Friday, January 15, 2010
This issue can be traced back to the 1950s and a researcher named Ancel Keys whose "Seven Countries Study" became the basis for his contention that cardiovascular disease was largely the result of high serum cholesterol levels brought on by a diet high in saturated fat.
However, Ancel Keys and his "lipid hypothesis" is a perfect example of strong bias affecting research results. Keys was, in fact, determined to "prove" his lipid hypothesis by pretty much any means, even if that included selecting only data that supported it.
This is precisely what happened with the lipid hypothesis.
Ancel Keys had put forth that a high fat diet, particularly a diet high in saturated fat, was a major contributor to high cholesterol which in turn leads to heart disease in the form of arteriosclerosis (arterial plaque build-up).
Subsequent and independent analysis of the data that were available to Keys shows that he "cherry picked" only those countries with numbers that supported his hypothesis and omitted a significant amount of data that showed there was actually no correlation between dietary fat, cholesterol, and arteriosclerosis. But this information has been largely ignored.
Part of this can be explained by powerful industry groups with a vested interest in having his theory accepted as fact. Part of it can also be attributed to Keys’ strong and persuasive personality...
Gary Taubes fascinating, and meticulously researched book, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, when the government made it official policy to tell Americans what they should and should not be eating through Senator George McGovern's 1977 Dietary Goals for the United States, we were being led by biased research, bad science, naive and biased writers, and the powerful influence of various factions of the food industry. YET AGAIN WE SEE GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRATS SEEKING TO EMPIRE BUILD & SEIZING ON ANY USEFUL SCARE STORY TO DO SO - Neil...
When subsequent researchers reviewed the entire data that were available to Keys, they were astonished to learn that there was no correlation in the data to support Keys hypothesis.
Indeed when analyzing data from all countries from which data were available (data that Keys had access to) there was no correlation in the data.
In spite of this, that initial report has been used over and over to prove that fat, particularly saturated fat, is a major contributing factor in arteriosclerosis, and that a low fat diet is important to control cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Article in full