Shock: 'Experts' recommend high-fat diet for curing a significant disease

The ideology of Progressivism rests on the notion that "experts" should be given free rein to guide the populace in proper behavior, by persuasion if possible, but by governmental law and regulation if necessary.  These "experts" could inform the disinterested administrators of a state powerful enough to impose itself on the behavior of the masses too ignorant to chart a personal course for themselves. 

The folly of this view is nowhere exposed more nakedly than in the matter of personal eating habits.  The advice of the "experts" has been so frequently wrong that the federal government's dietary guidelines have repeatedly been revised.  The "food pyramid" that recommended lots of grains is long gone, replaced by something called MyPlate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Pushed by Michelle Obama, of course – formerly our national food scold, and more an impetus for thrown away school cafeteria food than anyone else in the nation's history.



But after a lifetime of responding to dietary advice that is later withdrawn (replace butter with margarine; don't eat many eggs; avoid whole milk), I am utterly skeptical that scientists recognized by officials of the state really know what they are talking about.  Science always is a work in progress (warmists like to pretend that science can be "settled by consensus," which is pure folly).

For decades, as Americans become more and more obese, the "consensus" has been that fats are dangerous, something to be avoided.  The various versions of the old food pyramid made this quite explicit:

As a result, "fat-free" and "low-fat" foods have crowded supermarket shelves for decades, even as we get fatter and fatter.  I have learned to skip them, not only because they don't satisfy the palate or the sense of hunger, but because I worry about the health effects of whatever is used to substitute for fat.  Does it make sense that something the body craves, that nature supplies in abundance, and that traditional cuisines from around the world use is totally bad?

Human metabolism is a vastly complicated subject, with many, many variables at work.  Much more work remains to be done.

For this reason, a recent Canadian study that points to health benefits of a high-fat diet in recovery from a disease caught my attention (hat tip: Clarice Feldman).  In an analysis of why Canadian patients afflicted with cystic fibrosis have on average close to ten more years of survival than their American counterparts, this leaped out at me:

A spike in Canadian survival rates noted in 1995 may be due to a high fat diet, emphasizing cheeses, fish and nuts, recommended for Canadians with cystic fibrosis since the 1970s.

One of the organs that can be damaged by the disease is the pancreas, affecting how well nutrition is absorbed by the body, said Marshall.

"The Canadians tried high fat diets, more calories, more palatable, and this really had an impact on the nutritional status, particularly with children, and that seems to set the trajectory for the disease," he said.

The U.S. began adopting the high fat diet for cystic fibrosis patients in the 1980s, so its survival rates are still catching up.

The point here is not that fat is a universal cure.  In excess, no doubt, it can be harmful.  (So I am not recommending a French fries diet.)  The point is that fat, in combination with other elements of the diet and metabolism, can be healthy.  And politically, the previous insistence by "experts" – pushed by the powers of the state – that fat must be strictly limited was a wrongheaded, harmful instance of state power harnessed to incomplete science.

If you experience technical problems, please write to