Last month, I shared two great videos which busted the Cholesterol Myth. After writing the post, I got a flood of emails. The typical comment? “If saturated fat and cholesterol don’t cause heart disease, what does?”
I’ve answered that question here at Food Renegade often enough, so I didn’t feel immediately compelled to write a separate post answering that good (but beaten to death) question. But today (thanks to blogger Ed Bruske @ The Slow Cook) I discovered a video presentation that answers the question quite nicely.
It’s a talk given by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, MD, a UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.” The reasons I love this talk? First: the man’s a doctor at a prestigious university teaching and doing research in the field of endocrinology. If anyone is qualified to speak authoritatively on this subject, it would be him. So, if your friends or your family don’t want to hear it from you, other bloggers, science journalists like Gary Taubes, or those in the alternative medicine community, perhaps they’ll actually listen to him. Second: He tackles not just heart disease, but diabetes, obesity, and high-blood pressure. In other words, he shows the connection between dietary intake of sugar (specifically acute fructose) and the root causes of these diseases of industrialization.
Someone truly on the Real Food bandwagon wouldn’t stop at fructose. They’d start discussing dietary ratios of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats and point out the protective quality of pre-industrial, traditional foods. They’d make a case not just for a high fat diet, but eating quality fats gleaned from a natural banqueting table (i.e. wild-caught seafood, grass-fed meats, raw & pastured dairy). They might even point out the dangers of consuming grains, particularly improperly prepared grains. They’d emphasize the need for eating living and fermented foods to support proper digestion and mental health.
Dr. Lustig doesn’t do any of that. And maybe that’s another reason I like this talk. The man is not on the Real Food bandwagon. He’s on the Science bandwagon, basically asking “what does the science really show?” So to listen to his talk, you don’t have to have a completely different food worldview. His science is accessible even to those in love with the Standard American Diet, those who have no objection to the industrialization of our food supply. It’s just plain old science, debunking the cholesterol & saturated fat myths, pointing out the dangers of our excessively high sugar consumption.
Hopefully, it can serve as a wake up call that can start others on the journey to eating Real Food. But, in the very least, it can answer that singular question, “Well, if it’s not cholesterol and saturated fat, what does cause heart disease?”
(photo by dbjorn)