Myth #1: The Cholesterol Myth


Americans are scared of dietary cholesterol and saturated fats.  Marketing hype and poor research have misled the American people for too long.   I want to help dispel that myth and share with you why you should stop running away from saturated fats and cholesterol and instead make a 180 degree turn and sprint into their loving arms.

The Lipid Hypothesis (aka: The Cholesterol Fat Myth)

1.  We eat a diet containing high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat, and as a result develop a high level of cholesterol in our blood.

2.  High blood cholesterol causes atherosclerosis.

3.  Atherosclerosis obstructs the vessels that bring blood to the heart, resulting in coronary heart disease.

The Truth

Extensive scientific evidence exists that contradicts all three parts of the Lipid Hypothesis.  This isn't new research by any stretch of the imagination.  Unfortunately, the media and even a large part of the scientific community have not communicated this truth to the public.   It is a waste of time to get into all the reasons the media and scientific community share information that can be misleading.  All of those reasons can be best summed up by saying that it is just an unfortunate part of human nature that when people have money, power and pride on the line they will say just about anything.

One member of the scientific community that we can applaud for coming clean is the father of the lipid hypothesis himself, Ancel Keys.  Keys conducted research with chickens and rabbits that fed the two animals oxidized cholesterol.  When Keys saw that the chickens and rabbits started having heart problems as a result of their change in diet he concluded that cholesterol led to heart disease.  There are a few problems with this research.  Neither of these animals eat ANY cholesterol in nature so the fact that it caused a problem is not surprising.  The fact that he chose rabbits, who are herbivores, is another issue I see with this research.  The final issue with this research is that the experiments where done on chickens and rabbits!  It is pretty obvious that the human body works much differently than chickens and rabbits.

Since his original hypothesis Keys was quoted as saying, "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."

Unfortunately, the result of Keys original findings, corporate food industry marketing and the false information the media has been push for decades has resulted in Americans avoiding cholesterol and saturated fat in favor of low fat diets that are high in carbs, particularly refined sugars, that have been show to increase the risk of heart disease.  This study shows that most heart attack patients actually have LOW cholesterol!  The findings in that study are scary when you consider the statins people are taking and the "low cholesterol" diets so many people are on in an effort to lower their blood cholesterol levels.


Let's recap:

1.  People believe cholesterol leads to heart disease, but

2.  Research shows that most heart attacks occur in people with low cholesterol.

3.  Doctors recommend people avoid dietary cholesterol and take statins to lower cholesterol anyway.

Bonus Rounds:

4.  Statins don't actually influence cholesterol directly.  Statins are just a mild anti-inflammatory.

5.  Some dietary changes and a few supplements can create the same anti-inflammatory action without the use of pharmaceuticals.