Growing up, my cholesterol was very low. On entering medical school it was only about 100. My triglycerides were also very low. Back on the farm we ate at least 14 high-fat meals a week. But hard farm work obviously kept it low. When I entered Medical School, my cholesterol was edging up towards 150. However, in the 1960s, a cholesterol level of 300 mg percent was considered normal. In the 1970s, the normal levels were reduced to 260 or so. In the 1980s, the normal levels were reduced to 230. In the 1990s, the normal levels were reduced to 200. Now in the 21st century, the goal is 150 to 175 or as low as you can get it. It is established that high cholesterol dramatically increases coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular strokes and peripheral vascular disease.
After 20 years of practice, my life became more sedentary and my cholesterol edged upwards to 200. When it reached 210, my doctor, an endocrine and metabolic specialist, felt I should go on a statin drug. After about nine months, my muscles ached and became weak and my creatine phospho-kinase (CPK) levels increased indicating muscle deterioration. It reversed in about three months preserving my renal function. It could have been a close call to renal shutdown and subsequent dialysis if the myoglobin from muscle breakdown had clogged my renal tubules. A trial of another statin caused similar problems within one week and was immediately stopped.
He then had me try niacin. This caused flushing which I blocked by taking aspirin half an hour before taking the SloNiacin. However, after a few months, I again developed muscle aches, pains and weakness with similar findings of an elevated CPK. The niacin was immediately stopped before catastrophic events could develop.
It was then I decided to get serious about reducing my fat intake. Although I had been avoiding red meat, I totally eliminated it from my diet as well as yellow cheese which is loaded with cholesterol. I reduced my eggs to one a week and eliminated butter which is animal fat. Our milk was already 1% instead of 4%. My doctor also had me place two ounces of ground flax grain on top of my cereal. Just buy flax grain and run it through your coffee grinder or you can now purchase ready ground flax which makes it convenient. This reduced my cholesterol about 75 points to 150. Thus, the meats have to be turkey, chicken, fish, and when I crave a steak, it is a pork steak, which has half the fat of beef or lamb.
Many of my patients claim that they eat almost no red meat. However, on completing a food diary, it is amazing how many beef hamburgers, beef tacos, beef burritos, sausages or bread with butter they eat. The goal must be zero if you’re serious about reducing your cholesterol and avoiding statin treatment.
Of course eating a lot of vegetables also helps. Vegetables or plant food never has any cholesterol. Using olive oil instead of butter reduces this animal product from high cholesterol to a plant product with zero cholesterol.
We no longer have to live with a high cholesterol risk for heart attacks and strokes. Start today to eliminate these animal fats: beef/lamb; yellow cheese, eggs, whole milk and butter.