The American Heart Association Bravely Admits They’ve Been Right All Along … Part Two

The American Heart Association made a big splash recently by declaring that, by gosh, they’ve been right all along: saturated fats DO cause heart disease, so consuming coconut oil and other sources of saturated fat is a bad idea. We should all be consuming vegetable oils instead to lower our cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

Here’s a quote from Dr. Frank Sacks, the lead author of the AHA’s report:

“We want to set the record straight on why well-conducted scientific research overwhelmingly supports limiting saturated fat in the diet to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels.”

In a post last week, I pointed out that the American Heart Association’s very existence depends on people believing saturated fat and cholesterol are deadly. The AHA receives hundreds of millions of dollars in donations and licensing fees from Big Pharma and the makers of low-fat foods. If the Diet-Heart Hypothesis ever dies, so does the American Heart Association.

I also pointed out that Dr. Sacks once headed the AHA’s Nutrition Committee – which means he was given the task of determining if the advice he’s been peddling is correct. If the AHA wanted an objective report, they wouldn’t assign it to someone who would be committing professional suicide if he came to any other conclusion.

Gary Taubes wrote a detailed critique of the AHA’s report. The brief version is that Sacks and the other researchers engaged in rather creative cherry-picking. Somehow, in their objective search for scientific truth, they managed to exclude all but four clinical studies … and wouldn’t you know it, those four studies just happened to support the AHA’s position on saturated fats.

Taubes pointed out the flaws in those four studies. I don’t want to cover the same ground here. Instead, we’ll look at some contrary evidence Dr. Sacks chose to ignore. But first, here’s the abstract from the AHA report:

Prospective observational studies in many populations showed that lower intake of saturated fat coupled with higher intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat is associated with lower rates of CVD and of other major causes of death and all-cause mortality. In contrast, replacement of saturated fat with mostly refined carbohydrates and sugars is not associated with lower rates of CVD and did not reduce CVD in clinical trials. Replacement of saturated with unsaturated fats lowers low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a cause of atherosclerosis, linking biological evidence with incidence of CVD in populations and in clinical trials. Taking into consideration the totality of the scientific evidence, satisfying rigorous criteria for causality, we conclude strongly that lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of CVD.

“Taking into consideration the totality of the scientific evidence … “

Heck, I thought I was the comedian. That statement is just plain funny. Sacks and the other researchers didn’t consider anything close to the totality of the evidence.

Here are some quotes from a study titled Serum Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis in Man. (Sorry, all I have is a PDF in my files, not a link I can share.)

No correlation between the two could be found between the two, indicating that, when the age factor was removed, the positive correlation between aortic atherosclerosis and serum total cholesterol was statistically insignificant.

The points were scattered at random, showing there is no correlation between the serum total cholesterol and the amount and severity of aortic atherosclerosis.

Now for the punchline … that study was published in 1961 by the American Heart Association. Yup, their own study concluded that higher cholesterol doesn’t mean more heart disease.

And here’s a quote from one of the many analyses of data gathered from the long-running Framingham study:

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).

Got that? For each one-point drop in cholesterol, there was a 14% increase in cardiovascular death. Boy, doesn’t that make you want to run out and drink a Crestor cocktail?

Ah, but wait! Faced with such contrary evidence, the lipophobes later decided that it’s really the LDL cholesterol that matters, ya see. That’s the bad stuff. Keep that LDL level down to avoid heart disease.

Once again, we can cite the AHA’s own data to dispute that one. A nationwide study conducted by UCLA showed that 72.1% of people hospitalized for a heart attack had LDL levels below 130 – the supposed safe range for LDL. Here’s what the average lipid values were among the heart-attack patients:

Low total cholesterol and low LDL on average. (But please note they had high triglycerides and low HDL. A low-carb, high-fat diet lowers triglycerides and raises HDL.)

Looking at the data another way, we can say that only 27.9% of heart-attack victims had the “high” LDL levels that the American Heart Association tells us to avoid. But to know if that’s a meaningful figure, we also have to know what percentage of the population has high LDL. After all, if only 15% of Americans have high LDL but account for nearly 28% of heart attacks, we’d have to conclude the AHA has a point.

While writing a post in 2010 on that topic, I looked up some data on the AHA website. According to their own figures, 32.6% of Americans over age 20 have LDL levels above 130. So putting two and two together, here’s what we get:

People with “high” LDL make up 32.6% of the population, but account for just 27.9% of the heart attacks.

For those of you who prefer pictures, here’s a chart of some data taken from a 2002 National Institutes of Health report. The green bars represent the distribution of LDL levels among people in the 55-74 age group. The red bars represent the distribution of LDL levels among people in that group who have heart disease.

Text in the chart is small and difficult to read, but it tells us the average LDL level in that age group is 137.5. The average LDL level among people with heart disease in that age group is 104.9.

