How to Look with an open Mind at Reseach              
      published in the general media
It used to be a fairly well known given that people generally accept what appears in publications as truth. Not so any more. And of course there is a good reason for it: most publications have an agenda that has to be followed. There are above all the advertisers that have to be kept happy and publishing anything that could upset your main source of income is usually a no-no.

Another thing  that often plays havoc with the truth is the fact that reality often is not exciting enough.
Telling people how great Omega3 is for your health is not news anymore, but publishing something that could cause people to question this, even though it is only a half truth, will guarantee some extra attention.
Which is exactly what the BBC did recently, dragging an obscure research paper which was so heavily criticized at the time that the researchers had to back track on just every thing they "discovered". See Link

To show why it is important to keep an open mind and not believe everything at face value when published in the general media, I will use the recent publication from Harvard University.
You can find the Link to your right.

"... low-fat approach to eating may have made a difference for the occasional individual, but as a nation it hasn't helped us control weight or become healthier. In the 1960's, fats and oils supplied Americans with about 45 percent of their calories; (1) about 13 percent of us were obese and under 1 percent had type 2 diabetes, a serious weight-related condition. (2, 3) Today, Americans take in less fat, getting about 33 percent of calories from fats and oils; (1) yet 34 percent of us are obese and 8 percent have diabetes, most with type 2 diabetes. ..."

This is quite true, however what is not being mentioned here that this trend did not start in the 60s, but much earlier when we changed en masse from animal based products to grain based products (including derivatives of it)

"....the total amount of fat in the diet isn't really linked with weight or disease. (6-9) What really matters is the type of fat in the diet. Bad fats, meaning trans and saturated fats, increase the risk for certain diseases. Good fats, meaning monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, do just the opposite. They are good for the heart and most other parts of the body....."

True and not true! Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats, but not all polyunsaturated fats (pufa's) are healthy. In fact by far the most of the pufa's are of the Omega6 variety, a very unstable and readily oxidized pufa. There is already abundant evidence that the Omega6's are in large part indirectly to blame for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Oxidized Omega6 as well as oxidized LDL causes inflammation, calling for more LDL to repair the damage.
Saturated fats do raise cholesterol levels but they do it equally for LDL as well as HDL, with the result being neutral.
However saturated fats have other benefits not mentioned here. They give people quicker a full feeling and thus making them eat less, furthermore the metabolism is a much easier one in our system and not calling for insulin as the carbohydrates do.

"....Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Cells latch onto these particles and extract fat and cholesterol from them. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, these particles can form deposits in the walls of the coronary arteries and other arteries throughout the body....."

Again a partial truth. LDL , not the cholesterol, can be damaged and if there are not enough HD Lipoproteins to carry them back to the liver to discard or recycle , they can damage the artery wall which in turn calls for repair.
The remedy is of course to make sure that you have enough HDL and maybe enough antioxidants to prevent the oxidzing in the first place (healthy fruits and vegetables among other things).
And secondly you should try to avoid needing so much LDL cholesterol. Your liver only makes as much as you need. If you eat too many things that cause inflammation, your liver will automatically raise the LDL level to deal with all the little fires everywhere. Don't blame the firemen for the fire. Gluten in wheat, as well as the toxic proteins (lectins) with which wheat protects its grains, cause inflammation all the time. See also this study by a renown neuro immunologist

"...Unsaturated fats are predominantly found in foods from plants, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. They are liquid at room temperature...."

True, but what is implied is an untruth that animal products are saturated fat. Lard is almost half mono unsaturated fat of the oleic acid variety which is exactly the same as olive oil, but because of the presence of saturated fat it is much safer to use lard in cooking than olive oil which handles high temperatures very poorly.

".....Polyunsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, and also in foods such as walnuts, flax seeds, and fish. Omega-3 fats, which are fast becoming the darling of the supplement industry, are an important type of polyunsaturated fat...."

Again no mentioning of -what some researchers have called the Devil's fat- Omega6. When this happens in a research paper one should become suspicious that it is done on purpose. Personally I find this irresponsible. What every molecular biologist knows, Omega 6 (N-6) uses the same pathway as Omega 3 (N-3) BUT(!) does it preferentially. Which means N-6 goes first and occupies the pathway. Which goes a long way to explain why they often quote research where N-3 supplements or extra fish didn't seem to make a difference. Of course not if you haven't reduced the intake of N-6.. Personally I think (after a lot of research) that the biggest culprit in our metabolic diseases are the seed oils, the margarines etc.

"......Unsaturated fat is much preferable since it lowers the bad cholesterol and raises the good...."

This is a blatant untruth. It should read : mono unsaturated; poly unsaturated are becoming more and more suspect
These researchers must be aware of a multitude of studies in which polyunsaturated fats (especially Omega6) did raise LDL.

