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CHOLESTEROL AND THE FRENCH PARADOX

Is cholesterol the lead cause of coronary heart disease? 

The French Paradox has baffled scientists for years, puzzled by the ability of the French to eat fatty cholesterol-laden foods, whilst enjoying low levels of heart disease. 

This book provides a thorough, clear and concise explanation of the French Paradox. It introduces you to doctors around the world, showing their data and how it conflicts with what you have been told about cholesterol and heart disease. 

“This book is a welcome contribution to the subject of cholesterol. It should appeal to busy people seeking a high-level view of the latest developments concerning cholesterol and heart disease.”  

Dr Uffe Ravnskov, MD, Sweden, renowned expert on cholesterol and author of the book The Cholesterol Myths. 

“You are doing a great service with the main themes of your book. It takes great courage to buck the well-funded dons of diet dogma, also called The Cholesterol Mafia. The essential nature of cholesterol - for cell membranes and brain function, the source of vitamin D in the body, and an important anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent - cannot be told too often." 

Dr Joel M Kauffman, PhD, Professor for Chemistry Emeritus, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, USA and author of the forth-coming book Malignant Medical Myths.  

In Store Price: $AU23.95 
Online Price:   $AU22.95

ISBN: 1-9211-1805-9
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages: 223
Genre:  Non Fiction

 

 


Author: Frank A. Cooper 
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2006
Language: English

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR  

Frank Cooper has an extensive career background as a business executive, board director and company chairman. His initial career was in investment banking, and later he worked in computers and in executive search and business transformation. Frank has lived in the Canada , USA , New Zealand , and today lives in Australia .  

Frank is also a researcher into the causes of coronary heart disease (CHD). This is a disease that clogs the arteries and stops the vital blood supply from pumping through to where it’s needed.  

Frank was born with Familial Hypercholesterolemia, which means very high cholesterol, and this condition has been associated with the early onset of coronary heart disease.  Diagnosed at age 25 with a cholesterol level of 13 mmol/L  (500 mg/dl in USA terms) he appeared a likely candidate for a heart attack.  

Frank has spent years investigating the views of doctors, medical researchers, nutritionists, and fitness experts to piece together the causes of coronary heart disease. To his surprise, he identified many medical professionals in the USA and Europe who cannot find any notable association between cholesterol and a heart disease. This ‘flies in the face’ of popular thinking that cholesterol is bad for us, and sets the theme for this book.  

Frank has consulted many doctors and medical researchers to ensure that everything in this book is current and accurate. His personal experience with cholesterol over a quarter of a century provides a practical and in-depth insight into a subject that concerns many people.  

He can be contacted at frank.cooper@optusnet.com.au

PREFACE - BY CHARLES T MCGEE, MD    

Frank Cooper and I share a common interest in the cholesterol theory; we both have sky-high cholesterol levels. As younger men we were taught this put us at high risk of sudden death. Then we investigated the theory and found it lacking. There is no clear cause/effect relationship between cholesterol levels and heart attacks. Actually the theory has leaked like a sieve from the very beginning.  

In Cholesterol and the French Paradox, Frank has done a fine job of putting the cholesterol theory to rest. Frank's stated purpose in writing this book is to simplify the subject for non-health professionals. He has done a good job.  

Heart attacks kill more people in developing and industrialised nations than anything else. The cholesterol theory has dominated thinking on the subject for decades and is still promoted by commercial interests. However, in scientific publications the theory is eroding in favour of newer concepts such as the oxidation theory, arterial damage from high Homocysteine levels, rupture of fatty plaques and the role of inflammation.  

Articles on these topics make interesting reading. They begin by bowing down in praise of the cholesterol theory, then move on to present something more useful. Authors seem to know the cholesterol theory is so entrenched that if they attacked it, their paper would never see the light of day.  

