By Dave Warner
Everybody has read and heard things about cholesterol – how to control it, what to eat, what not to eat. But myths abound in many areas of medicine, and cholesterol is no exception.
Here’s a list of five things you may have thought you knew about:
- Margarine or butter? As it turns out, they each have their own set of issues. Butter contains saturated fat and cholesterol, both undesirable ingredients. But margarine has other issues. It contains trans fat, also an undesirable thing – it can increase the bad kind of cholesterol, LDL. You can cut your intake by using tub or liquid margarine, as opposed to the stick type. You’ll get less trans fat that way.
- Eggs. You’ve probably heard all kinds of things about eggs. It’s true that eggs have lots of cholesterol. The question is whether your body absorbs all that. First, only a little of the cholesterol you eat goes into your blood stream. Trans fat and saturated fat, for instance, are much worse for you. Some say an egg a day won’t hurt you, and they quote a study that found no connection between heart disease and eggs.
- Cholesterol can clog arteries and that leads to heart disease. But it can be cured by surgery, right? Wrong. Heart disease is a condition you’ll have for the rest of your life. If you have it, you have to live with it, and start eating right, getting enough exercise, taking your medication and maybe getting a medical procedure.
- High cholesterol is only an issue for the middle-aged or older – not so. Experts suggest a screening for kids before the age of 10, because they can suffer from it too. The most common causes of cholesterol issues in children are if it runs in the family, if they eat a poor diet, or if they’re overweight.
- A couple of drinks a day, particularly red wine, may be good for your HDL, good cholesterol readings. But the American Heart Association sounds a cautionary note on this one, and does not recommend drinking wine or anything else to get an HDL increase. Other things, like exercise and probably red grapes or red grape juice, may have the same benefits.
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