Cholesterol – it’s become a hot topic over the years and an even harder topic to understand.
There are so many untruths floating around, that it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. Just how much animal fat is too much? And are you creating dangerously high cholesterol by what you eat?
Let’s look at some of the most common myths surrounding cholesterol and debunk them.
#1. Cholesterol is Deadly
Fact – Cholesterol is vital to the cells of every mammal not just humans. It is not a poison and it is not deadly. There is good and badcholesterol but your physical activity, mental stress, and body weight can influence the levels of cholesterol found in your body.
High cholesterol by itself isn’t dangerous but it does indicate there may be something else going on in your body. Then again it might be completely benign.
#2. Cholesterol Causes Atherosclerosis
Fact – By itself, high blood cholesterol does not lead to heart disease or atherosclerosis. A number of studies indicate that people with both high cholesterol and low cholesterol can develop atherosclerosis.
#3 You Produce More Cholesterol Than You Consume
Fact – When you eat very little cholesterol your body will produce more cholesterol and when you eat more cholesterol your body will produce less cholesterol.
It seems that our bodies can adjust levels naturally which also explains why diet alone will not lower your cholesterol.
#4. Eating Animal Fats Leads To Heart Attacks
Fact – There are more than 20 studies that show people who have had a heart attack have not consumed more fat than other people.
The degree of heart attacks or atherosclerosis appears unrelated to diet and cholesterol levels when autopsies are performed.
#5. Eating Animal Fats Causes Heart Disease
Fact - To date there is no actual evidence to support this claim.
In fact, quite the opposite has been found. When autopsies are conducted on those who had died from a heart attack and ate high levels of dietary fat compared to those who died of a heart attack that ate low levels of dietary fat, there was no difference related to their diets and their death.
Even though there is a great deal of speculation about the role of animal fat and its link to heart disease, new research suggests that these claims are dubious at best because there isn’t enough science to back them up.
Bottom line – cholesterol is a complicated subject and it is very difficult to know whether what you are doing or eating is good for you or harming your health.
In many cases the simplest solution is to choose to live a healthy lifestyle that includes regular daily exercise, eating a nutritious healthy diet that does not contain processed or packaged foods, getting a good night’s sleep, reducing the stress in your life, stopping smoking if you smoke, if you drink do so only in moderation and learn to laugh - they say laughter is the best medicine!