Revisiting the Dietary Cholesterol Connection
The shocking evidence is that the connection between dietary cholesterol and heart disease has never been proven. It is simply been assumed.
Two associations set the platform for this assumption. The first was the presence of cholesterol in atherosclerotic plaque. The second was the incidence of heart disease and stroke at a young age in patients with outrageously high cholesterol (who mostly had familial hypercholesterolemia).
Cholesterol and Atherosclerotic Plaque
With respect to the first association connecting cholesterol with atherosclerosis plaque, we have already explained that it is not cholesterol itself that is damaging to arteries. The destructive elements is oxy-cholesterol. To prove this hypothesis, researchers injected cholesterol into the arteries of animals. Nothing happened. They then inject oxy-cholesterol into the arteries. The animals developed arteriosclerosis.(Source:Gotto AM, Paolett R, Eds. The Atherosclerosis Reviews, Vol. 11 (New York: Raven Press, 1983), 157-246. )
This proves that oxy-cholesterol is toxic and causes plaques (atherogenic). Dietary cholesterol does not become problematic unless it is oxidized. This happens most rapidly when it is heated to high temperatures in the presence of oxygen, as occurs with frying. Fresh banana is healthy, but fried banana (goring pisang, the Malay version, is not healthy for the heart). Some oxidation does occur simply with the exposure of cholesterol to oxygen, but this is minimal in comparison.
The second association occurs in individuals with a genetic defects. Generalizing from this population to the normal population can be fraught with error. These individuals have a defect in the receptor for LDL-cholesterol in the membrane of the liver cell. This causes the metabolism to behave abnormally and creates an abnormal predilection to the creation of atherosclerosis. For these individuals, the liver cells metabolize cholesterol differently. Thus, special consideration are needed. For the rest of us, the treatment should be avoid oxy-cholesterol and methionine. The prescribed diet is this : mostly vegetarian, based on whole grains and unprocessed foods.