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STORY ARCHIVE

Heart of the Matter Part 1 - Dietary Villains

Heart of the Matter Part 1 - Dietary Villains

This Catalyst special Dr Maryanne Demasi investigates the science behind the long established claims that saturated fat causes heart disease by raising cholesterol. The National Heart Foundation makes a shocking admission that will make you wonder whether this has all been a big fat lie.

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NARRATION
For the last four decades, dietary fat and cholesterol have been the villains in heart disease.

Dr Michael Eades
You very seldom see the words 'saturated fat' in the public press when they're not associated with artery clogging. So it's like it's all one term - 'artery clogging saturated fats'.

NARRATION
But now some medical experts are coming forward to challenge this medical paradigm.

Dr Jonny Bowden
I think it's a huge misconception that saturated fat and cholesterol are the demons in the diet, and it is 100% wrong.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
Saturated fat has been vilified for years because of the cholesterol theory.

NARRATION
A multibillion dollar food industry has fuelled our phobia of fat and cholesterol and dramatically influenced our diet.

Dr Michael Eades
That's not science. That's marketing.

Dr Jonny Bowden
It's lived past its expiration date, and it's one of these hypotheses that just won't die.

NARRATION
Have we all been conned?

Dr Maryanne Demasi
In this episode, I'll follow the road which led us to believe that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease, and reveal why it�s being touted as the biggest myth in medical history.

NARRATION
The food industry has shaped our ideas about heart health with TV ads like this one.

Advertising Man
So join me in the Uncle Toby's Oats cholesterol challenge!

NARRATION
Lowering our cholesterol has been a running theme with the food industry.

Dr Michael Eades
People have this fear of cholesterol because they've been bombarded with it so much in the media that it's bad and it's going to cause heart disease. That's why all these things were emblazoned with 'cholesterol free'.

NARRATION
These advertising campaigns are at the behest of our peak health authorities.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
The National Heart Foundation guidelines are pretty clear. We're told to reduce our saturated fat and cholesterol levels in order to reduce our risk of heart disease. But many doctors are now suggesting we need to radically rethink this approach.

NARRATION
One of those doctors challenging this medical dogma is California-based nutritionist, Dr Jonny Bowden.

Dr Jonny Bowden
When you look at the data, it's very clear - everything that we have been told about saturated fat and cholesterol is a bold-faced lie. It's just not so.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
But isn't there good science behind this?

Dr Jonny Bowden
If you look at the 'science' that actually the dietary guidelines were based on, the early stuff was so badly done, so filled with confirmation bias, it would never even pass muster today. And unfortunately most doctors don't know this.

NARRATION
Dr Ernest Curtis is astonished at how medicine has gilded the lily on cholesterol.

Dr Ernest Curtis
During medical school, I was taught the same thing everybody else was - the importance of cholesterol and so forth - and I saw no reason to doubt it. But once I got into the cardiology field itself, I was seeing people with heart attacks that had cholesterol all over the place - high cholesterol, low cholesterol, the middle - it didn't seem to matter.

And at first I thought, 'Well, OK, these are probabilities, so there will be exceptions.' But it turned out that, after a while, I was seeing far too many exceptions. So that motivated me to go back and look at the origins of these theories. And, quite frankly, given the certainty with which we're taught this, it surprised me to find out how poor the evidence was. It's virtually non-existent.

NARRATION
Cardiologist Dr Stephen Sinatra said he routinely ordered patients to lower their cholesterol with medications. But now admits he was wrong.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
I used to be the poster boy for the drug companies. And when I was Chief of Cardiology, I used to write for statins all the time. I really believed in the cholesterol theory of heart disease. I first became sceptical of the cholesterol theory in the mid-'80s. I was doing coronary angiograms. You know, you place a tube in the groin and it goes up into the heart, and you can see if there's blockages there.

Sometimes I would do the angiogram on a person with high cholesterol thinking I was going to find a lot of disease, and I... Many times, I didn't find disease, and the converse was true. You know, I would do somebody with low cholesterol, and expecting not to find disease, and I found disease. So I was starting to think, 'Maybe I don't have this right. Maybe cholesterol is not the enemy we think it is.'

Dr Maryanne Demasi
We've become so paranoid about cholesterol, we've actually forgotten it's essential for life. It's a major component of brain and nerve tissue, and central for the production of hormones. In fact, it's so important that virtually every single cell in the body makes it.

NARRATION
Aside from people with a genetic condition, like familial hypercholesterolemia, diet has long been the focus of how we can lower our cholesterol. The idea that saturated fat clogs your arteries by raising cholesterol first gained traction in the '50s. American nutritionist Ancel Keys became intrigued with the soaring rates of heart disease after World War II.

Ancel Keys
The facts are simple. You know the chief killer of Americans is cardiovascular disease.

NARRATION
He compared the rates of heart disease and fat consumption in six countries. It was almost a perfect correlation - the more fat people ate, the higher the rates of heart disease. Except, there was just one problem. Keys withheld data for 16 other countries. Later, when researchers plotted all 22 countries, the correlation wasn't so perfect. Dr Michael Eades is critical of the way Ancel Keys excluded countries that didn't fit his hypothesis.

Dr Michael Eades
He more or less cherrypicked countries. You could show just the opposite. You could show that the more saturated fat people ate, the less heart disease they had, if you cherrypicked the right countries.

NARRATION
Dr Eades says that even if fat consumption trends in the same direction as heart disease, it doesn't prove anything.

Dr Michael Eades
Just because there's a correlation, doesn't mean that there's causation. It's like people who are fat have big belts, but that doesn't mean that if you buy smaller belts, you won't be fat. I mean, that's not the causation. That's what these observational studies show - it's just a correlation.

Dr Ernest Curtis
The classic study by Ancel Keys is a textbook example of fudging the data to get the result that you want out of a study. And, unfortunately, there's a lot of that that goes on.

NARRATION
Science writer Gary Taubes says it's all very well to have a theory, but in science you have to prove it. And they tried.

Gary Taubes
And over the next 15 years, researchers did trial after trial. There were probably a half a dozen of them between 1960 and 1975. All refuted or failed to confirm the idea that you could live longer by either reducing the saturated fat in your diet or reducing the total fat in your diet.

NARRATION
The American Heart Association was also reluctant to lend credence to Keys' theory. But then he managed to score a position on the Association's advisory panel, where he pushed for the acceptance of his ideas, and it wasn't long before they had a change of heart.

Gary Taubes
Instead of the data not being good enough to claim that dietary fat was a cause of heart disease, they concluded that the data were good enough, and, therefore, all Americans over the age of two should go on low-fat diets.

NARRATION
As the idea gained widespread acceptance with the public, science was left to catch up. Two ambitious trials, costing over $250 million, involving hundreds of thousands of patients, both failed to prove that lowering saturated fat could lower your risk of dying from heart attack.

Gary Taubes
The way the authorities responded to this was to claim that they must have done the study wrong. Instead of saying, 'Hey, look, eating a low-fat diet doesn't apparently do anything for people, or certainly not women,' instead they respond by putting out press releases saying, 'Look, we don't know why this trial failed to confirm our hypothesis, but it doesn't mean the advice we've been giving you is wrong, and it doesn't mean that the hypothesis that dietary fat causes heart disease is wrong.'

NARRATION
The National Heart Foundation of Australia defends these failures, saying that nutrition trials are just too complex.

Dr Robert Grenfell
When you ask that question of 'Do dietary fats increase heart disease?', you're sort of trying to negate all the other risk factors that, in fact, actually also cause heart disease. So, to imagine creating a study that would prove that conclusively is virtually impossible.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
So, if they can't prove it, on what basis have they decided that saturated fat is bad for us?

Presenter, in advertisement
Eat too much fatty food and you risk a high level of blood cholesterol building up in your arteries. Eat sensibly.

Dr Robert Grenfell
Many analyses have, in fact, actually shown that, you know, we can say with convincing evidence that intake of saturated fats leads to an increase in blood cholesterol.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
An extensive review of the literature showed that the data was highly inconsistent. In fact, there were many long-term studies that refute the idea that saturated fat raises cholesterol. So I approached the National Heart Foundation for further evidence. They said the data was complex. They cited one study which showed only certain types of saturated fat could raise bad cholesterol, but it also raised good cholesterol. In the end they concluded - 'We agree that we are limited by the evidence base, available at this time.'

NARRATION
I asked Australia's leading lipid expert what he thought. So, should we be giving people dietary advice if there is such poor adherence and the studies aren't available?

Associate Prof David Sullivan
I think there are some very telling pieces of evidence which have been used to establish the importance of avoiding saturated fat. If saturated fat is completely benign, if it's actually beneficial, where's the evidence in support of that? Where's the evidence of an alternative cause? We are particularly keen to get some dietary advice, because otherwise what do we offer people?

NARRATION
But Dr Curtis disagrees with giving people dietary advice when he believes the evidence is insufficient. He says diet has very little influence on your blood cholesterol in the long term.

Dr Ernest Curtis
The reason for that is that your body manufactures 80% to 90% of your cholesterol. Really, very little of it comes from the diet. Most people seem to have a genetically preset level for the cholesterol in their body, maybe in a range. But they're generally going to seek to stay within that range. So, if somebody cuts all the cholesterol out of their diet, their body will simply start making a little bit more to bring it back up into the range.

NARRATION
In the '60s, British physician John Yudkin challenged Keys' theory, claiming that sugar was the culprit in heart disease, not saturated fat. But Keys was politically powerful, and publically discredited Yudkin's theory.

Gary Taubes
By the early 1970s, Ancel Keys was ridiculing John Yudkin and his theory in papers, and just on the basis of that sort of personality and political struggle, the nutrition community embraced this idea that saturated fat was the problem, working through dietary cholesterol, and began to think of the idea that sugar could heart disease as akin to quackery, and Yudkin was eventually ridiculed.

NARRATION
Keys won the diet war, helped by his rise to fame after appearing on the cover of Time magazine.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
This widespread publicity meant that Keys' theory went from weak hypothesis to medical dogma. It would turn out to be one of the most significant events in the history of post-war medicine. The consequences of this study would reverberate over the next several decades to influence public opinion, government policy and the way doctors practise medicine today.

NARRATION
The most influential and respected investigation into the potential causes of heart disease was carried out here, in the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. It began in 1948 and is still going on today. It's the longest observational study of its kind, involving over 5,000 residents.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
The Framingham data pointed out very early that certain habits, or what you did, like cigarette smoking or emotional stress, did point in the direction of heart disease. But then something happened. Some of these Framingham residents were living longer than others.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
When researchers went to look at the data 30 years later, they found that, after a certain age, it didn't matter what your cholesterol level was.

NARRATION
Cholesterol did correlate with heart disease, but that disappeared by the time you reached your late 40s.

Dr Jonny Bowden
After the age of 47, high cholesterol is probably protective. The people who had the highest cholesterol lived the longest, much to the amazement of a lot of the researchers. The people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most fat, actually weighed the less and were the most active.

NARRATION
One of the Framingham researchers became so dismayed with the results, he wrote a scathing review of the whole diet-heart hypothesis, saying that people had been misled 'by the greatest scientific deception of our times, the notion that animal fat causes heart disease'. Hundreds of articles refuting the cholesterol hypothesis have been published in the world's leading medical journals, but they rarely get noticed by mainstream media.

Gary Taubes
So, what you do in bad science is you ignore any evidence that's contrary to your beliefs, your hypothesis, and you only focus on the evidence that supports it.

NARRATION
In 1977, the US government stepped in. Senator George McGovern, an advocate of Ancel Keys' theory, headed a committee hearing to end the debate once and for all.

Dr Michael Eades
And they are the ones who really have put us in the nutritional mess that we're in now, because based on virtually zero science, they decided that a low-fat diet was the best thing for us all.

NARRATION
Eminent scientists at the time disagreed with the report.

Man
I have pleaded in my report and will plead again orally here for more research on the problem before we make announcements to the American public.

NARRATION
But their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Senator George McGovern
Well, I would only argue that senators don't have the luxury that a research scientist does of waiting until ever last shred of evidence is in.

NARRATION
News reports began peddling the same message, and many say it was this article in Time magazine that put the final nail in the coffin for saturated fat and cholesterol. This led to the creation of the food pyramid, which formed the basis of our dietary advice in the following four decades. It advised us to eat less saturated fat, mainly found in meat and dairy, recommending a diet rich in carbohydrate foods, like breads, grains and cereals.

Dr Michael Eades
McGovern himself was from a big wheat-growing state, so it didn't hurt him politically that people moved away from foods of animal origin into breads and pastas.

NARRATION
There is one diet that stands out from the rest - the Lyon Diet Heart Study, which touted the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Remarkably, after several years, those on the Mediterranean diet had a whopping 76% less deaths from heart attacks.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
So why the Mediterranean diet get such a spectacular result when all the others had failed? I'll explain why later. But one of the most interesting things to come from that study went virtually unnoticed.

Dr Jonny Bowden
Here's the part that nobody talks about. See, you think that in the group that had the double-digit reduction in heart disease, their cholesterol levels must have plummeted, right? Their cholesterol levels didn't budge. Both groups had the same cholesterol levels, except one group just stopped dying. So, so much for the relationship between cholesterol and the risk for heart disease.

Man, in advertisement
This is the average amount of saturated fat a person consumes in a month.

NARRATION
Atherosclerosis begins when plaques build up in the arteries.

Man, in advertisement
If saturated fat can clog this pipe, imagine what it's doing to yours.

NARRATION
But, contrary to popular belief, neither saturated fat or cholesterol deposit on the artery wall like sludge in a pipe. Nobody knows what begins the process, but damage on the artery wall causes inflammation. The body responds by recruiting cells to fix the problem. Tissue cells called macrophages clean up the debris, which consists of things like bacteria, calcium and cholesterol. A fibrous cap grows over the plaque, trying to conceal the inflammation. If the cap bursts, the plaque's contents are released, and a clot may block the artery, after which a heart attack ensues. Dr Curtis has a theory on what initiates the damage that begins atherosclerosis.

Dr Ernest Curtis
Arteries are constantly branching off, one from another, and at these branch points is a very common place to find these plaques.

NARRATION
The study of fluid dynamics shows this is where the artery experiences the most stress from the tremendous pulsatile force of blood coursing through the artery, at high pressure. Veins don't endure the same pressure as arteries, so they never develop plaques.

Dr Ernest Curtis
Veins that simply return the used-up blood to the heart to get reoxygenated are not under the same stress. And veins don't develop atherosclerosis - unless you put them in a situation where they have to function as arteries.

NARRATION
And this may happen when surgeons use veins in heart bypass surgery.

Dr Ernest Curtis
Now, that portion of the vein is receiving the same arterial pressures. Those coronary bypass grafts and veins here will develop atherosclerosis very quickly. That is never seen in their native state.

NARRATION
But because cholesterol is found in the plaques, it's often blamed for causing it.

Dr Michael Eades
If you go in and you do autopsies of people who've had coronary artery disease, and you cut open the coronary arteries, they're filled with cholesterol. So it's not a big leap to say, 'Gosh, I shouldn't eat that because it's going to go right into there,' but that's not the way it works.

NARRATION
Dr Sinatra says blaming cholesterol for causing plaques is like blaming firemen for causing fires, just because they're always at the scene.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
Cholesterol is really not the villain. I mean, we need it to live. The problem is cholesterol is involved in a repair process. Look, cholesterol is found at the scene of the crime, it's not the perpetrator. And where I sit now, as a cardiologist, practising cardiology for over four decades, it's very low down on my list of risk factors.

NARRATION
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that doesn't dissolve in the blood. So it has to be ferried around by proteins, mainly LDL and HDL. LDL is said to deliver cholesterol to the tissues, hence it's bad, and HDL is said to remove cholesterol from plaques, hence it's good. But when Dr Sinatra has his annual blood test, he says he's not that concerned about cholesterol.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
What about the bad cholesterol?

Dr Stephen Sinatra
You call it, the LDL, bad cholesterol? Well, you know, I don't really call it bad unless it's oxidised. Remember, if it's oxidised, then it's inflammatory.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
So cholesterol's not bad, only if it's oxidised.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
Exactly. If the cholesterol is oxidised, if there's free radical stress involved and it's oxidised, that's inflammatory and that starts the cascade for inflammation.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
Well, the inflammatory theory of heart disease I think is accepted more and more now. I think the general cardiovascular community is still focusing on cholesterol. They need to focus more on inflammation, and that's where, you know, emotional stress...

But sugar. Sugar is really the fall when it comes to cardiovascular disease. You see, we've placed all this emphasis on cholesterol, we've taken it off sugar, and that's the problem. Then you're getting more insulin responses, and we know that insulin is the number one indicator for inducing what we call inflammation of blood vessels.

Dr Jonny Bowden
Sugar is far more damaging to the heart than fat ever was, and we're beginning to see this now. So, this focus on cholesterol has been incredibly destructive because we haven't looked at these real promoters of heart disease - inflammation, oxidative damage, sugar in the diet, and number one with a bullet - stress.

NARRATION
Dr Grenfell says these theories are untested but plausible.

Dr Robert Grenfell
These are still hypothetical questions that need to be answered about why does high blood pressure cause damage to the artery walls. I mean, these are all fantastic ideas, and how fantastic it would be if we found that there were simple ways of preventing heart disease by lowering our body's inflammatory response, and also its enthusiasm, to, in this hypothesis, to heal itself, or to heal holes in the arteries.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
So it's also plausible that maybe cholesterol isn't the driving factor in this process?

Dr Robert Grenfell
It's a contributor.

NARRATION
Dr Sullivan does concede that an aspect of the food pyramid was a mistake. He says replacing fats with carbohydrates didn't help the rising obesity problem.

Dr David Sullivan
If you replace fat with carbohydrate, you will probably be a little bit more inclined to be hungry; your insulin levels will be a bit higher, you'll have high levels of triglyceride, higher levels of glucose and less of your good cholesterol to avert problems. We certainly probably gave some advice which was a good way to avert one pathway, but people then tracked down another pathway, and that's what's led to the revision of dietary guidelines.

NARRATION
The more recent advice is to replace saturated fat with unsaturated fats in order to lower the risk of heart disease. For example, swapping butter with margarine.

Dr David Sullivan
It's very hard to find any positives about butter in term of its impact on cardiovascular disease.

NARRATION
But this advice still receives its fair share of opposition.

Dr Jonny Bowden
Margarine is the perfect example of the stupidest nutritional swap-out in history. We had this trans fat-laden crappy manufactured product that we were eating because we were so phobic about saturated fat and cholesterol.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
To switch to polyunsaturated fats with the vegetable oils, that's horrific advice. The polyunsaturated fats, the vegetable oils, these omega-6 oils, are inflammatory because they're very prone to oxidation.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
Have we been given the wrong advice?

Dr Michael Eades
We've absolutely been given the wrong advice. People became afraid of saturated fat, so they said, 'OK, we've got to do something to replace the saturated fats, and so let's do it with vegetable oils.' Well, vegetable oils don't have the same cooking qualities that saturated fats do. Polyunsaturated fats have a lot of double bonds in them, and double bonds are prone to free radical attack.

It becomes a rancid fat, and it becomes really bad for you. Saturated fats, on the other hand, have no double bonds. That's why they're incredibly stable. That's why they're great for cooking. That's why they're great for frying. And that's why they don't really perpetuate free radical cascades in the body, because they're inert fats.

