Confusion Between Fat And Cholesterol

 By: Ng Peng Hock
It appears that many people still confuse with fat and cholesterol in diet. A friend of mine once told me that peanut has no fat but it has cholesterol. Very often, people voice their concern and make some confusing statement, such as don't take coconut milk, it is high in cholesterol.

High blood cholesterol has been identified as a major risk factor for heart disease, which causes many people to avoid cholesterol from foods. Many have confusingly argued that a low-fat diet is also low in cholesterol, which can be considered only half right.

What is cholesterol? It is a fat-like substance. It is definitely not a fat as its chemical structure is different from fat and it functions differently from fats. Cholesterol is part of all body cells, some hormones as well as bile (which helps the body to digest and absorb fat in the digestive tract).

Cholesterol in the blood comes from two sources: liver and food. Liver is the factory that produces almost all cholesterol required in the body. Cholesterol can only be found in foods of animal origin but fat exists in nearly all foods. Plants do not produce cholesterol as they do not have livers. The good (HDL) or bad (LDL) cholesterol do not relate to food, they only refer to those in our body. Cholesterol in diet may raise blood cholesterol level for some people, but fats in diet definitely have a much significant effect, especially the saturated fats.

Fat is nutrient that human need as it provides essential fatty acids which body cannot produce and helps carry fat-soluble vitamins (such A, D, E, K) in the blood. Fat also produces energy (or calories) needed for physical activities as well as the basic body metabolism. When consumed excessively, however, fat contributes to weight gain.

There are three types of fats, namely saturated, unsaturated, and poly fats. You can refer to my article tiled "A Simple Way to Understand Fats". Scientific studies showed that high fat diet is a possible cause of heart disease.

Saturated fat increases blood cholesterol levels and builds up deposits on the arteries while unsaturated fat helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduces the cholesterol deposits on the arteries. Trans fat found in vegetable oils has almost the same effect as saturated fat, except that they not only increase LDL but also lower HDL.

The best way to avoid heart disease is to cut down unwanted fats and cholesterol from your diet.
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Article Tags: cholesterol, ldl, hdl, heart disease, fat

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