Bacon cholesterol: Does it raise cholesterol levels? – Medical News Today

A slice of uncooked bacon contains 18.5 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol. However, while researchers used to say that cholesterol from food directly raised cholesterol levels in the blood, they now believe the relationship is more complicated.

The above nutritional information comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Dietary cholesterol does not directly raise cholesterol levels in the blood. Instead, experts believe that saturated fat may be a more important factor. High cholesterol foods, including bacon, are usually also high in saturated fat.

For most people, it is safe to eat a variety of foods in moderation. But eating lots of bacon and other high fat, high sodium foods increases the risk of heart disease.

Read on to learn more about bacon cholesterol and its role in blood cholesterol.

According to the USDA, a 28-gram (g) serving of raw bacon contains about 18.5 mg of cholesterol. The exact amount depends on the brand, the amount a person eats, and how a person prepares the bacon. For example, cooking bacon in butter or oil will typically increase the cholesterol content.

Previously, scientists thought that eating dietary cholesterol in food resulted in higher blood cholesterol levels. Newer research suggests this is not the case.

According to a 2022 paper, dietary cholesterol does not significantly raise levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. Its precise influence on blood cholesterol levels, if any, remains the subject of scientific debate.

However, saturated fat does raise LDL cholesterol levels. The saturated fat in bacon can raise cholesterol even if its cholesterol content does not.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that no more than 6–7% of calories come from saturated fat. For a person consuming 2,000 calories per day, this is equivalent to 120 calories, or around 13 g of saturated fat.

Bacon contains about 3.53 g of saturated fat per slice. This means that, for many adults, the amount of saturated fat in two slices of bacon would contribute significantly to the recommended daily limit.

In addition to its saturated fat content, there are several other ways bacon may impact cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health:

  • Sodium: Bacon is high in sodium. High levels of sodium in the diet can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Nitrites: Inorganic nitrites are a type of preservative that many companies use in pork products, including ham, sausages, and bacon. A 2019 review also shows an association between high consumption of nitrites and gastric cancer.
  • Calories: Although bacon typically comes in thin slices, it is calorie dense, containing 110 calories per uncooked slice. It is important to be aware of this when determining a serving size.

In moderation, most foods can be a part of a heart-healthy diet. However, as bacon contains a high amount of saturated fat and sodium, people should limit their intake.

People with no health conditions should consider eating bacon occasionally and in small quantities. For example, they can put shredded bacon in a sandwich or salad to add flavor. Grilling bacon with no additional cooking oils also reduces the amount of fat per serving.

Additionally, people may wish to look for nitrite-free bacon or choose nitrite-free alternatives. For example, some traditionally cured hams do not contain nitrites.

Otherwise, it is best to only exceed the daily recommendations for saturated fat occasionally. Doing so regularly raises the risk of cardiovascular disease.

People who have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or who are at risk of cardiovascular disease may need to avoid bacon entirely. A person should speak with a doctor or dietitian for more advice.

Bacon is high in cholesterol and saturated fat. While dietary cholesterol may not raise blood cholesterol levels, saturated fat can.

There are also other concerns with eating bacon. It is high in sodium, calorie-dense, and often contains nitrite preservatives. Research has found links between these preservatives and cancer.

People with no health conditions or who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease may wish to enjoy bacon in moderation on occasion. However, anyone who is concerned about their cholesterol levels should consult a doctor or dietitian.

Is cholesterol a lipid? Function and management – Medical News Today

Cholesterol is a form of lipid that travels through the body as a lipoprotein.

Cholesterol has an important role in the body, but an excessive amount can lead to a buildup in the arteries. This buildup, known as plaque, can block arteries and lead to potentially life threatening conditions such as heart disease.

This article explains whether cholesterol is a lipid and what roles it plays in the body. It also discusses how to measure and manage lipid levels, which can be important in preventing health issues.

Cholesterol is a lipoprotein, which means that it is part lipid and part protein. A lipid is a type of fat.

A 2021 article states that cholesterol and triglycerides are lipids that are not soluble in water and require proteins to travel around the body. This means that cholesterol is a lipoprotein.

Although too much cholesterol can cause health problems, the body needs some cholesterol to remain healthy. The production of cholesterol takes place in the liver. People also get cholesterol from eating the following foods:

  • eggs
  • shellfish
  • dairy products
  • meat

According to a 2019 article, the main function of cholesterol is to help maintain the structure of cell membranes.

