If Cholesterol Doesn't Cause Heart Disease, How Do You Prevent It?

In my last post, I discussed the myth that cholesterol leads directly to a higher risk of heart disease. The conclusion, though, begs an inevitable question: If cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease, what does? And how do you guard against it?

Here are three dietary changes you can make to help you prevent chronic disease like heart disease:

1. Remove bad fats and replace them with good fats.

Bad fats, such as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and polyunsaturated oils such as corn, vegetable, soy and canola are linked to cellular congestion and inflammation, which can lead to chronic diseases like heart disease.

A 2009 study from Harvard School of Public Health showed that the more vegetable oils the women in the study ate, the worse their atherosclerosis became. The Sydney Diet Heart Study found that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) increases mortality by 39 percent. The top three sources of calories for Americans today are refined carbs, vegetable oils (PUFAs), and corn syrup. Is there any question as to why heart disease is an epidemic?

Populations with diets high in saturated fats and low in what Weston A. Price referred to as the "displacing foods of modern commerce" — like white flour, white sugar, white rice and vegetable oil — don't have the rates of chronic disease that we see in the United States. The legitimate, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies are clear: a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is not the answer to decreasing heart disease. In fact, this diet has been shown to increase triglycerides, decrease HDL, and increase small dense LDL and inflammation — all of the factors for a heart attack or stroke!

The opposite is shown in diets high in saturated fats. A diet high in cholesterol doesn't raise cholesterol in the blood in most people, and even when it does, it often raises large buoyant LDL levels, which we learned in my last article are protective, not harmful! A University of Connecticut study showed that eating three eggs a day decreased small dense LDL by almost 20 percent.

Good fats are essential to hormone production, cancer prevention, brain function, weight loss and preventing heart disease. Coconut oil, avocados, local farmed eggs, kefir, ghee, organic butter, grass-fed raw milk, raw nuts and seeds are all great sources of fat!

2. Change the meats that you eat.

There are hundreds of studies that link commercial meat to heart disease. Grains (many of them genetically modified) fed to animals that were created to eat grass changes the fatty acid ratios and denatures good fats, leading to chronic disease like heart disease.

We have to be mindful of the quality of our saturated fat and meats. The way our food is raised is crucial for our health. We can make a good food a bad food, depending on how it was raised and prepared, as in the case of beef that's been pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. The inflammatory toxins that are found in regular meat are accumulated in the fat of the meat.

So it isn't the fat or the meat that is the problem, it's what we as a society have done to the animal. If you can't get grass-fed beef, or organic chicken, I would suggest getting the leanest meat possible due to the accumulation of toxins and other inflammatory properties in the fat.

3. Remove all processed grains and refined sugars.

What we've done as a society to our grain supply is contributing to the deaths of millions. The genetic modification, refining, and all-around defiling of most grains makes it difficult to get sources. As alternatives, organic quinoa and wild rice are both good options thanks to their high nutrient density and the fact that they don't result in the inflammatory response that most grains cause.

Sugar is an anti-nutrient that offers insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals, and robs your body of nutrient stores. This can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease. High glycemic or refined sugars cause elevated glucose, which elevates insulin, leading to premature aging and degenerative diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Dr. Sylvan Lee Weinburg, former president of the American College of Cardiology, warned, "The low-fat, high carbohydrate diet may well have played an unintended role in the current epidemics of obesity, lipid abnormalities, type II diabetes, and metabolic syndromes." Weinburg went on to say, "This diet can longer be defended by appeal to the authority of prestigious medical organizations."

The Inevitable Demise of the Lie

So how have all the myths and lies surrounding cholesterol survived, despite all the evidence to the contrary? Well, eight out of nine doctors who write the National Cholesterol Guidelines receive money from the pharmaceutical industry. Also, two-thirds of all medical research is funded by those pharmaceutical companies. The market for statin drugs is over $25 billion per year and is the largest drug category in the world!

The truth is up against a lot of money and power, and it would be a daunting task to try and change the entire billion-dollar cholesterol drug racket and government-subsidized junk food monopoly. It's my goal to impact people’s health on an individual basis. Elevating people’s minds, health (and hearts) is my passion and it will be a part of the future of evidence-based natural health.

William Cole, D.C., IFMCP
William Cole, D.C., IFMCP
Dr. Will Cole, leading functional-medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam at...
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