Cholesterol

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Cholesterol is the main sterol, a complex fatty acid, in animal tissues, e.g. large amounts are in egg yolk. Cholesterol is a vital molecule of cell membranes and the precursor for the formation of the steroid hormones, and is essential to the proper functioning of the digestive and nervous systems. It is not essential to diet, because it is generated in the body. Cholesterol is transported in the blood plasma as lipoproteins - low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). High density lipoproteins are good, but low density lipoproteins are harmful in excess in the blood, causing artherosclerosis.

As for ingredients, they contain the following amounts of cholesterol:

High levels of cholesterol in the blood is the principal risk factor for heart disease - for healthy individuals, cholesterol should be less than 150 mg/dL (US measurement) or less than 5 mmol/L (UK measurements). The synthesis of cholesterol in the body is increased by a high uptake of saturated fats. Reduction in the levels of cholesterol can be made by increased exercise or the reduction of high cholesterol foods, especially dairy products - e.g. following a plant-based diet will cut out much of your cholesterol.

Further Reading

  • Bender, D.A. (2005) Oxford Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198609612.
  • Davidson, A. (1999) The Oxford Companion to Food, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192115790.