There was little science available in the 1950s that could explain the near-epidemic of heart attacks among middle-aged Americans. The “seven countries study” displayed a clear association between eating greater amounts of saturated fats and deaths due to heart disease, but it seems the method behind the study was seriously flawed.
The countries were cherry-picked because they supported this hypothesis. 15 countries that did not reveal any association between saturated-fat consumption and heart mortality were conveniently left out.
Unbiased investigation would have realized these problems hadn’t been presented with the complete data.
The involvement of the food industry promoted the marketing of vegetable oils, leading to a significant donation to the AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION.
The results became the “diet-food-health-industrial complex” which has barely wavered for 60 years.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
“We should ensure researchers are given the chance to question and check whether guidelines are working. We should not attempt to set dietary recommendations in stone when the research behind those recommendations are built on sand. “