In the September 22 New York Times Opinion Pages, Dr. Dean Ornish pedals more tripe about healthy eating in an opinion piece entitled, “Eating for Health, Not Weight“. The piece is a startling ramble that vacillates between vainglorious self promotion of his own (rather limited) research, and willful misinterpretation of the facts and conclusions resulting from some JAMA research supporting the health benefits of low carbohydrate eating. Really, should you trust a doctor that ignores and misrepresents research, compares low carb diets to abusing amphetamines, and tries to support this assertion by misrepresenting a study’s actual conclusions about how low carb diets affect C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels in participants?
The study actually shows that both low fat and low carb diet groups showed a significant reduction in CRP, but does Dr. Ornish mention that? Of course not. Does he mention that the low fat diet resulted in a higher level of plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) (another inflammatory agent associated with heart disease) than the low carb diet? Of course not. Instead of talking about the facts, he skewers and distorts the research to promote his own agenda. And lest we forget, Dr. Ornish is a franchise built around promoting a particular way of eating.
Also conspicuously absent in his opinion piece is any mention whatsoever of NuSi, the organization chartered to do the rigorous research that can actually move us forward in understanding many of the central questions of nutrition. It’s hard to understand how anyone writing such assertions about nutrition can do so without acknowledging the vehicle that can actually settle many of the very disputes he discusses.
Fortunately, the good folks at the Ancestral Weight Loss Registry (AWLR) have already posted a response to Dr. Ornish. It likely won’t get the same circulation as Ornish’s opinion piece, but I can tell you that unlike Ornish, the Ancestral Weight Loss Registry’s response doesn’t skimp on the science or torture the evidence. Let’s see who else steps up to the plate and calls Ornish on his pap and pablum.
- Eating for Health, Not Weight, Dr. Dean Ornish, September 22, 2012. New York Times Sunday Review.
- Response to Dean Ornish’s New York Times Op Ed, Ancestral Weight Loss Registry
- Good Science, Bad Interpretation, Peter Attia
- Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure During Weight-Loss Maintenance, June 27, 2012. Journal of the American Medical Association.