The Truth About Cholesterol Lies Between the Extremes

Even if you think you know everything there is to know about cholesterol, there may still be a few more surprises in store. Check out these seven common cholesterol myths and the truth they conceal.

  1. Everybody needs treatment for high cholesterol.
  2. There really are doctors who would like to have statin medications added to drinking water. And almost anyone over 50 is going to be told he or she needs to start taking a statin to keep cholesterol under control. The simple fact is, however, that no study has ever found that lowering total cholesterol lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, or that lowering cholesterol levels always results in better health.

  3. Nobody needs treatment for high cholesterol.
  4. The earliest studies of cholesterol were fraught with logical errors. Even after medicine discovered that the best indicator of cardiovascular risk, a measurement of the ratio of two of the proteins attached to LDL cholesterol, apoA1 and ApoB100, is the best predictor of heart disease, many doctors refuse to order the tests that could actually lead to treatments that save lives. Many health commentators and a few doctors with a holistic health orientation insist that since much of the science is bad and many medical educators are dishonest, then nobody actually needs treatment for high cholesterol. That isn’t true, although no one should get treatment without first having the correct cholesterol test.

  5. Eggs are evil, causing high cholesterol.
  6. In 1991, the New England Journal of Medicine famously reported the case of a then-88 year-old man who had eaten 20 to 30 soft-boiled eggs a day without developing high cholesterol. Eggs are high in cholesterol, but they also are high in lecithin, which causes much the cholesterol to stay in the intestines, never entering the body. Studies have found that eating 3 eggs for breakfast is healthier than eating cured pork and/or cheese.

  7. The standard American diet gives Americans the highest cholesterol in the world.
  8. The average total cholesterol level in the USA is 197 mg/dl. The average cholesterol level in Colombia is 244. Cholesterol levels in Norway, where people enjoy exceptionally high longevity, are only slightly lower than Colombia’s. Overall, Americans rank 83rd in total cholesterol and 13th in deaths from heart disease. The rate of heart disease in the USA is less than half of the rate in Slovakia, the country with most deaths related to heart disease, and 200% higher than the rate in Japan. Japan, however, has a much higher rate of deaths caused by stroke.

  9. Fasting lowers cholesterol.
  10. Actually, fasting raises cholesterol. When you fast, your body turns to your fat cells for energy, and cholesterol is one of the forms the body uses to transport fat from fat cells to other tissues that need it for fuel.

  11. Low-fat diets lower cholesterol.
  12. Low-fat diets can raise cholesterol for the same reasons that fasting raises cholesterol. Replacing animal fats with olive oil, peanut oil, and nuts, however, can actually lower cholesterol levels.

  13. High-cholesterol foods cause high cholesterol.
  14. The human body makes about 85 per cent of its cholesterol from excess fat and excess sugar in the diet. Eating low-calorie is more important than eating low-cholesterol foods.