What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol belongs to a group of fats referred to as Sterols. Sterols are found in all fats and oils, especially animal fat like eggs, egg yolk, liver, kidney, brain, fish oil and oysters. It is also found to a lesser degree in meat, whole milk, cream cheese and butter. 

Cholesterol is NOT the villain you read about in the news. 

Cholesterol is a multi-talented workhorse that plays a major role in keeping you healthy, your metabolism efficient, and your mind sharp. 

Here are some other facts about cholesterol: 

  • Cholesterol is required by almost every cell in our bodies. It is so vital we are able to manufacture it. Cholesterol is predominantly made by your liver. Cholesterol is so vital we manufacture the bulk of the body’s requirements.
  • Cholesterol aids the body in fighting infection. When there is an infection present in the body, HDL goes down because it is used to fight the toxins, and this may be one of the reasons why cholesterol is found at the site of inflammation. But this is not to say that cholesterol is to blame for the inflammation, in fact, it could be the opposite, it is present to calm the inflammation.
  • Your brain health depends on adequate levels of cholesterol. In fact, the majority of the dry weight of the brain is composed of cholesterol, the sheath nerve endings from the top of your head to the bottom of your spine are wrapped in cholesterol, and cholesterol serves as a conductor for the transmission of all nerve endings throughout the body.  
  • Cholesterol keeps you from bleeding to death from the smallest cut. 
  • Cholesterol manufactures every hormone in the human body, including progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, T1, T3 by the thyroid, etc. 

In other words, cholesterol is a crucial fluid in the body. Unfortunately, most medical doctors are not properly trained in nutrition, and will quickly prescribe cholesterol lowering drugs known as statins to bring the levels down. When in fact, our bodies are capable of maintaining order, given the right diet. 

How Food Affects Our Cholesterol Levels

Your body is a marvelous machine able to convert the foods you eat into long-lasting fuel for the cells in your organs and muscles.  

Unfortunately, when you eat carbohydrates, including cookies, donuts, pop, pretzels and candy bars, your liver is unable to convert these foods into healthy cholesterol. Instead, the liver converts carbs into triglycerides and diglycerides, which are poison!

Triglycerides and Diglycerides are an unnatural sticky form of fat that the liver then pushes into the arteries. 

What happens when they go into the arteries? 

You get a rise in the bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol increases your chances of getting a heart attack, and serves as a red herring to misinformed and prescription-writing doctors. 

The Processed American Diet 

A recent seven year study involving nearly 44,000 Americans found that “Americans are eating a lot of low-quality carbohydrates from refined grains and added sugars.”

“That’s 42% of calories without many nutrients,” said Dr. Zhang, who led the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,

Over those years, Zhang’s team found, people reduced their total carb intake from an average of 52.5% of daily calories, to 50.5%. At the same time, protein and fat intake inched up. Decades into the obesity epidemic, Americans are still eating far too much sugar, starch and saturated fat, a new report claims.

“Access to snacks, desserts, sugary beverages, pizza, sandwiches and other grab-and-go foods is far greater and more highly marketed than fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, and unsalted nuts and seeds,” said Linda Van Horn, who heads the nutrition division at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, co-authored an editorial published with the study.

So the responsibility for eating healthy goes beyond an individual’s “will,” Zhang said —  particularly since disadvantaged Americans still have poorer diets than those who are wealthier and more educated.

It’s all about minding the quality of your carbohydrates. Instead of French fries, go for a piece of fruit. Instead of white bread, go for whole-grain bread with nuts or seeds. Read nutrition labels for added sugars, and select products with more fiber and less sugar.

Dr. Van Horn made another point: Healthy eating is not only about weight control; it can help people avoid chronic disease and disability, and the drugs used to treat those conditions.

A Natural Way to Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels

The proper approach to controlling one’s cholesterol is to stay away from all processed and refined foods. Pancakes, cookies, pies, cakes, candies, pretzels, donuts, pizza, pop tarts, slurpees, sugar frosted flakes, bagels, pasta, spaghetti, beer, and fast food. 

Increase your antioxidants, Vitamin E and Magnesium, which prevents the formation of arterial sites of cholesterol build up and lesions in the arteries. 

Get plenty of good minerals in your body and Vitamin B complex. Exercise to some degree, but the most important thing is diet, it is what you eat that counts. 

Even the average bodybuilder has to know something about nutrition. I am not referring to people who take steroids though. Bodybuilding is 85%-95% nutrition and if a bodybuilder doesn’t accept that fact they will fail, so they have to know nutrition. 

Vince Gironda’s Diets often advised eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Plenty of milk, eggs, meat, and cheese. Healthy fats fuel the metabolism, build strong, lean muscle, and replenish the body with energy. If you’re focused on building muscle, and need to supplement with extra protein, beware of powders with little nutritional value. 

All the protein companies that sell protein drinks say mix your protein powder with juice, zero fat milk, or water. The simple fact is that you cannot digest protein without fat. 

If you get rid of the yolk of an egg and swallow only the white, the body cannot utilize it as protein; it is converted into sugar and stored in the liver as glycogen. 

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Next time someone says, “That’s high in cholesterol,” you’ll know what to say. Continue to enjoy your eggs in peace, and politely explain that high cholesterol is a result of eating unhealthy carbs that clog your arteries with dangerous triglycerides. 

Cholesterol has played a key role in human metabolism since our ancestors started hunting and eating animals, nose to tail. Our bodies have evolved to thrive off these healthy and nutritious fats and oils. So feed your body, heart, and brain healthy fat, and you’ll experience the incredible benefits of balanced cholesterol in your body. 

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