Dear Dr. Mirkin:
Should I avoid foods that are high in cholesterol?
Answer: A review of the world’s literature shows that dietary cholesterol itself is not associated with increased risk for suffering a heart attack (Current Atherosclerosis Reports, September 2010). More than 80 percent of the cholesterol in your bloodstream is made by your liver. Less than 20 percent comes from your diet. When you take in more cholesterol, your liver makes less so that your blood cholesterol remains virtually the same. The few people who do increase their blood levels of total cholesterol when they eat cholesterol-rich foods, have an increase in the good HDL cholesterol that prevents heart attacks.
Since the 1960s various organizations have recommended eating no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day, the amount found in one egg. However, eating three eggs per day does not increase blood cholesterol levels. Poultry, eggs and shellfish, all rich sources of cholesterol, have not been shown to increase heart attack risk. Meat IS associated with increased risk for heart attacks, but I believe that the culprit is not cholesterol. A more likely explanation is the sugar-protein called Neu5GC found in meat from mammals, which may cause inflammation.
A practicing physician for more than 40 years and a radio talk show host for 25, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is one of a very few doctors board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology.
Dr. Mirkin's latest book is The Healthy Heart Miracle, published by HarperCollins. His daily short features on fitness have been heard on CBS Radio News stations since the 1970's.
He has written 16 books including The Sportsmedicine Book, the best-selling book on the subject that has been translated into many languages. Dr. Mirkin did his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and over the years he has served as a Teaching Fellow at Johns Hopkins Medical School, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, and Associate Clinical Professor in Pediatrics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Read more at www.drmirkin.com.
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