Monday, April 12, 2010

Cholesterol, Fat, and Heart Disease

We've been told repeatedly not to eat fat. A high fat diet will cause a rise in harmful cholesterol, leading to a heart attack. Butter + red meat x cholesterol=heart attack. This conclusion is too black and white, too rigid, and simply not the truth.

As doctors, we are always researching new studies and theories to shed light on ways and secrets to heal illness and return the body to a state of balance and health. The myths around fat and cholesterol are especially intriguing. Every human needs fat and cholesterol to survive. However, the type of fat is critical, not just how much of it you consume. Trans fats (created by industry) and excess saturated fats do promote abnormal cholesterol. Omega 3 fats and monounsaturated fats do not. Your body happily uses these fats. There are also benefits found in red meat and butter, such as Vitamin B12 and Vitamin E, respectively. In fact, 75% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol. The myth of high cholesterol as the cause of atherosclerosis and heart disease is one that must be dispelled.

The main culprit of abnormal cholesterol production in today's world is sugar. Table sugar, high fructose corn syrup and refined flour products all cause insulin resistance and inflammation, two major keys to developing heart disease. Blood sugar imbalances (resulting from eating a high carb, processed food diet) causes your good cholesterol numbers to go down, your triglycerides to go up, and inflammation. Deficiencies of Vitamins A, D, E and the family of B vitamins, most notably B6 and B12, are also primary contributors to heart disease. Where do we get these vitamins and antioxidants? In whole, unprocessed foods and healthy fats, as well as moderate consumption of high quality saturated fats, such as butter. Completely avoiding a small steak or pat of butter now and then only means you are missing out on a concentrated source of essential nutrients.

Just like fat, all cholesterol is not created equal. There's the good and the bad, the HDL and the LDL. However, what type of LDL cholesterol particles you have is also more important than the amount. Bigger is better; large, fluffy LDL particles are practically harmless to your arteries, whereas small, dense particles easily penetrate your arteries. The body's immune system then responds, causing the arteries to become inflamed, in turn creating plaque (atherosclerosis). In fact, statins will not show a benefit in a patient who reduces their LDL cholesterol but does not reduce inflammation. A study from Harvard Medical School found that people with high levels of C-reactive protein (indicating inflammation) had higher risks of heart disease than people with high cholesterol. Many now believe that cholesterol may not be the primary cause of heart disease. You must reduce and control the level of inflammation in the body. Limiting white, refined carbs and processed foods containing rancid vegetable oils (trans fats) may help your body to heal. Your blood sugar may stabilize and inflammation may decrease. Enjoying seasonal fruits and vegetables and supplementing with fish oil (a good source of omega 3 fats) and B vitamins may also control your blood sugar and inflammation. A unique herbal treatment I recommend for inflammation is an ancient Tibetan formula. Learn more about cardiovascular disease and this astounding, effective formula at


  1. Thanks for this fabulous summary. I am just finishing reading Udo Erasmus's "Fats that heal, fats that kill" that goes into excruciating detail on the benefits and pitfalls of different fats in our diets. I make my own fresh sunflower oil at home and am starting to spread the word that this is viable option. It will be helpful for me to point at this post as I explain to people why it is important to eat fresh unprocessed oils.

  2. thanks for article, good for my body