Headlines all over the world: the fear of fat was a mistake from the beginning

Butter, healthy again

Butter, healthy again

The advice from the 1980’s about avoiding butter lacked evidence. The entire Western world received dietary guidelines that had never been shown to do any good.

This may be old news for the regular reader here, but now the knowledge is spreading faster and faster around the world.

A new scientific review shows that the advice completely lacked evidence of any benefit when it was first introduced. This hit the big headlines around the world yesterday:

The old fear of fat is dying out. Those who are still afraid of natural fat today haven’t yet managed to update their knowledge. Unfortunately, this includes quite a few older experts who govern our official dietary guidelines.

Getting over the fear of fat is absolutely necessary to return to honest, real food, which is needed to get away from calorie obsession and starvation dieting. It’s necessary to turn round the epidemics of obesity and diabetes and other related disorders. It is necessary and it can’t wait.

Fortunately, repeated headlines like these show that the Food Revolution continues, all around the world.


The Beginning and End of the Fear of Fat

The Fear of Fat Goes Into Free Fall

Big Fat Surprise Among the Best Books of the Year

Saturated Fat and Butter: From Enemy to Friend

Dramatically Improved Heart Health in Sweden!

WSJ: The Last Anti-Fat Crusaders

TIME: Eat Butter. Scientists Labeled Fat the Enemy. Why They Were Wrong.


  1. Jason
    Unfortunately most people will read this in their daily rag and instantly dismiss it as "today's" advice, thinking that tomorrow it will be the opposite advice and the day after that it will be "potatoes give you cancer"

    The Daily Express online in the UK recently had two articles on statins on the same day. One was how statins were a total scam and were bad for most people, the other was how statins will save everyone. People have just completely disengaged and I can't really blame them.

    Reply: #3
  2. Boundless
    Unrelated to the Harcombe paper, we have:
    "Feds May Finally Ditch Cholesterol Warning"
    which is also being reported by the Washington Post.
    Reply: #5
  3. Boundless
    re: ... thinking that tomorrow it will be the opposite advice ...

    We're seeing this week a flurry of "the emperor has no clothes, and never did" journal and news articles. I'm expecting Consensus Medicine™ to launch coordinated denials (and they need to, as they have murdered millions, and have a lot to answer for).

    This is going to cause many eyes to glaze over, but it's a process that is necessary.

  4. Jody
    I read this blog post immediately after watching a report on Today Show in the US saying that it's OK to eat eggs, but to avoid saturated fat from meat. At least they're heading in the right direction.
  5. Edward Hutchinson
    But we have to be realistic.
    Denise Minger explained in her blog.
    Ancel didn’t buy it. In his 1952 paper
    “Human atherosclerosis and the diet” (PDF)
    , he writes that “from these animal experiments only, the most reasonable conclusion would be that the cholesterol content of human diets is unimportant in human atherosclerosis.” Likewise, in some of his metabolic ward studies, Keys found that altering dietary cholesterol in the context of a normal diet had only minor effects on blood cholesterol, concluding that “attention to this factor alone accomplishes little.”
    And in his paper
    “The relationship of the diet to the development of atherosclerosis in man,”
    Keys is pretty clear about his views:
    The evidence—both from experiments and from field surveys—indicates that the cholesterol content, per se, of all natural diets has no significant effect on either the serum cholesterol level or the development of atherosclerosis in man."

    If it takes them more than 63 years to understand the effect of dietary cholesterol on total cholesterol and change the advice they give, it's not going to be in my lifetime that they recognize particularly for OLDER people
    higher LDL-C level is associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality.

    Reply: #6
  6. Boundless
    re: higher LDL-C level is associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality.

    And as I suspect you know, association of LDL-C with anything is tenuous at best. LDL-C (the "C" standing for calculated) is based on an old and crude equation (Friedewald) that was itself based on questionable assumptions that fall apart for many people doing LCHF (and it doesn't account for some key adverse genotypes in any case).

    When Consensus Medicine™ starts routinely looking at LDL-P (actual particles), then a small chance arises that they might have something useful to say. Right now, my lay opinion is that the only thing on a standard lipid panel that's meaningful is TG. Everything else is, at best, an indicator that real lipoprotein testing might be needed.

