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Cholesterol - To Meat or Not To Meat (Part I of III)


Last updated 5/24/2007 at Noon

It is usually claimed that vegetarians have lower cancer rates, but the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionists published a 1994 study of California Seventh Day Adventists [who are largely vegetarian] showed that, while they did have lower rates of some cancers [e.g. breast], they had significantly higher rates of several others

. 3

The US Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial sponsored by the National Heart and Lung Institute, compared mortality rates and eating habits of 12,000+ men. JAMA tells us that, “Those who ate less saturated fat and cholesterol showed a slightly reduced rate of coronary heart disease [CHD], but had an overall mortality rate much higher than the other men in the study.” 4 The few studies that indicate a correlation between saturated fat reduction and a lower CHD rate also clearly document a sizeable increase in deaths from cancer, suicide, violence and brain hemorrhage.4 Low fat/cholesterol diets, therefore, are decidedly not healthier for people. Studies have proven over and over that such diets are associated with depression, cancer, psychological problems, fatigue, violence, and suicide.5

Remember about a decade ago when eggs were greatly discouraged because of their cholesterol content? This has since been detracted. Dr. Clare Hasler, Ph.D. notes that “eggs have not traditionally been regarded as a functional food, primarily due to concerns about their adverse effects on serum cholesterol levels.” However, “it is now known that there is little if any connection between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels ...” she states. In addition, Dr. Hasler notes that “... eggs are an excellent dietary source of many essential (e.g., protein, choline) and non-essential (e.g., lutein/zeaxanthin) components which may promote optimal health.” Researchers also note that dietary cholesterol was not related to serum cholesterol concentration. People who reported eating 4 eggs a week had a significantly lower mean serum cholesterol concentration than those who reported eating 1 egg a week. The Journal of American College of Nutrition authors conclude that eggs make “ ... important nutritional contributions to the American diet.” 12

Neither side can claim to be “healthier” than the other. Both have benefits and limitations. The main thing is getting back to eating whole foods in their most natural state in the proportion that is right for you and getting off the refined processed foods.

For footnote references, see our on-line version of this article on

If you would be interested in knowing more about a specific area or approach in natural health or nutrition, send me an e-mail at [email protected] I’m open to your suggestions on topics of interest.

1.This article is for educational purposes only.

2. Your individual health status and any required health care treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider. We

encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your

research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional of

your choice.

1. Lancet 344:1195 (1994)

2. Mann, George, “Metabolic Consequences of Dietary Trans-fatty Acids,” Lancet 343:1268-71 (1994)

3. “7th Day Adventists & Cancer,” Am. Jnl. Clin. Nutr. 59:1136S-1142S (1994)

4. JAMA 248(12):1465, September 24, 1982

5. Lancet 339:3/2/92

6. Dunne, L. The Nutrition Almanac, 3rd ed. (McGraw Hill; New York), p. 32-33; Garrison, R. & Somer,, E. The Nutrition Desk Reference, 3rd ed., (Keats Publishing; CT), p. 126.

7. Scheer, James. Health Freedom News, (Monravia, CA), march 1991, p. 7.

8. Food Technology, October 1988, p. 134; Kabara, J.J. The Pharmacological Effects of Lipids (Amer Oil Chemists Society; IL), 1978, pp. 1-14.

9. Harmon, D., Jnl of Amer Geriat Soc, 1976 24:1: pp. 292-298

10. Enig, Mary G, PhD, Trans Fatty Acids in the Food Supply: A Comprehensive Report Covering 60 Years of Research, 2nd Edition, Enig Associates, Inc, Silver Spring, MD, 1995, 4-8

11. Pediatrics, Mar 1994, 93:3:438-443

12. Journal of the American College of Nutrition October, 2000


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