Cholesterol Facts vs. Myths

By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS and Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACN Authors of The Great Cholesterol Myth

Posted on | By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACN

Myth: Saturated fat is dangerous.

Fact: Recent peer-reviewed studies have shown no association of saturated fat with heart disease.

Two major studies in the last few years concluded that there was no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease. In one study, the researchers wrote, “Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke, nor was it associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular 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.

One study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that those with cholesterol levels lower than 189 were far more likely to die than those with the highest cholesterol levels. “Subjects with low total cholesterol levels are at higher risk of dying even when many related factors have been taken into account,” the researchers wrote.

Myth: A high-carbohydrate diet protects you from heart disease.

Fact: Diets that substitute carbohydrates for saturated fat may actually increase the risk for heart disease.  

A study by Dariush Mozaffarian of Harvard found that in postmenopausal women, greater saturated fat intake was associated with less progression of coronary atherosclerosis, while carbohydrate intake was associated with a greater progression. This finding was so suprising that the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an editorial called “Saturated Fat Prevents Coronary Artery Disease? An American Paradox.” The Mozaffarian study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that replacing saturated fats with high-glycemic index carbs was associated with a 33% increase in heart attack risk.

Article written by Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS
Co-Author of The Great Cholesterol Myth

Article written by Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACN
Co-Author of The Great Cholesterol Myth