5 Reasons to Love Cholesterol

cholesterol, egg yolks

Possibly the most demonized substance in our body, cholesterol is entirely misunderstood. We need cholesterol in order to be healthy and we now have a health crisis created by the pharmaceutical companies and their desire to sell billions of dollars worth of statin drugs to unsuspecting people. And your children are targeted next.

Just by virtue of the fact that 85% of the cholesterol in our body is made by the liver — not ingested through foods — should tell us that it is something that we need. In fact, dietary cholesterol has nothing to do with serum cholesterol numbers. Therefore, limiting cholesterol from the diet will have little effect upon the blood results.

Speaking of blood tests, the government’s National Cholesterol Education Program periodically asks experts to help set cholesterol guidelines. In 2001 they started to advocate using statins. These health officials are constantly lowering the acceptable limits of total and LDL cholesterol. Ten years ago a total cholesterol levels of 250 was considered “healthy.” Then it went to 225. Now it’s 200 and there is talk about lowering it to 180. In spite of constantly lowering the “healthy” standards, and giving more and more people statins to lower their cholesterol, cardiovascular disease is still rising.

As usual, these “standards of care” come from the pharmaceutical companies and the research they present to the FDA. That’s right. The pharmaceutical  companies themselves do the research that shows their drug is necessary to “fix” a problem. That’s a conflict of interest right there. But what if the problem doesn’t even exist?

I’m not denying that heart disease doesn’t exist, I’m just questioning that cholesterol is the culprit. And I’m not the only one. There is essentially a “movement” of concerned doctors and scientists that recognize that there are many other factors that can influence the cardiovascular system and contribute to heart disease. But I digress. Here are 5 reasons to love and cherish your cholesterol.

  1. Cholesterol is an essential part of the cell membrane. It makes up part of the bi-layer phospholipid membrane that keeps nutrients in the cell and toxins out. This cell membrane has a certain fluidity to it. When it is made up of the wrong fats (from trans fats and polyunsaturated fats) the membrane may be too fluid or too stiff and lose it’s protective quality by allowing small molecules into the cell that otherwise should not be there.
  2. Glial cells, which are part of neurons, secrete a substance that is responsible for the ability of neurons to form synapses, or connections between each other. That substance is a carrier for cholesterol which is complexed to apolipoprotein E–containing lipoproteins. This is really important. This means that the availability of cholesterol is responsible for the ability of nerve cells to communicate with each other. This happens in the brain and in the peripheral nervous system. The implications of this is tremendous especially because so many “older” people are being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Isn’t it curious that at the same time the use of cholesterol lowing drugs has increased?
  3. The cholesterol molecule is the basic building block for all the steroid hormones in the body. I’ll repeat that. All the steroid hormones in the body. It shouldn’t be surprising than, that in the U.S. infertility affects 7.3 million individuals. All the sex hormones (progesterone, estrogen, testosterone) are derived from cholesterol. I’m not saying that is the only reason for infertility. However, hormone problems make up a significant portion of the infertility cases.
  4. In order to digest and assimilate fats, the body makes a substance called bile. Bile acids are crucial to the breakdown and absorption of fats.  To make bile, the liver uses cholesterol. Therefore, you need cholesterol to digest fats.
  5. In the presence of sunlight, the body converts cholesterol into vitamin D. It should come as no surprise that Americans are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. Again, the low fat low low cholesterol mantra is creating more health problems.

It is now common knowledge that “high” cholesterol is bad. However, the standards created are not based on good science, but rather they are based on the lobbying efforts of Big Pharma and their desire to create a paradigm which forces doctors to prescribe unnecessary drugs and patients to worry about an imagined health problem.


The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease by Uffe Ravnskov



Photo Credit: Wilkeshe

This post is linked to: Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Foodie Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, Turn the Table Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise platter, Food Trip Friday, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Favorites, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight back Friday, Fun With Food Friday, Friday Food, My Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac, Melt in Mouth Monday, Sweet Details, Sugar-Free Sunday, Meatless Monday, Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, Weekend Carnival, Tuesday at the Table, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Traditional Tuesday, Tuesday Tasty Tidbits, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday

Register for Food Renegade's new class Beautiful Babies. ACT NOW! Save $50.00 through November 15. Don't delay! Click here to register!

  • http://www.laurelofleaves.com Lori @ Laurel of Leaves

    Yes, yes, and yes! Cholesterol is not the enemy like Big Pharma wants the world to believe. Thanks for getting the truth out there.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Lori,
    Thanks so much for your support. As more and more people suffer the consequences of taking statins, doctors may start to think twice before pushing them.

