Consuming butter does not increase the risk of heart disease, a recent study found. Those who believed in the accuracy of U.S. government dietary guidelines — which for decades have demonized saturated fats — were doubtless taken by surprise. But for those of us who follow nutrition and politics, it’s just another government nutritional “gospel” that science has revealed to be misguided.
Yet, government agencies continue to spend millions to nudge consumers into following guidelines that may do little to improve health for most and may even result in harm.
For nearly half a century, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have put out dietary guidelines telling Americans to eat less sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat — i.e., red meat and full-fat dairy, including butter — and to eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, among other directives. These recommendations emanated from hearings held in the mid-to-late 1970s by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, despite a “boisterous mob of critics,” including those within the scientific community who pleaded with the Committee to wait for more research “before we make announcements to the American public.” In response, Committee Chairman Sen. McGovern responded that “Senators don’t have the luxury that the research scientist does of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in.” More.
How be: It’s the science of managing people as if they were farm animals, except that in this case no standards need be met? Falsifiability is a joke now and the big thing is to use the government to prosecute dissenters. Please, there is no war on science. Science is on suicide watch.
See also: 7 biggest problems facing science