In other words, data from both the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health tell us that people with “high” LDL are under-represented among victims of heart disease.

If LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that causes heart disease, how can that possibly be true? Shouldn’t the fact that people with low LDL make up a disproportionate share of heart-attack victims be considered in the “totality of the scientific evidence”?

The AHA’s own data also show that among black, white and Hispanic men in America, Hispanics are the most likely to have “high” LDL – 42.7%, compared to 31.5% among white men. And yet the rate of heart disease among Hispanic men is 5.3%, compared to 9.4% among white men.

Among black, white and Hispanic women in America, blacks are the least likely to have “high” LDL. They also have the highest rate of heart disease. Once again, if LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that causes heart disease, how can that possibly be true? Shouldn’t these figures (found on the AHA’s own site) be considered in the “totality of the scientific evidence”?

Yes, I’m sure that in his effort to prove he’s been right all along, Dr. Sacks managed to pluck some studies in which high LDL was correlated with heart disease. I’m also sure I don’t care. Good scientists don’t cherry-pick. They don’t ignore or dismiss contrary evidence. And if we’re looking at the correlations (or lack of) between cholesterol levels and heart disease, there’s plenty of contrary evidence.

Here’s yet another example, from a study titled Lipids and All-Cause Mortality among Older Adults:

The results indicate higher mortality among older people with lower levels of total cholesterol.

Higher mortality among older folks with lower cholesterol? Whoops.

Furthermore, they show no association between all-cause mortality and hypercholesterolemia, high LDL, low HDL, hypertriglyceridemia, and high non-HDL in this group of older adults.

Nothing. No significant correlations at all for any measure of cholesterol. This was a study of 800 people that lasted 12 years. Shouldn’t it be considered in the “totality of the scientific evidence”?

But so far, we’ve been talking about observational studies. Dr. Sacks assures us the clinical studies provide “overwhelming” evidence that the American Heart Association is absolutely, positively correct in telling people to avoid saturated fats and switch to vegetable fats instead.

As a reminder, here’s what the AHA recommends:

Use these oils instead of solid fats (including butter, shortening, lard and hard stick margarine) and tropical oils (including palm and coconut oil), which can have a lot of saturated fat.

Here’s an alphabetical list of common cooking oils that contain more of the “better-for-you” fats and less saturated fat.

Canola
Corn
Olive
Peanut
Safflower
Soybean
Sunflower

So skip that butter and switch to vegetable oils, folks. The American Heart Association says so.

Elsewhere on the site, the AHA tells us to choose skim or 1% fat dairy products. Saturated fat from dairy products will kill you, ya see. But is that what the science shows? Hardly.

A study titled Biomarkers of dairy intake and the risk of heart disease wasn’t exactly a clinical study, but it doesn’t suffer from the usual weaknesses of observational studies, either. The reason? The researchers didn’t rely solely on food questionnaires to determine what people eat. They directly measured biological markers of dairy fat in body-fat tissue, so they knew how much dairy fat people had consumed.  Then they looked at rates of heart disease. Here are the results:

Dairy product intake as assessed by adipose tissue and by FFQ is not associated with a linear increase in the risk of MI in the study population.

People eating more dairy fat didn’t have more heart disease. In fact, as dairy-fat consumption went up, the researchers noticed a possible “protective” effect. So to avoid risking their future funding, they added this to their conclusions:

It is possible that the adverse effect of saturated fat in dairy products on cardiovascular health is offset by presence of beneficial nutrients.

Riiiiight. I guess when you skim away the deadly saturated fat from dairy products, you accidentally drop in beneficial nutrients.

Anyway, this is just one of several studies in which saturated dairy fats were NOT linked to heart disease. Same goes for saturated fats in general.

Dr. Sacks has an answer for those studies, however. It goes something like this:

Well, sure, in some studies people who ate less saturated fat didn’t have lower rates of heart disease. But that’s because they replaced the saturated fats with sugars and other processed carbohydrates that are really, really bad. [Note to American Heart Association: that’s what happens when you tell people to stop eating bacon and eggs, then put your seal of approval on boxes of Cocoa Puffs.] To really get the benefit of cutting back on saturated fat, you have to replace it with the good fats recommended by the AHA.

In several online articles, Dr. Sacks was quoted as saying he just can’t imagine why anyone would think coconut oil is healthy. After all, there are no clinical studies showing the benefits of coconut oil.

Since the American Heart Association recommends replacing butter and lard with soybean oil, corn oil or safflower oil, we must assume (if Dr. Sacks is being consistent) those oils have been tested in clinical studies.

And by gosh, they have.

In a clinical trial conducted in 1968, researchers had about 200 men switch from saturated fats to soybean oil, while a control group stuck to their normal diet. Men in both groups had survived a heart attack. By the end of the study some years later, average cholesterol levels in the soybean group dropped from 273 to 213.

