I am not a very big fan on banning stuff but yes, there’s one thing that I would very like to prohibit without giving it a second thought.
That thing is none other than ‘semi-skinned milk’ and its better half – ‘skimmed milk’. Truth be told, nothing ruins my day as these two can and even when I order a flat white, which I would rather not take since it is nothing but full fat. And that’s what exactly I want to complain to the baristas but obviously, I would never do since I am too polite to do that.
Seriously, I think something is wrong with this world or rather, with more than half of the population on this planet. What’s this talk about ‘skimmed’ and ‘semi-skimmed’? Don’t people realize that everything that they believe is just wrong? If it is about taste, then I will say without any doubt that it’s just plain wrong and stupid. But if it is concerned about your health, then yes, you are still wrong and stupid.
Yes, you are plain wrong and stupid about the whole ‘fat and dietary cholesterol is bad for you’ and all that, et cetera. It’s been discovered that it is nothing but plain myth. What’s more is that this particular story had even managed to make it to the cover of the prestigious TIME magazine with the headline ‘Eat butter’. Now what could be better than that? So, now, you can eat butter too. Just because you can.
Yes, it is the truth. The cholesterol myth was termed as ‘the greatest scam in the history of medicine’ by as early as in the year 1977 by Dr. George Mann in the New Journal of Medicine. This is based on a study done in the year 1997 on a vast group of 350, 000 men with a high risk of heart disease and through them, it was found that even after cutting down their cholesterol level and consumption of saturated fat drastically, no change was noticed which could have improved their survival prospects. Moreover, in an earlier study done in England, another alarming condition came into light. Their study found out that those who followed a diet consisting of low saturated fat, were most likely to die of heart disease as compared to their counterparts who didn’t. Frankly, no studies have ever revealed about the benefits of reducing dietary fat.
So then, why does the common population still believe that? The doctor and the medical author Malcolm Kendrick had put it quite excellently in the book Panic Nation that the theory of cholesterol has been circulating around for over a few decades and it has become something like a cathedral built on a bog, which no matter what, is not given a chance for any cracks to appear, let alone sink. Trying the cathedral to make it stay afloat at any cost; and if any crack appears, a new buttress is built, which were built to support the original buttress.
The story is something like this. The increasing incidents of heart diseases in the western countries from the 1940s onwards prompted many researchers to link cholesterol with high fat diet. Out of those researchers was a nutritionist from the University of Minnesota, Ancel Keys, who was the one who gave birth to the theory that fat, was the new enemy and everyone who were concerned about their health should switch to a Mediterranean diet.
Keys’ theory, though not backed by solid evidence, suited those times and the mood of the people and everyone present from an affluent post war society could now afford the so called ‘dietary fads’. Not only that, the food industry too did their part and exploited this theory by introducing new types of high end food products like yoghurts with low fat as well as butter substitutes. The usual hyped health-conscious-Nazi pressure groups also did their part in a convincing way. Such was the exploitation that today, it is considered the standard recommendation that a healthy diet should be low in fat in every national and international advisory body present.
But in the words of Clarissa Dickson, it’s been said that fat carries flavor and if it is cut out, some other ways have to be found to make food tasty; because it is not fat, but sugar that has been the cause of obesity worldwide. One perfect example of this is that in Britain, NHS is being forced to devote more of their scarce resources in buying wide and not to mention, stronger hospital beds with reinforced ambulances in order to transport lard buckets.
It’s not as if it has not being warned about. Julia Llewellyn Smith recalled the Telegraph about John Yudkin. John was the founder of the nutrition department at the University of London’s Queen Elizabeth College and it was he who noted that the relationship between the consumption of increased sugar, heart disease and the raised insulin levels which no doubt led to type 2 diabetes. Though ridiculed and marginalized for his denial on cholesterol, John had once famously said that if only a small part of the effects of sugar were to be revealed against the other food products, the sugar would promptly be banned without a second thought.
But point to be noted is that my fight isn’t with sugar; rather I am irritated with those who created the problem in the first place. Case in point – I have no problem with those guys who want to fizzy-drink themselves to obesity, diabetes and not to mention, premature death. Just think of those culprits who were profited by this theory, be it professionally or financially –the activists plus the nutritionists and not to mention the other elite classes – the chief medical officers, the intervening politicians and yes, even the supermarkets plus the food manufacturers with their sly bullying, hectoring and not to mention, their nauseatingly self-righteous low-food ranges and all that crap, and which may I add, are nothing but ways to scare the common people with nothing but layers and layers of foundation built with false science, public irrationality and not to mention, woefully misguided government rules and regulations.
Though this is just a scenario that I have outlined which seems kind of familiar, but I wonder what the truth really is.
Andreia Mesquita / Director / Nutrition & Dietetics