The Key Points:
Before we hear from the experts, here is my list of the most important ideas to consider. Everything beyond this section will be quotes, links, and videos to get you started on your own research.
- Cholesterol, in general, is not the cause of heart disease.
- Dietary fat, in general, is not the cause of heart disease.
- Fat and cholesterol from the wrong sources, though, can be a factor.
- Sugar is a primary factor.
- Inflammation is a primary factor.
- Insulin Resistance is a primary factor.
- Refined grains are a primary factor.
- Oxidized fat is a factor.
- Free radicals in the blood are a factor.
- Regular table salt can be a factor.
- Dental health and procedures and be a factor.
- Stress and sleep can be a factor.
- In laymen’s terms, here’s how an artery gets clogged. Despite the low-fat propaganda fit for a 3rd grader, you don’t just eat fat, and then it “clogs your arteries.” Most commonly, the arteries, over many years of mistreatment, become damaged. Then, over time from your body’s own natural response in trying to fix it or band-aid over it, plaque, in the form of cholesterol or calcium, builds up, eventually creating a blockage. So it is not as if when you, being generally healthy overall, eat a piece of bacon, the fat just magically makes its way directly from your stomach to your arteries. There is much more to it. Bottom line, your dietary fat does not directly “clog” anything.
- Not all dietary fats are the same. In everyday terms, we can break them down into healthy and unhealthy. Unhealthy would include most seed oils, vegetable oils, margarine, and standard grain-fed, factory-farmed meats. Healthy would include things like coconut, avocado, fish, pastured meat, chicken and eggs, as well as hemp, chia, flax, and nuts.
- The entire body, particularly the brain, needs fat and cholesterol to function well. There is a link between low fat and cholesterol levels and neuro-degenerative and memory related problems.
- Fat soluble vitamins are vital to overall health (including heart health) and with too little fat in the diet, it is difficult for the body to absorb these (A, E, D, & K).
- One of the fat soluble vitamins, K2, is particularly important to heart health. K2 is the vitamin that plays an important role in routing calcium in the body where it needs to go, i.e. into teeth and bones and away from arteries and other soft tissues (calcification of the arteries).
Why Is All This Happening?:
- The Secret History of the USDA Food Pyramid – Rebooted Body Podcast
- A Short History of Government’s Terrible Dietary Advice
- The 6 Greatest Cholesterol Myths Debunked by James Colquhoun
- “The most influential study of all – the Seven Countries Study done in 1953 by Dr. Ancel Keys – involved a highly suspicious model of analysis in itself, with Dr. Keys removing statistics which did not ‘agree’ with his ideology. Having taken data from 22 countries, he only took note of the seven countries whose evidence supported his views, discounting the rest. Incredibly, it is this paper upon which the whole cholesterol theory is based.”
Excerpts from What We Know About Cholesterol That We Didn’t 10 Years Ago by George Dvorsky
- “Dr. Mark Hymann puts it bluntly: “So if you think cholesterol is the enemy, think again. Without cholesterol, you would die. In fact, people with the lowest cholesterol as they age are at highest risk of death.”
- “Statins may affect energy production in muscles, making it harder to exercise and creating muscle pain. As a 2013 study pointed out, “Musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies, injuries, and pain are more common among statin users than among similar nonusers.” Postmenopausal women taking statins may have increased risk of diabetes. Also, intensive statin therapy (compared with moderate) may likewise increase risk of diabetes.”
- “One of the most significant blows came in 2008 with the publication of John Kastelein’s ENHANCE study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial, a 24-month investigation involving 720 patients between the ages of 30 and 75, essentially found that a combination of two drugs did lower LDL levels — but it did not reduce plaque.”
- “Two years earlier, Göran K. Hansson showed that 50 to 75% of people who have heart attacks have normal levels of cholesterol. Add to that the fact that nearly 75% of patients who are hospitalized for a heart attack have cholesterol levels that do not indicate a high risk for a cardiovascular event (at least according to current national cholesterol guidelines).”
- One of the biggest cholesterol myths out there has to do with dietary fat. Although most of us have been taught that a high-fat diet causes cholesterol problems, this isn’t entirely true. Here’s why: The type of fat that you eat is more important than the amount of fat. Trans fats or hydrogenated fats and saturated fats promote abnormal cholesterol, whereas omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats actually improve the type and quantity of the cholesterol your body produces.In reality, the biggest source of abnormal cholesterol is not fat at all — it’s sugar. The sugar you consume converts to fat in your body. And the worst culprit of all is high fructose corn syrup.Consumption of high fructose corn syrup, which is present in sodas, many juices, and most processed foods, is the primary nutritional cause of most of the cholesterol issues we doctors see in our patients.- Dr. Mark Hyman
Quote from Why Cholesterol May Not Be The Cause Of Heart Disease by Dr. Mark Hyman
“We know what causes the damaging small cholesterol particles. And it isn’t fat in the diet. It is sugar. Sugar in any form or refined carbohydrates (white food) drives the good cholesterol down, cause triglycerides to go up, creates small damaging cholesterol particles, and causes metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. That is the true cause of most heart attacks, NOT LDL cholesterol.”
