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    Old 11-20-2005, 08:16 PM   #1
    Concerned Male
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    Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    I've heard a lot of different information concerning high high cholesterol. I was wondering if people here think that the high cholesterol level will get lowered again in the future? I'm not trying to put down the pharmaceutical companies, but it does seem pretty relevant that the 'high level' of cholesterol gets lowered, in response which causes more people to be in the high range, and helps sell more Lipitor and other similar drugs. I've read that several of the people that determined that the 'high level' should be lowered, were affiliated with the pahrmaceutical companies that make the cholesterol lowering drugs. I'm just concerned that the high cholesterol level is getting to be lowered too low. A certain amount of cholesterol is needed for every person to survive. I've also read that more people succumb to heart disease that have normal cholesterol levels, than people who have higher cholesterol levels.

     
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    Old 11-21-2005, 12:11 AM   #2
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Well, I ask myself the same thing that you do. When my parents were young 300 was the limit. Now it's 190, and I've even heard it'll be 160 in the future! And then you get ads on tv saying 7 out 10 people has high cholesterol, and promoting Benecol! I belong to those 7 out of ten, but I have high HDL and good LDL...

     
    Old 11-21-2005, 06:49 AM   #3
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    I get concerned when I see research which supports low cholesterol in one group of subjects (e.g. male middle-age patients with existing heart disease) quoted as though it supports low cholesterol in other groups (e.g. women, the elderly, healthy males). I don't doubt that a low cholesterol increases life expectancy in some groups, but am convinced it is not equally important for all. Right now I just don't think there is adequate research to know what to do for some groups.

    Another thing that frosts me is the frequent reference to lowering of risk for heart disease only, without mention of what happens to all-cause mortality with the same medication. Who cares whether you die from heart disease or from cancer if the date on the death certificate is the same? Well, I guess I do. With heart disease it is more likely to be quick instead of prolonged pain.

     
    Old 11-21-2005, 07:35 AM   #4
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Concerned Male
    I've heard a lot of different information concerning high high cholesterol. I was wondering if people here think that the high cholesterol level will get lowered again in the future? I'm not trying to put down the pharmaceutical companies, but it does seem pretty relevant that the 'high level' of cholesterol gets lowered, in response which causes more people to be in the high range, and helps sell more Lipitor and other similar drugs. I've read that several of the people that determined that the 'high level' should be lowered, were affiliated with the pahrmaceutical companies that make the cholesterol lowering drugs. I'm just concerned that the high cholesterol level is getting to be lowered too low. A certain amount of cholesterol is needed for every person to survive. I've also read that more people succumb to heart disease that have normal cholesterol levels, than people who have higher cholesterol levels.
    You hit the nail right on the head as far as I'm concerned..Lisa

     
    Old 11-21-2005, 09:50 AM   #5
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Concerned Male
    I've heard a lot of different information concerning high high cholesterol. I was wondering if people here think that the high cholesterol level will get lowered again in the future? I'm not trying to put down the pharmaceutical companies, but it does seem pretty relevant that the 'high level' of cholesterol gets lowered, in response which causes more people to be in the high range, and helps sell more Lipitor and other similar drugs. I've read that several of the people that determined that the 'high level' should be lowered, were affiliated with the pahrmaceutical companies that make the cholesterol lowering drugs. I'm just concerned that the high cholesterol level is getting to be lowered too low. A certain amount of cholesterol is needed for every person to survive. I've also read that more people succumb to heart disease that have normal cholesterol levels, than people who have higher cholesterol levels.
    I think the guidelines for everything is getting out of hand. Not only do they want our cholesterol levels really low, now it is BP, glucose levels and just about everything else U can think of. I'm not saying we should ignore high levels of things, but the way the guidelines are going, eveyone is PRE this or that, and if your over they want U on meds.

    As far as tv ads, we had a discussion about that many months ago..ENOUGH ALREADY with the ads. The way they word things, U could have just a plain ole backache, but by the time they get done saying all the different things it could be, some people are convinced they have a major problem when in fact they don't. I think these med. ads should be off of tv, I think they are scaring some people into asking their drs. for meds. they don't even need, and some drs. give them, whether they feel the person needs them or not as they feel pressured into keeping the patient happy. Of course on the other hand we have drs. who love prescribing drugs, and no matter how much U complain of side effects, it is always in your head. I truly feel most meds. treat symptoms and do not cure the real problem. JMHO

    OK, I vented, now I feel better........

