Unlike many other media outlets, science reporting has a solid history at the ABC. How, then, can its flagship science program create such widespread controversy?

Catalyst has aired the first of a two-part special researched and produced by Dr Maryanne Demasi, claiming to debunk the popular assumption that saturated fats are a significant contributing factor to cholesterol and heart disease. Demasi used recent, relatively unknown studies and the opinions of doctors and nutritionists to explode what she and others perceived as a common misconception that saturated fats contribute to heart disease, and that this has led to substitution of foods high in sugars, carbohydrates and fat substitutes and the over-prescription of statins, a significant anti-cholesterol drug with many side effects.