Health, Healing & Hummingbirds

Scientific information on improving serious disease through nutrition and treating the causes of disease
 – summarised from 100 of the world’s most cutting-edge health books

Busting the food myths

Some of the most popular myths are:

1. Low salt diets are healthy, that there is no difference between table salt and unrefined sea salt and low salt products are good for you.

2. Saturated fat in the diet causes high cholesterol levels and high cholesterol levels are dangerous and should be made lower through medication. Cholesterol is a 'bad guy' in the body and causes a lot of harm.

3. Low fat diets are healthiest and saturated fat in particular should be minimised as much as possible.

For information on some of the facts which bust these myths, keep reading beow.

The right form of salt is GOOD for you!

The book Salt your way to health by holistic medicine expert Dr Brownstein explains that the 3 main myths about salt are that low salt diets are healthy, that there is no difference between table salt and unrefined sea salt and that low salt products are good for you.



Table salt vs. unrefined sea salt

Refined salt or table salt doesn't provide the body with the 80 or so different trace minerals and elements that unrefined sea salt does. The overuse of table salt can lead to adrenal problems and can stop recovery from adrenal exhaustion as well as promote acidity. Table salt causes excess fluid in body tissue, which can contribute to cellulite, rheumatism, arthritis, gout and kidney and gall bladder stones. To make salt easier to pour or shake onto food aluminum hydroxide is often added, despite the fact that this light alloy deposits in the brain and is a possible cause Alzheimer's disease. Table salt may also contain fluoride and chlorine. Dried at over 650 °C (1200 °F) the excessive heat alters the natural chemical structure of the salt, which in turn adversely affects the human body.


Not only does table salt not benefit your health it damages health by depleting the body of valuable minerals, which makes us more susceptible to diseases. The body also sacrifices tremendous amounts of energy (and intercellular water) to try to metabolise highly refined salt crystals.


Table salt is not necessary for good health and should be eliminated from the diet completely or as much as is possible. It is an unnatural and highly refined product. This includes iodised table salts. (Iodised table salts contain very small amounts of iodine which are not very available to the body. It is enough to prevent goiter, but nowhere near enough to provide the optimum levels of iodine the body needs.)


Unrefined sea salt, however, is vital for good health. Unrefined sea salt contains all of the minerals and trace minerals necessary for optimal functioning of our bodies.


This distinction between unhealthy and healthy salt is particularly important for M.E. patients (as well as patients with primary POTS). M.E. patients are often recommended to significantly increase salt intake or to make electrolyte drinks containing salt but it is not always made clear that the type of salt chosen for these purposes is important, and that increasing the use of highly refined salt can be problematic rather than helpful.



Why is table salt so commonly used?

Table salt provides big benefits for manufacturers over unrefined sea salt. Table salt contains only chloride and sodium, plus up to 2% toxic additives used in the bleaching and drying processes etc. which ensures the product has an almost indefinite shelf life. Refined salt is bleached white to make it more attractive to consumers, and more saleable. Refined salt can be produced from contaminated sources and the contaminants removed with the use of harsh chemicals such as chlorine, which saves money.



How can you tell which salts are unrefined?

Unrefined sea salt may be light brown, grey or pink but is never pure white. Unrefined sea salt form different areas contains slightly different amounts of each mineral, so there is some colour variation. Unrefined sea salt also dissolves in water. Products labelled 'sea salt' are almost always highly refined and unhealthy salts. (Most salt came form the ocean originally, so the label of 'sea salt' is meaningless.) Rock salt is also not the same as unrefined sea salt, and does not provide the same benefits.


Look for products such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan sea salt which contain around 80 trace minerals and elements. These salts are often slightly moist and not fully dry. They are free of additives, chemicals and have been sun-dried.



