SNSW LHD Keeps Saying NO To Low Carb Diets!

I was warned this would happen.

The joke is that when you write to a Government Minister in Australia with a problem or concern, the objective of the Minister’s office is to make you go away.

But not in this case, surely? What others and I have to say is important; it’s about peoples’ lives and their health. It’s even about the blow-out of the Health budget. It’s how to turn around the rising rates of diabetes and obesity. It’s what the Health Minister would want to hear and act on. Surely???!!!!

Apparently not

If a government department wanted something to go away, here’s the blueprint from the NSW Health Minister’s office:

Step one.

 Receive many requests from researchers, scientists and the public for an inquiry into a mistake that could cost some people their health and potentially their lives.

In this case, the mistake was the CEO of the Southern NSW Local Health District dictating that low carb advice must not be given to any person within the Health District.

Step two.

 1) Ask said CEO to explain the basis for his decision


2) Give said CEO the opportunity to say whether or not he’s satisfied with the decision he made.

The NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, unbelievably went for option 2.

And the CEO of the LHD in question responded that he was fine with his decision.

Specifically: “The position in relation to your diet and acceptable dietary advice provided by NSW Health professionals may change over time, however the Local Health District continues to follow the advice of NSW Health and the DAA with regard to dietary advice provided to clients.”


  1. People of the SNSW LHD are denied access to science based low carb dietary advice that could improve their health.
  2. Ministerial get-lost objective achieved.
  3. I have to write another damn letter to the Minister.                                                     This is an edited version:                                                                                             21.10.2015                                                                                                                              Dear Minister Skinner                                                                                                    Further to my request for an inquiry into the actions of the SNSW LHD, which I submitted to your office on 17.9.2015. In that correspondence, I requested these issues be investigated:
    1. Abrogation of responsibility by the SNSW LHD to the Dietitians Association Australia (DAA) for my dismissal


    1. The basis for the decision that low carb diets are not evidence based.                            It is an understatement to say that I am disappointed in your response. Instead of your office asking the CEO of the SNSW LHD to provide you with answers regarding my questions, your office passed my inquiry to him, leaving it to him alone to evaluate his own, and his staff’s decisions. Unsurprisingly, his response was that everything is in order; he’s happy with all the decisions and no inquiry is warranted.I would like to reiterate my concerns and provide the CEO’s comments.
      1. Abrogation of responsibility.

      The LHD’s investigation into my case found no hint of professional incompetence (as there is none), however they took DAA’s word for it, without details or explanation, and dismissed me on that basis. This abrogation of responsibility by a government body to a self-regulated membership organisation without knowledge of the standards and processes employed by that organisation (LHD representative admitted this) I believe to be a serious dereliction of duty.

      I would be happy to provide you with full details of DAA’s findings; in short, it appears that I was deregistered either on the basis of my recommendation of LC diets or because DAA did not like the way I kept my notes on one client.

      CEO’s determination: “I am satisfied that there has been no abrogation of responsibility by the Health District to the Dietitians Association of Australia DAA.”

      How nice for him to be able to ignore the fact that in 29 years of my employment with NSW Health there has never been a hint that I was anything less than a competent and experienced professional. The DAA however could say otherwise and NSW Health just accepted that decision without question.

      That is abrogation of responsibility whether the CEO wants to admit it or not. His response is insulting.


      1. They got it wrong


      SNSW LHD’s decision that low carb diets are not evidence based and are not to be recommended in the LHD is simply wrong and potentially harmful to many people. It may also leave NSW Health open to litigation by people who are being denied advice on reducing carbs, despite this approach being supported by science and the American Diabetes Association guidelines that dietitians are advised to follow.

      I requested that the people who made this decision be asked to answer how they concluded that low carb diets are not evidence based.

      CEO’s response: “The position of the technical advice may well change over time with further research. However, at this time the SNSWLHD is following the advice of NSW Health with regard to dietary advice to clients/ patients.”

      Me: What is NSW Health’s advice exactly?

      To my knowledge, prohibiting the recommendation of low carb diets is not a directive in any other NSW Health District, nor anywhere else in Australia or probably even the world. In addition, the CSIRO backs low carbohydrate management of diabetes. Their recent 2-year study of very low carb versus ‘traditional guideline’ higher carb dietary management showed that low carb gave significantly better results in blood glucose control and cardiovascular risk factors. The low carb participants had a significant reduction in their medication requirements.

      The LHD has gone out on a dangerous limb in making this a directive.

