Extremely well-researched and thorough. This book really opened my eyes! It's turned my deeply-ingrained beliefs about nutrition & health upside down, and has caused me to rethink my own eating habits. Anyone having an interest in finding truth in a sea of contradictory nutrition advice should read this book. This is not yet another case of an author pushing a personal agenda (he emphatically states that he's not affiliated with any interest groups). Rather, he lets the references speak for themselves.
My only complaint is that layout could have been cleaner (less busy) with catchier, crisper heading fonts. But this in no way detracts from the book's highly important content. Again, a must-read for those seriously wanting facts.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
220 of 226 people found the following review helpful
The Right StuffJuly 3 2006
Joel M. Kauffman
- Published on Amazon.com
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."
203 of 211 people found the following review helpful
A Self-Serving Fantasy IndeedJune 14 2006
Dr. Herbert Nehrlich
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a fantastic book .
Reading it, I imagined Colpo to be a top scientist in his own little laboratory, wrinkled (once white) coat, long fuzzy beard and surrounded by mountains of disorderly stacks of paper.
Here is a book, written for the layman and professional alike, it is an eye opener even for those of us who have long known that the cholesterol theory was rubbish from the very beginning.
It must have taken ages to put this book together, it is easy to understand and written with the diligence and enthusiasm of an analytical and caring mind.
No, Colpo is no guru who is trying to persuade people to buy some outlandish theory or its relevant nostrums, he presents crucial information and supports it all in a most admirable fashion. References that will smart in certain quarters and will make him a few enemies abound.
Books have been written about the Cholesterol Dilemma since Professor George Mann made that famous statement in the seventies about the Cholesterol Hypothesis being the biggest deception of mankind in the history of Medicine. Ravnskov comes to mind, his "The Cholesterol Myths" is a classic that should be in every library.Layman Frank Cooper wrote a book for the masses from his perspective of a Familial Hypercholesterolaemia sufferer, "Cholesterol And The French Paradox" and Professor Walter Hartenbach enlightened the German market with his great work "Die Cholesterinluege" ("The Cholesterol Lie").
Until this book was written, there seemed to be something missing in my bookshelf corner reserved for the subject. Colpo's book fills the gap admirably. It's a pleasant read as well, being so well organised.
I don't know how long it will take for the establishment to wake up to this PUBLICLY, it never ceases to amaze me how so many physicians could have uncritically accepted the fairytale about a most natural and essential substance being the cause of cardiovascular disease. Yet they did and they are being amply repaid for their herd mentality and indifference.
The previous reviewer asks about the time in our history when we lost control and accepted that Big Pharma and the Sickness Industry would run our lives. Petr Skrabanek places this time, when the "Death Of Humane Medicine" occurred into the mid fifties. Shortly after Ancel Keys came up with his ridiculous claim about the substance cholesterol that he saw as a major killer. It comes down to money, the business of scaring people into complying with a politically correct cholesterol level brings great financial rewards.Statins are extremely lucrative inspite of the fact that they cause all kinds of side effects, some of them deadly.
The book shows, in so many different ways, that we need to look at our relationship with those who peddle something they call "healthcare" . When Big Pharma and Big Medicine work together it must result in a colossal amount of unnecessary and arrogant intervention in people's lives, it is a tool for the transfer of wealth and thus a detriment to all.
Read Colpo's book, buy it, buy your doctor a copy and give one to the library. Most importantly, thank your lucky stars to have heard about the book. It may be the one thing that can save your life or that of someone in the neighbourhood .
106 of 111 people found the following review helpful
An impressive undertaking from Mr. ColpoJan. 10 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
First off, regarding the book by Anthony Colpo I have to commend him on the totality of this work. This is how ALL reference books should be written. This is no trendy, diet book but rather this is an in-depth review of a timely topic that touches every one of us. Anthony does not present us with his opinion and recommendations but he systematically dissects every aspect of the medical community, drug manufacturers, food providers and the end consumers (you & me) and clearly illustrates how we have arrived at the dire state of poor health that we now find ourselves. He documents how a seemingly obvious conclusion from a misguided health official back in the 50's has lead us down a rocky road to misdiagnosed conclusions regarding Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and the correct course of action we need to take to regain our health.
Believe it or not, the drug companies and health care institutions do not have your optimal health in mind; quite frankly this is bad for business. After all, if we were all healthy then there would be no need for addressing CHD or launching a full scale war on cholesterol. Their desire is to develop a panacea that will cure us all of heart related illnesses while allowing us to continue on with our current lifestyles. Mr. Colpo clearly demonstrates how our reliance on processed foods, the over emphasis on carbohydrates and bad advise regarding fats has lead us to the sorry state of health that we are now at. And how the drug companies see themselves as the saviors of society's health problems by providing an ever more potent array of statin drugs; all with exceedingly poor results.
Secondly, on a personal level, I have been living through the lie that all of has been lead to believe. In 1989 my cholesterol levels were off the charts, I was young and in shape but my use of statins and similar drugs was mandatory according to my various physicians. I have personally experienced almost all of the adverse effects of statins from low energy, weak muscles, memory loss, hormonal changes and on and on... My life had become so dismal that I ended up looking for alternate answers. Since understanding the truth behind that myths I have changed my diet, stopped taking prescribed medications and I have started taking supplements to repair much of the damage that has been wrought upon me over these many years. Today I feel better than I have in 6 years and I have a new appreciation for what food is for and how it can affect my overall health.
