There’s No Such Thing As ‘Good Cholesterol’ Says Pivotal New Study

A surprising new genetic study shows that some people with naturally high levels of HDL cholesterol—the supposedly good kind of cholesterol—are at increased risk of a heart attack. Doctors are now further questioning the use of drugs to boost HDL levels while looking to new therapies to reduce heart risk.

Source: There’s No Such Thing As ‘Good Cholesterol’ Says Pivotal New Study

Sorry for the scare.

For the people with this genetic defect, HDL (“good”) cholesterol is not good because the defect destroys their liver’s ability to absorb fat brought to it by HDL.  In normal people, HDL still correlates with lower risk of heart disease.

Low-Carb Beats Low-Fat in a Meta-Study of 17 Clinical Trials

In a new study published in the Journal PLOS ONE, a meta-analysis of seventeen randomized clinical trials provides insight into the relative benefits of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets in terms of weight lost, cholesterol and the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) events. The seventeen clinical trials used for meta-analysis included a total of 1,797 patients over the age of eighteen who all lacked co-morbidities other than dyslipidemia. Each trial randomly assigned patients to treatment groups and included at least eight weeks of follow-up.

Source: Low-carb beats low-fat in a meta-analysis of 17 clinical trials

This also fits well with our understanding of the GI system. When broken down fat progresses through your stomach and hits your duodenum, cholecystokinin (CCK) is released by duodenal enteroendocrine cells. This peptide hormone causes bile to be released, but it also slows the rate of stomach emptying and generally makes you feel more satiated. In other words, all things being being equal (size, calorie content, etc.) a fatty meal will make you feel more full than a meal high in carbohydrates. This is obviously just one component at play, but I think this does make a lot of sense.

The problem is that protein and fat are expensive, but carbs are cheap. It’s cheap because the government heavily subsidizes corn (carbohydrates), and subsequently corn is involved in almost every inexpensive food product (IE high fructose corn syrup is everywhere).

The study was funded by Atkins Nutritionals, a corporation founded by Dr. Robert Atkins for the promotion of low-carbohydrate diets.  The studies included in the meta analysis were not funded by Atkins however.  Which means the studies were cherry-picked…

Most People Have Cholesterol All Wrong

Do you know which foods contain good cholesterol, and which contain bad cholesterol? If you think you do, ha! That’s a trick question! Cholesterol in our food doesn’t come in “good” and “bad” varieties, but cholesterol readings from blood tests do, and the two aren’t as closely connected as we used to think.

Source: Most People Have Cholesterol All Wrong

HDL is the one you want to be high; you want LDL to be low.

My doctor told me that my levels were a tad high, but the ratio mattered more.  The best part?  No cholesterol medication suggestion from the doctor.  It really does pay to eat better and look after yourself.

Related: The Dangerous Power of Health Media: 28,000 Quit Statins After Scare Documentary

The Man Who Ate 25 Eggs a Day (Or, Why Cholesterol’s Not All Bad)

Each morning at the retirement community, the healthy 88-year-old man received a delivery of 25 soft-boiled eggs, which he would consume during his day. This had been his way for many years. He’d had one experience of chest pain that might have been angina, but aside from that, he had a healthy cardiovascular system. He recognized that his only problem was psychological: “Eating these eggs ruins my life, but I can’t help it.

I think of the Eggman, a brief case report from 1991 in the New England Journal of Medicine, whenever “news” of cholesterol’s unsuitability as a one-size-fits-all biomarker resurfaces, as it does every few years and did again just last month.

Source: The Man Who Ate 25 Eggs a Day (Or, Why Cholesterol’s Not All Bad)

Just 25 eggs? My man can eat 50…

The article paints an interesting picture of the state of health care with relation to pharmaceuticals and doctor education.  It’s along the lines of a recent post suggesting caution about trusting a physicians recommendation – they are only human.  I had a similar experience with a previous doctor pushing for cholesterol medication, and subsequently encountered other family members with similar experiences.  My most recent test demonstrated a dramatic improvement in my HDL & LDL levels, though as the article points out – these aren’t considered to be truly indicative of cardiovascular health.  But everyone is different, so you’re best to find out for yourself.

FYI: Bodybuilders and powerlifters routinely, especially when adding weight, eat a dozen or more eggs/day. From a $/gram of protein and $/calories perspective, eggs are fantastic. Even from a macronutrient perspective, eggs are quite good for you- depending on size, you get 60-80 calories, 5-7 grams of protein, and 5-7 grams of fat, to no carbohydrates.