The role and benefits of unrefined sea salt

  • Dr Brownstein explains that it is impossible to have an optimum immune system or nervous system where salt is deficient.
  • Optimal salt intake is vital for proper adrenal function (and as part of an adrenal exhaustion recovery program). The adrenal cortex produces the hormones that regulate many vital bodily functions such as blood sugar levels, blood pressure, water and salt distribution, as well as muscle strength and energy. Hormones produced in the adrenal cortex include cortisone, DHEA, progesterone, the estrogens, testosterone, pregnenolone and aldosterone.
  • Adrenal problems cause thyroid problems, and vice versa, so optimal salt intake is also necessary for proper thyroid function. Table salt does not supply the nutrition needed by the thyroid and leads to a poor conversion of inactive (T4) thyroid hormone to active (T3) thyroid hormone. Unrefined sea salt helps this conversion.
  • Salt regulates electrical activity in the body, along with potassium, calcium and magnesium
  • Salt also aids the absorption of food particles through your intestinal tract, supports respiratory and sinus health, can help to prevent muscle cramps and promote bone strength and helps to regulate and promote sleep.
  • Unrefined salt in water lowers acidity. This is important, as various enzymes can become deactivated with too acidic or too alkaline an environment. Refined foods are acidic and minerals are alkalising. The more ill a person is, the more acidic their body is, generally speaking. Reducing acidity can help to reduce food intolerances as well as any problems tolerating certain vitamin supplements.
  • Salt can facilitate detoxification of various harmful chemicals in the body. Increased chloride in the diet means more bromide is released by the kidneys for excretion. (Note that adequate salt and iodine levels are very important where there is high bromide exposure. Bromide is in many different foods and drugs. Bromide is more toxic where there is iodine deficiency.)
  • The lymph system functions better with adequate unrefined sea salt intake.



How much unrefined sea salt do we need each day?

The adult body contains roughly 250 grams of salt. Dr Brownstein comments that how much salt we need to take in each day depends on how much water we drink and recommends ¼ teaspoon of unrefined sea salt for every litre (or quart) of water. (A litre of water and a quart of water are very nearly the same. 1 litre = 1.056688 quarts.)

Generally, Dr Brownstein recommends in his book that people with serious health issues drink 2 litres of water daily, and between ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt daily.


Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt and the same amount of bicarb/baking soda with 240 ml/8 oz of pure water to treat a runny nose, and to lubricate the nasal passages and provide antibacterial and antihistamine benefits. Salt can also be inhaled to help treat various respiratory problems such as asthma.



Salt cautions

Those with renal failure need a low salt diet. If you have kidney disease, you must consult with your doctor before adding salt to your regimen.


It turns out the studies showing the supposed benefits of a low-salt diet for all of us, were wrong. The studies were flawed. (Read Dr Brownstein's book or article on salt for details on the flaws in some of these studies.) Dr Brownstein explains that, 'There is enough evidence to discount the myth that salt = hypertension. Good salt, unrefined sea salt, does not cause hypertension. In fact, its use can actually help prevent and treat hypertension.'


Dr Brownstein explains that while a low salt diet may modestly lower blood pressure in salt sensitive individuals, this comes at the price of causing other serious problems involving a lack of salt. A low salt diet can lead to a build-up of toxic elements in the body (eg. bromide, pesticides, heavy metals etc.). He also makes the comment that, ‘There are a few salt-sensitive individuals out there who need to use caution with any form of salt.  However, they are few in number.’


Dr Brownstein writes that food tastes better with salt, because we NEED salt! Salt is essential for life and we cannot live without it.

Saturated fat is good for you!

The idea that eating too much saturated animal fat and having high cholesterol levels is dangerous to your heart and blood vessels is nothing but a myth. These theories are very popular but also very wrong!


Common myths about fat and cholesterol include the following:

  • High fat foods cause heart disease.
  • High cholesterol levels cause heart disease.
  • High-fat foods (especially those high in saturated fats) raise blood cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol clogs your arteries and so do saturated fats.
  • Animal studies prove the saturated fat and high cholesterol = heart disease theory
  • Lowering your cholesterol level will lengthen your life.
  • Eating only or primarily polyunsaturated oils is good for you.
  • The anti-saturated fat and low-cholesterol campaign is based on good science.
  • All scientists support the saturated fat and high cholesterol = heart disease theory.


Most of the information given on fats and oils and cholesterol is not based on science. The 1950s research by Ancel Keys, a very early and very vocal proponent of the lipid hypothesis, tailored the facts to fit his own pet theories and the science in this area has not improved in quality since then.


The current obsession with cholesterol levels has been described by some as ‘the greatest scam in the history of medicine.’


The anti-cholesterol campaign creates immense prosperity for researchers, doctors, medical journals, and the food industry and most especially for drug companies which produce statin drugs. Statin drugs are some of the most profitable drugs ever created and have brought in billions and billions of dollars to those that sell them.


Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, author of several books on the cholesterol myths, writes,

'Cholesterol is not a deadly poison, but a substance vital to the cells of all mammals. There are no such things as good or bad cholesterol, but mental stress, physical activity and change of body weight may influence the level of blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is not dangerous by itself, but may reflect an unhealthy condition, or it may be totally innocent.'


