Almost. They didn’t say so, but if you follow their new sugar consumption guidelines you’ll almost certainly have to.

The AHA advocates a “heart healthy” diet that is anything but. It’s loaded with “healthy whole grains” and is likely thrombitic, promotes inflamation, raises triglycerides, raises small dense LDL, and probably raises the levels of oxidized LDL. For a detailed explanations of the science check out Dr. Stephan.

This is why today’s Wall Street Journal article titled “Sweet Surrender: Sugar Curbs Urged” is so surprising.

The AHA is setting its sugar consumption guidelines at 100 calories for women and 150 calories for men. That is drastically below what even “health conscious” Americans consume. As the article points out, a 12 ounce soda has 130 calories and six teaspoons of sugar have 100 calories. Although not mentioned explicitly, the examples the AHA gives imply that they are treating high fructose corn syrup and sucrose interchangably.

At first glance you may say, so what? The AHA is telling people to cut out sodas. What’s so surprising about that? To understand why these guidelines are so dramatic let’s first run through a daily menu that the AHA would approve of:

Bagel, Fat-Free Cream Cheese, Glass of Orange Juice

– Sandwich of Whole Wheat Bread, Low Fat Turkey, Low Fat Mayo, Honey Mustard, Lettuce, Tomato


– Pasta, Tomato Sauce, Low Fat Parmesan Cheese, Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls and Low Fat Frozen Yogurt for desert.

Everything in red has added sugars. If you went with whole grain pasta instead of regular, that may well have extra sugar in it as well. By the time you’re half way through lunch you’re already over the 100-150 calorie limit. Note that I haven’t included any snacks, sodas, juices, sports drinks etc… This is an incredibly bare bones diet. I know of very few people who could eat a bagel for breakfast and not be incredibly hungry before lunch. Likewise, a turkey sandwich is not going to tide you over till dinner. You’re not going to feel sated and you’re going to crave food from mid-afternoon on. If even this spartan high carb / low fat diet puts you way above AHA’s new the sugar guidelines,  how can you get under the 100-150 calorie/day limit?

For all intents and purposes you have to drop processed foods. Everything that comes in a box or a jar and says “low fat” on it almost certainly has added sugar in it to make it appetizing. The AHA just said to stop eating almost everything most Americans think is healthy. That’s a dramatic change even if it isn’t being touted as such.

Ok, so what does that have to do with a high fat diet?

The logic is as follows. If you have to avoid processed food you have to avoid almost all highly concentrated carbohydrates. The physical volume of unprocessed carbs such as steamed rice or potatoes, and unprocessed proteins, fruits, and vegetables that you would have to eat to get your required calories is enormous. Most people could not physically eat that volume of food. Where else can you get concentrated calories? Fat and a lot of it.

I will run through a concrete example tomorrow.