The Low Carb Fraud By T. Colin Campbell, PhD

The Low Carb Fraud By T. Colin Campbell, PhD
The Low Carb Fraud By T. Colin Campbell, PhD

Everywhere you look, people are touting the benefits of a low-carb diet. But how safe is a diet that seeks to exclude an entire macronutrient? Dr. T. Colin Campbell explores this question in The Low Carb Fraud.

Campbell is a preeminent nutrition scientist and bestselling author of The China Study and Whole. So I was thrilled to read yet another book by one of my favorite authors.


Because it exposes the fallacies peddled by proponents of the Atkins, South Beach, paleo and other high-fat, high-protein diets. And the greatest fallacy of all?

As promoters of low-carb diets, these diets make no distinction between refined carbs such as

  • table sugar

  • white flour

  • high-fructose corn syrup

and the unprocessed carbs found in whole plant-based foods.

This fallacy, as Campbell points out, is actually “a sleight of hand, the crux of which is: refined sugar is bad, therefore all foods that contain sugars (i.e., carbs) are bad.”

In defense of his position, Dr. Campbell discusses a 2007 Stanford University study comparing the weight-loss benefits of low-carb Atkins eating with three low-fat diets. (The study inaccurately claimed that one of them was Dr. Dean Ornish’s whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet!)

The Stanford researchers found the Atkins plan promoted more weight loss. But their findings, Dr. Campbell insists, are flawed, because…

Each of the three supposedly low-fat diets (including their version of the Ornish diet) actually contained nearly 30 percent fat!

With the actual Ornish diet (and all WFPB eating), he writes, “the percentage of calories tend to approach 80 percent from carbohydrates, 10 percent from protein, and 10 percent from fat.” 

The Stanford researchers also raised their “pseudo-Ornish” diet’s protein content from 10 to 18 percent, an 80 percent increase! But that’s not surprising, because Dr. Campbell notes that “low-carb advocates…focus on weight — not on health.”

He continues:

“… high-fat, high-protein diets (like the low-carb diet) are consistently associated with higher, not lower, rates of several cancers, heart disease and other diseases. Plant-based diets show the opposite effect.”

So how do people following a WFPB diet make sure they’re consuming the right amounts of macronutrients? Campbell clarifies:By consuming a broad range of plant foods, we don’t really have to worry about the specifics of calories, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, or even vitamins.”

I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Campbell’s impressive deconstruction of the purported scientific evidence supporting low-carb diets. He makes a compelling case that their advocates have “spun a false narrative” to promote a way of eating with serious long-term health consequences.

His conclusion? “It’s time to sound the alarm, loud and clear.”

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