Pete Evans is clueless about nutrition

Recently the Weekend Australian (19-20 July) published an article ‘The six foods I never stock at home’ by celebrity chef Pete Evans. Although the newspaper acknowledged ‘his downright fanaticism’, some basic fact checking would have revealed many false claims and inaccuracies.

There is no substantial evidence that proves we need to consume grains to be healthy

I have to disagree with Mr Evans on this point – he seems unaware of grains’ contribution to thiamin intake and the importance of this essential B vitamin.

The healthy diets modelled for the latest Australian Dietary Guidelines contained plenty of thiamin, well above the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI), but nearly two-thirds of it came from just one food group – grains. If grains were removed from the otherwise optimal diets the thiamin content would fall to well below the RDI. As no other food group is a major source of thiamin it is unlikely that replacement foods could correct the thiamin deficit. If the population adopted Mr Evans ‘no grains’ advice the likely consequence would be the emergence of the thiamin deficiency disease beri beri in vulnerable groups.

Those who strictly follow Mr Evans advice should be on the lookout for the early symptoms of beri beri which include tingling, burning or numbness in the fingers and toes, strange eye movements and vomiting. There may also be loss of appetite and severe constipation. As the heart failure starts to develop you can expect to experience shortness of breath and swelling in the lower part of the legs. In the final stages there will be mental confusion, problems with speech, difficulty walking, coma and death.

Alternatively, you could eat some wholegrain cereal at breakfast and have a sandwich for lunch and live a healthy life, just like normal people.

Image: source

Low fat milk and flavoured yoghurts are almost completely devoid of nutrients

Mr Evans’ claims about these dairy foods are just plain wrong. Here’s how milks and yoghurts performed when a colleague and I ran them through our carbohydrate quality model:


All of the milks and yoghurts appear to the right of the vertical centre line, indicating higher nutrient density. Rather than being ‘completely devoid of nutrients’ these foods contain considerable calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin A, potassium and zinc. And skim milk is one of the most nutrient-rich of all of them.

Vegetable oils are toxic and cause mutagenic and atherogenic changes in the body

Here Mr Evans is basically saying that commonly consumed oils such as canola, sunflower and soybean oil cause cancer and heart disease. If that were true the world’s leading nutrition and cancer authorities would recommend restriction of vegetable oils to prevent cancer. But none of them does – not the World Health Organisation, the World Cancer Research Fund, the Cancer Council or the National Health and Medical Research Council. Where does Mr Evans get his information?

In relation to vegetable oils and heart disease, Mr Evans is again in a minority of one. His recommendation to restrict unsaturated vegetable oils and instead to use saturated animal fats and coconut oil is the exact opposite of the advice provided by just about every nutrition and heart health authority in the world. It’s a recipe for increased heart disease risk.

Mr Evans’ claims are a threat to public health. He should be arrested.

Sugar, even from fruit juice, increases weight, accelerates ageing, is addictive and causes numerous mental and physical disorders

Mr Evans has obviously jumped on the anti-sugar bandwagon and is parroting the usual unsubstantiated claims so prevalent in social media. If you want to read some scientific evidence about sugar read the recent report on carbohydrates by the European Food Safety Authority. Scientists and zealots tend to look at sugar differently.

There will be plenty of new reports on carbohydrates and sugars in the next couple of years as authoritative organisations update their recommendations, but somehow I don’t think any of them will find that sugar causes ‘numerous mental disorders’.

Mind you, such disorders appear to be quite prevalent in people who avoid sugar altogether.

Image: source

The weight of scientific evidence proves that artificial sweeteners are unfit for human consumption

What scientific evidence is Mr Evans talking about? The latest scientific assessment of aspartame was conducted by the European Food Safety Authority just last year and gave it the green light.

Mr Evans obviously hasn’t got a clue about non-nutritive sweeteners and health, or food safety controls in general. Every developed country in the world has an authority responsible for food safety whose job it is to assess whether foods or additives are safe to eat. Anything found to be ‘unfit for human consumption’ or ‘toxic’ would be banned or restricted immediately.

I’m struggling with the logic too. If sugar is so bad for us, why attack a viable replacement for it?

Final comment

I don’t blame Pete Evans for what doing what he does. He is a successful entrepreneur who has no doubt found that dietary extremism is a path to notoriety and publicity. But why would the Murdoch press publish this article, thereby joining the recent race to the bottom in the reporting of food and health? In recent years the Fairfax media pushed David Gillespie’s non-science views at every opportunity and then last year the ABC’s Catalyst program weighed in with misleading programs about sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol.

And now it’s Murdoch. Just listen to the tosh from Stephen Brook, the Editor responsible for the Pete Evans article:

I admire fanatics. In fashion as well as food, they extend the limits of achievement, forcing us to reappraise that which we previously considered impossible.

Colleagues, we’re among savages.


237 thoughts on “Pete Evans is clueless about nutrition

  1. Great article.
    I suppose I can only speculate at people’s motives and whether they have good intentions or not. But it seems like all of these people pushing these ideas about nutrition have just read a book or two from other entrepaneurs, taken all the information at face value and not checked that it is correct, and decided to get in on the act.
    Unfortunately the false information and fear mongering they peddle has seriously damaging effects on many vulnerable people.

  2. It has now been proven that saturated fat is not the issue that it was once thought to be,low fat food its more of a problem,so your out of touch with current thinking. Eat butter,olive oil, coconut oil and advocardo for healthly fats.

    • Not quite correct Angela. If you replace saturated fat in your diet with polyunsaturated fat your heart disease risk falls. However, if you replace saturated fat with carbohydrate (giving you a low fat diet) there is no benefit. Regards, Bill

      • Bill is right. This has been confirmed in the recent reviews by Mozaffarian and colleagues. Saturated fat intake is a risk factor for coronary disease, but the benefit of reducing it is lost if the energy is replaced with carbohydrates.

        So have plain skim milk yoghurt – rather than sweetened, flavoured yoghurt, and get the beneficial aspects of milk and fermentation without the less advantageous additives.

        • The problem with that advice is that saturated fat from dairy specifically is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease; see the MESA study and some recent meta-analyses and reviews. The saturated fat that is most associated with CVD and mortality seems to come from processed meat (of course). And Harvard reports that pizza is the #1 source of saturated fat in the US diet.
          So is it perhaps the case that saturated fat has all along been damned by associations – the company it keeps – and not because of any intrinsically harmful properties? Saturated fat in dairy is associated with CLA, and this is enough to give it protective associations; saturated fat in processed meats is associated with all kinds of crap, and this is enough to give it associations with harm.
          If not for that, there would be nothing to see here.
          Why replace a good source of SFA with a poor source of PUFA like soybean oil? Why not eat butter, nuts, and fish?

          • Saturated fat is not dangerous. Basic biochemistry tells us it doesn’t cause raised cholesterol. Cholesterol itself doesn’t cause heart disease. The literature shows us that the link between LDL cholesterol and heart disease is tenuous with many studies saying yes and many saying no. It is far from proven even as a correlation.
            “A high LDL or total cholesterol may be secondary to uncontrolled factors that promote cardiovascular disease in other ways and cause hypercholesterolaemia at the same time, for instance lack of physical activity,58 mental stress,59 smoking, and obesity.60 It is generally assumed that their effect on cardiovascular disease is mediated through the high cholesterol, but this may be a secondary phenomenon. Physical activity may benefit the cardiovascular system by improving endothelial function,61 or by stimulating the formation of collateral vessels;62 mental stress may have a harmful influence on adrenal hormone secretion, smoking increases the oxidant burden; in these all situations the high cholesterol may be an epiphenomenal indicator that something is wrong. This argument also explains why some studies found atherosclerotic growth to be associated with initial or on‐study LDL‐cholesterol, but not with ΔLDL or total cholesterol. If the amount of LDL‐cholesterol in the blood were the determining factor, atherosclerotic growth should have been associated with ΔLDL‐cholesterol as well and to a higher degree. “

          • Hello Greg. There is a long history of cholesterol denialism.
            When it was first suggested that lowering blood cholesterol may lower heart disease risk scientists conducted studies in which they lowered cholesterol by replacing saturated fat in the diet with polyunsaturated fat. Coronary events went down, but the critics weren’t convinced.
            Then scientists conducted studies in which they lowered cholesterol using a resin called cholestyramine. Coronary events went down, but the critics weren’t convinced.
            Then scientists conducted studies in which they lowered cholesterol using an operation called a partial ileal bypass. Coronary events went down, but the critics weren’t convinced.
            Then scientists conducted studies in which they lowered cholesterol using statin medication. Coronary events went down. Most of the critics gave up at this point but a few demanded more statin studies.
            Now many statin studies have been conducted and there are many meta-analyses of these studies – 24 at last count – and they ALL show that lowering cholesterol with statins lowers heart disease risk.
            There is no doubt that lowering blood cholesterol lowers heart disease risk. Regards, Bill

      • So Bill despite all of the studies you have quoted why do you think there are still so many “critics” who are not convinced (as you are)? Could it be that the studies were not conducted very well? Why is it there are so many Professors and Dr’s who don’t believe cholesterol causes CVD? I guess they must all have an agenda?

        • Hello KayJay. There are always critics of everything. I think it’s important to look at who’s doing the criticising and where the criticism is appearing. If experts from the Harvard School of Public Health publish a confronting research study in the New England Journal of Medicine I sit up and take notice, and perhaps reconsider my position.
          But chatter on the internet ….? Regards, Bill

      • I can’t reply to Bill’s comment above, so I’ll do so here.
        - substitution of other fats for saturated fats; you would probably see the same benefits (or lack of such) if you added PUFA (especially from nuts and fish) WITHOUT reducing saturated fat. This is the pattern in epidemiology when you look at omega 3 – people who eat more omega 3 eat more saturated fat too, and live longer. Besides, it only takes 2g of EPA+DHA daily to see any benefits – anyone who can be bothered reducing their butter consumption by 2g a day surely has an eating disorder.
        The Sydney Diet Heart Study was one of those substitution trials, and it didn’t produce a benefit. And that’s your actual Aussies eating PUFA, unlike the other trials.
        - Re: Statins. A meta-analysis of 39 trials in the latest BMJ, which found benefits from statins, at least in people who didn’t suffer side-effects, also found it was unlikely that cholesterol-lowering had anything to do with it. The long time scale of atherosclerosis compared with the short time needed to see the statin effect ruled out a lipocentric theory of statin action.
        ““Higher strength statin regimens do reduce events further in secondary prevention,49 but this is not proof that the accompanying lower low density lipoprotein level is the mechanism of benefit. The multiple effects of statins might be correlated in intensity across drug and dose. If so, effects on lipids and effects on cardiovascular events would be correlated, without the lipid reduction being the cause for the event reduction. Notably, fine grained temporal analysis shows reduction in events from use of statins long before the plausible time at which lower lipid levels could mediate slower accumulation of atheroma and thereby could have had an effect. Whether the decrease in low density lipoprotein cholesterol level is the principal mechanism for the reduction of acute events by statins is, therefore, unknown.”

        • Hello George. If cholesterol lowering has no effect on heart disease risk how can you explain the lower coronary events observed in people who have had a partial ileal bypass? How could an operation on your gut lower heart disease risk? Regards, Bill

          • “If cholesterol lowering has no effect on heart disease risk how can you explain the lower coronary events observed in people who have had a partial ileal bypass?”

