WSJ: “The dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade”


The old fear of dietary fat is melting away. Here’s yet another step in the paradigm shift. The world’s #1 business paper The Wall Street Journal publishes an article that questions decades of warnings against butter. Or as they put it “The dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade”:

The Wall Street Journal: The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease

As if this weren’t enough, the article is the most-read article of all in the paper:


Time to sell the shares in margarine manufacturer Unilever?


Review shows saturated fat is neutral with regard to health

The Margarine Giant Gives Up: Butter Wins

“Butter Better than Vegetable Oils”

The Real Association Between Butter and Heart Disease in Sweden

Butter is Better


  1. eddy
    I recently cleaned out the fridge and tossed my margarine, it had been in there for a number of months and was not getting use, I have switched to butter. both salted and unsalted for cooking.

    Just found a great recipe for tangine chicken north African style with grapes and apricots , honey and olive oil
    I am getting my sweets with fiber.

  2. Chrissy
    I think the wheels ARE slowly turning Andreas. This today from an Australian website:

  3. sten
    That was a long and healthy summary of what Ancel Keys and Crisco brought down over America, and then the world.
    Since Crisco started spreading its poison already in 1910, wasn't it the cause of heart disease itself ?: And Becel today ? Omega 6 is heavy implicated in all cardiovascular lesions!

    I did not know that Crisco also lifted AHA to a powerhouse with its profits of vegetable oil sale, to make them bigger again ?.
    Great that butter is better again allover. Better late than never.

  4. Nan
    I haven't eaten margarine for several years now, and am dismayed that I ever made myself and my family eat it in the name of good health. I also remember when my mother gave up using lard for Crisco; the pie crusts certainly were never as good. Talk about brainwashed; a whole nation, several nations, led down a path paved by marketers, based on a very sorry excuse for science.

    Reply: #8
  5. Caylee
    Carbs = main fuel source for the body
    Fat = fat
    Eat fat get fat! I hate how everybody blames foods like pasta rice corn and potatoes for making them fat while ignoring all the fat oils and grease that come along with it! Bacon and butter health foods LMAO!!!!
    Replies: #10, #11, #13, #14
  6. Luis
    I use mostly olive oil to cook. Does heating olive oil cause oxidation as well?
    Reply: #7
  7. Joe
    Olive oil is great on salads and great to use when making meat on the barbecue or even an occasional pasta dish. I think its not considered the best oil for heating if i'm not mistaking! I will say since I was born and raised in the Puglia region of southern Italy there is nothing quite like the taste of a good quality extra virgin olive oil :)
  8. Joe
    Not to mention butter tastes much better and less artificial at least in my opinion! Love my kerrygold :)
  9. Molly
    Caylee, Just Go Away.

    You haven't bothered to do the reading that I asked you to. You haven't looked at any of the science involved. You haven't read the article that Dr Eenfeldt has linked to.

    You are not contributing in any way to the discussion on this board - you are clearly trolling and its rude and unwelcome.

  10. PatrickP
    Caylee is willfully ignorant. Sad.
  11. sten
    There will always be people left on all kind of fences and in all kinds of fields, which we all accept.

    But you have obviously not read Eenfeldts "The food revolution".
    There are actually a few excellent links on top of this very page. Links to Gary Taubes, Robert Lustig, Mary Vernon etc., under "video". Interesting interviews.

  12. Paul the rat

    it is my 5th week with no dietary intake of carbohydrates at all (part of an experiment) - I feel just great.

    Replies: #20, #22
  13. sten
    Below extract from a detailed history of how we got to the place where fat was bad.
    If you are truly interested, please read the history !

    "1976 Nathan Pritikin opens his first “low fat” Longevity Center. One attendee is pudgy U.S. Senator George McGovern (Democrat, SD). Although he dropped out of the Pritikin program, Senator McGovern was convinced that fat made us fat and was responsible for "killer diseases" like cancer and heart disease. Nathan Pritikin committed suicide years later when his low fat diet failed to protect him from leukemia."

