Do Fats and Cholesterol Really Cause Heart Disease, or Have We Got It Wrong?

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lobster, eggs, burger, shrimp
Photo collage by Cam Howard / Source files: Lobster by Bill Davenport; Whisked eggs by nkzs; Burger by Rob Owen-Wahl; Shrimp by Renee Comet.
High cholesterol foods include eggs, liver, fish, fast foods, butter, shellfish, shrimp, bacon, sausage, red meat, cheese, and pastries.

Everybody heard about cholesterol and dietary fats “clogging up your arteries” and “causing heart disease.” For decades we have been “educated” in that direction by popular media, advertisements and labels on our food. Doctors are also convinced: the prescription of cholesterol lowering medications is steadily growing. The pharmaceutical powers are now working very hard on an ultimate goal: to put everybody, including our children, on “preventative” cholesterol lowering medication.

How did humanity manage to get to this situation? Thanks to the diet-heart hypothesis, first proposed in 1953 in the USA. The hypothesis stated that dietary fats cause heart disease, and by avoiding fats we can avoid developing heart disease. Heart disease was becoming an important public issue in America at that time and the authorities were desperate to offer some explanation to the public and to show that they were in control. So, when this hypothesis was proposed, it immediately appealed to politicians and medical establishment and money started poring in. Institutions and laboratories have been set up around the diet-heart hypothesis and thousands of people got employment to “prove” the hypothesis. The popular media followed with tooting the new “break through.” Once politicians and the public bought the idea, the researchers had to come up with science to fit the bill. And so they set to work. No other medical hypothesis has been researched so much! But for every study, which attempted to support the idea, studies were coming in proving it to be wrong. There are internationally accepted rules for conducting credible science. According to these rules only one observation should be enough to disprove a hypothesis! But we have hundreds of studies, which show that the diet-heart hypothesis is a big mistake! George Mann, eminent American physician and scientist has called the diet-heart hypothesis “the greatest scientific deception of this century, perhaps of any century.” Dr Paul J Rosch, Clinical Professor of Medicine, wrote: “A massive crusade has been conceived to lower your cholesterol count by rigidly restricting dietary fat, coupled with aggressive drug treatment. Much of the impetus for this comes from speculation, rather than any solid scientific proof... The cholesterol cartel of drug companies, manufacturers of low-fat foods, blood-testing devices and others with huge vested financial interests have waged a highly successful promotional campaign. Their power is so great that they have infiltrated medical and governmental regulatory agencies that would normally protect us from such unsubstantiated dogma.”

If you believe the popular media you would think that there is simply no level of cholesterol low enough. Millions of people around the world take anti-cholesterol drugs, called statins, thinking that this way they are taking good care of their health, not knowing just how far from the truth they are. Statins inhibit the body’s ability to produce cholesterol. As cholesterol is an essential substance to health, these drugs produce a lot of side effects: they increase the risk of cancer; they can cause liver damage, kidney failure, heart failure, nerve damage, short temper, cognitive decline, memory loss and violent behavior. Taking statins during pregnancy have produced more serious malformations in the baby than were seen after exposure to thalidomide. Statins are the number one profit-makers for the pharmaceutical industry; they have become the most prescribed drugs in the Western world. As Dr Malcolm Kendrick, MD has put it a few years ago: “We are sleep-walking into what could become a major medical disaster because statin drugs will soon be sold over-the-counter.” Unfortunately, his warning is coming to pass.

The truth is that we humans cannot live without cholesterol and animal fats! Our bodies are made out of cholesterol and fats to quite a large degree! Every cell in our bodies produces cholesterol and fats all the time during all of our lives. The fact is that most of cholesterol in the body does not come from food! It is produced by the body, as it is needed. Cholesterol is such an essential part of our human physiology that the body has very efficient mechanisms to keep blood cholesterol at a certain level. When we eat more cholesterol, the body produces less; when we eat less cholesterol, the body produces more. That is why low-fat and cholesterol-free diets have no effect on blood cholesterol. However, cholesterol-lowering drugs are a completely different matter! They interfere with the body’s ability to produce cholesterol and hence they do reduce the amount of cholesterol available for the body to use. Let us see just how dangerous that is.

The human brain is hungry for cholesterol!

