Page Summary: Collection of reports that debunk & refute Nina Teicholz’s promotion of eating disease-related foods high in saturated fat.
This page contains excerpts and links to reports on the websites of the British Medical Journal, the HuffPost news site and clips on YouTube.
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The US Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has debunked Teicholz in the British Medical Journal. Some excerpts: “journalist Nina Teicholz continues her distorted and error-laden campaign against the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee [DGAC] … Teicholz is author of a book urging the public to eat more red meat, cheese, butter, and eggs. **
In fact, the DGAC’s advice is consistent with dietary advice from virtually every major health authority, including the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society, World Health Organization, and the Obesity Society.
Teicholz would have us believe that only she, not the dozens of experts who systematically reviewed the evidence for these health authorities, has the smarts to accurately interpret this evidence. In fact, she makes many glaring errors …
[several are then listed] …
Nina Teicholz’s latest salvo on behalf of saturated-fat-laden meat and dairy foods is a hodge-podge of fact and fiction and will only confuse a confused public even more.”
Reference: “Re: The scientific report guiding the US dietary guidelines: is it scientific?” Center for Science in the Public Interest, BMJ, 2015; at www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4962/rr
See further below for another refutation of Teicholz by the CSPI from the HuffPost site.
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Video clip: “Worst of the Fat Industry: Nina Teicholz “Big Fat Surprise” … I expose Nina Teicholz’ arguments regarding the health of the Masai people, her pro-saturated fat statements, and her contradictory longevity information.”
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The CSPI again debunked Nina Teicholz in an article titled “Distorting Nutrition Facts to Generate Buzz: Nina Teicholz …” by Michael F. Jacobson, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
An excerpt: “Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times … the op-ed was packed with errors and distortions.”
Several are listed and refuted. Some examples:
Teicholz claimed: “Since the very first nutritional guidelines to restrict saturated fat and cholesterol were released by the American Heart Association in 1961, Americans have been the subjects of a vast, uncontrolled diet experiment with disastrous consequences.”
The CSPI replies: “Fact: Between 1968 and 2008, heart disease deaths plummeted by 75 percent. Those gains — which were due to better diet, better drugs, and better treatment — are hardly a disaster.
True, we are now faced with an obesity epidemic and the ensuing rise in diabetes rates. But where’s the evidence that diet advice is to blame?
Americans did not gain weight because of advice to eat less fat.
We can blame the obesity epidemic on a diet of super-sized cheeseburgers, fries, shakes, pizza, fried chicken, burritos, cheese nachos, chocolate-dipped waffle ice cream cones, movie theater popcorn (by the bucket), cookies, muffins, cupcakes, doughnuts, and more. And, of course, soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages deserve special recognition for expanding the average American’s waistline.
Surely, no one would argue that advice from the government had more impact than multi-million-dollar campaigns for Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Gatorade, McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Dairy Queen, Sonic, Dunkin’ Donuts, and more.”
Another example of Teicholz misleading claims:
Teicholz: “Several recent meta-analyses have cast serious doubt on whether saturated fats are linked to heart disease, as the dietary guidelines continue to assert.”
The CSPI replies: “Fact: Meta-analyses can be flawed. For example, one of Teicholz’s favorites concluded that saturated fats do not cause heart disease, but that was only because it included a study in which people replaced saturated fats with a margarine high in trans fat instead of heart-healthy oils. That’s why the public is wise to rely on advice from expert panels that sort through the details. In 2013, experts convened by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology did that. Their conclusion: we should cut saturated fat even further than earlier guidelines had recommended.”
Another refutation of Teicholz’s claims:
Teicholz: “In clearing our plates of meat, eggs and cheese (fat and protein), we ate more grains, pasta and starchy vegetables (carbohydrates).”
The CSPI replies: “Cleared our plates? Since 1970, cheese consumption has tripled, eggs have dropped just 20 percent, pork has held steady, and we’ve replaced only a third of our beef with chicken. Yes, refined flour increased, but that’s because we’ve been eating oversized portions of pizza, cheeseburgers, sandwiches, burritos, bagels, wraps, cookies, cupcakes, scones, muffins, doughnuts, waffle cones, soft pretzels, and more. We can thank our food companies and restaurants — not any government dietary advice — for that.”
Another debunking of Teicholz:
Teicholz: “Over the past 50 years, we cut fat intake by 25 percent and increased carbohydrates by more than 30 percent, according to a new analysis of government data.”
The CSPI replies: “Fact: According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average American ate as much fat (about 80 grams a day) in 2010 as in the early 1970s, when the survey started. Because we’re eating more calories overall (largely from refined flour and sugar), a slightly smaller percentage of our calories (33 percent instead of 37 percent) comes from fat.
At least that’s what people say they eat. According to USDA data, which estimates how much we eat by tracking data on how much is produced (after adjusting for waste), consumption of “added fats and oils and dairy fats” climbed since 1970. That should come as no surprise. French fries, fried chicken, potato chips, nachos, and movie theater popcorn haven’t exactly gone out of style …”
Another refutation of Nina Teicholz:
Teicholz claims: “How did experts get it so wrong?…The primary problem is that nutrition policy has long relied on a very weak kind of science: epidemiological, or ‘observational,’ studies in which researchers follow large groups of people over many years.”
The CSPI replies: “Fact: The new report, like its predecessors, relies on both observational studies and clinical trials. (Note: It is rather presumptuous for anyone to brand the entire field of epidemiology as “weak.”) What’s more, Teicholz’s book cites observational studies that support her views …”
The full article is at:
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A 2019 report by cardiologist Dr Joel Kahn is titled “Ancel Keys, Ph.D. Was Right (and Nina Teicholz was Wrong): We Eat Too Much Sugar and Saturated Fat” at https://medium.com/@Kahn642/ancel-keys-ph-d-was-right-and-nina-teicholz-was-wrong-we-eat-too-much-sugar-and-saturated-fat-89b06d4e5bf5
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Also from the Center for Science in the Public Interest this article debunks 10 myths associated with Nina Teicholz’s pro-saturated fat agenda: “Big Fat Myths” at
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On a page titled “Nutrition & Health “Experts” You Shouldn’t Trust” Sheila Kealey “health promotion consultant, nutrition researcher, and health writer” states:
“Nina Teicholz, author of “The Big Fat Surprise,” is a journalist who believes that nutrition scientists are all ignoring research showing that saturated fat is good for us and she erroneously states that it plays no role in disease. She cherry picks studies that support her stories and informs us that the US Dietary Guidelines are the cause of the obesity epidemic.
Most evidence-based reviews show that Teicholz lacks the appropriate nutrition expertise to critique studies and put decades of research in context. Many experts question her credibility and you should too.
Here is a detailed scientific critique that fact checks Teicholz’s Big Fat Surprise text and outlines the many errors and biases …”
She links to the following reports:
“The big fat surprise: a critical review; part 1”
“The big fat surprise: a critical review; part 2”
Regards those reports Dr Michael Greger has tweeted:
“Best debunking I’ve seen of Nina Teicholz’s @bigfatsurprise book”
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This page can also be reached via http://tinyurl.com/ninateicholz
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** For quotes & links to 100+ science news reports on the association of red meat consumption with higher rates of disease and death – click that link. Or go there via: www.tinyurl.com/meatdiseases … It goes to a page on this site.
Here are links to pages on this site with 100s of science reports on the higher disease rates associated with consumption of dairy, chicken, eggs and fish; and 100+ reports on the health benefits of plant-based diets.
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