Drinking the Kool-Aid on Cholesterol: An Oldie But Goodie

It has been pointed out by many opponents of the saturated fat/cholesterol theory of coronary artery disease (CAD) that a paper from January, 2009 shreds this notion. The work is entitled “Lipid levels in patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease: An analysis of 136,905 hospitalizations.” You can obtain an abstract here, with a link to a free full text version.

Among the findings: “In a large cohort of patients hospitalized with CAD, almost half have admission LDL levels <100 mg/dL. More than half the patients have admission HDL levels <40 mg/dL, whereas <10% have HDL=60 mg/dL."

In other words, more than half of this group—heart patients with diagnosed disease—met the current LDL and HDL guidelines.

This is a stunning finding in and of itself, to be sure, but here’s the “Drinking the Kool-Aid” part: “These findings may provide further support for recent guideline revisions with even lower LDL goals and for developing effective treatments to raise HDL.”

Think about this. The precious LDL/HDL cholesterol theory has been tested in a gigantic study, with the ideal endpoint, and has been proven wrong in more than half of the cases! A rational individual would question the validity of the hypothesis, don’t you think? Heck according to most “authorities,” it’s well beyond a mere hypothesis.

The Cleveland Clinic will tell you that: “The fact is, elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, is a major cause of heart disease.”

Instead, though, the authors of this study—most of whom get money from Big Pharma—conclude that the results mean that we must tighten LDL and HDL goals even more—to a point whereby they cannot be achieved except with drugs.

For what it’s worth, while this study is often cited by cholesterol “deniers,” they almost never emphasize the absurd conclusions regarding pushing the guidelines even lower. Perhaps this is to protect the lay audience from falling into despair—as they probably should—over the state of what used to be called science.

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6 responses to “Drinking the Kool-Aid on Cholesterol: An Oldie But Goodie

  1. 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol I did a lot of research into both. I found that for every paper about “bad” cholesterol I found a paper saying something else. It appears that even the director running the Framingham Heart study has changed opinions several times. I have also noted that no one talks about dietary and serum cholesterol. Some of the my reading has shown a lot of medical folks thinking that dietary cholesterol contributes very little to serum cholesterol. In addition there are some studies that have shown that us individuals over 50 may need higher cholesterol levels as noted in this blog post.

    Since my initial research the local VA clinic wants me to lower my cholesterol even further as a type 2 diabetic, even when I have told them that I can fast for a week and eat nothing but lettuce and still fail the cholesterol test.

    • @Ken–

      Of course, dietary cholesterol has nothing to do with serum cholesterol. Your body’s cholesterol is synthesized from within. Indeed, low cholesterol in people over 50 is very dangerous, and this too has been proven in large studies.

      The damage wrought by type 2 diabetes and cholesterol voodoo hysteria is enormous. That medical authorities still cling to this is unconscionable.

  2. Friend of John Galt

    I’m a type 2 diabetic (thanks to genes from both of my parents and at least one grandparent). I’m also blessed with relatively low overall cholesterol — but also a tendency toward low HDL…. a little exercise (walks) and 500 mg of “slow niacin” daily keeps the HDL above the “40″ minimum. I doubt that any pharma is banking a fortune based on that regime.

  3. Common Sense

    After switching to a HFLC (High fat, low carb) lifestyle 8 months ago, I’ve seen my cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL go significantly down, and my HDL go up. I’ve also lost 53 lbs – so far – and am in the best shape of my life at 51.
    I’ve learned to ignore the government hyped low fat high carb food pyramid recommendations. They have been proven wrong so much that the FDA must be getting paid off by large farming corporations (most of the source of all those carbs).
    You don’t get Type 2 diabetes from FAT, you get it from SUGAR, and all carbs are sugar once broken down. So that supposedly good-for-you whole grain bread is just as detrimental to your body as the refined sugar you poured on your cereal.
    There are essential fats and proteins necessary for life, there are no essential carbs. If your brain needs a little glucose, your liver will generate it, otherwise, your body will use ketones for energy. In fact, your heart PREFERS ketones to glucose.
    There’s also a cancer connection since many cancers feed on sugar.
    There is no reason not to go low carb these days. There are many wonderful products that make it pretty easy, as long as you like to cook and bake. Almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, stevia, erythritol, and xylitol and creative food bloggers provide me with all kinds of delicious goodies along with meat, chicken, fish, green vegetables, berries and nuts.

  4. Read “Why We Get Fat : And What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. The book talks about insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The best diet tasted by Stanford among 4 published diets was the Atkins Diet.

  5. Yes. Common Sense is the way to go. Trust me. But meat should be “range meat” off the land not the cage – fairer to the animals, and better for us. I like to see my animals die happy. OK. I know. There’s too many people in the world for that, despite new efforts in the Ukraine to slaughter each other.

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