I'm not a Cardiologist, not even a researcher, but my clinical experience and using FOOD as MY medicine has taught me a few things. First of all, prevention is always the best cure. If you eat "right" you can prevent a whole lot of illnesses. There's no argument there. Also, "we are what we eat", another oldie that's a goody!
I read an article from a Cardiologist that really hit home for me. It obviously goes along with my beliefs. This is a heated discussion. There are some old school mentalities (and lots of $ interests) that just won't budge on this, so keep your minds, eyes and ears, open. The article I read was from a Portuguese Cardiologist, but there are many similar ones in English below.
To summarize the articles (and I won't get tired of saying this myself):
1. Dietary Fat does NOT lead to Cardiovascular disease (not the REAL fats we are talking about, anyway. I talked about this in the previous blog).
2. Cholesterol is NOT the bad guy when it comes to atherosclerosis (rather, cholesterol is sent to injured arteries as a healing response when there is significant INFLAMMATION.)
3. Fact: eating certain types of FAT actually IMPROVES your cholesterol levels! Yes, Omega-3 is an Essential FATTY acid, it's a fat! It comes from FATTY fish and other FATTY foods. Olive oil, avocado... all FATS! All good for you, all help to improve HDL ("good cholesterol", as you know it) levels! Even Harvard agrees with this!
4. Fact: 75% of people have NORMAL cholesterol levels at the time of their first heart attack. This tells you that cardiovascular disease occurs first, and high levels of "bad" cholesterol come later, further confirming point #2 - cholesterol is not the bad guy! Something ELSE is causing cardiovascular disease, most of the time (hint: inflammation).
So, to me, this tells me that we have been looking in the wrong direction this whole time. Instead of looking for the real culprit of cardiovascular disease, we've been blaming cholesterol and letting the bad guys get away with "murder"! If you want to read on about why we NEED cholesterol, check out this article.
It is important to note that the true cause of "How ... atherosclerosis start(s) and progress(es)... isn't known". This is NOT ME saying it: it's the OTHER guys, the old-school guys, basing their theories on old science. They don't really know. "... some theories have been proposed. Many scientists believe ... possible causes of damage to the arterial wall are:Elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood...". It is nothing but a theory (a very poor theory, if you ask me). People like me are here to help you make your own conclusions, based on FACTS and practical info. We are not advocating for big Pharm. All we are advocating for is your HEALTH! We are part of the Information Age. Make your own conclusions, get informed. Look beyond... I'm not gonna talk about Big Pharm here, and how cholesterol-lowering drugs have been the biggest money-maker... but a lot of these guys do talk about it.
What DOES lead to heart disease? Well, this is a multifactorial issue, obviously, but we know most causes, for sure: INFLAMMATION; Obesity; lack of physical activity; lack of dietary fiber; smoking and other bad habits; genetics (here Familial Hypercholesterolemia does play a role); DIET (processed foods like trans fats, allergens/intolerances, and excess SUGAR)...so Ance Keys wasn't ALL wrong (and I have given his props for that on the last blog).
Here are some very practical things you can check in order to assess your risk for Heart Disease:
-BMI (Body Mass Index). Basically check your weight to height calculation. Are you within the normal limits? (There are exceptions to this, but unless you are an olympic athlete, with super low body fat percentage and super high muscle percentage, this is pretty accurate.)
-Waist to Hip ratio - in my opinion just as important, if not more, than BMI. Basically, when men and women start to deposit fat in their abdominal area, your risk of Cardiovascular disease goes up significantly! This value is different for men and women because of how we are biologically built different, so make sure you check the right chart.
SOLUTION: If you are overweight, get to losing some weight (How? By eating more fat and less carbs); if you have higher than normal belly fat, get to losing it (How? By eating more fat and less carbs). If you have lots of INFLAMMATION (more on this later)... LCHF. All roads lead to the LCHF diet. .