Why The American Heart Association Can’t Admit They’re Wrong

If you’re a sympathetic sort, you could almost feel sorry for people who work for the American Heart Association, the British Heart Foundation, the Australian Heart Foundation, etc.   They’ve been promoting anti-fat hysteria for more than 40 years now, people have dutifully cut back on their saturated fat intake and consumed more “heart-healthy” grains, and yet our societies are witnessing record rates of obesity and diabetes. Even if these organization believe their advice is correct, I don’t see how they could feel successful in their missions.

But of course, their advice isn’t correct.

I’m not a big fan of observational studies, but since the American Heart Association likes to cite them as evidence, here’s a conclusion several observational studies have reached:  when people replace saturated fats with refined carbohydrates, their rate of heart disease goes up, not down.  Clinical studies show that refined carbohydrates raise triglycerides, and high triglycerides at at least associated with heart disease, if not an actual cause.  And yet for decades now, the AHA has been putting its stamp of approval on products like the ones shown below.


Let’s look at the (ahem) nutrition in some of these heart-protecting foods.  In a serving size that provides just 118 calories (boy, that’ll get you through the morning, won’t it?), Honey Nut Cheerios contain 23 grams of refined carbohydrates.  Almost 10 of those grams are pure sugar.   A cup of West Soy vanilla soy milk contains 21 grams of carbohydrates, including 10 grams of sugar.  The instant oatmeal contains 31 carbohydrates including 12 grams of sugar, and the V-8 fusion juice may as well be a Coca-Cola:  25 grams of sugar in one cup.

So well-meaning people filling their grocery carts with products bearing the American Heart Association’s seal of approval could easily end up on a diet high in refined starches and sugars and think they’re doing their hearts a favor.  I’m sure many have.

Meanwhile, more and more studies are suggesting that the whole arterycloggingsaturatedfat! theory was wrong.  I just posted on one of those last week.

So image you’re a dedicated member of the American Heart Association.  Evidence is piling up that the advice your organization has been handing out since the 1960s not only didn’t help, it probably caused actual harm.  What can you do?

Well, you could call a press conference or take out ads in national newspapers and announce that you’ve been wrong all along, but that would likely spell the end of your organization.  It would also mean looking yourself in the mirror and saying, “Oh my god … have I been promoting foods that turned people into fat diabetics?  Have kids been diagnosed with ADHD and sent to special-ed classes because I told their parents Honey Nut Cheerios are a heart-healthy food?  Have I told people to eat foods that sent their triglycerides through the roof and caused their bodies to produce small LDL particles? Has my advice killed people?”

Nope.  You won’t do that.  You probably can’t do that.

I’ve mentioned the excellent book Mistake Were Made (but not by me) several times.  It covers a range of ideas, but here are three of the most important points:

  • Once we’ve taken a public position, it’s very difficult to admit we were wrong.
  • Psychologically, most of us need to believe we’re both good people and good decision-makers.
  • We are quite capable of fooling ourselves into believing things that simply aren’t true, even if that means ignoring clear evidence.

The book provides interesting (and unfortunately common) examples of those points in action.  What happens when, say, a woman marries a guy who turns out to be an abusive creep?  She runs out and gets a divorce, right?

Nope.  Odds are she’ll spend years with the guy before dumping him, if she dumps him at all.  Think about the three points above.  When you get married, you’ve made a dramatic public statement:  this is the one. It would be embarrassing to admit to your family and friends a year later that your marriage was a huge mistake – telling them, in effect, that in making perhaps the most important decision of your life, you chose badly.  (I broke off an engagement in my early 30s, so I know all about that one.)

So the abused wife can, against all evidence, convince herself that her husband is actually a decent guy.   Sure, he’s abusive, but it’s not really his fault.  He’s just under a lot of stress, you see.  It’s because other people treat him badly.  It may even be her fault for aggravating him.  And he’s nice to her once or twice per month, and that’s the real him, you see.  He just needs more time and few breaks, and he’ll be nice all the time.

Another example the book gives is police and prosecutors who arrest an innocent man and send him to prison, only to see him exonerated years later by DNA evidence.  You’d expect the prosecutors to say to themselves, “Wow, that’s horrible.  We put an innocent guy away.”  You’d also be wrong.  Despite the large number of people who have been exonerated by new evidence, it’s exceedingly rare for a prosecutor to admit he or she put the wrong man in prison.  As the authors recount, most prosecutors are still convinced – despite the evidence – that the guy they put away was guilty.

