First a little about Jimmy:
In January 2004, Jimmy Moore made a decision to get rid of the weight that was literally killing him. At 32 years of age and 410 pounds, the time had come for a radical change of lifestyle. A year later, he had shed 180 pounds, shrunk his waist by 20 inches, and dropped his shirt size from 5XL to XL. After his dramatic weight loss, Jimmy was inundated with requests from friends, neighbors and complete strangers seeking information and help. Jimmy is dedicated to helping as many people as possible find the information they need to make the kind of lifestyle change he has made. To that end, he has started a blog and a number of websites to get out the message of lifestyle change and healthy living. Here you will find links to Jimmy’s blog, his YouTube videos and all of the websites he contributes to.
Gary Collins: What prompted you to write the book about cholesterol and the myths surrounding it?
Jimmy Moore: Oh man. There are so many misconceptions about cholesterol out there that I just felt like none of the books that have been written about cholesterol really have addressed it from this perspective. I mean, it’s all been one of two things, Gary. It’s either been, don’t worry about your cholesterol, or it’s more of that conventional wisdom of looking at it as lower your fat and when that’s not enough, take a statin drug. Now, I didn’t like either one of those things because I think obviously the latter is wrong, but the former also forgets that people in the real world do care about their cholesterol. They do worry about their cholesterol, so why not have a book out there that not only says, okay, here’s why you might not want to pay attention to cholesterol, why it may not be an important factor in your heart health as you’ve been told, but I know you’re still going to worry about it anyway so why don’t we give you things to shoot for. Why don’t we give you numbers to aim for and give you the right markers to take a look at that will truly determine whether your heart is healthy or not. Unfortunately, it’s all been whittled down these days to LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol and the reason why is, as you know, very well know, there’s a statin drug that can be sold to people to the tune of $29 billion annually and as long as that money train keeps happening, we’re going to keep on looking at total cholesterol and LDL. I think for the rest of us though, let’s look at health. How is our actual heart health? And we talk all about those things throughout the book, what you can actually look at to see how your heart is doing, and it’s not total and LDL.
Gary Collins: So you’re saying that this money thing seems to surround the controversy a little bit?
Jimmy Moore: I think it’s totally predicated on the money thing.
Gary Collins: Yeah.
Jimmy Moore: You take away the $29 billion being made on statin medications like Lipitor and Crestor—you take those out of the whole system—and tomorrow, Gary, there’s no more focus on total. There’s no more focus on LDL cholesterol. It will now shift to triglycerides, HDL, and the ratio between those two. It’ll shift to inflammation and CRP levels, which we talk about in the book. Those kinds of things. And then the CT heart scans of the chest to see if any calcified plaque is actually happening in your arteries. You know, I think if you remove the financial incentive to treat numbers on paper and actually start treating disease—the way we look at these things, the way we talk about it—cholesterol clarity is totally going to shift.
Gary Collins: And your book does a phenomenal job. I touch on it here and there in some of my writings in the Primal Power Method, but that was the first book that I’ve read that really went into the topic in depth. You tell your story and go through all of your markers and what they meant, and I think that’s important for people to be able to follow…that you went through it. You had to deal with it. You had to come to your own conclusions through your own research, which I think is very important.
Jimmy Moore: Yeah, I think that’s the future of healthcare to be honest. People are going to grab back control of their own health. As a patient, people go to see their doctor and they expect their doctor to have all the answers. You’re the one that has to actually do the research on yourself and quite frankly, Gary, you know your body better than anybody else. So why don’t you use your doctor as a consultant in your overall healthcare? But you have to be the final arbiter of whether you truly need that statin medication or if the rest of your health is telling you you’re pretty darn healthy, never mind, Doc, I’m going to skip it and I’m going to keep on keeping on with my nutrition.
Gary Collins: I think one of the key stats you brought out in your book was that only 15% of the cholesterol in your body is determined by food, and only 15% of that ends up in your total blood cholesterol.
Jimmy Moore: And that’s shocking to people too because you see all these low fat, low cholesterol, heart healthy symbols on all of these kinds of foods, and yet, it was Dr. Peter Attia who actually had that quote. In the midst of writing this book, I attended a medical conference in April and he gave a talk on cholesterol. That’s when he shared that statistic and all the doctors in the audience kind of gasped a little bit when he said 85% of it’s not even absorbed by the body, and that’s shocking to medical professionals.
Gary Collins: Yeah.
Jimmy Moore: So what about all of those laypeople out here who are hearing all these messages of cut your saturated fat, cut your cholesterol? Well guess what, folks? It’s not the culprit.
Gary Collins: You start your book off with one of your quotes: “If you like straight talk that cuts through the muckity muck, you’ve come to the right place. The title of this book is Cholesterol Clarity For a Reason. The intention is to make the truth about cholesterol absolutely clear.” And that is the defining moment of the whole book. It’s to say, all right, enough of the crap.
Jimmy Moore: Yeah.
Gary Collins: We’ve heard enough of it and I mean, $29 billion and climbing…that has to change.
Jimmy Moore: Right.
Gary Collins: Bottom line is it’s not going away. And as you know, I used to investigate this stuff and the two biggest counterfeit drugs were Lipitor and Crestor and also the ED dysfunction drugs, which go together and that’s what people don’t understand.
Jimmy Moore: Right.
Gary Collins: That’s why those were always the top ones because if you have all the symptoms of say, high cholesterol today, they would put you on erectile dysfunction medication too. Amazing how all that went together.
Jimmy Moore: Yeah.
Gary Collins: So did you find any pattern in the medical community when it came to cholesterol and the beliefs?
Jimmy Moore: There’s one whole chapter where we go through all the major health groups that are out there and what their views are on cholesterol. So you’ve got everything from the Mayo Clinic to the American Heart Association and their obnoxious little heart symbol they have on all these foods that are not healthy. Also the American Diabetes Association. On and on and on, all these top health groups. It was almost like they got together and colluded on what their message would be, and every one of them is: limit your saturated fat to no more than 7% of your diet just like the USDA is telling us to do in the dietary guidelines… and that’s truly where they get a lot of their information. Well, if it’s good enough for the U.S. government, it’s good enough for us. So they kind of implement that as their modus operandi. But then they go to cholesterol and they say, well total cholesterol needs to be under 200 and LDL cholesterol needs to be under 100 and if eating a low fat diet doesn’t do enough, you need to take a statin drug. So it’s almost as if a memo got sent out. This is the way we cure heart disease, by artificially lowering cholesterol levels on paper to under 200. But unfortunately, and a statistic we put in the book is, they did a study where people went into the hospital for a heart event of some sort. So they had a heart attack, some kind of cardiovascular event. You want to know what percentage of them had high cholesterol compared to those who had normal levels under 200 of cholesterol? The high cholesterol, you would think, would be 75-80% right?
It was just the opposite. Seventy-five percent—three out of every four patients admitted to the hospital for a heart attack or some kind of heart-related event—had cholesterol levels that would be considered healthy by every doctor in America. They were under 200, whether they were artificially lowered to under 200 with a statin or whether they just had naturally low cholesterol, it was three out of four. And yet, if you would have asked most people, they’d say, oh, 75-80% of them have to have cholesterol levels well above 200 because we know cholesterol is the culprit in heart disease. But cholesterol is not the culprit in heart disease.
Gary Collins: The first time I read that was, I believe, in Gary Taube’s book. I can’t remember if it was Good Calories, Bad Calories or Why We Get Fat, but I remember him talking about it, and it was the first time I had ever heard it.
Jimmy Moore: Right.
Gary Collins: And I was like, holy cow, I’ve been sold a complete bill of goods.
Jimmy Moore: We all have.
Gary Collins: With my background, I was inside it and I got to see a lot of interesting things. But during your research, would anyone in the pharmaceutical industry even talk to you about statins?
Jimmy Moore: You know, they weren’t interested. And to even take it further, my own doctor wasn’t interested.
Gary Collins: Wow!
