When 98.9 Percent of Nutrition Scientist Got it Wrong

Guest post by Ronald Baron,

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“I have high cholesterol,” my mother sighed over the phone. “Just got back from my doctor, and my cholesterol reading was 523.”

“Is that high?” I asked. I knew nothing about cholesterol to say nothing of medicine’s ability to measure it. But I know my mother. If the doctor found something alarming, she would immediately go about and make any necessary changes to correct the problem. She wasn’t disciplined in all aspects of her life, but when it came to her health, she was. Fear is a powerful motivator.

She proceeded to tell me everything she knew about high cholesterol, which is what the doctor told her. Cholesterol and fat are responsible for heart disease and strokes. It’s caused by eating fatty food and food high in dietary cholesterol like eggs. And with heart disease in the family and the leading cause of death among Americans, my mother immediately changed her diet. If she left any eggs in the refrigerator, they were for making cookies and cakes. Butter from cows milk fat- out. Whole milk- gone. Cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt- to the back!

My mother was no longer eating eggs or whole milk or butter or most other dairy products. Unfortunately, that didn’t do much for her cholesterol levels. “Still too high,” she’d tell me. I could tell she was worried. Anxious even. Lurking in the back of her mind was her father, who died of a massive heart attack at the young age of 72. Playing a game of pool with his friends, he leaned against the pool table, crumpled to the ground, and died. Maybe her fate was sealed.

For her, worry came naturally. It was 1995. She was in her mid 60’s, in great shape, and a breast cancer survivor. With dozens of grandchildren, my mother had a lot to live for.

Eventually, I, too, have my cholesterol levels checked. To my consternation, my triglycerides are a bit whacked. My grandfather dies young of a heart attack, and my mother has high cholesterol. It only stands to reason that I, too, would be afflicted. Today, we know that individual cholesterol levels are largely a function of one’s genetics.

My mother is eventually prescribed a statin drug, and her high cholesterol count did come down a bit- but just a bit. I asked her if there were any side effects in taking these drugs. Sure, but that didn’t make her any less of a believer. She committed herself to an egg-free low-fat diet, taking her statin meds, and going for a brisk walk every morning.

During one of my many visits, I would open her kitchen cabinets in search of a bowl of cereal. I found one unopened and one half-eaten box of Special K next to the refrigerator. ‘Heart Check’ they claimed. The Kellogg folks had some research done, and a ‘Heart Check’ symbol from the American Heart Association was printed on the corner of the box. Kelloggs paid the association thousands of dollars for the right to claim it ‘heart healthy.’ A bowl of Special K would reduce my mother’s cholesterol, the box implied. I’m sure she thought that to be true. Then on to the refrigerator for some milk. All I could find was ‘skim’ milk fortified with vitamin D. I hated skim milk in part because it tasted as if it had been watered down. That wasn’t the case the milk industry assured me. Removing all the fat from milk also changed its color. At least the margarine folks attempted to make their product have the look and texture of butter. With no other options, I grabbed a bowl of some Special K and skimmed milk and choked it down. I would never eat it again. I’d rather a bowl of water and soggy cardboard.

Being healthy and young, I could afford to be cavalier about what I ate. I recall a great sense of optimism about what appeared to me was incredible advances in health science. With increasing rapidity, magazine and newspaper articles touted each discovery. If taken at face value, one had the sense that eventually, heart disease and a host of other conditions would soon be eradicated- and in my lifetime. Science was finally going to discover the fountain of youth. I had nothing to fear because science was all over it. It would have been easy to believe that science was on the brink of knowing everything they needed to prevent death itself. Perhaps a pill with no known side-effects.

Good health sells. Glossy magazines touting all sorts of good health content piled up on my mother’s kitchen table. She’d read these magazines and soon became a bit of an expert. At least she thought she was. An article would claim this, and soon she believed that. My mother read a book by Dr. Ancel Keys titled ‘Eat Well and Stay Well.’ Dr. Keys would claim the reason for writing the book was to declare war on cholesterol. Then he was featured on the cover of ‘Time’ magazine as the foremost authority on why atherosclerosis (heart disease) was killing so many. My mother believed all of this. She grew up in an age when you could believe what you read.

The sun was shining brightly one winter, Florida morning. My wife and I were visiting her grandfather, who was well into his 80’s. His wife had faithfully made him a breakfast of half a grapefruit, one hard-boiled egg, and a strip of bacon every morning for years. After breakfast, he’d chow down on a crossword puzzle to keep the synapses firing. I recall inquiring about his breakfast habits and his cholesterol level. If he knew and told me, I don’t recall. But it didn’t stop him from enjoying his regulation breakfast every morning. He lived to be 92 years old.

The human biological system is incredibly complex made more so because each individual is a unique system unto its own. My mother is much different than my wife’s grandfather. We each contain an infinite number of physiological variations. Throw in all the possible environmental differences such as obesity and exercise and the quality of healthcare, and we begin to understand how difficult research on human nutrition must be. Then consider how long some effects of our human diet can take to affect our health either positively or negatively. Many years in many cases.

To understand how so many nutritional scientists bought into the notion that a diet that contained fat and cholesterol would certainly lead to death by heart disease, we need to examine the nature of early research. But equally important, we best understand what the rest of the world did with this information. I hope to shed some light on how we deviled the egg with shoddy science, sophisticated public relations, and the shameless use of fear and intimidation. The images of arteries clogged by fatty deposits and cholesterol traumatized a generation, including my mother.

The ‘Deviling’ of the Egg

In the early 1900s, science was making significant strides in understanding human systems. Heart disease had been around a long time. Since we’re curious enough to poke around a corpse for clues, researchers in Germany found something interesting. The observations soon turned into a theory by esteemed German pathologist Rudolph Virchow when he posed that cholesterol in your blood became the ‘plaque’ in your veins.

Taking a different tack, the Russians were studying rabbits. Having fed rabbits food high in cholesterol, Nikolaj Nikolajewitsch Anitschkow from St. Petersburg, discovered that the rabbits soon suffered from arterial lesions. Clear and convincing evidence that cholesterol leads to plaque buildup in the arteries. Eventually, someone took a closer look at this bit of research and suggested a possible flaw. Rabbits are herbivores and don’t naturally eat things with cholesterol. Feeding rabbits high doses of something they never eat is like feeding us rotting contaminated food to examine why worms appear immune to salmonella. The same experiment was then conducted using the common dog. Dogs are carnivores with a diet more similar to humans. When fed a diet high in cholesterol, dogs did not develop arterial lesions as the rabbits did.

In 1953, Dr. Ancel Keys published the Seven Countries Studies. He collated data from seven countries whose population was known for their high consumption of dietary fats and a high incidence of heart disease and connected the two. Why he didn’t include data from all 22 countries in which data was collected is still not known. Some have speculated that it did not support his hypothesis. He had a book to sell. Only later, when data from all 22 countries were eventually tallied, little to no correlation was found between the consumption of dietary fat and coronary heart disease when a variety of other factors were considered.

Another paper to hit the scientific community was called the Framingham Heart Study. This study, commissioned by Congress, started in 1948 and included a detailed assessment of nearly 6000 individuals all living in Framingham, Massachusetts. It also included other factors that might lead to heart disease; obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise. It, too, found a link, albeit a weak relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and heart disease. However, if you read carefully, you’ll also learn that something of an anomaly was discovered. A former director of the Framingham Heart Study, Dr. William Castelli, may have sensed the studies’ contribution to groupthink and attempted to clarify. He stated, “In Framingham, we found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, also weighed the least and were the most physically active.” Finally, being ‘physically active’ and in good physical shape was given some weight. The study also hinted at the strong genetic component of individual cholesterol levels. But none of this would be heard.

By 1995, it was too late to set the record straight. Government, the processed food industry, the medical community, the pharmaceutical companies, the media with their clickbait headlines, and my mother were all singing in unison- eggs are evil. Eggs represent an existential threat!

Yet, these research papers, however flawed, started a revolution. Literally billions of words, thousands of dubious products, millions of medical tests, billions of statin drugs, and an anxious mother was the result. It was all settled. For the egg industry, the fallout was simple. The weakest went bankrupt. For the dairy industry with its complicated government controls, unmarketable milk was turned into cheese. Eventually, so much cheese was stockpiled, it was given to schools to be fed to the kids not yet worried about their cholesterol levels.

Such is the nature of research. A hypothesis is posited, research results in data, theories are developed, papers are written, media attempts to explain it, and science is advanced. It’s a wonderful rational process and nearly always benefits humankind. But even scientists are human and subject to making errors, holding strong biases, and some have even been caught fudging a bit to prop up a wished-for narrative. But as we’ll see, our natural world is immensely complicated, and human behavior is somewhat predictable. Humans are prone to ‘confirmation bias’ and ‘groupthink,’ which contributes to the confusion. That sometimes, a perfect storm gathers that obfuscates the truth, which leads all of humanity to follow a rabbit down the hole.

The Answer is Highly Processed Substitutes

In free-market systems, innovators and risk-takers are always looking for opportunities. That is nearly always a good thing. If sugar is bad for you, then we’ll figure out a way to make our sugary sodas sugar-free. With gifted marketing folks given budgets rivaling that of the GNP of mid-tier nations, soda companies can convince the world that a can of soda is the equivalent of a glass of water. Zero everything!

So it must have been with some delight when the processed food folks realized that Humpty-Dumpty had been pushed from the wall and needed to be replaced- pronto. Soon grocery store shelves were full of products that addressed the evils of fatty cholesterol-laden food.

Since we insist on spreading something on our bread, the magicians of industrial food came up with a product called ‘margarine.’ So good was margarine, they claimed you couldn’t tell the difference between it and butter. How pleased the butter eating public must have been to enjoy something that tastes like butter, looked like butter, spread like butter, and sat in the cooled butter display case. The package boldly stated as fact, as good as butter without all the nasty dietary cholesterol. “Don’t fool with mother nature,” they lectured. In a most memorable TV advertisement, Mother Nature herself, played by a stern-looking woman, was seen having been entirely fooled by an industrial food concoction called ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.’ She was not happy haven been duped, but she loved the trans-fat-laden margarine.

Out with nature’s natural food and in with highly processed foods. Soon, concoctions of chemicals cleverly stirred together without the bad stuff yet providing our senses the idea that we are still enjoying the old stuff. We didn’t much notice or care that many of the ingredients were there for presentation value. Stuff to make it stick together like butter and be smooth and creamy to spread like butter and taste just like butter without any actual dairy product in the brew. Only later would we come to understand that this new butter substitute, margarine, typically contained a heaping of heart-damaging trans fats. Eventually, the makers of these products would be called out for all the trans fats. Until then, my mother was spreading nothing but margarine on her lunch sandwiches.

Food companies, startups, and wall street soon grew to see the size of the opportunity. They hired bright chemical and biological researchers and gave them white coats and high powered electron scopes and told them to develop substitutes.

I imagine a scene where the director of research walks into a meeting carrying a single ordinary egg. The chief demonstrably lays it on a sterile stainless steel table and slowly addresses her team. “Ladies and Gentlemen. Today we embark on a new journey. A journey so critical that the well being of all humankind is at stake. Men and women are dying of heart disease at alarming rates because of cholesterol and fat in their diet. We all know the likelihood of the average person voluntarily changing their diet (a few snickers could be heard.) Since that is unlikely, we must offer substitutes.”

The chief continued, “Research has discovered a link between this egg (she points with disgust at the lonely egg on the table) and plaque buildup on the arteries of men and women leading to atherosclerosis.” She pulls out a visual that shows a blood vessel clogged like a kitchen sink. “Just this morning, the CEO gave us the go-ahead and a three million dollar budget to develop a new product. A substitute egg.” Several researchers looked at each other with slightly tilted eyebrows. The chief continues, “Our substitute egg must look like an egg, taste like an egg, and be prepared like an egg- well a scrambled egg.” Some chuckles were heard as the assembled attempted to imagine the magic of creating an eggshell. “In every regard, the egg-loving public shall enjoy our egg as much as any egg nature has ever provided.” “Any questions?” she asks. One small hand emerged with a question. “Mam, what about the nutrients of this new product. Does it need to reflect that of an egg from nature?” she asked. “Good question. Marketing believes that if we include an industry solution of your standard off the shelf synthetic vitamin pack. They will plaster ‘fortified’ on the packaging, we’ll have a product that will sell like hotcakes,” the chief concluded as she closed the meeting. “We’ve already paid the AHA for the right to place ‘Heart Check’ on the packaging. Let’s get to work.”

Today, we have the dubious benefit of eating an egg substitute with something like 30 different chemicals carefully co-joined to resemble an egg, albeit somewhat poorly. The scientist did their best, but an egg is hard to replicate. But Humpty-Dumpty had fallen, well pushed actually, and couldn’t get up. My mother walks right past the egg cooler at the grocery store to the display right next to it. That’s where she’ll find the substitutes.

Pharmaceutical Companies Smell Blood

The pharmaceutical companies were not going to let industrial food folks get all the spoils. They, too, started to stir some ingredients together and came up with various forms of statins to reduce the cholesterol count of those with high cholesterol.

With heart disease being the leading cause of death in America, the pharmaceutical industry was already pumping out drugs to treat coronary disease and prevent heart attacks. But it wasn’t until cholesterol was accused as the rotten egg that they went to work on developing anti-cholesterol preventive medicines. The most successful being a class of drugs known as ‘statins.’ Statins would become the most profitable category of drugs in all of history. It is estimated that one trillion dollars of statins will be sold worldwide in 2020.

In 1972, a Japanese biochemist discovered a chemical found in a particular type of mushroom that would inhibit certain microorganisms from forming into other organisms. These ‘inhibitors’ prevented the maintenance of cell walls, therefore, inhibiting their formation. In 1976, the Brits had stumbled upon essentially the same mechanism, which resulted in a compound called Mevastatin. Fortunately, Mevastatin was never marketed because it caused muscle deterioration, tumors, and even death of laboratory dogs.

While the scientific community was committed to removing eggs from our future, all that was left was its colorful history and significant contribution to cultures everywhere.

A Brief History of the Egg

Historians believe it was the Chinese that first domesticated the chicken for purposes of enjoying their eggs around 6000 BC. Some records exist that the Egyptians and Romans used eggs for baking, having discovered the eggs’ ability to act as a binding agent in bread and cakes. Domesticated chickens didn’t arrive with Columbus, but they did come on the very next boat.

There is something about the shape of the egg, its conical sphere wider at the bottom, slowly tapering towards the top, which makes it so compelling. Similar to a round sphere or a ball but just different enough to make it interesting. So also thought the ancients. The cultural significance of the egg over all of recorded history is perhaps without equal in the category of food.

I recall a story out of the Midwest and reported on CNN. A junk dealer made a bid of $14,000 for someone’s entire pile of junk. This particular dealer would typically take the trinkets that contained gold or silver and have them melted down to reclaim the precious metals to make a few bucks. Just before he was to box up a collection of trinkets to be melted, he carefully examined one final time an item that looked like an ornamental mantelpiece complete with three very ornate legs suspending what was an object shaped like an egg. In a long shot, the junk dealer ‘googled’ ‘egg’ and the name of “Vacheron Constantin,” which he had found inscribed on the object.

One link led to another, which finally led him to the conclusion that he might possess something rare and precious. It turns out that he owned an original Russian Faberge. These beautiful eggs were not just any Faberge. This particular trinket was the ‘Third Imperial Easter Egg’ made by Faberge for the Russian Royal Family. One of only 50 made for the Royal family; this particular one was number three and worth nearly 33 million dollars. And that is how an unsophisticated junk dealer from the Midwest came into possession of a piece of art created to represent the observance of Easter and a love token. That’s one very expensive Easter egg.

The very first Easter Eggs are thought to have been painted by early Christians in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). They painted them red to signify the blood of Christ. The tradition expanded and involved to where today, the Easter Egg is a significant component of celebrations across the globe. So strong is the Easter Egg, even attempts to de-sanctify it as a healthy food source has not diminished its symbolic power. Americans consumed $16.4 billion of multicolored plastic eggs filled with candy, chocolate bunnies, marshmallow Peeps, and other Easter holiday staples in 2015, according to the National Food Federation. In contrast, the egg industry sold 9.4 billion dollars worth of production in 2019. Fill a plastic shell resembling an egg with candy and chocolate and other sugary morsels, sell billions of dollars of them, and no one raises an eyebrow.

An Easter Egg is just one symbolic use of the egg recorded in history. Many cultures saw the eggs as a symbol of fertility. Several went so far as hanging eggs from temple doorways as an offering to the fertility gods. In ancient Iran, brides and grooms exchanged eggs, and in France, the bride would crack an egg before entering into her new home. Ancient Chinese would use eggs to divine the future. They would paint eggs, boil them, break them, and carefully read the ‘cracks’ to reveal the unknown.

The Egg as a Food Source

The egg is unique in all of nature. The nutrient profile is profound in its completeness and complexity. A single egg contains 75 calories, 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat and a large variety of vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and 187mg of dietary cholesterol per large egg. Carotenoids are known for reducing the risk of macular degeneration and the disease-fighting attributes of lutein and zeaxanthin. You can legitimately call an egg ‘brain’ food in that brain development and memory may be enhanced by the choline content of the humble egg. The egg contains no carbohydrates, no sugar, and no gluten.

Just after World War II, annual egg consumption stood at around 422 eggs per American. Egg prices were relatively low, and farm and breeding practices were substantially improving egg production. Americans were also dying of cardiovascular disease. The leading cause of death at the time.

There is no other food source with a history as rich as the egg. Yet, within just a few years, the egg became unwelcomed in American kitchens. Between 1950 and 2011, egg consumption in America decreased by nearly 40%. Had not the continued falling of egg prices and rising incomes, the decline in consumption likely would have been worse. Most food experts agree that the consumer’s concern about the egg’s contribution to heart disease was the major contributor to declining consumption.

So over several decades, the mighty egg with a history of thousands of years providing human sustenance, to say nothing of its rich cultural heritage, fell and cracked into a sort of science purgatory. That might have been a just end to a proud legacy if we had gotten the science right. But we didn’t. It was as if a rogue prosecutor convinced a gullible jury that Humpty-dumpty was guilty on the equivalent of a rumor. Like many rumors which started with a morsel of truth, the humble egg soon morphed into a mythical killer. Poorly conducted research had taken on a life of its own. Soon, many were invested in a particular outcome; the food industry, the AHA, the National Institute of Health, the pharmaceutical giants, nothing could stop a guilty verdict.

The role of government in the pushing Humpty-Dumpty off the wall

To convince Americans of anything, it’s best to start with a freshly baked apple pie and a healthy public relations budget. When something as apple pie as the American Health Association and the National Institute of Health team up to publish nutritional guidelines, we best pay attention. The guidelines relied heavily on Dr. Ancel Keys and his infamous Seven Countries Studies. That was the study that took the eating habits from seven countries and claimed a correlation between a diet high in saturated fats and cholesterol with heart disease. It would become the most seminal study conducted to date on eating habits and the effects on health.

With the new dietary guidelines, the AHA, the National Institute of Health, and the Senate Committee on Nutrition changed the way Americans related to their food. Congressional hearings were held in 1976, where testimony revealed that 98.9 percent of world nutrition researchers all agreed; heart disease was caused by foods high in fat and high in cholesterol. The bipartisan committee agreed, and new dietary guidelines were published. Increase your carbohydrate intake and decrease your fat intake. Soon my mother was told that nine out of ten doctors also agreed. Cut out the eggs, the dairy, the red meat, and you’ll never die from heart disease.

The train was rolling so smoothly that by 1985, the AHA and the National Institute of Health rolled out a slick national campaign called “National Cholesterol Education Program.” It is still in existence. The goal was simple; convince Americans to reduce their cholesterol consumption. Millions of dollars were spent. So convinced of these substantial efforts, the then AHA president claimed that if the dietary guidelines were followed, atherosclerosis would be “conquered” by 2000. We were one step closer to the fountain of youth.

In 1988, the AHA knew they had a moneymaker. They threw out their long term corporate by-laws preventing them from selling sponsorships and started selling sponsors to a slick new campaign called ‘Heart Check.’ Even the orange producers of Florida got hoodwinked out of $200,000.00 for the exclusive right to put the AHA ‘Heart Check’ symbol on its packaging. If you grew oranges in California, you were out of luck.

Nearly every food package soon claimed how healthy it was based on two criteria; low fat and no or low cholesterol. And if you were an egg or butter- well, so sorry. Some politicians even considered forcing the egg industry to warn egg eaters of the dangers by placing images of clogged arteries on the egg carton as if it were as dangerous a killer as cigarettes. In their opinion, what was needed was more fear.

