Government finally admits it was wrong about Cholesterol

For the past 40 years, we’ve been told to limit our cholesterol intake and adopt a low-fat diet.

Cholesterol and fat, we were told, are dangerous to our heart health and must be minimized to prevent heart disease.

We didn’t hear these warnings from random, fly-by-night “experts” trying to hawk a heart-healthy solution.

This information came straight from the U.S. government, the American Heart Association and other health organizations.

And now, in an astonishing position reversal, these experts may soon stop singing the “low-cholesterol, low-fat” diet gospel.

That’s because an independent advisory group, the Dietary Guidelines and Advisory Committee, is dumping this dietary dogma and dispelling the diet-heart myth.

Changing the Diet-Heart Hypothesis

The current diet-heart hypothesis tells us that saturated fat raises our blood cholesterol levels. And when that level gets too high, it puts us at risk for heart disease.

Previously, the DGAC recommended that cholesterol intake should be capped at 300 mg per day and that fat should represent less than 30% of our daily calorie intake.

However, within the past few weeks, the DGAC has debunked this hypothesis as merely myth.

In fact, the new DGAC guidelines state that it will not bring forward the low-cholesterol guideline:

“Available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol.”

Not only that …

“Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

As for fat intake, that “up to 30%” number seems to be fine … as long as it’s the right kind.

“Dietary advice should put the emphasis on optimizing types of dietary fat and not reducing total fat.

“Reducing total fat (replacing total fat with overall carbohydrates) does not lower cardiovascular risk.

“The consumption of ‘low-fat’ or ‘nonfat’ products with high amounts of refined grains and added sugars should be discouraged.”

Talk about a complete 180!

Cholesterol Explained

Late last year, I sent you an article where we exposed this cholesterol myth.

However, before you refer back to it, let’s look at some of the most important things you should know about cholesterol …

First, remember that the diet-heart hypothesis says dietary cholesterol and saturated fats raise the cholesterol in our blood.

Yet, most of the research for this was based on studies from 40 to 50 years ago … studies that have since been debunked.

In other words, the government was late to the party as usual.

And thanks to Big Pharma and the mainstream media, the truth never fully reached the public — until now.

Here’s a truth you need to know about your own body …

From day to day, we have between 1,000 and 1,700 mg of cholesterol in our bodies.

But most people don’t realize that their liver actually produces the majority of cholesterol in their body.

That’s right! The liver produces 75% of our cholesterol and the other 25% comes from our diet.

This important fact holds the key to understanding cholesterol.

Being mindful about the types of food we eat is always a good idea.

But it’s also important to realize that the body naturally regulates the amount of cholesterol in it at any given time:

•  When we ingest more cholesterol from food, the body produces less.

•  When our cholesterol intake is low, the body makes more.

Therefore, dietary cholesterol has virtually no effect on our blood cholesterol levels.

However, it is possible to consume too little cholesterol.

In fact, avoiding cholesterol in your diet is actually more harmful to your health than helpful!

A 2009 study showed that dietary cholesterol had very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in about 75% of the population.

The other 25% were considered hyper-responders.” That is, there appeared to be a connection between high cholesterol consumption and high levels of cholesterol in the blood.

But that wasn’t necessarily bad news.

Even among the hyper-responders in which both LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or good cholesterol) were increased, the ratio was unaffected and did not increase the risk of heart disease. [1]

As Ancel Keys, who is considered the “father” of the diet-heart hypothesis, said in 1997:

“There’s no connection whatsoever between the cholesterol in food and cholesterol in the blood. And we’ve known that all along. Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t matter at all unless you happen to be a chicken or a rabbit.”

(For a full explanation of the cholesterol myth, click here.)

What Really Causes Heart Disease?

Now that recent research suggests cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease, what is the real culprit?

Most researchers now believe the primary cause of heart disease is inflammation and oxidative stress.

Studies comparing cholesterol levels in men and women illustrate a big flaw in the diet-heart hypothesis:

Women suffer 300% less heart disease than men, and yet have higher average cholesterol levels.

The recent Conference on Low Blood Cholesterol reviewed 11 major studies that included 125,000 female participants.

The conclusion:

“There was absolutely no relationship between total cholesterol levels and mortality from cardiovascular or any other causes.”

Researchers also recently conducted more than 40 trials to determine whether lowering cholesterol levels can prevent heart disease.

In some trials, heart disease rates rose and in others, they fell.

But when the results of all of the trials were pooled together, the results were surprising …

As it turns out, just as many people died in the treatment groups (who had their cholesterol levels lowered by drugs) as in the control groups (who had no treatment).