NARRATION
Dr Eades says butter and coconut are not harmful to your health, and recommends those fats over the omega-6 vegetable oils. When vegetable oils are used to manufacture margarine, they undergo a process called partial hydrogenation, which results in the formation of industrial trans fats, and everybody agrees they're bad for you.

It's important to look for products that have them removed, although Australia doesn't have mandatory labelling of them. Junk food, for example, is riddled with industrial trans fats. The omega-3s, another type of polyunsaturated fat - found in fish, for example - are thought to counter the inflammatory effects of omega-6s.

Dr Michael Eades
The two of them are kind of like the accelerator and a brake pedal on a car, and if they're in balance things operate smoothly. I mean, you don't want too much anti-inflammatory, you don't want too much pro-inflammatory. Because of the advent of vegetable oils, we now have tons of omega-6 fats, and, really, very little omega-3 fats.

NARRATION
This is thought to be why the Mediterranean diet was so successful. It was higher in omega-3 fats, not to mention it was low in refined carbohydrates like sugar, and rich in antioxidants.

Dr Robert Grenfell
The Heart Foundation still suggests that a diet that substitutes saturated fats for polyunsaturated fats is one that is healthier for your heart.

NARRATION
But opposition to this advice is still palpable.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
It took decades to really entrench this myth. It's probably going to take a few more decades to get us out of this myth. But to vilify saturated fats I think is one of the worst things the medical profession has done.

Dr Ernest Curtis
I'd love to see the medical establishment saying, 'Whoops, we were wrong'. That's not going to happen. Frankly, that generation is going to have to die off, and perhaps the generation coming up can do better.

Dr Stephen Sinatra
We created this new disease called hypercholesterolaemia. And if we created this new disease, we got to create drugs to neutralise it. Are there corporations and billions of dollars and money behind this? Absolutely.

Topics: Health, Others
  • Reporter: Dr Maryanne Demasi
  • Producer: Dr Maryanne Demasi
  • Researcher: Dr Maryanne Demasi
  • Camera: Kevin May
    Dan Sweetapple
    Ken Butler
    Phil Hankin
    Daniel Shaw


  • Sound: Stephen Ravich
    James Fisher

    Additional Sound:
    Martin Harrington
    Tim Parratt

  • Editor: Vaughan Smith

    Additional Researcher:
    Roslyn Lawrence

Story Contacts

Dr Jonny Bowden
Nutritionist

Dr Ernest N Curtis
Cardiologist

Dr Stephen Sinatra
Cardiologist

Dr Michael Eades
Physician

Gary Taubes
Science writer

Dr Robert Grenfell
National Heart Foundation of Australia

Assoc Prof David Sullivan
Physician � Lipid expert, RPAH Sydney

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YOUR COMMENTS


>> Add a Comment

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I've learned over the years when judging the validity of information... Ask yourself the question "Are they eating what they're cooking or are they throwing it up?"

Lets face it, good health is bad for business. Business and health should never have been associated.

It's a fact that western society has major health problems, we clearly don't know what we're doing and are going in circles. So who does know? Whom are the healthiest longest living people on the planet? What are they doing?

Well, there was a story on 60-mins a couple of weeks ago about the Ikarian people of Greece who live to over 100 years, have virtually no cancer or heart disease, etc.

Turns out that there are four other groups of people too. Check the link out below which has information on what these people do to stay healthy.

http://www.bluezones.com/live-longer/

Would be a great follow up story for Maryanne!

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Trust me they will try to override and criticise this until it is totally ridiculed and discredited as I was when in university (and failed for these very arguments). Please don't let this go fight it , it has been a growing argument for nearly 20 years . and anybody speaking out gets shot down like myself in university arguing the facts, there is so much imformation for this and yet you cant say a word without ridicule ,THIS WILL HAPPEN please don't take the ridicule stand up now it has got out , back freedom of speech
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Maryann Demasi you deserve a medal! Taking such a brave stand against the tide of established medical opinion, knowing that you would create so much controversy. Those of you who have hurled criticism should actually take a closer look.

You critics just don't get it! If what this program says is true then of course these doctors have not published numerous published studies! See the TED talk by Ben Goldacre about the bias in the selection of articles published. http://www.ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_what_doctors_don_t_know_about_the_drugs_they_prescribe.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2012-09-27&utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&utm_medium=email

Those interviewed should not be assessed in terms of how highly they are regarded by the medical profession and other scientists in the pocket of drug companies, but how legitimate is their medical research. HAVE YOU READ THEIR RESEARCH? Eg See Beatrice Golumb's work on Statins and Adverse Events.

As a qualified researcher (social not medical)with quals in post graduate statistics who not only has had an AMI (heart attack) but also a rare blood cancer that increases the likelihood of another attack, these issues are life and death for me!

I took myself off statins years ago after conducting an extensive literature review in which I could NOT FIND ONE DOCTOR OR SCIENTIST working on a study evaluating the effect of statins not receiving money from the drug company who was producing the drug being evaluated. How can such a study have a finding that the drug is unsafe? It's not going to happen.

I agree that drug companies should be held to account for the pain and suffering they have caused and for intentionally misleading the public. I would also like to see pay-backs to doctors outlawed. Our society would be far better served.

Meanwhiles my oncologist can not understand why I am so well and why I have not deteriorated given the results of my bone marrow biopsies, blood tests etc. Maybe its because I'm not on the drug merry-go-round but remain very fit, on a healthy diet, have weekly Chinese acu-pressure massage, many supplements and often meditate. Life is good and if I die next week at least I have kept my quality of life to the end.
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Great show, some small flaws but terrific none the less. No doctor or scientist can "fromulate" a direct cause and effect from cholestorol to "fats" in any specific part of the body. Its just a very rough guide. Silly doctors using carefully chosen words but still no direct link. 6.8 cholestorol marker relates to what and where? How many millimtres of fat in a vein somewhere for 8.9? Huh? who are they kidding. Good work Dr Maryanne!
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This has done irrepairable damage to the Catalyst brand. Failure to use recognised medical experts, failure to disclose conflicts of interest, failure to report in an unbiased way. Worst of all, it recklessly risks the lives of some who may mistake this tabloid journalism for science. I agree a retraction or resignation is warranted.
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    I cannot beleieve that DR Ben Goldacre would agree with a word of this rant! It is indeed the failure of mentioning of the horrific conflict of interest between the medical profession and the drug industry that is behind all of this!

    Good on you, Catalyst!!! please keep it up.
    >> Reply

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I cannot believe Catalyst and the ABC approved this article. These so called experts have no credibility or science published in respectable journals to validate what they're saying.

You have really tarnished the reputation of your show through approving this. It is akin to getting lord monkton to speak as a expert on climate science as far as I am concerned.
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Thankyou catalyst for bringing us this information.My husband has high cholesterol and a family history of cardio vascular disease and has been on all of the statins over the years they all made him feel exhausted and headaches one crestor made him impotent while on it. He stopped that said he would rather die than live like that. He now is on ezetrol which works in a different way.
we will get into the mediterranean diet sounds great
I have given up nursing now for 3yrs but did work in General practice I have seen doctors prescribe statins when patients levels are only just over and they do not take into consideration family history,they NEVER tell patients side effects and they DO tell them on occassion "if you dont take your meds I cant look after you".And they dont listen when people say they have side effects except for the GP who put my husband on ezetrol
So thank you for bringing this to the attention of Australians and thank god for google
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    first of all, a big Thank You to Dr Maryanne Demasi for undertaking this fantastic work on a subject that has been building up for a long time now - Well Done
    personally i grew up in the 60's with grandparents in a country side where eating free range pork was the standard; the highlight on occasion were chips fried in pork fat - fantastic! heart disease was unheard of within this community.
    Step forward to the improved western diet with all the preservatives, flavourings, colorings, texture enhacing chemicals and welcome to the new world of worldwide disease.
    Fat is only part of the picture and one cannot judge a finger in separation of the body; the synergy of the sea of chemicals we live in today needs to be mapped out and put on display.
    Let's have a look at the eschimos; according to current science their population would have died out eons ago; many other tribal populations do not suffer from the 'modern' diseases..
    evolutionary timescale? GRAINS and SUGAR are newcomers on the block and have created an untold number of diseases worldwide; yet Grains and Sugar go hand in hand in any supermarket shelves; to make matter worst, grains are now genetically modified and sugar is now HFCS; deadlier than ever
    HOW DID WE END UP HERE?
    i have personally been on a high fat regime for many years with no advers effects; the caveat is that the fat has to be organic: organic butter, organic pork, organic grass fed beef, free range organic eggs - you get the picture
    the non-organic farm fed are full of hormones, antibiotics and a lot of this gets stored - you guessed it: IN FAT. this is the fat you want to stay away from; not to mention the Trans fats that are a known villan..
    my simple suggestion is to go back to nature:
    - eat one food ingredients
    - cook with one food ingredients
    - YES, take control of your Health and Learn to cook if you don't know how, it's only a Youtube video away
    - vote with your wallet and buy organic and free range
    - stay away from processed foods that have enough preservatives in them to kill your gut friendly bugs 100 times over
    - eat 'live' probiotic foods: kefir, kimchi, kombucha, organic youghurt (not the suggary types)
    - buy nutrient dense food (organic)and not the supermarket vegies that go off the next day you bought them; eating this rubbish will slowly leach the nutrients out of your body causing disease..
    - read the labels: if you don't know what it means, don't eat it!
    - if it's not natural it's a slow poison

    realise this: if you're on Medication most of the time you are doing something wrong (there's exceptions to this)- You Are What You Eat !!!

    Ask yourself why is that product in the supermarket? it's there to be sold for a profit not to look after your health; that's your job

    somehow this well known fact gets ignored when we're out shopping in the name of convenience..

    If you don't know
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    Last night, I watched Paul Barry raving on Media Watch about the program Catalyst concerning the effect and use of statins. Barry said that he was not going to take sides on this matter, then proceeded to do exactly that . . . to take sides! Whatever Maryanne Demasi had said was wrong, and her experts were shysters, and presumably, whatever Professor Sullivan said was correct. And if that wasn't his intention, it certainly how he came over.

    As one who has taken statins for 20 years, I can absolutely say for shore that they have quite unpleasant side-effects . . . I can attest to what the previous writer has said. These medications are not get-out-of-jail free cards, which seems to be how they are presented by the medical profession.

    I'm also concerned at the increasingly trenchant, hysterical use of the term "scientifically proven" or "evidence-based". When checking, we find that this does not mean "will work in 100% of cases", but rather, "a 60% or 70% chance that it might work". . . because in the double-blind trial runs, that's how well it went.

    We have also become aware that the big drug companies, because they have to look after their shareholders, do not tell us about all the possible side effects, as this may affect sales.

    In other words because of the dishonesty of these companies (not all of them, all of the time . . . but enough of the time to leave us with doubts) . . . because of this dishonesty, the general public cannot trust what they say. And if doctors blindly parrot what the drug companies tell them, then there is a similar loss of trust with the medical profession . . . or at least with those who do simply quote the drug company blurb.

    The other side of this particular point is that we hear stories of drug companies who regularly take doctors (GPs) away for fantastic holidays to exotic places (at the expense of those drug companies).
    I'm aware of at least one medical practice in Brisbane where the principal doctor quite often boasted that the computer network in his practice was provided at no cost by one of the drug companies.

    It would be reasonable to assume that this is not for free . . . and that the company expects regular support via his prescription pad.

    So, given just the things I've mentioned above, and one remark in the Catalyst program that Paul Barry did not see fit to deal with . . . that the companies that produce these cholesterol lowering drugs are making an absolute fortune and it appears to be going on forever, because people are put on these tablets for life.

    There are then, huge vested interests in flogging this type of medicine. One is of course the companies who manufacture the stuff and charge exorbitant prices for it, and the second is the medical profession itself which appears to receive quite significant benefits just for prescribing it.

    At least, from my
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Dr. Sullivan, the Heart Foundation and even your own network refute the bogus claims made in this tiresome, fraudulent documentary. The hypothesis remains unproven, and in Australia we require evidence-based medicine. In other words, Demasi has all of her work ahead of her. Demasi ought to issue a correction or resign from the ABC's employ.
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A very thought-provoking article. As a college student who is majoring in the health science field it is interesting to see the similarities and differences in what we are taught in class and what kind of new information is being exposed to the public. I find that I have to agree with the author's findings in that not all fats are bad for you. It's a given that monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and fats found in fish have been shown to be beneficial. However, we learn in class that we should avoid trans and saturated fats at all costs. I have to disagree with what I've learned and all of the data coming out now that supports saturated fat as being essential to life as this article explains. I am curious to see what kind of data will come up next in future articles as well as the changes (if there will be any) in the information we are taught in universities.
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    so true, a fact any vegie oil heated loses its GOOD content including olive (once oil verses animal fat is heated animal fat wins out every time )

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    Dogma, Mr. Ryan all dogma. It takes at least 10 years for any research to get off the lab bench and into the public.

    Health needs to change and this is the start! What we learn in Universities is how much drug companies are paying the universities to do this dogmatic "research". Our educational institutions are anything but...especially when it comes to research.
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For the non-dead amongst us, here's something interesting.
This review examines and compares the safety and the effectiveness of a low carb approach as an alternative to a low-fat, high-
carbohydrate diet.

http://www.nmsociety.org/docs/LowCarbDiet/Nutrition-in-Clinical-Practice-2011.pdf
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    Dear JM, Your post has been moderated as some of the words were not appropriate. For more information, please see our Terms of Use: http://www.abc.net.au/conditions.htm

    Thanks,

    Catalyst
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Keep on the good work, Catalyst, congratulations on both documentaries!
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Great report and very interesting to note that Sweden has just become the first Western nation to revise their dietary guidelines to support the high fat low carb diet http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/sweden-becomes-first-western-nation-to-reject-low-fat-diet-dogma-in-favor-of-low-carb-high-fat-nutrition/
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    Did you also note that in their report they talk about the beneficial effects on cholesterol by choosing this diet plan. You can't have it both ways!
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AWESOME video.. Good work.
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I believe I have watched all Catalyst programs from all seasons, and this one is the best so far, Well done Catalyst team. The methods by which the scientific research on statins was done, borders on scientific fraud, and fraud is a cancer that will eventually kill science unless programs like Catalyst have the courage to make a stand. Making a stand means pointing out the dark side of science, something commercial media is unlikely to do if it costs a corporation lost profits. The dark side of science includes the many ways that research studies can be manipulated to give results that are profitable rather than scientific. Filtering out who can and can't participate in research on statins is a typical example of data manipulation for profit. Again, well done Catalyst for having the courage to do this. I would love to see more programs like this one.
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This is a fabulous documentary, both PARTS 1 and 2. To find out more of the science behind it all go to
http://www.thincs.org/

It will be time well-spent. See also THE CHOLESTEROL MYTHS by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD at http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm


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    Nice try. But it's bogus.
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Any chance of a list of the talking heads in both these programs, with some sort of biographical/academic information, or a link to faculty or personal home page? Some of them come across as pretty credible, pending a look at their quals and publications.

In this context, "cardiologist" really doesn't say much more than "naturopath".
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So if a high fat diet is not the problem, explain this: The only diets that have proven to stop and reverse heart disease are one that are based on the principal of whole plant foods, no added dietary fat or oil, low salt, low sugar, no dairy, eggs and extremely limited or no animal protein. Why does Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr Esselstyn, Dr. McDougall and the Pritiken programs have decades of proven results? Their programs are free and none require any purchase of supplement or vitamins. Google any of the above.

If you follow Eades and Taubes you maybe doing better than the Standard Western Diet but this is far form optimal to prevent most degenerative diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers.

Statin are not the cure all, but they save lives if the dosage is high enough to get the LDL extremely low. But the correct food choices will give much better results with no side effects.

Shame on the producers for providing such poor, misleading information for the sake of rating and profit.
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    OK. I will explain it to you.

    We have evolved over 2 million years. Until the agricultural revolution 10, 000 years ago, humans did not eat many carbohydrates. We were hunter gatherers, so our diet consisted of meat, fat and above ground vegetables. I believe this is the key to good health today. (I live this lifestyle. It is not hard)

    It is only in the last 100 years that our sugar intake has increased (dramatically so in the last 40 years), hence the obesity diabetes and heart disease crisis.

    The inuit are particularly interesting because their diet was 80 % fat and 20 % protein. They had no heart disease, diabetes and did not suffer from breast or colon cancer. This is not due to genetics, because with the addition of the high carbohydrate, high sugar diet of the western world they now suffer from all of these diseases in high numbers.

    Similar story for many Pacific Island societies who traditionally had a high fat low carb diet. They have been advised to reduce their coconut oil intake (because it was saturated fat). It has been replaced by carbohydrates and sugar of the western diet with resulting obesity, diabetes etc.

    Your concerns regarding fat is only valid in the presence of a high carbohydrate diet.

    Sugar is the worst of these. Watch "Sugar The Bitter Truth" by Prof. Lustig.

    Taubes and Eades do not recommend A high fat, high carbohydrate diet , they advocate to minimise carbohydrates and in particular sugar. In essence a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet.

    This is because carbohydrates stimulate insulin. Insulin promotes fat storage and prevents it being mobilised to use for fuel. With low insulin levels the body will mobilise fat stores to use as a fuel.

    The problem with a high carbohydrate low fat diet calorie restricted diet is that it is very hard to comply with and usually results in lethargy and limits the desire for exercise.

    A low carb high fat diet on the other hand leads to the following improvements in biomarkers. Weight loss, reduced waist circumference, reduced triglycerides, increased HDL, lower blood pressure, improved blood glucose and a change in the composition of the LDL to the less atherogenic particle type.(Large fluffy, not small and dense)

    An expert panel in Sweden has just completed a two year study and will recommend to their Doctors as Government policy a low carb high fat diet (LCHF) because this is what numerous scientific studies are showing is the most effective treatment for obesity and it improves biomarkers as listed above.

    Yudkin was right and Ancel Keyes was wrong. It is not the fat in our diet causing the obesity, diabetes and heart disease epidemic. It is the sugar and processed foods (which are invariably high in carbohydrates and fat.)












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      Ok Troy I will explain it to you.

      You are mistaken in your belief. While it's true that there was an increase in carbohydrate intake around 10,000 years ago, associated with changes in agricultural practices, there was also a concomitant increase in meat intake, associated with herding practices that were co-evolving at the time. This was at the expense of diversity in plant intake.

      Carbohydrate and meat intake increased concomitantly with the industrial revolution. In fact, for most of our ancestry, hominids were predominantly vegetarian. The hunting of large game began with homo erectus, around 500,000 to 1 million y.a., which in evolutionary terms is a blink of an eye. We diverged from chimpanzees 6-7 million years ago. Chimps typically eat around 10-40g of animal protein/day, compared with humans today eating around 700-1500g today. For most of our evolutionary history our ancestors were largely vegetarian.
      As our meat consumption increased, so too did our physical activity. Kalahari bushman typically travel between 10-20km a day. They earnt the right to consume increasing fat and meat through increased physical. A big difference between hunting your prey on the savannah over several days, and driving down to woolies to eat your chop watching the footy!
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      the inuit diet is high in fat from fish - in other words, very high in omega 3, and relatively low in saturated fat.

      humans evolved with lean game meats. Not fattened up cows, sheep and pigs.

