A Swiss Investment Bank gets it completely one hundred per cent right

[Yes, that’s right, a Swiss Investment Bank!]

A kind reader of my blog pointed me at a report by Credit Suisse entitled ‘Fat, the New Health Paradigm.’ I suppose I half expected the usual. Saturated fat causes heart disease, cholesterol causes heart disease. ‘We are a respected bank, what the hell did you expect – that we would rock the boat in some way. Don’t be daft.

What seems to have happened is that they actually looked at the evidence in this area and came to the conclusion that the current dietary advice is utter bollocks and is not based on anything at all. I shall start with a few key points from the Introduction:

‘Saturated fat has not been a driver of obesity: fat does not make you fat. At current levels of consumption the most likely culprit behind growing obesity level of the world population is carbohydrates. A second potential factor is solvent-extracted vegetable oils (canola, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil). Globally consumption per capita of these oils increased by 214% between 1961 and 2011 and 169% in the U.S. Increased calories intake—if we use the U.S. as an example—played a role, but please note that carbohydrates and vegetable oils accounted for over 90% of the increase in calorie intake in this period.

A proper review of the so called “fat paradoxes” (France, Israel and Japan) suggests that saturated fats are actually healthy and omega-6 fats, at current levels of consumption in the developed world, are not.

The big concern regarding eating cholesterol-rich foods (e.g. eggs) is completely without foundation. There is basically no link between the cholesterol we eat and the level of cholesterol in our blood. This was already known thirty years ago and has been confirmed time and time again. Eating cholesterol rich foods has no negative effect on health in general or on risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), in particular.

Doctors and patients’ focus on “bad” and “good” cholesterol is superficial at best and most likely misleading. The most mentioned factors that doctors use to assess the risk of CVDs—total blood cholesterol (TC) and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)—are poor indicators of CVD risk. In women in particular, TC has zero predictive value if we look at all causes of death. Low blood cholesterol in men could be as bad as very high cholesterol1.’

At one point they go on to say…

Here is our final hypothesis on why health authorities have remained so certain of their position and unwilling to change their view on saturated fats, omega-6 or carbohydrates:

  1. Health authorities advance very slowly and are afraid to change the market’s status quo (not a wise medical posture).

We have known since the 1960-70s that dietary cholesterol has no influence on blood cholesterol. Yet it took more than fifty years for the USDA/USDHHS to lift recommended upper limits of fat consumption. It took close to 20 years in the U.S.—that was quick—to ban transfats. So we should not look at public health authorities as leading indicators of potential health hazards, but rather as lagging behind.

Bureaucracy tends to move slowly, but when the health risks tied to “incorrect” information are so high, one would hope for swift action and the courage to reverse past mistakes. There was no fundamental reason to move from butter to solvent extracted vegetable oils. If we assume that research was the main reason—as it was claimed at that time—the health authorities now have enough information to change their recommendations, or if still in doubt issue no recommendations.

All quite extraordinary. This report is about as scathing as an organisation like Credit Suisse could possibly be. They have stripped apart the evidence on eating fats and saturated fats. They have come to exactly the same conclusions as I, and many others, have done. When they say:

There was no fundamental reason to move from butter to solvent extracted vegetable oils

That means, there was not one single scrap of evidence. Nothing, zip, nada, zero. So when you see various flower-like margarine manufactures promoting their products as super-healthy…. You know it is just the most complete nonsense. Even a Swiss Investment Bank says so.

And what do they have to say on raised cholesterol levels? Well they have many things to say, mainly that it does not cause heart disease. The shortest summary of their conclusions would be the following:

We can draw the following conclusions:

  1. High cholesterol (above 240mg/dl) (this is 6.2mmol/l) is only a marker of higher cardiovascular death for men. Please note that high cholesterol does not cause heart attacks, it is just a marker.
  2. For all other illnesses, higher cholesterol levels pointed to lower death levels. Why? Because cholesterol helps support, or is a marker of, a better immune system.

I know that this report will be ruthlessly attacked and vilified. Mainly on the basis that it was written by a Bank! And what can bankers possibly know of medical research? How very dare they? My own view on this is that, you know, anyone can read medical research, and if you are in possession of a functioning brain you can also work out what that research is saying.

Indeed, in my opinion, the best placed people to review any form of research are those who do not have a dog in the fight. The authors of this report have no reputations to maintain in medical research. They have no reason to support one side or the other. These people represent an investment bank, and all they are interest in doing is advising their ‘customers’ on what is really true, and what is likely to happen. They are a bit like bookmakers. No emotions involved just ‘what are the odds.’

As they say that odds are, as follows

‘The bottom line of these assumptions is that fat consumption per capita is likely to soar by 23% from now until 2030, protein by 12%, and carbohydrates will likely decline by 2%. This implies annual compound growth of 1.3% for fat consumption, compared to 0.9% over the last fifty years. Total demand for fat will be much higher—43% up for fat or 1.9% a year— given the 16% growth in the global population expected over the next fifteen years.’

Pork bellies are a ‘buy.’ How strange to find myself on the same side of an argument as a Swiss Investment Bank. I would have given you bloody good odds on that yesterday.

1: https://doc.research-and-analytics.csfb.com/docView?language=ENG&source=ulg&format=PDF&document_id=1053247551&serialid=MFT6JQWS%2b4FvvuMDBUQ7v9g4cGa84%2fgpv8mURvaRWdQ%3d

329 thoughts on “A Swiss Investment Bank gets it completely one hundred per cent right

      1. Flyinthesky

        That theory to me goes across the board, self regulatory bodies, from plumbers to medics, always have their own factions best interests at heart. Rarely ours.
        research maybe, policy making, I don’t think so.
        We’re back on the roundabout, Minsters responsible for specific areas rarely have area expertise, they have to rely on selected experts to formulate policy. Human nature dictates that the opinions canvassed will be the most advantageous to the discipline.

      2. Susan

        So true, Fly.
        I have come to consider most of the guidelines we are given about the need for particular tests and medications nothing more than the particular specialty’s income protection plan.

    1. Caroline Magoha

      Thank goodness my Kenyan/Italian heritage has always led me to trust the grans more than research on how to feed my family. Seasonal, fresh local produce in wide variety. If it doesn’t rot, it’s not food, trust the market stall and farmers not the laboratories. No one’s obese in my family.

  1. dearieme

    I do keep saying here that capitalists are not the enemy – all they want to do is make a bit of money. The enemy is bent scientists, who seek power without responsibility (yes, yes, “the prerogative of harlots throughout the ages), and politicians who just love exercising power, especially if they can combine it with moral preening.

    1. Adrian

      Bent scientistS, I object. the dogma was started by a politician wanting to do good and one bad publication. See Taubes, soft science of dietary fat, Science magazine,New Series, Vol. 291, No. 5513 (Mar. 30, 2001), pp. 2536-2541+2543-2545.

      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        In the 1950s the US was gripped with panic about CHD. An apparently sudden epidemic of death that had swept down upon the population. Fear stalked the land… the perfect situation for an egocentric visionary to step in and announce that they had the ANSWER. With no other answers on offer Ancel Keys bent the world of science to his will. The rest, as they say, is history.

      2. mikecawdery

        An even more devastating article:
        Seneff S, et al, Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet, Eur J Intern Med (2011), doi:10.1016/j.ejim.2010.12.017
        by Diminished brain resilience syndrome: A modern day neurological pathology of increased susceptibility to mild brain trauma, concussion, and downstream neurodegeneration
        Wendy A. Morley, Stephanie Seneff

      3. S Merlaud

        Er…. was there not a guy who was right although he was a Brit ?
        Pure white and deadly . Poor Yudkin died “wrong” and ridiculed by Ancel Key-ller

    2. Flyinthesky

      I’m not anti capitalist by any means, however it is to a certain extent that capitalists are in some degree responsible for distorting science. It’s them who pay “scientists” for the right opinion.
      You can’t bend a scientist without sponsorship.

      1. dearieme

        The two great bent science scandals of our time are the Ancel Keys one, and the Global Warmmongering one. I’m darned if I can see any sign of capitalists being behind them. Benefitting from them, yes: initiating them, no.

  2. BobM

    For me, this is an indication of what happens when people who have no agenda and are beholden to no one in this area review the evidence and make recommendations. I agree with you — they got it right.

    Next, I’d like for them to consider which of the following are better predictors of heart disease: 1) any of the myriad of cholesterol markers (HDL, TC, LDL, LDL particle number, “size” of cholesterol, such as pattern A or B, etc.) or 2) markers of insulin resistance? My bet is on the latter, 2). My personal view is that the myriad of cholesterol markers simply indicate an insulin system (and we can include glucagon here too) that’s messed up. Reverse your insulin resistance, you correct your cholesterol markers. Treating a cholesterol marker does nothing to help prevent heart disease.

    Another topic for them: Is (modern) wheat healthy or unhealthy?

    If they need more topics, just let me know. 😉

  3. Gary

    What a fine piece of work is this report, and a breath of fresh air, and from bankers, no less! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Many, if not most, who read you knew all of this already, but the unequivocal language was a refreshing change from the usual blather we hear from our institutions. Here in the U. S. we’re in the middle of our two-year presidential campaign, so nearly everything emitted by those who publish or broadcast is horse doo-doo.

  4. Stephen

    It is odd to be cheering an investment bank, but they can look at this independently and without fear of the consequences. Their criticism of health services for being slow moving and defending the status quo is damning (page 51). Where does ‘health’ come into their priorities?

    I liked the bit of the report that pointed out that no hunter gatherer society had ever been found to be vegetarian. I’ve nothing against veggies but I get a bit fed up with how the fanatics will twist and torture the evidence to bolster a weak argument.

  5. Adriaan Keij

    Great! Everyone: save and print the Swiss Bank publication asap, Unilever c.s. will threaten to move their accounts to a more ‘rubbish food friendly” bank!

  6. tw

    The report has numerous potential investment related implications.

    For pharma, a reevaluation of one of their most popular and lucrative drugs: statins and if the trend takes hold, numerous other drugs may have reduced demand. (Insulin, metformin)

    For health care: shifting food attitudes will put pressure on bloated bureaucracies, reduce demand and costs making these companies potentially more profitable.

    For “big food” a challenging future ahead with oils, sugar and grain the three most important ingredients in their vast portfolios.

    For ag: a potential shift in demand from softs (grain) in favor of meats.

    For beverage makers: sugar a problem and therefore earnings may come under significant pressure.

    Restaurants: fast food may need to fully reevaluate their strategy and offerings.

    Decline in diet related cos in favor of supplement makers.
    etc etc,

    The changes that this report touches on can have major investment implications across numerous industries and potentially improve (to some extent) the budgets of government run programs.

    Investment banks cut to the chase. This is a perfect example of that.

    1. Bil

      I think this is the crux. Medical stupidity combined with money, a deadly (literally) mix. Anyone remember the Black Adder sketch about leeches?

    2. mikecawdery

      To expand the debate there is an excellent book by Prof. Joel Kauffman “MALIGNANT MEDICAL MYTHS“. An example of medical intransigence and blind following of some “expert”. The recent enlightenments on “Study 329” and the 5000% increase in price of one drug do nothing to enhance the integrity of Big Pharma or its shills. But it is everywhere – Volkswagen no less. Trustworthiness and integrity have been replaced by money and status

  7. juliawands

    As you say, perhaps we should start investing in pork bellies (and coconuts, aka oil of the moment). We could at least be laughing all the way to the bank!

  8. John U

    Well, well. How about that. Investment bankers. I often wondered what interest money managers had in the truth behind nutrition. For example, those who are funding the NUSI trials – what is in it for the hedge funds? Probably, having some insight into what foods might be IN and which might be OUT might actually make them some money. If you believe that sales of sugar laden carbs will decrease, then the companies which make such products will suffer revenue decreases. We have already seen some of this when Coca Cola reported lower earning last quarter. I am guessing that taking a “short” position on some of the shares of culprit food producers might bring monetary rewards to investors faster than the companies can change their practices. Such investment actions should prompt political figures to re-access their positions in defending the status quo. It might be very costly for investors to do nothing in the face of the evidence we all see. The future just became more interesting.

  9. Lovely Laura

    What an entertaining read, now we all know to invest our funds in fatty food! Where can I lay my hands on the banks Sugar report?

  10. David Bailey

    That is a wonderful endorsement of the position you have been pushing for so long! I would really hate to be on the orthodox side of this argument (despite the high salary!) because it must be obvious to all that the whole house of cards is going to come tumbling down!

    Even in their personal lives, they are going to experience the blow-back – friends will ask them how this could have happened, and what is the point of medical research that can lead people so horribly astray?

    Why don’t you suggest that Credit Suisse write another report about statins, and maybe even one about HIV/AIDS!

      1. David Bailey

        I think I’d take bets that the medical profession will try to ignore this report if at all possible. I think that as with all these scientific scandals, those with no legs to stand on, can only lose if they get into a debate.
        It seems to me that all these scientific scandals involve some process of ignoring (and NEVER debating with) any of the qualified dissenters. These scandals could never survive genuine debate.

      2. Anne

        Are Credit Suisse big enough to counteract the attacks that are inevitable? Don’t know if their size remotely matches that of say Pepsico, Unilever, and others

      3. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Attacks will not come. Unilever and the like will deal with this report using the tried and trusted technique of completely ignoring it. To fight would be to lose. They know this all too well.

  11. Dr Robin Willcourt

    I went to find the smelling salts after reading this. Perhaps we are seeing a real shift in important places. Earthquakes! So here we have a major financial mover and shaker actually getting it. But here in Australia our institutions are completely stuck with the current dogma. Today, in the 6minute Newsletter, an off-shooit of the Medial Journal of Australia, the headline was ‘Empagliflozin findings the ‘Holy Grail’… yes, a drug being championed as the Holy Grail. It reduces all cause mortality! WOW! Who knew? It is being compared to the fantastic successes of statins. And that says it all!

    The Eminences in Australia have such a stranglehold on information– rubbish like this is put in front of the public every day. The endocrinologists in Australia are so last century. Frustrating.

    1. 005lesfrenes

      Ditto for endocrinologists in the UK and Israel. We should lobby our governments to recognise that Functional Medicine is the future for all chronic illnesses and for maintaining good health.

    2. Milton

      “‘Empagliflozin findings the ‘Holy Grail’… yes, a drug being championed as the Holy Grail. It reduces all cause mortality!”
      I did not scrutinise the paper for mistakes but I see they don’t give the absolute risk reduction for deaths from all causes.
      I suppose it isn’t worth trumpetting.

      1. mikecawdery

        The Holy grail
        empagliflozin SGLT2 inhibitors – New medicines for addressing unmet needs in type 2 diabetes
        Dr Willcourt

        Many thanks for the lead and comments. Very useful

        Australas Med J. 2014; 7(10): 405–415
        Searched paper for mortality one find

        Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic progressive disease associated with considerable morbidity and premature mortality.

        Searched for “all cause” Nothing
        Searched for “death” Nothing

        Searched 4 summaries of other papers on empagliflozin found on Pubmed for “mortality”, “all cause” and “death” and found NOTHING.

        I fear that the “Holy Grail” claimed in the Newsletter is a further example of the “salesman” philosophy of the medical establishment!

    3. mikecawdery

      My encounter with a gliflozin was quite the opposite – acute explosive ejection (EE) to introduce a new medical term! But then the medical establishment is more concerned with money and status – not “First do no Harm”

  12. Lorna

    Ironic that even the ‘establishment’ (Credit Suisse) sees that the cholesterol edifice needs public demolition. Can’t see it happening any time soon though. Sat in a GP waiting room today and there, amongst information about childhood infectious diseases, was a large cholesterol ‘warning’ poster confidently proclaiming that the way to beat heart disease was to get cholesterol tested and under control.
    No mention of diet, exercise or general lifestyle, just the warning about the patient-terrorising, Darth Vader of the arteries: cholesterol.
    May the Force be with Obi One Kendrobi in this battle!

    1. Joanne McCormack

      I am an NHS GP and I have been telling people this thinking on lipids and carbohydrate for 18 months now. I recommend a better diet such as http://www.dietdoctor.com for better all round health.
      I stop statins where I can and people have the courage to stop them(crazy that it takes courage, but such is the level of their indoctrination)
      Direct your GP to Dr Kendrick’s website, to Credit Suisse or even to mine.

      1. mikecawdery

        Zoe Harcombe is also a strong supporter of the anti- cholesterol, saturated fat, locarb fraternity.

        There are so many “black swans” challenging the “official” promotion one really wonders how they can get away with it. But as Dr Kendrick says, they just ignore contrary data. I always check refs in papers to see if the authors address data negative to their views. Usually they don’t. Not what I was taught at the LSH&TM.

      2. Joanne McCormack

        Yes I recommend Zoe Harcombe too. I have been searching for answers for 18 months now and making a list of resources for my patients and colleagues. I have put them on my website so that they can all check them out and form their own opinion.

  13. HotScot

    Tragically, I suspect this report will be buried amongst a ton of bureaucracy, denials, contradictions and scientific gobbledygook that’ll discredit it’s public face. Until, that is, it proves politically advantageous to present the subject as the solution the NHS has been seeking.

    Does anyone think even Jeremy Corbyn would be brave enough to present this for political gain. Oh wait, he’s a Vegan isn’t he? Probably not then.

      1. maryl@2015

        Dr. Kendrick, I am so glad you posted this. I always make investment decisions based on what industries I think will be collapsing and non profitable. And so far, it has served me well. These bankers need to be aware because knowing future trends helps them to invest their assets and those of their customers to ensure adequate returns on investments. The industries that run the world are portfolio driven, no doubt. It is just a fact of life. Seeing economic forecasts and what industries are going to be affected takes some study in order to ensure competition in the marketplace. A sudden and unexpected economic collapse of just one or two big industries can and will have a devastating effect worldwide. They are wise to stay informed.

        This was another fascinating and interesting blog and one people need to hear and brace themselves for. I agree!

      2. Anna

        But I am confused on one point. It does not make sense to me that something would be good for the health in some ways, and bad in others. If cholesterol above 240 is a marker for men, how can it also improve longevity in every other way?

      3. HotScot

        Very true.

        I suspect the game changer will be when people who use the Internet as a source of information (rather than for puerile games or wasting their lives on Facebook) improve their health and are segmented as a research group.

        In my efforts to lose some weight a few years ago I started ‘The Harcombe Diet For Men’ which maintains, as one of its principles, that humans have been eating animal fats for thousands of years without ill effect so we’re pretty used to it by now.

        However it’s all a bit like the global warming debate. Since Al Gores ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was published to universal acceptance, it’s scientific whoppers have been routinely ignored and despite some very sound evidence to the contrary, the world continues to believe we are going to boil in our beds. Much like the 1970’s belief that we were going to all freeze to death come the 21st Century, which was also based on scientific fact……ahem.

        I believe Al Gore has large investments in renewable technology. http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/11/03/blood-and-gore-making-a-killing-on-anti-carbon-investment-hype/

        Sorry for straying off topic but there are similarities between health scares and climate scares, invariably personal profit.

