AHA Fats and Fraud

by Steven Carney on July 9, 2017

This is post #136, debunking the new advisory report from the American Heart Association (AHA). It falsely claims that saturated fat, including coconut oil, cause heart disease. I expose the fraud and corruption behind the AHA report below.

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For 50 years, we’ve been subjected to a campaign of pseudoscience and falsehoods that saturated fats from animal sources or tropical oils like coconut oil, cause heart disease. I’ve covered these issues in previous posts, but this article will be the most thorough debunking of those unfounded, misleading claims in detail.

Do you know that the AHA gets hundreds of millions in donations from drug companies, drug ads and food endorsements, used to drive more statin and junk food sales? All that money helps to keep the false claims about saturated fats, cholesterol and heart disease alive because it generates billions in drug sales and continuing donations. The AHA has courted a stable of wealthy corporate donors for years (see details below).

This “new” AHA review paper relies heavily on decades-old studies, using cherry-picked AHA position papers, drug-intervention studies (not relevant), and meta-analysis of past studies that already fit their deep bias about saturated fats (many studies are from the 1960s to 1980s, rather ancient now). They also dismiss many newer studies that credibly challenge their fat-phobic claims. It’s actually hard to read the AHA paper because bias permeates the work, apparently designed to halt scientific progress on dietary fats.

Early on, I noticed that the AHA used misleading Relative Risk (RR) numbers to puff up their claims, and they included many other studies that were also pumped up with exaggerated RR numbers to hype their findings. The use of RR is a standard ploy when you want more media coverage, drive more sales and get medical practitioners on board (Absolute Risk, or AR, a more accurate measurement of study outcomes, is often a few percent of difference in outcomes so RR is often used to hype research findings).

The AHA continues to put public health and safety at risk with their biased, myopic, reductionist reviews, mostly focused on fat intake, along with estimated LDL cholesterol (LDL tests are not measured but calculated using the often inaccurate, Friedewald formula). The AHA consistently ignores and dismisses newer fat studies and testing for oxidized LDL, cholesterol particle numbers and sizes, inflammation and vitamin D testing. They also ignore many other dietary and lifestyle complexities like High BP, exercise and stress, resulting in a campaign of  public misinformation.

Another omission from the AHA review is that about 50-75% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels. It should only take a few seconds of time for everyone at the AHA to question why normal cholesterol levels, an important molecule that provides necessary benefits for the body (cell walls, nerve insulation, hormone production, tissue repair, etc.), would cause heart attacks and death. It makes no sense whatsoever! Predictably, the AHA turns away from those obvious conflicts.

My take on this new AHA review is this: The advisory paper was done to undermine recent studies that challenge the validity of its fat-phobic dogma, along with the increasing popularity of healthy coconut oil. I predict that this review paper was done to maintain the demonization of saturated fats and the resulting flow of corporate donations through biased science. In short, it seems clear that the AHA is abusing science for its own interests and its corporate benefactors (more below).

I hope you will read all that’s here, especially the many credible source links from doctors, researchers and experts, because this post is built on them! Many readers will be shocked by the revelations, deep corruption and public risk exposed in this article!

A history of bias and fraud

The history of anti-fat research goes back more than 50 years, to Ancel Keys and others. It was called the diet-heart hypothesis, a hypothesis and theory that remains unproven to this day (actually disproven for many years). As you will see, it makes little sense!

The early associative studies were simplistic and misleading, yet convincing enough for gullible medical practitioners, most of whom were ignorant of the complexities of nutrition and lifestyle habits on health and chronic disease, including fatty-acid digestion and lipid metabolism (see many details and links below).

For example, Keys did a rather biased analysis of more than 20 countries, based on World Health Organization (WHO) data from dietary questionnaires (which are often questionable science too), and follow-ups were only once every 5 years, an even more inaccurate method. I bet you don’t remember what you ate last month!

A major problem is that Keys decided to exclude most of the data for those 22 countries, focusing on just 6 in his initial graph, because the 6 appeared to show a stronger association between the amount of saturated fat people ate and the risk of heart disease (if you include all 22 countries, the association is very weak).

In fact, some countries with higher saturated-fat intake had lower rates of heart disease (CHD) and vise versa. Many have said that Keys’ cherry picked the data to match his hypotheses, while downplaying other dietary factors like sugar, wheat, refined carbs, fried foods, fruit juices, etc., even though he acknowledged that sugar intake was connected to heart disease. Still, he focused on saturated fat as the sole bogeyman (more about Keys and the carbohydrate connection to heart disease below).