    Here link to the whole history, starting at 1825 when diabetes rates were lower than 1 in 300.

  14. Daniel FErreira
    so eating fat makes you fat? just like shooting a gun makes you a criminal?

    Makes sense.

  15. Paul the rat
    re Caylee
    Dear LCHFers, please do not feed a close-minded, fanatical troll. Let her/him be.
  16. granny gibson
    Fantastic article from WSJ!
  17. smc
    People like the close-minded Caylee make me wish we had a "thumbs down" button. "Fat makes you fat." Indeed. And sugar makes you sweet. Since I began my LCHF diet over 2 years ago, my weight has dropped from 190 to 175 (6'1"). There have been a host of other metabolic and health benefits including the complete disappearance of my once terrible allergies. Blood glucose from 110 to 75. Triglycerides from 60 to 42. HDL up from 40 to 74. Go in peace Caylee, but just go away. Please. You add nothing to our discussions here.
  18. Marcy
    There is nothing like real dairy. I am fortunate that my mom never liked margarine and we always had proper butter growing up. We grew up in the Mid-west USA, so ate a lot of beef. My parents never had any heart disease. I was in Switzerland in 1972 and was in awe of the lovely dairy they had there. No matter what you believe, you must admit that is one good looking cow in that photo!
  19. murray
    Paul, what is the title? I get an access permission denied message when I follow the link.

    Don't triglycerides have glycerol, from which the liver can make glucose? Perhaps that's all the dietary carbs we need. Perhaps that establishes the ideal fat to carb ratio. Hibernating bears would seem to think so.

    Reply: #21
  20. Paul the rat
    Hey murray, here it is, sorry I thought that I have fooled the system. It is a nice review, worth reading.

    (as you know, our body (liver, kidneys cortex) can make glucose from glycerol as well as from so called glycogenic amino acids, fatty acids, lactate, pyruvate. Most preferred glycogenic molecules are: alanine, glutamine, lactate and glycerol)

    Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2014 Apr 28. doi: 10.1111/apha.12308. [Epub ahead of print]
    Fatty acids and cardiac disease: Fuel carrying a message.
    van Bilsen M1, Planavila A.
    Author information

    From the viewpoint of the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden, there has been a continuous interest in the detrimental effects of the Western-type high-fat diet for more than half a century. More recently, this general view has been subject to change as epidemiological studies showed that replacing fat by carbohydrate may even be worse and that various polyunsaturated fatty acids (FA) have beneficial rather than detrimental effects on CVD outcome. At the same time advances in lipid biology have provided insight into the mechanisms by which the different lipid components of the Western diet affect the cardiovascular system. In fact, this still is a rapidly growing field of research and in recent years novel FA derivatives and FA receptors have been discovered. This includes fish-oil derived FA-derivatives with anti-inflammatory properties, the so-called resolvins, and various G-protein coupled receptors that recognize FA as ligands. In the present review we will extensively discuss the role of FA and their metabolites on cardiac disease, with special emphasis on the role of the different saturated and polyunsaturated FA and their respective metabolites in cellular signal transduction and the possible implications for the development of cardiac hypertrophy and cardiac failure This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    Reply: #23
  21. tony
    Paul, any changes in your weight, waist, blood glucose, athletic performance etc.?
    Reply: #24
  22. murray
    Thanks, Paul. I look forward to getting the whole article. Any surprises from the LCHF perspective?

    Is there any indication that a greater load to produce glucose in the liver from these pre-cursors puts stress on the liver? I have long wondered whether eating some carb would alleviate workload for the liver to sustain adequate blood sugar. My general approach has been to require the carb-containing foods i eat to be very nutrient dense, so i can have small portions.

