It's Monday – and time for another Real Food Quote Monday (RFQM). Today, I'm continuing what I began several weeks ago, sharing from Dr. Mary Enig's and Sally Fallon Morell's book, “Eat Fat, Lose Fat.”
In Chapter 2, their goal is to debunk the lipid hypothesis through answering four questions – or as they put it, exploding four myths.
Here's a quick recap of the myths Chapter 2 addresses:
- Myth: High fat foods cause heart disease. Blog post here, 3/20/10.
- Myth: High cholesterol causes heart disease. Blog post here, 3/27/10.
- Myth: High-fat foods increase blood cholesterol. (Topic of this blog post.)
- Myth: Cholesterol causes plaque buildup in arteries. Blog post here, 4/12/10.
This week, we're going to move on to the third myth.
Myth: High Fat Foods Increase Blood Cholesterol
A key concept behind the lipid hypothesis is that cholesterol levels vary in different people because they eat different foods. This notion rests on the assumption that the levels of cholesterol in the blood are high in people who eat large amounts of food high in fats, especially animal fats. Again, however, the results of a great deal of research completely oppose this idea.
Here's what the authors reviewed:
Framingham Study – In the 1950s researchers profiled nearly 1,000 people and found no connection at all between the food they ate and their cholesterol levels. Diet could not explain the considerable range of cholesterol levels among the people studied. This part of the Framingham study was never published.
Tecumseh Study – This was conducted in the small town of Tecumseh, Michigan, and published in 1976. After profiling 2000 people, researchers found no difference in diet to explain varying levels of cholesterol (high, middle, and low). In addition, the low-cholesterol group of people ate just as much saturated fat as did the group with high cholesterol.
British Bank Tellers – In 1963, results from studying the diet (twice) of 99 middle aged male bank employees in London revealed no connection between what they ate and their cholesterol levels.
Israeli Civil Servants – 1969, the diet and cholesterol levels of 10,000 Israeli civil servants, from many different backgrounds and diets, were studied. Amounts of animal fat and cholesterol levels varied widely. Researchers saw low cholesterol levels in the people who ate small amounts of animal fat, and low levels in those who ate the most animal fat. Also, researchers saw high levels of cholesterol from people who ate high, medium or low amounts of animal fat. No correlation was found between the amount of animal fat consumed and levels of cholesterol.
State University, New York – A more recent study in 2004 found that after healthy adults followed a diet of just 19% fat, their “good” (HDL) cholesterol lowered. These same people switched to a 50% fat diet and saw an increase in the “good” cholesterol levels. Most importantly, the high-fat diet did not lead to an increase in “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.
Conclusion: High Fat Foods Do NOT Increase Blood Cholesterol Levels
So, we've learned that 1) high fat foods do not cause heart disease, 2) high cholesterol does not cause heart disease, and 3) high fat foods do not raise cholesterol. One more myth to explode, next week!
So that's it for this week's Real Food Quote Monday. What do you think? Next week, we'll move on to myth #4. Please feel free to share anything you're thinking in the comments!
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