25 Reasons the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are wrong about cholesterol, saturated fat, and carbohydrates
1. In 1937, Columbia University biochemists David Rittenberg & Rudolph Schoenheimer demonstrated that dietary cholesterol had little or no influence on blood cholesterol. This scientific fact has never been refuted. Why, then, do the proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines limit dietary cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day – or 200 mg if you are diabetic?
2. Dietary cholesterol is poorly absorbed, 50 percent at best (Mary Enig, PhD; Michael I. Gurr, PhD, lipid biochemists). According to these lipid biochemists, the more cholesterol you eat, the less cholesterol you absorb. Since our bodies must synthesize between 1200 and 1800 mg of cholesterol daily, why is there any dietary limit?
3. “Cholesterol in food has no affect on cholesterol in blood and we’ve known that all along.” These are the words of Professor Ancel Keys, American Heart Association board member and father of the low fat diet, who, in retirement, recanted the idea that dietary cholesterol raises blood levels. His recant has been greeted with silence.
4. All federal Dietary Guidelines since 1980 discuss cholesterol as something to fear. Since cholesterol is found in every cell in our bodies and is a precursor to all adrenal and sex hormones, why wouldn’t the 2010 Dietary Guidelines discuss the essential nature of cholesterol instead?
5. Cholesterol is a single molecule. There is no such thing as "good cholesterol" or "bad cholesterol." These descriptions were cooked up to sell statin cholesterol-lowering drugs. Referred to as "bad," LDL is not bad and LDL is not cholesterol. LDL is a lipoprotein that delivers cholesterol to the 70 trillion cells in our bodies. (Only oxidized cholesterol is bad and elevated blood sugar and elevated triglycerides oxidize LDL.)
7. Cholesterol, fat, and fat soluble nutrients are delivered to our cells in lipoproteins, such as LDL. Also, there are lipoprotein subfactions (such as LDL, subclass A and subclass B). Understanding lipoprotein subfractions is much more important in preventing and reversing heart disease than measuring your total cholesterol (TC). Ask your doctor to provide LDL subfractions and stop scaring you about your total cholesterol number.
8. The statement “saturated fat raises blood cholesterol” is a false and misleading overgeneralization. There are many different types of saturated fat and many reasons why blood cholesterol rises and falls. Saturated fat intake and blood cholesterol levels are not in a teeter-totter relationship.
9. Fat in food is always a combination of saturated and unsaturated fat. As an example, butter contains 12 different fatty acids, including 8 different saturated fats (and 8 different chain lengths). Saturated stearic acid, as an example, does not elevate blood cholesterol and, in fact, promotes higher levels of HDL, a lipoprotein associated with protection from heart disease. (Michael I. Gurr, lipid biochemist; Dr. Eric Rimm, Harvard University, member, 2010 DGAC).
10. Cholesterol is found in every cell in the body and is a precursor to vitamin D (actually a hormone) and to our stress hormones. Stress has the potential to temporarily elevate blood cholesterol. When the stress is over, cholesterol will leave the blood and go back to the liver and tissues. Frequent fluctuations of blood cholesterol due to fear, stress, weather, activity, and age represent normal body functioning.
11. Recommending that Americans eat a variety of healthy fats is more helpful nutritionally than labeling fats “good or bad” depending on their degree of saturation. Besides, “saturated” means stable; nothing else. Saturated fat is a stable fat and represents approximately 50 percent of the fat found in our cell membranes.
12. During the first meeting of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Dr. Eric Rimm from Harvard testified that he is concerned about "the artificial limit on fat" in the Dietary Guidelines. He mentioned that “there is some concern” about excess carbohydrates elevating triglycerides because the ratio of TG to HDL is emerging as one of the most reliable risk factors for heart disease.
13. Anything that promotes HDL (such as natural dietary fat) puts downward pressure on triglycerides – blood fats made in the liver from excess carbohydrates. Elevated triglycerides are associated with increased risk of heart disease. Saturated fats like stearic acid are heart-healthy in that they lower the ratio of TG to HDL.
14. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines should say: Eating beef – especially from the pasture – and enjoying some dark chocolate – from the rain forest – provides saturated stearic acid and monounsaturated oleic acid – fats that protect you from heart disease.
15. The primary dietary cause of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease is the excess carbohydrates in our diet, especially sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and the easily-digested carbohydrates found in grain and grain products.
16. Most dry boxed commercial breakfast cereals raise blood sugar rapidly; they are high glycemic. There is no warning about blood-sugar-raising foods in the proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Since blood sugar has a very narrow healthy range (and cholesterol in blood has a wide normal range), why is blood sugar not mentioned in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines?
17. Only carbohydrates raise blood sugar and insulin levels. Why, then is the role of excess carbs in promoting obesity and diabetes not being addressed in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines?
18. By weight, all children’s breakfast cereals are 30 to 50 percent sugar. If the DGAC is concerned about reducing the incidence of chronic disease in America, isn’t there a scientific justification for warning parents and Americans about blood-sugar-raising foods, especially those that are being marketed to children?
19. The particularly harmful carbohydrates - sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - are not singled out in the proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Dr. Joanne Slavin defended the use of HFCS by saying “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” She chairs the Carbohydrate Committee and her testimony (Meeting 1) suggests she is not concerned about excess sugar and high fructose corn syrup in the American diet. She works for the University of Minnesota, and the U of M receives substantial financial support from Cargill (and General Mills). Was her recommendation not to single out high fructose corn syrup a serious conflict of interest?
20. Metabolic Syndrome - hyperinsulinism, weight gain, elevated blood pressure - is associated with high carbohydrate diets. It is estimated that 25 percent or more of us are sensitive to carbohydrates, even to the highly touted whole grains. Why isn't Metabolic Syndrome specifically discussed in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines? (Dr. Gereald Reaven, Stanford University Medical School, author of Syndrome X)
21. A high carbohydrate diet is associated with elevated triglycerides (TG), which, in turn, is associated with depressed levels of HDL. Depressed HDL is a potent risk factor for diabetes and coronary heart disease. A Harvard study verified that people with the highest TG and the lowest HDL (top quartile) were 16 times more likely to die of heart disease than people with the lowest TG and highest HDL (lowest quartile).
22. Blood-sugar-raising carbohydrates have a direct and immediate effect on blood sugar and insulin levels and, in the words of science writer Gary Taubes, "on the disruption of the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body.”
23. The simple explanation for why Americans have fattened: hyperinsulinism. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. When insulin levels are elevated – either chronically or after a meal – we make and store fat and then lock it up in adipose tissue. When fat is locked up, it is not available as a fuel to the trillions of cells in the body. Hunger is the result. By stimulating insulin levels, carbohydrates make us hungry and fat. High circulating insulin - in response to excess dietary carbohydrates - is the root cause of weight gain and obesity and all chronic disease associated with elevated blood sugar and insulin levels.
24. Excess carbohydrates - especially sugar, HFCS, and rapidly-digested grain products, lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease - which leads to slow, suffocating heart failure and premature death.
25. Heart failure is the #1 Medicare expenditure. The incidence of heart failure has doubled since 1990. According to the CDC in Atlanta, 1 in 3 children born today will become diabetics. According to the American Heart Association, eighty percent (80%) of diabetics die of heart disease. We have both an expanding population and a steadily increasing incidence of chronic disease. Americans need relief. It's time to end the confusion about fat and cholesterol. How bad do things have to get before we revise the U.S. Dietary Guidelines in favor of a higher fat whole foods carbohydrate-restricted diet?
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