Cholesterol Myths

Not everyone believes the notion that cholesterol is dangerous to your health, specifically your heart health. In fact, some people think that there are benefits to having high levels of cholesterol. These opponents feel that current medical cholesterol treatments are not based on facts. These so-called experts claim that there are many cholesterol myths circulating around the medical community.

Cholesterol Myths
The experts who disagree with current thought on the relationship between heart disease and cholesterol maintain that:

  • The amount of cholesterol that you eat has little effect on the total amount of cholesterol that you have.
  • High cholesterol levels can help keep you healthier by preventing infections.
  • More men who have low cholesterol die from AIDs than do men with high cholesterol levels.
  • Elderly people with high levels of cholesterol tend to live longer.
  • Having high levels of cholesterol in and of itself cannot predict whether a person will have a heart attack.
  • High levels of cholesterol in general and LDL cholesterol are not a risk factor to developing heart disease.
  • High levels of cholesterol may help to prevent atherosclerosis, or clogging of the arteries, rather than help to cause it.
  • Statins, one of the most common types of drugs used to lower cholesterol, work to prevent heart disease, but not because statins actually lower cholesterol levels.
  • Eating large amounts of sugar over time can lead to atherosclerosis.
  • The reason cholesterol myths persist is because drug companies and the food industry benefit from cholesterol myths.

Cholesterol Myths Proponents
Who are some of the proponents of these theories regarding cholesterol?

  • Uffe Ravnskov was born in Denmark in 1934 and received his medical doctorate in 1961 from the University of Copenhagen. He received a PhD in philosophy with a specialty in internal medicine and nephrology, or study of the kidney and diseases of the kidney, from the University of Lund in 1973. In 1979, Ravnskov went into private practice and became an independent researcher. In 1991, Ravnskov's book, "The Cholesterol Myths," was published in Sweden. Ravnskov has received awards for his research with cholesterol, such as the Skrabaneck Award in 1999 and the Leo Prize for Independent Thinking in 2007. The Skrabaneck Award recognizes those who contribute to medical skepticism and is given by Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. The LEO Prize is awarded to independent researchers who publish work in contrary to established principles in the natural sciences and medicine. Dr. Ravnskov is one of the major proponents of these theories.
  • Michael Gurr, an associate professor of biochemistry at Oxford's School of Biological & Molecular Sciences, is the editor of Nutrition Research Reviews and a coauthor of "Lipid Biochemistry: An Introduction."
  • Edward R. Pinckney is the author of "The Cholesterol Controversy."
  • Raymond Reiser taught biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M and received the Bailey Award in 1976.
  • Mary Enid, author of "Know your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol," has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Maryland.
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