Additionally, cholesterol helps the body produce:

Triglycerides are a type of lipid in the body. The American Heart Association (AHA) notes that they are the main type of fat in the human body. The body uses triglycerides to store excess energy from the diet.

There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

LDL cholesterol, which people may refer to as “bad” cholesterol, contributes to the fatty buildup in the arteries that can eventually lead to a blockage. Too much LDL cholesterol can increase a person’s risk of developing several conditions, including heart attack, peripheral artery disease, and stroke.

HDL, or “good” cholesterol, can help lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It transports LDL cholesterol back to the liver, where this organ breaks it down and removes it from the body.

A person may not experience any symptoms if they have high cholesterol levels. However, a doctor can perform a blood test, called a lipid profile, to check these levels.

Typically, a person needs to fast for 8–12 hours for the test to be effective.

The test measures several different aspects of cholesterol, including:

Most adults should undergo this test every 4–6 years.

Doctors may recommend more frequent testing for some groups of people. These include people with heart disease, a family history of heart disease, or high cholesterol.

Children and adolescents should also undergo a lipid profile once aged 9–11 years and a second time aged 17–21 years.

The treatment for high cholesterol often involves a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.

Different types of cholesterol-lowering medications exist. A doctor may recommend one or a combination of several medications to help lower cholesterol numbers.

Some common types include:

  • statins, which slow the production of cholesterol
  • bile acid sequestrants, which reduce the bile acids that create LDL
  • injectable medications, such as PCSK9 inhibitors
  • fibrates, which lower triglyceride levels
  • niacin, or nicotinic acid, which helps lower cholesterol levels

Although niacin is available to purchase as a dietary supplement, a person should never take it without the supervision of a doctor. This is because it can cause severe side effects and, in some cases, liver damage and failure.

In addition to medications, a doctor will likely recommend a person make several lifestyle changes.

Some commonly recommended lifestyle changes that may affect cholesterol levels include:

Cholesterol is a type of lipoprotein that plays an important role in the functioning of the body. However, an excessive amount can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other conditions.

The only way to confirm cholesterol levels is to undergo a lipid panel, which a person should do at least every 4–6 years.

If a person’s cholesterol levels are elevated, a doctor may prescribe medication. They will also likely recommend lifestyle changes such as exercise and a nutritious, well-balanced diet.

High cholesterol: Two painful sensations to watch out for in your arm – Times of India

It is important that we maintain a balanced level of cholesterol in the body, since it can cause fatty build-ups in the arteries, leading to reduced blood flow to the arms and legs. This condition is also called peripheral artery disease (PAD), which causes acute pain.

Therefore, the Mayo Clinic reveals that pain, while using one’s arm, could be a tell-tale sign of raising cholesterol.

If left untreated, the pain could take the form of aching and cramping when knitting, writing or doing other manual tasks, as per the health body. The entire process of pain beginning from the start of the movement to a resting position is also called claudication.

UK’s National Health Services says that the pain can range from mild to severe, and usually goes away after a few minutes when you rest your legs.”

“Both legs are often affected at the same time, although the pain may be worse in one leg,” it adds.

The best nuts to lower cholesterol: Research and nutrition – Medical News Today

Nuts are a kind of fruit with a hard outer shell, with the exception of peanuts, which are legumes. Nuts are a popular food worldwide, and there is evidence that they may benefit a person’s health.

A variety of nuts may lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, while raising high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or “good” cholesterol. However, not all nuts have the same effect on a person’s cholesterol levels.

This article discusses cholesterol and how it affects a person’s health. It also explores the effects that several types of nuts have on cholesterol levels and their nutritional content. Finally, it answers some common questions about some of the most suitable nuts for lowering cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a fatty molecule that plays a number of vital roles within the body. For example, the substance is essential to the structural integrity of cell membranes and their fluidity. Cell membrane fluidity refers to how proteins and lipids, or fats, move within the cell membrane.

There are two types of cholesterol: LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. A person with higher LDL cholesterol levels may be at risk of developing:

Conversely, someone with higher HDL levels may be at a decreased risk of developing these conditions.

According to a 2016 review, peanuts are rich in chemicals called phytosterols. These chemicals may stop the body from absorbing as much cholesterol, as they are similar in structure to cholesterol and compete with it in absorption.

The review’s authors noted that eating peanuts can lower a person’s total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels without making significant changes to their HDL cholesterol levels.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides the following nutritional data for 100 grams (g) of raw peanuts:

A 2018 meta-analysis stated that walnuts are also high in phytosterols, which people may also call plant sterols.

After reviewing 26 studies, the authors concluded that a person may lower LDL cholesterol levels by eating walnuts. However, this effect was more pronounced when walnuts contributed between 10% and 25% of a person’s daily energy intake. There was less of an effect when that figure was less than 10%.

The USDA supplies the following nutritional data for 100 g of unroasted walnuts:

According to a 2017 study, incorporating cashew nuts into a typical American diet can help a person decrease their total and LDL cholesterol levels.

However, the researchers of a 2020 meta-analysis investigated the effects of cashews on cholesterol levels. They found that cashew consumption had no significant effect on total, LDL, or HDL cholesterol.

Therefore, further research into cashews and cholesterol may be necessary.

The USDA provides the following nutritional data for 100 g of raw cashew nuts.

The authors of a 2018 review noted that supplementing the diet with almonds can lower LDL cholesterol while maintaining or even increasing HDL cholesterol.

The authors suggested that people may lower their risk of developing dyslipidemia — blood lipid levels that are too high or low — by eating 45 g of almonds daily. Dyslipidemia is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

The USDA supplies the following nutritional data for 100 g of unsalted dry roasted almonds.

The authors of a 2016 review and meta-analysis compared the results of nine studies on hazelnuts and cholesterol. They found people who incorporated hazelnuts into their diet had lower levels of total and LDL cholesterol, with no effect on their HDL cholesterol.

The study authors hypothesized that the high dietary fiber content of hazelnuts might contribute to this effect. According to the USDA, 100 g of unroasted hazelnuts contain 9.7 g of fiber.

The USDA provides the following nutritional data for 100 g of unroasted hazelnuts.

There is limited recent research into the effects of macadamia nuts on cholesterol.

However, a small 2003 study indicated that macadamia nut consumption could lower LDL levels by around 5.3% while increasing HDL levels by 7.9% among men with elevated cholesterol levels.

The USDA supplies the following nutritional data for 100 g of raw macadamia nuts.

A small 2013 study indicated that a single Brazil nut serving of 20–50 g lowered LDL cholesterol levels and raised HDL cholesterol levels after 9 hours in 10 healthy study participants.

Conversely, the authors of a 2022 meta-analysis reported no significant changes in cholesterol levels after Brazil nut consumption. Therefore, further research into Brazil nuts and cholesterol may be necessary.

The USDA provides the following nutritional data for 100 g of dried, unblanched Brazil nuts.

A 2018 study indicated that people may lower their LDL cholesterol levels by consuming a high pecan diet. However, the authors concluded that further research is necessary.

The USDA supplies the following nutritional data for 100 g of unsalted dry roasted pecans.

A 2016 review investigated the results of nine different studies into the relationship between blood cholesterol and pistachio nut consumption. In six of those studies, LDL cholesterol levels dropped while HDL cholesterol levels rose in people who replaced part of their usual diet with pistachio nuts.

The USDA provides the following nutritional data for 100 g of raw pistachios.

Below are some of the most common questions and answers about nuts to lower cholesterol.

Can eating too many nuts raise cholesterol?

Yes, it is possible that eating nuts in excess may increase LDL cholesterol levels due to their saturated fat content. Eating nuts in excess may also exceed a person’s daily calorie needs, leading to increased LDL cholesterol levels.

However, saturated fat content varies between different types of nuts, and eating certain nuts in moderation as part of a balanced diet may increase HDL cholesterol levels.

Are cashews bad for cholesterol?

Research indicates that cashew nuts may improve or have little effect on a person’s cholesterol levels. However, an individual should eat cashews in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Do pistachios lower cholesterol?

Yes, pistachios may reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. They may also increase levels of HDL cholesterol.

If a person has excess LDL cholesterol and insufficient HDL cholesterol, they may develop serious health conditions later in life.

However, people may improve their cholesterol levels by adding certain types of nuts to a balanced diet. A healthcare professional can offer further advice and help an individual manage their diet to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.

