Three more studies that should make you skeptical of mainstream health advice

November 8, 2009 in Food & Nutrition, Heart Disease | 2 comments

caution signFor the last 50 years mainstream medical “authorities” have been hammering it into our heads that high cholesterol levels are dangerous and low cholesterol levels are desirable; that eating saturated fat is bad for us; and that a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet is healthy and helps people lose weight.

If you’re a new reader, you might be surprised to learn that there’s very little evidence to support these recommendations and plenty of evidence that contradicts them. Long ago I learned that if I wanted to live a long, healthy life it was in my best interest to ignore the dietary advice of the medical mainstream. And of course that’s why I started this blog – to share this information with all of you so you can make educated, and informed choices about your health.

Lately I’ve been encouraged by the number of studies being published that undermine the anti-fat, anti-cholesterol dogma we’ve been brainwashed with for so long. This is good news.

The bad news is that paradigm shifts do not happen overnight. It took half a century for researchers and doctors to convince people that eating toxic, highly processed, nasty-tasting vegetable oils was somehow better for them than eating traditional animal fats like butter and lard; that eating dry bagels, boneless-skinless chicken breast and salad with fat-free dressing was a path to good health; and that the best way to lose weight was to eat a highly unnatural diet high in processed, refined carbohydrates and low in fat.

So I don’t expect these ideas to disappear anytime soon, in spite of the solid evidence being published that contradicts them. It’s going to take time. But my sense is that it will take less time to convince people that eating traditional, nutrient-dense, whole foods that have been minimally processed is better for them than eating what the industrial food conglomerates have been selling us.

Here are the three studies.

The first is yet another study that associates low cholesterol with an increase in the risk of death (total mortality). It showed increased death rates in hospitalized patients with low cholesterol levels.

CONCLUSIONS: In our cohort, lower LDL-cholesterol at admission was associated with decreased 3-year survival in patients with NSTEMI.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. There’s already plenty of evidence suggesting low cholesterol increases the risk of death – as well as contributing to other conditions such as cancer and depression. For more on this see my previous article Cholesterol Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease.

The second study shows (once again) that cutting carbs is the best way to lose weight and fight obesity.

No surprise here either. Countless studies, trials and reviews have demonstrated that low-carb diets are superior for weight loss, managing diabetes and preventing many of the other modern diseases which plague us. How long will it take until doctors and the media get the message? For more on one such recent review, see Low-carb Diet Best for Weight Loss.

The last study I want to share with you was performed by a Swedish PhD student. It demonstrates that children who eat saturated fat and full-cream dairy products are healthier than those who do not.

Conclusions: BMI correlated strongly to fat mass and leptin was the best marker of overweight and fat mass in 8-year-olds. Food choice was similar to that at 4 years of age. An intake of fat fish once a week was associated with higher serum concentrations of n-3 fatty acids. Saturated fat and intake of full fat milk were inversely associated with BMI. Serum phospholipid fatty acids were associated with bone mineralisation. The results for metabolic markers may provide preliminary reference intervals in healthy children.

If you’re surprised by this, read my recent post Have Some Butter with Your Veggies as well as Whole Fat Milk: Benefits for Moms and Kids.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Margaret Wilde May 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I have been one of your followers on Twitter for some months and also read your healthskeptic posts. I have been eating low carb (and high good saturated fat) for about a year now and will continue to do so. I have certainly lost some excess weight by doing so.

I also eat no processed food and no added salt/sodium at all. I have been doing this for over ten years. This has been the main way that I have lost weight, and that is because I have steroid-induced obesity from taking inappropriately-prescribed and poorly-monitored steroids. Excess weight gained in this way is largely fluid retention, and is easily and rapidly reduced once you know that it is nothing to do with calories, and instead is to do with drug-induced sensitivity to salt, and the main course of action needed is as far as possible to avoid salt and salty food.


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