My limited research indicates this is the wrong approach and there is NO evidence that having your total cholesterol under 100 is going to add one day to your lifespan and in fact might shorten it.
The FDA, the American Heart Association etc. still pushes "Saturated Fat" as the culprit in heart disease and totally ignores hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup as playing a significant role in one deteriorating health. The evidence from where I sit is pretty clear that the pharmaceutical industry and the medical community at large are barking up the wrong tree.
“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.”
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
As one case in point, consider the diet of the Inuit from the frozen north. Take a LOOK:
Ok….got all that? Whew….Yes I know alot to read….but loads of important points. Let’s summarize:
- The Inuit ate a diet high in meat and fat, low in fruits and vegetables and still had low rates of heart disease and cancer (sadly only recently when more modernization came to them in the form of convenience stores, soda and other processed foods did you see the illnesses start to increase. Once sugar came to them….things went sour)
- Their meat they ate was completely different from the meat you are eating. Theirs was wild, fresh, sometimes raw, seal and other animals that you are probably not going to eat. Not to mention they also ate the organ meats, which again….most people are not going to do. Because the animals were wild they were also not fed grains, contained good amounts of Omega 3s and low amounts of Omega 6s…the opposite of modern meats.
- Their meat was actually low in saturated fat and more monounstaturated….completely different from the meat profile of fattened cows on grains (very high in saturated fats and loaded with omega 6s….proinflammatory).
- Their meats were high in Omega 3s (anti-inflammatory) and overall diet was more a 1:1 ratio of omega 3s to 6s (unlike today's ratio of about 1:25(+) of omega 3s to 6s)
So although we are not about to move to the great white north and eat raw whale blubber, we can use the knowledge of the Inuit and take home the following lessons (and you will see many familiar things below)
- Eat a diet of moderate protein (make sure you are eating with fat and not going overboard, for most this is not an issue as even a high amount of 1g/lb of body weight is still usually 30% of total calories)
- We are not eating seals or their organ meats, so get your fruits and vegetables (as we need them for sources of vitamins that are not in our meats)
- Have plenty of healthy fats including: some sat fats (but again look at how little sat fat the Inuit actually ate vs how much was monounstaturated), MUFA (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids like X-Virg Olive Oil). Even watch your sources of sat fat (see below), as most is very high in proinflammatory Omega 6s from grains/veg oils.
- Take some fish oil (Omega 3s) to help balance the Omega 3:6 ratios (most people probably need about 3g a day of EPA/DHA….about 2-3 teaspoons of fish oil). Some may need less, but that would mean their diet is already low in Omega 6s….which are everywhere nowadays!
- Lower dietary sources of Omega 6s including high fat grain fed beef/meats/eggs. Try for lean beef/meats (Omega 6s are in the fatty parts), Omega 3 eggs, or Grass Fed Beef (but be warned…even if it is says grass fed it doesn’t mean it is 100% grass fed…so read your labels carefully)
- Inflammation = increases in heart diseases and cancers….so get rid of the big evil inflammation messengers of Omega 6s/Veg Oils (excess PUFAs), Sugar and Trans Fats. Get rid of those 3 and you will go along way to increasing your longevity and health.
I’m also guessing that their low stress lifestyle, low exposure to environmental toxins, daily active lifestyle (they didn’t wear HR monitors and go do “cardio”), adequate sleep/rest, strong community and family ties also contributed greatly to their health, longevity and happiness!- See more at: http://www.theiflife.com/the-inuit-paradox-high-fat-lower-heart-disease-and-cancer/#sthash.9OkkLt6G.dpuf
Here is another LINK you may want to look at:
The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy
It’s hard to overstate the impact that cardiovascular disease (CVD) has in the U.S.. Consider the following:
- Cardiovascular disease affects 65 million Americans.
- Close to one million Americans have a heart attack each year.
- In the U.S., one person dies every 39 seconds of cardiovascular disease.
- 1 of 3 deaths that occurs in the U.S. is caused by cardiovascular disease.
- 1 in 3 Americans have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of major cardiovascular risk factors related to overweight/obesity and insulin resistance.
- The total cost of cardiovascular disease in 2008 was estimated at $300 billion.
To put that last statistic in perspective, the World Health Organization has estimated that ending world hunger would cost approximately $195 billion. One might argue that the $300 billion we spend on treating cardiovascular disease in the U.S. is a necessary expenditure; however, a recent study which looked at the relationship between heart disease and lifestyle suggested that 90% of CVD is caused by modifiable diet and lifestyle factors. (1)
Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease is one of the most misdiagnosed and mistreated conditions in medicine. We’ve learned a tremendous amount about what causes heart disease over the past decade, but the medical establishment is still operating on outdated science from 40-50 years ago.
In this 4-part series, I’m going to debunk 3 common myths about heart disease:
- Eating cholesterol and saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood.
- High cholesterol in the blood is the cause of heart disease.
