By Kennedy Shelley
Why is the American Heart Association (AHA) still dogmatically holding to the idea that a diet low in saturated fats is vital to heart health?
Despite mountains of evidence showing no link between dietary fat and heart disease the AHA keeps pushing this idea.
Could it be that they are being bought out by big food and pharma or are they are just not willing to admit they are wrong?
To understand why the AHA’s has taken this position, you need a little history.
Back in the 1960’s, there was no evidence that there was a link to dietary fat and heart disease, but the Heart/Diet hypothesis became a popular idea thanks to the work of Ancel Keys.
The idea seems to make sense that people were shown cold bacon fat and they would say “this clogs pipes, so it will do the same for your arteries.”
That is a simple way of putting the problem that many heart attacks were caused by blockages and most of these blockages known as plaques were surrounded by cholesterol.
The problem with this theory is many folds.
First, fats are not hard when warmed to body temperature, they turn liquid.
Second, fat does not go from your mouth to your stomach to your blood. It is digested to smaller parts.
Third, the liver produces most of the bodies cholesterol despite what is eaten. Cholesterol is in every cell and vital to life.
But the idea was appealing, and Ancel Keys produced what he called the Seven Country Survey. It showed that there were more heart attacks in countries that ate more fat.
The problem with this study is it was actually a 23-country study, and he chose to ignore countries that ate lots of fat but didn’t have heart attacks.
France, Germany and Switzerland were excluded because they ate lots of fat yet didn’t have heart attacks.
The AHA was actually a very small organization in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Heart attacks were actually fairly rare and then-President Eisenhower had a heart attack and it became a national obsession.
There were two major theories for the increase in heart disease. Keys’ idea of dietary fat, and Dr. John Yudkin from England who looked at Keys’ data and thought sugar was the danger to the heart.
He noticed that in every country where sugar consumption went up, so did the rate of heart disease.
The mechanism of how sugar could create a fat plaque was just not well known at the time.
It wasn’t until the early 21st Century that the role of insulin and inflammation became clear in irritating the arteries that allowed plaques to form.
Now Cambridge University has looked at over 76 studies, which involved over 600,000 people and shown absolutely no link between dietary fat and heart disease.
Yet despite the complete lack of evidence, the AHA still keeps banging away that if you want a healthy heart you have to eat a low-fat diet.
The reason why is actually surprising. (Click here for part II)