Common Cholesterol Myths

March 6, 2024, 2:50 pm

Myth: All cholesterol is bad.

Fact: Some cholesterol is needed for important functions in the body.

Good cholesterol, called high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol, carries cholesterol to the liver where it can be flushed out of the body. Bad cholesterol, called low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol, can build up on the walls of blood vessels when LDL levels are high. This buildup causes stress on other organs in the body due to restricted blood flow through the narrowed blood vessels.

Myth: Replacing butter with margarine will help lower cholesterol.

Fact: Some types of margarine might seem healthier than regular butter but can actually be higher in unhealthy fats, like trans fats.

Limit fats that are solid at room temperature - butter, stick margarine and shortening - because these are typically high in both cholesterol and unhealthy saturated fats. Cook with healthy fats such as olive oil, canola oil, or soft margarines that are not made with hydrogenated oils, which are high in trans fats.

Myth: I can’t change my cholesterol levels.

Fact: There are many different ways to improve your cholesterol and keep it at a healthier level.

Here are just a few steps you can take:

  • Avoid smoking and tobacco. CoxHealth offers a variety of classes to help you quit smoking if you currently smoke, vape, or use tobacco.
  • Choose whole foods that are high in fiber, like oatmeal, beans, fruits and vegetable, over highly processed foods.
  • See your doctor every year for a check-up, and follow recommendations from your healthcare team if you have high cholesterol, such as making lifestyle changes or taking a cholesterol prescription as directed.

Learn more about managing high cholesterol with the CDC.

Myth: My doctor will tell me if I need to worry about my cholesterol.

Fact: Talk to your doctor about getting your cholesterol checked and discuss other factors that could determine your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. Finding out your risk early can allow you to take steps to lower your cholesterol before problems develop. Take charge of your cholesterol today!





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