@PaulL thanks for moderating. This is been productive and you may have helped keep things civil.
@richard, bless you and the work you are doing. Thank you for being the voice of reason.
TLDR: I did not intend for this post to become so long, because frankly all I mean to say is that I’m very happy with the results of this discussion. I wrote about this issue as long ago as May, and the distance we’ve come in how it seems the comments are shaking out really fills me with optimism. Look at the anti-science stuff that was being said back then: Really disappointed with the amount of anti-science nonsense coming out of some LCHF/keto folks
Anyway, here goes:
I think at this point, there’s not a lot of substance left to be said. I am not a nutritional expert, nor am I a climate scientist, nor an epidemiologist, nor an evolutionary biologist. So I don’t feel the need to be drawn into debates by fringe dissenters against the scientific consensus on the substance of these matters. Evolution is very well-established, anthropogenic global heating is overwhelmingly supported by an unheard-of majority of climate scientists, and the pandemic epidemiologists have told us broadly what the parameters of this pandemic are. And their recommendations have worked. Look at Taiwan, China, NZ, Australia, etc.
In other words, we have the best experts in the world on hand telling us their view of the science. I see no reason to enter into a debate about their conclusions and their recommendations. I’ll listen to them, and hell I’ll listen to the fringe dissenters too. But nothing compelling has been presented that convinces me that the so-called “mainstream” view is somehow fundamentally flawed, no matter how much killer evidence the dissenters think they have. And I’ve listened to them, on each of this issues.
So why is it that some low carbers seem to be so susceptible to questioning authority and ignoring good science in other fields?
I think the confusion arises because this whole nutrition science thing has been so fraught and we’ve all had the experience of seeing a low carb diet work despite decades of misinformation. This feels to me like a totally different field than many others. Perhaps @richard or someone else here can help me articulate why, but I suspect it is because it has become clear that there never really was any scientific consensus around “the” correct diet for humans; as much as we tell ourselves that LCHF and ketogenic diets seem to be the one true way (and one which I have been doing for over 4 years now), and we point to certain indigenous cultures with keto diets like the Masai, aren’t there also island culture (the Maldives? Fiji?) where the diet is fish, coconut, and starches, and this led to a perfectly healthy outcome.
Lots of people have tried to explain this, but frankly we just don’t know. Taubes wrote a book about sugar because he was baffled by the fact that, say, Asian cultures traditionally eat bucketloads of white rice and remain in fine shape. Robert Lustig also focuses on sugar, while other doctors have argued that in fact both sugar and vegetable oils are the real bogeymen. This doesn’t mean keto is wrong; what these people are looking for is a more general theory to explain all human dietary experience, because it’s clearly more complex than we thought it was.
The science is far from settled on nutrition. There is so much we don’t know. We have some relatively new evidence suggesting that saturated fat is actually beneficial; we have evidence that seed oils are terrible for us. But as Gary Taubes will tell you, if you go to a nutritional science conference, the low carb buffet lunch looks very similar to the high carb buffet brunch. Because when you strip away the processed food and bread and sugar and white rice, what are you left with after all?
Nearly 2 decades ago, I went to the diet/nutrition section of the book store. It was absolutely full of obvious unscientific bullshit fad diets. The closest thing I could find to anything remotely scientific was The Zone, and in hindsight that guy was more advanced than just about anyone out there except Dr Atkins himself!
So there are some people in our community who are susceptible to the claim that because nutritional science is so immature, therefore we ought to toss out expertise in all realms of science and just listen to whichever random conspiracy theorist engineer fancies himself an expert on Twitter.
I think the fallacy here is kind of obvious. Nutritional science may be very immature, but that doesn’t mean the epidemiologists don’t have some idea about viral pandemics, nor does it mean that other scientists in other fields aren’t at a far more advanced state of knowledge.
Easy enough for me to say; I’m in Australia and my country has all but eliminated the virus, twice, despite endless stuff-ups and scandals. I understand that other countries have had tougher times of it. So I can understand the pull of theories that suggest that restrictive measures are pointless and we should’ve just let the virus run.
So I am delighted that so many people on these forums now seem immune (see what I did there?) to the unscientific claims made by some of these so-called “experts.”
I wish us all good health and wisdom in the months ahead so we can pull through this thing together.