I've been talking about the myths surrounding high fat in the article section lately, and how ridiculous it is that the medical community, especially dietitians, keep pushing low fat diets based upon some ideas that have never been shown to be true and have actually been shown to be completely false.
A lot of people are familiar with that these days though, more and more as people get informed more from material on the internet, and there is a lot of it out there on this subject, looking at the evidence rather than just going with what medical authorities tell us.
There is actually a branch of medicine called evidence based or functional medicine, the fact that there are practitioners who call the medicine they practice evidence based or functional does say a lot about the other side, the kind the overwhelming majority of practitioners practice, which is non evidence based, and also dysfunctional.
I really like the term dysfunctional medicine in fact, it certainly describes the practice, but non evidence based medicine is even better, I think I will refer it to this from now on. They don't need evidence to make their claims, their treatments aren't based upon evidence either, and even when the evidence piles up against them, well evidence doesn't matter at all.
There is also the dysfunctional side of it too, if we're looking to improve health then you would think we would look to improve the body's functioning, but dysfunctional medicine ignores this stuff and just tries to override the body, fighting against it rather than helping it, and in fact a lot of the things we fight are actually the body's attempts to heal, this is what can happen when we don't treat diseases, we just treat symptoms.
So in addition to the myths about fat, there is also myths about protein. This is actually eerily similar to what's behind the fat myth, insofar as they feel that eating fat temporarily raises blood lipids, but when you look deeper, while they increase them, they actually improve them, and no one cares that all the studies, and there has been a huge amount of them, all show that eating dietary fat in any amount does not contribute to heart disease.
So let's go to a site which is run by non evidence based physicians to see what they have to say about this. This is actually a doctor run site which is out to promote vegetarianism, so this is certainly biased against high protein, although their views are generally shared by the dysfunctional medical community at large.
They say that protein places a strain on the kidneys, which simply isn't true and it hasn't been shown to be true, they come to this conclusion though by citing the fact that people with kidney disease do better when they avoid high protein diets, and this does seem to be the case but it only makes sense that sick kidneys aren't able to function normally.
This is a lot like saying that since diabetics can't eat potatoes because it puts their blood sugar up too much, then even healthy people should not eat potatoes.
While this hypothesis of theirs is half baked at best, we still need to look at the evidence here, and when we do, when we see how high protein affects the kidney, people with healthy kidneys do just fine on very high protein diets even.
Still though, they don't care, this is non evidence based medicine after all, they just make these guesses that usually are pretty stupid ones, and don't care at all what evidence we have to show they are false.
They also cite the fact that high protein diets cause cancer, but they cite the fact that societies that eat more meat have been shown to have higher rates of cancer, but that's not real evidence for anything, there are all sorts of other variables between these societies that could weigh in on this and we can't just use raw correlations like this to say anything. This is like saying watching TV causes cancer because there's more cancer in the countries with lots of TV watching.
When we look at the evidence we have here on this, this includes a bizarre interpretations of a study which recommends protein restriction between age 54-65 and after you hit age 65 you can consume all you want, this was based upon a one day feeding though and they did some tests based upon that and it led to some truly ridiculous conclusions, as if protein did increase the risk of cancer like they claim, elderly people, who are more susceptible to cancer generally, would be the most at risk.
The most famous study in fact on this has been a mouse study which did suggest some possible concerns, but while mouse and rat studies can be informative, they are not substitutes for human studies, and when we look at the actual human studies that we've done, their assumptions become disproved actually. Perhaps if you are a mouse, you shouldn't be getting ridiculously high amounts of protein, but that's about it.
So we do have studies which show that the long term consumption of protein doesn't cause cancer at all and in fact may be protective, so when people look at the whole picture, the pros and cons, they might at least think that the jury is still out on this, but that's because the anti protein people aren't interpreting the evidence we have on this properly and don't even bother looking at all the evidence to the contrary, because that would interfere with their axe grinding.
A lot of these people are out to promote vegetarianism actually, but there was a large study on vegetarians that showed that a diet like this increased, not decreased, the risk of cancer. There have been other studies that have shown that meat consumption provides many health benefits including decreasing rates of cancer. So when you look at the whole picture, there's no real reason for concern here and we eat less meat in fact than we used to, and get more cancer, so it's not like this is going the other way like things are with the way carb intake has escalated in step with many other diseases, including cancer.
The big thing here to look at, and it's not one they look at, is the fact that if you reduce protein, you're going to need to replace it with something else, and they don't want you to eat fat either, so this means higher carbs, and higher carbs are associated with a lot of negative outcomes including increasing risk of cancer, but they don't want to bother looking at that, and this makes no sense.
Then there's the claim that protein may cause osteoporosis, and that's an easy one to deal with, because that's only the case with very lean meat, when you consume meat with fat in it this doesn't happen. Soy protein really causes this as well, the kind of stuff very popular with vegetarians, and something everyone should avoid.
So in the end, the popular view by the dysfunctional medical community is fraught with myths and distorted thinking, as is sadly so typical of them.