Every structure in the brain needs cholesterol and saturated fats not only to build itself but also to accomplish its many functions. If you start interfering with the body’s ability to produce cholesterol you put the very structure of the brain and the rest of the nervous system under threat. Memory loss and cognitive decline are very common results of statin therapy. In fact it is possible that a considerable part of dementia epidemic in our ageing population is due to our ubiquitous statin prescriptions. Dr Duane Graveline, MD, former NASA scientist and astronaut suffered such memory loss while taking his “cholesterol pill.” He managed to save his memory by stopping the drug and eating lots of cholesterol rich foods. Since then he has described his experience in his book: Lipitor – thief of memory, statin drugs and the misguided war on cholesterol. Eating fresh eggs and butter daily has been shown to improve memory and cognitive ability in the elderly. Any person with memory loss or learning problems needs to have plenty of these foods every single day in order to recover.

More recently statins have been linked to development of Parkinson’s disease. The leading researcher Dr Xuemei Huang from North Carolina University stated: “A surge in Parkinson’s disease could be imminent because of the widespread use of statins.”

There are many people whose bodies are unable to produce enough cholesterol; these people do need to have plenty of foods rich in cholesterol in order to provide their organs with this essential to life substance. Low blood cholesterol has been routinely recorded in criminals who committed murder and other violent crimes, people with aggressive and violent personalities, people prone to suicide and people with aggressive social behavior and low self-control. From the beginning of cholesterol-lowering drug trials increased numbers of deaths from violence and suicide have been recorded. The late Oxford Professor David Horrobin warned us: “reducing cholesterol in the population on a large scale could lead to a general shift to more violent patterns of behavior. Most of this increased violence would not result in death but in more aggression at work and in the family, more child abuse, more wife-beating and generally more unhappiness.” Indeed, one of the fist side effects of statins is the change in mood and personality towards being intolerant, aggressive and short-tempered.

Cholesterol protects us from infections!

Cholesterol is essential for our immune system to function properly. People with low blood cholesterol are more prone to infections and when they get an infection they are more likely to die from it compared to people with high cholesterol. Before the discovery of antibiotics mixture of raw egg yolks and cream, very rich in cholesterol, was used as a cure for tuberculosis and other infections for centuries.

Every steroid hormone in the body is made out of cholesterol!

After the brain the organs which are very hungry for cholesterol are our endocrine glands: adrenals and sex glands. They produce steroid hormones, which accomplish a myriad of functions in the body. Without cholesterol we will not be able to have children as every sex hormone in our bodies is made out of cholesterol. A fair percent of our infertility epidemic can be laid at the doorstep or the diet-heart hypothesis. The more eager we became at fighting animal fats and cholesterol the more problems with normal sexual development, fertility and reproduction we started to face. About third of our men and women are infertile and increasing numbers of our youngsters are growing up with abnormalities in their sex hormones. These abnormalities lead to many physical problems, abnormal sexual behavior, and sex crimes.

Cholesterol is essential for children!

The proponents of the diet-heart hypothesis and the public policy makers tell us that our children from the age of two should follow a program for reducing their blood cholesterol by avoiding natural fats and replacing them with margarine. The pharmaceutical giants are working hard on creating cholesterol-lowering drugs for children. These dangerous guidelines are given out “just in case,” without any scientific data to support them. The consequences of this policy can be very serious indeed for our children: aggressive behavior, learning difficulties, poor memory, poor immunity, poor physical health combined with the future risk of developing cancer, heart disease, stroke and infertility. Children’s bodies are generally not able to produce enough cholesterol for growth and development, so eating cholesterol-rich foods is essential for children.

Cholesterol is essential for the elderly!

Many studies have shown that old people with high cholesterol are healthier and live longer than people with low cholesterol. In fact it is dangerous to reduce cholesterol in old people. And yet that is exactly what our doctors are doing.

The older the person is the more their low blood cholesterol poses a risk of stroke, while it has been clearly demonstrated that high blood cholesterol protects older people from strokes, heart disease, infections, cancer and many other health problems.

Vitamin D is made out of cholesterol in the body!

Vitamin D is made out of cholesterol in our skin under the sunlight. Our recent misguided fear of sun and avoidance of cholesterol have created an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency in the Western world leading to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, autoimmune illness, obesity, bone and muscle disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, poor immunity and susceptibility to infections. As many people are unable to produce enough of their own cholesterol, eating cholesterol-rich foods is essential for them to produce vitamin D.

