Today the above article was published in the NY Times and a few of my well-read clients emailed it to me asking for my opinion.
My long answer shortened is as follows:
This article was written by Dean Ornish who has been a long-term advocate of the high carbohydrate low-fat diet.
Some history here is that Dr. Ornish published a book years ago on his diet program from Flex Master that reversed heart disease.
What really took place was patients who had severe heart disease lived at his research center with a controlled diet, exercise and lifestyle program which included stress reduction, yoga, daily exercise, and sleep requirements which all added up to a slight reversal of heart disease.
When challenged at a conference I attended, colleagues asked what exactly caused the reversal since there were too many factors to take into account besides the diet to which Dr. Ornish could not adequately answer.
In this particular paper he softens his approach somewhat but is still advocating a low-fat high carbohydrate low protein diet.
There is no differentiation to the type of meat – i.e. grass versus corn/soy fed, or the type of dairy – organic, grass-fed, pastured, etc. Nor does he address insulin resistance and how this type of diet can increase incidence of this diagnosis.
Current research goes against the grain of his article stating that a high carbohydrate diet – even from “whole grains” – can increase insulin resistance, which increases with aging. Several comments in the article are from those who had gone on the diet and as a result had increased triglyceride levels and went on to develop diabetes. High carb diets have been linked to increasing risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer which he does not mention.
The take home message is that no one diet is right. What is optimal is what your body requires depending on your genetics, where you store your weight, your blood work, and lifestyle patterns and that cannot be reduced to an article where one size fits all.
The integrity of the food you eat is the most important point here again which Michael Pollen preaches about: eat mostly vegetables, some high quality grass-fed meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy and whole real foods that are not processed.
I would add mindful eating, adequate rest and daily exercise/activity which all add up to your recipe for life.