Reader Mail: Readers Respond En Masse to Janet Brill

Wow…the recent posts about Janet Brill appear to have really struck a chord with readers; I haven’t received this much email since the Great Eades Smackdowns (Parts One and Two)! I’ve reprinted some of the correspondence and my replies below; after a while I gave up trying to answer it all and hence some of the emails below aren’t accompanied by a dedicated reply from yours truly.  To all of you who wrote with kind of words of support, I apologize if I didn’t personally reply but please accept my sincere and heartfelt gratitude. I mean it. It’s so refreshing to know there are plenty of folks around who are distinctly unimpressed by the pompous braggado of self-aggrandizing ‘academics’ and ‘best-selling’ book authors.

Readers’ Reactions to Janet Brill

P, quoting Janet Brill, writes: 

“As for Mr. Colpo’s other deprecating comments regarding the LDL theory of heart disease, they are so totally absurd that they merit neither serious consideration nor a response from me other than the fact that in 1985, Brown and Goldstein were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of the role of LDL in atherosclerosis.”

Big deal.  Barack Obama won a “Nobel Prize” too.

For nothing. 

Anthony replies:

Yup. Other winners of this “prestigious” ‘peace’ prize include such humanitarian warmongers as Henry Kissinger, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Menachem Begin, Yasser Arafat, and global warming huckster and hypocrite Al Gore. While militant megalomaniacs and pseudoscientists are evidently A-OK with the Nobel Committee, Mahatma Gandhi was never awarded a prize, nor were such truly great scientists as Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

Interestingly, Alfred Nobel, creator of the Nobel Prize, was also the inventor of dynamite, so I guess it’s rather fitting the prize often goes to individuals who’ve exerted explosive and destructive effects on their fellow humans.

RJ, quoting Janet Brill, writes: 

 “As for Mr. Colpo’s other deprecating comments regarding the LDL theory of heart disease, they are so totally absurd that they merit neither serious consideration nor a response from me other than the fact that in 1985, Brown and Goldstein were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of the role of LDL in atherosclerosis.”

I’m stunned. What in blazes is this woman’s problem? You correctly reported the results of a plethora of published peer-reviewed studies that clearly contradict the LDL hypothesis. These studies were conducted by scientists and doctors (real ones!) at universities, hospitals, and dedicated research institutes. This woman wallows on and on about her academic credentials then flippantly dismisses the work of authentic scientists. Not only does she wrongly consider herself smarter than non-PhDs, she considers the work of other PhDs as “totally absurd” when it does not wash with her personal beliefs.


Anthony replies:

RJ, that’s exactly what I thought when I read that quote. I’m not sure what fantasy world Brill dwells in, but I did not make up the results of the studies, as anyone who bothers to pull them up and read them firsthand will readily observe. The findings I relayed were findings reported by professional clinical researchers in the peer-reviewed literature, including some of the most widely-read and most ‘esteemed’ journals in the medical sciences. For Brill to snidely dismiss these findings, obtained by researchers far more experienced and prolific in clinical research than she, as “totally absurd” is a sad, sad testament to her woefully biased mindset.

J writes:

Found one of Dr Brill's published papers, it’s on the Mediterrean Diet, have not read it yet, but I am guessing you will be able to have some fun with it:

Bond Brill J. The Mediterranean Diet and Your Health. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 2009; 3: 44.



Anthony replies:

Hey J, I’m not sure reading anything by Brill could ever be considered “fun” but, what the heck, let’s give it a go.

Just give me a moment to pull up the paper and quickly read through it.

[Sound of Anthony clicking his mouse, sipping extra-strength ginger tea, and singing “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols].

“God save the Queen, The Fascist regime…”

Oh dear.

“God save the Queen, She ain’t no human being…”

Oh my.

“Don’t be told what you want, Don’t be told what you need …”

Oh boy…

“God save the Queen, We mean it man…”

Holy cow…this is awful!

Reach for your rubber boots folks: When the opening line of a ‘scientific’ paper begins with the words “The pioneering work of Ancel Keys and colleagues’ famed Seven Countries Study…", you know you’re going to have to trudge through a whole lot of bovine excrement.

Brill gushes, "Keys’s concept that the blood cholesterol level and, consequently, risk of CHD were greatly influenced by what was served at mealtimes was such a radical idea at the time that it landed him on the cover of Time magazine on January 13, 1961."