Jimmy Moore: For the book, I was going to try to get some traditionally trained doctor to explain how he treats patients and I thought, well who better than my own doctor? And I went up to his clinic and I said to the front desk person, I’d like to interview my doctor for a book I’m writing about cholesterol and heart disease and blah, blah, blah, would he be interested? And so, she took my name and number. Never heard back from him. Now of course, you know me, when I get an interview with my podcast, I’m always following up and everything. I followed up two or three more times and when I never heard something, I said, you know what? This is telling. This is telling that my own doctor won’t even talk to me because I think deep down inside, Gary, even he knows the way we’re treating heart health issues in America—and around the world, quite frankly—is dead wrong. But he doesn’t, and he’s not alone, he doesn’t want to stop the gravy train. I’m just thoroughly convinced there are a lot of doctors who are getting a lot of kickbacks from pushing these drugs—and not just statins but really all drugs—on their patients. And what’s really salacious about this tale is patients are watching television. So they see a commercial from Lipitor that says, go lower and ask your doctor how you can go lower in your cholesterol. And then they send pharmaceutical reps in to “educate” doctors, look at these pills that will lower cholesterol and by extension—they may not say it overtly, but by extension—help with heart health. These two things happen at the same time and then a patient goes in with a 225 total cholesterol and their doctor says, well I have this miracle drug that will help lower that cholesterol and make you healthier and the patient’s like, oh yeah, I saw a television commercial that told me to ask my doctor, so let’s talk. And so the pharmaceutical company looks back and says, look, we had nothing to do with that. And yet they propagandized both the patient and the physician and act like nothing was their fault. It was totally propaganda at its finest.
Gary Collins: I just had a talk with a new client the other day about the medical industry. And I said, we’re spending nearly $3 trillion on healthcare in the U.S. a year. You think there might be some corruption in there, just a tad? And off-labeling with reps…we dealt with that a lot when I did my investigations. I didn’t know any rep that didn’t go in and talk about off-labeling. They all did it, it was common practice. For people who don’t know what it is, it is recommending a drug for something other then its original intent.
Jimmy Moore: Right.
Gary Collins: Yeah. Which technically is illegal, but we both know not much ever happens when they are caught. The drug manufacturer will pay a civil or criminal fine and that is it…move on, nothing to see here.
Jimmy Moore: Well, and they’re doing that now with even the statins. They originally were to lower cholesterol. Now they realized that message, and hopefully after my book comes out, that message really doesn’t matter anymore. They’re like, well, it actually helps lower inflammation. So they’re shifting the focus even now away from looking at statin drugs as a way to lower cholesterol and more as an anti-inflammatory, which to me is flat out criminal.
Gary Collins: You’re probably shaking your head going, oh my god. Here we go.
Jimmy Moore: Yeah. Well, they’re trying. They know the handwriting’s on the wall.
Gary Collins: You’ve taken statins in the past. I remember you talking about that. What were some of the side effects you had and how long did it take for them to go away?
Jimmy Moore: Oh, I was very lucky because in Chapter 5 of my book, I talk about some of the side effects certain people have with statin drugs and mine, I’ve determined now, were much more minimal than some of these other people. But for me personally, I took Lipitor and I started getting these joint problems and muscle aches—and I was in my early 30s at the time—and I’m going, why do I feel like I’m 80 years old? I mean, I felt just all this pain and it didn’t take long. I was on statins for maybe a week when I started feeling these and by six or eight weeks in, I was really feeling it. I remember I was going to play basketball at my local church, and I went up and grabbed the rebound, and my right thumb just went straight backwards. I had never seen that before and I drove myself to the emergency room. I remember the ER doctor who must have been pretty swift because he said, you take statin drugs? I said, yeah, why? And he said, you might want to talk to your doctor about getting off the statins because I think it might have contributed to your joint being weaker. And I went, woah. So I go to my doctor and get this, Gary, this will shock you. I told him I want to come off the Lipitor because it’s hurting my joints and my muscles. I can’t take this drug anymore. It’s hurting me. Oh, no problem, Jimmy. We’ll take you off that. I’ll get you on a better drug. And you know what he put me on? Crestor.
Gary Collins: Nice.
