Monday, October 28, 2013

A Catalyst for fat myths. The Heart of the Matter. Catalyst ABC TV

Last Thursday (October 24) the ABC Catalyst program aired part one of the Fat Myths and how saturated fat and cholesterol are not actually the ogres the some would have us believe. 
 I was amazed to see it actually as Catalyst is normally very conservative but this was good and there'll be a follow up this week looking at statins (my pet topic after my book “The Great Cholesterol Deception”.  I was also amazed that it was the number one watched program that night and next Thursday it will be even bigger.

The Catalyst program highlighted that despite decades of organizations like The Heart Foundation and Nutrition Australia telling the public there really is no credible scientific evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease or, more generally, cardiovascular disease. It was embarrassing to say the least to see the Heart Foundation squirm on TV. Although we are constantly told that saturated fats are “bad” and that margarine is better than butter (which it is not), there is no evidence to support this “bad fat” myth.

Unfortunately there are many myths perpetuated by certain members of the health industry as well as so-called reputable groups who have strong vested interests in margarine and other foods. For example the position paper by the Heart Foundation 3 states that:
 Saturated fatty acids (SFA) intake is associated with coronary heart disease (CHD); and
 Replacing SFA with omega-6 PUFA (vegetable oils) to achieve a ratio of PUFA to SFA of greater than 1 will reduce the risk of CHD.

While a quote from Nutrition Australia states  “Butter is high in saturated fats and when consumed in excess amounts it can increase LDL (BAD) cholesterol levels, thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

During the past 40 years the dietary instructions from governments and other authoritative bodies have told us to avoid all animal fats. Average fat consumption decreased, average blood cholesterol levels decreased and vegetable oils increased but the rate of heart disease and the cost of its treatment continued to rise.

The Catalyst program highlighted that poor studies and vested interests have led us astray and date back over 100 years to studies feeding rabbits animal fat, although rabbits normally do not eat meat or animal fat. The evidence against saturated fat has at best always been circumstantial. That is, saturated fat was said to elevate blood cholesterol and elevated blood cholesterol was said to cause heart disease therefore saturated fat would cause heart disease. There never has been any direct evidence that cholesterol or saturated fat cause heart disease or even of a mechanism whereby heart disease would occur.

Even the famous Framingham study, which originally hinted at a problem with saturated fats, now shows there is no association between dietary fat and heart disease and indeed the association of elevated cholesterol and heart disease is limited to a small segment of the study population. In the Framingham Heart Study, researchers working with a population-based cohort study, a total of 832 men, aged 45 through 65 years, found the risk of ischemic stroke declined with total fat, saturated fat and monounsaturated fat (e.g., olive oil) but not polyunsaturated fat such as margarine and vegetable oils. In effect, increased intakes of fat, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat (olive oil) were associated with reduced risk of ischemic stroke in men. The exact opposite of what we have been told.

The evidence continues to mount that there’s no benefit and, in fact, probable harm from a low-fat diet. I cringe when I hear people talking about a low fat diet and laugh at all the marketing around low fat foods which are usually both full of sugars and low nutrient density carbohydrates.

In a recent review of dietary guidelines, researchers were scathing of the guidelines for critical weaknesses, including use of an incomplete body of relevant science; inaccurately representing, interpreting, or summarizing the literature; and drawing conclusions and/or making recommendations that do not reflect the limitations or controversies in the science. This is a mild way of saying scientific lying.

This is all summed up in a major independent, international review by The Expert Consultation held jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in late 2008 which found no evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease. The WHO/FAO report states: “Intake of SFA [saturated fatty acids] was not significantly associated with CHD mortality…. SFA intake was not significantly associated CHD events [e.g., heart attacks]…. fatal CHD was not reduced by… low-fat diets.”

For the sake of our health, and the health of our parents and children, it’s time to change our thinking and start questioning what we are told about saturated fats and for that matter a lot of the information we are spoon fed.

Interestingly and as expected Catalyst was approached by a medical professor who called on the ABC to drop the second program -  totally predictable comment - but the AMA head is more supportive and says the profession needs to examine the evidence. About time!

I say BRING it on and watch Catalyst next Thursday.

Statins reduce the effectiveness of exercise.

