Tuesday, 17 May 2011
The Great Cholesterol Controversy, the lowcarb news gets better by the day !
New research is challenging conventionally held beliefs about lipids and their impact on heart health, says Daniel Duane.
“Over the past several years, an increasing number of studies have started to raise doubts about this presumption. Cholesterol, a fatty chemical compound produced by the liver and found in some foods, is necessary to build cells and manufacture hormones but too much in the blood has been shown to clog arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. But many experts now believe factors like nutrition and fitness play a more meaningful role in heart health and that having high lipid levels could be harmless for many people.
Doctors point to the fact that 75 per cent of people who have heart attacks have healthy cholesterol, while most people with poor cholesterol numbers never suffer the heart trauma. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study – one of the US’s largest, longest and most influential pieces of cholesterol research – did find that having high cholesterol before age 40 was associated with premature death but having the same numbers at age 50, 60, or 70 actually correlated with living longer.
At the end of the year-long study, Gardner, a vegetarian, was surprised that those who followed the Atkins Diet raised their good HDL cholesterol levels and lowered their blood pressure and blood triglycerides far more than participants on the other diets.
The lesson? You don’t have to avoid animal products if you’re at risk of heart disease. Instead, limit your intake of refined, processed or starchy carbohydrates, including white rice, white bread and pasta and potatoes. Opt for beef, eat small amounts of egg if you like and increase your intake of fish, nuts and produce.”