1825 French lawyer and gourmand Brillant-Savarin publishes The Physiology of Taste, in which he says he has identified the cure for obesity: "More or less rigid abstinence from everything that is starchy or floury."
1830 Sugar consumption in the US: 15 pounds per capita, much of it molasses. Today: 150 pounds per capita, much of it high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
1863 William Banting published Letter On Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. Banting had lost 85 pounds on a high fat, carbohydrate-restricted diet. The British Medical Journal and Lancet reported that Banting's diet could be dangerous: "We advise Mr Banting, and everyone of his kind, not to meddle with medical literature again, but be content to mind his own business."
1910 Lifetime risk of type II diabetes: 1 in 30. The lifetime risk today is 1 in 3 according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta.
1934 Blood test for cholesterol developed. (Because cholesterol could be measured, it wasn’t long before it got the blame!)
1937 Columbia University biochemists David Rittenberg & Rudolph Schoenheimer demonstrated that dietary cholesterol had very little effect on blood cholesterol. Although never refuted, for thirty years, the federal Dietary Guidelines have restricted dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams a day.
1948 Vegetable fat consumption: 28 pounds per capita. By 1976: 55 pounds. As obesity and diabetes became public health problems, our consumption of highly processed vegetable fat, including tran fatty acids, climbed sreadily and our consumption of fat from animals declined.
1950 Using a newly invented one-of-a-kind centrifuge, University of California medical scientist John Gofman discovered several fat-like substances circulating in the blood, including LDL and VLDL. At this time - 60 years ago - he reported that total cholesterol (TC) was a "dangerously poor predictor" of heart disease.
1951 The Practise of Endocrinology, a textbook published by seven prominent British clinicians. The weight loss recommendations were almost identical to Banting's. Foods to be avoided: Bread and everything else made with flour; cereals, including breakfast cereals and milk puddings; potatoes and all other root vegetables; foods containing sugar and all sweets.
1953 Ancel Keys, convinced that dietary fat is the cause of heart disease, published his Six Country Analysis, suggesting an association between dietary fat and mortality from heart disease. Critics pointed out that Keys had data for 22 countries, but selected data from just 6. (As an example, Keys excluded France, a country with a high fat diet and low rates of heart disease.) Keys cheated!
1955 President Eisenhower suffers a first heart attack at age 64. He was put on a highly publicized low fat, low cholesterol diet. Over the next six weeks, twice daily press conferences were held on the president's condition. His total cholesterol at the time of the attack was 165 ml/dl. Eisenhower was ordered to eat dry toast and Sanka for breakfast and eat only 1 egg per week. His cholesterol continued to climb on a low fat, low cholesterol diet until it reached 259 the day he left office. Eisenhower had several more heart attacks and eventually died of heart disease.
1955 John Gofman reported that carbohydrates elevate VLDL - the lipoprotein that transports blood fats (triglycerides) made in the liver from excess carbohydrates. Gofman wrote, "Restricting carbohydrates would lower VLDL." Excess carbs = elevated triglycerides = more VLDL = increased risk of heart disease. John Peters, Yale School of Medicine, using a new analytical centrifuge, was able to quantify the triglyceride concentration in VLDL, confirming the work of Gofman.
1956 John Gofman reports that the majority of people with heart disease had elevated triglycerides (TG) and depressed HDL - not “high cholesterol.” Gofman blamed heart disease on “Carbohydrate Induced Lipemia.” His research was largely ignored.
1957 Hilde Bruch, the foremost authority on childhood obesity wrote: "The great progess in dietary control of obesity was the recognition that meat was not fat producing; but that it was bread and sweets which lead to obesity."1961 Pete Ahrens of Rockefeller University and Margaret Albrink of Yale reported that elevated triglycerides were associated with increased risk of heart disease and that low fat, high carbohydrate diets elevated triglycerides. Carbs - not fat - increased the risk of heart disease.
1976 Senator George McGovern's bipartisan, extra legislative Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs conducts 2 days of contentious hearings on “Diet and Killer Diseases.” Staffers are lawyers and ex-journalists without scientific training. In Good Calories, Bad Calories, Gary Taubes reports that McGovern and his staff went into the hearings strongly biased in favor of Keys' anti-fat hypothesis.
