Friday, 30 January 2015

The cure for heart disease

I know, right? Hard to believe we didn't see it before now, but before I get to it, here’s a recent paper out of China that I would like to make fun of.

There are so many things wrong with this paper, it is hard to know where to start. I s'pose the introduction is as good a place as any, and it certainly contains plenty of gems:

“dyslipidemia”…”is the major cause of atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic cardiovacular diseases”

“Increased PUFA consumption”…”retards the progress of atherosclerosis”

And this beauty:

“since nearly almost every patient with dyslipidemia is treated with statin currently, therefore whether the benefit of PUFA render to lipid-modification is independent of or is overlapped with stain therapy is deserved to be further investigated”

I’m not one to judge their grammar because I can’t speak or write Mandarin/Cantonese, but it is clear they live in a world where statins are unquestionably brilliant and rabbits are excellent human substitutes. Just what the cholesterol-rich diet they used is comprised of is not easily obtainable - but it's sort of irrelevant if you're not working in their lab or tripping on acid. 
Which leads us closer to the CVD cure.

The aspect of this paper that surprised me most was the use of rabbits for testing. I admit that my knowledge of biology and the suitability of certain species for studies on human health is abysmal, but I’m reasonably sure I’m on solid ground when I suggest that using a drugged-up herbivore to predict changes in a human body is ludicrous.  
The whole ‘cholesterol-fed rabbit’ thing started over a century ago and I had no idea it was still going on. There’s a good reason we laugh at the lab geeks who did it 100 years ago - rabbits eat grass. Most humans don’t. Feeding a rabbit anything but grass and then suggesting the result has any relevance to human physiology says more about you than it does the rabbit.

At least I thought so, until reading this paper resulted in me having an epiphany.

Rabbits don’t have heart attacks.

Rabbits eat grass and not much else.

Stay with me now…

What if…are you sitting down?

What if…humans just ate grass and not much else?

Not only would we not have heart attacks but fertility problems would be a thing of the past.

Such a pity I'm too lazy to write an e-book or start a grass supplement business.

This thing where you look at one species and apply it to another and then say that you've actually discovered something intelligent is fun.
help is at hand for your bacon-addicted rabbit


  1. You know the term "guinea pig"? As in "We have all been guinea pigs for low fat high carb lipid hypothesis research"?
    Well it turns oout that if they HAD used guinea pigs instead of rabbits, they would have had the right results before Keys ever got started.
    Irony much?

    1. Your supply of interesting links is second to none, George.

      The torturing of rabbits (New Zealand White, apparently) for nothing is frankly disgusting.

    2. Even the poor cholesterol-fed New Zealand White does better with a little butter.

      New Zealand butter? One hopes so.

  2. But hang on a moment, rabbits are made of grass, yes? That is what they eat. So, if you eat rabbits then you will have good health it seems to me. Except if those wabbits have been cruelly experimented on in a nutritionists laboratory and forced to eat lots of fat. Just avoid those tragic rabbits.


    1. Careful, Passthecream. Pulling out the 'you are what you eat' is likely to get you a job at the Heart Foundation and I wouldn't wish that on anybody.


    2. That would indeed be a farct worse than death.

      I claim priority over an idea that Pete Evans seems to be moving towards - I want to market a line of 'heart-cross' foods as antidote to the heart-tick label. Nice big black cross in an info panel on the packaging. Unmodified rabbits wouldn't feature in the crossed product lines unfortunately. Rabbit starvation is a syndrome caused by eating too many rabbits since their innate fat levels are not high enough for adequate human nutrition and you need to add dripping or lard when you cook them.


  3. As to the diet; this chap called Armstrong, together with a woman with the surname of Megan was giving rhesus monkeys atherosclerosis in 1972. They fed them a diet that was 40% egg yolk. Then they stopped the egg diet (processed egg yolk, of course) fed them corn oil and the atherosclerosis improved. It improved less quickly on a low-fat diet. We don't know what would have happened with an LCHF diet, even one with saturated fat, it never occurred to them to try that.
    The monkeys' cholesterol shot up to 700mg/dL, then back down to 140.
    The grisly tale is recounted here:

    I've seen other estimates that the equivalent of 1,800 mg cholesterol per day for a human is enough to trigger atherosclerosis in many animals.
    But the US Dietary Guidelines committee says cholesterol is safe for humans. I always listen to them.

  4. Endothelial function in rabbits with for my bacon-addicted rabbit -- LOVE IT!! :D

    1. G'day Amy, nice of you to drop in. Love your work.