we are fat

As more and more workers prepare to go back to the office, more and more workers are discovering they don't fit into their work clothes anymore.

A recent article in this newspaper theorized that obesity is caused by a chemical in plastic. Or was it a pesticide?

What?

Sounds to me like a smokescreen to obscure the actual cause of our terrible obesity epidemic: carbohydrates.

For at least the past 50 years, the vast majority of the medical community and federal agencies have pushed a diet high in carbohydrate and low in fat.

The theory underlying this advice is that a diet high in fat, especially saturated fats (animal source), cause elevated fats in our blood, like cholesterol and triglyceride, that then cause heart attacks, stroke and obesity.

It sounds good, but the problem is that there is no quality evidence to support it.

In fact, there is ample, quality evidence that the opposite is true.

That is, a diet high in saturated fat (meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) and very low in carbohydrate (sugar, bread, pasta, sodas, potatoes, etc.) has been shown to improve the quality of our lives, reduce obesity and effectively treat diabetes type 2.

Most of us will find this hard to believe. That’s because what we choose to eat is based on faith in current recommendations, culture and capital financial interests, instead of science.

I practiced medicine here for 27 years and now I’m ashamed to admit that I, too, parroted the party line; “Reduce calories, eat less, exercise more.”

Hopefully no one listened. (Probably safe there.)

My Epiphany came with my annual “wellness exam” this spring.

The results set off flashing red dashboard lights for blood pressure, fasting glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Oops.

But I felt OK and didn’t think of myself as obese, so no worries.

Then that check engine light came on, so I decided to get smarter.

The best synopsis of my summer sojourn into nutrition is provided by the American Academy of Family Medicine publication, “Nutrition Myths and Healthy Dietary Advice,” available online.

Notice the fine print near the top: “Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.” (God bless family docs.)

Scroll down to “Key Recommendations: Diets higher in fat produce and sustain as much or more weight loss than low-fat or calorie-restricted diets. Evidence rating A: whole foods containing saturated fat (eg. dairy products) are inversely associated with incident cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.”

I doubt that this information will change our medicine profession’s group thinking on diet anytime soon, though.

How many centuries did it take us to realize that bloodletting and leeches weren’t that helpful?

Bruce Ball retired from 25 years of emergency medical practice — all of it at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital — in 2006. He lives in the Ahtanum Valley, where he raises beef and hay.