Lipid expert Mary Enig PhD comments in the Weston A. Price Foundation quarterly magazine, ‘There is no need to worry about your cholesterol levels. This is a phony issue.’



What sort of HIGH cholesterol numbers should I be worried about?

It is common for people with cholesterol levels well within a normal range to be told that they have high cholesterol levels that urgently need to be treated with measures such as statin drugs. As lipid expert Mary Enig PhD comments in the Weston A. Price Foundation quarterly magazine:

Blood cholesterol levels between 200 and 240 mg/dl are normal. These levels have always been normal. In older women, serum cholesterol levels greatly above these numbers are also quite normal, and in fact they have been shown to be associated with longevity. Since 1984, however, in the United States and other parts of the western world, these normal numbers have been treated as if they were an indication of a disease in progress or a potential for disease in the future.



In the US, cholesterol levels are measured in mg/dl while almost all of the rest of the world uses mmol/L, which is more accurate.  200 – 240 mg/dl is equivalent to 5.2 – 6.2 mmol/L.


Note that the concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol also do not stack up. See some of the books listed in the references section for more information.


What are some of the causes of high cholesterol levels?

Low thyroid hormone levels can cause high cholesterol levels but one of the main causes is believed to be chronic inflammation.


(Note that what is being discussed here are genuinely very high cholesterol levels; those way above the average 240 mg/dl or 6.2 mmol/L measures.)


High cholesterol levels are a response to something going wrong in your body. Cholesterol is produced whenever your cells become damaged, as it’s a necessary component in making new healthy cells. As Dr Mercola explains,

'If you have a lot of damaged cells, you’re also going to have a lot of cholesterol in your bloodstream. This is a good thing, in a sense, because it means your cells are being repaired. Now, while most conventional doctors would see all that cholesterol and put you on toxic cholesterol-lowering drugs, a more knowledgeable doctor would search for what’s causing the damage in the first place.
     Whatever you do, don’t fall for the mistaken belief that the lower your cholesterol goes, the better. If you lower your cholesterol through artificial means (statin drugs) without addressing the underlying causes, your body will continue to degenerate.

     Leave the decision of how much cholesterol your body needs up to your body, and make the right lifestyle choices to keep your cells in their top condition. This way you get the best of both worlds: the right amount of cholesterol and a body in tip-top shape.'


Chronic inflammation can be caused by high grain, refined carbohydrate and sugar intake, eating foods cooked at high temperatures, eating oxidised oils, eating trans fats, excessive polyunsaturated fat intake, smoking and excessive emotional stress. In order to lower your inflammation levels these factors must be addressed.


Do foods containing cholesterol need to be avoided?

No. Eating foods containing cholesterol only increases your cholesterol levels a minuscule amount so small as to be difficult to even measure, if at all. Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD writes,

'Your body produces three to four times more cholesterol than you eat. The production of cholesterol increases when you eat little cholesterol and decreases when you eat much. This explains why the ”prudent” diet cannot lower cholesterol more than on average a few per cent'


There is no need to eat tasteless and unsatisfying food in the hope that avoiding dietary fats and cholesterol will benefit your health. Nobody ever needs to, or needed to, eat those disgusting and wasteful egg-white-only omelettes or swap tasty fats, oils and spreads for margarine or fat-free salad desssings!


There is no need whatsoever to limit egg consumption to one egg daily or to follow a low-fatdiet plan to try to protect heart health. (There is also no need to follow a low calorie or low salt diet; if you use unrefined sea salt.) Foods high in cholesterol are some of the most nutritious foods we have. Foods which should be avoided are not healthy foods such as eggs, coconut oil, butter and olive oil but processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar and trans fats. Foods such as eggs, butter and coconut oil etc. need only be avoided if one has an allergy or intolerance to them and lard and suet need only be avoided by those that are vegetarian.


Foods containing trans fats include margarine and almost all baked goods and processed foods containing fat including biscuits, crackers, pies, cakes, breakfast cereals and so on.


What sort of LOW cholesterol numbers should I be worried about?

Cholesterol performs many vital functions in the body and low cholesterol levels can cause a number of serious problems including aggression, suicide attempts and depression, slower brain function, a weaker immune system, hormone deficiencies, greater cancer risk and a shorter life span.  Low cholesterol levels are also linked to Parkinson’s disease. Low cholesterol levels are a real concern.


