High Cholesterol and Heart Disease Myth or Truth

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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 [1]. 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!

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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 [2] 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.

RELATED: 10 Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol and 10 That Build it Up

Instead of sticking to a failing system, why don’t we eat more saturated fats and less processed junk?

The French mainly cook their food in butter, duck fat, and olive oil. They rarely use inflammation-causing vegetable oils.

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.

RELATED: The Carnivore Diet: Benefits, Meal Plan and Grocery List

Instead of trying to discredit their diet, maybe we should eat more like the French. This includes more…

  • Butter
  • Animal fats
  • Olive oil
  • And organ meats

And less…

  • Vegetable oils
  • Carbs
  • 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 [3]. In 1955, President Eisenhower had a heart attack [4], 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 [5].

Another study done in 1989 found that people with the lowest cholesterol had the highest mortality rates [6]

The lower your cholesterol, the higher your risk of heart disease, and heart attacks.

Oxidized Cholesterol

Obese person consumes junk food

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 [7].

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 [7]. When you’re K2 deficient, you have a higher chance of getting a heart attack since there’s lots of calcium in your heart.

A study done in 2004 [8] showed that vitamin K2 reduced mortality from heart disease, while K1, found in vegetable oil did not.

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…

  1. Diabetes
  2. Smoking
  3. Chronic-Inflammation
  4. Aging
  5. Low Cholesterol
  6. Vegetable oil
  7. Oxidized Cholesterol
  8. Stress
  9. High Blood Pressure
  10. Advanced Aging
  11. Nutrient Deficiencies
  12. 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…

  • Smoking
  • 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.

We hope you enjoyed our article on Is High Cholesterol and Heart Disease Myth or Truth? If you feel that it helped you or passed some knowledge, feel free to share it and pass this life-saving knowledge to your friends and family. We’re sure they will appreciate it.

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About Author

Is High Cholesterol and Heart Disease Myth or Truth? Here’s why lowering your cholesterol will cause heart disease.
Yaseen Sadan

Yaseen Sadan is a personal trainer turned professional copywriter and founder of Sellusingwords.com. He helps small businesses increase their leads and sales by writing SEO-friendly blogs, sales emails, landing pages, and lead magnets. Feel free to visit his website, add him on LinkedIn and check him out on Facebook.

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