Jimmy Moore writes “If you thought I was an ardent defender of livin’ la vida low-carb, then you ain’t seen nothing yet until you experience Anthony Colpo unplugged and unleashed on the world armed with scientific facts to back up everything he claims regarding health, diet and nutrition. He uses his two decades of experience as an independent researcher and certified fitness consultant to provide integrity and credibility to everything he says. Soak in the wisdom that this man has to offer us and be prepared to hear a lot more from this young man in the years to come as he blows the lid off of the lies the medical establishment has perpetrated on the world. Be prepared to be shocked into this reality and then begin educating yourself, just as Colpo did, about what the truth is about living healthy.”

Exclusive interview with author and researcher Anthony Colpo
1. We have with us today the infamous Anthony Colpo who regularly writes on
issues concerning health at his very popular and oftentimes controversial
web site TheOmnivore.com. Tell us how you got interested in studying and
researching health issues, namely cholesterol, and why you decided to create
a web site and write a book to write about what you discovered.
Jimmy, it was in the mid-nineties that I began to doubt the wisdom of
so-called health “experts.” At that point, I had been following a low-fat,
high-carbohydrate diet for several years after visiting a doctor in 1989,
and discovering that I had an allegedly ‘moderately elevated’ cholesterol
level of 213. According to the doctor, this placed me at moderate risk of
heart disease. At the time, every health book, magazine article, pamphlet,
and media story was delivering the same message: “To avoid heart disease,
avoid fat!” Like most people, I dutifully adopted this advice, thinking that
surely all these seemingly authoritative sources must have known what they
were talking about. When my father suffered a heart attack a year later, the
rest of our family was counseled by his medical advisors, and I was
subjected to even more anti-cholesterol hyperbole.
Despite the lavish health promises made by the promoters of low-fat diets, I
couldn’t help but notice during the mid-nineties that I was actually feeling
worse than I did in 1989. I had started to feel constantly tired and
fatigued, I developed numerous food sensitivities and often felt bloated
after meals, all symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. My fasting blood glucose
measurements were below the normal range, indicative of reactive
hypoglycemia. My blood pressure had risen from a healthy 110/65 to an
elevated 130/90. I was using caffeine to try and get myself perked up for my
workouts, and was finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the sharp,
hard muscular look that I had come to take for granted. In other words, I
felt awful!
So while I might have had a higher blood cholesterol level back in 1989, I
didn’t have the bloated gut after meals, the constant mental fog, the food
sensitivities, and the need to jack myself up with caffeine in order to get
through a workout. I started to question the wisdom of the so-called
experts, and began doing the formerly unthinkable; I started experimenting
with a variety of higher fat diets.
The real turning point was in 2000, when I finally embraced fully-fledged
low-carbohydrate nutrition, and felt infinitely better for doing so! The
fact that I had just adopted a diet that went against virtually everything
espoused by health authorities, and proceeded to feel better than I had in
years, bought out the skeptic in me. I became intent on finding out the
truth behind the reigning diet wisdom. I was a personal trainer at the time,
and figured I owed it not just to myself, but to my clients as well. This
was the beginning of a fascinating journey that continues to this day.
The more I discovered, the more indignant I became at the blatant lies that
were being fed to the public. I strongly felt that the public should know
the truth, so in early 2003 I started TheOmnivore.com. I had no idea what I
was getting myself into…I instantly became the target of disgruntled
advocates of the low-fat paradigm. I have repeatedly challenged these
individuals to back up their often virulent antagonism with actual
scientific data proving me wrong, but no-one has been able to do so. My
book, The Great Cholesterol Con, is my ultimate statement to these folks. It
goes to places my web site has never ventured, blasting every possible
defense of the cholesterol theory of heart disease.
Currently only available from LuLu.com, but coming to Amazon soon
2. Speaking of your book, “The Great Cholesterol Con,” you state in it that
the cholesterol crisis which has been thrust upon the world is VERY big
business adding up to BILLIONS of dollars annually for pharmaceutical
companies and others in the medical profession. Some have even resorted to
accusing you of being a conspiracy theorist for claiming this is all just
one big money-making scheme. Without giving away too many details from your
book, tell us why you believe cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins are
“the biggest scam in the history of medicine!”
