By Hitee Singh
Since the 1970s, cholesterol has been on the ‘naughty list’ and doctors advised us to stay away from it. Taking a clear U-turn on their warnings, US Department of Agriculture has declared that cholesterol is now is officially not a ‘nutrient of concern’ and is replaced by sugar as the main substance of dietary concern.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is composed of carbon and hydrogen. It is biosynthesized by all animals because it is an essential structural component of an animal’s cell membrane by helping cell maintain its structural integrity and fluidity. It serves as an insulating cover for the transmission of electrical impulses in the nervous tissue.
High cholesterol can harden the artery walls by depositing itself thus increasing blood pressure and increasing chances of heart-related diseases. It can be found in cheese, egg yolks, beef, pork, poultry, fish, avocados, nuts and shrimp.
The Myth Busted
Previously Dietary Guidelines for Advisory Committee (DGAC) recommended that cholesterol intake should be limited to 300 mg/day. According to experts, we need 950 mg of cholesterol for daily metabolism.
The 2015-2020 guideline will not bring forward this recommendation because of the absence of evidence that shows the appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum (blood) cholesterol, consistent with American Heart Association.
Further corroborating their claims, doctors say that about 20% of cholesterol levels in our blood come from our diet, which means the rest is produced by our liver and is actually needed by the body. Since we do not eat enough cholesterol for our body’s functions, our body makes its own.
Nutritionists and scientists had started campaigning for the U-turn few years back with the introduction of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. According to experts, there is no such thing as good or bad cholesterol.
The majority of cholesterol is produced by the liver in your body. Your brain is primarily made up from cholesterol. Cholesterol is the basis of creation for all steroid, hormones (like oestrogen, testosterone and corticosteroids) and is essential for the functioning of nerve cells. High cholesterol indicates the liver’s good health.
Cholesterol won’t stop a heart attack and neither will cause it. Cholesterol guidelines are now being seen as an attempt to increase pharmaceutical profits and not public’s health. The new nutrient of concern is sugar. Added sugar has no nutritional value and our body doesn’t need any carbohydrate from added sugar.
So next time be careful of that extra helping you had of ice-cream and get some avocados down you.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.