pollutants? Chemicals that are strongly linked to diabetes, breast and prostate cancer, and Parkinson disease? Even though saturated fat itself, apart from the chemicals dissolved in it, increases the risk for type 2 diabetes? And having diabetes increases the risks for heart attack and stroke? Even though saturated fat and its primary source, animal foods, are devoid of fiber?

      I don’t believe eating more butter, cheese, meat, and other foods high in saturated fat is better than eating more apples, carrots, squash, rice, beans, and other foods high in carbohydrate.

      Reply
  3. Will

    I’m a bit disappointed that you chose not to let through my reply to your comment on saturated fat, environmental toxins, and type 2 diabetes. 😦 But it’s your blog, so feel free to do as you please.

    I just discovered that the 2010 meta-analysis was actually _not_ funded by the dairy industry. Dr. Ronald Krauss stopped advising to the dairy industry for several years prior to the publication of the meta-analysis. Here is a reference for this.
    Reply to MB Katan et al

    Finally, although Krauss has advised the dairy industry in the past, these activities were discontinued over the several years preceding the publication of our meta-analysis. The website link cited by Katan had not been updated for a number of years, and this has now been corrected. Any insinuations that our work was influenced by NDC sponsorship are specious. The NDC had no part in designing, preparing, or evaluating either of our manuscripts for publication.

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      The National Dairy Council, as well as Unilever which sells ice cream, did support this study. I will post it.

      You can pay for a study to be conducted without active engagement in its design, implementation, or evaluation. If the study you supported shows unfavorable results, it can be suppressed. These are ways that industry influences research, ways that were cited by Dr. Marcia Angell, the former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, to defend her claim that most published research is biased.

      Reply
  4. Pingback: Don’t Let This Viral News Story About The Sugar Industry’s Sponsored Research Make You Think Fat Is In The Clear | Fanatic Cook

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