When someone presents a point of view that dissents that which is held dear
by the mainstream, it is a common ploy to label that person a “conspiracy
theorist.” For many people, the term conjures up images of a disgruntled
crackpot, so the intent is clearly a ploy to dismiss the dissenter’s
argument, without actually addressing the argument itself.
Whether or not someone wants to label me as a “conspiracy theorist” is of
little relevance – it is basically an exercise in semantics, and I would
hope that most people would quickly see through such a thinly-disguised
attempt to distract attention from my main argument. And my main argument is
that the entire cholesterol paradigm is false. Cholesterol does not cause
heart disease, and neither do saturated fats. I explain in my book why
cholesterol-lowering drugs are useless for the majority of people they are
prescribed to. I also explain how there are far more effective ways to lower
heart attack risk, but people are not aware of these strategies because
their doctors and the rest of the health establishment are mesmerized by the
cholesterol theory of heart disease. The above assertions are not my
opinion–they are findings that have been borne out repeatedly in the
scientific literature.
My book explains these findings in great detail, but in a way the average
person can readily understand. For example, I tabulate the results of all
the clinical dietary intervention trials for heart disease conducted over
the last five decades, and then carefully discuss the conduct and results of
each and every one of these trials. It sounds elementary, but amazingly,
no-one has ever bothered to do this before! So until now, when health
authorities claimed that dietary cholesterol-lowering had been proven
beneficial, the public really had no way of knowing whether this was true.
Now they can see plainly for themselves that it is not true! There is now no
excuse for anyone to keep claiming that controlled clinical trials have
proven the worth of dietary cholesterol-lowering or saturated fat
restriction! My book cites and explains the published, peer-reviewed
evidence showing this to be totally false.
Why do I call it “the biggest scam in the history of medicine?” I call it
that because it is, well, the biggest scam in the history of medicine! The
belief that cholesterol causes heart disease truly is one of the most
pervasive and fundamental precepts of medicine. It has arrived at this
exalted status, not on a foundation of solid science, but through a
relentless campaign based on half-truths, distortions, selectively-cited
evidence, and outright lies.
Do you think the cholesterol theory of heart disease would be so widely
accepted if more people knew that not a single well-controlled trial has
ever shown any cardiovascular or overall mortality benefit that can be
attributed to dietary cholesterol-lowering or saturated fat restriction?
Do you think this theory would have been so widely embraced if more
attention was paid to the fact that people with the lowest cholesterol
levels have higher death rates from numerous causes, and therefore tend to
live shorter lives than those with higher cholesterol levels?
Do you think the lipid hypothesis would be so widely embraced if people knew
that in the Framingham study, which ironically is one of the key studies
used to support the cholesterol theory, those whose cholesterol levels fell
during the first half of the study had a significantly higher death rate
during the second half of the study?
Do you think food companies would continue to make billions from the sale of
low-fat, low-cholesterol foods if people knew about the populations, such as
East African nomads and Pacific Islanders, who consumed large amounts of
saturated fat but were found by researchers to possess outstanding health
and a virtual freedom from heart disease?
These are but a few of the contradictions to the reigning cholesterol
paradigm; my book cites many, many more. The reason this nonsensical theory
has become so widely accepted is because it has been extremely aggressively
promoted by powerful interests who profit greatly from its continued
propagation. These powerful interests have developed the practice of
selective citation and distortion of evidence down to a fine art. And sadly,
relatively few people seem to be aware of what’s really going on.
My challenge to anyone skeptical of my claims is simply this: Read the book,
and then carefully check my sources. I’ve said nothing that cannot be
verified by published, peer-reviewed research. Where my book stands apart is
that I present a full analysis of this research – I don’t extract isolated
segments of this research and then present only these segments in a way that
can be used to support my case, as the anti-cholesterol campaigners do. I
cite over 1,400 studies in my book to demonstrate my case.
The most popular cholesterol-lowering statin drugs — Lipitor and Crestor!
3. I have personally been on both Lipitor and Crestor in the past because my
doctor worried about my cholesterol being too high, especially my LDL. After
I lost 180 pounds on the Atkins diet in 2004, my LDL dropped to 119 while my
HDL jumped to an incredible 72 making my total cholesterol just barely over
200. While he wasn’t alarmed, my doctor said I should go on a statin drug
which I vehemently refused to do. Six months later, my LDL rose to 230 while
my HDL remained the same. But my total cholesterol is over 300 for the first
time ever. Now my doctor is “very concerned” and says I absolutely MUST go
on a statin again or on a long list of non-statin drugs to ward off a heart
attack. Should I be worried about this warning from my doctor? If so, is
there anything I should be doing to improve my lipid profile without
prescription drugs?
