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Ray H. Rosenman, MD--Former Director of Cardiovascular Research, SRI
Dr. Ravnskov has done a magnificent service. . . must reading for all interested persons, nutritionists and physicians.
Michael Gurr, PhD--Renowned Lipid Chemist
...he is not a lone voice in the wilderness and he deserves to be taken seriously.
Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions
Dr. Ravnskov's measured and clear-eyed analysis actually serves as a sledgehammer that breaks down barriers to healthy, sensible eating.
About the Author
Dr. Ravnskov has published almost 40 critical papers and letters about the alleged association between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. For his contributions in this field he received the Irish Skrabanek Award in 1999. His website (home2.swipnet.se/~w-25775), posted in 1997, has generated intense interest and has contributed to the emergence of skepticism about the diet-heart theory, now perculating through the medical community.
Dr. Ravnskov takes aim at one of the biggest medical myths of our time--that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease--and slays the Goliath with page after page of brilliant analysis. Anyone who has been told to go on a lowfat diet or take cholesterol-lowering drugs should read this book first. . . and then give it to his or her doctor!
Great book -to share with your doctor, January 2, 2004
Reviewer: eddie vos (Sutton Qc Canada) - See all my reviews
The high ratings from the other reviewers already show that this is a very important book; a reality check for those with fear of fresh cholesterol foods, or with concerns about cholesterol levels.
With cholesterol lowering drugs about $1000/year one can see the pressures to prescribe them from their makers, as a friend cardiologist was just offered $5000 simply to provide names for a cholesterol study -he called it a bribe and moved on.
The TV and print ads suggest dire consequences from cholesterol and it is easy to see that most people and doctors fear the stuff. Busy doctors may -out of fear of law suits or lack of time to read the studies- follow guidelines that in the U.S. and Canada were overwhelmingly written by those receiving payment from the drug companies [that alone is a scandal by itself].
This book shows the science and reveals the fact that lowering cholesterol by any means does not reduce mortality rates, that there are peoples with high cholesterol without heart disease and that, at the very least, the science for lowering cholesterol in virtually anybody is rotten.
The largest North American cholesterol lowering trial ever [2002 ALLHAT] and the largest trial in the world with the #1 selling cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor [2003 ASCOT] showed mortality after 3 or 6 years that was totally identical, while a trial in elderly [2002 PROSPER] showed increased cancer and also nobody saved. The science in women is even worse than in men.
An early trial, EXCEL, was stopped at 11 months at a 2.75x greater mortality from the drug -but for the next 5 years we have publications as to how well the stuff [Mevacor] is tolerated [nobody keels over instantly] and how well it reduces "bad" cholesterol. I bet your doctor would like to know that.
I've seen Dr. Ravnskov give talks to three large U.S. medical audiences and you could feel the collective relief that here we have a widely published fellow doctor who has analyzed the science and found cholesterol not to be a cardiovascular boogie man -which, in their hearts they knew but may have doubted.
I suggest that if you are concerned about cholesterol you read this book, AND then give it to your doctor or cardiologist.
Other reviewers pointed out that the book gives few tips for heart disease prevention -that is not the book's purpose- and for that McCully's "The Heart Revolution" book [ISBN 0060929731] is probably best. In fact, get both books and take turns with your doctor reading them. A fine book. Eddie Vos www.health-heart.org E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Hot Book Indeed!!!, December 5, 2000
Reviewer: Stephen Byrnes (Honolulu, HI United States) - See all my reviews
Would you buy a book that was literally set on fire by its critics on a television show about it in Finland? I would and so should you. The long-awaited English version of debunker extroidinaire Dr. Uffe Ravnskov's notorious book is now available from New Trends Publishing.
Ravnskov, a medical doctor with a PhD in Chemistry, has had over 40 papers and letters published in peer-reviewed journals criticizing what Dr. George Mann, formerly of Vanderbuilt University, once called "the greatest scam in the history of medicine": the Lipid Hypothesis of heart disease, the belief that dietary saturated fats and cholesterol clog arteries and cause atherosclerosis and heart disease.
If one thing comes through as you read the book, it is this: Ravnskov has done his homework. In painstaking detail, he critically analyzes and demolishes the nine main myths of the Lipid Hypothesis: (1) High-fat foods cause heart disease, (2) High cholesterol causes heart disease, (3) High fat foods raise blood cholesterol, (4) Cholesterol blocks arteries, (5) Animal studies prove the diet-heart idea, (6) Lowering your cholesterol will lengthen your life, (7) Polyunsaturated oils are good for you, (8) The cholesterol campaign is based on good science, and (9) All scientists support the diet-heart idea.
Equipped with a razor-sharp mind, an impressive command of the literature, and a deadly, needling sarcasm, Ravnskov methodically slaughters the most famous Sacred Cow of modern medicine and the most profitable Cash Cow for assorted pharmaceutical companies. Sparing no one, Ravnskov again and again presents the tenets of the Lipid Hypothesis and the studies which supposedly prove them, and shows how the studies are flawed or based on manipulated statistics that actually prove nothing. Ravnskov then answers the objections or rationalizations offered by diet-heart supporters, desperate to explain away inconsistencies and contradictions in their own data.
For example, Ravnskov opens with an analysis of the study that kicked off the Lipid Hypothesis in the 1950s: Ancel Keys' Six Countries Study (and later, the more famous Seven Countries Study). As most health professionals know, Keys' study showed that countries with the highest animal fat intake have the highest rates of heart disease. Keys' conclusion was that there was a cause and effect relationship because the country with the lowest animal fat intake (at that time, Japan) had the lowest rates of heart disease. Sounds convincing, right? Not so, says Dr. Ravnskov. And in a few pages the reader is informed how Keys hand-picked the countries he included in his studies, namely, the ones that supported his hypothesis, and conveniently ignored all of the other countries that didn't.
And this is just the beginning!
Ravnskov approaches true brilliance in his review of the studies that supposedly showed benefit from the current wonder-drugs pushed by the pharmaceutical industry: the statins. Hailed as miracle substances that "significantly reduce cholesterol and incidence of heart attacks," Ravnskov shows that these substances are probable carcinogens (women on the drugs had a much higher incidence of breast cancer) and that the overall statistical reduction of heart disease in the drug trials is negligible. Nevertheless, despite the dismal results of the very first trial (the EXCEL Trial which Ravnskov soberingly describes to the reader), the industry and its well-funded doctors urge their use, even in people who do not have heart disease.
Ravnskov warns: "Because the latent period between exposure to carcinogen and the incidence of clinical cancer in humans may be 20 years or more, the absence of any controlled trials of this duration means that we do not know whether statin treatment will lead to . . . cancer in coming decades. Thus, millions of people are being treated with medications the ultimate effects of which are not yet known."
If there is one weakness of the book, it is its lack of explanations of what DOES cause heart disease. Ravnskov comes close to fingering a few factors such as high stress, excessive polyunsaturated fat intake, trans-fatty acids, and smoking, but he never offers his own theory as to what causes the Western world's number one killer.
This is, however, a minor glitch. Ravnskov has done the world a major service in presenting his findings. All health professionals need to listen to this scholar and listen very carefully for the advice offered by the medical establishment for the last 50 years to beat heart disease has failed miserably. It is time to turn away from cholesterol-lowering drugs that have frightening side effects. It is time to turn away from tasteless low-fat diets that harm children and deprive people of fat-soluble vitamins. And it is time to turn away from the junk science that characterizes the Lipid Hypothesis and its supporters. It is time, instead, to listen to reason and view all of the evidence against a failed hypothesis and discover the true and varied risks and causes of heart disease. It is time to listen to Uffe Ravnskov....
