Top 16 Lies of Agencies and Regular Media about Nutrition
Despite the scientific progress, we make every year in the field of nutrition and health, some dietary myths do not seem to go away.
There are a lot of untruths about healthy food on the internet and on television. Most people, therefore, think they know a lot about weight loss and healthy food.
They have heard what is and is not healthy through agencies, regular media, friends, family and nutritionists. Whether this is all right, they have not really thought about.
In this article, I count for good with the 16 biggest myths, misconceptions and lies that are about healthy food.
You learn, among other things:
- The biggest misconceptions about food
- Which products are a better alternative than bread (to prevent iodine deficiency)
- Why dinner is not as bad as you think (if you pay attention to one thing)
- How many pieces of fruit you can eat every day if you want to lose weight
- Why the use of vegetable oil is not as healthy as you think
- What is most important for permanent weight loss (more important than exercise)
- Why eggs help very well in weight loss
- How many grams of salt you can consume daily (it is more than you think)
- How is saturated fat in bad daylight
- And much, much more …
# 16: if you do not eat bread you get an iodine deficiency
Many Western people eat a few slices of bread daily with their meals. It has become an important part of the modern diet.
Because iodine is the biggest shortage in many western countries, the governments have decided to enrich the baking salt with iodine (not surprisingly that the Nutrition Center will continue to recommend bread forever).
The recommended daily amount of iodine is 150 mcg. Each slice of bread contains 25 micrograms of iodine and at 6 sandwiches you reach 150 mcg.
Iodine is a mineral that is important for a properly functioning thyroid gland. The mineral increases the production of thyroid hormones. If you have a shortage (together with selenium and other factors) you can develop a slow thyroid gland.
A common claim is that you have to eat bread to prevent an iodine deficiency with eg misleading messages from different mdia sources. It states that you do not necessarily get too much salt if you eat bread because it depends on what you eat more BUT you do get by definition an iodine deficiency if you do not eat bread.
If you think somewhat logically, you know that the previous reasoning can never be correct …
Whether you get an iodine deficiency also depends on what else you eat. You can also extract iodine from many more products than bread. A piece of cabbage or haddock (fish) already yields 4 times more iodine than bread and in its natural form.
Below you can see an overview of products with a high iodine content:
# 15: skipping breakfast is bad for you
Breakfast is still seen as healthy, more important than other meals. The Nutrition Center even calls breakfast ‘an indispensable start of the day’.
These are pretty hefty claims. But are they scientifically proven?
Is skipping breakfast bad for you? The results from recent studies will surprise you.
Let me start by saying that people who eat breakfast are generally healthier than people who skip breakfast. They are less likely to be overweight and have a lower risk of different chronic diseases. That is because they mainly eat healthy.
However, the studies that show this are observational. In other words, these studies show that breakfasters are healthier on average, but they can not prove that breakfast is responsible for this.
It is more plausible that people who skip breakfast are also the people who drink more, smoke more often, are more often unemployed, go out late, etc. And that is reflected in bad health.
So you do not measure if breakfast is bad, but you measure the health of people who have an unhealthy lifestyle.
However, new randomized controlled trials (also called RCT) show a completely different story. RCT is seen as the gold standard for scientific research.
From these new studies, it appears that:
Breakfast does not stimulate your metabolism
Some people claim that skipping your breakfast slows down your metabolism. But this is big nonsense. These people mean the thermal effect of food. This is the increase in calories that are burned after you have eaten something.
The only thing that matters for your metabolism is the total amount of food you eat one day. It actually makes no difference at what time you eat or how often you eat.
Over a period of 24 hours, scientists saw no difference in the number of calories burned between breakfasters and people who had skipped breakfast.
Skipping breakfast does not cause weight gain
Contrary to what is often thought, skipping breakfast does not make you fatter. The theory behind this is that skipping your breakfast later on triggers your metabolism and that you will eat more for the rest of the day to compensate.
I have now negated the metabolic myth. But what about overeating the rest of the day when you skip breakfast?
That would be logical in the first instance, but is not supported by scientific evidence. It is true that you may be a bit more hungry at lunch, but this is not enough to compensate for your skipped breakfast.
Several studies show that skipping breakfast can reduce the total calorie intake by 400 calories per day. This is not surprising when you realize that you have removed a full meal from your diet.
Interestingly, this was not reflected in a 4-month study, in which more than 300 obese men and women were examined.
The participants were divided into two groups: one group had a daily breakfast, the other group skipped breakfast. After 4 months there was no difference in weight between the two groups. It simply did not matter whether you opted for a breakfast or not.