      Yes sugar and refined carbohydrates are big problems. But to replace them with high saturated fat meats is wrong.

      use plenty of nuts, fruits, veg, olive oil. for meats, how about plenty of fish, kangaroo, and some of the leaner versions of other meats


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        Humans ate ALL of the animal including the organs which are very high in fat. Nothing was wasted.
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      Hi Dr Troy,
      Good I wish you were my doctor since I was medically discharged from the army, I have been on so man y different tablets, as I keep getting something else wrong with me, I will say I have had very high cholesterol and now not able to take statins they effect my liver, I now have sericcios of the liver.on top of everything else, since I stopped working.. I believe it is all stress but noone here believes me just take another tablet... its so sad
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      This video is absurd. Firstly note that many of the doctors in it are a bit overweight... weird. People obviously shouldn't be eating lots of sat. fat and cholesterol. Does anyone really believe that people with obesity and heart disease got that way by eating steamed brown rice and bananas? Of course they didn't. We were hunter gatherers but this idea that it was meat at every meal is ridiculous. Ever try to catch a wild animal? It ain't easy. People ate mostly fruits and some vegetables for most of our evolution, even our migration out of africa and adoption of more hunting is a fairly recent phenomenon. This is just another example of doctors telling people good things about their bad habits. Lastly the argument about food companies hiding the truth is ridiculous, the biggest markup on food is on dairy and meat products, not rice and beans. More is stood to be gained by promotion of milk and meat, which is exactly what they've promoted, with the resulatant rates of heart disease and cancer to show for it. The healthiest people on earth are those that eat high carb, low fat, low animal product diets, always have been and always will be.
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        1. Humans would have eaten very little fruit. Perhaps berries in season. No tropical fruits and certainly not the super sweet fruits of today year round.

        2. You will note if you review my post I said a calorie restricted low fat high carbohydrate diet. Not many athletes I know on a calorie restricted diet.









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        Troy I really think you need to do a bit more research. My background is human genetics and I'm pretty well acquainted with our evolutionary heritage.
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      Humans did not eat many carbohydrates? That's odd because every other member of the primate species eats a very high carb low fat diet. Also you say a high carb low fat diet leads to lethargy and lack of exercise. This comment is absolutely insane. All of the top endurance athletes on earth eat a high carb low fat diet because it is the best physiologically for sport. Also I'm not so sure the Init are a great example of a culture that has thrived on their diet. They have accomplished little as a culture, and interestingly had alarming rates of many diseases such as osteoporosis, despite eating multiple grams of animal calcium a day. Learn a bit about sport, nutrition and human physiology before you comment. Also consider not listening to people like taubes and lustig who are overweight and unathletic.
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        All of the endurance athletes in the world don't eat high carb. What about professional cyclist Dave Zabriskie, ultramarathon runner Timothy Olson, and gold-medal triathlete Simon Whitfield? All eat high-fat paleo diets with great success. And for examples within the anaerobic exercise community: NBA player Kobe Bryant, UFC fighter Frank Mir, NFL players John Welbourn and Hunter Pence, former cricketer and current professional boxer Andrew Flintoff, lightweight rower Ursula Grobler, swimmer Amanda Beard and NRL club the Sydney Roosters all have positive things to say about high fat paleo diets.
        Also, comparing the dietary contents of other primates to humans and drawing conclusions from there is only looking at the issue through a narrow lens. There are other genetic adaptions that humans have underwent that make us quite different to even our closest primate cousins (efficient upright bipedal locomotion, hairlessness for example). Combine these evolutionary cues with the fossil record and observations of modern hunter-gatherer societies and you start to get a bigger picture.


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        The IOC have just published in September a textbook on evidence base sports nutrition.
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      "The inuit are particularly interesting"

      Could we also cherry pick some other groups that eat high carb and relatively low fat and offer them up for evidence?

      "Sugar is the worst of these. Watch "Sugar The Bitter Truth" by Prof. Lustig."

      He was certainly called out for overstating the evidence and poorly extrapolating rat research at a conference he spoke at last year - check out the Q and A video in the attached article by David Despain (as well as the other lectures)!

      The major issue with Dr Lustig's theory is looking at US Sugar intake over history - levels were still high in the early 20th century - so saying it is sugar is either an oversimplification or there is a threshold value that we have recently crossed. Methinks that it is a perfect storm of more sugar and less burning it up with physical activity!



      "This is because carbohydrates stimulate insulin. Insulin promotes fat storage and prevents it being mobilised to use for fuel. "

      And the bit Taubes always leaves out (despite being called on it repeatedly is that protein also stimulates insulin!

      "The problem with a high carbohydrate low fat diet calorie restricted diet is that it is very hard to comply with and usually results in lethargy and limits the desire for exercise."

      I could offer up two for one anecdotes for people who report the same with Low Carb for what it's worth!

      "An expert panel in Sweden has just completed a two year study and will recommend to their Doctors as Government policy a low carb high fat diet (LCHF)"

      And also stated that one of the benefits will be improved cholesterol levels!
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    The Swedish government has recommended the lower carb, higher fat diet (LCHF) to combat obesity and diabetes based on a literature review of 16,000 studies on diet and obesity. Low carb high fat diets have also been shown to decrease inflammation, reduce cardiovascular disease and reduce cancer risk.
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    Shame on you for being a sheep like all the rest!
    Saturated fats = Good health, along with very low white sugar and WHOLE foods, vegs etc.
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    read rawfoodsos 'the china study' for a scientific look at the work of ornish et al
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Catalyst raises important questions about the role of cholesterol in heart disease. I will look forward to part two on the use of statin drugs as a therapeutic measure against cardiovascular disease. The evidenced based medicine website www.thennt.com does a good job of explaining the benefit and risk of statins, as well as the benefits of a mediterranen diet. My only concern with the catalyst program was maybe getting a better mix of persons for and against the role of cholesterol. Catalyst tends to make it's mind up on an issue and uses experts aligned with that point of view. Dr Demasi's own PhD/research in the past probably should have exluded her from presenting this story. Dr Demasi most probably developed a view point long before she investigated cholesterol. As such I am suggesting, we are getting Dr Demasi's opinion of the role of cholesterol in cardiovascular health. It may be correct viewpoint but for the purposes of this program an alternative choice of reporter should have been considered to reduce potential investigator/reporter bias. Of relevance to these comments some of her work is on pubmed. see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=demasi+fish+oil
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Great program though not (yet) conclusive. Diet and cholesterols need to be pulled apart. Roles of sugars and stress, and any other factors, need causal demonstration. Cause vs risk vs correlations need distinguishing. Poor cred of some key actors is a big issue. Multitude of good studies by established researchers needs to be explained... a couple of renegade Californians and the late Yudkin don't do this. Great to have the issues aired and new work stimulated. PS WHY are foodstuffs able to be sold as 'no cholesterol' when we know this is not the issue; and the HF tick is looking shakier by the minute.
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What a fantastic programme. Congratulations Maryanne, I was very interested to hear an alternative view about cholesterol and heart disease.

I was horrified to hear that the medical profession tried to stop the broadcast of part 2 which just shows how they do not like anybody contradicting their views.

I will certainly be discussing the use of statins with my Doctor
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Reply to dorothee - 28 Oct 2013 4:17:12pm

In answer to your question - Who pays my salary? - I do not receive a salary as I am merely a 49 yo housewife who has followed the Australian Dietary Guidelines for most of my adult life and have reaped the health benefits of doing so.
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Great program!
Thanks for the links and full text journal articles on fats!
Where did you get the data to draw the graph that was presented as Ancel Keys findings? (6:00 and onwards) I couldn't find any reference to this in the Catalyst page http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/heartofthematter/
Please publish references and the full-text this document and references to documents to support the claim that Keys "fudged the data"
Thanks in advance!
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Just a very cynical thought: we all acknowledge that drug companies need ongoing revenue in order to fund research; we acknowledge that the reason we don't have new antibiotics is because of 'one dose and you are better' where as the money makers are drugs you take for life. So let's pharma continue to market statins of little effect provided they also participate in finding the real reasons. They shouldn't be on the side of the soft drink manufactures, we have forced them there - their scientists know this.
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By a long chains of events, I ended up in 1968 doing a Maths and Physics degree at University of London, Queen Elizabeth College which I remember being off Church Street in Kensigton. Professor Yudkin was even then a controversial figure - he had railed against the abuse of sucrose in our community, in his research and his book "Pure, White and Deadly" he predicted that vastly excessive intakes of sucrose would lead to an epidemic of obesity and he was right. He also thought sucrose was implicated in heart disease and cancer. When he realised I dislike and avoid sucrose, we became friends and gave me a signed copy of his book. Prof Yudkin is dead but Prof Lustig of UCSF has taken up the cudgels and pays tribute to Yudkin - in effect he says "If you want prophecy, read Yudkin's book". I wholeheartedly agree and I congratulate at catalyst for taking up this subject. See lifelonglearning.ucsf.edu or YouTube.
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It's essential in matters of science & health to question 'accepted wisdom', so in this sense the progamme served a purpose. Unfortunately the Catalyst team chose to be at least as selective with the evidence presented, as the 'bad science' it was claiming to expose. Of course, in a limited time etc it's not possible to fully explore a subject, but this episode doesn't appear to have made an attempt at balance or depth. Yes, there are valid questions to explore about amount & types of dietary fat intake, cholesterol & statins - but this isn't achieved by giving undue & unquestioning credence to a few supposed'experts', while also severely editing comments by those holding opposing views, & encouraging viewers to draw the intended conclusion that these misguided people are in the pockets of greedy big business, & so their opinions should be ignored anyway. An important issue, carelessly covered.
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for those who want some recent peer reviewed science:

The role of several lipid profile components on primary or secondary prevention was a surprising finding of the recent post-hoc analysis of the LEM study (Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2012 Mar;10(2):178-86). High TG and LOW HDL-C levels and NOT HIGH LDL-C levels were predictors of cardio vascular events in the secondary prevention group. Also, in patients without complications, the atherogenic lipid profile (low HDL-C and high TG), but not LDL-C levels, was associated with increased cerebral events. Note, however, that all patients were on treatment.

The recently published European Study on Cardiovascu- lar Risk Prevention and Management in Usual Daily Practice (EURIKA; Eur Heart J. 2011 Sep;32(17):2143-52) also found a HIGH residual risk in a population free of clinical CV disease where about 41% patients achieved target LDL-C (< 115 mg/dl) levels.

In statin trials CV risk benefits from treatment can not be entirely explained by the decrease in circulating LDL-C levels. This is a another story.....

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    "High TG and LOW HDL-C levels and NOT HIGH LDL-C levels were predictors of cardio vascular events in the secondary prevention group."

    At a guess; most likely fat, diabetic or metabolic syndrome, and already on statins to lower LDL. Tells us little except that it's dangerous to be overweight and with screwed up metabolism.
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    Total and LDL cholesterol per se have never been definitive measures of risk because they are confounded by factors like HDL and hs-CRP.

    Check out these slides:
    http://tinyurl.com/k7d9o9z
    http://tinyurl.com/lgbg5fg

    However, does not mean that LDL is not the fundamental operator.


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While I do not totally agree that we should go back to eating high fat diets, I do agree that we need to reduce the grains and sugars in our diets and eat the Mediterranean Diet. Just over a year ago, my husband read Dr Steven Gundry's book "Diet Evolution", we both hopped on board the programme, and we both have reduced our weight and gained more energy. No grains, no added sugars and more veggies I am sure has improved our long term health outcomes.
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It's fantastic to see so much interest in this topic! Thanks Catalyst for having the courage to challenge the dogma many of us have just simply accepted for so long. Catalyst is indeed a catalyst!

What would happen if you ate unlimited calories and unlimited fat.
Average results from a 12 week study:
Reduction in body weight (108.62kg 94.48kg),
body mass index (36.46kg/m2 31.76kg/m2)
systolic blood pressure (125.71mmHg 109.05mmHg),
diastolic blood pressure (84.52mmHg 75.24mmHg),
total cholesterol (208.24mg/dl 186.62mg/dl),
triglyceride (218.67mg/dl 113.90mg/dl),
blood glucose (109.81mg/dl 93.33mg/dl).
Reduction in LDLc (114.52mg/dl 105.95mg/dl)
Increase in in HDLc (50.10mg/dl 54.57mg/dl).

More to the story, here is the study.
http://www.nutritionj.com/content/7/1/30

I've come to realise that what I believe or don't believe doesn't actually effect what works.

I asked myself: What is more important, what works or what is popular.
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    It's not courage J, it's opportunism. It's a media out of control, prepared to say & do anything for ratings. Do you know how often supercilious statements from the media disrupt and damage patient care? I've witnessed the tragedy many times, where patients come to grief because of a sensationalist headline, families sometimes totally destroyed.
    The media is virtually completely unaccountable. Look at the situation in the UK with the Sun newspaper. I find it amazing that people put such blind faith in what they see on the TV, despite the obvious fact that they have been lied to over and over again.
    What is particularly disturbing about this Catalyst show is that the presenters have portrayed themselves a genuine scientific trailblazers while in fact there was not a shred of scientific credibility in the program, simply advertorial for the meat & livestock industry.
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    read the whole paper. Fish at least 4 times per week. Being required to consume a volume of olive oil.

    This is a Mediterranean diet which in proportional terms would be relatively low in saturated fat compared to the mono/poly fats. Which is what the heart foundation recommends!
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I would like to offer my congratulations to the Catalyst team for their broadcast last week denigrating modern medicines and encouraging an unhealthy diet and promoting the aged to stop taking their heart medicines. Australia’s health budget is already rising too quickly and encouraging such behaviours will help rid the country of unwanted, unhealthy aged people.
I also congratulate the Catalyst team on amazing skills of cherry-picking obscure references from the scientific literature,. Totally amazing that they could select one published paper from the over 1000 publications from the USA Framington Study that supported their viewpoint. A beautiful maneuver to just ignore the other 1000+ studies if they are inconvenient.
And then to choose the study “Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease” by Siri-Tarino, Sun, Hu, and Krauss (2010) which covers only 21 studies when there was a more recent and comprehensive (48 studies) meta-analysis available from the Cochrane Institute. This was superb.
And age should not weary them. They found papers from the archives such as “Sucrose in the diet and coronary heart disease “ by Keys published in Atherosclerosis in 1971. And there is Effect of the anti-coronary club program on coronary heart disease risk-factor status” by Christakis et al from 1966. And “Diet and coronary thrombosis hypothesis and fact” by Yudkin published in 1957. A stunning trawl through medical scientific history.
In the trawl they found “The hemodynamic basis of atherosclerosis. “ by Texon (1974). A curious choice of paper as this has been thoroughly discredited by Hilborn and Stearns “On inference in ecology and evolutionary biology: the problem of multiple causes“ (1984) as a prime example of a wrong result obtained by application of wrong statistics. If you have a multifactor problem, then application of uni-factor methods will give a wrong result. Go read it – it’s on the web. And as for heart disease, well concentrate on only one factor and ignore all the others (see the 8 confirmed and the potential 7 others listed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronary_artery_disease ).
But there is more!. Their ability to confuse dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol was quite extraordinary. This was further compounded by dismissing broad population studies involving 100,000’s of cases by throwing in anecdotal cases. This is outstanding unscientific procedure.
In summary this program must be a guiding light to anti-vaccinators, anti-fluoridators, climate change denialists, moon-landing-fakers, flat-earthers and their ilk all over the world. It shows the power of cherry-picking, misapplications of statistics and just plain bad scholarship.

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    Good points Bruce but have you considered;

    1 Statin is an anagram of Satan. It's not even a good anagram but they sound almost exactly the same.

    2 Cholesterol was never heard of before the cold war and heart disease has only started since cholesterol was invented. It's no co-incidence that it's a western disease & it doesn't take a genius to realise it appeared at the same time the KGB were infiltrating western intelligence (if that's not a contradiction in terms).

    3 Fat tastes great so why would we have evolved to love it if it's so bad for us? It's clearly a gift from God to help us get to heaven.

    The problem with your arguments Bruce is that they're too focused on science and there's just no room for belief. If you don't lighten up you'll give yourself a heart attack!
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Ok! Lets see. I was diagnosed with high cholesterol more than 15 years ago. I was prescribed a Statin. Some months later I was experiencing throat problems, went to a Specialist. Nothing wrong he said. More was to follow, reduced vitality, Leg muscle weakness, memory loos, concentration loss, irregular Heart beat, palpitation's, pain across my chest, feeling dizzy, head feeling muffed up, tiredness. I had them all and not all at ones but for most of the time. Guess what?! Going through all this feeling like crap affecting my quality of life and after having taking all the Statins you can try I still ended up with a triple bypass. I think my experience qualifies to be in the know how. Then there is my Mother at 85 with high cholesterol and never having had a bypass done! Figure that!! Then we have these Morrons coming up trying to discount numerous Professors and studies conducted counter proofing that we have all been conned by a 40 Billion plus a year industry! So don't any of you so called Experts tell me and other that the Statins are good for you and that the LDL is bad. Instead open your intellect outside the Box of yours and consider that it is feasible and possible given that data and research done countering the cholesterol myth.
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    There are a number of recent studies on statins published in the Pharmacy Journels showing that they reduce Co Enzyme Q10 in your body. Many pharmacists now are recommending COQ10 supplements when dispensing statin prescriptions. COQ10 is the conductivity layer between the nerves and muscles. When it breaks down your muscles don't work. There have been recent deaths as a result of statins. One in particular that I am aware of has been referred to a coroners inquest with many parties lining up for a class action.
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      Unfortunately the research on Coenzyme Q10 replacement didnt show a strong evidence that it does help.

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    Rainer, Statins never were proven to eliminate all incidences of cardiovascular events. They produced a % reduction. Some people can in fact have fatty foods all their life and never experience complications. Some can be on statins and have a proper diet and still have high cholesterol and furthermore experience a triple bypass. It's about risk reduction. Not elimination. Not even vaccines are 100% effective. They are >99% effective. Some less so. I'm sorry to hear your statin experience was terrible, that does happen. But medical "experts" really are just experts in what we know best, which is the best data out there. We have to base out judgements and calls on evidence based medicine and clinical judgement. Experts don't toot some horn.
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I guess the pharmaceutical companies are being derided because they symbolise some of the worst aspects of capitalism. But the reality is we rely on capitalism for our way of life, even for the televisions we watch. Millions of people throughout the world would not be alive today, if it were not for the pharmaceutical industry. From penicillin to HIV treatments, insulin to cancer treatments, we rely on pharmaceuticals. Imagine a world without anaesthesia, where surgical treatments were performed with nothing more than a swig of gin to dull the senses. Maybe Hitler wouldn't have invaded Russia if he'd had nexium for his ulcer! Polio virtually eradicated through vaccination, smallpox a distant memory, the Black Death no longer a fear. It's ironic that statins which have been so incredibly successful, should evoke so much hostility in the west where they are subsidised to consumers. Many less fortunate would jump at the opportunity. We all see the flaws of capitalism, but the reality is that if we're honest with ourselves, few of us would forgo the comforts that it brings. Groucho Marx once said "I would never be a member of a club that would have me as a member'. We have become so spoilt, so cynical.
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Well done 'Catalyst'!!! To have the courage and integrity to present an important and well researched story for the common people of Australia so that they may to be informed and therefore better able to make a common assesement for themselves, gave me great heart. Health is an important issue often based on common sense too, (or does a peer group majority overule and overide that also?).I would hope not. Too often we are hoodwinked by vested interests and accept everything like sheep, because we know no other view.To not let yourself be bullied gives me faith in the Australian system and the integrety of the ABC and it's role and obligation to the Australian people. I congratulate you on your story.Thanks.
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    Are you really so sure that the ABC is not the shepherd?
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I am an engineer by trade, with post graduate qualifications in statistics.