Quote from Vitamin K2, D, and Calcium Dr. Mercola with Dr. Rheaume-Bleue
“… For so long, we’ve been told to take calcium for osteoporosis… and vitamin D, which we know is helpful. But then, more studies are coming out showing that increased calcium intake is causing more heart attacks and strokes. That created a lot of confusion around whether calcium is safe or not. But that’s the wrong question to be asking, because we’ll never properly understand the health benefits of calcium or vitamin D, unless we take into consideration K2. That’s what keeps the calcium in its right place.” – Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue
More on K2:
- Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Rheaume-Bleue – Transcript
- Full interview with Dr. Rheaume-Bleue on K2 – Video
- Dr. Rheaume’s Book: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox
Excerpts from Cholesterol In Not The Cause Of Heart Disease by Dr. Ron Rosedale
- Cholesterol is not the major culprit in heart disease or any disease. If it becomes oxidized it can irritate/inflame tissues in which it is lodged in, such as the endothelium (lining of the arteries). This would be one of numerous causes of chronic inflammation that can injure the lining of arteries. However, many good fats are easily oxidized such as omega-3 fatty acids, but it does not mean that you should avoid it at all costs.Common sense would indicate that we should avoid the oxidation (rancidity) of cholesterol and fatty acids and not get rid of important life-giving molecules. Using the same conventional medical thinking that is being used for cholesterol would lead one to believe that doctors should reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by taking out everybody’s brain.In fact, cholesterol is being transported to tissues as part of an inflammatory response that is there to repair damage.The fixation on cholesterol as a major cause of heart disease defies the last 15 years of science and deflects from real causes such as the damage (via glycation) that sugars such as glucose and fructose inflict on tissues, including the lining of arteries, causing chronic inflammation and resultant plaque.
- Insulin & Leptin ResistanceHundreds of excellent scientific articles have linked insulin resistance and more recently leptin resistance to cardiovascular disease much more strongly than cholesterol, and they are in fact at least partially responsible for cholesterol abnormalities. For instance, insulin and leptin resistance result in “small dense” LDL particles and a greater number of particles.
- “Importantly, many solid scientific studies have shown a mechanistic, causal effect of elevated insulin and leptin on heart and vascular disease, whereas almost all studies with cholesterol misleadingly only show an association. Association does not imply cause. For instance, something else may be causing lipid abnormalities such as elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and also causing heart disease. This “something else” is improper insulin and leptin signaling. Similarly, sugar does not cause diabetes; sugar is just listening to orders. Improper insulin and leptin signaling is the cause of diabetes. Likewise, cholesterol does not cause heart disease, but improper metabolic signals including improper signals to cholesterol (causing it to oxidize) and perhaps to the liver that manufactures the cholesterol, will cause heart and vascular disease and hypertension.
- Cholesterol; Wrongly Accused?Before we can begin to talk about the real cause and effective treatment for heart and blood vessel disease, we must first look at what is known, or I should say what we think we know. The first thing that comes to mind when one hears about heart disease is almost always cholesterol. Cholesterol and heart disease has been almost synonymous for the last half-century. Cholesterol has been portrayed as the Darth Vader to our arteries and our heart.The latest recommendation given by a so-called panel of “experts” recommends that a person’s cholesterol be as low as possible, in fact to a level so low they say it cannot be achieved by diet, exercise, or any known lifestyle modification. Therefore, they say cholesterol-lowering drugs; particularly the so-called “statins” need to be given to anyone at high risk of heart disease. Since heart disease is the number one killer in this country that would include most adults and even many children. The fact that this might add to the $26 billion in sales of statin drugs last year I’m sure played no role in their recommendations.
- Expert Conflict of InterestsMajor consumer groups think so. They found out that eight of the nine “experts” that made the recommendations were on the payroll of pharmaceutical companies that manufacture those drugs. Major scientific organizations have chastised medical journals for allowing the pharmaceutical industry to publish misleading results and half-truths. There is a major push under way to force the pharmaceutical industry (and others) to publish results of all of their studies, and not just the ones that appear positive. The studies that showed negative results would be forced to be published also.It could be that lowering cholesterol might not be as healthy as we are being told. More and more studies are coming out showing just how unhealthy lowering cholesterol might be, particularly by the use of statin drugs. In particular, statin drugs have been shown to be harmful to muscles causing considerable damage. A common symptom of this damage is muscular aches and pains that many patients experience on cholesterol-lowering drugs, however most do not realize that these drugs are to blame.
- Statin Drugs Actually Increase Heart DiseaseIndeed, low cholesterol levels have been shown to worsen patients with congestive heart failure, a life-threatening condition where the heart becomes too weak to effectively pump blood. Statin drugs have been shown to also cause nerve damage and to greatly impair memory. One reason that statin drugs have these various serious side effects is that they work by inhibiting a vital enzyme that manufactures cholesterol in the liver. However, the same enzyme is used to manufacture coenzyme Q10, which is a biochemical needed to transfer energy from food to our cells to be used for the work of staying alive and healthy.Statin drugs are known to inhibit our very important production of coenzyme Q10. Importantly, while many cardiologists insist that lowering cholesterol is correlated with a reduction in the risk of heart attacks; few can say that there is a reduction in the risk of mortality (death). That has been much harder to show. In other words it has never been conclusively shown that lowering cholesterol saves lives. In fact, several large studies have shown that lowering cholesterol into the range currently recommended is correlated with an increased risk of dying, especially of cancer.
