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Norway’s biggest newspaper writes that the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) are incorrect about fats. A new review of all studies on the subject shows that butter is most likely better for the heart than the Omega-6-rich vegetable oils that are recommended:
VG: Danish researchers: – Butter is not more harmful than vegetable oils (Google translated from Norwegian)
The most interesting part of the article is the comment from the Head of the Division of Nutrition of the Danish National Food Institute, Gitte Gross, who’s been involved in coming up with the fat-phobic Nordic nutritional recommendations: Continue Reading →
Butter is better for your heart than most vegetable oils. More and more experts realize it:
The outdated fear-mongering propaganda claiming that a dramatically increased butter consumption in Sweden has also increased the incidence of heart disease is once again crushed by reality.
New statistics from The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare show the exact opposite. The incidence of heart attacks in Sweden keeps plummeting, for both men and women, just as they have done since 2005. We are becoming healthier, despite eating more and more butter.
The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare: Fewer people suffer heart attacks (statistics 1988-2012, Google translated)
As modern science time and time again has shown that a low-fat diet doesn’t do anything good for heart health, nobody should be surprised. But there are definitely people that need to update their knowledge.
Above is the butter consumption in Sweden (yellow line) in relation to statistics on heart disease (blue + purple). The axis for butter consumption is to the right.
The Swedish butter consumption just keeps going up, while the incidence of heart attacks keeps going down.
So, what’s the correlation between butter consumption and heart disease? None. There is no correlation.
That the old theory on saturated fat and heart disease has been a mistake has already been proven in high quality studies (RCT). This is just a telling illustration.
Fear of butter is as scientifically well-founded as fear of monsters under the bed. Continue Reading →
What is the cause of heart disease? For the past decades the dogma has been that saturated fat and cholesterol are the culprits. But a growing number realize that this outdated idea has been a mistake.
Yesterday Australia’s foremost science television show, Catalyst, broadcasted an episode on the subject (video clip above). There are many physicians and experts interviewed in the show, and the majority believes that the over-simplified cholesterol theory is simply wrong.
The real cause of heart disease? Inflammation in the artery walls. This may have many causes, but the amount of saturated fat you consume is not one of them. Here are some more probable contributing factors:
- stress on the artery wall due to high blood pressure
- high blood sugar levels that damage the cells inside the artery
- small, dense, oxidized LDL particles that may irritate the artery wall and/or get in between the cells in the wall
- smoking, which introduces substances to the blood that irritates the arteries
The three first factors are exacerbated by too much sugar and starch in the diet.
In addition to the above: stress. Stress exacerbates all the problems mentioned above – it raises blood pressure, increases blood sugar, worsens blood lipid profile and increases the tendency to adopt bad habits, such as smoking.
Not on the list: butter. Switching to polyunsaturated omega-6-fats won’t be protective either – according to new findings this may even be harmful!
It’s time for more brave experts to stand up and say “I was wrong, you were right”.
So how do you really prevent heart disease? Here’s my best advice: Continue Reading →
More and more people are questioning the silly old-fashioned fear of butter. A heart doctor writes in the latest issue of the respected British Medical Journal that it’s time to bust the myth that saturated fat has anything to do with heart disease.
A number of papers report on this and the heart doctor was on British morning TV today (watch).
What’s wrong with this picture? There are two products:
- Unprocessed Irish butter
- Highly processed breakfast cereals containing 27% pure sugar (a professor and obesity expert recently called this “eating candy for breakfast“)
Do you see the red tick? That’s the sign of the Australian Heart Foundation, that supposedly helps people to “easily choose healthier products at a glance” by using “tough and stringent” nutritions standards.
The Heart Foundation still spreads obsolete fat-phobic advice – proven to be incorrect by modern science – so the real butter has no tick. But they gladly put it on the sugar-filled kids’ cereals.
No wonder obesity numbers in Australia are reaching “staggering” proportions: More than 60 percent of the Australian population is now overweight or obese.
Why is the Heart Foundation still spreading old-fashioned fat phobia – and instead, in the middle of an obesity epidemic, fooling parents into giving their kids candy for breakfast?
Protest here (just 700 more supporters needed! Update: goal reached and increased from 10K to 15,000)
Another new review of the scientific literature finds that saturated fat (like butter) has an undeserved bad reputation. There’s no reason to fear fat anymore.
- Lawrence GD. Dietary Fats and Health: Dietary Recommendations in the Context of Scientific Evidence. Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):294-302.
I wonder if it will be read at the USDA?