Would anything put Humpty-Dumpty back together again? A resurrection seemed unlikely. Nary a word was uttered in support of the egg. Who dared? A few tried. Some did suggest that human health was more complicated than just blaming eggs and consuming highly processed food and swallowing a statin pill a day. Dr. Atkins, a New York physician, tried by suggesting that we look at carbohydrates a bit closer. And if weight loss is your goal, then consider removing some of the carbohydrates from your diet. But he was quickly labeled a ‘quack.’ Other ‘charlatans’ would come and go. Today, we’d call them ‘deniers.’ In some cases, their contributions to nutrition science are finding a more receptive audience today.

Except for bankrupt egg producers, few lamented the plight of the mighty egg. My mother, adjusted by reaching for margarine full of trans fats, Special K with a paid-for AHA ‘Heart Check’ sticker, vitamin D fortified skim milk that tasted worse than water, and egg beaters fortified with a few synthetic vitamins instead. Despite the ‘settled’ nature of things, a few rubes kept eating eggs despite the apparent overwhelming evidence. But the smart folks believed it hook, line, and sinker because- well because 98.9 percent of nutrition researchers said so.

With near unanimity of belief possibly the result of the most successful PR campaign ever choreographed, one big question still hung out there like a pinprick to a balloon. Does a low-fat, low cholesterol diet prevent heart disease? No. There was simply no evidence that it does.

Eventually, new dietary guidelines were produced in response to better research. The new guidelines still suggest some moderation. And if you’re a diabetic, some research suggests you carefully monitor your intake of foods high in fat and cholesterol. Finally, Humpty-Dumpty is back on the wall, and the low-fat no cholesterol nonsense is over.

So what went wrong?

Just how does nine of ten doctors come to agree with a very steamy dog pile of science? Or what about the 98.9 percent of the world’s nutrition researchers who claim to all sing in perfect harmony? Suffice to say that I know neither the exact question they all allegedly agreed too or who tallied up the results. But it’s in the congressional record that the sheer overwhelming nature of peer agreement was so persuasive that it resulted in a bi-partisan consensus that kept the ruse going and the money flowing.

How Human Behavior Contributed

Groupthink

“Groupthink,” social psychologist Irving Janis, the man who coined the term, says, “occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment.”

Ouch- he just insulted every one of us. Nearly everyone exists within a group or two. In a group, any group, the pressure from that group can lead us astray. We are likely to act differently, less independently, than if we’re outside of the group. I’ve seen it on the playground, in churches, on twitter, and in TV newsrooms. We can all become corrupted. Our desire to be liked, to get along, and to stay safe in the fold becomes, perhaps, more important than personal integrity and independence. Maybe there is something to be said for ‘go along to get along.’

Unfortunately, the side effects of groupthink are serious. Groupthink will ignore alternatives and quickly, collectively, dehumanize other ideas and other groups. Groupthink tends to insulate the group from outside opinions. It also tends to create a false sense of harmony and coherence, which comes at the expense of accurate analysis and critical evaluation. In the safe bosom of the group, members only see the ‘rightness’ of their cause. We no longer need to spend energy developing our arguments as we possess the moral certitude to go straight to disgust or personal attacks with our ideological opponents. We become intellectually lazy.

Noble Cause

A manager of a food industry conglomerate once told me that they were just trying to feed the world as the rationale for why the industry shouldn’t be held to the same standards as other industries. The ‘feeding the world’ meme is undoubtedly noble, but it was a purpose the industry itself was pursuing and possibly a construct of a savvy PR department. And when convenient, it was used to rationalize poor behavior. This comes close to an example of what is known as the ‘Noble Cause’ phenomenon.

Most are likely to agree that it is immoral for an individual, for personal reasons, to lie, cheat, or steal. The motive is to use corrupt means to gain personally. When an individual involved in a moral cause, seeks to use any means possible to advance the cause, noble cause corruption becomes possible. This behavioral phenomenon is the fodder of many books and the intrigue of some great movies. There is something noble when ‘stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.’ Just ask Robin Hood. As long as what you steal doesn’t benefit you personally, then taking is entirely justified. The ‘ends justify the means.’ It is morally fulfilling but will likely lead some to a sense of moral superiority.

Confirmation Bias

In a Senate hearing room recently, a senator was debating climate science with several scientists who he deemed ‘deniers.’ As evidence of man-made climate change, this senator used the example of unusual snow accumulation last winter in his home state. A personal observation made even more real by human behavioral phenomena known as confirmation bias. A particularly nasty winter simply confirmed his bias. The senator did not seem to enjoy being told that his state suffered many other brutal winters, and a particularly ugly winter was experienced in 1750. A winter far more severe than the winter he experienced.

‘Confirmatory bias’ is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors. The University of Iowa dug deeper into this psychological phenomenon and released a study in 2015. In that study, they also uncovered what they termed the ‘explanation effect.’ When their test subjects were asked to predict a particular outcome and to put that prediction in writing stating their rationale, the subjects were more likely to cling to their predictions in the face of evidence to the contrary. The act of putting into writing one’s belief substantially hardens the convictions of that belief. It becomes manifestly more difficult to admit your error. Is it also possible that the ‘explanation effect’ plays a roll in academia’s obsession with global warming?

Linus Pauling, a brilliant chemist, and Nobel Prize winner, touted the benefits of taking massive doses of vitamin C and wrote a book about it. My father read the book and became a believer. To his dying day, he’d vigorously promote the notion that massive doses of vitamin C have substantial health benefits even in light that Linus Pauling’s findings have been substantially debunked. After much research, there is no substantial evidence that massive doses of vitamin C benefits anyone except possibly the manufacturers of vitamins. I am quite certain that my father was unwilling to read more recent research on the topic and was quite satisfied that he possessed all the knowledge necessary to maintain his belief. To change his mind after all he’s said and written was unlikely.

Many conspiracy theories have their roots in confirmation bias. If my political disposition is not to trust authority as represented by, let’s just say, the government, confirmation bias would suggest that I am more likely to believe that the horrendous events of 9/11 were a giant conspiracy cynically designed by foreign and possibly our own government. Any bit of unknown or potentially ambiguous information becomes fodder that emboldens their convictions.

Confirmation bias knows no limits. It affects both sides of any argument and is often used as ammunition to taint the other side’s logic. Many of us are more than willing to hang onto a preconceived notion ignoring new evidence even if it were to cost us money. Confirmation bias is known to influence what it is we read and watch. If you have progressive leanings, you are likely to read left of center blogs and news sites, and inversely, if your politics are to the right, you’re more likely to watch and read things that you find yourself agreeing with.

Our natural world is a collection of extraordinary complex systems that we humans have been attempting to understand since we were imbued with the ability to ask questions. Our efforts through scientific endeavors have just begun to reveal that complexity. If understanding were represented by layers, science has no idea how many tiers are left. Expose one layer, and it reveals a multiple of new layers not previously conceived. Yet, in our hubris, we observe, test, record, theorize, publish, create mandates, and claim it all settled. Settled? Settled science. Where have I heard that phrase before?

Some weeks ago, I engaged a neighbor in a discussion on what it means when science claims something is settled. He seemed quite taken by the notion that 97% believe in something, and he gave that enormous weight. A good rationale for concluding something likely to be true. After all, who doesn’t want to be part of the majority? You’d have to be willing to claim a lot of very smart people are wrong.

So I asked him, “What percentage of scientists believe the theory of relativity?”

“I’d imagine that is nearly all of them. Maybe 100 percent,” my neighbor answers.

“Of course and for a good reason. We experience gravity every moment of our lives. It keeps us in bed. It’s what keeps my scrambled egg in a frying pan. Gravity is critical to much of life best I can tell. Now, if I ask how many believe in Einstein’s theory of relativity as the final word of how gravity works, a few hands might come down. Would you agree with me?”

“I don’t think so. I don’t believe there is any real challenge to the theory of relativity.”

“Well, actually there is,” I counter. “You’ll find a few astrophysicists and quantum physicists who have been troubled of late by some unexplained anomaly to the theory of relativity as observed deep in space. Something to do with dark matter and dark energy and antimatter. For these folks, what was ‘settled’ now appears a bit unsettled. Predictably, other scientists have quickly cast doubt on these renegades and claim the theory still safe.”

My neighbor looked at me a bit skeptically as he should. I hope he went home to do a little of his own digging.

The pursuit of knowledge is a pesky, persistent thing. It will go on. That is just the nature of our curious being. That has been the history of scientific inquiry. Something will be discovered that will turn much of what we thought we knew on its head. Fortunately, many scientists pursue knowledge for its sake alone. Political agendas and belonging to groups and gaining peer admiration is not their goal. Their commitment is to search for truth wherever that leads. With courage and healthy skepticism, they know that our natural world, both near and far away, will throw us a few more curves before it floods or burns or whatever the Illuminati believe will be the end of things.

I am not a scientist nor particularly well educated. I’ve lived long enough to have heard many predictions. Some of them were said to scare me. Some came from very smart people.

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John
December 5, 2019 6:18 am

Except in the UK where they are advocating testing LDL/HDL/’cholesterol’ levels from the age of 25 according to the BBC
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50648325?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health&link_location=live-reporting-correspondent
This is the link to the original paper https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)32519-X/fulltext and the authors have links to Pfizer and a multitude of other pharmaceutical companies! Therefore hardly unbiased.
Here is a cholesterol “denier” website https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/ a GP who calls himself a sceptic.
There are distinct parallels between AGW and the cholesterol causes CVD.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  John
December 5, 2019 7:58 am

‘Check your cholesterol from age 25’
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-50648325

More cholesterol anxiety inducing nonsense.

Cholesterol is in every single cell of the human body, so why would you take a statin to turn off cholesterol production ( among others ) in your liver ?

The so-called “lipid hypothesis” does not even attempt to explain why cholesterol is present with atheromas. Does it just turn up at the scene of arterial damage by some freak bio-chemical chance and uninvited ?

Blaming cholesterol for atherosclerosis is like blaming firefighters for every fire …

Everyone should read the available literature and don’t make the mistake of thinking that you or your loved ones are somehow immune to the diabetes & heart disease epidemics. You probably are not.

MG

Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 5, 2019 8:46 am

Kinda like limiting “Carbon” in climate alarm-ism…

Steve45
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 6, 2019 3:42 am

There’s a fundamental difference between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol stored in low density lipoprotein (LDL) particles. Indeed the former has very little effect on the latter. LDL levels (and in particular number of small dense LDL particles) are a strong predictor of cardiovascular risk and almost certainly causal for cardiovascular disease. Statins have been shown through RCTs and Cochrane reviews to decrease LDL levels, decrease cardiovascular events and improve overall mortality. Although in terms of individual risk modification the effect is modest, when multiplied over the millions of individuals taking them, they have literally been responsible for saving tens of thousands of lives. Indeed you’d be lucky to find a stronger evidence base in the whole of clinical epidemiology.

When you’re not an expert in an area, you don’t have the knowledge to separate fact from fiction, critically examine the evidence, or understand the subtleties involved in interpreting the data. So pieces like the above might look convincing- but really, the author doesn’t know their arse from their elbow.

It’s like that with climate science too, which is why you shouldn’t waste your time listening to the nutters on this site who have no training, no expertise, and are frankly too god damn stupid to realise they don’t know how much they don’t know.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Steve45
December 6, 2019 4:32 am

Steve45 wrote :

“LDL levels (and in particular number of small dense LDL particles) are a strong predictor of cardiovascular risk and almost certainly causal for cardiovascular disease.”

What do you mean by “strong predictor” ?

Is it because LDL are present in atheromas so therefore LDL is the cause ?

Why are LDL present in atheromas Steve45 ?

Which studies are you referring to ?

Steve45 wrote :

“Statins have been shown through RCTs and Cochrane reviews to decrease LDL levels, decrease cardiovascular events and improve overall mortality.”

Agreed. Statins lower serum LDL.

As for : decreasing cardiovascular events and improving overall mortality

Which studies are you referring to ?

By how much ?

In which cohorts ?

As for the Cochrane issue, are you referring to primary or secondary therapy and before or after their volte face ?

Here are the absolute risk reduction figures for Statins and Major Coronary Events :

https://blog.antiaging.com/statins-critical-appraisal/

WOSCOP 2.26%
ADFCAPS 1.15%
PROSPER 0.82%
ALLHAT 0.77%
ASCOT 1.69%
CAREDS 1.60%
MEGSA 0.49%
TOTAL 1.23%

Perhaps Steve45 could point to some statistical significance therein ?

MG

Steve45
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 6, 2019 11:10 am

There is a mountain of evidence on this topic from RCTs, animal studies, cohort studies and genetic studies. Educate yourself by reading the primary literature on it, not garbage put out by conspiracy nutters interested in making a quick buck off the gullible. Here’s a quick starter:

https://www.cochrane.org/CD004816/VASC_statins-primary-prevention-cardiovascular-disease

In general it’s not a good idea to have strong opinions that differ from the overwhelming majority of experts when you yourself are not an expert.

Same deal with climate science.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 6, 2019 12:35 pm

Steve45

1. Why have you ignored the trial outcome absolute risk information posted above ?

2. Your January 2013 Cochrane updated systematic review to assess the effects, both in terms of benefits and harms of statins, for the primary prevention of CVD looks very interesting. Perhaps you could tell the world what you find compelling about it’s outcomes ?

3. Your faith in “experts” is noted. As is your advice to resist questioning them.

Thanks

MG

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 6, 2019 2:11 pm

Steve45

While I await your responses to the above, I will also add this comment re: your choice of the Cochrane review linked above in your post :

https://www.cochrane.org/CD004816/VASC_statins-primary-prevention-cardiovascular-disease

This choice is perplexing to me, given that you are self-evidently attempting to negate any criticism of the justification for the use of statins for primary treatment of CVD / CHD.

This particular Cochrane “systematic review” does your case no good whatsoever.

On the contrary, it serves as a perfect illustration of how a once highly regarded independent organisation, formerly judged to free of undue industry bias, is now viewed differently by many experts in cardiology.

I will post links to the relevant papers and media reports dealing with the differences between the 2011 and 2013 Cochrane reviews later, the latter to which you allude and attempt to use as your first evidential claim to support your case.

You have scored a spectacular own goal here Steve45, which leads me to suspect that you have little grasp of this landscape and the controversy surrounding the volte face between Cochrane 2011 and 2013 on statins in primary prevention.

I have posted elsewhere on this thread, links to the documentary Statin Nation I, which is free to view.

Statin Nation
http://statinnation.com/

STATIN NATION: The Great Cholesterol Cover-Up (Full Movie)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZctVYxiW2w

I encourage anyone with serious interest to pay for the entire Statin Nation media package so that the second documentary Statin Nation II can also be viewed.

Here is an excerpt from Statin Nation II, the part which specifically covers the Cochrane Collaboration’s incredulous change of heart between it’s 2011 and 2013 “systematic reviews” vis primary prevention – hence my earlier question to you about Cochrane’s volte face, which you have so far ignored.

Statin Nation II Cochrane Excerpt
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm2uPo_mqVk

Quite why you have chosen one of the most obviously weak and controversial Cochrane reviews upon which to mount your defence of statins is a mystery …

Perhaps you could elucidate ?

MG

Steve45
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 6, 2019 3:37 pm

What do I find compelling? Gee maybe the synthesis of 18 double blinded randomized controlled trials on the topic in a total of 56,934 patients? If you have anything approaching this level of evidence showing no effect of statins on cardiovascular or all cause mortality then by all means please do share citing either large double blinded RCTs or credible meta-analyses/systematic reviews.

Why am I ignoring the absolute risk information above? Well to be fair I didn’t bother going to your link because I’m not particularly interested in digesting second hand information from a source I don’t know and I don’t trust. Stuff is complicated and if you are not an expert in the area it is difficult to critically evaluate the evidence. And why would I when I know the primary literature myself and have a high degree of expertise in the field?

But this aside, I also know that if you’re interested in showing the strength of causal relationship between a drug treatment and a health related outcome, the risk ratio is the more informative metric. Why is that? Well an absolute reduction in risk of 1% means very different things depending on whether the risk of the outcome is 2% (impressive) or 50% (not so impressive).

The Cochrane review I cited suggests the relative risk reduction was about 25% in terms of cardiovascular events in the 18 trials that they reviewed. That means that on average if you take a statin you are 25% less likely to experience a cardiovascular event. Like I said, a moderate reduction in risk. The authors estimate that for every 1000 people treated with a statin for five years, 18 would avoid a major CVD event. Again, a modest reduction, but given that half the western world over 50 is on a statin, this translates to huge numbers of events that have been prevented through statin therapy.

Yes I do trust experts in general and wouldn’t have an opinion that is opposite the overwhelming expert consensus on a topic- unless I was also an expert on said topic. To do so would be very very stupid indeed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect). That being said, in matters where I do have some expertise (some areas of Medicine including this one) I can’t think of a single topic in which I do not think as the main stream does in areas where the science is settled.

Steve45
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 6, 2019 6:16 pm

Hi Mark

If your argument basically rests on Cochrane is a big conspiracy that the evil scientists and drug manufacturers are all in on- it’s probably not a line of reasoning that most rational people will find convincing. There are tons of RCTs showing the benefit of statins in primary and secondary prevention and much of this story has been synthesized in Cochrane reviews or other meta-analyses/systematic reviews. A simple google or pubmed search will reveal this for you.

There’s also a wealth of evidence from other areas including animal models and human genetics studies that all converge on the same conclusion, that LDL is most certainly causal for CVD. For example, individuals who suffer from familial hypercholesterolaemia have a defect in the LDLR gene which codes for a protein that removes LDL from the circulation. These individuals are relatively normal except for having sky high LDL cholesterol in their blood- oh and they have heart attacks in their forties (twenties if they carry mutations on both chromosomes). In fact the increase in risk of CVD is directly proportional to how elevated the patient’s LDL level is. Same thing with mutations in ApoB and a host of other genes in the same LDL transport pathway. A new drug called evolucumab targets this pathway (ie it also reduces LDL cholesterol) and has been shown to decrease cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. How do explain these observations if LDL is not causal for CVD? (HINT: this is rhetorical- Im not really interested in your reply)

At the end of the day you are free to believe what you want, but i get the feeling that no one is going to change your mind regardless of their expertise or credentials . I have a feeling that is the case for most of the folk on this site (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect).

Best of luck to you.

Steve

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 7, 2019 12:57 am

Steve45

So, as well as being impressed by so-called drug company experts and advising eternal deference to them and their pronouncements, you are also impressed by largish aggregate study sizes and relative risk values to boot. Impressive stuff. Not.

You really are getting yourself in a tangle here Steve45.

You claim not to be interested in the absolute risk values I link to because you are “not interested in digesting second hand information from a source I don’t know and I don’t trust”, whilst simultaneously relying on recycled nonsense from a Cochrane review, which you self-evidently do trust and which itself relies on drug company trial data which is not available for others to review.

Statins: we need an independent review
https://www.bmj.com/content/354/bmj.i4992/rapid-responses

I reiterate : Your first, top of the pile evidential claim for statin efficacy relies on the 2013 Cochrane review on drug company studies of their use in primary prevention. This Cochrane review produced completely opposite conclusions from the preceding Cochrane review only 2 years earlier. Something else you have completely ignored. Why Steve45 ?

How can your paragon on clinical research virtues, the Cochrane Collaboration, produce two entirely conflicting reports about the same issue in only two years Steve45 ? The first 2011 review producing one set of outcomes and recommendations and the second 2013 review completely contradicting the first.

Please explain this Steve45 :

Cochrane Review Stirs Controversy Over Statins in Primary Prevention
https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/736131

January 21, 2011 (London, United Kingdom) — A new Cochrane review has provoked controversy by concluding that there is not enough evidence to recommend the widespread use of statins in the primary prevention of heart disease [1].

Senior author Dr Shah Ebrahim :

“If you look at the hard end points of all deaths and coronary deaths, the effects are consistent with both benefit and with the play of chance. But importantly, the absolute benefits are really rather small–1000 people have to be treated for one year to prevent one death. It is probably a real effect, but it means a lot of people have to be treated to gain this small benefit. As we don’t know the harms, it seems wrong-minded to me to treat everyone with a statin. In these circumstances, lifestyle changes and stopping smoking would be far preferable.”

In the light of Cochrane 2011, please explain your marvellous interpretations of Cochrane 2013 ?

If you knew anything about this landscape you would know exactly how they did it and be able to tell us all. Wouldn’t you ?

Bit of a conundrum you’ve backed yourself into there Steve45.

I do not do relative risk. That’s marketing not medicine.

Re: the 2013 Cochrane review which you cite :

Statins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease
https://www.cochrane.org/CD004816/VASC_statins-primary-prevention-cardiovascular-disease

Full paper : https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004816.pub5/full

Steve45 wrote:

“What do I find compelling? Gee maybe the synthesis of 18 double blinded randomized controlled trials on the topic in a total of 56,934 patients?”