     
    Old 11-21-2005, 03:18 PM   #6
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Concerned Male
    I've heard a lot of different information concerning high high cholesterol. I was wondering if people here think that the high cholesterol level will get lowered again in the future?

    No, I don't think they'll aim any lower than where they're at right now. They've already done enough damage. Statins have been on the market for close to 20 years already, and regardless of all the hype they've been getting in the media, they have failed to produce any significant reduction in heart disease. In fact, since the introduction of these drugs, the incidence of congestive heart failure has risen considerably, and that in part may very well have to do with statins depleting coenzyme Q10.

    I am convinced that if we are really serious about significantly reducing the incidence of heart disease, then we will have to focus our attention elsewhere, and abandon our obsessive preoccupation with cholesterol numbers. Homocysteine, lipoprotein(a), c-reactive protein, and any other inflammatory risk factors must take priority. Heart disease develops because of inflammation which results in damage to the walls of our arteries. We must focus our attention on finding the cause of this, and in finding ways to best prevent this from happening.
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    Last edited by ARIZONA73; 11-21-2005 at 03:22 PM.

     
    Old 11-22-2005, 08:10 AM   #7
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    When I had my first cholesterol screening test in the very early 70's as I recall when even HDL and LDL or triglycerides weren't really made anything of, I was in the upper 230's and I believe I was told that was a bit high, 200 is healthier. In the last 35 years, things haven't really changed THAT much with regards this number. Of course, much more STRINGLENT limits are now put on people with heart problems or several risk factors for developing it in the future.

    On inflammation and arterial damage: Yep, it;s important that CHILDREN are protected to the fullest exent from this possible initiating factor for arterial disease but for the majority of the population whose plaque buildup is WELL underway, stopping further buildup seems the logical way to go. Since autopsy has shown these plaques to be composed mostly of mixtures of saturated glycerides and cholesterol, it is reasonably clear that lowering these blood components to a sensible level is the correct approach.

    It takes LOTS of meat eating for years and years to get cholesterol levels like those "enjoyed" by the average U.S. resident. THe process takes time and it was the generation AFTER the depression and AFTER World War 2 that began "eating like pigs." There's no way to UNinitiate the arterial disease process and all these later generations can do is to seek measures to control the rate of arterial destruction.
    Statin drugs are the second best way to do that...first best is a diet of 10% fat!

    LOWER cholesterol is better and we must each make his own decision how low is best for us. I am convinced that since the day of my birth the levels of cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides have been steadily climbing in the Unioted States day by day, year in and year out. Everyone should watch SUPERSIZE ME to see just how fast deteriorating health can happen on a Henry VIII type diet...albeit at McFastFood. ANYTHING that lowers blood lipids appreciably will lower the incidence of heart disease caused by coronary artery occlusion. Just choose the level and the method you want to go for.

    For those who say, cholesterol and blood fat is "necessary"...or my favorite "is needed to build cell walls" and thus has no effect on heart disease, or those that say a 70% fat diet with 10% carbohydrates is a good way to eat becaue it causes weight loss for some, all I can say is...well, actually, there's NOTHING to say!

    I think the current levels stated in the recent guidlines are sensible if a bit on the harsh end. But then if the MARK is set almost out of reach, even getting close is doing VERY WELL. If somebody tries for an LDL below 100 and reaches 110 (or aims for 80 and hits 90) he's doing a lot better than someone who tries for 130 and gets 150. It's not win or lose, it's how closely you "play the game."

    Last edited by Lenin; 11-22-2005 at 08:30 AM.

     
    Old 11-22-2005, 05:46 PM   #8
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Lenin,

    In my opinion, a low-fat diet is not the answer. A hundred years ago, prior to World War 2, when heart disease was relatively rare compared to today, we were hardly a nation embracing low-fat diets. In fact, we were always a nation of meat-eaters, and the fats which people were eating were mostly butter and lard. What HAS changed dramatically since that time, at least in terms of diet, has been a dramatic increase in refined carbohydrates. Have you ever heard of Cleave's Rule of Twenty Years? In Third World nations, where refined carbohydrates were nonexistent, virtually no one ever suffered obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, diverticulitis, or heart disease. However, in example after example, country after country, whenever refined carbohydrates and sugar were introduced into their diets, within 20 years both diabetes and heart disease began to manifest itself.

