Episode 114 Summary
We want all of our listeners to know that if you have type 2 diabetes, metabolic dysfunction or excess body fat stores, it is not your fault - Leave behind the shame and stigma of a society deeply entrenched in diet culture. Although it is not your fault and never was your fault, it is still your responsibility to yourself to fix this. We can guide you on your journey.
The processed foods on the shelves of a supermarket are covered in confusing and misleading information - It can be difficult to know what to do and what to buy.
The dietary guidelines have led people to believe that carbohydrates are an important source of energy - People are afraid that without them we will be fatigued and will not survive. This is untrue. Gary Fettke for example, has been carbohydrate free for 13 years and is thriving.
There are a lot of issues surrounding healthcare in Australia right now - There is a tsunami of chronic disease in Australia, and this along with the recent COVID pandemic has been leading to burnout in medical practitioners. There is currently insufficient funding. We believe that ideally patients should be given the choice to change their lifestyle or embrace different habits as an alternative to a prescription, where appropriate.
Some people will be able to take the nutritional and lifestyle information given to them and create a change on their own, but many others require S.A.M. This stands for SUPPORT, ACCOUNTABILITY and MOTIVATION. Real Life Medicine is passionate about providing support, accountability and motivation within our community, to help break down the unhelpful conditioning in your past and unpack the stories in your heads driving your behaviours. Weight loss is a personal development journey.
The guidelines and the big food companies are there to make other people rich, not to help us or guide us to our best health - We advocate for not giving these big companies your money.
We recognise the wonderful work that Belinda Fettke has done - Using her incredible detective skills to research and unearth hidden truths. Her work is extremely important and valuable and we honour her for that.
There are a lot of religious and cultural beliefs around food - What we eat, when we eat and why we eat. The Catholic Church still advocates for fish on Fridays for example and this was behind the invention of the Filet-o-fish burger at McDonalds. The organization most powerful in globally influencing nutrition are the Seventh Day Adventists. They use medical evangelism as a core practice and believe that they have been commissioned as individuals to convert everyone because Jesus will not return until enough people have been converted and given up meat. So you can see that this is not based on financial gain, but is instead a deep-seated fundamental belief. In America they have set up universities educating Health Care professionals to believe that animal fats and proteins are problematic as a way to achieve their goals. In the South Pacific Islands Seventh Day adventist political leaders have been championing the goals of the church through their government, bringing in the Seventh Day Adventist health reforms.
There are many other religions with strict dietary considerations - The difference is that for these other religions bringing in change outside their community is not their mission. Examples of other religions with strict dietary rules around meat are Jainism, where they will not eat meat or underground vegetables and will only eat a fruit after it has fallen on the tree on it’s own. Eastern Mystic religions believe in karma and metempsychosis, and that human souls may be reborn as animals, so they will not eat meat, but these religions often allow the consumption of milk, butter and ghee.
Take home points:
1) Do not accept blindly what you are told, what is written on the packet or what the guidelines say. Keep your mind open to everything (within reason).
2) Continue with lifelong learning and educate yourself.
If you enjoyed this you may find our podcast episode, “Is a Juice Detox Healthy” helpful.
Check it out here: https://www.rlmedicine.com/84
Belinda Fettke describes herself as a change-agent challenging the health benefit claims of low-fat high-carb dietary and health guidelines promoted as the ‘Gospel Truth’.
She has spent the last 8 years delving into the history of vegetarianism and ‘nutrition science’ only to discover the unexpected influence of religious ideology, and its intersection with commercial vested interests, intent on demonising animal protein and fats. Their symbiotic relationship has shaped our ‘plant-biased’ dietary and health guidelines for over 100 years.
Belinda’s concerns have included a lack of transparency in research and nutrition policy that may negatively impact health outcomes for people with Type 2 diabetes, in particular, and the attempts to ‘silence’ healthcare professionals from discussing the health benefits of ancestral diets and evolutionary science.
She is not anti-vegan, nor anti-religion. She is pro-choice, especially when it comes to health!
www.belindafettke.com (coming soon)
Episode 114 - Did you know our food guidelines are influenced by more than just science?
Dr Mary Barson: (0:11) Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr. Mary Barson.
