Cholesterol Can be Healthy

Posted by Lakshmi Gopal on Fri, Jul 29, 2011  
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Do you throw away your egg yolks because you are scared of cholesterol? Do you think low-fat and low-cholesterol diets are healthier than those with generous amounts of healthy fats? Many of us have misconceptions on the 'hows' and 'whys' of cholesterol.

  1. Cholesterol is not a deadly poison - it is an important constituent of food that keeps you healthy. High cholesterol itself does not cause heart disease.
  2. Research says that people who have low blood cholesterol have the same rates of heart disease as people who have high blood cholesterol.
  3. Cholesterol in blood comes from two sources: cholesterol in the food and cholesterol made by the liver (from other nutrients). Your liver produces cholesterol according to how much of it you consume. This means if you eat a lot of cholesterol, your liver produces less and vice-versa. Therefore, a low cholesterol diet does not make a huge difference to a person's blood cholesterol by more than a few percent.
  4. Research shows that drugs that lower your cholesterol do not decrease your risk of dying from heart disease. These may, on the other hand, decrease your lifespan.
  5. Statins, a new range of cholesterol-lowering drugs – do reduce your risk of heart disease - but through processes that are not related to lower blood cholesterol. Also, research shows that statins like lipitor mevacor, zocor, pravachol, and lescol are known to stimulate cancer in rodents.

Naturally-occurring cholesterol in plant and animal foods is not harmful for health. However, it can become harmful if damaged by exposure to high levels of heat and/or harsh processing techniques.

Therefore, it is most important to avoid eating animal foods cooked at high temperatures, since these are typically rich in damaged cholesterol.


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