The chart above shows that Australian Aboriginals have the highest rate of heart disease. Yet, this group reportedly has the lowest cholesterol levels.

Meanwhile, the Swiss (on the far right side of the chart) have the highest average cholesterol levels … and one of the lowest levels of heart disease.

Dr. Frederick Stare, a longtime American Heart Association member and (former) proponent of the diet-heart hypothesis, had this to say:

“The cholesterol factor is of minor importance as a risk factor in (cardiovascular disease). Of far more importance are smoking, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, insufficient physical activity and stress.”

Dangers of Lowering Your Cholesterol

As I said earlier, it can be extremely harmful to reduce or even try to eliminate cholesterol from your diet.

For starters, cholesterol is an essential nutrient required by every single cell of the body to function properly.

Second, cholesterol is necessary for every steroid hormone (which is synthesized from cholesterol), including the sex and adrenal hormones.

Third, cholesterol helps to convert sunlight to Vitamin D in the human body.

Without it, you wouldn’t be able to benefit from the Vitamin D that your body needs. This “sunshine vitamin” boots our immune systems and contributes to healthy bones and teeth, among other benefits.

Bottom line: Not only does dietary cholesterol NOT affect blood cholesterol levels, but also total cholesterol levels in general DO NOT cause heart disease.

I encourage you to get the word out about this and tell your family, friends and neighbors …

Though the government is changing its stance, I fear the majority of Americans will stick to what they’ve been taught about cholesterol.

So I hope for you to pass this along, and spread the truth so we can all live healthier lives.

Best,

Brad Hoppmann

Publisher, Uncommon Wisdom Daily

References and Sources:

•  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19852882

•  http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/02/origin-of-lipid-hypothesis-and-proposal.html

•  http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/02/proper-use-of-term-lipid-hypothesis.html

•  http://jackkruse.com/cellular-depletions-why-should-you-care/

•  http://www.treelight.com/health/healing/Cholesterol.html

•  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/10/making-sense-of-your-cholesterol-numbers.aspx#_edn2

•  http://chriskresser.com/the-diet-heart-myth-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-are-not-the-enemy

•  http://chriskresser.com/why-you-should-eat-more-not-less-cholesterol

•  http://www.uptodate.com/contents/statins-and-chronic-kidney-disease

Your thoughts on “Government finally admits it was wrong about Cholesterol”

  1. So I have been reading all this different opinions and research. And I have a question that I hope to clarify. In conclusion, in blood studies, how much colesterol is acceptable and how much is not acceptable? I have heard we need to keep it lowest than 200.
    We in our family, tend to have high colesterol, so in order to keep it down, we need to have a medication every night, Crestor 5mg. So seriously we need to know if this is right.
    Thank you for your help. My email is brionesproducciones@mac.com

  2. Brad,

    If as you say the liver produces 75% of our cholesterol needed by our bodies, and we have millions of people on statins to reduce their cholesterol levels, and millions more not on statins with cholesterol levels well over 200, why would you encourage people to disregard their consumption of cholesterol? Stating that avoiding cholesterol in the diet does a disservice to your readers because you are missing the context of healthy food choices. If I did not know better, I would read this and think I could eat, with no health impact, as much meat and eggs as possible since plants contain little if any cholesterol. But meat in particular causes oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, the 2 things you mention as being the cause of heart disease. So consuming more cholesterol (which would mean eat more meat and eggs) will just cause more heart disease, whether it shoes up in blood cholesterol levels or not.

    And if lowering cholesterol is dangerous as you state, then you need to be campaigning against statins, not for consumption of more cholesterol.

    Thanks, Rob

  3. You say “In fact, avoiding cholesterol in your diet is actually more harmful to your health than helpful!” You also say “But most people don’t realize that their liver actually produces the majority of cholesterol in their body.” These contradict each other and the last statement does not apply to some people just like “The liver produces 75% of our cholesterol and the other 25% comes from our diet” does not apply to everyone.

    In vegans their liver supplies all of the cholesterol. Your article sounds like someone explaining how important semen is to men to continue the human species. So men need to consume animal semen.

  4. Next thing you know they’ll be saying global warming is a joke,and evolution isn’t true, and the sky really isn’t falling.Now what can we believe? I’m glad that at least the white house tells us the truth.

