Lorie Johnson

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People Are Getting the Message about Cholesterol vs. Inflammation


It's very encouraging to learn that people are accepting the message that cholesterol is good and that the real health enemy is inflammation. This is particularly significant because this new, true message is contrary to the idea that has been driven into the public consciousness for decades.

Ever since my story about this aired recently on "The 700 Club," I have received numerous responses from grateful viewers who say it's about time this message was reported in the media. People understand the importance of correcting this terrible mistake about what is really making America sick and fat.

It's not cholesterol, it's inflammation. So we should go back to eating NATURAL fats that raise our cholesterol, but avoid at all costs, foods that cause inflammation. It's vital to understand which foods are good and which ones are harmful. It's different from what we've been told.

It's perhaps most disturbing to note that many, perhaps even most, doctors still subscribe to the outdated notion that high cholesterol is bad and is something that needs to be fixed with a diet that is high in carbohydrates, particularly sugars, trans fats, and Omega 6 fats. That is exactly the wrong prescription.

Why do they do it? The doctors who are on board with the cholesterol good/inflammation bad theory say the reason more physicians aren't on the same page is because there is a "group think" mentality within the medical profession, and also because it's what they were taught back when they were in medical school and they simply haven't caught-up with the latest findings.

The truth is cholesterol helps us live better. It's essential to our brains, which are made up primarily of fat. It's essential to hormone production, which keeps us young and virile. Cholesterol aids in preventing disease. In short, our bodies need cholesterol, and people with HIGH cholesterol actually live longer, statistically.

Ever since doctors mistakenly blamed cholesterol for heart disease, people stopped eating fats, particularly saturated fats, and replaced them with carbohydrates, like sugar, which only made heart disease worse. It also increased obesity, which led to a whole host of other health concerns, not the least of which is diabetes, which has skyrocketed.

Inflammation is a silent killer. You can't see it and you can't feel it, but it's there if you eat a diet of processed foods, trans fats, Omega-6 fats and sugars.

Trans fats are oils that have been hydrogenated. That means scientists took an oil and infused it with hydrogen. The end result is a disgusting "food" that is molecularly similar to plastic. It is so utterly foreign to our bodies that is destroys the cell membranes. When the cell membranes are corrupted bad stuff gets into the cells that shouldn't and good stuff that should stay in the cells gets out.

What's perhaps most disturbing about the effect of trans fats on cell membranes is the effect trans fats have on BRAIN CELLS. Research has already proven that people with diets high in trans fats have higher rates of Alzheimer's disease, but now scientists are looking into the link between trans fats and Autism, ADD and ADHD. It's no coincidence that the rates of these diseases have exploded in the same time period that our consumption of trans fats has also exploded, the last 30 years or so.

In order to recognize a trans fat, you must read the list of ingredients. Do not rely on the packaging, because food manufacturers have figured out ways to make their product appear as if they have no trans fats when they actually do. In order to recognize a trans fat, look for the word HYDROGENATED in the list of ingredients. A hydrogenated oil is a trans fat. Vegetable shortening and margarine are trans fats.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Trans fats are in most processed foods, like the kind in packages in the center of the grocery store, in the bakery, the vending machine and the fast-food restaurant.

In addition to trans fats, Omega 6 fats are also responsible for inflammation. Omega-6 fats should only be consumed in equal amounts as Omega-3 fats. If there is an imbalance, that leads to inflammation. Sadly, most Americans eat about 20 times the amount of Omega-6 fats as Omega-3s. Omega-6 fats actually "cancel out" your consumption of Omega-3s.

Omega-6 fats are vegetable oils. So don't buy vegetable oil and cook with it, as most people do, don't consume corn oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil or just about any liquid oil except olive oil or macadamia nut oil.

Perhaps the most notorious cause of inflammation is sugar. By sugar I am talking about all sugars such as pure, white table sugar, but also so much more. Even honey and natural sugars in fruit lead to inflammation. High fructose corn syrup is a sugar, obviously, as are a whole host of sugars that are added to our foods.

Also, beware of foods that turn into sugar once we eat them...refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates are starchy foods that are white: white bread, bagels, english muffins, rice, pasta, rolls, biscuits, etc. Eating these foods is just like eating plain sugar as far as your body is concerned. They cause massive inflammation. Don't eat them at all.

But be advised that all grains, even whole grains, are carbohydrates and are considered sugars, metabolically speaking. Be especially cautious of whole wheat, because wheat growers have changed the product from what it used to be in order to produce a higher yield. Wheat is now starchier than it was, even whole wheat....so curtail your consumption of all grains and other carbohydrates in order to reduce your level of inflammation.

Instead, eat healthy, natural fats and wonderful non-starchy vegetables. Don't touch a soda with a 10-foot pole, or any other drink, like juices or flavored waters. Just drink plain old tap water, and lots of it.

Congratulations to the brave consumers who are bucking tradition and are riding the new wave of health, the one that proclaims most cholesterol as good for you and the identifies the real enemy as inflammation.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 4:51 PM



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