What is up with food these days? Guest contributor, Dr Derek M.J. Turner weighs in

Posted by Chris Penton on

Dr. Derek M.J. Turner is a father, son, brother, husband and grandfather. He is a uOttawa BSc grad ’68 in physiology and U of T ’72 DDS dental surgery graduate.

With fifty years of happy marriage and forty eight of equally happy dental practice and counting, he is somewhat obsessed with dentistry mentoring, nutrition studies and photography. 

Dr. Turner will be one of our regular blog contributors. His blog series will be a potpourri of health and nutrition statements and discussions, and with his best efforts, factually presented and evidence based. It will discuss Canada’s Food Guide, the North American epidemic of obesity, dieting, oral health, Type II diabetes, medical myths in nutrition, exercise, climate change, real food and some of his pet peeves... venting. (they’ll be familiar peeves and often shared by readers).

Please enjoy his inaugural piece.

I’m angry about being misled all my life about food. Much of the nutrition nonsense we continue to be fed by corporate food companies, the federal government, our medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies is infuriating, wrong, misleading and suspiciously collusive. One example - it would not be good for western farmers’ if canola oil was found to be better for lubricating their machinery than for feeding fellow Canadians.

So today’s blog is about Canada’s New Food Guide (such as it is). . .

The online opening page window of Canada’s Food Guide says, “Eat Plenty of vegetables and fruits”. . .“ Whole grain foods”’. . . “And protein foods that come mostly from plants”.

Actually, those recommendations are mostly carbohydrate foods. . .why does the Guide emphasize Carbs? Where are the fats? There are only 2 essential macronutrients for human life and carbohydrate ingestion is not one of them. The essential macronutrients for survival are protein and fat. Carbohydrates are additive and important only if not enough protein and fat are eaten to provide a fully nutritive diet.

The guide goes on to suggest, “choose foods with healthy fats instead of saturated fats”. WELL . . .who has proven that saturated fats are unhealthy? Just the opposite is probably true. In fact, any food that contains any fat contains saturated fat. In addition, any food that contains saturated fat contains both monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat along with the saturated fat. All three fats exist in all fatty foods. (except lard and coconut oil which are fully saturated). How then are we to eat fat, the essential macronutrient, and avoid saturated fat?

What does the food guide qualify as healthy fats? Do they know that saturated fats supply us with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K? Canadians in the 40’s who cooked with lard, suet and butter were not obese.

Seems that trans fats are the only culprit fats.

Why is it hard to find any dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt) in any of the Canada Food Guide recommendations or photos?

There is not a single peer reviewed study that shows a causative relationship of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease? Do they know that a sirloin steak is only 7% fat? That an egg is almost a perfect food?

The Guide does not mention that the obesity epidemic in Canada has a direct correlation to the introduction and ingestion of hydrogenated and highly processed vegetable oils? Margarine, Crisco (invented by Proctor and Gamble along with Tide, Pampers and founded by candle and soap makers), canola oil (most canola oils are partially hydrogenated and contain trans fats, are genetically modified and herbicide tolerant) and sugar laden salad dressings for example.

It is nearly impossible to avoid hydrogenated oils in restaurant food. Canadians ingest these highly processed “foods” which are often high in added sugar, preservatives and chemicals. Foods such as processed peanut butter, sweetened yogurt, boxed cereals, white flour, biscuits, chips, sweeteners, colas, diet drinks, other boxed foods, canned foods, mayonnaise, condiments, sports drinks and caloric non-nutritive grains. (White flour and water make a pretty good wall paper glue.)

High carbohydrate eating (The Canadian Normal), is far more likely to produce a fat Canadian than is a high fat diet. Many fat baby boomers and even younger Canadians are Type II diabetes patients in waiting.

In my opinion carbohydrates and sugar are killing more Canadians than protein or fat!

Vegetable oils, had their origin as machinery lubrication and are still used as such. Many are not actually vegetable oils. Mostly they are very highly processed seed and nut residue. Not from broccoli, asparagus or carrots. The hydrogenation process has to change nut and seed sludge to a cosmetic spreadable fat (resembling butter). Remember butter only requires whole milk to be churned. Can you guess which one of the sludge or butter is healthy? Hint - 35% whipping cream is sugar free? Yup, no lactose even.

We need to get back to lard, suet and butter for cooking. Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy are wonderful healthy and nutritious foods and a part of our healthy eating heritage. Olive, palm, coconut and avocado oil are also healthy choices.

Our new Canada Food Guide has been overly influenced, in my view, by vegetarian and vegan attitudes. These philosophies of eating are to be respected but should not dominate a Canadian’s guide to healthy eating.

I’ll have more to say about plant-based vs animal based nutrition in coming discussions.

Dr. Derek MJ Turner


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