25 Reasons the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are wrong about cholesterol & saturated fat

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| August 18, 2012 | 13 Replies
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In 2015, the low fat 2010 Dietary Guidelines will be up for revision. A lot of time and money could be saved by restoring the 1950 Family Fare booklet issued by the same agency - the U.S. Department of Aggriculture

In 2015, the low fat 2010 Dietary Guidelines will be up for revision. Please – we can’t afford low fat business as usual!

1. In 1937, Columbia University biochemists David Rittenberg & Rudolph Schoenheimer demonstrated that dietary cholesterol had little or no influence on blood cholesterol. Never refuted, why do the 2010 Dietary Guidelines limit dietary cholesterol to fewer than 300 mg per day?

2. Dietary cholesterol is poorly absorbed – 50 percent at best (Mary Enig, PhD; Michael I. Gurr, PhD). According to Drs. Enig and Gurr, the more cholesterol you eat the less cholesterol you absorb. Since our bodies need 1200-1800 mg of new cholesterol daily, why is there any limit on dietary cholesterol in the Dietary Guidelines?

3. In 1997, retired from the University of Minnesota, Ancel Keys, American Heart Association board member – father of the low fat diet – said:  “Cholesterol in food has no affect on cholesterol in blood and we’ve known that all along.” Keys recanted but no one was listening to him anymore…

4. Because cholesterol is a precursor to stress hormones, stress can elevate blood cholesterol. When the stress is over, cholesterol can leave the blood and go back to the liver and other tissues. Frequent fluctuations of blood cholesterol due to fear, stress, weather, activity and age represent normal body functioning – not a disease to fight with drugs.

“Cholesterol in food has no affect on cholesterol in blood and we’ve known that all along.”

5. 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 Vitamin D and all adrenal and sex hormones, why wouldn’t the 2010 Dietary Guidelines discuss the essential nature of cholesterol instead?

6. There is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cholesterol – descriptions cooked up to sell cholesterol-lowering drugs. Referred to as bad, LDL is not cholesterol and LDL is not bad. LDL is a lipoprotein that delivers cholesterol to the 70 trillion cells in our bodies. (Only oxidized cholesterol is bad. Chronic elevated blood sugar oxidizes LDL and other blood factors such as hemoglobin.)

7. LDL – Low Density Lipoprotein – is not one thing. There are LDL sub-factions (such as LDL subclass A and subclass B). Knowing your Triglyceride level (TG) and understanding lipoprotein sub-fractions is much more important in preventing and reversing heart disease than measuring total cholesterol (TC). Ask your doctor to test for LDL sub-fractions and stop scaring you about your total cholesterol number.

8. The statement “saturated fat raises blood cholesterol” is a false and misleading oversimplification. Saturated fat intake and blood cholesterol levels are not a teeter-totter relationship. There are many different types of saturated fat and many reasons why blood cholesterol rises and falls.

9. Fat in food is always a combination of different saturated and unsaturated fats. As an example, butter contains 8 different saturated fats. One of them, stearic acid, a common saturate found in many foods, promotes HDL, a lipoprotein associated with protection from heart disease. (Michael I. Gurr, lipid biochemist; Dr. Eric Rimm, Harvard, member, 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.)

10. Wouldn’t recommending that Americans eat a variety of healthy natural fats be more helpful than labeling fats “good or bad” depending on their degree of saturation? Besides, “saturated” means chemically stable – nothing else. Chemically stable saturated fat represents 50 percent or more of the fat found in our 70 trillion cell membranes.

At the risk of getting "kicked off the stage," Dr. Eric Rimm testified that "dietary fats do not lead to obesity."

At the risk of getting “kicked off the stage,” Dr. Eric Rimm testified that “dietary fats do not lead to obesity.”

11. During the first meeting of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Harvard’s Dr. Eric Rimm testified that he is concerned about “the artificial limit on fat” in the Dietary Guidelines. He mentioned that “he could be thrown off the stage for saying this.” No – he wasn’t thrown off the stage – he was simply ignored!

12. Anything that promotes HDL (such as natural dietary fat) puts downward pressure on triglycerides (TG) – blood fats made in the liver from excess carbohydrates. Elevated TG is 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.

13. 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 – natural healthy fats that protect you from heart disease.

14. The primary dietary cause of 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. Since 1980, Americans are consuming at least 400 additional carbohydrate calories a day – much of it sugar and corn syrup.

15. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar and insulin levels; fats do not. Given the fact that we are facing an unprecedented diabetes epidemic, why is the role of excess carbs in promoting obesity and diabetes not addressed in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines?  Why is the limit on added sugars a whopping 25 percent of calories?

16. Boxed breakfast cereals raise blood sugar rapidly, but there is no warning about blood-sugar-raising foods in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Since blood sugar has a narrow healthy range (and cholesterol in blood has a wide normal range), why is elevated blood sugar not mentioned in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines?

17. By weight, all children’s breakfast cereals are 30 to 50 percent sugar. If the federal government is concerned about reducing the incidence of obesity and diabetes in children, why isn’t there a warning to parents about blood-sugar-raising foods in the Dietary Guidelines, especially those that are being marketed to children?

18. Dr. Joanne Slavin, self appointed Carbohydrate Chair, defended the use of HFCS by saying “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” 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 her department at 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 conflict of interest as the expense of the 75 million Americans who are diabetic or pre-diabetic?

Was Professor Slavin’s recommendation not to single out high fructose corn syrup a conflict of interest as the expense of the 75 million Americans who are diabetic or pre-diabetic? (The Cargill Building at the University of Minnesota Nutrition School.)