    Reply: #25
  23. Paul the rat
    I am practicing very low carbohydrate (mostly no more that 8% energy) lifestyle for very long time (close to 20 years now) so I am in pretty good shape in and out for longtime now. My current no dietary carbohydrate intake self-experiment is to monitor my organs function (liver, kidneys et cetera) as well as microbiome analysis. I did this around 10 years ago and would like to make comparison. I am a part of a group of dedicated LCHF people who provide council to those who decide to start LCHF for one reason or another. It is my experience that well designed and executed LCHF always leads to weight loss and marked improvement in health. Personally , and I said this on dietdoctor number of times, weight loss on LCHF is a secondary issue - it is for the other, numerous benefits to our biochemistry and physiology, which LCHF lifestyle is so rewarding.
    Reply: #27
  24. Paul the rat
    I follow your reasoning on 'working liver' scenario, however it is my understanding that, providing organs (tissues, cells) receive optimal energy and macro, micro-nutrients for their function and regeneration, they just (judging by biomarkers) work with no problems. When human body is keto-adapted it does not need much glucose (workload-wise it is probably more "difficult" for your liver to process half a bottle of wine than it is to make 2 mole of glucose). Do our kidneys "struggle" when we drink 2 liters of water/day versus 2 glasses?.
    I certain do not see any trouble in the function of my liver, or any other organs for that matter.
  25. Paul the rat
    @murray, here is another good review.

    Life game is an energy game. All the way from microbes up to elephants the game of life is to get energy from the surroundings in the most efficient way and utilized it in the most efficient way. It my humble understanding the best energy source for humans are fatty acids.

    Rev Neurol (Paris). 2014 May 1. pii: S0035-3787(14)00811-X. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2014.03.005. [Epub ahead of print]
    Perspectives of drug-based neuroprotection targeting mitochondria.
    Procaccio V1, Bris C1, Chao de la Barca JM1, Oca F1, Chevrollier A1, Amati-Bonneau P1, Bonneau D1, Reynier P2.
    Author information

    Mitochondrial dysfunction has been reported in most neurodegenerative diseases. These anomalies include bioenergetic defect, respiratory chain-induced oxidative stress, defects of mitochondrial dynamics, increase sensitivity to apoptosis, and accumulation of damaged mitochondria with instable mitochondrial DNA. Significant progress has been made in our understanding of the pathophysiology of inherited mitochondrial disorders but most have no effective therapies. The development of new metabolic treatments will be useful not only for rare mitochondrial disorders but also for the wide spectrum of common age-related neurodegenerative diseases shown to be associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. A better understanding of the mitochondrial regulating pathways raised several promising perspectives of neuroprotection. This review focuses on the pharmacological approaches to modulate mitochondrial biogenesis, the removal of damaged mitochondria through mitophagy, scavenging free radicals and also dietary measures such as ketogenic diet.

    Reply: #29
  26. Galina L.
    Paul, I am a LCarber myself, but I intentionally do not go close to zero carbs. I guess I would be too sensitive to it over-wise later during random consumption during social functions or when some fruits and veggies are consumed.
    Reply: #28
  27. Paul the rat
    I go zero carbs (for 6 months) just to see how my body responds to it. Normally I eat vegetables, nuts some berries and skin of dark fruits - but no more than +- 8% carbohydrates as total energy. Bulk of my protein comes from organ meats and hard working muscles (lamb, beef or game) and energy from animal fat, some coconut and olive oil. At social functions I just consume meat or cheese.
  28. murray
    Thanks, Paul. I will review with interest.

    Have you seen this lecture on mitochondria and energy metabolism. The perspective originates from the study of diseases due to mitochondrial genes. The lecturer points out nucleus DNA is structural and regulatory but mitochondrial DNA drives energy metabolism, so the genetics-evolution paradigm should be rethought in terms of this bifurcation. The dynamics of mitochondrial DNA, of course, are more complicated because there are multiple copies of mitochondria in cells, so there is a population dynamic.

    Given most diseases, it seems, involve energy deficit in important cells due to mitochondrial defect or wear, strategies for enhancing mitochondria (especially keto) seem all the more important.

