Pastor Charles Spurgeon once asked which “science” should be trusted; the “science” of 50 years ago, the “science” of today, or the “science” of 50 years in the future?” I wrestled with this question early in my career.
In 1975, Dr Everett Hughes told me that we’d be eating lunch in the cafeteria the following week. Being 26 years old and therefore flat broke, I packed a lunch and joined him at the University of Southern California cafeteria on the scheduled day. I had invested in an old home in Los Angeles and it had a huge avocado tree in the back yard, and it had hundreds of avocados growing on it. Given my love of avocados and my finances, I probably ate avocados, including guacamole, every day during those years.
Sitting directly across from us at lunch that day was a group of young women with “dietician” name badges. We struck up a conversation and one of them told me to be very careful of eating too many avocados because the fat in them was linked to heart disease. Oh, my, how “science” changes!
A Harvard University newsletter recently stated, “Compared with people who never or rarely ate avocados, those who ate at least two servings each week had a 16% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of experiencing a heart attack or related problem due to coronary artery disease.”
We must trust what our doctors tell us, because often their advice is lifesaving. But understand that what they are advising you to do today likely has more to do with the year in which they are advising you than the “science” a few years later. In 1950, for example, 80% of doctors would have recommended that you smoke Camel cigarettes! Trust but verify…