    Americans overwhelmingly endulge themselves with these very foods which are major contributors to chronic diseases. Since we have been eating this way for more than half a century, it's not so surprising that we currently have an epidemic of many serious, chronic diseases, especially heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are what I consider to be anti-nutrients. In fact, Sugar competes with and crowds out vitamin C in humans. Vitamin C, in sufficient quantities, is essential for the manufacture of collagen and in maintaining the health of our arteries. Do you know how much sugar the average American eats each day? Twenty teaspoons!! That's right. Our overindulgence in refined carbohydrates can't possibly lead to anything but trouble, including diabetes and heart disease.
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    Old 11-22-2005, 08:19 PM   #9
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ARIZONA73
    Lenin,

    In Third World nations, where refined carbohydrates were nonexistent, virtually no one ever suffered obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, diverticulitis, or heart disease. .
    In these nations virtually no one eats the number of calories they eat in countries rife with the diseases of "excess," excess fats, excess proteins, and excess carbs. I feel strongly that fat is the root of heart disease...but I include both intrinsic AND extrinsic fats. A person who eats a surfeit of calories converts these to depot fat but to get to the depot it is routed through the bloodstream. Fat is "fungible" in that the depot fat is used as readily as dietary fat when fat is burned and more is made to replace it. So in addition to the tonnage of fat that "modern" civilation consumes theres the constant ebb and flow of fat into and out of our fat asses and spare tires. Our bloodstreams have been converted to rivers of grease to accomodate this flow. I've seen numbers as low as all the fat is recycled in a week or two...can you conceive of moving perhaps 75 POUND of fat in that amount of time and that"s a 225 pound man at 33% bodyfat...not too uncommon these days.

    A person in a third world country with a caloric deficit or the lucky few with just ENOUGH have almost NO bodyfat stores and there's almost never times when new fat is created from "excess" (of fat, protein or carbohydrates.) THere's NEVER an excess.

    ANd when we create fat, we do it in the worst way, as saturated fats that remain solid at body temperatures.

    Any way to decrease this fat flow...by eating less food, eating less fat, losing weight and KEEPING it lost will help reduce the constant blood grease and reduce heart disease...but it's that grease flow that causes the grease buildup in the arteries in the same way that grease builds up in plumbing if it's dumped into a sink day after day.

    Last edited by Lenin; 11-22-2005 at 08:22 PM.

     
    Old 11-22-2005, 10:25 PM   #10
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ARIZONA73
    Lenin,

    In my opinion, a low-fat diet is not the answer. A hundred years ago, prior to World War 2, when heart disease was relatively rare compared to today, we were hardly a nation embracing low-fat diets. In fact, we were always a nation of meat-eaters, and the fats which people were eating were mostly butter and lard. What HAS changed dramatically since that time, at least in terms of diet, has been a dramatic increase in refined carbohydrates. Have you ever heard of Cleave's Rule of Twenty Years? In Third World nations, where refined carbohydrates were nonexistent, virtually no one ever suffered obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, diverticulitis, or heart disease. However, in example after example, country after country, whenever refined carbohydrates and sugar were introduced into their diets, within 20 years both diabetes and heart disease began to manifest itself.

    Americans overwhelmingly endulge themselves with these very foods which are major contributors to chronic diseases. Since we have been eating this way for more than half a century, it's not so surprising that we currently have an epidemic of many serious, chronic diseases, especially heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are what I consider to be anti-nutrients. In fact, Sugar competes with and crowds out vitamin C in humans. Vitamin C, in sufficient quantities, is essential for the manufacture of collagen and in maintaining the health of our arteries. Do you know how much sugar the average American eats each day? Twenty teaspoons!! That's right. Our overindulgence in refined carbohydrates can't possibly lead to anything but trouble, including diabetes and heart disease.

    Arizona,

    I agree - processed foods are the culprit we really have to watch out for.

    Of course an excess of anything is no good, and that definitely includes fat, but it wasn't too long ago that humans were hunter-gatherers, and our diet was relatively high in fat (with a good dose of berries and fruits to go along with it...). I don't think our bodies have evolved and changed that much in the past 10,000 years... but I think our diet has changed radically since we became an agrarian society, and especially with the advent of processed foods.

    It wasn't until the advent of processed-foods, and especially trans-fats, that cancer and diabetes and heart disease became so prevalent. I agree that refined carbs are what is causing many of our health issues.

    The problem is, we are all so busy nowadays that preparing food from scratch just won't fit into our schedules, so we reach for the package and cook up a quick meal...

    I'm less concerned about the turkey we're all going to have over the next few days, than over the stuffing, or slice or 2 of pumpkin or peacan pie we may indulge in.

    I definitely agree with Lenin though about how excessive calorie intake (combined with lack of exercise) is contributing to chronic health problems in the developed world.