A sixty-point drop! Wow, Dr. Sacks is right! Switching to a polyunsaturated oil will lower your cholesterol!

And here are the results from that study:

The total number of men who had a major relapse at any time in the trial was 45 in the test group and 51 in the controls; of these major relapses 25 in each group were fatal. None of the differences found is significant. Relapses were not related to initial cholesterol level, to change in cholesterol level during the trial, nor, in any consistent way, to observance of the dietary regimen. The results are compared with those from a similar trial in Oslo. There is no evidence from the London trial that the relapse-rate in myocardial infarction is materially affected by the unsaturated fat content of the diet used.

A huge drop in cholesterol, but no significant difference in heart attacks. Somehow, this trial didn’t make the cut when Sacks was looking at the totality of the evidence.

In another study conducted in 1965, researchers set out to test the benefits of replacing saturated animal fats with olive oil or corn oil. Here’s what happened:

Eighty patients with ischaemic heart disease were allocated randomly to three treatment groups. The first was a control group. The second received a supplement of olive oil with restriction of animal fat. The third received corn oil with restriction of animal fat. The serum-cholesterol levels fell in the corn-oil group, but by the end of two years the proportions of patients remaining alive and free of reinfarction (fatal or non-fatal) were 75%, 57%, and 52% in the three groups respectively.

Let me clarify in case your brain is getting tired by this point: in the group that continued eating animal fats, 75% were alive at the end of the study. In the group that switched to olive oil, only 57% were still alive. In the group that switched to corn oil, only 52% were still alive.

A study conducted (and apparently buried) by Ancel Keys in the 1960s was recently rediscovered. Here’s what The Washington Post had to say about it:

It was one of the largest, most rigorous experiments ever conducted on an important diet question: How do fatty foods affect our health? Yet it took more than 40 years — that is, until today — for a clear picture of the results to reach the public.

One of the largest and most rigorous experiments ever. For some reason, it didn’t make the cut when Dr. Sacks went looking for the totality of the evidence. Here’s why:

The story begins in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when researchers in Minnesota engaged thousands of institutionalized mental patients to compare the effects of two diets. One group of patients was fed a diet intended to lower blood cholesterol and reduce heart disease. It contained less saturated fat, less cholesterol and more vegetable oil. The other group was fed a more typical American diet.

Today, the principles of that special diet — less saturated fat, more vegetable oils — are recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the government’s official diet advice book. Yet the fuller accounting of the Minnesota data indicates that the advice is, at best, unsupported by the massive trial. In fact, it appears to show just the opposite: Patients who lowered their cholesterol, presumably because of the special diet, actually suffered more heart-related deaths than those who did not.

And finally, another study conducted in the 1960s and 1970s was also recently rediscovered. In the Sydney Diet Heart Study, researchers had more than 200 men replace animal fats with safflower oil. The control group of more than 200 men continued eating their normal diet. Here are the results:

In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit. These findings could have important implications for worldwide dietary advice to substitute omega 6 linoleic acid, or polyunsaturated fats in general, for saturated fats.

Well, yes, these findings should affect the worldwide dietary advice to substitute polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats. Unfortunately, much of that worldwide advice originated with the American Heart Association, which can’t possibly admit to being wrong.

Most of the major media outlets dutifully reported the AHA’s recent (ahem) “findings” as if the AHA is a neutral observer and reporter of the science. Perhaps they were at one time, but certainly not now. When an organization’s very existence depends on a single hypothesis being true, they cannot possibly be trusted to objectively evaluate that hypothesis or any competing hypothesis. All they can do is declare themselves correct, no matter what the evidence.

So that’s what happened.  They declared themselves correct.  The “presidential advisory” report is cherry-picked garbage, Sacks still sucks, and the American Heart Association is still crazy after all these years.

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112 thoughts on “The American Heart Association Bravely Admits They’ve Been Right All Along … Part Two

  1. Jeffrey

    Dang Tom… and you’re a programmer by trade! Excellent article which I will be more than happy to share and share. Good work!

    Reply
      1. KidPsych

        I find it fascinating how many individuals who effectively take on the diet-heart hypothesis happen to be engineers/computer programmers, etc. People who essentially study systems and can plainly see and articulate inconsistencies (and blatant lies) in the data.

        As a side note, work mostly with kids (and parents) on the Autism spectrum. What separates them on a broad level from others (outside of the social awkwardness) is enhanced left hemispheric functioning, which means they have a more systematic brain. I’d like to think that the genes that impact the kids I see are having this positive effect on our collective understanding of health and diet.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton

          Thomas Sowell mentioned in “Intellectuals and Society” that people who work in fields like engineering and programming are used to being judged by results, not by the degree of what he calls “verbal virtuoisity” in proposing and defending theories. Intellectuals have the luxury of proposing theories that won’t be proved wrong for years or even decades.

