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January 24 , 2008

Cholesterol and Beyond

The Research on Diet and Coronary Heart Disease 1900-2000


“Only once in a great while does a book come along that really does the job in addressing a major medical issue. When this happens, all can be joyful… Readers will find ALL their favorite dietary puzzlements dealt with… With consummate scholarship, clarity and brevity, Truswell sifts out the chaff and identifies the critical questions, the responsible investigators, and the key studies.” So says Emeritus Professor Henry Blackburn from the University of Minnesota in the foreword to this remarkable concise book on the history of research on diet and heart disease. This was a theme of scientific, medical and public interest in the 20th Century, a century marked by the rise and fall of coronary heart disease as the major cause of death in the first world, followed by the rise of this cause of death in the developing world. There is obviously much to learn, and this book is an excellent starting point, tracing dietary factors and their role in heart disease one by one: fats, sugar, salt, alcohol, coffee, trans-fats, etc. Without an understanding of the role of diet and the changes that have been seen in the North American and NW European diet, the story of the decline in the heart disease death rate may have been very different.
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