Friday, March 20, 2015

Everything You Thought You Knew About Cholesterol Is Wrong

Cholesterol Level Myths Fat Butter Heart Toast Plate Knife 
En español l Ninety-nine million Americans have high cholesterol, and most of what they know about their condition is probably wrong. We've asked medical experts to weigh in on seven common cholesterol misconceptions.
Myth: Cholesterol is bad

Truth: Cholesterol is like cake, good in moderation. It's misleading to call cholesterol an evil, artery-clogging fat because cholesterol performs a lot of important functions.

The waxy substance helps produce hormones, cell membranes and vitamin D, and aids in digestion. It also plays a role in cognitive function, helping to form memories. Most of the cholesterol in your bloodstream is, in fact, created by your body, not your diet.

Still, this doesn't mean you should skip fruit in favor of steak. To keep your cholesterol levels under 200 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL, it's essential to exercise, eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight and quit smoking.


Myth: A low-fat diet is best


Truth: Bring back the butter. Research is challenging the decades-old notion that saturated fat — found primarily in meat, butter and cheese — is the leading cause of clogged arteries and heart disease. While saturated fat does increase LDL ("bad") cholesterol, it also increases HDL ("good") cholesterol. Plus, there are other dietary villains — such as too much sugar and carbohydrates — that can also lead to a buildup of artery-clogging particles. A study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found no link between eating saturated fats and increased risk of heart attacks. Foods high or low in saturated fat can be harmful, beneficial or neutral, depending on the type of food, says Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., a coauthor of the study and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A low-carb diet — meaning low in foods like white bread, white rice, potatoes, crackers and sugar — is more effective for raising "good" cholesterol and reducing triglycerides, he says. Adding healthy fats, such as nuts and olive oil, can also help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

For the rest of the story: http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2015/cholesterol-myths.html

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