In January 2019, Lancet released a study attempting to define a stingy but adequate human diet and a political pathway to reining in global agricultural and food processing industries. Lancet acknowledged that its medical and political science agenda allowed it to rely on medical experts for some subject matter but forced it to concede judgements to international political bodies on others such as global food production, allocation, and consumption.
Whatever the impact on food for humans, Lancet was determined to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. To exclude the private sector from that discussion, Lancet’s primary spokesperson, Dr. Boyd Swinburn, revealed his political bias: “Transnational food and beverage manufacturers are powerful and highly resourced lobbying forces that have opposed governments’ attempts to regulate commercial activities,” including to “obstruct obesity prevention.”
Swinburn’s distaste for capitalism is as palpable as his revulsion to the public’s opinion. He rejects the ‘structures, practices, and beliefs that underpin capitalism in its present form, and he calls for ‘a more state anchored approach’ in which the government gives money to activists (such as Swinburn) to lobby the least accountable governmental institutions; World Health Organization, UN agencies, the EU, the Pacific Forum, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and the World Trade Organization.
At the same time, Lancet wants to cut out the electorate and the food industry. Lancet’s January 2019, 2500 calories per day diet proposal calls for 450 calories per day in saturated and unsaturated fat — about 18% of the total.
In August 2017, a Lancet diet study used 120,000 test subjects to test for appropriate levels of fat content in diets. In that study, Lancet found 35% of its recommended diet should be in saturated and unsaturated fat. That relatively high fat level was found to reduce mortality by 23%. The 35% level of fat is in line with British National Health Service’s recommendations.
Do times change quickly at Lancet, or is it the political agenda that changes? Clearly, Lancet’s nutritional analysis was warped by the addition of a political goal — environmental sustainability. Climate change goals forced Lancet’s researchers to choose a Spartan diet, one that reduced humans’ carbon footprint, minimized land devoted to crops and farm animals, and probably reduced humans’ lifespan.
The Lancet is not the only well-known medical Journal studying human diets. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a 2007 study of four respected diets (Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN). Its 1,000 test subjects were all overweight, premenopausal women. The test subjects were assigned to the diets randomly and adherence with the diet was monitored. The main study outcome found the Atkins Diet lead to a drop in weight of −4.7 kg after 12 months, while the Zone, LEARN and Ornish Diets lead to a decline in −1.6 kg, −2.6 kg, and −2.2 kg, respectively.
The Atkins Diet is a low-carbohydrate regimen with a 45-year track record for steadily reducing weight without imposing overly restrictive diet choices. Unlike the 2019 Lancet diet of 18% fat, the “typical Atkins induction diet is usually about 50-60% fat.” JAMA’s 4-diet study confirms Atkins diet is both healthful and effective at reducing obesity – a recurring complaint that Lancet sought to address.
Unfortunately, Lancet was prevented by its political commitment to environmental sustainability from relying on Atkins’ gold standard for low carbohydrate diets.
Diets do not need to be joyless penance for having a carbon footprint. Even experts – Neal Barnard, Caldwell Esselstyn and Joel Fuhrman — on low fat, plant-based diets see merit in bending strict anti-fat and anti-sugar adherence. Fuhrman does not advocate a low-fat diet. All 3 find moderate caffeine (tea and coffee) as being acceptable. Esselstyn and Fuhrman find moderate quantities of dark chocolate and avocados acceptable for those without heart disease. All three experts find soy products acceptable, even though they are 40% fat. Esselstyn and Fuhrman find a daily serving of baked potato to be acceptable.
Lancet now finds itself is disagreement with its own study 18 months earlier. It also conflicts with the JAMA study of the best diets, and its rigid formulation of what’s good for the planet sucks the joy out of people’s reasonable choice of diet.
The Lancet has fallen to a new low. It sold its prestigious reputation of scientific integrity to become a megaphone for global warming propaganda. None of the $1 billion Swinburn seeks as lobbyist “walking around money” is likely to find its way to the Lancet. Instead, the interests of the 7.5 billion world population will again be bypassed in favor of biases of global elitists who run the world’s least effective organizations.
The elitists will be the beneficiaries of the $1 billion.