Proven to lower cholesterol, and what?

The Digital Journal released an article a few days ago with the headline Cholesterol-lowering products cause heart diseaseThe products in question are foods that contain plant sterols; you can find these in certain yoghurt drinks and in margarine.

The problem, it seems, is that these products aren’t good for people with low or normal cholesterol as they can actually lead to heart problems. Now, you would agree that cholesterol-lowering for people who don’t need it must be bad, so why then do some health professionals think that statins should be handed out even more freely? If they are universally effective, then they must do something else sterols don’t.

Furthermore, products such as margarine are so shockingly devoid of any nutritional value that to fortify them with anything doesn’t really make them much better. But to fortify them with something detrimental is even worse.

You’ve probably seen advertisements extolling the virtues of foods that lower cholesterol, but lowering cholesterol is not the same thing as reducing the risk of heart disease. When we hear the words “proven to lower cholesterol”, it’s not always accompanied by “which lowers your risk of heart disease”, largely as we imagine that latter sentence to be so logical that it doesn’t need verbalising. But reducing cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease are not one and the same thing.

Walk past that junk in the aisles.

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