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Bret Harte

What do Heart Foundations have in common with the IPCC? They are both in denial when evidence is presented that their position may be wrong.

What do Heart Foundations have in common with the halal certified food business? They both make money from the certification that the product is good to eat.

What brung this on?

In a nutshell? Saturated fat is not linked to greater risk of heart disease, new research finds.

Harvard University researchers and Cambridge University researchers went through 72 papers covering 600,000 patients and presented that finding in the Annals of Internal Medicine. You can read it here.

Have you forgotten what it was like to have a bacon sandwich? Or toast with marmalade at breakfast? Yes, neither have I.

For 20 years medical research has presented saturated fats (found in animal and full-fat dairy products) as major contributors to the development of heart disease.

No, they shrieked. Your fat intake should come from fish and vegetables. We will allow you a little bit of butter and cheese, but be careful.
This research looked at looked at the effects of different fats on the risk of heart disease, defined in various studies as coronary artery disease, angina, a heart attack or sudden cardiac death.

It compared the risk for people in the top third of fat eaters with those in the bottom third and found that only trans fatty acids – mostly found in processed oil-based products – were associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

It wasn’t the first time doubt had been expressed about the saturated fat theory.

In fact, the British Medical Journal, Open Heart, also argued that the fat question was still controversial. They pointed out that reducing saturated fats in the diet means that people tend to increase their calories by eating more carbohydrates or switching to polyunsaturated fats. Increasing carbohydrates, argues the editorial, increases the risk of diabetes and obesity, while eating the wrong polyunsaturated fat (omega-3, from industrialised vegetable oils, as opposed to omega-3 from salmon, olive oil, seeds) can lower the protective form of cholesterol and cause an inflammatory reaction in the walls of arteries, effectively increasing the risk of heart disease.

More than one has pointed out that this world wide lecturing on avoiding saturated fats has had no effect on heart disease.

But it coincided with an increase in obesity – apparently caused by switching from meat to carbs like bread.

The British Heart Foundation has done a U-turn on the subject, and Dr. Mike Knapton from there said “”[It] perhaps doesn’t matter so much what type of fat you worry about, however it does matter the amount of fat you eat in your diet, because it’s a very rich, high-energy content, high-calorie food, compared to protein and carbohydrate.”

Bugger – to think Mum was right all along. To think that instincts were correct. Don’t eat too much fat.

But what does the Australian Heart Foundation say?

It can be summed up like this;

1. Saturated fat causes elevated cholesterol.
2. Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.
3. Therefore saturated fat is a risk factor for heart disease.
4. Therefore Harvard and Cambridge and the British Heart Foundation got it wrong.

heart trouble

There was a time when this one didn’t exist.

Actually we went through something similar with eggs and oysters. Eggs and oysters have cholesterol. Don’t eat eggs or oysters. Sorry, eggs and oysters are OK.

And now research is ongoing about cholesterol anyway.

Now here is the connection between halal and Heart Foundations. Between them and the IPCC

The Australian Heart Foundation raises money for their organisation – and nobody doubts their sincerity – by selling a Red Tick on food products, just like the halal certificate.

The IPCC raises money frightening governments into spending billions on a theory.

Heart Foundations raise money – millions – from donations and bequests in wills mostly on a theory about saturated fats. The rest of their program is just common sense, exercise, eat moderately, lay off the cigarettes; what catapulted them into the national consciousness is that red tick on food products.

Are they going to reconsider?

What about school canteens? – will the kids cease to be used as experimental mice?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Albert 03/06/2014, 6:53 pm

    Sorry, can’t agree that there is any comparison between the Heart Foundation and Muslim Halal. The Heart Foundation sell the tick of approval for what they believed was a genuine health service to the community based upon what was known about the subject at the time. Latest research may prove them to have been wrong about many things , but their actions were based upon good intentions and out in the open.

    I am sure that the population would have no objection to the sale of the tick of approval based upon the health of the nation and to compare them with Halal Certification or the IPCC is drawing a very long bow.

    • Jack 04/06/2014, 8:32 am

      I agree with what you are saying, Albert. The Heart Foundation has a solid base in wanting to improve everyone’s health. And they led the way.
      But it does no good not to acknowledge that they may have been wrong. In fact, it will do more harm.
      More and more it appears that the upsurge in obesity came when energy rich meat was out and carbohydrates were switched to in order to provide the energy that the kids especially needed.
      So we got huge upswings in sugary drinks and cakes and now we have obesity – if the stories are to be believed.
      And the obesity is the prelude to heart trouble, so we are told.
      I think we should leave well enough alone. Eat in moderation and without being scared and stressed about every bite.

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