When someone’s cholesterol is high the first piece of advice their doctor usually gives them is to lower the amount of cholesterol in the diet. Our grocery stores are packed with ‘cholesterol free’ foods because of such advice Unfortunately it’s all a myth for it has been shown that if one increases their dietary cholesterol the body will make less cholesterol and total cholesterol levels in the blood will actually decrease. (Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 1996;16:1222-1228.)

The real issue is the quantity and type of fat that influences cholesterol levels. It has been public belief that saturated fat found in animal protein increases blood cholesterol levels but actually during the period of rapid increase in heart disease (1920-1960), American consumption of animal fats declined but consumption of hydrogenated and industrially processed vegetable fats increased dramatically. (USDA-HNI) It has also been found in a new study that there is no statistically significant relationship between cardiovascular disease and dietary saturated fat. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010 91:3:535-546)

Also, studies have looked at the actual fat found in clogged arteries and it is not saturated fat but mostly unsaturated (74%) of which 41% are polyunsaturated. (Lancet 1994 344:1195) The high content of polyunsaturated fat in clogged arteries is due to polyunsaturated oils like soya, canola, sunflower and corn degrading easily to toxic compounds and trans fat when heated up. (Foodservice Research International 2006 13:1:41-55) Deepfry oils and baking fats that are high in saturated fats, like palm oil, tallow or lard, can withstand extreme heat (of 180-200 degrees Celsius) and are resistant to oxidation

So where does this information leave you?
If your lab work shows you have cholesterol higher than 200 mg/dL you actually want to increase your dietary cholesterol (egg yolks are a great source) so that your body doesn’t have to make as much therefore lowering your total cholesterol in the blood. You then want to look at the fat content of foods and decrease the intake of polyunsaturated fats found in vegetable oils, margarine, soy, and peanuts.

When lowering trying to lower your cholesterol keep in mind that studies have shown that the all-cause death rate is higher in individuals with cholesterol levels lower than 180 mg/dl. (Circulation 1992 86:3:1026-1029)

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Alicia Armitstead is a licensed chiropractor in New York City. In her clinic, Healing Arts Chiropractor, she is dedicated to designing personal health improvement programs. Dr. Armitstead holds degrees from University of Bridgeport and the University of Bridgeport Chiropractic College in Connecticut. She is certified in Advanced Clinical Training of Nutrition Response TestingSM. Dr. Armitstead is continuing her education by working on her Masters in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.