HDL cholesterol is typically referred to as the “good” cholesterol and LDL cholesterol as the “bad” cholesterol, but is this really accurate?

The label given to LDL cholesterol of “bad” and HDL “good” cholesterol tends to be misunderstood.

Dietary Cholesterol

Cholesterol is found in animal products, such as cheese, steak, and eggs. You will not find cholesterol from plant sources. The cholesterol in foods is simply “dietary cholesterol”. It is neither “good” nor “bad”. When you consume a food containing cholesterol the different components of the food are processed by the body. The liver packages the dietary cholesterol into LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. This is where the labels “good” and “bad” come into play.

“Good” and “Bad” Cholesterol

LDL cholesterols potential for oxidation which leads to the development of arterial plaque has given it the rap of being “bad”. While HDL cholesterol contains more protein and tends to pick up cholesterol dropped throughout your arteries and returns it to the liver giving it the role of being “good”.

However, I think it’s very important for you to realize that there are “good” and “bad” forms of LDL cholesterol and “good” and “bad” forms of HDL cholesterol.

It depends on their particle size and density. A standard cholesterol test does not measure the different particle sizes. If you are considering medication to treat elevated cholesterol levels I encourage you to discuss a comprehensive lipid panel with your physician. This will give you insight into your particle sizes to fully see what is healthy and what is not and you along with your doctor will be able to better determine the appropriate treatment plan for you.

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