Open Letter to the Government of Australia

A Healthy Future for our Children

Introduction

The aim of this document is to assist readers to make informed decisions about national health and nutrition policy and guide them to achieve positive physical and mental health outcomes for Australians.

The information presented here is based on good science and logic and not dogma and hidden agendas. Much of the information on health and nutrition that has influenced the government to date has not been based on science and goes against critical logical thinking. It just doesn’t make sense when all evidence is reviewed.

The author requests that the reader consider how much progress the current approaches have made to curb the ever-increasing rates of obesity and related chronic diseases.  Clearly, the time for doing “more of the same” has passed and new thinking is required.  Thankfully, there are now signs that acceptance of the standard approach of more exercise together with calorie control is being questioned by more and more professionals. 

Indeed, the Western Australian State Government recently tabled “The Food Fix” report that acknowledges that, in their view, diet is at the core of the problem and that new thinking is required [1]http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/publications/tabledpapers.nsf/displaypaper/4012368a40d59a37f0cc327c482583d900321c9d/$file/2368.pdf Education and ...continue

The answer is diet

Rather than beat around the bush, we would like to be upfront in that we aim to convince the reader that the plague of modern diseases that we are experiencing is the result of what we are eating and that current policy and advice is driving those diseases.

We aim to do this by asking the reader to have an open mind and give serious consideration to the information presented below.

To simplify this document, we focus much of the discussion on obesity and Insulin Resistance. There is a lot of scientific evidence that can show that most modern diseases are underpinned by Insulin Resistance, so if you “fix” Insulin Resistance then you also address the plague of modern diseases.

Tackle the causes and not the symptoms

With a third of all Australians obese, another third overweight; with half the population now destined to die of cancer; with our nursing homes and hospitals filling up with people with degenerative diseases of the brain; it is easy to become overwhelmed with dealing with all of these problems.  The government could focus on building more hospitals, training more doctors, funding research into better medicines, and that may make some difference, but only at a huge cost and this would most likely be a losing battle as the health budget required would not be able to be supported by the tax payers.

What if the cause of all of these degenerative conditions could be identified and the government’s effort could be focused on eliminating (or minimising) the cause.  People would stop developing these diseases, they would grow up healthy, they would be able to work and pay taxes, and our hospitals and nursing homes would start to empty out.

Treating the cause would be achievable within the funding base available to government, but treating the symptoms is unlikely to be either affordable or successful.

Continuing to fund programs that simply deal with the symptoms without also tackling the underlying causes is futile. It is a very inefficient and ineffective use of taxpayer funds. All this does is fund industries that feed off the sick people of Australia while they get sicker.

Tackling the wrong problem

Currently, government policy and programs seem to be tackling the “problem” by influencing Australians to:

  • be more active and thus lose weight;
  • control their calorie consumption and thus lose weight; and
  • eat a greater portion of plant foods and eat fewer “calorie dense” animal foods, and thus lose weight.

The focus is on overweight and obese Australians and the premise is that if we can just get them to lose weight, then they would be healthy. All they have to do is “move more” and “eat less”.

What if Australians are not just a bunch of slothful people that wont do as they are told? What if the whole underlying premise is wrong? We intend to show that this is indeed wrong, and that funding programs that are based on this premise can never work.

We intend to show that excess weight is just the most visible symptom of the underlying causes of obesity and modern diseases.

It is not the weight that drives the disease, it is the disease that drives the weight. To fix the weight problem, we need to address the disease.

What is the problem?

Lets look at what basic science says about “excess weight”:

  • Excess weight is caused by excessive accumulation of body fat (adipose tissue).
  • The biochemistry of fat metabolism is controlled by hormones.
  • Insulin is the primary hormone responsible for controlling whether fat accumulates or whether it dissipates (is consumed for energy) [2]http://jcb.rupress.org/content/208/5/501 The cell biology of fat expansion.
  • Insulin keeps blood sugar within a very narrow range and is essential for life.
  • When Insulin is high, the body is in “fat storage” mode.
  • When Insulin is high, the body fat is “locked up” and inaccessible – it cannot be consumed by the body.
  • The stored body fat can only be utilised by the body when Insulin is low.

The key message from science is that Insulin controls body fat.

Does that fit with our observations? Yes it does ..

  • Diabetes patients that are prescribed Insulin, put on significant additional weight.
  • One clear symptom of Type-1 Diabetes (Insulin deficiency) in children is that they lose weight.
  • Type-2 Diabetics and Pre-Diabetics present with significantly elevated Insulin levels. Weight gain correlates with both diabetes onset and Insulin levels.

High Insulin promotes fat-gain and low Insulin promotes fat-loss. For the majority of Australians, fat-gain is the result of elevated Insulin levels and they cannot become fat without the driving force of elevated Insulin levels.

Insulin is the lever that can be pulled to change the weight of a person. If you want a person to get fatter then give them more Insulin. If you want them to be thinner, then give them less Insulin.

What are the primary factors that control the amount and the effect of Insulin in the body?

  • Genetics – some individuals and ethnic groups have greater or lesser responses to Insulin levels.
  • Diet – different foods and food groups elicit different Insulin responses.
  • Eating patterns – different eating patterns elicit different Insulin responses.
  • Diseases and disorders – diabetes and Insulin Resistance affect how the body responds to Insulin.
  • Physical activity can change Insulin response.
We Can InfluenceWe Can’t Influence
Diet Genetics
Eating patterns 
Physical activity 

Type-2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance have been shown to be the result of chronically elevated Insulin levels – they themselves are a symptom and not the cause.

The Influence of Genetics

While we cannot (yet) exercise much control over genetics, it is nevertheless worthwhile to briefly discuss this factor.

  • Some people just don’t put on much weight while others consuming the same diet will become obese. The difference is largely genetic.
  • Your genetic makeup is the result of millennia of natural selection. You adapted to the changing environment or you died.
  • Some isolated populations of humans were not subjected to the same selection pressures as “western” humans and thus are genetically different. Their Insulin response to diet can be very different.

The Influence of Diet

Science has shown that different foods cause the body to have different Insulin responses. Some foods, such as fats, have almost no Insulin response in the body. Proteins from meat and other sources have a moderate Insulin response. Foods such as sugars and starches (simple carbohydrates) have a large Insulin response.

Diets that are high in Insulin-driving foods such as sugars and starches promote weight gain. The body does not care whether sugar comes from a sachet or from a fruit, the Insulin response is basically the same.

The Influence of Eating Patterns

Insulin is elevated when we eat and for hours after each meal. In fact, it has been shown that Insulin rises in anticipation of eating – even thinking about eating raises Insulin levels.

If we ate once a day, we would have one spike of Insulin to deal with that one intake of food. If we had three meals – we would have three spikes of Insulin. If we had three meals and three snack breaks – we would have six spikes of Insulin. The more meals we have in a day, the more time that Insulin is elevated and the more time the body is in “fat storage” mode.

Remember, when Insulin is high, the body cannot access its stored fat. The more time we spend eating, the longer the period that our fat larder is locked up.

The Influence of Physical Activity

Physical activity is accompanied by energy expenditure. The primary energy sources for humans on a western diet are from stored sugar (glucose) or stored fat. The body preferentially consumes sugars ahead of fat. When sugars have been depleted then the body can switch to energy from body fat but can only do so if Insulin is low.

Exercise has been shown to reduce Insulin Resistance (discussed next) and allow Insulin levels to drop so that the body can get some of its energy from stored fat.

Insulin Resistance

A greatly simplified summary of Insulin Resistance is:

  • We have identified that Insulin is the “fat storage” hormone. Its role is to tightly control the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. If “blood sugar” is too low, we lose consciousness and die; too high and we quickly get sick and die.
  • If Insulin takes the sugar out of the blood then it needs to put it somewhere. Initially sugar gets stored in muscles and the liver but these quickly fill up. The body then converts sugars to fats and stores these in our body fat tissues.
  • What happens when the body starts to “fill up” with stored sugars and fats? The individual cells start to get inflamed and ignore the effect of Insulin to protect themselves – they can’t take more. This is the start of “Insulin Resistance”.
  • But the body still has an excess of energy that it needs to store, so it pushes up Insulin levels even higher in an effort to control blood sugar.
  • The cells don’t want any more energy so they harden their defences even further. They become more Insulin resistant.
  • Over time, Insulin levels become chronically elevated, even though blood sugar levels do not indicate any problems. The body still has capacity to push Insulin high enough to overcome the Insulin Resistance and keep blood sugar under reasonable control.
  • Eventually, the body hits a ceiling where it can no longer produce enough Insulin to tightly control blood sugar and the patient can now be diagnosed as a Type-2 Diabetic. Note that this is often years after the onset of Insulin Resistance.
  • Insulin Resistance also underpins many other chronic modern diseases.

