In my previous blog, “Cholesterol- A Friend or An Enemy?“, I explained cholesterol in terms of its definition, types and myths & facts related to it. There was a complete clarification on good and bad cholesterol, its functions and hypercholesterolemia. I also gave an overview on the foods that are high and low in cholesterol. This blog will now concentrate on
Cholesterol is considered as a burning topic and a taboo subject too. So many nutritionists and doctors criticized it a lot over decades and the process still continues. As a result your brain responds to this particular word in a similar fashion as some articles and journals wanted. Majority have this thought process but what is the reason behind? Is cholesterol really this bad?
Before moving ahead you must know that here by cholesterol, I am also referring to a type of cholesterol called LDL (c). LDL (c) is also known called as Low Density Lipoprotein. The most common term you may know for LDL is “Bad Cholesterol.”
Which cholesterol is bad ?
A very common advertisement that runs on television is clogging of someone’s aorta due to consumption of fats. It mainly focuses on ill effects of LDL cholesterol. This solely gave rise to the lipid hypothesis which states that eating fat is responsible to increase cholesterol levels. Thus it is the LDL that blocks our arteries. So let us check whether this statement is true or not.
Do you know from where this lipid/fat hypothesis actually passed on to us ? The year was 1955 when America’s President, Eisenhower suffered fatal heart attack. It was then influential scientists raised their voices to propagate the lipid hypothesis haunting us till date. But here the first question which arises is where are the proofs of bad cholesterol’s existence? Are these true or just the hypothesis ?
Let me share one systematic review by BMJ open which will answer this question.
There were 19 cohort studies with over 68000 people who participated in it. The finding was people who had higher LDL lived longer. In fact out of 19, 16 studies found the same relationship between higher LDL and long duration of an individual’s life. In a nutshell, the finding of this systematic review is robust and ignoring them in any way will be a scientific fraud.
VLDL & LDL
Many people mistakenly think that cholesterol and LDL are same but in reality LDL is a lipoprotein that carries cholesterol in our body. It acts like a transporter and it is also true that cholesterol and LDL can be found in atherosclerotic plaque. But it doesn’t mean that LDL has any causative relation with the disease. It is just like a cat sitting on a bent iron sheet but it is not because of the weight of the cat, the sheet was bent. There might be some other reason.
It is a matter of fact that we blindly believe in this causation and association relationship. If two things exist together, that doesn’t mean that one caused another. There are 5 types of lipoproteins namely chylomicron, VLDL, IDL, HDL and LDL. I am not going to talk about chylomicron as it carries dietary fat. Upon fasting it disappears. LDL, VLDL, LDL and HDL are synthesized by liver.
VLDL carries lot of cholesterol and that is why its size is bigger. Our body needs cholesterol to perform various vital functions. It is duty of VLDL to distribute cholesterol wherever needed. As the amount of cholesterol starts decreasing inside VLDL, its size also decreases hence the smaller version of VLDL is now known as LDL.
Myth & Fact
Generally people think that consuming saturated fats and dietary cholesterol increase LDL levels inside our body. But as per a research mentioned in BMJ Journals in 2018, ” Randomised trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women“, subjects were given 50 gm of coconut oil, butter and olive oil for 4 weeks.
As we know that Coconut oil contains 94% of saturated fats and butter 66% but it was found that LDL levels in subjects who were given coconut oil actually dropped and those who consumed butter having less saturated fats witnessed a significant increase in LDL levels. This hence proves that the theory of saturated fats increasing LDL levels is not completely worthy.
There are a lots other myths that I will be busting in my upcoming blogs so keep reading my articles to enhance your knowledge.