This book should be required reading for everyone. Not only those that have a cholesterol problem but everyone who wants to understand how the body utilizes the food and nutrients that we provide it (or fail to provide it!). Read this book and then do what I did; give it to your doctor to read. The facts presented in this book are irrefutable, well researched and documented. If your doctor has the open mind that he or she should have, then they will be convinced as well.
Thank you Mr. Colpo & well done. Your work has made a dramatic change in my own quality of life and I applaud your due diligence in writing this book.
60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
On who's side are you? Last warning to a naive medical professionJune 15 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I read Anthony Colpo's `The Great Cholesterol Con' from cover to cover in about a week and I must confess I had to put it in another room a few hours per day in order to accomplish my regular duties. This is by far the best, most comprehensive analysis of `the greatest scam in the history of medicine' (professor George Mann in 1977!) I have ever read. No stone has been left untouched, counter arguments are systematically dealt with and the reader is offered clear cut, straight forward advises on how to maintain or restore his own health. Mr Colpo must have spent years in medical libraries. No academic - not even his fiercest opponents - will deny that this work would have brought him a glowing PhD, if it were an official dissertation. This is not your middle of the road fitness coach, this is a scientific expert propelled by a holy fire to separate fact from fiction and gifted with an irresistable writing style (a rare combination). Mr Colpo's father - who died from a heart attack in his fifties and to whom the book is dedicated - would have all the reasons in the world to be very, very proud.
As a medical journalist in The Netherlands - arguably the most nutrition `expert' dense area in the world - I have learned the hard way that when it comes to nutrition and health, you'd better repeat exactly what the `experts' say. Presenting the naked scientific facts is a dangerous enterprise. Investigative reporting on medical and nutrition issues can seriously jeopardize your career. Medical writers who dare to expose the flaws in the main stream explanation of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular heart disease, risk their reputation and even their income. When Dr Uffe Ravnskov's book `The Cholesterol Myths' - a meticulously researched, razor sharp exposé of the assumption that cholesterol is the cause of heart disease - was burned in a Finnish TV show, I could hardly believe it. This changed when I wrote an investigative article about the massively under reported adverse effects of statin therapy (a disaster in progress). I was hung out on TV as a reckless murderer. No arguments, just outrageous furie. For some reason the media are an extremely poor source of medical and health information.
Researchers who want funding, support, media coverage and the approval and admiration of peers, better make sure their intervention also hammers down cholesterol levels, or they're down and out. As Anthony Colpo states, most of todays interventions to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease are not based on science, but rather on religion and greed. Our children's children will look back and rightly conclude that the Middle Ages of medicine reached an all time low just after the year 2000.
If you want to know the sad truth behind many of the currently prevailing health advises, buy this book. It contains very real, precious information, painstakingly collected and analysed. Actually, it's way to cheep. It provides the intelligent reader (don't buy this book if you are chronically stupid) with a wealth of tools to improve his or her health. Read it carefully, keep it at hand as a lexicon and confront your doctor with the arguments once he tries to lure you into statin therapy or advises you to follow a low fat diet. If you are in search for unadulterated facts, you will praise the moment you purchased The Great Cholesterol Con, and like Dr Graveline rightly states: it might save your life. I would not be surprised if this book turns out to be a landmark publication. I'm actually quite convinced that one day it will be `must read stuff' for medical students: the coverage of a black page in medical history. The lesson: never stop thinking for yourself. It is also a strong warning to doctors, dietitians, journalists and anyone who has influence on other people's health. The excuse `Wir haben es nicht gewusst' is - thanks to Colpo - no longer valid.
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Great Content, bad TypographyDec 3 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
This is the fifth book I've read on the subject of Cholesterol and the "Lipid Hypothesis". Colpo's book is much more comprehesnsive than the others, excellent though some of them are in their own right also.
I've studied the medical literature on cholesterol and CHD for 3 years or more and have always wondered why relatively few side effects show up in clinical the trials written up in JAMA or NEJM etc., when compared with the reports of negative side effects in use. Colpo's book is the only one that I recall has an answer for that question. Colpo explains that study participants usually go through a prelimnary screening to ensure that people can stay with the drug for a number of years. Well that would pretty much rule out folks who had bad side effects wouldn't it? For example in the HPS study roughly 32,000 people were initially taken into the study and began using the study medicine, for the "run in period". However only around 20,500 people "were randomized" to actually participate in the full study for its duration. The other 11,000+ people did not take part in the study for a variety of reasons, many good sound medical reasons, while some "chose not to enter the trial or did not seem likely to be compliant for 5 years" as the article in the Lancet worded it.
This may be a great way to get the maximum number of people to participate in a prolonged study, but it is also a good way to exclude folks who have adverse side effects to the drug being studied. This is just one of the many "exposes" in the book.
I would have given the book 5 stars but the font of the book is just too small. The book runs to 244 pages before getting to the Appendixes and the large number of end notes. Colpo packs a lot of information into those pages and that undoubtedly explains the small font, at least partially. I'd really like to see a republished version using a larger font in the main text of the book and some editing to make it less wordy.
I also thought the way all the material was organized could have been better. But all in all this is still a very good book to read to see how Big Pharma succeeds in maximizing the sales and profits from selling Statins.