Cholesterol – Stop Panicking and Start Here
Millions of Americans are panicking about cholesterol and stuffing themselves with unhealthy drugs that don’t really help. The medical industry is following a debunked model of heart disease that is leading people in the wrong directions. Most people that are worried about cholesterol would be better off becoming low-carb experts and figuring it out themselves and doing the opposite of what most drs and experts say to do!
To skip to the end, if you just want to read what this is leading to, just go here, read the summary, then listen to the best program you will find to get up to speed on cholesterol.
The Lipid Hypothesis:
Cholesterol mass insanity starts with “The Lipid Hypothesis,” which is taught as fact in medical schools, and practiced just about about everywhere. The problem with it is that it is outdated and wrong, but medicine has too much invested in it to be honest, admit the mistake, and move on. In 2010, Americans (or their insurance companies that paid for this at a profit) spent over $7B on just Lipitor.
I work with engineers every day, many of them struggling with cholesterol and needlessly stressing over numbers, or maybe even already taking drugs that are doing them no good at all. When the topic comes up and I mention that this is all based on an outdated and wrong hypothesis, they simply can not accept the possibility that an entire profession like medicine can simply be wrong and unwilling to admit it.
It’s true. An entire profession can be wrong, and it is. It’s shameful and hard to believe, yes, but it is true. If engineers were as incompetent and stubborn as the drs are about cholesterol, planes would not fly, bridges would fall apart, and horses would still be high tech transportation!
Have Faith, the Dr is Right:
This is really a tough subject for people that have been able to live a comfortable and healthy life believing everything the dr says. They have had faith in them and that has so far worked. Suddenly it seems, just one test reveals a new and dangerous condition, one that must be pushed back with drugs, and a tougher focus on “healthy eating.”
Standard practice for people with so called cholesterol problems is to send them to a pharmacy for statin drugs, along with the shame that goes along with it, to keep you in line…”Do it for the family, we want to have you around for a long time. Get the pill. Take the pill. Make us happy…” Then, the worst possible diet advice is applied, and this sets the person up to fail. They are told that eating cholesterol raises cholesterol (false). They are told that low fat is healthy (false). They are told to avoid red meat and salt (try telling that to a lion). Soon the fridge is full of egg-beaters, margarine, turkey franks, soy Frankenfoods, and low-fat junk crammed with fillers and whatever to make it edible. This is moving in the wrong direction.
They still have faith that the dr is right. They have to have faith, or start the painful process of understanding that the dr may just be wrong, and they are being lied to.
The problem is, all these medicines and low fat Frankenfoods don’t work, and eventually reality sets in. Now what? More tests, more drugs? Join a gym and try harder? Buy an exercise machine and stare at it? Or, (Heaven forbid) read the blogs and figure it out yourself. If you do that, eventually you have to face the question of “Big Medicine’s” credibility. The truth will come out, and that truth is the Lipid Hypothesis that drives this is wrong, and so is low fat dogma. You would probably be better off doing the opposite of what the dr says.
Letting go of the “dr is right” thing is the hard part. It is understandable that for a lot of people, this is too far a jump to take. They can read all kinds of good news online from people who solved their own problems by ignoring the dr, or even work one cube over from someone who did it, but for them, taking on the dr is still too scary. What if the dr is right? If not, now what, the Internet!?”
Victims of the Lipid Hypothesis are not alone. Dieters, diabetics, and thyroid patients all face the same problem-a medical industry that is often making them worse and saying the wrong things because practice is maybe 20 years behind the times and everyone is making too much money passing out the drugs they pass out. You can find their patients online very day, looking for their own gurus with answers, sometimes finding good ones, sometimes not, and it’s all on fast forward. People are figuring out that official low fat dogma is a health killer and it’s useless for managing weight. People are figuring out how to reverse and even cure diabetes without drugs simply by eating low carb the right way. People are becoming more informed about how the thyroid works than their own dr is, and figuring things out themselves. There are plenty of takedowns of the Lipid Hypothesis, and plenty of good stuff to replace it with, but first, one must let go of the baggage.
Where to Start:
This part is specifically for the fence sitters-
When you are back home from the dr after getting “the news” about cholesterol for the first time, staring at the new pill bottle, reading about low fat dieting and all the food you have to give up, feeling like things got out of control and a long difficult road is ahead, consider that it as at least possible that this is all BS.
Then, proceed very carefully. The web is full of anecdotes (I have some too) and success stories. You can find people every day that will tell you just disregard what the dr said and solve it yourself with Paleo, with low carb, or some plant from Thailand. Not so fast. The next step is to learn more about current knowledge on cholesterol than your dr knows (probably not too hard), and start solving it one step at a time.
It is true that most people taking statins for cholesterol are wasting their time. Even critics though, admit that under some conditions such as advanced heart disease, they do help people live longer, but these are cases that already got to the danger stage.
Pause for Anecdote:
I was in a hospital recently, and a nurse stops by for vitals. It goes like this-
“Blood pressure 90 over 40, pulse 58. Damn. That’s great. Are you supposed to be sick?”
“You are going to hate it when I tell you cholesterol is 124, and why it’s low…”
“OK, I have high blood pressure and cholesterol, so tell me!”
“I eat a lot of eggs and bacon. The idea is you eat the right fat to burn fat. Skip the bread and carbs, and it works.”
“You are telling me you eat eggs and bacon, and cholesterol is 124? I can’t believe that!”
“That is because everything people are told is basically wrong, so it’s no wonder that it doesn’t work…”
What to Eat then?
Do the right low carb or Paleo diet, and you are on your way to optimizing your cholesterol yourself.
The cholesterol myth is a popular topic on low carb and Paleo forums and blogs. There you will find people who skip the drugs, eat right, and proudly post their labs, myself included. To borrow the term from Sisson, the more you adapt to burning fat (by eating fat and not carbs), the more you become a “fat burning animal.” When you are a fat burning animal, you use that cholesterol the way your body was meant to work, and levels correct themselves, pretty much.
It’s hard to find drs who will admit this works, but the ones who do are easy to find on low carb and Paleo sites. My own dr cringed when I told him I dropped the last stubborn 20 lb, and did it eating a big bacon breakfast every morning. He asks what about all that saturated fat? I go if you are adapted to low carb, doesn’t your body burn it for fuel, and that’s good? Total cholesterol is 124, so he says, “Just keep doing what your are doing, it’s working.”
NOTE: This blog is more about diet and stuff I have experience with like thyroid and adrenals. I don’t spend much time with this because it doesn’t matter. But, it must be said that the above and anything you find on cholesterol online is mostly targeted for people who haven’t really developed heart disease and are just getting the pitch to manipulate their blood chemistry with drugs. Even the critics of mass use of statins, who like to point out how many people should not be taking them, will also say that there is a percentage at the more advanced stages of heart disease where they help slow the damage and extend lives. I think for people who just get a cholesterol lecture after their check-up and the pitch for statins, they should punch the dr in the nose and storm out. Or, just politely decline and don’t go back. For people seeing a dr for heart problems, question authority, but use your best judgement too!
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