Many nutritionists with a formal western education believe that conventional nutrition “wisdom” needn’t be questioned. One of the most strongly protected pieces of nutritional wisdom is that saturated fat is bad for you and will clog your arteries. The overwhelming majority of professionals in western medicine believe this to be true (because it’s what they were taught in school), but is it really?
The role of saturated fats in heart disease is a hot-button topic in nutrition today. This hasn’t made its way into the mainstream media flow (think for a moment about all the commercials for weight loss products, food, and drugs; all the money made on medical visits and procedures, and by facilities), but many of the top minds in science and medicine today are being forced to re-examine Ancel Keys’ unproven lipid hypothesis (several decades ago he hypothesized that dietary saturated fat causes coronary heart disease/cardiovascular disease).
High Cholesterol on Trial: Fear Sure is Lucrative, but…
“When you see something, a study that is an outlier, you must pay even more attention to it… because it may be paradoxical, and you need to explain why that is.” – Tim Noakes
“When the evidence disagrees with you, you better start changing your ideas; and if you can’t do that, it’s wrong.” – Tim Noakes
Dr. William Castelli interpreted the data from the original Framingham study as “disappointing.” Here is his full quote, published in an article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine:
“Most of what we know about the effects of diet factors, particularly the saturation of fat and cholesterol, on serum lipid parameters derives from metabolic ward-type studies. Alas, such findings, within a cohort studied over time have been disappointing; indeed the findings have been contradictory. For example, in Framingham, Mass, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol.”
In large population studies, a link between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease has never been shown. In both the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MR-FIT) no significant correlation was found between dietary consumption of saturated fat and cardiovascular disease! In both of these studies researchers admitted to being “disappointed” by the lack of results.
Dr. Frank Hu, a medical doctor and professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, contends that:
“…diets that are typically low in fat (particularly saturated fat) and high in complex carbohydrates led to substantial decline in the percentage of energy intake from total and saturated fats in the United States. At the same time, it has spurred a compensatory increase in consumption of refined carbohydrates and added sugars-a dietary shift that may be contributing to the current twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes.
The changed landscape in obesity and dietary patterns suggests a need to reassess the dominant diet-heart paradigm and related dietary recommendations, i.e., the strategy of replacing total and saturated fats with carbohydrates.”
The aforementioned quote references a study published in the May 2009 edition of the same journal that pooled the results from 11 American and European studies. In the study, replacing saturated fat calories with high GI carbohydrates actually increased the risk of heart disease.
Ronald Krauss, a highly respected researcher and physician a the University of California, stated “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD [coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease].”
“The reality is doctors, dietitians and all other health professionals who happily swallowed conventional wisdom on cholesterol and saturated fat did so without checking the science behind it.
Turns out, there wasn’t any, and they should say sorry for that.”
Overmedication of millions
Noakes calls statins “the most ineffective drugs ever invented”. They come with over 900 studies pointing to a litany of serious side effects including muscle spasm, nausea, and worse: increased risk of diabetes and cancer.
Malhotra, in his BMJ report, says, “the (UK) government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol, which has led to the overmedication of millions of people with statins, has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia”. That’s the medical term for abnormal cholesterol implicated in damaging coronary arteries characterised by low HDL, high triglycerides, driven by trans fats and refined carbs.
Top cardiologists around the globe still embrace statins with messianic zeal, and prescribe them to more and younger people, even children. These doctors and conventional dietitians who follow their lead, act as if heart disease were the consequence of a deficiency of statins in the diet, not saturated fat and cholesterol, as science proves is far more likely the case.
Cholesterol and mortality. 30 years of follow-up from the Framingham study.
From 1951 to 1955 serum cholesterol levels were measured in 1959 men and 2415 women aged between 31 and 65 years who were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. Under age 50 years, cholesterol levels are directly related with 30-year overall and CVD mortality; overall death increases 5% and CVD death 9% for each 10 mg/dL. After age 50 years there is no increased overall mortality with either high or low serum cholesterol levels. There is a direct association between falling cholesterol levels over the first 14 years and mortality over the following 18 years (11% overall and 14% CVD death rate increase per 1 mg/dL per year drop in cholesterol levels). Under age 50 years these data suggest that having a very low cholesterol level improves longevity. After age 50 years the association of mortality with cholesterol values is confounded by people whose cholesterol levels are falling–perhaps due to diseases predisposing to death.
Dr. Robert Lustig on LDL Cholesterals, Triglycerides, Testing, and the Impact of Carbohydrates
(Robert H. Lustig, M.D., M.S.L. is Professor emeritus of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He specializes in the field of neuroendocrinology, with an emphasis on the regulation of energy balance by the central nervous system. His research and clinical practice has focused on childhood obesity and diabetes. Dr. Lustig holds a Bachelor’s in Science from MIT, a Doctorate in Medicine from Cornell University. Medical College, and a Master’s of Studies in Law from U.C. Hastings College of the Law.)
Government revises Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Go ahead and have some eggs
The federal government on Thursday told Americans not to worry so much about cholesterol in their diets, that lots of coffee is fine and that skipping breakfast is no longer considered a health hazard.
The recommendations were part of a new “Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” the influential nutrition advice book that, updated every five years, expresses official thinking about what constitutes a nutritious meal.
In what may be the most striking change, the new version drops the strict limit on dietary cholesterol, stepping back from one of most prominent public health messages since the ’60s.
But there were several other notable changes. Salt limits were eased, if only slightly, for many people. Coffee won official approval for the first time, with the book saying that as many as five eight-ounce cups a day is fine. And apparently, skipping breakfast is no longer considered a health hazard: While the old version of Dietary Guidelines informed readers that “not eating breakfast has been associated with excess body weight,” the new version is silent on the topic.
Why Women Should Stop Their Cholesterol-Lowering Medication
If you are a post-menopausal woman with high cholesterol, your doctor will almost certainly recommend cholesterol-lowering medication or statins. And it just might kill you. A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that statins increase the risk of getting diabetes by 71 percent in post-menopausal women. Since diabetes is a major cause of heart disease, this study calls into question current recommendations and guidelines from most professional medical associations and physicians. The recommendation for women to take statins to prevent heart attacks (called primary prevention) may do more harm than good.
Statins have been proven to prevent second heart attacks, but not first heart attacks. Take it if you already have had one, but beware if your doctor recommends it for you if have never had a heart attack.
This current study adds to an increasing body of literature questioning the benefits of statins, while highlighting their potential risks.
Statin use and risk of diabetes mellitus in postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative.
This study investigates whether the incidence of new-onset diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with statin use among postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).
The WHI recruited 161,808 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years at 40 clinical centers across the United States from 1993 to 1998 with ongoing follow-up. The current analysis includes data through 2005. Statin use was captured at enrollment and year 3. Incident DM status was determined annually from enrollment. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the risk of DM by statin use, with adjustments for propensity score and other potential confounding factors. Subgroup analyses by race/ethnicity, obesity status, and age group were conducted to uncover effect modification.
Statin medication use in postmenopausal women is associated with an increased risk for DM. This may be a medication class effect. Further study by statin type and dose may reveal varying risk levels for new-onset DM in this population.