8 Cholesterol Myths Your Doctor Still Believes
As some of you may know, cardiologist Stephen Sinatra and I co-authored a book which was recently released, entitled “The Great Cholesterol Myth”.
The buzz on this has been amazing, largely thanks to you!
Even though our interview with Dr. Oz hasn’t been shown yet (probably around Christmas), word of mouth has been sensational, and as I write this the book is ranked number 2 in “Heart Disease” on Amazon.
I’ve noticed some folks posting excerpts and findings from the book all over Facebook which has been really gratifying (thanks Bryan Coad and others!)
That inspired me to knock out a column on eight popular cholesterol myths that we demolish in the book, (complete with citations, which you can show your doctor).
We’ll be talking about “The Great Cholesterol Myth” a lot in the coming months—it’s the most important book I’ve ever written and I really want you to read it.
Here are eight of my favorite cholesterol myths.
MYTH: High cholesterol is the cause of heart disease.
FACT: Cholesterol is a fairly insignificant player in heart disease.
MYTH: High cholesterol is a good predictor of heart attacks.
FACT: High cholesterol is a lousy predictor of heart attacks. Half the people admitted to hospitals with heart disease have normal cholesterol, and plenty of people with elevated cholesterol have perfectly healthy hearts.
MYTH: Lowering cholesterol with statin drugs will prolong your life.
FACT: There is no data showing statins have any impact on longevity.
MYTH: Statin drugs are perfectly safe.
FACT: Statin drugs have significant side effects, including loss of memory and libido, muscle pain and fatigue, and approximately 65% of doctors don’t report those side effects.
MYTH: Statin drugs are appropriate for men, women, children and the elderly.
FACT: The only group in which statins have been shown to have even a modest effect is in middle-aged men who’ve already had a heart attack. If you’re not in that group, you’ve got no business on a statin drug.
MYTH: Saturated fat is dangerous.
FACT: Saturated fat is mostly neutral and may even have some health benefits. Far more “dangerous” is sugar, high levels of omega-6 fat, low levels of omega-3’s and man-made trans fats. Recent peer-reviewed studies have shown no association of saturated fat with heart disease.
MYTH: The higher your cholesterol, the shorter your lifespan.
FACT: In the Framingham Study, the people who actually lived the longest had the highest cholesterol.
MYTH: A high carbohydrate diet protects you from heart disease.
FACT: Diets that substitute carbohydrates for saturated fat actually increase the risk for heart disease.
For much, much more, check out our new book, “The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin-Free Plan that Will“.