High Cholesterol

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].”