Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CHOLESTEROL AND THE ZERO CARB DIET


I always thought I would never feel the need to write about cholesterol on this Zero Carb blog but a recent event made my change my mind.

I received a phone call this weekend from an old friend, now 72 years old, telling he was going under surgery this week for an open-hearth triple bypass. He reported his doctor never explained why he developed these blockages and he asked me if I had any idea why it happened since he NEVER had high levels of cholesterol…

Which made me think a lot.

I could blog hours on cholesterol, believe me. I could comment the history, the recent discoveries, the recommendations, the healthy HDL and LDL levels as well as the VLDL, chylomicrons and all the other apo-lipo-proteins and the sub-particles sizes. But I will not do this here. Why? The reason is simple: because cholesterol is the HEALTHIEST molecule flowing around in the human body and because all "the science" around it looks more like a scam then serious knowledge.

When I talk about cholesterol to anyone, I try to make things simple because one can easily get lost in explanations. So, to make it short, I always asked these questions:

-Why does cholesterol would be UNhealthy if 85% of its production is readily made in your own body to answer your needs?

-Why do 75% of folks that suffers a hearth attack have NORMAL levels of cholesterol?

-Why do 50% of folks with high levels of cholesterol do NOT have hearth problem?

-Why do your levels of cholesterol go UP when your body is under stress such as during an infection, accident or surgery, if it is not a protective mechanism?

-Why "LDL cholesterol" considered bad when it is also the delivery system of vitamin E + Coenzyme Q to your cells?

The answer to all these questions is BECAUSE cholesterol is needed for the normal functioning of all organs, from brain to hormones production, from bruised tissues repair to damaged arteries “patching”. Cholesterol is not the problem of artery blockage; it is the solution, the repair material. The real problem is the initial damage to the artery, which is done by other causes .

The worst thing humans can do is to fool around with their cholesterol level. Anyway, there are no normal levels; there is only YOUR level, the level your body needs to maintain itself healthy. Ingest less cholesterol and your body will do everything to produce more to compensate the deficit.

And what happens when humans try to lower their natural cholesterol level? Bad stuff. The best example, because it is always nice to have an example, is the consequences on a specific group of people trying to change what nature has created for them.

My example will bring us into Switzerland.

The Swiss folks are known to have, since ever, one of the HIGHEST levels of blood cholesterol in the world AND, at the same time, the LOWEST levels of heart problems. Sadly, the Swiss do suffer from a genetic defect, which is a deficiency in Apo-E, the lipoprotein that delivers cholesterol to the brain. Luckily, since their traditional diet was made up of a lot of dairy products including full-fat cheese, cream and mountians of butter, with meat and even more meat, it seems they could compensate for the genetic defect.

More sadly, because of the “lipid hypothesis” of Dr. Ancel Keys, they have adopted in the last 3 decades a lower fat diet, replacing cream and butter with with low-fat yogurt, cheese and margarine, slowing down on meat and choosing to eat more cereals products. And by getting, you must have guessed, a lot of STATINS prescribed for their "high cholesterol"…

The consequence being the Swiss are now getting the highest level of Alzheimer disease on the planet. As they have a deficiency in the delivery system of cholesterol to the brain, cutting on the supply makes things worst. This is THE origin of Alzheimer. You have probably already read the deposit of a “white material” in the brain is the visual proof, during autopsy, one suffered the disease. Well, the reason is the brain tries replacing the missing cholesterol sheet around its nerve cells by producing the said “white protein insulation” that, in no way, can replace the qualities of a reliable coating of cholesterol.

This example given, I do not argue the genetic defect called “Familial Hypercholesterolemia” do exist, except it is extremely rare and very severe, and most patients do not survive over 30-40 years old. They also present deposits of cholesterol visible from the “outside”, such as yellow patches around the eyelids, the iris and in the form of lumps in the tendons of the hands, knees and feet. Until you get these, you should not worry…

My ONLY concern about cholesterol would be eating OXIDIZED cholesterol, which would come from fats that were not properly kept and treated. Which means we should not overcook fatty meats, choose runny eggs over well-done and do not let fats such as butter exposed to air, warm temperatures and light for long period.

As says so well Dr. Barry Groves, a nutritional scientist and author of “EAT FAT, GET THIN”, which himself does a high-fat diet since the ’60, it would be RISKY having a cholesterol level LESS than 270 mg/dl, away from the recommended maximum limit of 200, and even more from the “preferable” 160 mg/dl limit.

Denis







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