Cholesterol is found in every cell of the body. This fascinating molecule, found in rich abundance in the tastiest of foods, is the most critical component of mental function surely one reason the State has waged its historical role on this vilified yet truly magnificent molecule, independent thought being the primary threat to its existence.
The story of the government's war on cholesterol follows and an argument for why cholesterol is your best weapon against the State.
Keys: The Anti-Cholesterol Interventionist
In 1953, Ancel Keys kicked off the anti-cholesterol campaign, under the spell of which American health discourse has persisted ever since. Keys charted a graph of six countries' death rates from coronary heart disease (CHD) against their respective available amounts of dietary fat, and showed that each country fell neatly on a line demonstrating that the more fat that was available, the more deaths from heart disease that followed.
Yet Ancel Keys was not, first and foremost, an opponent of fat. Keys was, first and foremost, a proponent of the Interventionist State. Keys' 1953 paper argued that the US Public Health Service was too narrow in scope, and should be expanded to the prevention of all diseases not merely occupational and infectious diseases.
Keys wrote that, even though "direct evidence on the effect of the diet on human arteriosclerosis is very little and likely to remain so for some time," the strength and money of the public sphere should be mobilized. It was not the conservative principles of the scientific method that motivated him, but the rush to lay at the feet of Government any problem in sight to solve with the competence of a drunken elephant.
The proponents of State Intervention will not stop even at burning books when the cholesterol hypothesis is threatened. You may have thought this phenomenon belonged only to history and futuristic dystopias, but Dr. Uffe Ravnskov's The Cholesterol Myths, has provoked the wardens of Dogma to such a degree that it was literally set on fire on national television in Finland by its opponents!
The Scientific Bankruptcy of the Anti-Cholesterol Campaign
Ever since Keys' landmark paper, the anti-cholesterol campaign only gained strength over time, until the point where its claims were repeated so many times they would almost appear to be true. Yet there was a fundamental flaw in Keys' chart: while he included six countries, there were sixteen that he didn't include, for which data was available at the time.
In his masterpiece refutation of the anti-cholesterol dogma, The Cholesterol Myths, Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, adds in the other data points. Once they are included, the relationship falls to dust. Countries with similar levels of available fat have widely varying rates of deaths due to CHD. For example, Mexico and Finland have about the same availability of dietary fat, yet Finland is only second to the U.S. for heart disease mortality, and Mexico, with about 30 times less CHD mortality, has the lowest rate of all 22 countries.
While Keys was infatuated with the "Mediterranean Diet" and the lack of significant heart disease in Italy, it is surprising that he didn't take pause at the findings of George Mann and other researchers who found the Masai, a Kenyan cattle-herding tribe, to be free of heart disease, despite a diet consisting almost entirely of meat, blood, and milk, whose parties sometimes consist of eating four to six pounds of meat per person. Yet to Keys it was "abundantly clear" that the mission of the Public Health Service could and should be expanded to cut the reins on America's consumption of fat.
One of the greatest threats to science that the State poses is its monopoly of credibility. Scientific principles are inherently anti-authoritarian. A hypothesis must be judged on its merits, not by the identity of its author. Yet the idea of a central, all-encompassing, "public" institution, representing some sort of mythical synthesis of all humanity, gives an authoritative stamp upon the scientific opinions of a State agency.
In The Cholesterol Myths, Dr. Ravnskov traces the entire history of the cholesterol hypothesis and refutes each of its claims. He shows how most of the "evidence" in favor of this hypothesis can be traced back to claims in reviews which cite other reviews or studies that do not lend any support to the claim. All too often, authors of studies will make claims in the abstract (summary) that their study does not support, simply to conform to the prevailing orthodoxy. Then, other researchers will cite the claims in the abstract, rather than the findings of the study itself.
The State, of course, with its monopoly of credibility given to it and its associated Institutes, marks its stamp of approval on the cholesterol hypothesis like a drunken elephant stomps its feet, unaware of what it tramples upon. The most outrageous misrepresentation of a study that Dr. Ravnskov demonstrates must be that of the Framingham study, where this point is amply demonstrated.