Once again, we’re talking about people who took a very public position (ladies and gentlemen, this is guy who committed the crime) and who need to think of themselves as good people (I’m the good guy because I put away bad guys.)  To protect themselves psychologically, they can explain away the evidence that they were wrong.  The alternative is to look in the mirror and admit they ruined an innocent person’s life, not to mention his family’s life.

As the authors note, people who insist they were right all along even when the evidence says they’re wrong aren’t usually lying.  To lie, you have to know what you’re saying isn’t true.  These people truly believe they’re right.   That pesky new DNA evidence was probably planted, you see.  The lab made a mistake.  The guy committed the murder, but the DNA that doesn’t match his was left behind by an accomplice we didn’t know about.  The guy we put in prison is guilty, damnit.  Never mind the fact that the DNA left behind on the victim doesn’t match.  You have to look at the totality of the evidence.

The American Heart Association and its sister organizations have been spreading arterycloggingsaturatedfat! hysteria for decades – in effect, prosecuting the innocent.  They’ve recommended processed vegetables oils instead of animal fats.  They’ve taken very public positions warning people away from high-fat foods and promoting breads, cereals, pastas, juices, and other foods low in fat but high in carbohydrates.  And of course, they think of themselves as the good guys.

So no, they’re not going to admit they were wrong.  They’re not going admit their advice may have killed people.  They’re incapable of believing that.  They’re going to show up in media articles and TV shows and blogs and insist they were right all along.  Never mind that latest study, they’ll insist.  You have to look at the totality of the evidence.

Actually, no, we don’t have to look at the totality of the evidence.  We just need to examine some key evidence that falsifies their theories.  I’ll cover that in my next post.


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144 thoughts on “Why The American Heart Association Can’t Admit They’re Wrong

  1. John

    I’ll label my concern “Industrial Inertia.” It would be interesting to know how much investment there is in food production and distribution. I once tried to add up all American annual subsidies and I came to over three hundred billion dollars. I expect total investment is in the trillions, maybe even tens of trillions around the globe. This money pushes and delivers cheap, attractive, profitable food. It employs a gazillion workers from farmers to processors to dietitians. It is investment that has been made on the assumption that factory food is healthy — amazing but true. Yes, of course it’s wrong, but how do you stop this unstoppable force? How do you turn shift it on a new set of tracks? We can’t expect change to be easy. We can’t supply truly healthy food to seven billion souls. Sudden change will cause starvation and social instability. Which sin do you want, unhealthiness or anarchy? This will take some time to fix.

    Yes, it’s a strange place where we find ourselves. Egg or pig produced by Mother Nature = bad, oils and cereals that required industrial processing = good.

  2. Catherine Reynolds

    I found this “advice” on the website of a long-established British company, Boots the Chemist:
    Facts about cholesterol
    Is the cholesterol in egg yolks the “good” or “bad” kind? Can you “burn” cholesterol by exercising? Which has more cholesterol, butter or a peanut butter?

    Most people know that fat is bad for them, but many are also confused about how cholesterol differs from fats. The fat issue is actually the most clearly defined topic in nutrition. Many people in the UK would benefit from cutting the fat in their diet. They need to do it now and for the rest of their lives, for the sake of their hearts, health and waistlines.

    Can you burn off cholesterol?
    Cholesterol is a type of lipid, just as fats are. However, unlike fat, cholesterol can’t be exercised off, sweated out or burned for energy. It is found only in animal products, including meat, chicken, fish, eggs, organ meats and high-fat dairy products.

    Is cholesterol good or bad?
    Just as homemade oil-and-vinegar dressing separates into a watery pool with a fat-slick topping, so would fats and cholesterol if they were dumped directly into the blood. To solve this dilemma, the body transports fat and cholesterol by coating them with a water-soluble “bubble” of protein. This protein-fat bubble is called a lipoprotein.

    Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) carry cholesterol to the tissues. This is “bad” cholesterol, since high LDL levels are linked to increased risk of heart disease.
    High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) carry excess cholesterol back to the liver, which processes and excretes the cholesterol. HDLs are “good” cholesterol; the more HDL you have, the lower your risk of developing heart disease.
    HDLs and LDLs are found only in your blood, not in food.
    Test your cholesterol
    Your risk of heart disease can be assessed with a blood- cholesterol test. In this test, your total-cholesterol reading should approximate the sum of your LDL, HDL and other lipoproteins. If you have 3.5 mg of total cholesterol, or less, for every 1 mg of HDLs, then your cholesterol ratio is ideal. According to guidelines from the National Cholesterol Education Programme in the US:

    Total cholesterol should be 5.0 mmol/L or less.
    LDL should be 3.0mmol/L or less after an overnight fast.
    HDL should be 1.2mmol/L or more.
    Total cholesterol/HDL ratio should be 4.5 or less.
    However, if you have heart disease or diabetes total cholesterol and LDL target readings will be lower.

    Fat facts
    The fats that supply calories, float in your blood and accumulate in your thighs and hips are called “triglycerides.” They can be saturated or unsaturated, and the unsaturated ones can be either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. For every ounce of triglycerides you eat, you add 250 calories (or 9 calories per gram – the weight of a raisin) to your diet. Only saturated fats increase blood levels of cholesterol and heart-disease risk.

    I’m just applying a sticking plaster to my head, having banged it repeatedly on my desk……

    Next time you should pad your desk first. I’m learning to do that.

  3. Vicki McKinnon

    I am ridiculed by certain friends for reading labels. I always read labels, especially if a product triggers an impulse to buy. Almost every time I put it back. We need to be leaders, not sheep. My dilema is that I need to be low fat as well as low carb. It’s difficult.

    That would be difficult. Why low-fat? Gallbladder issue?

  4. Mike P

    If only the AHA, and other organizations, would follow the ten habits of highly successful hunter-gatherers from the Primal Connection….

    Great post Tom!

  5. Rocky Angelucci

    Another great book that complements “Mistakes Were Made” very nicely is “Wrong: Why experts* keep failing us–and how to know when not to trust them” by David H. Freedman.

  6. Scott

    Kind of like what you said about the food pyramid, they’re never gonna admit it’s based on bad science, they’ll just convince themselves that we the public just don’t understand it and change it to a plate or a square.

    Yup, same principle in action.

  7. Bruce

    Speaking of Vitamin D defency. Fox News ran a piece last week on vitamin D defency. The article listed several ways to get more vitamin d. One of the ways to get more was to geat some sun. Which is true. But they had to remind people to wear sunscreen so they didn’t get skin cancer. Head Bang on Desk.

    Ugh. Since I removed frankenfats from my diet and replaced them with natural fats, I’m much more resistant to burning, even with my Irish skin.

  8. Wes

    Wow Tom, you are being pretty generous with the AHA. When something stinks, it’s usually about money. Where does the funding for the global Heart Association organization come from? They know exactly what they are doing and they knew in 1977 when one lobby beat out another and the food pyramid was born. The AHA makes billions of dollars for agriculture and sugar and they get their cut. The genius of it is that they are also funded by pharmaceuticals that benefit from dietary guidelines which have made a generation of people sick. It’s a sweet funding model, the envy of any “non-proft” organization.

    I believe in “Follow the Money” as well, but people who are making money promoting a cause can still consider themselves the good guys and fool themselves into dismissing evidence they’re wrong.

  9. Digger

    I think the Beef Farmers and Egg Producers should pool their resources and go after the next high profile clown who says “arterycloggingsaturatedfat”.

    They’ve tried publicizing studies that supported their cause before but got shredded in the media. The assumption was that it’s like tobacco companies trotting out studies suggesting cigarettes don’t cause cancer.

  10. Rae

    re: Vitamin D and skin, I was always fishbelly white my whole life and since moving toward a more low-carb Primal-ish diet, I have some color now. Not a tan, but a rosy/peachy natural glow. And the sun feels so GOOD now! At first I wasn’t sure why but like you said, it must have something to do with dumping industrial fake fats and replacing them with natural fats. Of course, I was a teenage goth so I kind of miss the fishbelly white skin…

    Easy fix. Enjoy your tan, put on the black clothes, and powder your face white.

  11. Denise Moore

    I liked the example of the woman who married a bad man. I have a friend who left her perfectly good husband for “the love of her life”. Well, now that she’s together with TLOHL, he’s turned into a TOTAL JERK. But, she made the public statement that husband was horrible and boyfriend was great, so she’s sticking with boyfriend. She will not admit that breaking up her family for “TLOHR” was a bad idea. She’s now completely miserable, (as is her ex-husband, and 2 children). But she’s sticking with Jerk boyfriend.