Jimmy Moore: And I’m like, wait a minute. You take me off of one statin drug and you put me on another statin drug and predictably, in a few months, I was having issues. But I thought I had to do it in order to be heart healthy and so I obediently took that drug until I started my low carb diet and within a few months after low carb, I said forget this. I am coming off of these pills now that are doing nothing more than poisoning my body, and I have not looked back since. That’s been almost a decade ago that I came off of those drugs and while my cholesterol, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol are probably higher than what conventional medicine would consider healthy, all of the important markers—triglycerides, HDL, my CRP levels, and I’ve had a heart scan done—all of those are just incredible. My current triglycerides are 37.
Gary Collins: Wow.
Jimmy Moore: My current HDL, 79. My CRP is supposed to be under 1.0. It’s 0.55. The heart scan which shows actual signs of heart disease happening, calcified plaque happening…I got a big fat zero on that one. So somebody tell me how I’m not healthy from a heart’s perspective just because my total cholesterol is 306?
Gary Collins: That raises a good question. I mean, what do you think is the biggest myth perpetuated by the drug companies when it comes to supposed high cholesterol?
Jimmy Moore: I think it’s a myth overall in our culture, and it’s this whole idea that saturated fat is going to raise your cholesterol to unhealthy levels. No, saturated fat is not the issue here. Carbohydrate is probably—if we’re going to nail it on one of the macronutrients—carbohydrate, by far, is doing much worse things to our cholesterol panel than saturated fat ever wished it could on its own. Because what carbohydrates are doing—and obviously I’m talking about a lot of the refined carbohydrates that are out there, ubiquitously in our food supply, grains, sugars, and even some starches for some people—what it’s doing is a triple whammy to your cholesterol and obviously, your heart health. It’s lowering your HDL. So when your HDL dips below 50, that is not a good thing, and so by robbing our bodies of saturated fat and then obediently eating more carbohydrate, we’re actually lowering our HDL level to too low. The other thing that’s happening, the second leg of the trifecta, is your triglycerides will go up. And a lot of people don’t even know what their triglycerides are, and yet, that is so key. When your triglycerides start to go above 100, you’re eating way too many carbohydrates for your body. So ideally, you want that number under 70. And like I said, mine was 37. You do that by dropping your carbs. And then the third thing that happens when you eat carbs in your diet to an excess, is your LDL—which people think of as one number because that’s all they’ve ever seen on their cholesterol test results—your LDL actually shifts to more of the small dense kind because you have two major particle sizes of LDL. You’ve got large, fluffy and buoyant that are pretty much a non issue when it comes to heart disease, and then you’ve got these small, dense, very dangerous LDL particles that are created by two major things: eating excessive carbohydrates and vegetable oils.
Ironically, we’re told to eat more of both of those. Healthy whole grains are good for you, we’re told. And canola oil is a healthy oil. It’s got the American Heart Association’s heart health symbol right there on the front of the packaging, and yet, those two things are oxidizing your LDL, which means making them rusty and making more of the small, dense LDL. Those things, along with the statin drugs are eliminating your large, fluffy kind of LDL and putting you at a great risk for having a cardiovascular event, heart disease and all the other things that come with that.
Gary Collins: Yeah, and it’s interesting that all of us perpetuate the opposite of what the general public is told in health. It is kind of a bipolar view, but it’s the right view. And the way I understand it also is that the VLDL can’t be recycled properly by your liver.
Jimmy Moore: Right.
Gary Collins: So once it gets in there, it’s just perpetual. It just keeps kicking it back out as VLDL again because it can’t do anything with it, it’s broken. It’s like broken cholesterol.
Jimmy Moore: Yeah, and VLDL is kind of a parallel marker with your triglycerides. So the lower your triglycerides, the lower your VLDL and you have less of that recycling happening.
Gary Collins: What would be the most important fact you could give someone about cholesterol? Just a general person who has no clue.
Jimmy Moore: Stop worrying about your total cholesterol meaning something because right now the way that people look at their cholesterol, and I get emails, I probably get a dozen or two emails a week of people that are freaking out. And these are people that buy into my message already, so I can imagine what the general public thinks. But just people that already buy into what I’m talking about with low carb, high fat diets…they’re freaked out when they get a total cholesterol that has a two in front of it.
