The Truth About Cholesterol and Saturated Fat --- (from Diet / Heart Publishing)

by Mike Demeter on Monday, 06 September 2010 at 14:16

1. In 1937, Columbia University biochemists David Rittenberg & Rudolph Schoenheimer demonstrated that dietary cholesterol had little or no influence on blood cholesterol. This has never been refuted. Why, then, do the proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines limit dietary cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day? Since the human body synthesizes 1200 and 1800 mg of cholesterol daily, what is the rationale for any dietary limit?

2. “Cholesterol in food has no affect on cholesterol in blood and we’ve known that all along:”  Professor Ancel Keys, father of the low fat diet, in retirement.

3. Dietary cholesterol is poorly absorbed, 50 percent at best (Mary Enig, PhD; Michael I. Gurr, PhD, lipid biochemists).

4. In the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Meeting 1, Dr. Eric Rimm said there is no new evidence concerning the 300 mg limit on dietary cholesterol. Why, then, ask Americans to limit cholesterol-rich eggs, butter, and organ meat which are in fact nutrient dense.

5. All Dietary Guidelines since 1980 discuss cholesterol as something to fear. Since cholesterol is found in every cell in our bodies, why wouldn’t the essential nature of cholesterol be emphasized instead.

6. Cholesterol is a single molecule. There is no such thing as “good cholesterol” or “bad cholesterol.” Referred to as “bad,” LDL is not bad and LDL is not cholesterol. LDL is a lipoprotein that delivers cholesterol.

7. Cholesterol, fat, and fat soluble nutrients are delivered to our cells in lipoproteins, such as Chylomicrons, VLDL, LDL, and HDL. Also, there are lipoprotein subfactions (such as LDL, subclass A and subclass B). Knowing about these subfractions is important if we are to prevent and reverse heart disease. 

8. The statement “saturated fat raises blood cholesterol”  is a useless overgeneralization, is false and misleading. There are different types of saturated fat and many reasons why blood cholesterol rises and falls. Saturated fat intake and blood cholesterol levels are not in a teeter-totter relationship

9. Fat in food is always a combination of saturated and unsaturated fat. Butter, as an example, contains 12 different fatty acids, including 8 different saturated fats (having 8 different chain lengths). Saturated stearic acid, as an example, does not elevate blood cholesterol (Michael I. Gurr, lipid biochemist, Dr. Eric Rimm, DGAC).

10. Cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D (actually a hormone) and to our stress and sex hormones. Stress has the potential to elevate blood cholesterol. When the stress is over, the cholesterol will go back to the liver and tissues. Frequent fluctuations of blood cholesterol due to fear, stress, weather, activity, age, and even body position are normal.

11. Recommending that Americans eat a variety of healthy fats is more helpful nutritionally than labeling fats “good or bad” depending on their degree of saturation.

12. Dr. Eric Rimm testified that saturated stearic acid promotes HDL. (HDL is associated with protection from heart disease.) Dr. Rimm also testified that he is concerned about what he called “the artificial limit on fat” in the Dietary Guidelines. He mentioned that “there is some concern” about excess carbohydrates elevating triglycerides because the ratio of HDL to TG is emerging as the most reliable risk factor for heart disease.

13. Anything that promotes HDL (dietary fat) puts downward pressure on triglycerides blood fats made in the liver from excess carbohydratesElevated triglycerides are associated with increased risk of heart disease. Saturated fats like stearic acid are heart-healthy in that they improve the ratio of HDL to triglycerides (TG).

14. The 2010 Dietary Guidelinesshould say:  Eating beef – especially from the pasture – and enjoying some dark chocolate – from the rain forest – provides saturated stearic acid and monounsaturated oleic acid that protects you from heart disease.

15. The primary dietary cause of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease is the excess carbohydrates in our diet, especially sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and the easily-digested carbohydrates found in grain and grain products.  

16. Most dry boxed commercial breakfast cereals are high glycemic they raise blood sugar. There is no warning about blood sugar-raising foods in the proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Since blood sugar has a very narrow healthy range (and cholesterol in blood has a wide normal range), why is blood sugar not mentioned in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines?

17. Only carbohydrates raise blood sugar and insulin levels. Why, then is the role of excess carbs in promoting diabetes not being addressed in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines? 