Clearly you do not even read the paper you cite Steve45. Not a good start at all.

“Eighteen trials used blinding to reduce bias, 15 of which used double‐blinding methods.”

So, not quite the 18 you claim. Did you just skim the paper for the purposes of posting here ?

Note also : “We judged 15 of the trials to be free from selection bias.”

This 2013 Cochrane paper was supposed to be a review of primary intervention studies :

Background

Reducing high blood cholesterol, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in people with and without a past history of CVD is an important goal of pharmacotherapy. Statins are the first‐choice agents. Previous reviews of the effects of statins have highlighted their benefits in people with CVD. The case for primary prevention was uncertain when the last version of this review was published (2011) and in light of new data an update of this review is required.

Objectives

To assess the effects, both harms and benefits, of statins in people with no history of CVD

[…]

Selection criteria

We included randomised controlled trials of statins versus placebo or usual care control with minimum treatment duration of one year and follow‐up of six months, in adults with no restrictions on total, low density lipoprotein (LDL) or high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, and where 10% or less had a history of CVD.

Plain language summary
[…]
The aim of this updated systematic review is to assess the effects, both in terms of benefits and harms of statins, for the primary prevention of CVD.
[…]

Why it is important to do this review

A major limitation of the evidence summaries to date is combining trials of statins in secondary and primary prevention of CVD without reporting benefits and adverse effects separately.
[…]

Types of participants

Men and women (aged 18 or more) with no restrictions on total, low or high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. We limited our inclusion of study population to have less than or equal to 10% of a previous history of CVD (this would include previous angina, myocardial infarction and/or stroke).
[…]

*

Hmmm. A systematic review of drug company studies for the efficacy of statin therapy in primary prevention of CVD, where any number of the studied participants could already have up to 10% previous CVD history.

Not a good start is it ?

Effects of interventions

All‐cause mortality

Thirteen trials with 48,060 participants recruited reported on total mortality. During observation, 1077/24,408 (4.4%) died in the statin group compared with 1223/23,652 (5.1%) in the placebo group …

Summary : All‐cause mortality : Difference between statin and placebo = 0.7%

Fatal and non‐fatal CHD events

Fourteen trials with 48,049 participants reported on combined fatal and non‐fatal CHD events. Four trials showed evidence of a reduction in this combined outcome, which was maintained in the pooled analysis using a fixed‐effect model: 820/24,217 (3.4%) in the statin group versus 1114/23,832 (4.6%) in the placebo group …

Summary : Fatal and non‐fatal CHD events : Difference between statin and placebo = 1.2%

Fatal and non‐fatal CVD events

Nine trials with 23,805 participants, representing 41.8% of the total population, reported on combined fatal and non‐fatal CVD events. Four of the larger trials with 21,205 participants demonstrated strong evidence of a reduction in this combined outcome. In the pooled analysis using a fixed‐effect model: 1103/11,892 (9.3%) in the statin group versus 1455/11,913 (12.2%) in the placebo group …

Summary : Fatal and non‐fatal CVD events : Difference between statin and placebo = 2.9%

*This after using “pooled analysis using a fixed-effect model”, which means that it is assumed that there is one “effect size” which is common to all of the studies and that any differences between the studies are caused by sampling error. Hmmm.

Fatal and non‐fatal stroke events

Ten trials with 40,295 participants reported on combined fatal and non‐fatal stroke events. Two trials that had been stopped prematurely demonstrated a significant reduction in this combined outcome with the use of statins. This reduction was observed in the pooled analysis using a fixed‐effect model: 345/20,302 (1.7%) in the statin group versus 442/19,993 (2.2%) in the placebo group;

Summary : Fatal and non‐fatal stroke events : Difference between statin and placebo = 0.5%

Combined fatal and non‐fatal CHD, CVD and stroke events

Only four trials with 35,254 participants reported a composite of fatal and non‐fatal events for CHD, CVD and stroke. All the trials showed a significant reduction in this composite outcome with the treatment of statins, which was maintained in the pooled analysis and used a fixed model: 438/17,591 (2.4%%) events versus 678/17,663 (3.8%)

Summary : Combined fatal and non‐fatal CHD, CVD and stroke events : Difference = 1.4%

Revascularisation

Seven trials with 42,403 participants reported on the need for revascularisation procedures during follow‐up: 286/21,166 (1.4%) in the statin group versus 461/21237 (2.2%) in the placebo group

Summary : Revascularisation : Difference = 0.6%

Adverse events

Twelve trials provided data on adverse events. In total 10,838/56,934 (19%) participants experienced an adverse event with adverse event rates ranging from 0% to 97%.

Cancer: 2255/38,739 (5.8%) participants in 11 trials developed cancer (Analysis 3.4). There was no evidence of any excess risk of cancers with a pooled estimate of RR 1.01 (95% CI 0.93 to 1.10) and no heterogeneity.

Myalgia and rhabdomyolysis: 3551/37,939 participants in nine trials developed myalgia, but there was no evidence of excess risk

Type 2 diabetes: reporting of new occurrences of type 2 diabetes was confined to only two trials, AFCAPS/TexCAPS 1998 and JUPITER 2008. Overall, 342/12,205 (2.8%) participants on statins developed diabetes compared with 290/12202 (2.4%) participants on control or placebo, with a relative risk of developing diabetes of 1.18 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.39). This excess risk of diabetes was driven by the JUPITER trial, which used higher statin doses than the AFACPS/TexCAPS trial, which showed no effect on diabetes incidence (Analysis 3.7).

Haemorrhagic stroke: only two trials reported haemorrhagic stroke outcomes which occurred in 45/25634 (0.2%) participants

*

Reminder : These are the outcomes of the second 2013 Cochrane systematic review.

To me, these figures appear to fit the conclusion of the lead author of the preceding 2011 Cochrane review, Dr Shah Ebrahim :

“If you look at the hard end points of all deaths and coronary deaths, the effects are consistent with both benefit and with the play of chance.

MG

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 7, 2019 1:21 am

Steve45 wrote :

“If your argument basically rests on Cochrane is a big conspiracy that the evil scientists and drug manufacturers are all in on- it’s probably not a line of reasoning that most rational people will find convincing.”

That’s a matter of personal judgement. The times are changing, as you no doubt are aware. Some folk are paying close attention to their health, some use other sources of information in addition to their primary care providers. Some folk can even detect fraud and cheating in so-called clinical studies. Some of these folk are highly qualified and highly experienced medical experts.

If your line of reasoning relies on some imagined notion that conspiracies never happen, then I suggest that’s probably not a line of reasoning that most rational people will find convincing.

Your incessant appeal to authority Steve45 is a little nauseating. I’m sure you know that also.

There’s also a wealth of evidence from other areas including animal models that all converge on the same conclusion, that ascorbic acid is most certainly causal for CVD.

Linus Pauling’s colleague, Dr Matthias Rath :

Breakthrough towards the natural control of cardiovascular disease, Dr. Matthias Rath, 22-4-2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0lEmXJD7p4

Ditto for many others.

Where does that leave the lipid hypothesis ?

Re : Familial hypercholesterolaemia

Steve45 wrote :

How do explain these observations if LDL is not causal for CVD? (HINT: this is rhetorical- Im not really interested in your reply)

I have no idea. I have no expertise re: genetic defects vis LDL etc.

Your HINT is most revealing Steve45.

Your attitude can be summarised thus :

I know best, so I can safely ignore any and all opinion and comment from anyone else whom I deem to be intellectually inferior. Although I did not do any of the research in any of the areas I comment on, I have read sufficient material and have received adequate training to be able to assess with 100% accuracy at any given time that my interpretation of the material is 100% correct. This confidence enables me to have perfect insight into all things medical with which I claim familiarity and also leaves no room for any doubt, mistake or misapprehension. I am 100% infallible and I like to let people know about that.

*

This is perhaps the main reason humankind is in the many messes that we are.

You would of course, have see through the Thalidomide mistake though wouldn’t you Steve45 ?

You would have had the insight back then not to refer to doubters as “conspiracy theorists” wouldn’t you Steve45 ?

No doubt your superior intellect would have enabled you to have led all of those expectant mothers to give safe delivery of their babies with fully developed limbs.

Wouldn’t you Steve45 ?

MG

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 7, 2019 2:17 am

Some reading for Steve45 on the appeal to authority fallacy :

Steve45 wrote :

“Yes I do trust experts in general and wouldn’t have an opinion that is opposite the overwhelming expert consensus on a topic- unless I was also an expert on said topic. To do so would be very very stupid indeed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect). That being said, in matters where I do have some expertise (some areas of Medicine including this one) I can’t think of a single topic in which I do not think as the main stream does in areas where the science is settled.”

*

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, by John Locke
http://enlightenment.supersaturated.com/johnlocke/longcontents.html

Chapter XX: Of Wrong Assent, or Error

17. IV. Authority.

http://enlightenment.supersaturated.com/johnlocke/BOOKIVChapterXX.html#BOOKIVChapterXX17

The fourth and last wrong measure of probability I shall take notice of, and which keeps in ignorance or error more people than all the other together, is that which I have mentioned in the foregoing chapter: I mean the giving up our assent to the common received opinions, either of our friends or party, neighbourhood or country.

How many men have no other ground for their tenets, than the supposed honesty, or learning, or number of those of the same profession?

As if honest or bookish men could not err; or truth were to be established by the vote of the multitude: yet this with most men serves the turn.

The tenet has had the attestation of reverend antiquity; it comes to me with the passport of former ages, and therefore I am secure in the reception I give it: other men have been and are of the same opinion, (for that is all is said,) and therefore it is reasonable for me to embrace it.

A man may more justifiably throw up cross and pile for his opinions, than take them up by such measures.

All men are liable to error, and most men are in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it.

If we could but see the secret motives that influenced the men of name and learning in the world, and the leaders of parties, we should not always find that it was the embracing of truth for its own sake, that made them espouse the doctrines they owned and maintained.

This at least is certain, there is not an opinion so absurd, which a man may not receive upon this ground.

There is no error to be named, which has not had its professors: and a man shall never want crooked paths to walk in, if he thinks that he is in the right way, wherever he has the footsteps of others to follow.

*

Maybe Steve45, his avowed faith and his clinical trustees are all somehow immune ?

MG

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 7, 2019 3:07 am

Steve45 wote :
December 6, 2019 at 11:10 am

There is a mountain of evidence on this topic from RCTs, animal studies, cohort studies and genetic studies. Educate yourself by reading the primary literature on it, not garbage put out by conspiracy nutters interested in making a quick buck off the gullible.

*

Fat and Cholesterol Don’t Cause Heart Attacks and Statins are Not The Solution
http://thincs.columbuspublishing.co.uk/

Chapter 7
Historical Perspective on the Use of Deceptive Methods in the War on Cholesterol

David M Diamond PhD, Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD

Abstract

For over half a century dietary and pharmacological approaches aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease ( CVD ) have mainly been based on the hypothesis that elevated cholesterol is atherogenic and that its lowering with diet or drugs will reduce the degree of atherosclerosis and the risk of CVD.

We have reviewed the literature on this topic and have found numerous ways by which the supporters of this hypothesis have succeeded in misleading the readers.

In fact, an abundant number of studies have shown that the cholesterol hypothesis is unable to satisfy any of Bradford Hill’s criteria for causation.

We have also described how the directors of the clinical trials have succeeded in minimizing the pervasiveness of the adverse effects of statin treatment.

Overall, the half century long war on cholesterol has been counterproductive because the financial victory for food and drug companies in attacking cholesterol has come at the cost of impaired health for the masse.

[…]

Conclusion

The ware on cholesterol is reminiscent of the Hans Christian Andersen story of the emperor who had been deceived by swindlers who sold him magnificent clothes, which were invisible to all but the feeble-minded. The king, his advisors and the townspeople were all afraid to admit that the clothes were invisible to them.

In this chapter we have served in the role of the child, who stated that the emperor wore no clothes. In like manner, we have spoken out against conformity to the prevailing, but incorrect, view of cholesterol as inherently atherogenic.

We have scrutinized the literature to describe how dominant figures in the field of heart disease have, for decades, created the illusion that cholesterol causes heart disease and that the diet and drug-induced reduction of cholesterol is beneficial to cardiovascular outcomes.

We have described how advocates of the war on cholesterol have created the illusion that cholesterol is atherogenic by ignoring all conflicting observations from critical and independent scientists, by citing studies incorrectly to make them look supportive of the cholesterol hypothesis, and with the use of deceptive statistics which have distorted and exaggerated trivial findings.

David M Diamond PhD*, Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD**

* Departments of Psychology and Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology
Center for Preclinical & Clinical Research on PTSD
University of South Florida
ddiamond@usf.edu

** Independent Researcher
ravnskov@tele2.se
http://www.thincs.org/

***

The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, M.D., Ph.D.
PDF version
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0fe1/ae7a3594c989814ece01572f1185fd28b962.pdf

Videos about the greatest scam in medical science

Maryanne Demasi (Australian Television)
The Cholesterol Myth: Heart of the Matter; Part I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imJQinUiMcg&t=158s
28 min 2014

The Cholesterol Myth; Heart of the Matter Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY4eTGMe-EY
29 min 2014

Low Carb Diet: Fat or Fiction?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GUIBNKnT1M&sns=em
28 min 2014

Anne Georget (French Television with English subtitles)
Cholesterol Capers – the damaging lunacy of the Diet-Heart Hypothesis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhIcn3ByQ18
1.22 hour 2016

David Diamond*
How Bad Science and Big Business Created the Obesity Epidemic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vr-c8GeT34
One hour 2011

Demonization and Deception in Cholesterol Research
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX1vBA9bLNk&t=3087s
One hour 2015

An Update on Demonization and Deception in Research on Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Heart Disease
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc1XsO3mxX8
One hour 2017

Tom Naughton
Big Fat Fiasco: how the misguided fear of saturated fat created a nation of obese diabetics.
Five funny videos
http://bit.ly/bSN3j9

Malcolm Kendrick
WHO and the amazing cholesterol data
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=i8SSCNaaDcE#GU5U2spHI_4
1.17 min. 2007

Sherif Sultan
Statins ‘The Known unknowns’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQWZbfkpNhY&t=1223s
35 min.. 2017

Thincs.org links
http://www.thincs.org/links.php

MG

Steve45
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 7, 2019 4:13 am

Except the two reviews didn’t come to vastly different conclusions.

Here’s 2011:

Reductions in all‐cause mortality, major vascular events and revascularisations were found with no excess of cancers or muscle pain among people without evidence of cardiovascular disease treated with statins. Other potential adverse events were not reported and some trials included people with cardiovascular disease. Only limited evidence showed that primary prevention with statins may be cost effective and improve patient quality of life. Caution should be taken in prescribing statins for primary prevention among people at low cardiovascular risk.

Here’s 2013:

Reductions in all-cause mortality, major vascular events and revascularisations were found with no excess of adverse events among people without evidence of CVD treated with statins.

That’s pretty damn similar with both reviews finding “Reductions in all-cause mortality, major vascular events and revascularisations”. With regard to the discrepancy between the two, since you like quoting the lead author, I’ll do the same:
from
https://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i5454.full

“We read with interest the Editor’s Choice calling for an independent review on statins.1 In 1992, before the large statin trials had been completed, one of us called for a moratorium on the use of cholesterol lowering drugs in primary prevention.2 When the trials were published they showed benefits for statins at lower thresholds of risk of coronary heart disease than for other available treatments. But in 2011 our Cochrane review on statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease concluded that they should be used with caution for people at low cardiovascular risk.3 When we updated the Cochrane review in 2013, with evidence from new trials and a re-analysis of the individual patient data from the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ 2012 report, we concluded that statins could benefit people at low cardiovascular risk.4
As John Maynard Keynes may have said, “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?” Fiona Godlee has called for the chief medical officer (CMO) to open an independent inquiry into statins that should be international, authoritative, independent of conflicts of interest, transparent, and patient centred.5 Cochrane reviews on statins seem to meet these requirements but, curiously, are ignored. The CMO supports the Cochrane Collaboration and will not overlook its value in making decisions on health policy. Is it not time for Godlee to change her mind?”

I guess it’s up to you to decide whether it’s some big pharma conspiracy or just the fact that the evidence has been updated in the two intervening years.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 7, 2019 5:58 am

Steve45 wrote :

Except the two reviews didn’t come to vastly different conclusions.

Here’s 2011:

Reductions in all‐cause mortality, major vascular events and revascularisations were found with no excess of cancers or muscle pain among people without evidence of cardiovascular disease treated with statins. Other potential adverse events were not reported and some trials included people with cardiovascular disease. Only limited evidence showed that primary prevention with statins may be cost effective and improve patient quality of life. Caution should be taken in prescribing statins for primary prevention among people at low cardiovascular risk.

Here’s 2013:

Reductions in all-cause mortality, major vascular events and revascularisations were found with no excess of adverse events among people without evidence of CVD treated with statins.

That’s pretty damn similar with both reviews finding “Reductions in all-cause mortality, major vascular events and revascularisations”…

*

Except the two reviews did come to vastly different conclusions.

And you know it Steve45, but choose to misrepresent the two differing outcomes just like Dr Shah Ebrahim did :

Statin Nation II Cochrane Excerpt
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm2uPo_mqVk

You are cherry picking Steve45 to suit your own agenda :

From Cochrane 2011 :

Only limited evidence showed that primary prevention with statins may be cost effective and improve patient quality of life. Caution should be taken in prescribing statins for primary prevention among people at low cardiovascular risk.

Senior author Dr Shah Ebrahim :

“If you look at the hard end points of all deaths and coronary deaths, the effects are consistent with both benefit and with the play of chance. But importantly, the absolute benefits are really rather small–1000 people have to be treated for one year to prevent one death. It is probably a real effect, but it means a lot of people have to be treated to gain this small benefit. As we don’t know the harms, it seems wrong-minded to me to treat everyone with a statin. In these circumstances, lifestyle changes and stopping smoking would be far preferable.”

From Cochrane 2013 :
https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004816.pub5/full

The case for primary prevention was uncertain when the last version of this review was published (2011) and in light of new data an update of this review is required.

Evidence available to date showed that primary prevention with statins is likely to be cost‐effective and may improve patient quality of life.

Statins have also been shown to reduce the risk of a first event in otherwise healthy individuals at high risk of CVD (primary prevention) but information on possible hazards has not been reported fully.

Statins are likely to be cost‐effective in primary prevention.

The totality of evidence now supports the benefits of statins for primary prevention.

These findings confirm the efficacy of statins for primary prevention, resolving concerns about possible serious adverse effects and potential sources of bias in the randomised trials highlighted in an earlier version of this Cochrane review.

These new findings counter earlier opinion that the evidence is insufficient to support use of statins in primary prevention for women or in older men (Abramson 2007).

These NNTs are well within the range considered worthwhile in primary prevention (e.g. for treatment of hypertension).

The individual patient data analyses conducted by the CTT Collaboration counter concerns about the interpretation of the evidence of statins for primary prevention.

Thus, earlier claims that statins provide no overall benefit in primary prevention in terms of all‐cause mortality (Therapeutics Letter 2003; Therapeutics Letter 2010; Ray 2010) can no longer be substantiated.

***

You still have not answered the question Steve45 :

What changed ?

If you know the landscape you should be able to point to the change easily.

But, give that you are a self-admitted flat earther, I won’t be expecting any honesty from you.

Debating you is a waste of time.

MG

Steve45
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 7, 2019 11:19 am

Evidence happened. If you have new data you update your beliefs. It’s how science works.

As the authors state new information became available from the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists (CTT) report in the intervening years and so they updated their conclusions.

PS. You seem very fixated on absolute risks and that these are quite small numbers. I assure you this is not a problem. Best to educate yourself on the difference between these and relative risks- any 1st year rudimentary text on Epidemiology will do the trick. Happy to help you understand the material if you have difficulty.

FabioC.
Reply to  John
December 5, 2019 7:58 am

As I understand it cholesterol is not the cause of cardiovascular diseases, but high cholesterol levels, and especially a severe HDL/LDL imbalance can indicate that something is amiss.
So testing in itself is not a bad thing; what is done about the results is a different matter.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  FabioC.
December 5, 2019 8:51 am

“Something is amiss”

What, like epidemiology perhaps ?

Measuring cholesterol is a waste of time and money.

Cholesterol does not cause CVD / CHD.

You need to do some research FabioC.

MG

Leo Smith
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 5, 2019 9:22 am

There is evidence that something called ‘metabolic syndrome’ which is associated with high blood glucose levels and high blood cholesterol and insulin resistance – type II diabetes – is at the root of all this heart disease and diabetes and obesity.

The cause? Stress, and eating carbohydrates, Especially starches.

