Demystifying Cholesterol

Cholesterol, an animal sterol, is a waxy substance found in every cell in our body. Cholesterol is used as a base for the production of steroid hormones, bile salts, and vitamin D as well as maintaining cell membrane fluidity. Without cholesterol we would not be able to properly digest foods, our cell structure would not be able to withstand any changes in temperature, and a significant number of important hormones such as estrogen, and testosterone could not be produced.

Our cholesterol is produced in the liver, from the molecule acetyl-coenzyme-A, through a number of complicated reactions that I won’t bore you with. A key step is a conversion that is controlled by the enzyme HMG-CoA (3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA) reductase. This enzyme can block the production of cholesterol making it an important target for cholesterol lowering drugs called statins, but it also controls the production of many other molecules such as co-enzyme-q10. That’s why there are so many side effects of taking these drugs. Nearly 10-12% of patients on statin drugs will experience statin induced muscle pain. Other potential adverse reactions to statin drug use include elevated liver enzymes, lung disease, and in a small subset of patients can even increase risk for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

But back to cholesterol synthesis. The majority of cholesterol is synthesized, recycled, and degraded in the liver. So how does the water fearing cholesterol molecules that you eat get to the liver from the gut? And then how does it go from the liver to the cells if it cannot travel through the bloodstream alone?

Well, first cholesterol molecules are transported to the liver via the lymph in complexes called chylomicrons. When it gets to the liver it is repackaged and the cholesterol is “chaperoned” around the body by the lipoprotein complexes. There are a number of lipoprotein complexes, which are classified based on the ratio of proteins to fat and cholesterol. Think of these as cholesterol carriages, moving it all around the body. LDL takes the cholesterol to tissues and HDL brings cholesterol back to the liver when we have too much. Low density lipoproteins (LDL), very low density lipoproteins (vLDL) and chylomicrons all have very high fat and cholesterol content as compared with the protein rich high density lipoprotein (HDL). Once packaged into vLDL, the cholesterol enters circulation and some of the cholesterol is deposited to the tissues along with fatty acids. Once it drops the cholesterol off, the LDL complexes should be taken up by liver cells after attaching to the LDL receptor on their surface. Meanwhile, HDL scavenges blood vessels and tissues for free-form excess cholesterol. It then returns to the liver where cholesterol can be excreted through the bile or recycled.

Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health

High cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and trans fats are linked to increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. Cholesterol can build up due to increased production, increased consumption, or decreased excretion. The cause of the build-up as well as the form of cholesterol in the plasma is important when determining risk and treatment.

Genetic disorders can affect the LDL receptors in the surface of liver cells causing an increased amount of LDL in circulation. High LDL levels in circulation lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular events irrespective of diet and lifestyle in these patients. However, genetic causes affect a small percent of the population diagnosed with high cholesterol. The majority of cases in North America can be linked to diet and lifestyle.

Increased consumption of cholesterol rich foods result in increased levels of LDL in circulation. Excess LDL-C can attach onto and infiltrate the walls of blood vessels. When the LDL infiltrates it will form a reactive oxidative species that will attract immune cells. From the complexes formed, more white blood cells will congregate and an inflammatory cascade will be initiated. As more and more cells are attracted to this middle layer of a blood vessel, the plaque will begin to disrupt blood flow and may eventually fully block the vessel, or a piece of the plaque can rupture and travel around the body. All of these scenarios can have very serious consequences.

The “arthrogenic triad” are lab findings that show an increased risk for the development of atherosclerosis (or hardening of arteries) this includes high serum LDL, low HDL and high triglycerides. Risks are increased with low fiber diets as this prevents the excretion of cholesterol. A somewhat inactive lifestyle can also increase the risk of the LDL adhering to the vessels.

Food Manufacturers Are Fooling You

By Mike Sheridan

Fact: The unhealthiest foods you could possibly eat often have the most health claims on the label. Ironic, isn't it? Think about most breakfast cereals. You're basically eating a bowl of sugar and flour. But the front of the box is packed with health claims:

  • Low fat!
  • Heart healthy!
  • High fiber!
  • Gluten-free!
  • Reduced sodium!
  • Made with whole grains!

Flip that box around like a smart grown-up and take a look at the ingredient list: sugar, flour, sugar in another form, sugar in a different color, sugar with a pretty name, etc. It's Type-2 diabetes in a bright box featuring a cartoon character selling love handles and loneliness.

