Cholesterol has a terrible reputation, so much so that it has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry of cholesterol-free products. All along, however we have been overlooking the dangers of cholesterol-free alternatives, which are often full of hidden sugars or even worse, dangerous artificial sweeteners.
Seventy five percent of the total cholesterol in the body is in our brain. Most of our hormones and all cell membranes are made up of cholesterol. Membranes are like gatekeepers policing what gets in & out of cells.
Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen to vital organs such as the heart and the brain. Clogging of these arteries causes heart attacks and strokes. Plaque that accumulates on the inner walls of arteries is made from various substances that circulate in blood. These include calcium, fat, cholesterol, cellular waster and fibrin, and other materials involved in blood clotting. In response to plaque build-up, cells in artery walls multiply which worsens the obstruction.
However, just because cholesterol is part of plaque formation does not make it bad .Cholesterol is found at the crime scene but in fact it is an innocent bystander. The prime culprits are sugar and insulin, (triggered by juices, bread, and rice and sweets etc.), bad genes, cigarettes, hypertension and other risk factors.
After reviewing hundreds of large scale studies involving thousands of patients from all over the world and hundreds of diet and nutrition books the evidence is indisputable: Most diets based on these recommendations of eating good carbohydrates including lots of fruits, simple sugar, rice and bread in moderation, keep people over weight. Eating a very limited amount of refined carbohydrates may be a sin that a slim person who is not sugar sensitive can afford, but that is not true for someone who is trying to reverse diabetes or lose weight. They get tired of semi starvation and unsatisfied yo-yo diets and fail to lose weight and sustain that weight loss.
Refined carbohydrate (sugar consumption) was a far greater risk than cholesterol for cardio-metabolic disease. Many people still believe that if they don’t consume animal products their cholesterol will be low and they will be protected from heart disease. What they fail to recognize is that most of your cholesterol comes from inside of you not from what you eat. Even most mainstream cardiologist agree that less than 20% of cholesterol comes from your diet.
Even more important is the fact that your cholesterol level has little or nothing to do with the development of heart disease. Countries with the lowest saturated fat consumption have the highest death rates from Coronary Artery disease (CAD), while countries with the highest intake of saturated fat, like Switzerland and France, have the lowest death rates from CAD. Dr. William Castelli, the Director of the Framingham Study (1982) confirms this “The more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the lower the persons LDL-cholesterol.
There are countries medical studies like the Mr. Fit study from the American Heart Association Journal where 361,000 men,250 researches in 28 medical centers showed that when cholesterol consumption was cut by 28% there was no effect on heart disease (Tavia Gordon 1997).
LDL-Cholesterol, the so-called ‘bad cholesterol’ comes from VLDL when it shrinks-the major source of VLDL is sugar (carbohydrates). Likewise your other blood fat –Triglycerides (TG) becomes elevated when your liver makes too much ,again ,primarily from sugar .Triglycerides have been shown to be far more predictive of heart disease than cholesterol. It is also important to recognize if your ‘good cholesterol’- your HDL- cholesterol-is low, this again is a biomarker of too much sugar in your system. A Triglyceride/ HDL-C ratio increases above three, it demonstrates ‘insulin resistance’ and raised blood sugar which, as we shall see, is the key abnormality in causing cardio metabolic disease. Finally, if your uric acid is greater than five, this also shows excess carbohydrate (sugar) in your body as uric acid is a waste product of sugar.
“We can summarize…………in one sentence, cholesterol is harmless”
Dr Kalpana Gupta Shekhawat,
MBBS, DNB, DFM, MD Clinical Nutrition CNCB Texas, USA
Functional & Regenerative Medicine Specialist, Age Management Physician, Consultant at SENS CLINIC