20 Responses to “Why the Australian Heart Foundation won’t have evidence against saturated fat”

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  1. avatar Mie says:

    Almost missed this:

    “Writing in The Lancet in 1994, Felton et al …”

    … brainfarted. Plain and simple. Happens to seasoned scientists, too. The presence of pufa in aortic plaques implies no causal relationship since

    1) it has been documented extensively that pufa in diet IMPROVES the function of LDL receptors and especially n-3 fatty acids improve endothelial function, and

    2) several meta-analyses point out that exchanging refined carbs & safa for pufa has benefits in terms of CVD end points.

    In other words: no mechanism, no evidence in end point data –> no effect.

  2. avatar Mie says:

    Don’t know what kind of ice cream you eat in the UK, but here in Finland the stats show that regular ice cream contains 17,3 g of sugars per 100 g of ice cream and 7,3g of safa per 100 g. Now, in kcals that means 69,2 kcals of sugar and 65,7 kcals of safa per 100 g of ice cream.

    So I’d say that ice cream is rich in BOTH sugar and safa.

  3. avatar Alan says:

    I’m just amazed that our silly bodies evolved this whole elaborate energy storage system to get us through lean times and it picked “saturated fat” as the storage medium when it is so obviously so very bad for us. Silly silly body. Doesn’t it know that when we lose a bit of fat we have to metabolize it and that immediately raises LDL, causes plaque that clogs arteries and gives us heart attacks. Thankfully we have now invented statins. I wonder how we evolved for millions of years without them..
    Thanks for the wonderfully informative blog.
    I would love it if the Heart Foundation ever read it but I doubt they will.

  4. avatar Sandra says:

    I found that one too Deborah and wondered why it isn’t plastered across their website ;-)
    I was searching for what evidence they base their position on….and this is what I found:

    “SFA intake is associated with CHD”…because….

    one reference:Booker C and Mann J: The relationship between saturated and trans
    unsaturated fatty acids and LDL-cholesterol and coronary heart
    disease. A review undertaken for Food Standards Australia New
    Zealand. Canberra, FSANZ, 2005.

    whose summary states: “there are some inconsistencies in the data which cannot all be easily explained…….the current evidence for the direct association between saturated fatty acids and coronary heart disease is arguably more appropriately described as “probable” rather than “convincing”.”

    And that’s it!! OMG :-(

  5. avatar Vince says:

    It seems quite odd that list of products that supposed to contain saturated fats actually contain the toxic poyunsaturated oils. Take away foods are cooked in polyunsaturated oils apart from vile trans fats they also contain far far too much omega 6. It is the omega 6 that leads to many diseases. The omega 6 fats are converted by the body into the harmful eicosanoids that are mostly inflation promoting and blood clotting factors. The omega 3 fats are converted into the good eicosanoids and also control the level of eicosanoids with little omega 3 and too much omega 6 the body makes too much bad eicosanoids causing arthritis, asthmas, heart disease, stroke diabetes etc
    Cancer is also a possible result of the wrong eicosanoids, or the wrong level.

    Before the massive influx of sugar, other carbohydrates and polyunsaturated cooking oils these diseases where as rare as chicken dentures.

  6. avatar Honora says:

    Yes, around the time of WWII, New Zealanders were eating around 500g of butter per capita per week.

  7. avatar Deborah Dunkerton says:

    have you noticed though that the Australian heart foundation acknowledges in its policy statement that fat plays no part in obesity? that little gem is hidden away down the bottom of its page dealing with out of date advice on fats. Also note that they haven’t reviewed that advice since 2003!

  8. avatar robert says:

    39g of butter per week? I call that butter-deficient.

