Intervening is a way of causing trouble.
Risk at both ends of the scale
The smaller number of heart deaths in the soybean trial of Dr. Dayton and his team, mentioned in chapter 6, was offset by a larger number of cancer deaths. Does it mean that soybean oil causes cancer?
Diet-heart proponents would argue that Dr. Dayton’s soybean trial was an anomaly, and that other trials with polyunsaturated fat have not resulted in more cancer. However, never before had such huge amounts of polyunsaturated fat been eaten over such a long period of time. Dr. Dayton’s patients were also much older than in the other trials, and thus more susceptible to cancer, which means that a possible cancer-provoking effect could be detected more easily.
Another disquieting fact is that many studies have reported a low cholesterol to be a risk factor for cancer. The purpose of these studies was to follow a great number of individuals for many years to see if the Framingham researchers were right when they claimed that high cholesterol means a high risk of a heart attack. Surprisingly, these more recent studies revealed that it was just as dangerous to have a very low cholesterol level, as it was to have a very high one. Those who had very low cholesterol levels had a greater incidence of cancer while those with very high cholesterol suffered more heart attacks.
Most investigators thought that low cholesterol levels were not the cause but the result of the cancer since cancer cells need cholesterol, just as any other cells do. Perhaps their rapid growth and greater need for cholesterol reduced the cholesterol levels in the blood?
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