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Press release, 10 September 2002

From: The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (see list of contributing authors below).
Contact: Paul J. Rosch, MD, New York, USA, stress124@earthlink.net Tel +1-914 963-1200
Barry Groves, PhD, Oxford, UK. Barry@second-opinions.co.uk Tel +44 (0) 1993 830974
Uffe Ravnskov, MD, Lund, Sweden, uffe.ravnskov@swipnet.se Tel +46-(0) 46145022 or +46-(0) 44352086

For immediate release

Medical McCarthyism
Experts Dispute Opposition to Dietary Fat

The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics, a steadily growing group of scientists, physicians, other academicians and science writers from various countries are questioning the common dogma that dietary saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. Not only is there no proof to support this hypothesis, says spokesman Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, Lund, Sweden, but the available scientific evidence clearly contradicts this claim.

Diabetes and obesity are clearly significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other health problems and the group is concerned about the rapidly increasing incidence of these disorders in Western countries, especially in adolescents and even children In his New York Times article entitled "What If Its All Been A Big Fat Lie" (July 7, 2002), respected science writer Gary Taubes has echoed our opinion, says Ravnskov, that the current epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes is very likely the result of low fat/high carbohydrate diets vigorously promoted by governmental health authorities over the past few decades. Under any circumstances it is abundantly clear that existing dietary recommendations have failed miserably and should be carefully reexamined in the light of these developments, if not consequences.

However, instead of an objective investigation and analysis, there have only been desperate but futile attempts to defend reputations and save face. Vicious attacks have been directed towards Dr. Robert Atkins, a cardiologist who for decades has recommended a diet that goes counter to the official guidelines. The main objection has been that his diet has not been proven in scientific trials. By using this argument his opponents have inadvertently exposed the weakness of their own case.

Most revealing, says Ravnskov, is the accumulated evidence from nine dietary trials, presented by a group of British researchers in the 31 March, 2001 issue of British Medical Journal. Their analysis showed that not a single life has been saved by dietary changes that went far beyond the official recommendations.

Dr. Walter Willet, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, is the spokesman for the ongoing longest-running, most comprehensive diet and health study ever performed that involves nearly 300,000 subjects. As he recently noted, data from this study clearly contradict the low-fat-is-good-health message, and "the idea that all fat is bad for you; the exclusive focus on adverse effects of fat may have contributed to the obesity epidemic.''

The proponents of the cholesterol campaign have never told the public about the huge weight of contradictory evidence. Instead, the mantras about “dangerous” dietary animal fat and cholesterol continue. For instance, unaffected by available evidence, Dr. Robert O. Bonow, president of the American Heart Association, stated in a recent press release protesting Gary Taubes’ New York Times article that “There is strong scientific evidence that a diet high in saturated-fat increases the risk of heart disease and stroke”. For obvious reasons, he failed to provide references to support this statement.

Even worse, to defend the official view, authoritative spokesmen often misquote scientific studies hoping that nobody will bother to check their references. In an attempt to discredit a prior article by Gary Taubes in Science Magazine (The Soft Science of Dietary Fat, 30 March 2001), Dr. Scott Grundy, one of the main architects of the National Cholesterol Education Program, claimed that the significance of saturated fatty acids has been demonstrated by an enormous number of high-quality studies, referring to a review that included thirteen references that allegedly supported his statement (Science Magazine 3 August, 2001).

But in a letter to the editor (Science Magazine 22 February 2002) members of the International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics showed that these studies either did not address the question of saturated fatty acids, or the studies did not find any association, or they directly contradicted Grundy’s statement. Critics of Taubes' article who cite Grundy to support their stance have deplorably chosen to ignore or investigate this criticism even though it appeared in the same journal..

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a vegan propaganda group headed by Dr. Neal Barnard, recently listed a number of serious diseases that they claimed could be produced by eating too much protein (see www.atkinsdietalert.org) and even implied that clinicians who prescribed a high-protein and fat diet may be putting themselves at risk of a law suit..

These varied scare tactics designed to appeal to emotions and generate unwarranted fears in addressing a serious health problem, says Ravnskov, are reminiscent of an American senator who used all means including slander, threats, innuendo and false allegations to promote his agenda. History tells us that those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. There is too much at stake here for us to make this error since we may be sentencing future generations to the health hazards associated with obesity and diabetes.

The undersigned representatives of The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics strongly believe it is imperative to immediately review current official dietary recommendations and that this analysis should be conducted in an objective, unbiased manner based on scientific evidence, rather than suppositions and speculations

  1. Christian B. Allan, Ph.D. Co-author with Wolfgang Lutz of Life Without Bread: How a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life
  2. Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP; Hawaii, USA. Author of Diet and Heart Disease: Its NOT What You Think (Whitman Books; 2001)
  3. Mary Enig, PhD, FACN, Silver Spring, USA. Author of Know Your Fats, Bethesda Publishing,
  4. Eric Freedland, MD, Consulting Editor, Metabolic Syndrome & Related Disorders, Buffalo, NY
  5. Barry Groves, PhD; Independent researcher; Oxford, UK. Author of Eat Fat, Get Thin.
  6. Joel M. Kauffman; PhD, Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia,USA
  7. Malcolm Kendrick, MbChB, MRCGP, Medical Director Adelphi Lifelong Learning. Macclesfield, UK
  8. Peter H. Langsjoen, MD, FACC, Tyler, Texas, USA, Executive & Scientific Committee of the International CoQ10 Association.
  9. James McCormick, Fellow Emeritus, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland. Co-author with Petr Skrabanek of Follies and Fallacies in Medicine.
  10. Kilmer S. McCully, MD, Associate Professor of Pathology, Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston Area Consolidated Laboratories, USA. Author of The Heart Revolution, HarperCollins, 1999).
  11. Dag Viljen Poleszynski; MS, PhD, Professor in Nutrition and Orthomolecular Medicine, Harstad College, Norway
  12. Uffe Ravnskov; MD, PhD; Independent researcher, Lund, Sweden. Author of The Cholesterol Myths (New Trends Publishing, Washington 2000).
  13. Paul J. Rosch; MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry; New York Medical College. President, The American Institute of Stress; New York, USA
  14. Ragnhild Rønneberg, PhD, Adviser to the Research Council of Norway; Oslo, Norway.
  15. Morley C. Sutter, MD, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  16. Jan Wilske, MD, PhD, Chief, Section for General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Haderslev Hospital, Haderslev, Denmark
  17. Nicolai Worm; PhD, Berg, Germany. Author of Syndrom X oder ein Mammut auf den Teller (Systemed Verlag, Lünen 2002).

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