What Most Doctors Won’t Tell You About Cholesterol
Say the word cholesterol and many people cringe. To them the word is directly related to health problems such as high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. I myself wrote in the past about 10 ways to reduce your cholesterol naturally as well as about this natural substance to lower cholesterol. However this time I want to present you with a different point of view that claims that the above assumption falls into the seemingly endless pit of health misconceptions, and in fact it turns out that cholesterol is not only safe, but necessary for a healthy lifestyle .
Uffe Ravnskov’s book “The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease” has laid the groundwork for a completely new perspective of cholesterol in the nutritional science community. As an award-winning researcher and former doctor, Ravnskov gives an authoritative consideration that cholesterol’s link to health problems is more food myth than fact.
Contemporary society is no stranger to nutritional myths that make people frequently, and unnecessarily, change their diets. In his book, Ravnskov debunk the cholesterol myth and discuss why you might not have to dump your egg yolks down the drain for a morning omelet.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a food compound that is found only in animal products. It’s entirely absent in fruit and vegetables and most commonly ingested from egg yolks, butter, bacon, cooking oil and most other foods with saturated fats. The bloodstream cholesterol comes mostly from the liver’s processing of nutrients, as well as from ingesting food products containing it. Every cell contains cholesterol and it’s abundant in living tissue.
You’ll see below that cholesterol has more uses for the body than it is typically given credit for. It’s reach of health benefits range from the brain to bones to hormones and many other parts of the body and functions within it. It’s important to keep in mind that foods that are high in saturated fats are often high in calories. It’s this fact, claims the author, that makes things like double cheeseburgers with bacon and cheese bad for your health — not the cholesterol.
According to the book, there have been several widespread misconceptions about cholesterol consumption. It is said to increase atherosclerosis, which can lead to an increased likelihood of coronary heart disease. Some studies have revealed that people with low blood cholesterol, however, can face atherosclerotic just as people with high cholesterol. There has also been a considerable amount of bias in the people tested, many of whom were more susceptible to heart to disease to begin with .
Another claim is that other anti-cholesterol advocates have cited the drop in blood pressure when reducing dietary animal fats. This does happen, but the drop is relatively small (usually less than 4%), and when you decrease cholesterol consumption, the body starts producing more cholesterol. There have been cultures around the world, such as the African Samburu tribes and Somalia shepherds, who have large amounts of saturated fats in their diet, yet still have notably healthy cholesterol levels .
The author claims that heart attacks are frightening, but there hasn’t actually been a solid link between them and cholesterol in saturated fat. Studies spanning the previous century have failed to actually link people that had heart attacks with higher saturated fat diets. The diets of most heart attack victims were relatively similar to the rest of the population in terms of cholesterol consumption, leaving a dire need for more relevant and modern studies .
According to the book, the bulk of theory that denotes a low-fat diet as an explicitly healthier alternative is outdated and often cast away as unreliable. One study happened more than half a century ago and used rabbits instead of human test subjects, eventually forming the fallacy that people should avoid fat in their diets . There have been many experiments like this since, most of them with a common flaw: citing nutritional “facts” without thorough and valid support.
What Cholesterol Does for Health
The author claims that if you had little to no cholesterol in your body, death would be inevitable. Cell walls within living tissue are a mixture of fat, protein and cholesterol; without this trifecta the body would experience significant cell damage and cell death. It’s a key player in many vital functions of the body. It keeps your bones healthy. It makes sure your liver works efficiently. It encourages healthy nerve function. It even ensures the health of your own brain .
Cholesterol is also a steroid. Not the dangerous kind that is frequently bedeviled in the weightlifting community, but the natural kind that helps produce hormones and build muscle. In order for the body to produce sex and adrenal hormones, it needs to use cholesterol as a building block . The following benefits are only a few that are a result of sufficient hormone production:
- Anti-inflammatory properties that prevent immune hyper function
- Controlling sodium and potassium transportation with electrolytes
- Increased libido with aging, as well as anti-aging effects
- Healthy bone density and strength
- Calcium regulation within the blood using vitamin D
- Regulation of menstrual cycles
- Increased focus, memory and energy
So if cholesterol isn’t that bad, why do these myths persist?
That’s not the easiest question to answer. Many nutritional facts are tricky areas that require exhaustive effort to prove with validity.
Some have suggested that the pharmaceutical industry is making too much profit of cholesterol lowering drugs, which can cause a loss of strength, memory and a diminished sexual function, to care.
Other claim that all of the ill-supported studies that suggest cholesterol’s health destroying effects have given people the comfort to confide in this food myth.
Even the American Hearth Association writes in its website that “cholesterol itself isn’t bad. In fact, cholesterol is just one of the many substances created and used by our bodies to keep us healthy”. The Association later talks about the risks of excess cholesterol.
So you don’t have to dump your egg yolks down the drain anymore. As a matter of fact, it might be that the nutritional benefits of the egg yolks will pay off, as long as you keep your calories and physical lifestyle in check.
I guess moderation is the key here. Even butter, which received a lot of bad publicity in the past, has some surprising health benefits found by newer studies that now encourage the consumption of this ancient yellow spread in moderation. Read more about it here: