Monday, December 27, 2010

Walter Willett: Do 2 Wrongs Make a Right?

Do 2 wrongs make a right?

Toast to the Scumbags
Kanye feat. Pusha T

It is often funny all the things that so-called brilliant Harvard chairpeople say... Dr. Willett MD **like me** studied 'conventional' food science as an undergrad (him, Michigan State; me, UC Berkeley). I would guess that both our studies taught us nothing except he didn't get the low-fat agenda because that was prior to 1977. At least I believe I learned how to read nutritional studies... or in other words learned how to read between the lines. Mmmhh... Willett?? I'm not certain he would recognize 'bad science' since he is a premier epidemiologist... Is epidemiology a lost field?

That Paleo Guy aka Jamie Scott at his (newer) blog recently talked about Dr. Willett's apparent reversal on carbs when he was quoted in the LA Times HERE. I like Jamie's points of contention.

On one hand Dr. Willett defends tropical (fruit) saturated fats like coconut oil recognizing that 'coconut oil has a powerful HDL-boosting effect' (see HERE Harvard letter response #3) yet in half of an instant later he proposes that we 'fatten up our diets' to 40% with [HDL-lowering] PUFAs and monounsaturated oils like soybean, corn and canola and VEHEMENTLY eschews saturated fats to no more than a threshold level of maximum 8% daily. He's a strong proponent of replacing 5% of carbs with more PUFAs like corn, sun, soy, safflower oils and trans-fat free M-A-R-G-A-R-I-N-E. Yes. Lowering carbs will raise HDL. PUFAs on the other hand raise inflammatory and blood thickening markers and LOWER HDL-cholesterol levels. Omega-6 veggie oils are associated with death, all-cause mortality, cancer, infertility, obesity and chronic disease in epidemiology studies (if you are into those).

Eh? OMG Margarine isn't food!!! Even my children can tell you that.


Let's blow up his pyramid which he describes in both Harvard literature and in his book 'Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy.' The pyramid on the L-side is from GILLIAN, a paleo blogger; the R-side, Dr. Willett, his book and Harvard propaganda. See below.

[Edit: credits, fixed grudgepudge -- Thank you gilliebean and Sean]

What do you notice?

Things I did enjoy, admittedly, about the Willett The Healthy Eating Pyramid:
--inclusion of alcohol (yes, and not for everyone)
--inclusion of micronutrients and vitamin D supplementation
--daily play and exercise as the base and foundation of good health
--sparing use of sweets, candy, sugar
--mod to heavy use of fish, poultry, eggs (for CHOLESTEROL, CHOLESTEROL, CHOLESTEROL, taurine, omega-3, choline, B-vits, iodine, selenium, minerals, other vital nutrients)

What I vehemently disagree with and that the scientific evidence backs up:
--lack of saturated fats and the brain building block, cholesterol
--lack of saturated fat sources which contain CLA, vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin D, stigmasterol, and vitamin K2 (e.g. organ meats, red meat, fermented dairy, palm oil, etc)
--lack of saturated fats which raise HDLs and support the nervous and immune systems
--lack of red meat which our carnivore-like hunter-gatherer forebears thrived on
--excessive use of industrial mono- and polyunsaturated fats ('X' WRONG) which are industrial, overheated, over-solvented, pesticide-ridden crop byproducts
--reliance on whole-disease-inducing, gut-dysbiosing, phytate-, lectin-toxic grains ('X' WRONG)

In an article titled Time to Fatten Up Our Diet (Sept 2007), Dr. Willett advocates a higher fat diet of 40% with a maximum 8% saturated, leaving the rest monoun- and poly- (therefore I'd guestimate ~16% and ~16% respectively). WTF 16% OMEGA-6 POLYUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS?? I'd consider max 4-6%/day and mostly omega-3s ALA EPA DHA.

Other resources:

o Epidemiological studies (which I don't like but hey here they are here):

--Higher omega-6 associated with insulin resistance in ACS, omega-3 better HOMA (insulin resistance)

--Higher omega-6 associated with more mental retardation

--Rural Okayama women: in city girls higher omega-6 (lower omega-3) associated with lower HDLs compared with rural women

o Prospective human clinical trials (good studies -- macronutrients carbs and protein held generally constant unless noted):

--n=41 healthy men and women: higher dietary omega-6 oils lower HDLs dramatically, saturated fat raises HDLs (see table 3)

--n=10 septic shock patients in the ICU: n-6 lipid infusion impaired and worsened neutrophil function compared with n-3 lipid infusions. Not good in non-septic individuals either...