- No Such Thing as Good and Bad CholesterolBecause the correlation of total cholesterol with heart disease is so weak, many years ago a stronger correlation was sought. It was found that there is so-called “good cholesterol” called HDL, and that the so-called “bad cholesterol” was LDL. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, and LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. Notice please that LDL and HDL are lipoproteins — fats combined with proteins. There is only one cholesterol. There is no such thing as a good or a bad cholesterol. Cholesterol is just cholesterol. It combines with other fats and proteins to be carried through the bloodstream, since fat and our watery blood do not mix very well.Fatty substances therefore must be shuttled to and from our tissues and cells using proteins. LDL and HDL are forms of proteins and are far from being just cholesterol. In fact we now know there are many types of these fat and protein particles. LDL particles come in many sizes and large LDL particles are not a problem. Only the so-called small dense LDL particles can potentially be a problem, because they can squeeze through the lining of the arteries and if they oxidize, otherwise known as turning rancid, they can cause damage and inflammation. Thus, you might say that there is “good LDL” and “bad LDL.” Also, some HDL particles are better than others. Knowing just your total cholesterol tells you very little. Even knowing your LDL and HDL levels do not tell you very much.A mistake that is rarely made in the hard-core sciences such as physics seems to be frequently made in medicine. This is confusing correlation with cause. There may be a weak correlation of elevated cholesterol with heart attacks, however this does not mean it is the cholesterol that caused the heart attack. Certainly gray hair is correlated with getting older; however one could hardly say that the gray hair caused one to get old. Using hair dye to reduce the gray hair would not really make you any younger. Neither it appears would just lowering your cholesterol.Perhaps something else is causing both the gray hair and aging. Even if elevated cholesterol were significant and heart disease (which I question) perhaps something else is causing the elevated cholesterol and also causing the heart disease.Let’s look little more at cholesterol or, as Paul Harvey was fond of saying, “the rest of the story.” First and foremost, cholesterol is a vital component of every cell membrane on Earth. In other words, there is no life on Earth they can live without cholesterol. They will automatically tell you that, in of itself, it cannot be evil. In fact it is one of our best friends. We would not be here without it. No wonder lowering cholesterol too much increases one’s risk of dying. Cholesterol also is a precursor to all of the steroid hormones. You cannot make estrogen, testosterone, cortisone, and a host of other vital hormones without cholesterol.
- Cholesterol Is The Hero, Not The Villain.It was determined many years ago that the majority of cholesterol in your bloodstream comes from what your liver is manufacturing and distributing. The amount of cholesterol that one eats plays little role in determining your cholesterol levels. It is also known that HDL shuttles cholesterol away from tissues, and away from your arteries, back to your liver. That is why HDL is called the “good cholesterol;” because it is supposedly taking cholesterol away from your arteries. But let’s think about that.
- Why does your liver make sure that you have plenty of cholesterol?
- Why is HDL taking cholesterol back to your liver?
- Why not take it right to your kidneys, or your intestines to get rid of it?
It is taking it back to your liver so that your liver can recycle it; put it back into other particles to be taken to tissues and cells that need it. Your body is trying to make and conserve the cholesterol for the precise reason that it is so important, indeed vital, for health.
One function of cholesterol is to keep your cell membranes from falling apart. As such, you might consider cholesterol your cells “superglue.” It is a necessary ingredient in any sort of cellular repair. The coronary disease associated with heart attacks is now known to be caused from damage to the lining of those arteries. That damage causes inflammation. The coronary disease that causes heart attacks is now considered to be caused mostly from chronic inflammation.
- What Is Inflammation?Think of what happens if you were to cut your hand. Within a fraction of a second, chemicals are released by the damaged tissue to initiate the process known as inflammation. Inflammation will allow that little cut to heal, and indeed to keep you from dying. The cut blood vessels constrict to keep you from bleeding too much. Blood becomes “thicker” so that it can clot. Cells and chemicals from the immune system are alerted to come to the area to keep intruders such as viruses and bacteria from invading the cut. Other cells are told to multiply to repair the damage so that you can heal. When the repair is completed, you have lived to be careless another day, though you may have a small scar to show for your troubles.We now know that similar events take place within the lining of our arteries. When damage occurs to the lining of our arteries (or even elsewhere) chemicals are released to initiate the process of inflammation. Arteries constrict, blood becomes more prone to clot, white blood cells are called to the area to gobble up damaged debris, and cells adjacent to those damaged are told to multiply. Ultimately, scars form, however inside our arteries we call it plaque. And the constriction of our arteries and the “thickening” of our blood further predisposes us to high blood pressure and heart attacks.
- So Where Might Cholesterol Fit Into All Of This?When damage is occurring and inflammation is being initiated, chemicals are being released so that that damage can be repaired. One could speculate that to replace damaged, old and worn-out cells the liver needs to be notified to either recycle or manufacture cholesterol since no cell, human or otherwise, can be made without it. In this case, cholesterol is being manufactured and distributed in your bloodstream to help you repair damaged tissue and in fact to keep you alive.If excessive damage is occurring such that it is necessary to distribute extra cholesterol through the bloodstream, it would not seem very wise to merely lower the cholesterol and forget about why it is there in the first place. It would seem much smarter to reduce the extra need for the cholesterol — the excessive damage that is occurring, the reason for the chronic inflammation.
- So Why Take Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs?The pharmaceutical companies thought that you might think that. They went back to the drawing board. They did more “research” and found (coincidentally) that statin drugs had anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore we’re currently being told to stay on our cholesterol-lowering drugs because now they work by reducing inflammation and perhaps not even by reducing cholesterol, and in fact perhaps in spite of it. Aspirin reduces inflammation for a lot less money. So does vitamin E, and fish oil, and dietary changes without the dangers of drugs and having many other benefits instead.
Excerpts from New Science Destroys the Saturated Fat Myth by Dr. Joseph Mercola
- In 2012, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology examined the health and lifestyle habits of more than 52,000 adults ages 20 to 74, concluding that women with “high cholesterol” (greater than 270 mg/dl) had a 28 percent lower mortality risk than women with “low cholesterol” (less than 183 mg/dl).
- Researchers also found that, if you’re a woman, your risk for heart disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke are higher with lower cholesterol levels.3
- In 2013, a prominent London cardiologist by the name of Aseem Malhotraargued in the British Medical Journal that you should ignore advice to reduce your saturated fat intake, because it’s actually increasing your risk for obesity and heart disease.4
- Then in March 2014, a new meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, using data from nearly 80 studies and more than a half million people, found that those who consume higher amounts of saturated fat have no more heart disease than those who consume less.