          Reply
  2. James

    Most of the evidence I need comes from life experience, but stuff like this helps convince others.
    I saw Fat Head three years ago, and decided to give it a try. I’m down 80lbs.

    Reply
  3. Jeffrey

    Dang Tom… and you’re a programmer by trade! Excellent article which I will be more than happy to share and share. Good work!

    Reply
      1. KidPsych

        I find it fascinating how many individuals who effectively take on the diet-heart hypothesis happen to be engineers/computer programmers, etc. People who essentially study systems and can plainly see and articulate inconsistencies (and blatant lies) in the data.

        As a side note, work mostly with kids (and parents) on the Autism spectrum. What separates them on a broad level from others (outside of the social awkwardness) is enhanced left hemispheric functioning, which means they have a more systematic brain. I’d like to think that the genes that impact the kids I see are having this positive effect on our collective understanding of health and diet.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Thomas Sowell mentioned in “Intellectuals and Society” that people who work in fields like engineering and programming are used to being judged by results, not by the degree of what he calls “verbal virtuoisity” in proposing and defending theories. Intellectuals have the luxury of proposing theories that won’t be proved wrong for years or even decades.

          Reply
  4. Rob

    Christopher Columbus … ” But I know the world is round !! ”
    Big Chief….(Owner of the flat Earth travel Company ).” Dont be ridiculous man`! ” We paid Admiral Keys handsomely to prove it was flat ! “

    Reply
  5. James

    Most of the evidence I need comes from life experience, but stuff like this helps convince others.
    I saw Fat Head three years ago, and decided to give it a try. I’m down 80lbs.

    Reply
  6. Kevin O'Connell

    Excellent ‘silver bullet’ article but I don’t expect the vampire to die.

    What I would expect the vampire to do is to rubbish your article (demand its retraction even) because of ‘serious errors’… Like the chart which shows population average LDL as 137.5 while in your text you say 137.4.

    Vampire statinators like to pounce on such grave errors.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Derned typos. Thanks, it’s fixed now.

      No, the vampires won’t go away, we can convince more and more people to stop letting them suck our b blood.

      Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Kudos to the BMJ, one of the only medical journals consistently willing to question the standard advice.

      Reply
  7. Rob

    Christopher Columbus … ” But I know the world is round !! ”
    Big Chief….(Owner of the flat Earth travel Company ).” Dont be ridiculous man`! ” We paid Admiral Keys handsomely to prove it was flat ! “

    Reply
  8. Kevin O'Connell

    Excellent ‘silver bullet’ article but I don’t expect the vampire to die.

    What I would expect the vampire to do is to rubbish your article (demand its retraction even) because of ‘serious errors’… Like the chart which shows population average LDL as 137.5 while in your text you say 137.4.

    Vampire statinators like to pounce on such grave errors.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Derned typos. Thanks, it’s fixed now.

      No, the vampires won’t go away, we can convince more and more people to stop letting them suck our b blood.

      Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Kudos to the BMJ, one of the only medical journals consistently willing to question the standard advice.

      Reply
  9. Dianne

    I don’t get it, Tom. Why isn’t everybody in the mainstream media swarming all over this report, exposing the whole thing for the pack of lies and half-truths it is? They certainly don’t mind shredding other people, so why are they shy about shredding the AHA or Sacks? You’d think there’d be a Nobel prize for the person who woke the world up to the dangers of diets we’re told to eat and the meds we’re told to take. But then, you, Taubes, Bernstein, Teicholz, and Fung haven’t been summoned to Stockholm lately. Good on the Washington Post at any rate.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      I can think of two reasons. One, most health reporters aren’t actually all that scientifically literate. It’s easier to just trust the supposed health authorities than to really dig in and analyze what they say. Two, most big media outlets depends on advertising dollars from the same companies that sponsor The American Heart Association.

      Reply
      1. JillOz

        While I agree with you, the language of the studies is a factor. It takes practice and experience to decipher the language – as exemplified above.

        If you want MSM types to deal with this YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE diet scandal, you need to shape a story and pitch it to the MSM.

        Reply
          1. JIllOz

            Most media types become “reporters” because they “want to tell stories” or just love writing, not because they know or understand anything.

            Reply
            1. Tom Naughton

              Gary Taubes once suggested in an interview that the most talented reporters don’t usually ask to be on the health beat.

      2. chris c

        Also they love vegans.

        Outside of Twitter and the blogosphere there was almost a worldwide press embargo on the Noakes Trial, and Gary Fettke.

        Studies showing a minuscule correlation between meat and something – scary headlines about how BACON WILL KILL YOU INSTANTLY!!!

        Studies showing a much greater correlation between carbs and CVD – not even a footnote on p.97

        I suspect a rather large correlation between money, Coke, Big Sugar, ILSI etc. and Big Vegan (CSPI, PCRM etc) but that study is unlikely to occur.

