If you’re concerned about maintaining your overall health, Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. CNS said it’s time to get rid of antiquated ideas about healthy diets
By Jonny Bowden
Nutrition myth-buster Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS said Americans are fighting for their health but it’s not a virus that concerns him.
“Much like the story of the straw that broke the camel’s back, the straw in itself is not a lethal weapon. But the story shows that even a straw can be destructive if there are widespread underlying factors,” he explained. “We have an epidemic of underlying conditions here in the U.S. We are metabolically broken.”
The real pandemic is metabolic syndrome
Bowden said many underlying health conditions including heart disease, prediabetes, lung and kidney diseases all have a cardio-metabolic component.
“Add another stressor to this mix, and you can easily reach a tipping point. Without those conditions, many of us would do much better when faced with an outside microbial challenge. But the way things are, many people aren’t physically strong enough to fight it off.”
The cluster of obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevated triglyceride levels is called metabolic syndrome.
“Metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance syndrome, is a pandemic that has been here for a long time. As a nation, we’re becoming more obese. We’re developing Type 2 diabetes at younger ages, and we’ve got blood pressure and other issues (like inflammation) all related to cardiovascular disease. We’re perfect candidates to get much sicker than we might otherwise be if we’re exposed to nasty diseases.”
Bowden, whose revised edition of his best-seller, “The Great Cholesterol Myth” co-authored with Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D. just came out, said that many of these underlying conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, may be prevented or even reversed with a higher fat diet.
The most unprecedented experiment in history
Bowden said the rise in metabolic syndrome rates tracks perfectly with the low-fat, high-carb diet we were told to eat in the 1980s.
“The unfair demonization of healthy dietary fats caused us to embark on the most unprecedented nutritional experiment in history! Our low-cholesterol, low-fat diet, coupled with our sedentary lifestyle, literally created an epidemic of underlying health conditions.”
How did things get so off track? Bowden said we need to look no further than current headlines to understand the forces that shape health policies.
“There are political and economic pressures to cut corners and fast track a vaccine because everyone is panicked. A similar thing was happening in 1953 when President
Eisenhower suddenly had a heart attack while in office. But at the time, heart disease was not rampant as it is today. People were shocked and scared that such a thing could happen to their beloved president.”
“The country was in a kind of panic. What caused the heart attack? What could we do to reduce the risk of having one ourselves? People wanted answers and there weren’t any.
Committees were formed where guidelines were argued about. There was no real science to support the low-fat guidelines that were being pushed through, but there was enormous pressure to get the guidelines done. So, they created guidelines that, as we now know, were not based on science.
“They were wrong, and we’ve been living with the consequences ever since: a nation that is largely fat, sick, tired and depressed. Science has now proven that saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease.”
“You wouldn’t continue to take the same vaccine year after year if it was ineffective,” he reasoned. “Why would we continue on a low-fat diet if it isn’t effective?”
Be very careful about ingredient prejudice
Bowden encouraged Americans to educate themselves, and consider why they are still avoiding certain foods and ingredients, or eating them because they are marketed to be healthy.
“For example, palm oil gets blamed for heart disease because it’s a partially saturated fat. You see it listed on many so-called health websites as a fat to avoid. But guess what? Study after study has shown that palm oil is rich in nutrients and does not contribute to inflammation.”
He added, “The issue of animal fats, and even the totally vegetarian palm oil, often raises environmental issues. I only buy Malaysian palm oil because it is sustainably produced and no orangutan habitats are harmed. The truth is, growing soy and rapeseed (canola) is way more environmentally destructive.”
Speaking of cholesterol, is it time to retire the HDL/LDL test?
We are advised to know our numbers. But which ones?
“It’s important to know the ones that matter,” Bowden stressed.
For example, “high cholesterol” is really not a medical condition at all, but a number on a lab test; a lab test that is ancient history and is long overdue to be retired. Bowden said that replacing the HDL/LDL tests with more modern and accurate tests is one of the most important messages of the new book.
“We now have technology that enables us to clearly identify at least 13 different subtypes of cholesterol. These new tests tease out heart disease risk factors that have been hiding in plain sight for decades, yet doctors are mostly still measuring cholesterol the old-fashioned way which is often inefficient and inaccurate.”
Two such tests are the NMR LipoProfile test and the LP-IR test.
“The NMR test is state-of-the-art technology that evaluates cholesterol particle size. Small, dense LDL particles are more dangerous than larger, fluffy ones. The LP-IR test gives you a calculated score for insulin resistance. If you catch insulin resistance early enough, you can prevent a staggering number of heart attacks.”
Instead of feeling powerless, find your motivation
Bowden encourages you to let go of fear and focus on strengthening your metabolism, immunity and resilience.
“We’ve been led in the wrong direction by so many experts. It’s time to rethink this path. Change your diet to start managing your blood sugar. Take steps to manage your blood pressure. Find ways to move. Our country’s current health situation is a perfect occasion to start making daily changes and sticking to them.”
You can find more information about saturated fats and heart disease, as well as the environmental impact of common dietary fats, on www.PalmOilHealth.org.
Biography: Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, also known as “The Nutrition Myth-Buster” ™ is a nationally known board-certified nutritionist and expert on diet and weight loss. He has appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show,” Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS as an expert on nutrition/ He has contributed to articles in The New York Times, Forbes, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair Online, Men’s Health, Prevention and dozens of other print and online publications.
Bowden is the best-selling author of 15 books including “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Living Low Carb” (now in its fourth edition), “Smart Fat “(with Steven Masley, MD), “The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer,” and his latest, “The Great Cholesterol Myth: Revised and Updated Edition.’ (co-written with cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD).
Follow him @jonnybowden
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