Gary Collins: Yeah.
Jimmy Moore: And I’m saying, look, that total cholesterol is like knowing the end score in a baseball game is cumulatively 25. Does that tell you anything about the game? No. You don’t know if it was a 24 to 1 blowout. You don’t know if it was a 13 to 12 barn burner. You just don’t know what makes up that total. And here’s another kicker: there is a part of your total cholesterol that you want to be higher, and that’s your HDL. I had a lady write to me just last week. Her HDL cholesterol was 105, which is extremely high, very healthy levels of HDL cholesterol. It pushed her total cholesterol to 225 and her doctor was pushing a statin drug on her.
Gary Collins: Imagine that.
Jimmy Moore: And I’m going, almost 40-something percent of your total cholesterol is the kind you want and he’s pushing a statin simply because there was a two in front of her total cholesterol. The big goal of this book, Gary, is to get people to stop focusing so obsessively on total cholesterol, meaning really anything, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t mean anything. Let’s look at other things. The things like triglycerides, HDL, blood sugar is a big one, inflammation markers like CRP, looking for actual disease happening with that heart scan I was telling you about and the carotid artery, ultrasound. Those are the kinds of things that I think are going to be much more important. If we could shift people away from the total and LDL and onto these things, dude, I’ll feel like this book has been a success.
Gary Collins: I agree. And it was a book that definitely needed to be written. It’s tricky out there right now, and all the false information makes it a labyrinth for the average person. I went through it twice, to be honest with you, because even though I’m in this world, there’s so much information in there that’s useful. I loved it. I went, god, finally, someone put it all together, you know? And now it’s a resource for me and a resource that I can use to give to our clients.
Jimmy Moore: Thank you. It was very difficult to try to make it simple enough for the average person to understand while still holding true to the science that kind of supports all these things. As I was writing this, I was like, okay, I hope I’m staying true to the science. So I had my co-author, Dr. Eric Westman, kind of go in behind me and make sure I’m staying on topic here. I guess the highest compliment I got, Gary, was when he was reading through the manuscript. He’s like, I’m not seeing anything that’s wrong here. Keep on keeping on. So hopefully people understand that it’s, I guess, a basic primer to understanding all of this. But at the same time, I had these 29 experts from around the world that are truly the top in their field on cholesterol to kind of go a little more advanced. So my dream with the book is that the newbie that’s never heard of any of this stuff would read most of what I wrote, the simple part, then go and educate themselves a little more on what this is all about. Maybe listen to some of these podcasts that are out there and have been talking about this stuff, and then come back again in six months and read it again, and then they’ll understand what all those moment of clarity quotes were about from my experts. Hopefully, it’ll be a resource that will continue to educate people long after they’ve read it the first time.
Gary Collins: I think so, and I don’t think anyone will be able to find a book with more experts in the area of cholesterol, fat and heart disease on the market, period. So, excellent job.
Jimmy Moore: Thank you very much.
Gary Collins: When does it come out for all the people out there?
Jimmy Moore: August 27, 2013, it’ll be out in bookstores. It’s obviously on Amazon right now for preorder. A lot of people have been asking about the Kindle and other e-book versions. I’ve noticed it’s on iBooks now, so if you have a smart device that has the iBooks app, you can download it.
Gary Collins: Excellent. Well I appreciate it, and I look forward to more books and more discussions.
Jimmy Moore: We’re looking forward to next year, Keto Clarity, where we’re going to talk about all of the benefits of being in a state of ketosis for not just weight loss. That’s what a lot of times people hear when they hear ketosis, that it’s a weight loss diet.
Gary Collins: Yeah.
Jimmy Moore: No, no, no, it’s so much more than weight loss. So we’re going to get deeply into all the diseases that get improved through a ketogenic diet. So Keto Clarity is coming in 2014.
Gary Collins: Oh, I like that. That’ll be a good one too.
Jimmy Moore: Looking forward to it.
Gary Collins: Well, thank you, Jimmy.
Jimmy Moore: Thank you, Gary.
Jimmy Moore’s Links:
Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Blog
The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show Podcast
Other books by Jimmy
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