August 07, 2014

Cholesterol is Not the Culprit!

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Over the last several years of writing these columns I’ve hit the cholesterol topic a few times. It bears repeating until you finally give up your statin drugs forever. They are not just dangerous but treat a non- existent, made up health crisis. Cholesterol is a necessary, vital piece of your health picture.

The medical community has for 30 years fed us a line of complete and utter hysteria about cholesterol levels in our blood. First they randomly selected 180 mg/dl as the “normal” level of cholesterol. A reading of 200 mg/dl required their drugs to keep you safely under 180. The diet they prescribed was to eat no cholesterol, not much red meat, and lots of grains. When that was proven wrong, they said some eggs and red meat are ok, but not too much.

We now see a complete scientifically based free fall of this cholesterol whopper! As Dr. Mercola puts it, “The cholesterol myth has suffered a bit of a triple whammy of late, making it harder and harder for heart specialists to uphold the company line.” There are three studies since 2012 that Dr. Mercola shows have obliterated the saturated fat phobia.

The first, in 2012, by 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. They concluded that women with high cholesterol, over 270 mg/dl, had a 28% LOWER mortality risk than women with “low” cholesterol, less than 183 mg/dl. They also found that women with the lower levels increased their risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Secondly, in 2013, a prominent London cardiologist argued in the British Medical Journal that you should ignore advice to reduce your saturated fat intake because it is actually increasing your risk for obesity and heart disease.

Now, in March 2014, a new meta-analysis of nearly 80 studies and a half million people, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that those who consumed the most saturated fat have no more heart diseases than those who consume less. They also did not find less heart disease among those eating higher amounts of unsaturated fats like olive oil or corn oil.

Cholesterol plays a vital role in our health. It is needed for building cell membranes, for interacting with proteins inside your cells and helping regulate cell signaling. Having too little cholesterol impacts your brain health, hormone levels and heart disease risk. There is strong evidence that people have a higher risk for heart attack by having their cholesterol number driven too low, as is now the case with the statin drug craze by medicine. Lifestyle choices such as getting to a healthy weight, exercising and managing insulin levels are a better way to avoid heart disease.

Dr. Mercola says that fat has been blamed for the real evildoer, sugar. A high sugar diet raises your risk of heart disease by promoting metabolic syndrome – a cluster of health conditions including high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, liver dysfunction and visceral(belly) fat accumulation.

The current USDA recommendations call for your diet to include less than 10% of your total calories from saturated fats. That is exactly the opposite of what it should be! The latest science says healthy fats, both saturated and unsaturated, from whole food, animal and plant sources should comprise 50 to 85% of our overall energy intake. Foods like grass fed red meat, free range eggs, coconut oil, avocados, raw butter and cheese are where your calories should come from.

Please reconsider your use of cholesterol lowering drugs and tell your doctor you want to follow what the latest research proves…cholesterol is normal especially when your HDL levels are high. Take control of your health, it is up to you to get healthy and stay healthy.