A fat week – debates about saturated fat that will not go away

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 | TONY BLAKELY | 7 Comments


Professor Tony Blakely

I was in Brisbane this week, teaching epidemiological methods to improve the quality and causal inference of our research – more of that below.  During the week, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) broadcast a documentary supposedly debunking the science on the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.

One of the criticisms leveled on the programme went right back to original research by Ancel Keys in the Seven Countries studies post World War II showing a strong correlation between the rates of cardiovascular death in countries with saturated fat intake.  The criticism?  When you put more than just the seven studies on a graph, the correlation looks weaker.  Fair enough, as such ‘ecologic’ studies are prone to error – but of course they are also prone to missing important associations as well, such as the association of saturated fat with heart disease.  Continue reading

Chewing the fat on a saturated fat tax

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 | gibju57p | 2 Comments


Associate Professor Nick Wilson, University of Otago Wellington

An article we published last week generated plenty of debate [1] (some thoughtful, some distortionary), and in particular debate on the complexities of taxing food. In this blog I argue that, yes, such tax packages have to be well designed (and more research would be helpful), but nevertheless that there is much that could be potentially gained by taxes on saturated fat. Continue reading