Do foods that contain cholesterol raise your blood cholesterol levels? The outright answer to this question might be yes, but then, how do they do it.
One must also strive to understand how it all works out considering how vital some of these foods are to consumers.
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Foods such as eggs or cheese which are high in cholesterol obviously can raise blood cholesterol levels although the effects are relatively modest and also differ from individual to individual.
However, it has been established by the best evidence that saturated fat rather than dietary cholesterol is the major source and contributor to serum cholesterol.
This fact dates back to 1991 when The New England Journal of Medicine outlined the case of an 88-year-old man who consumed 25 eggs daily for at least 15 years, and yet still had normal cholesterol levels and normal arteries.
The report provided a challenge to a common medical belief that elevated serum cholesterol and atherosclerosis is as a result of dietary cholesterol.
The belief came to the fore in 1913 after Russian scientist Nicolai Anichkov made an observation that rabbits developed atherosclerosis after consuming high cholesterol-laden diets.
However, as the years went by, the relationship between diet and atherosclerotic plaque grew, but not just that, controversies arose and grew as well.
According to critics, rabbits do not consume cholesterol in their wild habitat while humans also do not consume cholesterol in isolation.
It was noted that a good number of foods such as steak, and butter which are high in cholesterol are also high in saturated fats. There are exceptions though for the likes of egg yolk, shellfish, crabs, lobsters, and shrimps.
In 1965, a Harvard study which cannot be carried out in recent times due to the ever-evolving ethical standards was done on schizophrenic patients who were confined to a mental facility.
The study went on to show that saturated fat played a major role in exerting a greater effect on serum cholesterol than dietary cholesterol could do.
Studies that followed provided credence to this conclusion with the 20-year Western Electric Study of 1,900 men from 1981 inclusive.
This was also supported by an analysis of a whopping 395 experiments that was documented in the British Medical Journal in 1997.
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