Statins are the most widely prescribed drugs worldwide and have serous side effects but the latest study shows they reduce the benefits of any exercise you do. The study found the statin previously sold under the brand name "Zocor," hindered the positive effects of exercise for obese and overweight adults. That means if you’re taking stains then you are not going to get the full benefits (85% less) of the exercise. A lot of research, including this study also found that taking the stain decreased the mitochondria (power house) in the muscles. This has also lead to a number of studies showing increased risks of diabetes type 2 with increasing statin use.

"Fitness has proven to be the most significant predictor of longevity and health because it protects people from a variety of chronic diseases," said John Thyfault, an associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at MU. "if patients start exercising and taking statins at the same time, it seems that statins block the ability of exercise to improve their fitness levels."

Participants in the exercise-only group increased their cardiorespiratory fitness by an average of 10 percent compared to a 1.5 percent increase among participants also prescribed statins. Additionally, skeletal muscle mitochondrial content, the site where muscle cells turn oxygen into energy, decreased by 4.5 percent in the group taking statins while the exercise-only group had a 13 percent increase, a normal response following exercise training.

Statins have only been used for about 15-20 years, so we don't know what the long-term effects of statins will be on aerobic fitness and overall health. We are now only just beginning to see some of the long term side effects of statins including increasing the breast cancer rate.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Statins (used to lower cholesterol) use does not reduce the risk of heart attacks

In a recent study no connection was found between the level of exposition to statins in the population and the incidence or mortality from heart attack (Nilsson et al 2011). The use rate of statins increased almost three times for both men and women between 1998 and 2002. However, the change in statin use from 1998 to 2000 showed no correlation to the change in heart attack mortality. They concluded, “despite a widespread and increasing utilisation of statins, no correlation to the incidence or mortality of AMI (heart attack) could be detected.”  It should be highlighted that all these researchers are medical doctors or working in a medical establishment.

The drugs don’t work but have serious side effects including recent studies showing increases in diabetes and breast cancer.  Although there are many more serous side effects.

In one study Atorvastatin (a statin drug used to lower cholesterol) increases the risk for new-onset type 2 diabetes, according to an analysis of three large trials published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. (The trials, as well as this analysis, were sponsored by atorvastatin's manufacturer). Researchers were responding to a 2010 Lancet meta-analysis, which found an increased risk for new-onset diabetes after all statin use and were trying to show their drug was not so bad. In the meta analysis released in the Lancet, using data from 13 randomized trials comprising some 90,000 subjects, found a 9% increase in diabetes risk among those receiving statins compared with controls. The statin-diabetes association was stronger with increasing age and given these drugs are give to older people this is of even more concern. The authors calculate that 255 patients would have to be treated with statins for 4 years to produce an additional case of diabetes. This compares to the need to treat around 300 people with statin drugs to reduce the risk of heart attack (not death) by one or according to the research above no reduction at all.  However, the medical profession continue to use relative statistics and say they benefit by 30 or more percent. Obviously these doctors failed stats at university or more likely did not do them.

A recent study (McDougall et al September 2013) found current users of statins for 10 years or longer had a 1.83-to 1.97-fold increased respectively for Ductal and Lobular Breast Cancer. In their conclusion they reported that long-term use of statins was associated with increased risks of both IDC and ILC.

In support of t is here is a comment from one of my readers that might interest you.

“I recently stopped my statin drugs as I was experiencing bad muscle pains. My GP actually said that "statins don't really help women anyway". Hello, why has he then prescribed this and wasted all my money? “ GD, Brisbane

Statin and cholesterol update

In summing up more than 500 articles around cholesterol and the statin drugs used to treat cholesterol all I can conclude is that it is The Great Cholesterol Deception. To sum it up, however, the medical industry fudges the figures to fool the doctors that cholesterol is Public Enemy Number One. In fact, cholesterol is one of the most important bio-chemicals in the body and not a single life has ever been saved by lowering cholesterol. Many people suffer serious side effects as a result of taking statin drugs like Lipitor®, Zocor®, Crestor®, Pravachor and others.

