Want stronger muscles? Try a little cholesterol
Can you name a bigger medical boogeyman than cholesterol? In recent years, it's become more and more notorious in the public mind thanks to Big Pharma's many TV ad campaigns for everything from cholesterol-lowering pills to cholesterol-fighting breakfast spreads (yuck!). But now, there's a new study that's found that low levels of cholesterol can actually reduce the beneficial muscle gain from exercising.
Another great medical myth bites the dust! Fire up the griddle and break out the bacon and eggs!
The researchers looked at 55 healthy men and women in their 60s. Overall, the study concluded that there was a significant link between dietary cholesterol and the increase in strength: Those with the higher cholesterol intake had the most muscle strength gain. What's more, the test subjects who were taking cholesterol-lowering drugs showed lower muscle gain than those who were not.
Yeah, yeah I know I'm always telling you that excessive exercise is bad. But having healthy, strong muscles is good. And staying active in order to maintain those muscles is one of the best things you can do for yourself. But if you think you're doing yourself a favor by taking statins or cutting out burgers and eggs, well, think again.
Naturally, the researchers conducting the study were stunned. "Needless to say, these findings caught us totally off guard," said lead researcher Steven Reichman, a professor of health at Texas A&M University. But they stopped short of saying that cholesterol is actually beneficial. A statement like that would cause too much of a meltdown in medical circles.
I find it amusing that the researchers seem nervous about the results, and already seem to be to bracing themselves for the avalanche of criticism from the mainstream medical community (and the inevitable assault from Big Pharma, which has too many billions of dollars invested in anti-cholesterol meds to take even the slightest positive cholesterol press lying down).
Of course, I'm not shocked by the results. I've known just about forever that the entire cholesterol paradigm is way off base
I consider a cholesterol level between 200 and 300 to be within the normal range. Only if it's above that level does it indicate that something is broken. And even then, elevated cholesterol levels are simply a sign, just like an elevated temperature is a sign, a protective measure against whatever is broken.
Most people who've been to the doctor have had their cholesterol tested and re-tested to the point where it's absurd. If you listen to these "cholesterol cowboys," they soon turn your health into a numbers game, equating your well being with the number of your cholesterol level. Then they start prescribing you every cholesterol-lowering statin they can think of in the quest for the perfect number. The rest of your health? Well, it's just not that important.
Unfortunately, most doctors will pin an increased cholesterol number on a bad diet. The second the results come back (and your wife finds out about them), no more bacon cheeseburgers for you!
According to Reichman, "Because cholesterol is negatively associated with cardiovascular health, we need further study in this area." Yet in spite of all the hedging, Reichman was forced to admit that, at the very least, these results show that "there is still a lot about cholesterol that we don't know." Yeah no kidding.
Whether or not this little nugget of truth will cost them millions of dollars in research money remains to be seen. As for me, I don't get research money, so I'm always happy to give you actual facts.