Cholesterol: Bacon and Eggs a Secret to Health?

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Cholesterol in the blood can be one of the best predictors for heart disease, especially if the ratio between high density lipoprotein (HDL(Good Cholesterol)) and low density lipoprotein (LDL(Bad cholesterol)) is considered.  Cholesterol is fat bound up in lipoproteins in order to make it soluble (Fats and Cholesterol).

For a long time dietary cholesterol was very much recommended against, that’s why egg whites became so popular.  Egg yolks are one of the most cholesterol dense parts of our diets and therefore for a long time people were told to limit their consumption (Lee and Griffin 22).  There was a belief that excessive consumption of cholesterol would be a major contributor to heart disease.  Because of this, the general recommendation has been to limit dietary cholesterol (Mayo Clinic Staff).  The belief that dietary cholesterol would be converted to serum cholesterol and contribute to heart disease has led to major changes in the American diet, but has not led to a decrease in heart disease.  It is however true that “over 30 years of prospective epidemiological surveys of CHD risk have consistently found no independent relationship between dietary cholesterol or egg consumption and CHD risk” (Lee and Griffin 23).  The entire response to cholesterol in our nation has always been an overreaction to a situation.  There has never been evidence to suggest that consuming cholesterol, or especially that consuming eggs, will lead to an earlier death or cardiovascular heart disease.  This movement to avoid certain foods, like eggs yolks, has led to a decrease in personal health.

Furthermore, there is some evidence to suggest that consumption of dietary cholesterol may contribute to higher levels of testosterone.  There have been studies that have shown that higher serum cholesterol levels lead to higher testosterone levels (Heller).  There have also been studies that show that higher intake of cholesterol can lead to higher serum testosterone levels (Volek).  Both of these suggests that especially for men and for athletes limiting consumption of cholesterol can have a negative effect on health.

My personal opinion of dietary cholesterol is that it a necessary part of a diet, and has been unfairly vilified in our history.  Consumption of cholesterol does not seem to be linked to the many diseases that were previously suggested and can have a positive effect on endocrine levels in people.

References:

Harvard School of Public Health. Fats and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad, In With the Good. n.d. Harvard School of Public Health. Web. 30 4 2015.

Heller, R. F., M. J. Wheeler, J. Micallef, N. E. Miller, and B. Lewis. “Relationship of High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol with Total and Free Testosterone and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin.” European Journal of Endocrinology 104.2 (1983): 253-56. Web.

 

Lee, A and B Griffin. “Dietary Cholesterol, Eggs and Coronary Heart Disease Risk in Perspective.” Nutrition Bulletin (2006): 21-27. Web.

Mayo Clinic Staff. Dietary Fats: Know Which Types to Choose. 7 August 2014. Mayo Clinic. Web. Second April 2015.

Volek, Jeff S., William J. Kraemer, Jill A. Buch, Thomas Incledon, and Mark Boetes. “Testosterone and Cortisol in Relationship to Dietary Nutrients and Resistance Exercise.” Journal of Applied Physiology 82.1 (1997): 49-54. Web.

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