Saturday, August 12, 2006

Colpo Responds: 'One High-Saturated Fat Meal Harms Your Arteries? Rubbish!'

I very rarely post articles written by someone else besides me at my blog because my philosophy is "get your own blog" if you want to share with the world your thoughts on whatever. But today I'm making a special exception for my friend and fellow author Anthony Colpo.

It has been my pleasure to interview him as well as review his debut book entitled "The Great Cholesterol Con". While Colpo clearly explained his reasons for shutting down his popular web site in June 2006, many people who enjoyed his straightforward, take-no-prisoners writing style have still longed to have him continue to stand strongly in defense of the principles of diet and nutrition he has so steadfastly supported over the past few years.

GOOD NEWS! He's back...well, for one column...

After the release of a narrowly-focused study on saturated fat came out this week from his homeland of Australia, Anthony Colpo could not allow it to go unchallenged, especially with the way it was being portrayed in the media reporting. As much as some people think Colpo has abandoned the cause, the fact remains this man still cares very deeply about what he has invested so much of his life into these past few years.

If you thought the snippets from Colpo that I shared with you the other day about this study were amazing, then you are gonna absolutely LOVE this full-length column he wrote about it today exclusively for the readers of the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog. If you are a fan of Colpo, then prepare to be blown away as usual! ENJOY!

"One High-Saturated Fat Meal Harms Your Arteries? Rubbish!"

by Anthony Colpo

For over five decades, the health and medical establishment has been telling us that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. My recently published book, "The Great Cholesterol Con" (Lulu 2006), explains clearly and concisely why this theory is utter rubbish. For most laymen, that sounds like an outrageous claim, but I readily challenge ANYONE to refute the arguments I have presented in my book.

The medical orthodoxy has successfully perpetuated the highly lucrative lipid hypothesis simply by ignoring contradictory evidence and promoting the living daylights out of 'supportive' evidence (health authorities also have no qualms about taking unsupportive evidence and 'reinterpreting" it so that it appears supportive--my book gives numerous examples of this very phenomenon).

A textbook perfect example of the establishment practice of ignoring contradictory evidence but relentlessly hyping 'supportive' evidence occurred this last week, with the publication of a study comparing the effects of a single high-saturated fat meal with a single high-polyunsaturated fat meal. According to the study, the saturated fat-enriched meal produced harmful increases in inflammatory factors and negative changes in arterial function. Headlines in the ever-compliant media immediately trumpeted the study as further proof that saturated fat was public health enemy number one. In robot-like fashion, media outlets all around the world mindlessly parroted the Associated Press headline "One High-Saturated Fat Meal Can Be Bad."

One Over-Hyped Study Confirms Modern Health Research is Intellectually Bankrupt

The study that caused all the kerfuffle was performed in Sydney, Australia. On two occasions one month apart, fourteen healthy subjects consumed a high-fat meal comprising a slice of carrot cake and a milkshake. The fat source in one of these meals was safflower, while the other contained highly saturated coconut oil. The researchers collected blood samples from the subjects before the meals, and 3 and 6 hours after. They extracted HDL from these samples, placed it into a solution containing human umbilical vein endothelial cells, and then observed the effect of the HDL on the endothelial cells expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). For those of you not familiar with scientific gobbledegook, adhesion molecules adhesion molecules play vital roles in numerous cellular processes. They are believed to play an important role in the atherosclerotic process by facilitating the components of atherosclerotic plaque to proliferate at the site/s of arterial damage.

So let's be clear: The researchers were not observing actual plaque formation in human arteries; this objective would be impossible in such a study. They were instead observing the effects of HDL extracted from humans after eating the test meals on the amount of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expressed by umbilical vein endothelial cells in a petri dish.

The other reported outcome was forearm blood flow. To listen to the mainstream media reports, one gets the impression that the subjects' arteries were struggling to cope with blood flow after eating the saturate-enriched meal. A look at the data helps put the results into better perspective. Both meals caused decreases in arterial flow mediated dilation by a "whopping"—wait for it—0.9 and 2.2% in the polyunsaturated and saturated groups respectively. With these piddling changes, we're not exactly talking life-threatening arterial spasm! Furthermore, looking at the data, one sees that the baseline flow mediated dilation was higher when the subjects ate the highly saturated test meal; was the greater reduction in FMD due to saturated fat, or simply a reversion-to-the-mean effect? Who knows, and who cares, because the difference was not even statistically significant! To quote the researchers themselves:

"Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) decreased at 3 h following consumption of the saturated meal (p _0.05 compared with pre-meal) but not 3 h after the polyunsaturated meal (p _ NS compared with the fasting state), although the difference in post-prandial change in FMD between the meals just failed to meet the conventional criteria for statistical significance. The FMD at 6 h after both meals did not significantly differ compared with the fasted state…, There was no significant change in the vessel size, estimated flow within the brachial artery, and glyceryl trinitrate response following both meals."

Please note the section I have highlighted: "the difference in post-prandial change in FMD between the meals just failed to meet the conventional criteria for statistical significance."

Translation: "As much as we really want to dump on saturated fat, the differences were not statistically significant, damn it!"

And what about the changes in ICAM-1 and V-CAM-1? Both ICAM-1 and V-CAM-1 were higher at 6 hours after consumption of the saturate-rich meal, but lower after consumption of the polyunsaturated-rich meal. It's anyone's guess as to the long-term relevance of acute reactions observed in a petri dish to plaque formation in human arteries. To claim that these reactions demonstrate that saturated fat is indeed atherosclerotic is to make a massive leap of faith. But that's just what the researchers and many of their peers did.

