Cholesterol Does Not Alter Blood Lipid Levels: More Evidence

The cholesterol theory of cardiovascular disease is not supported by the vast majority of data in the literature. Despite this it has become ingrained in the psyche of the nation and is still considered a valid theory by the mainstream medical establishment. The theory suggests that cholesterol in the diet causes increased cholesterol in the plasma. This in turn is suggested to be the cause of atherosclerosis seen in some patients with cardiovascular disease. However, many studies have shown that cholesterol in the diet is not able to raise plasma levels of cholesterol, and this is troublesome for the proponents of the cholesterol theory of cardiovascular disease. In response they have generally ignored such data. The result of this ignorance has been thousands, perhaps millions of people needlessly avoiding perfectly healthy foods and modifying their lifestyles based on the ramblings of people who seemingly believe in fairy tales.

In particular, medicine has chastised eggs as being a food that can directly contribute to cardiovascular disease. This despite many studies showing that the cholesterol they contain does not cause any elevations in plasma cholesterol, and that they are in no way associated with increased mortality. One study1 investigated the effects of the amount of cholesterol found in two eggs on the plasma lipid levels of 25 healthy men with normal blood lipid levels. The subjects consumed a high fat diet for 4 weeks to establish baseline measurements. The subjects then either consumed a lower fat diet or continued on the high fat diet for 8 weeks, consuming either a cholesterol supplement of 200 mg of cholesterol from egg yolks or a placebo in a random order. The results showed that the cholesterol supplement had no effect on plasma total cholesterol, on plasma low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or on apolipoprotein B.

Therefore the amount of cholesterol in two eggs (~200 mg) per day does not detrimentally affect the plasma cholesterol of healthy men. The authors did report an increase in the concentration of high density lipoprotein (HDL) particles with a mean radius of over 4.4 nm. This they suggested was a mechanisms of clearing the excess dietary cholesterol from the plasma. Recent evidence also shows that a larger HDL particle size might be associated with beneficial effects and a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. That a small percentage of individuals have a genetic defect that allows their cholesterol levels of rise with dietary intake, is not relevant to normal healthy individuals. Cholesterol is produced in humans in the liver and the body regulates this production to counteract dietary intake. Much more cholesterol is produced endogenously than is eaten in the diet. Therefore it is illogical to believe (and it is a belief based on faith) that dietary cholesterol can alter cholesterol homeostasis as a whole.


1Kestin, M., Clifton, P. M., Rouse, I. L. and Nestel, P. J. 1989. Effects of dietary cholesterol in normolipidemic subjects in not modified by nature and amount of dietary fat. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 50: 528-532

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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