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Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You
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188 of 192 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2009
I admit to bias in this book review, having written one of the four Forwards in it. Dr. Ravnskov's earlier book, The Cholesterol Myths, 2000, has become quite famous. When it went out-of-print around 2007 used copies had asking prices of $300. I read it in 2002 and referred to it frequently. As in the new book (FCGY), the complete lack of correlation between serum cholesterol, LDL-C, and HDL-C and chance of atherosclerosis leading to heart attack was shown. Also, in both books, the lack of harm from eating animal fat (saturated) was shown from published trials. Some trials claimed the opposite, the still common myths that you hear frequently, but Ravnskov would look at the data in the medical papers and see whether those data matched the Abstract and Conclusions, finding often a disconnect. He is one of the few who would search the references of a paper to see whether the purpose the paper cited was actually supported by the content of the paper; often it was not. He also showed that reduction of cholesterol or LDL-C by old or new drugs such as the statins (Zocor, Lipitor) was of no benefit whatever, that the side effects of these drugs were more common and severe than claimed, and that their accidental benefits of being anti-inflammatory, like aspirin, were exaggerated by perversion of clinical trials by a level of patient selection far beyond what your physician would ever achieve.

In addition to all this, in FCGY, newer data from the nine recent years is woven into the original narrative. Some of the new data were whimsical, such as the correlation between heart attacks and animal fat, yellow fingers and the local tax rate. Hunh? Well, real studies show animal fat intake to be a benefit, opposite to the common dogma; yellow fingers is correct because it is from smoking tobacco; and the rate of heart attacks in the municipal districts of Stockholm, Sweden vs. the local tax rates has an excellent correlation; but could it be a cause?

A new sidebar revealed the storm of protest in Finland over a campaign by a dairy products producer to show the healthfulness of its products. As Finland is even more consumed by anti-fat campaigns than the USA, the manufacturer finally backed down. Another sidebar and a new chapter near the end explained why high-carb diets (even complex whole grain carbs) are disaster for diabetics. Another sidebar explained the lack of evidence for the term "bad cholesterol" for LDL-C, including a deep literature search that showed nothing in support of the claim. Another showed the uselessness of serum triglycerides (TG) to show good health, the lack of accuracy in the assay being one reason. Another showed the cheating in the huge (and expensive US taxpayers) MRFIT Study on about 360,000 subjects. Another showed the claims of Dr. Dean Ornish (and by implication, Pritikin, McDougall, Esselsteyn, etc.) of great results from a 6-factor lifestyle change were not backed by evidence. Another showed that the members of the committee of the National Cholesterol Education Program, pretending to be a government organization, all had multiple financial ties to the Big Pharma producers of the cholesterol lowering drugs.

New topics were introduced not in the older book. One was an honest attempt to explain what causes arterial lesions, atherosclerosis, then blockages leading to heart attacks, including the amazing finding that vaccination for influenza prevents heart attacks. Ravnskov showed that an arterial plaque that could break open was similar to a boil, and why veins do not become atherosclerotic. A final chapter answers another topic the earlier book did not address: how to avoid premature death from a heart attack.

There is a good index, and hundreds of citations, mostly to medical journals. The writing is easy to read, if "accented". There are no wild claims. The only technical item I question is the term "cholesterol droplets" (p197) and the appearance of crystalline cholesterol, because the melting point of cholesterol is 149°C, far higher than body temperature of 37°C. Most cholesterol is present as esters such as the oleate and palmitate, which melt much lower and are more soluble in any fatty material.

The publisher did no favors in proof reading. Dozens of words are hyphenated as though they were on two lines, and sometimes even the location of the hyphen was odd. Loose was used at least twice when lose was meant.