    That’s unfortunately quite common. I understand it, I’m sorry to say. I stayed with my previous fiancee at least a year longer than I should have. When I looked back on the situation later, I felt like quite the fool for not bolting much sooner.

  12. lantenec

    I once heard someone say that it’s not that people won’t believe something until they see it. It’s that they won’t even see it until they choose to believe it. It seems that most of the time most people only use these big beautiful logical fore-brains we have for rationalizing after the fact what they felt like doing anyway. I want to move to the planet Vulcan I swear. Scotty beam me the frig up….

    I’ve always said prosecutors aren’t interested in discovering the truth; truth/falsehood, right/wrong etc. All they care about is winning. (Mike Nifong, Duke lacrosse case, hello….)

    Anyway, I better quit here; my cynicism knows no bounds. I could go on all night…

    If you’re not cynical, it means you’re not paying attention.

  13. Marilyn

    @Tom: “The assumption was that it’s like tobacco companies trotting out studies suggesting cigarettes don’t cause cancer.” I no longer have the book, so I can’t check the accuracy of my memory, but I recall reading in Duffy’s “Sugar Blues” that the French have a much lower death rate from cigarettes because the French cigarettes don’t have sugar in them, while American cigarettes do. I wouldn’t be surprised.

  14. David

    I have come to the conclusion that the heart association along with other ones collect donations and spend most of it on salaries of the workers along with wasting money to “find the cure.” I told one denialist that they give out the wrong advice and his response was “no the heart disease patients just don’t eat right despite what they are being told to!!”

    Ugh. Countless people have followed their advice, only to see their health become worse.

  15. Rae

    re: Vitamin D and skin, I was always fishbelly white my whole life and since moving toward a more low-carb Primal-ish diet, I have some color now. Not a tan, but a rosy/peachy natural glow. And the sun feels so GOOD now! At first I wasn’t sure why but like you said, it must have something to do with dumping industrial fake fats and replacing them with natural fats. Of course, I was a teenage goth so I kind of miss the fishbelly white skin…

    Easy fix. Enjoy your tan, put on the black clothes, and powder your face white.

  16. lantenec

    I once heard someone say that it’s not that people won’t believe something until they see it. It’s that they won’t even see it until they choose to believe it. It seems that most of the time most people only use these big beautiful logical fore-brains we have for rationalizing after the fact what they felt like doing anyway. I want to move to the planet Vulcan I swear. Scotty beam me the frig up….

    I’ve always said prosecutors aren’t interested in discovering the truth; truth/falsehood, right/wrong etc. All they care about is winning. (Mike Nifong, Duke lacrosse case, hello….)

    Anyway, I better quit here; my cynicism knows no bounds. I could go on all night…

    If you’re not cynical, it means you’re not paying attention.

  17. Rae

    No idea where it comes from but one of my favorite quotes, “No man is so weak as one who can’t admit that he was wrong,” applies here too. Just sub in “organization” and the appropriate pronoun.

    Good quote.

  18. Marilyn

    @Tom: “The assumption was that it’s like tobacco companies trotting out studies suggesting cigarettes don’t cause cancer.” I no longer have the book, so I can’t check the accuracy of my memory, but I recall reading in Duffy’s “Sugar Blues” that the French have a much lower death rate from cigarettes because the French cigarettes don’t have sugar in them, while American cigarettes do. I wouldn’t be surprised.

  19. David

    I have come to the conclusion that the heart association along with other ones collect donations and spend most of it on salaries of the workers along with wasting money to “find the cure.” I told one denialist that they give out the wrong advice and his response was “no the heart disease patients just don’t eat right despite what they are being told to!!”

    Ugh. Countless people have followed their advice, only to see their health become worse.

  20. Jim Butler

    On a different note, somewhat off-topic, I had the pleasure of putting on some new pants yesterday, with a 38″ waist. That’s down from a 44″ waist…and they weren’t as snug as the 44″ pants used to be. First time I’ve had 38s in a very long time. I also need to buy some new belts, as I’m out of holes on all of my old ones.
    I know that’s something small, and I still have a ways to go to get to my goal, but what a great feeling. And I’ve done it without hitting a gym 5 days a week, and starving myself every waking moment. I start most days with a bowl of berries (blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, in a half cup of cream, with just a dash of truvia on them, or some bacon/sausage and eggs. I try to stay away from “sweet” veggies, so lots of cauliflower and some salads (w/blue cheese dressing, of course). Lots of shrimp, steak, and pork chops for protein. At night, if I want something sweet while watching tv, I’ll grab a few strawberries and dip them in Truvia. Not a brownie, or cookies and milk, but it’s a great little treat that does the trick for me.

