392 of 414 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2012
As a Certified Nutrition Specialist, I sometimes have clients gasp when I recommend they choose eggs over cereal for breakfast or include shrimp in their protein intake. "But... the cholesterol!" they shriek.
Anti-cholesterol bias and misinformation runs rampant, even in this supposedly enlightened era when studies show dietary cholesterol has little to do with blood cholesterol and people are fearlessly eating egg yolks again.
Thankfully we have this wonderful, meticulously researched new book from Dr. Jonny Bowden and Dr. Stephen Sinatra that dispels those myths. Despite the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry and many doctors' determination to put anyone with even slightly elevated cholesterol on statins, the evidence suggests otherwise:
Cholesterol levels do not accurately predict heart attacks.
In fact, half of heart attacks occur to people with normal cholesterol levels.
And half the people with higher cholesterol actually have healthy hearts.
Why aren't we getting this information from the mainstream media, which persist in demonizing cholesterol for heart disease and numerous other health issues?
In The Great Cholesterol Myth, Drs. Bowden and Sinatra provide a compelling case to stop fearing cholesterol. They also discuss other culprits your doctor probably isn't telling you about that can contribute to heart disease.
They won't leave you hanging. They've also provided a simple yet comprehensive dietary and lifestyle action plan that helps you take the right steps to prevent heart disease. You don't have to succumb to your doctor's well-intended but wildly outdated recommendation to take statins and eat a low-fat diet.
Whether you struggle with high cholesterol or just want to knock the wind out of any so-called expert who argues you should avoid cholesterol, you must read The Great Cholesterol Myth.
250 of 265 people found the following review helpful
Nationally-known weight loss, nutritional health expert and bestselling author Dr. Jonny Bowden has been providing quality health information for years in a series of bestselling books. But as a big fan of his work, I do believe he has now offered his most significant contribution to date with the release of THE GREAT CHOLESTEROL MYTH. We all know how devastating heart disease has become in recent years which is why people tend to take the cholesterol message so seriously. But Dr. Bowden asks the question, "Why are we treating numbers rather than treating heart disease?" It seems that some simple changes he and his cardiologist co-author Dr. Stephen Sinatra suggest in this book would do a lot more to turn this tidal wave around than the continual push for statin drugs to artificially lower cholesterol--and to what end?
After his publisher wanted him to write a book about lowering cholesterol for improving heart health, Dr. Bowden had to convince them that emerging new lipid science is showing that cholesterol levels are a poor predictor of heart disease. He spent months sharing with them in paper after paper that the standard prescriptions for lowering cholesterol like the outdated high-carb, low-fat diets combined with those dubious statin medications that produce some truly horrific (and under-reported!) side effects are not only ineffective but are actually making heart disease WORSE! Doh!
The medical profession has been duped by the pharmaceutical companies who have made hand-over-fist money to the tune $31 billion annually selling Lipitor, Crestor and all these other so-called cholesterol-lowering drugs. No, it's not a conspiracy theory that made this happen, but it will take some courageous people like Dr. Bowden and Dr. Sinatra to challenge the status quo, ask medical professionals the hard questions about why they obsess over cholesterol numbers, the role statin drug companies have played in perpetuating this lie, how people can truly improve their heart health naturally and so much more. If you've got "high cholesterol" and are worried about what it means to your cardiovascular health, then you need to READ THIS BOOK and see what the authors have to share about it. THIS BOOK COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE!
Here are a few concepts you'll read about in THE GREAT CHOLESTEROL MYTH:
- Cholesterol is the basis of all dietary recommendations
- It's been "woven into the fabric of what's healthy"
- Deeply-entrenched "accepted dogma" is very difficult to change
- All the leading medical organizations are pushing the dogma
- This isn't the first cholesterol skeptic book to be written
- Doctors aren't treating patients, they're treating numbers
- High cholesterol is not a disease or heart disease risk factor
- There's a campaign to convince parents to give kids statins
- Cholesterol is necessary for so many bodily functions
- The important distinction between the various kinds of LDL
- The "good" and "bad" cholesterol idea is about 20 years old
- There are multiple types of LDL and HDL
- LDL Pattern A looks like a cotton ball and is "harmless"
- LDL Pattern B is the "angry" kind that leads to plaque
- You need to know which kind of LDL you have
- When you eat saturated fat, LDL Pattern A goes up (A GOOD THING!)
