By Kenney Shelley
In Part One of the story on the American Heart Association (AHA) and their dietary recommendations we looked at how the AHA is wrong on linking dietary fat and heart disease.
Now we will look into the why.
The AHA started in 1915 as a very small group of cardiologists. Heart disease was not a major problem back then. Heart attacks were very rare by modern standards.
It wasn’t until the late 1950’s when President Eisenhower had a heart attack that heart disease became a national obsession.
The President’s cardiologist ignored the President’s 2-pack a day cigarette habit and instead fed him a low-fat diet.
The AHA became advocates for a low-fat diet. But why? There was no specific evidence that linked a high-fat diet with heart disease.
What became clear is that it was the Sugar Research Foundation’s (SRF) work trying to defend their product that made fat the enemy.
The SRF saw research coming from Dr. John Yudkin as dangerous to their industry so they started to demonize fat.
The AHA received several large contributions from the SRF and seed and vegetable oil producers like Crisco to promote their products as heart safe alternatives to meat-based fat.
Making fat the enemy took all the pressure off sugar.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published the findings of researchers at the University of San Francisco which should show just how much money was funneled from industry groups to the AHA to protect their industry.
For $50,000 the AHA republished the sugar industries reports in JAMA in the 1960’s.
The influence-peddling continued for nearly 50 years and has kept sugar from being vilified as a danger to our health.
This has been driving most of the AHA and US healthy diet recommendations during this time, while diabetes, obesity, and heart and strokes increased despite a major reduction in smoking.
Major corporate sponsorship has been driving dietary recommendations, and not scientific evidence.
When fat is taken out of food, it becomes bland and unstable on the shelf, but adding sugar takes care of both problems, but is highly damaging to metabolic health.
Since the AHA has been called out on its conflict of interest it has had for over 50 years, it started recommending reducing added sugar in the diet, but still calls for a low-fat diet.
For over 50 years we were told fat was bad and sugar was okay, while the opposite was true.
Most people who suffer from heart attacks do not have elevated cholesterol. Yet, this is always blamed as the reason.
Ignoring the danger of sugar may have cost millions of lives and billions in treating diabetes and its complications.
The AHA is one of the US’s largest charities, and a respected name to most Americans when it comes to heart health, yet the evidence is that it was bought off for over 50 years and continues to give bad advice.