By Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
A meta-analysis including 530,525 people, partly funded by the British Heart Foundation, and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has just come to this conclusion:
Conclusion: Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats 1.
Or to put it another way, there is no evidence that saturated fat consumption has anything, whatsoever, to do with causing heart disease, or strokes. Once again I get to say ‘I told you so.’ Ah, the four most satisfying words in the English language. That is, when arranged in that particular order.
So, eat butter, drink milk, and throw away the horrible sugar-loaded low fat yoghurt. Go to France and enjoy the highest saturated fat diet in Europe and you, too, can enjoy the French rate of heart disease. Yes, of course, the lowest in Europe.
But now what happens? You see, the entire edifice of the cholesterol hypothesis is held together by two links in a chain. Link one is that saturated fat consumption raises cholesterol levels. Link two is that raised cholesterol levels then cause heart disease.
Various ‘experts’ have simplified this to the very simple equation:
A (saturated fat in the diet) > B (high cholesterol levels) > C (heart disease)
This is the cholesterol hypothesis, or the lipid hypothesis, and it has driven medical thinking for the last sixty years.
I have had it painstakingly explained to me, by very clever people, exactly how saturated fat raises cholesterol levels. Indeed, you will find ‘evidence’ for this almost universally accepted fact in literally thousands of clinical studies. Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the matter
‘There are strong, consistent, and graded relationships between saturated fat intake, blood cholesterol levels, and the mass occurrence of cardiovascular disease. The relationships are accepted as causal 2.’
Okay, let us accept that eating saturated fat does raise cholesterol levels. However, if consumption of saturated fat does not increase the rate of heart disease then….. Then raised cholesterol levels can have nothing whatsoever to do with causing heart disease. Just keep chasing the implications of that statement around in your head for a while.
So what happens now? We now have a cholesterol/lipid hypothesis that just had its head blown off. Yet, it still continues to wander about, unaware that it is actually dead.
As everyone knows you can chop the head off a chicken and it can wander about for years. I was also informed, when I was an open-mouthed child, that you could shoot a dinosaur through the head and it would continue to blunder about for some time, the rest of its body blissfully unaware that it was actually dead.
Well, the cholesterol hypothesis has just been shot dead, but I suspect it will continue to rampage about, stomping on puny humans for many years, before it finally keels over and admits that it is dead.
But I say, farewell Cholsterolosaurus. You are now a deceased hypothesis. Gone to meet your maker. You just don’t know it yet. Because the people that believe in you do not understand logic.