      More from the CEO: “The position in relation to your diet and acceptable dietary advice provided by NSW Health professionals may change over time, however the Local Health District continues to follow the advice of NSW Health and the DAA with regard to dietary advice provided to clients.”

      As I have previously stated, DAA defer to American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines for dietetic management of diabetes. ADA guidelines support the use of low carb diets.

      This issue is no longer just about my case, as no doubt you would be aware from the number of letters you have received from scientists, researchers, dietitians and others from around the world.

      I would ask again that the following issues be investigated properly and not referred back to the CEO responsible for the decisions in question.


      1. Abrogation of responsibility.

      Request: Explanation as to why DAA’s finding of professional incompetency against me was accepted without question by NSW Health, and subsequently used as the basis for my dismissal, when in 29 years and regular PDPs with my managers, there was never a hint of criticism of my expertise or competency.



      1. Getting it wrong.

      Request: CEO to provide supportive evidence for the directive that low carb diets are not to be recommended to clients in the LHD.


      Specifically: 1. What exactly does NSW Health advise in regard to dietary advice for clients/ patients that the CEO refers to? (needs referencing)


      1. What does he believe DAA’s position is concerning dietetic advice for diabetics? (needs referencing)


      Thank you again for your consideration of these issues.


      Yours sincerely




DAA vs. Science – DAA’s views on Low Carbohydrate Diets

DAA’s views on Low Carbohydrate Diets

First posted 5.7.2015

I asked Richard Feinman, Professor of Cell Biology at the State University New York Downstate Medical Center and author of The World Turned Upside Down: The Second Low-Carbohydrate Revolution, to comment on statements made by the DAA regarding Low Carbohydrate Diets.

DAA:Not all “low carbohydrate diets” are the same. These diets vary greatly in quality and in how much carbohydrate, protein and fat they contain. It is important to ensure that the diet information you are getting comes from a credible source.”

Professor Feinman: Credible sources on low-carbohydrate diets are laboratories or clinics that have studied such diets and that have good success and are able to explain how they work and how to implement them in your personal setting. Beware of official organisations that have numerous undocumented warnings and, most of all, little or no interaction with people who have actually done the research.

DAA: “Low carbohydrate and high protein diets have recently been promoted for weight loss. Books have especially focused on people who have the cluster of disorders known as Syndrome X or the Metabolic Syndrome.”

Professor Feinman: Extensive peer-reviewed studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets are most effective for people with metabolic syndrome.

  1. Cornier MA, Donahoo WT, Pereira R, Gurevich I, Westergren R, Enerback S, Eckel PJ, Goalstone ML, Hill JO, Eckel RH et al: Insulin sensitivity determines the effectiveness of dietary macronutrient composition on weight loss in obese women. Obes Res 2005, 13(4):703-709.
  2. Volek JS, Feinman RD: Carbohydrate restriction improves the features of Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome may be defined by the response to carbohydrate restriction. Nutr Metab (Lond) 2005, 2:31.
  3. Volek JS, Fernandez ML, Feinman RD, Phinney SD: Dietary carbohydrate restriction induces a unique metabolic state positively affecting atherogenic dyslipidemia, fatty acid partitioning, and metabolic syndrome. Prog Lipid Res 2008, 47(5):307-318.
  4. Volek JS, Phinney SD, Forsythe CE, Quann EE, Wood RJ, Puglisi MJ, Kraemer WJ, Bibus DM, Fernandez ML, Feinman RD: Carbohydrate restriction has a more favorable impact on the metabolic syndrome than a low fat diet. Lipids 2009, 44(4):297-309.

DAA: “Low carbohydrate diets are not new and have regularly come in and out of fashion. However, there has been no long-term research into how well these diets work in treating obesity and its associated disorders of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance.”

Professor Feinman: They are not new and have consistently been shown to be effective. As other diets — low-fat, Mediterranean, Low-GI, Vegetarian — come and go and as they fail to live up to their promise, people return to low-carbohydrate diets which continue to work despite the medical establishment coming up with “concerns.” Low-carb diets are best for diabetes and metabolic syndrome, dramatically improve HDL “good cholesterol,” triglycerides and small-dense (atherogenic) LDL. The response of total cholesterol and total LDL is variable but these markers have failed to be any kind of reliable indicator of health risk. Low carbohydrate diets reliable reduce blood pressure and improve insulin resistance. The statement in the DAA guidelines are demonstrably false and indicate ignorance or bias or both.