Dr Lucy Burns: (0:14) And I'm Dr. Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. Hello lovelies. Today I conclude my chat with Belinda Fettke. She is a trailblazer in getting the word out on why we're not told the whole truth about the foods we eat. At the heart of it all, as you know, Dr. Mary, and I believe firmly that people with type two diabetes, with metabolic dysfunction, with people who are storing excess body fat, it is not your fault. There is huge stigma around these people feel guilty, society shames them. At the end of it, we will tell you, we always say this. It is your responsibility if you have these problems to fix it. No one's coming to save you, (except maybe us!) But it is most definitely not your fault. And I want to make that extremely clear. Belinda and I chat today about our society completely immersed in advertising, in marketing propaganda. We are bombarded with sugar, processed foods and big companies making profits at the expense of our health. Gorgeous ones. I hope you enjoy our chat today. Take care.
Belinda Fettke: (1:51) Every time you walk down the supermarket aisles. ‘This is healthy’, you know, more fibre, more this, more that, stars! I dunno, whatever they can put out. And…
Dr Lucy Burns: (2:01) Yes, cholesterol lowering fibre rich. Yeah.
Belinda Fettke: (2:05) Yes! Yeah, absolutely. It's hard to know what to do and what to buy. And I say even as a medical professional, I was a nurse in my very, very, very past life. And Gary was a doctor. We were believing in the dietary guidelines, and just that carbohydrates had to be, you had to eat carbohydrates for energy. You have to eat them to survive a day. And, and it's interesting as you go on, you know, Gary's been very low carbohydrate for 13 years now. And he's still walking around.
Dr Lucy Burns: (2:43) And he's got plenty of energy, that's for sure.
Belinda Fettke: (2:45) He's got plenty of energy. And I just think it's really sad that so many people, I would suspect, still feel some fear, in challenging guidelines. And in promoting things. And also the time like, for a GP, you guys, hats off. It is such a huge responsibility. People are just coming nonstop. And most of these people would be severely sick with metabolic disease. So having the time to discuss different strategies with people is a real concern. And I don't know how you do it. It's amazing.
Dr Lucy Burns: (3:25) And, you know, I think that the issue, we have a lot of issues around how we provide health care in Australia and the funding for it. And the governments all want, you know, universal bulk billing, UBB they call it, universal bulk billing, because it's popular, it sounds good. But the model, and they could have that if they wanted to, but they have to fund it better. Because of the complexity of health care, the compliance that GPs are required to do, it cannot be funded on this current model. It needs more funding. And they're not going to do that. And so at the moment, I mean, there's GP practices going broke, they're closing their doors, because they're broke. It's not because they don't want to help people. They're literally broke.
(4:09) And so I agree at the moment, right at the moment, it's very hard. We've got a tsunami of chronic disease, as you mentioned, we've had a from a different angle, but a similar consequence of COVID. And it's everybody. Everybody in healthcare is very, very burnt out. And so I get it, I get why people sometimes will just write a script, it is much faster, it is much faster and for some people, for some patients, it may be what they want to do, they may not be ready to address their lifestyle. It's very challenging in our current, you know this phrase of obesogenic lifestyle, but I would say that what we need to be doing is offering people like you said the choice and then when they make that choice to change their lifestyle or embrace different habits, all of those things we need, they need support to do so because it's it takes a while.
Belinda Fettke: (5:00) It does, but we used to own a clinic called Nutrition for Life where we employed dietitians and a credentialed diabetes educator and health coaches. And what they saw when people wanted to make those changes, some people embraced it full on like, Gary, that's, yep, take it by the hand, and I'm not stepping back, never going back. But a lot of people required, I called it, SAM. Support, accountability and motivation. And without those three things, and the great thing is now you can access a lot of that through podcasts like Lucy's and Mary's, but you can also access it on Facebook groups, there's lots of support now, which I don't believe was around pre internet, you just couldn't find those same things, unless it was a Weight Watchers group, which was a processed food thing. So the idea is support, accountability, and motivation, but some people will find it hard because of pressures of family, because they are enticed, oh they really are!
(6:03) Breaking the addiction to sugar and processed food is really, really, really hard. And sometimes you can be done for years. And then all you need is one little thing. And if that's your trigger, you're back in it. But I do know that our team saw people over a number of years. And each time they came back, they had a little bit more knowledge and a bit more determination. And then, so it's like giving up smoking, you don't have to stop at once. You can keep trying. Keep trying until it actually happens. And just celebrate, don't beat yourself up if you can't get there because it is really, really hard sometimes. But each step forward is better. And that's amazing.
