The Australian Heart Foundation & more fat ignorance

A super woman called Jessie has been taking on the Australian Heart Foundation just as I have taken on the British Heart Foundation and so has Dr John Briffa. If you want to keep up with these terrific two – they are on twitter as @jessiereimers and @drbriffa.

Jessie started this petition and got enough support to elicit a reply from “Kerry” at the Australian Heart Foundation (AHF). Jessie has blogged on this here and put her own comments alongside the nonsense that she got back from the AHF. These are the questions that I hope Jessie can go back with because we need to stop accepting nonsense with claims that it is evidence based. It’s time to start demanding that the evidence be presented – because we know that it doesn’t exist.

The letter from Kerry/the AHF is below – Kerry’s words are in blue (verbatim) and mine are in red:

Hi Jessie

Thanks for getting in touch with us so quickly. We recognise that this is a subject that people feel passionately about and clearly it is one that the Heart Foundation and yourself disagree on.

We believe it is fair and reasonable that the Heart Foundation’s position is represented on the petition page.

The Heart Foundation recommends switching from butter to margarine as one way to reduce the amount of unhealthy saturated fat in our diet.

Please provide evidence that saturated fat is unhealthy. Please also explain why all three fats (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are found together in all foods that contain fats. There are no exceptions whatsoever. Why would nature do this if one were bad and another good? (see my paper here)

Our recommendations are based on good quality scientific evidence.

What evidence? You have provided none thus far. Please do so.

The vast body of evidence shows that saturated fat raises bad cholesterol levels, clogs the arteries and increases the risk of heart disease. We need to reduce the amount of unhealthy saturated fat in our diet and replace it with healthier fats.

Again – what evidence? You have provided none thus far. Please do so. By “bad cholesterol levels” you are presumably making the common error of calling a Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) “bad cholesterol”. It is not even cholesterol, let alone bad. It’s a lipoprotein, which carries protein, triglyceride, cholesterol and phospholipids around the body to do vital repair work.

How can dietary fat clog arteries? Assuming that you eat your food, you don’t intravenously inject it! Please describe the process by which something that we eat can find its way out of the digestive system to clog an artery?

Please read this and then explain how it would even be possible to replace saturated fat with other fats without changing anything else. Even if this were desirable (and it isn’t) – please explain how it is possible.

We believe that the research on the health benefits of coconut oil is inconclusive, but we do know that coconut oil, milk and cream are all high in unhealthy saturated fat.

Again – how is saturated fat unhealthy? Why would saturated fat be in every real food that contains fat (meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives)  if it were unhealthy? You have provided no evidence thus far. Please do so.

Kerry’s reply then contains more nonsense about the AHF ‘tick’ programme for their endorsements of fake foods like chemically solidified, bleached, deodorized, emulsified, coloured, margarine and then Kerry refers people to these pages of their web site…

For more information, visit:

This page has no evidence for any of the allegations made against saturated fat – hence Jessie has every right to go back and demand evidence for the allegations made. This page also has more nonsense: “Saturated fat is the fat that raises our LDL…” Dr Malcolm Kendrick threw out this biochemistry challenge in his book The Great Cholesterol Con and it has not been answered since (2007). How can saturated fat raise LDL? What is the biochemical process by which this is even possible? Jessie – please demand that the AHF explain HOW this can happen while claiming that it DOES.


This link is just PR nonsense for the AHF tick nonsense. Again – there is no evidence presented whatsoever for the allegations made against saturated fat.

Kind Regards,


If I said that Kylie Minogue or Russell Crowe were seriously bad for your health, would cause heart disease, clog your arteries, raise some fictitious nonsense called bad cholesterol and that you should avoid them like the plaque they would sue the last penny out of me. Just because saturated fat doesn’t have the ability to defend itself doesn’t mean that those who attack it should get away with their their slander and libel. Jessie, Dr John and I are not the only ones defending real food and the real fats and nutrients contained therein. We all need to demand that the accusers present evidence. Please join us in demanding evidence from every attacker of real fats and real food. Just a word of warning – Don’t hold your breath while waiting for evidence to be presented!

p.s. (This was the Monday newsletter for 30 September 2013)

28 thoughts on “The Australian Heart Foundation & more fat ignorance

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  • October 11, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Zoe, I asked on the Dietitian Association of Australia facebook page about the relationship between saturated fat an CVD and cholesterol and guess what… I was banned. Nice.

