"Great Cholesterol Con" by Anthony Colpo - Book review

Amazon.com: The Great Cholesterol Con (9781430309338): Anthony Colpo: Books

book review by Joel M. Kauffman Phd -  http://www.usciences.edu/academics/collegesDepts/chemistry/Faculty/Kauffman.aspx

Joel M. Kauffman (Berwyn, PA United States)
- See all my reviews
The definitive book on the non-dangers of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat was The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, 2000. Anthony Colpo's book (GCC) has the advantage of being 6 years newer, thus much recent research has been included with individual citations in academic style. GCC also has the advantage that some more likely causes of heart disease are given, then constructive suggestions on lifestyle are given, and these are backed up by excellent references -- over 1400 of them (p xi). It is significant that the first forward is written by Ravnskov, MD, PhD, and a second forward by Duane Graveline, MD, MPH, who wrote Statin Drug Side-Effects, 2004.

In its 368 pages, 78 are references, and about 102 discuss why eating cholesterol and saturated fat do not cause heart disease. This leads to why the statin drugs such as Zocor and Lipitor are overpromoted and do not have a benefit because, even tho they can lower cholesterol levels, such lowering is shown not to be a benefit. About 73 more discuss what might actually cause heart disease. Another Section addresses overblown claims about other drugs to fight heart disease, better diets than low-fat, stress, supplements, alcohol and exercise. Appendices cover other interesting topics, such as lowering homocysteine levels and the false health claims of vegetarians, and of those who perform coronary angioplasty and bypass operations.

The actual evidence from studies in original peer-reviewed papers is presented, with clearly designed tables when the results of multiple trials were given. Colpo wrote the most detailed descriptions of the fraudulent work of Ancel Keys, MD, on the supposed toxicity of staturated fats, as well as on the misguided claims of Dean Ornish, MD, and Nathan Pritikin on low-fat diets I have seen. The unhealthy recommendations of several government agencies and NGOs are brought out. The instigation of Big Pharma is duly noted. On these topics, including recommending low-carb high-fat diets, and certain supplements, The Great Cholesterol Con is in good agreement with similar parts of my own recent book, Malignant Medical Myths (MMM), 2006, and gives much greater detail, and is easier to read, despite smaller print.

There is no index. There is no biographical data. Anthony Colpo is a medical writer and Physical Fitness Trainer who lives in Australia.

Most of Colpo's book is extremely well-researched, and worthwhile for almost anyone to read. Some possible exceptions: His recommendation for the supplement selenium (p195) did not mention that the study he quotes found a tripling of breast cancer (MMM, p239). Granted the p = 0.09 and the SU.VI.MAX study showed no such thing, but it made use of 4 supplements besides selenium in the intervention group. His use of relative risks (RRs) instead of absolute risks, despite showing how misleading RRs can be, is disappointing, but can be accepted when the direction of an intervention is shown to be opposite of the conventional expectation. There are some problems with the chemistry of unsaturated fats (p145). His description of blood alcohol levels and chance of collisions while driving did not mention that people unused to alcohol will drive poorly with much lower concentrations than the USA's vaunted 0.08%, while long-term alcoholics will only perform their best driving with much higher concentrations (p234ff). Colpo is more sanguine about exercise than I (MMM, pp144-161), but is careful not to recommend extreme exercise. None of this really detracts from a generally accurate work.

Colpo is very direct, working up finally to this Conclusion (p254): "There is every reason in the world to encourage people to exercise frequently, stop smoking, eat minimally processed foods, and find ways to get a handle on the stresses of modern life. The evidence for low-fat diets, on the other hand, is based on a mixture of erroneous assumptions, half-truths and downright lies."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Customer Reviews

50 Reviews
5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:

Average Customer Review
4.8 out of 5 stars (50 customer reviews)

Share your thoughts with other customers:
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 167 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Stuff, July 3, 2006