Updated February 24, 2014
[frame src=”https://www.drmcdougall.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/Fruits-vegetables.jpg” width=”IMAGE_WIDTH” height=”IMAGE_HEIGHT” lightbox=”off” title=”Dr. McDougall Recommends Plant Positive’s Video Series” align=”right” ]“Plant Positive” is the pseudonym of an independent, brilliant, nutrition researcher who is based in Washington, DC. Disturbed by the pervasive misinformation promulgated by advocates of “Paleo” and low-carbohydrate diets, Plant Positive created a thorough, credible, and free educational resource for those seeking the truth about diet and health.
The first fruits of his efforts were 71 videos, called The Primitive Nutrition Series, originally published in December of 2011. With his PlantPositive.com website, he seeks to bring new attention to important overlooked and ignored scientific research, promote critical thinking, and encourage an honest discussion so the consumer can make better food choices in the face of deadly distortions written by low-carb advocates.
“In January of 2014 I released my latest video playlist, a set of 21 videos called “The Drivers of the Herd”. These videos counter recent high-profile attempts to convince the public and health professionals that fatty, high-cholesterol animal foods are benign or even good for us, especially with respect to weight control and heart disease prevention.
On October 31, 2013 a prime-time television news program called Catalyst, a production of Australia’s public television network, aired an episode which brought the blinkered and illogical beliefs of the pro-animal-fat, low-carb fringe to a mainstream audience. Host Dr. Maryanne Demasi joined a selection of well-known American low-carb-promoting authors in trying to convince viewers that saturated fats don’t raise our cholesterol, and even if they do, high cholesterol shouldn’t cause us concern anyway. Nearly all of the show’s content was misleading and factually flawed, which is all the more troubling when one considers that this network is Australia’s most trusted news source. Catalyst also aired a companion episode which disputed the benefits of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. That episode was the object of much handwringing from the National Heart Foundation of Australia and one of Australia’s best-known doctors, but Catalyst’s deceptions about dietary fat and cholesterol deserve a separate and very thorough rebuttal. The Australian media did not provide that but the first six videos in my new series do.
The next two videos address an editorial piece recently published in the British Medical Journal authored by a cardiologist named Aseem Malhotra. Dr. Malhotra is an influential health commentator in the U.K. whose writings frequently appear in The Guardian. I took up the task of responding to this article because it was quite well-received despite seeming to me to be a rather sloppily assembled hodgepodge. Malhotra rejects mainstream notions of “bad cholesterol” but embraces a minority yet oddly persistent belief in a unique “metabolic advantage” for low-carbohydrate diets. I’ll show you whether he found good scientific references to support those limbs on which he’s chosen to stand.
Another very popular journal article among the low-carbers and saturated fat apologists is explored in detail in the following two videos. This one may be the single most frequently cited study nowadays by those seeking to convince you to consume more artery-damaging saturated fats. Dr. Patty Siri-Tarino and her well-regarded coauthors told the world that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk” of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease. They arrived at this contrarian conclusion after reviewing only the research produced from prospective epidemiologic studies; all other research was disregarded. In these two videos I’ll show you those studies on which that conclusion was based. Their paper is a great example of how much mischief can be made by the injudicious use of statistics.
The second half of “The Drivers of the Herd” playlist prepares the viewer for the pro-fat research we will surely soon see courtesy of Gary Taubes’ latest venture, the Nutrition Science Initiative, or NuSI. Taubes, the wily and opportunistic low-carb celebrity author whom I extensively fact-checked in my previous playlist, has joined forces with a physician named Peter Attia in this enterprise. With the financial backing of the John and Laura Arnold Foundation, they promise to deliver extraordinarily fine research that will bring new clarity to present controversies in nutrition science. In these videos I’ll show you why this outcome is so very unlikely. NuSI’s founders Taubes and Attia have their best pro-fat arguments deconstructed and their favorite studies in support of them laid bare in videos 11 through 20. Along the way you’ll see that obesity and heart disease only became a grim everyday reality in the U.S. and around the world after starches were replaced in our diets by fatty animal foods. You’ll understand that to convince you otherwise, Taubes and Attia must resort again and again to blatant misrepresentations of history and science. The series concludes with video 21, “The Docile Herd”, which shows you how individuals and organizations, each pursuing their financial self-interest, spontaneously harmonize to perpetuate the myths about food and health that harm the whole of society.”
— Plant Positive
* These videos are entirely independent of the McDougall Program. This article does not specifically endorse the information presented. Please read the full legal disclaimer.