There was a time when you could be skeptical about cholesterol’s role in cardiovascular prevention. There was uncertainty about causality, diet seemed to have little impact and the drugs were either ineffective or potentially dangerous. But then things changed. Medications improved, genetic causes of high cholesterol became clear, and the cardiovascular benefits of cholesterol reduction were demonstrated in multiple trials. So how did cholesterol denialism become a thing and why has it become the latest pseudoscience? By reviewing the history of the “cholesterol controversy,” Dr Christopher Labos will show how this scientific debate played out in a real time over the span of the 20th century and why the best description of the cholesterol controversy now is that there isn’t one.
Dr. Christopher Labos is a cardiologist with a master’s degree in Epidemiology. He is a columnist with the Montreal Gazette and Medscape, featured on the Sunday Morning House Call on CJAD radio, and has a regular TV segment with CTV Montreal and CBC Morning Live. He is an associate with the McGill Office of Science and Society and co-hosts the award-winning podcast “The Body of Evidence.” He is the author of “Does Coffee Cause Cancer?” published by ECW press, a story about food epidemiology and why food headlines are usually wrong. He occasionally practices as a cardiologist so he can buy groceries. To date no one has asked him for his autograph.