Different experts define low cholesterol levels differently. Some recommend not letting levels drop below 4.7 mmol/L or 180 mg/dl, while others prefer that it always stay above 5.2 mmol/L or 200 mg/dl for optimum health. Below 3.8 mmol/L or 150 mg/dl is a real danger zone. As Dr Mercola explains, ‘Every single one of your cells needs cholesterol to thrive - including those in your brain.’


So why are we told that we need excessively low cholesterol levels to be healthy? Yet again, the answer is that vested interest groups have been allowed to interfere with science. Many of those doctors that were given the task of defining what ‘low cholesterol’ is and what the lowest possible treatable level was were linked to statin-drug-producing drug companies.


What tests are more useful for determining cardiovascular disease risk?

Far more useful blood tests to asses your cardiovascular disease risk (and your general health) than tests of cholesterol levels include: blood sugar and insulin tests, CRP tests, Homocysteine level tests, thyroid function tests, and blood pressure and pulse tests.


I still want to lower my cholesterol levels, how should I go about it?

Statin drugs should be avoided by all persons but particularly those that are dealing with significant illness or disease. Some doctors say that patients with genetic challenges of familial hypercholesterolemia may possibly be an exception, although many others argue that even then these risky drugs are not needed.


Statin drugs may dangerously lower CoQ10 levels and are associated with a large number of side effects, some of them permanent.  Other side effects included increases in blood glucose levels, tendon problems and an increase in liver enzymes, leading to permanent liver damage. Because of this latter risk, people taking the drugs must have their liver function tested periodically. Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, headaches and skin rash are other known side effects. Side effects are also not rare. One study showed that 98% of patients taking one statin drug had muscle problems. The German drug-maker Bayer withdrew its statin drug Baycol (cerivastatin) from the U.S. market after  it was found to be responsible for 31 deaths from a muscle-destroying side effect. Statin drugs can cause polyneuropathy (nerve damage that causes pain in the hands and feet and trouble walking).  The list of statin drug side effects is long.


Statin drugs MUST be strictly avoided by any woman that is pregnant or may become pregnant. As Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD explains, ‘Pregnant women taking statins may give birth to children with malformations more severe than those seen after thalidomide.’ These deformities also do not seem to be rare in those taking statin drugs, as the book ‘The Great Cholesterol Con’ explains.


Mary Enig PhD writes:

'In his book The Cholesterol Myths, Dr. Uffe Ravnskov tells us what happens to an older woman who has normal high serum cholesterol levels. When her blood is tested in a forced cholesterol checkup, the cholesterol myth is used to justify treatment of her nonexistent disease state and she loses her vibrant state of good health'


Dr Sherry Rogers says that there is no logical reason at all to ever take statin drugs, as they are so risky and unhelpful. If one does take statin drugs, or has a family member that takes them, it is important to know that some of the side effects and risks (including of sudden cardiac death) can be reduced by taking a daily coenzyme Q10 supplement, as statin drugs deplete the body of CoQ10. Taking daily CoQ10 is essential for anyone taking a stain drug. A daily high-quality multivitamin is also a good idea.


Safer alternatives for lowering high cholesterol levels, where this is desired, include red rice yeast and policosanol (in supplement form, not in margarine). Other supplements that can lower or normalise cholesterol but which are also beneficial or even vital to cardiovascular health more generally include:

  • Niacin
  • A high-quality omega 3 supplement (such as from cod liver oil, or fermented cod liver oil, or fish oil or through dietary sources such as sardines, or eating organ meats such as brains.)
  • Magnesium is essential for good heart function and low magnesium levels are a significant cause of cardiac deaths. (See Detoxify or Die by Dr Sherry Rogers for more information.)
  • Vitamin C may play an important role in preventing heart disease, for more information search for information on the Matthias Rath and Linus Pauling vitamin C theory of heart disease as described in Why Animals Don't Get Heart Attacks but People Do


But again, the best way to improve your health is to look at why your cholesterol level might be high (if it really is) and to treat the cause. Your body tends to make more cholesterol when it’s in a chronically inflamed state, so you need to work out what causes your underlying inflammation. If you do all the right things with your diet, nutrition and lifestyle this is the best way to improve all aspects of your health.