The cure? stop eating cereals. Stop eating ‘healthy’ foods. Eat plenty of fat, meat and vegetables. And go easy on the sugars and sweet fruits.

The course I was on – funded by the UK NHS – stressed that
– fat doesn’t make you fat
– eating cholesterol does not raise its levels in your blood
– all manufacture ‘health foods’ are probably extremely unhealthy.
– all that matters is getting carbohydrate levels down. I aim for 50gm a day,. try and reach 100gm and never exceed 150gm

The Government recommends up to a kg a day
– food labelling is designed by te food manufacturers. They regard carbohydrates as very healthy. The place to look is the little chart on the pack where the ‘carbohydrates per 100g’ will tell you, in conjunction with a set of scales, where you are.

The latest research totally reverses the guidelines on metabolic syndrome.
Eat no carbs and moderate everything else.

I’ve now lost a couple of kg and my glucose levels have at least stopped rising and fallen a little..

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 5, 2019 10:17 am

Re : Type II DM

Jason Fung : The Two Big Lies of Type 2 Diabetes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcLoaVNQ3rc

MG

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 6, 2019 3:40 am

industry promotes carbs cos heyre cheaper, pure n simple.

as for statins apart from rhabdomylosis and other problems, theres quite a few now considering that removing the cholesterol from diet and using the pills is contributing to the alzheimers issues as the brain NEEDS cholesterol for energy

aussies use differing numbers mine was as high as 9.6 which had doc in a spin as Id been severely ill and weighed just 48kg down from 55 I was looking like a cancer patient hardly able to eat and yet such a high number?
asked him wtf? he had noidea. so i started hunting
the magic words were??? cholesterol/anorexia
bingo!
seems as you begin to starve the body pumps cholesterol into the blood to protect the brain.
using a never changed high natural fats food diet my cholesterol dropped to6ish in some months without any meds, as I began to be able to eat more.
I have been telling people the hazards oflow fat fake sugar and statin meds for the last 15 yrs. I follow the industry newsfeeds for all the foods and am disgusted and amused equally at their conniving to sell more fake foods for far more than real food costs, and the spin and shoddy research used to do so.
colour me skeptical by experience with docs and drugs and years of research into food etc as well

oh and PS if you trust your govt on anything youre a fool
operation northwoods ..look it up.
so yes your govt would turn a blind eye or be willing to expend some collateral damage for an endgame
ie until 9/11 the people wouldnt sanction the iraq war, gee didnt that change fast afterwards
cheneys appointment etc
way lot wrong there.
and as an aussie and after the uk Maralinga n our govt blessings n coverups we are NO better. they knew our land was contaminated and took babies bones for research into the contaminated milk theyd been given to check rad levels.

Erast Van Doren
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 6, 2019 3:52 pm

Why do you comment on the topic while not understanding the connection? It’s mostly about the lipoprotein ability to cross the endothelial cells. Such crossing is done via transcytosis. For transcytosis you need a number of proteins, caveolin first of all. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29262615

What happens in the metabolic syndrome? Too much energy in cells, autophagy is suppressed, caveolin is not destroyed, LDL crossing through the endothelium is increased, therefore more LDL gets stuck in the elastic membrane beneath and gets consumed by the foam cells. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15548627.2019.1659613

And we lack biochemical pathways to metabolize cholesterol – the only way for cholesterol out of our bodies is through the bile. And if HDL doesn’t get the cholesterol out of the foam cell – it stays there and accumulates.

And what happens during inflammation? You’ve probably already guessed it – transcytosis is increased:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24517733
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260148347_CRP_promotes_atherosclerosis_by_increasing_LDL_transcytosis_across_endothelial_cells
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6363700/

I almost forgot, what else happens in metabolic syndrome? Insulin resistance. Signal from insulin isn’t transmitted inside the cell. And what does insulin? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23721961

“Apolipoprotein B (ApoB)-containing lipoprotein particles, which are secreted and cleared by the liver, are essential for the development of atherosclerosis. Insulin plays a key role in the regulation of ApoB. Insulin decreases ApoB secretion by promoting ApoB degradation in the hepatocyte.”

You see – too low insulin (or insulin resistant cells) – and you get more cholesterol in the blood. I could go on like this forever. We have TONS of biochemical evidence that cholesterol is directly responsible for progression of atherosclerosis. We don’t need statin related clinical trials to show that cholesterol is culpable. All heart disease risk factors somehow influence cholesterol. Either cholesterol level in the blood or the crossing of cholesterol through the endothelium.

BTW, another one – why do have women less heart disease? Because estrogen hinders transcytosis via inhibiting SR-BI, which is needed to initiate transcytosis of LDL… https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/ATVBAHA.118.310792

You see – it all about cholesterol.

Sheri
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 5, 2019 9:47 am

And Mark gives us a perfect example of “absolute knowledge” because he KNOWS. Yeah, sure, Mark, sure…..

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Sheri
December 5, 2019 10:23 am

Shehri

Instead of spending your time typing empty comments which contribute nothing, perhaps you too would benefit from doing some reading :

The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease
https://www.amazon.com/Cholesterol-Myths-Exposing-Fallacy-Saturated/dp/0967089700/

Fat and Cholesterol Don’t Cause Heart Attacks and Statins are Not The Solution
https://www.amazon.com/Cholesterol-Myths-Exposing-Fallacy-Saturated/dp/0967089700/

You may also not be aware that CHD / CVD / atherosclerosis begins in our 2nd / 3rd decades, so is not something which can be safely ignored by anyone really.

My comments are informed from a combination of my own experience and from the literature so far read. I am not a doctor, which I think, all things considered, is probably a bonus.

MG

Perry
Reply to  Sheri
December 5, 2019 1:10 pm

I followed the advice of both Dr. Fung, a Canadian nephrologist who treats Type II patients who have also developed kidney disease & Professor Valter Longo & his Fasting Mimicking Diet. By fasting, I reduced my weight from 21 stones to 16 stones during the summer of 2018 & I have kept my weight steady at 16 stones.

In my experience, there are two types of personality. There are those who view types of change as threatening & those who like a challenge. The first type will employ sarcasm to disparage any new research. Better known to the cognoscenti of WUWT as “The Science is Settled” type. I mean you, Sheri!

The open-minded will examine evidence & evaluate the conclusions. That’s what Ronald Baron & Mark Gobell has done & so have I. Sheri, instead of making snide jibes, why not present your research & let us evaluate the veracity of your claims. OTOH, you might just be a shrieking troll.

https://perfectketo.com/fasting-mimicking-diet-and-how-to-do-it/

Cliff Hilton
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 5, 2019 9:02 pm

Gobell

“Cholesterol does not cause CVD / CHD.

You need to do some research FabioC.”

I’m fresh out of surgery (11/25/2019): third heart attack (hospitals really don’t cal it that). Number three resulted in quadruple bypass. I got to see what was in some of my arteries. Yes, build up. Of coarse. But why? I am told its in my genes. I can only shrug. I’m 62. All the doctors said I should not be having these heart attacks. I’m too healthy, good weight, 15,000 steps a day, eat my veggies and little red meat. I do eat of ton of eggs.

What should I be reading?

Cliff

Bob Johnston
Reply to  Cliff Hilton
December 5, 2019 11:10 pm

It’s not the saturated fat or cholesterol, it’s the stuff that people eat with saturated fat and cholesterol. A typical breakfast might be eggs, toast and juice – “experts” blame the eggs and give the toast and juice a pass.

Our bodies have a very limited capacity to store glycogen, which is what all carbohydrates turn into (other than fiber) once it’s eaten. A typical breakfast can easily contain 50 grams of carbs – your body tries to maintain serum blood at 4 grams total. That 50 grams almost instantly raises blood sugar dramatically and your pancreas responds by producing insulin to store that sugar into muscles and your liver. But if the muscles and liver are already full to the brim with glycogen they’re not going to accept that sugar and blood sugar remains elevated, as does insulin. Now if you’re eating the recommended 6 small meals a day and each meal contains 50 grams of carbs your blood sugar is sky high for all your waking hours… not good. And what’s doubly not good is your insulin is jacked up all day long as well – hyperinsulinemia is a disease state. Look at every chronic disease and you’ll find they’re all highly associated with insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia.

Here’s would be my advice – stop eating foods that raise blood sugar and/or cause metabolic damage. I’m talking grains, sugar, fruit and vegetable oils. Adopt an intermittent fasting program (Google Dr. Jason Fung and watch his videos). And forget about LDL, it’s a red herring. If you have the results of a basic lipid test you want to look at the triglycerides and HDL numbers. You want to see trigs under 100, HDL over 50 and a Trig/HDL ratio under 2. The Tg/HDL ratio is a powerful marker for health – if yours is high (and I’m sure it is) it’s due to a diet full of carbs and vegetable (seed) oils.

Adopt a low carb diet and intermittent fasting protocol for 30 days and see for yourself what happens to your numbers. Trigs will plummet and HDL will rise – whatever happens to LDL and total cholesterol is immaterial because they are extremely poor markers for heart health.

markx
Reply to  Cliff Hilton
December 6, 2019 1:26 am

Fasting, mate. Intermittent fasting.

old construction worker
Reply to  Cliff Hilton
December 6, 2019 3:17 am

Bob Johnston just reminded us to eat like a cave man. Some people say they eat to keep from getting hungry. I eat only when I get hungry.

Erast Van Doren
Reply to  Cliff Hilton
December 6, 2019 3:58 pm

Ditch eggs first of all.

FabioC.
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 6, 2019 1:20 am

You should improve your reading skills before lecturing me, because that cholesterol does not cause CVD is the first sentence I wrote.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  FabioC.
December 6, 2019 5:03 am

FabioC

I did read your post, including your first statement : “As I understand it cholesterol is not the cause of cardiovascular diseases, ”

I agree with that statement. That was not the part I took issue with.

These were the parts I took issue with :

“but high cholesterol levels, and especially a severe HDL/LDL imbalance can indicate that something is amiss. So testing in itself is not a bad thing; what is done about the results is a different matter.”

Hence they were the parts of your post to which my comment was directed.

“Measuring cholesterol is a waste of time and money. Cholesterol does not cause CVD / CHD.”

There is no such thing as “normal cholesterol” levels. All we have are so-called experts dictating “acceptable levels”. These “acceptable levels” have changed dramatically over the decades. Their continually lowering “acceptable levels” and continually expanding maximum QRISK use thresholds, are now so objectionable that some other experts are warning against their utility.

https://www.nice.org.uk/Media/Default/News/NICE-statin-letter.pdf

Quite why anyone with basic reading and comprehension skills would want to ingest a drug which inhibits their liver from producing essential, life-preserving cholesterol, among others in the same chemical pathway, is a mystery to me.

If we see someone with a band aid covering a wound, do we blame the band aid for causing the wound ?

When human bio-chemistry needs to protect us from bleeding to death from injury, do we blame that bio-chemistry for causing the injury ?

Simple logic tells me that in order to prevent CVD / CHD we need to understand the creation of it’s major cause, that being atherosclerosis.

Blaming cholesterol for being at the scene of the arterial crime is akin to blaming firefighters for every arson we see.

MG Hyperlink doesn’t work MOD

jim hogg
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 7, 2019 10:38 am

Here’s some research for you Mark. This study has its flaws, as most do, but should cause those with open minds to at least think about their cholesterol intake – especially if there’s a history of heart disease in their family. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2728487

John Harmsworth
Reply to  FabioC.
December 5, 2019 1:44 pm

When I looked into this it appeared to me that the biggest issue was inflammation of the blood vessels caused by bacterial infection and the build up of plaque containing cholesterol was mainly the body’s attempt to “patch” the irritated tissue. After looking into it I decided to ditch my cholesterol meds. They can have side effects as well.

archie
Reply to  John Harmsworth
December 5, 2019 5:11 pm

My understanding is that cholesterol deposits inside the vessels walls are solid masses and ‘liquify’ when inflammation occurs. The liquified cholesterols can then break through the vessel walls and enter the blood stream to cause a clot to form. The inflammation is not caused by cholesterol levels at all.

Reply to  FabioC.
December 5, 2019 6:57 pm

We now know that cholesterol is controlled by feedback from the liver via blood circulation. Without cholesterol in the diet, our tissues can make their own. However, scarring damage due to atherosclerosis blocks arterial wall tissues from this circulatory feedback.

What is atherosclerosis? It is the osmotic irritation of the arterial endothelium (lining of the artery) caused by high concentrations of glucose from carbohydrate intake. This dilates the endothelium, opens small holes in the tissue, and small lipoproteins resulting from a low cholesterol diet enter into the endothelium and cause irritation and scarring.

A decently low carbohydrate intake lessens arterial irritation and average or high cholesterol intake makes for large lipoproteins that cannot enter and irritate the endothelium.

It is no longer needed to monitor the various cholesterol-containing lipoproteins as they are all part of a system that works to our benefit.

It has been observed, as I have from knowing too many very old, active Mainers who eat 6 or 10 eggs every morning, that males with higher cholesterol and of normal to light weight tend to live the longest.

No news there. I am a lipid biochemist and learned in the 1980s that all coronary artery blockages involve scar tissue. Only about half of these have any cholesterol plaque and it is always behind the scar tissue lining the artery. Once the scar tissue cuts the endothelial tissues off from cholesterol feedback from the circulation, the tissues make their own cholesterol and, without feedback, they make too much, thus forming cholesterol plaque.

You can be on a cholesterol-free diet and still have high cholesterol as we have such a good backup system. This raises the question of “why would the evolved human body make something that is clearly bad for it?” It makes no sense for it to do that.

For perverted reasons, a long-term, evil, and billion-dollar industry has been created to convince us to buy and ingest liver toxins to prevent our bodies from making what they need. Heart disease has not been lowered by statins, but liver cancer and liver failure are on the upswing while high carbohydrates are making people obese, with all the attendant health issues. Are they trying to kill us?

We now have begun to realize that cholesterol is a healing chemical we need to handle changes as we age.

Martin Howard Keith Brumby
Reply to  John
December 5, 2019 8:05 am

The BBC’s love of truth and fair debate is well enough appreciated on here.

So far as the Lancet is concerned, a friend who is a retired Professor of Anaesthesia commented to me on the Lancet’s stance on Climate Change, remarking:-

“I am not surprised that the leftie-Lancet has adopted this stance. No
doubt it has its reasons, unconnected with money of course!

“This is the same rag which, in 1826, described the possibility of
surgical anaesthesia as ‘Surgical Humbug’.

“Read this:

“https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_general_anesthesia

“(scroll down to Western Hemisphere, and under Henry Hill Hickman you
will find a reference)

“It was in 1856, 30 years later, before surgical anaesthesia was
demonstrated in Boston, in Massachusetts General Hospital, in what is
now called the Ether Dome. The surgeon at the time, quoting the
notorious Lancet article, exclaimed, ‘Gentlemen, this is no humbug!’ Had
the Lancet not been run by those with vested interests in the status
quo, 30 years of operative surgery without anaesthesia (including the
amputation horrors of Crimea) might have been avoided or at least
greatly shortened. You can see that I have no great love for the
Lancet. It has a very long history of getting things wrong!”

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Martin Howard Keith Brumby
December 5, 2019 9:50 am

The truth does not care even one time bit about pedigrees and credentials.

MR166
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
December 5, 2019 10:23 am

And the opposite is also true, those with pedigrees and credentials seem to care little about the truth.

chemman
Reply to  John
December 5, 2019 11:47 am

There actually was a UCLA heart doctor who bluntly said I don’t give a d*mn about the numbers. He said the ratio was more important.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  chemman
December 6, 2019 4:09 am

my gps keep pushing statins
I had a fib my heart surgeon wasnt fussed at a 6.7 cholesterol read at all and the surgery seems to have sorted the afib , so far.

working out why the hell afib is becoming a massive global problem however? no one has any idea, I sorta wonder if its related to the environmentalimpact of all the wifi were saturated with.

old white guy
Reply to  John
December 5, 2019 12:02 pm

The level of stupid has become painful.

Rodney Johnson
December 5, 2019 6:20 am

It’s time for people that cherish the ideal of science to realize it’s been turned into a religion and weaponized against us. Pay acute attention to any science that pays tribute to consensus and pay closer attention to anything being censored. What can you do make a difference today? Eliminate all pharma products from your life. Correctly prescribed and applied pharma products are killing right around 100k US citizens per year. Don’t be one of them.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Rodney Johnson
December 5, 2019 10:59 am

Rodney,
If I eliminated all pharma products from my life, I would be non-functional right now; my allergies would have me bedridden much of the year. Over reacting and throwing out all the good with the bad is not a very wise thing to do. I wonder how many people with high blood pressure (I mean dangerously high) would be dead right now if it were not for their pressure lowering medications? Probably more than the 100k figure you pulled out of your arse.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Piggs Peak
Reply to  Paul Penrose
December 5, 2019 3:30 pm

Paul

Try food first. All those conditions are best treated and managed by changing the subject’s diet. The fact that it is inconvenient doesn’t alter the prescription. Western countries do not, in general, support healthy diets – they support fads.

Bob Johnston
Reply to  Paul Penrose
December 5, 2019 11:13 pm

My autoimmune issues (hayfever and asthma) went away after I adopted a Carnivore diet – just meat, eggs and cheese. Try it.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Paul Penrose
December 6, 2019 4:06 am

Paul those figures are admitted numbers and probably FAR higher as mandatory reporting on adverse events isnt required .
it took around 10 yrs to get statins that killed people (proven) to be removed from market the pharmas just wanted to black box it.
ditto the RA meds celebrex and the versions sold to vets is STILL killing many pets daily.
if it fails human use they rebadge n flog to veterinary use, and warnings about bloodtests priot to use are STLL ignored by many vets as owners wont/cant often pay the blood test costs previcox rilixine and the carprophens are the common ones.
also why dud ssris are now sold as quitsmoking short course doses(hunt they kill people) fater than smoking does
and SSRI also being marketed heavily to pet owners as well.
if you looked at you foods maybe youd find your allergies might clear up or ease off without so many meds?
and there are foods that help lower BP as well so you could at least reduce the meds -getting fit is usually the best way to solve our ailments.

Bulldust
Reply to  Rodney Johnson
December 5, 2019 6:00 pm

My standard response to anyone who brings up consensus when talking about science is to say “Ah, now we’re talking politics. Science is not advanced by consensus.”

Then again, it seems that these days consensus is pretty much gone in the field of politics as well. The only consensus seems to be that virtually no politician is operating in the best interests of his or her electorate.

Joe G
December 5, 2019 6:23 am

Thank you. Great article. I refused to take the statins my doc prescribed. And I refused to give up eggs. And I put ice cream in my protein shakes. I do exercise- swim, biking, rowing and lifting. I passed the stress test for my heart, with flying colors. My age? 61

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Joe G
December 5, 2019 7:37 am

Hi Joe G

Stress tests will not always detect CVD / CHD / atherosclerosis.

Get a cardiac CT calcium scan & CAC score, to be sure.
https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=ct_calscoring

See also :

Ivor Cummings
https://thefatemperor.com/

Irish Heart Disease Awareness
https://ihda.ie/

MG

jbutzi
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 5, 2019 8:57 am

This is the spot on.

Anonymous
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 5, 2019 9:41 am

+1 Absolutely spot on.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 5, 2019 1:05 pm

Mark;

I recently had a calcium score done. My cardiologist had concerns. I scored a perfect zero. One of the few times in your life, my cardiologist said, where getting zero on a test was a good thing. Well, that and I guess a PSA.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
December 5, 2019 2:25 pm

Good for you DJH. Very welcome news I imagine and well done for having the foresight to get a heart calcium CT scan done.

Once folk have watched this documentary, they might consider that the medical industry’s reluctance to acknowledge, let alone recommend coronary CT calcium scoring as a diagnostic method for CVD / CHD / atherosclerosis, could be because patients would soon realise that conventional interventions such as “statin therapy” do nothing for their condition and may even make it worse.

The Widowmaker Movie 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OKrg_IlZao

MG

Goldrider
Reply to  Joe G
December 5, 2019 8:27 am

I refuse to have anything to do with doctors unless I have symptoms of an ailment they can cure–think antibiotics or fracture. They bloody-mindedly ignore the evidence that would lead to primary prevention of the chronic Western diseases–because no one makes money on primary prevention. The SAD-CRAP diet (Standard American Diet, Carbohydrates Refined and Processed) is a recipe for fattening livestock and is having exactly that effect on the populace. Only, livestock get knocked on the head at 1 or 2 years old–we get to live with Feedlot Disease just as long as they can sell us the pharma products to keep us sick but alive.

I went full Carnivore last July, bumping it up from Keto begun a year ago. Lost 52 pounds to date, sleep is fabulous, never hungry, more energy than I’ve felt since age 16 (I am 60!) and am actually putting on muscle without working out beyond my ordinary farm chores. Furthermore, joint pains of many years’ duration I had attributed to “wear and tear” are now completely gone. AMAZING what happens when you actually discover and implement the #properhumandiet!

