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What’s Cholesterol Got to Do With It?
NY Times ^ | January 27, 2008 | GARY TAUBES

Posted on 01/27/2008 12:19:54 AM PST by neverdem

THE idea that cholesterol plays a key role in heart disease is so tightly woven into modern medical thinking that it is no longer considered open to question. This is the message that emerged all too clearly from the recent news that the drug Vytorin had fared no better in clinical trials than the statin therapy it was meant to supplant.

Vytorin is a combination of cholesterol-lowering drugs, one called Zetia and the other a statin called Zocor. Because the two drugs lower LDL cholesterol by different mechanisms, the makers of Vytorin (Merck and Schering-Plough) assumed that their double-barreled therapy would lower it more than either drug alone, which it did, and so do a better job of slowing the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries — which it did not.

Heart disease specialists who were asked to comment on this turn of events insisted that the result implied nothing about their assumption that LDL cholesterol is dangerous, only about whether it is always medically effective to lower it.

But this interpretation is based on a longstanding conceptual error embedded in the very language we use to discuss heart disease. It confuses the cholesterol carried in the bloodstream with the particles, known as lipoproteins, that shuttle that cholesterol around. There is little doubt that certain of these lipoproteins pose dangers, but whether cholesterol itself is a critical factor is a question that the Vytorin trial has most definitely raised. It’s a question that needs to be acknowledged and addressed if we’re going to make any more headway in preventing heart disease.

To understand the distinction between cholesterol and lipoproteins it helps to know something of the history of cholesterol research.

In the 1950s, two hypotheses competed for attention among heart disease researchers. It had been known for decades that...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: cholesterol; health; ldlcholesterol; lipoproteins
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Gary Taubes is the author of “Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease.”
1 posted on 01/27/2008 12:19:57 AM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

However, if people with intestinal issues use Vytorin .. they can be in for major problems .. just ask me.

My doctor finally had to take me off the stuff .. so people need to be careful.

I went on Vytorin because I happen to be one of those people who has to deal with both types of cholesterol, and it was a real struggle (even with a good diet - which I have) to keep my number under 200.


2 posted on 01/27/2008 12:37:29 AM PST by CyberAnt (AMERICA: THE GREATEST FORCE for GOOD in the world!)
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To: neverdem
As new technology enabled them to look more closely at lipoproteins, however, researchers began to suspect that these carrier molecules might play a greater role in cardiovascular disease than the cholesterol inside them. The cholesterol hypothesis dominated, however, because analyzing lipoproteins was still expensive and difficult, while cholesterol tests were easily ordered up by any doctor.

Now that's real Science!

3 posted on 01/27/2008 12:41:04 AM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: neverdem

bump for later


4 posted on 01/27/2008 12:49:30 AM PST by goldfinch
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To: neverdem
Not a darn thing.

Been telling freepers this for years.

From the article:

Researchers involved with the Framingham Heart Study found that in men and women 50 and older, “total cholesterol per se is not a risk factor for coronary heart disease at all.”...Indeed, what the Framingham researchers meant in 1977 when they described LDL cholesterol as a “marginal risk factor” is that a large proportion of people who suffer heart attacks have relatively low LDL cholesterol. ...In clinical trials, researchers have been unable to generate compelling evidence that saturated fat in the diet causes heart disease.

If you want to dig into studies, go read the "Mr. Fit study", you'll find some suppressed results there that show restricting cholesterol in the diet actually caused more heart attacks than in the control group.

There is other research linking CHD and CAD to damage done to the circulatory system by viral infections, 5 or 6 in particular.

5 posted on 01/27/2008 1:05:39 AM PST by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber! (50 million and counting in Afganistan and Iraq))
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To: CyberAnt

Don’t worry about your total cholesterol number, worry about your triglycerides and HDL. The most important is your ratios.

Go here and please read this article, it is very important.

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/statins/statin-disaster/#comments


6 posted on 01/27/2008 1:06:06 AM PST by Not gonna take it anymore
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To: neverdem

bttt


7 posted on 01/27/2008 1:11:32 AM PST by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we write in marble. JHuett)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Forgot to add that the “edible oils” (polyunsaturated oils - vegetable and seed oils) that have been pushed, to avoid cholesterol from saturated oils, cause lowered immunity that makes you suseptable to Cancer, as well as the viri that can cause CHD, CAD, and a bunch of other degenerative diseases from Athritis to Diabetes.
8 posted on 01/27/2008 1:18:26 AM PST by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber! (50 million and counting in Afganistan and Iraq))
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To: Not gonna take it anymore

Well .. I have a very good doctor .. and he’s the kind that makes you take charge of your health. If I had refused to take a statin, he would have grumbled a little, but he would not have forced me to take them.

