January 4, 2017

Your cholesterol matters with Dr. Richard Furman

Dr. Richard Furman is a retired vascular surgeon and the author of the new book, Your Cholesterol Matters.

Dr. Furman explains that our total cholesterol is made up of LDL, bad cholesterol, and HDL, good cholesterol. If we’re not doing something about the high levels of LDL in our blood, this will negatively impact our arteries and our overall quality of life. This is because LDL acts as tiny splinters that get into the walls of arteries. On the other hand, HDL acts as a small police car that travels through arteries and plucks out and disposes of the LDL. Ideally, one would have a total cholesterol below 200, with LDL being below 100 and HDL being above 50.

If you’re trying to reach ideal cholesterol numbers, you should first try to reduce LDL through eating healthy. Medical literature has shown that there are bad fats that cause damage to arteries through LDL found in red meats, dairy, and fried foods. Studies show that if you cut out bad fats, but substitute sugar for those bad fats, that also hurts your arteries. Instead, you must substitute bad fats with good fats, such as fish, nuts, and olive oil.

In addition to reducing LDL, you can also increase HDL levels. This is achieved through losing weight if you are overweight and exercising regularly. These activities, when combined with eating an appropriate diet, will help to bring your cholesterol numbers into the ideal range.

The more you know about managing your cholesterol, the easier it is to adopt the lifestyle that will add years and quality to your life. To connect with Dr. Furman, you can email him at dfurman@samaritan.org.

Another episode you may enjoy

How to not die of heart disease | Dr. Michael Greger

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Hobie Simons - January 5, 2017 Reply

I appreciate Dr. Furman’s skill and qualifications as a surgeon. Although I have not read his book, I think he is stuck with the failed diet-heart hypothesis associated with saturated fat and cholesterol. While listening to the podcast I gather that his thinking is not totally instep with old recommendations but he does not seem to be as up to date with the latest information concerning low carb high fat diets. I’ve spent the last 6 months working with ketosis with great results. I initially had to break that dogmatic mindset associated with the standard American diet of low fat, but I have no regrets now. I set no restrictions on how much saturated fat I eat and my lipids are significantly improved. I think sugar and carbohydrates are the big issue which Dr. Furman downplayed.
I generally enjoy listening to your podcast but I found this one to be frustrating and somewhat of a step backwards for the health goals I want to achieve.
Thanks for what you’re doing and look toward to your next podcast.

    allan - January 5, 2017 Reply

    Hobie, I tend to agree with your position as well. I like to bring on guests with multiple views so we can have just this type of discussion.

    There seem to be two camps on this with neither really willing to listen to the other. There is science on both sides, but many of the studies have slight flaws. It would likely be impossible to do a study that provides a definitive answer. As I’ve mentioned on the show, I’m of northern European descent. So, I doubt my ancestors ate much sugar and there may have been many times of feast or famine. My N=1 experiment has been to eat more fish than red meat or chicken, based on my heritage and the quality of the choices where I live (it is really hard to get meats and cheeses from well cared for animals).

    I wish there were more studies on the effects the quality of the food has on health. My guess is that would fall somewhere in the middle of the two camps and provide a good reconciliation for those who were willing to listen.

    Thank you for the thoughtful comment and thank you for listening. It really means a lot to me!

    Have a happy and healthy 2017!

gho - January 5, 2017 Reply

thanks for the response, allan! i had a tough time listening to the entire podcast because of his (dr. furman’s) position, also. however, i kept reminding myself that i should keep an open mind and listen to different points of view… and it’s also spurred me to review what evidence i’m going by that saturated fats are okay.

happy 2017, and all the best to you and your other listeners!

    allan - January 6, 2017 Reply

    Thank you, Garson!

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