We have been programmed to believe—not understand, but believe—that cholesterol is the cause of atherosclerosis, aka coronary artery disease (CAD).
This belief has instilled the fear that this one biomarker, when elevated, is the cause of the “stick and clog” theory which can lead to heart attacks and perhaps death.
But the evidence isn’t there to show that cholesterol (a single lipid found in the blood) is the cause of CAD.
In fact, in a 30-year study, called the Framingham Study, researchers stated, “we believe values for total serum cholesterol are a useful screening device for considering alteration of lipids in individuals younger than 50 years.
Lipoprotein fractions and apo-lipoprotein values are likely to be more appropriate screening devices than measurements of total cholesterol.” (8) In other words, the biomarkers LDL, HDL, Apo-lipoprotein A and Apo-lipoprotein B are far more valuable than total cholesterol for determining cardiovascular risk.
The researchers also reported that after 30 years of follow up, there is no increase in overall mortality with subjects 50 years and older who have high cholesterol.
They also found that falling cholesterol levels were found to increase the cardiovascular death rate—a 14% increase for every milligram/deciliter drop in cholesterol levels!
So, what gives?
Research states higher total cholesterol does not increase death from CAD; on the contrary, it increases mortality when it drops. Why have we been led to believe the opposite?
Another study from the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA), states “our findings do not support the hypothesis that hypercholesterolemia, or low HDL-C, are important risk factors for all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease mortality, or hospitalization for myocardial infarction or unstable angina in this cohort of persons older than 70 years.” (9)
In other words, high cholesterol is not associated with CAD and mortality!
Yet, powerful and influential marketing campaigns have instilled the cholesterol fear into society. This fear has come, not only from drug companies, but the ‘low-fat’ food manufacturers, pushing low-fat, high-carb foods.
Those same low-fat, high-carb diets are responsible for diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, diabetes and obesity are big risk factors for coronary artery disease!
If current research says cholesterol is not the major cause of cardiovascular disease, what is?