The other day i read a news article in the paper about the FSA (Food standards Agency) here in the UK and its dietary guidelines on saturated fat. A link to te online article is here. Apparently they are starting a high profile campaign to get people to eat less saturated fat. A renewed push to get people to eat less saturated fat?! Ugh. The article made me laugh because it was so ridiculous! They had a little box that said "Foods to avoid" and listed there were meat and it's fat, hard cheese, butter, cream, coconut cream... exactly the kind of foods I eat! They are trying to encourage people to eat lean meat and opt for low fat milk. Oh, and the reason for this "high profile" campaign? They want to underline the "strong links" between saturated fat and heart disease.. Probably another study full of bias and bad scientific methods. Apparently "Cutting levels of fat intake by 20% would save an estimated 3,500 deaths a year" - i would love to know how they came up with that number! How about cutting levels of polyunsaturated fat, and refined carbs. How many lives would that save?.
"The wide-ranging TV and media campaign will start next week, backed by leaflets, posters, flyers, recipe cards, postcards and shopping guides." according to the article. (see here for a fantastic article about the FSA campaign by a farmer). Just when I was starting to think maybe attitudes were changing somewhat! - In December this article appeared in Independant life. Apparently people in Thailand are buying polyunsaturated cooking oils instead of their traditional coconut oil, despite the higher cost. Jerome Burne, the writer, says "It's head-banging stuff because the story encapsulates just how simplistic and wrong this 30-year-old public health dogma is. It all dates back to a US Senate committee, headed by George McGovern in 1977, that produced a report advising a low fat-policy as a way of cutting heart disease, on very little evidence. For details on just how little and why, even so, it rapidly became established as official policy, see American science writer Gary Taubes's brilliant book The Diet Delusion......Like all successful dogmas, political or religious, the success of the low-fat theory depends partly on suppressing opposing theories and data. You're unlikely to have heard much about the contrary evidence. For decades, a costly research programme has been under way to prove the low-fat theory; what's remarkable is just how many good, large-scale studies directly contradict it." He mentions the Womens Health Initiative trial involving 20 000 women over 8 years which found no benefits in terms of heart disease and weight with a low fat and saturated fat diet, as well as the Cochrane Collaboration's analysis of 27 important studies involving over 18 000 people which found that low saturated fat diets have no significant effect on mortality or heart attack deaths. The article also mentions the fact that saturated fat is vital to absorbing vitamins and for the immune system (it's also a precursor to sex hormones and some saturated fats protect against cancer), as well as the fact polyunsaturated oils are harmful - "Items on a long charge sheet include harming the immune system and the liver, accelerating ageing and causing poorer mental functioning in animals under stress".

How refreshing to read this article during a quiet lunchtime in the school library. In a mainstream newspaper! Funny how this article mentioned sources of information - i.e WHY the writer believed saturated fats to be good and polyunsaturated fats to be bad, whereas articles on the "low fat is good saturated fat is bad!" theory never do.

It must be so confusing for the general public though, reading completely opposing theories on what they should eat. No wonder people are so confused! If we want a good reason to support/reject something we turn to science to provide the evidence, but in terms of diet and health some of the science is so badly done and screwed up it offers nothing, while the useful GOOD science is swept under the carpet.
But hopefully, we'll see more articles like the Independant one, and less of the FSA ones, and people will once and for all get to hear the truth. The truth and good scientific data is coming out and being reported a bit more I'e noticed, but still its being suppressed by food manufacturers, drug companies, and even the people who are supposed to promote good health!

Oh, and in other news, it's actually safe to consume more than 3 eggs a week! Yes, it is being widely reported that contarry to popular belief, cholesterol in eggs does not raise blood cholesterol levels. long has the evidence for that been around? And only NOW is it being widely reported?

Oh least one nutritious food seems to have been absolved (about time!) by some of the so called "health experts"