Every time I hear another health report on the reasons to eat low fat I want to scream. Every time I read another article about the “evil” nature of saturated fat I become apoplectic. So I’ll get right to the point.
The cholesterol story is made up ~ it’s fiction! Surprised? As a healthcare practitioner I was shocked by what I discovered. But this discovery explains why nutritional healing programs are so successful in restoring heart health.
Unbiased studies around the world have shown that there is very little relationship between cholesterol numbers and heart disease. In fact, the co-director of the Framingham study back in the 1960s, George Mann, ScD, MD, said: “The diet-heart hypothesis has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprises, food companies and even governmental agencies. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.”
And yet, this study is considered by organizations across this country as proof that high cholesterol is predictive of heart disease. Huh?
So why would all those we look to for guidance regarding our health perpetuate this cholesterol myth? Perhaps some haven’t done their homework. But the cynical view is ~ follow the money, baby!
Although I don’t consider myself a cynic, a close look at how cholesterol guidelines are set in the first place and by whom certainly gives me pause.
Joseph Mercola, MD, in a recent expose on cholesterol noted that in 2004, the U.S. government’s National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to reduce their LDL cholesterol to specific, very low, levels ~ levels that can be reached in most cases only by using cholesterol-lowering drugs. But, in 2006 a review in the Annals of Internal Medicine[viii] found that there was insufficient evidence to support the target numbers outlined by the panel. The recommendations were adopted anyway.
Why? The simple answer lies in who comprised the panel of experts: 8 of 9 members had ties to the pharmaceutical industry. And by lowering the cholesterol numbers, more people are swept into the eligible pool for prescription medications.
Are there people who could benefit from cholesterol-lowering drugs? Perhaps, but the pool is very small. Dr. Mercola wrote that the total cholesterol number was just about worthless for predicting heart disease unless it exceeds 330 and even then a close look at HDL levels is important.
For example, I had a patient who reported her total cholesterol to be above 300 but her HDL was above 140. Her doctor did not recommend medications and encouraged her to keep doing what she was doing.
Here’s another interesting factoid for you: Of the substances most often found in clogged arteries, 74% are unsaturated fatty acids. You heard me right. So much for the myth that “saturated fat clogs arteries.”
Now take a close look at the risks associated with cholesterol-lowering drugs. They include nerve damage to hands and feet, dizziness, memory loss and cognitive impairment, suppression of the immune system, depression and liver damage.
Saturated fat is not the enemy. Saturated fat is required to build every cell in your body. It provides the basis to make and utilize Vitamin D. It provides the backbone for hormone production including the anti-inflammatory steroid hormones. And too little saturated fat forms the basis for emotional instability.
So don’t be afraid of saturated fats. Facts trump fear and the facts here are clear.
If you want to lower your cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL then lower your consumption of grains and processed sugars. Eat plenty of high quality organic fats like olive oil, coconut oil, raw dairy, avocados, nuts, eggs and grass-fed meats. Remember, your health depends on what you put in your mouth. You ate your way there and you can eat your way out. It’s the food, folks. Please remember to keep yours fresh.