            POSCH was non-blinded (not feasible in this case), and was confounded by surgical weight loss. It should also be pointed out that mortality was the primary endpoint and was not statistically significant at the end of the formal trial. Yes, there have been numerous post-trial follow-ups, but these are post-hoc and outside of the trial’s original hypothesis.

          • Hello Z.M. None of early cholesterol-lowering trials (diet, cholestyramine, surgery) was perfect but generally they pointed in the same direction i.e. that cholesterol-lowering reduced coronary events. When statins arrived the issue was proven once and for all. Don’t you agree??
            Regards, Bill

        • Hello Peter. If you look through the articles on my site you will find that I provide references in support of the statements I make. That’s the difference between a scientific argument and chatter. Regards, Bill

          • Dear Bill,

            Sure there are a lot of unsubstantiated claims out there but many critics of conventional dietary guidelines also provide links to scientific studies (I hesitate to bring him up but a popular Australian anti-fructose warrior comes to mind here).

            The Western Price Foundation for example has views diametrically opposed to your own on margarine, and they just like yourself have science that proves they are right.

            So whose science is better? We all have a conformational bias, even those Harvard scientists and with very little conclusive evidence I would suggest that we cannot rely on scientific studies to tell us what to eat.

            If the choice is between highly processed foodstuffs like margarine or butter made from churned milk I know which I would choose (cold pressed olive oil yes, hexane extracted, bleached & deodorised vegetable oils no thanks).

          • Hello Peter. Butter vs margarine arguments tend to be more philosophical than scientific. Margarine is painted as artificial; butter is painted as ‘natural’. I tend to look at what’s actually in both products and how they affect the human body. Margarine is more nutrient-dense than butter and has better effects on blood lipids.
            Besides, why should passing fats through a cow be seen as natural and therefore good? After all, what happens along the way? A cow eats lots of essential fatty acids from grass. These undergo partial hydrogenation in the rumen of the cow, producing saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids, which then end up in the milk.
            Butter is highly hydrogenated fat. Calling it ‘natural’ is just the marketers at work. Regards, Bill

    • No proof whatsoever. The drug companies manufacturing Statins do their own SELECTIVE research to prove their hypothesis to sell even more drugs. Best you read “The big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz or are you too scared to learn the truth??

      • Tony, with respect, this is a very naive perspective. Governments don’t spend huge amounts of money on medications just to make pharmaceutical companies rich. They do it to make their populations healthier. You have obviously read the case against statins but you really need to inform yourself about the case in favour.
        This is a nutrition blog so I won’t be making any further comments on statins. Regards, Bill

        • Bill I think you are being a bit naïve about how governments make their decisions. The development and subsequent perversion of the American food pyramid is a case in point. Governments make decisions in response to the pressures applied by interested groups and those with more money apply more pressure!

          • Hello Jenny. I really don’t understand the preoccupation with the food pyramid by many who have joined in this debate. The pyramid was never endorsed by government in Australia. Regards, Bill

          • Bill I am not preoccupied with the American food pyramid I am perplexed by your ‘unsceptical’ trust in the government!!

          • Hi Jenny. ‘Unsceptical trust in government?’ Me? The whole reason for my establishing this blog was concern about the poor job that the NHMRC did in reviewing the last dietary guidelines. Rather than make assumptions about me, please read what I write. Regards, Bill

          • Not making assumptions Bill just responding to a particularly ‘unsceptical’ comment that you made: “Governments don’t spend huge amounts of money on medications just to make pharmaceutical companies rich. They do it to make their populations healthier.” Surely you realise this is a naïve and simplistic perspective! Whilst I obviously disagree with you on many things I follow your website because I think you have interesting things to say and I like to consider multiple perspectives! I appreciate that you have concerns about the guidelines, as do I!

  3. Minority of 1? I think you find tens of thousands of people who have made significant improvements to their health by doing exactly what Pete Evans suggests. Vegetable oil is a highly inflammatory processed oil, containing very large amounts of Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful in excess. They contain trans fats and Multiple randomized controlled trials have examined the effects that vegetable oils can have on cardiovascular disease.

    3 studies have found a drastically increased risk, while 4 found no statistically significant effect.

    Alternatively lets stick with the status quo of eating these products and watch heart disease continue to rise unabated

    • Kevin, can you name one study that shows that vegetable oil, even those containing lots of omega 6 fats, promotes inflammation?
      And there are more trans fats in beef fat than you will find in vegetable oil. More research needed. Regards, Bill

      • Here is a study of interest that suggests that Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Vegetable fats are inflammatory.
        Also, with a little time and effort, you can quickly discern that the trans fats in beef fat is actually beneficial. Our bodies convert vaccenic acid in meat to become rumenic acid. The answers are out there folks. Don’t let them hoodwink you.

        • Hello Matthew. This is a review – it doesn’t show that omega 6 vegetable oils are pro-inflammatory.
          Inflammation is a particularly complex area. The anti-omega 6 critics argue that omega 6 in vegetable oils affects the level of AA in cell membranes, which is involved in the inflammatory response. This is true AT EXTREMELY LOW INTAKES OF OMEGA 6. In fact, getting enough AA in cell membranes is the essential nutritional role of omega 6 (it’s an essential nutrient). But once you have enough AA in your membranes eating more and more omega 6 from vegetable oils has zero effect on AA levels in cell membranes. It’s tightly controlled.
          The idea that more omega 6 = more AA = more inflammation is just plain wrong. Regards, Bill

      • There are many studies alluding to the pro-inflammatory nature of omega 6 oils – Here is just one of them:

        The advice on this website is dangerous, out-dated and not supported by new science. The wisdom of crowds is growing, and we won’t stay quiet as long as this rubbish continues to be spouted by representatives of Big Food. Can you sleep at night with this massive conflict of interest?

        • Nicole, Simopoulos SAYS omega 6 oils are pro-inflammatory but in the last 25 years she hasn’t been able to produce any evidence that that is the case. regards, Bill

          • Bill – would Simopoulos have more credibility if she had studied at Harvard?

            I’m not saying all, but many ‘studies’ by ‘scientists’ have in fact been biased by the funding they receive by big business and companies. Just a point.

          • No, but she would have more credibility if she could support her arguments with scientific evidence. Regards, Bill

      • The “trans fat” in beef, and dairy, CLA, is mostly a cis, trans fat, rumenic acid. The literature on the health benefits of rumenic acid weighs a ton, and can be summarised as CLA is pretty much as good for you as fish oil, only it isn’t essential for life.
        These conjugated fatty acids, which are products of ruminant digestive fermentation, are not so far as I know formed artificially in any significant amounts in making the kind of junk that supplies trans fats in a diet low in animal fats.

    • Anything is harmful ”in excess” – that’s the definition of excess. And ”highly inflammatory” is a highly inflammatory term. Inflammation is the pseudo-science of the decade, invoked by many who have no idea of the process of inflammation.

      • Does that mean that prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs for, say, arthritis is a pseudoscientific practice? Or, used a CRP tst as a (reliable) indicator of cardiovascular risk?
        I agree that “inflammation” is a misused concept – for example, high PUFA intakes can also be “immunosupressive” in the literature, so better terms, and more detail, are needed.

  4. With all due respect, why are you vilifying Pete Evans, when his views are supported by a growing number of studies demonstrating links between sugar (fructose et al) and weight gain/negative effects on biochemistry? How can you credibly critique Pete Evans when you have paid affiliations with the organisations producing the ‘value added’ products he’s damning? You know what they say about people in glass-houses…

      • When I read Pete Evans recipes I don’t find much not to like from a health point of view. I like the concept of ‘real food’. I find from experience that grains appear to cause me discomfort and weight gain. I don’t see the need for much sugar BUT I do eat butter and cheese.

        • Liam, it was a joke. Did you not detect my tongue firmly in my cheek throughout the whole article? Regards, Bill

      • Bill, you may not have vilified Pete Evan’s in the Oxford Dictionary definition sense of the word, however you did suggest he should be arrested, which is a pretty dumb thing to say. He’s hardly hurting anyone to the extent where arrest is appropriate; well no less or more than you are with your views, in which case based on your logic, you’d best go and hand yourself into the authorities also. Nonetheless I enjoyed your article, and my personal view is that a bit of Pete Evans’ thinking is not the worst thing that’s ever happened to society. Most of us are better off for taking even just a few grains of his advice (no pun intended).

        • Hello Col. About five years ago a scientific paper was published that estimated how many deaths from cardiovascular disease would be prevented each year if the mean blood LDL-cholesterol level of the Australian population was lowered by 10%. The answer was over 2900.
          If the population adopted Pete Evans’ recommendations LDL-cholesterol levels would rise by 8-10%, increasing heart disease risk. This would not be associated with hundreds more deaths from cardiovascular disease each year, the increased deaths would be in the thousands.
          We can deal with these matters in a lighthearted way, but the issue is actually very important. And Pete Evans is on the wrong side of everything we have learned about diet, cholesterol and heart disease over the last 40 years. Regards, Bill

          • Its interesting Bill, that you claim Pete Evans is on the wrong side of learning and advice about diet over the last 40 years. You have to concede that during those same 40 years, the rate of overweight and obese people has sky rocketed. Given that indisputable fact, don’t you think its time to question the advice being given, because clearly, it isn’t working.

          • Hello Wayne. Science is all about asking questions and, contrary to many of the comments on this post, scientific opinion about carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, saturated fats and heart disease risk has changed in recent years. But not in the way the paleo folks suggest.
            There is no doubt that rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes have increased in recent decades but some people are attributing this to the diet pyramid. The fact is that Australians never embraced the pyramid with the fervour of the Americans.
            My belief is that the obesity epidemic and the increased diabetes that goes with it is driven by the fact that food is now abundant, tasty and cheap. Simple as that. In such an environment it’s very easy to over-eat and humans are hard-wired to indulge when the going is good. The trouble is, the going is good all the time now. Regards, Bill

          • Lewis, I don’t see how the study you linked to says what you say it does.

            “risk is reduced most effectively when trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids are replaced with cis unsaturated fatty acids.”

        • loved this … hear hear Col.
          nobody has mentioned the fat soluble vitamins that our bodies need so much from our butter, eggs and grass fed organic meat (with the fat on).
          Any food that is highly processed eg the oils, wheat products, margarine etc cannot , by logic, be beneficial.
          Even if you knew nothing about food processing surely something would tell you that eating as close as possible to the original would do less harm than food that has been tampered with.

          • Hello Judie. I’m glad you raised the issue of fat-soluble vitamins but we need to be careful about applying ‘logic’ to this issue rather than objectivity. For example, margarine is more nutrient-rich than butter. They may have similar levels of vitamin A, but margarine has more vitamin D. Butter is low in vitamin E; vegetable oils and margarines made from them are rich in vitamin E. I’m not telling you what to eat but it is important to get the facts right. Regards. Bill

    • All this nutrition talk and no mention of exercise. Does anyone believe that an active person needs to worry about any of issues of sugar et al, EFA and their sources?
      Or is this more relevant for those that are sedentary.

  5. How much we’re you paid to write this bunch of garbage. People are starting to slowly wake up to the all the propaganda being shoved down their mouths by big cooperations. It’s all about money to them not about people health.

  6. It is amazing to think that anyone would follow this kind of obviously dangerous advice from someone who has no formal qualifications in nutrition, dietetics, medicine or science. The man is a known quack and earns his money by putting people on fad diets. As for the newspaper industry well, if you believe what’s in The Australian against what is in the Medical Journal of Australia you really do have paleolithic rocks in your head.

    • I guess when the Times and other newspapers have researched and written their own articles now supporting the use of butter they were misguided!!

