Just a brief aside, here is part of an interview with Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD which neatly summarises the situation in Sweden at the moment. I'll link to the full text, which is much more wide ranging, when I've read through it all.
EDIT It's here.
Interviewer: Do you think mainstream medicine will ever relinquish its view that elevated cholesterol causes heart disease and that statins are the magic bullet?
Dr Ravnskov: I hope so. The failures of the most recent statin trials has been commented by several journalists in the major US newspapers. In Sweden a revolution is going on. Here, a general practitioner treated her own obesity successfully by eating a low-carbohydrate diet with a high content of animal fat. When she advised her obese and diabetic patients to do the same, she was reported to the National Board of Health and Welfare for malpractice. After a two-year-long investigation she was acquitted, as her treatment was considered to be in accord with scientific evidence. At the same time, the Board dismissed two experts, who had been appointed for updating the dietary recommendations for diabetics, because it came up that they were sponsored by the food industry. Instead the Board has asked independent researchers to review the scientific literature.
The subject has gained general attention due to a number of radio and television shows, where critical experts including myself have discussed the issue with representatives of the official view. Most important, thousands of patients have experienced themselves that by doing the opposite as recommended by the current guidelines they have regained their health. The effect has been that the sales of butter, cream and fat milk are increasing in Sweden after many years of decline, and a recent poll showed that a majority of Swedish people today think that the best way of losing weight is by a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich diet.
Further progress was achieved this spring. Several times colleagues of mine and also myself have asked the Swedish Food Administration for the scientific basis of their warnings against saturated fat. We have been met with the argument that there are thousands of such studies, or by referrals to the WHO guidelines or the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations. As the main argument in the latter two is that saturated fat raises cholesterol we were not satisfied with their answer and finally the Food Administration published a list with 72 studies that they claimed were in support of their view on saturated fat and twelve that were not.
We scrutinized the lists and found that only two of the 72 studies supported their standpoint; eleven studies did not concern saturated fat at all, and the unsupportive list was incomplete, to put it mildly. We published a short report with our comments to these lists in the Swedish medical journal Dagens Medicin. A response from the Food Administration appeared seven weeks later in which they pointed out that their recommendations were directed to healthy people, not to patients. They maintained that they were based on solid scientific evidence without mentioning anything about saturated fat and without answering our critical comments.
But this is not all. Earlier this year Sachdeva et al reported that the mean cholesterol in 137,000 patients with acute myocardial infarction was lower than normal. As usual, the authors didn’t understand their own findings, but concluded that cholesterol should be lowered even more. A few months later Al-Mallah et al. came up with the same result and conclusion, although they also reported that three years later, mortality was twice as high among those who had been admitted with the lowest cholesterol.
These results created a fierce debate in one of the major Swedish newspapers. It was opened by ninety-one-year old Lars Werkö, the ‘Grand Old Man’ in Swedish medical science, retired professor in internal medicine and former head of The Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health Care, together with Tore Scherstén, retired professor in surgery and former secretary of the Swedish Medical Research Council. “Now it is time to sack the cholesterol hypothesis and to investigate the reason of this scientific breakdown” they wrote. They also criticized American researchers in AHA and NHLBI and their followers for sloppy and fraudulent science.
They were of course attacked by two professors and representatives of the current view, but none of them came up with any substantial evidence, only by personalities.