An analysis of the Minnestota Coronary Experiment (1968-73) data has shown that there was no evidence from randomised controlled trials that the serum cholesterol lowering effects of replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid resulted in any reduction from coronary heart disease and total mortality.
The data was re-analysed by Ramsden and Zamora et al and published in the BMJ on 16 April 16.
J Lennert Veerman comments: ” A diet enriched with linolieic acid did not reduce mortality. Indeed participants had a higher mortality than controls. These unexpected results proved difficult to stomach for researchers at the time. The trial ended in 1973 but it took till 1989 for the results to be published. In the past decade old certainties about dietary fats have been questioned and some have been abandoned. Last year US dietary guidelines removed dietary cholesterol and total fat as risk factors worth worrying about.
If blood cholesterol values are not a reliable indicator of cardiovascular risk, then a careful review of the evidence that underpins dietary recommendations is warranted. Ideally recommendations should be based on clinical outcomes, not surrogates such a cholesterol concentration.
From an article in BMJ 16th March 2016