Eight Common Myths About Fats, Cholesterol Levels and Plant Sterols in Foods

Have you ever thought about how you are taking care of your own heart? In case you are attempting to maintain a healthy cholesterol level, or your doctor has told you it needs to be reduced, then you want to keep an eye on what you eat. Taking measures today could prevent coronary problems of tomorrow.

I am not saying you need to avoid all your favorite foods. But learning the main difference in the forms of fat, where these fats come from in your food and plant sterols affects are all important factors for reducing cholesterol levels in your blood.

Here are 8 common myths and corresponding facts you should know about lowering cholesterol levels, which in turn takes care your heart.

Myth #1: The healthiest weight loss program is the one which limits all fats. Truth is you need 25-35% of your total calories from fats because your body can’t produce some fatty acids it requires for adequate functioning.

Myth #2: All fat molecules are fundamentally the same. Not accurate. In fact, mono unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats could actually reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol while saturated and trans fat tend to be closely connected with high LDL. Types of foods that contain each variety include:

  • mono saturated ~ extra virgin olive oil, peanut butter, avocados
  • trans fat ~ chips, many processed foods including donuts, crackers & cookie
  • saturated ~ red meat, bacon, butter & tropical oils including palm oil, coconut oil
  • polyunsaturated~ salmon, seeds, nuts & vegetable oils including corn, soybean, safflower

Myth #3: Products which are labeled “low fat” are often also low-calorie options. Don’t be fooled because some food manufacturers replace fat with things that could have equally as many calories.

Myth #4: Foods labeled “trans fat free” usually are healthy choices. Read those food labels carefully because sometimes trans fat is replaced with saturated fat, which also could raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Myth #5: I eat a sufficient amount of plant sterols from the foods I consume. Not likely. While plant sterols are found in many fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you’d probably need to eat about 100 pounds of them each day just to meet the daily intake of 0.8 grams that’s required for plant sterols to have a substantial impact on lowering cholesterol.

Myth #6: Plant sterols help reduce bad cholesterol within the blood by dissolving it within the intestinal tract. Slightly off. Plant sterols work by lowering the absorption of cholesterol from your digestive system, which cuts down the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol that actually makes into your bloodstream. The cholesterol that’s not absorbed is then eliminated.

Myth #7: People who have normal cholesterol levels won’t reap any benefit from consuming foods containing plant sterols. Plant sterols lower the uptake of trans fat irrespective of your blood cholesterol levels. This is a good thing regardless of your starting point.

Myth #8: Shellfish, including shrimp, have a fairly large quantity of cholesterol and should be avoided on the cholesterol-lowering diet plan. While shrimp is higher in cholesterol than some animal products, it’s still very lean and low in fats.

So get out and lower that bad cholesterol!

About the writer: Lisa J. Wilson contributes articles for the cholesterol lowering diet foods web site, her personal hobby blog that shares tricks to help website visitors to lower high cholesterol and help spread the knowledge on healthy eating.

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