“Theorists almost always become too fond of their own ideas, often simply by living with them for so long. It is difficult to believe that one’s cherished theory, which really works rather nicely in some respects, may become completely false.”
—Francis Crick, Nobel Prize laureate together with James Watson for discovering the structure of DNA
Cholesterol: Villain or Innocent Bystander?
Although scientists should do more questioning, in cholesterol research one statement never gets questioned because it is considered just as self-evident as the law of gravity. Even many opponents of the diet-heart idea neglect to question this statement. And what is this statement? It is that, when its level is high in the blood, cholesterol passes through the vessel walls, transforming arteries from smooth canals to rocky rapids.
Doctors and scientists may debate whether cholesterol leaks in passively or is actively transported by cells. But there is a general agreement about the importance of the cholesterol level of the blood; the higher it is, the faster the arteries become sclerotic.
As early as 1953, Ancel Keys wrote: “It is a fact that a major characteristic of the sclerotic artery is the presence of abnormal amounts of cholesterol in that artery. And he added: this cholesterol is derived from the blood.”
No proofs, and no arguments, not from Keys and not from his followers. Cholesterol comes from the blood, and that’s the end to it. Scientists discuss how high the cholesterol level has to be for atherosclerosis to start, but they do not discuss whether the cholesterol level by itself has any importance. The role played by cholesterol in the process of atherosclerosis is no longer under discussion; it has been settled forever, or so we are led to believe. Let us have a closer look at the facts.
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