Back on October 28, 2016 I had a fabulous coaching call with Dr.Heidi Dulay on the topic of Cholesterol. This call ended up being “Part 1” and then we had a second call on the topic on November 3, 2016.
If you’re unsure about what to do about your cholesterol levels, especially with the holidays coming soon, perhaps our discussions and notes may help.
Please listen to “Cholesterol – Part 1” in the audio player below. Just hit the “play” button:
And you can hear “Cholesterol – Part 2” in this audio player below:
Dr. Heidi was kind enough to share her notes with us. They are below 🙂
What is cholesterol?
- Animal fat’s twin sister (or brother 🙂 ). They generally occur together.
- Substance made in the liver and in most human cells, a component of cell membranes.
- Raw material in hormones, including sex, stress, and appetite hormones, and Vitamin D.
- Material in bile salts, for digestion and assimilation of fat in food.
- Antioxidant that protects against heart disease and cancer.
- Required for serotonin receptors, to prevent depression and violent behavior.
- Helps maintain health of intestinal wall, preventing leaky gut.
- Protects against low thyroid.
Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream by “lipoproteins” which act like taxicabs. Lipoproteins can be defined as “any of a group of soluble proteins that combine with and transport fat or other lipids in the blood plasma.” (Google definition) The most common cholesterol lipoproteins are:
- High Density Lipoproteins or “HDL.”
- Low Density Lipoproteins or “LDL.”
- Very Low Density Lipoproteins or “VLDL.”
- HDL: For women 50–75, for men 35–75.
- Triglycerides: 100–150.
- Ratio of Total Cholesterol to HDL: equal to or less than 4.
- Ratio of LDL to HDL: Equal to or less than 2.
- VLDL: Lower than 40. VLDL information is usually not included in a standard blood panel, but is an extra cost. To derive VLDL, divide Triglycerides by 5. IE., if Triglycerides is 150, VLDL is 30.
- HDL is known as the “good cholesterol”; it acts like a housekeeper for the blood. It scours the walls of blood vessels, to prevent formation of plaques that cause heart disease. HDL also decreases inflammation and may protect against Alzheimer’s.
- LDL has little meaning. It is made up of both fluffy and dense cholesterol particles. Only the dense particles (VLDL) may be harmful, therefore we look at their value rather than LDL as a whole.
- Total Cholesterol is also a meaningless number. It includes HDL, which often needs to be higher, dense VLDL which often should be lower, and fluffy LDL which is neutral. Therefore only HDL, Triglycerides and VLDL are meaningful.
Why we are so afraid of cholesterol?
- In the early 1950’s heart attacks started hitting the news nationwide, including former President Eisenhower’s. People became afraid.
- Ancel Keys, a charismatic researcher, put forth the “diet-heart hypothesis” in his Seven Countries study – the more fat/cholesterol a country ate, the more heart attacks were reported. Keys toured the U.S. with his solution: Just reduce the fat/cholesterol you eat and chances are, you won’t get a heart attack.
- Preliminary findings from the huge government-funded Framingham Study supported Keys’ hypothesis, and in Jan 1977, the U.S. government jumped on the low cholesterol bandwagon with its “Dietary Goals for the United States”.
- Even though it was discovered that Keys had not reported data from 15 other countries where the findings were different, no one wanted to challenge his popular and hopeful solution to a scary health problem. And so we have accepted the low cholesterol way of eating, culminating in the 2011 official U.S. “My Plate” eating guidelines for Americans where there is no place for animal fat on the official American dinner plate.
It’s time to rise out of the fear of heart attacks and recognize that cholesterol has been a scapegoat. Scientists, medical doctors, journalists and anthropologists have amassed formidable evidence:
- Gary Taubes, science journalist – reviewed 150 years of research. Concluded: “Dietary fat, whether saturated [cholesterol] or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.” (Books: Good Calories Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat.
- Uffe Ravnskov, medical doctor and research scientist, crusaded for 24 years in favor of cholesterol and achieved official endorsement by the Swedish government for a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet for the whole country. Found that the average cholesterol of heart attack patients was lower than normal… Mortality was twice as high among those with the lowest cholesterol… Low cholesterol predisposes to cancer… There is no satisfactory or reliable evidence to support the idea that saturate fat causes heart disease or diabetes or obesity.
- Dr. Michael DeBakey, famous heart surgeon, found no relationship between blood cholesterol and atherosclerosis.
- Dr. William Castelli, 30-year director of the Framingham Heart Study reported a reversal of the early findings; “Serum cholesterol is not a strong risk factor for coronary heart disease.”
- Anthropological studies of peoples all over the world reveal that eating a high fat diet has no relation to heart disease and in fact results in better health than eating a low fat diet, including the French, Swiss, Okinawans, northern Indians, Mediterranean societies, Eskimos, Masai and other African tribes, Eskimos, Yemenite Jews and the people of Soviet Georgia.
- The Mayo Clinic reports that patients with stroke ate less saturated fat, people with the highest dairy consumption have lowest mortality, diabetes and heart disease risk, and they find virtually no benefit from decreasing saturated fat.
About Dr. Heidi Dulay
Dr. Heidi Dulay has been a clinical nutritionist for twenty years, specializing in weight loss, intermittent fasting and personalized nutrition. She was Adjunct Professor of Health Education at John F Kennedy University for ten years and is Nutrition Chair for the California Health Medical Reserve Corps. She earned her doctorate at Harvard University in human development, and a masters in science at Stanford. She is currently working on an iPhone app for healing herb blends and is writing Eating 911, a book that answers the question many have asked her over the years: “What should I eat?”
You can email your questions here: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is very beneficial to know your cholesterol numbers. Contact me if you have any questions. I’m here to help!
Your friend & coach,
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