      4. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        I have stayed away from the Climate Change debate for reasons that 1: I know little about it. 2: It seems full of great venom, much heat and little light. However, I like to note similarities in the techniques used to silence debate on the issue. I particularly savour the term climate change ‘denier.’Talk about framing the debate on your own terms. I also enjoy watching a hypothesis alter in front of my eyes. From Global Warming to Climate Change. This follows the well known legal precept. ‘If you are winning an argument tighten it. If you are losing, widen it.’ What could be wider and more difficult to pin down than Climate Change. It means anything you want it to, without the tedious necessity of ever defining it. Watching all this reminds me 100% of the entire cholesterol hypothesis and the battles that I fight.

      5. Flyinthesky

        Malcolm, on climate change, I know, hush my mouth. It’s an even better business model than big pharma’s though it is driven on the same motivation, fear.
        They are now in the enviable position, hence, as you say, the name change, they can now monetise the situation if the temperature goes up, goes down or even stays the same.

      6. mikecawdery

        Way back an actuarial statistician pointed out that statins were a poor solution to CHD
        Lane G. Heart of the Matter. Actuary. August 2011;28-29
        Heart of the matter
        Actuaries should avoid jumping to conclusions about the risk factors associated with
        heart disease, says Garth Lane

      7. John U

        Good comment about not being able to bury the truth. What is also pretty evident today in our connected world is that everything you say in the public domain is being saved and can be reproduced many years later. As such, many public figures who refuse to consider that the “truth” may indeed be worthy of consideration and instead make their riduculous public pronouncements might one day look very foolish if not outright be accused of gross negligence or even fraud. Such is the power of the internet.

  14. gillpurple

    Wonderful and thorough article – curious what the response is going to be from those who prefer to keep their heads in the sand. Some big guns being lined up on the deck right now, I imagine. What I find extraordinary about this is that a bank, who’s business is not dissimilar to casino’s, as Vince Cable used to remind us, has now done something brilliantly socially useful. Not only that but Credit Suisse must surely do a lot of business with Big Pharma – with two big players in Switzerland, Novartis and Roche.

    Will be printing this out and handing it about. This is the sort of “thought leadership” we need more of to weaken the “thought leadership” paid for by Big Pharma.

    1. Bil

      Spend time in Switzerland and you will find that they have a different mind set. By the way, probably the biggest sat fat consumers in the worlld- is there a hint here……

  15. Soul

    Always nice to discover a friendly when unexpected! Hope there are more out there. I can imagine that would be beneficial.
    I say this good naturally but sometimes joke that with investment groups predictions it good to not become overly excited and emotional. All to often it can be best to place bets in the opposite direction of the outcome predicted. Along those lines saw this mention today in the news.

    The “Economissed” Track Record Revisited: Last Month, 82% Of “Experts” Expected A September Fed Hike


  16. foodnstuff

    This is wonderful stuff! But I fear that anyone I refer to it will say, “what do bankers know, they’re not doctors.”
    Thankfully there’s a doctor like you in the system.

    1. Nigella Pressland

      Analysts regularly comment on trends of all descriptions. Analysts at Credit Suisse aren’t doctors, but nor are they coal miners, sugar plantation owners, car manufacturers. That doesn’t stop them doing vast amounts of research & reporting on these things. Generally speaking, analysts reports are considered documents worthy of contemplation by most of the sectors that they comment on.

  17. Susanna

    Totally agree with the comments about Australia! That sound is my head banging on the wall!! The uprising has to come from the people. My GP has changed herviews after some heated discussions. Hard work tho 😦

  18. Cam

    I’m hoping this marks the “tipping point” in the debate. Unlike the medical/nutrition/diet industry, these guys have no vested interest in the debate (other than looking at ways to make money!). They’ve picked up on a growth trend and then (in effect) worked back to see why the trend is emerging – and in doing so seen right through the chimera. It’s been ~40 years in this paradigm but maybe, just maybe, in the next few some of those on the “inside” will start to be brave enough to say “Hang on, what we’ve been saying is wrong”. Then the wall will fall, and fall quickly.

    May the Fat (and lots and lots of veggies) be with you!!

  19. bill

    I also agree that this is a great unequivocal report.
    There is no way to bury this one. I’ve already sent
    it to just about anyone I can think of. Now if they
    just take the time to read all 73 pages…

  20. annielaurie98524

    The report may have been issued by an investment bank, but you can be sure that when Credit Suisse issues a report under their name that has anything to do with science, be it health science or climate change, it has been reviewed by an army of scientists with credentials in the relevant fields. All the more reason for the fuddy-duddy medical-Big Pharma complex to take note. But they won’t until investors start heeding the Credit Suisse advice and that impacts their bottom lines. What are the odds that they will then spin the story to make it appear that they, the fuddy-duddies, made the case that fat is OK?

    1. LeonRover

      Exactly, Stefan.

      These two Credit Suisse reports together form the basis for the newer investment strategy that C Suisse is selling to to high beta (risk taking) fund managers specialising in food companies.

      Sugar Cane with Sugar Beet is OUT as per 2013
      Margarine & High Tech “oils” are OUT as per 2015..

      CR believes that the consuming public will increasingly move against these commodities.

      The demotion of sugar & margarine by CR is neither scientific, medical nor longevity promoting:

      if anything it harks back to the WAPrice segment on 1930’s high Alpine eating.


      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Follow the money….as they say. I must say that I find it a supreme irony that the primary driver against the current nonsense dietary dogma may be financial markets. Nothing to do with the nonsense of trying to do the best for human health just money, money, money. The invisible hand of the market, indeed. Maybe capitalism does work to increase human health and happiness after all…. I need to go and lie down.

      2. LeonRover

        Capitalism is not a driver. However, capitalism is an amplifier of signals & triggers.

        The low saturated fat Ancel-Keys-trigger was amplified by food marketing & capitalism into 30 long year memes of low fat & high sugar.

        The demise of those two memes is now being sold as the wave of the future.
        It is a recognition that new marketing memes & food commodities are required.


        PS It is only marginally less cynical than Big Pharma.

  21. martinedmundson

    Thank you for more information to ‘fight’ the status quo. I’ve managed to halve my Statin prescription by ‘negotiation’, and that was 8 months after a stent being fitted! The ‘Victor Meldrew’ lurking in the background has gone, even I was noticing how ‘grumpy’ I had got. Oh and butter has never tasted so good.

    1. Bil

      Just don’t take them. I had a stent fitted 12 years ago, I am ok on HFLC (oh and alcohol.) I was a long distance runner when I had my heart problem, so was lean and fit. I have used HFLC for twenty years, my need for a stent was due to my dead thyroid- and i mean dead. that hadn’t been diagnosed since I was 16. When I was on statins I couldn’t run for Sh*t, sex was a problem and i had a dead area in my left leg which, thankfully, seems to have come good 5 years after stopping them.. no efficacy, don’t even go there…

  22. John Collis

    I may be making a leap in logic here.

    Considering the report regarding the increasing prevalence of various dementia type syndromes, affecting up to 1 in 3, particularly Alzheimers (vascular and Lewy body dementia are less prevalent)

    It is suggested that this is due to the increased longevity on the one hand with the Alzheimers charity saying on the other that dementia is not inevitable in old age.

    This leads me to ask some questions:
    Is not Alzheimers related to the break down of lipid based inter-cellular barriers in the brain? Does not cholesterol play an important part in the maintenance of those barriers?
    If the answer to both of the above is yes (or even maybe) then this begs the question is there a correlation between the current levels of Alzheimers and significant changes in diet and dietry advice given to that generation?
    Is the prevalence of early onset dementia increasing?
    This then leads to a further question, could this dietry advice be a root cause of the expected increase in the rate of Alzheimer type dementia?

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      You would not be the only person to think such a thing. It is clear that type II diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. It has recently been discovered that type II diabetes reduces cholesterol synthesis in the brain. Cholesterol is essential for the health, and function, of neurons.

      1. John Collis

        Following on from this chain of cause and effect with regards to Type 2 DM and cholesterol synthesis, doesn’t this negate the concept of prescribing statins to everyone with type 2 DM as counter-productive and potentially increasing the likelihood of developing Alzheimer dementia? Working with the basic premise held that cholesterol is responsible for IHD and all the other evils in the world, and the reason for prescribing statins is to reduce the risk of MI/Stroke and thus the potential cost to the NHS. I find it difficult to reconcile this with the potential cost, both in human terms and the NHS bottom line, of the possible increasing rates of Alzheimers in those same patients.
        Another thought crossed my mind, if diet affects people as they grow, what about in utero? If the mother follows a reduced cholesterol/fat diet can this adversely affect the development of the foetal brain and CNS?

      2. Frederica Huxley

        I keep reading that Alzheimer’s is “Type 3 Diabetes”, and that insulin is also made in the brain. Upsetting the balance of cholesterol in the body, not eating good fats and then taxing the production of insulin with a surfeit of sugars seem to create a perfect storm in the brain. Alas, it will take a long time to get the rolling Leviathan of big ag and big pharma to change their ways.

      3. Helen

        Fully functioning thyroid metabolism and the correct treatment (i.e. NOT the current protocol) for hypothyroidism, and also correct treatment (i.e. NOT…etc) of pernicious anaemia and other forms of B12 deficiency, are also vital for the brain. The incidence of both disorders increases from middle age onward.

    2. Stephen Rhodes

      There is a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s Disease, the possession of a variant – the ApoE4 allele – of the Apolipoprotein that transports fats and cholesterol into the brain, two copies being associated with a higher probability of developing the condition.
      A possible mechanism then would be that a low saturated fat/cholesterol diet would exacerbate the restricted flow of fats and cholesterol across the blood/brain barrier.
      On the other hand this allele is associated with a lower incidence of macular degeneration.

  23. Jean

    Thanks for re enforcing this. I’m thoroughly enjoying butter, cream and fat again, but there was still a niggling little seed of doubt. It’s completely gone now!
    I just need to sort out my hypothyroid treatment now!
    Carry on the good work!

    1. 005lesfrenes

      Jean – I can highly recommend http://www.tpauk.co.uk for everything thyroid. If the GP does not recognise hypthyroidism on the grounds that your TSH is below 10 (!), but if your TSH is actually anywhere above 2.5 (!) TPAUK will help you find your way through the maze. There’s all sorts that you can do for yourself.

    1. BobM

      A cholesterol marker is simply a value of a blood test that indicates “cholesterol” levels in some form. The term “cholesterol” is really a misnomer, as what is being tested primarily are lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol and other substances through the blood. Lipoproteins range in size from small to large, and the terminology used to describe them is confusing (for instance, triglyderides are a lipoprotein). As an example, on one of my previous blood tests, I had the following results: total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, LDL particle number, and LDL small, medium, large, pattern, and peak size. I also had Apo(b) and LP(a) measured.

      These are all “markers” of cholesterol, and they go in and out of style, depending on how many studies are done and what the results are. Oh yeah, and whether a drug manufacturer can target one of these in a “beneficial” way.

      I’m mainly getting a test like this done so I can see what happens over time as I reduce my insulin resistance and also to have some ammunition when the cardiologist/general practitioner tells me they want me to take a statin.

      1. Graham

        Thank you.

        Its just that in Dr Kendrick’s summing up he said that in men over a certain age ( which I am ) and with Cholesterol level over 6.2 ( which I have ) then this is one case where risk of CV disease is higher, “although cholesterol is just a marker not a cause”, which I found confusing.

        Otherwise I am a complete convert, and just wish Dr Moseley in his various Horizon programmes recently would come to the same conclusions, instead of blindly accepting the “evidence ” shown and announcing each time his decision to go down the statin road !

      2. Stephen

        Bob, if my reading of Nina Tiecholz, and Volek and Phinney, is correct, don’t all these markers go in the right direction on a low carb diet? I understand the triglyceride level is the most reliable marker for heart disease and it goes down (which is good) on a low carb diet.

        I have no idea what my readings are other than total cholesterol and I don’t know if the sort of detailed cholesterol breakdown you refer to is available in the UK. Beyond curiosity, I’m not sure I care very much. I’ve always been rather sceptical about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol and the bad is okay if it’s fluffy!

      3. BobM

        Stephen, low carb makes “all” these go in the right direction. Most low carb studies indicate HDL goes up, triglycerides go down, and the lipoproteins in general turn from small and dense (worse) to light and fluffy (better). There’s actually a pretty description of these markers at page 27 and beyond in the Credit Suisse article.

        For me, my HDL has gone up (finally!), triglycerides have dropped, but I still have pattern A/B (middle) or B (worse). I also have “high” LP(a) (though two different testing centers list two different levels for this, and also I found conflicting info about this test — up until 2003, the test had a relatively high amount of error, and I found a study indicating my level wasn’t bad!!!).

        Personally, I think this is because of insulin resistance. If you have lower insulin resistance, you’ll get a much better improvement in these markers than will someone like myself (with a higher insulin resistance).

        Also, does making these values “better” through a low carb diet help improve overall odds of death? I believe so, but no studies have been done (that I know of anyway) that are long enough to determine if this is true. I’ve lost almost 50 pounds (US) now and feel much better, so I assume I’m healthier, but who knows?

      4. Stephen

        Bob, an informative and helpful reply.

        It’s about health and quality of life for me. I’m not insulin resistant and feel better on low carb, so I just assume my markers have gone in the right direction. If you’ve lost fifty pounds your health and life must be better.

      5. Flyinthesky

        Graham, You, to me, are falling into the trap. You are exposing yourself to what can really do you some serious harm, worrying about it. The best way to manage your cholesterol, again in my opinion, is not to have it measured.

        Considering the potential harm of medically addressing it and the self harm of worrying about it I would aver that there is no net benefit at all, quite the contrary.

        That said, once fear is out of the bag it takes a lot of confidence and determination to put it back again.

        N.B. all Horizons opinions, information and agendas are “on message” At this moment you will find none of the answers you seek in the main stream media. Maybe soon but not now.
        The media, in the main, don’t report realities, they generate them.

      6. dearieme

        BobM, “they go in and out of style”: we need a musical version.

        It’s been going in and out of style
        But it’s guaranteed to raise a smile
        So may I introduce to you
        The blog you’ve known for all these years
        Malcolm Kendrick’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

    2. David

      It is proposed that ‘high’ that high levels of cholesterol are associated with heart disease though this, as you are aware, is disputed here and elsewhere, although it seems that very high levels may correlate with CHD. It could either be a cause or a marker. A marker means essentially that the high level of cholesterol is caused by the same thing that is leaving men prone to heart attacks. Artificially lowering cholesterol levels will no more reduce your chance of having a heart attack than removing the fuse from you engine warning light will fix your car.

      Unfortunately many studies don’t even bother to measure CHD but rely on cholesterol levels as a marker, even when the data is available.

      1. PeggySue

        I’ve got all confused again – I get what you are saying about the pointlessness of reducing cholesterol, but how can a high level of cholesterol be both associated with better health/longevity AND be caused by the same thing that leaves men prone to heart attacks? After all that has been said, 6.2 sounds ordinarily low to me. I know I’ve missed something fundamental here ….

  24. Lee

    I don’t have a particular axe to grind about saturated fat (I did LCHF for nearly 2 years but found that it made me feel terrible for a couple of hours after every meal and my cycling and running performances both suffered), so this is just a straight question…

    Are carbohydrates in the context of a low fat, low-ish protein type diet really that bad? I’m thining the types of diet of populations that reliy heavily on rice/maize/legumes/vegetables and have little access to meat or refined foods.

    PS. My money is on refined oils, excessive processing and sloth, rather than any whole foods, be they of plant or animal origin.

    1. Graham

      I think its excessive carbs which are not burned off by activity which are the problem.

      Fat alone would not give the energy boost needed for an energetic run or cycle ride

      After all, there are many peoples who are extremely fit and healthy who consume hardly anything but carbs.

      Healthy fats and carbs in moderation are the ideal I believe .

    2. Stephen

      Lee, I’ve seen a talk by Dr Phinney where he says that a minority of people do fine on a higher carb diet. Most people, however, do seem to gain by substantially reducing carbs and increasing natural fats. There seems to be wide agreement that refined vegetable oils are looking bad and I avoid them.

      I’ve tried to find the section in Nina Teicholz’s book where she discusses the so called ‘Asian paradox’. It’s nor referenced, so I can’t find it. I do remember that she points out that those societies ate little or no sugar and tended to be on a very low calorie diet.

      I think there’s plenty of research to show that ‘sloth’ is just a completely inadequate explanation for obesity. It’s one of Zoe Harcombe’s diet myths. In short, it takes a lot of exercise to use relatively few calories and the body simply adjusts. Gary Taubes makes this point repeatedly. Coke and others in the junk food industry have spent a fortune promoting the idea that obesity is due to lack of exercise, so then it’s nothing to do with them. Exercise is good for us, but is inconsequential for weight loss.

      Graham, carbs in moderation may be fine for a lot of people, particularly when they’re younger, but the link with obesity and illness has, I think been convincingly made. There seems to be a lot of advantages in keeping a low insulin level. I also know that cancer cells feed exclusively on glucose, so the precautionary principle applies for me.

      As an aside, the National Institute of Health in America asked a British physicist to look afresh at cancer research because they were so disappointed at the poor progress made in the last forty years. The U.S. spends $200 billion a year on cancer research, yet, with one or two exceptions, this colossal investment has brought little progress. The physicist is Professor Paul Davies and I’ll attach a link to his talk. He believes the genetic malformation theory that has dominated cancer research for many years is wrong. Again, it looks like an outsider with total freedom to think might show us the way. The professor points out that cancer loves sugar. Maybe the cancer field has been as misguided as that of nutrition?

      1. Flyinthesky

        The cancer field is like the cholesterol field it’s 99.9% consensus driven. I don’t think the answer is in the direction the consensus demand we look. More Augean Stables.
        It’s going to take a maverick or two and a very long time.

        As an aside in any other area of research that spent that sort of money and achieved similar results the research would be abandoned.

    3. Flyinthesky

      It would appear to be a conundrum but it isn’t, a lot of people that “rely heavily on rice/maize/legumes/vegetables and have little access to meat or refined foods.” and indeed some of these have the longest lifespans, the essential difference is the volumes available. The availability mainly serves their needs not their desires.

      1. Stephen

        Fly, you’re spot on that failed research in any other area but cancer would have been abandoned years ago. However, a lot of jobs are tied up in the existing paradigm and Governments are frightened to death of messing with this area. The U.S. has spent the equivalent of $200 billion in the last forty years on cancer research. Add on what the rest of the world spends and the lack of progress is astonishing.

        Professor Davies makes the point that if you’re looking in the wrong direction, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend. He also says that most ‘wonder’ cancer drugs either don’t work or extend life by a few weeks. I wonder what the U.S. could have done if they’d spent this some on roads, schools, housing or whatever else they chose.

        Credit to the National Institute of Health for asking a physicist to take a fresh look and financing his project, but perhaps it shouldn’t have taken forty years. About the same amount of time Keys diet-heart hypothesis has been inflicted on us. Actually, Keys has done a lot more damage to public health.