Later, Keys published his 7-country study, based on his previous work in middle-aged men. He used a similar approach (excluding the countries that didn’t fit his theory), and he was challenged by many scientists at the time. The study took hold anyway (many have said he was an aggressive promoter of his work).

Other researchers and drug companies followed Keys with similar associative studies, using the same simplistic, reductionist approach, focused on a narrow association between fat intake, simplistic cholesterol levels and heart disease (we now know that cholesterol is far more complex than LDL cholesterol, the most common form claimed to be raised saturated fat). LDL is a crude, calculated (non-measured) number, and that it’s refined carbs, often ignored in research, that raise small, dense, atherosclerotic LDL cholesterol, lower HDL, etc.

Association is not proof

To be clear, research studies based on association or correlation are just that: They can show a possible link but not a causal relationship, and it’s totally unscientific to claim that association shows causality (ala the AHA claim). Imagine a study on 100 early risers who get up just before sunrise, observing that their behavior is associated with the sunrise, then claiming, they cause the sunrise each day. It sounds silly but the new AHA review paper makes a similarly false claim early in its review paper, see details and debunking below.

Most associative studies exemplify that problem: They can only show one possible link or association but not a causal one (most studies done by Western medicine are reductionist, meaning they tend to look at simplistic, single associations like cholesterol or LDL cholesterol for multi-factorial heart disease), ignoring the other dietary and lifestyle influences and variables which often drive disease development.

These associative and observational studies, especially those based on largely on dietary questionnaires (often given just annually), rarely use adequate blood or other testing, making them weak studies that can’t demonstrate a causal relationship (blood tests for Keys’ study were done on just 20-50 people for each larger cohort), which are very small numbers to base broad conclusions on. BTW, do you remember what you ate 6 months ago? I didn’t think so!

And most associative and observational studies also fail to disclose a “mechanism of action” which explains why an effect occurs on a biological level, using cellular, organ, hormonal, or other bodily-systems to demonstrate the basis of the effect.

The diet-heart theory has never demonstrated a credible mechanism of action, showing that cholesterol causes heart disease (finding cholesterol in arteries is not a mechanism of action), nor has causality been shown between saturated fats, cholesterol and CHD. In fact, newer research has concluded that inflammation, infection and high BP are significant drivers of atherosclerosis and CHD, along with OxLDL and small, dense atherosclerotic LDL particles from refined carbs, not animal fats.

It’s also been shown that the cholesterol associated with atherosclerosis is not the cause of heart disease or atherosclerosis, but present because the body is using cholesterol to stabilize an existing lesion or repair an arterial injury (indeed, the body uses cholesterol to repair wounds or damage to cells and tissues all the time). Yet, I don’t think the AHA has ever addressed that reality!

The whole theory Keys’ pushed is simplistic, myopic and reductionist, but embraced and believed by millions to this day. That includes most doctors and dietitians who never seem to question or analyze the weak studies they tout, even as they ignore conflicting evidence and the important details included in this article.

Here is an initial batch of debunking links for the diet-heart theory and Keys’ work:


The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy





Facts About Cholesterol


Don’t worry about cholesterol; inflammation is your biggest problem



What Every Doctor Should Know About Ancel Key’s Experiments

I also cover the history of Keys, his misleading research and other false claims for fat and cholesterol in eggs and other foods in the link below (it has dozens of additional source links that help to debunk the diet-heart hypotheses):

Dr. David Seres Debunked Again

Here are some additional links in addition to the dozens included in the link above:






10 Pitfalls of Using LDL Cholesterol to Assess Risk




The Cholesterol Myth

Clearly, cholesterol is an important molecule the body needs for a variety of normal functions, carried by lipoproteins like VLDL, LDL or HDL. Those lipoproteins do not cause heart disease or CVD, which includes stroke. This truth has been known by many experts and functional medicine doctors for a decade or more. Yet the falsehoods continue to be spread, helped by organizations like the AHA, as they mislead millions with impunity! 

By the 1960s and 1970s, it became popular to demonize saturated fats (Keys even served on a nutrition committee at the AHA where he pushed his misleading claims in the 1960s). It’s been a political and religious-type movement ever since, complete with rigid dogmas, true believers and unquestioning followers. The movement has been largely sustained by billions in drug money (those companies benefit from the anti-fat campaign because it helps drive tens of billions in statin sales annually, claimed to lower LDL cholesterol and heart attacks).

