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.

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

Unbalanced and poorly researched health reporting is often criticised for the effect it can have on people’s health choices. That effect can be very difficult to quantify, but a paper published this week in the Medical Journal of Australia estimates that an extra 28,000 Australians stopped taking cholesterol-lowering statins after an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) documentary.

Statins are widely-prescribed drugs that are used to lower the levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol in the blood. According to the Australian government’s most recent estimate, they were the most commonly prescribed drug in Australia in 2011. Any change in the number of people taking statins therefore has a huge impact, affecting thousands of people.

Source: The dangerous power of health media: 28,000 quit statins after scare documentary

Let us not forget the ever-decreasing threshold that doctor’s use to prescribe statins, despite little evidence that the demands for extremely low LDL are actually beneficial.

And that’s all totally ignoring the fundamental issues with the ‘cholesterol hypothesis’ generally — it is possible that elevated LDL is a byproduct of metabolic syndrome or other inflammatory conditions, not vice-versa, and also that total LDL alone is a poor measure of cardiovascular risk. Doctor’s need to consider HDL and triglyceride levels, as well as certain ratios of these lipid levels, and even that is imperfect.

Just remember, folks: researchers and doctors, all too often, inappropriately draw narrow conclusions that are not adequately supported by their data. For example, for decades we’ve been told that dietary cholesterol is bad for our health, and raises LDL — except that it doesn’t, and the data has never adequately supported this conclusion. It was only this year that the FDA finally admitted “oh yea, turns out cholesterol is tightly regulated by the body [which we’ve known for awhile], and dietary cholesterol doesn’t matter” and they removed restrictions on cholesterol in the diet.

How Anabolic Steroids Make You Stronger – And How They Destroy You

The quick and dirty route to gaining strength is to take some kind of anabolic steroid. These drugs actually trick the body into building up muscle mass and endurance — but they can also age you far beyond your years.

Anabolic steroids work because they masquerade as one of the body’s basic hormones: testosterone.

Source: How Anabolic Steroids Make You Stronger – And How They Destroy You

Live fast, die young.

I remember a body builder visiting our school to speak about taking steroids.  He won a car at one point, but couldn’t drive it – he was too big to fit in it.  Most live long enough to regret the decision to use steroids.

Are some diets “mass murder”?

From low fat to Atkins and beyond, diets that are based on poor nutrition science are a type of global, uncontrolled experiment that may lead to bad outcomes, concludes Richard Smith

Jean Mayer, one of the “greats” of nutrition science, said in 1965, in the colourful language that has characterised arguments over diet, that prescribing a diet restricted in carbohydrates to the public was “the equivalent of mass murder.” Having ploughed my way through five books on diet and some of the key studies to write this article, I’m left with the impression that the same accusation of “mass murder” could be directed at many players in the great diet game. In short, bold policies have been based on fragile science, and the long term results may be terrible.

Source: Are some diets “mass murder”?

A large part of the article is about the Keys “research” in the 1950’s about fat in our diet.  As recently posted – an increase saturated fat food does NOT show increase in fat in the blood.  To claim “mass murder” when there’s no change in heart disease outcomes is overly dramatic.  Science gets better as time goes on to reshape how and why we do things, and there will always be political machinations…

Prunes: 5 Reasons to Eat More

Not a fan of prunes? You’re not alone. In fact, women ages 25 to 54 react so negatively to the idea of prunes that the California Prune Board pressured the Food and Drug Administration to change their name to the more appealing ‘dried plums’ (which they technically are), and it worked! Sales of this super-healthy purple fruit have hit new heights.

Beyond the benefits to your digestive tract, and the fact that they offer a sweet hit for only 30 calories, plums and prunes have many other wonderful health properties.

Source: 5 healthy reasons you need to eat more prunes

There’s a recipe at the end for plum-quinoa salad.

What the article doesn’t mention is that plums/prunes increase the absorption of iron.  Ladies, are you listening?  Because as prunes/plums are good for weight loss too.  But be aware that there is a reasonable amount of vitamin K in them, so mind how much you consume.  For more information on plums/prunes, see this link.