Very high cholesterol actually is a 'risk factor' for heart disease in men, along with hundreds of other risk factors such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, psychological stress, baldness, snoring and eating too much or too little of a steadily increasing number of various food items. It should be noted that a risk factor is not the same as a cause, that high cholesterol levels have only shown to be a risk factor in men (in women high cholesterol levels have been shown to be protective and linked with a longer lifespan) and that the level of high cholesterol being discussed here is very high at over 350 mg/dl or 8.9 mmol/L. High cholesterol also seems be beneficial for both men and women, as they become older.


In his June 2001 newsletter, The John R. Lee M.D. Medical Letter, Dr Lee writes,

'High cholesterol levels can be one of many symptoms of heart disease, just as a runny nose can be one of many symptoms of the flu. Forcing cholesterol levels down with drugs without addressing the underlying conditions that caused the symptom in the first place, and then declaring that the drugs reduce heart disease, is like taking an antihistamine when you have the flu and then declaring that you've cured it because your nose stops running. I won't go into any detailed speculations about who's paying whom to tell Americans that 20 percent of them need to be taking a cholesterol - lowering drug, but suffice it to say that these recommendations have to do with money, and not with your optimal health.'



What fats and oils should I be eating?

There is no need to fuss about fats too much. We just need to eat a variety of different fats and make sure to stick to natural fats that have not been highly processed or poorly handled.


There is no need to avoid saturated fats. All fats are a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. Some saturated fats have anti-cancer benefits. Saturated fats have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and around 50% of the fat in mother’s milk is from saturated fats. Saturated fats have been an important part of hunter-gatherer diets for many thousands of years and were an important part of more modern diets until about 75 years ago. Your body makes saturated fats because it needs them! In her book ‘Know Your Fats’ Mary Enig PhD writes,

'The body needs saturated fatty acids for at least half, and sometimes much more, of the fatty acid part of the phospholipids that form the membranes of the cells. For those who don't understand why the human body makes saturated fatty acids -- it is because the saturated fatty acids are required. For some people, the fats in the diet are either too polyunsaturated or too low.

Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.

Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They are what gives our cells necessary stiffness and integrity. They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated. They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats. The scientific evidence, honestly evaluated, does not support the assertion that "artery-clogging" saturated fats cause heart disease. Actually, evaluation of the fat in artery clogs reveals that only about 26% is saturated. The rest is unsaturated, of which more than half is polyunsaturated.'


Saturated fat sounds scary and gluggy and is often described as 'artery clogging' and 'not heart healthy' but the truth is very different. Saturated fat also isn't saturated by some sort of horrific 'glop' but by hydrogen! The same element that is in water.


The only healthy oils to cook with are virgin or extra virgin olive oil, ghee, butter, palm oil and virgin coconut oil plus also tallow and lard. Oils such as flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, sunflower seed oil and others are best used in small amounts, unheated and drizzled on vegetables once they have been cooked. 


Foods containing fat with vitamin D (and A) in it are also very healthy additions to the diet and include foods such as organ meats, skin and fat from certain land animals (organic/free-range chickens, red meat from organic grass-fed cows and wild caught animals eating a natural diet), as well as shellfish and oily fish. (Animal foods only contain lots of vitamin D if they are allowed to have frequent sun exposure.) Supplementation with cod liver oil, or even better; fermented cod liver oil, is also highly beneficial to health.


If possible, choose only meat from organic/free-range chickens, red meat from organic grass-fed cows and wild caught animals eating a natural diet. These animals have the traditional types and ratios of fats in them and not the very high amounts of omega 6 fats seen in grain fed cattle, for example. Organic butter is also a better choice than non-organic.


Using oils at too high a temperature can damage them and cause them to oxidise. Olive oil is best used at a low heat only, while ghee, butter, lard, palm oil and virgin coconut oil can handle moderate temperatures. Deep frying of food, excessive browning of food or heating oils above 160 C or 320 F should be avoided.


Foods containing damaged cholesterol should also be avoided, this includes foods such as powdered eggs and  powdered milk. Powdered milk is added to reduced-fat milks to give them body and so reduced fat dairy products should be avoided in favour of full-fat dairy products. (The best quality dairy products are those which have not been damaged by pasteurisation or homogenisation, but this is another topic!)


Products containing hydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola and soy and man-made trans fats should be strictly avoided. Naturally occurring trans fats in foods such as butter do not cause the same problems and are safe to consume. Note that the label ‘trans-fat free’ on products does not mean it is trans-fat free.


Rancid oils should be thrown away; let your taste buds be your guide and if an oil tastes ‘off’ then don’t use it. Make sure to store oils away from light and heat. This applies particularly to the non-saturated oils which are far more likely to become rancid than more stable oils such as coconut oil and butter.