    Thanks, Tom, and everyone else here that provides great encouragement on a regular basis.

    Jim

    Six inches off your waist isn’t a small accomplishment. That’s a big accomplishment.

  21. Rae

    No idea where it comes from but one of my favorite quotes, “No man is so weak as one who can’t admit that he was wrong,” applies here too. Just sub in “organization” and the appropriate pronoun.

    Good quote.

  22. Leo

    Tom,
    Very interesting post, that’s for sure.
    I’m thinking how I’ll be able to spend all my money after getting the proceeds from the numerous class action law suits.
    Let’s see;
    American Heart Association.
    Pharma, especially statin companies.
    US government for promoting the food pyramid.
    Etc…Etc…
    Hey, I can probably collect from my own Dr. for mental cruelty and emotional damages for freaking me out because my total cholesterol is 250 and I’m about to get a heart attack any day now.
    Oh no, I feel the big one coming on !!!!
    Bye Tom… LOL

    Don’t spend it before you have it.

  23. Megan

    Do you think I can sue for the loss of an important organ? My gallbladder. Due to being on a low fat diet. I wonder what major surgery is worth these days.

    You’d probably lose that lawsuit, since low-fat diets have the stamp of approval of government and other authorities.

  24. Jim Butler

    On a different note, somewhat off-topic, I had the pleasure of putting on some new pants yesterday, with a 38″ waist. That’s down from a 44″ waist…and they weren’t as snug as the 44″ pants used to be. First time I’ve had 38s in a very long time. I also need to buy some new belts, as I’m out of holes on all of my old ones.
    I know that’s something small, and I still have a ways to go to get to my goal, but what a great feeling. And I’ve done it without hitting a gym 5 days a week, and starving myself every waking moment. I start most days with a bowl of berries (blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, in a half cup of cream, with just a dash of truvia on them, or some bacon/sausage and eggs. I try to stay away from “sweet” veggies, so lots of cauliflower and some salads (w/blue cheese dressing, of course). Lots of shrimp, steak, and pork chops for protein. At night, if I want something sweet while watching tv, I’ll grab a few strawberries and dip them in Truvia. Not a brownie, or cookies and milk, but it’s a great little treat that does the trick for me.

    Thanks, Tom, and everyone else here that provides great encouragement on a regular basis.

    Jim

    Six inches off your waist isn’t a small accomplishment. That’s a big accomplishment.

  25. Ronelle

    I am so happy I found out about the dangers of low fat, refined carbs dieting. I’ve been yo-yo dieting my whole life, work like a dog on the low fat diet to lose weight, only to pick it all (and some more) up. And why, because I LOVE fat. I am still learning the ropes and will most probably make some mistakes along the way, but already I have seen the benefits of a low carb diet. 5 kgs since the start of the New Year! Thanks for your. Log, fun, interesting and I am learning!

    That’s a very good start for just 6 weeks.

  26. Saultite

    Meh. Like I have said before, the AHA, ADA, and Canadian equivalents are just insurance that the sheeple will eventually die off, leaving the stronger and healthier critical thinkers behind to propagate. Survival of the fittest, I guess.

    Most of the sheeple have already produced their little sheeple before the damage of following the AHA diet kills them.

  27. Gary

    Add CSPI to that list of orgs that can’t gracefully walk this back.

    I cancelled my subscription a few months ago, after being a loyal reader for a COUPLE DECADES. I went Primal in Feb 2012, promptly lost all the weight I needed to lose (25 lbs) and have effortlessly maintained steady weight ever since. My extended family thinks I must be starving myself (ha). One year on my blood work is much improved (and now stellar) due to this diet. Such a huge change from such a simple concept.

    I also found an article from CSPI’s rag circa 2002 when they trashed Gary Taubes after he got a significant $$ advance to write the book that become “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. Sorry to say I of course believed them completely back then…a wasted decade of healthier living for me.

