Red snapper with orange-avocado salsa and coconut rice

Red snapper with orange-avocado salsa and coconut rice

Protein and fat are your enemies—or are they?

Dr. Dean Ornish has championed the benefits of very low-fat, high-carbohydrate, vegetarian diets for preventing and reversing heart disease. Protein and fat are the enemies of a healthy heart. I put up a web page  after reading Dean Ornish’s recent editorial in the New York Times that blamed Americans’ high rate of obesity on too much fat and protein in their diets.

But Scientific American in an April 22, 2015 article takes issue.  The article takes the position that the research Ornish cites to back up his claims is “tenuous at best”. “There’s little evidence to suggest that we need to avoid protein and fat.”  It notes that “nutrition is complex but there is little evidence our country’s worsening metabolic ills are the fault of protein or fat. If anything, our attempts to eat less fat in recent decades have made things worse.” So I added another page to the site that covers the Scientific American .

Here we have another example of diametrically opposing positions, supposedly based on evidence, out in the ether. Can they both be correct? After reading through some of the links included in the Scientific American article, I now think it more valid and better supported at least regarding nutrition. However, diet represents only one component of Ornish’s program. The others are exercise, stress management and support from family and friends. And you can take action to help your self via the Ornish program.

But a larger issue is still evident. The human body and human behavior still retain much mystery and few incontrovertible studies that support all the rampant diet claims. When using information to make important lifestyle decisions we should be cautious enough to look for contradictory evidence.