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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Cholestrol: Myth vs reality

   
Author Topic: Cholestrol: Myth vs reality
BaoQingTian
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In the 'silly teacher' thread, someone made a point about cholestrol. It actually confirmed what I had read recently as well. However, I realize there are a lot more qualified people than me on the board--I just get my information 2nd or 3rd hand. To sum up what is posted below, basically it is disputing the the saturated fat->higher cholestrol->heart disease chain of events. Can anybody confirm or disprove some of this?

quote:
Originally posted by Adam_S:
Actually your science teacher wasn't silly, he was right. It's in every single cell in your body for a very good reason. Last I checked cholesterol keeps cell membranes intact, boosts mental performance, aids digestion, builds strong bones and muscle, regulates blood sugar, maintains energy, vitality, libido and fertility, repairs damaged tissue and protects against infectious disease. There's a couple dozen important hormones and steroids created during its synthesis as well. 7 dyhyrocholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D. And so on and so forth. It's one of the most important elements of your diet, not the most dangerous.

That's why your body produces four times the amount of cholesterol you can eat. it synthesizes more cholesterol when you have less of it in your diet and less cholesterol when you have more in your diet. That is why even the most strict, perfect diet cannot lower bloor serum levels more than a few percent.

high cholesterol is not dangerous, rather it either indicates another unhealthy condition--thus it acts a smoke alarm--or it may be totally innocuous. cholesterol lowering drugs--the only way to disrupt your bodies homeostatis and lower serum cholesterol levels--are like pulling the batteries out of your smoke alarm because it keeps beeping.

On the whole, your science teacher was right, Cholesterol is not that bad.


The myth that cholesterol-in-diet causes heart disease was started with experiments on herbivores (not omnivores) that lack all the digestive enzymes to process cholesterol. Most died of heart disease because the fat they couldn't excrete was layered in plaques around their arteries. Ancel Keyes (who did the herbivore (rabbit) experiments made the hypothesis that diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol causes heart disease in humans. Keyes gathered data on the % of saturated fat in diet (saturated fat being high in cholesterol) for 22 countries, and compared the data to the mortality from heart disease in those countries. He rejected the data from 16 countries because they all clearly refuted his hypothesis (we have access to all the data now, in his papers). When he published, his study only included data from 6 countries, and showed a direct correlation between high saturated fat diets and high mortality from heart disease. Had he bothered to include countries like Mexico and Finland, his hypothesis would have been shot to hell. They had the same percentage of saturated fat, 30, but the lowest and highest mortality rates from heart disease, respectively, of the 22 data points gathered.

Keyes' study caused the massive Framingham study to be performed. This is the most often cited study in cholesterol research, and the cornerstone of the high-cholesterol equals high heart disease risk. Within the text of the published study, was the conclusion that for every 1 mg/dl reduction in blood cholesterol there was an 11% INCREASE in heart disease mortality. Framingham did find that those with the rare pre-existing genetic condition called hypercholesterolemia had around a two percent increase in heart disease mortality for every mg/dl increase in serum cholesterol (iirc, they also only got this 02% conclusion by only including hypercholesterolemia subjects who had suffered or died from heart disease, excluding all the healthy people with the genetic condition from the data and conclusion, but I could misremember that). The latter finding was included in the abstract and is quoted in virtually every study or media coverage that addresses cholesterol research. The former finding--the one that applies to the general population--is never mentioned.

I had to research all this to get my only surviving grandparent off those damned deadly statins. She asked me to look into it because she'd seen too many very healthy friends and acquaintances transform from vibrant beings into sickly, frail and dying creatures when they went on Lipitor.

I read a similar thing just last week on a fitness site. The author's view was that it was not the saturated fats that caused higher cholestrol but rather processed carbohyrdates that caused the liver to produce more. He was also dead against statins.

What was interesting is that he mentioned a follow up study done by someone that used omnivores rather than herbavors (since herbavors obviously would be at a natural disadvantage in digesting animal fats). Unfortunately, he didn't cite any sources. Here's what he said, if anyone knows the original study or has more info, I would be very interested in reading it.

quote:

It is documented that the use of Statin drugs lower the brain's ability to function, hence lowering intellect levels. Statin drugs destroy Vitamin E and prevent COQ10 from being absorbed by the body. COQ10 and Vitamin E are essential for good and correct heart function.

