Is there a Science of Healthy Eating?

  • Donald Gillies
Keywords: saturated fat, confounding, media science


There is a great deal of talk about healthy eating, but also considerable differences of opinion about what constitutes healthy eating, which are illustrated by comparing the Paleo diet with the advice on healthy eating given on the UK’s National Health Service website. This raises the question as to whether recommendations about healthy eating are arbitrary, or whether some of them have a genuine scientific basis. The paper argues for the second alternative. It considers the hypothesis H that a diet high in saturated fat causes atherosclerosis and argues that H is well-confirmed empirically by observational and experimental evidence and so should be considered scientific. They argue that H is false, and that there is no harm in eating a diet high in saturated fat. The paper gives an analysis of the work of some of these media scientists and concludes that their arguments are largely bogus.