Saturated fat reduces stroke risk
There are two prime 'healthy eating' mantras that are drummed into us incessantly. The first, that we should eat at least '5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day', was comprehensively refuted by three studies published in 2020-2004. The other piece of dogma is that saturated fat cause heart disease and should form no more than 10% of our calorie intake.
Strokes, which are also caused by failures of the arteries, are also frequently blamed on saturated fats. Not surprisingly, this hypothesis is also tested in clinical trials by scientists who, by and large, expect to see a correlation. But this one from Japan showed exactly the opposite. As you will see, eating saturated fat reduced the risk of strokes
Kazumasa Yamagishi, Hiroyasu Iso, Hiroshi Yatsuya, Naohito Tanabe, Chigusa Date, Shogo Kikuchi, Akio Yamamoto, Yutaka Inaba, and Akiko Tamakoshi for the JACC Study Group. Dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk Study.
Background: Prospective epidemiologic studies have generated mixed results regarding the association between saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake and risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke. These associations have not been extensively studied in Asians.
Objective: The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that SFA intake is associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality in Japanese whose average SFA intake is low.
Design: The Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk (JACC Study) comprised 58,453 Japanese men and women who completed a food-frequency questionnaire. Participants were aged 40–79 y at baseline (1988–1990) and were followed up for 14.1 y. Associations of energy-adjusted SFA intake with mortality from stroke (intraparenchymal and subarachnoid hemorrhages and ischemic stroke) and heart diseases (IHD, cardiac arrest, and heart failure) were examined after adjustment for age, sex, and cardiovascular disease risk and dietary factors.
Results: We observed inverse associations of SFA intake with mortality from total stroke [n = 976; multivariable hazard ratio (95% CI) for highest compared with lowest quintiles: 0.69 (0.53, 0.89); P for trend = 0.004], intraparenchymal hemorrhage [n = 224; 0.48 (0.27, 0.85); P for trend = 0.03], and ischemic stroke [n = 321; 0.58 (0.37, 0.90); P for trend = 0.01]. No multivariable-adjusted associations were observed between SFA and mortality from subarachnoid hemorrhage [n = 153; 0.91 (0.46, 1.80); P for trend = 0.47] and heart disease [n = 836; 0.89 (0.68, 1.15); P for trend = 0.59].
Conclusion: SFA intake was inversely associated with mortality from total stroke, including intraparenchymal hemorrhage and ischemic stroke subtypes, in this Japanese cohort. Am J Clin Nutr doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.29146.
So, what has been happening for years is that scientists (I really shouldn't legitimise them with such a title) have been knowingly misleading us by only publishing the studies that support their own prejudices - any paper that doesn't agree is not published.
A doctor friend of mine told me "I have learnt that one of the most difficult things to affect is to have someone unlearn something, even when it is demonstrated that what they have learnt, and have believed, is wrong. I base this on my experience over many years with students and residents." The American journalist, Upton Sinclair made a similar comment when he once remarked: 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.' It's not that every scientist is greedy, but they do have to make a living.
But getting back to this review, as it could rock many corporate boats, I doubt it will even get a mention in the media outside of websites such as this one as it doesn't toe the party line. But, if it does get a mention, it will be interesting to see what spin the diet police put on it to make it seem that's what they've saying all along.
I also wonder, as I have many times before over the last quarter century, how they have managed to survive for so long already. It really is about time that dictocrats in quangos like the UK's Food Standards Agency, were sacked for incompetence and for the quangos themselves to be closed down. At a time when money is strictly limited for useful purposes, it is a criminal waste for these people to be paid out of our taxes to ruin our health.
As an aside, you may find it interesting that the authors of this review found well over 600 studies purporting to demonstrate that saturated fat was a significant cause of heart disease and strokes. Most were entirely without merit. These days, scientists have to publish or lose funding. So the majority will write any old stuff, merely designed to get their names on works published in prestigious journals. Seeming to have no other raison d'Ítre, they really are a drain on society.
Last updated 14 January 2010
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