      • Hello Jenny. I don’t get nutrition information from Time magazine. I get it from scientific journals. Regards, Bill

          • Hello Greg. I’ve read Ravnskov’s work. He doesn’t do research – he just writes lots of letters.
            I’m in partial agreement with the other author (see other replies for my thoughts on saturated fat, carbohydrates and heart disease). But he concludes by recommending a Mediterranean diet, as I do. This style of diet is rich in vegetable oils, which the paleo/Evans people say is bad for us. Regards, Bill

          • Bill you mis-represent Paleo again. Paleo is against industrialised vegetable oils. Not healthy types like cold pressed olive oil, you know the common oil used in the Mediteranean diet. I think Pete Evans is getting more attention than you and making you look “old school”. You and Ancell Keys would make a good pair.

          • The thing is KayJay, when the first trials were done that showed that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat lowered heart disease risk, the polyunsaturated fats didn’t come from cold pressed olive oil. They came from ordinary vegetable oils.
            When you look at modern day observational studies that show the benefits of polyunsaturated fats as a replacement for saturated fats, these fats are from everyday foods available in Europe and America. It’s the ordinary vegetable oils that show the benefit. Cold pressed oils may be even better for lowering heart disease risk, but we don’t really have that data, do we? Regards, Bill

          • I hope you’re not cherry picking Bill. Firstly, you fail to mention the BMJ article and it’s references. Secondly, the author of the first article has plenty of research papers attributed to him, although not many recently. I was amused to read his 1992 study on “Cholesterol lowering trials in coronary heart disease: frequency of citation and outcome.” where he found that “Lowering serum cholesterol concentrations does not reduce mortality and is unlikely to prevent coronary heart disease. Claims of the opposite are based on preferential citation of supportive trials.” Which seems what you are doing.
            I am alive and I hope to stay so for some time yet, so I think I have a pretty substantial interest in getting this cholesterol/saturated fat thing correct. However, in all the many studies I am continually looking at there appears no justification to claim that saturated fats and cholesterol are the cause of CHD and CVD. For every study that shows cholesterol is a problem there is one showing it isn’t. This is no climate change debate. It’s not about denialism, we don’t have 97% of scientists in agreement. The hypothesis is not proven.

          • Greg, I am afraid that you and I will have to agree to disagree. Regards, Bill

          • Bill… when those trials were done they re-used the saturated fats day after day depleting their vitamin E, yet the vegetable oils were changed daily. Also there were a large contingent of smokers among the Sat fat group. In the end the CVD risk reduction attributed to the veg oil group was minimal (and probably due to the smokers in the sat fat group). Yet in the veg oil group cancer rates rose.

    • Aaron – Can’t remember seeing PhD after Pete Evans name so I don’t think he is ‘putting people on fad diets’. He has am opinion which in this country he is allowed to voice. I think you do anyone a disservice if you think people are mindless idiots trying anything without some research first. Am I pro-Pete Evans? I agree with some of his opinions, having done my own research, but I will defend his right to offer his opinion, just as Bill has his right to his opinion. I don’t have to agree with either of them, just be open to consider their perspective.

  7. So for all the fanboys and fangirls coming over to give Bill a serve because their guru requested it – ask yourself a question – why did Pete ONLY go for the personal attack?

    Why wasn’t the response evidence-based (as Pete loves to pretend that his position is based on science)?

    Why not respond with counter evidence and not the cheap debating trick of an ad hominem attack (or even respond with both if you think it is relevant)?

    Since I, like so many others who disagree with him, get removed from his Facebook page (every wonder why so many people agree?) can’t, could you ask if he’d agree to an online debate on the topic?

    Not a live one, but a written one, 3-4 back and forths, a few days in between each response to respond and check facts? That way it is about evidence and not show!

    How about it Pete? If science is on your side and your (alleged) science advisor are on the up and up and want to be totally transparent – how about we just talk about the facts and leave the cheap lawyer tricks aside?

    • We live in an anti science world, it’s amazing what you can convince people of using the cult of personality, evidence be damned. Funny how profitable it is screaming about greedy corporations.

    • Speaking for myself, I have no interest in this chef I’ve never heard of, who may well be an OZ-like quack for all I know and care, but I do have an interest in public health and nutrition, and this causes me to disagree with Bill’s argument here. I do agree that Mediterranean diet foods can help by a mixture of factors (micronutrients, antioxidants, fibre, as well as fatty acids), but not purified oils, the case for which is more messed up than Bill realises. What do Finnish mental hospital patients have to do with me, and why did so many of those who started the trial not Finnish it (and vice versa?). What about Rose Corn oil study, or the Sidney Diet Heart study? Hardly a unanimous result for the benefits of oils, or indeed for the harms of the fats they replaced in these studies.
      Also, the lipid hypothesis studies are heterogenous – each a different intervention, looking at different diagnoses.

    • David – why don’t you propose a real challenge. You are obviously a devotee of the food pyramid/food plate various incarnation. Take a bunch of people with autoimmune diseases and put half on a Paleo style diet and half on the food pyramid and measure all of their physical symptoms (i.e. skin conditions, bloating, brain fog, depression etc) and antibodies to food proteins before and after three months on the diet and then let us know the results. Forget the fat argument distraction and focus on the real reasons people are stripping out gluten, dairy, sugar, soy etc and winding up paleo by default. You will then realise why dieticians/scientists are rapidly losing relevancy – you are too slow off the mark, too busy with your petty arguments and unable to respond to what people are begging for – to have their health returned to them. But moderate away…

      • “You are obviously a devotee of the food pyramid/food plate various incarnation”

        How about you stick to what is written instead of strawman responses?

        Anyway, Pete claims that his position (as do many others) is based on the science – you can’t have it both ways!

        When the trials are done, my views will be formed on them, but it is ridiculous for you to speculate on how you think the trial would turn out as evidence (let alone try to make GENERAL dietary recommendations based on the response of s special group ie those with autoimmune disease)

  8. Pete Evans typifies everything that is dangerous about the fad diet industry. I feel sorry for the young girls in particular who think his musings are based in fact and any kind of research. Fad diets are dangerous and the so called ‘paleo’ diet has won many awards from medical experts for being not only useless but also potentially dangerous.

    • Paleo is a fraud – many of those foods consumed during the paleolithic no longer exist anyway. Until the adherents can go to the local butcher and order a mammoth steak, then I suggest they stick to the scientific evidence from actual researchers rather than the anecdotal evidence from celebrity chefs.

      • Your argument is one of the most common and often thrown up arguments that is offered against Paleo and shows your ignorance.

        Paleo proponents do not try to say that you can eat exactly as paleolithic man did. The whole premise is a nutrient dense diet that mimicks the foods that were available in paleolithic times in a modern world.

        Scientific evidence has shown that the fatty acid profile of grain fed (or grain finished) beef differs considerably from grass-fed beef and that grass fed beefs ratio of omega-6:omega-3 is much closer to ideal ratios. Whilst not as ideal as wild game (or Mammoth Steaks and you propose), due to a lack of availability of wild game meat, I’d rather have grass-fed

        • Hello Rocky. I like my beef grass-fed too. And I enjoy oily fish at least twice a week, getting valuable long-chain 3 from both sources. But the idea of an ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 can’t be sustained, even though it’s been talked about for 20 years. In modern day epidemiological studies both omega 3 and omega 6 are protective and relevant dietary recommendations are now based around eating plenty of both, rather than focussing on the ratio between them. Regards, Bill

      • Paleo is not about trying to eat what cavemen ate. It it the science of evolutionary biology applied nutrition – asking the question – “what food did we evolve on and what do we thrive on?” We also use current nutrition science for example olive oil was not part of a caveman diet – but it is universally shown to be healthy in clinical studies.

        • Hello Julianne. One thing to remember is that early humans ate what was in their immediate environment and one of the reasons we thrived as a species was our ability to survive on widely differing diets.
          Today it is often said that man evolved on diets that were rich in long-chain omega 3 and with very little omega 6. I looked into the amount and type of dietary fat in hunter-gatherer diets some years ago and the variety was extraordinary. For example, tribes on the west coast of Canada and the US ate huge amounts of long-chain omega 3 fats because of all the salmon they ate and the fat they rendered from them. In contrast, some of the !Kung Bushmen in southern Africa had huge intakes of omega 6 courtesy of the mainstay of their diet – the Mongongo nut. So we need to be careful about what we assume about primitive diets.
          In relation to oils available today, yes, olive oil has shown itself to be a good oil, but soybean oil – ‘the olive oil of the east’ – performs just as well in the Asian dietary context. Sunflower oil and canola oil generally perform just as well in scientific studies as olive oil. Saying that one of these oils is really good for you and the rest are really bad makes no sense in science. Regards, Bill

          • The point is Bill they didn’t eat industrialised foods. Only naturally occurring whole foods.

          • Needless to say, they didn’t eat ‘industrialised’ foods. But to be honest most modern day people wouldn’t eat many of the foods that paleo humans ate – bitter fruits and fibrous vegetables.
            KayJay, we can live in an imagined past or we can live in the present day. I try to advise people on how to choose a healthy diet from everyday foods, based on what the last 50 years of nutrition science has taught us. Science has not taught us to avoid eating wholegrains and unsaturated vegetable oils. The contrary in fact. Regards, Bill

  9. I don’t understand how you can attack someone for suggesting a wholefoods way of life is less beneficial than one eating packaged foods…
    Surely common sense would back that eating food in the original form is better for our body and what it is designed to process.
    Why do we need to eat things with artificial sugars, flavourings, colourings and the likes. Why are these things approved and deemed fit for personal consumption? In a country and world where everyone is getting fatter and sicker, we surely need to look at what we are ingesting.
    Regardless of testing and approval by the food authority, I think there are many types of “foods” that are being sold in the supermarket that any human being with no scientific background would be able to tell that they are not good for human consumption. Also, alcohol and cigarettes are an approved vice, but we all know they aren’t good either, so the argument to say that they are approved seems invalid.
    You can’t blame the guy for trying to educate our fat and sick population.

    • Hello Kate. Eating whole foods is a great idea but dietary variety is also very important. The two ideas sit comfortably together. The more you narrow your sources of foods the more likely you are to be deficient in an essential nutrient.
      Recently, a fellow told me that his wife had just re-commenced eating fruit after 9 months on a strict sugar-free diet. He said she was feeling quite unwell. This is the sort of thing that happens with extreme diets. Moderation is a good principle. Regards, Bill

      • Totally agree!
        I don’t think the majority of what he is saying is wrong and I personally believe what he is saying is a lot better than we are led to believe regarding the “government approved” foods and beverages.
        I’m of the opinion that our food shouldn’t be [messed] with…. and yes, agree with you that we need a wide variety of foods and nutrients… I just don’t see where aspartame and the likes has a place in our body, or why it would even be necessary. We shouldn’t have to create our food other than pick it off a tree (including fruit), pull it from the garden etc.
        We are so far removed from what food actually is. In an ideal world we’d eat seasonal produce and share it amongst our community and everyone would be able to nutritionally provide for their families without the need of heavily packed artificially created things they call food and add a stamp of approval to, to make consumers believe that if it’s in the supermarket… it must be safe.

        • This may come as a shock to you, but we don’t live in an ideal world. We don’t all have the time or other resources to eat freshly picked, organic, blah blah foods all the time. So we have to do the best we can with what we have. And the idea of cutting out entire food groups for the sake of ‘health’ (unless it’s the foodgroup comprised of pluto-pups and Magnums) has always seemed counter-intuitive to me. Although I will freely admit that I’m vegetarian, but that’s because eating dead animals freaks me out. It’s not a decision I based on health or what happened to be trendy at the time.

