“I can’t eat meat, my cholesterol goes up!”
“I’m on statins to lower my cholesterol levels. I’m supposed to avoid eating fats.”
“Eating fat increases your risk of heart disease.”
First off, here’s a short background on cholesterol:
What is cholesterol?
First, let’s discuss lipoproteins.
A lipoprotein is basically a regular cell membrane mixed with different types of proteins (apolipoproteins). Lipoproteins transport different fat-soluble substances (including fat-soluble vitamins, cholesterol, and triglycerides) in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is a fatty substance carried around in a lipoprotein.
There are two types of cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are generally known as the bad cholesterol. It’s said that if you have high levels of LDL cholesterol, they can build up in your arteries and cause heart disease. Statins are used to lower your LDL levels. Then there are high-density lipoproteins (HDL) which are generally known as the good cholesterol. What is supposedly healthy are low levels of LDL and high levels of HDL.
Before quite recently, all cholesterol was thought to be bad. Here are Times Magazine covers suggesting people avoid cholesterol high foods. Fortunately, Time recently came out admitting that cholesterol wasn’t all bad, after who knows how many people suffered by cutting out the few healthy foods they were actually eating (fatty meat anyone?).
What does the actual research show?
There’s growing evidence that cholesterol is protective.
High levels of HDL cholesterol is associated with longevity.
High levels of overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol is associated with better memory in the elderly.
Low LDL levels INCREASE your mortality risk (1,2,3).
High HDL decreases your mortality risk.
Higher levels of overall cholesterol REDUCE mortality risks.
Things about this whole cholesterol issue and the mainstream medical system that irritate me:
Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about cholesterol and heart disease. This is a source that is supposed to be trustworthy. This is still what the medical community (generally) has to tell us about cholesterol. This is a website I used to rely on when I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me! That entire article is filled with information that is outdated, dangerous, and wrong. It says right on it that “eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in some commercially baked cookies and crackers, can raise your cholesterol level (true). Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will also increase your total cholesterol (true). And that leads to heart disease. WRONG.
Then they tell you other factors that ACTUALLY lead to heart disease:
What actually leads to heart disease?
- Large waist circumference
Then they tell you how to supposedly get rid of said risk factors:
- Eat a low-salt diet that includes many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Limit the amount of animal fats and use good fats in moderation
- Lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight
HA. How are you supposed to lose weight by following their guidelines, eating fruits, veggies, even worse – grains- and avoiding meat? And what does salt have to do with it! Throwing salt under the bus and it’s 2018! Eating that way is literally the opposite of how you can lose weight! No wonder everyone is overweight, miserable, and dying of heart disease! Or we can listen to what the Mayo clinic suggests and blame the fact people are sick on them and their lack of exercise…
All those actual risk factors can be improved (if not eliminated) by eating differently, or by just going zero-carb (all meat).
I’m going to get my cholesterol tested in a couple of months, I’ll update this post then. Unfortunately, I don’t have a pre-carnivore look at my cholesterol levels to compare to.
Mercola writes a good article about cholesterol if you want to read more.
More information (given to me by a blog reader – thank you!) if you’re still curious:
Articles with citing from scientific journals:
- The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy
- Debunking the New Cholesterol Guidelines
- 50 Years Ago, Sugar Industry Quietly Paid Scientists To Point Blame At Fat
- Cholesterol is Good For You by Georgia Ede
- Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease
- Populations that have high cholesterol experience less CVD, are more resistant to liver diseases, and live longer than those with low cholesterol
- High levels of HDL cholesterol is associated with longevity.
- High levels of overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol is associated with better memory in the elderly.
- Low LDL levels INCREASE mortality risk (article1, article2, article3).
- High HDL decreases your mortality risk.
- Higher levels of overall cholesterol REDUCE mortality risks.
- Cardiovascular disease in the masai
- High carbohydrate intake is associated with a higher risk of mortality, and high fat intake with a lower risk
- The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease
- The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
- Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, specifically this part
- Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers?
- Are Saturated Fats Safe and How Much to Have (with citing from scientific journals)
- David Diamond- Demonization and Deception in Cholesterol Research
- Does Cholesterol increase after eating fat? Cholesterol as a dynamic variable snapshot
NY Times Articles:
- How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat
- New Study Favors Fat Over Carbs
- Sugar Industry Long Downplayed Potential Harms and Blamed Cholesterol
There is NO strong evidence that cholesterol is bad. In fact, there’s much more evidence that it’s good for you, and that low levels are dangerous. If anything, low cholesterol is what you should be worried about. From my experience, most tests you can get at a doctor’s office (but not all) will just give you information that people (including your doctor) don’t understand, make you worried, give you a diagnosis, when you could eat zero-carb, solve your health problems, and not go through any of that worry.
mercola is considered a quack. Why do people trust this supplement selling ‘guru’ who only seeks to make money from his followers and even references himself when trying to find evidence, yet ignore scientific evidence? Why do people trust him over the thousands of scientific research papers that inform health science? He is not a qualified doctor or scientist. He isn’t even a cell biologist. he has no qualifications in nutrition and he plays into the big pharma conspiracy theory. He even sells products based on petri dish and animal studies which wouldn’t even be considered in normal mainstream medicine. Everything kills HIV for example, in a petri dish, even coconut oil. The joke is he doesn’t mind selling unnecessary supplements to make himself rich but rubbishes medicine because it’s being ‘pedalled’ to make people rich. Dear God, please don’t consider him a health ‘scientist’. His ‘evidence’ can be ripped to shreds in two seconds by any real health scientist.
The “real health scientists” are what got us all into trouble in the first place! Let’s hear other points of view. Then we can weigh all the sides, see what the science truly says, and go from there. Debate is healthy. I haven’t read what Mercola says because the link isn’t working for me (although I’ve read a ton about cholesterol), but go ahead and start debunking, show us what he’s saying that is so wrong.
Actually, Dr. Mercola is a licensed and board certified physician and surgeon. I’m sure that you aware of the myriad of reasons why scientific papers cannot be trusted at face value (cherry picking of relevant data, funding conflicts of interest, etc.). Just to give one example, Mercola warned the public about the cardiovascular dangers of Vioxx before the stuff even hit the market – before tens of thousands died and over 100,000 were strickened with heart disease. Everyone was touting its safety based on the studies – like they always do.
Well, I refuse to blindly trust what someone says just because they are wearing a white coat – and that includes Mercola. However, I have found more things that actually worked for my own health issues on his website, then I ever found listening to mainstream physicians who don’t even understand basic nutrition.
Thank You! My sentiments exactly!
Before I found out food was the cause of all my health problems, I thought Mercola was a quack too. Mostly because of that stupid website quackwatch.org which basically identifies any half useful doctor as a quack. Give his stuff a read, check the scientific articles he links to and decide for yourself. He has very in depth articles and links to more studies than any blog I’ve come across.
You are wrong. Mercola is great.
The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz is a great resource about meat and cholesterol and the science and known cultures eating primarily meat with no heart disease. I would like to hear more of your story and research and what prompted you to go this route. Unfortunately medical community for sure not on board with this approach and pharma will never be on board with this approach.
The Cholesterol Code website has some really good information, especially about what your cholesterol tests can actually show you – Remnant cholesterol and Triglyceride/HDL ratio. The website focuses on how to understand cholesterol in the context of a low-carb and/or keto diet.
Glad to say that after eating a mostly meat diet for years, my husband’s bloodwork shows zero heart disease risk. I’d like to get him and I coronary calcium scans to verify, but we’ll have to go the U.S. to get them – $144 in Miami for a simple scan that shows how much calcium is in the arteries and what your heart attack risk is. So quick and simple and yet we can’t get it here pro-actively.
Is your husband still doing well on a diet with plants or has he transitioned to all meat as well?
I’ll keep everyone posted about that. He’s thinking about it, he’s not doing as well as me but he’s blaming too much black tea right now (I’m inclined to think it’s the veggies). Dad, on the other hand, is starting zero carb when he gets back from Vancouver (April 8th).
Mikhaila: I’m glad you found Mercola. I have been a “fan” of his for sometime. Another excellent source of information regarding this health issue is a book by a Doctor (M.D.) Thomas Cowan, MD.
“Human Heart, Cosmic Heart” will stretch your mind in ways you never thought! It’s only 150 pages, but it is so enlightening!
He practices in San Francisco, CA: and he is the most “out of the box” thinker regarding this heath issue I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. My daughter and I have much respect for him.
I have type 1 diabetes and I’m going to try this diet. I already do not eat many carbs as it is. But when I do, they’re not good carbs! Anyway, I know eating this diet will lower my blood sugars and I’ll accomodate for that. I would like to know your thoughts on what would be a good food item to eat if my blood sugars do drop? I usually go straight for orange juice or fruit snacks, but am looking for a better option when needed, something that would go along with this diet…
I don’t know nearly as much about type 1 diabetes as I do about other immune disorders. What I do know is I have a terrible reaction to many fruits, especially oranges. I had the fewest problems with honey – didn’t matter what type.
Thank you. I was thinking honey as well. I will try that and see how it goes! Thanks
Hi Amanda, Have you come across Richard Bernstein, MD’s books on low carb / glucose-testing regime / recipes for diabetes? He’s a Type 1 too. Very famous. Learned on himself. Very “counter” the mainstream.
Dr, Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution: A Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars
By: Richard K. Bernstein M.D.
LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY / 2011 / HARDCOVER
Originally published in 1997, DR. BERNSTEIN’S DIABETES SOLUTION is a unique resource that covers both adult- and childhood-onset diabetes, explains step-by-step how to normalize blood sugar levels and prevent or reverse complications, and offers detailed guidelines for establishing a treatment plan. Readers will find fifty gourmet recipes, in addition to a comprehensive discussion of diet, obesity, and new drugs to curb carbohydrate craving and overeating.
Now in its fourth edition, the book presents up-to-the-minute information on insulin resistance, blood-testing devices, measuring blood sugar, new types of insulin, gastroparesis and other issues, as well as updated diet guidelines. DR. BERNSTEIN’S DIABETES SOLUTION is the one book every diabetic must own.
I agree Paula. There is also a facebook page called typeonegrit that has people that follow Dr. Bernstein’s advice. Its amazing when they post their blood glucose charts when following ADA diet advice ( huge spikes up and down ) vs their low steady blood glucose levels when following Dr. Bernstein’s low carb diet.
That is RD Dikeman. He is an MD with a son who has Type I. He threw out all the crap advise from the ADA, and raised him on a zero grain, zero starch, zero refined sugar diet, and emphasizes protein.
His son is an incredibly healthy and strapping teenager, who probably injects less insulin that 99.9% of other Type 1 kids.
If you suggest this dies to an endo, the first thing he/she will claim is that it stunts growth. Baloney.
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