Now Dawning On The Washington Post: Scientific Consensus Not Worth The Paper It’s Printed On

A few days ago the online Washington Post here had an excellent feature story by Peter Whorisky on the long-held belief that food products rich in saturated fats, like whole milk, were a risk to human health. It turns out that this decades-long belief, once backed by a “overwhelming consensus” among scientists, is now appearing to have been mortally wrong.

Science lied, people died

Unfortunately it took the science decades to realize it and government agencies responsible for issuing dietary guidelines still aren’t yet prepared to move to revamp the dietary guidelines as necessary. Meanwhile tens of millions worldwide have died prematurely of protracted, horrible deaths stemming from them following the faulty nutritional guidelines.

Five decades long nutritional scientists, every medical institution, among them the American Heart Association and the Academy of Sciences, all touted the high carb, low-fat diet. And five decades long they were wrong. It took a global epidemic of diabetes and heart disease to get the message across. And finally the media are catching up – though grudgingly: Whorisky pretty much keeps the focus on whole milk only, and away from meat, eggs and other healthy foods we have been told not to eat.

The WaPo writes:

Scientists who tallied diet and health records for several thousand patients over ten years found, for example, that contrary to the government advice, people who consumed more milk fat had lower incidence of heart disease.”

Why the focus only on milk? Why not on meat, eggs, bacon and other sources rich in animal fat? If your are going to admit you were wrong, then do it slowly and hope it doesn’t blow up.

The new medical and nutritional findings are not only a huge embarrassment for the government and medical institutions, but may also be a huge dilemma for the media’s much beloved environmental movement, which long has been touting granola-munching diets as a sustainable way to nourish humans. A renewed shift to animal products is not exactly the direction the planet-saving vegans and environmentalists want us to be on.

According to Marcia Otto, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas:

 What we have learned over the last decade is that certain foods that are high in fat seem to be beneficial.”

Whorisky writes that government bureaucrats are now unsure about how to proceed with revising its dietary recommendations. Suddenly and profoundly changing the long-held guidelines likely is not going to go over well with a public that already distrusts government and could even possibly open the government to lawsuits. At any rate it would be a major blow to credibility.

An interesting aspect of Whorisky’s piece is that the media and governments make it sound like all of this is new stuff. It is not. Decades-long a poorly funded minority of experts insisted that the nutritional science behind the lipid hypothesis had been weak and even faulty, and should never be made into dietary guidelines. But these skeptics were defunded, ridiculed and silenced; their science never saw the light of day. It turns out these skeptics had been right all along.

“Fragile hypothesis” becomes “treatment dogma”

Whorisky brings up the 7-country chart by Ancel Keys, regarded as the scientific foundation of the high-carb/low-fat theory, and makes it sound as if the chart originally was valid and that data from other countries came later on. That was not the case. The truth is that Keys had all the data from the other countries from the get-go but chose not to plot them because doing so would have shown that his beloved fat-theory was rubbish – there was in fact no trend showing that heart disease was related to fat intake. Keyes intentionally cherry-picked, cheated and deceived the public by using only the data points that produced a hockey stick.

From then on his theory morphed into a dogma that would go on to survive almost 6 decades. Unfortunately millions of people would die prematurely because of the guidelines later adopted as a result.

Whorisky writes:

‘The vibrant certainty of scientists claiming to be authorities on these matters is disturbing,’ George V. Mann, a biochemist at Vanderbilt’s medical school wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. Ambitious scientists and food companies, he said, had “transformed [a] fragile hypothesis into treatment dogma.”

Indeed, the subsequent 40 years of science have proven that, if nothing else, the warning against saturated fats was simplistic.

Although Whorisky tunneled his focus on milk and did not accurately present the work of Ancel Keys and the dissidents who opposed him, his piece is one that was overdue and it represents a major step in getting the government and medical associations to admit that they screwed up massively. In hindsight the affair is turning out to be nutritional malpractice of the most egregious sort.

Incredibly, perhaps with the aim of protecting the interests of its many member cardiologists and other physicians, the American Heart Association still stands behind the junk-science based lipid hypothesis and continues to deny the fact that fat is vital for human health and that refined carbohydrates have been the true American dietary disaster.

Climate science is even worse than “fat” science

The same type of junk science is now occurring with a carbon of another form: atmospheric CO2. Here a new breed of junk scientists are hysterically maintaining that CO2 will cause the earth’s climate system to have a heart attack. Here the science backing up that theory is even worse than that of Ancel Keys.


17 responses to “Now Dawning On The Washington Post: Scientific Consensus Not Worth The Paper It’s Printed On”

  1. Jeff Wood

    I must be a natural sceptic. The only dietary concession I have ever made was to stop putting sugar in tea and coffee.

    Decades later, I was dimly aware of the global warming drumbeat in the media, but paid little heed as I had other concerns. Then, on a hill above the plain of Stirling, I was explaining to a grandson my understanding of how the landscape below us came to be, when I remembered I knew a little of climate history.

    The pressure was off me, so I could afford a few days research, which took care of global warming as a concern. Now, if I could only think of a way of returning the world to sanity…

  2. eric

    Remember the key rules of analytics:
    >Consider the source
    >Follow the money

  3. TedL

    Scientists knew about this a long time ago. A random controlled trial comparing consumption of saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats was conducted in 1966-1973, but the key results were never published until 2013. Here is the conclusion section from the abstract:

    “Conclusions – Advice to substitute polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats is a key component of worldwide dietary guidelines for coronary heart disease risk reduction. However, clinical benefits of the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega 6 linoleic acid, have not been established. In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit. These findings could have important implications for worldwide dietary advice to substitute omega 6 linoleic acid, or polyunsaturated fats in general, for saturated fats.”

