The “Healthy” Low Cholesterol Myth

Debunked – The “Healthy” Low Cholesterol Myth

“I can’t eat meat, my cholesterol goes up!”

“I’m on statins to lower my cholesterol levels. I’m supposed to avoid eating fats.”

“Eating fat increases your risk of heart disease.”

Nope.

First off, here’s a short background on cholesterol:

What is cholesterol?

First, let’s discuss lipoproteins.

A lipoprotein is basically a regular cell membrane mixed with different types of proteins (apolipoproteins). Lipoproteins transport different fat-soluble substances (including fat-soluble vitamins, cholesterol, and triglycerides) in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is a fatty substance carried around in a lipoprotein.

There are two types of cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are generally known as the bad cholesterol. It’s said that if you have high levels of LDL cholesterol, they can build up in your arteries and cause heart disease. Statins are used to lower your LDL levels. Then there are high-density lipoproteins (HDL) which are generally known as the good cholesterol. What is supposedly healthy are low levels of LDL and high levels of HDL.

Before quite recently, all cholesterol was thought to be bad. Here are Times Magazine covers suggesting people avoid cholesterol high foods. Fortunately, Time recently came out admitting that cholesterol wasn’t all bad, after who knows how many people suffered by cutting out the few healthy foods they were actually eating (fatty meat anyone?).

What does the actual research show?

There’s growing evidence that cholesterol is protective.

High levels of HDL cholesterol is associated with longevity.

High levels of overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol is associated with better memory in the elderly.

Low LDL levels INCREASE your mortality risk (1,2,3).

High HDL decreases your mortality risk.

Higher levels of overall cholesterol REDUCE mortality risks.

Things about this whole cholesterol issue and the mainstream medical system that irritate me:

Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about cholesterol and heart disease. This is a source that is supposed to be trustworthy. This is still what the medical community (generally) has to tell us about cholesterol. This is a website I used to rely on when I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me! That entire article is filled with information that is outdated, dangerous, and wrong. It says right on it that “eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in some commercially baked cookies and crackers, can raise your cholesterol level (true). Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will also increase your total cholesterol. (true)” And that leads to heart disease. WRONG.

Then they tell you other factors that ACTUALLY lead to heart disease:

What actually leads to heart disease?

  • Obesity
  • Large waist circumference
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes

Then they tell you how to supposedly get rid of said risk factors:

  • Eat a low-salt diet that includes many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Limit the amount of animal fats and use good fats in moderation
  • Lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight

HA.  How are you supposed to lose weight by following their guidelines, eating fruits, veggies, even worse – grains- and avoiding meat? And what does salt have to do with it! Throwing salt under the bus and it’s 2018! Eating that way is literally the opposite of how you can lose weight! No wonder everyone is overweight, miserable, and dying of heart disease! Or we can listen to what the Mayo clinic suggests and blame the fact people are sick on them and their lack of exercise…

All those actual risk factors can be improved (if not eliminated) by eating differently, or by just going zero-carb (all meat).

I’m going to get my cholesterol tested in a couple of months, I’ll update this post then. Unfortunately, I don’t have a pre-carnivore look at my cholesterol levels to compare to.

Mercola writes a good article about cholesterol if you want to read more.

More information (given to me by a blog reader – thank you!) if you’re still curious:

Articles with citing from scientific journals:

Scientific Studies:

Books:

Videos:

NY Times Articles:

TL;DR

There is NO strong evidence that cholesterol is bad. In fact, there’s much more evidence that it’s good for you, and that low levels are dangerous. If anything, low cholesterol is what you should be worried about. From my experience, most tests you can get at a doctor’s office (but not all) will just give you information that people (including your doctor) don’t understand, make you worried, give you a diagnosis, when you could eat zero-carb, solve your health problems, and not go through any of that worry.

37 thoughts on “Debunked – The “Healthy” Low Cholesterol Myth”

    1. John de Haan says:

      Here’s a very good explanation of what causes heart disease by Peter Attia (who, together with Gary Taubes, was the first one to lead me to keto and later zero-carb): https://peterattiamd.com/heart-disease-begin-tell-us-prevention/

      TL;DR: The number of low-density lipoproteins seems to matter, the level of cholesterol that each lipoprotein carries does not seem to matter.

