This is a great example of how Governments can manipulate the media for their own agenda. This was the headline story on a recent BBC’s article, its main message being that ‘moderate’ carbohydrate consumption is associated with lower all-cause mortality which just so happens to coincide with current dietary advice both in the US and UK. Great, so we can safely carry on eating according to current guidelines? No, not at all, let’s dig a little deeper and we can begin to distil the real motive behind this headline and I will argue that it is more about protecting US national interest than it is about improving our health and well-being.
First, this ‘large’ epidemiological study was published by The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a department of the U.S. Health Ministry and all of its researchers were American. Contrast this with the PURE study which is referenced in the introduction of the American study. PURE was composed of many more researchers from six different countries and funded by organisations from 10 different countries. Secondly, lets look at the scale of the studies; 15,428 participants from 4 different US communities were involved in the US study whereas PURE reported results from 135,335 participants drawn from over 600 communities and 18 countries. The PURE study dwarfs the American study in both scale (a factor of 9) and breadth (>600 communities vs. 4, 18 countries vs. 1). I would argue that the PURE study is more relevant from a dietary perspective as it more accurately reflects current dietary patterns (2003-2013) as opposed to the American study which covers a period much further back in time (1987 to 2017).
So, lets look at the primary outcome of both studies, which is all-cause mortality. In the American study, there were a total of 6,283 deaths which averages out at 251 deaths per annum over the 25 year period compared to 5,796 deaths in PURE which averages out at 580 deaths per annum, however, the PURE study was much bigger by a factor of 8.772 (135,335 participants/15,428 participants). When we take account of this size difference the outcome is striking, 580 deaths per annum in PURE versus 2,201 deaths in the American study. This means that the risk of all-cause mortality is nearly quadrupled in the American study relative to the PURE cohort!!
So, when you look behind the headlines the results are very revealing. Following an American diet which is heavy on refined carbohydrates (such as sugar & flour), processed convenience foods and cheap processed seed oils (canola, sunflower, vegetable, etc) will quadruple your risk of all-cause mortality relative to the diets of the 18 countries that make up the PURE study. The main takeaway from headlines such as this is to view them with a heavy dollop of scepticism and investigate them carefully. The current dietary recommendations are failing to reverse a growing global wave of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and dementia. I would argue that this study is all about protecting the interests of an American political and economic elite and has absolutely nothing to do with serving the health interests of individual citizens especially American citizens. As for general dietary advice stick to whole natural foods and avoid anything with a label on it!! For specific dietary advice contact Exeter Nutrition (email@example.com, http://www.exeter-nutrition.co.uk)