Whoopee.  Adolf Hitler was also considered a wee bit radical and also made the cover of Time. As ensuing events have demonstrated, humankind would have been far, far better off had both these individuals found alternate forms of employment. Imagine how many CHD victims would still be alive today if Keys was laughed out of academia, forced to make ends meet as a sanitation worker, and people listened to folks like Dr John Yudkin (a critic of Keys and one of the first to emphasize the link between refined sweeteners such as sucrose and CHD) and Dr Jerome Sullivan (father of the Iron Hypothesis of CHD) instead?

Brill seems to be awestruck by ‘prestigious’ accolades such as Time covers and Nobel Prizes and best-selling author status, but let the record show that some of history’s biggest sleazeballs and hucksters have been the recipient of such awards.

Brill claims that Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study"established a strong ecological correlation between serum cholesterol level and mortality from coronary heart disease (CHD) in 16 cohorts of participants from 7 countries."

Let’s set the record straight: Ancel Keys’ ‘pioneering’ work on the lipid hypothesis was an absolute disgrace. It was without question some of the most appallingly sloppy and selective work ever conducted in the nutritional and health sciences. That this garbage research was allowed to determine the direction of coronary medicine for the next 60 years is a shameful testament, not just to the medical profession, but to the gullibility of human beings in general.

Brill spends an inordinate amount of time deriding my book The Great Cholesterol Con, but if she’d just take an extra-strength, extended release anti-smugness pill and read through the damn thing, she’d learn a hell of a lot – including the truth about her hero Keys.

It was Ancel Keys’ shamelessly biased Six and Seven Countries studies that really got the anti-saturate, anti-cholesterol ball rolling, and the Six countries farce was first off the line[1,2]. When Keys put together his Six Countries charade, data on fat intake and mortality were actually available for 22 countries. But Keys simply hand-picked the countries that gave the correlation he was after, and blatantly ignored the rest.  When a pair of non-biased researchers - Yerushalmey and Hilleboe - subsequently plotted the data for all 22 countries on a graph, Keys’ strong, positive, linear association between fat intake and mortality disappeared faster than an unlocked Ferrari parked in Elizabeth West[3].

Unfortunately, it was Keys, not Yerushalmey and Hilleboe, who manoeuvred his way onto the American Heart Association's nutrition advisory committee. It was the AHA committee that penned the pivotal 1961report[4] that implicated cholesterol in heart disease and recommended the substitution of polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats via increased vegetable oil and margarine consumption (a decision that was quietly backed away from many years later when linoleic- and trans-fat-rich vegetable oils and shortenings became linked to a whole host of health problems including cancer and heart disease).

Those of you who’ve read TGCC (as in actually read it, not glanced at the cover, snorted “hmph!”, then dismissed me as a mental escapee for having the temerity to state something that can’t possibly be true but is in fact rock solid fact…) will know that the AHA had also issued a statement in 1957[5]. But that one was cautious and considered, and stated that the evidence linking cholesterol and saturated fats with heart disease was in fact quite weak. Only four years later, the AHA was telling us all to trim our meat, throw away our eggs, and use refined vegetable fats instead. What changed?

It certainly wasn’t the appearance of new clinical trial data confirming the shady epidemiological link between cholesterol, saturates and CHD; there wasn’t any.  What did change was that only two of the five authors responsible for the cautious 1957 report returned to pen the 1961guidelines; among the new arrivals were Keys and Jeremiah Stamler, another famous proponent of the lipid hypothesis. The remaining members of the committee were Irvine Page, Frederick Stare (who also went on to become a well-known propagator of the lipid hypothesis), Edgar Allen, and Francis Chamberlain.

After his fraudulent Six Countries caper, Keys should have been booed and hissed right out of the research arena. Instead, he was given a bunch of taxpayer money to go conduct another biased farce, again involving a small, carefully handpicked selection of countries.

The Seven Countries Study (Finland, Greece, Italy, Japan, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, and the U.S.A.) began in 1958. Groups of men residing in all these countries were examined at the start of the study then followed for ten years.

Comparisons between these cherry-picked countries showed that saturated fat was the best predictor of heart disease risk. Within countries however, the association disappeared. This is a crucial point, because comparisons within nations, where the residents experience similar environmental, cultural, economic and political conditions, are less likely to be swayed by confounding variables than those between different nations.

