Many “facts” have a long history of discovery, with a sometimes bitter and acrimonious debate before a final acceptance.
In Life, the Universe and Everything (part of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series), Douglas Adams explains our inability to take in new information as a result of the Someone Else's Problem field. Effrafax of Wug utilised the SEP field to create an invisibility device that would run for a hundred years on a single torch battery. It relied on people's inability to see anything that they do not want to, were not expecting or cannot explain.
We obtain our information initially from parents and from interacting with the world around us. We learn that fire is something that should be avoided if we put our hand in it.
As we grow older, we learn from other people, reading, school, television. Observation is not always a reliable guide. It is obvious that the sun and the moon revolve around the earth - we see the sun rise each morning in the east and set at night in the west.
Richard Wrangham is a Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University. He is also the curator of Primate Behavioral Biology at the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in Uganda.
Wrangham began his career at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania as a member of Jane Goodall's chimpanzee research team.
The standard view of evolution is that by eating meat, humans were able to evolve the larger brains that distinguish us from other primates. Wranghams’s view is that cooking food is a fundamental activity that transformed humans and our society. He is not the first to propose this view but has developed the concept.
Cooking increased the value of our food. It changed our bodies, our brains, our use of time and our social relationships.
The Australian Heart Foundation has the following comment regarding eggs.
Worried about whether you should be eating eggs? They're really nutritious and it's fine to have them regularly as part of a healthy diet. Eggs contain good quality protein, 11 vitamins and minerals, and are a source of healthy fats including omega-3 fats. One egg has about 5 g of fat – but most of this is unsaturated, a fat that you need to be healthy. An egg contains only about 1.5 g of saturated fat and no trans fat. As part of a healthy balanced diet you can eat up to 6 eggs each week without increasing your risk of heart disease.
However, according to the Physicians' Health Study, doctors consuming 7 or more eggs per week had a 31% increase in all-cause mortality compared with those consuming less than 1 egg per week. With diabetic physicians, the association was much higher with the increase in mortality doubled.
The Wadsworth VA Hospital in Los Angeles operated a home where male army veterans resided. The meals were provided by one of two dining halls.
Men in dining Hall A continued their usual diet. The “saturated animal fat and hydrogenated shortening replaced with vegetable oils in the experimental diet” for the diets provided in dining Hall B. Low fat diets were not considered because such a diet required “gastronomic sacrifice”. The total fat content of the 2 diets were the same, providing 40% of the total energy. (Diets of 40% fat cannot be considered a healthy diet.)
This study is sometimes used to "proof" that a polyunsaturated fats promote cancer. A reading of papers from the trial shows that this is not the case.
An article relating to Nina Teicholz book, The Big Fat Surprise, was printed in the Australian on 29th December 2014. Unfortunately, it is largely a repeat of misinformation and misunderstanding of the history of diet and cardiovascular research that is found in popular books and websites.
Whilst the current western diet is appalling and contributes to our poor health, it is absurd to contend that we have been lied to by the government, nutritionists and researchers. The contention that saturated fat from animals is actually quite good for you and cholesterol isn’t really important is simply wrong and not supported by research.
TIME magazine published an article by Bryan Walsh that appeared in TIME magazine on 23 June 2014.
The cover of the magazine asserts “Eat Butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.”
Unfortunately, much of the evidence that Walsh presents in the article “Don’t blame the fat” is simply wrong and misleading. Walsh states that between 1977-2012, egg consumption fell 9%, beef 37% and milk 72%.
For the period 1970 - 2000, total added fats (up 40%), dairy products (up 8%), cheese (up 107%), low fat milk (up 79%), all meat products (up 10%), poultry (up 89%) and fish (up 22%) increased. These significant increases were not included in Walsh’s report. All of these food products, even low fat milk, are high fat foods.
The total calories consumed also rose significantly by 24%.
It is with alarm that I read Bryan Walsh’s article Ending the War on Fat that was published in TIME magazine on 23 June 2014.
According to Walsh:Keys' work became the foundation for a body of science implicating fat as a major risk factor for heart disease. The Seven Countries Study has been referenced close to 1 million times. But Keys' research had problems from the start. He cherry-picked his data.
If the book has really been "referenced close to a million times", it means that it has been referenced close to 80 times every day, including weekends, since the book was published in 1980.
Walsh claims that Keys “cherry-picked” his data. It is evident that Walsh has confused with Keys’ 1953 paper Keys’ paper, Atherosclerosis, A Problem in Newer Public Health and his later study Seven Countries, A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease.
Walsh fails to elaborate on how Keys “cherry picked” his data. Commencing in 1957, the Seven Countries Study studied 12,763 men in 16 regions in seven countries. What data was omitted from this study? How was the data “cherry-picked”?
The Australian Broadcaster ABC televised the program Heart of the Matter Part 1 - Dietary Villains on Thursday, 24 October 2013. This program listed the MRFIT study as more evidence that cholesterol is not implicated in heart disease.
The Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) was a coronary heart disease prevention trial that was conducted at 22 US clinical centres (18 cities) from 1973 to 1982. The multiple risks evaluated were elevated serum cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and cigarette smoking.
A number of popular commentators use this trial as proof that cholesterol is not implicated in heart disease.
The tobacco industry also used the results of the MRFIT study to argue that smoking is not harmful.