The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra
Finished reading The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease — and the Statin-Free Plan that Will by Jonny Bowden, PH.D. and Stephen Sinatra, M.D. Here are my thoughts on what I think is a must-read book for everyone.
Why did I pick up this book?
My primary care physician was getting worried about my rising cholesterol numbers. She was worried enough that she wanted me to start taking statin medications to lower my cholesterol. I, on the other hand, was concerned about having to take said medications. And this was before I even knew of the scary side effects mentioned in the book. Also, I was getting frustrated at not being able to lower my cholesterol on my own, without having to take medications.
Part of my problem was that I didn't know if the food I ate lowered or increased my cholesterol. For instance, I went on a stretch of months where I tried to decrease the amount of meat I ate during the day. It didn't really lower my cholesterol that much. Even when I was already eating more veggies than I ever did in my entire life, it still kept creeping higher and higher. Obviously, I didn't know what I was doing with regards to my diet.
The other problem I had, was that I didn't really understand what cholesterol was and how our bodies used it. All I know is what I kept hearing from the news, or read in the magazines — that high cholesterol leads to heart disease. And wow was I surprised when I read what the book said about that idea.
Did you know that our brains are very much dependent on cholesterol? Or that the greatest concentration of CoQ10 can be found in the heart? Guess what decreases cholesterol and depletes our body's store of CoQ10? Statin drugs.
Anyway, to answer the question, I picked up this book mainly to learn more about cholesterol, so that I can manage it myself. The accompanying info on statin medications was just icing on the cake for me.
What did I like about this book?
There's a lot to like about this book. But the thing I liked the most, is how the authors were able to explain complicated medical and nutritional topics in layman's terms. You see I'm just a software developer. Definitely not someone from the medical field. But I was quickly able to understand the various topics discussed in the book, because of how good the explanations were.
And because they made it so easy to understand, I was able to learn a lot from reading this book. This is the second thing I like about the book. There's so much to learn. Like...
Did you know that fructose is the major cause for a condition known as fatty liver? Or that sugar is more damaging to the heart than either fat or cholesterol? Or that the quickest way to lower your triglycerides is with a low-carb diet? Or have you heard of the Triglycerides to HDL ratio as a risk indicator for insulin resistance and heart disease? I sure didn't. These are just some of the things you will learn from reading this book.
Anyway, like I said, there's so much to learn in this book. And that makes for a great read.
There's also the fact that the book is now on its second edition, which came out last year. If what the authors wrote were a bunch of baloney in the first place, then the chances of coming out with a second edition would be slim. But here it is, the second edition. And that leads me to another thing I liked about this book — it seems very well researched.
It's almost like they knew that people were going to come after them, regardless of how convincing their arguments were. And so they try to preempt this by presenting their sources. The end of the book is filled with references to the various studies that they referred to in the book. I know I need to do my own research and fact-check them. But they are making it easy by providing you the info to all the studies they've referenced.
Lastly, the book was a page-turner. This was probably the most surprising thing about the book. I didn't expect a book talking about cholesterol and statin drugs to be a page-turner. But it was and I very much enjoyed reading it.
What I didn't like about this book?
I'm not sure I found something I didn't like about the book. The only thing I can think of, is that I wished the authors would have dived deeper into the different diets that we have today. They do mention Keto, Paleo and Plant-based diets. But they didn't really cover it as much as I wanted them to. They mostly talked about the Mediterranean diet and Low-carb diet. And how those two diets could help improve your cardiovascular health.
I give this book a 5/5 rating. It was a great read. I've learned a lot from reading this single book. The authors present their case convincingly. They provide the references to the various studies they researched, so you can look them up yourself. Even if you don't buy into their argument, this is still a great book to read to broaden your view on cholesterol and statin medications.