Gary Taubes: What we know about the relationship between diet and disease

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    Dec 04, 2011 2:27 PM GMT
    (Podcast @ the link - to play or download)

    http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/11/taubes_on_fat_s.html

    Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what we know about the relationship between diet and disease. Taubes argues that for decades, doctors, the medical establishment, and government agencies encouraged Americans to reduce fat in their diet and increase carbohydrates in order to reduce heart disease. Taubes argues that the evidence for the connection between fat in the diet and heart disease was weak yet the consensus in favor of low-fat diets remained strong. Casual evidence (such as low heart disease rates among populations with little fat in their diet) ignores the possibilities that other factors such as low sugar consumption may explain the relationship. Underlying the conversation is a theme that causation can be difficult to establish in complex systems such as the human body and the economy.
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    Dec 04, 2011 8:09 PM GMT
    In general I think "everything in moderation" is good advice. I've always thought extreme diets (eat as little fat as possible, eat mostly protein, eat mostly carbs) aren't natural and in the long run probably aren't a bit healthier than a normal, balanced diet that emphasizes limiting caloric intake.
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    Dec 04, 2011 8:22 PM GMT
    There was a professor in my old population health faculty who believed sugar was the cause of all obesity and fed cancers. It's not that it shouldn't be explored, but the rest of the faculty was resistant because to test it would mean subjecting people to diets that the health community has straight-out deemed risky (e.g. high fat). For their own credibility, they can't be seen to flip-flop without mind shattering evidence.