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Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is present in your blood. This is an essential substance for your body to build healthy cells. But high levels of this can put you at risk of heart disease. It can lead to fatty deposits in your blood vessels which restricts the flow of blood through your arteries. If these deposits break off and form a clot, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol may be inherited. But more often than not, it is the result of an unhealthy lifestyle.
Many people have a family history of high cholesterol in the blood. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia. Expert always recommend that such people must reduce their intake of saturated fats to control their cholesterol levels and bring down their risks of heart disease. Even reputed agencies and organisations like the American Heart Association suggest that such people avoid eating food like fatty meat, eggs and cheese. According to such guidelines, even coconut oil is not safe for people at risk of hypercholesterolemia.
But now, according to a new study at the University of South Florida, there is no evidence to support the claims that a diet high in saturated fats lead to high levels of bad cholesterol. An international team of experts on heart disease and diet, including five cardiologists who reviewed dietary guidelines for people with familial hypercholesterolemia say they couldn't find any justification for health experts to recommend a low-saturated fat diet. The journal BMJ, published this study.
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder that causes people to have cholesterol levels two to four times higher than the average person. Hypercholesterolemia is a form of hyperlipidemia, high blood lipids and elevated levels of lipoproteins in the blood. Researchers say that for the past 80 years, people with familial hypercholesterolemia have been told to lower their cholesterol with a low-saturated fat diet. But this study shows that a more 'heart healthy' diet is one low in sugar, not saturated fat.
According to researcher, following a low-carb diet is most effective for people at increased risk of heart disease, such as those who are overweight, hypertensive and diabetic. Their findings are consistent with another paper recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This study also provided strong evidence that food that raises blood sugar, such as bread, potatoes and sweets, should be minimised, rather than tropical oils and animal-based food.
Most meat with fat on them are said to be unhealthy. Some oils that are high in saturated fat are coconut oil and palm oil. Dairy products such as cheese, ice-cream and butter too contain high levels of saturated fat.
Experts believe that unsaturated fat is a healthier alternative. You can source it from olives and olive oil, peanut butter and peanut oil, sunflower oil, avocados and avocado oil. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are also good sources of unsaturated fat. You can also all nuts and seeds, such as almonds, peanuts, cashews, and sesame seeds to your diet. They too contain unsaturated or healthy fats.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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