What is the 'lipid hypothesis'?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 24, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Ive heard this term a few times now, but I have no idea what it means.

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on June 24, 2012
at 04:03 PM

The lipid hypothesis states that high blood cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and that reducing cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease. This hypothesis (very well debunked) has led lots of folks to avoid saturated fat.

Christopher Masterjohn explains it well:

In 1976, Ahrens first popularized* the term "lipid hypothesis" to refer specifically to the hypothesis that increased levels of cholesterol in the blood increase the risk for heart disease. He published a paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine entitled, "The Management of Hyperlipidemia: Whether, Rather than How." Here's what he wrote: What is The Lipid Hypothesis?

The Lipid Hypothesis is the postulate, based on Framingham (8) and similarly derived data, that reducing the level of plasma cholesterol in an individual or in a population group will lead to a reduction in the risk of suffering a new event of coronary heart disease. It is a premise based on the undisputed fact that people with higher plasma cholesterol levels have more and earlier coronary heart disease than do others with lower cholesterol levels; but the premise has not yet been proved true to the satisfaction of epidemiologists and biostatisticians or of the medical community at large. The Lipid Hypothesis, then, is simply an inference derived from accepted facts (Figure 1); though the hypothesis has been put to the test repeatedly in the past two decades, completely satisfactory evidence has not yet been advanced either pro or con.

Mainstream medicine, greatly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry which makes a huge amount of money on cholesterol-lowering drugs, perpetuates the myth.

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