It’s a cute little commercial.
And I guess it’s not harming anybody. Although…maybe it is.
I’m referring to a radio ad that has an inner voice of the human body congratulating itself every time it makes a “better” choice. One of the choices that gets a hearty “AMAZING” is the choice to cook with “heart healthy” canola oil instead of butter.
It should come as no surprise that the ad is paid for by the canola oil industry.
The problem is, that choice is not heart healthy at all. In fact, it is the exact opposite of heart healthy. But we let it go and are still sorta, kinda convinced that maybe, if we squint just right and tilt our head to the side, it could be seen as heart healthy.
But it is not.
Let me explain …
The idea that seed oils are healthier alternatives to things like lard and butter (real butter – not margarine) came from the most comprehensive study ever done on heart health. It’s called the Minnesota Coronary Experiment and it was conducted from 1968-1973. Without getting all wonky on the science, the conclusions were that oils higher in omega 6 were better for you than saturated fats.
* some links below *
And thus began the global campaign to change the diet of the world from people who consumed too much fat, butter, olive oil, coconut oil and such, to a world where everyone was ingesting these healthier, cleaner, less fatty seed oils.
And it worked.
And as a result, the world got healthier, thinner more clear-headed and less sick. Didn’t it???
No Of course not. The world has been getting heavier, more depressed and more diabetic ever since we decided to move away from “fat.” Surely, that couldn’t be a correlation. Could it?
In 2016, the Minnesota Coronary Experiment was revised because new information came to light that had not originally been added to the study. When the new information (that had literally been lost in somebody’s basement) was added, it showed that ALL diseases went up when the seed oils were consumed.
So the most extensive study ever done in human history, on coronary artery disease, was flawed for decades and nobody knew it.
My own grandfather was put on this horrible diet after his first heart attack. My hunch is it led to his second heart attack. But, hey…I’m not a doctor.
Even now, we have this thing about the term “low fat” as if it’s a good thing. It’s not a good thing. AT. ALL. But “they” say it is. And they’ve been saying it for so many decades that it HAS to be true. Doesn’t it?
Conventional wisdom is proven to be wrong all the time. And sometimes, like in the Minnesota Coronary Experiment case, that wisdom could have devastating effects on the population. It can have devastating effects on generations of people.
And then all sorts of narratives develop around this problem. And they’re all based on the foundational premise of an accepted piece of science…that is wrong.
We devise medications that block this and fix that and increase the other thing. We put together exercise videos that target heart health. Motivational speakers charge us to come to their seminars, so we can get chastised for dong something wrong in our lifestyle that is killing us. We blame the fast pace of the western world and the rigors of navigating a dog-eat-dog capitalist society. We count calories and do programs and weigh food and mix up shakes and eat power bars.
All because we are trying to mitigate something we can’t put our finger on. We’re just getting heavier and dealing with more inflammation. Surely it has to be our fault. Right?
We seek out fixes to our depression through medications and meditation and ridding ourselves of this or that (full disclosure – I have battled clinical depression since high school. Yes – actually diagnosed. Not self-diagnosed).
And, of course, religion has to jump into the fray, asserting that all of this chaos happening in our bodies and minds is a spiritual problem above all.
And we believe disease comes on us randomly and out of nowhere. And it’s just bad luck.
Some of that is true.
But a lot of (I would argue most of) what makes us unhealthy is what we put in our bodies. And the decisions of what to cook with and what not to cook with are often made by the “theys” of the world – the people smarter than us. The people who do the research and know the science.
And they told us we should use omega 6 oils. They screamed it from the mountain tops. We were exposed to so many images of pretty, young, healthy moms cooking with these oils, that it was ingrained in our psyche to the point that we couldn’t accept anything else was true.
But the study was flawed. Period. And that made the advertising flawed. And that changed everything we thought we knew.
The health (or lack of health) of the world isn’t the fault of one flawed study. There are tons of factors in the function or dysfunction of our bodies.
There is fructose and refined sugar and alcohol and tobacco and on and on it can go.
The point is that all science has to be held with an open hand. Because what is law and gospel today will be disproven completely tomorrow.
And if you’ve never met a scientist, you should actively seek one out. I promise you, if you hang out with them long enough, they will eventually have to go pee. They’re human just like everybody else.
I’ve met some of the most ground breaking scientists on planet Earth. And they all – to a person – turned out to have the same human flaws as the rest of us: greed, pride, insecurity, pettiness…bias.
So, when I hear people say, “follow the science” I just smile. Because the truth is they probably have no idea what the hell that even means.
“The science” isn’t some infallible thing out there that moves like a train and you can either get on or get off, depending on if you’re willing to listen to the smart people.
There are people without college degrees doing genetic research on dog breeds, in their garage, in rural Mississippi. You can literally order a kit off the internet and start experimenting. I guess you’d say that’s following the science. Isn’t it?
When science refuses to be challenged, it’s not science anymore…it’s religion.
And before you know it, you’re cooking with something that is not all that good for you…while thinking you are being healthy.
The reason you think that?
Because they said it was true.
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