Saturated fat and cholesterol: Are they as dangerous as we’ve been told they are?

Editorial by David Mulvain

In 1949 a researcher by the name of Ancel Keys published a paper titled “The Seven Countries Study”. He examined the data on the health and dietary patterns from 26 countries and concluded that the people living in 7 Mediterranean countries were the healthiest of all the people studied. Other researchers did not agree, but he wrote a book that popularized his dietary philosophy. Today we know this diet as the Mediterranean diet. It was the beginning of the notion that a low fat diet is protective against developing heart disease. In 1987 and 1988 Keys addressed the American Heart Association and announced that his earlier conclusions, that elevated cholesterol and fat were the causes of heart disease, were incorrect. By then cholesterol lowering drugs were making billions and the pharmaceutical companies controlled the flow of information, so nothing changed.

Also, in 1949 a study was initiated in Framingham, MA to find the causes of heart disease. By 1951 over 50 risk factors had been identified. One of those risk factors was serum cholesterol levels over 300mg/dl. In 1956 it was decided that cholesterol levels over 300 should be treated with drugs. Over time it was discovered that there was no benefit from treatment, so the treatment standard was lowered to 260 with no benefit, then to 240, again with no benefit and finally to 200mg/dl. Studies lowering cholesterol levels to under 180mg/dl with drugs also find no benefit. Some experts are now challenging the belief that lowering cholesterol with drugs has any benefit. Cholesterol is essential for good health. Numerous studies find that cholesterol levels below 160mg/dl are associated with a wide variety of physical and mental/emotional side effects.

Is it possible that what began as a mistake that cholesterol and saturated fat cause plaque build-up in the arteries, is based on 50 plus year old mistakes that became so profitable that the use of statin drugs to lower cholesterol levels is today the most profitable and harmful fraud ever carried out?

Let’s look at the evidence. In recent years the composition of arterial plaque has been analyzed. There is no saturated fat in arterial plaque. However, the dangerous component of plaque is up to 97% fat. This fatty arterial plaque averages only 28% cholesterol. All of it is oxidized. About 69% of the fatty plaque is polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) from vegetable seed oils (corn, soy, canola etc.). Again, all of it is oxidized. Most of the oxidation occurs in food processing.

Seed oils were not a part of the human diet until the 1900’s. The seed oil industry waged a deceptive advertising campaign to grab the food oil market in the 70’s and 80’s. PUFA’s are easily oxidized. It is the oxidation of PUFA’s and cholesterol that make them adhere to the artery walls. Simply stated, negatively charged oxidized fats are attracted to positively charged arterial walls. Cholesterol would not be deposited in plaque at all if it were not oxidized. The textbooks tell us that it is elevated insulin, not fats, that raise cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are not found in the plaque because their electrical charge is balanced and they are resistant to non-enzymatic oxidation. Calcium is also found in arterial plaque. It has a stabilizing benefit.

Conclusion: Today’s science clearly proves that the fat and cholesterol model for arterial plaque is badly flawed. The evidence is overwhelming. The scientists that bring us cholesterol-lowering drugs have to know this. To prevent or reduce arterial plaque build-up avoid vegetable oils and processed meats, control blood sugar levels with diet, take high quality anti-oxidant supplements and exercise.

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