Are the Food Police killing us?

by Kerry Cue

 Sibylesque diet Quote

Who are the Food Police? Epidemiologists. They juggle statistics and advise governments. They do good work with diseases. Where? Why? How?

But their diet advice is often iffy.

‘At best they can show only association, not causation. Epidemiological data can be used to suggest hypotheses but not to prove them.’

Nina Teicholz, The Government’s Bad Diet Advice, NYT, 20 FEB, 2015

So what are some of the backflips in Government dietary advice in recent years:

  • salt is not that bad
  • red meat is not that bad
  • fat is not that bad
  • and now, guess what, cholesterol is NOT THAT BAD.

See Why we eat ourselves crazy on this blog.

Sibylesque desserts

The US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s hysterical fear of fat in recent decades gave support to low-fat foods, which, because of their high-sugar content, may have significantly contributed to obesity and therefore other chronic diseases.

‘Over the past 50 years, we cut fat intake by 25 percent and increased carbohydrates by more than 30 percent, according to a new analysis of government data. Yet recent science has increasingly shown that a high-carb diet rich in sugar and refined grains increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease — much more so than a diet high in fat and cholesterol.’ Mark Bittman, How Should We Eat?, NYT, 25 FEB 2015.

Meanwhile, cholesterol has come in from the cold. All those eggs you didn’t eat and all those egg white omelets you did eat have not helped your cholesterol levels. The US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recommened that dietry cholesterol is not much of a problem. Mark Bittman, How Should We Eat?, NYT, 25 FEB 2015.

In other words, when dealing with the Food Police take their recommendations with a grain of salt, a lashing of cream, a scrambled egg and some leafy green vegetables (everyone thinks they’re a good idea).

Photo source: unsourced

HOME

Eat Meat and Die. Oops! Got the maths wrong.

By Kerry Cue

Moroon border 2

maroon quote-1Be a vegetarian. Give peas a chance.maroon quote-2

        Coffee MugSibyls Signature maroon

Moroon border 2

Every time a study finds this or that food is good or bad for you they usually make one huge error. It’s called a SAMPLING BIAS. ( See Ben Goldacre @ TED Talks.)

Red wines good for you. Red wines bad for you. Red wine causes cancer. Ditto coffee etc. What’s going on?

Sibylesque Paleo Diet

One newspaper article screamed ‘Cancer a risk for lovers of red meat’. So Real Men Eat Meat and Die. There are many good arguments for being a vegetarian, this does not include health statistics.

This claim was made but the article did not explain the maths. Big meat eaters tend also to be big drinkers and smokers, who are obese, unfit and the rest. This study has tried to separate out meat eating from other unhealthy lifestyle choices using the Cox Regression. Mathematical wizardry has produced these numbers but they don’t mean much.

If the study used a control group of unfit, drinking, smoking, obese vegans then comparing mortality rates over 10 years would be interesting. But where do you find half a million of them????????

 

Photos: Vintage Circus Photo Blog

HOME