DAA: “Some low carbohydrate and high protein diets are of concern because they encourage an excessive intake of saturated fat. There is considerable research that links a high saturated fat diet with an increased risk of heart disease and damage to blood vessels.”

Professor Feinman: “Of concern” is not data. The history of saturated fat in the diet is one of refusal of the medical establishment to accept the failure of the considerable research. Whether one considers this a scandal or simple faltering progression of medical history, the record is clear: the Framingham study showed no effect of dietary total or saturated fat or cholesterol on cardiovascular disease. The failure was repeated by the Tuscaloosa study, The Oslo Heart Study, The Western Electric Study, The Minnesota study and, ultimately The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) which found no effect on heart disease, weight loss or diabetes, of a diet low in total or saturated fat or cholesterol. Characteristically, in response to the WHI, Elizabeth Nabel, head of NHLBI got on the media to say “nothing’s changed.”  (The sole study that is claimed to have shown an effect, the Finnish Mental Hospital Study, was so compromised by methodological problems that it wasn’t clear whether it was the researchers or the patients who were confronting the largest cognitive problems). If the “increased risk of heart disease and damage to blood vessels” were as stated in the DAA guidelines not one of these studies should have failed. Not one. But they all failed. The DAA is not alone in voicing “concerns” that have no basis in fact.

In any case, the limitations of the “concerns” is reflected in frequent exposes of the poor science and the USDA Guidelines Committee removing cholesterol from its list of “nutrients of concern” and the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offering comments that they should also have removed proscriptions against saturated fat because “they were not consistent with the scientific evidence.”  The DAA’s persistence in maintaining old ideas (which never had any basis in fact) and which have caused demonstrable harm is what should be of concern.

DAA: “A low carbohydrate diet can be deficient in fibre and result in constipation.”

Professor Feinman: The evidence for the importance of fiber is very poor if commonly touted by “experts.”

Widely claimed on the basis of anecdotal evidence but never really studied, most people feel that whatever the truth, constipation is easier to deal with than obesity, diabetes and increased cardiovascular risk factors such as HDL, triglycerides and pattern B LDL.

DAA: “A high protein diet is usually not recommended for people with any degree of kidney impairment or renal disease.”

Professor Feinman: Low-carbohydrate diets are not usually high protein except compared to the protein-deficient diets that many adapt in trying to conform to the standard high carb recommendations. The most widely respected researchers in low-carbohydrate biochemistry are explicit that a low-carbohydrate should not be high protein although protein tends to be a stable part of the diet.

People with any disease should follow recommendations of a physician. What the comment is implying is that high protein (again, not a recommended feature of most low-carbohydrate diets) is a risk for people with normal kidneys. This has now been disproved so many times that, unusual for the medical media, the facts actually appear to be taking hold. This is presumably why this devious approach is being taken by health agencies. In people with diabetes or any degree of insulin resistance, it is the hyperglycemia that is the major risk for renal disease. People with diabetes are at risk for CVD because of the diabetes and you improve that by reducing carbohydrate.

DAA: “Recent reviews into low carbohydrate diets indicate that they are effective in reducing body weight for up to six months.”

Professor Feinman: They have been shown to be effective for up to two years and, significantly, always better in comparison to low-fat diets or diets similar to those recommended by DAA for as long as they are compared. If there were any science in organizations like the DAA, they would fund the long term studies whose clear benefits they want to see last longer.

There is, however, no evidence of any risk if they are continued indefinitely.  In science you can’t assume risk because it is different than what you do. There is physiology. And, of course, in this case, there is history and common sense.
In the end, though, given the determination of the medical establishment to find risk in low-carbohydrate diets, and failure to do so, such diets are probably the very safest. The fact that low-carbohydrate diets are said to “be the same” at longer periods is due to poor compliance because of poor experimental design. In a natural setting, people find them effective for as long as they stay on them. Also, because the controls are low-fat diets, that is, because low-carbohydrate diets are better than others, many people are happy with six months of success.
Finally, there is the unspoken idea that DAA has long-range studies showing effectiveness of their diet with good compliance and great improvement in diabetes. This is what is known in computers as vapor-ware.

DAA: “There is evidence to suggest that, for some people, low carbohydrate diets are easier to comply with than low fat diets.”

