Review of

PragerU Video: How the Government Made You Fat

Our summary: Bret Scher recounts the story of Ancel Keys, of the American Heart Association, who claimed that high consumption of saturated fats leads to heart attacks. The “food pyramid” was created, leading to popularity of high-sugar foods. Scher concludes that we should not rely on the government to take care of us.

Who needs experts?

David Foster Durham, NC Published 02 Mar 2020

It’s a fascinating story, how an influential member of the American Heart Association played a key role in promoting some bad nutritional recommendations. Food companies subsequently reduced fat and increased sugar. Today, Americans are overweight and there’s more diabetes. The lesson is, don’t let the government take care of your health. What?

The American Heart Association is a non-profit organization, not the government. And they didn’t really recommend that food companies increase the amount of sugar in foods. And do we really think the dietary choices of those obese diabetics are motivated by their faith in government?


Perhaps more critically… is the implication that each of us should conduct our own scientific studies? If not, then whom should we rely upon for nutritional recommendations? Should we just go with our gut? Trial and error? Ask grandma for advice?

I think the argument that Bret Scher may be trying to make is that any recommendations from the government are likely to be stupid and wrong. Maybe because scientific expertise is irrelevant, or because charismatic shysters always block out the good research studies. Or, who knows, just because government is inherently evil. He doesn’t really say.

But he hasn’t even remotely made such a case. If anything, Scher has provided fodder for arguments that the government needs to step in more: to coordinate the research, and to regulate the food industry, and to find out why people do not eat well.

Certainly, of course, we should always push our government to do better. And, certainly, each of us should think carefully about our diet, utilizing all the information resources available to us.

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