The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics

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The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (or THINCS) is a group of scientists, physicians, and other academicians from around the world who dispute the widely accepted lipid hypothesis of atherosclerosis. THINCS was founded in January 2003, and its founder and current spokesman is Uffe Ravnskov.

Cholesterol controversy[edit]

Since the 1950s, the lipid hypothesis (also known as the "Diet-Heart Idea"), which posits that saturated fat and high cholesterol play a role in the causation of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, has gained general acceptance in the medical and scientific communities. Currently, there is scientific consensus that the lipid hypothesis has been validated.[1][2][3]

For example, in 1984, a National Institutes of Health consensus development conference found that:

It has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that lowering definitely elevated blood cholesterol levels (specifically, blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol) will reduce the risk of heart attacks caused by coronary heart disease.[3]

The success of cholesterol-lowering medication such as statins in preventing heart attacks has been seen as further validation of the lipid hypothesis.[1]

THINCS members dispute this consensus and assert that the lipid hypothesis is not adequately proven by the evidence. They point to a number of studies which, in their view, either contradict the lipid hypothesis or show it to be inconclusive.

The THINCS website front page stated in June 2008:

For decades, enormous human and financial resources have been wasted on the cholesterol campaign, more promising research areas have been neglected, producers and manufacturers of animal food all over the world have suffered economically, and millions of healthy people have been frightened and badgered into eating a tedious and flavorless diet or into taking potentially dangerous drugs for the rest of their lives. As the scientific evidence in support of the cholesterol campaign is non-existent, we consider it important to stop it as soon as possible.[4]

The members of THINCS have various differing hypotheses on the actual causes of heart disease, but all agree however in rejecting the lipid hypothesis, which they claim has repeatedly failed to be validated by scientific testing and research.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Steinberg D (2006). "Thematic review series: the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. An interpretive history of the cholesterol controversy, part V: the discovery of the statins and the end of the controversy". J. Lipid Res. 47 (7): 1339–51. doi:10.1194/jlr.R600009-JLR200. PMID 16585781.
  2. ^ Brook J, Rifkind B (1989). "Cholesterol and coronary heart disease prevention--a transatlantic consensus". Eur. Heart J. 10 (8): 702–11. PMID 2676536.
  3. ^ a b "Consensus conference. Lowering blood cholesterol to prevent heart disease". JAMA. 253 (14): 2080–6. 1985. doi:10.1001/jama.253.14.2080. PMID 3974099.
  4. ^ Thincs - The International network of cholesterol skeptics. Accessed: 2008-06-15. (Archived by WebCite at
  5. ^, main page. Accessed: 21 January 2007.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]