Cholesterol is a hot and complicated topic. It’s not easy to wrap your head around it, especially when you consider that even the experts haven’t so far.
Here’s a bit of proof: The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute is in charge of cholesterol treatment policy. It tells the rest of the world what to do. Nevermind for now that Big Pharma tells the NHLBI what do do. The fact is the NHLBI does not know what causes atherosclerosis. They cannot say without reasonable doubt that cholesterol causes it. In fact, they say outright “The exact cause of atherosclerosis isn’t known.”
For the logically feeble readers: if you do not know what causes something, you cannot say what causes something.
“Bill, somebody egged our windows again.”
“It’s those damned Pentecostals, Martha.”
“How do you know it’s them and not the Catholics?”
“Because I see them driving up and down the street all the time in their bus!”
This is cholesterol logic. It’s thinking like this that has made the western world fat and sick. It’s this type of logic that has made it okay to drink Coke and Pepsi, to add sugar to 87% of the 600,000 food products in America *Dr. Lustig Rumor from #AHS12*, and to consider bread a household staple because it tastes good and is full of added vitamins which many think we only pee away.
The path to cholesterol policy has not been paved with good science. We fed excess cholesterol to rabbits, herbivores, and they developed atherosclerosis. Nobody asked why. Nobody speculated if that cholesterol was sitting in a box for three months that it might be somewhat rancid. Nobody asked whether feeding a foreign substance to a herbivore was valid. Nobody asked whether no dead rabbits was important.
“Eating cholesterol hardens arteries, and that’s all that matters.”
Apparently that’s not all that matters. Anything that raises or lowers cholesterol also matters. *palm-plant* Eating saturated fat raises cholesterol; therefore it’s bad for you. Oatmeal lowers cholesterol; therefore it’s good for you.
“But the Presbyterians also drive their bus up and down the street, Bill.”
“It can’t be them. We’re Presbyterians.”
There have been lots of studies about the associations between cholesterol and heart disease, and there have been many studies on associations between foods and cholesterol. By extension, either directly or implied, there are also associations between food consumption and death by cause. Which of these is most important?
The answer is none of them. All association studies do is raise questions. We cannot assign cause to associations. I don’t care how good your math is, statistics do not form physical links between two things. This has been written about time and again, and I’ve argued it with mathematical geniuses. But the fact remains: math can never explain a cause of anything. You always need to proceed with scientific experiments to validate the questions.
Scientific experiments have never proven cholesterol or saturated fat causes heart disease; therefore the NHLBI’s assertion that we do not know its causes is correct.
And we should, therefore, not be saying what is or isn’t dangerous based on such evidence. The Seven Countries Study, The China Study, the Nurses Health Study, The Farmingham Study, and countless others should only raise questions; they do not provide any answers. Anybody who makes a conclusion about cause based on an association study is either totally incompetent or biased, take your pick.
Let’s quickly take a look at a confounding study: Dr. Ronald Krause’s 2010 Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. This study basically says all the other food studies are wrong: they do not prove there’s an association between saturated fat consumption and heart disease.
“But it’s obvious that eating animal fats and meats raises cholesterol; therefore it must be bad.”
“I hope you don’t bet on the races much.”
“The races? They have nothing to do with this discussion.”
I won’t get into metabolism much; because I am not a biologist, but I do know enough to be a little dangerous. Please correct me if I’m wrong here.
Dr. Peter Attia states that LDL-P is the problem, not LDL-C. Let’s first look at the “science” of fat metabolism without getting into the details. Fats are packaged in our guts into chylomicrons which utilize an APO-B 48 protein. The liver packages available carbon energy into triglycerides utilizing the APO-B 100 protein. The 100 means it expresses 100% of an LDL particle. Fats do not contribute directly to LDL counts. Period. This simple gap should exclude all such discussion, but of course it doesn’t. We have to place our trust in more remote, black box effects like studies.
“These people ate more fat and their LDL-C went up. Therefore, fat cause cholesterol to rise.”
“Couldn’t something else cause it to rise?”
“What kind of stupid question is that? You get a C for your grade.”
“Sorry, I thought science programs encouraged stupid questions.”
“Only stupid questions that make us rich and famous.”
Possible explanations: Eating high sugar degrades LDL quality. The resulting particles are smaller, and since the Friedwald Calculation is based on volume, the LDL-C looks lower. And when sugars [fuel for TG production] are eliminated, the rise in LDL-C is due to large, fluffy, benign particles. We are pretty sure that high triglyceride production results in low LDL particle size, but I do acknowledge that this is an association as is small LDL particle size with increased risk of atherosclerosis. But if you want to trade association punches, I submit that mine are stronger than yours. Let’s go! Actually, the smallness theory lives in somewhat of a doubtful house. The whole retention-response theory holds very little attraction due to scarce and conflicting evidence. Still, it seems likely that whatever causes small particles may also cause heart disease, just like whatever causes obesity also causes diabetes [not all type 2 diabetics are obese].
“That makes perfect sense John, but your LDL-C is still higher than I want. Take this statin.”
John sits in stunned silence for a few moments. “No.”
Here’s an interesting study on Iranian women. These women had very low levels of triglycerides and when their LDL-P was measured, it was discovered the value was far lower than their LDL-C values. It even prompted a proposed new calculation of LDL-C when triglycerides are very low. By the way, if triglycerides are very high, LDL-C isn’t performed because the calculation isn’t reliable. Just sayin’.
Another interesting study shows glycation [attack by sugar] directly decreasing cholesterol size and quality making it atherogenic. To me this is very damning evidence against sugar.
What does John know? Well, his cholesterol numbers are outstanding on a high saturated fat diet, so all of you saturated fat causes cholesterol causes heart disease good can bugger off. John’s eye-artery issues have gone away with his diet. We might say they’ve gone away with his lower blood sugar levels, that’s still a possibility, but it’s more sure with his diet. Zero signs of eye disease in last four years of LCHF. My good BGs have lasted six years. Those first two years were hell. And of course less sugar consumed equals fewer blood sugar problems. Back to logic. If fat was a cause of arterial issues, wouldn’t John’s eyes be getting worse? There’s been zero new blood vessel growth, zero bleeding, zero background retinopathy, and zero artherosclerosis seen in his eyes in four years of LCHF eating. And when I say high fat, I do mean high fat. 60-70 percent of my calories come from fat. I drink a quarter to a half litre of whipping cream every day and use two to six tablespoons of coconut oil plus fatty meat, butter, high fat cheese, olive oil, and more.
Examination of the small blood vessels (arterioles) in the retina of the eye with an ophthalmoscope is valuable for diagnosis. Atherosclerotic arterioles reflect light (emitted by the ophthalmoscope), giving them a “silver wire” appearance.
I am living my life on faith. I am following an ancestral style of eating and dispensing with modern man’s conclusions of what a healthy diet is. I do this largely because what man has said doesn’t add up but also because the results of my forays have been spectacular. I’ll be honest here: I don’t trust humans. They are biased, corrupt, and stupid. I raised my kids by telling them that 80% of people were idiots. “Be in that top 20%,” I said. They said I was wrong. It’s more like 90% are idiots. The biggest fault I see is the populations’ lack of sound logic. They think with Cholesterol Logic.