Cholesterol: Good or Evil?

Cholesterol is so important that all the cells in our body can make it and they can do so using fats, protein or carbohydrates.

Cholesterol is a hard and waxy complex mix of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It can be found in the membrane of every cell in our body, and it plays a vital role in the production of our sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone and progesterone) and multiple other hormones. Cholesterol works in the brain to speed up communication and also provides a protective coating for every single one of our nerve cells.

Cholesterol is so important that all the cells in our body can make it and they can do so using fats, protein or carbohydrates. Interestingly, once the complex process is complete it is impossible for the body to take cholesterol apart again.

Eating cholesterol does not effect your cholesterol level…unless your body needs more cholesterol! The small intestine has special cells that absorb dietary cholesterol when needed. If the body doesn’t need extra cholesterol these cells are inactivated, and the cholesterol is sent right back out to the large intestine and gets eliminated using bile from the liver. The cholesterol we eat does not cause “high cholesterol”.

Most people who have a problem with their cholesterol really have a problem with their carbohydrate consumption. Very early on in the process of making cholesterol an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase does its job. Once this step occurs the process cannot be stopped. This enzyme is controlled by both existing cholesterol levels and insulin levels. When we eat too much refined carbohydrate and sugar our blood insulin levels spike, which then turns on the HMG-CoA reductase. This then causes the cells to make cholesterol even it none is needed.

Refined carbohydrates and sugars cause inflammation in the body, including the cardiovascular system. This inflammation is the initial step in the development of plaque inside the lining of the arteries.

“We’ve long known that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease. In the absence of inflammation or injury to the endothelial cell, the cholesterol would never go through the arterial wall and it would never stay there.” -Dr. Dwight Lundell

People with diabetes have elevated blood sugar and insulin levels and are at much greater risk for both heart disease and small vessel disease (eyes, kidneys, nerve endings).
Don’t be afraid of eating cholesterol-rich foods. Instead, be afraid of refined carbohydrates and sugars…very afraid.

*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.

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