by Natasha Longo
September 25, 2014
has a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified
fitness and nutritional counselor.
consulted on public health policy and procurement in
Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.
There is no more doubting long-standing myths that mainstream
nutrition adopted as truths due to poorly designed and corrupt
On behalf of public health regulators -
doctors, nutritionists and many other health experts have relied on
this misinformation to guide millions with false dietary advice
which we now know to be harmful.
1. Saturated Fat Is Harmful
When health professionals started blaming saturated fat for heart
disease, people abandoned traditional fats like butter, lard and
coconut oil in favor of processed
These oils are very high in Omega-6
fatty acids, which can contribute to
inflammation and various problems when consumed in excess. These
oils are often hydrogenated, which makes them high in trans fats.
Many studies have shown that these fats and oils actually increase
the risk of heart disease, even if they aren't hydrogenated.
Saturated fatty acids shouldn't be avoided as they don't cause
"The accumulation of data finally
shows that there is no demonstrated link between saturated fatty
acids and cardiovascular disease," said professor Philippe
Legrand of AgroCampus Ouest.
"When there is a dogma it can only be broken if the level of
proof that it was a wrong dogma reaches certain level and then
everything appears clear," Legrand stated.
Legrand added that this should be
wisely communicated to the general public.
"The danger for the public is to
hear 'you can eat whatever you want and even saturated fatty
acids are good for you'. The point is the excess of saturated
fatty acids, especially palmitic acid [present
in palm oil] remains a risk. 'Excess' is the important
More physicians and medical specialists
are speaking out on what really causes disease. Just a few years
ago, world renown heart surgeon Dr. Dwight Lundell, made headlines
stated the facts on the actual causes of heart disease.
"As a heart surgeon with 25 years
experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries,
today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific
fact," he was quoted in a statement.
Experts such as Dr. Ron Rosedale
have been exposing the facts on cholesterol myths for years.
Perhaps one of the biggest health myths
propagated in western culture and certainly in the United States, is
the correlation between elevated cholesterol and cardiovascular
disease (CVD). Unfortunately, despite dozens of studies,
cholesterol has not been shown to actually cause CVD.
To the contrary, cholesterol is vital to
our survival, and trying to artificially lower it can have
detrimental effects, particularly as we age. What we have found
after years of being told the opposite, is that
there is no such thing as 'bad cholesterol.'
says almost four decades of advice to cut back on saturated fats
found in cream, butter and less lean meat has 'paradoxically
increased our cardiovascular risks'.
Should Consume Grains
Grains are and always have been relatively low in nutrients,
especially when compared to other real whole foods like vegetables.
They are also rich in a substance called
phytic acid which binds essential minerals in the intestine and prevents them from
being absorbed (see
Minerals and Phytic Acid Interactions - Is it
a Real Problem for Human Nutrition?).
The world's most popular grain wheat, is also the deadliest for the
human metabolism. Modern wheat isn't really wheat at all and is a "perfect,
chronic poison," according to Dr. William Davis, a
cardiologist, author and leading expert on wheat.
Modern dwarf wheat was introduced around the year 1960, which
contains 19-28% less of important minerals like,
There is also evidence that modern wheat
more harmful to celiac patients and people with gluten sensitivity,
compared to older breeds like Einkorn wheat.
Modern wheat contains a large amount of a protein called gluten, but
there is evidence that a significant portion of the population may
be sensitive to it. A decade ago celiac disease was considered
extremely rare outside Europe and, therefore, was almost completely
ignored by health care professionals. In only 10 years, key
milestones have moved celiac disease and
gluten reactions from obscurity into the popular spotlight
Non-celiac wheat sensitivity is now a serious problem and new
People who developed type 1 diabetes have even been found to have a
genetic predisposition to the disease that is
triggered by wheat gluten.
Patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have been found
higher mortality rates and this association persists more than
one year after diagnosis in patients testing positive for the
Australian researchers have revealed
serious issues over a new kind of genetically engineered wheat
that could induce major health threats for people that consume it.