These results are supported by other studies, which show that skipping breakfast has no visible effects on weight loss or weight gain.
There are a whole series of more benefits of skip meals such as accelerating growth hormone production, delayed cell aging, becoming more insulin sensitive, etc. So please review my article on intermittent fasting about this or watch the video in which the myths about breakfast skipping are debunk:
In summary: high-quality studies show that it makes no difference whether people eat breakfast or not. Skipping your breakfast does not cause a delayed metabolism.
# 14: eating late in the evening makes you fat
You’ve probably heard that eating before you go to bed is bad for you. I used to think exactly the same thing, but it is a bit more nuanced than you think at first.
That late dinner in the evening would be bad for you comes from the idea that these calories are automatically stored as fat.
You may think that sleeping causes a slower metabolism, but that is incorrect. Your basal metabolic rate remains the same on average during the night as during the day. Your body also needs sufficient energy during your sleep.
There is also no evidence that the calories you eat late in the evening count more heavily than during the day. But despite the fact that there appear to be no physiological reasons, several food studies before bedtime have been linked to weight gain.
How is that possible? The reason for this is simpler than you would expect.
Suppose you have eaten three meals a day and met your caloric needs, then a snack before bed is an extra meal and extra calories.
Not only that, but the evening is also the last part of the day where people feel most hungry. Eating before bed can, therefore, ensure that you take more calories than you really need. This ultimately causes weight gain.
Add to that that most people snack when they watch TV. You then stand less still at what you put in your mouth.
Some people also become extremely hungry before they go to bed because they do not eat enough during the day. This can lead to an unhealthy cycle where you do not eat anything in the morning because you are full of the night before and in the evening eat more calories than you need.
To summarize: the evening meal is not necessarily bad. It concerns the total number of calories you get. It is the unhealthy eating habits at bedtime that can cause overweight.
# 13: eat little or no fruit because it contains a lot of sugars
Fruit is an important part of a healthy diet.
Fruit contains many nutrients and has been linked to all kinds of health benefits.
Several studies show that eating fruit daily reduces the risk of premature death.
Some people, however, eat little or no fruit because of the high amount of natural sugars. Sugar is indeed sugar, that is chemistry, but how the sugar is packed has an enormous influence on your body.
What we see again and again is that something you eat in its entirety has very different effects on your body. We should therefore not overshoot too much by wanting to dissect substances in products.
For example, it is impossible to get all the substances from an apple together and make an apple. You will not succeed.
Because a real apple consists of much more than the sum of the combined substances. We call this concept gestalt, namely the whole is more than the sum of the constituent parts.
Many people think that eating more fruit than that is bad and increases the chance of illness and obesity, but that is not true. Fruit in its entirety is very healthy and has little effect on the blood sugar level (source), but extracting fruit from a processed product is far from healthy.
In addition, fruit is high in fiber, which actually slows down the digestion and absorption of sugar and ensures that the blood sugar content remains stable.
The dietary fiber in fruit can also reduce insulin resistance and help against type 2 diabetes. Fruit also contains antioxidants (polyphenols), which help regulate blood sugar levels.
How much fruit is healthy?
A meta-analysis from 2017 analyzed no fewer than 95 studies on fruit and vegetables. The meta-analysis included 2 million people from populations worldwide. It emerged that eating 2 to 5 pieces of fruit per day (80 grams per portion) is optimal. But eating more fruit is even healthier.
And you do not have to be afraid of being overweight. There is a study where people ate 20 servings of fruit a day and did not gain weight after weeks or months.
The daily eating of fruit can even help with weight loss. Research shows that people who had fruit in their diet eventually lost more weight than the group who refrained from fruit.
Another study shows that every 100 grams of fruit you eat per day is associated with 300 grams of weight loss in 6 months, regardless of what you eat differently, do sports or not. Vegetables gave better weight loss results in this study.
So feel free to eat fruit if you feel like it. Only people with type 2 diabetes have to watch out with unlimited fruit. For them, I mainly recommend fruit with a low glycemic index such as small fruit.
To sum up: eat at least 2 to 5 pieces of fruit per day (80 grams per portion). But eating more fruit is even healthier. Fruit contains sugar, but the fibers and antioxidants keep the blood sugar level stable and protect you against type 2 diabetes.
# 12: vegetable oil is healthy because it comes from plants
Many vegetable oil products (sunflower oil, soy oil, walnut oil, corn oil) contain polyunsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids can be divided into two groups:
Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.
