“Although low-fat high-carbohydrate diets are recommended…in an effort to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, the results of short-term studies have shown that these diets can lead to…an increased risk of coronary artery disease.” – The American Diabetes Association
As with other popular misconceptions about how our bodies work, confusion runs rampant about lowering cholesterol and cholesterol in general. Ancel Keys played a key role in creating this problem. Along with his other claims, he needed a scientific sounding explanation for how foods containing fat kill us. Looking at his data, Keys noticed that people eating more foods that contain fat generally had higher total cholesterol. While there was—and still is—no proof that high total cholesterol causes cardiovascular issues, Keys called it the cause of their heart problems.
It’s Not About Lower Total Cholesterol Levels
Even while Keys was touting his new findings, the Federal Register (the official log of the federal government of the U.S.) was on record with the true scientific data at that time:
“The role of cholesterol in heart disease has not been established. A causal relationship between blood cholesterol levels and these diseases has not been proved. The advisability of making extensive changes in the nature of the dietary fat intake of the people of this country has not been demonstrated.”
Likewise, to this day, no studies have proven high total cholesterol causes heart disease. In the American Journal of Medicine T. Gordon reported, “Total cholesterol per se is not a risk factor for coronary heart disease at all.” Dr. Uffe Ravnskov analyzed 26 randomized and controlled trials which were designed to lower total cholesterol and, theoretically, the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Ravnskov’s analysis put people into two groups:
- Treatment Group: People who ate less food that contain fat and/or took cholesterol-lowering drugs.
- Control Group: People who did not eat less food that contain fat and did not take cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Across the studies, the total number of heart attack deaths was equal between the groups, and more people died overall in the group who ate less fat and/or took cholesterol-lowering drugs. Ravnskov concluded: “Lowering serum cholesterol concentrations does not reduce mortality and is unlikelyto prevent coronary heart disease.”
Average Outcomes Across the 26 Cholesterol Studies
For foods that contain fat and cholesterol to be killers, three points must be proven:
- Eating natural foods that contain fat leads to risky levels of cholesterol.
- These levels of cholesterol cause cardiovascular disease.
- The diet outlined by government’s guidelines improves these cholesterol levels.
None of these things have been proven.
University of California’s J.B. German summarizes the state of cholesterol research:
“The approach of many mainstream investigators…has been narrowly focused to produce and evaluate evidence in support of the hypothesis that dietary saturated fat elevates LDL cholesterol and thus the risk of coronary artery disease. The evidence is not strong, and, overall, dietary intervention by lowering saturated fat intake does not lower the incidence of nonfatal coronary artery disease; nor does such dietary intervention lower coronary disease or total mortality.”
Eating SANE foods containing fat has never been proven to lead to risky levels of cholesterol. The effect of natural dietary fat on cholesterol has never been proven to cause cardiovascular disease. In fact, studies have shown the opposite. The high-starch, low-fat, and low-protein diet promoted by the government’s guidelines has been proven to worsen the type of cholesterol that decreases the risk of heart disease (HDL cholesterol).
We’ll cover why there is so much confusion about cholesterol in the next post.
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