Applied Trophology, Vol. 20, No. 3
(Third Quarter 1977)

“Cholesterol and Health” (Part I)

The following is a transcription of the Third Quarter 1977 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.

Cholesterol and Health (Part I)

(This article continues in Part II, available here.)

“We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them”


In Health Matters Ignorance Is Not Bliss

The phrase “You are what you eat” is generally accredited to Hippocrates, the father of medicine, way back when food and physic comprised practically the physician’s entire knowledge of medicine and healing. Having abandoned qualitative food in the prevention of disease, orthodox medicine has now wholeheartedly embraced physic (medicine) as the healing agent. Webster reveals: “A physician is a person skilled in physic or the art of healing; a doctor of medicine—often distinguished from a surgeon.” Having practically abolished the prevention of disease through a better knowledge of nourishing food he presently aspires to become a healer or a restorer of health. Apparently, he has chosen the wrong course.

Experience has taught us, in all walks of life, that it is easier to prevent destruction than it is to restore a wreck. From the study of physiology we learn the metabolic fact: “You are not only what you eat, but what you do with what you eat.” Yet the average American is eating more chemicalized foods of doubtful nutritional value. Our standard of quality has been subverted through false or misguided allegiance to the consumer. Distorted fats often lead to malnutrition. Modern nutritionists stress: “What you don’t eat could be the lost nutritives that you need to keep you healthy.”

Metabolism surely must be the balancing factor in individual health. Each of us has physical characteristics different from another. So, too, nutritional requirements and/or deficiencies may be different from everyone else, which indicates that metabolism is a very complex series of individual biological processes. This, no doubt, is the reason that a certain drug, antibiotic, serum or hormone, in every individual with a like complaint, just doesn’t seem to be the answer. We reiterate that antibiotics can contribute to malnutrition, scientists have found, by causing the loss of friendly intestinal bacteria that aid in the assimilation of several vitamins, including the vitamin B complex and vitamin K.

Nutritional therapy has always been with us, but chemotherapy is a “Johnny come lately,” with instances of harm and with possibly too little proof of its value in conditions such as cancer. Side effects may occur with any type of treatment. Therefore, each individual patient must be considered in regard to the now applied benefit-risk factor. Up to now, cancer treatments have been of little value, possibly because the patient did not have the reserve energy furnished by good nutrition to aid in overcoming the resulting side effects. It is the opinion of Dr. William D. Kelley, a nutritional consultant, that “85 percent of malignancy or cancer is caused by poor diet and a wrong diet.”

Proper metabolism cannot be affected when a wrong diet has become habitual. Poor diets and wrong diets, through ignorance of a healthy dietary, are passed on from mother to daughter, family to family and generation to generation. The new son-in-law may contribute by insisting on a particular food or meal, “like Mother used to make.” Now his “mom,” like many more these days, may not have been too well informed in proper dietary and/or in the culinary art. So, the leading induced deficiency diseases—heart and vascular conditions, cancer, diabetes and arthritis—may be passed on through ignorance, rather than being solely hereditary as often times suggested by medical consultants.

Poor education continually furthers the sequence since the teachers in modern secondary schools generally provide only commercially regulated dietary information, in order to continue in the good graces of their schoolboard who may favor the junk food vending machines as a source of revenue. Therefore, the errors of commission and omission perpetuate themselves from one generation to another with dire national health consequences.

Nutritional Consciousness Needed

Recently, at a “Forum for Progress” D. Eugene Sibery, executive vice-president of Blue Cross, stated: “If fewer people were sick, health care costs would not rise so fast.” This certainly is a very astute observation, which calls to mind that until recently we were said to be ‘‘the healthiest nation in the world.’’

At this same meeting an interesting observation was made by Rick Carlson, lawyer and nutritionist, and a senior professional associate with the Institute of Medicine: “Medicine is a very limited art…it can’t do everything we want it to do.” Or, as Dr. A confided to Dr. B, “It’s very distressing, doctor, to realize we will always be practicing.”

Dr. Carlson was also reported to say (something that hasn’t happened since specialization replaced the family doctor) that instead of dealing only with a specific ailment, out of context with the patient’s environment, the physician should treat the entire person through consideration of the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects. As author of The End of Medicine, in 1975, he criticized the American medical care delivery system for failing to deliver health, although noting there is much of the present medical system that should be preserved. He proclaimed the high costs of medical care, stating that today one dollar of every eleven dollars of consumer expenditures goes for some form of health expense, but there seems little evidence that the level of health has improved as a result. He reasons that this is because our medical system is still geared to the health problems of 1900 when infectious diseases were the problem. “Modern medicine,” he said, “still relies on research and methods to attack a germ or virus instead of other factors of present-day living.”

