Since 1980, the government, scientists and doctors have preached the news that fats, especially saturated fats and cholesterol, were bad for our health: we were advised to eat a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fats. Since that time, obesity and Type II diabetes have exploded in America. Now, more and more evidence has pointed to carbohydrates as the culprit.
How could this happen? How could scientists have been so wrong?
This article tells the story very well. Read the whole thing.
In 1972, a British scientist sounded the alarm that sugar – and not fat – was the greatest danger to our health. But his findings were ridiculed and his reputation ruined. How did the world’s top nutrition scientists get it so wrong for so long?…
…A scientist is part of what the Polish philosopher of science Ludwik Fleck called a “thought collective”: a group of people exchanging ideas in a mutually comprehensible idiom. The group, suggested Fleck, inevitably develops a mind of its own, as the individuals in it converge on a way of communicating, thinking and feeling.
This makes scientific inquiry prone to the eternal rules of human social life: deference to the charismatic, herding towards majority opinion, punishment for deviance, and intense discomfort with admitting to error. Of course, such tendencies are precisely what the scientific method was invented to correct for, and over the long run, it does a good job of it. In the long run, however, we’re all dead, quite possibly sooner than we would be if we hadn’t been following a diet based on poor advice.