Because of its exceptional honesty, depth of literature searching, logical correlations and connections, and even some humor, FCGY is strongly recommended. It should become a classic in its own right.
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107 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2009
A rare talent is to be able to describe subject matter that requires a deep technical knowledge while making it accessible and easy to understand for the lay person. Dr Ravnskov is the expert's own expert. He describes the cholesterol/heart disease hypothesis and explains it in very clear terms, so that ordinary people can understand what is involved. With the trained eye of a scientist, he assembles all of the available evidence, both positive and negative, and gently leads the reader through the experiments and the clinical research, that either supports the wholesale use of toxic medications or warns us of the consequences if we continue to ignore the irrefutable mountain of scientific data that underpins the benefits of cholesterol to the human body.

Every study, to which Dr Ravnskov refers, in this meticulously referenced book, is broken down and explained in terms with which the lay reader will be familiar. We learn of the research of Landé and Sperry (a pathologist and a biochemist) which was published in 1936. The surprise at their finding, that there was no association between the mount of cholesterol in the blood and atherosclerosis (the hardening and thickening of the artery walls), is as fresh for me today as it must have been for Landé and Sperry, perhaps because the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry don't usually let the poor consumers have any access to these simple truths. Dr Ravnskov manages to convey the excitement of scientific discovery by documenting such important events in clear language.

Moving to the research of the 1950s, we learn of Ancel Keys and how he tailored the facts fit his own pet theories, while conveniently ignoring anything that would spoil a good story. The story of 'bad' and 'good' cholesterol is unravelled piece by piece and I found it hard to put the book down. It was like reading a good detective novel, with small clues being found throughout the plot. The conclusions do not have to be drawn for the reader, by Dr Ravnskov, for the obvious answers are stark, once the confusion is cleared away. The reader can easily see that 'bad' cholesterol is a convenient fairy-tale, that would not have looked out of place if it were sitting on the library shelf of Hans Christian Andersen, next to Thumbelina, The Red Shoes. The Snow Queen and The Ugly Duckling.

Dr Ravnskov goes on to explain the role of cholesterol in the body and then he details how different cholesterol values in different nations, do not produce the expected results. There is no rabid denunciation of people who are mistaken in their researches. Unlike the manner in which the establishment decry this solid and honest attempt to understand a specific piece of biochemistry, in order to prevent people from suffering needless infirmity or more serious consequences.

If you are concerned about heart disease and the relationship that cholesterol may have in its beginnings, you owe it to yourself to become better informed. it is unlikely that your medical practitioner will be as well-informed as this book. You, in turn, will be able to ask your family doctor some crucial questions because of the knowledge that you will gain from reading this book. If it prevents you from poisoning yourself with cholesterol reducing medicines and stops you worrying about heart disease, so that you are less prone to being stressed, then Dr Ravnskov will have rendered a much needed service to you, without you being one of his own fortunate patients. If nothing else, reading this book will remind you of the joy of eating foods that contain fat. I am considerably happier now that I can eat fat containing foods again. Full fat cheeses, Meats, Jersey Cream milk, Eggs and Fried Bacon. Mmmmm.... lovely! :-)
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103 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2009
The title is so politically incorrect, it may turn some people off from reading the book. This would be a mistake, because the message of the book is well documented with solid evidence that our treatment of high-cholesterol is creating a nation of sick people as we enrich the pockets of the drug companies. The very weak correlation between heart disease and high cholesterol needs to be exposed for the fraud that it is, and this book does it. With 13 million Americans on statin drugs, the toll our citizens are paying for bad medicine is a good example of why our country's medical costs are astronomical.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2010
This is one of the most important and ground-breaking health/scientific books I have read. It is particularly significant because it proves beyond a doubt that we have been deliberately, totally and utterly deceived in the last decades by the misleadingly interpreted scientific studies of researchers in the pocket of the medicinal industry, which capitalizes on skyrocketing sales of statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs).

The author examines a number of studies into the implications of high cholesterol and its relation to atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries), analyzes the results in detail and then tears the conclusions apart. It turns out that the studies/tests have been erroneously interpreted, unwanted results have been left out, the results arrived at and presented in the conclusion having only been those supporting the interests of the investigators.

