Eat cholesterol → Increase cholesterol levels → Develop heart disease → Die. From practically the day scientists first discovered that heart disease was a result of high levels of cholesterol in the blood, we have been told to cut back on the amount of cholesterol we eat. Back then, it didn’t seem like such a bad assumption. But truthfully, that is all it ever was: an assumption. Let’s fast-forward to present day when heart disease is now known as the number one cause of death in America. Somehow, that original assumption about dietary cholesterol causing high blood cholesterol got stuck in everyone’s minds and thus, we are told to limit our consumption of meat, butter and egg yolks. Go ahead and search #yolkporn on Instagram and then try to ask for just the whites next time you visit a diner.
Here are a few expert opinions from some highly regarded nutrition scholars on the subject of dietary cholesterol:
- “Cholesterol in food has no impact on cholesterol in the blood and we’ve known that all along.” –Ancel Keys, Ph.D., Physiologist and founder of the cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis
- “A body of scientific studies shows only a weak relationship between the amount of cholesterol a person consumes and his or her blood cholesterol levels.” -The Harvard School of Public Health
- “Existing epidemiological data have clearly demonstrated that dietary cholesterol is not correlated with increased risk for Coronary Heart Disease.” –Maria Luz Fernandez, Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences
- “Eating cholesterol has very little impact on the cholesterol levels in your body. This is a fact, not my opinion. Anyone who tells you different is, at best, ignorant of this topic.” –Peter Attia, M.D., President and Co-founder of Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI)
*Disclaimer: The body’s response to dietary cholesterol varies between individuals, and studies have shown there is a small percentage of people who are mildly affected it.
Cholesterol is absolutely essential for the body to function. No ifs, ands, or buts. You would be dead in an instant without it. But guess what? Luckily, your body is one step ahead of you and already knows that. About 75% of the cholesterol in our bodies is produced by our own livers, while only about 25% comes from what we eat. And most of the cholesterol in our food is in a form we can’t absorb anyway.
I may be a nerd for nutrition, but I’m pretty sure everyone should find this at least a little cool. The human body is so impressive that it actually changes its production levels of cholesterol based on how much cholesterol we eat. If we consume less, the body makes more. If we consume more, the body makes less.
Time for some #yolkporn.