13 Apr The Update On Cholesterol: What You Need To Know
By Lexi Orlan, Contributing Blogger
In recent years, many folks have stayed away from eggs, butter, and full fat milk because of the high amounts of cholesterol found in these foods. With the recent release of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, the latest cholesterol recommendations (of lack thereof) may have you enjoying eggs again.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol has many functions in the body including making bile, which helps breakdown fat you eat. You need cholesterol to live, but your body can make it on its own so it’s not considered essential to get it from food.
But don’t get confused between cholesterol from food and from the body. There are two major types of cholesterol in your body. The first, LDL (or low-density lipoprotein), is the “bad” cholesterol because it causes plaque to form and build up in your arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Studies have showed that saturated and trans fat from foods like the skin of the chicken or bakery products, raise your LDL cholesterol and not cholesterol from food.
The second type of cholesterol in your body, HDL (or high-density lipoprotein), is the “good” cholesterol, which carries LDL back to the liver to be disposed.
What About the Cholesterol in Food?
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that dietary cholesterol, or cholesterol from the food you eat, has little impact on blood cholesterol as a whole. Scientific evidence suggests that it is the saturated fats you eat that increase your risk of heart disease. As it turns out, many of the foods containing high amounts of cholesterol also contain high amounts of saturated fat, so these foods should be eaten sparingly.
Bottom Line: Go ahead, enjoy an omelet for breakfast! Although you no longer need to track foods containing cholesterol, it is best to still keep an eye on them and follow a balanced diet to keep your body healthy.
Lexi Orlan is a junior dietetics major at the University of Delaware. She hopes to become a registered dietitian and use her passion for food and health to better others’ lives.