In actual fact, despite what the researchers, doctors, drug producers and the food industry have been deceiving us for decades into believing, there is no etiological connection between high cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Older people with high cholesterol live longer than older people with low cholesterol. Those treated with statins may suffer fewer deaths from heart disease, but have a higher general mortality - they die more from cancer, for instance. Statins also cause memory loss, dementia, impotence, polyneuropathy, violent behaviour and mental disturbances.

LDL (the "bad" cholesterol - ha!) has useful and essential functions - for instance, it "binds and inactivates 90% of alfatoxin, one of the most toxic chemicals produced by the staphylococcus bacterias". It has a direct beneficial effect on the immune system - people with low LDL-cholesterol are shown to have a much lower number of white blood cells.

High LDL-cholesterol protects against allergy. Only half as many people with high LDL die from cancer - thus the high cancer mortality in those taking statins, which lower the LDL.

Another basic fact that is not generally known is that eating cholesterol does not increase your blood cholesterol. The author actually experimented on himself. When eating one egg per day, which he generally did, his cholesterol was 275 mg/dl. When he increased this amount to 8 per day, his cholesterol level decreased to 246 mg/dl. My own doctor recently informed me that my LDL was too high. This despite the fact that I eat only vegetables, a few eggs and a little fish - no meat or dairy products at all. I'm convinced that it is "too high" because I eat so little of it, and the body naturally rectifies matters. The doctor didn't want to hear about Ravnskov's book. Doctors generally don't like their patients to know more than they do on a given health subject!

Now, as regards saturated fat. The author informs us that the Masai people in Kenya consume nothing but meat, blood and milk, drinking half a gallon of milk a day. Their intake of animal fat is much higher than that of most Western people. But they don't die of heart disease, and their cholesterol is among the lowest measured in the world.

Moreover, studies have shown that patients with heart disease have not consumed more saturated fat than healthy people.

These are just a few highlights of the facts regarding cholesterol and saturated fats presented in this book.

The cholesterol myth having been demolished, the author tackles the matter of the real cause of atherosclerosis - inflammation, bacterial and virus infections, and an excess level of homocysteine in the blood.

In order to avoid an excess of homocysteine, it is necessary to make the conversion of methionine to cysteine more effective, and for this an adequate anount of B6, B12 and folic acid must be present. (Nice to get some useful information about how to avoid atherosclerosis, now we know lowering our cholesterol won't do the trick!)

The author is not the only one with these views about the fallacy of the dangers of high cholesterol. Many are in agreement with him and a separate chapter is devoted to listing the names of these other "brave researchers", as he terms them, and referring to their scientific studies in support of said views.

Though Ravnskov's native language is not English, and he makes numerous grammatical mistakes, he explains the whole thing clearly and concisely. This has been one of the most easily understood scientific books for me to read.

I strongly recommend this book to everyone interested in learning the truth about the matter in hand, thus enabling him- or herself to seize greater control of his/her own health.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
We've always heard seemingly since the beginning of time that dietary fat and cholesterol are some of the most unhealthy substances we could possibly put inside of our bodies. After all, eating fat and cholesterol is what makes us fat, clogs our arteries leading to heart attacks and stroke, and is simply asking for trouble that could result in a premature death. With the possibility of any of this being true, people have dutifully shunned foods like butter, fatty meats and cheeses, egg, heavy cream, and more in favor of so-called "healthy" substitutes like margarine, tofu, fat-free cheeses, egg whites, and skim milk. What has that gotten us? MORE obesity, MORE heart disease, and even the premature death of people like my brother Kevin at the age of 41 who did everything "right" by ditching the fat and cholesterol. But what if all of the "experts" who have been force-feeding these negative messages about fat and cholesterol were dead wrong? What if instead of being bad for you these things are actually in all honesty GOOD for you? This may sound preposterous in a heavily lipophobic society, but that's the exact premise of Dr. Uffe Ravnskov's outstanding book entitled Fat And Cholesterol Are Good For You.