      • So icecream, lollies, cakes, buscuits, twisties,preservatives, chemical additives, mars bars etc etc are all ok as long as you don’t overdo it? How much of this stuff is a moderate amount?

        • Personally, I don’t encourage consumption of any of these foods (see our carbohydrate quality model
          Strict avoidance of these foods and consuming only nutrient-dense whole foods would be better for my physical health. But what about my emotional health and my social relationships? I just don’t think extreme approaches to diet are healthy in a broad sense. Regards, Bill

          • Nutrient dense wholefoods may do wonders for your mental health as well. Your brain isn’t disconnected from the rest of your body. If your body is healthier, then there’s a very good chance your brain/mind will be too.

          • I agree with Bill here. It is important to find a balance. Especially in social situations, special occasions and outings – it is detrimental to emotional wellbeing to deprive yourself of indulging once in a while. I am also of the mind however, that whole foods (I mean here, full fat dairy products over low fat, etc) are better for me. I say ME here because everyone is different – and although a collective idea of health is important I think it’s important to realise that individuals will have different responses to dietry choices. I personally, would feel very lousy not eating any fruit or grains. But I also feel the benefits of eating full fat products over low fat (I have tried both). People who simply read Evans point of view and blindly jump straight into the “paleo” diet are so very misguided. Has it struck anyone yet? WE ARE NOT IN THE PALEOLITHIC ERA! We must adapt to the current time! Sigh.

        • KayJay, we all agree eating whole foods is a good idea. The difference of opinion is around restricting the variety of types of foods, even whole grains. Regards, Bill

  10. Thanks again for putting junk science in it’s place Bill. As an accredited practising dietitian I spend numerous hours trying to undo the damage such “experts” cause, perpetuating the no grain, no dairy, no sugar (but agave syrup and honey are okay and apparently sugar free too) but eat saturated fat and protein as you please attitude-with no science to back it up. I think many other professionals will heave a big sigh of relief on reading your response. I only wish Murdoch Press asked a real expert like yourself to comment so the general public would finally get credible scientific nutrition advice unlike what we read each week!!! Keep up the great work please!!

    • I feel for diet and nutrition professionals, trying to maintain a practical and science-based approach while the self-appointed gurus rake in the dollars and book sales with no responsibility for outcomes.

      • Many allied health practitioners face the same problems. Try being and evidence based exercise physiologist in the face of people like Michelle Bridges and the cohorts of 8 week personal trainers churned out by the institute of fitness promoting all the crazy exercises and supplements. It’s maddening. The gift of the gab will always be listened to over scientific evidence.

  11. In 10 years we will see who speaks the truth and who is just raising their profile…..Canada and Sweden have changed their food recommendations according to all the new studies, so it must be a fad to have that much influence:)

    • Hello Vanessa. I have just checked the latest Canadian Dietary Guidelines ( recommendations and they are the opposite of what Pete Evans says. They recommend the regular consumption of grains and have the following to say about saturated fat:

      Saturated fat is a type of fat found in food. It has been shown to raise LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. Having high LDL-cholesterol levels increases your risk for heart disease.

      Saturated fat is found in many foods:
      animal foods (like beef, chicken, lamb, pork and veal)
      coconut, palm and palm kernel oils
      dairy products (like butter, cheese and whole milk)
      Choosing lower-fat meat and dairy products can help reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet.

      Use vegetable oil or soft margarines that are low in saturated and trans fats instead of butter, hard margarine, lard and shortening.

      • what about the new dietary guidlines in sweden that were reported recently? I notice that 2 countries were mentioned by Vanessa, yet you chose to only talk about the one that supported your argument? ‘Cherry-Picking’ information….

        • Hello Rocky. I have seen recent reports that Sweden was the ‘first Western nation to reject low fat diet dogma’ but this isn’t true. Take a look at the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010).
          Can you see low fat recommendations anywhere in this document?
          These guidelines do recommend the replacement of saturated fat with unsaturated fats (a moderate fat diet), which is what the latest science supports. They do not support the replacement of saturated fat with carbohydrate, which would lead to a low fat diet.
          This is where the paleo/Evans perspective is out of kilter with nutrition science. Science says less saturated fat, more unsaturated fat i.e. more vegetable oils. Regards, Bill

  12. I have researched both gluten free, low fodmap and paleo ways of eating. I combine all three ways of eating to help control medical issues and feel a lot better within my myself for eating this way.

    I went to a dietican for help and got quoted the some old line of eat the food pyramid blah blah blah. Mind you i got no help with how to combine types of eating to be healthier. Have you stopped to think that maybe people with autoimmune diseases and other medical problems are looking for a way to eat which is healthy and helps heal their bodies whilst cutting down the need to take pharmaceuticals- which are costly and dont fix the iriginal problem but only coverup the symptoms.

    Come on people start thinking outside the box and back to the healthy ways of eating from 40 years ago when we all grew our own veg gardens and ate more vegetables and fruit and way less prepackaged sugar ladden junk.

    Whilst i dont agree with everything Pete says i do agree with healthy eating and being smart enough to research things before committing to something which may/maynot be good for you.

    So before you slag off about things try having a go eating this way for a month and then see how you feel.

    • Lee, in the good old days (1901), the life expectancy of an Australian man was 55 years. Now it’s over 80 years. Nostalgia doesn’t help much when we consider the links between food and health. Let’s focus on the facts. Regards, Bill

      • Next you will be making comparisons to Paleolithic man who only lived 30 years….those kind of misguided comparisons do you no favour and continue to undermine the rest of your “arguments”.

    • Lee, when you say you have ”researched”, did you actually conduct clinical trials, or did you just read stuff? Do you have good skills in critical review of scienfitic research? Did you access entire articles and analyse the methodology? Did you publish your review?

      It is easy to make personal decisions, but diet and nutrition professionals are required to advise others and be responsible for the quality of their information.

    • Lee, what if we collect data from a whole bunch of groups who don;t follow Paleo and found similar benefits – does that make your position wrong?

      Research and trying something for yourself are two very different things.

      The discussion here is about what the research says (and how Pete misrepresents it) – not about personal experience as you can find anyone to support any view (like that you can get your energy from the sun – see breatharians).

      You seem to have fallen for Pete’s misdirection, that people here don;t support eating natural whole foods – a false dichotomy than many alternative food gurus try to push – it’s not true!

    • Fortunately studies using paleo for auto-immune disease are starting to happen. This one has recently been published:
      J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May;20(5):347-55. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0188. Epub 2014 Jan 29.
      A multimodal intervention for patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: feasibility and effect on fatigue.
      Bisht B1, Darling WG, Grossmann RE, Shivapour ET, Lutgendorf SK, Snetselaar LG, Hall MJ, Zimmerman MB, Wahls TL.


      Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease influenced by environmental factors.

      The feasibility of a multimodal intervention and its effect on perceived fatigue in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis were assessed.

      This was a single-arm, open-label intervention study in an outpatient setting.

      A multimodal intervention including a modified paleolithic diet with supplements, stretching, strengthening exercises with electrical stimulation of trunk and lower limb muscles, meditation, and massage was used.

      Adherence to each component of the intervention was calculated using daily logs. Side-effects were assessed from a monthly questionnaire and blood analyses. Fatigue was assessed using the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS). Data were collected at baseline and months 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12.

      Ten (10) of 13 subjects who were enrolled in a 2-week run-in phase were eligible to continue in the 12-month main study. Of those 10 subjects, 8 completed the study and 6 subjects fully adhered to the study intervention for 12 months. Over a 12-month period, average adherence to diet exceeded 90% of days, and to exercise/muscle stimulation exceeded 75% of days. Nutritional supplements intake varied among and within subjects. Group daily average duration of meditation was 13.3 minutes and of massage was 7.2 minutes. No adverse side-effects were reported. Group average FSS scores decreased from 5.7 at baseline to 3.32 (p=0.0008) at 12 months.

      In this small, uncontrolled pilot study, there was a significant improvement in fatigue in those who completed the study. Given the small sample size and completer rate, further evaluation of this multimodal therapy is warranted.

  13. Sugar is addictive poison, artificial sweeteners are satan, unsaturated vegetable oils are bad and saturated animal fats are great.

    Really, he’s just reciting all the classic, textbook beliefs of pseudoscience nutrition quackery, straight from the website of somebody like Mercola.

    • Luke, with all these deadly poisons in our food, what I can understand is how life expectancy keeps rising year after year. Regards, Bill

      • You know what else just keeps rising per capita?
        Heart disease

        Have you read up about the current life expectancy of children in the US these days? Clearly not. Better to be conscious about the pursuit and betterment of your diet rather than live a life or ignorance and being the victim of the standard western diet from the backing of unscrupulous heads of authority with clear and blatant conflicts of interest.

        • Hello Nick. Actually, the incidence of heart disease continues its 40-year decline ( but trends in obesity and diabetes are certainly a concern. Better diets will help but over-consumption in an abundant food environment is the key driver. There has been some leveling off in obesity trends in recent years but will we be able to reverse the trend one day? Regards, Bill.

          • When you eat less sugar/grain and eat more saturated fat (good quality grass fed), in an overall whole foods diet, you get thinner and eat less. You don’t over-consume because your natural feel full mechanism kicks in. How do I know? Because I did it and listened to my body. I took control of my health, rather than sit back and wait for the science community and their double blind clinical trials.

          • Hi Colin. Exchanging saturated fat for sugar/grains has little effect on cardiovascular health. If you included more unsaturated fat instead of sugar/grains you would do better and the effects on appetite would be similar. Regards, Bill

          • Bill, my LDL-cholesterol numbers are lower now than they were when I was consuming more sugar/grains. I eat good quality saturated fat from grass fed animals. I presume my cardiovascular health is better now with lower LDL and reduced inflammation?

      • Easy, Bill. People are paying hand-over-fist to get ”de-toxed”, take ”remedies” and all sorts of magical fixes that cure those poisonous addictions. Only THEN do they get to live longer!

    • Kat, the last time I checked medical students got about 6 hours of nutrition lectures in their 5-6 year courses. Regards, Bill

      • Bill – here I have to disagree. Medical students may not be taught dietetics (prescription of diets) – there is an entire profession that does that. But NUTRITION covers anatomy and physiology from the salivary glands to the anal glands, including endocrine and exocrine factors, gastric acide secretion, the role of all the vitamins – it’s HUNDREDS of hours, not six!

        • Humans do not have anal glands. Dogs and cats do.

          Anyway, Bill’s general point here is right – the people best qualified to give people dietary advice are dietitians. Certainly not cooks or celebrity chefs.

          • Dear Vanessa,
            That’s the whole point. This is relatively new information and “the people best qualified to give people dietary advice are dietitians” .. who were trained with the old outdated info. So that’s whats starting to happen now, some are becoming enlightened. But it’s a slow process and many will be reluctant to move with the times, because they have studied this info in books and have passed exams. They have simply forgotten that they must keep up to date with new ideas and new discoveries.

          • Sandy,

            What research are ‘we’ missing out on. Bill has responded to most armchair experts here with recent studies (which usually ends their responses)?

            Could you list some of the new and up to date research that everyone is ignoring or missing out on – this is a common claim main by pseudoscientists in this and other related fields (and then repeated by their devotees) – but is rarely supported with evidence.

        • I reckon it’s six. And three hours of biochemistry. And thousands on pharmacy. Try finding a doctor that knows what Boron is….

