Cholesterol and Fat

I’ve asked many people, “how low do you think your cholesterol should be?” And the response I usually get is “as low as possible.” That is sad. Cholesterol is an absolutely vital substance in our bodies. In fact, it is so important that most cells of the body can make it. Almost all of the cholesterol in our bodies, is made BY our bodies, very little actually comes from our diet.  Why would our bodies make a substance that is harmful to us?  What role does cholesterol play in the body and why do we need it so much?

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“Cholesterol is essential for our bodies to function. Without cholesterol, you would die. In fact, the majority of the cholesterol in our blood comes from our own bodies making it. I don’t think that a lot of people understand this concept. People mistakenly think they get most of their cholesterol from their food and that is not true. Cholesterol is used to make hormones like estrogen an testosterone, is transported to the adrenal gland to aid in hormone synthesis, repairs nerves and makes bile for fat digestion, it is a structural component of our cells, it synthesizes vitamin D. It plays such a crucial role in our body that we genuinely need it. If our levels of cholesterol are too low, that can play a negative role in our health too, as a telltale sign of autoimmune disease or even cancer.” Cassie Bjork, Registered Dietician, as quoted in the book Cholesterol Clarity  (www.dietitiancassie.com)

“Cholesterol, along with saturated fat, gives our cells required stiffness and stability. Cholesterol is vital for the production and function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is the body’s “feel good” chemical. Low cholesterol levels have been linked to depression and aggression. Mother’s milk is very high in cholesterol, which is important for the development of infant’s brain and nervoussystem. Cholesterol acts a precursor to important hormones that help us deal with stress and protect the body against cancer and heart disease. It is also important to our sex hormones like androgen, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. Cholesterol is necessary for us to use vitamin D, which is a fat-soluble vitamin needed for healthy bones and nervous system, insulin production, reproduction and immune system function, proper growth, mineral metabolism and muscle tone. Bile is vital for digestion and assimilation of fats in the diet; which is made from cholesterol that we eat. Cholesterol performs as an antioxidant, which protects us from free radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer. This explains why cholesterol levels go up with age. Dietary cholesterol helps maintain the health of the intestinal wall.” Maria Emmerich, as quoted in the book “Keto Adapted.”  (www.mariamindbodyhealth.com)

So if cholesterol is so important, why are we shunning it?  Apparently, the U.S. was fairly unique in this regard in insisting on cholesterol restriction as most other nations impose such a restriction.  Nutrition studies and leading experts had been calling for a re-evaluation of cholesterol guidelines for quite some time.  Finally, in 2015, the Dietary Guidelines in the United States lifted the restriction on cholesterol, finding no basis to restrict it, as it is no longer a “nutrient of concern.”  (In reality, there was never a basis to suggest limiting it in the first place.)

However, most healthcare and nutrition professionals are still recommending limiting dietary cholesterol.  WHY????  We call this COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.  It is defined this way; “Cognitive dissonance is when people hold a core belief that is very strong.  When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted.  It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable.  And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize it, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit with that core belief.” (-Frantz Fanon)

Nothing could better describe the state of nutrition advice coming from the leading health and nutrition organizations worldwide.

Revisiting dietary cholesterol recommendations:

Does the evidence support a limit of 300 mg/day?

November 12, 2010

“The perceived association between dietary cholesterol and risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) has resulted in recommendations of no more than 300 mg/day for healthy persons in the United States. These dietary recommendations proposed in the 1960s had little scientific evidence. In contrast, European countries, Asian countries, and Canada do not have an upper limit for dietary cholesterol. Further, current epidemiologic data have clearly demonstrated that increasing concentrations of dietary cholesterol are NOT correlated with increased risk for CHD.

Clinical studies have shown that…dietary cholesterol increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. More importantly, dietary cholesterol reduces circulating levels of small, dense LDL particles, a well-defined risk factor for CHD. This article presents recent evidence documenting the lack of effect of dietary cholesterol on CHD risk, suggesting that guidelines for dietary cholesterol should be revisited.”

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20683785

Rethinking Dietary Cholesterol

March 15, 2012

“PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The perceived notion that dietary cholesterol is associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) has led to dietary recommendations of no more than 300mg/day for healthy populations in the USA. This study will review the current dietary restriction regarding cholesterol while it presents some beneficial effects of eggs (an icon for dietary cholesterol) in healthy individuals.

RECENT FINDINGS: the European countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Korea and India among others do not have an upper limit for cholesterol in their dietary guidelines. Further, existing epidemiological data have clearly demonstrated that dietary cholesterol is not correlated with increased risk for CHD.

