Pithy word, that.  It’s now even  been been acronym-ized – R.D.A. (as in “Recommended Daily Allowance”). It has a weight of seeming authority about it, even if the recommending authority is often blithely left undisclosed.

The recommended (by numerous health authorities) proportion of your daily nutritional intake in the form of carbohydrates is 60%, with predominant emphasis on breads, cereals, rice and pasta . All that “nutritional pyramid” stuff puts it as the very foundation of a “healthy” diet. It’s become ingrained to the point it sounds axiomatic. Unfortunately, it’s also totally without any empirical foundation.

This is perhaps the most insidious of the nutritional “axioms” of the day which Gary Taubes puts under the empirical microscope in his book, Why We Get Fat (And What to do About it). It’s not a diet book, plan or program – Taubes has been investigating the research foundations of supposedly authoritative nutritional advice for some time. What he finds is that much nutritional advice is either without solid foundation or goes totally against the grain of research findings.

Taubes couldn’t say it more simply: obesity pretty much starts and ends with the kind of food you put in your mouth – not exercise and not calorie-counting. The overwhelmingly bad actors ares starch and sugar - not fat.

The implications are staggering. In effect, our obesity epidemic is being actively aided and abetted by the health authorities under the guise of healthy eating that is, perversely, anything but. And, it’s not just a problem of self-image; a host of other health problems are linked to obesity – hypertension, diabetes and heart disease are just the start.

It will probably be a future scandal of epic proportions that dietary authorities promoted such disastrously wrong advice on healthy eating. I doubt, however, that this is the only case where supposed “authorities” have gotten things to absurdly wrong.

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