Unsettled Science: The return to grace of the egg

The American Left believes that it can accuse conservatives of being “anti-science” and thereby frighten voters into electing people who, in the name of science, will cajole and coerce the populace into obeying the social engineering dreams that animate progressivism.  Scott Walker’s visit to London was marred by the question of whether or not he “believed in” evolution, meant to trap him into embracing a literal version of the Bible’s Creation story and denying Darwin, as the Left likes to caricature believing Christians.

The expression “believe in” is a tell. That is appropriate for religious faith. Science is all about proof, faith not being necessary, just evidence in the form of falsifiable propositions and replicatable experiments. Progressives like to fetishize science, and turn it into scientism, a politicized and bastardized version of the scientific method in which evidence is manipulated and conclusions drawn on the basis of less than rigorous application of the scientific method. And all science, even that accepted as “settled science,” is subject to revision upon further evidence. Thomas Kuhn’s landmark book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, demonstrated how “settled science” comes to be overthrown by new data. “Faith” is not the appropriate word for discussing science, but that does not stop the progs from using it on matters from global warming climate change to dietary guidelines.

Progressives “believe in” the latest dietary guidelines so fervently that they attempt to coerce people into following them, by taxes, regulations, and even outright prohibitions. Salt was, for years, believed so harmful that New York Mayor Bloomberg attempted to keep New York diners from using it while freely dumping salt on his own food (note any similarity to Al Gore and other warmists flying on private jets while demanding the rest of us cut our carbon footprints?). Then came the news this week that salt is not to worry about, if you are otherwise healthy.

In the same way, the decades-long dietary advice to cut back on cholesterol, including those wonders off flavor and convenience the egg, is about to be similarly withdrawn

The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption.

The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern” stands in contrast to the committee’s findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed the issue of excess cholesterol in the American diet a public health concern.

If you “believed in” the nutrition guidelines, your faith has been misplaced, your god a false god.

Writing in The Week, Michael Brendan Dougherty chronicles the process by which bogus guidelines came about, and it is not a pretty story. As he shows, faith in bad science produces real harm. Keep that in mind as warmists hector you about the impending doom their faith predicts:

 The American Heart Association and the U.S. government have been recommending a low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat diet for more than half a century. In 1961, when the AHA's guidelines first came out, one in seven Americans were obese. Now one in three are.

In the meantime, the pervasive fear of fat and cholesterol led Americans to completely novel and untested dietary fads, including partially hydrogenated oils. Ever see the white gunk around a fast-food meal? It can contain formaldehyde. The reigning dietary wisdom also led Americans to "diet" on tasteless carbs. Remember people eating rice cakes and grapefruit? Often at the same time?

The scares about cholesterol and fat date back to the middle of the last century. An enterprising physiologist, Ancel Keys, took a large government grant and conducted his famous study on diet and health. The whole thing was botched. He purposely excluded countries like France, Germany, and Switzerland that had a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet but better health outcomes than the U.S. He surveyed the diet of Greeks during Lent, when they were abstaining from meat and dairy. The study did not even look at the effect of different levels of dietary sugar, even though the data was available.

Somebody, please tell Michelle Obama.