Re: The other side of high cholesterol
donsabi - I think a part of the problem is the individual difference in the way our bodies react. A personal example: I get huge cysts on my face from eating too much fat, even just one day. When I told my dermatologist that back in the early 70s, his reply is if I was getting them from eating fat, I must really be eating a terrible diet. Ha! At that time I even ate my toast dry and my salad dry. I did a one-week food study of my diet not long after that and my usual diet then was only about 20% fat. That kept things under reasonable control, but if I misbehaved and ate something like French fries or fried chicken just one day, I'd invariably have one or more cysts the next day. And it is still happening thirty-some years later, though I have the liberty of going higher on my average fat consumption without trouble. I'm guessing 30%, which is quite tolerable and I rarely get them. But how many people have a reaction like that? There is just something about my body that doesn't like excessive fats. I think some of the anecdotal situations we hear about and very small studies with results that don't seem to jibe with what we think we know are like that.
The large studies are a different matter. Probably some of the differences in results there may be with the sample chosen. Who knows what additional factors come into play when a study is done with subjects of one race or another, living in one location or another, having a specific disease or none, male or female, etc.
Some of the differences in results could also be a result of the length of the study. A given result at one point just might not be there if the length of the study was longer or shorter.
But I, too, am about ready to throw up my hands after reading and reading. I'm beginning to think that cholesterol may have a very minor role in the whole heart health picture, that it may be just a marker for CVD under some circumstances, not a causative factor.