  • October 10, 2014 at 4:16 am

    I am 68 and what makes me angry about the ‘tick’ is that people of my generation are obsessed by it. They act as if they dare not eat anything that does not have the tick and draw back in horror when I say I avoid the stupid thing and eat only butter. But I am the one feeling alert and happy while they are stuck at home taking 27 pills a day and are constantly takingv tests to find out what harm some of the pills are doing.
    With the rise in dementia, diabetes and other age related conditions, I cannot help wondering if it is related to what it is recommended that people eat. I eat now what i ate as a child in post war Britain – there were no convenience foods (except fish and chips :-), margarine was something my father thought you greased the cart with, and there was no constant and conflicting advice about what to eat or not to eat. I think the Heart Foundation is making a nice living for itself out of scaring my age group half to (and in some sad cases in my life, all the way to) death.

  • March 9, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Hi Zoe,

    I arrived here from the Fathead blog.

    I too commented and argued – a lot – on the Heart Foundation FB page, receiving a warning or two.
    The final straw for them seemed to be when someone posted a message saying that you could not alter the expression of your genes via dietary means (implied sneer) and I promptly posted two articles fronm that showed that you could indeed do just that.
    That’s when they banned me. and I had so much more to say! ;)

    I suspect they didn’t enjoy my mixture of polite pleading with them to use the Catalyst info as a learning opportunity,logical argument and sarcasm. Ah, well – many more forums exist for our many talents.:)

  • February 16, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    “Please provide evidence that saturated fat is unhealthy. Please also explain why all three fats (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are found together in all foods that contain fats. There are no exceptions whatsoever. Why would nature do this if one were bad and another good”

    Saturated fat impairs LDL receptor activity which leads to increased LDL-levels, compared to unsaturated fatty acids. This has been proven in meticulously executed metabolic ward studies. Now, in real life the amount of safa can be but one aspect of a healthy/unhealthy diet, and in moderate amounts it isn’t really that big a deal in the case of healthy individuals. But yes, from a strict physiological point of view, that’s the explanation you were looking for. So there. :-)

    And nice job providing the readers with a text book example of “appeal to nature” fallacy, too. ;-)

  • December 8, 2013 at 3:47 am

    just to let you know Zoe, I have now been banned from the HF FB page, and I am proud to say it

    • December 8, 2013 at 7:31 am

      Crickey! You’d better hope you don’t have a heart attack or they won’t bring you any margarine! ;-)

  • November 24, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I too have been threatened with being reported to Facebook for spamming the HF page, but all I did was post info about scientific studies that contradict the HF guidelines and included likes to the research.

    • November 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

      Hi Kay – wow! It’s like something out of an Orwell novel! How outrageous! You should report them to Facebook for conflict of interest!
      Best wishes – Zoe

  • October 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Zoe, the culprit is low vit D. A paper presented in june identifies low vit D as the (a) cause of high blood pressure. And surely high BP is the precurser to heart disease and stoke. Did you see Catalyst on ABC last week?…exposes the anti cholesterol advice as a massive scam. It then tries to load up the mediterranean diet as the next good thing without reference to the mediterranean Sun! My advice is: get out into the backyard and get your shirt off as often as you can. john

    • October 28, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Hi John – I couldn’t agree more! In my obesity epidemic book, I redid Keys’ correlation between heart disease and cholesterol and found a virtually perfect correlation between heart disease and latitude of the cohort/country in the Seven Countries Study. Cholesterol became nothing more than a marker that it had not been turned into vitamin D in the cohorts/countries that got less sunshine. The real harm was the low vit D. The cholesterol was a marker of this and not a cause of anything
      And yes I saw the Catalyst thing and loved it – slowly but surely! Looking out for part 2
      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • October 26, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Zoe, also get behind Gary Fettke No Fructose (Gary is an Australian Orthopaedic Surgeon) and David Gillespie (author of 4 books about sugar, oils and lies – (most well known for ‘Sweet Poison Quit Plan’). They have been leading ‘the charge’ in Australia and raising awareness about the issues with sugars and demonisation of saturated fats.