Following having an MI that nearly killed me three years ago, I sat for 6 months and read the major studies (around 2,000) about heart disease. PubMed was my friend!

I arrived at the view that a goodly proportion of what was stated in your first episode was correct. Whilst the number of particles banging up against the artery walls (e.g as measured by LDL-P or ApoB) was important, particularly in extreme cases, it tended to be dwarfed by underlying levels of inflammation and resulting particle oxidation and poor endothelial functioning.

After a bit of detective work, in co-operation with my preventative cardiologist, and a brains trust of like minded individuals mobilised via the web, we figured out that my problem was an inflammatory diet, some genetic deficiencies in my methylation pathways, plus a chronic intracellular magnesium deficiency. We set out to rectify these issues. As objectively measured by low dose CT scans, FFRct, CIMT etc, we appear to be on the way to reversing my problem. We used a low dose water soluble statin in the early stages of this process, given reasonable evidence regarding pleiotropic effects.

My only quibble with the show was that, probably due to time constraints, you did not have time enough to draw out degree of and the sources of considerable variance regarding disease response to factors such as genetics, in the population. As in my own case, one needs to look for the root cause of the problem. For example, if I had an ApoE4/4 genotype (I am an Apo3/3), who was also a "fat absorber", I would run with much of the conventional wisdom!

Finally, I find the comments of Emily Banks on PM last night and some others in the public health establishment, to not only be wrong, but more importantly to be mired in a quaint view of the past, where the educated classes told us peasants what to do. Pathetic. Good work Catalyst, even if your are wrong in some respects.


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Sadly, this episode of Catalyst was completely lacking in scientific rigour. The only 'evidence' presented was some very early observational data of Ancel Keys; but since then there has been overwhelming epidemiological evidence implicating (among many other risk factors) cholesterol and saturated fat in cardiovascular disease. Most of the 'evidence' dispelling the 'cholesterol myth' was simply the opinions of several US doctors, all of whom may be financially conflicted, - and who do not appear to be active lipid/fat researchers.
It was argued that the presence of cholesterol in plaques cannot be interpreted as evidence that cholesterol causes cardiovascular disease (just as the presence of firemen at fires does not imply firemen 'cause' fires). However, just last year (2012) the Lancet published a review of 27 randomised trials showing that for every 1 millimole per litre reduction in the 'bad (LDL) cholesterol (using the Catalyst-pilloried statins)the risk of major cardiovascular 'events' decreased by 21%.
The claims about trans fats in the food supply made on Catalyst were not applicable in Australia - where table margarines have been manufactured since the 1990s using methods which generate very few trans fats; and where at least one of the 'fast-food' franchises uses palm-oil (which contains no trans fats) for its frying operations.
Trans fats contribute only a fraction of 1 percent of all the dietary energy of the Australian diet (well below the upper limit recommended by the WHO) ; and the vast majority of that comes from 'natural' trans fats from milk and meat products.
Still, never let the evidence get in the way of a good story......
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    You say this episode of Catalyst was completely lacking in scientific rigor. This is what I would say about Ancel Keys’study. Where are the other epidemiological studies that concur with his findings? I strongly suspect when he came up with study there was a burgeoning margarine industry, he would have at least had an inkling that margarine was at fault but did not want to upset the apple cart. As US Surgeon General his remuneration would have surpassed any other position he could have ever been considered for. I am not sure what I would have done had I been in his position.
    You say there has been overwhelming epidemiological evidence implicating (among many other risk factors) cholesterol and saturated fat in cardiovascular disease. Well show us the links.
    You say that table margarines in Australia contain very few trans fats. Strange but Choice magazine a few years ago tested all the retail margarines for sale in Australia and found half of them could not legally be sold in Denmark as they contained more than 2% trans fat. A couple of brands were 7% trans fat. So are the people at Choice magazine fraudsters? Palm oil is 75% saturated fat.

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      Please - check the date on that choice survey. Now go into a supermarket in 2013 and check the spreads for yourself. You will find that the companies acted on that choice survey and removed the trans fat.

      That is why I am saying - always use up to date information - which the ABC clearly did not for this aspect of the story
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      Well there is for example the largest epidemiological study ever conducted. It resulted in dozens of scientific papers and a wealth of findings. The lead author and bio-chemist T Colin Campbell who also did many investigations into animal proteins and cancer causation published a book called The China Study for a popular audience. He is also very critical of how medical research is funded in the USA (paid for by dairy, ranchers and pharma almost exclusively) but comes to very different conclusions to this catalyst episode, which might better have been called the Paleo Trip.
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      Choice magazine, that one with Hellen Wellings as editor you mean? The same Hellen Wellings who on TV spots for Nutrition Australia encouraged parents to give their children as many eggs as they liked (so long as the were not all fried eggs) since they were damaging to health in the least. Pity almost zero medical research supports those claims and this in fact goes to the 'heart' of the cholesterol-myth-busting-sensationalist-Catalyst two parter. Egg do not contain transfats and a bunch of studies feeding eggs to animals closely related to humans found strongly increased levels of heart disease when egg dosages were increased. In fact they use eggs to induce heart disease for further study now it is so efficacious in having that (un)desired result in lab animals.
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      Margarine is one molecule removed from plastic!
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      Ancel Keys was a biochemist at the University of Minnesota. He was not a medical doctor and definitely not the Surgeon-General. He had no known conflict of interest issues.
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    Why did the program make a big deal of trans fat in margarine - when in Australia the partially hydrogenated trans fats were mostly removed in the 1990's? Even in cheap generic brands, they were removed in the mid 2000's.

    Quote from the program "When vegetable oils are used to manufacture margarine, they undergo a process called partial hydrogenation, which results in the formation of industrial trans fats, and everybody agrees they're bad for you."

    It is clear the ABC has published as best very misleading, and at worst an outright incorrect statement here - when we are talking about the Australian context.

    Will the ABC now publish a correction on this aspect of the program? Publishing a correction is what any credible science program would do, when it is clear that they got a fact wrong.

    If you think I am wrong - please name the common supermarket brands in 2013 with high levels of trans fat and what that percentage of trans fat is.
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      It's because there are commercial interests at play. Why else would a collection of muppets enjoy so much airplay? I don't know how much experience you've had at trying to get this kind of exposure, it doesn't happen by accident. You have to have some big backers and who really benefits from this pantomime? Who is the biggest producer of saturated fat?
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      Most low-trans-fat margarines are still made from hydrogenated fats. They are fully-hydrogenated instead of partially hydrogenated. Using industrial enzymes, they are interestified, ie the lipids are shifted to different parts of the glycerol.
      The safety of interestified fats is unknown, they are probably not as bad as trans-fats, nevertheless, the public is being duped into believing that low-trans-fat margarines come out of mother-natures ****.
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    Lets see the reference to this overwhelming evidence. For nearly 5 years now Ive heard a lot of dietitians make claims like this. When asked for references they either go quiet or post to a paper which on examination does not actually support their position.
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    what a load of rubbish. A recent Cochrane review found that for every 1000 people who take statins for 1 year resulted in a change of 9 deaths per 1000 to 8 per 1000. Hardly compelling. Keys' work is a great example of poor science that got great support. You can not deny the hundreds of research papers supporting the views in the article. Perhaps you need to find the research that shows cholesterol CAUSES heart issues, because it dos not exist. There are only ASSOCIATIVE studies, and that is poor science.
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Risk Factors - risk. Its a chance not a causation. Finding one person with one risk without disease is a part of statistical variance.

#sensationalism
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Here is a prime example of an organisation pushing the corporate party line for the drug companys and big aggriculture.

The Dietitans Association of Australia took the "Unilever saturated fat pledge"

Look who the DAA's major advertising partner is...of course Unilever. Anther DAA advertising sponcor is Nestle who happens to own Pfizer.

Unilever is a major producer of polyunsaturated fat / margarine products such as flora as well as canola and other omega 6 pro inflammatory oils..Now you know why most Dietitians are pushing proactive and flora.

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If you read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, he had a very interesting study of heart disease in two identical communities in the USA.
Diet had nothing to do with it, it was directly related to stress.
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I too was appalled by this blatantly biased and fanciful Catalyst episode. Catalyst's interviews with outliers in this discipline -- bloggers, journos and diet book authors -- reminded me of the credence that is given to global warming deniers.

It was outrageously incompetent, and I have been listening to and watching ABC science for 40 years.
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    Paul Rogers may have been listening to and watching ABC science for 40 years. But he hasn't been reading much about the cholesterol myth and the fat-makes-you-fat mantra. Both have been soundly debunked and this program explains why. Admittedly it is couched in populist terms, like all it's programs. But it's not biased. Increasing numbers of eminent scientists are stating that the links between serum cholesterol and saturated fats . . . and risk of CVD is non-existent.
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      Au contraire my friend. I can assure you that I have read more about the "cholesterol myth" than you 'ever' will.

      Try me ;-).
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    Read "Sweet Poison" by David Gillespie to learn how wrong you are.
    The programme was spot on and Ancel Keys was a charlatan.
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    Some of them are cardiologists isn't it?

    But i do find their statement a bit trivial, at this stage i still stick to the general consensus of saturated fat can increase the risks of blood clot that leads to heart disease.
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    Agree Paul. Was pretty shocked. And the talent they lined up to defend the cholesterol science work done over the last half a century was a) local and b) unconfident in front of the camera and not well prepared for the discussion that needed to happen — in contradistinction to the several trips to USA for what were clearly motivated individuals with a story to tell.

    Yet the USA is home to Prof T Colin Campbell lead author of the largest epidemiological study ever undertaken in the world and ground breaking biochemical researcher into the animal protein and cancer linkages. Not Physician Neal Barnard whose high carb low fat dietary program has had thousands of people come of their diabetes medication within a week or two under their own doctors supervision. Not Dr Esselstyn the third gen ivy league physician who at the point of being one of USA's leading heart surgeons noticed his patients returning years after surgery who went in search of a genuine cure for heart disease — and found it in high carb low fat diet and an accompanying counselling program to keep people on the straight and narrow. Much to the indignation of his fellow surgeons and hospital administrators who pull $50-$75 K per heart bypass surgery.

    Dr Maryannes Demasi informs us that they've been researching this since 2010 (hey, just when paleo went mainstream, just saying) and yet cherry picks a bunch of paleo authors abroad leaves off the best nutrition and heart disease researchers in the country, pretty convenient I would say. I think it was naive enthusiasm on her part (I'm just making a guess of course) to break a big story (ABC is pathetic like that these days) but I got a wiff that there was someone pulling strings at a higher level. The catagorial claims she made direct to camera and then didn't substantiate were pretty staggering to me. Having experts repeat your claims (word for word in a couple of cases which was a little odd) is not evidence Maryanne, you of all people claiming to overturn a century of medical science should appreciate that. This episode would have been worked over and over for every sentence given how controversial it was to be which makes it all so much stronger. Hope the truth comes out some day will make more interesting viewing than these catalyst episodes.

    As a prologue: try imagining the response if Dr Demasi had have lined up medicos in the USA who caution against the massive vaccination regime infants and young children are subjected to in the USA today. Or went and interviewed the 3% of climatologists who can't read hundreds of papers confirming AGW & CC in a myriad of specific ways and draw the only sane conclusion. I bet money talks to those 3% too.
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I am so heartened to see that the wonderful ABC is not caving in to veiled threats and is airing Part 2!I know dozens of people waiting with baited breath to see it!I would also like to ask Professor Banks whether she has ever attended a "statin drug manufacturer"dinner,weekend away,overseas conference or has manufacturer freebies on her desk?I have personally known two people who were trustingly taking statins and beta-blockers for just under ten years,and they both had strokes!Any connection there,I wonder??
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Shocked and astonished that ABC's flagship science program is giving a platform to a 'scientific' fringe with a tone that lends creditability to the misconception that there is no link between sat fats and high cholesterol. My fear is next week's program continues the scaremongering about statins (an area of medicine where we have the some of the best evidence) leading to people taking themselves off their meds. Maryanne - I hope you realise your role should people die from taking themselves of lifesaving stains. As a scientist you should be ashamed.
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    Statins may save your life if you have already had a heart attack, especially if that occurred before age 50. For the rest of the legions of statin consumers they are just very expensive blood thinners. 100mg tablets of aspirin at about 20¢ each are just as effective. But there's no profit in aspirin.
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If one is to link the dietary guidelines with the rise of obesity and heart disease in Australia, one has to assume that the said guidelines have actually been followed.

Sadly when in supermarkets I do not oberve many shopping trolleys full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains / wholegrain products and legumes / dried beans - which we are encouraged to base our diet on. Rather items that I would not consider to be food such as chips, sweet / savoury biscuits, pastries, cakes, confectionery, sugar sweetened beverages, and the like seem to predominate.

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Congratulations for this excellent documentary! Greetings from Brazil

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Nice work Catalyst on an appallingly biased episode.

One one hand, you have several 'experts' criticising almost anything remotely related to carbohydrates and mono/polyunsaturated fats, meanwhile advocating diets high in saturated fat. They say that the public has been misled by research paid for by 'big pharma' (an awful American term) and various food industries … yet has anyone stopped to look at the background of these so-called 'experts'?

Dr Michael Eades - has his own range of protein powders, low-carb cookbooks and supplements.

Dr Jonny Bowden - has his own range of books, DVD's, and supplements, many of which have absolutely no evidence base (and some that have strong evidence AGAINST)

Dr Stephen Sinatra - has his own range of supplements (seeing a common theme?), practices 'grounding', a controversial alternative health practice.

Any program that portrays such a one-sided and potentially dangerous viewpoint should never have been allowed to go to air. Catalyst, you should be ashamed.
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    I would appreciate if Catalyst would remove the title of Dr in front of Johnny Bowden's name. He received his PhD from Clayton College of Natural Health which is not an accredited educational institution in the USA.

    The other 'experts' weren't any better as mentioned in previous posts.

    I'm all for challenging accepted evidence. That is exactly what science is but to get the information from such dubious sources is fairly poor. If there is such great evidence against cholesterol, why was it not presented?Instead we continually got highly emotive narrative with no actual evidence.

    Surely Catalyst could have found some people who were actual researchers, not just people who have written books (of which all of them have) and have vested interests.
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      I live with elevated cholesterol every day. Saturated fats are a problem as is stress. Stress causes me heart ache and tension in my muscles. I deal with discomfort by breathing slowly and deeply, excersising , taking my meds ,watching my diet and eliminating problem people.
      Saturated fats cause me to go into a deep sleep food coma for about 5/6 minutes odd but true. I know to avoid transfat, full cream milk, bread and sugar. Yes it can be achieved.
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        Check out Dr Essylstein's books DVDs etc and Rip Essylstein's Fire Engine diet books. Saving lives every single day.
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      I am a little disappointed that they did not interview.

      Dr Mary Enig (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_G._Enig)
      Dr Uffe Ravnskov (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffe_Ravnskov)
      Dr Ramsden CE (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Ramsden%20CE%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=21118617)
      Dr Chris Masterjohn (http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/about-cholesterol-and-health.html)
      The 100 members of "The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics" (http://www.thincs.org/members.htm)

      But alas, no one without a Nobel prize will be qualified enough for some.
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      Ha somehow I'm not surprised that he's studied at a college of natural health.
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    Thanks for sharing that bit of background research with us. I was wondering what sort of 'experts' we were hearing from, but of course they all have their own brands of supplements - should have guessed! They need to interview some real experts...
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For all those people who have had their feathers ruffled by this program, you might like to consider the words of Mark Twain,
“It is easier to fool someone than to convince them they have been fooled.”
Revising your opinion on a topic in the light of new evidence shows strength of character and intellectual depth.

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    The question is who's fooling who? This is not new evidence, it's the same old re-cycled hash these guys have been spouting for years. Look at their websites!
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      Perhaps people are starting to wake up to the fact that the modern western low-fat high sugar diet with some rancid high-heat-extracted PUFA containing vegetable/seed oils along for the ride has NOT WORKED GIVEN WE HAVE INCREASING RATES OF HEART DISEASE, CANCER AND DIABETES.
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        I guarantee you they are not low fat diets you are talking about. Eating any overt added fats and mostly all processed foods will push you way over 5% fat and well over 10% if you consume fats regularly. 10% of calorific intake is a critical threshold not worthy of crossing.
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    Well said, although for some, revising their opinion may lose them a lucrative position and question their credibility.
    Tough call but for the honest and those with integrity.
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    Yes, and Schopenhauer said:
    "All truth goes through three stages - first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third it is accepted as being self-evident"


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Scientists or the heart foundation are not to blame if people choose to go crazy on bread/pasta/fries/pastry carbs and soft drinks. That was never the advice.

The advice basically was 'low meat/animal fats, moderate carbs, moderate fruit, tons of vegies'.

Plus, as a modern industrially 'farmed' animal you're pumped full of hormones, antibiotics and other pharma products in order to promote rapid weight gain so you reach commercial weight fast (unless you're a male chick or dairy calf, in which case you get killed immediately after birth). Doesn't sound super healthy, given a lot of those drugs persist in the food chain.
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    No but perhaps scientists should have made it clear that all of those foodstuffs you mentioned were the real culprits-the sugar and hidden sugar-laden processed junk that Dr Jonny Bowden was referring to.

    Perhaps they should have advised folk to keep the diet as real as food gets, and to avoid the processed, genetically modified, enhanced food-factory junk we are inundated with. Sadly it is more convenient and affordable for most of us, so we buy it and perpetuate the conglomerates, so in turn they continue to churn it out.
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      If that's the case why have thousands of Dr Neal Barnard's patients and readers come off their diabetes medication within a week or two of changing to a genuinely high carb, low fat (perhaps not what you think that is it's <10% fats by calorie) whole foods diet.

      One nutritionist in the Catalyst episodes said *categorically* carbs create diabetes, but here is a low fat high carb diet that is getting Type II off their medications under doctors supervision in a week or two and Type I much increased health (many Type I are misdiagnosed Type II some researchers beginning to suggest).

