The current medical understanding of the cholesterol issue is more than incomplete. The argument that animal tests on rabbits have confirmed that fatty foods cause hardening of the arteries sounds convincing, but only when the following facts are omitted. The body actually uses the lipoprotein cholesterol as a kind of bandage to cover abrasions and tears in damaged arterial walls just as it does it for any other wound. Cholesterol is nothing less than a life-saver. For the past thirty-eight years, this lipoprotein has been stigmatized to be the number one cause of deaths in the rich nations heart disease.
For reasons not really known, a form of cholesterol that has earned the name “bad” somehow increases in the bloodstream of millions of people today; it sticks to the walls of arteries, and eventually, it will starve the heart muscle of oxygen and nutrients. Accordingly, the masses are urged to reduce or ban cholesterol-containing fats from their diet so that they can live without the fear of arterial occlusion and dying from a heart attack.
An earlier study sponsored by the German Ministry of Research and Technology showed that no exact link exists between food cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Even more surprising, in Japan, the cholesterol levels have risen during recent years, yet the number of heart attacks has dropped. The largest health study ever conducted on the risks of heart disease took place in China. Like so many similar studies, the Chinese study found no connection between heart disease and the consumption of animal fats.
The results stunned the researchers. Although the statin drug did indeed lower serum cholesterol, this had no impact whatsoever on death rate, non-fatal heart attacks and fatal arterial disease. In other words, the zero advantage over those who received no treatment at all. However, they had just spent eight years taking a costly drug with hideous side effects – risking liver failure, muscle wasting, even sudden death. Lowering cholesterol either through drugs or low fat diets does not lower the risk of developing heart disease.
All the major European long-term cholesterol studies have confirmed that a low-fat diet did not reduce cholesterol levels by more than 4 percent, in most cases merely 1-2 percent. Since measurement mistakes are usually higher than 4 percent and cholesterol levels naturally increase by 20 percent in autumn and drop again during the wintertime, the anti-cholesterol campaigns since the late 1980s have been very misleading, to say the least. A more recent study from Denmark involving 20,000 men and women, in fact, demonstrated that most heart disease patients have normal cholesterol levels. The bottom line is that cholesterol hasn’t been proved a risk factor for anything.
The tremendous concern of being attacked by this “vicious” lipoprotein has finally led to innovative technologies that can even extract cholesterol from cheese, eggs, and sausages, thus making these “deadly” foods “consumer-safe.” Products that claim to be low in cholesterol, such as margarine and light-foods, have become a popular choice of “healthy eating.