“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. “Reality control,” they called it: in Newspeak, “doublethink.” 1984
In my first book, the Great Cholesterol Con, I included a passage about Ancel Keys by Henry Blackburn, a colleague and admirer of Keys. It points out that Ancel Keys was humiliated by George Pickering at a meeting of the WHO in Geneva 1954 discussing the new ‘epidemic’ of heart disease. The quote from Henry Blackburn finishes thus:
‘My theory is that Keys was so stung by this event that he left the Geneva meeting intent on gathering the definitive evidence to establish or refute the Diet-Heart theory. Out of this single, moving, personal experience – so my theory goes – came the challenge, the motivation, the implantation of the Seven Countries Study.’
As I wrote in the book. ‘So there you have it. As a result, Ancel Keys stormed off, put together a huge research budget, hired a staff of thousands, did his study and was the able – in objective ‘scientific speak,’ of course – to say ‘I told you so, I told you so. Nyah, nyah, nyah.’ Not, as I pointed out, the best possible motivation for a research project.
Of course you are going to have to take my word on the exact events described. For, shortly after my book was published, this passage was removed from the University website it was on, never to be seen again. Cause and effect, who can say? But it does raise an important issue. If there is no record of a thing happening – did it happen? If you control the historical record, what is truth?
In the age of the Internet you might think it is more difficult to hide the historical record, but in some ways it is easier. If something only exists on a server somewhere, all you need do is delete it and it is gone – forever. Unless you ensure that you archive it yourself – something I did not do with the Henry Blackburn quote.
At this point you may wonder where this is all going. Well, for some years, I have used statistics from the European Heart Survey which looks at data from nearly a million people. The latest version is here http://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/view-publication.aspx?ps=1002098. This is very impressive bit of research, and is full of good stuff. For a few years I have included statistics from this study to produce tables such as the one below (See table).
The table makes it very clear that saturated fat intake has absolutely nothing to do with the rate of CHD deaths in any country in Europe. In fact, in general, the association is completely inverse i.e. the more saturated fat you eat, the lower the rate of coronary heart disease (CHD). Twenty times as low in France, as Georgia, despite the French eating three times as much saturated fat. This, of course, completely contradicts everything you have ever read about the impact of saturate fat on heart disease.
Jerome Burne, a friend and colleague, and medical journalist, wanted to use a couple of my tables for his blog. So I sent them over. He pointed out that my data was from the 2008 survey. In the latest 2012 survey – it take some time for the data to be published – the figures on saturated fat intake have simply gone. They are no longer published at all.
I hurriedly went back to the search the 2008 data to make sure that this had not been wiped from the record. They have not, although it is rather more difficult to find. I have now stored these data on my computer, and archived them. For I suspect that these data on saturated fat intake will gradually disappear from the historical record.
Of course, I am going to write to the researchers in charge of the European Heart Statistics and ask them why, of all the data, the data on saturated fat no longer features. Why have they done this? I strongly suspect I know the answer, and I suspect that you do to.
I am going to write although I already know the type of answer I will get. It will be some complete fudge, not answering the question but saying something along the lines of ‘Our panel of International Experts constantly review the data that we include and make decisions based on priorities that are determined by many different factors. For various reasons not all data are included, but we are always working to ensure that everything is done to provide the most useful and up to date information. Unfortunately, it is not possible to enter a discussion on specific issues.’ Beep, message ends.
It has long amused me the European Heart Statistics – if you look through them carefully – contradict almost everything we have ever been told about the causes of heart disease. Of course they are now somewhat less contradictory, because they have removed the data on saturated fat.
“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.” 1984