Salt Diets Are Key To Healthy Cardiovascular Systems
2008 study (Normal-sodium
diet compared with low-sodium diet in compensated congestive heart
failure - Is sodium an old enemy or a new friend?) the committee examined, for example, randomly
assigned 232 Italian patients with aggressively treated moderate to
severe congestive heart failure to consume either 2,760 or 1,840
milligrams of sodium a day, but otherwise to consume the same diet.
Those consuming the lower level of
sodium had more than three times the number of hospital readmissions
- 30 as compared with 9 in the higher-salt group - and more than
twice as many deaths - 15 as compared with 6 in the higher-salt
Another study (Urinary
sodium and potassium excretion and risk of cardiovascular events), published in 2011, followed 28,800 subjects with
high blood pressure ages 55 and older for 4.7 years and analyzed
their sodium consumption by urinalysis.
The researchers reported that the risks
of heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure and death from
heart disease increased significantly for those consuming more than
7,000 milligrams of sodium a day and for those consuming fewer than
3,000 milligrams of sodium a day.
A study by lead researcher Dr. Niels Graudal, of
Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, adds to a growing body of
research questioning the long-term benefits of a low-salt diet.
A review of seven previous studies
published in the journal the Cochrane Library found that a
moderate reduction in salt intake did not reduce a person's risk of
dying or having heart disease.
In a systematic review published by The
Cochrane Library, British scientists found that cutting salt
consumption did not translate into lower death or heart disease
governments setting ever lower targets for salt intake and food
manufacturers working to remove it from their products, it's
really important that we do some large research trials to get a
full understanding of the benefits and risks of reducing salt
intake," said Rod Taylor of Exeter University, who led the
The problem is not salt, it's the type
of salt we use. It takes just half an hour for one meal high in
table salt to significantly impair the arteries' ability to pump
blood around the body,
alarming research has shown.
Blood flow becomes temporarily more
restricted between 30 minutes and an hour after the food has been
"Most scientific studies use
processed table salt as a source of sodium which the body has a
hard time physiologically to process unlike its natural
counterpart sea salt," said Dr. Jamil Najma who only recommends
sea salt to his patients.
The kind of salt we consume is essential
to our health.
"Mineral salts are identical to the
elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally
found in the primal ocean from where life originated," argues Dr
Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The
Essence of Life.
"We have salty tears and salty
perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood
and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of
life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty
Unlike the sodium chloride you find on
most kitchen tables, unrefined rock salt contains more than 84
Fat Diets Will Help You Lose Weight - All
Calories Are Equal
This low-fat mantra has been questioned for years by clinicians and
nutritional scientists - not least because it has failed to halt the
The fact is, contrary to official advice
by our diet dictocrats, high-fat diets lower blood sugar, improve
blood lipids, and reduce obesity.
One of the problems
is that there is consistent inverse association in the percentage of
energy coming from fats and sugars. Research published in the
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition shows why
people find it hard to follow government guidelines to cut their fat
and sugar intake at the same time - a phenomenon known as the
That's no surprise as previous studies such as a
two-year dietary study published in the journal
Diabetologia showed that food
with a lot of fat and few carbohydrates has a better effect on blood
sugar levels and blood lipids. Despite the increased fat intake with
a larger portion of saturated fatty acids, their lipoproteins did
not get worse.
Quite the contrary -
the HDL, or 'good' cholesterol, content increased on the high fat
Research from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem shows that a
carefully scheduled high-fat diet can lead to a reduction in body
weight and a unique metabolism in which ingested fats are not
stored, but rather used for energy at times when no food is
The results were
published in The FASEB Journal
under the title "Timed high-fat diet resets circadian metabolism and
Professor David Lawrence, an expert in nutrition and obesity data
analysis, said recently in the journal BMC Medicine that the idea of
all calories being equal is flawed and based 'on an outdated
understanding of the science'.
Studies have showed time and time again that a reduced-fat diet,
similarly to a reduced-calorie diet, does not result in long-term
weight loss and health, but instead leads only to "transient" weight
loss - that would be weight that comes piling right back on after
it's temporarily shed.
