Most of us have the idea ingrained in our brains that fat is bad. And I’m not referring to the fat on our bodies, but the fat in our foods. In the last 100 years it has become common knowledge that to be healthy you need to skimp on butter, bacon, fatty meats, and other food that has naturally occurring fat. In fact, foods that naturally contain fat (i.e. milk) have the fat artificially taken out of the food!
Why did all this begin to happen? And is it necessary to avoid fat?
The diet-heart hypothesis was first proposed in 1953 by Ancel Keys (from the University of Minnesota) stating that dietary fats, including cholesterol, cause heart disease, and by avoiding these foods we can avoid developing heart disease.
To support his theory, Keys carefully (and unscientifically) selected 6 or 7, depending on who you ask, countries (out of the 22 available) that showed a correlation between dietary fat, cholesterol, and heart disease.
This type of scientific research would be similar to trying to prove that asthma was caused by owning a Corvette. First we would finding all the information about people who had asthma and all the people who owned a Corvette. We’d plot the information on a diagram, then selectively delete the dots that are scattered all over to end up with a straight line “proving” Corvettes caused asthma. Ridiculous, right?
Then why do we avoid dietary fat and cholesterol?
Because the authorities were desperate to find the solution to the reason heart disease was increasing and when Keys proposed his hypothesis, it was the ticket they needed. The diet-heart hypothesis is the most researched hypothesis, yet it has never been proven and heart disease continues to raise.
“The late Dr. Russell Smith, an American experimental psychologist, participated in publishing two thorough reviews of the existing scientific data on the diet-heart hypothesis with more than 3,000 references. His conclusion:
‘The current campaign to convince every American to change his or her diet and, in many cases, to initiate the drug ‘therapy’ for life is based on fabrications, erroneous interpretations and/or gross exaggerations of findings and, very importantly, the ignoring of massive amounts of unsupportive data …It does not seem possible that objective scientists without vested interests could ever interpret the literature as supportive …It is depressing to know that billions of dollars and a highly sophisticated medical research system are being wasted chasing windmills.’ “
To support his hypothesis, Keys invented what he termed the Mediterranean Diet stating the heart healthy diet is mainly vegetarian, pastas, olive oil, some cheeses, fruit. But any person who has traveled the Mediterranean knows that their food is not at all the diet Keys suggests. Whether you are in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, or anywhere else near the Mediterranean you will be served plenty of meats, fish, cheese, eggs, butter and nothing low fat.
Let’s look at some specific scientific points:
- In Britain fat consumption has been stable since 1910 while heart attacks have increase 10 times between 1930 and 1970. So in Britain, having heart disease has nothing to do with fat consumption. (Campbell-McBride p. 11)
- Since World War II the Japanese have been eating more and more animal fat, while fewer and fewer of them diet from heart attacks. On top of that, mortality from most diseases decreased in Japan as they ate more animal fat. (Campbell-McBride p. 11)
- In Switzerland, after WWII intake of animal fat increased by 20%, yet the death rate from heart disease steadily decreased. So, on can say that in Switzerland eating more fat helps against heart disease. (Campbell-McBride p. 11)
- In the USA, between 1930 and 1960, mortality from heart disease increased 10 times, while the consumption of animal fat decreased. Just from this data, one can create a hypothesis that reducing animal fat in your food causes heart disease. (Campbell-McBride p. 11)
- Children on low-fat diets suffer from growth problems, failure to thrive and learning disabilities. Incidentally, in children no connection was found between what they eat and their blood cholesterol levels. (Campbell-McBride p. 12)
- Cholesterol protects us from infections. People with low blood cholesterol are more prone to infections, and when they get an infection they have an increased risk of dying from it compared to people with high cholesterol. When people with low cholesterol and suppressed immunity were fed high-cholesterol foods their ability to fight infection was substantially boosted. For centuries before the discovery of antibiotics, a misture of raw egg yolks and cream, very rich in cholesterol, was used as a cure for tuberculosis. Cholesterol supports immunity in laboratory studies by inactivating microbial toxins and assisting various parts of the imune system in fighting infection.