Cardiologist Decries the 'Myth of the Role of Saturated Fat in Heart Disease' — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
October 23, 2013

Cardiologist Decries the 'Myth of the Role of Saturated Fat in Heart Disease'

By Joe Elia

An interventional cardiologist argues in BMJ against "the mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease." In addition, Aseem Malhotra writes that the obsession with cholesterol "has led to the overmedication of millions of people with statins."

Obesity rates paradoxically increased in the face of a concurrent reduction in fat consumption, he writes. "When you take the fat out, the food tastes worse. The food industry compensated by replacing saturated fat with added sugar."

Statins, he argues, work by being anti-inflammatory and by stabilizing coronary plaque — their effects on cholesterol are beside the point (and their side effects too frequent).

The essay concludes: "It is time to bust the myth of the role of saturated fat in heart disease and wind back the harms of dietary advice that has contributed to obesity."

Reader Comments (10)

KARL HATTEN SR Physician, Internal Medicine, nearest bar

Other factors will eventually show up as cause of progressive arteriosclerosis.

JOHN FARMER Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice

I get tired of treating numbers instead of patients.
Some patients gets positively neurotic about their cholesterol, when there are other and better things to worry about.

Andrew Tan, B.A Other, Other

It would be a great contribution if observation of this nature can be backed by solid research evidence.
Nowadays we often hear conflicting news on medical matters that is leading the public into confusion.
I see this as the effect of the academic world emphasis to come out with journals and seminar papers in order to show active participation of profesionals to the extent that studies and comments are likely to be superficial in the face of pressure to simply say something and be visible.
When statements are made in the absence of in depth studies and these get publicised and disseminated widely in this modern age of information technology, it is not a wonder that society gets an onslaught of conflicting views.


I agree on this idea because God created the fat to be eaten not thrown.

Sankar Sinha Physician, Surgery, General, Hobart

It is time that Cardiologists express their consensus opinion through International forum,

Bryan Cebuliak, MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Brisbane, Australia
Bryan Cebuliak, MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Brisbane, Australia

About time some more of this sanity made it into mainstream journals. Diet and exercise are much more powerful than medications. We doctors should stop being shills for the drug industry. Drug pushing behaviour is arguably counterproductive to public health due to false security it gives to patients and governments. We need less carbohydrates, less cars, more bikes, footpaths and fat.

Peter Benson MD MPH FACEP Physician, Emergency Medicine

Problem is that diabetics often have dyslipidemias that don't necessarily have high LDL. Rather low hdl and high Trg. Also dense versus fluffy.

I am open minded and hate statins, however what I cannot
get my head around is all of the animal studies that show rapid atherosclerosis with high saturated fat infusions while
not so with mono or poly in most cases. This includes
monkeys who are very similar to us.

I think this guys view is just as extreme as the statin makers. Neither group has enough research behind them to be so dogmatic.

Rakesh Singh Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Uttar Pradesh India

I agree with the theory that there is something else than cholesterol in CAD.The place where I practice, very often I see patients with MI with perfectly normal Lipid levels.This the time we should think about other things and discover these.

John R Ring D C Other Healthcare Professional, Other, Maryland

Right on!

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