Results from a national blood test survey found the average total cholesterol level was 199. Doctors like patients to have total cholesterol readings of 200 or lower…The report cites the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs as the main reason for the reduction. Yeah—because that’s a good! In case you forgot, Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of using medicine to lower cholesterol. Take statins for example:
…The survey collects data in two-year intervals. The new results are based on a national sample of about 4,500 people 20 and older from 2005-06. The new 199 level compares with 204 in 1999-2000…
…Researchers also found that the percentage of adults with high cholesterol, of 240 or higher, dropped to 16 percent, down from 20 percent in the early 1990s.
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.But what about this “ideal” cholesterol level, is a score of 199 really healthy? Okay, you decide. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman discusses the cholesterol levels of populations consuming a plant-based diet. Here’s an excerpt:
A vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications. In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.1I guess if you’re consuming the standard American diet 199 is healthy—relatively speaking—it’s probably a miracle you’re surviving at all. Okay, let’s cut to the case. Here are the total cholesterols levels of people following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutrient-dense diet. Look:
Can Cholesterol Be Too Low:
Typically, those individuals promoting the myth that low cholesterol levels are dangerous and the topsy-turvey "science" that saturated fat and high cholesterol are not bad, but good, are those individuals and health advisors advocating diets high in animal products, such as the Atkins devotees. Unfortunately, this advice is not merely incorrect; it is dead wrong for hundreds of individuals who heed such dangerous advice and die of heart attacks every day.So, in the event that someone—so overjoyed by their 199 score—decides to streak gleefully naked down your street. Politely hand them a towel and a copy of Eat to Live.
When it comes to coronary artery disease, there may be no such thing as lowering total blood cholesterol levels too far. Another recent study, published in the journal Circulation, found that the arteries in male patients with a total cholesterol level as low as 155 mg/dl benefited significantly from cholesterol-lowering medication as well.1 Both regression of atherosclerosis and a dramatic reduction in heart attacks were seen in the group treated.
While some research in the past has raised questions about the safety of very low cholesterol levels, no danger has been proven in larger, more dependable investigations.