Lower cholesterol levels are better. For about 40 years now, the Federal government and the top medical organizations in America have been promoting that message with fervent zeal.
They have scared us with stories of fat clogged arteries, massive heart attacks and generally threatened us into lowering our intake of saturated fats and fats in general.
The message is repeated constantly in a thousand different ways: eat more whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, and avoid red meat and whole-fat milk products.
And we have listened. On the advice of our physicians, millions of us have cut back on the fatty foods we enjoy, taken dangerous statin drugs and eaten more vegetables in efforts to lower cholesterol levels.
We eat so many vegetables that the demand has driven up the price, and today, many vegetables are more expensive per pound than meat.
The Results are In
And now, 40 years later, the results are in. What has been the outcome of our diligence and focus on lower cholesterol and dietary fat consumption?
Skyrocketing rates of disease.
The United States, in spite of the fact that billions of dollars are spent each year on disease research, dietary education and health care, is one of the sickest developed nations in the world. Here are the facts:
- The US exhibits higher levels of heart disease mortality rates than many other developed nations. And our rates aren’t just slightly higher either. American rates are 55% higher than France’s rates, even though the French eat 4 times more saturated fat. (World Health Organization statistics)
- The prevalence of diabetes in the US has skyrocketed, increasing by 200% since 1980. (CDC statistics)
- Huge sums of money have been spent on cancer research in the past 30 years, yet the US rates of cancer mortality have not diminished, and if the advances for treatment are factored in, cancer rates may have actually gone up. (CDC statistics)
- An estimated 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. This number has doubled since 1980 and is expected to be as high as 13.4 million by 2050. (CDC statistics)
In fact, the US adult mortality rate, which is defined as the probability of dying between the ages of 15 and 60, is higher than every other developed nation.
In 2006, the US adult mortality rate (AMR) was 109/1000. This means that 109 Americans out of every 1000 died before age 61 because of a health issue or injury. In comparison, the AMR rate in Italy is 64 out of 1000. And in Japan, the AMR is 67. As you can see from this simple statistic, something is very wrong.
Why are we getting sicker with each passing year? We have been following the expert nutritional recommendations from the American Heart Association, the National Institute of Health, the USDA, the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society and our physicians since the 1950s.
Why aren’t we healthier? Think about that question for any length of time, and you begin to wonder about the motives and brainpower behind our national medical policy.
Lower Cholesterol: A Factor in Many Diseases
If you spend time reading about the causative factors associated with the diseases that plague us, at some point, you find that a lack of cholesterol and fat are connected in some way.
- No longer can we say that high cholesterol levels cause heart disease. Research has shown there is no link. However, we can say that low levels of cholesterol contribute to increased inflammation in the body, which IS related to heart disease.
- We also find that the high carb, low-fat diet recommended by the experts has contributed in a major way to the epidemics of diabetes and obesity in the US.
- Low cholesterol levels are being investigated as a causative factor in Alzheimer’s disease. It seems that the cholesterol molecules are needed to prevent brain cells from being destroyed by oxidative processes associated with metabolism.
- Several studies on cholesterol-lowering drugs were halted when it was found that the treatment groups were experiencing higher rates of cancer.
In looking at the larger picture, one comes to realize a simple fact: as the consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol have declined, the rates of all of these diseases have increased.
The dietary advice promoted by our national health institutions and medical professionals has done more to harm the American public than any other factor over the past 40 years. Our hospitals and doctors’ offices are overrun with people who have followed this “expert” advice.
So the burning question is this: If lower cholesterol levels are so good, why is our collective health so bad after 40 years of cholesterol-lowering efforts?