Currently there is serious mis-information out there about health, fat, and cholesterol. It’s not new. All my holistic physician friends, and many other cardiologists who are not necessarily holistic, know it. It is a belief still largely held by many people mainstream meat eaters and uninformed vegans, to both their detriment and deception.
So here’s letting “the fat out of the bag”: Saturated fats have nothing to do with heart disease. I will say it again. Saturated fat has nothing to do with heart disease. And every holistic physician knows that.
Heart disease is driven by inflammation.
It doesn’t matter whether your fat is low or your fat is high; if you are inflamed, there is a high chance that you are going to get heart disease. From just that one idea, everything about heart health and nutrition will start to make sense.
30 studies with a total of 150,000 people studied showed that people who had heart attacks had not eaten any more saturated fat or polyunsaturated oil than other people who had not had heart attacks (references included in footnotes).
Another huge study showed people with blood cholesterol of 160 developed just as many cholesterol plaques as people with higher cholesterol up to 260. How do you explain that? Again, simply, the plaques come from inflammation, not from cholesterol intake.
A Norwegian study of 52,287 people, 20-74 years of age, showed people had 28% less mortality if cholesterol is greater than 270 than if cholesterol was less than 193.
Paradox? Or is the data calling for a more holistic paradigm?
The “French paradox” – which describes eating high dietary fat and cholesterol with low incidence of heart disease, is not a paradox! To show that point, the same pattern is also the present in “the German paradox,” “the Luxembourg paradox,” and on, and on.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published studies, totaling 347,747 people, that showed no cardiovascular health difference between those who ate the highest fat vs. those who ate the lowest fat.
The harm of this misinformation is especially deleterious for women’s health. Low cholesterol has been associated with low serotonin, which is bad for everyone, and particularly trouble for women. In 1994, the Women’s Health Initiative study of 49,000 women, 25,000 women reduced their fat intake by 25%, increasing their cholesterol and lowering their low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol). There was no difference in their rate of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, or fat accumulation. There was no mortality difference from reducing fat intake and lowering LDL cholesterol.
Also highlighting women’s health and cholesterol, Dr. Harlin Krunholz of Yale Medical School showed no difference existed in myocardial infarctions, or heart attacks, between higher and lower levels of cholesterol, except for women. For women, those with higher cholesterol meant fewer heart attacks.
In 1984 the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute spent 115 million dollars to see if less saturated fat could cure heart disease. They stated, “Not a single myocardial infarction (heart attack, or MI) has been prevented.
There are, in total, 1.25 million people involved in studies showing that cholesterol’s relationship to disease is hardly what people think it is. It is a fallacy.
To be fair, one study did show that lowering fat brings down cholesterol plaques, but again, this allopathic approach mistakes cholesterol plaques for the problem, substituting a blood measurement for an actual health result. What is the point if you block cholesterol production in the liver? Calling that a healthy result is an extremely narrow view. You might achieve lower cholesterol readings, but without preventing a single death or heart attack. This misguidance leads to pharmaceuticals with a single objective: to block cholesterol, such as with statins. This can drop your cholesterol rate by blocking the liver’s natural adjustments to your diet, but it is extremely abnormal. Statins and artificially lowered cholesterol increase your rates of so many diseases, from neurological disease to diabetes.
This is very exciting information for helping people return on the path from chronic disease into health. This is not even new information. What is presented here are huge studies whose results have been known about for a long time. But you never heard of it did you? Most doctors haven’t heard of it either. Why? They are listening to who? They are selling Lipitor, and selling this-and-that pharmaceutical product.
Archives of Internal Medicine, in 2009, did a review of everything that is related to heart disease, and to prove it one more time, the Archives found no evidence whatsoever that supports the widespread mythical belief that limiting saturated fat prevents disease or benefits health and longevity. If you get only this, your whole dietary approach is changed. What the Archives did find is these points:
Neither cholesterol nor saturated fat has anything to do with heart disease.
Trans fatty acids have a lot to do with heart disease
A vegetable-based diet, with the protective intake of vegetables and nuts, is the best prevention of heart disease when undertaken with an awareness of food quality.
In light of these findings, it is interesting that without even trying to, I have found the healthiest results of any program I have seen in my career happening in our live, plant-sourced food cafe running at about 25-45% fat at the Tree of Life Center US. The performance outcomes of this dietary program, which is high in vegetables and nuts, are great when looked at through measures that matter – holistic measures. That is, we achieve the goal that we want, which is not lowering cholesterol, but is turning off the inflammation switch. This works because inflammation is the age-accelerating, disease-generating agent. With low inflammation, and plenty of dietary fat, your brain works better, you reverse heart disease, and you reverse diabetes, etc.
In the early 80’s I came across people on the 10% fat live-food diet, and noticed them having problems such as mental and physical imbalances, weakness, memory loss, and low vitality. I do not say avoid all carbohydrates. To me, the greens, sprouts, green vegetables, and low-glycemic fruits are the carbohydrates and do help my program be effective in lowering accelerated aging and reversing disease. When you have people in live food out there saying you shouldn’t have nuts and you shouldn’t have seeds, at that point we need to know the scientific data.
Equally as supportive of fat is the notion in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) that fat intake is important for your ojas. Ojas is the Ayurvedic principle of deep primordial vigor, which is very good for your energetic flow and spiritual life for many reasons I have explored through personal and clinical research.
My total experience with putting people on a live-food, plant-sourced diet with 25-45% fat, including plenty of omega-3, long chain and short chain fatty acids, nicely accords with the research that is out there. Our holistic vegan dietary program dramatically reduces the inflammation in the body. We measure it by C-Reactive Protein, and it reduces in 3 weeks by up to a five-fold drop.
So that’s a holistic point of view on whole health and veganism. You have to have enough fat in your diet. You have to be able to produce enough total cholesterol (HDL and LDL), which is the mother of all hormones. If you don’t have enough cholesterol, you’re going to get hormone deficient, and nothing is going to quite work right.
Additionally, from a spiritual point of view – which is a topic in all my Holistic Veganism and Spiritual Nutrition workshops, the Diabetes Recovery Program, vacation packages, retreats, and professional training programs – getting a healthy fat intake is good for you and your spiritual life.