Vegetable oil generally contains a lot of omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. The Nutrition Center advises you to use sunflower oil or olive oil, but if I strongly advise you to use it then it is sunflower oil.
Much omega 6 compared to omega 3 is associated with an increase in infections and an increased risk of diseases related to the metabolic syndrome such as cardiovascular diseases.
Coconut oil contains saturated fatty acids, but these are mainly medium fatty acids. They work anti-inflammatory. Thanks to these saturated fatty acids, coconut oil is also more stable when heated than, for example, sunflower oil.
Baking with vegetable oil that contains a lot of omega 6 is not a smart idea, because the unsaturated fatty acids from vegetable oils can oxidize when heated.
Basque researchers have shown that harmful substances such as aldehydes and ketones are formed during prolonged heating (40 hours at 190 degrees) of certain vegetable oil products (sunflower, linseed and olive oil).
Many people also think that heating fat leads to trans fat, but that is not true. Trans fat is created by hardening oil such as palm oil. You can find this in margarine, peanut butter and hundreds of other products. The packaging then contains hardened palm oil, hardened palm or hardened palm fat.
Incidentally, fully hardened palm fat is better since almost all of the trans fat is converted into saturated fat, something that is certainly not the case with partially hardened palm fat. But I do not recommend it both.
Or watch the video about the healthiest oil for baking and eating cold:
# 11: for losing weight, exercise is more important than nutrition
When it comes to losing weight and achieving a healthy weight, what you eat and what you eat is much more important than exercise.
Of course ,sports contribute to a healthy lifestyle, but it is not the most important thing to get a flat stomach.
Then what? Food!
A report with all the studies from 25 years before 1997 examined whether diet or exercise had more impact on weight loss, with participants being overweight (around 90 kilos).
If we look at studies that look at approximately 15 weeks, then what is importnat for weight loss:
Sometimes I get criticized that I am taking a 1997 study but also recent studies show that nutrition is more important than losing weight. A study in 2007 even showed that extra physical exercise resulted in only 2.5% weight loss.
Another recent American study has shown that with sports and exercise you will not lose much of your weight. Most athletes overestimate the number of calories they burn while performing exercises.
As an example, let’s take a woman with a lot of overweight. She consumes 1000 calories more than her daily calorie requirement. This means that she will have to burn 1000 calories again to get in balance.
Often, the number of calories burned with sports is grossly overestimated.
With 30 minutes of jogging or swimming, you burn an average of 350 calories. Chances are that you do not have the will to do physical exercise 30 minutes a day. It is much easier to replace or omit certain foods from your diet.
In addition, exercise also ensures increased appetite. When you burn a lot of calories, your brain gets a signal to replace them.
A lot of people can just manage to go to the gym for an hour, but in the meantime, they complain that they do not have time to make a healthy, homemade meal. Which is natural big nonsense. You will see much better weight loss results if you are more aware of what you put into your mouth and switch to healthy eating.
In summary: apply the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) to your diet. By that I mean that you eat 80% of your time healthy and also eat 20% unhealthy. This yields far more results than just being focused on sports.
# 10: red meat is bad because it increases the risk of cancer and many other diseases
We are constantly warned about eating red and processed meat.
Recently, an observational study showed that eating red and processed meat would increase the risk of premature death.
But if we dive deeper into this study, we see some problems. The first problem we encounter is that the researchers have thrown processed and unprocessed meat under one group.
For example, the red meat category contained unprocessed meat such as beef, pork tenderloin, hamburger and steak, but also processed meat such as smoked bacon, ham, frankfurters and hot dogs.
In the category of white meat, unprocessed meat was also combined with processed meat.
In total, 25% of the red meat consumed was processed, while only 9% of the white meat had been processed. So people who ate less red meat during the study also ate less processed meat in general.
The reported mortality figures from the research stem mainly from eating more processed meat, not from eating more red meat. Even common sense tells us that eating more processed meat is not healthy.
Of course, this does not mean that we have to eat unlimited red meat. In a study where people were followed for 6 years, almost vegetarians appeared to have the smallest chance of premature death, cancer and cardiovascular disease. With the emphasis on ‘almost’ because vegans did worse in this study.
To sum up: raw red meat is not necessarily unhealthy. It is especially processed meat which is bad.
# 9: eating too much protein leads to kidney failure
Every now and then I still come across it: a diet that consists of a high protein content could lead to osteoporosis and kidney failure.
