Cholesterol: The Claims
The American Heart Association tells us, high cholesterol is a major risk factor associated with coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informs us that losing weight can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re all familiar with the claims. We get it! Cholesterol is bad mmmkay.
But what about the health claims?
Harvard tells us that cholesterol is essential for human health.
Science Daily informs us that cholesterol is vital to efficient brain function.
PubMed states that cholesterol serves as a necessary antioxidant to sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.
What’s your point Katie? We all know there’s “good (HDL)” and “bad (LDL)” cholesterol. Right?
Well, not exactly.
Let’s have a closer look at this alleged “bad cholesterol.” Truth be told, LDL is not a cholesterol molecule at all, good or bad. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. LDL is actually a carrier protein, and the fundamental role of LDL is to capture life-supporting cholesterol and transport it to the neuron, where it performs critically important brain functions.
So why the bad rap?
The problem isn’t the functioning LDL, the problem is when LDL becomes oxidized. When this happens, the LDL becomes so damaged that it’s no longer able to deliver cholesterol to the brain.
So the question is, what causes LDL oxidization?
It’s got to be the eggs, shrimp and all the other “bad cholesterol” foods we’re told raise our LDL. Right?
Wrong. Try glucose!
I’m not making this shit up folks. Renowned neurologist, David Perlmutter tells us,
One of the most common causes of LDL oxidization is through physical modification by glucose. Sugar molecules actually attach themselves to LDL and change the molecule’s shape, rendering it less useful while increasing free radical production.
And by glucose we’re not just talking about sugar. We’re talking about any molecule that breaks down into glucose (simple or complex).
So you’re telling me a bowl of steal-cut oats topped off with sliced banana may be aiding in oxidizing my LDL?
Now you’ve got it!
Our bodies thrive on “healthy fats,” and cholesterol is in fact a healthy fat*. Unfortunately, most of us have been trained to believe that eating fat will make us fat. In reality, fat gain has almost nothing to do with dietary fat consumption and everything to do with our addiction to carbs.
Dr. Perlmutter tells us the same is true for cholesterol:
Eating high-cholesterol foods has no impact on our actual cholesterol levels, and the alleged correlation between higher cholesterol and higher cardiac risk is an absolute fallacy.
*If you have no idea which fats classify as “healthy fats” I’ve cleared up all the confusion by building a healthy fat cheat sheet. Click below to download your FREE cheat sheet!
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