Natural Healing Through Specific Nutrition


Heart Disease has long been the number one killer in the U.S. This has lead to a lot of emphasis on a Heart-Healthy Diet. Heart-Healthy Diets, at least the ones recommended by the American Heart Association, Mayo Clinic, and other reputable organizations, center around the reduction of saturated fats and cholesterol. Just how healthy is a heart healthy diet? How bad are saturated fats and cholesterol for your heart? Let’s take a look.

Recommendations of a diet low in fats and cholesterol are based on what’s called the “Lipid Hypothesis.” Lipid is the scientific name for fat. Basically the Lipid Hypothesis says that you eat a lot of fats and cholesterol, they settle out in your arteries, then your arteries clog and form plaque, plaque and resulting clots then cause heart attacks. This concept first arose as a result of research done in 1913 after a scientist named Nikolai Anitsdikow fed rabbits a good deal of cholesterol and they formed plaque in their arteries. The theory was formally written up in 1951 by 2 doctors (Duff and McMillian) and published in the American Journal of Medicine. It was then heavily promoted by Ancel Keys who published a paper and wrote a book in 1953. Ancel Keys’ viewpoint was largely based on a study of seven countries that showed, he claimed, a direct a direct correlation between fat in the diet and heart attacks. In 1960 an American Heart Association committee embraced the lipid (fat) hypothesis based on a 3 page report and as a result of all the press a young staffer incorporated it into Senator George McGovern’s Dietary Goals for the United States in 1977. It became part of a political platform. There were some initial cholesterol drug trials that seemed to show a small relationship between lowering cholesterol with drugs and heart incidents so this was used as support for Eat Less Fats and Cholesterolto have a healthy heart. That is where our Heart Healthy Diet came from.

There are problems with the “Lipid Hypothesis” however. In the 1940’s and 1950’s the majority of cardiologists did not accept it. It would affect all of the arteries, they claimed, not just the heart arteries. There were no “kidney attacks” or “spleen attacks” only heart attacks. It was also felt that if plaque in the arteries was caused by saturated fats and cholesterol “settling out” the smallest vessels would be afflicted first. This was not the case. Furthermore the composition of arterial plaques is only a small amount (16%) of cholesterol and most of the fat was unsaturated (not animal fat). Most importantly the research and findings did not support it.

Feeding rabbits cholesterol, a meat based substance simply didn’t make sense. Rabbits are herbivores. Also the type of plaque was of a different kind than found in humans with atherosclerosis (plaquing). When Ancel Keys wrote that the countries that ate more dietary fat had more heart problems he only used seven out of the 22 countries that he had the data on. He simply only used the ones that matched his theory. At the time that the Lipid Hypothesis was embraced and formally adopted by the Dietary Goals for the United States there were only 7 randomly controlled studies done on fats and coronary (heart) artery disease, some poorly done, with very ambiguous results. One showed low cholesterol diets decreased heart disease but people died the same or earlier. Three showed low fat, high carb diets raised triglycerides and cholesterol. The most famous study, the Framingham study, often cited as proof of the lipid hypothesis, showed a weak cholesterol link between abnormally high cholesterol (in those who weighed more) with heart disease. What you never hear about is that the more cholesterol and saturated fat the people ate, the lower their cholesterol levels were. The biggest study ever done was at the University of Minnesota. It was completed in 1972 and showed that people on a cholesterol lowering diet had a significantly higher mortality. It wasn’t published until 1989, 17 years later, evidently because the results were not favorable.

Since that time many more studies have been done on how dietary fats and cholesterol affect the heart. All the major European long-term cholesterol studies have confirmed that a low fat diet does not reduce cholesterol levels by more than 4 percent, in most cases merely 1-2 percent. Since measurement mistakes can be higher than 4 percent and cholesterol levels naturally increase and decrease much more than this seasonally, this has been deemed insignificant. A study from Denmark involving 20,000 men and women demonstrated that most heart disease patients have normal cholesterol levels. A huge Chinese study found no connection between heart disease and the consumption of animal fats. Finally in 2010, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a Meta Analysis evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular diseases. A meta-analysis collects all known articles on a subject and then makes a conclusion on the basis of the data. They pooled data from 21 studies that included 347,747 people. The conclusion: “There is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD (Coronary Heart Disease) or CVD (Cardiovascular disease).”

I think you get the point. It’s not just my opinion that cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet has nothing to do with heart disease.

There is something connected with the Western diet that causes cardiovascular disease. Time after time it has been shown that a new population of people who start eating our modern food develop heart disease. It’s refined sugar and carbohydrates, trans-fatty acids (our solution to the lipid theory) and chemicals--Fake foods. Fake foods shouldn’t be put in the body and when they have been ingested require a lot of good specialized nutrition to counter. Call 260-459-6160 to see what you need to help prevent heart disease.

DeCava, Judith. Cholesterol Facts and Fantasies. 2nd Edition. 2005. Selene River Press.

Ravnskov, Uffe. The Cholesterol Myths. 2000. Weston Price Foundation.

Siri-Tarino, Petty. Sun, Qi et al. “Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating the Association of Saturated Fat With Cardiovascular Disease.” 2010. American Journal Clinical Nutrition.

Taubes, Gary. Good Calories, Bad Calories. 2008. First Anchor Books.



Dr. Murdock

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Fort Wayne, IN 46804


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