Bob Johnston
Reply to  Goldrider
December 5, 2019 11:16 pm

Carnivore diet has given me the best results also. I thought it was nutso until I tried it. I’ll never go back to keto or low carb.

DonM
Reply to  Goldrider
December 6, 2019 11:10 am

following through with you cow analogy … dairy cows aren’t bonked on the head at two years old.

Butcher a heard of dairy cows, see what is inside of them, and you will never never ever want to be the recipient of the results of the “high nutrient” or “feed lot” diet.

I was on the line, doing everything from cleaning the warm steamy tripe to striping the esophagus liner to hanging and bleeding them … everything except bonking them on the head. I got green bile in my eyes and crap on my lips when I tried to go to fast and wasn’t careful.

The only time I was truly disgusted and nauseous was the day of the dairy cows (and the results of their long term high nutrition diet).

icisil
December 5, 2019 6:26 am

I pity the poor people who put unquestioned faith in scientists. They are as flawed and self-interested as anyone. How many people have had their lives ruined because they believed scientists?

Linda Goodman
December 5, 2019 6:38 am

Yawn. There are honest mistakes and then there are frauds and the latter has a long tradition. And since the comparison is being made to climate ‘science’, an accurate title would be – Junk Science: The Tool That Makes Fools Of Us All

Assuming the cholesterol OOPS was an honest error in judgement, there are many examples of science deception for a comparative analysis.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Linda Goodman
December 5, 2019 7:46 am

They are now teaching our college students that gravity is only a theory. No seriously, I had a discussion with a University of Maryland College Student to that effect. They are positioning their teaching in this way to defend their “the sole driver of catastrophic Global Warming is CO2” theory against those skeptical of their theory in order to shut down discussion.

The LAW of Gravity might have more than one theory as to its cause but the alarmist have used a manufactured 97% consensus to declare their theory regarding CO2 to be ironclad. If we follow their logic completely then Climate Change would be a law and what causes the climate to change is open for debate. And if they cannot accept that as a starting point they can go jump off a cliff and rely on some alternate theory of Gravity to save them from the law.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Bill Powers
December 5, 2019 9:24 am

The law of gravity IS only a theory.,

But its a theory that hasn’t been disproved by the evidence unlike AGW

Jake J
Reply to  Bill Powers
December 5, 2019 9:29 am

Gravity is both a law that describes the attraction between two objects, and a theory that describes why the objects attract each other. So there.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  Jake J
December 6, 2019 10:31 am

In fact, I’ve used the “law of gravity” as an example of why we only make “theories” now. After all, if Newton was wrong about the cause of something so basic as gravity, we shouldn’t be so arrogant as to call new explanations of how the world works “laws” anymore.

chemman
Reply to  Bill Powers
December 5, 2019 12:00 pm

I would invite my students to walk out and climb the home bleachers and jump off the back when they said that gravity was just a theory. No one ever took me up on the proposal.

Peter Sable
Reply to  Bill Powers
December 5, 2019 4:53 pm

They are now teaching our college students that gravity is only a theory.

The Law of Gravity (LOG) is barely a theory, and a pretty terrible one at that.

1. LOG doesn’t explain *why*, it only explains *what* between local objects in acceleration fields of > 2e-10 m^2/sec

2. LOG doesn’t work as expected at extremely low accelerations. Currently they call this dark matter. It’s highly likely it’s something else since nobody seems to be able to see “dark matter” through independent means.

If I were going for a PhD in physics I’d be attempting to explain these huge gaps. Then again, I doubt you’d find any professor to take you under his/her wing, as the groupthink in this area is terrible.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Linda Goodman
December 5, 2019 9:26 am

Just the fact that Ancel Keys used SEVEN countries in his lauded “study” when he had data for TWENTY-TWO should tell you which category the Cholesterol BS falls into.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  AGW is not Science
December 5, 2019 11:01 am

When I read that data from twice as many nations was discarded as included by Ancil Keys I became sceptical of cholesterol is bad meme. Both my father and paternal grandfather died in their 50s from heart attacks. So far my blood and stress tests are OK and I’m in my 70th year. I’ve a dodgy knee due to a swimming injury in my teens but manage about 70km a week cycling. I have had a low processed sugar I take since the winterof 1962/63 when due to impassable roads food supplies were limited to essentials. I hope to continue to eat meat and eggs for many more years.

Rick Kelly
Reply to  AGW is not Science
December 5, 2019 11:17 am

Actually, that is an inaccuracy in the article. It bothers me because I’m a proponent and practitioner of keto to diet lifestyle. The Seven Countries Study was not published in the 50s and the oft repeated “fact” that he omitted data from “22 countries” appears also to be wrong. See: https://thescienceofnutrition.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/fat-in-the-diet-and-mortality-from-heart-disease-a-plagiaristic-note/

Superchunk
Reply to  Rick Kelly
December 5, 2019 1:20 pm

My quick take on this article which I read some time ago is that his findings are not correct for at least 5 reasons: 1) many other data points confirm that there is little or no relationship, and certainly not as much as the theory predicts 2) reducing fat and/or cholesterol does not seem to prevent CVD 3)high-fat with high carbs is in fact a problem although it’s the carbs that are the problem 4) the data does not control for truly bad fats like vegetable oils although one can do so informally (they would be much high in the US than in Italy for example, and 5) statistically, and while there may be a small relationship (likely due to carbs and vegetable oils) if Keys was correct, the data should show an almost straight line and not have Italy and France where they are in the chart. No one is saying that adding fat is OK in the context of a high-carb diet or that vegetable oils are ok. The author of this article seems to be so caught up in self-important chest pounding (Look! Look! I found an error!) that he doesn’t step back and ask whether the basic message of the authors he is criticizing is supported by other data.

Steve
Reply to  AGW is not Science
December 5, 2019 11:34 pm

Yeah, but he wears a white coat and looks so serious and committed, so he must have been right. ::))

John Tillman
December 5, 2019 6:40 am

Pruzan, Peter (2016). Research Methodology: The Aims, Practices and Ethics of Science. Switzerland: Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-27167-5.

December 5, 2019 6:43 am

I had cholesterol at 359 about 25 years ago and got it down to less than half that with statins.
Currently zero arterial calcification at age 70.
No side effects from statins.
However, I’m pretty sure that excess carbohydrates are the problem rather than cholesterol levels. Carbs overstimulate an insulin response which affects the production of cholesterol in the liver.
I continue statins because of the anti inflammatory effect and inflammation is involved in plaque formation.
Also, I tend to feel better with an improved circulation with a lower cholesterol level.

DocSiders
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
December 5, 2019 7:19 am

There are studies on Statins that I dictate that the entire positive effect comes from the anti-inflammatory effects. Too many variables to know for sure yet…but it is a significant factor.

There *are* nutrition scientists that are “pure” in their efforts to find the truth…AND EVEN FOR THESE “good” scientists, studies must be designed to eliminate their biases…that are well known to affect results.

guido LaMoto
Reply to  DocSiders
December 5, 2019 9:00 am

Statins also have anticoagulant effects. ASA is a much better anti-inflammatory & anticoagulant than any statin. The “Needed to Treat” number for statins is 45– gotta treat 45 people to save one heart attack. Pretty lousy return for the high rate of side effects & cost of statins…Very few head to head studies of effects of various statins. The few done do NOT show correlation between chol lowering extent and MI rate. (ie- it ain’t the effect on chol that accounts for the improved outcomes) BTW- beware of studies that report Relative Risk Reduction (like all the chol studies) vs Absolute Risk Reduction. RRR for statins is ~33% (Wow!!) but the ARR is only 2% (BFD).

Cholesterol doesn’t “cause” arteriosclerosis any more than band-aides cause cuts on your skin. They both come into play to repair damage already present. Higher chol –> thicker plaque “band-aid.” As this excellent article points out, chol levels are mostly genetically determined…..Higher Chol levels could also be induced by arterial damage, like WBC goes up with infection. Nobody has done those studies yet.

Chol research is quite obviously a case of “No Problem = No More Funding.

Robert Davis
Reply to  guido LaMoto
December 5, 2019 2:40 pm

It took me over 2 years to get my Mom off statin’s. This is for real in a certain percentage of the population.
read:http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-not-dementia-its-your-heart-medication/

yirgach
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
December 5, 2019 8:01 am

I’ve had similar results using Citrus Bergamot extract instead of statins.
The results were exactly in line with the study noted below.
I took 1000 mg a day (AM/PM) for a few months, now I use 500mg/day.

See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702027/

Timo, Not That One
Reply to  yirgach
December 5, 2019 9:09 am

Same here, yirgach. I couldn’t tolerate any statins, and didn’t want to take them anyhow. My wife read up on Bergamot extract. I take a couple of supplement capsules a day and now have normal cholesterol, with no side effects.

Jeff Meyer
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
December 5, 2019 8:15 am

There are some studies out there that are linking statins with dementia…… Or so my Dr. says!

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Jeff Meyer
December 5, 2019 9:01 am

Lipitor Thief of Memory
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lipitor-Thief-Memory-Duane-Graveline/dp/1424301629

When Dr. Duane Graveline, former astronaut, aerospace medical research scientist, flight surgeon, and family doctor is given Lipitor to lower his cholesterol, he temporarily loses his short-term memory. Urged a year later to resume the drug at half dose, he lost both short-term and retrograde memory and was finally diagnosed in a hospital ER as having transient global amnesia (TGA). This is the “scary, appealingly written” account of his search for answers that his medical community didn’t have — the how and why of his traumatic experience, and what needs to be done to prevent the devastating side effects to body and mind from the escalating use of the statin drugs.

Lipitor in the UK is Atorvastatin

MG

Chris Clark
Reply to  Jeff Meyer
December 5, 2019 6:24 pm

Jeff Meyer: Here’s a link to a paper that illustrates both the complexity and nuance of physiological/scientific systems: the authors discuss the observation that statins may act in different ways in different individuals so that sometimes cognitive abilities are protected and at other times they are impaired (reversibly). As always with most scientific matters, simple = wrong and complex = right. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5830056/

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
December 6, 2019 4:28 am

youd get as good or better anti infammatory effects with grapeseed extracts and or tumeric.
I had to stop all supplement befor an op and 2 weeks without themhad my RA flareup and life was a misery so any doubt they were placebos was proven wrong
tumeric also has a useful effect of stopping blood from “clumping” which has to be useful in prevention of clots forming etc

Jay Willis
December 5, 2019 6:46 am

“concoction called ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.’ She was not happy haven been duped, but she loved the trans-fat-laden margarine.”

There are no trans fats in ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter.’

I’m not saying it’s any good, and wouldn’t eat it myself or feed it to my rabbit or my dog. but it is essential get your facts straight in a rant.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jay Willis
December 5, 2019 6:48 am

There may not be now, but there probably were when it was originally marketed.

FabioC.
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 5, 2019 7:55 am

Trans fats are the result of incomplete hydrogenation of unsaturated fats.
Then I think they were also produced intentionally because they have properties close to those of saturated fats, which makes for a good texture in baked products.

Greg61
Reply to  Jay Willis
December 5, 2019 7:33 am

The elimination of trans fats is much more recent, most of that happened after 2005 ish. Most margarine was loaded with it when they first came out.

John Tillman
Reply to  Jay Willis
December 5, 2019 7:35 am

That “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” contains no trans fats is good news. But the bad news is that it replaces the partially hydrogenated oils in other margarines with palm kernel and palm oil, rich sources of saturated fat.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  John Tillman
December 5, 2019 9:36 am

Actually that’s NOT bad news – saturated fat is NOT unhealthy. That’s just part of the myth they have “sold” you as part an parcel of the cholesterol myth. And vegetable oils are typically rancid or become rancid when heated (so likely whenever you cook with them, or add them to hot food), meaning you’re getting something a whole lot less healthy than good old fashioned butter in any event – but not because it has “saturated fats,” whose demonization is just more junk science.

John Endicott
Reply to  Jay Willis
December 5, 2019 8:39 am

Jay, Unilever (makers of I can’t believe it’s not butter) removed the trans-fats in their products sometime in the early 2000s prior to the Jan 2006 deadline from the FDA to add trans-fat content to labels.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  John Endicott
December 5, 2019 9:22 am

Re: Unilever’s fake food …

Eatwell Guide – conflicts of interest
https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2016/03/eatwell-guide-conflicts-of-interest/

When Unilever take out adverts in national UK newspapers saying:

”We are delighted that unsaturated fats, like the oils found in our spreads, now have a dedicated section of the Eatwell Guide and are recognised as the healthy option…”,
comment image:large

you should be alarmed.

If your so-called role model healthy eating plate is welcomed by fake food companies, surely you got it wrong.

[…]

MG

jtom
Reply to  Jay Willis
December 5, 2019 10:30 am

ICBINB was introduced in 1981. Trans fat in the entire ICBINB line was not eliminated until June, 2004.

Perhaps either researching it yourself, or politely asking about it would be a better approach than to immediately accuse someone of not getting their facts correct.

Jeff Alberts
December 5, 2019 6:47 am

Typo: “what appeared to me was incredible advances in health science”

Typo in the title too, should be “Scientists”, plural.

Rick
December 5, 2019 6:47 am

“I am not a scientist nor particularly well educated.”

See? You aren’t establishing your credentials, letters, schooling, and all and every sort of self aggrandizations. You, sir, are not a Scientist.

Only Scientists can generate any kind of truth.

Mike MacDonald
December 5, 2019 6:48 am

And cigarettes are not a proven health risk /sarc, which led to a lot of movies, novels, etc. Frances Moore Lappé debunked a host of these food/health issues in the 60’s and 70’s. How much of what the CDC says can be trusted? (Much closer to zero than to 50%, as in 1 – 0.985 < 5%.) On and on. The medical "research" field is maybe more corrupt than the climate schmience (schmuck science) field. To stay healthy, extreme skepticism can be helpful.

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Mike MacDonald
December 5, 2019 9:01 am

Smoking may be a risk but there are an awful lot of 80 and 90 year olds sitting outside at the old folks home puffing their brains out. What about them? Just an observation.

griff
Reply to  Matthew Bergin
December 5, 2019 9:58 am

Statistical outliers…

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 2:35 pm

Significantly fewer than those currently resting in the dirt after having spent the last year(s) of their lives strapped to an O2 tank.

Dr Vague
Reply to  Matthew Bergin
December 5, 2019 5:09 pm

The risk is stochastic. Definitely much higher risk for smokers than non-smokers but nonetheless still unpredictable. There are far more puffers in the ground than those lucky enough to be in the top percentile who thus far haven’t been struck down by the many hideous diseases that afflict heavy smokers and drinkers too for that matter.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Matthew Bergin
December 5, 2019 5:18 pm

I go into a LOT of these facilities every week, and never see anyone smoking. Mostly because they are “no smoking” areas. But even outside I see none except younger people visiting.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 4:22 am

if its hard to walk at all cos your frail aged etc and you have to go way way away to an approved zone..then yeah you wont see any
but given a chance? 😉 I betcaha you would!
curious how if youre a smoker EVERY illness you get is blamed directly to that fact
also curious is how anyone else ever gets the exact same diseases when they never smoked isnt it?
oh and lung cancer rates dropped a bit but nothing like supposed to, because ? well seems itsnot just smoking that creates lung cancers or copd or emphysemas. but then the quit mobs might get a few billion less in handouts donations n payola.

and the crap about smokers not healing as well has now been debunked as well
so the holier than thou surgeons are having to look at NOTbeing able to be picky and refuse treatment to ill people needing operations.

DocSiders
December 5, 2019 6:54 am

Nutrition research is really difficult…because just like in Climate Science, there are a very high number of interacting variables and it’s extremely difficult-to-impossible to carry out properly controlled experiments/trials.

That, also unfortunately, makes it possible to assemble hypotheses and predictions in many permutations and then make weakly supported claims that just so happen to benefit some commercial or political agenda. That, also unfortunately, provides an Avenue for further and increased funding.

Add to this unholy mess…the possibility (probability actually in today’s leftist Academia and leftist Government Agencies) that the scientists share the political aims of the financial backers and we get Scientific Reports that support untruths.

Shaky Science becomes particularly unpalatable when the major source of funding is the taxpayer. Because of the unholy alliance between the Leftist Deep State and the Leftist Media and Leftist Groupthink in Academia (in hiring and promotion) and Ultra-wealthy Leftist Globalists and the increasingly Leftist Democrat Party, we get the Climate Crisis Fraud.

…AND we get to pay for it!

How do we get our Country and our Scientific Institutions back from such as these?

December 5, 2019 6:58 am

Margarine was already invented in 1869 as a substitute for butter that would not go off so quickly.

JPS
Reply to  Hans Erren
December 5, 2019 8:20 am

Well, that may be true. But it was marketed way more in the 60s and 70s as being ‘healthy’. Which it was not for well known reasons.

Reply to  JPS
December 7, 2019 3:15 am

No that was “halvarine” which uses non-saturated fat. (Eg palm oil).

Tom Abbott
December 5, 2019 7:01 am

From the article: “‘Confirmatory bias’ is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions,”

I think this is basic human nature. As you grow, you form certain ideas about the world around you and then you look for things that confirm your concept of the world.

Where we go wrong is when we refuse to acknowledge/accept things that do not confirm our concept of the world. Then, we are living in a false reality. And it is easier to remain and live in the false reality if you are a member of a group of people who all live in that same false reality. You can tell each other it’s ok to ignore the facts, or lack thereof, in the case of climate change.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 5, 2019 5:20 pm

“‘Confirmatory bias’ is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions,”

Exactly how all the major religions came to be.

Paradox
December 5, 2019 7:11 am

Probably the best take on human behavior and resulting in humans trying to explain the world around them. We once also thought the world was flat as well and the heavens revolved around Earth. I am not a climate scientist, but I think this too will pass. There will be another panic over something else once the dust settles.

Reply to  Paradox
December 5, 2019 10:01 am

When do you think they thought the earth was flat? It is probably a lot longer ago than you think.

Paradox
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 5, 2019 10:40 am

This is my point. The human misunderstanding has been going on since we can ever recall. What is your real question?

Peter Sable
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 5, 2019 4:55 pm

When do you think they thought the earth was flat?

The current flat-earthers are idiots, but they come to this belief largely because they find scientists lying so much. In that, they have a valid point about epistemology. Why should we believe liars?

The current flat-earther’s inability to do the math any 18th century surveyor could do says a lot about our education system as well.

Hermit.Oldguy
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 7, 2019 6:03 am

Everybody grows up with the belief that the Earth is flat, because the bit we can see *is*. We’re taught in school that it’s round (and it is), but that doesn’t change the belief.
I discovered in my 20’s that I believed the Earth was flat, when I tried to measure the distance from London to NY using a map. The shortest route is along a great circle, not along a line of latitude. Unless you actually have such a test, you cannot be sure what you believe.

Kurt Linton
December 5, 2019 7:13 am

Chiffon.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Kurt Linton
December 5, 2019 10:01 am

As kids we used to have fun with that one – “If you think it’s butter, but it’s NOT – it’s Chiffon!” Became “If you think it’s butter, but it’s SNOT – it’s Chiffon!”

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  AGW is not Science
December 5, 2019 5:37 pm

That snot funny!

Rich Davis
Reply to  AGW is not Science
December 5, 2019 5:53 pm

Yeah, I immediately noticed that one too.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ijVijP-CDVI

johanus
December 5, 2019 7:14 am

Uffe Ravnskov, distinguished Danish physician and medical scholar, has been telling the world about the ‘cholesterol myth’ for many years and has written many papers and books, which falsify the hypothesis (“Lipid Hypothesis”) that high cholesterol causes heart disease
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffe_Ravnskov
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipid_hypothesis

You will note that the Wikipedia Lipid article presents a rather “this is settled science” point of view, and attempts to refute Dr. Ravnskov’s work. But if you flip over to the “Talk” side of the article, you will find the science about cholesterol risks is hardly “settled”.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Lipid_hypothesis

Mark Gobell
Reply to  johanus
December 5, 2019 7:40 am

Uffe Ravnskov
http://thincs.org/

The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease
https://www.amazon.com/Cholesterol-Myths-Exposing-Fallacy-Saturated/dp/0967089700/

Fat and Cholesterol Don’t Cause Heart Attacks and Statins are Not The Solution
https://www.amazon.com/Cholesterol-Myths-Exposing-Fallacy-Saturated/dp/0967089700/

MG

THEO RICHEL
Reply to  johanus
December 5, 2019 9:00 am

Ravnskov has his own site: http://www.thincs.org ‘The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics

General P. Malaise
December 5, 2019 7:14 am

same old same old. follow the money.

