Diets… Low Fat, High Protein, Low Cholesterol, Low Dairy, Low Meat, 5 A Day, Food Pyramid… A quick search in google and it seems everything is potentially bad for you and knowing the right diet, and separating fact from hyperbole, is not easy.
For me as a yoga teacher and therapist, indeed as a human as well, its an area which I am cautious about getting too far into as the nuances are often difficult to follow and get lost amid conflicting claims and counter claims.
However, we all need food for sustenance? And most, if not all of us, would like that food to be healthy? So theres no getting away from the issue.
This isn’t a diet book per se, and alas there is no eat-as-much-fat-as-you-like-and-loose-loads-of-weight diet in this book! However it is a review of the science behind the “diet-heart hypothesis”, and the linked ” cholesterol hypotheses” the area of nutritional science that considers dietary fats and correlates them with mortality and cardiovascular health.
We’re mostly familiar with this – eat fats > ingest cholesterol > put on weight > arteries block > heart disease – however increasingly its seen as not so simple. Basically there are fats and fats – good ones and not so good ones, and diary and red meat may not be the villains they have been portrayed to be, yet the innocent sweet refined white sugar is anything but. Underlying this the link between ingested cholesterol and blood cholesterol is now questioned. Oh dear, and we thought we were doing so well?
As I say this is not a diet book, but a review of the research, politics and personalities that have dominated nutritional science over the last century. Its written by a journalist who was confused by the topic and decided to go into it further. In honesty it doesn’t make pretty reading, and a lot of the established nutritional wisdom that underpins our weekly shop may be suspect.
Really if this is a field that interests you, then you need to read widely. This book is a good one. Read Malcolm Kendrick’s The Great Cholesterol Con, and Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin as well. From here you start to see that the position is not as clear cut as food vendors and Public Health Services would have us believe. As such I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn a bit more about this area.