Cholesterol does not cause heart disease.

There is more myth and misinformation about cholesterol than almost any other health topic. We are frequently told that:

  • cholesterol causes heart disease
  • cholesterol sticks to the inside of our arteries causing blockages
  • LDL is ‘bad’ cholesterol, while HDL is ‘good’ cholesterol
  • we should eat a low fat diet to reduce cholesterol
  • we should eat cholesterol-lowering foods
  • if our cholesterol is high we need to take drugs to lower it

These statements are believed by the majority of people but all of these statements are wrong. They become completely illogical when you realise what cholesterol does in our bodies.

Cholesterol is vital for human health and we would all die without it. It is an essential component of every cell membrane in the body. The membrane is like the outer wall of a cell and 30% of the membrane is cholesterol. Cholesterol keeps the membrane stable and durable, without being rigid, enabling our cells to change shape and allowing us to move. (Plants don’t have cholesterol and their cells are rigid.) It also allows essential nutrients to travel through the membrane and into the cell from the blood stream.

Almost every cell in the body manufactures its own cholesterol, as does the liver. Eating foods high in cholesterol makes no real difference to blood cholesterol because the liver produces less if we eat more and it produces more if we eat less. Consuming foods that are ‘low in cholesterol’ is a waste of time: you are just giving your liver more work to do.

Cholesterol is necessary to produce our steroid hormones. Steroid hormones help control metabolism, inflammation, immune functions, salt and water balance and all our sexual characteristics and functions. Without cholesterol, there would be no reproduction. When we produce vitamin D in our skin it is made from a cholesterol molecule.

There are thousands of miles of nerve fibres in our body which are covered by a myelin sheath. Cholesterol is an essential component of this protective layer. It is so important to the nervous system that 25% of all the cholesterol in our body is found in the brain. Studies in the elderly show that people with higher cholesterol levels live longer than people with low cholesterol and they have far less mental decline and very little memory loss.

Hundreds of millions of years ago evolution developed the cholesterol molecule, which is vital to so many functions in our body. Why would evolution allow such an important molecule to cause heart disease and kill us? No matter what the ‘experts’ say, I find it impossible to believe that cholesterol causes heart disease. Cholesterol is not the Grim Reaper’s best friend: it is more like our best friend.

The ‘Pure’ Study

The Pure Study followed over 135,000 adults from 18 countries for 7.4 years. The diet of all these people was recorded and compared with the frequency of total mortality, heart attacks, strokes and heart failure. The findings confirmed that the widely accepted National Dietary Guidelines are more likely to endanger life than to improve or prolong it.

THE LANCET – August 29th, 2017

Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study


The relationship between macronutrients and cardiovascular disease and mortality is controversial. Most available data are from European and North American populations where nutrition excess is more likely, so their applicability to other populations is unclear.


The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study is a large, epidemiological cohort study of individuals aged 35–70 years (enrolled between Jan 1, 2003, and March 31, 2013) in 18 countries with a median follow-up of 7·4 years (IQR 5·3–9·3). Dietary intake of 135 335 individuals was recorded using validated food frequency questionnaires. The primary outcomes were total mortality and major cardiovascular events (fatal cardiovascular disease, non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure). Secondary outcomes were all myocardial infarctions, stroke, cardiovascular disease mortality, and non-cardiovascular disease mortality. Participants were categorised into quintiles of nutrient intake (carbohydrate, fats, and protein) based on percentage of energy provided by nutrients. We assessed the associations between consumption of carbohydrate, total fat, and each type of fat with cardiovascular disease and total mortality. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) using a multivariable Cox frailty model with random intercepts to account for centre clustering.


