David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM, is the Founding Director (1998) of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and former President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He has published roughly 200 scientific articles and textbook chapters, and 15 books to date, including multiple editions of leading textbooks in both preventive medicine, and nutrition. He has made important contributions in the areas of lifestyle interventions for health promotion; nutrient profiling; behavior modification; holistic care; and evidence-based medicine. David earned his BA degree from Dartmouth College (1984); his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1988); and his MPH from the Yale University School of Public Health (1993). He completed sequential residency training in Internal Medicine, and Preventive Medicine/Public Health. He is a two-time diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and a board-certified specialist in Preventive Medicine/Public Health. He has received two Honorary Doctorates.
Misinformation is very much in season. Disclosures since the presidential election about massively disseminated misinformation, some of it inadvertent, some of it willfully manipulative, have come fast and furious.
As a year of particular assaults on everything anybody thinks they know about diet and health, including if not particularly the science underlying the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, winds down - it’s inevitable to reflect on what anyone truly knows about diet, and how we know it. The merchants of doubt, profiting handsomely from the status quo and perpetual confusion, would have you think no one knows much of anything, so enjoy some Coke with those fries.
These days, it is very much in vogue - literally, as well as figuratively - to ask: is butter back? But this question is ineluctably contingent on another: is it even possible for butter to be back? The answer to that one is, self-evidently: no.
One of the reasons cardiology tends to advance so rapidly compared to other medical disciplines - with very noteworthy benefits, such as marked declines in both premature death and disability related to heart disease - is because of the power of surrogate markers. Surrogate markers in medicine are generally things we can measure in the short term that tell us with at least reasonable, and sometimes excellent, fidelity about likely outcomes in the long term.
Multivitamins won’t help you…fly. Or cliff dive. They won’t help you leap tall buildings in a single bound. They won’t help you teleport, tesseract, read minds, or shoot laser beams from your eyeballs. Oh, and they won’t help you measurably reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack, either. Surprise!