Tag: Harvard

HAVE A HEART! WILL AHA OR COCONUT OIL KILL YOU?

By Marika Sboros

Heart associations worldwide tend instantly to raise researchers’ blood pressure into the stratosphere. The latest “Presidential Advisory” from the American Heart Association (AHA) is no exception.

The BBC reported it as branding coconut oil “as bad for you as beef lard and butter”. USA Today reported it as that coconut oil was “even worse than beef lard and butter”.

The advisory doesn’t actually say that. It does say that replacing saturated fat with “healthier fat” lowers cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. By healthier fat, the authors mostly mean polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) in refined, processed vegetable oils. They also say that coconut oil’s high saturated-fat content makes it a potential killer.

Should you believe the AHA just because it says so? You’re better off not believing the AHA precisely because it says so, say critics. They say that coconut oil won’t kill you but listening to the AHA might.



Science in crisis: not just sugar souring faith in experts

sugar candyIt should be no surprise that there’s a global crisis in science. Scholars of history and philosophy of science predicted it 40 years ago. Yet it is surprising how many scientists are more interested in profit than universal truths.

Revelations that the sugar industry paid top Harvard scientists to downplay sugar’s harms for decades are but one example. US science writer Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise, makes a more important point in the LA Times: sugar only ‘got a pass’ while dietary fat and cholesterol were blamed for heart disease because other industries and, surprisingly, many of the country’s leading scientists colluded.

Here, Andrea Saltelli, a researcher at the European Centre for Governance in Complexity, sheds light on a growing lack of faith in experts, and how best to stem it. – Marika Sboros



Harvard’s hungry voice of nutrition sanity – David Ludwig!

Dr David Ludwig

Dr David Ludwig

Like many people, I used to be in awe of Harvard University Medical School. Until increasingly odd science began emanating from luminaries Harvard’s hallowed research halls. In 2009 the New York Times published reports on the ties of Harvard professors and lecturers to drug companies. Time magazine picked it up in how drug industry money is tainting medical education. Harvard appears increasingly impervious to dodgy behaviour of some professors. They seem to think it’s in their job description to muzzle scientific debate that opposes powerful vested interests.

Getting some Harvard professors to understand how iffy that is appears extraordinarily difficult. A quote by the late US investigative journalist and author Upton Sinclair springs unbidden mind. ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!’ Medical doctor and Harvard nutrition specialist Dr David Ludwig helps to restore faith in Harvard. Here, blogger and ‘reluctant nutritionist’ Sammy Pepys looks at how Ludwig maintains his influential independent thought and mind on nutrition. – Marika Sboros



Why is Harvard sticking the knife into butter again?

Butter

Image: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/6-reasons-eat-real-butter/

By Marika Sboros

It is official: Harvard scientists say butter is not back. Saturated fat will kill you. Fat phobia is back –  with a vengeance.

The scientists from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Brigham Women’s Hospital don’t say that in quite so many words. Those are just implications of conclusions in their new study  in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

They say the more saturated fat you eat, the shorter you’re likely to live. The more unsaturated fat you eat, the longer your days on this planet. They say you should replace saturated fats, such as butter, lard, and fat in red meat, and trans fats with unsaturated fats from plant-based foods, such as olive oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. They say this should  “continue to be a key message in dietary recommendations”. 

They say their study is “further support” for the 2015-2020 US dietary guidelines – that are high in carbs and low in saturated fats (HCLF).  But is this study really a fatal blow to the science behind low-carb, high-fat (LCHF)?