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Book Commentary: The Great Cholesterol Myth – Part 2

Written By: Babs Hogan - Dec• 22•16


(Always consult your physician for advice on nutrition and the use of statins. This is a commentary only.)

Authors:  Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S. and Stephen Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C.

In everyone’s life, there are many life-changing turning points.  This book was one of mine.  It turned me around on a dime and quickly transformed me from a cheese avoider to a cheese promoter.  (When I say cheese, I mean high-quality cheese, not the squirt-out-of-a-can gooey stuff.)

In July 2012, my first book on childhood obesity was published and I was looking for something new to read.  While browsing around on Amazon, I was instantly attracted to the bright, red heart on the cover of this book.  When I saw the author’s names and credentials, I was impressed.  Maybe it’s a bit odd, but I enjoy reading the Forward in books before diving into the first chapter.  Do you?  I was already familiar with Drs. Michael Eades and Mary Dan Eades (both M.D.s) and was eager to get started.  Here’s a quick look at what they wrote.

The topic is cholesterol and saturated fats.  Drs. Eades make three strong points:

  1. “The vast majority of laypeople have been bombarded with so much misinformation about cholesterol that most take it as a given that cholesterol is a bad thing and that the less they have the better. The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth.” (p14)

My response:   WOW, that’s mighty bold.

  1. After a brief story about how Ancel Keys, “singlehandedly set us on a path of cholesterol paranoia,” they write, “This idea of saturated fat as villain is so ingrained in the minds of health writers that the words “saturated fat” are almost never written alone but always as “artery-clogging saturated fat.” (p14)

My response:  OUCH, that’s me.  I’ve been saying this for decades.  Guilty as charged.  Is it too late for redemption?

  1. “If you are worried about your cholesterol level or contemplating taking a cholesterol-lowering drug, we urge you to read this book!” (p15)

My response:  Well, of course I’m worried about my cholesterol.  Isn’t everyone?  My brother takes statins, and my Dad did for many years, so maybe I should also.  I’ve been on a low-fat, high-carb diet for thirty years, and now I’m learning that it’s wrong—even dangerous.  After eating tons of rice cakes, I’m surprised that I’m still alive!  Am I going to have a heart attack today?

CHAPTER 1:  Why You Should Be Skeptical of Cholesterol As An Indicator of Heart Disease

 I love high-impact first sentences.  Drs. Sinatra and Bowden start with this:  “The two of us came together to write this book because we believe that you have been completely misled, misinformed, and in some cases, directly lied to about cholesterol.” (p16)

My response:  What?  Who lied to us and why?  And for how long?  Were we misinformed by reputable sources, institutions, and agencies?  Wait a minute…you said “directly lied to.”  On purpose?  I want names.  Give me names of those who benefited from such schemes while everyone was getting sick.

Of course, I knew that the answers had to be linked to money—always is. Bowden and Sinatra claim that the business of cholesterol-lowering products is a $30 billion dollar industry, including marking, research, and product development.  I assume that it also includes non-prescription drugs and supplements designed to imitate the effects of statins.  Walk down the isle of your neighborhood pharmacy or vitamin store and you will see hundreds of products claiming to save your life.

For decades, we’ve known that the top killer in America is heart disease.  And we believed the myth that it is tied to dietary fat and cholesterol.  Bowden and Sinatra say flat-out that it’s a myth.  So, what’s the cause?

Here’s their answer written on Page 16:  “The real tragedy is that by putting all of our attention on cholesterol, we’ve virtually ignored the real causes of heart disease:  inflammation, oxidation, sugar, and stress.”

My response:  Yes, it is tragic.  Millions have died and suffered from this horrible scam.  They list four causes, but interestingly, only ONE is food-specific.  Hummm.  Oh, sugar is always on the bad list, but why?  How does  it cause heart disease?  Specifically, how does it relate to atherosclerosis (clogged arteries)?  (This will be discussed in Part 3.)