- Fat Has Been Blamed for Sugar’s Evil Deeds
What do these journalists and scientists know that your physician might not? Going back forty years or more, fat has been misidentified as the culprit behind heart disease, when all along it’s been sugar.A high-sugar diet raises your risk for heart disease by promoting metabolic syndrome—a cluster of health conditions that includes high blood pressure, insulin and leptin resistance, high triglycerides, liver dysfunction, and visceral fataccumulation.Insulin and leptin resistance is caused by factors inherent in our modern lifestyle, including diets heavy in processed carbohydrates, sugars/fructose, refined flours, and industrial seed oils.Making matters worse, the average American gets inadequate exercise, suffers from chronic stress and sleep deprivation, is exposed to environmental toxins, and has poor gut health (dysbiosis). This is the perfect storm for chronic disease.
- Cholesterol plays important roles such as building your cell membranes, interacting with proteins inside your cells, and helping regulate protein pathways required for cell signaling. Having too little cholesterol may negatively impact your brain health, hormone levels, heart disease risk, and more. Therefore, placing an upper limit on dietary cholesterol, especially such a LOW upper limit as is now recommended, is likely causing far more harm than good.
- What REALLY Constitutes a Heart-Healthy Diet?
The following table outlines my version of a “heart-healthy diet,” which minimizes inflammation, reduces insulin resistance, and helps you reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. If you want further details, I suggest reviewing my Optimized Nutrition Plan, which will guide you through dietary changes in a step-by-step fashion, moving from beginner to intermediate to advanced.
- Limit or eliminate all processed foods
- Eliminate all gluten and highly allergenic foods from your diet
- Eat organic foods whenever possible to avoid exposure to harmful agricultural chemicals, such as glyphosate
- Avoid genetically modified ingredients (GMO), which wreak biological chaos on a cellular level and are linked to abundant health problems, including chronic inflammation and heart disease
- Eat at least one-third of your food uncooked (raw), or as much as you can manage; avoid cooking foods at high temperatures
- Increase the amount of fresh vegetables in your diet, locally grown and organic if possible
- Eat naturally fermented foods, which help optimize your gut bacteria and prevent inflammation-causing superantigens from pathogenic bacteria, as well as providing valuable vitamin K2, B vitamins, and other nutrients
- Avoid all artificial sweeteners.
- Limit fructose to less than 25 grams per day from all sources, including whole fruits. If you have insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, you’d be well advised to keep your fructose consumption below 15 grams per day until your insulin resistance has normalized
- Swap all trans fats (vegetable oils, margarine etc.) for healthy fats like avocado, raw butter, cheese, and coconut oil; avoid consuming oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked scrambled eggs)
- To rebalance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, take a high-quality animal-based omega-3 supplement, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of processed omega-6 fats from vegetable oils
- Drink plenty of pure water every day
- Five Other Heart-Healthy Moves
- In addition to following the heart-healthy plan discussed above, there are several more strategies that can be profoundly helpful in reducing chronic inflammation and thereby lowering your cardiovascular risk:ti
- Exercise regularly. One of the primary benefits of exercise is that it helps normalize and maintain healthy insulin and leptin levels. Exercise also boosts HDL, increases your growth hormone production, helps curb your appetite, and improves your mood and sleep.
- Intermittent fasting. Fasting is an excellent way to “reboot” your metabolism so that your body can relearn how to burn fat as its primary fuel, which helps you shed those excess fat stores. Intermittent fasting has a far greater retention and compliance rate compared to conventional all-day fasting regimens. Another version is alternate-day fasting.
- Grounding yourself to the earth. When you walk barefoot, free electrons are transferred from the earth into your body, and electrons are some of the most potent antioxidants known. Grounding (also called Earthing) helps alleviate inflammation, as well as thinning your blood and causing your red blood cells to repel each other, making them less likely to clot.
- AVOID statin drugs. Statin drugs can reduce your cholesterol to dangerously low levels, while doing nothingtomodulate LDL particle size. Statin drugs may even accelerate heart disease. A 2012 study showed that statin use is associated with a 52 percent higher prevalence of calcified coronary plaque compared to those not taking them.7 And coronary artery calcification is the hallmark of potentially lethal heart disease. Antidepressants have also been associated with heart disease.
- AVOID chemicals whenever possible. BPA, for example, has been linked to heart disease: adults with the highest levels of BPA in their urine are more than twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease as those with the lowest levels.
Dr. Mercola Interviews Chris Kresser about Heart Disease
Diet and Environment matter much more than genes. Disease Does not just happen. The way you live determines how healthy or unhealthy you become. Article on Mercola about epigenetics.
Nina Teicholz at TEDxEast: The Big Fat Surprise
- The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease
- Nina on the Bulletproof Podcast: Saturated Fats & the Soft Science on Fat
Excerpt below from The Ornish Myth
- The difficulty is this: science has caught up with him, and we know a lot more about how atherosclerotic plaques form. We know that dietary lipids and their carriers are far less important that what the body makes. We know that the dietary component is far more related to the trigycerides – and triglycerides are raised much more by the grains and pastas that Ornish preaches on (in his trial, the “Ornish lifestyle” patients had a rise in their triglycerides).What Ornish and his crew call a landmark paper, would not be accepted by the same journals today for a number of reasons:(a) No one compares angiograms – a two-dimensional photograph of an artery – because they can be manipulated so easily and interpreted differently from one experienced radiologist or cardiologist to another. Depending on the angle you take the angiogram from, you can show a reduction in plaque by varying the recorder by a few degrees. Today intra-vascular ultrasound is the test of choice – this gives us a three dimensional view of the artery, from within the artery. The recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine, comparing lipid medications and their long-term effect on atherosclerotic plaque, is the most accurate measurement of plaque and its formation.(b) We know about the science of lipids, plaque formation, and how we can manipulate those to provide a better answer for atherosclerosis that does not involve severe manipulations of a diet. For example, it appears it is the carrier proteins that cause the damage to the arteries – and more carrier proteins are made in response to certain stimuli (triglycerides being one).(c ) There were deep and troubling issues with the groups of patients serving as controls. For example, we do not know how many pack-years of smoking were in one group or the other. This is not a minor flaw, as science understands the highly inflammatory changes that are made with smoking as opposed to those made with hyperlipidemia.(d) Lipid lowering drugs were used in some, and not others – however, the drugs today are far better, and more targeted than before.