One of the most famous, largest, and often-cited studies in support of the cholesterol hypothesis is one that took place in Framingham in the 1950s. One of the findings of the Framingham study was that when cholesterol decreased on its own, every 1 mg/dL decrease in cholesterol was met with an 11% increase in heart disease risk. Yet a joint statement of the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in their review, The Cholesterol Facts, wrote, "The results of the Framingham study indicate that a 1% reduction . . . of cholesterol [corresponds to a] 2% reduction in CHD risk." That's right they wrote the precise opposite of the relationship that was found!
Yet the credibility of the National Institutes and organizations like the AHA, which is an outgrowth of the government-enforced AMA cartel, cannot be stopped. Countless journalists, doctors, and authors have doubtlessly referenced this authoritative review, while few would be willing to dig up the original publication at a university library.
The Strong Arm of the Tax Dollar
After World War II, the scope of government's influence in science began to expand through the creation of another layer of bureaucracy known as the peer-review system. Yet the result brings to question how beneficial government funding of science really is. Dr. Gilbert Ling (PhD), in his critique of the peer-review system, points out that at the time large-scale peer-review began to develop, the dominant paradigm held that the progress of science was smooth and continuous, progressing in small increments, while later scholarship corrected this view, showing that scientific progress occurs in sporadic leaps.
Some may object that leaving funding to the private sphere would leave out public health concerns as well as general academic knowledge, while private interests and technologies would be over-emphasized. Yet let us, for a moment, compare the field of computers with that of medicine and the dietary sciences. Computer technology has progressed at light speeds, such that its products become outdated or obsolete within a few years of going to market, as evidence by the rapid price deflation that this industry has experienced.
On the other hand, with 52 years of the cholesterol hypothesis and countless billions of wasted research dollars, we have yet to be able to achieve what the penniless cattle-herders of Kenya can do merely with possession of a cow for food achieve freedom from heart disease.
Ling's own theory of cell physiology, the association-induction hypothesis, which holds that the water in a cell exists in "polarized multi-layers" that behave like the water in Jello, was the basis for the invention of the MRI, a medical success. The opposing orthodoxy, which holds that cells are a sac of liquid water, has not demonstrated any such success. Yet Ling's research has been continually persecuted and he has been deprived of funding and facilities for his unorthodox views. The massive amounts of money the government throws towards scientific research merely penalizes those with successful theories!
Dr. Alexei Koudinov (MD, PhD) has been a tireless struggler against corruption in Alzheimer's research. Dr. Koudinov, in his "Written Evidence to UK Parliamentary inquiry on Scientific Publications," has accused several major scientific journals of covering up the financial conflicts of interest of several major promoters of the "amyloid hypothesis" of Alzheimer's disease, who are involved with pharmaceutical companies.
The amyloid hypothesis holds that a protein fragment called "beta-amyloid" accumulates in the brain to form plaques that cause Alzheimer's. The amyloid hypothesis ignores the fact that beta-amyloid is an essential brain protein, and its proponents frequently disregard scientific reasoning in order to support it. (For a thorough discussion of this, please see my article, "Myth: Cholesterol Causes Alzheimer's Disease.") Yet several of those Dr. Koudinov accuses of corruption have served on the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Food and Drug Administration.
Thus, the result of "public" institutions like the State and its mongrel agencies reflects the reality that there is no such thing as "public," a meaningless abstraction. These institutions are composed of their human members, who have their own ideological biases and financial self-interests.
How does this affect researchers in the field? One junior researcher wrote to Dr. Koudinov:
“I agree whole-heartedly with your letter to Science concerning Alzheimer’s disease and the amyloid beta protein. It is amazing how this field has been led down the “amyloid hypothesis” trail to the exclusion of other viable hypotheses. If you don’t go along with the amyloid dogma, you have difficulty publishing and extreme difficulty being funded. The anti-intellectual, anti-science mentality displayed by many in this field has slowed progress to a crawl. This is a shame.”
When researchers feel a pressure to conform to a favored hypothesis, they will pursue only certain avenues and ideas, and will frequently sugar up their abstracts, introductions, and conclusions to fit the standard orthodoxy, even when the finding is precisely opposite to that orthodoxy. As Dr. Ravnskov has shown in The Cholesterol Myths, this phenomenon has been the primary force driving the bankrupt cholesterol hypothesis of heart disease.
The increased amount of money that is available due to government intervention is actually an illusion. The monopoly on credibility and monetary resources that the State possesses is like a canal that funnels these huge amounts of tax dollars into the toilet of unviable hypotheses, upheld by human ideological stubbornness and private interests, leading into a common septic tank where it shares lodging with countless billions of tax dollars funneled in from other government pursuits.
