Fat and cholesterol: harm or benefit?

Published At: 08 January 2020 , 12:17 PM

Fat is good. Cholesterol, too. And neither one nor the other leads to fullness. Yes, yes, you heard right, that's all. But low-fat foods and all kinds of carbohydrate diets cause obesity. And this is a scientifically proven fact. Do not believe it? Let's get it together.

Business on a lie 

Unfortunately, many people tend to interpret the information they hear in their way. Moreover, interpretations often resemble a broken phone. One misunderstood, told another. He added something from himself. It happened with fat studies. Their results, leaked from the laboratories, were turned upside down. As a result, people have a firm belief that fatty foods cause irreparable harm to health. On cholesterol, they hung the label of the most dangerous element. Public opinion quickly formed an idea that cholesterol abuse leads to heart attacks.

Entrepreneurial people on this idea began to make big money. Pay attention to food in stores. Now it has become fashionable to write on packages: "does not contain cholesterol" or "0% fat". Such products sold out several times faster, even if prices bite slightly. After all, people firmly believe that it is low-fat products that give good health. This is not true.


What is cholesterol?


If you go through any biology textbooks (or at least Wikipedia, which will be more comfortable), then:

Cholesterol is an organic compound, a natural fatty (lipophilic) alcohol, contained in the cell membranes of all living organisms, except for non-nuclear (prokaryotes). Insoluble in water, soluble in fats, and organic solvents. About 80% of cholesterol produced by the body itself (liver, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands, sex glands), the remaining 20% ​​comes from food. 80% of the cholesterol in the body is free, and 20% are related.

In other words, cholesterol is a substance similar to fat, which formed in the liver from the "fragments" of protein and fat, and also enters the body with certain foods.

Why is cholesterol needed in the body?

It acts as one of the building materials in cell formation. It provides elasticity, cell strength and metabolic processes with the "outside world." Here are a few things cholesterol is responsible for:

Cholesterol ensures the functioning of the nervous system. By the same principle as described above (acts as a sheath of nerve fibers). Therefore, if the shell suddenly becomes thinner and tears, then there is a violation of the conduction of nerve impulses along the nerve fibers, which leads to disorders of the nervous system.

Cholesterol is responsible for the production of vitamin D and hormones such as testosterone (male) and estrogen (female), as well as cortisol and aldosterone.

Strengthens the immune system by protecting red blood cells from exposure to toxins (in fact, acts as an antioxidant).

The presence of cholesterol prevented by cancer.

Cholesterol is part of bile and facilitates the absorption of vitamin K - the substance responsible for blood coagulation. For example, a cut forms a blood clot that clogs the wound and stops bleeding.

But, the problem is that cholesterol will be different if its level does not exceed 5.5 mmol/liter (sometimes 6.2 mmol / l). Above - and your friend will become your enemy.

The dark side of cholesterol

The body itself produces eighty percent of cholesterol. This is the so-called good cholesterol. The remaining twenty percent (bad cholesterol) comes to us with food (comes with experience, like a big belly).

How is good cholesterol different from the bad?

For starters, there is total cholesterol, the norm of which is 3.0-6.0 mmol / L. Accordingly, above six considered as an excess of the standard. He has two transport forms:

1)  High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL). It is good, transfers fats from one cell to another, from blood vessels and muscles of the heart, arteries of the brain, and other organs to the liver, where it turns into bile or breaks down. That is, it removes excess cholesterol from the cells of the body.

The norm of HDL cholesterol in men: 0.7-1.73 mmol / l.

The norm of HDL cholesterol in women: 0.86-2.28 mmol / l.

2) Cholesterol low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This one is already bad. It is he who examined when they try to detect elevated cholesterol in the blood. What is he to blame? It settles on the walls of arteries and smaller vessels, forming plaques.

The norm of LDL cholesterol in men: 2.25–4.82 mmol / l.

The norm of LDL cholesterol in women: 1.92-4.51 mmol / l.

3)  Triglycerides - (neutral fats). Derived from glycerol and higher fatty acids. It is a good source of energy for cells. But even though they are "neutral," exceeding their norm (as well as LDL) leads to diseases:

Atherosclerosis (in other words, "blockage" of arteries);

The chances of getting a ticket with coronary heart disease increase - damage to arteries that deliver blood and oxygen to the heart;

Myocardial infarction - a blood clot blocks the access of blood with oxygen to the heart, and as a result - the death of the heart muscle.

Angina pectoris - pain or discomfort in the chest, with a decrease in the flow of blood to the heart;

Other cardiovascular diseases;

Stroke and mini-stroke are necessarily the same processes as in the case of a heart attack, but instead of the heart, the brain. May also occur when blood vessels rupture. As a result, brain cells begin to die.

Therefore, when you hear about such things - then, high cholesterol can be one of the reasons. You may ask why, because high cholesterol is a signal that something is not going "according to plan" in the body and there are serious problems that impede the normalization of cholesterol production. Then the question arises: what causes such a failure?

Causes of High Cholesterol

There are two categories of reasons:

Lifestyle problems

Nutrition. Tak like 20-30% of total cholesterol (usually bad) comes from the outside, one of the reasons - it's the food that we eat. Products containing a high level of saturated fat are precisely those elements that need to exclude. For example, here is a list of foods with good and bad fats:

Good fats: Nuts, seeds, avocados, linseed oil, olive oil, fresh butter. Mostly these are vegetable fats.

Bad fats (usually in many fats of animal origin): margarine, fried foods, hydrogenated fats, refined oils, saturated fats in large quantities, most polyunsaturated fats.

Sedentary lifestyle. Sedentary (and for whom lying) work, lack of training, body charging, etc., will be displayed on your health faster than you think.

Overweight. The guys showed in the first picture have a particular supply of fat (in fact, as well as the chance of the above diseases).

Smoking is generally not the most positive habit (given the constant stink, yellow teeth, and dirty as a bag in a vacuum cleaner, lungs), which also affects cholesterol, like the rest.

Alcohol - it is better to reduce alcohol consumption, but ideally - to refuse altogether.

Causes of other diseases or conditions of the body


Kidney disease - nephroptosis, chronic renal failure.

Liver diseases - cirrhosis, extrahepatic jaundice, chronic hepatitis, etc.

Thyroid problems

Pancreatic diseases - a malignant tumor, acute pancreatitis.


Therefore, from the fact that you will eat a sandwich with butter daily, the level of bad cholesterol will not increase. But with an improper lifestyle and excessive use of all kinds of "bad products", a noticeable leap can occur.