18. Since the DGAC is charged with considering “the preponderance of the latest scientific and medical evidence,” wouldn’t the grading of carbohydrates for raising blood sugar be helpful? Isn’t the glycemic index (and glycemic load) a possible tool “in the fight against diabetes.” In her testimony, Dr. Joanne Slavin said there is only “inconclusive evidence” about the usefulness of the glycemic index for weight control, but, she added, there was some evidence the GI may be useful for diabetics. Since the CDC in Atlanta refers to diabetes as a “dangerous run-away train” - affecting more than 25 million people – wouldn’t it make sense to advise diabetics to emphasize low glycemic foods, especially for breakfast? 

19. By weight, all children’s breakfast cereals are 30 to 50 percent sugar. If the DGAC is concerned about reducing the incidence of chronic disease in America, isn’t there a scientific justification for warning parents and Americans about blood-sugar-raising foods, especially those that are being marketed to children?

20. Why aren’t we grading carbohydrates? Obviously carbohydrates vary in how fast they release sugar into the blood. Carb calories can have vastly different hormonal effects. Not addressing or grading carbohydrates only delays the effort to reduce chronic disease.

21. The particularly harmful carbohydrates – sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are not singled out in the proposed Dietary Guidelines. Dr. Joanne Slavin defended the use of HFCS by saying “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” She chairs the Carbohydrate Committee and her testimony (Meeting 1) suggests she is more concerned about Americans getting enough fiber and apparently not as concerned about Americans restricting their use of sucrose and HFCS.  

22. Even calories of sugar are not the same. Glucose is sent into the blood, raising blood sugar. Fructose is sent to the liver, elevating triglycerides. How can Dr. Slavin say “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie”?

23. Metabolic Syndrome - hyperinsulinism, weight gain, elevated blood pressure – is associated with high carbohydrate dietsIt is estimated that 25 percent or more of us are sensitive to carbohydrates, even to the highly touted whole grains. Why isn’t metabolic syndrome specifically discussed in the Dietary Guidelines? (Dr. Gereald Reaven, Stanford University Medical School, author of Syndrome X)

24. A high carbohydrate diet is associated with elevated triglycerides (TG), which, in turn, is associated with depressed levels of HDL. Depressed HDL is a potent risk factor for diabetes and coronary heart disease. A Harvard study verified that people with the highest TG and the lowest HDL (top quartile) were 16 times more likely to die of heart disease than people with the lowest TG and highest HDL (lowest quartile).   

25. The emphasis on carbohydrates in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines is one of the root causes of obesity and diabetes. To make matters worse, we are consuming excess “un-graded” carbohydrates.  

26. Blood-sugar-raising carbohydrates have a direct and immediate effect on blood sugar and insulin levels and, in the words of science writer Gary Taubes, “on the disruption of the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body.”

27. The simple explanation for why Americans have fattened:  hyperinsulinism. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. When insulin levels are elevated – either chronically or after a meal – we make and store fat and then lock it up in adipose tissue. When fat is locked up, it is not available as a fuel to the trillions of cells in the body. Hunger is the result. By stimulating insulin levels, carbohydrates make us hungry and fatHigh circulating insulin – in response to excess dietary carbohydrates – is the root cause of weight gain and obesity and all chronic disease associated with elevated blood sugar and insulin levels.  

28. Excess carbohydrates – especially sugar, HFCS, and rapidly-digested grain products, lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease – which leads to slow, suffocating heart failure and premature death.  

29. Heart failure is the #1 Medicare expenditure. The incidence of heart failure has doubled since 1990. According to the CDC in Atlanta, 1 in 3 children born today will become diabetics. According to the American Heart Association, eighty percent (80%) of diabetics die of heart disease. We have both an expanding population and a steadily increasing incidence of chronic disease. 

30. Americans need relief. It’s time to end the confusion about fat and cholesterol. How bad do things have to get before we revise the U.S. Dietary Guidelines in favor of a higher fat whole foods carbohydrate-restricted diet?

It’s the quality of the calories that matter - not the quantity. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins have unique metabolic and hormonal effects. The quality of our food and the quality of the calories we consume should be at the very heart of the Dietary Guidelines.