SUMMARY: The lines of evidence coming from current epidemiological studies and from clinical interventions support the notion that the recommendations limiting dietary cholesterol should be reconsidered.”

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22037012

The media has been buzzing lately with the news that a nutritional advisory committee has endorsed the lifting of the cholesterol restrictive guidelines.  We will see if these recommendations come to pass.  And if so, how long will it take the public to believe they have been misinformed for the past 40-50 years… 😦

Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies

Evaluating the Association of Saturated Fats

With Cardiovascular Disease

March 9, 2010

“A reduction in dietary saturated fat has generally been thought to improve cardiovascular health. The objective of this meta-analysis was to summarize the evidence related to the association of dietary saturated fat with risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and cardiovascular disease (CVD). During a 5-23 year follow up of 347,747 subjects, intake of saturated fat was NOT associated with an increased risk for CHD, stroke or CVD.

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Enjoy This Video “The True Cause of Heart Disease”
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More Resources

Here is an excellent article entitled “We Have a Got Cholesterol Completely Wrong.”  Click HERE

Here is a brief video entitled “Forget Cholesterol – Inflammation is the Real Enemy”  HERE

 

“Demonism and Deception in Cholesterol Research” Video  HERE

Enjoy this video by Dr. Jason Fung, Nephrologist entitled “Dietary Villains: Fat Phobia” HERE

Zoe Harcombe: “Fat Does Not Clog Up your Arteries”  HERE

Zoe Harcombe: “Saturated Fat Does Not Cause Heart Disease”  HERE

Zoe Harcombe: “National Cholesterol Month”  HERE

Zoe Harcombe:  Cholesterol & Heart a Disease – There Is A Relationship, But it is Not What You Think  HERE

Open Heart: Podcast: “Why We Were Wrong About Dietary Fat Guidelines”  HERE

“Saturated Fat’s Role in Heart Disease is a Myth, Says Heart Specialist” HERE

“Saturated Fat is Not the Culprit in Heart Disease” HERE

“Saturated Fat Myth Busted in BMJ” HERE

Time Magazine: “The Truth About Fat”  HERE

Dr. David Perlmutter: “Is Cholesterol Truly Bad?”  HERE

Dr. David Perlmutter: “Dietary Fat and Cardiovascular Disease: Why Fat Will Protect Your Heart”  HERE

Dr. David Perlmutter: “Saturated Fat: The Healthy Choice”  HERE

Dr. Mark Hyman: “Why Did Saturated Fat Get a Bad Rep?  HERE

Dr. Mark Hyman: “Fat Does Not Make You Fat”  HERE

“The Diet Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy”   HERE

“Cholesterol Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease”  HERE

“Heart Surgeon Speaks Out on What Really Causes Heart Disease”  HERE

Wall Street Journal “The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease”  HERE

Video: “The Truth About Saturated Fat”  HERE

Video: “The Cholesterol Conundrum and Root Cause Solution”  HERE

Video: “The Great Cholesterol Myth”  HERE

Dr. John Briffa: “Two Major Studies Conclude That Saturated Fat Does Not Cause Heart Disease”  HERE

“New Research Links Carbs – Not Fat – To Diabetes and Heart Disease”  HERE

“Cardio Protective Effect of Saturated Fat”  HERE

The Benefits of Saturated Fat and Cholesterol HERE

“The Cholesterol Myth – Part 1 of 3”  HERE

“The Cholesterol Myth – Part 2 of 3: What Causes Coronary Artery Disease”  HERE

“The Cholesterol Myth – Part 3 of 3: How We Can Reduce Our Risk”  HERE

“Saturated Fat Phobia Lacks Scientific Basis”  HERE

“6 Steps to Healthy Cholesterol”  HERE

“8 Reasons Saturated Fat is Good For You”  HERE

“Is Artery Clogging Fat Really Healthy?”  HERE

“Saturated Fat: Good or Bad?”  HERE

“It Ain’t the Fat People!”  HERE

“The War on Fat Was a Huge Mistake”  HERE

“The Cholesterol Myth”  HERE

“Enjoy Your Saturated Fats, They Are Good For You”  HERE

“Ways the Low Fat Diet Destroys Your Health”  HERE

“Carbs More Harmful Than Saturated Fats”  HERE

For more great info on cholesterol, visit my Pinterest board to view a collection of my favorite health and nutrition articles about cholesterol and fat HERE

 

Book Suggestions:

The Great Cholesterol Myth – Click Image

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The Great Cholesterol Con

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The Sinatra Solution – Metabolic Cardiology

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Cholesterol Clarity – Click Image

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The Big Fat Surprise – Click Image

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Eat Fat, Get Thin – Click Link

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