Inside countries, cardiovascular mortality varied widely between regions, despite similar dietary habits and risk factors. In Finland, CHD deaths were four times higher in Karelia than in Turku, despite similar diets. In Greece, Cretans experienced a far lower incidence of CHD than residents of Corfu, despite similar saturated fat intakes. ECG readings also showed no correlation between diet and heart disease risk.

The study also claimed an association between serum cholesterol levels and heart disease. The lowest cholesterol levels were found amongst the Japanese, while the U.S. and Finland had the highest mean serum cholesterol readings. But the lowest rates of heart disease in the study occurred in Crete, in Greece, where average cholesterol levels were positioned right in the middle of the two extremes. The Cretans, in fact, were the healthiest participants in the entire study, experiencing the lowest death rates not just from heart disease, but all causes.

The Cretans had an average serum cholesterol of 202; across Greece, on the island of Corfu, cholesterol levels were 198, yet coronary deaths were five times higher. In Crevalcore and Montegiorgio, two different districts in Italy, mean serum cholesterol levels were identical, yet death rates from heart disease were 2.5 times higher in the former. In Rome, Croatia and the Netherlands, serum cholesterol also showed no relationship with CHD mortality. As with saturated fat, cholesterol levels within nations were not a reliable indicator of heart disease risk[6].

Keys, true to his usual form, simply ignored these numerous contradictions and claimed his study showed low cholesterol levels and a low fat intake, especially from saturates, reduced heart disease risk. Numerous researchers challenged his conclusions, but Keys' theory received much wider publicity. His membership on the nutrition advisory committee member of the highly influential American Heart Association saw to it that his fallacious theories were officially incorporated into AHA dietary guidelines.

Keys was a pioneer, there's no denying that; his sloppy research heralded a long tradition in which mainstream authorities would selectively cite epidemiological research of questionable validity to support the non-existent role of cholesterol and saturated fats in the causation of heart disease.

As for the rest of Brill’s paper, it’s a typical “We have no clue really, but let’s try to round up the research, make some sense of it, and put together some kind of coherent concept” exercise. Actually, there’s nothing inherently wrong with such attempts – sometimes we really don’t have a full picture of an emerging area of study and it is indeed helpful to periodically update where our current knowledge on the topic is at. But to be truly helpful, these reviews need to be based on factual information rather than biased and wishful thinking.

On this count, Brill’s review fails miserably. Her prime, number one “necessary component” of a “unified Mediterranean diet” is "daily consumption of several servings of whole grains (minimally processed)".

This, despite the fact that:

  1. Whole grains are not, and never have been, a staple food in Mediterranean countries. The French, Italian, and Spanish use and have traditionally used white flour and white rice in their breads, baguettes, biscotti, pastas, risottos, and paellas. I discuss this in my original reply to Brill’s antagonism, right here:
  2. Numerous controlled clinical trials have shown whole-grains to result in poorer health outcomes than refined grains. Again, I discuss the extensive evidence for this in my reply to Brill (update 6/1/15: An even more extensive discussion of the whole-grain sham can be found in my book Whole Grains, Empty Promises).

In her sample 1-day menu "Reflecting the Unified Definition of a Mediterranean Style of Eating", Brill recommends none other than phytoestrogen-laden soy milk as part of breakfast. If you think the notion of hardy, virile Italian farmers consuming a testosterone-lowering industrial pseudo-food like soy milk, instead of the goat or cow milk that southern Italian villagers actually consumed, is patently ridiculous – you’re right. Soy milk – along with tofu, soy burgers, soy sausages, soy yogurt, soyaroni, etc, etc - is about as “Mediterranean” as monster-truck racing.

The revisionist reconstruction of a “Unified Mediterranean Diet” that has in fact little resemblance to a real Mediterranean diet continues when Brill recommends “weekly consumption of a small amount of low-fat or fat-free dairy (such as flavorful cheeses and yogurt)”.

Low-fat and fat-free dairy is a product of the low-fat paranoia that originated in the USA. Traditional Mediterranean diets do not feature fat free dairy products; such Mediterranean staples as whole milk, butter, sour cream, ricotta, fetta, and the various other traditional French, Greek and Italian cheeses are anything but low-fat, but of course that’s not going to stop folks like Brill from going ahead and believing what they want to any old how.