LCHF. low carbs high fat. plus intermittent fasting is is the key to good health.

William Abbott
Reply to  General P. Malaise
December 5, 2019 12:52 pm

high fiber, both soluble and insoluble, has to be included in your short list

2hotel9
December 5, 2019 7:17 am

Let me simplify all this. Eggs are good for you, milk and cheese are good for you. Beef and pork and poultry are good for you. Fish and seafood are good for you. Grains are good for you. Stop listening to liars, they are lying to you for their own political and monetary gain.

Superchunk
Reply to  2hotel9
December 5, 2019 8:22 am

Grains? The seeds of plants which we only recently (in the last 12,000 years or so) started eating in large amounts? You were doing well until you got to that one. Moderate amounts of white rice may be fine for people who can handle carbs fairly well, but the rest of the grain family is high-risk, low-reward for many (likely most) people. You might want to investigate that one some more.

icisil
Reply to  Superchunk
December 5, 2019 8:35 am

Grains have sustained humans for all of recorded history, and now they’re suddenly bad? Don’t think so. What’s new is refined carbohydrates. Big difference how they’re metabolized.

Superchunk
Reply to  icisil
December 5, 2019 11:07 am

“Recorded history” is a blink of the eye in evolutionary terms. Plants do not “want” their seeds to be digested and they have evolved many mechanisms to discourage this. Cultures that have done “ok” with wheat typically fermented or sprouted it which reduces the problems, but for modern western people does not eliminate them. Refined carbs are certainly worse, however many people benefit minimizing all carbs (at least temporarily), especially those who need to regain the ability to metabolize fat. Wheat has never been “good”, we just ate what we had to in the past, however now at least some of us know better.

You can do what works for you, however my point is that many people experience dramatic health benefits by giving up grains, however this is actively opposed by the medical mainstream, and there are absolutely no nutrients in them that we don’t have much better sources of.

icisil
Reply to  Superchunk
December 5, 2019 12:44 pm

“Cultures that have done “ok” with wheat typically fermented or sprouted it which reduces the problems”

Assertion with no evidence. If you’ve ever read the bible you would know that grains were staples in that region beginning about 4000 years ago or more. I’ve never read anything therein suggesting fermentation or sprouting of grain, except maybe for making hard liquor. Grinding for bread was the norm.

Superchunk
Reply to  Superchunk
December 5, 2019 3:42 pm

You have accidentally supported what I am saying. If, for example, you listen to Dr. Mike Eades’ speeches talking about the evidence from mummified Egyptians from (IIRC) that timeframe, they ate a bread-heavy diet and gave themselves many of our modern diseases.

And here’s a link for you http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/05/traditional-preparation-methods-improve.html

Bottom line, do what you want but many will and have benefited from removing wheat from their diets. Other grains with the possible exception of white rice share have many problems as well, as would be expected for a seed.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Superchunk
December 6, 2019 4:37 am

consider the rather sudden onset of the supposed gluten intolerant people
then stop and consider
that until recently grains were clean when harvested
now
theyre spraytopped just before harvest with glyphosate and all its unlabelled chem ingredients that may be even more toxic themselves
that dry roundup is ON the heads and even while grains are hulled via headers and frther with milling the dry powdered dusty glyphosate and other chem gets into the flour you eat as breads or cereals produced from it.
and its barley oats rye etc ALL copping the same stupid treatment!!

then throw in some lovely preservative so the bread etc lasts a week or so
when REAL milled grain made into bread at home is fresh for just 2 days and inedible in 4 to 5

Philo
Reply to  icisil
December 5, 2019 7:48 pm

There is quite a bit of archeological evidence that people, at least in the cities that were forming around 4000BC lost several inches in stature and had lighter bones than nomadic tribes. The changes appear to follow the increased consumption of grains.

A city could not produce enough food to feed itself within it’s boundaries. Grains greatly simplified farming because the farms were located nearby and grain is relatively easy to transport and store. In addition, the bugs that almost always grow in stored grain provided a “free” source of animal protein, although they didn’t know that, hence the inventions of sifters of various kinds.

2hotel9
Reply to  Superchunk
December 5, 2019 9:06 am

Without grains we would still be monkeys living in trees. Humans began actively CULTIVATING grain crops around 12,000 years ago(supposedly), before that we ate what grew wild. How did we figure out to eat them? Observing other animals, perhaps? You don’t want any grains in your diet? Have at it, I will keep eating what brought our ancestors into modern times, thank you very much.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  2hotel9
December 5, 2019 10:00 am

Modern wheat is NOT what brought our ancestors into modern times.

Suggest you read “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly.” Modern wheat is nothing like the Einkorn wheat that was cultivated 12,000 years ago.

The author of one of the aforementioned books has celiac disease, and made himself two loaves of bread – one from “modern” wheat, and the other from Einkorn wheat (which you can still get). When eating the bread made from Einkorn wheat, he suffered absolutely no symptoms; when eating the bred from “modern” wheat, he experienced the celiac disease related symptoms.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  AGW is not Science
December 5, 2019 3:28 pm

Celiac disease has to do with gluten in the wheat. Why does that make wheat unhealthy for people without Celiac? I also believe we don’t need to eat simple carbs but don’t place the blame in the wrong place.

2hotel9
Reply to  AGW is not Science
December 6, 2019 8:14 am

Because a very small % of humans have a medical condition is no reason to trash our entire agricultural system. Wheat is not the only grain humans cultivate and consume. It was one of the first, along with rice, and cultivating and consuming grains is one of the primary steps that brought humans to the point we are today. The very idea a few pointyheaded malcontents can dictate what everyone else eats or does is base insanity.

If Einkorn wheat is so much better then start up a corporation to grow and sell it. If it is better and people like it they will buy it, you will become rich and everybody moves on with their lives.

Superchunk
Reply to  2hotel9
December 5, 2019 11:14 am

Observing other animals is not a reliable method. Rodents have enzymes that allow them to digest grains in ways that we don’t. Also, in general, as I stated above, most animals do not try to digest seeds, they poop them out which is what plants have evolved to encourage. And no, grains are not a natural or healthy diet for cows. BTW, be broke off from monkeys a lot more than 12,000 years ago. The point is that grains are high-risk on a number of levels, but these risks are nowhere to be found in mainstream nutrition recommendations. If want to eat them, have at it, but at least be aware and make other people aware of the risks.

2hotel9
Reply to  Superchunk
December 6, 2019 8:38 am

So, are you saying ancient humans figured out what they could eat through divine intervention? Space aliens told them? Really? Sorry, they did it the way all other animals did it, seeing another animal eating something, then they tried it. Pretty sure lotsa proto-humans did poison themselves, overall, we figured it out. And the foods that did best we concentrated our gathering efforts on, then we figured out. Then we started to encourage plants we liked to eat to grow in certain areas for ease of access. This required groups to work together which brought about an expanding organization among groups of people. Hominina were not born with a cheatsheet in hand to tell them what to eat. They figured it out the hard way.

As for “high risk”, they may be, for a tiny % of the overall population. That is on their watch, not mine.

archer
Reply to  Superchunk
December 5, 2019 5:48 pm

We only started consuming dairy within the last 10000 years.

farmerbraun
Reply to  archer
December 5, 2019 6:48 pm

Right. No breast -feeding before that.

MarkG
Reply to  farmerbraun
December 5, 2019 9:46 pm

Animal milk is very different to human milk. That’s why a majority of the human race can’t properly digest cow’s milk.

George Lawson
Reply to  2hotel9
December 5, 2019 9:55 am

As matter of interest, I suffered for a number of years with headaches some quite serious, at certain times of the day. Regular visits to my GP, a visit to a specialist in headaches, and a detailed head scan, were all to no avail, but the headaches continued. It dawned on me at a later date that the headaches always came on around mid morning, and I speculated that the problem may lie in the food I was eating. My simple breakfast was always a substantial bowl of Special K cereals. I stopped eating them and transferred to cornflakes. My headaches stopped from that point and have never returned and my general health has improved. Resolving my problem on my own has caused some embarrassment to my GP, but I have given similar advice to others who have suffered regular headaches, and which has achieved similar success. I have concluded that food is the main cause of headaches in adults and children, and a simple bit of research in their diets could isolate the food causing the problem. It doesn’t always have to be the same food, but wheat based foods seem to be one of the main causes.

Superchunk
Reply to  George Lawson
December 5, 2019 11:17 am

George, Yes, elimination diets are a very under-used tool in mainstream medicine. That’s a lot of what I think accounts for the benefits seem by carnivore dieters.

shortus cynicus
Reply to  George Lawson
December 6, 2019 4:30 am

I tested once priml diet and lost unexpected all acne symptoms.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  George Lawson
December 6, 2019 4:44 am

a tiny amount of soy milk on a wheatbix and the also tiny amount in weak tea had my girlfriend scrathcing and no docs could work out why
she ran out of soy used skim(ugh) and I nited she wasnt itching all day
it was that simple , less than 100ml a day of soy muck was the culprit for her

wsbriggs
Reply to  2hotel9
December 5, 2019 10:20 am

2hotel9,
You are correct, I’d believe the liar sobriquet were it not for the fact that many of those “lying” die of exactly the same problems as the victims of the “lies”.

Everyone owes it to themselves to read The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. It has an extensive bibliography with references from appropriate medical journals. Dr. Fung is a Nephrologist and has over a decade of experience treating kidney failure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Yooper
December 5, 2019 7:18 am

Organic margarine?
Cage-free synthetic eggs?
Grass fed veggie burgers? Oh, wait they are grass……

Andy Pattullo
December 5, 2019 7:19 am

This is an excellent essay. Perhaps, not being a scientist allowed the author to be more objective and realistic about how our human failings make us susceptible to the false certainty sold by science and science-linked industry when they tell us what is good for us. I am a scientist and a physician and I must confess that the academic outputs of science and clinical medicine are often diametrically opposed to reality not because there is anything wrong with the scientific process, but because we are often very poor at sticking to the rules and heavily motivated by other incentives related to our own prosperity and academic success.

Climate change/global warming as presently sold by the UN, EU, IPPC and a raft of environmental groups and left leaning political pundits is exactly the same phenomenon as described in the failed fat-heart health hypothesis, but in this case, the potential harm to human society is orders of magnitude higher.

Potterzebra
December 5, 2019 7:20 am

I have been recommending to friends and family the nutrition book, “Death by Food Pyramid:” (2013) by Denise Minger, as a way to introduce the notion that science, like politics, is highly susceptible to commercial influence and groupthink. Minger deconstructs the classic “heart studies” (Ayer, Framingham et al), exposing their methodological shortcomings, missed opportunities, and non-publicized insights. She is a young writer who has really dug into the literature, and seems to be pitching to her generation, which is good news for us old skeptics, too.

Dr Deanster
December 5, 2019 7:22 am

As with Climate Science, much of the pet theories of the agenda driven scientific community is dependent on the “packaging” of the theory to the public. Enter stage left … STATISTICS.

With your cholesterol study, it was Pfizer who commissioned the ASCOT trial that showed how taking Lipitor could reduce your risk of having a heart attack by 38%. When people see 38%, they think, …. pp ok, my risk of heart attack will drop from like 40% to 2%. The truth is the 38% is relative risk, not absolute. The real risk of a heart attack is only 3%, and taking Lipitor decreases it to 2%. So the more important number of Number Needed To Treat NNT, is …. 100 … that is 100 people need to take Lipitor for 1 person to benefit. 2 of the people will still die of a heart attack, and the other 97 didn’t need to be taking the drug in the first place. The result …. Lipitor at 12 BILLION a year was the highest grossing drug of all time.

Likewise, Climate Change is all in the packaging. There really is no such thing as “Global” Warming. Global Warming implies that every spot on the globe has warmed by 1C, and therefore, the critters in your backyard are going to die, crops are going to fail, people are going to drop dead of heat strokes, etc. They couple this with the unproven “Butterfly Effect”; that a 4C increase in Arctic Winter from -40C to -36C is going to cause massive floods, hurricanes, droughts and wildfires world wide. Throw in an Autistic Child pulling at the heart strings along with the constant banter from a Media and politicians who see the global warming scare as an opportunity to personally benefit, and BAM …. you get your Cholesterol Story … part II.

But alas, while science may appear to be dead, it is not. It is still working in the background, and sooner or later, hopefully sooner, it will catch up and out the truth, and the Climate Flamers who’ve been taking advantage of the misinformation campaign …. just like it did with the demise of the egg.

Superchunk
Reply to  Dr Deanster
December 5, 2019 8:28 am

“it will catch up and out the truth.”

Sadly, when great science some along, such as IMO Dr. Bredesen’s two trials showing the reversal of dementia, the Hallberg et al. low-carb diabetes study, the Alt et al AIP for gastro issues study, and others, they are completely ignored by mainstream medicine. The only hope on the horizon I’m aware of is to crowdsource health outside of the medical/nutrition mainstream.

Don K
December 5, 2019 7:26 am

OK article. Two points:

1. Artificial butters (margarines) have been around since the mid 19th century. One made and sold in the California gold fields in the 1850s was said to be excellent. They truly came into their own in the US and UK during World War 2 when butter rationing ended up strongly encouraging civilians to use both whether they really wanted to or not. As an aside, up ’til the 1950s US laws pushed by the dairy industry prevented the sale of margarine with artificial coloring premixed, so margarine came with a capsule of yellow food coloring that housewives had to hand mix into the product.

2. Perhaps the classic case of medical misguidance was that of “flat feet” which kept a substantial portion of the US male population out of the military during the mid-century wars. It turns out that only a very small percentage of those with poorly developed foot arches seem to be limited physically in any way by the condition. One study actually indicated that “flat footed” recruits are substantially less likely (by a factor of 4) to suffer stress related foot injuries than those with better developed arches.

Bottom line: Experts are sometimes right. And sometimes they aren’t.

Mark Gobell
December 5, 2019 7:27 am

Statin Nation
http://statinnation.com/

STATIN NATION: The Great Cholesterol Cover-Up (Full Movie)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZctVYxiW2w

Dr Aseem Malhotra : http://doctoraseem.com/

Big Food and Big Pharma: Killing for Profit?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4uVNywg848

Saturated fat does not clog the arteries:
https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/bjsports/51/15/1111.full.pdf

Too Much Medicine & The Great Statin Con – Dr Aseem Malhotra
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAoTwfx1Sic

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick on Doctoring Data
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3ldcRYadR4

MG

littlepeaks
December 5, 2019 7:30 am

I’m 72 now. When I was in my early 60s, I was told I had high cholesterol my choices is to control it by diet or statin drugs. I chose diet. I had to restrict my fat intake. I followed exactly what the doctor told me to do. Unfortunately, I’m into running, and usually only slept about 4 hours a night during weekdays because of my commute to my job. Anyway, my bad cholesterol dropped like a rock. Unfortunately, my weight dropped like a rock also. My wife was ready to kill me — and she said I no longer had a butt. And I felt cold all the time. (I think I have a fairly high metabolism). So I went off the diet, and my bad cholesterol went up again. Finally I saw the writing on the wall, and told my doctor my problem, and that I would like to try a statin. He put me on simvastatin, and my cholesterol dropped like a rock, and my good cholesterol was high. And I still feel great. My doctor told me they could have used me for an advertisement for simvastatin. One take away I keep trying to tell the medical community — everyone’s different, and everyone’s physiology is different. What works for one person may not be good for another person. (sigh)

AGW is not Science
Reply to  littlepeaks
December 5, 2019 10:09 am

The part you’re missing is that you would probably be feeling great without ever changing you diet OR taking statins, because the cholesterol was never the “problem” they told you it was to begin with!

rbabcock
December 5, 2019 7:32 am

Personally I think the best indicator is your Triglyceride/HDL ratio. Needs to be under 2 and the lower the better. I’ve always been very active and for the last 15 years or so ride a bike on the city’s greenways 80-100 miles a week and my ratio is .5. I’m also a fairly (but not always) a healthy eater and my base pulse rate is 48+-. I recently had a cardiogram and it showed almost nothing in my arteries and my father, grandfather and great grandfather all died fairly early of heart attacks. I’m 69 and doing pretty well.

From everything I read what gets us is insulin sensitivity, which basically implies carbs, and the low carb high fat diet is they key.. plus you have to keep moving. Also there are macro studies out there that implies people with higher LDL levels later in life live longer. All in all if you have the time, doing research into all this is pretty fascinating.

Bill Capron
December 5, 2019 7:32 am

It’s an interesting article, but way too long. I hope there is a Cliff Notes version one day soon.

rbabcock
December 5, 2019 7:37 am

Also read the results and conclusions from this NIH study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5040825/

Scissor
December 5, 2019 7:39 am

My wife’s grandfather ate 3 eggs, bacon or sausage and toast every morning for decades. He died peacefully in his sleep at the ripe old age of 95. His passengers weren’t so lucky.

Munrobagger
December 5, 2019 7:42 am

Excellent article, well worth reading.
I’m reminded of a news article I read in the mid-1990’s during the Mad Cow/BSE crisis in the UK. Eating meat contaminated with BSE was linked to an incurable, fatal brain disease in humans called New Variant CJD, which developes over a long period of time. “Scientists” said that people in the UK had been eating BSE-contaminated meat for so many years, that even if people stopped eating it now, UK hospitals would be unable to cope with the numbers dying of NV-CJD by 2010. This terrified people.
The reality – there were 90 deaths recorded in the UK in 2014 from sporadic CJD, which may or may not be related to BSE.
For an excellent analysis of very costly and damaging scare stories, I highly recommend Chritopher Booker’s book “Scared to Death” available in paper or Kindle from Amazon.

commieBob
December 5, 2019 7:46 am

Ancel Keys created the orthodoxy. The orthodoxy was enforced and going against it was career ending. link

… only a few dozen would publish research even gingerly challenging the diet-heart hypothesis. And even then, they worried about putting their careers on the line. They saw Ahrens, who had risen to the very top of his field and yet found himself having a hard time getting grants, because there was “a price to pay for going up against the establishment, and he was well aware of that,” as one of his former students told me.

The comparison with climate science is quite close. Bad science becomes the orthodoxy. Good science is severely punished.

John Cherry
December 5, 2019 7:51 am

A long, tedious, unreferenced essay which has virtually nothing to do with the important and complex subject discussed on WUWT. Why on earth publish it? I really don’t understand.

2hotel9
Reply to  John Cherry
December 5, 2019 7:55 am

Then take your statins and read something else.

commieBob
Reply to  John Cherry
December 5, 2019 8:37 am

It’s a well documented case where scientific orthodoxy allowed bad science to persist and punished good science.

People insist that we believe the science. The more examples we have of scientists behaving badly, the harder that meme will be hard to sell.

Everyone should be skeptical. Nullius in verba

icisil
Reply to  John Cherry
December 5, 2019 8:54 am

Because it furthers demolition of the ludicrous idea that scientists must be believed without question.

Susan
December 5, 2019 7:54 am

Our supermarkets have a section for ‘children’s cereals’, one for ‘adult cereals’ (wonder what little plastic toys they contain) and another labelled ‘healthy cereals’ : this tells you all you need to know about the food marketers mindset and their concern for public health.

December 5, 2019 7:57 am

Now, on to Salt

2hotel9
Reply to  Jean Parisot
December 5, 2019 8:28 am

Without salt humans die. This all falls back into the “in moderation” category.

Peter
December 5, 2019 7:58 am

Nutritionists are NOT scientists. They peddle ‘snake oil’ because they have to make a living.

BCBill
December 5, 2019 7:59 am

I want to know how many people died as a result of switching to high trans fat margarine at the behest of the nutro / medical community. I suspect that all things considered, nutritionists and the physicians who accept their nonsense have done considerably more harm than good.

icisil
Reply to  BCBill
December 5, 2019 8:43 am

Per JAMA (1999) and John Hopkins (2016) studies the medical establishment is the 3rd leading cause of death. IMO it is the leading cause of death by far; those studies only considered deaths in hospitals.