State Intervention: The Results
The results of the last half-century's public health recommendations have been dismal. Honest farming industries have been hurt, our diets have been turned from rich and enjoyable cuisines to bland and tasteless fake food, and we have become guilty when we eat the things we like.
The demonization of the egg yolk for its rich cholesterol content has caused many people to abandon eggs as a highly nutritious and healthful staple, and others to discard the yolk in favor of consuming the white. If you don't know what an egg white omelet tastes like, consider yourself blissfully ignorant.
As I demonstrate in my article, The Incredible, Edible Egg Yolk, the absurdity of discarding egg yolks from a health perspective is shown by the fact that the yolk contains nearly all the nutrition in an egg. Egg whites serve almost no nutritional purpose, contrary to their companion super-food, the yolk. And one must consider the health consequences of being chronically deprived of tasteful food.
Dr. Ravnskov describes the beginnings of the anti-cholesterol campaign in Sweden, which occurred much more recently than in the U.S. When those with high cholesterol levels were notified that they were supposedly at risk for a heart attack, many patients reported shock and fright. One reacted as if she was "almost paralyzed." He cites a Gallup poll showing that 56% of Americans worry about fat and cholesterol, 45% think that the food they like is not good for them, and 36% feel guilty when they eat food they like.
The fruits of the State's war on cholesterol have not been the abolition of heart disease, but the sowing of seeds of self-doubt and guilt. What better way to subdue a population, than to have its members constantly feeling like they cannot live up to the noble standards of their Government?
A War on Cholesterol Is a War on the People
Why is the war on cholesterol of such benefit to the government, despite being bankrupt as a scientific theory? The State relies on a submissive population one in which the individuals do not think for themselves, and preferably do not think at all.
It is no surprise then, that a molecule that plays such a central role in the brain would become the primary target of government. The brain makes up only 2% of the body's weight, yet it consists of a full 25% of the body's cholesterol! The importance of cholesterol to mental function is enormous. Cholesterol was discovered in 2001 to be the limiting factor in the formation of synapses, which are the connections between neurons, or nerve cells. A more recent study found that extracting some of the cholesterol from the cell membrane of a neuron causes a loss of functioning of signaling proteins that tell the neurons what direction to grow in, so they can make the proper type of connections. And, Dr. Iwo J. Bohr has hypothesized that a contributing factor to Alzheimer's disease is a deficiency of cholesterol in the membranes of brain cells.
Big Business Bed Buddies – Agricultural Subsidies
It doesn't stop here. Big Government's notorious love affair with Big Business has intimate ties to the cholesterol hypothesis. Big Government prefers Big Business over small businesses because larger businesses are fewer in number. How can a population largely consisting of independent self-managers be harnessed into sufficient submissiveness to bow down to the State? Conversely, a small number of large businesses can enter into co-management of the society, as government enforces their cartels and monopolies, and transfers wealth into their hands.
The grain and soy industries are much more conglomerated than the beef industry. More importantly, animal products have a long history of providing independent sustenance to even poor people. In early 19th century rural New England, for example, even the poorer people tended to own a small piece of land with one or two cows that provided meat and milk products. A small mixed farm can provide a full dietary range at a smaller size than could a grain-based farm. A garden, pasture, and animals can co-exist closely, whereas grains would be ridiculously inefficient to harvest unless they were planted as a large, consolidated crop. Additionally, hunting animals allows for the independent procurement of food.
Public health recommendations capable of making a monolithic shift in the food supply toward wheat, corn, and soybeans result in an overall decrease in the independence of the population.
Additionally, the State-created cartel of subsidy receivers is heavily biased in favor of grain products. According to this breakdown, between 1995 and 2003, $8.5 billion in U.S. subsidies went to growers of plant-based food crops, while only $5.5 million went to animal products, which means that over 99% of agricultural food subsidies go to plant products. The largest 10% of subsidized farms received 72% of subsidies, but a full 60% were not subsidized at all. As Brian Riedl points out, the $360,000 per year cap on farm subsidies is easy for large farms to pull loopholes through: Tyler Farms of Arkansas collected almost $32 million in farm subsidies between 1996 and 2001 by dividing its farm into 66 individual "corporations."
