Sunday, January 07, 2007


Most of us have heard about the French Paradox, which basically says that the French eat masses of saturated fat and have a particularly low rate of heart disease. The usual explanation is that they are protected by all that red wine or their relaxed lifestyle or.... Unfortunately these do not protect the pasta based cuisine consumers of Italy. Quote "in contrast to the French Paradox, which examined how the indulgent French diet could produce favorable health outcomes, the studies of the Mediterranean diet has had the reverse effect in Italy". So do we now have a paradox within a paradox?

But then what about the

Spanish paradox Those naughty Spaniards are eating more fat and less carbs and getting LESS heart disease, now there's a suprise. Good job their medical system is so marvelous.

Sri Lanka paradox In Srilanka they eat <25% calories from fat and still get lots of heart disease. Tut tut.

Israeli paradox The Israelis eat buckets of polyunsaturated fat yet have a much higher heart attack rate than Europe.

Japanese paradox Not only are the naughty Japanese eating more fat, but it is RAISING THEIR SERUM CHOLESTEROL. GASP. So why is their heart attack rate dropping? Easy.

There is even an American paradox!

Particularly note the phrase in that last abstract

"a greater saturated fat intake is associated with less progression of coronary atherosclerosis, whereas carbohydrate intake is associated with a greater progression"

The basic puzzlement in all of these is that the more fat, particularly saturated fat, a nation consumes the LOWER its incidence of heart disease. Low fat consumption, or increased polyunsaturate consumption, INCREASES heart disease.

Of course all paradoxes resolve when you realise saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease....



Ed said...

I'm going through and reading all your old posts. This is great stuff. I love the snarky writing.

Peter said...

Hi Ed, I just can't help it...