      2. Flyinthesky

        Stephen, “Cancer” the most emotive word on the planet. That’s the reason they all shy away from addressing it. That’s the reason people attack the likes of NICE for trying.
        The emotive is also the aggrandising factor of the health care professions, sorry Malcolm.
        We give huge credence to the health care professionals for something, in my opinion, they know little about.
        Broadly speaking we are still at the stage of cut it out, poison the patient and hope cancer dies first or burn it with radio waves.
        An illustration of this is with my near death experience with it, diagnosed at stage 4. Well what’s the treatment plan chaps, “we’re basically going to throw the kitchen sink at you and see what happens” Verbatim.
        N.B. I have just finished treating myself for a BCC tumour the size of half a snooker ball, not a procedure for the feint hearted I can assure you. No sharp tools, no toxins and no microwaves.

      3. Stephen

        Fly, Professor Davies agrees with you about current ‘treatments’. You’re right again about why politicians don’t touch this: when any wonder drug is deemed too expensive the press scream and the Prime Minister created a separate fund to avoid this sort of press.

    4. Stephen Rhodes

      How many copies of the AMY1 allele do you have?
      You may be genetically predisposed/adapted to eat more complex carbs and need a less carb restricted diet than some who post here.
      Unless I have a good bowlful of jumbo oats (cold soaked in unhomogenised full cream Jersey milk) in the morning my cycling performance suffers too.

      1. Flyinthesky

        Care of radiotherapy I don’t have functioning salivary glands at all, I wonder where that leaves me.
        I wonder if any research has been done on differences between intestinal flora in different races and regions, I think there may be a lot going on there that we know little about, helicobacter pylori springs to mind. How many more are there. This could possibly explain differences in carbohydrate digestion.
        Antibiotic use could also be a contributing factor. Some forty years ago after taking a course of them for a kidney infection I developed ulcerative colitis, fortunately it resolved itself after near a year.
        My wife comes from the generation that were prescribed them like toffees. She suffers from crohn’s disease and has done for thirty years, there is, I’m sure, a connection but it wouldn’t be prudent, for the vested interests, to make it. It’s a great earner as it stands.

    5. BobM

      Lee, I recommend trying again with low carb. There are a bunch of books that help (see the one I posted below). See also something like this (Run on Fat):


      I do wonder if I’d be different had I not eaten so many carbs. I believed in the “authorities” and kept my fat intake very low and my carb intake very high, eating some type of hot cereal for breakfast, pasta for lunch, rice and beans and salsa for dinner, and rice cakes for “dessert”. What if I ate a good amount of meat per day and some tubers or the like? Unfortunately, that’s not the current wisdom and hasn’t been (you’re supposed to eat meat “monthly”) for many years. I also think that once your insulin system is screwed up, it’s difficult to go back to eating anything that’s high carb. It’s taken me years to get to the point where “medium” amount of carbs doesn’t make me woozy.

      Perhaps if they dropped the 45-55% carbs per day to 10-55%, and place emphasis on whole foods only, that might’ve prevented someone like me from getting insulin resistant.

  25. Soul

    I thought this a nice financial article. It’s not an exact match, and about America, but reminded me of the mention in Doctoring Data about the great amount of money spent in health care that does little good. It also reminded me of some German doctors I used to work with. Many years ago when I was healthy enough to work I worked with some German doctors, one being a former medical doctor, that turned business men investors. One complaint of theirs was also how much was spent on health care that does little good, and is taking money away from other sectors that could lead to better worker, and start up business opportunities.

    “The New Shackle of Serfdom: Clinging to Healthcare Insurance”


    Maybe with better dietary habits, as mentioned in the Credit Suisse article, fewer medical expenses will be created. I suppose we can only hope at least.

      1. Soul

        Thanks Gaby and Stephen. I enjoyed watching the video explaining Singapore’s health care system. I’ve seen small write ups in the past on how much less is spent there for medical care, yet having quality care and a long national life expectancy. Imagine a system similar here the US could be a nice improvement over the current expensive health system we have – and sadly imagine it would never be implemented here. It makes to much sense.

    1. Stephen

      Good article, Soul. Whatever the weaknesses of the NHS I wouldn’t swap systems. The U.S. spends double the UK’s GDP on health to get this barmy system.

  26. Nigella

    I don’t think this report will be ignored – certainly not by big business. For my many sins, I used to work in the City both in house & as a consultant in Investor Relations and my experience leads me to believe that firms & their advisors use reports from analysts all the time and they are taken notice of. Trends are endlessly being analysed as companies know that if they are ahead of the game, then they can often get a market share of new initiatives.

    I find it refreshing to see so much evidence well presented in such an objective way. I notice more supermarkets are offering pots of boiled eggs as lunch time snacks, along with ‘protein pots’ and meat based snacks. I’m sure it won’t be long before we see ‘fatbombs’ on the shelves too. (I hope so anyway – it would make my life easier!)

  27. Heidi Cross

    Nearly half a century ago, the health practitioner and writer Adelle Davis advocated staying away from the newly introduced alternatives to butter, namely margarines. Her advice has been shown to be 100% correct. She cited that the stench emanating from a local factory manufacturing margarine was so bad, that she could not open her windows when the wind blew from that direction. It has been the same with trans fats which were added to our foods a long time ago. We are and have been fed bad advice from business and government and they have blood on their hand, as it has killed many in our society and all in the name of profits somewhere along the line, I suspect. If you stick to eating natural foods and in moderation, you can’t go far wrong I guess.

    1. thelastfurlong

      One of our children was an Adelle Davis baby. I had no milk. We made our own formula. It included all sorts of ingredients you couldn’t use nowadays because just about everything “natural” is now polluted with antibiotics/pesticides. Our baby thrived. In those days there seemed to be much less of all the modern curses like allergies, asthma, and childhood obesity. Since then, even dogs have developed allergies! Our dogs ate “scraps”. There was no manufactured pet food – or detergents for that matter.

  28. Barbara B

    I have type 2 diabetes as does my younger brother (I am 68 and he is 62). Neither of us is fat but we probably have the familial type as our mother and her sister also had it. I am female and can control my diabetes by diet alone. Unfortunately, my brother has to take Metformin and other drugs. I believe in the theory that cholesterol is not a danger to our health but my brother believes otherwise (but doesn’t argue the point with me….too diplomatic) He also has high blood pressure (I don’t) so, I suppose for him to change anything (like stopping statins) would be a brave step and could have serious consequences (in his mind) if your theory were to be wrong, so I understand why he still takes them.

    Actually, it was easier for me to stop taking statins as I was in the position that I couldn’t tolerate them anymore, making it a ‘no brainier’ for me to give them up (no problem with my doctor over that decision, by the way, but he still believes in following the Government guidelines, naturally, and accepts the crap he is fed about it being essential to keep one’s cholesterol levels down to prevent heart problems)

    Oh, well, At least I can now enjoy eating real butter (hate that margarine crap!), fat and meat without worrying about my cholesterol levels going up. I have recently been making a big effort to cut down on my carbohydrate intake and, of course, sugar. We will see at my next diabetic checkup if anything has improved.

    Well, I will be sending my brother your latest news from the Swiss bank report but am not sure whether I will get through to him about giving up statins. I have also sent him your other epistles in the past and will continue to send him anymore you post in the future in the hopes that I might persuade him to stop the statins!

    I suppose it is not easy to take that step when the information one is fed about what could happen if one were to NOT taking statins puts the fear of death into one!

      1. munchkin47

        Thanks, Barry, for that interesting website. I shall pass it on to my brother. Also, via that site, I found a very interesting lecture on YouTube by Dr Fung who says that INSULIN is what is making diabetes worse! You can watch it at the following web address …

  29. Steve

    Well, I’m not sure I’m too surprised to see this report. Certain types of investors want to hear about long term trends and will want to put their cash and bet on the future. It may still take a considerable time but reality can’t be ignored forever.

    In the short term I suspect we will hear more of the same ole, same ole from our mainstream institutions.

    Something about eating a balanced diet. The implicit assumption is that we all know what a balanced diet looks like.

    The question as always is what exactly is a balanced diet for a human?

    I wonder if you’re average shark knows what a balanced diet is for them? Perhaps more sea grass will help the digestive system and stop clogging up their gills with nasty fatty things!

    1. Stephen

      Two generations ago a ‘balanced diet’ was to be careful with carbs and eat natural fats. Now the NHS Eatwell plate implies 50-65% carbs and vegetable oils. As the head of NHS England admitted, the guidelines have nothing to do with obesity or diabetes, just heart health. Have a healthy heart and get fat and sick. Now the link with heart disease is discredited but the damaging nonsense remains.

    2. Stephen Rhodes

      You ask “The question as always is what exactly is a balanced diet for a human?”

      The answer is “it depends on what type of human you mean”. We are all the product of our evolution and the subtle differences in our genomes that adapted us to our various ancestral diets.

      Now though, population movements and interbreeding of formerly distinctly geographically ‘hefted’ tribal groups have mixed up our genes mean that there is no longer a diet to which we are ideally adapted.

      Recent research is showing that some of the adaptations do have implications for the diets we should eat. For instance the number of copies of the AMY1 allele (that codes for salivary amylase that breaks down starches into glucose) you have is inversely associated with a predisposition to become obese.

  30. Jean Humphreys

    Thinking of types of fat, when I was in utero, and for quite a few years on, there was food rationing. No I am not going to say people were better fed with the pathetic little bit of butter they were allowed, but will say that once rationing ended we and many others continued to use margarine a lot of the time, since butter was expensive. But that marge bore no relation to the present day abominations – it was mainly animal fat. To be precise, Whale Oil. I wonder what difference it made?

  31. Maureen H

    Two things, first, the big heroes in all of this are the men and women, like us, who have been totally disenchanted with the prevailing dogma and gone our own way, thus setting a trend that was picked up by Credit Suisse. Good on us! True grass roots action.
    Second, I just watched “Run on Fat, Cereal Killers #2” which shows how some high performance athletes, including man/wife team who rowed over a thousand miles (can’t remember the exact milage, could well have been way more through a lot of heavy weather, rowing 14 hours every day. They ate ketogenically (new word?) and outperformed all other similar feats. In that movie Dr. Jeff Volek talks about how he had some discussions with Ancel Keyes when A.K, was 88. Ancel K said he was disappointed that his theories had not stood the test of time, and in fact had been unable to have a paper published that showed that although HDL was a good marker (am I using that word right?) for heart disease it was not a good marker for all cause mortality. And that if you didn’t die of heart disease, something else would carry you off, you don’t live any longer.

    1. David Bailey

      That is a fascinating comment from Ancel Keys, but he must have known all along that if he had to cherry pick his graph, something was wrong with his theory!

    2. Maureen H

      Correction: It was Dr. Stephen Phinney who spoke with Ancel Keyes, not Dr. Volek. Ironic that Keyes set the whole low fat thing in motion and when he had second thoughts many years later, no one would listen. The couple who rowed from California to Hawaii did it in 45 days, a total of 2400 miles, not 1000 as I said before.

  32. BobM

    I’m only about half way through a detailed reading this, but it’s stunning. They demolish pillar upon pillar of common guidance. It’s really shocking. I want to replace the people in the US responsible for our guidelines with the Credit Suisse people. We’d all be much happier, and I wouldn’t have had to live on rice cakes, pasta, brown rice and beans, and other “low fat” nonsense for years.

  33. Terry Colon

    Advertising legend David Ogilvy said something to the effect that great advertising will only sell a bad product once. When people find out how bad it actually is they stop buying. (He just has to be right, Ogilvy is a Scottish name.)

    The low-fat-heart-smart diet hypothesis has had great advertising for some time, only now that people have been using it for a while they’re finding out how lousy it is, both in concept and practice, and are starting to reject it. One assumes Credit Suisse looked at both the medical and market evidence, sees it failing, and so advises clients to invest accordingly.

    Adam Smith said businesses don’t make products better and cheaper out of the goodness of their hearts, but because that’s what customers want, it increases sales, and thus profits. If people are convinced something bad is good, that’s what businesses will sell them. Once people change their minds and want something else, businesses will sell them that. Hopefully more and more people change their minds about low-fat and then the food industry can shift to making actually healthy “healthy” food.

  34. stergio

    Great article. I’ve been thinking about reducing/stopping statins after 30 years use. I have no side effects, I can be sure of, but there are nagging aches and pains (old age no doubt). I had a stent 3 years ago following a sudden onset angina episode. No problems at all since stent.

    I have also been reading about Vit K2 and was pleased to read the report confirm the importance of the ‘grass fed’ source of milk for butter, dairy products and meats (a possible source of K2). According to what little I know about these things, K2 directs calcium away from soft tissue, including arteries where it causes harm to bones and teeth where it is needed.

    Now when I had a stent fitted, the surgeon told me he had to give an extra ‘push’ to break through the calcium. So my question is about the effect of diet and calcium on atherosclerosis.

    When the kindly souls frightened me to death(ish) 30 years ago, put me on statins and a diet that tried not to include any animal fats but pushed me toward vegetable oils and spreads, did they make the situation worse? Have I been on a diet that excluded the K2 and accelerated atherosclerosis and diabetes?

    I know there can be no comment on individual cases so, broadly speaking, should we all wisen up to what Dr Kendrick, et al, and now the Credit Suisse is saying, ditch the statins, eat no more processed foods and fats and cuddle up to our happy grass fed dairy and milk products? Please!

    1. Christine Whitehead

      There is no shortcut to doing your own research and then making your decision. The Credit Suisse report is a very good place to start. It’s a long read but not at all difficult. Best wishes.

  35. Dr Liz Stansbridge

    I eat about 5 eggs a day. I have controlled my T2 diabetes and weight problem by low carbing, high fat.
    It’s not till you follow your glucose meter, that you find the truth. Your meter may not be as accurate as a laboratory glucose, but it does not lie
    Dr K. could you address the role of alcohol in T2 diabetes. A google search reveals puritanical attitudes to alcohol. You yourself tell us that the recommended limits were just made up. T1’s have to be more careful, but I find a couple of glasses of wine reduce my blood sugars by at least 1 mmol, more than Metformin. 1mmol equates to about 10g carb for me. A huge increase in palatability for my diet (in an ideal world, I would eat pasta, bread, fruit. Meat and veg. hold no attraction for me). It produces regular BG’s under 4, but I don’t indulge that often. Never had a hypo in my life. One more thing that we are not being told the truth about.

  36. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

    It seems like the world is at last moving towards my present, though rather recent (6 years), way of living – that’s low carb high fat (LCHF) which may be very beneficial for your health if you like me and my wife have hit the metabolic syndrome, more properly read as insulin resistance. Probably half of the population worldwide is there.

    However my present high fat world has now been severely rocked by closely reading a very chocking, but to me a very significant scientific paper in the lipid research area which tells me that much of the small remains where I still was in agreement with the official lines of nutrition crumbles in front of my eyes.

    The logic in the paper is that those fats by which our 100 trillion cell membranes to a considerable extent are built are unsaturated ones which we get from vegetables and animals and they are good – doesn’t hurt to eat.

    From the paper:

    “There are only two true 18-chain carbon essential fatty acids (EFAs): linoleic acid (LA) with two double bonds and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) with three double bonds. Neither can be manufactured in the body; both must come from food.”

    ALA is omega-3, LA is omega-6.

    The official view, and my own view until very recently, is that omega-6 is bad for you and omega-3 is good. This was one of dogmas that now crumbled and the scientific logic in the paper is to me very convincing in the smashing of this one.

    Another stiff dogma smashed in the paper is about the fish oil supplements (the paper is actually about this) which are supposedly very good for people like me with heart problems but it is just the opposite. Your arteries are actually ageing (nice references here) by such supplements and the arguing in the paper is again so convincing to me that the bottle of fish oil my wife order and actually received yesterday is now in our poison cabinet instead of in my mouth. In hindsight I am also very happy that I have not been using this kind of supplement but very occasionally.

    A great paper but of course (?) retracted.

    Too much at stake?


    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Goran. Don’t panic…. you are still healthy and alive. The important thing (as far as I can establish) is not to eat too much or one, or the other. The balance is important. The ratio should not get too far out of kilter.

      1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

        Well – that is about what is said in the paper.

        His details about the deleterious effects of only 1 gram of EPA and DHA or even less than half a gram of trans fats seems to be “too much” for the cell membranes, especially for the mitochondria to work properly is rather convincing.

        Very interesting reading.

    2. David Bailey


      I’d be cautious about all medical diet research. I think are in the same state as people were hundreds of years ago. They had no science to tell them what to eat, and we have a science that has been perverted and destroyed!

      Once you realise this, the trick is to stop reading these articles and getting that all too familiar moment of panic when you realise that something you have been consuming is on someone’s list of bad foods!

      The worry is probably far more damaging to your body!

      1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg


        I agree with you and Malcolm and I am more than aware of the nonsense hidden in most (?) of medical papers and especially the epidemiological ones in the nutrition ‘science’. Otherwise I wouldn’t have exposed my family to the opposite to what is officially proclaimed.

        Still I find this overview paper intriguing since it has in my eyes a convincing explanatory power that fits into my present general picture arrived at after sceptical reading about the official nonsense for six years now. When that happens I have a sense of ‘science’.

        Please take a look into the paper and see if you can find any obvious ‘weaknesses’ which might have passed myself unnoticed.

      1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg


        Thank you very much for pointing this out. I may now bring out the fish oil bottle from our poison cabinet.

        Funny that this person Peskin without any ‘medical credentials’ could write such a paper which took a person like Ian Garber, who has worked within the lipid disorder field, some serious efforts to disclose. Since it was such a controversial paper the assumption that it had been severely reviewed by the journal was near at hand for me. I guess that the publishing activities I am used to in my own field of metallurgical research is infinitely more innocent than in the medical field, e.g. I have never since a conflict of interest statement in a paper since this is obvious from the affiliation of the authors

        I am now really embarrassed that I was so easily carried away by this seemingly scientific paper in the lipid field. I guess my low threshold here has something to do with the fact that I have today lost most of the confidence I once had in the medical field and especially about what the nutritional establishment has advocated about the dangers about fat for so long time so why could not fish oil supplement also be a ‘scam’. Passing the threshold, the retraction part of the story just fit into my view of the present corruption in the medical field.

        I also checked up on Peskin and a small question-mark came up about the ‘No conflict of interest’ together with peskinpharma.com web address. I also found the empty PEO web-site and part of my present embarrassment is that I did not follow this up as Ian Graber did. It should have sounded a large alarm bell for me as well.

        To me, the now very evident quackery of Peskin is though pretty elaborate since he in my eyes produced a convincing logic around the oxidation of fats, especially the very poly-unsaturated ones EPA and DHA, which made it plausible to me that he was ‘well read’ in the field and definitely more than I am.

        When you contemplate what a single person like Peskin with his ‘outside’ background can produce in the field of nutrition in terms of rather sophisticated quackery it is easy to visualise the possibility of extremely more sophisticated ‘quackery’ that huge pharmatheutical companies are capable of – and get away with.

