The way the media lies to us about health

Nutrition and Physical Activity

On ABC radio yesterday they reported on am Australian study by  Lisa Wood that shows saturated fat can worsen asthma.  “Associate Professor Lisa Wood discusses a new finding that an unhealthy diet high in saturated fats and low fresh food can exacerbate asthma and make it more difficult to treat.”

This was a little surprising to me,  given that saturated fats have recently been found to be beneficial. So I did a little bit of research only to find that the article itself by Lisa Wood says exactly the opposite  of what ABC radio reported.

She claims in her article that polyunsaturated fat is what makes asthma worse.  But by the time this makes it to an interview on ABC radio they are reporting the exact opposite! How does misinformation like this keep being propagated?


A google search on ‘fat worsens asthma’ shows this Australian study has gone viral! Everyone is quoting it…

“High saturated fat diets can render asthma inhalers ineffective.” (Daily Mail UK)

“Inflammatory foods include those high in saturated fat and refined sugar.” (SMH Australia)

We have shown that a higher saturated fat intake causes airway inflammation.” (ABC Australia)

“High-fat foods may trigger airway inflammation, study finds.” (LA Times)

The list goes on. They are all spring-boarding off one another with this sensational news that saturated fat and sugar worsen asthma.



I checked out the Author Lisa Wood’s site.   She has written a book called “Asthma and inflammation, Nutrition and Physical Activity in Inflammatory Diseases”

So what does she say in the section on saturated fat and asthma?

It’s actually an increase in polyunsaturated fat that has lead to an increase in asthma. Read it for yourself…

Polyunsaturated fat WORSE than saturated

TRUTH 1: Polyunsaturated fat is WORSE than saturated.

And Omega 3 fatty acids (found in grass-fed beef and fish) reduce asthma.

Omega 3 fats (in fish oil and grass fed beef) are good for asthma.

TRUTH 2: Omega 3 fats (e.g. in fish oil and grass fed beef) are GOOD for asthma.


So what about saturated fat and asthma?

Well according to the book it’s inconclusive – read the quote below.

Actually.. saturated fat may NOT be bad - more studies need to be done!

TRUTH 3: saturated fat may NOT be bad – more studies need to be done!

The first study of 1166 adolescents quoted in the paragraph above was  a study of teenagers in Taiwan filling in a diary of the food they ate. So yes, you can probably guess where the saturated fat came from… I doubt they were eating grass fed beef or coconut oil, more likely junk food full of sugar and carbs as well as fat.

On the other hand, 6  studies show that saturated fat does not worsen asthma and omega 3  fatty acids are good for asthma.

But what ends up getting reported all over the world? A lie! And people continue on with the myth that all saturated fat is unhealthy.

There is always more to the story than meets the eye.

A diet containing saturated fats such as olive oil, egg yolk, coconut oil and grass fed beef may be good for asthma, yet the media is in a frenzy spreading the exact opposite message.

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