And now they have a new marketing angle: a clever blend of childhood nostalgia and "fat acceptance." They tell us to eat what we want and love our body no matter what it looks like. Presumably, this is because they've finally recognized that the only people still eating cereal for breakfast have already given up on their health and body composition.

Funny thing is, when looking at the evidence, it's clear that there were never really health benefits in the first place to back up all these "healthy" labels. Here's how many of them originated and why they're wrong.

1 – Low Fat

It's taken over 40 years to officially call BS on the fraudulent claims about fat. The fear of dietary fat started in the 60's and 70's and immediately moved breakfast cereal into the "healthy" category. Hey, sugar is fat free! Bacon, eggs, and butter were out. Low-fat indigestible roughage was in because the research of the time was suggesting that saturated fat was clogging our arteries and increasing our risk of heart disease.

And despite the various top-notch review studies disproving this myth today, the cereal killers, sugar-water sellers, and big pharma phonies continue to lobby government officials, pay off medical and fitness professionals, and fund bogus research studies to keep it alive.

A low-fat diet isn't a benefit because eating fat doesn't cause disease. NOT eating it probably does, and we now know the body even needs some saturated fat to function optimally.

2 – High Fiber

Once you understand the origins of the low-fat guidelines it's easy to see how the advice to eat more fiber came about.

Denis Burkitt was the man behind the 1970's research linking high-fiber diets to lower rates of disease (colorectal cancer specifically). Just like Ancel Keys (the fat fraud), his evidence was awful. He basically claimed that African tribesman were healthier than Westerners because they ate their grains whole (with the fibrous outer shell). He conveniently failed to include a number of disease-free tribes thriving on starch-less diets high in saturated fat and animal protein, like the Masai.

Nonetheless, the bran we were throwing in the garbage became a prized possession, Burkitt wrote a best-selling book, and the "high-fiber" stamp fit perfectly next to the "low-fat" one on our breakfast bowl of blood sugar and body fat. It remains there today, right along with the misconception that whole grains are healthier than refined grains and that more fiber is a good thing, regardless of the source.

Meanwhile, the only study looking at the long-term impact of eating a high-fiber diet (DART, 1989) found an INCREASED risk of heart disease (23%) and mortality (27%). Those studies looking at colorectal cancer saw no benefit to upping our fiber intake:

"Our data do not support the existence of an important protective effect of dietary fiber against colorectal cancer or adenoma." (Fuchs CS et al. NEJM, 1999)

"In this large pooled analysis... high dietary fiber intake was not associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer." (Park Y et al. JAMA, 2005.)

3 – Cholesterol

The "lipid hypothesis" suggests that elevated cholesterol is associated with heart disease. And when we add it to what high-fiber, low-fat fanatics tell us, it's no wonder we think the way we do and fall for bogus health claims.

Right around the time all this low-fat, high-fiber evidence was surfacing, doctors and scientists were convinced they'd found the underlying cause of atherosclerosis – the narrowing and hardening of arteries. Nearly every doctor was on board with the theory. In the early 80's the National Institute of Health gathered 14 experts who voted unanimously that, "Lowering elevated blood cholesterol levels will reduce the risk of heart attacks caused by coronary heart disease."

They did so despite the fact that a causal relationship was never established, there's a library of evidence disproving it, and the original experiments used rabbits (herbivores that can't process dietary cholesterol) and a chemically prepared bare-cholesterol, which tends to oxidize.

But along came the prescription statins, and all of a sudden the questions and doctors aggressively opposing the theory disappeared. This created an environment where we dish out damaging side effects to more than 32 million Americans to lower the thing that's NOT associated with heart disease and does nothing to prevent it.

If cholesterol were associated with heart disease, there would be fewer heart attacks in those on statins and those with lower cholesterol, but there aren't. And there would be more heart attacks in those not on statins with higher cholesterol, but there aren't. The two variables aren't even related.

What we do see is statins causing mitochondrial and hormonal dysfunction, and lower cholesterol levels associated with cognitive and neurological impairment (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, depression). This shouldn't come as a surprise when you understand that cholesterol is a building block for cell membranes, precursor to steroid hormones and essential nutrients, and fuel provider to neurons who can't generate it on their own.

"Our finding that low plasma cholesterol is associated with depressive symptoms in elderly men is compatible with observations that a very low total cholesterol may be related to suicide and violent death." (Morgan RE, et al. 1993, Lancet.)

