Red meat, butter, cheese and heart disease

MacGyver, care to comment on this? I am interested in your view.
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303678404579533760760481486?mg=reno64-wsj
Are butter, cheese and steak really bad for you?
Americans have been told for decades to avoid butter, cheese, red meat and other fatty foods because they cause heart disease. But do they really?
The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease
Are butter, cheese and steak really bad for you? The dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade
By NINA TEICHOLZ
May 2, 2014 6:48 p.m. ET
“Saturated fat does not cause heart disease”—or so concluded a big study published in March in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. How could this be? The very cornerstone of dietary advice for generations has been that the saturated fats in butter, cheese and red meat should be avoided because they clog our arteries. For many diet-conscious Americans, it is simply second nature to opt for chicken over sirloin, canola oil over butter.
The new study’s conclusion shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with modern nutritional science, however. The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias.
Our distrust of saturated fat can be traced back to the 1950s, to a man named Ancel Benjamin Keys, a scientist at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Keys was formidably persuasive and, through sheer force of will, rose to the top of the nutrition world—even gracing the cover of Time magazine—for relentlessly championing the idea that saturated fats raise cholesterol and, as a result, cause heart attacks.
This idea fell on receptive ears because, at the time, Americans faced a fast-growing epidemic. Heart disease, a rarity only three decades earlier, had quickly become the nation’s No. 1 killer. Even President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in 1955. Researchers were desperate for answers.
As the director of the largest nutrition study to date, Dr. Keys was in an excellent position to promote his idea. The “Seven Countries” study that he conducted on nearly 13,000 men in the U.S., Japan and Europe ostensibly demonstrated that heart disease wasn’t the inevitable result of aging but could be linked to poor nutrition.
Critics have pointed out that Dr. Keys violated several basic scientific norms in his study. For one, he didn’t choose countries randomly but instead selected only those likely to prove his beliefs, including Yugoslavia, Finland and Italy. Excluded were France, land of the famously healthy omelet eater, as well as other countries where people consumed a lot of fat yet didn’t suffer from high rates of heart disease, such as Switzerland, Sweden and West Germany. The study’s star subjects—upon whom much of our current understanding of the Mediterranean diet is based—were peasants from Crete, islanders who tilled their fields well into old age and who appeared to eat very little meat or cheese.
As it turns out, Dr. Keys visited Crete during an unrepresentative period of extreme hardship after World War II. Furthermore, he made the mistake of measuring the islanders’ diet partly during Lent, when they were forgoing meat and cheese. Dr. Keys therefore undercounted their consumption of saturated fat. Also, due to problems with the surveys, he ended up relying on data from just a few dozen men—far from the representative sample of 655 that he had initially selected. These flaws weren’t revealed until much later, in a 2002 paper by scientists investigating the work on Crete—but by then, the misimpression left by his erroneous data had become international dogma.
In 1961, Dr. Keys sealed saturated fat’s fate by landing a position on the nutrition committee of the American Heart Association, whose dietary guidelines are considered the gold standard. Although the committee had originally been skeptical of his hypothesis, it issued, in that year, the country’s first-ever guidelines targeting saturated fats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture followed in 1980.
Other studies ensued. A half-dozen large, important trials pitted a diet high in vegetable oil—usually corn or soybean, but not olive oil—against one with more animal fats. But these trials, mainly from the 1970s, also had serious methodological problems. Some didn’t control for smoking, for instance, or allowed men to wander in and out of the research group over the course of the experiment. The results were unreliable at best.
I was unable to include the whole article but it can be seen on the link.
Lois

