September 18

The Cholesterol Myths

34  comments

 
The Cholesterol MythsDanish physician, Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, has for years been at the forefront of the movement to de-demonize cholesterol. Not only has he written three popular books on the subject, he has published over a hundred articles in the medical and scientific literature and spoken at academic conferences the world over. In addition, he founded and runs THINCS, The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics, an organization that includes physicians and scientists from around the globe.
Due to problems with the publisher of his first and, in my view, most comprehensive book on cholesterol, Dr. Ravnskov has provided it free of charge to anyone who wants it. The Cholesterol Myths is a thoroughly researched and referenced book on how cholesterol isn’t the monster most nutritional researchers seem to think it is. I was lucky enough to get a copy when it was first published and have read my a couple of times. And still dip into it here and there for a refresher when needed. Right now, used copies are for sale on Amazon for up to $170, but you can download your free copy here.
Also, you should take a look at Dr. Ravnskov’s other books, Fat and Cholesterol are Good For You! and Ignore the Awkward: How the Cholesterol Myths are Kept Alive. Both are terrific books, and I recommend them for the libraries of anyone serious about nutrition.


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  1. Thanks Dr Mike ! I have Dr Ravnskov’s other two books in paperback, great to have the download of first book now ! I picked up your post here in France on holiday, such fantastic food, just had pure pork sausages.
    Btw, thought you might be interested in this article about European hunter gatherers from the BBC. Interesting bit halfway through article that they had good levels of vitamin D despite having ‘swarthy’ skins because they got their D from the meat of the animals they hunted. So when agriculture took over the neolithic people not only got phytates from their grains which interfered with calcium absorption but also they got less vitamin D: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29213892 I wonder if we who eat free range or ‘wild’ meat get vitamin D from it too ?
    Anne

    1. Thanks for the link. I’m not sure how much vitamin D we get from free range or wild meat, which is why I take a supplement if I’m not out in the sun a lot.
      Enjoy your trip. I’m jealous. But I’ll be there in early Nov for a while. Weather will probably suck then, but the food is always good.

        1. We’re going to be spending our time in Ansouis. Are you anywhere close? We’re on a pretty tight schedule as it’s a business trip, but who knows? Keep in touch.

          1. We’re flying into Marseille — in fact, we on our way now — so won’t be that close. We’re getting picked up at the Marseille airport and whisked north for a few business meetings. Then heading to Arles and then to Paris for yet more meetings. So won’t really have time on this trip for a get together. We’ll be back, though. Seems like we’re in France a time or two a year, so at some point we’ll get together. Thanks very much for the kind offer of dinner.

    2. His second book is basically an updated version of his first book. I loaned out my copy of The Cholesterol Myths, and the person never returned it. The Cholesterol Myths is the first book I read on this subject, and it started me along the Dark Path from Pritikin-style eating to low carb, high fat eating.

      1. Yeah, I did print to File from Mozilla on my PC running Linux, and that worked fine. However, something that converts html to PDF may be preferred, as it might preserve the hyperlinking.

  2. Good Eades’ groupie that I am, I went to my dusty shelves and reread Cholesterol Myths last night. The first time that I read it, many years ago, I was interested only in the science. This time, I was able to enjoy how well the material is presented.
    I’d make additional comments, but my crockpot just completed 10 hours on low of country-style shoulder boneless pork ribs seasoned overnight with sweet mesquite. The aroma alone could turn a vegan into a carnivore (which is what I finally did 8 years ago after 60 years as a vegetarian).

  3. Is it just me? Or are others done to death with the rhetoric of politics and propaganda, regarding ‘Statins’. I have read Uffe’s (among many others on the topic) claims, and they are in the main..correct. However! The approach is unproductive and confusing.
    My take on the ‘Statin Circus’
    (1) I am in the camp of ‘No statins’ for primary prevention. Due to the “Numbers to treat” and unnecessary “side effects”. No previous ‘cardiac event’=No need.
    (2) Secondary care (a fish of a different colour) is where statins belong. If you have had an MI or cardiac event…they are a life prolonging drug. This is mainly due to their 6 main anti-inflammatory effects. I copped an MI 27 years ago and have been on max dose statins for over 20 years. And Yes, the muscle/shoulder pains can be debilitating (in my case when walking). However the benefits outweigh the side effects. I discontinued statins for 7 months about 9 years ago and had an event…it may have been a coincidence, I simply don’t know. But! What we do know is:
    (3) Drug companies are not a ‘public service’. They lie (hide information), cheat and skimp. For example, they know statins deplete COQ10 by up to 35% and don’t bother adding it to this drug….I am not anti ‘Big Pharma’, they have kept me alive even though “ Good health is bad for business”.
    (4) Regarding ‘Lipids’…the big 2 seem to be HDL and Triglicerides. The ratio is of prime importance…the narrower the margin, the bettter. The answer lies in ‘Nutrition’. To lower Trigs = less Carbs. To up HDL = increase good Fats. This works 100% of the time, if not, you are cheating or need to re-educate.
    (5) If your LDL is highish, Doctors will reach for their prescription pads (automatically) and order a statin script. They are bound by guidelines to do this. Although I understand this predicament, it forces them to behave like morons, but they are not. It’s partly the ‘system’ and the ignorance of nutrition. I guess we can call it “The moron doctors paradox”. Patients comply with this ‘magic bullet’ to lower their evil LDL…this is a lazy approach by patients and they will suffer the consequences. It is your and health…get educated with this topic.
    (6) Disclaimer: I still smoke and drink like a witch. This is my observation and understanding.

