Cholesterol Calculations

True or False: You should avoid eating foods that contain cholesterol to safeguard against cardiovascular disease.

a) True                                  
b) False                               
c) The jury is still out                         


b) False

First, it’s important to understand that cholesterol is a vital substance in the body, and that low levels of cholesterol in the blood are associated with poor health outcomes, especially in older people. As to exactly what “low” and “older” mean in that sentence, that’s something you might want to discuss with your doctor. When you do, be sure to ask about the relationship between cholesterol level and mortality—likelihood of death—not just cholesterol levels and likelihood of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Lowering your risk of CVD by taking statins doesn’t do you much good if you raise the risk of dying from something else by an equal or greater amount.

Second, the jury is in: it’s now well established that eating cholesterol does not significantly increase your risk for CVD.[1]

There may be other reasons to limit the amount high-cholesterol foods in your diet (all such foods are animal products), but safeguarding against CVD is, for most people, not one of them.


1. Cleveland Clinic: Why You Should No Longer Worry About Cholesterol in Food.

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