For over 40 years we have been nagged and bullied into cutting back on butter, cheese, eggs and meat. These foods are all high in fat — especially saturated fat — and cholesterol.
Over the decades, right up to the present day, we have been bombarded with advice about the need to lower our cholesterol levels to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and to eat a diet low in fat.
Till now there have been just a few voices – mostly writers and practitioners in alternative health – who challenged this nonsense. But these days we dissenters are being joined by many mainstream scientists.
Now people like myself who question the low-fat mantra have seen our views confirmed by over two dozen researchers from around the world and 326 collaborators. They’ve come out with a new study published in a prestigious medical journal that finally blows away the myth.
This is what they’ve found.
The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study was led by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It was published in the Lancet medical journal on August 26 and the findings were presented at the world’s largest heart conference — the European Society of Cardiology Congress, Barcelona — at the same time.
High Carbs Increase Death Rate By 28%
The research project enrolled 135,335 men and women aged 35 – 70 from 18 countries and followed their health habits and outcomes for nearly 7½ years.
Over this period there were 5,796 deaths and 4,784 major cardiovascular disease events.
The researchers found that the one-fifth of this group who consumed the highest amount of carbohydrates had a 28% higher risk of death compared to those in the lowest one-fifth.
Those in the highest one-fifth of fat intake had a 23% lower risk of death than those in the lowest 20% of fat consumption. For individual types of fat, the reduction in risk was 14% for saturated, 19% for monounsaturated, and 20% for polyunsaturated fats.
Those in the highest one-fifth for saturated fat intake had a 21% lower risk of stroke compared to those in the lowest one-fifth.
The researchers found that fats were not linked with heart attacks or deaths from cardiovascular disease.
They suggested that guidelines on a healthy diet should be reconsidered.
“The Biggest Mistake in Modern Medical History”
Lead researcher Dr. Mahshid Dehgham of McMaster said, “For decades, dietary guidelines have focused on reducing total fat and saturated fatty acid [but] the body needs fat. It carries vitamins, it provides essential acids, it has a role in the body.”
Another member of the research team, Dr. Andrew Mente, added, “Our data suggest that low fat diets put populations at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
“Loosening the restriction on total fat and saturated fat and imposing limits on carbohydrates when high to reduce intake to moderate levels would be optimal.”
One of the most influential and well-known health campaigners in the UK is consultant cardiologist and adviser to the National Obesity Forum, Dr. Aseem Malhotra.
He doesn’t mince words on this issue:
“The change in dietary advice to promote low-fat foods is perhaps the biggest mistake in modern medical history.
“Cholesterol is not that important when it comes to heart disease. If you lower cholesterol through diet it has no impact on improving your health.
“There has been too much commercial influence based on flawed science and it’s time for a U turn.
“The new public health message needs to be: Stop fearing fat and cut out carbs to live longer.”
This is what I’ve been telling readers for something like fifteen years. This new study should be the end of the matter, but I know from experience it probably won’t be. There have been other studies and abundant evidence for many years that carbs, NOT fats, are the source of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and probably more, and other studies confirm that reducing cholesterol with drugs has no impact on heart attack risk.
Yet if I ask the typical person my age (65) if he or she is on statin drugs to control cholesterol, the answer is often yes.