Friday, February 25, 2011

The Lipid-Hypothesis vs. Science

I'm no scientist, but I remember learning early on in scienve class that the hyposthesis is the basis, the foundation, if you will, of good, sound science. Without the hypothesis all is conjecture.  Now, I unfortunately do not own a Webster's, but my American Heritage College Dictionary defines hypothesis as
1) A tentative explaination that accounts for a set of facts and can be tested by further investigation; a theory. 2) Something taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigation; an assumption. emphasis mine.  In other words one guesses at the reason for something he does not understand.  He then investigates to find out whether or not he was correct, and shares what he has learned and why he was right or wrong. Sadly this does not appear to be the case with the lipid-hypothesis, rather they seem to have made an assumption and then set about proving it correct at all cost.
Lest my ranting fall on uninformed ears, the lipid -hypothesis was coined by Ancel Keys in 1950 as scientists and doctors stuggled to gain insight into the alarming increases in deaths from heart disease since the 1920s.  In essence it states that saturated fats and cholesterol which in turn leads to heart disease. Two main studies are sited in support of this theory: the Framingham Study and David Kritchevsky's rabbits.  The results are somewhat startling when you consider the effect they have had on the treatment and prevention of heart disease since.
Kritchevsky conducted and experiment in which he fed large ammounts of cholesterol to rabbits.  While he did, indeed find that his rabbits developed atherosclerosis, his findings do little to prove the lipid-hypothesis if viewed objectively.  For one thing, rabbits are vegitarian animals.  They were never meant to consume animal foods as humans, omnivores, were. Second, these rabbits were fed highly processed cholesterol that is not found in any natural foods and third, the  kind of plaque which developed in the rabbits is compeletly different from what develops in humans.  Nonetheless, the AHA ran with it, presenting the hypothesis as proven fact and recommending the Prudent Diet in which the beef, eggs, lard and butter that americans were used to consuming were replaced by liquid vegetable oils, margerine, chicken and cold breakfast cereals.
The Framingham Study launched in 1948 with follow up studies in 1964 and 1978.  In the earliest portion of the study nearly 1000 people were asked about their eating habits and test for blood cholesterol levels.  The findings? There was no connection between diet and cholesterol levels.  This portion of the study was never published!  The follow-up in 1964 revealed that almost half of those who had suffered heart attacks actually had low cholesterol; in 1978 it was determined that "For every 1mg/dl drop [in blood cholesterol] there was an 11 percent increase in coronary and total mortality".  Reardless, the "Circulation" journal published this statement from the AHA: "The reasults of the Framingham Study indicate that a 1 percent reduction...of cholesterol [corresponds to] a 2 percent reduction in CHD risk."  The exact opposite of what was actually found.  There are numerous studies that prove saturated fat plays an important roll in all of our bodily functions, and liquid vegetable oils are actually liked to heart disease.  More on that another time.


Eat Fat, Lose Fat

Nourishing Traditions

Weston A. Price Foundation

1 comment:

  1. Very, very interesting. I love it that I can just let you do all the research and all I have to do is read it! I'm looking forward to reading more!