      Besides that all the Asian nations pre-developed world diet ate high carb low fat low protein with low incidence of heart disease (or complete absence). China Study demonstrated this clearly. The villages and provinces with traditional diets with little to no animal content and loads of rice and other grains were free of heart disease and all the other non communicable diseases (NCDs) flooding our healthcare system in the developed world.
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Good show, picks the low hanging fruit of the carbs vs. fat debate, and a questionable choice of doctors, they were the same authors which appeared on Dr. Drew recently, ABC journalists should be able to do better than that. There are way more credible scientific researchers (albeit less entertaining) to verify the lack of scientific basis to the low-fat dogma. Specifically on the link between fat and cholesterol and CVD so understand. Though I would love to see them expand this into much broader series on the topic.
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What's most concerning reading the comments that have been posted is just how scientifically illiterate the ABC viewers are. This broadcast was not science, it was an entertainment show with lots of personalised opinion from people with axes to grind. Do not rely on the ABC for your information, it is highly politicised and suspiciously commercialised. If you really want to explore this nonsense then do your own research and try to source from critical sources that have no vested interest. Have we really become so dumbed down that we will swallow anything with questioning. Is it complacency, laziness or ignorance? Before you quit your pills and binge out on foods oozing fat, you owe it to yourself, your family and your society to take some responsibility to learn the science.
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    Yes, that some fats are good for us and indeed necessary. The best advice is a variety of foods without all the added sugar and manufactured oils like margarine and canola oil.


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Great program.
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Well done Catalyst for taking on this topic. Naturally there were time limits, and they could not cover all the studies or well-qualified skeptics, which has lead to some commentators claiming this was biased an uninformed, even dangerous psuedo-science.

We must remember that the H.F had their chance to provide a refute, and the best they could come up with is that they have the authority and everyone agrees with them. To disagree with them is supposedly dangerous? to who? Unilever?

To the charge that Catalyst was being selective, I say use this study which reviews the clinical studies that were used to condemn saturated fats. When the 'Sydney Diet Heart Study' is added to the mix, and the actual confounding variables in the successful studies revealed, there really is nothing left supporting the diet-heart theory:

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7930322&fulltextType=RV&fileId=S0007114510004010

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Given the amount of links that we now receive in many of our posts, it takes us time and resources to check each link to make sure that it falls within our editorial guidelines. These guidelines include no advertising, no offensive language, no overtly personal attacks and a range of other criteria.

After reviewing the comments we have recently received, we will continue to publish external links on the basis that the ABC does not endorse any of the information that is contained in external links.

The decision to publish or not publish a given post, or to edit a post, is based on our editorial policy guidelines, regardless of the pro or anti nature of the post. However, comments which are overtly personal or hurtful, or which contain offensive language, references to advertising or are off topic from the actual content of the Catalyst story will not published.
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It is all very well to accuse the Pharmaceutical companies of creating a new disease called hypercholesterolaemia for the purpose of making money however one cannot overlook the fact that the billion dollar Nutritional Supplement industry have convinced many gullible people that it is not possible to obtain the nutrients their body requires from our food supply and therefore cannot attain and maintain optimal health without taking supplements.

It seems that our Clayton Nutritionist supports the latter gauging by the 280+ supplements that he peddles on his website.
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    Amanda - you must be joking! Nutritional supplements cannot be patented. That means you must compete with EVERYONE marketing them(your language, "peddling")and become subject to the laws of economics. You CANNOT make 10,000% profit on a nutrient, but Big Pharma can, and does on some drugs.

    The pharmaceuticals have been guilty of immense graft and corruption, unlike the supplement manufacturers. Prescription meds are a MAJOR cause of death, again unlike supplements.

    Oh, and anyone who believes that the message of nutrient-deficient foods is a con is themselves demonstrating their ignorance of modern farming methods and studies showing the nutrient content of "conventional" v. organic farming.

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    A lot of supplement companies are owned by big pharma now so they make $ both sides and if food was grown in mineral and nutrient rich soils without the chemicals we would not need supplements at all but its not a perfect world.You can only obtain nutrients from food if its in the food to start with.
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Statins are the biggest selling drug in the world.
CVD is still the #1 cause of death.
Whats wrong with this picture?

I figured this out four years ago after being put on Statins at 51 for high Cholesterol, after a few weeks I was suffering severe muscle pain so stopped taking them and started looking into the issue.
I ended up looking at the work of Drs Pauling and Rath in the 1970's regarding high dose vitamin C prenting CVD.
After reading and researching a lot about this I tried it, and have been taking 4000mg of Vit C a day.
Three years ago I got a refferal for a CT Angiogram, the results came back that I had a calcium score of zero although I still have high Cholesterol, even the doctor that performed called me exited as he had not seen this before, he said my risk factor was now in the bottom 0.5%.
My GP looked at the results and said no one gets a score of zero.... So in summary, I have high Cholesterol, used to smoke a long time a go, am slightly overweight, have a family history of CVD and have absolutely clear arteries, the only thing I do different from most people is take the high dose Vitamin C, how about someone doing some serious independent research and test Pauling and Raths theories.


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    It would cost at least $1 billion and take 10-20 years to properly test Pauling and Rath's Vitamin C hypothesis. This won't happen because Vitamin C can't be patented.
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    Excellent - yes the work of Pauling and Raths is revolutionary. The last thing white coat medicines wants is for people to think for themsleves.
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    Enjoyed your post - I too suffered awful muscle soreness and my GPrecommended 'aged garlic'', which I have been taking for over a year and feel fantastic - I fact I have not had my yearly bronchitus or even a simple cold . Suggest u check it out
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I shall say it again...

Anyone who has acquired a PhD in Nutrition from a obscure institution that no longer exists -Clayton College of Natural Health -is hardly the most credible source of reliable nutrition information.


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    they may have vested interests but are they right ? I have been hearing this at conferences for a few years now .An eminent vascualr surgeon In bRISBANE was saying almiost exactly that 3 years ago and he has no vested interests .Two other speakers at same conference used other studies which showed the cholesterol level rated low on connection to longevity .Keep an open mind
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    Amanda, we heard you the first time, but a mantra like this repeated warrants some response.

    Do you suppose that qualifications are only relevant for the life of the institution providing them? Clayton was licensed and actually had an application for accreditation pending when it closed. About the only cause I can find for criticism is the fact that it was a school of naturalistic and alternative medicine, and as such presented a broad target for criticism. Bare in mind that it is generally the alternative medicine industry that promulgates the truth on things like cholesterol, statins etc while the medical profession and drug companies are still "pushing" - and yes, I mean "PUSHING" their money-making versions of these stories.
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I am currently recovering from a heart attack, stents and am taking Lipitor and Ezetrol. My MI was directly related to intense work related stress. My profession ensures, through rigid medical examinations, that other risk factors are minimal. It is disappointing that although two of the US experts cited Stress and Sugar as the arch enemies, your program failed to investigate the mechanism by which each causes CHD. Can you please consider expanding your investigation further by not only looking into the possible Statin scam but to also shed light on the supposed real causes, stress and sugar and the mechanism by which each damages coronary arteries. Thanks.
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    Kev, statins are not a scam, they're really effective drugs that will give you a good chance of avoiding another heart attack. 50% of men in Australia will suffer a heart attack, 50% of those will die as a result and of the survivors, 50% will have another heart attack within 3 years. Lipitor and ezetrol are good choices that give you a fighting chance. High blood glucose, such as seen in diabetes, leads to a rise in serum triglycerides and a fall in the protective HDL cholesterol. It's also associated with the formation of smaller, more dense LDL particles that are particularly dangerous. Stress leads to increases in adrenaline and cortisol levels which have a myriad of effects. In the Interheart study which looked at over 30,000 people worldwide, stress was the 3rd major contributor to heart disease, behind cholesterol and smoking, but ahead of obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
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    Yes please. I think this would add a new slant to the debate. Perhaps you might include work or an interview with Dr Robert Lustig and his experience as a paediatric endocrinologist specifically in the area of paediatric obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease which all go together as a direct consequences of a sugar-laden diet.
    No, it's not the fat making us sick, at least not natural fats.

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      Natural Fats, what the ones that grow on trees or the ones that you naturally burn when you naturally throw an animal on a fire or the ones you naturally cold press from seeds and olives. Natural.
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    Good point. Constructive too.
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It's a bit unrealistic to expect this program to be an in-depth look at all of the current evidence and risk factors related to CHD. The focus was on the relationship between saturated fat, cholesterol and CHD. Yes, obviously there are other factors involved - the program didn't deny that, it just didn't delve into them.
The main things for the casual viewer to take away from this are: there was some questionable science, we were given some questionable dietary advice based on this, and don't believe everything you are told. Read. Do your own research on this topic.
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Wonderful program - unusual for ABC media to question maintream dogma but this is brave and outstanding journalism. I almost stopped watching Catalyst after it's awful biased presentation of the Fluoride debate but it has redeemed itself with this show. I would like to see more of this kind of reporting.
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Great story, thanks for putting this to air. It has sparkes such great discussion thoughout our family and workforce. Love your work.
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Finally I am vindicated - I have faced violent opposition from doctors, friends and family who refused to look at the basic facts of lipid biochemistry. The modern western medical paradigm is fundamentally flawed due to the role that the major pharmaceutical companies play in determining what is researched and how. It all comes down to money - doctors do not use their brains as much as they follow guidelines established by shadow forces conducting what is in many instances pseudo-scientific research. This is but one major dilemma facing us, the people, in this modern world that is compromised heavily by corruption at levels we do not even know about. This is the time for a revolution. The statin manufacturers also knew about the impact their HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors would have on the levels of patients' coenzyme Q-10 back in the 1990s, but they ignored the information due to the fact that there was a dearth of ubiquinone/ubiquinol in the world and they still wanted to cash in with their statins. We need to demand answers right now. If you care about the health of our future generations, stand up and fight for your health.
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    Thank you Catalyst and ABC for continuing to air this program on statins despite criticism from supposed experts in the field. It is time to put statins and the companies that both manufacture them and the dodgy research submitted in order to get them on the market.

    The cholesterol findings in artery plaque is only a piece of the puzzle that we currently do not understand in it's entirety. Until we do know conclusively, cholesterol is and still remains essential to all cells and hormone function. Don't mess with it.

    Yes, people should know the harm that statins do if they are prescribed for them (read your side-effects leaflet and ask your Doctor to explain their impact) Also be clear how other medications may potentiate the statin effect, e.g. amlodipine
    They ought to know the risks of taking the statin vs the minuscule RISK in numbers of deaths they claim to prevent.
    Do not think that Dr's have time to check out the research before prescribing. They swallow the Pharma' hype just as we all do.
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      Agreed!
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Our national Australian science body says high Cholesterol is bad for your heart. http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Health-and-Wellbeing/Prevention/CholesterolFacts.aspx
When will they be questions about their out of date science. When will they stand up and tell the truth. Fat in our diet is not the problem it is Sugar and more specifically Fructose. Come on Meat Industry defend yourself.
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EFSA has now ruled that food and drink manufacturers can claim their sweetened products are healthier if they replace more than 30% of the glucose and sucrose they contain with fructose. This is not scientific this is shonky misinformation. Fructose is worse for your body than Sucrose. It is the Fructose in Sucrose which IS the problem. Sucrose is half Glucose and half Fructose. Because Fructose is the primary factor in dietary obesity and heart disease. It is not fat or glucose, it is FRUCTOSE. This is an appalling un-scientific decision. It must be changed. http://tinyurl.com/ku4kcew
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Still fuming over the sensationalist witch hunt on Catalyst that is unbefitting ABC. Even worse that so many were taken in hook line and sinker with this program that misrepresented the science and cherry picked "experts" who were given free range and relegated the real experts drs Sullivan and Grenfell to a few quips. No mention of just about every country's dietary guidelines similar to Heart Foundation...and for good scientific reason.
More public confusion as we now have Catalyst dietary guidelines bringing back the lard and dripping. Ratings are everything and forget the consequences.


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    come on they did this for ratings.eat what nature meant us to eat.not pills and chems
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As a GP I have to fight against dogma all the time. Ancel Keys misrepresented "data" have caused vast amount of problems, all supported by the completely "altruistic" drug companies, whose only agenda is to make as much money as possible. I would only have to mention Vioxx and Avandia to alert people to the fact that Big Pharma is only interested in making money and not at all in peoples' health. Finally the recognition of sugar [fructose] as the main villain in our huge outbreak of metabolic syndrome and the recognition that cholesterol simply is a part of the repair mechanism in the oxidative damage done to the endothelium is apparent. An organisation like the Heart Foundation which gives a "tick of approval" to something like MacDonalds deserves to be completely ignored. More investigation should go to looking at the funding of things like the Heart Foundation and Diabetes Australia and their involvement with various food-related companies.
I have numerous patients who are ignoring the advice of these organisations, and whose blood sugars and cholesterol levels are much improved, and whose health is better, simply by eating naturally.
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    Great to see a GP with honesty,insight, concern and integrity. Science is about truth. Medicine should be about the health of people, not about a Health Industry.

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      There are some very good Drs out there who don't just follow the drug company mantra.
      I agree with previous comments re lack of research/curiosity by the average viewer.
      Try reading The China Study ..
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/t-colin-campbell/the-china-study_b_107860.html
      And then the sequel Whole ..
      http://www.amazon.com/Whole-Rethinking-Nutrition-Colin-Campbell/dp/1937856240
      Then you may be able to understand cherry picking when you see it.
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Both the Healthy Living Pyramid and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating encourage one to limit their consumption of cooking oils, margarines, sugar (AKA refined / simple Carbohydrate)in addition to foods / beverages containing added sugar.

Whereas whole foods derived from plants which are high in complex carbohydrate such as wholegrains and wholegrain products are encouraged as they are rich in micronutrients and fibre in addition to being the bodies preferred energy source.

It is important to distinguish between the two types of carbohydrate.
www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/healthy-living-pyramid

www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55_agthe_large.pdf
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    Whole Grain is not a Whole Food, the products which contain it certainly aren't. It has micro-nutrients when you you grind it before testing, but in the human body it can not be digested, and leaches nutrients.

    Sugar is mentioned, but if you are talking causes of inflammation (and metabolic syndrome) any high carbohydrate diet the cause. Sugar is the worst offender, but eating pasta or any bread in large quantities will get you to the same result.
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      No it won't John - the sugar referred to is cane sugar and that is 50% FRUCTOSE. And fructose is the villain, not the other 50%, glucose.There's no fructose in pasta or bread.
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      John, "whole food" is defined as "a food that is considered healthy because it is grown naturally, has not been processed, and contains no artificial ingredients".- Merriam Webster.

      "Whole Food" is not used to imply "perfectly complete". There are few of those. Perhaps two examples of a complete protein are Quinoa and eggs. However, natural foods that are healthy all provide some nutrition.

      You can overdo anything in your diet - even eggs - in which case it will become unhealthy for you, and likely cause a sensitivity reaction.


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Brilliant program. My partner has very high cholesterol, his whole family does...including his mother who is about to turn 90yrs old. His doctor was horrified when my partner told him he would no longer take the statin medication because he didn't believe in it any longer!
Sugar is the white powder that is killing us, sugar and stress...carbs are full of sugar!
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    Great reply, my husband ceased his statin medication 11 years ago (he's not dead yet!) we also went very low sugar low carbohydrate and gluten free, we have never had such good health, I lost 30kg and have kept it off, now aged late 50's we feel as good as we did in our 20/30's. Our GP saying after check-ups "whatever you're doing...keep it up"
    "Statins" - it is not "normal" to take medication.
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Dr Peter Dingle blew the whistle on the cholesterol myth in Nova magazine,a few years ago and did the knives come out for him!?Anyone who has researched how margarine is manufactured would immediately remove it from their diet.Therefore it was deeply concerning to see the head of the Heart Foundation (what sort of doctor is he??)still advocating its use rather than pure butter!I would like to know if the Heart Foundation receives financial support from giant food manufacturers,and if so,isn't this a gross conflict of interest?
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Anyone who has acquired a PhD in Nutrition from a obscure institution that no
longer exists is hardly the most credible source of reliable nutrition information.

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    Hi there, Of course you would say that! Who is paying your salaries? How could something made in a laboratory be superior to something nature-made? How could body cells recognize and know what to do with these foreign sustances?
    Have a nice day! :-)
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      I so applaud your stand it cannot not absorb what is unnatural and therefore becomes a foreign matter
      a toxin
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      Nature makes tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, cannabis, aflatoxin, cyanide, curare, rabies, polio, the black death. Statins are derived from nature, red yeast rice. Red yeast rice lowers cholesterol but has toxic side effects. The original statin, lovastatin was purified from red yeast rice to avoid the toxicity. Just as penicillin was isolated from a mould in order to be given safely.
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I'm confused. I'll stay with my own theory that it's always better to steer clear of highly processed foods, aim for variety and balance, keep portions limited, always opt for high fibre and keep as much distance from the white death, sugar, as possible.
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I have no medical qualifications whatsoever. Three years ago I totally dumped my medication ie 80mg of statins per day, within 2 days all of the debilitating health problems I had been suffering from for 10 years disappeared. Prior to that decison I read a book which basically outlined what catalyst presented.In that book
references to
papers and studies were given. Those I could download from the internet I read in detail some refuted the claims if cholesterol causing heart disease. Those that supported the status quo did so using very dodgy statistical analysis. I have totally lost my faith in the medical profession and now seek advice from a close friend who also like me has no medical qualifications but profound
knowledge of health issues and remarkable intuition. On the other hand I have started to regain my faith in the ABC because of your well reserched program.

Richard
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Fantastic show, with a message that is long overdue. We, and the majority of the medical profession, have been comprehensively misled for decades by science that was at best flimsy, and subject to cynical manipulation by the food industry and big pharma.
How cholesterol could ever be regarded as "bad" when it is manufactured by the liver, is present in the walls of every cell in the body, and is an indispensible component of many critical biochemical and neurological processes, is beyond me. As a consequence of this addled thinking, statin drugs have been massively over-prescribed, with only mild benefit to the proper target cohort (those having had actual cardiovascular events), no benefit to most, and very unpleasant side-effects to many.
It is to be hoped that the profession will soon recognise this deception, backpedal from their unwitting participation in the scam, and concentrate their efforts on the real bad guys in this story, i.e. sugar, processed carbs, seed oils and the like, and get to the source of the inflammatory processes that actually cause the damage in relation to CHD, obesity, diabetes etc.
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The thing that i don't understand is for the last 50 years more and more diseases are affecting more and more people since the "low fat diet" was introduced. More and more overweight people, more and more people dieing of heart disease. Common sense would tell you that it is worng but politically incorrect is unacceptable. Guilty until proven innocent.
The Government should spend more money in research and education for the right diet for human being such as the paleo diet. Basic foods!
Instead they avoid it and spend money on cures for these problems. this doesn't fix the problem at the source it masks it!
Common sense and someone should have the balls to do something about it.
I am a big believer in the Paleo diet and i can say it is 99% how the a human being should eat.

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One of the best documentaries I have ever seen. My husband nearly died from rhabdomyolysis and renal failure a few weeks after being prescribed a statin. That was 11 years ago. Life has been hellish since. I've been waiting for years to find someone with enough courage to speak up about the damaging information offered by the pharmaceutical companies and doctors. We live in New Zealand. Let's hope NZ doctors and public get to see Catalyst.
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    yes haether, very good program.
    lets hope doctors all over get to read about the drug companies & statins
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    Made me sad to read this, my son was in high school here is Canada, and he went into kidney failure; he somehow survived. Yourloss seems so unfair. My 24 year old daughter now lives in New Zealand. I wish you a blessed day.
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the phrase "gilding the lily" means trying to make something already beautiful, even better.

Another mistake "...now some medical experts are coming forward to challenge this medical paradigm." It is not NOW. It is the last 40 years that researchers have been demonstrating how bad the diet-heart hypothesis was. We've simply been ignored or attacked.
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Wow - really fantastic show; I even watched the repeat on Saturday & have copied the transcript for my mum.