It is true that proteins increase calcium secretion of the bones in the short term, but the long-term studies actually show the opposite effect.
In the long term, proteins are associated with improved bone health and a lower risk of bone fractures.
Moreover, studies do not show a link between a higher intake of proteins in healthy people and the risk of kidney failure. Unless you have kidney disease, a diet consisting of many proteins has no harmful effects on your kidney function
When it comes to healthy eating, proteins are indispensable.
However, I advise you not to extract more than 50% of your proteins from animal proteins. This is because the kidneys have to remove organic acids from animal protein, whereas this is not the case with vegetable protein sources.
In summary: eating high quality proteins ensures the good bone health and a lower risk of bone fractures. A protein diet is not harmful to the kidneys in healthy people.
# 8: only people with a gluten allergy suffer from gluten
You would think that only people with celiac disease (a severe form of gluten intolerance) have to go through life without gluten.
But nothing is less true. A much larger group of people is non-celiac gluten-sensitive and would benefit from a gluten-free diet.
Gluten can be seen as a family of proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, spelled and barley. Wheat is the most consumed of the grains containing gluten.
It is not known exactly how many people suffer from gluten intolerance, but it is estimated that 0.5 to 13% of the population suffers to some extent.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance are:
- Stomach ache
- Bloated feeling
The number of gluten has also increased considerably in our diet, in particular with wheat bread. I think this is the logical explanation why more and more people are being bothered. Yet the regular media and agencies still pretend that these people imagine it.
Some professors even call this nocebo. This means the opposite of placebo, namely that getting rid of something would expect a better result despite the fact that what you take away should have no effect.
Not only is wheat packed with an aggressive form of gluten and it will increase your blood sugar level considerably, but it has been genetically modified in the last decades, so that the concentrations of zinc, copper, iron and magnesium have become 19-28% lower.
Scientists also believe that gluten-free diets can reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy.
In summary, studies have shown that many people can benefit from a gluten-free diet, not just patients with celiac disease.
# 7: eating too many eggs is bad because it increases your ‘bad’ cholesterol
People have been advised for decades not to eat too many eggs, because it would be bad for your cholesterol levels.
It was mainly small studies that arrived.
But several studies from recent years have shown that eggs do not increase bad cholesterol in the blood and there is no link between cardiovascular disease and eggs.
There is fat and cholesterol in the yolk, but the fat is mainly unsaturated.
What remains is a source of high-quality proteins, important amino acids and no less than 13 different vitamins and minerals, healthy unsaturated fats and antioxidants.
You would be crazy not to eat an egg every day as part of a healthy diet. Moreover, high-quality proteins in eggs have been proven to reduce appetite and stimulate the feeling of satiety.
To sum up: Eggs do not raise bad cholesterol. Eating up to 3 eggs per day has been examined and found to be healthy.
# 6: salt is bad because it increases the risk of high blood pressure
According to the Nutrition Center, eating too much salt causes increased blood pressure (and therefore the risk of cardiovascular disease). The Heart Foundation also advises us to eat a maximum of 6 grams of salt.
Finally, the consumer TV program constantly insists on consciously eating less salt.
However, new large-scale research shows that there is no difference at all between a high and low intake of salt consumption! It turns out that the so-called ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol gets higher if you eat less than 7.5 grams of salt per day.
The researchers recommend eating up to 17.5 grams of salt a day, because you have an increased risk of stomach cancer. The results are at odds with the old recommendations to eat less salt.
A large study also shows that salt does not play an important role in cardiovascular diseases. However, the researchers say that the intake of salt in people who already suffer from cardiovascular disease should be reduced.
However, it has been concluded that increasing the intake of potassium lowers the blood pressure, what you can find in banana, avocado, black chocolate etc. Read more about lowering your blood pressure here.
Although eating less salt can lower blood pressure by an average of 1-5 mm / Hg, it has no effect on cardiovascular disease.
Finally, I would like to mention that this is not a plea for eating processed food with lots of salt. For example, too much salt can increase the chance of a brain haemorrhage.
In summary: new studies recommend a salt intake of 7.5 to a maximum of 17.5 grams per day. Too much salt is related to stomach cancer, but a salt deficiency is actually a lot more dangerous. In particular, the increase in potassium lowers blood pressure.
# 5: saturated fat is bad and the cause of cardiovascular disease
The idea that saturated fat and cholesterol would be bad was helped by the American scientist Ancel Keys a few decades ago.
It was his research from 1958 that caused cholesterol and saturated fat to be associated with cardiovascular disease.