Cereal fiber's ability to lower cholesterol is more of a detriment than a benefit. And realistically, the people getting heart attacks are the ones with elevated triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and excess small-dense (oxidizable) LDL particles – the same thing eating less saturated fat, more high-glycemic carbs, and vegetable oil-filled boxes of stuff claiming to "lower cholesterol" provides.

4 – Sodium

Heard the one about the obese, pre-diabetic guy with high triglycerides? Doc told him to eat less salt!

That's a joke. Or at least it should be. Salt doesn't make you fat and it's probably the last thing the average person needs to be worrying about when it comes to health.

High blood pressure is the fourth and final phase that turns Syndrome X into the Deadly Quartet. When you have metabolic syndrome, eating less salt won't do anything to solve the real problem.

  • 2 weeks – insulin resistance (hyperinsulinemia)
  • 2 months – elevated triglycerides (hyperlipidemia)
  • 6 months – obesity (high bodyfat)
  • 12 months – high blood pressure (hypertension)

People with high blood pressure don't need to eat less salt. They need to stop drinking liquid fructose and start driving-past instead of driving-thru.

More importantly, trying to abide by the FDA and AHA's recommendations to keep salt intake below 2400 mg per day (1tsp) increases cardiovascular disease risk and mortality from a heart attack or stroke. Ironically, this appears to be the result of elevated triglycerides and reductions in insulin sensitivity – the same thing driving the high blood pressure in the first place.

"The inverse association of sodium to CVD mortality seen here raises questions regarding the likelihood of a survival advantage accompanying a lower sodium diet." (Cohen HW, et al. AJM, 2006)

Therefore, one could say that your low-salt food is a double-whammy since you're consuming the food that's elevating the cause of high blood pressure and opting for the "lowers blood pressure" variety that's making it worse.

5 – Gluten

The gliadin proteins in wheat can be damaging to many people because of those proteins' ability to induce inflammation and increase intestinal permeability. Wheat itself may also cause cravings and interfere with your appetite-regulating mechanisms.

However, this doesn't mean all products with a "gluten-free" stamp of approval are suddenly health foods. Pizza is still pizza, pancakes are still pancakes, and a slab of pound cake beside your coffee is and always will be a bad choice... gluten-free or not. This should be common sense, but millions are willingly fooled every day because it's pretty easy to convince us that a delicious junk food is fine when it has an official-looking health claim on the box.

Just like we were tricked into selecting low-fat and low-sodium packaged products because of their apparent health benefit, food marketers have simply found another way to convince you that their bag or box of garbage is healthy.

Gluten-free cereal may be better than gluten-filled cereal, but it's still cereal. And you'd be better off leaving both for the birds.


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Grains - The Real Cereal Killer

By Dr. Mercola

The persistent myth that dietary fat causes obesity and promotes heart disease has undoubtedly ruined the health of millions of people. It's difficult to know just how many people have succumbed to chronic poor health from following conventional low-fat, high-carb recommendations, but I'm sure the number is significant.

In the featured documentary, Cereal Killers, 41-year-old Donald O'Neill turns the American food pyramid upside-down—eliminating sugars and grains, and dramatically boosting his fat intake. In so doing, he improves his health to the point of reducing his hereditary risk factors for heart disease to nil.

Watching people's reactions to his diet brings home just how brainwashed we've all become when it comes to dietary fat. Most fear it. Yet they will consume sugar in amounts that virtually guarantee they'll suffer all the devastating health consequences they're trying to prevent by avoiding fat, and then some!

Fat versus Carbs—What Really Makes You Pack on the Pounds?

The fact is, you've been thoroughly misled when it comes to conventional dietary advice. Most dietary guidelines have been massively distorted, manipulated, and influenced by the very industries responsible for the obesity epidemic in the first place—the sugar and processed food industries.

Shunning the evidence, many doctors, nutritionists, and government health officials will still tell you to keep your saturated fat below 10 percent, while keeping the bulk of your diet, about 60 percent, as carbs.1 This is madness, as it's the converse of a diet that will lead to optimal health.

A recent Time Magazine2 article highlighted a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which showed that many breakfast cereals contain more than 50 percent sugar by weight! Cereals marketed specifically to children are among the worst offenders. Kellogg's Honey Smacks and Mom's Best Cereals Honey-Ful Wheat topped the list with 56 percent sugar by weight. If you're looking for alternatives for your family you could try Snackimals from Barbara's. Snackimals is not on the EWG's list because it is a newer product. All of their flavors have only 7 grams of sugar per serving.