Such a question is based on the premise that the cholesterol paradigm is
scientifically valid. It is not. Forget about cholesterol, and start
focusing on the things that really do influence heart disease.
Let me ask you this: Do you know your fasting blood glucose level? Has your
doctor checked your fasting insulin? Your serum ferritin level? Has he sat
you down and inquired about the level of stress in your life, and how you
deal with this stress? Has he asked you if you exercise regularly, and if
you don’t, has he given you any intelligent advice about how to structure a
safe, effective exercise routine? Has he asked you about your diet, and
whether it is based on fresh meats and plant foods, or whether it is replete
with processed, packaged, nutritionally inferior junk? Has he explained the
importance of maintaining a proper dietary omega-6:omega-3 ratio? Has he
talked to you about the nutritional supplements that have been shown to
lower heart disease and overall mortality? (Editorial Note From Jimmy Moore:
The answer is “no” to virtually ALL of these questions!)
My bet is that your doctor hasn’t talked to you about any of these things,
even though they exert a far more profound influence on your cardiovascular
health than cholesterol ever could. I would further venture that if you did
attempt to discuss these factors with him, you would be met with blank
stares or snide dismissal. Most doctors have a very limited understanding of
heart disease prevention, one that revolves primarily around cholesterol and
cholesterol-lowering drugs. This limited understanding comes courtesy of the
drug industry, which goes to great lengths to create a compliant mindset
among doctors. Most physicians reading this would no doubt indignantly
object to any claim that they are unduly influenced by drug company
propaganda, but again, the evidence shows otherwise.
4. The dirty little secret about the so-called effectiveness of
cholesterol-lowering drugs is that they have not decreased the age-adjusted
incidence of heart disease at all. Why hasn’t this fact been broadcast to
the masses and what can we do to educate people about this big fat lie?
People need to realize something: Public health guidelines have virtually
nothing to do with public health. They have everything to do with appeasing
the demands of the powerful interests that aggressively lobby policymakers,
provide money to researchers, and donate millions to influential health
organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Diabetes
Association, and so on.
The end result is that you have a network of organizations, both
governmental and private, who set diet and health guidelines for the public,
and that these organizations are subject to enormous influence from those
who stand to profit by favorably influencing the outcome of these
guidelines. And if you think I’m being a “conspiracy theorist,” be aware
that published research does indeed show that politicians are far more
likely to vote for legislation favoring groups from which they have received
PAC money. Research also shows that doctors are indeed more likely to
request and prescribe drugs from companies that ply them with free gifts.
That money and perquisites can be used to influence important policy
decisions, and determine the type of information that eventually finds its
way to the public, really should come as no surprise to anyone.
Why has it not been broadcast to the masses that the age-adjusted incidence
of heart disease has not decreased at all? Why would it be? Our health
authorities are hardly going to trip over themselves to draw attention to
data showing their massive anti-cholesterol campaign – funded by our
taxpayer dollars – has completely failed to achieve its stated purpose! Drug
companies are hardly going to highlight the fact that their staggering array
of wonder drugs, taken by millions around the world and drawing in billions
of dollars in profits every year, have completely failed to make a dent in
the incidence of heart disease. Pathology companies, which make a fortune
from cholesterol testing, aren’t going to be real enthusiastic about the
public discovering that the zillions of cholesterol tests they have
performed over the last 45 years have done absolutely nothing to lower heart
disease incidence! Likewise, the manufacturers of vigorously marketed
low-fat, low-cholesterol foods are unlikely to want to jeopardize their
highly lucrative markets for the sake of some trivial concern like public
health!
This is why I repeatedly emphasize to people that they need to start
thinking and researching for themselves. If they continue to rely on
mainstream sources of information, then they will continue to be reliant on
information of doubtful quality, information that has been presented, not to
enlighten the public, but to enrich the coffers of vested financial
interests.