        Reply
  10. Walter Bushell

    About Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol (from “The Masque of B-ll–l”):

    First come I. My name is J-w-tt.
    There’s no knowledge but I know it.
    I am Master of this College,
    What I don’t know isn’t knowledge.

    Reply
  11. Firebird7478

    “We want to set the record straight on why well-conducted scientific research overwhelmingly supports limiting saturated fat in the diet to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels.”

    I’d like to know what Dr. Sacks’ blood panels reveal and if he is on any statins.

    And judging by the one study, olive oil is not as healthy as we are led to believe?

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Nina Teicholz did an excellent in “The Big Fat Surprise” of detailing how the supposed health wonders of olive oil were promoted heavily by people with an interest in the olive-oil industry. That being said, I think olive oil is just fine and dandy. But I don’t think it will save your heart any more than lard, which is largely monounsaturated.

      Reply
      1. Firebird7478

        I enjoy olives and olive oil. If only they would make a mayo that was purely olive oil so I can stop trying to make it myself. It always flops.

        Reply
            1. Dianne

              I’ve tried both the Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayo and Coconaise, made with coconut oil and purchased from Amazon, and really think the Coconaise is far better-tasting. That was sort of a surprise, as I love avocado oil and use it extensively in cooking. It has a light taste and a very high smoke point.

  12. Evin

    There have been several studies suggesting that milk is linked to prostate cancer. What is your response? Do you think it’s the way the animals are raised? Because I sure do.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      I’d have to see those studies. If they’re observational, keep in mind that 80% of the conclusions drawn from observational studies have turned out to be wrong.

      Reply
  13. Björn Hammarskjöld

    Hi!
    You’re correct about the 1961 paper. It’s found here
    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/23/6/847
    I’ve found a researcher sitting on eight academic and authorities chairs and then on ten industrial chairs.
    That professor did not present the conflict of intrerest that he was sitting on the chair as an expert in the Swedish Food Authority (SFA) when he embarked on the SBU committee for Food in diabets thus contolling if the diet advice from SFA is scientificically based.
    After two years of invensigations they concluded:
    The scintific evidence is extremely fragile but as we have not found any other diet so we have to keep the recommendations [to force feed all men with 480 g sugars per day. A 70 kg man has 1.5-3 grams of glukose in the total blood volume of 5.6 Liters of blood, more than 25 g glucose in the blood is a lethal amount]
    One tiny problem, they have allowed themseves to read nutritional studies from 1980 and forward. So they were not allowed to read good nutritional science before 1988, remember the McGovern committee from 1977.
    SBU=SWEDISH AGENCY FOR HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT AND ASSESSMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

    Reply
    1. James Buch

      It seems that another the same paper (available as a PDF from this link) is circ.ahajournals.org/content/circulationaha/23/6/847.full.pdf. This correlates well with Tom having just the PDF.

      Reply
  14. Bob Niland

    re: I also pointed out that Dr. Sacks once headed the AHA’s Nutrition Committee – which means he was given the task of determining if the advice he’s been peddling is correct.

    That potent potential conflict of interest is interestingly not disclosed in the Disclosures table AHA paper (although it can be inferred from paper footnote#3). Indeed, for the seven columns of disclosure topics, the row for FMS has: None, None, None, None, None, None and None.

    I might have expected a notation in the Consultant/Advisory Board column, but perhaps the paper desired to silently imply Presently, depending on the definition of “is”, I suppose.

    Reply
  15. Dianne

    I don’t get it, Tom. Why isn’t everybody in the mainstream media swarming all over this report, exposing the whole thing for the pack of lies and half-truths it is? They certainly don’t mind shredding other people, so why are they shy about shredding the AHA or Sacks? You’d think there’d be a Nobel prize for the person who woke the world up to the dangers of diets we’re told to eat and the meds we’re told to take. But then, you, Taubes, Bernstein, Teicholz, and Fung haven’t been summoned to Stockholm lately. Good on the Washington Post at any rate.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I can think of two reasons. One, most health reporters aren’t actually all that scientifically literate. It’s easier to just trust the supposed health authorities than to really dig in and analyze what they say. Two, most big media outlets depends on advertising dollars from the same companies that sponsor The American Heart Association.

      Reply
      1. JillOz

        While I agree with you, the language of the studies is a factor. It takes practice and experience to decipher the language – as exemplified above.

        If you want MSM types to deal with this YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE diet scandal, you need to shape a story and pitch it to the MSM.

        Reply
          1. JIllOz

            Most media types become “reporters” because they “want to tell stories” or just love writing, not because they know or understand anything.

            Reply
            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              Gary Taubes once suggested in an interview that the most talented reporters don’t usually ask to be on the health beat.

      2. chris c

        Also they love vegans.