A Daily Serving of Strawberries May Improve Cholesterol, Study Shows – GlobeNewswire

WATSONVILLE, Calif., July 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A daily serving of 13 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder appeared to lower total cholesterol (TC) by almost 3% and LDL cholesterol (LDL C) by almost 5%, according to a randomized, double-blind, controlled crossover study recently published by the Journal of the American Nutrition Associationi. The new study strengthens the body of research that has already demonstrated a cholesterol-lowering benefit from eating strawberries. Thirteen grams of strawberry powder is equivalent to one cup of fresh berries in terms of the amount of calories, carbohydrates, potassium and fibre.  

The study was conducted with 40 men and women, aged 35 to 60. The participants were overweight or obese and had elevated serum cholesterol, but no additional illness or chronic disease. During three periods of four weeks each – separated by a two-week washout period – participants received 40 grams of freeze-dried 100% strawberry powder (the high dose), 13 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder (the low dose), or a control (no strawberry powder). Participants were instructed to consume the powder once per day and to maintain their usual diet and exercise routine.  

The researchers found a significant effect on lowering serum LDL C and TC. The low dose strawberry supplementation resulted in a 4.9% reduction in LDL-C compared to the high dose, but not compared to the control. The low dose also resulted in a 2.4% reduction in TC compared to the high dose and 2.8% reduction compared to the control. No additional significant effects were noted. The authors were unable to explain why the low dose produced a larger effect than the high dose of strawberry powder.   

Other studies have previously linked strawberries, which are a source of fibre, phytosterols, and polyphenols, to several markers for cardiovascular disease. In a study of obese and overweight adults, daily consumption of strawberries significantly reduced TC and LDL cholesterol levels, reduced small LDL particle concentrations, and decreased lipid peroxidation.ii Strawberries have also been linked to a decrease in markers for oxidative stress, inflammation and diastolic blood pressure. 

The Pennsylvania State University led the study in cooperation with the University of Arizona, Tucson; Lafayette College; and Texas Tech University. The study was supported by the California Strawberry Commission, which also provided the strawberry powder. 

For more information on strawberry research, you can view the California Strawberry Commission’s Health Research Round-up at the Nutrition Portal at


The California Strawberry Commission represents more than 300 strawberry farmers, shippers, and processors, all working together to advance strawberry farming for the future of our land and people. Commission programs create opportunities for success through groundbreaking programs focused on workforce training, strawberry production research, and nutrition research. Through science-based information and education, it delivers the good news about sustainable farming practices that benefit the health of people, farms, and communities.

Media Contact:
Chris Christian
Tel (831) 763.5425

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Is cholesterol the enemy? – Alberta Prime Times

The headline of a prestigious health and nutrition publication reads, “Do we need to limit dietary cholesterol?” For decades, the answer was yes. We were told to limit our intake of cholesterol to 300 milligrams (mg) or less daily to decrease the risk of heart attack. Was it just a catchy headline?

Cholesterol is not the devil incarnate. We would die without it. Cholesterol is a part of all cell membranes, needed to make vitamin D, bile acids and some hormones.

Some medical specialists have long cautioned that cholesterol is not the culprit in cardiovascular disease. One of the world’s most famous cardiac surgeons remarked that many of his heart attack patients had normal blood cholesterol levels.

We know if we consume too much cholesterol, the liver makes less of it. If we fail to eat enough, the liver makes more of it, operating just like thermostats that keep our homes the right temperature.

We’ve also been told there’s good cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL). It’s good because it travels in the body to the liver. Bad cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), builds up plaque in coronary arteries, triggering heart attack.

Dr. Alice H. Lichtenstein, an international authority on nutrition, said, “Dietary cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of public health concern.” She points to research showing “dietary cholesterol at the levels currently consumed does not have a big influence on cholesterol levels in the blood.”

What’s the real culprit? Lichtenstein labels it dietary fat. She points out that most foods contributing to cholesterol levels are meat and full-fat dairy products which are high in saturated fats or consumed with foods high in saturated fats.

For instance, cholesterol-rich eggs are not a problem. In fact, there has been a lot of research conducted on eggs and egg substitutes. Plenty of studies show although eggs are a significant source of dietary cholesterol, they are not associated with an elevated risk of heart disease. Rather, the concern is eggs are often eaten with saturated-fat-rich butter, bacon and sausage. These fats increase bad cholesterol buildup in coronary arteries.

Nutrition experts changing their guidance about dietary cholesterol is the result of good research, not whimsy. Recall the words of John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, who was criticized for reversing his position on an important economic matter. He replied, “When circumstances change, I change my mind. What do you do?”

The take-home message is we should establish and stick to healthy eating patterns that promote cardiovascular health.

This means eating nutritious foods, such as whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy proteins like fish, nuts, and seeds, all low in cholesterol. And cut down on foods high in saturated fats, such as meat and high-fat dairy products. Always limit sugar and salt.

It’s good advice to stop labelling cholesterol as an arch enemy. But there are still unsolved questions about cholesterol. For instance, why is it that men living in Stockholm, Sweden, and Edinburgh, Scotland, share the same blood level of cholesterol. Yet the Scots have three times the death rate of coronary artery disease. Perhaps they are enjoying too much of their own scotch!

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of England, wrote, “To almost every question there is an answer that is clear, concise, coherent and wrong.”

What will experts say about cholesterol years from now. We wish we knew.

For comments, 

CRISPR cure for high cholesterol enters first human trial – Freethink

A trial testing a new CRISPR-based treatment to lower cholesterol has officially kicked off in New Zealand. If it works as well as it did in animal trials, the one-and-done treatment could save countless lives — permanently lowering cholesterol and the risk of a heart attack.

Why it matters: Cholesterol is a waxy material produced by the liver and found in certain foods we eat. It circulates in the blood, and it comes in two varieties: HDL and LDL. 

Having a healthy amount of HDL can protect you against disease, but excess LDL is the primary cause of coronary heart disease — a leading cause of death globally.

A quarter of Americans have high cholesterol or are taking statins to keep it down.

Cutting down on certain foods (and eating more healthy foods) can help lower cholesterol levels, but sticking to a strict diet is difficult.

Pills called statins can lower cholesterol, too, but they must be taken once a day and can have intolerable side effects. Newer injectable meds can be taken as infrequently as twice a year, but they’re costly and often not covered by insurance.

According to the CDC, a quarter of Americans (and more than half of those over 65) have high cholesterol or are taking statins to keep it down.

The treatment permanently deactivates a gene linked to the removal of excess cholesterol from the body.

The new treatment: Verve Therapeutics’ cholesterol treatment takes a different approach.

It is designed to permanently deactivate a gene in the liver that controls the production of PCSK9 — a protein that prevents the removal of excess cholesterol from the body.

In monkey trials, it reduced LDL cholesterol levels by 70% in just two weeks and kept them low for at least two years — suggesting that it could effectively cure high cholesterol in people.

How it works: While CRISPR is sometimes used to cut DNA, Verve’s treatment just swaps out a single letter in the PCSK9 gene for another.

This is called “base editing,” and in animal studies, it’s been more efficient and had fewer errors than standard CRISPR. Verve’s trial marks the first time base editing has ever been used in people — one more reason it’s a big deal.

In monkey trials, the treatment reduced LDL cholesterol levels by 70% in just two weeks.

The delivery mechanism for Verve’s treatment to lower cholesterol is also notable. 

Instead of taking the traditional approach to gene therapy, using a hollowed-out virus to deliver its CRISPR therapy, the company uses nanoparticles to deliver genetic instructions into cells, just like the ones used to package the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19.

The big picture: Therapies that work in animals often don’t translate to humans, and the permanence of Verve’s treatment means there is no undo button. 

However, people who are born with mutations in PCSK9 that lower their cholesterol have a significantly lower risk of heart disease, suggesting the treatment should work in humans.

“If this works and is safe, this is the answer to heart attack — this is the cure.”

Sekar Kathiresan

At least one person has already taken the plunge, receiving a dose in Verve’s trial, which will involve approximately 40 adults with “heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia” (HeFH), a relatively common form of heart disease characterized by dangerously high cholesterol.

The trial is only just beginning, but if everything goes as hoped, Verve’s treatment to lower cholesterol could mark CRISPR’s biggest impact on humanity yet. 

“If this works and is safe, this is the answer to heart attack — this is the cure,” Verve CEO Sekar Kathiresan told MIT Tech.

We’d love to hear from you! If you have a comment about this article or if you have a tip for a future Freethink story, please email us at [email protected].

High non-HDL cholesterol: What it means and management – Medical News Today

A person’s non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol level is the amount of potentially harmful cholesterol in their body. A doctor will work this out by subtracting a person’s HDL cholesterol level from their total cholesterol level.

If a person has a high non-HDL cholesterol level, they have more harmful cholesterol in their body.

This article looks at what non-HDL cholesterol means, what cholesterol levels fall within the healthy range, and how to lower cholesterol levels that are too high.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the liver produces. Lipoproteins are a type of protein that transports cholesterol around the body.