    The article is in the BMJ (British Medical Journal)and free to download. It is worth reading.

    Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis
    BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 05 February 2013)

    Christopher E Ramsden, clinical investigator

  4. Fred Colbourne

    Ten years ago I switched to a low-fat diet that included unprocessed whole foods, including nuts, beans, etc.

    And five years later my skin started breaking out in what the skin specialists said was eczema. None of their therapies worked. But my dentist remarked that my face became red wherever his stainless steel instruments touched and suggested contact dermatitis from nickel.

    So I researched nickel allergy and discovered that in the US it is known as the “health-food syndrome” with about 15% of the population afflicted.

    Six weeks after reverting to a mainly dairy diet and eggs and white bread diet with lots of dairy fat and no whole foods, my skin returned more or less to normal.

    So it not only dairy fat that has been demonized. But also there are real risks in eating unrefined food. Our ancestors were not entirely stupid when they decided that bran is for animals.

    1. DirkH

      There’s nothing wrong with beans. You need to fry them in butter though.

      Now I’m hungry.

  5. Mervyn

    Scientists have a very long way to go in order to fully understand earth’s highly complex, chaotic and highly unpredictable climate system.

    The great Albert Einstein once said, “We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.”

    He could well have been referring to climate science.

  6. lemiere jacques

    sorry, science never lies… so called scientistes do… and in science process mistakes are “norm” are unacceptable.

    1. Anthony

      do you have evidence for that, or is it a religious dogma?

      1. lemiere jacques

        science means knowledge , and a theory is not science, it is part of scientific process …so it can’t lie a theory can be wrong, science can’t…scientist can lie because they are human being!

        it is not a dogma, it is all about definition.
        ans i realize my sentence was truncated
        and in science process mistakes are “norm” lies are unacceptable.

  7. wert

    people who consumed more milk fat had lower incidence of heart disease

    Sure. Those who used milk were healthy and careless, those who had symptoms had stopped using milk fat and were already suffering a heart condition. Heart disease causes people to stop using milk fats.

    Or what? You really need to know how your subjects were collected before drawing any conclusions.

    The idea that milk fat causes heart disease lies on a theory which is darn difficult to prove in reality. In fact, it hasn’t been proven as such, but it has been proven that eating too much (milk fat or anything else) is unhealthy.

    I find it conspiracy thinking that milk fat has something to do with climate change, though.

  8. BD Graham

    The problem with modern health surveys to determine risk from for example saturated versus unsaturated fats is that they won’t be able to do any real comparisons. That is because people who are concerned about their health will not only have started using unsaturated fats but will generally have healthier habits due to their health concerns. Those who never switched from saturated to unsaturated will mainly be those who don’t know or don’t care about the dietary recommendations and therefore are less likely to be concerned about health. They will have in general less healthy lifestyles. Additionally, people are unlikely to be that honest in reporting. Therefore, any comparison between those who switched to unsaturated fats and those who didn’t will already have an inherent bias that may have little to do with saturated versus unsaturated fats.

  9. handjive


    World’s Poor Reject Half Modern, Half Primitive (Green) Life…Demand “Real Electricity”, Not “Fake” Greenpeace Solar!

    DHARNAI, India — One year ago, environmentalists hailed this tiny village as the future of clean energy in rural India. Today, it is powered by coal.

  10. John F. Hultquist

    In 1951 the W. E. Dennison Company received U.S. Patent 2,553,513 for a method to place a capsule of yellow dye inside a plastic package of margarine. After purchase, the capsule was broken inside the package and then the package was kneaded to distribute the dye. Around 1955, the artificial coloring laws were repealed . . .” [wiki/Margarine]

    I remember working the yellow dye into the white Lard-looking hardened vegetable oils used at that time.

    Several things were happening in the ’40 & ’50s including war, rationing, and research. D-rations with the higher melting point for chocolate began about 1937/38. Note that this is about the time of the Seven Countries Study of Ancel Keys. Things that were new seemed good; think television.

    Here’s my point. Over the past 65 years there is generally more food and less exercise for young kids. In the 1950s our neighbor mothers sent us out to play – and we did. The things we did would make a long list. Today there is very little for kids to do outside except for organized sports, and therein most of the time is spent standing around (or for many sitting on the bench). In the US, parents have been visited by police to explain allowing kids to roam freely might be a punishable offense. Roaming freely, and widely, was life in my community.

    The change of diet and the change of play and work are related with regard to medical issues. Work often means punching keys even for things such as cutting logs into timber. Researchers now tell people to stand up and walk around every hour. If someone told my parents they ought to move around more they would have thought the person crazy.

    Now I am going to fix a cheese, bacon, and ground-beef supper. Cheers!

  11. Pethefin

    There’s a rather new and really interesting documentary Sugar Coated that is directly linked to this topic:

    it shows how sugar industry gamed the science (by funding of e.g. Ancel Keys) and pointed out fat as the villain in the health story, while the scientist in the documentary point their fingers at sugar.

  12. Pethefin

    You found the segment I was referring to but did not realize they had published it also as a separate video. I have just seen the entire documentary and it is definitely one of the most thought provoking films that I have seen in a while. When an insurance company (explained in the documentary) is asking for taxation of sugar, you know that the problem is huge. And the history truly is repeating itself from tobacco to sugar to… you name it.

  13. Now Dawning On The Washington Post: Scientific Consensus Not Worth The Paper It’s Printed On | wchildblog

    […] From NoTricksZone, Oct 2015 […]

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