Excerpts from Why Almost Everything Dean Ornish Says About Nutrition Is Wrong by Melinda Wenner Moyer
- “The other problem with Ornish’s antiprotein stance is that he lumps all animal proteins together. For instance, he wrote that animal proteins have been associated with higher disease and mortality risks in observational studies. But “Ornish is conflating hot dogs and pepperoni with fresh, unprocessed meats,” says Lydia Bazzano, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, “and there’s a big difference between them.”
- “But what about the claims Ornish makes about the success of his own diet—do they hold up to scrutiny? Not exactly. His famous 1990 Lifestyle Heart trial involved a total of 48 patients with heart disease. Twenty-eight were assigned to his low-fat, plant-based diet and 20 were given usual cardiac care. After one year those following his diet were more likely to see a regression in their atherosclerosis.But here’s the thing: The patients who followed his diet also quit smoking, started exercising and attended stress management training. The people in the control group were told to do none of these things. It’s hardly surprising that quitting smoking, exercising, reducing stress and dieting—when done together—improves heart health. But fact that the participants were making all of these lifestyle changes means that we cannot make any inferences about the effect of the diet alone.”
- “There’s also another issue to consider: Although Ornish emphasizes that his diet is low in fat and animal protein, it also eliminates refined carbohydrates. If his diet works—and again, we don’t know for sure that it does—is that because it reduces protein or fat or refined carbohydrates?The point here is not that Ornish’s diet—a low-fat, whole food, plant-based approach—is necessarily bad. It’s almost certainly healthier than the highly processed, refined-carbohydrate-rich diet most Americans consume today. But Ornish’s arguments against protein and fat are weak, simplistic and, in a way, irrelevant. A food or nutrient can be healthy without requiring that all other foods or nutrients be unhealthy. And categorizing entire nutrient groups as “good” or “bad” is facile. “It’s hard to move the science forward when there are so many stakeholders who say ‘this is the right diet and no other one could possibly be right,’” Bazzano says.”
Resources from Abel James, The Fat Burning Man:
- Denise Minger: Raw Vegan Vs. Paleo, Ditching Dietary Dogma, and How to Spot a Fraud
- Myth: You Shouldn’t Eat Avocados Because they are High in Fat
- Eggs Will Not Give You A Heart Attack. They Will Make You Lean
- Jimmy Moore: Cholesterol Clarity, C-Reactive Protein, and Why You’ve Been Duped About Heart Health
- Dr David Perlmutter: Grain Brain, Eating Fat Makes You Smart, and Why (Brain) Size Matters
- Nina Teicholz: Our Country’s Sordid Relationship with Saturated Fats
Resources from Mark’s Daily Apple by Mark Sisson (Primal Blueprint):
- The Straight Dope on Cholesterol: 10 Things You Need to Know – Part 1
- The Straight Dope on Cholesterol: 10 Things You Need to Know – Part 2
- The Definitive Guide To Cholesterol
- How Might Inflammation Cause Heart Disease?
- The Definitive Guide to Saturated Fat
- Why Grains Are Unhealthy
- Dear Mark: Vitamin K2
- Top 7 Most Common Reactions to Your High-Fat Diet (and How to Respond)
- Primal Blueprint Resources
Excerpts from Cardiologist Contends Ornish Low-Fat Diet For Reversing Heart Disease Is A ‘Scam’ on what the Ornish diet did to one doctor when he tried it:
- This “healthy” diet is supposed to help improve weight and health so that you never have to worry about heart disease, right? Well, let’s see what happened to Dr. Davis:
– Gained 31 pounds
– Developed protruding belly ( this study confirms it happens)
– HDL fell to 28 mg/dl
– Triglycerides vaulted to 336 mg/dl
– LDL cholesterol particle size was the small dangerous kind
– In a strange mental fog by the afternoon
– Constantly tired and cranky
– Sudden surges of anger and frustration over the small stuff
– Needed excessive amounts of coffee to function
Dr. William Davis: Wheat Belly, Going Gluten-Free, & Why Grains Cause Heart Disease – Youtube Video Interview
Excerpt from Nutritional Adjuncts to the Fat-Soluble Vitamins
- Vitamins A, D, and K2 interact synergistically to support immune health, provide for adequate growth, support strong bones and teeth, and protect soft tissues from calcification.
- Magnesium is required for the production of all proteins, including those that interact with vitamins A and D.
- Vitamins A and D support the absorption of zinc and zinc supports the absorption of all the fat-soluble vitamins.
- Many of the proteins involved in vitamin A metabolism and the receptors for both vitamins A and D only function correctly in the presence of zinc.
- Dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
- Vitamin K2 activates proteins by adding carbon dioxide to them. We can increase carbon dioxide production by consuming carbohydrates, exercising, and maintaining robust thyroid status.
- The fat-soluble vitamins thus interact not only with each other, but with other nutrients and metabolic factors as well. This level of complexity should urge us to exercise caution when interpreting scientific research, and to cooperate with the wisdom of nature by obtaining vitamins through nutrient-dense foods.
Videos from Modern Nutrition Policy is Based On Lies and Bad Science (Series of 6 here)
Rob Wolf Podcast Episode 293 with Dr. Jack Wolfson – The Paleo Cardiologist
- (The Podcast on Stitcher, if you’d prefer to save it and listen that way.)
