Cholesterol and animal fat are actually protective against strokes. That’s why Japan has such a high stroke rate. They don’t eat as much animal fat as we do. But they do eat a fair amount of rice, and that can cause damage from the carbohydrates. After the second world war, the Japanese were influenced to eat more like us with more meat and dairy. Their stroke rate went down by 85%.
One of these Japanese studies showed that the benefit came from the animal fat and cholesterol consumed. Those with the highest intake had the lowest incidence of stroke. Animal protein was not significant—just the fat and cholesterol.
The Okinawans, the Japanese people with the longer lifespans, eat more meat and less rice than other Japanese people, and they’re healthier for it.
Barry Groves. Trick And Treat – how ‘healthy eating’ is making us ill. 2008.
Barry Groves. The Dangers of Low Blood Cholesterol, Second Opinions.
Shimamoto T, et al. Trends for Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke and Their Risk Factors in Japan. Circulation. 1989; 3: 503-15.
Adachi H, Hino A. Trends in nutritional intake and serum cholesterol levels over 40 years in Tanushimaru, Japanese men. J Epidemiol 2005; 15:85-89.
Liu L, et al. Changes in stroke mortality rates for 1950 to 1997. A great slowdown of decline trend in Japan. Stroke 2001; 32:1745.
Iso H, et al. Trends of cardiovascular risk factors and diseases in Japan: implications for primordial prevention. Prev Med 1999; 29: S102-S105.
Sauvaget C, et al. Animal protein, animal fat, and cholesterol intakes and risk of cerebral infarction mortality in the Adult Health Study. Stroke 2004; 35: 1351.
Gillman MW, et al. Inverse association of dietary fat with development of ischemic stroke in men. JAMA 1997; 278: 2145-2150.
Atkins D, et al. Cholesterol reduction and the risk of stroke in men. A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Ann Int Med 1993; 119: 136-145.
Dyker AG, et al. Influence of cholesterol on survival after stroke: retrospective study. BMJ 1997; 314: 1584.