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Posts Tagged ‘cholesterol’

Thyme for no-sodium-added salmon fillets

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne red pepper, or less according to taste
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • dash of black pepper

Place two salmon fillets in a glass cooking pan. Drizzle olive oil over the fillets. Add the dry spices, dividing them equally over the fillets. You may want to go light on the cayenne pepper, because I used ¼ teaspoon when I made this recipe, and it was way too much! A little cayenne, however, should give some zang to this dish. Brush or rub the spices around the fillets to equally distribute the flavors. Cook about 12-13 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the fish is not overcooking.

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Big Drop in Americans’ Blood Levels of Trans Fats, CDC Says – Yahoo! News

Big Drop in Americans’ Blood Levels of Trans Fats, CDC Says – Yahoo! News.

Cutting sodium while dining out

I’ve found one handy method to cut the sodium when I’m dining out: Tell the server you are on a low-sodium diet and have him/her ask the chef to leave out any sauces, spices or other seasonings that have sodium.

Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant has been great to work with in this respect. Their fajita chicken is normally prepped with a marinade; when I dine there, I ask the server for chicken without the marinade. Doing this, however, takes a little longer since the chef has to cook chicken vs. using prepped chicken, but its’ worth the effort to cut the sodium.

If you’re worried about your food being bland, you might take along a bottle of seasoning like Mrs. Dash.

Many servers will be happy to help you cut the sodium in a dish. They may have recommendations based on your diet needs. That’s a benefit of eating at a sit-down restaurant vs. a fast food establishment. The restaurant may also have a nutrition guide listing components like sodium and cholesterol.

Calling all recipes! Submit your heart healthy recipe

Calling all recipes! Calling all recipes!

I’m gathering heart healthy recipes to feature on my new blog about healthy eating. If you send me a recipe that’s low in sodium or fat (or both), I’ll post it on this blog with your name!

It’s really important to have a good collection of heart healthy recipes because so much food in the grocery stores and at restaurants are high in sodium and/or unhealthy cholesterol. And that’s not even getting into genetically modified food, pesticides, etc.

Here’s a couple of vegan recipe sites a friend, Karina Gonzalez, recently sent me links to:

So if you send me some healthy recipes, I’ll post them here with your name. (New note: Please post the recipe as a comment to this blog; I’ll copy and paste it into a new blog post. Thanks!)

Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂

Low-Cholesterol Cookbook

 

I live in the South.  We do fry a lot of stuff.  It tastes good but it’s not good for you.  Now I try to fry less and bake more.  Like these pork chops.

p1100193

Seasoned, dipped in milk/egg, dredged in seasoned crushed cornflakes, and baked.  Tasty! Just the right amount of seasoning and the cornflakes made a very nice crust.

    • VEGETABLE OIL SPRAY
    • egg substitute equal to 1 EGG, OR 1 EGG
    • 2 Tbl fat free milk
    • 1/3 cup corn flake crumbs
    • 2 Tbl cornmeal
    • 1/2 tsp marjoram, crumbled
    • 1/8 tsp pepper
    • 1/8 tsp dry mustard
    • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne
    1 POUND BONELESS PORK LOIN CHOPS, ALL VISIBLE FAT DISCARDED, CUT INTO 4 PORTIONS

Preheat oven t 375F.
Spray a shallow oven pan with Veggie spray.
IN a shallow bowl mix the egg sub and milk. In a shallow dish combine the cornflake crumbs, cornmeal, and spices.
Dip the chops in the milk mixture. Don’t let too much of the mixture cling to the chops. Then dredge in the cornflake mixture. Place the chops in the pan and bake, uncovered for 15 minutes. Turn the chops over and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the chops are done.

The Man really liked them so I will definitely be making them again.

The recipe is from Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook from the American Heart Association (page 196)

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown 13 hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

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Brunswick Stew supposedly originated in either Virginia or Georgia.  And according to one food historian – Germany.  Wherever it came from really doesn’t matter.  What matter is how it tastes.

It is basically a thick tomato based veggie stew.  It is full of different veggies – lima or butter beans, corn, okra, and anything else you can find.  Sometimes potatoes, sometimes not.  Possum, squirrel, or rabbit.  But these days it is usually chicken.  Which is what I used in this one from the Low-Fat, low-Cholesterol Cookbook.

p1100185

Since this is basically a VEGGIE stew it is already low fat, low cholesterol.  What makes it even more healthy is NOT using butter, brisket, pork, BBQ sauce (in some), and salt free tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.

    • veggie oil spray
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts with all visible fat removed
    • 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh lima beans
    • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
    • 5 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
    • 6-oz can not salt added tomato paste
    • 3 Tble lemon juice
    1 Tbl low sodium Worcestershire sauce.

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat and spray the pot with veggie oil.  Then swirl the oil in the bottom of the pot.  Add the chicken and brown slightly.  Add the onions and brown along with browning the chicken more.  Add in the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and  simmer for about 1 hour.

{The original recipe called for just throwing the raw chicken chunks into the pot and then adding the other ingredients.  This just didn’t seem right to me so I browned it some first.}

Since it it was a stew I served it over some Rice Flour Pasta.

We liked the taste of this.  The Worcestershire sauce added a little kick.  The next time I would add in the okra.  It would NOT add to the cholesterol or fat count.  And maybe a little garlic.  Ditto.

Original Recipe from Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cooking from the American Heart Association.  Page 131.

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown 13 hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

I completely missed December for Cookbook Countdown.  Between bronchitis, sinusitis, and bursitis {I was really tired of the suffix “itis“.} I didn’t get a chance to do much of anything.  I even had my  cookbook picked out with recipes.  Ah, well – there’s always NEXT December! But you can check out what all the others made in December -> December Cookbook Countdown.

So, let’s start the New Year off right.  With a cookbook that should NOT have been sitting on the shelf without use for the last year.  Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook from the American Heart Association.  There aren’t any exciting recipes in this book but there are lots that have been trimmed down.  So I thought I would try some.

How about some Buttermilk Biscuits to begin with?

p1100180

If you notice, they don’t LOOK any different than regular buttery biscuits.  But they taste (almost) as good.  If you HAVE to have biscuits, these might be the ones.

    • Veggie Oil Spray
    • 1 cup AP flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbl acceptable stick margarine cut in small pieces

{I used
Smart Balance}

    • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
    • 1/4 cup fat-free plain yoghurt.

{I used Greek}

Preheat the oven to 425F.
In a food processor mix together the flour baking powder, sugar, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Add in the margarin until small pieces form. Add in the buttermilk and yoghurtand mix until just moistened.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board, sprinkle with flour, and knead into a disk. {I needed to add a little more flour as the dough was rather wet.}
Using a rolling pin, or your hands, flatten the dough until it is a bout 1/2 inch thick. Cut out biscuits using a 2 1/2 inch or 2″ cutter.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until nice and golden-brown.

81 calories each. 1 mg cholesterol. Fat 1.5 gm
Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook page 272

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown 13 hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

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Archive for the ‘cholesterol’ Category

Cutting sodium while dining out

I’ve found one handy method to cut the sodium when I’m dining out: Tell the server you are on a low-sodium diet and have him/her ask the chef to leave out any sauces, spices or other seasonings that have sodium.

Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant has been great to work with in this respect. Their fajita chicken is normally prepped with a marinade; when I dine there, I ask the server for chicken without the marinade. Doing this, however, takes a little longer since the chef has to cook chicken vs. using prepped chicken, but its’ worth the effort to cut the sodium.

If you’re worried about your food being bland, you might take along a bottle of seasoning like Mrs. Dash.

Many servers will be happy to help you cut the sodium in a dish. They may have recommendations based on your diet needs. That’s a benefit of eating at a sit-down restaurant vs. a fast food establishment. The restaurant may also have a nutrition guide listing components like sodium and cholesterol.

Advertisements

Calling all recipes! Submit your heart healthy recipe

Calling all recipes! Calling all recipes!

I’m gathering heart healthy recipes to feature on my new blog about healthy eating. If you send me a recipe that’s low in sodium or fat (or both), I’ll post it on this blog with your name!

It’s really important to have a good collection of heart healthy recipes because so much food in the grocery stores and at restaurants are high in sodium and/or unhealthy cholesterol. And that’s not even getting into genetically modified food, pesticides, etc.

Here’s a couple of vegan recipe sites a friend, Karina Gonzalez, recently sent me links to:

So if you send me some healthy recipes, I’ll post them here with your name. (New note: Please post the recipe as a comment to this blog; I’ll copy and paste it into a new blog post. Thanks!)

Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂

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