Dr. Dean Ornish never misses an opportunity to worm his way into print. You’ve got to give him credit: he is a self promoter par excellence. When John Tierney posted twice on his New York Times blog about the Israeli study that I posted on previously, Ornish couldn’t resist. He asked if he could post another take on the study. Full post here.
Here is a point he made that readers of this blog (mine) should find amusing. And unbelievable.
What I’d like to focus on here is an encouraging phenomenon that I’ve been predicting for some time: the convergence of dietary recommendations. While people who promote different diets like to accentuate the differences between them, there is actually an evolving consensus of what constitutes a healthy way of eating for most people. While some significant differences remain, a greater agreement is emerging among nutrition experts than most people realize.
Before Dr. Atkins died, he preached the health benefits of bacon, burgers and brie in his books and in my numerous debates with him, including those at the annual scientific meetings of the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the American Dietetic Association. However, the “Atkins diet” used in the recent NEJM study was vegetarian. A vegetarian Atkins diet? Why? Perhaps it was because this approach would provide the best outcomes. And it did.
Ironically, the “Atkins Diet” used in this study was actually closer to the nutritional guidelines I recommend than the traditional American Heart Association “low-fat” diet, which is not very low in fat, encourages consumption of red meat and does not limit the intake of refined carbohydrates.
Jesus sat down and flat out bawled.
This version of the Atkins diet was closer to Ornish’s than the to the AHA low-fat guidelines?!?!?! Give me a break. Ornish is trying to weasel in on the success of the low-carb diet in this study by claiming that it is close to his own diet. And he’s doing so because the article stated that the subjects on the low-carb diet were encouraged to get their protein from vegetarian sources. Dr. Ornish obviously failed to read the response from the lead author of the study, who wrote that the actual diet the subjects followed was the typical Atkin Diet, not an Ornishified version of such.
This is kind of funny that some could think of a “vegetarian low-carb” diet. Is it a new suggested strategy? could be interesting idea but this wasn’t the case here. Our low-carb diet was based on Atkins, the participants read the book and the recipes were more or less comparable to what you know in the states. Beef is the main red meat. What could be different?
And that’s from the horses mouth, so to speak.
I find it interesting and a little sad that Ornish has retreated to the Rodney King (“Why can’t we all just get together?) take on the diet wars. I suppose that now that his untenable theories of the proper diet have been stomped to the dirt by a pile of research papers over the past few years, that it’s the best he can do under the circumstances.