My personal introduction to another way of looking at the cholesterol theory began when I had dinner with Linus Pauling 30 years ago. Dr. Pauling told me there wasn't much evidence to support the theory and that cholesterol would take care of itself provided a person was well nourished in all of the materials the body needs. He conveyed this to me while eating a large juicy steak and I ate a less tasty fish dish. Pauling, the only person to be awarded two individual Nobel Prizes, lived an active life right up to his death at 93.

I discovered books by Dr. Paul Dudley White, founder of the specialty of cardiology. Dr. White wrote that he once was asked his opinion of the cholesterol theory. He responded that he couldn't believe in the theory because it was not consistent with the history of the disease. Nobody asked for his opinion again.  

What White was referring to was that the very first heart attack in the world proven by autopsy was in England in 1878 (a time when nearly everyone who died was autopsied in the name of medical science). White graduated from medical school in 1910 but didn't see a heart attack victim until 1921. By 1950 the heart attack had become the leading cause of death, apparently coming out of nowhere. Dr. White knew that during all of this time (and later) dietary intake of cholesterol and saturated fats remained the same.  

Inspired by these giants in science I searched the medical library for studies on cholesterol. I found the theory was based on a very weak association between blood cholesterol levels and heart attacks that was seen only in middle-aged men with genetically high levels. A few years later I asked a cholesterol researcher from Stanford University what he thought about exceptions to the cholesterol theory. He replied he didn't know of any.  

Well, here are a few:

 

q                   Cholesterol intake has been constant for over 100 years, as the death rate from coronary heart disease has risen and fallen sharply.

 

q                   There is no association between blood cholesterol levels and heart deaths in women despite TV ads for statin drugs showing women keeling over because of high cholesterol levels.

 

q                   No heart attacks were seen in more than 15 primitive life style cultures that consumed high fat diets.

 

q                   Scientific studies failed to show that lowering blood cholesterol levels lowered overall death rates, which, after all, should be the ultimate goal of any preventive effort.

 

q                   Half of people dying of a heart attack have cholesterols in the ‘normal’ range.

 

q                   Eating more cholesterol does not raise blood levels of cholesterol.

 

q                   Eating less cholesterol does not drop blood levels of cholesterol significantly.

 

q                   It should be obvious we are omnivores. We have the biochemistry to handle carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

 

q                   And of course there is the French Paradox discussed in this book.

 

How current low-fat dietary guidelines came into being deserves comment. The Consensus Development Conference on cholesterol was held at the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC , in 1984. Attendance was by invitation only. Most attendees made their living researching cholesterol, hardly an unbiased and open-minded group.  

By that time over 15 studies had been completed with the goal of proving that reducing cholesterol levels would reduce heart attack deaths. However, the presenter who reviewed this work apologised at the beginning saying that in every study something ‘ridiculous’ happened that prevented expected results from being observed yet, after two days of less than convincing presentations, the chairman announced a consensus had been reached. He called a press conference and recommended low fat, low cholesterol diets for everyone.  

Belief in the cholesterol theory has led to illogical actions through the years as large commercial interests became involved. Manufacturers of margarines and vegetable oils launched advertising campaigns pointing out that their products don't contain cholesterol or saturated fats (little was known at the time about harmful trans fats these products contain). Pharmaceutical companies launched a huge educational program encouraging physicians to prescribe a series of what turned out to be ineffective cholesterol-lowering drugs.  

Cholesterol phobia caused sales of beef to fall by half, but only temporarily because Americans really love beef. Egg sales fell a devastating 40% and stayed there for years. When egg producers advertised the truth that eggs had never been shown to be harmful to anyone, they were taken to court and convicted of false advertising by a judge who believed the testimony of cholesterol researchers.  

In 1995 the first statin study was presented. Researchers proudly proclaimed this was the first study in which heart attack deaths dropped without seeing a counterbalancing increase in deaths from other causes. To me this only served to expose the lies the public was told for 40 years that cholesterol-lowering drugs were of benefit.  