--n=26 healthy men: increasing omega-6 (linoleic acid, LA) increases CRP and IL-6 (inflammatory markers) though not statistically significant this time. Raising dietary omega-6 also lowers omega-3 RBC EPA levels (e.g. this is a BAD thing). The high n-6 diet produces the lowest protective HDL2 subfractions compared with n-3 and saturated fat. See table 3, 2nd column is I believe n-6 diet. HDL2 are the large, fluffy HDLs and most disease-protective 'good cholesterol' subfraction. Raising HDL2 is always good (unless it's a drug like the lethal torcetrapib and its cousins). The high saturated fat diet produced the lowest Lp(a) and von Willebrand factor (pro-inflammatory) levels. Omega-3 specifically raises HDL2.

--n=11 healthy men: @constant calories, low fat diet v. high fat raised VLDL and Triglycerides HERE. Low fat however did lowered omega-6 (LA) blood levels which may be the only perceived benefit if you discount the negative consequences (higher sdLDL and Trigs).

--n=58 healthy men and women: high n-6 diet (12.7% sunflower oil) produces the lowest HDL2 subfraction (p < 0.05). Wheras, baseline high saturated fat (19.3%) diet produces the best, highest HDLs. Isn't that a surprise. Authors conclusions [LOVE THIS] 'Both diets [15.1% mono-/rapeseed and 12.7% polyunsaturated/sunflower] lowered the level of HDL cholesterol in men but not in women.' *haa aha!* Sunflower oil will kill men faster than women! These authors are advanced. They also measured stigmasterol dietary content (see Table 2). Yes rapeseed contains stigmasterol. However. I'd prefer to obtain my stigmasterol pre-digested from grass-fed, pastured bovine, porcine and poultry sources (ghee, meat, egg yolks, etc), thankyouverymuchyoudietaryMORONS. See WAPF about stigmasterol=Wulzen Factor: the skinny on fats.

--n=15 Free living, college female students: both mutant soybean and commercial soybean oil diets significantly diminished HDLs compared with coconut oil in 3wk staggered feedings. 35% fat diet; did carbs go down? I dunno can't tell from the abstract. Trigs did so I suspect so. High fat usually translates to lower carbs (which should RAISE HDLs unless you are pounding soybean oil at 10% of dietary energy wtf).

o Good Calories, Bad Calories by G. Taubes -- description of Harvard, a playing field for the stalwarts of the low saturated fat dogma-drama that began with Ancel Keys (and his falsification/omission of critical data) and continuing with Harv-tard Dr. Frederick J. Stare MD, whose bed partners included all the big, refined, processed food industry leaders and lobbyists (Nabisco, Kellogg, etc).

o Interview by Taubes of Walter Willett for ScienceWatch

o Prior animal pharm in support of saturated fats from animals and tropical oils (hey our HDLs increased >> 100 mg/dl -- pharmaceuticals cannot compare) : Benefits of Sat Fats series


gallier2 said...

What shocked me the most, was an interview I read once of the #2 of Walter Willets team of "nutrition scientists". It's a pity I don't remember his name and I haven't the link (tried for months now to find it again), because it is very telling to the state of affairs. The guy told that he only recently discovered that sucrose was formed of half fructose, half glucose, a thing I knew when I was still at school and with no special interest in nutrition. Here comes a guy with incredible credentials working in the most prominent research unit on nutrition and doesn't even know the most basic things about sugar and they wonder why we lose respect for them?

Dr. B G said...


That is not surprising... I wonder if even WW (not wonder woman!) even understands the basics of nutr'l sci.

I say we all RUNAWAY from any counsel provided by Harv-tards (with the exception of perhaps only a few like Hu or Mozzafarian).

These chairpeople are physicians with little or no clinical practice expertise. Many do not understand the value of atherogenicity of lipoproteins like oxLDL or sdLDL or VLDL (BHL? VAP?? and other modern lab testing as employed by DR. Ronald Krauss MD and others). Their nutritional advise is detrimental and they are NOT trained to assess that.

Sad and a pity indeed. Because the average lay person (unlike you -- *haah aha!*) listens and respects their knowledge. We are indeed the sickest and most chronically ill because of the nutr'l foundation purported by so-called experts of this country.

Even my pharmacy students know of role of small dense LDL. They may not know it comes from carbs -- all excessive carbs whether its whole fruit or whole grains but at least they are AWARE of their existence. Can't say the same for Harv-tards...


praguestepchild said...

Loved the post but the pics were too small to make out. You ought to make them pics phat girl.

Dr. B G said...