Even diabetes organizations promote carbohydrates as a major component of a healthy diet—even though grains break down to sugar in your body, and sugar promotes insulin resistance, which is the root cause of type 2 diabetes in the first place.

As noted in the film: "If we could get all diabetics to eat a high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, we would cut the insulin requirement so dramatically that it's been estimated that six pharmaceutical companies would go out of business tomorrow."Contrary to popular belief, you do not get fat from eating fat. You get fat from eating too much sugar and grains.

Refined carbohydrates promote chronic inflammation in your body, elevate low-density LDL cholesterol, and ultimately lead to insulin and leptin resistance. Insulin and leptin resistance, in turn, is at the heart of obesity and most chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's—all the top killers in the US. 

Don't Fear the Fat

In the film, O'Neill switches over to a diet where 70 percent of his calories come from healthy fat—most of it in the form of macadamia nuts (my personal favorite)—and the remaining 30 percent of his caloric intake is divvied up between protein and fibrous fruits and vegetables. Over the course of 28 days, O'Neill:

  • Loses weight and body fat
  • Increases his lean muscle mass
  • Feels more energetic and improves his athletic performance
  • Increases his resting metabolic rate
  • Improves his blood pressure, cholesterol, and other measurements to the point that he no longer has any risk factors for heart disease, which he's genetically predisposed for

Of particular importance here is that O'Neill's total cholesterol and LDL levels wentup, which initially caused significant concern. However, once they tested the LDL particle numbers, the results showed that his LDL particles were the largest species known, and he had virtually no small LDL particles at all.

This is phenomenal, as it's the small, dense LDL particles that cause inflammation. Large particles do not. Also, the markers for inflammation were virtually nonexistent, showing that he has no inflammation in his body at all. All in all, his one-month long high-fat, no-carb diet experiment proved that:

  • Eating fat helps you lose fat
  • Eating saturated fat decreases your risk factors for heart disease
  • Regardless of your genetic predisposition your diet is, ultimately, the determining factor

I would also add that his results show the benefits of a high-fat, low-carb diet for athletes, many of whom are still convinced that this type of diet will make them heavy and sluggish. On the contrary, O'Neill breaks his own athletic record during his experiment, and refers to his renewed sense of vigor as feeling like a "spring lamb."

This high and sustained energy is a hallmark of ketogenesis, where your body is burning fat rather than sugar as its primary fuel. When your body burns fat, you don't experience the energy crashes associated with carbs.

Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Are Both Necessary for Optimal Health

Contrary to popular belief, saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a number of important health benefits, and your body requires them for the proper function of your:

Cholesterol—another wrongly vilified dietary component—also carries out essential functions within your cell membranes, and is critical for proper brain function and production of steroid hormones, including your sex hormones. Vitamin D is also synthesized from a close relative of cholesterol: 7-dehydrocholesterol. 

Your body is composed of trillions of cells that need to interact with one another. Cholesterol is one of the molecules that allow for these interactions to take place. For example, cholesterol is the precursor to bile acids, so without sufficient amounts of cholesterol, your digestive system can be adversely affected. It's also critical for synapse formation in your brain, i.e. the connections between your neurons, which allow you to think, learn new things, and form memories. In fact, there's reason to believe that low-fat diets and/or cholesterol-lowering drugs may cause or contribute to Alzheimer's disease.3

Replacing Refined Carbs with Healthy Fat—The Answer to Most of Your Health Concerns

Underlying most chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are inflammation and insulin/leptin resistance. When you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar, insulin, and leptin will all temporarily rise, and these spikes are very pro-inflammatory. Where you have inflammation, disease and dysfunction follows. An excellent editorial in the journal Open Heart4 reviews the cardiometabolic consequences of replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates, which includes the following:

The answer, then, lies in avoiding these inflammatory spikes in blood sugar, insulin and leptin, and reversing insulin and leptin resistance. To do this, you need to:

  • Avoid refined sugar, processed fructose, and grains. This means avoiding processed foods, as they are chockfull of these ingredients, along with other chemicals that can wreak metabolic havoc
  • Eat a healthful diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs you cut out with:
  • Moderate amounts of high-quality protein from organic, grass-fed or pastured animals (this is to ensure you're not getting the antibiotics, genetically engineered organisms, and altered nutritional fat profile associated with factory farmed animals)
  • High amounts of high-quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated). Many health experts now believe that if you are insulin or leptin resistant, as 85 percent of the US population is, you likely need anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of your daily calories in the form of healthful fats for optimal health. Good sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts (particularly macadamia), and animal fats. Avoid all trans fats and processed vegetable oils (such as canola and soy oil). Also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil.
  • As many vegetables as you can muster. Juicing your vegetables is a good way to boost your vegetable intake

Another "add-on" suggestion is to start intermittent fasting, which will radically improve your ability to burn fat as your primary fuel. This too will help restore optimal insulin and leptin signaling.