        Thank you again Stephen

      2. David Bailey


        Thanks for finding that amazing link! Everyone should read your link, because it illustrates just how corrupt medical research has become. Goran, I hope your fish oil is back on the shelf where it belongs!

        What amazes me, is that utterly corrupt practices of this sort go on, and nobody gets prosecuted, let alone jailed. The bogus website mentioned in the explanation of the retraction is still visible:


        This tale reminds me of a newspaper article I read some time ago, claiming that taking omega-3 raised the risk of prostate cancer considerably. I should have kept a note – I wonder if it originates from the same source.

      3. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Medical research has become a complete disaster for humankind. The problem is, as with any human system, there is no external system to police it. Whilst journals may claim that they do x and y, they have no real powers to enforce anything. The solution is, as I have said before, a massive task and no-one seems willing to even look at it.

      4. David

        “There is simply no one better in the 21st century
        at developing practical health-related solutions based on the world’s leading medical and
        nutritional science.
        “Science — Not opinion” is Brian’s trademark.
        When Brian is through explaining a topic it is “case closed!” When he says it, you
        “can take the information to the bank!”
        Unlike most of his peers’ recommendations, Brian’s health and
        nutritional recommendations have stood the test of time.
        Brian has never had to reverse or significantly alter any of his medical reports—reports
        that have tackled everything from the dangers of soy, to the wrongly
        popularized need for fiber in the diet, to his warning about the potential
        harm of supplementing with copious amounts of omega-3.”

        http://www.peskinpharma.com/Cardiology/CrestorFailureCAMB.pdf :¬)

  37. 005lesfrenes

    Ha ha ha, the Swiss eat so much hard yellow cheese and other milk products (just think of Raclette, Fondue, the baked potato and cheese dishes, or cheese pies and tarts, or simple cheese on toast), and dried meats and sausages, and mountains of chocolate (it’s true). Their industry depends on these foods so it makes sense that a banker will not only support it but promote anything that preserves it and the long traditions of eating these foods. They are a way of life and have been for millennia. All the goodness of the grass they eat (mountain alps get sprayed only by the rain) goes into the milk and meat (think of vitamins A, D and K2 for example). The Swiss tend to be much slimmer than other Europeans, although in the last ten or fifteen years, since junk food has appeared on the shop shelves, I’ve noticed people, especially children, getting fatter. The Swiss excercise a lot – walking, running, hiking, cycling, skiing and snowboarding, rowing, rock-climbing, tennis (of course), and team sports, and they do not eat between meals. They sit down for a main meal at lunch and they take their time over it. Bump into anyone just before noon and they wish you “Bon appetite” (in the Suisse Romande in any case). At 12 noon sharp, businesses close and off they go for their calorie rich lunch with wine and a coffee to finish at a local restaurant (using their lunch vouchers). No sandwich malarky in the common room for them. So it is a proud moment, I think, for a bank to produce this information, as it will choose which industries to support with loans.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Switzerland. Second highest saturated fat intake in Europe 15.3% of total calories. Average total cholesterol 6.4mmol/l. Second lowest rate of heart disease in Europe, about one quarter the rate in the UK. Absolute proof that the diet-heart LDL cholesterol hypothesis is bunk.

      1. 005lesfrenes

        Well put, and brilliant that you posted this research from Credit Suisse. I noticed in it that the countries with the lowest heart disease deaths in Europe are also the smallest, the richest, ones that are neutral and have no armies (San Marino, Liechtenstein etc.) where the residents presumably have no worries about political threats or survival threats and enjoy a high standard of living in beautiful surroundings. I also noticed that some of the poorer, ex-Communist European countries have the highest rates of cardio vascular disease and death. The poorer Southern European countries fared better, perhaps due to high levels of sun exposure, outdoor sociable living, consumption of red wine and olive oil and ripe vegetables and fruits (non-irradiated). And beach-going and sea swimming and walking barefoot.

      2. Flyinthesky

        005, This does tend to reinforce Malcolm’s hypothesis that the biggest cause of CVD is stress.
        The continual stress levels in former soviet bloc nations would be far greater than we could imagine. Similarly the southern Europeans. We give the credit to the mediterranean diet for their longevity where it is at least, if not more so, the laid back lifestyle.

      3. BobM

        By the way, why do none of the studies ever list the Germans? Does no one study them? They seem to be the antithesis of low fat and unprocessed foods, as breakfast is sliced/prepared/processed meat and cheese, and lunch/dinner is more processed meat (eg, sausages). Perhaps no one studies them, as the Germans would be yet another “paradox”?

      4. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        The Germans have been studied. They are present in the WHO MONICA statistics. You are right, however, they are another paradox. Although not as paradoxical as the French, or the Swiss. Paradox-lite, perhaps.

    2. anglosvizzera

      These were my thoughts on reading the paper – I thought there must be a reason why an investment bank would want to promote saturated fat!! As I have family over there (my dad was Swiss) I can vouch for the above but also that my Swiss nephew and his wife are always tipping me off about the latest ‘health advice’ that they’ve heard, sometimes years before the British public get to hear about it in any serious context.

      1. 005lesfrenes

        Yes, they have minds of their own and do not always get swept up by popular trends. The Swiss have long traditions, rural economies that have survived modernisation by holding on to those traditions. I am always so grateful, when I go to Switzerland, that despite their wealth as a country, they know the value of well established habits, and simplicity, that have served them so well. It is a country whose people live with nature, not against it, and they appreciate what they have. It takes hard work, but the Swiss are not averse to hard graft. When cows graze on alpine meadows they feel happy, and the milk they produce is full of goodness, with ready made vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. A healthy micro-biome can digest the proteins and fats, especially when the milk has undergone fermentation to become cheese or yoghurt. The best are the non-pasteurised products, but that’s another story, isn’t it? And a happy cow produces wonderful meat that tastes of the earth and grass the cow fed on. The Swiss grown food in Switzerland is second to none in my opinion, even the non-organic. Lucky and clever people, the Swiss.

  38. Craig

    Very encouraging news! Hopefully life insurance and health insurance companies would be paying attention to a report like this or doing their own complementary research that will lead to further good changes.

    Goran, there is plenty of linoleic acid in eggs and chicken, even beef suet contains approx 3% pufa and 32% mufa. No seeds need ever be harmed in the interest of a healthy diet.


    1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg


      I am also aware of this fact to which many vegetarians though are astonished to realise.

      So I don’t see any needs to turn into any vegetarianism.

      Still the saturated fats are to me optimum and innocent fuel when carbs are out for insulin reasons. As far as I understand this paper the EPA and DHA seems to block the proper use use of fat as fuel in our mitochondria even if I don’t understand the minutes of the mechanisms discussed which also reminds me of Prof Seyfried’s concerns about the energy metabolism in the mitochondria and the cancer.

      1. Andrew Ward

        A lot of people dismiss Professor Peskin, but I for one believe that his research makes sense. I was on a high dose of fish oil (prescribed by “the Lipid Clinic”) and started to get dry skin around my eyes and literally clumps of dry skin on my head that my barber noticed. I read up on why that might be and came across Peskin’s research. When it became obvious that the skin has virtually no DHA in it, and that fish oil is a pharmacological overload of DHA and EPA, I switched to hemp seed oil and the skin problem went away. I think that he did a service by bringing attention to Essential Fatty Acids and reminding us of Otto Warburg’s Nobel Prize winning research in the thirties.

  39. Kay

    Craig: “No seeds need ever be harmed in the interest of a healthy diet.” (I chuckled.)

    Craig and Gören: I long ago stopped trying to micro-manage my intake of types and percentages of fats. Natural fats are rarely simply. Although the Swiss study, like many other publications, lists pork fat [lard] under the saturated fat heading, pork fat is actually about 50% monounsaturated, and about 10% polyunsaturated (Enig: “Know your Fats,” p 135).

    Cod liver oil is considred to be a source — among other things — of EPA and DHA. According to Enig (p. 137), the “typical fatty acid composition for cod liver oil is 4 percent myristic acid, 14 percent palmitic acid, 12 percent palmitoleic acid, 3 percent stearic acid, 22 percent oleic acid, 1 percent linoleic acid, 1 percent stearidonic acid, 12 perent gadoleic acid, 7 percent eicosapentaetoic acid, 11 percent cetoleic acid, and 7 percent docosaheaenoic acid.”

    So, I eat mosty animal foods — but no extracted supplements — and let the percentages fall where they will.

    1. BobM

      I agree with you as to your diet. I do eat more fish now than I used to, though. I also eat a “fatty” diet; I try to keep my daily intake of fat 75% or more by calories.

  40. Pingback: Important Health Information from a A Swiss Investment Bank

  41. Craig

    Goran, that does sound a bit fishy to me if you’ll excuse the pun. Brains contain a lot of DHA which means that I want plenty of it in my brain and also that you get it in your diet by eating brains. 100g of brain also contains about 1000% of your daily cholesterol requirement accroding to one of the nutrition websites ( so probably less) — a little bit would go a long way.


      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Goran. Ancel keys fooled billions for decades. We see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear. Tis human nature. Science should be our refuge from our terribly human fallibility, but very often it is not.

    1. mikecawdery

      CJD in humans, a prion disease, akin to scrapie and Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), has been shown to be transmitted by eating brains. BSE was reputed to have been caused by feeding animal waste to cattle. On the other hand eating sheeps’ brains has long been considered a delicacy (particularly in France) and scrapie has been around for centuries.

  42. Stephen

    The Credit Suisse report provides one step forward, but Ancel Keys’ legacy is deeply entrenched.

    Whilst on my way to Headingley, Leeds, this morning to watch Yorkshire win the County Championship, I heard an item about breast cancer on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’. Professor Mohammed Keshgar has published a book called ‘The Breast Cancer Cookbook’. Apparently he’s a cancer specialist at the Royal Free Hospital in London. The good professor explained that saturated fat should be avoided and, although dairy was fine, milk should be skimmed or semi skimmed. The low-fat dogma is still dominant and still being promoted to women worried about this disease.

    How high do the obesity and diabetes rates have to get before the NHS has the courage to think again.

  43. mikecawdery

    Dr Kendrick

    Once again you have thrown a spanner in the works of the medical establishment for which I am trully grateful. I would be wary of “dirty tricks”. High powered international commercial institutions are not too concerned about morals, as the Banks, Big Pharma, Energy giants and now the motor industry have shown based on huge dollar fines imposed on them (or about to be).

    I would really appreciate your view on the following study.

    The IMPROVE-IT Study, the extension to the Enhance Study
    (N Engl J Med. 2008 Apr 3;358(14):1431-43. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0800742. Epub 2008 Mar 30. Simvastatin with or without ezetimibe in familial hypercholesterolemia.
    Kastelein JJ et al) has been published.

    Ezetimibe Added to Statin Therapy after Acute Coronary
    Christopher P. Cannon, M.D., et al

    n engl j med 372;25 nejm.org June 18, 2015

    Proof That Lower Is Better — LDL Cholesterol
    and IMPROVE-IT
    John A. Jarcho, M.D., and John F. Keaney, Jr., M.D.
    n engl j med 372;25 nejm.org June 18, 2015

    I would love to read Dr. Michel de Lorgeril’s view on this new simvastatin/ezetimibe combo study. He was very critical of the original study (ENHANCE).

    I have looked at the this new report and from Table 2 I extracted the following:
    Ezetimibe and Statin after Acute Coronary Syndromes

    Simvastatin Simvastatin– Hazard Ratio p =
    Monotherapy Ezetimibe Value
    (N = 9077) (N = 9067) (95% CI)

    no. of patients (%)

    Tertiary end points†
    Death from any cause 1231 (15.3) 1215 (15.4) 0.99(0.91–1.07) 0.78
    1231/9077 = 13.56 1215/9067 = 13.40
    Death from cardiovascular 538 (6.8) 537 (6.9) 1.00 (0.89–1.13) 1.00
    causes 538/9077 = 5.92 537/9067 = 5.92

    Death from coronary heart 461 (5.8) 440 (5.7) 0.96(0.84–1.09) 0.50
    disease 461/9077 = 4.91 440/9067 4.85

    Please note the “p” values
    Also while the “events” are given as numbers but the percentage is given as a Kaplan-Meier 7 year estimate, BUT as an estimate</b? the CI limits should also be given. The Kaplan-Meier procedure provides these.

  44. Stephen

    The high rates of heart disease in Eastern Europe must also be influenced by their extremely high rates of smoking. They smoke like proverbial chimneys. The Credit Suisse report regards smoking (and excessive drinking) as the likely cause of heart disease in America that Ancel Keys blamed on saturated fat.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      The Japanese smoke like mad…very low rates of heart disease. Although I do agree that smoking is damaging. I think of it as an ‘accelerator’ in that in countries with high rates of CVD, smoking is very bad. In countries with lower rates, smoking is far less bad. It probably doubles risk. So, if your risk is 5 it goes up to 10. But if your risk is 100 it goes up to 200. (I have no good evidence for this statement, but I believe it to be likely close to true).

      1. mikecawdery

        I seem to remember that back in the late 50s pipe rural smokers had a lower incidence of lung cancer than city dwelling non-smokers.

        Personally, I would prefer to take your view rather than the Big Pharma/medical establishment “research”. Too much money and status involved with the later! In fact, any study which is not subject to detailed data review as in Study 329 must be considered flawed. Why else would all data be hidden?

        Incidentally, if one is not working for Big Pharma but a tax-payer funded University then one’s data is really the property of the tax-payer. Of course, if one is working for Big Pharma the data is indeed the property of the funder. But as the adage goes “one cannot have the cake and eat it”. Researchers must make their minds as to whom they work for.

      2. David Bailey

        Does it cause all the other diseases in the Japanese, like lung cancer and emphysema, etc? I not, maybe they don’t inhale!

    2. mikecawdery

      As the WHO-EU-Monica survey showed the East European countries also had a very high carb intake. The combination clearly is very good at causing CVD

      1. Stephen

        Dr Willcourt, where do we get vitamin K2? Is it the Cinderella vitamin? Never heard of it and it’s not listed on a multi-vitamin label that I checked. K1 is listed.

    1. Joanne McCormack

      Perhaps the Diamond YouTube clip will help my GP colleagues come to the very unpleasant realisation : we have all been conned in relation to saturated fat and cholesterol and statins.
      I no longer regard Dr Kendrick as a maverick- I regard him as a realist.

      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Joanne, thanks. It was good to meet you the other day. I like to think of myself as someone who just tries to see things for what they are, not for what others would like us to believe they are. The great problem is that we are up against half truths. ‘The half-truth is the most dangerous form of lie, because it can be defended in part by incontestable logic. Wherever the body of learning is broken up, the fragments become partial truths. We live in a day of partial truths; and until we remedy the condition we must suffer the inevitable consequences of division.’ Manly P. Hall

      2. McCormack Joanne (NHS WARRINGTON CCG)

        Hi Malcolm
        It was good to meet you too.
        It’s very hard to see through the half truths unless you take the time as a health professional or lay person to analyse what is a complex situation. What made me read your Cholesterol Con book was the very intriguing and public disagreement between our leaders over the Qrisk level at which statins should start, the fact that no legal proceedings occurred over the allegations of impropriety, and the fact that the government silently dropped most of the cholesterol targets. Your book started me off on my quest to discover the truth, and following that I searched for any counter arguments. I have found many other sources that have backed up your assertions and no credible ones to make me believe again that eating saturated fat is bad, high cholesterol is harmful, or that a low fat diet is healthier than a high fat low carb one. I don’t stop looking but I haven’t found an impressive counter argument yet. I’ve put together a very simple website for patients with my sources. The doctors at my last practice agreed with my analysis of the situation as it stands, so it was easy to bring it up with each patient and discuss coming off statins. In other practices there a cast iron belief in statins because of the relentless positive messages from adverts and meetings. There is also a deep respect for the doctors who have carried out the research and the possibility of laypeople/ journalists/GPs knowing better is discounted. I spoke to a colleague on Friday and said I could not make a counter argument to your assertions re statins and asked for my colleague’s opinion. He said it was well established that statins saved lives and that you did not present a balanced view of the research. This was not a valid argument as he had not read your books, although several patients had come along with them, and been quoting from them.
        We were nearly all brainwashed by the drug companies- I certainly was- and many of my colleagues still are. We like to think we see things as they are but research proves many of us do not. Even as I was reading your book I was aware of a sort of cognitive dissonance, an inward ‘la la la’ trying to stop my mind from changing. When I took the time to think, however, my mind did gradually open, and I was able to see through the half truths.
        I have since been on a continual journey to lead my patients, colleagues, friends and family to open their minds and consider the possibility that they too have been conned.

        Sent from my iPhone

      3. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        You did the hardest thing in the world. You changed your mind. Once you have done so you become the one eyed man in the land of the blind. You wonder how on Earth it can be that some many people continue to believe in something that is so clearly wrong. Then you come to realize that believing in things that are wrong is virtually the default position of the human brain. Particularly, it seems, the human doctor brain.

      4. joanne mccormack

        Thank you for understanding.
        That is so true- a one eyed man in a world of the blind, or a Cassandra. Increasingly however, I meet people for whom it clicks. The retired physiologist I met on Saturday night, or the woman with SLE I spoke to yesterday, or my scientist brother who has cured his health problems with low carb high fat, or my friend with PCOS who has been cured through LCHF too. I remember thinking that Dr Perlmutter was exaggerating about the health improvements gained, but I now know he was spot on.

      5. mikecawdery

        Dr McCormack,

        A quote: …well established that statins saved lives ..

        Indeed that is true. The HPS study, (Collins et al) showed that simvastatin significantly saved lives but when the actual number “saved” is examined it is simply 3/1000 per year. This has been confirmed by Dr Collins in a recent statement If 3 million treated, then 10,000 lives will be saved a year. By simple arithmetic this is reduced to 1 life saved in every 300 treated. Now this is not an earth shattering level of efficacy by any standard except possibly that of a drug salesman. Add to this the possibility of adverse reactions (and some very nasty ones) at 20% (200/1000 treated), I am personally at a loss to understand how very intelligent people find statins to be of such value. Indeed, after the revelations presented on this blog (study 329; significantly wrong interpretation of BP data etc.,) I find it difficult to believe any study sponsored by Big Pharma unless all the data has been subject to the same rigorous, independent assessment as GSK’s Study 329!

        Prof Peter Gotzsche’s book Deadly Medicines…… further confirms my view!

      6. joanne mccormack

        Thank you for pointing out the real results, which would not have persuaded anyone to prescribe a statin. We have been fooled by the statistics and the emotion surrounding disease and death by people who want to make a profit or a reputation or both. Now that the scales have fallen off my eyes I am refining my plans for the way forward and so deciding how I can play my part and help to put things right.

      7. mikecawdery

        Dr Kendrick

        The word “saved” was in inverted commas. I have long accepted your view on “saving”. From conception the probability of death must be 1.000000000000000000000000000000000000

      1. Adriaan Keij

        Professor Izadpanah said: “People at high risk of heart disease can reduce this risk by taking statins.” Prof still sleeping? Statins DON’T really reduce the risk I think.