    One interesting fact is that the ovary produces hundreds of eggs every normal cycle and there is some selection process to weed out all but the eggs with the strongest mitochondria (least damaged gene set). Given the pattern we see with women having trouble conceiving until they go low-carb, a high-carb diet may mess up that process, so that the eggs selected lack viable mitochondrial DNA for sufficient energy metabolism. Who knows what the epigenetic effects might be.
    Published on Apr 4, 2014

    A Mitochondrial Etiology of Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases, Cancer and Aging

    Air date: Wednesday, April 02, 2014, 3:00:00 PM

  29. Nancy
    My older brother is a vegetarian and devotee of the China Study. He sent me this article.

    I don't know enough to read this type of article but I can see it makes fat evil. Any comments???


    Reply: #33
  30. Paul the rat
    @Nancy, in one sentence:
    so called high fat meal described in this paper consisted of 50.1 g of fat and 43.8 g of carbohydrates !! - for our physiology - it is the worst mix possible. It is not LCHF meal. In addition only 14g of that fat was saturated, what was the rest - corn oil?
    Absolute 100% rubbish. However, unfortunately, these kind of "research" are used to "prove" that fat is bad for us. Whoever cites such work does not have a slightest clue about human energy metabolism.
  31. murray
    Why is vegetarianism anti-fat? Olive oil, coconut oil and pure chocolate (which is mostly stearic acid, the same saturated fat as in beef tallow) are daily non-animal fats for me. So it is not a vegetarian issue--it is an anti-fat bias.

    I don't have access to the full study.

    What type of fat was eaten? Trans fats? Highly processed vegetable oil like canola, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower or soy?

    How was the meal cooked? Studies show food (including vegetables) cooked at higher temperature produce high levels of advanced glycation endproducts and other compounds that reduce endothelial flexibility. Foods fried in oil cook hotter, so the correlation with more fat may be due to another factor.

    It is fairly easy to game experiments to achieve a desired outcome by varying cooking method and type of fat. For example, some mouse studies where mice did badly on "high fat" turned out to be giving the mice half their calories as trans fat. That would be like putting a person on a vegetarian diet with 50% of calories from beet-sugar and then saying vegetables cause diabetes.

    Personally, I have blood pressure about 95/65 with over 70% of my calories as fat. Most people I know who have gone LCHF report lower blood pressure.

  32. Anette
    After living in the UK for nearly 20 years I was stunned by how much sugary foods were eaten here. All low fat products are laden with sugar and it was very hard to find full fat versions. However, it is now changing gradually as more nutritionist are changing their attitude towards fat. Before it was 'eat low fat products' but now they are warning us about it. Even the government wants the manufacturers to lower the sugar in their products. What is sad though is the people working within the NHS is still advocating low fat high carb. I know a nutritionist and asked her why and she said 'it was what we were taught at university'. Another factor is the manufacturers, who have a strong hold in the UK. The good thing is people are waking up but the NHS is still sleep walking.
  33. Rosemary
    Caylee, there are good fats and there are bad fats. The bad fats are the vegetable oils made from reap seed (canola oil) and the like. the carbs you mention are fast carbs, they turn to fat quickly if not used quickly, as in not sports people. I know this for a fact, I ate potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, Basmati rice and some bread here and there as well as pasta, as I am a vegetarian due to IBS, thinking that I was doing good, I ballooned up to 115kg from averaging between 90 and 95kg. As soon as I dropped these things out of my diet I lost 25kg with-in about 4-5months.
    So I know for certain that carbs = fat and the good fat = weight loss.
  34. Kaur
    A critical take on the article by David L. Katz, MD.
    Reply: #38
  35. erdoke
    He didn't have time to properly read the article, but he did feel the urge to extensively comment on it...
    Let the old "whole grains in, saturated fat out" crusader live with that, it won't harm us a bit.
  36. Stickums
    Just thinking about this argument that eating fat makes you fat. I was just wondering if anyone knew what the metabolic pathway was that turns excess fat in the diet to fat on your bodies? I understand well how excess sugar is stored by insulin in fat cells but what about excess fat? No one adamant that this is true has ever explained how eating fat is converted into body fat.
    Reply: #40

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