5. What’s your stake in this battle with cholesterol? Some believe you are
simply an opportunist sensationalizing an issue for the sake of
profiteering. Convince us why you are not and what you hope to accomplish
with your book.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when people intimate that I am doing
this for the money! The book has been four years in the making; during this
time, I have spent hundreds of hours poring through scientific papers,
analyzing data, and recording my findings. Every hour spent doing this is an
hour I have been unable to earn income from other sources. Over the last
four years, I have literally spent thousands of dollars on books and
photocopying expenses. Once I completed my manuscript, I started sending
proposals to literary agents and publishers, mainly in the US. I spent
several hundred dollars doing this. When this failed to produce any
interest, I engaged a print-on-demand firm (I won’t mention their name, but
it rhymes with Bookscourge), who proceeded to entertain me with several
aggravating months of mind-blowing incompetence. Finally, after switching to
the print-on-demand company Lulu, my book is now available. So as of June
2006, I have a book which has actually cost me thousands of dollars to bring
to market, and is only available on the Internet.
Do I expect to make a lot of money from this book? NO!
Did I set out to write this book in order to cause a ‘sensation’ and make
lots of money from the ensuing publicity? NO!
If my goal was to make bucket loads of money, I couldn’t have picked a worse
strategy. I knew full well from the outset that for a person with no formal
qualifications to find a publisher for a book that slams the most widely
accepted precept of modern medicine would be a tough, if not impossible,
call. I knew this from the experience of others who had gone before me. Dr.
Uffe Ravnskov wrote a terrific book called The Cholesterol Myths, but
couldn’t find a publisher despite persistent efforts. It wasn’t because
no-one was interested in what he had to say–at the time, his high ranking
web site was one of the most popular search engine destinations for
‘cholesterol’. It wasn’t until Sally Fallon, from the Weston A. Price
Foundation came across his web site that he was able to get his book
published. Sally had started her own publishing company after failing to
find a publisher for her own book Nourishing Traditions. This book also
bucks mainstream diet wisdom, and has gone on to become something of a cult
classic. Russell L. Smith is another case that comes to mind. He had to
self-publish his massive two-volume destruction of the cholesterol
hypothesis, and his book The Cholesterol Conspiracy, although a great read,
was published by a small publisher and remains almost unknown; despite being
printed in the early 90s, amazon only started selling it a couple of years
ago.
If I wanted to make money, I would simply have put together a hyperbolic
weight loss book, with a gimmicky, attention-grabbing title such as “The
Colpo Diet: Lose Fifty Pounds in 5 Weeks!” or “Why Australian-Italian
Personal Trainers From Melbourne Don’t Get Fat!,” or some other such rot.
Personally, I don’t think most publishers give a damn about the scientific
validity of what they publish. The bottom line is money, and novel, gimmicky
weight loss books make money. Publishers, like a lot of businesses, would
prefer to take a punt on a relatively safe bet.
I wrote this book because it needed to be written. People need to know that
they have not been told the truth. If someone was lying to me about
something that affected my health, I’d sure as heck want to know, and I’d be
grateful to anyone who told me the truth. How can I keep this information to
myself, when I know full well that the cholesterol myth has adversely
affected the lives of millions of people all around the world?
Noted author and nutritionist Dr. Ron Rosedale
6. Dr. Ron Rosedale has written on the subject of blood sugar levels being
more responsible for heart disease than cholesterol ever will. Like me, you
also went on the Atkins diet and experience incredible results in your
weight and health. Share what it was like for you to switch from the
low-fat, high-carb propaganda diet we’ve all heard is the “healthiest” diet
we can be on since we were kids to the freedom that comes from livin’ la
vida low-carb.
I finally made the decision to jump full-bore into low-carbohydrate
nutrition back in 2000. I had been following a Zone-style diet for a while,
and had noticed that I had felt a lot better on that than when I was
following a higher-carb diet. But I wasn’t 100% happy with the Zone, I still
felt like there was something missing. I had met another trainer who had
been following the Atkins diet, and he piqued my curiosity enough to try it
for myself. I immediately felt better, and knew that low-carbohydrate eating
was going to be a regular fixture in my life. However, being a chronic
tinkerer, I wanted to know how to fine tune my new diet for optimal results.
I started reading everything related to low-carbing I could get my hands on.
Within a few months of beginning my low-carbohydrate diet, I discovered the
Paleolithic diet concept. I quickly dumped my Atkins-style diet in favor of
a diet based on Paleo food choices and by doing so, stepped up to a whole
new level of nutrition. It was like switching from standard to premium fuel.
