This article was originally written by Ray Gebauer
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Cholesterol. What images come to mind when you see this word? Is it positive or negative? Is it health, or is it heart disease?
If what came to mind was negative, as something to avoid, and heart disease, then the pharmaceutical companies food industries have been successful in getting you to believe a fabricated myth!
According to George V. Mann, M.D., professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University, “Saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet are not the cause of coronary heart disease. That myth is the greatest scientific deception of this century, perhaps of any century.”
Russell L. Smith, Ph.D. is the author of the book, The Cholesterol Conspiracy. Dr. Smith states that “Both the public and clinical physicians have simultaneously been swamped by an ever-growing tidal wave of exaggerations, distortions and even fabrications of the facts.”
Here’s the truth. Cholesterol is good! It is a necessary part of every cell in your body and is essential in virtually all aspects of metabolism. Without it, we would die. That’s not the impression you got from the advertisers, is it!
Cholesterol is necessary for the brain, nervous system, hormones, digestion, liver function, heart muscle contraction, calcium metabolism and bone structure and skin. Cholesterol forms 50 percent of the nervous system and serves as the conductor of nerve impulses. It is so important that your body produces four to seven times as much as you ingest and reduces its production to accommodate cholesterol intake from the food you eat.
A deficiency of Cholesterol results in obesity, emotional disturbances, fatigue, impotency, and many more imbalances.
How the Scam Begun
In the early 1900’s, experiments were done in which rabbits were given extremely high amounts of dietary cholesterol. Their blood cholesterol rose twenty fold and a soft plaque like disease formed on the coronary arteries. But the cholesterol levels returned to normal and the plaque disappeared when the feeding was stopped. This formed the basis of the theory that cholesterol caused coronary heart disease in humans.
Here are the flaws. The rabbits were given a synthetic form of cholesterol that easily oxidized when exposed to air (which made it toxic). Rabbits also do not metabolize cholesterol as do humans. Humans and other animals like dogs and rats do not develop atherosclerosis-like disease as do rabbits when given dietary cholesterol. And finally, humans do not develop soft plaque as did the rabbits; humans develop hard plaque which does not reverse, and it is not caused by dietary cholesterol.
Eggs and Cholesterol
One of the many foods we are warned about is eggs. In one study, seventy men were divided into three groups which ate either 3, 7, or 14 eggs a week for five months. They all had similar cholesterol levels in the beginning. The total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides did not change during the study for any of the groups.
An 88 year old man consumed 20-30 eggs a DAY for more than 15 years, yet maintained normal blood cholesterol levels of 150 to 200.
Cholesterol occurs only in animal foods. Yet the consumption of animal fat since 1909 actually decreased by 10 percent, whereas vegetable fat increased by over 200 percent. The increase of heart attacks has paralleled the increased use of margarine, homogenized milk and processed foods such as sugar.
According to Judith DeCava, in her book, Cholesterol, Facts and Fantasies, in one study, almost half of the patients had total cholesterol levels under 200, which is supposed to be safe. Yet half of this group had coronary heart disease. Of the almost 1200 who did have heart disease, one third had cholesterol levels under 200. Dr. Michael DeBakey, the famous heart surgeon, reports that 30 percent of patients who have a coronary bypass have “normal” cholesterol levels.”
The Real Culprit
Here’s what IS clearly linked to heart disease: sugar. Judith DeCava, in her excellent book, Cholesterol, Facts and Fantasies states,
“John Yukin analyzed the refined sugar consumed by men with atherosclerosis. The men who had heart attacks ate almost twice as much sugar as those who not having heart attacks. In fact, in persons with coronary heart disease, the degree of atherosclerosis was proportional to the amount of refined sugar consumed.” (The Lancet 1964); 2 (7349):6-8.
As further evidence of this is the fact that the consumption of fat in the Caribbean countries is very low, but the use of sugar is very high. Cuba has one of the highest levels of sugar use, and has a higher death rate from heart attacks in men between ages 55 and 64 than the U.S.!
The Fox Guarding the Hen House
So what’s perpetuating this campaign of misinformation? It’s the money from the drug companies who want you to buy their cholesterol reducing drugs (that have serious side affects) and from the food industries that benefit from this scam.
Here are some examples. The American Medical Association’s Executive Vice-President, Dr. James Sammons, promised physicians in 1988 of their financial rewards by stating, “the AMA’s campaign against cholesterol will bring both old and new patients to you for necessary testing, counseling and care.”
One researcher who later became a director of the National Institutes of Health bought stock in a pharmaceutical company just before announcing the results of a study favorable to the drug’s effects. The editor of the AMA’s publication, Circulation, also received stock options on the same drug company.
Jane Heimlich began doing extensive research on this cholesterol issue in 1989. In her book, What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You, she concludes,
“There is no question that the cholesterol program…benefits three powerful groups in our society to the tune of billions of dollars. These three are the medical profession, the pharmaceutical industry, and the food companies.”