Today, high cholesterol is becoming increasingly common in our society. Therefore, it is quite possible that myths contain suggestions on how to lower cholesterol. In this article, we will refute the most common myths about cholesterol-lowering diets.
Common myths about cholesterol-lowering diets
To learn how these myths emerged, it’s a good idea to first know what hypercholesterolemia is and how it can affect health.
What is high cholesterol?
Hypercholesterolemia is a disease characterized by high blood cholesterol levels. This may be a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases as it facilitates the formation of atheromatous plaque.
Having high “bad” cholesterol (LDL) makes it easier for blood-carrying molecules to enter the vascular walls of the arteries. They oxidize there, causing an inflammatory reaction in the body.
However, cholesterol is an indicator of cardiovascular risk, among other risks. In addition to keeping track of “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol” values, medical professionals should analyze inflammatory markers and whether these cholesterol molecules are large or small.
Read: Keep High Cholesterol Under Control Through Diet
Do you need to follow a low-fat diet?
You’ve probably heard the legend that you always have to follow a low-fat diet. If cholesterol is carried by lipids, it seems logical that if you reduce the fat in your diet, you will also lower your cholesterol levels, especially saturated fat.
However, recent studies refute this because saturated fats appear to increase more HDL or “good” cholesterol than LDL or “bad” cholesterol. In addition, experts have discovered that saturated fats do not worsen heart disease. Often, people consume refined grains instead of saturated fats. However, this is not true. Therefore, your diet should be healthy and contain enough fat.
The best types of oil are found in:
- Oily fish
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Myths about cholesterol-lowering diets: Does consuming cholesterol increase cholesterol?
The origins of this legend are in the eggs, because many people think that eating too many eggs can increase your blood cholesterol levels because the eggs are rich in cholesterol. However, this has proved to be untrue. Actually, Eating eggs frequently in a healthy diet can increase “good” cholesterol, as this study shows.
Most studies have found no association between cholesterol intake and blood cholesterol. Your body has a cholesterol regulation system that adjusts cholesterol synthesis to produce what they need. The more cholesterol you include in your diet, the less it produces, and vice versa.
Should you consume more vegetables and less animal fat?
This will depend on the type of fat that each food contains.
Vegetable oils, such as palm oil, are often found in pastries and ultra-processed foods and increase cardiovascular risk. Also, highly refined seed oils containing too much omega-6 can be inflammatory. Trans fats, which are also found in ultra-processed foods, are more harmful than animal fats.
Therefore, should you prefer margarine over butter? This is not necessary because margarine usually contains this type of hydrogenated oil. However, butter contains saturated fats.
As for animal fats, you should know that fish (polyunsaturated) fats are better than fats (saturated) in meat, especially if processed.
Dietary recommendations to lower cholesterol
- Firstly, the type of fat you should mainly consume It comes from nuts and seeds, fish (especially fatty fish) and extra virgin olive oil. You should also reduce the fat you get from processed meat and dairy products.
- Reduce your pastries and ultra-processed food consumption. This is because they contain trans or hydrogenated oils, refined flour, refined oils, and a lot of sugar because they increase cholesterol levels.
- Finally, Increase your soluble fiber consumption. Because it prevents intestinal absorption of cholesterol and fat. You can find it in whole grains, vegetables and legumes.