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The Cholesterol Times, Issue #012 -- Freedom in the New Year; Low-Carb to the Rescue
December 31, 2007
Dear Reader,

There is so much news for the New Year.

First, I've finally started my PhD in Nutrition. I'll let you all know more about it as I settle into my program over the next month or two.

My next Special Report is going to be on the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) -- a critical review of just how essential they are, the dangers of too much, which forms to get them in and in what ratios, and so on. This should be coming out some time in January.

In this newsletter is a very excellent lecture by Gary Taubes on why a calorie is not a calorie, and why excess carbohydrate is one of the culprits in obesity. This fits well with a study reported in the Research Watch section from the University of Connecticut showing that low-carbohydrate diets are superior to low-fat diets for body fat loss and inflammation suppression when calories are kept equal.

There has been some disturbing action in California on the raw milk front, and consumer and producer lawsuits are being waged. There is news on this below.

One critical issue I hope everyone takes a serious look at is Ron Paul's presidential campaign. Ron Paul is in favor of health freedom, raw milk, against Codex, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), and so on. We are in a position now where the right of small farms and pasture-based farms to exist may even be threatened by NAIS, and Ron Paul is the only one speaking truth to power on these issues. He has proven himself a frontrunner in the last couple of months, raising more money than any other Republican candidate this quarter, but through small donations averaging around $100. I made a $50 donation today and I'd encourage everyone who supports him to consider donating $25 or whatever they can. Fox News may be shutting him out of the New Hampshire primary debate, where he's likely to win, so we need to gather up all our strength for this fight. Many Democrats and Independents are supporting him, because he is by NO MEANS your typical Republican -- he's strong against corporate welfare, bailouts for polluters, pro-peace, and the only candidate who stands up to the Federal Reserve, which is a private consortium of international bankers that unconstitutionally controls our money supply, and levies on us the subtle tax of inflation as they print more money out of thin air and the value of our saved dollars dissipates. Please consider supporting Ron Paul as the primaries approach!

And with that, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

-Chris Masterjohn


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In This Issue

Site Updates
Special Report: Thyroid Toxins
Best of the 'Net
Research Watch
  • Low-Carb Diets Superior to Low-Fat Diets in Inducing Weight Loss and Suppressing Inflammation
  • Thyroid Hormone and Statins Both Reduce Atherosclerosis, but Not by Lowering Cholesterol
  • How to Link to This Newsletter
    Copyright and Disclaimer

    Site Updates

    Myth: Eating Cholesterol-Rich Foods Raises Blood Cholesterol

    In fact, in most people, eating as many as three eggs a day has no effect or almost no effect on blood cholesterol levels. In the other 30 percent, doing so raises HDL more than LDL, and the increae in LDL is an increase in particle size instead of number of particles. This means that each LDL particle is getting packed with cholesterol, which makes it less likely to get oxidized and find its way into your arteries.

    Read more here.

    Myth: Cholesterol Causes Stroke

    The American Heart Association lists avoiding stroke and the second most important reason to avoid cholesterol-rich foods like liver, butter and egg yolks. In reality, lowering your cholesterol level makes you less likely to get ischemic stroke and more likely to get the much more dangerous and fatal hemorrhagic stroke. But cholesterol-rich animal foods are not associated with an increase in ischemic stroke -- in fact, the opposite is true: fatty animal foods decrease the risk of ischemic stroke.

    This article is a condensed version of my article in the latest Wise Traditions.

    Expanded Endorsement of Ron Paul 2008

    I have expanded my July endorsement of Ron Paul for president with comments on the following issues: Codex (the right to buy supplements); NAIS (the right of small and pasture-based farms to exist); raw milk; and an updated analysis of his potential to win the Republican nomination. Please help support Ron Paul!

    Read the additions here.

    Special Report: Thyroid Toxins

    Wondering how to avoid the goitrogens in soy, millet, crucifers, and fruits and nuts in the Rosacea family? Confused about how cooking, fermenting, and other processing methods affect these chemicals? This 25-page report will answer all your questions. It contains six figures, one table and 66 references. It provides quantitative information about what proportion of the goitrogenic activity of cruciferous vegetables various cooking methods -- microwaving, steaming, boiling -- destroy. It explains that, contrary to popular belief, fermentation increases the goitrogenicity of crucifers. Traditional soaking and fermenting destroy the goitrogenicity of foods containing cyanogenic glycosides but increase the goitrogenicity of millet and soy. In fact, even cooking increases the goitrogenicity of millet. This is information you do not want to miss.

