Be aware of the dangers of fallible expert opinion

I wrote the following letter to the Irish Times on the 27th of September 2017 in response to the an article entitled Beware the rise of unqualified self-styled ‘nutrition experts’.  It may not get published but I put some effort into it so I may as well post it here for anyone interested in reading it.

Dear Editor,

I refer to the article above regarding self styled nutrition experts (see link above).

I would argue that “infallible” expert opinion can be far more dangerous than any fad diet. If you Google “the sugar scandal” you will see what the result of expert opinion has led to in the field of nutrition I.e. The low-fat / high-carb ethos that has plagued the world for over a half century contributing to a shocking crisis whereby now we have 700 million people globally suffering from obesity,  2/3 of Irish adults either obese or overweight and a growing obesity problem among children. Beyond obesity, we have almost a million people at risk of type 2 diabetes in this country alone, because of our extremely high-carb diets (readers, take this in: starch is sugar too). Expert opinion has been a disastrous because it is often seen as infallible and thus propagated as the truth, however history shows us that the “truth” often ends up being wrong. This is one of the key things that retards human progress.  Expert opinion should always be questioned. Experts thought the world was flat and that the sun circled the earth and were pretty vicious to the few who thought different, even though the evidence was there.  The same thing happened with Dr. Atkins’ Diet, he was ridiculed, yet ketogenic diets are now being used safely by many to help with various conditions.

It seems that governments, health institutes, diabetes organisations etc are finally recognising that high carb (remember, not just sugar but starch too) are a problem when you look at a diet holistically but there are still problems with the education e.g. The food pyramid referenced in the article, has bananas on the bottom rung along with brocolli. These are vastly different from an energy, fibre and micronutrient point of view and if part of the 5-7 a day what should the person choose? 7 bananas or other high sugar fruits and have to deal with all that fructose and starch?

Ms Feighan is correct in that there are too few dieticians in this country and that serious medical conditions require proper training to diagnose and treat with diet. However, advice to individuals that want to lose weight must be welcomed by pioneers who have demonstrated healthy weight loss themselves and inspired people to do the same for themselves. I am one of these individuals, I lost 7 stones of fat and won an amateur kettlebell world championships. I wrote a book about how I did it called Don’t Eat for Winter, which was endorsed by one of your regular contributors, Dr. Mark Rowe, and my readers have been reporting significant weigh losses to date.  I could fall under the self-styled nutritionist umbrella and my diet could be called a fad diet, but yet I’m getting regular reports of people losing weight, from an american soldier losing 19lbs, to a british athlete cutting for competition, to a local mid 50s female losing 14lbs in a few weeks, self described as despairing of ever losing weight.

My ethos is simple, look to nature, there’s no starch in March, and carbs only exist in abundance in nature in late summer and autumn for about 3 months spiking in a sugar maximum in September. They are the major macro-nutrient variable in nature (especially where we evolved). It is very obvious from this spike that carbs work with our bodies to trigger fat storage for winter to fuel our bodies and to insulate them for winter.  They make us gorge and pile on fat and that’s backed up with solid research. The problem is we now live in an infinite autumn and winter never comes and so chronic weight gain is the result. We have no hope of escape and the plethora of weight related illnesses our society endures will continue, as long as experts encourage this environment.  We need to stop eating carbs in every meal and snack.  I’m not saying no carbs at all, just bring it back to the minimum of the dietary reference intake, especially for those with sedentary lifestyles, and keep to 1 to 2 times a day and see what happens e.g. replace cereal or toast with an omelette for breakfast.


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Author of Don't Eat for Winter. 2 time European, pan-American and World amateur kettlebell champion. who went from an obese 115kg to a fit and healthy 78kg through his 5 year journey of discovery around nutrition and exercise. I believe that we will see an avalanche of fat fall from the Earth as people escape from the infinite autumn through The DEFoW Diet concept.