Review of Uffe Ravnskov: “The Cholesterol Myths”
by IraPilgrim, PhD
I am 75 years old and have had a highblood cholesterol level for at least the past 25 years. A normalcholesterol is considered to be under 200 mg/dl and mine ranges from250 to 316. My LDL (the so-called bad cholesterol) is high and myHDL (the so-called good cholesterol) is low. While I have had healthproblems, they do not include heart or blood vessel disease. Myblood pressure is about 130/80 which is pretty good for an old man.Yet, according to what I have read, I am at high risk for heart andblood vessel disease. A number of years ago I decided to look intoit.
I plugged the word”cholesterol” into Yahoo, and one site that I came up withwas a web site by Uffe Ravnskov called The Cholesterol Myths. Itsaid that what I had been hearing and reading about high cholesterolbeing bad for you was hokum. He made a good case for the thesis thatif you exclude those people who have the gene for high cholesteroland early death, that cholesterol levels are meaningless. Also, thatcholesterol level is not appreciably influenced by diet.
That was not enough for me; I wanted thedocumentation, so I started a correspondence with him. One consequence wasthat, several years ago, he e-mailed me a copy of the English version of hisbook The Cholesterol Myths which had been published in Swedish and Finnish.That book, revised, expanded and fully documented, has just been publishedby New Trends Publishing as a $20 paperback.
Ravnskov is both a physician and researcher.His publications have been in first rate medical journals and he is highlyrespected by his peers, including me. His book is extremely well researchedand is well documented. It is clearly written; much more clearly than manypublications that I have read by people whose native language is English.
Medical history is replete with fads thathave dominated medical practice and the public’s attention. In the seventeenhundreds bleeding was the treatment for everything. It never helped anyoneand probably sent many people to a premature death, including GeorgeWashington. Many volumes have been written about medical fads of the past.Fads are hardly a thing of the past. In recent memory, one fad wasdemonizing salt, based on the fact that some people who have high bloodpressure(not all people) will have their blood pressure reduced considerablyby a salt-free diet. One manufacturer took salt out of infant formula withsometimes fatal results. However, nothing in my memory can match the hypegiven to cholesterol, with the possible exception of the mammographycampaign. The amount of anguish produced in people who found that they hadhigh blood levels of cholesterol is not measurable, but it is considerable.It dwarfs the various diet fads of the past and present. For many peopleeating was converted from one of life’s most pleasurable activities to achore. This book should relegate much of the cholesterol stuff that we havebeen hearing and reading to the trash heap.
As Ravnskov states in the epilog of his book,”If you want to know something you must look at all the premisesyourself, listen to all the arguments yourself, and then decide for yourselfwhat seems to be the most likely answer. You may be easily led astray if youask the authorities to do this work for you.”
The book is available from www.newtrendspublishing.com
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