This discussion carries on from yesterday. Disappointingly, no revolution in thought occurred, and Christopher E. Ramsden was able to make only mild claims that ignoring the old study had been a mistake. As Sharon Begley put it, “Observational studies are weaker than randomized ones because people who eat one way, rather than another, might have characteristics that benefit their heart health.”
Or as Dr. Michael Greger expressed it, heaping up a whole slew of observational studies will not grant any more solid conclusions than any single observational study. So, that is a problem. Begley wrote,
Ramsden and his team found […] that substituting vegetable oils lowered total blood cholesterol levels, by an average of 14 percent.
But that lowered cholesterol did not help people live longer. Instead, the lower cholesterol fell, the higher the risk of dying: 22 percent higher for every 30-point fall. Nor did the corn-oil group have less atherosclerosis or fewer heart attacks.
The study that Ramsden et al published reported that among its subjects,
[…] 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.
Dr. Michael Greger describes how the dairy industry took this and ran with it, and succeeded in changing perceptions about saturated fat among the scientific community. And as for the ordinary consumer? Big Fat doesn’t need to convince customers, “just confuse them.” Like the tobacco industry,
They don’t have to convince the public that smoking is healthy to get people to keep consuming their products. They just need to establish a controversy. Some science says its bad, some says it’s not bad. Conflicting messages in nutrition cause people to become so frustrated and confused they may just throw their hands up in the air and eat whatever they want…
Childhood Obesity News has previously made posts with the facetious title “Everything You Know About ______ Is Wrong,” which is a pretty safe observation to make on almost any topic. Is that because all science is wrong? Absolutely not. But in many fields, some wrong answers need to be tried and rejected before a really good working model of comprehension is produced. Over the decades, students have been taught several different rates for the speed of light. And ultimately, the speed of light may not, after all, be constant. It’s a lot to handle.
Anyway, it may take a lot of variegated input to move any scientific community into agreement, and there are always outliers, explorers who may be contrarian, or simply surprised to discover something new. Stay tuned for other ideas that have been brought up over the past few years.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Records Found in Dusty Basement Undermine Decades of Dietary Advice,” ScientificAmerican.com, 04/19/17
Source: “The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail,” NutritionFacts.org, 2015
Source: “Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death…,” BMJ.com, 02/05/13
Image by Vic/CC BY 2.0