I recently heard a July 7 ,2014 story on the National Public Radio (NPR), and it blew me away. Here is an excerpt from it:

“For the past decade or so, [Mark] Petticrew and a group of colleagues in London have been searching through millions of documents from the tobacco industry that were archived online in the late ’90s as part of a legal settlement with tobacco companies.

What they’ve discovered is that both Selye’s work and much of the work around Type A personality [by two American cardiologists — Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman] were profoundly influenced by cigarette manufacturers. They were interested in promoting the concept of stress because it allowed them to argue that it was stress — not cigarettes — that was to blame for heart disease and cancer.”

You remember, in one of the previous post, I talked about endocrinologist Hans Selye being the pioneer of stress research and was even the first to use the term stress in the context of health?

Here is another one that made me shake my head, an essay in the Wall Street Journal May 6, 2014, about the link between saturated fat and heart disease that included the following:

“Butter and lard had long been staples of the American pantry until Crisco, introduced in 1911, became the first vegetable-based fat to win wide acceptance in U.S. kitchens. Then came margarines made from vegetable oil and then just plain vegetable oil in bottles.

All of these got a boost from the American Heart Association—which Procter & Gamble, the maker of Crisco oil, coincidentally helped launch as a national organization. In 1948, P&G made the AHA the beneficiary of the popular “Walking Man” radio contest, which the company sponsored. The show raised $1.7 million for the group and transformed it (according to the AHA’s official history) from a small, underfunded professional society into the powerhouse that it remains today.

After the AHA advised the public to eat less saturated fat and switch to vegetable oils for a “healthy heart” in 1961, Americans changed their diets. Now these oils represent 7% to 8% of all calories in our diet, up from nearly zero in 1900, the biggest increase in consumption of any type of food over the past century.”

And, I am sure by now you well know about Crisco and partially hydrogenated oils definitely not being good for a “healthy heart.”

I can’t but wonder, if this story that “saturated fats are not bad after all” in WSJ is factual or planted (or suggested, advised, recommended, advocated, proposed – you pick the right word) by the animal food industry.

Or, did you know that what you might have learned in the elementary school in the US, may be in 2nd, 3rd or 4th grade, about food groups, e.g.,

Milk Group (Build strong bones)

Meat Group (Build strong muscles)

Vegetable Group (Help you see in the dark)

Fruit Group (Help heal cuts and bruises)

Grain Group (Give us energy)

All these associations are the gift of marketing through school education by the National Dairy Council. [Chapter 15, the “science” of industry, The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.]

What about the following:

“Eggs, bacon and toast is a perfect American breakfast”

“Orange juice is not for breakfast anymore”

“Pork – the other white meat”

“Chicken in every pot”

“Cholesterol causes heart attack”

“To lower cholesterol eat turkey”

The old saying, “follow the money” to get the real story, is definitely true in these cases.

In our house, when we used to watch commercial TV with our boys, I would insist that we turn the volume off during commercials. That was a one very small attempt to minimize the impact of commercials and programmed associations.

So, how do we figure out what is best for our health and longevity?

It is certainly not easy to filter this information out from the deep seeded subconscious associations we have, the financially motivated deluge of marketing information and finally the good old biases people have, whether scientists, politicians, professionals or friends and family?

Any thoughts? How do you  figure out what is best for you?

I would love to hear and learn.

[By the way, to leave your comment, click on the link “leave a comment” at the top right hand corner of the post just below the title, simply enter your comment in the box  that will appear where it says, “Enter your comment here..”. As soon as you put your cursor there, you will see a button “Post Comment” to click and submit after you have typed your comment]