    To order the individual report for $15, click here.

    To subscribe to Special Reports for one year (four reports) for $30, click here.

    The next Special Report on polyunsaturated fatty acids -- the essential, yet very dangerous, fatty acids -- is coming out soon!

    Best of the 'Net

    Gary Taubes on What Makes Us Fat and Why No One Seems to Care

    Think a calorie is a calorie? This obesity is unique to the modern world of sedentary behavior and inescapable affluence? Watch this video (requires Real Player) of Gary Taubes’ recent lecture at UC Berkley and let him prove you wrong with the devastating evidence he has amassed about what really makes us – and many other societies, even those suffering from malnutrition -- fat.

    The Debate: Taubes, Ornish and Howard

    Gary Taubes, Dean Ornish, and the American Heart Association’s Barbara Howard debate the cause of and solution to obesity on the Charlie Rose show.

    CA Effectively Bans Raw Milk: Consumer Lawsuit Needs Help!

    A new law goes into effect in California on January 1, 2008 that requires the level of harmless bacteria in raw milk at the point of purchase to be so low that raw milk producers say it will be impossible to meet. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is launching a law suit on behalf of producers and SaveRawMilk.Org is launching a law suit on behalf of consumers. You can read the news article here.

    Ron Paul: Raw Milk President

    This three-minute video dubs Ron Paul the “Raw Milk President.”

    Ron Paul, Grass-Farming and Global Warming

    My open letter to those concerned about global warming. Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate that can ensure our best weapon we have to combat this phenomenon – grass-farming – continues to exist.

    Is Fox News Trying to Keep Ron Paul out of the Debates?

    Ron Paul has raised more money this quarter than any other Republican presidential candidate. There are more signs visible in New Hampshire for Ron Paul than for any other presidential candidate. Why, then, is Fox News trying to shut him out of the New Hampshire primary debates?

    Help Ron Paul Win the Nomination!

    I don’t have a lot of money, but today I decided to donate $50 to Ron Paul’s campaign. He’s already proving he’s a real force – and his record-breaking fundraising proves he’s a frontrunner. And this is coming from an average donation size around $100, which means that tens of thousands of people are donating smaller donations of $25 and $50 and it is these people who are helping the Paul campaign raise more money than any other Republican candidate. But the primaries are coming. New Hampshire and Iowa are coming in a matter of days, and 20 more states are coming on February 5th. The Paul campaign has over $19 million this quarter, but needs $23 million more to launch the campaign it needs to win the primaries. If you can, make at least a small donation – there’s no minimum. Whether or not you can donate, you can also get involved, and of course, remember to vote in your state primary!

    Research Watch

    Low-Carb Diets Superior to Low-Fat Diets in Inducing Weight Loss and Suppressing Inflammation

    Researchers from the University of Connecticut recently published a study in the journal Lipids showing the superiority of low-carb diets over low-fat diets. They randomized 40 overweight men and women with moderately elevated triglycerides and low HDL to either a very low-carbohydrate diet or a low-fat diet for 12 weeks. Those on the low-carb diet lost slightly more body fat and had a much greater decrease in inflammation than those on the low-fat diet.

    Those on the low-carb diet ate unlimited amounts of beef, poultry, fish, eggs, oils, heavy cream; moderate amounts of hard cheeses, low-carb veggies and salad dressings; and small amounts of nuts, nut butters and seeds. They avoided fruit, fruit juices, carb-rich dairy products, breads, grains, pasta, cereal, high-carb veggies, desserts, low-carb breads, cereal products, and were only allowed one sugar-alcohol-containing snack per day. Their diet was 28% protein, 12% carbohydrate and 59% fat. Those on the low-fat diet ate whole grains, fruit and fruit juices, vegetables, vegetable oils, low-fat dairy and lean meat products. Their diet was 20% protein, 56% carbohydrate and 24% fat. Both groups reduced total calories to about 1500 kcal per day.

    Low-carb dieters lost an average of 12.3 pounds of body fat while low-fat dieters lost only 8.1 pounds of body fat.