I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Ravnskov about this book and the thing that struck me the most about him was his courage to tell the truth no matter what the personal consequences to his career would be-and the price has been costly. Banned from television appearances and blacklisted by the medical journals for his bold stand in support of fat and cholesterol, he just marches forward educating the public about this issue that is a vitally important part of health culture. And for Dr. Ravenskov, he has seen the evidence for himself that supports everything he says about the healthfulness of consuming saturated fat and cholesterol and has become an impassioned defender of these as the real health foods people should be consuming. Trying to convince people who have had it indoctrinated into them for decades that fat will harm them that now it's okay is a tough road to travel. But nobody does it better than this man.

Anyone who still thinks eating saturated fat will raise their cholesterol, clog their arteries and slowly but surely kill them needs to read Fat And Cholesterol Are Good For You. Dr. Ravnskov clearly explains what the purpose of cholesterol is in the body, why it is a necessary element in your body that should not be discouraged, how saturated fat has very little to do with cholesterol, why you really should be eating saturated fat in your diet, how to quickly silence the fat-phobics, why a high-carb diet is detrimental to people with diabetes, the mechanics of what cholesterol does for cardiovascular health, how the "bad" cholesterol may not be so bad after all, why triglycerides are the real lipid that needs attention, the dangers of having too LOW cholesterol, statin drug risks, the real causes of heart attacks, and so much more! This really is the complete package for anyone who wants to educate themselves about what the science shows about eating fat and cholesterol on the body. It's not as grim as people have been led to believe. GET THIS BOOK!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2010
I have high cholesterol, something now akin to a medical crime in our society! I had taken two statin
drugs over the period of the last year with disasterous results. The first one was Simvastatin for 9 months, and the second was Crestor for one month. I developed pain in my right arm and shoulder to the extent that
several thousand dollars were spent on physical therapy. While taking the Crestor my hair started breaking.
I ordered this book and read it. It gave me the courage to change doctors and throw the pills away!
I am 65 years old and feel 10 years younger! I highly recommend it, expecially for women, because CHOLESTEROL IS NOT A RISK FACTOR FOR WOMEN!!

Mary Stoneburg
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2009
As a practicing internist (primary care physician) I found Ravnskov's book extremely informative about an issue of the utmost importance to health concerns worldwide. The author has provided convincing documentation of scientific support for his views. I only wish it could become standard reading for physicians and their patients, since it presents us with a foreboding forecast of major health problems arising essentially from the greedy, and I believe immoral, behavior of the pharmaceutical industry. That same accusation applies to some of our most prominent and highly regarded professors in medical schools here and abroad, as well as some of our most respected medical journals. I can only hope this book challenges "the establishment" well enough to save some lives, and lead to a more enlightened public and medical domain.

My only criticism is that Ravnskov's grammar and syntax are not quite perfect. However, he is certainly "easy to read", and should be easily understood by any reader.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2010
This book is written by a highly credentialled and honest MD and scientist Dr. Uffe Ravnskov.
The book is written for the layman and does not use stratospheric jargon. it is written is a very clear simple language. However for those with the desire to go deeper into the subject he provides a precise and voluminous list of references for each chapter.
The book tells of the outrageous mess that has been made of the chlesterol/heart disease hypothesis and shows with utmost precision and great care in the analysis of all the vailable clinical trials and scientific papers that all or most of the "proof" allegedly supporting the conclusion that High blood cholesterol levels cause cardiaiac disease was derived eitherv from ignorance in interpretation of statistical results or (even worse) by intentional manipulation of the statistical data and by stubbornly ignoring all studies which do not support the hypothesis ( or by simply stating that they support the hipothesis without bothering to actually read them).
Ravnkov also exposes the reason for this twisting and manipulation of the actual data by showing that most "Authorities" or authors behind the wrong conclusions or positive reviews and reports have good connections ( by good I mean financial) with the drug companies who profit tens of billions of dollars by selling the cholesterol lowering drugs called Statins.
Moreover, in addition to providing strong evidence that heart attacks are probably not caused by high blood cholesterol (at least the scientific data does not allow attributing a statistically significant causative relationship), he goes on to show that the numerous side effects caused by taking Statins are quite dangerous and that many studies actually show that while Statins did slightly reduce the number of non-fatal heart attacks in the treated group, there was an allarming increase in the overall death rate in the treatment group as compared to control group. In other words, even if you take statins and may actually reduce your chances of having a non-fatal heart attack by a fraction of a percent you have inadvertently increased your chances of dying from cancer and some other debilitating neurological disorders or even simple infections (as compared to people of the same age group who do not take statins).
Ravnskov also shows that high blood cholestrol has many protective roles mainly in neuronal functioning and higher cognitive functions such as memory and in fighting bacterial toxins in infections so if you take statins for lowering blood cholesterol you may actually be exposing yourself to new health related risks.

