Misleading claims and the proven facts on Cholesterols and Statins (from the ESC)

Some of the misleading claims, and the proven facts:

CLAIM: Cholesterol is not bad for us. It is a fundamental fat needed to make our cells. We can’t live without it.

FACT: Cholesterol per se is indeed essential for life. But LDL cholesterol in the blood produces fatty deposits called atherosclerotic plaques. These plaques restrict blood flow which can damage organs or lead to a heart attack or stroke. Nearly 3 million deaths worldwide are linked each year to high levels of LDL cholesterol.

CLAIM: Eating foods high in cholesterol (e.g. eggs or butter) does not kill you. Therefore, cholesterol is not a problem but a myth of the pharmaceutical industry designed to sell us drugs.
FACT: Eating eggs or butter in reasonable amounts does not increase cholesterol in the blood. An estimated 85 percent of cholesterol circulating in the body is produced by the liver, independent of what we eat, and that is where the focus should be. As for claims that the pharmaceutical industry is getting rich from selling statins, the vast majority of these drugs are no longer covered by patents. They are generics sold for cents.

CLAIM: There is no link between a population’s LDL-cholesterol levels and the frequency of heart attacks.

FACT: Globally, about 33% of coronary heart disease cases can be attributed to high cholesterol. More than half of Europeans (54%) have high LDL cholesterol. For adults between the ages of 35 and 55, even if they are otherwise healthy, every decade that they live with high cholesterol increases their chances of developing heart disease by 39%. Germany has one of the highest cholesterol levels in the world and is ranked second amongst high income countries in the rate of deaths caused by ischemic heart disease.

CLAIM: High LDL cholesterol is less dangerous than many other factors, including inactivity, smoking and obesity. Changing those things in our lives is where we need to act first. FACT: “All those factors are contributors to the risk of heart disease,” said Professor Stephan Gielen, past president of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology. “It is indeed critical to stop smoking, be physically active and watch one’s diet. But lifestyle changes typically reduce cholesterol levels by only 5 to 10 percent. For people with high levels of LDL cholesterol, more is needed,” he said. “Combining exercise and statin therapy substantially reduces the mortality risk and is potentially the ideal combination.”

CLAIM: The side effects of statins are not worth the risk.

FACT: The most common side effect reported by statin users is muscle aches (myalgia), which occurs in less than 1 percent of patients and are often alleviated by switching to another brand of statin. Claims of more severe side effects, including Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer have been occasionally reported, but the evidence is weak or misinterpreted. Statins can indeed raise blood sugars slightly. But one would have to have significant pre-diabetes to develop Type 2 diabetes because of a statin. This occurs in only about 1 percent of patients with pre-diabetes taking the medication.

On Alzheimer’s disease, a study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found no association between statin use and a decline in memory or thinking ability. Indeed, patients who take statins for heart disease and have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease actually scored better on some memory tests. The lead author of the study, Doctor Katherine Samaras, a professor of medicine at the University of New South Wales, Australia said, “If you are experiencing memory problems while taking statins, don’t stop. Talk to your doctor. You may have other factors for that memory loss.”

CLAIM: Those taking statins should simply stop taking them.

FACT: Published studies have shown that patients who are taking statins and at risk for cardiovascular disease, increase that risk if they stop taking the medicine. One alarming study of 28,000 patients found that 3 in 10 stopped taking their statins because they presumed the aches and pains they were experiencing were due to the drug. The result: 8.5% suffered a heart attack or stroke within just four years, compared to 7.6% who continued taking the drugs. And there is good evidence that the benefits of statin use continue well into old age.

CONCLUSION:

There is absolutely no question that the benefits of statins far outweigh any risk,”  “You owe it to yourself to see for yourself – to review the many published, peer-reviewed studies, from reputable institutions. The stakes are simply too high to do otherwise.”

 

https://www.escardio.org/Education/Practice-Tools/Talking-to-patients/arming-your-patients-with-the-facts-on-statins?twitter&fbclid=IwAR1CYhMPZKs2uGlf20N7MzycSZr88G_cUrQap4l8zh6STeaC1gEtsD3ln5U

 

 

2019 Guideline on Heart Disease Prevention!

https://www.cardiosmart.org/Heart-Conditions/Guidelines/Primary-Prevention-Heart-Disease

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PreventHeartDisease

 

 

Debunking Nutrition Myths by American College of Cardiology

 

 

Dated 27th Feb 2017, the ACC (American College of Cardiology) published a review article on Debunking nutritional myths.

The article supports eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts in moderation. It also mentions that very limited quantities of lean meat, fish, low-fat and nonfat dairy products and liquid vegetable oils may be consumed. It however does not recommend intake of antioxidant pills, juicing and gluten-free diets (unless allergic to gluten).

A summary is provided:

Eggs and cholesterol:

Although a U.S. government report issued in 2015 dropped specific recommendations about upper limits for cholesterol consumption, the review concludes, “it remains prudent to advise patients to significantly limit intake of dietary cholesterol in the form of eggs or any high cholesterol foods to as little as possible.”

