Dr. Richard D. Feinman has written this journal article about fad diets, and the use of the terms "fad" and "healthy". Is it time we discontinue such words when describing diets? Here's some of the intro:
“Fad” is not a scientific term and is clearly contentious.
Conversely, the widely used term “healthy” is also not
scientific. The two terms, like positive and negative
electrical charge, are probably defined by their being
opposites. The real criterion for a fad diet, however, is that
you do not like it. Fad diets are the other guy’s diet. This
may mean everybody, as in the case of the American Heart
Association’s No-Fad Diet, which thinks all other diets are
fads . In practical terms, there are two kinds of fad diets:
1) those that have some quirky feature, which hardly
anybody adheres to (unlike fads in fashion), and 2) the bête
noire of the nutritional establishment, the Atkins diet. Or
more generally, any form of low-carbohydrate diet. What
rankles researchers is that such diets outperform “healthy”
diets for however long they are compared."
Are we really ready to move beyond all the recent hullabaloo that started with the Atkins program and continues to this day? I am not so sure. Some believe that the whole dominant nutritional paradigm is ready to crash down. Others believe that they will never see such a change in their lifetime.
Maybe the solution is that we could have kinder, gentler nutrition experts? Maybe a kinder, gentler Dr. Oz, when he goes after guests like Gary Taubes?
I was especially surprised by reading the position of Dr. Robert Eckel concerning a low-carb diet. Amazing! You can see his alternative plan here: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3031890
Here's another quote from Feinman's paper:
"A final example can be found in TheHeart.org, a
subsidiary of WebMD. Although TheHeart.org is not a
scientific journal, the publication of the statement by
Dr. Robert Eckel (former president of the American Heart
Association)—that he is “vehemently opposed to any such
outcomes study with Atkins” —seems to have crossed
some line in resistance to new information."
Despite what their website promises, I don't think TheHeart can be trusted. Let's hope they change their message.