Cholesterol and your diet....

Friday, October 7, 2011 - 19:33
I was out to dinner the other night when I heard an all too common belief uttered from the mouth of one of my dinner companions; “I can’t wait to be able to eat bacon and butter again” he said. When I asked why he can’t eat these foods he replied because he has high cholesterol and his doctor told him to stay away from fatty high cholesterol foods. When I asked what he ate instead he said pasta, bread, cereals etc….

Most people believe that cholesterol is a product of our diet and is bad. The truth is that only 20% of blood cholesterol comes from our diets, the other 80% is produced by our bodies. Cholesterol is essential to the function of every cell in the body for structural support of the membranes and is mostly produced by the liver and the intestines. It is also a component of the brain and of nerve cells, and in the production of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. For the last four to five decades medical establishments have maintained that elevated serum cholesterol levels are the primary cause of coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading killer in the western world, and that the best way to avoid CHD is by lowering the amount of fat in our diets. This has led to an explosion of low fat foods (read as refined carbohydrate foods; breads, pasta, cereals) being produced and consumed. Not only has this NOT lead to a reduction in the occurrence of CHD but it has produced a marked increase in the occurrence of obesity and diabetes.

In March 10’ the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a meta-analysis—which combines data from several studies—that compared the reported daily food intake of nearly 350,000 people against their risk of developing cardiovascular disease over a period of 5 to 23 years. The analysis, overseen by Ronald M. Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, found no association between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the risk of heart disease.

Numerous studies have shown that insulin is the main regulator in the production of cholesterol. An increase in insulin results in an increase in serum cholesterol. Carbohydrate, especially when refined, yields by far the largest increases in insulin. It takes only a few short, simple steps to go from ingesting refined carbohydrates to increasing internal synthesis of cholesterol.

“If you reduce saturated fat and replace it with high glycemic-index carbohydrates, you may not only not get benefits—you might actually produce harm,” says David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children’s Hospital Boston. The next time you eat a piece of buttered toast, he says, consider that “butter is actually the more healthful component.”

Just a little food for thought.....