I was dumbfounded in regard to the shonky original science & ongoing, uncritical advocacy for links between high (bad)cholestorol and heart disease. I was also struck by its ubiquitous presence throughout our society (based on this deception)- from 1000s hectares of canola crops and the food industry, through to the statins industry, doctor's minds, and people's bodies!

Personally, having refused statins on principle (thinking it was a genetic high reading in my family), I'm quietly relieved that I really haven't got a 'ticking timebomb' inside me after all.

I've been talking about this programme to lots of other people and letting them know about the show. Really looking forward to part 2. Well done ABC and Maryanne Demasi. Thank you!
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This is a huge claim and, as Carl Sagan said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
As a general practitioner, this statement is refuting body of evidence scientifically accumulated over the past few decades on coronary artery disease; a quick glance at UQ library on LDL & heart disease, I found 103,727 articles on this topic supporting this well established hypothesis.
To practice evidence-based medicine, we need a systematic process to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a research; all I heard here is theoretical deduction rather than observation or experience-typical a priori assumption on the topic of ischaemic heart disease, the most common killer of human being.
This program intend to raise awareness and critical thinking but could be very dangerous for public with limited critical appraisal.
I wonder how many more patients will discard their statins tomorrow and start high fat diet tomorrow?
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    Monday at the St Leonard's pharmacy and not one question all day about cholesterol tablets so don't worry most people only watch a Current Affair.


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      Hi Lauren,
      I didn't ask my pharmacy or medical doctor any questions.
      I've just stopped taking the statins.
      I have suffered with the side-effects (muscle aches etc)(which eventually drove me to give up tennis). Since then I've put on 10 kilos despite my diet change post-heart attack.
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    Dr Hossein T - you say that ischaemic heart disease is the most common killer of human being. In America the most common cause of death is pharmaceuticals and iatrogenics. Heart disease is second.
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This is shocking journalism, loaded with pseudo-science, quackery & conspiracy theory. It seems the entire medical and scientific community are so gullible that they will believe anything, while Bowden, Curtis & Eades are the only ones on the planet that can see the light. Perhaps that's because they make a considerable living by perpetuating these mythologies?
The program was full of mixed messages, half truths and mis-information, much of it extremely-outdated and with the proponents spouting out their own beliefs which weren't held up to proper scrutiny, with no critical research to back up their more outlandish claims. It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. They find an audience in the media because the scientific community doesn't take them seriously. Their notoriety comes from shameless self-promotion.
The reality is that heart disease cost the Australian economy $22 billion in 2009, it's the single biggest item with cancer 2nd ($19 billion). 50% of a men will develop a heart attack & 40% of all Australians will develop cancer. Poor dietary habit and lack of exercise are overwhelmingly recognised as major contributors. Programs that focus on conspiracy theory are more to do with ratings and are unhelpful in combating the real enemies, which is not the medical profession.
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    Speaking of conspiracy theories:

    Why doesn't the Heart Foundation ever mention the "Sydney Diet Heart Study". Why is it almost impossible to find it in Pub-Med?

    What were the results of this controlled clinical trial?
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      Maybe because its an old, restrictive 1970's study of only around 400 odd participants, where the control group was pretty much left to their own devices and that the outcomes don't quite reach statistical significance. And perhaps because so many studies since then have demonstrated the benefits of a balanced diet which includes omega 3 fatty acid. And perhaps because the benefits of a mediterranean type diet are so overwhelmingly beneficial that no one's really getting that hung up about the past.
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How about re-playing Toxic Sugar 7 November, and give the big three Heart Foundation, Diabetes Australia and Cancer Council, three strikes. Please :)
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Well as I have been saying for several years Saturated Fat is not the culprit as was first elaborated by "Know your Fats" Author Mary G Enig, PhD

Business as usual tomorrow Bacon and Eggs fried in Ghee for "Break-feast"
Job well done ABC
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Unfortunately I could not watch this program, as the pixilisation and breakup of the sound was shocking.But I read the transcript above. But this is great news...for once catalyst has a story which I totally endorse.About F##king time.
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Thank you so much for showing us the other side of this issue, yes we need to be informed , we need to know !
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Though this might appear to be a rip-off of Statin Nation (a pay-for documentary), as a anti-statin medically documented believer, this is a case of the ends (your health) justifies the means (plagerism). The interviews are with different docs etc., and the conclusion is/will be the same. Though, I think the Statin Nation producers etal should have been credited for the inspiration. Still, a very good documentary for forwarding to your friends.

Pat Dougan
Plano, TX
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Did you really have to release this one week before the VCE health and human development exam!! ugh
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There is so much that is wrong with this story that it's not funny especially Dr Stephen Sinatra's comment in the last paragraph about hypercholesterolaemia. My entire family has just had to be tested for Familial Hypercholesterolaemia because my father died at the age of 43 from it and my youngest brother who is only 27 years old has it. Ever since our family has had genetic testing we have discovered 8 members of my family which includes my cousins and aunts etc have this disease. So I wouldn't take this story as gospel because there are holes all over it. Scare tactics.

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    I think Dr Sinatra did not say that "Familial Hypercholesteraemia" had been invented, rather Hypercholesteraemia. The former is absolutely recognised and is the ONLY condition for which statins may be recommended.
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Congratulations yet again to the ABC. What a brilliant programme from Catalyst. So insightful. Just confirms everything I have always intuitively believed in. I have had three GP's over the years who have offered me lipid-lowering drugs for supposed high cholesterol. I am otherwise fit and healthy and feel good. I have always resisted the drugs and feel very relieved that I did. THANKS for starting to unravel this and reports other viewpoints. I look forward to next week. Jo
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I love your work Maryanne,

You bring together some of my favourite authors. Encapsulate the core points of the argument extremely well and make it so easily accessible to everyone. I imagine you know of them - two other doctors that would be good to include in documentaries are Robert Lustig - 'Fat Chance' and Dr David Perlmutter - 'Grain Brain'.
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I have known about this for years. Although there was some mention of trans fat being unhealthy, it was rather glossed over the issue to how dangerous trans-fat really is. There are many “experts ” and organisations who lump saturated fat and trans fat as being the same thing but can only give you scientific references for trans-fat. Confusing the issue is a classic propaganda technique. I would also call this bad science. A prime example would the Heart Foundation. They have 100 scientific references on trans fat, not one on saturated fat. Trans fat is found in margarine not butter or any other traditional fat, so despite this they recommend certain brands of margarine. How dumb is that? The Heart Foundation charges tens of thousands of dollars for margarine manufacturers to use the Heart Foundation Tick logo. There is a name for this arrangement, it is called advertising.
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    Whats in a name?
    Fats, saturated, trans etc. All of these are general terms.

    Alex,whilst I agree with much of your sentiment, butter does contain trans fat (the block in my fridge says 5% by weight), but it is naturally occuring. According to this guy the naturally occuring stuff could be good for you.
    http://chriskresser.com/can-some-trans-fats-be-healthy

    Im glad catalyst showed this story, if anything it will hopefully create a more aware public/consumer and we will demand better evidence before listening to industry and govt etc.


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Agree with other comments regarding The China Study and also relevant The Forks over Knives movement.
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When I was a vegan in my twenties, about 20 years ago I ate heaps of polyunsaturated fat, soy products and sugar... I smugly believed that I would never get 'meat-eaters' diseases. Imagine the shock I got when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 25! No family history of it, no genetic link whatsoever. I was young, extremely lean, a non-smoker, occasional drinker, I ate no saturated fats, no meat, etc thinking I would be safe from cancer. It's a complete myth that vegans/vegetarians don't get cancer.
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Thank you so much. Absolutely brilliant part I. Can't wait for part II. I am so grateful I live a sugar and seed oil free life. If we can't close the Heart Foundation, may this reach the general public and help them to make better choices, specifically, NO red tick products! And thank you for showing me to stay away from the so-called lipid expert Prof. Sullivan. A grant from the Heart Foundation shows me where his expertise lies.
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Just read the transcript, excellent presentation and really getting to the truth about cholesterol benifits and the inflammation argument for heart disease. A big focus has been the Framingham study in all chronic cardiovascular management with little prevelance given in the Lyon study as you said reduced mortality. The influence of dietary sugar and production of increased insulins levels that influences blood vessel inflammation is really important for the public to understand and assist in lifestyle choices. I look forward to next week's presentation. Well done Catalyst.
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Great episode! Please investigate who is donating money to the National Heart Foundation. Here (I'm living in Holland and watched your program on the internet) they get (big) money from Unilever, one of the biggest (junk) food producers. I stopped all donations to the Dutch 'Hartstichting'.
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Fantastic episode of Catalyst.

It is the high sugar and carbohydrates in the Western diet that has lead to the explosion of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

However it gets worse. Current dietary advice to diabetics is "to base their diet on carbohydrates".

This is madness !!! Diabetics can be regarded as being carbohydrate intolerant. But fortunately, this is the one class of macronutrient that is not essential. There is no carbohydrate deficiency disease. The body can use fat for fuel and can manufacture the small amount of glucose it requires from dietary protein.

They should base their diet on whole foods, good quality protein, healthy fats and VERY LOW carbohydrates

See my interview on the health report and read the comments underneath the story

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/healthreport/low-carbohydrate-diet-to-manage-diabetes/4880362



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    Type 2 diabetes is actually due to obesity and high fat intake. It can be successfully treated by a calorie restricted plant-based low fat diet and exercise programme.

    The healthiest and longest lived people in the world ('Blue Zones') eat low fat, low protein mostly vegetarian diets containing 80-90 unrefined carbohydrates.


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      I assume you are referring to the people of Okinawa. Yes high carbohydrates but in whole foods with fibre and NO sugar and NO processed foods.

      Fat consumption in the Western nations has actually reduced as a percentage of dietary intake since the advent of the low fat diet message. Carbohydrate and sugar intake has exploded as has obesity and type 2 diabetes.

      I can name a large number of indigenous people's who consumed high fat diets with no type 2 diabetes, hypertension or heart disease until the introduction of a Western diet and sugar. The Inuit, The Sami, Australian aborigines, Plains indians etc etc. Using your theory these are "paradoxes" They are entirely consistent with my theory.

      I believe it is sugar and fructose in particular that is causing the obesity and diabetes epidemics.

      An increasing number of the worlds experts are agreeing with this position. See "Sugar The Bitter Truth" a lecture by Professor Lustig, Professor of endocrinology UCSF
      You will find it on YouTube.



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      There are a large number of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of a very low carbohydrate diet in the management of diabetes. Happy to supply references if you can't find them.

      The obesity causes type 2 diabetes theory is also being debated. I think it is likely the other way around. Fructose in sugar produces insulin resistance. This leads to hyperinsulinaemia which puts the body into fat storage mode and inhibits the mobilisation of fat from stores to use as fuel. This results in obesity. The current theory that obesity causes typw 2 diabetes has mixed up cause and effect. Nice TED talk on this by Dr Peter Attia.











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I only watched your show by chance. It just happened to be starting when I turned the TV on. It was a lucky chance! This was a great show. I've emailed the link to this page to all my email contacts. Great expose, well presented, great animations and greatly appreciated. Great work! Doug
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what an awful program on such an important topic. the essential premise might well be correct, but this is not how you go about demonstrating it. the hallmark of pseudo-scientific claims is taking individual iconoclast researchers at face value, rather than reporting the conclusions of reputable groups or the discussion process between scientists. dimasi could very easily produce a nearly identical breathless report on the scientists who are now demonstrating that evolution is a failed theory. but most egregiously, when grenfell is challenged by SOME studies supporting these claims, he responds, appropriately, that META-ANALYSES show otherwise. yet catalyst have seen fit to transcribe this as "many analyses". shameful stuff indeed
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What a pity the "Friends of Science" were not the "Scrutineers of Science". Just confirms our current public health messages have been a wonderful economic model for the processed food and pharmaceutical industry, just not a very good health model for the rest of the population.
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Last night's program on cholesterol and heart disease was great.

It seems we all should try a Mediterranean diet. I think all viewers would appreciate some guidance on this diet and what it comprises. Please advise.
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    Hi Colin,

    Thanks for your comments. You might like the following Catalyst episode about the Mediterranean Diet & also the accompanying tasty recipe for 'Spanakopita' (Spinach Pie).

    Enjoy!

    Catalyst - Mediterranean Diet;
    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2389833.htm

    Catalyst - Get ready for the Mediterranean Diet;
    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2393032.htm

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Awesome documentary. Looking forward to part 2. I've been following the GAPS diet for about 15 months. It stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, a healing concept put together by Dr Natasha Campbell-Mcbride. Part of the protocol is the introduction of many good fats (raw coconut oil, raw butter, raw fat, uncooked virgin olive oil, raw cream, avocado etc) and the elimination of sugar, grains and complex carbohydrates. She has written a book on subject of Heart Health and cholesterol.

It's a temporary healing protocol and many people have had success. Personally, I'm still healing which is evident by my elevated cholesterol. Initially my doctor was horrified by my cholesterol level but Dr Natasha's comments has calmed him down. But things are on the improve.

It's nice to see someone challenging the medical world! But it looks like it may take a generation or two before it becomes mainstream... a pity... Thank God for the internet!
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The most important observation left out so far in the program is that heart disease has decreased by more than half since the mid 1960s in many countries including Australia, thanks to smoking, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and other modifiable risk factors such as high blood glucose (diabetes) being identified. Unfortunately, there is no one cause and heart disease is still with us despite a lot of progress. I hope that this will be part of the conclusion next week with a caution that we should not go back to the bad old days of the 1950s and 1960s.
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Now-days most Cardiologists would agree that 'Cholesterol is not a disease' and as a result do not 'treat cholesterol'. Rather they look for and aggressively treat patients with atherosclerosis, as it is these patients that die of heart disease, have heart attacks and strokes, and it is these patients who benefit greatly by taking statin therpy

The cholesterol myth ONLY relates to the belief that the clinical outcomes of patients with vascular disease can be greatly improved by modifying dietary cholesterol. It does not relate to the fact that cholesterol plays in an important part of the atherosclerotic process

Doctors encourage patients to avoids fats in their diet in order to avoid obesity, and that was not made clear in your program

It is sincerely hoped that Part 2 of this series makes the distinction between treating a patient with high cholesterol and treating patients with proven atherosclerosis, because patients with atherosclerosis should be clear that statin therapy is indicated as it is able to significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and cardiac death related to the progression of their underlying disease independent of their cholesterol level. Further, these patients should be advised not to stop or lower the dose of statin therapy based upon their cholesterol level

Statins target atherosclerosis, and it is the atherosclerosis that places people in harms way

Dr Mark Nidorf [Cardiologist, Perth]
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    I think you may have missed the point of the episode which was that the dietary advice to reduce fat in the diet has resulted in them being replaced by carbohydrates and in particular sugar. This has resulted in an explosion of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The Heart Foundation rightly, in my opinion, came in for criticism because they endorse highly processed foods with added sugar as healthy.

    With regards to obesity, an expert panel in Sweden has just completed a two year study into the management of obesity and has recommended a high fat low carbohydrate diet. (LCHF). This will become policy gor doctors in Sweden. This is the exact opposite of the advice currently issued by our authorities.

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I would have been interested to see a comparison of heart disease rates from communities or countries with limited or no meat consumption as part of their diet. It was hardly unsurprising that Catalyst presented a pro-meat eating program. Catalyst has never presented a segment discussing the pros and cons of a vegetarian diet, while other media outlets are quick to sensationalise the (albeit) rare deaths from an extreme vegan diet. It is unfortunate that Catalyst has been oddly quiet when it comes to presenting stories about the epidemic of ever increasing deaths from a meat-based diet.
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    Spot on.

    This documentary appeared full of fringe dwellers with books to sell claiming there's a vast scientific conspiracy - not usually signifying credible science.

    It might serve people well to take this breathless doco with a grain of salt and read up properly before loading up on animal fats and meat.

    Dropping sugar consumption is an uncontroversial good idea regardless though.
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    Prevalence of heart disease in Japan for example is extremely low. The USDA (United States Dept of Agriculture) published their new food pyramid a few years back. It recommended large amounts of meat and milk products. 20,000 US physicians took the USDA to court on the basis the recommendations would lead to an increase in heart disease and cancer. The USDA eventually backed down and withdrew the recommendations. I think your comments are interesting Steve & I share your curiosity about the motives behind this broadcast. It's so un-Australian to be a vegetarian!
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The whole problem was started by a scientist picking their data to fit their claims. Now when Catalyst does it it's supposed to be OK? Since when do two wrongs make a right?

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Still have no idea what to eat.
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    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Pollan.

    Nice summary -- and a journo at that!
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    A balanced diet, 50% carb-30% fat-20% protein is usually advised. Avoid added sugars and instead eat fruit and whole grains to get your carbs
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three cheers for FAT - one of three macro-nutrients.
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Excellent Program!
The problem is not science - but dodgy science! So often people don't let the facts get in the way of their convictions. I was staggered by the "Ancell Keys" graph once the additional 16 countries data was added. Also how easily politics gets mixed up in things.

I was greatly encouraged to find news of Sweden having just changed their dietary guidelines.
Their study came up with statements including [translated]
"Butter, olive oil, heavy cream, and bacon are not harmful foods. Quite the opposite. Fat is the best thing for those who want to lose weight. And there are no connections between a high fat intake and cardiovascular disease."
... and so on!!!!!

Waiting for your next episode.
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    Lets not cherry pick the arguments which suit us.
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... dont forget to mention the GP's, chemists and BIG PHARMA who are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the cholesterol myth.
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Well done ABC. I enjoyed the read and the questioning of the conventional wisdom.
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Extremely interesting and eye-opening episode. My father suffered a severe heart attack 5 years ago and has been placed on statins that reduce his cholesterol to ridiculously low levels. This leads to a false sense of security that the risk another heart attack is now low, but we would like to get the full picture. Does anyone know of a Cardiologist in Melbourne who could perform the following tests? I have taken them from "The Great Cholesterol Myth" by Bowden and Sinatra.

LDL particle size
Hs-CRP
fibrinogen
serum ferritin
Lp(a
homocysteine
interleukin-6
coronary calcium scan
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Is it possible to put up links to the papers mentioned in this article?
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FABULOUS PROGRAM. It doesn't take a scientific brain to work out that the traditional societies, who ate a lot of animal fat, little or no sugar and lived long healthy lives,were on the right track. It's about time we recognise that science has it's flaws and take it down off it's pedestal for a proper look. Bring back proper fat and now can you do a program on proper salt. Get rid of the processes table salt and bring back sea salt that contains all 84 minerals, not just the 2 left over minerals that they didn't know what to do with.
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    It is inconclusive to say that traditional societies lived longer, based on the data our life span has increased significantly over the last century. There are obvious exceptions to it, people living in hills. Having said that people were definitely healthy during their life - level of pollution, stress and tampering with natural food/source or could be lack of medical treatment/help. Again most research are done on a sample size which may or may not represent entire population. If we are unsure of sample size then the research itself is void. Sometimes with all the research and advice it gets really confusing.
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    Traditional diets low in animal fat usually worked well, too. Not everyone needs to eat like an Eskimo. Stay away from processed food, meat (but do take B12 as methylcobalamin), gluten, and probably dairy. Take vitamin C to promote heart health. Read Udo Erasmus.

