The fat hypothesis – Part II – The 200 words project

(Continued from “The Fat Hypothesis – Part 1‘)

Despite making fat the enemy in the 1980s, replacing butter with margarine and eggs with muesli, it emerged the obesity rates in the US and UK more than doubled in 20 years.

It turns out that despite its monumental stature, the Ancel Keys 7 Countries Study was horribly constructed. It was hard to avoid the conclusion that Keys chose the 7 countries because he suspected they would support his hypothesis (he omitted France and Germany from a list of European countries presumably knowing they had low hard disease rates despite saturated fats rich diet). And, when the study’s lead Italian researcher, Alessandro Menotti, went back to the data, he found that the food that correlated most closely with deaths from heart disease was not saturated fat, but sugar.

The most prominent doubter of Keys’ fat vilification drive was John Yudkin, then the UK’s leading nutritionist, who noted that while humans have always been carnivorous, sugar – a pure carbohydrate stripped off fiber and nutrition – had only become part of our diets recently. Saturated fats, by contrast, are so intimately bound up with our evolution that they are abundantly present in breast milk.

Unfortunately, Keys was not open to debate.. (more next week)

fat hypothesisThanks to Lane Kenworthy for the image

If Yudkin published a paper, Keys would excoriate it, and him. He called Yudkin’s theory “a mountain of nonsense”, and accused him of issuing “propaganda” for the meat and dairy industries. – Ian Leslie


Source and thanks to: The Sugar Conspiracy by Ian Leslie in the Guardian – a fantastic piece of journalism that inspired this 4 part series.

3 thoughts on “The fat hypothesis – Part II – The 200 words project

  1. I’m digging this series Rohan. Especially since there is some much pseudo science out there in the area of nutrition.

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