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  • October 24, 2013 at 4:05 am

    Having been on the Gaps diet for the last 6-7 months, i’ve cut out all grains and starchy carbs. Obviously I’ve had to considerably increase my fats or I’d be ravenous. I eat all the saturated fats such as butter and meat fats as well as coconut oil – lots. My problem is that I’m getting too skinny now and no amount of fat will put on any weight. This is not just because I’m the skinny type. I have photos showing how I can also carry quite a bit of fat around the belly and hips. So the argument that eating fat will make you fat is complete rubbish. I’ve signed Jessie’s petition and shared it several times – including on the ABC Catalyst page as they advertise their program on rethinking cholesterol.

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  • September 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I’m starting to think that this whole thing is a massive conspiracy to make us sick then (a) big pharma profits and (b) they don’t have to pay out so many pensions, or for so long. I saw a pie chart recently that showed that 53% of all benefits paid out by the UK government is in pensions, and not in JSA or HB as many people seem to think. How they would love to decrease that payout. I don’t usually believe in “conspiracy theories” but this one is smacking me in the face daily…

  • September 29, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Thank you Zoe

    This has given me the impetus to join the battle with the Australian Heart Foundation. As a dentist, I have been telling my patients for over twenty years that the Heart Foundation Tick is meaningless, and that they have no evidence to support their ridiculous claims.

    I will get in touch with Jessie so I can provide support.


    • September 29, 2013 at 7:57 am

      Trevor – you’re fab! I’m loving how ballsy you Aussies are – no wonder Wales v Australia is the best autumn international!
      Best wishes – Welsh girl!

  • September 28, 2013 at 2:49 am

    It’s infuriating to see ads on TV from the Australian Heart Foundation claiming that a highly processed margarine is much better than natural butter (and using kids to do so). I’ve been writing to them and they provided the same answer. I’ve been following Jessie and I really impressed with her determination, she is young and if she can reach out to the younger generation to a better and healthy life, that will be a great outcome. But with all those messages, ads, doctors advices that claim saturated fat are bad it is going to be hard.
    It is really frustrating to see this debate going on for years with both sides claiming they own scientific evidence. I’ve got my own scientific evidence. I had some blood tests done recently and my doctor was really pleased with the results especially my cholesterol results: HDL mid-range and LDL even lower than the lower range. When I told him about what I eat (2/3 eggs a day, lots of meat, vegies, little sugar except in fruit and raw honey, little grains, full fat milk,…) he was literally stunned and his answer was: ” saturated fat are responsible to increase your cholesterol, you must have good genes!”. When doctors will put the head out of the sand and realise that sugar and grains are the bad guys??? People put their health in their hand and here is the results…sick and obese people. Chocking. I don’t trust any of them.

  • September 28, 2013 at 2:15 am

    I have been asking AWKWARD questions of one of the Heart Foundation FB pages and have been warned I will be banned for being a troublemaker if I continue…… How’s that for freedom of speech? They simply do not have answers and are afraid of troublemakers :-)

  • September 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    We have the same problem in New Zealand. The Heart Foundation sees its role as fundraising and holding onto power. They sell the “Tick” that is the symbol of their approval to sugar-laden products that are low in saturated fat, and join forces with manufacturers of oils, spreads, and artificial flavourings to promote their inaccurate message. They probably think that funding Heart research justifies these compromises, yet they pay no attention to the actual results of the research that’s relevant to the message they put out.
    They are dependent on the “real food bad, fake food and drugs good” message because the makers of fake food and drugs have much deeper pockets than the makers or real food.

  • September 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Ah, it’s a bit more serious than saturated fat not being able to defend itself! As one who requires a large content of fat in my diet, if saturated fat is blamed for obesity, heart problems etc., they will start up the whole “We need to tax sat fat” campaign again, followed by a “You are not losing weight, therefore you need to eat less fat and more carbs” (in which case I’ll die from my diabetes) plus funding into research to prove who the real culprit is will be forgotten or diverted. Then it’ll be “You’re not following government guidelines so we’ll cut your free medication” followed by “Well, since you’re now dead, we don’t have to pay your pension” relief.

    And it offends me. To see people who should be aligned with science either ignoring it or not using proven abilities (we did this in school – theory, experiment and conclusion, and if it was wrong, you got big, red marks all over your work saying, “This is wrong!”) to SHOW if theories were likely, instead of blatantly dismissing requests for evidence. We may as well go back to witches being the cause of diabetes, perhaps burning me at the stake would help.

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