author of The Cholesterol Myths
UFFE RAVNSKOV is radical. He is so radical that, on a television show in Finland, his critics set his book on fire!
His website (or a website about him) says: If you think this is written by another internet crackpot, take a look at Dr Ravnskov’s credentials and the reviews of his book. The book in question is titled The Cholesterol Myths. Its main argument is that cholesterol is not harmful to health but, in fact, healthy. Its author is certainy no internet crackpot. His credentials are, indeed, impressive.
Uffe Ravnskov graduated with a medical degree in 1961 and, in 1973, obtained a PhD in Chemistry. Between 1975 and 1979, he was Assistant Professor at the Department of Nephrology, University Hospital, in Lund, Sweden. Ravnskov went into private practice in 1980 and, in 2000, retired to become a full-time independent researcher.
More significantly, Uffe Ravnskov has published over 80 scientific papers and letters in peer-reviewed journals criticizing what is commonly called the Lipid Hypothesis of heart disease – the belief that dietary saturated fats and cholesterol clog arteries and cause atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Uffe Ravnskov began studying cholesterol in 1989, the year Sweden launched an anti-cholesterol campaign.
“Very soon I realised that the scientific evidence behind the campaign was non-existing,” he writes.
Among the many research findings published in scientific journals, Uffe Ravnskov discovered that:
- lowering cholesterol did not result in lower death rates from heart disease, but in HIGHER death rates from all causes.
- drug trials with an allegedly positive outcome was cited
almost only by the trial directors, although the numbers of trials with
an allegedly positive and a negative outcome were identical.
- the successful dissemination of the diet-heart idea is due to authors systematically ignoring or misquoting discordant studies.
Uffe Ravnskov also discovered that LDL, commonly called “bad cholesterol”, actually protects against infections. This led him to put forward the hypothesis that high cholesterol, rather than promoting atherosclerosis, in fact may protect against it.
Uffe Ravnskov first summarised his research findings in a book, first published in Sweden in 1991, whose title translates to The Cholesterol Myths.
In 1992, the book was published in Finland. That was when his critics burned the book during a television show about it.
In 2000, an updated and expanded English edition of The Cholesterol Myths was published in the United States.
In 2002, a German edition of The Cholesterol Myths was published.
In his book, Uffe Ravnskov critically analyzes and demolishes the nine main myths of the Lipid Hypothesis:
- High-fat foods cause heart disease
- High cholesterol causes heart disease
- High fat foods raise blood cholesterol
- Cholesterol blocks arteries
- Animal studies prove the diet-heart idea that diet affects heart disease
- Lowering your cholesterol will lengthen your life
- Polyunsaturated oils are good for you
- The cholesterol campaign (to have people reduce their cholesterol levels) is based on good science
- All scientists support the diet-heart idea.
All the above statements, Uffe Ravnskov maintains, are NOT TRUE. And he backs his assertions with solid scientific research.
Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study
Uffe Ravnskov starts off with a critical analysis of the original 1950s research that gave rise to the idea that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease – Dr Ancel Keys Six Countries Study, which later became the more famous Seven Countries Study published in 1980.
The Seven Countries Study – which gathered data on heart disease of some 13,000 men in Greece, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Japan, Finland and the Netherlands over several decades – is widely considered to be one of the greatest epidemological studies ever undertaken.
Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study showed that countries with the highest animal fat intake have the highest rates of heart disease. And this is frequently cited as “proof” that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease.
Uffe Ravnskov informs us, however, that Ancel Keys had deliberately hand-picked the countries he included in his studies. In other words, Ancel Keys chose to study only those countries that supported his hypothesis.
Yet there are many other countries where high consumption of animal fat DID NOT cause heart disease. But, Ufee Ravnskov points out, Ancel Keys ignored those countries.
Dangers of statins and other cholesterol lowering drugs
Uffe Ravnskov is also highly critical of statins, the cholesterol-loweing drugs that are widely hailed as miracle “wonder drugs”.
He presents scientific evidence that show:
- drug trials involving statins produced only neglible reductions in the rates of heart disease
- lowering cholesterol did not reduce the death rate from heart disease but INCREASED the overall death rate from all causes
- whatever positive benefits associated with the use of statins are due to factors other than cholesterol-lowering.
- statins are probable carcinogens and women on statins have reported higher rates of breast cancer.
Uffe Ravnskov warns that exposure to carcinogens may result in cancer only after 20 or more years. And since there has not been controlled studies on statins over such long periods, we do not know whether the use of statins will lead to increased rates of cancer in the coming decades.
|“Millions of people are being treated with medications the ultimate effects of which are not yet known.” – Uffe Ravnskov|
Of course, it is not just Uffe Ravnskov saying all this and more. What he tells us about saturated fats and high cholesterol foods comes mainly from studying the reports of other scientists. He further tells us that…
The reason why laymen, doctors and most scientists have been misled is because opposing and disagreeing results are systematically ignored or misquoted in the scientific press.
Myth Number 9 in Uffe Ravnskov’s book is that “All scientists support the diet-heart idea.”
This certainly is not true and Uffe Ravnskov has gathered a large – and growing – group of doctors, scientists, academics and science writers in The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS).
Members of the group may disagree about what causes heart disease. But they share one thing in common.
The website of THINCS state:
|For decades, enormous human and financial resources have been wasted on the cholesterol campaign, more promising research areas have been neglected, producers and manufacturers of animal food all over the world have suffered economically, and millions of healthy people have been frightened and badgered into eating a tedious and flavorless diet or into taking potentially dangerous drugs for the rest of their lives. As the scientific evidence in support of the cholesterol campaign is non-existent, we consider it important to stop it as soon as possible.|