    Reply: #7
  7. Zepp
    Actualy.. I think C stands for cholesterole?

    Anyhow.. its more complicated then LDL-P/C!

    Rather its HDL thats importante.. in conjuction whit other markers.. like IR!

    High HDL is almoste everytime good.. both LDL and Trg dosent matter that much then.

    On the other side.. if one have low HDL.. then other markers is importante.. perticaly IR!

    "It is well known that high levels of LDL-C, low levels of HDL-C and high levels of triglycerides (TG) are each by itself a major risk factor for developing CVD (4,5,6).

    But what about lipid combinations. What if both LDL-C and HDL-C are high? Will high HDL-C wipe out the risk associated with high LDL-C? And what about TG? How do they affect the mixture?"

    "Interestingly, low HDL-C alone or in combination with a high LDL-C and/or high TG was the category associated with the greatest risk of CVD.

    When compared with HDL-C, LDL-C alone was associated with only a marginally increased risk of CVD. For example, the hazard ratio for the group with low HDL-C but normal LDL-C and normal TG was 1.93 while the group with high LDL-C but normal HDL-C and normal TG had a hazard ratio of 1.28.

    In contrast to HDL-C or LDL-C alone, no increase in CVD risk was associated with high TG alone."

    "The authors of the above paper cite two recent studies that suggest that HDL-C is a surrogate marker (8,9). This may imply that low HDL-C is not problematic in itself but is associated with some other factor that can increase risk. But, where is the missing link?

    It is known that low HDL-C and high TG commonly occur together. In fact, the TG/HDL-ratio (10) is strongly associated with the incidence (11) and the extent (12) of coronary artery disease.

    Low HDL-C and high TG are very often related to obesity and metabolic syndrome. These situations are characterised by the phenomenon we call insulin resistance."


    Replies: #8, #10
  8. bill
    I don't know what they mean by LDL-C, but
    here is a must read by Dr. Peter Attia:


    Read all 9 parts and you will know 90% more than
    your doctor about the issue.

    Reply: #11
  9. Ricardo
    I laughed listening to Radio 4 in the UK on a 'should we now eat fat' segment during the PM show. The presenter asked the science pundit how much butter we should now put on our baked potato or toast. If only he could have told the audience to bin the spud and the toast and just eat the butter!
  10. Boundless
    re: I think C stands for cholesterol?

    Nope. Calculated.

    That and TC, as well as the common but unrelated PSA and TSH, are mostly-useless numbers that clueless MDs use to prescribe mostly-useless meds (or in the case of LDL-C, actually dangerous meds). Useful labs are available for all of these, but only if the client knows it, and digs their heels in about getting them.

    Replies: #12, #13
  11. Zepp
    Im alredy done that.. its a good series about lipids!

    And to that, if one want only one marker.. its APOb100!

    It can predict a lot of bad things if its to high, FH, IR, MetSyndrome, Diabetes!

    So it is the companions of markers and syndromes that predict if one is in harms way!

    High HDL-C or APOa1 almoste everytime lower the risk ratio.. but not completely!

    Cholesterole levels or lipoprotein levels are often markers for other things thats bad and affect your longevety/risk for CVD!

    The problem is that people/doctors threat the symptomes, not the problem that caused it!

    Its time to understand that different causes need different treatments!

    I know, (I think?) cases that statins/fibrates are apropriate, its if one got FH, is a middleage male and have ridicilus high APOb!

    It dont means that one feel good, but it probably give a better longevity?

  12. FrankG
    You are right that the LDL-C volume, as commonly reported on blood tests, is calculated (see the Friedewald equation) and this one of the many reasons that we should be skeptical of the importance placed on LDL-C BUT I am pretty sure that LDL-C means LDL Cholesterol, in the same way that HDL-C means HDL Cholesterol :-)


  13. Zepp
    Well yes.. LDL-C is calculated, but it stands for Cholesterole anyhow!

    They actualy measure Total cholesterole and the cholesterole in HDL, then they calculate LDL-C by Freidewalds formula!

    LDL/HDL-C to separat frome LDL/HDL-P.. how is the particel numbers.. often labeld as APOb and APOa1!

    I think its NMR that actualy counts LDL/HDL-P?

    APOb/APOa1 counts the apolipoproteins thats only one in every lipoprotein.

