What is Cholesterol

By Bloom Nwa - October 14, 2012

Not all Cholesterol is created equal!

Firstly what prompted me to write this post is that, this blog has a feature that lets one see the google searches that directed viewers to the site. Some of these searchers were "how much cholesterol in ogbona" or "does palm oil have a lot cholesterol"....These questions, as innocent and unassuming them may seem, only tell me how miss informed the general public is about nutrition.

I would like to start by saying Cholesterol is only....,ONLY, found in animal products. So if, a food does not come from an animal, no matter how fattening the food is, the food is cholesterol free.

I often see labels on products like different oils or some junk foods stating Cholesterol free. To the unknowing, one might read this and think this is healthier than the other one because it's cholesterol free. But ALL oils are Cholesterol free. Oil comes from plants, ogbonna comes from a plant, eguisi comes from a plant, and likewise they are all cholesterol free.

The only food products that have cholesterol are: all meats, and any products with eggs or dairy in them. Dairy products would include milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and butter.

So what exactly is cholesterol

Cholesterol is a steroid of fat produced naturally in our bodies and found in food containing animal products. But not all cholesterol is created equally. There 4 main types of cholesterol found in our bodies; chylomicrons, VLDL, LDL (low density lipoprotiens), and HDL (high density lipoprotiens). The two of primary concern are the LDLs (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). So if you didn't know, now you know that some cholesterol is actually good for you. Now let me explain why.

High levels of circulating blood lipids (fats as well as cholesterol) is not a good thing in our bodies. It can lead to plaque build up in the blood vessels leading to high blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues. HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), actually helps remove lipids from the blood vessels, while LDL cholesterol, bad cholesterol, transports lipids to the blood stream.

So it is actually a good thing to have high HDL cholesterol levels in our body. Certain foods increases levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol in our bodies; fats in particular. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like those found in Omega-3 fatty acids actually increase HDL cholesterol levels in our body, which is one way they have a cardio-protective effect on our body. Saturated fats and trans fats, like those found in processed foods, butter, and animal fats can increase LDL cholesterol, which is one reason one should stay away form these types of fats. Yes, palm oil can lead to higher levels of LDL cholesterol, which is why i suggest using carotino oil as a substitute it you use palm oil heavily. Intake of saturated fats have a more negative effect on  blood cholesterol than actuall intake of cholesterol. A high cholesterol diet can still higher blood cholesterol but a diet high in saturated fat is worse. So, particularly if you are suffering from high cholesterol, you should not only monitor you cholesterol intake but also your fat intake.

I hope you now see why not all Cholesterol is created equal. Just remember if you are buying products and they are not animal based, but they say cholesterol free, it is only an advertisement gimmick to make it appear better than similar products. Because all food products not stemming form animals are cholesterol free.



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12 Comments

  1. I am satisfied with your blog. Your post is dear. Thanks for sharing your precious comprehension with me.

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  2. Love your blog but I got confuse somewhere.u said that it every that is animal free is cholesterol free.but you went ahead to say that palm oil can lead to LDL.to my understanding palm oil is from plant.how do we resolve this?your urgent reply will be well appreciated.

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    Replies
    1. yes when it comes from foods we eat, cholesterol can only be found in animal products. But cholesterol is also made in our bodies

      It has to do with how the fats in the palm oil effect cholesterol in your body. Fats can positively or negatively effect cholesterol levels in the body. Generally saturated and trans fat are bad and will raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in body, while unsaturated fats primarily monounsaturated can actually help lower cholesterol levels. Palm oil has a mixture of both saturated and unsaturated fats

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  3. I would have asked the same question from Sunny. And even with your answer above,one could conclude that apart from palm oil ( plant based) all external cholesterol build up in our body comes from animal products.

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  4. So I became a vegetarian, stopped eating cholesterol and it became much easier to stomach

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  5. I know that excess cholesterol is very harmful to the health of our body. It is bad for the heart and blood vessels.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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