Ancel Keys the father of the Low Fat Diet, was he hero or villian?

Written by Changing Habits

March 23, 2010

We’ve all been fed a diet of bull about fat by nutritional scientists who just know their right, regardless of evidence. Ancel Keys the founder of the low fat diet, was he a villan or hero?

It astounds me that after I’ve done a speaking engagement and explained the Changing Habits philosophy that people still come up to me and ask me about fat and the dangers of saturated fat and butter.


Let’s clear this up now, saturated fats are good for your health in fact any fat from nature that has not been tampered with by technology and science is good! 


In the Sunday Telegraph this week there was a two page spread on the dangers of man made trans fats and how some food and health authorities including the Australian Medical Association are wanting a complete ban on trans fats.  Dr Rosemary Stanton was very scathing and dismissive of our food authority FSANZ for saying that there was very little trans fat in the Australian diet.  We’ve known about the dangers of trans fats since 1978, when the eminent cell biologist Dr Mary Enig was showing in her research that these fats were causing heart disease and diabetes.  Trans fats are created when a vegetable oil is partially hydrogenated and becomes a solid at room temperature, margarine is a good example of this.


Trans fats are found in popcorn, breakfast bars, protein bars, potato chips, savoury biscuits, spring rolls, shop cakes, chicken nuggets, fried noodles, hot chips, sausage rolls, meat pies, donuts, some margarines (only 3 years ago is was all margarine) to name a few.


According to Gary Taubes an award winning investigative science writer and author of The Diet Delusion, we’ve all been fed a diet of bull about fat by nutritional scientists who just know they’re right, regardless of the evidence.  Taubes says that since the late 1970’s the high priests of this “bad fat cult” have been relentlessly promoting the mantra that fat is bad, carbohydrates are good, while ignoring, misrepresenting or ridiculing anything that doesn’t fit.


So how did it all start?  In the 1950’s the late American Academic Ancel Keys convinced the American Heart Foundation with a combination of dodgy science and force of personality to promote carbs over fat in dietary advice, so strong was his spell that the repeated failure of large clinical studies to back his claims has made no difference.  Ancel Keys used epidemiological studies to prove that fat was bad, but out of the numerous populations he studied he left out ones that did not prove his point such as France and Switzerland.  By the early 1960’s the promotion of the low fat diet had begun momentum and it has been a run away train causing havoc to our health.


It was Ancel Keys that began the rise in trans fats in our food supply by promoting that animal fats were bad and vegetable fats were good, so margarine and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils became the fat of choice and the surge in diabetes, cancer and heart disease began (now our three biggest killers). See pictures of Ancel Keys below in 1958, and in 2004 when he was 100 years of age.

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1 Comment


    he should be villified for his poor research and being directly responsible for the obesity crisis and the millions who have died of heart disease following his faulty findings


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