Cholesterol is a normal part of our biochemistry and high levels—above six or seven—may be a symptom of an underlying health condition. But it is not the health condition itself. Elevated cholesterol predicts less than 35% of cardiovascular disease. In fact, most heart attack and stroke events occur in individuals without elevated cholesterol, at least half of all cardiac arrests occur in people with normal cholesterol levels and 20% occur in people without any traditional risk factors. But now the drug industry wants to lower the normal level of cholesterol even further so that almost everyone will have “high cholesterol.” At worst cholesterol is simply a messenger telling us there is stress on the liver, and it is not the killer it is made out to be. Cholesterol is a part of our immune, nervous and endocrine system and if high is only doing its job to protect us.

A significantly better predictor of the risk of heart attack or stroke is the concentration of Omega 3 oils in the blood: the higher the concentrations, the lower the risk 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, which predict up to 90% of CVD compared to 35% prediction from cholesterol readings. But there is no money to be made in prescribing Omega 3 oils. Omega 3 oils also reduce triglycerides and other risk factors for CVD, as well as reducing the risk of many other forms of chronic illness, from Alzheimer’s to arthritis and cancer. This is due to the anti-inflammatory effect of fish oils. Imagine if the specialists prescribed a few fish oils to patients. No one would require a specialist.

Millions of people are prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, statins like Pravachol®, Zocor® and Lipitor® each year, with no measurable benefit. Despite the media hype from poor and lazy journalism at best these drugs lower the actual risk of heart attack by around 0.3 percent and at the same time have side effects in 15% to 40% of people given statins 9,10,11,12 and serious side effects in as many as five percent of the population of users. And the studies of the side effects have only been short term. Most doctors will simply tell you that statins are safe and hand you a prescription. However if your GP reads the fine print there are two and a half pages of side effects. In some cases up to 65% of people started on statins stop taking them 13,14. Unfortunately, far too many people take statins and far too many prescriptions are dished out by GPs and specialists whom they trust but who do not read or understand the scientific literature and who have become the retail arm of the pharmaceutical industry.

One of the side effects of statin drugs is that they lower the levels of CoenzymeQ10 15. Coenzyme Q10 is not only required for energy production in cells, but also protects against free radicals by acting as an essential fat-soluble antioxidant. Clinical evidence also shows a beneficial effect of Coenzyme Q10 in cardiac arrhythmias, irregular heartbeats, and lowering the risk of heart attack 16. A recent study found Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for treating people with severe heart failure reduced the mortality and morbidity by around 50%. In essence CoQ10 is essential for our health and is important in lowering the risks of heart attack or stroke and statin drugs lower levels of this essential nutrient.

Major side effects associated with statin drugs include muscle wastage including a form of muscle disease, rhabdomyolysis, that is fatal, memory loss and amnesia. Not only is cholesterol not the enemy but also it is essential to good health and wellbeing. Every cell in the body needs cholesterol in its membrane where it plays a critical role in cell communication. Without cholesterol, cell membranes are incomplete and as a result their functional role deteriorates.

Cholesterol is also used in the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, and plays a vital role in cell energy production not to mention its essential role in the brain structure and function. Cholesterol is the starting material of many essential chemicals including vitamin D, steroid hormones and bile acids for digestion. Cholesterol is metabolised into vital body steroids such as the steroid hormones, these include: sex hormones, oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA, as well as the adrenal hormones aldosterone and cortisol. When you lower cholesterol levels you reduce your production of your hormones. As a result statin use can induce gynecomastia, an abnormal enlargement of one or both breasts in men and the proliferation of the glandular component of the breast tissue 17.

Numerous studies have shown that cholesterol is an important part of your immune system. Low cholesterol levels have also been shown in studies to increase a person’s susceptibility to infections 18 This is due to cholesterol’s functional role in preventing infections in the body. The lipoproteins that carry cholesterol through our bloodstream aid in our protection against the harmful effects of bacterial endotoxins that are released during infection. Studies have also found cholesterol may have protective properties against some cancers 19.

Cholesterol is the most abundant organic molecule in the brain and is a vital component required for synapse function 20,21,22. In fact the person who discovered this essential role in the brain won a Nobel Prize in biochemistry. Cholesterol is also required for the function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is the chemical in our brain that makes us feel happy. Cholesterol is a significant component of the cell membrane that influences its fluidity. It therefore indirectly affects neurotransmitters by interfering with their membrane bound receptors 23. It also forms part of the myelin that surrounds our nerves aiding in the fast transmission of nerve signals. Lower cholesterol levels in the blood are correlated with slower visuomotor speed 24 and has potential implications for some diseases like multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease.

