Cholesterol does not cause heart disease

For decades we have been told that high cholesterol is dangerous for our health and that it causes heart disease?” We have been brainwashed into believing that a heart-healthy diet is one low in fat and high in whole grains.  Our doctors advise us to reduce consumption of red meat and eggs because saturated fat is bad for us. Perhaps you have already been prescribed a statin (cholesterol lowering) drug. So where has the last 30 years of demonising cholesterol and “artery clogging” saturated fat got us? 

Cholesterol-Clarity-Cover-shadowThe truth is heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the modern world. Clearly something has gone very wrong! Is it perhaps time to acknowledge more current scientific evidence and to shift our mental paradigms on what truly causes heart disease?

In this post I explore some of the content of a recently published book called, “Cholesterol Clarity” written by Jimmy Moore and Dr Eric Westman. This excellent book, features interviews with 29 progressive thinking medical experts (including cardiologists) on the topics of cholesterol, heart disease, statin drugs and much more. It has been an incredibly enlightening read and a book I would highly recommend.

“The population will become split between the smart and dumb. The smart ones will begin taking their health into their own hands because they are already seeing that what we are doing now is not working” – Dr Dwight Lundell

Cholesterol is essential to our bodies

I don’t think we realise how important cholesterol actually is. We have only been taught to fear it. Without cholesterol you would literally die. Our bodies need it to function. Without cholesterol our cells couldn’t repair themselves. Cholesterol levels below 150 mg/dl  (3.9 mmol/l) dramatically increases your risk of dying from cancer and getting Alzheimer’s disease. Low cholesterol levels can also affect our moods and can result in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. This is why anti-depression medications tend to increase cholesterol levels.

The real culprit is inflammation

Inflammation is the true culprit and root cause of heart disease. Chronic inflammation can happen over many years. It is caused by a diet too high in sugar and starches, trans fats and processed foods, smoking, lack of sleep, not enough exercise and drinking alcohol excessively. Prolonged inflammation is what does all the damage, not cholesterol. The cholesterol just does what it is supposed to. It goes in to repair and heal.

“Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped. The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low-fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.” – Dr Dwight Lundell (Heart surgeon)

The only bad cholesterol is the small dense type

Not all LDL cholesterol is bad. We should however concern ourselves with a sub-set of LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”)  which are small and dense. These are the ones that are small enough to penetrate the arterial wall and compromise heart health.

The other type of LDL are the big fluffy variety which are harmless. How does one determine if you have the truly bad type? Well, a good indicator is raised triglycerides and low HDL (good cholesterol). There are particle size tests that one can do but they are not always easy to come by and can be expensive.

The vast majority of people who have coronary disease or a risk of developing it have an excess of small LDL particles. – Dr William Davis (Cardiologist)

A good marker for cardiovascular risk

Cardiologist, Dr. William Davis (also the author of Wheat Belly) states that we should be aiming for the following levels to dramatically reduce heart disease  risk:

  • triglyceride levels of less than 50 mg/dl (0.56 mmol/l) and
  • HDL levels of around  70 mg/dl  (1.8102 mmol/l )

So how does one lower triglyceride levels?
You need to reduce the carbohydrates in your diet such as sugar, flour and all products made from them as well as processed foods made with vegetable/seed oils such as margarines. There is no drug to reduce triglycerides. Fortunately it is highly responsive to good dietary changes.

How does one increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels?
You need to up your intake of healthy saturated fat like butter, coconut oil, animal foods and eggs.

Often people on a high-carb, low-fat, vegetarian diet can be most at risk for high triglycerides, low HDL levels and too many of those dangerous small, dense particles. Plant-based, low-fat diets can be healthy for some but disastrous for others. The key I suppose is knowing your numbers to get an accurate reflection of your metabolic health to assess whether your diet and life-style is working for you or not.

“Sure, saturated fats can increase your cholesterol, but mostly by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and making more of the big fluffy LDL particles and less of the small, dense bad ones.” – Cassie Bjork

I know this info has probably been a lot to absorb and there is so much more I could share with you. My advice is that if you have concerns about your cholesterol levels or risk for heart disease or if your doctor has prescribed a statin drug for your “high cholesterol”, then read Cholesterol Clarity.  It will give you many of the answers that perhaps your doctor can’t. When you have finished reading it, pass it on to them!

Here is a great article written by  heart surgeon, Dr. Dwight Lundell,  who has spoken out about what really causes heart disease.

Also check out these short videos for more info.

Blog content reference: Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Dr Eric Westman

About Nicky Perks

Passionately sharing information about the paleo/primal, high fat/low carb lifestyle that will rock your world! I am on my own journey to good health and a slim body. My goal? To enjoy the ride as life on this beautiful planet is just too short to do it any other way.

Posted on October 17, 2013, in Primal 101 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Well done Nix great article and very informative.

    “Be present as the watcher of your mind – of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react.”

    Derek Eaton

    Managing Partner

    First Facilitation

    fax: 0866632872



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  1. Pingback: Does Paleo Diet Cholesterol Does Not Cause Heart Disease | Paleo Recipes

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