Natalie Gordon
December 5, 2019 8:00 am

My husband had a minor stroke recently after an accident with the seatbelt. The CT showed no plaques, no plugged arteries. In fact the doctor reviewing the CT remarked that if he had not seen my husband was in his seventies he would have thought he was looking at 30 year old arteries. We left hospital with a cocktail of drugs including a statin. I was extremely concerned about this cocktail. By the third month on the statin my husband began having severe side effects including cramping in the thighs that woke him up in the night literally screaming in agony. He was on three different blood pressure meds that had turned him into a zombie sleeping 12-15 hours a day and unable to handle even a trip to the grocery store without being overcome with exhaustion. This is the new normal, I was told. This is what happens after a stroke. Get used to it. He also was on two different blood thinners and even grabbing his arm to take his blood pressure left finger mark bruises on him. The cocktail was what the doctor prescribed for all his stroke patients without regard for whether or not all stroke patients are the same and if all strokes have the same cause. After discussing the terrible side effects and getting nowhere over three months, we finally switched doctors. The new doctor said my husband was clearly overmedicated and began the process of weaning my husband off these drugs but you can’t do that instantly. Weeks and weeks of lower the dose of this drug, give his body time to readjust, remove the drug, more time to adjust. Each time a drug was finally removed, my husband had a significant improvement in his mental faculties, his energy and his libido. We’re almost back to normal. I read that overmedicating of the elderly in our society is a very serious problem and many cases of individuals sitting in nursing homes with severe dementia may actually be victims of polypharmacy. Polypharmacy of those over 70 is absolutely epidemic in our society. The scariest part of this is I have a PhD in human genetics and I can read the literature and I did. That made me question all these drugs but even then, I bowed to authority and took three months to do something about it. I was the one who was advocating for the removal of all these drugs and I was the one who found another doctor. He was too zombied out to have managed it on his own. What would have happened to him if I hadn’t forced the question? Can I blame the doctor? No. What he was doing is considered the standard of care. He was bowing to his own higher authority. What we are doing with the new doctor, according to the standard of care, is potentially setting my husband up for more strokes in future at some unspecified time. Take these drugs now or pay in the future with a catastrophe. (Sounds just like climate change.) The difference is the new doctor is prepared to allow us to choose quality of life over quantity because he thinks we are informed enough to make such a choice. With my husband being in his late seventies, and the new doctor in his early thirties, he obviously feels it’s not much of a loss if my husband drops dead a decade earlier. What happens to the average member of the public without the knowledge I have? It makes me sick to think about.

icisil
Reply to  Natalie Gordon
December 5, 2019 8:39 am

So happy for you. For your continued education:

https://healthimpactnews.com/?find=statins

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Natalie Gordon
December 5, 2019 8:43 am

Dr Aseem Malhotra : http://doctoraseem.com/

Too Much Medicine & The Great Statin Con
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAoTwfx1Sic

@ 2m 50s in the above video :
Dr Aseem Malhotra : Seven Sins that contribute to a Lack of Knowledge

– Biased funding of research (research funded because it is likely to be profitable, not because it is likely to be beneficial for patients)
– Biased reporting in medical journals
– Biased patient pamphlets
– Biased reporting in the media
– Commercial Conflicts of interest
– Defensive medicine –
– Medical curricula that fail to teach doctors how to comprehend and communicate health statistics.

Ref: G. Gigerenzer, J.A Muir Gray. Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better Decisions, Envisioning Healthcare 2020

MG

John Tillman
Reply to  Natalie Gordon
December 5, 2019 9:07 am

Great cautionary tale. Thanks!

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Natalie Gordon
December 5, 2019 10:20 am

Disgusting. Clearly, “doctors” like your old one have forgotten their “Hippocratic Oath” – First, do no harm.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  AGW is not Science
December 6, 2019 4:59 am

I have noticed in america the health companies rule the medicos routine prescribing
if you have a certainlevel of??? then drug X is forced on you or the health co wont pay out
thats outrigh insanity

they recently lobbied and got the BP levels reduced so millions more are now required to take BP meds as preventatives
dont take it they refuse membership i gather,

Natalie Gordon
Reply to  Natalie Gordon
December 5, 2019 4:42 pm

Thank you for the positive feedback. One thing I did not mention was my husband had an inner carotid artery dissection, meaning the mechanics of the seat belt acting on his neck during the accident caused a mechanical injury that then led to the stroke. It wasn’t even a “regular” kind of stroke caused by all the usual things like atherosclerosis. Yet he was still turned into a zombie by polypharmacy. Medicine is truly the field of caveat emptor.

Natalie Gordon
Reply to  Natalie Gordon
December 5, 2019 4:54 pm

Oh and the other thing we opted out for was he developed a pseudoaneurysm at the site of the lesion in the artery and even though he was having no neurological symptoms, we were referred to a radiological interventionist to explore having a stent put in. We were informed in his situation the stent had a 5-10% possibility of causing a severe stroke or even killing my husband on the operating table but it would fix the pseudoaneurysm. I read the literature on the topic, mostly from Europe, and discovered that (excluding complications from stenting) the long term outcome for patients with asymptomatic pseudoaneurysm, is the same, stenting or no stenting. Tincture of time works just as well as stenting! We declined the stent.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Natalie Gordon
December 6, 2019 4:56 am

whats scray is the amount of people who dont even know WHAT they take or interactions or even the justification for taking it.
the easy Webster packs from pharmacies for people who arent dementia sufferers just bloody lazy or cant be bothered.. make serious drug pronlems so much easier too.
friend is one at least 5 meds a day she ha No idea what meds what doses shes taking.
yes she had had a stroke with near total recovery,
and theyd hit her with 80mg a day statins to supposedly move a clot.
well 5 yrs on shes got serious memory issues and the clots as big as it was on day one.
surgery and a stent would have been far more useful and thats now going to happen.

Baron Villanueva
December 5, 2019 8:40 am

We should be carefull to lump all sciences together. Hard sciences like physics and chemistry can have incredible levels of certainty. But things like nutrition and climatology are at best pseudo sciences and very suceptible to exploitation. The diffrence probably lies in the ability to experiment. It’s easy to experiment on rocks and lasers. However any experiment on humans and eating will always be limited by sample size and cost. How expensive would it be to completely isolate 50 people and control everything they ate and did for a year.

griff
Reply to  Baron Villanueva
December 5, 2019 9:59 am

and it is the hard science of physics which supports the research which confirms climate change

Rich Davis
Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 2:35 am

Objects high up in a gravitational field fall toward the center of mass. That would be the hard science of physics which proves that hail is a mythical precipitation.

Another way of looking at life would be that the hypothesis should be as simple as possible and no simpler.

Simple griff has a grasp on a simple idea that is “not even wrong”, but just as there are other complex phenomena counteracting gravity to produce a hailstorm, the radiative greenhouse effect is not the only factor affecting the climate.

This example is inscrutable to griff, since hail does fall to the ground (any gravity denial involving updrafts lofting the hailstone up to be coated with layers of frozen rain is probably an idea that Big Convection is paying shills to spread doubt about the settled science).

It’s always impossible to determine conclusively if “griff” is a bot or just a dull human incapable of complex thought, conditioned to spout beloved dogma. The fact that it never interacts with anyone who responds to its nonsense is a clue, but still leaves me scratching my head. If the bot is programmed to randomly spout a doctrine of the climate change gospel, why is it limited to only one drive-by trolling? On the other hand, if it were human, it would not be so perfectly consistent. Occasionally s/he would say something sensible, wouldn’t s/he? There’s never been a single example of that.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 6, 2019 4:57 am

Griff got a little upset one time when his real name was put into the public domain, so he’s probably a human being. 🙂

Rich Davis
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 7, 2019 3:02 am

Interesting. So you’re saying that the dullard fanatic hypothesis is proven, and griff identifies as male using he/him pronouns. Good to know.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 4:54 am

“and it is the hard science of physics which supports the research which confirms climate change”

Griff, you are making a typical alarmist claim which can’t be supported scientifically: Show us where human-caused climate change has been confirmed. You can’t do it because it hasn’t happened.

Griff won’t answer, of course. That’s because he doesn’t have an answer.

John Tillman
Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 11:45 am

Then why are the best physicists in relevant ares of the discipline CACA skeptics?

huls
Reply to  griff
December 15, 2019 5:18 am

Nice trolling there Griff, however nobody and certainly not on this site denies the existence of Climate Change. But you were really aiming for something else weren’t you?

jtom
Reply to  Baron Villanueva
December 5, 2019 4:12 pm

No, include the hard sciences, too. Almost everything I was taught in both astronomy and geology when I was in college is now considered wrong, or at least incomplete. The Big Bang theory replaced the static state, and is likely just as wrong. Plate tectonics replaced drifting continents, which had just replaced fixed continents. Earth had a solid iron core.

Quarks had not yet been theorized and detected. The moon was suppose to be covered in an immensily thick layer of dust. We were about to enter another glacial period.

Only fantasists thought the stories told by sailors about ball lightning could be true. There were several reasons why Man going to the moon would be impossible, including deadly radiation. Nuclear war would produce a nuclear winter according to a flawed study by the popular astronomer, Carl Sagan.

The hard scientists are not immune to being certain of things that later turn out to be false.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  jtom
December 5, 2019 6:47 pm

“Nuclear war would produce a nuclear winter according to a flawed study by the popular astronomer, Carl Sagan.”

How do we know it’s flawed?

shortus cynicus
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 6, 2019 4:45 am

Because it was founded by robbed money.

D.C.N.
December 5, 2019 8:44 am

Suggest the late William C. Douglas M.D., the Brit M.D. Keith Scott-Mumby, and the current smart, tough , U.S. scientist, Shane Ellison, the PeoplesChemist.com . for “cut threw it” facts.

Mark Gobell
December 5, 2019 8:48 am

Re : The fraud Dr Ancel Keys and his “Seven Countries Study”

STATIN NATION: The Great Cholesterol Cover-Up (Full Movie)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZctVYxiW2w

http://statinnation.com/

MG

Erast Van Doren
Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 6, 2019 4:07 pm

Ancel Keys was an outstanding researcher who did nothing wrong and was ahead of times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDwjkv1FW5g&list=PLCC2CA9893F2503B5&index=36

Matthew Bergin
December 5, 2019 8:53 am

When I went on the Atkins style diet my doctor had a fit. He tested my blood every month and was flabbergasted as he watched my cholesterol levels drop. I was also cycling a lot and eventually I was tested at my work on a health initiative and the little machine they were testing us with found my cholesterol level below the machine’s minimum so the reading was LO. I think the minimum was 2.5. Overall I lost 160 lbs in two years.

Matt

Natalie Gordon
Reply to  Matthew Bergin
December 5, 2019 4:56 pm

Wow that is amazing Matt, well done!

Sara
December 5, 2019 9:01 am

“Men and women are dying of heart disease at alarming rates because of ….” Because of? Try genetics

You inherit genes from both sides of your family. You may get lucky and not get the bad genes that make life more difficult as you get older, or you may get an huge bundle of them. Genes and genetic inheritance are a poker game, and you are the poor sucker holding tow hands full of cards. Pick one.

Here’s a clue: my paternal grandfather had a heart attack and died when my father was 12 years old. (I do not know what his age was when that happened.) My father had a heart attack at age 60, because – as it turned out – he had a hearth block and the result was that he was given a pacemaker, which at the time was something very new. He had to use what was then called “light salt” (potassium chloride mixed with sodium chloride) to support his electrolyte levels. But my dad never met a plate of food he didn’t like and he lived to age 85 because of his pacemaker implant. He had eggs for breakfast in the mornings, and ate beef and pork and all those other foods you’re not supposed to consume, but they didn’t kill him off. He passed when he went to the hospital to get a new pacemaker implant, of a stroke and cardiac infarction which occurred together.

My paternal grandmother and her three sisters all lived well into their 90s and died of old age.

My mother, on the other hand, had a family history with no such issues and also lived well into her 90s, as did her mother who developed short-term memory loss when she was 93. She could remember what you did when you were 6 – e.b., me helping her make donuts in her kitchen – but she couldn’t remember what you said five minutes ago. She knew who everyone was right up to the end.

This is my genetic inheritance, which I’ve discussed with my sister at length (she has a PhD in biology) and she said the same thing: we got the lucky end of the draw in genes. Looking through old family history, most of my relatives lived long useful lives on both sides of that fence.

Your genes determine what will happen to you more than anything else. Your family history is what you have to look at, not chemicals from pill pushers. You cannot control what your genetic heritage gives you, but you can find ways to address it head on and still have a good life without spending tons of money to do so.

Same thing with this hysterical nonsense about climate: most of it is hogwash It is meant to scare the gullible into following a false trail and fork over their cash. Always follow the money, because the climate side show is nothing more than what you might find at a county fair, with a barker outside trying to get some cash out of you to go see the so-called “freaks”. (I don’t think they have those exhibits any more.) It’s baloney and it is only aimed at getting control of the naive and gullible and separating them from their cash.

Good article.

Max
December 5, 2019 9:02 am

Annual physical, a few months ago, and my LDL was 40, HDL was 60 and total cholesterol was 120. First words out of the mouth of the doctor is he wants to put me on a statin because I’m over 50. Is my cholesterol too high? No, in fact it could be considered a little low. My cholesterol level is something he’s not used to seeing in someone who has Type II Diabetes and he admits he’s not used to seeing a Type II diabetic, that doesn’t take medication to control blood sugar, with an A1C under 6. With all that, he was really insistent I start taking a statin, two blood pressure meds (BP 132/72 on that visit) and a regimen of Metformin to control my blood sugar. After a few minutes of going back and forth about why he wanted me to start taking drugs I really didn’t need it boiled down to this drug cocktail being the ‘standard’ for a person of my age and with my medical condition regardless of how well I manage that condition. So, I’m supposed to take pills to treat conditions I don’t suffer from because I’m supposed to be suffering from them because, most my age who have Type II diabetes do? I don’t think so.

Cheers

Max

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Max
December 5, 2019 9:11 am

Hi Max

Most doctors are clueless.

Here in the UK our much-lauded, scared cow, the NHS GPs are restricted in what they can do by the governing body NICE. https://www.nice.org.uk/

Whenever I have a conversation with any NHS, Dr, nurse, consultant or dietician, they all fall back on “but we have to do what NICE tell us to”.

NICE via Public Health England, currently advocates the Eatwell Guide, stating that 60% of energy should come from carbs !!!

Check out the usual conflicts of interest on that pathological strategy here :

Eatwell Guide – conflicts of interest
https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2016/03/eatwell-guide-conflicts-of-interest/

Up until 2016 the Eatwell Guide was called the Eatwell Plate, and in the tiny “oils & fats” segment on that plate, they had a bottle of coke …

I’d ditch the carbs to sort your insulin resistance out Max.

MG

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Max
December 5, 2019 9:53 am

I also refuse statin drugs.
Period.
They were being widely prescribed in the US despite not one single shred of evidence they improved outcomes or all cause mortality in the slightest.

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Max
December 5, 2019 10:05 am

Max he is looking for the kickback from the drug manufacturers. It is disgusting.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Max
December 5, 2019 10:18 am

Thanks for the nice summary of why I seldom go to the doctor. They’ve been “educated” in medical schools funded by drug companies, and your anecdote shows the results rather succinctly.

jtom
Reply to  Max
December 5, 2019 4:50 pm

You really need a new doc.

My last doctor treated his patients according to statistics. If you came in with generic symptoms (headache, fever, muscle ache), and it was flu season, that was his diagnosis and treatment. No testing required. Sure, he was right 90% of the time, but that was cold comfort to the other 10%.

My opinion is that statistics should be used to help prioritize what testing is done; not replace testing. I told my current GP that when I first met her. Later that same visit, she was looking over my medical history. She asked when I had had chicken pox and mumps (I was 65 at the time – no vaccines for them when I grew up!). I told her I never did, despite my brother having had both. She said that I must have had a very mild case of both. Perhaps she saw my facial expression change, and realized she was treating me like a statistic. She quickly said, but we’ll have titers taken to be sure. Yeah, you can guess what they showed – I never had either illness. From what I have read, that happens in less than 1% of the population.

So, she gave me the vaccines for each. If she had not down the tests, she would have given me a shingles vaccine, which would have provided no protection against chicken pox, and I would still be vulnerable to mumps.

Find a doctor that will treat you, and not treat you like a statistic. Never be afraid to be your own advocate.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  jtom
December 6, 2019 5:09 am

if you gone all those yrs without meales or chickenpox then why the hell accept the vax?
youve obviously got a strong immune system.
and lucky you didnt take the shingles one cos its GIVING people shingles.

Peter Sable
Reply to  Max
December 5, 2019 5:01 pm

(BP 132/72 on that visit)

Automated machine, or a pleasant nurse, or Nurse Ratched?

I have found the newer automated machines overstate my blood pressure by 5-10 points, as does a Nurse Rached, or if I had caffeine that data. If I’m relaxed, worked out recently, and have a pleasant nurse, I get 115/72. If I get the newer automated machines or have had caffeine recently, I get 128/85 and the medicos start mumbling about ‘pre-hypertension”.

Mind you this is with a resting heartrate of 51 and huge sustained power output with heartrate in the 130 range.

Variance in blood pressure measurements is very high. Learn how to take your own or find some other independent way of getting a large sample of measurements.

Richard Hill
December 5, 2019 9:31 am

Recently, as a heart disease sufferer, I was offered an expensive treatment to lower cholesterol. Great I thought, but having heard the rumours that cholesterol wasn’t the bad guy, I resolved to do some research for myself. I found a situation that was very similar to the climate debate, there were experts, and there were cholesterol den iers.

One such was a Dr Malcolm Kendrick. He has written books and given lectures, but I found his blog series to be absolutely compelling. Rather like the articles on WUWT, actual analysis of the processes are carried out, mainly through a thorough search of published papers. He then translates the conclusions into laymans language, it’s a fascinating read if you’re like me, in need of some truth. He’s also quite amusing.

Part one can be found here

https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2016/01/18/what-causes-heart-disease/

There are north of 60 further parts, buckle up! Spoiler alert, heart disease isn’t caused by cholesterol in the blood stream…

(Rescued from spam bin) SUNMOD

Bob Johnston
Reply to  Richard Hill
December 5, 2019 11:32 pm

Dr. Kendricks is excellent… and funny as hell. If you’re concerned about heart disease you should definitely be reading his blog.

December 5, 2019 9:34 am

I have a relative who believes all this pseudo-nutrition junk. He went to the doctor because he wasn’t feeling well, and I know from what the statements he has made I can conclude that the doctor gave a list of possible causes of the symptoms. He only heard ‘cancer’. Before he went to the doctor, he was already a health nut, reading labels and chastising me for eating poorly. So when he went to the doctor, he immediately concluded he had cancer. So my cousin became vegan. And miracle of miracles, he no longer had cancer! Ergo, the vegan diet cured him of cancer.

In reality, the vegan diet just fit his per-conceived notions. He has to take vitamin supplements, and to me that is a unconscious admission that your diet is unhealthy. If you have to take something to make up for nutrients you are not getting by food, then your diet is not healthy. And, personal opinion, my cousin looks less healthy than me. He is always eating something “vegan”: breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, and a bedtime supper. The last time I was with him on vacation, he spent hours in the kitchen every single day. I have 3 square meals, and I rarely eat past 6:00 pm. Maybe a snack, maybe a drink. Usually I eat enough to fill me. And I am normal weight for my height, on no drugs, have no health problems.

The key is always balance. Too much of anything is always bad.

Clare Swift
December 5, 2019 9:35 am

Fantastic article – thank you.

TRM
December 5, 2019 9:38 am

The Magic of Cholesterol Numbers: A step away from the cholesterol-lowering drugs

by Sergey A. Dzugan

He noticed that his patients with high cholesterol had very low hormone levels. Remembering that cholesterol is used as a building block for steroidal hormones he had an insight. What if the body was trying to compensate for low hormones by producing more cholesterol? (think no bricklayers but the bricks keep getting piled up because the foreman can’t see the wall getting built).

He tried topping up low levels on a dozen patients (level 1 research numbers) and all got better. He then did level 2 (100+) and 83% went back into the reference range and the 17% that didn’t still got a lot better. Last I heard he was on level 3 (1000+).

Neo
December 5, 2019 9:41 am

” I asked her if there were any side effects in taking these drugs”

Yep. The biggest side-effect of statins are muscle pulls, usually in the legs.

I had one statin that caused my hands to go cold. When I drove my car .. had to switch hands periodically.
I was like they were “dead” but not to the point of numbing.

richard
December 5, 2019 9:43 am

off-piste but a classic-

“U.N. climate change battle comes to the end” another “Downfall Classic”

Sheri
December 5, 2019 9:49 am

As always, the comment section is a potpourri of confirmation bias, groupthink and conspiracy theories. Sorry the author wasted so many words for absolutely nothing.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Sheri
December 5, 2019 10:31 am

Sheri

That’s another odd comment from you, given that most of my references and links were to cardiac specialists and doctors.

MG

TRM
Reply to  Sheri
December 5, 2019 10:49 am

Please check out Dr Dzugan’s work and let us know where his errors are. So far nobody has found them. If you do the large pharma companies will pay you a fortune as his insight threatens their $30+ billion a year statin business.

Thanks in advance

WXcycles
Reply to  Sheri
December 5, 2019 4:00 pm

Perhaps it would be easier if you just pointed out which consensus you’d like everyone to adopt?

griff
December 5, 2019 10:00 am

Perhaps this correspondent would like to explain why we don’t need vaccination, or how asbestos is perfectly safe or why PM2.5 is good for the lungs.