Statin statistics: lies and deception

Various independent studies in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals have shown that statin use in primary prevention—that is to prevent heart attacks—have minimal or no value in reducing mortality. It does not matter how one processes the statistics, the results just aren’t there. In data gathered in 2009 from six trials, a review of their ability to lower the risk of death with statins found virtually no difference between the treatment group who received the drug and the control group 25. And there are many more of these studies.

The problem really comes down to vested interests and the abuse of statistics. As readers of the scientific journals we should not get confused between statistical significance and clinical significance. Statistically significant means that the outcome was likely (95% chance) a result of the treatment whether it was 100% effective or less than 0.1% effective. That is, if you treat 1,000 people to save one life (0.1%) it may be statistically significant but it is not clinically significant. Clinical significance refers to the expectations doctors and patients have for the success of the treatment and is usually 30% or more. That is, if ten people get the drug at least three will benefit. The best studies on statins by the drug companies report statistical significance, mostly less than half of one percent usually around 0.3%, around 100 times less than our expectations of clinical significance and none at all have so far found any clinical significance. GPs just do not understand the difference between statistical and clinical significance. So if the professionals don’t understand how do we expect the media or public to understand?

Interestingly, the use of other cholesterol lowering drugs (non statins) that reduce cholesterol just as effectively as the statins don’t even reach clinical significance, that is they don’t even reach 0.1 percent. So we know the effect of the statins is not the effect of lowering cholesterol that gives the drugs their incredibly small but statistically significant 0.3% effect. Otherwise the other cholesterol lowering drugs would work at the same rate. As the statin drugs are a synthetic mimic of a natural cholesterol treatment, “red rice yeast,” which had been used successfully for decades before the drug companies patented the statins. Red rice yeast works just as effectively as the statins but with many fewer side effects. Red rice yeast also has small anti-inflammatory and anti oxidative properties. It seems the small benefit the statins have (0.3%) is because they act like nutrition. Not because they lower cholesterol.

The studies on statins also report relative risk not absolute or real risk. This really fools the GPs. The relative risk reduction is highly misleading and deceptive. An example of relative risk is if you have four people out of 1,000 in a study who die in the placebo group (no drug) compared to three people out of 1,000 who die in the drug treatment group, that is four were likely to die but only three did, then for most of us it is a change of 0.1% (1 in 1,000, not much) but when you use relative risks it shoots up to 25%. They compare three to four and say four is 25% higher than three so the relative risk is 25%. It is still only one person in 1,000 a reduction of 0.1% but the doctors who believe the drug companies obviously never mastered statistics. Relative risk is like adding 1+1 to get 11 or 2+5 to get 25 or more.

The well known JUPITER Study (which I like calling the STUPITOR study if you believe the sales hype) found that treatment with statins went from 68 heart attacks in the placebo group (no drug) to 31 heart attacks in the drug treatment group a 58% relative risk reduction and 64 strokes in the placebo group to 33 strokes in the treatment group a relative risk reduction of 48% 26. Sounds good doesn’t it? However, the drug treatment group had 8,901 participants in it.  In real terms the heart attack risk went from a very low 0.76% to 0.35% and the risk of stroke went from 0.72% to 0.37%. That is, they had about a 0.35% reduction. Effectively if you treat 300 people with expensive and dangerous drugs you might save one life. Under the best possible scenario the real risk reduction was well under one half of one percent. Interestingly while the heart attack risk was reduced by around 0.35% the number of deaths increased with the drug use. Oops… no one reported this.


1.     Kris-Etherton et al. 2002;
2.     Wang et al. 2006;
3.     Schacky and Harris 2006;
4.     Psota et al. 2006;
5.     Harris et al. 2006;
6.     Robinson J.G. and Stone 2006;
7.     Reiffel J.A. and McDonald 2006;
8.     Jacobson 2006
9.     Wierzbicki et al. 1999;
10.  Nawrocki et al. 1995;
11.  Bertolini et al. 1997;
12.  Marz et al. 1999
13.  Jackerviciua et al. 2002;
14.  Benner et al. 2002
15.  Folkers et al. 1990
16.  Rosenfeldt et al. 2005
17.  Romao 2007
18.  Leardi S. et al. 2000
19.  Goldstein et al. 2009
20.  Mauch et al. 2001;
21.  Koudinov and Koudinova 2001
22.  Göritz et al. 2002
23.  Heron et al. 1980
24.  Zhang J. et al. 2004
25.  Bartolucci et al. 2009
26.  Ridker et al. 2008

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mediterranean diet lowers Alzheimer’s and depression.

