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At one time this kind of thinking prevailed and the great majority of pop diets and related books were all low carb. If you went into the health section of a big bookstore, it was hard to even find a low fat diet book. Some of this thinking still prevails to this day, although the China Study was a powerful moderating factor.
The burning question, of course, remained though, "Why did the studies show that low cholesterol led to decreased longevity and increased mortality?" Well, researchers had long ago answered this question. One study from 1981, for example, showed that
What they found was both important and interesting: low cholesterol did not increase overall cancer rates significantly IF you took out those with "preexisting conditions". They did this by removing those with known cancer and those who died within the first two years. Let's face it: most of those who die within two years from cancer likely had it at the time of the study and this will lower cholesterol levels unnaturally.  (NOTE: The researchers did find that colon cancer had a higher risk factor with low cholesterol once these other factors were taken into account, but this is the lone outlier.)
A 1995 British Medical Journal study found an additional explanation that verified this conclusion: they found that if you looked far enough into the future, all cancer risks were eliminated.  Again, this shows that a number of individuals had lower cholesterol levels due to prexisting cancer and, when eliminated, becomes irrelevant. A similar study of Finnish men reached the exact same conclusion. 
Thus, the studies show the following: lowering cholesterol dramatically and linearly decreases heart disease and is largely neutral with respect to cancer. This results in an impressive overall decrease in mortality and increase in longevity when all factors are combined.
2) Am. J. Epidemiol, 1981, 114(1):11-20, "SERUM CHOLESTEROL AND MORTALITY IN A JAPANESE-AMERICAN POPULATION THE HONOLULU HEART PROGRAM"
3) BMJ, 1995 Aug 12, 311(7002): 409–413, "Low serum total cholesterol concentrations and mortality in middle aged British men"
4) Am. J. Epidemiol, 1992, 135(11):1251-1258, "Short- and Long-term Association of Serum Cholesterol with Mortality The 25-year Follow-up of the Finnish Cohorts of the Seven Countries Study"
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