This is but a small part of the cholesterol issue. What remains at the end of the day is a tale of false hopes, biases, and manipulation by commercial interests. This book explores the cholesterol/coronary heart disease connection from several angles. Frank does a good job presenting information on how basic science research can be exploited by financial interests. I especially agree with him that people are going to be the healthiest when they consume fresh whole foods and shun refined and processed foods. That advice is far more useful than current recommendations to cut down on cholesterol and saturated fats, which reduces intake of some of our most highly nutritious foods.  

Charles T. McGee, MD

Coeur d’Alene , Idaho , USA

Author of Heart Frauds 

 

INTRODUCTION  

For many years we have been told that cholesterol is the leading cause of coronary heart disease, clogging our arteries, and causing heart attacks and strokes.  

But if this is actually correct, how do we explain the “French Paradox”?  This is the unexplained fact that the French who have the same cholesterol levels as the rest of us, have only one-third (1/3) the rate of heart disease?  

That’s what this book is about; it explains the riddle of the French Paradox, and how you can benefit from knowing what the French know, and thereby avoid heart disease.  

Cholesterol and the French Paradox looks at the ‘hard to find’ information on cholesterol and heart disease, and introduces you to doctors around the world, who have spent years studying cholesterol and heart disease.  Their data is in the public domain, and it conflicts significantly with what you have been told.  

What I learned was that there is no notable association between cholesterol and heart disease. In other words, regardless of whether you have high or low cholesterol, the population develops heart disease at about the same rate. And you don’t need to be a doctor or a medical researcher to understand how to avoid heart disease.  

This book will certainly be a welcome relief to anyone with elevated cholesterol. And if your cholesterol is low, don’t get too excited, because your chances of developing coronary heart disease are the same as the rest of the population.  

Cholesterol and the French Paradox was written to provide a thorough, clear, and concise explanation of the complex issues surrounding heart disease. It demystifies the medical discourse that accompanies coronary heart disease, and encourages us to assume greater control of our own health.  

PART I - EXPLODING THE MYTH     

CHAPTER 1 – WHAT IS THE FRENCH PARADOX   

The French Paradox is the unexplained riddle of how a nation of alcohol-quaffing, croissant-munching gourmands stays healthy and slim, while a disproportionate number of health-obsessed Americans are obese and at cardiovascular risk.  

The French Paradox has baffled American dieters and scientists, puzzled by the ability of the French to remain trim while downing buttery croissants, creamy brie and decadent pastries.  

Nutritionally speaking, the French have been blessed: They eat all the butter, cream, fatty liver pate, pastry and cheese that their hearts desire, and yet their rates of obesity and heart disease are much lower than the USA and UK.  The French eat three times as much saturated animal fat as Americans, and only a third as many die of heart attacks. It doesn’t make sense.  

Scientists struggled to come up with a few hypotheses: Firstly it was attributed to the French tradition of drinking red wine. This got winemakers excited for a while, but no one could find any real basis for this theory, because the French do not have a monopoly on drinking red wine.  

After the wine argument, scientists latched on to olive oil, but this didn’t explain the butter or Brie, which the French eat plenty of.  

Some researchers suggested that the French Paradox was due to garlic and onions but the French don’t have a monopoly on eating that either. Others say that the French eat smaller portions and eat more slowly. The list goes on and on.  

So whilst the Americans are worried about elevated cholesterol, and focused on low fat foods, and regularly taking cholesterol-lowering medication – the fact is - they are still twice as likely to have a heart attack as the French.  

Clearly, the Americans think this is all unfair, and the French think it's wonderful. To them it’s simply Bon Appetit!  

 The French Paradox is a clearly a riddle.  This book looks at all the available scientific evidence to explain the riddle.  

And to do that we need to go on a journey with a few twists and turns.  We will look at how the medical and pharmaceutical industries operate. We will look at the differences between the research doctors, and the practicing doctors. We will discuss cholesterol and the dangers of cholesterol-lowering drugs. And we will look at foods that inflame our arteries that lead to heart attacks and strokes. At the end of our journey we will have solved the riddle of the French Paradox.  

Let’s start our journey:
 

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