Monday, February 1, 2010

After the war on salt, the battle against butter

From Spiked Online:

It certainly seems to be the case that eating more saturated fat increases the amount of cholesterol in your blood. It’s the cholesterol - or more particularly these days, the so-called bad cholesterol - which is deemed to cause those furry arteries. The trouble is that intervening in diet doesn’t seem to make a great deal of difference. In the early Eighties, a massive intervention trial called MRFIT reduced cholesterol and saturated fat intake for a large group of Americans. If the theory was right, the result should have been a sharp drop in heart attacks. The actual result? No change. The kind of dietary changes that people are constantly told to make had no effect on the risk of having a coronary. Incredibly, however, this negative result had no effect on the popularity of the diet-causes-heart-attacks thesis, either.

In 1998, the Danish doctor and cholesterol sceptic Uffe Ravnskov noted: ‘The crucial test is the controlled, randomised trial. Eight such trials using diet as the only treatment have been performed but neither the number of fatal or non-fatal heart attacks was reduced.’ Indeed, as Gary Taubes notes in his book The Diet Delusion, there was initially a lot of scepticism about the idea that cholesterol was a killer and it was only when the idea got the official stamp of approval from the US government in the 1960s that it became regarded as common sense; as Taubes shows, the epidemiological evidence for the theory was full of holes. (For a review of the book, see The Copernicus of the diet debate? by Rob Lyons.)

Full article here

And as ever, I'd urge people to read this article from The New York Times concerning the Taubes' book referred to above: Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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