The real reason behind his change of mind was the enormous amount of evidence which suggested that carbs are the real reason behind obesity and poor cardiovascular health, which he had the chance to confirm by observing his very own patients. “These days I make a point of telling my patients – many of whom are coping with debilitating heart problems – to avoid anything bearing the label ‘low fat’. Better instead, I tell them, to embrace full fat dairy and other saturated fats within the context of a healthy eating plan.
It’s an instruction that is sometimes greeted with open-mouthed astonishment, along with my request to steer clear of anything that promises to reduce cholesterol – another of those edicts we are told can promote optimum heart and artery health.“, he adds.
Also, in 2012, the doctor read a paper called ‘The toxic truth about sugar’ by Robert Lustig, a Professor of Pediatrics working at the University of California’s Centre of Obesity Assessment, published in the science journal Nature. In this paper, the author claimed that added sugar represents such a great danger to human health that products who contain it should carry the same warning labels as alcohol.
The conclusions proposed in this paper were an important wake up call for dr. Malhotra. After conducting some extensive research on the subject, he was more convinced than ever that the cause of many dangerous health issues is sugar, not fat, so he launched the lobbying group Action on Sugar together with a group of fellow medical specialists. Their goal is to make the food industry cut down the added sugar in processed foods. Dr. Malhotra is currently crowdfunding for his documentary film ‘The Pioppi Protocol – 21 days to whole heart health.’
The world’s first low carb summit
Last February, the first low carb summit was held in South Africa, presenting 15 international speakers from various branches of the medical field. The event was hosted by Karen Thomson, the granddaughter of legendary heart transplant surgeon Christian Barnard, and Timothy Noakes, a Professor of exercise and sports medicine at the University of Cape Town.
Throughout most of his career, Professor Noakes, a marathon runner, advised athletes to follow high-carb diets in order to enhance their performance, while he actively practised his own advice as well. However, after he developed type 2 diabetes, his opinion on carbohydrates changed drastically. At the conference, he presented a whole different view, stating that in order to promote better health and greater fat loss, athletes and fitness-oriented people should get the bigger part of their energy from ketones instead of glucose.
Another respected speaker at the conference was Gary Taubes, a Harvard physicist who argued that refined carbs fuel the over-production of insulin and stimulate fat storage, while increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer in his book The Diet Delusion, published seven years ago.
The Swedish family physician Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, who runs the popular health blog ‘Diet Doctor’, also presented his views on the low carb diet. As it turns out, up to 23% of the population in Sweden eats a low-carb, high-fat diet, which is followed by a decline in obesity rates in the country. In the words of Dr. Eenfeldt, „you don’t get fat from eating fatty foods in the same way as you don’t turn green from eating green vegetables.“
In short, as Dr Eenfeldt told the conference: “You don’t get fat from eating fatty foods just as you don’t turn green from eating green vegetables.“
Although the concept of replacing a good part of your carb intake with healthy fats sounds simple and logic enough, it’s still hard to spread this message to the public. Our advanced scientific methods have long ago informed us about the benefits of fat and dangers of sugar, yet the decades of anti-fat propaganda has made the truth hard to swallow.
“In my opinion a perfect storm of biased research funding, biased reporting in the media and commercial conflicts of interest have contributed to an epidemic of misinformed doctors and misinformed patients“, says Dr. Malhotra.
The low-carb diet can work wonders for everyone, including health-conscious people, professional athletes and people who suffer from diabetes. In fact, studies have shown that this way of eating can reverse type 2 diabetes and dramatically increase blood sugar control in type 1 diabetes. Or as Dr. Malhotra concludes: “The father of modern medicine Hippocrates once said, ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’ It’s now time we let fat be that medicine.“