Professor Feinman: All real evidence shows, as one would expect, that low-carbohydrate diets are easier to comply with.  This is indicated, first and foremost, by the evidence that the trend in the population has been in the direction of lowering fat and raising carbohydrates as recommended by DAA. The associated increase in obesity means that either these recommendations are not good or that they are hard to comply with, or both.

Most interesting, however, is that in a research setting, in studies where the low-fat diet and the low-carbohydrate diet are compared, the usual protocol is for people in the lowfat group to be directed to consume an explicitly low calorie diet. They are usually required to eat what they were told. In the lowcarb group, in distinction, participants were allowed to eat anything that they wanted as long as they kept carbs low; even if you were to grant that the diets were really equal, which is more demanding and likely to have worse adherence? Which are you more likely to stick with?  That the low-carb diet almost always does better in these circumstances is remarkable. When coupled with the constant discouragement from health agencies like DAA, the superior performance makes a low-carbohydrate diet a near miracle.

DAA: “Also, in the short term, low carbohydrate diets may be more effective in lowering high blood levels of triglycerides than low fat diets.”

Professor Feinman: Thou hast said it. But this is true in the long term as well. Any diminution is usually due to poor ability of the experimenter to encourage subjects to persist.

DAA: “In this era of a worldwide obesity epidemic it is important not to be distracted by quick fix solutions that appear in the popular press.”

Professor Feinman: This is a tip‑off that traditional diets fail (“Oh, no. Keep at it.”). In everything else that we do in life, we shoot for the quickest and most efficient method possible. We recognize that things go wrong and can take longer than we want but only Freudian psychoanalysis and conventional low‑calorie weight loss set out to go slowly by design. Failure is never a problem; you just have to keep doing it.

DAA: “Making a decision to adopt a healthy lifestyle is most effective when it is approached as a long-term change. Smaller changes that can be sustained are most likely to lead to improved health over time.”

Professor Feinman: This sounds good but it is exactly “a healthy lifestyle” that experts have been unable to define. Those who counsel small changes will also point out how common it is for weight and other effects to be regained. Not surprising since small changes over time are discouraging. Smaller changes are never sustained. It is success that encourages persistence. The epidemics of obesity and diabetes that coincide with current diet recommendations tells you where you won’t find success.

DAA: “There is undisputed evidence that the best way to control body weight and excess fat is to balance energy intake with energy output. Choosing foods and an eating pattern that help you to reduce the amount of kilojoules or calories you eat, is the simple key to weight loss when combined with physical activity.”

Professor Feinman: Insofar as there is evidence, it is hotly disputed. The energy balance idea is absurd notwithstanding how often it is quoted. Kilojoules taken in are distributed among work, muscle synthesis, fat synthesis, heat, entropic changes, and reorganization of cell material. The ratio of fat synthesis to the total change is the efficiency (from the standpoint of weight gain). The idea that all metabolic processes have the same efficiency regardless of dietary nutrient distribution is not consistent with undisputed biochemical evidence and, therefore, the experimental exceptions, which, in humans, almost always favor carbohydrate restriction, are to be taken seriously.

Professor Feinman:  In the end, the DAA offers the APD and other Australian citizens little guidance on low-carbohydrate diets beyond undocumented “concerns.”

DAA says: “All our information has been written by Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs), and is reviewed regularly.

Professor Feinman: That’s what we’re afraid of.

DAA says: “So you can be sure this is the most up-to-date and credible nutrition info around!”

Professor Feinman would appear to disagree.


DAA vs. Science – DAA’s views on carbohydrate

DAA’s views on carbohydrate

DAA supports the inclusion of carbohydrate foods, such as bread, rice, pasta, noodles, breakfast cereal, potato, corn, legumes, fruit, milk and yoghurt, in the diets of the general population, people with diabetes, those who are overweight and people with insulin resistance.

I asked Richard Feinman, Professor of Cell Biology at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center and author of The World Turned Upside Down: The Second Low-Carbohydrate Revolution, to comment on statements made by the DAA.

  1. DAA on Carbohydrate:Try to eat carbohydrate-containing foods in every meal to provide the body with energy throughout the day.”

Professor Feinman: “This takes no account of the different ways in which people metabolize carbohydrate-containing foods. Many people find that even moderate amounts of carbohydrates make them fat. It would at least be reasonable to say “if you find that foods containing carbohydrate don’t make you fat…” but that seems not to be their style.”

Continue reading DAA vs. Science – DAA’s views on carbohydrate

Interesting article in Crikey about DAA

Is the Dietitians Association of Australia in the pocket of Big Food?