Regarding statins, at the end of the chapter, they say that “popping pills is a lot easier than changing lifestyles,” such as not smoking, exercising regularly, drinking alcohol in moderation, maintaining an ideal weight (BMI under 25), and eating a low sugar diet with plenty of Omega-3 fats and fiber.  For many years, we (health professionals) have been beating the drum to inspire people to make lifestyle changes related to exercise, smoking, and managing stress, and losing extra body fat.  And many of us have been harmoniously singing in the anti-sugar choir.  But  just look at us—we’re sicker and fatter than ever before.  I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for a physician to write a script for a patient who refuses to follow the first lines of treatment…the five lifestyle changes mentioned.  Yes, pill-popping is so much easier.

How many Americans take statins?

Today, my curiosity got the best of me.  Google and I took a trip down Statin Lane in a quest to find the number of Americans who are taking the drug.  I couldn’t find statistics for 2015-2016, but here’s what popped up.

 In November, 2014, Cardiovascular Business published an article titled:  AHA 2016: Statin use among adults increases 80 percent from 2002 to 2013. (1)  Here are some important statistics:

  1. From 2002 to 2013, the use of statins in the U.S. increased 79.8 percent among adults who were at least 40 years old. See Figure 1.(3)
  1. The number of adults who used statins increased from 21.8 million in 2002-2003 to 39.2 million in 2012-2013. That’s where they came up with 79.8 percent increase.

In a 2014 CDC publication, (2) one in four adults between age 40 and 75 take statins.

Here’s the answer:  In 2013, 39.2 million Americans took statins.  I’ll post the 2015-2016 statistics soon.  If you are considering taking statins, seek the advice of your physician right away.

Photo: The Mozzarella Company

Photo: The Mozzarella Company

Who should read this book?  Bowden and Sinatra’s book is a must-read for everyone.  Age-appropriate children should read it too!  It’s written for non-scientists and is easily understood.  They unravel the mystery about the role of dietary fats and explain the role and importance of  cholesterol.  Now that we have a solid framework to build our knowledge upon based on true science, (not lies) we can comfortably add high-quality fats to our diet.

Why cheese?

You may be wondering how this information fits into the Healthy Cheese Lady blog?  First, read the page that briefly explains my transition:  If you want to read how it ALL got started, read about the Texas Cheese Tour:

So, why cheese?  That’s a loaded question, but it works for me because I’m not a big meat eater.  I mean, I eat meat every day, but cheese is a substantial and delicious substitute.  In fact, a month ago, I started following the guidelines of the Paleo diet, which includes a lot of meat!  I’m certainly not anti-meat, although I am adamant about consuming grass-fed meat and wild-caught fish.  Obtaining meat from industrial,  confined animals is a cruel way to feed humans and lacks the bountiful nutrition that I personally prefer.

When you think about cheese nutritionally, what comes to mind right away?  Calories, fat—especially saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt.  Millions of cheese avoiders keep a Black List of foods.  I bet full-fat cheese tops the list.  I wonder though, do they still eat non-fat cheese?  Fat-phobia has caused more harm than ever imagined.  My new mantra is “Enjoy cheese without guilt.”

The Healthy Cheese Lady blog covers a variety of topics related to the nutrients and potential health benefits of full-fat, HQ C (high-quality cheese.)  Yogurt too!

As  Cheese Master, Max McCalman says, “Cheese is a near-perfect food.”  In future posts, I’ll explain why I believe his statement is true.







BUY THE BOOK:  The price of the book is $15.80.  Worth every cent.

Comments?  Send to babshealthcoach(at)

Previous post:  In case you missed it, here’s Part 1 published November 19, 2016:


Dr. Michael Eades and Dr. Mary Dan Eades

Dr. Jonny Bowden

Dr. Stephen Sinatra




(3.)  CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003–2012.

Further reading:  (published July 14, 2015)  (published March 19, 2014)


DISCLAIMER:  As the author of this blog, I have based my writings upon my own experiences, beliefs and extensive research regarding the topics covered. However, I am not a medical doctor, nurse or professional nutritionist or otherwise formally qualified in this subject matter. The information contained in this blog is not intended to be construed in any manner as medical advice. All health-related decisions should be made with approval of your health care provider. This blog is intended to motivate and encourage readers to make healthy decisions after consulting with a qualified health care professional.


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