Dr. Ravnskov magnificent service with a scholarly book, August 29, 2004
Reviewer: Fred Herring, P.H.D, J.D. (Orlando, FL) - See all my reviews
But what about heart disease?" This is the response of many Americans when advised to consume the foods of their ancestors, foods like butter, whole milk, eggs and meat. Fear of saturated fat and cholesterol has put a solid brick wall between the consumer and satisfying, nutritious food-and filled the coffers of the food processing industry. I didn't know that caffeine raises cholesterol so I quit. I have been incorporating more soy in my diet since soy is proven to lower cholesterol. I've been drinking a delicious coffee substitute that I found in my health food store. It's called soyfee soy coffee (www.soycoffee.com) and you brew just like coffee. It's made from 100% soybeans that are organic and contains no caffeine. It's important to select organic because most soy is genetically modified unless otherwise stated. Dr. Ravnskov's measured and clear-eyed analysis actually serves as a sledgehammer that breaks down barriers to healthy, sensible eating.
An eye opener, August 29, 2004
Reviewer: D. A. Pacheco "mikedianne2" (Mansfield, MA United States) - See all my reviews
I am a physician and felt this book was very educational. After reading books by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig this was next. I am a firm believer that cholesterol is not the culprit nor red meat but all the bad oils we are eating. I think Ravnskov proves his point well. So well that I have taken my husband off his statin even with a cholesterol of 320. I constantly preach to my patients about the evils of partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats and of the benefits of omega-3. This is a must read for anyone whose doctor is trying to put them on a statin.
End of the Myths..., June 12, 2004
Reviewer: Christopher G Harlow (South Riding, VA) - See all my reviews
Wow! If you an even remotely open mind reading this book, you can't help but saying "Wow!" by the end of this book (actually started saying this early in this book).
Very early in this book, the author brings up an important concept. And if there is a significant flaw in this book, it is that the author never really brought that concept up again in book. That concept is the scientific method. Remember that you were taught the scientific method when you were younger. Simply stated it is:
1. Question - What is happening?
2. Hypothesis - I think this is what is happening.
3. Prediction - I predict x will happen when y happens.
4. Testing - Test to see that x happens when y happens.
With this mind, the author doesn't have to be right about everything he lists in this book. Not even 10% of it has to be right. Only a few things have to be right, and, if so, you HAVE to throw out the concept that saturate fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. But it hasn't been thrown out like it should, so Dr. Ravnskov wrote this book so that you and I would know the truth.
Dr. Ravnskov does an excellent job of breaking down this issue into 9 myths (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, lowering your cholesterol will lengthen your life, polyunsaturated oils are good for you, the cholesterol campaign is based on good science, and all scientists support the diet-heart idea). For each of these myths, he walks through what has been stated and introduces the reader to what the relevant studies are, what they mean, flaws with a number of those studies, and a number of studies that do not support the myth (go back to the scientific method...if even one is true, you HAVE to throw out the theory). He also takes the time to walk the reader through the meaning of the statistics in case you aren't familar with correlation coefficients, relative risks, base rates, etc.
Even better for those of you still having doubts, Dr. Ravnskov has referenced everything he talks about so you can examine the actual studies and papers yourself (28 pages worth of references). This is the ammunition if you need to duke it out with your doctor...and a great defense for those relatives who think you are killing yourself and keep commenting on your diet.
I have read a number of books on various diets, so I was familiar with a number of the arguments. For example, many others have brought up the ridiculous relative risk that you see so often in reports where they don't really have any evidence. However, I did find a number of surprising pieces of information:
- The Masai tribe (only eats blood, meat, and milk) have among the lowest levels of serum cholesterol ever recorded.
- Polyunsaturated fats (which are constantly pushed in the media as being good for you) are free radicals and, if they don't cause cancer, certainly seem to be a factor in causing cancer
- Statins do help with heart disease (lowering cholesterol is just a side effect), but also have been shown to increase cancer (not sure which I'd prefer)
- Most studies done by the diet-heart proponents have included people with a genetic defect called hyper cholesterolemia, so even if those studies did find something (which they really didn't), they don't apply to 99% or more of us.