    1. Michael G,
      Alas, things are not always simple. For example, people with diabetes are considered at the same cardiovascular risk as people who have had a heart attack. So should they all take statins even if they’ve never had an event? (Rhetorical question, I don’t expect an answer, which would be an opinion, not fact.)
      LC diets and upping “good fats” often reduces TGs, but not always. I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for years, and my TGs are always close to 150. My HDL doesn’t budge no matter what I eat or how much exercise I get or how much wine I drink and stays close to 50-55.
      When I was in a lipid study some years ago, even the highest dose of a statin didn’t lower my LDL.
      These rules of thumb work for the majority, but not for all. It’s always dangerous to say anything works 100% of the time.

  4. If we may put in our two cents, abnormal cholesterol numbers are only a symptom of a bad diet. They are not a cause of any cardiovascular problem. Cure your dietary problem and you will cure your cholesterol problem. There is no drug that can cure a nutritional disease.
    Like Uffe, Dr. Mike is a pioneer in the science of cholesterol biochemistry and it’s medical implications. If we have misspoken, he will put us straight.

  5. I’ve created Kindle and iBooks (epub) versions of the book from the website, as I prefer to read books on my Kindle. I emailed Dr Ravnskov and asked him if he’d like the files to make available for download and he asked me to send them to him, which I did. Hopefully, we’ll see these versions appear on his website at some point.

  6. Bless you Dr. Mike for giving us the opportunity to thank Uffe Ravnskov publicly for his amazingly steadfast fight for truth in cholesterol science. We all benefit from his perseverance, his courage, and thankfully for his success.
    But first, we would like to send many thanks to Brett Graham, above, for creating a kindle edition of Uffe’s book, and for sending the files to Uffe. That was a true Inspiration. Brett, we know that your action will save lives by getting Uffe’s message to a new audience.
    Now back to the purpose of our comment, which is to urge all of your readers to become familiar with and follow Thincs (http://www.thincs.org/index.php). It is a wonderful, ad-free, uncensored journal that presents the thoughts (mostly nutritional and/or medical) of some pretty prominent people who happen to be Thincs members. Few people are aware that, because of the wide diversity of professional backgrounds of members, the Thincs’ website has a much broader view than just cholesterol news.
    In addition, because of the dedication and diligence of Uffe, the Thincs Discussion section is a very valuable historical resource for early thinking in the nutritional sciences. We recommend especially the conversation between Uffe Ravnskov and Bogdan Sikorski, a toxicologist in Canberra Australia (and still a member), between July 07 and 13, 2001 about high-fat/ low-carbohydrate nutrition (http://www.thincs.org/discuss.highfat-lowcarb.htm#Rep1” ).
    Our earliest recollection of Thincs was sometime in 2000 when we received an email from Uffe saying that he was also in correspondence with six or seven other people who were interested in cholesterol research and that he would like to set up an informal correspondence group that could all participate in at the same time. If we recall correctly, we and Peter and Alena Langsjoen (Texas) were the only Americans in the group.
    We soon found ourselves in a very active, stimulating group of new friends from Europe and Australia. Membership grew rather fast because there seemed to be a hunger for such communication among like-minded souls. Thincs membership finally became too large for Uffe to handle conveniently, so the small Thincs group founded by Uffe became the International Network of Cholesterol Sceptics.

  7. Thanks! I clicked on “your free copy here,” the page opened up, I did a “command-p” on my Mac, and the printing was ready to roll. I just saved the document for the time being, however, since I do have a copy. What a great service! Thank you, and thanks to Dr. Ravnskov.
    Now, I guess I’ll go take a look at THINCS. I’ve checked it occasionally, and there never seemed to be anything new there. Maybe there is now.

  8. Thanks for offering The Cholesterol Myths. I just ordered Ignore the Awkward by Dr, Uffe. I also thank you for the TV shows.

  9. Always loved your books Michael, one of the few people around here who know what they are talking about 🙂 Best regards from a Croatian fan.

  10. Based on your blog’s review of Nina Teicholz’s book “The Big Fat Surprise,” I bought a copy and am now a little more than halfway through it. It’s a very good book, and horrifyingly documents how nutrition advice became politicized.
    I also want to say that one of the reasons I do respect your opinions, Dr. Eades, is because you had the intellectual honesty to cease being a statin pusher when more and better information became available. I personally will never take a statin drug.

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