The “C” Word! Should you avoid High Cholesterol Foods?

The “C” word! Now I know you’re saying, “Melissa, if I know ANYTHING about nutrition, I know to stay away from high Cholesterol Foods. Am I right or am I right?

Well, you’re wrong. Some very important foods to your health contain cholesterol…including your very 1st food…breast milk. I don’t think it was put there by accident. Ironically, a serving of breast milk and a serving of butter have about the same amount of cholesterol. An egg has considerably more but read this quote from The Department of Nutritional Sciences at The University of Connecticut:

“Dietary recommendations aimed at restricting egg consumption should not be generalized to include all individuals. We need to add knowledge that diverse healthy populations experience no risk in developing coronary heart disease by increasing their intake of cholesterol but, in contrast, they may have multiple beneficial effects by the inclusion of eggs in the regular diet.”

Hellooooo?!?! Boy, is that not the EXACT opposite of what we heard for decades, right?! Ugh! How are we to know whether to eat High Cholesterol Foods???

Cholesterol comes from 2 sources: You (more specifically your liver) and animal sources. It is actually needed in the body to control digestion and to produce things like hormones and Vitamin D.

I’ll save the breakdown of cholesterol (triglycerides, HDL and LDL) for another blog but if you remember a Doctor by the name of Ancel Keys that I’ve mentioned in the past? He affectionately was given the title of “Father of the Diet-Heart hypothesis.” I’d like to once again bring up his name…for very good reason.

Ancel Keys thoughts on High Cholesterol Foods

Ancel Keys was really the reason our Country becoming fat phobic! He proved, by cherry picking his data, that people who ate saturated fat were at a higher risk for heart disease. BAM! Margarine, fat-free cookies and low fat milk became all the rage.

However, in 1997, Keys was quoted saying this:

“There’s no connection whatsoever between the cholesterol in food and the cholesterol in the blood. And we’ve known that all along. Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t matter at all unless you happen to be a chicken or a rabbit.”

Now again, I’m not giving you permission to have nothing but high cholesterol foods, it can’t just be bacon for breakfast, ribs for lunch and steak for dinner. I really want you to always lead with lots of vegetables in your diet and supplement with some food that, could indeed, contain some saturated fat and cholesterol. This absolutely could mean a 6oz. grass-fed filet for dinner. Apparently, it’s good for you!