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I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Follow me on twitter @juliannejtaylor

Fat, heart disease, cholesterol and statins – must watch documentaries from Australia

Saturated fat has been vilified for years, and if we want to reduce our cholesterol and therefore our risk of heart disease we should ban it from our diets.

Statins are the biggest selling drug in history – but are they saving lives?

Cardiologists and other medical experts challenge the concept that saturated fat causes heart disease and that statins will save us.

ABC Catalyst Documentaries: Heart of the Matter >

The Cholesterol Myth: Dietary Villains and Cholesterol Drug War. Thursday 24 October 8pm on ABC 1

Is the role of cholesterol in heart disease really one of the biggest myths in the history of medicine?

For the last four decades we’ve been told that saturated fat clogs our arteries and high cholesterol causes heart disease. It has spawned a multi-billion dollar drug and food industry of “cholesterol free” products promising to lower our cholesterol and decrease our risk of heart disease.

But what if it all isn’t true? What if it’s never been proven that saturated fat causes heart disease?

And what if the majority of patients taking cholesterol lowering drugs won’t benefit from taking these pills?

In a special two part edition of Catalyst, Dr Maryanne Demasi investigates the science behind the claims that saturated fat causes heart disease by raising cholesterol.

Part one and part two- click on image to download MP4

heart of the matter

heart of the matter 2Business Insider article: Good overview or main points programme 1

How Catalyst Effectively Exploded The Cholesterol Myth With These 13 Facts About Fat

A recent Canadian review came to the conclusion that 88.7% of statin use is not aligned with research:

Utilization of lipid-lowering drugs in men and women: a reflection of the research evidence?

This study analyzes the utilization of statin lipid-lowering drugs in a Canadian province using a population-wide drug prescription database. The utilization pattern is compared to the results of a systematic review of randomized controlled trials on their effectiveness. The study found that 74.7% of individuals prescribed a statin had no reported history of coronary heart disease (CHD). Women without CHD formed 23.1% of statins recipients; 32.9% of individuals filling a statin prescription were age 70 and over. Only 15.3% of men with CHD had been prescribed a statin. Based on the systematic review, 88.7% of the utilization of statins in this Canadian province was not supported by the results of the systematic review. Considering baseline lipid-levels does not substantially alter these findings. This study concludes that statins prescribing practices need to be realigned with research evidence. This implies refocusing utilization away from women and the elderly, towards men with CHD.


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6 Responses to “Fat, heart disease, cholesterol and statins – must watch documentaries from Australia”

  1. Allison #

    Fabulous documentaries, both of which distill what I have been researching for months. Julianne, here are comments leading to my Million Dollar Question: My husband is on a statin. He has had tia’s, but no heart attack. His LDL is dense predominant pattern B. Through 2 months of strict Paleo diet (and exercise) he has reduced his Triglycerides from 197 to 119, and his VLDL has gone from 39 to 24. Serum glucose from 135 to 124. (Yay)! Strangely, his HDL dropped from 34 to an even more scary 30. (He is & has been on Niaspan for years). Also, his total cholesterol is 121, which I consider dangerously low. So, When to take him off the statin? As much as I have learned from you and other experts, I still lack enough knowledge to confidently make this decision. I have not yet found anyone in the Dallas, Tx area like you or Stephen Sinatra m.d. … to go to, so I am hoping you can offer guidance or steer me (and others) toward more info. to make this crucial decision. Thanks So much Julianne!

    November 2, 2013 at 3:05 am Reply
  2. Tania #

    What great news from these two videos Julianne! I have been battling my doctors for the last 10 years to stay off statins for my increasing cholesterol levels. I exercised for hours, ate virtually no fat at all and still my cholesterol levels rose reaching a high of 7.9 and I still refused to take statins for it as I believed it was not my diet and lifestyle causing the problem. I gave up dieting and exercise with the advent of the earthquakes here in Christchurch and for the last 3 years have eaten things I have not touched for years, ice cream, butter, pork crackling, chicken skin, bacon and cheese to name a few. I take no medications except that my thyroid levels needed adjusting last year and I now take Whole Thyroid capsules each day. Lo and behold my cholesterol has steadily dropped until it is now 5.4 at last count. My doctor said “well done, keep doing whatever you are doing as it seems to be working” and I said that she really didn’t want me to and explained my current dietary intake and total lack of exercise to which she replied ” well thyroid meds commonly lower cholesterol.” What this proved to me was that I had been correct for all those years and what you eat makes no difference to cholesterol levels so I am thrilled to see that my theory is now backed up be cardiologists! Keep these videos coming!

    November 5, 2013 at 11:32 pm Reply
    • Allison Payte #

      But Tania, you proved to yourself that what you eat Does matter! Your improvements came when you started to eat saturated fats, which usually means eating fewer carbs, by default. Excess Carbs are the culprit in most of our potentially “scary” pattern B LDL cholesterol & high triglyceride numbers.

      November 7, 2013 at 4:44 am Reply
  3. James #

    Julianne. This episode contained a lot of rubbish. I began to see through this evasion, dishonestly and back tracking when it came to cholesterol in the paleo community a while back, but these videos do a pretty good job of showing the dishonestly of the low carb promoters.

    February 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm Reply

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