MacGyver, care to comment on this? I am interested in your view. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303678404579533760760481486?mg=reno64-wsj Are butter, cheese and steak really bad for you? Americans have been told for decades to avoid butter, cheese, red meat and other fatty foods because they cause heart disease. But do they really? The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease Are butter, cheese and steak really bad for you? The dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade By NINA TEICHOLZ May 2, 2014 6:48 p.m. ET "Saturated fat does not cause heart disease"—or so concluded a big study published in March in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. How could this be? The very cornerstone of dietary advice for generations has been that the saturated fats in butter, cheese and red meat should be avoided because they clog our arteries. For many diet-conscious Americans, it is simply second nature to opt for chicken over sirloin, canola oil over butter. The new study's conclusion shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with modern nutritional science, however. The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias. Our distrust of saturated fat can be traced back to the 1950s, to a man named Ancel Benjamin Keys, a scientist at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Keys was formidably persuasive and, through sheer force of will, rose to the top of the nutrition world—even gracing the cover of Time magazine—for relentlessly championing the idea that saturated fats raise cholesterol and, as a result, cause heart attacks. This idea fell on receptive ears because, at the time, Americans faced a fast-growing epidemic. Heart disease, a rarity only three decades earlier, had quickly become the nation's No. 1 killer. Even President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in 1955. Researchers were desperate for answers. As the director of the largest nutrition study to date, Dr. Keys was in an excellent position to promote his idea. The "Seven Countries" study that he conducted on nearly 13,000 men in the U.S., Japan and Europe ostensibly demonstrated that heart disease wasn't the inevitable result of aging but could be linked to poor nutrition. Critics have pointed out that Dr. Keys violated several basic scientific norms in his study. For one, he didn't choose countries randomly but instead selected only those likely to prove his beliefs, including Yugoslavia, Finland and Italy. Excluded were France, land of the famously healthy omelet eater, as well as other countries where people consumed a lot of fat yet didn't suffer from high rates of heart disease, such as Switzerland, Sweden and West Germany. The study's star subjects—upon whom much of our current understanding of the Mediterranean diet is based—were peasants from Crete, islanders who tilled their fields well into old age and who appeared to eat very little meat or cheese. As it turns out, Dr. Keys visited Crete during an unrepresentative period of extreme hardship after World War II. Furthermore, he made the mistake of measuring the islanders' diet partly during Lent, when they were forgoing meat and cheese. Dr. Keys therefore undercounted their consumption of saturated fat. Also, due to problems with the surveys, he ended up relying on data from just a few dozen men—far from the representative sample of 655 that he had initially selected. These flaws weren't revealed until much later, in a 2002 paper by scientists investigating the work on Crete—but by then, the misimpression left by his erroneous data had become international dogma. In 1961, Dr. Keys sealed saturated fat's fate by landing a position on the nutrition committee of the American Heart Association, whose dietary guidelines are considered the gold standard. Although the committee had originally been skeptical of his hypothesis, it issued, in that year, the country's first-ever guidelines targeting saturated fats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture followed in 1980. Other studies ensued. A half-dozen large, important trials pitted a diet high in vegetable oil—usually corn or soybean, but not olive oil—against one with more animal fats. But these trials, mainly from the 1970s, also had serious methodological problems. Some didn't control for smoking, for instance, or allowed men to wander in and out of the research group over the course of the experiment. The results were unreliable at best. I was unable to include the whole article but it can be seen on the link. Lois
I know what my own body says, it's all good, as far as fat in my blood and arteries... I have awesome genes. My cholesterol is fantastic and when I went in for a complete work up the guy doing the scans and the heart surgeon commented on the fact I had no plaque in my heart/arteries. My family members who did not smoke all lived to 90's-100+ (my dad just turned 90 and mom is 87 they both still live at home on their own, no nursing care). I am overweight so I do try to watch the caloric intake but I do use butter when cooking, some cheese a couple times a week and red meat a couple times a week (I'm not always a big meat eater normally). I also eat 2 eggs and bacon every other day. I think in my nutritionally uneducated opinion that genetics plays the biggest role in these things.

I was put on medication for my high cholesterol when I lived in New York. That was about seven years ago before I moved to Spain. In Spain, they did not think my cholesterol was that high and took me off medication. Now I’m back in the states and have again been placed on medication. I almost never ate cheese or eggs or bacon, and we only used olive oil in Spain. Butter was never used. My cholesterol has been about the same the whole time. And, yes it runs in my family. I also think it is about the genes but I also think they don’t have a full inderstanding about where our cholesterol comes from as far diet is concerned.

You might find this intersting
http://www.thechinastudy.com/the-china-study/about/
I recently read the book. It is based on a long term study based on survey of the eating habits of 6500 througout china (100 from 65 counties)
The study was carried out by Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative medicine.
I was kind of skeptical until I read that 367 variables (environment, soil, foods eaten, etc) were taken into account.

Lois I wish I had the time and energy to go into this in better depth tonight but I don’t so I am going to try and briefly mention a few things. I haven’t been able to read the actual study either. Its sitting on my desk at work so maybe later in the week I’ll get around to it. Let me just mention a few points.