Insulin Resistance and Weight

If you have followed the discussion so far, you will have seen that weight gain is the result of high Insulin levels. What if a person’s Insulin levels were always high as a result of Insulin Resistance? That person can not consume their body fat for energy. Instead of switching to burning fat when stored sugars are consumed, that person just becomes hungry and then ravenously hungry. The person is forced to take in food because they cannot access their stored fat. Their fat-larder is locked up by high Insulin levels.

What happens if you ask an Insulin Resistant person to exercise? They consume some of their stored sugars and then run out of energy – blood sugar levels drop and they get hungry. They rarely lower their Insulin levels enough to dip into their fat storage.

Telling an overweight, Insulin Resistant person to exercise is not effective for weight-loss.

Physical Activity does reduce Insulin Resistance as the extra consumption of energy allows some cells to again take up some more energy. However, that minor reduction in Insulin Resistance is quickly lost with the next meal.

Thin and Insulin Resistant

We previously noted that some people do not put on weight when eating the same (or more) food than the rest of us. These people do not carry a lot of excess weight on the outsides of their body, however, they are not immune to Insulin Resistance. Indeed, they are worse off than someone that does get fat.

Getting fat is really the result of storing too much energy. Running out of storage for that energy is what drives Insulin Resistance. If you are genetically thin and can’t store energy in your body fat, then you are significantly more susceptible to Insulin Resistance. You get Insulin Resistance much quicker than someone that can put on weight and thus suffer the modern diseases far earlier.

Indeed, the opposite is also true. Some people are genetically able to just expand their fat storage almost indefinitely and thus don’t become Insulin Resistant.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines

The Australian Dietary Guidelines [3]The Australian Dietary Guidelines https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-dietary-guidelines identifies that Australians should consume 45-65% of their calories from carbohydrates.

The metabolism of ALL carbohydrates in the body results in blood sugars that drive up Insulin. Carbohydrates are the major dietary influence on elevated Insulin levels.

How can the Australian Dietary Guidelines promote the opposite of what the basic biochemistry of human metabolism dictates is sensible?

The Australian Dietary Guidelines for Insulin Resistant Australians

If you agree with the scientific basis that elevated Insulin levels drive obesity, the logical part of your brain would tell you that if you have a problem with high insulin levels then you should undertake actions to reduce your intake of foods that promote this condition.

Carbohydrate consumption is the major contributor to elevated Insulin levels and Insulin Resistance – yet our advice to those Australians that are sick and getting sicker is to eat more of what is slowly killing them.

Current Australian Government nutritional advice is slowly but surely killing Australians.

What does work for Insulin Resistant People?

The following approaches have been shown to reduce Insulin Resistance and even reverse Type-2 Diabetes:

  1. Consumption of a diet that is low in carbohydrate
  2. Fasting

Why does this work? It works because it treats high levels of Insulin as the problem.

Fasting for Insulin Resistance

We previously discussed that Insulin Resistant people have extreme difficulty dipping into their body-fat stores for energy. The chronically elevated Insulin levels get in the way. Insulin Resistant people will just get hungry instead.

One way to overcome Insulin Resistance is to force the body to ignore the “hungry” signals and to start to consume body fat. Repeated periods of fasting kick-start weight loss with a commensurate decrease in Insulin Resistance. By keeping Insulin levels as low as possible between periods of fasting, Insulin Resistance decreases over time.

A diet low in carbohydrates when combined with fasting is an effective treatment for Insulin Resistance and Type-2 Diabetes.

Misinformation and Dogma

What and how much Australians eat can have a huge commercial impact on industries. In addition to huge commercial pressures [4]https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html?_r=1 “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat”, ...continue [5]https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/the-diabetes-payroll-291649d0e0d2 The DiabetesThe Diabetes Payroll, theological ideals [6]https://isupportgary.com/articles/seventh-day-adventist-plant-based-nutrition Thou Shalt not discuss Nutrition ‘Science’ without ...continue and social movements play a large role in clouding the “science” and pushing the agenda.