      1. Barry

        Stephan, with reference to your question about vitamin K2 you’ll find a lot of information here: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/on-the-trail-of-the-elusive-x-factor-a-sixty-two-year-old-mystery-finally-solved/ and here: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-K. Have a look at this clip on Dr Mercola’s site (yes, he pushes his products too much but look past that and there is interesting information to be found) http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx.
        Obviously you can buy supplements but, of the cheeses, there are two that stand out as having particularly high K2 content (approx. 75 mcg per 30 grams) – Brie and Gouda (due to the bateria used to produce them). Beware that you get decent Brie http://www.cheese.com/brie/ and Gouda http://www.cheese.com/gouda/.
        If you are supplementing vitamin D (a good idea at our latitude how that it’s impossible to get adequate UVB until next year) you should be consuming at least 50 mcg of K2 for every 5000 IU of vitamin D.
        Hope this is of assistance to you.

    1. mikecawdery

      Incredible isn’t it. But it shows how the US is truly governed by corporate America and their paid politicians. They all become millionaires once elected, even Presidents.

  45. Rebecca

    Interesting that Dr. Kendrick is blocking my comment that the real scientific evidence against trans fats is actually quite weak. Why does he block it?

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Rebecca. I don’t block any comments, unless they are personally insulting, adverts, or full out bonkers. I am simply me. I work full time, I write books, I write a blog, I get five hundred e-mails a day and around sixty comments. Sometimes I miss things.

      1. Rebecca

        Dr. Kendrick, I apologize. I was posting in two different threads (this one and the last one) and didn’t realize it. It is all my fault. Sorry for my completely unjustified suspicion/accusation.

  46. Rebecca

    As previously mentioned, trans fats are a natural part of dairy and meat products. Even African tribes that consume lots of trans fats (way more than e.g. the US population), are perfectly healthy.

    The dairy association even did studies which confirmed that dairy trans fats are perfectly fine.

    Why is this? Because the whole trans fat vilification is based on false correlations: people who consume their 2g trans fats from junk food also consume lots and lots of sugar and pro-inflammatory omega 6 seed oils: the real culprits!

    Interesting Dr. Kendrick seems to ignore this inconvenient truth…

    1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

      Interesting comment about trans fats though I doubt that Malcolm blocks any serious comments. All comments on this blog are though moderated and it can take some time before they appear.

      I agree with you about the presence of trans fats in animal products and that they are probably not harmful and that the omega 6 vegetable shorter chain fats seem to be the real culprit and as often when taken in excess.

      As far as I have understood this is that the heat processing of the vegetable oils produces a lot of these trans fats and as long as they are are not saturated with hydrogen at the same time they are still the same omega 6 PUFAs and are as such incorporated into our cell membranes. My present believes are that due to fact that they have turned into straight molecules with a higher melting point they modify the stiffness of these membranes.

      There is a lot we don’t know about these fats and their role in our physiology.

      1. Barry

        I don’t know where Rebecca is obtaining her information on trans fatty acids but according to Mary Enig the trans fats in ruminant fats are not the same as those found in processed “food”- nor are they found in anything like the same concentrations (2 to 5% vs. 50 to 60% plus in processed vegetable oils). For those that have her book the section on trans fatty acids starts on page 38 and for those that don’t a very short overview (quoting Mary Enig) “The major trans fatty acids in ruminant fats have a double bond in the Delta-11 position. This 18 bond trans fatty acid has been given the name of trans-vaccenic acid and it is a precursor to conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is reported to be ant carcinogenic (Chin et al 1992).”
        She goes on to say “The major trans fatty acids in the partially hydrogenated vegetable fats have their double bonds in the delta-8,-9,-10-11, and -12 positions. The trans delta-9 position has been identified as a health problem fatty acid by much research. The common name given this 18 carbon trans fatty acid is elaidic acid. Health questions about the trans delta-9,-10, and -12 have also been raised. The combined trans delta-9,-10, and -12 usually make up half or more of the total trans on partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These same trans usually make up about one fifth of the total trans in ruminant fats.”
        So there are 2 to 5% of healthy natural trans fatty acid in a natural food vs. 25 to 30% plus unhealthy/questionable trans fatty acids in processed “food”.
        We are back to the fundamental problem with the modern diet – too little natural unadulterated food and far too much processed junk where the emphasis is on shelf life, taste (sugar and/or flavour enhancers) and profit. Plus, as often pointed out on this blog there are many people that think they are eating healthily (following “expert” advice) but are in fact doing themselves harm by avoiding natural foods that we have evolved to eat.

      2. Rebecca

        Exactly. That’s why it is rather strange they (e.g. the US FDA) ban trans fats even though there is precisely zero biochemical evidence against them, while they continue tolerating sugar/fructose and Omega-6 seed oils when there is lots of biochemical evidence against them.

        My suspicion: the trans fat craze is a scapegoat. The FDA (and its parrots in the UK, Europa, Australia) doesn’t want to harm the real interests of the sugar, corn, soy industries, and neither of the pharmaceutical industry. Precisely because they KNOW trans fats are harmless, they ban it, while they leave soy oil and corn oil and HFCS untouched.

        Plus, it is shocking how “everybody” seems to agree on the “dangers” of trans fats when nobody looked at the real evidence (or lack thereof). Looks like we haven’t learned anything since the 1960s and the vilification of cholesterol and saturated fat………

        I apologize to Dr. Kendrick if I unjustly accused him of blocking my initial comment. I was simply surprised that it didn’t appear even when more recent comments got posted. I hope he doesn’t consider my skeptical view as “full out bonkers”. Even though this is how Ancel Keys and colleagues liked to view Yudkin, Cleave, Ravnskov etc.

      3. Rebecca

        Barry, see below for my discussion of the difference between vaccenic and elaidic trans fats. Problem is, we don’t have “much research” (Mary Enig) against elaidic trans fats.

        The raising of cholesterol is nothing bad, the pro-inflammatory effect (via eicosanoids) is not any different from linoleic and arachidonic acids (from which trans fats are made).

      1. Rebecca

        Stephen, see my comment below on the difference between natural and artificial trans fats.

        I would in fact expect trans fats to have protective properties, because they are structurally similar to saturated fat (and therefore more stable, less oxidizable), which is protective.

        Thing is, we currently have no biochemical evidence artificial trans fats are any worse than Omega-6 seed oils, from which they are produced.

    2. Stephen

      Rebecca, you raise an interest point and I think people here will appreciate that. But to make over quick accusations of being ‘blocked’ and then saying an open-minded, busy doctor is ignoring something shows poor judgement. A bit hasty, wouldn’t you say?

      I’ve never heard anyone have a good word for trans fats, so your input is welcome and interesting.

  47. Rebecca

    It’s important to recall what the allegations against trans fats actually are. There are two allegations:

    1) They raise serum cholerstol (compared to cis PUFA)
    2) They drive systemic low-grade inflammation

    The first allegation is of course the same that has been raised against saturated fat, and for the same reason: trans fats are structurally similar to saturated fats and therefore more stable than cis PUFA, which is why they stay longer in blood circulation and raise cholesterol. However, we know for decades that this is not a bad thing, but a *good* thing! And yet the same pro satfat-people all of a sudden claim trans fats are bad!

    The second allegation is of course the same that is raised against Omega-6 cis PUFA, and for the same reason: Omega-6 are well-known to be pro-inflammatory, and trans fats are mostly produced from soy and corn and sunflower oil, i.e. Omega-6 PUFA! And yet people decry trans fats but continue praising “healthy” PUFA seed oils (because of their cholesterol lowering!).

    So you see, the case against trans fats, which are a natural part of human diets anyway thanks to dairy and meat, is as weak as it can get. It was all based on ridiculous junk food correlation studies.

    1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg


      Thank you for your very competent insights into the trans fat issue. Really ‘food for thoughts’!

      I guess you are more familiar than me with dr. Fred Kummerow’s life long research on this issue when he at age 99 finally decided to sue FDA about their hesitation to ban the trans fats. What is your opinion about his research, is ha as carried away as I myself evidently is capable of?

      1. Rebecca

        His research is great, but I presume that he put the blame that belongs to excess Omega-6 PUFA on trans fats. Though if you read his most recent paper, you see that he mentions seed oils as one of the three main drivers of heart disease (together with smoking and oxysterol consumption; he forgot sugar/fructose), but not trans fats.

    2. Eric Thurston

      It is surprising that you don’t seem to have read any of the research done by Dr. Fred Kummerow on the health effects of trans fats. Or maybe you have read about Dr. Kummerow but just haven’t mentioned it.

      Anyway, there are scads of articles available on the bad health effects of industrially produced trans fats. Here are a few:







      Do you have citations for research done that shows few or no bad health effects for consumption of trans fats?

      1. Rebecca

        Thanks Eric, but the links you posted contain no biochemical or clinical evidence trans fats are harmful. There is only one observational meta-study (which is based on correlations, not causation). QED: There is currently no case against trans fats.

        “Do you have citations for research done that shows few or no bad health effects for consumption of trans fats?” It works the other way round: There is currently no evidence they are harmful.

  48. Stephen

    Rebecca, I doubt anyone who has read Nina Teicholz or the Credit Suisse research report will be praising vegetable or seed oils. That certainly was a mistake. Use natural fats, says I.

    1. Rebecca

      Stephen, I guess you need neither Nina nor Credit Suisse to know that seed oils are horrible, because they multiplied the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio in our diet to pathogenic levels. Thing is, this has nothing to do with the switch from cis to trans.

      trans PUFAs are more akin to saturated fat, which may, perhaps, even be a good thing.

  49. stergio

    As one of the worldwide billions following my good doctors advice I have now decided to stop my statins after 30 years. Not an easy decision because it is difficult to know who to believe nowadays. But the decision has been made.

    Now let’s get down to practicalities. Not as intellectual as some of the posts, but trust me, this also is real life. Travel insurance.

    My wife and I travel a lot and soon I’m going to leave the UK for 5 months. What do I say to my travel insurance? They know I have previously declared CHD following a stent inplant and know I have been prescribed statins. If I tell them I am ignoring medical advice and have stopped my statins will that invalidate my insurance or set premiums sky high? Say nothing or lie?

    You medics have such economic/political power!

    Any suggestions are appreciated.

    1. David Bailey

      I think a little economy with the truth is called for here – I would simply not declare that anything has changed!

      To me it is incredible that while most of us worry about being even the tiniest bit dishonest, we have to deal with a world that is massively and lethally dishonest!

      Don’t forget that a lot of people (such as myself) stop taking statins because of the side effects.

    2. joanne mccormack

      Hi Stergio
      That is a very good question and one which we discussed in our practice meeting a few weeks ago.
      You have a number of options
      1.Be upfront, tell the insurance company and take the hit financially
      2.Find a doctor who supports your course of action- who will write a letter saying that in his or her opinion you do not need to take a statin. I would do this for my patient if I believed it to be so for him or her.
      3. I would not recommend lying as this would invalidate your insurance but I was informed that we have patients at our practice who collect statin scripts and do not take them because they believe them to be harmful, but keep collecting the scripts as evidence they are taking a statin. I am not aware of any person who does this but it is said to occur. It is fraud and I do not condone it, but it is a symptom of the crazy state in which we find ourselves.
      For your information I recommend dietary changes rather than statins as on http://www.dietdoctor.com which tends to improve your lipid profile and keeps your HBA1c down.
      Joanne McCormack

      1. stergio

        I am a retired RMN. I find lying difficult so the dilemma is hurting. To collect prescriptions and not use them is a distasteful action to everything I believe in. I want to save the NHS money and not feed the pharmaceutical industry. So I’ll explore your second suggestion.

        In my practice I have one GP who was the Police Surgeon and did sec 12 work with me. I remember he said to me over 10 years ago ‘I wonder if the time will come when we will regret prescribing all these statins’. He said this before it became OK to doubt the changing cholesterol levels and readings. Nearly funnily enough, on another occasion when I repeated his concerns about statins, he said to me ‘Paul you are going to die. My job as a GP is to make sure you die of the right thing’.

        Perhaps when he said that he was tired. Or spot on.

        He is still performing and now is the senior partner. I think he has the balls to put in my notes he agrees with his patient to stop statins for the next 6 months. Perhaps as a drugs ‘holiday’ like we used to offer patients with a schizophenia like illness from the horrific side effects of anti psychotic drugs?

        Anyway Joanne, thank you for replying and confirming that my question is relevant and practical to ‘users’ who read Dr Kendrick’s blog. I am reading your diet changes suggestion with interest.

        I used to practice in the WA6 area. Do you?

      2. Joanne McCormack

        Hi Stergio
        Your senior partner’s views are probably more common than you think. In my last practice where I was for 23 years, we GPs all agreed that we would never take a statin. Overhyped and underliked was our general view. I’m glad to hear you found my reply helpful. I practice across Warrington so WA1-5. I’d be very interested to hear how you get on with your GP as this is a new clinical challenge for those of us who no longer believe in the value of statins. The more we confront the status quo, the more others will question whether they in turn should challenge their own beliefs.

    3. Flotheturk

      They will load the premium but they do that if you say your TC is above 5! Try Which magazine as they look at such loading – not all insurance companies are the same. If you are staying in the EU don’t forget to get your European Health Insurance Card. Often wondered why insurance companies use actuarial figures to calculate risk based on concrete measures, why then load premiums based on ‘guidance’. Which this and other blogs etc have argued there is no statistical relationship outside the extreme.

    4. Stephen

      Well done, Stergio, my brother is thinking along the same lines. One effect of statins is the depletion of CoQ10, which I’ve read is useful and important. You can take a CoQ10 supplement. Sainsbury’s sell it and I assume most chemists do.

      As for the insurance, I turned down blood pressure medication and that’s supposed to affect my insurance but I don’t know how as no one asks me.

      1. stergio

        Wish your brother all the best Stephen.

        If we statin users believe and trust the arguments put forward by Dr Kendrick and others, and withdraw from statins, we are taking our heart and circulatory health into our own hands. We become the subject matter of their research, intellectual beliefs and hypothesis.

        On this site it would be useful to hear the ‘experts’ offer guidance and advice about withdrawal effects and risks, diet (see Joanne McCormack reply) and practical advice in dealing with a primary health system that prefers to follow national guidance.

        I want to hear about what I can do about atherosclerosis, is Vit K2 worth taking, is Serrapeptose a scam, ED is about blocked (restricted) arteries and nitric oxide as larginine is supposed to be useful. Why are we obsessed with ED? Can we not take something to unblock our cardiac arteries, as in look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves? And Diabetes. Ask your brother Stephen. Ask those amongst us who pretend not to worry about what is worrying them!

        I must admit I find it better than thinking about statin side effects and total cholesterol numbers.

  50. Rebecca


    I discussed the research of Dr. Kummerow in the previous blog post (Tranny Fats) (Malcolm: looks like my latest post there is not yet unblocked).

    One of the latest published papers by Dr. Kummerow is this one from 2013: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23459228

    Here comes the problem: After more than 50 years of research, all Dr. Kummerow has to say regarding trans fats and heart disease is that trans fats may increase blood clotting somewhat (by inhibiting prostacyclin synthesis), which may, in the event, increase the risk of a deadly heart attack. No word about the etiology of atherosclerosis, which is of course the real deal!

    Plus, the fact that trans fats contribute to blood clotting is nothing strange or pathological: it is one of the natural effects of Omega-6 PUFAs, from which trans fats are made! While Omega-3 PUFAs as usual do the opposite: they decrease blood clotting (which is one reason why we give Omega-3 to heart patients).

    If this is the case, the real problem is not the switch from cis to trans PUFA, but the fact that Western diet contains way too much Omega-6 PUFA compared to Omega-3 PUFA, thus increasing systemic low-grade inflammation, blood clotting etc.

    To the credit of Dr. Kummerow, in his 2013 paper he also mentions seed oils high in Omega-6 as one of the key drivers for heart disease. However, strangely, he fails to mention sugar/fructose.

    Those who argue that “natural trans fats” is not the same as “artificial trans fats”: yes, this is correct, but show me the biochemical evidence that they behave differently in the body. I haven’t seen any, so far. At any rate, they both have the same effect on serum cholesterol (raising it, because they have a similar structure as saturated fat; which is a good thing anyway). And in those African tribes that consume a lot of dairy and meat, we find trans fats in their tissues and breast milk, and yet they are perfectly healthy.

    Of course it is extremely easy to come up with a correlation study that tells us people who consume lots of artificial trans fats have a high risk of heart disease (as Willett et al did). What else would you expect? High consumption of artificial trans fats means nothing else than a high consumption of *junk food*, which is full of sugar/fructose and Omega-6 seed oils, both of which have a proven biochemical role in atherosclerosis / heart disease.

    Again, don’t get me wrong: I do not say there is proof artificial trans fats are harmless. All I say is that we currently have no proof at all that artificial trans fats have any negative effect in addition to the known effects of Omega-6 PUFAs from which they are produced.

    Finally, remember that US consumption of trans fats is about 2g/days. Meanwhile, total seed oil consumption is much higher, while sugar consumption is up to 200g per day.

    The fact that the FDA now bans trans fats, without any evidence, while leaving fructose and seed oils untouched, despite the massive evidence, tells you everything about this organisation….

    1. Barry

      Rebecca, not so sure that there is no proof that made-made trans fats are harmless. Again I’ll return to my trusted source of info Mary Enig. I’m not going to quote anything – too long – but she covers “Health Concerns Related to Consumption of Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Fats and Oils” starting on page 85 of Know Your Fats. I don’t think she would make such clear statements of the harm caused by artificial trans fatty acids without very clear evidence to support her.
      You are perfectly correct in condemning the excessive consumption of omega-6 seed oils but, just because this is a major contributor to disease, it doesn’t mean that artificial trans fats are not – and especially at the levels at which they are currently consumed. How much is too much? Any in my book, but I’m sure the body can deal with a certain percentage just as it deals with most toxins, but why consume something that has no known benefit? Why defend them?
      I don’t think you can use African tribes consuming trans fats from a natural diet as evidence that artificial trans fats are equally harmless – how does that work? A similar structure does not mean that it will behave the same way in the body. Perhaps too extreme an example but diesel is similar to petrol (both hydrocarbons) but you can’t run a diesel engine on petrol (not for long anyway). I previously referenced Mary Enig (page 38) and within that section she clearly states the effects of both.

      1. Rebecca

        Thanks Barry, but we need primary research, if possible biochemical or at least clinical interventional studies. To my knowledge, there isn’t any, and Ms Enig hasn’t any either.

        Yes, there could be physiological differences between the different types of trans fatty acids, but so far, we have no evidence on this either. Their effect on cholesterol and prostaglandins is the same. Plus, as cited below, there is no fundamental difference between “natural” and “artificial” trans-fats anyway, it’s only a somewhat different mixture.

        So, the case against trans fats is really quite weak, especially if compared to sugar/fructose and excess Omega-6.

        The fact that “everybody agrees” on how bad trans-fats are and we now go on to ban them without clear evidence, just shows you once more how ridiculous this business has become.