  1. Nutritional studies are nearly all retrospective population based studies so any earth shattering or revolutionary claims made by one study which claims to overturn everything we knew before should always be viewed with a bit of caution
  2. Medical recommendations frequently change but that should not be surprising or upsetting. Medicine like all fields of science will change as we learn new things. The only system of knowledge that dont change with time are those based on dogma rather than scientific inquiry and investigation, but just because recommendations change doesn’t mean they are not worth following. While our opinions and recommendations may change with new data we are still far more likely to live longer and healthier if we base our decisions on the best available research rather than folk lore and gut feelings.
  3. No one ever said to not eat any saturated fats, and dietary recommendations never stated that we should substitute starches for red meat and other foods that were high in saturated fats. The idea was to substitute more fish and poultry for red meats. The author of the NYT article suggests that is was the recommendation to cut down on saturated fats which resulted in people eating more carbs. That’s nonsense since that was never the recommendation. The increased consumption of carbs is most likely based on other forces like societal preferences and marketing.
  4. Cardiovascular disease has actually decreased over the past 20 years (http://www.aihw.gov.au/cardiovascular-health/trends/) so we must be doing something correctly.
  5. The author of the NYT article suggests that it was foolish to base our recommendations all these years of limited evidence but now he suggests that we should turn over everything we thought based on just one study. The new study may be right and deserves consideration and follow up studies but if we turn 180 degrees based on a single study then we have learned nothing.

Eat in moderation, get your exercise, drink water when you are thirsty. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

and possibly avoid meat and dairy :frowning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8Gd-3CbNoQ

3) No one ever said to not eat any saturated fats, and dietary recommendations never stated that we should substitute starches for red meat and other foods that were high in saturated fats. The idea was to substitute more fish and poultry for red meats. The author of the NYT article suggests that is was the recommendation to cut down on saturated fats which resulted in people eating more carbs. That’s nonsense since that was never the recommendation. The increased consumption of carbs is most likely based on other forces like societal preferences and marketing.
Both of my cardiologists recommend this as well as the hospital dietician, increase intake of fruits and veggies, more exercise (at least three days a week) more chicken and fish (once again, no problem) and "easy" on the red meat and dairy. And as to genes, both of my parents are living and relatively healthy for their age, and my family has no history of heart disease. I'm now 8 weeks out of a heart attack and a quadruple bypass so genes played a very small part in my condition. It was a bad diet and no exercise. Cap't Jack
I'm now 8 weeks out of a heart attack and a quadruple bypass so genes played a very small part in my condition. It was a bad diet and no exercise. Cap't Jack
Geez VA. I hope you're feeling better. Get that exercise! I'm curious, obviously your doctor(s) recommend exercise now. What exercise are you partaking in, and what level(intensity) of exercise are you able to take it to? What exercises are you doing? How much do you get your heart rate up to, and for how long? I'm rootin' for ya buddy!
Geez VA. I hope you’re feeling better. Get that exercise! I’m curious, obviously your doctor(s) recommend exercise now. What exercise are you partaking in, and what level(intensity) of exercise are you able to take it to? What exercises are you doing? How much do you get your heart rate up to, and for how long? I’m rootin’ for ya buddy!
Thanks Vy, I'm in cardiac rehab three days a week now with a monitor hanging around my neck. They started me out slowly at first on three machines, treadmill, nustep, and the stationary bike. They're ratcheting it up now every day so I'm almost back to where I was when I was exercising. Honestly, I can't wait to get back on my bike again but I have to wait another month for my chest heal a little more. I was lucky as they caught me in time. I had the attack on the examining table in the emergency room. Now I'm taking a handful of pills twice a day and watching the salt intake and cutting waaaay back on the red meat. As to heart rate I don't know, but exercising does drop my blood pressure and I'm back in the normal range again and the echo showed no permanent damage. Cap't Jack

Welcome to the club, TVA. Much the same happened to me around thirteen or fourteen years ago. Fortunately, they didn’t have to do a bypass, just slide tubes up my groin artery to stick stents in the cardiac arteries. And they put me on the same exercise regime. After the twelve weeks insurance paid for, I switched to the local Y(MCA) for the same exercises and have been going there three times a week ever since. I was also put on anticoagulants, antihypertensives, and statins. It took a few years for me to develop statin sensitivity so they have been gone. The other problem is that I’ve never been able to regulate my blood pressure no matter how I try to balance the hydrochlorothiazide. It will be 150/95, then the next day, 89/51. Hope you have better luck with the medications.
Occam