Vegetable oils:

According to the authors, coconut oil and palm oil should be discouraged due to limited data supporting routine use. The most heart-healthy oil is olive oil, though perhaps in moderation as it is still higher calorie, research suggests.

Berries and antioxidant supplementation:

Fruits and vegetables are the healthiest and most beneficial source of antioxidants to reduce heart disease risk, the review explains. There is no compelling evidence adding high-dose antioxidant dietary supplements benefits heart health.

Nuts:

Nuts can be part of a heart-healthy diet. But beware of consuming too many, because nuts are high in calories, said the authors.

Juicing:

The authors explain that while the fruits and vegetables contained in juices are heart-healthy, the process of juicing concentrates calories, which makes it is much easier to ingest too many. Eating whole fruits and vegetables is preferred, with juicing primarily reserved for situations when daily intake of vegetables and fruits is inadequate. If you do juice, avoid adding extra sugar by putting in honey, to minimize calories.

Gluten:

People who have celiac disease or other gluten sensitivity must avoid gluten – wheat, barley and rye. For patients who don’t have any gluten sensitivities, many of the claims for health benefits of a gluten-free diet are unsubstantiated.

 

Source: ACC Prevention Council Perspective Aims to Debunk Nutrition Myths – American College of Cardiology

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Which is the sweetest dessert of them all!

We all love desserts! They give us a feeling of satiety and satisfaction which few things in this world provide. However, too much of indulgence can be harmful. Its better to be informed and make a choice about the dessert depending on its sugar content.

 

Here is a chart from Shari’s Berries showing the sugar content of different desserts.

 

As Julissa from Shari’s Berries mentions “Although most say “There is ALWAYS room for dessert”, there is no reason to go overboard on your sugar taste buds especially if you are watching your weight or want something lighter.

That’s why Shari’s Berries has created a visual chart with the most popular desserts you find at restaurants and parties. The desserts range from lowest to highest in sugar content, hopefully making your choice a little bit easier. Sweets are definitely fun but moderation is key!”

 

sweetest-desserts

http://www.berries.com/blog/sweetest-desserts

 

Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 summary

 

Guidelines (Abbreviated)

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the life span.
  • Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount.
  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.
  • Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
  • Support healthy eating patterns for all.

 

Key Recommendations
Follow a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level.       A healthy eating pattern includes

A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other

Fruits, especially whole fruits

Grains, at least half of which are whole grains

Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soy beverages

A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products

Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium.

 

Key recommendations that are quantitative are provided for several components of the diet of particular public health concern that should be limited.

Consume less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars.

Consume less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fats.

Consume less than 2300 mg/d of sodium.

If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.

 

The Dietary Guidelines also include a key recommendation to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

 

 

 

 

This Viewpoint summarizes the updated recommendations of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ recently released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Source: JAMA Network | JAMA | Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Cooking oils? Which ones are good for heart?

Cooking oil is plant, animal, or synthetic fat used in frying, baking, and other types of cooking. It is also used in food preparation and flavouring that doesn’t involve heat, such as salad dressings and bread dips, and in this sense might be more accurately termed edible oil.

Cooking oil is typically a liquid at room temperature, although some oils that contain saturated fat, such as coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil are solid.

The FDA recommends that 30% or fewer of calories consumed daily should be from fat.

Oils containing higher percentage of saturated fats are associated with higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This can be bad for the heart.

Oils containing higher percentage of Unsaturated fats (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats) are generally healthier.

Mayo Clinic has highlighted oils that are high in saturated fats, including coconut, palm oil and palm kernel oil. Those of lower amounts of saturated fats, and higher levels of unsaturated (preferably monounsaturated) fats like olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocado, safflower, corn, sunflower, soy, mustard and cottonseed oils are generally healthier.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and World Heart Federation have urged saturated fats be replaced with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The health body lists olive and canola oils as sources of monounsaturated oils while soybean and sunflower oils are rich with polyunsaturated fat.

Here is the List of Cooking oils arranged in increasing amount of saturated fats!

Type of oil or fat Saturated (%) Monounsaturated (%) Polyunsaturated (%)
Canola oil 6 62 32
Almond oil 8 66 26
Pumpkin seed oil 8 36 57
Sunflower oil (high oleic) 9 82 9
Walnut oil 9 23 63
Hemp oil 9 12 79
Safflower oil 10 13 77
Flaxseed oil 11 21 68
Sunflower oil (linoleic) 11 20 69
Avocado oil 12 74 14
Grapeseed oil 12 17 71
Macadamia oil 12.5 84 3.5
Mustard oil 13 60 21
Corn oil 13 25 62
Olive oil 14 73 11
Seame oil 14 43 43
Soybean oil 15 24 61
Groundnut/peanut oil 18 49 33
Rice bran oil 20 47 33
Margarine (soft) 20 47 33
Tea seed oil 22 60 18
Cottonseed oil 24 26 50
Lard 41 47 2
Palm oil 52 38 10
Ghee 65 32 3
Butter 66 30 4
Margarine (hard) 80 14 6
Coconut oil 92 6 2

oils

Its better to choose oil which are low in Saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats as they are found to be healthier. However, the total amount of oil consumed still needs to be less than 30% of your calorie intake!