    2. David Bailey


      I hope you can now see that there is absolutely no attempt by Dr Kendrick to stifle debate here – but moderating stuff on the internet can be time consuming, and clerical mistakes get made!

      I must say, I do have some sympathy with your approach, in that it seems to me that epidemiological studies of issues like whether particular food chemicals are good or bad for people’s health, are clearly utterly useless. I mean, if after 50 years of research, there are still researchers supporting the view that saturated fats are harmful (and we can’t really assume they are all dishonest), I can’t believe that people can suddenly produce convincing epidemiological evidence that trans fats are harmful.

      I do see the point of view that some trans fats are unnatural, and caution is probably advisable when consuming unnatural chemicals of any sort (statins come to mind!).

      On the other hand, loads of trans fats have been consumed for many decades in countries like Britain, that have seen a huge rise in life expectancy, so it is hard to believe there is need for a desperate campaign to eliminate these chemicals.

      I am utterly cynical about science by now. Clearly many researchers – such as Ancel Keys – realise that they can make a name for themselves by promoting the idea that this or that is harmful to individuals or the environment. They clearly realise that because the evidence is rarely clear cut, it is always possible to cherry pick evidence to suit their careers! See the above discussion of a paper that claimed that omega-3 fatty acids were really harmful for an example of how dishonest research has become!

      Dr Kendrick also made a comment in a previous discussion that when a conclusion (such as the idea that saturated fat is harmful) is being questioned, a useful rhetorical approach (so to speak) is to expose enough of the underlying biochemical complexity that everyone gets confused. Thus we suddenly start to hear about cis and trans double bonds, and all the various fatty acids start to be discussed by name. A few natural fatty acids also have branched chains – which should increase the complexity even more, if it is required by those in control who want to disguise the central argument!

      1. Rebecca

        David, I absolutely agree. Epidemiological studies are good to generate hypotheses, but they never ever can confirm a hypothesis.

        And yes, I don’t say industrial trans fats are great, I don’t say this at all. All I say is: we currently have no evidence they are bad, or more precisely, worse than the already existing excess Omega-6.

      2. Adriaan Keij

        Rebecca, did you read the Credit Swiss report? Download it, open in iBooks and search for “trans”. I think they are very clear about trans fats being ‘unhealthy’…

      3. Rebecca

        Thanks Adriaan, yes I read the report. It’s a great report, as was their sugar report two years ago.

        But I guess I was very clear that I dispute their conclusions concerning trans fats 🙂

      1. Rebecca

        Thanks Craig. Unfortunately, this meta-study of observational studies tells us nothing but there is correlation between industrial trans fat consumption and CVD etc. Which is to be expected, because industrial trans fats are found only in processed junk foods full of sugar/HFCS and pro-inflammatory omega-6 seed oils, both of which clearly contribute to CVD.

        However, this meta-study of observational studies contains not the slightest evidence that trans fats contribute to CVD.

        See, you could also run 20’000 observational studies that conclude people who often use toilets at McDonald’s are at higher risk of CVD. Still, toilets at McDonald’s don’t contribute at all to CVD risk.

      2. Jean Humphreys

        Phew, that is a relief – I usuallyl take a comfort stop at a Macdonalds on a journey I do regularly. Never bought food or drink there, though.

      3. Rebecca


        Now just hope the FDA is not going to ban toilets at McDonald’s due to some nonsense correlation study :-))

      1. Rebecca

        Interesting. So this association study even tells us that there is no increased CVD risk due to industrial trans fats, whily ruminant TFA are beneficial. The case is falling apart quickly.

        “There was no association of any TFA subgroup with an increased risk of adverse outcomes.”

        “While the naturally occurring TFA C16:1n-7t was associated with reduced risk, no increased risk was found for industrially produced TFAs.”

    3. mikecawdery

      It seems to me that you are claiming that non-natural trans-fats (from hydrogenation) are as healthy a natural trans-fats. While I agree that epidemiological data do not necessarily prove causation, in the case of smoking they were right. Bradford-Hill set out specific conditions that would support the epidemiological associations, It seems to me that to a large extent his and other publications add up to such support (eg Am J Cardiovasc Dis. 2013; 3(1): 17–26.) as oxysterols (such as oxycholesterol) have proved toxic.
      In that the FDA and EMA have banned trans-fats (without as far as I know defining the difference between natural and non-natural trans fats) I would agree with you. As you point out natural trans-fats are safe, but is the same for hydrogenated industrial trans-fats. I used to be able to access RTECS but not now. May be you can and establish the toxicity profile of hydrogenated industrial trans-fats.

  51. S Merlaud

    One problem I have in accepting eating meat fat dairy fat ad libitum is those animals are fed omega 6 (sunflower ) and you find them in their fat. Where they fed grass (as in the Alpine Paradox) that would be differnt.

    PLus : where are the epidemiologic and interventional studies in support of the English beakfast with all cause mortality as an endpoint.

    Mediterranean diets and Okinawa diet do have support. They do have to be made compatible with what is available out there in the UK or Europe or anywhere.

    Frugality is an essential feature of those diets ( protein frugality )

      1. Anne

        You can buy meat from grass fed cattle in the UK – look at the organic meat sections in supermarkets. I never buy any other type of meat than grass fed orgnically reared cattle and sheep or free range organically fed poultry, try Waitrose or Sainsburys or Able & Co – not advertising, just saying where I get it.

  52. Rebecca

    This is how the chemists from UC Davis put it:

    “The major negative is that trans fat tends to raise “bad” LDL- cholesterol and lower “good” HDL-cholesterol, although not as much as saturated fat.” http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Biological_Chemistry/Lipids/Fatty_Acids/Hydrogenation_of_Unsaturated_Fats_and_Trans_Fat

    So luckily, trans-fats are not as bad as saturated fats…!

    As you can see, the main reason for the vilification of trans fats rests on the obsolete lipid/cholesterol hypothesis of cardiovascular disease. But LDL is not “bad” (excess oxLDL is), so, at least from this perspective, trans fats can’t be bad.

    Also, recall that the actual goal of hydrogenation is the production of saturated fats, and trans fats are usually classified as saturated fats (because of their similar structure and properties), even though they may still have one or two double-bonds.

    So to some extent, the vilification of trans fats is simply the vilifaction of saturated fat reloaded.

  53. Rebecca

    More on the trans fat fallacy, especially the distinction between “natural” and “artificial” trans fats.

    Looks like the trans fat ban was simply the latest hoax by our diet hoaxers.

    “Various representatives of trans unsaturated fatty acids have been detected in plants. The main trans monoenoic acids in ruminants, elaidic acid and vaccenic acid are not found in plants. Most oil seeds used for production of edible fats do not contain any trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acids in non-ruminant animals are derived from food. In adult ruminants, however, trans fatty acids are produced by microbial hydrogenation of linoleic acid and linolenic acid in the rumen; in consequence, a variety of positional and stereoisomers of both cis and trans fatty acids appear in both meat and milk. The total trans content of 5-10% in beef fat is largely trans monoene, mainly 9-trans (elaidic acid), 10-trans and 11-trans (vaccenic acid). The trans fatty acid content of human fat is dependent on the uptake of trans fatty acid from food. The usual content is about 2%, though up to 15% has been recorded. The isomer distribution is similar to that of the trans isomers of butter and margarine. The trans fatty acid content in ruminant products such as milk, butter, cheese, curds and tallow is 5-10%. These products contain nearly all possible stereo- and positional isomers of oleic and linoleic acid. The trans fatty acid content of margarines fluctuates widely according to raw material and process conditions. According to one investigation, an average of 16% of all unsaturated fatty acids in margarines consists of geometrical and positional isomers of the “natural” acids, a similar percentage to that in butter. Diet and health margarines have much lower contents of trans fatty acids. The total trans content of margarines is largely due to trans-18:1 monoenes. The positional isomers of the trans-monoenes are more evenly distributed in margarine than in butter. Hardened oils do not contain trans fatty acid isomers other than those produced by the microflora of ruminants.

    Therefore, claims that trans fatty acid isomers are “synthetic”, “nonphysiological” or “unnatural” are unjustified if these words are used to imply “not produced by the living organism”.”


    1. mikecawdery


      Having looked at the summaries of two papers I have a question that I hope you will be able to answer:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6356151 Prog Lipid Res. 1983;22(3):221-33.
      Trans unsaturated fatty acids in natural products and processed foods

      The trans fatty acid content of margarines fluctuates widely according to raw material and process conditions


      from Eur Heart J. 2015 Sep 22. pii: ehv446.

      The fatty acid composition of erythrocyte membranes was analysed using the HS-Omega-3 Index® methodology in 3259 participants of the LURIC study at baseline.
      While the naturally occurring TFA C16:1n-7t (presumably from Omega3) was associated with reduced risk, no increased risk was found for industrially produced TFAs.

      Given that too much Omega6 fatty acids (The Source), particularly in relation to Omega3 FAs (ratio preferably < 1-5::1) is “unhealthy” what was their view of Omega6 Trans-FAs after polyunstaurated oils have been processed (chemical extraction and hydrogenation)? Are the Omega3 and Omega6 TFAs after processing good, neutral or bad? Sometimes natural molecules after modification become better, sometimes worse than their precursors.

      Unfortunately these papers are not “open access”.

      Many thanks in anticipation

    1. Eric Thurston

      Thanks for the discussion. I’m totally with you on the need to doubt any correlational data in preference to randomized clinical trials for establishing a stronger case for cause and effect. One is always tempted to invoke the old saying, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” in regards to the flurry of research that ‘proves’ that trans fats are unhealthy , but that is exactly the trap we have fallen into re saturated fats. There is such an echo chamber that the brainwashing about fats=bad, carbs=good is extremely pervasive.

      Personally, it doesn’t affect me since I quit using hydrogenated fat products years ago in favor of animal fats and vegetable fats such as coconut oil, etc., as well as cutting my consumption of vegetable oils to practically nothing, but it would be a breath of fresh air to see medical research undergo some sort of renaissance. I won’t hold my breath though.

    1. Rebecca

      Thanks Flotheturk. Yes that’s the LURIC study linked above. They found no increased risk for any TFA subgroup. Amazing, isn’t it.

    1. Anne

      Hi Stephen – This book is brilliant about vitamin K2: ‘Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox’ by Dr Kate Rheaume-Bleue. I’ve been taking 300 mcg vitamin K2 (Life Extension Super K) per day for the past four years. It’s very difficult to get suffocient quantities of vitmain K2 from the diet unless you like eating Japanese Natto. It’s true that K2 is found in some other fermented foods but not in very good quantities. I once contacted Dr Claus Vermeer, a researcher from Maastricht university who is researching vitamin K2, I asked him how people got it in their diets before they could buy supplements, after all, everything we need we should be able to get from our diets or environments. He surmised that since K2 is found in things which are ‘decaying’ that prior to the invention of refrigeration, the intake of bacteria and spoiled or partly spoiled food was much higher than nowadays, so people got it naturally that way.

      1. Stephen

        Anne, I was wondering how we’d previously got vitamin K2 if it’s so important, so that’s a timely and useful answer. Using Barry’s link, I watched Dr Kate Rheaume-Blue’s talk with Dr Mercola and it seems if you take vitamin D you also need K2 for it to work properly. Fair summary?

        Changing topic. According to ‘The Times’ this morning 50% of women in the UK are on prescription drugs, as are 43% of men. I wonder how much of the money spent on those drugs is a needless waste? NICE has to take a lot of responsibility, and it’s created a culture of see a doctor and get a drug, even when the benefits are doubtful to say the least. Many patients have got used to this and seem to expect a prescription for every ailment, so both doctor and patient are involved in the ever increasing medicalisation of the population. It may be convenient, but it’s not good. How do we reverse this trend and does the NHS want to?

      2. Anne

        Hi Stephen – vitamin K2, vitamin D and vitamin A are all synergystic, you need all three ! Do get Dr Rheaume-Bleue’s book, it’s the most comprehensive about K2 I’ve found. Also, with K2 it’s important that you get the correct one: MK7 has a half life of a few days so can be stored a bit so that is the one that most people take, MK4 has a half life of just a few hours so needs to be taken several times a day and in quite large amounts which works out prohibitively expensive. Most people take MK7, as do I, though in the Life Extension Super K I take there’s a weeny bit of MK4 and K1 too, but the main thing I take it for is the MK7.
        all the best,

  54. Rebecca

    Dear all,

    thanks for the many replies to my statements concerning TFA evidence (or lack thereof).

    Again, please don’t get me wrong: I’m not a TFA advocate. I myself don’t consume any processed food, so I don’t consume any seed oils, so I don’t consume any industrial TFAs either.

    All I say is this: we have no evidence to ban them. The fact that we ban them, while leaving sugar/HFCS and seed oils untouched, shows you once more how corrupt this system and its institutions really are. And how gullible (or corrupt) many of the “experts” are.

    My guess: TFAs are a scapegoat, banning them is a red herring. Powerful lobbies have decided to sacrifice trans fats to protect sugar, corn, soy, statin and diabetes markets.

    If you prefer a maximum cynical take: They sacrifice TFAs because they KNOW they are probably harmless, perhaps even beneficial (due to their similarity with SFAs).

    Partially hydrogenation of vegetable oils is nothing bad per se, it happens all the time during rumination in our cattle. Perhaps it’s even a beneficial process, making PUFAs more stable, more like saturated fat.

    The real problem is: We’re consuming way to much pro-inflammatory Omega-6 seed oils (soy, corn, sunflower etc). And way too much devastating sugar/HFCS. And the FDA makes sure it stays like this for as long as possible.

    1. mikecawdery

      The real problem is: We’re consuming way to much pro-inflammatory Omega-6 seed oils (soy, corn, sunflower etc). And way too much devastating sugar/HFCS. And the FDA makes sure it stays like this for as long as possible.

      That is without a doubt very true. The debate/discussion has been very informative and for that I think all contributors will join with me in thanking you for the very clear presentation of your views. Why not use your obvious talents on statins and the cholesterol hypothesis?

    2. BobM

      I note in Nina Teicholz’s book, The Big Fat Surprise, she discussed trans fats, but didn’t really reach a conclusion against them. I got the impression there’s not enough evidence against them.

      I totally agree with your last paragraph, although I could include “carbohydrates” with sugar and HFCS. Many carbs are essentially sugar, like pasta, bread, and pretty much all wheat products. Many of them even raise your blood sugar faster than sugar.

  55. Rebecca

    Same LURIC study from last week:

    “Trans fats ‘may help prevent heart deaths’”

    This is probably closer to the truth.

    Now the “experts” try to argue that one gram (Europe) is beneficial while two grams (US) must be deleterious.

    Common guys, you simply fell for a nonsense correlation. Plus, you fell for the flawed lipid hypothesis for the SECOND time already!

    PUFA hydrogenation is great, ask our cows. Makes vegetable oils more stable. Good for your heart!

    The FDA bans the beneficial step (hydrogenation) while keeping the problem (excess pro-inflammatory omega-6 seed oils). I guess that’s their job.

    1. Barry

      Rebecca, I think a number of people both on the previous subject and this one have provided links to reports linking artificial trans fats (and by artificial I mean those that do not naturally occur in nature) to illness. Yesterday evening I spent some time looking for information/evidence that trans fats are unhealthy. I really do not understand your claim that there is a lack of evidence. I’ve added some links at the end to websites that reference various studies right back to our old friend Fred Kummerow who first published a paper on back in 1957 (which Roger Perkins referred to under the Tranny Fats blog). When one looks at how omega 6 oils and derived products such as margarine are produced it’s difficult to imagine how such processes can produce anything that is remotely healthy.
      With the pharmaceutical and food industries providing the funds for much of the research I am not surprised that studies into man-made trans fats are not so easy to find as, say, statin studies. They are hardly likely to fund studies that would threaten their multi-billion dollar businesses. However, it is not correct to say the FDA is banning artificial trans fats see this: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm372915.htm. Note that it says FDA cuts trans fats – not the same as bans (which because of natural trans fats is clearly impossible).
      Quote “Now, the FDA is taking a step to remove artificial trans fat from the food supply.” And further on “Trans fat wouldn’t be completely gone, Mayne notes, because it also occurs naturally in meat and dairy products. It is also present at very low levels in other edible oils, where it is unavoidably produced during the manufacturing process. In addition, companies can petition FDA for specific uses of certain partially hydrogenated oils.”
      Ignoring the reference to natural trans fats there are two points which stand out. First artificial trans fats are present at high levels in in other edible oils (far higher than in natural sources) and secondly there is a get out of jail free card for manufacturers: “In addition, companies can petition FDA for specific uses of certain partially hydrogenated oils.” … and you can bet they will.
      Further down: “Now that partially hydrogenated oil is no longer generally recognized as safe, FDA is providing a three-year compliance period. This will allow industry to gradually phase out the remaining uses over a three-year period, or seek food additive approval for those uses.”
      Given the cosy relationship of the FDA and the food industry I’m surprised that the FDA has even gone this far and that begs the question as to what is behind it (not our health) as the industry has invested billions in processing plants. There must be another card to be played and they are just preparing the way. WebMD provides some info listing four possibilities http://www.webmd.com/diet/finding-the-best-trans-fat-alternatives?page=1
      Out of the four listed two concern me as they would probably allow the use of much of the current processing equipment “Inventing another man-made fat that tastes good without ill health effects.” and “Using a blend of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated vegetable oils to get the shelf-life, taste, and texture of trans fats.” That really fills me with confidence.
      I had a look at the Irish Times article that you provided a link to – doesn’t support your argument at all. “…and a naturally occurring trans fatty acid found in milk and meat may actually be beneficial to health”. Plus “Lead scientist Marcus Kleber, from Heidelberg University in Germany, said: “Our results show that the low levels of industrially produced trans fatty acids we found did not pose a health risk, and therefore could be regarded as safe.
      “We also found that trans-palmitoleic acid (a naturally occurring trans fatty acid found in milk and meat from ruminant animals) is associated with better blood glucose levels and fewer deaths from any cause, but especially a lower risk of sudden cardiac death.”
      Benefits found related to natural trans fats and the weasel words of “the low levels of industrially produced trans fatty acids we found”. Problem is that junk food contains relatively high levels of artificial trans fats and such foods form a significant (probably most) part of many peoples diet thereby compounding the risk factor.
      I suspect that a low consumption of artificial trans fats is unlikely to present a significant health risk, but the question remains as to where the crossover point is. Damage can take a long time to manifest itself and any illness resulting is unlikely to be associated with artificial trans fats. We really do not have sufficient understanding of how the body functions to say with any certainty that we can safety deal with man made fats.
      In the end we all believe what we want to believe. For me there are far more important things to worry about that a ban/reduction in fats that have no known health benefits. You should be happy that a reduction in trans fats may mean a reduction in excessive omega 6 oil use. However, I fear that the replacement fats may prove to be worse – especially if derived from GE crops.
      Enough already – I’m off for a coffee!