Yeah, I noticed that Occam. My blood pressure goes up and down too but not that drastic though. I did have a scare about a week after surgery when my blood pressure dropped to 70/50. I was so weak my daughter had to push me up to the cardiologist’s office in a wheelchair and I could barely stand. Fortunately both he and a member of his team was there and they immediately took me off of one blood pressure medicine. Scared the hell out of me though. I’ve never been so weak. I’m going to continue going to the rehab gym after my 12 weeks are up as well. It only costs $20.00 a month but it’s definitely worth it to me and I’m only 20 minutes away from the hospital so It’s no that inconvenient.
Cap’t Jack

Thanks Vy, I'm in cardiac rehab three days a week now with a monitor hanging around my neck. They started me out slowly at first on three machines, treadmill, nustep, and the stationary bike. They're ratcheting it up now every day so I'm almost back to where I was when I was exercising. Honestly, I can't wait to get back on my bike again but I have to wait another month for my chest heal a little more. I was lucky as they caught me in time. I had the attack on the examining table in the emergency room. Now I'm taking a handful of pills twice a day and watching the salt intake and cutting waaaay back on the red meat. As to heart rate I don't know, but exercising does drop my blood pressure and I'm back in the normal range again and the echo showed no permanent damage. Cap't Jack
Good to hear buddy. Don't slack on that cardio exercise. Ask the doctor about what limits you have and reach 'em every now and again. Within the doctor's orders get that breathing heavy and that heart pumping at least 3x a week, 30 minutes. Take it slow at first and work up to new goals. Drink water.

Yup, my worst case of low blood pressure about the same as yours was as I was in the shower after exercising at tje Y. I felt as if I were going to pass out so I turned the water to straight cold so my surface blood vessels would tighten up and push a bit more blood into the internal machinery. It helped enough, but it certainly is scary.
Occam

Good to hear buddy. Don’t slack on that cardio exercise. Ask the doctor about what limits you have and reach ‘em every now and again. Within the doctor’s orders get that breathing heavy and that heart pumping at least 3x a week, 30 minutes. Take it slow at first and work up to new goals. Drink water.
The nurse who assists us (there's ten of us in the program and I'm the next to the youngest if that tells you anything) fills out a card with the expected speed and incline for the machines and each time it's a little higher. We also have to tell her a number on a difficulty chart and the nurses enter all of this in a computer. We're pretty carefully monitored; they don't want anybody overdoing it and passing out. And water's my favorite drink so I usually fill up even before I go. I am allowed a little alcohol though, one beer or a glass of wine a day. Cap't Jack
Yup, my worst case of low blood pressure about the same as yours was as I was in the shower after exercising at tje Y. I felt as if I were going to pass out so I turned the water to straight cold so my surface blood vessels would tighten up and push a bit more blood into the internal machinery. It helped enough, but it certainly is scary. Occam
Quick thinking Occam! That's the weakest I ever remember being after surgery and I thought, This is what it feels like to die. "But I got better"! (Monty Python character after being turned into a newt). Cap't Jack

Both Lois and I are sensitive to statins so haven’t been able to get their benefits. My new doctor put me on a new super low dose one that has significantly lowered my cholesterol and LDL, and no muscle pain so far. If it keeps up, I’ll send you the name of it, Lois so you can discuss it with your doctor. TVA, you’ve probably also been put on them. If they cause a problem, let me know and I’ll PM you the name of this new one.
Occam

So far no problems with the medication since the extreme drop that day. The doc took me off the medication and two days later I felt fine. No headaches or dizziness since then so I guess it’s working ok for now. And since I’m monitored three days a week it looks like my blood pressure is slowly stabilizing.
Cap’t Jack

The statins are different from the blood pressure and anticoagulation ones. A major cause of heart attacks is build up of plaque in the arteries, and this is tied pretty closely to cholesterol and especially Low Density Lipid levels. Statins work extremely well at combatting this. However, a fair number of patients develop severe muscle pains and other side effects which prohibits the use of the standard statins. The new low dose ones seem to address this problem.
BTW, TVA, I don’t know if there’s a Harbor Freight store in your area, but they often have decent blood pressure monitors that you can strap onto your wrist on sale for less than $20. Or you can often get them at a local drug store for less than $50.
Occam

We have the old fashioned one Occam with the cuff and it works pretty well. I have seen jiggers in our local parks wearing one, at least I think it’s what you’re describing. We do have local medical supply stores though. I’ll look in to it.
Cap’t Jack