What's the Deal with Protein?

Dr. Rosedale, who was one of my primary mentors on the importance of insulin and leptin, was one of the first professionals to advocate both a low-carb and moderate protein (and therefore high-fat) diet. This was contrary to most low-carb advocates who were, and still are, very accepting of using protein as a replacement for the carbs.

The problem is that, along with grains, most Americans tend to eat far too much protein. While your body certainly has a protein requirement, there's evidence suggesting that eating more protein than your body needs could end up fueling cancer growth.

Dr. Rosedale advises limiting your protein to one gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass (or 0.5 grams per pound of lean body weight). For most people, this means cutting protein down to about 35-75 grams per day. Pregnant women and those working out extensively need about 25 percent more. I believe this theory is worthy of consideration. The key though is to add healthy fat to replace the carb and protein calories you're cutting out of your diet. Again, sources of healthy fat include:

Your Health Is Within Your Control

Groundbreaking research by the likes of Dr. Robert Lustig and Dr. Richard Johnson (author of the books, The Sugar Fix and The Fat Switch) clearly identifies the root cause of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and numerous other chronic diseases, and it's notfat. It's refined sugar—particularly fructose—consumed in excessive amounts. Their research, and that of others, provides us with a clear solution to our current predicament. In short, if you want to normalize your weight and protect your health, you need to address your insulin and leptin resistance, which is the result of eating a diet too high in sugars and grains.

For a comprehensive guide, see my free optimized nutrition plan. Generally speaking though, you'll want to focus your diet on whole, ideally organic, unprocessed or minimally processed foods. For the best nutrition and health benefits, you'll also want to eat a good portion of your food raw.

Sugar is highly addictive, and if you're like most people, you're no stranger to carb cravings. Just know that once your body gets used to burning fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel, those cravings will vanish. Many cereals and other grain products would not be quite as harmful if they didn't also contain so much added sugar. Even many organic brands contain excessive amounts. This is unfortunate, since many (Americans in particular) are really indoctrinated to eat cereal for breakfast. I've been working on a low-sugar cereal line for some time now, to provide a healthier alternative for those who really don't want to give up their breakfast cereal. I hope to have it ready sometime this summer.

Last but not least, for those of you still concerned about your cholesterol levels, know that 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol, thereby reducing your risk of both diabetes and heart disease.

Also, remember that even if a high-fat, low-carb diet was to raise your total cholesterol and LDL, it doesn't automatically mean that your diet is increasing your risk factors for heart disease. As O'Neill did in this film, you need to test your LDL particle number. Large-sized particles are good, while the smaller, denser particles can penetrate the lining of your arteries and stimulate the plaque formation associated with heart disease. The former does NOT increase your heart disease risk, while the latter one will. To learn more about LDL particle numbers and how to test them, please see my previous interview with Chris Kresser, L.Ac., which goes into this in some detail.

Understanding Cholesterol

Cholesterol is one of the least understood molecules and truly gets a "bad rap." Although people understand that cholesterol is only present in animal-based foods, what many do not know is that we produce cholesterol just like any other animal, and it is a very necessary molecule used to form all of the cell membranes in the body. Cholesterol is also the building-block molecule from which all of the steroid hormones are made. If there is more cholesterol in the diet than is needed, then the body synthesizes less. If the diet does not provide enough cholesterol then the body makes more.

