5 Cholesterol Myths That May Be Ruining Your Health

Many of us think cholesterol is bad. Surprisingly, you can’t live without it. Your body needs cholesterol to generate vitamin D, produce cell membranes, form bile acids, and regulate protein pathways, according to research.

Common Cholesterol Myths

In fact, most of what we think we know about cholesterol is not true. These are some common cholesterol myths you should know.

1. Dietary cholesterol is bad for your health.

According to Harvard health, your liver produces three-quarters of the cholesterol in your body. Now, your body wouldn’t produce this much cholesterol if it weren’t beneficial.

As I mentioned above, cholesterol is vital for keeping your cells healthy.

You may also be surprised to find out that your brain needs cholesterol. In fact, 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body is found in the brain.

2. Eggs cause high cholesterol levels.

To this day, I know people who avoid egg yolks to keep their cholesterol levels in check. And I understand why someone would avoid egg yolks. One egg contains 200 mg of cholesterol, which is 67 percent of the recommended daily intake.

However, dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol. Studies show that the liver produces less cholesterol when we eat high-cholesterol foods. In this study, researchers found that eating three whole eggs per day helped raise HDL, aka ‘good’ cholesterol.

The real reason to avoid eggs is what happens to the male chicks, who aren’t useful to the egg industry

5 Cholesterol Myths that May Be Ruining Your Health

3. You need a low-saturated fat diet to lower cholesterol.

By now, many of us know that fat doesn’t make us fat. However, many are still worried that eating saturated fats will raise their cholesterol levels.

In one study, people who ate plant-based foods and margarine enriched with plant sterols lowered LDL cholesterol by 13 percent, while those who were on a low-saturated fat diet lowered LDL by three percent, over a period of six months.

This goes to show that cutting out saturated fats isn’t the secret to lowering cholesterol. You’re better off increasing your intake of plant-based foods.

4. Only adults have high cholesterol.

Did you know that kids can have high cholesterol? This usually happens when the child’s body can’t get rid of excess cholesterol due to a liver problem.

Just like adults, kids can normalize cholesterol levels by being active, eating whole foods, and cutting back on sugar.

5. Foods labeled “0 mg cholesterol” or “cholesterol free” are heart-healthy.

Just because a food is labeled, “0 mg cholesterol” doesn’t mean it’s good for your heart. It may be high in sugar and other unhealthy ingredients that increase the risk of heart disease.

Look out for other unhealthy ingredients like trans fats (hydrogenated fats), sugar, and artificial sweeteners.

Images via Thinkstock

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