Cholesterol:The best friend of obesity

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Cholesterol:The best friend of obesity

What is cholesterol?

Most people think that cholesterol is a kind of fat, but actually it’s an alcohol. It serves numerous functions in the body, such as assisting the permeability of cell membranes and serving as the base of sex hormone molecules, cortisol, and Vitamin D.

How do we get cholesterol?

Our livers naturally produce cholesterol — approximately 1 gram of the substance per day. We store it in the gallbladder. We also get cholesterol through our diets.

How does cholesterol travel in the body?

Cholesterol is shuttled about by substances known as lipoproteins. Major lipoprotein classes include chylomicrons, high density lipoproteins (HDL), and low density lipoproteins (LDL). There are also two more important classes — intermediate density lipoproteins (IDL) and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). Different lipoproteins play vastly different biochemical roles. Indeed, one of the great debates in dietary science over the past half-a-century has centered around the roles of lipoproteins as they relate to cholesterol transport and deposition.

What are some foods that contain dietary cholesterol?

    * Egg yolks
    * Meats
    * Lard
    * Butter
    * Other products made from or with animal fats
    * Flaxseeds
    * Peanuts and almonds
    * Peas
    * Milk

How is testing is typically done to determine cholesterol levels in the blood?

Standard tests look for levels of HDLs, LDLs, and triglycerides. These tests do not, however, differentiate between LDL and VLDL levels. As you’ll see if you keep reading this website, this oversight potentially holds devastating consequences.

Is there a debate about whether dietary cholesterol is really bad for you?

Contrary to what you might have heard from the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, many medical professionals, and your neighbor, yes — good scientists and doctors disagree about this issue!

In fact, the very idea that there’s a consensus among physicians and researchers that dietary cholesterol is an unmitigated evil is, I believe, problematic. Scientists who challenge this opinion find themselves often painted as crackpots or as shills of the beef and poultry industry. The reality, however, is that the chemistry of cholesterol is complicated. And evidence abounds to finger dietary carbohydrates — not dietary cholesterol! — as the likely source of many of society’s health problems.

For more information about the myths and realities of cholesterol, I commend you to check out Good Calories, Bad Calories, a stellar, well-researched book written by award winning science journalist, Gary Taubes.

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