[Just a quick off-topic aside. Darya Pino at Summer Tomato did a mildly critical but fair & balanced post on paleo dieting. Go take a look and drop a comment about your own experience if it suits you. From my perspective, we out to be able to take fair criticism to refine & strengthen our message.]
This is just a rather quick hit & run with some excerpts and commentary that I wanted to post because it's nice to finally see something in the mainstream news that echos what I and my fellow bloggers have been saying all along, for nearly three years in my case. From MSNBC:
Yea, no shit. And it never was. And there was little justification to ever create the "tidy narrative" in the first place.
For decades, a tidy narrative about the relationship between LDL cholesterol and heart disease has affected everything from the food we eat to the drugs we take to the test results we track and the worries we harbor. This oversimplified view of cholesterol — that all LDL is the same and that all LDL is bad — has enabled the adoption of an accompanying oversimplified dietary belief, that all saturated-fat consumption raises your risk of heart disease.
Oversimplified view of cholesterol --> oversimplified view of diet --> complex and dangerous drugs --> obesity --> diabetes --> more complex and dangerous drugs --> lots of drug company profits --> lots of assholes still out needlessly scaring people to death.
The LDL hypothesis has also encouraged many of us to swallow the most-prescribed class of drugs in recent history. Americans spent more than $14 billion on LDL-lowering medications in 2008. Whether that money came out of their own pockets — straight up, or through ever-escalating co-pays — or out of the hemorrhaging U.S. health-insurance system known as Medicare, it's a huge expenditure. Twenty-four million Americans take statins, and the latest health directives suggest that those numbers should be higher. And why stop at grown-ups? Some pediatricians want to start feeding Lipitor (and the like) to kids.
$14 billion for something with tons of side-effects and of dubious, nonexistent value for all but a small subset: men under 65 who've already had a coronary event. Sure, if you've had a heart attack already, go right ahead and "trust your heart to Lipitor."
LDL comes in four basic forms: a big, fluffy form known as large LDL, and three increasingly dense forms known as medium, small, and very small LDL. A diet high in saturated fat mainly boosts the numbers of large-LDL particles, while a low-fat diet high in carbohydrates propagates the smaller forms. The big, fluffy particles are largely benign, while the small, dense versions keep lipid-science researchers awake at night.
But here's the problem: The typical LDL test doesn't distinguish between large and small LDL particles — it can't even spot the difference. And people can have mostly large LDL or mostly small LDL in their overall LDL, depending upon a host of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Your own personal mix may make all the difference between living to a heart-healthy old age and becoming a Monday-morning casualty at your desk.
Right. And Americans are spending $14 billion per year on statins and it's based on irrational, uncorrelated, unproven associations with a measurement technology that "can't even spot the difference." I'll bet the drug companies are all over getting this new measurement technology into wide usage. Yea, right.
Now, to heap even more outrage on the deal, how long back has it been since it was known that the small-dense sub-particles associated and reasonably predicted heart disease risk? 1976, almost 35 years ago. Dr Krauss recounts:
The heart-disease community was not impressed. "It took me 4 years to publish that paper," he says, recalling his early work on sub-particles in the late 1970s. "That's beginning to tell you some of the obstacles I was going to face."
Big surprise, eh? There's more.
But during experiments, Dr. Krauss discovered that while a diet high in saturated fat from dairy products would indeed make your LDL levels rise, "saturated fat intake results in an increase of larger LDL rather than smaller LDL particles," as he wrote in an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition review he co-authored in 2006. A diet heavy in full-fat cheese and butter — but not overloaded in calories — triggered the relatively harmless health profile described as pattern A. [...]
Not only is dairy fat unlikely to increase heart-disease risk, Dr. Krauss and others have learned, but reducing saturated fat in a way that increases carbohydrates in a diet can shift a person's LDL profile from safe to dangerous. That's pretty much what happens whenever some well-meaning person with "high LDL" starts eating "low-fat" frozen dinners filled out with corn-derived additives, all the while engaging in the customary ravaging of a basket filled with dinner rolls.
Well that should do it. You might want to check out the inane comment from Dean "Chubby Faced Diet" Ornish.