Illustrated History of Heart Disease 1825-2015

brillant 1825  French lawyer and gourmand Brillant-Savarin publishes The Physiology of Taste, in which he says he has identified the cure for obesity: "More or less rigid abstinence from everything that is starchy or floury." 

1830  Sugar consumption in the US:  15 pounds per capita, much of it molasses. Today:  150 pounds per capita, much of it high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).    

banting 1863  William Banting published Letter On Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. Banting had lost 85 pounds on a high fat, carbohydrate-restricted diet. The British Medical Journal and Lancet reported that Banting's diet could be dangerous:  "We advise Mr Banting, and everyone of his kind, not to meddle with medical literature again, but be content to mind his own business." 

1880-1910 U.S. population doubled from 37 to 75 million. One out of three people lived on a farm - and ate from the farm. The U.S. population today is over 300 million and about 1 percent live on a farm.     

jungle2  1906 Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle exposed unsanitary and inhumane conditions in Chicago area slaughterhouses. Reported meat sales fell 50 percent and took years to recover. As is true today, the highest quality safest meat to eat was grown on the small mixed farms that dotted much of the American landscape. 

1910  Lifetime risk of type II diabetes:  1 in 30. The lifetime risk today is 1 in 3 according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta.
     
butter 1910  Butter consumption = 18 pounds per capita. In the year 2000 butter consumption went below 4 pounds. When we were using high quality butter lavishly, mortality from heart disease was below 10 percent. (Infections killed a majority of people; a high percentage of infants and women of child-bearing age died during the birthing process.) Today as we consume our “Country Croak,” the mortality from heart disease is 40 to 45 percent. Both Dr. Andrew Weil and the late Dr. Robert C. Atkins agree:  "Eat butter; not margarine, regardless of the claims the manufacturer is making for it!"
     
lard2 1910  Lard, the rendered fat from pigs raised outdoors, was the #1 cooking fat - enjoying 70 percent of the market. Lard was the best source of Vitamin D and a good source of palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated anti-microbial fatty acid that kills bacteria and viruses. Today highly processed soybean oil has 70 percent of the market; zero vitamin D. Now the same experts who told us not to eat lard are telling us we are deficient in Vitamin D!  
     
crisco 1911  Proctor & Gamble introduce Crisco, the first shortening made from hydrogenated vegetable fat. P & G bought the patent for hydrogenating vegetable fat from an English company that was attempting to make candles out of the artifically hardened fat. When rural electrification wiped out the candle market, P & G saved the day by providing the world with Crisco, a cheap alternative to lard. Crisco featured a much longer shelf life and, over the decades, gave unsuspecting Americans hundreds of millions of pounds of trans fatty acids. 

1918  The electrocardiogram was introduced helping to launch cardiology.

1920  Sugar consumption in the US reaches 100 pounds per capita – and climbing. 
     
1921  The hormone insulin is discovered.

1924  Four cardiologists found the American Heart Association (AHA).
     
1930  Margarine consumption reaches 2.6 pounds per capita. By 1957, margarine consumption increased to about 9 pounds - surpassing butter for the first time.      
     
bloodtest 1934  Blood test for cholesterol developed. (Because cholesterol could be measured, it wasn’t long before it got the blame!)
     
1937  Columbia University biochemists David Rittenberg & Rudolph Schoenheimer demonstrated that dietary cholesterol had very little effect on blood cholesterol. Although never refuted, for thirty years, the federal Dietary Guidelines have restricted dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams a day.

1945  American Heart Association donations total $100,000.

1948  Vegetable fat consumption:  28 pounds per capita. By 1976:  55 pounds. As obesity and diabetes became public health problems, our consumption of highly processed vegetable fat, including tran fatty acids, climbed sreadily and our consumption of fat from animals declined.

1948  National Heart Act created the National Heart Institute and the National Heart Council.

aha 1948  American Heart Association re-invented itself as a volunteer fundraising organization and hired a former bible salesman (Mr. Betts) and a PR agency to do fundraising. "Heart Night at the Copacabana" was attended by movie stars and Hollywood celebrities. 

1949  American Heart Association raises $3 million dollars.

1949  Arterioslcerosis is added to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), causing a sharp increase in reported deaths from heart disease - creating at least the appearance of a heart disease epidemic.

1949  Pasteurized milk is mandatory. During World War II, tainted milk produced by inexperienced replacement creamery workers killed a number of people. The government blamed raw milk; not the replacement workers (and not the dislocations of war). Pasteurization kills the enzymes that make it easier to absorb the proteins in milk and destroys many other key nutrients, including Vitamin B-12.

1950 Using a newly invented one-of-a-kind centrifuge, University of California medical scientist John Gofman discovered several fat-like substances circulating in the blood, including LDL and VLDL. At this time - 60 years ago - he reported that total cholesterol (TC) was a "dangerously poor predictor" of heart disease.

keys 1951  Ancel Keys, professor, University of Minnesota, attends a conference in Rome on nutrition and disease and learns that heart disease was rare in some Mediterranean populations who consumed a lower fat diet. He noted, too, that the Japanese had low fat diets and low rates of heart disease. He hypothesized from these observations that fat was the cause of heart disease.   

1951  The Practise of Endocrinology, a textbook published by seven prominent British clinicians. The weight loss recommendations were almost identical to Banting's. Foods to be avoided:  Bread and everything else made with flour; cereals, including breakfast cereals and milk puddings; potatoes and all other root vegetables; foods containing sugar and all sweets.
     
1953  Ancel Keys, convinced that dietary fat is the cause of heart disease, published his Six Country Analysis, suggesting an association between dietary fat and mortality from heart disease. Critics pointed out that Keys had data for 22 countries, but selected data from just 6. (As an example, Keys excluded France, a country with a high fat diet and low rates of heart disease.) Keys cheated!
     
ike 1955  President Eisenhower suffers a first heart attack at age 64. He was put on a highly publicized low fat, low cholesterol diet. Over the next six weeks, twice daily press conferences were held on the president's condition. His total cholesterol at the time of the attack was 165 ml/dl. Eisenhower was ordered to eat dry toast and Sanka for breakfast and eat only 1 egg per week. His cholesterol continued to climb on a low fat, low cholesterol diet until it reached 259 the day he left office. Eisenhower had several more heart attacks and eventually died of heart disease.

goffman 1955  John Gofman reported that carbohydrates elevate VLDL - the lipoprotein that transports blood fats (triglycerides) made in the liver from excess carbohydrates. Gofman wrote, "Restricting carbohydrates would lower VLDL." Excess carbs = elevated triglycerides = more VLDL = increased risk of heart disease. John Peters, Yale School of Medicine, using a new analytical centrifuge, was able to quantify the triglyceride concentration in VLDL, confirming the work of Gofman. 
     
1956  American Heart Association (AHA) conducts a TV fundraiser on all three networks urging Americans to reduce their intake of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. AHA was recommending “heart-healthy” margarine, corn oil, breakfast cereal, and skim milk - the same diet Eisenhower was unhappily coping with. 
     
1956  John Gofman reports that the majority of people with heart disease had elevated triglycerides (TG) and depressed HDL - not “high cholesterol.” Gofman blamed heart disease on “Carbohydrate Induced Lipemia.” His research was largely ignored.

hilda 1957  Hilde Bruch, the foremost authority on childhood obesity wrote:  "The great progess in dietary control of obesity was the recognition that meat was not fat producing; but that it was bread and sweets which lead to obesity."
     
1957  Margarine outsold butter for the first time. Per capita consumption of margarine had grown to 9 pounds. For decades, margarine has been a significant source of trans fats in our diets.  While butter is a good source of infection-fighting Vitamin A, margarine has none. Margarine. vegetable shortening, and vegetable cooking oils contain excess omega 6 linoleic acid. If there's a fat of mass destruction - unsafe at any meal - this is it. Excess omega 6 causes injury and inflammation in the tissues of the body.  
   
1960  Blood test for insulin developed.
     
jack 1960  Jack La Lanne was America's only fitness guru! Obesity is not a public health issue. Revenue in the health club industry:  $200 million. When exercise was just having fun (not an obession), obesity was not a public health issue.
    
1961  American Heart Association raised $35 million dollars and officially adopts AHA board member Ancel Keys’ low fat diet. In January 1961, the same month Eisenhower leaves office, Keys made the cover of Time Magazine. From now on, the media amplifies the low fat = good health mantra - exciting stuff!  
     
1961  Framingham Heart Study (data from five years). Men under 50 with elevated cholesterol were at greater risk of  heart disease. However, this group of vulnerable middle-aged men were also more likely to smoke, be overweight, and not exercise. These became the famous Framingham “risk factors” and elevated cholesterol was at the top of the list. Also, these men had high blood sugar, an association entirely missed. And these were associations - not cause and effect. In Framingham, once men reached age 50 - the age when risk of heart attack increases - there was no association between elevated cholesterol and heart disease. This latter finding was greeted with breathtaking silence by U.S. cardiology.

1961 Pete Ahrens of Rockefeller University and Margaret Albrink of Yale reported that elevated triglycerides were associated with increased risk of heart disease and that low fat, high carbohydrate diets elevated triglycerides. Carbs - not fat - increased the risk of heart disease.

stamler 1966  Jeremiah Stamler, Northwestern University professor, AHA board member, and a supporter of Ancel Keys, promotes the switch to vegetable fats in his self-help book, Your Heart Has Nine Lives, funded by the makers of Mazola Corn Oil and Fleissmann's Margarine.
     
1967  In the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Peter Kuo, University of Pennsylvania, reported that of 286 atherosclerosis patients who had been referred to him, 90 percent had elevated triglycerides. This and all other research that challenged "the Gospel according to Keys" has been ignored and strongly disregarded.
     
1970  American Heart Association’s anti-fat guidelines now extend to children and pregnant women. As a direct consequence, the federal government’s WIC program – food assistance to women with infant children – only allows skim or low fat milk to children over age 2. Yes, that's right, a pregnant woman receives a voucher for non-fat or skim milk!

1970  Margaret Albrink, Peter Kuo, Lars Carlson, and Joseph Goldstein reported that elevated triglycerides (TG) were more common in heart disease patients than cholesterol. They confirmed that the majority of people with heart disease have what Gofman called "Carbohydrate Induced Lipemia."
     
1971  Best selling anti-meat Diet for a Small Planet is published - Francis Moore Lappe’s argument for vegetarianism in order to feed the world’s poor. During the post-Viet Nam 1970s, it was suggested that Americans feel guilty about having an abundance of good healthy food to eat. 
    
atkins 1972  Dr. Robert C. Atkins publishes Diet Revolution advocating a high fat diet for weight loss. Atkins sells a million copies in 6 months. Atkins first learned about the value of a high fat diet for weight loss in an article authored by Dr. Alfred Pennington in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

     
1973  American Medical Association (AMA) attacks Dr. Atkins calling his high fat diet a “dangerous fraud.” Atkins defends himself before a congressional committee – laughing all the way to the bank!
     
1974  Framingham Heart Study (24 years). Men with cholesterol levels below 190 mg/dl were three times more likely to get colon cancer as men with cholesterol over 220 mg/dl. In Framingham, there was a strong association between low cholesterol and premature death. Also, there was no relationship between elevated cholesterol and sudden death. 
     
enig 1976  FDA gives GRAS status (generally regarded as safe) to hydrogenated soybean oil – even though lipid biochemist Mary Enig, PhD, warned the government that  – among their many dangers - trans fats interfere with insulin receptors on cell membranes and thereby increase the risk of diabetes. It wasn't until 2005 that the Dietary Guidelines finally and weakly cautioned Americans to "limit trans fatty acids" by lumping them together with saturated fat into a dumb new meaningless category called "Bad Fat." 
     
1976  Nathan Pritikin opens his first “low fat” Longevity Center. One attendee is pudgy U.S. Senator George McGovern (Democrat, SD). Although he dropped out of the Pritikin program, Senator McGovern was convinced that fat made us fat and was responsible for "killer diseases" like cancer and heart disease. Nathan Pritikin committed suicide years later when his low fat diet failed to protect him from leukemia.
     
georgemcgovern 1976  Senator George McGovern's bipartisan, extra legislative Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs conducts 2 days of contentious hearings on “Diet and Killer Diseases.” Staffers are lawyers and ex-journalists without scientific training. In Good Calories, Bad Calories, Gary Taubes reports that McGovern and his staff went into the hearings strongly biased in favor of Keys' anti-fat hypothesis.  

