The Great Cholesterol Myth and why it has been promoted

 

In late October (2013), Australia’s Government-owned broadcaster, the ABC, broadcast two episodes of its Catalyst science programme, conducting a thorough examination of the role of cholesterol in heart disease, and the prescription of statins in particular to lower this “risky” cholesterol (thank you, Christopher).

The first on 24 October 2013 was called Heart of the Matter Part 1 – Dietary Villains

The second on 31 October 2013 was called Heart of the Matter Part 2 – Cholesterol Drug War

In my view, these were very well researched, and the evidence was overwhelming:

The evidence does not support the notion that cholesterol is a causal factor in heart disease.

Quite independently the following article entitled The Great Cholesterol Myth by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick came across my desk yesterday. Dr. Kendrick has written a book entitled The Great Cholesterol Con.

I quote from this article:

The cholesterol hypothesis can be likened to a cathedral built on a bog. Rather than admit they made a horrible mistake and let it sink, the builders decided to try and keep the cathedral afloat at all costs. Each time a crack appeared, a new buttress was built. Then further buttresses were built to support the original buttresses.

Although direct contradictions to the cholesterol hypothesis repeatedly appear, nobody dares to say ‘okay, this isn’t working, time to build again from scratch’. That decision has become just too painful, especially
now that massive industries, Nobel prizes, and glittering scientific careers, have grown on the back of the cholesterol hypothesis. The statin market alone is worth more than US$14 billion each year.

In reality, cracks in the hypothesis appeared right from the very start. The first of these was the stark observation by Prof. Ancel Keys that cholesterol in the diet has no effect on cholesterol levels in the bloodstream: “There’s no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in blood. And we’ve known that all along. Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t matter at all unless you happen to be a chicken or a rabbit.”1

A bit of a blow to a cholesterol hypothesis, you might think, to find that dietary cholesterol has no effect on blood cholesterol levels. However, as everyone was by then fully convinced that something rich and ‘fatty’ in the diet was the primary cause of heart disease, nobody was willing to let go.

So the hypothesis quietly altered, from cholesterol in the diet to saturated fat in the diet – or a bit of both. As if cholesterol and saturated fat are similar things. In reality, this could hardly be further from the truth. Saturated fat and cholesterol have completely different functions in the body, and they have very different chemical structures.

As chemist Joseph Black warned over 200 years ago: “A nice adaptation of conditions will make almost any hypothesis agree with the phenomena. This will please the imagination, but does not advance our knowledge.”2

Unfortunately, this adaptation did not work. It is true that Ancel Keys appeared to have proven the link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease, but when it came to the major interventional trials, confirmation proved elusive.

The MR-FIT trial in the USA was the most determined effort to prove the case. This was a massive study in which over 350,000 men at high risk of heart disease were recruited. In one set of participants, cholesterol consumption was cut by 42 percent, saturated fat consumption by 28 percent and total calories by 21 percent. This should have made a noticeable dent in heart disease rates.

But nothing happened. The originators of the MR-FIT trials refer to the results as “disappointing,” and say in their conclusions: “The overall results do not show a beneficial effect on Coronary Heart Disease or total mortality from this multifactor intervention.”

In fact, no clinical trial on reducing saturated fat intake has ever shown a reduction in heart disease. Some have shown the exact opposite:

“As multiple interventions against risk factors for coronary heart disease in middle aged men at only moderate risk seem to have failed to reduce both morbidity and mortality such interventions become increasingly difficult to justify. This runs counter to the recommendations of many national and international advisory bodies which must now take the recent findings from Finland into consideration. Not to do so may be ethically unacceptable.”3

This quote followed a disturbing trial involving Finnish businessmen. In a 10-year follow-up to the original five-year trial, it was found that those men who continued to follow a low saturated fat diet were twice as likely to die of heart disease as those who didn’t.

It is not as if this was one negative to set against a whole series of positive trials. In 1998, the Danish doctor Uffe Ravnskov looked at a broader selection of trials: “The crucial test is the controlled, randomised trial. Eight such trials using diet as the only treatment has been performed but neither the number of fatal or non-fatal heart attacks was reduced.” As Ravnskov makes clear, no trial has ever demonstrated benefits from reducing dietary saturated fat. At this point most people might think it was time to pull the plug.

Far from it. In 1988, the surgeon general’s office in the USA decided to silence the nay sayers by putting together the definitive report proving a causal link. Eleven years later the project was abandoned. In a circulated letter, it was stated that the office “did not anticipate fully the magnitude of the additional external expertise and staff resources that would be needed.”

Bill Harlan, a member of the oversight committee and associate director of the Office of Disease Prevention at the US National Institute of Health, says: “The report was initiated with a preconceived opinion of the conclusions, but the science behind those opinions was not holding up. Clearly the thoughts of yesterday were not going to serve us very well.”

The sound of a sinking cathedral fills the air with a great sucking slurpy noise. But still nobody let go. Instead, more buttresses were desperately thrown at a rapidly disappearing pile of rocks.

Variations on a theme emerged. It is not saturated fat per se that causes heart disease. It’s the ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fat that is critical. Or is it the consumption of monounsaturated fats, or a lack of omega-3 fatty acids, or an excess of omega-6? Take your pick. These, and a host of other add-on hypotheses, have their proponents.

As of today nobody can – or will – tell you which type of fat, in what proportions, added to what type of anti-oxidant, vegetable, monounsaturated fat or omega-3 is the true culprit. Hugely complicated explanations are formulated, but they all fall apart under scrutiny.

