Cholesterol is one of the fats - or lipids - in your blood. Despite all the negative hype about it, it plays a vital role - our body uses it to make cell membranes, hormones, Vitamin D, bile salts for absorption of fat and much more. In fact, every cell in your body has the capability of producing cholesterol, it's that important!
Without adequate cholesterol we would become very ill and eventually die. So why, you might be wondering, is there so much fuss and a concerted effort by drug companies, most doctors and dieticians and the government to make us fear cholesterol and to get everyone to try to lower their levels?
That is an excellent question. Unfortunately it is not a question with an easy answer.
You're going to need more information!
To really understand the situation we're currently facing, I highly recommend you read some of the books listed to the right.
For our part, we've read all of these book and have come to our own conclusions. We side with those who say that the cholesterol myth has been perpetrated by those without adequate research, those with a personal bias, an economic agenda, and a blind adherence to dogma.
New research is showing that lower cholesterol actually results in higher all-cause mortality. It's showing that many elderly people have so-called "elevated" levels. Lots of people with cardiovascular disease have low or "normal" levels. These are all data that contradict the standard line that we all need to reduce our cholesterol!
In other words, the evidence that links heart disease to high cholesterol has never existed. Moreover, there is increasing evidence to the contrary.
It just seems unfortunate that the myth has been repeated to often and for so long that it has become accepted as fact, even though there is no true science to back it up.
Amongst all the talk you'll normally hear about "good" (HDL) and "bad" (LDL) cholesterol, you don't usually hear enough about particle size.
What we've been learning is that small dense LDL is actually dangerous, while large "fluffy" LDL particles are desirable.
The only trouble is, when your doctors orders up your blood work, you'll rarely get tested for this. Just the standard HDL and LDL levels.
I know this is quite a complex subject and like I said above, there are no easy answers. I believe the profit motive is behind a huge scam that has major implications for the overall health of western society.
For further information, in addition to the books listed to the right, check out the documentary called $tatin Nation.
Another great film is Fat Head by Tom Naughton.
And here's a great blog post by Mark Sisson called The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol.
And if you like podcasts, a huge source information can be found on Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low Carb Show.
You've got enough information here to get you started on a road of self-discovery and, I believe, to better health!