20 February 2015

Carbs don't only make you fat, they make you sick

The 2015 LCHF Health Convention will feature a talk by Dr Gary Fettke, who believes that the foods we eat are the leading cause of lifestyle diseases. He says we should call it Carbohydrate Diabetes, not Sugar Diabetes.


There are so many conflicting theories on carbohydrates: some say we need them and they're absolutely necessary as part of a balanced diet, while others say they should only be consumed in small quantities or they'll make you fat.

Read: Why we get fat, according to Gary Taubes

Dr Gary Fettke, an Orthopaedic Surgeon and Senior Lecturer of the University of Tasmania in Australia, who is a speaker at the 2015 Old Mutual Health Convention, adds to the controversy and says that carbohydrates - those containing fructose, can cause major lifestyle diseases.

Read: Everything you must know about carbohydrates

Dr Fettke says the consumption of fructose (50% of Sugar), polyunsaturated oils and refined carbohydrates combine in our diet to create inflammation in every blood vessel wall and in every tissue in every organ of the body. He is convinced that these three look to be the major contributors to most of our modern conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer and a raft of other conditions.

Inflammation in a certain part of the body makes it susceptible to a variety of other influences and that, along with genetics, the chemicals in our society and radiation, makes that body part vulnerable to disease.

ReadInflammation is the key to our obesity ills and Inflammation has been tied to cancer

Video: Fetkke's theory on how nutrition influences disease

Common diseases and how consuming high amounts of fructose can influence them:

1. Obesity

Fettke calls fructose (a so-called ‘simple sugar’ found in honey, fruit, vegetables and other plant materials) is a potent appetite stimulant that ‘makes’ us eat more than we should and in this way makes people vulnerable to overeating and obesity.

Read: DietDoc on the fructose controversy

2. Type 2 Diabetes

Sugar Diabetes should be called Carbohydrate Diabetes, in Fettke's opinion. He explains that although obesity is the single greatest risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes, high fructose consumption puts people at risk for Diabetes due to the fact that it is addictive and if consumed in large amounts, studies have found fructose to be substantially more toxic to organisms than plain glucose.

Fettke says that a very low carbohydrate and high fat (LCHF) diet can manage diabetes.

Read: Low-carb diet helps obese diabetics and High-fat diet helps diabetics

3. Cancer

Although Fettke would like to better research his theory on the link between fructose and cancer, he explains that the combination of fructose and polyunsaturated oils create a susceptible organ on which a trigger can act and that susceptibility allows the growth of abnormal cells.

According to Fettke's theory there are three phases to the development of a cancer, and the same applies to most other disease:

Phase 1: Fructose consumption creates low grade inflammation. Once the the inflammation is there, the cell in an organ undergoes an abnormal change/ irritation. If this irritation continues over a long period of time then those cells can start developing abnormalities and some of them may in fact turn into cancer cells.

Phase 2: Those cells then have the ability to divide and and grow.

Phase 3: The body has natural clearing mechanisms within it for taking away abnormal cells and material, but under a fructose high environment, the body is not as efficient in clearing up any abnormal cells developing in the body.

With increasing abnormal cells, growing in an inflamed environment and not being able to be cleared away, falls well within a model for creating a cancer, Fettke says.


Fructose linked to deadly pancreatic cancer
Why you need to worry about fructose
What you need to know about fructose

Watch: The trailer of the That Sugar Film that lifts the lid on fructose consumption in the modern diet. Dr Fettke, along with the film's director Damon Gameau answered questions from the audience during the showing in Australia. Details of a South African release are not yet available. 


Dr Fettke's talk is likely to generate huge interest at the Health Convention and add further momentum to the LCHF movement in South Africa. The convention runs from Thursday 19th February 2015 until Sunday 22nd February 2015. The first three days will focus on the medical aspects, while Sunday is aimed at the general public.

Read more:

Pro low-carb diets:

Tim Noakes on how it works and why this is a lifestyle more than a diet
Tim Noakes diet is put to the test
Video: why a low-carb diet is good for you
A scheduled high-fat diet may curb obesity
How a high-fat diet can help diabetics
Video: Tim Noakes talks about his book The Real Meal Revolution
Carb and sugar addiction is fuelling SA's obesity epidemic
Tim Noakes says refined carbs may be toxic
Tim Noakes: the heart disease theory 'has failed'
Tim Noakes: poor children should eat animal organs
Is the Tim Noakes Diet affecting your hair, skin and nails?
Why we get fat, by Gary Taubes
Could the LCHF/ Banting diet help prevent or control ADHD?
Carb and sugar addiction is fuelling SA's obesity epidemic
Sugar is the new nicotine

Anti low-carb diets:

Tim Noakes' critics shun the low carb high fat health summit
Pregnant moms on the high-fat diet may be putting their offspring's life at risk
Why a high-fat diet is bad for the body clock
A high-fat diet could up the risk of pancreatic cancer
High protein diets increase your chances of developing kidney disease
DietDoc asks: why are we always chasing quick-fix diets?
Warning issued regarding HFLC and high protein diets
Too much, too soon, Tim Noakes!
Banting/Noakes diet discriminates against women
Noakes slammed by UCT professors
Patrick Holford: banting is dangerous
Heart Foundation's open letter to Tim Noakes
Experts warn against Noakes diet
We debate Tim Noakes on which diet will save the world

Speakers at the Health Convention

Zoe Harcombe on how to reverse the obesity epidemic
Dr Jason Fung on why type 2 diabetics should not be treated with insulin
Science writer Gary Taubes on the real reason we are all getting fat
Tim Noakes says his critics are likely to shun the health convention

Sources: Garry Fettke's -


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Exercise benefits for seniors »

Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running

Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness

When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them.