Stephen Nicholls, the head researcher, had no qualms about making the great leap when he stated: "the take-home, public-health message is this: It's further evidence to support the need to aggressively reduce the amount of saturated fat consumed in the diet." According to Dr. James O'Keefe, a cardiologist at the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, the study showed "a really important concept - when you eat the wrong types of food, inflammation and damage to the vessels happens immediately afterward." Also jumping with unbridled anti-saturate abandon was Dr. Richard Milani, head of preventive cardiology at Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, who advised: "...given a choice between something with polyunsaturated fat and saturated fat, please avoid the saturated fat."

Let's now find out why you should avoid Milani's advice like a putrid smell.

The Importance of Long-Term Studies

When I ride my bike up a steep hill, or perform a weight training session, my blood pressure temporarily rises to very high levels. In fact, when high-intensity exercises like squats or deadlifts are performed with heavy weights, blood pressure often rises to astronomical levels. Does that mean I should stop lifting weights or riding my bike? If we applied the mentality of the researchers conducting the single-meal study, the answer would be yes. But if we use common-sense and reason, the answer is a resounding "NO!"


Because the increases in blood pressure evident during physical exertion are not permanent, but transient. When I'm out of the gym or off my bike, my blood pressure is a perfectly healthy 110/70, which is actually lower than average. All that riding and pumping iron is actually stimulating my heart and arteries to become more efficient! The short-term blood pressure elevations I experience whilst exercising in no way reflect the long-term decrease in blood pressure that I have enjoyed.

The take home message is that it is the long term effects of diet and exercise that matter. Atherosclerotic heart disease is a process that takes many years to develop, which is why the majority of heart attacks occur in those over 65 years of age. Heart disease is not caused or prevented by a single meal.

So if it's the long-term effects of diet or exercise that matter, then that is exactly what should be tested. This may sound like commonsense to many of you, but commonsense is a quality sadly lacking among a large proportion of those conducting research and dispensing health advice today.

Long-Term Studies are Non-Supportive, So They Are Ignored

There have been numerous randomized controlled CHD prevention trials conducted since the 1960s, in which people have been given either high-polyunsaturate diets or high-saturate diets as the sole intervention. In these trials, extending up to eight years, no cardiovascular or overall mortality advantage has ever been observed that can be attributed to saturated fat restriction. In fact, a number of these trials observed poorer mortality outcomes in the high-polyunsaturate group (these trials are all discussed at length in "The Great Cholesterol Con").

Healthy subjects placed on high polyunsaturated diets for 4 week periods have exhibited higher levels of free radical activity and blood clotting markers than those on high-saturated diets. In animal studies, polyunsaturated vegetable oils consistently promote cancer growth; an eight-year trial with real live humans that observed significantly higher cancer incidence in the polyunsaturated group suggests this phenomenon is not merely confined to lab rats. This same study, by the way, showed little difference in extent of atherosclerosis among autopsied subjects from the high-saturate and high-polyunsaturate diets. If anything, the aortas of those eating the polyunsaturated-enhanced diet tended to show more plaque build-up.

So when clueless health 'experts' tell you to opt for polyunsaturated fat instead of saturated fat, ignore the living daylights out of them.

Doing so could well save your life.

Conflict of Interest Information

The study discussed in this article was supported by a Pfizer Cardiovascular Lipid award. Pfizer makes over ten billion dollars per year from sales of Lipitor, the world's best-selling cholesterol-lowering drug.

Dr. Nicholls is supported by a postgraduate research scholarship from the National Heart Foundation of Australia. Co-author Dr. Rye is a National Heart Foundation of Australia Principal Research Fellow. The National Heart Foundation of Australia operates a program in which it charges a fee so that food manufacturers can display the "Heart Foundation Tick". As the following list shows, polyunsaturated vegetable oils and margarines contribute a significant portion of certified products: Click here to download the PDF file.

Another co-author of the study, Dr. Lundman is supported by postdoctoral scholarships from the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation, which counts among its sponsors Unilever, the food giant that manufactures numerous vegetable oil and margarine products.

Anthony Colpo is the author of "The Great Cholesterol Con", a no-holds-barred expose of the farcical cholesterol theory of heart disease. Unlike the authors of the above study, Colpo has absolutely no ties to any food, drug, medical, or supplement industry groups, nor health organizations that receive money from these groups.


Milicia J. One High-Saturated Fat Meal Can Be Bad. Associated Press, Monday, August 7, 2006.

Nicholls SJ, et al. Consumption of saturated fat impairs the anti-inflammatory properties of high-density lipoproteins and endothelial function. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2006; 48: 715–720.

Dayton S, et al. A controlled clinical trial of a diet high in unsaturated fat in preventing complications of atherosclerosis. Circulation, 1969; XL: II-1-63.

Be sure to visit Anthony Colpo's web site at


Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Yum! I love Colpo's style. It's like the broadside salvo of a battleship. Of course, he's completely right. As usual, our trusted friends in the media were tripping over each other to publish this latest pack of lies, this so-called "study". Disgusting!

8/12/2006 1:58 PM  
Blogger Mark F said...

Wow what a fun day!

Anthony tearing into the one fat meal and Regina ripping on a glowing report about veganism.

8/12/2006 3:29 PM  

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