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Cholesterol and Lifestyle

For nearly fifty years, doctors and other health professionals have advocated lifestyle changes in an effort to lower cholesterol levels in North American adults. Many of the recommendations were simple, common-sense tips that would probably be beneficial for anyone’s life and health, but others were not so helpful. By the early 1980s, the health profession as a whole was convinced that cholesterol was a significant contributing factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, and they passed on those convictions to legions of patients and the general public. They recommended a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet, talked about “superfoods” like parsnips and oatmeal that would supposedly reduce cholesterol levels if eaten regularly, prescribed statin drugs to a quarter of the population, and advocated weight loss to practically everyone they saw. The result of this has been anything but beneficial in the long run. The low-fat craze resulted in the invention and production of highly processed foods that, while they may be low in fat, are extremely high in sugars, chemicals, and unhealthy trans fats. The statin drugs that have been ubiquitous for the last forty years at least, are associated with higher rates of diabetes, as well as a host of other complications, including – ironically enough – heart disease. The weight loss industry that fed off of the endless, hopeless quest for a “healthy” weight amongst all North Americans now rakes in over 60 billion dollars a year, with North Americans heavier than ever and suffering the inevitable backlash of weight loss diets, weight gain.
In reality, worrying endlessly about your cholesterol levels or your weight is an exercise in futility. The most beneficial thing you can do for yourself is to eat moderate amounts of non-processed, or minimally processed, organic fruits, vegetables, grains, fats, and meats. Moderate amounts of exercise every day, and avoiding exposure to toxins are also good recommendations.