What did the Surgeon General actually say about ice cream?

As part of an op-ed blast at federal nutrition guidelines, Jonah Goldberg cites a 1988 Surgeon General’s report “declaring ice cream to be a “comparable” public health threat to cigarettes. The science was settled.”

When I Google this subject, the only references to the Surgeon General’s report and ice cream as a supposed public health threat involve Goldberg’s op-ed.

A PDF of the 1988 report is available online, but the excerpts I’ve perused (the thing is over 700 pages long) only advise against overconsumption of fat, saturated fat and sugar.

Since this promises to become a meme along the ever-popular lines of “Science wuz wrong before!”, can anyone point me to a specific statement in the 1988 Surgeon General’s report (or in any federal agency publication) that equates ice cream with cigarette smoking as a public health threat?

*side note: we are already seeing mis-reporting of the latest scientific review into risks of red meat and processed meat consumption, declaring that the study found processed meat-eating to be as big a cancer threat as smoking - something the study did not say.

This week’s “On The Media” had a very good presentation (podcast available here) on the general topic of media reporting of health “news” and how the media mis-represent so much in that area.

I don’t have an answer to your main question about ice cream, but this is a good overview.

As I recall (vaguely), the Surgeon General’s comment was that obesity was as serious a health threat as cigarette smoking, leading to hypertension, heart problems, diabetes, etc. And eating things like ice cream, without enough exercise, could cause this.

So the ‘comparable’ problem was obesity, not specifically ice cream.

Current medical experts would probably agree. After all, only about 20% of Americans smoke, but close to 50% are overweight.

90% of all ice cream headaches can be avoided by abstaining from eating ice cream.