My-my, the nutrition scolds are wrong again

I bet they’re saying, studies suck, let’s just stick with uninformed opinion. To wit:

“Current evidence does not clearly support guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats,” the study authors concluded.


And a second study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that supplementing a diet with long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids did not reduce study participants’ heart disease risk.

Wow, they’re hit with both barrels. Not only do the saturated fats not cause heart disease (at least not in a simplistic way, big surprise that biology is more complicated that the simple conclusions nutrition scolds want) but the miracle superfood, Omega-3, is poppycock. Wrong on both counts, freaks!

Now, before I’ve argued against my readers drawing false conclusions from summaries of studies published in the popular press, but, yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing. As usual the real study is inaccessible (the paywall is going to get a ton of revenue for this one). So I don’t really know what this study is saying and, most likely, as usual, the actual science is more nuanced than the popular press.

BUT, that said, this does show that the nutrition scolds went off half-cocked without solid evidence and, at minimum, there is now serious doubt about their breathless and unequivocal claims.

Now I don’t have a good explanation of the study, but it does seem that the science is mostly saying what Michael Pollan claims to say (and then contradicts himself, in particular and ironical about omega-3) that individual nutrients is NOT where sound diet advice should focus. It’s more complicated than that. No single substance is toxic/evil and no single substance is miraculous. And, guess what, DOSE MATTERS. Anything is toxic at high enough dosage.

So you know what this study is really saying: M O D E R A T I O N

No miracle foods, no amazing and wonderful diets, just some sensible eating with nothing excluded (in appropriate quantity) and nothing as the cure-all.

Hurrah for science, but wait till the denialism sets in. Can’t wait to see how Bittman and Katz will spin this.



About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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One Response to My-my, the nutrition scolds are wrong again

  1. dmill96 says:

    I knew it would be quick that Katz would chime in with his denialism, so here it is: Katz spin I’ll dissect this in a future post, but the gist of it is, well, of course, we (esp. my buddy Pollan) told you to stop looking at nutrients and look at whole foods and whole diets, esp. the wonderful fad Mediterranean diet (oh boy, are all those nuts good, esp. when the study was paid for my nut growers). So move the goalposts when you don’t like the answer (plus also claim that the study really does show what the scolds have been saying). This might make some sense, except you should actually read Pollan’s book (rather than just palling around) because after denouncing the focus on individual nutrients Pollan goes off for even more pages on omega-3. Your superfood has been disproved, so now you try to spin that this was never what you were claiming. FRAUD!

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