      1. Stephen Rhodes

        I am also nervous about the effects of ‘novel’ fats on metabolisms not adapted to them, but grateful that Rebecca has raised the subject as I had not considered the similarities and differences between rTFAs (Ruminant microbiota produced Trans Fatty Acids) and iTFAs (Industrially produced Frans Fatty Acids). I didn’t even realise that ‘natural’ TFAs are the result of similar symbiotic relationships with the ruminant gut flora that we rely on for e.g. essential amino acids produced by our gut flora.
        I will not be trawling though the 128 reference in Wang and Proctor’s 2013 paper “Current issues surrounding the definition of trans-fatty acids: Implications for health, industry and food labels” in the British Journal of Nutrition (found at http://www.researchgate.net/publication/236226605_Current_issues_surrounding_the_definition_of_trans-fatty_acids_Implications_for_health_industry_and_food_labels – you can register for free access) but…..
        ….on the ‘no smoke without fire’ principle there appears to be – as you say – a considerable body of research suggesting that iTFAs, in the forms and quantities they have been/are still being consumed, are harmful in their bioactivity.

      2. Rebecca

        Thanks Steven. Unfortunately, there is lots of artificial/commercial “smoke” around these days, even in medical journals… 🙂 Which doesn’t always mean there is a fire burning. On the other hand, some of the biggest “fires” don’t produce much smoke, currently.

        Wang and Proctor mainly discuss whether CLA, some of which are trans isomers, should be called trans fat or not.

      3. Rebecca

        And as previously shown, elaidic acid, the main component of industrial trans fats, is also one of the main components of ruminant trans fats (together with vaccenic acid). So there really is no fundamental difference between “natural” and “industrial” trans fats, it’s only a somewhat different ratio. Is this bad? We have no indication to think so.


  56. Dr. Göran Sjöberg


    I very much appreciate your input on trans fats here at Kendrick’s blog.

    I must confess that I am too easily rocked when outside my own metallurgical research field but at the same time I am trying to understand the underlying basic physiological and logic connections to the best of my ability. As usual the physiological complexity overwhelms me.

    A fundamental belief of mine is that the lipid compositions of the different cell membranes may be crucial, and possibly could be corrupted by the presence of the trans fats, but when consulting my Alberts et al. textbook on the molecular biology of the cell and finding the tremendous variation of the lipid composition between different types of cells I get completely lost. How the actual composition and structure of these membranes are built no-one seems to understand as far as I am aware of.

    My earlier simple belief was that the trans fats worked as Trojan horses when incorporated instead of the cis ones. Well that belief presumes that ‘the body’ first of all recognises the ‘reactive’ double bonds when incorporating a fat molecule somewhere rather than recognising the geometric structure of the actual fat chains in the phospholipids and is thus ‘misled’. What doesn’t surprise me though is that the cis-fats occupy significantly more volume than the trans ones due to the incredible rotational speed (equals temperature!) associated with these molecules which rotation doesn’t matter much if the molecules are straight as in the trans and in the saturated fatty chains.

    Without knowing, it make sense to me that there is a tremendous difference between the omega 6 versus the omega 3 since there is a 6 atom long leg that is sweeping the surroundings versus what a 3 atom leg can produce. It should be a square relationship between length of the ‘leg’ and the ‘free volume’ created by the rotation which may explain the inflammatory effect of the omega 6 fats when in excess.

    I just now wonder what the difference in bond strength between a cis versus a trans bond may be. Do you know that? Basically the trans-bond should in my world be more stable than the cis one and there is a logic in that since that seem to be the objective of the processing; to prolong shelf life. If the trans bond strength then is much closer to that of the saturated bond than to that of the cis-bond I think your view is a very strong one from a fundamental point of view.

    1. Rebecca

      Thanks Göran. I don’t know the precise values of the cis vs trans double-bond strength, and whether there is a significant difference. What I do know is that the more straight structure of the trans bond makes the fat less oxidizable compared to the cis structure, which is what prolongs shelf life and makes the fat more stable in your body (which is why it stays longer in the blood stream, which is why it raises LDL, which is a good thing).

      The “trojan horse” idea assumes the trans fat has to be something destructive to begin with. But do we know this? I don’t think so. It certainly isn’t in the case of cows, when they partially hydrogenate the fatty acids of their gras diet in their stomachs. These are not fundamentally different from what we get during technical hydrogenation, but the mixture or profile of different trans fats is different.

      But yes you’re right that theoretically some trans fats could perhaps inhibit cell membrane functions. But to my knowledge, nobody has presented any evidence for this. Otherwise I wouldn’t be so skeptical 🙂

      In the end, the whole trans fat mania probably rests on two pillars: the failed lipid hypothesis of heart disease (again!) and some nonsense correlations because industrial trans fats are consumed only in processed junk food.

      But perhaps (!) trans fats is the best part of processed foods, compared to HFCS and excess Omega-6.

  57. Soul

    I’ve wondered a little about the other fats, such as transfats being a problem or not. Figure to go the crowd since they are easy for me to avoid since I eat few carbs, avoid breads and other processed foods. Digging into studies all the time would be a pain.

    Just thought to bring up, I remember here on the sight Dr. Kendrick making this mention about fats and heart disease. Don’t know if his mention includes transfats or not, but at the time the paragraph caught my attention.

    Are some diets ‘mass murder’



    “…The amazing thing, to me, is not the Richard Smith has finally realised the diet-heart hypothesis is a complete crock. The amazing thing is that it still holds sway, despite the fact that it was never based on anything other than the propaganda of a power-mad egotist (Ancel Keys). Any evidence that saturated fat, or any other fat consumption, causes heart disease has always been weak at best, more usually non-existent, or just flatly contradictory….”

    1. Craig

      “So this association study even tells us that there is no increased CVD risk due to industrial trans fats, while ruminant TFA are beneficial. ”

      Yes, the link I put there also shows this in fig 4, markedly. It is suggested (by others) that ruminant trans fats are just a surrogate marker for dairy consumption, dairy mct specifically, and that is what actually gives a benefit. And if there is little extra risk due to pufa sourced transfats then it weakens the idea of the harm being due to the pufa. Perhaps pufa is still a better dietary source of calories than carbs.

  58. Rebecca

    “Is The Government’s War On Trans-Fat Misguided, Too?”

    “Don’t be surprised then, if a few decades from now the federal government — reluctantly — admits that its current campaign against trans-fats was just as misguided as its decades long war on cholesterol.”

    (Background is again the European study published last week that found no negative effect of trans fats on heart disease.)

    1. Adriaan Keij

      Rebecca, trans fats bad? Did you read this article?


      “It did find a link between trans fats, the partially hydro- genated oils that are widely added to processed foods, and heart disease. But it found no evidence of dangers from saturated fat, and no evidence to support guidelines that say people should restrict saturated fat consumption to lower their risk of developing heart disease.”

  59. John Collis

    I would think the double bond strength is probably the same for both species, however they may have different physical properties due to the different charge distribution and also how close the molecules can be physically located. This could change melting points and boiling points.
    The major problem is that all of this is based on the assumption that the human body is deterministic (cause and effect) when this undoubtedly not the case and it is a chaotic system, i.e small changes result in grossly different outcomes, particularly if you have feedback loops, and these vary between different people, therefore the Atkins diet (for example) works for some people whilst for others it produces misery.

    1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg


      I though think there might be a significant difference in bond strength as a crucial factor when talking about the ‘reactivity’ as the threshold to be passed and for a reaction as e.g. oxidation to occur. The purpose of the enzymes is to lower this threshold by loosening that bond. Then the question mark would be if an actual enzyme working on the cis-form wold also be working on the trans-form.

      Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a substantial difference in the bond strength per se between the cis- and the trans-form since the the position of the hydrogen atoms of the cis-form makes them strongly repel one another and allowing for the kink. A simplistic, non-quantum view on this would be of a weaker cis-bond and thus a bond more susceptible for a reaction to take place irrespective of the presence of any enzyme. Shelf life talks about such a fact. Margarine seems to ‘last forever’ under all conditions of storage – a wonder for the food industry.

      Again without knowing, I assume that a fat chemist should be well aware of any difference in strength of such bonds in real numbers since the chemical bond strength is such a fundamental property although I have never seen anything mentioned about this which actually surprises me.

      I mean, it would have been in the interest of the food industry to advocate an inert stable ‘innocencent’ character of the trans fats but as Rebecca has pointed out there might here be a well hidden agenda due to it being a ‘mined territory’. But then of course we enter into the very unpleasant territory of ‘conspiracy theories’ which though might be the kernel of all dogmatic ‘consensus in medicine’, the latter expression of course being much more innocuous.

  60. Dr. Göran Sjöberg


    Rebecca’s unorthodox fuel for my thoughts has for surely rocked me and actually as a second thought made me arrive at the old philosophical paradoxical question. “Is knowledge at all possible?”

    A consequence of the rocking hypothesis that trans fats, omega 6 or not, should be as healthy and as inertly stable, in our bodies, as the saturated ones and as such could be consumed in unlimited quantities and then reasonably also readily be found in large amounts incorporated everywhere in the bodies of healthy individuals.

    Well, well – I never heard about that one!

    But as Rebecca I am looking for a Popperian refutation of this hypothesis and a refutation which as usual should be easier than convincing me from any positive point of view.

    If the body ‘refuses’ to incorporate the ‘innocuous trans fats’ everywhere there should reasonably be a ‘selectional mechanism’ by which our physiology ‘vilifies’ these fats, right or wrong. If so, this bodily refusal could perhaps be taken as a Popperian one if now knowledge at all is possible.

    Anyway without any ‘conclusive’ positive arguments I have, when getting older, successfully arrived at the principle of caution based on many inconclusive indications. This started after I experienced my very serious heart blow 16 years ago and when I refused the comprehensive by-pass offered and all the medication.

    So I had evidently to do something else.

    The first thing I did was to meticulously eliminate all ‘partially hydrogenated vegetable fat’ from the food after some superficial research as a complete novice in the medical field. But at the same time most of the sweet stuff, an evident culprit in my case, went out and I also introduced regular exercise by taking my bike to work every day. Finally, when my wife turned severely diabetic six years ago we jumped into a rather strict LCHF-regime and with immediate and tremendous health benefits for both of us (insulin resistance is ‘screaming’ here! Trans fats ??) and without medicines of any sort but, with a true Hippocratic stance, for all the ‘forbidden’ fat meat stuff.

    I am not a believer in the possibility to completely revers the injuries of our arteries by homeostatic physiology but still I feel very fit for my age of 69 although I have my clear physical limitations as the bad memory of what happened to my heart those years ago. Presently I am readily building scaffolds (heavy stuff) to renovate the wall of an old large building and am easily climbing the ladder to get up and down.

    1. mikecawdery


      I too am impressed by Rebecca’s logic and, like your good self, I look for the “black swan”. The problem insofar as I see it is the difference between Omega3 and Omega6 FAs after processing (chemical extraction and hydrogenation. As Rebecca acknowledges Omega6 in excess is bad which raises the issue of what is like after hydrogenation – good, bad or neutral. from The Eur Heart J. 2015 Sep 22. pii: ehv446. article was concerned apparently with Omega3 FAs.

      I have asked her for her views in this regard

    2. Rebecca

      Thanks Göran and Mike. That is exactly the big question, how do these different types of trans fats behave in the body. What we need is not some dubious correlation effects, but hard biochemical and physiological facts.

      The effects I have seen so far, like raising LDL or reducing prostacyclin synthesis, is very similar to saturated fat (see e.g.: Similar effects of diets rich in stearic acid or trans-fatty acids on platelet function and endothelial prostacyclin production in humans: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9484999). The same applies to their effect on immunological pathways, NF-κB activation and other indicators.

      Of course many authors still think this is bad because saturated fat is bad. But we know this is not true and never was.

      If you take elaidic acid, the main type found in industrial trans fats, this is actually the trans isomer of oleic acid, i.e. the main ingredient of olive oil (Omega-9 MUFA), but structurally it is more akin to stearic acid (i.e. saturated fat). It’s also produced by the bacteria in ruminants (albeit to a lesser extent than vaccenic acid), so it’s probably not the ultimate killer fatty acid…. 🙂

      And as I said, it may even be a good replacement for healthy saturated fat (it certainly is in dairy and meat). But this is a conjecture, I don’t have proof for this.

      All I say is this: if the FDA now goes on to ban “deadly” trans fats and junk food producers label their products (chock-full of sugar and seed oils) ” trans-fat free”, this sends the wrong message to consumers. They are relieved, when they shouldn’t be. And the FDA looks like they “do something” to protect consumers, when of course they don’t. It’s a weird world, I know. Nothing is as it seems.

      Perhaps the fact that trans fats have such a bad reputation has also something to do with linguistics and pychology: “trans fats” may remind people of “trans sexual”, which is perhaps still widely regarded as weird and “unnatural”, even pathological. Perhaps if trans fats were called “straight fats” (which makes sense from a molecular/structural point of view), they would have a better image…??

      1. Barry

        Rebecca, I don’t agree with your view of trans fats as being a scapegoat for the damage caused by excessive omega 6 oils (I think you can separate the two) and I’m not interested in what they do to cholesterol levels (my view is that, in one sense, cholesterol is the fire fighter and if it increases it’s because the body is responding to a particular set of conditions and that an increase is not necessarily bad – quite likely beneficial). My concern is that they may (many say do) cause damage and that as there are no obvious benefits I see no reason to object to a restriction of the artificial type where they differ from natural trans fats (the double bond position). The fact that the authorities choose to ignore the obvious problems of HFCS, sugar, artificial sweeteners, carbohydrate dense products and GE crops in the SAD is another matter.
        As for the FDA – well, they are rather late to the game of restricting trans fats and no surprise there. The American governmental approach to anything is typically smoke and mirrors, and with the authorities tasked with protecting the American consumer so close to the very people they are supposed to regulate (revolving doors) clearly leads one not to expect much in the way of meaningful regulation.
        Pharmaceutical and agricultural regulation, these days, is all about show rather than content. The FDA initially did some good work but, for me, it has clearly lost its way. Unfortunately too many people are happy to accept/believe the lies they are fed by those in a position of authority and until something wakes up sufficient people out of their stupor to insist upon change it will continue.
        It appears to be different when looking at their approach to, say, X-ray equipment so cynical old me would say look at the money involved (follow the money).
        Wishing you all the best.

      2. mikecawdery

        May I concur with Dr Kendrick in his praise for your determined defense of trans-fats. As you say there is too little hard data on the potential variations. May I also thank you for attempting to answer the unanswerable (the difference between Omega3 TFAs and omega6 TFAs) because of the absence of data. I would suggest that if a surfeit of Omega 6 is bad, the odds of its trans-fat variants are against them being neutral or good.. No evidence at all except that many of the commercially hydrogenated oils are from high omega6 seed oils margarines whose increase were associated with the massive increase in CHD in the 1930s and 40s while saturated fat intake was flat or declining. While association is not evidence of causality, non-association suggest just that.

        As far as I am concerned I eat a lot of staurated fat and monosaturates (coconut, olive); my triglycerides are reasonably low ( 1mmol/L) Trig/HDL ratio <2 and my LDL (fluffy) high and good for immunity and longevity. The items of food that you suggest are bad for health including Omega6 and CHO I avoid like the plague.

        I too have an issue with the FDA but for years it supported the view that trans-fat were safe due to commercial pressure. I find that this U-turn to be extremely odd – they do not have reputation for challenging commercial pressure but they do have a reputation for ignoring public pressure.

      3. Joanne McCormack

        Dear Rebecca and opponents!
        Thank you so much for persisting with such a stimulating debate. That sort of interchange is what we need in Medicine rather than blindly following guidelines as if we left our brains behind at university, or school.
        I feel reliably informed now of the current trans fat debate thanks to you all 😊

      4. mikecawdery

        As far as I am concerned I eat a lot of staurated fat and monosaturates (coconut, olive); my triglycerides are reasonably low ( 1mmol/L, Trig/HDL ratio <2 and my LDL (fluffy) high and good for immunity and longevity. The items of food that you suggest are bad for health including Omega6 and CHO I avoid like the plague.

        Sorry: Brain working faster than fingers!

  61. Maureen Berry

    ” the Atkins diet (for example) works for some people whilst for others it produces misery.”

    What kind of misery, John? I am really interested to know. I believe that the reason that most people cannot or do not stick to the Atkins diet is simply because, in their heart of hearts, they believe it to be fundamentally unhealthy and will harm their health. That was what happened to me the first time I tried it. I lost the required weight, but actually believed I was killing myself with my knife and fork!

    As more and more research data is published that proves that our fear of fat is founded on lies and inaccuracies, more and more of us are ‘Atkins for lifers’. Second time around, I have been following the Atkins diet for years, having been convinced by the latest book, New Atkins for a New You, written by 3 eminent scientists / doctors which finally convinced me that the diet was not simply not harmful, but positively healthful. As well as losing some weight, I have totally eliminated the GERD that was a real problem, and the medication that I now know has all sorts of risks, when taken long term, as I was doing. My blood pressure is now totally normal, before, despite 2 different BP meds, it was never at a level that my doctor was happy with, I am now medication free (except I would be on Statins if I didn’t ‘Just Say No’).

    Most people who find Atkins a misery don’t do it right, specifically they fail to up their salt intake and do not drink enough water, the diet is a natural diuretic and if you do not replace salt and water you will very soon feel unwell.

    Anybody who feels like trying the Atkins diet, or whatever else you want to call it, Dr Atkins almost certainly stole the principal from Banting, you need to do your research and do it right. Right now, Tim Noakes is probably the best place to start (sadly the Atkins corporation has become a processed food promoting company, Dr Atkins would be turning in his grave), “Just eat real food”.

    1. Stephen

      Maureen, I agree with all you say. Just one point. There were quite a few people between Banting in the 1860s and Atkins in the 1970s advocating and using a low-carb diet. Robert Atkins found out about the low carb approach from a paper written by two doctors from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1963.

      Dr Blake Donaldson stumbled across the diet independently in 1919 and used it to treat obese patients. He treated 17,000 patients over forty years, apparently with great success. In 1944 Donaldson gave a talk on the subject and one of the audience was Dr Alfred Pennington, who worked for DuPont who were worried about heart attacks amongst their executives. Pennington wrote extensively on the subject and came across a body of important German and Austrian research from the 1920s and 1930s that implicated hormones as the driver of obesity. This work was largely forgotten in the English speaking world after the First World War.

      Gary Taubes refers in his talks to Dr Pennington’s work and the largely ignored German research in his talks.

    2. Eric Thurston

      Some people who try the Atkins style diet run into the so called ‘Atkins flu’ which is their metabolism adjusting to using ketones instead of glucose for their basic energy requirements. This ‘keto-adaptation’ can unfortunately derail one’s resolve and leave one with the impression that this type of diet is a bad way to go.

      Fortunately, I didn’t have that problem, possibly because I had been increasing my fat intake for several years prior to going ‘ketogenic’. I don’t stick to a totally ketogenic diet, but maintain a typical LCHF diet occasionally dropping in to nutritional ketosis. I started this as an adjunctive treatment for my Parkinson’s based on very little research. This is another unfortunate consequence of the vilification of fats, that is, much beneficial research involving LCHF diet could be done if the medical profession wasn’t so lipo-phobic.

