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Is high cholesterol and heart disease myth or truth? Well this is a question more and more people are looking for an answer, ever since cutting back on high cholesterol foods, we still have 655,000 Americans that die each year from heart disease . We’re eating far less cholesterol than ever before, yet heart disease rates are through the roof.
People are told to eat less cholesterol-causing saturated fat, but they still fall victim to this deadly disease. If you think you’re doing yourself a favor by lowering your cholesterol, think again. You’re doing more harm than good.
What if it isn’t cholesterol causing this heart disease epidemic, but something that’s right under our noses?
In this post, we will cover…
- Why cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease
- How lowering cholesterol can worsen your heart disease
- How the cholesterol myth came to be
- And what really causes heart disease?
Let’s dive in!
The French Paradox
France has one of the lowest heart disease rates in the world, yet they eat 5 times more saturated fat than what’s considered “healthy”. France also consumes 18 lbs of butter  per year, per person!
In addition to having one of the lowest rates of heart disease, they have a life expectancy of 83 years. How are they so healthy if they’re eating so much saturated fats?
This is the perfect case study. Over 67 million French people are known for their love of saturated fat and they have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world. America on the other hand eats a diet of 45-65% carbs and has one of the highest rates of heart disease and obesity.
Instead of sticking to a failing system, why don’t we eat more saturated fats and less processed junk?
France and most Mediterranean countries also love eating the whole animal. This includes organs and connective tissue that’s packed full of nutrients. It’s rare to see people eating organ meats regularly in America.
Instead of trying to discredit their diet, maybe we should eat more like the French. This includes more…
- Animal fats
- Olive oil
- And organ meats
- Vegetable oils
- And processed foods
The History of Cholesterol and Saturated Fat
In 1796, The First American Cookbook was published by Amelia Simmons. In it, she used lots of butter, lard, organ meats, and pork. It shows how people used to eat back in the day, lots of saturated fats, and animal products. Vegetable oils and processed foods were non-existent. Keep in mind that heart disease rates were at record lows.
It wasn’t until 1910, where vegetable oils became mass-produced. People stopped using butter and started using margarine and canola oil. This is when heart disease rates started to rise . In 1955, President Eisenhower had a heart attack , and everyone was quick to blame cholesterol. But nobody was talking about his cholesterol levels. It was 165 mg/dl, well below 200 mg/dl, which is considered “safe”.
How did someone with low cholesterol suffer a heart attack?
Low Cholesterol = High Mortality
Pubmed did a study on elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program and found that those with the lowest cholesterol, had the lowest survival rates .
Another study done in 1989 found that people with the lowest cholesterol had the highest mortality rates .
The lower your cholesterol, the higher your risk of heart disease, and heart attacks.
Oxidized cholesterol might be the real problem.
How does cholesterol become oxidized you ask? Through consuming vegetable oils like canola oil and margarine. These vegetable oils are unstable, and when exposed to heat, they produce free radicals and aldehydes. These free radicals and aldehydes oxidize cholesterol which leads to heart disease.
Martin Grootveld found that a meal like fish and chips fried in vegetable oil contains 200 times more aldehydes than what is considered safe .
This could explain why heart disease rates raised rapidly after 1910 when people started using more vegetable oils and fewer animal fats.
Nutrient deficiencies is a contributing factor
When you swap out saturated fats for vegetable oils, you miss out on a lot of nutrients that protect against heart disease. Mainly, vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 is needed to take calcium out of your heart and put it in your bones . When you’re K2 deficient, you have a higher chance of getting a heart attack since there’s lots of calcium in your heart.
If an entire population is told to stop eating K2 (which helps with heart health) and start eating K1 (which compromises heart health), it’s easy to see how a heart disease epidemic will soon follow.
What really causes heart disease
This is what most people get wrong. It’s easy to blame one biomarker (cholesterol) for a heart disease epidemic.
So far, we spoke about low cholesterol, oxidized cholesterol, and nutrient deficiencies as a possible cause of heart disease.
But it’s not one of those things. It’s a combination of life-long factors that leads to heart disease. Factors like…
- Low Cholesterol
- Vegetable oil
- Oxidized Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Advanced Aging
- Nutrient Deficiencies
- And More!
If you put all these factors together, it’s easy to see how someone will develop heart disease.
High Cholesterol and Heart Disease Myth or Truth – Conclusion
As a population, we must stop looking at cholesterol as the sole cause of heart disease. There are many lifestyle habits that we must change if we want this heart disease epidemic to stop. Habits like…
- Eating processed junk
- Cooking with vegetable oils
- Drinking alcohol
- Consuming High-Fructose corn syrup
- And much more.
Instead of blaming cholesterol for our problems, let’s get rid of our bad habits and build some good habits. Good habits like eating less processed foods, eating more nutrient-dense foods, and cooking with grass-fed butter or coconut oil.
Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below.
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