The cholesterol issue is at the heart of every dietary recommendation for the past 30 years, says Dr. Jonny Bowden. “When you think about it -- and I have thought about it -- it has influenced everything we have been taught about what to eat and what not to eat.”
Together with Stephen Sinatra, M.D., a board certified cardiologist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, they wrote a new book, The Great Cholesterol Myth, which Fair Winds Press published on November 1. Alternatively, you can get a Kindle edition, which is what the publisher sent me for review.
Dr. Bowden has a Ph.D. in nutrition and is the author of 10 books with some of the soundest advice on what to eat that I have ever read. His book Living Low Carb is one of the very best books on the lifestyle that I follow and recommend. My only regret is that I failed to discover it when it came out, so I haven’t reviewed it. Dr. Bowden tells me, however, that a revised edition is in the works, and I will certainly review it as soon as I get my hands on it.
The myths about cholesterol bear directly on the concerns that many otherwise well-informed people have about living a low-carb lifestyle. In fact, almost everyone will benefit from reading Dr. Bowden’s new book, The Great Cholesterol Myth. That’s because belief in the myths that surround cholesterol is so widespread.
The basic cholesterol myths are the pervasive beliefs that cholesterol causes heart disease and predict heart attacks. In fact, “Cholesterol is an essential molecule without which there would be no life,” the book says. It is “so important that virtually every cell in the body is capable of synthesizing it.” Furthermore, “there is no correlation between cholesterol and heart attack.”
Consequently, even when we eat foods like eggs and seafood, which are high in the so-called “lousy cholesterol” -- low-density lipoprotein or LDL -- our bodies just respond by making less of it internally. The cholesterol myths also include the mistaken belief that fat, particularly saturated fat, is dangerous. The fact is that it isn’t. The dangerous fats are the artificial transfats that manufacturers produce from partially hydrogenated oils.
The myth connecting cholesterol and fat is what has scared many people on the basis of poor science -- or no science at all -- for at least 30 years. The result of this myth has been our decline in nutrition and an increase in diabetes and obesity as we substituted unhealthy polyunsaturated oils and added sugars and processed carbs for healthy fats.
These interconnected myths that lead us to terrible nutrition are bad enough. But worse follows. When we combine the Standard American Diet with the standard American beliefs that high LDL cholesterol levels are bad and that popping pills are good, we get the statins.
Do we ever get them! About 32 million Americans take a statin. One-fourth of us 45 and over do. One of the statins, Lipitor, is the all-time biggest selling prescription medicine in the history of the world with sales of more than $130 billion.