As the author of ‘Fat: It’s Not What You Think’ writes, ‘Stop fooling with fats and cook with butter and lard!’

Low fat diets are unnecessary, unhelpful and unhealthy

Low-fat diets are not healthy and are not even a good way to lose weight as books such as ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ by Gary Taubes and ‘Eat Fat, Lose Fat’ by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig PhD explain. Mary Enig PhD and Sally Falklon write,

'Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy in the diet; they also provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone like substances. Fats as part of a meal slow down absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption and for a host of other processes'


Mary Enig PhD explains that we need to get at least 30% of our calories from healthy natural fats, and that for some of us 30% is not enough and we may need significantly more.

"The common scenario is that of a highly intelligent person who finds a research task that will lead to funding from the food and/or pharmaceutical industry or from the industry-controlled government agencies. If that research shows an adverse effect of any of the new foods studied, this is frequently ignored. Of course, the research that is done by the industry-supported scientists is good basic research, and it usually is of great interest as long as it supports the food industry or avoids a clash with the industry it is promoting. What seems so ironic, is that the very foods (saturated fats and cholesterol) that people are avoiding are the very foods that are healthful. When it comes to fat, this really has become the age of the flat earth." Mary Enig PhD

Further reading on salt

The book Salt your way to health by holistic medicine expert Dr David Brownstein.

The article Shattering the myths about one of nature's most necessary nutrients by Dr David Brownstein.

Salt and our health on the WAPF website

New USDA Food Guidelines Strike Out Again! by Sean Croxton of

The 13 amazing health benefits of Himalayan crystal salt (and why you want to avoid conventional salt) by Dr Mercola

Articles on unrefined sea salt collated and quoted on the website.

Water and Salt, The Essence of Life by Dr Barbara Hendel and biophysicist Peter Ferreira

Salt deficiency by Martin J. Lara

“Systematic reviews of the evidence, whether published by those who believe that salt is responsible for hypertension or by those who don’t, have inevitably concluded that significant reductions in salt consumption – cutting our salt intake in half, for instance, which is difficult to accomplish in the real world – will drop blood pressure by perhaps 4 to 5 mm Hg in hypertensives and 2mm Hg in the rest of us.” – Gary Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories

     Just 4 to 5 mm Hg? How motivating…Okay, let’s say I did decide to follow Uncle Sam’s recommendations and lowered my salt intake to almost nothing. Yeah, my blood pressure would drop a bit (4 to 5 mm Hg) at first. But I’d eventually become weak and develop digestive challenges. It’s like trading one problem for two! Salt contains chloride, which is essential for the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl). HCl is produced in the stomach and is responsible for the breakdown of proteins. When HCL is low (also known as hypochlorhydria), it can throw off the entire digestive process, as it is the acidity of the food leaving the stomach that initiates the proper function of the gallbladder and pancreas in the small intestine. New USDA Food Guidelines Strike Out Again! by


“A study from 1991 indicates that people need about one and one-half teaspoons of salt per day,” says Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. “Anything less triggers a cascade of hormones to recuperate sodium from the waste stream, hormones that make people vulnerable to heart disease and kidney problems. This is proven biochemistry. Yet, FDA as well as USDA want to mandate drastically restricted sodium consumption at about one-half teaspoon per day.”


“Unrefined salt is an excellent, traditional source of nearly 80 trace minerals. In fact, this natural bacteria-inhibiting preservative can be considered a mineral “supplement” that is essential to life. On the other hand, pristine white refined varieties are heated to excessive temperatures (some up to 1200 degrees F), stripped of all nutrients, and combined with a myriad of undesirable substances, such as aluminum, sugar and anti-caking agents. Replace these over-refined varieties with mineral-rich, properly harvested salts, such as Celtic, Himalayan, RealSalt and Lima. They offer an abundance of healing qualities and their high moisture and trace mineral content are evident by their subtle grey to pink mineral hues. Most health food stores stock one or more of these selections.” WAPF

Further reading on saturated fat and cholesterol

For information on the positive role that saturated fats and cholesterol play in the body, what the difference is between saturated and unsaturated fats, and so much more see Know Your Fats by Mary Enig PhD. Some of this information is also included in an abbreviated format in Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig PhD and their very good article online.

Good Calories, Bad Calories or The Diet Delusion (the same book with two titles) by Gary Taubes. A summarised version of this very long book is also available, it is called Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It.

