24 Reasons the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are wrong about cholesterol, saturated fat, and carbohydrates

1. In 1937, Columbia University biochemists David Rittenberg & Rudolph Schoenheimer demonstrated that dietary cholesterol had little or no influence on blood cholesterol. This scientific fact has never been refuted. Why, then, do the 2010 Dietary Guidelines limit dietary cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day – or 200 mg if you are diabetic?

2. Dietary cholesterol is poorly absorbed, 50 percent at best (Mary Enig, PhD; Michael I. Gurr, PhD, lipid biochemists). According to these lipid biochemists, the more cholesterol you eat, the less cholesterol you absorb. Since our bodies must synthesize between 1200 and 1800 mg of cholesterol daily, why is there any dietary limit?

3. “Cholesterol in food has no affect on cholesterol in blood and we’ve known that all along.”  These are the words of Professor Ancel Keys, American Heart Association board member and father of the low fat diet, who, in retirement (around 1997), recanted the idea that dietary cholesterol raises blood levels. His recant has been greeted with silence.

4. All federal Dietary Guidelines since 1980 discuss cholesterol as something to fear. Since cholesterol is found in every cell in our bodies and is a precursor to all adrenal and sex hormones, why wouldn’t the 2010 Dietary Guidelines discuss the essential nature of cholesterol instead?

5. Cholesterol is a single molecule. There is no such thing as "good cholesterol" or "bad cholesterol." Referred to as "bad," LDL is not bad and LDL is not cholesterol. LDL is a lipoprotein that delivers cholesterol to the 75 trillion cells in our bodies. (Only oxidized cholesterol is bad and elevated blood sugar and elevated triglycerides oxidize LDL.)  

6. Cholesterol, fat, and fat soluble nutrients are delivered to our cells in lipoproteins. LDL delivers cholesterol out to the body and HDL delivers cholesterol back to the liver for recycling. Also, there are lipoprotein subfactions (such as LDL subclass A and LDL subclass B). LDL subclass A is large buoyant LDL, present when triglycerides are low (below 100). LDL subclass B is small, dense LDL, present when triglycerides are elevated. LDL subclass A is associated with freedom from heart disease. LDL subclass B is associated with elevated triglycerides and increased risk of heart disease. Ask your doctor for a VAP lipid panel to determine whether your LDL is the large buoyant variety or the more dangerous easily-oxidized small, dense particle. (Remember, elevated triglycerides will create small dense LDL and elevated triglycerides are associated with high carbohydrate diets.     

7. The statement “saturated fat raises blood cholesterol” is false and misleading. There are many different types of saturated fat and many reasons why blood cholesterol rises and falls. Saturated fat intake and blood cholesterol levels are not in a simple teeter-totter relationship.  

8. Fat in food is always a combination of saturated and unsaturated fat. As an example, butter contains 12 different fatty acids, including 8 different saturated fats (having 8 different chain lengths). As an example, saturated stearic acid, found in butter, red meat, and olive oil, does not elevate blood cholesterol and, in fact, promotes higher levels of HDL, the lipoprotein associated with protection from heart disease. (Michael I. Gurr, lipid biochemist; Dr. Eric B. Rimm, Harvard University, member, 2010 DGAC).

9. Cholesterol is found in every cell in the body and is a precursor to our sex hormones, vitamin D (actually a hormone), and to our stress hormones. Stress has the potential to temporarily elevate blood cholesterol. When the stress is over, cholesterol will leave the blood and go back to the liver and tissues. Frequent fluctuations of blood cholesterol due to fear, stress, weather, activity, and age represent normal body functioning.

10. Recommending that Americans eat a variety of healthy fats is nutritionally more helpful than labeling fats “good or bad” depending on their degree of saturation; i.e., "saturated fat is bad." Saturated means stable; nothing else. Saturated fat is a safe, stable fat excellent for moderate and high heat cooking. (Saturated fat represents approximately 50 percent of the fat found in our cell membrane bilayers.)

11. During the first meeting of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Dr. Eric B. Rimm from Harvard testified that he is concerned about "the artificial limit on fat" in the Dietary Guidelines. He mentioned that “there is some concern” about excess carbohydrates elevating triglycerides because the ratio of TG to HDL is emerging as one of the most reliable risk factors for heart disease. Dr. Rimm's testimony was greeted with silence and he did not bring up the subject again!