But .. I do know what the numbers mean and mine were bad - since I’ve been on the statin, they have really corrected and I no longer have heart palpatations. My dad died at 49 from clogged arteries. I don’t wish to join him just yet.

I realize you may be trying to help - but the key is getting people to search this stuff out for themselves. Once they know what the good numbers should be .. they’ll know whether they do or don’t need statins.

Not all doctors are pill pushers.


9 posted on 01/27/2008 2:04:23 AM PST by CyberAnt (AMERICA: THE GREATEST FORCE for GOOD in the world!)
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To: CyberAnt

Check out http://www.n3inc.com/ for their RES-Q 1250 product.

It lowered my 55-y/o wife’s total cholesterol from 235 to 176 in three months.

It is a concentrated fish oil. Our cardiologist recommended it.


10 posted on 01/27/2008 2:24:29 AM PST by aviator (Armored Pest Control)
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To: Mr Ramsbotham
As new technology enabled them to look more closely at lipoproteins, however, researchers began to suspect that these carrier molecules might play a greater role in cardiovascular disease than the cholesterol inside them. The cholesterol hypothesis dominated, however, because analyzing lipoproteins was still expensive and difficult, while cholesterol tests were easily ordered up by any doctor.

Now that's real Science!

Hey. it's the same logic that brought us global warming caused by man. Al Gore was not the first snake oil salesman of convenience.

11 posted on 01/27/2008 2:27:50 AM PST by Bernard (If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember exactly what you said.)
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To: CyberAnt
Not all doctors are pill pushers.

True enough - If you find one that says "I don't know" to any question keep him/her, otherwise "dead doctors don't lie" is prolly applicable.

As far as the numbers go, they can vary 30 points from test to test - from the same lab and the same blood sample.

I still advise trust but verify because after all they're all practicing medicine.

Just out of curiosity, do you believe saturated fats, and/or cholesterol cause heart disease?

12 posted on 01/27/2008 2:40:20 AM PST by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber! (50 million and counting in Afganistan and Iraq))
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To: PeaceBeWithYou

My cholesterial was low (still have family history) the Dr wanted to put me on Lipitor (I told him where to go). He kept saying the lower the better. I said prove it. It’s all about HOMOCYSTEINE. Take your Metanx (www.metanx.com).


13 posted on 01/27/2008 3:01:09 AM PST by personalaccts (Is George W going to protect the border?)
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To: personalaccts
Better yet, figure out what the cause of the high homocystine level is. Chances are you've got a viral or bacterial infection working on you, past or presently.

Elevated H-levels could be from heliobactor pylori, CMV, chlamydia pneumoniae or similar viri. Ever been treated for an ulcer, or respiratory infections?

14 posted on 01/27/2008 3:22:46 AM PST by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber! (50 million and counting in Afganistan and Iraq))
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To: neverdem

Worst. Tina Turner. Cover. EVER.


15 posted on 01/27/2008 3:37:00 AM PST by ReignOfError
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To: neverdem
This information coincides with literature I have that states cholesterol by itself is not the cause of heart heart disease. The problem is an amino acid called homocysteine. When it is within normal levels cholesterol flows through the arteries without any problems. When homocystiene is at an excessive level it acts as a corrosive in the heart artieries causing pits in ridges. The cholesterol collects in the pits and ridges causing blockage.

The literature also states the conventional wisdom is cholesterol levels should not be above 180. The literature claims this is dangerous as any reading below 200 can trigger a massive stroke or heart attack.

16 posted on 01/27/2008 4:32:58 AM PST by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it!)
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To: CyberAnt
I had a Quad bypass last year (no heart attack) and having my Cholesterol in the 138 range for years with Lipitor and Zetia. My problem is Grandpa Alfredo.
17 posted on 01/27/2008 4:46:03 AM PST by Rappini (Remember Joe Foss)
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To: All

My husband was chewed out by his doctor last week. He’s a confirmed couch potato and his blood work came back that his blood pressure was high, he’s 40lbs over weight (5’11/220lbs), his cholesterol is 191 and his blood sugar is high. I’ve been nagging him forever to start working out with me and he refuses. Doctor told him he had no choice now. His cholesterol is below the 200 mark but is not good because his good cholesterol is only 27. I also have a high normal total at 175 but my good cholesterol is 60 and my BP normally runs 115/60 or so and I’m 53!