    Here’s all you need to know about CSPI: They declared trans fats safe in their newsletter and pushed restaurants into switching to trans fats for frying. Years later, when it became undeniable that trans fats are bad news, they sued restaurants that were still frying with trans fats. They never acknowledged their role in promoting trans fats in the first place.

  28. Leo

    Tom,
    Very interesting post, that’s for sure.
    I’m thinking how I’ll be able to spend all my money after getting the proceeds from the numerous class action law suits.
    Let’s see;
    American Heart Association.
    Pharma, especially statin companies.
    US government for promoting the food pyramid.
    Etc…Etc…
    Hey, I can probably collect from my own Dr. for mental cruelty and emotional damages for freaking me out because my total cholesterol is 250 and I’m about to get a heart attack any day now.
    Oh no, I feel the big one coming on !!!!
    Bye Tom… LOL

    Don’t spend it before you have it.

  29. Megan

    Do you think I can sue for the loss of an important organ? My gallbladder. Due to being on a low fat diet. I wonder what major surgery is worth these days.

    You’d probably lose that lawsuit, since low-fat diets have the stamp of approval of government and other authorities.

  30. Woody

    People with an agenda don’t have to be right, they just need to make sure the masses are confused. Confusion always benefits authority figures.

  31. Ronelle

    I am so happy I found out about the dangers of low fat, refined carbs dieting. I’ve been yo-yo dieting my whole life, work like a dog on the low fat diet to lose weight, only to pick it all (and some more) up. And why, because I LOVE fat. I am still learning the ropes and will most probably make some mistakes along the way, but already I have seen the benefits of a low carb diet. 5 kgs since the start of the New Year! Thanks for your. Log, fun, interesting and I am learning!

    That’s a very good start for just 6 weeks.

  32. Marilyn

    A bit off topic, but another look at perceptions: I stumbled onto something called “DAFNE”- Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating. It’s a program designed to assist Type 1 diabetics administer the right amount of insulin for the carbohydrates they choose to eat. So what is “normal eating”? Well, you know, breads, cakes, that kinda stuff — whatever “normal” people eat.

    Then I hope we can convince millions of people to become abnormal.

  33. Saultite

    Meh. Like I have said before, the AHA, ADA, and Canadian equivalents are just insurance that the sheeple will eventually die off, leaving the stronger and healthier critical thinkers behind to propagate. Survival of the fittest, I guess.

    Most of the sheeple have already produced their little sheeple before the damage of following the AHA diet kills them.

  34. Gary

    Add CSPI to that list of orgs that can’t gracefully walk this back.

    I cancelled my subscription a few months ago, after being a loyal reader for a COUPLE DECADES. I went Primal in Feb 2012, promptly lost all the weight I needed to lose (25 lbs) and have effortlessly maintained steady weight ever since. My extended family thinks I must be starving myself (ha). One year on my blood work is much improved (and now stellar) due to this diet. Such a huge change from such a simple concept.

    I also found an article from CSPI’s rag circa 2002 when they trashed Gary Taubes after he got a significant $$ advance to write the book that become “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. Sorry to say I of course believed them completely back then…a wasted decade of healthier living for me.

    Here’s all you need to know about CSPI: They declared trans fats safe in their newsletter and pushed restaurants into switching to trans fats for frying. Years later, when it became undeniable that trans fats are bad news, they sued restaurants that were still frying with trans fats. They never acknowledged their role in promoting trans fats in the first place.

  35. Kevin

    Hi Tom,

    Ordinarily I’d say something along the lines of “Wow! Great Post! Go Get ‘Em!”. I’m impressed with your analysis, specifically, how you can easily pick out the faulty methods used, of which my favorite is when people are asked to recall what they ate via survey, and then compare that to mortality, heart disease, and time spent on low-carb blogs. I’m also very aware of the idea how hearthealthywholegrains aren’t healthy at all, they are “less unhealthy” than refined grains.

    Unfortunately, putting those two ideas together, I must admit that I must now dismiss the scientific evidence you have presented, because after I read your post on this website, I read this article below.

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/08/13/egg-yolks-almost-as-unhealthy-as-cigarettes-study

    Egg yolks are scientifically proven to be UNHEALTHIER than cigarettes! I mean, I thought grains weren’t the best, but we all know that cigarettes are, well, terrible! And, uh, yes, they did use surveys, but… CIGARETTES?

