The Cholesterol Paradox
Now that you’ve all been taught that saturated fat is bad because it raises your cholesterol level and gives you heart attacks, give me a few moments to unlearn you.
Cholesterol is your friend. A friend you can’t live without, in fact.
Your brain, being mostly cholesterol, doesn’t do much of a job when it runs short of the good stuff.
Plus, your endocrine system needs ample cholesterol to work. Every endocrine gland-thyroid, adrenals, the works-creates hormones to keep your body keeping on. And they make those hormones from cholesterol.
Low cholesterol – low hormones
Low cholesterol means low hormones. And low hormones puts the endocrine system into a tizzy as it tries-without success-to keep everything in balance.
Then there’s the pesky little fact that your body absorbs no nutrition from a meal that doesn’t include saturated fat.
Why do we even hope to feel good on a low-fat diet? When you’re starving your body of what it needs, you can’t really expect to be all perky and energetic.
So how did we get here?
Medicine misread a study on heart disease and launched a vendetta. I’ll write about that mess another time, but for now, let me assure you that cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease. Study after study proves that, but when somebody’s mind is made up, facts go out the door.
Need for cholesterol
Back to our need for cholesterol.
If you don’t provide saturated fat to your body, it tries to whomp up some on its own. In the liver.
This is not the ideal situation. When you eat enough good saturated fat, the liver settles back and says, “Ah, Daddy’s home. All’s well.” Because that’s the body’s preferred way to get its cholesterol.
But a liver’s gotta do what a liver’s gotta do, so if you shortchange it, it will TRY to make cholesterol.
I emphasize TRY because our livers are fighting wars on many fronts, and victory can be iffy. For instance, high fructose corn syrup swamps the liver. Plus it raises triglycerides, uric acid, blood pressure, takes a swipe at your kidneys and creates general chaos. Did you know two cans of HFCS-sweetened soda a week-a week!-doubles your risk of pancreatic cancer. But I digress.
Cholesterol from the liver doesn’t work as well as cholesterol via the mouth. Maybe it would if your liver had fewer toxins to fight, but that’s not where we are.
As an aside, statin drugs “work” by preventing the liver from producing any cholesterol. Some swell idea that isn’t! Yikes!
You show love to your liver, your endocrine system and your brain by scarfing down ample saturated fat.
“Eek!” you say, “I’ll gain weight, get fat and end life as I know it!” Sigh. Another thing to unlearn.
When you avoid saturated fat, you put your body on starvation alert. It guards every single ounce of your heft, determined to keep death at bay. Now, even a quick look in the mirror might suggest there’s an ounce or two that would be okay to lose, but that’s not how your innards see it.
Saturated fat lowers cholesterol
On the other hand, eating saturated fat comforts your body with the news there’s nothing to fear. And, with starvation no longer possible, it’s willing to let go of some poundage.
When you hear people talking about eating coconut oil to lose weight, that’s what it’s about. A lot of other good stuff goes on, too, but the saturated fat gives your body permission to let go of some weight.
Please notice that at no point did I say ‘fat’ without the qualifying ‘saturated’ designation. Most vegetable oils, hydrogenated or not, are polyunsaturated murder. Avoid soy, corn, cottonseed, rape seed (canola), safflower, sunflower, hempseed, walnut and flax oils. And probably more. If in doubt, leave it out.
Finally, didja know eating saturated fat lowers your cholesterol levels? Yup! It sure does! That kinda defies logic, but then the body’s all about biochemistry, not logic.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.