Cholesterol MythsHealth Health & Wellness Top of the List
The fact that more than a third of Americans have high cholesterol is cause for concern, but a lot of the information we’ve heard over the decades is simply not true anymore. Our nutritional guru, Greg McCoy, breaks down the myths surrounding cholesterol.
“It’s not the evil villain that we’ve made it out to be. It is vital in the production of sex hormones, it is vital in the production of new tissue, and it assists with creating bile in the liver which helps you break down your food,” he says.
Myth #1: No More Than 300MG A Day.
Let’s start with the fact that until recently, the FDA recommended no more than 300 milligrams (about the weight of ten grains of rice) of it a day — for some perspective, a single egg has 212 milligrams (about twice the weight of a business card).
“In 2015 they actually removed the daily limit of cholesterol saying that there is no upper limit in dietary cholesterol because they cannot prove the link between dietary cholesterol, and cholesterol in the blood.”
Greg says it’s important to understand the two types. “There’s basically two types of cholesterol, high density, HDL cholesterol which we nicknamed the good cholesterol, and low density, LDL cholesterol which we nicknamed the bad cholesterol.”
The American Heart Association says that the HDL, or good stuff, helps lower the LDL bad stuff naturally, but keeping it in check is important.
Myth #2: High Cholesterol Foods Are Off Limits.
Greg says, “Some of the foods that are very healthy fats for you will help increase your HDL cholesterol they’ve got either monounsaturated fats in them or polyunsaturated fats.” Nuts, avocados, and grass-fed eggs are examples — then there’s the saturated fat found in red meat, which he says is fine in moderation. Greg recommends pairing high-fiber foods like veggies, with those fatty meats because it plays a significant role in our cholesterol levels.
Myth #3: Fit People Don’t Need To Worry
“Being fit does not exclude you from needing to worry about cholesterol. Being externally healthy looking and internally healthy do not go hand in hand all of the time,” Greg says. Genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors such as smoking and stress can boost our bad cholesterol. “There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, the only way to know is to get regular blood work done and have those cholesterol levels checked.”
The American Heart Association recommends that adults over the age of 20 get their cholesterol checked at least every four years.