          • Where does this idea that dietitians’ research is outdated come from? Do people not understand that they must do at least 30 hours of CPD per year or they get de-registered? Never mind the fact that most dietitians I know do a lot more than that and regularly read medical, scientific and dietetic research papers because they are passionately interested in the topic and every new development and scientific finding.

  14. Given the process of converting full cream milk into skim milk, I find it strange that the nutritional density would increase. Can you give some insight as to the result? (I have been unable to access your research paper).

    • Hello Barry. If you remove the fat from milk you take out lots of calories but few nutrients, just the fat-soluble ones – mainly vitamin A and a very small amount of vitamin D. Most of milk’s nutrients are in the skim fraction. So with lots of nutrients but only few calories skim milk is nutrient-dense. Regards, Bill

    • For Evans to say it has no nutritional benefit is clearly fraudulent. If it had no nutrients in there, it’d be effectively water.

  15. I think people need to take advice from both of these arguments. Its great to encourage a diet which is full of variety to get all of those essential vitamins and minerals. But honestly is there really a need to add 10 other ingredients to a tub of yoghurt? The food pyramid is a great reference if the ‘whole foods’ ‘less processed’ principals are applied. For example steel cut oats instead of the processed sickly tasting quick flavoured kind. Quinoa instead of white rice. Whole milk and yoghurt in appropriate portion size. Lots of fresh fruit and veg. Local fresh meat and seafood. Small amounts of EVOO/avocado/butter ect. Each food group is being addressed but in correct portion sizes and minimal processing involved

  16. Hi Bill,

    I thought the saturated fat argument had been put to bed, and that it was trans-fat, which mimics saturated fat structurally, that is detrimental where saturated fats found in whole foods were found to make no difference to heart health and cholesterol? I understand that the polyunsaturated fats are great, but do they not oxidise at very low temperates, making them unsuitable for cooking and indeed already damaged from the oil extraction process in many cases? I don’t know where to find credible information

    • Hello Rosey. The Australian Dietary Guidelines produced by the NHMRC say this:

      Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries,
      pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips,
      crisps and other savoury snacks.
      • Replace high fat foods which contain predominately saturated fats such as
      butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods which contain
      predominately polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads,
      nut butters/pastes and avocado.

      That’s similar to the advice from the Heart Foundation, the World Health Organisation and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. There is now very little difference between the advice of expert organsisations but a world of difference between their views and the views of Mr Evans. Regards, Bill

  17. Just letting you know that Pete Evans has just deleted most of the criticism of his advice from the comments section of his facebook page.

    Along with my comment, there was one person called Sparky who posted a few scientific links to research showing paleo wasn’t all that its cracked up to be, and another poster called Michelle and at least one other one whose name escapes me. It was all fairly fact-based criticism but its pretty much all been removed now. I would have thought he could handle this kind of stuff but apparently he’s worried that the science might actually be right after all (god forbid!).

  18. Hi Bill,
    Great article, thank you for expressing your views and supporting the world of nutrition and dietetics from a scientific and factual background. And I congratulate you for going through post by post and challenging each misguided comment. It’s great to see advocacy in action.
    Kind regards,

  19. To the people wondering why bother criticising paleo diets at all consider this:

    Supporters of these fad diets use pseudo science to claim that paleo diets cure cancer:

    They do this to sell their books.

    How would you feel if someone you loved didn’t get to a doctor in time because they were on some fad diet. Just remember what happened to Steve Jobs:

    Fad diets can kill.

    • Peter, are you sure that “What Is The Origin Of Cancer?” is the article you meant to use as an example because the world “paleo” appears in it exactly ZERO times never mind it suggesting it be a cure for cancer. It discusses the application of a ketogenic diet but even then, read the title; it’s asking what is the ORIGIN, not suggesting a cure.

      As for Steve Jobs: You’re quite comfortable citing a bizarrely speculative and honestly fairly bad taste article as some kind of evidence that Steve Jobs diet killed him?

    • I guess it’s just as well that humans (a) are not rats and (b) consume nowhere near 500 mg/kg body weight worth of aspartame then?

        • Hello Mike. Food is made of chemical substances. The question that food safety authorities ask themselves is whether a particular substance, naturally occurring or added, have adverse effects on health and at what quantities these effects become apparent. Then they tend to build in a large safety buffer in making final recommendations. Food additives are a major concern of consumers but they have negligible effects on health, because of the controls they are subjected to. Regards, Bill

  20. This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read.

    Here is a list of some foods that have significantly more thiamin than a slice of bread: 75g of pork/liver/fish/mussels, 1/2 cup of green peas, 1/4 cup of nuts and seeds. Do you think that our paleolithic ancestors suffered with beriberi and if so how did we get to be here?

    In regard to dairy foods, who cares about how dairy compares to other carbohydrates? Why don’t you add meat/fish/vegetables into your ‘carbohydrate quality model’ as a reference? I’m not saying that dairy is completely devoid of nutrients, but they are not as nutrient dense as most paleo prescribed foods. And who cares about those pesky fat soluble vitamins that are missing from skim milk hey?

    Artificial sweeteners are NOT FOOD! Humans should really aim to eat food, since that is what we evolved to eat. And he is not being hypocritical by suggesting that people avoid both sugar and artificial sweeteners. It actually is possible to avoid both sugar and artificial sweeteners!! Amazing!

    You call him a ‘minority of 1′ in regard to vegetable oils and heart disease which shows how under-researched this article is. He is supported by many, many scientists and doctors.

    And finally, you are scathing of how he is a zealot, only out to earn a buck. Have you listened to yourself lately?

    • So I eat about 8 slices of bread for breakfast and 8 for lunch (I’m a big guy), so I would have to eat 4 cups of green peas for breakfast and more than half a kilo of pork for lunch to get as much thiamin.
      I think the main message is just moderation. Stick with that.
      I personally don’t like artificial sweeteners either, but I think sugar is fine too as long as you exercise properly. In relation to health, diet should never be mentioned without exercise.

    • This was Bill’s reply to someone else’s comment:

      “The concern is not for intelligent, well informed, highly motivated people who replace grains with vegetable, nuts and seeds. They will get along fine. The concern is for vulnerable groups who have low intakes and/or high needs for thiamin. If society gives up grains in order to be ‘healthy’ these vulnerable groups will be at increased risk of deficiency. Regards, Bill”

  21. Thank you for writing this post. It’s about time someone stands up and says something about the non scene Pete rants on about. Any one with an tiny bit of formal education nutrition training at university knows his view are unsubstantiated.
    As for people on this post arguing that people are getting sick because they follow the Australian dietary guidelines. Take it from me from a person who works in chronic health management as a dietitian people are sick because they don’t follow the guidelines! Last national nutrition surgery showed people don’t eat veggies or fruit or whole grains, that’s why they are sick. Not because they don’t use coconut oil or butter!
    Come on people see through the garbage. Let the trained nutrition medical professionals do their job.

    • Hi Gabrielle. I wouldn’t mind if Mr Evans recommended an unusual diet because it tastes good. After all, he’s a chef – making food taste good is his job. But making health recommendations and comments that are inconsistent with nutrition science or contrary to it is another matter. Regards, Bill

      • Even if he (and the other gurus) said that they tried this and like so many others it worked for them and you might like to try it.

        But claiming it is backed by science and that professionals either aren’t up to date or are some how corrupted is disgraceful!

  22. I have a question for you. If you remove grains from your diet and you a presumably replace them with vegetables and nuts/seeds wouldn’t you be able consume the recommend levels of thiamin and B vitamins? I can’t imagine we would all just start developing beriberi…

    • Hello Elyce. The concern is not for intelligent, well informed, highly motivated people who replace grains with vegetable, nuts and seeds. They will get along fine. The concern is for vulnerable groups who have low intakes and/or high needs for thiamin. If society gives up grains in order to be ‘healthy’ these vulnerable groups will be at increased risk of deficiency. Regards, Bill

  23. Bill, I read your article with great interest, since I aim to be healthy and the deification of celebrities has long since been a bug-bear of mine. The garbage which some of them speak on a variety of topics astonishes me only slightly less to the ability of some to believe their views with no scrutiny. However you handled yourself with great dignity in all your responses on this site and never resorted to personal attacks. Unlike many, who took offense, I realised your claim to have this celeb arrested was tongue in cheek too. Good article.

    • Hi Geoff. I tried to respond to those whose approach was civil and who had something interesting to say. Funny how some people think that abuse is a useful tactic. Regards, Bill

  24. Rachael…. Have you had a listen to yourself?? Seriously, read over your post. I think I know who the zealot is! And I can tell by what and how you have written your post that you are a nutrition expert and know better than the numerous Dietitians posting here in support of Bills message…… BTW, that was a joke!

    • Actually, I am a dietitian. And I have worked with mainstream nutrition advice for many years. In my experience what we are doing doesn’t work!!

  25. Pete Evans SHOULD have to answer for the things he says and the cult following he has created. What he’s doing is not leading to an overall/population-wide improvement in the health and wellbeing … he is creating a divide. There is a growing obsession with being ‘healthy’, and that the only way to stay ‘healthy’ is to eat foods. People are frowned upon if they choose not to purchase organic/non-GMO/raw/preservative-free food. How much enjoyment is left actually eating a tasty meal with friends/family? Health is far from being just physically ‘well’, but it also encompasses social and mental wellbeing. Pete Evans is not the only ‘celeb’ to do this, he is simply capitalising on the growing ‘health/fitness’ trend that is evident across various social media sites. There is an increasing prevalence of eating disorders, particularly in ‘Western’ society … how much will his actions add fuel to the fire?
    I think you have written a fabulous, tongue-in-cheek article Bill. Pete can dish it out but he can’t handle any scientifically-based retorts. 100,000 testimonials will never outweigh the scientific evidence.

    • Hello Charlie. The warmth and conviviality of a meal shared with friends and family is the thing that gets lost when people adopt a fanatical approach to food. I’ve seen people tie themselves in knots when confronted with a restaurant menu, panicking because they have lost control over the food they eat, and grilling the waiter about every ingredient in every dish until everyone at the table feels uncomfortable. Social and emotional health are important too. Regards, Bill

  26. “In relation to vegetable oils and heart disease, Mr Evans is again in a minority of one.” You may disagree with Mr. Evans, but with this statement, you can throw out everything this writer has to say. Are you kidding me? Minority of one? This theory is spreading like wildfire in the medical and nutrition communities, rightly or wrongly. But when the author states “minority of one,” you have to wonder what his agenda really is.

    • Hello Eric. If this theory on vegetable oils is ‘spreading like wildfire’ how come no reputable nutrition organisation in the world supports it? You need to distinguish between scientific opinion and chatter on blogs. Regards, Bill

  27. Hi Bill,
    Thank you for your sharing your quality insights into the Paleo Diet!
    … Your arguments are scientific, up to date and unbiased.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Sarah. Two things. I think it’s important to know where paleo thinking is in line with and contrary to nutrition science. Secondly, I discourage fanatical approaches to food, as much for the effect on mental health as physical health. Obsessing about food is just not healthy. Regards, Bill

  28. You mention thiamin deficiency is almost certain to occur without grains, yet you fail to mention some of the best sources of thiamin. For example pork (1 small serve just about meets the RDI for women)! Please provide all of the facts, rather than telling people they will die without grains. As dietitians, we need to be on top of this and show that we take ALL of the evidence into account, not just what suits at the time. People aren’t stupid. If we want to be taken seriously as a profession, we need to start listening and actually looking into what they are saying, rather than just dismissing it because it doesn’t fit with our “ideal model”.