During follow-up, we documented 5796 deaths and 4784 major cardiovascular disease events. Higher carbohydrate intake was associated with an increased risk of total mortality (highest [quintile 5] vs lowest quintile [quintile 1] category, HR 1·28 [95% CI 1·12–1·46], p trend=0·0001) but not with the risk of cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular disease mortality. Intake of total fat and each type of fat was associated with lower risk of total mortality (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, total fat: HR 0·77 [95% CI 0·67–0·87], p trend<0·0001; saturated fat, HR 0·86 [0·76–0·99], p trend=0·0088; monounsaturated fat: HR 0·81 [0·71–0·92], p trend<0·0001; and polyunsaturated fat: HR 0·80 [0·71–0·89], p trend<0·0001). Higher saturated fat intake was associated with lower risk of stroke (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, HR 0·79 [95% CI 0·64–0·98], p trend=0·0498). Total fat and saturated and unsaturated fats were not significantly associated with risk of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular disease mortality.


High carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality, whereas saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke. Global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of these findings.

Brain Food

The Brain needs Animal Fat

“Our brains are extremely rich in fat. About two-thirds of the human brain is fat, and a full 20 percent of that fat is a very special omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexanoic acid, or DHA. DHA is an ancient molecule so useful to us and our fellow vertebrates (creatures with backbones) that it has remained unchanged for more than 500 million years of evolution. What makes this particular PUFA so irreplaceable?  

DHA’s job description is a lengthy one. Among many other functions, DHA participates in the formation of myelin, the white matter that insulates our brain circuits. It also helps maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which keeps the brain safe from unwanted outside influences. Perhaps most importantly, DHA is critical to the development of the human cortex—the part of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking. Without DHA, the highly sophisticated connections necessary for sustained attention, decision-making, and complex problem-solving do not form properly. It has been hypothesized that without DHA, consciousness and symbolic thinking—hallmarks of the human race—would be impossible.

DHA plays a “unique and indispensable role” in the “neural signaling essential for higher intelligence.” —Simon Dyall PhD, Lipid Research Scientist, Bournemouth University, UK

Professor Michael Crawford, a pioneering British scientist who has been studying essential fatty acids for 50 years, theorizes that DHA’s special configuration lends it unique quantum mechanical properties that allow it to buffer electron flow. This may explain why we find it in places throughout the brain and body where electricity is important: synapses where brain cell signaling takes place; mitochondria, where the electron transport chain is busy turning food into stored energy; and the retina of the eye, where photons of sunlight are transformed into electrical information. This is a truly miraculous molecule. Plants don’t have it, because plants don’t need it.

This is taken from an article by Dr Georgia Ede who is a psychiatrist specialising in the connection between mental health and diet. She explains why a lack of animal sourced foods can lead to a decline in higher brain functions.

The New Normal?

The Covid-19 epidemic has run the typical course of viral infections with a rapid rise in cases to a peak, which lasts a few weeks, and is followed by a steady, but slower, decline back to normal. It is, however, a nasty virus for those who succumb to it. There are two important questions: who succumbs to Covid-19 and why do they succumb while others do not? It is clear from all the data that this coronavirus is a far bigger threat to elderly people. Children and young adults are hardly affected.

Why does the virus affect some people so badly? We all have two levels of immunity: acquired and innate. We acquire specific immunity when we create antibodies in response to a viral, or bacterial, infection. Innate immunity is our natural ability to fend off a pathogen without ill effects. 70 to 80% of people in the UK, who have tested positive for Covid-19, have experienced either very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, thanks to their innate immunity. As we get older, our immune system becomes less efficient and we are more likely to develop metabolic disorders. Sadly, the great majority of deaths have occurred in elderly people and those with diabetes, obesity and heart and lung disease.

We knew, from Italy, of the extreme danger to both the elderly and the unwell but did nothing about protecting those people specifically. Instead, the Government imposed a severe lockdown on everybody, which collapsed the economy, closed schools and made millions of people terrified of each other.