For instance, he cites the fact that present research shows 90 percent of all cancers are environmentally induced through such agents as radiation, industrial pollution, food additives and chemicals. As do we, he believes that to look at health as the “absence of disease” is backwards. “We can define in exquisite detail the phases of disease,” he said, “and yet we really don’t know much about wellness. We don’t know why some people are so healthy or so energetic or so well adjusted.” He agreed with the Blue Cross executive that self-care could cut medical costs and urged new emphasis on good nutrition and proper physical conditioning. For health’s sake nutritional consciousness must be developed by the consumer.

Scare Tactics and Questionable Acts

In the past several years human suffering through deficiency may have been created by derogatory reference, insinuation, or deprecatory allusion to cholesterol. Industry, with the backing of some physicians, in and out of government, has inferred that ingesting cholesterol is unhealthy and that only their specifically named brand of fats could control serum cholesterol and inferentially hypertension. They have conjured up visions of atherosclerosis and hypertension leading to heart conditions. Your IQ in nutrition is tested with loaded questions and answers.

Some nutritionists believe that a national commercial cholesterol confusion has been inspired by the food processing industry, not only to sell their processed substitute products but to lower the commercial value of centuries-old proven nutritional products, presumably to attain a fat and oil monopoly. The so-called informative advertising has often been considered to be misleading, through indirect action, tone, or intent. However, they do admit that their synthesized product has been made to “look, smell, and taste” like the genuine article, although they have shied away from saying it is just as nutritious. It is very apparent that refined or processed fats and oils cannot be just as nutritious, as hydrogenation especially causes a loss of some necessary mobilizers for complete metabolism. In some instances this poor mobilization of fat has been known to cause fatty tumors in older persons or overstimulated growth in young people.

In an early experiment Dr. Ancel Keys found that eggs fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil caused a rapid rise in blood cholesterol, whereas those fried in fresh unrefined oil did not have this effect. However, the fact is that the unrefined oils, butter, lard, and eggs have failed to cause excess cholesterol over the thousands of years of use in nutrition. Thus we find the conglomerate food industry, in order to push their cheaper spreads and compounds, turning the facts around to reap a greater profit. As Rodney Leonard of the Community Nutritional Institute has said: “Everything we’ve ever known is coming into question…big companies have absolutely no concern with the consumer aspect of food.”

The Reapers

Apparently, as part of a master plan, the processed food industry has taken advantage of the lack of interest of the big medical combine (AMA). Dr. Roger Williams has this to say about nutritional confusion: “We can readily trace this back to the apathy, if not antagonism, exhibited by classical medical education toward human nutrition.”

Also, after World War II, fats and oils were monopolized and apparently became a common denominator for world farm prices. Marshall Plan funds (taxpayers’ money) were supplied to the United States industry to plant palm oil plants in Africa and coconut groves in the South Pacific. Our military forces were involved in the planting, we are told. The oil from the fruits of these palm trees has reportedly been imported for making soap, although coconut oil has been an ingredient in oleomargarine since its inception. But the high content of oleic acid in coconut oil does not allow liquefaction until about 23°C, a sales handicap when compared with butter, a saturated-unsaturated fat that readily liquifies at body temperature. As palm oil became available it was added to cut down on the oleic acid content, and the prefix “oleo” was dropped. However, the cheapest stick-type spreads still contain little palm oil.

Coconut oil is made from a 30 percent to 40 percent extraction of dried whole coconut meat, known as copra. It is dried in the sun, and as it dries it takes on the green color of corroded copper. When ships are unloaded it is piled up on the dock similar to coal piles. There it is exposed to the weather, pollution, and in all probability rancidity.

Apparently since the African wars have negated that source of palm oil, margarine is being made with soy oil. This, too, is a monetary boon, as the palm oil source allowed the industry to hold down the price of soybeans for several years. When their protest and removal of farm subsidies were found insufficient to knock out the competing dairy industry, they raised the wolf cry of cholesterol and hired the best advertising firms in the country to promote it.

It now becomes apparent that this procedure had a purpose. By switching human consumption to cheaper fats and oils, the competing animal fats, butter, lard, and tallow would be in less demand and become available to them at a low price. This gave them another lever to force many New York and Wisconsin dairy farmers out of business and to overcome the small dairy businesses that depended on them. It is interesting to note that the margarine and soap manufacturers have now acquired a good share of the old established dairy products companies in this country and now have them selling margarine and their imitation coffee cream. They have literally followed the old adage, “If you can’t lick them, join them.” And we must add, “Have a monopoly and make a fortune.” All this is at the expense of the ill-informed consumer nutritionally, physically, and financially.