  • http://thecrunchycoach.com/blog/healthy-diet Emily

    Refined grains and trans fats are the heart disease culprits – in other words, fake foods. If more Americans would spend an extended vacation in Europe to see the kinds of “unhealthy” foods they consume, yet have much better health than we do, Big Pharma might not be so successful in their brainwashing.

  • http://904prairierd Grandma Bonnie

    Thank you for the information I am sending a link to all my children they really need to read this.
    I am from Waltz on by Wednesday.
    I did not see your follow button.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Emily,
    So true. In this country corporate greed has taken over any attention to health. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Bonnie,
    Thanks so much for sharing this post. I’m not sure how to put a follow button in that blog hop… but I’m glad you stopped by here.

  • http://www.gluten-freefoodstorage.blogspot.com Katie

    So true! Spread the word!!!!

  • http://savoringtoday.com Judy@Savoring Today

    My husband had a heart attack last Sept so we can tell you doctors will not think twice about prescribing statins (which is only 1 of 5 drugs that are the protocol post-event) until malpractice insurance and personal responsibility is addressed. The protocols are what they follow, rather than address the individual needs of the patient, and the majority of patients have no interest in changing personal habits when they can take a pill. It is a symbiotic relationship.

    For us, the heart attack was a wake up call, which we took seriously and became diligent about food and exercise choices we already knew just didn’t practice. If you’re curious, here’s our story: http://myowntwocents.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/confessions-of-denial/

    We (I say “we” because it takes a combined effort) have focused on eliminating the drugs Lipitor, Plavix, Metroperol, and Asprin under the care of a Homeopathic (also an M.D.), and by Sept should reach our goal. Needless to say, we are the rare case, few even question doctors or do the research for their own health. The moment they wheeled my husband out of surgery for the stents, I was told he would be on 5-6 medication the rest of his life (hard to argue when your sweetheart is flat on a hospital bed, right?).

    Anyway, thanks for your post, it is important to get the word out about the drug epidemic and its effects. Keep sounding the horn.

  • http://shopannies.blogspot.com angie

    your title subscribed me just a bit thanks for sharing with me

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Judy,
    Thanks for sharing your harrowing experience. It takes a lot of guts and confidence to go against the conventional approach especially when it is something so serious. I applaud people who take their health into their own hands. I’ll be reading your post about it! Good luck and keep me posted!

  • Jeanmarie

    Terrific summary of an important nutrient. Great job!

  • http://mysassychef.blogspot.com Pearl

    We learned in school that there is such a thing called good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Now what we want to do is embrace the good cholesterol (rich source: eggs!) and ditch the bad cholesterol (solid pork fat) in our diets! :)

    Please check my FTF entry for this week: Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
    Much ♥,
    Sassy Chef Recipes and Reviews

  • http://mizhelenscountrycottage.blogspot.com/ Miz Helen

    Hi Jill,
    This is a very interesting article. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen

  • http://www.momtrends.com/ Nicole Feliciano

    Here’s another reason–it is an integral part of so many delicious foods! Thanks so much for sharing on Momtrends.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Nicole,
    So true!

  • http://fitfinity.net/2011/07/09/shared-wisdom-792011/ Shared Wisdom 7/9/2011

    [...] 5 Reasons To Love Cholesterol (Real Food Forager) – Cholesterol is wrongly demonized by today’s health/media complex.  This article will set you straight.  See also: Stop Hating Eggs. [...]

  • jami

    I always enjoy seeing more articles helping to clear poor cholesterol’s name, especially since two of my favorite things on earth have been so villianized the past 2 decades or so: butter and eggs. I have always eaten them to my heart’s (or stomach’s) content, but its nice to be able to point out to people that I’m not harming myself. I posted this article on my facebook page and got some interesting feedback, and am not sure how to respond. I’m going to copy and paste one response below and would like some input, thanks!
    “True, cholesterol does a lot but what the article conveniently omits is that the body synthesizes all the cholesterol it needs, that is, dietary intake of cholesterol is unnecessary. In regards to prescribing lipid lowering agents, it is standard practice to lower cholesterol through exercise and dietary measures BEFORE utilizing statins, another advantageous omission by the author. This type of radical and socially irresponsible journalism, unfortunately, only serves to undermine the scientific process and unnecessarily confuse people. Current best medical practice is to maintain a diet low in cholesterol as ONE measure to avoid coronary artery disease.”