Certain businesses are being allowed to reopen but with strict rules attached. This process has been given the sinister, Orwellian title of ‘the new normal’. Apparently, we will be allowed to return to ‘normal’ if we stay 2 meters apart and wear face masks. There is nothing ‘normal’ about this. It will destroy the hospitality industry, theatres and sporting events. It will cause a huge spike in mental illness and stress. It will be of profound detriment to children’s education. The virus has run its course and is almost gone. If there are 65 million people in the UK, there will currently be 64.99 million people who do not have this virus and, therefore, cannot pass it on to anyone else.

However, having said that, I strongly believe we should have a ‘new normal’ once this is finally over. This new normal will have nothing to do with masks and distancing but will protects us all from this and any future epidemic. The new normal should be a concerted effort to improve everybody’s metabolic health. This would not only improve our immunity but would also vastly reduce all the problems we faced before Covid-19: obesity; cancer; type 2 diabetes; heart disease and dementia.

Sadly, I do not believe this initiative will ever come from the Government while it is guided in ‘science’ by Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance. As a former Community Pharmacist, with a far greater interest in health than medication, I am appalled by the contribution of the Government’s most senior scientific advisers. Evidence from around the world has shown that people with high levels of Vitamin D are protected from the worst effects of Covid-19. Why has this never been mentioned by them? If they do not know about it, they are incompetent. If they know about it, but have not mentioned it, they are negligent.

We desperately need a new normal in the UK. We have appalling rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and mental health issues, which put the NHS under great strain. None of these will be helped by social distancing and face masks. All of them will benefit enormously from a healthy diet of real, unprocessed food. There is compelling evidence that the high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet which has been recommended by the National Dietary Guidelines for 40 years has caused the constant rise in obesity and diabetes. Individual doctors, who have ignored official dietary dogma, have reversed type 2 diabetes in some of their patients with a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.

The Chief Scientific Adviser should be up to date with this. Instead, he remains silent, nothing changes, and 6,000 type 2 diabetics have a foot amputated every year when a change in diet could prevent it. The government has taken drastic measures to reduce the spread of a virus. When will it take simple measures to prevent the far greater burden of obesity, diabetes and cancer?

Coronavirus and diet

I wrote a tweet recently comparing the extraordinary global response to Covid-19 and the total lack of response to the millions of people who die each year because of metabolic syndrome. Several people replied that you cannot compare the two because one is infectious and the other is not. They suggested that we cannot do anything about the virus but we can all chose to improve our metabolic health. I wasn’t comparing the diseases; I was comparing the response to them. Metabolic disease will kill more people this and every year than Coronavirus but the authorities make no bold efforts to examine the reasons for those deaths.

There are a few important things to add to this debate.

  1. The majority of people who die from this virus are elderly and already have metabolic diseases. One of the most common of these is type 2 diabetes, which is avoidable with the correct diet. Metabolic disruption makes people more vulnerable to the virus.
  2. The best way for any of us to avoid succumbing to the virus, or fight it off without needing hospitalisation, is to have a first-class immune system. Several factors affect our immunity and the most important is diet.
  3. The virus causes death by attacking the lungs and causing respiratory failure.

Vitamin D: This study finds evidence that higher levels of vitamin D help to reduce respiratory tract infections. – Vitamin D for prevention of respiratory tract infections

Vitamin A: This study shows the importance of adequate levels of vitamin A for correct lung function. Vitamin A Deficiency and the Lung

Both of these vitamins are fat soluble and likely to be low in people on a low-fat diet. They can also be low in people on a vegetarian or vegan diet because the best sources are in animal-based foods:

Vitamin A

Beef and lamb’s liver, salmon, tuna, mackerel, butter, cheese, eggs

Vitamin D

Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, eggs, lard and bacon fat.

Of course, the best source of vitamin D is from sunlight on our skin (without sunscreen). However, during a British winter, it is not possible to get enough sunshine to create adequate amounts of this essential substance and we have to get it from our diet. It is worth remembering that it is a cholesterol molecule that is converted to vitamin D in the skin. Eating a lot of plant sterols (or taking statins) will reduce levels of cholesterol and potentially lower our immunity.