This may all seem incredible, such has been the level of anti-fat propaganda, but it is true. With the exception of the Ancel Keys’ flawed Seven Countries Study (he pre-selected the seven countries for his study in order to prove his hypothesis), there is not one scrap of direct evidence.

But, of course, there are two parts to the cholesterol hypothesis. The diet part, and the raised cholesterol level part. Leaving diet behind, surely it has been proven beyond doubt that a raised cholesterol level is the most important cause of heart disease?

End of quote.

 All in all, a pretty damning picture of a well-orchestrated train smash in human health.

And to make it even more entertaining, we have the ABC’s own health specialist Dr Norman Swan that the Catalyst report could cause death. At least The Age newspaper that carried this story had the decency to place the article under their entertainment section.

I encourage you to watch the two Catalyst episodes or read the transcripts provided, and as you do so, I encourage you to examine how this con came to be put in place, because it is so evident if you focus on it, and it points to the hand behind it. In simple terms, the path for Ancel Keys to be able to sell his deceptive story was cleared. Articles were published in major magazines to laud his “great work”. Keys was placed in a position where he could influence the acceptance of his scant evidence. US political posturing was used to reinforce the adoption of statin drugs. Then of course we have the Nobel prizes and the wonderfully successful careers for those who play the game… And so it goes.

We even now have those arguing statins should be put in the water supply. Sound familiar?

As I said earlier, for me the case is pretty clear:

·    Cholesterol is not a causal factor in heart disease

·    We have been sold down the drain on what is the best diet for us

 I quote from the first Catalyst episode:

Dr Stephen Sinatra
Well, the inflammatory theory of heart disease I think is accepted more and more now. I think the general
cardiovascular community is still focusing on cholesterol. They need to focus more on inflammation, and that’s where, you know, emotional stress…

But sugar. Sugar is really the fall when it comes to cardiovascular disease. You see, we’ve placed all this emphasis on cholesterol, we’ve taken it off sugar, and that’s the problem. Then you’re getting more insulin responses, and we know that insulin is the number one indicator for inducing what we call inflammation of blood vessels.

Dr Jonny Bowden
Sugar is far more damaging to the heart than fat ever was, and we’re beginning to see this now. So, this focus on cholesterol has been incredibly destructive because we haven’t looked at these real promoters of heart disease – inflammation, oxidative damage, sugar in the diet, and number one with a bullet – stress.

We have been steered away from healthy saturated fats to unhealthy unsaturated fats:

Dr Jonny Bowden
Margarine is the perfect example of the stupidest nutritional swap-out in history. We had this trans fat-laden crappy manufactured product that we were eating because we were so phobic about saturated fat and cholesterol.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
To switch to polyunsaturated fats with the vegetable oils, that’s horrific advice. The polyunsaturated fats, the vegetable oils, these omega-6 oils, are inflammatory because they’re very prone to oxidation.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
Have we been given the wrong advice?

Dr Michael Eades
We’ve absolutely been given the wrong advice. People became afraid of saturated fat, so they said, ‘OK, we’ve got to do something to replace the saturated fats, and so let’s do it with vegetable oils.’ Well, vegetable oils don’t have the same cooking qualities that saturated fats do. Polyunsaturated fats have a lot of double bonds in them, and double bonds are prone to free radical attack.

It becomes a rancid fat, and it becomes really bad for you. Saturated fats, on the other hand, have no double bonds. That’s why they’re incredibly stable. That’s why they’re great for cooking. That’s why they’re great for frying. And that’s why they don’t really perpetuate free radical cascades in the body, because they’re inert fats.

Which has been used to justify a so-called food pyramid (created of course primarily by the food industry and other vested interests) which focusses on a high carbohydrate diet:

NARRATION

Dr Sullivan does concede that an aspect of the food pyramid was a mistake. He says replacing fats with carbohydrates didn’t help the rising obesity problem.

Dr David Sullivan
If you replace fat with carbohydrate, you will probably be a little bit more inclined to be hungry; your insulin
levels will be a bit higher, you’ll have high levels of triglyceride, higher levels of glucose and less of your good cholesterol to avert problems. We certainly probably gave some advice which was a good way to avert one pathway, but people then tracked down another pathway, and that’s what’s led to the revision of dietary guidelines.

 If you watched the presentations by Dr. Russell Blaylock that I shared with you yesterday, you will appreciate what a massive understatement by Dr. Sullivan this is.

So one could look at all of this and consider it to be a medical error or misunderstanding. Perhaps it is, but to me it has the stench of the eugenicists (such an unfashionable term) at work. A perfect two-pronged attack. Make people fearful of what is actually good for them, and then sell them a raft of expensive drugs to address the non-existent but perceived problem, destroying essential body cholesterols in the process.

This change in diet encourages us to be unaware of the impact that a high carb diet has on the human body (carbs are the real source of the excess body fat and the epidemic in type 2 diabetes we see in the Us in particular but growing elsewhere), and it puts us all directly in the path of the GMO freight train coming our way.

All of this is completely consistent with the picture painted for us by Dr. Lawrence Dunegan in his 1991 recordings. This was such a gift to us in understanding how deeply our experience is being manipulated. Listening to these recollections will leave you shocked to your core about what is being done to us.

So let us return to the diet that supported our ancestors (especially if they were Italian) – whole foods with low sugar, high in Omega 3 and saturated fats, and low in grains. Start cooking with butter again. Or
(heaven forbid) lard. And in doing so, help to cut one of the arms off that thousand-armed octopus that is manipulating the human experience so deeply.

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