- Dr. Wolfson’s website for his practice in Arizona.
Excerpts below from Heart Specialist Calls for Major Repositioning on Saturated Fat, as It’s NOT the Cause of Heart Disease – Dr. Joseph Mercola
Saturated Fat Does NOT Promote Heart DiseaseThe avoidance of saturated fat actually promotes poor health in a number of ways, compounding the health risks of following this completely outdated and dangerous advice. As stated by the author, Aseem Malhotra, an interventional cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London:
“The mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades. Yet scientific evidence shows that this advice has, paradoxically, increased our cardiovascular risks…
The aspect of dietary saturated fat that is believed to have the greatest influence on cardiovascular risk is elevated concentrations of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Yet the reduction in LDL cholesterol from reducing saturated fat intake seems to be specific to large, buoyant (type A) LDL particles, when in factit is the small, dense (type B) particles (responsive to carbohydrate intake) that are implicated in cardiovascular disease.
Indeed, recent prospective cohort studies have not supported any significant association between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular risk Instead, saturated fat has been found to be protective.” [Emphasis mine]
We’ve long acknowledged that the Western diet is associated with increased rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. Yet the conventional paradigm is extremely reluctant to accept that it is the sugar content of this diet that is the primary culprit.
Furthermore, it’s been firmly established that it’s the trans fat found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that is the true villain when it comes to heart disease, as they increase your LDL levels, or “bad” cholesterol, while lowering your levels of HDL, known as “good” cholesterol. Trans fats also contribute to type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems.
A high-sugar diet dramatically raises your risk for both type 2 diabetes and heart disease by promoting metabolic syndrome, which includes the following cluster of health conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Insulin and leptin resistance
- Raised triglycerides
- Visceral fat accumulation
In short, when you reduce saturated fat and increase refined carbohydrates, you end up promoting obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Busting the Calorie Myth
Another related myth is that eating fat causes weight gain, and associated health problems. This too has been firmly debunked (see research below). Eating healthful fat does NOT make you fat. Eating refined carbohydrates/sugar, trans fat and highly processed vegetable oils does. And Dr. Johnson’s work shows that while excess sugar in any form is harmful,fructose is the worst of the bunch. So far, scientific studies have linked fructose to about 78 different diseases and health problems.4
Fructose raises your uric acid levels, typically generating uric acid within minutes of ingestion, which in turn can wreak havoc on your blood pressure, insulin production, and kidney function. Increased uric acid also leads to chronic, low-level inflammation, which has far-reaching consequences for your health. For example, chronically inflamed blood vessels lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Another MAJOR part of why fructose is worse than other sugars is because it is “isocaloric but not isometabolic.” This means you can consume the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect on your body will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count. In the featured editorial,5 Dr. Malhotra addresses this as well, saying:
“The notoriety of fat is based on its higher energy content per gram in comparison with protein and carbohydrate. However, work by the biochemist Richard Feinman and nuclear physicist Eugene Fine on thermodynamics and the metabolic advantage of different diet compositions showed that the body did not metabolize different macronutrients in the same way.
Kekwick and Pawan carried out one of the earliest obesity experiments, published in the Lancet in 1956. They compared groups consuming diets of 90 percent fat, 90 percent protein, and 90 percent carbohydrate and showed that the greatest weight loss was in the fat consuming group. The authors concluded that the ‘composition of the diet appeared to outweigh in importance the intake of calories.’
The ‘calorie is not a calorie’ theory has been further substantiated by a recent JAMA study showing that a ‘low fat’ diet resulted in the greatest decrease in energy expenditure, an unhealthy lipid pattern, and increased insulin resistance in comparison with a low carbohydrate and low glycaemic index diet.” [Emphasis mine]
You simply MUST pay attention to the source of the calories. Fat is far more filling than carbohydrates, so replacing refined carbs with healthful fats will automatically reduce hunger. Furthermore, as your body shifts from burning carbs and sugars to burning fat as its primary fuel, your food cravings will significantly diminish. Once you’re fully fat adapted, cravings will be a distant memory. You can use this knowledge to assess your individual fat needs. If you’ve reduced your carb intake and replaced it with healthful fat but still struggle with hunger pangs, it’s a sign that you need to add more fat to your diet.
How Government Dietary Guidelines Promote Obesity and Chronic Disease
The food pyramid was replaced with “MyPlate” in 2011, which slightly downplayed grains as the most important dietary ingredient, making vegetables the largest “slice.” One of the most glaring problems with MyPlate is that it virtually removed all fats from the equation! In fact, except for a small portion of dairy, which is advised to be fat-free or low-fat, fats are missing entirely.There is no mention of the importance of dietary fats, even the “politically correct” ones like the monounsaturated fats in olive oil and nuts, such as pecans (canola oil is also in this category, but I advise avoiding it and using coconut oil instead). Even one of the most critical of all fats is absent from the plate, namely animal-based omega-3 fats. Deficiency in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year
Studies Showing Saturated Fat Is Not Associated with Increased Heart Disease Risk
As mentioned earlier, mounting scientific evidence supports saturated fat as a necessary part of a heart healthy diet, and firmly debunks the myth that saturated fat promotes heart disease. For example:
- In a 1992 editorial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine,6 Dr. William Castelli, a former director of the Framingham Heart study, stated:
“In Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol. The opposite of what… Keys et al would predict… We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active.”
- A 2010 meta-analysis,7 which pooled data from 21 studies and included nearly 348,000 adults, found no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.
- Another 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition8 found that a reduction in saturated fat intake must be evaluated in the context of replacement by other macronutrients, such as carbohydrates.