1977 After conducting six additional hearings, McGovern's Senate Select Committee issues the final version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For the first time, an agency of the U.S. federal government is telling the American people to eat less fat. Nick Mottern, a vegetarian, whose heroes included Ancel Keys and Jeremiah Stamler, was given the task of writing the first ever Dietary Goals for the United States.
1980 Obesity levels in the US had remained between 12 to 14 percent from 1960 to 1980. After 1980 – and especially after 1990 – obesity grew dramatically. Today 49 states have obesity rates over 20 percent. (Colorado is under 20 percent.)
1984 Anthony Gotto, president, American Heart Association, said, “If everyone went ahead with cholesterol-lowering, we will conquer atherosclerosis by the year 2000." Although millions of people are taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, the incidence of heart disease has not gone down as promised. Since the year 2000, five (5) new specialty heart hospitals costing more than $250 million dollars have been built just in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul.
1987 Mevacor, the first cholesterol-lowering statin drug, was approved in record time. Statin drugs reduce both cholesterol and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). The muscles and heart use the most CoQ10. It isn’t surprising then that the incidence of congestive heart failure has more than doubled since 1990. (Merck has a patent on combining CoQ10 with a statin, but they have been sitting on it for decades.)
1988 After 20 years researching carbohydrate metabolism, Gerald Reavan, MD, University of California, announces his discovery of “Syndrome X,” now referred to as Metabolic Syndrome or diabetes-related heart disease. Syndrome X is a cluster of abnormalities, including high blood sugar, high insulin levels, elevated triglycerides, and depressed levels of protective HDL. In his book Syndrome X, Dr. Reaven said the culprit in heart disease is excess sugar and excess easily-digested carbohydrates - not red meat.
1999 At the 14 year point in the Harvard Nurses Study, 3,000 nurses had developed cancer. According to study leader Walter Willett, the less fat the nurses ate the greater their risk of cancer. Willet said, “Saturated fat seems to be protective…” Even though dietary fat was exonerated, the American Cancer Society continues to blame red meat and fat on cancer – not sugar or excess carbohydrates.
2005 More than 30 percent of all Americans are clinically obese and revenue from the health club industry reaches $16 billion. Nearly 40 million Americans belong to health clubs. The exercise boom is failing to curb obesity, diabetes, or the incidence of heart disease. Science writer Gary Taubes is making a compelling argument that exercise helps you "work up an appetite."
2008 Sugar consumption in the US: 150 pounds per capita. With the 2010 Dietary Guideline revision process in their gunsights, the Corn Growers Association is spending $20 to $30 million on an 18 month TV ad campaign "targeting mothers" with the reassuring message that HFCS is perfectly okay for toddlers and children - young citizens whose lifetime risk of diabetes is 1 in 3.
2009 In the first six months of the year, the health care industry spent $263 million lobbying to protect their "health care" income. According to the October 7, 2009 USA Today, hospitals, doctors groups, device makers, and other trade groups are fighting hard to "protect their Fiefdoms." The U.S. "Disease Management Monopoly" is getting richer - a result of (1) an aging population and (2) a sharply higher incidence of chronic disease.
2010 The 2010 Dietary Guidelines continued their low fat = good health mantra. Unlike the media intensity over "health care reform," the 13-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) conducted its business behind closed doors. Though the DGAC is charged with basing their revision on the "Preponderance of the scientific and medical evidence," the evidence in favor of a higher fat diet was simply ignored.
2013 In 2013 in Dallas, the American Heart Association is inviting 33,000 cardiac experts - professionals who continue to follow the low fat Gospel according to Keys - to their grand annual conference. The city of Dallas has agreed to build a lavish new 1,100 bed "Four Star" hotel. A rightfully proud Mr. Phillip Jones, president and Ceo of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the event will generate an estimated $86 million for the city of Dallas. No surprise here. The AHA is a fundraising superstar with assets over $1 billion. The CEO earns over $500,000 annually - a tidy sum for the head cop of the low fat Dietary Guidelines.