At first, it was all very exciting. In 1971, a team of Danish researchers stationed on Greenland’s northwest coast found that a local Inuit community had remarkably low levels of diabetes and heart disease. The reason, the researchers surmised, was their high-marine-fat diet—in other words, fish oil. Incidence of heart disease, which once afflicted relatively few Americans, had shot up since the turn of the century, and here, seemingly, was a simple solution. “I remember how exciting those studies were when they first came out,” Marion Nestle, a professor emerita of nutrition and food studies at NYU, told me. “The idea that there were populations of people who were eating fish and were protected against heart disease looked fabulous.”

The hype didn’t stop with heart disease. Soon, fish oil was being hailed as a panacea. It could help prevent dementia! Depression! Obesity! Cancer! News stories and books parroted these claims. And supplement makers capitalized. By 2014, fish-oil supplements were a billion-dollar industry. Today, the market continues to grow at an astronomical rate. The growth of the science supporting fish oil’s curative properties, meanwhile, has been, shall we say, less astronomical. The early papers that sparked …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Science


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