By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Cholesterol is a big topic right now.

The Catalyst episode on ABC that aired last week has created a lively debate about what really causes heart disease. In short, fat and cholesterol are not the culprits, and cholesterol lowering drugs are not the solution.

Newspapers, the internet and social media have been buzzing with stories about cholesterol since part 1 of the Catalyst series aired on Thursday of last week. Almost one million people tuned in.

The program aimed to bust the myth that saturated fat is bad for you; that eating saturated fat will clog your arteries, and that having high cholesterol increases your risk of having a heart attack. Several scientists, authors, researchers and doctors were interviewed by the host, Dr Maryanne Demasi.

Even Dr Oz had something to say about heart disease and cholesterol this week. He agrees that natural fats are not the culprit. Sugar and excess carbohydrate are the problem because they raise inflammation in your body.

According to Dr Oz:
“I want everyone to understand just how big of an idea this is. It is a completely opposite approach to what I and most doctors were taught…Heart doctors like myself by the way are starting to buy into this idea…What causes us to die from heart disease and stroke and Alzheimer’s is inflammation in the body. And that’s not caused by fats that we have been eating for 2 1/2 million years. It’s caused by a new change in our diet, where we have fooled ourselves into thinking carbohydrates aren’t the problem.”

In the last week an article appeared in the British Medical Journal titled Saturated Fat is not the Major Issue. In the article, British cardiologist Aseem Malhotra wrote” The more likely culprits are empty carbs and added sugar.” Eating too much carbohydrate raises your risk of heart disease for several reasons:

  1. Dietary carbohydrates increase levels of highly atherogenic small, dense LDL cholesterol.
  2. Dietary carbohydrates promote a rise in blood triglycerides and a fall in HDL (good) cholesterol.
  3. Dietary carbohydrates promote a rise in blood insulin levels. Insulin signals to your liver to make more cholesterol, and insulin promotes a rise in blood pressure.

Whereas dietary saturated fat increases levels of both HDL cholesterol (which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease) and large buoyant LDL cholesterol (which does not promote fat deposition in artery walls; ie. it’s not atherogenic).

There is more great information in a brief article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times called, “Time to end the war on saturated fat?”

Isn’t it wonderful to see this kind of information reaching the public? Finally, more and more people are learning the truth about what really causes heart disease and how it can be prevented.

If you have a copy of our book Cholesterol: The Real Truth, you are already well aware of these facts. If not, you can learn a great deal about protecting your heart in this book. You can also learn just how harmful cholesterol lowering drugs can be.

Part 2 of Catalyst is set to air tonight. In this episode Dr Demasi asks the question “Do statins really reduce your risk of heart disease?

We’ve been told that medications to lower cholesterol can save lives. And now over 40 million worldwide take drugs to lower their cholesterol.

But what if the majority of these patients won’t benefit from taking these pills? And, what if drug companies are distorting the data to make cholesterol lowering medications seem more effective than they are?”

Please do not discontinue any of your medication without speaking to your doctor first.

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