Dr Lucy Burns: (6:46) Yeah, absolutely. And I think that you're completely right. And we talk a lot about the all or nothing concept that people have of diets and diet culture and the language used around. And I think for women in particular, they usually have a long history of dieting, and people who use words like cheat days and, you know, being naughty. And that language is really important. Because it sends our brain a message, you know, that we're that we don't have any discipline, that we're weak willed. And if I just had more discipline, I would be able to do this. But since I can't do it, then it's obviously me, who's the problem? And I think no! It's not. There are a million reasons why sometimes sticking with the plan that you want to do, or enacting the knowledge that you have, implementing that knowledge and unpacking the stories in your head, which, again, is conditioning years and years and years of conditioning. And just unpacking that, you know, with compassion, not berating yourself is the absolute key.
Belinda Fettke: (7:46) That is beautifully said. It really is. And I think that's why we've joined together to be part of Tracy Macbeth's next event coming up in August, because this is what it's about. It's about empowering women to understand that, it's not your fault, but you can make some changes. And I love how you talk. I love how Tracy talks about the importance of caring for yourself and not berating yourself moving forward. I think most people in this group, it's just like, it's a fantastic forum. And I can't wait. I'll probably be the only one challenging, talking about history and doing other things. But I also think understanding history helps people understand how they can make better choices. Because if you don't know why these messages are coming forward, it is hard to challenge or to make any other choice, because this is what everyone knows. “You need carbohydrates for energy”, all of these things, all about, “Cholesterol is bad for you”. And so I'll let everyone else talk about the science. And I'll keep going with my history and chatting about the vested interests.
Dr Lucy Burns: (8:51) And it is very motivating for me to know that actually, the guidelines, these processed food companies, they're not there to help us. They're there to make other people rich, and they're not having my money.
Belinda Fettke: (9:05) Well said, and they're not having mine either.
Dr Lucy Burns: (9:09) All right, darling. Well, this has been the most delightful chat of course, and, and I am so grateful to you for your detective skills and the fact that you have been trawling through dozens and hundreds of documents looking. Looking with, you know, not just glancing, like, I might look at something and just glance over it, you're actually in there, really diving into it and recognising and challenging and pulling it out and then then putting it together for us. So you know, I'm extremely grateful.
Belinda Fettke: (9:39) You're very, very welcome. Well, I do enjoy it. And I'm actually in the process of developing a different website because, interestingly, my godson said to me recently, Belinda, I'm a doctor, I'm not going to tell my doctor friends to go to an “I love Gary” website, and take it seriously. So I'm in the process of developing a website called belindafettke.com and it will have Gary's story in the back end, but the research will focus more, I won't be telling his story so much, just focus on some of the research that I've done, which I think is just really important for people to understand. So watch this space.
Dr Lucy Burns: (10:20) Ah, well, you have no idea how happy that makes me because whilst I admire Gary immensely, I actually admire you, if not a little bit more and so I would love you to, you know, move out from the shadow of Gary's story and actually just present the stuff you do on your own merits. It's just magnificent.
Belinda Fettke: (10:40) Oh thank you very much. I couldn't have done it without him and the science. And often we chat about things and sort of our things merge. But I do think understanding all of this vested interest in religious ideology has just been incredible. And it needs to be stood on its own now. It's ready.
Dr Lucy Burns: (10:59) And I guess just to clarify, when we're talking religious ideology, is it just the Seventh Day Adventists? Or are there other religious ideologies involved?
Belinda Fettke: (11:06) No, I think there was a paper put out in 2018, called “The Global Influence of Seventh Day Adventist Church on Diet”. And I didn't write that, Seventh Day Adventist church members wrote it in Loma Linda, it gives an incredible description. I think it was done in response to the research that I've been putting out, I'm sure. But they've been intricate in trying to change guidelines. And there's no doubt they're probably the most powerful in that area. But the talk that I'm going to be doing, coming up, is actually discussing, there's a lot of religious and cultural beliefs around food and what we eat, when we eat and why we eat. And so I think it's really important. I had no idea until really, quite recently, because I'd heard that the Catholic Church had fish Fridays. And so I thought, well, I haven't heard about that for a very, very long time. But it is actually still there. The Catholic Church still call for, they call it abstinence, and it's, you’re not allowed to eat meat on a Friday.