19. Metabolic Syndrome is now considered a primary risk factor for coronary heart disease. Metabolic Syndrome includes elevated blood sugar, hyperinsulinism, high triglycerides, low HDL and is strongly associated with high carbohydrate diets. Why isn’t Metabolic Syndrome specifically discussed in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines? Will Metabolic Syndrome be discussed in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines?

20. A high carbohydrate diet is associated with elevated triglycerides (TG) and depressed HDL. Depressed HDL is a potent risk factor for 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.

Gary Taubes, award-winning science writer and author of Good Calories, Bad Calories

21. 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.” Isn’t this worth knowing?

22. High insulin levels (hyperinsulinism) explain why Americans have fattened. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. When insulin levels are elevated – either chronically or after a meal – we make and store fat and 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.

23. 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, obesity, diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and coronary heart disease – which leads to congestive heart failure.

24. The incidence of slow, suffocating heart failure has doubled since 1987 – the year that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs were approved in record time. Heart failure is now the Number One Medicare expenditure – the Number One reason anyone age 65 or older is in the hospital.

25. According to the CDC in Atlanta, 1 in 3 children born today will become diabetics and 80 percent of diabetics die of heart disease. We have both an expanding population and a steadily increasing incidence of diabetes and heart disease. Americans need relief. 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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Category: Dietary Guidelines

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  1. WOD-Q-Pong today! « | August 19, 2012
  1. Good article with good content. However 95% of this article appeared on http://extremeconditioning.com/blog/2010/09/06/the-truth-about-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-from-diet-heart-publishing.php Dated Sept 06 2010 written by Mike Demeter I don’t see appropriate credit given.

  2. Alan Watson says:

    With all due respect, this article is based on my testimony submitted to USDA in 2009 during the 2010 Dietary Guidelines comment process. Also, on 9-10-10, I submitted this article to Before Its News: http://buff.ly/Rrohxy where it received over 17,000 views. Apparently someone thought enough about it to pass it along without attributing it to me. (This has happened before and I don’t loose sleep over it!)

  3. L. Lee Coyne Ph.D. says:

    Interesting- I now see that you first published this on Sept. 4 2010 on http://beforeitsnews.com/health/2010/09/25-reasons-the-2010-dietary-guidelines-are-wrong-about-cholesterol-saturated-fat-and-carbohydrates-162582.html under the Name of your book ” “Cereal Killer” so I now stand corrected and apologize- I just read the Sept 06 2010 written by Mike Demeter first – so it appears he is the one that needs checking on. Anyway- it is a very good item. Thanks for the clarification. Cheers

  4. Superb article. But I think more emphasis should be placed on exactly which type of carbohydrates are causing radical insulin spikes and all their attendant health problems: simple carbs, refined carbs.

    I totally agree that refined carbs are a major problem and should be reduced in our diets (white rice, white bread, high fructose corn syrup and all the foods/drinks that contain HFCS, white pasta, refined noodles, cakes, biscuits, cookies, and all manner of sugary fizzy drinks).

    However, simply saying ‘carbohydrates’ are the problem, might mislead people into thinking that all carbs, including complex carbs are a problem. We need complex carbohydrates for energy, and we also need the soluble and insoluble fibre that they contain.

    We should be encouraging people to eat sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, porridge oats. These are carbs too, but the slow release of energy ensures a steady insulin reaction.

    Don’t lets swing too far the other way and demonise all carbs.

  5. Alan Watson says:

    I agree – carbohydrates should be graded. Here’s the problem: During Meeting 1 of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines deliberations, Carbohydrate Chair Dr. Joanne Slavin (University of Minnesota) testified that “grading carbohydrates would be too controversial.” She also testified that up to 25 percent of our calories as sugar is perfectly okay! I wonder, how did she get selected to be on the 13-member committee. Her pro-Big-Food testimony during Meeting 1 (October 2008) stood and was written into the final guidelines notwithstanding all subsequent input from the public and other health professionals. That’s the problem – loaded low fat dice – not brown rice and broccoli as you so aptly point out.

  6. marco says:

    to be really honest with the usda guidelines and the american population its ok cereals are not the ebst food but tell me what porcent of the people in the us really follows this guidelines ??? 10% and thats a lot second of all this diabetis and heart diseases comes from a sedentary way of living and from the fast food that also includes the very low quiality meat grain feed meat so we can make the usda guidelines guilty for the diseases because no one follows them we cant make a relation between a person follow a 100% all days all his life this guidelines its imposible if we are talking of cronic deseases

  7. DJ says:

    Less bad does not necessarily equal good. We don’t *need* carbs for energy. We also don’t *need* fiber.

  8. How can you explain that Okinawans and Kitavans from Papua New Guinea obtain 70% of their calorie intake from carbohydrates (sweet potatoes) and inspite of such high carb diet they have exceptionally high life expectancy and low prevalence of obesity and associated diseases such as diabetes, CV diseases, cancer etc.

  9. Alan Watson says:

    I am writing about U.S. where 25% of the population is diabetic or pre-diabetic. Diabetes became a public health problem only after 1980 when low fat Dietary Guidelines became the law of the land. As Americans have increased their sugar and grain consumption during the last 30-40 years, they have become obese, diabetic, and heart disease has not gone down as promised. The only thing I know about Okinawa is that lard is the number one cooking fat and that people in Japan eat a lot of eggs, pork, and seafood (if they can afford it).

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