Cholesterol and saturated fats are essential for healing!

No damage in the body, no wound or scratch can be healed without cholesterol and saturated fats. That is why cancer formation in the body is linked to low cholesterol. Large-scale studies have found that people who had low levels of cholesterol were prone to cancer. Yet, the public is led to believe that cholesterol is such an evil that the lower it is the better. The function of healing is very important in our understanding of how heart disease develops. It is too much of an important issue to try and explain it here in a few short words. Please, read about it in my book Put Your Heart in Your Mouth.

Dr Edward Pinckney in his book The Cholesterol Controversy summarized: “If you have come to believe that you can ward off death from heart disease by altering the amount of cholesterol in your blood, whether by diet or by drugs, you are following a regime that still has no basis in fact. Rather, you as a consumer have been taken in by certain commercial interests and health groups who are more interested in your money than your life.”

As the proponents of the diet-heart hypothesis told the world not to eat animal fats, they had to replace them with something. So, they proposed to eat vegetables oils such as corn oil, soy oil, canola oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, etc. and the solid fats made out of these oils: margarines and shortenings. These oils and margarines are highly profitable and have been vigorously promoted by the food industry for decades now as a “healthy” replacement for natural butter and animal fats. And yet from the beginning of this promotion campaign study after study has shown that vegetable oils are dangerous. The first fact discovered was that these oils damage our immune system, cause inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and accelerate ageing. Animals fed these oils develop brain damage, testicular abnormalities and infertility. Premature children fed a formula rich in these fats develop anemia, oedema, damage to blood cells and lack of vitamin E. One particular group of these chemically changed fatty acids, called trans fats, is receiving quite a lot of attention now. Trans fats have been found to have a damaging effect on our cardiovascular system, immune system, reproductive system, energy metabolism, fat and essential fatty acid metabolism, liver function and cell membranes. They can cause heart disease, cancer, auto-immunity, infertility and interfere with pregnancy. It is possible that wide consumption of vegetable oils is partly responsible for the growing number of our babies born premature. Despite all this data the vegetable oils and margarine are still being advertised as “healthy and heart protective” and almost all processed foods are cooked with these harmful oils. Trans fats are so harmful to health, that there are simply no allowed limits established for them. Yet, an average adult in the West now consumes 20-60 g of trans fats a day. Is it a surprise then that Western population suffers from epidemics of all the diseases associated with these fats?

Many of you would ask a logical question: “Why doctors don’t know better? Why does my doctor tell me to avoid eating fat and cholesterol and wants to put me on cholesterol lowering medication?” Dr Paul J. Rosch, Clinical Professor of Medicine answers this question very well: “Practicing physicians get most of their information from the drug companies. Compared to their peers a half century ago, most doctors don’t have the time or skills to critically evaluate reports, very few know anything about research, no did the generation that taught them.” So, doctors know and understand no more on diet-heart hypotheses than any member of the general public because they derive their information from the same source as the general public – commercial companies, who are making billions on this idea. The medical, political and scientific establishment has long married itself to the diet-heart hypothesis. To admit that they were wrong would do too much damage to their reputation, so they are not going to do it. In the meantime their closed ranks give complete freedom to the commercial companies to exploit the diet-heart hypothesis to their advantage. Their relentless propaganda through popular media insures long life for the thoroughly discredited idea, which is doing immeasurable damage to the health of people all over the world.

But let us be optimistic! Human history is littered with stories of various mistaken theories and hypothesis, proposed by most learned men of the time. On average it takes humanity 50-60 years to find the mistake and correct it. I have no doubt that in the next couple of decades the diet-heart hypothesis will be dissolved and laughed at as one of those mistakes!

To learn more on this subject and see the scientific references please read the book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride: Put Your Heart in Your Mouth: What Really Is Heart Disease and What We Can Do to Prevent and Even Reverse It.

About the Author

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a medical doctor with two postgraduate degrees: Master of Medical Sciences in Neurology and Master of Medical Sciences in Human Nutrition.

She graduated as a medical doctor in Russia. After practicing for five years as a Neurologist and three years as a Neurosurgeon she started aRead more