One would think that the organization (in any country) responsible for issuing guidelines for the nation’s health and well being, would – when presented with clinical data showing that carbohydrate consumption and NOT FAT consumption raises blood levels of triglycerides – proven to be detrimental in heart health, would amend their health recommendations accordingly.
This however was not the case, it ended up with the same (older) recommendations being published yet again – and the heart health of the nation’s will continue to suffer accordingly.
You think I jest? You think that there is no data / no proof in scientific terms to back up what I have just written? THINK AGAIN!
The American Heart Association (AHA) recently published a report discussing this topic entitled Triglycerides and Cardiovascular Disease(2), chronicling the rising rates of serum triglyceride levels and its role in cardiovascular disease, in order to “update clinicians on the increasingly crucial role of triglycerides in the evaluation and management of CVD risk and highlight approaches aimed at minimizing the adverse public health–related consequences associated with hypertriglyceridemic states.”
This report is interesting and important for physicians to be aware of, but the major concepts are absolutely predictable with a basic understanding of serum cholesterol responses to carbohydrates in the diet. Simply stated, when people eat carbohydrates their High-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels go down and their triglycerides go up. This is uncontroversial, and so consistent that researchers use triglycerides and HDL as objective measures of carbohydrate consumption. Dr. Frank Sacks of Harvard Medical School explains in a recent paper on low carbohydrate diets that “HDL is a biomarker for dietary carbohydrate.”(3) High triglycerides and low HDL means the subjects are eating lots of carbs. The AHA’s report confirms this as well, explaining that “very high intakes of carbohydrate (>60% of calories) is accompanied by a reduction in HDL cholesterol and a rise in triglyceride.” source
Now I don’t know about you, but when I have my cholesterol levels checked by my doctor, they always ‘home in’ on HDL and LDL levels. They want your HDL levels high and your LDL levels to be low. Those of us with more ‘in tune’ doctors will also be watching for (seeking measurements of) VLDL/Triglycerides.
High Triglycerides and low HDL are indications of a high carbohydrate intake – they are also a strong marker for serious trouble in your body. High levels of triglycerides together with low levels of HDL show that your carb intake is too high and you probably have medical problems that need dealing with post haste!
Yet perhaps the most interesting quote in the report comes in the introduction: “It is especially disconcerting that in the United States, mean triglyceride levels have risen since 1976, in concert with the growing epidemic of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.”
It is quite disconcerting, but it is EXACTLY what should be expected. If it is true that triglycerides increase in response to carbohydrates, then one would expect that at some point circa 1976, there should have been an increase in U.S. carbohydrate consumption. And there was.
It was in response to the first ever Dietary Goals for the United States, issued in 1977 by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs(4). Here are the first few recommendations:
• Increase carbohydrate consumption to account for 55 to 60 percent of the energy intake.
• Reduce overall fat consumption from approximately 40 to 30 percent energy intake
• Reduce saturated fat consumption to account for about 10 percent of total energy intake
Interestingly, the recommendation to eat more carbohydrates happened almost precisely at the same time that triglyceride levels began to increase to “disconcerting” levels. Of course the recommendations would not cause hypertriglyceridemia if the general population did not follow them. Yet we did.
So what exactly does happen when a body consumes a high level of carbohydrate and why should we be concerned if our blood markers show elevated triglycerides and low levels of HDL?
The Mayo Clinic tells us: Because it contains a high level of triglyceride, having a high VLDL level means you may have an increased risk of coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Higher amounts and large VLDL particles are also associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
However, even though there are many scientific papers expounding on the virtues of lower triglycerides, health authorities are still promoting a low fat approach to getting them lower. This is terribly wrong particularly when the science proves that it is carbohydrate consumption that does the elevating!
Doctor Joseph Mercola has a good explanation of this, plus his article
links to a great scientific paper to back it all up.
What really irks me is that even with the scientific knowledge and proof that Low Carbohydrate diets and NOT low fat diets are what works for the human body in a very high percentage of cases of blood lipid issues, your government health authorities are completely ignoring them. There is something akin to 50 years of research that has shown low carb diets are healthy and low fat diets are unhealthy, but that is totally obscured because the political arm of our health care system decided to follow one particular scientific theory without even considering the alternative. They started out with a predetermined direction, and have not allowed themselves to be swayed ever since.
It was a political manoeuvre not a scientific one that decided the fate of the world some 40++ years ago. Since then whole industries have been build on an incorrect premise/hypothesis. Think Low Fat. Entire medical procedures have been built around this incorrect hypothesis. Anyone who dares to offer a dissenting idea is considered a heretic and dismissed as a nut case. This is possibly one of the worst errors perpetrated on humanity, so much so that millions of people are now suffering malnutrition due to a very low saturated fat intake, and carbohydrate toxicity due to elevated consumption of grains and sugars.
Be very aware – look around you and you see obesity is rampant – and with that comes insulin resistance (also known as carbohydrate intolerance)… leading to multiple serious complications, diabetes and heart disease. All because we have been misdirected into eating low fat and high carbohydrates for the past 40++ years.
These findings surprisingly suggest that carbohydrates have the ability to transform our cholesterol levels into those that characterize metabolic syndrome. As carbohydrate intake increases HDL levels decrease, triglycerides increase, and LDL particles become small and dense.
These are the dangerous biomarkers of disease in the human body. Diabetes, obesity, heart disease – just what they say they want to prevent you from falling victim to, yet they insist you eat a low fat high carbohydrate diet. Is it time to change your doctor?
Don’t be misled by the myth that you need a high intake of carbohydrate to fuel your cells. This misconception is easily disproven. Also don’t be misled into believing you need drugs to manage it for the rest of your life.
What you need is a complete change of diet.
Certainly NOT one that the medical profession will prescribe!
It certainly is time to change your diet if you really want to get your cholesterol numbers back in a nice healthy range and lower your risk of metabolic diseases like diabetes.