Ages ago, before my time, a dedicated scientist named Ancel Keys supposed that the explosion of white middle aged men who were suffering from heart disease and dying of heart attacks were doing so because they ate too much saturated fat for their own good. He went searching for evidence to prove this conclusion, found some, presented it to the world and the debate was begun.
People did not long remember the debates in the scientific community. For a variety of reasons Keys was able to get many government and non-governmental professional bodies to recommend that people in the US cut the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat that they consumed, for the public good. Details are available in the book “The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz.
What ensued was the largest human food trial ever conducted. After 60 years the results of the experiment are in. According to government advice, cholesterol is no longer a dietary component of concern, and natural saturated fats are off the hook as components of dietary harm. At this point in time we are fatter, sicker and more confused than ever. The debate is largely over, but the damage to the national health goes on.
Winning a debate cannot change the facts on the ground. Keys managed to win the debate, but all of the talk in the world cannot change the fact that eating more carbs and eating less fats is a deadly practice. My mother had a heart attack three months ago and the doctors, who really wanted her to get better, to recover fully, warned her to eat no fats, eat no cholesterol, eat no sugar. They gave her a rainbow of medicines to help her not develop any more plaques, develop no more inflammation. That advice adheres to the guidelines developed by the losers of the dietary debate.
I have no white lab coat to compete, but I told her about the new advice, that had previously been given by doctors and scientists in every era of modern western medicine right up until Keys and the 1970s. I told her to eat no carbs, drink lots of water, don’t worry about natural fats at all. My advice is known to reduce inflammation, reduce the need for insulin drugs, reduce the creation of triglycerides in the blood. My advice is what she would have been given if her heart attack had been ten years from now, or sixty years ago. My advice may have kept her alive longer, but their advice did not work. My mother is gone. It is still not known whether or not any of the medicines that they tried on her did her any extra harm. I am certain, however, that the dietary advice did. If nothing else it made her meals taste awful for her last three months, to no avail.
And now, we are seeing new debates joined, as the Coca Cola company creates a new league of scientists to determine whether eating sugar is bad or not if you simultaneously increase your exercise and eat less of other sources of calories. Coke is going to significantly fund a group called “Global Energy Balance Network”, and their mission will be to muddy the debate. If the science is still ‘out’ they well know that they will not be required to put warning labels on, they will be able to sell their products to kids in school, they will still be in hospital cafeterias and delivered to patients in their bedside meals.
Reality cannot be changed by science, or debate. History will not care what Coke and their paid science decide that we are doing wrong in our daily food choices. Eating fructose every day is bad for you. If Coke keeps us blissfully ignorant of the dangers for another five or ten years, the result will be that we have many more people harmed, every illness contributing to the body of evidence required to prove that eating fructose is harmful, if eaten chronically. The march of science is inevitably toward truth, no matter what the authorities of the day espouse.