Why Nutrition Is So Confusing
People have been acting as though they know things when they are really only making guesses.
Back in the 1960s, when researchers first took seriously the idea that dietary fat caused heart disease, they acknowledged that such trials were necessary and studied the feasibility for years. Eventually the leadership at the National Institutes of Health concluded that the trials would be too expensive — perhaps a billion dollars — and might get the wrong answer anyway. They might botch the study and never know it. They certainly couldn’t afford to do two such studies, even though replication is a core principle of the scientific method. Since then, advice to restrict fat or avoid saturated fat has been based on suppositions about what would have happened had such trials been done, not on the studies themselves.
One lesson of science, though, is that if the best you can do isn’t good enough to establish reliable knowledge, first acknowledge it — relentless honesty about what can and cannot be extrapolated from data is another core principle of science — and then do more, or do something else. As it is, we have a field of sort-of-science in which hypotheses are treated as facts because they’re too hard or expensive to test, and there are so many hypotheses that what journalists like to call “leading authorities” disagree with one another daily.
It’s an unacceptable situation….
Read the whole thing here: Why Nutrition Is So Confusing
This is one of those ‘many charts, few words’ articles on nearly the same subject:
This is the chart that relates most to the first article:
The first dietary guidelines for Americans were published in the year 1977, almost at the exact same time the obesity epidemic started. Of course, this doesn’t prove anything (correlation does not equal causation), but it makes sense that this could be more than just a mere coincidence.
The anti-fat message essentially put the blame on saturated fat and cholesterol (harmless), while giving sugar and refined carbs (very unhealthy) a free pass.
Since the guidelines were published, many massive studies have been conducted on the low-fat diet. It is no better at preventing heart disease, obesity or cancer than the standard Western diet, which is as unhealthy as a diet can get (37, 38, 39, 40).
For some very strange reason, we are still being advised to follow this type of diet, despite the studies showing it to be completely ineffective.
Like most of the charts, it shows correlation, not causation.
If the science is too expensive or difficult, we each become our own lab rat. Let’s fund more science. We should also quit giving people advice based on conjecture. I think that’s been more expensive in the long run.