When doing some health-related research I came across a diet-heart-timeline on the diet heart publishing site. A lot of the diet-heart correlations are fascinating.

It turns out that just about everything we have been taught needs to be questioned. Like:

**Too many people on the planet or not enough people on the planet growing food instead of lawns and cities?

1880-1910 The US population is 75 million and one out of 3 people lives on a farm. Today the US population is 300 million and 1% of the population lives on a farm.

**We now eat less than 1/4 the amount of butter that we did in 1910 and disease and obesity are much higher.

1910  Butter consumption = 18 pounds per capita. In the year 2000 it was less than 4 pounds.

**Many people abstain from saturated fat and cholesterol, and yet dietary cholesterol has been shown to have little effect on blood cholesterol.

1937  Columbia University biochemists David Rittenberg & Rudolph Schoenheimer demonstrated that dietary cholesterol had very little effect on blood cholesterol. This has never been refuted, and the restriction of dietary cholesterol in the Dietary Guidelines to less than 300 milligrams a day was taken out of thin air.

**A President’s cholesterol climbs on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and eventually dies of heart disease. Still no one sees that dietary cholesterol is not related to blood cholesterol and neither is heart disease.

1955  President Eisenhower suffers a first heart attack at age 64. He was put on a highly publicized low fat, low cholesterol diet….His cholesterol continued to climb on a low fat, low cholesterol diet until it reached 259 the day he left office.

**We are told that "high" cholesterol is bad, and yet studies show that low cholesterol correlates to colon cancer.

1974  Framingham Heart Study (24 years). Men with cholesterol levels below 190 mg/dl were three times more likely to get colon cancer as men with cholesterol over 220 mg/dl. In Framingham, there was a strong association between low cholesterol and premature death. Also, there was no relationship between elevated cholesterol and sudden death. You don’t need to be scared! (Some Framingham studies were not published until many years later, giving time for everyone to forget.)


These are just a few tidbits taken from the time-line. It is becoming more and more evident that the diet and lifestyle that we have adopted over the past century is making us sick.

So what are we going to do about it?

{photo credit}


4 Responses to Just About Everything You’ve Been Taught To Do Is Wrong

  1. Steven says:

    I’m confused. You point out that Eisenhower had heart attacks because of high cholesterol. But then you claim that low cholesterol is actually bad because it causes cancer. Which is it – high cholesterol is bad because it’ll kill you of a heart attack, or low cholesterol is bad because it’ll kill you of cancer (and other “sudden” deaths)?

    You go on to say I shouldn’t be worried about high cholesterol, but why would I be if I follow the principles of the eating habits you advocate, because that shouldn’t actually raise cholesterol, right?


    Shannon Reply:

    Steven – In reading my wording I can see how I am not clear. My point is that:
    1). The doctor put him on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet because they hypothesized that dietary fat and cholesterol raised cholesterol. This was disproved by his cholesterol going much higher after being on a low-cholesterol diet. and
    2). “high” and “low” cholesterol levels are fairly arbitrary. A “high” level of cholesterol indicates that there is something more systemic causing cholesterol, which actually helps to repair damage in the body, to be present.

    I should rewrite that to make it more clear, huh? Thanks!


  2. Paige says:

    I totally agree that we have to look deeper instead of believing what we have been taught about cholesterol. I really think your article is important as Doctors just aren’t getting that the body needs a certain amount of cholesterol. Just some of the functions of cholesterol in the body include: builds cellular membranes; produces adrenal and reproductive hormones; forms cholic acid which is used to make bile salts which helps us to emulsify and digest fats. It also is there to protect us from exposure to heavy metals, neurotoxins and other environmental toxins.

    I’m concerned that the medical community is doing harm that we can’t even imagine by wanting cholesterol numbers to be in the low 100′s. This puts us at risk for some serious health problems like toxic overload (see above), depression, increased risk of suicide and cancer. I look at blood work in a preventative way and was taught and I believe the number should be between 200-225. People are always shocked that their number of 165 isn’t a good thing! So they add more healthy fats to their diet and work on the liver and the numbers come up and they feel much better. If the number is really high then look at what the cholesterol is trying to protect you from. I also want to mention that LDL is the number that we should be paying attention to as that is your inflammation marker.

    Thanks for a great post!


  3. jean finch says:

    What a great and important article! It is so hard for people to realize that what we have been told is correct, is not! Several bloggers have taken on the food pyrmid and discussed the fact that industrial food processors have alltogether too much influence on the pyramed and the new recommendations!
    Jean Finch


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