Sunday, March 11, 2007
Warning: Milk Might Be Harmful to Children
How would you like that headline on your dairy case? Or instead of "Got Milk?" on posters, they end up reading "Got Trans Fat?" No doubt the trans fat ban enthusiasts would love to extend the ban to include all things dairy and beef, if they could. The insistence by law that all bakeries in New York must ban butter due to its high trans fat content is having an interesting ripple effect with the public - maybe there's too much government intervention here at controlling people's diet. Maybe there's little data to support the claims that people, not lab rats, will have a lower incidence of heart disease with the implementation of a trans fat ban.
Imagine if the New York City government were to ban the Adkin's diet because it contains too much trans fat? Would we want that, too? I would find that intervention too excessive, alright, especially given the recent study that the Adkin's diet with its highest protein and fats (yes, trans fats, too) was the most effective at promoting weight loss and lowering blood pressure amongst four popular diets tested head-to-head over a 12-month period. Interestingly, other studies in 2002 have demonstrated that the Adkin's diet was also more effective at lowering serum cholesterol that the American Heart Association's recommended diet as well.
But how does one explain this? How could a diet high in fats and protein possibly promote weight loss?
It's simple: because weight loss is not dependent on the fat content of our food. Rather, it is most associated with the presence of the anabolic hormone insulin. Insulin is a major determinant of the sensation of hunger and converting carbohydrates to fat. Adkins knew this. He promoted it for years. But many wouldn't listen. His theory flew in the face of the various dietary groups promoting quick, ready-to-eat, nutritious breakfasts with lots of vitamins and nutrients (and carbohydrates). Remember Carnation "Instant Breakfast?" Stirred with milk, you had the fast and furious super-sweet breakfast that gave you the energy and nutrients to conquer the day! And enough carbohydrates (24 grams even in their no added sugar variety) to stimulate the additional secretion of insulin to stimulate hunger after the bolus of carbohydrates was resorbed so you'd want to eat more and pack on the pounds!
Obesity and weight gain are directly correlated to the development of hypertension, diabetes, and the "metabolic syndrome," and as such, are significant contributors to the development of cardiovascular disease. Certainly genetics play a role, too. But whether the trans fat ban will have any effect on the improvement in the obesity epidemic by promoting increased carbohydrate consumption in America remains doubtful.