By: Alonso Chavarriaga
The Changing Story of Cholesterol
Back in the 70s no one even knew what cholesterol was, argues author and celebrity fitness coach Vinnie Tortorich. Heart disease numbers also weren’t as high as they are now. Today, there is a huge emphasis on the balancing act that happens between good cholesterol (HDL) and so-called “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Thoughts have changed almost yearly when it comes to what foods to avoid, what risks are associated with cholesterol, and what foods help reduce the bad kind.
It was previously thought that LDL caused plague build-up in your arteries, which eventually led to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. But, it turns out the plaque build-up is actually due to inflammation caused by eating grains and sugar.
The news can have a huge impact on the pharmaceutical industry. According to Tortorich, statins are the number-one selling drug, accounting for 6 to 8 billion dollars in sales. Even though statins don’t really help much with anything other than lowering cholesterol while taking the medication, they are continually prescribed without much attention to side effects. This is troubling, since many studies have shown that statins can have worse side effects than having high cholesterol.
Changing your Diet to Lower Cholesterol
Tortorich recommends dropping sugars and grains wherever possible and sticking to healthy proteins and greens. If you would like to eat some grains, he has a surprising recommendation: swap popular quinoa for white rice. While quinoa has double the protein of most other grains, it actually still isn’t very good for you. White rice, on the other hand, is healthier than previously believed, and if eaten in moderation, won’t affect your heart health.
With the changing views on cholesterol, it can be stressful determining what you should do next. If your doctor is prescribing statins for you, or you have a loved one in the same situation, ask if they are open to trying out this new method of omitting grains and sugars.
In the accompanying audio segment, "The Angriest Trainer," Vinnie Tortorich, discusses the changing perspective on cholesterol, as well as the real culprits in heart disease and other illnesses.