The reality is that very little of the basis for our nutritional guidelines and what we think is a healthy diet is based on any real science at all. Most of the “science” is epidemiological which is another way of saying “statistics”. While statistics has its place, it cannot replace real science.

Real science happens when hypothesise are tested in well controlled experiments and subjected to independent peer-review.

Real science (experimental science) is showing that the basis for the current dietary guidelines is just plain-and-simply “wrong”:

  • Saturated fats do not cause heart disease, in fact, the opposite is true.[7]http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/31/bjsports-2016-097285, ‘Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic ...continue[8]AMA Intern Med. 2016;176(11):1680-1685. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5394, November 2016,“Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research A ...continue [9]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16506274, Insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction: the road map to cardiovascular diseases
  • Cholesterol does not cause heart disease, at best, it is an innocent bystander. Indeed, people with higher cholesterol live longer.
  • Red meat consumption does not cause cancer. Until westernisation of their diets, many traditional diets were dominated by red-meat with very little incidence of cancer. By current dogma, they should have been riddled with cancer.
  • High protein consumption does NOT damage your kidneys. There is no evidence that high-protein diets damage the kidneys but there is some evidence that
    high-protein diets are in fact beneficial.
  • Modern manufactured seed oils are NOT healthy and should NOT replace saturated fat in the diet. While in small amounts, naturally occurring PUF are important for health, manufactured seed oils are so far removed from these that they pose a serious health threat.
  • The “calories in = calories out” theory of obesity is just wrong. Obesity is a hormonal issue. Eating as little as five grams extra each day can make someone obese within 10-15 years. No-one can control calorie intake that well. We also have shown how exercise for Insulin Resistant people just makes them eat more, rather than lose weight.
  • Virtually all grains and tubers are now routinely sprayed with the herbicide Glyphosate[10] https://ensia.com/features/glyphosate-drying/ WHY FARMERS ARE USING GLYPHOSATE TO KILL THEIR CROPS — AND WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN FOR YOU [11] https://www.ecowatch.com/roundup-cancer-1882187755.html Why Is Glyphosate Sprayed on Crops Right Before Harvest?and now contain levels over a hundred times what was considered safe when limits were first imposed. Considering that recent court cases sided on the side of Glyphosate-induced cancer victims, promoting grains as the base of the pyramid is clearly unsafe just on this point.
  • Even the American government’s own experiments show that they got it wrong. The whole food pyramid (or plate) is fundamentally flawed [12]https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-teicholz-saturated-fat-wont-kill-you-20170723-story.html Don’t believe the American Heart Assn. ...continue.

The Fix

We are where we are because we have let commercial and other interest groups control the “science” and we ended up with agendas promoted on the basis of pseudo-science.

While it is easy to say that all we need to do is revisit the Food Guidelines, that would be unlikely to work unless it was based on real science.

The real “fix” is to regain control of the science and then use that as the basis of nutritional advice and government policy. This could be done by:

  • The creation of 100% government-funded research laboratories to (a) identify existing scientific knowledge of nutrition and human health, and then expand that knowledge to better inform government policy.
  • Ensuring that newly created entities remain demonstrably isolated from other interest groups through appropriate watchdog mechanisms.
  • Basing government nutrition and health policy and advice primarily on government developed science.

This strategy has a number of benefits:

  1. It fits nicely with bipartisan statements of advancing STEM in Australia.
  2. Nutrition science is not done well worldwide, so Australia could quickly establish itself as a world-leader in this field.
  3. Providing good science to underpin nutritional advice will lead to a healthier population.
  4. A healthier population will lead to better productivity and lower health-care and aged-care costs. In time, the financial rewards could significantly outweigh the costs.

In Closing

This paper really just glossed over many aspects of Insulin Resistance with almost no discussion about the related diseases of arthritis, heart disease [13]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC380256/ Insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease [14]https://cardiab.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12933-018-0762-4 Association between insulin resistance and the development of cardiovascular ...continue, stroke, cancer [15]https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jdr/2012/789174/, Insulin Resistance and Cancer Risk: An Overview of the Pathogenetic Mechanisms and mental illness. While many pages could have been devoted to these topics, the author chose to just focus on “obesity” to show just how wrong our thinking can be and how we have been misled. The reader is urged to also inform themselves on how fixing the Insulin Resistance problem can also addresses many of these modern diseases.

