What Most Doctors Won't Tell You About Cholesterol:

Are You Throwing Away Your Egg Yolks?

By Dr. Ben Kim

Updated on July 14, 2011

During my university years, I used to frustrate my parents by throwing away egg yolks and eating only the whites. No worries, I thought, as my parents just didn't know enough to realize that I was reducing my risk of heart disease by avoiding cholesterol. Looking back, I'm sure that my parents were wondering how I could so easily toss away egg yolks that their families were able afford only a few times a year in Korea in the 1940s.

Today, I am grateful to have a better understanding of the relationship between cholesterol and my health. How about you? Are you afraid of having high cholesterol? Are you throwing away your egg yolks because you think it's good for your health? Are you taking cholesterol-lowering medication or considering it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I hope that you will consider the work of Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, author of The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease. I consider Dr. Ravnskov to be the world's leading expert on the relationship between cholesterol and human health.

Here are some facts from his book:

  • Cholesterol is not a deadly poison, but a substance that is absolutely necessary for you to be healthy. High cholesterol itself does not cause heart disease.
  • People who have low blood cholesterol have the same rates of heart disease as people who have high blood cholesterol.
  • The cholesterol found in your blood comes from two sources: cholesterol in food that you eat and cholesterol that your liver makes from other nutrients. What's interesting is that the amount of cholesterol that your liver produces varies according to how much cholesterol you eat. The more cholesterol you eat, the less your liver produces. And vice versa - the less cholesterol you eat, the more your liver produces. This is why a low cholesterol diet does not decrease a person's blood cholesterol by more than a few percent.
  • Drugs that solely lower your cholesterol do not decrease your risk of dying from heart disease, nor do they increase your lifespan. These drugs pose dangers to your health and may decrease your lifespan.
  • The newer cholesterol-lowering drugs - called statins - do reduce your risk of heart disease, but through mechanisms that are not related to lower blood cholesterol. Unfortunately, statins like lipitor, mevacor, zocor, pravachol, and lescol are known to stimulate cancer in rodents.

Dr. Ravnskov's book provides solid evidence that supports these and other facts that have me convinced that many doctors don't have a clue about cholesterol and health. Sadly, conventional guidelines that promote lowering your cholesterol for a healthy heart are influenced in large part by large pharmaceutical companies that are making billions of dollars with cholesterol-lowering medication.

Here are my personal guidelines on cholesterol, based on my research and evaluating the blood test results and health of hundreds of people I have worked with over the past several years.

  • Blood cholesterol of 150 (3.9 in Canada) or lower is not healthy for most people. Low cholesterol over the long term can cause depression, increased risk of stroke, and numerous problems related to hormonal imbalances. If you are not getting enough vitamin D from your diet, having low cholesterol can lead to vitamin D deficiency, as sunlight can only create vitamin D in your body by acting on cholesterol found in your skin.
  • Your HDL/total cholesterol ratio should be at least 25-30 percent. The higher this ratio, the better. If this ratio is 10-15 percent or lower, there is a high risk of eventually having a heart attack.
  • You want to have your triglyceride/HDL ratio be lower than
  • If your HDL/total cholesterol and tryglyceride/HDL ratios are in the ranges listed above, and you are eating mainly undamaged cholesterol, having a total cholesterol of more than 200 (5.2 in Canada) is not a problem. In fact, even people whose genetics cause them to have total cholesterol above 350 (9.0 in Canada) have been shown to have no elevated risk of heart disease as long as their ratios are fine and they stay away from eating damaged cholesterol.

    I hope that you will join me in never throwing away another egg yolk.

    For more information on Dr. Ravnskov and his book, you can visit http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm

    Speaking of eggs, so many of the guests who have visited our clinic have benefited from our guidelines on eggs that I wrote them up in a separate article. You can read these guidelines here.

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