Christiane Northrup, writing in Huffington Post, practically urged readers to get thee to the nearest Burger King. "Think about it," she wrote, "It's not the burger with cheese and bacon that's the issue. It's the ketchup, the bun, and the fries." Michael Pollan, commenting on the Times coverage of the study, tweeted: "About time!"
As a rule, one should be suspect when any nutrition study is widely celebrated. Sure enough, as so often happens, the other shoe quickly dropped on the saturated fat news. Within days of publication, critics of the study-as well as the researchers themselves-reported a slew of not insignificant errors. In one case the authors misinterpreted a study showing a strong correlation between unsaturated fats and positive heart health and, in another, they overlooked two critical studies on omega-6 fatty acids that presumably did not support their findings.
Scientists were unusually vocal in their critiques. The omissions, according to a New Zealand scientist, "demonstrate shoddy research and make one wonder whether there are more that haven't been detected." The authors of the study "have done a huge amount of damage," Walter Willet, the chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Science. Deeming the work "dangerous," he called for a retraction.