What Is Wrong With The American Heart Association? Part 3

The question is why would the American Heart Association promote a biased review of the research on lipids? The AHA relies on corporate sponsorship for funding and it’s sponsors clearly influence the organizations recommendations for having a healthy heart in ways that should give us pause.

Ok, so maybe it didn’t start out that way. In the 70’s the research pointed to fats as the problem. Ansel Keys was perhaps the most well known researcher associated with these incorrect theories followed by Nathan Pritikin, creator of the Pritikin Diet.

Both men got it wrong for various reasons—they didn’t understand the role that hydrogenation plays with saturated fats like coconut oil, and/or they didn’t control for variables that had nothing to do with fat in their research, such as the role of other pollutants.

But scientifically, their theories were proven to be incorrect decades ago. Yet, we are still being told by the AHA that the good fats are bad and the bad fats are good and that we should eat more grains. Wrong! The myth is that dietary fat, especially cholesterol, causes vascular disease. It doesn’t. High cholesterol is not the problem. Healthy saturated fat is not the problem. Inflammation is the problem. And inflammation is driven by the simple carbs found in corn-based sugar like high fructose corn syrup, in grains that have been hybridized so that they convert to sugar as soon as we start chewing, and in hydrogenated fats that cause plaque to build inside our arteries.

These three things; sugar, starchy grains and bad fats, are the primary ingredients in most processed foods and they are the problem, not healthy fats like coconut oil. In other words, the fat from a grass-fed animal, or from wild caught fish or from the coconut is so good for you, it could be considered a supplement.

Based on the AHAs recommendations, Canola Oil would be good for you and it is one of the nastiest oils on the market. It is genetically engineered from a plant called Rapeseed, which is poisonous in nature and doesn’t get any better with genetic modification. But if you follow the AHA guidelines, that is what you would be using to fry that GMO-grain-fed beef burger before you slap it on a big old whole grain bun and throw on some catsup laced with GMO high fructose sugar. YUM!

Guess who is responsible for GMO Canola oil? Monsanto, the biotech giant, which is now owned by Bayer, the pharmaceutical conglomerate. Bayer/Monsanto just happens to be one of the AHAs biggest sponsors. And therein lies the problem. In the case of coconut oil, with all of it’s new found advantages over hydrogenated vegetable oils, it may be cutting into the Canola Oil market, and that would not make Bayer/Monsanto very happy.

And we do not want to make Monsanto unhappy as the company has a reputation for viciously going after the competition. Case in point, the organic farmers that Monsanto sued for patent infringement when the crops they harvested contained the seeds from Monsanto’s patented GMO plants. Monsanto planted next door to the organic farms with the understanding that the seeds would blow onto the organic farms and grow and then they sued the farmers when it happened. The farmers eventually won but not after many were put out of business. //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto_legal_cases

Bottom line; the AHA recommends replacing saturated fats like coconut oil and grass-fed butter with omega-6 fats like vegetable oils and margarine. This is a very bad idea. The research on omega-6 fats is clear, we get way too much of it. The ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is 1:1. Most Americans eat a ratio of 30:1, which has repeatedly been shown to contribute to chronic inflammation, or the real cause of vascular disease.

Other current sponsors of the AHA include Subway and Cheerios. Now the AHAs dietary recommendations, which include grains, make more sense. For example, the AHA includes processed carbohydrates like cereals in their recommendations for a healthy diet. Most children’s cereals are 50% sugar and a major contributor to sugar imbalances, inflammation, obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. We are now seeing type 2 diabetes in children, and metabolic syndrome in teenagers. Both of these disorders were previously only seen in middle age. Sugar and simple carbs such as those found in cereal seem to be the culprit.

The AHA has a healthy check mark list, which includes Subway sandwiches and Cheerios. What a coincidence!


The AHA has made some other very questionable recommendations over the years, such as reducing the intake of dietary sodium to such low levels that the impact ended up being dangerous and actually increased the risk of suffering a fatal heart event.

The American Heart Association would also have us believe that cholesterol is bad for us. Cholesterol has been demonized in the same way that saturated fat has been demonized, so much so that we are all sufficiently afraid of cholesterol to blindly follow our doctor’s advice to start that statin at the first sign of high cholesterol.

But according to Al Sears and other alternative medicine and aging experts, you are at no greater risk of heart disease if your total cholesterol is 350 than if it’s 150 as long as your HDL cholesterol is above 85 and your triglycerides are below 100. I would add that your LDL cholesterol needs to be pattern A and not pattern B as we saw in the Part 1 of this series.

