FINALLY this information has made its way through the red tape and into the guidelines! While this has been apparent in the research literature for years, it doesn’t mean that you should be eating fried foods or meat from conventionally raised cattle like it’s going out of style.
Truth is that cholesterol should be a nutrient of concern for some people with certain diets.
For instance, let’s look at my dinner last night -- I had a grass fed chuck roast (pot roast) with a salad stuffed with tons of veggies (e.g carrots, cukes, tomato, artichokes, hearts of palm, broccoli, and fruits like avocado and olives) with a bunch of olive oil and herbs on top.
In contrast, Joey Knuckles ate a ribeye steak from conventionally raised cattle, salad, and a baked potato with butter – what’s different about this situation??? The meal was high in cholesterol AND foods that were digested into sugars and elevated his blood-sugar level.
Cholesterol is awesome -- it’s used to make hormones that help with growth and reproduction (amongst other things). BUT, when you eat cholesterol and your blood-sugar levels are elevated, the cholesterol is vulnerable to getting turned into an artery-clogging plaque! This is how cholesterol can lead to heart disease and also why diabetics are at an increased risk of heart disease.
Now, you might be thinking, "this is all interesting Doc but does this relate to my back pain?"
The artery-clogging process isn’t just happening in your heart’s arteries – it’s also affecting the small arteries that supply your discs. IN FACT, studies find a higher incidence of disc herniation (“slipped disc”) and disc degeneration in diabetics and in people with advanced heart disease.
So, bottom line isn’t that cholesterol isn't the be all end all enemy. But, you shouldn't just eat cholesterol like it’s going out of style -- instead, you need to watch what else you eat with high cholesterol-content foods. With any luck, maybe this will become a guideline in another 5-10 years!
~ Dr. P