Excellent comments, N.I. I was obese in my twenties and thirties while trying hard to follow the low-fat “eat plenty of heart healthy grains” paradigm. Even when I wasn’t doing chronic cardio exercise 4-5 days a week, I was constantly hungry which led to numerous patterns of overeating and emotional eating. My cholesterol was considered “normal” back then but I was very unhealthy, usually between 70 and 100 lbs overweight. Two years ago I started eating Paleo and dropped all the weight effortlessly without worrying about counting calories or frankly any exercise. I also noticed that by eschewing grains and grain products of all kinds an inflammatory condition I’d suffered with for over 15 years went away and has remained in remission for 2 years, something which never happened in 15 years of suffering (remissions would be for a matter of weeks only). I’m at my fighting weight now and have been feeling great, lots of energy, but because my “cholesterol” is “high” my PCP wants me to resume a low-fat diet. I told him I couldn’t ever go back to that. He was not pleased, but didn’t press the issue. If he suggests statins at any point in the future I will find another doctor. It’s almost enough to make me say I refuse to get my cholesterol ‘measured’ again, as worthless as I think the way it’s calculated is, and as suspect as I think the way risk guidelines have been lowered (bias/conflicts of interest with statin manufacturers), and as flawed as I think the theory of “cholesterol clogs arteries’ is now given the increasing attention paid to the greater problem of inflammation. I read somewhere that blaming “high cholesterol” for heart disease is kind of like blaming the presence of firefighters at a burning building for having started the fire. Since my triglycerides are under 60, HDL is well over 120, I’m only 44 and have no relatives on either side of my family who have had heart disease, I’ve decided to take my chances and continue eating paleo, including large amounts of “unhealthy” saturated fat. There are too many other indicators that I am in the best health I’ve been in in over 20 years. I don’t like going against my doctor’s advice in order to feel I’m doing the best thing for my health. It feels wrong, but that’s where I am these days. It’s sad when you realize an industry you once trusted implicitly (as I used to) is now one which you feel you have to both defend yourself against as well as cope with the anxiety that you’re rejecting advice of ‘experts’ and are therefore endangering your health. I’m now even inching closer to the point of believing I was misdiagnosed with an autoimmune disease 6 years ago, which I’m taking an extraordinarily expensive medication for [with potential of course to wreck my liver, though that hasn’t occurred…yet]. Even better, it’s one of those medications that is frankly impossible to tell if it’s helping because it does not treat symptoms. The whole idea is to prevent worsening in the course of 10-20 years of taking it. Who can measure that or play the “looking back game” effectively enough to determine if the risks were worth some nebulous benefit: “Gee, if only I started taking this medication 10 years ago maybe I’d be 1.8% healthier than I am today!” Ack. All I have to “rely” upon is the clinical trial results, and since I’m no statistician it was pretty easy for me to read summaries of such things and believe the seemingly positive reports. Now that I’m learning more about the way trials are set up and run, who controls the raw data, the FDA approval process, etc, I cannot rule out the possibility that the slender margin of “better” for those staying on my drug is mostly an illusion rather than reality. Trying to decide whether the real risks I’m taking with my healthy liver are outweighed by the benefits of the drug over a period of 10 or more years seems impossible to me right now. My world is definitely in turmoil.