There is still far too much misinformation readily available about cholesterol. I just wrote yesterday about how I actually like the idea that people are using the internet to find solutions to medical issues, especially with the inability of the medical community to cure any disease. Again, they are very good at keeping us alive and managing symptoms, but prevention and cures seem to be the stuff of fantasy.
Much of what we have come to accept and believe as fact is not at all accurate. I can’t think of too many scenarios that fit this description better than the public information on cholesterol. Most people would accept the following:
“Cholesterol is a waxy material that is produced naturally by the liver. It protects the nerves, produces hormones and makes cell tissues, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. However, it’s also possible to consume it through animal products, and too much of it can be a bad thing – which is why it’s important to manage it and keep it at reasonable levels.”
The part that is problematic is “it’s possible to consume it through animal products and too much of it can be a bad thing.” The assumption that dietary cholesterol is in any way related to the cholesterol buildup in the body is completely inaccurate. The same is true for dietary fat. The amount you eat and the amount that sits on your thighs and midsection is not the same. The two things are unrelated. But most people believe they are related despite any evidence. If you eat carbohydrates, it does not matter how many eggs or how much red meat you do or do not eat. You are likely to have a distorted lipid profile that would make it appear that you ate too much cholesterol-containing food, when in reality, you most likely did not.
The real issue lies within this paragraph: “There are two kinds of cholesterol – HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein). HDL is the good cholesterol that keeps LDL, the bad cholesterol, down, according to the American Heart Association. Too much LDL cholesterol can cause deposits to build up in the blood vessels, known as plaque, which decreases the amount of blood and oxygen going to the heart. This in turn can lead to heart disease and heart attack.”
This is complete and utter ignorance at the most basic level. This is the oversimplification that has spread like a cancer on most of Western civilization. Referring to LDL cholesterol as “bad cholesterol” is problematic. There is a difference between LDL and LDL cholesterol and scientists have known this for about 70 years. The term LDL refers to the lipoprotein itself whereas the term LDL cholesterol refers to the compiled number of a lipid profile, or “total cholesterol.” This number can be horribly misleading. A low number is not necessarily a good thing.
The LDL actually carries fat and cholesterol particles on it. The composition and appearance of those particles provides the evidence as to whether that particular LDL would be atherosclerotic or not. Two people may have the same LDL number yet one of them will be healthy and the other will be risk for a heart attack. The only way to know is to have either a VAP or an NMR test which would show the particle size and provide evidence as to what the particles actually look like.
Other than that, it’s almost a guess, except the other numbers in the lipid profile provide a clue. If HDL is higher than 40 and the triglycerides are less than 150, the particles on the LDL are likely the large and fluffy variety so even if the number is high, the person is healthy. If the particles are small and dense, and the VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) number is high, that is a problem even though the LDL count may be low.
The fact is that people with low cholesterol have more heart attacks than people with high cholesterol. That’s simply a fact, folks. Deal with it.
The experts continue, “A diet rich in saturated fat, being overweight and not having much, or any, physical activity are all things that exacerbate bad cholesterol levels that narrow and harden the arteries. It’s also caused, in part, by genetics (family history), as well as age and gender – women generally have lower LDL levels than men before menopause, but then those levels rise afterward, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.”
This is all hogwash as well. A diet rich in saturated fat will raise HDL which is a good thing. It also raises LDL which people erroneously report as bad, simply because the LDL number rises. However, an inspection of the particles would reveal that the LDL is fine even though it’s higher. Saturated fat causes the particles to be larger and fluffier which inflates the number. Eating fruits and vegetables lowers HDL and lowers LDL. This is not a good thing because it does so at the expense of the particles on the LDL. It makes them small and dense. This happens with so-called healthy fruits and vegetables. Can you imagine the effect with more refined and easily digestible carbohydrates? This would raise your triglycerides, lower your HDL and lower your cholesterol.
Eating a diet consisting of meat such as mine would raise HDL, raise LDL (in a good way because the particles will be large and fluffy) and lower triglycerides.
The take-home message for you today should be that if you get your cholesterol checked, ask the doctor to go one step further and order the NMR or VAP test so you can get a look at your particles. This is the only way to know whether your LDL number is truly bad or good. Don’t just start taking statins based solely on your LDL number. That is irresponsible and ignorant.
Cholesterol is not our enemy. Do not take cholesterol inhibitors and things of this nature. If you want to improve your cholesterol, stop eating carbohydrates. If you want to improve your life, stop eating carbohydrates. Then, you can eat all the eggs (including the egg yolks) and red meat you like!Share on Twitter