03/15/2015 02:03 EDT | Updated 05/15/2015 05:59 EDT

Dr. John Sloan says forbidden foods a myth

A Vancouver doctor says eat what tastes good because there are no scientific studies that unequivocally prove "bad" foods are actually bad for you.

Dr. John Sloan recently self-published a book, Forbidden Food: How Science Says You can Eat what you Like and Like what you Eat, which makes the case for eating all the fat, salt and sugar we love so much.

The family physician and clinical professor at the UBC School of Medicine conducted 10 years of research before publishing his findings.

"I'm a little bit in love with flying in the face of common wisdom, but this surprised me as much as it surprises anybody," said Sloan.

But eating what you want isn't the same as eating as much as you want, cautions the doctor.

"Its not the kind of food you eat, it's how much you eat that determines obesity, at least according to science," said Sloan.

He says whether someone eats too many calories by eating fast food or by following the trendy Mediterranean diet, they will put on weight.

Otherwise, he says the idea that the type of food you eat can lead to better or worse health outcomes is "nonsense."

"I discovered that the science that supports the benefit and the harm from these things — in other words, that supports the whole idea of healthy eating in general — is just about as thick as a piece of paper," said Sloan.

10 years of combing through scientific research

The doctor starting his research a decade ago on a hunch based on his knowledge of biology and science.

At the time, trans fats and their evil ways was the story dominating the media. Sloan came across an article in the Cochrane Review, a well-respected reviewer of scientific health information, that said there was no difference in health outcomes from reducing the amount or any type of fat.

"I thought, you know, this is really interesting," said Sloan.

The discovery lead him to similarly examine the science behind other foods like salt, fibre, and antioxidants.

Sloan says he he was sufficiently 'dazzled' to continue his research and, eventually, to write a book about it.

So far, he's gotten mixed reaction from his colleagues in the medical community. He says the more specialized doctors are, the more they seem to be drawn to ideas that diet makes a difference.

But the generalists he's spoken with seem to agree that much of our so-called established truths about food are really just fads and myths.

Recently, the U.S. government began retreating from its low-fat diet crusade because cholesterol warnings were steeped in "soft science."

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Vancouver doctor says you can eat what you want