9 Lies About Fat That Destroyed the World's Health (Part Two)

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3. Your Total and LDL Cholesterol Levels Are Good Indicators of Heart Attack Risk

 

Probably the biggest mistake in modern medicine is focusing too much on Total and LDL cholesterol levels as indicators of heart attack risk. Well... it is true that elevated levels of both are associated with increased risk (22).

 

But the whole picture is much more complicated than that. Total cholesterol actually includes lots of things... including HDL, also known as the "good" cholesterol.

 

Having high HDL actually raises your Total cholesterol number. LDL cholesterol isn't just LDL either... there are subtypes. We have the small, dense LDL particles (very bad) and then we have the large, fluffy LDL (good). The small particles are associated with heart disease, while the large ones are mostly benign (23, 24, 25, 26, 27).

 

Studies actually show that Total and LDL cholesterol are poor indicators of risk compared to other markers, like the Triglyceride:HDL ratio (28, 29). One study found that out of 231,986 patients hospitalized for heart disease, half of them actually had normal LDL levels (30)!

 

There are also studies showing that high cholesterol can be protective. In old individuals, the higher the cholesterol, the lower your risk of heart disease (31, 32).

 

Not to mention that cholesterol levels that are too low are actually associated with increased risk of death... from other causes, like cancer and suicide (33, 34).

 

Despite the weak predictive value of Total and LDL cholesterol, people with elevated numbers are often instructed to lower cholesterol by any means necessary... including a low-fat diet (which doesn't work) and statin drugs.

 

Right now, millions of people all around the world are taking cholesterol lowering drugs without needing them, unnecessarily suffering the risk of serious side effects.

 

Bottom Line: Total and LDL cholesterol levels are actually quite poor markers of heart disease risk. Many people are being unnecessarily medicated because doctors tend to focus on these numbers.

 

4. Processed Seed- and Vegetable Oils Are Healthy

 

For some very strange reason, processed seed- and vegetable oils became recognized as health foods. Humans only started consuming them about a 100 years ago, because we didn't have the technology to process them until then.

 

Yet, somehow the nutrition geniuses figured that these would somehow be very healthy for humans and certainly better than the "dangerous" saturated fats.

 

These oils, which include soybean, corn and cottonseed oils, are very high in polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids, which are harmful in excess and can contribute to inflammation (35, 36, 37).

 

Despite these oils being recommended to reduce heart disease, there are actually multiple studies showing that they increase the risk (38, 39, 40, 41). In a study that looked at common cooking oils on the U.S. market, they found that 0.56% to 4.2% of the fatty acids in them were highly toxic trans fats (42)!

 

However... these oils are actually recommended by the beloved organizations that are supposed to be in charge of protecting our health. This is one example of where blindly following the conventional nutritional wisdom can put you in an early grave.

 

Bottom Line: Processed seed- and vegetable oils are very unhealthy, loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids and trans fats that can contribute to disease.

 

5. Saturated Fat Raises Your Bad Cholesterol and Causes Heart Disease

 

The "war on saturated fat" has been a miserable failure.

 

It was initially based on flawed studies, but somehow became public policy (with disastrous consequences). The worst part is... the governments and health organizations have yet to change their position despite overwhelming evidence that they've been wrong all along.

 

Actually, saturated fat doesn't really raise LDL that much. The effect is weak and inconsistent and appears to depend on the individual (43, 44, 45).

 

When saturated fat does affect LDL, it changes the particles from small, dense (very, very bad) to Large LDL, which is mostly benign (46, 47, 48). Saturated fat also raises HDL cholesterol, which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease (49, 50).

 

To be continued…

 

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References:

 

Main Article and Image Credit: Gunnars, K. (2015). “9 Lies About Fat That Destroyed The World’s Health.” Business Insider. Kris Gunnars, published 12 November 2013. Accessed 12 January 2016. <http://www.businessinsider.com/9-lies-about-fat-that-destroyed-the-worlds-health-2013-11>

 

22. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2619783

23. http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/25/3/553.short

24. http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/25/3/553.short

25. http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/12/2/187.short

26. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/95/1/69.abstract

27. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=407945

28. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664115/

29. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/4/936.short

30. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19081406

31. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673697044309

32. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(01)05553-

      2/abstract?cc=y=

33. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=616450

34. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.1997.tb52355.x/full

35. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0753332202002536?via=sd

36. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19022225

37. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/83/6/S1505.short

38. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16387724

39. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2166702/

40. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=662108

41. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-4684-0967-3_18

42. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-4522.1994.tb00244.x/abstract

43. http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/18/3/441.full

44. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/1/78.full

45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/998550

46. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/502.short

47. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/67/5/828.short

48. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8299884

49. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1386252

50. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/77/5/1146.short

 

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Jessica Jensen LMT CST

Craniosacral Therapist

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