    HubbleRules

    Last edited by HubbleRules; 11-22-2005 at 10:26 PM.

     
    Old 11-23-2005, 03:59 PM   #11
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Cleave's Rule of Twenty Years has demonstrated time after time, in country after country, that the common denominator was the introduction of refined carbohydrates into their diet. Precisely 20 years after the introduction of these foods, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic degenerative diseases begin to emerge. And after 40 years, heart disease and diabetes gains even more of a foothold, and becomes even more widespread. The United States serves as the perfect model of Cleave's Rule of Twenty Years. We practically invented these foods, and then we exported them, and the diseases that they cause, throughout the world.
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    Old 11-24-2005, 07:11 AM   #12
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    "Cleave's Rule" is just too glib.
    Point to a nation that didn'tt get more meat and especially more saturated FAT introduced at the same time "refined" carbs (whatever they are...ever try chewing on raw wheat?)

    Even more important, point to a nation that got all these horrible carbohydrates dumped on them that diidn't see a concomitant increase in caloric intake AND obesity AND sloth!

    America got grossly fat starting at the time Diet Coke was introduced. Would anyone say that Diet soda causes heart disease and diabetes? Changes don't happen in a vacuum. Lots of OTHER things happened too.

    Countries that get wealthy get refined foods (carbs and grease) and plenty of it but they get LOTS of other things too, like the ability to sit on their asses all day long, and to watch diesel trucks go by spewing particulates breathing in air that is STILL carrying the dust of HUNDREDS of atomic bomb blasts done in the open air. Would anyone sanely blame lung cancer and muscle atrophy on carbs?

    Best call it Cleave's "theory" or better yet, Cleave's "hypothesis."
    Hey, if that was Anne of Cleaves maybe she was talking about what her HUSBAND ate for 20 years??? The Henry VIII diet seems what a lot of people eat today...his diseases mimic modern civilization's to a Tee. Gout, obesity, kidney failure, heart failure and God knows what else and I'll bet there were VERY few "refined" carbs in his diet..."another fatted pig, my liege?"

    The diseases that are properly attributed to a prosperous economy are disease of SURFEIT, not diseases of "refined" carbs...that's only for people selling diet books with a "new twist."

    Last edited by Lenin; 11-24-2005 at 07:26 AM.

     
    Old 11-24-2005, 07:59 AM   #13
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    I believe that Cleave was right on target, that there is a strong connection between a diet which is high in refined carbohydrates and sugar and our high rate of chronic, degenerative conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. The reason why heart disease and diabetes were much less common prior to World War Two is because we weren't eating anywhere near the amount of refined carbs and sugar that we are today. And people weren't eating low-fat diets back then, either.

    You can call Cleave's Rule of Twenty Years glib if you like, but I am convinced that the evidence speaks for itself.

    * Both diabetes and coronary heart attacks began to appear in Iceland twenty years after sugar was made a major dietary component.

    * Among Yemenite Jews living a traditional life in Yemen, diabetes had been virtually unknown. In 1977, about 25 years after these nomadic Jews moved to Israel and gave up their traditional unrefined carbohydrate diet in favor of a more Westernized diet that was high in sugar, Israeli studies showed that their rate of diabetes and glucose intolerance reached 11.8%. And, coronary heart disease began to appear among them.

    * In Saudi Arabia, diabetes and associated heart disease have emerged almost exactly 20 years after refined carbohydrates and a more Westernized diet became the norm. Today in Saudi Arabia, diabetes afflicts 12% of the men who live in urban areas and 14% of the women. Among urban women age 50-61, the prevalence of diabetes is an astonishing 49%. Saudi Arabia has gone from being a country that had virtually no diabetes before 1970 to having one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world.

    Cleave was right on target, and his Rule of Twenty Years is also proving true in Japan, India, Mexico, and many other countries.
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    Old 11-24-2005, 08:42 AM   #14
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ARIZONA73
    I believe that Cleave was right on target, that there is a strong connection between a diet which is high in refined carbohydrates and sugar and our high rate of chronic, degenerative conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. The reason why heart disease and diabetes were much less common prior to World War Two is because we weren't eating anywhere near the amount of refined carbs and sugar that we are today. And people weren't eating low-fat diets back then, either.

    Arizona,

    Cleave's rule sounds logical to me - all the processed foods and refined carbs we eat today do not resemble the diet that humans evolved with...

    I'm not saying all processed foods are bad, but the sugar definitely is, and it seems a lot of processed foods are on the high-end of the glycemic index, which would surely help explain the rise in diabetes. Plus trans-fats are found in many processed foods - and over the years they have been found to be universally bad for us.