- Statins save lives in healthy people without heart disease.
In the fourth and final article in the series, I’ll discuss strategies for naturally protecting yourself against heart disease.
Myth #1: Eating cholesterol and saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood.
Most of us grew up being told that foods like red meat, eggs and bacon raise our cholesterol levels. This idea is so deeply ingrained in our cultural psyche that few people even question it. But is it really true?
The diet-heart hypothesis—which holds that eating cholesterol and saturated fat raises cholesterol in our blood—originated with studies in both animals and humans more than half a century ago. However, more recent (and higher quality) evidence doesn’t support it.
Cholesterol and saturated fat: dietary enemies or innocent victims of bad science?
On any given day, we have between 1,100 and 1,700 milligrams of cholesterol in our body. 25% of that comes from our diet, and 75% is produced inside of our bodies by the liver. Much of the cholesterol that’s found in food can’t be absorbed by our bodies, and most of the cholesterol in our gut was first synthesized in body cells and ended up in the gut via the liver and gall bladder. The body tightly regulates the amount of cholesterol in the blood by controlling internal production; when cholesterol intake in the diet goes down, the body makes more. When cholesterol intake in the diet goes up, the body makes less.
This explains why well-designed cholesterol feeding studies (where they feed volunteers 2-4 eggs a day and measure their cholesterol) show that dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in about 75% of the population. The remaining 25% of the population are referred to as “hyper-responders”. In this group, dietary cholesterol does modestly increase both LDL (“bad cholesterol” and HDL (“good cholesterol”), but it does not affect the ratio of LDL to HDL or increase the risk of heart disease. (2)
In other words, eating cholesterol isn’t going to give you a heart attack. You can ditch the egg-white omelettes and start eating yolks again. That’s a good thing, since all of the 13 essential nutrients eggs contain are found in the yolk. Egg yolks are an especially good source of choline, a B-vitamin that plays important roles in everything from neurotransmitter production to detoxification to maintenance of healthy cells. (3) Studies show that up to 90% of Americans don’t get enough choline, which can lead to fatigue, insomnia, poor kidney function, memory problems and nerve-muscle imbalances. (4)
What about saturated fat? It’s true that some studies show that saturated fat intake raises blood cholesterol levels. But these studies are almost always short-term, lasting only a few weeks. (5) Longer-term studies have not shown an association between saturated fat intake and blood cholesterol levels. In fact, of all of the long-term studies examining this issue, only one of them showed a clear association between saturated fat intake and cholesterol levels, and even that association was weak. (6)
Moreover, studies on low-carbohydrate diets (which tend to be high in saturated fat) suggest that they not only don’t raise blood cholesterol, they have several beneficial impacts on cardiovascular disease risk markers. For example, a meta-analysis of 17 low-carb diet trials covering 1,140 obese patients published in the journal Obesity Reviews found that low-carb diets neither increased nor decreased LDL cholesterol. However, they did find that low-carb diets were associated with significant decreases is body weight as well as improvements in several CV risk factors, including decreases in triglycerides, fasting glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, abdominal circumference, plasma insulin and c-reactive protein, as well as an increase in HDL cholesterol. (7)
If you’re wondering whether saturated fat may contribute to heart disease in some way that isn’t related to cholesterol, a large meta-analysis of prospective studies involving close to 350,000 participants found no association between saturated fat and heart disease. (8) A Japanese prospective study that followed 58,000 men for an average of 14 years found no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease, and an inverse association between saturated fat and stroke (i.e. those who ate more saturated fat had a lower risk of stroke). (9)
That said, just as not everyone responds to dietary cholesterol in the same manner, there’s some variation in how individuals respond to dietary saturated fat. If we took ten people, fed them a diet high in saturated fat, and measured their cholesterol levels, we’d see a range of responses that averages out to no net increase or decrease. (If dietary saturated fat does increase your total or LDL cholesterol, the more important question is whether that’s a problem. I’ll address that in the next article in this series.)
Another strike against the diet-heart hypothesis is that many of its original proponents haven’t believed it for at least two decades. In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1991, Ancel Keys, the founder of the diet-heart hypothesis said (10):
Dietary cholesterol has an important effect on the cholesterol level in the blood of chickens and rabbits, but many controlled experiments have shown that dietary cholesterol has a limited effect in humans. Adding cholesterol to a cholesterol-free diet raises the blood level in humans, but when added to an unrestricted diet, it has a minimal effect.
In a 2004 editorial in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, Sylvan Lee Weinberg, former president of the American College of Cardiology and outspoken proponent of the diet-heart hypothesis, said (11):
The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet… may well have played an unintended role in the current epidemics of obesity, lipid abnormalities, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndromes. This diet can no longer be defended by appeal to the authority of prestigious medical organizations.
We’ve now established that eating cholesterol and saturated fat does not increase cholesterol levels in the blood for most people. In the next article, I’ll debunk the myth that high cholesterol in the blood is the cause of heart disease.