Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Are Fad Diets a Passing Fad??

I ran across this wonderful article this week, and so timely.  There has been lots of chatter in the blogosphere and social media sites regarding the numerous new nutritional articles that have been appearing in the journals recently.  This explains the fair amount of pushback, as some nutritional authorities continue to grasp on to their theories.

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 [1]. 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:
Here's another quote from Feinman's paper:

"A final example can be found in, a

subsidiary of WebMD. Although 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” [7]—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.

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