12. Anything that promotes HDL (as natural dietary fat does, especially saturated fat) puts downward pressure on triglycerides – blood fats made in the liver from excess carbohydrates. Elevated triglycerides are associated with increased risk of heart disease. Saturated fats like stearic acid are heart-healthy in that they lower the ratio of TG to HDL.

13. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines should say:  Eating beef – especially from the pasture – and enjoying some dark chocolate – from the rain forest – provides saturated stearic acid and monounsaturated oleic acid – fats that protect you from heart disease.  

14. The primary dietary cause of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease is the excess carbohydrates in our diet, especially sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and the easily-digested carbohydrates found in grain and grain products.  

15. Most commercial boxed breakfast cereals raise blood sugar rapidly; they are high glycemic. There is no warning about blood-sugar-raising foods in the proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Since blood sugar has a very narrow healthy range (and cholesterol in blood has a wide normal range), why is blood sugar not mentioned in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines? In the midst of a diabetes epidemic affecting all age groups of people, wouldn't you think the 13-member panel would warn Americans about blood-sugar raising food? One wonders, who shut them up?

16. Only carbohydrates raise blood sugar and insulin levels. Chronic high insulin levels directly damage vascular walls (arteries). Why, then is the role of excess carbs in promoting obesity, diabetes and heart disease only briefly discussed (by Dr. Eric Rimm) during the 2010 Dietary Guidelines meetings?  

17. By weight, all children’s breakfast cereals are 30 to 50 percent sugar. If the DGAC is concerned about reducing the incidence of obesity, diabetes and chronic disease in America, isn’t there a scientific justification for warning parents and Americans about blood-sugar-raising foods, especially those that are being marketed to children?

18. The particularly harmful carbohydrates - sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - are not singled out in the proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Dr. Joanne Slavin defended the use of HFCS by saying “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” She chairs the Carbohydrate Committee and her testimony (Meeting 1) suggests she is not concerned about excess sugar and high fructose corn syrup in the American diet. She works for the University of Minnesota, and the U of M receives substantial financial support from Cargill (and General Mills). Was her recommendation not to single out high fructose corn syrup a serious conflict of interest?  

19. Metabolic Syndrome - high blood sugar, hyperinsulinism, weight gain, low HDL, elevated TG, elevated blood pressure - is associated with high carbohydrate diets. It is estimated that 25 percent or more of us are sensitive to carbohydrates, even to the highly touted whole grains. Why isn't Metabolic Syndrome specifically discussed in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines? (Dr. Gereald Reaven, Stanford University Medical School, discovered Metabolic Syndrome - he called it Syndrome X - after studying carbohydrate metabolism for 20 years. Why aren't his findings incorporated into the 2010 Dietary Guidelines?

20. A high carbohydrate diet is associated with elevated triglycerides (TG), which, in turn, is associated with depressed levels of HDL. Depressed HDL is a potent risk factor for Metabolic Syndrome and coronary heart disease. A Harvard study verified that people with the highest TG and the lowest HDL (top quartile) were 16 times more likely to die of heart disease than people with the lowest TG and highest HDL (lowest quartile).   

21. Blood-sugar-raising carbohydrates have a direct and immediate effect on blood sugar and insulin levels and, in the words of science writer Gary Taubes, "On the disruption of the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body.”

22. The simple explanation for why Americans have fattened:  hyperinsulinism. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. When insulin levels are elevated – either chronically or after a meal – we make and store fat and then lock it up in adipose tissue. When fat is locked up, it is not available as a fuel to the trillions of cells in the body. Hunger is the result. By stimulating insulin levels, carbohydrates make us hungry and fat. High circulating insulin - in response to excess dietary carbohydrates - is the root cause of weight gain and obesity and all chronic disease associated with elevated blood sugar and insulin levels.     

23. Excess carbohydrates - especially sugar, HFCS, and rapidly-digested grain products, lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease - which leads to slow, suffocating heart failure and premature death.  

24. Heart failure is the #1 Medicare expenditure. The incidence of heart failure has doubled since 1990. According to the CDC in Atlanta, 1 in 3 children born today will become diabetics. According to the American Heart Association, eighty percent (80%) of diabetics die of heart disease. We have both an expanding population and a steadily increasing incidence of chronic disease. Americans need relief. It's time to end the confusion about fat and cholesterol. How bad do things have to get before we revise the U.S. Dietary Guidelines in favor of a higher fat whole foods carbohydrate-restricted diet?


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