        Outside of Twitter and the blogosphere there was almost a worldwide press embargo on the Noakes Trial, and Gary Fettke.

        Studies showing a minuscule correlation between meat and something – scary headlines about how BACON WILL KILL YOU INSTANTLY!!!

        Studies showing a much greater correlation between carbs and CVD – not even a footnote on p.97

        I suspect a rather large correlation between money, Coke, Big Sugar, ILSI etc. and Big Vegan (CSPI, PCRM etc) but that study is unlikely to occur.

        Reply
        1. Butter Fury

          >Studies showing a minuscule correlation between meat and something – scary headlines about how BACON WILL KILL YOU INSTANTLY!!!<

          The answer to this is rather simple, albeit very unobvious – magical thinking. Bacon comes from an animal, and animals are dirty, smelly, and mortal. They are also killed in the process of bacon production. So a person with magical thinking – and there is a LOT of those – subconsciously concludes that eating something that directly involves death will make them a little bit more mortal themselves. From their perspective it's literally "eating death". Plants, on the other hand, are so different from humans, that harvesting a plant isn't even perceived as killing it. So here you have it. All this nonsense later gets rationalised with cherry-picked science or "ethical reasons". Also explains why vegans can not shut up about the "amazing" benefits of malnourishing themselves.

          Reply
          1. Tom Naughton Post author

            Agreed. And since they believe eating meat is immoral, they WANT it to be bad for your health.

            Reply
            1. chris c

              Yes they do do that “eating the dead corpses of animals” thing don’t they? What, you’d rather I ate live ones???

              Currently they are redoing their claims about the environmental benefits of not eating meat. They really should meet some farmers and find out just how much diesel and sprays are needed to grow Holy Health Grains and how many insects and slugs are slaughtered in the process.

              Someone I know has been doing research into small mammal populations, and so far has found them highest in sheep meadows. I suppose none of these count as animals.

              Then there are the poor bees, which have to be “exploited” to fertilise the fields of rape and borage, and orchards. Sorry guys, Disney films are FICTION. Nature just doesn’t work like that.

              Don’t even mention all the land which can never be cropped but which CAN be grazed, and all the wild creatures that live there which would be gone if it reverts to scrubland, and the forests which would be overrun by deer and ecologically wrecked, or all the water pumped onto vegetable fields for irrigation.

              Think of the CHILDRENNNNUH which would grow up never seeing fields of cute baa-lambs or calves, that’s if they survive their vegan diets at all. Oh sorry am I ranting again?

  16. Walter Bushell

    About Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol (from “The Masque of B-ll–l”):

    First come I. My name is J-w-tt.
    There’s no knowledge but I know it.
    I am Master of this College,
    What I don’t know isn’t knowledge.

    Reply
  17. Firebird7478

    “We want to set the record straight on why well-conducted scientific research overwhelmingly supports limiting saturated fat in the diet to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels.”

    I’d like to know what Dr. Sacks’ blood panels reveal and if he is on any statins.

    And judging by the one study, olive oil is not as healthy as we are led to believe?

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Nina Teicholz did an excellent in “The Big Fat Surprise” of detailing how the supposed health wonders of olive oil were promoted heavily by people with an interest in the olive-oil industry. That being said, I think olive oil is just fine and dandy. But I don’t think it will save your heart any more than lard, which is largely monounsaturated.

      Reply
      1. Firebird7478

        I enjoy olives and olive oil. If only they would make a mayo that was purely olive oil so I can stop trying to make it myself. It always flops.

        Reply
            1. Dianne

              I’ve tried both the Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayo and Coconaise, made with coconut oil and purchased from Amazon, and really think the Coconaise is far better-tasting. That was sort of a surprise, as I love avocado oil and use it extensively in cooking. It has a light taste and a very high smoke point.

            2. Firebird7478

              There is a good health food chain called “Mom’s” that carries an MCT oil mayo that is quite tasty. It’s $7 for a small jar, which is why I try to make it myself.

              I’ve also had Sir Kensington’s avocado oil mayo and it was outstanding.

  18. Evin

    There have been several studies suggesting that milk is linked to prostate cancer. What is your response? Do you think it’s the way the animals are raised? Because I sure do.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’d have to see those studies. If they’re observational, keep in mind that 80% of the conclusions drawn from observational studies have turned out to be wrong.

