Cholesterol’s Reputation Rehabilitated

Jay Stillman

3 min read

Promixluvr (Own work) [Public domain]
Promixluvr (Own work) [Public domain]
In the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee dropped cholesterol from its list of “Nutrients of Concern.”  In other words, you don’t have to limit your intake of cholesterol-containing foods.  The reason for this is that blood cholesterol is not impacted by dietary cholesterol.  Recently, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has surpassed the DGAC by stating that also saturated fats and salt can be consumed by the general public.  In addition, the prior recommendation to limit salt was determined to have a negative impact on the general public, and limits should only apply in specific medical cases. The final recommendation of the Academy is to limit sugars.

In our previous blog posts, Stillman and Friedland have been advocating for this science-based approach to diet for some time. We suggest to our clients who wish to make a fuller recovery that they themselves examine the evidence for a better diet.  Low cholesterol has been linked to depression and other side effects. Why?  The brain is about 60% fat.  Your nervous system requires fats for normal function, and a low-fat diet can leave you feeling blue, and hungry all the time. Therefore, we strongly urge those who have been through traumatic accidents to eat healthy fats such as grass-fed butter, meat fats, coconut oil, and olive oil.

There are other reasons to choose healthy fats—you need fats to absorb key nutrients. For example, when women choose high calcium, low-fat yogurt, how much of this essential nutrient are they absorbing? Very little, if any, calcium is absorbed.  High-fat cheeses like Parmesan are a better option for accessing this bone-building mineral.  Another option is slow-simmered bone broth.

The Academy reversal of position represents a stride forward, and they deserve kudos for admitting their error:

It has been said that the unit of measurement for scientific progress is scientific error. Every new discovery proves old conclusions wrong, and every incorrect conclusion of the past marks new knowledge that has taken its place.

However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cites reviews of the gap between research and practice and notes that it takes 17 years (!) until the science percolates down to your doctor’s office.  In other words, don’t take it for granted that your physician will be up on the latest health research.  There are physicians who are forward-looking, but a fair amount of current medical practice and advice is like a large cruise ship that can neither stop on a dime nor easily reverse course.  Remember that you can look for someone else who is willing to treat you based on current information.   Ultimately, your health is in your own hands, and staying informed is a beneficial strategy for patients.

A healthy diet and exercise regimen are the keys to making your recovery the best it can be.

Stillman and Friedland
Because we care….

* This blog entry should not be construed as medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Only a licensed medical professional can properly diagnose and treat medical conditions. If you have any questions regarding your health, please consult with your healthcare provider.