  • http://pinaymum.info/cj/food-trip-friday-033-class-party/ cheerful

    another great and interesting post, thanks for sharing…i learned a lot. visiting from FTF, have a great week! :)

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Jami,
    Thanks for sharing your reader’s response. Here is how I would answer it:
    1– Yes, 85% of the cholesterol we need is made by the body, but 15% is still needed through diet. While some people (those who are invested in the low fat low cholesterol machine) may feel dietary cholesterol is unnecessary, it is in some of the most nutrient dense foods we can eat such as eggs, cheese and beef. These foods also provide many other essential nutrients that are dangerous to omit from a healthy diet.
    2– The “standard practice” of using diet to lower cholesterol before drug therapy may exist as a protocol, but many doctors give this approach little time to work before writing the prescription. It is not surprising to find out about the “perks” doctors get from drug companies that manufacture these cholesterol lowering drugs.
    3– This article is hardly “radical” or “irresponsible”. It is actually a breath of fresh air for some people who can actually think for themselves and question “current best medical practice.” These current protocols are devised through the revolving door of politicians, corporate executives and lobbyists and are based on a “scientific process” that is plagued with poor science, greed and corruption.

    Clearly this writer is invested in the medical establishment. As far as unnecessarily confusing people — people are not idiots and when they hear basic truths like eating real food that we have eaten for millennium is actually good for us — well I think they can decide for themselves where the truth lies “scientific process” notwithstanding.

  • http://rootsnsproutsblog.com Dan Scollan

    During my environmental health graduate studies I had a professor who had a 20 year career as a prominent New York, OBGYN. He was no champion for alternative health and in fact toed the line when it came to conventional medicine. However, I distinctly remember one lecture while studying the the anatomy of the heart. He said, even though there might be acceptance in (conventional) medical circles that cholesterol is present when atheromas (plaque on the wall of arteries) form, that there is no consensus when it comes to the mechanisms of their formations. In other words scientists don’t know! It’s like seeing blood at the site of a murder scene and assuming that blood is the culprit. The blood is present but has nothing to do with how the crime was committed.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for the comments — you wrote the perfect explanation — there are a lot of scientists that seriously question the whole cholesterol/heart disease equation. The main point, as you so aptly pointed out, cholesterol is there in the arteries but may be there as a “first responder” not as the culprit.

    Cholesterol is used by the body to heal and it may be in the damaged arteries to do just that: to heal. It may be just an innocent bystander that is there to help.

  • http://day2dayjoys.blogspot.com Rachel

    Great informative post Jill! I love how you just TELL the TRUTH! Thanks for linking up you great articles & the giveaway with Healthy 2day Wednesday, see ya this week!

  • http://bktribe.blogspot.com Kimberly

    Great information and so very true! Bring on the eggs! :)

  • http://glutenfreehomemaker.com Linda

    I’ve been reading more about this lately and trying to pass the information on to my husband who has slightly high cholesterol. He is not on medication yet. Eating oatmeal has helped.

    I never gave up on eggs. I just couldn’t believe they were unhealthy. Thanks for an informative post.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Linda,
    Thanks for your comments.There is always two sides to a story.

  • http://www.dailyorganizedchaos.com Bibi

    Some much great information.

    I agree with Emily….I was born and raised in Central Europe and I never knew so many unhealthy people (high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure…etc) till I moved to North America.

    Thank you for sharing this great post at Foodie Wednesday.

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Bibi,
    It’s called the S.A.D. — Sad American Diet. So sad.

  • http://www.momnivores-dilemma.com nicolette @ momnivores dilemma


    I featured you at Creative Juice this week for this post. I hope more people learn the benefits as well…

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    HI Nicolettte,
    Thanks so much! I can’t wait to see it!

  • http://day2dayjoys.blogspot.com Rachel

    This post was chosen for one of my top 3 entries from Healthy 2day Wednesdays last week! Keep up the good work in spreading the word!

  • http://realfoodforager.com Jill

    Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for your support!

  • http://realfoodforager.com/2011/07/5-reasons-to-eat-salt/ 5 Reasons to Eat Salt — Real Food Forager

    [...] of our body (the body contains about 8 ounces of salt) it has been demonized almost as much as cholesterol. Current USDA Guidelines call for lowering the amount of salt Americans should consume to as low as [...]

  • http://www.fudgeripple.blogspot.com/ christy

    great article and wonderful reminder of moderation! we happen to love our eggs around here :)
    thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club.

  • http://realfoodforager.com/2011/07/changing-the-sad-american-diet-sad/ Changing The Sad American Diet (SAD) — Real Food Forager

    [...] sings the low fat mantra — that is, low saturated fat. Again this macro nutrient, along with cholesterol is demonized by a well known and respected nutrition guru. With all the evidence we have that the [...]