Interviewer: You mention cholesterol is not the bad guy, not as bad as we
thought. So we're lowering our cholesterol all the time with drugs or diet,
but we have such, still, a strong incidence of heart disease in this
country, and get to the root of that.
Dr. Bowden: Because we're going after the wrong target. The enemy in our
diet, it's to the extent that it's one thing and it's never one thing. It's
always a pattern of eating. It's not one food or one ingredient.
Dr. Bowden: But the pattern of eating that is so high in sugar and so high
in carbs, which is the recommended diet, the diet we've been given for 30
years is highly inflammatory. It's not a coincidence that in the past 30
years since the recommendations became accepted that we should lower
saturated fat, that we should eat lots of complex carbohydrates, that we
should have this God awful food pyramid-type diet. I don't care what the
latest version of it is, it's still high in carbs, low in fat, low in
There's no coincidence that we've experienced an epidemic of diabetes and
obesity at the same time. This way of eating has never been done in human
history. The human genus has been on the planet for 2.4 million years. Homo
sapiens, roughly 100,000 years. McDonald's, since 1957. Which one should we
base our eating plan on?
For most of our time on this planet, the diet what Patrick Quillin calls
the "factory-specified" diet, the diet that humans run best on was food I
call it from the Johnny Bowden (sp) four food groups, food you could hunt,
fish, gather or pluck. We didn't even have agriculture 10,000 years ago,
which sounds like a long time to you and me, but on the 24-hour time clock
of human history, it's less than a minute.
So, for most of our time, we did quite well on protein, fat and fiber, some
bitter little fruits we could gather, some nuts, some things we could
pluck. Whatever happen to grow in the wild and stuff that you could hunt
and fish? The dieting, I started as a weight loss coach and I built
whatever reputation I have, I guess, in the field of weight loss, and I
started as a personal trainer before I became a nutritionist.
Nearly all of the dietary advice that we gave people came from a fear of
cholesterol. The only reason anybody listening to this has ever been told
to avoid animal foods and saturated fat is because it raises cholesterol.
Well, if cholesterol is not the demon we thought it was, the whole dietary
recommendations collapse like a house of cards.
In fact, the interesting thing is saturated fat does raise cholesterol, but
it raises the big, fluffy particle. So if you look under the hood of your
LDL, you actually have a better lipid profile than you did beforehand. We
saw this and I'm going to talk about it in my talk today at the American
Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.
We have study after study after study where people went on these diets that
everybody thought they were going to die from a heart attack, and you look
at the blood work and it's improved. So, again, I'm not advocating that we
eat the American diet and add saturated fat to it. What I'm saying is that
lots of the substitutions that we were told to do, replace saturated fat
with more complex carbohydrates have actually in the research shown to
advance cardiovascular disease, not reduce it.