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Nina Teicholz: Canceling the Science on Saturated Fats

re: Nina Teicholz
re: follow the money

re: Evidence for the American Heart Association's diet is....a single clinical trial (that was retracted)

Real science is never settled, and anyone who has certainty on such things is not qualified to discuss it.

Anyone dumb enough to read the Washington Post for anything but fantasy entertainment deserves the brain damage.

Nina Teicholz: Canceling the Science on Saturated Fats

2023-07-02. Emphasis added.

WashPost columnist Tamar Haspel pretends decades of science don't exist

Recently Washington Post columnist Tamar Haspel wrote a piece, “Don’t Believe the Backlash: Saturated Fat Actually is Bad for You,” in which she claimed to have ‘settled’ the score on the topic. Particularly striking was a quote from the prominent University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) cardiovascular expert Ronald M. Krauss, a longtime challenger of the conventional wisdom on saturated fats. Yet according to Haspel, he’d changed his mind. My own book, in 2014, was the first publication to make a comprehensive set of arguments exonerating these fats, so obviously I have skin in the game. Krauss is a figure in my book. Did Krauss actually repent his decade-plus of research and reverse himself? And is Tamar Haspel correct that the “backlash” on saturated fats should be dismissed?

Haspel is a colloquial, friendly writer, with a colorful side job as an oyster farmer. A food columnist for the Post since 2013, she’s stood up for consumers, objecting to the supplement industry, sugars in fruit juice and junk-food ads aimed at kids. Yet many of her views are also pretty corporate friendly, including support for weight-loss drugs, synthetic food preservatives, Cheerios (whole-grain), fake meat, and bugs.1

On saturated fats, Haspel’s arguments are squarely mainstream. In fact, her arguments are an almost exact replica of the strategy taken by the American Heart Association (AHA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) in defending their continued caps on saturated fats against a large body of scientific evidence to the contrary. Their playbook, which Haspel follows to the letter, is to ignore the effect of saturated fats on definitive health outcomes--heart attacks, cardiovascular mortality and total mortality (the stuff we really care about) —while focusing instead on a single, ‘intermediary’ data point: the effect of these fats on LDL-cholesterol.

Dwelling exclusively on LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) is like reporting only a marathoner’s mid-course mark while ignoring the finishing time. Our “finishing” time is death. When data on death (and heart attacks) are available, the ups or downs of a lab number like LDL-C along the course of life are irrelevant. Yet this is Haspel’s focus.

... The results? Not as expected. Saturated fats were found to have no effect on cardiovascular or total mortality, and either no or only a mild effect on clinical events (heart attacks, strokes, etc). This latter finding is a bit more wobbly, because some “events” categories included more subjective outcomes, such as chest pain (angina), which doctors diagnose differently or are self-reported.

The fate of these trials is truly an astonishing story in the history of science and one that remains largely unknown. The short version is that this enormous quantity of data was largely swept under the rug—or 'buried'—for decades, presumably because it didn’t support the then-well-established dogma that saturated fats cause heart disease, an idea adopted not only by the AHA but soon after, the National Institutes of Health and most U.S. public health institutions. The science was supposed to be ‘settled.’

...some 40% of women ages 12-21 in America suffer from iron deficiency, which can result in immunological weakness, decreased energy production, poor cognitive function, and developmental delays in the babies of these women. The type of iron humans can easily absorb (heme) comes not from spinach—sorry, Popeye--but from red meat...

...On the LDL-C issue, Krauss has pioneered the research finding that saturated fats do not raise the ‘bad’ kind of LDL particle, which is small and dense; they only raise the ‘good’ kind of particle, which is light and fluffy...

Haspel also neglects to mention that lowering LDL-C via diet has never been shown to reduce cardiovascular mortality, and thus clearly operates in a different way than lowering LDL-C via drugs. In other words, whatever benefits we see from statins, switching butter out for margarine doesn’t have the same biological effect. And saturated fats reliably raise your HDL-cholesterol, the “good” kind, a sign of reducedcardiovascular risk. So in all, between the LDL-C and HDL-C effects, saturated fats could at worst could be considered a wash for heart disease...


WIND: the propaganda against saturated fats continues unabated, and I am glad that Nina Teicholz is around to call out the BS.

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