Starting in 2010, we began to hear about “new research” that invalidated the link between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease. This “new research” was then repackaged in 2014 and again heralded all over the media, such that scientific papers began to reference a supposed new consensus on saturated fat that overthrew the previous understanding.
In fact, there was no new research. The only research that was going on was a technique called meta-analysis. What a meta-analysis does is repackage a bunch of old research as new. What it allows is a complete gaming of the system.
The first of the meta-analyses, one by Siri-Tarino and Krauss, was funded by the dairy industry. It included questionable choices, such as studies that looked only at survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or studies that were designed to look at cancer risk and not cardiovascular risk.
I have recently done a detailed analysis of each individual study. When we look at them all, giving the most generous interpretation, 10 out of 16 unique studies looked at, showed significant results in all enrolled patients that associated more saturated fat in the diet with more heart disease. When we look at the conclusions of the authors in the study, 14 out of 16 showed at least some results that were consistent with saturated fat being linked to heart disease.
So not only can a meta-analysis choose which studies to include, it can also exclude large studies that show things they don’t want to show.
This is not new research, it is cherry-picking.
Even the PURE study, which I have written about earlier this year, did not show lower rates of cardiovascular disease in patients with more saturated fat in their diet, as flawed as it was. But this is the only actual “new research” in this field.
In reality, there is a strong scientific consensus among doctors and scientists who study dietary fats and disease rates that saturated fat is causative of heart disease by raising LDL cholesterol. In addition, replacing saturated fat with whole grains reduces cardiovascular risk significantly.
There is also a strong scientific consensus that LDL cholesterol is a primary cause of heart disease. Both of these consensus statements were published by large committees from both the USA and Europe. Nothing remotely that strong has been published to contravene these ideas.
So please don’t be fooled. Protect your heart by eating a diet low in saturated fat, high in unprocessed plant foods and stay away from the hospital and doctors!