- You need to get a particle size test conducted to know
- Get an NMR Lipoprofile Test from Liposcience to test LDL particles
- Both LDL particle size and LDL particle number are important
- If LDL is mostly the large, fluffy kind, you're doing well
- Doctors tend to put patients with "high cholesterol" on statins
- Framingham heart study shows longevity comes from high cholesterol
- His comparison of the VHS format war with fat vs. sugar
- Anti-fat lobby had "better PR" and "behind-the-scenes manipulation"
- John Yudkin was warning people that sugar was the danger
- Over 50% of heart disease admissions have normal cholesterol
- Side effects of statins have been grossly underreported
- 65% doctors do not report the side effects of their patients
- Worrying about cholesterol can contribute to heart disease risk
- Inflammation, stress and others contribute to heart disease
- When you worry about anything, the higher your cholesterol
- We have "medicalized" everything that aren't really problems
- High cholesterol and heart disease are not the same thing
- Let's treat disease, not risk factors
- High blood pressure is a very serious heart health marker
- Inflammation is "the heart of heart disease"
- Red meat should always be grass-fed whenever possible
- The concept of "play" lowers stress, cholesterol and more
- Stress makes every disease worse than it would otherwise be
- Stress raises cortisol, blood pressure, inflammation
- Stress management is a critical part of heart health
- Write down your 5 favorite things and that's what you do
If you or someone you care about is concerned about getting heart disease, then you owe it to yourself to read what Dr. Jonny Bowden and Dr. Stephen Sinatra share in this book.
124 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2012
As a current family medicine resident physician who is interested in lifestyle before medications, I really loved this book. Why?
1. This wasn't a sensationalized anti-statin book that went off of anecdotes from alternative practitioners. This was well-written by one of my favorite authors Jonny Bowden along with Dr. Sinatra (cardiologist) who picked apart the real evidence and put it in plain practical language. Most books don't look at the various trials, they basically just say "statins are bad." Most books will ignore the benefits of statins but this one laid it out for both sides of the coin (good and bad). Referencing the actual trials made me give this book 5 stars because I am on the front-lines speaking with other internists, family practitioners, and cardiologists and I need to know the specific information to be able to discuss why or why not a patient should be placed on a statin. This book goes into all of that, which I already knew, however the analogies and practicality helped me develop ways to speak about the subject much more clearly.
2. Up to date - the only thing I would have changed would have been the new findings of particle numbers still being important like particle size, but for the most part this book hit the newest advancements of cardiovascular testing.
3. It gives actionable tasks to lower your cardiovascular risk RIGHT NOW. Hell I think all of my patients would benefit from reading this book. Unfortunately most would not... but I will definitely offer it.
4. Reading and understanding this book will give you more information about cardiovascular disease than the average physician knows. I can say this because I am surrounded by them. It is true I promise.
Dr. Spencer Nadolsky
244 of 264 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2012
The book, The Great Cholesterol Myth is a useful contribution exposing the lipid hypothesis of heart disease for what it is, an unproven theory grounded in propaganda, not science. For those of you who demand authors with ' proper ' credentials, you will be satisfied . Bowden has a Ph.D and is a clinical nutritionists, and Sinatra is a M.D. . The book is an easy read,making the subject easy to grasp for the non specialists with many basic concepts well defined in kind of a folksy writing style. If you have read other books on this subject, you can skim over these areas.
The first two chapters deal with why cholesterol levels are not a good indicator of heat disease, and the history of how animal fats became demonized, including the pseudo science of Ansel Keys's epidemiology studies and, the politics of McGovern's Committee On Nutrition, etc. .
Chapter 3 expounds on how chronic inflammation is likely to cause heart disease and the beneficial roles of the various forms of cholesterol.
Chapter 4 deals with Sugar and its destructive role in human physiology. There is a discussion on insulin resistance and its ramifications. There is no discussion of the hormone that fat produces, Leptin which Byron Richards in his book Mastering Leptin states that leptin resistance is a major contributing factor to insulin resistance and by extension would be a major factor in heart disease.
