Few aspects of human life have been as thoroughly studied as nutrition. If there is any disagreement with this assertion, I would recommend the skeptic undertake a simple Google search of the term. There are 125,000,000 results. If this does not sufficiently quell objection, then a quick stroll down Amazon’s offering of diet books will also impress.

I am unsure when the scientific community initiated serious enquiry into the topic, but assume it predates predates fire and the wheel. (“No eat red berry on pointy-leaf bush. Make you bad sick.”) And while there is substantial controversy over the finer points of what is good for us and what is not, most of us are pretty sure we have the basics down. Today, for example, we know that refined sugar is almost as deadly as a handgun, that processed food will cause colon cancers with the virulence of ebola and that quinoa, kale salad and gluten-free pasta are the keys to multicentennial longevity.

Okay, maybe there is still some quibbling about the sugar, or some doubt about just how fast a Cheese Doodle will kill you or whether any lifespan could be prolonged sufficiently to justify quinoa. But one thing that we know for sure — that is as obvious as the smirk on Colbert’s face — is that FAT IS BAD!

The cover of this week’s TIME magazine terefore may come as a bit of a shock:

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Shit oh dear.

Actually, this development, while entertaining, is beside my point, which is this: we have spent billions of dollars, billions of man-hours and god-knows-how-much-god-knows-what studying fat, and while we may have been wary of proclaiming it as deadly a threat to our health as, say, diphtheria, it’s certainly close up there. And these are scientists looking through those microscopes and spinning those centrifuges, folks — honest-to-gosh lab people with degrees out their asses and government grants that could equip the entire population of Gabon with designer wardrobes and Patek Philippe watches.

Please forgive me, therefore, those of you who look down your nose and wearily advise me that climate change is “settled science,” if I regard you with the same amazement as I would a pink baboon.