Cholesterol Mythology

Not really, and actually my cholesterol was 190 when I had the heart attack. 190, which isn’t that high.

–Mike Ditka

Guess who else’s cholesterol was well within the Mythical Safe Range when he had his first heart attack? Dwight Eisenhower, who was the ideal weight for his height and was very fit when his first heart attack hit at age 64. His cholesterol was 165.

So of course he was put on the now ubiquitous low-fat diet, which included lots of healthy whole grains like oatmeal and lots of margarine, almost no meat, and no fats but margarine and corn oil. What was the result of this amazingly healthy diet? Well, strangely he started gaining weight for the first time in his life. So much so that he kept cutting his food portions down till he was nearly starving: to no avail. Even more oddly, his cholesterol just kept going up and up. From 165 to 259. Just a couple days after Eisenhower got that highest reading, Ancel Keys got his face on the cover of Time for promoting the new “lipid hypothesis,” which blamed fat for everything and advocated, for the first time, a low-fat diet as the cure for all America’s heart disease problems.

Which, as we all know, has clearly been an incredible success, since Americans have no heart disease anymore.

Eisenhower was an incredibly self-controlled man and kept to his diet religiously and faithfully all through the six more heart attacks before the seventh one finally killed him. Wanna know who else doesn’t have high cholesterol?

About 75% of the people who have heart attacks. Of course, if you read that article what are we told? “Well, their cholesterol was low, but apparently it wasn’t low enough! Because that’s what every sensible person does, right? When something isn’t working, you just double down and do it more.

Eating under 2000 calories of whole grains and lots of fruit and still gaining weight? JUST EAT EVEN LESS.

Cut your cholesterol, quit eating fat, subsist on disgusting non-food that you can’t enjoy; yet still have heart disease? JUST DO IT EVEN MORE!!

Come on, Mr. President. Clearly eating even one egg in a week is too much. Just get that cholesterol down below 120 and you’ll be healthy as a horse. I know this is your fourth heart attack since we told you to start eating like an herbivore, but just keep at it and you won’t have a fifth

Want some more info on the cholesterol myth? Here’s some resources:

A rundown of the book The Great Cholesterol Myth by doctors Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra.

This explanation of how fats work by Dr. Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig.

Detailed information from Dr. Chris Kresser on why saturated fat is not harmful, why it does not affect cholesterol in a negative way, and why cholesterol is not the culprit in your heart disease.

Gary Taubes’ detailed article in The New York Times explaining how and why the Evil Saturated Fat myth is a lie.

Dr. Malcom Kendrick on why the cholesterol myth is just that.

And until you’ve read them, here’s a word of advice:

 

Plato says he’s hungry

Help us keep paying for this site and feeding the dogs.

$1.00

Put down that Special K box and go get some eggs.

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