Cholesterol Not the Bad Guy Pictured

In fact, cholesterol is the good guy every animal and human needs. Since the advent of enzyme-inhibiting chemicals in the past fifty-five years, the metabolism of cholesterol has apparently been very much impaired. First of all, it is not a fat but a steroid alcohol. Also it is very important in the formation of bile and is linked with blood, lymph, hormones, fat-soluble vitamins, and especially with the cell membranes and nerve tissue. In the skin, cholesterol gives rise to an intermediate substance that is apparently activated by ultraviolet rays in sunlight to form vitamin D (cholecalciferol).

The importance of cholesterol metabolism is emphasized further when we consider that some fifty biologically active steroids have been isolated from the adrenal cortex, including glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, androgens, and estrogens. Cholesterol serves as a precursor of these sterols, which latter groups if not inhibited are normally converted to hormones by the adrenal glands and the gonads. Modern physiologists know that cholesterol can be synthesized by all body tissues, with the possible exception of the adult brain. Apparently, the problem is lack of cholesterol metabolism rather than, as they tell us on TV, too much cholesterol.

Advantage has been taken of the fact that this higher alcohol resembles fat in both physical and chemical properties and that as a steroid it is linked with lipoproteins that transport fat throughout the body. If not chemically inhibited it may appear in the plasma in a free form or combined with fatty acids as a cholesterol ester. Normally it combines with either saturated or unsaturated fatty acids at body temperature. In many instances cholesterol may fail to combine with the newer unnatural hydrogenated or homogenized fats and oils.

Nutritionists believe that any value the polyunsaturated oils have may be dissipated through improper storage, filtering, or overheating in processing, all of which could contribute to changing them to saturated fats. Could it be that all the money now spent for advertising, in this instance, is promoting a substitute product whose promoters themselves claim is not good for you? Clinicians have forgotten the fact that the enzyme cholesterol esterase, found both in the liver and serum, must be present to catalyze the esterification of cholesterol. The inhibition of this enzyme may cause vascular or heart conditions, and some of the involved inhibiting chemicals have been found carcinogenic. We consumers must seek greater protection from suffering and an early death. As Dr. Morris Pollard declared in Geriatrics: “The character of nutrition throughout life is the principal environmental factor determining longevity.”

Further Metabolic Interference

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), often used as anti-rancidity agents, are now used in most processed fats and oils, dry cereals, sausages, bacon, ham, corned beef, and dried beef. In 1971 English and Norwegian researchers found that when they combined with an amino acid they formed nitrosamine, a known carcinogenic agent. At that time baby food manufacturers discontinued their use and tests were instituted in this country. Recently BHT was found to affect the weight and enzyme content in the liver and also to cause allergic reactions in people. A test on mice reveals it may cause lung and ovarian tumors. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has also been banned in baby foods in this country because it was found to produce brain and eye damage in infant rats.

Much more information is needed on the one we mention next, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), which reportedly prevents rancidity and off taste by forming chemically inactive complexes with minerals in the foods to which it is added. If its use were concentrated only on unwanted minerals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury it would be a big asset, but when it interferes with the needed minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and others that combine with protein to form enzymes, it is a detriment. EDTA could also interfere with liver action in the process of creating cholesterol from acetic acid. It is presently added to beer and soda, crab meat, margarine, pecan pie filling, sandwich spreads, and shrimp.

Now that soap making has been superseded by detergents, most waste fats and oils are being used in animal foods. In gathering this waste material from restaurants and fast-food establishments, too little regard is paid as to the rancidity or possibly other spoilage involved. EDTA is used to cover the bad taste, but rancidity in fats and oils is a tough carcinogenic agent that will not be overcome. So now we have pets and other domestic animals subjected to tumors. Who tests for rancidity as a protective safeguard for the general populace? It must be a secret.

Other Factors Involved

According to unbiased scientific studies the postulated theory of increase of serum cholesterol due to ingestion of so-called animal fats has practically become untenable. The biased commercial scientists failed to recognize systemic balance and the possible deficient food factors involved. For instance, fat and oil processing has been noted to cause the loss of the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K, vitamin C, some of the B complex vitamins (notably B6 and B12), and other assimilative B factors such as choline, inositol and lecithin.

Dr. Boris Sokoloff advised that vitamin C deficiency resulted in lipoprotein lipase decreases, which in turn can yield high serum triglycerides and then atherosclerosis. Other losses encountered are the minerals calcium, magnesium, and iodine, and to some extent the very important unsaturated fatty acids, arachidonic, linolenic, and linoleic.

In this regard Dr. Paul Owren, an investigator from the University of Oslo, advises: “An increased tendency to thrombosis and coronary heart disease may be directly related to a relative deficiency of linolenic acid.” He does not agree with investigators who state that the polyunsaturated fats of corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, and soy oil can prevent heart attacks when substituted for animal fats in the diet.

