Oxidized LDL and coronary heart disease

Part 4: Conclusion

In a critical review of the question of the value of antioxidants, scientists from the University of Bern, Switzerland, the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA, and King's College, London, UK, point out that there are several problems with chemicals that are considered to be antioxidants:[1]

Firstly, many antioxidants are not absorbed into the body from the gut and so can do no good; secondly, chemicals that have antioxidant activity when tested in laboratory dishes, as most are, may have an entirely different effect or no effect at all when ingested into the body; and thirdly, the 'antioxidants' are not always beneficial and may actually be harmful.

They conclude that after a period of flourishing research on oxidants and antioxidants,

'It is time . . . to critically reflect on the field. Speculation that many (if not all) diseases are related to radical damage needs to be supported by more secure data. The hope that antioxidants can prevent or cure a number of pathological situations also requires reconsideration. . . . Finally, the discrepancies in the outcome of intervention studies may be understood if, instead of considering the simple paradigm of bad oxidants and good antioxidants, scientists will start to talk about the real molecular function of such compounds in each particular situation.

Whenever studies such as these are reported, the diet police repeat their dogma that eating the recommended number of fruit and vegetables has numerous health benefits; they say that the evidence is 'overwhelming'. But they never seem able to quote any of that evidence or to specify exactly what the benefits are. In view of the above studies, that will probably come as no real surprise. The point is that, just like almost all the health advice we have had forced down our throats and come to believe over the last few decades, there is practically no basis for '5 portions' advice in science.

Dr Barnett Kramer, of the National Institutes of Health in the US, said of the healthy eating message:

'A lot of the public is completely unaware that the strength of the message is not matched by the strength of the evidence.'

That we are still kept unaware of it demonstrates just how strong an influence the diet dictocrats have on our minds and the news media.


1. Azzi A, et al. Free radical biology — terminology and critical thinking. FEBS Letters 2004; 558: 3-6.

Part 1: Oxidized LDL | Part 2: Take antioxidants? | Part 3: Or drink coffee? | Part 4: Conclusion

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Last updated: December 9, 2011