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New Reports On HDL Cholesterol Further Confuses The Public

For years now the so called experts have been telling us we need to be concerned about cholesterol levels in order to prevent heart disease. This whole correlation about cholesterol levels and heart disease is suspect to say the least, but here’s what we’ve been told to do.

Look to increase our consumption of foods with HDL cholesterol (aka “good cholesterol”) and minimize foods with LDL cholesterol (aka “bad cholesterol). This meant to eat more avocados, nuts, seeds, and fish while minimizing red meats, fatty animal proteins, and fried foods.

Well now the experts are telling us they may have had it all wrong. Apparently there’s no correlation behind eating foods high in HDL cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. Ok, so that means we shouldn’t eat these foods? Say what?

Just because there may not be a correlation behind eating more HDL foods and reducing the risk of heart disease doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still look to do so. After all these are healthy foods which provide omega 3 fatty acids not to mention a host of nutrients.

The fact that there’s not a correlation behind increasing good cholesterol and reducing heart disease only exposes the whole “cholesterol- heart disease” theory in my opinion.

Sure, you’re going to be far better off by reducing foods in your diet that contain a lot of LDL cholesterol, but heart disease is a far more complex condition than we can isolate to a problem with cholesterol in foods. I’ve long preached heart disease is more related to inflammation in the body and problems with insulin resistance.

I get frustrated with reports like this because it only further confuses the general public. What’s really good and what’s really bad? One report contradicts the next.

Let me break it down for you real simple like…

Consuming whole natural foods like fruits, vegetables, greens, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, and omega-3 fats and oils are a good thing. Consuming whole grains, legumes, and such are a matter of individual tolerance and energy needs, but they should still best categorized in the “moderation” category.

A diet that is high in processed and refined foods, fried foods, sugars, and starches is not such a good thing. This is what’s responsible for most of the chronic illness and disease, heart disease included. It’s not just a matter of cholesterol.

Here’s an excerpt from the story on HDL cholesterol as reported on by Fox News.

Up until now, doctors have believed HDL cholesterol, long considered the healthy type of cholesterol, could potentially protect a person from coronary heart disease.  However, a study published Wednesday in The Lancet has found that raising levels of HDL cholesterol may not have any effect on heart disease risk after all.

“It’s been assumed that if a patient, or group of patients, did something to cause their HDL levels to go up, then you can safely assume that their risk of heart attack will go down,” said senior author Sekar Kathiresan, director of preventive cardiology at MGH and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, in a press release. “This work fundamentally questions that.”

Using databases of genetic information, the researchers found people who were genetically predisposed to have higher levels of HDL cholesterol had no difference in heart disease risk than those who were not predisposed.

In addition, the researchers said, because there are no currently no drugs available on the market that elevate HDL levels specifically, it has been difficult to prove this type of treatment could actually lower a person’s risk of having a heart attack.

“This is an interesting study because we’ve long held that HDL cholesterol and protective from epidemiological studies – and this is looking at if this has been the right course of thought,” Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and medical director of the Joan Tisch Center for Women’s Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told

Goldberg, who was not involved in the study, said the results called for further research into why other studies have found conflicting results in the past.

“Is it because having low HDL is associated with other risk factors like obesity and high triglyceride levels?” Goldberg said.  “The other issue [raised in the study] is we don’t have any research evidence to support giving medication to raise HDL cholesterol levels.” Read more of the story.

Goldberg goes on in the story to say that “exercise is one of the most natural ways to increase HDL, and I think people should continue to exercise because obviously there are other added benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, keeping weight down, and keeping the arteries more elastic and flexible.”

Finally some true words of wisdom that you can take to the bank. As a fitness coach and certified Charleston personal trainer, I couldn’t agree with this more. Following a mostly natural, whole food diet, completing regular exercise, and managing stress is the “no-brainer” way to reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic illness.

Do this and you won’t have to worry about conflicting reports on what’s good and what’s bad. Nobody needs to tell you what’s working when you’re healthy and not taking medications. Follow nature’s law and use some common sense. We’ll let the experts keep trying to prove or disprove what we already know to be true.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston fitness trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness programs with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. Sign up for a FREE, no-obligations consultation today.

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Category: Hormones & Health.