Dietary Cholesterol, Saturated Fats, Simple Carbohydrates And Coronary Heart DiseaseDr. Nitin Gupte
Effect Of Dietary Cholesterol, Saturated Fats And Simple Carbohydrates On Blood Cholesterol
Until 2013 it was generally accepted that dietary consumption of cholesterol should not exceed 300 mg daily for people who are not at a risk of developing coronary heart disease and 200 mg daily for people who are at a risk of developing coronary heart disease.
But research across the world could not establish a direct link between dietary cholesterol and raised blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk and hence the contemporary guidelines for coronary heart disease risk reduction from the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) have not issued explicit guidance for dietary cholesterol.
Researchers have found that it is not dietary cholesterol, but presence of excess saturated fatty acids in diet that lead to raised blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk.
But most of the high cholesterol foods, viz. full cream milk and animal flesh are also high in saturated fats.
So eating high cholesterol foods also adds excess saturated fats to your diet.
One notable exception of a high cholesterol food that is not high in saturated fat is egg.
Having said this, the two diets highly recommended for prevention of heart disease, the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet are both low cholesterol diets.
And although the American Heart Association and the American College Of Cardiology and the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) have not issued explicit guidelines for dietary cholesterol for lowering the blood cholesterol levels, they still recommend healthy eating patterns involving relatively low levels of dietary cholesterol and advice against excessive consumption of cholesterol.
These healthy food patterns and the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet both lay emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean protein sources, nuts, seeds, and liquid vegetable oils.
So even if there is insufficient evidence that dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol significantly, it is prudent to keep your dietary cholesterol consumption low.
Luckily the dietary habits of most Indians are based more on vegetarian food than non vegetarian food.
So we any way consume little dietary cholesterol.
But we must guard against eating excess saturated fatty acid rich foods, namely milk fats and solid at room temperature vegetable oils.
We must also guard against excessive consumption of milk based sweets which are commonly made from full cream milk and also have ample sugar.
Full cream milk is rich in cholesterol as well as saturated fats.
Eating too much sugar also leads to raised levels of triglycerides which in turn lead to raised levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol.
Eating too much simple carbohydrates viz. refined flours like rava, maida, refined cornflour and bakery products principally made from maida, also causes raised levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
So being vegetarian and not consuming full cream milk is no guarantee against high blood cholesterol levels.
Thus eating too much sugar, sweets made from full cream milk and eating too much simple carbohydrates also raises the blood cholesterol levels.
They can all lead to coronary artery disease and strokes.
Also read the articles ‘Basics Of Nutrition’ and ‘What You Must Know About Cholesterol’ on this website.
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