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The Great Cholesterol Myth (2013) by Jonny Bowden PhD & Stephen Sinatra MD: What to eat and foods to avoid

The Great Cholesterol Myth - book by Jonny Bowden PhD and Stephen Sinatra MDThe Great Cholesterol Myth (2013) is a book that argues against the current medical establishment view that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease, and the ways it is currently treated. Dietary guidelines include:

  • Avoid sugar, soda, processed carbs, processed meats, trans fats, excess vegetable oils
  • Eat more wild salmon, grass-fed meat, vegetables, nuts, beans, berries and cherries

Below is a description of the food recommendations in the book.  What to eat  |  Foods to eliminate.  There’s a lot more in the book.

Get a copy of The Great Cholesterol Myth for a detailed discussion on the flaws of the current recommendations for heart disease, what the authors think of fat and statins, why they believe sugar / fructose to be the real cause of heart disease, the effects of stress, and supplementation suggestions

The reasoning behind The Great Cholesterol Myth

This book argues that the “lipid hypothesis” – that fats in the diet raise cholesterol and that causes heart disease – has never been proven and is flawed. Instead, it points to evidence that sugar, and especially fructose – “metabolic poison” – causes glycation which damages LDL cholesterol and causes inflammation which can lead to heart disease. Also, carbohydrates – especially high-glycemic processed carbs – are associated with greater progression of coronary atherosclerosis than fat.

The Great Cholesterol Myth diet plan – food list

What to eat  |  Foods to eliminate

The food list in the book is only partial – it indicates what to eat more of and what to eat less of.

Foods to eat more of with The Great Cholesterol Myth

  • Wild salmon
    • Eat wild salmon twice a week
  • Berries and cherries
    • Eat berries three (or more) times a week
  • Grass-fed meat
    • The majority of the meat we consume is feedlot-raised meat from factory farms, loaded with antibiotics, steroids, and hormones, and very high in inflammatory omega-6 fats.
    • Instead, eat only grass-fed meat when you eat meat
  • Vegetables (and some fruit)
    • Eat low-sugar fruits in moderation – berries including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries; other fruits including apples, cherries, grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges
    • Eat vegetables instead of processed carbohydrates
    • Green leafy veggies, such as spinach and swiss chard, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower are the best protectors against heart disease
    • Eat 5-9 half cup servings of vegetables and fruit a day (not guidelines on how much of each, except that fruit should be in moderation)
  • Nuts
    • Eat 1 ounce of nuts 5 times a week – e.g. walnuts
    • Presumably seeds as well – flaxseeds, chia seeds, and perilla seeds are mentioned in the book
  • Beans
    • Adzuki beans, red beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, etc.
    • Eat a serving of beans or lentils at least 4 times a week (one serving is ½ cup to 1 cup cooked beans)
  • Dark chocolate
    • Look for at least 60% cocoa (not white chocolate or milk chocolate)
    • Eat 1-2 squares of dark chocolate 4-6 days a week
  • Garlic
    • Start cooking with garlic – no guidelines on amounts to eat
  • Turmeric
    • Put turmeric at the front of your spice cabinet and use it often
  • Pomegranate juice
    • Drink pure pomegranate juice – avoid “juice blends” and “juice cocktails” because these have much less pomegranate juice in them and much more sugar
    • Put pomegranate juice in “heavy rotation” on your menu: 4-8 ounces a day, or as often as you like
  • Green tea
    • Drink up to 2 glasses a day, in the earlier part of the day (as it contains caffeine)
  • Red wine
    • If you are a drinker, have a glass of red wine with dinner. (If you’re not, don’t start)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • Switch to extra-virgin olive oil. Use it for salad dressing, low-heat stir fries, and sautées
    • Whenever possible, use olive oil, sesame oil, or macadamia oil as alternatives to the vegetable oils listed below
    • The ideal ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s in the diet is somewhere between 1:1 and 4:1

Foods to eliminate with The Great Cholesterol Myth

  • Sugar
    • Avoid all added sugars
    • No description of what sugars should be avoided, except that fructose is the worst culprit
    • Cut out fruit juices, which are loaded with sugar and only marginally better than soda
    • Avoid processed carbs, most of which contain sugar, including virtually all cakes, candies, pastries, doughnuts, etc.
  • Soda
    • Avoid soda, which is probably the worst offender as a source of added sugars
    • No guidelines on diet sodas
    • Avoid energy drinks
  • Processed carbs
    • Avoid processed carbs – almost all carbs that come in a box with a bar code – cereals, white rice, pasta, breads, cookies, pastries, snack foods, sodas, juice drinks, crackers
    • The authors don’t buy into the argument that “whole grains” eliminate all the problems associated with processed carbs. They can raise blood sugar and be inflammatory for people who are gluten-sensitive. The best alternatives (if you are gluten-tolerant) are real whole grain products such as Ezekiel 4:9 breads
  • Trans fats
    • Avoid trans fats
    • Ignore the “no trans fats!” legend on the front of the package and read the ingredients list instead – look to see if contains partially hydrogenated oil or hydrogenated oil
    • The worst offenders include: nondairy “creamers,” most margarines, cake mixes, ramen noodles, soup cups, virtually all packaged baked goods (E.g. Twinkies, chips, and crackers), doughnuts, many breakfast cereals, “energy” bars, cookies, and fast food
  • Processed meat
    • Definition – any meat preserved by curing, salting, smoking, or with the addition of chemical preservatives
    • Avoid salami, sausages, hot dogs, deli meats, luncheon meats, bacon, etc.
  • Excess vegetable oils
    • Never use generic processed oils such as Wesson or Crisco
    • Cut down on corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, canola oil

If you use relaxation techniques, try not to do them within a couple of hours of eating, as the digestive process seems to interfere with eliciting the relaxation response

Health benefits claimed in The Great Cholesterol Myth

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, heart attacks, heart disease/coronary disease, high blood sugar, hypertension/high blood pressure, insulin resistance, strokes; also to reduce inflammation and glycation which leads to faster aging

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, not endorsing it.

Get a copy of The Great Cholesterol Myth for a detailed discussion on the flaws of the current recommendations for heart disease, what the authors think of fat and statins, why they believe sugar / fructose to be the real cause of heart disease, the effects of stress, and supplementation suggestions
Buy now from Amazon
How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment below.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Jeffrey Lucas June 29, 2013, 5:51 am

    Thank you for this! I hate statins. They cause me to have severe back pain. Anyone else? I was told statins caused my back pain by my ayervadic chiropractor that. Stress and sugar are the real culprits.

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