    • Hello Kate. The problem is with vulnerable groups. Even with moderate grain consumption there are groups in society with low thiamin intake and/or high thiamin needs. If the average thiamin content of the diet is lowered considerably (by avoiding grains) the number of people at risk of thiamin deficiency increases. We need to think about those vulnerable groups and how their nutritional health can be protected. Regards, Bill.

      • Bill, it appears my lengthier previous question about this line of argument has been moderated out so I’ll ask it again here:

        Is it really “the likely consequence” that readers and buyers of Pete Evans work are going to be members of “those vulnerable groups”?

        If not, is it appropriate to use this line of reasoning? Are those in “vulnerable groups” likely to be reading Pete Evans, your blog or much any dietary discussions or guidelines?

  29. I am a 31 year old healthy athletic working Australian male. I have maintained a normal diet my entire life……..well at least that’s what I thought. The government funded companies and big name brands have told us what is good and bad for us our entire lives! You have drilled it so far into our heads that I have almost forgotten what colour a carrot is. Soon we will be opening a packet before we eat an apple! This is getting ridiculous.
    Everything we consume today has hidden ingredients and things that you do not want to label so you give it a number! You add chemicals to our foods without knowing the full effects to society.

    Most of the public today is addicted to sugar! If you doubt my statement I challenge you to eat whole foods for just 1 week and tell me you have no cravings. We soon will turn into a society like America where our children will think milk comes from a tree!

    • Hello Zachary. I encourage people to eat whole foods but not just a narrow range of whole foods. Variety is the key to ensuring an adequate intake of essential nutrients. Regards, Bill

  30. so what exactly are the benefits of sugar and carbs and why do we need them?and i do wonder how many of the people commenting here in support of what you claim are overweight….if the food pyramid was actually effective why is obesity increasing?

    • Hello Ren. If you look through my posts on the Sceptical Nutritionist you will notice that I have never endorsed the food pyramid and I am not pro-carbs. In fact, I have spent a lot of time on this site trying to explain to readers that the coronary risk associated with carbs is the same as saturated fat and that substituting lots of carbs for saturated fat (to give a low fat diet) does nothing to lower risk. But the paleo/Evans view that saturated fat is fine and carbs are not is simply inconsistent with the scientific evidence. Furthermore, the latest evidence suggests that unsaturated fats, found in vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, etc, are the ideal replacement for saturated fat, yet the paleo/Evans approach argues the opposite. It’s not based on science at all. Regards, Bill

    • Wouldn’t you need to find people following the food pyramid to assess whether it is working?

      Much of the support here is for the evidence, not personal experience – Pete has gone out of his way to only collect information that supports his views – hardly a fare way to evaluate how well something works!

  31. Hi Bill :)
    Any chance you could provide another link for European study into aspartame? The link says ‘server not found’ and when I tried to find it using google, I wasn’t sure what I should be looking for.

  32. Hi Bill,
    I’ve enjoyed reading the debating comments more than the article! But well done starting the discussion…
    Paleo – I’ve tried to stick to it many times but clearly in today’s busy society it’s a difficult one to adhere to (at least for a big eater) without dedicated preparation of food. And I’m not that guy! In fact, I’ve never met a “100%” Paleo eater, everyone is “75% or 90% Paleo” which is of course, not Paleo. Or the definitions on what food is or isn’t paleo changes from person-to-person.
    The “right way to eat” should be all about whole-foods, more often than not. I know that I don’t react well to processed breads, full of bread-improvers and poor quality flours. And I know that I’m perfectly fine (and love to consume) traditional artisan-style bread with Flour, Water, Salt and Sourdough culture (only). The unfortunate truth is that middle-ground education – eat bread “the way it used to be” – is lost in all forms of communication… it’s either eat bread, or don’t eat it. Vegetable fats versus animal fats, the argument is rarely around how the product is made and why it is formulated in that particular manner.
    The fact is 99% of bread sales are through the retail chains and their suppliers all play the same game regarding ingredients and price competitiveness.
    I’d love for the focus to be put back on ingredient education so that when we say “eat bread” that the consumer doesn’t just grab the nearest wholemeal bread from Tip Top whilst giving him/herself a pat on the back.
    I know from my experience in the hospitality industry that the minority groups are always the loudest, so we’ve got to be careful not to keep our heads in the sand to the way the rest of the Australian population shop and eat. And unfortunately most of Australia will continue to be drawn to mass marketing and price competitiveness.

  33. I’m quite sure that Pete Evans has more knowledge than the author of this article.
    Grains – especially wheat, which contains gliadin (unlocks intestinal barriers and allows toxins to flow into the blood stream).
    Dairy – leaches calcium from the bones, humans absorb calcium better from greens.
    Research each side of the argument, and I’m sure you’ll find it more scientific and logical on the Pete Evans side. It’s unfortunate that grains and dairy have all the money. I’m convinced by the amount of people, healthier and more energised when removing these items from their diet.
    This article is completely void of logic and science.

    • Hello Allie. You mention both logic and science. What is logical to one person may not be logical to another.
      But science is a different thing. Rather than being based on opinion, it’s based on evidence from scientific studies that are reported in scientific journals.
      It’s interesting that you assume Mr Evans has a good grasp of science. Does he have even a basic science degree? Has he ever conducted a scientific study? Has he ever presented his work at a scientific conference? Has he ever published his work in a scientific journal? Is he held in high regard among nutrition scientists? Where does your faith in his opinion come from? Regards, Bill

      • Just so that you are aware. Pete Evans has started all the debating because he is passionate that people should make informed choices and his so called following has become dominate since he toured with Nora T. Gedgaudas who presented clinical evidence about the industrial influence on our food and how modern mans bodies are reacting. But not only was that presented, also linking how grass feed animals can work at regenerating baron land. So it was not even a narrow minded presentation it was full of solutions! The message was to make you own informed choice!
        A thought if people are living longer is it not from data of adults that were mostly prior to the industrial period. And why are now so many young dying. So many children having cancer at such young ages!
        Science can only tell us so much. Clinical studies are questionable in many ways as: variables are very seldom discussed, unless you have large numbers and they are double blind studies well the list can go on!!!
        What is happening is that people are now questioning what they have been and are told (just like all of this here) That bring us back to the start —-people —- individuals—- making an informed choice!!!! What suits one will more that likely not suit another.
        At least Pete Evans and Nora are opened minded about that, not like what I am hearing in these messages. Just because you happen to have a label after you name really doesn’t cut it.
        Open your minds! It is this judgemental attitude that has made the modern world the mess it is today.

        • Hi Natalie. It’s all very well to open you mind but be careful what flows in. It might be facts; it might be opinions. When the opinions don’t line up with the facts you need to ask yourself what the opinions are actually based on. It could be naive good will, or it could be something else. Regards, Bill

  34. dietitian representing one of the biggest health organisations in Australia recommending margarine over butter because “there are NO EXTRA nutrients in butter, either, compared to margarine…In fact, margarine has added vitamin D, which, as a nation, we’re deficient in.” Now this is embarrassing. A dietitian, trained in nutrition either does not know, or chooses to ignore the fact that butter is not only full of natural vitamin D, but also vit A, K2, E lecithin, iodine, selenium and more. And this has “NO extra nutrients” compared to the synthetic vitamin D in margarine?
    The list goes on and on. If the cholesterol myth wasn’t SO ingrained, then this would be seen for what it is. People would see just how weak low-fat dogma is

    • Hello Tony. The nutrient density of any food is driven by those nutrients that are present in quantity. There is just a trace of selenium in butter. If I was to eat enough butter to satisfy my Estimated Average Requirement for selenium I would need to eat 3kg of butter each day. That would be 91,000 kilojoules each day from butter. I’d be dead in a month. Regards, Bill

    • Margarine is a joke even flys wont touch it, it is one molecule away from plastic for god sake! No nutritionist would recommend it, im not sure how dietitians are trained but they know little about about nutrition. I think they are the ones who write the government guidelines which where they are still say marg is a healthy fat! Dietitians and nutritionists are 2 very different groups of people!

      • Katie, nutrition debate is not advanced by channeling internet myths. The term ‘one molecule away from plastic’ makes no sense. Margarine is made of fat, water and a pinch of salt – just like butter. It just that the type of fat is different. Butter contains more saturated and trans fats; margarine contains more unsaturated fats. If you replace butter in your diet with margarine your blood cholesterol goes down, which is why margarine is recommended by most health authorities. Let’s stick with the facts. Regards, Bill

        • Can you really make margarine from oil, water and salt? Can you teach me how? Because having worked for a company that makes it, I’m sure we also added emulsifying agents, synthetic vitamins and synthetic colors and flavours (some are ‘natural’ colours and flavours). Not to mention the sodium hydroxide and bleaching earth used to ‘refine’ the oils!
          I’m sure companies like the one I worked for would dearly love to know how to just use oil, water (which don’t mix naturally) and salt to make it!
          Pretty sure from my knowledge (chemistry degree and working in food industry over 12 years) that butter is just churned…

          • Rocky, here is how you can make margarine in your kitchen at home.

            Ingredients: Any unsaturated vegetable oil, a small piece of copha, small amount of water, salt, small amount of egg yolk.

            Method: Dissolve the copha in warmed vegetable oil, then cool. Add the other ingredients and whip the mixture. Cool. Whip the cool mixture and cool again. Repeat this step. Now you have margarine. A very basic food – not toxic, won’t give you cancer, won’t send you blind. Just a very basic food. Regards, Bill

          • That is a lovely little cooking experiment Bill but not exactly the same as Vegetable Oils 65% (containing 52% Canola & Sunflower oil), water, salt, flavour, milk solids, emulsifiers (soy lecithin, 471),preservative (202), food acid (lactic), natural colour (beta-carotene),vitamins A & D. Contains soy and milk as indicated in bold type. (Meadowlea)!

  35. Bill,
    where do you get your info from? how about you interview a nutritionist and get some real knowledge. First to say everyone will get beri beri because they are not eating grains what rubbish, thamine is in flax seeds, sunflower seeds, asparagus, spinach, peas, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, liver, beef, pork, chicken and eggs.
    Olive oil, coconut oil and fatty fish oil, avocado oil are all good oils, you actually need fats to make your cholesterol work, when people went on low fat diets they replaced it with sugar, processed foods and total rubbish. Elevated homocysteine is one of the underlying causes of CVD, through the stimulation of pro-inflammatory pathways in vascular cells, so a paleo diet would help no end as it is anti-inflammatory, we evolved on this diet, our bodies do not have the enzymes to break down many foods we eat today, such as dairy and wheat which leads to gut issues, inflammation and cause a great deal of todays disease.
    cereal for breakfast is not healthy, it has no nutritional value. The oils you mention as being good are not but then nothing you wrote was correct, if anyone has no idea about nutrition I’m afraid its you.

    • Hello Katie. I am a nutritionist – Bachelor of Applied Science, Graduate Diploma in Nutrition & Dietetics, Master of Health Planning.
      The prevalence of vitamin deficiencies in populations is related to the mean intake of vitamins. If a population lowered its intake of say thiamin, by greatly restricting grain intake, the likelihood of deficiency would go up. It’s mathematics. But it’s not the switched on people who eat lots of whole foods instead who would suffer. We need to think about how people with poor quality diets may react to ‘grains kill’ advice.
      My advice on dietary fats is largely consistent with that of the World Health Organisation, the American Heart Association, CSIRO, the Baker-IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, the Harvard School of Public Health, the National Health & Medical Research Council and the Heart Foundation. Is nothing they say correct? Regards, Bill

      • Wow really that surprises me as not one of my college lectures who all have years of experience as nutritionists would agree with a thing you say.