When you replace saturated fat with a higher carbohydrate intake, particularly refined carbohydrate, you exacerbate insulin resistance and obesity, increase triglycerides and small LDL particles, and reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol. The authors state that dietary efforts to improve your cardiovascular disease risk should primarily emphasize thelimitation of refined carbohydrate intake, and weight reduction.
Healthy Fat Tips to Live By
As reported by Medical News Today:9
“Dr. Malhotra urges doctors to ’embrace prevention as well as treatment.’ Drugs can alleviate symptoms but they can’t change the ‘pathophysiology,’ he says, and concludes: ‘It is time to bust the myth of the role of saturated fat in heart disease and wind back the harms of dietary advice that has contributed to obesity.'”
The most effective prevention strategy you’ll likely ever find is your diet—the foods you do and do not eat every day. Dr. Malhotra recommends a Mediterranean-style diet, which has been shown to be three times more effective than statin drugs at reducing cardiovascular mortality.
A Mediterranean-style diet is basically a whole-food diet. And that is indeed key for any healthy diet. As Dr. Sanjay Gupta accurately points out in the featured video, the answer is to EAT REAL FOOD. This change alone will dramatically reduce the amount of refined sugar and processed fructose in your diet. It will also address the issue of healthful versus harmful fats in your diet. Believe me, you’d be hard-pressed to find a processed food containing healthful fat… Besides eliminating processed foods, the following tips can help ensure you’re eating the right fats for your health:
- Use organic butter made from raw grass-fed milk instead of margarines and vegetable oil spreads.
- Use coconut oil for cooking. It is far superior to any other cooking oil and is loaded with health benefits.
- Use olive oil COLD, drizzled over salad or fish, for example. It is not an ideal cooking oil as it is easily damaged by heat.
- Following my nutrition plan will teach you to focus on healthy whole foods instead of processed junk food.
- To round out your healthy fat intake, be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados, raw dairy products, and olive oil, and also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil.
Quote below from The Importance of Grass-Fed Meat
“Healthy animals that were raised properly have an omega ratio of about 1:1 while animals raised in closed environments who eat corn and soy develop much less omega-3 in their fat. When those animals get sick, you get sick from eating those animals.”
The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov – FREE to read the entire book online
Resources below from Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
- Cholesterol Goes Up, Heart Disease Goes Down
- Dr. Kendrick’s Book “The Great Cholesterol Con”
- A Sudden Flash of Truth on Cholesterol
Excerpts below from Fat Does Not Clog Up Our Arteries
- Fat never clogs veins. By a process of common sense, therefore, fat also never clogs arteries. It would make no sense whatsoever that the only parts of the blood circulatory system that got clogged up were the ‘motorways’ – the widest and the fastest flowing pathways.
- Fat travels around in lipoproteins – along with cholesterol, protein and phospholipids. The idea that fat somehow leaps out of the lipoproteins to attach itself to the arterial wall to try to clog up the system and kill us is ludicrous at every level.
- The far more likely explanation for narrowing of the arteries is that the wall of the arteries (called the endothelial wall), quite uniquely, can suffer damage such that a ‘lesion’ (think of a lesion as a ‘scab’), forms. The body is so clever and self protective that the body cannot and does not risk the scab breaking away and freely floating in the blood stream – as this could cause a blockage. The lining of the endothelial wall tries to repair itself and forms a new layer over the scab – sucking the scab back into the lining of the artery wall in so doing. That’s how smart and life preserving our bodies are. The trouble is – if we continue to be exposed to whatever was damaging the lining of the arteries (suspects are smoking, processed food, pollution, stress – modern aspects of modern life implicated in a modern disease) – we continue to form lesions. We only need too many ‘scabs’ in one area, and the repair kit being unable to keep up, and we could be in trouble – big heart attack or stroke kind of trouble.This brings us on to the ‘repair kit’. The best repair nutrient of all – the body’s chief anti-oxidant, anti-blood-clotter and repairer of blood vessels is vitamin E. Another trouble is – vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, found in nature’s real fat foods (meat, fish, eggs etc), which we are continually telling people to avoid! Another huge irony is that cholesterol and fat are the two main repair substances in the body. So, a lesion forms and cholesterol will head to the area to do its repair job and to try to fix the scab. Then, if the person dies because there’s only so much cholesterol can do, pathologists find cholesterol around the scab – at the scene of the crime so to speak – and blame cholesterol for causing the damage.
Low-Fat Craze Slowly Coming To An End? The Death of the Low Fat Diet – Again
The cholesterol hypothesis is wrong – Malcolm Kendrick – Part 1
The Cholesterol Myth: Heart of the Matter (Part 1)
The Statins Myth: Heart of the Matter
The Truth About Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
The Great Cholesterol Deception–The Story Behind the Statins – 30 Minutes Documentary on Statins
Statin Nation Documentary, First 13 minutes of the film:
Tom Woods Interview: Mark Sisson Explains the Primal Blueprint
You Need Cholesterol, Not Dangerous Statin Drugs!
Dr. Sinatra Exposes the Great Cholesterol Myth
Also, see Dr. Sinatra’s book here, The Great Cholesterol Myth, co-authored with Jonny Bowden
Dr. Sinatra: Is a Low-Fat Vegetarian Diet Healthy for Your Heart?