Not only has the cholesterol hypothesis helped consolidate the government's ties to the agricultural industry through a shift in the diet away from animal foods and towards plant foods, but doubtlessly the massive level of soy subsidies soy is the fifth most subsidized crop has contributed to a surplus to be disposed of, whose result has been the manufacturing of a massive myth that this odd-tasting, highly estrogenic bean is a "health food."
Big Business Bed Buddies – The Pharmaceutical Companies
Now that the newest class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, statins, has become a bonanza of profits for Big Pharma, new cholesterol guidelines are promoted, and new junk theories about cholesterol's relationship to various diseases are being manufactured, to maximize the profit-potential of these drugs by classifying nearly every member of society as a candidate for drug therapy.
Not far behind are the ugly claws of the State ready to abuse the population to enhance these profiteers. According to this article:
"Fluoride in drinking water is a topic to raise the hackles of those doubting its dental benefits and resenting its addition to the public water supply. Meanwhile the water additive plot thickens as doctors in England debate whether drinking water might be used to administer cholesterol-lowering drugs to the public in an effort to reduce incidents of cardiovascular disease, the biggest cause of death in the United Kingdom."
If your fluoridated and chlorinated municipal water supply wasn't toxic enough, you may just be a victim of theft in the coming future: the unwilling robbery of cholesterol from your cells, and an extra hit in the wallet to finance the addition of expensive drugs to your water. Thanks to private enterprise, bottled water will (hopefully) still be available.
It is telling that the doctor cited in this article as advocating water-treatment with statins was named "Dr. John Reckless."
The most preposterous new cholesterol theory blames Alzheimer's disease on high brain cholesterol. In my article, Myth: Cholesterol Causes Alzheimer's Disease, I quote a researcher who was ecstatic that his group was able to reduce normal levels of brain cholesterol in Alzheimer's patients by over 20%! The theory, of course, has no basis in science whatsoever. As the above article discusses, cholesterol appears to be protective against Alzheimer's, and the only diet that, based on a sound scientific foundation, shows promise to Alzheimer's treatment is the super-high-fat ketogenic diet, which was first used to successfully treat epilepsy at the famed Mayo clinic in the 1920s.
In Part II of this article, I demonstrate how a deficiency of DHA, a nutrient found exclusively in animal products (with the exception of some forms of algae), especially cholesterol-rich egg yolks (from chickens raised on pasture), has been demonstrated to play a causal role in Alzheimer's, as well as insulin resistance, which could be brought on by a diet excessively high in carbohydrates derived from plant foods.
One more (fake) reason for the government to take your money and put statins in your water to return the favor.
And what a grand coincidence that a massive increase in the demand for pharmaceuticals means a massive increase in the demand for Federal prescription drug benefits.
But We Can't Just Do Nothing!
Finally, the State profits from the cholesterol hypothesis simply because it offers the State one more massive campaign in which it can engage. The State, were it to stand idly by and do nothing, would deteriorate. If the State wasn't active, for what purpose would it exist? And if there is nothing to fix, as a mere matter of self-sustenance, it must create a problem to solve. The State's philosophy is "If it ain't broke break it!"
The quantity of money that has been poured into researching the cholesterol hypothesis and public health campaigns to hook the public on an unsatisfying, bland, and tasteless diet piles the drunken elephant that thieves that money over its head. The State derives its sustenance from taxing and spending, like it is the one form of human relationship who was born with a terminal birth defect, requiring an insatiable appetite to fuel its exponential growth and eventual death through implosion.
This is especially true in a democracy, where the frequency with which a political leader must prove her- or himself, through restless legislative activity, is increased to a level that induces continuous expansion. You do not get elected in a democracy by making promises to ride the waves and wait for a problem to arise.
Cholesterol Is Your Best Weapon Against the State
The State makes war on cholesterol because it is your best defense against that State:
- Cholesterol empowers independent thought by strengthening mental capabilities
- Relieving oneself of the notion that cholesterol causes heart disease increases financial independence from pharmaceutical companies and the State, through whom the pharmaceutical companies receive their wealth redistribution
- Cholesterol-rich animal foods are more conducive to a more numerous farming population, where small and community-centered can still mean successful
- Eating a fulfilling, rich, and tasteful diet without dropping down in guilt before the State encourages ones emotional independence
In truth, to be anti-cholesterol is to be pro-State; to be anti-State that, dear reader, is to be pro-cholesterol.
August 13, 2005