Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Fruit Of The Progressive Intervention In Diet

For the tl;dr crowd, if you're not familiar with Nina Teicholz's The Big Fat Surprise before,
I just came across this review of her book in "The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal)" I thought you'd all find of interest:

"Are some diets “mass murder”?
"From low fat to Atkins and beyond, diets that are based on poor nutrition science are a type of global, uncontrolled experiment that may lead to bad outcomes, concludes Richard Smith"

Note that in the summary they include Atkins in the list of "diets that are based on poor nutrition science", despite the author of the review's conclusion to the contrary.

"By far the best of the books I’ve read to write this article is Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise, whose subtitle is “Why butter, meat, and cheese belong in a healthy diet.”3 The title, the subtitle, and the cover of the book are all demeaning, but the forensic demolition of the hypothesis that saturated fat is the cause of cardiovascular disease is impressive. Indeed, the book is deeply disturbing in showing how overenthusiastic scientists, poor science, massive conflicts of interest, and politically driven policy makers can make deeply damaging mistakes. Over 40 years I’ve come to recognise what I might have known from the beginning that science is a human activity with the error, self deception, grandiosity, bias, self interest, cruelty, fraud, and theft that is inherent in all human activities (together with some saintliness), but this book shook me...." 
"Reading these books and consulting some of the original studies has been a sobering experience. The successful attempt to reduce fat in the diet of Americans and others around the world has been a global, uncontrolled experiment, which like all experiments may well have led to bad outcomes. What’s more, it has initiated a further set of uncontrolled global experiments that are continuing. Teicholz has done a remarkable job in analysing how weak science, strong personalities, vested interests, and political expediency have initiated this series of experiments.... It’s surely time for better science and for humility among experts."

Do read the whole thing.  The author is a fairly influential figure in medicine.