Monday, 28 November 2016

I worry about a number of things, but I don’t worry that my body is trying to kill me - 7 little-known facts about cholesterol

When I discuss the LCHF diet with friends, family and increasingly with my clients all over the world, the conversation generally goes like this:
  1. I describe the diet and it’s effect on obesity and type 2 diebetes.
  2. I talk about running on fat.
  3. I talk about the fear of fat.
And it is always at stage 3 that things get difficult. We have an ingrained fear of fat, and saturated fat in particular. The way I try to get past this point is what I have coined “My Cholesterol Chat”. But I always fear that I have not got the message across as clearly or as simply as I ought be able to.

Here is a great post from Zoe Harcombe that does just that.

A simple summary which I shall use from now on goes like this:
  1. Cholesterol is of vital importance to every cell in our body. It is a good thing.
  2. It is so important that we make it ourselves, we do not get it directly from the cholesterol in food.
  3. There is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cholesterol. HDL and LDL are just the transport mechanism by which it is distributed from and returned to the liver.
  4. If you lower the amount of fat in your blood (for example be losing weight on any diet) then LDL tends to be raised. Why would losing weight be bad for us?
  5. Statins prevent the body from making cholesterol; this thing that is vital to every cell in our body! It is now clear that the tiny number of already ill people who do benefit from taking statins do so not because of the way it lowers cholesterol but more likely due to the way it combats inflammation. Aspirin does the same thing, but without the side-effects.
  6. Eating animal foods has no impact on cholesterol levels; please stop worrying about saturated fat!
  7. Lastly, consider this: Who is gaining from this whole business if the increased lifespan of the tiny number of people who do benefit from taking statins can be measured in days?
Zoe’s summary is perfect:

“The body makes cholesterol. I worry about a number of things, but I don’t worry that my body is trying to kill me.”