Why Cholesterol Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease

Highlights:

Clearing up confusion about:

What to eat to optimize your health and cholesterol–

The myth that cholesterol is “bad” is based on studies that are outdated—

Learn the facts about:

How cholesterol is synthesized and controlled by the liver–

How more recent, long-term studies showing no association between saturated fat, and blood cholesterol levels–

How a low-fat, high grain diet contributes to heart disease–

Are You Confused About Cholesterol?

The purpose of this article is to help you take back your health in regards to your diet. Some of the largest health institutions in America have been giving you information that is incorrect and may even be harming your health. 

Many Americans are still confused about the safety of cholesterol in their foods; how much we’re allowed to eat, what cholesterol is good for etc. You might be confused about what healthy blood lipid levels are, or maybe what predictive indicators are the most important for predicting cardio vascular disease. 

To add to this confusion the American Heart Association recommends that your total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL to reduce the risk of Cardiovascular Disease. Unless it is above 330, your total cholesterol level is a terrible way to gauge your risk for heart disease and is not a accurate risk indicator for heart disease. This has been shown in studies repeatedly . 

If you’re unsure what these predictive indicators are, I cover that in this article here

So, what causes high cholesterol?

Diet is a major contributing factor of heart disease, however, it’s not what you have been told in the past. Saturated fats are not the culprit; and I will show you why. The biggest confusion people have to deal with is directly related to what they should be eating. “Should I eat high cholesterol foods or cut them out of my diet?” and “If I eat butter or eggs, won’t it clog my arteries?” These are the most common questions I hear in my clinic when discussing blood lipid levels with patients. 

The Truth About cholesterol

This confusion comes from science that is over 50 years old. It goes something like this, “Eating cholesterol rich foods, like eggs, saturated fat from meat, and butter causes heart disease”. This misunderstanding comes from the Diet Heart Hypothesis, which states, “saturated fat in the diet leads to an increased level of cholesterol in the blood and causes Cardio Vascular Disease.” 

This is different from the Lipid hypothesis, which states; ‘the reduction of plasma cholesterol in an individual or population, will reduce the risk of heart disease and/or a cardiovascular event’. 

In fact, up until 2010, most main stream government institutions recommended reducing cholesterol-rich foods to the point of almost eliminating them completely. It was the US dietary guidelineswhich had this recommendation,

“consume less than 300 milligrams per day of dietary cholesterol, which is about the amount in one egg.”

The problem with the Diet Heart Hypothesis, is that more recent science and studies do not support the old claims. Here is an excellent presentation  by Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprisewhich explains more about the study and why it is flawed. This basis for this science is based on flawed studies that were done in the 1957. If you want a concise break down of how this confusion got started, I suggest you watch this talk by Nina.

Eating Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Doesn’t Raise Cholesterol Levels in The Blood

What more recent studies and science show us, is that healthy, cholesterol rich foods, including saturated fat, does not lead to an increase in blood lipid levels orincrease the risk for heart disease. Your liver is the primary producer of cholesterol in your body — not food with cholesterol or saturated fat. 

According to Chris Masterjohn, who received his PhD in nutritional sciences from the University of Connecticut, writes extensively on this topic:

“Since we cannot possibly eat enough cholesterol to use for our bodies’ daily functions, our bodies make their own. When we eat more foods rich in this compound, our bodies make less. If we deprive ourselves of foods high in cholesterol — such as eggs, butter, and liver — our body revs up its cholesterol synthesis.

The end result is that, for most of us, eating foods high in cholesterol has very little impact on our blood cholesterol levels. In seventy percent of the population, foods rich in cholesterol such as eggs cause only a subtle increase in cholesterol levels or none at all. In the other thirty percent, these foods do cause a rise in blood cholesterol levels.”

But this increase is temporary and doesn’t affect the most important risk assessment indicators: LDL/HDLRatio, and therefore, doesn’t increase or affect heart disease. Some studies show that saturated fat doesincrease blood cholesterol, however, these studies are almost all short-term studies (2-13 weeks). 