The Mediterranean diet has been associated with lower risk of various age-related diseases including CVD, some cancers and Alzhiemer’s. A recent review of twelve studies found that following a Mediterranean diet is associated with slower cognitive decline and a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer disease. In an older study of 2258 elderly New Yorkers with no dementia they found a higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. More importantly the more they followed the Mediterranean diet the lower the risk. They found that each increasing point on the Mediterranean diet score was linked with a 10 per cent drop in Alzheimer's risk and individuals whose diet closely resembled the Mediterranean diet had a 40 per cent lower risk of Alzheimer's than those who adhered the least to the diet (Scarmeas et al, 2006).  In support of this a number of studies have also reported the benefits of eating fruit, vegetables and oily fish for reducing your risk of Alzheimer's disease.

In other research following a Mediterranean-style diet is also associated with lower risk for developing depression. After a 4 year follow-up, people who followed the Mediterranean diet had lower hazard ratios for incident self-reported depression. High consumption of fruits and nuts, legumes, monounsaturated- to saturated-fatty-acids ratio and fish were each separately associated with lower depression risk (Sánchez-Villegas et al 2009).

However, the Mediterranean diet is not pasta, pizza and lots of cheese. The Mediterranean dietary is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and legumes; low in dairy, meat, junk food, trans fatty acids; moderate alcohol intake; and high ratio of monounsaturated-to-saturated fatty acids. Moreover, a particular feature of the diet is the abundant use of virgin olive oil in everything from cooking to spreading on bread and salads. Not vegetable oils or margarine. In fact, the exact opposite. The diet's is rich in many nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamin C, tocopherols, polyphenols, and essential minerals.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dingle Speaking Dates and Locations

-Due to some personal reasons I have removed the dates and locations of my upcoming talks. Sorry

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mandurah Presentation

Chronic illness such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are skyrocketing. We now see illness in our children that never existed before including infant tumours, cancers and diabetes while allergies and ADHD continue to increase. It is not a result of our genetics but due to our poor lifestyle and diet. It is our everyday choices which cause these health problems and it is our everyday choices that can keep us healthy or even overcome these illnesses.
We have been overloaded with toxins from our personal care products, chemicals in our home and poisons hidden in our food and water. At the same time we eat over-processed food empty of nutrients and laden with sugar and toxic oils. 

Dr Peter Dingle (B Ed, B Sc, PhD) has spent the last 25 years as a researcher, educator and author. He spent many years as an Associate Professor in Health and the Environment at Murdoch University. He is one of Australia’s leading motivational and entertaining speakers and a top public health advocate.
Tickets $10 each - Book early as seats are limited. Some tickets sold at the door. Date Saturday 13th April 2013
Time 1.15 pm for 1.30 pm start concluding at 3.30 pm
Venue Bendigo Bank Stadium, Platinum Room, Dower St, Mandurah
Contact Marilyn Morley 0403 680 694 or Christin Smith 0432 941 004
Take a chance to win in the raffle for some door prizes / Refreshments included