    I used to support you, but not anymore. After reading one observational study which hypothesized correlations between health, egg yolks, and smoking, I’m convinced by the journalist’s synopsis of this study that all dietary cholesterol and saturated fat is terrible for people and must be banned immediately. I feel that Congress must act and force egg breeders to produce yolk-free eggs, but only after Congress bans cigarettes. Imagine all the heart disease that can be spared!

    (Disclaimer: I just ate four whole eggs for dinner tonight. Delicious!)

    I would bow before the analytical abilities of those journalists, but unfortunately I already did my own analysis:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2012/08/16/the-anti-egg-bad-scientist-strikes-again/

    (Steak and three eggs for breakfast.)

  36. Craig

    I open my paper today and see an article about the AHA’s Hypertension journal promoting further reductions in sodium, down to 1,500 milligrams a day. Can’t wait to see you tear that study apart.

    I noticed in the article that most of the evil sodium killing people “is hidden in processed foods such as soups, cereals and bread.” This makes me think we are probably looking at an observational study that found a lot of cardiovascular disease in people who eat a lot of those foods. When you find a lot of cardiovascular disease in people eating a lot of bread and cereal and want to be published by the AHA I guess it makes sense to blame the sodium.

    It’s almost surely an observational study. In clinical studies, drastically reducing salt has had almost no effect whatsoever.

  37. Woody

    People with an agenda don’t have to be right, they just need to make sure the masses are confused. Confusion always benefits authority figures.

  38. Marilyn

    A bit off topic, but another look at perceptions: I stumbled onto something called “DAFNE”- Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating. It’s a program designed to assist Type 1 diabetics administer the right amount of insulin for the carbohydrates they choose to eat. So what is “normal eating”? Well, you know, breads, cakes, that kinda stuff — whatever “normal” people eat.

    Then I hope we can convince millions of people to become abnormal.

  39. Kevin

    Hi Tom,

    Ordinarily I’d say something along the lines of “Wow! Great Post! Go Get ‘Em!”. I’m impressed with your analysis, specifically, how you can easily pick out the faulty methods used, of which my favorite is when people are asked to recall what they ate via survey, and then compare that to mortality, heart disease, and time spent on low-carb blogs. I’m also very aware of the idea how hearthealthywholegrains aren’t healthy at all, they are “less unhealthy” than refined grains.

    Unfortunately, putting those two ideas together, I must admit that I must now dismiss the scientific evidence you have presented, because after I read your post on this website, I read this article below.

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/08/13/egg-yolks-almost-as-unhealthy-as-cigarettes-study

    Egg yolks are scientifically proven to be UNHEALTHIER than cigarettes! I mean, I thought grains weren’t the best, but we all know that cigarettes are, well, terrible! And, uh, yes, they did use surveys, but… CIGARETTES?

    I used to support you, but not anymore. After reading one observational study which hypothesized correlations between health, egg yolks, and smoking, I’m convinced by the journalist’s synopsis of this study that all dietary cholesterol and saturated fat is terrible for people and must be banned immediately. I feel that Congress must act and force egg breeders to produce yolk-free eggs, but only after Congress bans cigarettes. Imagine all the heart disease that can be spared!

    (Disclaimer: I just ate four whole eggs for dinner tonight. Delicious!)

    I would bow before the analytical abilities of those journalists, but unfortunately I already did my own analysis:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2012/08/16/the-anti-egg-bad-scientist-strikes-again/

    (Steak and three eggs for breakfast.)

  40. Craig

    I open my paper today and see an article about the AHA’s Hypertension journal promoting further reductions in sodium, down to 1,500 milligrams a day. Can’t wait to see you tear that study apart.

    I noticed in the article that most of the evil sodium killing people “is hidden in processed foods such as soups, cereals and bread.” This makes me think we are probably looking at an observational study that found a lot of cardiovascular disease in people who eat a lot of those foods. When you find a lot of cardiovascular disease in people eating a lot of bread and cereal and want to be published by the AHA I guess it makes sense to blame the sodium.

    It’s almost surely an observational study. In clinical studies, drastically reducing salt has had almost no effect whatsoever.

  41. Tom Welsh

    The British government has just demonstrated its ability to deny reality in an outstandingly foolish way.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9806772/UK-Sport-chief-Primary-pupils-unable-to-run-or-jump.html

    Some woman called “Baroness” Campbell spoke on BBC Radio 4 this morning sounding off about “physical illiteracy” (Honestly!) Even the BBC journalist who interviewed her asked whether perhaps obesity had more to do with what you eat, and whether perhaps fat kids didn’t enjoy exercise as much as thin ones.