Remember, it doesn't matter who is right; it matters what is right. This is a great book to help you down the path of finding out what is right.
The Cholesterol Myths, June 8, 2004
Reviewer: Barbara (Louisville, KY) - See all my reviews
I have read about this book "The Cholesterol Myths" on the Internet, and was VERY impressed of what I read, and am ordering it as soon as I'm finish typing my comment . Also, what most doctors and Cardiologists do not want to admit is that stress for example can raise your Cholesterol temporarely. Twenty yrs ago I read in a Medical Research book that they tested Law Students and Medical Students who BTW all had normal or low cholesterol levels, and right before their big final exams some of their total cholesterol shut over 300, a few days to about a week after their final exams their cholesterol went back to normal. I've a phobia and high anxiety when going to doctors and hospitals, and therefore my BP shoots sky high temporarely, and my cholesterol shoots up if it is taken the same day I have a doctor's appointment. If I go in just for the lab/lipid profile cholesterol test, my cholesterol is about 40 points lower. Yet when I mention the above to the doctors they brush it off with "you must be eating the wrong food (which I do very little ever once in a while) and you need to go on cholesterol lowering drugs". Let me tell you this: I used to work in a large hospital, and I know all about the kick backs the hospitals and doctors get from the drug companies. Lots of drugs are prescribed unecessary to patients. I know doctors get mad, and don't want to hear that, but how many try other methods first? One elevated cholesterol reading, and they are quick to prescribe cholesterol lowering drugs.
Can't Wait to Confront My Cardiologist, March 19, 2003
Reviewer: "asfhgwt" (Paoli, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This book should be read by everyone, especially doctors and especially those who specialize in cardiology. My own heart doctor has been trying to push statins on me for two years, despite the fact that my heart "epsiode" (a very minor infarction) took place 20 years ago, my total cholesterol is just 210, and high cholesterol (250+) with *zero* heart disease runs in my family. You should see him shudder at the abnormality of that figure, warning me that yet another drop in "normal" limits is on the AHA and NHLBI horizon. In his opinion, my total cholesterol should be 160 -- or dire consequences could result!
As its subtitle states, The Cholesterol Myths exposes the fallacy that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. Dr. Ravnskov is no "wacko"; his book is well-annotated and examines many of the major relevant studies over the past 50 years. I've checked a few of the references myself and have found them accurate. I've checked literature available on the AHA and NHLBI websites and seen for myself how they distort the truth.
In one example, the NHLBI states flatly that "international studies find that CHD is uncommon in cultures with low levels of serum cholesterol, even when... hypertension and cigarette smoking is relatively high." A check of the footnotes cited the "Seven Countries" study and "MONICA" project, both taken to task in Dr. Ravnskov's book. What the NHLBI did was choose only a few of the datapoints from these studies (Japan, China), where their statement was indeed true -- but they conveniently ignored all 25 or so other datapoints which clearly showed that overall there was no correlation between countries' cholesterol levels and CHD whatsoever!
A major contribution of Myths is its explanation of the way pro-cholesterol myth "scientists" and the drug companies use the "relative reduction" method of presenting their "wonder drugs'" value. If I, for example, take no drugs, my chances of a cadiac event might be 6% over the next 10 years. If I take statins for ten years, this might go down to 3%, which the drug companies present as a reduction of 50%! Sounds good, but the more sensible view would be to say that if I take no drugs, there's a 94% chance that nothing will happen to me, and if I take statins, there's a 97% chance -- wow, a whopping 3% gain! Would *you* take a drug (that can screw up your liver and muscles) for the rest of your life to go from 94% to 97%? Not me! This expose of statins is another fantastic contribution to medical common sense, and there are many more.
The Cholesterol Myths is simply a must-read.