What Is Cholesterol?
It is common to associate cholesterol with weight gain, so how much cholesterol per day for weight loss? Firstly cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is made in the liver and found in some foods; it circulates throughout the bloodstream and is present in every single human cell.
Cholesterol plays a vital role in the development and well-being of the body, contrary to popular belief, it does not directly lead to weight gain. When too much cholesterol is consumed, it can start to clog up arteries, which in turn, will lead to high blood pressure and potentially cardiovascular diseases.
There are two types of cholesterol HDL and LDL:
HDL - High Density Lipoprotein is 'good' cholesterol, the higher your levels of this cholesterol the better. HDL cholesterol removes bad cholesterol from the blood and stops it from attaching to tissue walls. HDL is the cleaner of the cardiovascular system, scrubbing the inner walls of blood vessels and clearing out debris.
LDL - Low Density Lipoprotein is the bad kind of cholesterol. LDL is what builds up on artery walls, forming plaque. This build-up can lead to many negative health issues, so reducing LDL is important for maintaining overall health and well-being.
Cholesterol and Weight loss.
People who are overweight usually demonstrate higher levels of cholesterol. This is due to the consumption of high-calorie foods containing 'bad' fats.
Just like cholesterol, there are both good fats and bad fats. HDL cholesterol is found in the good, and LDL is found in the bad.
By reducing the consumption of bad fats, Whilst making an effort to consume an adequate amount of good fats/HDL; body weight should drop, and so should levels of cholesterol.
Lowering cholesterol will not lead to weight loss, but weight loss should potentially lead to a lowering in cholesterol.
There is plenty of misinformation out there about cholesterol, especially in regards to weight loss. Here are some myths with the facts that will hopefully clear up some confusion.
Myth: "All cholesterol is bad for you."
Fact: Cholesterol is an essential element of good health as it is needed for building cells and hormones. there are indeed both good and bad forms of cholesterol, but the 'bad' cholesterol only becomes bad when consumed in excess.
LDL (bad) cholesterol is a healer and is needed in the repair of tissue throughout the body; once it has done its work, HDL (good) cholesterol comes along and cleans everything up. If there is too much LDL or not enough HDL, the LDL cholesterol will form a plaque, which over time will keep building up on artery walls.
A build-up of plaque will lead to high blood pressure and eventually cardiovascular diseases if not properly managed.
Myth: "High cholesterol has symptoms."
Fact: Some people believe that they would be able to feel whether or not they had high levels of bad cholesterol, this, however, is not true.
Symptoms may only present themselves when it is too late and you are already at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke. This is why it is incredibly important to get your cholesterol checked by a health professional approximately every 5 years.
Myth: "Eating high cholesterol foods will make my cholesterol go up."
Fact: Whilst there is some truth to that statement, it isn't quite that simple. an increase in Cholesterol levels as a result of food is solely dependant on the type of food consumed.
Foods high in saturated fat such as animal products, red meat, milk cheese etc are high cholesterol foods and can lead to cholesterol increase. Plant-based foods such as olive oil, avocados and nuts are also high in cholesterol but will do nothing increase measurable cholesterol and may actually decrease it.
This is because it all depends on what kind of cholesterol is being consumed. LDL will make it go up, HDL will not.
Myth: "I can't do anything about my high cholesterol"
Fact: You absolutely can! High levels of cholesterol can be reduced by committing to some serious lifestyle adjustments and sticking to them. Here are just a few ways in which someone can reduce cholesterol.
- Quitting smoking
- Exercising regularly
- Making healthier food choices containing less LDL cholesterol.
- Increasing the consumption of foods high in HDL cholesterol.
- Increasing fibre intake.
- Only consuming alcohol in moderation.
Although cholesterol can be reduced over time, the best cure is always prevention. Adhering to a 'low cholesterol lifestyle' is the best practice to implement before symptoms arise.
Myth: "Bad cholesterol helps you live longer."
Fact: This is both a true and a false statement that inherently depends on circumstance.
Consuming high amounts of bad cholesterol will lead to a build-up of plaque in the arteries; the leading cause of heart diseases and other cardiovascular health concerns. so in that sense, bad cholesterol will not help you to live longer.
There have, however, been studies to suggest that those over the age of 60 with high levels of cholesterol, on average live longer than those who don't. This implies that LDL cholesterol might prolong life.
Foods The Help Reduce Cholesterol Levels.
Diet plays a tremendous role in general health and well-being, it can either keep you in good health or push you toward illness; so it is imperative to watch what you eat and make considered food choices.
Whilst food is the main contributing factor of developing high cholesterol, there are also foods and diet practices that can help to reduce it.
Is a low carb high fat diet cholesterol friendly? is the keto diet bad for cholesterol? should I avoid fat altogether? how much cholesterol per day for weight loss? There are many questions that can arise when trying to find the right foods to help in cholesterol reduction.
The best thing to do; is to keep things simple! Eat a variety of foods and keep things balanced, there's no need to eliminate food groups.
Eat nutritionally dense, well balanced, fresh foods whilst reducing the intake of LDL cholesterol found in red meat, dairy, saturated fats etc. and increasing intake of HDL cholesterol found in Oily fish, avocado and other sources of healthy fats.