In the talk he gave on last year’s cruise, Tom Naughton suggested a way to bring the obesity epidemic to a screeching halt: one of us should sue Dr. Mary Vernon for malpractice. It was just such a scenario that led to a dramatic change in the eating habits of the Swedish people.
Dr. Anna Dahlqvist was forced to defend her practice of treating diabetic patients with a low-carb diet after a pair of dietitians reported her to the authorities. They accused her of harming her patients with a high-fat diet. The case generated a lot of publicity and the arguments on both sides were widely reported in the media.
On January 16, 2008, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare declared publicly that a low-carb diet is “in accordance with science and well-tried experience for reducing obesity and Type 2 diabetes.” Bottom line: she was exonerated and one-fourth of the population of Sweden now follows a low-carb diet. (They call it LCHF, for low-carb, high-fat.)
It looks like we may, at last, have a chance to get the word out in a public forum that will generate attention like that of Dr. Dahlqvist’s trial. It will lay the facts out before the American people about how to safely and healthfully prevent, treat, and reverse diabetes without expensive and dangerous drugs and how to put an end to our growing epidemic of obesity.
Ironically, it was an article in Diabetes Health Magazine by diabetes “expert,” Hope Warshaw, that lead to this opportunity. You can read the original article and the 64 comments that it generated (not counting an unknown number, such as one from Dr. Feinman, that were never printed): http://www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2011/06/28/7199/type-2-diabetes-from-old-dogmas-to-new-realities—part-2/?isComment=1#comments.
The comments came mostly from people who were horrified that anyone would actually recommend that those with diabetes should INCREASE their consumption of carbohydrates. Many of the responses were from people with diabetes who shared their stories about how they got worse, not better, when they followed the “conventional wisdom” on diet advocated by their physicians, the ADA, the AHA, and the USDA.
Below is Dr. Feiman’s letter to Nadia Al-Samarrie, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Diabetes Health Magazine, in which he suggested a panel discussion between the two opposing sides. Much to my surprise, she loved the idea and responded, “Together, including Dr. Bernstein, we can work on getting all the organizations involved. I will start at the AADE conference first week in Aug. Organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society can weigh in as well.”
This could be it folks–the turning point in the fight for evidence-based medicine, a joust between the champions of low-carb against the champions of low-fat. If it is a fair fight, there is no question who will be victorious.
Those of us in the stands can show our support by joining the NM Society. Let our champions wear your colors as they go to battle for truth in science and for the health and healing of our nation. Do it now:
Proposal from Dr. Feinman, founder of the Nutrition and Metabolism Society, to the editor of Diabetes Health:
I understand that publishing a popular site requires one to be provocative and I think you can see that many people had a strong response to Hope Warshaw’s article and your response. I think you will agree however that this is a serious matter and I want to suggest a mechanism for bringing the science out for the general public. I am suggesting a discussion between opposing points of view, less a debate that than a presentation of facts although one implementation might be to have a kind of jury of impartial scientists to present summaries. I would suggest that you and I be organizers and if DiabetesHealth would be one of the sponsors, I feel sure that I would be able to provide other sponsors. It would, of course, be imperative for the American Diabetes Association and the USDA Advisory committee to participate (send or endorse discussants) to establish that recommendations for people with diabetes conform to some kind of “sunshine law.”
The details of such a meeting could be worked out but as a starting point, I would suggest something along the lines of the following.
There would be two panels, one who maintains that a low-carbohydrate diet (definitions to be agreed upon in advance) is the default diet, that is, the one to try first, for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The other would conform to the very restricted view on such diets (only for weight loss, concerns about heart disease or kidney disease or whatever).
There would be, say, four representatives on each panel endorsed, again, by the ADA and USDA, Diabetes Health and by the Nutrition and Metabolism Society.
Because of the voluminous literature, each side would specify ten papers in the literature, popular writings or book sections (max 30 pages each). Discussion would be restricted to these sources.
Participants would meet before hand to set up preliminary procedures to avoid a free-for-all or any “defenestration.”
Variations might include a second day in which both panels took questions from the public or press.
I feel sure that such a meeting would go a long way towards reducing the palpable bad feelings and I am sure you agree that the enemy is diabetes and related diseases and not people with other opinions. I would be glad to discuss, on the phone, how we can get started.
Richard David Feinman
(c) 2011, Judy Barnes Baker, Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat