Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Dietary fat intake and risk of stroke in male US healthcare professionals: 14 year prospective cohort study

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 02 October 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:777

Rapid Response:

Unfounded allegations about dietary fat

Dr. He
and colleagues´ finding1 that
intake of
total fat, cholesterol, or specific types of fat are not associated with stroke
does not surprise those who have followed the scientific literature about the
diet-heart idea from the very beginning. What surprises me is their statement
that there is strong evidence that type of dietary fat predicts risk of coronary
heart disease. Except for trans fat there is no such evidence at all. In a
review2 of the relevant ecological, dynamic population,
cross-sectional, case-control, and cohort studies almost all of them were
inconclusive or, most often, contradictive, and in two meta-analyses of the
dietary trials2-4 the number of deaths in treatment and control
groups were identical. There is no support either from the study used as
evidence by He et al,5 because the weak association found between
intake of saturated fat and coronary heart disease in that study disappeared
after adjustment for other risk factors.



  1. He
    K, Merchant A, Rimm EB, et al.
    Dietary fat intake
    and risk of stroke in male US healthcare professionals: 14 year prospective
    cohort study. BMJ 2003;327:777-782 (4 October) [Full
  2. Ravnskov
    U. The questionable role of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids
    in cardiovascular disease.
    J Clin Epidemiol 1998;51:443-460. [Abstract
  3. Hooper
    L, Summerbell CD, Higgins JPT, Thompson RL, Capps NE, Davey Smith G,
    Riemersma RA, Ebrahim S. Dietary fat intake and prevention of cardiovascular
    disease: systematic review. BMJ 2001;322:757-763 (31 March) [Full
  4. Ravnskov
    U. Diet-heart disease hypothesis is wishful thinking . BMJ 2002;324:238 ( 26 January )
  5. Hu
    FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, Rimm E, Colditz GA, Rosner BA, et al. Dietary
    fat intake and the risk of coronary heart disease in women. N Engl J Med
    1997;337: 1491-1499.[Abstract/Free
    Full Text]

Competing interests:  
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 October 2003
Uffe Ravnskov
Independent researcher
Magle Stora Kyrkogata 9, S-22350 Lund, Sweden