Why Cholesterol IS NOT The Bad Guy We Make It Out To Be!

Too much of something is usually a bad thing, particularly in the nutrition and health world. Surplus to requirements of anything could cause a plethora of problems including excessive weight gain (excess calories), Diabetes (excess fat and sugar) or heart disease (excess fat and cholesterol).

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol can be in two forms, dietary and blood cholesterol with dietary cholesterol referring to the cholesterol we consume in food, and blood cholesterol relating to the level of certain cholesterol types (HDL, LDL, triglycerides) circulating around our body.

Dietary Cholesterol

Described as a wax-like substance that is part of the steroid family that is actually essential to life! Without cholesterol our cells would collapse and cease to exist, whilst our ability to digest fats would no longer be possible because of cholesterols part in making bile salts. In addition, cholesterol is also key to the production of steroid hormones and even vitamin D.

How Dietary Cholesterol effects Blood cholesterol

The effect that dietary cholesterol has on blood cholesterol is actually quite a small one because of the bodies ability to reduce the amount of cholesterol released into the body in response to the amount of dietary cholesterol consumed. So if you consume relatively large amounts of cholesterol (not advised however), the body will adapt in order to reduce the amount of cholesterol synthesised internally. Problems arise when people regularly consume high levels of dietary cholesterol, similarly problems might occur if too little is consumed.

Getting the balance right in all walks of life is key to physical and social harmony…avoiding a nutritional component completely, unless you’re Coeliac (avoid gluten) or lactose intolerant (avoid lactose) for example is never advisable, you never know how important these things may be to your body. So it is prudent to be aware of what it is you're placing onto your mouth, but do not let this become obsessive because actually there may be more to that food group than you realise, and excluding that whole food group may leave you short of something you need.

References

Thomas, B & Bishop, J. (2007). Manual of dietetic practice. 4th Ed. Dietary Cholesterol. Kent: Blackwell Publishing.

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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