Brill also recommends "infrequent consumption of animal protein sources such as red meat and meat products and processed foods" and "moderate consumption of poultry and eggs (can be less than once per week if desired)". If Brill really believes this nonsense then my advice to her is to completely abandon the Mediterranean paradigm, because a true Mediterranean diet bears little resemblance to the fartacious whole-grain-ridden, fat-depleted dairy, and essentially meatless fantasy she subscribes to. Veal, lamb, and processed meats like sausages, prosciutto, capocollo, chorizo, charcuterie, loukaniko, salami - to name just a few - are traditional and staple foods in the Mediterranean. You see, someone forgot to tell the Greeks, French, Italians and Spaniards that they would one day be made poster populations for a revisionist "Mediterranean Diet" that would become the darling of deluded anti-fat and anti-cholesterol researchers in the Anglo-Saxon Western world.

I don't know what more to say about Brill. Her level of smugness would be unbecoming of someone who actually knew their stuff, but when combined with such a woeful ignorance of scientific and empirical reality it begins to resemble a sick joke.

Southern Europeans always eat bread that looks like the stuff on the left, right? Wrong.

Bret writes:

Dear Anthony,

I am amazed at how many supposed "scientists" and health professionals take such strides to denigrate you and your work, and in such ad hominem, ad nauseum fashion.  I am also ashamed that so many of these folks are fellow Americans.  It's no wonder some other nations might have an unfavorable impression of us Yanks.

Yank is a very appropriate descriptive for Janet Brill, as in "yanking your chain."  She just might take the cake of those you've locked horns with over the years.  Like Campbell, Eades, and others, she really plays up her credentials and seems incapable of entertaining any but her extremely static viewpoint on nutrition.  Love how she claims to be a doctor, which in that context in a country like the USA implies MD.  I have rarely if ever heard a PhD refer to himself or herself as a doctor, apart from insisting on that title before their surname.  Maybe I'm behind the times, or Dr. Brill is too far ahead of them.  And then she refers to book sales to support her beliefs?  "Supersize Me" was much more popular than "Cholesterol Down," so I guess the latter is the more definitive work on nutrition?  Sheesh.  She is perhaps a fan of Dr. Robert Lustig, who used the similarly lame tactic of referencing his You Tube hits when debating fructose with Alan Aragon.

At any rate, thank you for once again providing such a thorough and exhaustive compliation of data to support your stance.  On behalf of the apparent minority of sensible and non-dogmatic Americans left in the world, I would like to apologize for the many among us who bombard you with unprovoked attacks, and who do not even have the courtesy of bringing any additional valuable research into the debate.  I'm glad you can use this irrational behavior to your advantage and use it as a source of encouragement.  The world could use a few more (as in millions) Anthony Colpos.

Anthony replies:

Hey Bret,

regrettably, America was the birthplace of the hideous cholesterol sham, and is home to the two monolithic organizations that were instrumental in winning acceptance for said sham: the AHA and the NIH. But I've been to the US a couple of times, and met heaps of truly nice, reasoned, benevolent people. Rest assured, the US doesn't have a monopoly on pompous, self-deluded health professionals  - heaven knows Australia has plenty of those too!

Funny you mention Eades and Campbell, for one of the first things that crossed my mind when I initially read her derisory comments was she was a female version of our favourite Protein Powered reality evader. Eades might worship the polar opposite dogma preached by Campbell and Brill, but they're all big on insults, short on facts, and harbour the deluded belief that the size of their audience, the number of initials and accolades attached to their name, and the number of book sales they accrue is a more accurate indicator of who's correct than scientific fact.

It's a very, very sad state of affairs to see popular reporting of nutritional science sink to such a dismally poor level.



Mario writes:

Great stuff Anthony.  People like you, Chris Masterjohn, Denise Minger and many others who truly work to understand the science and don’t just follow blindly what they are told will eventually win the day.  It is just an absolute shame that people like Brill get more attention with so little to really offer.  You may not get rich Anthony, but you are changing many lives with great work.

Anthony replies:

Hey Mario,

I agree totally. Clever PR and BS always seems to attract a wider audience the plain boring truth...all we can do is keep plugging away and appealing to those with a bit of reason inside their noggins.