Like the parable of the 6-blind men, each feeling a different part of the elephant (and misunderstanding what it was because none ever saw an elephant before), our myopic, unscientific government agencies and organizations like the AHA have embraced biased, unfounded, fear-laden claims about fats and heart disease for decades. As I write this article, I was struck by how fabricated this entire industry is, turning a normal body molecule and its benefits into a pariah!

Like other successful political movements and marketing campaigns, biased medical researchers (along with junk science from the sugar industry), got more research grants to repeat the simplistic, false claims about saturated fat intake for decades (repetition can make falsehoods seem like truths, which is why the approach is used), but never proving a causal connection or mechanism of action between saturated fats and CVD.

Rather than using science for its actual purpose (discovery and the search for truth through credible methods and accurate, unbiased analysis), science is now routinely abused and manipulated by medical interests to maintain political power and preserve profits. As a result, millions flow from industry to organizations and agencies, including the AHA and their journals (see links below for more terrible truths about the AHA).

I’ll make this prediction: The AHA doesn’t appoint, or include dissenters who challenge their fat-phobic agenda and the resulting income they receive! That certainly seems true for those who authored (or just reviewed) the new advisory. It looks like a typical anti-saturated fat group. And given the practice of ghost writing, it’s equally plausible that the AHA review was written by a PhD or student, and the listed authors simply agreed to be listed after (for a fee of course), a common research practice.

Several of the reviewers also have drug and food-industry ties but the disclosure limit was set high at $10,000 or more in the last year, plus all were probably paid for the contributions they made. And no doubt, the AHA also planned an extensive, well-financed marketing campaign for this biased advisory and it worked! Media went wild for the sensationalistic, unfounded claims and millions have been taken in by the pseudoscience in the review.

The AHA has engaged in a long-running, anti-fat campaign which continues to bring in millions in corporate donations to help them continue their attacks on saturated fats and LDL cholesterol: The AHA made over $850 million in 2015-2016, which doesn’t include the additional millions in ad revenue from all their journals. This is probably a billion-dollar organization now, and they are highly resistant to admit that their anti-fat advice was wrong.

What’s worse, many doctors continue to be indoctrinated to embrace the false fat/heart disease connection, along with most dietitians (and many will follow this new advisory without any analysis). Very few ever question this religious-type dogma and belief; few seek the truth in an independent or responsible way by analyzing the science critically (I see them online, and many are poor at science and lipid metabolism, so they quickly resort to ad hominem attacks).

In my encounters with these practitioners, it’s obvious that most are more comfortable being a member of an anti-fat tribe as they embrace the identify politics behind the dogmatic, anti-fat movement, even though lives are at risk and thousands have surly died following their unfounded and misguided advice.

See these links for more about research fraud and widespread medical corruption and some for cholesterol research:

Medicine and Pseudoscience: New insights

Why Medicine Fails

Medicine is the Top Killer


What happens to the carbs?





This new article uncovers some additional corruption and hidden findings from previous saturated fat and veggie-oil studies, ones that have mislead us for decades (Keys was involved in this too). This link shows how veggie oils actually shortened life and didn’t prevent atherosclerosis or heart attacks as claimed, but that the data was never published:


And here is the actual Conclusion form the study, published in the BMJ, linked below:

Available evidence from randomized controlled trials shows that replacement of saturated fat in the diet with linoleic acid [from corn oil] effectively lowers serum cholesterol but does not support the hypothesis that this translates to a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease or all causes. Findings from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment add to growing evidence that incomplete publication has contributed to overestimation of the benefits of replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid.


Newer tests provide better information

There are newer blood tests and ratios that offer improved risk parameters for heart disease compared to total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol alone. Remember that a standard cholesterol test only offers these values:

• Total cholesterol (or Total-C)
• Triglycerides
• HDL cholesterol (HDL-C)
• LDL cholesterol (LDL-C, an estimated number based on the Friedewald formula, not a measured LDL, often inaccurate depending on triglyceride levels, and used in most studies unless specified otherwise)

Many of these newer, more detailed tests have been around for 10 years or more. Unfortunately, they are often ignored in many CVD studies, and many weren’t available during Keys’ research:

• OxLDL (Oxidized LDL is like rancid oil, highly inflammatory and damaging to arteries, often driven by the highly refined, GMO veggie oils the AHA endorses)
• VLDL (Very LDL makes LDL and is increased by refined carbs like sugar and wheat, an important point often ignored in anti-fat research)
• LDL particle numbers and sizes (considered better predictors of heart disease compared to LDL alone,an unreliable number that’s also affected by refined carbs, not just fat
• HDL particles (considered “good” cholesterol, raised by saturated fats, carries extra cholesterol back to the liver)
• Triglycerides (a fat molecule increased by sugar and refined carb intake, made by the liver)
• Fasting glucose levels/A1c (sugar and refined carbs increase atherosclerotic LDL)
• 25-hydroxy vitamin D (vitamin D helps to regulate immune function and inflammation)
• hs-CRP (a test to measure systemic inflammation), prevalent in heart disease and arterial damage
• Ratios like HDL to total C or Triglyceride to HDL (also more predictive of risk than LDL cholesterol alone, not used in early studies)

In spite of these more accurate tests, the AHA often cites research and older studies that focus on calculated (non-measured) LDL cholesterol, as it relates to saturated fat intake, a test that often provides a misleading picture of actual CVD risk (lower triglycerides can overstate LDL numbers and high triglycerides can understated LDL. Another important point is that saturated fats raise LDL particle sizes and HDL cholesterol, which are less atherosclerotic, but again, the AHA doesn’t focus on the benefits of saturated fats.

The result of the older, less accurate tests used in many studies is that important cholesterol details will not be uncovered (you won’t know how much OxLDL, LDL particle numbers or sizes without those specific tests or how saturated fats raise HDL and LDL particle sizes). You can’t account for their effects on heart disease accurately using a basic, calculated (non-measured) LDL test, a major flaw in many studies the AHA relies on. Here are some links about these blood tests (there are many more available, these are just a sample):






LDL Cholesterol, Particle Number and Particle Size Made Easy



Speaking of myopic testing and misleading science, a recent study showed that the ACC and AHA heart risk calculator overstated the risk of a heart attack by 5-6 times. That’s a significant error which fits their ongoing scare campaigns to drive people to statins. See these links for more details:



AHA gets millions from drug and food companies

Although many in medicine and the public think that the AHA puts the interests of patients first, it seems like corporate donations drive much of the AHA agenda. For example, the AHA gets tens of millions from drug manufacturers, including those that make statins (primarily used to lower LDL cholesterol). Contributors include companies like these, and they have all sold statin drugs:

• Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)
• Merck
• Pfizer
• Eli Lilly
• Bayer
• Astra Zenecca

This quote from the first link below shows strong AHA ties to drug and statin sales for the above AHA donors:

BMS, along with Merck and Pfizer are national sponsors of AHA’s Go Red For Women heart disease awareness campaign whose web site tells patients “If your doctor has placed you on statin therapy to reduce your cholesterol, you can rest easy—the benefits outweigh the risks” The site also proclaims that “Zocor and Pravachol — have the fewest side effects,” and “statins may only slightly increase diabetes risks.”

As the quote continues, a stark and dangerous reality gets exposed for many women:

The Women’s Health Initiative, a federal study of over 160,000 healthy women to investigate the most common causes of death, disability and poor quality of life in postmenopausal women, showed that a healthy woman’s risk of developing diabetes was increased 48 percent compared to women who were not on a statin.


You can see how the AHA and its so-called charity work blurs the line between patient education and endorsing drug sales and continuing donations, which are also brought in by their public outreach activities.

See this article for a thorough debunking for medical research and statin claims, along with details about how little they actually help and the many terrible side effects statins have that your doctor probably won’t tell you about beforehand:

Why Medicine Fails

The AHA also makes millions from multiple journals focused on cardiovascular research, filled with drug and device ads, ads that are often misleading and contingent on favorable journal coverage and PR-type review studies (did you know that negative studies for drugs are almost never published unless independent researchers do it). That adds even more layers to the prevalent use of ghost-written, manipulated research that has corrupted science for years (see links below):





This link also covers the AHA and coconut oil and exposing the bad science in the new AHA report, plus some conflict-of-interest information for the AHA:


The AHA also makes millions from big food companies through their endorsement program, including those that sell processed junk foods like sugary cereals, canned soups, fruit juices and lots of potatoes because the AHA is obsessed with fats while they ignore more relevant issues of sugar, junk carbs and high glycemic foods (see that last link with the AHA chart and notice that no sugar is listed in their criteria):

• Canned beans
• Cereals
• Egg substitutes
• Fruit juice
• Pasta sauce
• Processed meats

As indicated in the links below, many of these “healthy’ foods are full of additives, preservatives, sodium, sugar and can be sourced from GMO crops, all of which the AHA finds healthy and worthy of an endorsement! And the Canola oil lobby also donates to the AHA. Can you say “healthy GMO veggie oils” (not)! Again, myopic and self serving.

No one should look to the AHA for health advice or take their food endorsements seriously. Their positions and claims are right out of the Dark Ages of research. They continue to abuse science for political power and money, showing wilful ignorance and disdain toward newer research that challenges their unfounded claims.

Like many medical organizations, they have demonstrated nutritional ignorance often, eager to profit from their well-financed, fat-phobic campaigns and public outreach, grabbing donations and drug/food advertising worth tens of millions! They‘ve built an empire of wealth on a foundation of pseudoscience by demonizing fats while they largely ignore any science which disproves their propaganda.

These links expose the corruption behind many of the AHAs “healthy” food endorsements and programs:


Why Is The AHA Endorsing Subway?



AHA “heart-check mark” not worth the paper it’s printed on

American Heart Association: Let’s create dietary policy based on the flimsiest of science


Misleading Food Labels: 3 Food Labels You Should Avoid & 3 You Can Trust




More fat truths

Fats from animal proteins undergo a complex and relatively slow digestive process, helping to provide good satiation (something else the AHA and other researchers tend to ignore). That’s partly because the meat is slow to digest, creating a thermic effect that takes more time and uses up more energy. Proteins have the greatest thermic (heat generating) effects, higher than for carbs or other nutrients (although high-fiber veggies have some similar effects and also take more time than refined carbs, which are fast).

After the proteins are broken down into amino acids, the fats go through a unique digestive process and pathway. Fats are not soluble in water or blood, so they are first broken into microscopic droplets during digestion, helped by digestive enzymes.

Once they reach the small intestine, they are repackaged into chylomicrons, a molecule composed of fatty acids/triglycerides, cholesterol and a protein cover, forming a lipoprotein. Chylomicrons are drawn into the lymph system and gradually migrate into venous tissue to reach tissues like muscles and adipose where the fats get metabolized or stored.

The remaining cholesterol remnants pass through the liver where it makes VLDL, LDL and HDL, with HDL having the most protein and least cholesterol content (hence its high-density label). HDL helps to carry excess cholesterol from tissues back to the liver.

An exception to this process is coconut oil which is a medium-chain fat (MCT). It can skip the chylomicron and lymph transport process. It breaks down more fully during digestion and passes into the bloodstream to provide energy, largely handled by the liver.

Not only that, but here is an additional layer of complexity that fat-phobic researchers often ignore: Fats from animal sources are not just saturated, they are combined with other fats like MUFAs and PUFAs, both considered healthy by the AHA!

Here are some example breakdowns for a 100 gram serving (about 3.5 oz) of animal proteins and their fatty-acid components (these are standard meats), grass fed/pasture raised are even better in these ratios:

1. The fat breakdown for a large egg is as follows: It has about 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, a good mix of fats.

2. The fat breakdown for a 3.5 oz chicken breast is as follows: It has about 1 gram of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat and about .8 grams of polyunsaturated fat, another good mix of fats.

3. The fat breakdown for a 3.5 oz portion of 80% lean beef is as follows: It has about 6 grams of saturated fat, 7 grams of monounsaturated fat, and about .5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, another good mix of fats.

4. The fat breakdown for a 3.5 oz portion of pork chop is as follows: It has about 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 2.75 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, another good mix of fats.

Notice that all the examples of fat content above contain more MUFAs than saturated fats (MUFAs, like olive oil are considered heart-healthy fats)! When has the AHA, AMA or your doctor ever mentioned that reality? How about your needs for protein, satiation and absorbing fat-soluble vitamins? They often exclude those important benefits, again displaying their consistent bias. And the researchers who repeat those anti-fat studies also ignore that healthy balance of fats and other benefits as well! That’s how unscientific the AHA and medicine is with their unfounded, decades-old, anti-fat claims!

And remember, saturated fats can slightly raise calculated LDL, they also raise the LDL particle sizes, along with higher HDL (both effects are healthy), which is why newer studies find no significant effect from saturated fats on the risk of heart disease.

See this link for more details about diet myths and fats:

Top 3 Diet Myths

Is coconut oil the same as chicken or beef?

The short answer is no! Obviously, coconut oil is from a plant source and it has a different chemical structure than longer-chain fats from meat or oils. No matter, the new AHA advisory statement labels coconut oil as just another saturated fat, and by extension it’s therefore unhealthy. Again, their nutritional myopia and bias is on full view, their conclusions incredibly unscientific.

Coconut oil is a medium-chain fat with 6-12 carbon atoms. Saturated fats from animal proteins and other fats (like veggie or fish oils) are longer-chain fats with 13-22 carbon atoms. I would choose a serving of coconut oil in soup or on veggies over wheat bread or sugar any day (comparing 50-75 calories of each). It’s clearly much healthier!

These differences for coconut oil and other saturated fats are significant during the digestive process outlined above. Coconut oil is more easily digested and broken down; it can bypass the normal fat conversion into chylomicrons and release through the lymph system, making it available as a quicker energy source. This can be helpful for people who eat less carbohydrates.

Here are some links that debunk the AHA’s amateur, false claims against coconut oil:

Is Coconut Oil Bad for Your Cholesterol?

Coconut Oil Is Still Healthy, Despite AHA Claims

Is Coconut Oil Deadly?




Beware Of More Misinformation From The American Heart Association On Coconut Oil and Saturated Fats


AHA paper’s false claim

The AHA paper makes the following false claim early on (and if you already read this article, it’s probably obvious to you too):

The scientific rationale for decreasing saturated fat in the diet has been and remains based on well-established effects of saturated fat to raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a leading cause of atherosclerosis (4)

In truth, no dietary study actually proves that eating saturated fat is a leading cause of disease in most individuals, including CHD or CVD (less than 5% of people have familial hypercholesterolemia where fats and cholesterol can be more of an issue).

That #4 citation links to a review study done by the WHO (World Health Organization), a study that is easily debunked for its many weaknesses and flaws. For example, I reviewed that study and found these significant problems:

1. The WHO review study included only studies based on macro-nutrients and calories (no micro-nutrients like vitamins, minerals or anti-oxidants which are also critical for heart health), and it included studies where fats were exchanged with carbohydrates, a major flaw (remember that refined carbs like sugar and wheat increase VLDL, LDL, triglycerides, inflammation, small, dense atherosclerotic LDL particles and lower HDL cholesterol). Including carbs with other fats can distort the calculated LDL blood tests because refined carbs also raise triglycerides and LDL. Without the newer tests, those damaging effects of carb won’t be uncovered! Shame on the AHA for including this study to make such an unfounded claims and shame on the WHO for this biased, terrible science!

2. The studies were again narrowly focused on calculated LDL, HDL and triglycerides (some ratios were included). But no testing was done for OxLDL, VLDL or LDL and HDL particle numbers or sizes (again, refined carbs increase small, dense LDL particles which are the most atherosclerotic type, while refined, omega-6 veggie oils become easily oxidized and more atherosclerotic. Again, none of these important tests were done in this review study.

3. The studies were mostly older and recycled, with many from the 1970s to 1980s (24 total) and 1990s (28 total), with 22 in the 2000s (only 5 since 2010), so definitely, the studies skewed older and less credible, with none of the newer testing included. And again, measurements were crude: Total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and Triglycerides and some ratios. No CRP for inflammation or vitamin D levels. Inflammation, the most significant cause of atherosclerosis was not tested in any of the studies chosen.

4. A strong gender bias is demonstrated because 65% of total subjects were men.

5. The majority of the studies were from the U.S., some from Europe (just 1 from Italy).

6. The majority of the studies were very small (many had just 10-20 participants), considered pilot studies because of their small sample sizes. Pilot studies usually have less than 100 subjects (often less than 50), and they are considered preliminary studies used to test a theory. They are not credible trials! Again, the AHA chose amateur studies based on associations to support their false claim of causality!

7. Many studies only lasted 3-4 weeks, so they were very short term and the results could be influenced by many other lifestyle factors that weren’t disclosed or tracked.

As I pointed out in a comment on Linkedin when I first debunked this weak, unconvincing WHO study, if it was used to make claims for a supplement or alternative-health treatments, it would be attacked relentlessly by medical practitioners as being unreliable, junk science. It would be called biased and exaggerated.

And indeed, those comments are applicable to the WHO study! The AHA should never have used that study to claim it was proof that estimated LDL cholesterol was a leading cause of atherosclerosis.

In short, this WHO collection of older, smaller studies proves no such thing, and the studies didn’t track chest pain, heart attacks, or other common symptoms for HD or atherosclerosis. The studies included no scans, ultrasounds or other testing for arterial plaque. It shows that the AHA completely misstated the meaning and value of this WHO study. It also shows a dereliction of professionalism and a willingness to push a religious-type dogma that was not supported by the science! The AHA’s claim of causation is demonstrably false!

Statins for all

In yet another sign of biased, corrupt science, many medical practitioners and the AHA claim that statin research supports their claims that lowering LDL lowers heart attacks significantly. Those claims are untrue as well:

1. Statins are a totally different type of intervention from comparing diets and fat consumption in an observational study. Statins disrupt the liver’s normal cholesterol-making process by inhibitng the production of HMG-CoA reductase, which lowers the amount of cholesterol the liver produces.

2. Statins routinely use Relative Risk (RR) or Relative Risk Reduction (RRR) to exaggerate small differences in Absolute Risk (or actual risk as I call it), often by 20-40%! These numbers impress the media and doctors who “believe” without understanding key elements about RR and how the numbers are derived (see links below, RR is largely smoke and mirrors).

3. Statin drugs adversely affect so many key systems in the body that those side effects can be serious or deadly, which tend to equalize all-cause mortality for people taking statins.

Here is some content from a recent article I wrote called, Why medicine Fails:

The vast majority of statin studies tend to show very small improvements in heart attacks of zero or a few percent compared to placebo for the Absolute Risk (AR) number, or what I call Actual Risk reduction. Take a look at this fine print from a famous statin called, Lipitor (from The People’s Chemist link below):

Lipitor has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks.

At least they are being more honest in the fine print, even as they falsely tout a 20-30% risk reduction in heart attacks in their research and in their ads!

And if you look at all-cause mortality, statins are about the same as placebo there as well. The Absolute Risk (AR) reduction for all mortality is often zero to a few percent at best (see links below).

That’s because adverse reactions from statins occur in many other areas, leading to health deterioration and additional deaths from other causes. Remember, drug studies are done to help market and sell drugs; the reductionist science behind them often ignores the magnitude and severity of the adverse reactions of patients in the study. Again, it’s profits before health.

As for side effects, statins are known to cause muscle pain, weakness, cramping and other problems like increased diabetes, heart weakness (because statins also reduce the normal Co-Q10 production), liver damage, lowered immune function and sex drive, and more!

See these links for more details and numerous source links that demonstrate how statins are largely ineffective are preventing heart attacks and that all-cause mortality for statins and control groups are the same:

Why Medicine Fails


So no, you can’t use statin research to claim that because they lower LDL cholesterol, they prevent heart attacks. Again, these claims come from amateurs with little understanding of studies, along with ignorance because statins have aspirin-like properties which can help to lower inflammation, an actual cause of heart disease.

Sugar sugar everywhere

Although I mentioned how sugar and refined carbohydrates can increase inflammation, triglycerides, VLDL and small, dense LDL particles and lower HDL (all very atherosclerotic), I wanted to add some additional material and links about it.

Years ago, when Keys and others falsely blamed saturated fats and cholesterol for causing heart attacks (leaving out any other possible causes), the sugar industry added it’s own fraudulent research to mislead the public and the medical industry. Their research appeared to show that sugar consumption wasn’t a risk for heart disease; fats were the problem. That was false, of course. Here is some content from a recent post about common diet myths where I was also exposing Keys and his fat-phobic research (see link below for full content):

I also want to touch on some additional areas of corruption and why Keys’ bad research took hold as well as it did. The Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) put out biased research that helped to further distort and corrupt nutritional science, appearing to find sugar blameless as a contributor to heart disease. The SRF worked to keep the focus on fats as the “real” culprit when that claim was false! They essentially bought off scientists at Harvard, who were willing to help these industry groups with false, checkbook science and put out misleading studies! See these shocking links for more info:




If you read those links (please do, you will have your eyes opened), you should be shocked by the crass and aggressive way the sugar industry put sales and growth ahead of all other health concerns by spreading misinformation and bad science! No doubt, many have died because of their corruption. You should have also seen other references to industry influence on nutrition research, and that it’s ongoing.

Top 3 Diet Myths

Here are more important links that show how sugar and refined carbs contribute to inflammation and heart disease:


Eggs Don’t Cause Heart Attacks — Sugar Does






In closing

For 50-60 years, we’ve been subjected to steady stream of weak, associative studies that neither prove harm from saturated fats, nor demonstrate a mechanism of action that explains how dietary fats from animal sources or coconut oil could actually cause heart disease and CVD (just using calculated LDL does not show causation)! The entire history of dietary fat research has been corrupted by people with little understanding of nutrition, fat digestion and lipid metabolism.

Yet many researchers and companies have sought to leverage their careers or boost drug sales, pushing inaccurate, misleading studies which have taken hold in spite of their unproven associations (ala Keys and others). They routinely follow the false association that fireman seen at a fire caused the fire when they were they to put the fire out! Many commercial interests have sought to profit from this misleading research as they continually add more biased research to drive their own interests: think drug companies, device companies, food companies, the sugar lobby, the AHA and more.

The new AHA review paper is a textbook example of sweeping bias as it perpetuates those same myths that LDL cholesterol, an essential molecule the body needs for many functions, is a bogeyman. To support their unfounded claims, the AHA relied on older, cherry-picked studies, the same studies used to demonize fats for decades. So yes, this is a political campaign, not a scientific one.

They have largely become a propaganda outlet for their corporate drug and food donors, and I predict that their new review statement was well-planned and financed, and that planing began a few years ago. That’s because more recent studies have been published that debunk Ancel Keys, the diet-heart hypotheses and claims that saturated fats cause heart disease, along with the increasing popularity of coconut oil as a healthy dietary fat (because it is).

I predict that the AHA, drug and food companies feel threatened by those newer studies, including those which show that calculated LDL is not a good predictor of CVD, and that newer tests, such OxLDL, LDL particle number and size provide better risk evaluation, tests that are rarely addressed (those tests point to carbs, not saturated fats, as the true drivers of heart disease)!

I also predict that the AHA and drug companies are worried about the erosion of their empires, potentially cutting donations and slowing the statin sales that are based on saturated-fat phobia and pseudoscience. I can easily image some nice dinners or gatherings to plan the new review and statement they just released. The political result is one I’ve hopefully debunked in this article.

The AHA has relied on associative studies for decades, and they tend to keep using the same old studies that support their inherent bias. They also made that demonstrably false claim that LDL cholesterol is a leading cause of atherosclerosis, something the WHO and other studies do not prove!

Dietary fats and their relationship to health are far more complex than most reductionist studies indicate, yet their contributions to health are given little focus. Do you realize that you need fats in your diet for a host of cellular, hormonal, energy and other functions? Do you know that you need fats with meals so you can absorb vitamins like A, D, E and K, and that saturated fats also raise LDL particle sizes and HDL, improving their atherosclerotic profiles?

Those important considerations and contributions are often excluded in anti-fat research from the AHA and others, nor are the realities of how fats are digested and metabolized covered fairly. Again, the consistent bias is sweeping and obvious.

Studies are often too reductionist in nature, focusing on single causes and magic bullets for Western medicine. These faulty approaches often result in misleading research conclusions and exaggerated media headlines, which further distorts the science and the truth.

Hence, the AHA has generally ignored or dismissed the more current studies that challenge their unfounded claims, including those that use detailed measurements like, OxLDL, VLDL, LDL particle numbers and sizes, inflammation, 25-hydroxy vitamin D, and the terrible effects of carbs and refined veggie oils on arterial health.

At least many credible health experts have spoken up and they know the truth, offering a more balanced, insightful perspective, and I included many of those links in the content above. They really made this article possible!

Their consensus is this: cholesterol is a necessary and normal molecule in the body, it isn’t the cause of heart disease as commonly measured in the simple tests for estimated LDL. Inflammation, infection, high BP and smoking (which causes inflammation) are more probable causes of heart disease and CVD, along with refined veggie oils and carbs, which trigger OxLDL, inflammation and small, dense LDL particles.

Remember too that the effectiveness of statins to prevent heart attacks or death is grossly overstated and studies have verified that they are often just a few percent better than placebo in Absolute risk (AR) terms. All-cause mortality is about the same, because statins cause so many other serious side effects that can lead to death.

Given all these exaggerated, even false claims about LDL cholesterol and heart disease, I’ve decided to add the AHA to my esteemed Hall of Shame for their obvious political operations and corrupt, money motives behind their new review and advisory. It’s seems very clear to me and others that the AHA is doing all it can to halt scientific progress and the search for truth, the foundation of real science.

AHA, welcome to my Hall of Shame! You’ve earned it!

For questions or comments, contact me at: steve@endsicknessnow (dot) com.

© 2017 by Steven Carney/End Sickness Now

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