  14. eric
    The future is here; it is just not evenly distributed.

    Seems people have been saying this about fat and sugar for awhile.

    Along with these headlines is the British Medical Journal == telling us now about the ties between the sugar industry and government.

    Too late to issue an apology to sugar warners like John Yudkin (8 August 1910 – 12 July 1995) was a British physiologist and nutritionist, and the founding Professor of the Department of Nutrition at Queen Elizabeth College, London. He gained an international reputation with his recommendation of a low-carbohydrate diet for those wishing to lose weight, and with his warnings that excessive consumption of sugar (sucrose) was dangerous to health.?

    Yudkin's '’Pure, White and Deadly'’, published in 1972, was written for a lay readership. Its intention was to summarise the evidence that the over-consumption of sugar was leading to a greatly increased incidence of coronary thrombosis, and that in addition it was certainly involved in dental caries, probably involved in obesity, diabetes and liver disease, and possibly involved in gout, dyspepsia and some cancers. The book drew on many studies from Yudkin's own Department and also on much other biochemical and epidemiological research in the UK and elsewhere. '’Pure, White and Deadly'’ was extremely successful. It appeared as '’Sweet and Dangerous'’ in the USA, and was translated into Finnish, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese and Swedish. A revised and expanded edition was published in 1986. The last paragraph of Chapter 1 begins 'I hope that when you have read this book I shall have convinced you that sugar is really dangerous.' The message was naturally extremely unwelcome to the sugar industry and to the manufacturers of processed foods who used (and use) sugar in large quantities in their products, and these firms employed a number of methods to impede Yudkin's work. The final Chapter of '’Pure, White and Deadly'’ lists several examples of attempts to interfere with the funding of his research and to prevent its publication. It also gives examples of the rancorous language and personal smears that the American epidemiologist Ancel Keys, who had proposed that saturated fat was the primary cause of heart disease, employed to dismiss the evidence that sugar was the true culprit. The efforts of the food industry to discredit the case against sugar were largely successful, and by the time of Yudkin's death in 1995 his warnings were, for the most part, no longer being taken seriously.

  15. Gavin
    i reduced my sugar intake drastically a year ago. I also started eating more fatty foods and using butter and full cream milk.
    In the 12 months since I started this lifestyle , I've lost 8 kg and kept it off , my cholesterol level went from 7,1 to 4,8. I weight train and cycle off road. I'm 181 cm and weigh 77 kg. Oh yes. And I'm 45 years old.
    I haven't had a day off sick in over a year.
    I think I'll keep eating this way.
  16. Jaz
    To the doubters: Please, take an hour out of your schedule and watch this. You can't deny there is something to the whole "eat more fat, less grains" idea. His (guy in the documentary) before and after blood-work and other results are available online for everyone to see for themselves.
    Cereal Killers Movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4008352/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
    Reply: #17
  17. Murray
    Jaz, you will want to watch the sequel, Cereal Killers II: Run on Fat. I saw the pre-release and it is inspiring.


  18. Dani
    Unfortunately, eating low carb high fat made me have an episode of acute pancreatitis. I was ecstatic to try eating low carb high fat, since I had tried a lot else and never could lose weight. To prevent acute pancreatitis from happening anymore, I have to stay away from fat since my pancreas and body don't handle or digest fat very well. So, yes, high fat diets work for some people, but for others, it can be dangerous or even deadly. Acute pancreatitis can kill in extreme cases... This happened suddenly to me, with no prior warning, and thankfully I did not have a severe case. But, what I'm saying is, I don't think anyone should jump into a diet without knowing the risks. I was told a high fat diet (like by this article) was all sunshine and rainbows. It landed me in the ER after having been rushed there by an ambulance because my heart was pounding, I was about to pass out, and my abdomen hurt so terribly. I'm 20 years old and otherwise healthy, don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs. It was my high fat diet that made that happen most likely. Just, my advice is, be careful and thoroughly analyze the risks before jumping into a diet.
    Replies: #19, #20, #21, #24, #25
  19. Zepp
    Dont think so.. even then there are some few persons.. one in some milions that got some heredyted malfunctions!

