NHS guidelines which advise cutting down on high fat foods like butter, cream and chocolate may be putting the public at risk and should be urgently revised, a leading heart scientist has warned.
March 6, 2014
Diets that are low in saturated fat do not lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease or help people live longer, Dr. James DiNicolantonio insists.
He is so concerned about the misinterpretation of ‘flawed data’ that he has called for a new public health campaign to admit ‘we got it wrong’. British health experts and nutritionists backed his comments claiming that for too long ‘uncomfortable facts’ have been stifled by ‘dietary dogma’.
Saturated fat is traditionally found in butter, cheese, fatty meat, biscuits, cakes and sausages. But Dr. DiNicolantonio claims sugar and carbohydrates are the real culprits driving high cholesterol and the obesity epidemic. He suggests that the guidelines should be changed urgently. “There is no conclusive proof that a low-fat diet has a positive effect on health. Indeed the literature indicates a general lack of any effect, good or bad, from a reduction in fat intake.”
DiNicolantonio points out that the ‘vilification’ of saturated fats dates back to the 1950’s when research suggested a link between high dietary saturated fat intake and deaths from heart disease. But the study author drew his conclusions on the data form six countries, choosing to ignore the data from 16 others which did not fit with his hypothesis. Nevertheless the research stuck and since the 1970’s most public health organizations have advised people to cut down on fat.
“It seemingly led us down the wrong ‘dietary road’ for decades to follow”, said Dr. DiNicolantonio, of Ithaca College, New York, writing in the BMJ journal Open Heart. “This stemmed from the belief that since saturated fats increase total cholesterol (a flawed theory to begin with) they must increase the risk of heart disease.”
Dr. DiNicolantonio believes the switch away from fat towards carbohydrates has harmed public health. He suggests the rise in high-carb diet is responsible for the increase in diabetes and obesity epidemic in the US.
The best diet to boost and maintain heart health is one low in refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods, he recommended.
What Dr. DiNicolantonio is saying is nothing new. It is common knowledge in the world of nutrition that the studies on cholesterol were flawed. What is new is that someone in the field of cardiology is finally admitting what most of science and health care has known for 30 years. He is a very brave man to buck the establishment and should be applauded.
After thirty years of low fat diets the rate of heart attacks should be dropping in this country, not skyrocketing. In truth, more than 50% of people suffering their first heart attack have normal or even low cholesterol.
The cholesterol myth is all about statin drugs, the most commonly written prescription in the world. Currently 49% of Americans over the age of 60 take statin drugs. With the new guidelines that number is estimated to become 49% of Americans over the age of 45. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Cardiology Association (ACA) have both advocated adding statin drugs to our drinking water. That is the level of dogma that Dr. DiNicolantonio references.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Fats are essential to health. Feel free to eat butter, eggs, cheese, and animal fats as part of a balanced, healthy diet. Just remember to have two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables in the mix. Quit obsessing over your cholesterol readings and take a look at your waistline. Reduce those refined carbohydrates and processed foods.