Why were the results of a 40 year old study never published?

Was it because the findings challenged popular belief at the time and threatened to overturn everything the current dietary guidelines were based on?

The study, led by Dr Ivan Frantz Jr. (University of Minnesota Medical School) ran from 1968-1973. More than 9000 patients living in state mental hospitals or nursing homes took part. They were given either meals rich in saturated fats (animal fats and produce) or fed a diet rich in linolenic acid, from corn oil.Dr Frantz Jr.

Worked alongside one of the most influential scientists of the time, Ancel Keys, who played a major role in promoting the dangers to health of saturated fat consumption. His influence led to government dietary guideline changes.

A diet high in unsaturated fat may not decrease the risk of heart disease

If this study by Dr Frantz Jr. Threatened to undermine current popular belief could this be the reason it was left to gather dust in the University archives?

After uncovering the research and analysing the results, Christopher E.

Ramsden and his team from the National Institute of Health made some interesting discoveries. They found that switching from saturated fat to unsaturated fat (omega 6) did cause a significant drop in blood pressure and cholesterol. However, there was no evidence to suggest it lowered the risk of heart disease. In fact, the study suggests the lower the cholesterol of the individual, the higher the risk of heart disease.

In 2013, this same team also uncovered another long forgotten paper, this one conducted in Australia in 1960. Again, the results of this study were never completely analysed or published, yet they suggest similar results.

What these studies do possibly highlight is that perhaps the link between dietary fat and heart disease is not as clear cut as previously thought.

Nutrition and health experts argue there is sufficient evidence to suggest the link between saturated fat and heart disease and that Dr Frantz Jr’s work did not represent the wider population.

The study findings were published in the BMJ this week.

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