June 13, 2012
Bad research on good cholesterol
One little flawed study comes along and finds that maybe HDL doesn’t prevent heart problems, and suddenly everyone is down on the so-called “good” cholesterol.
But once you see the details on this one, you’ll wonder why anyone is even giving it the time of day — because the study was botched from start to finish.
The researchers didn’t choose two groups of people with similar heart risk and then raise levels of HDL cholesterol in one of them.
Nope. That’s a little too much like work, since it can’t be done with drugs and has to be done with diet.
So instead, they just looked at a group of people with genetic factors that cause them to have higher-than-normal-HDL levels naturally. And it turned out these people had the same heart risks as everyone else.
Big whoop — this proves exactly nothing, because the notion that genetically high HDL levels automatically come with health benefits is flawed from the get-go.
That same argument implies that someone with naturally high HDL levels can eat all the KFC they want — and drink a quart of soda a day (Why not? You’re genetically protected, right?) — and have the same lower risk of heart problems as someone who earns their high HDL levels through a healthy diet.
Cholesterol is good — but it ain’t THAT good!
And when I say “cholesterol,” I mean both HDL and LDL — because despite what you’ve heard, there’s no such thing as “good” and “bad.”
Forget trying to remember which is which and just focus on your TOTAL cholesterol. Keep it between 200 and 300, naturally, and you’ll have nothing to worry about since those “high” levels can actually PROTECT your heart.
If that’s not enough, cholesterol can also prevent cancer, ward off dementia, boost your sex life and even slash your risk of dying.