The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease or Fat and Cholesterol Are Good For You by Uffe Ravnskov


See also the following books:

Ignore the Awkward.: How the Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive by Uffe Ravnskov

Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan

The Cholesterol Hoax and Detoxify or Die by Dr Sherry Rogers.

The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

Fat: It’s Not What You Think by Connie Leas

The Great Cholesterol Con by Malcolm Kendrick

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Cholesterol: The Real Truth by Sandra Cabot.

Real Food by Nina Planck.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price.


See also the following articles:

Cholesterol and Heart Disease: A Phony Issue by Mary G. Enig, PhD   

Why is 200mg/dl (5.2mmol/l) a 'Healthy' Cholesterol Level? by Mary G. Enig, PhD   

The truth about saturated fats by Mary Enig, PhD, and Sally Fallon

Weston A Cholesterol and Heart Disease: A Phony Issue

Mary Enig on cholesterol and coconuts

Cholesterol Deceptions by Dr George Georgiou

Making sense of your cholesterol numbers by Dr Mercola.

Why low cholesterol is not good for you by Dr Mercola.

Cholesterol is not the enemy and Caring for your cholesterol by Dr Carolyn Dean

Why Sugar Is More Dangerous Than Cholesterol by Dr Sinatra

The Soft Science of Dietary Fats (and other articles) by Gary Taubes, in the March 30, 2001 issue of Science

Milk Homogenization & Heart Disease and The Great Con-ola by Mary Enig PhD.

‘The relative good health of the Japanese, who have the longest life span of any nation in the world, is generally attributed to a low fat diet. Although the Japanese eat few dairy fats, the notion that their diet is low in fat is a myth; rather, it contains moderate amounts of animal fats from eggs, pork, chicken, beef, seafood and organ meats. With their fondness for shellfish and fish broth, eaten on a daily basis, the Japanese probably consume more cholesterol than most Americans. What they do not consume is a lot of vegetable oil, white flour or processed food (although they do eat white rice.) The life span of the Japanese has increased since World War II with an increase in animal fat and protein in the diet. Those who point to Japanese statistics to promote the low fat diet fail to mention that the Swiss live almost as long on one of the fattiest diets in the world. Tied for third in the longevity stakes are Austria and Greece—both with high-fat diets.’ Mary Enig PhD and Sally Fallon


‘High serum cholesterol levels often indicate that the body needs cholesterol to protect itself from high levels of altered, free-radical-containing fats. Just as a large police force is needed in a locality where crime occurs frequently, so cholesterol is needed in a poorly nourished body to protect the individual from a tendency to heart disease and cancer. Blaming coronary heart disease on cholesterol is like blaming the police for murder and theft in a high crime area.’ Mary Enig PhD and Sally Fallon


‘Homogenization: This is the process whereby the fat particles of cream are strained through tiny pores under great pressure. The resulting fat particles are so small that they stay in suspension rather than rise to the top of the milk. This makes the fat and cholesterol more susceptible to rancidity and oxidation, and some research indicates that homogenized fats may contribute to heart disease.’ Mary Enig PhD and Sally Fallon


‘The media’s constant attack on saturated fats is extremely suspect. Claims that butter causes chronic high cholesterol values have not been substantiated by research—although some studies show that butter consumption causes a small, temporary rise—while other studies have shown that stearic acid, the main component of beef fat, actually lowers cholesterol. Margarine, on the other hand, provokes chronic high levels of cholesterol and has been linked to both heart disease and cancer. The new soft margarines or tub spreads, while lower in hydrogenated fats, are still produced from rancid vegetable oils and contain many additives.’ Mary Enig PhD and Sally Fallon


‘One frequently voiced objection to the consumption of butter and other animal fats is that they tend to accumulate environmental poisons. Fat-soluble poisons such as DDT do accumulate in fats; but water-soluble poisons, such as antibiotics and growth hormones, accumulate in the water fraction of milk and meats. Vegetables and grains also accumulate poisons. The average plant crop receives ten applications of pesticides—from planting to storage—while cows generally graze on pasture that is unsprayed. Aflatoxin, a fungus that grows on grain, is one of the most powerful carcinogens known. It is correct to assume that all of our foods, whether of vegetable or animal origin, may be contaminated. The solution to environmental poisons is not to eliminate animal fats—so essential to growth, reproduction and overall health—but to seek out organic meats and butter from pasture-fed cows, as well as organic vegetables and grains. These are becoming increasingly available in health food stores and supermarkets and through mail order and cooperatives.’ Mary Enig PhD and Sally Fallon


‘More than three (3) decades after the initial fraudulent report, the anti-animal fat hypothesis continues to lead the nutrition agenda. It was a false issue then, and it remains a false issue today.’ Mary Enig PhD in ‘Know Your Fats.’

