Coconut is not an “exotic” food like in the Western World, primarily consumed by health conscious people. Chilli neither
In some parts of the World, Coconut and Chilli is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, who live in the South Pacific. 60% of their calories are from Coconuts and a lot from Chilli, they are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world.These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease.
In the year 1958, an American scientist called Ancel Keys started a study called the Seven Countries Study, which examined the association between diet and cardiovascular disease in different countries.
The study revealed that the countries where fat consumption was the highest had the most heart disease, supporting the idea that dietary fat caused heart disease.
The problem is that he intentionally left out:
- Countries where people eat a lot of fat but have little heart disease, such as Holland and Norway.
- Countries where fat consumption is low but the rate of heart disease is high, such as Chile.
Basically, he only used data from the countries that supported his theory, a process known as cherry picking.
This highly flawed observational study gained massive media attention and had a major influence on the dietary guidelines of the next few decades.
The McGovern Committee
In 1977, an American committee of the U.S. senate led by George McGovern published the first Dietary Goals for the United States in order to reverse the epidemic of heart disease in the country.
These guidelines received massive criticism at the time.An interesting fact is that the obesity epidemic started around the time these guidelines were published and the diabetes epidemic followed soon after.
The whole guidelines were based on observational studies made by biased scientists and had nothing even closely resembling scientific proof to back them up.
Since then, many randomized controlled trials have shown that this dietary approach doesn’t really work for the people it was meant to help.