Dangers of Low Fat and Cholesterol:
- It’s Not Dementia: It’s Your Heart Medication
- The Steve Jobs Diet, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Vegetarian Cancer
- 7 Ways The Low-Fat Diet Destroys Your Health
- Cholesterol: Friend or Foe
- Your Brain Needs Cholesterol
- Statin Scam: People with Higher Cholesterol Live Longer than People with Low Cholesterol
- Why Cholesterol is Essential for Optimal Health, and the Six Most Important Risk Factors of Heart Disease
- Excerpt below from Cholesterol Is Essential to Brain Health: The ‘forbidden’ fat your brain needs most
- It’s critical to the brain and essential for stimulating the production of the nerve cells that produce dopamine — and you’ve been told to avoid it. Heck, if you were like most adults, you’d probably already be taking drugs to get rid of it!Good thing you’re not like most adults. You’re a Daily Dose reader, and you know the truth about cholesterol — that this H-E-A-L-T-H-Y blood fat is absolutely critical to a number of functions, including brain function.And if people with low cholesterol — like statin users — often seem like they’re losing a little something upstairs, it’s because they ARE losing a little something upstairs — specifically the nerve cells the brain needs to produce dopamine.That’s the “feel good” chemical the brain releases when we feel happy, excited, or just plain satisfied. It’s also the chemical that goes AWOL in Parkinson’s patients.In a recent series of experiments on mice and zebrafish, researchers in Sweden found that a molecule called 24,25-EC is needed for that internal dopamine factory to function.Now, I don’t expect you to remember the name 24,25-EC. It’s like trying to remember a license plate number. But what you do need to remember is this: 24,25-EC is derived from the very same cholesterol you’ve been told is bad for you.Miss out on cholesterol, and the 24,25-EC plant goes on strike — and dopamine production shuts down.No wonder low LDL cholesterol has been shown to TRIPLE the risk of Parkinson’s disease in other studies — and the brain damage doesn’t end there. Low cholesterol can also lead to depression, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.Elsewhere in the body, cholesterol is also critical for healthy arteries, strong muscles, and a sex life you can be proud of at any age. Not coincidentally, statin use leads to stiffer arteries, painfully weak muscles, and erectile dysfunction.See the connection?Clearly, you need cholesterol — and plenty of it. I recommend total cholesterol of between 200 and 300. Any lower, and you need to get busy with a steak knife.
Links Between Dental Hygiene and Heart Disease:
- How Dental Hygienists Could Save Your Life
- Dangers of Root Canaled Teeth
- Can a Dental Infection Cause a Massive Heart Attack?
Alternatives to the Low-Fat Craze:
- 21 Foods That Unclog Arteries (And yes, some fatty foods are on this list.)
- 10 Proven Benefits of Coconut Oil
- MCT Fats Found In Coconut Oil Boost Brain Function In Only One Dose
- 12 Benefits of Avocados
- Avocado Helps Lower Bad Cholesterol
- Heart Disease Prevention: Using Virgin Coconut Oil
- Coconut oil as a “saturated fat” is not the culprit for heart disease as has been claimed. Heart disease prevention begins with consuming a good quality saturated fat such as virgin coconut oil.
- Coconut oil actually regulates blood cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides and therefore helps with heart disease prevention and treatment.
- Research indicates that coconut oil prevents oxidization of cholesterol, one of the main causes of atherosclerosis.
- Coconut oil-based diets lowered Lp(a) levels. Measuring Lp(a) levels has been found to be a much more accurate indication of being prone to CHD (Coronary Heart Disease). Prevention begins by normalizing bodily functions and virgin coconut oil does just that!
- Coconut oil has an antimicrobial effect in the body and can be used to treat even severe bacterial infections such as antibiotic resistant strains. This antimicrobial effect may very well play a key role in heart disease prevention by eliminating bacterial or viral lesions on artery walls.
- The 6 Pillars to Achieving a phenomenally healthy body and mind
- Dr. Mercola Beginner Nutrition Plan
- Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint 101
- Robb Wolf – Eat Real Food
- 9 Steps to Perfect Health – #3: Eat Real Food
- Abel James – The Wild Diet
- Dr. Chris Kresser: The Paleo Template
- Authority Nutrition: Low Carb Meal Plan
- 7 Foods to Avoid (in order of importance)
- Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, agave, candy, ice cream and many others.
- Gluten Grains: Wheat, spelt, barley and rye. Includes breads and pastas.
- Trans Fats: “Hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.
- High Omega-6 Seed- and Vegetable Oils:Cottonseed-, soybean-, sunflower-, grapeseed-, corn-, safflower and canola oils.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Cyclamates and Acesulfame Potassium. Use Stevia instead.
- “Diet” and “Low-Fat” Products: Many dairy products, cereals, crackers, etc.
- Highly Processed Foods: If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it.
- 7 Foods to Avoid (in order of importance)
- A Metabolic Paradigm Shift, Or Why Fat is the Preferred Fuel For Human Metabolism
- Benefits of Grass Fed Beef
- Burn Fat, Not Sugar, to Lose Weight
- Are You A Fat Burner or a Sugar Burner?
- How To Burn Stored Body Fat: A Ketosis Primer
- How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
- 10 High-Fat Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy
- Primal Body, Primal Mind
- Why Grass-Fed Butter is One of the Healthiest Fats On The Planet
- (In a study of 3626 people) The people who ate the most were 49 percent less likely to experience a heart attack, compared to those who ate the least.
- Another study from Australia showed that people who ate the most full-fat dairy had a 69% lower risk of heart disease than people who ate the least (8).
- Several other studies in European countries, where cows are generally grass-fed, have shown that dairy fat is linked to reduced heart attacks and strokes (9, 10).
- A Heart Healthy Diet Plan With Turmeric
- 6 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure With Your Diet
- Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
- 5 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure
- Supplement Guide
- Vitamins for Congestive Heart Failure
- Niacin for Coronary Disease
- Vitamin E for Heart Disease
- Vitamins to Prevent Disease
- Dr. David Ludwig clears up carbohydrate confusion
- Reversing Type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines
- End Sickness Now – Health Articles
- Lower Blood Pressure Naturally in 15 Minutes
*I’m not a government-approved “medical” professional. None of this should be taken as medical advice. These are my opinions, and the information linked to and quoted is just information. Please make your own decisions and consult a doctor before making drastic health changes.*
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