    "It doesn't take a scientific brain to work out that the traditional societies, who ate a lot of animal fat, little or no sugar and lived long healthy lives,were on the right track."
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      What is left to eat? Unless you have specific problems of digestion these are just fads. .
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    Hi,

    But now there's another problem!

    Unless you are eating Organic reared animals & veggies, you have a BIG problem.

    With the advent of artificial fertilizer & GMO corn, wheat etc, animals are being fed with these, instead of grass in a natural environment. Feedlots with hundreds of animals, being fed GMO corn, wheat, etc are not conducive to healthy animals. They get sick most of the time & need antibiotics to get them to the slaughterhouse before they die of disease. They are also fed growth hormones, which further contaminates the meat.
    In 1960 - 1970 Wheat was changed from its old stock to Dwarf Wheat, which increased the Gluten content by 50% Celiac disease was first detected 2000 years ago, but we had to wait until the 19th century before we began to understand what was causing it. Now in the 20th century, they go & increase wheat's gluten content by 50%, causing untold problems, that are only now beginning to be detected.
    Science & medicine and the Drug companies, have become enemies of Good Health.

    The arrogance of these people, reminds me of the arrogant doctors who attacked Semmelwize, when he tried to introduce the washing of hands in hospitals.
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    What was the average life expectancy in these "traditional societies"?
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      Live expectancy at 20 yrs old was about 10 yrs less than ours. Amazing that all our advances in medicine and culture havnt made more of a difference. the big change is in infant mortality and we need to thank vaccination for most of that.
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    THink you may be idealising the past...folks died by 40 back then
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      Wrong. If they survived childhood they usually lived until 70 or 80. Sometimes they lived to beyond 90.
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    Science IS self-correcting and is the process that is currently telling you where things went wrong. It was the lack of science that caused the current situation!
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Great presentation, looking forward to next weeks show. There is definitely evidence to show that taking cholesterol lowering medication reduces CV disease risk, but the question is around HOW these medications work. I completely agree that the problem lies with oxidative inflammation of the endothelium, which can be caused by glucose consumption among other factors. Maybe statins have the ability to reduce this oxidation/inflammation? There is no question that they work in certain populations (see link).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15325833

Christian
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    Yes, statins act as an anti-inflammatory that's what makes them have benefit in some cases.

    Lowering LDL is just co-incidental and not the reason why they work.

    Better solution is to eat a low-inflammatory diet ( real food, including some real fat)
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Thanks for a great program. This is the sort of media that journalism should be producing all the time! Questioning the dogma.
Its been scientifically proven that heart disease and atherosclerosis are both caused by the bodies inability to make collagen and repair the artery walls…Its simple but the drug companies and heart foundation and food companies have hijacked the propaganda and media…

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Awesome program last night.
How badly everybody has been misled thanks to dodgy research stemming from 1 individual. Unbelievable. Just a question out of curiosity: Do obese people suffer more heart attacks than slim people? I know they have other health problems so i'm not going to try to become overweight. I guess it comes done to the amount of arterial wall damage?
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    I'm not an expert but have recently undergone heart surgery in Singapore and spent a lot of time in the heart department! My observation is that of the dozens of patients there, I didn't see a single obese patient! Possibly because the majority were Asian?
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Brilliant! Thanks for getting on to TV what I've been saying for the last 3 years, since I've read Gary Taubes GCBC. I have lost over 12 kilos, never count anything, eat lots of saturated to fat for satiety and have more energy than I've had in the last 25 years. I now help people do the same.


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    Awesome. Me too I watched Gary Taubes Walnut Creek talk, and it changed my view of food, my energy levels have shot up as well. It is a revelation and criminal the extend to which we have been misled and the real science has been hidden by interest groups. And it is still going on. See the European Union Food association has just approved increasing fructose in food and saying it is healthier for you.
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It may make ‘good TV’ but very disappointing to see such sensationalist coverage of the science. This program is championing the Standard Western Diet when there is good science that tells us inflammation is caused by the SWD. Just because an individual dogma may be wrong, why are you in such a hurry to jump to another cause of all our woe? CHD can be reversed by diet alone. I suggest starting off with: The China Study. Any publication by Dean Ornish MD or PCRM.
Eating cholesterol and saturated fat may not cause CHD, but I liken it to driving with your seatbelt off, you’ll be fine so long as you don’t hit anything. Keep your seatbelt on and eat a plant based diet.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-fuhrman-md/heart-health-prevent-and-reverse_b_783565.html

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    Re The China Study. I agree it should be read, so should this http://rawfoodsos.com/the-china-study/
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    Wow. Not sure which planet you're from but this is hardly sensationalist where I come from. An excellent piece of reporting, IMO.
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    ^ +1
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    I have a lot more faith in Catalyst than The Huffington Post link above!
    A good counter-example to the 'Don't eat saturated fat' mantra is the Inuit paradox. A diet primarily of animal meat and fat but very low rates of heart disease.

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      Yeah, a diet high in fats - and high in extreme cold & hard exercise to burn it off.

      I'd like to see a study on how sedentary first world people in warmer climates fare with the same diet. My guess is it won't be pretty.
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Congratulations Catalyst team. The cholesterol story is a very interesting one - and it made a great topic for my PhD thesis in the sociology of science. We need to understand the social and political context in the US during the 50s, 60s and 70s to understand how ambiguous scientific results became 'true' enough to inform policy. If anyone is interested a summary of the story can be found here: http://ro.uow.edu.au/commpapers/452/
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Beautifully done and wonderful example of why ABC is such good value, with this kind of thing impossible on tabloid commercial TV.
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I don’t yet know about the merits of the argument presented in this program. I have for some time ‘thought’ that there is probably too much emphasis on cholesterol levels, which let’s face it, is in the interest of drug companies to promote. But as a ‘science’ program this was a shoddy effort. There were many examples of bad scientific reporting, but I’ll focus on just one.
We were not told of the relevant qualifications or credentials of any of the people presented in favour of the program’s premise to talk on his topic. This is fundamental to any scientific reporting. They stated their case without any presenting scientific backup – without this much of it just came across as opinion. We were told one was a nutritionist, one a physician and two were cardiologists but we were not told about their affiliations or of any particular authority they have to comment on this specific topic. I hoped the Catalyst website might present us with more information, but unfortunately not.
A science program should always be concerned with whether the people have the ‘authority’ to comment on such a contentious issue and present such a strong case as ‘fact’. We were not really presented with the evidence base for their arguments, just what appeared to be opinions – particularly from the ‘nutritionist’.
Without establishing such basic elements essential to a scientific approach, this has no right to call itself science reporting.

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    I all ready know some of the facts presented in this programme.

    No I'm not a medical person. My husband has both high cholesterol and a diabetic.

    We do our own research and ask questions when we see a Dr.



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    Sorry ... I think yours is a weak argument. We are allowed to think for ourselves! Surely science is not so much about spoon feeding answers but more about providing tools to help all do so. I am quite capable of researching the qualifications of those quoted in this report. It is up to each of us to exercise our own due diligence and research skills here. The ABC has simply presented us with an argument against a solidly held dogma. Its up to you and me to weigh it up. I think you find that the 'authority' behind the presented argument is substantial. Take a look.
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    I think you expect a bit much from a half hour prime time docco,
    try these for a bit more depth.....

    "Heart Disease and Molecular Degeneration" by Chris Masterjohn
    http://vimeo.com/27692174

    Dr. Peter Attia: The limits of scientific evidence and the ethics of dietary guidelines -- 60 years of ambiguity
    http://vimeo.com/45485034#at=0

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    ^ +1
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    I agree. These so authorities were introduced as having theory opinion or hypothesis. Then they were given a large amount of air time to present it in a way that sounded authorative. how do we know if they are barking up the wrong path as well. Yes Cholesterol may not be the baddy it is made out to be but considering our lifestyle reducing fat and maintaining a healthy weight is a good idea. The first and most important Australian Dietry Guideline is 'Eat a Wide Variety of food." No food works on it's own.
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    Geoff, Valid points you have made. If you require more detailed research, have a read of a book called " Cholesterol : The Real Truth" By Dr Sandra Cabot. Well worth reading and at the back of the book it lists the reference material that qualifies her findings and supports the information presented in this programe.
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Wow. Such a great program and such gutsy journalism guys. Will be interesting to see if you get into "fat ain't fat" i.e. pasture fed compared to grain fed. Huge ramifications for agribusiness that has moved to factory farming models. Would also love to see some further exploration of mental health incidence rising as (high quality) fat consumption has decreased.
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I inadvertently proved this one to myself..after trying to drop my cholesterol levels by using soy and cutting out dairy and eating oats etc my cholesterol and weight soared..it was incidentally making me ill..The doctor did not understand whyin the end I dropped back to my usual diet containing butter eggs milk etc cholesterol and blood sugar dropped weight fell off..

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Congratulations Catalyst for exposing the cholesterol myth. Perhaps now we can give some attention to the real cause of chronic disease - and much is already known - it just conflicted with the current incorrect paradigm.
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Very good to see the facts being presented. Well done.
The much-maligned cattle industries (beef & dairy) will be pleased.
Vast culture and industry built on the fiction will not bend to the facts in a day, but hopefully my children at least will benefit from better diets based on evidence.
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    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act". George Orwell
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Naturopathic Nutritional Medicine has been anti-polyunsaturated fats for a very long time. It's great to see the Western Medical Ideals being challenged.

Cheap fast foods made with Vegetable Oils and Sugar are exactly as these experts report highly inflammatory and harmful with long term consumption.

Great work Catalyst for very insightful and proactive journalism.

Kindest Regards
Scott Naturopathic Health Practitioner
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Moderator: Please don't post any personal information about yourself or anyone else on this message board (for example telephone numbers, home addresses, email addresses, MSN or ICQ details).

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Applause, applause applause. Finally a mainstream program questioning the rubbish "science" of nutrition. I didn't think Aunty would be brave enough to air a show like this. Congratulations.
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Congratulations Catalyst on such a well produced program.
From Weston A Price in the 1930's to more recently with David Gillespie, brave voices have tried to warn us of the dangers of sugar. I have just now downloaded the Heart Foundation's heart tick shopping list. As an example the Tick criteria for Cereals is : Saturated fat, trans fat, salt, fibre, wholegrain content, kilojoules. No mention of sugar!
No wonder the spokesperson for the Heart Foundation on your program appeared to struggle to answer the questions put to him challenging their reasons for demonising saturated fats when it would appear the spotlight should have been on sugar instead. The NewsCorp article (February 2012) summed up the apparent conflict: "...The Heart Foundation faces an identity crisis, as it struggles to balance some $2.5 million in annual food industry sponsorship against its mission to make healthy recommendations...."
Our State and Federal Health departments need to show some leadership on this issue. For too long they have been content to trot out the "saturated fat is bad, sugar is fine" mantra.
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    Like!
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    Weston Price was a dentist mainly concerned with tooth decay. He was also a vegetarian.
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I realise that in the time available it wasn't possible to cover all aspects. However two very important issues didn't appear in the story.

Firstly the very first Russian research in the 1950s where they fed animal cholesterol to rabbits, which is not part of their normal diet anyway. The other linked issue is the way that huge seed oil companies such as Kraft and Lever Brothers seized upon this flawed research and funded stil more skewed research to persuade Government agencies to push their oils and margarines ahead of traditional fats. This was a time when animal fats were in short supply after the Second World War, and they were in a position to make a killing. Literally.
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Congratulations Catalyst on an impressive and well overdue discussion.
From Weston A Price in the 1930's to our own David Gillespie, we have beened warned about the dangers of sugar.
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Well Done ABC, great discussion. It really does appear the evidence is building for a completely new look at dietary advice.

I wonder how long it will take for change to occur - until then do we continue dispensing the same advice to our patients about cholesterol?

Luke
Exercise Physiologist

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Well done ABC! At last this great medical scam is bring publicly revealed . Looking coward to Part 2 which should show how multi-millions of healthy people around the world have been turned into anxious patients on life-long medication that can do them harm. People have got fatter and sicker under the high-carb low-fat paradigm and now we have to address the outdated and harmful Nutritional Guidelines by creating a new body with no vested interests involved. For too long Big Food, Big Agriculture and Big Pharma have influenced official advice - to the great detriment of our health and the Health Care budget!
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Gutsy call Catalyst and Dr Maryanne!
Sometimes to get to the real answer it is necessary to ask 'WHY' up to 7 times. For example, the comment about sugar causing cholesterol is almost there ... but then WHY does it cause cholesterol? Because processed sugar makes the body fluids very acidic. But then WHY does that cause cholesterol? Because to protect vains and arteries from the acid the body releases its own cholesterol. So WHY is a natural protective mechanism potentially damaging? Because if the body fluids are generally acidic, cholesterol continues to be released and can eventually build up and cause problems. And so on.
The flow on from this (for another show perhaps??) is so what impact does body fluid acidity / alkalinity have on health? And from there perhaps you could investigate the benefits of SEA SALT on regulating body pH (acidity / alkalinity) and keeping cholesterol in check?? I have been amazed to find that some medicos do not know the difference between common salt and sea salt (HINT: 2 minerals not balanced by opposites V 84 minerals balanced by opposites). Go Catalyst and Dr Maryanne!!!
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    Common table salt and sea salt are IDENTICAL. Table salt is made by evaporating sea water. Both substances are almost pure sodium chloride.

    Body fluids are actually slightly ALKALINE. The pH of body fluids is very tightly controlled and is NOT affected by salt or sugar intake.
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Thanks for the expose but are you aware we have been researching and campaigning for this for years in Australia. I gave more than 100 talks on the topic to 10000 people this year alone. Read my book The great cholesterol deception which has sold around 5000 copies in Australia or look at my articles, blogs, facebook comments online etc and all based on science. My next book is medical myths and health lies that are killing us.
happy to send you a copy if you're interested
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This is one of the most concise yet thorough reports on saturated fats. I was hoping part two would have delved more into how carbohydrates may be responsible for the western world's health woes. Is there any way to get a high definition copy of this program?
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Bravo !
Can’t wait for the next episode !
Have you ever wondered why most Americans nowadays have inadequate levels of vitamin D ? Maybe it’s because we were told to switch from cooking with lard to vegetable oils. Lard from pastured animals has very high levels of vitamin D second only to Cod Fish Liver Oil whereas vegetable oils do not. Vegetable oils or PUFA’s are very unstable and will oxidize when heated. These rancid fats become free radicals in the body. Oils with saturated fat oxidize much less when heated.
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    Low Vitamin D levels are actually due to insufficient sun exposure - not a lack of animal fats.

    Our skin produces around 40,000iu of Vitamin D with 5-10 minutes of sun exposure. This is equivalent to drinking over 1.5 cups of cod liver oil. Lard contains NEGLIGIBLE Vitamin D.
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      "40,000iu of Vitamin D with 5-10 minutes of sun exposure". This may be theoretically possible in peculiar circumstances, but obviously not normal, otherwise vitamin D deficiency would not even exist.

      800IU is a recommended daily requirement. 10gms of lard provides 280IU according some un-verified sources. If true, I would not call this negligible.
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        Vitamin D synthesis:
        The Journal of nutrition 133 (1): 160–6.

        According to the US Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database lard has NO detectable vitamin D.
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Dubious cholesterol science -OK
How about some scepticism on global warming ? science (ie modelling)
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    Because the evidence on Global Warming is clear and is not being pushed by the corporations for their profit...oh but look, climate change scepticism IS being pushed for corporate profit. Scientists vs corporations...hmm...who could possibly decide which side is likely to telling the truth? *sigh*
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If society wasn't so scientifically illiterate then maybe we could all have had a greater understanding of the myriad of findings portrayed to us about all sorts of things that we've always taken for granted.

I am hopeful of highly capable future generations coming to better conclusions about the science that is used to convince them of how to take care of their heart and general health.
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If society wasn't so scientifically illiterate then maybe we could all have had a greater understanding of the myriad of findings portrayed to us about all sorts of things that we've always taken for granted.

I am hopeful of highly capable future generations coming to better conclusions about the science that is used to convince them how to take care of their heart and general health.
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I want to address these comments to Maryanne Demasi

Fantastic - really enjoyed the programme, BUT very frustrating that all the experts were american.

Some of us have been saying similar things for the past 10 years. I am a Busselton general practitioner who trained in Cambridge and Oxford, so obviously I have no street cred in the medical profession. I did a study on low Carbohydrate mediterranean style dieting 10 years ago

The Busselton Survey is an ongoing study similar to the framingham study. The data is all there that shows that heart disease is related to HDL cholesterol with a 10 fold change in risk from low HDL to high HDL. What determines HDL levels is obesity, and Carbohydrate metabolism NOT saturated fats.

The american Nurses health study showed the relationship between high CHO consumption and heart disease many years ago but has been totally ignored by clinicians.


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    Interested in your comments about HDL and LDL.The programme indicated questions about what is good and bad chilesterol.How does it work and what should be high and low?



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    Like
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    The Busselton study deserves respect as one of the longest running and is weell respected, don't sell yourself short.
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    Dr Michael Eades is a GP from Arkansas who makes a living selling weight loss books and supplements. He is hardly a credible independent authority on heart disease.

    The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute considers four major risk factors for heart disease: smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and low HDL.
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    Not quite true. In the Nurses and Health Professionals studies combined: "A low-carbohydrate diet based on animal sources was associated with higher all-cause mortality in both men and women, whereas a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet was associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates."
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Interesting show tonight on diet and CHD. Having just read a great but confronting book dedicated to diet, CHD and other illnesses, I was keen to see where the discussion would go but I've gotta say the absence of any mention of "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell was both surprising and a little disappointing...
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    Catalyst needs to stick to peer reviewed, published data to consider itself scientifically valid. The China Study is a popular book written by Colin T Campbell but his data or his hypothesis has not been peer reviewed or published in the scientific literature to stand up to scrutiny. It makes an alarming read and close reading of it reveals Campbell's vegan bias. Ditto Dean Ornish, though Ornish has published but what is not realised by the general reader is that Ornish's plan to turn around heart disease involves not just having his subjects reducing dietary fat to next to nothing, but participating in other lifestyle alterations like exercise and meditation. With these extras thown into the mix, it is difficult to see just what affected the lower heart attack risk. Was it the low fat or the other lifestyle changes? Another thing that Ornish advocates is Canola Oil citing its omega 3 content, but never mentions the amount of chemical processing canola crops need to make them palatable and edible.
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      "The China Study is a popular book written by Colin T Campbell but his data or his hypothesis has not been peer reviewed or published in the scientific literature to stand up to scrutiny."

      Professor T Colin Campbell has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers on nutrition. The China Study is a summary of this research.
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    Scientifically that is not a very good study (he seems to follow Keys methods) and also because Campbell promotes a vegetarian diet in line with Keys etc. If you actually watched the show, you would have understood that animal fats from butter and good quality meat do not have a negative link with cholesterol and heart disease.
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Wow talk about deja vu! I remember seeing this on Quantum years ago. Guess we will be waiting a few decades before the message about sugar gets out...