"...Dutch researchers conducted an analysis of 60 trials that examined the effects of carbohydrates and various fats on blood lipid levels. In trials in which polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats were eaten in place of carbohydrates, these good fats decreased levels of harmful LDL and increased protective HDL. (10).."

I don't think I want to comment on this blatant lie. You can read the abstract from the study here.
This is apart from the fact that it is an analysis of 60 other studies. We don't know whether those studies were reliable. We have to take their word for it, however the abstract states quite clearly that it was the carbohydrates that were having a negative effect on the triglyceride levels. "..Lauric acid greatly increased total cholesterol, but much of its effect was on HDL cholesterol. Consequently, oils rich in lauric acid decreased the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol. Myristic and palmitic acids had little effect on the ratio, and stearic acid reduced the ratio slightly..." In other words completely the opposite.

"......Trans fatty acids, more commonly called trans fats, are made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas, a process called hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil. It also converts the oil into a solid, which makes transportation easier. ..."

Where to begin with this one. The picture shows Transfat 0 g, which is a lie because as long as it is below  a certain level, FDA requirements allow the food companies to label it 0 g if a single serving contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat. So if the serving size is small enough and the content is .49 grams or below, it can be labeled 0g Trans Fat.
Because we often eat far more than a single serving of any food, it is easy to get more than 2 grams of trans fat from a food touted to have 0g of trans fat. Many health experts recommend 2 grams per day as an upper limit for trans fat consumption, though the USDA does not have a recommended daily value for trans fat.
Foods labeled "Trans Fat Free" or "No Trans Fat" should not contain any trans fat at all

"......Partially hydrogenated oils can also withstand repeated heating without breaking down, making them ideal for frying fast foods. (Fully hydrogenating a vegetable oil creates a fat that acts like a saturated fat.) It's no wonder that partially hydrogenated oils have been a mainstay in restaurants and the food industry....."

Anybody who has ever had to clean out the family deepfryer knows that this cannot possibly be true. The gooey stuff that is almost impossible to remove is transfat in its ugliest form and not unlike what appears in your arteries. Transfats have never been the darling of the restaurants and I know several top chefs who have tried it and went back to using lard for all their frying. Without of course advertising it.

The story about the eggs forgets to mention that eggs are important source of lutein which is incredibly important for you eye health. So what would you rather have, a slightly elevated cholesterol level (maybe?) but going blind from macular degeneration with a lower level of cholesterol. Actually when you get older your cholesterol level is of necessity higher.

The by-line about butter is almost comical but sadly off base. Butter is amongst the healthiest of the saturated fats. Enough said about that elsewhere on this site.
Dipping your sandwich in olive oil? Who's dreaming? Frying with olive oil? and creating your own version of transfats?
And always distrust the "healthy margarines". Usually they will mention the presence of Omega3 but conveniently omit the presence of Omega6.  and what little Omega3 there is, is of the linolenic kind which our body has to turn into EPA from which we then get the DHA, which is what it is all about. Net result??? Neglible.
Margarines will always be suspect in whatever shape or form. especially if they list soy as an ingredient. Probably Genetically Modified soy too. Don't forget Round up Ready soy is what most farmers in North America use nowadays. Making you Round up ready too.

"......What was important in these studies was the type of fat in the diet. (20) Ounce for ounce, trans fats are far worse than saturated fats when it comes to heart disease. In the Nurses' Health Study, replacing just 30 calories of carbohydrates (7 grams) every day with 30 calories of trans fats (4 grams) nearly doubled the risk for heart disease. (21) Saturated fats increased the risk as well, but not nearly as much....."

Again if you read the study itself it turns out that the last line  "Saturated fats increased the risk as well, but not nearly as much.... is a big  question mark. Concurrent events hardly ever need to be causal. There are often too many confounders, or contributing variables to make a case for a causal link. In fact saturated fat has been on the receiving end of the stick for the better part of 20th  century.
And lastly and even nore important how do we know if it wasn't the polyunsaturated part of the socalled saturated fat that caused the rise in LDL. Actually we know that infammatory polyunsaturated fats always raises LDL levels.

The last part of this report about cancer is of the same nature. Most of the links to cancer are hypothetical or based on poorly conducted research. Some is based on  cohort studies and hardly anything on randomized trial for understandable reasons : who wants to gamble with a person's health or risk of cancer.
What little we know about cancers has often more to do with a signaling gone wrong and the normal process of programmed cell death is not put in action and the mutation continues to grow unhindered, while we keep feeding it with a diet loaded with carbs (turned into glucose). Cancer cells cannot survive on fat. They cannot use it, they need glucose. So stop the carbs and the cancer dies. Cut down on protein as well, because through a process called gluconeogenesis cancer cells can still get their glucose.

Harvard School of Public Health
BBC  publication
The Devil's Fat
If you repeat a Lie long enough
people will say : there must be
something to it..