Chapter 5 is a great discussion on Fat, and why saturated fat is not the boogie man we have brainwashed into believing it is. They clearly explain the differences between various fats without overwhelming the reader in chemistry. They have a very clear discussion of the Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats, and why the ratio of consumption is so important.
Chapter 6 discusses cholesterol lowering drugs ( statins ) including how little they lower risk, how the assessment of benefit is grossly inflated, how for almost every group the benefits are assumed and not proven, and how side effects are significant and trivialized my most doctors and as such the complications are under reported. Various studies are critically reviewed to show little or no support for the idea that lowering cholesterol lowers risk for heart disease or increases overall life.
Chapter 7 contains recommendations for supplements to improve cardiovascular health and is good as far as it goes. I am no expert, but I do see some omissions, such as not mentioning how vitamin K2 can improve health by helping redistribute calcium from soft tissue to where it belongs, in the teeth and bones. I fault this book in is that there is no section on Further Reading, though it is well references with scientific articles, which most people cannot access . For improvement of calcium health I would suggest the book: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Kate Rheaume-Bleue
Chapter 8 deals with Stress and heart disease which at this time I have skipped at this time.
In the concluding chapter there is a very useful summary of test you might want to have. One test that is omitted is one usually directed at diabetics, but it has been found to be a reliable indicator of heart disease risk, which is the glycolated hemoglobin test. A good discussion of this topic: Post-Meal Blood Sugar and A1c Predict Cardiovascular Events and Deaths can be found by searching the Blood Sugar 101 site. The rest of the chapter is devoted to eating recommendations and behavioral aspects of lowering risk for heart disease.
I recommend this book highly. If you or a family member is on Statins drugs for lowering risk of heart disease and you haven't study what the critics of the lipid hypothesis have to say, then you have not had informed consent for this therapy. This book is not as complete or strident or technical as Anthony Colpo's The Great Cholesterol Con ( see it for a better discussion of the iron hypothesis of heart disease ) but is a simpler read. I wish the authors would have had a more inclusive list of related books. Maybe other reviewers can add to my suggestions. Here are some other books worth reading that would amplify some subjects touched upon in this book: Exposing the Hidden Dangers of Iron by Garrison and Weinberg, Transdermal Magnesium Therapy By Mark Sircus, And The High Blood Pressure Solution By Richard D. Moore.
184 of 198 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2013
This is a pretty good book, but it has some serious flaws.
Flaw #1: The authors seem not to understand epidemiology (and neither do most of the reviewers on this site.)
For example: the authors write that half of heart attacks occur to people with normal cholesterol levels, and that
half the people with higher cholesterol actually have healthy hearts; they then argue that these numbers mean that cholesterol is not a predictor of coronary artery disease. They have it wrong. Suppose, for example, a population of 100,000, in whom the prevalence of increased cholesterol is 17%, and the death rate from coronary artery disease is 126/100,000 per year. If the authors assertion that half of the CAD victims have normal cholesterol, then it's 63 CAD deaths in a population of 83,000 normals and 63 deaths in a population of 17,000 hypercholesterolemics: so, elevated cholesterol carries 5x the risk of death by CAD.
Flaw #2: The "science" in the book is often very bad, indeed. The authors assert that without cholesterol, life could not exist; this is true for all animals I know of, but not of prokaryotes and some other organisms; many plants do synthesize small amounts of cholesterol, but could likely get along just fine with other phytosterols. The authors' description of the behavior of electrons (and electron pairs) and of free radicals is so awful as to not even be wrong. The authors refer to platelets as one type of "red blood cell"--which is so absurd that any careful editor, let alone a scientist, ought to have caught and corrected it.
Flaw #3: The authors tend to cherry-pick among intervention studies and among the results within studies. But this is done by lots of people, and the authors rightly excoriate others who have done so. Pot/kettle.
Flaw #4: Credentials. Jonny Bowden's "PhD" is from Clayton College of Natural Health; it's unaccredited and associated with several pseudoscientists. Dr. Sinatra's credentials appear real, but he is associated with considerable woo, like "grounding"--which I encourage readers to google, while maintaining your critical thinking.
All that said: I'm glad to have read this book. It really is important for us to know that cholesterol is not everything--but it's just as important for us not to think it's nothing, either. The authors come very close to this extreme.
