The Cholesterol Myth:
While studying to become a metabolic typing advisor, I was speaking with one of the instructors and the topic of cholesterol arose. I didn’t understand why cholesterol was good to eat, or more importantly, why we should even pay attention to how much of it we eat. To help clarify her position, the instructor recommended the book, The Great Cholesterol Con by Anthony Colpo.
To put it simply, it was like waking up one day and realizing there is no Santa Claus. You feel as though for the last some odd years of your life you were lied to by those who were supposed to be looking out for you when you couldn’t look out for yourself. Each chapter was more shocking than the previous.
The following is a breakdown of what I felt were some of the more in your face, scientifically-backed facts about cholesterol. They prove that the American Heart Association (AHA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) don’t care about us, and we should never really trust anything they say again. As Colpo says in the last sentence of his epilogue, “An independent, rational mind that is prepared to seek out information first hand is a most powerful asset.” In the paragraphs that follow, you must be prepared to have an open mind.
Section 1: Why saturated fat and cholesterol don’t cause heart disease.
The first chapter of the book doesn’t ease you into this widely accepted idea that cholesterol is bad for you. We have to remember that in any age there were ideas that seemed plausible but just weren’t so. Zeus shot lightning bolts at the Greeks when he was angry with them, the Earth was thought to be flat, working out while pregnant was bad for you, and space travel was impossible. The latest one-cholesterol causes heart disease. Through sound, scientific research, all of these have since been proven false. This book is packed full of medical studies. Here are just some of those claims found in the first section:
- The only way a product can carry an AHA heart healthy logo is by paying a first year fee of $7,500 and then $4,500 every year after. The product is never researched for its heart healthy benefits.
- The highest concentrations of cholesterol are found in the brain and nervous system. They also make up part of the sarcomeres and t-tubules.
- Our liver recycles cholesterol to make bile and certain hormones.
- Several studies have found that higher cholesterol rates are predictive of increased survival rates in older men and women.
- There is an eleven percent increase in total mortality and a fourteen percent increase in cardiovascular disease for every one mg/dl reduction in our cholesterol rate.
- The death rate from violence and suicide is double the national average for those following a low cholesterol diet or taking cholesterol lowering medication.
- As cholesterol rates decrease, so does our visuomotor speed, or how quickly we react in an emergency situation.
- One study showed that low cholesterol levels were significantly related to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Some Kenyan’s consume over three liters of full fat cream and two to five kilograms of fatty beef in a sitting yet enjoy a civilization almost free of heart disease.
- In one study, the consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils increased the incidence of cancer and tumor growth in animals.
- There are cases showing extreme fatigue, amnesia, nausea, kidney dialysis, and even death associated with taking statins, the preferred cholesterol lowering drug.
There are more chapters in this section, including Money, Politics, and Cholesterol, which is an interesting read, but for now, let’s get on to section two and more eye-popping information.
Section 2: What really causes heart disease?
Ok, all of the things that we thought destroyed our hearts like steak, eggs, and butter actually help us, so what the hell causes heart disease? In this section, author Anthony Colpo gets down and dirty and shows us the real reason Uncle Charlie has tubes running out of his nose and just had a triple bypass. Just a quick hint-it’s the food!
- Atherosclerosis strikes mainly where the arteries divide.
- Cholesterol is used to increase cell integrity. This may be why the body channels cholesterol into atherosclerotic plaques, which are essentially portions of damaged cells. If arteries aren’t damaged, cholesterol won’t accumulate in them.
- Men experiencing much stress are 3.6 times likelier to contract coronary heart disease.
- Unmarried women have a fifty percent higher death rate, and unmarried men have a two hundred and fifty percent higher death rate than their married counterparts.
- Marital discord directly assaults the cardiovascular system of otherwise healthy men.
- Suppressed anger results in a seventy-five percent increase in heart attack risk.
- The postprandial period (the two hours after a meal) has been shown to be the most important point for your heart?s health. Adverse stress or activity can put a strain on your heart while food digests.
- Cereal grains contain anti-nutrients that essentially strip nutrients from your body, which places a large strain on the heart.
- Studies showed a significant excretion of vitamin D in subjects fed 60 grams of wheat fiber a day. However, the AHA still states that fiber is good.
- Chicken, pork, and steak are the only sources of carnosine, which accelerates wound healing, boosts the immune system, rids the body of toxic metals, and even helps fight cancer.
- Phytonutrient polyphenols have been shown to possess many times the free radical fighting power of vitamins such as E and C.
- Abundant carbohydrate-rich meals raise blood sugar, deplete chromium, and increase free radical activity dramatically.
- Microwaving vegetables destroys ninety seven percent of the flavanoids that help antioxidants effectively fight free radicals. Steaming showed no significant reduction.
- Free radicals are used by the immune system to fight disease, but an excess of free radicals can cause them to destroy the arteries of the heart. Smoking, lack of exercise, alcohol, and polyunsaturated vegetable oils all increase this burden.
- High blood sugar levels starve our cells of vitamin C, which helps form collagen in healthy arteries.
Once again, there is much, much more in this section that covers why saturated fats are healthy, why high blood sugar will kill us, and the irony of iron. Let’s go on to the last section, which most of us are more familiar.
Section 3: Preventing heart disease the drug-free way!
A wonder drug is a drug you take and then wonder what it is going to do to you. -Anonymous
That quote was taken from the beginning of chapter twenty-three titled, Disrobing the Drug Myth. Calpo gives us natural remedies to help establish a healthy heart. First, he says it isn’t the omega six fatty acids that help, but the ratio of omega three to omega six that will help our heart. This ratio should be even or one to one. The best sources of omega three fatty acids would be UDO’s Oil, then Krill Oil, and the least desirable is Fish Oil due to the excessive processing.
Next, he discusses the enzyme, Co-Q10, which has been shown to reduce blood pressure, free radical activity, and blood sugar and insulin activities. Calpo shows that Selenium and L-Carnitine are also extremely important for a healthy heart. Selenium levels in the soil have been depleted for some time, and the only source we have now is Brazil nuts. L-carnitine can be found in meat, specifically lamb, which is the best source. There are plenty more facts in the book that I don’t want to give away for those who want to read it, but the basics can at least get you started.
This book is another strong advocate for eating a metabolically correct diet. We need to stop eating refined sugars and bioengineered foods and grains and begin eating more natural sources of meat, vegetables, fruits, and grains from which man has evolved. Chapter eighteen has an astounding chart that shows the carbohydrate, protein, and fat consumption of people in the U.S. from 1970-2000. Carbohydrate intake has gone up from 390 grams per day to 500 grams per day with fat and protein stabilizing at 150 grams per day up from 100 grams per day.
Just because we now know that we should be eating more meat, eggs, and butter doesn’t mean that all of us should go out and indulge. Slow oxidizers and sympathetic dominant people won’t be able to digest and utilize the red meats as well as the fast oxidizers. You could actually slow your metabolism down even more if you’re eating incorrectly for your body type. What you want to do is bring it into balance. I know there have been other articles on Elite FTS about metabolic typing so there’s no excuse for not educating yourself. Get out there, get typed, get the book, and start making the gains that you really want to see.
Colpo Anthony (2006) The Great Cholesterol Con: Why Everything You’ve Been Told about Cholesterol, Diet, and Heart Disease Is Wrong. Lulu.com.
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