The Cholesterol Myths
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Did you know?
1. Cholesterol is not a deadly poison. It is a substance that is vital to the cells of all mammals. There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol, but mental stress, physical activity and change of body weight may influence the level of blood cholesterol. A high cholesterol is not dangerous by itself, but may reflect an unhealthy condition, or it may be totally innocent.
2. A high blood cholesterol is said to promote atherosclerosis and thus, coronary heart disease, but many studies have shown that people whose blood cholesterol is low become just as atherosclerotic as people whose cholesterol is high.
3. Your body produces three to four times more cholesterol than you eat. The production of cholesterol increases when you eat little cholesterol, and decreases when you eat more cholesterol. This explains why the “prudent” diet cannot lower cholesterol more than, on average, a few per cent.
4. There is no evidence that too much animal fat and cholesterol in the diet promotes atherosclerosis or heart attacks. More than twenty studies have shown that people who have had a heart attack haven't eaten more fat of any kind than other people, and degree of atherosclerosis at autopsy is unrelated with the diet.
5. The only effective way to lower cholesterol is with drugs, but cholesterol-lowering drugs have not been shown to reduce either heart mortality or total mortality. On the contrary, these drugs are dangerous to your health and may shorten your life.
6. Statins, the new cholesterol-lowering drugs, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but this is due to mechanisms other than cholesterol-lowering. Unfortunately, they also stimulate cancer in rodents, disturb the functions of the muscles, the heart and the brain, and pregnant women taking statins may give birth to children with malformations more severe than those seen after thalidomide.
7. Many of these facts have been presented in scientific journals and books for decades, but are rarely told to the public by the proponents of the diet-heart idea.
8. The reason why doctors, scientists and the public have been misled into believing that elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for coronary heart disease and will shorten your life is because opposing and disagreeing results are systematically ignored or misquoted in the scientific press.
9. People with high cholesterol live the longest. This fact emerges clearly from many scientific papers. Consider the finding of Dr. Harlan Krumholz of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University, who reported that old people with low cholesterol died twice as often from a heart attack as did old people with high cholesterol. Supporters of the cholesterol campaign consistently ignore his observation, or consider it as a rare exception, but it is not an exception. Most studies of old people have shown that high cholesterol is not a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Eleven studies of old people found that high cholesterol is not a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Seven studies found that high cholesterol did not predict all-cause mortality either. More than 90 percent of those who die from a heart attack or a stroke have passed the age of 65. High cholesterol is not a risk factor for heart attack for women, nor for a number of other population groups. High cholesterol is a risk factor for less than five percent of those who die from a heart attack.
Since 1990, Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD has published over 100 scientific papers critical of the cholesterol campaign, proposing new hypotheses and also contending that “the successful dissemination of the diet-heart idea is due to authors systematically ignoring or misquoting (contradictory) studies.”
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