Health Impact News Editor
In 2015, the British Medical Journal published a meta-analysis  looking at randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that were available to US and UK regulatory committees that adopted low-fat dietary guidelines in the 1970s and 1980s to supposedly reduce coronary heart disease (CHD). The study was published in their online OpenHeart Journal . Zoë Harcombe is the lead author of the study.
The authors state that to date, no analysis of the evidence base for recommending a low-fat diet to reduce heart disease has ever been studied. So the authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the RCTs that were published prior to 1983, which examined the relationship between dietary fat, serum cholesterol and the development of coronary heart disease.
After analyzing multiple studies that included 2467 males, the authors found “no differences in all-cause mortality and non-significant differences in CHD mortality, resulting from the dietary interventions.”
They, therefore, concluded that:
Dietary recommendations were introduced for 220 million US and 56 million UK citizens by 1983, in the absence of supporting evidence from RCTs.
Here is a video clip showing actual statements made by scientists to then-governor George McGovern in a Congressional hearing where they stated the exact same thing, that the science did not support the theory of a low-fat diet preventing heart disease:
How Many Lives Have Been Ruined by the Low-fat Theory of Heart Disease?
Time Magazine, which led the charge against saturated fats and cholesterol in support of the “lipid theory” of heart disease in the 1970s and 1980s, did an about face last year (2014) and admitted they were wrong .
As we reported here at Health Impact News last year, this sudden change in press coverage over saturated fats seems to have been brought about by consumer demand, as big food manufacturers finally threw in the towel and admitted defeat in the war pitting margarine against butter: butter won . Butter consumption is at an all-time high now, as consumers wised up before mainstream media told them it was OK to start eating butter again.
Time Magazine ran a cover story that read: “Ending the War on Fat .”
So if there was never any solid science to back the lipid theory of heart disease, how did it get started in the first place?
While the answer to that question has been answered numerous times for decades in the alternative media, Time.com  was one of the first in the mainstream media to report it in 2014:
The war against fat was started by one man: Much of what we think we know about the supposed dangers of high fat intake comes from a single research project by a charismatic Minnesota pathologist named Ancel Keys. His Seven Countries Study compared the health and diet of nearly 13,000 middle-aged men in the U.S., Japan and Europe, and ostensibly found that populations that consumed large amounts of saturated fats in meat and dairy had high levels of heart disease, while those who eat more grains, fish, nuts and vegetables did not. The influential Keys relentlessly advocated the theory that fat caused heart disease, persuading the AHA in 1961 to issue the country’s first-ever guidelines targeting saturated fat—and he wasn’t shy about shouting down any researcher who questioned his data.
Yet it turns out there was a lot to question. Keys chose the countries most likely to confirm his hypothesis, while excluding nations like France—where the diet is rich in fat but heart disease is rare—that might have challenged it. “When researchers went back and analyzed some of the data from the Seven Countries study, they found that what best correlated with heart disease was no saturated fat intake but sugar,” says Teicholz. (Source .)
Even more damaging than publishing faulty dietary guidelines, something the USDA continues to do through the present now in 2015, was using the lipid theory of heart disease proposed by Keys to developing new cholesterol-lowering drugs called “statins.” They became the best-selling class of drugs in the history of pharmaceuticals.
In 2011, Paul John Scott wrote an editorial  for the Star Tribune  criticizing the University of Minnesota research of Ancel Keys. In a very astute commentary he clearly showed just why the mainstream media and Big Pharma were not so eager to criticize the junk science of Ancel Keys, and why even today this anti-saturated fat myth will continue to be official USDA dietary dogma:
In fact, one could argue that Minnesota-based research has its fingerprints on the most damaging wrong turn ever taken in how we think about cardiovascular illness, a mistake that continues to cost our nation in sickness and in dollars, and one for which health authorities remain too embarrassed, confused, blinded by ideology or loyalty to tribe to concede.
We told the world that heart disease is caused by elevated cholesterol and that reducing saturated fat in the diet reduces this risk. That led the country to embrace the lowering of cholesterol with medications.
All of those assumptions have proven themselves to be either overstated, oversimplified or wrong, and that has led us astray. Would it be too much for the leading cardiologists in our community to admit as much?
“It was also nearly 60 years ago,” as Dr. Daniel J. Garry extolled on these pages (“Treating heart disease at the U: A story of steady innovations ,” April 14), “that University of Minnesota scientists — Dr. Ancel Keys along with Drs. Francisco Grande and Joseph Anderson — defined the relationship between dietary fat and serum cholesterol, which linked cholesterol to heart disease.”
Garry went on to praise the creation of cholesterol-lowering drugs that stemmed from Keys’ work.
Keys constructed his hypothesis after studying the diets and heart disease in countries across the globe.
But his research left out nations with data that did not match the hypothesis, and even within the data he published, populations existed in which diet and heart disease were wildly out of synch with his model.
By 1970, an English researcher named John Yudkin would argue that sugar in the diet was the cause of heart disease in wealthy nations, but Keys, sensing that his theory was suddenly vulnerable to reconsideration, aggressively led the charge to have that research discredited.
Today, the low-fat advice that ensued from Keys’ research is seen as having had a blowback. It caused a rise in our consumption of refined carbohydrates and added sugars, thereby causing metabolic syndrome characterized by a rise in triglycerides and a lowering of HDL, or good cholesterol.
Statins lower LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” and thanks to Keys, the lowering of LDL has become “the primary focus of preventive medicine in the United States,” in the words of Dr. John Abramson, author of “Overdosed America.” (Source .)
Don’t expect Big Pharma and the USDA dietary guidelines to change anytime soon. They have much more to lose in the marketplace than just slumping sales of margarine due to consumer demand for butter. No, what is at stake here is a multi-billion dollar industry of lowering people’s cholesterol levels through medication.
So until Americans wake up and realize that statin drugs are one of biggest scams in the history of health care, the cholesterol anti-saturated fat myth will persist. Butter is healthy (if comes from the milk of healthy cows), and adding healthy saturated fats back into the diet (including coconut oil ) is a positive step in the right direction.
But until consumers start “saying no to drugs” – statin drugs – the nation’s health will continue to suffer. The cholesterol drug war rages on.
Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You!
What REALLY Causes Heart Disease
by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD