Don't Fear the Fat
There is no research that supports the assumption that lower Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) reduces cardiovascular events or death in people who do not already have heart disease.
However, that has not stopped the drug companies from making billions of dollars from the sale of these drugs for more than 20 years. Research showed that both men and women with lowered cholesterol levels died earlier of all causes, including cardiovascular events. The death rate was five times higher for elderly women with very low cholesterol in a French study reported in the medical journal Lancet.
The bulk of the research that drove the fear of fat came from Ancel Keys, the prominent University of Minnesota professor. In the 1950s, Keys announced a ‘groundbreaking theory’ that was publicised and heralded by the national media to the point that it treated the unproven hypothesis as fact. Keys even made the cover of Time Magazine!
Keys’ basic claim was, ‘You are what you eat.’ He said that if you eat dietary fat – in particular, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol –your body will turn into fat and you’ll develop higher levels of blood cholesterol. He also theorised that elevated blood cholesterol leads to heart disease.
As evidence, he pointed to his ‘Seven Countries Study’, a study of the eating habits of seven countries that seemed to validate the correlation between dietary fats, cholesterol and heart disease. It turns out that Keys’ original study consisted of 22 countries, but he selected the seven countries that supported his theory. In fact, an examination of all the countries shows no evidence that low-fat or low-saturated-fat diets have any health benefits!