Seed oils… do you feel lucky, punk?

(versión en español: pinchar aquí)

Study 1

Have a look at the following graph: it is from a scientific study and it shows the evolution with time of the percentage of people alive on a treatment group (solid line) and on a control group (dotted line). The higher, the better.


Would you say the treatment was effective? (for saving lives I mean, not for killing people). This is the treatment: «foods high in polyunsaturated fat and low in saturated fat and cholesterol were used for the experimental diet.» Have a look at the numbers:

This study started on 1968, had a duration of 4.5 years and the results were published on 1989. IT WAS PUBLISHED SIXTEEN YEARS AFTER ITS COMPLETION! They try to prove that saturated fat is bad, they find it is not, they don’t publish the results. It is not my interpretation: when Gary Taubes asked Ivan Frantz, the principal investigator of the trial, about that delay the answer was:

We were just disappointed in the way it came out

I learnt about this study here: Grasa saturada y enfermedad cardiovascular, cuando el resultado no es el esperado

Study 2

Have a look at the following graph from another study. Now the bigger the numbers, the worse the result (a cummulative death rate is being plot). Again we see more deaths in the treatment/intervention group.


Would you say the treatment was successful?

The «intervention» group followed a diet with increased polyunsaturated fat, reduced saturated fat and reduced dietary cholesterol. And that again led to a higher death risk. Here you can have a look at the diets in the study and here you can read more about this study.

Bottom line: in both studies the goal of the intervention group was to reduce their dietary intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. In both cases the total blood cholesterol for those in the intervention group was decreased. Although their total cholesterol was lower their death risk was greater.

Black humor

«Although this study did not show a statistically signifi-
cant reduction in cardiovascular events or total deaths
from the treatment diet, the authors suspect that it might
have shown such a reduction if the period of treatment
had been longer in persons in the age range likely to
benefit.» The authors of «study 1»

NOTE: I have changed the title of the entry, substituting «seed» for «vegetable».

Further reading:


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