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


Winning the Salt Wars or never trust a statistician!

by Kerry Cue

Navy Roman Border

Navy quote 1

“There is little evidence for long-term benefit from reducing salt intake.”

Navy quote 2f………….Cochrane Collaboration, 2003

Navy Sibyl signature



Navy Roman Border


Stop the maths and pass the salt!

salt and pepper wizards   eBbayIn 2006, the New York Times article titled ‘The War over salt’, Melanie Warner (13 Sept 2006) reported that the American Medical Association, AMA, had called on the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, to limit the amount of salt in food. This was the first time the AMA had called for the regulation of a food ingredient.

The article stated: ‘In 2004, researchers at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute published a study in The American Journal of Public Health concluding that 150,000 lives could be saved annually if sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods were cut in half.’

Hold that thought.

1950s TV spidersden blog

In 2011, the Scientific American ran this headline : It’s Time to End the War on Salt. ( Melinda Wenner Moyer, 8 JUL 2011)

Meta-studies by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international, independent, not-for-profit health care research organization concluded as early as 2003 “there is little evidence for long-term benefit from reducing salt intake.” Moreoever, the Cochrane Institute found that reducing salt intake does not reduce blood pressure significantly. The groups hypersensitive to salt include some elderly and some Afro-Americans.

Hillel Cohen, an epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine noted ‘A great number of promises are being made to the public with regard to this enormous benefit and lives saved’, but it is ‘based on wild extrapolations.’ That’s simply bad maths!

In other words, take extreme recommendations about your salt intake with a grain of salt.

Photo source: 1. eBay, 2. spidersden blog