    She was having none of that. Every school must put its children onto a hamster wheel and get them ready to be Olympics-fodder.

    Yeesh. We had phys ed in grade school but spent far more time playing sports and games outdoors on our own after school. When I started getting fat around age 13, I lost much of my desire to be active. Getting fat came first.

  42. Elenor

    Hey Tom, Not entirely germane (maybe not germane at all, sorry….)

    From here: http://www.thegwpf.org/climate-change-burger-horsemeat-argument/ (I added the URLs.)
    ================
    Mouse proxies

    Shortly after reading the horsemeat post, Kip Hansen sent me a link to a NYTimes article Mice Fall Short as Test Subjects for Humans’ Ills (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/science/testing-of-some-deadly-diseases-on-mice-mislead-report-says.html?_r=1&). Excerpts:

    For decades, mice have been the species of choice in the study of human diseases. But now, researchers report evidence that the mouse model has been totally misleading for at least three major killers —sepsis, burns and trauma. As a result, years and billions of dollars have been wasted following false leads, they say.

    The paper (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/02/07/1222878110), published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, helps explain why every one of nearly 150 drugs tested at a huge expense in patients with sepsis has failed. The drug tests all were based on studies in mice. And mice, it turns out, can have something that looks like sepsis in humans, but is very different from the condition in humans.

    The group had tried to publish its findings in several papers. One objection, Dr. Davis said, was that the researchers had not shown the same gene response had happened in mice.

    “They were so used to doing mouse studies that they thought that was how you validate things,” he said. “They are so ingrained in trying to cure mice that they forget we are trying to cure humans.”

    “That started us thinking,” he continued. “Is it the same in the mouse or not?”

    The group decided to look, expecting to find some similarities. But when the data were analyzed, there were none at all.

    The drug failures became clear. For example, often in mice, a gene would be used, while in humans, the comparable gene would be suppressed. A drug that worked in mice by disabling that gene could make the response even more deadly in humans.

    The study’s investigators tried for more than a year to publish their paper, which showed that there was no relationship between the genetic responses of mice and those of humans. They submitted it to the publications Science and Nature, hoping to reach a wide audience. It was rejected from both.

    Still, Dr. Davis said, reviewers did not point out scientific errors. Instead, he said, “the most common response was, ‘It has to be wrong. I don’t know why it is wrong, but it has to be wrong.’ ”

    Some researchers, reading the paper now, say they are as astonished as the researchers were when they saw the data.

    “When I read the paper, I was stunned by just how bad the mouse data are,” Dr. Fink said. “It’s really amazing — no correlation at all. These data are so persuasive and so robust that I think funding agencies are going to take note.” Until now, he said, “to get funding, you had to propose experiments using the mouse model.”
    ================

    So they’re suggesting people aren’t just big mice? I’m aghast.

  43. Christopher

    I was watching the news (I live in France) and it was about how cholesterol doesn’t affect heart disease (a French scientist/writer wrote a book about it). Glad people are finally finding out the truth about heart disease.

    It’s a start.

    1. EST

      But this is the country that gave us the “French Paradox,” so I would imagine that few people in France believed in the diet-heart theory to begin with.

  44. Marilyn

    @Kevin. Three eggs scrambled into 2 tablespoons of butter, plus some yogurt with stevia, every morning for me. Never had a cigarette in my mouth, so I can’t compare the healthfulness of cigarettes vs. eggs. 🙂

  45. Tom Welsh

    The British government has just demonstrated its ability to deny reality in an outstandingly foolish way.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9806772/UK-Sport-chief-Primary-pupils-unable-to-run-or-jump.html

    Some woman called “Baroness” Campbell spoke on BBC Radio 4 this morning sounding off about “physical illiteracy” (Honestly!) Even the BBC journalist who interviewed her asked whether perhaps obesity had more to do with what you eat, and whether perhaps fat kids didn’t enjoy exercise as much as thin ones.

    She was having none of that. Every school must put its children onto a hamster wheel and get them ready to be Olympics-fodder.

    Yeesh. We had phys ed in grade school but spent far more time playing sports and games outdoors on our own after school. When I started getting fat around age 13, I lost much of my desire to be active. Getting fat came first.

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