The level of LDL cholesterol in our blood—our “bad” cholesterol—may be the single most important indicator of heart disease risk, and is, therefore, the primary target of both drug and diet therapy. Your doctor will likely tell you that anything over 130 is high; anything under 130 is optimal, or near optimal. But that’s what most people hospitalized for heart attacks had circulating in their bloodstream.
Notes one of the investigators on this study: “Almost 75 percent of heart attack patients fell within [the] recommended targets for LDL cholesterol, demonstrating that the current guidelines may not be low enough to cut heart attack risk…” Close to half had “optimal” levels, though I’m not sure their grieving spouses and orphaned children will take much comfort in that fact.
So, we have to drop our cholesterol even lower than so-called “optimal.”
The leading agribusiness publication had a very different take on this study, though: “For years, we’ve been brainwashed to think that red meat and its associated fat content are killing us. Researchers, however, have found that the vast majority of patients—75%, in fact—hospitalized for a heart attack did not have cholesterol levels that would signal a high risk for a cardiovascular event.”
He’s saying see, cut out meat, bring your cholesterol into an “optimal” range, and still die of a heart attack. “So,” he concludes, “fire up the grill, and eat up. The next time someone tells you that you just served a heart attack on a plate, you’ll be able to give them a science-based reason why they’re dead wrong”—when, in fact, you could just end up dead.