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We keep hearing about different types of cholesterol. It's all nonsense. There's only one cholesterol molecule, so there's only one type of cholesterol. What started this nonsense of types of cholesterol?
Photo from Morgue File, http://morguefile.com
by Heidi Stevenson
Article Concept by Andrej Oljaca
Just how many types of cholesterol are there? The more we're indoctrinated with the cholesterol-as-poison myth, the more types they seem to find. HDL. LDL. VLDL. And those pesky triglycerides: Are they a type of cholesterol? Here's the truth:
None of them are cholesterol, and there is only one type of cholesterol! That's right. HDL, LDL, and VLDL aren't cholesterol. And cholesterol isn't a fat.
All that nonsense bandied about to make you fearful that your cholesterol levels are too high ... well, unless they're the "right type" of cholesterol ... or maybe it's making sure they're at the right balance ... or whatever the latest fad among doctors happens to be ... It's all pure and utter nonsense. It's a cooked up jamboree of confusion, designed to put not only you, but also your doctor, off balance and disoriented so you'll buy into the idea that you really must take their poisons ... uh, drugs, or you could die tomorrow.
The Only Kind of Cholesterol
Cholesterol Molecule, by Gaia Health
The elements in cholesterol are 27 carbon atoms, 45 hydrogen atoms, and an oxygen-hydrogen pair. That's 27 carbons, 46 hydrogens, and 1 lonely oxygen.
A cholesterol molecule includes four hydrocarbon ring structures, as shown in the tinted area of the diagram to the right. These rings place cholesterol in the steroid hormone family. In fact, all other steroid hormones, including estrogen and testosterone, are made from cholesterol.
The hydroxyl group is indicated by the HO at the bottom of the diagram. Any molecule that has a hydroxyl group is defined as an alcohol. Alcohol is water soluble.
Cholesterol has a tail of carbon and hydrogen atoms that extends off the rings. Both the tail and rings are nonpolar, which means that they dissolve in oil, but cannot dissolve in water.
This is a cholesterol molecule. There is no other kind of cholesterol molecule. There is, therefore, only one kind of cholesterol. You can look and look, but you'll never find another model of a cholesterol molecule.
So where did the idea that there's more than one sort of cholesterol come from?
Remember that cholesterol consists of three parts. Two of the three cannot be dissolved in water. Overall, that makes cholesterol incapable of dissolving in blood. Therefore, it requires a carrier to be transported throughout the body. That carrier is a lipoprotein. And that's where the idea that there are different kinds of cholesterol come from.
There are different kinds of lipoproteins. Each carries cholesterol, but they are not part of cholesterol. So where did this idea that there are different kinds of cholesterol come from?
History of the Cholesterol Myth
A string of events and studies led to the myth that cholesterol is harmful. Back in 1889, researchers Lehzen and Knauss reported on a child who died suddenly at the age of 111. The child was born with a condition, called hypercholesterolemia, which causes massive overproduction of cholesterol. This seems to have been the seed that led to the concept that cholesterol is bad.
Then, a series of experiments were done on lab animals2,3. Nikolai N. Anitschkow fed rabbits purified cholesterol, demonstrating that they developed atherosclerosis. Of course, rabbits do not naturally eat such a diet—but that little detail seems to have been ignored. So more such experiments were done on goats, hens, parrots, guinea pigs, pigeons, and rhesus monkeys. The same was attempted on dogs, but being natural meat eaters, it didn't work. Of course, this bit of information was ignored.
In 1955, Ancel Keys was already convinced that fat in the diet is key to cholesterol levels. He did an epidemiological study claiming to show that high fat intake is directly linked to heart attacks. The catch is, he cheated. He collected data from 22 countries, many of which strongly conflicted with his conclusion, which was based on the data from only 7 countries! He cherry-picked his data to produce the results he wanted. Nonetheless, his so-called research is cited to this day. For a humorous look at his work, take a look at this video.
From that point, modern medicine was hooked on the cholesterol-as-villain theory. The question is: Why? Why was it so important to accept obviously flawed junk science? Like any other industry, modern medicine wants to sell products, which means getting people to doctors' visits and pushing drugs. Treating cholesterol as a villain has led to a constant stream of people turned into patients, streaming into doctors' offices and getting drugs, primarily statins, but many others, too, as the drug-as-prevention idea has gotten rolling.