    "Eighty percent of cases of pancreatitis are caused by alcohol or gallstones. Gallstones are the single most common cause of acute pancreatitis.[1] Alcohol is the single most common cause of chronic pancreatitis.[2][3][4][5][6]

    Some medications are commonly associated with pancreatitis, most commonly corticosteroids such as prednisolone, but also including the HIV drugs didanosine and pentamidine, diuretics, the anticonvulsant valproic acid, the chemotherapeutic agents L-asparaginase and azathioprine, estrogen by way of increased blood triglycerides,[7] and antihyperglycemic agents like metformin,[8] vildagliptin,[9] and sitagliptin.[10] It may be noted here that the drugs which are used to treat conditions which are themselves associated with increased events of pancreatitis may also be incidentally linked to pancreatitis. Examples include statins in dyslipidemia and gliptins in diabetes. According to the Food and Drug Administration's MedWatch Surveillance System and Published Reports Atypical, atypical antipsychotics such as clozapine, risperidone, and olanzapine can also be responsible for causing pancreatitis.[11]

    Other common causes include trauma, mumps, autoimmune disease, high blood calcium, hypothermia, and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Pancreas divisum is a common congenital malformation of the pancreas that may underlie some recurrent cases. Diabetes mellitus type 2 is associated with a 2.8-fold higher risk.[12]

    Less common causes include pancreatic cancer, pancreatic duct stones,[13] vasculitis (inflammation of the small blood vessels in the pancreas), coxsackievirus infection, and porphyria—particularly acute intermittent porphyria and erythropoietic protoporphyria.

    There is an inherited form that results in the activation of trypsinogen within the pancreas, leading to autodigestion. Involved genes may include Trypsin 1, which codes for trypsinogen, SPINK1, which codes for a trypsin inhibitor, or cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator.[14]

    The mnemonic GETSMASHED is often used to remember the common causes of Pancreatitis: G - Gall stones E - Ethanol T - Trauma S - Steroids M - Mumps A - Autoimmune Pancreatitis S - Scorpion sting H - Hyperlipidaemia, Hypothermia, Hyperparathyroidism E - Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography D - Drugs commonly azathioprine, valproic acid

    Infectious causes[edit]
    A number of infectious agents have been recognized as causes of pancreatitis including:[15]

    Coxsackie virus
    Hepatitis B
    Herpes simplex virus
    Varicella-zoster virus


    You got pancreatitis.. but I think you should look otherwhere for causes!

  20. bill
    It's fear mongering like this:

    "...high fat diets work for some people, but for others, it can be dangerous or even deadly."

    That helps exactly nobody.

  21. erdoke
    You should have taken a more gradual approach, especially from a long history of low fat (high fad) diets. I guess you had had gallstones and generally slow moving bile and it was a shock when you suddenly turned everything upside down. Jumping into different diets like crazy is not a joke. :(
  22. Janknitz
    And. ..

    The backlash begins: Marion Nestle 2/13/15 wrote http://www.foodpolitics.com/2015/02/whats-up-with-the-cholesterol-gui...

    You'd think someone who wrote a book called "Food Politics" would have a clue!

    Reply: #23
  23. Boundless
    re: The backlash begins ...

    You ain't seen nothin' yet. Moneyed interests and discredited authorities abound.

    If we are lucky, what the general public will principally learn from the emerging shifts in advice and discordance on data is: government advice on pretty much any topic is not to be trusted, and I need to do my own homework.

    Alas, what they are more likely to conclude is: sigh, yet another flip-flop, I guess no dietary advice matters, so hand me another Twinkie.

  24. George Henderson
    Dani, are you sure you don't have acute variegated porphyria, or another form of porphyria?
    These are hereditary defects in heme synthesis that can be symptomless in some people until they go into ketosis. Carbohydrate relieves the symptoms, which can be very similar to what you describe.
    We will see more cases of porphyria exposed as LCHF becomes more popular. Doctors in EDs might not be good at spotting it.
  25. George Henderson
    @ Dani,

    I think it very likely that you have acute intermittent porphyria, and that this is the cause of your pancreatitis.

    Acute intermittent porphyria presenting as acute pancreatitis and posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome.

    Acute intermittent porphyria with relapsing acute pancreatitis and unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia without overt hemolysis.

    A case of acute intermittent porphyria with acute pancreatitis.

