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If you count bodies, not cholesterol levels, vegetable oils are deadly
We’ve been told for years, the secret to avoiding heart disease, is to lower your serum cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is always at the scene of cardiovascular events. ALWAYS.
This association CANNOT be co-incidence.
Cholesterol IS involved.
Cholesterol MUST be a bad guy !
Following this logic, keeping cholesterol out of the blood vessels, WILL stop cardiovascular disease.
The war on cholesterol
So, it’s imperative to lower cholesterol………………
So how do you do this ?
Go LOW fat (and/or take a statin, but that’s another story).
Specifically you want to cut saturated fat from your diet and replace this with vegetable oils. A whole host of oils do the job
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- Canola oil
The GOOD FATS.
It works. Your cholesterol levels ARE DEFINITELY LOWER. Yah !
Are you protected from heart disease ?
Of course you are.
Mmmm……. not so fast.
Most of the science behind the benefits of vegetable oils, stop at THEY LOWER CHOLESTEROL.
It is assumed, this is a good thing.
Few studies have actually really tested the validity of this statement.
The reason…………. it’s HARD !
Making the connection
But, no worries, a few research groups back in the day, which was A LONG TIME AGO… in the late sixties – early seventies, did the work.
They showed switching form butter to margarine, lowered cholesterol AND reduced heart disease.
Actually, they planned to look at whether the lower cholesterol meant less heart disease, but this never happened.
Until, a group of researchers from UNC School of Medicine and the American National Institutes of Health, got a bee in their bonnet and decided to GO BACK IN TIME, to finish the undertaking.
Now, the reason this was possible, was scientists LOVE DATA.
Digging through the data
The original team systematically collected the data and saved it.
Not on the computer, this was before the computer age, the data was saved on paper and magnetic tapes. The papers were carefully stacked in boxes, ready for the big analysis. Which would be done later. Later never came. But, the data was still waiting to be analysed.
As fate would have it……….
The boxes were never destroyed and over 40 years later, it finally HAPPENED.
So, what did they find ?
Recapping the study
The original study took place in several mental hospitals in Minnesota.
At the time, it was common practice for people with mental health problems to be institutionalized, they checked in on a “PERMANENT” basis. This meant, they ended up living in the hospitals and well they needed to eat.
The original researchers “manipulated” some of the dinners.
Switching out saturated fat for vegetable oils. This study used corn oil.
When all was said and done, some of the residents got around 13.2 % of their daily energy requirements from linoleic acid.
NOTE : The patients didn’t have a clue, this was going on.
Lowering serum cholesterol
Ultimately 2355 people were part of the study, only patients who followed the special dietary programme for at least a year, were included in the final analysis, which documented serum cholesterol levels, they found…..
The corn oil diet trumped the normal diet when it came to cholesterol levels.
This data was published and we’ve been encouraged to switch to vegetable oils, since then.
What about cardiovascular disease ?
During the study, 517 patients died.
Only if they died of a heart attack or stroke, was cardiovascular disease blamed. And, nothing in the original data, suggested the people with lower cholesterol were protected.
Actually, there was a hint that older patients (> 65 years), consuming the corn oil, might have been worse off, but this was never highlighted in the publications.
Of the 517 deaths, 295 underwent an autopsy, which involved sending hearts, aortas and brains to a team of pathologists at the University of Minnesota for analysis.
Unfortunately, only 149 of these autopsy reports have been located.
But this is where things get INTERESTING.
Lower cholesterol but more atherosclerosis
The pathologists assessed cardiovascular disease in the bits and pieces they were sent. To ensure their findings were unbiased, they had no idea what diet the patient was on.
To begin with, there were more heart attacks, not less….
41 % (31/76) of the corn oil patients had one while only 22 % (16/73) of the controls had one.
Patients consuming the high corn oil diet, had more evidence of atherosclerotic plaques.
MORE, not less.
Lowering cholesterol has NO CLINICAL BENEFIT ! And might actually have been harmful.
So why are we STILL doing it ?
Because it’s DOGMA
Don’t be afraid of natural fats, they’ve been part of the human diet for forever. Switching to vegetable oils, may indeed lower your cholesterol, but there is no evidence, this helps you avoid a heart attack or stroke.
Odds are, your dietician and doctor, would give your lunch, an A rating, but there is one, small problem with your sandwich…… it’s heavy in omega-6 PUFAs….
The chemistry of fats is complicated. High fat levels are not because you stacked your plate with butter, meat, cream and eggs – your body made those fats.
The fatty acid implicated in health troubles is palmitoleic acid. A diet high in carbs, raises their levels, a diet high in saturated fats, keeps them low.