Cholesterol: The Myths Versus the Truth

 

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Does high cholesterol affect overweight people only, and can eating eggs and shellfish make it worse?

We separate fact from fiction

HIGH CHOLESTEROL IS A HIDDEN health risk, so it’s not surprising that there are a few myths surrounding the subject.

Find out which are the ones to take notice of…

MYTH

All cholesterol is bad

 

THE TRUTH

Cholesterol is essential for good health. It’s made in the liver, as well as being in the food we eat.

Cholesterol affects the way every cell works – the body needs it to make vitamin D and support the digestive system. There are two types.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) – the cholesterol that’s often labelled ‘good’ – helps to protect our health as it transfers cholesterol from the blood to the liver, where it is broken down or excreted.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol increases our risk of heart attack.

When too much of it, is in the blood, it can cause fatty material to build up in artery walls, making them narrower.

MYTH

Diet and exercise won’t make a difference

 

THE TRUTH

According to US research, following a ‘portfolio diet’, which contains less saturated fat and advocates being active, reduces blood cholesterol by up to 35% – about the same as a statin, one of the main cholesterol-lowering drugs.

No one should rely on medication alone.

MYTH

Only fat people have high cholesterol

 

THE TRUTH

The myth that only obese, unfit or elderly people have high cholesterol should be challenged – young and healthy people can have it, too.

MYTH

Eating eggs or shellfish increases cholesterol

 

THE TRUTH

Although naturally high in cholesterol, research indicates most people don’t need to limit their intake of these.

The exception is those with Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH), who, according to Heart UK, should limit their consumption of eggs to three or four a week and shellfish to one or two portions a week.

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