Guest blog post by Fiona Kane from Informed Health
“The belief that the cholesterol we eat converts directly into blood cholesterol is unequivocally false” David Perlmutter, MD (Neurologist)
The Framingham Heart Study followed 15,000 participants over 3 generations and they found, the more saturated fat and cholesterol people eat, the LOWER their cholesterol levels were!
Your cholesterol number alone is not an accurate way to determine your health including risk of cardiovascular disease. LDL’s and HDL’s can both be good and bad, depending on whether they have been oxidised and depending on their sub fractions (there are many kinds of LDL, some good and some bad). What also matters is whether you have important inflammatory markers including blood markers (eg C-reactive protein (CRP), triglycerides, ESR, glucose and insulin, high levels of abdominal (belly) fat and high blood pressure). Cardiovascular disease is a disease of inflammation, so your overall levels of inflammation in the body are a better indicator of your risk.
Triglycerides are other ‘storage’ fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins, if these are present in high concentrations in the blood you are at high risk of cardiovascular disease. They are an indication that you have way too much sugar in your diet. If you have high triglycerides you will eventually start to have high glucose and high insulin levels and will be at high risk of developing insulin resistance (type II diabetes).
What does all this have to do with inflammation?
The body uses cholesterol to repair damage to the arteries caused by inflammation; these fatty deposits that develop in the arteries are your body’s short term solution to seal up the damage (kind of like a bandaid in your arteries). If the reasons for the inflammation are not addressed this will eventually cause the vessels to narrow and they can eventually become blocked. This can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Dr Lundell, Cardiologist explains “blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.
To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar.
Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.”
Inflammation in the body is driven by a high carbohydrate/sugar diet and consumption of poor quality oils found abundantly in packaged and junk food (eg margarine, canola oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, soy oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, cheap impure olive oil and cheap, rancid fish oils). Other causes of inflammation can be alcohol, drugs/medications, allergies/intolerances, parasites, bacteria, stress, viruses and exposure to chemicals including what you put on your skin.
Bring back the Fat
Many people in their attempts to avoid heart disease eat a low fat diet. We have now discovered that this advice was wrong and is leading to consumption of a high carbohydrate diet which is increasing inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and dementia just to name a few. To reduce your risk of heart disease and protect your brain (which is made largely of cholesterol and saturated fat), ensure you eat a ‘healthy real foods’ diet. This includes a rainbow of vegetables and salads (limit potato), good quality free range eggs and free range grass fed meat, fish including the skin/fat, free range chicken and one piece of fruit per day. Snack on a palm full of unsalted raw almonds, pecans, walnuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds. Eat real block butter; avoid any softened butter or margarine. Soften your own butter by blending with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Eat full fat dairy, coconut oil, avocado and avocado oil.
Reduce grains (bread, pasta, noodles, biscuits, muffins, cakes, crackers, corn etc); avoid soft drinks or any sugar drink (coffee with syrups, flavoured milk, iced teas, fruit juice etc). Avoid packaged food and junk food. Avoid vegetable oils and hydrogenated oils. Just Eat Real Food!
Overwhelmed or confused about what to eat? Book an appointment with one of our Clinical Nutritionist on 47 222 111 for specific advice for your situation.
Informed Health Nutritional Wellbeing Centre