Busting Cholesterol Myths

Busting Cholesterol Myths

Dr.Neeraj Mehta profile Authored by Dr.Neeraj Mehta on 29 Feb 2016 - 09:35.


Much has been said and heard about cholesterol lately. Switch on the television, and you get to see an advertisement about cholesterol free oils or food items.We give in to those 30 sec commercials and it becomes the main culprit of heart diseases.

Cholesterol is not bad afterall. You would be surprised to know that the body requires cholesterol for performing several processes,  such as insulating the nerve cells of the brain, providing structure for cell membrane. It is also very important for normal cell functioning and the main molecule for major hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Confused? You need not be.

Here are some facts about cholesterol:

Fact# 1

Your body produces cholesterol:   Cholesterol is vital for normal functioning of the cells in your body which is produced by liver and other cells. Cholesterol is a waxy substance which travels in your bloodstream through 2 of its carriers - High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL). Out of these two carriers, LDL is the bad cholesterol.

It’s not the cholesterol but it’s the carrier LDL, which is responsible for many heart diseases and artery related diseases. This information may be extremely beneficial for you  when looking at the labels on the food items, to help you understand what to avoid.

Fact # 2

Dietary Cholesterol is not dangerous: Now that you know that it’s not cholesterol but LDL, that is bad for you, you must be careful about consuming the right kind of food. Dietary cholesterol is not bad as once thought, in fact if dietary cholesterol intake rises, then liver compensates by producing less cholesterol of its own. As per American Heart Association 300 mg of cholesterol is recommended per day.

What really needs to be avoided is a high fat diet and sugary food items; as such foods/ drinks have a very strong impact on your LDL level. Packaged/processed foods are high in Trans fat similarly saturated fat found in animal protein and dairy products, cause high LDL levels.

Fact # 3

Eggs are good for you: Eggs have been criticized for a high amount of cholesterol. One medium egg has approximately 180 mg of cholesterol; however eggs are an extremely good source of protein and unsaturated fats. And if you eat one or two eggs a few times in a week, you may meet your daily recommended protein and fat requirement.

Fact # 4

High cholesterol is not an age related disease: This myth can really lead to serious consequences as high LDL levels is often related with age. Having said that, it is often understood that children can’t get LDL related disease such as heart disease or atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries). Studies have proven that kids who have obesity and follow an inactive lifestyle can develop coronary disease at a very young age. Kids should be taught to have good eating habits, fat intake should be controlled and they should be involved in any physical activity.

Fact # 5

Prevention is cure: LDL can go uncontrolled at any age, and cause problems. The estrogen hormone keeps their cholesterol levels in control until menopause. Women over 55 and men after 45 can be at great risk of high LDL levels if they have unhealthy  eating habits and lead a sedentary life. If there is a family history of  cholesterol, taking preventive steps is very important.

In case you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, then the reason for high cholesterol should be found out. Low levels of LDLs are usually considered healthy. But study shows that people with low LDL are at higher risk. So, your LDL level should be balanced.



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