Since cholesterol is used by the body to manufacture hormones such as cortisol, we can look at what cortisol is and make some logical connections. Cortisol is widely regarded as a "stress hormone" since the body needs and produces more of it in response to stress. This stress response takes many forms; one of them is lowering inflammation--useful if your version of stress involves hand-to-hand combat with large carnivores or fighting for your life. The lowering of inflammation is why the pharmaceutical versions of cortisol (Hydrocortizone and other glucocorticoids) are used to reduce inflammation in cases of massive trauma or major surgery. Other effects of cortisol are the elevation of blood pressure, release of glucose from the liver, inhibition of the immune system, retaining of water/reducing kidney function (probably useful if the combat with the large carnivores leads to bleeding form flesh wounds, as retaining water would help to maintain blood volume when bleeding profusely) and other effects. Taken together, when stress levels remain high, lots of cortisol is produced. It would then make sense that making a lot of cortisol requires a lot of what is made from, which is cholesterol. Therefor, during periods of high stress (a lifetime for many people), the levels of cholesterol can become very elevated. When the stress is long-term, the stress will end up raising the inflammation level through other mechanisms; effectively, stress reduces inflammation in the short-term only. Cholesterol has many other uses in the body, including the formation of myelin--the insulating/speeding sheath that wraps around the nerves, like rubber coating surrounding a copper wire, that increases their conduction velocity (and is damaged in multiple sclerosis).

Dietary modifications to reduce cholesterol has been met with mixed results. Some people can follow a strict no-cholesterol diet and achieve a lowering of their plasma cholesterol levels, while other are not able to accomplish this. This failure of dietary regimen to achieve the desired goal may be because of the body's production of cholesterol to meet the necessary levels for the amount of stress the individual is experiencing. The failure may also be because of reduced utilization of cholesterol. The gut bacteria play a role here also with Lactobacillus bacteria actively consuming cholesterol. Lactobacillus not only consumes cholesterol, but it makes bile acids that aid in the digestion of fats out of the cholesterol that it consumes. It therefore makes sense that if a person has altered gut bacteria demographies and Lactobacillus are in the minority, that person will not use up as much cholesterol and the cholesterol levels may accumulate. Elevated levels of stress reduce the levels of Lactobacillus, providing the pathway for stress to reduce the beneficial effects of a healthy diet. The same imbalance may also predispose the person to inflammation, which is the real cause of heart disease.

The use of probiotics in dairy products to control cholesterol greatly predates modern science, as the Maasai tribe in Kenya use a probiotic fermented milk in their diet. The Maasai diet is composed almost entirely of meat, milk and blood. This diet includes several times the recommended level of cholesterol, and yet the Maasai have no problems with atherosclerosis or other degenerative diseases that could be related to their diet. What has been found is that their fermented milk (no refrigeration, so it all gets fermented if not immediately consumed!) contains probiotic bacterial population s that help to consume and lower cholesterol. Other sources of probiotics, such as yogurt, have been found to lower cholesterol levels also. 

Many people incorporate yogurt into their diet because they like it or they think that it is healthy--but what makes it healthy? Much of the yogurt on store shelves has no bacterial colony whatsoever, so it is important to read the ingredients! If it has no "live active cultures," then it has little if any health benefit to our good bacteria and subsequent immune function.

Eggs have often been the poster child of high cholesterol food, if the yolk is used. However, consuming eggs may not have as much to do with elevated cholesterol level as initially thought. Similarly, fats were implicated in the disease process, as it has been observed that people with high triglycerides (fats) in their blood are at increased risk of developing heart disease. There are other variables in this equation, as is often the case. For example, abnormal populations of gut bacteria promote atherosclerosis by causing inflammatory changes and altered metabolism of lipids. The presence of abnormal gut bacteria that cause irritable bowel syndrome is directly linked to the development of thickening of the wall of arteries, which is of course the actual structural change that is at the center of what we call atherosclerosis.

Excerpt from The Symboint Factor by Richard Matthews DC DACNB FACFN

Eat the Whole Egg

An egg is superior to the same quantity of any other kind of food. People who order egg-white-only omelets are missing out on the most nutritious part of the egg: the yolk. Dr. Chris Masterjohn points out that of all the nutrients in an egg, the yolk contains 100% of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K) essential fatty acids DHA and AA, and carotenoids. The yolk contains over 80% of the nine nutrients (calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamine, folate, B6, B12 and pantothenic acid), whereas the white contains over 80% of just three nutrients (magnesium, sodium and niacin). Six other nutrients are split more evenly between the two. Of course, the yolk also contains 99% of the fat, which is why people avoid it. Despite the widespread fear of cholesterol, eating eggs has not been shown to cause cardiovascular disease. Egg yolks from pastured hens are a deep orange, unlike the pale yellow of conventional yolks, and are richer in nutrients. as well as tasting better.