Cholesterol Part I

Cholesterol Part I


Warm-up: 2 Rounds – 10 Parallette Push-ups, 20 KB SDHP (70/50lbs), 10 V-ups, 20 Walking Lunges

Box Squat: 3-3-3-1-1-1 (come off hamstring tension on the box)

Good Morning: 3×10

MetCon – For Time:
Power Snatch (95/65lbs)
Split Jumps (each jump counts as one rep)

Finisher: Side plank 2 min each side

As I write this I am chewing my way through a plate of, get ready for this, sausage, brats, pulled pork, and kielbasa.  I am washing it down with a very small glass of heavy cream.  Leftovers tend to fill my plate by the time the weekend rolls around, and the majority of what I eat is meat.  So it is only fitting that when I reach in to the fridge for some sustenance, I am greeted by containers filled mostly with meat.  Bon appétit!

Writing this post presents many pitfalls with which the diet-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis (myth?) wishes to trap me.  For one, no one is going to make it through a post filled with jargon and lab-speak.  On the other hand, I cannot be too familiar lest I succumb to the same snare the USDA was caught up in with their Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which was published and released to the public in February 1980.  On its cover it told Americans to “Avoid Too Much Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol.”  The poor USDA, in its attempt to distill the science to the masses, made broad generalizations regarding tenuous linkages between fat intake and cholesterol.  They chose to move forward with shoddy, unfounded science.

Philip Handler, a National Medal of Science recipient, holder of twenty-eight honorary doctorates, and two-term president of the United States National Academy of Science, had this to say to the Chairman of the House concerning the USDA’s newly stated position on fats, cholesterol, and diet, “Mr. Chairman, resolution of this dilemma turns on a value judgment.  The dilemma so posed is not a scientific question; it is a question of ethics, morals, politics.  Those who argue either position strongly are expressing their values; they are not making scientific judgments.” (Italics are mine.)  Dr. Handler knew that the scientific community had yet to draw any meaningful conclusions, and those that were arguing vehemently on EITHER side were not using rational science to back up their claims.

The idea that removing fat from the diet to combat cardiovascular disease was a novel one in the middle 20th century, and it probably came to be because cholesterol could finally be measured in the blood.  However, the idea that starches, flour, and sugar should be avoided is as old as the study of nutrition.  Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote a very famous book in 1825, no doubt on all of your night stands, The Physiology of Taste.  In it, Brillat-Savarin argued that he could easily identify which foods led to obesity thanks to his thirty years of interviewing obese people.  He recommended abstinence from everything that is starchy or floury.  A one Jean-Francois Dancel drew a conclusion that can be summed up in this quote from his 1844 tome Obesity, or Excessive Corpulence, The Various Causes and the Rational Means of Cure: “The hippopotamus, so uncouth in form from its immense amount of fat, feeds wholly upon vegetable matter – rice millet, sugar-cane, etc.” William Banting published his Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public in 1863 where he said to avoid any food that might contain either sugar or starch.

Know this: a Paleo-like diet is not new by any means.  Diets following the same basic tenets of staying away from sugar, starches, flour, and the like have been around since the early 1800s.  One could argue, and quite easily, that such ways of eating were actually the first diets introduced for public consumption.  I have barely laid the groundwork here.  There will be many more posts to come.  And if anyone would like to check any of the aforementioned books out of the Scalf private library, just ask.

Building steam with a grain of salt,
Coach G

By | 2017-04-25T14:39:23+00:00 December 7th, 2010|CrossFit Ktown Knoxville, Uncategorized|7 Comments


  1. Callie December 7, 2010 at 7:26 am

    “Writing this post presents many pitfalls with which the diet-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis (myth?) wishes to trap me.”

    I’m REALLY glad that this came up, because it’s one of the biggest arguments that I tend to face with people (mostly older people, like my parents) when I try to convince them of the benefits of the paleo diet. It’s easier for me to explain why to avoid grains and sugars (especially after sitting through a couple of Miss J’s wonderful lectures on it.) I’ve read what Mark Sisson has to say about it, and he seemed to use a lot of graphs and lengthy explanation to just basically say that “The justification for the anti-saturated fat campaign that has raged on for half a century is largely baseless.” But people still don’t really buy that in your typical day-to-day conversation. I look forward into going into this in more detail!

  2. crossfitktown December 7, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Awesome post, G. I’m looking forward to this series!


  3. Erin December 7, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Oh, love this! I agree with Callie’s thoughts completely. It is a hard thing to convince people of. Thanks, G.

    And nice salt plug for Avanti Savoia. Speaking of which, has everyone picked up one of the flashy brochures that are on the box next to the door? Coupon and a picture/article of Ben! Who doesn’t want that on their fridge?!

  4. Ben December 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    E beat me to it, but thanks for the plug too.

    As for the post. AAAA-MAZING!!!!!! I bet you always did well with research papers in school. As for the naysayers the only thing we can truly rely on is that the “proof is in the sugar free pudding.”

  5. Ben December 8, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Side note: my father has lost 30 lbs just from paleo alone

  6. […] Part I […]

  7. […] message the author received regarding “Paleo” got distorted because it was oversimplified.  This is a trap I have warned about in previous posts.  In his article, Everett, like the majority of other people when first exposed to this diet, […]

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