This is because healthy fats actually curb
your appetite and trigger the production of hormones which tell the
brain when you're full.
If you're not eating fat, you stay
constantly hungry, and wind up binging on unhealthy food.
Calories from different sources have different effects on the body,
with calories from carbohydrates more likely to encourage weight
gain. Not only is the calorie theory under attack, but evidence is
also emerging to show that lowering fat might not cut heart-disease
risk after all.
A major study published in the
authoritative New England Journal of Medicine compared the clinical
benefits of a conventional low-fat diet with two types of
Mediterranean diet, which are naturally considerably higher in fat.
The study had to be stopped early
because the heart attack and stroke rate in the Mediterranean
options was so much lower it was deemed irresponsible to keep
patients on the conventional diet.
Unfortunately, low-fat food products also use dangerous artificial
sweeteners, simple sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Low-fat diet foods have been found to
increase type 2 diabetes and
Putting The Myth to Rest
There Is No Such Thing as 'Bad Cholesterol'
March 25, 2012
Perhaps one of the biggest health myths propagated in western
culture and certainly in the United States, is the correlation
between elevated cholesterol and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Unfortunately, despite dozens of
studies, cholesterol has not been shown to actually cause CVD. To
the contrary, cholesterol is vital to our survival, and trying to
artificially lower it can have detrimental effects, particularly as
Cholesterol seems to be one of those things that strikes fear into
the hearts of many, so to speak. We have become obsessed with eating
foods low in cholesterol and fat. Ask almost anyone, and they can
tell you their cholesterol levels.
What is certain is that the 'little knowledge' that the media often
imparts means many folks assume cholesterol is simply a 'bad' thing.
Alternately, a good number of us may
have heard the terms 'good' cholesterol and 'bad' cholesterol
bandied about without knowing much about what this really means. In
fact it is a fairly safe bet that if you asked anyone on the street
for his or her instinctive response, if asked about cholesterol,
they would probably say that we simply need to 'reduce it'.
offered by marketing men to a generally scientifically-naive public
has led many people to believe that we should replace certain food
choices with specially developed products that can help 'reduce
Naturally this comes at a price and
requires those who can afford it to pay maybe four or five times
what a 'typical ordinary' product might cost.
But is this apparent 'blanket
need' to strive towards lowering our cholesterol justified?
And, indeed, is it healthy?
For anyone who has had the official
diagnosis of 'high cholesterol' in their bloodstream, they may even
have embarked upon a program of medicinal intervention.
In fact it is quite likely that they may
have joined the legions of long-term pill-poppers who are already
lining the pockets of the profit-oriented pharmaceutical giants.
But let's take a moment, now, to review some of the facts and
fallacies about the much-maligned substance:
Cholesterol is needed to make hormones. Without it we would not
produce estrogen, progesterone or testosterone. It is vital for the
functioning of nerve synapses and provides the structural integrity
for our cell membranes.
Cholesterol is used by the skin to help
prevent water evaporation and to make our skin waterproof.
Vitamin D is synthesized from
cholesterol. And bile, used for fat digestion, consists mostly of
cholesterol. The liver produces about 90 percent of the cholesterol
in our bodies; only 10 percent comes from diet. If we eat too much
cholesterol, the liver decreases the output of cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring lipid. This means it is a type
of fat or oil and it is in fact an essential component in creating
and sustaining the membranes of the cells of all bodily tissues. So
this alone means we need cholesterol to survive! Most of the
cholesterol that is found in our bodies is actually naturally
manufactured within our own cells.
However there is also an additional
contribution that we get from external 'nutritional' sources - the
foods we consume.
In a typical diet providing around 400mg
of cholesterol per day from food sources, about half to two-thirds
of this amount is actually absorbed through the process of
digestion. The body will normally secrete about a gram (1000mg) of
cholesterol per day into the bile via the ducts, and approximately
three-fifths of this is then re-absorbed.