    The glucose effect in acute porphyrias

    I want to repeat that we ARE going to be seeing more cases where low-carb eating brings on acute porphyrias in those people who do not know they have this condition, and LCHF doctors and dietitians should be aware of the symptoms.


    Based on the eitiology and pathology of acute porphyrias, the optimal diet would seem to be something like the Perfect Health Diet - a moderate amount of low GI starch, spread through the day, and regular meals containing red meat.

  26. Donald
    Here is something posted by a vegan youtuber on the food politics blog:
    "It's hilarious - to get vitamins and minerals we eat food. To get protein we eat it. To get water we drink it. YOu can't pour bacon grease down the sink or it will get clogged. But for some reason people think when you consume cholesterol it doesn't affect the body. It just disappears!"
    These idiots are completely out of touch with the concept of homeostasis, in addition to other realities, like the fact my arteries are not cold iron pipes. Guess what darlin'? If you don't consume enough cholesterol, your body will make its own. In fact, if you look at how many long term, carb-addicted vegans become obese, you have to assume the body, bereft of a dietary source of needed lipids, decides to store a giant safety raft of them around its midsection.
    Reply: #27
  27. erdoke
    I guess you know the good old case study from 1991 in which they reported normal blood cholesterol levels for an elderly guy consuming 25 eggs per day over years?
    There are 2 interesting details regarding this case report:
    1. After consuming more cholesterol from these eggs than the overall need of his body, the gentleman's digestive system just scrapped the extra load of cholesterol. So, least surprisingly, only the amount needed was absorbed.
    2. No one less than Ancel Keys himself commented on the paper (see the Correspondence link to the right):

    Dietary cholesterol has an important effect on the cholesterol level in the blood of chickens and rabbits, but many controlled experiments have shown that dietary cholesterol has a limited effect in humans. Adding cholesterol to a cholesterol-free diet raises the blood level in humans, but when added to an unrestricted diet it has a minimal effect.
    Ancel Keys, Ph.D.
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455

  28. Joe Mariano
    First off how can anybody think our whole health system is run by crooks who will never find a cure for anything ! Second if they took how look people are living from 1950 and up you will find we went backwards in our health . People lived longer because they eat good food not food produced by big companies with there bullshit chemicals ... Today they stuff antibiotics and steroids in all the cows, chickens and pigs we eat . The chemicals we have going in our systems from large seed companies which everyone knows who I mean are killing us .. Them big pharm do you really think there out for our best interest Hell No, money is the bottom line there pills for this pills for that , even pills now that cannot be reversed and can bleed out and doctor are lying to give you them knowing that they are killing us ! Let me ask you are we better now or in the fifties we our health ? And years ago they tried everything to keep you alive doctors cared today when there done with you they give you another chemical to help you die ................... Joe
  29. Hazel
    Butter... yum!! Bring it on.
  30. MLC
    But the difference today is social media. A new younger generation of doctors who understand LCHF can communicate this without having to go through all the political BS that shut down all the people who disagreed with the dietary guidelines in 1977. People like Dr. Eenfeldt, Dr. Fung, Dr. Westman, Dr. Hallberg, Dr. Noakes, Dr. Berg, Dr Bernstein and of course Dr Atkins - their message can reach people through social media. We could go on and on and on, but I think that the fact that we can access & watch documentaries like 'Cereal Killers' and 'Fathead' and 'Fed Up' is going to be the thing that will turn the tide from the bottom up. This time, the people are going to realize what works and what is good for them, and we will all be healthier for it.
  31. TJK
    "There's nothing wrong with the occasional buttered scone. But, based on the current body of evidence, it would be potentially dangerous to think you can eat as much saturated fat as you want without it having an effect on your health."

    That's what the NHS source cited above (i.e. the last source on the list presented in the article) concludes so the NHS is not really embracing LCHF - quite the opposite (and they emphasise this many times in their news article). I think the way and the context in which the NHS source was referenced may mislead readers of Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt's article and make them incorrectly assume that the NHS endorses the LCHF diet while it does the opposite.
    I think it would be more appropriate if Dr. Eenfeldt made an attempt to refute all the anti-LCHF points made by the NHS. I am sure I am not the only one who would consider that a very interesting read indeed.

Leave a reply

Reply to comment #0 by

Older posts