Cholesterol myths busted

Cholesterol is officially removed off of the nutrients of concern list by the US government. No link is found between heart disease and dietary cholesterol.

Photo by: Shutterstock
Photo by: Shutterstock

A selection of high-cholesterol foods is seen here.

A recent report by the US government has shattered long held beliefs about cholesterol, which had been vilified for decades by the medical establishment. The report found no link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease, finally vindicating cholesterol.

Signalling a paradigm shift, the US government has conceded that cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern, reversing their warnings to avoid high-cholesterol food to prevent heart disease and clogged arteries.

This means eggs, butter, full fat dairy, nuts, coconut oil, and meat have now been classified as safe and have been officially removed from the nutrients of concern list. The report instead focuses on sugar and alternative sweeteners as a cause for dietary concern.

US Cardiologist at the renowned Cleveland clinic, Dr. Steven Nissen, said in a statement to USA Today, “It's the right decision. We got the dietary guidelines wrong. They've been wrong for decades.”

Also adding credence to the new findings, an American study found most heart attack patients had cholesterol in the normal ranges.

Following is a list of fallacies peddled by the medical establishment for nearly half a century:

Myth #1: Low cholesterol is beneficial to health

One large Dutch study found that men with chronically low cholesterol levels were at a consistently higher risk for depression.

Similarly, Canadian researchers found that those in the lowest quarter of total cholesterol had more than six times the risk of committing suicide as did those in the highest quarter. Still other studies have linked low cholesterol to Parkinson’s disease and violent behavior.

"We told people not to eat eggs. It was never based on good science," Dr. Nissen said. Advice to avoid foods high in fat and cholesterol led many people to switch to foods high in sugar and carbohydrates. "We got fatter and fatter," Nissen says. "We got more and more diabetes."

Best-selling author of health books Dr. Mark Hyman expounded on the virtues of cholesterol, “...without cholesterol you would die.” He further states “...higher cholesterol can actually increase life span.”  

Sally Fallon, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Mary Enig, Ph.D, an expert in lipid biochemistry, have labelled high cholesterol "an invented disease, that emerged when health professionals discovered how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood.


Myth #2: Cholesterol causes heart disease

Dr George V. Mann M.D. associate director of the Framingham heart study states: “Saturated fats and cholesterol in the diet are not the cause of coronary heart disease. That myth is the greatest deception of the century.”

While cholesterol has traditionally been the scapegoat for causing heart disease, the overlooked villains have been sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can lead to inflammation which has been identified as the actual cause of heart disease.

Myth #3: Dietary cholesterol increases your blood cholesterol

The liver produces about 75 percent or more of the body's cholesterol. Cholesterol-rich foods will not drive up your cholesterol levels. It is estimated that only 20 percent of your blood cholesterol levels come from your diet.

Myth #4: Margarine is healthier than butter

According to a 2013 BMJ study, replacing saturated animal fats with omega-6 fats (i.e. margarine) is linked to an increased risk of death among patients with heart disease. Margarine contains synthetic trans fat, which can lead to clogged arteries. Butter, on the other hand, is a source of nutrients including healthy fats.

A block of butter is seen here.

Myth #5: Statins ward off heart disease by lowering cholesterol

Millions of people take statin drugs, which comprise a multi-billion dollar industry. A meta-analysis of over 41,000 patient records found that people who take statin drugs may have a higher risk of cancer, and according to best-selling author, Dr. Joseph Mercola, “you’re actually increasing your risk...the depletion of CoQ10 caused by the drug is why statins can increase your risk of acute heart failure.”

TRTWorld and agencies