7. You hit vegetarians and vegans pretty hard with the facts showing a
plant-based diet is NOT healthier in the prevention of heart disease or in
extending mortality rates. What does the science show to back up that
assertion?
Numerous long-term follow-up studies show no overall mortality benefit among
vegetarians, even though they are more likely to exercise regularly and
eschew alcohol and cigarettes. I believe the benefits of these activities
are negated by the nutritional shortcomings of vegetarian eating. Meat is an
extremely nutrient-dense food, and it defies logic to claim that avoiding it
will somehow enhance health. It’s a little like saying switching from
high-octane to low-grade gas will boost your car’s performance. The exact
opposite is more likely to happen.
If people adopt vegetarianism because of religious beliefs or what they
perceive to be ethical grounds, then that’s a decision they need to make for
themselves. But when certain vocal groups claim that vegetarianism is
healthy and extends life span, then people should be told that this is not
at all true.
8. Saturated fat consumption is also blamed for heart disease, but you
disagree. Does this mean we can go out and eat bacon, butter and lard all
the time without worrying about clogged arteries? Which saturated fats are
the healthiest to eat from what you have studied about them?
I think a little commonsense goes a long way. Just because saturated fats,
or any other food item, are not harmful does not mean you go out and gorge
yourself senseless on them. My dietary philosophy is a diet based on fresh
Paleo-style foods. In other words, fresh untrimmed meats and a variety of
fresh, no-cereal plant foods. The healthiest fats are those found in meats,
these are the fats that occur in the form nature intended us to eat.
Rendered or refined fats such as butter and coconut oil have their positive
qualities, but they should be treated more as condiments rather than primary
sources of fat.
Colpo chose the P.O.D. publisher LuLu to print his book
9. “The Great Cholesterol Con” was self-published through a print-on-demand
company called LuLu as you previously stated rather than being picked up by
a major publisher. Did you pitch your book idea to any publishers or did you
intend for it to be a self-published book all along? Would you sign on with
a major publishing company if they wanted to give your book a larger
distribution audience? Why or why not?
I touched upon the reasons why I self-published earlier, but if a major
publishing house approached me I’d certainly listen to what they had to say.
At the end of the day, I’d like to get the message of this book out to the
greatest number of people, and a major publisher obviously has a lot more
marketing pull than a lone independent researcher from Melbourne, Australia.
However, I would not be willing to sign any deal that would require the book
to be watered down into an impotent version of its former self. Obviously,
minor editorial and grammatical changes would be fine, but I would not be
willing to let the book lose its impact for the sake of making it more
accommodating to mainstream sensibilities.
If I don’t get any interest from a large publisher, then I just hope
that people read the book, carefully consider what I am saying, check the
research behind what I have said, and then tell others about it. If you are
incensed by the cholesterol scam, then don’t stay silent, tell others, tell
your friends, family, your doctor, whoever will listen! Major paradigm
shifts don’t occur by people staying apathetically silent and wishing
someone else would “do something.”
10. I get specific questions from people about the low-carb lifestyle all
the time since I have put myself out there as a low-carb weight loss success
story with my blog and book. Do you get a lot of e-mails from people sending
you their cholesterol stories and do you respond to them? If so, how can
people get in touch with you with their cholesterol questions?
I get a ton of email from people all over the world asking all sorts of
questions on a mind-boggling array of diet, health and exercise issues. I
don’t get a whole lot of people asking me about personal cholesterol
concerns, because anyone who has read even a small portion of my web site
would quickly realize I think the whole cholesterol issue is just a massive
red herring.
As my schedule grows busier, I have less and less time to answer emails. I
welcome reader feedback (my email address is ac.theomnivore@gmail.com), but
people should realize there is a great chance I simply will not have time to
reply. If someone takes offense when their emails go unanswered, it’s best
they don’t email me to start with. I wish I could reply to every email I
receive, but it’s just not possible; if I attempted to do so, I simply would
not have time to do anything else!
What I would suggest is that people avail themselves of the Google site
search function on the home page of my web site. I routinely get emails from
people asking questions that I have already addressed on my site. A quick
search on my site would save them the trouble of sending an email, and give
them the answer they are looking for right away. That’s what my web site is
there for – a vast amount of information intended to add to the public pool
of knowledge in the diet and health arenas.