This was a weak observational study because it only involved 7 countries. Fifteen other countries were not included because Keys did not find the data from these countries reliable, but possibly ignored them because they did not support his theory.
Through this weak study, the idea that saturated fat and cholesterol were bad in the world and synonymous with silted up veins, narrowed blood vessels and heart attacks.
Yet correlation (relation) does not mean causality (cause-effect). Even an agency like the American Heart Association (AHA) makes this mistake and says that elevated LDL is an important cause (‘a leading cause’) for arteriosclerosis. They use a handful of studies from 25 to 50 years ago, including animal studies.
The AHA also takes money from the food industry and pharmaceutical industry, including the Ag Canada and the Canola Oil Council, who would like to put their vegetable oil in a good light. In this way, you probably better understand their report, where we have to use vegetable oil in bulk and not coconut oil.
The idea that saturated fat is bad for cardiovascular disease is at least odd, because of a study from 2014 – with a total of 650,000 participants – confirmed that there is no connection between the intake of saturated fat and heart. and vascular diseases. A study from 2011 – with a total of 350,000 participants – also indicates that there is no link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease.
There are more and more bloggers, doctors, dietitians etc. who question whether saturated fat is really so bad.
The fact that the saturated fat and cardiovascular disease relationship does not exist is possible because saturated fat does not increase LDL or minimally. The studies on this are often decades old, give inconsistent results and are only observational.
Incidentally, the question is whether a low LDL is so good because LDL also has functions. A study with elderly aged 60 or older indicates that the lower your LDL is, the greater the chance of mortality.
Since one is negative about saturated fat, coconut oil is sincerely seen as unhealthy. The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil would increase the ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) and thus the risk of cardiovascular disease.
There are three major pitfalls in my view:
- As mentioned, there is no connection between the intake of saturated fat and cardiovascular diseases.
- It is not necessarily about the height of the LDL but its oxidation. This usually only occurs in combination with low-grade inflammations. A high LDL therefore does not have to be bad in itself.
- Nothing is said about the quality differences of coconut oil, while virgin coconut oil contains anti-oxidants that can even help against the oxidation of LDL.
Finally, I would like to mention that this is not a plea for eating unlimited saturated fats. That too is unhealthy. But that is with everything you eat too much (except vegetables).
To summarize: it is not the saturated fats that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but the refined (processed) carbohydrates and sugars.
# 4: all calories are the same so no matter what you eat
It is true that a calorie is a calorie.
Energy can not escape, but this does not mean that the packaging in which the calorie is delivered is the same.
The amount of energy (kcal / joule) that your body receives depends on the macronutrient you eat.
Macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) are the most important components of our food.
Fats, proteins and carbohydrates contain different amounts of calories per gram.
Here are the calories per macronutrient:
- Protein: ± 4 kcal per 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: ± 4 kcal per 1 gram
- Fats: ± 9 kcal per 1 gram
If you look purely at these numbers, then the most logical thought is that you should eat as little fat as possible to lose weight. But that reasoning is incorrect! You also have to look at the effect of the type of packaging of the calorie.
In this figure you see the following:
- Egg whites: Mediocre insulin production, Highest satiety feeling
- Fats: Least insulin production, Moderate satiety
- Carbohydrates: Highest insulin production, Lowest satiety feeling
The food we eat can have a huge impact on the biological processes that determine when, what and how much we eat. Especially the saturation of food is an important point.
In this way, people fall off faster who eat a handful of almonds every day than people who do not. Almonds contain a considerable amount of protein and healthy fats that saturate very well and suppress hunger.
You probably now understand that getting too many calories from refined carbohydrates is not smart. They barely saturate, have a high through-eating factor and stimulate the body to produce the fat storage hormone insulin in large quantities.
In summary: You can get calories from proteins, fats and carbohydrates. A calorie is an energy and you always keep it, but one calorie does something different with the body than the other.
# 3: the majority of your diet should consist of carbohydrates
The general view is still that a low-fat diet is the best choice when it comes to healthy food and weight loss.
Carbohydrates should be your biggest source of calories.
Bodies stubbornly adhere to the idea that – in particular – saturated fat is the main cause of cardiovascular disease, despite the fact that new studies have proved the opposite.
The majority of your diet must consist of carbohydrates, especially whole grain products. The Nutrition Center recommends that people get 40 to 70% of your energy from carbohydrates. This is, of course, ridiculously much.
We now know better. This amount of carbohydrates is not good for people who want to lose weight and want to work on their overall health.