 

1977  After conducting six additional hearings, McGovern's Senate Select Committee issues the final version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For the first time, an agency of the U.S. federal government is telling the American people to eat less fat. Nick Mottern, a vegetarian, whose heroes included Ancel Keys and Jeremiah Stamler, was given the task of writing the first ever Dietary Goals for the United States.

1977  “All hell broke loose” in Washington, D.C. after the guidelines were released. Major players -  like the American Medical Association - wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. Scientists in the government were almost aghast at what polititians in the government had wrought!

hfcs 1978  High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) enters the sweetener market. By 1985, 50 percent of the sweetener consumed by Americans was HFCS. In combination, HFCS and white sugar create a metabolic traffic jam in the liver, resulting in both greater insulin production and insulin resistance at the same time. Not good.
     
1980  Obesity levels in the US had remained between 12  to 14 percent from 1960 to 1980. After 1980 – and especially after 1990 – obesity grew dramatically. Today 49 states have obesity rates over 20 percent. (Colorado is under 20 percent.)
     
1980  U.S. Department of Agriculture releases the official first ever low fat Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In bold face on the cover:  “EAT LESS FAT, SATURATED FAT, AND CHOLESTEROL.” Finally, Key’s still unproven hypothesis that dietary fat was the cause of heart disease became the cornerstone of U.S. nutrition policies and education. 
    
1982  Disappointing results in the National Institutes of Health MRFIT study. Participants eating the low fat, high carbohydrate vegetable fat diet had more deaths than the “usual care” group left to their own devices. Two years after the passage of low fat Dietary Guidelines, a major study fails to prove that low fat diets were safe or effective.  
     
1984  More disappointing results in the NIH sponsored Lipid Research Clinic (LRC) study. But after tweaking the statistics, study director Basil Rifkind declared victory and asserted that now the federal government had definitive proof that lowering cholesterol and fat would reduce the risk of heart disease. Many reputable scientists questioned the methodology, "relative risk" statistics, and skewed results of the study, but LRC and a subsequent NIH “Consensus Conference” in 1984 ended any further public debate.  
     
hospital 1984  Anthony Gotto, president, American Heart Association, said, “If everyone went ahead with cholesterol-lowering, we will conquer atherosclerosis by the year 2000." Although millions of people are taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, the incidence of heart disease has not gone down as promised. Since the year 2000, five (5) new specialty heart hospitals costing more than $250 million dollars have been built just in the twin cities of Minneapolis and  St Paul.
     
1986  The NIH and the American Heart Association establish the National Cholesterol Education Program. Guidelines are issued following year. For the first time blood cholesterol ovrr 200 mg/dl is treated as a disease. Cereal companies, vegetable oil interests, and the American Medical Association eagerly join the long-awaited “War on Cholesterol.”
     
sugar 1986  The FDA says there is “no conclusive evidence” that sugar causes chronic disease. Since that time, the government has not funded any studies to test the hypothesis. According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, up to 25 percent of our calories can be consumed as sugar. No nutrients - no fiber - no problema!
     
cholesterol 1986  The same year the U.S. declared "War on Cholesterol," Japanese physicians warn that low blood cholesterol levels are strongly associated with strokes, the number one cause of death in Japan. As the percentage of fat in the Japanese diet increased, the incidence of deadly strokes declined. 
     
1987  An ignored finding in the Framingham Heart Study:  “Framingham residents whose cholesterol levels declined over the first 14 years were more likely to die prematurely of heart disease and cancer than those whose cholesterol remained the same or increased.” 
     
1987  Mevacor, the first cholesterol-lowering statin drug, was approved in record time. Statin drugs reduce both cholesterol and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). The muscles and heart use the most CoQ10. It isn’t surprising then that the incidence of congestive heart failure has more than doubled since 1990. (Merck has a patent on combining CoQ10 with a statin, but they have been sitting on it for decades.)

1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health is released:  "Highest priority is given to reducing fat intake."
     
syndromex1988  After 20 years researching carbohydrate metabolism, Gerald Reavan, MD, University of California, announces his discovery of “Syndrome X,” now referred to as Metabolic Syndrome or diabetes-related heart disease. Syndrome X is a cluster of abnormalities, including high blood sugar, high insulin levels, elevated triglycerides, and depressed levels of protective HDL. In his book Syndrome X, Dr. Reaven said the culprit in heart disease is excess sugar and excess easily-digested carbohydrates - not red meat. 
     
 1990  According to the CDC in Atlanta, type II diabetes took off like a "runaway train" around 1990. In the year 2000, the CDC reported that the lifetime risk of diabetes is now 1 in 3. Because 80 percent of diabetics die of heart disease, the “disease management system” in the U.S. will have to brace for a huge surge in heart disease and heart failure, already the number one Medicare expenditure. 
     
harvard1999  At the 14 year point in the Harvard Nurses Study, 3,000 nurses had developed cancer. According to study leader Walter Willett, the less fat the nurses ate the greater their risk of cancer. Willet said, “Saturated fat seems to be protective…” Even though dietary fat was exonerated, the American Cancer Society continues to blame red meat and fat on cancer – not sugar or excess carbohydrates.
     
2000  Soybean oil has 70 percent of the edible fat market in the U.S. Nutritious lard consumption:  Less than 1 pound per capita. 
     
2000  Sugar consumption in the U.S.:  150 pounds per capita.
     
2000  Butter consumption in the U.S.:  less than 4 pounds per capita.
     
2000 
Well over $1 billion had been spent on trials focusing on lowering LDL cholesterol. Little or no money, in comparison, has been spent researching the potential widespread dangers of added sugars, omega-6 industrial seed oils, or the official low fat diet.
 

  
2003  McGill University School of Medicine study found “enlarged hearts among obese teenagers, a strong predictor of serious heart problems in the future.”  The indicators of heart disease in children included insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, and depressed levels of beneficial HDL. 
     
2004  Obesity level in the U.S.:  Over 30 percent. 

obesity 2005 More than 30 percent of all Americans are clinically obese and revenue from the health club industry reaches $16 billion. Nearly 40 million Americans belong to health clubs. The exercise boom is failing to curb obesity, diabetes, or the incidence of heart disease. Science writer Gary Taubes is making a compelling argument that exercise helps you "work up an appetite."

2005  Butter is making a comeback! For the first time since 1957, butter outsells margarine.

2008  Sugar consumption in the US:  150 pounds per capita. With the 2010 Dietary Guideline revision process in their gunsights, the Corn Growers Association is spending $20 to $30 million on an 18 month TV ad campaign "targeting mothers" with the reassuring message that HFCS is perfectly okay for toddlers and children - young citizens whose lifetime risk of diabetes is 1 in 3.

2009  In the first six months of the year, the health care industry spent $263 million lobbying to protect their "health care" income. According to the October 7, 2009 USA Today, hospitals, doctors groups, device makers, and other trade groups are fighting hard to "protect their Fiefdoms." The U.S. "Disease Management Monopoly" is getting richer - a result of (1) an aging population and (2) a sharply higher incidence of chronic disease.

2010  The 2010 Dietary Guidelines continued their low fat = good health mantra. Unlike the media intensity over "health care reform," the 13-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) conducted its business behind closed doors. Though the DGAC is charged with basing their revision on the "Preponderance of the scientific and medical evidence," the evidence in favor of a higher fat diet was simply ignored. 

hotel2013  In 2013 in Dallas, the American Heart Association is inviting 33,000 cardiac experts - professionals who continue to follow the low fat Gospel according to Keys - to their grand annual conference. The city of Dallas has agreed to build a lavish new 1,100 bed "Four Star" hotel. A rightfully proud Mr. Phillip Jones, president and Ceo of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the event will generate an estimated $86 million for the city of Dallas. No surprise here. The AHA is a fundraising superstar with assets over $1 billion. The CEO earns over $500,000 annually - a tidy sum for the head cop of the low fat Dietary Guidelines.

pyramid2015  You guessed it; another chance to revise or gut the low fat guidelines.

 

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