Other adverse factors affecting serum cholesterol could be lack of sunshine, lack of sane exercise, and the drinking of soft water.


Contrary to TV ballyhoo, cholesterol lengthens life rather than shortens it. Dr. Teh C. Huang of the Timken Mercy Hospital, Canton, Ohio, who researched saturated fats and cholesterol for fifteen years, reportedly found that rats fed a diet containing bulk saturated fats and cholesterol lived longest, while rats fed unsaturates with cholesterol had the shortest lifespan. He stated:

“A trace of cholesterol in the 10 percent saturated diet seems to be essential to the normality of growth, longevity and especially resistance to infection…but evidence has accumulated to show that unsaturated fat causes more cancer in humans and animals and that low blood cholesterol is a fatal syndrome in many human diseases.”

He also said:

“The beneficial effects of cholesterol supplement to saturated fat were more significant in the males than in the females…the blood cholesterol level in man increases after the fourth decade, whereas that of woman increases continuously. A supplement of cholesterol to men may prolong their lives, allowing them to live as long as women.”

He further stated:

There is no proof that low cholesterol in the blood would prolong life expectancy, nor any proof that diet saturated fat or cholesterol showed any relationship with cholesterolemia or coronary disease.”

R.M. Jones et al. of the University of Chicago Department of Pathology reported:

Rhesus monkeys fed 25 percent corn oil (polyunsaturated fatty acids), without cholesterol, showed some areas of disorganization of myointernal cells and some areas of basement membrane reduplication in the aorta. Rats fed diets containing 10 percent palmitic, oleic, linoleic acids or 10 percent corn oil for three weeks showed no change in serum cholesterol. However, corn oil, the recommended source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, elevated liver cholesterol levels.”

Dr. Mark Altschule, a former Clinical Professor of Medicine at Harvard, has reported:

The first thing that clinicians notice is that restriction of intake of cholesterol-containing foods has little effect on the serum cholesterol level…In any case a diet high in unsaturated fats does little for the total cholesterol in the body. It was shown some years ago in rabbits that these diets merely redistribute the body cholesterol; recent studies in man have revealed the same phenomenon. There seems to be little solid data to support the suggested marked revisions of our customary diet implied in the rigid substitution of unsaturated for saturated fats and cholesterol. There is no proof that it either helps or harms; both possibilities remain unproved…In fact the intake of excessive amounts of unsaturated oil may be dangerous.”

Dr. James M. Iacono, chief of lipid research of our Department of Agriculture, said:

“A change in diet is not what is needed…At best, the most that man can reduce serum cholesterol by the high intake of polyunsaturated fats is 10 percent.”

Heart specialists Dr. Christiaan Barnard and Dr. Michael DeBakey have opposed the idea that cholesterol should be blamed as the principal cause of atherosclerosis.

In Food and You (Barnes and Noble) the author, Dr. Edmund S. Nasset, professor of physiology at Rochester University, said:

“The elimination of eggs or butter from the diet of a healthy person merely because they contain cholesterol is an extreme measure which can scarcely be justified on the basis of present knowledge.”

In Nutrition Against Disease, University of Texas researcher Dr. Roger Williams offers this advice:

“Concentrate on the quality of the food consumed. Wholesome foods like milk, eggs, fish and fresh vegetables, which are generally endowed with essential nutrients, should take precedence over those processed foods that crowd out good foods, contribute mostly calories and provide very little in the way of amino acids, minerals and vitamins.”

Butter and Eggs

For centuries the human diet was rich with dairy products, eggs, and usually some fatty meat and the oils in nuts and cereal grains. Yet it is only in the latter part of this century that heart and vascular conditions have taken their enormous toll. Also in the past twenty-five or thirty years the use of chemicals in our food has increased to the point where each of us ingests over five pounds per year. Many of them have not been properly tested and many times when they are, they are found to cause cancer. Drugs and industrial chemicals are further complicating the situation.

There are so many factors other than the ones we have listed that could have a bearing on the formation of serum cholesterol, but butter and eggs are not among them. In general they are believed to be deficiencies rather than overages. A recent experiment in Japan had people eating up to a dozen eggs a week with no ill effects. Nature has provided the balancing cholesterol mobilizers for these natural products.

In trying to avoid heart and vascular conditions we seem to be creating the necessary conditions for the increased incidence of cancer. In a recent Gallup poll when the people were asked which was the “worst thing that can happen to you,” fifty-eight percent named cancer. This kind of thinking no doubt prompted this sign on a church bulletin board: “Interested in going to heaven? Get your flight training here.”

Heather Wilkinson

Heather Wilkinson is Senior Editor at Selene River Press.

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