Over the same period, I've written the PHP-based Phlaunt.com software generator that creates easily updated web sites for computer-phobic craftspeople. That software is also the platform I use for the Blood Sugar 101 site since it makes it extremely easy to update a web page and I update Blood Sugar 101 frequently. Over this period, in my spare time, I've finished two novels, one of which was recently bought by Avon Books, a major publisher, despite the repeated claim in the writers' media that it is almost impossible to break in to fiction publishing in these hard economic times.
Given how well my brain has performed on a high fat/low carb diet, you can imagine my feelings when I read this latest health headline:
Do High-fat Diets Make Us Stupid And Lazy? To which the editorial answer is a loud "yes."
The use of the word "Us" in this headline is very odd indeed, since the research cited was a rat study. Last I looked, I was not covered with fur, nor did I have a tail, or feast on garbage in alleyways. Have rodents taken over the editing of diet research news?
One begins to wonder. There has certainly been an torrent of publicity over the past few months for rodent studies that purport to prove that high fat/low carb diets will make us stupid, flabby, and/or dead. These studies are funded by organizations like the British Heart Foundation, sponsor of the "stupid" study above, that have a huge stake in keeping the public from learning that the dietary advice they've been pushing for decades--the advice to eat low fat diets filled with "healthy whole grains" is not only worthless, but actually harmful.
Since all the human data confirms the uselessness of low fat diets and, furthermore, shows that high fat/low carbohydrate diets provide the best outcomes for people with diabetes, the stakeholders in the low fat theory have been driven to desperate measures. These measures increasingly involve feeding very artificial diets to rodents whose furry little bodies are adapted to diets extremely different from that of the human omnivore.
To understand just how deceptive the rodent research is that is being marshaled to support the low fat "bitter-enders," I'd urge you to read this blog post:
Whole Health Source: Animal Models of Atherosclerosis: LDL
As Dr. Stephan Guyenet points out, the diets researchers give their little furry friends are obscenely distorted, because that is what it takes to produce the effects they desire. The high protein diet in one recent study that purported to be an "Atkins" diet, fed mice a diet so high in protein that the equivalent for a human would include a daily portion of 17.5 pounds of beef steak, 3.8 pounds of beef liver, or 22.5 eggs.
As only the abstract is publicly available, one can only speculate what the high fat diet was that was fed to rats in this latest tudy. In other rodent "high fat" studies where I have been able to see the details of the diets, the fats used have often been trans-fat filled shortening. Many of these "high fat" diets also supply the carbohydrates that fill out the diet in the form of sugar water or pure fructose.
But whatever the rats actually ate in this latest study, it has huge flaws, starting with the idea that we can measure the "cognitive performance" of a rat in a way that has any implications for human cognitive function and moving on to the fact that the measurements were taken after a very brief exposure to a high fat diet--slightly more than a week.
We know that in humans who are put on a low carbohydrate/high fat diet, there is a period, often lasting up to two weeks, in which the intense metabolic changes that occur, including dropping blood sugars, can lead to temporary mental fuzziness. However, as anyone who has eaten a low carb diet for more than two weeks knows, that short term mental fuzziness is far different from permanent cognitive decline, and once the body stabilizes on the new diet, the result is enhanced mental clarity.
For a human to achieve permanent cognitive decline via diet, they have to eat a high carbohydrate/low fat diet for an extended period. That is because it is the high carbohydrate, low fat diet that, over years of exposure, raises blood sugar high enough to damage the vascular system in the brain. A persistent low fat intake also deprives the body of the fats that are vital for the production of the hormones essential to cognition, like estrogen, and for repair of the tissues in the brain for which cholesterol is essential.
This latest rat study also claims that the high fat diet destroys the rats' ability to exercise (hence the headline reference to high fat intake making "us" "lazy".) To understand how silly the claim is that a high fat intake is damaging to human fitness, you need only read the training manual sent home nowadays with college football players. I saw one when my son was on a college football team. The dietary recommendations? Eat high protein/low carbohydrate foods (which implies a higher fat intake) except before games. Trainers who are graded on their trainee's performance have learned that low fat/high carbohydrate diets are the worst regimen on which to build lean body mass and increase fitness.
But pointing out human results to these low fat fanatics is as effective as it was to tell those Japanese troops fighting on into the 1950s in jungle island enclaves that WWII was over. Having given committed their professional lives to this theory, they will die fighting for it, no matter how much evidence accumulates that their theory is fatally wrong.
Fortunately, human cognition is such that you don't have to take the word of anyone about the impact of a high fat/low carbohydrate diet on your own brain. Eat a low carb diet for three weeks and see what happens to your thinking. If you are like most people with diabetes, it will get clearer, your moods will get rosier, and your creative output will rise.
To counter this latest burst of media disinformation, I'd love it if some of my readers who eat high fat/lowered carbohydrate diets would use the comment section that follows this post to list some of their recent intellectual accomplishments.