Hey Sean

*haa ah* I'll try again but I'm not as tech savvy as I'd like to be... the links do work for the PDF of the pyramid. Bill needs to give me the original.... *hint hint*


Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Great post. I'm not that impressed with any of the "great" researchers out there, and the lauded ivy league universities can't be counted on for groundbreaking necessarily, though if there is a paradigm shift, they would have an easier time initiating it than us "amateur bloggers". Since they are beholden to others for their grant support, I don't think they are free to think, or to say what they think, freely and honestly. I'll be interested in what Krauss has to say in his hopefully soon to be published studies comparing different levels of carb and saturated fats in the diet, but I won't hold my breath.

BTW, I shot you an email a month or so ago that you apparently didn't get. Has your email changed?


Dr. B G said...

Hi Cynthia!

Happy New Year!!

I'm sorry I think the email got buried but I found it -- the site is up again *wink*... Dr. T is back...

Like you, I don't hold my breath either. Money talks and sssssssshh...

We must be our own advocates and for our families and communities as well. Perhaps cooperation will prevail in the end?

gilliebean said...

Thanks for sharing my Paleo Pyramid!

It's unfortunate that the blogger at did not credit me appropriately when he first posted it on his blog.

The original can be found on my blog ( and on PaleoHacks ( from where the fundamental living blogger found it originally.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Dr. B G,

If you take Willett's recommendation of 40% of calories as total fat and 8% of total calories as saturated fat and use reasonable assumptions for the composition of vegetable and animal fats you will find that about 85% of fats consumed would have to be vegetable fats with animal fats comprising the difference of 15% of total fats. Two thirds of the allotment of saturated fat would come from the vegetable fats.

The calculations assumed no significant consumption of tropical oils like coconut oil. It would only take a tablespoon of coconut oil to completely displace the animal fats.

Any way you cut the numbers, Willet's prescription would provide about half of the fat intake as polyunsaturated fats, and thus about 20% of energy from polyunsaturated fats.

Over the last century, average vegetable fat consumption has increased from abut 15% of fat intake to 60% of of fat intake. Apparently Willet would like to increase vegetable fat consumption to 85% of total fat intake and polyunsaturated fat consumption to 20% of energy intake. Coolaid anyone?

Dr. B G said...


OMG I'm a scumbag and I'm so SO sorry! Ben did not say anything and I should've asked. (but you'd think that kind of fact would be forthcoming??!)

I will update this post...

Thank you for your comment. BTW I love your insightful replies and responses at PaleoHacks (and MDA)!

Jack C,

That is good way to approach it. Are you familiar with Lands work? I'll someday post on that as well. Your deductions I believe are ENTIRELY RIGHT ON.

I believe we will continue to see exponential rises in incidence of cancer, coronary disease, degeneration, bone diseases, autoimmunity, hypothyroidism, obesity and all Western disease continue with Willet's and other Harv-tard's dietary advice based on omega-6 content alone, especially magnified by the love affair with whole grains/oats/corn.

*sigh* Koolaid. It's much worse.


gilliebean said...

G - You're totally *not* a scumbag!! Thanks for updating the credit! I really appreciate it. And thank you also for your kind words about my contributions at PaleoHacks and MDA. I enjoy both communities!

Dr. B G said...


It never ceases to amaze me how renaissance the women and men are in the various primal/paleo communities, for instance, your marketing and screen writing backgrounds (and baking)! I think we are all so lucky to enjoy each others talents and insights. Seriously I've looked over many a pyramid and your is hands-down the BEST ARTICULATION. I can't even think to add anything except perhaps something silly like water or spices/herbs; it is so complete! Really enjoyed the rigid v. flexible aspects too which take into account the microniches our ancestors must have evolved/thrived in and carried on in familial lineages.

Thank you again for letting me borrow it. It won't be the last time *wink!*


gilliebean said...

I'm honoured. :)

P.S. Haven't said it yet, but I love your blog. Love the tone *and* the info.

Dr. B G said...

Hey s*xxxy renaissance MMA grrrl!

I LOVE your site too! Gonna try the faux cheesecake for a post-workout carb load soon!!Thank you for your kind words.

I have a lot of fave threads but one of my TOP fave threads at paleohacks is the transformative stories one -- for the girls side (including Jezwyn and me) I think yours is the most staggeringly HOTTTTT!!

Strong and amazing work!! UR BAD*SS.


. said...

I just love food pyramids! My favourite one is this "pretty ketogenic" portuguese food pyramid:

Dr. B G said...


OMG. That. Looks. SO. DELICIOUS!!!!

Love your posts (though I cannot read) *haa ah!*

Warm hugs,