Not many things impress me more than a scientist who dares to change his opinion. An excellent example is the influential Danish scientist Arne Astrup.
After earlier believing that fat was bad and carbs (even high-GI carbs) were good Astrup has now changed his mind. One of the reasons is the large DIOGENES study that he published in The New England Journal of Medicine recently.
The study proved that a diet with more protein, less carbs and a lower GI is better for maintaining a weight loss. Advice similar to the official guidelines (with more carbs) made participants regain the most weight.
Carbs and obesity
Astrup used to be critical of Gary Taubes (who has long maintained that too much carbs is the villain behind the obesity epidemic). But now he did not mind admitting that he had changed his mind. I was there when they met at the ASBP obesity conference in San Diego yesterday. Astrup said “I was wrong, you were right” to Taubes, regarding carbs and obesity. He didn’t mind me quoting him on that either.
To clarify, Astrup does not believe that a strict low-carb diet is a good idea for the entire population. A little less carbs with a lower GI, and a bit more protein would be sufficient he believes. But Astrup had nothing against stricter low-carb diets for treating obesity etc.
I thought that Astrup would still be afraid of natural saturated fat, but he has updated his position here as well. After all the recent studies showing that refined carbs are worse for the heart than saturated fat, and now even that polyunsaturated omega-6 fat is worse, Astrup believes that focusing on saturated fat is wrong.
If there’s any benefit in replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated or omega-3 fat it’s hardly of any major importance. There are much more important things to focus on, such as eating less refined carbs (sugar and white flour), enough protein and avoiding trans fats. Natural saturated fat is nothing to be afraid of.
When people like Astrup manage to update their opinions there’s plenty of hope for the future. Let’s hope more and more experts will follow in his footsteps.
Do you want to know the darkest secrets of the food industry? Read the great new book Salt Sugar Fat, like I’m doing right now.
The author, Pulitzer prize-winner Michael Moss, was just on the Daily Show. Watch it above.
A short comment on the book: While it’s mostly great it’s also partly stuck in the failed dogma of yesterday. Natural saturated fat is still a villain. The main solution? FRUITANDVEGETABLES. Yawn. But if you ignore that the book is absolutely fascinating. Mostly for the insights we get into the minds of the people running the processed food industry.
Highly recommended: Salt Sugar Fat – How the Food Giants Hooked Us.
The old fear of natural saturated fat (such as butter) has been on its way out for a long time. Repeated reviews of science have in recent years not shown any evidence that eating butter is anything but healthy. In Sweden (where I live) lots of people have understood this and sales of skim milk, low-fat margarine and other low-fat products have plummeted.
Here is another nail in the coffin for the fat-phobia and the low-fat hysteria. A review of previously unpublished (hidden) numbers from an older study shows that today’s margarines may not only be unnecessary. They may be directly harmful to the heart.
The study involved nearly 500 men with heart disease. Half of them were randomly assigned to increase polyunsaturated omega-6-fat intake, including in the form of margarine (similar to Promise light spread* in the US), and were advised to reduce saturated fat (such as butter). The other half was left alone and allowed to continue eating as before.
When the study was stopped after three years there were significantly more deaths in the group that consumed omega-6-rich margarine. The risk of dying during the study was elevated by a whopping 62%. Those who escaped counseling on margarine clearly lived longer.
Now it’s revealed that the risk of death from heart disease also was significantly elevated, by as much as 74%(!), in the group that was given margarine.
Good night, fat phobia
When you add this previously hidden disastrous result to all other studies that have been done, there isn’t the slightest evidence that omega-6-rich margarine is good for your heart. On the contrary: The numbers are very close to (p=0.06) showing a statistically significant harmful effect from this margarine. A probable increased risk of dying from heart disease as a result of consuming margarine instead of butter.
Adults can of course avoid buying the junk. But not all get to choose. Where I live potentially heart damaging omega-6-rich margarine is the only alternative allowed in many day care centers and schools, citing official fat-fearing dietary advice.
Time to wake up, official dietary guideline authorities?
- TIME: Omega-6 Fats Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Disease
- Dr John Briffa: New data from old study reveals that reducing saturated fat in favor of “vegetable” oils increases risk of heart attack and can have fatal consequences
From the British Medical Journal
- BMJ: Study raises questions about dietary fats and heart disease guidance
- BMJ: Old study sheds new light on the fatty acids and cardiovascular health debate
- BMJ: Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis
*/ Promise light spread contains 1900 mg of omega-6 and only 300 mg of omega-3 per serving.
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