Fats (Cholesterol) and sweets, these make up the Food Pyramids smallest part, so the fats and sweets in the top of the Food Pyramid should comprise the smallest percentage of your daily diet. The foods at the top of the food pyramid should be eaten sparingly because they provide calories but not much in the way of nutrition. These foods include salad dressings, oils, cream, butter, margarine, sugars, soft drinks, candies and sweet desserts. Cholesterol is necessary, to produce hormones and to manufacture bile acids, whereas surplus intake is dangerous. The daily intake of cholesterol should not more than 300 milligrams regardless of the calorie intake. The main sources of cholesterol are: egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, cream, whole milk, butter and lard.

That’s right, cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the blood, which, when elevated is associated with heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer in America, so it is imperative that you have a handle on this measurement.

High cholesterol intake in the blood is a major risk factor for heart and blood vessel disease. Cholesterol in itself is not all bad; in fact, our bodies need a certain amount of this substance to function properly. However, when the level gets too high, vascular disease can result. Total cholesterol of less than 200, and LDL Cholesterol of 100 or less is considered optimal. The levels that your doctor will recommend depend upon whether you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

As the level of blood cholesterol increases, so does the possibility of plugging the arteries due to cholesterol plaque build-up. Such a disease process is called “hardening of the arteries” or atheroscleros is. When the arteries feeding the heart become plugged, a heart attack may occur. If the arteries that go to the brain are affected, then the result is a stroke.

There are three major kinds of cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), and Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL).

LDL Cholesterol is considered “bad cholesterol” because cholesterol deposits form in the arteries when LDL levels are high. An LDL level of less than 130 is recommended, 100 is optimal, values greater than 160 are considered high risk and should be followed up by your physician.

HDL cholesterol is ’good cholesterol’ as it protects against heart disease by helping remove excess cholesterol deposited in the arteries. High levels seem to be associated with low incidence of coronary heart disease.


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