How 'Settled Science' Helped Create A Massive Public Health Crisis

(G. Andrew Duthie) #1

Yudkin was destroyed for bucking the conventional wisdom, and millions have suffered and died as a result.


From the article:

"Yudkin was a British professor of nutrition who, in 1972, sounded the alarm about sugar in diets, saying that if sugar were treated like any other food additive “that material would be promptly banned.” He said sugar, not fat, was the more likely cause of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

For his efforts, Yudkin was branded a shill for the meat and dairy industries. His work was dismissed as “emotional assertions,” “science fiction” and “a mountain of nonsense.” Journals refused to publish his papers. He was uninvited from nutrition conferences and was ridiculed by the scientific community.

“Prominent nutritionists combined with the food industry to destroy his reputation, and his career never recovered,” writes Ian Leslie in a lengthy piece titled “The Sugar Conspiracy” that was published recently in The Guardian."

(G. Andrew Duthie) #3

Wanted to call this out, as I’m partway through Leslie’s article, and so far it’s very good. It is long, though. :slight_smile:

Direct link:

(Jo Lo) #4

Please, someone, write a book on fake “scientific consensus”, “settled science” stories of history which were false. Have we not learned anything from these, as we keep falling for more?


Gary Taubes…:wink:


The Yudkin thing is pretty shameful.

Another book which is not quite on topic, but I think related:
Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliott Aronson

(Jo Lo) #7

Gary is great, but this “settled science” fake news happens in a lot of other important fields besides public health. Invariably, it is used to shackle us.

(I am a PhD research scientist BTW…)


Yeah… I’m with you on that…I get irritated when I see terminology like “settled science”.

Love the fact that you are a PhD research scientist…awesome!!! :grinning::+1:

(G. Andrew Duthie) #9

Or “consensus” as if having enough people agreeing on a bad theory makes it any less bad. There was a time when the consensus was that the world was flat. And pretty sure that Keys and his ilk routinely argued that the consensus among “scientists” was that fat, not sugar, caused CHD. See where that got us?



“consensus” = “groupthink”

quote from wiki site:

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

(Anna Hermsdorfer) #11

Is it just me, or does “Groupthink” sound an awful lot like Newspeak?


I’ve just found this

It has been posted before
@devhammer in a reply on Apr 24, '17
But I like it, and it does show the Guardian can write about food sensibly, sometimes.