Where our tissues or organs are a particularly dense complex of
cells, which have closely packed cell membranes, there will
naturally be higher levels of cholesterol. The key organs that need,
and contain, these higher amounts of cholesterol include the liver,
the brain and the spinal cord - none of which would work well if we
reduced cholesterol too much!
In effect cholesterol plays an essential role in the development and
maintenance of healthy cell walls. It is also a critical factor in
the synthesizing of steroid hormones, which are a key factor in our
natural physical development.
Being a lipid, cholesterol is fat-soluble, but it is not soluble in
However it needs to be transported
around the body to the places where it can be utilized. This is why,
in order to be moved around, it must become 'associated' with
certain lipoproteins which feature a water-soluble (therefore 'blood
transportable') coat of proteins. There are two key types of
lipoproteins that transport cholesterol around the body: low-density
and high-density variants.
The essential cellular function of
cholesterol requires that sufficient amounts are manufactured by
specialized sub-systems (or organelles) within the body's cells
called the endoplasmic reticulum. Alternatively, the cholesterol we
need must be derived from our diet.
During the process of 'digestion and
assimilation' of foods, it is the low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
that carries dietary cholesterol from the liver to various parts of
When there is sufficient cholesterol for cellular needs, the other
key transport mechanism in this amazing 'logistics system' -
high-density lipoprotein (HDL) - can take cholesterol back to
the liver from where any unnecessary excess can be processed for
The 'noddy-science' of the so-called 'functional food' manufacturers
would have us believe that there is such a thing as 'bad'
cholesterol and 'good' cholesterol. This is, in fact, totally
The cholesterol itself, whether being
transported by LDL or HDL, is exactly the same. Cholesterol is
simply a necessary ingredient that is required to be regularly
delivered around the body for the efficient healthy development,
maintenance and functioning of our cells.
The difference is in the 'transporters'
(the lipoproteins HDL and LDL) and both types are essential for the
human body's delivery logistics to work effectively.
Problems can occur, however, when the LDL particles are both small
and their carrying capacity outweighs the transportation potential
of available HDL. This can lead to more cholesterol being
'delivered' around the body with lower resources for returning
excess capacity to the liver.
LDL can vary in its structure and occur in particles of varying
size. It is the smaller LDL particle sizes that can easily become
'trapped' in the arteries by proteoglycans, which is, itself, a kind
of 'filler' found between the cells in all animal and human bodies.
This can then cause the cholesterol the LDL carries to contribute to
the formation of fatty deposits called 'plaques' (a process known as
As these deposits build up, they
restrict the arteries' width and flexibility. This causes an
increase in blood pressure and can also lead to other cardiovascular
problems such as heart attacks or strokes.
The LDL itself is consequently sometimes referred to as 'bad
cholesterol', but you can now appreciate the fact that this is
simply incorrect. In fact LDL, HDL and cholesterol are all essential
to our health.
However, it seems that it has become
common for humans to have a preponderance of 'unhealthily' small LDL
particles, which can become a precursor to heart and arterial
disease due to the mechanisms described.
It is apparently healthier to have a
smaller number of larger LDL particles carrying the same quantity of
cholesterol than a large number of small LDL particles might
transport, but for some reason this is less common. This is an
interesting area that demands more research.
When LDL becomes retained by the glycol-proteins in the arteries it
is subject to being oxidized by 'free radicals'. This is when the
process can become health threatening. It has therefore been
suggested that increasing the amount of antioxidants in our diet
might effectively 'mop up' free radicals, and consequently reduce
this harmful oxidation.
Although the idea of consuming foods
rich in antioxidants, or even using supplements, is now widely
promoted, the scientific evidence for their efficacy still remains
to be fully established.
Another point to consider is the occurrence of substances called
'very-low-density-lipids' or VLDL, also known as triglycerides. VLDL
is converted to LDL in the bloodstream and therefore contributes
towards increased levels of LDL and to subsequent potential
cholesterol-related health problems.
This is why triglycerides are usually
measured when a cholesterol test of your blood is undertaken.
