Whenever celebrities die of heart-related issues—George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Alan Thicke being recent examples—it raises our collective awareness about heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. And while awareness is always a good thing, it's even better when accompanied by action. Unfortunately, mainstream medicine's prescription for action—lowering cholesterol—is way past its expiration date.
As I stated on the Dr. Oz show, "Trying to lower heart disease by lowering cholesterol is like trying to lower calories by taking the lettuce off your whopper." About half the people admitted to hospitals for coronary artery disease have perfectly normal cholesterol. Tim Russert, the popular moderator of Meet the Press, died of a massive heart attack on a treadmill, with his cholesterol perfectly under control. His LDL was 68 and his total cholesterol was a 105—figures that would make any conventional doctor very happy. But if I had those numbers, I'd be seriously scared.