6 Facts about cholesterol
Many people are concerned about cholesterol in food, especially in eggs. But big changes have already come for cholesterol.
The fact is that dietary cholesterol intake has never correlated well with serum cholesterol levels, neither “good” or “bad”. In February 2015, reversing decades-long recommendations, the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended repealing the guideline that Americans limit cholesterol intake. Many researchers found evidence that trans fats reduce levels of good cholesterol while increasing levels of bad cholesterol. Increased dietary intake of industrial trans fats is associated with an increased risk in all-cause mortality, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Major dietary sources of cholesterol include cheese, egg, beef, pork, poultry, fish, and shrimp. Since all animal cells manufacture cholesterol, all animal-based foods contain cholesterol in varying amounts. Cholesterol is not found in plant-based foods because plant cells cannot produce it. Although, some plant-based foods, such as avocado, flax seeds and peanuts, contain cholesterol-like compounds called phytosterols.
So, let’s consider the facts:
1. Our body needs cholesterol
The first and foremost: our body needs cholesterol and can naturally produce it. Cholesterol is an essential structural component of all cell membranes and a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones. Steroid hormones help control metabolism, inflammation, immune functions, salt and water balance, development of sexual characteristics, and the ability to withstand illness and injury. Without cholesterol, we wouldn’t even exist!
2. Cholesterol is a nutrient
Cholesterol from food (called dietary cholesterol) helps to produce hormones that we need and keeps the cells’ membranes healthy.
3. Good cholesterol and
Depending on particular circumstances, almost every food can be healing or killing. The opposites like good and bad, yin and yang are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world. It completely applies to cholesterol: there are two types of cholesterol – good and bad. Good cholesterol is high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Bad cholesterol is low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Too much bad cholesterol (LDL) can cause fatty material to build up in your artery walls.
4. Cholesterol from eggs is not the main reason for high blood cholesterol levels.
Many different factors can contribute to high cholesterol such as:
- your diet – regularly eating foods high in saturated fat
- lack of physical activity
- high alcohol consumption
- some medical conditions such as underactive thyroid gland, kidney or liver disease
- taking prescribed medicines
- genetic conditions
- body overweight and obesity
So, cholesterol from eggs is not the main culprit, far from it.
5. Cholesterol daily
In many countries, the guidelines for daily cholesterol intake are set for 300 mg. (One egg, for instance, contains about 160 mg of cholesterol.)
6. Cholesterol is no longer considered a nutrient of concern
All appropriate governmental departments of Canada, US and UK, which set their national nutrition guidelines, state that cholesterol is no longer considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption. It’s time for all of us to drastically change the way we think about cholesterol-containing foods, like eggs, shrimp, butter and cheese.
Lots of scientific evidences suggest that dietary cholesterol bears little impact on a person’s risk of heart disease.