He walked with me yesterday but complained the whole way about it being cold. We only walked 2 miles but he said he will stick with it. Hopefully I can get him to the gym with me in a few days! I like to run so if we are at the gym we can both work at our own pace.


18 posted on 01/27/2008 5:01:09 AM PST by Melinda in TN
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To: neverdem

Interesting story, with interesting information. But, it’s from the NYT. Can we believe it?


19 posted on 01/27/2008 5:32:09 AM PST by norwaypinesavage (Planting trees to offset carbon emissions is like drinking water to offset rising ocean levels)
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To: ReignOfError

Que?


20 posted on 01/27/2008 6:13:05 AM PST by MortMan (Have a pheasant plucking day!)
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To: norwaypinesavage
Interesting story, with interesting information. But, it’s from the NYT. Can we believe it?

I wouldn't.

21 posted on 01/27/2008 6:14:53 AM PST by freespirited (Still a proud member of the Stupid Party. It beats the Evil Party any day of the week.)
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To: Man50D

I had an internist that didn’t put much stock in the homocystiene aspect, but at the same time said if I was concerned just take folic acid, that will lower it.

A friend that has a genuine cholesterol problem was telling telling us last week that some medical entity was again lowering the bar of recommended cholesterol levels. To the point of absurdity. Low enough that most of the adult population would need to be on prescription drugs to meet these levels.

It is reaching the point where one should adhere to the gold standard of determining why things are where they are now on this subject: “Follow the Money”.


22 posted on 01/27/2008 6:28:01 AM PST by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s........you weren't really there)
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To: neverdem

(THE idea that cholesterol plays a key role in heart disease is so tightly woven into modern medical thinking that it is no longer considered open to question.)

Sounds like global warming - so scientifically “accepted” that nobody should bother with questioning it with facts.


23 posted on 01/27/2008 6:33:20 AM PST by winner3000
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To: neverdem

A healthy diet is a first step to good health regardless of what cholesterol benefits may or may not result. Fresh fruits and vegetables, smaller portions of meat and less refined sugar and junk food certainly won’t hurt your health. Good heredity helps too. My cholesterol levels are what my doctor calls a cardiologists dream, but so were my father’s. A daily low dose aspirin may also be an effective preventative against heart disease as some researchers believe their is an inflammatory component that leads to blood clots in the coronary arteries.


24 posted on 01/27/2008 6:43:32 AM PST by The Great RJ ("Mir we bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." ..Luxembourg motto)
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To: MortMan

One of Tina Turner’s biggest hits was “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” in the early ‘80s. I assumed this headline was a reference to that.


25 posted on 01/27/2008 9:31:47 AM PST by ReignOfError
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To: ChildOfThe60s
Low enough that most of the adult population would need to be on prescription drugs to meet these levels.

Thats the idea.

26 posted on 01/27/2008 9:40:25 AM PST by glorgau
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To: neverdem
Don't anyone quit taking statins....

There are numerous other ways in which statins might be effective. They reduce inflammation, which is now considered a risk factor for heart disease. They act to keep artery walls healthy. And statins act on lipoproteins as much as on the cholesterol inside them. They decrease the total number of low-density and very low-density lipoproteins in the blood, including the smallest and densest form of LDL, which is now widely believed to be particularly noxious.

27 posted on 01/27/2008 10:01:39 AM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: The Great RJ

I dropped my cholesterol from 220 to 153 in 6 months by going low carb. I don’t skimp on the meat or cheese, I use cream in my coffee instead of milk, and I’ve cut out everything white (bread, potatos, rice, sugar) etc.
I also eat piles of vegetables, not much fruit because of the carbs. My triglycerides are 58.

I’m coming to the conclusion that at least for some people dietary meat and fat aren’t the problem, it’s the starch and sugar. Starch and sugar raise insulin levels, which are inflammatory and can cause inflammation of the arteries that the cholesterol then is generated by the body to try and patch up.

Studies have been done with insulin drips in dogs where the vein that had the drip inserted into it clogged really bad really fast.

I view cholesterol as “body spackle”, and if you stop the damage that requires the spackle to fix less of it will be generated.