Other than in passing, the paper did not discuss the disastrous impact that current nutritional guidelines have of First Australians. This group are genetically predisposed to Insulin Resistance and are in particular need of help. It is our responsibility to help as we created the problem in the first place. [16]http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v544/n7649/full/nature21416.html, “Aboriginal mitogenomes reveal 50,000 years of regionalism in Australia”, ...continue[17]http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/chronic-conditions/diabetes/plain-language/our-review, “Review of diabetes among Indigenous peoples”, ...continue[18] ...continue

Many thousands of Australians die of modern diseases each year and history will teach us that many needlessly died before their time. They died from diet-induced diseases and only fixing the diet will fix the problem.

This is a problem of national importance that is not getting enough attention. The problem has been increasing so slowly over decades that we really don’t see it as anything new or anything to be alarmed about. It is probably about time that we became alarmed and implemented an effective strategy to “fix” the problem. As a representative of the Australian Government, you can be recorded in history as someone that brought positive change and saved many future Australians from needless suffering.

The poor health of Australians is fixable if you address the causes and not the symptoms.

Ron Bareis
April 2019

More information can be found on the ronsaysso website: https://ronsaysso.com


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References   [ + ]

1.http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/publications/tabledpapers.nsf/displaypaper/4012368a40d59a37f0cc327c482583d900321c9d/$file/2368.pdf Education and Health Standing Committee – Report 6 – THE FOOD FIX – The role of diet in type 2 diabetes prevention and management
2.http://jcb.rupress.org/content/208/5/501 The cell biology of fat expansion
3.The Australian Dietary Guidelines https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-dietary-guidelines
4.https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html?_r=1 “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat”, ANAHAD O’CONNOR
5.https://medium.com/@drjasonfung/the-diabetes-payroll-291649d0e0d2 The DiabetesThe Diabetes Payroll
6.https://isupportgary.com/articles/seventh-day-adventist-plant-based-nutrition Thou Shalt not discuss Nutrition ‘Science’ without understanding its driving force
7.http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/31/bjsports-2016-097285, ‘Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, March 2017, Aseem Malhotra, Rita F Redberg, Pascal Meier
8.AMA Intern Med. 2016;176(11):1680-1685. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5394, November 2016,“Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents”, Cristin E. Kearns, DDS, MBA; Laura A. Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH; Stanton A. Glantz, PhD
9.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16506274, Insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction: the road map to cardiovascular diseases
10. https://ensia.com/features/glyphosate-drying/ WHY FARMERS ARE USING GLYPHOSATE TO KILL THEIR CROPS — AND WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN FOR YOU
11. https://www.ecowatch.com/roundup-cancer-1882187755.html Why Is Glyphosate Sprayed on Crops Right Before Harvest?
12.https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-teicholz-saturated-fat-wont-kill-you-20170723-story.html Don’t believe the American Heart Assn. — butter, steak and coconut oil aren’t likely to kill you
13.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC380256/ Insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease
14.https://cardiab.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12933-018-0762-4 Association between insulin resistance and the development of cardiovascular disease
15.https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jdr/2012/789174/, Insulin Resistance and Cancer Risk: An Overview of the Pathogenetic Mechanisms
16.http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v544/n7649/full/nature21416.html, “Aboriginal mitogenomes reveal 50,000 years of regionalism in Australia”, Nature 544, 180–184 (13 April 2017) doi:10.1038/nature21416, Ray Tobler, Adam Rohrlach, Julien Soubrier et al
17.http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/chronic-conditions/diabetes/plain-language/our-review, “Review of diabetes among Indigenous peoples”, Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, 2016
18.http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/markwpapers/mark_books/downloads/current%20problems%20in%20pharmacology%20%26%20toxicology/the%20hunter-gatherer%20lifestyle%20of%20australian%20aborigines.pdf, “The hunter-gather lifestyle of Australian Aboriginies: implications for health”, K. O’DEA, Dept of Medicem Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne