Cholesterol is not a fat. It is a waxy, fat-like substance produced by all animals, including humans. Cholesterol is needed for many bodily functions and serves to insulate nerve fibers, maintain cell walls and produce vitamin D, various hormones and digestive juices. Cholesterol is produced by the liver.
There is a difference between dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol you consume in foods) and blood cholesterol (the cholesterol in your bloodstream, also called serum cholesterol).
Dietary cholesterol is present in varying amounts in some foods such as:
- eggs and
- dairy products.
Dietary cholesterol does not automatically become blood cholesterol when you eat it.
Most of your blood cholesterol is made by your body. Individuals vary in how much cholesterol their body makes. There is little doubt that elevated blood cholesterol levels increase heart disease risk, but the effect of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol levels is the subject of debate among health professionals. That’s because research does not show that food cholesterol significantly boosts blood cholesterol levels in everyone.
Currently it is recommend an average daily intake of no more than 300 milligrams. But some health professionals, including the American Heart Association, are starting to take another look at the 300 milligram limit, a recommended level which has not been challenged, or revised, since the 1970′s.
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Filed under: Body, Nutrition by Nessie