Part proceeds to Women ’ s Refuge

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Margarine is toxic

In the 1970s, I was instructed to swap from butter to margarine. Fortunately, I did not like the taste of margarine and, over the years, the more research I conducted on the topic the more I realised that we were being lead astray and even lied to about this. Today, when I ask any of my audiences, sometimes in the hundreds, “Who thinks margarine is better for you than butter?” I rarely get a positive response. It seems most people already know that margarine is a dangerous substitute.
It appears that there is no scientific evidence that margarine is healthier than butter. In fact, evidence suggests the exact opposite is true. This is summed up first of all in one of my earlier articles that showed saturated fat is not the demon it is made out to be and may even be associated with reduced heart attack (another myth shattered). At least that is what the biggest and best studies show. Furthermore, we consume many more Omega 6 (vegetable) oils today than our ancestors did and this is having a negative impact on our health. These oils are not just in our margarine but also hidden in most of our food. We ate margarine for 50 years thinking it was made up of so-called “good fats” only to find out it was laden with the deadliest form of fat: trans fats. Finally, there is emerging evidence that margarine may not be good for our health, with or without trans fats, and is nowhere near a natural food; the push to sell more margarine has come from organisations like the Heart Foundations around the world and branches of margarine companies with strong vested interests in promoting margarine sales.
I think one of the best things to have happened to the Australian cuisine is Master Chef. It has inspired a whole generation to go back to the kitchen and start cooking again. It has also encouraged the increased use of butter over vegetable oils, something the Heart Foundation and the margarine manufacturers did not like so they had to come up with campaigns to sway people back to margarine. Interestingly one of the foundation’s ploys was to create, through a public relations company, a group called “Mums United” which pretends to be a grassroots mothers campaign against evil butter. According to David Gillespe (Sweet Poison) and the “duck test” of inductive reasoning, “It walks like a margarine advertisement and quacks like a margarine advertisement, so guess what it I think it is?” And the margarine companies fund it! Some of the group’s tactics have included offering financial support to people who pledged not to eat butter. So much for it being a grassroots organisation. It seems that margarine interests have taken some of the old tactics taught to us by the tobacco industry and big drug companies.
I want to make it very clear that I have no vested interests in anything other than people’s health and the truth.
Various heart associations around the world recommend increasing Omega 6 (vegetable) oil consumption and reducing saturated fats, based on flawed studies that have been seriously questioned due to data manipulation. This includes the omission of relevant trials with unfavourable outcomes—that is, leaving out any negative studies 1,2,3 and including studies that combine both Omega 3 (fish oils, which are good for you) and Omega 6 consumption together under the title of “polyunsaturated fats.” The associations even included poorly done studies as long as the studies showed the desired results. This type of publication bias is well known in the research literature particularly with big drug companies trying to show that their drugs work better than they really do.
Margarine is far from being a natural product—well, as much as you can claim that plastic is natural. The major components of margarine are “vegetable” oils, obtained from foods such as sunflower seeds, rapeseed, or potentially genetically modified canola and soya beans. These oils are usually extracted using the application of pressure, heat and possibly solvents and then treated with sodium hydroxide to “neutralise” certain fats in the oil. It is then bleached, filtered and steam-treated to produce what is essentially a colourless, flavourless murky looking liquid. The liquid is converted into a solid at room temperature through esterifcation, which uses high temperature and pressure, along with enzymes or acids, to harden the oil—this is also called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation produces trans fats that are strongly linked with heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses. The final product is coloured and flavoured with various agents to make it feel and look like butter. Then finally ingredients like plant sterols and stanols and alpha linolenic acid is added to make it appear healthy. The finished product is not natural or healthy.
Plant stanols and sterols are added to reduce cholesterol. However, overwhelming evidence now shows cholesterol is just a poor indicator of heart attack, not the cause 4. It is just the warning sign or, if I can use an analogy, like a fire alarm in your home, it is not the problem itself, but a warning about the problem. You can get plenty of stanol and sterols in nuts, beans and seeds, which are not only natural but also full of other healthful benefits including vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and so much more and reduce all forms chronic illness. Margarine manufacturers can trumpet the presence of “heart-healthy” Omega 3 fats on the label, however they are putting plant-based Omega 3 fats (alpha linolenic acid) that do not act like Omega 3 from fish sources. They still have to be converted in our body to fish-like Omega 3s. It is also questionable whether they will be oxidised or not and therefore of any value. Adding a nutrient to toxic food does not make it healthy. Do you really believe the advertising?
Margarine is a major source of trans fatty acids, the intake of which has risen since the early 20th century. Trans fatty acids are synthetic fats produced as a byproduct of the hydrogenation of liquid vegetable oils, making them into solid margarine. An abundance of data indicates that consumption of trans fatty acids increases the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), cancer, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Margarine companies are now obliged to list the amount of trans fats on the side of the packet. Until recently however, margarine has been the single biggest source of these very toxic fats.