LQ


28 posted on 01/27/2008 10:36:07 AM PST by LizardQueen (The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.)
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To: LizardQueen

I literally wouldn’t be bothered to keep living if I had to eat like that. Always hated vegetables and most of the other “good stuff”. Straight carbs for me along with a good stiff dose of statins. No red meat, though. No diet-related deaths or heart attacks in my family. Blood sugar fine. Hoping to keep up the streak. Cheers.


29 posted on 01/27/2008 10:53:02 AM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: neverdem

This sentence from the article:
“They decrease the total number of low-density and very low-density lipoproteins in the blood, including the smallest and densest form of LDL, which is now widely believed to be particularly noxious.”
makes no sense. Which are they, low density or high desnity?

Also, any have any thoughts on how high serum triglyceride levels factor into all this? I have rather high (about double to triple what be considered “normal”) levels of triglycerides, as well as lowish levels of HDL. My lipids doctor has mentioned putting me on drugs to lower my triglycerides, but I’m hesitant to start down a life-long path of taking drugs with known side-effects in many people.


30 posted on 01/27/2008 11:07:52 AM PST by -YYZ- (Strong like bull, smart like ox.)
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To: neverdem

Well, you know what you would be if your cholesterol went to zero.

Dead.

Most probably from bleeding out, massive hemorrhagic leakage of your veins and arteries.


31 posted on 01/27/2008 11:10:32 AM PST by djf (...and dying in your bed, many years from now, did you donate to FR?)
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To: -YYZ-

The statement is correct. Basically it is saying LDL is lowered, HDL is not lowered, even the relatively H form of LDL is lowered. Everything is relative.


32 posted on 01/27/2008 11:12:39 AM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: norwaypinesavage; All
But, it’s from the NYT. Can we believe it?

I'm not picking on you in particular. You just happened the last person that I saw make the comment, but that has to be the most trite comment on this forum.

What part of the drive by media do you find trustworthy? The New York Post that endorses Schumer and Hillary? The NY Sun pushing a third party run for Bloomberg? The Washington Times has been questioned about its bona fides. The author questioning the cholesterol hypothesis is not on the NY Times payroll for a regular paycheck. That's why he's called an Op-Ed Contributor, not an Op-Ed Columnist.

Data About Zetia Risks Was Not Fully Revealed

New Questions on Treating Cholesterol

ALEX BERENSON is on the Times payroll. Question all sources.

33 posted on 01/27/2008 11:31:48 AM PST by neverdem (I have to hope for a brokered GOP Convention. It can't get any worse.)
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To: Not gonna take it anymore
All of which pales in comparison to the established fact that the use of statins REDUCES the production of antibodies in 20% of the population.

Plus, that same 20% suffer pain in the extremities while using statins.

Not many drugs out there that work directly to suppress immune responses AND have a neurological effect.

34 posted on 01/27/2008 3:20:29 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: ChildOfThe60s
Low enough that most of the adult population would need to be on prescription drugs to meet these levels.

I think this answers the question. If everyone is defined as "sick, then this means everyone needs "medication."

35 posted on 01/27/2008 4:03:00 PM PST by valkyrieanne
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To: muawiyah
You are so right. The artificial levels being promoted are a sin.

Ratios, ratios, ratios.

High HDL, low triglycerides, and fluffy LDL.

36 posted on 01/27/2008 5:00:41 PM PST by Not gonna take it anymore
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To: PeaceBeWithYou

My belief is based on watching my dad struggle with heart disease for years. Therefore, I think clogged arteries increase the issue for those who have already inherited heart disease genetically.

I am convinced I’ve lived a lot more years because I did not increase the stress on my heart by clogged arteries.

My doctor tests me every 3 months - before he will renew my medication. If he doesn’t like the numbers, he puts me on a stricter diet for a couple of weeks and retests me. From that we determine what adjustments I may need to make in my diet. That’s when he put me on Vytorin, but it didn’t work right for me because of my other intestinal issues.

I’m still on a very low dose of Lovastatin - and I’ve never had any other issues with the medication. Even when I creep back up toward 200, he still doesn’t increase the dosage. I recently lost 16 pounds and that seemed to help more than anything. I’m still working on trying to keep those pounds off. I also noticed that when I ate Oatmeal (even the instant in the little packets) - that’s when I got the best result and my number dropped to 187.


