Cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease

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  1. Bruce’s avatar

    Also, the animal studies used oxidized cholesterol and they fed the animals vegetable oils high in PUFAs. They used fractionated processed cholesterol and PUFA vegetable oils. All of their conclusions should have been suspect, from the beginning. None of them have been proven in human studies with real food prepared in natural ways. Even animals don’t get atherosclerosis when fed non-oxidized cholesterol and saturated animal fats. Most studies feed animals refined sugar/grain and casein powder and assume the same thing will happen on a diet with natural foods.

    T. Colin Campbell is the biggest proponent of this brand of junk science. He says that animal protein causes cancer, but his studies actually show that casein powder causes cancer, in the context of a diet of refined sugar, corn starch, and PUFA oils (like corn oil). That doesn’t show that a diet of natural foods causes cancer. It only shows that the diet he fed the animals caused cancer and it could be related to the other foods.

  2. admin’s avatar


    Yes, the deeper one digs into this myth the more outrageous it becomes.

    T. Colin Campbell’s China Study has unfortunately been widely read and has further contributed to the false idea that animal protein causes cancer.

    Thanks for your contribution and participation here!


  3. Bruce’s avatar

    Campbell’s studies and conclusions are the most outrageous. Here is one of his studies, claiming that a high (animal) protein diet causes liver cancer. When you look at table 1 on page 2 of the pdf, you see that the animals got diets of powdered casein, fractionated methionine, table sugar, corn starch, and corn oil. He also exposed them to large doses of aflatoxin to initiate the cancers.

    As Michael Eades would say, ‘the data shows what it shows,’ but it doesn’t show that natural animal protein would cause cancer (except in the context of sucrose, corn starch, corn oil, protein powders, and aflatoxin). Campbell and other vegan activists confuse correlation with causality when they look at epidemiological studies. They also tend to confuse ‘whole animal protein’ with fractionated powders and isolated amino acids, even though evidence clearly shows these two things are not the same.

    I don’t think we can ignore all of the confounding variables in his study, like refined sugar, corn starch, corn oil, DL-methionine, cellulose, etc. Maybe the results would be different if the animals were fed natural animal foods, and saturated fats like butter, tallow, coconut oil, etc. We have to consider the interaction of variables in a study, nad how the results might be different if one food (sugar) was changed for another (comb honey).

  4. Marc Marshall, D.C.’s avatar

    I had a nutrition teacher in chiropractic school who told us that when the early animal studies on high cholesterol diets were conducted high concentrations of pufas were added to the animal feeds. He asserted that it was the high level of these and especially the trans fats that resulted in the higher levels of disease and the cholesterol.

  5. Marc Marshall, D.C.’s avatar

    corection: He asserted that it was the high level of these and especially the trans fats that resulted in the higher levels of disease and the cholesterol.

    should read:

    He asserted that it was the high level of these and especially the trans fats that resulted in the higher levels of disease and NOT the cholesterol.

  6. Chris’s avatar

    That’s exactly right. Those studies were hopelessly flawed, and it was revealed that Ancel Keys (the researcher who published them and the “father” of the lipid hypothesis) deleted data from them that didn’t support his hypothesis. When the original data were later reexamined by George Mann, the association between saturated fat/cholesterol and heart disease disappeared. In fact, of all the dietary factors that were recorded in that original study, sugar was the one that had the greatest correlation with heart disease.

    As you point out, early studies did not differentiate between saturated and trans fats. When researchers distinguished between trans and saturated fats in subsequent analyses, again the association between saturated fat and heart disease disappeared – and a strong correlation between trans fat and heart disease became apparent.

    So keep eating that saturated fat, and don’t worry about cholesterol!

  7. Bruce’s avatar

    You can probably correlate trans fat with sugar and HFCS and flour and other junk carbs. Most people nowadays also eat a lot of PUFAs. On CNN’s special “Fed Up: America’s Killer Diet”, they said the average Americans eat 10% of their calories calories from soybean oil alone. So, the question is whether the trans fats are really as bad as we are led to believe, or is it the refined carbs and PUFA oils that are the problem? Most of the studies on trans fat seem to be epidemiological and I have yet to find long-term controlled studies which prove the assertion that trans fats are bad. Partially hydrogenated oils still contain PUFAs and MUFAs (double bonds). It would be good to test a fully hydrogenated coconut oil (100% saturated) to see if it caused problems. It’s hard to isolate the trans fat from rancid unsaturated fat, you see.

  8. Chris’s avatar

    This is true, Bruce, and thanks for making the distinction.

    However, in practice I’m not sure how important the distinction is since all trans-fats used in this country (to my knowledge) contain high amounts of PUFA and MUFA. They should be avoided completely.

  9. Graph?’s avatar

    The “Average Serum Cholesterol Levels” graph lacks both a y-axis and error bars. It’s difficult for the reader to grasp the true significance of such an image.

  10. Pingback from The Incredible Edible Egg | Musings of a Housewife on August 21, 2009 at 8:39 am

  11. sandrar’s avatar

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

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