The production of VLDL in the liver - which amounts to a combination
of cholesterol and low-density apolipoprotein - is exacerbated by
the intake of fructose. Fructose is the type of sugar found in many
fruits, it is also a component of sucrose and of the widely used
food ingredient high-fructose corn syrup.
This implies that anyone whose LDL or
triglyceride levels are unduly high should cut back on those sweet
sugary snacks, and even on the sweeter, fructose laden fruits; not
simply reduce their intake of fatty foods!
Vitamin B3, otherwise known as niacin, on the other hand, actually
lowers the amount of VLDL, and therefore also LDL. In addition,
niacin helps to stimulate the production of helpful HDL, the
lipoprotein that carries excess cholesterol back to the liver for
excretion. However, in keeping with the best traditions of consuming
'all things in moderation', currently recommended upper limits for
daily intake of niacin is 35mg, given that it can have toxic effects
in larger amounts.
Even so, medical professionals have been
known to prescribe niacin in doses as high as 2g, up to three times
a day, for treatment of those with dangerously high blood
cholesterol levels. Naturally you should never self-medicate with
high doses of niacin without taking appropriate medical advice.
Niacin in the diet is typically derived from high protein foods
including liver and other meats, as well as significant amounts
being found in certain nuts and whole grains.
However one of the fashionable types of pharmaceutical drugs of
recent times, introduced to treat the apparently increasing
incidence of high cholesterol levels particularly in the West, are
Statins. Most likely you have a friend or relative taking these
useless drugs (Lipitor, Mevecor, Crestor, etc.) to lower
Statin medications are the
number-one-selling drugs in the
They work by interfering with the liver
function and reducing the production of LDL. But Statins are a
questionable innovation on at least a couple of accounts. Firstly
they are not without side-effects: they can, for example, lead to
the breakdown of major muscular material, which can ultimately
overwhelm the kidneys and even cause acute renal failure.
Statins also appear to reduce the body's natural levels of the
vitamin-like, cellular protection agent known as Co-enzyme Q10. This
benzoquinone plays an important role in cellular energy release,
particularly in hard worked areas like the lungs, liver and heart.
CoQ10 (as it is sometimes called) has
also been shown to protect the brain against neurological
degeneration. But perhaps most interestingly, with respect to
cholesterol, CoQ10 also acts as an antioxidant, particularly active
in protecting the system against LDL oxidation and the potential
problems associated with this as described above.
So whilst Statins might provide a
reduction in LDL per se, they might also be causing more problems in
the long-term. Naturally, as with many modern drugs, they generally
have to be taken for the long-term by anyone who has been prescribed
What is particularly disturbing about Statins is, perhaps, the fact
that they may be seen as a 'quick fix' for unhealthily high LDL, and
consequently cholesterol levels throughout the body. They need to be
taken over a long period - which makes them very profitable for
But they may also be prescribed without
the over-arching message that in order to address any cholesterol
problem 'naturally', the sufferer must change their lifestyle and
diet. Statins can seem an easy option but may indeed merely be the
beginning of a process where the 'negative health pay-off' is simply
delayed rather than actively defused!
That is not to say that in extreme cases
of high blood cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia, there may not be
a useful role for Statin therapy when natural strategies fail or do
not prove effective, or feasible.
In truth, and in summary, cholesterol is an important and essential
substance that we need for health at a cellular level.
It is most likely that any imbalance in
our cholesterol transport system comes down to long-term poor
dietary and exercise habits. Ensuring that we consume some extra
anti-oxidant foods, along with including niacin rich foods, might
well be of benefit.
But it is perhaps most important to
recognize that deliberate and continued levels of activity and the
consumption of a healthful diet is a better solution than
questionable quick-fix drugs, if we ever are diagnosed with levels
of cholesterol and triglycerides that might give cause for concern.
Ron Rosedale on The Facts About
Dr. Ron Rosedale talks
about common cholesterol myths,
and exposes the deceptions and
that most people have been
(Interview with Dr. Mercola).