Here are just a few of the studies I mentioned in the call today. This issue (fat/cholesterol causes heart disease) is immense in the lessons it holds for how our government develops public policy based on what we think we know is "scientifically proven." I believe humility and "do no harm" principles should prevail in public health policy because we seldom know everything we need to know and many times what we think we know as unassailable fact turns out to be untrue or incomplete.
My point is simply that public policy designed to punish or encourage certain human health behaviors holds tremendous risk of doing harm -- perhaps more harm than good -- and we are better off making all the relevant information available and letting individuals make up their own minds about what interventions to make in their lives.
By the way, while my father and his brother may have been protected against Parkinson's from lifelong smoking my Mother's two brothers died young of lung cancer (age 42) and emphysema (age 63). Individual risk profiles seem to make the difference but I have never smoked and even though I see my aunt dying a horrible, prolonged death from Parkinson's, I am not inclined to smoke. I might consider, however, a less dangerous intervention that also modifies MAO enzymes in the brain (such as green tea) that at this point in time is thought to be possibly one of the important factors in the protective effect. One day we may be able to identify individual risk profiles for Parkinson's like we can already do for certain breast cancers and take protective actions on an individual basis. I hope you find this information interesting and perhaps it will challenge your assumptions.
Links on Diet/Health/Saturated Fat
First I'll give you a link on Gary Taubes since his work is the most comprehensive and compelling on the entire diet/health hypothesis.
Since you indicated an understandable unwillingness to wade through the 700 page Gary Taubes "Good Calories, Bad Calories" book which outlines how the conventional wisdom is wrong about diet, you may be interested in a video (45 min) of a talk he did to the Dartmouth Medical school titled "Adiposity 101" which is a shortened version of his argument. It is very interesting and even entertaining and includes very good slides. The link is http://dhslides.org/mgr/mgr060509f/f.htm
The recent article (March 2010) that concludes that there is no evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease:
Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease1,2,3,4,5 http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/91/3/535
Patty W Siri-Tarino, Qi Sun, Frank B Hu and Ronald M Krauss Am J Clin Nutr 91: 535-546, 2010. First published January 13, 2010; doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725
Vol. 91, No. 3, 535-546, March 2010
The Cholesterol Myth -- By T. J. Moore http://www.chelationtherapyonline.com/technical/p35.htm
(This is the 1989 Atlantic Monthly article that first challenged the interpretation of all the studies you mentioned that "prove" saturated fat causes heart disease. It goes through the major studies that were used to establish this hypothesis and shows how the studies do not support the connection that was made by the medical and public health establishment. This is the only free website I could find where it is provided online. It is also online at the Atlantic website (archives) but you must be a subscriber to access it online.
Links on Low-Carb diets and Parkinson's/Smoking:
The Atkins Diet revamped?
By JENNIFER LARUE HUGET The Washington Post March 3, 2010, 3:42PM http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/lif ... 95250.html
Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women The A TO Z Weight Loss Study: A Randomized Trial
JAMA. 2007;297:969-977. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/297/9/969
Smoking Associated With Lower Parkinson's Disease Riskhttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 171619.htm