For four decades, the US government and other health organizations such as the American Heart Association have told us to limit dietary intake of cholesterol and to adopt a low fat diet. Cholesterol and fat, we were told, are dangerous to our heart health and must be minimized to prevent heart disease. Both of these positions are being overturned, in what can only be described as a stunning reversal. The Dietary Guidelines and Advisory Committee (DGAC), an independent advisory group, is dumping its low fat diet demands and is rescinding what was once considered dietary dogma, the low cholesterol diet.
What Has Brought About This Change?
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), meets every five years to make dietary recommendations to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Services (HHS). The committee is tasked with reviewing current nutritional research and making recommendations to the USDA. The final guidelines will be published later this year. Normally, the USDA follows the DGAC guidelines closely. If so, there are some sweeping changes being made to what we will be told to eat or not eat.
Cholesterol not the killer it’s touted to be, documentary says
A documentary about cholesterol and the medications that regulated called statins suggests that drugs are overprescribed and unnecessary for many
Drugs long thought to prevent heart attacks by lowering cholesterol do not provide a one-size-fits all solution, a new documentary suggests.
The Cholesterol Question, airing on CBC’s The Nature of Things Thursday Oct. 30, delves into the medications called statins; drugs that are among the most prescribed in the world.
It turns out a high cholesterol level doesn’t necessarily mean a heart attack or stroke is around the corner.
“There are far more powerful risk factors for developing plaque in the arteries,” says Dr. Barbara Roberts, a medical professor at Brown University, and director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island.
Smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle and strong family history of heart disease are far more significant, Roberts says. She has researched and treated lipid disorders since the 1970s and is an outspoken critic of widespread statin usage with her book The Truth about Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs.
“Cholesterol is a relatively weak risk factor,” Roberts says.