        • Katie, ask yourself: If it’s inconsistent with what all the world’s leading nutrition authorities say, where do they get their information? Regards, Bill

  36. Everyone who has posted here has an interest in food, nutrition or health in some capacity. The unfortunate part is that we are all so divide into our camps that we fail to save any room for questions, second thoughts or any consideration for what the other side has to say.
    I’m sixty and I can tell you the health of my peers doesn’t look all that good. Wander around the grocery store and you’ll see men that look that they’re ready to give birth any day, and woman dragging themselves around. The status quo re: diet doesn’t look so great. What’s the best way to go, grains, no grains, low fat dairy, no dairy, high fat dairy? We are an experiment, and I think that can be a good thing. If we keep an open mind and listen to our bodies, and hear what others, even those we don’t agree with have to say, we have a better chance of making some progress, where it counts, here in our lives.
    So many people come to diets that are off grid because they are not feeling that great. They’d love to keep the status quo, but it feels like it’s going to kill them. Is that because of grains and oils, who knows?
    I don’t think we can censor a diet because we are worried about the vulnerable. You can’t protect everyone. My Mother was eating chocolate cocoa puffs, breakfast, snack and supper, if she could get away with it. Cereal, fortified and I’m sure it contains thiamine. Seriously, clueless that this might not be a good idea.
    I think we are much stronger if we look for some common ground and all start pulling together. If you look around and everyone’s looking healthy, strong and enegetic, awesome. If not, then I don’t care how many studies you pull out of pubmed, let’s face it, we need to re-think how we are eating and living. Next year we’ll probably have to re-think it all again. Hopefully with lots of support from a big community of people who are willing to share common and opposing views with the aim of taking some positive steps toward a healthier future.

  37. Top sources of thiamine include fish, meat nuts seeds and veges. Paleo blogs all talk about nose to tail eating and organ meats in particular which are very dense sources of B vitamins among other things. The other key recommendations are bone broths, and probiotic foods. It is well known that intestinal biota produce significant quantities of B vitamins as well. If you try to follow a Paleo diet you’ll find yourself eating much higher quantities of veges than before. I can only recommend try it before you dismiss it.

    • Hello Jayne. In the dietary modelling conducted for the last Australian Dietary Guidelines, the healthy diet for women 19-30 years contained the following amounts of thiamin from the food groups you suggest: Vegetables (5 serves) – 10.5%, all meats and fish combined – 10.1%, nuts and seeds – 3.8%. So in a modelled healthy diets all these food groups COMBINED provided less than a quarter of the thiamin in the diet. Why advocate restricted thiamin intakes? Just doesn’t make sense. Regards, Bill

      • I find this thiamine debate a bit bizarre!! Because I am coeliac and have thyroid issues I have had significant deficiencies (Magnesium, Iodine and Vitamin D). So I supplement for them. At the recommendation of my doctor (who supports my choice to eat paleo) I also supplement with Zinc, Vitamin C, Selenium and B6. She has told me straight out that eating paleo would cover all my nutrient requirements if I didn’t have a damaged intestine!

  38. I went to “The Paleo Way” talk in Sydney! I knew almost all the content, I have a science degree and have been on a 20 year journey culminating in my restoring my health through eating paleo (coeliac, allergies, anxiety, metabolic syndrome etc). I have read all the books (including some you endorse Bill), I hang out at pubmed like it is a holiday destination and monitor multiple sites (including this one) to keep up to date. And my experience of “The Paleo Way” seminar was to feel inspired. Sitting with 1000 people listening to a science based 2 hour lecture (by Nora Gedgaudas) gave me hope that the Australian public is taking responsibility for their own health and are seeking non-pharmaceutical solutions to the multiple diseases that are exacerbated by the standard Australian diet.

    • Hello Jenny. We agree that the standard Australian diet could be improved and that eating more whole foods is recommended. I just don’t agree with overly restricting the diet, especially in relation to wholegrains and unsaturated vegetable oils, because this is not based on what we have learned from nutrition science in the last few decades. Regards, Bill

  39. Interestingly the Heart Foundation has 24,416 likes on facebook and Chef Pete Evans has 228,660 likes. That would upset me if I agreed with the Heart Foundation and thought Pete Evans was an idiot! But I don’t!!!!

      • The point is not popularity or authority it is who is getting it right! To my extensive reading of the situation Pete Evans is closer!! Now if the Heart Foundation was to stop endorsing (ticking) a whole lot of low quality foods and to update their recommendations more in line with the current evidence then they might be worth listening to!

    • “If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing”- Anatole France. Keep up the good work Bill

  40. Anything found to be ‘unfit for human consumption’ or ‘toxic’ would be banned or restricted immediately. – See more at:

    Haha this comment has me in hysterics. Did I miss the News Flash that cigarettes and alcohol are no longer sold? I didn’t think so. Both being a leading cause to cancer and death but still readily available and sold legally across the globe! Why? Because they bring in enormous revenues for government and health organizations! You are kidding yourself if you think that the same principles don’t apply to food!

    • Yes, alcohol and cigarettes are harmful to health and that’s why their sales are highly regulated. That’s my point.

  41. 2 points. Interesting that the massive collateral damage from dogmatic/obsessive styles of eating fuel body dissatisfaction & EDs is not being discussed on any site. Its such a huge problem. Most ppl who are following this way of eating are already interested in health but one wonders how it wil fly with more vulnerable o
    pooulations? And I wonder how this roll-out in schools will be (properly) evaluated…….. MCQs do not count :-)

  42. Hi Bill

    I have found that grains do put on weight for me. My piano teacher is actually a dietician and we were talking diets and she told me I should have 3 slices of bread a day, specifying that I do that whilst not looking at the scales for a week. I was struggling with that, so decided to do one slice per day, for a week and was 4 kg heavier by the end of it. Not good when you 40+ kg overweight and very high in insulin. I actually have very good triglyceride and cholesterol measurements, possibly because I’m always dieting, by natural foods: limited low GI fruit, significant portions of low GI vegetables, and moderate servings of proteins sources (meat, chicken, fish, primarily the last two)

    Not wanting to be low in Thiamine, and you have mention in earlier commentary that the other sources e.g. eggs, cauliflower, oranges are only a third of your dietary requirements.

    What is a person to do if dietary recommendations such as grains, are actually going to make them sicker?? (i.e. fatter, higher insulin, more impacts of being overweight)

    Just to clarify my weight: It came on when I was sick with glandular fever in my late 20s and was not from substantial over-eating. I came from a family who had dieted most of my life, due to my mother’s undiagnosed thyroid issues, so I have been exceedingly aware of what goes in my mouth most of my life. I had been skinny prior to getting ill and it took over a decade before I found a doctor that didn’t just look at my triglyceride and cholesterol but checked out my insulin, finding it substantially high (18)

    Very interested to know what you can suggest other than grains as good sources for thiamine, or do I just make sure I take a vitamin pill and be done with it. I do take supplements, because I don’t want to miss out. I prefer to obtain vitamins and minerals via natural sources.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hello Catherine. Lots of scientific studies have shown that if you eat less calories than your body needs your weight will fall, irrespective of whether those calories come primarily from fat, carbohydrate or protein. And if you eat more calories than your body needs your weight will increase. So, it’s not really true to say that grains increase weight. Eating too many calories because you eat lots of grains will increase weight, but it’s the calories rather than the grains that’s the key.
      That said, you will notice that I don’t encourage high intakes of carbohydrates in general or grains in particular. But a small amount of wholegrain bread or breakfast cereal does contribute to the intake thiamin, other B vitamins and fibre. If you decide to take a whole food group out of your diet I would encourage you to take a multivitamin. Personally, I eat a varied diet and don’t take any supplements.
      If you are intending to lose weight I think the best strategy is cut out some calories from bad fats and bad carbs (see elsewhere in this blog for details). This leaves protein in place, which is good for essential nutrient and for satiety. It’s often said that the best diet for any person is the one they can stick to so molding the diet to suit the individual is essential. Regards, Bill

  43. I’m a little sceptical about you, Bill. Your history, and the work that you are/have been paid for, suggests that it is in your interest to comment negatively on Peter Evans’ posts.

    Ref: this website

    Recent clients 2012 and 2013:

    Goodman Fielder, Kellogg Australia, National Heart Foundation, Australian Oilseeds Federation, The Food Group, The Australian Food and Grocery Council, Appetite Communications, Australian Beverages Council, Sugar Australia. Speaking fees have been received from the Dietitians Association of Australia.

    Previous Clients

    Unilever Australasia, Unilever China, Unilever India, Australian Sunflower Association, Meat & Livestock Australia, Burston-Marsteller, Mercke, Moray & Agnew, National Heart Foundation and National Health & Medical Research Council.

    • Hello Mark. I encourage scepticism. In fact, it was my own scepticism about various ideologies creeping into the dietary advice of my profession that motivated me to commence this blog.
      I try to reference my posts well and I welcome informed criticism, based on referenced studies.
      But when I see yet another dietary fad, driven by an entrepreneur, without formal nutrition qualifications or credible, evidence-based arguments, I feel compelled to cast a sceptical eye over it.
      Fair enough, don’t you think? Regards, Bill

  44. Bill, I am an occasional visitor to your superb website; most often when the weight of pseudo-science that pervades the media, has become unbearable.

    As a cardiologist, I am often confronted with the extreme views of unscientific fanatics. The battle for the “hearts and minds” (excuse the pun) of these people is an uneven contest. It is difficult to communicate a scientific viewpoint, when those most needy of this, either have no scientific knowledge, or they have a fixed opinion that is will not change, or both. Some of these commentators will also hold conspiracy theories about those very organisations that are charged with policing food safety.

    I don’t have any solutions to this problem, but wonder if science itself is contributing to misunderstanding and cynicism of the western scientific process.

    Keep up the good work!


    • Hello Stephan. I think the solutions are quite straightforward. We need to:
      * Teach more science in schools
      * Confront the post-modern view that there are no objective truths, just opinions
      * Challenge the notion that the food/health system is one big conspiracy between greedy food companies and unscrupulous scientific organisations happy to trash the national health to further their own interests
      * Re-establish a portfolio for science in the Federal Government
      * Fund more research.
      * Maybe even consider giving PhD students a living wage and then supporting their post-doc work in Australia rather than driving them overseas

      As you can see, I’m an optimist! Regards, Bill

  45. Fantastic to see some proper science on the current fads. Well done! I am a registered Dietitian & the no grain, no sugar thing has turned into a joke for people trying (& failing miserably) to restrict their diets. Keep up the honesty & reality overlap. It makes the world a better place.

  46. How can I take your article seriously when you start out by saying a Paleo diet would result in thiamin deficiency. Pork, tuna, asparagus, spinach, pineapples and oranges are all rich sources of thiamin, your initial point is clueless about nutrition.

  47. “Alternatively, you could eat some wholegrain cereal at breakfast and have a sandwich for lunch and live a healthy life, just like normal people. ” Particularly if you are celiac. O, yes, I’m not normal…

    • Hello Ruta
      I’m sorry you took offence at my attempt at humour. This article was very tongue in cheek. I was trying to position our friend as a radical whose dietary recommendations are at odds with the lives and eating habits of most people.
      As a dietitian I understand food allergies and sensitivities and the difficulties associated with the dietary restrictions needed to manage them. Regards, Bill

  48. Hi Bill,

    I am 47 years old, 182cm in height, male.