Nick writes:

Hello Anthony,

Just read your "Reader Mail: Readers Respond En Masse to Janet Brill" article and wanted to add that there are likely also a few of our comments awaiting approval on Dr Janet's website. Since I suspect mine may never get approved and not wanting to let a good comment to to waste I thought I'd send it to you:

Comment made on:

Hello Dr Janet,

I think it only fair to point out to your readers that the “alarmingly vitriolic post” you are referring to allegedly started due to comments you made to a 3rd person:

“I can also tell you with 100% confidence that Anthony Colpo is not a nutrition scientist and needs to hit the books. In fact, his views are completely out in left field, unsubstantiated by sound science and could potentially cost human lives if his advice regarding cholesterol were to be followed. He wrote the book “The Cholesterol Con,” which competes with my bestselling book, “Cholesterol DOWN” (mine, of course, sells much better ”

Reading that it’s surely a bit disingenuous to suggest that you are completely surprised at his reaction?

I’ve read other articles by Anthony Colpo and it would be true to say that he is quite blunt in his language and certainly takes no prisoners, it’s also fair to say that he makes his points by using long and detailed arguments. I came here to see if you had offered any similarly detailed arguments against him to find that unfortunately you have not. Instead you appear to belittle him largely based on your various accreditations and book sales rather than offer any solid discussion of his points.

Not only that but you correct his spelling when he is correctly using a British/Australian spelling of Dietician. I point this out not only because I am British/Australian and thus also feel patronised, but because I find it surprising that in your extensive international readings you would not have seen the alternative spelling of a such a relevant word.

Anthony replies:

Hey Nick,

thanks so much for forwarding this, from what I've been told yours is not the first dissenting comment that's failed to appear on her comments section. I'm going to add it to my latest post, so at least it will see the light of day there 🙂



Rick writes:


I know you're probably bombarded with emails, but I just want to encourage you to keep up the fight and don't lose heart.  As you know, Rome wasn't built in a day - nor was this monstrosity of a farce surrounding cholesterol, animal fats and CVD.  People such as Ms. Brill have a lot to lose by rescinding their lifetime achievement of "education" relative to nutrition.  It's not easy for one such as her to begin anew with the blaring truth regarding grains, animal fats and the like.  I'm unfortunately encountering these obstacles now with some of my own peers in the nutritional world.  Fortunately, I haven't built my whole nutritional education on a foundation of sinking sand like so many of those with a plethora of letters following their names.  It's a harsh reality for these types to admit that they've been wrong for so long, and not only that, but that they've actually been contributing to the problem that they so desperately want to eradicate.  We've just got to continue to chip away, bit by bit, at all of the misinformation out there.

Thanks for what you do.  Keep on forging forward with the truth of the matter. 

Best regards,


Lars writes:

Dear Anthony,

I'm follower and fan of a Paleo and/or Primal lifestyle. I do enjoy your writing, even the harsh critiques of us Paleos, and even more so, of Vegans.  I think it's important to not fall victim to confirmation bias. So I appreciate your point of view and thorough research and articles. Always gives me something to think about.

You absolutely crushed Janet Brill. I loved it.



DI writes:

Hey, Anthony,

I know you are busy -- so no reply necessary.

Just wanted to say I truly enjoyed the latest instalment with Janet Brill.  You are my hero.

Brill belongs in a class of humanoids who defend their investments in trash-heap dogma. They defend non-science until the fiery end because if they don't... their careers dry up.

It's much like the facilitated communication debacles in the psych community.

Sad seeing egos over science.



Dr. HN, M.D., writes:

Janet Brill
oh what a dill,
flaunts her degrees
though never sees
that her facts stink...
get me a drink!!!!!!!!


  1. Keys A. Atherosclerosis: a problem in new public health. Journal of Mount Sinai Hospital, 1953; 20:  118-139.
  2. Keys, A. Coronary heart disease in seven countries. Circulation, 1970; 41 (Suppl 1): 1-211.
  3. Yerushalmey J, Hilleboe HE. Fat in the diet and mortality from heart disease. A methodological note. New York State Journal of Medicine, 1957; 57: 2343-2354.
  4. Page IH, et al., Dietary fat and its relation to heart attacks and strokes. Circulation, 1961; 23:133-136.
  5. Page IH, et al., Atherosclerosis and the fat content of the diet. Circulation, 1957; 16: 164-178.
  6. Keys, A. Coronary heart disease in seven countries. Circulation, 1970; 41 (Suppl 1): 1-211.


Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher, physical conditioning specialist, and author of The Fat Loss Bible and The Great Cholesterol Con. For more information, visit or

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