Saturday, February 04, 2017

"...the central problem has been that experts and policy makers have passed judgment before that good science was done. And once a judgment is codified as policy, it’s hard to repeal."

The Limits of Sugar Guidelines - The Atlantic: "While the evidence to date shows zero benefit from sugar and a clear signal of harm, there hasn’t been enough time to fund and conduct definitive trials. Meanwhile, governments naturally feel they can’t wait. Facing panic over the continued, relentless climb in obesity and diabetes rates with no solution in sight, they’ve gone ahead and passed sugar guidelines pinned to exact thresholds, of 10 percent or 5 percent of calories. This advice is clearly well-intentioned. Yet if, as the Annals paper concludes, experts are skirting scientific norms by passing guidelines based on weak evidence, the whole process of guideline-making is effectively watered down. And the need for reliable guidance is no abstract question; indeed, everything from our waistlines to whether we might eat eggs for breakfast depends upon it. As Americans well know, there have been many reversals in our guidelines in recent years—on dietary cholesterol, on total fat, on whether to eat breakfast to maintain a healthy weight. These were all official guidelines based on weak evidence that, when actually tested in clinical trials, were found to be unjustified. It turned out that people had been avoiding egg yolks, lobster, and fat, generally, to no avail, and that skipping breakfast altogether might actually be the best option for weight loss...

Instances of flip-flopping on nutritional advice not only erode the public trust, but make people think that the basic science itself is flawed—which, for the most part, it’s not. Instead, the central problem has been that experts and policy makers have passed judgment before that good science was done. And once a judgment is codified as policy, it’s hard to repeal. This was the case, for instance, with the low-fat diet, which although adopted as a U.S. guideline in 1980, wasn’t actually studied in trials for another decade-plus. This kind of mistake, at its very worst, is potentially deadly: Indeed, the low-fat advice, by shifting consumption to carbohydrates such as grains and sugar, is now regarded as a probable cause of the obesity and diabetes epidemics...

It makes sense to have a strong hunch that sugar is bad. Sugar has no nutritional value. It’s a direct shot of glucose to the blood stream and fructose to the liver. The historical evidence against it presented by Taubes in his book is compelling. Personally, I try hard to avoid it. But I also tend to avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and cereals. Based on the existing data, I suspect that too much fructose from today’s highly sweetened fruit crops is bad, and that the 40-plus percent increase in our consumption of grains since 1970 have simply overloaded us in carbohydrates altogether."

Fat Head » From The News …: "Government officials, of course, are driven by a belief that no problem will ever be solved unless they by gosh DO SOMETHING!  It’s the old problem of when you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  Government’s hammer is regulation.  More government officials should heed the advice Lee Marvin’s first acting teacher gave him: don’t just do something, stand there."

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