The practical advice sections of the book are good, but could have been summarized in a few pages. Eat your veggies. Shun processed foods. Abhor sugar. Stay away from feedlot-tortured meats. Exercise. Be happy, connected, and useful. Take a few supplements, like fish oil.
Think critically about information offered to you, by anyone. And stay away from quacks.
74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2012
Having previously taken Lipitor and suffering debilitating side effects, I have been trying to convince my doctor that statins cannot be good for you. I have researched statins, and after sitting in a medical office listening to other patients talk about their medicines, learning that of about a dozen patients EVERY ONE of them was on Lipitor, I decided it had to be a lucrative medicine to prescribe. After failing to convince my doctor that it was creating problems for me, I took myself off it, the undesirable symptons disappeared, and I felt much better. I have an excellent doctor, but feel he has been brainwashed. He still mentions statins, but has ceased to give me a prescription since I don't fill it anyway. My chloresterol had increased substantially at the last physical and he is concerned. Along with that increase in chloresterol I noted a decrease in swelling from arthritis. My doctor is concerned about my chloresterol level, however, this book reassures me that I am on the right track in taking charge of my health and listening to my own body! I am convinced that I would not be walking today had I remained on Lipitor. I am a 69 year old female, raise a large garden each year, freeze and can vegetable/fruits, enjoy sharing with others and doing things for other people. I have no history of heart problems. Life is good without statins but those of us who "buck the system" need reassurance that we are doing the right thing by taking charge of our own health..
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
UPDATE VERSION AVAILABLE - Be sure to get the NEW & UPDATED 2015 version of the The Great Cholesterol Myth Now Includes 100 Recipes. The Great Cholesterol Myth Now Includes 100 Recipes for Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan that Will
Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra MD is RIGHT ON THE MONEY. We owe my husband's continued life to the TRUTH as revealed by Dr. Stephen Sinatra as he discusses in his books including The Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology and Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?. When I heard the Great Cholesterol Myth was coming out I quickly nabbed a copy from our local library - I have since purchased a copy here on Amazon to be able to share with our many friends who are overly concerned with their cholesterol to the detriment of over-looking inflammation.
Dr. Sinatra discussed The Great Cholesterol Myth in good detail on the Dr. Oz show. Both Dr. Oz and Dr. Sinatra have publicly stated they no longer believe so many people should be prescribed statin drugs and they both have discussed why children should NOT be taking statin drugs.
When entire teams of cardiologists sent my husband home to die and gave us NO advice to keeping him alive, a friend told us about The Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology and Lower Your Blood Pressure in Eight Weeks: A Revolutionary Program for a Longer, Healthier Life. We also found Reverse Heart Disease Now: Stop Deadly Cardiovascular Plaque Before It's Too Late and The Doctor's Heart Cure, Beyond the Modern Myths of Diet and Exercise: The Clinically-Proven Plan of Breakthrough Health Secrets That Helps You Build a Powerful, Disease-Free Heart informative as well. In Dr. Sinatra's books we learned the truth of the Awesome Foursome (supplements) and how to re-energize the heart at the cellular level. Instead the 10 years prior his former medical doctors always lectured him about his cholesterol levels (never high, but they wanted his levels lower due to his former diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (now "resolved" per our primary care M.D.) and hypertension (under far better control now since we learned the truth of Metabolic Cardiology.)
My husband had END STAGE heart disease. After 4 stents his ejection fraction was still less than 15%, he could not get out of bed to get a shower, he was weak, sick, frail and pail. Today he's growing stronger, vibrant, glowing skin and is the picture of improving health. ALL because of healthy eating and VERY wise supplementation including the Awesome Foursome as Sinatra writes to great length about - magnesium, l-carnitine, d-ribose, and co-enzymeQ10 (though we prefer to use ubiquinol instead.)
INFLAMMATION IS THE PROBLEM. Lack of NUTRITION is the problem. OVER-PROCESSED FOOD is the problem (we refer to this as chemicalized sludge). OVER-MEDICATION is the problem! Egotistical medical doctors who deny the truth further contribute to the problem!
