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Low-Fat Author Leads "Objective" Study against Low-Carb Diets

In this section, we have placed a request for any links to research and studies proving low-carb diets to be unhealthy.

We finally received a link that sounded like what we were looking for, but not quite, sent by a visitor to our web site. What follows is an interesting investigation by our members into how financially interested individuals and organizations can falsify data, to support their objectives and products.

The link provided was:

http://www.uky.edu/PR/UK_News/lifestyles112000.html

Vikki Franklin from the University of Kentucky, writes:

A team of researchers led by James W. Anderson, professor of medicine and clinical nutrition in the UK College of Medicine, performed a critical review and computer analysis of eight popular weight-loss diets. He was joined by David Jenkins, professor of medicine and clinical nutrition at the University of Toronto, and Elizabeth Konz, a doctoral candidate in nutrition at UK.

The researchers found that Protein Power and Dr. Atkinsą New Diet Revolution had negative effects --raising cholesterol levels, which have been linked with an increased risk for coronary heart disease.
Vikki Franklin

After reading this article, we thought this is very significant news. So, we decided to find the original study or abstract to verify these claims.

The abstract is found here, from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (JACN) Volume 19, Number 5, October 2000
http://www.am-coll-nutr.org/jacn/vol_19/no_5/pg578.htm

Health Advantages and Disadvantages of Weight-Reducing Diets: A Computer Analysis and Critical Review

James W. Anderson, MD, FACN, Elizabeth C. Konz, MS, RD, David J. A. Jenkins, PhD, MD, FACN

Design: Eight popular weight-loss diets were selected (Atkins, Protein Power, Sugar Busters, Zone, ADA Exchange, High-Fiber Fitness, Pritikin and Ornish) to be non-clinically analyzed by means of a computer to predict their relative benefits/ potential harm. A summary description, menu plan and recommended snacks were developed for each diet. The nutrient composition of each diet was determined using computer software, and a Food Pyramid Score was calculated to compare diets. The Mensink, Hegsted and other formulae were applied to estimate coronary heart disease risk factors.

Results: Higher fat diets are higher in saturated fats and cholesterol than current dietary guidelines and their long-term use would increase serum cholesterol levels and risk for CHD. Diets restricted in sugar intake would lower serum cholesterol levels and long-term risk for CHD; however, higher carbohydrate, higher fiber, lower fat diets would have the greatest effect in decreasing serum cholesterol concentrations and risk of CHD.

Conclusions: While high fat diets may promote short-term weight loss, the potential hazards for worsening risk for progression of atherosclerosis override the short-term benefits. Individuals derive the greatest health benefits from diets low in saturated fat and high in carbohydrate and fiber; these increase sensitivity to insulin and lower risk for CHD.

This study is extremely suspicious, and even unethical for the following reasons:

  • Ignoring Clinical Data: The researcher have opted to not use clinical data. The methodology, by admission, is based on computer software that uses specifically written formulas that measures cholesterol based on subjective opinions, translated into computer logic by the software author/programmer. This may be acceptable in the absence of clinical data, and only as a hypothesis. However, there is clinical data, and it is contrary to the computer simulated results!
  • Self-Interest: The leader of this "study", Dr. Anderson is the author of of one of the competing plans under this study, High-Fiber Fitness! Naturally, the computer software simulation results are in favour of the research leader!

Unfortunately, the public can be fooled by this "study", just as the writer for the University of Kentucky was fooled by it. The report/article she wrote, made no mention of this computer software that "simulated" the results, and talked about it is if they were actual results, not withstanding existing clinical studies that negate these simulated results!

Sadly, this is a successful method of manipulating science works. And since many in the medical community and nutritionists cannot find any scientific bases for their claims against low-carb diets, they just have to create their own results to serve their own subjective opinions and/or self-interest.

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