The big news of the week is the concession in Dean Ornish’s plea for healthy eating in this weekend’s New York Times. He has actually read the science, “A widely publicized study earlier this year showed that a low-carb Atkins-type diet might be a faster way to lose weight.” Quite rudely and out of keeping with medical convention, he does NOT link to this study. And, slight correction in that it has been many studies, not just one, but nevertheless, it’s a concession from one of the biggest meat-avoiders on the main stage of medicine. He goes on, however, to offer his usual disservice, overstating the benefits of meat avoidance, assuming that calories count, and underestimating the value of weight loss in overall health maintenance. As well explained in previous posts by Dr. Peter Attia and a discussion today on the Ancestral Weight Loss Registry site, Dr. Ornish stands in a healthy tradition of
well-intentioned selective data analysis in his zeal to promote his version of plant-based diets. Still, what I’m left with at the end of the article is the crack of light in the doorway, his concession that a low-carb diet might be superior in at least one area of comparison. Let’s just open that door a little more widely, let in a little more light.