The Diet-Heart Myth: Part II

As a follow up to Part I, the aim of this post is to debunk the myth that high cholesterol in the blood is the cause of heart disease.

DEFINING CHOLESTEROL

“Cholesterol is not technically a fat; rather, it’s classified as a sterol, which is a combination of a steroid and alcohol. It’s crucial to understand that you don’t have a cholesterol level in your blood. Cholesterol is fat-soluble, and blood is mostly water. In order for cholesterol to be transported around the body in the blood, it has to be carried by special proteins called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are classified according to their density; two of the most important in cardiovascular disease are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).”

A SIMPLE ANALOGY

“Imagine your bloodstream is like a highway. The lipoproteins are like cars that carry the cholesterol and fats around your body, and the cholesterol and fats are like passengers in the cars. Scientists used to believe that the number of passengers in the car (i.e. concentration of cholesterol in the LDL particle) is the driving factor in the development of heart disease. More recent studies, however, suggest that it’s the number of cars on the road (i.e. LDL particles) that matters most. […] The more cars there are on the road at one time, the more likely it is that some of them will “crash” into the fragile lining of the artery (thus clogging them). It’s not the number of passengers (cholesterol) the cars are carrying that is the determining factor, but the number of cars on the highway.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN

“If a person only has their cholesterol measured, and not their particle number, they will be falsely led to believe they’re at low risk for heart disease. Even worse, the patients that are the most likely to present with this pattern are among the highest risk patients: those with metabolic syndrome or full-fledged type 2 diabetes. The more components of the metabolic syndrome that are present—such as abdominal obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, high triglycerides and low HDL—the more likely it is that LDL particle number will be elevated”

For complete analysis, refer to the following article:

http://chriskresser.com/the-diet-heart-myth-why-everyone-should-know-their-ldl-particle-number

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