A total cholesterol reading under 150 could mean you are.
And yet, you will occasionally hear rumblings about how your cholesterol levels are ultimately not a reliable indication of your susceptibility to heart failure. I beg to differ, as do a number of the most reliable, in-the-trenches authorities on the planet. Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Dean Ornish, Robert Kowalski, and the authors of The Stanford Life Plan For a Healthy Heart have all made clear recommendations that your total cholesterol should be under 150.
Here are a few more who agree:
• “Regularly maintaining a cholesterol level of less than 150 mg/dl makes one practically heart attack proof and insures against further progression of the disease.” Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
• “Heart disease is virtually unknown in regions where cholesterol is under 150.” Colin Campbell
• “A reading below 150 gives the best assurance of protection against heart-related problems. A very important thing to note is that for every decrease of one percent in the cholesterol level, there is a 2% decrease in the risk of heart attack.” Dr. Neal Bernard
• “Only a cholesterol level below 150 is satisfactory.” Dr. Joel Fuhrman
• “We’ve never had a heart attack in Framingham in 35 years in anyone who had a cholesterol level under 150…Three-quarters of the people who live on the face of this Earth never have a heart attack. They live in Asia, Africa, and South America, and their cholesterols are all around 150.” Dr. William Castelli, Medical Director of the Framingham Cardiovascular Institute in Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School
• “Heart disease is almost non-existent in places where blood cholesterol is very low. If your cholesterol is around 160 mg/dl or less, your risk of heart disease is virtually zero.” Dr. Terry Shintani
• “There are few guarantees in life, but having a blood cholesterol level of less than 150 is probably the closest you can get to a guarantee that you will not be troubled with heart disease… If you can get your cholesterol under 150 you don’t even have to concern yourself with the further breakdown of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol analysis.” Kitty Gurkin Rosati, M.S., R.D., L.D.N.
Unfortunately, there are a number of other “expert” sources who haven’t quite put the math together on this one.
Example: The American Heart Association’s Step One Diet calls for a regimen that’s around 30% fat and a cholesterol level “below 200.” Yet, around one-third of all first-time heart attack victims have cholesterol levels between 150 and 200!
How can this be? Why would the AHA make such a recommendation? It’s simple. When you have medical authorities accepting money from food lobbies who are trying to promote high fat foods, guess what? 30% suddenly doesn’t seem too high. And if you ask any of these “authorities” to quantify their recommendation with cases of heart disease reversal or even arrest, without the use of drugs or surgery, expect to wait a while for an answer. We (of the holistic health community) are all still waiting to see or hear about even one case. Check it out for yourself.
While this under-150 watermark might be next to impossible for certain folks (with a certain genetic predisposition), most people can achieve it by – you guessed it – eating foods devoid of cholesterol! This means eating low on the food chain (non-animal sources), where cholesterol doesn’t exist. That’s why doctors McDougall, Esselstyn, Campbell, Fuhrman, Barnard and others all advise eating minimally processed, high-fiber, nutrient dense plant-based foods, and avoiding animal products, fried foods, processed oils and refined sugars and flour.
Under 150, people!