Each year is fuller than the last. More and more scientific papers are published each year, and that trend is only quickening. The same trend goes for books, products, businesses. Humans are incredible producers. It’s what we do—create and consume.
So, whenever I do a “year in review” type of post, it’s harder than the previous year. There’s too much to cover. Hell, in 2017 alone there were over 17,000 papers published on saturated fat. 17,000.
But let’s give it a shot. What are some takeaways as we finish out 2017?
1. Vegetable oils are still really, really bad.
- Canola oil worsens cognition in an Alzheimer’s model.
- Linoleic acid makes alcohol harder on the liver.
- “Edible oils” are probably responsible for South Asian diabetes epidemic.
2. Keto works.
- Even without exercise.
- In autistic children.
- For Mick Jagger.
- For NFL stars.
- It’s just too bad it’s impossible to follow.
3. Everything has a circadian rhythm, and the circadian rhythm affects everything.
- Breastmilk has one.
- Heart surgery is safer in the afternoon.
- Regular eating times improve circadian protection of skin against UV damage.
- Blue-blocking goggles increase melatonin at night, even if you use a smartphone.
- We don’t get enough daytime light.
- Three Americans got Nobel prizes for their work on circadian physiology.
4. What the Health, this year’s token vegan screed, came out to rapturous applause. In one of my favorite pieces of the year, Robb Wolf took it apart piece by piece and, in doing so, definitively commented on anti-meat hysteria and bad science in general.
5. We learned that the sugar industry has been stifling anti-sugar research results for decades, surprising no one while enraging almost everyone (with an honest bone in their body).
6. We learned more and more about ancient human evolution and migration. It turns out that our history is even crazier and more impressive than we thought.
- Easter Islanders made it to South America before Europeans.
- Humans trickling into Europe from Africa laid waste to the Neanderthals, who lived in small, isolated bands and managed to get a lot of their genes into the modern human brain.
- Agriculture brought smaller, weaker jaws and introduced the first taxable crops.
- Homo Erectus may have had deep thoughts almost 2 million years ago.
- We had skull cults.
- Ancient Egyptians were genetically closer to European and Middle Eastern populations than Central African ones.
7. Human gene editing drew ever nearer to the mainstream.
- Using genes to choose the best embryos is almost possible.
- China’s already embracing it.
- The first embryos were edited in America.
- But CRISPR may cause unintended mutations.
8. Awareness of digital media’s effect on our health and happiness grew.
- The creators of the social media “attention economy” publicly warned against the coming smartphone dystopia.
- “The Unabomber had a point.”
- Facebook’s problem? “Content without context.”
- Having your phone in the same room drains your cognitive capacity, even if it’s turned off.
- “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”
9. There was serious debate over whether we’re educating and parenting our kids the right way.
- School stunts development.
- How we’re talking to our kids wrong.
- Playground games must be approved by a committee.
- Barefooted kids are more engaged at school.
- The FDA acknowledged that peanut exposure can reduce peanut allergy.
- Teens who sleep less have a higher risk of substance abuse.
- A little TV is okay for children as long as they watch and discuss it with a caretaker.
- Ritalin has long-term effects on neurotransmitters.
- Dad not being there increases cellular stress.
10. Even as health and food-related tech has largely come up short, there were some promising developments.
11. I had a few momentous occasions happen that really made the year for me:
- Hitting the New York Times Bestseller List with The Keto Reset Diet.
- Being on Good Morning America to talk about the Keto Reset.
- Having Keto Reset hit number #1 on Amazon.
- Primal Kitchen Restaurants opening in South Bend, IN and Culver City, CA, with more to come.
- The continued success and expansion of the Primal Health Coach Certification program.
I’ve been doing this thing for over 10 years now, and it still feels fresh, still feels new and exciting. Because despite all the studies, developments, news reports, and personal experimentation, we still don’t know much of anything. A whopping 99% of the gut biome is a complete mystery, for example. There’s a lot more for us to learn. I look forward to sharing and discussing it with all of you.
What were your big takeaways for 2017?
Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care and be well.