37 posted on 01/27/2008 7:54:33 PM PST by CyberAnt (AMERICA: THE GREATEST FORCE for GOOD in the world!)
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To: aviator

I’m already taking Omega-3 every day. I too believe it has helped to keep my number in a more normal range.


38 posted on 01/27/2008 7:55:46 PM PST by CyberAnt (AMERICA: THE GREATEST FORCE for GOOD in the world!)
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To: ChildOfThe60s

It is reaching the point where one should adhere to the gold standard of determining why things are where they are now on this subject: “Follow the Money”.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Amen, I don’t know exactly how this thing is being worked but I am becoming disgusted with all the advertising for prescription drugs that end with, “Ask your doctor if (fill in the blank) is right for you”. This is not how it is supposed to work, anyone with eyes and a brain can see that the goal is to have everyone on some kind of chronic medication to be taken forever. It is easy to see how the drug companies profit from this but what is making the physicians so eager to prescribe all this junk. I do know that a lot of testing labs are owned by doctors who send business to the labs. Are the doctors being given free stock in the drug cmpanies or what, something is going on!


39 posted on 01/27/2008 7:56:12 PM PST by RipSawyer (Does anyone still believe this is a free country?)
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To: neverdem

It’s all about inflammation.


40 posted on 01/27/2008 8:00:26 PM PST by montag813
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To: LizardQueen

And I am doing the same. The only thing that keeps my blood sugar in line is drastically reducing carbs in my diet. Also, my triglycerides have gone down. My cholesterol is up slightly, but I’ve just started recently on the low carb way of eating. I expect that number to drop, too.

Do you follow Atkins or something else? Have you lost weight eating this way (or maybe that wasn’t your intent)?


41 posted on 01/27/2008 8:04:37 PM PST by Pining_4_TX
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To: Not gonna take it anymore

My well-respected internist said the ratios are what’s important. My HDL is under 40, but my total C is also low, so the ratio was healthy.


42 posted on 01/27/2008 8:18:26 PM PST by A_Former_Democrat
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To: neverdem

I have a total cholesterol a little over 200 (LDL 135, HDL 80). One doc acts like I’ll die tomorrow, the other says keep doing what I’m doing. Since my ratio is excellent I told the one doc who wanted me to start statins to piss up a rope. Hopefully it will take a while to see how this plays out.


43 posted on 01/27/2008 8:30:35 PM PST by WackySam
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To: PeaceBeWithYou

Not only that but they create a real mess in your kitchen and are hard to clean up. In the old days when we used bacon grease and butter stove tops were much easier to keep clean. I just decided anecdotally, in my non-scientific manner that if it is that hard to clean off the stove where is it sticking in my body. I’m back to bacon grease and butter.


44 posted on 01/27/2008 8:40:36 PM PST by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: ReignOfError

LOL!


45 posted on 01/27/2008 8:42:59 PM PST by RosieCotton (A place for everything and everything in its place - 2008 Resolution #1)
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To: CyberAnt

You have to eat cholesterol in order to have cholesterol. Lose weight and stop eating cholesterol and your cholesterol will drop like a rock. It’s not rocket science.


46 posted on 01/27/2008 8:47:49 PM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: aviator

I started doing atkins and saw the same result.


47 posted on 01/27/2008 8:49:39 PM PST by I got the rope
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Lead linked to aging in older brains

Dust, air, water sources of lead

Vitamin D Deficiency Study Raises New Questions About Disease And Supplements

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

48 posted on 01/27/2008 11:06:06 PM PST by neverdem (I have to hope for a brokered GOP Convention. It can't get any worse.)
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To: LizardQueen
I’m coming to the conclusion that at least for some people dietary meat and fat aren’t the problem, it’s the starch and sugar. Starch and sugar raise insulin levels, which are inflammatory and can cause inflammation of the arteries that the cholesterol then is generated by the body to try and patch up.

To help with blood sugar levels, without insulin, try cinnamon. My blood sugar was high normal, but because of family history, my doctor suggested I do something about it, and suggested the cinnamon. It worked.Look it up. Of course my low carb helps but not enough apparently, since I'd been on the low carb for a couple of years before I ever saw that doctor.

49 posted on 01/27/2008 11:28:09 PM PST by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: El Gato

How much cinnamon, what kind, i.e. powder or capsules, and how often, if you would be so kind?


50 posted on 01/27/2008 11:37:14 PM PST by neverdem (I have to hope for a brokered GOP Convention. It can't get any worse.)
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