RECENTLY, Ivor Cummins spoke at meetings hosted by Low Carb Skipton on the topic: ‘What You Really Need to Know About Healthy Eating’

During the last 10 years, Ivor has established himself as one of the world leaders on the relationship between diet and human health. He has made presentations all over the world and recently was a speaker at a meeting of the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.

Ivor has a degree in Biochemical Engineering and worked in industry as a complex problem solver. His interest in health and nutrition was stimulated by a health check. His cholesterol was high, which resulted in advice from his doctor that he was likely to develop heart disease.

He asked several doctors to explain the basis for this warning and much to his surprise was unable to obtain a satisfactory answer. He used his knowledge and experience as a problem-solver, to delve into the relevant research. Much to his surprise, he discovered that there was no reliable scientific evidence to support the widespread belief in the medical profession that cholesterol is a very significant or meaningful risk factor for heart disease, or anything else for that matter. So much for statins!

Since then, Ivor has devoted his time and effort to studying and evaluating the research that is related to diet and human health. This is a complicated subject because there are obvious limitations to the experiments that can be conducted with humans. This is exacerbated with chronic disease such as heart disease and cancers because they take many years to develop. Progress is achieved by understanding how the body works and the reasons for malfunction that results in disease. Importantly, if we have this knowledge, then prevention measures and cures can be devised.

There are many different disciplines, each with their own army of specialists. Invariably they have little interest or experience in other areas. Ivor is one of the very few people who has had the inclination and opportunity to take an interdisciplinary approach. He has been able to interact with many of the leading figures in a multiplicity of subjects and identify the crucial advances that have been made. His unique contribution is that he has successfully combined these various strands into sensible advice that anyone can understand.

The talks in Skipton were effectively a distillation of the knowledge and insights Ivor has developed in his endeavours in the last 10 years.

The key message is that public health is deteriorating. Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, cancers and dementia are increasing rapidly.

If we look back, the data clearly show that the increases in body weight/obesity in all age groups started to take off at the end of the 1970s/early 1980s. This coincides with the launch of the official dietary guidelines in the USA during the 1970s. The UK followed suit in 1984, as did many other countries all over the world.

The significance of these is that they recommended substantial reductions in the consumption of saturated fats such as butter and other animal fats. In addition, people were advised to increase the consumption of vegetable oils such as corn oil and sunflower oil. This opened door for the massive increase in the production of processed foods largely based on refined grains and oils produced from seeds.

The fact that these changes were responsible for the deterioration in health was confirmed by an experiment in New York. Forty-nine individuals volunteered to switch to a keto diet (ie one that is very low in all carbohydrates, virtually no vegetable oils but plenty of saturated fats such as butter and coconut oil). There was no restriction of calories. This was maintained for 12 months. At the end of the period, the average loss of weight was 16per cent, which is extraordinary!

In addition, there was a significant improvement in health, as shown by the reduction in the incidence of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Prescriptions for hypertension were cut by 20per cent.

Ivor went on to explain that the fundamental issue is the amount of insulin produced. If this is excessive, the cells may respond by becoming insulin resistant (ie there is no shortage of insulin, but the body is resistant to its effects). Becoming insulin resistant is effectively acquiring Type 2 Diabetes.

Consequently, blood sugars are no longer properly controlled, and the result is both raised blood sugar and obesity. The sugars stick to proteins that may result in damage to the nerves, impaired circulation, and blindness. Insulin production is a direct response to the load of sugar in the blood, which in turn reflects the consumption of sugar, starch, and other carbohydrates in the diet. If these are reduced substantially, then there is less insulin, and the processes are stopped and possibly even reversed. There is much other evidence, which confirms that the highly processed food supply is one of the major factors responsible for the poor standard of public health.

* To watch a recording of the talk go to

* Low Carb Skipton meets the first Monday of the month in The Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton, at 7pm. Email: