In September, the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine publication revealed that many of Americans’ most prevalent beliefs about nutrition might be bunk.
The sugar industry financed nutritional studies, released in 1967, that downplayed the sweetener’s relation to heart disease, placing the blame on saturated fats instead. Those highly influenced findings have stuck for five decades.
One of the scientists involved even helped develop the government-issued nutrition guidelines most of us grew up with, which contained cautions on the evils of red meat while scarcely mentioning the dangers of sugar, if at all.
These revelations make the release of a new book by food-industry expert Jeff Scot Philips, “Big Fat Food Fraud: Confessions of a Health-Food Hustler” (Regan Arts), well-timed. Philips was a personal trainer who founded a health-food manufacturing company that prepackaged healthy meals. He is now reformed from that industry, and spends his time educating people on how almost everything we hear about nutrition — including from medical experts — may be false. Much of it, he says, is specially designed not to improve our health, but to separate us from our money.
In the book, Philips outlines a slew of ways we have been — and are still being — conned by the food industry. Here are just a few.
The yolk’s on eggs
If you want to see how long inaccurate nutritional information can persevere, just take a look at eggs.
When Kellogg marketed its first food product, Corn Flakes, in 1906, Philips writes that the company “mounted a vicious marketing campaign against the egg industry . . . claim[ing eggs] led to heart attacks.” The information was baseless fiction designed to sell cereal, but fear of eggs continues to this day.