The original research (1915) on the issue of dietary cholesterol was done in rabbits and rats. Rabbits showed an adverse effect with a high cholesterol diet; the rats did not. The obvious lesson of being cautious because we could not test, and therefore could not know, how humans reacted to a purely high cholesterol diet was missed.
Additional research, and the knowledge that atherosclerosis was caused by cholesterol deposits, implied that high dietary cholesterol was a problem. More recent research implies that diets high in saturated fats and carbohydrates are more of a problem.
The paradigm shifts.
The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption.
The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern” stands in contrast to the committee’s findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed the issue of excess cholesterol in the American diet a public health concern.
The finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now believe that, for healthy adults, eating foods high in cholesterol may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.
The greater danger in this regard, these experts believe, lies not in products such as eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods heavy with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.
The new view on cholesterol in food does not reverse warnings about high levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, which have been linked to heart disease.
Rudel and his colleagues have been able to breed squirrel monkeys that are more vulnerable to the cholesterol diet. That and other evidence leads to their belief that for some people -- as for the squirrel monkeys -- genetics are to blame.
“These reversals in the field do make us wonder and scratch our heads,” said David Allison, a public health professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “But in science, change is normal and expected.”
When our view of the cosmos shifted from Ptolemy to Copernicus to Newton and Einstein, Allison said, “the reaction was not to say, ‘Oh my gosh, something is wrong with physics!’ We say, ‘Oh my gosh, isn’t this cool?’ ”
Allison said the problem in nutrition stems from the arrogance that sometimes accompanies dietary advice. A little humility could go a long way.
“Where nutrition has some trouble,” he said, “is all the confidence and vitriol and moralism that goes along with our recommendations.”"Confidence and vitriol and moralism." People get emotionally bound up in their own opinions and beliefs. And once that happens, it is hard to shift them. It is one of the reasons that paradigm shifts, even in science, begin in the young and are completed when the holders of the old paradigm die out.
[See also the recent shifts concerning dietary salt, as well.]
These belief systems substitute for religion, and all that religion implies.
"Health Nazi's." "Food fascists." "Vegetarian separatists."
And the analogy to the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is clear.