In a study of women, long-term margarine and trans fat consumption was associated with a 67% increased risk of heart disease 5. The decrease in intake of trans fatty acids in Denmark saw a 50% reduction in the number of deaths from ischemic heart disease 6. A recent study found that trans fatty acids promote cardiovascular disease by triggering inflammatory processes in the cells lining blood vessels 7. Increased intake of trans fatty acids has also been linked with an increase in the risk of colorectal tumours by about 86% 8. The potentially damaging effects of trans fats may also be passed from a mother to her child during breast feeding and can lead to an increase in cardiac insulin resistance when the kids become adults 9.
During the past 150 years, the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of agribusiness with processed foods, grain-fattened livestock, and hydrogenation of vegetable fats have considerably reduced the available content of Omega 3 fatty acids and increased that of Omega 6 fatty acids. While Omega 6 and 3 oils are considered essential fatty acids, the research is now showing that it is important to get the correct balance of the fats. An imbalance leads to various metabolic diseases. Western diets are now deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids and are laden with excessive amounts of Omega 6 fatty acids compared with the diet on which human beings evolved and their genetic patterns were established. Our diets now have 14 to 20 times more Omega 6 (vegetable oil) than Omega 3 fatty acids. This imbalance is now linked with diseases such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, obesity, insulin resistance, asthma, arthritis, depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and even premature ageing. The ideal balance is less than 4:1 or even 1:1 Omega 6 and 3, respectively.
Omega 6 oils such as corn, safflower, cottonseed, sunflower, and soya are now in nearly all our foods. Apart from the obvious consumption of vegetable oils and margarine you buy in the supermarket—which I hope you are now not going to buy—Omega 6 oils are hidden in most foods. You will find vegetable oils in just about every processed and semi-processed food including bread, cakes, and breakfast cereals and in lots of the plant-based drinks like almond or soya milk the main ingredient is often vegetable oil. All the takeaway foods, frozen and packaged dinners have Omega 6 oils. Even the “new” Mediterranean diet is laden with Omega 6 oils. When you buy olives, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes or anything soaking in oil it is now vegetable oil in which it is soaked, not olive oil because vegetable oil is cheaper, unless you go to Italy where most foods are still soaked in olive oil. It is almost impossible to get away from the excess of Omega 6 oils. Time to read the labels! Factory produced eggs have 20 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3 compared to free-range eggs, which have a ratio of 1:1. Similarly, grain-fed beef (which I do not recommend you eat) has around 20:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 oils because the cows are fed grains rich in Omega 6 oils. Alpha linolenic acid is found in the grass and is converted into the important Omega 3 oils by the animals. It is found only in grass-fed animals. Grass-fed cows are also a lot less stressed and have as a result lower levels of inflammation.
On the topic of animals fats, I have highlighted in earlier articles that despite claims by the Heart Foundation there is no scientific evidence to suggest that saturated fat through dairy consumption is associated with increased heart attack. By contrast, in a 16-year prospective study of 1,529 adult Australians, researchers found a possible beneficial association between intake of full-fat dairy and cardiovascular mortality 10. Whoops… the Heart Foundation got it wrong again.
By contrast, the Framingham study, which followed people for 20 years (a very long and comprehensive study) and recorded heart attack incidence, found margarine intake increased coronary heart disease in men 11. The scientists in their very conservative language wrote, “These data offer modest support to the hypothesis that margarine intake increases the risk of coronary heart disease.” Not the opposite. In the second ten-year period of the study, the group eating the most margarine had 77% more heart attacks than the group eating none.
Studies that investigated increasing the amount of Omega 6 without a subsequent increase in animal-based Omega 3 (fish oil) consistently found an increase in coronary heart disease (CHD) and all-cause mortality. In an early study, published in 1965, researchers found that people consuming corn oil, a rich source of Omega 6, had a 4.64 times (over 400%) increased risk for both chronic heart disease and death from all causes 12. In the conservative language of scientists, the authors of the study concluded that corn oil is “possibly harmful.” In another study, in which participants consumed more safflower oil and a safflower oil polyunsaturated margarine, participants had a 49% increased risk of death from all causes including a 91% increase from chronic heart disease and 96% from CVD 13.
In one study specifically on Omega 6 consumption in more than 9,000 people, the risk of non-fatal heart attack and death from coronary heart disease was significantly increased among women consuming the n-6 specific polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) diet for one year or less 14. Women consuming this n-6 specific PUFA diet for any duration had non-significant trends to increased risk of non-fatal heart attack and coronary heart disease and any cardiovascular event including death and stroke 14. In fact the Lyon Diet Heart Study found that after follow up of 27 months, non-fatal heart attack and coronary heart disease death and overall mortality were 73% and 70% lower in the experimental group who consumed lower Omega 6 oils and replaced vegetable oils with olive oil. This study also demonstrated that lowering linoleic acid (Omega 6 vegetable oil) below 50% is not harmful and may even be beneficial, producing a profound risk reduction in coronary heart disease.
A recent meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials investigating polyunsaturated Omega 6 oil consumption (vegetable oils and margarine) found that there is absolutely no scientific justification for recommending the increased consumption of Omega 6 oils 2. Or, to quote their conclusion, “Advice to specifically increase n-6 PUFA intake … is unlikely to provide the intended benefits, and may actually increase the risks of CHD and death.” The study found for non-fatal myocardial infarction (heart attack) and death from coronary heart disease there was an increased risk of 13% for diets with increased Omega 6. The studies that substituted Omega 6 for saturated fatty acids without simultaneously increasing Omega 3 oils also produced an increase in risk of death. It seems the vegetable oils are just as bad as the trans fats and what we are really lacking are the Omega 3 fish oils.

