Forget What You Know About Cholesterol and Heart Disease

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Cholesterol has received a bum rap. It does NOT cause Heart Disease or heart attacks.

The body makes cholesterol, much more than you eat in a day, on its own.

Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD (author of the book “Cholesterol Myths”) and a host of other eminent researchers state that there is no evidence to support the claim that cholesterol causes heart disease. They argue that there has yet to be an unbiased study that has proven that a high-fat diet is directly responsible for heart disease.

The handful of studies that anti-cholesterol proponents reference in support of their either fail to analyze lipid proteins, only conclude that heart disease and cholesterol are correlated ( correlation does not equal causation) either or feature a manipulation of results to fit a hypothesis. Moreover, research shows that low, not high, cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart disease.

In fact, a number of studies have found that high cholesterol levels reduce the incidence of heart attacks. Heart disease is the inflammation of cholesterol, it is not the result of cholesterol consumption. Cholesterol is one of the most important substances of your body. Its required for the body to perform many of its essential functions. It is so essential that nearly every cell in your body can create cholesterol on its own.

So why do government organizations such as the USDA and American Heart Association continue to propagate this fallacy? And why do members of the scientific community support the “anti-cholesterol” hysteria?

Research foundations, government organizations and special interest groups have a vested interest in maintaining this idea.Statistics can be manipulated to support any plausible hypothesis.

If a research facility does not offer conclusions in line with the interests of its funding  organization, those organizations will take their research dollars to  someone else. Doctors, nutritionists and other health professionals rely on the word of these health organizations when consulting with their patients, who in turn follow the advice of health professionals when constructing exercise and diet plans for healthy living.

Misinformation causes real damage to real people.

Even trusted entities such as the American Heart Association have political and economic incentives to recommend a low protein/low fat/high carb diet.

See the “American Heart Association” logo on your box of low fat/low cholesterol food? The American Heart Association rakes in billions of dollars from licensing its image to Corporations in the Food and Beverage Industry. The American Heart Association and other related organizations stand to lose big money if the agricultural industry loses even a small percentage of its business. A switch to more cholesterol-rich foods coupled with consumption of fewer grains and carbohydrates would do just that.

People that have higher cholesterol levels may also make other poor health choices. Confounding variables such as consumption of excess alcohol, tobacco and infrequent exercise muddy the waters considerably.

The relationship between cholesterol levels and heart disease is much less certain than you have been led to believe.

Note: You should still continue to eat carbohydrates, just lower your intake (refined/processed carbs, in particular). Carbohydrates are especially important for athletes; they are the body’s preferred source of energy. Continue to monitor your calorie intake. Excess consumption  is unhealthy, no matter what you are eating.

Consult a doctor before making any dietary changes.

Sources and Further Reading:

German, B and Dillard C. Saturated Fats: What dietary intake? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 3, 550-559, Sept. 2004.

Taubes, Gary. Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

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