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The Myths and Truths about Cholesterol


There are a wide variety of myths that are floating around about cholesterol. It can be difficult to wade through the plethora of information to find what is correct or incorrect. In this post, we will briefly touch upon some of the more common myths associated with cholesterol and the real facts that we have.


Myths and Truths

MYTH: People with high cholesterol are more prone to heart attacks
TRUTH: Young and middle-aged men with cholesterol levels over 350 are slightly more at risk for heart attacks. Those who have cholesterol levels just below are at no greater risk than those whose cholesterol is very low. For elderly men and for women of all ages, high cholesterol is associated with a longer lifespan.

MYTH: Cholesterol & saturated fat clog arteries.
TRUTH: There is very little cholesterol or saturated fat in the arterial plaque or clogs. Most of the material is a calcium deposit akin to lime and most of the fatty acids are unsaturated.

MYTH: Eating saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods will cause cholesterol levels to rise and make people more susceptible to heart disease.
TRUTH: Many studies show no relationship between diet and cholesterol levels; there is no evidence that saturated fats and cholesterol-rich food contribute to heart disease. As Americans have cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods, rates of heart disease have gone up.

MYTH: Cholesterol-lowering drugs have saved many lives.
TRUTH: In the two most recent trials, involving over 10,000 subjects, cholesterol-lowering did not result in any improvement outcome.

MYTH: Countries that have a high consumption of animal fat and cholesterol have higher rates of heart disease.
TRUTH: There are many exceptions to this observation, such as France and Spain. Furthermore, an association is not the same as a cause. In wealthy countries where people eat a lot of animal foods, many other factors exist that can contribute to heart disease.


The Various Roles of Cholesterol

  • Cholesterol is produced by almost every cell in the body
  • Cholesterol makes cells waterproof to ensure no different chemistry on the inside and the outside of a cell.
  • Cholesterol is nature's repair substance for repairing wounds
  • Many important hormones are made of cholesterol, such as, blood sugar regulation, hormones that deal with stress, and even testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
  • Cholesterol is a vital function of the brain and nervous system
  • Cholesterol is a precursor of vitamin D.
  • Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals and therefore against cancer.
  • Cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) helps fight infections.


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The following blog post utilized information and facts from the following source(s):

The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts. "Myths & Truths about Cholesterol" 2010. Print.

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