Finally Dr. Ravnkov suggests an alternative hypothesis regarding the cause for placque formation and arterial atherosclerosis in which he shows that some data supports a role for bacterial and viral infections actually being the cause for atherosclerosis.

The book is highly interesting and extremely informative, it is highly recommended for anyone who has high blood cholesterol who is either on a low cholesterol diet and definitely for anyone who is taking statins or any other cholesterol reducing drugs.
I personally have stopped taking Simvastatin as a result of reading this book and returned to a normal diet with animal fat ( eggs, butter, red meat and cheese).
I think I will die a happier man ( for whatever death cause)/

My only gripe with this book is that the translation from Swedish (or Danish ?) is not really fluent and there are some quirks in the translation. In particular overuse of hyphens in many words were that shouldn't have happened - however given the overall importance of the book and the fact that this is not a poetry book this is just nitpicking (that's why I gave the book only four stars and not five).

In short- a highly recommended book written by a truly concerned physician with an unorthodox irreverence to "authorities" (I.e. Big money and Big Pharma - AKA the "Steamroller"). Given the fact that the NIH or other health authorities are now trying to recommend that 50% of the population to take statins for their entire lifespan (Guess who is behind the campaign), I think everyone should read the book.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2009
What makes this book special is that the author (Uffe Ravnskov,MD,PHD), doesn't just give his opinion, but explains in detail with many examples, why eating fat and having high cholesterol is not only not bad for us, but is acually good for us! Many qualified doctors and laymen have argued this point for years inspite of the the fact that so called experts(read "powers to be")have perpetuated both the fat and the cholesterol myths to protect their reputations and to fatten not onlt their wallets but also the wallets of the drug companies that fund these drug trials! If you're interested in the truth, read this book!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2010
All the while I was reading "Fat and Cholesterol Are Good For you," I kept thinking about about a dear relative who has cut most of the fat our of her diet and is on statins. Everything her doctor says is the gospel truth to this lady and she follows it faithfully. She was a very healthy senior with a good memory, positive attitude, lots of energy, a wise financial planner who has done considerable traveling, etcetera. Since being put on statins, she has been operated on for skin cancer, which she blames on laying out in the sun while on a yearly vacation to Hawaii (she was taking statins at that time), had her gall bladder removed and now has been diagnosed with angina. Her memory which was so sharp is fading. I had almost finished reading the book, when I received a telephone call saying this lady was in the hospital and had been diagnosed with angina. She could not breath that morning and so had her daughter take her to the emergency room. As this book spells out, all of this women's medical issues are side effects associated with statin drug use. According to Ravnskov, medical research shows that statins do not help the elderly or women. What the author is telling you is all to horrifyingly true. I would love to share the information in this book with this lady, but since I'm not a doctor she won't listen. Please take the time to read the book and heed it's warnings.

When I was told by my doctor, that my cholesterol was slightly high, I got a second opinion. My doctor had told me to cut out almost all saturated fat, and have my cholesterol rechecked in one year. If it was still high, she would put me on statins. No way was I giving up favorite food, which is butter without a fight. The second opinion, by my chiropractor, who also has a three year degree in nutrition, told me my cholesterol levels were well within the normal range. He informed me that the medically acceptable cholesterol levels are dangerously low, which this book's author also shows.
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