Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Diet, Not Drugs
As a society we spend so much money that is absolutely wasted on medication. The disease is not high cholesterol or even obesity. The disease is our diet and our lifestyle. When we address these issues then all the symptoms, yes - all, disappear and we can lead a healthy long life.
A recent randomized controlled study (NORDIET) on 88 mildly people with elevated cholesterol showed how simple the solution is. 1One group had a diet rich in high-fibre plant foods: fruits, berries, vegetables, whole grains, grapeseed oil, nuts, fish and low-fat milk products, but low in salt, added sugars and saturated fats. The other group had the average western processed diet. Compared with controls, those on the healthy Nordic diet (ND. similar to the Mediterranean diet) had a decrease in plasma cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, LDL/HDL and apolipoprotein (apo)B/apoA1. The ND also had reduced insulin and systolic BP by compared with the control diet. Body weight decreased after 6 weeks in the ND compared with the control group. The conclusions after 6 weeks in the study was that a healthy ND improves blood lipid profile and insulin sensitivity and lowers blood pressure at clinically relevant levels in people with elevated cholesterol without any medication.
While cholesterol is not a health problem it is an indicator of poor health, primarily stress on the liver and growing research is also showing that cholesterol may actually be protective.
A study of 6984 patients aged 65 years or older found mortality was inversely related to cholesterol levels. That is low cholesterol levels were associated with in-hospital mortality 2. The study concluded that among older hospitalized adults, low serum cholesterol levels appear to be an independent predictor of short-term mortality.
In another study of more than 52,000 Norwegians over a 10-year period the overall risk of death was the same in men with cholesterol levels of 7.0 mmol/l or higher than in individuals with levels of less than 5.0 mmol 3. In the individuals with cholesterol levels in the 5.0 – 5.9 mmol/l the risk of death was 23 per cent lower than in men with the lowest cholesterol levels. In women, the higher the cholesterol level the lower the overall risk of death. The third study of 82,000 adults in the UK over 8 years again found that higher total cholesterol levels were actually associated with a reduced risk of death due to stroke and that higher cholesterol levels are not a risk factor for heart disease 4.
There is no valid reason to focus on lowering cholesterol and especially no valid reason to take statin medication which has serious side effects, when the solution really is so simple.
Adamsson, et al 2011. Effects of a healthy Nordic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in hypercholesterolaemic subjects: a randomized controlled trial (NORDIET).
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2010.02290.Journal of Internal Medicine
Volume 269, Issue 2, pages 150–159, February 2011
The American Journal of Medicine [2003, 115(4):265-271]
Petursson H, et al. Is the use of cholesterol in mortality risk algorithms in clinical guidelines valid? Ten years prospective data from the Norwegian HUNT 2 study. J Eval Clin Pract. 25 Sept 2011 [Epub ahead of print]
Hamer M, et al. Comparison of risk factors for fatal stroke and ischemic heart disease: A prospective follow up of the health survey for England. Atherosclerosis epub 22 August 2011.