If you have been visiting Health Impact News, you may have noticed the notion that arterial inflammation is what’s behind heart disease, not cholesterol from saturated fats. A clinical human trial recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August of 2017 may tip a few more in the medical field into accepting the current awareness that inflammatory damage is a major cause of heart and cardiovascular disease, and cholesterol is trying to patch up the damage before the vessel begins to leak or rupture. Cholesterol is actually a vitally useful “waxy” compound for many parts of our bodies, especially the brain. Lowering cholesterol is misguided, and usually causes terrible side effects. Upon releasing the study and after its publication, the lead researcher Dr. Paul Ridker, MD, asserted: "These findings represent the end game of more than two decades of research, stemming from a critical observation: Half of heart attacks occur in people who do not have high cholesterol. For the first time, we’ve been able to definitively show that lowering inflammation independent of cholesterol reduces cardiovascular risk."
The headline in the New York Times (NYT) this morning–8.28.2017– states, “Anti-Inflammatory Drug May Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Cancer. Findings Represent Medical Milestone.” I am getting tired of using the “Fake News” meme when describing medical articles in the NYTs. But, this article is beyond ridiculous and I can think of no better way to describe it. This is another example of fake news and why we are in the health care mess we are in.
As we have reported frequently here at Health Impact News, sales of drugs to lower cholesterol are the top selling drugs of all time. It is a $100 billion a year industry. The cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor is the best-selling drug of all time, grossing over $140 billion, with no serious close competitors in the history of pharmaceutical drugs. One out of every four Americans over the age of 50 is taking a statin drug to lower their cholesterol. However, these block buster drugs have run through their patent life, and now generics dominate the market. So Big Pharma is looking at new ways to patent new drugs to lower your cholesterol. The latest? A vaccine is being developed to lower your cholesterol. In recent years, class action lawsuits have been stacking up against statin drug manufacturers due to the terrible side effects, including diabetes. Is this another reason for turning to vaccines to "cure" cholesterol? In this country, lawsuits against vaccines are prohibited while civil suits against prescription or over-the-counter drugs are allowed.
In what appears to be a coordinated attack against the rising popularity of coconut oil, the American Heart Association (AHA) has just published a "Presidential Advisory" on "Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease" in which it condemned coconut oil, and recommended that people not consume it. The AHA's recommendation clearly contradicts research that exists on not only coconut oil but saturated fats in general, which debunks the old lipid theory of heart disease that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. Yet, the mainstream corporate-funded media published its recommendations with no critical analysis or journalistic investigations into the AHA's claims. Are these attacks against coconut oil part of an effort by Big Pharma to protect its $100 billion a year cholesterol lowering statin drug industry?
A 2017 meta-analysis of 29 studies has concluded that consuming dietary dairy fat has no negative effects on all cause mortality or mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). This includes dairy fats of all types. One of the researchers, Ian Givens of England’s Reading University, commented on the record: “There’s been a lot of publicity over the last 5 to 10 years about how saturated fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and a belief has grown up that they must increase the risk, but they don’t.” Actually, dairy and other animal sourced saturated fats have been wrongly condemned as a contributor to obesity and higher cardiovascular risk since Ancel Keys' notorious seven countries study over 50 years ago, which spawned the “lipid theory” of heart disease and obesity.
The saturated fat lie is officially exposed now that the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a division of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) emphatically declared: “Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions.” The beginning of this very recent BMJ letter, 31 March 2017, reviewing several mega-studies, states early in their editorial: “Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong.” Wrong, unequivocally and indisputably, not maybe or could be or further studies needed, but completely wrong. It’s over. And the root cause of arterial inflammation is cited with dietary recommendations that lean toward the Mediterranean Diet.
Dr. Malcom Kendrick is a Scottish doctor and author of the book The Great Cholesterol Con. Recently he wrote a blog post on saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. He commented on how the science actually proves the opposite conclusion from what is commonly believed about saturated fats: To be honest, I have studied saturated fat consumption many, many… many, many, times. The one thing that has always stood out, most starkly, is the complete lack of any real evidence to support the idea that it causes cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, evidence contradicting it arrives on an almost daily basis.
War on Saturated Fats Has Harmed People in Poor Countries Who Shunned Traditional Fats Like Coconut Oil
One of the most pervasive dangerous food myths has been the lipid hypothesis or theory of heart disease. It proclaims that eating foods containing saturated fats are the root cause of obesity and heart disease. It has prevailed for over a half-century and is only now beginning to deteriorate. The most obvious harm done by the false propaganda against saturated fats in traditional foods are with regions that relied heavily on saturated fats for centuries, especially edible tropical oils such as coconut oil prior to the lipid hypothesis or theory's dogma that permeated and replaced their traditional diets. A recent paper, “Coconut oil and palm oil's role in nutrition, health and national development: A review,” was published in the September 2016 Ghana Medical Journal (GMJ).
Is saturated fat really the health hazard it’s been made out to be? Dr. Aseem Malhotra is an interventional cardiologist consultant in London, U.K., who gained quite a bit of publicity after the publication of his peer-reviewed editorial in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2013. In it, he seriously challenges the conventional view on saturated fats, and reviews how recent studies have failed to find any significant association between saturated fat and cardiovascular risk. In fact, Malhotra reports that two-thirds of people admitted to hospitals with acute myocardial infarction have completely normal cholesterol levels.
Since graduating from medical school in 1989, I have come to the conclusion that much of what I was taught was wrong. In fact, at my medical school graduation, the dean said, “Fifty percent of what we just taught you was wrong, your job is to figure out which part was correct and which was incorrect.” When medical students come to my office, I always encourage them to question everything I tell them and, furthermore, to question what they have been taught. I was taught in medical school that a lowered salt diet was a healthy diet—for everyone. Furthermore, it was drilled into my head that anyone with heart disease, particularly heart failure, should limit salt in his/her diet. In fact, it is still standard-of-care for a cardiologist to tell his/her heart patient to limit salt in their diet. This is especially true when the patient is suffering from heart failure. So, does limiting salt in the diet of a patient with heart failure result in a better outcome? Not according to a recent study.