Researchers exlain away their own results

October 2010

How to get the desired results

A colleague of mine asked about my view on an article in Science Daily. Here you can read that ”A new study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) provides the first conclusive evidence from randomized clinical trials that people who replace saturated fat in their diet with polyunsaturated fat reduce their risk of coronary heart disease

The paper, the main author of which is Dariush Mozaffarian from the Channing Laboratory at Harvard Medical School, is available here.

The article in Science Daily also tells about another recent review co-authored by Frank B Hu and Ronald M Krauss, two other well-known US scientists. They concluded that ”there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.” The abstract of that paper is available here. Their conclusion was explained away by these words: ”Some of these mixed findings may relate to absence of prior focus on the specific replacement nutrient for saturated fat.”

How did Mozaffarian and his coworkers reach to their contradictory conclusion, you may ask. It is particularly curious because Mozaffarian himself has published a study that contradicts his new paper. What he and his coworkers found was that progress of atherosclerosis was less pronounced the more saturated fat the participants had eaten.

Let me tell you how Mozaffarian succeded with turning around:

By including the Finnish Mental Hospital study, a dietary trial that did not satisfy the most elementary requirements for a correctly performed trial. For instance, it was neither controlled, randomised or blind.

By excluding two trials where mortality increased in the treatment groups and a third where no effect was achieved. (You can read more about these trials in my books).

Furthermore, they included the DART trial, where the only group that improved had increased their intake of fish as the only dietary measure.

What proponents of polyunsaturated fat forget is also that today, most of such fat comes from corn, soy and sunflower oil. Here the main type of polyunsaturated fat is omega-6, and there are numerous papers having shown that an excess intake of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats has many serious adverse effects.

A humorous talk about serious matters

Recently Tom Naughton gave a speech at the local library entitled ”Big Fat Fiasco: how the misguided fear of saturated fat created a nation of obese diabetics.” Luckily a photographer was there, because it is both funny and serious, and it is now available on Youtube in five parts

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