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Cholesterol in the Diet does not Increase Heart Disease Risk

Tue 16th Feb, 2016 - 2:48pm by Emma Cockrell

There is so much research and so many articles being written about the benefits of healthy fats in the diet at the moment. No doubt  I will be revisiting this subject many times over the coming months. One particularly important piece of research helps to demonstrate that cholesterol in the diet is not responsible for increasing heart disease risk. Now, before you all think this is a licence to eat junk food, I need to remind you that processed, refined, high sugar foods are VERY MUCH linked to the heart disease problem (more on this in a later blog). No, this research applies to healthy ‘cholesterol’ foods, such as eggs and meat (preferably organic). This is good news for anyone on a Nutritionhelp ‘Yeast-Free’ programme, as eggs (as long as you don’t have an intolerance problem) can be a very quick and convenient food to enjoy, whether at home or out and about (e.g. M&S egg salad – without the vinegar dressing).

The report below from What Doctors Don’t Tell You, helpfully summarises some recent research into cholesterol and heart disease.

Just in case you’ve been living in a cave, a new study confirms that a high-cholesterol diet—such as eating an egg a day—doesn’t increase your risk of heart disease.

Eating fats, such as meat or eggs, won’t raise the amount of cholesterol in our body, Finnish researchers have confirmed. The diet doesn’t affect cholesterol levels even in people who have a genetic characteristic that metabolises cholesterol differently, as is the case with a number of Finnish people.

Researchers from the University of East Finland acknowledge that nutritionists no longer set a safe upper limit on the cholesterol we eat, but they weren’t sure if the same would apply to people who have inherited the APOE4 gene. Around one-third of Finnish people carry the gene, and it affects the way they process cholesterol.

They tracked the health of 1,032 Finnish men, aged between 42 and 60 and who didn’t have cardiovascular disease. Although 32 per cent of the men carried the APOE4 gene, their high-cholesterol diet—which typically included an egg a day—didn’t increase their cholesterol levels or raise their risk of coronary heart disease. Highest daily consumption of cholesterol was around 520 mg.

Although 230 men suffered a heart attack during the study’s 21 years of follow-up, none were associated with cholesterol or their diet.