The Shute Clinic, located in Canada, proved that point 70 years ago

quote:

Go to the public library and look up the medical book "Tabers 16th edition" page 1909. This states that the true cause of arterial sclerosis and heart attacks is the ingestion of an excess amount of carbohydrates, which go into the liver.

The carbohydrates that we eat are no good for the liver, including cookies, donuts, pop, pretzels and candy bars. When these types of foods go into the liver the liver then properly tries to convert them to good cholesterol, as that is its function. The liver converts them to the only thing they can be converted to which are Triglycerides and Diglycerides. These are poison!

Triglycerides and Diglycerides are an unnatural sticky form of fat that the liver then pushes into the arteries. What happens when they go into the arteries? You get a rise in the bad cholesterol. When you get the bad cholesterol too high you then have a heart attack.

And in response to the rabbit study, he goes on to say:
quote:

Another researcher came along years later, and said this data is a lie! "You cannot take animal fats and protein and feed it to a herbivore." Rats, pigs, monkeys and humans are omnivores. They can eat anything; they can survive on anything and are completely capable of eating animal fats.


This researcher created his own test. He fed rats the same amount of lard and butter as the previous test and did his test for a three-month period. Then he opened up their arteries and do you know what he found? Close your eyes, what do you see? Exactly, nothing! Because we as humans are perfectly capable of ingesting fats, metabolizing fats, and utilizing fats.

Has anyone heard of this study? Was it peer reviewed and published?
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Theca
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Those paragraphs are horrible, horrible falsehoods, errors, and leaps of fantasy.

I don't know if studies on herbivores/omnivores have been published and peer reviewed, but we have so many many studies with actual human beings that it shouldn't really matter. We aren't rats. Studying high cholesterol in animals other than humans cannot tell you very much compared to human studies.

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Morbo
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quote:
Originally posted by BaoQingTian:
Originally posted by Adam_S:
Actually your science teacher wasn't silly, he was right. It's in every single cell in your body for a very good reason. Last I checked cholesterol keeps cell membranes intact, boosts mental performance, aids digestion, builds strong bones and muscle, regulates blood sugar, maintains energy, vitality, libido and fertility, repairs damaged tissue and protects against infectious disease. There's a couple dozen important hormones and steroids created during its synthesis as well. 7 dyhyrocholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D. And so on and so forth. It's one of the most important elements of your diet, not the most dangerous.

That's why your body produces four times the amount of cholesterol you can eat. it synthesizes more cholesterol when you have less of it in your diet and less cholesterol when you have more in your diet. That is why even the most strict, perfect diet cannot lower bloor serum levels more than a few percent.

quote:
Cholesterol Metabolism

Cholesterol is either obtained from the diet or synthesized in a variety of tissues, including the liver, adrenal cortex, skin, intestine, testes, and aorta. High dietary cholesterol suppresses synthesis in the liver but not in other tissues.

I knew the body made cholesterol, but didn't know such a variety of tissues made it.
quote:
About 20–25% of total daily production (~1 g/day) occurs in the liver; other sites of higher synthesis rates include the intestines, adrenal glands and reproductive organs
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholesterol

Also, the fitness site seems to contradict itself in the same paragraph:
quote:
When these types of foods [carbohydrates] go into the liver the liver then properly tries to convert them to good cholesterol, as that is its function. The liver converts them to the only thing they can be converted to which are Triglycerides and Diglycerides. These are poison!
The writer says carbohydrates are converted to cholesterol in the liver, then says the only thing they can be coverted to is di- and tri-glycerides. Which is it? Anyway, it's just wrong. The writer neglects to mention that sugars are converted to glycogen, a crucial part of metabolism, as well as amino acids.
quote:
The monosaccharides—glucose, galactose, and fructose—obtained from the digestion of food are transported from the intestinal mucosa via the portal vein to the liver. They may be utilized directly for energy by all tissues; temporarily stored as glycogen in the liver or in muscle; or converted to fat, amino acids, and other biological compounds.
http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Met-Obe/Metabolism.html
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