Could it be that we’ve been being misled all these years?
Spend just 15 minutes on the story of how one man (Ancel Keys) gave us the obesity epidemic, increased rates of cardiovascular disease, made billions for the pharmaceutical and industrialized food industry, and programmed us to be afraid of fat and cholesterol.
Keys got his [still unproven] hypothesis accepted by the USDA, the American Medical Association, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association, and off we went. . . .
“Dietary fat is not the determinant of either high cholesterol or coronary heart disease” […] ”the diet heart hypothesis is the greatest scam ever perpetrated on the American public.“
– Dr. George Mann (one of the researchers on the Framingham study)
An excerpt from a NYT piece on this: “In the late 1960s, biochemists created a simple technique for measuring, more specifically, the cholesterol inside the different kinds of lipoproteins — high-density, low-density and very low-density. The National Institutes of Health financed a handful of studies to determine whether these “cholesterol fractions” could predict the risk of cardiovascular disease. In 1977, the researchers reported their results: total cholesterol turned out to be surprisingly useless as a predictor. Researchers involved with the Framingham Heart Study found that in men and women 50 and older, “total cholesterol per se is not a risk factor for coronary heart disease at all.” […]
The truth is, we’ve always had reason to question the idea that cholesterol is an agent of disease. Indeed, what the Framingham researchers meant in 1977 when they described LDL cholesterol as a “marginal risk factor” is that a large proportion of people who suffer heart attacks have relatively low LDL cholesterol.
So how did we come to believe strongly that LDL cholesterol is so bad for us? It was partly due to the observation that eating saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol, and we’ve assumed that saturated fat is bad for us. This logic is circular, though: saturated fat is bad because it raises LDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol is bad because it is the thing that saturated fat raises. In clinical trials, researchers have been unable to generate compelling evidence that saturated fat in the diet causes heart disease.” – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/opinion/27taubes.html
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
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 believes 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 and 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.
Additionally, and potentially more importantly, are these key points to consider concerning viable dietary approaches to your sustained health and wellness:
And what if we’re wrong about diabetes?
Sugars & Alcohol (same): The Biochemistry of the sugar you will find in about 75% of the food available at your local grocery store (video added 8/24/2017 1:00 PM):
The video above is excerpted from Sugar: The Bitter Truth, which I highly recommend.
Salt. Do lower sodium dietary recommendations in orthodox western medicine lead to more health problems and more pharmaceutical prescriptions to treat those problems? Consider this:
Pass the salt: The myth of the low-salt diet
… researcher James DiNicolantonio shakes up a nutritional hornet’s nest with his new book, The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got it All Wrong — and How Eating More Might Save Your Life. DiNicolantonio’s argument is simple: There is no credible evidence that a salt-restricted diet lowers blood pressure in the vast majority of people, nor does it lead to heart disease or stroke. In fact, he argues, salt restriction is harmful and seems to predispose us to such conditions as insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, abnormal workloads on the heart, and kidney disease. Finally, DiNicolantonio reminds us that salt is the wrong little white crystal to blame for chronic illness. The real culprit is sugar.
Fifty percent of Americans are currently monitoring or attempting to reduce their sodium intake and 25 percent are being told by a health professional to curb their sodium consumption. Avoiding salt is one of the Health Commandments. But as DiNicolantonio takes readers through the history of the scientific debates about salt — what he calls the Salt Wars — you can only be impressed by the weakness of the evidence in support of the original calls in the 1950s and ’60s for salt-restriction. Sample sizes were small, evidence misstated and there were no randomized controlled studies, the gold standard for medical research.
The problem for the salt-skeptics was that the data were ambiguous at best and, at worst, failed to show any significant relationship at all between salt intake, blood pressure and heart disease. When such a relationship was found at all, it was tiny — perhaps, at the most, a one point increase in a subject’s systolic or diastolic pressure. DiNicolantonio argues that most people, in fact, are not sensitive to salt intake at all. Drawing on his substantial knowledge of pathophysiology, he points out that for those of us with normal blood pressure, our kidneys are an incredibly powerful factory that efficiently excretes salt when levels rise above very tightly regulated upper limits (normal kidneys can filter the equivalent of over 1 teaspoon of salt every five minutes). When salt is restricted, on the other hand, our body regards this situation as life-threatening and initiates a cascade of hormonal and metabolic rescue maneuvers that, themselves, have negative side effects, including increases in heart rate and elevated serum levels of insulin, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Science writer Gary Taubes once described it this way: “The controversy over the benefits, if any, of salt reduction now constitutes one of the longest running, most vitriolic and surreal disputes in all of medicine.”