#230: Nina Teicholz- Women, Low-Fat Diets, Meat & Heart Disease

by Deanna Mutzel, DC



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Connect with Nina

Twitter @bigfatsurprise

The Nutrition Coalition

Books and Resources Mentioned

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

Putting Meat on the American Table: Taste, Technology, Transformation

Show Notes

04:50 Many of our deeply held nutrition beliefs are wrong. Nina investigated the evidence that fats/cholesterol are bad for us, and found none existed.

06:30 Ancel Keys only selected evidence that confirmed his ideas and bullied out of existence evidence to the contrary. Scientists are taught to be different, to try to prove themselves wrong.

09:01 Keys tried to bury the flawed data. The foundational 7 country study by Ancel Keys that became the foundation of what we believe about cholesterol and fat, was flawed.

10:05 The Framingham Study data proved that saturated fat had no correlation with heart disease. This was buried by the NIH and never published.  There was active suppression of evidence to the contrary.

11:27 Multiple forces worked to keep this hypothesis in place. There were a set of scientists who truly believe in it. In addition, institutions, like the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, USDA dietary guidelines and the US federal goverment, became fully invested in it. Institutions cannot flip flop. Industry funding, largely the vegetable oil industry, played a role, even funding and even launching the AHA.

15:22 Vegetable oils were not meant for human consumption. They were used as lubricants for industrial machinery. People cooked with lard and butter. Vegetable oils were unstable and easily go rancid/oxidate.

16:03 Vegetable oils are made from seeds or legumes. These oils oxidize easily, especially when they are heated. This is why they needed to be hardened into Crisco and later margarine. The hardening process, called hydrogenation, produces trans fats.

16:46 Removing trans fats from our food supply means that we are using regular unstable vegetable oil. When unstable oils are heated, even at room temperature, they oxidize and degrade into hundreds of oxidized products. Some of these are known toxins like formaldehyde.  These products enter the food.

17:46 Polyunsaturated vegetable oils show higher rates of death from cancer. Cancer was considered a lesser problem than the perceived risk of heart disease. NIH study results were ignored. The top two killers in America are heart disease and cancer.

19:40 Americans used to eat 3 to 4 times more red meat than we do today, according to the author of Putting Meat on the American Table. The slaves of the 1800s got more red meat than we do.

24:02 The advice to eat mainly fruits, vegetables and grains is not supported by all the science. There is much contradictory evidence. In scientific observations, peoples who eat heavy meat, even solely animal products, do not have heart disease.

25:27 The nutrients that we need, in their most bioavailable form, come from animal foods. Before the obsession with heart disease, nutrition researchers were mainly interested in getting the nutrients you need to sustain human life and reproduce.

26:43 The most nutrient dense food on the planet is probably liver. Our ancestors ate organ meats. When predators kill prey, they go for the organs first.

20:38 All foods are a combination of different kinds of fats. The average porter house steak is 1/3 saturated fat. Another third is the same kind of fat as that in olive oil. Pork mostly contains the same kind of fat as in olive oil.

32:54 For women, a low fat diet has no meaningful effect upon weight loss, preventing type 2 diabetes, preventing heart disease or preventing any kind of cancer.  There was NO data on the impacts of a low fat diet upon women and children when these recommendations were made. In the 1990s the NIH started experimenting on women in one of the largest ever nutrition trials, The Women’s Health Initiative on 49,000 women. These women were on a low fat diet for 7 years.

34:05 Low fat diets may increase a woman’s risk of heart disease. Her levels of HDL (good) cholesterol fall and often triglyceride levels rise.

35:07 Many studies become “silent studies”, including the massive Women’s Health Initiative. Since the results do not fit the narrative, they are forgotten and disappear from the literature. They are not in the database used to develop government dietary guidelines.

36:27 Over 70 clinical trials have been done on a low carb diet, but researchers cannot get their studies published. Citing silent studies or having conflicting evidence/views has consequences. Scientists and nutritionist were punished by losing research grants, not being invited to present at conferences and an inability to get their work research published.

39:15 Researchers in the field of nutrition science stay within the realm of acceptable discourse in their field. This is why the new science about carbohydrate restriction came from people not in the field of nutrition.

43:08 60% of study diabetics on the ketogenic diet were able to reverse their diabetes. In the nutrition field, it is considered impossible.

47:16 Meat is a healthy food that contains vitamins and minerals that you cannot find elsewhere. Killing animals for food is part of the reality of our humanity.

51:10 Eat more saturated fat to raise your HDL. It is the only food known to raise your good cholesterol. Triglycerides are driven by your carbohydrate intake. If you decrease carbohydrates, you can decrease signs of metabolic dysfunction, such as diabetes and obesity.

56:26 The Mediterranean diet was not scientific. There is no one diet eaten in the Mediterranean. It was a commercial product developed the European Olive Oil Association and promoted, without scientific evidence. According to Walter Willett’s diet, you can have more sugar than meat.

01:01:35 Epidemiology shows association, but not causation. The Harvard School of Health researchers were epidemiologists. It is not the science upon which you should base policy. Food frequency questionnaires are highly unreliable. In the few instances where their findings are tested in randomized control clinical trials, the Harvard correlation studies are correct only 0 to 20% of the time.

01:03:20 The dietary guidelines for Americans are not based in evidence. They are the most important nutrition policy in the world. It dictates the food that is in hospitals, schools, military rations and what the elderly are fed in care homes.

01:04:45 How do we get dietary guidelines based on rigorous evidence from clinical trials? It is political. There are no rules about prioritizing clinical trials over epidemiologic studies. Dietary guidelines are part of the US department of agriculture. The mission of the department of agriculture is to sell more agriculture to Americans, a conflict of interest.

01:06:29 The Nutrition Coalition was founded by Nina. It is a not-for-profit group that accepts no money from any interested industry. They work in Washington to ensure that we have guidelines based on good evidence.



  1. Fascinating interview. So much amazing information valuable information. So important to know history. Appreciate both of your work, it makes such a difference in our lives. Comment: I applaud bringing fat and meat back into our diet. However, it was never the biggest part of all people’s diets. Growing up in a big city in the winter and in the country in the summer in the 60’s and 70’s, in Europe I remember eating a lot of vegetables, foraged foods, goat or cow’s milk and butter, some eggs, and chicken, beef and pork in small proportion to the veggies. There was also fish from the rivers. But vegetables constituted the largest portion of the foods eaten on a daily basis. This did not change for generations, until processed foods came onto the scene. And, with all due respect, organically pasture-raised meat is very different that commercial meat, even with respect to nutrient content, let alone toxic load.

    • Thanks for these insights, Nina! Very much appreciate hearing how/what people ate historically.



  2. Would you please help me to understand where people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease fit with regards to proper diet.

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