Research shows that a low-carbohydrate diet is much healthier and more effective to lose weight than a low-fat diet. This has been thoroughly studied and the results are consistently in favor of low-carbohydrate diets.
In my view, refined carbohydrates (bread are not unprocessed grains) are also stronger in connection with cardiovascular diseases than eg saturated fat.
Not only that because large amounts of glucose (you get out of carbohydrates) affects the cholesterol because cholesterol attaches to proteins that are everywhere in the body, called crosslinking. Normally cholesterol can move freely but the excess of glucose ensures that cholesterol remains stuck in blood vessels with arteriosclerosis as a result.
In summary: with a low-carbohydrate diet you get maximum results in the area of fat burning. It is also much healthier and easier to maintain than the low-fat diet.
# 2: Eating a lot of small meals leads to a faster metabolism
“Eat multiple, small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism (metabolism) high.”
You will undoubtedly have heard of a diet expert or nutritionist.
However, I am still waiting for a study that shows this, because they are not there.
The truth is that it does not matter how many meals you eat in a day. At least, not for your metabolism.
Eating 2-3 meals a day has exactly the same effect on your energy consumption as 5-6 smaller meals (with the same energy balance)
There will be no more thermogenesis if you increase the meal frequency in a day. Thermogenesis is the increase in resting metabolism, in response to food intake, effort or exposure to cold or hot temperatures.
Eating more often may prevent you from feeling hungry, but it is incorrect that this has some influence on the amount of calories you burn one day.
In fact, there are even studies showing that eating much smaller meals can be harmful to your health.
In a 2014 study, healthy men were exposed to a high-calorie diet. The excess calories consisted mainly of fat and sugar and were eaten during or between the three main meals, thereby increasing the meal size or the meal frequency.
Not a larger meal, but an increase in the meal frequency turned out to provide more liver and abdominal fat.
# 1: fat and cholesterol is bad and makes you fat
Eating fat makes you fat, so you should avoid fat if you want to lose weight and eat healthy food. Sounds logical at first, but it is not.
A diet that consists of many fats and carbohydrates can make you fat, but that is not so much because of the fats. A low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet causes more weight loss than a low-fat diet, even if participants in the low-fat group did caloric restriction.
A low-carbohydrate diet is therefore much more effective than a low-fat diet.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that people need to survive. You now know that cholesterol in food does not cause cardiovascular disease.
The truth is that cholesterol is so important that the body has developed many complex mechanisms to ensure that we always have enough. Your body makes 70-80% of the cholesterol itself.
If you eat a lot of cholesterol, your liver makes less cholesterol and vice versa. It balances out.
What about the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol?
Actually, ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) does not exist. It is about lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are the packages with which cholesterol is transported. The filling (cholesterol) of the package is not bad but the type of package (lipoproteins) can be good or bad (although they both have a function).
Many small LDL particles (small dense LDL pattern B) would increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These are much more sensitive to oxidation than the larger LDL particles (pattern A).
Virtually no blogger or agency speaks about the benefits of saturated fatty acids on cholesterol. Here are two important advantages:
- Saturated fatty acids change the small LDL particles to larger LDL particles, which should reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Saturated fatty acids increase the HDL, which should also reduce the risk
But what is the cause of many small LDL particles? Below you can find my opinion about this.
The cause of developing many small LDL particles are:
- Trans fats
- Refined sugars and carbohydrates
- Omega 6 fatty acids
The above diet leads to inflammatory reactions that narrow the veins, causing arteriosclerosis. In addition, cholesterol tries to tackle the inflammatory reactions so that the veins remain smooth and elastic.
Cholesterol is therefore probably not the cause of arteriosclerosis but a consequence. The cause is inflammatory reactions (source).
So what is the cause of an increased risk of cardiovascular disease?
- High total cholesterol
- High ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL)
- Many small LDL particles
Basically, you should see cholesterol as firefighters trying to extinguish a fire or a plaster that wants to heal a wound. We can not say that firefighters are the cause of the fire, just as the plaster is not the cause of the wound. They are strongly burned into each other (correlation), but that does not give cause-and-effect relationship (causality).
Inflammatory reactions that are increased by eating a lot of:
- Trans fats
- Refined sugars and carbohydrates
- Omega 6 fatty acids
And did you know that foods that contain a lot of cholesterol are often super healthy and nutritious? Full fat dairy, fish oil, eggs, shellfish and sardines are foods that are incredibly nutritious, so avoid them because of their cholesterol content.
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