  9. avatar Lorna says:

    I have just returned from my doctors after a blood test and they have said that my blood results for cholesterol is high, 6.7
    . Reading up on the good and bad stuff in your articles makes me think outside of the medical box to question whether they are right or not. Their recommendation to eat flora Benacol seems just daft and after reading the information on your website makes me think. I am 65 ,8 stone and worried. Who do I believe? Thanks

  10. avatar Jessica says:

    Hello Zoe

    Thanks for the response, but I’m still confused. If the people who take these tablets go onto a high carb diet, then surely they would put on weight? But the claims are that they lose up to three times as much as dieting alone. I would have thought that the studies are skewed to fit the facts, but can we simply say that? And is it bordering on libel/slander to say so? Sometimes I worry when I write on the internet, because although I can draw from my own experience, it is fair to say I have not tried these fat binders (nor would I want to), and am only assuming that they do not work for anyone. The sellers of these pills would presumably say they have people who will vouch that they do.

    I can see we are all getting fatter, but is there an increasing number of people who are taking fat blockers?

  11. avatar Helena Wojtczak says:

    Fabulous article as usual. I love you Zoe for your wonderful analysis! More power to your elbow!

    “Ewa Stachowska, Barbara Dolstrokeogongowska, Dariusz Chlubek, Teresa Wesolstrokowska, Kazimierz Ciechanowski, Piotr Gutowski, Halina Szumilstrokowicz and Radoslstrokaw Turowski”

    Many congrats for typing that lot without a single typo!

    Helena Wojtczak (!)

  12. avatar Jessica says:

    One point though – the ‘Fat binding’ drug they advertise on telly – does it ‘work’ because they pick three people out of 1000 who have lost 3 times more weight than the rest? I’m curious because this is ‘proof’ that fat is culprit, even when I know that it isn’t.

  13. avatar RV says:

    That certainly suggests a relationship, thanks for the info.

  14. avatar RV says:


    A bit of a tangent. Does the PUFA that is part of the membrane of the LDL always the same or does it vary according to the type of PUFAs we consume? If it does, does it matter, will one type be more prone to oxidation than another?

    Great blog BTW, entertaining and informative. :)


    • avatar Zoë says:

      Hi RV – great question and I don’t know! I’ll ask the thincs guys but I won’t be around to get an answer for a while so bear with me!

      I have got the following extract from my obesity book, which may be of interest
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      Writing in The Lancet in 1994, Felton et al compared the fatty-acid composition of aortic plaques with serum (clear blood separated from blood clots) and human fat tissue samples from post-mortems. The blood and tissue samples reflected dietary intake. Their conclusions were as follows: “Positive associations were found between serum and plaque omega 6 (r = 0.75) and omega 3 (r = 0.93) polyunsaturated fatty acids, and monounsaturates (r = 0.70), and also between adipose tissue and plaque omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (r = 0.89). No associations were found with saturated fatty acids. These findings imply a direct influence of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on aortic plaque formation and suggest that current trends favouring increased intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids should be reconsidered.”

      Ewa Stachowska et al writing in the European Journal of Nutrition in October 2004 obtained atheromatous plaques from 31 patients who underwent surgery due to atherosclerotic narrowing of the arteries. Fatty acids were extracted and the conclusion was as follows: “We found spatial and positional isomers of sixteen- and eighteen-carbon fatty acids in plaques and adipose tissue, with elaidic acid (C18:1 trans-9) being the most abundant. Every plaque and adipose tissue sample contained linolelaidic acid (C18:2 trans-9 trans-12) which is derived exclusively from linoleic acid, as well as conjugated dienes of linoleic acid (CLA) produced during oxidative processes.” In lay speak, this means – the most common fat we found in the plaques was elaidic acid – that’s a trans fat. Every plaque sample contained linolelaidic acid – that’s a trans polyunsaturated fat. No mention of saturated fat whatsoever.

      -Felton C.V,. Crook D., Davies M.J., Oliver M.F., “Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and composition of human aortic plaques”, The Lancet, (October 1994).
      -Ewa Stachowska, Barbara Dolstrokeogongowska, Dariusz Chlubek, Teresa Wesolstrokowska, Kazimierz Ciechanowski, Piotr Gutowski, Halina Szumilstrokowicz and Radoslstrokaw Turowski, “Dietary trans fatty acids and composition of human atheromatous plaques”, The European Journal of Nutrition, (October 2004).

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