DonM
Reply to  griff
December 6, 2019 11:19 am

bored and lazy…?

Dopamine is only short term and you will just be more depressed after reading this response.

You should go out and run through traffic if you really need the boost.

December 5, 2019 10:14 am

So what went wrong?
==========
US war dead from WWII showed almost no heart disease. By the Korean War, US war dead should advanced heart disease, even in soldiers as young as 18.

Few health professionals are aware of this. The question doctors should be asking, is: “what changed?” Instead, doctors continue to blame the patient.

jtom
Reply to  ferd berple
December 5, 2019 5:09 pm

Perhaps the Korean war soldiers, many of whom were in their early teens during WWII, were showing the effects of the WWII rationing of meat, sugar, and dairy? Then these temporary reductions became permanent recommendations shown by the ‘food pyrimid’.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  jtom
December 6, 2019 5:16 am

oops no
they showed the result of the surge in the fat /sugar excess processed american fastfood diet developed in the 50s when they were kids

Erast Van Doren
Reply to  jtom
December 6, 2019 4:26 pm
Erast Van Doren
Reply to  ferd berple
December 5, 2019 11:11 pm

Nobody did such a study during the WW2. The Korean study was the first, and it was repeated multiple times since then. Vietnam war dead had less atherosclerosis, Iraqi war dead much less still despite being older than the Korean War dead. You are misrepresenting the science. The fact is that heart disease rates are falling since the fifties despite us getting fatter. Why? Because we eat less butter, less beef and more of the more healthy plant fats. (Disclaimer: I believe less fat overall would be even better. There is only one diet for which it was shown to regress the plaques – the very low fat plant base one!)

Prjindigo
December 5, 2019 10:27 am

actually… the synthetic egg’s shell is the easiest part of the problem to crack…

wsbriggs
December 5, 2019 10:37 am

Regarding the “debunking” of Linus Pauling’s advocacy for vitamin C: the experiment which supposedly debunked the idea that vitamin C could cure/prevent cancer had exactly the same flaws as the experiment which showed that cholesterol caused problems in mice. First, virtually all animals, other than the primates and the lowly guinea pig, synthesize vitamin C from sugar. Feeding an animal an excess of that which is normally produced in biological processes is a path for problems. Add in that the mice developed cancer spontaneously at such a rate that only multivariate analysis could hope to determine if the cancer was created by another vector, and one must question the validity of the experiment. Pauling had told the researcher that the test would provide no information. Consider also that the breed of mouse makes it’s response to enzymes or co-enzymes very different. This was demonstrated at the University of Texas Department of Chemistry in the 1950s.

stinkerp
Reply to  wsbriggs
December 5, 2019 1:07 pm

None of the studies applied the “megadose” advocated by Linus Pauling; 3,000 to 18,000 milligrams a day taken no more than 1,000 mg at a time. (The U.S. RDA is 60 to 90 mg per day, the amount needed to prevent scurvy.) All of the studies claiming to debunk Pauling’s claims were using doses of no more than 1,000 mg per day, and most were much lower (200 – 400 mg).

Pauling had no studies to back his claims about megadoses of vitamin C, but the studies supposedly “debunking” Pauling weren’t using the dosage he suggested either. So much for science.

Regardless of the Pauling non-debunking, the antioxidant properties of ascorbic acid are well known, reducing oxidative stress as a result of injury, surgery, and increased metabolism (exercise). Oxidative stress is implicated in inflammation and chronic inflammatory diseases. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of cardiac surgery patients showed that 2,000 mg before surgery and 1,000 mg given twice daily after reduced hospital stay by 2 days and significantly reduced atrial fibrillation.

Ascorbic acid is essential for collagen formation in the body, which is what blood vessels and capillaries are made of, and for tissue repair. The American Optometric Association recommends taking much more than the US RDA based on several studies that demonstrated that 300 mg/day reduced cataracts and 500 mg/day along with beta carotene, vitamin E and zinc slowed the progression of macular degeneration by 25 percent and visual acuity loss by 19 percent.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  stinkerp
December 5, 2019 2:29 pm

Linus Pauling’s colleague, Dr Matthias Rath :

Breakthrough towards the natural control of cardiovascular disease, Dr. Matthias Rath, 22-4-2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0lEmXJD7p4

MG

ozspeaksup
Reply to  stinkerp
December 6, 2019 5:21 am

thanks for that and the chap whos family went to court to allow large IV Vit C after the docs gave up with swineflu who recovered is a testament in living colour to its benefits
as soon as he came out of the coma the hosp tried to drop the dose and he regressed again.
as are many pets saved by IV Vit C when we cant get to a vet in time
even smart vets add vit C to the iv lines to prevent the kidney damage caused by venom
Ikeep bottles of IV vit C on hand at all times

Terry Shipman
December 5, 2019 10:39 am

Anecdotal account: my father was born in 1903 in rural Arkansas and was raised on the farm. My grandmother fried everything in lard. The family’s complete diet was terrible by today’s standards although they did have plenty of garden fresh vegetables served with fried everything. In the 1970’s my dad had his cholesterol checked and his doctor’s comment was, “Oh man, I wish my cholesterol was that good.” My dad ate eggs and bacon for breakfast just about every morning of his life. He ate fried foods and fatty stuff all the time and was as skinny as a rail. He died in 1997 at the age of 94. In fact, his breakfast on the day of his death, was eggs and bacon.

John Endicott
Reply to  Terry Shipman
December 5, 2019 12:15 pm

fact, his breakfast on the day of his death, was eggs and bacon.

There you go, proof that eggs and bacon will kill you /sarc

WXcycles
Reply to  John Endicott
December 5, 2019 4:11 pm

That’s what I was thinking, he just kept right on going with fatalistic high-risk behaviors and attitudes. Such a senseless waste, surely there’s a hotline counseling-service for these people?

shortus cynicus
Reply to  Terry Shipman
December 6, 2019 5:01 am

OK, I see a pattern. We need more money to found a study of correlation between being old and dying.

Being old is killing more people than climate change!

Mat
December 5, 2019 11:20 am

You should rear “A Big Fat Lie”, or just watch the Doc “Fat Head”, and check out his youtube channel.

beng135
December 5, 2019 12:04 pm

Eggs are o9ne of the most valuable foods out there for the money — food-value/cost. I usually have a hard-boiled egg a day — much better than a sugary/starchy snack.

Harry Passfield
December 5, 2019 12:07 pm

My practice nurse, giving me my annual check-up, wondered why I wasn’t taking statins (at my age). I told her they did not agree with me and that I did not agree with state-administration of medicine that was not proven.
She took my details and fed them into her computer and said that, without Statins I had a 22% chance of a heart attack. I asked her to project my chances with Statins: Sure she said (much keyboard clicking), it’s 23%!!!!!!!!

THX1138
December 5, 2019 12:41 pm

The OILING of AMERICA by Sally Fallon & Mary G. Enig, PhD
http://whale.to/a/enig.html

December 5, 2019 1:23 pm

The research study at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3910043/ indicates a 91.9% consensus, not 98.9%. Interestingly the hearing was chaired by Senator George McGovern.

Also note that cholesterol didn’t seem to be the top priority:
“Of these 200 doctors, 91.9 percent answered “Yes,” that they thought that we now have enough evidence to recommend a moderate change in diet. They then indicated the order of priority in which those changes should be made: (1) less total calories, (2) less fat, (3) less saturated fat, and (4) less cholesterol.”

Clyde Spencer
December 5, 2019 1:47 pm

Ronald Baron
“She was not happy haven been duped”

December 5, 2019 1:49 pm

1) Doctors in America are given “guidelines”. I believe it has something to do with qualifying to treat Medicare patients.
It does not matter what the latest science demonstrates, the doctor is held to treating the patient according to the guidelines.
• a) If cholesterol is higher than XX, caution the patient to change their diet and exercise. N.B. A patient’s actual diet and exercise level is not their concern.

• b) If the patient has higher than XXX cholesterol, put the patient on statins. Period.

• c) If a patient admits to having any near relative die from heart disease; no matter the history, no matter the age. Tell the patient they must immediately and drastically change their diets, exercise routines and statin drugs.

Many of the doctors are quite aware that modern research does not support these treatments. Changing the treatment plans are not an option.

“Soon my mother was told that nine out of ten doctors also agreed. Cut out the eggs, the dairy, the red meat, and you’ll never die from heart disease.”

2) Long ago, I grew up near Philadelphia.
A local character learned that his family was predisposed towards heart disease and heart attacks. He went on a mission to get get a handle on his cholesterols and other heart disease symptoms.

His name was Jim Fixx.
He wrote a book about treating heart disease with exercise. He went on talk shows and radio to push his ideas on how to stay healthy.
I believe Cheerios got a “Jim Fixx” approval for healthy hearts and circulatory system.

Jim Fixx went for his daily run along by the side of Vermont’s Route 15 in Hardwick, slumped to the ground and died of a heart attack at age 52. Right in line with many of his relations.
In spite of Jim Fixx claiming that his concepts of diet and exercise could allow him to live to a very old age.

So much for shallow ‘consensus’ claims.

Sven Olof Andersson Hederoth
December 5, 2019 2:09 pm

Some thirty years ago I worked at a nuclear plant and was sent for the annual check-up with the company doctor. “Your cholesterol is too high”, the doctor said. “I suggest you take these pills”. “For how long?”, I asked. The doctor looked at me sternly and said “for life”. I was flabbergasted. “Surely, you don’t seriously propose that I commence a life-long medication at the age of 30? An otherwise perfectly healthy person?”. I walked away in anger, never took those Statins. I am now 62 and still perfectly healthy, albeit a bit overweight and maybe I drink a little bit too much red wine. However,I honestly wonder if I would still be alive if I had started taking those pills.

This incident made me a skeptic and has formed my life ever since. When people start babbling about “97% of all scientists”, I go into full thermo-nuclear mode.

WXcycles
December 5, 2019 3:18 pm

Consensus and pseudo-science have been inseparable Siamese-twins ever since humans discovered observing and rationalizing with logic. Consensus is quintessence of intellectual cowardice, a self-defeating sloth of a weak, incompetent mind. Efforts to ‘educate’ people fail and become a wasted effort when the person educated is too individually spineless, dishonest and corrupt to live up to it.

Consensus occurs where developed-minds and personal honesty are both absent.

Van Doren
December 5, 2019 3:27 pm

Please read exactly two books: “Cholesterol Wars” + “Cholesterol and Beyond”, then never write such nonsense again.

Mark Gobell
Reply to  Van Doren
December 6, 2019 2:02 am

December 5, 2019 at 3:27 pm

Van Doren writes :

“Please read exactly two books: “Cholesterol Wars” + “Cholesterol and Beyond”, then never write such nonsense again.”

*

The Cholesterol Wars: The Skeptics vs the Preponderance of Evidence
by Daniel Steinberg
https://www.amazon.com/Cholesterol-Wars-Skeptics-Preponderance-Evidence-ebook/dp/B0085TMWZ4

Today, in the era of the statins (cholesterol lowering drugs), there is no longer any doubt about the value of lowering blood cholesterol levels. The Cholesterol Wars chronicles the controversy that swirled around the ‘lipid hypothesis’ of atherosclerosis for so many years. In fact, ‘the lower the better’ is the position of many clinicians. However, getting to this point has been a long uphill battle marked by heated debate and sometimes violent disagreement. The history of this controversy is told here for its own sake and because remembering it may help us avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Dr. Steinberg and his colleagues have published over 400 papers relating to lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis reflecting the prominence these authors have in the community
Chronicles the miraculous power of the statins to prevent heart attacks and save lives, of great interest to the many manufacturers of these drugs
Discusses new targets for intervention based on a better understanding of the molecular basis of atherosclerosis

See also : https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780123739797/the-cholesterol-wars

*

Who is Daniel Steinberg ?

https://www.lipid.org/sites/default/files/images/mwall/Daniel_Steinberg.pdf

Daniel Steinberg, MD, PhD(1923–2015) Daniel Steinberg, MD, PhD,was one of a few founders of the modern fields of cholesterol and atherosclerosis.After completion of his doctoral work, he joined the National Institutes of Health(NIH)in 1951.Over the next 17 yearsat NIH, Dr. Steinberg headed a creative laboratory that performed fundamental research on lipid and cholesterol metabolism.In 1968, he moved to the University of California,San Diego (UCSD) where he headed the Division of Metabolic Diseases in the School of Medicine.He carried out research and trained many researchers in one of the most productive laboratories in the world.From an early period of his career, Dr. Steinberg was a strong proponent of the “cholesterol hypothesis”of atherosclerosis.Beyond his research, he successfully urged the NIH to direct substantial resources to basic research in atherosclerosis and to carry out clinical trials to test the cholesterol hypothesis.His influence contributed to the initiation of the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial.The positive results of this trial opened the flood gates to many subsequent clinical trials.These trials leave little doubt that cholesterol lowering will reduce the risk for atherosclerotic disease and that in fact “lower is better”for cholesterol levels in reducing risk.Dr. Steinberg was one of the fathers of the National Cholesterol Education Program.He played an influential role in launching the commercial development of statins to treat hypercholesterolemia.His research team carried out in-depth studies on the connection between lipoproteins and atherosclerosis.In his later years, Dr. Steinberg chronicled the history of the “cholesterol hypothesis.”He persisted in the view that early interventionon high blood cholesterol is the key to eliminating atherosclerotic disease.A major part of his legacy is a host of atherosclerosis researchers around the world who trained under his mentorship.Many others were inspired by his research and his caring personality.The atherosclerosis field as a whole has been fortunate to have such a giant who remained supportive and influential to an advanced age.It must have been a source of great satisfaction to witness the advances towardpreventing the scourge of atherosclerosis that has occurred over his lifetime and to know that he was a major influence on these advances.

*

How statin drugs really lower cholesterol & kill you one cell at a time
by Dr Zoë Harcombe
https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2013/10/how-statin-drugs-really-lower-cholesterol-and-kill-you-one-cell-at-a-time/

[…]

3) The conflicts of interest:

We need to introduce some more players at this stage:

Daniel Steinberg

Daniel Steinberg is the overall ringmaster. If you do an internet search you will find remarkably little about him personally and this seems to be deliberate. The Yosephs should be commended for what they have managed to piece together about this orchestrator. (You will find his “Cholesterol Wars”, where he writes that “after much controversy, cholesterol and lipoproteins were implicated, indicted and ultimately found guilty.”)

Steinberg was the founder and first editor in chief of The Journal of Lipid Research (a vehicle for Endo, Brown and Goldstein and lipid theory supporters to use).

Steinberg was Chairman of the Council on Arteriosclerosis of the American Heart Association and used his position to recommend treating high cholesterol as early as 1969. (Introducing the theory that this life vital substance, made by the body, should be treated rather than revered).

Steinberg was co-chair of the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial (LRC-CPPT). This trial was led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), costing the taxpayer $150 million over 13 years. In January 1984 the results were published and claimed that the long sought evidence was now available – absolute differentials were less than 2% in different groups observed.

Steinberg was Merck’s scientific advisor when lovastatin was approved in record time in 1984.

Steinberg was the first speaker at the FDA advisory committee meeting on statins, held at the NIH, in February 1987.

In 2006, writing in his own Journal of Lipid Research, Steinberg reported that “the Goldstein/Brown laboratory showed that this huge over production of reductase, representing an attempt by the cell to overcome statin inhibition, is accompanied by a huge buildup of endoplasmic reticulum, the organelle [place] in which the reductase resides. As a result the cells look “abnormal” but of course they are not cancer cells.” Steinberg admits that the cell tries to overcome what the statin is doing, he uses the unscientific word “huge” twice – neither time in his favour – and he is apparently able to single-handedly declare that abnormal cells are “of course not cancer cells”.

The same article “The discovery of statins and the end of the controversy” (how arrogant is that?!) declared: “…there was no hard evidence that compactin would be toxic in humans, only rumors about toxicity in dogs…” Rumors? Merck contacted Sankyo to understand why half their dogs had developed cancer.

Steinberg chaired the NIH consensus panel, which in December 1984 declared that LDL cholesterol was the cause of Coronary Vascular Disease (CVD) and recommended that a National Cholesterol Education Programme (NCEP) be adopted. Since this time the NCEP has set continually lower cholesterol targets. Their recommended age for statin use is now nine!

The members of the NCEP

The 2004 NCEP financial disclosure report reveals that all members of the 2004 guideline participants had received payments and/or grant funds from the following organisations:

Dr Scott Grundy: Abbott, Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Glaxo SmithKline, Kos, Merck, Pfizer, Sankyo.

Dr Bairey: Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kos, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Wyeth.

Dr Brewer: Astra Zeneca, Esperion, Fournier, Lipid Sciences, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Sankyo, Tularik.

Dr Clark: Abbot, Astra Zeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Pfizer.

Dr Hunninghake: Astra Zeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kos, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer.

Dr Pasternak: Astra Zeneca, BMS-Sanofi, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Kos, Merck, Novartis, Takeda.

Dr Smith: Merck.

Dr Stone: Abbot, Astra Zeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kos, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Reliant, Sankyo.

The members of the 1987 FDA Panel

On February 19th 1987 the FDA held an advisory committee meeting to review the NIH clinical guidelines for altering cholesterol with Merck’s new statin, lovastatin. The NIH hosted the event. This would be like the NHS hosting the approval meeting for a drug in the UK; implicit support. Incredibly a Merck consultant, Fred Singer, was in the Chair.

Steinberg and the Nobel prize winners Brown and Goldstein were present in support of Merck. The FDA advisory committee comprised 4 FDA employees, 8 FDA advisors (2 were Merck consultants) and 11 Merck speakers and guests. That put the vote 13-10 in Merck’s favour from the outset.

The Yoseph book fully documents the actual comments made in the meeting and by whom – the record was sequestered through a Freedom of Information request. A Merck toxicologist (MacDonald) admitted that rabbits on lovastatin died rapidly. He attributed this to “elevated blood levels” and got away with no one asking him elevated blood levels of what? MacDonald glossed over the fact that statins failed to lower cholesterol in rats, mice and hamsters. This was because rodents are able to reopen the mevalonate pathway – this is why they live. The rabbits couldn’t do this. This is why they died. Dogs were somewhere in between. MacDonald had to admit to liver cell damage in dogs but, again, got away with “We clearly do not understand the mechanism”. It was denied that cataracts had been observed in rats (a few cases in dogs were skimmed over).

A pharmaceutical consultant called Dr Richard Cenedella said: “I have consulted for many drug companies over the years. All of the hyper-lipidemic drugs induce cataracts in mice; it’s an early observation that holds up.” Cenedella wrote to the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1987 “…to caution against the possible complication of cataract development that might result from long-term use of this agent” [statins]

Jonathan Tobert was Merck’s Clinical Director for all trials. In March 1988 he stated that to date there had been no cataracts seen in humans taking lovastatin. The year before he co-authored a paper documenting an increase in lens opacities (i.e. cataracts) in 101 lovastatin consumers. The Yosephs pull no punches in the book. This is just one of a catalogue of examples where they are able to prove contradictory statements made by Tobert. On p121 they say “You can tell when Tobert is lying. He is either writing or his lips are moving.” And I thought I was bold!

Interestingly cataracts are back in the news as I publish this, but I have not seen any reduction in statin prescription or usage since the headlines that emanated from this JAMA research.

In April 2009 an extraordinary letter was written to President Obama by FDA scientists to say that “The FDA is fundamentally broken” and detailing examples of suppression of truth, distortion and the “FDA failing to fulfil its mission.” Nothing has happened as a result of this letter.

[…]

MG

Reply to  Mark Gobell
December 6, 2019 6:26 am

Excellent background summary, Mark Gobell!

“Dr. Steinberg and his colleagues have published over 400 papers relating to lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis reflecting the prominence these authors have in the community”

Steinberg’s career, life, social standing and earnings are bound in cholesterol claims.
Never mind that their claims of “heart disease”, cholesterol, arteriosclerosis and patient health were never proven. Every study that I’ve seen leaps from weak correlations to conclusions that are absolute.
Never mind that Dr. Steinberg’s claims were never supported by human histories of actual diets and lifestyles.

Erast Van Doren
Reply to  ATheoK
December 6, 2019 10:05 am

Just read the books.

WXcycles
December 5, 2019 3:49 pm

‘Dripping’ is the solidified fat from cooking all types of meat. Poor people ate dripping on bread during the Great Depression as they had nothing else, and far from being “bad for them”, it kept millions alive. IMHO, ‘bad fats’ are the ones which make your skin oily and sticky. Other than this annoying downside the real problem is not the tasty food, it’s the lack of exercise to go with the tasty food. Scamming quacks claim special diets or pills will fix a poorly exercised body and lazy chumps are more willing to pay the scammers, rather than exercise a body that needs to work in order to work.

Big T