The answer is NUTRITION, supplementation wisely, ANTI-OXIDANTS for reducing inflammation, etc. We use LOTS of turmeric in our home for cooking rice, soups, stews, homemade french salad dressing, etc. Turmeric is an awesome anti-inflammatory - so much so my husband controlled pain from surgery to repair his hip fracture - yes, turmeric is indeed that powerful! This is why turmeric has been used so widely in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as in Ayurvedic medicine (India) as practiced the past 4,000 - 8,000 years, respectively. Garlic and the other culinary herbs have so many wonderful phytonutrients that also help to further reduce inflammation and increase overall cardiovascular health, this is why they have been so widely used over many thousands of years. Our ancestors were far wiser than we generally give them credit.
By the way, STATIN DRUGS deplete Co-enzyme Q 10 which causes MUSCLE PAIN, JOINT PAIN, CRIPPLED "arthritic" HANDS, BACK PAIN, etc. Read THE GREAT CHOLESTEROL MYTH for the truth... you will be surprised.
69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
I won't write a lengthy review because others have done that, some quite effectively. Let me just point out a few thoughts about this book. First, I agree that statins are horrible and needless. I was already sold on that. But when we get to the interesting section about the supplements, I found myself confused. Why, if cholesterol is indeed a good thing, a necessary thing, did the authors tell us about supplements to lower cholesterol? Did they only want middle aged men who had already had a heart attack to take the supplements? Or, did they want us all to take them to lower certain aspects of the LDL? Or, do they really think that, yes, it should indeed be lower? I don't know. I'd like to know.
Moreover, they didn't warn readers that if they're already taking medication - say for blood pressure as an example --- that some supplements like fish oil and other omega threes, should be avoided or taken with caution or that you should discuss it with your doctor. Why? Because they really do lower blood pressure. In fact, a number of the supplements recommended can and very often do lower blood pressure. You certainly do not want your blood pressure to go too low.
The authors also talked about coconut oil a great deal and the reader was left thinking it is recommended. However, in the recommended list of foods to eat, it was not mentioned. Only olive oil was. And, the authors said canola oil is just plain toxic. I won't argue about this but I've seen no real scientific data to back it.
The authors seem to contradict themselves in many important ways.
I had already read most of this material about statins and big pharma and totally agree with it. The drug companies have done great harm to us all and doctors, who should know better than prescribe this stuff, do not know better.
It's a good read. But just be a smart consumer of the information given.
-- Susanna K. Hutcheson
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2012
I had been taking high dosages of statins for ten years following my heart bypass. Afew years after the bypass, I learned of Dr Sinatra. I have been following Dr Sinatra starting since then by reading his newsletters, books and attending his seminars. I wish I had known about him before that time. Last year my new cardiologist Dr. Peter H. Langsjoen finally took me off of statins because my heart energy and pumping levels were very weak due to the statin drugs. After one year on high dosages of CoQ10 my heart is normal. The "Great Cholesterol Myth" describes how statin drugs were absolutely the wrong medication for me. The two authors provide a great balance and experience base to tell this story. Further, the chapters on nutrients and what foods to eat provide a life changing lifestyle that after only two months is making me noticeably healthier. This book has also armed me to help friends and relatives who are pressured to take statin drugs. Physicians even tried to pressure by sister's teenagers to take it. As a result of this book, I am including LPP tests in my set of annual blood tests. I recommend anyone interested in a healthy life to read this book. It should be considered a preventive step to good health.
42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2012
Let me start by saying that as a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer, I've studied this subject extensively. Name any of the main books out on the subject and I've read them. In my opinion "Good Calories, Bad Calories" (GCBC) is the go-to source if you want an idea of the history of how we came to view certain foods bad and the history of cholesterol testing. In fact, it should be required reading for anyone in the health field (doctors included).
So, when I bought this book, after reading and listening to Dr. Bowden for years, and taking into account the subject, I just figured it would be another one to add to my library to support those that "get it". Maybe pick a few good tidbits up.
I'm 3/4 way through the book (supplement section) and I just had to write a review now. This book is right up there with "GCBC" and in some ways, far beyond. In the sense that GCBC can be a heavy dense read and maybe even boring for a lot of people. "The Great Cholesterol Myth" is written in a way that will make things click for the average reader, yet still give plenty of insight and a ton of references for those looking to expand their knowledge on the subject.
Love the book and thanks for trying to share what I feel is the right message that if it sinks in, can really change the health of our nation. After-all, fearing real foods (beef, eggs, butter, coconut oil, etc) is really what got us into this mess.