The Great Cholesterol Myth
There are some great health and fitness books out there and every time I come across one I feel like it would be useful if I shared it with you. I recently finished up The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease – And The Statin-Free Plan That Will.
The Philosophy Behind The Book
This book is written by Johnny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S. (a board certified nutritionist) and Stephen Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C (a Cardiologist). In case you haven’t been around for the last twenty years or so, heart disease has edged its way to one of the top killers. One of the big things that first came on the scene as a major cause of heart disease was high cholesterol. As heart disease worse its way to becoming one of the United States’ top killers, so did its profitability.
The belief was that high cholesterol was the main culprit behind heart disease. This is where a drug called Statins comes into play. Statins were a class of drug that became popular in the 1990’s after it was realized that they could lower cholesterol levels. The caveat was that Statins come with a plethora of side effects – many of which cause people to stop taking them months after their doctor has put their patients on the medication. Statins have also become a cash cow for the pharmaceutical industry and it currently looks like there’s no sign of slowing down. The one problem: half of people who have heart attacks have perfectly normal cholesterol levels.
The Low Fat Craze
At the time that Statins were gaining popularity in the medical community as a “miracle drug,” there was also a low fat craze that was hitting the supermarket shelves of the country. Anything that was high in saturated fat was suddenly looked at as a spawn of the devil. Suddenly, low fat (yet high in sugar and processed materials) was filling the diet of many Americans. Yet, heart disease showed no sign of slowing down. The unfortunate thing that people didn’t catch on to was that saturated fat also raises HDL (or “good cholesterol”).
What I Loved About The Great Cholesterol Myth
The Science Behind Everything
Let’s face it, science isn’t for everybody. For a lot of people, big medical terms make people run off into the wind. Fortunately, the two authors break down how heart disease works in a way that anyone could understand. Because of the way they break down how heart disease works they are able to explain why you (or anyone) should be skeptical of why cholesterol should be used as a lone indicator of heart disease. For anyone who missed our post on what a c-reactive protein is (or CRP), check it out. CRP is a marker of inflammation and inflammation is a much bigger risk factor for heart disease. This book does a wonderful job of explaining how inflammation, not cholesterol becomes a major factor in the development of heart disease.
In the past the idea behind cholesterol was pretty simple: LDL was bad and HDL is good. That was until it was discovered that there are several types of LDL (some of them harmless) and even different forms of HDL (some of it harmful!). The authors do a fantastic job of breaking down more modern blood test results you should be asking your doctor for that are way better indicators of heart disease and cholesterol problems than most of the current blood work up that most people currently do.
The Problem With Sugar
You might have heard the phrase, “if it’s low in fat it’s high in sugar.” Well, both authors do a phenomenal job of explaining the havoc that high carbohydrate diets do to a body and how it contributes massively to inflammation.
The Statin Scam
Statins have become very popular in the medical community and it’s much easier for a doctor to prescribe a Statin than to sit you down and have a heart to heart about nutrition, lifestyle modifications, and natural supplementation. There has also been quite a few studies done on Statins and their effects on people. The authors do a great job of breaking down the research behind these studies and how the pharmaceutical industry has manipulated the research findings. Because of the manipulation both authors discuss how Statins have made their way into your living room via catchy commercial ads (for drugs like Lipitor – a type of Statin) and into your doctors office where it’s likely the medication will end up on his prescribing pad.
Who Should Read The Great Cholesterol Myth
I would rarely say this about any book but honestly, everyone should read this book. This book is great for anyone considering going into a medical career or a holistic/nutritional career. It’s also great for anyone over the age of twenty-five who is concerned about the long-term effects that a diet (especially one high in carbohydrates) can have on your body. For anyone over the age of forty-five this is also an important book to help you understand the dangers of Statins and how your cholesterol truly isn’t the problem.
This book is also great for anyone who is currently on a Statin and anyone who has “high cholesterol” problems. It is a great learning tool to help one understand what your doctor might have not told you about the way cholesterol works inside the body or other – natural things – you can be doing to give you an edge over heart disease. One of the best parts about this book is in its final chapters where the authors discuss natural supplements you should be taking to increase your heart health and decrease your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Where To Find The Great Cholesterol Myth
Amazon is the go to. I got my paperback copy there for an incredible price. The Kindle version wasn’t available when I purchased it but it is now. The book also includes 100 recopies.