    December 2013 I hopped on the scales and noticed that I had shot up to 104kg.
    Most of my adult life I have been hovering around 80kg.
    The extra 24kg had just crept on over a two year period after marrying in to an Italian family and the birth of our son.

    So I increased my vegetable and fruit intake drastically and reduced my meat and fat intake substantially, got back in to running and cycling, since then I have dropped back down to 80kg again.

    I don’t have an issue with grains as such, however what I have noticed is that if I eat bread of any description or white potatoes I find it considerably more difficult to manage my food intake.

    After I eat bread or white potatoes I find myself with an uncontrollable urge to graze on more bread, cakes and biscuits etc, it’s like I’m possessed.

    I do not have this issue when I eat pasta or sweet potato, just bread white potatoes and baked goods.

    Consequently I ended up eating a Paleoish diet.
    Where I differ from Paleo is that I avoid saturated fat, I find it hard to believe that the good folk at the Heart Foundation are stupid or lying or in some way are unable to access the latest research.
    Additionally I eat less meat than the typical Paleo fan and I also also include some rice, oats and a smallish amount of beans.

    I really don’t understand the effect that bread has when pasta (with low fat vege based sauces) does not have the same effect.



    • Hi Steve
      I rather like your ‘Paleoish’ diet – Paleo modified by some nutrition science. Limiting saturated fat is good advice (the Heart Foundation and all other leading nutrition authorities in the world are definitely not stupid). Some legumes will do more good than harm. I suspect the hard-core Paleo types object to legumes as they are sometimes referred to as ‘meat alternatives’. Perish the thought!
      Limiting calorie intake is essential and you seem to be doing this by avoiding bread and potatoes. These are both high glycaemic index foods i.e. they raise blood glucose strongly, which is a negative. But both are relatively nutrient-rich, which is a positive. You are currently including small amounts of white rice – a nutrient-poor, high GI food. I’d consider a little bread or potato in place of rice from time to time. Regards, Bill

  49. Bill, I am not surprised about your comments. In fact there are many nutritionists that share your view. However there is always a caveat to those campaigning their view point. There will always be data out there that fits the argument that one wants to convey. I’m a scientist (not in nutrition) and I see it all too often in my own field. Studies get published all the time that are misleading, wrongfully conducted, or badly controlled. I’ve read many myself, many in the nutrition field.

    As there are many studies to support your view, there are also many that support Pete Evens’ also. I’ve made up my own mind based on these published studies, not to mention the thousands and thousands of success stories I have come across where lives have changed with diet and chronic illnesses have diminished. Anyone who has taken the time to actually read the one “correlative” study (ie no actual experimentation was done) that resulted in the entire world thinking fat is bad will realise how damn scary it is that most of the nutrition messages are based on this stand point, and the majority of nutritionists sadly still support it.

    I recent study in a good journal suggested that those that eat whole grains have a reduced risk of heart disease. I read the paper. TOTALLY unconvinced about how they conducted the study and what the controls were. It makes me so sad being a scientist, seeing what gets communicated through the media that people then believe.

    The truth will come through in the end, especially with the newer, well conducted studies coming through. For example, I read a paper that showed a high fat (good fats, no vegetable oils) low carb diet was less inflammatory than a high carb low fat diet. Inflammatory markers came down when carbs were reduced….the experiment was well controlled…..Just saying, there ARE actually papers that support (not suggesting prove) that some of these more recent ideas about food consumption are actually beneficial. The great thing is there are many professors, scientists, doctors and other nutritionally trained academics that are qualified to make the claims they do as they also have read the literature with an objective and critical mind. Suggesting there is no evidence is extremely irresponsible.

    This will always be a continuing debate, and still the best way to actually convey a view point is to show it objectively, not ignore the studies that counteract ones argument.

    Anyone who supports companies that are a conflict of interest in this debate (eg Kellogs, Unilever) should be considered to have an agenda.

    • Hello Alice
      Thanks for your thoughtful contribution. I think you are positioning me as a conservative nutritionist defending the status quo. However, if you look through this blog you will note that I have never suggested ‘fat is bad’. In fact, I have spent the last 20 years of my professional life trying to convince people that a moderate fat intake is fine, especially if the quality of the fat is good.
      I think you and I would disagree on what good fats are. You suggest ‘no vegetable oils’. But there is a vast literature out there suggesting unsaturated vegetable oils are fine and in fact conducive to good cardiovascular health. On the contrary, there is negligible evidence to suggest that coconut oil is ‘good fat’, which is Pete Evans’ position. I suspect he is selling the stuff. In fact, I think a lot of the current low carb push has little to do with the supposed harm of carbohydrates – it’s all about selling coconut oil.
      I’m not a defender of carbohydrates. You might enjoy my 2013 paper ‘Testing the boundaries of recommended carbohydrate intakes’ in which I argue that both the upper and lower boundaries of recommended carbohydrate intakes in Australia are too high (Nutr Diet 2013;70:59-65). But moderate carbohydrate intakes are fine, especially if the quality of the carbohydrates is good.
      Let’s not repeat the mistakes of ‘low fat’ by now arguing ‘low carb’. The optimal diet is not at the extremes. It’s in the middle somewhere, with an emphasis on fat quality and carb quality.
      Regards, Bill

  50. Now settle down Robin. No, the good folks at the Heart Foundation aren’t idiots; the food pyramid was not their work; the Foundation has always based its dietary advice on science and published it; and it doesn’t recommend people eat lots of starch (the Foundation never jumped on the low fat bandwagon). In fact, the Heat Foundation published a review on carbohydrates, in 2006 I think, highlighting that high glycaemic load (carbs x GI) was associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
    Let’s get the facts straight and go from there. Regards, Bill

  51. My husband recently had a series of tests on his heart after suffering chest pains. We have both been on a high fat low carb diet for a few years now. The angiogram showed he had no plaque or any blockages. It turns out the chest pains were stress related. So even though his total cholesterol is high (7.2) and he has a high dietary cholesterol intake his heart is in great condition and his arteries are clear. What we don’t do is eat processed food. Pete Evans has it right, just eat REAL unprocessed food and your health will look after itself.

    • Hello Primal Bear. I suggest you read a little bit more about cholesterol and heart disease. Medical science doesn’t tell us that if a person has high blood cholesterol they WILL get heart disease. That person is just at higher risk for heart disease. It’s a bit like speeding is to road accidents. If you consistently exceed the speed limit you are higher risk of having an accident, but that doesn’t mean that you will have an accident.
      There are several major risk factors for heart disease. If you lower them, you lower your risk. Regards, Bill

  52. Ok. This is not exactly a new article, but I just saw this posted here. Holy crap. The sad part is I actually used to BELIEVE this nonsense. I mean the low fat margarine (70% reduced fat naturally…), the diet yoghurt full of aspartame, the canola oil. I’d follow all this advice. Is it any wonder I was obese and constantly getting sick?

    Started learning again what REAL food is, cut out anything synthetic from my diet and started exercising hard. A month later or thereabouts, something magic happened. The weight just started falling off my body. I lost nearly 50kg of fat by learning what real food is and exercising. I had tried the exercise on it’s own before, but rapidly plateaued.

    My diet now is absolutely only real whole foods. E numbers and strange long ingredients lists have no place in a healthy diet. I’m probably the Heart Foundation’s worst nightmare. My consumption of natural saturated fats is constant. I put organic butter on everything. I cook everything in organic coconut oil. My dairy is absolutely organic and 100% full fat. You’d also better believe that I always eat the fat on my grass fed steaks and in fact on any other organic meat I consume!

    I can’t entirely agree with Peter Evans though, hell would freeze over before I gave up fresh sourdough smothered in butter.

    So, according to nutritional guidelines put out by the government and others I should probably be dead ten times over. Instead I’m fitter, healthier and happier than I’ve ever been in my life. Go figure.

    • Thank you Jarrad. A blizzard of ideas and beliefs. It’s worthwhile remembering that over the last 35 years government dietary guidelines have been produced based on thorough reviews of the available science. The emphasis on low fat intakes was early in this period and has been tempered since. The Heart Foundation never actually supported low fat diets.
      Your decision to eat organic butter and organic coconut oil, but not canola oil, is your choice. However, no authoritative nutrition organisation in the world would support it. Regards, Bill

  53. Hi Bill,

    Ist world problems….
    We live in a country where we can chose to eat whatever we like, but diet plans and nutritional advice has become a huge monopoly and it seems like everyone is in the game.
    Paleo is a lifestyle and culture. People living Paleo, feel part of a large community and support and encourage eachother. It is nice and I think the diet has a lot of positives and is nutrient dense if done correctly. However I am not Paleo and I do not wish to become completely Paleo. I dont really eat meat so this is a hard diet for em to follow.
    I gather that it may be frustrating that a ‘celebrity chef’ is preaching to Australians about how they should live and eat. But he is just presenting a lifestyle and diet that worked well for him. I believe he is doing it because he truly believes in this way of eating. He is really passionate about it (except on MKR).
    Again, I don’t follow Paleo but there are definately benefits to this way of eating and living. Most importantly the emphasis on fresh, whole foods, opposed to processed. But I am not convinced on certain aspects of the diet. I’m not convinced that you need to add coconut oil, butter/ cream to cold drip coffee……
    Also Pete’s approach to preaching the diet on social media and flooding the media with information on Paleo doesn’t interest me. I get flooded with posts etc that makes me think it is a culture of people on Paleo to be evangelical about the diet.
    I have read some information on cholesterol and on PUFA’s and in my understanding PUFA’s oxidise more easily than saturated fats which is what causes a danger in those with high cholesterol. However this is when exposed to high temperatures. Also the size of the cholesterol particles appears to be an important factor for atherosclerosis, smaller particles being more problematic. Antioxidants play a big role in our diet and whilst some don’t advocate fruit, fruit is a wonderful source of antioxidant nutrients. Forget superfoods, just eat the real foods grown locally, including fruits.
    People have become so obsessed with what specific foods do to the body in isolation or what specific nutrients one food contains over the other. You need to look at the ‘whole’ diet, not one food item or food group. You can’t hone in on fats and tell people not to eat saturated fats or not to eat PUFA fats. The diet as a whole is important. We need to be more holistic if we want to be balanced in our approach to eating.
    Some people will be utterly confused about what to eat, so they are probably gettign information about all different diets and combining them all together e.g. Paleo, Gluten-free, High protein, High saturated fat, standard Australian dietary guidelines. and you know what that could look like – disaster.
    We need to be sensible, stop confusing people, be balanced, eat real food, don’t over eat. We don’t need to justify why we are drinking a fresh fruit and vegetable juice over a high fat protein smoothie.

    • Hello Bec. You say Pete Evans is passionate about Paleo. I guess he was passionate about veganism when he was a vegan. But we shouldn’t mistake passion for knowledge or insight. The only constant with Pete seems to be highly restrictive diets, which I strongly disagree with.
      I don’t agree with your views on polyunsaturated fats, blood lipids and heart disease. I’ll address these in another post. Regards, Bill

  54. I rarely leave comments, but I looked at a ton of comments here
    Pete Evans is clueless about nutrition |. I do have 2 questions
    for you if you tend not to mind. Could it be just me or
    does it look as if like a few of the comments appear as if they are
    written by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing at additional places, I would like
    to keep up with everything new you have to post.
    Could you make a list of the complete urls of
    your social pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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