If you still think saturated fats and cholesterol rich foods cause Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) or Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), then I invite you to take a look at this comprehensive  examination, which includes the majority of the long-term studies conducted on the subject. These studies discovered that there is noevidence of saturated fat causing CVD or CHD. Stated as follows:

“There is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.” 

Can I Eat Eggs?

We can see in this study, that eating a consistent diet of eggs over 6 weeks didnotraise blood cholesterol levels. The study concluded by saying, “Dietary cholesterol may be less detrimental to cardiovascular health than previously thought.”

Dan Rader, a professor of molecular median at the University of Pennsylvania, had this to say about food affecting the lipid levels in the blood:

“Most of the cholesterol in our blood is not derived from our diets. Every cell in your body makes cholesterol.” The old guidelines, he stated, were based on an incorrect assumption. He went on to say, “We now know that cholesterol in the diet makes very little difference in terms of bad cholesterol in the blood.”

The Benefits of Eating Eggs

Eggs are an incredibly nutritional food, giving us valuable vitamins, such as, A, D, E and K, as well as: Choline, Omega-3 fats and antioxidants. These are not found in the egg whites, but in the yokes. Egg yolks also contain more vitamin B12 and folate than the egg whites. Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, as well as Choline, which eggs provide in ample amounts. 

Here is some research to help you take that step and add eggs back into your diet. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates that eggs and cholesterol intake are notassociated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. This studytook a look at people who are carriers of the ApoE4 gene, which makes this section of the population highly susceptible to heart disease. Eating eggs did not affect this ApoE4 group.

If Cholesterol Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease… What Does?

Sugar, a low-fat diet and high carb diet, with rancid vegetable oils all contribute to Heart Disease. That’s right! A low fat, high carbohydrate diet leads to insulin signaling problems. In a pooled analysis of individual data, from 11 prospective cohort studies in; the United States, Europe and Israel, which included 344,696 participants, found that: “for each 5% increase in carbohydrate consumption, in place of saturated fat consumption, lead to a 7% increased risk of Coronary Heart Disease.” An imbalance in blood sugar  or insulin resistance patterns, cause scarring in the blood vessels and will put you at significant risk for heart disease.

This chronic underlying inflammationis present in most chronic disease processes, and is directly connected to heart disease. Chronic inflammation isn’t caused by good health, saturated fat or good cholesterol laden foods, butsugarin allits forms

In fact, high cholesterol foods such as: animal fats, eggs and hard cheeses, in addition to fermented veggies all contain Vitamin K2. Adequate amounts of K2 has been shown to lower aortic calcification(plaque), lead to fewer heart attacks, andincrease life expectancy.  So, if you’re eating a low-fat diet, like the ones recommend by the government dietary guidelines of 1980, or earlier, you will most likely be lacking in this vital nutrient.

Fresh dorado fish cooking with spices and condiments on wooden table

The Solution:

1.Good healthy fats will help regulate your blood sugar levels. Eggs, organic butter and virgin olive oils are included in these healthy fats.[L2]

2. Eliminate soda and Juice. Getting your calories from soda or juice drinks are a sure way to put you at further risk of cardiovascular disease. Sugar sweetenedbeverages contribute to: diabetes, obesity and heart disease.  Consumption has increased globally and so has chronic inflammatory diseases.

3. Eliminating these foodswill help you to take control of your blood sugar levels, and, balance your insulin distribution using food.

4. Eating grass fed, pasture raised animals ensures that the meat will have a healthy balance of Omega-3 and 6 essential fatty acids. Cows fed primarily grain, will have an unhealthy balance of these fats. It’s true that “we are what we eat.” 

5. Ditch the outdated, high grain, low-fat diet recommended by the American Heart Association. None of the more recent studies show anycorrelation of heart disease and cholesterol rich foods. However, studies haveshown a direct correlation between high-grain diets and cardiovascular disease.  

The ultimate goal of these articles is to help you take back your health by providing evidence-based articles that dispel the confusion promoted by some modern medical institutions and authorities, as well as outdated information and studies. You be the judge.

To your health,

Kalub Jarosh