Modern Diet Myth No. 7: Fluoride is a toxic drug

Cursed with having studied nutrition at university I had been labouring under the misunderstanding that fluoride was a nutrient that helps prevent tooth decay when consumed in small amounts. But after a quick surf through the net I now realise that fluoride is actually a toxic drug that causes many serious health problems, including thyroid dysfunction, weight gain, osteoporosis, infertility, neurological harm, impaired visual-spatial organisation, early onset of puberty, arthritis, hip fractures, depression and behavioural problems.

Yikes! Why are our so-called health authorities putting this dreadful toxin in our drinking water?

Fluoridation: the pollution of our precious bodily fluids

An enlightened few have known about the dangers of water fluoridation for decades and have tried to warn us. In Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film, Dr Strangelove, there is a telling scene in which General Jack D. Ripper, played by Sterling Hayden, ignores a hail of bullets from his own troops and asks a cowering colleague whether he has ever heard about water fluoridation.

Ripper then explains that “… fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face … I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids”.

Of course, General Ripper has totally lost it. Prior to the fluoridation scene he ordered the 34 B52 bombers under his command to make an unprovoked nuclear strike on Russia.

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Modern Diet Myth No. 6: Sugar is really, really bad for you

Thank goodness for the World Health Organization’s new report ‘Sugars intake for adults and children’. Now, at last, we have some actual science to go on.

WHO’s record on sugar

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a leading global health agency with a proud history of sound dietary advice, including advice about sugar. In a 1990 report, WHO recommended a limit on intake of ‘free sugars’ of no more than 10% of daily calories, which is about the current average intake of Australian adults. Free sugars means all sugars added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars in honey, fruit juices and syrups.

WHO’s rationale for limiting sugar intake was to lower the risk for tooth decay. No lower limit on intake of free sugars was recommended.

Thirteen years later WHO again looked at the science of sugar and health and found ‘convincing’ evidence that both the amount of free sugars and the frequency of sugar consumption increased the risk for tooth decay. And again WHO recommended a limit of 10% of daily calories.

The 2015 WHO report

In its latest report WHO found … wait for it … that eating too much sugar causes tooth decay and that the intake of free sugars should be limited to … wait for it … less than 10% of daily calories.

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Modern Diet Myth No. 5: The low fat diet was the result of fraud and conspiracy

As new scientific evidence has emerged the low fat diet has slowly fallen from favour. But the myth-makers are suggesting the whole thing was a con, born out of fraud and carried along by a conspiracy.

The origins of the low fat diet

The low fat diet had its origins in 1980 with the publication of the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The recommendation to ‘Avoid too much fat, saturated fat and cholesterol’ was intended to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk for heart disease. Although the focus was really on lowering saturated fat, it was thought that lowering total fat intake may help prevent some cancers and obesity.

In Australia, the simpler guideline ‘Avoid eating too much fat’ was adopted to aid its communication.

Keys versus Yudkin

The low fat diet had a low key launch. Yet these humble origins are now being re-imagined as the disastrous consequences of a fight to the (professional) death of two of the great nutritionists their era – Ancel Keys and John Yudkin. As an epidemic of heart disease raged in the post-war years Yudkin pointed his finger at sugar. But Keys argued that the effect of different fats on blood cholesterol was the key mechanism affecting heart disease risk, and he won the day.

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