The body requires a certain amount of cholesterol to help cells function, but high levels of some types of cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

A doctor may assess different types of cholesterol:

LDL transports cholesterol to tissues in the body, and it can build up in the arteries, which increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks. People may refer to LDL as “bad” cholesterol.

HDL transports cholesterol to the liver, where the body breaks it down or disposes of it. People may refer to HDL as “good” cholesterol.

Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. High levels can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Non-HDL cholesterol refers to all the types of cholesterol other than HDL cholesterol.

Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are beneficial for health, whereas the other types can increase the risk of CVD.

A non-HDL test reveals the combined total cholesterol levels in the blood, excluding HDL cholesterol.

From a blood sample, a doctor will take the HDL cholesterol measurement and subtract this from the total cholesterol level to find the non-HDL amount.

According to a 2017 article, non-HDL cholesterol levels may be a more important indicator of CVD risk than LDL cholesterol levels.

There is no set normal range for non-HDL cholesterol levels because test results need to account for individual factors such as:

  • age
  • sex
  • overall health and medical history
  • family history, particularly any history of CVD
  • lifestyles, such as smoking or other factors that can affect heart health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), normal or desirable levels of cholesterol are as follows:

  • LDL cholesterol: The level should be below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl).
  • HDL cholesterol: The ideal amount is 60 mg/dl or more.
  • Triglycerides: Desirable levels are those below 150 mg/dl.
  • Total cholesterol: Doctors consider levels below 200 mg/dl to be healthy.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), normal ranges are not as important as a person’s overall risk of CVD.

Doctors will assess the person’s cholesterol levels alongside other possible risk factors.

A 2017 study involving 4,832 males looked at the link between non-HDL cholesterol levels and the risk of death from CVD.

At a 22-year follow-up, the researchers found that non-HDL levels of 190 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or more had a significant link to CVD mortality.

If people have high non-HDL cholesterol levels, lifestyle changes and medications may help lower them.

Research from 2018 suggests that dietary cholesterol — meaning that from foods containing cholesterol — does not increase blood cholesterol levels or the risk of CVD.

As a result of this research, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans no longer recommend limiting dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day.

However, many foods that are high in cholesterol, such as meat, cheese, and butter, are also high in saturated fats, which may increase the risk of CVD. The exceptions are eggs and shrimp.

According to the AHA, a high intake of saturated fats increases LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Researchers are still debating the effects of saturated fats on heart health. A 2019 review suggests that trans fats, but not saturated fats, increase the risk of CVD.

The AHA recommends that people limit or avoid trans fats. Trans fats increase LDL cholesterol levels and reduce HDL cholesterol levels. As a result, they increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

The CDC advises people to limit their intake of trans fats, saturated fats, added sugars, and foods high in salt. Instead, people may choose:

Eating unsaturated fats and foods high in fiber may help control LDL and triglyceride levels and increase HDL levels. These foods include:

Regular physical activity can also help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels.

Adults can aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day, while children and adolescents can aim for 60 minutes a day.

Other lifestyle changes that can help include:

  • maintaining a moderate weight, as excess body fat can increase LDL levels and slow down the removal of LDL cholesterol from the body
  • quitting smoking, if applicable, as it can damage blood vessels and increase the rate of plaque buildup in the arteries
  • limiting alcohol intake, if applicable, as excess alcohol increases triglyceride levels

People with high non-HDL cholesterol levels may also require medications to lower their cholesterol. The options may include:

However, research from 2017 found that although niacin reduces LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, it does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

This section looks at the different types of cholesterol levels.

HDL cholesterol

People may refer to HDL cholesterol as good cholesterol, as higher levels of HDL may have protective effects against heart attack and stroke.

HDL cholesterol absorbs cholesterol circulating in the blood and transports it to the liver. The liver can then remove the excess cholesterol from the body.

LDL cholesterol

People may refer to LDL cholesterol as bad cholesterol, as high levels of LDL increase the risk of CVD, and low levels are better for heart health.

LDL is fat in the blood that transports cholesterol around the body for cell repair and deposits excess cholesterol in the walls of the arteries.


Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in the body. The body makes triglycerides, and they also come from food.

If people have high levels of triglycerides, they may also have high levels of LDL, low levels of HDL, and high total cholesterol.

