Fanatic Cook on the American Heart Association

The Fanatic Cook has posted a stinging criticism of the American Heart Association (AHA):

American Heart Association My Fat Translator

Beyond the nonsensical nutritional recommendations (e.g., substitute small French fries for large French fries), she lists the major financial contributors to the AHA, a Who's Who in the pharmaceutical and processed food industry.

"For an organization that brought in close to a billion dollars last year, you'd think they could come up with something a little more pronounced. If I was more cynical I'd say the AHA had an interest in keeping Americans fat . . . or at least dependent on a highly-processed, fast food diet, requiring drugs to tweak lab values."

To be sure, the AHA does a great deal of good in funding research and educating the public about the prevalence of heart and vascular disease. But their fund raising interests have clearly subverted the honesty of their nutritional advice. Sadly, it is the AHA dietary advice that hospital dietitians use in counseling people with heart disease after their heart attack, stent, or bypass surgery. After my patients are discharged from the hospital for any reason, I tell them to please forget everything the nice hospital dietitian told them. It is not okay to eat the factory farm-raised hamburger on the sugar-equivalent enriched flour bun. Low-fat ice cream is not a healthy substitute for full-fat ice cream.

The AHA is no different than the USDA and the American Diabetes Association, "official" organizations that have, in effect, sold out to industry.

Comments (7) -

  • Anonymous

    6/8/2008 9:34:00 PM |

    There is a show that I watch from time to time called Man vs Wild.  It is OK entertainment, and most importantly, my nephews enjoy the show.  It gives us something to talk about.  If you haven't seen it, the program is about a former British military specialist named Bear that goes out into different wild locations to show how to survive.  He eats gushy bugs and wild vegetables for food, builds forts to sleep in, etc.  

    I happened to stumble onto an article about Bear a # of months ago.  It said that he has a condition that predisposes him to have high cholesterol.  His father died from a heart attack so as of last year he says he is now eating an all vegetable, whole grain, starchy, diet when at home.  He also mentions his new diet on his web sight in which he quotes from the World Health Organization for what that organization believes to be proper food to eat to be healthy.    

    (I hope kids are not following his blog eating suggestions.)  

    I mention this because my nephews and I have noticed that it looks like Bear has grown a little tube around the belly for this newer season.  I think Bear would be better off eating the Paleo diet that he does in the Man vs Wild show than his starchy WHO approved diet.  I wrote him a message to that effect and mentioned if he wanted to prevent heart disease, there was no better place to learn from than the TYP web sight.      

    Talking about the good and the bad of corporations spreading the word about good nutrients, I heard a rumor that a larger German health food/ drug company is working on or coming out with a "unique" vitamin D.  I used to work in the health food industry several years ago and know the main researcher doing the work.  He seems like an honest guy.  When we worked together he was in charge of researching polycosanols.  The company had a patent on them and wanted to come out with a unique product.  I remember he tested the polys but he never found them to work at lowering cholesterol.  The company did not like the results, but he stuck with what he found and the company never did sell polycosanols. So when it comes to any new Ds hitting the market I doubt this company will be coming out with another no flush niacin.  It will be something that works is my guess, but will the newly marketed D be better than what is already about there......

    Off topic, had lunch with the owner of one of the larger independent health food testing labs in US last week.  He lives in the same town as I.  I told him that I was now taking D3 and he said he was receiving many many orders for testing this.  D3 testing is popular this year.  He then volunteered that many companies are now testing for vitamin K2-7 also.  Good to see your word along with others on the importance of these nutrients is getting out.

  • Anonymous

    6/9/2008 3:21:00 AM |

    We (my son & I) watched Man Vs. Wild just last night.  He ate raw yak liver, blood, & eyeballs in frigid Siberia, near the border of Mongolia, as well as blood sausage with the local people in their yurt.  His paleo nutrition is usually quite accurate.  I'm really surprised he fell for the WHO advice, since he sees how indigenous people often live quite well on traditional foods.  

    On the other hand, we prefer the Survivorman series, which has a similar premise, but less "sensational".  Unlike Man vs. Wild, Survivorman goes it alone, without a camera crew.  He has to carry his own gear (minimal for himself) and set up his own camera shots and footage.  Unlike Bear, he downplays the "ugh, look what I have to eat to survive" attitude.

  • Anonymous

    6/9/2008 1:39:00 PM |

    I am a dietitian that works with heart patients, and I do NOT recommend the AHA guidelines.  I actually have to spend a large amount of my time re-teaching them what their cardiologists and other health care professionals have been spouting off.  Just letting you know that not all dietitians are mindless AHA and ADA believers.

  • Dr. William Davis

    6/10/2008 12:13:00 PM |

    Dear dietitian--

    That's great!

    I am thrilled that you have the courage to speak out and express what you believe to be true, not what you're told to believe.

    Keep it up!

  • Ivan Road

    6/11/2008 5:29:00 PM |

    Except Fanatic Cook lives on wheat and grains.  Little disconnect there.

  • Dr. William Davis

    6/11/2008 5:36:00 PM |

    Hi, Ivan--

    Uh, oh. We should talk to her about that.

  • Anna

    6/13/2008 4:05:00 AM |

    Yeah, I dropped Fanatic Cook from my reading list some time ago.  Little new or useful to learn there after she went a bit overboard on the "whole grains are good thing".  She moved into vegetarianism and veganism as an attempt to prevent cancer, and for the most part, provides some really weak support for that position.  I could say more, but I think I'll leave it at that.

    Nice to hear she is seeing the AHA clearly, though.