    Processed foods also tend to be much more calorie-dense than 'natural' foods, so I think they also help explain the great increase in obesity - which is another contributing factor to diabetes and heart disease.

    We're all trading off convenience for health to a certain extent when we eat a lot of refined carbs...

    HubbleRules

     
    Old 11-24-2005, 11:51 AM   #15
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    Re: Will the 'high' range level of cholesterol keep getting lowered?

    Hubble,

    I tell you, it all fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. The more you read about the effects of sugar, and the many harmful effects it has on our bodies, the clearer and more obvious all this becomes. It's not fat that is the problem. It's all those refined carbohydrates. They are mainly responsible for our epidemic level of type 2 diabetes, which inexorably leads to an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic, degenerative conditions.

    In his book, "Dr. Atkins' Age-Defying Diet", an entire chapter is dedicated to the insulin connection. Approximately 10% of the adult population has diabetes, and another 30% may have impaired glucose tolerance. Unfortunately I cannot include the entire chapter here. But here are a few excerpts from it:

    "For while your body is perfectly adapted to eat the foods that were the mainstay of existence for the vast length of human history, fats and proteins from animal foods and unrefined carbohydrates from plant foods, it doesn't do as well with today's processed foods. Your body does fine with fats, which have virtually no effect on your blood sugar and insulin levels, and with proteins, which have very little effect. Similarly, unrefined carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are relatively low in carbohydrates and release their sugar slowly into your blood. The body does fine with them, too."

    "But our bodies were never meant to cope with the large amounts of refined carbohydrates we eat today, mostly in the form of sugar, especially table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, skim milk, fruit juice, dried fruit, and white flour in bread, baked goods, pasta, and the like, and other starchy foods like baked potatoes and white rice. This is a diet that plays havoc with our blood sugar and our insulin."

    "Sugar is sticky, as you discover every time you spill some and have to wipe it up. When there's extra sugar floating around in your bloodstream, it's sticky glucose molecules attach themselves to proteins. It's that attaching process that is known as glycosylation or, sometimes, glycation. When glycosylation happens in places where it doesn't belong, it sets in motion a slow chain of chemical reactions that ends with the proteins binding together, or cross-linking, and forming a new chemical structure. The brilliant biochemist Anthony Cerami, who discovered the glycosylation process in living tissue, gave these new structures a very apt name: Advanced Glycosylation End-products, or AGEs."

    "Why are AGEs so dangerous? Here's an analogy that may make it clearer: What's happening to your tissues from exposure to excess glucose is exactly what happens to meat when you brown it. You're slowly cooking yourself from the inside. Glycosylation alters the very structure of proteins and keeps them from doing what they're supposed to do."

    "Collagen is one of the first proteins to be affected. Collagen is the tough but flexible connective tissue that holds your skeleton together, attaching your muscles to your bones and serving as the foundation of all your blood vessels, your skin, your lungs, and your cartilage. When collagen becomes glycosylated and AGEs form, the cross-linking destroys collagen's flexibility. This means that your blood vessels, lungs, and joints all stiffen; your skin sags; the proteins in the lens of your eye cloud over, resulting in cataracts."

    "AGEs also effect more than 50,000 different proteins your body makes to regulate how it functions. For example, your body produces antioxidant enzymes that protect you against free radicals. When glucose attaches to these enzymes, they become inactive; the AGEs destroy the mechanism that produces these enzymes. Even slight elevations in your blood sugar are enough to produce excess free radicals, more than your body can cope with. The overabundance of free radicals is one of the primary reasons for the accelerated aging often seen in diabetics. And because vitamin C is carried into your cells along with insulin, one consequence of even slight insulin resistance is that you'll have less of this powerful antioxidant in your cells."

    "When glucose attaches to the tiny protein molecules known as peptides, the resulting AGEs end up circulating in your blood. This can have an adverse effect on your blood lipids, because the AGE-modified peptides may then attach to molecules of LDL cholesterol. When that happens, as recent research suggests, the body fails to recognize this new substance as LDL. As a result, the LDL stays in circulation instead of being removed from your blood as part of the normal clearance process. This explains in part why diabetics have such dangerously high levels of LDL cholesterol--all the extra sugar in their blood leads to high levels of circulating AGEs."


    Well, this is just a sample of what was discussed in that chapter. Read from start to finish in its entirety, the indictment against sugar and refined carbohydrates appears quite convincing.
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