Diabetes I mentioned earlier that many of the fatalities are among people with diabetes. This study shows why that may not be a coincidence. Glycolytic control: A mechanism to regulate influenza viral infection

This is a quote from the Abstract of the study: “As new influenza virus strains emerge, finding new mechanisms to control infection is imperative. In this study, we found that we could control influenza infection of mammalian cells by altering the level of glucose given to cells. Higher glucose concentrations induced a dose-specific increase in influenza infection.”

A low-carbohydrate diet, as recommended on this site, has many more benefits than just weight loss and reversal of type 2 diabetes.

Minerals Some trace minerals have a profound effect on the integrity of our immune systems. Three of the most important ones are thought to be Zinc, Iodine and Selenium. They only occur in decent amounts in whole, unprocessed foods. Processing greatly reduces the mineral content.

Zinc is quite well-known for fighting the common cold. It is found in meat, shellfish, lentils and beans, nuts, dairy and eggs.

Iodine is essential for thyroid function and the thyroid is important for immunity. There are few good sources of iodine but the best include cod, tuna, shrimp, eggs, dairy, iodised salt and seaweed!

Selenium is an antioxidant that we require in trace amounts. Too little causes problems but so does too much. It is better to eat healthy foods than take supplements that may provide too much. The best sources of selenium are brazil nuts, pork, beef, chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, mushrooms and spinach.

Good metabolic health, weight, blood sugar and an excellent immune system all come from eating the diet we evolved to eat: a low-carbohydrate diet of mainly animal-sourced protein and fat. What we eat can definitely improve our chances of fighting off the worst effects of Coronavirus. Why is the Chief Medical Officer not telling us this?

Vegetable oils linked to blindness

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting over 600,000 people. It is also increasing rapidly around the world. It involves deterioration or complete sight loss in the middle of the field of vision. Sufferers typically have enough peripheral vision to find their way around but cannot focus on anything well enough to be able to read or watch a film. As its name suggests, the greatest risk factor is advancing age but research has shown that diet can have a dramatic effect and the biggest culprit is modern cooking oil.

In Australia, Professor Paul Beaumont, ophthalmic surgeon and founder of their Macular Degeneration Foundation, believes the increased incidence of AMD is due to the increase of vegetable oils and margarine in our diet. “Vegetable oils are basically the reason why this disease has become more common. All the data is consistent with it.”

Vegetable oils do not come from vegetables; they are the highly processed products of various grass seeds. They are promoted because they are low in saturated fat, which has been mistakenly vilified for decades. The real problem is that these oils are very high in an omega-6 fat called linoleic acid which competes with the omega-3 fats we are supposed to have in our eyes. The DHA (docosahexanoic acid) component of omega-3 is found in high concentrations in the retina and is an important structural component of the photoreceptor cells. If our diet contains high levels of vegetable oils we consume too much linoleic acid and this displaces the DHA preventing its vital function..

The Womens Health Study examined the relationship between the dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids with age-related macular degeneration. The study was extensive, lasting 10 years in a large group of women who, in the beginning, didn’t have AMD but were diagnosed during the 10-year study. Researchers found that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids was strongly predictive of early AMD, and is consistent with similar findings for advanced AMD in prior studies. This supports the conclusion that both the level of omega-3 fatty acids and its ratio to omega-6 fatty acids are important in determining risks of AMD.

The conclusions of these studies are that regular consumption of omega-3 significantly reduces the risk of AMD, and this research gives strong evidence to support the role for omega-3 in the primary prevention of AMD, and perhaps a reduction in chances of developing advanced AMD.

The health authorities tell us to reduce the consumption of traditional fats like butter, lard and fatty meat and replace them with vegetable oils. While they do so, the incidence of blindness accelerates around the world. Vegetable oils are used in almost all processed foods, which is another reason to eat real food, which comes from a farmer or fisherman and not a factory.

Dietary fat and risk for advanced age-related macular degeneration

Junk Food May Be Bad for Your Eyesight