‘‘But what about heart disease?’ This is the response of many Americans when advised to consume the foods of their ancestors, foods like butter, whole milk, eggs and meat. Fear of saturated fat and cholesterol has put a solid brick wall between the consumer and satisfying nutritious food – and filled the coffers of the food processing industry.’ Sally Fallon


‘The fourth and last wrong measure of probability I shall take notice of, and which keeps in ignorance or error more people than all the other together, is... the giving up our assent to the common received opinions, either of our friends or party, neighbourhood or country. How many men have no other ground for their tenets, than the supposed honesty, or learning, or number of those of the same profession? As if honest or bookish men could not err; or truth were to be established by the vote of the multitude: yet this with most men serves the turn. If we could but see the secret motives that influenced the men of name and learning in the world, and the leaders of parties, we should not always find that it was the embracing of truth for its own sake, that made them espouse the doctrines they owned and maintained.’ John Locke

‘Frankly, the recommendation of the American Heart Association, government health agencies, and the media, — that people switch from saturated fats to polyunsaturated vegetable oils — has probably killed and crippled more Americans than both World Wars.” Former brain surgeon Russell Blaylock MD


The cholesterol campaign is “the greatest scientific deception of this century, perhaps of any century.” Physician and scientist George Mann


“The public is so brainwashed, that many people believe that the lower your cholesterol, the healthier you will be or the longer you will live. Nothing could be further from the truth.” Paul Rosch MD FACP


“If you have come to believe you can ward off death from heart disease by altering the amount of cholesterol in your blood, whether by diet or by drugs, you are following a regime that has no basis in fact.” Edward Pinckney MD former co-editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association


“The current campaign to convince every American to change his or her diet, and in many cases to initiate drug ‘therapy’ for life is based on fabrications, erroneous interpretations and/or gross exaggerations of findings and, very importantly, the ignoring of massive amounts of unsupportive data.” Russell Smith MD


“The idea that saturated fats cause heart disease is completely wrong, but the statement has been “published” so many times over the last three or more decades that it is very difficult to convince people otherwise unless they are willing to take the time to read and learn what all the economic and political factors were that produced the anti-saturated fat agenda.” Mary Enig PhD


“Fearing to lose their soft money funding, the academicians who should speak up and stop this wasteful anti science are strangely quiet. Their silence has delayed a solution for coronary heart disease by a generation. Those who manipulate data do not appreciate that understanding the nature of things cannot be permanently distorted - the true explanations cannot be permanently ignored. Inexorably, truth is revealed and deception is exposed. ...In due time truth will come out. This is the relieving grace in this sorry sequence.” Professor Mann


“Your fear of dying--if you happen to be one of the great many people who suffer from this morbid preoccupation- may well have made you a victim of the cholesterol controversy. For, if you have come to believe that you can ward off death from heart disease by altering the amount of cholesterol in your blood, whether by diet or by drugs, you are following a regime that still has no basis in fact. Rather, you as a consumer, have been taken in by certain commercial interests and health groups who are more interested in your money than your life.” Professor Mann's


“One must be bold indeed to attempt to persuade large segments of the populations of the world to change their accustomed diets and to threaten important branches of agriculture and agribusiness with the results of such uncontrolled, primitive, trial and error type explorations. Certainly modern science is capable of better research when so much is at stake.” Raymond Reiser


“The public is so brainwashed, that many people believe that the lower your cholesterol, the healthier you will be or the longer you will live. Nothing could be further from the truth.
     The cholesterol cartel of drug companies, manufacturers of low fat foods, blood testing devices, and others with huge vested financial interests have waged a highly successful promotional campaign. Their power is so great that they have infiltrated medical and governmental regulatory agencies that would normally protect us from such unsubstantiated dogma.

     The current campaign to convince every American to change his or her diet and, in many cases, to initiate drug "therapy" for life is based on fabrications, erroneous interpretations and/or gross exaggerations of findings and, very importantly, the ignoring of massive amounts of unsupportive data...It does not seem possible that objective scientists without vested interests could ever interpret the literature as supportive.” Professor Rosch