Quantum Special - Cholesterol: Sex, Lies and Coronaries

http://www.abc.net.au/abccontentsales/s1179287.htm
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    Pretty sure I saw same ep. Talking about crop oil industry and skewed research re butter vs margarine? The link you gave doesn't work for me and can't find the ep on Quantum archive, but would love to find it again. I remember it made me so angry, been telling anyone who will listen ever since about trans fats...
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Can anyone in Aunty see the parallels in this lifting of the veil on the great cholestorol bogey, we climate realists see in the rise of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming cum climate cahnge cum extreme weather? See yourselves as the true believers in big bad cholestorol and look in the mirror as the status quo wriggle and squirm trying not to believe they've been peddling flimsy political science for decades. Sublime irony at its best Aunty.
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    spot on. See Jo Nova's analysis.
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    Yeah, I can see the potential parallels allright - bogus science such as that pushed by big money corporations profiting from denying climate change, or possibly bogus science pushed by maverick scientists claiming a giant hoax.

    Not sure yet which it is in this case, to be honest. At least in global warming denial, the maverick scientists are in lock-step with the big money corporates and political warriors.
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Well, I've sometimes thought it, but until tonight have not realised how much the National Heart Foundation is actually driven by the marketing corporate entities. Dr Grenfell's unconvincing words and body language so obviously conveyed his "I have to stick to the party line despite all the evidence that's been presented because otherwise we'll lose our funding." Lack of congruence between what he was saying and what he knew was correct.
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A very disappointing program with a real lack of balance between pro and con arguments. Heart disease is very complex with a lot of risk factors of which LDL cholesterol is just one. Because most people with heart disease have normal cholesterol and many people with high cholesterol don't ever get heart disease does not invalidate the association and having a cholesterol of 8 makes you 4 times more likely to get heart disease. Statins may do many things to the plaque but the benefit is related to the degree of cholesterol-lowering so cholesterol is a player in the disease. We know from many trials done by many people that saturated fat puts up LDL cholesterol but doing long term diet trials to show that lowering saturated fat and increasing polyunsaturated fat decreases heart attacks is very difficult and few have been done-however together they showed a 15% or so benefit from big dietary changes. The Lyon diet heart study showed benefit with a Canola margarine plus more fruit/veg, less bread, sugar etc but the margarine was the major factor-so the caning of margarines was not justified. Eating nuts and virgin olive oil also reduces events, particularly stroke, but cholesterol was also lowered.
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    I suspect there was not time to fully tease out the relationship of particle size (LDL-P) on this program, but the information is all easy to obtain using the basic search tools on a computer. That is how we non medical people do things, why cannot doctors do that to? Eating Saturated fat in some instances does raise LDL levels but is that small dense LDL or large Fluffy LDL? Is that important? Go Find Out.
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      No, particle number is consistently associated with CVD risk. See Ip et al review.

      Also Krauss. Subfractions and particle size do not add to usual LDL risk characterisation.


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    People who have a total cholesterol levels of 8.0 or greater almost invariably suffer from the relatively rare genetic disease Familial Hypercholesteraemia. FH prevents the body from regulating LDL production. FH cannot be controlled by diet.

    It is virtually impossible to get cholesterol levels anywhere near as high as 8.0 in most people even if you feed them on ultra-high fat diets. Traditional Inuits (Eskimos) have cholesterol levels of around 5.0 despite eating 80% fat diets.

    Most researchers now believe that stains work by reducing inflammation rather than by reducing cholesterol levels.
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Dear Dr Demasi and the Catalyst Team,

Thanks for producing such a great documentary about the changing scientific consensus on dietary advice. Well done!

Kind regards,

Tim
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thanks for bringing this info to the public
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Brilliant! I can't wait for Part 2. Thank you.
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While is impossible to cover all the flaws in this misrepresentation of current knowledge in 500 words here are a few thoughts. Firstly, why not discuss the qualifications of your so-called experts in more detail? Secondly, why choose experts who have not published a scientific paper (they have written dubious books - Dr Sinatra's latest effort is a cracker: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/04/barefoot-grounding-effect.aspx) between them? Thirdly, why show an incomplete cross-section of current evidence? Fourthly, why misrepresent the evidence you do present (countries weren't omitted from the initial studies discussed as claimed, they were reported sequentially over time as the results became available (this was pre-internet), irrespective of this, the trends still support the initial finding)? Fifthly, why skew the time attributed to the protagonists vs the antagonists?
Sixthly, why not probe those criticising current understanding for definitive evidence? Seventhly, why edit/exclude the information provided by those opposing your editorial slant into oblivion? I could go on. Sadly, I suspect that the incompetence will continue next week. Hopefully the Australian public will see this story for what it is.
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    I am not a scientist but to me the fundamental evidence lies in the fact that the health organisation in the USA announced towards the end of the last century that everyone should eat a low fat, high carb diet. By the beginning of this century, obesity in the USA had taken hold. Can we now please take a more honest and open approach about sugar and carbohydrates now that there is a generation of diabetic young adults and children. Shame on the industry.
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      Health organisations actually recommended a nutritious diet based on fruit, vegetables and whole grains. They can't be blamed for excess sugar consumption or obesity.
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        The heart foundation gives its "tick" to. Candy for breakfast (chocolate flakes, honey Cheerios), sugar sweetened yogurt, French fries baked in canola oil, ice creams etc

        They receive 2.5 million dollars per year from the food manufacturing industry to endorse these foods.

        It is no wonder the consumer is confused.





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        It's plain criminal.. to give its 'tick' to companies/brand names. Credibility of such foundation is out of the window (vested interests) and people buy the stuff thinking it's healthy, because the heart foundation says so. I am lucky, I am not confused and don't buy anything that is 'light', processed or contains soy and high fructose corn syrup.
        I also find it criminal that governments all over the world follow what America's FDA/USDA tells us to do/eat without doing proper research themselves. It's well known and easily to find incriminating evidence of vested interests by CEO's and 'researchers' whom traveled in their carreer from the food industry to the FDA and back. The amazing revolving door: Monsanto, FDA & EPA


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      Has it ocurred to you that perhaps Americans have been simply ignoring the sensible government advice to cut down on meat fats and limit carbs to moderate amounts?

      Next time you're there, check out the portion sizes people eat and what they actually eat. Then draw conclusions on whether health dept advice or actual diets and lifestyles are the problem.
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      Just because "the health organisation" (maybe you mean WHO) announced the need for a low fat diet it does not follow that people ate one. Most people don't even know that low fat means no animal fats and <10% by calories. The only people I know eating that kind of diet are vegans and many of them eat raw vegan high carb low fat diets. Many other vegans I have met eat appallingly bad high fat diets.

      You know Bill Clinton went high carb low fat after having a heart disease incident and lost a bunch of kgs and feels much better for it too. Dr McDougall was I think one of his drs, or maybe Dr Esselstyn who gets fantastic results with diet, way better than he got as his state's leading heart surgeon.
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    Tim, thanks so much for your thoughtful posting. I was intrigued to look at Dr Sinatra's "work" on "grounding", replete with the four sunflower experiment, after reading your posting. This is a guy that Catalyst is seriously representing as a scientist, as an authority?? They have to be kidding. This guy is a joke, barely even the Clive Palmer of cholesterol science. I would really like to see someone from Catalyst answerable for this guy's inclusion in this program.
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    "why not probe those criticising current understanding for definitive evidence"

    I thought they did ... and they could find none.
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    How come The Heart Foundation could not and did not provide information to the so called evidence they use to make their assertions that SF kills..... and PUFA's are lifesavers? Perhaps they don't have any!
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      I must admit I wondered the same. They do have that evidence but the NHF were missing in action -- unless it was edited out.

      What's going on here?
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    Leo Tolstoy has a good quote:
    “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
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    Bravo! At least there is one person who agrees with my thoughts on the subject and the way it is presented. I am living proof that it is cholesterol that clogs arteries. Several years ago, I had a blockage of lada(90%). I also had high cholesterol and high blood pressure before the attack came. I just hope people who have watched this program do not follow the Framingham advice and listen to their cardiologists.
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    Hear Hear.
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Dear Dr Maryanne Demasi, you deserve a big credit for unravelling the mystery of cholesterol in such a powerful way. I published my book ‘Cholesterol and The French Paradox’ seven years ago on this exact topic so I am very much in support of your story and findings. Your ‘Hearty of the Matter Part 1’ was great viewing and very compelling. Thank you.

Regards
Frank Cooper, Nutritionist and Naturopath
Author "Cholesterol and The French Paradox"
21 Cardigan Place
Albert Park, VIC, 3206
M: 0414 555 079

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Thank God some are talking the truth. I was put on increasing amounts of statins over four years because on the pills it kept increasing. I got so sick I could not stand up or move my muscles at the end. I kept asking my doctor was was wrong and all I got was more pills. I read some books and then went to a specialist who told me within 5 minutes it was the statins. All my family has high cholestrol yet they live long lives My healthy brothers who live well have high rates. I am so mad at the science community and Ansell Keys that I hope he is turning in his dam grave at the lies he told.
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    Statins just about turned me into a vegetable...... and have done until other irreparable things to my body. I wear an emergency bracelet warning ALLERGY TO STATINS.......... there are, on both Yahoo and Face Book pages where statin damaged people meet.... Stopped Our Statins
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Brilliant!!As a naturopath & nurse with a physiology major qualification I have followed this belief for 30 years.The demon's are sugar,omega 3 fats due to their propensity for oxidation & stress.The answer is to reduce stress by relaxation/meditation,reduce sugar consumption & eat a mixture of omega 6 to omega 3 fats about 55-60% omega 6to 40_45% omega 3 fats.Not rocket science simple good science which has been shown to work by good naturopaths for 50_ 60 years at least.
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    I agree. I was a big Sugar Person and I am convinced for some time given all the Ill effects from the Statins that it is all a con and Sugar may be a link to it all. But I like to see more research done to put it to a conclusive rest. In regards to the Statins? I regard it as Poison. It just had too many ill effects and some serious. I no longer take the Statins and Sugar reduced dramatically. I feel more like I should. Thank you Statin makers and the Medical Experts for shoving Statins in my Mouth for so long and having me feel ill.
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At last! The cholesterol myth debunked. Ancel Keyes' data manipulation recognized. The real villains in CVD risk exposed ........ inflammation and polyunsaturated fats. How long will it take for mainstream message to get the message and start making realistic recommendations to patients?
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Readers, there is growing concern about the University of Sydney's low-Glycemic-Index business links to the sugar and sugary food and beverage industries.

And about the University of Sydney's extraordinarily faulty "Australian Paradox" exoneration of sugar as a menace to public health
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Poorly presented program:
1. Spent quite a few minutes to simply say: what you’ve been told may not be true. It took ages to get into more detail then didn’t give enough detail.
2. Confused the issues of eating cholesterol and eating saturated fat.
3. Failed to make a distinction between raw unprocessed and processed omega 6 fat.
4. Failed to mention monounsaturated omega 9 fat.
5. Confused message as to whether LDL was actually good or bad.
6. Failed to make any distinction between saturated animal and vegetable fat.

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    Because of time restraints there's only so much info you can present.
    Wait and see next week's episode. At the moment it's do with omnivores.
    You can always do your own research.
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    Kyron, eat your meat with the fat on... enjoy an avocado and stop sweating the small stuff. The stress will kill you :-)

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    I agree. Poorly presented. Not enough detail, expecially the distinction between LDL and HDL Too much emphasis on calling cholesterol claims and advice a myth. Lipid profile is important before condemning statins and dietary advice.
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    I am currently recovering from a heart attack, stents and am taking Lipitor and Ezetrol. My MI was directly related to intense work related stress. My profession ensures, through rigid medical examinations, that other risk factors are minimal. It is disappointing that although two of the US experts cited Stress and Sugar as the arch enemies, your program failed to investigate the mechanism by which each causes CHD. Can you please consider expanding your investigation further by not only looking into the possible Statin scam but to also shed light on the supposed real causes, stress and sugar and the mechanism by which each damages coronary arteries. Thanks.
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    To clarify point 6: the program failed to make any distinction between saturated animal and saturated vegetable fat.

    Dr Stephen Sinatra said that the omega-6 vegetable oils are inflammatory because they're very prone to oxidation. He didn’t comment on foods that contained high amounts of omega-6 vegetable oil that are not oxidised such as found in raw nuts for example.

    The narrator stated that the omega-3 oils are thought to counter the inflammatory effects of omega-6 oils. The program neglected to mention that omega-3 oils are much more prone to oxidation than omega-6 oils therefore cooking with omega-3 oils would be much worse than cooking with omega-6 oils and that omega-3 oils are of most benefit when they are “fresh”.

    The Mediterranean diet is also high in extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed therefore no heating) which is high in omega-9 oil.

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Can you please provide the conflicts of interest of the doctors you interviewed? And while you`re researching in USA, why dont you ask them about the health risks associated with all the genetically modified foods available on their supermarket shelves?

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Spot-on Maryanne. You have done an excellent job of exposing the damage being done by the Heart Foundation. I have prepared a listing of the hard science that supports the case for saturated fats and against sugar and vegetable oils.
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What about the studies done on vegetarians and vegans and the work of PCRM on reversing heart disease? Does any of that data help?
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Catalyst - once a credible well-respected source of scientific inquiry - what have you become? Tonight's episode "heart of the matter" was more the quality of something I would watch at 6.30pm on a commercial channel. Please, could you provide us with a balanced view of the evidence in the future. Citing individual studies is dangerous in any field, but particularly for nutrition when there are so many vested interests. Some systematic reviews please....
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    I had the same thought. What on earth is going on in the ABC science unit that such a piece could eventuate?

    Yes, pop science designed to appeal to public attention and outrage. ABC, how can you sink this low?
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thanks you for a fantastic documentary. It presented the facts in a clear and compelling way. It is so refreshing to see the truth about nutrition presented, rather than the standard low fat high carb model, which has created so much illness and disease for decades. It is distressing to see the extent to which the Australian medical fraternity is clinging to the fat hypothesis in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Hardly surprising Australians are getting fatter and sicker. Thanks ABC1, I can't wait until episode 2.
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wow!
I'm throwing the margarine in the bin right now!! along with the $40 a month cholesterol pill and it's nasty side effects.
If any specialist out there wants to follow my journey on this I'll be more than happy to participate but I'm going to take my chances regardless :)
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Moderator: As a science television programme, Catalyst aims to provide viewers with an accurate picture of the scientific data and research that currently exists on the subject of cholesterol and saturated fats. We urge viewers to consult their healthcare professional for personal medical advice before changing their diet or medications.

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    You don't need to throw out your margarine. Most margarines in Australia were reformulated in the mid 1990s, reducing trans fat content to a harmless <1%. This trans fat content is stated on the nutritional information panel of the margarine. Like a lot of significant information relevant to this topic, it surprises me that "Catalyst" didn't mention this fact. I was also surprised that they didn't mention that omega 6 polyunsaturated fats and trans fats are not the same things or that the authors of the Lyon Heart study acknowledged cholesterol as one of a number of factors that contribute to heart disease or that even the most basic understanding of the scientific method recognizes that it is not possible to "prove" even the very best of scientific theories. If you are happy eating your margarine, there's no reason to stop due to the information provided by this episode of Catalyst and while I sympathise regarding the side effects of cholesterol pills I would think really carefully before giving authority to this kind of questionable information over that provided by your doctor.
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    That is your choice it is your life. I threw mine away years ago.... after studying the data. The side effects were (for me) horrendous. I only eat fresh butter, pure cream and full fat cheese.... and enjoy the fats on my grass fed meats. Love a good piece of Tassie salmon too slathered in butter. I believe a person needs to take control of their own lives, and decisions.....
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    Well done. I have never used margarine and have stopped taking my my medication due to the detrimental effects it was having on my body.The medications don't only lower bad cholesterol, they also lower the good cholesterol as well. If you are interested, take the time to read a book by Dr Sandra Cabot called " Cholesterol: The real truth". Covers everything that this program did but also gives you strategies to maintain a healthy cholesterol level through a healthy diet. Well worth reading and would be interested to follow your progress.
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Maryanne,
excellent show on fats and CVD. The politics of science has been a 'no-go' zone for the public face of science but it remains a most important message, however uncomfortable it may be.
Congratulations.
Mick James
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Congratulations on a brilliant, important show. Cutting edge journalism.
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    Our diet changed when we begun farming and started to eat carbohydrates (crops such wheat for flour). Sugar cane and then sugar beet crops are grown for sugar consumption. The Americans grew corn for corn syrup as a food additive which spread globally.Since then our weight and diabetes have increased to a pandemic globally.
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    At last the truth is coming out. I found out about this approx. three years ago after I had been on Lipitor the cholesterol lowering drug. After being on it for ten years my body was being poisoned as I broke out in hives all over my body. After ceasing the drug the hives went within a few months. Cholesterol was an excuse for the drug company to make a drug used by millions so they could make billions. Stay right away from cholestrol lowering drugs because you do not need it.
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    Fair enough. Now I'm really confused. So, what caused my heart attack six months ago? I had high cholesterol but a fairly low fat diet and regular exercise. Now I've got two stents in heart arteries, I'm on statins, beta blockers and a small daily dose of asprin. Should I ditch the pills and hit the Big Macs?
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      Mark 51 - do some research, read Take Control of Your Health by Elaine Hollingsworth and you will understand why Dr Demasi is telling the truth. Don't go for the Big Macs either - the preservatives in them will kill you just as fast. Sugar and highly processed foods are what are giving us heart disease. Eat as much raw food as possible, enjoy natural fats in moderation, and your health will improve as mine has done. BTW it is important to WEAN OFF Cholesterol lowering drugs, not go cold turkey.
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      The program was not saying that big macs are a good source of fats. They are high in trans fats and you should be looking more towards healthy, clean fats like avocaodo, raw nuts, raw olive oil and cooking with a little organic butter and coconut oil. There are a variety of contributing factors to heart attacks, so even though you were on a low fat diet, other things were probably at play (oxidative stress mainly). They aren't advising you to stop your drugs, especially if you have established heart disease.
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      I know what caused my heart attack almost 6 months . Tobacco since 12 years old and being a stress head from about 16 years old. 3 stents later 5 pills a day which will be reduced to 4 after watching this show. I hammered the doctors about the possible side effects of Rosuvastatin, eg insomnia, depression, arthritis, aching calf muscles after a short walk and the list goes on. I kept getting fobbed off as they said it would be a small price to pay for healthy arteries. Will be telling my gp no more of these pills will I take. The other 4 I will continue to take as I will be off all but the asprin in another 6 months. I am an active person play tennis 3 times a week and walk nearly every other day, maybe now I will not feel like my calf muscles have been ripped off the bone after exercise.
      Glad my neighbour suggested I watch this program.
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    It was a really well presented programme and blowing the lid on the cholesterol and saturated fats myth is long overdue.So much for doctors honouring their Hippocratic oath,it's all about the money for them
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      It's not about money for doctors who prescribe in good faith on the information available. It's about profits for the multibillion dollar companies who provide the lipid-lowering medications.
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Another incredibly thought provoking episode from Dr Demasi! As a layman I'm astonished at the conclusions drawn in this episode and will have to do more thinking before making up my own mind. Maybe I'll have a ham and cheese sandwich on white bread while I do…

Thanks again Catalyst and Dr Demasi - surely Australia's most interesting and provocative science reporter.
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