Total cholesterol

A person’s total blood cholesterol is the sum of their HDL and LDL cholesterol levels together with 20% of their triglyceride levels.

Non-HDL cholesterol

Non-HDL cholesterol refers to any cholesterol that is not HDL cholesterol. It may be harmful to health at high levels.

People can calculate their non-HDL cholesterol by subtracting their HDL cholesterol amount from their total cholesterol amount.

Non-HDL cholesterol is the cholesterol in the body that is not HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol has protective effects against cardiovascular problems, such as heart disease and stroke.

High levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides can increase the risk of CVD.

A blood test, which doctors may refer to as a lipid profile, can show cholesterol levels. Subtracting the HDL cholesterol level from the total cholesterol level provides the non-HDL cholesterol level.

Can Eating Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol Levels? What We Know – Healthline

  • A new study looked at eating avocados and the potential to improve metabolic factors.
  • Researchers found people who ate one avocado a day had slightly lower cholesterol levels than the control group.
  • Other measures, including body weight, BMI and insulin levels, were not significantly different between the two groups.

Nearly 40 percent of Americans live with high cholesterol levels, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This puts them at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the U.S.

New research published this month in the Journal of the American Heart Association looked at whether or not eating one avocado per day could impact these levels. Researchers found a small but noticeable reduction in key cholesterol levels.

““hile one avocado a day did not lead to clinically significant improvements in abdominal fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, consuming one avocado a day did not result in body weight gain,””study author Joan Sabate, MD, professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Called the Habitual Diet and Avocado Trial (HAT), the study was designed to test whether consuming one large avocado per day for 6 months in a diverse group of about 1,000 people with an elevated waist circumference would decrease belly fat compared with those who ate their habitual diet.

The study received funding from the Avocado Nutrition Center, which supports research on avocado nutrition health.

Researchers provided participants with written instructions describing how to ripen, cut, remove the pit of, and peel avocados and serving ideas and recipes containing avocados. No additional dietary counseling or guidance was provided.

The group given a daily avocado was called the Avocado Supplemented Diet Group; the other group who continued their usual diet was called the Habitual Diet Group.

Sabate and team found the group that avocado eaters experienced ““odest but nominally significant””reductions in total and LDL cholesterol compared to the habitual diet group. They pointed out that fiber in avocados may contribute to lower cholester“l levels.

“The between‐group differences in total cholesterol and LDL‐C align with the observed dietary fiber differences betw”en groups,” the authors wrote, pointing out that a single avocado can have about 3.3 g of soluble fiber.

Other measurements that included body weight, body mass index (BMI), and insulin were similar between the t“o groups.

“LDL is also known as the bad cholesterol which can build up plaque in the blood vessels o” the body,” Aeshita Dwivedi, MD, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told Healthline.

Dwivedi added that plaque build-up in arteries of the heart or neck can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

He emphasized that the observed reduction in cwasn’terol wasn’t significant enough to improve heart health.

Asked abougovernment’sovernment’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Dwthey’rea“d they’re “good”t“ follow.”

“It is important to discuss your diet with your doctor and or a nutritionist so it can be tailored to the medical conditions and medications tha” you take,” Dwivedi added.

Dwivedi found the study interesting but acknowledged that dietary s“udies are “tough ”o“perform.”

“This study tested a simple hypothesis which did not seem to make clinically significa”t changes,“ he said. “Following a moderate, sustainable and balance lifestyle is the key to g”od health.”

“For many folks, it would be great if a simple step like eating one avocado a day could significantly reduce LDL levels; however, therone’ no one ‘ma’ic pill’ for good heart”health,” said Michael Chan, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Providence St. Jude Medical Center in Southern California.

He pointed out that the key to maintaining heart health comes down to focusing on fundamentals that include:

  • A healthy diet
  • Regular cardiovascular exercise
  • Avoiding smoking and significant alcohol“intake

“The study showed that simply adding one large avocado a day to your diet for six months does not make a significant difference in reducing your total body fat levels and had minimal impact on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol”levels,” sai“ Chan. “This was essentially a negativ” study.”

Chan recommended a diet rich in vegetables and fruits to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

This includes legumes such as lentils, lima beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and kidney beans, and whole grains like oatmeal, buckwheat, and barley.

Chan said lean protein like fish with high omega-3 fatty acids could als“ help.

“Avoid red meat, shellfish, whole milk products and limiting saturated, and trans fats would be ”rudent,” he cautioned.