      Reply
  19. Björn Hammarskjöld

    Hi!
    You’re correct about the 1961 paper. It’s found here
    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/23/6/847
    I’ve found a researcher sitting on eight academic and authorities chairs and then on ten industrial chairs.
    That professor did not present the conflict of intrerest that he was sitting on the chair as an expert in the Swedish Food Authority (SFA) when he embarked on the SBU committee for Food in diabets thus contolling if the diet advice from SFA is scientificically based.
    After two years of invensigations they concluded:
    The scintific evidence is extremely fragile but as we have not found any other diet so we have to keep the recommendations [to force feed all men with 480 g sugars per day. A 70 kg man has 1.5-3 grams of glukose in the total blood volume of 5.6 Liters of blood, more than 25 g glucose in the blood is a lethal amount]
    One tiny problem, they have allowed themseves to read nutritional studies from 1980 and forward. So they were not allowed to read good nutritional science before 1988, remember the McGovern committee from 1977.
    SBU=SWEDISH AGENCY FOR HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT AND ASSESSMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

    Reply
    1. James Buch

      It seems that another the same paper (available as a PDF from this link) is circ.ahajournals.org/content/circulationaha/23/6/847.full.pdf. This correlates well with Tom having just the PDF.

      Reply
  20. Bob Niland

    re: I also pointed out that Dr. Sacks once headed the AHA’s Nutrition Committee – which means he was given the task of determining if the advice he’s been peddling is correct.

    That potent potential conflict of interest is interestingly not disclosed in the Disclosures table AHA paper (although it can be inferred from paper footnote#3). Indeed, for the seven columns of disclosure topics, the row for FMS has: None, None, None, None, None, None and None.

    I might have expected a notation in the Consultant/Advisory Board column, but perhaps the paper desired to silently imply Presently, depending on the definition of “is”, I suppose.

    Reply
  21. Lori K

    “If the Diet-Heart Hypothesis ever dies, so does the American Heart Association.”

    The AHA won’t “die”, instead they will transform and re-invent themselves with a new name, new leadership, and new guidelines to “better reflect the current scientific consensus” on heart health. New people, new name= no blame for old outdated ideas or lawsuits for killing millions of americans with outdated guidelines. Wipe hands, done.

    Reply
  22. S

    Do you think you’ll ever post about LDL-P and/or Apo-b? Apparently there are a small cohort of people for which saturated fat will send those measures through the roof. I’d love to see some data on how inflammation affects everything as well.

    (I think I’m still in withdrawal from Peter Attia’s blog dying.)

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Someday, maybe.

      Yeah, it’s like of like with salt. There’s a small fraction of the population that’s sensitive to salt. Those people will get higher blood pressure with higher salt intake. So the response among The Anointed is to tell everyone to restrict salt, even though it may be dangerous for some people to consume too little of the stuff.

      Reply
      1. Elenor

        Just found this guy — been listening to interviews — brilliant! Haven’t read his book yet but:

        “The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong–and How Eating More Might Save Your Life” by James DiNicolantonio

        Here’s the Amazon blurb:

        We all know the dangers of sugar and salt: but the danger attributed to the second white crystal has more to do with getting too little of it, not too much. A leading cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy overturns conventional thinking about salt and explores instead the little-understood importance of it, the health dangers of having too little, and how salt can actually help you improve sports performance, crush sugar cravings, and stave off common chronic illnesses.

        Too little salt in the diet can shift the body into semi-starvation mode and cause insulin resistance, and may even cause you to absorb twice as much fat for every gram you consume. Too little salt in certain populations can actually increase blood pressure, as well as resting heart rate. We need salt in order to hydrate and nourish our cells, transmit nerve signals, contract our muscles, ensure proper digestion and breathing, and maintain proper heart function. The Salt Fix will show how we wrongly demonized this essential micronutrient as well as explain what the current science really says about this misunderstood mineral and how to maximize its effect so you can enjoy ideal health and longevity.

        Reply
  23. Lori K

    “If the Diet-Heart Hypothesis ever dies, so does the American Heart Association.”

    The AHA won’t “die”, instead they will transform and re-invent themselves with a new name, new leadership, and new guidelines to “better reflect the current scientific consensus” on heart health. New people, new name= no blame for old outdated ideas or lawsuits for killing millions of americans with outdated guidelines. Wipe hands, done.

    Reply
  24. S

    Do you think you’ll ever post about LDL-P and/or Apo-b? Apparently there are a small cohort of people for which saturated fat will send those measures through the roof. I’d love to see some data on how inflammation affects everything as well.

    (I think I’m still in withdrawal from Peter Attia’s blog dying.)

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Someday, maybe.

      Yeah, it’s like of like with salt. There’s a small fraction of the population that’s sensitive to salt. Those people will get higher blood pressure with higher salt intake. So the response among The Anointed is to tell everyone to restrict salt, even though it may be dangerous for some people to consume too little of the stuff.

      Reply
      1. Elenor

        Just found this guy — been listening to interviews — brilliant! Haven’t read his book yet but:

        “The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong–and How Eating More Might Save Your Life” by James DiNicolantonio

        Here’s the Amazon blurb:

        We all know the dangers of sugar and salt: but the danger attributed to the second white crystal has more to do with getting too little of it, not too much. A leading cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy overturns conventional thinking about salt and explores instead the little-understood importance of it, the health dangers of having too little, and how salt can actually help you improve sports performance, crush sugar cravings, and stave off common chronic illnesses.