  5. For decades researchers have been demonizing saturated fat because some chain lengths of saturated fat raise total cholesterol. At the same time, they have been extolling linoleic acid because it lowers total cholesterol. What they ignored all this time is that foods containing ingredients such as refined grains, added sugars, and separated fats are dilute in mineral content. Copper and manganese seem to be of particular importance in terms of protection from heart disease. Google – “heart disease copper deficiency” and “heart disease magnesium deficiency for details.”

    Interestingly, excessive iron absorption tends to produce a magnesium deficiency state. Since saturated fats facilitate iron absorption and linoleic acid inhibits it, vegetarian activists claim that red meat induces magnesium deficiency due to the saturated fat content. However, linoleic acid is not the answer. Google – linoleic acid Ecologist.

  6. Dear Brad:
    Thank you for this well-reasoned article. The sad truth is that MD’s lie to their patients, if they think the lie will have useful results.

    Obesity adds tremendously to the risk of every disease. Muscles and skeletons cannot handle massive overloads of weight, without damage that causes pain and creates stress. The stress combines with the added work of pumping blood through the loaded-down tissues, to strain the heart and the blood vessels…including the ones in the brain that cause stroke.

    It used to believed, that obesity was caused by the excessive deliciousness of food. Persuade people to eat food that tastes bad, and they’ll lose interest in the greedy pleasures of eating. (The same lame reasoning was used to explain drug addiction. And the fact that addicts remain addicted for many years beyond the end of any of the former pleasures they’d gotten from their first taste of drugs, was lost on these brilliant thinkers. It took a new generation of thinkers to realize that Depression was the actual culprit in drug addiction, and pleasure was something the addict needed to learn how to create.). Doctors who subscribed to the scared-straight theory, figured that by stripping the table of flavorful food, they could induce fat people to take up sports and become active.

    Prime beneficiary of the cholesterol scare was a commercial product known as margarine. Margarine is a mixture of skim milk and cheap fat, that’s mechanically similar to butter but tastes like cheap fat. Margarine made from vegetable oils contains no cholesterol nor much flavor. Getting people to eat it for the alleged heart-health benefits, was what persuaded most folks to eat the stuff, despite the undesirable flavor. Doctors who believed that their tactics were effective at inducing fat people to reduce their food intake, ignored all the evidence that cholesterol is manufactured in the liver, that it’s the precursor for most of the body’s hormones, and that nerve cells use the stuff as electrical insulation, because they erroneously believed that fear of food would slow the growth of obesity.

    That’s simply false.

    Obesity has much in common with addiction. Fat people are often depressed. Weight loss is a common side-effect of the SSRI antidepressant drugs…apparently the biggest complaint depressed people have, is that they are unable to sleep properly, which creates stress. Relieve the depression and the patient actually sleeps, awakes rested, and has energy to start the day.

    As investors, we should have insight into this process. Nobody ever got rich, out of a fear of future poverty. Fear is debilitating. Fear causes a craving for liquidity…our financial life is that of a refugee prepared to grab what we can carry and flee an unseen catastrophe. It’s not conducive to building wealth, at all. Wealth is created out of love, not fear. Knowing why we love a product, is how we know that others will buy our product. Which gives us a reason to invest in making the product. And when our political leaders lie to us, to induce us to make business decisions, our stress increases and our productivity declines further.

    Brad, I’ve had my differences with you in the past. This is the best article of yours, that I’ve ever read.

    Thank you!
    BobS

  7. books on this subject worth reading are:
    “Wheat belly total health” by William Davis, MD
    and “The big fat surprise” by Nina Teicholz.

  8. “Government finally admits it was wrong about Cholesterol” It’s not the government that was wrong, it was an error in allopathic medical science. I have believed that serum cholesterol levels are non-dietary for over 30 years based on my own case. When I exercised on average 1-2 hours a day and had very little negative stress my cholesterol count was very low with a great HDL-LDL ratio. I ate eggs galore, ice cream, cheese, red meat etc. Now I still exercise but with less time and intensity and eat much less fatty foods though I still partake of the food groups I mentioned. My numbers are still ok but have gone up considerably. I have seen the same in many of my clients. Stress and lack of physical activity cause heart disease. It’s really that simple in most cases lacking a genetic defect. That and breathing properly which is distinct from but related to activity. The relationship between chronic shallow breathing and heart disease is evident but infrequently addressed by medical practitioners.

  9. But Brad, you don’t seem to understand…. you are contradicting “settled science”. (I never heard of “settled” science until five or ten years ago. I’d heard of SETTLED LAW– maybe that’s where the notion of using the phrase ‘settled science’ to silence debate came from to begin with).

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