An excerpt from Dr. Campbell’s The China Study:
As I mentioned earlier, the range of blood cholesterol levels in rural China was a surprise. At the time when the China Study was begun, a blood cholesterol range of 200-300 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) was considered normal, and lower levels were suspect. In fact, some in the scientific and medical communities considered cholesterol levels lower than 150 mg/dl to be dangerous. In fact my own cholesterol was 260 mg/dl in the late 1970s, not unlike members of my immediate family. The doctor told me it was “fine, just average.”
But when we measured the blood cholesterol levels in China, we were shocked. They ranged from 70-170 mg/dl! Their high was our low, and their low was off the chart you might find in your doctor’s office! It became obvious that our idea of “normal” values (or ranges) only applies to Western subjects consuming the Western diet.
I was surprised when I read this a few years ago. I really did think a cholesterol of 200 was fine, good even. Now I think it’s high.