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Debunking the cholesterol myth and cultivating true heart health

cholesterol

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Debunking the cholesterol myth and cultivating true heart health

Friday, September 07, 2012 by: Carolanne Wright

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037105_cholesterol_myth_heart_health_diet.html#ixzz25nG1a07Y

(NaturalNews) Cholesterol has received plenty of negative media over the last decade as the reason behind heart attack and arterial disease. Several pivotal studies have shown that cholesterol is not the cause behind problems of the heart as once thought. With a strange twisting of information, the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture cholesterol-lowering drugs have protected their $34 billion a year industry.

One of the most damaging myths in medical history

Cholesterol has been blamed for heart disease, but inflammation is actually the true culprit. When the body experiences an inflammatory response due to an injury, the system responds by constricting blood vessels, thickening the blood, and triggering cells to multiply in order to repair the damage. Cholesterol is produced because cells need it to form. Vascular plaque is created when a damaged artery needs to be repaired. When an individual is in a chronic state of inflammation, the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack greatly increases.

The Great Cholesterol Myth authors Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. and cardiologist Stephen Sinatra state:

“We believe that a weird combination of misinformation, questionable studies, corporate greed, and deceptive marketing has conspired to create one of the most damaging myths in medical history: that cholesterol causes heart disease.”

Through reviewing the data of numerous studies, Bowden and Sinatra found that cholesterol levels are not a good predictor of heart attacks; half of the people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol; half of the people with high cholesterol have healthy hearts; keeping cholesterol levels low has few benefits. The Framingham Heart Study, which began in 1948 and continues to this day, distinctly shows that those who lived the longest were inclined to be in the highest cholesterol category.

The Lyon diet-heart study

Another study presents startling evidence regarding the role diet plays in heart health. Researchers in France during the 1990s decided to observe the effect different diets have on heart disease. Two groups of high-risk men participated. All had survived heart attacks. Everyone had high cholesterol and stressful lifestyles. They also smoked and did not exercise.

One group was asked to eat the American Heart Association diet which is low in fat and cholesterol. The second group ate a Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, and olive oil.

The study ended early because the results of the Mediterranean diet were so striking. Those in this group had a 70 percent reduction in fatal heart attacks, yet their high cholesterol levels remained the same throughout the study. They simply stopped dying.

As observed by Bowen in Better Nutrition magazine:

“The tragedy is that by putting all our attention on cholesterol, we’ve ignored the real causes of heart disease: inflammation, oxidation, stress, and sugar. Things we can actually control with foods, supplements and lifestyle changes – none of which have the costs or side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.”

Sources for this article include:

“The cholesterol myth? Why lowering cholesterol isn’t nearly as important as you think” by Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, Better Nutrition, July 2012

“The Cholesterol Myth That Could Be Harming Your Health” Dr. Joseph Mercola, Huffpost Healthy Living, August 12, 2012. Retrieved on July 18, 2012 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com

“Ending the Cholesterol-Heart Disease Myth” Andreas Moritz, Natural News, April 8, 2010. Retrieved on July 18, 2012 from: http://www.naturalnews.com/022960_medical_myths_cholesterol.html

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037105_cholesterol_myth_heart_health_diet.html#ixzz25nFXbrGV

Is Saturated Fat Bad?

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fat

Is saturated fat really a deadly nutrient?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 by: Ben Hirshberg

(NaturalNews) Many doctors and health experts vilify dietary fat, urging everyone to cut down on the macronutrient in favor of low fat alternatives. Even more common is for health experts to talk about good fats and bad fats. More often than not, saturated fat is at the top of the fat naughty list. It is worth examining how saturated fat got its reputation for being a deadly nutrient and seeing if the reputation is deserved or not.

Saturated fat and Ancel Keys

Those who abhor saturated fat point to the work of Dr. Ancel Keys, who popularized the notion that saturated fat causes heart disease. In 1953, Keys wrote a paper with the key finding of a correlation between fat intake and heart disease deaths in six countries around the world. Data was actually available for 22 countries around the world, and the association between fat intake and heart disease was not present in several of the countries.

17 years later, Keys published a study looking at seven countries that found a correlation between animal fats and heart disease rates, as well as total cholesterol numbers and heart disease rates. Keys concluded that saturated fats in animal foods led to high cholesterol levels which led to higher incidences of heart disease. The problem with Keys’ 1970 study of the seven countries was that three of the seven countries examined actually had no correlation between animal fat consumption and heart disease prevalence.

Saturated fat and cholesterol

As far as the connection between saturated fat and cholesterol goes, Keys got it wrong as well. Saturated fat does increase LDL cholesterol, which builds up plaque on artery walls. Saturated fat also increases HDL cholesterol, as much or possibly more than it increases LDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol removes plaque from artery walls, which means that any damage saturated fat does to bad cholesterol is undone by its effect on good cholesterol levels.

Furthermore, it appears saturated fat doesn’t affect LDL cholesterol levels as negatively as previously thought. LDL cholesterol comes in two varieties: small and dense particles or large and fluffy particles. The large and fluffy LDL particles have no association with clogged arteries, whereas the small and dense LDL particles had a strong association with clogged arteries. It turns out that replacing carbohydrates with saturated or unsaturated fats decreases the levels of small, dense LDL particles.

Saturated fat – A vital nutrient?

So is saturated fat the demonic nutrient conventional wisdom makes it out to be? It appears that the answer is no, and that saturated fat is not only safe but actually quite beneficial to human physiology. Saturated fat improves cardiovascular risk factors, increases bone strength, improves liver health, is essential to lung and brain health, influences insulin release and metabolic rate, and helps the immune system function. Ancel Keys got it wrong, and unfortunately his condemnation of saturated fat has contributed to a widespread dietary fat phobia.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.menshealth.com/health/saturated-fat
http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/06/06/saturated-fat/
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/saturated-fat-healthy/#axzz24uV2KtXB

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037055_saturated_fat_cholesterol_health_myths.html#ixzz25WYJLxNX