        Too little salt in the diet can shift the body into semi-starvation mode and cause insulin resistance, and may even cause you to absorb twice as much fat for every gram you consume. Too little salt in certain populations can actually increase blood pressure, as well as resting heart rate. We need salt in order to hydrate and nourish our cells, transmit nerve signals, contract our muscles, ensure proper digestion and breathing, and maintain proper heart function. The Salt Fix will show how we wrongly demonized this essential micronutrient as well as explain what the current science really says about this misunderstood mineral and how to maximize its effect so you can enjoy ideal health and longevity.

        Reply
  25. egocyte

    “It is possible that the adverse effect of saturated fat in dairy products on cardiovascular health is offset by presence of beneficial nutrients.”
    Indeed, removing fats results in reducing the level of fat soluble vitamins (A and D), and that’s what they say in the article. But as I searched the USDA Food Composition Database to check this, I couldn’t find any low fat milk without added vitamin A or D, so it seems the lack of these beneficial nutrients is already compensated… Is this the case? (I’m French and here there are no vitamins added to standard food).
    If it’s the case, the beneficial nutrients might be… saturated fats?

    Reply
  26. egocyte

    “It is possible that the adverse effect of saturated fat in dairy products on cardiovascular health is offset by presence of beneficial nutrients.”
    Indeed, removing fats results in reducing the level of fat soluble vitamins (A and D), and that’s what they say in the article. But as I searched the USDA Food Composition Database to check this, I couldn’t find any low fat milk without added vitamin A or D, so it seems the lack of these beneficial nutrients is already compensated… Is this the case? (I’m French and here there are no vitamins added to standard food).
    If it’s the case, the beneficial nutrients might be… saturated fats?

    Reply
  27. Justin

    The advice of the AHA and similar outfits is still spread far and wide. Some have even taken it to extremes. I was sitting with my grandfather in the waiting room of his cardiologist’s office the other day when I happened upon a pamphlet about lowering blood pressure. The recommendation was to eat LESS than TWO GRAMS of TOTAL FAT per day!! Combine that with less than 2 grams of sodium per day and your BP will be in tip-top shape (while other systems suffer). It’s amazing what these doctors are still clinging to in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. To think that such a diet is realistic let alone healthy defies logic. But then again, that’s par for the course with The Anointed.

    Reply
  28. Justin

    The advice of the AHA and similar outfits is still spread far and wide. Some have even taken it to extremes. I was sitting with my grandfather in the waiting room of his cardiologist’s office the other day when I happened upon a pamphlet about lowering blood pressure. The recommendation was to eat LESS than TWO GRAMS of TOTAL FAT per day!! Combine that with less than 2 grams of sodium per day and your BP will be in tip-top shape (while other systems suffer). It’s amazing what these doctors are still clinging to in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. To think that such a diet is realistic let alone healthy defies logic. But then again, that’s par for the course with The Anointed.

    Reply
  29. Thomas E.

    A coworker of mine blew my mind the other day.

    He appears to be unhealthily overweight. Anyway, he told me that a few weeks ago his doctor flat out told him to stop eating the carbs. My jaw dropped.

    He has yet to really take up the call to reduce the bread and such that he eats, but at least there are definitely average GPs out there that have started to switch up their advice.

    On the flip side, the doctor my wife and kids go to, who was selected because he is very well read appears to have gone hook line and sinker for the China Study. Luckily my 11 year old daughter saver her comments until they got into the car. Then she gave my wife an earful about how meat and dairy in the diet is important for growing kids and good nutrition. Even my 8 year old son save his sarcasm for the car.

    Yup, proud daddy I am.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      You should be proud. Not many kids have the knowledge and confidence to disagree with a doctor.

      Reply
  30. Thomas E.

    A coworker of mine blew my mind the other day.

    He appears to be unhealthily overweight. Anyway, he told me that a few weeks ago his doctor flat out told him to stop eating the carbs. My jaw dropped.

    He has yet to really take up the call to reduce the bread and such that he eats, but at least there are definitely average GPs out there that have started to switch up their advice.

    On the flip side, the doctor my wife and kids go to, who was selected because he is very well read appears to have gone hook line and sinker for the China Study. Luckily my 11 year old daughter saver her comments until they got into the car. Then she gave my wife an earful about how meat and dairy in the diet is important for growing kids and good nutrition. Even my 8 year old son save his sarcasm for the car.

    Yup, proud daddy I am.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      You should be proud. Not many kids have the knowledge and confidence to disagree with a doctor.

      Reply
  31. tony grenier

    sweet…..what a incredible article…that should be picked up and reported by major media outlets…

    Reply
  32. tony grenier

    sweet…..what a incredible article…that should be picked up and reported by major media outlets…

    Reply

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