    But the differences in inflammation were much more dramatic. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (which increases Rho Activation, among other things) decreased 32% on the low-carb diet but only 12% on the low-fat diet; interleukin-8 decreased 33% on the low-carb diet but only 4% on the low-fat diet; MCP-1 (which helps white blood cells dig into the arterial wall and accumulate plaque) decreased 24% versus 5%; the adhesion molecule ICAM-1 (also involved in plaque formation) decreased 17% versus 3%.

    The fatty acid changes were somewhat surprising. The level of arachidonic acid (AA) actually increased on the low-carb diet. DHA increased, but EPA and other omega-3 fatty acids decreased. The AA:EPA ratio, then, increased, while inflammation decreased – quite the opposite of what conventional theory would predict. Decreases in inflammation had no meaningful correlation with weight loss, but were in fact correlated with the AA level and the AA:EPA ratio! Again, just the opposite of what conventional theory would predict.

    The key to understanding this, it seems, is this: the low-carbohydrate diet decreased fatty acid synthesis, so neither AA nor EPA were being synthesized. Only AA and DHA from foods were accumulating, and not much EPA-rich fatty fish was being eaten. But, dietary carbohydrates stimulate free radical production that leads to AA being converted into its inflammatory byproducts. Inflammation was lowered because the AA was being preserved instead of converted into these byproducts.

    Another interesting point is that the low-carb dieters had fewer circulating saturated fatty acids than the low-fat dieters, even though they took in more than three times the amount of saturated fat. Again – they were burning fat instead of making it. The low-fat dieters had plenty of saturated fat because instead of burning it, they were making it out of dietary carbohydrate.

    I would like to make a personal speculation to add to this: the low-carb dieters were freely indulging in fatty foods, many of which were rich in polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), so that they were eating over twice the PUFA as the low-fat dieters. I think that, in the presence of a normal 2500-kcal diet with lots of dietary carbohydrate, this PUFA would have been dangerous. The carbs would have stimulated production of AA from it and increased conversion of that AA to inflammatory byproducts. So, I suspect that what we are seeing is the importance of having either a very low level of PUFA or a very low level of carbohydrate, and needing a bit of both to get the inflammatory cascade started.

    Forsythe CE, Phinney SD, Fernandez ML, Quann EE, Wood RJ, Bibus DM, Kraemer WJ< Feinman RD, Volek JS. Comparison of Low Fat and Low Carbohydrate Diets on Circulating Fatty Acid Composition and Markers of Inflammation. Lipids. 2007 Nov 29 [Epub ahead of print].

    Thyroid Hormone and Statins Both Reduce Atherosclerosis, but Not by Lowering Cholesterol

    Turkish researchers recently published a report in the Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine showing that thyroid hormone and Simvastatin (Zocor) comparably reduce atherosclerosis is female patients with subclinical hypothyroidism, but not by lowering cholesterol.

    Subclinical hypothyroidism is defined as elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) but normal levels of free thyroid hormone. Up to 20 percent of women over 60 have it and 30 percent have symptoms of hypothyroidism. It is associated with atherosclerosis and elevated levels of LDL and total cholesterol (thyroid hormone helps take LDL into the cells that need it, which lowers the level in the blood).

    The researchers randomized 40 female patients (with an average age of 37) with subclinical hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis either to Simvastatin or thyroid hormone (levothyroxine) and measured their change in intima-media thickness (IMT), which is considered a good measure of atherosclerosis. Simvastatin lowered cholesterol levels and reduced IMT, but the reduction of IMT didn’t correspond to the reduction in cholesterol levels. Thyroid hormone reduced IMT, but had no effect on cholesterol levels. Thyroid hormone was slightly more effective than Simvastatin, but the difference was not statistically significant.

    Can you guess what the main conclusion the authors came up with was? “[A]n improvement of IMT might be attributable to the nonlipid mechanism of statins. Therefore, statins deserve to be assessed as a therapeutic option in sHT [subclinical hypothyroidism].”

    Wait a second – what happened to the thyroid hormone? No sources of funding were listed.

    Duman D, Dermirtunc R, Sahin S, Esertas K. The effects of simastatin and levothyroxine on intima-media thickness of the carotid artery in female normolipemic patients with subclinical hypothyroidism: a prospective, randomized-controlled study. J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown). 2007;8(12):1007-11.

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    Copyright and Disclaimer

    Please take notice that the contents of this newsletter and are copyright of Chris Masterjohn, 2007, and that this information is not to be construed or understood as any form of advice. Please visit my disclaimer page here.

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