Joshua Yamamoto, MD, a cardiology specialist in Washington, D.C., and co-au“hor of “You Can Prevent a”Stroke,” said high cholesterol levels are best managed with s“atins.

“This is really just genetic, and all you have to do is stop being stubborn and take a”statin,” said Yam“moto.

“All this concentration on diet when the body runs on pure biology and genetics – vascular disease is genetics and aging, and statins sol”e both,” Kristin ThomYamamoto’smamoto’s partner at Foxhall Medicine.

New research finds adding one avocado per day to our diets could slightly reduce cholesterol levels while not causing a significant increase in belly fat.

Experts say no one food or nutrient can help prevent cardiovascular disease, but fundamentals like exercise and a healthy diet are key.

They also say that vascular disease is a combination of genetics and aging, and statin drugs help against both those factors.

I’ve Been Living with High Cholesterol for Years — Here’s How I Made My Lifestyle Healthier – Good Housekeeping

Jay, 76, has always had — in his words — a healthy addiction to exercise. “I did something physical every day,” he says. “I played baseball and tennis and ran four to five miles three times a week.” So he was shocked to find out he had high cholesterol. “I was in my 30s and I was healthy,” he says. “It was concerning.”

Like many diagnosed with high cholesterol, Jay wasn’t experiencing any symptoms. So when he found out that his low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — the “bad” cholesterol — was over 140mg/dL, he and his doctor had some decisions to make.

Tweaking his lifestyle

Otherwise in good health, Jay was resistant to taking medication every day to move his LDL-C to the point where it should be: under 100mg/dL. Instead he focused on other lifestyle choices.

“I thought simply eating fewer fats and sweets would handle the problem, so I cut down on red meat and fatty foods like pizza and junk food,” he says. “I also went on daily walks, alternated lifting weights with aerobic exercise every other day, and danced at every social event that had a band.”

That’s exactly where to start, according to Michael Blaha, MD, LIVALO® (pitavastatin) spokesperson and director of clinical research for the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

High cholesterol can be managed with an individualized treatment plan created with your doctor,” he says. “Whenever possible, we recommend physical activity
— 30 to 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise three to four times a week — and a heart-healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber.”



Taking the next step

Jay had no problem sticking with his exercise routine and eating plan, but it turned out not to be enough and his high cholesterol stubbornly stuck around. “My mother had high cholesterol and high blood pressure, so the doctors concluded it was purely hereditary,” he says.

That’s when he and his doctor decided to add medication to the mix — specifically, a statin, which is a prescription medication that can help reduce cholesterol in the body. “He told me that if I was his brother, he’d want me to try a statin,” Jay says. “He explained it would work in combination with my diet and exercise to help me achieve my cholesterol goals.” In 2014, Jay started taking LIVALO® (pitavastatin), and he hasn’t looked back.

His cholesterol levels are within a range that pleases his doctor and Jay feels comfortable relying on LIVALO to help keep his levels in check. “My doctor explained to me that while there are several statins available, not all statins are the same — what works for one person’s individual needs may differ for another,” Jay says. “He [Jay’s doctor] also said doctors may choose to prescribe LIVALO for those taking multiple medications to treat other conditions because it has a reduced risk of interacting with other medicines.”

LIVALO is a cholesterol-lowering medication called a “statin” for adults with high cholesterol that, along with a heart-healthy diet, helps to lower total cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides, and Apo B and to raise “good” cholesterol (HDL-C). LIVALO has not been studied to evaluate its effect on reducing heart-related disease or death. Ask your doctor if LIVALO is right for you. LIVALO is not right for everyone. Do not take LIVALO if: you have a known allergy to LIVALO or any of its ingredients, you have active liver problems, including some abnormal liver test results, you are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant, as it may harm the baby, or you are currently taking cyclosporine or gemfibrozil. Common side effects include back pain, constipation, diarrhea, muscle pain, and pain in the legs or arms. Please see Important Safety Information on the right, and full Prescribing Information.

Today, Jay shows no signs of slowing down — volunteering with the homeless through a local non-profit, attending almost every one of his favorite baseball team’s home games, and looking forward to getting back to his favorite pre-pandemic activities: travel, visiting with family around the country, and taking hip hop lessons.

If you want to speak to your provider about your treatment options, this customizable doctor discussion guide can help you begin the conversation.

Dr. Blaha and Jay are paid LIVALO representatives.

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