Chapter 8 – Why did we change our diet advice?

Preamble – cholesterol

There is a very important point to cover before we start the main story in this chapter. There are still many people who think that eating cholesterol in food will raise their cholesterol level. This is actually a remarkably widely held view and one without foundation.

Even the man who started the whole diet/heart hypothesis (as it has become known), Ancel Keys, accepted right at the outset that “It is concluded that in adult men the serum cholesterol level is essentially independent of the cholesterol intake over the whole range of natural human diets. It is probable that infants, children and women are similar.”[126] Keys et al presented this comment as the conclusion to their article in The Journal of Nutrition, November 1955. This conclusion seems rather restrained when you see the full summary of the studies that were presented in this article:

“Two cross sectional surveys in Minnesota on young men and four on older men showed no relationship between dietary cholesterol and the total serum cholesterol concentration.

“Two surveys on the Island of Sardinia failed to show any difference in the serum cholesterol concentrations of men of the same age, physical activity, relative body weight and general dietary pattern but differing markedly in cholesterol intake.


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