When I first started out my serial on the non-relation between fat and heart disease, quite a few people, some whose opinion I highly respected, doubted me although they cannot deny the fact that the researchers I quoted were valid. Over the past few weeks, there’s been a flurry of articles on neutral media that justified my position. Everybody from DailyMail, New York Times, STATNews, Quartz (itself a Harvard publication), NPR, and Reuters were all busy publishing their take on JAMA’s bombastic review of internal Harvard documents that disclose the Sugar Lobby’s influence in medical research. So let me guide you through this and other bad sciences I’ve been seeing in the news:
Harvard Bribe, Heart Attack, and Sugar Consumption
As I have mentioned in my past post, there was never any statistical proof to support the claim that high animal fat consumption blocks arteries. However, the Sugar Lobby wanted to increase US consumption of sugar without making us too fat, hence need to keep the total calorie consumption equal, so something gotta give. Hence Henry Haas, president of Sugar Research Foundation simply pops the idea about having the public reduce fat consumption instead. Regardless of fat’s contribution to satiety and as important vitamin solvent for our body to absorb.
In fact, most neutral researches has proven since 1962 that low-fat high-carbohydrate (sugar is simple carbohydrate) is the main culprit in cholesterol increase. So what did SRF did? simple, SRF vice president, John Hickson started his crusade to “change the negative attitude towards sugar” since 1964, regardless that blood sugar rather than blood cholesterol or high blood pressure is the better predictor of atherosclerosis. Long story short, SRF put Dr. Mark Hegsted, Harvard Professor of Nutrition and Fredrick Stare, another Harvard nutritionist in their pocket. This bribe amount was so big, that Marion Nestle of New York University simply said “I thought I had seen everything but this one floored me”.
Again, all these were not something I made up on the spot, they are all within the disclosed Harvard documents JAMA publishes, you can read them yourself. And we haven’t even looked at SRF’s relationship with other universities.
As a comparison, modern day scientific recommendation of added sugar consumption is 25 gram for normal adult woman and 36 gram for normal adult man. A regular sized can of coke (355 ml) contains 39 gram of refined sugar and a regular sized bar of snickers (57 gr) contains 28 gram of refined sugar (yes, more than 1/2 of your bar of snickers is made of pure sugar). So if you ate a bar of snickers and drank a can of coke, all in a single day, you already consumed double your daily recommended consumption of refined sugar.
To clarify my position on this. I do think that the healthy sugar recommendation mentioned are for average people. Manual laborers and athletes that does a lot of aerobic and anaerobic training definitely need more sugar consumption during particular windows of opportunity. Sugar itself is also better than high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. The “good fats” mentioned here are also natural animal fats, animals raised chock-full of antibiotics are simply not as good and food deep fried in vegetable oils high in Omega-6 (soybean oil, canola oil, etc) need to be avoided.
Now moving on to other bad sciences
Low Back Pain is Caused by Your Mind
Yes, basically Dr. John. E. Sarno and his big fan at Forbes, Edward Siedle thinks that because of the mind-body connection, low back pain is basically caused by your mind. I.e., they are implying that people that experience deliberating low back pain are simply going mad. Euhm.. one advice Edward, stick with covering pension funds.
As Dr. McGill, the leading expert in spine research with over 30 decades experience salvaging careers gold medal winning athletes has said, there is a cause for every back pain, and low back pain has many causes, hence you can’t treat it like diabetes where there is one common cure. The mind does have an affect on the body in a way that the mind can cause the pain to feel worse than the actual issue. However, the must be a fundamental physical cause of the pain to begin with.
Hence “pain clinic” that advises you to note your daily pain level should be avoided as this will cause you to dwell in your pain even more. And when your doctor said that “its all in your head”, he’s basically implying that he has no clue on what causes your pain. If you want to read more on how to self diagnose your own back pain and how to deal with it, I highly recommend you read Dr. McGill’s book, Back Mechanics.
Weight Training Damaged Your Back or Knees
Well, unfortunately the web is full of misguided advice from individuals that should know better. Trust me, doing side lunges like that this fitness model does is a quick recipe for knee problems. If you follow the advice of this blogger regarding kettlebell workout where she told you to suck your tummy in for abdominal bracing, then trust me, you will end up with low back pain. Dr. McGill in his research already proved that this method is simply bunk in his research and this is why powerlifter does simply the opposite to protect their backs. For the athlete in you that wanted to be more athletic while sparing your back, I highly recommend you read Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance for actual science based training.
So yes, weight training is a wonderful way to increase your athleticism, maintain joint health, boost up metabolism and testosterone level, and reverse osteoporosis. But the key is doing it the right way. Doing it the wrong way, either wrong posture or wrong programming will cause all these nasty diseases like rhabdomyolysis, knee pain, low back pain, etc.