INTERVIEW: An interview with Dr Zoe Harcombe, PhD

Dr Zoe Harcombe is a highly respected international nutrition researcher.

Zoe completed her PhD in public health nutrition in 2016 and her thesis examined the evidence that was used to introduce dietary fat guidelines. She continues to make a huge contribution to the nutrition world, due to her ability to dissect and understand nutrition research.

Zoe has a website at where you can follow her or subscribe to help support the very important work she does. Her website is jammed packed with useful information.

Zoe Harcombe is an internationally respected health research with a unique ability to dissect and explain nutritional research. Zoe talks about her background and own health challenges as a young woman and her poor relationship with food. She discusses how the obesity epidemic started to take off and how she became a full-time researcher, commentator and presenter. We also talk about Ancel Key’s and the importance of his work into low calorie diets and how what that has taught us about the calorie in versus calorie out theory of dieting.

We talk more about low calorie diets and how these affect our metabolism and increase our body fat storage. Zoe explains why we are in much worse shape after a calorie restricted diet than we were beforehand and why fat and protein are essential for repair and maintenance of our body, whereas only role of carbs is to provide us with energy. The dietary guidelines have got this backward and are making us sick and overweight.

Zoe also talk about her own experience of low-calorie dieting and developing food intolerance and reasons that food addiction occurs.

Zoe discusses her research into the dietary guidelines. She explains there not was not one shred of evidence that plant and low-fat diets were more nutritious than protein and fats from animal foods. Animal protein and fats are extremely rich vital nutrients we need for a healthy body and are far more nutritious than plant foods. Despite this animal foods have been demonised and while the virtues of a plant- carb heavy diet have been adopted world-wide with disastrous consequences for our health. She discusses the work of Belinda Fettke who has uncovered the role the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Sanitarium play in influencing nutrition recommendations from NZ and Australian GP’s and Dieticians.

Zoe talks about her 20-years vegetarian experience and the many people who were previous vegetarian/vegans who now support the real food message due to suffering serious health consequences. Zoe had unnecessary eye surgeries due to nutrient deficiencies. She discusses why we need to know a lot more about food and what it does in our body and the difference between the availability of the nutrients from animal foods and plant-foods.

Fats 101: Zoe talks facts about fat. The kind of fats contained in a range of food, surprisingly blueberries contain saturated fat. A little-known fact is olive oil has more saturated fat than a beef steak. Yet, we are told not to eat red meat because it is full of saturated fat. Another misconception is oily fish has more saturated fat than red meat, but we are told oily fish is good for our heart and red meat is dangerous.

Why we need real food. Zoe talks about the difference between the vitamins and micronutrients available from plants and animal foods. “Eat food, mostly animals, quite a lot”. Advice to parents for feeding kids and how to manage junk food. Great insights into managing children’s emotions around food and how we can teach them to eat real food.

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