It's only fair to share…

In 2004 James Surowiecki wrote a book called “The Wisdom of Crowds”. It made the point that decisions made by large numbers of people individually and independently (they hadn’t gotten together to discuss it) were more likely to be correct than those made by experts. This was not about group think or consensus. It was about individuals assessing information and coming to the same or similar conclusions by themselves.

The book looked more at economics and business but it has applications in health. Figures in The Weekend Australian show that over the last six years full fat milk sales as a percentage of the total has gone from under 50% to nearly 66%. Demand for butter is up 20% and sales of vegetable oil margarines have fallen. Over half of all spreads sold are now pure butter at a premium price.

The wisdom of the crowd is on display here. Four decades of low fat diets have led to record rates of obesity and type two diabetes. Many people have figured this out. By adapting a lower carbohydrate and higher fat diet many find they lose weight and feel better.

Much criticism is directed at “Dr Google” and whilst not everything on the Internet is right, not everything is wrong either. The science has clearly shown us that fats in the diet are not the problem we were told they are. Fat consumption does not cause weight gain and the cholesterol heart hypothesis has been seriously questioned and must be regarded as just that – a theory rather than a dogmatic fact.

Yet whilst the crowd uses its independent wisdom what do the experts in big public heath do. They continue to flog the low fat dietary guidelines and attack those who question them. Some commentators have suggested only a class action will call them to account.

A mea culpa and apology does not seem to be on their agenda.

But it actually gets worse than this.

As Machiavelli wrote in 1513, those who advocate for change will be fought by existing vested interests who will use the power of the state to attempt to crush them.

The case of Dr Gary Fettke is a classic example where a complaint was made by a dietician to the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA). The end result was a censoring of Dr Fettke. Leaked emails suggest the attempts to silence him went to the top of the Dietician Association of Australia (DAA). A similar case was run against Professor Tim Noakes in South Africa.

Meanwhile the DAA has been exposed in having potentially misled its members and the public about its attempt to be independently accredited and registered with AHPRA. The DAA claims it applied, yet an investigation (click here to read more) found the government had no record of it.

Even worse still is the attempt to silence doctors such as myself who question conventional thinking. I urge you to read “Are doctors allowed to have freedom of speech” (click here) and if in Australia contact your MP to register your support of free speech.

We do not know all there is to know. Not everything we do in medicine works. The notion that no dissent can be expressed, reflects arrogance only the regulatory class would have. Their distaste at being questioned and being held accountable is appalling. Yet senior bureaucrats have no issue with feathering their own nests.

The days of the expert from on high being always right have gone. The public gets this. Those in power do not. Their pride is the prelude to their ultimate fall.