More research shows that omega 6 fatty acids (vegetable oils-margarine) have no health benefit and in fact might be worse for you than saturated fats. This study showed people on the ‘heart-healthy’ diet were at increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and heart disease (increases of 70 and 74 per cent respectively).

"Advice to substitute polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats is a key component of worldwide dietary guidelines for coronary heart disease risk reduction. However, clinical benefits of the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega 6 linoleic acid, have not been established. In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit."

The Heart Foundation continues to educate people to swap to margarine. Why do they continue to do this?
this information is so widespread it is dangerous. I recently spoke to and AFL footballer who was told not to have butter and to use margarine by the club dietician.

The study also found that lower cholesterol as a result of the omega 6 heart healthy diet was also associated with more deaths not fewer. Cholesterol is not the killer. It is just a symptom of an illness.
Arachidonic acid is produced in the body from too much Omega 6 and produces chemical messengers that lead to inflammation in the body called eicosanoids and cytokines. The increase in linoleic acid (Omega 6) has been shown to increase the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) 15. There is nothing wrong with cholesterol until it is oxidised. The evidence from animal studies also shows that a high linoleic acid diet can promote certain cancers 16 and other inflammatory diseases. In a study of 203,193 men and women, increased intakes of Omega 6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) doubled the risk of ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, which has seen a rapid increase during recent decades. By contrast the highest intakes of Omega 3 were associated with 77% reduction in the risk of the disease 17. Omega 6 fatty acids are present in the cell membrane of colon cells in the form of arachidonic acid. This can be metabolised to chemical messengers in the body called prostaglandin E2, leukotriene B4 and thromboxane A2, all of which are associated with inflammation. On the other hand, Omega 3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may prevent colonic inflammation.
There is also research showing that too much Omega 6 oil is contributing to premature ageing. Telomeres, which are in all our cells, are thought to be markers of our ageing because they reflect cumulative oxidative stress and inflammation. The shorter they are, the more we have aged. Because the metabolites of Omega 6 promote inflammation, it is believed that an increase in Omega 6 fatty acid content in our diet decreases the leukocyte telomere length 18,19 and hence speeds up the ageing process.
It is time to rethink our fat consumption. The research shows that fat in itself is not bad—in fact, it is essential and the move away from fat has lead to a more obese and sicker population. What we need to do however is decrease our consumption of processed oils like margarine and vegetable oils and increase our Omega 3 fish oils along with Omega 9 oils, including olive oil.
1.     Ramsden 2009;
2.     Ramsden et al. 2010,
3.     Ramsden et al. 2011
4.     Dingle 2011 The Great Cholesterol Deception
5.     Willett et al. 1993
6.     Stender and Dyerberg 2004
7.     Harvey et al 2008
8.     Vinikoor et al. 2010
9.     Osso et al. 2008
10. Bonthuis et al. 2010
11. Gillman 1997
12. Rose et al. 1965
13. Woodhill et al. 1978
14. Frantz et al. 1989
15. Tsimikas et al. 1999
16. Welsh 1992
17. Hart 2008
18. Kang 2010;
19. Kiecolt-Glaser 2012