In general we have been sold a bill of goods on the whole cholesterol issue too. We are being told that cholesterol is the problem when it isn’t and we are being told that statins are the answer when they certainly are not. Excerpt from my soon to be released book:

Food Kills: Food Cures

You Decide!

The best example of that, is Statins, which some scientists are calling the biggest pharmaceutical scam ever perpetrated on the American public. Statins are the number 1, most prescribed medicine in the U.S. It turns out that statins do not prolong your life and that, because they decrease CoQ10, may be the reason we are seeing an epidemic of heart failure today. [1] [2]

Note: Heart failure is not the same thing as a heart attack. Heart failure results from the heart not being able to pump, not from clogged arteries. It occurs because statins weaken muscles and the heart is a muscle. Statins should never be prescribed without CoQ10 supplementation. Yet, I treat many people who are overweight, suffering from high cholesterol, and taking statins when they first start treatment, and I have never had a patient whose doctor prescribed CoQ10 along with their statin.

This is important when you consider that survival rates from heart failure are very low compared to survival rates from stroke or heart attack, which is kind of a kick in the butt if you are taking the statin to prolong your life. In other words, if you are taking a statin, you have decreased the likelihood of dying from a heart attack but increased the likelihood of dying from heart failure and you have not increased your life expectancy at all. In addition, on a statin you are more likely to develop a peripheral neuropathy (shaking of the hands, loss of feeling in the feet) dementia, and type 2 diabetes.

Bottom line: If you must take a statin, be sure to supplement with CoQ10 to prevent the muscle damage. But you must also compensate for the high blood sugar that the statins may cause by taking Berberine, because if you do not, the high blood sugars can cause gout as they also raise uric acid levels. Finally you will want to supplement with coconut oil to support your brain, as statins predispose you to cognitive decline.4


You could learn to eat clean which includes plenty of coconut oil and healthy saturated fats, engage in effective exercise which raises AMPK (and reduces the risk of vascular disease and cognitive decline), get sunshine and supplement with Bergomot[3], which has been shown to be as effective as a statin with none of the nasty side effects.

I learned all of this the hard way. I was prescribed a Red Rice Yeast Extract (RRYE) because I refused to take a statin for my high LDL. I was not told that the RRYE is exactly the same thing as the primary ingredient in a statin (a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor.)

It turns out that the high LDL was pattern A LDL and as described in the first article in this series, not a problem, but I did not know that at the time. My blood pressure at that point in time was low, 110 over 70. My blood sugar and insulin levels were good, 90 and 3 respectively.

What I ended up with after a year of taking the RRYE was severe joint problems, higher blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin, an inability to build muscle and gout. It was unbelievable! In attempting to “treat” these conditions, I ate lots of fermented foods, supplemented a little too much, and then ended up with histamine intolerance because everything I was eating to be as healthy as possible was high in histamines.

In other words, just taking the natural version of a statin set in motion a cascade of problems that took me a year to figure out and cost me a fortune in doctor bills and supplements not to mention the pain and mental anguish. Multiply this by 10 and that is what people who opt for statins end up dealing with for the rest of their uncomfortable and likely shortened lives! I count myself lucky. But I hope that you do not have to experience what I did and that if you are, this information is helpful. Please let me know.

In the series of articles to follow, I will be discussing inflammation, it’s causes and what you can do to prevent it.

-Dr. Norton


Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED), as well as obesity.

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[1] Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):113-24. Statins lower plasma and lymphocyte ubiquinol/ubiquinone…… It has been shown that treatinghypercholesterolemic (high cholesterol) patients with statins leads to a decrease, at least in plasma, not only in cholesterol, but also in important non-sterol compounds such as ubiquinone (CoQ10), and possibly dolichols, that derive from the same biosynthetic pathway. Plasma CoQ10 decrease might result in impaired antioxidant protection, therefore leading to oxidative stress.

2 Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):101-11. We are currently in the midst of a congestive heart failure epidemic in the United States, the cause or causes of which are unclear. As physicians, it is our duty to be absolutely certain that we are not inadvertently doing harm to our patients by creating a wide-spread deficiency of a nutrient critically important for normal heart function.

  1. Seneff, S., Davidson, R., and Mascitelli, L. (2012). Might cholesterol sulfate deficiency contribute to the development of autistic spectrum disorder? Medical Hypotheses, 8, 213-217
  2. //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statin

[3] Made up of brutieridin and meltidin