Cholesterol Myths – Low-Fat Diets And Healthy Living
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in every cell in our body and is necessary for the body to function properly. Most cholesterol is produced in the liver, but it can also be obtained from certain dietary sources. We are told time and time again that cholesterol is the enemy of the heart. But researchers such as Dr. Johnny Bowden and Dr. Steven Sinatra argue in their book, The Truth About Cholesterol, that the cholesterol myth has been pushed by the pharmaceutical industry to continue making millions of dollars a year from statins, the drugs prescribed to people with high cholesterol. The Truth About Cholesterol. The controversy surrounding the relationship between fat intake and cholesterol has been attracting the attention of experts in the field of nutrition and health. On the one hand, some defend fat consumption, while on the other hand, others demonize it. So who is right? Here are three popular beliefs, and the arguments for each that have been refuted by recent research.
Myth #1: Cholesterol Is Bad For Your Health. False.
Let’s start by defining what cholesterol is. According to nutritionist and dietitian Sarah Antolin, “Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is found in every cell in our body and is necessary for the body to function properly. Most cholesterol is produced in the liver, but it can also be obtained from certain foods. It is important to distinguish between good and bad cholesterol. In order for the blood to transport cholesterol from the liver and intestines to the organs, it must be attached to particles called lipoproteins. There are two types of lipoproteins: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is considered good cholesterol because it collects unused cholesterol and returns it to the liver, where it is excreted by the bile. On the other hand, bad cholesterol (LDL) builds up on the walls of arteries, forming plaques that block the flow of blood to the heart. But it doesn’t stop there. There are two types of “bad” cholesterol: large LDL particles (benign) and small, dense LDL particles (malignant). And it is the latter that has been linked to heart disease.
Myth #2: A Low-Fat Diet Is Good. False.
Antolin makes it clear: “People must understand that fat is essential in our diet so that our organs and vital systems can get all the nutrients and function properly.” And this extends to saturated fats. In the past, saturated fats were considered the worst of the worst, but recent studies have shown that saturated fats don’t deserve such a bad reputation. According to a paper published by doctors at CGH Medical Center in Illinois, saturated fats were found to increase HDL cholesterol and were not directly linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Also in 2010, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a paper reviewing data from 21 studies involving 345,747 people, and the analysis showed no link between saturated fat and heart disease risk. Absolutely nothing. But beyond that, “saturated fats, like coconut oil, are the best choice for high-temperature cooking because they’re the most stable.” And unsaturated fats, Antolin explained, react to heat and contain many double bonds that are particularly susceptible to oxidation and “can form toxic substances that eventually go bad They have the potential.”
Saturated Fats and Heart Disease
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition collected data from 21 studies and the analysis showed no relationship between saturated fats and the risk of heart disease. But if that’s not enough to dispel your body’s fear of saturated fats, know that saturated fats are nutrient-rich, especially rich in vitamins A, E and K2.
Myth #3: High Cholesterol Will Give You A Heart Attack. False.
A Harvard University study found that people with a high triglyceride to HDL ratio were 16 times more likely to have a heart attack than those with a low triglyceride to HDL ratio. In addition, a paper published by researchers at UCLA found that nearly 75 percent of patients hospitalized for heart attacks had normal cholesterol levels, suggesting that the higher the cholesterol level, the higher the risk of a heart attack. In fact, most heart attack patients have metabolic syndrome in common. Metabolic syndrome is a silent but dangerous disease that can lead to serious heart problems as well as very serious complications such as stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and kidney disease.
Dispelling The Myths
Nearly 75 percent of patients hospitalized for heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels. In this regard, it is important to note that one of the main factors of the metabolic syndrome is low levels of HDL (good cholesterol): below 40 mg/dL for men and below 50 mg/dL for women, according to the International Diabetes Foundation. “For too long, the nutritional pyramid has given fat an opposing role in our health,” explains Antolin, but “research shows that healthy fatty acids are essential for the proper functioning of our bodies.” Remember, in life, almost nothing is black and white. A simple blood test can tell your HDL and LDL levels, and your doctor can tell you what to do based on those results. If you want advice, the best thing you can do is to eat a balanced diet, stay active and live an active life.