Dr Lucy Burns: (12:08) Yes, yes, yes, I grew up with that concept.
Belinda Fettke: (12:10) So interestingly, in Detroit, a McDonald's owner, this is a very strong Catholic community, McDonald's were flat on Fridays. So he invented the Filet-O-Fish. All these little things, I think it's really important to understand that the Jewish religion, they're very strong with their beliefs, they're not anti meat, but it's all got to be done Kosher and Halal and presented a specific way. But if you go back and look at the Bible, you go back and look at ancestral, you look at evolution in the Bible, and you compare and contrast the two. And just the fascinating introductions to veganism that I've been looking at and Jain religion is, probably the strictest religion, about diets, they will not even eat a potato and onion that grows underground, they'll only eat fruit that falls off a tree, so it's already died.
(13:06) A lot of the Eastern mystic religion beliefs are actually around metempsychosis and that's the transmigration of souls. So a lot of mystic vegetarianism means because of karma, as you go through your different lives, you, depending if you've got positive or negative karma, you may come back as an animal, not as a human. And you may even come back as an inanimate object. So the choice for a lot of religions in not eating animals, they'll still have the milk and that butter and things and ghee, they're worried they might be eating a relative. So yeah, Eastern vegetarianism has very different origins to Western vegetarianism.
Dr Lucy Burns: (13:52) So is it the Seventh Day Adventists that are the ones that are heavily influencing world guidelines, though?
Belinda Fettke: (13:59) Yep!
Dr Lucy Burns: (14:00) Whereas these other communities are more just within their own religious organisation? Have I got that right?
Belinda Fettke: (14:06) Yes, because the Jewish religion doesn't want to convert everyone else to Judaism. They're very happy where they are and they just think this is where we are. The Seventh Day Adventist Church are on a mission. They've got the I think it was in 2008, they wrote total member involvement. Every single person involved in that church is to use the health reform message as an entering wedge to the church, because they have been commissioned to spread the gospel to everybody and convert people because until enough people give up meat and are converted, Jesus is not going to come back. It will not be the end of the world. And if it happens within their lifetime, it's a lot less complicated than being raised up from the sleep. So they really, really want Jesus to come back in their lifetime. It is a really, really deep mission. And I think that's an incredible consideration. This isn't necessarily about finances, though I think there are some people within the corporate church who are making a lot of money, as in any corporate area, but a lot of the individuals within that church just truly believe they're doing the right thing.
Dr Lucy Burns: (15:14) Yeah, and I think this is, this is where it gets tricky, isn't it? It's, you know, the dieticians, who think, who believe that their educators are giving them the right information, the medical student like me, who believed that, you know, fat cause diabetes, because my superiors at the time, were telling us that. That the doctors who think that prescribing medications is actually the most helpful thing. They're often not malicious people, they're doing it because it's what they believe, and challenging beliefs, it can be hard!
Belinda Fettke: (15:45) Challenging a belief is much harder. America brought out the Sunshine Act when they have to provide financial conflicts of interests and if people who are doing research own shares in companies, you know, so all sorts of things in that space. We don't have that in Australia. So when I first started doing a lot of my research, the only way I could find out if people were compromised, unless they're on a board, and then they had to declare it. But even those have been hidden under the, you have to go back into the archives now to find those. But in America, they have to produce it. And if an Australian researcher does research with an American, they have to produce that conflict of interest.
(16:24) So that was how I was able to find out a lot of people, but we don't have a university that trains doctors and dietitians and nurses here in Australia, owned by the Seventh Adventist church, but in America, they have quite a few. So often, if you look back and you think, well, this person's gone to this high school, and then they've gone to this university, and they've done their medical here and they've done this, and the whole thing is through Seventh Day Adventist Church, you tend to think well, they have been either entrenched in that belief that the demonisation animal proteins and fats is important, so that they're educational. And potentially they are of that belief, as well. The Seventh Day Adventist belief.
(17:07) And this is also the scary thing going into the South Pacific is that until recently, the presidents of a lot of the countries, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, they were Seventh Day Adventists. So they're also very excited about bringing in the Seventh Day Adventist Health Reform message into their countries and creating this. So you have to think in a lot of third world countries. This is the way the Seventh Day Adventist Church bring the health message into countries, especially in China: they offer a hospital. And so by bringing in health, not the Bible, bringing in health, there are a lot more accepted into places, and then they educate people. And if you are poor and illiterate, and you get an opportunity to be educated and potentially reach a higher position to be able to get a job. And especially if you get into government in different countries. In Jamaica, Seventh Day Adventism is one of the biggest religions there, then even if you don't stay a Seventh Day Adventist, you're not going to harm the hand that fed you to get to the place where you are, and probably still look at it as something that's really, really, really good. And in lots of ways, it is good, but their beliefs on diet are so restricted and because they want everybody else to be eating that same way, that's my concern is this ability of the church to have gone so far.
Dr Lucy Burns: (18:36) Do you know they're, I mean, they're playing a long game. They're very clever. It's insidious and sneaky, as you said, and comes with some benefits, but the effects on our health, for many people eating a processed plant based diet, in particular, is just unhelpful. And as you said, the demonization of meat within our society is just unhelpful for health.
Belinda Fettke: (19:06) So that's why I'm calling them out. So again, the Jain religion, the ascetics, the Jain religion, the highest laity, they will not even wear clothes. So there's just a few men, they almost look like they've been in a concentration camp, they’re so malnourished, and they walk around, they won't use cutlery in case there’s an insect or something on it that you might eat and harm a life. But, as I sort of mentioned, with a lot of my research, it's moral gymnastics. And Gary and I are living examples of moral gymnastics. So we've talked about our house here and, and all the environmental things and the embodied energy and everything we've done, but a lot of people we can't all go and use that quarry that we were able to get our clay out of to make our house environmentally friendly. So your moral gymnastics of how you support your arguments, goes all the way through. Everybody does it, but for the Jain moral gymnastics here is that they are not allowed to cook or prepare any food or pick any food or do anything, the absolute ascetics, people at the top. So they walk around with their hands, and they rely on other people feeding them. And as long as that food hasn't been prepared for them, it can include animal protein and fats. So do you understand because they haven't done it themselves, but they're only allowed to eat in the morning, and it's only what is poured into their hands and have to eat from that.
Dr Lucy Burns: (20:33) Oh, gosh, what a deeply flawed process and those poor humans.
Belinda Fettke: (20:38) They believe they've gotten to such an incredibly high spiritual karma, that this is what this religion believes. So there's so much deciding what we eat when we eat and why this is, I guess, where my research has just become a fascinating topic of investigation. But for me, the most concerning groups, I believe, have been the influence of Coca Cola, and I could do another one on Coca Cola another day and the Seventh Day Adventist Church. So they're the two that I see infiltrating Western dietary guidelines and manipulating them to an extent that we've demonised animal proteins and fats in our diet.
Dr Lucy Burns: (21:32) Yes, yes. Okay. This time we are going my loves, this time we are going so beautiful listeners, this has been a very, very long chat. It is totally fascinating. And it does lead you in many ways to question you know, question things. Don't accept blindly what you're told and don't accept blindly what is written on the packet. Don't accept blindly what is even in the guidelines, it doesn't mean that the person - you know, and again, I'm very mindful to be protective of my fellow colleague GPs at the moment. They are incredibly overworked, under resourced and probably exhausted - but certainly you know, keep your mind open, just I think keep your mind open to everything would be my result it doesn't mean that you accept everything you don't want to be gullible and open up you know, emails from some Prince in Nairobi, but keep your mind open. There we go and learning, they’re are two little pearls to leave you with beautiful listeners, all of the show notes will be at the end of this episode, including links to Belinda’s study, including links to our blog that we wrote on fruit juice, lots on there and our recent podcast on juice, “Is juice healthy?” Certainly we know not, and go from there. Have a beautiful, beautiful week. Take care. See you next time. So my lovely listeners that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr. Lucy Burns,
Dr Mary Barson: (23:05) and I'm Dr. Mary Barson we’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit our website, www.rlmedicine.com
Dr Lucy Burns: (23:16) And until next time, thanks for listening. The information shared on the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, including show notes and links provides general information only. It is not a substitute, nor is it intended to provide individualised medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor can it be construed as such. Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.