      1. Joanne McCormack

        Hi Eric
        The low carb flu you describe is very common and wears off after around 3 weeks. As you say not everyone gets it. It’s not exclusive to Atkins. Quite a few people who do the http://www.iquitsugar.com programme get it and they discuss it on the online forum. It’s relieved by restarting the carbs but then you have to go through it all again when you stop so people tend to grin and bear it. I am spreading the word about LCHF through my practice, about 20 contacts a day and through my work with my 42 safeguarding practices. I took our Director of Public Health to the Harcombe conference and she is broadly supportive of the principles of LCHF. I have asked all my practice to use DietDoctor rather than NHS choices for cholesterol and dietary advice. Today I told the lead GP that I gave up on saturated fat reduction in 1994. It is so last century 😊
        He agreed.
        I have been told that at a large GP update yesterday in Liverpool the GPs were asked for a show of hands on whether they would take a statin at 10% or 20% Q risk. Apparently very few GPs put up their hands. I don’t know if this is true as I was not there. Every day I stop statins in people with side effects.

  62. Stephen

    Jennifer Elliot is an experienced dietitian in Australia who has been sacked by her local health district for advocating a low carb diet to her diabetic patients. She was first de-registered by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), so she couldn’t practice.

    Elliot became interested in a low carb approach after problems with her daughter’s health and weight. Help from a doctor led to a diagnosis of insulin resistance. Elliot studied the subject and later wrote a book ‘Baby Boomers, Bellies and Blood Sugars’.

    Elliot’s rational but non-standard advice has clearly made her enemies. In a world of largely compliant and unthinking dietitians who happily tell diabetics to eat a ‘balanced’ diet of 40 – 65% carbs, she stood out. On her website, she even said she was embarrassed to be a dietitian. She’s far from the first to say that. Sure enough a fine upstanding dietitian made a formal complaint about Elliot’s low carb advice to the DAA and her employer then stated:
    “Nutritional advice to clients must not include a low carbohydrate diet. Jennifer will be advised on the information that she may provide to clients…. ”

    In Elliot’s words: “Can you imagine having to tell a client with diabetes, who has lowered his BGLs, lost weight and come off all diabetes medications by reducing his carb intake, that he now has to start eating more carbs because SNSW Health says so!?”

    After the DAA de-registered her, Elliot was sacked. The fuss that followed had the DAA running for cover and claiming that her low carb advice was not the reason for her sacking, but there were other unstated “Far deeper issues.” This is a familiar tactic seen in many big organisations. When they can’t justify a bad decision, they blacken the name of the person you’ve already wronged. The dietitian’s letter of complaint is clearly about Elliot’s advice.

    So, a dietitian doing good work and helping people is thrown on the scrapheap to salve the wounded pride of the DAA and the New South Wales health service. That should quieten any dissent in the ranks, but where does it leave Australian diabetics? More drugs and amputations, I suppose. The only people who gain from this stupidity are manufacturers of drugs and artificial limbs.

    Jennifer Elliot’s website is babyboomersandbellies.com

    I’ve written an e-mail to the New South Wales Minister for Health asking for an inquiry into the DAA’s conduct. I’m sure Jennifer Elliot would appreciate your support.

    The Credit Suisse report states that our health systems are years behind the science and this is another unwelcome example (page 51).

    1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

      Exactly the same thing happened 2005 to one of our LCHF pioneers and a GP in Sweden Dr Annika Dahlqvist who was here accused by a prominent dietitian. Her GP licence was then in danger but scratching the head for a couple of years the authorities finally accepted that the Low Carb was according to prevalent science and to the dismay of the guardians of the medical consensus around the world. “You Swedes are usually so sensible!” was one typical comment that followed.

      I think that the low carb advocate professor Noakes’ case, accused in Mai, is now resting in South Africa but I can not find the present day status.

      1. Stephen

        Goran, the ridiculous hearing about Tim Noakes’ advice was moved to November 23. I think they’ll regret it if they do go ahead. He’ll cut them to ribbons. Apparently, reading science and helping patients is the new heresy. The Old Book is sacred.

      2. Joanne McCormack

        I have emailed the health minister in protest for what it’s worth.
        When you think about it if you eat real food and avoid processed you end up eating low carbohydrate and normal fat food, which people think of as being high fat but it is actually just normal.
        I advocate real food for all my patients – hardly rocket science. It’s easy, it’s cheap and it reduces a lot of health problems. Why are the authorities so exercised about it? Diabetics can handle less carbs than non diabetics so need less carbs in food. I don’t see how the authorities can rationally disagree.

    2. Barry

      Stephan, thank you for bringing that to our attention. What a bunch of f*~kwits! Jesus, I really do wonder what it will take to drag these people up to date. To think that they would most likely inflict their idiotic treatment/policies on their own family when even the most superficial knowledge of biochemistry shouts that it is completely wrong makes my brain hurt.
      I’ve also written to Jillian Skinner (cc Jennifer) providing a link to the Credit Suisse report which one can only hope that she’ll read. Somehow I suspect not but there’s is always hope.

  63. Stephen

    Barry, I couldn’t agree more. I find the medical position on diabetes baffling and I truly wonder what’s going on? Conspiracy or cock up? The drug companies would be big losers if good sense prevailed but I usually avoid the conspiracy answer.

    One of the strange things I’ve learnt about people is their reluctance to admit that they’ve got it professionally wrong. I wonder if all the top people just can’t deal with the fact that they’ve given terrible and damaging advice out for thirty years. After all, they didn’t start this. But it’s effectively admitting that their working life has been a waste of time and that’s not easy. However, faced with the choice of admitting they got it wrong or fighting to keep things the same, they always go for the latter. Depressing. I’ve worked with local authority planners and saw that tendency time and again.

    The dietary guidelines in America demonstrate the same point. Evidence long ago exonerated saturated fat, but they resisted change for so long and now inch forward. As Adele Hite points out, they listen to the research that reinforces the current position and ignore all the work by Volek, Phinney et al. She also points out how influential and active the vegan and vegetarian movement is in this area. Fanatics don’t seem to get tired.

    1. Barry

      Stephan, I don’t think it’s baffling – more like human nature at work – and may be seen (as you point out) in all walks of life. It’s a major reason why we advance so slowly in most areas – with the possible exception of new technologies where there isn’t an “old school” barrier to pass. Dr Kendrick covers this selective blindness to data thought process that afflicts seemly intelligent people in his latest book. He also refers to a book (I’ve just ordered the latest version – due out 20/10) Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Travis. I think it’ll be an interesting read.
      The fundamental problem is that far too many people have spent their professional lives promoting the flawed research of Ancel Keys and his disciples. They have reputation, power, position and money (that old favourite) at stake if they now change their ways. They cling, like a dog to a rag, to their obsolete beliefs praying and hoping that they can reach retirement and obscurity before they are found out. I’m sure that many are fully aware that they are completely wrong but, hey, we’re not going to let an inconvenient truth get in the way of a convenient myth are we?
      I fear that Dr Kendrick is right when he says that this situation will change one funeral at a time.

  64. Kay

    One of the hoops one must jump through to be released from hospital around here is to have a dietitian come to the room and give you a lecture on what you should eat. Unless things have changed in the past year, dietitians are still telling patients to be sure to use margarine instead of butter because butter has saturated fat.

    1. Stephen

      Kay, if I can avoid the hospital, I’d love that conversation with a dietician. I had a similar conversation with a senior nurse recently and he now avoids me. Don’t blame him. They prefer obedient patients. Where is “around here” for you? It’s good to see butter sales on the up.

    2. Joanne McCormack

      Hi Kay
      They are so behind the times! And so are http://www.patient.co.uk and http://www.nhschoices
      I know because I looked them up just to check and I couldn’t believe it. So disappointing😒
      With my patients I tell them to eat real food and don’t worry about the fat. Good fat such as in eggs butter and cheese does not lead to heart disease. Research has shown it to be so. Most of my patients seem to have heard my message elsewhere before so they are not surprised. It’s embarrassing that some celebrity cooks are more up to date than some dieticians and Nhs choices and patient.co.uk. I must think about how I tackle Nhs choices and patient.co.uk as they are way out of line.

      1. gillpurple

        Joanne,The NHS Choices website on dietary advice is so inappropriate, and the advice for those with diabetes in particular is appalling. There are many comments on it from readers who are clearly more informed than the NHS appears to be. How to tackle it, and the other site you mention it. That’s the challenge – getting people to set aside beliefs and mythology they’ve relied on as facts. I’m toying with the idea of approaching one of our local GP surgeries about managing diabetes but haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet. I pointed one of my diabetic neighbours in the direction of a version of the lchf diet. Lent him a book and he’s now cut his medication drastically, lost a stone in weight and tells me he feels better than he has done in years. He will be going to see his GP soon to speak with him/her. Unpredictable as to whether he will get a good response.

        But maybe change is going to have to come from the ground up with GP’s like yourself and Dr Unwin, and with people like me spreading the word to friends. Then perhaps a review will eventually be forced by the weight of opinion from GP’s and their patients, as happened is Sweden.

      2. Joanne McCormack

        I think change will come from many directions via the public, health care professionals, social media. Definitely bottom up. Just now I had a surprised text from a friend whose husband has been asked to go on LCHF to help his epilepsy, even though he has heart disease. Progress. Even the Berlin Wall came down eventually.
        Next time any of you go in a doctors surgery and you see a video or an information leaflet saying that saturated fat in the diet causes a raised cholesterol please challenge it. Direct them to a sensible site like DietDoctor or Malcolm’s blog or the Harcombe diet. Today I visited 7 different medical centres and there was incorrect information displayed in 3. Gave them all my website info in the nicest possible way.

    3. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

      Happened to me 16 years ago when, we, a bunch of new heart victims were called in about a month later to here the ‘wisdom’ of a dietitian. During that month my metallurgical research mind had though been working to find a probable cause and had arrived at margarine to be one of the main culprit – although a conclusion now rocked by Rebecca. I still remember a slim lady among us who to my astonishment went furious and told the dietitian that what she was propagating was exactly what she had been doing all her life.

      With amazement I noted that all of the overheads she rapidly turned in front of us carried the logo of the “Margarine Company” (now Unilever). That was the first and perhaps largest chock I have had about the medical worlds stupidness in the hands of Big Pharma and Big Agro and today they are numerous.

  65. Stephen

    Dr McCormack, I think your e-mail protest will mean a lot to Jennifer Elliot. She must be feeling pretty bruised for the offence of doing the right thing.

    You summarised diet advice beautifully. Could you come to Yorkshire and be my doctor, please? I’d try not to talk in dialect or bring Dr K’s articles. It’s good to see doctors listening as well as talking.

    1. Joanne McCormack

      Hi Stephen
      Very funny😊
      All GPs should be confronted with Malcolm’s blogs- sorry Malcolm – but I have just had to endure a video about cholesterol, bad LDL and good HDL which apparently eats it up and not eating saturated fat and my husband has had a diabetes update about how wonderful bariatric surgery is. An email to the senior partner where they showed the cholesterol video was not enough.

  66. gillpurple

    Stephen, I am also emailing Hon. Jillian Skinner. Jennifer has been trampled underfoot, possibly with some undue influence being exerted. Having looked at an account of how all this was handled I fail to see how the AAD could possibly justify striking Jennifer off their register. They were either bullied into getting rid of her or they are incompetent. Or both. If anyone wants to read an account of what happened here is one –

    1. Stephen

      Gill, I think the DAA simply saw one person’s complaint as an opportunity to get rid of an awkward voice. Someone who put patients first and was successful. Dissenters who make the organisation look bad are always a target.

      It’s interesting that the DAA now say the low-carb advice wasn’t why Jennifer was de-registered. So, it’s all supposedly down to one complaint from one unhappy client. Nobody would be in a job if one disputed interview was enough to be de-registered and sacked. It’s clearly nonsense.

      1. gillpurple


        I fear you’re absolutely right – the reluctance of some to have some humility and acknowledge a change in direction is needed. I am hoping that this is going to backfire In New South Wales. It seems the dietitian community are on to it, as are some of the lchf community. But I’m probably far too optimistic.

        Yes, I too noted the other complaint. As far as I can make out (and it’s not always wise to think what is reported on the internet is always accurate) a patient Jennifer had seen once alleged that she bad mouthed the ‘normal’ dietary approach and Jennifer’s defence was to say, in essence, that she commented on different dietary approaches. If that is the case then any body dealing with such a complaint, and how it was responded to, can only conclude there is no evidence to uphold that complaint, it is essentially one person’s word against another. As you say, the AAD have possibly been conveniently handed a red herring which perhaps gave them the chance to say it was nothing to do with dietary advice. And they have then, disingenuously, concealed their decision making process by citing confidentiality. All decision making processes in dealing with complaints should be open to scrutiny and accountable.

        You’re right – lots of us would be out of job if we had one disgruntled customer.

  67. Joanne McCormack

    This is a copy of an email I wrote to the complaint sections of NHS Choices website and http://www.patient.co.uk today. It was prompted by an internal email at my practice stating that patients who have had health screening and were found to be at higher risk would be referred to these websites. I have suggested to our practice manager that we refer them to http://www.dietdoctor.com instead.

    I am writing to draw your attention to the fact that your information on diet, saturated fat and cholesterol is factually incorrect and not up to date. As such I cannot recommend it to patients as an NHS GP and that bothers me. Other patients may access it and it may harm them by advising them to use low fat products which are often higher sugar products. For reference please see my free website http://www.healthylivingsite.me and look at the nutrition references. There is also an article in the latest edition of the BMJ. Even celebrity chefs are stating that dietary fat is harmless , last week Credit Suisse got involved and published a long article in relation to it and many of the public have heard the message too. Please would you take the articles down until they are corrected? Many thanks
    Joanne McCormack

    1. gillpurple

      Well done, Joanne.

      I fear a letter from me might be ignored but I might ask my neighbour with diabetes to write. He’s furious that he’s been following a diet he thought he could trust, and is getting his evidence ready if he is met with a difficult response from his GP. Evidence being his food diary, his blood sugar readings and how much medication he’s used since he changed his diet.


      1. Stephen

        Gill, if your diabetic friend wants evidence you could advise him to read and print off the attached research article on diabetes and diet. It’s the last word as far as I’m concerned.


        The paper has a number of distinguished authors beginning with Richard D. Feinman and Wendy Pogozelski, a professor of biochemistry and type 1 diabetic. Put her name into YouTube and you’ll see her Ted talk and her struggle with ‘official’ and damaging advice.

  68. Stephen

    Dr McCormack, well done. It will be interested to see how they respond or if they respond at all. The low-fat nonsense has been trotted out for so long, I don’t think they are capable of listening, but we all need to keep chipping away. I think some progress has been made in diabetes because a growing number of patients are rejecting the official advice. It was good to see Aseem Malhotra challenge the charity Diabetes UK to justify its advice to eat carbs. Instead of the people at the top leading us forward, it’s largely a bottom up movement led by people like you and Dr Kendrick.

    The top people in the NHS are simply not doing their jobs. The needless illness and misery caused is shocking.

  69. Stephen

    Gill, my guess is that years of frustration at official stupidity may have caused Jennifer Elliot to speak her mind about the ‘standard’ damaging diet, although she’s very tactful in public. I think telling the truth should be permissible but she did it to the wrong person. The patient had apparently read something ‘standard’ and bought into it. In a way you can see the patient’s point. One professional says one thing and another says something else. I think the true culprit is the small-minded dietitian who then made the complaint to the Dietitians Association of Australia (DDA). I suspect they welcomed the complaint with open arms. It stinks.

  70. gillpurple


    Yes, I understand the confusion that could be created for the patient, and I wasn’t suggesting the patient had no right to complain. The DAA simply probably used that as another bit of ammunition to get rid of Jennifer. It does stink. Sooner or later they are going to have egg all over their faces. Unfortunately, that might not happen soon enough for Jennifer to resume her work.

  71. Beverley

    I have been prescribed 80mg Atorvaastatin due to small part of my artery being blocked – my total Cholesterol is 2.1, I’m not getting answers to my concerns and really don’t want to take this dose – apparently I’m taking this to stop the artery blocking again – I’ve read so many reports mostly Medical and not meda … What I have read worrys me – I know ultimately I’m going to have to make my own mind up – it’s a minefield … Would welcome any views on this … Thank you

    1. Joanne McCormack

      Hi Beverley
      I’m a GP and I direct my patients to the cholesterol page of my website.
      It will take you a while but work through the resources systematically and take a view. I’d start with one of the YouTube clips, but you start with whatever you prefer.
      It’s not easy to break with convention -if you are going to do that- but easier when you feel really well informed.
      Joanne McCormack

  72. Lena

    My own GP (50-something) has been saying so for over a decade. Investment bankers are not the only ones who are on the ball. I work in financial advice and I find that insurers (actuaries, underwriters) are pretty much clued up as well: it’s not very surprising as they don’t want to lose money when offering a client life protection! I think quite a few of them come from a medical background, given the questions they ask. They definitely do not satisfy themselves with clients telling them ‘I had cancer but I had an operation and now I am cured!”.

  73. smartersig

    I do not think it is correct to say that dietary cholesterol does not effect blood levels. Dr Chris Masterjohn reckons that around 80% of people are unaffected by dietary cholesterol and I tend to agree with him. Certainly when I had a week on eggs every morning and liver twice for evening meal my LDL shot up from 2.8 mmol to 4.0 mmol. Can we be sure that cholesterol levels are just a marker and not a cause of HD and if so how do we know this ?.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      We can never know anything for certain. However, hypotheses live, or die, by the fact that you cannot find contradictions to them. With cholesterol and HD contradictions abound. Just to give one example. In Japan fat intake has increased 400% in the last fifty years. Cholesterol levels have risen from 3.9 to 5.2 on average. Heart disease deaths have fallen 60% and the rate of stroke has fallen 7 fold. Or, popping in another one. Switzerland has an average cholesterol level of 6.4mmol/l. The rate of heart disease in Switzerland is fifteen times lower (age matched) than in Russia. Average cholesterol level 5.1mmol/l

      1. smartersig

        Would you not agree that eating a plant based whole food diet reduces the risk of heart disease especially when vit B12 is supplemented ?. As a by product of this cholesterol levels will drop, this as you say may simply be a marker and not the reason, but nevertheless eating the above diet will reduce heart disease. Would you agree on this ?.

      2. smartersig

        Taken from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/118/25/2725.full

        “Japan is unique among developed countries in that, since the 1960s, it has had the lowest mortality from CHD, according to vital statistics1,2 and population-based studies,3–5 which has been further declining for both men and women.8,9 Mean systolic blood pressure levels7,9–11,13,29 and the prevalence of smoking1,10,11,25 declined, but mean serum total cholesterol and triglyceride7–11,29,37 levels increased for both men and women. The decline in CHD mortality is attributable to large declines in blood pressure levels and the prevalence of smoking, which may have offset the potentially adverse effects of increased total cholesterol levels during the past decades. High total cholesterol would need a longer incubation period to maximize the effect on CHD risk.5”

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